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Archive for August, 2011

The cost of education...

August 31st, 2011 at 07:12 pm

I have been in the same industry (banking) since 1978- high school, actually- 33 years. WOW.

When I started, certificate rates were 16%... ATM's were fairly new, and we still hand sorted peoples checks- and verified signatures. The adding machines were comical...and it was before greenbar became mainstream...

As far as banking goes, I have first hand knowledge of how pretty much everything works...more, I know how it has evolved..I have experience.

...but I never got a degree...and that is now holding me back. If I want to reach my full potential, I have to have that elusive piece of paper.

So...I am going to college...slowly, but surely.

I am registered for two classes this next term. Health and Criminology- taking both online. I purchased the books used at Amazon for $179. (ouch...but new was twice that amount). My two classes are 7 credits, so registration is just about $800. So long as I get a B- or higher, my job will pay it all's just hurts to come up with the money up front. So far my GPA has held at 4.0...we will see what a little more pressure does.

I looked into the management school my job is sending me to for the next three years, and that is going to cost about $10k plus travel. I am so blessed that they are willing to invest so much into an 'old lady' like me. Smile

The hubs birthday getaway accounting

August 30th, 2011 at 10:31 pm

We are back home again. I have to say, the getaway was really nice- the only thing is it was a tad too much driving for just 4 days. If we go back to that part of the coast, it will be for 5-6 days minimum.

By far, the most expensive part of the trip was the accomodations...which came to $579.53. But the location of the places we stayed was phenomenal and well worth it IMHO.

Place number one...view from the living room/kitchen:

Place number two...view from our deck:

And the sighseeing along the way. I love the Oregon coast:

Food: We ate out only 4 times @ $116- well, 5 if we count the prime rib dinner FIL bought us. We had the nations most famous (?) clam chowder at Mo's; enjoyed a burger at McMinneman's; tried the local favorite pizza in Gold Beach; and made our final stop at Marie Calendars after we got to town...the hub was starving (and obviously craving pie). Smile

Misc expenses (drinks, ice, snacks, bagels, coffee creamer) ran $38.48.

So my total for the weekend: $734.51

The hub paid for the gas...I estimate he spent about $100- but that was his only expense. Smile

Fun times.

Now to get laundry and odds and ends ready for the short week ahead...before a three day weekend. Big Grin

Gambling on a budget

August 30th, 2011 at 03:05 am

Saturday night, the hubs dad was in the next town over from our he asked us to go to dinner. We went to a nice steak and seafood place, known for its prime rib. It was very good, but the servings were HUGE. I seriously didnt even eat half of mine....actually about a third. We took the rest to go and nibbled on it throughout the weekend. The hubs dad treated because of the hubs birthday- which was really nice- I know the bill came to almost $200. He and his wife are separated, but working on things.

They suggested going to the casino nearby afterwards.

I will start with a caveat. I have nothing against those who gamble. Honestly, to each his own. I know lots of folks who love this past-time and are acutally quite lucky. Good for them!

I am not a gambler. It is simply not entertaining to me to drop any amount of money into a machine with the hopes that I might get lucky. So I tagged along and watched and listened. The first nugget I learned was that if a machine doesnt pay off within the first 3-4 spins, move on. Hmmm. That rule was immediately discarded if the machine paid just once during that first 3-4...then, some kindof auto-pilot takes over. I watched lots of people sitting at machines pushing the spin button over and over with just what I consider 'teaser' payouts of smaller and smaller amounts. Most people go ahead and play the amount down to zero. Then, they move on.

The second nugget I learned was that sitting at the same machine might get you a free drink. Emphasis on might. I think it is safe to say those free drinks pay for themselves many times over.

The final nugget that night was during the discussion on losing. Apparently, it's not so bad if you go with the intention that you will leave your money there. HUH? Yep, plan to blow a certain amount and then, if you leave with nothing, its no big deal.

