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Thursday, January 18, 2018

2018 Reading Challenge - A Classic (or 2)

The first book I read for my personal reading challenge inspired by the Modern Mrs. Darcy's reading challenge (goal: stretch my genres) was Hemingway's To Have and Have Not. I don't believe I had read it before but certainly haven't read any of his books since I was a teen or young adult.

I had forgotten how "choppy" or unfinished his writing style seems and how dark his stories can be. However it is engaging and a fast read.

I had picked it in light of our ongoing challenging relationship with Cuba and the brief potential thaw including how resuming a ferry between Key West and Havana seemed a possibility before the election of the current President.

I'm going to read Pollyana next for my children's classic choice.


For February I'm jumping to "a memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction" and reading Personal Memoirs by Ulysses S. Grant. For the children's lit part I think I'll read Prairie Fires: the American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser.

What is on your reading list?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Banking Wednesday

I have decided to deal with most financial items on one day of the week and Wednesday it is. So here are my Retirement Financials for the week.

1. The local newspaper raised their rate $9 a month without notice to just over $35/mo for a skinny little throwaway with lots of ads. We decided to cancel.

2. We made a decision regarding how and how much to contribute to our granddaughter's 529 fund and mailed the first check. Hope I'm still around when she starts college or whatever she decides to do after high school. 17 years to go LOL.

3. I thought we had to pay our excess liability insurance annual bill this month, but I looked it up and our move changed the renewal date to May. So I decided to look up all the rest of our insurance new renewal dates too so I can be sure we get and pay the bills online. In addition to auto insurance and excess liability we have standard homeowner's and earthquake insurance policies. We stopped our life insurance as we started collecting retirement benefits as we no longer need to replace income but instead made sure all of our beneficiary documents were up to date on pension and retirement accounts.

4. I started figuring out what documents I have or need to send to the tax accountant. Most won't be available until the end of January, but at least I have found what I do have and made a list of the others.

5. We both registered on line for our health insurance Medicare premium refund program ($600 each) and mailed in the documentation required. I also completed the online health questionnaire and got $50 on a debit card to use for prescriptions.

6. The personal loan repayment check we received reached our credit union in Georgia and apparently cleared - yeah!

7. An online item I returned was received and processed for a refund.

Friday, January 12, 2018

5 for Friday: 2018.2

Working on my 2018 ABCs (Adventure, Beauty & Comfort) led to this -

1. I'm excited to take my reading in some different directions by taking ideas from different reading lists. Starting with Heminigway's To Have and Have Not as well as Eleanor H. Porter's Pollyana to meet the "read a classic you haven't" category. Reading different types of books is it's own kind of adventure isn't it?

2. I can see quite a few stars in the dark sky here. On Sunday morning in the just lightening sky there was also a jet trail which was quite beautiful against the darkness.

3. Started a very short home comfort increasing list. So far it has a candle holder for a pillar candle which is languishing in a cupboard and a dining chair seat cushion of some sort so my FIL will be comfortable at our table.

4. With the first rain storm since we moved here 9 months ago hitting on Monday afternoon, it was pleasant to sit in the house and hear it hitting the roof. As it turned out the storm had a horrible outcome nearby with mudslides (caused by the recent huge fire denuding the hills) killing at least 13 people.

5. I finally made a tomato poached pork over raisin kasha recipe for dinner that Hubby declared was the best meal we have had in a long time. He also asked that I remember to make it for guests. Oddly, it was the first time I had cooked a pork tenderloin.

And 5 retirement financial items - 

1. Emailed the reasonably priced tax accountant back in Georgia who did our last set of complicated returns (2014) and in the process found that I had made an error for several years that saved the whole cost of doing the work. She can do our 2017 complicated returns - yeah! Now to collect all the documentation needed.

2. Completed all of my year end summary financial spreadsheets and updated our important record document. I keep these in Dropbox so our sons can access them too if need be.

3. We lent a significant sum of money to a relative last year and just received repayment! They had promised but as anyone who lends money to family knows you have to lend it with the idea that it may become a gift.

4. I am systematically assessing what additions to my wardrobe will actually make it more functional and be worn given my current lifestyle and location. Ordered a bunch of knit tops from Kohls. No shipping cost and I can return them to the nearby store if they don't work out. I expect to only keep a couple. Bought some underwear from the nearby Jockey outlet after determining that they sell overruns not lower quality items.

5. Got a filling repaired in a tooth that had a root canal previously and even with insurance discount $237 later it is good to go. Bad tooth!!!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

2018 Reading Challenge

I'm going to continue to read a lot but want to branch out so am joining in Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge. The first category is A Classic You've Been Meaning to Read.

Help! I can't think of any off the top of my head although rereading Oliver Twist comes to mind.

What would you read if you were doing this challenge?

Edited to add:

Another list of potential reads by state - Famous book set in every state

And

I just may read Hemingway's To Have and Have Not or perhaps go for a classic children's book: Pollyana by Eleanor H. Porter. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

5 for Friday: 2018.1 - Family time

I had adventure, beauty and comfort in good doses this first week of the year.

1. I posted about our Rose Parade adventure. It was the second time I have gone but the first time with our granddaughter. She really watched the horses and bands.

