Monday, March 31, 2014

What a Hassle!

I shared with you how my AOL email account was hacked and email was sent to "many" of my friends. I was encouraged by how many of them contacted me about it. Real friends have your backside.

I changed my password, and it's a good one (set by an IT person many years ago) and ran the virus scan. I thought I was good, and about four days later was hacked AGAIN. So, I am so over AOL now. I've had this email 15 years.

Since the most important matter is protecting my friends; I moved all my contacts over the the Gmail account that is associated with this blog and all Google products. I have never had one person tell me that they had a problem with Gmail.

What I realize though, is how many connections I have with that AOL email--everything from LLBean and Amazon.com to Kohls, and BabiesRus where I bought shower gifts today for my niece who is expecting twins in June. I think I'll stick to keeping that account for "commerce."

But, what a hassle! Informing my email list of the new email address and learning how to use a new email system. This is not worth it, if it honestly came from some of the surveys I was doing to earn a buck or two. I don't know if I'll ever really know that was the case, but I have learned that lesson.

I'll think of something else.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Email Account Hacked!

I promised to share my victories and my failures with my readers.

In my previous blog on using Swagbucks, I explained how the system worked. I still am working on my Swagbucks, will most likely transfer them to Amazon.com gift cards and by year's end, go Christmas shopping.

But here's the problem. On the home page, you are invited to try all kinds of products and surveys. Some of them pay LOTS of Swagbucks and if you WANT to subscribe to a new magazine and get some other benefit from it (like Swagbucks), then fine and dandy. However, if you click on surveys and they seem to want more information about you than you are comfortable with, please be wary.

There are surveys and there are surveys. Sometimes, you are rejected, because the survey is guided to an age demographic or race demographic you just aren't a part of. So some of the questions are necessary to determine this. I have earned many Swagbucks from surveys that I have met the criteria of the survey.

There are other "deals" that are designed to draw you into more surveys. The thing is they ask more and more questions. Understanding marketing as I do, some are not bad questions. But ANYTHING that asks you to give them permission to call you......back right out of it!

I can't determine who is doing this, but I am now getting emails that are ridiculous. In no way have I ever indicated anything but "married," but I get "search for singles over 50" emails. Really? So this tells me the information could be all over the place.

That in itself never bothered me UNTIL someone hacked into my email account, and sent out a monstrous amount of emails with a link in it. My email account is the "master" account and my husband has another account with the same company. I don't even have to ask the question--he will not change.

I changed my password immediately and ran a virus scan and my computer is good. But it's still bothersome, and I certainly don't want to bother my friends and family. While it's probably time to go over my email account and take out old stuff, etc., anyway; what I have done immediately is "unsubscribe" from any surveys that are coming my way. I still have a Swagbucks account and that seems to be harmless, plus I know others who do this; but I have to be careful what I do with the ads posted on Swagbucks.

I pass this along to those who might be looking at these harmless ways to earn a few dollars here and there. I don't think it's worth it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pampering

Today I spoiled myself. 

Lookin' Good! It's snowing
today and I wanna wear
flip-flops.
Over a year ago, I received some money and decided to put it in a bank that is not our bank. This was mainly to make it difficult for me to get my hands on it. It’s still liquid assets. As a bank promotion, the bank sent me a $50 prepaid debit card at the end of one year. I received it in January and put it back for a rainy (or in this case, snowy) day when I would want something special. So, today I went to get a manicure and pedicure.

Everything was “overdue” and that’s all I will say about that. I took my own polish in so I can fix things later. I needed this pick-me-up and it happens to be the same day as my hair color appointment. Now, THAT money is put away for that very purpose. I simply am not going gray at this time. End of discussion.

I came home and took a nice, long hot bubble bath and I used the cheap dollar store bubble bath. It really doesn't
make a bit of difference to me how much bubble bath costs.

It’s just great to feel good about myself!


BTW, I bought a Living Social offer yesterday for another manicure later…..a great deal!

Being Organized....or Not! (In Retirement)

Being organized…..or not.

I have always had a schedule. It has changed over the years, but I had a schedule for cleaning so that if I missed a week, due to illness or some other unforeseen circumstance, it wasn't the end of the world.

I have mentioned using Flylady before and I liked the idea she has about a “shiny sink” every day. Now that may seem ridiculous, but the idea is psychologically sound. If the kitchen sink is clean, the counters are likely to be clean. It would seem to inhibit the habit of stuff piling up on counters. I say that not knowing how many people live in your home. It was definitely different with four of us than it is now with just the two of us.

