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Tday +1

November 29th, 2013 at 08:09 pm

I hope everybody had a tasty and reasonably low key Thanksgiving. I hosted a small group (3) and all parties were "just in case" potluck people. You have the chips and salsa people who come to a potluck with the minimum; and then you have the 180 degree style - us. There's the dish, and then what if they had no serving spoon so that goes, and then it turns into "just in case", and suddenly you are lugging half of your kitchen. So we had a lot of food for just the three of us. Leftovers for a week!

Last week my drp stock portfolio crossed a milestone. I got a 100% return. Specifically, I put about 26K worth of contributions over the past 10+ years, and now my portfolio is at 53K. Total stock portfolio worth also includes about 6K of reinvested dividends.

So far, I'm still ahead in the death pool pool. Fingers crossed, but somehow December is busy for death.

getting back to routine

January 5th, 2013 at 03:52 pm

Happy Holidays, and best of success in all your fiscal endeavors for 2013.

As for me, I'm getting back into the swing of routine. A different routine - I now can depend on me waking up at 7:45, and getting out the door at about 8:15 - 8:20, to catch any of the three downtown express buses. One (the 522) got me downtown on the 26th in 15 minutes. Man that was nice.

Done with carpet tile, just finished with the major wall painting (painting trim I'm sure is a forever project). I moved 2 full car loads of my stuff at the old place to the new condo, with the last full car load (books) perhaps will happen in the next week or two.

The next 'goal' is get set up enough to host the super Bowl party... first Sunday of February. For that, I'll break down and buy that TV, and get some seating. After that, the fridge and stove work like champs.

I have been doing lots of mini goals with the condo - got all the lighting to work, put post-its on the rooms to remind me what I need to do in them, arranged a charging station to hem in all the electronic crap in one area, am making a pile of stuff to donate/recycle (sometimes its just easier to move it, then donate it), arranged the entry way, monitored when the garbage gets picked up so I can slip a contractors bag of nasty carpet or dried paint waste when the dumpster is empty. Lawyer friend came by with his half full truck and took 15 bags - hard to tell if he will swing around again. He soon will not be a co worker - he's heading for another job at another non-profit. Hopefully we can still keep in touch...if nothing else, he's another dead pool player.

Received a box of organic produce from sister, and I've sent her a Christmas fish in return. Also sent her before and after condo pics.

Our own Spondilucks won the 2012 Dead Pool pool, so I mailed the proceeds to her. She hosted a New Year's Eve soiree which was a whole lot of fun. We had a great time comparing methodologies! Right now the 2013 pool has again 13 players - I might have 2 more and am willing to wait a day or two longer, but after that it becomes not fair to others who got their list in...especially if you are planning on playing Hugo Chavez. Smile

Still holding out on not having Internet at home - what I might do is write posts when I can then publish them one after the other. My net worth took a dip because I put down 20%, but it is still around 600K. The 403B really perked up at the very end - it alone is at 181K.

no kidding

April 1st, 2012 at 05:16 pm

Despite it being April Fools, all of this happened to me:

1. Found a dollar bill in a puddle today, along with a fair amount of additional change. Today's total found money was $1.56, but....

It put my total found after 992 days of tracking and looking at $200.81. Thank you Seattle for being so ... fey about yer money.

2. Bought broccoli for $0.99/lb.

3. Declared my soap nut experiment a success, so I hunted for a dependable bulk supply. Found it at Zenith Supplies for $12/lb. Bought about $10 worth, along with 3 muslin bags. You put about 8 soap nuts into a muslin bag, close the bag, throw the bag in the washer with your clothes. The soap nuts are light, so a bit under a pound of soap nuts is hundreds of soap nut shells, years' worth of laundry.

These things were true. But my favorite April Fools Joke for 2012 was this.

guy thanksgiving

February 6th, 2012 at 09:59 pm

Hope you all enjoyed it! I was in the grocery store Sunday morning, waiting in line amongst people all getting the same thing - beer, chips, dip, more beer, wings, salsa - when it hit me what I was experiencing:

Guy Thanksgiving.

