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Archive for March, 2010

saw a real Emmy award today

April 1st, 2010 at 04:24 am

I'm still a bit swamped at work, but I helped out screenwriter friend whose son has a film entered into the Seattle International Film Festival. The film has to get into HighDef format to be shown, and a production studio has to do the deed.

Said production studio is on 15th Ave W, a route I know well, so I offered to deliver the film to them on my lunch hour. Studio is a business in a part of town zoned industrial & in a scruffy neighborhood, the place outside was a tad scruffy so I've been curious about what the place was like inside.

Not at all scruffy. Deceptively tasteful and colorful. Plenty of movie posters along the walls, comfy chairs, an espresso machine (I'm sure its make your own or have the receptionist make one for you). The very large, imposing front desk had three Emmy awards clustered on its right side. They looked heavy - like they really couldn't be used for corncob holders in front of Susan Lucci as in the SNL monologue.

Told the receptionist, who just sat down, that I was going to ask a dumb question: are those Emmys real? Not a dumb question, she said, and yes, they were.

Dropped off the film to them. So much for my fun today. The rest: my tax refund check came yesterday, as did a dividend check.

Car stats for the March challenge

April 1st, 2010 at 03:39 am

Sunday
Saving log- $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $11 conveyor belt sushi
Found money - $0.06 (road, floor)

Monday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 groceries
Found money - $0.32 (floor, road, parking meter, bus stop, Safeway change cup)

Tuesday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $0 (free coffee)
Found money - $0.22 (road, sidewalk, bus stop)

Wednesday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $11 groceries
Found money - $0.01 (bus stop)

$31.47: 787 pennies, 30 nickels, 127 dimes, 29 quarters, 2 $1 bills, a 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

Commute log
3/28 - 1 mi car, 5 mi walk (up Queen Anne Hill!), 5 mi bus
3/29 - no car, 2 mi walk, 12 mi bus
3/30 - no car, 1 mi walk, 13 mi bus
3/31 - no car, 2.5 mi walk, 16 mi bus

Normally, I use the car about 3 mi/week, entirely on the weekend. In a normal month w/4 weekends and with extra errands 2x/month, that runs to 18 mi by car. This month, my total car miles was 14.

Finally, I learned about One Bus Away. Its been a fantastic transportation month!

One Bus Away = frugal joy in Seattle

March 29th, 2010 at 04:10 am

...Well, it is if you live in Seattle/King County, and Tacoma/Pierce County.

Its been a dream of mine, as I wait patiently (or not so patiently) for the bus at the bus stop, to figure when my freaking bus will come.

I discovered One Bus Away. True to my frugal roots, I use the SMS system on Net10 phone. No fancy iPhone necessary!

All I do is:
1. Look for the bus stop number. If you are waiting at a shelter, the stop number is in yellow somewhere along on the side at the roof line, usually facing the road. If you are at a stop with no shelter but with a schedule on the post, its in the code of the upper, upper left hand corner. xxx - bus stop number - yyy.
2. Text Onebus bus stop number to 41411.
3. You get a text back with the list of buses and the time expected in minutes.

Its not free. It costs me a nickel/text, but after last week waiting futilely for the express 5, its well worth it. I tried it out and the times were accurate within a minute or two.

The first time you text, it asks you what your zip code is. I think its to keep the Seattle bus stop numbers filtered from the Tacoma ones, etc.

I like it

March 28th, 2010 at 03:57 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $14 breakfast + $12 groceries +$15 paint (used a gift card)
Found money - $0.22 (floors, sidewalks, roads)

Friday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.25 (parking meter, floor, sidewalk)

I kind of like the new overlay listing the blogs. Keeps things from getting stale. Now if I don't have to scroll down through the big sample blog (or is it the first one on the list) and can have my 2005 entries listed on my Archives, it'd be perfect. (My Archive only lists to 2006).

Back in the swing of finding change again. Haven't found a quarter in a number of days, though. I wonder what's up with that?

$30.86: 771 pennies, 29 nickels, 123 dimes, 29 quarters, 2 $1 bills, and a 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

I bought the paint - Clover Red - for the patio table, along with more sandpaper to finish the rest of the smoothing out process. Showed DH the various possibilities for replacing the cushions (2 Rosses and Target). Still think that despite the extra cost, I still like the Fred Meyer cushions the best.

made the most of a missing bus

March 26th, 2010 at 03:19 am

Thursday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $1 bag of spinach
Found money - $0.16 (sidewalk, Safeway floor)

Wednesday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.08 (road, Safeway floor)


Bless the FC Sounders fans (soccer) and the return of the rain. They brought the spare change back onto the sidewalks. In another week or so, baseball begins, and with the Mariners fans. Between the two sets of sports fans, spring is here and I'll have to get used to lots of traffic on 1st Avenue. we'll see what that means for found money. Its not to hard to figure out what it means to the buses. Tonight I waited, in vain, for my 5 express bus that is supposed to come at 5:38pm. Started waiting at 5:30pm, gave up and caught the 6:04pm 15 bus. Grr. What's really frustrating with the 5 express bus is that I'm waiting at the first stop. I can see if I'm waiting in the middle but there's nothing to make it late.