When I was newly married, I had Wednesdays off and I cleaned on that day, since Hubby was working. I changed employment and worked 9:30-6:00 five days a week. I altered my routine to clean one room a day before I left for work. Then I had children, and we all know babies change things, but I kept up little by little.

Being such a person of routine—always—I figured that I would thrive best in retirement if I had a schedule. In some respects this is true. I look forward to my exercise classes, my Bible study group and eventually, getting back to choir practice. There will always be grocery shopping, doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, and other errands. I fully intend to visit with friends frequently as the weather turns better.

But housekeeping? This organization guru says, “That can wait until tomorrow.” Sorry, Scarlet O’Hara, I have adopted your philosophy!

That doesn't mean I want to live in a dump. I live with a very neat man and we have no pets. If I see something that needs done, I do it. (BTW, I tell him to do the same!) When discussing housekeeping, there is a difference between CLEAN and CLUTTERED. We have all been in homes that are cluttered, but clean—usually these are homes with crawling children. I do prefer clean, but I also like every item to have a home. That’s just something that I've always done, and it makes life easier. I just stay out of Hubby’s den, although it really is neat.

For those who have known me intimately for most of my life, they will find it surprising how “laid back” I am now. My ultimate goal has always been to be ready for company on a half-hour’s notice. The only time I was not ready was when we were painting or something equally messy. I remind myself that people are more important than having the house look a certain way.


I’m really going to be OK with this!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The "Paperless Society" (not quite)

Back in the day, I worked in a bank. This was before computers. I was chosen to go to some training with a bank officer to learn about the first computer that would be installed in a common area for all to use. This was not a teller machine, those came later. This was 1979 or 1980. I know it was prior to the first ATM. I was supposed to be able to teach the other tellers. How well I did with that task is anyone’s guess.

This was well over 30 years ago and I remember, we were told we would be a “paperless society.” I got to thinking about how we are doing now. I am not working, so in our household we have eliminated the work paper.

My OSHIIP notebook
However, recently I went to a refresher training for an organization that I volunteer for called OSHIIP. (Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program) When I was originally trained in 2010 I got this BIG honkin’ notebook that has so much information in it—and I still do have it. At my refresher training in 2011 they sent me a big package of information to put in the notebook, and remove the dated material. Now, although we get some printed information, mostly to hand out to senior citizens, it is now ALL on the web. As numbers change, the web site is updated.

As I drove home from the informational and interesting day, I got to thinking about how I have eliminated paper in our home.

First of all, we throw out (shred) a year’s paper every year after we get our taxes filed. We only keep what we need for a possible audit. My husband pays the bills, and he keeps the files of paid bills. Many of them are paid online, but we do still get paper statements for some things. We have other accounts that are paperless. It’s been years since checks were returned to us, and we use our debit cards most of the time. We still buy checks, but certainly less often than we used to.

I started downloading music about five years ago. I know that’s not paper, but it’s stuff that takes up room. I have an iPad with a Kindle app and I pretty much am paperless with books. We still have bookshelves (we even have a 20 year old encyclopedia that I got at the grocery store when the kids were younger) but we’re not buying many books. I did get some research books on cancer fighting foods last year, but that’s pretty much it. My last purchase was “Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey.” That’s just one of those books you have to hold in your hand. It just is.

Several years ago, I moved into de-cluttering and downsizing mode, but it is always a process that is never completed. Recently, I went through my filing cabinet and put A LOT of professional paper in the recycling box. I kept the letters of reference. Many of the writers have passed on. It’s like a journal of working life—the best of the best. However, like my recipe box, with instructions written in the hand of dear ones, it’s one of those precious things in life that I am not throwing out.

Speaking of recipes, I may pin new ones on Pinterest or bookmark in some way, but they are never a replacement for those recipes written in my deceased mother-in-law’s hand, my several aunts, and other friends who were special to me. I may not be adding MORE paper, but I am not getting rid of it! It’s the evidence of a life of passing information on from older to younger. It’s not the evidence of a fabulous cook.

While I still have several boxes (organized) of pictures, we are now into the digital age. Remember when your parents, in-laws, and others wanted copies of pictures of the kids? We always got double prints. Now we email our images to whomever. The most recent example is our son’s wedding. Even when our daughter was married nine years ago, we ordered prints for everyone. Now here’s the CD, upload them to Snapfish© or Shutterfly© and get what you want! One less thing the bride, bride's mother and groom’s mother have to worry about. I still have pictures in my house, but they are the biggies and not everything. I can show off pics of the grandchild(ren) on the phone. Just think how slim my wallet is now without pictures. No comments about money!

