Thursday, March 26, 2015


My apologies for lack of posting. I am suffering with "piriformis syndrome" (a muscle in the butt!!) which means I'm not sitting very much - I'm either standing, laying or doing my exercises :(

I believe it harks back to a 20km hike I did over icy terrain where I fought every step to keep my balance. That made my piriformis muscles flare up which in turn is pressing on my sciatic nerve causing PAIN!! So I'm on a regime of ibuprofin and stretching and strengthening exercises which I don't enjoy doing - BOO!

So...for your viewing pleasure I have included a clip from last year's walking trip. I finally managed to upload a few of my clips to Youtube. I have a couple more but because they are larger than 1gig they won't upload. When I learn how to edit them and divide them into smaller chunks I'll post them as well. 

This will give you an idea of what my days were like!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Boring Budget Basics otherwise known as the BBB

Every Monday I head out to fill Dougie the Dodge with gas and to buy groceries. I allot so much per week for these expenses. Now...wouldn't it be so nice if each month had exactly 4 weeks? Unfortunately the calendar doesn't work that way. Next week will be part March and part April. Should I allot the gas & groceries to March next week?  or April? Go halfsies? I spent a few moments thinking about that conundrum when I thought of a brilliant solution!! Yes, sometimes there is brilliance!!

I'm going to change gas & grocery day!! Instead of Mondays starting April 1st (no joke!!) gas & grocery day will be on WEDNESDAYS!! Woot woot!! No doubt at the end of April I'll have to make another little adjustment as we all know there are 4 weeks AND A COUPLE OF DAYS in every month, except February...why can't every month be nice and tidy like February?? The challenge will be to make the gas & groceries last 2-3 days longer at the end of each month. That's a challenge I can handle.

I guess I could stop being a zero budgeter but it's all I know!! There's usually some money left at the end of each month but I do what my gramma used to do - move the leftovers into a different "purse" and start fresh with next month's money. (Yes, I only get paid once a month!)

My gramma had two purses hidden behind a cushion in her bedroom. Her monthly money would go in one purse and she would pay all of her bills from it. Then whatever was left at the end of the month went into the "savings" purse. No carry over into the next month. And that's the way I do things too except I use bank accounts not purses. Maybe I should switch?'d be too tempting to spend.

After spending on gas & groceries today I have $61 left in the gas budget and $81 left in the groceries budget. If I can make that last til April 1st then I can tuck$142 into savings. If I can't it's no big deal as the money is there if I need it.

Are you going to make it to the end of the month before the end of your money?

Friday, March 20, 2015


It's only 1c now but it's supposed to go up to +8c this afternoon. The furnace is still pumping out the heat and there are clouds holding back the sunlight BUT I'LL TAKE IT!! I can see about half of my patio stones and yesterday Kazi considered going out back with some hot water and getting rid of the remaining snow, maybe have a little "patio" time! (She didn't)

Here I am out for an "urban hike" yesterday. The day started off at -8c but warmed up gradually. That weird military-looking installation is NOT London's missile defence, it's actually a fountain in downtown London that usually looks like this:

Yeah...spring has not exactly SPRUNG yet...but then there's this...

...and where there's snowdrops, there's hope! (I took this photo from inside through a window as they are still surrounded by large piles of snow so it's not the best quality.)

I'm feeling a little low right now and could really use some more signs of spring - do you have any??

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Blogger Blues No More

I wish I could fix everything like that. Wait a day then try again. Hoping somewhere in the reboot process that the computer/blogger problems fix themselves. Sometimes it works! Waiting...what a great strategy!

COULD NOT look at snow anymore but wanted to be realistic so my header photo shows the "melt" in process and some COLOUR!! I got rid of the snow background template picture. Gotta have hope!

I'm buzzing around trying to get things done in case the electricity goes out. We had a card in our mailbox a week ago saying the electricity would be turned off from 9am to 3pm on March 17 and 18. So far today it hasn't gone off so I'm thinking the scheduled repairs only took one day instead of two. My luck however would be sudden darkness whist in the shower. Kinda like what happened to Kazi yesterday because we forgot - she was not impressed :(

So I'm delaying my walk as something I can do when the lights go out and every other device known to mankind stops working due to lack of power. I made chilli in my "Judy" during the night - smart huh? Well, it would have been smart had the electricity actually been turned off today. That's pretty much par for the course around here - forget about it on the day they turn it off, be all prepared for the day they leave it on!! Sigh...

