Monday, March 23, 2015

Lovely in Lavender

That was quick! I stopped in at Mandeville GardenWorks this afternoon and bought two small lavender plants, both Munstead variety. So, my next task will be to replant them in 2 of the many pots I have in my shed, both to give them a little room to grow and to  provide a saucer under the pot for drainage purposes.

We'll see if they'll grow here at the Coast. I've had this type before but was growing it in the Okanagan then. I'll also see if I can get enough light inside for them to grow successfully.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Goal or No Goal?

I think the first thing to do as I try to figure out what direction I'm taking with this is to haul out my list of long term goals and take a good, hard look at them. Right now they just sit there in that sidebar, mocking me. Am I still interested in them? Am I still working towards them? Is there something else that should be on that list? In other words, is this still a goal, or not?

1. Take Religious Studies courses, potentially leading to an undergraduate degree.
Okay, I haven't done more than occasionally look at university websites and their courses. I don't have the money to go back to school and I work almost full time, so I also don't have the time to take a full course load. Frankly, I don't have the energy to even take *one* course at this point in time. I might go back to this in a couple of years, if and when certain circumstances change. Right now, however, it doesn't belong on my list. That makes me sad, but I have to be honest about this.
2. Become fluent in Hebrew.
This *is* still a goal of mine, though my work towards it is sporadic at best.
3. Study oenology and viticulture, potentially leading to a degree.
This goal is far too far down the road for me at this moment, so it needs to come off.
4. Grow lavender for sale.
Hmm, I love lavender and I want to be able to grow it better or more successfully than I've done in the past. I probably can't grow enough to actually grow it for sale at this point, but I'd like to actually get back to growing it and experiment with it a bit. So this goal can stay for now.
5. Buy a minimum of 5 acres of land in our chosen retirement area.
First of all, that should say *my* chosen retirement area. And right now I could buy 5 acres about as easily as I could fly to the moon. Luckily I don't need to be retiring in the near future. And I already have my existing home in the area, though it still needs plenty of work. This comes off the list until I have the funds to buy the land.
6. Build a home on the land.
No land, no home. Off the list for now.
7. Plant grapes and open a kosher winery.
How do you make a small fortune in the wine industry? Start with a large one! This one, or a variation of it, can stay for now but it had better start to develop or else!
8. Get totally out of debt and stay there!
I *definitely* need to keep this one!
9. Lose 10 pounds.
Um, I actually *did* that. And I've maintained it for a couple of years now. I guess it can come off the list! Yay! Success at something!
10. Accumulate enough retirement funds to supplement our pensions and other income streams.
*My* pension. Aside from that, I have to say I'm not really putting away money for retirement while I'm sinking further into debt. I really have to deal with my overall financial situation first and then start to put away a bit of money.

So that leaves me with 4 out of my 10 goals that I can use or rework. I'm going to add one more now that will take me up to 5 goals and then I'll rework all my microgoals.

1. Become fluent in Hebrew.
2. Grow lavender.
3. Find a way to partner with others to develop a kosher wine business, including the possibility of fruit wines.
4. Get totally out of debt and stay there!
5. Develop at least two alternative income streams (in addition to my current employment) and use the money I make to accomplish my other goals, starting with getting out of debt.

So, my microgoals are the small steps I will be taking *now* in order to move ahead with each goal.

1. Go back to Rosetta Stone and figure out how to log in again.
My Dear Child and I wanted to get ahead in Hebrew, so I bought the Rosetta Stone course a few months ago when it was on sale. We tried it a few times and then got really busy. Now I don't remember our log in. If I can't figure it out, I'm sure there's a way to reset it.
2. Go to a few gardening centres (like Home Depot, Art Knapp's, etc.) and look at lavender plants. Only buy if I find the types of lavender I'm looking for.
3. Get together with someone who expressed interest in this project.
Maybe meet for coffee and discuss the project? This person suggested another mutual friend and perhaps that would be the first thing for us to follow up on.
4. Stay current on the regular bills, paying things every payday.
5. Go to the start up meeting for 31 Canada in BC on April 7 and enroll that night. Do as much pre-planning as possible ahead of time so I can start strong.

Not bad. I think I can live with these goals for now. The underlying theme behind these goals is happiness, something I would like to expand upon soon. For now, I think I'll just finish getting this post up and editing the sidebar. It is after 2 am, after all.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Back from the Ether

Okay, it's been a long, long time since I managed to access this blog. I doubt anyone is actually reading this any more and I'm not really sure where to begin when I haven't posted in over 3 years!

I have to say that my life has changed drastically in that time. I'm now a single parent, more in debt than ever, but more determined to create a good life for myself and my Dear Child.

