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Viewing the 'Holiday$' Category

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.

giving and receiving

December 11th, 2009 at 09:15 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box + $50 drp
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $1.60 2 apples
Found money - $0.02 (bus stop, parking meter)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $0
Found money - $0.03 (bus step, gas station pavement, parking lot)

Saving log - $7 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $13 groceries
Found money - $0.02 (floor of grocery store checkout, parking meter)

gifts on two fronts:

1. Christmas - got the Christmas gift from sister of mustard, coffee, hot sauce. Not mixed up, of course. We especially treasure that jar of horseradish mustard; my sinuses won't stand a chance. Also got two very cool looking stainless steel coffee mugs decorated in a kind of Mayan glyph design. All ready for 2012!

Waiting for the spiral stakes to arrive for me to send to sister. I've sent several small gifts along with the dutch oven...heck, the dutch oven is a fine gift on its own...so if its late, its late. No biggie.

Moving on the other gifts for DH's family. They will not be as creative as in past years. Several parts of the family tend toward the food gifts, which I frankly like. Less stuff to kick around. (Body fat doesn't count. Big Grin)

MIL will be an issue. She's mentioned no food, her tastes are kind of tricky, and I don't feel that I know her well enough for a fun basket of smallish stuff with a theme. No sense of humor, so no Festivus pole Big Grin; and I don't feel like I can handle the fallout if I'm truly mean.

And its not as if I'm a goob in this department. Giving gifts can be pretty easy for me - I bought an apple today for a co worker as a surprise to her, and the apple was (magically) just the way she liked it - crisp, sweet/sour, and cold. I can promote thoughtfulness, good will and holiday spirit just like that & all for a grand total of $0.80.

I think I'm overthinking this gift thing.

2. Tax season. Got one of my 1099-DIV this evening. Tax season is opening with a bang!

In other news -

DJ friend is working and mastering the Internet radio station's second compilation CD. He's becoming a music impressario on the sly - the CDs he is producing are becoming even more important calling cards than the radio station ... Interesting to me because I thought the CD was dying.

Still is cold! I ran an errand during lunch, then walked back to work in the frigid weather. I walked past a woman walking in flip flops. Not only is it so 2006, it risks a wicked case of frostbite.

freezing, man

December 6th, 2009 at 08:09 pm

Saving log
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $3 apple, tea
Found money - $0.41 (tree planting, road, floor)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $13 lunch + $60 various
Found money - $0.03 (carpet, bus stop, near pay phone)

I have gotten very, very good at finding money. It feels like it has been popping up everywhere. I especially have been noticing coins in the square of ground where the sidewalk trees have been planted (tipping the tree for his service, perhaps?), and on the floor near an edge or corner. One of the easiest rules to find change is: If you drop change in a spot, other people have dropped some there too.

I started logging what I find in mid-July. As of today, I've found $12.39:
284 pennies, 12 nickels, 52 dimes, 11 quarters and 1$ bill.

Today I walked to Fremont and back - 6 miles. It was freezing, and while I wore gloves, I had to dip inside business to warm up.

I've had a spendy Saturday - I finally got new cross trainers - the shoes I've been walking and jogging I've walked and jogged in for over 3 years. Yes, I know I've been bad. I just hate breaking in shoes. I also picked up a new clock for the bathroom. Our old one's feathered hands fell off and the clock face busted. I'm odd, I guess, to need a clock for the bathroom. I've noticed that most of my friends don't seem to have one - not as if I need a schedule to do bodily functions, I just need a visual cue to let me know if on time in the morning.

This week is the big shopping one for me - we have several out of state gifts to get and no brilliant ideas. I find that to be cheap I need the brilliant idea or theme, otherwise I spend more than I wish.

3 pics of the season

November 28th, 2009 at 06:45 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $3.60 Financial Times, meat pierogi
Found money - $1.01 (one buck! in street parking strip amongst leaves, sidewalk)

Yes! I found a dollar bill... which is very rare for me. That puts me at $10.84 - 249 pennies, 10 nickels, 46 dimes, 9 quarters, $1 in bills.

