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Monday, January 27, 2020

January Week 3 : Quiet days, party planning and prep & jury duty

We didn't have anything scheduled for these days except that Hubby was on call for jury duty but only had to go one day. I had lunch and a good chat with my older son as part of his birthday gift. Hubby and I also went out for a happy hour dinner at one of our favorite restaurants which was fun.

I have spent quite a bit of time organizing my menu and plans for our dinner party for 18 and will write a separate post about that once it happens on February 1st. I think I needed a new project. I do love a good project to plan and execute LOL.

I have been participating in a shop your wardrobe 100 outfits in 100 days challenge and completed the first 20 days. So far I've ended up with 7 S. Cal winter outfits I liked a lot for my everyday life. I've also let go of a few things that really no longer suit me or are too worn to keep wearing. That surprised me as I actually have a pretty small wardrobe and don't enjoy shopping for new clothes.


The dog and I have both gained weight so we are taking more walks together which isn't on her favorite thing to do list. One a day makes her happy, but more than that and she is not a fan.

In percentage of body weight the dog has gained way more than I have. I think it is the poor girl going from prednisonee for her Addison's disease once a week to a pill every other day. At least with humans prednisone is associated with weight gain.

It also is related to the fact that she will eat as much canned food as given and Hubby has been giving her more than we used to. I think I have convinced him it is not a great idea no matter how much she enjoys it. She will stop eating kibble when she is full. She is happy and pretty much healthy for a dog who is 10 1/2 and has had Addison's for 6 1/2 years.

You can just hear the level of excitement our lives have had during this week LOL.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Winter Bucket List Update - January

I started my Winter Bucket List in late December so now is time for an update! I've made a few modifications but it still is pretty much the same categories and ideas.

PERSONAL

Clothes:
·     
      1. Follow a quarterly shopping list and 20 in 2020 limit on clothing purchases -  I've only bought one item so far as I replaced my watch that stopped working.

Health/Medical:

·     2. Have a massage every month - This may be the best goal ever and I had one in January.
      3. Exercise more and more regularly - Slowly getting better
      4. Consultation & decision/action plan for gum issue - not yet; will talk to dentist again in February.
·     5. Research best treatment for stiff thoracic spine, neck hump and prolapse; add to exercise routine - Not yet but my stretching DVD does address the thoracic spine issue - now to just do it daily.

Enrichment/Learning

6. Set vacation plans & dates - San Antonio + day trip(s) - We are now thinking about Fall
7. Read with a learning plan - Complete ESO Torch level (relates to a program of my women's club) - I read 3 books that apply and a bunch that don't.
·     8. Take at least one class each quarter  - I didn't see any OLLI classes I wanted to take but am in the midst of an online FutureLearn course on History of the Book in the Early Modern Period (1450-1800) through Trinity College, Ireland
      9. Explore at least one new area/attraction in Ventura County each month - That scenic drive took us  through part of the Santa Monica Mountains National/State Park that I hadn't seen before
10. Become a local live theater, music and art opening patron - Not yet

OTHER PEOPLE

Family

11. See local son and DIL at least 2 times - We went to the Rose Parade and had brunch at their house. My son is coming over this Saturday to have his belated birthday lunch with me so we can have 1 on 1 time.
12. Facetime and/or send granddaughter mail every 2 weeks – I sent her a funny card & bug stickers.
13. Visit Berkeley family - We have planned a visit for February 13-18
14. Have monthly phone conversations with brother - I had a nice long call with him.
·     15. Write cousins and connect with nieces/nephews quarterly - Caught up with my oldest nephew via Facebook messaging 
      16. Date night/activity every other week - We went out for a happy hour dinner and also went for a scenic drive
·    
      Friends

17. Initiate one small group/one-on-one social activity monthly – Had lunch with a friend
18. Host at least one social event in our home for friends and/or family - We are hosting a dinner party for 18 on Feb 1

Volunteering/Donating
19. Decide on gifting and donations for year & make them - We made our decisions and so far have given to my Women’s Club scholarship fund and our local Friends of the Library

MONEY & HOME MANAGEMENT

Money 

20. Start minimum required withdrawals from 401K – the law changed so now will start in 2021

House Repairs/Maintenance

21. Guest bath grab bars - installed
22. Carpet cleaned - Still need to schedule
23. Windows repaired – Need to get an estimate
24. Shower drain fixed - Haven't found a simple solution yet



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January 12 - 19

Things didn't start off to well but the problem wasn't too bad and was eventually fixed.

