Friday, July 3, 2020

Frugal Friday?

Next week, I am leaving my house to go out in the bigger world. A first for me that is not related to picking up a click list order or just driving around. I am going to a new doctor (new Insurance) for a first time appointment-mainly to just get into his system and get an A1C test and maintenance meds. I aso need to brave the  post office and get two money orders for the apartment in Texas folks, which will make me a tad nervous.  Then I will move back here into my little bubble.

I got to a section in my beautiful shawl that I had to take out and redo a couple times, so I have put it away at least for today and instead have been sewing and quilting and working on my cards, creative wise.

Meanwhile, here's what's been happening around the old homestead to save some retirement cash. And where I've spent.

1.  While I'm looking forward to getting a pedicure someday, I'm happy to say that on the  personal care, keeping healthy front I'm feeling pretty self sufficient these days. After purchasing a good pair of clippers, I feel confident that I can do my hair every month just as as easily as any one else, and since I've found ways to work out at home and in the neighborhood, I no longer feel that I am missing my workout classes or the pool (I don't have silver sneakers and walking in the pool was not a social event for me). While it may be limited savings in some area, it's also time savings. And any small thing that ads to savings for Texas these days I count as worth while.

2.  I visited two or three (or maybe more) of my favorite clothing and household online stores this week, and even threw a few things in the virtual shopping carts-only to remove items or leave the shopping card sitting as it was. While I wouldn't mind a few summery throw pillows and such in the living room, I need nothing, especially clothing at this exact point in time.

3. Groceries are back in the acceptable range, and were actually in budget for this week so far (there may be some last minute grill shopping this weekend at some point).We are all eating at home and eating well, including happy hour type foods and gourmet desserts. We rarely order in although I would not  object to increasing that a bit.

4. I've gotten rid of some of my memberships after I did an end of month budget summary this week. I don't need three online class options, four streaming options (all at the same time), kindle unlimited, or some of the other things I've been spending money on. I still have plenty of entertainment, digital, virtual and otherwise with what is left and can change things out as I feel the need.

5. In addition to providing beauty and warmth and relaxation, our yard has other advantages. While we cannot grow many things due to rabbits, we do have wild grapevines, a cherry tree (its a contest between us and the squirrels some weeks) and in addition to herbs we have a bumper crop of kale. So we've had cherry pies, kale at multiple meals,  (sorry Chris), grapes and grape juice and and appreciated many flower arrangments this week, both wild and planted.

6. While I'm unsure of the money savings in the long run considering the cost of good quality fabric and yarn, I decided that between stores on hand, some shopping and my at home status, homemade gifts for everyone on my list except maybe a couple surprises for my kids are in order. I'll be able to share only the end results of those who don't visit the blog. I've been urged to begin selling again but that would depend on the hands on time available and the price people can/will pay.

Into this week some spending did come. While I won't consider these costs unfrugal as such, there was non essential/non budgeted spending for the week.

1.  I placed a large Amazon order that included a new puzzle for the puzzle solver in the house, a yarn winder for me and a swift for me, some yarn accessories and really good socks for the person who is on his feet ten hours a day. The socks were needed and the other items facilitated at home satisfaction and self entertainment. I also have some fabric arriving that is pre-ordered and pre-paid.  

2.  I purchased canned goods and dog food for the Meals on Wheels recipients who are getting grocery bags of food these days as an extra. I also ordered some blank cards and envelopes so that I can  make more cards and write more letters to that same group of people,  and I am purchasing various craft and amusement items for the children that are being housed in the strip motels instead of our normal church basements.  In the normal times, my contributions are more along the lines of talent and time, but treasure is what is needed now so I have changed the budget to accomodate this.

