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Archive for September, 2010

122/76

September 30th, 2010 at 03:38 am

A little off topic. Despite the spin class on Wednesday, my weight had risen a bit to 172, then back down to 170 ... it all feels a bit like a plateau.

However, before I got my booster bird flu shot, I had the medical evaluation, including the blood pressure check. My blood pressure tested 122/76. I hadn't had that good a blood pressure since high school.

So like any other set of numbers, you have to cheer some, ignore others, and celebrate the whole.

Oh yes, no adverse effects from the booster.

definitely fringe

September 28th, 2010 at 04:42 am

You know, it might be easier to save dollars if dollars were better looking. If nothing else, you might want to hang on to them a bit longer. I can't say that redesign of the dollar would solve many (or any) of our financial issues, but it is fun to think about. Take a look.

Like handing me a "Junior" (on the TV show Fringe, the alternate universe 20).

And yes, I remember my rant against spending money to mint new quarter designs.

MOHAI

September 27th, 2010 at 04:21 am

Went to the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle version (there's a museum with the same name in Chicago) for my free museum day. Did it because we went to the Greek Festival afterwards, less than a mile away.

A non-too-often photographed view of an "old style" street light.


For scfr - unfortunately, the Lusty Lady passed into history a couple of months ago; at least the sign made it.


A lego version of 1930's Seattle - the white 3 story building with the street lamp in front of it was the old SeaFirst #6 bank building. These days, its our office.


Speaking of the 30's many of the Depression -era photos and exhibits really spoke to me. Seattle was known then as the The Soviet of Washington; it held the first general strike in the nation. Seeing the Hooverville stretch for many acres south of downtown was chilling, as was a shot of 10 adult males in long 30s-style overcoats at the city dump picking through garbage for anything to resell. Times are bad now, but they could be (and have been) far, far worse.

The Greek Fest was a bit pricey... always is when you're buying the good stuff - eg a large can of olive oil. Also picked up a bag of the braid cardamon-y cookies, kasseri cheese, bunch of greek oregano. The cookies were sweet, but not so much that you need the insulin shot. $52.

When I got home, I discovered that my first payments coming from the flu study came. So far $175.

news flash - free museum day tomorrow

September 24th, 2010 at 06:23 pm

A little late, but perhaps you have no frugal plans tomorrow, September 25.

http://ebm.email.smithsonian.com/c/tag/hBMmnRtArQQLoB8Ut0cD3...

You print yourself a ticket for 2, and attend a museum participating in your area. Last year DH and I went to the Museum of Glass.

3 easy ways to boost your 401K

September 24th, 2010 at 03:29 am

I had a laugh scanning some of CNN Money today. My favorite giggle inducer was 3 Easy Ways to Boost Your 401K. I'll link to it here, to keep me honest, but I'll tell you what gave me the giggles.

Easy Way 1: Up your contribution. (They gave the example of 6% to 10%). Wow. Mind blowing. Insert two smart-ass remarks here. 1) How EASY will that be when you are living paycheck to paycheck? 2) How do you make a small fortune? Start with a large fortune...

Easy Way 2: Change your asset allocation to get an 8% return. Hah hah. Shall we take accounts? Cash - interest is at best 1%, 10yr treasury bills at 2.7%, bonds at about 3%, dividend stocks at about 2.6%, regular stocks variable between some negative number and 20% if it was a smashing single year. And we apparently blithely forget the "past returns are not indicative of future results". So where is that dependable, sure-fire EASY 8% gonna come from?

Easy Way 3: Work until you are 67. Just don't get a psycho boss, a health issue, or God forbid, be a 50+ year old standing in the unemployment line. But those are EASY to avoid, right?

Its not the advice that gave me the giggles, but the EASY. Investing is worthwhile, but not EASY.

blast from the past

September 22nd, 2010 at 03:44 am

Totally, deliriously off the fiscal topic. I think I saw a ghost in the newspaper website today. Take a look at the picture. I'm nearly certain that that was the car my boyfriend had in the late 1980's. 1960 pink Caddy. Tells you something when that car was the "compact" lady car in 1960. We lived maybe a 1/2 mile away from the Wallingford Dick's at that time. And who knows, that might have been me taking a little junk food break and ordering on the left. (Brown hair, jeans, white shirt).

Good times, good times. Except that I probably still haven't lost that pound that I gained eating the hamburger, tartar sauce, fries, vanilla shake.