Hubby has become increasingly unhappy with our car and even started seriously considering trading it in. However he decided instead to take it in for new tires and a rear brake job. Then he said - let's go for a drive to see some gorgeous scenery on a back road. Quickly we both realized the car wasn't riding or driving well and he figured out they sold him the wrong type of tires! They made good on it but it took 4 days until it was fixed. Then the car made a screeching noise when started so it is booked for a check up on next Monday as it has done this a couple of times before.

That means I got things done at home and walked the dog more! Cleaned out our paper files, removed several pounds and shredded what I had to. Obviously I haven't done this since we moved. Sheesh.

The grab bars were finally installed in our renovated shower so that project is done and we can move on.

Planned our upcoming dinner party for 18. Everyone we invited said yes which was lovely but unexpected. It is dinner for 18.

Had my monthly massage and went to lunch with a friend.

Used up some blackberries that were too sour tasting and some sliced almonds that were in the freezer by making muffins. Onward to using up some other things that I should really stop buying because they are healthy but then we don't choose to eat them.

Heard from my oldest nephew who has fallen in love with someone he met on a scuba diving vacation. They have been managing a long distance relationship but it is time to move to be together and he is starting a job hunt as they have decided he will move. So thrilled for him that he met a wonderful woman after not thinking it would happen for himself.

Starting Tuesday Hubby is on call for jury duty for 4 days so I can't plan on having access to the car. A good reason to get out and walk!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Are you making any changes to reduce impact in light of climate change?

In the wake of the coverage of Greta Thunberg and the ongoing massive horrible fires in Australia I have been thinking about how to further reduce my (our) environmental impact. We aren't big consumers but we do buy and consume and every decision has an impact. 

My recent reading has confirmed that there aren't easy answers and individual action has minimal impact - but, and this is a big but, if millions of people changed their individual actions the big companies and government would notice and have to change too.

There are two things I have seen trending online related to overall reduction of consumption - 20 for 2020 and No/Low Buy Year.

20 for 2020 is focused on only buying 20 new items of clothing and/or makeup. Now that seems like a lot but for many people it is a reduction. I'm thinking to try to limit my clothing replacements to 20 at most and make sure I really need the item before purchasing. There really is a huge excess of clothing produced in the world and much of it ends up being trashed.

No/Low Buy Years tends to be focused on debt reduction and/or consumption reduction? If you aren't driven by financial needs would you do a No/Low Buy Year to reduce your environmental impact? Of course everyone buys food, medicine, etc. and pays their bills so none of them are total No Buys. Everyone sets their own rules. I'm thinking to try to do a very low buy but then today I bought a used book and some plates at Goodwill. Hmmm.
One blog I looked at said they did a Low Buy Year and used the money they saved to have amazing experiences. The general guidelines for their experiment was to not buy any non-consumable goods during the year. Non-consumable meant: clothes, shoes, furniture, home decor/furnishings, books, toys, electronics, etc. Consumable items that were okay to buy were things like food, printer paper, soap, makeup, and things that could be used up completely. If a non-consumable item broke, or wore out, it could be replaced with one similar. (But worn out shoes weren’t a green light for a shoe-shopping spree). They also set out to better use the items owned, and organize and get rid of things not loved or used.

Another new trend at least in Europe is to avoid plane travel do to the amount of fuel used and its impact. Of course they have other transportation alternatives that are efficient such as good train systems. 

And then there are the good old standards. Drive less. Avoid plastic packaging. Eliminate food waste. Reduce your water, electricity and other utility use. I have notice that since we aren't billed directly for our water in this home (and therefore have no idea how much we are using), we have slacked off on conserving.

