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Archive for November, 2008

weekend doings

November 30th, 2008 at 07:54 pm

Saturday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - 0$

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 groceries and lost $7 out of pocket

Did the gym laundry Friday night, then returned the gym bag to work Saturday afternoon and walked part of the way home. As long as I was at work, I put in a few dollars to show the tip box some love.

Walked Saturday and Sunday - it is getting harder to do the full trip because I much prefer to walk during daylight. When it gets dark by 4:30, that's my deadline, and it if takes about 3 hours, I have to start at 1:30. Not complaining particularly, weekends are for a bit of laziness. Even if I have only two hours, walking is good, because I made these three observations:

1. Listened to Marketplace radio. The piece talked about the price of eggs and the correspondent let slip that she pays $3.35 for a dozen. Yikes! Still the rationalizations flew: "But LA is so expensive and I have them delivered." Cry me a river. Here's a hint: buts cry out for a creative solution in times of trouble. Do you really have to have your eggs delivered?

2. Same radio show, except the piece talked about re-setting children's expectations. If only we can tap into peer pressure. What if everybody's teen was told, "nope, we can't afford it."?

3. Discovered that while my new hoodie is a magnet for sidewalk small change, its pockets expel dollar bills. Time to be more careful where I put my change. Sucks.

More signs of the times: the North Seattle Goodwill is doing brisk business, even on a Sunday (Monday's when the new stuff gets laid out), even at 4:30 in the afternoon.


Where am I going to get my colon cleaned now?
Before

After

Ah the seamy underside of the holidays...

thanksgiving day scores

November 28th, 2008 at 06:32 pm

Friday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.35 bagel, coffee + $1.61 yerba mate + $3.60 for 2 pie crusts

Thursday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.35 bagel, coffee + $17.41 many, many storage containers

Duvall Thanksgiving was a lot of fun, with a lot of food made for 4 people. Leftovers! We scored:

1. One large yogurt container of homemade pumpkin pie filling. Score because 2 pie crusts are way cheaper than one filled pie at the grocery store. Pumpkin pie is cooling comfortably on the counter. Now I all I have to do is ignore DH pleading, "is it ready yet?" No - not until its cooled.
2. Raw turkey liver. I love turkey liver. Its my tradition to fry up the liver with a bit of sage while the turkey roasts. Thank G*d none of my friends and acquaintences like turkey liver. More for me.
3. Goose fat. Cassoulet in January. I got several plastic bags of dried beans from sister. I gave the Duvall friends a bag of sister's dried beans.
4. Turkey bones. Not all the bones that I would have gotten had I hosted, but guests in general rarely get bones. Soup in a couple of days. Yippee!

Next week I'm going to brownbag it with the leftovers and I have a fresh supply of plastic containers. My homework with the new trainer is to hit the gym at least two more times a week in addition to the one hour per week with him. Unfortunately everybody seems to want to schedule over my time. The solution I've come up with is to hit gym at lunch (yeah, busy, the locker room will be like high school), then eat at my desk. Nobody schedules anything at noon, hah hah. Since I will have leftovers next week, it gives me a big break to try out getting into the habit.

early paycheck

November 25th, 2008 at 08:39 pm

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $12 lunch

We're getting our paychecks early this month - normally its the last day of the month, which this month falls on a Sunday. On a weekend, we get paid on the last work day of the month, which in other months would be Friday. Of course this month Friday is not a workday (hopefully its not your workday either), so the last workday of the month is ... tomorrow. 5 day early paycheck.

I finally got the hint and decided to cut off my recurring T-bill buying. For laughs I looked at what I would have earned on a 4wk $4,000 T-bill: 16 cents. The money that would have bought the T-bill now goes into the Treasury's no interest account, and I move that back into ING. What $4,000 will earn in ING in 4wks: $8.43.

I've been noticing more living thrifty articles. Here's one from Alternet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

2 performances

November 23rd, 2008 at 06:39 pm

Spending log - $15 gloves, hoodie + $21 groceries

Realized as I began my six mile walk that it was far colder than I was dressed, so I picked up gloves and a medium (cut large) grey hoodie at Walgreens. It was a toasty warm hoodie, but it also seems to be lucky in another way: I found change on the sidewalk within a block of putting it on. I also found 11 cents as I cut through the Safeway. Basic gray lucky recession hoodie.

On my walk toward Fremont I saw this performance:

Coming back, I walked past them again. No babies in the baby buggies, all had enigmatic smiles.

