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Archive for June, 2007

politico

July 1st, 2007 at 05:56 am

Yesterday, I made my first political contribution. $100.

The day before, during the co worker going away lunch, I sat next to another co worker who I had worked with off and on for about 6 years (right now, off). I was pleasantly surprised to find out two things - 1.) he lived fairly close, in the Licton Springs/Northgate neighborhood (another North Seattle neighborhood) 2.) he was running for the Seattle school board.

I found out some interesting things. It costs about $30,000 to run a school board campaign, and currently he has about $2000. He has nearly got a website up and running which means that he can take PayPal, however, he's running into a chicken and egg problem (needs money to get the website up, but the average high-tech Seattlite is loath to write a check). We had interesting chat about the Supreme Court decision against the Seattle Public Schools.

I asked him for more information, he provided it, I wrote him a check large enough so that I'm memorable. I consider it my version of Prosper.com. Big Grin We'll see what happens next.

I also promised to link his campaign site to my blog. I'm only going to link it to Sites I Frequent so as not to be too obtrusive. (this blog's about me, darn it!) If you are reading me from North Seattle, check the link out.

Net worth, first half 2007

July 1st, 2007 at 05:22 am

Snapshot of net worth, first half of 2007

$128,217.03 IRA/403(B)*
$13,387.24 stock (4 DRPs)
$25,812.64 EE bonds, I bonds, T bills
$7,227.60 ING, PayPal savings
$1,777.12 immediate cash in checking/savings
----
$176,421.63 grand total

*Again, I've added about 40K to Vanguard, which I plan put into Roth IRAs in subsequent years.

I received the 3rd disbursement of the inheritance in March, which is why it jumped so. (No brilliance of my own, only the ability not to spend it!) I received a 4th disbursement in very late June. Because a chunk of it will be sent to sister to fund the joint account that will take care of the farmette, I decided to wait and count what was left of the funds in December 2007.

My ING/paypal accounts dipped a bit due to the Paris trip.

June 2007 ($176,422 total, $48,205 in taxable accounts)
By comparison:
Dec 2006 ($132,062 total, $40,329)
June 2006 ($120,261 total, $65,148)
Dec 2005 ($67,778 total, $23,740)
June 2005 ($46,115 total, $11,293)
Dec 2004 ($38,338 total, $7,558)
June 2004 ($29,050 total, $4,533)

tape a business card to yer luggage

June 30th, 2007 at 05:26 am

Saving log - $7
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $10 lunch

Heard a funny, semi-financial story at lunch today. An acquaintance (just met her, not a friend yet) told us her boss was so, ahem bossy, that she took her laptop on her honeymoon to read emails. Actually, she only could plan to take her laptop to read emails; her admin got a call from said boss that she accidentally left her laptop at the security line at the airport. The boss said, its an HP, security knows about it, please have them ship it to me at the hotel room. Fine, the admin thought, and did what was asked.

The next day the admin got a call. The boss again, a bit chastened. Got the HP just fine, but it turns out that she remembered that her laptop was really a Dell. Big Grin

Wow, I thought. This is a genius way to get an upgrade. Pick a laptop you like, leave your own crappy laptop in the security line, and just arrange for the TSA to make the delivery. Big Grin

So later on at lunch it turns out that the acquaintance is sitting through interviews. The admin is leaving.

I leaned in and said in a low voice...
You can tell us. Is she keeping the HP or the Dell?

DNR doing stuff

June 29th, 2007 at 04:56 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $4.34 girly supplies + $15 lunch

Two coworkers going away parties - one a lunch, one an afternoon cake and ice cream party. I claimed that I couldn't have too much cake and ice cream because the trainer could smell it on my breath. Big Grin

On the more interesting front, sister and I will be deeded the house, barn, sheds and 7 acres Saturday June 30. Sister thinks that half and half on the joint account is a fantastic idea. She's into thinking about the upgrades - solar panels and electrical, which is okay, but I'm more interested in covering the taxes, better security and insurance. Cover the bases and ease into ownership, nothing too crazy. My fear is that while sister is there weekends and dad's friends keep an eye...its just not enough. We improve the electrical, which means copper, great, but copper prices are now high; copper turns into a "magnet" (hah couldn't resist) for thieves. If you put good stuff in, you now have to live there. Its not like they will give you a break and try to rob you during daylight.