And I still haven't gotten over the shock of seeing a three foot long raccoon dumpster diving at that Dick's. Not pictured. Big Grin

bank fall out

September 21st, 2010 at 03:38 am

Weather has been very unsettled, as if late summer and fall were having a full-on wrestling match. First it would be sunny, then downpour, then wind, then heavy clouds. I'm not declaring Venus yet, but fall, of course, will win. Brown leaves have already started to hit the gutters and the first leaves of Fremont are turning red.

It has been a slightly spendy weekend - got my hair cut for $15 (it needed it badly), went to the Half Price books warehouse sale and picked up 6 books for $15. Next weekend will be spendy also - its Greek Festival time and I need olive oil and grape leaves.

Sausage from our cow is ready and I pick it up tomorrow from lawyer friend.

You might remember that I work for a non-profit that starts with "U" is two words, and the second word rhymes with the Canadian "ay". As in, "ay, you hosers." Work has been picking up for this year's campaign and I've been fielding calls from others in the same "united" system. We've all learned a lot about what happens to all of us when our local banks get closed by the FDIC. In a nutshell, all employee pledges from the bank that gets closed are considered a loose end, a debt, and die. They will not be paid out. What happens afterward depends entirely on the bank that buys the old bank from the FDIC. Most do nothing, just absorb the new employees and wait until next year. A few of the new banks will allow the former employees to run a small bridge campaign, and one even assumed part of the old bank's corp gift. Very interesting!

no-spend, raise, auditor day

September 17th, 2010 at 04:18 am

Had a genuine no spend day today. Attended an all staff meeting where there was coffee, muffins, bagels, so no coffee spending; brought my lunch, so no lunch spending; didn't have an any burning grocery needs, so no spending there.

Found out at the all staff meeting that the health care costs didn't rise much and that many of us would get a little (1.75% raise). It usually happened in August, but in these times, we won't complain no matter when it happens. In my case, the raise would be about $35/paycheck more.

And today I met with the outside auditor (our non-profit gets an outside audit every year) about some of the financial data I booked. I could give the appropriate answers, so whew (!) on that.

bank down

September 15th, 2010 at 03:59 am

My bank's online website has been down for two days. I can do some business by text, but right now its a buggy-whip like PITA.

Dang sure that its an attack, either inside or outside job; I can't imagine with all the money that Chase can wield that they bought incompetence.

quiet times

September 14th, 2010 at 04:44 am

I've been sick with a cold for the last few days. I've been sleeping, but I've been walking a bit to get fresh air in my lungs. I took the day off, more to keep from spreading the stuff around. But there has been some news:

Beef fest occurred last Saturday. Lots of beef, and most of the people who became part of the consortium came. The consensus was that red angus four was quite tasty. At the time we named her Ginger (I didn't blog about that before, it made the meat just a tad more personal than I had liked) - ironically most of the dishes people brought contained some spice ginger also.

Screenwriter son's film did not get into Milwaukee, did not get into Chicago, but did get into Ellensburg (college town in central Washington) for a waived fee. Its also up for consideration at the Tallgrass Film Festival in Kansas.

Went up weight to 172, but I think I am back to below 170. (Yay illness and its appetite suppressing qualities). A couple of weeks ago I bought 2 more pants in size 10, one more in size 12. I've gotten rid of nearly all my size 14s. How's that for buring a bridge?

Another Tuesday, another blood draw for the bird flu study. No chicken behavior seen. No payments yet; so far I've gotten was a good working thermometer. I ran a slight fever with the shot, I've run a slight fever with this cold.

While I haven't been blogging where I've been finding change, I've been finding change just to see how much I can find. I've been finding a lot more. Last month I found $6.75, this month $6.02.

My dividend stocks have been bouncing around, but generally have been going up. 403B has been going up steadily also. Might just as well let it ride at 50% stock, 30% bond, 20% cash for a little while.

back to rable-rousing

September 9th, 2010 at 02:52 am

I'm sure I've spelled that wrong.

There's been so much discussion here in the states regarding who is middle, upper-middle and rich, all with the move afoot to increase taxes or get rid of tax breaks to the "rich".

How about my definition of rich, aka who would get taxed or non-untaxed?

Rich: President of the United State's salary and above. The POTUS salary happens to be $400,000.

Advantages:
1. President takes one for the team and can tell people so.
2. For the business/owner/CEO: Are you really taking more risk than the president? Really?
3. For the public sector guy: How did you manage to make more than the President of the US?
4. For any athlete whom you don't like: You are not having a better year, either.

what am I, chopped liver?

