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Archive for December, 2006

Goals: And.... My Plan to Reach Them

December 31st, 2006 at 06:28 pm

Goals for 2007


1) Grow my new business so the income covers my half of the expenses here.

2) If.. better make that WHEN I accomplish #1, continue pushing for new clients so I have enough income to make the changes to the house & property that I want to do with the bathtub in my room the top priority.

3) Put my physical self on the list.

4) Increase income from the property.

5) Legal stuff attended to (didnt happen last year, although I made some progress in this area)

I think 5 is a good numberseems realistic. Each goal requires multiple steps to make it happen & Id love to be writing next year at this time that Id crossed all of them off my list, so don't want to get too enthusiastic in my goal setting.

Action steps necessary for each goal: (this is the important part)

1) Send in the new ad copy for the 2 papers Im in currently. Add 2 other local papers as soon as possible. Remember to post my ad on Craigslist on a regular basis. Get signage for the van as well as a sign for the front gate. Order new business cards.

2) More of #1 in order to make this happen. Will get a bid on the items I want to get done around here, so I have a concrete figure to shoot for.

3) Walk 3 times a week. Continue to tell everyone I come across that Im looking for walking partners so I can increase my chances of success on this one.
Finish up some serious dental work, including some cosmetic changes Ive had on my list for ages. (appointments already made for Jan)
Get new glasses
Concentrate on eating more fresh food, less meat, sugar & white flour.

4) Give notice to the current horse boarding people. Let the pasture rest while advertising for a new renter. Ive learned tons in this past year; not the least being Im renting this space for pennies. I know I can find fewer animals for the space and double the income at the same time.
Keep looking & advertising for other uses for the property; ie parking vehicles, etc.

5) Meet with mom & the new attorney; primarily to get her trust tidied up and then get my will finished up so my affairs are just as in order as moms will be.

I will print this out and post in my office so I get daily reminders of where I want to be this time next year.
I will also do a monthly check in to keep me honest here.
I will celebrate all the small steps and not fret the setbacks. (old enough to know the reality of this much change)
I will fill my life with good things and good people, remembering to enjoy each and every day.




A Stay Home Holiday

December 31st, 2006 at 10:01 am

I've never been one to do the party bit, especially didn't enjoy the couple big New Years Eve celebrations I've attended.......so, I don't anymore. I'm going way out on a limb this year and having company this week end, usually I spend it even quieter!

Overnight company too........so, it's strip the beds time today, a bit of last minute pick up sort of housekeeping and I think we're ready. The company is bringing dinner, wine & appetizers so that part is taken care of too.

I'm itching to get to the sewing room, as the cutting table is finished & in place! I'm so spoiled........Smile No more cutting on the living room floor or the kitchen island! Oddly enough, I've had a couple calls from new customers over the holiday weekend already... Was thinking things were going to be pretty quiet til after the 1st.

Treated the chickens to the last of the gardens pumpkins this morning. The "ladies" are now able to spend their days outside the coop. Having my own chickens was one of my goals I met years (decades actually) ago.......and I've really missed them this past year. Getting into the swing of caring for them again & counting the months til they start laying. Up til then, I'm enjoying just having them around!

Will be working on my '07 goals today....not much new news with them, but I'll write them down just the same.

Blessings to you & yours for the coming year!!

Sold............& Other Mutterings

December 29th, 2006 at 09:12 pm

Yes, one sale out of the two items I posted yesterday. Cash. In my pocket. And, some much needed table space cleared out in my sewing room.

No hits on the vintage linens yet. May have to bite the bullet and list them on Ebay. Have never done that yet, have had the account for years so am all set if I just decide to get motivated. It would clear out another box of stuff from the sewing area, teach me how to list something on line as well as put some more of that cash in my pocket. Maybe I'll divide it into 2 lots and then I can make mistakes on the first listing and do the 2nd one correctly??

No spending today. Met with a new client at a local retirement home. Advertising in their newsletter after meeting with the activity director. Apparently they had someone to assist residents with sewing, etc but currently are without! Timing is everything.