The Wisconsin DNR (Department of Natural Resources) is already doing stuff. (Of course its now their property!) Sister asked and they've told her, which she's getting a big kick out of. They've sprayed the old fields with roundup last week, and are re-seeding with prairie grass and flowers, will cut 2-3 times a year, and burn the fields once every 3-5 years, to simulate wildfires. They're going to assess how they will restore the wetlands this fall. They seem to be very communicative and open - a very welcome development.

what makes a coin rescuer cry

June 28th, 2007 at 03:45 am


That's a penny embedded in the black top. I walk in that crosswalk every day and pass it by. Sigh. Its dead, Jim. Let it go!

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $10 lunch and groceries

Deposited my tip box money today. It was a little lighter this month - $40. I found .58 cents in the oddest place today, at work, right where we touch our security cards to get into work. The coins were just sprayed out in the hallway. I mean we are a non-profit, but cripes that's weird.

image, funny story, and outta here

June 27th, 2007 at 02:50 am

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $5.45 lunch

Nothing, nothing, nothing happened today. I mean I always think of something to write about, but today absolutely nothing financial happened to me. (Okay, when I got back from an hour of gym, I got 22 messages, all from a fax machine.) So little has happened today that all I'm going to do is post the image, tell a story, and get outta here.

Its summer, and the poppies are out...


Which reminds me of a story.

Back in the 80s, I went to a housewarming party in West Seattle. It was a charming little place, tiny front yard with a little deck, and a high fence. I went into the backyard and came chest to face with a clump of 4 foot high red poppies, the flower and ovary capsule swelled up the size of a baseball. The real (ahem, illegal to grow in the US) thing, if you know what I mean. I remarked on it to the new owner ... how could I not? He smiled and told me that when he moved in the entire garden was comprised of two plants - these huge poppies, and dill (!) While he enjoyed opium poppies as well as the next knowledgable non-DEA agent, he wanted a little more variety. So he dug all of the dill and most of the poppies out and composted them.

A couple of days later, some of the older neighbors came to visit, and were very, very disappointed to find that the new owner had dug most everything out. It turns out that the old owner was the daughter of a Chinese missionary and used to make a "medicinal tea" with the poppy leaves. The neighbors remembered with a certain amount of fondness that they would all sit around, sipping tea and dreaming about how they would renovate the kitchen.

So I say to you ... if you want to get away with something, have a good story. Don't want your opium den busted? Invite your neighbors over for tea and dreams.

tweaking the savings

June 24th, 2007 at 11:41 pm

The credit card check got posted to my account. I'm caught up, with about $60 in total debt. Hah.

I have about $300 left in my checking account to last me 4 days, so I put in another $150 into my Paypal account, which is in itself paying 5.02% interest. If I have $300 in checking by this time of the month its really not doing me any good. I'd much prefer $100 - $150.

Will be seeing what this paycheck is going to look like - I couldn't get a fix on the last paycheck because it has retro pay on it. With the pay raises, I plan on hiking up the monthly amounts I put into savings. How much depends on what I see in the next paycheck.

My newspaper subscription is going up by an estimated $3/month.

Saturday roundup

June 24th, 2007 at 04:45 am

From Friday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $15 lunch + $40 DRP

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $11 breakfast (all meals include tip, FYI) + $44 groceries + $1.85 iced coffee

Friday, not much big happened, so its cleanup of a couple of things. I seem to have lost 3 lbs, so I'm at 184, and now I seem to be back at pre-Paris shape. I'm on a little roll, so I'm aiming to be in the 170s by mid-July.

DJ friend is now in New York, so its time to develop a tight working relationship with my other employee, getting her started on a couple of important projects.

Got a chiropractic adjustment. So much for the "neck adjustment of death." I feel like a daredevil.

Saturday, DH and I checked out a new-to-us large chain Chinese grocery. So far, the best prices of produce. I'm happiest when the produce prices are under $1/lb. I eat more in season that way. Found a splurge - $5 screw container of tea-flavored pumpkin seeds. (Gotta be careful not to eat them all at once!)

