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Archive for December, 2009

Rainy Day with Pleasant Surprises

December 30th, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Today is a drizzly day here in So CA - light rain at times and a bit chilly. I did my walk this morning and found some change - 2 cents (how appropriate). I may start a daily log on spare change like some of you. I also dropped off a prescription at CVS - a transfer so I will get a $30 GC for the transfer). When I went back to my car, I saw a gift card of some sort in the parking lot next to my car. Now, my DD and I always pick these up because well... you never know. Most of the time the balance is zero. We have found a few Target GCs with balances under $5. I am assuming that perhaps someone did not want to bother with trivial balances in those cases. I saw that this GC was a McDonalds Arch card when I picked it up. The balance? $25! Yipee for me (not for the person who lost it). McDonalds is a place we rarely frequent - DH hates the food. So, this will be a treat for me and DD. And of course, I do have McDonalds coupons in the Entertainment Book to stretch out that GC!

I also made a trip to a local market (Staters) to take advantage of some loss leaders. NY Steak is $2.97/lb; and they will be a tasty New Year's Eve Dinner (and some in the freezer to boot). Also got cherries at $1.99/lb (good price for these parts) and Yoplait yogurt for 36 cents each (not too bad). I plan a trip to another market in a bit to pick up other loss leaders (tri tip roast and beer among others). I do plan these trips around other errands I am doing so that I am not wasting gas.

I am also looking at several places for after Christmas sales on LED exterior lights. I got some C7 colored ones last year but cannot find any more right now. Target has none; CVS has them in white/clear only; and RiteAid has them in a C9 size. I still need to check Home Depot and Walgreens, etc. 50% is OK for me.

Also have a question on Roth IRA conversions - if anyone knows the answer please let me know. Here goes ----- In 2010 there will be no income restriction on conversion to a Roth IRA. But are we free to convert only one account or do we have to do them all? Right now, both DH and I have one deductible, traditional IRA each. We also each have a nondeductible, traditional IRA from a year that we could not contribute to a Roth. I am unsure if we would convert all 4 accounts - I would target the 2 deductible accounts for sure. Any advice would be helpful...

Relaxing After Christmas

December 27th, 2009 at 12:46 am

Today has been a lazy day here in So CA. Fairly cold in the 50s (OK -- winter is here!). DD is busy playing a new Wii game while I play on the computer or piddle on a few chores. DH went to work so it is just the two of us for now. The "Littlest Pet Shop" music has a catchy tune.

Our wonderful neighbor across the street was giving all of her neighbors cupcakes for Christmas. It was a great gesture -- and even more so because they are Jewish. I did not see her, but she gave DH the cupcakes and wished him a Merry Christmas! He was a bit surprised and told her to do the same. He confessed that he did not know if he should have said Happy Hanukkah or not. I think Hanukkah is over but told him not to worry about it.

We went to a DB (brother) home for Christmas. With everyone extremely busy, my mom had suggested that a ready made dinner from a local market be picked up for the occasion. Well......... I do not think I would do that again. The turkey is supposed to be precooked with 2-3 hours to be allowed for reheating time. The turkey was still frozen in the middle! The other items were also frozen even after picking up on Christmas Eve. With all the time involved, I am voting to cook the food ourselves next year. I actually cooked a small boneless beef roast, and another brother brought a spiral ham. My Mom intends to march down to this market and complain. But all in all, it was a nice day. Lots of food, and fit in a 20 minute walk after dinner. Then on to too much dessert. And then gifts were exchanged including our famous "white elephant" exchange. Seems the Visa, AE, and AMC gift cards were the most popular this year. Itunes are apparently "out" with the older nieces and nephews, but not with DD! Her brother gave her his because he does not use itunes any more (he has a blackberry courtesy of his dad). So DD scored with $40 worth of itunes!!!! I came home with a topiary picture (ugh) and a package of organic licorice candies (think fancy good and plentys).

Tomorrow a day of de-cluttering is on the agenda (and hopefully a day of healthy eating). I am off next week and plan to attack my pile of magazines and freecycle the bunch after I spend the rest of this lazy day reading them. So...... off to reading!

Trying to Get Motivated

December 5th, 2009 at 06:05 pm

Life keeps getting in the way.......Christmas time is fast approaching and I just can't get motivated to do much. DH and DD did put the lights and tree up. But I have not sent out Christmas cards yet. I have scaled back our list but still.... I have not sat down with DH and DD to make out our Christmas gift list (although DH really does not provide input -- he says just take of it). My family does the white elephant exchange -- buy something (not gag) with a limit of about $25. Names are drawn from hat and gifts picked and unwrapped. Then the fun begins!!!! Dice and a timer are used. Roll double and you can "steal" a better gift. Three "steals" and the gift is dead. If you like your gift then don't roll. But if it is that good, it will probably be stolen!

I do have a supply of GCs ordered fom Discover and Mypoints. So I do have a few things. But getting in the spirit is tough.

FIL did hire a caretaker but will probably be with us most weekends. BIL is a total #$#@% and will not help unless DH screams. And I get frustrated with DH because he does not scream unless I scream. But life is not fair, is it? Smile SIL tries but is overwhelmed. Her DH died a year ago and she has a 16 year old daughter. My folks are aging but are hanging in there (they live 1.5 hrs away whereas FIL lives 8 blocks away).

Today is DD's soccer playoff game with end of year party at the field afterwards. Tomorrow is the last game of the season for indoor hockey (that's my outlet) and a Girl Scout event for DD. More playoff games next weekend (if today is a win) and January soccer for her team (traveling team).

I am also trying to declutter and give some things away on Freecycle. DH brought home sets of china and other items from FIL's home and there is no room for everything. Very stressful to take care of. I work during the week and have a limited time.

Add to the dreary weather here in So CA (it should rain by tomorrow evening) and maybe that is why I am a bit melancholy.

On a bright note, I am hoping that putting on a fire tonight and sipping hot cocoa will get me in the mood to wrap a few gifts and count my blessings.