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A quick update

May 26th, 2015 at 02:42 pm

I haven't disappeared again but have been very busy and out of pocket.

Work has been crazy, of course. We're heading into Frappuccino season and the hours of making those drinks wear me out! When I get home, my feet and head hurt and I'm exhausted but I usually shower, put on some comfortable clothes, and go for a walk on a nearby trail. My usual route is about 3 miles but sometimes I walk the route twice and between the trail and work, end up with a 10 to 12 mile day. Walking helps to alleviate my stress and gives me plenty of quiet time for thinking. Besides, it's just good for me.

Pop passed away on the 12th of this month. Mom has had a rough time since then so I've spent a lot of my spare hours with her. Since he went to a nursing home a couple of months ago she was starting to adjust to living alone in their home but now it's permanent and she's not quite sure how to handle it. She'll be okay, I'm sure, but right now she needs me so a lot of my free time is spent with her.

We've started some plants in pots, Mom and I. We have lavender, rosemary, and a few other smellgoodums plus some tomato and squash plants. With all the rain we've had lately (if my apartment was big enough, I'd have started building an ark in it!) I'm not sure how well the things planted in the ground will do and that's why we opted for mostly container gardening. She has a very large patio and some of the containers have wheels so moving them into the rain and back onto the patio shouldn't be too difficult. If we only get a little bit of edible produce we'll be happy. If nothing else, tending to the plants gives Mom a bit of distraction.

Right after Pop died my ex was in the hospital. He needs a triple bypass and without it has maybe 6 months to live. He's home now, recuperating and resting and hopefully gaining the strength to be able to get the surgery. My sons are terribly worried about him, of course. The oldest went to stay with him while he was in the hospital but the youngest just started the new job in Utah so his brother told him to stay up there unless he was really needed.

May has been a hard month in my family.

On the finance front I'm doing okay. The bills are all paid on time and I manage to put aside a little money from each check. For now that's good enough. Mom is probably going to need some financial help so we've talked about me moving in with her. I really don't want to live with my mother but if she needs me, I'm there. Just half of what I spend on monthly living expenses would make a huge difference for her so when she's ready I'll probably move to her place.

Okay, I'm off to catch up with y'all!

Busy times and my annual review

April 18th, 2015 at 03:07 pm

Between work and genealogy, I've been pretty busy lately. For about 13 years I've tried to find the parents of a particular ancestress. My sister joined me in this obsession in 2009. Sometimes we get burned out on it and give up for awhile, then later get back on it. That's where we are now, hard at work trying to come up with more than a working theory about her parents. I love it but ugh, sometimes it's very frustrating. Genealogy is a great hobby, though, and one that's brought my sister and I closer. We love our "genealogy vacations" when we pack up her vehicle and head to KY and/or TN to research. Since we haven't made a lot of progress on this one person we're tentatively planning another trip for later this year, probably October but maybe a little later. I can't wait!

I had my annual review today and got the highest possible rating with no dings or negatives. Yaay! Even with the great review my raise isn't much but I'll bring home $50 to $75 more a month, depending on how many hours I get. I'll take it, thank you! Every little bit helps.

And now I'm off to get caught up with y'all and then get ready for an evening out.

Have a lovely Sunday!

"Consider doing something no one expects - even you"

April 11th, 2015 at 07:26 pm

Those were the words texted to me yesterday by my youngest son.

He had sent me a text to let me know something about his upcoming trip to Utah (which it turns out is actually for the final interview - he isn't sure he has the job yet but we're still very excited!) We talked about how my new exercise regimen is going and he asked what I'd like for my birthday in three months. Since I'm on a path to minimalism I couldn't really think of anything tangible he and his brother might get me but we talked about membership at a local gym, a particular genealogy program I'd like, and a couple of other things. From there the conversation drifted into dealing with stress and since he seems so much more peaceful since his almost six month hike I asked for suggestions on dealing with stress. He asked if my job is the source of some of it and since it's the source of a lot of it, the conversation turned to having a job one likes but that isn't particularly rewarding or challenging.

My son said something about how I need to feel challenged and then I saw these words:

"Consider doing something no one expects - even you"

I haven't been able to get those words out of my mind.

I love my job most of the time but it isn't what I'd call challenging. It's downright routine now. Nor is there any real financial future in it. In fact, without a bachelor's degree I'm pretty much spinning my wheels with the company but oddly enough, I'm okay with that for the most part. I'm not sure why except that I'm not an ambitious person and not heavily into material possessions so money isn't much of a motivator for me.

It isn't like I'm well paid - I'm not. It isn't like I'm appreciated by my employer - I'm not. Employees are a dime a dozen and the company makes their belief in that clear. "Thank you" are words we rarely hear and a "good" raise is .20 an hour. So why do I stay???