I guess that is some folks philosophy to gambling on a budget. I see it differently. I'd rather have the sure bet of leaving with what I came luck required.

The hub gambled a whopping $7. Took about 10 minutes. We were both tired, and the place was way smoky (isnt indoor smoking illegal now???) We decided to head back to the condo.

We had a nice evening and I came home with a few nuggets. Wink


August 29th, 2011 at 03:17 am

Enjoyed the sunset tonight in the hot tub.

This was an awesome day.

We ate out one time, went to McMinnamen's and enjoyed burgers and iced tea. $39 And stopped at the grocery outlet to pick up white cheddar popcorn and peanut m&ms for the evening. $6. So, under $50 for the food for today.

Tomorrow we will be heading down the coast. We need to find a place to stay tomorrow night...then home on Tuesday.

What a wonderful time we are having!

Mini-vacation for the hubs 43rd.

August 29th, 2011 at 01:31 am

Here are some pics of the view from our condo:

Standing on the patio just outside...gorgeous.

This is the view that greeted us as we walked into the living room:

Happy feet:

The rental place provided a complimentary bottle of I am enjoying the sunset and the pinot grigio - with some of the sweetest watermelon of the summer. Life is very, very good!


August 28th, 2011 at 03:30 pm

We made it to the condo on the beach last night. We took the whole day yesterday getting here. On the drive up, we stopped to visit a Cabela's store. DH was in heaven, eh, not so much. But this is his birthday trip, so I patiently shadowed him with oohes and ahhes through the store...almost three complete times. Now I understand his aversion to Kohl's better. What was important was that he had fun and didnt feel rushed. He bought a pair of steel toed workboots for $130 and a new coffee mug with a chocolate lab on it $14.99.

The condo is very nice. THis morning, I have the slider open, sipping coffee enjoying the waves while DH is sleeping in. Its cloudy, but the clouds are supposed to burn off later. There is a little journal here that previous guests have written in. The guests who were here just before us saw a whale and many sea lions last week, so I am keeping my eye out. So far, just seagulls and a few boats.

Since we traveled all day yesterday, today will be spent enjoying the condo, the view, the hot tub with only a trip out for lunch or dinner. Which is perfectly fine with me.

I have to chuckle at DH...last evening when we arrived, I was sitting enjoying the waves...he pulled out his phone and started playing Angry Birds.. (? *&*! ????)...he also brought his x-box. But again, this is his b day trip- just kinda funny the contrast between us and how we choose to relax.

I will post pics later. The camera is in the bedroom and I dont want to wake sleeping beauty up.

A new freebie that I didnt know I had!

August 27th, 2011 at 01:36 am

My team at work is responsible for ordering many of the books, etc that we use at work, so I have an Amazon Prime account to get expedited, free shipping. This past week I was perusing Amazon and realized that the prime account comes with instant movies and tv shows that I can watch on my pc, FOR FREE. Smile I took advantage this week and watch a couple of older movies- what a treat. It looks like I could maybe watch things on my TV too, but I havent figured out how that works is just fun to have all the new options at my fingertips!! Smile

I am looking forward to digging deeper to find out what is available- it says 1000's of choices. I love finding new, free things!!

Perhaps you should have played nice big box store...

August 26th, 2011 at 01:32 am

I think my cat is in mourning. He is sitting on the back porch looking at his little buddy who is belly up. I think the snake got tossed in the air one too many times today. Easy come, easy go.

My BIL had a bad experience with the big box giant that sounds like Wal..rt. They gave him someone else's medication in error. He is fragile, pretty sick and didnt realize it. Instead of the antibiotic he was supposed to take, he got a very strong narcotic- and on top of the other meds he was taking it made him very seriously ill.

Very ill. By the time he realized he was sick because of the med, he was overdosed to the point of throwing up and not able to stand.

When he called the store, all they said was sorry, please bring back the leftover meds and we will get you the right med....when he explained he dumped it down the toilet so he didnt accidentally take any more, the manager implied he was 'stealing, which was illegal"...and it went downhill from there...