The second performance? My blog. For laughs, I put in my blog address into Typealyzer - which analyzes your blog according to Myers-Briggs.

My blog: ESFP.
Me: INFP.

They got the feeling, perceiving bit right. I'm flattered a bit - I just don't think of myself as a performer in any sort of way. Typealyzer seems to do a very quick analysis. I think its checking for verbs and active/passive voice on the first screen of posts it sees. Methinks for laughs I'll bore you all with a couple of heavy duty analysis type posts and see if it changes thinks a bit.

and that's where I was on Saturday

November 22nd, 2008 at 07:57 pm

Friday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $11 lunch

Saturday
Saving log - $40 DRP
Spending log - $7 brunch + $65 groceries

At the grocery store. Shopped for my contributions to the Thanksgiving feast and to take advantage of the frozen corn, pea, and green bean sales. I also picked up one box each of chicken broth and stock. I also picked up some hard cheeses.

I didn't walk this today - I cleaned the kitchen. Clutterfree! It gets me that DH tends to be clueless about cleanup - or rather, he tends to be clueless about the follow-through. He'll wash, but he won't put away, or he'll leave it soaking in the sink. He is the anti-fly lady. I also got rid of the ancient condiments lining the baseboard behind the stove, and moved all the non-condimenty things back there. Condiments get nasty quick over the heat of the stove.

Then I tried the roasted cranberry sauce recipe from Saveur - it is fantastic, and only about 15 minutes of cooking, 1 hr of waiting around. (actually, I'm an inveterate tinkerer, so I've already added my own additions and deletions). I also tried a new sweet potato recipe which was also fantastic. The very opposite end of sweet potatoes with marshmallows, but it uses a lot of butter.

blew the nsd

November 20th, 2008 at 08:22 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $12 groceries

DJ friend took me out to lunch. That, along with breakfast food at the all staff meeting, made for a no spend day as of 6:30pm.

Unfortunately I "blew" it on cranberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and an orange. I'm going to try out a roasted cranberry sauce. In it, you put sugared cranberries on a cookie sheet with a bit of orange peel, cinnamon stick, thin strips of jalepeno, then bake for 15 minutes.

But I am here in the midst of the November grocery bonanza. Organic broccoli for $1.49/lb, even cheaper than regular; frozen green beans, corn, peas, peas and carrots each for $1/lb. I know where I'll be Saturday.

up the down escalator

November 19th, 2008 at 08:32 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $9 lunch

Watching a guy do a very frugal 15 sec stair step workout. It wasn't busy, so he ran up the down escalator.

We got all of our temp staff here and orientated. Orientation included food, so I didn't have to tear into my breakfast/ energy bar stock. I got a little SBC coffee card which I will hold in reserve. Plastic in the bank, as it were.

Put my tip box squeezings in for this month.

Made the Thanksgiving Day plans - we are eating with the Duvall friends. It made sense because if they come here, they have to put the poultry away for the night (otherwise the free ranging cougar gets her own Thanksgiving) or they have to come here early to leave early to put the poultry away. When it gets dark at 5pm, it puts a crimp in the festivities.

403B doings, part 5

November 18th, 2008 at 09:12 pm

Now that you've set up your 401K or 403B, its time to maintain it.

This corny saying on Wall Street might help you: The trend is your friend, until the end.

To tell you the truth, I found that this post was the most difficult to write. And this is just the introduction. The classic advice: diversify and allocate according to your target age and risk, set up your percentages, check them every six months or yearly, then rebalance if your percentages get out of whack - definitely do if your target allocation is off by 4-5% or so. Rinse and repeat until retirement.

In these times, the classic advice - buy and hold with a touch of dollar cost averaging - is unsatisfying to say the least. The classic advice works if risk is unchanging, prices are gently variable, and the general economy is stable. Then the classic rules apply - stock prices and bond prices move in opposite directions, you can equities "buy on the dip" because you are confident that equities will come back up after giving you that buying opportunity. Once upon a time the trend, your friend, is gently up.

Unfortunately, while you might be stable and consistent as you put money in, the market that you are investing in is clearly not.

We are now at the end of the trend. We know now in late 2008 that risk was extraordinarily high when the general economy snapped. Now stocks are down over 40%, bonds are down over 6%. Both being down is unusual. Only cash is up, and only about 1-2%. The trend is volatile - downdraft, then up rally, then downdraft again. We know that a new trend will form, but when? And if the trend is gently down, what then?

