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Archive for November, 2010

really dirty money

November 25th, 2010 at 05:43 am

Had some extraordinary luck in finding change Thursday. I walked through the self-serve carwash (this before the snow and cold) parking lot and caught a glint of a penny, then several pennies, then a whole lot of change (pennies, nickels, dime) which no one picked up. Why? They were in amidst a wad of grease and weird lint. Ugh. So of course, true to my roots, I scooped up the mass in several scoops and put it in a my plastic bag.

Got home, and washed, and washed. In that glob were 90 pennies, 10 nickels, and 28 dimes.

And today, I picked up a quarter standing straight up in the top grate of the escalator. Also covered in grease.

Hand sanitizer anyone?

snowpoclapyse, 2010

November 24th, 2010 at 02:11 am

Seattle is in the throes of its every other year snowstorm. Actually the snow occurred yesterday, but the ice occurred today. I was extremely lucky yesterday - it only took me 1.5 hrs to get to work, and 1.75 hrs to get home. Today - with the threat of the virtually-assured-nightmare ice bowl commute both ways, the fact that I got caught up with all my work yesterday, I had the PTO, I needed to get cracking on my part for the Thanksgiving festivities, - I refused to participate so I called in for a PTO day.

All the transit systems and the Seattle Dept of Transportation all tweet. Yesterday, while it wasn't a pleasure, at least I could figure out why we were stalled and could make a better decision. It does make for hundreds of text messages per day. I had the minutes saved for just this purpose.

And when I put on my Yaktraxs for the fourth year, I got the "great idea!" comment.

Got caught up on a number of fiscal fronts - my second CD matured Sunday so I called and put the proceeds into checking, and got my ING account to pull it in. 1.2% is unheard of for checking, but you have to maintain a large balance.

BECU solved a mystery. I got the temporary card, put a bit of money into savings. A few weeks later I wanted to put my this month's tip box squeezings into savings, but couldn't because it rejected my PIN. (I cancel and get everything back) Turns out that the first time you put the PIN in it will accept anything set of digits. Its at the end that it then gets down to the business of verifying your account. I'd rather be rejected early. I can take it. Anyway, got that mystery solved.

Also began making cranberry trifle try two. Try one was delicious, but I added a tad too much Cointreau. I'll fix that this time. All I've been doing is making three things: pound cake from a box mix, roasted cranberry sauce, cornstarch vanilla pudding. Cube the pound cake, layer it, add a bit of Cointreau, add a bit of cranberry sauce, a bit of warm pudding, more cubes of pound cake, Cointreau, pudding this time, cranberry sauce, etc. Keep layering until you run out of ingredients. Chill overnight, add whipped cream when you are about to serve.

death bet in the 11th month

November 18th, 2010 at 06:01 am

Worked with the death bet organizer today. The second thing out of his mouth was, "man, did we not pick the right people for our death bet." And we only have one month left.

I commiserated - a celebrity who dies seems to be two degrees of separation from the celebrity on my list.

So far lawyer friend is in a slight lead. He picked Robert Byrd, which I remember several of you all suggested. Nah, I said, not enough points. Well, amongst 0 points, the 5 point score is the winner.

no-spend but a lot of spend

November 18th, 2010 at 05:52 am

Had a no spend day, but in planning for the trip, I've spent for plane tickets, visa, soon some more for a Hep A shot, typhus shot, and for a bit of anti-malaria drugs, and very soon will finish paying for the rest of the Vietnam/Cambodia trip in February with my sister. I hate to see the money go (funny how you INVEST so much in the number when you know your net worth) but it will be fun and exciting and I still have plenty even after the spending.

The most interesting part with buying the tickets is the Chase Fraud alert phone call ten minutes later. Its doing its job.

I mailed off my passport for the visa ... a little scary, so I sprung for the USPS tracking with 24 hr delivery. $18.30, paid for no mistakes and so far no mistakes.

Anyway, I'm nearly done and the plan is taking shape. Sister is flying out from Milwaukee to Seattle, we fly out together to Hanoi, with stops in LA and Hong Kong. We go on the tour with an additional 35 people (tour closed - no more free spots). Then at the end, we fly home from Cambodia to Seattle.

sides, no entree

November 14th, 2010 at 07:09 am

Updates from the last few days, a few fiscal but most not.

Got into the dress I bought for the workplace social with the 60s theme and I think rocked it. I also demonstrated the best and most polite way to eat finger foods using white gloves. Even got 'wow' comments that I didn't stain the gloves while I ate. - But that's not really a surprise; one usually doesn't stain one's bare hands either.

We did the canning exchange at work the next day. From my 4 half pints of quince marmalade, I received: 1 half pint pear butter, 1 half pint of apple chutney, 1 pint of pickled okra, 1 quart of tomato vegetable soup. I was a tad nervous about the soup, but I did eat it already and had no ill effects. I did boil it hard for 15 minutes though. The pickled okra came from lawyer friend and the time table for it was thus: got home at 6:45pm, opened the okra; 6:47, had eaten 2 okra, began to boil the soup; 7:00, had eaten about 1/2 the okra; 7:10, all the okra was gone. Big Grin. Hope the gang enjoyed my marmalade. Out of all the jars, mine was the prettiest - a bright pink red.