My son and his colleagues use Google Drive for their documents. (I know, this isn't my home, but I still marvel). His coaching documents are in one place and teaching documents in another. He has his smart phone and his iPad mini©. A person just doesn't have to carry around so much stuff anymore. My husband retired in 2003 and still has three Hammermill© paper boxes of his teaching career in the basement. I think maybe he’s looked at them once or twice in eleven years. Those boxes will be at the curb before his obituary hits the newspaper if I have anything to say about it.

I know that I have gotten rid of books that have more updated info on the Internet. There are plenty of good reasons to keep reference books around if they are still useful, but there are others that just take up space. 

If the Internet ever goes down, we’re in big trouble.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Checking Out Swagbucks

I have promised to share my experiences, good and bad, and this is an experiment that I am still in the middle of, so I will report later. I got the idea from one of the blogs that I follow, Frugal in Tasmania, which is listed at the side of my blog. There are some interesting ideas there, but one that impressed me recently was earning “Swagbucks.”

Actually, I have heard of this before, and never got into it. (Sorry, Dee) This is another thing that you have to decide how much time you have to give to it, but you can get these “bucks” and redeem them in the future. You absolutely do not HAVE to spend a cent.

I signed up, and began my account. I do the things like watching videos and commenting on surveys. These are not the high bucks earners, but you can do them a little at a time and it will add up. Right now I have set a goal of 10 bucks a day. This is not an inordinate amount of time spent, and 300 bucks a month will add up. It’s March Madness; I don’t need to tell you when I “might” be doing this…..

You can sign up for lots of things but you have to set up an account and I am wary of these. First of all, anything that asks for my cell phone I skip over. We have been the recipient of something being charged to our cell phone bill. I just don’t go there.

There are some nice things and this is where we are all different. You can buy children’s books for a small amount, but guess what? I did that 29 years ago. Been there, done that and a good many of them are still in my basement! This is not to say never, but I’m not in the big buying mode right now. And if all I get are Amazon gift cards with these “bucks,” well, that’s gold to me! In three days I have 71 reward points.


www.swagbucks.com. Check it out. I’d love feedback.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How Many Clothes Do I Need?

I saw this somewhere: I googled something like “How many clothes does a retired woman need?” And this is what popped up.

How many clothes do I need?
Women (stay at home)
5-7 everyday comfortable attractive outfits (NO SWEATS, I REPEAT, NO SWEATS!)
1 outfit for dirty work such as painting
4-5 casual dressy outfits (depending on your social life)
4-5 dressy church outfits
2 pairs of comfortable shoes (one for painting and one for wearing everyday)
2-3 pairs casual dressy shoes like loafers
4 pairs dressy shoes for church (black, navy, white and tan pumps or flats)
Adjust shoes for your wardrobe.

If you are like me, you are chuckling somewhat. I attend church regularly, and I probably HAVE four or five “dressy church outfits” leftover from my working days, but I usually don’t wear them to church!

Now right now, recently retired, I have more than this and I probably WILL for a good long time, because after all, I buy quality, right? But, as I lose weight, or as things wear out eventually or are ruined, I wanted a general idea of how much I need. My list today really looks like this:

  • Four or five t-shirts and bottoms for exercise class. (Actually I have many more than five t-shirts presently, but, whatever…)
  • Approximately five old stretch type pants that actually USED to be worn at work, but have a second life as “stay-at-home” clothes.  Not ready for the ragbag yet, but I wouldn't go out in them. (On second thought, you might see me at the local IGA in them. I use the drive-through at the bank)
  • Two pairs of jeans. (More when I lose about 10 more pounds)
  • Five pairs of khakis and one pair of corduroys.
  • “Tee” material shirts, three different arm lengths, about 25 total. More than I need, but would still want five per season.
  • Four pairs of capri pants.
  • Three khaki type-skirts. Might replace ONE if I lose enough weight.
  • Ten sweatshirts, not all in presentable condition.
  • Twelve sweaters. Nice casual attire. This is where I put $$. Can be worn with skirts, slacks or in other creative ways.
  • Ten to twelves blouses of various types.
  • About five dressy outfits per season.
  • About 20 pairs of shoes: sandals, tennis shoes, flats, and a few pairs of heels. (ugh) I still have my wedding shoes and could wear them if the circumstances presented themselves for an off-white pair of shoes. I wore the shoes that I bought my daughter for her freshman dance to her wedding, although I splurged for new ones for my son’s wedding. They cost twice as much as the dress. That’s another story.
This is ridiculous!