To be fair, you can't time the market. You especially can't time the market in a 401K because, at best, your money is put in as you earn your paycheck. At worst, money is put in quarterly, even yearly, or worst of all, when your plan administrator damn well feels like it. Most people don't have the training or temperament to watch their accounts - I think of myself as a stable gal but heck I get excited (want to buy more) when things go up and bummed (want to sell) when they go down.

Still, there has to be something between the poles of set-it-and-forget-it and mad money trading. I'm trying to find a middle way.

back in the saddle again

November 18th, 2008 at 08:58 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $6 lunch

I went to the gym yesterday and today. 186.

Well, I'm going back in. I've signed up with another trainer at the gym. This time I've signed up for only once/week, leaving me to come back at least one more time during the week. I'm trying for the element of being a bit cheap, but also go for what works. If I put money on it, I make the meeting.

Turns out that I'm now regular enough so I still get the grandfathered 2006 rate, a good 25% off the 2008 rates.

I decided to take the plunge again because I think that a trainer is an inducement to make progress, and a trainer can devise different exercises for me to freshen things up - challenge my body to figure how to do new things. Not to mention, I'm a bit of a pleaser and have an audience so I will try harder. Smile

The three months that I had working out on my own were valuable. I didn't slip, I think I'm as strong as I finished up. Alone I maintained well and I think I can push myself. However, just like you can't tickle yourself, you really can't surprise yourself either. I suspect that's the main reason why gym rats usually have a training buddy. Even if its competitive - "watch this?" "I'll bet you can't do that" *CRASH* OW! - seeing the buddy do something novel and trying it yourself adds that element of surprise.

For an novel exercise, the trainer had me do a plank (stationary pushup) with hands on a ball. I could hold the plank on the ball for 30 seconds, surprising myself. Usually we did side planks or regular planks or climbing planks or with one little ball in one hand or hollow planks but generally flat on a mat.

Yikes - I just realized it had been three years to the week since I first started going to the gym. November is a good time - get a counter impulse for the holiday eating season - and I miss the busy resolution season.

a salute to Harold's Chicken

November 17th, 2008 at 09:57 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $9 lunch

Ah memories - on 60 Minutes, when Michelle Obama talked about Barack Obama's first apartment in Chicago near Harold's Chicken Shack, it brought me back 25 years ago when I lived in a brownstone apartment across from the Hyde Park Harold's Chicken Shack, when it was on 53rd and Kenwood.

The apartment itself was a dive, but it had three distinct advantages.

1. You didn't have to give directions. All one said was, "across from Harold's Chicken". None of this counting blocks or figuring the cross street. You either knew it or you were a Martian. Such a timesaver.

2. Dead of winter - and there were a few weekends when it was -80F with the windchill - a hot meal was across the street.

3. You could look down at a lovely colored neon sign (a cook with a cleaver going after a chicken) whenever you liked.

The Harold's Chicken that I knew was strictly take-out. No tables, no chairs. You walked in, pop machine was on your left, you turned right, walked past the nasty fake wood paneling, and past the handwritten cardboard sign of the rules:

No

Dogs

Eating

Bikes


Zen poetry in disguise.

You ordered through a microphone, put your money under the clear bullet-proof slot. You waited for your chicken (they fried it to order), and when it was done (with enough Frank's Hot Sauce to drown it) the cashier put it through a bullet proof carousel.

Prices? In 1984 I think it was $2.75 for a white half, $2.50 for a dark half. It made my weekend budget go. I ate there so often that the cashiers would complement me on my haircuts. Oh yes, I liked the soggy fries, but I didn't like the wonder bread. Giving away the wonder bread primed me for a life in non-profit service. Smile

There you have it: a Chicago institution.
Even have their own blog -
http://haroldschicken.com/

November sunday

November 16th, 2008 at 09:55 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.38 coffee, bagel + $5 apple, clif bars + $10 sushi

Another 5 mi walk, however it was up Queen Anne Hill. Walking up it felt like Everest, but at least I could still do it. As a reward for going up the hill, I got a few snacks at the kaiten sushi place, more pieces, fewer rice rolls. Next week, I go to the gym.

Queen Anne is a fairly swank neighborhood of Seattle. Even here, I noticed a lot of For Rent / Vacancy signs for November. The university is on a quarterly schedule - in a normal year the signs go up in late August or September.