Think about it. Regular Thanksgiving is some all you can eat Traditional Food with some football; the Super Bowl is Traditional Football with some all you can eat food.

The game seemed meh to me. Word to the wise: don't second guess a touchdown. Score them and be done with it. The ads were even more meh. Only the fat dog getting fit and Clint Eastwood trying to clear his throat using a Chrysler script seemed to rise above.

Visited with the Duvall friends and carted back many of the items they brought over, then, at the end, carted back home many of the things I left over there. One extra thing: they hung my mosaic of their rooster. Looks great! Yay!

from one scam to another

January 13th, 2012 at 09:05 pm

It turns out that the twilight zone moment was a practical joke pushed too far by a Customer Service rep. I mentioned it to the Customer Service rep's supervisor to chat with him a bit. The way to have played it was, "yes it was a joke, isn't it funny?" and left it at that. Comedy is a fine line ... and that line is very fluid. When things ease up a bit, he could have played it further but as it is ... show a little restraint.

(Yes, restraint is mighty rich when you are MCing a death bet, but there it is.)

Got home and opened an offer from Chase. If you start a checking account (no doubt with direct deposit), Chase will give you a 200$ gift card. Yippee! Yeah, no.

Collected two more forms for my taxes. W4 and a 1099 from ING.

We are all waiting for snow apparently this weekend. French toast hankerings have begun.

Early Happy New Year

December 31st, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I say that because here in Seattle (and in Hollywood) we still have 2 hrs left of 2011. I take my death bet MCing seriously. If someone slides off this mortal coil from Pacific Standard Time zone, I am ready.

Right now I have 7 players for 2012, and that's not even counting several from work, whom I've given next week. My workmates all know the rules and that I'm going to check their picks. It's possible that we can have up to 12-13 players, which makes the winnings very nice.

Best of everything in 2012 to all SA bloggers! The only resolution that I believe in making is to resolve that Jan 1 is just another date. If you need to make a change, no time like the present. Any of the other 364 days will do.

For 2012, I plan to do more mosaics and sell some this year. I've created three with a fourth on the way and given them as gifts to the delight of the recipients. Time to see if the world needs another mosaic artist.

getting ready for 2012

December 28th, 2011 at 08:29 pm

Calming down from Christmas - these five days are usually some of my favorites. So quiet, so peaceful, so... not part of the rest of the year or part of any year. These 5 days gave the Romans fits, too. After all, 360 is so ....round.

Any way - I filled out the increase in my 403B contributions. I put in for 17K, and for another 1K of catchup. We'll see for the next three months how it goes.

Cashed in a couple of checks - the Chase credit card cashback, and some Christmas money. With the proceeds, I've bought another round of Target stock. $500, so about 9 shares.

Got my list of celebs for 2012, and it looks like there are going to be 8 or 9 participants this year. Mjrube, where are you? You are ahead for 2011!

Merry Christmas

December 24th, 2011 at 05:12 pm

Merry Christmas today and tomorrow - happy holidays in the next few days.

I've been off for a couple of days, and have proceeded to spend more than usual. But I plan on buying some more Target stock - got it going with 9 shares. I also ate more than usual - am holding between 167- 165.

This is the neighborhood good fiscal deed that Seattle is talking about. Hopefully your neighborhood has a little something like this!

yeah, gimme friction

December 16th, 2011 at 11:07 pm

At the risk of sounding and getting a ton of hits and disappointing the pervs out there, I'm talking about the cashless, frictionless spending.

Frugality is all about the friction.

Seems like all of society is out there telling you "make it easy" and get with it, while are all here to say "stop for just a second" and "don't be a spending sheep" and "do you really, really need or want it, upon a few seconds of further consideration?"

Contrast cashless buying with layaway. Primitive, but that less than instant consumerism can give you a different way to demonstrate gratitude and compassion.

back again

December 15th, 2011 at 08:22 pm

Been away for about a week - except for Christmas spending, not much happening. I got the most difficult gift (to MIL) shipped this afternoon, so phwhew. Had to wait on sending it until today, when I got paid. Felt the frugal burn - I had $20 in checking the night before.

