In case one wanted to know why interest rates are dropping ... and for some of us with a lot of money, soon it will get even worse.
Haven't heard much about the mattress lately. I give it six more months before the jokes start.
Viewing the 'Calculators & Links' Category
In case one wanted to know why interest rates are dropping ... and for some of us with a lot of money, soon it will get even worse.
For the last couple of years, DH and I participated in Free Museum day, inspired in part by the birthday of The Smithsonian. A couple of years ago, we went to the Museum of Glass - quite pricey generally at $20. Last year we went to the Seattle Museum of History and Industry. This year on the 24th, who knows? It might be Museum of Flight or SAM or Wing Luke.
The rules are pretty straightforward - check out the link, find a museum, print out a ticket for two at the museum, and show up with the ticket.
I read an insightful article about decision fatigue in the NYT Sunday magazine.
The basic point of the article is that decisions of any size require energy. The more you make during a day, the more likely you will either make a crappy one or that you will go with what is recommended to you ... and in a sales situation, its always going to cost.
Insightful to the frugalistas and frugalistas-in-training, for a number of reasons.
Remember the saying "you can have anything, but you can't have everything"? Of course, it means that you have to figure out what your anythings are in the whole universe of everything ... which means setting priorities .... which means decisions. Lots of decisions.
People sometimes consider my tactic of setting a routine to be ho-hum, but it means that I don't have to re-make routine decisions and I free myself for the biggies during the day.
Every so often the question, "what is the most frugal skill one can develop?" pops up. I thought it was math estimation skills but I might make the case that preventing decision fatigue might well be it.
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $15 brunch + $3 mocha + $23 piece of art
Found money - $0.03 (floor, parking lot, newspaper box)
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.88 bagel, coffee + $10 for 10 Luna bars
Found money - $0.62 (road, planting strip & gutter, bus stop)
Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $.50 apple + $8 lunch + $9 groceries
Found money - $0.03 (lotsa floors - food court, escalator, Safeway)
Thoroughly enjoyed myself at the Greenwood Art Walk, and saw many spectacles but I didn't take many pictures (matter of fact, really just one). I learned a lot about my neighbors.
Neighbor 1: A set designer for Hollywood - tv and film. Bought a bit of small commercial space and designed rooms to HIS liking...
I don't do justice, but being a renter and always looking at the tyranny of beige and white, seeing celandon green walls with yellow stencil, chinese sculpture and a wild chandelier...exciting. The basement of the place contained an art collective and I bought my $23 piece from them. It was a cute little leather monster - one-eyed and screaming. He looked like I feel in January or so.
Neighbor 2: I'm about a block north of the neighborhood park which has bought out two abutting properties. There is to be a meeting about what to do with them and how to integrate them with the park. I always like the idea of another P-patch, but it would be great to allow neighborhood restaurants to rent space also...several are only 3-4 blocks away. Another two cents I threw in was to create an entirely edible landscape, and a third is to commemorate the orchards that were here before the neighborhood was. Great ideas, the chair of the committee said - come to the meeting!
Neighbor 3: Lawyer. His flower photos made it through a juried art show, but I was excited that he specialized in wills and estate planning and he's in the neighborhood. I nabbed his card and a gift certificate.
Neighbor 4: (bringing it back to fiscal) A coin cutter. He pulled me aside and had me look at his work. He did the cutting, sanding, and spot plating of gold, palladium and rhodium of some of the elements. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the Secret Service and the Treasury isn't after him. Apparently cutting coins is legal if the intent is not to defraud. Here's a thought: a cut Wisconsin quarter for sister developing her organic farming at the farmette. I'll have to think about that.
