Sunday, May 5, 2013
Please, Let's do coffee...Coffee Chat
Truth told, I was world weary last time I wrote and then went through a little spell of having my feelings hurt deeply. I suffered through the usual bit of "but he said..." until I was most thoroughly sick of myself. I sat here alone one night, very late and cried out to God for the umpteenth time, "What should I do?" and went off and read As I See It Now and found the post (click on the link to read) that answered my question. Forgive.
I thought about it...why oh why must we THINK about forgiving before we go on and DO it?...prayed again and I saw myself with this big dirty ball of rags. I whispered quietly, "I forgive," and I saw myself again with a slightly smaller dirty ball of rags. "I forgive. I forgive. I forgive," I repeated, watching as that ball of rags became nothing more than a tiny little pebble in my hand. But you know, pebbles can be mighty uncomfortable. I knew I had to forgive again and again until there wasn't so much as a GRAIN left.
As I shared with an acquaintance a good while ago, it's called forgiveness and not "forgotteness" for a reason. Forgiveness requires a sacrifice. When sacrifices were given in the Bible, the WORK of the sacrifice: the slaughter, the skinning, the cutting up, etc., all that gory, nasty stuff was the duty of the one making the sacrifice. The priest took the finished product and laid it on the altar but it was the one who needed to make atonement who did the heavy duty part of the sacrifice. It was messy and unpleasant, but necessary. Forgiveness is messy and unpleasant. It's a process and forgiving is the beginning of it. Forgetting is the very end of it. I haven't forgotten that I was hurt or what was said, but it doesn't have the power to pain me. Now when it comes to mind I just remind myself "Oh I've already forgiven that..." and I go on to the next thought.
But that wasn't all my life was about over the past couple of weeks. Mama and I went out for our day. We drove up into the foothill town we visit a couple times of year. Mama wanted to go into the grocery store. I picked up the items I could remember from my list that were NOT available at Aldi and a little more fresh fruit. A bottle of organic half and half (carageenan free), thyme, strawberries and some of the store's well known Apple Fritters were enough. We went on to a favorite clothing store where I scored TWO pairs of jeans from the clearance rack. We had a very nice lunch and drove home by a different route admiring the spring day all the way.
After that day out with Mama, I did well and truly 'retreat' for a bit, which was needed and necessary. I seriously considered a number of things. I've been writing the newsletter for 12(?) years now and blogging for 7. Do I continue? Do I want to keep trying to do both? Do I have enough to say? I have other things I'd like to write about but not enough time to tackle them while trying to work on both writing tasks. I'm having a hard time balancing my current time demands, my 'want to get around to' list, homemaking, yardwork, sewing, writing.
I looked over my goals for the coming month and what I accomplished in this past month. As I've said more than once, the world can end but by goodness food is wanted at the regular mealtimes and housework still needs to be done regardless of what else might be pressing in upon us. All of those things were dealt and thinking, too. I've reached a few decisions. No, I'm not ready to share them just yet, but will soon.
While I was contemplating changes in those areas, John came to me and asked I alter two other areas: the budget and my meal plans during his work week. Well... Adjusting meals is merely a matter of balancing my desire to have a hot meal midday and John's to have lighter meals during the work week. He would be happy as pie if I served him sandwiches all day long. I am not a happy sandwich eater. It takes a real effort on my part to have a sandwich for supper...and on the nights when he's working, I don't. I most surely do not want sandwiches at dinnertime (our noon meal) as well. I like eating fruits and veggies each day. Besides lettuce and tomato, sandwiches severely limit that option. Fortunately we're heading into warmer months and I can make main dish salads.
Adjusting our budget necessitated some nail biting, tummy twisting work. John leaves the adjusting part to me, but I run it by him for approval. It was not easy to figure out where to run the counter balance. In the end, I managed to wrangle it all into balance once more, with the changes he'd asked for. I'd warned him he wouldn't like the results of the revamp and he didn't. A lot of discussion ensued. Eventually we finally decided on a middle ground, halfway between what he'd thought he wanted and what I'd been working with these past few months. We'll save a little more, spend a little less,and the changes that occurred over the past three months were all factored in, too.
