Saturday, February 28, 2009

Might have been

I had a good fun-for-Friday picture I was going to put here.

El Burrito got a sticker at the library yesterday, a picture of a cat that was channeling Elton John. Had to be the tinted glasses and hat. Funny stuff.

Except that before I could get a picture of it, it fell off the bathroom door (landing pad for storytime stickers) and DH tossed it. Sigh.

So imagine a picture of a fluffy white cat wearing yellow-tinted wire-rims and a white straw hat.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Decluttering progress

I think I had a personal record over the weekend: we got rid of 50+ pounds of paper recycling! We dropped 33 pounds of random paper (newspaper, junk mail, etc.) at the recycling bins on Saturday, and put another 25 pounds of magazines and 5 pounds or so of random bits and pieces out at the curb on Monday morning. That comes out to 63 pounds, give or take a pound.

And, sadly, you can't really tell a big difference. I can't, at least, but DH says he can tell a difference. I think it's got something to do with the fact that I'm here all day, every day. I've built up an immunity or something.

Then today I took a bag of books with us to the library, to donate back to the Friends group for their sale. The books (all 9 of them) were duplicate books of El Burrito's, and they all came from the Friends sale originally. We didn't pay more than $3 for the whole batch, and they were mostly library discards anyway, so I thought giving them back to the Friends to sell again was a good destination for them. I've got another small stack that I need to take to the used-book store next time I'm on that side of town.

And now we're about to be hit with a nice squall line of thunderstorms, so I'm going to get offline and spend an hour watching Psych and sorting through more paper for recycling.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Library Day (2-23-09)

An easy library run today. We returned 2 books and checked out one, spent $2 at the sale, and I took 20 minutes to download some podcasts to listen to. Totals: 29 items checked out (12 for El Burrito), 3 on hold.

I returned a random book that El Burrito grabbed last trip, and a steampunk anthology called Extraordinary Engines. It's the first steampunk I've read (although I think the TV series Legend, starring Richard Dean Anderson & John deLancie might be marginally steampunk-ish), and was pretty interesting. A few of the stories were better (I thought) than the others. One that I really liked was "American Cheetah" by Robert Reed - a robot/android Abraham Lincoln meets up with the James-Younger Gang.

We do need to work on El Burrito's library voice, though. It took so long to get him to talk loud enough to hear when there's background noise, and now we need to work on a whisper again. Sigh.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A new resolution

I hereby resolve to stop saving things for "later" or "a better time." Or "company" or a "special occasion."

I just tossed 9 sample-size (2 ounce or so) bottles of lotion & shower gel. I bought them at least 10 years ago, when I was working at the Best Summer Job Ever, and saved them "for later." Yeah, "later" never happened, one of the shower gels leaked all over the drawer they were in (plastic organizer with drawers, luckily), and I finally tossed them all.

I tend to do the same thing with food (there's a box of chocolate mousse mix that's probably expired, and some holiday chocolates) and clothes. Not sure why, maybe it's something I learned from Mom.

Anyway. I'm going to round up all the little samples of this and that, put them in a basket, and start using them. That should give us a month or so where we don't need to shop for shampoo, shower gel, or soap. Ditto for the holiday candy and the "nice" clothes. Then I'll get to work on the Bath & Body Works stuff that I got when they quit making their freesia scent (which they re-introduced a few years later).

And when we get a house, I've got 12 place settings of dishes that have never been out of the box - also purchased 10+ years ago, at the Best Summer Job Ever. They're going on a shelf, and we're eating with them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bargain shopping

I got inspired today, and took El Burrito shopping this afternoon. We hit the after-Valentine clearance at Walgreens, then stopped at Ace Hardware on the way home.

Walgreens has their Valentine merchandise down to 75% off. We scored a small mountain of chocolate, and some other goodies.

  • one heart-shaped "wreath" that El Burrito asked for, $1.74
  • one Peanuts Valentine shirt for me, $2.49
  • one Snoopy decoration, $2.49
  • 2 "Cars" activity books, 12c each (where has the cent symbol gone?)
  • one bag of Peppermint Patties (heart-shaped), 62c
  • one bag of full-price Hershey's Kisses, $2.99
  • 4 bags of plain chocolate Kisses, 62c each
  • 2 bags of Kisses with almonds, 62c each
  • 8 bags of Kisses with caramel centers, 62c each
I had two coupons for $1.50 off of 3 bags of Kisses (so 6 bags were a whopping 12 cents each), and there's a $5 rebate on a $10 purchase of Hershey's & Twizzlers. So, after doing the math, I spent $11.67 on Kisses, minus $3 in coupons and $5 for the rebate, plus an extra $0.50 for getting the rebate added to my Walgreens gift card. $3.17 plus tax for enough chocolate to last through July at least.

And I got a Snoopy shirt, which I've wanted forever. I like the comic strip, it's one of my favorites.

The Ace Hardware trip was because they had some good sales this week, and had sent me a $5 of of $15 purchase coupon that I wanted to use before I lost it. Picked up two furnace filters at roughly 30% off, some potting soil (seed-starting mix), flower seeds, a microfiber cloth, and some suet.

Suet story - bought the suet feeder last year, finally put it out maybe two weeks ago. Had to find a way to tie it to the deck rail, since that's about the only place to put it. The birds finally found it this week - starlings, of all boring things. I was hoping for something prettier. Oh well. Ace had basic suet blocks, 2/$1. Maybe the starlings will have some company soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A boring library day

Very boring trip to the library. Returned a book, didn't check anything out (my account is blocked - that Peanuts compendium is too overdue), didn't buy anything at the sale.

