Saturday, December 30, 2017

A New Book To Check Out!

Yeah, I know, enough with the books!  The good news is, this is a goal planning workbook, that comes with a lot of free printables, which is great considering that I mostly do ebooks now.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Taliesin West

I decided to have a little bit of fun during Winter Break, one of them is something that has been on my bucket list.  And oh boy, did this ever make my bucket list.

Years ago when I was earning my bachelors degree, I took an architecture class for humanities credit (VERY interesting overview of architecture styles and learning about city and neighborhood design.  One of the architects we spent a lot of time on was Frank Lloyd Wright.  I had heard about him with learning about the design of Grady Gammage Theater in Tempe on the ASU campus.  I’ve been there a few times to see programs, so I had been familiar with it, the design of the building, and a brief mention of Frank Lloyd Wright.  

Today (December 28th) I visited Taliesin West, which was not only his home during the final years of his life, it was also a school of architecture and design, where the students created little “cabins” in the desert around the campus.

The tour this morning was made extra special with the docent, a woman who is a former art teacher to pre-school children.  She was awesome and made everything fun.  Even more fun, in one of the rooms was a Steinway grand piano, that I was invited by the docent to play.  Very cool!

Here are a few pictures (I tried to get some without other people from the tour group in the shot):

The View

The water flowing in this pool is pumped from an underground spring!

Having views of nature brought indoors is the hallmark of Frank Lloyd Wright designs.

The Steinway, the keys flowed like butter even though it hasn’t been tuned in decades.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s bedroom.  The nearest bed was for short naps, the further bed was where he slept.  A window (to the left of the picture) that shows the further bed was the “Do Not Disturb” window so the students (apprentices) would know he was sleeping if they were trying to speak with him.

Another pool from the springs in between buildings.

This room is a lighting room.  Lights were put in different places to teach apprentices how light affects a room.

The view of McDowell Mountains from the dining room area.

The studio and dining rooms.  The rooms were changed from the front rooms due to the build up of power lines obstructing the view in the front.

The entrances of each of his buildings have Asian inspired sculptures at the entrance, a nod from him after his travels to Japan.

The theater

The Cabaret from next to the stage.

The Cabaret from the back.  Yes, they did have movies shown, due to Frank Lloyd Wright’s connections with Hollywood.

Their logo is this orange design, symbolizing to hands clasped together in a working relationship and friendship.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Guess What I Found At Costco!

I’m planning on doing a no spend January (whether I can do it or not we will find out), so I figure I’ll get these now!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Bags, Bags And More Bags

Saturday:  2 bags of donations delivered to Deseret Industries

Monday:  3 bags of trash

Tuesday:  4 bags of trash

Tomorrow:  1 bag of plastics and cans, 2 full containers of cardboard boxes, 1 box of paper to go out to recycling (Wednesdays are recycling pickup days)

There will be more trash and recycling to go.

New Blinds Installed!

Master & guest bedrooms 

Plus a start on the kitchen:

Friday, December 22, 2017

It’s Almost Christmas?

This past week has been hectic, but do-able.

Last week I had received confirmation that Mom’s bills (what didn’t get paid from Medicare and her supplemental insurance was written off.  A huge blessing I am very grateful for.

That meant that last Saturday (Dec. 16) I was able to close out Mom’s accounts and get the money divided between my sister and myself.  That is done.

On December 15th, my new iPad Pro (12.9 inches) was delivered, so on the 16th I picked up the keyboard and a carrying case for it.  It’s gorgeous, and I’m typing this post on it right now.  It types like a dream.  I can’t wait to do my writing on it, once I feel like I’ve gotten to where I can write again.

This past week saw me working long hours, taking extra time at lunch to eliminate the hours.  I also managed to send a package out that had been on the back burner, but is now done.  Another check off my list.

Now that the Winter Break has begun, I’ve started with some laundry and dishes, tomorrow will mean more work.  I have people coming in during break to set up the blinds and to replace the HVAC system and hot water heater in my home.  The next on the list (once I’ve gotten my savings back up) will be flooring, as I’ve described in my previous post on goals.

