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Archive for December, 2010

2 more days

December 30th, 2010 at 05:31 am

to go for the FCC picks for 2011. I got mine, and I got a couple of other sets. So far nobody has dups and we all have interesting picks.

I am accepting remote players. Picks by Dec 31, money later on. Those folks interested can see the comments my last FCC post - they tell you who to email. Write me a comment in case my spam filter is doing too good a job.

liberty dime

December 28th, 2010 at 05:01 am

I found another silver dime yesterday, half buried next to a tree in front of a church. This one's a bit older - date minted was 1944 - and its a Liberty head dime. For all you young whippersnappers (including me), here's a picture of one. (not a pic I took, I can't focus it enough using my little digital camera). Its a little grungy, but the relief is nice on it - only the E Plurbis Unum is faint.

I also looked at my PTO accrual as I was figuring out the percent on my 403B. 255 hrs. I'm waiting for HR to bring the hammer down. I could call in sick for a few days.

Finally, I'm working on my FCC list. Have about 8 that I'd like to follow, so 2 more and I'm done. Thank you scfr for a couple of more ideas.

I've been saving relatively crisp $1s and a couple of $5s for the Vietnam trip. So far I have about $30. Because I'm saving for the trip, I've decided to slow down the tip box savings, and return to it in March. I'm now reading and taking notes in a notebook, to bring on the trip.

Yummy, Merry Christmas

December 26th, 2010 at 02:51 am

Merry Christmas to you all!

It has been a low key, frugal Christmas up here in the upper left hand corner of the US. Cooked a goose we traded for beef for from our Duvall friends. 'Little Henry' was written on the package. Little Henry was all dark meat. I made a bread dressing with onion, celery, tarragon, chopped nuts, dried fruit, cinnamon and nutmeg. Really can't taste the cinnamon and nutmeg. Also fried the last of the potatoes my sister sent (with the turnips) in goose fat. OMG, good. Made Szechuan green beans, a green salad, and a pear/cherry brown betty to round out the whole thing.

Yesterday, I ran my second yogurt making experiment. I scalded the milk, let it cool to 115F or so, poured the still warm milk into the wide mouth 'food' thermos ($10 from the grocery store) with a spoonful of store bought yogurt, stirred, sealed it up and waited for 6 hours, then opened it. Worked like a champ! While the goose was roasting I got out the jelly bag, spooned the new yogurt in, let drain, and a couple of hours later I got 1 cup of greek yogurt. About the only issue with the thermos for yogurt making is that it really only makes one serving, so it will require planning.

Got an unexpected, but really interesting gift - DH gave me a pocket video camera. Takes AAA batteries! Boy that will be a fun gift for the Vietnam trip.

The final interesting thought came from the newspaper. Use your live, hopefully not-sprayed tree in cooking! I don't usually have a Christmas tree, live or fake, but no doubt I can find a residential, unsprayed pine overhanging a sidewalk as I walk by.

money coming in

December 24th, 2010 at 03:36 am

December is generally my most spendy month. This year has been exceptionally spendy, after buying Vietnam trip and plane tickets for sister and I.

However, sister is moving money so she asked me what her share is: A bit more than 8K. So I will be getting that back.

DH's mom sent us a bit of Christmas money. DH needs it way more than I do, but a got a bit of it, so about $400 that I didn't expect.

The final bit of fiscal news is not about money coming in. Turns out that the HR software payroll uses to pull money for the 403B works on percentages, rather than flat dollar amounts. So no more $666.66 taken of each paycheck, now its 31%. Works out that I'm contributing a hair more than I have in the past - even closer to the $16.5K upper limit. Took a look at how I'm doing on the 403B. Not quite as nice as a last year, but I'm up about 8%.

death bet, 2011

December 24th, 2010 at 03:15 am

Just in case you find it unsavory enough to back out ...



not too late....






Tra la la, the FCC (Fantasy Celebrity Cemetary) aka the death bet. Haven't heard much about who is "winning", just that all of my 10 picks for 2010 stayed very, very alive. Thank you, grim reaper... I think.

This obscurity will change for 2011. I am going to be the organizer for this upcoming year. Most of what is happening will be the same - $20 buy-in, 10 picks, final age minus 100 are your points, most points wins.

I'm instituting two twists: 1. celebrity is defined as a person having a Wikipedia page. Useful for many reasons - saves me time to figure out whether your pick is famous enough, the participant does the research, we have a ready birth date, and Wikipedia lists out deaths by year and day, so no fighting about a death date. Twist 2 is that I'm going to collect everybody's pick, list 'em out in Excel with their Wikipedia link, and everybody can see everybody else's choices. Full transparency.

bank stock surprise and Jackie Handey moment

December 20th, 2010 at 04:26 am

Friday night I looked up my stocks, as I usually do. My bank stock, which has been limping along a low-ish level, increased its share price by over 1$/share & 18%. Wow, I thought, I'll have to explore that further after I read the news.

Then I read the news. My bank (M&I) is getting bought by a Canadian bank (BMO), at 0.1285 shares of new bank per 1 share of old bank. It means that if the sale goes through, I get 18 shares of a Canadian bank. They pay a dividend (a pretty good one), but appear not to have a Drp. So I will get checks.

Its a little disappointing in terms of losing the largest bank in my childhood home state, but at least the bank didn't get taken over by the FDIC or had a completely horrific buyout plan (like WaMu) so its not a total loss.