All was not lost however. Screenwriter friend's son has a film that has been booked into SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival). I'm helping out by paying for transferring the DVD into HD, and as a result, I'm in the credits as an Executive Producer. My task as an EP in the next couple of days is deliver the film to the studio where they will render and make 2 copies in HD. (Screenwriter friend had the choice to get just one, but I insisted - you never want to make just one copy of anything. Why beg the gods to screw you over?) The studio that I'm going to is on the 15/18 route, about a block north of the Interlake Whole Paycheck. And no taking the express 15/18 - express wouldn't stop.

That reminds me - transit log
3/24 - no car, 3.5 mi walk, 11 mi bus
3/25 - no car, 2 mi walk, 14 mi bus

I still have the weekend when I'm likely to use the car, but my car use (DH driving, me sitting in car) is about 15 - 16 miles per month. This month, I've reduced the me sitting in car by about 3 mi. Not great from a mileage standpoint, but fantastic from a percentage standpoint - about a 20% decline.

Elements of Investing

March 24th, 2010 at 04:41 am

Tuesday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $12 groceries
Found money - $0.01 (road)

Monday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $20 book
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk)

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee + $5 croissant, coffee + $2 weekend newspaper
Found money - $0.12 (sidewalk, road)

3/20 - 1 mi car (1 mi fewer than usual for Saturday), walk 4 mi, bus 4 mi
3/21 - 1 mi car, walk 5 mi, bus 4 mi
3/22 - no car, walk 3 mi, bus 14 mi
3/23 - no car, walk 2 mi, bus 12 mi

Cloudy, cooler day on Sunday so I left the patio table alone. Wanted to pick up the book Elements of Investing but the U Bookstore had sold their copy. They pulled a copy from the Bellevue store and I picked it up Monday. Its what you'd think it is: a homage to Elements of Style, except the subject is investing rather than writing. The basics, but frankly, we all need the basics. You lose money the fancier you get.

Honestly, not much else has been happening fiscally - I'm waiting, probably like millions of others, for my tax refund. Put $300 into stock and am waiting for that to be bought. Been hitting the gym even though the trainer's away. Holding at 169.2 - despite the all you can eat lunch to wish lawyer friend and his partner a bon voyage for their own trip to France. Still working hard, not finding many coins on the sidewalk - a penny or so/ day. My total is $30.14. Not complaining, but boy the sun and nice weather has dried up the money.

Called up sister. BIL, who told me he is going to EAA (farmette is about 6 mi away), hasn't talked to her yet. Is he flying in, or driving? Important to know for planning purposes because he'll need a car to get to EAA. Time to put a "pilot" Big Grin light under him.

nice day for the patio table project

March 21st, 2010 at 05:51 am

Friday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $24 groceries
Found money - $0.01 (road)

Saturday
Saving log - $300 Drp
Spending log - $15 brunch + $26 Ross (used my gift card, have $20 left on it)
Found money - $0.01 (Ross floor)

Made it to $30 even in found money.

Today was a beautiful, warm day in the mid 60s, warm enough so I could strip the paint from the patio table today. (Did it outside so I didn't have to worry about ventilation) I used a "green" product, so it meant that it didn't strip all that well. I think I will aim for something artistic rather than perfection - strip enough of the dark green so that when it won't conflict much with the dark red that I'll put on. Dark green and dark red seem to "go" together reasonably well. And for a $10 yard sale investment, I'll go for making something intriguing.

So I put the paint strip on the table and while the directions said 30 minutes, then try, I knew that 30 minutes was nothing - so after I went out and about to price patio chair cushions. Ross had single cushions (one for the seat, one for the back) for $5/per but not enough for all 4 chairs; Target had the two piece universal cushions for $20. Both better deals than Fred Meyer, but I'll loop around and double check. Not today, though. Although I did walk to the mall and got my 2 mi of exercise in.

Came back and did some scraping on the table. Not everything came off, so the next step is to brush and sand some more. As long as its smooth and the strip is off, I'll paint over it - aim for a mission style.