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $7 salad fixings
Found money - $0.01 (gym floor) + $.26 (Safeway - another quarter by the Coinstar machine)
Fall has arrived in Seattle, today with a vengeance - cloudy, rainy, cold. After a day like today, as I walked to catch my bus tonight, I look to my little red fall beacon:
More good health news today - my cholesterol is a non-threatening 182. The big health issue is with V.I. - she hasn't been defecating in the litter box, and it turns out she has giardia. So our entertainment has been to catch her and give her her medicine to clear it. And wash our hands afterward. :P
DH sent me a highly entertaining sin link for a data geek like me. As you look, remember that Seattle is in the upper left corner. We hold our collective heads high!
Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $3 office supplies + $9 groceries
Found money - $0.03 (sidewalk three different places) + $0.20 (under Coinstar machine)
The barter for the duck and the fish is beginning - in package units, to trade we have 10 ground beef, 4 soup bone, 2 t-bone, 1 back rib, 1 chuck, 2 sirloin, 1 flank, and multiple links of german sausage. We've reserved a few pieces for ourselves.
The Duvall friends, the other end of the muscovy duck trade, are going to be sending at least 8 of their ducks to "freezer camp" (euphemism theirs) starting this weekend. They're thinking about the chuck, sirloin, and t-bone, so I weigh my pieces, they weigh their cleaned duck carcasses, and we pound for pound trade.
Got the results of my mammogram back: normal.
Not much else - discovered that the Coinstar machine can be a rich source of change. Not surprising - easy to imagine a bit of change dropping out of the bin, and if you are doing this with the iPod on, you wouldn't hear the ching.
This weekend is the Greek festival, I saved to stock up on olive oil, feta, tarama, olives, and maybe a bit of wine. Saturday is also national free museum day, sponsored by the Smithsonian. Tough choice.
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $7.47 groceries (the checker exclaimed that my bill was a plane)
Had another nearly no spend day - with the brown bagging, and the home brew coffee I only spent at the grocery store this evening. Breakfast bars and a head of raw garlic. I felt like I staved off a couple of colds last month by a raw clove of garlic chopped in a salad.
Over lunch today, I caught the PC World's 11 Lamest blogs. Well, I blog, and thankfully this is not one of them. However number 6 has a very familiar format.
I also picked up this useful article. The next time someone asks me about how to be frugal, that they have to be frugal, and yet somehow can't be frugal, well, I can be torn between two responses:
1. Well, that's quite a problem, but you are smart and you can figure it out!
2. Wow, you are screwed! Where's my coffee cup?
Oh, and I found two pennies today. I'm moving another $4K back to ING. It would have earned 13 cents as a T-bill.
Spending log - $15 gloves, hoodie + $21 groceries
Realized as I began my six mile walk that it was far colder than I was dressed, so I picked up gloves and a medium (cut large) grey hoodie at Walgreens. It was a toasty warm hoodie, but it also seems to be lucky in another way: I found change on the sidewalk within a block of putting it on. I also found 11 cents as I cut through the Safeway. Basic gray lucky recession hoodie.
On my walk toward Fremont I saw this performance:
Coming back, I walked past them again. No babies in the baby buggies, all had enigmatic smiles.
The second performance? My blog. For laughs, I put in my blog address into Typealyzer - which analyzes your blog according to Myers-Briggs.
My blog: ESFP.
They got the feeling, perceiving bit right. I'm flattered a bit - I just don't think of myself as a performer in any sort of way. Typealyzer seems to do a very quick analysis. I think its checking for verbs and active/passive voice on the first screen of posts it sees. Methinks for laughs I'll bore you all with a couple of heavy duty analysis type posts and see if it changes thinks a bit.
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.70 coffee + $10 lunch
This is the best article on saving that I've read in weeks. It really is true in 2008 that one "spends together, but saves alone". But even 30 years ago it didn't used to be that way.
I will warn you that the piece above is a tad long, so here's an op ed neatly summarizing the original from the New York Times.
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.19 coffee + $11 lunch
Found a very interesting article on willpower in the paper today.
The high points:
Willpower appears to wax and wane depending on your other activities.
People appear to have a willpower 'budget'. Showing self control in one area of your life (eg controlling eating) can limit your willpower in other areas.
