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Archive for April, 2007

Nah. I'm 45, that's all. You?

May 1st, 2007 at 02:20 am


This sign appears every 50 feet or so along the Aurora bridge, a magnet for this sort of problem.

Today I changed some dollars to euros for the trip. Too bad that 1507$ is only 1005 euros, but I hit it lucky at the Travelex in Westlake Center. They had a special - no 1% change rate, and a free buyback program to change the euros to dollars at the rate I got today. Due date for the buyback is 31 days, but I'll be in Atlanta on a 3 hr layover on May 31 (last day of my buyback). I know what I'll be doing!

In addition to that, it was a spendy day - a couple more bras, tights, ankle socks, and bubble bath ($38). Lunch at a kaiten sushi place ($13). DH was eyeing my Japanese-style fold out Moleskine notebook, so to avoid a fight, I picked a couple more, along with some office supplies ($29). And to top it off, a bubble tea ($3.25).

Radio station testing

April 30th, 2007 at 06:00 am

If you are interested, the internet radio station I've been doing some work for is nearly ready. This weekend and next week DJ friend is testing the server and is broadcasting a bit. If you're interested, follow the link under Sites I Enjoy, wait after the little flash thingee, hit the button Tune In, and hit Server 1.

Right now its working for most sound programs - Real Audio, iTunes, QuickTime, WinAmp...everything except Windows Media.

B-day 2007

April 30th, 2007 at 05:51 am

A nice relaxing day:

Received a card, box of chocolates, a bottle of red wine from DH, with some other surprise gift the end of this week, and a dinner this week.

The best gift of all: not having to go to work tomorrow. It feels like a Saturday night.

Hit an impromptu yard sale and picked up an unused Oxo teapot for $5. By unused, I mean the inside looked clean with no water spots inside and the bottom was clean. It was larger, shinier, cleaner, poured better, and the handle was more ergonomic than my old teapot, so into a donation bag the old teapot went. Its nice and relaxing when the stars align like that - a true upgrade and replacement so clutter is kept to a minimum.

Went and browsed the Greenwood library, part of the Seattle neighborhood library system. Here's a picture of the front.

The renovation was finished in April 2005, about 6 months after the Seattle main library was renovated.

Then went and checked out the used CD store, bought a little bit ($38! eek!) and chatted with the owner. He's doing well, so he needs stock and is buying CDs. Since all of my CDs are ripped onto my hard drive, I figured I might just as well sell my CDs for store credit. It will keep the clutter down, rotate what I have and will listen to, and help with my music/ entertainment budget. Yes, I'll be losing a bit of money with every CD I buy then resell, but its probably better than buying them, enjoying them a few times, then listening to NPR - my normal mode. If they make it onto my MP3 player, they get listened to at least once in awhile.

Why you need a price book

April 29th, 2007 at 01:56 am

From the files of "come to think of it, they should have something like this", an article about price optimization software:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2003684689_price28.html

The takeaway message that I get from this is that there is an art to pricing, based on psychology. There is a fair amount back and forth on other frugal sites. Some people, like me, swear by a price book, which is a list of prices, per unit, of items I normally buy, at the store I bought 'em at, and the full date (including year) when I encountered the price. Other people tell me that they have great memories, and they know for a fact that one store had consistently lower prices for stuff so why waste time and effort?

This article strengthens my suspicions that price optimization software really target how shoppers perceive price and value, especially for those shoppers who rely on their memory and impressions. In other words, those who fly by/buy the seat of their pants. A store will specifically target their loss leaders to give shoppers the impression that they have consistently lower prices, yet after a few months...not so much.

Besides, the store is using the most sophisticated calculations imaginable to determine their price. The willingness to maintain and use a price book (and if necessary, not buy) at least shows the shenanigans.

It was amazing to me learning my first week of pricebooking that Larry's Market, not known for cheap prices, beat out Costco's price for canned tuna...handily. And best of all, I could buy exactly the number of cans I had the budget for, not in packs of 12.

So you just never know ... unless you have a price book.