I hope everyone has a lovely 4th. We'll probably stay home tomorrow and protect the dogs from the thunder and fireworks while keeping the house closed up, and have our family grilling or cookout on Sunday (during which time I have been promised smores!).  After twenty years in Washington DC, I tend to be of the "there are no better fireworks so I'll watch em on TV anyway", school of thought.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Makin' it Monday

Although I consider myself a non scheduler, I've adjusted things a little, both in order to change up my in the house Covid schedule a tad, and becuase we are  into the summer days (today it is 92).

After my normal quiet time in bed in the morning routine and breakfast, I am wandering outside right away and knitting (or whatever, but usually knitting right now). Today it was for closer to an hour and a half. Then I'm heading back inside for the quick pickup and whatever needs to be done housewise (of no more than fifteen minutes or so usually) and my thirty minutes of no impact aerobics, plus whatever the rest of the day calls me to do, which I'll talk about later. My phone reminds me to get up and move after about an hour and I use those ten minute increments to do any house stuff remaining. And I can exercise after I'm dressed for the day because it's Colorado and I don't sweat and I shower in the evening.

Today, as most days, things are mainly quiet then, with some murmurs here and there. Behind the tree lined fence to the right my neighbor was watering plants while talking with her grand daughter, sister was watering and being one with the lawn and garden, and the dogs were, mainly quietly, sharing their opinions on whatever animal they happened to see.

Hearbreakingly, said view also includes the empty tree, which apparantly developed full out fire blight between last fall and now. 
You can see the finished fence on the other side of ours. Their yard is obviously much lower and our neighbors sit on the balcony on the second floor so you can understand their fishbowl feeling.

Not the best outdoor photo but you can see the shawl progressing past the half way point.  It will have to be blocked out in order for the lace to really show. Have to have a Friday finish post.

While this yarn does not look exactly like the picture on this post, the recipient loves the yarn and especially the little patches of blue.

Obligatory photo of dog stretching to full length while keeping his eyes out for any visiting rabbits or squirrels (or birds). And yes, my sister is trimming the grass around the "hose" that takes the gutter water away from the house since my son just mows around it.

A new quilter plus  non contact discussions and sharing means that I while I htink the pattern is pretty, I want more quilting. So I'll be throwing this into my machine and quilting around the patchworks squares and border to finish! Another Friday finish and one of those needing to be quiltd quilts down.

And because there must always be multiple projects waiting in the wings, these are the two magazine ideas I picked today for fabric that is on order and headed my way.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Keeping on, Keeping On

Yesterday I accidentally spilled a large amount of liquid into my file box that I never keep covered. Today I have a new file box, pretty file folders,  and hanging folders. I also have lots of wet paper spread out to dry (as many folders as I can empty at one time). I think close to half (maybe only a third?) of the stuff will go or be shredded eventually anyway. Do I need my taxes from 2000? And what about all the giant file folder of papers I have from every single family medical visit from that time (in Europe we were "pay patients" who got reimbursed).

The good news is that this is forcing me to downsize the paper elephant, the bad news is that I may not get to my sewing table this week!

Other than that I have mainly been enjoying my break. I wanted to see how much of the social media tiger and online presence I could (or wanted to) elminate. The short answer is that I don't really need Facebook itself or Twitter or even Next Door as that platform has turned every discussion into an "All lives matter" or "Mask yes, mask no" discussion platform. On the other hand, I stepped into a few "interest groups" on the other side of Facebook that have kept me involved with and chatting about knitting, frugality, quilting, minimlaism and travel. I have even met some locals, although I obviously can't meet them in person. I've avoided the news except for a quick am or pm perusal, while concentrating and being vocal on certain current issues. In other words, I've eliminated stuff that was useless or stressful-but online communication is also helping my sanity a tad these days.

I have spent some time on future plans and the budget side of life. I finally got my "packet" to officially reserve my apartment since offices are open again (I'm not concerned that this is just happening now as I realize that every part of life is go with the flow for the next year and dependent on so many things), so I'm tentatively working on three to six months out. And I've redone the budget to include moving and expenses (deserving of more than one post) as well as the new, at home life.