Picked up a freecycle coffee table.....thinking it is more my moms house than mine, but will make a great gift after a session with some spray paint. The wrought iron legs are black.....they need to be cream colored and it should be perfect for mom. This will be the 2nd free coffee table I've found for her! We shop periodically at more traditional sorts of places........like furniture stores!!! And haven't been able to find anything that seems to be IT. Free is good. She likes free almost as much as I do!

The sewing table project got started this afternoon.........all the lumber is cut & waiting for tomorrow to be assembled and screwed together. A beautiful 4' X 8' top to this event and 2 shelves the same size underneath. I'm going to be in heaven! (and I will have no excuse not to be organized with all that storage space!)

A good day all round!



Hopeful Craigslist Offerings

December 28th, 2006 at 03:12 pm

I listed a couple things on Craigslist today and am hoping for some interest to generate some income as well as help clear out the sewing room for the upcoming construction project. I'm letting a serger go....as I have replaced it with a new model. I'm struggling with this, as I always like to have a back up (and truly, a back up for the back up if we're being honest)

I also packaged up over 100 pieces of vintage linens I have collected over the past few years, primarily to use in the antique booth........but now, hopefully.......out they go. I've given my notice on the antique booth, as the room mate person who was going to go in half with me........flaked out (as expected). If I'm working here at home with the sewing and then adding in the knitting classes.......the booth just wasn't cutting it. Took too much time for the piddly return. Not fun anymore either like it was when I was doing it before.

Sewed for a bit on the new machine; having trouble adjusting to it so far. Hopefully, I'll learn to like the new features and quit missing the ones they don't make anymore. (feel like my parents since I've been thinking things like "they just don't make things like they used to" today)

Woo Hoo...........just got a hit on the serger post. Crossing fingers & calling the woman.

Back to my No Spending Habits

December 27th, 2006 at 07:43 pm

Everything is almost back to normal here after the holidays. Didn't spend anything today and don't forsee any expenses the rest of the week. I'm having guests overnight next week end, but things are all purchased for the meals/snacks. People are bringing things too, so no one has to pay for the entire spread.

Paid the end of the month bills (actually they are the first of the month bills) yesterday, so things are all caught up on that front.

Still working on my goals for 2007....I had the house to myself today, so there was some good thinking time to be had. The list seems to lean towards increasing the business, to bring in enough income to cover expenses as well as the improvements I want to make to this house. Need to get the goals more specific to get me on the path towards all that. Since I'm addicted to making lists, this is a fun activity for me, not a chore!

Enjoying some free time this week, as I didn't schedule classes or customers until after Jan 1st. Worked in the sewing room with a new sewing machine (gift from mom), cleared out the area for the sewing table construction project this week (courtesy of the Navy person) and have been knitting like a crazy woman. Will be felting a bag for me (don't usually knit for myself) tomorrow as I got it off the needles tonight. Anxious to see how it turns out!

Dog wants out...........times up here!





Holiday Thoughts

December 26th, 2006 at 06:22 pm

I've been gone & haven't posted since before Christmas.......it feels like ages. I think I'm enjoying the holidays more than in the past; it could have something to do with the fact I'm not dealing with all the kids that used to live with me (and their not so healthy parents). Christmas used to be my one and only DAY OFF during the year, with no kids..........so I usually spent the day in a tired sort of haze. All the work to get the kids ready to spend time with their families, typical holiday preparations, extra events, by the 25th.........I was all used up.

This year, I was gone most of last week, staying at my moms, just "playing", doing whatever we wanted. All the prep. was done, most of the gifts were already to go.....baking; done & in the freezer and the young couple that live here were cooking the big dinner.

I prefer this new version of Christmas, hands down! Smile Most of my household limited or decided on no gifts at all.....so we could have the 'backyard people' join us for the day without them feeling guilty they didn't bring anything to the festivities. Worked out well. They were blessed with some truly useful & much needed gifts and the rest of us got to see how blessed we were in the process. Some pretty heavy stuff to take in for a holiday........ But, I think it was the most fun I've had and it certainly felt the best at the end of the day.