Sister is being sent her fish - she probably got it tonight. The fish is a bit pricey, but if you are going to spend for the next day shipping, might just as well make it pay. She got salmon, lox, crab, trout, and a bit of ling cod. Got a letter from sister and my missing ORCA card. Hah! I knew she had it. (and she was the one who told me not to lose stuff during the trip) I bought another card so now I have two spares. If sister and her partner come out, I'm ready.

The credit card bill will hurt this month, but I don't expect any charges next month, so it will balance out. Cashed in my credit card rewards points $127 or so.

Had an interesting Christmas story from this afternoon. I was in Safeway, perusing the Christmas cards when a guy asked whether there were some funny ones. I pointed out one that was funny and rude. Turns out that the guy was giving the card to a guy in prison - the card I showed him was perfectly rude. Smile

done with the heavy lifting

December 3rd, 2011 at 06:35 pm

I'm almost done with the deciding about who to give and what to get them for Xmas, and with the exception of one item, I am done with shopping for the hardest recipient: MIL. Since she now has a Nook, I aimed for a couple of BN gift cards hidden in a homemade cheese-based gift basket. Collection phase is over, wrapping, packing and shipping remains.

Noticed that two of my dividend stocks WEC and SYY are raising their dividend. WEC especially is nice - 6 cent per share increase. To cheer me up because stock prices are so volatile, I totaled the dividend payments I would get if I stopped now and decided not to re-invest. $260.

Last night I lost my ATM card at the grocery store. Today I appeared at the credit union, bright eyed and managed to get a new card in about 15 minutes. I'll miss that (the CU at the grocery store is leaving as of Monday). I rarely lose stuff, so it was fortunate I got it all over with. I mentioned their move and the guy who got me the new card told me that they will keep one of the two ATMs, but will remove it as soon as another bank or CU goes into that space.

Finished the first week w/o our boss, who is on maternity leave. One down, twenty five more to go.

1 down, 179 to go

November 28th, 2011 at 08:27 pm

First day of bosses' leave was a quiet one and I managed to get mostly caught up on the routine stuff ... a couple of the big projects remain.

Am up to 167, but not bad considering I ate sweet, delicious leftovers.

Put an ad in our company intranet to advertise 4 free chicks. Duvall couple found a couple of rebel chickens who nested in amongst the blackberry brambles. Not a bad idea - a predator will have to be darn hungry to make it through a thicket of blackberries. They managed to rescue several of the eggs, candled them and found that they were developing. Wyandottes.

Got a surprise looking through Wikipedia - the golden Wyandotte was developed in a farm around my home town, probably within a couple of miles from the farmette. I NEVER thought anything or anybody of note came out of my home town.

TDay and BFday

November 25th, 2011 at 09:49 pm

We hosted the Duvall couple for Thanksgiving. Two tablecloths that I got during the Greenwood yard sale made their appearance, we had the usual, and we had our own mini-version of Christmas. They got the mosaic rooster (the rooster was a likeness of the one they kept for breeding); we got goat milk, a couple of chickens, and the loan of a couple of paper books that I've wanted to read for forever. I don't have to buy them!

Don't know what it is, but this Thanksgiving it was mostly the old simple favorites: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sliced cranberry sauce from the can, stuffed squash, green beans, pie, whipped cream, and actual conversation.

Today, I walked off some of the dinner and did a little buying in the neighborhood. Not only am I not a Black Friday shopper, I usually think that most of the time its a scam and I'll get a better price a week or two later. If nothing else, my sleep is worth MUCH more.

Chase wants me back!

November 17th, 2011 at 08:56 pm

Yeah, we got those big banks on the run. Got it in the mail today. According to card, my banking slavery can, apparently, be bought for $150.