I think it’s safe to say that I have three categories: gym/everyday-at-home attire; casual social attire and dressier social attire. That pretty much sums it up. When I go down another size, I have plenty, but hopefully when I go down ANOTHER size, it will be time to get some new things. And, I do live in a climate with four seasons.

I don’t ever think that I will need MORE than I have right now!



Talking to Old Men

I like to think that friendships mean something to me. Not just peers, but the cherished relationships with my parents’ friends, friends’ parents, kids’ friends, friends’ kids, professional, neighbors and so on…..

Lately I was reminded of an incident that happened during the summer of 1998. I was employed as the office manager of a church and I was very good friends with all of my co-workers. Working at a church is like working with family anyway. The music director, Cheri and I were very close friends. I was in her choir, my daughter took piano lessons from her and babysat her children, and our boys played basketball in the same league. Suffice to say we were in each other’s lives daily. (We even worked together at a retail children’s clothing store in the late evenings, stocking the store. This was a miserable mistake. I am not even going there.)

I had a very flexible schedule at the church. I tried to keep regular hours for the parishioners, but there were amendments. One thing that we did during the summer was go to the local pool as a group. We had stay-at-home moms, teachers, some DADS and all our kids went to the pool on one afternoon a week. We always had fun and it bonded all the children and parents. It was a great memory.

One afternoon Cheri and I took the kids, and during the afternoon I talked with three different older men. I had to endure teasing about “Denise, who talks to old men wherever she goes,” but the real story is that one of them was my dad’s best friend, who brought his grandsons to the pool; another was the father of my former boss, who I had a great conversation with during the “safety check;” and the third was my father’s officiating partner (basketball) and he and his wife were working with my husband (backed up by me) as we did a motor newspaper paper route for two and a half years.

Cheri teased me about my older friends, but there was a day when we sat down and she said to me, “Denise, the thing that I notice when you are talking to anyone is that it is not a casual conversation. You are fully engaged and so is the person you are talking to.”

Now, certainly there are days when I wave a quick “How do you do?” but for the most part, she’s right. The relationships that I have developed over a lifetime had some element to them that made them close. Maybe it’s just the pure length of time, which is full of many memories (such as my dad’s best friend), or maybe it’s someone I haven’t known a long time, but something (like my boss) draws us close together. Perhaps it’s something important in life that we went through together—raising kids, sitting at uncountable baseball games in the rain.

Here we are at another one of "our girls"
weddings in Oct. 2012.
There have been many people in my different seasons of life and I try to have meaningful relationships with most of them, sharing lives as we live them, observing life as it passes by. It may be for a short season, but it’s important. They are all important.

Cheri moved away, and we don’t see each other often, but we pick right up whenever we do. She came and played piano at my daughter’s wedding, which was a great memory. I was ill when her daughter got married and that made me sad. However, I know that we’ll always be friends.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

House Shoes

Do you remember the term “house shoes?”

I retired the other day. It just so happens that my “slippers” are wearing out, and it’s time to replace them. I probably have 18-20 pairs of shoes, quite enough and yet not a shoe hoarder either. My next new pair will be exercise shoes, but I’m not there yet.

I wanted to have something easy to slip on, and yet would be like a slipper and only be worn in our home (or going out to get the mail). This will extend the life of my other shoes, so I thought “This is a time for quality.”

I went to my LLBean© web site and studied. Durn, the ones I wanted were $35. I had a coupon to make it $25, and with my LLBean© credit card, I never pay shipping. I spent some time thinking about this. There was a light brown and gray. I decided on the gray pair.

They fit perfectly, and will be worn to death. They will be worn every day I don’t have flip flops on, or go barefoot in the summer. They will last 3-4 years. So that is $8 a year for house shoes that I will wear at least half the year. They might last longer! Who knows? (I’ll let you know)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Maintaining Professional Relationships

Hopefully, during your life you have made good professional relationships. Sometimes they get personal and that’s OK. During your downsizing years, all these relationships will enrich your life. I like to think that I enrich their lives also.