Thought I put up a couple of holiday pics!

Thanksgiving day spread, traditional even down to the relish tray:

And after, when the remainders attracted V.I.:

And the day after, Black Friday. Can you see the irony in the signs? Big Grin

mixed (Black Friday) bag

November 27th, 2009 at 07:55 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3 coffee, yogurt + $8 lunch, tea + $26 kitchen items

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel
Found money - $0.11 (sidewalks, crosswalk)

Saving log - $10 tip box
Spending log - $30 wine, coffee for T-day dinner
Found money - $0.03 (sidewalks)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Along with the old favorites - turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, squash, green beans, pumpkin pie - pumpkin turnovers were delicious, and the guests brought a sweet potato cake with coconut frosting that was wonderful. We all ate too much - one of our guests really had to walk to settle her digestion along with me, so I took her on the 1 mile neighborhood tour: the mayor's house, and the various arson spots.

I didn't plan on buying anything on Black Friday, but I did pick up a couple of salt and pepper shakers shaped like gigantic keyboard keys. DH broke our everyday-use glass and metal top salt shaker when it slipped from his hand. These shakers are easy to load, won't break, and make me laugh. I also picked up a single set-and-use teaspoon tablespoon measurer. It also has a magnetic clip and sticks to the refrigerator. In other words, no retailer should depend on me for their livelihood. I also took a snap of a large group holding signs "Buy More Stuff" in an ironic manner in the midst of Westlake Mall. Funny! I'll post it tomorrow.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that 11 cents walking out and about while the turkey was roasting ... it was a holiday after all, so I didn't expect that much. Today, "Black Friday", I also found 11 cents, but somehow I was disappointed. The sidewalks were full of mylar bits and paper - I look for metal in perfect curves, and all the glittery bits inhibited my eye. I'm sure that a fair amount of coin was lurking underneath the trash.

For laughs (or maybe tears), I calculated the amount of money it would take to invest in various fixed instruments to get to the money that I've picked up from the ground. I hear the "not worth it" far less than I used to. Well, if its not worth it to pick up sidewalk change, most of the other fixed instruments are not worth it much either--

1st month, found $1.33. To get that amount of monthly interest, it would take $11,400 4 wk T-bill; $1,227.69 in an ING account; $798 in a 6 month CD paying 2%; $6,384 in checking paying 0.25%.

2nd month, found $1.20. To get that amount of monthly interest, it would take $51,435 4 wk T-bill; $1,107.69 in an ING account; $720 in a 6 month CD paying 2%; $5,760 in checking paying 0.25%.

3rd month, found $3.28. To get that amount of monthly interest, it would take $140,591 4 wk T-bill (T-bills had a horrible auction week that week); $3,027.69 in an ING account; $1,968 in a 6 month CD paying 2%; $15,744 in checking paying 0.25%.

4th month, found $2.37. To get that amount of monthly interest, it would take $60,941 4 wk T-bill; $2,187.69 in an ING account; $1,422 in a 6 month CD paying 2%; $11,376 in checking paying 0.25%.

The Bank of Seely is looking better all the time.

pumpkin turnovers

November 24th, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 baking ingredients
Found money - $0.10 (beauty bark in the park)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.07 (Safeway floor & parking lot)

Still am finding money around - between July 14 and today I've found $9.58 - as 238 pennies, 9 nickels, 45 dimes, 9 quarters.

Its Thanksgiving, so I'm going to have a bit of fun and post the recipe for the turnovers I made last night for Thanksgiving. I discovered tonight that they are delicious microwaved.