Funny that John, who requested the budget revamp immediately stated his dislike of budgets when I presented him with the new sheet. I explained to him again that a budget worksheet is nothing more than a road map that tells us where we are and where we want to go by the most direct route. There are, however, any number of little side roads that accomplish the same thing and are far more pleasant. I'd mapped out the most direct route. He decided upon the side roads method. We are both happy enough with the proposal and now have something to work with.
One step in the budget process is to make Aldi our main grocery shopping stop. I will do minor shopping at one or two other stores, but the bulk of our purchases will come from Aldi. The savings we net there are simply too great to discount. This month has only proven that a good basic grocery store truly does suit our budget best and we've certainly not suffered for lack of anything.
What is it about working a budget that 'calls' up expenses? lol. I have Mothers Day, two birthdays, a baby shower, and a graduation present which should go out in the next two weeks. We've had two leaks (both of which John managed to fix at little to no expense), a printer that suddenly decided it no longer worked with our computers, had to purchase a new router/modem, discovered the problem with my new sewing machine is a repair shop job. It will all sort out in the end but is frustrating when you've just determined that you'd spend less. On the other hand, I vented my frustrations by choosing to purchase parts for the blender, vacuum and stove hood instead of scrapping and buying new of each of those. It's always a balancing process, isn't it?
The Back To Basics approach worked so well for April goals that I decided May was worth a repeat. So all my home keeping and personal goals are just about the basic things. I even started a menu plan based on basic cooking skills/seasonings/meals (lighter on labor as well as lighter fare). At the end of April, I'd accomplished more about the house than I'd done in several months. I kept track of all the 'extras' I got done in addition to the basics so I am sure this method is working for me quite well.
I had opportunity to twice practice grilling. John hasn't really let me do it on my own just yet, but I've done the majority of the work: cleaning the grill, setting the fire, lighting it, prepping the food, doing the bulk of the cooking. I hope to grill at least once a week as it warms up. I figure that will help keep some of the worst heat from the house in the hottest months. I want to set up my crockpot on the deck, as well a day or two each week.
My front porch is now free of hay. I wish I could say the same for the patio, but I can't. While John was working under the kitchen sink, he asked me to get something for him. I tripped over his foot and injured one of my toes. Oh how that hurt! I don't know if it was broken or jammed but it turned the loveliest shades of purple which clashed horribly with my coral nail polish, lol. It also put the end to elliptical bike and yard work as I toddled about for a day or two. So the hay got swept off the porch onto the patio and then I recouped and it rained and there is now a big pile of wet hay on the patio. I'll work on the other side of the porch flower bed this week and get the hay moved there as mulch.
For Harvest Day this past week, I went by the new Dollar General Market in Ft. Valley. It's a full grocery as well as dollar store. I didn't purchase groceries though I scanned a few produce items as I walked in. It's quite nice and bright and uncluttered, always pluses for me. I loathe dark and cluttered stores mightily. The produce was certainly pretty and a bit better priced than other groceries, though not quite as low as Aldi prices. I picked up the few non-grocery items I had on my list that weren't available at Aldi and were slightly higher priced at CVS sales last week.
We normally do takeout lunch that day and I had the coupon for KFC boneless chicken dinner combos (B1G1). The chicken proved to be substantial sized pieces (2 in the combo, with 1 side, 1 biscuit and 1 medium drink). Our only complaint was that the seasoning, which is supposed to be original, is a bit peppery. Others who've tried it commented the same. I resorted to pinching off the excess coating in areas where it was particularly heavy. You can try it yourself on May 6. Just click on that link to see what you need to do.
Thursday we'd planned to buy groceries only and then have another day of errands only, but John must have felt very well rested. He decided to do ALL of this week's errands in one day's time. I had a semi prepared list of things I wanted to get done, so was sort of ready for this spontaneous day. One of the things I find most luxurious about our life is that we are seldom in a hurry to do anything. We're rarely late for appointments and such, but when it comes to our personal plans we just sort of schlep about.
Thursday morning, I slept a little later than usual. Then when I got up we got caught up in an old 1951 film "Elopement".
We had no intention of watching a film, after all we had things to do, but we did and I wish sincerely we'd seen it from the beginning. It wasn't a bad way to waste an hour or so.
We headed out finally, making our first stop at CVS. John had a few photos he wanted to copy and I went off to the kiosk to print out my free candy coupon and discovered I had several high value coupons queued up. I'll share about that in my "A Year of Savings" for this week.