My only negative was not finding a gift I had ordered for my mom.......we were planning on using it for our New Years celebration .... I searched all over the place & it was nowhere! This house is not that big, I don't have that many places to put things, nor did I have to 'hide' it from anyone.......so I'm befuddled as to how this package could have walked away.
I had something else for my mom, so no one knows my slip up but me.....and the up side of all the searching is ALL my closets are cleaned and organized. (wouldn't reccomend this technique, but it did work)

Spending some time pondering life in general and more specifically my goals for '07. I have a personal tradition on New Years Eve.........I open up what I wrote last year to see how I'm doing on my goals and I add to the envelope with my plans for the coming year. Not sure how many years I've formally been doing this, but it is in the decades now. It is my favorite part of New Years Eve..... I'm not a party sort of person, hate to be on the roads that particular night, and I can write and ramble on like crazy (you already know that part, huh??) so, a formal, get it down on paper, enjoy the fire & some wine sort of night is exactly right for me.

Need More Memory

December 18th, 2006 at 12:29 pm

The older I get, the more I have to forget it seems. Even though I've earned the Gold Medal in List Making......I'm managing to forget things AND people this holiday season.

Got a phone call today & they will be coming over tomorrow......How could I have left them off the list? No idea! I won't see them prior to Christmas, so I'm pondering a few ideas today. Going shopping isn't an option
1) I hate it
2) I don't know what I'm looking for anyway
3) One of my week end boys will be here until after dinner
4) Did I mention I hate shopping?

So, it's going to be internet something or other.........and most likely Heifer.com with a gift in their name. Can't afford the top of the line any longer.........so, I think it will be fowl of some kind.

This brings up a beef of mine. This couple had talked with me a few years ago, about no gifts. They weren't even doing gifts for each other, etc. So, I did no gifts........and they show up with something for me. So, now I am back to gifts, but apparently, my brain was thinking no gifts when I made my list.

After reading recents posts from many of you.........I think I'll head into the kitchen too & make a double batch of truffles. Enough to add different flavors & make some variety. Now, if I can just remember where I put the Christmas plates & such?????



Just Humming Along Here

December 17th, 2006 at 05:48 pm

Watching the news (yes we have power!!), I'm continually reminded of all the reasons I have to be grateful here! Our power just flickered, but has been on continually.......amidst the Pacific NW storm of storms.

So many things I have that others are doing without this week........Basics like heat & food, etc plus all the other things that make life fun here. I wonder, with this huge wake up call, are people going to be getting themselves better prepared, once they get back into their homes and the power is restored? I am not putting any money on that one!

Power got restored to my moms; was out only 2 days, so she feels blessed. Invited her over here, but she is pretty well set for outages too........felt smart cooking on her wood stove! ( I think my household is just a tad too nuts for her to head this way if she has another choice!)

I feel a bit like this week has been one of those Universe Lessons ........I'm as prepared as I can get for most situations and nothing happened here on our street! Funny in a way........but what is/has happened here in WA isn't funny in the least. Reminds me of my mom telling me to always take an umbrella......then it wouldn't rain!

On Line Banking Error.........Uncovered & unexplained

December 15th, 2006 at 06:18 pm

I forgot to mention a piece of mail that came on the odd mail day here. I didn't recognize the envelope, it had one of those blind sorts of return addresses, no name, but it was addressed to me.

I opened it and become more confused, not less. There was a form letter from Payment Processing, with a check stapled to it. From me..........to my insurance company, for the amount of my last premium for the rental place. The form letter said to refer to the attached letter to see why the check was returned........ Wasn't made out to my mortage company was the reason.

Now, mind you.........the date on the check was Sept. 15, 05. I had received no call from the insurance co, letting me know I was behind.........so this was the first I'd seen of this difficulty.

Quickly heading to the phone, while grabbing my Bils Folder........I called the number on the letter, which stated I could call for more information. HA, was that an untruth. No one at that number could understand the problem at all. They just kept telling me to get in touch with my mortage company to see why they hadn't taken the check. Then, I'd be transferred to someone else. The only other person that would 'get it' would be my mortage company. They had the sense to send the check back.........it wasn't theirs. Duh.

I finally hung up with Payment Processing and called my bank. Thought I'd try from that end...... Yikes. I misjudged there too. The young lady that took my call continued to push me contacting my mortage company again. Fortunately, my records showed I had called in to pay that months bills, since WAMU was having some bugs in their bill payer system. I knew the bill had been paid, had the confirmation number and knew the error had to be the bank staff person who somehow crossed the amount of the check with the house payment..... I know now how she did it, but that has to be it. My records have the correct addresses for both the insurance and the mortage......I checked first.

