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Archive for May, 2007

packed and ready

May 17th, 2007 at 05:10 am

Saving log - $3
Spending log - $1.85 coffee, milk + $8.84 lunch

At work I got everything done that I had to - the evaluation, a couple of meetings, my timecard for the rest of the month. A couple of hornets' nests even settled down. Introduced DJ friend who was looking for a healthy, cheap snack to the $1.24 wonders of salmon omusubi (salmon in a rice ball wrapped in a nori sheet).

Sister called. Estate insurance will cover some of the water damage from the burst pipes last winter and torn up milk house.

Thank you all who voted for my How Tos!

I'll outta here and will be away between May 17-31 to Paris, France. I probably will not be blogging, but you never know - if there is an Internet cafe I might shoot off a note or two. I promise to post pics after!

kicking hornet nests

May 16th, 2007 at 04:04 am

Saving log - $6
Spending log - $1.85 coffee, milk + $4.50 curry

Lots of little financial errands in preparation for the trip:
Deposited what was in my tip box - $30
Paid my credit card - $500
Scheduled a transfer from ING to checking so I can use my debit card - $2000
(this is just in case money on top of the euros I got a couple of weeks ago; I think I'd cry if I spent it all)
Withdrew airport in case money from my ATM - $100.

I was so relaxed today, and I was so relaxed yesterday. A fair amount of the fun of this vacation is just knowing that no matter what, Wednesday is my last day for two weeks. I have been taking on some of the more horrid communications and projects, knowing by setting them in motion, well I'm going to be gone, ha ha...

Its like kicking a hornet's nest and having a place to run to. And yes, that's mean, letting everyone else at work take care of the implications. But since many people had done that to me, well I feel no twinge of guilt. I feel evil, yes, just not guilty.

I have also been on a tear, doing some documentation that I had promised on my evaluation to do last year. This year's evaluation is due before I leave, and well, I'm finishing the documentation that I promised to do last year before I write up my evaluation.

And I'm flipping through it. Very complex and detailed. I wish it was as fun to write and to read as the grocery produce articles were. Thank you Jeffrey - I learned a lot of How tos!

The image today was, as usual, from several days ago. My favorite building downtown is flight of whimsy, built from money Seattle got during the Klondike Gold Rush...

trip karma

May 14th, 2007 at 03:58 am

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $4 bagel, coffee + $20 sweater wrap


So an interesting piece of trip karma happened this morning at the coffeeshop. I opened up my Sunday paper and found that it was last week's. Never happened to me before. I really didn't want to buy a paper, but I wanted something to read, so I grabbed a book and discovered it was one of those bookcrossing.com books. Read it, then release me ... somewhere. In that case, I just have to take it to Paris, and release it there.

I'm now 85% packed. I've gotten the final thing I was looking for - a black dressy scarf sweater wrap for a cool evening. I'm going for one bag, all the clothes I'm bringing are solid colors in white, black, beige, gray, red, jeans. Okay, a dark green top made it in, but everything matches everything else. Tried everything on - it all fits. Packed it up and I have space.

Super glued the catches of the day bag I'm taking to secure them from a snatch and grab. Shined the shoes. Put the hotel address in the bag I'm checking in. Took pictures of the checked bag so I have it on my digital camera.

I'm so excited now! 4 days and I'm going to be in Paris.

The image today was one I took on Friday. So mysterious, so short story-ish.

Greenwood Art Walk

May 14th, 2007 at 02:33 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $10 Denny's + $3.25 Italian soda + $17 bottle of wine + $6 groceries

Late Friday night, DH looked at the pile of CDs that I wanted to sell, and picked a few out of the pile.

So after breakfast, DH and I hit the Greenwood Art Walk (blogged a bit about it last year), which is when the various small business along Greenwood Avenue host an artist or two's work, hung alongside the store's wares. The CD store wasn't participating, but was at one end of the festivities, so I dropped off my stack and we went on our merry way.

Found the artist that I bought a piece from, and told him that I hung it at work and got a lot of great compliments. Fun to give him the word.

A leather mask artist had great stuff...


One of the artists had a number of Parisian photographs, so we had a great conversation with her. Her advice, all light based: Go see the Marais district (8:30 - 10:30 am especially) and the 4th floor of the Musee d'Orsay.

Went to the wine shop, where they had a free wine tasting. Each year I go, each year I think to look for the art, and each year I get sucked into the wine tasting. Smile Bought a bottle of bordeaux to drink when we get back.

I managed to hit the lamp store, which had the most amazing display of chandeliers, lamps, and sconces...and a fan that looked like an airplane propeller.