I've made it another goal to use fewer plastic grocery bags. It's not a crime to get them - I reuse the bags as wastebasket liners - but the grocery baggers seem to put five items per bag, leaving you to carry 8-10 bags. When you walk out of the store, with your 4-5 bag handles on each wrist, you look like a dog walker of plastic bags. Then when you get home you have to bag up a zillion bags. Its all just so wasteful. Anyway, I've put a collection of 3 cloth totebags in the car on the passenger side floor. If we bring them, we'll use them and if I see them when I get out of the car, it reminds me to grab at least one. The final step is to get the baggers to fill them. Big Grin

Made it to the Greenwood Car Show in our neighborhood. Nicely restored cars and admirers for 20 blocks, but I was tired and looked at just the ones along my two blocks, then got an iced coffee and people watched for a half an hour.

lunching with

June 22nd, 2007 at 04:52 am

the lawyer friend's partner (lfp). Just the two of us. Lawyer friend is on the east coast. We went to a 20 yr favorite place of mine - my hideout - and chatted about blogging.

Blogging is such a weird activity, when you think about it.

Are you writing for you, audience be dammed, or are you writing for a following?

What if nothing happens that day? Or if you only like posting 1-2 entries/ day, what if a lot happens?

How anonymous, that is, how descriptive should you be? Lively descriptions and observations make for good reading, but it makes it easy for the real life people to find themselves. Then if an entry is heartfelt - when the word gets out, klablam! Actually, if a blog gets big enough, that issue gets a little easier. Imagine pawing through 502 entries of mine to get to the 1 entry that I skewer you. Just ignore that search button. Please.

And on top of that, it does take a certain strange dogged quality to keep these logs up.

At the end, I bought, which is why I logged in a $20 lunch. lfp will have my back at the next lunch.

worth opening the door

June 22nd, 2007 at 04:28 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.25 coffee + 20$ lunch

I was sort of a bad girl today, along with all the other bad girls today. Our workplace has an all-staff meeting once a month. I planned to miss and I slept in a bit. Evil, no? There was only one piece of info at the meeting that I wanted to know, and I found it out after the meeting. (if you got an evaluation rating of 3 or greater, 4.5% raise). Whenever I do miss those all-staffs, I claim that I'm doing everyone a favor - the room limit is only for 120 people, yet if we have everyone in, its 140. Missing the all-staff makes the room safer. Big Grin

But I didn't sleep in too much. The large inheritance check from last weekend had been kicking around the house for a few days and it really should be put to work. My plan was to deposit it while the all-staff was happening. And the larger the check, the longer it takes...you have to say no many more times.

One of the local banks has an ad in the window for their CD rates visible from the bus. 5.6% for 11 months. Best rate I've seen for a brick and mortar bank in Seattle. So I stood at the door at 8:59am, and I must have looked prosperous, because the manager came and unlocked the door, and we began.

It turned out that 5.6% CD was the rate if you had a number of accounts with them and you banked with them before, but I did manage to get 5.4% out of them, splitting my check into a 40K CD and the 26K and change in a high interest checking, which I wanted in case sister was interested in the joint account. The manager was friendly, and had a good poker face when I told him about the inheritance and presented the check. I also got a tote bag and a water bottle.

The manager did a soft pull of my credit rating. 808. A little bit of gossip - I told him that I looked for this bank in bankrate.com. He told me that they used to advertise there (they have online banking), but they got too much "east coast" money. So Tony Soprano banks here, I joked. He laughed, but it turns out that the real issue that it would come in easily and electronically due to the high interest rate, and it would flow out just as easily if someone else gave them a better rate. So they just advertise in the window for local money.

All in all, it took about 40 minutes of signing and printing out materials. Pretty easy, and they were very friendly. I wonder if after I left and turned the corner that the manager whooped for joy. The romantic in me likes to think so.

N.B.: tote bag is in the car. Sturdy, well made, good green color, its turning into the grocery produce shopping bag.

laundry list of stuff

June 21st, 2007 at 03:59 am

Saving log - $1
Spending log - $1.25 coffee + $7 lunch

A mostly workplace entry.

Got a note from the payroll person that there was a possibility that I was underpaid in the retro pay. I emailed back that what I got was a bit higher but pretty close to what I thought I was getting. Turns out she got over excited.