On another note, DJ friend/coworker showed me the 2Gig MP3 clips that one can get for $9.99. Why bother buying a $15 CD at those prices? I felt a Jackie Handey moment coming on. Big GrinI suggested that his internet radio station contact the supplier and see if getting the internet radio logo on those little clips would be possible. Even better, he could load podcast radio programs or even several of radio station produced albums onto the critter and sell them. Even if the buyer wiped the songs clean, those little clips on a collar could be quite an ad statement.

minor breakthroughs

December 15th, 2010 at 05:14 am

Found over $10 in change last month! Thank you rainy Seattle - no one who drops coins wants to stay out in the rain and pick them up.

My passport with the Vietnam and Cambodia visas is sitting at Fed Ex right now. Not too bad - it took about 17-18 days. I now absolutely am going. Checked out one of the two books from the Seattle library. Its all about the Vietnam War - actually from the 1920's to the 1970's - so multiple Vietnam wars. Very interesting.

Big data dump (BDD) has occurred, so my email account now sports a message - I'm working on 43M worth of data, so stop bugging with your $25 stuff.

jelly bag and rant

December 13th, 2010 at 05:25 am

First the jelly bag with a tripod to hang over the sink. (I was jelly bag-less so I spent 12$ at the hardware store.) I was given a quart of apple butter, homemade by lawyer friend. It was delicious but runny. The solution is: the jelly bag. Pour the quart of apple butter into the jelly bag and wait for 1-2 hours as the liquid drained into the sink. A quart of runny apple butter turned into about a half pint of perfect apple butter.

It got me thinking about my second project. Making yogurt turned into a bit of a bust two weeks ago, but I still have an urge for a dairy project, so how about yogurt cheese, made with supermarket yogurt? I didn't have the butter muslin called for (a finer mesh more-clothy cheesecloth), but I did have the jelly bag. Turned out perfectly, and dead easy, so easy that it really doesn't call for a recipe. Dump supermarket yogurt into a jelly bag, let drip for 12-24 hours. Press a little - I twisted the bag to create a more compact 'cheese'. Its the consistency of cream cheese. I made eight little yogurt balls and rolled them in dried mint and a bit of kosher salt.

Now for the rant. Its been awhile for this one, but today it was just horrible. Our usual Sunday coffeeshop closed a couple of weeks ago due to fire damage next door so we went to a different one. We set down our wrapped newspapers to get coffee and discovered people reading 'em when we got back. I'm happy that people still want to read paper newspapers, yay, but dammit, if you are too damn cheap to buy your newspaper, you ask "may I?" and accept a no if we are not done. We share when we are done. Done means unwrapped from the baggie, paper in sections in a stack on the table. It costs some to get the paper, we buy it so we get first dibs.

Nuts, man.

'brellas in the trashcan

December 9th, 2010 at 05:08 am

Again, not much happening. The big expense - the Vietnam trip with sister - has been paid for. The Hep A shot was gotten on Saturday morning, and all I can say about it is: OW!!! It felt like the nurse dulled the needle and pounded in the shoulder. I couldn't even move my left arm Sunday, and had to hold it like John McCain. I'm in the process of taking my typhus oral vaccine - a capsule every other day, first thing in the morning because I have to take with no food, no chewing because the capsule with the attenuated bacteria have to get past the stomach. Its a bit of a challenge with my serious gag reflex, but I'm gonna do it.

Work is getting very busy again, with the big data dump (BDD) happening within a few weeks. I'm very happy about that because said BDD usually happens in late January, possibly interfering with the trip.

Today was rainy. Not surprising for Seattle, but today the rain was heavy and plus a fair amount wind which would catch the umbrella and do very bad things to it. As I walked 3rd Avenue downtown, a number of umbrella handles stuck out of trashcans all along the way. This rain's rough on even the natives.

Part one of consolidation occurred - most of my savings and CDs are now at ING, all pulling together and earning 1.2%. Not great, but I'm not trapped by a CD. Part two of the consolidation - moving from Chase to a credit union is stalled out. I'll have to talk to the credit union because I still haven't gotten my PIN number for my permanent card. I do have some savings in it and that are earning 6% ... so I can't be too mad.

all quiet

December 3rd, 2010 at 05:47 am

Been about a week since I last posted. Mostly because not much has been happening. Waiting for my passport with the visa to come back from the visa service, and I plan to hit my medical center to get the shots I'll need for my February trip. Hep A, typhus shots, along with a blister pack of anti-malarials just in case. With that, the heavy duty buying is done, the rest is just collecting for the packing list.

Sister is a bit funny - she's asking me whether I'm reading what's on the book list. I think she means the professor who is leading the tour. If that's the case, probably not. There isn't going to be a formal test, at least not one that couldn't be passed by buying two slots on the tour. Smile

Sister sent a TON of turnips in her latest box. I was at a bit of loss on how to use them - DH hates turnips so too much hiding is out of the question - until I remembered how much I liked turnip pickles at the Indian/Middle Eastern restaurants. Turns out making them is very easy:

Turnip pickles
6-7 medium turnips
2-3 tiny beets
2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
red pepper flakes
1 c warm water
1 1/2 c white vinegar
clean glass jars

Peel turnips and beets, slice into 1/4 - 1/8 in slices. Put in large bowl, sprinkle red pepper flakes and salt over slices. Toss to get everything well mixed. Cover, let sit for 12-24 hrs.

Pack slices into the glass jars. You should have a bit of liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Add the warm water and vinegar to the bowl, mix well, pour the liquid over the slices in the jars.

Cover, let sit for at least 2 days. And this is what they look like...