Wednesday, July 29, 2015
I own a dog that probably doesn't have three brain cells to rub together. Maybe it's her simplicity that keeps her from some bad behaviors, but I suspect most of it is time, attention and training. Here she is hanging out around three raw hamburgers ready to go on the grill. They are the ones stuffed with cheese that we enjoyed this weekend. She didn't even sniff them. I walked away from the plate once and she followed me.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Since the coolest spot in our house is the basement, I slept there for two nights just to be sure that menopause and night sweats were not my problem. Other than the air mattress being uncomfortable, the exercise proved that my body was not causing the temperature issues.
We had thought about putting in a separate "Split" unit upstairs -- which would be pricey. It would involve the added expense of wiring and professional installation. Instead, a unit like this was $147 because he gets them at a discount. They normally sell for about $200.
Now I am off to get a good night's sleep. Bon soir!
Monday, July 27, 2015
We had cheese ravioli for dinner tonight using sauce with chicken sausage from last week, chicken bits from this bird, mushrooms and more stock. We have enough for us each to have for lunch tomorrow (plus salad). The rest of the bird will go into chicken tacos (tomorrow), and something curry-based over jasmine rice on Wednesday. That means I only have to come up with something for Thursday and we are done for the week!
My weeks is mostly about stretching meals, getting lunches made in advance, swimming with the dog, keeping up the house and yard (the house part suffers a bit in the summer) and trying to fit in time for friends at home and camp. It can be a challenge to keep it going, but we are keeping up!
Sunday, July 26, 2015
1. Make enough salad to have for dinner
a. A lot more for lunches
2. Make veggie slop for pup
The two oblong containers will be for both TBG and myself to bring to work. He gets the bigger portion. Dressing is on the side: Balsamic Vinaigrette with fresh basil from our garden, red onion, and feta cheese. I squeezed half a fresh lemon on the fruit/veggie mix to help it stay fresh. The mix is made up of watermelon, radish, cucumber, cabbage, kale, shredded carrot, celery, grapes, and red peppers. The dressing is on the side so the salad won't get soggy. If we don't finish the salad ourselves in a few days, it can be made into a fruit/veggie smoothie. There was enough liquid and a spare quantity that wouldn't fit into the containers, so we've already had one smoothie.
TBG had odds and ends from it all. We had a lot of cabbage to share and she got all of the watermelon rinds. In addition, there were strawberry hulls and asparagus ends from this past week. This made four large sauce jars of slop so she is well set for the next few weeks. For those who worry about dogs eating "human" food, she did not get any grapes!
I can tell you that all the chopping for us, then more chopping and grinding for her, was a real hassle. And it makes for quite a mess. Doing it all today means I save time during the week. I have enough extra pancakes from today's breakfast to be set for each morning this week. Now I have salad for every lunch too. I'll still have to make a sandwich or something to go with it each day, but whatever I mix up tomorrow morning will last for a few days or more.
We could save a lot of time by buying our lunches at work and feeding Teddy "pet food." However, I think fresh food is healthier and it's also more economical. It sure does take a lot of work. But then again, it delivers a lot of yum!
Saturday, July 25, 2015
This morning I did the buffalo garden walk -- my buddy Jim has been a driving force behind it and it is the most successful event of it's kind. Our city draws people from all over the world. The website is here.
The day started with a brief heavy shower -- that happened when TBG was giving Teddy a quick morning walk before work. They got drenched, but he also didn't have to water the garden. The friend I went on the walk with is a photographer and she got awesome pictures of leaves and flowers with drops on them. The tour is too big to do it all in one day so we just did a small portion. I couldn't find sunscreen so it was fortunate that there was some cloud cover in the morning.
After about three hours, we went out for lunch -- picking a place a little out of the way so we could avoid any crowds. There are tons of great places to eat in Buffalo, so there is never a need to eat at a chain. We picked Fat Bob's BBQ. I had a cornmeal encrusted fried catfish sandwich with hush puppies on the side. I didn't eat the bun -- the fish was super crunchy and tasty without it and the hush puppies were so good I could have kept eating more all afternoon. Good meals in this city can be found for a good price too -- $23 for the two of us. It was my treat because her husband makes us ribs and they are our emergency dog sitters.