And I still get asked whether I use my science degree. Of course I do - I make predictions and then I test them. I'm sometimes right, even.

I missed my chiropractor appointment - the night before, I read an article on MSNBC about neck adjustments and freaked. Took me a couple of days to reconcile the article with my experience. Used my science degree for that one, too.

Every quarter we can adjust our 403B withholdings. What with the promotion and a new upward salary adjustment I shot the moon and went for 15%.

And right now I know of two other co workers who are leaving, 1 a surprise, 1 not. Lawyer friend is back east with his dad.

The Internet radio station is up and running!

escrow proposal

June 20th, 2007 at 04:11 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $7 lunch

What's left on the inheritance is for the proceeds on the property that the Wisconsin DNR bought are to be divided up between sister and I. Then the house, barn, sheds, and the 7 acres left (aka the farmette) are to be deeded to the two of us equally. I emailed my sister a proposal that we form a joint savings account that each of us contributes equally to pay for insurance, taxes, maintenance and upgrades.

I figure that this account would give sister some flexibility to pay what needs to be paid, it earmarks money to the farmette, it would set up a natural limit on spending, and it wouldn't hurt to put it in a vehicle that will pay us in interest while we make thoughtful decisions.

Sister mentioned the possibility of "buying me out" of the farmette in about 5 years. I also think if each of us puts equal amounts into an account like this it would make the accounting at that time a lot easier. Nothing like avoiding a "you spent this, but I spent this" fight.

Wonder what she thinks about this?

Bwa hahhahhh 500!

June 19th, 2007 at 05:10 am

I couldn't resist! I can't imagine that I even had 500 things to say...

More bus tips

June 19th, 2007 at 05:03 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $6 lunch

Just thought I'd write up something different...

Saturday my bus stop got a shelter that it didn't have on Friday. It was amazing that it was built so quickly, but it was a bummer too. It means that this so-called temporary bus stop is now the permanent bus-stop. R.I.P former, convenient, all buses stopping bus stop. Sigh.

Oh yes, note to Metro transit: with the shelter we now need a big wastebasket. When you have people sitting down away from the elements, you get litter.

So last Saturday I felt (and might have written) that I was riding with the transit amateurs. Transit amateurs just don't know the rules of the bus - boyfriends stand in the aisle next to their girlfriends even though they are corking up the aisle for other people even when the driver tells him not to - people looking confused when they pay (to be fair, a bus going toward downtown you pay getting on, a bus leaving downtown you pay getting off. Not foolproof) - people even not remembering to hang onto rails - people really, really wanting a window or an aisle - and everyone with a duffle bag or a backpack that you're just wearing. Cripes, its Saturday, and you're heading to festival in the city. Whatever happened to the wallet and the clif bar?

So some new professional bus transit tips...
1. Use the penguin hold for your backpack if you are standing in the aisle. Its simple - take your backpack off, pretend its a penguin chick and stick it between your feet. You won't bash someone in the face.
2. I hate the window and being constricted and I'm going to sit in the aisle seat and sigh loudly if someone goes to the window seat. Get over yourself. You're in a community of transit riders for a 30 minutes. Play with others even if you're sitting in a seat you hate.
3. Couples - its okay if you aren't sitting or standing together. Just get off at the same stop. Big Grin Are you that worried that another bus rider is going to steal your girl away? And we are all going to laugh if you call each other on the cell phone.
4. Don't annoy the professional riders by asking us "what's this bus like during the week?" or "I'll bet its real quiet on the weekdays." If you want to know, ride the bus during the week.

And here is the best tip for busriding in Seattle.

1. Watch and learn where your bus goes along its route, and look at other bus numbers at the stops it stops at. It means that:
The more routes you know and the greater the willingness to walk means you have more flexibility in the buses you can take.
If there are a ton of people at the stop you are waiting at, backstep and wait at the stop before the stop with a ton of people at it. (You'll probably get a seat.)

art cars (long)

June 17th, 2007 at 04:50 am

Saving log - $lots, see later in the post
Spending log - $20 for 2 breakfasts, $5 lemonade

This weekend's the Fremont Fair, which I usually don't go to even though its free - it just concentrates badly behaved people - but I wanted to see the art cars. I didn't realize that Seattle hosted the 3rd largest art car gathering in the US.