Bottom line was........I will have to wait 90 days for my money now. Never mind that it is my money in the first place. Never mind that the problem was bank generated. Never mind that the check never got cashed. I was so frustrated I didn't even know what to say.....and me speechless is truly amazing. I did authorize an investigation into the problem, she asked if I wanted one.......Well, gee.......no, let's just let it slide??? I think not. Yes, investigate the heck out of it. She said they would.......and to top it all off.....if I wanted to know what the answer was (presuming they have one), I will have to call later (couldn't tell me when) to see. They wouldn't be able to call me she said. Hmmm....they forgot how to dial perhaps??

I followed up this unproductive phone call with a quick call to my insurance co, and sent money off to them asap. Noted the error & told them a FAX was on it's way from my bank. (did get them to agree to send this off, taking responsibility for the mess up)

The whole thing makes me a bit unsure about the online banking bit.......not enough to stop using it, but enough I'm more than careful now when updating my hard copy records here. And, I think I'll keep my eyes open for local bank offers to see if there would be another one to try.

Survived the Storm

December 15th, 2006 at 01:52 pm

Seattle was hit again yesterday and throughout the night..........rain, frozen rain (thought that was snow..??) and lots of WIND, then some more wind.........on and on.

Our place survived, the worst we have is some standing water on the property & the horse toys (who knew horses had toys?) are blown around the place.

Felt good to have the prep work done so I wasn't one of the people on the news at Home Depot, stocking up on batteries, generators, and the like. All the expenses over the years to get the emergency "kit" put together paid off. Didn't need any of them; but the peace of mind was worth any expense last night.

Best of all has been the water barrels, purchased mostly for the semi automatic water system soon to come for the chicken house. That barrel holds 50 gallons & has a hose hookup, as well as a faucet on it. So.........if we have no power & thus, no pump for the well, we have water stored for whatever. (comes in especially handy for flushing toilets!!)

Didn't bother with the generator, as our lights weren't out for more than 10 minutes total. We are totally blessed, as many in western WA are having a difficult time with the water and wind related problems. I've invited my mom and some old kids to come over, as they have been without power since yesterday. Totally grateful for all the extras power gives us!

And, lastly, a very Little House on the Prairie-ish moment here........I'm wearing my all wool socks I finished last night during the storm. So soft, so warm......toasty toes today!!

Mystery Shopper Invite???

December 13th, 2006 at 07:54 pm

My mail was about as varied as it gets today.

On the plus side, I got my paycheck for one of my week end boys, 2 knitting students paid for a month of lessons each and room mate person paid towards her rent this month.

And, in the How Nice (but I won't use it) department, I got a gift box of meats & cheeses as a thank you for the extra care for one of my boys over the recent snow days. I can certainly share this with the backyard people.....they will love it.

Finally, there was an invite to 'train' as a mystery shopper. Included was a VERY large check. Anyone else have experience with something like this? There is a list of 5 tasks to complete after depositing this check into my bank (or just cashing it). After finishing all the tasks, there is still what I consider a large sum of money that would be my fee. I just can't imagine this is for real.....but I did call the firm & got all my questions answered. Haven't done anything yet, my favorite thing when I don't know what to do......Do Nothing.

Chick Report

December 12th, 2006 at 01:38 pm

The chickens are big enough we took down the temporary section in the coop yesterday. Since we're experiencing a bit of mild weather, I've opened the door to the chicken yard ......but no one will go out voluntarily.



I tossed about 6 of the ladies out the door, hoping the others would follow, but no, still no takers for the extra freedom and treats.

I'll have to spend time this evening, wrangling chickens, to convince the 6 I tossed out......to go back in for the night. Usually takes about a week, then they start doing this on their own and all I'll have to do is close the little door at dusk.

Amazing to see how big they have grown, almost half size now I believe. Many different kinds in the mix, (since I bought them at a Year End Sale, I didn't order them by type).....I can spot what look like Rhode Island Reds, perhaps an Arucana or two???, maybe a Barred Rock and a Black Jersey Giant. Not sure on some of the smaller ladies, it will be a surprise!

