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Archive for June, 2010

physical milestone

July 1st, 2010 at 03:40 am

Monday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $11 produce
Found money - $0.22 (road, curb, stairs)

Tuesday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money -$0 (had a streak of 51 days of finding change)

Was noodling around with a BMI (Body Mass Indicator) calculator when I discovered a cool thing. I'm currently 167-168 lbs. At 5' 8", all it would take for me to get down to 164 (3-4 lb) for me to get below 25 BMI. 25 BMI is the cutoff between overweight and not-overweight. I would have said average, but if 2/3 of all Americans are overweight or obese, average is overweight Big Grin). Quite an achievement - when I started in Nov 2005, my BMI was 30 (edge of obesity). A bare 30, but 30 nonetheless.

FYI - Milwaukee Film Fest cashed my check on Friday. We might not get the film in, but the application is complete.

Net worth, June 2010

July 1st, 2010 at 03:27 am

Not much to say except: thank G&d my portfolio is flat. These last few weeks could have made things much, much worse.

You might have noticed that the Vanguard taxable is still a bit high. I've decided to wait a bit longer with the stock market before moving some gramma money out into it - I'm one of the few who wishes that the dow would go down a hair more. I plan on putting a bit of money in a dividend stock fund - still strictly defensive. I'll leave it to my 403B to go a hair wild.

$170,625 IRA/403B
$202,320 Vanguard taxable
$25,803 stock
$12,809 I-bonds
$112,409 CDs
$26,811 ING, paypal, farmette savings
$2,246 immediate cash
---
$553,023 total

By comparison:
June 2010 ($553,023 total, $369,589 in taxable accounts)
December 2009 ($551,300 total, $385,771)
June 2009 ($512,054 total, $379,475)
Dec 2008 ($498,148 total, $386,021)
June 2008 ($524,261 total, $387,481)
Dec 2007 ($328,688 total, $192,747)
June 2007 ($176,422 total, $48,205)
Dec 2006 ($132,062 total, $40,329)
June 2006 ($120,261 total, $65,148)
Dec 2005 ($67,778 total, $23,740)
June 2005 ($46,115 total, $11,293)
Dec 2004 ($38,338 total, $7,558)
June 2004 ($29,050 total, $4,533)

Greenwood Car Show, 2010

June 29th, 2010 at 03:08 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $15 breakfast + $2 ice cream + $4 muffin, iced coffee + $5 grocery produce
Found money - $0.10 (road)

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 bagel, coffee + $.67 apple
Found money - $0.38 (road, sidewalk, telephone pole)

Monday
Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 lunch
Found money - $0.36 (sideway, road, Safeway: by checkout, next to soda display, underneath vending machine)

First off, I'm very close to the $50 target in found money. I'm at $48.76: 1071 pennies, 43 nickels, 181 dimes, 43 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents. Keep on dropping those coins, guys!

Today was a brutal day - we are at the end of the fiscal year. Sometimes it ends with a yawn, but not this year. Lots of whining this year with a couple of last minute booking projects.

The Greenwood Car Show was a ton of fun - it went between 90th and 69th, an extension of both ends from previous years. And it was free! However, there did seem to be a bit of filler in the middle - food, info, and guy buying opportunities. There were a lot of beautiful cars, but fewer really exotic ones which is what I go for. No leather car this year. However, I did meet the guy who was developing the hot rod with the jet engine. He was mock stricken when I told him that I imagined him, "a Boeing engineer with time on his hands". Turned out he was a Westinghouse engineer with time on his hands.

Still, there was some interesting stuff...

The 1918 Cadillac, as is.


We aren't too far from the stagecoach - the chauffeur sat in the front with a windshield, no side windows and a deaf guy horn right by his left ear (guy pointing to it)


While the inside is more of what you would expect, complete with the wood horn that you would use to speak in (left).


Oh, and the most amazing thing of all, it was driveable.


Nearby was parked a 1947 jeep. Hadn't realized that the windshield flipped down, but that would make a lot of sense.