Here's one using materials familiar to a blogger:


This one can only be described as a tart car, with black bras and curlers on the top:


A working fountain on the hood?


This one has a wicked sculptural quality to it - the top of the windshield has the words 'outta my way' in mirror image, so you could see them that way in your rear view mirror.


Art cars intersect with frugality in weird sorts of ways. For instance, the one thing that art cars share is that the car part is all paid off; I'm sure that GM Financing takes a very dim view of gluing black bras on the hood of a car that you are still paying on. Smile. In most cases, the materials used as a motif for the car - discs, lingerie, beads, chalk, paint, match box cars, pennies - are usually cheap or worthless. Making something out of nothing, as it were. And you have to be very, very willing to live with and still use the results.

Today I also received the 4th payment from dad's estate. The state of Wisconsin signed off and is buying our 2nd piece of property, but that money hasn't come into the estate yet. With this 4th payment, the sale of the first property is now divided up between sister and I. The amount is small enough so it would be FDIC insured as a CD, but large enough that its weird to see it as a simple slip of paper. Shouldn't it have a gilt frame or something?

electronic payraise

June 16th, 2007 at 03:34 am

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $15 lunch

Had to do work that required a lot of thought, so I had the expensive raw fish chirashi lunch today.

We switched to electronic payroll, so no more flapping paycheck stubs, but it was different to get the settings to log in, set up the account, set up a password. But it was worth it in the end, because I could see 9 months worth of paystubs, my 2006 W2, and a couple of paycheck calculators.

The pay raise was a bit higher, and the current paycheck with that little bit of retroactive pay slightly higher than I predicted.

Made a new category called Paris and put the photo entries in it, so the trip and pics are just a click away.

sparrow in the street

June 15th, 2007 at 03:28 am

Wednesday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $7 lunch

Thursday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $5 lunch

In Paris, DH was quite taken by the number of 2-seat Smart cars on the streets. Today, I saw something one better - a Sparrow in the street.


Its a one-seater; one bag of kitty litter would have to drive itself home.


And another shot of the stickers - an electric car. The caption underneath the Sparrow says, "Ruler of the City Streets".


Tomorrow I see what my new paycheck will look like. I've learned not to form an expectation, otherwise I'll be disappointed.

no spend day

June 13th, 2007 at 04:20 am

Saving - $5 tip box
Spending log - $0

Actually, I spent $5 on myself by putting it in the tip box, hah hah. Today, the department treated our newest member to a lunch, so lunch was covered. I was going to go and get my typical coffee and milk, but I thought about it and decided to go with workplace coffee with creamer with my breakfast bar. Not the healthiest and tastiest, but its time to take advantage and convert a low spend day into a no spend day.

DJ friend is so, so, so close. The logging works properly, but every so often the sound card gets wonky when you try and control it remotely. In other words, try not to control it at work. Big Grin

Got a letter from Vanguard. I have enough money in it and took the all electronic route so I'm not going to be charged fees. Yippee!

Sister and her partner sent me the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year in Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. 15 pages in and I'm already engrossed.

My poem did not make it onto the Seattle buses this year. Ah well.

bars and acres

June 12th, 2007 at 03:56 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.44 coffee, breakfast + $5 curry lunch

I usually bring (5) .99 clif bars on Monday for breakfasts throughout the week. Today I forgot, so I bought one where I buy my coffee. $1.69! That'll be incentive to remember to put my week's worth of bars in my purse.

Sister called at work. The state of Wisconsin signed off on buying our 73 acres on the second property, so things are moving along. Makes sense, it is now close to the end of the fiscal year (June 30), and the beginning of the next fiscal year. It turns out that I'll be getting slightly more money than sister because sister already got some of the proceeds from the house, etc. The gang apparently has a little betting pool to predict how much the executors and the lawyer will take in fees. Hah hah.

Paypal mailed me the code to unlock my account, so yay, my account is now unlocked and I can put money back into it. Its paying 5.04%.

I signed the letter describing my promotion, so soon I will have something to slip into Paypal.