The big reason I took  break was that I also needed some time to "unstagnate" myself. Looking at what is happening round the Covid sphere, I am pretty much staying where I am in the near future, and even further along. While Colorado is not Arizona, Texas (what a mess, and this is my future) or Florida, our rates are rising.  I'm not yet comfortable eating in a restaurant, walking in the therapy pool, church will not be in person any time soon, and none of my groups are meeting, even social distance wise. I doubt that I will be driving to Texas for just a trip, especially now.  While I am not one who is easily bored, I am usually used to conversing with folks outside of home on a fairly regular basis-and in person.

My brother is the happiest person at home I have known in my entire life, and I've thought about writing how he stays that way more than once on this blog (he has worked at home for years). He can stay home (granted they also have a large yard) for weeks with the exception of a quick grocery store run for a special ingredient or  Saturday concert with my sister in law who still works outside of the house. They stopped by the other day and while we were socially distancing, we both agreed.  It's the knowledge that we can't go anywhere that bothers us more than anything else.  Not the lack of things to do, as such. And the lack of people outside of the house to have a conversation with (like me, he zooms on occasion but it's not his favorite way to communicate and it ain't the same)

So it was/is time to change things up. Within my bubble. Which I've started on, and I'll write more about later. I do expect to be back blogging sooner rather than later, maybe as soon as this week-but with one short blog and one longer one. And maybe some weeks none, depending. With more about frugality and life as it is these days.

As part of my revamping, my sister suggested I make a bucket list. One that had at least as many things on it as days between now and Labor Day (not that a specific day necessrily changes things for us retirees, mind you). Little things, big things, something to do every day. I had barely started on that when the topic of Camp Quarantine came up, a band wagon which I will probably jump on and join in.

So far my list in progress includes the things below. Note: I spent ten years as a family day care provider and many more years than that as a coordinator for kids and teens programs at a health club consortium-summer camp, kids parties, youth karate, school break programs and all that. So I tend to start off with all kind of theme ideas that then need to hit reality, ya know? I'm not as obsessive as the working list may sound as it grows.

  • Paint Rocks and then hide them in plain sight and share them on our community page
  • Go to a car concert (we have summer concerts where you drive into a large parking lot or field and the grouos perform and you sit in your car)
  • Maybe go to a drive in if the move isn't totally cheesy (about a half an hour drive)
  • Have a real at home movie night with one of the new releases you pay for and have popcorn and candy and beer
  • try and do a virtual escape game
  • Once a week drive to a nice park (it's Colorado, there are big parks everywhere), take my food and a book and walk if it is not crowded.
to be continued.........on the tab above

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

LaLaLaLa........Life Goes On

Or something like that!

Which is another way of saying I'll be gone. At least for awhile. I'll see you when I see you, and I'll try to visit other blogs as I am able, but other things are calling me. For now!!

ETA: I am fine. Just being called and spending time elsewhere mainly away from the blogosphere. I never took that six week Lenten break between Covid and other things so I may be making up for that.

And I should be back long before the big move which probably won't take place anytime before the fall.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Financial Friday-Spending in the Time of Covid (and Asking The Readers)!

Obligatory dog picture for this week. Said dog literally jumped into the swing next to me and tried to put his paws around my neck because neighbor's smoke alarm chirped and we could hear it through the screen. Pouting because my lap is generally of limits for fifty pound dogs when outside
ETA: The ask the readers thing is interesting as I was expecting more rock and motown suggestions by far. Keep those suggestions coming.
I'm not sure these days a traditional Frugal Friday post applies as such, hence the change in title for now?  In other words, thoughts on spending, not spending, and saving this week in retirement:

1.  Surprisingly, the good news is that the food spending is wayyy down. I'm sure some of this because we are are using items from the freezer in order to make room for future sale meats as shortages and high prices arrive. As well as considering what kind of pantry we need if any, that is greater than what we have.  Still, this morning I paid a whole $76, and a portion of that was different kinds of flavored sparkling water (including dark cherry and pomegranate) and diet root beer so I can have a diet root beer float. I did splurge since it was Doughnut week last week, and have a dozen Krispy Kreme delivered to the door Sunday morning!!