A little bit more about the 403B consolidation - HR misspoke about "termination", only that the two accounts will be merged into one. Supposed to save money for the company because both accounts need to be audited. The match (.50:$1 up to 8% of salary) is unaffected, as is the 1.5% just for being an employee. Word, though, is that if you don't participate in the 403B, why give you the 1.5%?

Sliced up some bread to dry and get stale for stuffing. We are hosting this time; DH finished with cleaning the carpet. What's on our list to get is: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, drinks. What's on their list is bread, sides, salad, pie, cheese.

green tomatoes and other stuff

November 5th, 2011 at 07:23 pm

So a few observations and doings about:

Harvested about 15 pounds worth of green tomatoes. My early girls were decidedly very, very not. I've split them off into two items I'm making - a green tomato jam and green tomato mincemeat. The green tomato mincemeat is perking away as I type. I plan on making little tarts out of the mincemeat for Thanksgiving and have it with a bit of cheese - kind of a dessert/cheese course in one. So far, it smells absolutely wonderful: green tomatoes, quince (as a substitute for the apples .... quince is still in season), orange slices, orange peel, dried currents, golden raisins, sugar, brown sugar, a bit of apple cider vinegar, cinnamon sticks, ginger, a tiny bit of hot red pepper.

Saw a few people with BECU (credit union) forms today, leave your bank day. We got word though, that the little neighborhood BECU is moving from the grocery store. Bummer, but I hope they keep the ATM. Otherwise, grr, double bummer.

Somebody had Andy Rooney on their list.

Halloween already?!!!!!

September 8th, 2011 at 07:53 pm

Ugh. I don't know why I have my undies in a bunch about this this year, but man its ANNOYING to see Halloween candy and cupcake displays already. And Goodwill and Fred Meyer have the costume displays up.

Halloween is definitely turning into retail alt-Christmas. Yikes!

crafty patch

July 2nd, 2011 at 07:28 pm

Now with July 1, it turned quiet on the accounting/ pledge processing front again, probably because most of the people that I would have had to slap took Friday off as a 4 day weekend.

I seem to have entered a crafty patch. Here's what's on deck:

At work: helping write a storyboard & screenplay for a 20 minute video about our department.
At work: troubleshooting my main database to get it to play nice with Office 2010. (creative, but not so crafty)
At home: painting frames and framing some of my more interesting pictures.
At home: picking some of my Vietnam and Cambodia, and perhaps even the Paris pictures to blow up, frame, hang on the walls.
At home: potluck dish for the 4th party and fireworks.
At home: finishing up the mosaic I've started on. Glass has to be glued in the mesh and the mesh has to be mortared on my board by July 29. July 30 I learn to grout.

Bought the last ingredient to make my mosaic - the glass - today and began to do some more gluing. Still having fun and I've gotten a couple of complements on what I have so far.

Yummy, Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2010 at 06:51 pm

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.

snowpoclapyse, 2010

November 23rd, 2010 at 06:11 pm

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.

sides, no entree

November 13th, 2010 at 11:09 pm

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 9th, 2010 at 09:12 pm

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.

Georgetown Haunted History tour

October 23rd, 2010 at 08:22 pm

My 403B has two parts - one where I contribute, the other where my employer contributes a percentage for me. Combined they have been over 100K since the first of the year. Today I looked and the part where I contribute cracked 100K by itself.

Last night DH and I went to the Georgetown Haunted History tour with lawyer friend and partner. It was a walking tour of one of the oldest neighborhoods in south Seattle - was there when the Alki party settled Seattle. The walking tour, held at night, moderated by what we learned was "the woman in white" ghost, was full of ghost stories and various neighborhood actors reenacting tales and neighborhood quirks. One of my favorites was of a house that dispensed candy from a long tube. A string ran through the tube - the little tyke was supposed to tug at the string, signaling the owner to dispense the candy.

Cost: $10/person. Entertainment: priceless.

I'm back

July 15th, 2010 at 09:27 pm

Whew, I didn't think it had been this long. Apologies!