Pumpkin, raisin, ginger, cumin turnovers

1 24 oz can pumpkin
1 c golden raisins
2/3 c candied ginger
1/4 c sugar from candied ginger (otherwise 1/4 c granulated sugar)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp cumin (optional)
dash of nutmeg
dash of salt

1 package phyllo dough
melted butter
granulated sugar

Chop ginger if ginger is in large pieces. Combine all filling ingredients. Stir to mix, taste and correct for seasoning. Chill filling overnight. If phyllo dough is frozen, place in refrigerator to thaw overnight also.

Next day, preheat oven to 375F. Melt butter, strain - you want clarified butter. Pull out filling. Put a small dish of granulated sugar close. Wet a towel to keep phyllo moist and prevent cracking. YMMV, but these are the steps that worked well for me:

Pull off one sheet phyllo, brush sides with butter, brush center with butter.
Pull off second sheet phyllo, set on top first sheet.
Cover rest of phyllo.
Brush second sheet phyllo.
Cut buttered phyllo sheets into thirds lengthwise (three long, thin strips).
(each strip) Spoon filling on one end.
(each strip) Fold into 1st triangle
(each strip) Brush butter, sprinkle granulated sugar along rest of length of phyllo.
(each strip) Continue to fold length of phyllo into triangle - think flag.

Repeat - I ran out of phyllo before I ran out of filling.

Set phyllo triangles on baking sheet. I used parchment paper at bottom. Brush triangles with butter, sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake 20-30 minutes - or until phyllo is golden brown - at 375F.

Optional: sprinkle with powdered sugar.

delirious from that new investment opportunity

November 20th, 2009 at 09:00 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $32 t-day groceries
Found money - $0

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $4 chocolate coins
Found money - $0.13 (sidewalks)

Rounding the corner on Thanksgiving. As of writing, we are the hosts. As I write, I'm baking 2 pumpkin pies. Its not as if I really want to bake 2 pumpkin pies for the 4 of us, but the recipe made that much filling. I mostly followed the recipe, but added nutmeg. A lot of nutmeg. I'm a firm beliver that if you don't hallucinate, its not enough nutmeg Big Grin.

DJ friend came by my office and told me that he had an investment opportunity for me that was perfect. Here it is.

Made me laugh!

food doings

November 15th, 2009 at 06:32 pm

Found money
Friday - $0
Saturday - $0
Sunday - $0.22 (sidewalk corner, Goodwill floor, Goodwill parking lot, Safeway floor)

Lots of little food and holiday things.

Yesterday, DH and I went to a coffeehouse "mugging". One of the arson fires in the neighborhood destroyed a coffeehouse and the quirky mugs therein. Another neighborhood business offered to host the destroyed coffeehouse, but no mugs, so on Saturday we could get a free cup of coffee if we brought our own mug and donated it to the coffeehouse by leaving it in the bus tub.

As I walked past today, I saw my former tulip mug being used. Smile

Fish trade is being worked out - the fish in question is Alaskan sockeye salmon, always good. We have club, rib-eye, beef sausage (hot dog size) and ground beef for trade. The hitch comes from the beef cooking skills of the fish trader; to be fair, club and rib-eye are the classic slap on the grill/cook-hot cook-quick cuts, which you need a little bit of confidence/experience to do. She's interested in getting advice next week, and I'm to get information about the ground beef, so we can better assess the fish to beef ratio. Compared to the duck trade, this is definitely more business. The fish for beef trade will go through, but probably in a couple of weeks.

I was at Goodwill today, seeing what change I can pick up from the floor Smile. We needed a platter or two for Thanksgiving; our ceramic platter broke when I dropped and it hit the floor. At Goodwill I found two matching circular metal with white-enamel platters, each at $3. No pattern - I liked the clean look, the handles, large diameter and the total unlikelihood of them busting when dropped. The enamel part is the only issue - carving and slicing directly on them is counter-indicated.

As far as change finding is concerned, winter has come. With the rain, cold, and wind, change hunting feels like it has become an inside game.

caught him!