I'm not quite sure how I'll revamp this site at the moment, but at least now I have access to it.

Here's to new beginnings!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Payday & Procrastination

Well, I think we've all figured out that I'm the Queen of Procrastination. Recently I've been perfecting the art of procrastinating about posting on my blog.  But today was payday and it's a day when I try to do some things I've been putting off.  So here I am.

It's late.  I'm tired.  I have a lot going on, both at home and at work.  But I need to get a sense of how I'm doing and to remember that I actually have goals other than getting through the day in one piece.  I have a variety of bills to pay, though I'm not behind on most of them at this point.  But I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and am therefore not paying too many things today.

I am on track with one thing.  I've put away $50 into my TFSA each paycheque so far.  That's good.  I've also kept on track with adding to the Emergency Fund but I'm not giving myself much credit for that because I'm planning on breaking into that money soon to help pay for my daughter's birthday party and dinner.  I realize that birthdays come around with predictable regularity and that they aren't normally considered emergencies (unless you're giving birth while driving to the hospital).

However, after the party was all planned (including guests coming from the States) the money that was expected to cover it suddenly and unexpectedly wasn't there.  A paycheque of a certain regular size has shrunk to pure commission without any warning.  I'm just not going to explain to an 8 year old that she can't have the party we've spent weeks planning with family and friends.  Yes, we'll be tightening our belts somewhat afterwards.  But you can't just cut everything, especially when kids are involved.  And, no, it's not a three ring circus.  It's just at an outside venue because of our constant, ongoing renovations.  And some close friends are coming up from the States.

So, if our financial world is in a bit of upheaval, how am I doing with the non-financial goals I set on January 1st?  The rural house goals are also on hold, but more because of the state of the roads than anything else.  It is winter, and we do travel through 2 mountain passes to get to the house.

That leaves 2 physical goals.  The first was to go out to exercise at least 1 x week.  The second was to exercise at home all the other days.  I'm happy to report that I have, in fact, gone out to exercise at least once (usually twice) each week.  What about at home?  Well, I'm not perfect, but I have managed to exercise at home when I haven't gone out on all but 6 days so far this month and most of the days I missed were during the time we had company staying over.  Not bad.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goals for 2010 and 2011

Happy New Year!  I'm here, let's see if I can keep it up.  I wanted to take a look at my goals for 2010 and see how I did with them, as well as set out some more goals for 2011.

Here were my goals for 2010, along with how I did:

Financial Goals

Pay down $1,300 directly in credit card debt. Pay down $1,500 in other debt. Pay down $1,080 in regular credit card payments. Total: $3,880. Round up to $3,900. Even with paying down as much and as often as possible, I'm basically $3,000 deeper in credit card debt.  I paid down $1,375 in other debt.  I made almost all the regular credit card payments.
Open a TFSA and put $1,300 into it. I opened an account and put $1,200 into it.
Put a minimum of $520 into the Emergency Fund. I pretty much cleaned out my Emergency Fund when I went to the US for a wedding but there's $1,236.72 in it at the moment.
Put a minimum of $520 into my RRSP. I put $350 into my RRSP.
Keep putting money into my set aside accounts, rural credit union account, etc. I was inconsistent with this, though better than in any recent years.
Keep current on all my bills. Not always.
Come up with $3,000 for Dear Child’s dental surgery. Well, we paid for it although a good chunk of that is the increase on the credit card.
Pay off both Home Depot payment plans on time. Done!

Rural House Goals

Plan out and create a garden in the front of the house (south west side of driveway area). Nope.
Plant lavender border. Nope.
Go to house 2x per month in summer. Nope.
Finish new floor in master bedroom. Nope.

Physical Goals

Get weight down to 120. Nope, still sitting at 132, but some of that is now muscle.  Not all though....
Walk for at least a half hour per day (or use elliptical for same length of time). No way!

So, I won some and I lost some.  What are my goals for 2011?

Financial Goals
  1. Pay off all our outstanding debt.  Not as insane as it sounds, as we are expecting a small inheritance shortly.
  2. Put $1,300 into the TFSA this year.
  3. Increase the Emergency Fund by at least $520.
  4. Put a minimum of $520 into my RRSP.
  5. Put the set-aside money into my accounts regularly.
  6. Get current and stay current on all my bills.

Rural House Goals
  1. Go to the house a minimum of once per month when the weather is decent.
  2. Build the bedframes that have been there for a year now!
  3. Step up the search for land once we have the money for a down payment.

