Saturday Fun & a Catch Up

The dog photos in this post were meant for Saturday and Eileen's Saturday's Critters.  Somehow I saved the post to draft rather than as a "Scheduled" post so I'm sharing them a bit late.

I enjoyed watching this dog try to get in on the throw ball action between the two friends.

We've continued to have a fair bit of rain since the weekend but life goes on.

On Friday night I attended a new to me restaurant in town called "Nuba's", a Lebanese restaurant. The food is fantastic and I can see why there was a line up out the door that night. There are actually 3 restaurants by this name in town and I went to the one on Hastings and Carrell.  The group ordered sharing plates filled with tabbouleh salad, humous, baba ganoush, olives, houlami cheese and shredded beets as well as plates of pita bread. Then we ordered side dishes of chicken, lamb etc. All of the food was delicious but my favourite one is called "Najib's Special".  It is a deep fried cauliflower dish with a wonderful array of spices. Yum!

Photo Credit: Ashley from Yelp.  This is Najib's Special

Friday's gathering was a group of men and women saying "farewell" to a a member of the group. It was my first time meeting some of them.  They not only were a beautifully dressed group of people but a very diverse and interesting social set who immediately made me feel at ease.  Sadly two of the women I spoke with that night are leaving the city shortly. It seems that their work prospects did not pan out as hoped and they are moving on.  This city is a very expensive place to live and one can only sustain a life here if there is enough money to pay the bills and have some recreational money.  I know that is true in many places but this city is known for having a very high cost of housing, both rentals and purchases.  That is what makes the difference.

Since last week was such a busy week, I took Sunday to recuperate as well as catch up on house work and chores. There was and is still a lot to do on the home front.  One of the tasks I did was to sort through a lot of packaging from parcels received over the last few months.  In February I ordered some colouring books and some pencil crayons as well as felt markers.  Some of these are gifts and some are for me to colour and relax. It seems to be all the rage at the moment. I've seen these types of colouring books at my local pharmacy and also at the craft store. I've ordered 3 colouring books so far. One for me, one for my niece (for Christmas or Birthday) and another so I can send pages to my sponsored boys in Africa.

I spent Monday tutoring my friend in Mathematics. Right now we are doing a lot of work on multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. I've also touched a bit on fractions and decimals. Today though I walked my friend through a very practical lesson, that is drafting a monthly income and expense sheet.

For the past two years or so I've been constantly encouraging him to do certain things like pay himself first (investment into Registered Retirement Savings Plan), start a savings account, arrange overdraft protection for his Chequing Account, file annual taxes on time and watch his spending on the little things. He has done most of these things but not all of them.

Today's exercise opened his eyes to how much he was frittering away on coffee and snacks each month and how much his impulse purchases and recreational activities were costing him on a monthly basis. It also taught him that he is spending far too much on groceries each month for one person and that he can afford to cut back there and increase his budgetted amount for certain other expenses. I think it also opened his mind to the idea that if he spends carefully and saves every month he could actually take a vacation rather than believe he can't afford it.
I sent him home with homework to determine if all the line items were correct as one must have a real handle on one's spending each month before one can determine real income and expense amounts. I know many people recommend recording expenses every day for a period of time but I didn't ask him to do this because he is a very busy person and that would just never get done. Once we are done basic mathematical operations we will continue on to learn about basic geometry and algebra.

The other project we did today was to identify monthly savings requirements for variable expenses that may only occur once or a few times in a year rather than every month.
It was an opportunity for him to realize that he has been overpaying his medical premiums and he now needs to contact the provincial government and get this sorted out. He also needs to contact the Canada Revenue Agency to ascertain some other information related to deductions.  I could do this for him but I want him to do it himself. After all it is his money and he should have the responsibility of looking for the information even if he is very busy.

It took us a few hours to go through the exercise even though I kept him on track rather than get into side discussions about each aspect of the monthly expenses.

After our discussion he promptly went to the local supermarket to buy food so that he wouldn't have to buy meals tomorrow for breakfast and dinner.
I went to a different supermarket (my local supermarket) on Saturday and discovered there is next to nothing remaining to buy in the store. I was hoping to pick up some meat and produce. I couldn't even buy bananas.
Whatever I did buy was 40% off but I noticed that first the store increased the "regular" price before they started the sales so in the end you were paying almost the original regular price. You really have to know your prices before you buy things these days.

As I mentioned in a post a few days ago I was looking for a new glucometer.  I met with my pharmacist on Saturday to look at some of the options and decided on the One Touch Verio Flex. Boy I really wish I would have had something like this a few years ago to better track everything without having to log it all into a chart by hand or manually.

 Just in case any of you are looking for one here is an image (albeit blurry). The coloured panel tell you when you have low blood sugar, normal blood sugar or high blood sugar. If you turn on the Blue Tooth option and download an app to your phone it will record all the results and chart them for you. You can also add notes about food and exercise though I'm still working on how best to note the foods. I am only 2 days into setting it all up but so far so good. It needs enough data (at least 2 weeks) before the charting of results can be more useful to you. Over time I think this will be a very useful tool.

Weather today was pouring rain. I didn't check the weather report for Tuesday yet but I do have some errands.
If the weather cooperates I might go downtown to see a foreign film. It is only playing one time on one day so it is either see it now or see it never, lol.

A photo from my archives. So far I haven't had much time to take photos of tree blossoms  this Spring.

Thank you for stopping by.
Joining in with Our World Tuesday today.
I hope you all have a fabulous week ahead


  1. Gorgeous shots - especially that blossom!

  2. Your food name "Najib's Special" caught my attention! Beautiful tree blossom!

  3. Happy the blossom...fabulous pink!

  4. I'm so glad you're recuperating (or all better) because you've been very busy! The tutoring and financial management skills -- so important and a great thing to do. I loved the pictures by the water, the rose and of course that dinner looks fabulous!

  5. Good on you for spending time with someone to help them with basic money management.

  6. You are an angel to do that tutoring and help with budgeting, what a gift you have given.

  7. Hi Joyful, I enjoyed this post. Your discussion of tutoring reminds me of my teaching days. Did you know one of the subjects I taught was accounting? A lot of what you are covering with the young gentleman is taught in accounting. It’s been a while since my teaching days and technology has changed things so much … I wonder if there are apps for the smartphones that will track your expenses … especially those phones that can now be used to actually make payment at the checkout counter. Now, regards the coloring books … wow, my spouse is into the same thing! :-) If I may, let me recommend that you check them out on Amazon … they have a very large selection and at prices lower than we could find in any of the art stores in Seattle. The coloring books are quite interesting as a stress reducer! Lastly, "Najib's Special" … your description is just about to make me drive up to Vancouver! :-) And, one more thing … I rec’d your excellent PC and will be getting back to you on that soon! Have a great rest of your week!

    1. Hi John, I'm glad you enjoyed my post and that it brought back memories. There are lot of apps and online tools which can track expenses, etc. But I'm trying to teach my "student" how to do things on paper so he understands what he is doing. Later he can progress to apps. He already uses the mobile phone in a modern way by paying all his bills etc. and doing banking via phone. I will check out Amazon offerings. I got mine at a good price on line too.

  8. It looks warm enough there that it might soon feel like spring! I taught and also tutored for many, many years. I liked teaching "real-life" skills, especially with adults. They can see an immediate reward to this type of learning.

  9. Oh my gosh! What a gorgeous photo of that ball of cherry blossoms. Sigh.... Brings back lovely memories.


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