Dinners this week have included Italian beef sandwiches ( a chuck roast with two of those Good Seasons Italian dressing packets and a coke or  root beer poured over and slow cooked forever). The Totinos Party Pizzas that were accidentally delivered to us with salad and fruit (they had to be eaten some time). Lasagna, garlic bread and salad. Oven baked prepared and marinated ribs from Trader Joe's with side salads. Maple mustard chicken thighs (mustard, maple syrup, rosemary and other seasonings mixed and then brushed on bone in chicken thighs before baking). We'll have plenty of leftovers this week!

2.  I am still spending a moderate amount over all for things that self entertain/comfort/amuse at home.  Ideally I'd like to lower this a bit and concentrate on using up things I have. But there are no entertainment, travel, or gas expenses happening, so for now I'm comfortable in this area as I'm going nowhere any time soon and these small home comforts/home entertainment purchases help keep me sane and grounded. This week those purchases included some fabric, the hand dyed yarn previously shown,  and an umbrella stand for the patio ( I bought the umbrella a while back and the stand we had was not holding it in place securely, too big a hole). Spending for the enforced staycation of you will. With the price of that yarn, some of these things will definitely end up being gifts, early or otherwise, but that's okay. Quality materials and all that.  

3. Obviously spending on what would normally be considered "entertainment" remains almost nil. I have absolutely no intention of going to a sit down restaurant or bar any time in the near future. Movies are not open where I live, I don't think we have a summer outdoor concert schedule of any kind (except for the type below which are free), and overnight trips are out of the question although I may hit a day trip or two. So my entertainment costs remain nothing more than my streaming type subscriptions for now, although I am looking forward to a streaming Canvas and Cocktails thing soon.  

 4. I have a post coming next week on volunteering in the time of Covid. Meanwhile, while I don't have a great deal of cash to throw in this area as I would like ( I do contribute to my church which contributes to many organizations), I have allocated a small amount to budget locally for charity, social justice type spending. In the normal times, there would be things I would go to and participate in. Between creaky knees and Covid, I'm not up to marching, demonstrating, participating in open activities or even going to my 'drinking liberally" Meetup. So I am donating to the NAACP legal defense fund. I'd also like to send some money to local independent businesses as they open and I feel comfortable.

5.  I continue to add the dribs and drabs to my Texas account. Between Texas spiking cases and the whole United States expecting large fall increases the logistic and timing of my move could be completel different than I imagine, ya know? I the normal times I'd make multiple trips to Texas (staying in hotel) with a car full each time of stuff to go into strorage and visit this place multiple times. Now I can see myself moving south with a single car load and leaving my poor son and sister to load everything into a pod and sent it down depending on pandemic stuff. The good news is that there are not alot of up front fees to this place and while I will need furniture fairly immediately,  once I have a bed, a sofa and some kind of table and chairs the rest can be purchased at my leisure

And so it goes.  Now, for the ask the readers portion of the post.  It's all about the music, people. When I drive (usually alone) I go through multiple dead music zones as well as a couple where there ar only Latin and serious country music. For that and other reasons I'm taking advantage of my Amazon Prime free music account in order to make various playlists-for traveling, knitting, relaxing and anything else. Right now, I have a Classic Rock list, a Rock and Roll list, A soft songs list (which includes soft rock and Frank Sinatra and so on),  a Classical (shorter pieces) list, and an R and B/Motown list.

 So I need your songs people. The more esoteric the better (my way of saying I obviously have the Beatles, ya know?) The hard rockier, the harder bluesier, the rappier, the funkier the folksier, the bluegrassier better. I'm looking to go beyond what you would hear on the radio on a regular basis.