I have worked at three banks and we bank at one of them today. I ended my “employee” relationship in 2002, but it is now 2014 and I still do business there. Only one of my co-workers remains, and he is on Social Security and working part-time. However, I have made relationships with others who came along after I left. The phone number is etched in my memory and they are but a call away, for whatever I need. Between internet banking and their help over the years, I am covered.

The bank is forever trying to get us to invest more with their investment department; but our insurance agent has handled that for thirty-six years. By understanding us and our thinking, he has guided our assets so that we are in a good place. We are conservative and never did anything outrageous. He knew that, and he knew where we could save a few dollars on our insurance plans. Like many others, we save by having all of our insurance products in one place. He is now guiding the next generation; who chose the agency because of their “personal attention,” NOT cheapest prices.

Sometimes you get what you pay for, and in the few situations we’ve had with our automobiles and accidents, it was one phone call. Like a good neighbor…….seriously.

I have a joke that I doctor and get my hair done via Facebook. That’s not true, but if I have a non-medical question, I am friends with probably the longest serving staff member of my doctor’s office. I have changed doctors several times within the practice over the last twenty years, but she has been there.

My hairdresser is also a good “friend.” We already have a plan to spread out hair appointments and reduce costs. NOT having my hair done is NOT an option, but eventually we may change style or the color as I age. I trust her to know what will look best and when.

My dentist and I (we) have been together for twenty-five years. We were private pay for many years and he helped us then too, because we were committed to good dental health for us and our kids. He works in tandem with a periodontist and does what he can to save us on his end. He is committed to helping us have the best tooth and gum health that we can for old people. I don’t know what I am going to do when he retires.

We've been through few pharmacists in our marriage, and we now use mostly mail order, but we still have one contact at the local drug store. She will retire one day and I hope that’s not anytime soon. I used another pharmacist through my youth and adulthood for at least twenty years. He is retired.

We now see the daughter of the partner of my lifelong eye doctor. I have never left this one practice. We do have exceptional insurance, but it is a place where I am always comfortable.

We've lived in three houses and have had four regular mailmen. With the exception of our present mailman, we have known them ALL. Well.

It is my hope that by developing and maintaining relationships with all these professionals, that we will be guided in the most thrifty way in the upcoming years. I expect everyone to be able to earn a living, and have always said that, but I certainly have benefited by long-term relationships in the past, and hope that continues.

This blog can also be found at The Thrifty Tabloid.






Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Alone

I am sitting here alone on a Sunday evening. I have two plus hours until Downton Abbey comes on. We are weathering some of the worst temperatures and snowfalls in years. My SubHub drove to the home of HR daughter and Actuary SIL and Towhead, to act as back-up childcare for Towhead should her daycare close. HR has presentations and meetings she must get to. (If the daycare is open, HR has a bath room for SubHub to paint!)

I don’t expect my employer to be open tomorrow either but I must wait for my instructions. I have five more days (or less) of work. It will be mostly a fun week. Then, I am retired.

So it’s quiet right now, and my foster cat is not bothering me (she belongs to my Parental Unit, who has the gall to go to Florida). As I sit here and listen to the sounds my house makes, and a cat licking herself once in a while, I realize that this is what it’s like to live ALONE.

I have chosen to have the TV off. SubHub gives me plenty of it during football, basketball, baseball and golf seasons. It’s OK to be quiet.

I think of my clients, my Parental Unit when she isn't gallivanting around Florida, and others who live alone day after day. Will this be my world someday? If so, what will I do about it? What can I do for another today?

I am sure glad I have the telephone and email. My kids are pretty good about checking in, although they certainly have their own full lives. But it’s my responsibility to fill my time, should I find myself alone all the time.

I know what I’m going to do next week in retirement. I have a list. But I am thinking of a time when perhaps it isn't as easy to get out, when my peers have similar issues, and we just try to be friends.

I think it’s important to have that “base” of friends, the ones who will split a cheeseburger at McDonald’s if it comes to that, in the ups and downs of our future lives. We need those we don’t have to “entertain,” because someday we won’t be very entertaining.

I think it’s important to read; but not all my readers will be with me on that. I HATE jigsaw puzzles, but maybe you love them. My folks and I always called it “the gene.” I didn't get it. Whatever you do, continue to stretch your mind.

I think it’s important to have younger friends. Since I had kids later in life than most, this has come easy for me. Most of the ladies at the fitness club are younger than I am.

I love music and while I don’t have any on right now, I would choose to have music playing in the background while doing housework, or reading. I will fill my live with what I love.

