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Home > Archive: June, 2021

Archive for June, 2021

And the bull keeps on running...

June 29th, 2021 at 02:28 pm

I hadn't checked by investments lately but once again, now that I have, I'm so pleased at my portfolio performance. My assets (not including home or other possessions) stand at $1.24 million, up about $20,000 since May.

My Vanguard personal performance is a modest (?) 8% since inception, which for me is 2011; at T.  Rowe Price, where I still have 3 funds, my personal performance is about the same, 8.04%.

 I am very conservatively invested these days as I feel I have more to lose and less time to recoup any losses, so I'm about 50/50 stocks/bonds and cash. It's hard to believe that upon my birthday, which is coming up soon, I am eligible to begin collecting Social Security!! Which I won't do, of course. But still, something to think about.

This month my monthly health care premiums through Obamacare fell to just $56!! Thank you, Joe Biden.

I have no special plans for the holiday weekend other than a friend from my gardening group coming over to view the gardens.. and maybe have a glass of iced tea, although I think the current heat wave will be over. With this heat (and today is the worst of it), I can do little or nothing outside, and so much needs to be done. Poison ivy is out of control this year and I now have a dedicated shovel I use to knock the vines down out of the trees and cut the vines, too. In theor, rinsing the impervious surface of the shovel off with the hose should wash off the urishol, but I don't take any chances and am careful how I otherwise use that shovel.

Most of the yard work around here involves either 1. Weeding, 2. Hacking back the overgrowth and 3. Watering not-quite-established perennials planted earlier in the year. I planted a new large perennial bed in the back 40, but my hose doesn't reach it, so any watering I do there is done with the bucket brigade.

My neighbor adjacent to me is, for the 2nd day, chainsawing tall trees on their property. I listened to the whine of those  chain saws all day. (Their son is in the business.) It's a shame, because there's a small brook that runs through there and all kinds of animals, including bobcat and coyotes, follow that stream, shaded and cooled by those trees.

I have this lovely wildflower, which I identified as ragged robin, growing in my lawn. It's native to Britain and Ireland, but while it's attractive to bees and butterflies, it's considered invasive here. I had giving away seeds to people in my gardening group but then had to tell them it's invasive. I, personally, will still encourage these in my lawn as I just love it. The wispy flowers are borne aloft on leafless stems, giving the appearance of them floating in air.

June, what a spendy month

June 28th, 2021 at 10:37 pm

I feel like lately I have been spending money left and right. I just tallied expenses up and it's not quite as bad as it felt, but still it's $3,464 for the month of June, which is $750 more than I earned! Fortunately, I have a surplus year-to-date in income vs expenses of $3,000. The important thing is to cover the majority of my day-to-day living expenses over the course of the year, so hopefully it will all even out.

June's non-routine expenses included: Q2 IRS and state estimated taxes of $1,066; $505 in out of pocket medical copays related to physical therapy for my knee, eyeglasses and doc visits for dermatology and vertigo. Also very high was the $433 I spent on food, although this does also include toiletries and things like vitamins, dental floss, sunscreen and eyedrops. Finally, I went overboard treating my friend to lunch for her birthday; with tip, the bill came to $74! But it was a very nice lunch. Smile

I've been very active the past year or so with a local FB gardening group for our town only.  Someone decided to have a party so we could all get together and meet for the first time. It was fun; about 25 people showed up, and it was outside. I can't say I didn't think about COVID, as no one wore a mask, but there aren't many Trumpers in my state and our positivity rate is about 0.44%. Some people brought food or drink, while others brought plants to share!

A little bit of pampering

June 3rd, 2021 at 04:25 pm

After the long, self-imposed self-isolation, I decided to "treat" myself to something that wasn't really a necessity...I saw a dermatologist about removing 2 things from my face.

Our face, after all, is the first thing most people see.

I had a small, discolored patch on my right cheek which I already knew was not cancerous, but unsightly to me. She froze that off but since it was entirely cosmetic, I had to pay $100 (in addition to the $60 copay for the office visit).

The 2nd item was on the same side, something I thought was a mole but was kind of "in the way," along the jaw line. She said it was actually a wart (!!) so she cut that out, too, and I am to keep vaseline and a small band-aid on it to keep it moist for 4 or 5 days. This, she said, she could process through my health insurance; I'm not sure, but I may end up paying full freight on this, too, since I haven't met my deductible.

But I don't regret having done it, and I did, in fact, schedule a free consultation with their esthetician to learn about their various "light" procedures that could improve your skin. I had a microdermabrasion done years ago, and I thought it was an improvement, and now I am 20 years older and the sun has taken its toll, so any little thing like that could help!

Containing the growing things
I've been spending most of my available time working in the yard. All the recent rain we've had has turbocharged every living thing here, and suddenly, I feel "behind schedule." I keep a running list of yard chores, and try to knock them off, one by one. Last night, the chore was pulling Virginia creeper vines off my mountain laurel. It'll be good for an other month or so, and then I'll have to do it again. Frown

All hands on deck
I've started a new kind of physical therapy for my knee injury (menescus tears) and have seen her twice so far; 3rd visit is today. She's what is called a "manual" physical therapist, meaning, she does mostly hands-on work rather than solely focusing on exercises.

They also have me using a homeopathic topical cream, used widely in Europe, directly on the knee, which is said to be antiinflammatory. I'm highly skeptical about its efficiacy, especially after reading an article discrediting the cream, but since I spent $30 on it, I will certainly keep using it. It's called Traumeel.

In the worst case scenario, if I end up having to do knee surgery (which itself is no guarantee of good results), I will definitely need physical therapy after that, so it just occurred to me I should "bank" some of my permitted physical therapy for this calendar year. My insurer covers the bulk of up to 40 sessions per calendar year, though I still have to pay a $30 copay. I may want to limit my current physical therapy to 10 sessions. I am booked for 4 more sessions, so 6 total at this point.

No pergola
My British neighbor had told me he would build my pergola for me this summer, but now he can't because he said his mother in England is being abused by her caretaker and he's flying out there next week and doesn't know when he'll return, but when he does, he'll be bringing her with him.