Changing the subject, I added another paragraph to the blog entry How To Store Grocery Produce. I think it's a good tip, making the entry worthy of revisiting.

cute commuter

April 28th, 2007 at 02:28 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - .65 milk + $15 lunch

Did the chirashi lunch today because I needed brain food for the afternoon. This afternoon I interviewed for my promotion. It went okay, considering I was the only contender. I fretted, though, about what I said or didn't say. As I was fretting, a co worker said to me, "remember what your competition said!" Big Grin

Still, it will be a battle not to think about it this 3-day weekend. I have Monday off for my birthday and plan to do a couple of trip related errands.

The picture today - we get all types of morning bus commuters in Seattle.

addictive curry

April 27th, 2007 at 03:51 am

2 images I had to show. On the postcard rack at the curry joint I saw this:


And I had to take a snap of the curry. The most addictive thing in the box is the little plastic container of green sauce. I think is comprised of yogurt, green chili, and cilantro. Sour, hot, and cilantro-y sharp. I could dip a slice of cardboard in it and happily eat it.

out of the mouths of babes

April 27th, 2007 at 03:41 am

Yesterday, April 25, 2007
Saving log - $1.35 tip box
Spending log - $.65 milk + $8 lunch at the food court

April 26, 2007
Saving log - $2.35 tip box
Spending log - $.65 milk + 7$ curry lunch + 12$ grocery run

Yesterday I had lunch with lawyer friend. He made the "affirmation statement" but he is not long for the job; he's talking that anything would be better. It will surprise me if he is still here after I get back from Paris. I told him that I want to avoid looking like a tourist; he mentioned that they don't wear fleece.

I'll remember that. Or I might go the Ugly Betty route. Big Grin

Today more fun happened. First off, it was Take Your Child To Work day. Several of us from different departments met with the kid crew this year. We all introduced ourselves.

The first question: What are your job titles?
We went around...
Second question: Why are your titles so long?
We laughed, out of the mouths of babes. We honestly said that if a workplace can't give us money, they give us a fancy title instead. Why not tell them the truth, they're ten or so.

Did two bank moves. I called and got the note put in my account so I don't look like an identity thief having a good time in gay Paree, and I moved the first $1500 out of savings to the checking account for the Paris trip. I had two things in mind for that:
1.) Get a quick supply of euros.
2.) Time how many days it took the transaction to occur, to plan ahead so if I have move it from Paris, I know how long it takes. 3 days.

And finally, I did something at the gym that I have been fantasizing about from the beginning. Today, there was a fairly buff guy...

Ha, ha, not that Big Grin

There was a fairly buff guy struggling with a flared leg lift, which strengthens the side of the leg. He was working with his trainer, who set his weights and watched his form. They left to do something else. I came in to do the VERY SAME EXERCISE and had to INCREASE the weight. Wow.

It was from 5 lbs to 10 lbs, but still a victory.

How to ... store grocery produce

April 25th, 2007 at 03:12 am

As threatened...

Well, now that you bought good produce, you’ll probably want to keep it for at least a few days. I like to grocery shop, but I don’t buy every day, and I can’t eat 5 of anything in 2 days. Storage has to buy time.

If you bought items that were heavier than you expected and smelled good, you also bought a little bit more time. Again, remember that a piece of produce is a piece of plant, and that piece of plant behaves like a water pipe with one end open. The two things you must know to store produce properly are:

1.) Produce – if it’s not cooked – is metabolically active. It is a live plant, it respires (breathes oxygen), it photosynthesizes if it’s green, the enzymes in it are active, and it transpires (sucks up water and releases it).
2.) Plants are all plumbing. If water escapes (transpires) and plant wilts, it’s generally all over. Your job is to keep the water in the plant.

Know what should go in the refrigerator and what shouldn’t.

Whole fruit, whole tomatoes, potatoes, onions generally stay out of the refrigerator. All of these guys convert sugars to starch and tend to turn mealy if they’re in the reefer. I like the deep fruit bowl with a layer of cheesecloth on the top to repel fruit flies. Once the fruit is cut, it probably should go in the refrigerator with the knowledge that it better get eaten or tossed within a couple of days. Leaves like lettuce, stems like celery, crucifers (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc), roots (carrots) can go in the refrigerator. Corn and berries are problematic – if they go in the refeer, they get starchy, if they stay out they get moldy. I buy them fresh and don’t bother with long term storage.

Here's an easy rule of thumb if you are trying to figure out whether it goes in the refrigerator or not. How did you buy it? Did you buy it in a bin in the middle of the produce department at coolish room temperature (should probably stay out of the refeer), or did you pull it from the cooler (goes in the reefer)?

YMMV – I live in Seattle, where it doesn’t get that hot. I used to live in Arizona, which was a nightmare for storing produce. Unless you ate it within 12 hrs, it went in the reefer.

With bagged produce, get rid of as much air and keep as much water in as possible, seal or knot the bag tightly. Keep it dark.

Get rid of as much air from around the plant as you possibly can – when exposed to light, the plant photosynthesizes enough to make its own oxygen. To store produce you have to keep it from transpiring – what makes that fog inside the bag – and to do that you have to keep the produce cool (not frosty), dark, and contained. Sometimes adding a teaspoon of clean tepid water to the bag helps.

Refrigerated produce should be bagged. In addition, those little drawers on the bottom of your refrigerator – the vegetable crispers – are your best friend. Use ‘em. Honest. My DH loves the vegetable crispers enough to call them the beer drawers. Big Grin. The problem with putting produce in the crispers is that its out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

Sterile technique begins at home

Cut your produce with a clean knife. Icky things that eat your produce – bacteria, mold, critters - have to work their way into a plant. Cutting with a dirty knife gives all of them a free pass and a free first lunch. If you buy bagged salad (hey, I do!), shake out the leaves from the bag, don’t put your hand in. Then remove as much air from the bag as convenient and seal.

Pace their ripening

Again with the gas. Ethylene gas, that is. If your fruit or produce is ripening too fast, spread out the fruit a bit, along with eating, cooking, or if necessary tossing the over-ripe offender. If a soft something like a peach is growing fuzz, admit defeat and toss. A hard something like a cabbage you can trim the outer leaves and rescue.

Exit strategies

Vegetable stew, sauces that you can hide chopped vegetables in, roasted vegetables with olive oil, tahini sauce or béchamel sauce, soup, fruit sauces, crumbles, clafoutis, and cobblers. All good exit strategies for slightly over the hill produce. And remember, sometimes you do have to toss. You want dishes, not compost in a pot.

Storage buys time, generally 4 days to several weeks. Happy storage!

getting in the spirit of the thing

April 24th, 2007 at 05:58 am

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $.65 milk + $6.45 lunch (today and tomorrow) + $.75 peppermint tea

Had to admit defeat this pay period - I moved $100 from the brick and mortar savings account back to checking. I'll try to tighten things up, then move the leftover money back.

Bought the footlong sandwich which I will eat tomorrow. The resume and cover letter that I needed to submit to apply for the promotion I finished up this morning, with a chiropractor break in the middle.

I'm getting more and more excited about my trip. Anticipation, just like anything else, has to be timed just right. You want to be at the peak of anticipation just before you go, not a few weeks before. Right now its remembering to hold the mail, call the bank so they won't hold my money, call the executors, donate my newspaper subscription, get some euros so I won't have to find spare coins at Charles De Gaulle airport. There is a Travelex in Seattle for that. The rates are $5.95 flat or 1%, which ever is greater. So $600 is the break point.

The image is from last Friday night while I was waiting for the bus. Not quite Paris, but Paris in spirit.

the sequel

April 23rd, 2007 at 03:56 am

Got done with revising the resume, due tomorrow. So to reward myself with fun writing, its time to blog. Since the How to Buy Grocery Produce was so popular (450 hits!), I'm planning on writing the sequel - How to Store Grocery Produce.

Picked up several more solid colored tops for the summer (and for Paris). ($7)

Yet more images from yesterday's festivities:


DH is on the sidewalk, in the jeans and black T-shirt.

Tulips of different colors


Lulu - the pug hard to photograph. Her owner was watching me through the window, laughing her blank off.

oh the stuff you can buy!

April 22nd, 2007 at 07:13 am

At one of the Greenwood yard sales...


That's where I went today instead of the book sale. I stopped off at a number of places, but controlled myself and bought only what I could use right now - I bought a framed poster, a book (that was free), 3 art tiles, bath oils, and a 4 pack of coasters. (15$)

Snapped a number of pictures, including a very cute pug. Hard to shoot pets, they don't stand still.

After the yard sales, DH and I went to the grocery store. The produce looked okay, but the price was wrong, so I only got bananas, spinach, potatoes. I also bought some No Jet Lag for the trip, which several coworkers swore by, and a tube of facial peel. ($44)

And no, although I was tempted and could probably use the item right now, I didn't buy the handcuffs. Big Grin

How to ... buy grocery produce

April 21st, 2007 at 04:12 am

Several people –okay, family members – have asked me, “so when do you use that botany doctorate?” Well, as a former plant physiologist, I use it every time I hit the grocery store, fruit stand, or farmer’s market. Now I share some of my tricks and techniques.

If you want to save money and eat better at the same time, you want to buy only good stuff – you’ll want to eat it all then.

A produce item is a piece of plant. Simple enough. Conceptually, it is also a pipe, full of water with one end cut. The more water your plant contains, the more likely it is crisper or juicier and the more likely it will hold up better in storage. If you pick up nothing else from this how to, pick up this tip:

Good produce weighs more than you expect.

Technique 1: take 5 of anything of the same size, preferably medium. Grab each one and gently hold it in the palm of your hand for a few seconds. Pick the heaviest feeling one. No need to squeeze, no need to dig in with your fingernails and disgust everyone. Works for citrus, works for corn, works for melons, works for tomatoes, works for celery, heck, it works for garlic bulbs…it just works for everything.

Good produce smells good.

Technique 2: sniff the stem end of a fruit. It should smell appetizing, like the fruit. If you don’t smell anything and especially if it feels light, it means it’s mealy and dry. If you smell fermentation, pass it by, and if you can’t smell it because it’s wrapped in plastic … ahem, you’re not in the spirit of this, are you? Big Grin This, along with technique 1, is an especially good tip for melons and pineapple.

Side tip for the uninhibited: A quick way to assess the whole produce bin is to move some of the top most pieces and put your nose in the bin. If you can’t smell anything if you put your nose deep in the bin, it might mean that nothing’s ripe.

Good produce has a firm cut end.

Technique 3: check the stem or the cut end. It should be firm, not soft or slimy or with weird colors. It can have a little bit of soil on it for street cred, but if it’s filthy, pass it by...if it’s a farm stand, pass the whole stand by. It probably means everything was cut with that dirty knife and the storage life of anything you buy at that stand will be short.

Side tip for corn: feel the tip through the husk. The fatter, less pointed tip is the ear you want. Very pointy tips means the ear hasn’t filled out.

Good produce is not the biggest.

Technique 4: try to pick medium, medium-small sized fruit in the bin, not the largest. All the good stuff the plant puts in the fruit – sugars, acids, fragrances, flavors, secondary plant products, water – it seems like the plant will put in a certain amount, but no more. The good stuff in the larger sized fruit is diluted, spread out, while in the medium or small sized fruit, the good stuff is concentrated. It’s no secret that the gigantic apple is going to taste like a softball, while the smaller apple will taste like an apple. Not to mention that it’s a whole lot easier to figure out if something’s heavy when you don’t get thrown off by grabbing the biggest thing.

Good produce ripens with its friends.

Technique 5: check the bottom of the basket. Okay, the joke is that the produce guy puts the rotten strawberries in the bottom of the basket, and I would believe that in some cases. The truth is that many fruits ripen in the presence of ethylene gas, and that ripe fruit produces more ethylene gas. Baskets and bins often produce an enclosed space so that the fruit at the bottom of the bin or basket gets a bigger whiff of ethylene and therefore ripens faster.

Side tip: Aim for the middle of the bin for produce that you want to eat that night. Not everything is sensitive to ethylene – middle of the bin tip seems to work best for citrus, berries, bananas, and apples, and should be applied after all the other tips.

A word or two about the classic, “buy slightly soft, when the flesh yields to gentle pressure.” Good advice for buying ripe stone fruits and tomatoes. However, there are two caveats: 1.) most shoppers know that – after the sixth person submits the fruit to “gentle pressure” I guarantee you that it will be soft, but not in a delectable way. 2) you’ve picked ripe produce. Moreover, if you buy 6-7 ripe pieces of produce, you are committed to eating them within 2-3 days, which can be a challenge.

My aim with these tips is to give you the tools to pick wonderful, ripe and slightly under-ripe produce, some which you can eat right away, the rest slightly under-ripe that you can put in a bowl so you can eat wonderful produce through the week. Lots of strategy here!

Happy produce shopping!

need a laugh?

April 20th, 2007 at 03:35 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $7 lunch + $11 goodwill (shoes and light blouse)

Bought a pair of brown slip on shoes and a neutral light blouse for summer. Seattle is not known for summer particularly. Usually there's a three week space that you need something summery - after that, its long sleeves year round if you want. I just don't want to hit Paris in t-shirts.

Hit the gym again armed with an index card containing a lower body routine.

My bus ride goes past a sign that never fails to make me smile. Here it is.

pho lunch

April 19th, 2007 at 03:24 am

Saving log - $4
Spending log - .65$ milk + 6.75$ lunch

I had a craving for the deluxe pho, and I haven't posted an image for awhile. Its hard to find a more frugal pleasure than the deluxe pho. And of course, any larger, and you could take a bath in it.


The SD card finally came from Overstock.com. Time to email a thank you that I got it.

Our department is reorganizing and the job that I now have will be classified one job grade level up and will expand to become supervisory. I still have to apply for it, but the competition will be inside our department, and its all the duties that I have right now, which no one else wants to do Big Grin. I just have to jump through the hoops and be mellow about it.

.65 spending day

April 18th, 2007 at 05:09 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - .65$ milk

Our department got the proverbial 'free lunch' in honor of the co worker's last day, so along with DJ friend's free coffee, I got away with the nearly no spend day today.

Trainer is now off - her wedding's this week, and after that a two week honeymoon in Costa Rica. She told me last week that all the other trainers are keeping an eye out for her clients (like moi). Today's the first day that I went to the gym myself.

I came prepared. Sunday, I wrote out 6 routines - 3 upper body, 3 lower body - onto index cards. Today I picked an upper body one and rubberbanded it to my forearm. I managed to get through it with a minute to spare. How did I get through them and still had time to gossip with the trainer? Its a mystery.

So at the end, I buzzed by the table where the trainers hang out, and showed them my index card rubber band thingee. The trainers laughed and told me that they'll give my trainer the full report.

No images lately - I just haven't taken any interesting ones in the last several days.

adverse taking

April 17th, 2007 at 05:35 am

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - .65$ milk + $20 chiropractor copay + $4 for 2 2-liter sodas (going away party) + $5 lunch

Cheap curry lunch with lawyer friend. His boss is trying to get him to write an "affirmation statement". Yikes. He enjoyed my story about the WiDNR's land survey (the 1-2 ft shift by the fence). An definining ingredient in an adverse taking, he informed me, is hostility. The parties involved have to be hostile, which we weren't. The situation is different, but its really a battle between the WiDNR and the corporate farm.

Had a little cake party for the leaving co worker. He was telling us that now his dog would only ride in a car if said dog was liquored up first - bloody mary's are his favorite, and after awhile in the car everyone can smell liquored dog breath. Hope you aren't stopped by the cops, I said. Yeah, like the cop's going to believe its the dog...

Frugal dilemma

April 16th, 2007 at 01:05 am

Which to participate in next Saturday -

The Public Library book sale or
the Greenwood neighborhood yard sale?

Because I improved my hard drive, everything is slow enough so that I broke down and bought another 512M of memory ($59) from Memory Suppliers. I've ordered stuff from them off and on - USB drives, the last 512 M memory, an SD card if overstock.com fails. I've always been successful. Their memory configurator alone is a lifesaver. (link is in Sites I Enjoy if you need the memory configurator)

I hit it so lucky today at the thrift store. Because I'm a casual sort, what has been freaking me out for the Paris trip is that DH, MIL and I will be having a high end authentic French meal, a dress for an important occasion place...in May, when its warm. The plan was that I'd buy something there. Not that I wouldn't find anything there - Big Grin - but its always been my shopping experience that desperation breeds frustration, high expense, and bad luck. When I have to find it, I won't, and that will cut into museum time. Today I found a navy blue, high-waisted sheath dress. Conservative, classic, flattering, readily accessorizable, and 10$.

A couple days ago I snapped a picture of our cherry tree.


We don't get many cherries off of it - the birds get there first. Somehow I've lived near a cherry tree for well over half of my life. We had one on the farm, my uncle had one, the rental in grad school had one, and now here. Funny story - the cherry tree at the grad school rental was so large that I didn't figure it out until a cherry hit me on the back of my neck.

food of all types

April 15th, 2007 at 04:00 am

A mixed bag of food buying -

Went to breakfast at a new place considerably closer to our house than the Denny's is. The food was great but the portion sizes were tremendous; I guess for $10, it was to be expected that we were served platters, not plates. Its a step forward though that even my eyes figured it out. Time not to be a caloric hero: got 2 boxes - one for me and one for DH, who actually used his immediately. I was so proud.

There was a party of three at the table next to us - grandmother, mother in her late 40s - early 50s, and son in early 20s. The portions were huge for even them. They ate, son left some bacon on his plate. "It's okay grandma, there some bacon at home," son said.

They left a bit after us, the mother and son to pay, the grandmother a bit behind. The grandmother glanced at our boxes and said sadly, "...tried to teach him some values."

After food, it was hitting a couple of grocery stores - the one next to the breakfast place had only a 10/$10 deal on clif bars, but only in the chocolate/ peanut flavors. Produce looked good, but everything is at least .50/lb more than it was even 2-3 months ago. Anyone else notice?

Next was the HT, which had better produce and fruit prices. I've been on an apple/banana jag for this week which was great because each were .49$/lb.

Then it was cleaning house and watching the afternoon rain. The image today is of wet, newly unfurled japanese maple leaves.


Contacted overstock.com. The camera works great, but the SD card I ordered with it hasn't come yet. They are putting a trace on it and will contact me in 4 days.

Finally, I made some broccoli salad, but I needed tarragon. Went to my third grocery store where I got the tarragon, but also found .99 clif bars in my two favorite flavors - apricot and blueberry. Yippee.

Because my credit card bill is lighter than usual, I put $200 into my ING account.

Can I vent (funny)?

April 14th, 2007 at 03:31 am

Thursday, April 12
Saving log - $3 tip box + $35 to DRP + $40 to another DRP (I know it'll go through on the next paycheck) + $15.22 from T-bills
Spending log - .65$ milk + $30.15$ sundries and a twenty dollar bill

Friday, April 13
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - .65$ milk + 15$ lunch

Can I vent? I process pledges, write and mail reports that tell other entities who much money they'll be getting from us. I got a snarky comment over email from the VP of one of the other entities out in Boise, Idaho (not my office) ... Why is it taking so long, couldn't it be done faster?

This is a $500,000 report. Elephant clip next to it the largest one they make and is put in for scale.

Get a grip, lady.

the end is near

April 14th, 2007 at 03:13 am

Got word from sister that dad's estate will be settled by June 30, no extensions. The sale to the DNR should go through, and my sister and I will each be deeded 50% of the house, barn, sheds, and 7 acres.