Paris pics, pt 4

June 10th, 2007 at 11:44 pm

The weekend is nice and lazy, so its a perfect time to put up a few more Paris snaps, with commentary. Noticed that I hasn't posted many pictures from La Defense, several museums and the cemetary, so here are some of those.

The Dali Museum was as wacky you would expect...


But the oyster shell spoon was exquisite. (FYI - It might just be me, but I had much better luck taking snaps of the small, telling detail than of the great landscape)


The Grand Arch of La Defense, built in 1989, is the third landmark of Paris that follows the same line as the Louvre and the Arc de Triomph. The specks on the stairs - people - give you an idea of scale. The two rods leading up to the top mark the elevator.


Past La Defense, France is building something that looks as suspiciously 21st century high-tech bland as anything in the US.


Back again in the 19th century, the Musee d'Orsay was once a train station and got recycled into the main museum for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. I had as much fun taking pictures of the interior spaces as I did the art. This is the main tramway.


And what you would look like on the main floor as you walked through the tramway...


Another treat was the Picasso Museum. It was a treat to be amongst hundreds of Picassos and it was a treat to just see a ton of Picassos without commentary. The juxaposition between these two couples was striking -


And on the last day in Paris, we paid our respects to Jim Morrison.


And the cimitarie cat.


Make sure you get a map of Pere Lachaisse Cimitarie, otherwise you will feel like this:

Evaluation

June 9th, 2007 at 04:57 am

Saving log - $1
Spending log - $1.59 coffee + $8 lunch

The evaluation went well enough, but a few of my mistakes were brought up. Nothing that wasn't corrected easily and on time, but its a wake up call to not be a martyr and do everything myself and answer every question put to me. I can be responsive, meticulous, and do a lot of work - but pick any two, not all three.

Time to strategize how I shoo the horseflies away in other words. Be responsive by telling the asker who really should answer their question, and give much more work to my employees. But the meticulousness has to stay with me!

back to life

June 8th, 2007 at 04:23 am

Saving log - $6
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $8 lunch

Thought I would take a break from the Paris pics to list what is currently going on:

Taking over all of the little functions as a supervisor - time cards, approving time off, reporting who is out, sitting in on the evaluations, planning to move some of my duties onto them. Tomorrow the plan is to determine whether my two staffers are interested in 1-on-1 meetings or not.

I found, to my surprise and delight, that the promotion came with a 5% pay raise, its retroactive from the paycheck before the trip, and is separate from a raise coming from a decent evaluation. And I get evaluated tomorrow.

My lower back locked up, so the chiropractor claimed, and I gained approximately .4 lbs during Paris. Or maybe not. I told the trainer that I didn't do any of the upper body drills in Paris. She didn't seem all that upset; she was positively chipper as she put me through an exercise routine that made me regret not doing the drills. Big Grin

Ate the cheese I brought back (thank you customs dog for giving me a break), and brought chocolates to work. Found out that it only took 1 week for the postcards to travel from Paris. I sent three postcards back with no writing, just a Jackson Pollock induced spray of coffee cup rings. Lawyer friend is still talking about his. Hey, anything you write from Paris on a postcard is going to be banal...why not say everything by saying nothing?

Something odd happened to my PayPal account - I saw two mysterious transactions. I emailed PayPal, they refunded the money and locked up my account. I figured that now's the time to change all my financial passwords.

Paris pics, pt 3

June 7th, 2007 at 03:51 am

No pictures of underwear, I promise!

We visited Versailles on a rainy Sunday. Once it was the Hall of Mirrors, now its the the Hall of Camcorders..


But there is great shopping in the parking lot where all the buses congregated.


Good hunting in the glass-skylit Galleries in the 2nd arrondissment (let me know if I'm spelling that wrong). DH's first cousin took us around.


The first cousin also took us to, I believe, the Canal Saint Martin. This photo is terribly, terribly dark, but atmospheric.


Still life with cafe chair legs.


Regimented cafe umbrellas at the Pomipidou Center.

Paris pics, pt 2

June 5th, 2007 at 04:44 am

by popular request, some more pics...