The seasonal clif bars came in. At a $1.38/bar, it was a seasonal splurge for work.

signs of the times next door

November 15th, 2008 at 08:25 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $14 brunch, coffee + $8 produce + $11 groceries

The weekend could not come any sooner. Today, after a leisurely brunch and coffee, DH and I teamed up to buy some fresh produce. Many good things for under a dollar: .69/lb apples, .99/lb cauliflower, 2 for $1 cucumber. The only things I got for over a dollar were red grapes $1.49/lb, and a box of salad for $1.29. The only rule that works for me with plastic boxes of salad is to check the bottom of the box for liquid. Clear liquid is bad, brown liquid is don't buy it ever bad.

Last week was so awful that I didn't even get to the gym once. I walked only 4 miles - to 50th and Greenwood and back, with a detour to Sakya Monastery to turn prayer wheels. They gave such a calming wooden squeak as they wheeled around.

Right at the beginning of my walk, the first block, I ran into this sign:

I've seen this green sign before. The last time was on 8th NW at least a couple of miles away, which means this neatly handwritten sign is not the product of a single desperate seller, but a marketing ploy. I remember when the house behind it was sold - for about $390K back in 2006.

won a book

November 14th, 2008 at 09:00 pm

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $6 lunch + $20 beer, snack, dinner

The office had a drawing at our internal United Way campaign. I won the other Obama book, Dreams of My Father. Another co worker on my floor won The Audacity of Hope. We can have a little lending library in the lunch room, a place even more convenient than the library. Got a certificate for our floor's first place in the Halloween decorating contest...so actually we just won bragging rights. And brag we will.

Had a beer and dinner with DH, and I tried the snack that I've always wanted to try - fried crunchy pigs ears with mustard @ 4.99$. They were french-fried strips, no curve. Tasty, crunchy, like fries with third and a fourth dimension. DH had one, and had no more, so I had the rest. I felt like Mike Tyson, bearing down on these guys. I probably won't order them again, but it was great to try them and have nearly everything but the squeal.

now its insulting

November 13th, 2008 at 09:59 pm

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $9 lunch + $.40 banana

Again with the busy. The CFO (who is, during our bosses' leave, is our acting boss), kindly reminded me that a little bit of overtime, strategically deployed, can be appropriate if its a busy hump.

Took a look at the T-bill interest this month: 22 cents. Now its insulting, pops. Time to think about taking scfr's T-bill "breather" myself and move the money into ING. I can move it back if the interest improves.

a girl can dream

November 12th, 2008 at 10:19 pm

If only it really weren't a brilliant satire:

For a little more info about this parody - here

it only feels like it

November 12th, 2008 at 07:55 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $4 coffee (2 drip coffees bought within 2 hrs of each other) + $10 lunch

The busy season for pledges hit and hit hard this week. Lots of work! That part is similar to previous years; the truly tiring part is that our boss is on family leave so all the deflections and meetings she went to so we didn't have to ... now we have to and suddenly its tiring. Not to mention that sometimes more than one of us is going and then some of us get our undies in a bunch because there was more than one of us. Sigh. Its not the meeting that gets me tired; its expending energy easing the snit of other people in our department. I have to save a little bit of energy and time to smooth feathers.

But back to the meeting issue. I'm shaking my head here. Have a meeting and you don't want to go, look at Outlook calendars. Maybe you're lucky and there's a dup. No sense in emailing blah, blah.

Also the low level tension due to the rain, the mood of Seattle during recession, daylight saving going away, no chance to workout this week. Sigh. I have a saying on my white board: No one dies if it doesn't get done today. I wrote on the side in response: It only feels like it.

Another recession sign is that the campaign questions I'm getting are far more pointed. Not a surprise really. The off the wall flaky ones we get from possible donors during a boom year aren't bothering to give anything this year, so no questions from them.

memory

November 10th, 2008 at 08:32 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $11 coffee beans for french press + $1.29 1/2 & 1/2 for the coffee + $6 lunch + $10 groceries

Sing it like the song in Cats. Maybe I should christen my laptop Grizabella.

Got the new memory in the mail this evening, so I took out the old, cooked memory, and put in the fresh, new memory, then let the cooler run for a minute or two to chill things down, then I turned it on. So far, so good. But the last time I said that, then boom. So I hesitate. Can't really declare a victory for a few days, but I will say that I luv Memory Suppliers. Paying 70$ for 2 512M (1Gig) of memory has got to be far cheaper than buying a whole new laptop.