Well, the job does pay the bills but just barely. I have health insurance that covers my needs but just barely. But my customers - I love them. I see them and can just feel my grin take over! Some of them are now friends and not just customers. The sad reality though is that I'm not sure the wonderful people I serve are enough to justify continuing in a job that barely helps me make ends meet and doesn't stimulate me intellectually even if I do enjoy the hell out of what I do.

So maybe I should take my son's words to heart and consider doing something no one, even me, expects. I'm not sure what that would be but my mind isn't able to let go of the words or the idea.

Just something to ponder on this lovely summer-like evening.

2 PM dental appointment and I'm terrified

April 6th, 2015 at 06:42 am

A receptionist from the dentist's office I called in desperation at 1 AM just returned my call and I have an appointment at 2 PM today.

Folks, I'm absolutely terrified of dentists. I start crying before I even walk in the door and the tears don't stop until I leave. The smells, the sounds, the entire concept of dentistry just freaks me out.

This practice specializes in dentistry for chickens (i.e. they offer sedation dentistry) and that's one reason I chose them. Thank heavens for drugs and gases that help people like me!

The receptionist doesn't think the doctor will have time to actually work on the problem today but said they'll take xrays and he will most likely prescribe an anti-biotic and pain medication to help while I wait for the big appointment.

Gulp.

I don't have a clue how much this will cost and honestly I don't care at this point. I need relief and will do whatever it takes to get it.

Oh, Mom has decided that right now isn't a good time for a trip to Austin. The nursing home calls her about Pop almost every day and she told me that if something happened to him while she was gone she'd not forgive herself. So, that trip is on hold until....some day. And the money I'd earmarked for it will most likely go to the dentist.

I'm surprisingly okay with that.

Good thoughts for my mouth and nerves greatly appreciated.

A quick picture of me and my mother & ouch, I need a dentist!

April 5th, 2015 at 04:33 pm

I spent the day with my mother. We had a lovely traditional for us holiday dinner and I brought home some leftovers. Those will be nice this week.

I wanted to go to the nursing home to see Pop this evening but I woke up with some serious mouth pain and just don't feel up to it. I think I'm going to have to find a dentist who can see me ASAP. In the meantime, I'm taking 1/2 a hydrocodone every few hours when the pain gets to be too much.

Ugh, I don't have time for dental issues and perhaps time off work! Oh well, I'll do what I must.

Anyway, here's a selfie I took today of me and my mother.



I hope you all had a lovely day!

Things like this make my job so satisfying!

April 5th, 2015 at 04:27 am

One of our best baristas worked her last shift yesterday. Well, the last until sometime later this year. She's taken a LOA to move back to her hometown and get married and Zeus in a pink feather boa, I'm going to miss that girl!

She's young, perky, and has such a beautiful and sweet disposition. Even better, she stays calm when faced with long lines and perturbed customers. We work well together and feed off one another's energy and humor. In my seven years in that position, I haven't experienced that with many baristas.

We had just an hour together yesterday but after she clocked out she came to say goodbye and gave me a long and tight hug. When I went on break I found a hand decorated envelope in my lunch bag and inside was a card from her. As I read it, the onion ninjas appeared out of nowhere. Darn those ninjas!



I have some of the best regulars in my job and love each of them but Birdy is a very special barista. People like her, whether they work with me or get drinks from me, are part of what make my job so fun and satisfying.

I'll miss her!

Bye bye, Birdy!

And in totally unrelated news, I woke up with a swelling bottom lip and chin and dental pain. Oh joy.

Not directly related to my budget but I'm so proud of my son

April 4th, 2015 at 07:54 am

A little background - My youngest son turned 30 last September. He celebrated on the Appalachian Trail, about halfway through an often miserable but always joyful southbound through hike that started on the first of June and ended the week of Thanksgiving. He wasn't with biological family for that milestone day but was with trail family, friends he'd made during the journey.

He's always been something of a free spirit, wanting to travel and spend time with Mother Nature. He's been a welder, a retail worker, a hardware store worker, a driver for the intoxicated but always a helper of people. His heart is with writing, though. And he's darn good at it.

He'd given up his apartment and job to go on the trail so when the hike was over he stayed with me for recuperation. During those couple of months he continued teaching himself programming, something he'd started awhile back, and learned so very much. He also spent a lot of his days writing. After he felt rested, he moved to the western part of the state to help his father, who isn't in the best health, with his business. He's been writing and hiking, using his skills and loving being outside. For several reasons the move might not have been the best thing. His dad doesn't really "get" him and although they love one another there's a bit too much conflict. Also, the business is slow right now and my son isn't earning money. He started to lose the sense of accomplishment the hike had given him and that made me so very sad for him.