Boredom never has to be with us if we consider others first; we have the resources we do to challenge and yes, entertain us. There will always be volunteer opportunities in our communities, as long as we are able.

I don’t want to outlive all my friends.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Watching TV on "Other Devices"

I know there are ways to trim the budget with our telecommunications costs; but I am not fighting that battle.

Every family and household has some things that they MUST have. I write this with March Madness in full gear. Major League Baseball is but a few weeks away.

We must have our sports.

What I hate, however, is finding out from my beloved son, the Coach, that we pay for a service that we have never used. ESPN 3. We can watch games that are not on the TV. Coach set this up for SubHub on his computer; and I downloaded the “Watch ESPN” app for the iPad and he set me up on that. As I write this, we are watching one of our two local college teams on network TV and the other on the iPad. This is perfectly marvelous.

There is a reason we have kids. To program our electronics in our old age. I consider myself fairly “up” on things, but I always can learn a new thing. I’m glad I have the Coach on my side. He’s an excellent teacher.


P.S. I can also watch on my iPhone. March couldn't get any better!

Cat Fostering

My mother called in early January. Her BFF in Florida has had a recent family tragedy. I am not free to discuss the extent of this tragedy, so I’ll just say it was bad. I told Mom to get her affairs in order and get herself down there. We would take care of her cat.

She wasn't into me.
We had our last “pet” put down in 1991. When we were married, we had three. By 1991, we had two children and they kept me occupied enough. I was done with full-time animals.

We certainly love pets, we just don’t want them all the time. We have two grand-cats, male and female and a female grand-dog. We love them all.

So Mom drops the cat off on her way to Florida, along with the cat box and food, toys, etc. She reminds me of my daughter with the grandchild and all her paraphernalia. They also have to TELL me what to do when cat-sitting or babysitting; like we have never had an animal before and we had no children.
Sitting in the middle of the room.

The first couple of days the cat kept to herself. She was not a problem at all. She knew where her food was and where the box was. We all pretty much ignored each other. I was still working, so she had to entertain herself when I was at work and my husband was doing whatever he was doing that particular day. On about the third day, she began to sit on our laps. This cat likes to be petted. All.the.time.

She never wanted to sleep with me as our other cats did. She either slept UNDER the bed, on the chair in my room, or possibly in the guest room. However, she had a habit of climbing on me in the morning. I sleep on my side; so she would perch on my shoulder and arm. Most of the time she just waited there, until I got up.

I like my new Mama.
As time wore on—and we never expected it to go on for two months—she became bolder and bolder. The “worst” thing we caught her in was climbing on the dining room table. We have place mats and they would be awry. She climbed on my furniture in the bedroom and she climbed on the piano and other furniture. I am very glad that I never saw her on the kitchen counters.

She liked looking out windows and would lie in the sun in front of the sliding glass doors in the dining room. At least she did that when we had sun. During the time we were cat fostering, we had one of the worst winters on record. She kept me warm in the evenings by sitting on my lap.

Jerry and I both covered our laps with something in order to keep the cat hair to a minimum. She knew if we put our lap coverings (I used a throw and he used a towel), that we were inviting her to sit there. At first, she spent time equally with us. As time went on, she became my cat.

No more Facebook!
I retired during this time and also contracted an upper respiratory infection. I didn't feel well and I didn't do much. I was very content to sit in the chair with a cat on my lap. Certainly I spoiled her. I learned her timing and rhythms in eating, sleeping and playing. Periodically she would become “Psycho Cat” and run from one end of the house to the other…..several times. It was entertaining.

She found our garage. I am of the opinion that you let an animal or child explore, if they are safe. We left her stay in the garage until she wanted in. It was still winter; I knew she wouldn't want to be out there long. The only issue we had was in her wanting to sneak out a door. Any door. Any time.
Maybe not do Facebook tonight?

As time wore on, we knew my mother would be returning soon. I wondered how this would go. Would she warm up to my mother when she returned? Mom was planning to spend the night with us anyway, but she didn't go to her right away. However, I went to bed early, and she ended up spending the night in the guest room with my mother. I knew all would be fine.


She is now happily at home with my mother. All is well. We may have her again next winter.
Hello? Want something?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Magazine Subscriptions


In this day and age, this is a question we really have to ask ourselves:

  1. Do I have time to read this magazine?
  2. How much of my resources do I wish to spend on magazines?
If the answer to #1 is yes and #2 is not very much, there are other ideas.
  1. Although there may be one, I am not aware of any magazine that doesn't have a web site that a person may frequent, and even sign up for mailings.
  2. An afternoon at the library reading whatever you want.
  3. Following your favorite magazine on Pinterest. Seriously.
Right now I have subscriptions to Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, and Country Living. I like all these publications, but I doubt I will renew any of them. I follow them on Pinterest.