I’ve even bought a ticket to see Taliesin West, which I’ve wanted to see for years.  New beginnings.

Baby steps.

I still don’t feel like I’ve grieved, but now that I’m off, I think I can stop long enough to let that begin.

Well, that’s enough for now.  There is going to be a lot of recycling, a lot of trash and a lot of donations over the next few weeks.  I also need to get my finances ready for taxes, it will be here before I know it.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza and Happy New Year to all of you.  Please be safe.

Light The World - Day 22

For more information, please click here:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Ring In The New Goals

December 10th and I'm already thinking about my goals for 2018.

If you remember my list from last year, you'll see how much I hit and where I missed the mark, one in a good way.

A little over a year ago, in the Financial Basics Lesson 2, I wrote out some of my long term goals.

While some have been fulfilled, others haven't and some no longer exist.

I'm no longer worrying about how to take care of Mom, she is now with God.

I'm still working on getting good homes for her three remaining cats who are staying with me for the time being, however I would like to find them good, permanent homes.

I now have a bunch of stuff in storage that needs to be gone through, but I still have a house full of stuff in boxes from last year's craziness when I got hit with bed bugs (they are gone).

I've hit rock bottom emotionally, but I'm slowly working my way up.

1.  I'm having blinds put into the windows.  The cats have been destroying the curtains.

2.  The next on the list is to get the HVAC and hot water heater replaced.  I still need to make that call.

3.  I need to finish the last of the probate in calling the medical people Mom owed money to.  We'll see how that goes in the coming week.

4.  I need new flooring in my home, but this will need to be done slowly, room by room.  As one room is finished, that work will stop while I get furnishings put in there that will reduce the boxes currently in the house as well as the stuff in storage.

     a.  The Master Bedroom will be first, I have my bed frame and a large bookcase in storage that will need to be moved in.  This will allow for books that have been in boxes around the home to be given new homes.  I will need to purchased an all new mattress and box springs as those were bad and left for disposal at Mom's house.

     b.  The guest bedroom will be second.  Once the flooring is done there, I will be able to get some Ikea furniture purchased, delivered and assembled for that room, namely bookshelves and a window bench.  A bed frame and mattress will need to also be purchased and installed into the room.  More books will find new homes and more of the items in storage will be brought into that room.

     c.  The living room, dining room and kitchen will be third.  A new sectional sofa with storage will be purchased, delivered and assembled from Ikea.  Some of the furniture that exists in the room will be rearranged.

     d.  The office will be last.  This is the room that has the most clutter to it, however some of that clutter will either been gone through for donations, sales or scanned and shredded.  More Ikea shelving will be purchased, along with a desk system for the closet.

Will this all get done in 2018?  I have no idea.  Number one will get done in 2017, I'm hoping number 2 will also be done in 2017.  Number three has to be done in 2017, the deadline is December 29th to close out the probate.  Number four is going to be the big question, but it will be taken slowly.

The bathrooms are not on the list as they will be gutted for new fixtures, flooring, lighting, everything.

In the meantime, because of my change in family situation, as well as financial situation, I re-visited the Budget Binder video from the beginning of 2017 to see what works for me - and what I will need to tweak for my situation.  The forms available for purchase are wonderful, however I'm a Google Sheets nut and know how to create my own, so that is what I did, based upon how my mind works on this stuff.

Here is what I came up with:

Sinking Fund Balance Sheet

A few changes I made to the sheets used in the video below:  The Sinking Fund Balance sheet is more of a general ledger used in accounting, and I changed it to look more like that, including a starting balance for the sinking fund.  It resembles the ledgers used for checking account books.

I changed the checklists to include $$ amounts with the names of the bills/sinking funds.  I don 't know about you, but I don't have memorized how much I should expect to pay each month.  Plus, having these amounts written down will make the budgeting easier, rather than having to look it up every month when I write out the budget.  I hope that makes sense.  Also, as great as it is to have a checklist to remind myself to pay bills, I think it will be helpful for me to keep a checklist of paying my "sinking fund bills" as well.