And the gear shift made me laugh out loud. First rule of frugality: use what you have.

this and that

June 26th, 2010 at 04:05 am

Found money
6/21/10 - $0.01 (sidewalk)
6/22/10 - $0.02 (road, floor)
6/23/10 - $0.33 (car wash concrete pad, Safeway floor)
6/24/10 - $0.24 (road, parking meters, planting strip)
6/25/10 - $0.12 (curb, Safeway floor)

Broke $48 in found money today. I started this tracking and more seriously finding money on 7/14 last year, so I have 19 days to "find" $1.98 if I want to hit $50 for the year. Quite doable.
$48.02: 1,067 pennies, 42 nickels, 176 dimes, 42 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

This and that are happening. I planted sugar peas (var. Alderman) against the south wall under my kitchen window. The packet claimed the peas will grow 6-8 feet. They certainly did that! I see them growing above my kitchen window. It looks restful, rather than scary. Pea pods are developing and we should be eating in a day or two.

The Milwaukee Film Fest has still not cashed my check - been a couple of weeks. Wonder what's up.

Thursday, I deposited $45 from my tip box this month, giving me over $1100 in immediate savings. I probably will be using most of it next month to keep my credit card paid off. The weekend cow trip was inexpensive - $75 for 2 days of minivan and gas, $60 hotel room first night, and $40 for several meals on the road - but will expand my credit card bill a bit.

Work has slowed a bit, but the gossip is passing through. One of the VPs (whom I'm not fond off) was pushed to resign. The VP himself had "let go" his admin last year, who didn't like him either. The admin got picked up by HR as a spare worker. She worked with us for awhile, and worked in other departments. She and I shared an elevator today and I mentioned (I thought slyly) "good that you survive your enemies." She laughed and told me that many, many of my co workers expressed the same sentiment.

After this round of performance evaluations, HR told us that the plan was for a 2% pay raise, but that they are holding it off implementing them until October in case the medical premiums shoot up. Right now, I'm thinking that employment is like a game of musical chairs. The music stopped; if you are in a seat, its all good.

Was at 167.4 before cow trip. I went up to 169, and am back down a bit at 168.4. I was tempted and ate a bit more than I hoped these last weeks, so only being up a pound is a win.

Excited about the Greenwood Car Show tomorrow!

dysregulation

June 21st, 2010 at 02:33 am

I read this article in the New York Times magazine today and it got me thinking. That last sentence is especially chilling. "For too many people, the cycle of craving and debt that drives our treadmill existence simply canít be broken."

Should I really pity the Joneses' because they are trapped in a merciless cycle, unable to regulate their impulses...?

Or do I fear them because bullets always trump gold. If people really have issues with impulse control, best not to flaunt. And by flaunt, not even mention that you don't have the same issues they do.

Bad times means that when the cycle of that fever breaks it will be a miserable desperate situation for too many people. I wonder how many people that is ... and are they all concentrated in New York City?

riddle me this...

June 20th, 2010 at 02:39 am

Friday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.01 (parking meter)

Saturday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $15 brunch + $5 coffee, brownie + $3 breakfast bars
Found money - $0.14 (road, coffeehouse floor, Safeway floor)

Such an odd shopping day. I went into Whole Foods, not expecting to buy anything, when I saw Balance bars 2 for $1. Usually they stay at about $1, $1.15 at their cheapest. I got 6 bars - the price appears to be holding until the end of June.

I read about the glut of tomatoes coming onto the market. Well, at Whole Foods organic tomatoes were in $2.99 or so, at a price to be expected at Whole Paycheck. But I went into Safeway and saw regular ol' tomatoes at: $2.99/lb.

The glut hasn't reached us yet.

trimmings

June 18th, 2010 at 03:30 am

Thursday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $14 produce
Found money - $0.12 (road, self serve car wash)

Wednesday
Saving log - $9 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $4 groceries
Found money - $0.27 (road, parking meter, Safeway floor)

Tuesday
Saving log - $100 to ING
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $17 lunch
Found money - $0.27 (bus stop, sidewalk, parking lot, Safeway floor)

We got a better grip of the costs of the beef, we pay on the wet hanging weight (the intermediate step between living creature and finished), and we pay for butchering. Storage - beef must be hung for about 3 weeks at close to freezing to break rigor mortis and for taste - is free, and the rancher will deliver so we won't pay for that either. The current estimate is that a 1/4 (100 pounds) will run us about $850, probably a bit more. My chiropractor is in for half of my quarter, so each of us will be saving our pennies - more than 42,500. Big Grin.