Willpower can be strengthened with use and challenge.
Learning about 'money management' (not really defined in the article) can help strengthen willpower.
I wonder if we, the Saving Advice community of bloggers, help strengthen willpower or are we a distraction to willpower? Does it matter if you are a blogger, sometime blogger, reader, or lurker?
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.19 coffee + $8 lunch + $.50 apple
(Yippie - finally a decent apple price - $1.19/lb.)
Speaking of the devil in "What a recession can teach you about money...". The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is watching your bank too, and they are making plans so that they don't get caught short.
To better watch the FDIC. If your bank fails they're not shy about announcing it and who has bought your bank out.
Check out the quality of your bank.
A funny from The Onion that might encourage a few of our newer bloggers. If you are reading this on a laptop, swallow what you are drinking before clicking:
Saving log -$1 tip box
Spending log - $1.15 coffee (still no no-fat or 1%) + $5 lunch
We have a display case near our offices. I rearranged the letters, as a shout-out to the James Bond fans out there. We'll see who notices.
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $8 lunch
Don't have much financial going on. But I discovered a loophole in DH's trick in Saturday's entry and wrote it out.
And I did discover an old funny financial article from The Onion, America's news source:
Oh yes, The Onion is very well known for tossing in a dirty word or two. Don't say you weren't warned.
From the files of "come to think of it, they should have something like this", an article about price optimization software:
The takeaway message that I get from this is that there is an art to pricing, based on psychology. There is a fair amount back and forth on other frugal sites. Some people, like me, swear by a price book, which is a list of prices, per unit, of items I normally buy, at the store I bought 'em at, and the full date (including year) when I encountered the price. Other people tell me that they have great memories, and they know for a fact that one store had consistently lower prices for stuff so why waste time and effort?
This article strengthens my suspicions that price optimization software really target how shoppers perceive price and value, especially for those shoppers who rely on their memory and impressions. In other words, those who fly by/buy the seat of their pants. A store will specifically target their loss leaders to give shoppers the impression that they have consistently lower prices, yet after a few months...not so much.
Besides, the store is using the most sophisticated calculations imaginable to determine their price. The willingness to maintain and use a price book (and if necessary, not buy) at least shows the shenanigans.
It was amazing to me learning my first week of pricebooking that Larry's Market, not known for cheap prices, beat out Costco's price for canned tuna...handily. And best of all, I could buy exactly the number of cans I had the budget for, not in packs of 12.
So you just never know ... unless you have a price book.
Changing the subject, I added another paragraph to the blog entry How To Store Grocery Produce. I think it's a good tip, making the entry worthy of revisiting.
I saw the documentary Maxed Out and here this afternoon. My only regret is that I didn't see it on Tuesday, when all times for the Varsity Seattle are $6, off from $9.25. So much for being frugal.
My all means every journal/blogger/reader of blogs here on this site should see this movie. If it doesn't make it to a movie theater near you, Netflix it or Blockbuster it, or rent it from the library (when it gets there) or h%ll, even buy it...with cash, of course. If we (as bloggers) cannot encourage you to tackle your debt then this documentary will. My head is still spinning and if this entry is disjointed, its because the filmmaker covers so much ground that every American should know about. The links I sent at the top will give you a nice taste on some of the bits.
Now for a few of my observations.
A lot of what had happened - people getting in over their heads in debt - happened to me, too. (I became debt-free in October 2004.) For an agnostic/atheist, I am blessed that:
1.) I got in over my head back when the credit card companies hadn't thought up most of their wicked ways - universal debt, 2 cycle billing.
2.) I remained in good health.
3.) I can still be content even when living a materially-poor lifestyle - no house, no car, no kids, Goodwill as a furniture store.
4.) DH - to my knowledge - does not practice financial infidelity.
5.) I treasure my privacy. Cash is anonymous.
6.) I always had a job, even if it was a temp job.
7.) Nothing financially big went wrong with either me, DH, or in our family circles. At least nothing bigger than my emergency fund.