DD2 is a pharmacy tech for another company and knows that this is a serious error on the stores part, so she called and talked to someone, they still were not playing nice. Tried to be very intimidating to her.

So...BIL took it to an attorney today. Sounds like big box store doesnt have much to stand on, and will now be coughing up some serious appology money.

I am not usually one to sue, but they were less than nice to BIL, and it was thier error that could have...well, luckily just made him very sick.

The sad thing is that it sounds like this happens all too often. Do you check your meds everytime you pick them up? If not, you need to.

It will be interesting to see how this pencils out for BIL in the end...poor guy.

Our rental this weekend...

August 25th, 2011 at 02:16 am

I am so excited for this weekend. I mentioned that it is a trip I planned for the hubs birthday. We will be there for two nights.

It has a fully equipped kitchen, so we will be making our own meals with the exception of one meal..the nearby town is known for its clam chowder..and the hub wants to go out for some. Otherwise, we will just eat at the condo and enjoy the view!!

This is the view from the sitting area with a cool telescope:

And the view from the hot tub:

And another view from the living room:

I cant wait to get some pics of our own!

Christmas thoughts...and snakes

August 24th, 2011 at 03:01 am

Note to self. The cat does not often entertain itself. It is too social. When it is playing alone for extended periods, something isnt right.

So I checked on my very happy, playful cat...and he had a new friend. A SNAKE. IN MY HOUSE. Thankfully, it was a small friend...only about a foot long. So I grabbed a towel and scooped it up and sent them both outside to play. Egads.

I decided not to sit at my desk and work at lunch today. Instead, I went to a little mexi restaurant and treated myself to a full service lunch. While I waited, I worked on my Christmas budget and list. I have to stick to my budget this year, and since I am getting ready to start back to school, I want to plan as much as possible. I love either finding a good deal, or finding the perfect gift at a decent price. I know my time will be limited once school starts again, so I want to plan and allow myself plenty of time- so that Im not rushing and splurging at the last minute.

My lunch and tip, $17- but I only had a baked potato when I got home, so I dont feel too it was a much enjoyed treat today.

I have to say, planning for CHristmas when it is 90+ outside feels a little odd, but I am a big kid when it comes to surprising my loved ones with that 'perfect' gift on Christmas morning. Smile

Christmas thoughts

August 24th, 2011 at 02:05 am

Note to self...a cat that normally soaks up attention does not suddenly play independently for an extended period unless somethings up. He was playing for quite a while by himself, so I decided to check on him...he was not alone...his new friend? A snake...IN MY HOUSE.

Thankfully it was very small, about a foot long. So I grabbed a towel, scooped the snake up and sent them both out back to play. *shudder*...egads.

I went out to lunch myself. Every once in a while it is nice to go sit down and be served a nice meal, just because. Usually I eat at my desk while squeezing a little more work into my day. I spent $17 for lunch and tip. That was all I spent today....that was much more than I should have- but it was a wonderful lunch and I just had a baked potato for dinner, so I dont feel too guilty.

While I was waiting for lunch, I worked on my Christmas budget and ideas for gifts. I have to stick to my budget this year, so I need to watch for bargains- or look for that 'perfect' gift for the right price. DOing this takes time...and I am about to start back to school after taking the summer off, so I want to allow plenty of time so that I am not splurging last minute because I am out of time.

No matter how you frame is just weird to be thinking Christmas when its 90+ degrees outside. Smile But I will admit, I am a big kid when it comes to surprising the babies (and even the big kids) with a well planned present.


August 23rd, 2011 at 02:39 am

The weekend ended up just being a major spendfest for me. And to make it worse, most of my spending went on meals. :/ Oh well, chalk it up to a reaffirmation that it feels much better to stick to a budget.....and move on.

