Saturday, November 23, 2013
Morning Coffee - O.R. (Operation Recovery)
Hello dears, do come in. There's a fresh pot of coffee ready and waiting. What do you say to crisp cinnamon toast this morning to go with it? It sort of suits the weather don't you think? Many years ago when I worked, I used to leave my oldest daughter ( a teen at the time) a detailed list of how to go about preparing dinner which was ready to be warmed or cooked. Bless her, she was always more interested in reading or music and failed more often than not at the whole supper business...BUT her redeeming gift on cold rainy days was that she'd make coffee or hot cocoa and cinnamon toast. I cannot begin to tell you how much that little booster helped restore me after a hard day at work. She might fail with dinner but she could make cinnamon toast that was perfection: crisp, buttery, with a slight crunch and a generous dusting of cinnamon. So good!
I am in recovery...from a fast paced trip to see our family in Kingsland and a very hectic week. The twins turned two and their mommy and daddy celebrated their anniversary AND we had an early family Thanksgiving all in one day's time which also included travel and baby sitting...Whew! We'd been pretty busy for the three days prior to that trip. I don't doubt my daughter in law was every bit as tired as we were what with making a big dinner and getting her family coordinated and keeping her home clean. The baby sitting bit was a surprise worked out by the two guys. Lori's face plainly showed her pleasure at the surprise when I was talking to Daniel about leaving shortly after his bathtime. Nope, said my husband, and Nope said Daniel's daddy, the parents are going out for a bit! It's nice the guys managed that little treat between them, I think. JD and Lori left shortly after we'd had birthday cake and went to a movie.
I enjoyed my brief time with the children. I forget how literal Daniel can be about every single thing. He was quite upset when John called him Charley Brown. No amount of explaining that Charley Brown was just a cartoon character known for being good natured helped. Daniel insisted that he was NOT named Charley Brown! lol Hailey and Zach ignored us for a bit when they got up but were soon demanding we pick them up or running to give us hugs before scampering away again. It's amusing to me to see Zach eat food like he's been starving for a week and Hailey take two bites and signal that she is done. And you know of course, that Zach is a little string bean and Hailey is a nicely plump little thing.
Hailey showed me how she could count by picking up a handful of bath toys (squishy manta rays and sharks) and taking each one and saying "Two, Two, Two, Two..." and Zach made plain his great fondness of his new garbage truck. In fact, that garbage truck was a huge hit with every one of the kids. I was glad of that because I thought it was just fun and cool as could be. Gramma radar worked very well on that gift!
The time just flew by and before I knew it, it was 11p and we were headed to the hotel where we fell into bed and slept rather well until early morning when we got up and readied to drive home, a trip that seemed to be very long despite making better time coming back than we'd made going down.
I am making a Thanksgiving meal fortwo next week. I will do a bit of work ahead, like baking pie and making bread for stuffing ahead of time but overall it's not going to be a big deal. I do want to set a nice table and I've been contemplating that for the past two days. It will be strictly a 'Use what I have' table.
While planning the table for home, I am also planning decorating and stocking my booth at the flea market for Christmas. I think most dealers set up for Christmas this past week but mine is going in later this week, simply because I had no spare time to even think of it. I've been setting items aside that I thought might do well as a gift or decoration for weeks now. I am sure I can find a few more items to add in if I look about the house and shed just a wee bit.
Speaking of the shed and Pinterest in the same post...I pinned a photo two years ago of a Christmas table decorated with smaller nutcracker soldiers. I so wanted to have that table in my home! Two years later, I feel the same about it. Imagine my happy surprise when I found that I apparently bought small nutcracker soldiers at the end of Christmas sale last year. I have my Christmas table setting all planned out...
But not my Christmas tree. We had to get rid of our tree last year and didn't find one at the end of season sales. We've been looking for one this year and discovered that we have the same idea of what we want...but I don't know, just don't know, if we're going to be able to buy one or not. We haven't bought any Christmas gifts as of yet.
