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Archive for January, 2009

180!

January 31st, 2009 at 04:50 am

Thursday
Saving log - $3 tip box + $35 drp
Spending log - $0

Friday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1172 gym

I'm at 180.6.

You know, 180 was the original weight goal from three years ago. The very first trainer I had thought that I would get to 180 in three months. Reality took a bit longer.

Because I've dropped about 8 pounds, I've signed up for another round of personal training - 18 sessions, 1X week. Along with the couple of leftover sessions, these should last until about July. So its a lot, but monthly not so much. And if I bring the lunch instead of buying it, I save about $300 per month. So I'm shifting.

I'm close to getting all the pieces of paper I need to do my taxes. I have to go through my checklist. It used to be so straightforward - a W2 and away I would go. That's the one problem with a little fiscal empire - if I'm the emperor, I have to give my governors and generals time to report.

I'm busy, but my crunch time has been delayed. I was supposed to get a big influx of data Thursday and Friday. Crickets. So I'm still clearing my decks, getting all the projects that I still have to get done done.

And I think I'm done.

nothing financial today

January 29th, 2009 at 04:43 am

Tuesday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $14 groceries

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

Not much today. Found a penny last night, and found another this morning. Work is now really picking up; the crunch for me is coming the end of this week.

Enjoying the kitten but I thought that when cats get spayed, they mellow out. Not Morgan - she is very kitten hyper, practically levitating as she pounces on the bed. To the laughs of my DH, he found that my satin pyjama top is Morgan's new plaything, along with the Trader Joe's paper bag, the mice with the feather tails, the toilet paper and paper towel rolls, my earbuds (especially if they dangle), and the scratching post. Hmmm - if I teach her to shred paper, that could be a cost saving measure.

So far we've been keeping fairly well to the diet. She was weighed right before she got spayed, she held at 5.5 pounds, but grew much longer.

Nice to pet her after facing the world for the day and heard so d^mn much bad news.

not the day to wear a ski mask

January 27th, 2009 at 05:22 am

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

Even though it was cold. 3 Seattle banks got robbed today within four hours of each other. None of the three robbers looked a tenth as good as Warren Beatty did playing Clyde Barrow, but then again, the real Clyde Barrow didn't either.

DJ friend told me about his cost cutting measures and thanked me for telling him about Lenny's. Some of the cheapest produce in town, but you have to pick and look. Icky stuff can be in the bin with the good stuff.

Hit the gym today again. 181.8!

freezing in the rain

January 26th, 2009 at 03:23 am

Sunday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $10 Fremont Sunday Market

Saturday
Saving log - $100 KO Drp + $40 MMM Drp
Spending log - $12 breakfast

Ate 1/2 of the mega-breakfast, the other 1/2 for dinner and we both got very good at getting the to-go boxes before we dig in. (easier to estimate 1/2 before you dig in). I'm seriously toying with the idea of bringing a couple of those Ziploc boxes in my tote so I don't even have to bother the waitress. Is that too chintzy? Smile Noticed that even with all the talk of Starbucks, Microsoft, and Boeing layoffs, there was plenty of food being left on the plates.

Went to the gym on Saturday to catch up a bit because I didn't go all week, due to that pesky cold. I'm still at 182 with the shoes on (that 178 was with the swimsuit).

Noted that the KO share price was getting down to the $42 range, close to average price that I was buying it during its slump in 2002-2005, so I decided to put in a bit more. If KO gets much lower, its time to consistently add to the position.

Didn't feel particularly ambitious on my walk today (it was freezing!), but I tried to shorten my walking intervals and lengthen my jogging ones. At least for the first two miles, it was a 1/3 jog and 2/3 walk. When I visited the Fremont Sunday Market, I found a cute framed mini-poster of the Champs Elysees.

introducing a new recession measure

January 24th, 2009 at 05:02 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $12 lunch

Aka the work refrigerator.

We have refrigerators on each floor - its not everybody piled into one. This morning I spent two minutes of my work life reading email complaints of various people on the second floor who "broke" the work refrigerator lunch rules. The COO laid down the law, but in reality, the punishment is pretty minor: your lunch container gets moved out of the refeer and onto the lunchroom table.