After lunch we toured a few more gardens and then called it quits. I needed a nap after being up late at Jim's the night before. I'm sure he is feeling the effects of being up late and having his garden on display all day -- not to mention the other responsibilities of being the garden big-wig in this city. The nap was revitalizing and around 4PM, we headed to the river for a swim.
Living on a clean river is just so swell. We had been in for about a half hour in one of our favorite and more secluded spots, when another couple showed up with a black lab mix. He was not fond of swimming and they were trying to get him to do it. As usual, he was inspired by Teddy and started to go in above his head and by the time we left, he was swimming. We were in for almost an hour!
The dinner was a good way to refuel after all that swimming. It's not that I'm ever in danger of starving -- not when I have fried catfish and hush puppies for lunch and cheese stuffed burgers for dinner. Did I mention s'mores for dessert? No, we don't suffer here in the summer at all!
Thursday, July 23, 2015
It's been frustrating when I try to do business because my employee number and SSN never gets recognized. I found out today it is because my profile was set up with the wrong SSN! I don't believe that was a problem with my pay as I'd confirmed it with HR a number of times when I couldn't do phone transactions on my flexible spending card. But now that I know it was wrong in one place, I'll be following up tomorrow.
I'm a techie but doing all of this stuff on-line for follow-up has been a pain. We must change passwords every three months and this month, the process didn't work for me -- so I was unable to sign on to any of the systems that I needed to use. That took a bit of time to get working.
Now I'm in the process of setting up direct deposits and transfers and they take a few days to set up. There is a lot more security around electronic transfers these days and the downside is that it makes it very inconvenient when it comes time to move your money around. This is why I procrastinated in setting up the new accounts -- even though they are free.
I will get a free credit card if I want it but I don't know if I will go for it. I also did not opt for automatic over-draft as I am using my accounts to save money -- not over spend it! I get two free services as a perk so I opted for no ATM charges at other banks and to get my credit score on my account monthly.
The truth is, the accounts are a place for me to park money. It's what I want to use for extra expenses -- home projects, emergencies, etc. When I told the clerk who was initially setting it up how much I planned to transfer in her eyes kinda popped. I had more than the minimum balance allowed for a no-fee savings, but I opted for checking to go with it because setting up electronic transfers to savings and Money Market accounts from other electronic accounts is generally not possible.
We don't have scads of cash, but we have built up an emergency fund. We might have touched it once when I was out of work, but for the most part we haven't had to resort to using it. That doesn't mean we don't want to have that safety net. It's just nice that I can start putting money into it again which can be used for projects and other things most people take out a line of credit to pay for.
It's not easy to set up accounts and keep tabs on things. I think that is probably one small reason why so many folks get sucked into the world of debit cards and don't get around to saving or investing. Lots of people are just too lazy to get it all done. I can't say I blame them... but once it's done and you are having automatic deductions done from your paycheck, it becomes pretty effortless.
Even though I am hating the process now, I'll be over that in a couple of weeks!
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Swimming in the river and lakes are free and it's a lot more fun to be outside with the dog. Wherever I swim, I do need a good quality suit. That's especially true when swimming in a pool. Cheap suits wear out too quickly.
My two sources for swimsuits are either on-line at Swim2000 or thrift stores. Yes, you can by never or nearly worn suits second hand. I like "Dolphin" brand and I consider it a good deal if I can get one for less than $25. I did get a cheap lifeguard suit for $20 but it's a "value" suit. Earlier this year, I found a Dolphin suit in my size and a style I favor for just $4.98. Today, I found these suits for $6.98 each. That's a few bucks more than what I'd like to pay, but then again, I had a four dollar coupon. One is Land's End and the other is Speedo. Speedo makes suits that are sold in Target, etc. and aren't as good as the stuff they sell for "real" swimmers. I'm not sure where this one falls. Lands End makes excellent quality suits so seven bucks is a great deal.
TBG is a cyclist and I don't want to go in to how pricey bike accessories are. Because he is big, most retail stock won't fit him. He doesn't have much choice but to buy on-line and he likes Long's Cycle.
I think one reason more American's aren't fit, is that it is something that really depends on having the money to buy equipment, join a facility or just be near the resources needed to exercise. As the disparity in wealth gets worse and worse, I think we'll see a correlation in fitness levels too. The best way I can think of to keep our activities affordable is to avoid shopping retail. Don't discount thrift stores for bathing suits. I'm having good luck!