Archive for January 2011

Things I’ve Learned The Last Few Weeks

January 31, 2011

A couple of things I’ve learned in the last couple of weeks after the passing of my grandmother.

  1. About a year before she died, mom took all of grandmother’s bills & bank statements and put them in a binder.  The binder is about 5″ thick and had page protectors that she put all of the bills for 2010 in alphabetical order.  Each credit card account had its own sleeve.  Grandmother had many, many, many credit cards and paid them all on time, etc., but this was an immense help of organization when trying to figure out what she still owed.  So, I plan to set up my own filing system for important papers and will then tell 4 people where it is – my mother, my husband, and 2 friends.  That way any of the 4 of them can find the information in case something happens to either one of us.
  2. Have a competent lawyer!  We didn’t find a will in grandmother’s belongings.  We know about what it said, but didn’t find a copy of it.  Later mom realized that grandmother had given it to her, but mom’s house had a tree fall on it last summer, so she is still living in a surreal situation that can’t possibly be covered in this post.  🙂  We looked through mom’s binders (see #1) and through some important papers that she has where she’s living now, but no will.  We then called the lawyer who said she has a copy, but it’s unsigned.  WHAT???  She said that she, “wasn’t near a copy machine when the original was signed.”  Ummm that’s completely unacceptable!  Every lawyer I’ve ever dealt with prints at least 2 copies and has the client sign each copy.  The client takes one and the lawyer keeps one.  That way if something happens, there’s still a signed original in the lawyer’s possession.  Being as how my husband & I have no will, we need to A) get a will ASAP & B) tell my mom & 2 others the name of the lawyer that assisted us in creating the will, which a copy of will be in the binder (see #1)
  3. Make sure any property and stock we own has the right of survivorship to each other in case something happens to keep from having to go to probate court.
  4. Have a sealed safe of some kind (fireproof, waterproof, etc.) in case of flooding, or fire.
  5. Collect any information about IRA accounts, stocks, property ownership, titles to vehicles, insurance, etc.
  6. Have the phone number for home insurance in my cell phone in case something drastic happens (fire, flood, tree falling on the house, etc.).
  7. Tell my family & friends on a regular basis how much I love and appreciate them.  Although they know it, they don’t get to hear it near enough.

Finally, I learned that I need to clean house!  I need to get rid of all the stuff that I don’t really care about because if something does happen, I don’t want others to have to figure out what to do with it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never get down to 100 items as many minimalists suggest, but I see large donations to The Salvation Army in my future.  😀

Prompt Ideas

January 30, 2011

Ever run out of ideas for posts?  Here’s some inspiration for you…

Dragon Writing Prompts

Sunday Scribblings

The One-Minute Writer

Creative Writing Solutions

Writer’s Digest

Daily Writing TipsLet Your Wishes Be A Writing Prompt

Plinky

WritingFix

Creativity Portal

And let’s not forget The Daily Post at WordPress.com

I look forward to using some of these prompts in the future.  Some are pretty funny like Thursday’s post on Dragon Writing Prompts instructed, “For each letter of the alphabet come up with a good name for a rock band. If you need to riff off of something, try working an animal in each band name.”

I can’t take credit for the entire list.  I got many of them from Daily Writing Tips post on Writing Prompts 101

Blog Buddies

January 29, 2011

Giving props to my amazing blog buddies.  I know I missed out on a few days of writing, but I’m back in full swing now.  🙂  I’ve added all of them to my blog buddies on the right, so please visit their amazing blogs.

dePressed

Dr. Skeptic

ElizOF

The Running Garlic

Serquet Asa

lsawyer713

bethanage

The Top 7

Magnificent Minimalist

Thank you so much for all of your comments and reminding me that I’m not alone in the blogging world!

Coupons

January 28, 2011

Do you use them?