There but for the grace of G*d go I. Sheer luck. I'm not going to say that I dug out of debt my way, heroically, by my bootstraps. I had a lot of luck that many folks don't.
And finding out that credit card companies will magically "lose" your check until a day or two after the due date. I'm happy that I don't play chicken with my credit card bill. I pay it a day or two after the 15th, before the bill comes. I'm tempted to send the bill registered mail!
I do have a divergence of opinion with Michelle Singletary (second link) when she thought that the tithing clip was a cheap shot. Au contraire. In the clip, Jerry Falwell told his flock that even those in under heavy debt stress should still tithe. I have no problems with tithing if goes to G*d. I have a problem with it going to Jerry Falwell, who clearly needs it far less. My cheap shot.
Anyway, continuing on. As a person who pays in full most months and is a great saver, how this debt load most affects me is on the investment level. If the US government is playing a shell game with its debt - does that make me a chump for investing in T-bills? (they are 4 wk T-bills, so probably not, but still...) How do you assess risk?
Debt is slavery, no good or bad. If you are in debt in America, you are not free, period. You are watched, you are hounded, you are sold. A FICO score only determines how much of each you are. And I would make that case even if you have a 30 fixed mortgage.
Finally, a word. My credit card, Capital One, is bumping my rate from 7.99% to 12%, even though I'm a credit "deadbeat" (pays every month). Apparently this is occurring to many in my situation. Since my revolving piece is about $100 or so every once in awhile, the interest that I would pay is still minimal, but I'm still going to go through my $60 or recurring debt - the newspaper, Netflix, etc and see what I can get transferred to my debit card. Last I checked, 12% of 0$ is 0$. Perhaps the card companies will figure out a clever technique to get money out of that situation.
This time of year we are in a time crunch and really go at it. Most donors want to give in time to get the tax deduction. In most years, they (and we) have until the 31st. This year, the 29th. So all the booking and getting pledges into the system is compressed. I filled in for a couple of co workers today and was soon swamped.
We had a little meeting where it was presented that our department's structure was flat. Most of my co-workers are at the same paygrade and responsibility. I'm a bit higher, and my boss is a bit higher still. But that's it. There is a possibility that my job grade will go up a bit, and hopefully my salary will follow.
I went to lunch with lawyer friend, lawyer friend's partner and finnish friend. ($10) DH and I were invited to a low key New Year's Eve - board games and tacos.
While we were standing in line to pay for lunch, I commented about that stupid lunch assembly line Visa commercial. How long does it take to pay with tip on a debit card? At least 2 minutes. Swipe, confirm, print out, write out tip, ring up sale. How long with cash? 15 seconds. Slap two fives on the counter, mutter "keep the change", listen for the register and yer done.
Think I might make it to the next paycheck with 100$ in my checking account.
Ah, a celebration and a decoration for the rest of us. I have to admit that comparing this to a Christmas tree, the price is definitely frugal. I have to seriously think about switching my holiday allegiances in the coming years. Its got to be cheaper, and with tongue firmly in cheek, a bit more fun.
We are going to have a couple of friends over for some good conversation and a little holiday cheer. Picked up a little gift and pannettone - Italian Christmas cake - to nosh on. (26$).
Time to think about, and air some grievances. Serenity now!
Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $2 coffee, milk + $11 lunch (chirashi sushi, the least Christmas-y lunch I can think of)
Collected up my scrapings from the tip box at work. I put in 46$ this month, which is pretty good. Last year this time, I didn't put anything in (too busy with figuring out what to do with X-mas 2005 and grandma's 10K gift). And no matter the exchange rate, 46$ is at least $46 more than this.
Participated in the gift exchange in the department where I work. Nothing over 5$. I put in one of those water bottles, which didn't cost me anything...and I got a partial sheet of 15 .39 superhero US stamps, which was actually pretty cool.
It could be fun to mix and match the stamp to the bill. The Flash, for instance, has to go with the electric bill; Aquaman, to water, sewer and garbage; if I had some yard waste, I could throw the bill to the Green Arrow; Elastic Man, to the chiropractor; Wonder Woman, to my trainer. Too bad I didn't get any arch-enemies - a character like Doc Ock would have been perfect for the credit card bill.
I have some friends who now, after 8 days, finally have power. I hope retire@50's all right out in Colorado.
Lots of miscellaneous entries today. Found out that if your library fines are more than 6 months old, depending on the city/county, the fine might end up on your credit report. (NYTimes).
Come mid 2007, probably no more rebates. Can't say I'll miss them. I was diligent and managed to get from all the rebates I applied for, save one. (NYTimes).
Went girly fiscal commando today and yesterday. In other words, no purse, just five items in pockets: wallet, keys, PDA, MP3 player, headphones. I find hands free very freeing, and somehow frugal because I just don't want to shop and lug the bag around.
Your mileage may vary (YMMV), but as a paycheck calculator, it was useful enough to link and bookmark.
Sister emailed me last night. Our contacts watching the second property spotted an unmarked white van parked on the property,. Inside the van - a glance in the window - the passenger side seat had paper with WiDNR logos on it. So nice our CSIs are on the case.
Spending - 20$ for breakfast for both DH and myself. It was so nice to see a professional server these days. He was cool, not fawning, came at the exact time that you needed him (a second before you realized), got your order right. And at Denny's too! Cashed in for a free coffee using my punchcard at the coffee place, but bought a biscotti (1.82$), 2 more sweaters from the thrift store (2.99$ and .49$)
Just lots of bits and pieces today.
Every so often, I read the Millionaires in the Making column on CNN, and I've glanced at the pfblog to see how he's doing.
At first glance, they both depress the hell out of me. Nothing against them, but saving a ton of money when you make a ton of money ain't that hard. I mean the worst problem is the I-make-a-ton-therefore-I'm-brilliant and-I-deserve-it spending that you would have to quell. But really now, saving 25% on a combined salary of 145K still leaves a combined salary of 108K.
Yeah, I think I can live and save on that.
I'd be more impressed if they lived and saved on a combined salary of 60K, which is what DH and I make. And I have saved about 30% of my take home salary. (Not this last year - gym ate that, its about 12%.)
Every so often The Motley Fool trots out an update on their Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth column, which usually cheers me up. It just means that I'm going to have to live for a long time. I throw the link out to cheer whomever needs the cheer.
This morning the bus passed by a dark, closed up node of Scottrade, downtown on 3rd & Union. Wonder what happened there?
The gym has come through. The Halloween costume will be spectacularly good.
Counted a lot of money and pledges today at a company. Tomorrow our department has work!
If you laughed, that dates you!
Got the new headphones in the mail tonight. Okay, they are only 3X more expensive than ear clips and ear buds that I've cheaped out on, but they sound many times better, they fold up with a little bag, they deaden other sounds (not so good when I'm playing in traffic), they won't fall off my head and are they're more comfy.
And the bass is fantastic. At least from a woman's amateur perspective.
Spent again the usual 2$ on coffee and nofat milk, 7$ on bibimbap (I sprung for an egg on top for an extra 1$).
Got weighted and measured at the gym. Didn't lose any weight, so at 193. I'm at the back end of my cycle, so not gaining is a win, if you know what I mean. I did lose a bit more on the inches.
We totalled the inches from all body parts since November. I now have two waist measurements - the narrowest part (I have an empress waist) and at my belly button - so depending on which waist measurement you take, I've either lost an amazing 16 inches or a freaking amazing 18.5 inches.
I'm going for density. I'm going to be the densest woman I know.
Finally, a little more about the real me. I'm not really a professional poet, but I did manage to sell a few here, here and here. I threw the links out because the sentences underneath the poems are accurate, so you can get a bit of info about me on the sly. Sister, in addition to holding down the farm, does pottery, photography, and makes soap in Milwaukee. Another fun fact: we don't look alike or act alike or handle money alike (clearly) but we do sound alike. Exactly alike. Freakishly alike in tone, timber, and accent. Like a right and left speaker.