I had an action packed couple of weeks. First off, through most of this time I had the mother of all colds. July 4th I felt a bit off, and decided not to bother with going to the 4th of July party. Said cold had morphed, by the 7th, into a full (sore-)throated nightmare. I couldn't talk, DH had to call in for me.

The next day was the beginning of the trip to Montana to celebrate MILs 85th. For the 8th - 13th we were out on the road...and believe you me, being sick on the road is not what its cracked up to be. We spent some money here and there - rented a car because the cushmobile still had its left light and bumper out - boarded V.I., who was not thrilled with the idea but seemed to tolerate a lot better this time than during the weekend cow trip. We also decided that driving from Seattle to Bozeman in one shot is for the birds. We've done it many times, we need not demonstrate that we are nuts yet again.

By the 13th we were back, and I had one more day to recouperate. I'm still not 100% by any means.

The 13th of July represents the 365th day of finding change. Did I make $50? It looked good for a long time - even on the 8th chasing around (I had to turn on my out of office email), I was at $49.97. I figured, heh heh, how hard would it be to find 3 pennies in 5-6 days?

Impossible, it turns out. Montanans apparently keep their change in their pockets instead of flinging it out like Seattleites do. Total strikeout for the entire trip.

So okay, I figured I was still in the game - I had the 13th to find at least three pennies. Alas, I only found one. My total for the year stands at $49.98: 1098 pennies, 44 nickels, 189 dimes, 44 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 10 cents. If you think in terms of rolled change, its 2 pennies shy of 22 rolls, a bit more than 1 roll of nickels, 3 3/4 rolls of dimes, a bit more than 1 roll of quarters.

More than a sock's worth, that's for sure. I'll do a bit of data crunching this weekend. To whew your appetite, note that I only found $12.66 indoors (25%), the rest ($37.31) outside (75%). Change finding is definitely an outdoor sport.

happy 4th

July 3rd, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Not much fiscal going on...
Tomatoes are finally relatively cheap - $1.28/lb, so I made a Jamie Oliver version of tomato salad with a couple of edits of my own...

2 lbs or so of good fresh tomatoes
kosher salt
2 garlic cloves
1 jalepeno, minced
olive oil
red wine/ balsamic vinegar

Chop your tomatoes roughly, put them in a colander, salt them and let them sit to express some juice. (15-30 minutes). In the meantime, make a dressing with 3:1 olive oil to vinegar.

Combine tomatoes, garlic, jalepeno. Dress with the oil and vinegar.

$49.33: 1018 pennies, 43 nickels, 185 dimes, 43 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

plans for dollar bills, dividends, gift cards

February 14th, 2010 at 09:24 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $6 sandwich + $16 groceries
Found money - $0.05 (planting strip, Safeway floor)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $14 breakfast + $18 origami book + $9 asian condiments
Found money - $0.36 (floor, counter, road)

$25.39: 609 pennies, 24 nickels, 108 dimes, 25 quarters, $1 bill.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Went to the International District for the Chinese New Year festival yesterday - afterward I found and picked up a dollar bill origami book - which contained a book, DVD, and 60 fake bills. (60 real bills for $18 would have been cool, n'est ce pas?) Apparently I was far from the first person to figure out that crisp new bills could be used as origami - its an easy introduction to the skill. Already I've learned to fold up an X-wallet for those large tips.

In other fiscal news - I found out that two of my stocks increased their dividend this year - one by 6 cents/share (WEC), another by 1 1/2 cents/share (MMM). 6 cents doesn't seem like much, but reinvested against my holdings it works out to buy $5 more stock than I had expected. WEC was unusual - it had cut its dividend in half in 2000 - and the company's trying to get the dividend back up to those levels.