List as many as you want as often as you want. Heck, just list a performer if you want, if it's someone you think I've never heard of. It can be any kind of music (seriously people, I know all the words to Gangsta's Paradise!!) and I expect good music to have the occasional offensive word or implication

Just leave out the country for now, except for maybe the Drive by Truckers. (with no offense to anyone).  And Rush, leave out Rush, please.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Almost Done

So for the last couple/few days, there has bee less creativity and free-spiritedness and more things of the organizational variety.  Yes, that's right, I spent time on organizing. Me. 

It was for a good cause. My dresser donation fed into my desire to orgainize said small creative/office room as much as I could.  Unfortunately, the greatst goals were not realized.  Partly because of cost and stores still being closed, but mainly because said efforts  really didn't make sense knowing that I will be gone before Christmas (hopefully much sooner)  The biggie, of course, whas that this room really needed to be painted a bright white instead of the wierd light  warm yellow green you see that really affects my pictures. When I moved into this room from another room, my son had literally one day to move me as he was working almost eighty hours. I wanted it done then and there, thining paint could happen later.  Now, between the number of pieces of furniture that would need to be removed, and the amount of time I'll be using the roomI'm faking it for the next months.  Instead I'll live with the color and somehow  arrange a large white drape in a reclaimed desk corner for taking pictures and comparing paint and quilting shades better with my light issues.  And I'll also get to looking at those "natural light" lamps to see if I can improve some of these indoor pictures instead of dragging them outside every single time!
This is a double edged sword. Love the greenery and it keeps the room well insulated, but during half of the year, it eliminates much of my nice natural light!

The other biggie was to get rid of this crazy rescued from the you know what red table, head my self over to Ikea and get another beige six foot work table to match the other.  Again, I plan to be gone long before Christmas. This will go on my Texas list and the putting together of one table and removal of the other can wait and be part of the moving. Besides, I have to think about the new arrangement and measurements once I am sure of everything. 

Yes, that is alcohol in the corner. For after sewing. Seriously I decided to try white sangria and something called "Not Your Dad's Rootbeer"  !  Neither are my thing so I plan to offer up the root beer on Next Door.

I did get alot of organization done. I love my looming dresser for the same reason that son was ready to get rid of it - the drawers are over 20 inches deep and they can store a whole bunch of stuff (his new dresser is long and low and goes all the way along one wall also giving him alot of top space). The picture above shows a very unorganized drawer of fabric, and once I remove the plastic bin, much more will fit. Same with yarn. Which is a good thing, more of both are on the way.  I was going to leave the big bin on the top of the dresser for leaving packages to "marinate" and then I decided the mail/packages can just sit on the top of the dresser however they come. The bin will be cleaned out and go back to storing winter things.

Much of the stuff exiting the room this afternoon.

There is still stuff to be done. There is a corner under a desk that has very large broken picture frame, a plastic bin lid that matches nothing we have, a ripped and torn serger cover and other things, most of which need to go to the trash-when we feel they will not be overloaded, because of broken branches and other things. There's also a large bin of papers to be sorted through under the table I'm sitting at that has been avoided for quite some time-I won't admit how long.  And I really need to order a new cutting table for this room.

But everything is put away, the room looks much better with all the bins and I have gained some lost table work space, so I am a happy camper. Now back to the sewing, painting. quilting and the occasional purchasing of all the things needed for those endeavours (I spent a good hour or so before I started my day looking at fabric and yarn). 

Shawl for me

Shawl for sister, she rejected the bright one for this lol

I have no earthly idea yet.

Oh, and as I am determined  to get quilts in hand finished, I pulled out the five completed quilt tops I have today (which were all folded in large ziploc bags and scary wrinkled) and laid them over the top of a shelf so they can no longer be ignored! The first one will head out to a professional quilter this afternoon.  These five do not account for some partial quilts that need to be sewn together first. That, my friends, is a different story!

And now I am off to follow up on my very first ever in my life missive to a "Nine on Your Side" TV show consumer complaint. More on Friday.