Back to finances next time.
...with the usual foursome, today five-some at lunch. (lawyer friend, lawyer friend's partner, screenwriter friend, a friend co-worker with serious Finnish family roots - so finnish friend).
At the end of lunch lawyer friend said to me, "you write, why haven't you started a blog yet?"
I shot back, "I've been blogging for over a year. Where have you been?"
Both lawyer friend and lawyer's friend's partner made a little blog earlier in the year, based on fixing up a house in Hoquiam. I reminded them that it takes a lot of endurance to blog consistently. There are days when its hard to come up with meaningful things to write about.
"Yeah, and you just never know whether people are reading or not."
I told them that I didn't have that problem.
Savings log -
Put 6$ in the tip box - I have 46$ in total, enough to put in the bank.
Thank you Lucky Robin! I couldn't have given my last ING invite to a nicer person. Enjoy - and remember you've got your own invites to sell. 10$
All my stocks went up. Amazing and scary, so its time to stop monitoring now.
Spending log -
Last day of the Sur La Table 20% friends and family sale (DH currently works there) - picked up a small wisk, tongs with hard silicone so I can use them on a non-stick pan, a universal lid, poultry seamer (corkscrew thingee that I can use to stitch up a turkey), clip to allow me to rest a spoon over a pot, a coarse microplaner, 2 silicone circles that can be used as a lid, trivet, or sealer for a pan or a bowl. In other words, bought only the utensils that I needed or wished I had a second of. 69$
Lunch at the hideout - 6$.
New headphones for the MP3 player. Everything cheapo (10$-20$) that I've tried has at least two strikes: doesn't have good sound, hurts my ears, falls off my ears, the wires catch on my clothing, or the wires wad up in a ball so that they fly out of my purse when I try to retrieve my keys. Grrr. Supposedly these headphones have good sound, fold up, and while they rest on my head like a regular headphone would, I'm willing to risk the bad hair. 51$. In this case, the cheapest man pays the most.
Checked to see how much I owed the chiropractor. Quite surprised to find that it was only 50.56$; will pay it next week to get caught up.
So spendy, but constructive spendy.
We got a new temporary auditor at work, and very soon we will be in the thick of it. It feels like it would before a great battle. Tension mounting, no birds chirping, no sound at all, everybody busy getting their last little things done while we can before the big piles hit.
Sister emailed and asked me what I thought of the letter. I told her that will work out well for her, not so nice for me to share the deed to the property because I'm 2,000 miles away. I was going to say that I hope she won't take it the wrong way, but its the truth.
Hit two and a half spots today -
Office Depot for CD clam shells, microfiber wipe for electronic screens, and a plastic storage box - $19.93. Two of these were 3M products, so I expect a penny or two of earnings from my 3M stock. Hah hah.
Next was Tower Records, which declared bankrupcy yesterday. Picked and pawed but I did find 2 CDs and a DVD that I wanted - $57.70. G*d, first Larry's Market and now this. I feel a bit like a shopping vulture, and mentioned it to the cashier. She told me she felt devastated herself, they got the word so quick.
The half spot was a pitstop for bubble tea. (3$) I'm not a Coke (or any other Cola) fiend, thankfully. But if researchers find problems with bubble tea, I'm screwed.
Got word from the DJ friend - totally loved the write-up. Whew!
Got an email from sister. She figured that she'll be on vacation (10/2 - 10/16) when the offer comes in on the second property. I assured her that it was unlikely - it feels like it'll be November to me - but that if it did, I'll contact her and stall, stall, stall. And heck, both the heirs have to agree to a decision.
A branded piece of heavy equipment I saw downtown on the street Friday as the bus pulled away from the stop. It made me laugh out loud. Even funnier, check out the worldwide entities too.
