Monday, December 11, 2017

Collegian

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for.

Tony I  was invited to pay $1 per degree if I graduated from college. I did. I'm the proud holder of a 1981 Bachelor of Arts in Education and Special Education.

Neither of my parents went to college, but from my youngest years the expectation was that I would.  When I completed my degree I was confident that I would spend my career using that piece of paper.  That hasn't turned out to be the case.  For the first three years I was a teacher.  Then my career turned into full-time mothering.  Years later I was back in the classroom as a classroom volunteer and then a substitute teacher.  Still later I ran a tutoring center for teenagers who were completing a correspondence curriculum and worked as an aide at a preschool.

Even though my non-teaching jobs outweigh the degree related ones, I'm glad I had the opportunity to go to college. I can't imagine my life today without the experiences I had during my four years on campus.

Five years ago today: Merry Christmas To Me

Sunday, December 10, 2017

To Toss Or Not To Toss

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for.

On the tenth day of Advent I was asked to count every cell phone in the house and pay a dollar per phone.


I was surprised to find out that it had been more than two years since I last cleaned out the electrical junk drawer. Since then both Hubby Tony and I have upgraded our phones...and tossed the old ones in the drawer for 'just in case'.   However, today I was in a purging mood and decided that it wasn't worth saving them anymore.  I did some research on disposing of old cell phones and found out there's an ecoATM kiosk a couple of miles from my house.  Mine may have some residual value, which I'll be able to determine after they charge up enough to figure out exactly how large the hard drive is.  If they do, that amount will help me pay for the ever-growing balance I'm accumulating for this Advent project. If not, the phones will go into our electrical recycling box and get dropped off the next time our city hosts a drive.

 Maybe I should have counted the old models in my tally, but I didn't.  Since Tony is keeping his own Advent Gratitude list he counted his current phone.  I counted mine.  We each added a dollar to our amounts.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Keep It Cool

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for.

Today's challengs said "Pay $1 for every refrigerator/freezer in your home."  In my case, that would be two.  We have a standard upright refrigerator with a top freezer in the kitchen, and a deep freeze in the basement.

We bought the refrigerator back when there were five people in the house. Now that there's only two of us you'd think it would be too large, but we buy a lot of bulky produce, and right after trips to the grocery store it's often hard to fit everything in. The door is filled with condiments and liquid staples, and there's usually a variety of leftovers on the shelves for quick lunches and dinners.

Two years ago we updated our freezer to a smaller, more energy efficient model.  I use it to store surplus items and food I've bulk cooked in advance.  Even though it's not necessary, because there's room I also store non perishables like rice and flour.  I don't know what I would do without it.


Five years ago today: Fuyu

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Nice Way To Make A Living

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for.

The list told me that if I went to work today and earned an income it would cost me $2.

Right now I'm a self employed independent contractor, which means each day I have the flexibility to choose whether to schedule work for myself or not.  Today I happened to have something scheduled, so I added the two dollars to the till.

It turned out to be a great day.  Hubby Tony had his office holiday luncheon, then he took off the rest of the afternoon.  I picked him up at the end of the event and he helped me with my assignment.  After it was completed we ran errands together and grabbed dinner, seguing the work time into date time.


Five years ago today: Cheesy

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Good, But Not Gourmet

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for. 

Today I was asked to contribute $2 if I had bought a gourmet coffee in the last month.

At first glance, the question sounded like it would be easy to figure out.  However, I spent too much time overthinking the whole thing, disappearing down a rabbit hole of Google searches and websites trying to figure out what made coffee "gourmet".

Eventually I realized that the answer didn't really matter.  The only important fact was that I had only purchased one cup of coffee from a shop in the past month.  It was black.  No flavors, no shots, no foam on top. Everything else I drank, although it was very good quality, came from my own house.

So, I didn't add anything to my kitty today.

Five years ago today: Basket Of Produce

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Travel, Trips, And Tours

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for.

Today the gratitude list told me that if I had traveled outside of the country I needed to pay $2, and if I had traveled within the past six months it would cost an extra $2.  I spent a couple of minutes reviewing all the wonderful trips we made this year, then happily added the money to the pot.

Years ago Hubby Tony and I were quite the homebodies, but as the younger generation has grown up and moved around the country that's really changed.  This year is a great example.  In June we attended our niece's graduation in Seattle, then we boarded a ship for an Alaskan cruise (which included stops in Canada). In August we visited Son Tony in Dallas. In October we got on a plane again and flew to California to help Grandbaby Jay celebrate his first birthday.