Told her that if anybody wanted me to sign anything, that it won't happen between May 17 - 31. And even though I'll put a hold on my mail so it'll stay at the post office, it would just be better if they held off mailing things until late May.

It also turns out that when the WiDNR did the survey, we actually have an acre or so more than we thought. The fence marking the property line that we share with the corporate farm should be 2-3 feet farther from us, closer to the corporate farm.

It will be fun to watch that legal battle if the WiDNR really wants to pursue it. I think, though, that since the fence is so old it establishes a precedent.

memory failed

April 12th, 2007 at 04:46 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $.65 milk + 7$ lunch

DJ friend's memory failed. It was funny really - the memory threw a driver into an infinite loop. So it was shut down, pop out the memory, put my old memory back in and everything's fine.

Work was just tiring today. Everyone seemed to want something now. Maybe it will be better tomorrow.

This afternoon was a beautiful day, so for lunch I bought at Uwajimaya and ate at the most beautiful, frugal place I know - Waterfall Park, Pioneer Square, birthplace of UPS. Free, baby.

the infamous tip box

April 11th, 2007 at 03:16 am

Saving - $1 tip box
Spending - $.65 milk + $7 lunch

Well, you've heard over and over (and over) about my tip box at work. And once upon a time Jeffrey encouraged us to show off our tip jars.

Well, today's photo is a snap of my infamous tip box nestled in its native environment - one of my desk drawers (yeah, like I'm going to tell you which one Big Grin) by the business cards, the tea, and the emergen-C packets. It even comes with its little tiki cover.



So far, I've moved over $1400 through my little box from the wallet to the savings account. Don't be fooled - its a powerhouse!

Credit to debit

April 10th, 2007 at 03:35 am

Saving log - $4
Spending log - .65$ milk + 5.45 curry lunch

My busy season's winding down a bit. My boss is going to take me out to lunch Thursday, which was very appreciated - I'm at my last $60 from the previous paycheck.

Last night I started to move my small, monthly recurring charges (ISP, newspaper, Netflix - about $70) from my credit card to my debit card. Last night I moved my ISP bill. My goal is to just have the trainer on my credit card so I can better keep my deadbeat credit card status. 12% of 0$ is 0.

I also think that I need to have better control of those little charges. Its so easy to keep those little things "out of sight-out of mind" on the credit card where they somehow breed and turn into things that you'll want, can't always justify, and get pissy at someone if they suggest you get rid of them.

If the charges are on the debit card, which I watch like a hawk, then I really think about them each month.

Moi

April 10th, 2007 at 03:18 am

I always wanted to have long legs...



With apologies to Priceplus, where I got the idea..

ATM down

April 9th, 2007 at 04:56 am

So the ATM was down this morning. Instead of paying a double $1.50 in fees for using a foreign ATM machine, I went to the hated Safeway, bought 5 Clif bars 10 for 10$ and added $40. Sigh. So much for privacy.

Met with DJ friend to go through how to use the Excel templates I made that will give us a correctly formatted playlist time no matter what a DJ gives us. Smile I volunteered to format a number of the especially weird ones ("You won't ever have to buy a coffee again," he said.) But I promised DJ friend that I would give him how much time it took me so he gets an idea of how much he owes...

Ran five playlists myself in 35 minutes. I'd be faster, but I was rusty on the first one, and it was a multi-hour one that I debated for 10 minutes how to do.

Then I went for 1.5 hour walk in the light drizzle, listening to tunes. Fun and relaxing after close work.

From two days ago, a snap of the hated fish flingers...

bunny and chick

April 8th, 2007 at 02:33 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $20 (DH and I's breakfast @ Denny's) + $5.50 produce

From Friday - So I chatted with DJ friend, who is the king of getting electronics and deals for the radio station, that I'm going to be looking for another 512M memory. He told me that he upgraded last week and was left, somehow, with a 512M memory chip. We have the same Dell laptop. He doesn't understand how he was left with the extra chip; he didn't know what to do with it, he wrote it off to karma. I'll bring it in, he said.