Think of me this evening......I'll be in the chicken run, trying to get 6 chickens through a trap door in the coop! Who needs an entertainment budget anyway?? Smile

Don't Forget Gardening Gifts (frugal style)

December 10th, 2006 at 09:26 pm

Most frugal gardening gifts require a head start........but here are a few ideas off the top of my head just in case you've still got a gardener on your gift list.

-Bundle up a couple landscape/gardening magazines from your stash (or the thrift store) and include a coupon for an afternoons help in their garden.

-If you've gathered seeds from your garden, include some in an envelope or waxed paper packet with a photo of the plant & directions for planting in their garden come spring/summer.

-Cuttings from your houseplants make great gifts, either rooted in water or potted. Be sure to include any specific care directions.

-Home made certificate or coupon for an afternoons outing together, visiting public gardens in your area.

-A gift of membership to their local garden club, usually a very modest fee.

-A framed print, using a photo you took in their garden.

-A custom stepping stone (or stones) using broken dishes, glassware or shells. Only cost; a bag of quick set concrete!

-Divide up a plant from your garden & pot up either in a nursery pot or something more creative like an old boot, a teakettle or bucket.....use your imagination.

Made My Decision

December 10th, 2006 at 06:00 pm

Talked to mom re; the 2 cc's left over from the sister person and the nasty business of 2005. The decision is to pay off the balance on both of them this month. Mom will foot the bill on these, coming to the rescue yet again.

I've paid on them for a couple years, so it isn't as though I've not pulled my weight on these....... And, truly, they aren't my bills. Both are made up of charges the sister person made after the business break up & the agreement to hold the line on any spending. (translated to sister speak; spend freely until caught)

Feels good to have made the decision, I know it will be nice not to see the bills come across my desk each month. I am trying hard to erase the nasty mess from memory & this will help.

No other money news..........No spending, no income. Anxious to get to work this week!

My Second Home

December 8th, 2006 at 09:02 pm

My home away from home.......yes, back at moms for a few days. Staying long enough this time to get things done AND have some time to just do fun things together. (we've packed so many things in the past couple days, we're both exhausted tonight!)

Have the yard all cleaned up for her, patio furniture stored and the lawns mowed for what I hope is the last time this season. Moved her furniture so the arrangement is more convenient for her and hung the pictures we just matted and framed.

I got my haircut (finally.....put it off due to the snowstorms & I was really getting cranky!) and used a coupon on it's last day......so a $7.95 haircut this time! Nice. Also managed to fit in a Trader Joe trip (none by my house) & use my $50 g/c from October. Also nice.

We did dinner out, just for fun & then home. Since my mom doesn't enjoy putting up a tree any longer, I just did a few little things throughout her house, so it still looks a bit holiday-ish for her.

Had a money discussion tonight, but not re; the cc payoff. I asked if her one mortage is at a good interest rate....and her comment was 'should she pay it off or take the money in question and add to her annuity fund account?' Told her I have no idea. When it comes to comparing apples to oranges I'm no good. She will talk to her accountant to see if he can shed light on this one. It is the question of income vs. interest being paid or something like that....... I just wanted to know if she had the best rate on the loan.

Will aim for the cc discussion tomorrow. Also need attorney meeting and some much needed changes to her trust account, etc, etc ........ We always seem to have things that need attention. Grateful we can talk about anything and everything!

Another Non Budget Person Here

December 4th, 2006 at 06:28 pm

I too, have no budget. I've never had one. And, as far as I can remember, my parents didn't have one either.

I'm awful with numbers, so it isn't likely I would do anything with them unless someone held a gun to my head.......and I'm WAY more inclined to save than spend, so a budget really never crossed my mind.

I have read here, during the past year of others working over their detailed budgets, being over.......being under.......and couldn't relate at all.

At any given time, I can state how much I have in savings, and the approx balance in my checking account. (I've never had a bounced check) I'm also pretty aware of the totals in any investment account, as well as the value of current real estate.......So, I'm not blindly heading down my financial road here.