September 8th, 2010 at 06:07 am

How come I'm not getting any of those weird Chinese wedding dress comments in my blog? Huh huh huh? Big Grin

marketplace money

September 8th, 2010 at 05:28 am

First off, its my favorite show and it was my Sunday afternoon date - walking or jogging from my Sunday coffeeshop to the Fremont Bridge. Precisely 3.11 miles.

Now my NPR station is moving it to exile at 5pm. Wha? Time to complain!

But this last Sunday the episode was fantastic because of the juxtaposition between two stories. First off - data mining. Apparently when you pay with plastic, one throws off a tremendous amount of data which banks, credit card companies and businesses slice and dice with wizardry.

(And why I much prefer cash)

Second off was HAMP. Home modifications. And how these very same banks, credit cards, and business manage to lose paperwork, don't return phone calls, etc - incompetence with equally mindblowing skill and wizardry.

It amuses me that if a fiscal entity sees a profit in it, information is treasured; if the same entity fears a loss, incompetence is treasured.

Hey, KUOW? Moving Marketplace Money? What are you treasuring - information or incompetence?

food doings

September 6th, 2010 at 06:23 am

Dj friend came by yesterday and bought 4 lbs @ $7/lb. 2 steak cuts which are each packaged paired, so either package will make a nice special meal, plus one pack of hamburger.

As we were talking, he reminded us that we told him about Lenny's ... and I have been complaining about produce prices, how nothing is under $1/lb. Okay, $.99/lb, but that's only for loss leader items. Not that I don't take advantage of them, but it would be nice to turn back the clock to, say, 2004 or so.

So we went back to Lenny's. $.99 for blueberries, .69$/lb for carrots, $.89/lb apples. Ah, back to where it takes a fair amount of weight to get to $5. I also picked up a bunch of swiss chard that looked good - $1.19/lb.

I sauteed the chard leaves in olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. However, I found a great recipe for the chard stalks:

Creamed chard over pasta

1 bunch chard stalks - about 3/4 lb, or 2 cups
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
dash nutmeg (my twist from the recipe I found)
pasta - I used penne
salt, pepper

Clean chard stalks if you haven't already, chop into 1/2 inch pieces.

Melt butter at low/med low heat, add garlic, saute for 1-2 min. (watch the butter, I burned my first batch. Frown )

Add chard, saute until chard is soft. (5-8 minutes)
Add the heavy cream to the chard, stir, keep at low heat and reduce to half the volume. Add nutmeg after about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook pasta al dente if you haven't already.

Dress the pasta with the cream sauce, serve warm.

glorious, restful work

September 4th, 2010 at 04:28 am

Friday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $5 groceries

Thursday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $7 groceries

Wednesday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $0

Feels very good getting back to work. Not because work is always super fantastic, but it is something that really keeps you from spending money. Hours can pass, and none of my money spent. Glorious. Vacation can be stressful in its own way, even if you do nothing. Nothing means, if nothing else, you are eating and spending more.

I did a bit of catching up. Sister enjoyed my creation for her birthday gift - a flipbook made from one of the books I made from a Japanese book binding kit, some pictures I took around the farmette, and a few fortune cookie fortunes.

Unfortunately, the Milwaukee Film Fest didn't accept the movie, so no quick trip to visit sister. I did mention to screenwriter friend that he could show it at another great Milwaukee venue: sister's-across-the-street neighbor owns a converted funeral parlor. This guy's "man cave" was once the main viewing room, and now is a large room with a home theater, 8 barcaloungers in a semi-circle, and a full size pool table many feet behind the loungers. Mammoth man cave, in other words. You could easily fit about 100 people comfortably for a show. Smile

Still fine after the experimental flu shot. No pecking. Well, DH would probably disagree. Smile Actually, I figure that this is going to be the safest flu shot I'm ever gonna get because I'm going to be one of a few hundred being heavily monitored. That has to be far safer than the average one that millions would get a few years from now.

DJ friend is interested in buying a few pounds of beef from us. I figure that our price for all our beef averaged about $7/lb, so that will be his price. However, the twist is that one of those pounds will be hamburger just to get the average right. Selling a little bit will have a useful function - it will make a little room for some bartered duck. Beef fest is still going to be Sept 11.

V.I. passed her 1 yr anniversary with us. So far, she has a little bit of a scratching issue. The vet hasn't found an obvious cause. No ringworm or fleas or anything that can be cultured. So its a watch and wait - change her diet from dry to wet, give her lots of affection and not too many stresses. No surprise vet boardings while we go on summer field trips.