Here are the various coupons I use:

  1. Swagbucks (because I get 10 Swagbucks per coupon redeemed & they are the same coupons as coupon.com)
  2. CVS sends me frequent emails that give me $5 off $25 that I combine with #1
  3. I randomly find coupons on products (dogfood, beer, etc.)
  4. I look at wine tags to see if my wine purchases qualify me for $ off on cheese, or other essentials.  🙂
  5. I sign up on sites of our favorites foods (pedigree.com, etc.) to receive coupons in the mail.
  6. I “like” groups on Facebook that offer freebies & coupons (freebieshark.com, gimmiefreebies, frugalcoupon living, etc.)
  7. I installed the app on my phone for couponsmart.  When I buy products that we use often, I scan the barcode with my phone & every now & then they send me coupons.
  8. I have a upromise account and select the ecoupons every month
  9. The Grocery Game, which helps me decide which stores have the best deal (if you sign up, please use my email so I get referral credit thx)

So, do you use coupons?  Have any interesting places to get them (besides the Sunday paper) not listed above?

Swagbucks

January 27, 2011

When I first heard about Swagbucks, I thought it was a scam.  I mean, you just search & spend 2 minutes a day on the site & you can earn Amazon gift cards and Restaurant gift cards?  Had to be a scam, right???  I’m here to tell you, it isn’t.

In the last 6 months I’ve received $25 in Amazon gift cards and $125 in Restaurant.com gift cards.  We eat out with friends quite often, so this has been a huge help for us.  And I only allow myself to buy books for my kindle using the Amazon gift $.  Of course there are many more rewards including apparel, books, movies, posters, music, jewelry, kitchen items & many more categories.

How does it work?  You sign up at Swagbucks and then you earn swagbucks in the following ways every day:

  1. take a couple of seconds to answer a simple question on the daily poll
  2. take a couple of minutes to answer questions on a survey (lengthy, but you can get 125 swagbucks per survey)
  3. take a couple of seconds to go through the NOSO (no obligation) offers
  4. use swagbucks.comto search instead of a regular Google search

That’s it.  You can do these tips for just a couple of minutes a day.

If you want to get some serious Swagbucks, you can also do the following:

  1. Watch Swagbucks TV (it’s short videos that you can have playing in the background while you do other things)
  2. Daily deals (similar to Groupon, but while you’re buying the items, you’re also earning Swagbucks)
  3. Play games.  You can either play for free, or spend a couple of swagbucks hoping to win tournaments.
  4. Coupons!  You print out coupons (it’s like coupon.com) and earn 10 swagbucks per coupon that is redeemed!
  5. You can shop from their store & earn Swagbucks
  6. You can download the free toolbar and be alerted to special codes plus earn 1 Swagbuck per day that you have the toolbar active
  7. You can refer others to Swagbucks
  8. Finally, there are special offers that you can fill out and earn Swagbucks

Just using the search feature, I’ve earned more than 1,600 swagbucks.

Give Swagbucks a try & earn some free stuff while you’re on the internet anyway!  You’ll never know what you’ll earn next!

Margarita Cupcakes!

January 26, 2011

Sorry – I don’t have a recipe.

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Things I Learned From Grandmother

January 26, 2011

I have been missing for a few days because my grandmother died suddenly on the 19th. I helped my mom & stepdad clean out the apartment, go through her belongings, and organize her estate. All of this while dodging those horrid looks of pity from people who never had the privilege to meet her. For those of you who never met her, I offer you a glimpse into her life.

She was a true southern lady. I honestly can’t remember a time when she said something negative about another. If someone said something about another, she might say, “oh the horrors!”

When we would take a trip, she would always announce, “and we’re off like a herd of turtles!”

She always had my favorite foods & drink in the fridge when I came to town.

If someone was snapping a photo, she would say “cheeeeese” for the photo op & then “you never know how good you look until you have your picture took”

She worked hard for her education & even harder once she had the degrees (yes plural from a woman who wasn’t allowed to take classes at the University where she worked because she was a female)

Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs.

I can think of no one who disliked her.

Appreciate your loved ones & tell them more often than they care to hear. An whatever you do, DON’T give that look of pity to those who just lost a loved one! Honestly ask if there is anything you can do. They may take you up on it (I asked my childhood friend to go see her body right after she died before they took her for cremation).