Lucky our floor has, maybe, ten people all quietly bringing their lunch. Lots of free space. Easy for me to chuckle about the goobs on the second floor.

Then it hit me. - Apparently the second floor refeer was packed with lunches, all brought by the sales staff, folks who, only a couple of years ago (when I was up there), wouldn't even think of bringing their lunch. Especially on a Friday.

Anybody else seeing work refrigerators full of brown bags where none existed?

Today, I was contrarian. I woke up this morning and decided, as I was in bed, to go out for lunch and eat whitefish and mustard green soup with ginger. The very restorative thought of it got me out of bed.

Put the month's savings in the tip box. A bit higher than usual: $52.

my brave little girl...

January 23rd, 2009 at 03:44 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $88 body fat & bone density tests + $256 spay, chip, toenail clip

...is resting comfortably after being spayed. She is wearing a little plastic cone to keep her from licking the scar. I don't know which Morgan hates more, being sore and thinking "every time I go to the vet bad things happen" or total unstylishness of a plastic cone tied at the neck with a white gauze bow and collar. The bow does give her a little House on the Prairie look, but I don't think she's buying it.

As for me, I underwent the gold standard for body fat tests - still at 37% body fat - but since it was underwater, I discovered that my swimsuit fit on the loose side, and just with a bathing suit, I'm 178. I also sprung for the bone density test - I'm at 95% of average amongst non-menopausal women (98% at one test, 91% at another).

Found out that just one of my clif bars fell into the Salmonella recall.

just great

January 22nd, 2009 at 03:14 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $22 lunch

Just great. For breakfast, sometimes I have a Clif bar, sometimes an Odwalla bar. For the last few months they have been Odwalla, but it turns out that the 3 peanut flavors of Clif bars have been recalled due to salmonella contamination. And I bought some on Saturday. Time to check the expiration dates. The FDA is maintaining a searchable list of products.

I know I'm not supposed to eat what I find, but I wonder if I'm supposed to just throw them out or save them and the package and send them somewhere or call the manufacturer. Time to do a little more digging.

pixilated inauguration

January 21st, 2009 at 04:57 am

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

Didn't take out my wallet once. Tomorrow I'll be having lunch with the gang, so the NSD was needed.

We watched the inauguration at work (9am on the west coast) on the streaming CNN.com hookup. Just in a couple of spots - we were told that if everybody tried it in the privacy of their own offices, the network would go down. As the kids would say - streaming sux. I was very glad I have an MP3 player with an FM radio, I could listen continuously and watch the picture shudder and stall and pixilate. The only issue was that NPR was a good 30 seconds ahead of the CNN sound feed. If I cheered at a good line, I'd look like I had Asperger's to everybody else.

I'd sympathize with everyone else watching the pixilation without augmentation, but I'm getting old and cranky. Remind me again why we don't have TVs at work any more?

Now to bore you all with a kitten picture...
This Trader Joe's bag is mine, mine, mine!

heart rate monitor

January 20th, 2009 at 12:23 am

Sunday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $3.35 coffee, bagel + $1.50 apple + $10 groceries

Monday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $5.70 mocha, bagel + $5 cup of soups, juice

Coming down with a cold - it was a 'not quite right' feeling yesterday, but today it tightened its grip. I've have to tell Morgan to stop sneezing directly into my face. Why can't she sneeze into her paw like we're supposed to?

Yesterday I tried out my Christmas gift- a wristwatch-heart rate monitor (2 parter with the strap around the sternum). I learned a lot, especially why I can do 7 miles of walking, yet not drop weight. It turns out that unless there is an incline, even speed walking puts me at a heart rate of about 95-106 bmp. An incline will put me in the 120s bmp, any decent hill (like nearly any Seattle downtown street going from 2nd - 5th) puts me in the 130s, while jogging will get me to 135-145. Sigh. Good to know that my heart rate drops quickly after the little jog, but unfortunately it has to be less walking and more jogging.