For my 10th year anniversary at work, I got a $75 gift card. I've decided to use for a project. Last summer we got a large folding patio table, 4 chairs (one needs new webbing), 2 old-ish cushions from last year's Greenwood yard sale. I've decided to use the gift card to get new cushions, replacement webbing and to strip and repaint the table.

day off

February 12th, 2010 at 06:58 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.10 (bus floor)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 coffee, sausage cheese egg bagel + $1.65 coffee + $6 lunch + $33 Valentine's Day gift + $9 groceries
Found money - $0.48 (sidewalks, gym, counters behind the credit card machine, patio, Safeway floor)

Took a strategic day off. Generally, I'm good at picking a sunny day, but today was anything but. I picked today strictly to get the 4-day weekend. And as usual, when I'm out and about and getting rained on the day gets spendy. (Picking up the chocolates for VDay didn't help.) Staying in the office, head down in front of a ton of Access databases, can be a great way to not spend money.

Only a little bit fiscal happened. As I got coffee, I noticed that someone did a couple of dollar bill origami pieces. Hadn't really thought about using a dollar bill, but paper is paper ... and in some cases, using a dollar bill might be cheaper than using a sheet of rectangular origami paper.

Then after gym (why oh why don't I think to cancel those the day before when I know I'm off Smile) I struck up a conversation with a guy with a stock tip who really, really wanted me to invest in Lithia (LAD). Stock tip people really amuse me. Asking him the basics - what does Lithia have that others don't in the industry? - leads to very circular answers. Also he gave me "I know all management and the CEO and they are great" along with "the invest when its $4, then when it gets to $8" pie-in-the-sky woo hoo. ("When?" It could be an "if", you know.)

Investing is like revenge - a dish best served cold.

post Christmas doings

December 27th, 2009 at 07:13 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.97 bagel (free coffee off the punch card + $1 apple
Found money - $0.22 (sidewalk, Safeway checkout, top of escalator)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $14 brunch, coffee + $4 vegetables
Found money - $0.33 (road, sidewalk, under parked car)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel
Found money - $0.02 (sidewalk)

Yes, if you can believe it, I even found coins on Christmas day. $15.23, and counting. I reviewed my Excel spreadsheet of when, how much, where I found change and it turns out that I have found some sort of change every day between 11/21/09 and now - 37 days straight. I feel like the Joe DiMaggio of found money. Wonder what the record is?

DH and I had rib-eye steaks, gingered carrots, and garlic mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner. Saturday we were invited to dinner, movie, then back for dessert and digestif. We saw Sherlock Holmes, which played to me like the steampunk version of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. (liked steampunk, liked LSTSB). The conversation was varied - I've been finding that I'm suddenly the to-go person for help in losing weight. If only people knew that it really takes a total awareness and a total lifestyle change. Nothing magic, hell I'm having issues - I'm up several pounds to 174.

Not much fiscal is going on - I'm waiting for the end of the year when the last paycheck, the net worth calculation, and the 2010 Roth gets started at the end of the year.

Merry Christmas

December 24th, 2009 at 06:41 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.64 coffee + $8 stamp sheet + $6 lunch + $20 groceries
Found money - $0.27 (sidewalks, Safeway floor)

Saving log - $12 tip box
Spending log - $0!
Found money - $0.13 (sidewalks, Safeway floor)

Merry Christmas on Christmas Eve! It has been rockin' and rollin' at the neighborhood Safeway - lots of spending, lots of change rolling around on the floor. In the last two days I've found 3 dimes on the Safeway floor. Not a lot of Jingle Bells on the radio this year - I've been hearing We Need a Little Christmas over and over this year. Fits the mood general mood: Cheer up, dammit, think of the children Wink!

Well, I've been joking with people this year - I'm saying the non-PC "Merry Christmas" and I invite you to hear whatever holiday is appropriate. And when I hear a Happy Chanukah or a Blessed Kwanzaa, I respond in kind. We are, after all, in the same business: wishing our fellow human beings all the best, cheering ourselves (bucking ourselves up?) for the start of winter.

I had Christmas Eve off today, so I spent an hour at the gym (found a penny there), then I ran a couple of errands: stamps, and I obtained an ORCA card for transit trips. ORCA stands for One Regional Card for All - a super duper card that you can load money on, it keeps track of your transfers, and its good for nearly any transit system in the Seattle area. The card is free currently ($5 in February), but you load it with your own money. My current pass is good for unlimited rides until July 2010. I suspect that we will still get fresh passes in July, but you never know - it could be that we get a work version of the ORCA.