Not that I haven't priced the laptops. I flipped through the Dell flyer. (My current laptop is a Dell and I've had it for 4 years. Its a tank and its holding up well.) 700$ for a 160G hard drive and 2G of RAM. And I can have it in red ... whoowhee.

squash mushroom soup

November 9th, 2008 at 06:57 pm

Scored decent chanterelle mushrooms for $5.98/lb. DH hates mushrooms, so I have to hide them if I make a lot of this soup (I can't eat it alone)

Squash mushroom soup

1 butternut squash
1 yellow acorn squash
3/4 lb chanterelle mushroom, wiped of dirt w/paper towel
2 c chicken stock
1 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sprigs rosemary
olive oil/butter
water

Optional: whipping cream

Squash-
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut squashes in half, remove seeds, add a pat of butter or bit of olive oil. Roast squashes until soft. Let cool, then reserve squash flesh.

Soup-
Chop mushrooms. Saute mushroom and onion in butter or olive oil until soft. Add garlic, rosemary, saute until soft. Add chicken stock and squash. Simmer until heated through, then take an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, add a tablespoon of whipping cream into the bowl.

Someday, when DH can tolerate mushrooms, I will reserve some of the sauteed mushroom mixture to add back after pureeing. A bit of heat is nice here, also. I love adding a bit of Japanese pepper (chili powder, sesame seed, and dried orange peel).

Squash seeds -
Clean the threads and squash bits away from the seeds. Soak seeds in a salt and water brine for 30 minutes, then drain seeds completely, spread seeds out on a pan, dry roast at 350F for 30 minutes.

gingerly, gingerly

November 9th, 2008 at 06:33 pm

I'm still waiting for my new memory to come via US Mail (cheapee me, US Mail had no shipping), but yesterday DH and I shopped at Fry's Computer.

The two signs of recession at Fry was slightly fewer people shopping around, and shopping baskets of cheap stocking stuffers. Hard to believe that 2Gig flash drives are now $9.99. A couple of years ago a Gig was up around 100$ or so.

Anyway, Friday night I tested out my old external cooler (fan and a chiller). No sound and no cooling. I suspect that the memory got cooked by the high temps that a souped-up laptop generates, so the cooler needed to be replaced before the new memory shows up. At Fry's I picked out the cooler that has a separate AC adapter. The coolers that use the USB port exclusively have one fatal flaw - but if the cooler bombs out, not only does it bomb out the memory, it also injures the USB ports. So not only could a non-working cooler kill parts of your laptop, it could prevent the next cooler from working properly.

It was pricey for a cooler - $49, but it had a 20$ rebate, so I filled it out and sent it off.

Along with a cooler, I got a bit sick of the USB mouse, so I treated myself and stimulated the economy by picking up a 39$ optical wireless mouse. And I picked up a lid that prevents dinner splatter in the microwave - 2.50$.

All told = 95$.

Today, I'm the process of trying out my new cooler. Frosty! I've checked to see how much I can do with half baked memory. Only one of the two memory cards got cooked, the other seems to be holding up. I'm living right - the 256K got cooked, rather than the 512K.

found a dime

November 7th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

...just under the wire; today was the last day. Found a dime on the curb this morning.

I had a "joke" goal to find more spare change than what my T-bill would earn that month.

T-bill interest = .31 cents

This month, I found = .39 cents
(.05 + .11 + .01 + .02 + .10 + .10)

two cents left

November 5th, 2008 at 07:08 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.92 coffee + $10 lunch

After that little bit of election history last night I had a shot of bourbon, flipped through the news channels (the FOX affiliate was wonderfully apocalyptic), listened to McCain's wonderful speech (why wasn't he running?), then I took a bath and went to bed.

Today I loosened up by buying a coffee at Seattle's Best and had lunch with the gang. We assume that Sarah Palin will assume Ted Stevens's senate seat (he will have to step down because he is a convicted felon), making it pretty interesting for her and McCain in a couple of months.

Not much fiscal happened, although just when I've given up finding my .12, I find a dime on the floor of the bus near my feet.
.12 - .10 = .02 to go before I find .31 to match the T-bill interest. I have two days to do it. This next 4-week T-bill happens not to be any great shakes either: .99 this time.

Its dang hard finding change on the sidewalk when you have a goal to meet. Why is that?

from work

November 4th, 2008 at 04:35 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $8 lunch + $.60 apple + $70 laptop memory

Yeah, I know, blogging from work. Ay yi yi! I'm doing it only because the memory on my laptop completely gave up the ghost after I posted last night...maybe the memory did it in memory of the jumper. I bought 2 of my memory (has two slots) for $70.