Today is a holiday for me, and a chance to be lazy and catch up on Battlestar Galactica. (I'm only on the beginning of season 2, so frak you if you make spoiler comments.)

As far as the fiscal is concerned, here's the reason why the fixed rate really determines whether you buy the I-bond or not. If there is deflation or no inflation, the fixed rate is what you get.

And finally, giving thanks that we've survived the 43rd president. Please let the 44th be better; he can't be much worse.

triage

January 18th, 2009 at 07:04 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $45 Big Lots + $75 groceries

Was treated to breakfast today, and since there was so much of it, I was also treated for dinner as well.

I've done a good job of brown bagging lunches that the refrigerator is pretty dry. It was quite a little grocery shopping run, something that we would have easily done every month or so, now it feels like a few times per year event. We tied the grocery run to a Big Lots run for paper towels, toilet paper, toiletries, and a lot of cheap replacements for items we've busted in the last year or so.

I feel terrible for thinking this, but as this recession deepens, while I'm still saving and earning, my thoughts are darker - the triage, who I will lend money to and who I won't. I joke to DH that I will lie if necessary and make up a job loss, but its unseemly. DH, of course, some of DH's family, sure, limited amounts. My family is small, just sister and I. But friends are tough. If they are your friends that's worth something, but too many requests & when money is pissed away, you are tapped out and you're pissed.

Sorry I seem so dark today. It was a blue sky, sunny, 40 degree day - a rare Seattle January day. And here's to the possibility of two more.

matches and inches

January 17th, 2009 at 05:01 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $0

Funded my 2009 Roth today. Got several more pieces of tax paper, including the 1099R because I've converted my 2005 & 2006 traditional IRA to Roth. Got a collection of tax papers and put them in my green folder. I'm debating whether to do my taxes myself this year or use a preparer. Hmmm. Will I be tapped to head the Department of Treasury, or not?

Most of the day at work it felt as if we were waiting for the 3 day weekend. Most of the temporary audit staff's (including the lead) last day was today. Our pledge season this year was cut short by at least a month. Not two years ago I and lead auditor that year would have bought into the Super Bowl pool in mid-Feb.

This morning, I read a blog specific for non-profits. In the post, the writer talked about corporate matches. She didn't see any changes in corporate match giving. She's nuts, in my opinion. I calculate them for our non-profit as part of my job and I'm seeing big declines in two ways: 1. mechanics of the matches are changing - ratios dropping, match gifts "capped" on the donor gift or a total of what the company will pay; 2. if you base a match gift on employee giving, when employee giving drops - even if the ratio is the same - the match dollars will drop.

But to keep this post from being a total downer, this afternoon I was weighed and measured. I'm still at 182, but I have lost 3 inches in my waist since I was measured two months ago. Yeah! If you lose inches, you can always lie.

3 pieces of mail

January 16th, 2009 at 05:32 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.90 coffee + $13 ground coffee + $9 groceries

Got more tax papers, including the W2.

Also got a letter that the KO Drp is moving - out of the hands of the company and more to the transfer agent. Buying and selling look to be more fluid - you can buy shares weekly, rather than at the end of the month. It looks like the fees, including reinvesting dividends, are now to be footed by the shareholders, rather than the company.

Final piece of mail - my first mail-in ballot. We get to vote on who is going to head King County elections.

KHAN!!!

January 15th, 2009 at 04:33 am

Today
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.90 coffee + $7 lunch + $20 groceries

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

I'm going to miss Ricardo Montalban.

I bought my lunch today, came back, then worked out during my lunch hour and ate lunch at my desk. Good hunting skills for the department - the gym was giving away free samples of Healthy Choice microwave lunches. It was late enough (1:30) so I could scoop up 4 of them without much fuss. Into the work refeer they went.

Recession food

January 13th, 2009 at 05:48 am

OMG - I saw a TV ad for Hamburger Helper. Fresh one, not retro. And during prime time, not during the insomnia/informercial times. The 70s are back with noodles and cheese.