Physical Goals
  1. Go out to exercise at least once a week.
  2. Exercise at home every day that I don't exercise elsewhere.
 Let's see how I do with these goals.  I think I learned some valuable lessons last year and have developed at least somewhat better habits.  I'm also taking better care of myself, which is really just as important as getting my financial life in order.




Sunday, November 21, 2010

Signs of Life

Yes, I am still here.  I'm just very, very busy.  And tired.  And bored or frustrated with certain aspects of my life.

I got through all the Jewish Holidays.  I went off to the US to the wedding I talked about before and had a fabulous time.  And I've been exercising pretty well twice a week.

On the other hand, our car was totalled recently.  We weren't in it; a family member was cut off on the freeway.  The family member is okay but we've spent the past while arguing with ICBC over the value of the car.  They did come up from their initial, offensive, offer but we're probably still out about $2,000 over what we'd have to spend to replace the car.

And more things have gone wrong with the house.  If anybody tells you old houses are money pits, believe them!  A leak in the main bathroom upstairs led to a gigantic hole in our kitchen ceiling and another, smaller one.  Our upper cabinets are mostly down (with the contents in boxes) and the bakers rack I keep a lot of our other kitchen stuff on is sitting in the living room.  Basically, the living room is unusable.  We pass through it to the kitchen, bath and our daughter's room.

The floor in the bathroom and through most of the kitchen is laid and part of it is grouted.  We should get our new toilet put in within anywhere from a day to a week, depending on how busy our son-in-law is and how fast he gets around to both it and to putting the vanity back in the bathroom (with the new top on it).  The thought that we might finally have a fully functioning bathroom is exciting but seems slightly unreal.  It will be wonderful not to have to go upstairs to use the facilities there in the middle of the night, however.  I'm really looking forward to that!

Once they finish the work in the bathroom upstairs comes the messy part.  The new drywall will have to be taped, mudded and sanded until a thick layer of white powder covers pretty much everything in the house (including, no doubt, my lungs).  After that the new upper cupboards and new range hood can go up.  If that happens before Pesach I'll be thrillled.

And then there's money.  I'm so messed up there.  My credit card is maxed.  Actually, it was over limit until a few days ago.  Now it's exactly at the limit and I have to make another payment before they add the interest or that will put me over again.  I skipped a couple of transfers to my TFSA, although I still have over $1,000 in there.  And I have a huge cell bill from my trip to the US.  I tried to use it as little as possible but still incurred over $80 in long distance or roaming charges.  A bunch of those calls were incoming ones from my hubby or daughter, so I couldn't exactly refuse to pick up!

What next?  Well, I'm pretty well broke until Wednesday and I'll probably be broke again almost immediately afterwards, once I pay the various bills that absolutely, positively have to be paid.  But we'll technically have money sometime this week, because we'll get the cheque from ICBC.  We still have to decide what we're going to do about a new car.  We have to decide new, near new or very used.  We're still debating over what kind of car to get (since we have to replace it, the only sensible thing to do is to buy one this time that will fit all four kids in their car or booster seats, plus at least 2 adults).  And we have to decide if we're going to do it now or wait until my hubby receives money from his late mother's estate (probably a few months away).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quick Catch-up Post Before Rosh Hashana

Okay, today is officially crazy.  Rosh Hashana starts tonight and runs until Shabbat starts on Friday night.  So, between the holiday and Shabbat I'm out of commission for 3 solid days.  I don't have everything I need for the meals and now have to make a trip to Costco (one of the places I really don't like all that much) in order to pick up something I need desperately and couldn't get elsewhere.  Aside from everything else, it's out of my way, I have to take everybody (because my daughter is the one with the Costco card and I'm the one with the drivers license) and it takes forever to get through there.  All for one or two items.

My 3 year old granddaughter has school today for a grand total of ONE hour.  Everybody else is off.  I have to go either downtown or to Richmond to the passport office to turn in my passport application because my documentation finally arrived yesterday and I can't risk waiting until the beginning of the week to do it because I'm going to a wedding in the US at the beginning of October and I'd like to be allowed across the border.

And we're trying to get out a major mailing at work today when the material we're mailing just came from the printer yesterday afternoon and we got a new mailing machine yesterday morning.  As of the time I left the office yesterday the machine was sealing 4 envelopes, then stopping.  We have about 5,000 going out!

So, why am I making my first post in over a month?  Because it's almost Rosh Hashana and I want to start the new year off right.  First of all, Shana Tova to all my Jewish readers.  Have a good and sweet year!  And I feel guilty that I've been so busy I haven't gotten back to this after planning to.

I'm going to try to do better this year but September is full of days when we can't write so the posts are going to be sporadic, even if I'm good about getting back to blogging!  Anyway, I'm off and running.  Wish me luck!