As it is, I get them all in two places, paper and on my iPad. Therefore, I give the paper away to someone who enjoys them too, and I have "stacks" of magazines in the tablet! They are there to refer to, as we always kept magazines for, but I don't have to look at the accumulation in some magazine rack. Yes, we still have a magazine rack (basket) because there is NO WAY that the SubHub is going to e-read ESPN magazine, and frankly, I like to read it too.

I am a diehard in handling a daily newspaper. I just want it. I do head to the web for other newspapers, but I like my hometown daily newspaper. My grandfather, who died when I was nine, was an editor for this newspaper, at a time when towns had morning and afternoon editions. He was an editor for the morning paper, which we still get today. We have a remarkable deal on this paper and as long as we are "grandfathered in" (bad pun not intended), we will stick with it.

With the possibilities of getting so much on the web these days, we ask ourselves what methods we will get our news and entertainment and save lots of trees, while still loving to read, and keeping up with the news.

If you don't have a computer, you aren't reading this!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Reading for Free

I like to read. Reading will always be a part of my life; working or retired. Retirement means I have more TIME and I choose to spend some of that time reading.

Having spent my life buying and then later giving away, I am thrilled to be able to read books on my iPad (Kindle App). I honestly feel that an e-reader is a good investment for anyone. I don't recommend one over the other, but today I have about 200 books on the iPad. Some are "reference" books that are not meant to be read one time and then "remove from device."

Not at my house!
Some are "maybes," but because they were free, if I change my mind it's all right.

I use three sources and I know there are others. If you go to www.bookbub.com you can sign up for a newsletter that tailors what they send you with your likes. They send me several a day. One is always free--pay attention!--and the others are low priced.

I also use Book Shout which is a free app on the iPad. You can also go to www.bookshout.com. Book Shout encourages interaction with other readers, and as of this writing, I have not gotten into that. I never say never, but I don't see it as something I want to manage.

Because I enjoy Christian reading, I use www.dccebooks.com. David C. Cook publishes everything from church curriculum to fiction.

I get a newsletter from Book Bub and David C. Cook. You can also "like" them on Facebook and get the same information.

My big score in the past few months was getting every Beth Moore published hardback book for FREE from David C. Cook or Book Shout. It was around 15 books, all of which I know I will enjoy in time. Two of them I have purchased and have setting on the shelf too!

Everyone should have a local library card. Because I live near a county boundary, I have two. Sometimes I will go to the library and get a whole series to devour just because. No big reason, just to have a good story. There is also the possibility of borrowing e-books. I have not done this recently, but I may.

I have belonged to book clubs over the years. For die-hards, these are good ways to get books, premiums, and bonuses. I have also used them as gifts. However, now I would just as soon have a free ebook.

Should we even subscribe to magazines? I'll tackle that tomorrow.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Interesting Links #1

Here are several links that I have found recently.

Time 2 Save  There aren't many things here that I regularly buy, but once in awhile a great deal comes up on something that I would buy a grandchild.

Senior Discounts This is a pretty vast site. I suggest signing up for the newsletter and start by wading in slowly. Good stuff, though.

For The Mommas  As it says, this is more family oriented; but I have found some good stuff. Once a Momma, always a Momma!

Check them out, and add your own favorites in the comments section!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pinterest

Let’s have a little talk about Pinterest.

I hear you now: “Time Sucker!!!!!”

Like anything, Pinterest can be used and abused. You and I are responsible adults and can manage our time.

I always said that I should have invented Pinterest. I used to cut out articles and file them and go back to them later. This is a digital filing cabinet, but it’s public.

There are several ways to use Pinterest, but here is what I do with it for the sake of saving money. This is a time of life that I don’t have lots of money to spend on home d├ęcor items. I have a basement, and while pretty much organized, there’s a LOT of stuff down there. More than once I have looked on Pinterest and out of the blue I see something that I have all the ingredients for and think “I could do that!” You can say the same thing about magazines, but Pinterest is all in one place. Online. It doesn't take up space.

For those of you that have been living in Outer Siberia and do not know what Pinterest is; it is social networking in a different form. You create “Boards” and “Pin” articles or pictures to the boards. Some of my boards are “recipes,” “for the home,” and the always interesting “a little naughty” or “something else.” I have a Pinterest Board for my blogs.