The situation finally got to him and he applied for and got a job in Utah at a therapeutic wilderness camp for teens. He'll have several duties but a primary one will be responsibility for said teens during outdoor exploration. Wow, just wow. My son is moving to Utah to work with belligerent and troubled teenagers! He'll work several days then have several days off, giving him time to continue learning programming and to write the book that's been burning its way through his soul. He'll also have time to hike. And hike. And hike. And hopefully he'll be a good influence on some of those young people and help them find their way. To top it off, he'll get paid a pretty good wage to do something he seems to be cut out to do.

It won't be easy, I'm sure. Again he'll be far from home and family and he'll be smack dab in the middle of teens who don't want to be where they are. I don't envy him that. But what an opportunity for him!

For those of you who pray, please send out a few for Jon.

He tried to keep a blog while on the trail but the internet service was iffy at best most of the time and it was very difficult but if you'd like to read about his journey on the trail, you can do so here:

http://jonathanboyd.net/

The last entry was in December but if you go backwards you can read about some of the amazing adventures he had. Lions, and witches, and bears. Oh my!

Click on "images" to see some beautiful photos.

And to make this somewhat PF related, I helped finance the hike. It cost a lot more than I thought it would but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday blathering

March 31st, 2015 at 03:54 pm

I woke up at 3 this morning. My alarm was set for 5 AM but I was so very tired last night that I crashed on the couch before 9:00 PM. I rarely sleep more than 5 hours at a time so sleeping until 3 was great. For some reason, my blood sugar was 244 at about 7 this morning! My insulin pump was functioning fine so I bolused some units to deal with the high and by 9 AM my blood sugar was back in the good range. Later in the day it was too high again, 277! I bolused a small amount of insulin and put away our weekly order. That's some pretty physical work and between the insulin and activity the blood sugar was 108 a little later when I checked it. When I got home, I changed my set even though I put in a new one last night. Ugh. Those sets are expensive so every time something like this happens I cringe. But diabetes stuff happens and it is what it is!

I worked a 7.5 hour shift but forgot my lunch so I spent $4.33 on that. Grrrrr! I don't do that often but I really need to do it never.

After work I went to the bank to deposit the tax refund check then by the nursing home to see Pop but he wouldn't even uncover his head. I sat in a chair for about an hour, talking to him now and then while he talked to someone else who wasn't there. Dementia sucks, folks. It just sucks. I finally left and called Mom and she told me she wants to get a weed eater tomorrow so when she's ready to get out and about we'll go get one of those and go to the nursing home. Maybe we'll be able to get Pop out of bed and to the dining hall for a little bit of socialization time. Neither of us needs to spend money on lunch so we'll probably come back to my place for a quick meal together before she heads home.

Yesterday evening and this morning I went over my expenses with a fine tooth comb, a very fine tooth comb! There isn't a lot I can do to eliminate or reduce expenses but here are a few things I've done or will do:

Put my HuluPlus subscription on hold and will cancel it in April. I don't have cable television and pick up no local stations so I've relied on HuluPlus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime for viewing. The main reason I got HuluPlus was to watch "Vikings" and an old science fiction series I loved but I haven't used the service in a couple of months so it can go. That's a savings of $8.49 a month.

Decide if I want to keep my Amazon Prime membership. I do a lot of my shopping using Prime so I need to think about this for awhile. I pay annually but If I cancel Prime in September when it's up for renewal, that will be a monthly savings of about $9.

Decided to keep Netflix. I use it for about 90% of my television viewing and feel it's worth the $17.30 I pay per month.

Reduced my Starbucks card reload amount to $30 a month and am considering reducing it to $20. Even though I work at a licensed Starbucks we don't routinely get free drinks. When the boss is there, she'll sometimes let us have one but we don't count on that. I don't drink their dessert in a cup drinks - just unsweetened iced tea, no water added and coffee, hot or iced, or an Americano with cream. I need to drink more water, though, so reducing the amount I spend at work will help with finances and water consumption. That's a savings of $20 a month.

Right now that's about all I can do but progress is progress. Right? Right?? Right! ;-)

I'm off for the next two days and need to do some preliminary moving stuff - you know, throw out what needs to go, pack what I'm not using, etc. I also need to clean the apartment and do laundry, work on my Coffee Master certification, and work hard to have two more no spend days. Yeehaw!

Three No Spend Days, trouble at the nursing home, and tax refund arrived

March 30th, 2015 at 04:23 pm

Saturday, yesterday, and today I spent nothing. I like no spend days and had planned for these so I feel as though I actually accomplished something.