When I filled out the Monthly bill checklist, I added in the blank space on the bottom of the printout for the annual payments for property taxes and life insurance policies.

I didn't include the Financial Goals list as the one I made is pretty much identical to the one available for purchase.  The only "tweak" I made is the reminder to make your goals SMART.

Also, there will be more details about the goals and the steps I need to do to accomplish those goals on my Daily Task Schedules.

Light The World - Day 10

Please click the link below for more:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Not bad!

Today I went to the credit union and took care of some financial business and this evening got the recycling out.  I also took a drive and found out where the Grief Counseling is going to be held at and took a nice drive up Mill Avenue.

I almost forgot to mention the delicious slice of pie I had at Cracker Barrel.  Apple Pecan Streusel pie.  Yum.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Christmas Came Early!

At least for me!

Starting Again - With A Twist

Yesterday I took another load of items to the donation center and started filling out my budget for December.

I'm feeling like I'm starting a new life - and in a way I am.

For the first time since 1994, I'm no longer caregiving for anyone

My budget no longer includes debt payment.  This is going to take some time to adjust to.

I'm starting on a new and crazy-feeling adventure, it's going to take a little while for me to figure it all out.

1.  I've started two new bags for donations - one for clothing and the other for everything else to be donated.  I've already started filling both up.

2.  I've made a list of sinking funds to have created as separate savings accounts.  This will be done in December.

3.  I am having new blinds put up in my windows, the next step will be to call and have a new HVAC unit installed and get a new hot water heater installed.  Both are past their life spans.

4.  For Black Friday, I ordered some cleaning cloths and some beauty supplies.  Yes, you heard that right, beauty supplies.

 5.  Yesterday I stopped off at Costco and picked up two diffusers that are on sale, then stopped off at Whole Foods to pick up some essential oils.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

My Newest Find

I finally got a good night's sleep without medication for the first time in a while, and I've finally figured out why.

I get cold when I sleep.

My basil temperature drops when I sleep, so I wake up (a lot) freezing in bed.

The solution?

A thermal pad for sleeping bags.

Yep, this little beauty worked for me last night.  It's a keeper.  And I don't need to inflate it, I just need the thermal properties for it.

Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout Sleeping Pad

Pay Thy Debt And Live

These words bring new meaning to me in light of what has happened over the last six months.

I'm assuming you know I lost my Mother on July 13th, 2017.

I was within a year of being completely debt free, having worked for over three years to get to the last remaining debt that I owed, due to an overwhelming prompting I received to get out of debt in order to be in a better position to take care of my Mother.

In a way, I was able to do just that.

Because of my emergency savings, I was able to pay cash for most of the remaining costs of her funeral expenses.

Because of my low expenses that I have been living on, I was able to bankroll the  utility costs and the costs of taking care of her pets during the initial probate period in order to keep her house running while things got sorted out.

Because I have a home with extra space, I was able to house my sister who wished to be a co-representative with me in the affairs of Mom's estate.

Because I owed so little, I was able to take a reduced amount of the shared inheritance in order to acquire property my parents owned in another part of Arizona.

Because of the money I continue to earn with my job, I was able to continue to maintain life until the estate could be settled.

Because I had spent over three years working and paying off debt, the Lord's desires to bless me and to make my burden lighter (not gone, but lighter) were far easier for Him to accomplish.

Because of my preparations, while finances did get tight, my "barrel of meal" did not "waste" nor did my "cruz of oil" fail.  The Lord truly blessed us.

I have paid my debt, now is the time for the Lord to help me as I begin to live.

The original video can be found here:

Additional thoughts to ponder:

The original video can be found here:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

2018 Daily Task Schedules

For 2018, I have "tweaked" the Daily Task Schedule forms to make them look more uniform, but also eliminating the Not Important stuff (for the most part) as everything you do should have some importance to you.

The tweaks in the system come from my having to use this while handling the situation with Mom in July and the work that has been required since then.  This system really saved me as there was too much for me to keep in my head and writing it down helped me to better organize what needed to be done in what order and in what degree of urgency.