I got the travel materials for the Vietnam/Cambodia alumni trip - visa information for both countries, bill for the rest (I just put down the deposit for sister and I), travel information, guidance for how the plan will go. So far there are 21 other people who booked. The tour managers gave me another set of everything for my sister. Today I mailed it off, and went to Walgreens for another set of 2x2 pictures for each visa. And yes, no smiling ... I think that your passport/visa pictures should pretty much match what you look like after you step off the plane. That way the customs official doesn't have to use his imagination. Now to book the flights, which determines the date of the Vietnam visa.

Consolidation on my accounts is proceeding. The first CD will be fully in my ING account Tuesday. And I get paid on Monday.

We are going to the Duvall friend's house for Thanksgiving. WE might mix it up a bit and have prime rib instead of turkey. It will give me license to make some British-inflected sides and dessert. I get the feeling that cranberry trifle might be smashing. The Duvall friends just started their blog, and it looks to be pretty good. Want to learn how to build a goat barn?

moving the CD, et al.

November 10th, 2010 at 05:12 am

One CD matured yesterday and I've moved it to the checking account. I have it scheduled to be moved into my ING account early next week.

There are only 5 people in the canning exchange, which is good news - my other 6 half pints will turn into Christmas/ hostess gifts. Cracked open one and had several tablespoons in a cup of plain yogurt. Was a bit syrupy, and that was perfect for the yogurt.

Discovered another symptom of this recession: a very large banner advertising "we take EFT and SNAP dollars." Its great that this place does, its a new produce stand, but I've never seen a gigantic banner proclaiming it. Usually I've seen the window sign or a sticker at the checkout.

Haven't declared that we are in the season of Venus yet, which is lax on my part, because we have been very much under Venusian skies this week. It is early enough in the season, though, so drivers apparently having to get used to it. On my walk today I saw a large truck drive the wrong way on 2nd Ave ... a street that you do not want to be driving upstream of. He made the corner before any serious damage was done. Nobody honked though. Also saw a car neatly front end an ornate cast iron street light. Bad day for someone else. If he was one of those drivers that really gun it as he turns right out onto the street ... well, then he got his just desserts.

semi-big money

November 8th, 2010 at 03:27 am

Received a $150 check Saturday, meaning I received the rest of my payments (save one) from my participation in the bird flu study. Save one, because the last data point is at 180 days. I'll get the last $50 sometime in March.

My tolerance for flu shots and blood draws made me $500, which comes in handy.

DJ friend had a little re-writing task that he was willing to pay me $25/hr on. (Which he did via Paypal) It took me two hours to do, so there's another $50.

Can't say that I see more of those side payments on the horizon, but what is coming up this month is the second phase of consolidating my accounts. One of my CDs is due, so I will call tomorrow morning and inform the bank to move that CD into checking along with the remnants there already. I have a link between this checking account and ING. After November, this money will in one spot earning 1.25% versus a couple of spots earning 0.35%. It will add up quickly.

Had a slightly spendy weekend. I'll be at an event at work where we dress up early 60s (and I thought I escaped Halloween expenses!). Normally I wouldn't care and would use nothing to wear/no time to buy as an excuse to go for only a few minutes, but I like how I look in early 60s garb so the project will serve double duty - I can consider what I buy refreshing my wardrobe.

I managed to find the near perfect blue dress at Ross for $22; white gloves, blue shoes that nearly match the dress, and a blue collar-less jacket at Value Village for another $23. Final thing - pantyhose for $4 (yeah, but I rarely wear pantyhose). I have a perfect pocketbook already. I tried out the whole ensemble and I look pretty good. However, if anyone asks - no all you can eat anything because I can JUST get into the dress.

quince marmalade

November 5th, 2010 at 03:45 am

Last night I canned 11 1/2 pints of quince marmalade. I used this recipe:

Quince Marmalade

3 1/2 lb quinces (after de-peeling and coring you'll get about 3 lbs)
5 3/4 c granulated sugar
10 c water
1 whole lemon, thinly sliced.

Peel, quarter, and core quinces. This was the tough part - especially around the very woody core, those quinces cut like squash. Collect the peels and cores, wrap them in cheesecloth. The quinces will turn a bit brown, don't worry about it.

Combine all ingredients (including quince trimmings in the cheesecloth) into large stockpot.

Simmer under low/low medium heat for several hours. Quince will begin to turn rosy, the sugar syrup will turn red. Pierce a quince piece, when it softens, remove and discard the bag of cheesecloth.

Mash your quince and keep cooking until the quince jam is of the color you like and the mixture passes the sheet test. The longer you cook, the redder it gets. 5 hours was my limit, and turned my yellow quinces into a glorious red marmalade...


Process by boiling waterbath (quince ph range is about 3.8 - 4.0, plus the lemon adds a bit more acid). Fill jars with 1/4 inch headspace, put on lids and rings, process for 25 minutes.