I haven't talked much about found money lately. I even found a penny each of the days that I was out on the beef weekend. Lately the coin hunting has been pretty good. My total, with 29 days to go for the year anniversary, is $47.10: 1,045 pennies, 42 nickels, 169 dimes, 42 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents. I just might make $50 for the year!

We got our ORCA transit cards today - we use them on July 1. So far HR only cares if you give the card to someone else to use when you are at work. They don't care if you use it over the weekend.

Got brave and looked in on my 403B. Hadn't since stocks took that really big jog down a month ago. Its held its own, and I'm still over $110K.

red four

June 15th, 2010 at 04:06 am

Well, we visited the ranch that we got the beef from last year and from which we are buying a whole animal this year. Here's a picture of our beef cow:


We actually did name it a pretty appropriate name. I hesitate to use it because its a nice name and not "Dinner". Four comes from the ear tag, its a red Angus. The yellow of the tag means that it will finish putting on its weight in August. The rancher buys the cattle at about 12 - 14 months and they eat the pasture and native grass exclusively.

We visited outside of Yakima, in the shadow of Mount Adams.


Most of the acreage is pasture. The rancher has a lot of interest in developing a mixed grass and native plant pasture,


including some exotics called winterfat (in the picture, the bluish green strip exactly in the center background), an important plant that is rich in protein and which comes into its own in the fall and late fall.


but some is wetland that rancher is also trying to rehabilitate.


But it wasn't all biology - I tried a few artistic shots.


and got a good sunset shot.

....and catching up, period

June 9th, 2010 at 05:12 am

Its been a week. Apologies! So let's see...

Film. Sister enjoyed my tale of the film and said, "hey, submit it to the Milwaukee Film Fest in the fall". So we did - at least screenwriter friend applied, slipped the DVD in, and I paid the submission fee. $50. We also applied to Chicago, which is happening a couple weeks later. Since the film was made by a student, student fee was also $50. Chicago, though, suggested an additional $2.50 as "protection". I used to live in Chicago; "protection" made me laugh. Oh well, if dead men can vote in Chicago, they probably can make movies too.

Beef. We are going to "visit" the beef that we bought. Since our little consortium put a down payment on a whole cow, we can pick the animal. I plan on pictures, although I'd rather pick the steer that looks like it might be involved in a tractor jacking, if you know what I mean.

Work. Performance evaluations are done! Now its the final push for the end of fiscal year pledges. Instead of a bus pass, we are going to get work Orca cards. A bit more pricey a month, but much more flexible - it will work with 4 different transit systems. And because it does that, the card stores when and where it was used. And it because it does that, a co worker asked the basic question of HR - Are you going to monitor our trips? We got a confused answer.

Printer. I have been printing all the Paris photos out on the $20 HP printer I bought at the Greenwood yard sale. I got medium-end (not highest, not lowest) HP paper. Works great! But so far its $15 for 100 sheets, and I ran out of ink - $45 cartridge which should last for 500 pictures. Yikes! I have to console myself by breaking it down.

(15$/100) + (45$/500) = 15 cents for paper + 9 cents for ink. 24 cents per picture. That makes me feel better.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot. I had some good luck finding money over the last week.
$45.93: 1,018 pennies, 41 nickels, 163 dimes, 41 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

catching up on the found money

June 2nd, 2010 at 04:56 am

In all the excitement, I haven't updated the coinage I've found on the streets of Seattle...

6/1 - $0.14 (parking meter, road, floor sidewalk)
5/31 - $0.09 (parking lot, road, coin counter, crosswalk)
5/30 - $0.16 (road, manhole cover)
5/29 - $0.05 (road, corner, front of fountain)
5/28 - $0.01 (bus stop)
5/27 - $0.17 (floor, road, planting strip, parking lot)
5/26 - $0.01 (floor)
5/25 - $0.31 (road, sidewalk)

My total stands at $44.93: 988 pennies, 41 nickels, 161 dimes, 39 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.