My refund came... my refund came!! ...... and went......

On the bright side my plane tickets to the UK and back are paid for as is my deposit on the hike and my Airbnb in the City of York. Have you ever used Airbnb? I'd never heard of them until my brother used them for his trip to Scotland last year. And I found out that one of his neighbours who I've gotten to know has a suite set up in her basement for Airbnb.

Here's a link to mine: 

Cute eh? Fully separate and private with a yard, my own bathroom etc. And only $265 Cdn for FOUR nights!! Half the cost of a hotel!

Maybe that's what I could do with Kazi's room when she moves out...if she ever moves out...

The little beggars have been really cute lately:

Basking in the sunlight - double decker kitties!

Watching a pair of doves - KITTY TV!

Cat nap!

Waiting patiently at the front door for me to come home.

 Any Airbnb users out there? Stories?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Blogger Blues

My new header photo isn't working out but at the moment blogger won't let me remove it so we're stuck for now with a monster-sized photo that floats around. Isn't life fun?

So, I'm going to update my budget quickly then get out for a walk as it's supposed to get up to +12c today!! Woot woot - and the sun is trying to peak through!

Tomorrow it might snow.

Shopping was easy peasy cheapy today. I like that! I could only squeeze $19 worth of gas into Dougie the Dodge. Still have $86 left in the gas budget. Food costs were pretty low today too - $38 spent at No Frills and $6.54 spent at Giant Tiger. That includes 2 packages of chicken (on sale) and lots of fruit and veg (2 pkg of blueberries, a pineapple, bananas, 2 cans of mandarin oranges, 6 avocados, a pepper squash, 2 bunches or green onions, 4 x-large tomatoes, 2 jars of jalapeno peppers, Greek yogurt on sale, 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, 2 cans of kidney beans, 2 cans brown beans (making veggie chilli soon!) and a box of Triscuits.

At Giant Tiger I purchased clementines, lettuce and diced tomatoes (No Frills was out of them). I went in to get toilet paper on sale but they were sold out. I have plenty for another week.

So I didn't purchase any NON FOOD items this week. That makes me happy. I have $124 left in the food budget. So far so good.

I took $40 cash out of my misc budget on Saturday which I used yesterday to see "The Second Best Marigold Hotel" (EXCELLENT) and then had Indian food for dinner :) a theme night! I have $266 left in misc and a VERY empty wallet. I can make it, the ever-elusive tax refund will show up sooner or later (definitely later!) and I don't have any expensive plans in the offing. Well...maybe one...

Friday, March 13, 2015


It was as I thought - a blister under the toenail. I might lose the nail but then again I might not. However, toenails grow so slowly it'll be awhile before I know either way. As long as it's NOT FUNGUS I am a happy camper!

Well, happy until I look at my budget this month. I've been pointedly ignoring it the past couple of weeks and it hasn't been doing too well on its own. Don't ever leave your budget to look after itself...just sayin'...

Is March like the longest month of the year? It's only the 13th today for Pete's sake! Already I've transferred small amounts of money from savings into chequing to cover things...possibly but highly unlikely I might have $$ at the end of the month to put back into my savings but I'm not getting my hopes up too high.

So what has the misc budget been spent on so far this month??

  • my lovely new Merrell hiking sandals shown above around half-price $66.00 (includes taxes) I'm somewhat optimistic that spring, summer and fall WILL OCCUR at some point this year and when they do I'll be ready!! These give me an alternative to my hiking boots - I might even be able to wear them occasionally when hiking Hadrian's Wall when/if the weather is nice. At the very least I can wear them each day after hiking to give my feet a break! I just started wearing them around the house and I feel as though I have nothing on my feet. 
  • expensive eye drops and omega 3 vitamins to combat "dry eye" syndrome (I'm so tired of winter and it's effects on my body!!)  $32.00
  • some household things from Dollarama (oh...and candy!) $17.00
  • load my Timmy's card - $15.00
  • income tax software - $21.00
  • donation to help bring Nate home  $20.00
  • truck repair $11.00
  • movie $10.00
  • utilities (I underestimated both my electricity and natural gas - damn winter!!) $15.00
  • membership $192.00 (I swear this gets more expensive every year!)
  • Take-out food from Hong Pings $43.00
  • Wine - $20.00
  • Giant Tiger (jacket & chocolate bar) $32.00
That comes to a total of.....$494.00. I have $306 left in misc for a total of $800. Since my misc budget is set at $600 that means I've pulled $200 out of savings. I still have over 18 days left in March!! Yikes! I am REALLY going to try to make many of those NO SPEND DAYS!! 

