Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Countdown to 65

I'll be 65 on September 1st - Labor day, how appropriate - and I'll be celebrating with loved ones in sunny Pasadena, CA at a birthday BBQ hosted by the younger generation for us and our CA cousins. We leave on Friday morning and have rented a house for us and one son & DIL who don't live there. I'm excited and happy that I decided on this plan instead of booking travel by ourselves to some other part of the world. Since my Mom died I have really wanted to spend time with the family that we have now and this will be a good dose.

In the meantime, I got this in the mail.
It's official. Just Part A since I am still covered under Hubby's insurance from work. A new season of life.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The "girls" got haircuts and took these selfies

I tried to take a picture of the poodle's and my haircuts from this morning but only she came out looking good LOL. It was pretty funny getting her to cooperate.





Goal update 8/25

As you can see by the cross outs on the previous post my goals were more ambitious than my motivation was strong during this past week. There was also the weather factor for the yard work goals - it either was rainy or terribly muggy and I don't do humidity well.

I did do some things not on the list. Specifically, I went through all the packing materials in the basement, got rid of a bunch and fit the rest on shelves. I researched selling prices for the watches from my parent's house and some of my own unsold jewelry. I'll list on eBay when back from vacation.

So looking forward to this next short week (we leave on vacation on Friday) here's a short goal list:

Fun/Social:
  Volunteer once
  Coffee with a friend
Organization:
  Go through Mom’s paintings

2. Go through other items on floor in study closet
Yard:
1. Transplant more Nandina to bare spot
  Weed next to driveway
3. Prune large azaleas in front yard
Cleaning:

1. Complete house clean
Vacation Prep:
   Complete items on travel checklist


I also made progress on my August goals with most of them completed.

1. DONE Spray for weeds/invasive plants in the wooded area on the next non-rainy day
2. DONE Prepare everything needed for Friends of the Library book sale that will occur while I am on vacation
3. DONE Make a pair of sleep shorts - bought thrifted pair of PJ pants and shortened them
4. DONE Transplant some plants in yard to area that needs more coverage
5. Go out to coffee (lunch, theatre?) with friends times 3 but not otherwise
    - FAIL on the not going out myself - I am a coffee addict and I love to get out of the house;   
    - DONE I had lunch with a friend, coffee with 2 friends and theatre with two friends.
6. NO PROGRESS Finish one of 2 paintings that has been in progress forever
7. DECIDED Decide what to make with fabric given for Christmas and get started - I have made a "muslin" (actually red poplin) of a sleeveless top using a free PDF pattern and it came out good enough that I am going to finish it off to wear. I'll make the same top and a skirt with the fabric I have.
8. DONE Resolve stacks of paper on desk
9. GOING WELL Eat dinner at home every day before vacation - so far so good except for one night after the theatre and Saturday night just because!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bark and lots of it

Yesterday I took the poodle princess for her morning walk and we encountered 4 other poodles in less than a quarter of a mile! She wanted to play with Dabney, the little chocolate mini poodle, who is such a friendly dog. If they had a fenced yard they would have such a great time as they have the same energy level. Then she ignored the gray standard poodle named Rufus - she knows him and he was on the other side of the street. But the white and black standards were of her same vigilant disposition and barked first I must say! So she showed them what she was made of and we moved on home.

More bark arrived in Hubby's car - 14 bags worth that he hauled to the yard and I spread on the bare spots. We need at least that many more bags to finish the targeted area and that was the third load as it is! A big back yard. We have no grass and southeastern neophytes that we were thought that was a good idea when we bought the house. Coming from the southwest who needs grass. Oh well, we just keep replacing the bark and weeding.

After that and after reading recipes in a wok cookbook that I brought home from the library I had little inspiration to cook dinner but I was craving Asian food. We went to our favorite Thai restaurant and checked out there expanded and redecorated dining space. It is lovely and much less crowded in the seating areas. They don't have new photos up yet on their website but we really enjoyed the new space and the food as always.

Today is focused on bits and pieces of catching up inside. Picking up, maybe a bit of cleaning, a run to the grocery store, some laundry, vacation preparation, etc.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Goals for the week

I am trying to stay more focused LOL. So here are my goals for the week.


Health:

1. Make and follow an exercise schedule - 4 out of 6 so far
2. Schedule time with a friend
3. Plan & eat healthy afternoon snacks - 4 out of 6 so far
 
Organization:
1. Go through Mom’s paintings in closet
2. Print and mail genealogy documents to my brother
3. Go through packing materials in basement


Yard:
1. Transplant more Nandina to bare spot
2. Buy and spread more bark chips
3. Weed next to driveway
4. Prune next to sidewalk
5. Prune large azaleas in front yard

Cleaning:

1. Complete house clean
2. Sweep shed
3. Vacuum basement


Clothing:

1. Made a blouse instead out of other fabric (Start sewing blue print skirt)
2. Go through fall clothing to decide what is needed


Shopping:
1. Shop from fall clothing list

Art/Crafts:
1. Work on canal painting
2.  Start working through colored pencil drawing book


We shall see!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I am grateful

This past week I was especially grateful for:

- Finding the motivation to do needed yard work on days it didn't rain
- Seeing with friends a play at our favorite local theatre
- Lunch out with a friend and dinner out with Hubby
- The great team that makes up our Friends of the Library board and volunteers
- My daughter in law who is planning my 65th birthday party while working long hours

Friday, August 15, 2014

Personal cost of living increases and spending priorities

I knew our property taxes were going to increase substantially this year, but a 36% increase was a surprise. I had budgeted for about a 25% increase knowing we were going to have a triple whammy - our property tax freeze from a valuation appeal a few years ago was expiring, property values have increased significantly (nice if we were ready to sell LOL), and the tax rate increased over last year. We are living in this house until Hubby retires at the end of 2017, so we will continue to pay taxes for more house than we need because it doesn't make sense to move now.

These are the kind of things that can destroy family budgets and retirement financial plans. So while healthcare and food costs are often mentioned as things that are increasing more than inflation, house related items can also increase substantially and need to be handled in our planning.

If you are having difficulty dealing with your own cost of living or simply want to save more for the future, check out this Take along printable decision card from And Then We Saved

So we continue to be thrifty in the areas that are lower priority to us or give benefits in other ways. As much as I hate doing yard work it is good exercise! So this morning I transplanted some bushes to fill in an area that is looking empty, pruned and am rooted two new oak leaf hydrangea bushes from cuttings. Tomorrow I need to head out the door early and spray for mosquitoes for the final time for the summer. They really haven't been too bad this year but are definitely increasing.

I definitely made progress on my August goals with a half of them completed so far.

1. DONE WK 1 Spray for weeds/invasive plants in the wooded area on the next non-rainy day
2. DONE WK 1 Prepare everything needed for Friends of the Library book sale that will occur while I am on vacation
3. DONE WK 2 Make a pair of sleep shorts - bought thrifted pair of PJ pants and shortened them
4. DONE WK 2 Transplant some plants in yard to area that needs more coverage
5. Go out to coffee with friends times 3 but not otherwise - FAIL on the not going out myself - I am a coffee addict and I love to get out of the house; SUCCESS I did have lunch with a friend this week
6. Finish one of 2 paintings that has been in progress forever - no progress
7. DECIDED Decide what to make with fabric given for Christmas and get started - I have made a "muslin" (actually red poplin) of a sleeveless top using a free PDF pattern and it came out good enough that I am going to finish it off to wear. I'll make the same top and a skirt with the fabric I have.
8. DONE WK 1 Resolve stacks of paper on desk
9. Eat dinner at home every day before vacation - so far so good!