What I've come up with is a variation of the "Eisenhower Method" created by President Ike Eisenhower while he was serving as President of the United States, and very possibly while he was serving in the Armed Forces.  I'm not too clear on the history, I just know that he is known for this method.

If you don't know what I'm talking about or how to use it, check out the video from Dr. Randy Pausch, who used this up until his passing in 2008.

Here are the revised pages for 2018:

Hopefully this year will be a productive year for you, as I'm hoping it will be for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all who are reading this have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Please be safe.


I’ve decided to stay home.


My body hurts.


I’ll share what I posted on Facebook yesterday.

At 12:04 pm:

So far today:

3 bags of trash taken out
2 loads of dishes
2 litter boxes changed
3 documents signed before a notary

Still need to throw out more trash, get started on the laundry, group items for donations and take over, fed ex probate papers for sister to get notarized.

Take a few deep breaths.

At 3:53 pm yesterday:

Home Depot measured but will not be out for at least 6 weeks.  I bought temp shades, hopefully that will appease the HOA people.

I also fed ex sent probate paperwork to sister and filled up another water jug.  

I need to run a few more errands today and then I will hopefully be done!

At 5:58 pm yesterday:

2 carloads of recycling out
1 load of donations dropped off.

Fed the cats and now waiting for my TV dinner to heat. 

Time to sit back and relax for the rest of the night.

Happy thanksgiving everyone!

Yep, I overdid it, but I did get a lot done!  Today I ran the dishwasher to catch up on the plates for the cat food, put the clean dishes away.

Enjoy your time with family and friends.

The Importance of Etiquette

Saturday, November 18, 2017

More Recycling Done

Swedish Death Cleaning

I had never heard of this before, but it completely makes sense.  It's the decluttering version of creating an Estate Plan.

I am also a survivor of someone who didn't do this, and yes, I paid for it.  I have the pictures to prove it.

A few thoughts:

I got help in getting some of the big things out, namely the furniture that belonged to my sister and I.  For the rest of it, I took out of the house things that were indicative to my memories of Mom and Dad.  Papers.  A lot of papers that I will need to go through.  The rest, however, can be replaced.

I didn't get everything out, there wasn't enough time as the buyer wanted to close earlier than had been arranged, but it's okay.  I have pictures of the rooms with the furnishings that didn't make it.

Furthermore, I have the memories of spending time with my parents, which cannot be bought.

Tempe Zero Waste Day

If you are looking to eliminate clutter in your home,  please check with your locality on recycling days to dispose of items responsibly.

Today is Tempe’s Zero Waste Day.  

I went from this...

To this!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

New LDS Church Video On Grieving

I didn't have time this week to watch all of it, but from the first 15 minutes of, it looks really good.  Well worth watching.  From The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My New Life - Part 2

This morning I had my hair cut.  Not a trim, a cut.  Afterwards, a breakfast sandwich at Panera Bread.



And breakfast!

My New Life - Part 1

One of the things I enjoy doing is going out and trying new restaurants.

Because of dietary and taste restrictions of my Mother, much of where I wanted to go and try out was pretty much out of the picture, along with the fact that i was trying to get out of debt, so eating out was a luxury I couldn't afford at the time.

With my debt now gone and my caregiving days are behind me, I'm starting with some of the favorites that I know and love.

This past Wednesday, November 8th, that started with Wildflower Bakery on Guadalupe and McClintock.  Their Chicken Parmesan is one of the best, served over bread.  Yum.

Thank You For Your Service.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Ways To Cope With Stress

There are a few ways I’ve been coping with stress, one of them being lemon flavored wafer cookies, namely the kind pictured.  Then, of course, there is always chocolate.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Final Debt Paid Off

This isn’t how I wanted this to end, with the death of my Mother, but as I was down to my last debt, it only took a fraction of my inheritance to pay off my debt.  I’m now debt free.

Thank You Petsmart

As it turns out, those cancelled crates were the wrong size.  Since I was already getting Mom’s dog ready for her new home, I ordered the correct size and picked them up.