In fiscal department, DH and I signed the lease for another year. No increase in rent. I suppose we could have pushed for a decrease, but we've only had two price increases in 10 years, so the rent has been reasonable. The other decision is to buy $300 worth of SYY stock.

cheered up by cheaper produce

March 19th, 2010 at 04:27 am

Thursday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $3.88 breakfast sandwich (got a free coffee)
Found money - $.14 (sidewalk, road, carpet in our lobby)

Wednesday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0

Transportation challenge
3/14 - no car, walk 2 mi, bus 12 mi
3/15 - no car, walk 2 mi, bus 12 mi
3/16 - no car, walk 1.5 mi, bus 13.5 mi
3/17 - no car, walk 2 mi, bus 12 mi
3/18 - no car, walk 1.5 mi, bus 13.5 mi

Last night I took a look at the grocery flyers for the first time in almost a year. For awhile there it got a bit depressing to maintain any sort of price book - everything was much, much higher than 2004, so the prices were nearly worthless. I just had a simple rule that if I got produce for under $1/lb, it was a good deal.

Now? $.79/lb broccoli, $.49/lb potatoes (no white at night, so no potatoes at dinner), $.49/cabbage, $.79/lb apples. I might be cheered enough to start up my price book again.

Found another international coin - a 50 ore coin. It looked like a penny when I picked it up, but its 1/2 a Norwegian Kroner, worth about 8 cents. Decided that with the hassle of the 10 pence coin, I'm not going to count it.

$29.98: 743 pennies, 27 nickels, 118 dimes, 29 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

thanks a million, guys

March 17th, 2010 at 03:49 am

A tad early - as I'm writing, all I need is five more clicks. Who could have thought that I'd be the hostess with the mostest, hosting a million visits. Thank you all for reading!

Found 11 cents yesterday and 12 cents today - I'm at $29.84.

My weight has risen a hair, so I'm now at 170.2. But I did wear my size 10 jeans. They were a hair tight in the stomach, but still comfortable and definitely not denial-tight.

Not much more has happened money-wise, the rest is routine. Filled out the census form. Made crock-pot corned beef, which is straightforward. Rinse the slab of beef, drain, dry. Load the bottom with halved onions, stuff the beef in, add cut in half carrot to fit, add some water- tops maybe 1 cup. Maybe. If there's a packet of herbs, toss 'em in. Set on low for 8 hours, high for the last hour.

found another dollar bill

March 15th, 2010 at 02:08 am

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $14 conveyor belt sushi
Found money - $1.03 (sidewalks, the $1 in the grass and ivy right before Queen Anne Hill)

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $14 brunch + $27 jeans, 2 sets of outdoor plastic glasses (pd for by Ross card)
Found money - $0.16 (road, Ross floor right against checkout counter)

Friday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.03 (counter, parking meter, sidewalk)

3/12 - no car, 2 mi walk, 12 mi bus
3/13 - 2 mi car, 4 mi walk, 9 mi bus
3/14 - 1 mi car, 7 mi walk, 4 mi bus

Again, all quiet on the fiscal front but some action on the money finding front. I found another dollar bill in a similar place to where I found that dollar bill in November - in a grassy, ivy waste area. The only difference is that I found the November bill in the grassy waste area between a parked car and the sidewalk. This one I found on the grassy waste area toward Queen Anne Hill w/ no parked car.

Lately, save for a dime I found yesterday and the bill today, it has all been pennies. People getting more careful? People happier with more sun and daylight so they aren't futzing with stuff in their pockets? Hard to say.

$29.61: 736 pennies, 27 nickels, 115 dimes, 29 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

Also went to Ross yesterday for laughs. I managed to get into a size 10. It was all right at the hips and butt, tight in the waist - I still have a bit of a lower ab pooch to lose. I bought the size 10 to keep me focused and give me a goal. 5 more pounds should do it to get me firmly into size 10.

Also picked up two sets of 20 oz plastic glasses - we are going to use them for gracious living on the patio table. Still not quite warm enough to strip the table, then paint it. If the weather holds, I should get that done late March early April.

2 more fiscal reminders of the recession

March 12th, 2010 at 04:31 am

Thursday
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $11 groceries
Found money - $0

Wednesday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.03 (road, sidewalk, parking meter)

Tuesday
Saving log - $12 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.03 (road, sidewalk)

3/11 - no car, 2 mi walk, 13.5 mi bus
3/10 - no car, 3 mi walk, 12.5 mi bus
3/9 - no car, 3 mi walk, 12.5 mi bus

Finding pennies, but I haven't been looking all that hard. I'm still not 100% after Saturday. Maybe by the weekend I'll pick up my ambitions. However, I'm finally under 170. 168.8 as a matter of fact. I owe it to the food poisoning diet plan.

$28.45: 724 pennies, 27 nickels, 143 dimes, 29 quarters, $1 bill, 1 10 pence worth 15 cents.

Haven't been writing much because not a lot has been happening fiscally. Why rack my brain trying to figure out the creative way of saying nothing's happening?