News

January 21, 2011

I have never been a big fan of the local news on TV, and even less of a fan of the newspaper (why can’t they fit an entire story on one page?).  I really dislike the fact that the entire process is devoted to negative news.  There may be one positive story amongst 10 negative stories.  And the front page of the newspaper is even worse!  The headline is almost always about some tragedy.

Wednesday I was eating a snack in the break room at work and the front page jumped out at me.  It was a positive story!  Finally something I could read while eating a snack!

The story is about a former firefighter who had some things happen in his life that changed the course of his career.  After dusting himself off, he found Operation New Hope.  He started a janitorial business and now views that as his was of saving others.  How can being a janitor really save others?  Having a clean environment saves us from the germs and disease that would otherwise be all around us.

So, check out a positive story for once!  And, if you feel so inclined, help out others who are trying to be responsible and get back on their feet.

Please note:  I am in no way affiliated with either company, but found it great that there was actually something positive going on in our community that warranted being on the front page!

Relationships

January 20, 2011

During the last year, I’ve really taken an in depth look at my relationships.  It started with a life-long friend who it appeared on the surface that we had just drifted apart.  At one point my friend Le’s husband R asked me, “Debs, why are you even friends with her?”  I absolutely could not answer the question.  This person was all about me when she was focused on me, but would switch to someone else as soon as the mood struck & I wouldn’t hear from her again for months, sometimes years, at a time.  She would stop answering emails, avoid phone calls, etc.  We even had a group of friends who would make plans monthly (reservations, or lunch parties) and she would inevitably text me the day of the event with one excuse or another.  So in answer to R’s question?  I drew a complete blank.  Hit a brick wall!  When I confronted her about it, she called me childish, selfish, and a few other choice names that WordPress would not appreciate.  So, I ended the friendship to avoid having further disappointment.

Throughout the year, I found that I had a few other disturbing friendships and decided to let them fall to the wayside as well.

In November, I looked at my Facebook account.  I had more than 550 friends; many of whom were simply acquaintances that I had not heard from since the initial friend request.  I took a good hard look at each of those 550+ “friends” and decided that if I wouldn’t be willing to call them on the phone, there is no reason to keep us as friends.  I got that list down to 219 & some days I find that is still too many.

Yesterday I went to the doctor.  I’ve loved, loved, loved my general practitioner since I met him (and he helped me through the psycho craziness of my health without totally scaring me).  His PA, on the other hand, not so much.  He always talks super fast.  He is direct and to the point (unlike most Southern USA people I know).  And I never felt like he was as friendly as my GP.  My GP was out of the office and I could hear him in the next room with a patient.  He was very thorough asking methodical questions (why are the walls so thin in that office??).  He asked question after question, found out the patient’s fears and symptoms, tied them in with other symptoms that she had never thought of, etc.  As I sat there I thought to myself, “Why do I dislike him so much?  What could I possibly have for disliking him when we’ve only met twice?”  Maybe it was the first impression when I was super sick, had a sky high fever and they were still trying to figure out all my other ailments.  Who knows?  I decided I would give him another chance for a first impression.

He walked into the room and smiled asking how everything was going.  He then started looking through my gigantic chart (have I really only been seeing this GP since 9/09 and my chart is THAT huge?) trying to find a previous instance of bloodwork.  I told him that he’d have to go back to the beginning.  He started comparing, making jokes, telling me new things of concern (vitamin D, LDL, sugar levels) telling me how proud he is of me doing Zumba and losing weight.  He suggested an app for my iPhone.  He suggested a vitamin regimen (to try to work everything out before using prescriptions), and he said he’d like to do bloodwork again in 3 months (along with a new allergy panel) to see how this regimen is working out for me.

WOW  I actually like this guy!  What it the world did I have against him?  He cares about his patients, he talks fast & is to the point, but he has other patients to get to.  He suggests regimens that aren’t 100% prescription.  NICE!

Maybe I should look at other relationships that give off negative vibes…maybe, just maybe, it’s me!

Albert Got a New Toy!

January 19, 2011

Participating in Wordless Wednesday.  Sorry it’s a little blurry…try taking a pic with your phone of a playing cat.  😉

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