I have John's present which I'll pay for from my allowance. He has determined what he's getting me which he will pay for from his allowance. We researched genealogy websites together last week and discovered that Archives.Com is highly rated and reasonable. So he's giving me a gift subscription to that site. I expect to have lots of fun in the coming year looking up all sorts of things!
Honestly, I enjoy doing the little flea market booth on the side. I've no clue how I've done with sales this month at all since I haven't been in since the first week of the month. I have my rent money set aside for December already. I so want this booth to pay for itself... I've got my prayers said about that! I have lots of ideas I'd love to work on but haven't had time to get to yet. Did you know you can have a 'secret' board (two actually) on Pinterest? I have one set up for future things I'd love to look for or make, or display ideas I'd like to use, for my booth. No one else can see the secret board, just the board owner. It would be a convenient idea space for ideas for a surprise party or gift ideas for others. I decided to use one of mine for booth ideas simply to set it apart from the too many other boards I have.
Last year about this time, I went through my Pinterest boards and deleted loads of photos etc. I think I'll likely do it again this year as well. I do the same thing with my blog reading lists and computer photo files. Why? Because it's all just so much clutter, albeit digital, and so much easier to find the things that I really enjoy, need or want to see. I find that just as a desk top or table can become a 'hot spot' of clutter so can my computer. It's a very refreshing start to the New Year.
I was in error a couple of weeks ago when I reported that my brother had gone to the new national health care site to apply for coverage. He had NOT. That was misinformation given to me and I do apologize. He was looking at possible coverage with various private insurers per his own words to me last week and had not been to the national coverage site at all. I certainly don't want anyone using bad information I gave as a reference.
I was reading an interesting article the other night, can't remember whereabouts on the web I was, which dealt with the 50/30/20 budget. I have shared what a struggle we've had (and we've only one loan that we are trying to pay off!) to keep our budget within our means. The authors believe a family should manage to pay all needs (mortgage, insurance, food, etc and NOT cell phones or cable TV) from 50% of their pay, leaving 30% for wants (here is your phone/TV/meals out, hobbies) and unexpected expenses, and 20% for don't touch savings. This is different from how we manage our income, but the closest formula I've seen.
12/25/53/10 is our current budget ratio. Tithes (10%) and giving(2%) are always our first paid items, with savings right behind that. The 53% is all inclusive for insurances, car payment, allowances, prescriptions, food, phones, satellite service, clothing, etc. while the final 10% covers the odds and ends of fees and repairs that we must pay for each year. It is ready cash we could use for other needs in hard emergencies but we don't usually touch until the fees come due each year. Frankly we manage okay most of the time and when things get tight it's the 53% living area we trim first and the 10% ready savings (taxes, tags, car and home repairs) second, and last resort is the don't touch savings. We will not touch our tithing and giving areas. Now tithes are based on what we EARN. If our income ceased we would tithe only if we had money come into the house through employment, earnings or monetary gifts. Tithes are not based upon what we HAVE.
Budgets are not fun necessarily but they do work at giving you a picture of what you can afford and what you can't. Going over my budget quarterly is part of my routine household duties, just like food inventory. It helps me stay abreast of changes, good and bad, and adjust accordingly. It also helps me make decisions about what we will buy or how we'll spend. I enjoy eating out and going to the movies and I like shopping, too. I just don't do it unless I have cash money to cover it. If the budget is strained, then we'll just be happy at home. I'll limit myself to must have purchases (like those new shoes last month when last year's split at the seam) and insist on looking in the closet at the clothes I have as enough, whether or not I am tired of them.