So, right now, we've got 32 items out, 6 on hold, and one that's really overdue - but I finished it today, and it'll go back on Thursday.

I did use their speedy Internet computer to download a bunch of podcasts to listen to. Over 300 MB, and it took less than 15 minutes to download. Sweet. Don't ask me how long it would take to do here. You don't wanna know.

Monday, February 16, 2009

things I learned this weekend

One: if you buy a Mylar helium balloon in a somewhat warm store and take it out into 30-degree temps, it shrinks quickly and noticeably. If you then put it into a car and turn on the heat, you can actually hear the Mylar crinkling as it expands again.

Two: If you leave your refillable ice pack/hot water bottle in the bottom drawer for eight years, the rubberized lining becomes unhappy. When you fill it with ice to treat a goose-egg on a Burrito's head, the lining expresses that unhappiness by leaking like a sieve.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday again

It's a beautiful day for a trip to the library (70+ degrees, in February?!?!) The current library totals are 34 books out and 5 on hold. We returned 7 books and a DVD, and checked out 6 books.

Returned today:
  • The Complete Peanuts 1959-1960
  • Play with Me Sesame: Imagine with Me
  • Vet Confidential
  • Moondance
  • Bear Shadow
  • Sorcerer of the North
  • Doggie Day Care Murder
  • The Way back Home
Then we spent $5 at the sale ($4 on DVDs), stopped for a walk in the garden, and came home.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Recent progress in the decluttering war:

  • Called Humana today, and asked them to stop sending me retirement-related mail. I've got a few decades before it'll be relevant, and until then, it's just wasting time, money, and paper.
  • Emailed a local retirement community about the same issue.
  • Contacted Kraft, and found out that the Jell-o No-bake Cheesecake mixes in the "pantry" were embarrassingly old. That's two more boxes out of the pantry.
  • Cleaned out a shelf in the kitchen a few weeks ago. It started when I needed chicken broth for a new recipe. That's when I found out that what we had was ancient (and luckily was cheap when we bought it). While we were on a roll, we evicted the bottle of sparkling pear juice we got when we were married (8 years ago) and a couple of bottles of assorted sauces that I got as a holiday gift at one of my last two jobs (either 8 or 9 years ago - probably 9, from Boss 1, since Boss 2 was a cheapskate twit).
Next on the list is unsubscribing from a few email newsletters, and whatever oddball catalogs show up.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not quite what I expected

Back after Christmas, I remembered that I wanted to look for more amaryllis-in-a-box kits, figuring that they'd be marked down after the holidays.

Not so much, as it turned out. I had to look everywhere, and finally found a few bulbs at Walmart. Not marked down, either, even when it was a week after New Year's and the bulbs had all sprouted and bloomed in the boxes. Not so great, if you want to actually grow a decent-looking flower.

I finally broke down and bought two, at full price ($5 and $7). This is the box photo for the $5 amaryllis bulb:

I planted both of them and put them in a window, next to my old amaryllis that was showing signs of wanting to grow. (It's stalled out, by the way - hasn't grown a bit in three weeks.) One new amaryllis bloomed yesterday, and the second one should bloom next week sometime.

This is the supposed "Minerva" in bloom:

Notice any difference? Not quite what's in the picture. I'm not surprised - the stock at Walmart had been picked over and all the boxes were opened. Most of the bulbs weren't even in their boxes when I was there. I'm kind of glad, too, that this one isn't the red & white flower from the box. I've got one of those already, but I don't think I've got a solid white amaryillis.

Now I get to wait a little longer and find out what the next one really looks like. The box photo shows a pink and white flower.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Soup's On!

(A shopping post)

El Burrito and I did a bit of grocery shopping after the library trip today.

Between coupons and sales, we got all of that for only $10.46.

Schnucks had Progresso Vegetable Classics for $1 each, and Progresso had coupons on their website, for $1 off 2 cans and $2 off 4 cans. So, six cans of soup for $3. Regular price at Schnucks was apparently $2.xx, but it's only $1.79 at Hy-Vee right now. The Campbell's soup and the pasta/rice pouches were also $1 each. The Kikkoman sauces were on sale, $1.50 (regular $1.89). And, when I checked out, the register printed off a coupon for 75 cents off my next visit, from Kikkoman. I plan to stop at Schnucks next time we're in the area and get another bottle of stir-fry sauce, for a whopping 75 cents.

A good day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday at the Library again

A nice trip to the library today. Returned 6 books, came home with 8, and spent $11.70 at the sale. So, right now there are 33 items out (about 10 of which are El Burrito's) and 9 on my hold list.

We returned:
  • 2 books that El Burrito picked out last time (it's a good way to get him ready to leave)
  • Death from the Skies! - great stuff, but I skimmed the last chapter about the Death of the Universe
  • Terror on Tuesday
  • The Ship Errant
  • Another paperback and I've forgotten the title. Sigh. Possibly Murder on Monday.
We found some neat stuff at the sale, and El Burrito got to see his buddy. She's still got his drawing up on her fridge. We'll have to do another one for her, and one for each Grandma while we're at it. The library had a local writer, John Wheeler, doing a book signing at the sale, too. He was a journalist in Cuba during the 1960's. I wish I'd had a chance to buy his book, but I may just check out the library's copy instead.