I got an ORCA card for myself because there is one interesting feature/fault of the cards - in keeping track of your transfers, it lists where/when you used your card. Quite a bit had been written in the local papers about the privacy issues. ORCA cards from employers can possibly mean that your employer can use it to establish where you've been - Saturdays, playing hooky, committing a crime, etc. I got a spare ORCA in case I need to use one for personal use, and if nothing else, if I get visitors, one more to load up and let the guests use. (and then I can find where they went! Smile)

60th dime

December 20th, 2009 at 12:20 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $13 coffee, lunch + $74 kitty food, litter, Christmas toys + $50 last Christmas gift + $20 groceries, baking items
Found money - $0.39 (driveway in front of auto shop, Safeway carpet, Whole Foods floor, bus stop)

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.27 (bus stop, coffeeshop carpet, gym floor)

Have been extremely lucky in my found money hunting - 2 quarters in 2 days. I also found my 60th dime. Total so far: $14.16: 326 pennies, 13 nickels, 60 dimes, 13 quarters, $1 bill. I don't think I have too many secrets to give away - the more I walk, the more I notice. I especially look for sharp, perfect circles - the coins I've been finding are not really bright and shiny and at night they don't flash like a piece of foil would. And December is shaping up to be a great month for change. My hypothesis for that is more people shopping, more people using cash, and more coins passing from pocket to pocket. We'll see what January brings.

Speaking of shopping, I finally got the Christmas shopping done. $360, including the shipping. Now its a potluck dish for Monday - the operations departments do a holiday potluck lunch above and beyond the official one last Thursday. I speak for myself that I am very happy its over. Has anyone noticed that this Christmas seems a bit... well, subdued compared to year's past? I like it. This year the lights are pretty, but not full out eye-popping and in your face, and I've either gotten very good about ignoring the Christmas music or there isn't as much as in other years.

I picked up a snow route booklet on the bus to store for work. Today the new light rail now goes all the way to SeaTac airport. Since my Flex pass works on light rail, I might just check that out for informative purposes - looking forward to the $2.50 ride, avoiding taxis at $50 or even the airporter at $30.

death bet - skip if alarmed

December 17th, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $20 buy-in to the death bet + $20 shipping sister's Christmas gift
Found money - $0.24 (parking meters, sidewalk, bus floor)

Saving log - $2 tip box (replaced the 20$, BTW) + $50 Drp
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $110 Christmas gifts
Found money - $0.08 (sidewalk, parking lot, under Coinstar machine)

Nearly finished with Christmas shopping - two more small gifts and I'm done. We had the work holiday lunch and the half day afterward; the lunch itself was very low key, nothing too fancy, no alcohol, only a moderate amount of rah rah. I won a little something in the drawing - a free Sunday brunch for 2, including 2 mimosas.

Coin rescue is proceeding apace: $13.50, 320 pennies, 13 nickels, 59 dimes, 11 quarters, and 1$ bill. Several other co workers confided that they look for change too. Just what I need, more competition. Smile One even told me that she plants a quarter in different places just to see how long it takes for someone to pick it up. Most places, the quarter disappears quickly, within hours. She tried planting a quarter at Westlake Mall a couple of years ago and it took a couple of days for that quarter to disappear. That opens up a whole new area of economic experimentation I hadn't considered. I could imagine the halflife of a quarter on the sidewalk as a recession indicator.

The death bet caused quite a stir, so I asked the organizer about it as I bought in. Turns out he got the idea from a friend of his at Amazon.com, where the employees have held one for years and years. Our organizer wanted in on it, but figured, well, why not just start another one? Our organizer's friend at Amazon held, for this year's death bet, these: Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon. Yowsa! Full house. Big Grin Anyway, I'm putting my list in the comments. Its a reasonable mix of ill and ill will.

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