Voted today. I got there at 7 am, and gutsy me, voted using an electronic ballot. I'm very lucky with electronic devices, and I was when I finally got on, but a word to the wise, if you see the person in front of you poring over the voters guide while you are waiting to vote electronically, do not hesitate but go back and get a paper ballot. Voter guides and electronic ballots DO NOT mix. Electronic balloting works best if you have your list and go boom, boom, boom.

But the 20 minute wait had its charms. It was, supposedly the last time we will have polls in King County. This, and then vote by mail like nearly every other county in Wa state. Of course they said that two years ago. We'll see. I like to go to the polls, it breaks up the routine.

The charm was people watching, especially the provisional ballot meltdown line. There's always someone crying, "it always happens every time, you miss me from the voter rolls, you hate me and my kind and..." I stopped listening after a bit. My advice to the crier is to vote more often than every four years. Every year in September & November there seems to be something to vote for. Do it often enough and you work bugs out - you get your voter card, you know your precinct, and best of all, you know all the usual suspects who work the polls.

Oh yeah, got my free coffee afterward.

a little extra upper body

November 3rd, 2008 at 08:32 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $9 lunch

All that walking around north Seattle heading from house to downtown, all while noting bus stops paid off today.

I live in North Seattle, my usual morning bus crosses into downtown via the Aurora Bridge. I caught the bus while lugging about 15 pounds of canned goods (food drive), and congratulated myself on my luck. The intercom on the bus was on, the dispatcher mentioned delays on Aurora. I settled in because that's fairly usual.

We got to Fremont Ave (the very pretty leaf-strewn street in the post below). Traffic was backed up, we didn't move, and the dispatch estimated a hour to hour & half to get to downtown.

Time to get off, even lugging the cans. The aisle seat woman and I chatted as we walked along Fremont from 42nd to across the Fremont Bridge. We saw at least three large police vans and fire trucks on Aurora. The aisle seat woman crossed headed on Dexter. I had cans, so I waited on Nickerson to catch the 17. Everything was late, but I caught it, stood in the aisle, did the penguin-chick thing with the bag of canned goods. Got into work at 9:45. I was sooo happy to dump those cans!

Turned out it was a jumper on the Aurora Bridge. You know, its so odd to want to off yourself in such a public way as jumping off a bridge during rush hour. Suicide is not really an extrovert's activity; its not entertaining so what's the audience for? Talking you down? Cheering you on?

The odyssey this morning was useful. I found two pennies while I was walking.

.14 - .02 = .12 to get to .31. I now have this week to find 12 cents on the street.

Found out that our floor won the Halloween decorating contest. I chatted a bit with the organizer - if we weren't so politically correct, our floor would have swept all the categories, so we got Best Overall.

I bonds got their new interest rates today. 0.70% fixed rate 4.92% cpi for a total rate of 5.64%. Still not fantastic, but better than the last batch with a fixed rate of 0.0%.

signs of the times (long)

November 1st, 2008 at 08:52 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box + $40 DRP1 + $100 DRP2
Spending log - $17 brunch (for 2)

We finished a brunch card, so we got a free entree this morning. Top of the month we paid the rent, and I figured out how much to put into DRPs. Funny how when I send a bit of money to the transfer agents I get bummed if their stock prices go up.

Seattle is wearing its November soggy togs, but the leaves are much better this year than usual. Hard to find small change through the leaves. Smile


But along my walk, I've been noticing the signs of the times. Exhibit 1: a bit of paranoia. He's had this sign for years, but the sign itself is a fresh version.


There's that word "layaway" again, this time out in front of a hip Seattle boutique.


Not a funny or a repent sign in front of this church, more of a "we've all lost money together" vibe.


This condo was for sale for the longest time with no bites. Now its time for a different tack.

A different sign had "only 3 left". There were 6 "townhomes" (why can't anyone say house anymore?). A 50% closing rate is decent, but belies the urgency of the "only". It always pays to do the math.

The lack of a sign is the sign here, yet the sign post remains. A bit of schaudenfruede here - the sign had a price of the princely sum of "$750,000". If I'm asking for 3/4 of mil, the least I could get is a perfect picture window (note the plastic). Back to the picture. No sign, so did the house get sold? Unlikely - why keep the sign post? Rented out - perhaps, because there were fresh items in the window. Owners give up for the selling season? Probably. See ya next spring.


Our final exhibit. It made me laugh. I'm fairly sure, based on the placement and expression of the various characters, the bar is advertising to Democrats. Alcohol is the universal solvent - equally useful in both celebration and condolence. Can get them coming and going, as grandpa used to say.