November 13th, 2009 at 09:56 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $9 groceries
Found money - $0

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0

It would appear (maybe) that the arsonist has been caught. I looked at the picture, I'm sure that I passed him a couple of times on 85th as I walked home. We'll see whether it really was all him - one can't be too complacent because it might not be him or there might be a copy cat. Still, the mood around the neighborhood is a lot brighter.

Other things are looking up too. I always enjoy Friday the 13th because its going to be a payday. (We get paid on the 15th, or the Friday before, and paid on the last day of the month, or the Friday before).

I decided to talk a break from walking home tonight so I have a bit of energy to burn and don't totally feel like sticking my head in the refrigerator. Besides, this weekend is the weekend of cleaning house and preparing for T-day.

Took a break from hunting for change...actually I think it took a break from being lost. The weather has been freezing, so no one wanted to be out and about, and they kept their collective hands in their collective pockets.

heating up

November 11th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Saving log - $50 DRP
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.01 (gym floor)

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $21 groceries
Found money - $0.28 (sidewalk, bus seat, between the sidewalk cobbles)

Right now its just watchful waiting. I bought a bit more gym time with the credit card last month, so I'm slowing my spending down (even more) and I have $700 in my bank savings account. I'd like to see if I can withdraw as little money as possible from my ING account.

Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. We are having the Duvall duck friends over. I picked up a few t-day specific groceries (cranberries) tonight and will keep buying. I saw a recipe for maple pear upside down cake and was intrigued, although the 11 tbsp of butter made me do a double take. (I'm 172, with a hope of being in the 160s by the end of the year.) I really enjoyed the roasted cranberries last year and it was fast, so I'm making that again this year.

Work is definitely heating up as it has every November since I've blogged Big Grin - I see a lot more special event checks and much less fake pledging than in year's past.

Not much money news. My 403B is heating up to close to 6 six figures. Stocks are creeping up also. Real estate? Well, the arsonist is still around - hundreds of neighbors attended a community meeting last night hosted by the Fire Department. First order of business: noting that the meeting site (a local church) is at over capacity, and note where the fire exits were. We are to call 911 if we smell smoke, etc, and not to worry about over reporting.

I heard a fire truck as I walked home tonight.

just call me Jackie Handey

October 31st, 2009 at 06:52 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $12 breakfast, coffee + $17 mailing dutch oven to sister
Found money - $0.04 (by parking meter, door jamb, counter)

Mailed off our spare, heirloom cast iron dutch oven to sister. I bought it for $10 about 15 years ago in Tucson, and it has behaved like a champ. In June, when we visited sister at the farmette, DH made the no-knead bread recipe, but we had to use a casserole dish, which is a bit scary to heat up to 500F. It worked out but we mentioned that the dutch oven is the tool for the task. Since June, I have been looking for yard sale/estate sale/thrift store dutch ovens. Either nothing or minimum of $60. So sister gets ours and a clearly typed recipe.

After that it was breakfast and a good long walk. I've found that I'm positively the girl version of Jack Handey, thinking deep thoughts:

1. Visited the brand new Whole Foods down in Interbay. They have something called a "chill room". Its a nice little lounge just off the cafe and the wine/party foods/prepared foods are.

My thought: this grocery store needs a DJ. I mean, you have the space, and you would cater to two populations of people who pay for premiums ($5 cover charge and extra for watered down drinks, extra $1/lb for produce). Synergy!

2. Why isn't there a mailbox in/outside the bus? Right now you have buses driving and using gas, and you have post office guys driving around and using gas. Buses take a published route, and end up at a rest stop, transit center or a base, where the post office guy can open the bus mail box and grab it. This would be a substitute for the blue boxes.