First you go to www.pinterest.comand set up your account. By the way, this is ALL FREE!!!!! Then, unlike friends on Facebook, you have “followers” or YOU FOLLOW someone. For the purpose of our discussion, it is more important to be following than to be followed. You can choose interests from Pinterest and see EVERYONE who has pinned something about “houseplants,” for instance. I believe there is a way to look up all your Facebook friends who are also on Pinterest and that’s a good place to start. After all, they already have some connection with you.

You can actually choose to follow some of people’s boards, but not all. For instance, I have several schoolteacher friends who pin teaching ideas. I could “unfollow” those boards of theirs, but somehow, I never do. I think it’s interesting. However, those are the pins that I scroll through quickly.

If you want to have a baby shower, you put “baby shower” in the search bar and voila! You have lots of ideas for that baby shower. Now, I do NOT guarantee that all ideas will be on the cheap, but you might be surprised at the ideas that use up some of the stuff you have lying around. Perhaps you will have to buy one thing or two, but that’s better than buying everything!

This past summer I made a vegetable tray of cancer fighting foods for a party. I never said anything particular about it, but weeks later the SubHub mentioned it and said, “Did you get that idea from Pinterest?” (Yes, dear.)

I follow my daughter-in-law, the RN and lately I went back to all of her boards and clicked on “wedding ideas” and she used about half a dozen of those ideas! It was interesting looking back. So now, as they build their first home, I LOVE seeing what she puts up “for the home!”

Pinterest can help you save money if you look at it regularly and basically scroll through the ideas as you have the time for it. You can “repin” an idea for the future on one of your own boards. The second feature that has nothing to do with saving money is that you really see what the interests of your friends and relatives are, and there may come a time that you need advice on a particular subject, and you recall who you should ask about it.

It takes a little time, but I look at Pinterest on my iPad while sitting with SubHub watching ball games on TV. I bet you have “free” time like that too. If nothing else, it stirs the creativity of those, like me, who are not creative people by nature.

Using what you have in the basement.



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Out Of Pocket Expenses

This is another true story. If you are accustomed to frugal living in general, in will not be a horror story.

My husband is a retired teacher and occasionally substitute teaches. I call him SubHub. I was a part-time Social Worker in a non-profit Senior Center. Without going into details, I didn't make a lot of money there. So our income was that of a retired school teacher, occasional subbing checks from various school systems, and my income at the Center. Picture it, it is not a lot.

This past year, I got breast cancer, had a lumpectomy and followed up with radiation. None of it is cheap. In our state the STRS (state teacher’s retirement system) does not cover spouses or children of retirees. I/we can elect to pay 100% of the premiums and choose a nice policy, or a basic policy, or whatever we believe we can handle. (For reference, I went outside the STRS and priced other policies and was told I could not be underwritten because of a previous condition, sleep apnea, which by the way, I don’t have) It may be that next year, if this Obamacare thing works, I can go into the Marketplace and find something more reasonable. However, for now, we are both comfortable with the policy I have and it’s working for us, albeit expensive. I have five years until Medicare, which changes the whole scenario.

Be that as it may, this is now. SubHub has just done our Turbotax©, and while I will not share specifics; our out of pocket expenses (including the payments for the insurance itself) for the year 2013 were just under 32% of our adjusted GROSS income. Can you do that without dipping into long-term investment and savings? Live on 68% of your gross income?

Well, we sucked up a lot of things and of course, I was too sick to do some other things anyway, and we did it. But that is NOT to say, that we can with the next illness that comes along. So, as we've saved and invested over 36 plus years, it is our hope to be able to take care of each other in any illness. And no, we do not have AFLAC© and I just want to say right now that there are several people that gave to us in different ways to make our lives easier during this time. WE are forever grateful.

There are a couple of ways to look at this. One is to do everything you can right now, because no one knows when their expiration date is. There are some things I would like to do, but long-term traveling is not for me. (I need my bed!) But the other way of looking at it is I DO WANT TO LIVE and nothing has taught me better than this year; and I want to have the resources to get the best treatment we can afford.

I married an “older man.” I always assumed he would go first. Now, that’s not necessarily my thinking. However, we both said “in sickness and in health” and we will keep those vows, whatever it means. Having saved and invested for our entire marriage, we can make good choices without worry.

Proverbs 31: 25

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.