My friends and I did go see the movie 'The Help'. I really enjoyed it. I dont go to many movies, so I am always happy when the one I do go to is worth the time and money.

I made my decision about the school, and said....YES. I believe this experience will be valuable to me during the rest of my career...and so I am seizing the opportunity offered to me!! (yay!)I dont start until next summer, so I am taking two classes this fall and see if I can handle two for winter and spring terms. My job is paying for the classes and books, so I am very lucky.

As I type, my first zucchini bread of the season is in its final moments in the oven. The house smells so wonderful! I am making four loaves tonight. Two with chocolate chips. YUM.

I finished my antibiotics a couple of days ago and my cough was still bad. Asthma and coughs seriously do not play well together. So I called my doctor and asked again for prednisone...and voila! they approved the request. So I have taken my first one, and will hopefully be on the mend tomorrow. Thank you Doc! After my insurance kicked in, the prescription was $1.82. Considering how well this works for my lungs, it is easily the BEST $1.82 ever spent!

The hub's birthday is this weekend, so a few months ago I booked a beachfront condo on the coast. I have a vacation budget and a birthday budget- which definately helped pay for this. The condo has a hot tub on the deck overlooking the ocean! We are driving up on Sat am and coming home Tues. I am so happy to be going on another mini vaca!! This will be my last for a couple of months, so I plan to ENJOY it.

Life is good!

Already blew the weekend budget and its only FRIDAY

August 20th, 2011 at 04:36 am

DH is such a baby. I put up with his knock-the-pictures-off-the-wall snoring for 20+ years...I get sick and finally have a good nights sleep last night and he complained this am that he had to use ear plugs because...I was snoring. TALK TO THE HAND.

The good news, is that I slept last night. Sweet!

Today at work a young couple that work for us came around bearing gifts. This couple is very much into green living and recently asked us to sponsor an electric car show. We did and it was very successful. Today they brought gourmet cupcakes with little earths on them as a thank you. I chose a carrot cake one...and it was a heavenly bite of Autumn...totally got me in the baking

I have two good sized zucchini ready to come off the plant, so I stocked up on baking supplies to start making some zucchini bread this weekend. I plan to bake several batches and freeze the surplus to use throughout the coming season. Cinnamon, nutmeg, nuts..etc, etc...even though it is 90+ degrees out, I am looking forward the first taste of Fall.

On Sunday two friends and I will be going celebrating one of the friends birthday. We are going to Sunday brunch and to the movie 'Help". It should be a fun day.

I am already over budget this weekend and it is only Friday night. I took the hub and his aunt to lunch today ($38), and bought dinner for our houseguest and I ($29). Then bought all the baking supplies ($23). I have a friendship birthday budget, so Sunday is covered. I just need to keep spending down tomorrow.

The lunch today was totally unplanned. The hub and I were leaving my job to go to Arby's, which would have been inexpensive, when his aunt caught up to us. His aunt lost her husband (surgery accident) and her son (21, car accident) within four months of each other a few years ago. She has struggled ever I wanted to invite her to go with us, and felt that a nicer, more intimate lunch would be nice. She talked and talked...and was even apologetic for talking so much, but said that she doesnt have anyone to talk to most of the we just let her talk. It was a very nice visit. It was a pleasure to treat her and the hub (who was so gracious about my deep sleep last night...NOT).

I hope the hub put his earplugs nearby...with any luck, I will be sleeping well again tonight!

Pondering a Delimma

August 19th, 2011 at 03:19 am

Went back to work today. Definately not back to normal, but I was well enough to work at my desk and try to catch back up.

I have a delimma that I need to make a decision on. Today, my boss and our evp called me in. They asked if I wanted to attend a management school that we send someone to each year. I have asked to go in the past, but because of my parents, or a plethora of other reasons, stepped aside for others to go.

The school is two weeks each year for three years and is pretty intense and mandates a 'project' during the year that takes weeks to months of time to complete. It is an awesome opportunity.