Lookyloo-ing was never so cheap and so fun.

Back at the CD place, I got $100 of store credit. He gave me a bit of a break and wrote up a 11 CD gift card.

Got a few groceries, but since we are only going to be here for a few days, it was just salad-y things, a bit of fruit, and fill-in items. The strategy is to clean out the refrigerator and freezer as much as possible of things that I know won't make it two weeks. Soup, salad, and maybe a meat patty or two for a couple of days.

lobster puffs and a stolen tank

May 12th, 2007 at 04:57 am

Saving log - $5
Spending log - $1.85 coffee, milk

Lawyer friend and the rest of the gang took me out to lunch today. Dim sum. I love dim sum and we finally found a halfway decent place for dim sum called Jade Garden. The lobster puffs were fantastic and when I get the chinese broccoli that always makes me happy.

Got a call and an email from sister today. The steel bulk tank got stolen from the milkhouse and the there is some water damage in the house from frozen pipes last winter. Executors for estates take out insurance policies for this type of thing, so it is time for sister and I to assess the damage, and hound the executors on it before we actually inherit the house and farmette on June 30.

run, run, run all day

May 11th, 2007 at 04:37 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.85 milk, coffee + $7 lunch

Today most our department was getting CPR training, so it was my boss and I. We both thought - great, it will be nice and quiet and we can both get a lot done.

Boy, were we wrong.

Not only was it a steady stream of minor things, its the time of year when the sales staff was asking, "is all the money booked? Did we miss something?" A whole day of freakouts.

Apparently I did miss something, though. This is the part of the year that is trying to my freaky, perfectionist, control freak soul. Yes, I cannot be perfect and I can't control and organize everything. Stuff is going to happen and I will just have to remember that every year I will find out in a new and strange way some new and strange mistake.

Gym was gain a couple of pounds, lose the same couple of pounds. I've still only lost 20-25 lbs during this whole deal. Losing a half of an inch here and there, so I will have to settle for other milestones. If I'm doing something with the machines, its in the 30-40 lb range for the arms, 60-80, even 100 lbs for the legs. The other trainers gave my trainer a good report on me - I'm now a regular. The weather's been nice so I've been consistently walking from 15 Ave NW, instead of 8th Ave NW.

The image today is a couple of weeks old, with the first attempt at the museum setting. (no flash). Seems to work for aquariums, too. This was at the HT Oaktree. If you ever need live shrimp, that's where you go.

decisions, decisions

May 10th, 2007 at 04:23 am

Saving log - $3
Spending log - $1.85 coffee, milk + $6 lunch and snack + $6 stickers

DH sometimes has the sensibility of a 12 yr old boy. He told me last night that he wanted to change the stickers on his PDA - too flashy, he said. So I bought him some Japanese samurai and kabuki stickers. Smile

Tiny and not so tiny decisions - I have one of three recurring charges (ISP, Netflix, newspaper) on my credit card. This month was the first month I saw that my ISP charge made it from the credit card to my debit card. Think I will try moving the Netflix this month.

Not so tiny decision. This stock market is baffling me and has been for months. I don't understand the fundamentals and why its going up so fast. I decided to shift the 403B part of my portfolio a bit. Before it was quite aggressive - 90% stock (I have some bonds elsewhere). I decided to redistribute to 50/50 bond and stock, so I still have plenty of stock. I'm just trimming my sails a bit.

I'd do that with some of the Vanguard holdings, however they're in a taxable account and I've bought less than a year ago, so if I shift things around, any profits from selling will be taxed on the income rate, not long term capital gains rate. The next little bit of new money I receive, I'll put it in bonds and trim the sails a bit there, too.

Just to remind me that it's May in my yard:

Waiting for ...

May 8th, 2007 at 04:06 am

Saving log - $6
Spending log - $.65 milk + $5 magazine + $7 lunch

Found another dime near the curb in the street. Right now its just waiting - quietly not spending, figuring out what expenses are automatically deducted during last half of the month so that I don't overspend and bounce stuff here in Seattle, held my mail, donated my newspaper.

And then more waiting - submitted my poem to the Poetry on the Buses competition last week on the deadline. Interesting that the selection committee's an even number - I'd think that it ensure a deadlock decision.

Got a call from the trainer that we'll be back at it tomorrow.

I figured that you all would be imaged out so its just words today.

Seattle Art Museum opening

May 7th, 2007 at 04:40 am

Free tickets to the grand re-opening of the Seattle Art Museum, as long as you were willing to wait. I went because I had to figure out the museum setting on my camera and had to develop a taste for waiting in line like a tourist.