The good news is I received over $800 in interest payments this month and am anxiously awaiting my tax refund to be deposited (over $1200). These monies will all go towards travelling this year. I have possibly 4 trips in the offing from a 4 day weekend to 2 weeks in England.  AND I'm hoping to buy a trailer soon. 

Bye bye money!!

Anyone else having an expensive month?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Lost Day: Stupid Toe

I lost a day yesterday.

It all began when clipping my toenails Monday. Just so you know I'm NOT going to show you any photos! There's nothing to see here folks, just move along!

One of my toes started hurting a few days ago so I figured the nails were due for a clipping. I don't really examine my toes closely on a daily basis - they're just there at the end of my feet and make themselves known when they need some care. I do trim my toenails on a fairly regular basis as when they get too long they can start digging into the toe beside them.

The one toe that hurt a little did look a bit red. I noticed the nail was lifting up too and that there was something between the nail bed and the nail. At first I thought - FUNGUS - HORRORS! But then as I clipped the nail I knicked the skin and it drained like a blister. From my reading it appears that I could lose my toenail (but grow a new one) and that's ok with me as long as it's not FUNGUS!! 

So yesterday was spent researching and gazing in horror at fungus photos, blister photos, trying home remedies (just in case) and generally being in a funk. I have a doctor's app't tomorrow.

I was so focussed on my stupid toe yesterday I forgot to put out my recycling (actually...I took it out this morning and then realized I missed a day...) I forgot to exercise, forgot to go to meditation...a lost day. Stupid toe. Here it is Wednesday but I'm thinking it's only Tuesday.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Press Pause...

......or is that PAWS (hee hee hee!!)

I was supposed to write about my budget today, but who wants to get bogged down in numbers when it's such a gorgeous, sunny and mild day outside?? Not me, that's who!

I mean, does it really matter that I'm more than halfway through my money and it's only the 9th of the month? NO - not when I can go for a hike along the riverbank - it's mere piffle paffle!


So what if the Canada Revenue Agency let me know today that I'm getting my refund - it could be in my account right now - who cares? It's a trifle compared to the joy in my heart when I feel the sun beating down on my face. Finally.

My numbers don't balance - oh cry me a river! My little babykins is coming home today after 10 days in Chicago - let the numbers look after themselves! I'll recap another day - wheeeeeee! Right now I better have a nap so I can listen to all of Kazi's stories when she gets home!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mud Flaps

Eventually if you kick your vehicle's mudflaps hard enough over the course of a 143 month long winter they will detach. I kick all of my mudflaps on a regular basis but the one just outside my driver's door gets the most attention.

Gol darn winter!! (KICK KICK), effin' snow!! (KICK KICK), never ending hours of stupid freezing rain!! (KICK KICK KICK)!!

As I was driving along Tuesday I heard the ever mysterious, usually unidentifiable, motor vehicular sound: "clunkety clunkety clunk"! So I turned up the radio as everyone knows that's the best known method of resolving mystery noises.

The end.

Not really.

I got out to do the once around the truck inspection and was able to ascertain the source of the clunkety clunking in mere seconds. Yes, my mudflap was flapping in the breeze with a tenuous hold on the "under belly" (isn't that what the mechanics call it??) of Dougie the Dodge.

Next morning I called MY GUY. I love MY GUY. I love his whole family as Ron Kraft Auto Care is a family run business.  Mom, dad, son, daughter-in-law, cousin, neighbour (could be!)

Here's the conversation:

"Hello, this is Jane. I've kicked my truck one too many times and need to get a mudflap fixed. When can I come in?"

"How soon can you get here?"

"20 minutes?"

"See you in 20 minutes!"

About 20 minutes and $11.00 later Dougie and I were off to the races!! Vroom vroom vroom!

Who's YOUR guy??

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It's the Little Things in Life...

...that annoy me!! This has been a week of getting those little annoying jobs done. I've been working away at my list and while it's getting shorter I keep thinking of more things to add to it. seems like the to-do list never really gets to-DONE!!

So far this week I've changed the furnace filter - Luna and I have been sneezing a lot so I thought perhaps there's too much dust in the air? But it needs to be done on a regular basis anyways....
*(Luna has not sneezed once in the past two success??)