2. We went to visit my FIL and Hubby's great-aunt with our son, DIL and granddaughter. I like this interaction between the triple great aunt and triple great niece. That is great-Grandpa's room key which is making such a good toy and was given back and forth many times. Six adults spent the whole time watching one baby although some discussion of football and bitcoins may have occurred LOL.
And the 4 generation photo along with a separate ones of happy grandparents with her.


3. Every time I felt uncomfortable in some item of clothing this week I tried to solve it. One shirt is in the recycling pile and two items had tags cut out. Small steps but improved comfort.

4. We are still having glorious sunsets as there are still smoke particles in the sky and increased moisture. I grew up in the central Illinois and summer sunsets were usually sensational and I do get great pleasure out of a nice one.

5. I started my Dry January on the 3rd mostly in an attempt to lose weight but also in hopes of sleeping better.

And 5 Retirement Finances:

1. We had our semi-annual dentist visits and bought their dental insurance plan which should save us money. By switching our medical plan, both being on Medicare and buying this I think our insurance costs will be about $150 less than last year and we will have fewer medical bills to pay as well.

2. However, we found out we both need dental work and Hubby's will be expensive. Then I picked up a prescription and found the cost went up 33% with the new year. Sigh.

3. We were given a dozen delicious tangerines as our son and DIL were given more than they could eat before they spoiled.

4. I have decided we will need an accountant to do our taxes this year and have started collecting all the documents and recommendations for a good person.

5. I stopped by Goodwill to drop off some items and found 2 stainless steel dog bowls and a tray to hold the soap and sponge by the kitchen sink - all for $5.36. Can take those off my list now.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

December in a sentence a day

The final month this year and it was full. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom to see what others have been up to.

This is the last time I am participating in this link up. Instead I'm going to continue to do my 5 for Friday weekly wrap-ups.

1. I was honored that my DIL asked me for some advice and that we had a great chat on the topic.

2. Oh man, after 2 hours of driving and 4 hours of packing china/serving pieces for my husband's aunt and cousin I just have to say that if you are moving to a smaller place get rid of the excess before you ask for help packing!

3. Same as December 2nd except the dog didn't pee in her crate this time but was able to wait until we got home.

4. Sold Pet Club dinner tickets for 2 hours, did laundry, Pet Club board meeting for 2 hours, put on sweats and grabbed a glass of wine, then waited for Hubby to fix dinner.

5. A wildfire raged out of control overnight due to Santa Ana winds and is now threatening the city of Ventura, but not us as so far we are only getting smokey air and the winds are in favor of us being safe from the fire.

6. A haircut that has potential but is too short, trips to the library and bank, and trying to ignore the sky full of smoke plumes as everything I could find says the wildfire is headed away from us.
This morning's fire map with where I live (Camarillo) at the bottom between the 4 and N
7. Made banana flax pecan muffins, washed the dog and a load of towels and blankets, took a walk, worried about a new and visibly closer smoke plume and cloud (until research explained where it was coming from), updated the Pet Club financial records, and made a healthy dinner.

8. While Hubby was off helping move his aunt there was no car here and with the air quality bad from the fires and winds there was no significant walking, so I vacuumed, dusted, cleaned the kitchen, made barley mushroom carrot soup and took the dog out as needed.

9. Another month wait for our new shutters because the measurements were done wrong by them and they have to make new ones which is such a waste and frustrating - le sigh.

10. Seeing this joyous image of my granddaughter in my Facebook feed was such a great way to start the day!
11. We went to the Pet Club holiday dinner where the group gave $2000 to the Moorpark College Training Zoo which was a pretty great donation which will be matched in January with one to the Camarillo animal shelter.

12. Speaking of pets, our little dog had to have her 3 year rabies shot today with reaction preventing doses of prednisone and benadryl but the day went smoothly for her afterwords.

13. We went to the racquet club annual wine and cheese evening event and had a nice chat with some new acquaintances.

14. After a night of very little sleep due to a sick dog, we took her to the vet and then ironically had a Pet Club officer meeting at my house.

15. The dog seems to have recovered and I am not as exhausted so we were able to attend the Ventura British Brass holiday concert which was just lovely. (BTW, British Brass use different instruments all of which have a conical bore so there are coronets instead of trumpets, etc. No reed instruments. A little learning along with a concert.)

16. Did a morning stretching routine and took a walk.

17. Pushed myself to be at Target by 8am and - the lot was nearly empty but that meant I could browse before picking up the present I had ordered for Hubby.

18. An ordinary type of day.

19. Went to yoga class and took a walk.

20. Another vet visit but just her routine monthly shot this time thank goodness.

21. While dog was getting groomed (we call it Poodle Spa Day), I shopped for food for our contribution to Christmas brunch.

22. The Thomas fire is now the largest in recorded California history and I randomly walked outside just when the Space X launch from Vanderberg produced the most sci-fi UFO scene in the sky.

23. A routine day!

24. Packed up and headed to Pasadena to our son's to celebrate with them.

25. A lovely day with loved ones.

26 - 28. Chilling!


29. Housework, laundry, menu planning and generally getting ready for company.

30. Hubby left early to go play pickle ball which is his new passion for exercise and socializing.

31. I'm thinking I am the Queen of Leftovers after turning 2 cooked short ribs we were given into a decent beef stew!


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Starting 2018 with an adventure: Rose Parade fun with family

Got a whole day with my family including sweet granddaughter. Seem to have not gotten any pics of my older son or our dog but they were there too. The parade wasn't bad either.