My delimma is that I have this plan to retire in 10 years. There are younger contenders who would get a longer bang for the buck from attending. When the offer was made, statements like "we know youre busy with school and won't hold it against you AT ALL if you dont want to go" and "we have plenty of other folks waiting to go". I know the offer was made in part out of obligation for how long Ive worked there. I am honored that they still consider me as a contender- but deep down I know the investment is better made in those who are starting their careers.

What to do...what to do. At one point, I really wanted to climb one more rung on the corporate ladder...but Im not so sure anymore. I love my position and I make good money. I guess I will sleep on it and let them know in the morning.

Havent worked all week...

August 18th, 2011 at 12:52 am

Things got worse yesterday. When I got to the Dr. my fever had reached 102. That was after taking tylenol, mucinex, and drinking lots of fluids. Doc prescribed antibiotics and today, I feel almost human again. Yesterday is truly just a blur. Because of my insurance and flex pay, yesterday did not cost out of pocket.

I was still pretty weak this morning, so I didnt go to work again...three days off this week. Thankfully, I had two weeks of PTO stocked up just for illness, so it wont affect my planned vacation days for the rest of the year.

I feel good enough to return to work tomorrow.

I remembered a frugal idea that really saved me this week. Before I got so sick, I also got a cold sore. I did not have any chapstick in the house. But I did have olive oil. I kept a small dish next to me and dabbed it on when my lip felt dry and hard...the olive oil saved me from painful chapping. It really worked well!!

Good find:
If anyone has an aspiring young pirate, you should check out the Doug and Melissa Pirate outfit on Amazon. I ordered this for my grandson and he LOVED it. It is also VERY WELL MADE and was only $22. I was very pleased with this purchase- he is 3 and the hat and sword were his favs, but the rest of the costume was REALLY enjoyed by his friend age 5.

No spender today

August 16th, 2011 at 03:46 am

Well, the sore throat got much worse during the night and I ended up calling in sick today. I rarely do that, but honestly couldnt go in. I slept until 12:15, got up and took some ibuprofen, and fell back asleep until 4pm. And even though Ive been awake less than 5 hours, I feel like I could easily go to bed again.

It is pretty easy to have a no spender when you sleep all day. Smile

Not much else to blog about today.

Frugal Weekend

August 15th, 2011 at 03:51 am

I woke up Saturday with a big lip...low and behold, a nasty cold sore appeared by noon. Frown Thankfully, I have some Abreva in the medicine cabinet..but no matter what I use, cold sores are so uncomfortable.

Aside from the Perseid party Friday night, the rest of the weekend was pretty frugal. We watched my sons little ones yesterday afternoon and used some chalk that we had..out on the driveway for entertainment. I also filled a small pool for the little ones to play in, and we just hung out in the backyard.

This afternoon my job had the annual summer picnic. It was very nice. THe weather was perfect and all food, drinks and dessert was provided.

Tonight, we are just hanging out at home. I am getting laundry done with the week ahead.

I have a little bit of a sore throat to go along with the cold sore...hopefully I will feel much better by morning!! I dont want to get sick this week, but there has been a bug going around the family. My fingers are crossed that is not what I have!

The hub and I talked about finances a little today. He is supportive of my dream to retired at 60- so I want to get a financial plan mapped out to make it happen. I want to work on this soon, so that we have a good idea of what this goal will take to achieve.

No spender!

August 12th, 2011 at 01:23 am

Today was a no spend day. My first in a while- I had a free donut at work that was leftover from a meeting, and then had a lunch meeting, so the job picked up the tab. The hub made dinner before he went to work, so I will have a burger in a bit.

Tomorrow my morning starts at 4am...will get to work at 5- so I will be off by 2pm. Tomorrow night is the party Ive planned for the kids and grandbabies to watch the meteor shower..I rented a jump house for the kids. Then we are making s'mores over the bbq and sleeping under the stars. Should be fun.