Then I returned a pair of Icers to Lee Valley for a refund:

I've worn the "icers" over my hiking boots several times since I purchased them in November and haven't enjoyed the experience. No matter how I adjusted them the toe straps would end up coming off and I'd be trailing one or both icers behind me. They are also heavy and clunky and I think may have contributed to my sore hip. Happily I received a full refund even though I was over the 90 day return policy. I didn't say a word about it and thankfully neither did the cashier!

**(Just so you don't think I'm in danger of sliding off into the ravine here's a picture of my hiking boots - the very amazing Lowa Renegades. I've worn them without Icers on many occasions over snow and ice and find they work very well on their own. Look at that tread!!)

Another nagging errand that's been hanging around for awhile involved a gift I received at Christmas. Kazi bought me several hand towels and wash cloths in "Anchor Grey" from Home Outfitters. Just what I wanted! (she can take a hint hint) But when I washed them prior to using one of the hand towels frayed around the edges. I dutifully went to exchange it but they were out of stock and gave me a gift card. So yesterday I gave them a call to see if they had them in stock now. (after 2 months - see how long I can procrastinate??)

After being transferred a few times and then ultimately cut off (!!!) I managed to reach a real person who set aside a hand towel for me. Well wouldn't you know it came to $2.62 more than the value of the gift card??  Hmmmm...yes, it was on sale originally and now it wasn't!! NOT MY PROBLEM!! The cashier saw it from my point of view (I can be persuasive when I need to be!) and after keying in a discount or two I left with my new hand towel. It sure better not unravel!!

Another odd little errand I had involved this:
I don't know if this will amount to anything but I found an old roll of 35mm film in a drawer whist rummaging for something else. I'm very curious to see if there's anything on it. I can remember when I started using a digital camera - Kazi and I went to Nova Scotia for a highland dance competition when she was 15. Now she's 24 so this roll of film is at least 9 years old! I don't want to get too excited about this but I'm seeing a potential Christmas gift for Kazi (my main photo subject!!)!! Keeping my fingers crossed!  Oh, and by the way...Walmart doesn't do "film" anymore but Shoppers Drugmart does!! But not quickly...

My exercise chart in the sidebar has been updated - "due to weather beyond my control" I've biked inside for the last two days. Today, however, the sun is shining and it's a balmy -2c so after I have lunch I'm going for a hike along the river!! March Mojo Madness continues!!

Spring is in the air!!

Famous last words!!

Have you had any odd, annoying little errands/jobs to complete lately?

Monday, March 2, 2015

I Just Lost $500.00

This is essentially what I did. I just paid $500.00 in taxes in order to withdraw $5,000.00 from my RRSPs. I have begun the process which will take a number of years to complete as I want to pay only the minimum of withholding tax which is 10% for $5,000.00.  Now I wait for another year to pass by before I can remove another $5,000.00.  Are we having fun yet?

I just did a straight transfer from my RSP savings account to my TFSA account. And magically $500 disappeared in between the two accounts. You don't even get to look at it or hold it or just vanishes into thin air...well, not disappears into government coffers. Maybe, just maybe, when it comes time to do my taxes next year some of the $500 will find its way back into my pocket. I can hope can't I?

I decided to open a TFSA GIC today in order to get a few more cents in interest. There's not much of that to be had these days but I'll nab what I can. I'm finally in a position that I would be happy to see interest rates go up...lucky me I have no debt and a few more percentage points would really help out my monthly income. I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon however.

Just another day of riveting financial news!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Mojo Madness

March is dedicated to getting back my mojo - my "exercise" mojo that is. I glanced at my sidebar today and noticed I hadn't hiked/biked/walked or much of anything else (I've done a little yoga) since Feb. 8th! That must be when we entered the hellish deep freeze of 2015!

Today the temperature registered as slightly less bone-chilling than the last few weeks so I managed to drag my sorry butt out for a hike of 5km. I'm "treating" you to 5 photos from today's hike, 4 of which showcase our remarkably hardy Canada Geese. Though I heard today that even the geese are struggling with frozen bills!!

Can you imagine living OUTSIDE the past couple of months?? Even worse - having to stick your legs in ice cold water??!!

I was feeling sorry for the geese today...

So I am challenging myself to MOVE!! EVERY DAY!!  For the month of March and beyond! Maybe it'll help me feel warm!

Do you get sluggish in the winter?