Mom’s dog looks completely different with a buzz cut, and their groomers are top notch.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Are You Kidding?

Last week I ordered pet supplies at Petsmart, but I was planning on picking up when I take Mom’s dog in for grooming on Wednesday.  I just got a message that the order was canceled because I didn’t pick it up within their “window”.

I’ll still bring the dog in for grooming, but I guess the purchase will be made at Walmart.

Congratulations, Petsmart, you lost a sale.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Starting The Organization Process

This past week, I managed to take out 4 bags of metal and plastic and one container of cardboard.  

Last night I ran a load of dishes, I’ve run another this morning and am getting another start on the laundry.

I’m off this next week on vacation, which will allow for me to get more done.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

It is finished.

With the help of the wonderful brethren at my Ward, what needed to be moved has been moved.  A few details to work out and we should be ready for the new buyer to take over.

Today was bittersweet, saying goodbye to the house I grew up in.

New Goal For 2018

Do you like moving?  I'm not a fan.  I have too much stuff.

This is the big weekend I'm getting help moving what I'm keeping of Mom and Dad's stuff, along with some of my mementoes, into storage until I can get things done in my home and decide what I'm truly keeping, and what I'm letting go.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Update 10-16-17

Right now I’m in the thick of getting things out of Mom’s house, whether I keep it or donate it.

Quite the challenge, but thankfully, I’m getting help from people at my Church.


Saturday, October 14, 2017


So am I surprised from the sex scandal?


I think I’m more surprised at how long it took.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Equifax Hack

Be sure to check out the podcast from Radical Personal Finance, this has a lot of information on what to do next with the Equifax Hack.

Radical Personal Finance

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Piano's Purpose

I can feel for these stories, I am in the process of building a new life for myself.

Oh, and by the way, we do have a pretty worn piano at my Mother's home that we will need for it to go to a good home.  :-)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Backing Up Your Data

I was so sad to read that lightbycoco removed her content from her channel, although going full time into a new job, I can completely understand it.  I went through the same thing.

The good news is there are other. Videos on digitizing your data, particularly from the Dallas Genealogical Society.

Their videos are from a few years ago, but still very relevant.

This one is the start of the series on Backing Up Your Files.

Monday, August 28, 2017

How "The Other Half" Lives

If you want to be wealthy, take a look at what wealthy people do to stay wealthy.

The Family Wealth book profiled in the One Percent documentary can be found here.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

US History: Are We There Yet?

We are still feeling the effects of the housing collapse in 2007-2008.  While a lot of new housing is going up, it's targeted towards those who have the means to afford the higher prices - whether it's a house or an apartment.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Family History During The Depression

I came from blue collar roots, and still consider myself to be blue collar now.

My Mother was born in 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio during the depression.

My Father was born on a tobacco farm in Jonesboro Tennessee in 1932.

Neither had money, but worked and sacrificed in order to provide a good home for us kids.

We didn't do home movies, but the family sure did pictures.  Here are just a few.

Henry Earl Robinson - Mother's Father, with Frances Isabelle Kersey - Mother's Mother.  He died his hair black to make him look younger, but he was old enough to be her father.  Grandma left behind a home with the means to survive the depression (her father buried money in pickle jars in the back yard because he didn't trust the banks) to marry a man she felt sorry for - and lived with a dress and a full slip to switch out.  That was it.  In her previous life, she had a closet full of clothes.

Mom was born in a rough shack of a house in Cincinnati.  This was while my grandparents were newly married and he still provided for the kids.  By the time the youngest, Eddie, came along, he had left Grandma to provide for herself and four children during the depression.

My Father, Charles Sells, as a kid in Tennessee.  They were blessed with farm land to plant and grow their own food.  My Mother faced starvation in the city.

The only way for my Father (and for many men during that time) was to go into the military to get away from the farm and learn a new skill.

The way for my Mother to get away from the rat trap housing projects forced on the family by welfare was to marry young.  Mom was about to start her senior year of high school when she and Dad married.

They were a team and life partners to the end.  Here they are at my ASU graduation in December, 1999.