But, month to month.......item by item isn't the way I work my money in.....money out situation. I just know what comes in, and I hold the expenses to well within that every month. I'm frugal to the point of cheap most of the time (although I've long ago reached the stage of having everything I need, so there isn't much spending going on)

I know the expenses too.....and have charted them in my Bills Folder for years. Seeing them in black & white is a big part of my Finance Plan (for the lack of a better word).....I think the key to my plan has to be in the Knowing. Knowing what comes in when, and knowing what has to go out when. Making sure the in is more than the out each month is just about it in a nutshell.

Anything left over at the end of the month just stays in the normal checking account and if the total gets above an imaginary line I have......I auto transfer it into my savings account. Then, from there it makes its' way into investment accounts. The reverse is also true, if I am going to need more in the checking, back the money comes.....

Which brings up the common thread throughout my Financial Plan....knowing without a doubt if an expenditure is a need or a want. I don't have much these days that falls into the want catagory, so the entire Plan is pretty painless and almost without a thought these days.

No Budget........It works for me.

My Christmas Traditions

December 3rd, 2006 at 07:14 pm

This is a Non List for me.......although I've enjoyed Thrifty Rays' topic and the start of some interesting posts here.

For decades now, I've had other peoples' kids in my home, (up to 6 at a time).....and frequently other adults too for that matter.
I knew it was important not to instill all of MY ideas into holiday celebrations, so would start around Halloween asking kids what they would like to see included at our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So, consequently, over the years.....we've tried to incorporate the suggestions which gave us some unique foods, different music, gifts on different days, and some VERY odd guests. I guess the "tradition" was that everyone who lived there at the time, felt like they were a part of the planning as well as the actual holiday.

Our truly odd tradition involved opening the bulk of the presents. My kids usually had some type of family locally & most spent at least part of Christmas day with them. Many spent the entire vacation with relatives.........making my house sort of vacant for anyone left back. We let kids enjoy their Stockings on Christmas morning, but kept the tree & the gifts until all the kids were going to be home for Our Christmas. One year, this wasn't until February! (very bad year that year, but we hung in there! Got to be pretty funny actually)

We put carols on, made hot chocolate and pulled out Christmas cookies from the freezer........sat around and DID the Christmas gifts as a group whenever we could get the bunch together for the first time.

One of my personal traditions was to Un Schedule the household for the month of December. With the type of kids I had, they all came with a miriad of appointments, meetings and therapy sessions. I wouldn't make any of them for December......allowing us to take a break from the routine and enjoy the holidays. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a free day to stick in even a trip to town to see the lights. Pretty sure none of the kids were even aware this was orchestrated; but it was a hard and fast rule with me.

I'm so laid back now with holidays......ours can take on a new life each & every year. This year is no exception! I'm just along for the ride!



Lost An Entry; 2nd Try

December 1st, 2006 at 08:52 pm

Blast. A power surge, failure, bleep, whatever......but it was exactly as I pushed save & publish here with a current entry.

Was pondering the fact we are in December already, with just over 3 weeks til Christmas. Enjoying the low key approach this year, and the head start I have re; preparations.

Ventured into the sewing room today, since the weather was much warmer. (I'm in the garage, with no insulation & a space heater!) Got most of the work done on a couple Bed Buddies (rice filled sock affairs, to warm in the micro) to use for presents, plus a couple to use for back ups in case I need an extra gift somewhere. Frugal note here: I find I save money & time if I do multiples, no matter what it is.

Made a deal with the 2 young women that are staying here ........they wanted to know if I decorated for Christmas & I told them they could both do whatever they wanted to this year. I'll just watch! They were thrilled, as neither of them has ever had a house, nor a yard to decorate. The catch is they need to pick up, clean up and pack things away before New Years Eve. Sounds like a good deal to me!

I have tickets for a Holiday performance of a local chorus tomorrow night, planning on taking my mom & her sister to it as their Christmas gift from me. This is a gift to me too.......as I've not been able to do things like this with all the kids over the years. I had to limit my holiday things to stuff the kids would be appropriate at & then I really didn't get to enjoy much of it anyway with trips to the bathroom, meds & you name it. Can't wait for tomorrow....only adults! And a gift that 'fits' is the 'right color' and won't add any clutter around the house.

Only the first of December and I'm enjoying the holiday season more than ever. Think I'll dig out the Christmas CD's, sit back & knit and watch the decorations going up this week end. What a deal. Smile