I'm not going as far as "the secret" (blegh!), but one of the best frugal tips I know of is let other people know what you are looking for. You just never know.

About that 365 photo challenge. I can't say that I'll have the discipline to submit a photo every day, but carrying the little digital camera around and learning what it can do, well some shots appear. Today at Denny's on the Saturday before Easter...came a bunny and a chick.

I asked the parents for permission at the end of their meal (and boy did I feel weird about it), but I plan to take these photos off after a few days. You just can't be too careful.

uncheap friday

April 7th, 2007 at 03:28 am

Saving log - $1
Spending log - $.65 milk + $7 for 2 juices + $10 lunch + $3 apples + $5.45 camera case + $10 pizza dinner

After the .65 day, I was nibbled by mice. Another department has an intern, and since I interact and have lots of info, I met with him. Instead of coffee, I bought juices. So young....

I picked up a small camera case on sale from Fred Meyer. Its padded, the camera fits in it, it looks different when pawing through the purse. All that and for $4.99 closeout.

To answer a comment - Just like the song Kodachrome, "I got a Nikon camera" Nikon Coolpix 4600 from Overstock dot com. As threatened, I took it out and tried out some of the settings.

Hammering Man was getting a bicep transplant at noon today.

65 cent day

April 6th, 2007 at 06:46 am

Saving log - $1
Spending log - $.65 milk

A no spend day in spirit, even though not quite in stats.

Finished off the other half of the footlong sub so I avoided paying lunch. I discovered the secret of preventing soggy bread on the second day - wrap the sandwich with only sandwich paper and tape - ditch the plastic sandwich bag.

Got the camera last night, so I've been taking some pictures and reading the manual. I actually did the first steps without the manual...but I'm the only person I know who reads the manual. So many menus with little icons! Since tomorrow's going to be sooo nice, I think I'll pop the camera in my bag and take a few shots.

where's george?

April 5th, 2007 at 04:33 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $.65 milk + $6 lunch (for 2 days)

After paying the chiropractor for two months of treatment that insurance didn't cover, my paycheck is a tight until the end of next week. Am going to try and not spend and get money until the very end of this week, so its the footlong sub, cut in four pieces for a couple of days.

Made reverse change in the tip box today. Swapped out the couple of 5s that I had in my wallet for the boodle of 1s in the tip box. Then with the pile of 1s, I swapped the several dollars worth of change for several dollars. I do this because the inside of the tip box is really small - about 3 inches square. Dollar bills fit in nicely, while lots and lots of pennies don't.

One of the bills had the Where's George? stamp on it, so for laughs I re-registered it and found that the bill was stamped in Dallas.

One of my coworkers in our department is leaving after 7 years. He's trained a number of people to do his job; he has a hellish commute; his new university job sounds interesting and has a number of perks. No screams and no sighs, in other words. I'm happy for him, sad to see him go, but the world will not end.

Korean barbeque

April 4th, 2007 at 03:10 am

For Tuesday, 4/3/2007
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $.65 milk +$5.45 lunch

For Monday, 4/2/2007
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $10 lunch + $8 map of Paris + $16 dinner

Went out last night - me, DH, lawyer friend, lawyer friend's partner for all you can eat Korean barbeque with the grill at the center of the table and the ring of 11 small dishes around it, 3 of them kimchees. It was meat, meat, meat, wrapped by lettuce.

Lawyer friend feels like he has a big target on his back at work. I'm going to miss him if he goes.

It capped a heavy eating and drinking weekend - wine on Friday, beer on Saturday, and beer on Monday. Yeah, its not that much, but when you rarely drink it feels like a lot.

Picked up my own map of Paris from Metzgers Maps at the Pike Market. I'd use DH's but I'd like my own. It feels a little like the spending has already begun.

Working through more of the problems with the logging songs and mixes for DJ friend. Now I have to convert decimal time (3008.987 seconds) into time time (50 min : 8 sec) and get it into Access correctly. I'm learning a lot!


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