What I have started or resumed doing:

1. Cut the number of cleaning products down to the bare essentials and using non-toxic ones except for grout mildew remover and toilet cleaner. There must be a good substitutes for those - I'll have to research it.
2. Invested in e-Cloth scrubbing pads instead of the standard sponge scrubbers and also their stainless steel cleaning cloth which works well on the sink instead of spray. I already had and like the glass cleaning cloths and floor mop.
3. Reusing produce plastic bags until they are skanky and then using them as poop bags. We have used reusable grocery bags for years.
4. Recommitting to getting books only from the library or secondhand from friends or the Friends of the Library bookstore - and then returning real books to the same bookstore after reading them.
5. I'm using up dryer sheets and then will start using dryer balls for softening.
6. Trying to turn the computer off midday or when I will be gone. No need to have it running in the background. The printer is off unless being used.
7. Using our window shutters to help control inside temperature depending upon the sun, wind and outside temps.
8. Planning errands to reduce driving.
9. Not automatically throwing clothes in the was after wearing. We don't sweat in the winter and I am using silk undershirt with a lot of my tops so I can wash less. Not ready to join the never wash your jeans club lol.
10. Continue with essentially no food waste. We do love leftovers and try to save them in a washable container rather than plastic wrap covering.

What I can't or won't change right now:

1. Our soft water makes our dog sick so she drinks bottled water. And she eats canned food (as we do some) and there are those plastic poop bags. We do recycle the plastic jugs and cans.
2. We are required to put our trash out in plastic bags so simply can try to make sure they are full and minimize our trash.
3. We have year round allergies and do use paper kleenex.
4. Plastic toiletry, laundry and dish soap containers.
5. We don't know our water consumption as it is not direct billed so will simply have to try to minimize without feedback.

I've got a mental list of things I want to do and/or try.

Has anyone else been thinking about and acting on this? What are you doing?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Australia is Burning - How you can help

A friend of mine in Australia posted this great list of how we can help if able to donate money.

Australia's burning and how you can help

Btw, her blog and programs are fabulous. I have not only learned a huge amount but also met people from around the world in the process. I've even met some in real life and would feel very comfortable arranging to meet many more if I were in their area or vice versa! Check it all out if you are interested in style.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

January 1 - 11

So we started the month off with family fun by attending the Rose Parade and having brunch with our whole crew and 17 of their friends!

Snuggles after the parade and brunch
Went out to lunch with friends once and for happy hour dinner with Hubby. Planned a mid-February long weekend in Berkeley with family. Sent our granddaughter a funny card and some bug stickers as she likes bugs.

I attended my club board meeting and book club. Visited with friends at club crafts group but decided latest project was too "fiddly" for me and would result in throwing my hands up in frustration. Went to my club's monthly luncheon which was fun as usual.

Started planning a party for February 1st. Bought 4 plates at Goodwill so now I have 19 dinner plates to use for a party. I'm trying to reduce what we throw away and not using paper plates is my goal. Those I will save for emergency supplies.

I did little "fix its" like mending the hem of a washcloth and changing batteries in the scale and wireless mouse. Rearranged my clothes storage so I will more readily wear what I have in new ways to combat boredom without shopping.

Decluttered a bit and took the batteries to the recycling bin at the library and some items to Goodwill. Made sure to process food that was on verge of spoiling by making applesauce, veggie stock & banana muffins.

We finally decided on the style and length of shower grab bars to have installed, purchased them and they should be up next week. Then the bath remodel is complete.

Submitted my Medicare cost reimbursement to my health insurance (they reimburse $800/person for a tidy sum of $1600 for us). We got new tires on our car and had a rear brake job done.

Called TIAA-CREF and confirmed that I do not need to take mandatory minimum distributions until next year due to the law change. Also found out they will post what I am required to take by the end of January of that year and I can make the distribution arrangements online or by calling. Have it on my calendar for February 2021 LOL.




Thursday, January 9, 2020

San Antonio August 4, 1945

My parents wedding day photo on what I assume is the courthouse steps. Mom was 23 and Dad 24 but both had birthdays within a week after. My Dad's older brother was best man and their new landlady the other witness. They rented a converted enclosed porch and one room as housing was so scarce due to the influx of soldiers.