I had two conversations with John this week, both brief, that made me aware of how little attention we can pay to things. The first conversation dealt with the green glider, the one I painted a couple of summers ago. I moved it off the back deck when my brother came by to quote the cost of building the porch. I wanted to be prepared. Now mind you, I also moved the big butcher block we used as a grill side table, an old chair, various tools, plants, etc. The glider was moved under the pecan tree in the back yard, which is clearly visible from the living room windows, which our chairs face on a daily basis...John was sitting there in his chair Wednesday and said "Why did you move the glider under the tree? I don't know if I like it there...when did you move it there?" I told him I'd moved it in August. He just didn't believe it had sat right there all that time without him noticing, but it had!
Saturday morning, we were very near time to leave for synagogue. It is my habit to put on my pants after I shower, but I wait until we're ready to go to put on my blouse...So I go into the bedroom, take off my pajama top and start to put on my blouse. John comes in and asks "Didn't that shirt feel good on you? Why did you have to change?" I was puzzled at first and then I realized he had paid no attention to what I had on at all. In his mind, I was 'dressed'. Now mind you the pajama shirt is the color of a t-shirt I have but the front of my pajama shirt has a BIG green frog with a silly face and it's tongue sticking out on it...I pointed this out to John...lol. He just shrugged and raised an eyebrow and walked out of the room.
Which explains why he's yet to notice that I'd colored my hair mid-week...On the flip side, he obviously also missed seeing how very gray I'd let it get before coloring it this time, so there's my bonus, lol.
Mama and I went out to dinner on Wednesday, but first we went to her doctor's appointment. I stayed in the car, where I had the quiet I needed to devote to an annual end of year task. I wasn't totally attentive to my task however, because I do enjoy watching people and there was a steady stream going in and coming out. Each time the door opened, an older man with a newspaper in hand came out. He held the door open for every single lady going OUT. He must have seemed a regular jack in the box as nine tenths of the patients coming outdoors were women. It was nice to see a bit of old fashioned courtesy.
I personally don't lack for such courtesy. My husband has held open nearly every door into or out of every home or building we've ever visited. He also opens and closes my car door for me. He did this from the first time we've met and he gets a little upset if I jump ahead of him and open my own door at any time! Katie tells me that her fella does the same thing for her and I know that Jd does as well. I can't recall just now if Samuel does it or not, but I'm pretty sure I saw him open the door for Bess as they left our home last time they visited.
I've never understood women who got upset over a man opening a door for them. I've yet to meet a man who gets upset at me if I hold a door open for him...I'm more inclined to get upset with a man (or woman!) who will let the door go so that it slams in my face. Here in our community it's a courtesy to open a door (or hold it) while the next person arrives. Say what we will about young men with their pants around their knees...they hold doors here in our town! It makes me proud every time one of them does, too.
I spent all day Thursday working. My sole intent was to be free for thrifting and flea market work. I washed a load of dishes, a load of laundry, prepped some food for next week's feast, made cookies, roasted some nuts for snacking, tagged and packed up items for the booth and cleaned. I W.O.R.K.E.D. all day long. I'd meant to do still more after John left for his work but honestly? TIRED. When I stopped to think what I'd need to do the next day, it came down to making meals and vacuuming. I decided I could handle that in the early morning before I left home. I was too tired to even plan meals for the weekend at the end of the day. Which worked out just fine, as my weekend turned out differently than I'd thought it might.
Friday morning I was late leaving the house. I'd meant to do some work on the booth and then go off thrifting and I'd thought I'd do grocery shopping as well to avoid the crowds. John rightly pointed out I'd be spending money that I hadn't yet got in my hand. Now mind you, I've done this for the past 30 years during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it was apparent that the idea didn't set well with him and I conceded to wait until Tuesday after we've had our harvest. Can't say I like it but I'm not mortally upset over it either. In the end it's one of those little things that matter not at all. Groceries will be bought. So what if I am in a crowded store? I am thankful that we will have grocery money come Tuesday. Just as I'm thankful that if I wanted to pop off and buy anything at grocery today I could.
So Friday, I left home late because John had to work later. I could have gone on but I do like to have breakfast with him on work weeks and catch up with him. We think an awful lot about things in the 12-16 hours we're apart! Always have and there's always something we've waited to share with one another.