We stopped at Lowe's. I wish I'd had my complete list but I did have my plants list. I was a little disappointed in the selection of plants. Loads of them mind you, just lots of the same things/colors and none in the colors I'd most hoped for. Prices seemed a bit high, but I walked about and discovered the half price shelves. I got a 12 pack of Petunias, another of Vinca, one of Marigold and two Lavender plants plus a big bag of good potting soil.
John stopped for a haircut and I went into Kroger to buy our month's supply of turkey sausage. That makes it sound as though we eat a lot of sausage...and I suppose we do, since we eat it a couple of times a week with breakfasts, but then I make breakfast every single morning of the week and we do like a variety. I can, on occasion buy a bit of turkey sausage at Aldi, but I prefer the breakfast type and that is a rare thing. So I just plan to run into Kroger since it's right next to the salon he uses for haircuts.
We went on to Aldi after and I was happy to hear that the shifting of shelves and such in the store is due to an expansion of products. In the roughly year and a half since I first walked into Aldi, the story has become increasingly busy. There used to be perhaps six cars in the parking lot and some of those were employee vehicles but these days the parking lot is usually full. I'm glad to hear that expansion is in the works. Perhaps there will be more items available on a routine basis. Even with the dollar store shop, the stop at Kroger for sausage and my Aldi trip this week, I spent less than I'd budgeted. I cannot be anything except happy over that.
We haven't had the Tchibo coffee we like so very well in many, many months as I struggled with bringing the grocery budget down. With the savings we're making at Aldi, I priced the Tchibo coffee on Tuesday at GermanDeli.com and can easily afford to have the decaf coffee. We did give the Aldi decaf a third try but nope, we just don't care for it, though if I ever decide I'm giving up coffee, I'll just switch to that brand, lol.
John really instigated this return to GermanDeli.com to look at coffee prices. He'd mentioned, as we hammered out that new budget that he did hate the feeling we were getting less for our money rather than at least holding steady. He's perfectly right. I'd felt the same way myself. So as I sipped a less than stellar cup of coffee that afternoon, I thought I'd just go price and see if I actually was spending less on coffee otherwise. Turns out that the Aldi coffee that is so-so is less expensive. But since I'd normally try and buy decaf at another store, I was paying about the same price as the Tchibo coffee cost. There is one or two other brands I like as well, which occasionally go on sale as a BOGO offer from Publix. I may pick those up at times, but will watch for more sales at GermanDeli as well.
I ordered the coffee on Tuesday evening and even though I opted for the least expensive ground shipping, it arrived Thursday morning. You know I'm not going to waste a thing, though, right? When we came in from shopping, I put on a pot of the coffee to brew using some of that good Tchibo brand, but took the rest of the package and mixed it up with that Aldi decaf. The blend of the two is very acceptable. It will further reduce the cost of the Tchibo making it even more affordable. Luxury and affordability...gotta love that!
I'd meant to pot plants on Friday but we had a bit of rain, the weather cooled off, and the pansies exploded all over again. The blooms are smaller, not the huge palm sized flowers they were but still so pretty and happy looking that I'll just let them be for a little longer. I've plenty of empty pots I can fill with the flowers I just purchased...The vinca are going under the Faith tree and perhaps around the Gingko anyway, for a bit of color there. If Maddie will just forgo laying on them they should be right pretty. Usually they will reseed and return, too.
Well, I know it's been a long chat, but I was ready to talk a bit now that I've been fully introspective for a bit. I just needed that quiet time away to sort out a few things and I think I'm done. I've made a few decisions as I've said, have a projects list I'm looking forward to beginning work on, some fun things scheduled to look forward to, and all the usual work to tend to as well. Busy, busy. I can't fathom those who say they have nothing to do when they are at home...
Oh and please note that I'm implementing word verification. I know it's frustrating, I don't like it myself. A few months ago I put comment moderation in place. The trickle of spammers has increased to a major flood. I get several hundreds a week now and I'm sick of having to sort out my inbox every day. I'll see if the word verification seems to make any difference.
Time to get busy. I've promised John I'd make cookies and it's so cool that the warmth of the oven will be welcome. I need to process two quarts of strawberries for the freezer, begin work on a menu plan for the week, unload the dishwasher...Oh there's so much to do!