I made the Saturday "Dine In" crock pot recipe in the Seattle PI. At least I thought I did. I was going to go in and search for it online, but the web staff hadn't updated it. Of course the PI staff had more important things to do - like updating their resumes.

Anyway, I had to wing it. It was can central, but the results were very tasty.

Beef barley soup

2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large carrot, sliced
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
olive oil
1 14 oz can diced tomato
1 14 oz can chicken stock
1 14 oz can beef stock
3/4 c barley
2 lb beef stew meat (rump roast works here also)
1/4 c soy sauce

Night before
Saute onion, garlic, bay leaf in olive oil to soften. Save and refrigerate.
Slice carrot. Refrigerate.
Cut stew meat or pot roast into 1 inch cubes. Refrigerate.

Morning of
Put all ingredients into crock pot. Cook on low for 10 hours, or if you are rushed for time, cook on high for 5-7 hours.

changing passwords

January 13th, 2009 at 05:18 am

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $15 groceries

Did a little chore with the change of year - I changed all of my financial passwords. It means that I mostly try to change them only once per year, but its better than not changing them at all. And I have to change all of them. If I have to ask the question, "old one, or new?" its a failure.

budget cuts and trimming nails

January 11th, 2009 at 06:47 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $13 breakfast

Friday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $9 groceries

Sent off 5K to sister for taxes and upkeep on the farmette. Friday was a this and that day. Did a session with the trainer - I've bounced up to 183, then bounced back down to 182. Showed off my kitten scars.

Noticed now that with Boeing laying off, the PI going under (okay its being put up for sale within 60 days before going under. Not going to happen), and an actual crockpot recipe appearing in the recipe of the day it feels a bit like the 70s - can disco be far behind? If you compare the economic climate to the weather, it feels like a hurricane is bearing down. Seattle is getting the first bands of rain and wind with worse on the way.

Today lawyer friend had an open house/wake for his dad. One of the side benefits of working in the basement is that our department - all 7 of us - feel like a tight unit. We are actually a bit too busy to do too much political backstabbing.

Not so in the previous department that I was in. A co worker who still works in that department and came to the wake confided in me that she thought she would be laid off. Supposedly no one will be laid off, but to believe that these days is complete idiocy. My suspicion is that each department will have to come up with a "just in case" budget about 15-20% under what we do, meaning cuts everywhere. It was helpful to us to take up the offer of and use the services of several internal staff. It kept us under budget, perhaps we'll escape it. I haven't heard anything, its all feelings, but you pick up a thing or two if you were alert during the 70s and early 80s.

Then we did the mundane after we got home. I trimmed kitten's nails; she behaved herself and it was easy. Didn't give the nails a severe chop, but the scimitar points are gone. Morgan will go to the vet Monday to get a blood draw to test how well she will handle anesthesia, and get the second round of shots. She's been outside a little bit for a few minutes and under our eyes. She's not excited to go out, which solves a lot of issues, but we do want her get a little familiar with what our house and plants look and smell like if she accidentally gets outside.

chomp!

January 9th, 2009 at 04:38 am

Thursday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $18 groceries

Wednesday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $8 groceries

Q: So what's the difference between Mike Tyson and Morgan Le Fay, our kitten?

A: Morgan will lick your ear first before she chomps down.

Kitten now sleeps with us on top of the bed, which is good, but the chomp of ears and nose is not the optimum way to wake up after a sound sleep. I've been pushing her away because even though its a kitten phase, its not a habit she should take with her as an adult. After thinking about the problem, two other things are working:

1. Rub a bit of orange peel on my nose and ears before I go to sleep. I like the orange-y smell, but kitty hates it.

2. Keep my hands away from my face as I sleep. Kitten likes to play scary hand, but if you play scary hand in front of your face, your ears and nose are just finger 11, 12, 13.

So far that's been working.

Treated myself by buying 18 oz of blueberries for $5.98.

Sister sent me news that the state of Wisconsin incentive check for installing solar has come: $5324. Along with that news came a picture of the newly installed kitchen floor of the farmette...

also with sister's dogs, and a red-orange accent wall leading to the living room.

finding stuff

January 7th, 2009 at 06:00 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $10 lunch + $8 groceries

I stopped in my tracks as I walked to the bus. 15 pennies were strewn about. I picked them all up. Actually, there was one Canadian penny, so 14 pennies. Then this evening, someone dropped a mechanical pencil on the sidewalk. Picked that up, too.

Hunting good. OOoogh.

Had lunch with lawyer friend, lawyer friend's partner, and screenwriter friend. Lawyer friend's father died several days before Christmas, so he was very subdued. I was tempted to do for him what he had done for me but it turns out, ironically enough, that his dad died without a will. Or rather, the father revoked his will. Odd to me, I guess. I mean its one thing if you never made one, but to make one, spend the bucks to set it up, then revoke it and spend more bucks, then not make a new one ... well, you're already in for it.

2nd nsd of the year

January 6th, 2009 at 05:42 am

Saving log - $7 tip box + $40 DRP
Spending log - $0

Free lunch today - it was a combined thank you for the temp staff, and a welcome back to my boss, coming back from 12 week leave and to another temp staffer who had been out with a fractured forearm.

Got three pieces of paper for taxes today: another 1099-R, a copy of my last paycheck (yes, I know, I must wait for the official W4), and a K1 from grandma's trust.

After that, same old, same old. Walk through slush, work, come home, get attacked by kitten.

routine Sunday

January 5th, 2009 at 06:39 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $7 groceries (apple, box salad, canned beans)

7 mile walk today. I ate 1/2 of yesterday's mistake breakfast, so DH bought me coffee at the coffee place for breakfast today. No bagel.

Hit the library also and checked out 4 books and 7 CDs. Had to lug them home during the beginnings of the next snowstorm, but other than that inconvenience, a good day.

kitten eyes

January 4th, 2009 at 02:11 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $20 brunch

$20 because I got two breakfasts. By accident I got someone else's breakfast, then my real one came. 1 1/2 breakfasts are now sitting in a styrofoam box in the refrigerator. Tomorrow I'm eating breakfast all day.

Another 1099-R has come in. Last year I used my 600$ stimulus to open up a new DRP, now I pay taxes on $21 worth of dividends. Look Ma, I'm helping the economy!

It takes adjusting to eyes staring back at you in the dark when you first wake up...

DH looked at my face and said, "you know you have a claw mark underneath your eye." I can laugh. I'm still a heavy sleeper even with a kitten claw near the eye.

all claws

January 3rd, 2009 at 07:48 am

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

Yippee. Another no spend day.

Sister emailed me - the kitchen floor of the farmette is nearly done. It really needed that complete renovation. Patches of the now gray 30s linoleum (so old that we got a scare - the tiles might have contained asbestos) were worn through a couple of inches to the subfloor underneath. The times are changin'. We must have been the only project the floor contractor had because they were working our 3K job through two snowstorms and Christmas.

All claws refers to Morgan. I'm going to have to get some thick, kitten claw proof socks because she has a total passion for my orange slippers, my bell bottoms, and my ankles. OW! She uses the scratching post extensively just to hone those little scimitars, but when she gets done honing, apparently only a fresh human ankle will do. If my writing starts to trail off...my blood type is A+.

first day of 2009

January 2nd, 2009 at 06:12 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.35 coffee, bagel + $3 hot dog + $6 batteries & box of creamy tomato soup

Very quiet non-work day. Walked about 2/3 of the way around Green Lake, then headed up to Greenwood Avenue for the ATM, and a stop to get AA batteries for the digital camera, or about 4 miles.

Found .26 in the Fred Meyer parking lot (a quarter and a penny). I managed to also find another quarter last night also. Last night I heard on NPR about a family of 5 who managed to save $1000 worth of sidewalk change in about a year. I'm not sure whether they are walking in a city where parking lots are paved with change or many people have holes in their pockets or whether with 3 small children their helpers are low to the ground - $1000 is a lot of sidewalk change. Good for them, but your mileage may vary!