But I did spend a bit of money. Tickets had a time that you showed back up to get in and I knew I had to hit the bathroom and get a little something to buck me up a bit. So I bought a $3 mocha and a sushi roll for $7.

The ticket line...


The color commentary from the strip club The Lusty Lady across the street (if you are visiting Seattle, its even more of an institution than the Space Needle)


Picture taking was verboten, but with museum setting (no flash), I did enjoy the illicit thrill of snapping two - one from the lobby...


And one from the third floor landing looking back down at the line...


I enjoyed the update to the museum, however the differences in the art in the rooms fluctuated wildly - Islamic in one room, 19th century American the next, Japanese, modern art, African, Korean. Constant surprise. On top of that each of the rooms was branded with the donor's name. It gave the appearance of a gigantic attic under probate where all the heirs taped off their slice and are squabbling, "Mine!"

so touching

May 6th, 2007 at 06:26 am

Well, I got my birthday gift from DH today. From Stamps.com, two sheets of the new denominational stamps (41 cents) with a picture of our dear, departed kitty on them, when he was 12, lying like a library lion on my sister's end table.

He had a certain timeless quality, but a timely quality too. He shared the end table with a couple of magazines and a coaster that you just knew were going to land on the floor five minutes later. Big Grin

Its so touching. I miss Augie so.

a willingness to get run over

May 5th, 2007 at 05:06 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $.65 milk + 15$ lunch + $6.15 girly supplies

The coin rescue is going well; I found 3 dimes on the street this evening, one after the other. Just a little FYI - my best hunting grounds are on the curb, or on the sidewalks close to the curb. Pedestrians must put their hands in their pockets as they wait for the light, take them out again. Traffic noise must mask the change hitting the sidewalk, or the pedestrian hears it but thinks, "Forget it - I've got to cross the street." Sometimes to harvest change you have to have a willingness to get run over. Big Grin

I have some luck on the bus right near the door for the same reason, but its usually pennies, rarely anything larger.

Finishing up projects right and left at work, and now when I say that I think I can get this done in a week, everyone does the math and says, "hah! You'll be in Paris then." Found me out.

Asked the post office to hold the mail. So darn nice that I can request it online.

The fact that the stock market has been up nearly 4 weeks in a row is just freakish to me. Entertaining, because I've bought quite a bit when it was a lot flatter and a lot cheaper. Its doubly entertaining when a number of people are trying to get back into it because it is so high. G*d, people are such financial lemmings! Buy high and sell low, rinse and repeat - there's the way to go broke.

I'd try to get out of the stock market right now, but only about 1/2 of my shares I've held for over a year, so if sold would be considered long term capital gains and taxed less. (I bought seriously on the dips in July and August.)

Got word that the TD Ameritrade account I still have will have its account number changed, so its assured that I will be locked out of it, have to call and sound like a goob. Big Grin

Next week the trainer comes back and we'll see how I did. My legs are stiff from yesterday and now I only have myself to blame.

Two images, one iconic. In case you forgot where I'm blogging from.


The second one was taken when the bus was zooming on 15th Ave NW. Its blurry and makes me jangly, but I like it.

"super" thoughts

May 4th, 2007 at 03:58 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $.65 milk + $5 magazine + $7 lunch

I've been thinking a bit about supervising DJ friend a bit. Four years ago, I helped to hire him as a temp staffer. When he became a permanent staffer, I had been in that same job several years before so I mentored him a bit. I switched departments. When the opening came up in my new department to work with me that was a step up, I encouraged him to apply and really pushed for him. And in the past two years he's really proven himself.

So while it will be a bit weird, maybe not so bad. Its not like we were at the same level and I moved along over him. I've always been more senior, and have behaved a bit like his supervisor already.

I've already started with giving my two staff members several of the continuous projects that bedeveiled me. Might just as well make my mark early!

The image today is what I wish today was like. It was off and on raining, and this one is sunny...

Got the promotion

May 2nd, 2007 at 03:04 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - .65$ milk + $5.25 lunch

This morning I was called into my boss's office and was offered the promotion. On May 16th I will be packing for Paris but I will be the official boss of DJ friend (boy that'll be weird) and another co-worker.

The job grade is one step higher than the one I have, so I'm guessing it will be a $2000/yr pay raise. That and an expected 4% raise at the beginning of the next fiscal year (July) means I have a fighting chance of paying off the Paris trip within the year. I'm not sure if the job grade pay raise and the cola are additive or not.

Tried out some more settings on the camera. I figured out that it takes black & white, vivid color, cyan, and sepia. Since the MayDay rally caused a stack-up of buses, that's what I used.