I was surprised when I went in to my booth to find several items had sold and when I looked at my book in the office I found I'd done quite well. This makes month two of the booth not only paying rent but paying for the restock! Now if we can just work up to profit over and above...However, in the meantime, it's meant my allowance is no longer tied up in the booth as it was the first two months and gives me wiggle room for Christmas shopping and personal needs. That's very nice indeed.
After I left the shop I was on my way to a favorite thrift store and decided to take a route that goes down a neighborhood street in the Ft. Valley. It was just lovely! Sugar maple, Gingko, Crape Myrtle, and other types of trees were all in full blown autumn dress and it was stunning. These are all mature trees, too. I was stunned by the color, especially given that John and I had just Thursday afternoon looked out the window at the brown and grey landscape here. No leaves on more than one or two trees. It looks wintry here, despite the 80F temps we had Thursday.
I found a little second had store open...I must share about this place and I don't do it meanly. It is right downtown and is fairly tiny. I went in and the proprietor called out that she'd be right there. I could see a door open in the back of the shop and I called back that I just wanted to look about.
Well the place was crammed every which way with things. Prices marked on items were higher than I'd think they might have been, but many items had no price at all. I soon discovered that prices meant nothing. I was charged whatever she felt something was worth once she held it in her hand, usually a good deal lower than any price marked.
The owner was chatty. I discovered that she'd been in the bathroom(!) when I came in and from there the conversation was full of intimate details of self and family life I'd rather not have heard, but eventually it was less intimate and more interesting, so I'm glad I didn't run off right away as I'd contemplated doing. As I said this shop was just crammed with goods and they were every which way, however, she knew just where each section was. For instance as I dug through a pile of books under a pile of pictures that were under a pile of purses (again with an exclamation !) she informed me that those books were fiction as were these in this pile (under a stack of towels) but those (shoved haphazardly together on yet another overflowing shelf, this time of Christmas ornaments, were all text books. I did find an old 1940's Food Preparation booklet from the County Extension Office that I regret not purchasing.
As I continued to look about she told me that her grandmother, mother and herself have always collected things. Her grandmother kept one whole room just for her acquisitions, bought at thrift stores or given to her by folks who knew she'd take things off their hands. She said she had a big rack of clothes that she kept hanging in the room and shelves of stuff and every year on their birthday the grandchildren were allowed to go into the room and choose whatever they wanted. Since the woman had 9 brothers and sisters, and she mentioned her mother having a sister as well, I assume this was far less expensive to maintain than purchasing multiple gifts each year. The shop owner said that she'd always though it great fun.
Well, I don't know that I'll hurry right back. It was too cluttered for my taste and quite crammed up with things, but it was interesting, and that is about priceless when you like characters as I do. People do fascinate me so I had a double pleasure, getting to know why someone is as they are and finding a handful of treasures. I got a book for myself. The Brides of the West by Lori Copeland. The other items are for the booth. An interesting costume jewelry necklace likely from the late 1940's, four pink melamine cups and saucers, a small pretty platter. I think these items will do well in the booth. Funny...I just now realized that I'm forever finding sets of coffee mugs and cups and saucers to go in the booth. I guess I'm really asking everyone who comes into my booth to stop and have a cup of coffee and a chat with me, lol.
I went on to two more shops. I had enough money leftover from last month's booth earnings to stop in town and purchase dinner. I'd been out a great deal later than planned and knew John wouldn't be able to nap if I took time to cook a meal, no matter how simple.
Well, I've made out a menu for next week, and since John is working an extra shift today and will be gone all night as well, I've decided I'd have a coffee chat this Shabat morning. I've discovered there is nothing on TV I want to watch. I have a big stack of magazines, a blog list I'd like to go through. It will be a very relaxed and easy day for me here at home.
See you next week, dears! Have a lovely Thanksgiving!