Saturday, I plan to pull some of the veggies from the garden and enjoy them with something bbq'd. Last year I only grew having so much more variety is so nice! I cant wait to do a bigger garden next year! Im not sure that my garden saves me money...yet. But I do know the veggies are just so much better tasting fresh off the plant.

My friend sent in her application for Extreme Home fingers are crossed for her!


Treated Myself!

August 11th, 2011 at 04:55 am

I decided fairly last minute last week to take a mini-trip by myself, since I was going to be home alone anyways...

I called the hotel and asked if they had a particular type of room (jacuzzi overlooking the ocean)...deciding that if they did not, I wouldnt go. But they did!! It was a splurge, but I felt so stinkin pampered by the end of the weekend, that it was well worth the $200 price tag.

Here is where I stayed:

This is looking out of the the ocean..and on the left is the jacuzzi tub.

The king bed...very comfy! The room had a couch and a chair..

I loved soaking and looking out at the ocean. The temp stayed in the 60's all weekend, so it was a nice way to beat the heat too.

It was a two hour drive, so I bought a used book on CD and listened to it on the drive over. I only ate out once...and that was a burger. Otherwise, I took food from home. With gas, the meal and the room, I spent just under $270 for the whole weekend. But I came home so relaxed. To me, it was money well spent.

This weekend, I can start enjoying the garden. I had some cherry tomatoes tonight...and the corn, a zucchini and some romaine lettuce will be ready to enjoy in the next day or so. There is nothing like home grown fresh off the vine veggies.

My son started his new job on Monday. He loves it. He loves the area too. I am so happy for him. While they will be 5 hours away, they will be so much better off financially. Anf my son will be much happier. So for that, I am happy for them.

I am looking forward to Friday's Meteor Shower. We are combining the backyard camp out with my middle grandson's third birthday party. Should be a lot of fun for all the grandbabies...and for us big kid stargazers!!


August 3rd, 2011 at 04:42 am

I got my haircut today. The last time I had it cut was in December, so it was long over due. My friend that lost her son owns a salon and just returned to work. So, I got to check on her, get my haircut and support her business all in one. Smile I am very pleased with the cut- and am glad I got to spend time with my heartbroken friend.

My son, who is in California looking for a job, talked to a couple more places today- with good results. He now has several offers on the table- but he is leaning towards the first. I am so proud of him and happy that this has been a successful trip for him.

My daughter that took in the two foster babies stopped by tonight. The little girl, age 2, is so much more talkative and outgoing in just the month that she has been with my daughter. She is a petite, adorable little 2 year old...and she gets so excited when she comes over. The little boy, 6 months, is thriving. His little head is rounding (it was flat on the back from being left in a car seat most of the time) He also had no leg strength from never being held up to exercise his legs..poor baby. Seriously, this baby has been here numerous times for hours...and he NEVER cries...he is always so happy. I think he is just happy someone plays and talks to him. So precious.

I have a 'home alone' weekend coming up. The hub is taking dd3 on a road trip to his I am contemplating a movie, some housework and organizing, and ...well, who knows. Life is good.

Update on DS's transition...

August 2nd, 2011 at 03:28 am

My son left for California yesterday and had his first interview this morning. It sounds like it went very well, and they offered him a job. He wants to talk to a few companies before he makes a decision, but this was a huge jump to his self esteem. After trying for a couple of years to make his own business work and it NOT working out...having the first person he talks to get excited about his knowledge and experience was JUST what he needed. I know he will do great wherever he ends up. His self esteem just needs to catch up with my confidence in him. To sweeten things, they offered him MORE than he was hoping to start with. Music to his mommas ears. Smile

Tomorrow is my first day of jury duty, but my number is not on the list of those called to show up, so I get to sleep in!!!

My corn stalks are showing those little ears are forming! I also have romaine lettuce that will be ready this weekend. YUM. Cant wait to start enjoying the 'fruits of my labor'...