Went to Uwajimaya - here's my favorite frugal purchase. Black sesame seeds, dried & finely ground orange peel, chili powder. So much addictive goodness all for $1.65. I put it on popcorn, myself.
Trip 1: to get an emergency nice outfit in case I have to go out on the road with the fundraising staff for the non-profit that I work at. The mission is to look nice, but not too nice. You don't want people to assume that their gift goes to your favorite boutique, and besides, this blog is part of Saving Advice, not spending advice.
So it was Ross Dress for Less, where I got a wonderful surprise. I am 2, count 'em 2, sizes down. I'm now a 14, instead of an 18. Freakin' Woo hoo! Got a brown suit and a pair of nice black pants = $38.06.
Trip 2: Best Buy. More of a treat, but it will be used a lot. Got an FM transmitter that plugs into the cigarette lighter of the cushmobile, and it broadcasts what's on your MP3 player on an unused FM band. Not fancy, but it'll work with either mine or DH's MP3 player. Set it up and it did what it advertised. Best of all, you can unplug it and take it with you or hide it from prying, thieving eyes = $54.39.
Used a 2 for 1 coffee coupon at a local coffeeshop - coffee for DH and myself = $2.00.
Saturday, the five of us (me, DH, friend, friend's wife, friend's dog) went hiking on Heliotrope Ridge, on the northwest side of Mount Baker.
We didn't quite make it to the end of the trail to the lookout, but me and the friend did make it far enough to see the Coleman Glacier from afar. It was rated strenuous (2000 ft elevation change), and I was very very thankful that I was in decent enough shape and had enough energy to enjoy the trip...and I was not the least fit person in the group (like I usually am). Turns out that the dog, a little white poodle, was strongest hiker of all us. It was fun, it was even fun enough to take up as a hobby.
My only nemesis was this. The picture's deceptive - what looks like a friendly little bridge crossing is at least a 30 ft drop into the stream and onto rocks. I'm deathly afraid of heights. The only way I could cross it was sandwiched between friend and DH, and look at friend's backpack while I mechanically moved my feet.
Our goal was this. We did get close enough to see it from afar here.
Cost of the trip = 17$ food (sandwiches, water, trail mix, McDonald's breakfast) + 5$ trail pass + 56$ (split in half - Mexican dinner after the hike...after 6 hrs of hiking, what's a little lard?) + 45$ gas (we took the white Buick cushmobile - fantastic to be able to stretch your legs after a hike). The Buick gets surprisingly good gas mileage - in the upper 20s, despite the fact that DH has a bit of a lead foot. Friend paid for a bit of gas, but he had driven me so many places for work and social stuff that we considered this trip payback. He's a DJ and gave us one of his CD mixes to sweeten the accounting.
do I seem to wear out my jeans at the crotch? Even when they are officially 1 size too big? Don't answer that, and I am fully ready to delete the obscene comments (after I wipe my eyes from laughing)...
Got the recycling bin cleared up. All the paper/cardboard I chucked from the linen closet and the home office is gone, gone, gone.
On my last real vacation day (DH tells me I should count the weekend, too, but I'm not), I got my haircut and walked 1/2 of Green Lake, listening to Vanguard podcasts.
The second T-bill matured yesterday, and after Treasury Direct automatically rebought for the next 4 weeks - I scraped the leftover back into ING. Another $7.89.
Since many of us take care of laptop batteries, cell phone batteries, PDA batteries, MP3 batteries, and since batteries are pretty much the reason electronics get busted, I thought of you all when ran across this link:
Some of it is technical, but the how tos are pretty clear.
Other than that, its been a quiet vacation at home. Bought a black printer cartridge $36.98, so I can refill the old one at the mall. That way, I'm not caught short.
I do like to step outside (vacation after all) with a library book and get a little coffee at the local coffeeshop during the day, then at night dip into what Netflix has sent me. If I can't save a buck by not using the service, its also quite frugal to use the he-double-hockey-sticks out of what you've bought.
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