I had an almost 6 hour shift at work and met Mom for lunch afterwards. It wasn't planned but she'd called me earlier in the day and told me about a problem with Pop at the nursing home and said she wanted to meet me to talk about it. We went to Luby's and she paid for lunch. How sweet! I tried to pay but she reminded me that I paid last time and ended the discussion with, "Besides, I'm your mother." as she handed a twenty to the cashier. 'Nuff said. ;-)

The situation with my stepdad isn't good. He's a fall risk and Saturday he fell trying to get out of a wheelchair and when Mom visited that day she was told he hadn't hurt himself. When she arrived today she found him with a bruised and swollen cheek, a bit of a black eye, and rib pain. X-rays show he has no broken ribs but he's hurting and of course, we're worried about him. We can't afford to hire a sitter to stay with him so the doctor suggested enrolling him in the hospice program at the home. Mom's going to make an appointment to talk to someone about that. I don't know a great amount about hospice but if it will give him more care and keep him safer it's worth looking into.

My tax refund arrived today. Darn it, it's a little over $200! That's too much. I really try to keep the refund amount under $100 but oh well.

I can't decide if I should put the refund amount toward the EF or use it for a trip to Austin my mother and I hope to take in May. My oldest son and his wife just bought their first home and it's been at least three years since I've gone to visit them and almost seven since Mom has. A short visit with them would be wonderful and my mother can definitely use a little time away. We'll split expenses so I might be able to put a little of the refund money in the EF. As much as I need to add to add to the EF I also need to spend some time with my son and his wife. So does Mom.

Sometimes emotional wellbeing needs to be a priority, if only for a few days. Okay, that settles it. Thanks for the advice, y'all. Ha!

The sun'll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar....

March 29th, 2015 at 06:18 pm

I'm almost $300 over my budget for March. That's the bad news.

The good news is that I'm still working a job I love most of the time, have food to eat, a wonderful family, a bed to rest in, and a life that's absolutely wonderful! Also, I didn't need to fall back on credit to make up for the deficit and there are two days left in this month - two days of opportunity for something good to happen. Wooot!

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

Here's hoping Monday will be spectacular. :-)

Long time no blog!

March 28th, 2015 at 07:34 pm

Way too long! Umm, a little over three years too long. ;-)

I'm still alive, still working as a barista at the same place, and still keeping my head above water, though sometimes just barely on that last one.

So much has changed in my life in the last three years. The man person, the one from whom I was separated, passed away after a brief illness. That threw me into a tailspin for awhile.

My stepfather's dementia has escalated and he was recently moved into a nursing home after a short hospital stay. If he's going to be there long term, I'll move in with my mother. She can't handle the expenses alone and taking care of the house and acreage is physically too much for her. Fortunately, they moved closer to me last year so although my drive to work will be a little longer than the one I currently have, it won't be bad. Also, there will be plenty of space for a garden! We've already decided to do container gardening again and are both very excited about that.

On the PF front, I'm doing okay. I have a little bit of money saved, have honed my scrimping skills, drastically reduced food waste, still use Netflix for entertainment, and my love for Dave hasn't waned. I still use his envelope system and still listen to his show. His EveryDollar app is one of my favorites! Yeah, I finally upgraded to an iPhone from my decrepit, barely functioning Blackberry. I have my son to thank for that, though. He gave me his old iPhone and added my line to his account so I now have a better phone and no phone bill. Thank you, son!

I'm still plugging away at paying off a couple of older debts. Ugh, would they please just disappear? At least I have no new debt and I'm thankful for that.

Before I stopped blogging here, I'd quit smoking. Well, that quit was busted but on January 21 of 2014 I had my last cigarette. I started vaping and although I still vape I'm down to 3 mg nicotine most of the time and foresee giving it up before too long. I know it's not as good as *no* nicotine but even my physician approves as long as I have a doable plan for quitting.

I'm still on my journey to minimalism. It's been a long and very interesting one. I've been in this one bedroom apartment for almost five years (wow, has it been that long?) and had accumulated too much stuff. Dealing with it was a source of distress for me, though. I'm not sure why except that it had taken me so long to get what I had that getting rid of any of it just seemed not quite right. On the other hand, it really was just stuff. I've given away a lot of it, sold some, and put some in dumpsters. Having more space and fewer material possessions to care for is so very liberating. Having less is easier now because I just seem to want less. I see this as serious progress in my emotional and financial health.

Anyway, I decided I really need to blog here again and to read other blogs here. The motivation provided is so helpful and I need that.

Nothing says "Don't buy that blouse/book/coffee!" like some of the entries here.

So there you have it, folks. Howdy! Again. :-)