The instructions didn't say I had to, but because I'm so thankful to be able to make all these trips I took each into account.  If you're keeping track, today added up to eight dollars.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Cozy and Bright

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for.

Today, the challenge said "If you have never experienced having your electricity or heat shut off due to inability to pay the bill, pay $5."  I was overjoyed to be able to add that sum to my total. 

The request was very timely: 
KMOV
A cold front came through yesterday, and all of a sudden the weather changed from fall to winter.  Since we're well into the month of December, I don't think there's a good chance of it changing back.  Yesterday I wore capris and a tee shirt. Twenty four hours later I was using my heavy winter coat. 

Because Hubby Tony and I are fortunate to be able to afford to pay the utility bills the house was warm and the lights were on.  Life is good.

Five years ago today: Lights!

Monday, December 4, 2017

From Gardening Shoes To Galoshes

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for.
For the fourth day of the challenge I was invited to pay 10 cents for each pair or shoes or boots I own.
 

Back when I worked in an office I used to have more shoes.  However, my career and lifestyle have changed, and as the footwear wore out it wasn't replaced.  Right now I have one pair of dressy sandals and one pair of 'sensible' black dress shoes.  Everything else is casual.

In the summer my choice of footwear is flip flops around the house and tennis shoes or sandals when I leave.  During the winter my house shoes are an old repurposed pair of tennies.  When I go to the gym or if I'm wearing jeans I use athletic shoes whenever possible.  If it's really cold our, or if the occasion requires it I have brown and black loafers and booties.  In addition, I also have a pair of shoes dedicated specifically to yard work and a pair of snow boots in the coat closet.

When I was getting dressed this morning I counted the shoes in the closet, the out of season pairs stashed in a box under the bed, then remembered to include the boots. The total was 20 pairs, which added two dollars to my donation total.

Five years ago today: Don't Waste Any Of Your Seconds

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Lights and Switches

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for.
Today I was asked to count the light switches in my house and pay a quarter for each one. 

If you've been reading here for a while, you know that my house used to have quite a few more occupants back when the kids were all at home.  Now it's just Hubby Tony, me, a couple of cats, and a lot of excess space. (Except during the holidays, when everyone comes back for a visit.)

I guess it makes sense that a large house would have a lot of switches  Each of the four bedrooms has one. The dining and laundry rooms have controls at either end, as do the stairs to the basement and upstairs levels.  The kitchen and family rooms have zoned lighting, with switches for each area.  Each room in the basement has its own light source, along with its own switch.  And we can't forget the ones for the front, deck, basement, and garage doors, which turn on the lights directly outside them.

This morning before I rolled out of bed I tried to mentally count up all the switches.  After breakfast walked around the house and did a physical count to see how close I was, and was pleased to find out that both numbers were the same.  Hubby Tony is also doing the challenge, and he counted independently. We compared answers, which were close but not exact.  After we discussed exactly what the phrase 'light switch' meant (for example, should we include the switches that turned on the garbage disposal and bathroom ceiling fans or not) we agreed that there were 38.

In the end I rounded up my answer to 40, which made my donation a nice even $10.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Behind The Wheel

This December I'm participating in An Advent of Gratitude to help remind me of the gifts I already have, what I often take for granted, and what I can and should be grateful for.
The prompt today centered on transportation, suggesting that I pay one dollar if I rode in a car today and an additional dollar if I drove it.  I rarely stay home for an entire day, and the suburban neighborhood I live in would be difficult to navigate without a vehicle, so I  knew before I started the day I'd be adding to my fund.

I've spent most of my life living in neighborhoods that don't have great public transportation.  Shortly after my 16th birthday I received my first car (used, but serviceable), to help me get to the after school job I was expected to find.  Since that time I've never been without wheels.

There are three grocery stores that are within two miles from the house.  Add another two miles and you can make it to Costco  Hubby Tony and I  have been known to walk to those groceries, but the trips are more about the exercise then bringing home large amounts of food, because it's hard to carry more than a small tote bag or back pack that distance. This morning after breakfast I got ready for the twice monthly 'big' grocery shopping trip.  The 12-mile circular route took me to three places for food and a pet store to buy cat litter.  And, thanks to my trusty vehicle I was able to save money by getting the best deals at each of them.  Definitely worth two dollars in my Advent fund.

In the afternoon Tony and I went to Mass.  Although the church is within walking distance we were headed to dinner afterwards so Tony drove. It was nice to be a passenger this time, and definitely worth adding an additional dollar.

Five years ago today: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili