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Archive for February, 2010

SAM for a library card

March 1st, 2010 at 05:17 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $35 (breakfast for 2 w/tip) + $19 groceries (for work food and snacks so I can avoid stopping for lunch)
Found money - $0.49 (road, planting strip)

Sunday
Saving log -$0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $9 headphones + $3 tea + $12 groceries
Found money - $0.09 (sidewalk crack, road)

Got V.I.s nails clipped yesterday, and it took about 10 minutes. The vet tech said that she was no trouble. What happens is that kitties get so surprised, then so relieved that its just the nails that she can get in there and trim fast...not to mention that it isn't her kitty, so its routine to her.

Took a 5 mile walk yesterday, and was finding coins all over the place... most of them, though, in the road. No dimes though, but several nickels. I generally find fewer nickels than quarters, so it was a tad surprising. $27.49: 669 pennies, 27 nickels, 110 dimes, 28 quarters, $1 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

Today I went to the Seattle Art Museum - if you showed your library card, you got in for free - and saw the Calder exhibit. (So I missed the hockey game.) Fantastic show, seeing a few of the paintings and non-mobile sculpture, including a rare wooden one he did during WWII when metal was scarce. And of course there were tens of mobiles - little ones, big ones, delicate ones, burly ones. You could see the Matisse and Mondrian in them, and in a couple, ikebana. I heard about this event from the paper - due to the recession, there is now a Freeloader alert column promoting and itemizing free stuff/events. I hope that when this recession ends that the column will continue ... but I know that's unlikely.

One other fiscal thing to get off my chest. I was walking past a neighborhood thrift store and saw in the window display a quarter holder. Not just any quarter holder, but one for the new set of 2010 to 2020 quarters, these honoring select National Parks. Now I'm as fond as the next person in getting (rescuing?) an interesting coin, but somehow in these times of need ... did we really need to spend money to make pretty quarters? I'm sounding like my grandpa more and more.

Umpqua is eating another WA bank

February 27th, 2010 at 03:21 am

Friday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.01 (gravel 2 blocks from my house)

Payday! Hard to believe its nearly March!

Couldn't resist taking a peek at the FDIC site - its Friday after all - and it looks like Umpqua Bank out of OR has eaten another WA bank. First it was Evergreen Bank, now its Rainier Pacific.

Umpqua, Umpqua ... sounds like a burp. At least the logo is pretty (left corner).

2 new funds in the 403B

February 26th, 2010 at 05:01 am

Thursday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.03 (3 pennies in a planting by the bus stop)

Wednesday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $0 (free coffee)
Found money - $0.14 (sidewalk, crosswalk, planting strip, bus aisle, Safeway floor)

Total dirty money so far... $26.90: 690 pennies, 24 nickels, 110 dimes, 27 quarters, $1 bill, 1 10 pence (counted as 15 cents)

We had the yearly or bi-yearly update on our 403B. Two changes that I should research:

1. We are swapping our current small cap fund with another small cap fund. A quick look at style box of the new fund is telling that this is more of a mid cap than a small cap ... and that could be that successful small cap companies grow to turn into mid caps, or it could be that the manager is buying more mid cap companies that to compensate for small caps going under. Interesting thinking about that "style drift."

2. We are adding another type of bond fund - a low duration bond fund that invests in shorter term bonds than the usual 5-10 yrs. I have some bond holdings and I'd like to check this new fund to see if holding it would be useful to me.

On a non-fiscal note, we've had V.I. for six months, now as long as we had Morgan. I still get a little choked up about the whole thing....How are we celebrating V.I.'s six month anniversary? She's getting her nails trimmed. She might not be celebrating it, but we sure will. Big Grin

spot of tea?

February 24th, 2010 at 04:04 am

Tuesday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.16 I think!

Monday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $7 sushi roll lunch
Found money - $0.05 (bus stop, bus, Safeway change cup)

Today was an interesting day for found money - first I found a penny that looked like a pie in which a big wedge had been taken out, then I found what I thought was a quarter in the gutter. It turned out to be a UK 10 pence. Spot of tea, anyone? If you arrange my finds this afternoon just right it looks like the lion in the pence took a bite out of Lincoln's head.

So what's 10p worth? Today's rate: $1 US : 1.5UK pound sterling. So about 15 cents.

I wonder if I got a souvenir from a Vancouver tourist who mosey-ed down here.

late February weekend

February 22nd, 2010 at 02:50 am

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $1.70 apple, energy bar + $5 newspaper, pastry, espresso + $3 produce
Found money - $0.03 (planting strip, floor in front of counter, under bus stop bench)

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $14 breakfast + $2 green tea + $60 restaurant meal for 2
Found money - $0.18 (driveway, sidewalk cracks, gas station parking lot, bus stop, road)

Saturday I felt I slipped - pricey, and calorie-laden meals. They were delicious though, and the company was great. I did score a doggie bag - tonight's meal.

As far as the calories are concerned, I tried to partially walk them off. The real issue with super-yummy restaurant food is the same as with an illicit drug - when the body gets a taste of the high life, its much harder to hop back on the straight and narrow - in this case, the frugal and healthy straight and narrow.

I caught a break - a produce stand was along my walking route - I caught some deals on broccoli crowns for $.49/lb, cherries for $.99/lb, roma tomatoes for $.89/lb. It does mean that tonight's meal is broccoli crowns and I had to pick out a few sub-par cherries from the bag.

As I was waiting for my bus, a woman started a conversation with me. As we were going through the small transit talk - eg this bus is running about 10 minutes late - boy was I sorry I engaged. All of the conversation below was hers. -

So much traffic, she thought (I thought fine), I have a Zipcar account (I thought okay), but I think I'll be buying a car because I just need one (I thought whatever!). I don't see how anybody is going to lug their stuff to the airport on light rail (then don't I thought)...
And the airporter barely got me to the airport on time.

Then I suggested that she mail her stuff. Oh no, I'm not allowed to lock it, she said. And the TSA and no doubt the post office is going to steal my stuff - they all have in the past (!). Mental rolleyes. Yes, life is PITA. I guess my expectations are minimal - I'm still at the simpleton stage where despite being held captive in a metal tube I'm joyful that you are flying me at 25,000 feet and you're landing me safely.

My final volley was that I treat flying like prison - stop packing the fancy stuff. Oh, she said, I don't pack the fancy stuff and hate that attitude - you are giving in to awful behavior and giving away your freedom and privacy. Rolleyes again - awful behavior has happened throughout time, the US in the 21st century has not curbed the market on awful behavior.

Funny how negative stuff during travel really doesn't happen to me. I manage to get places on time, when my baggage doesn't make it it does 12 hours later, and I'm healthy enough to lug and smart enough to not pack a ton to lug. I'm not saying that bad things don't happen - it just feels like a lot of stress tends to be induced. Then when you have real stress actually induced by other people, you have a double burden.

It was warm this weekend, but really not warm enough to strip the patio table successfully - so I was smart enough not to try. I did plant a row of shell peas this evening in back of a patch of garlic growing nicely, and put some innoculant in the furrow. Both blueberry shrubs in the pots, bought last year, are covered in green buds. Grow guys grow!

nature's most perfect sport

February 20th, 2010 at 04:58 am

Friday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $.39 apple + $14 groceries
Found money - $0.06 (sidewalk, floor, escalator railing...again)

Thursday
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $1.65 decaf coffee
Found money - $0.36 (crosswalk, sidewalk, escalator railing)

Wednesday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $24 paint stripper, paint scrapper, brushes
Found money - $0.21 (gym, sidewalk corner)

Still working hard, but lately it has been sunny out, and, even better, it is a soft twilight out after work when heading for home. I've been watching the figure skating on TV - to me, its a heady mix of Oscar-worthy fashion excess combined with the crash and burn excitement of Nascar: nature's most perfect sport. I've been eating lunch in, but taking a 20 minute walk before diving into Excel and Access for the afternoon.

I've been finding change in one particularly unexpected place: the right-hand escalator railing, on the flat when you grab as you step on. Pennies right now, but very odd - like you hadn't secured your wallet before you step on the escalator. And the other odd thing this last week, I've only been finding pennies and quarters.

$26.31: 656 pennies, 24 nickels, 108 dimes, 26 quarters, $1 bill. To think that I thought, maybe, just maybe I'd pick up about $20/year from this exercise. I've just been tracking this for a little over 7 months.

Also put $45 of tip box savings into the bank.

This weekend, if the weather turns a little bit warmer, I plan on stripping the paint off the patio table. If I feel super, duper ambitious, I'm also going to plant some peas.

seeing 169

February 17th, 2010 at 05:31 am

Monday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $2 coffee + $15 seeds, pea/bean innoculant
Found money - $0.33 (sidewalk, road, floor, cigarette bucket)

Tuesday
Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.01 (grass parking strip)

Today was gym day. I knew I had lost a little but did my darnest to drop some extra weight - light lunch, peed, poohed, even waxed my upper lip last night Big Grin.

170.2

Disappointing, but the trainer devised a workout with a fair amount of cardio, no water... so at the end of the hour I weighed -

169.8

Someday, I won't need to stoop to such tricks, but as for now, I'm knocking at 169.

plans for dollar bills, dividends, gift cards

February 15th, 2010 at 05:24 am

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $6 sandwich + $16 groceries
Found money - $0.05 (planting strip, Safeway floor)

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $14 breakfast + $18 origami book + $9 asian condiments
Found money - $0.36 (floor, counter, road)

$25.39: 609 pennies, 24 nickels, 108 dimes, 25 quarters, $1 bill.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Went to the International District for the Chinese New Year festival yesterday - afterward I found and picked up a dollar bill origami book - which contained a book, DVD, and 60 fake bills. (60 real bills for $18 would have been cool, n'est ce pas?) Apparently I was far from the first person to figure out that crisp new bills could be used as origami - its an easy introduction to the skill. Already I've learned to fold up an X-wallet for those large tips.

In other fiscal news - I found out that two of my stocks increased their dividend this year - one by 6 cents/share (WEC), another by 1 1/2 cents/share (MMM). 6 cents doesn't seem like much, but reinvested against my holdings it works out to buy $5 more stock than I had expected. WEC was unusual - it had cut its dividend in half in 2000 - and the company's trying to get the dividend back up to those levels.

For my 10th year anniversary at work, I got a $75 gift card. I've decided to use for a project. Last summer we got a large folding patio table, 4 chairs (one needs new webbing), 2 old-ish cushions from last year's Greenwood yard sale. I've decided to use the gift card to get new cushions, replacement webbing and to strip and repaint the table.

day off

February 13th, 2010 at 02:58 am

Thursday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.10 (bus floor)

Friday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 coffee, sausage cheese egg bagel + $1.65 coffee + $6 lunch + $33 Valentine's Day gift + $9 groceries
Found money - $0.48 (sidewalks, gym, counters behind the credit card machine, patio, Safeway floor)

Took a strategic day off. Generally, I'm good at picking a sunny day, but today was anything but. I picked today strictly to get the 4-day weekend. And as usual, when I'm out and about and getting rained on the day gets spendy. (Picking up the chocolates for VDay didn't help.) Staying in the office, head down in front of a ton of Access databases, can be a great way to not spend money.

Only a little bit fiscal happened. As I got coffee, I noticed that someone did a couple of dollar bill origami pieces. Hadn't really thought about using a dollar bill, but paper is paper ... and in some cases, using a dollar bill might be cheaper than using a sheet of rectangular origami paper.

Then after gym (why oh why don't I think to cancel those the day before when I know I'm off Smile) I struck up a conversation with a guy with a stock tip who really, really wanted me to invest in Lithia (LAD). Stock tip people really amuse me. Asking him the basics - what does Lithia have that others don't in the industry? - leads to very circular answers. Also he gave me "I know all management and the CEO and they are great" along with "the invest when its $4, then when it gets to $8" pie-in-the-sky woo hoo. ("When?" It could be an "if", you know.)

Investing is like revenge - a dish best served cold.

kidnapped!

February 11th, 2010 at 05:20 am

Wednesday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.10 (parking lot)

Tuesday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.57 (road, sidewalk, bathroom stall floor, bus seat)

Made ya read, eh? Smile

Yesterday was low-grade bizarre. First off, I found a quarter on the road in the morning... nothing like finding money 20 minutes after you wake up to make it a happy day.

Then, coffee in hand, thoughts of work ahead of me, I crossed the street on 2nd & Cherry, and was way-laid by a car containing a middle aged immigrant couple from Portland trying to get to the Federal Building. You have to know that the Federal Building is several blocks back from where their car was pointed, with a lot of one-way construction cone chess in front of them. Their main problem is that when they read Jackson Federal Building, they thought it was near Jackson Street ... which it is not. Two different Jacksons: Jackson Street for Andrew Jackson, Jackson Federal Building for Henry "Scoop" Jackson. (For Michael Jackson, give it a few years)

The couple begged me to hop in their car and help them navigate.

Well, I did. The quarter made me feel lucky, I guess. I sat in the back seat and got them to 4th Cherry, then left about 4 blocks on Madison, then 2nd and Madison.

Turns out that the wife had an appointment with the passport office so she had to make it in reasonable time.

The driver asked me if I was sure that I knew the way - it seems a little weird to ask that AFTER I'm in the car, so I didn't take it personally and interpreted that as a holy crap there's a strange woman in the car comment. I just said with pride that "my husband works there". And then I got to point at a very large concrete 70s skyscraper-crossed-with-bunker building. "That is the building you want," I said. Got her there on time.

It took all of 15 minutes out of my day, but it added a bit of surreal fun. And afterward I found some more coins, including another quarter on the bus in that thin crack between the wall of the bus and the frame of the bus seat. Most of the time I jam my morning newspaper in there; from now on its time to take a peek just in case.

$24.35: 595 pennies, 24 nickels, 102 dimes, 24 quarters, $1 bill.

catching up with friends Sunday & Monday

February 9th, 2010 at 05:14 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $14 breakfast
Found money - $0.44 (planting square, road, car wash parking lot)

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee + $7.50 rennet + $13 groceries
Found money - $0.05 (Safeway change cup)

Monday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $6 lunch
Found money - $0


Boy, Jeffrey wasn't kidding when he suggested cutting through parking lots with car washes on them to hunt for dirty money. I cut through a car wash parking lot about a mile from my house - 11 cents right off. Something about people washing their cars, then detailing them, means the customers get a bit sloppy as they run the vacuums over the mats. I'll have to cut through the car wash more often.

$23.68: 593 pennies, 23 nickels, 101 dimes, 22 quarters, $1 bill.

Friday I got weighed by the trainer - 170.8. That's with my shoes on. Nobody in the gym would want me to weigh myself with clothes and shoes off, but I'll bet I'd be 169 if I did so.

Went to visit the Duvall friends for the Super Bowl - DH made no knead pizza crust, and we put a lot of anchovies on one. We also went out during halftime to watch ducklings still in their cute fuzzy phase and to admire the new fencing. (How was The Who anyway?) The Duvall friends are planning on adding goats to their menagerie (chickens, ducks, geese). They have the land for the goats to clear, and they want to start to make cheese from the goat's milk.

Their first attempt of cheese was an attempt - they got yogurt, and yogurt cheese, but not cheese yet. Hence they wanted us to pick up fresh rennet from a contact very near us. We'll have to start hanging out in there - the store has homebrew equipment, rennet and cheese making equipment, and vinegar mother.

Today I had lunch with lawyer friend and screenwriter friend in the Columbia Tower food court. Only a couple years ago, we would have had to hunt hard for a table at noon and every place would have had a line. Now, its take your pick even at noon. Lunch seemed to be cheaper also - $6 bought a fairly nice lunch. Lunch conversation turned around screenwriter friend - his son made a great 80 minute film for his senior project. The Seattle Independent Film Festival (SIFF) is going to premiere it in June. Very exciting - as a matter of fact, its more exciting for us than it is for the film maker, who is a tad too teenage-casual about the whole thing. Oh well, you learn as an adult that great progress doesn't fall in your lap. If something succeeds, pounce!

the saving schedule

February 6th, 2010 at 04:23 am

Thursday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $0
Found money - $0 Frown

Friday
Saving log - $3
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $13 super bowl snacky items
Found money - $0.02 (sidewalk, Safeway floor)

Dirty money tally:
$23.19: 584 pennies, 22 nickels, 100 dimes, 21 quarters, $1 bill.

So spread out a few days every month, I've scheduled "opportunities" to save. Here's my monthly schedule:

1st - $35 1 Drp
2nd - $125 moving from checking to savings
5th - $30 or so goes into a CD
12th - $50 2nd Drp
16th - $100 from checking to ING
21st - $30 or so goes into 2nd CD
last day of month - monthly interest applied to ING ($28), Vanguard ($2), farmette checking account ($1).

I haven't counted the tip box, the dirty money hunt, the quarterly dividend reinvestment or what goes into the 403B, so what I've listed above is not exhaustive. This little bit of savings spread out over many days every month means I get a little saving thrill many times a month, rather than a big old dread 1-2X/month.

Does anybody else have this extensive a saving schedule?

100 dimes!

February 4th, 2010 at 03:58 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 lunch + $5 groceries
Found money - $0.15 (gutter, inside lobby at work)

Since July 14, I've been tracking the amount, quantity, and type of money that I've been picking up from the ground. Today I found my 100th dime since July 14.

$23.17: 582 pennies, 22 nickels, 100 dimes, 21 quarters, $1 bill.

beef and links, but not beef links

February 3rd, 2010 at 05:27 am

Tuesday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $100 beef
Found money - $0.23 (sidewalks, parking meter, Safeway floor)

Monday
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 groceries
Found money - $0.13 (sidewalks, parking meter)

Not much happened today. I did buy a deposit on 100# of beef. We plan on 50#; the rest should come from two others, each wanting 25#. Got one of those 25#/$25, all I need is the other one.

The second beef fest has begun.

I did find two semi-interesting fiscal links. One is a place to compare 401K/403B of various companies. I tried our workplace - not enough information. For a long term project I might fill them in on our 403B - the information is not secret and it is not illegal to give out. Still, the discrete side of my personality really hesitates.

The other link is stock footnotes - some person I salute Big Grin reads the various footnotes from 10-Ks, 8-Qs and other formal fiscal publications, then writes on the hinkiness she discovers therein. I can search on the ticker symbol for specific footnote hinkiness. Fantastic!