Some of these are going to be funny, and maybe even telling of frugalness. It turns out that while I packed pretty well - the shoes from Goodwill and the sheath dress performed like champs - I did get caught short of one vital thing: only 5 pairs of panties. And somehow spending a ton of euros on french lingerie didn't appeal. So before the laverie came this:

Turns out that a metal disc with a little rubber center by the shower is a secret clothesline. DH showed it to me. The little rubber center is one end of the string, you pull it out and hook it to the latch at the other end of the shower.

Candid, accidental shot under the Arc de Triomphe.


Speaking of the Arc de Triomphe (it just struck me as looking best in blue)


I didn't bother seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, but it was fascinating to me that archeology is still being done around the medieval levels of the fort of the Louvre.


Night Paris - not all streets are narrow. If you can read the jittery lettering at left, the Monoprix (and its little sister, Monop') is the Wal-mart of France.


Speaking of nightlife, Paris has its nerds too. Each of the cars is a realitie virtualle game.


Everyone comes and puts their feet up at the Flea Market...

Paris pics, pt 1

June 4th, 2007 at 03:59 am

A quick itinerary:
18th - L'Opera & the neighborhood around the 1st arrondisement
19th - Madeleine Church, Rue Royale, Invalides, Napoleon's Tomb, Champs Elysses, Arc de Triomphe
20th - French lunch with the Parisian side of DHs family
21st - Notre Dame, Ile de Cite, a little bit of walking around the Rive Gauche
22nd - Montmartre; Dali Museum
23rd - Louvre, Place de Bastille
24th - 2nd french lunch with MIL friends, a nap, then an evening at the laverie automatique. Smile
25th - Le Defense, Effiel Tower
26th - Marche aux Puces (Flea Market); walking tour of the Pallisades
27th - Versailles
28th - Picasso Museum, Pompidou Center
29th - Rodin Museum, Musee d'Orsay
30th - Pere Lachaisse Cimitaire

Thank you, Paris Metro and the Paris Museum Pass (PMP)! We managed to get to museums before the crowd did early on, but we got the 2-day PMP for the 28th and 29th. The PMP doesn't pay if you calculate it against admissions, but boy it does in terms of time and aggravation. The cheap person waits an hour in the rain, the frugal person gets the PMP and walks right in.

These pics aren't exhaustive - they're just some of the fun ones.

From the hotel room balcony


The cafe scene along the Champs Elysses is not as intimate as one would like Smile


A nice atmospheric from the top of Notre Dame. Sepia setting, not sunset.


I have a ton of great Louvre snaps, but I just love this one. What you would really get if you tried to wrestle a big cat to the ground.


The laundromat next to the boulangerie...


Damn, its big...


Well you get the idea. Might just as well stop before y'all fall asleep. Big Grin

First weekend home

June 4th, 2007 at 03:31 am

At least the house was clean. But about $110 left from the trip went nearly poof.

Haircut - $16
Groceries - $51
Drugstore - $11 (DH put our toothpaste in his carry-on heading out to Paris; I shook my head - TSA took it away at the airport, so we used mine of the approved size)
2 lunches - $25 (good old comfort food at a place next to the post office depot our mail was held at. We got the held mail, sorted and dealt with it, all while the food was made. The best way to deal with two weeks of mail.)

Then laundry.

Then a quick pitstop at work to shovel through 180 emails for the obviously useless ones. I could do it at home, but I just don't like doing this at home. I try to keep home at home and work at work. Found out that my postcard mailed to the office actually made it before I did.

Then sleep. Last night I didn't get the semi-dream/semi-hallucination of me sleeping in my hotel bed in the middle of L'Avenue de Opera that I got the night before. Yippee!

I'm back!

June 1st, 2007 at 08:07 pm

Just a quick note...I'm back and after I've un-jet lagged (or is that une jet lagged?) I'll post more with some pics.

Turns out that for the 20 French words that I knew, I could deploy effectively, and my French accent was bon. Not tres bon, but I'll take bon any day. Much better than the "mercy buckets" that I feared. Didn't have any awful problems, and found that the Paris denizens were formal but polite. When you think about it, its more amazing that they are as nice as they are. After all, we come to visit their museums in herds without any clear museum visiting skills. I'll bet a few euros that 95% of those who showed don't visit their own museums!

Anyhow, back to unpacking, moving pictures to the computer, and picking some fantastic snaps!