But today a couple of fiscally, recession-y things did happen. First off, I'll remind you that I work to book pledges and data to my non-profit, our large local node of a national system (ends in -Way). In the course of my job I asked one WA-state bank (bank #1), who took over another WA-state bank which had been closed by the FDIC (bank #2), about whether we can expect data from bank #2. Nope, I learned. The FDIC canceled the pledges as part of shutting the bank down. Makes sense once you learn it, but very interesting nonetheless when we have a fair number of WA-state bank pledges and WA state banks are in such shaky shape.

Then in the mail tonight I got a pleady note from Chase about Debit Card Overdraft Coverage. "Soon we can no longer provide this coverage automatically" and "your everyday debit card transactions will be denied" if you do not have enough money available to cover a purchase.

Hahhahahahahahahaahaahahaaha. (stop to gasp.) Wow, what a threat. I've bounced one transaction in 5 years. Stupid $35 overdraft fee protection is a bug, not a feature.

the cowbell has been a clankin'

March 9th, 2010 at 05:33 am

Monday
Saving log - $1700 tax refund
Spending log - $0 coffee (free)
Found money - $0.03 (sidewalks, bus stop)

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $7 apple, magazine
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk crack)

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $0
Found money - $0

3/6 - no car, no walk, no bus
3/7 - 1 mi car, 4.5 mi walk, 3 mi bus
3/8 - no car, 2.5 mi walk, 14 mi bus

Last few days, I've been a feeling like karma has been dancing around my head like Will Farrell in a too tight hideous 70s knit. Like this.

Saturday:
Good - sunniest, warmiest weather of the year so far. Bad - laid up all day with a case of self induced food poisoning. The day before I packed my lunch with the last of a bean stew. Quit when you are penultimate. Nothing ucky - just shivery, achy, and sleepy. Slept all but 6 hours that day.

Sunday:
Good - Enjoyed the Oscars, got a lot of ideas for refreshing the Netflix queue. Bad - not enough bad dresses. I'll have to make do with Quentin Tarentino's girlfriends' pink pjyama black boa fetish number or Charlize Theron's cinnabon bustier.

Monday:
Good - Filed my taxes. Am getting a refund! Bad - late for work, meeting meeting meeting, big set of errors hitting the fan at around 4 pm today.

Clank clank clank.

Easy, Uptight, Fancy

March 6th, 2010 at 04:56 am

Friday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $18 groceries
Found money - $0.11 (Safeway floor)

Thursday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 lunch
Found money - $0.02 (2 different parking meters)

Carless challenge:
3/4 - no car, commuted by bus 12.5 miles, walked 3 miles
3/5 - no car, commuted by bus 13.5* miles, walked 1 mile
*the reason why my commute is so variable is that I often get off the bus 1.25 - 1.5 miles from my stop, then walk home. Longer commutes mean I didn't walk. Frown .

Work eased up a bit in the last two days - a lunch with friends helped, and so did the fact that I could really buckle down and get done what I really wanted to get done. Yay.

I discovered, upon looking at a photo of the writer who is behind "Ask an Uptight Seattleite", that I know him. Matter of fact, he is my bus marker for the 8:35 number 5. So he, along with the current mayor, lives within 4-5 blocks of me. Will it get me a sidewalk? Probably not.

Final observation, this time fiscal: I bought tuna on a good deal - 10 6 oz cans for $5. I walked down the pet food aisle to checkout and noticed the price of Fancy Feast - 10 3 oz cans for $6.50. Fancy feast, indeed.

at least I can laugh about it

March 4th, 2010 at 04:25 am

Wednesday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.04 (parking meter, parking lot)

Tuesday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $20 groceries
Found money - $0.25 (sidewalk, road, grass, Safeway checkout)

Monday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee +
Found money - $0.38 (parking meter, sidewalk, bus seat)

DH asked me how my day went, and I said:
"If I had a gun, I'd be on CNN right now."

Yikes, he said.

This is the month that I'm the busiest - each of my four tasks I'm charged with reaches a peak. If I'm to decide about one more $100 issue, you are really going to read about me on CNN. Time to send the email to not bother with the "quick question", or even the not so quick question. They might sound quick, but you've just knocked me out of my concentration for a good 20 minutes. Rinse and repeat, and the day is shot.

And the worst part? No one on my death bet list has died yet. Then again, I don't think anyone's has. I've come within two degrees, and I thought for a second DH had Haig, but nope.

I'm doing the carless challenge, but since I'm already carless, I'm counting trips that I take with DH, the amount of bus I use and the distance I walk. So,

3/1 - no car used, used the bus 13 mi, walked 2 miles.
3/2 - no car used, used the bus 12.5 mi, walked 2.5 miles
3/3 - no car used, used the bus 13 mi, walked 2.5 miles

And finally, $28.16: 711 pennies, 27 nickels, 112 dimes, 29 quarters, $1 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.