You can see the others peeking out below.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Sunday Things-Construction/Deconstruction, TV Time, Organization and Bucket lists

It's Sunday afternoon, and I'm listening to my son put together a large Ikea dresser, after he put his old dresser in my sewing room studio, where it looms. Seriously, I'm happy to have it. I can get rid of some of those storage stacking basket type things. As you can see with the size of my room, I can't even get a full picture of the dresser and the drawers up close. There is work to be done! 

In order to have a double duty item when he moves (he's also on an apartment waiting list), and to accomodate the new TV he purchased (after he gave me his old one) he moved from a really high but more narrow dresser to one that is low and wide.  Surprisingly, while I do hear the occasional self muttering, nothing has been injured to date, and the swear words have yet to fly. An unusual circumstance with Ikea furniture, I can tell you from experience. Some of us are visual learners and some of us need/want the word descriptions as well as the pictures, you know? 

Of course, to make things more difficult, the corner desk he is getting rid of would not go out the door in one piece and would not disassemble. So if we didn't need a bagster before with all of our yard waist and household "let's get rid of this and let's get rid of that" we do now.  Thankfully, I would able to schedule a pick up for all the bags of clothing and such separate from that.

I'm now the proud owner of my own bedroom TV. I haven't had a television in my bedroom since I was probably sixteen (although this one is a mere 24 inches). But I'm going to embrace it for the moment as evenings around here involve three people with three completely different ideas of good television! One watches mainly reality TV, you all should have a pretty good idea of what I watch and my son ranges from sports to my kind of TV depending. So far I've actually fallen asleep immediately after (not during) my one hour of TV per night, so it must not be interrupting my sleep much!

It's a cool (or not) 86 and I'm about to take the dogs out to the yard and meditate in the pergola.  Other than that, it's been mainly a quiet, organizational sit in the comfy chair day. I did, however, order a dozen Krispy Kreme delivered to the door. Tis a good thing my church keeps it's videos up on FB for a week, because I'll be doing morning prayer sometime this evening!

The good news is that everything is leafed out and the vines and the tree keep my poor old pergola in shade after like noon. The bad news, as shown in the foreground, is that my poor, very old crab apple tree has fire blight!

My sister is headed out to see a friend (longer time readers may remember we have a pal in the old part of downtown Denver who literally has a small garden and bees in her back yard and sells stuff from her front yard along with teaching about and making natural products).  She really needs the interaction more than I do, so I'm glad she's wandering off this afternoon. I'll take a short drive today once I'm sure my (obviously limited) assistance is no longer required in the furniture assembly portion of the day.

Like I said, mainly I've spent this sunny day sitting in my comfy chair. I decided to organize and delete on Pinterest-especially since I use pinterest instead of files or book marks to save projects, patterns, and road trip ideas and such I want to refer to. I actually migrated all my book marks to Pinterest. I also worked on a long term budget based on different moving dates and two scenarios as to whether I will go to Texas ahead and visit or not. I don't want to leave brother landlord hanging so if something comes earlier than we discuss (or later even) I want to be prepared to pay him and still move, ya know?

I planned my online and grocery orders so that tomorrow or Tuesday I can just hit the button. I might actually do pickup this time instead of delivery, how different of me.

Sister has started looking for jobs. She's in an unusual position cause she really both wants and needs to work, but plans to stop when she takes SS or shortly after (which would be in March) so she's trying to figure out how to deal with employers, even contract ones. Assuming she is gone and son is working up to sixty hours a week what with restaurants back in play and there always being a shortage of employees, I could be basically single except in the late evenings.

With me still being home and one of the "slow exiters" (or is it the opposite, I'm not sure), I've decided I need to look beyond this short and general list of things I can do that will make me happy that I posed last week. It's 90 days till fall and I'm not at al sure how much if any of the traditonal out of the house things I will get to do. Hence the new summer bucket list goal, of small individual things that will make me happy day by day.  Will said list have ninety things?  Doubtful. But one can always try.