3. Halloween is now second to X-mas, as measured by retail sales. I've seen a couple of mash-up decorations this year (a Halloween snow globe decoration, a ghoul being crucified). Why bother with 3 discrete fall/winter holidays? Next year: Santa with fangs pulling a turkey out of the oven.

funny hat, bright light, cheap food

October 25th, 2009 at 08:05 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $16 conveyor belt sushi pigout
Found money - $0.11 (coffeehouse floor, gutter)

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $14 breakfast + $6 Halloween hat + $21 miscellaneous
Found money - $0.39 (sidewalk, gas station parking pad, carpet)

Saving log - $9 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.04 (road, sidewalk, under picnic table)

Still having reasonable luck finding change despite the leaves on the ground. This weekend was a do or die time to "do" something for Halloween - I usually say I don't have a creative idea for Halloween in the two weeks before but then pull something off. This time, still nothing. I'm going with a funny hat (keeping the price tag on for the Minnie Pearl fans out there) and be done with it.

Finding the funny hat meant heading to the Goodwill, change hunting all the way. You might have noted that I expected, and was disappointed, that the Goodwill parking lot would be a rich source of found money, and I have mused about the mystery. When I walked into Goodwill, I found a cheap, funny, fuzzy hat, but also a partial resolution to the mystery: Goodwill's inside carpet was the rich source of found money. Goodwill was extremely busy with shoppers; they made a mess of the racks and floors; and the only person who was watching the floor was me. At first blush, if people drop change in response to distractions, the Goodwill store is a primo study site to explore. But for now - easy dime and five pennies. With the other change found in other spots - Seattle has provided me with $6.54 since mid-July.

Later at the Fred Meyer, I bought another item for the months to come: a clip-on, five-pattern, 1/2 mile visible bright flashing pedestrian light. $6, but when I walk home in December, that car is gonna see me.

The other delight I've seen at Fred Meyer are the definite price reductions for food. For example, I needed some luna/clif bars for breakfast - last year at this time they went, cheapest, @ $0.99/bar. Now - $0.79/bar. I've now been seeing produce for under $1.00/lb and canned tuna at $0.65/6 oz can. I've not kept up my price book for the last couple of years (too depressing). I might restart it now.

A bit of our neighborhood news made even some of the national news (at least I heard that it made the morning ABC news). Our neighborhood lost 4 businesses Friday to fire - 2 places I ate at semi-regularly, 1 I drank coffee at every so often. The phinneywood blog has the fire pictures. Arson investigation is ongoing. Mine is from the back. That cooked area at the top is where the roof line was.

something about the 4th

July 9th, 2009 at 09:08 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $26 groceries

There is one thing about the 4th of July that irks me. Most of the street fireworks leave a little disc on the sidewalk, just about quarter or dime size.

I've honed my change detection to a fine point - basically I look for circles on the ground. You don't know how many false alarms I've had this past week.


But most days I do find change. Today nothing, yesterday a penny, the day before a dime. Sometimes near a cigarette butt, sometimes not. Pickings seem a bit slimmer - as if everybody else is hunting for change too. It all adds up.

back to business

June 19th, 2009 at 09:21 pm

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $9 groceries

So it is back to business fiscally. I deposited my monthly tip box collectings - $40 worth - into savings, which I need to do because I took out $400 out of savings to pay off the vacation from my credit card. All told, the vacation cost me about $800 - gift to sister for hosting us, 3 hotel rooms, incidentals, some groceries, a few restaurant meals including one big one for family and friends. DH bought the gas on his dime.

And speaking of the car, the insurance agent offered him two possibilities - $3200 and he keeps the car & fixes the bumper, but no comprehensive, or $3400 and they take the car. While DH is not wild about the car, its the "devil you know" - it gets reasonable gas mileage (even coming back and merely 'driveable' it got 28 mpg), is comfortable, its an automatic and I can drive it (I'm not comfortable using a stick which was DH's former car), and is large enough not to get crushed by a deer. Looks like it will be the $3200 solution. The clunkers tax break is tempting, but you have to buy the new car first, then get the credit. And DH is is very interested in getting a completely plug in model for the next car. That would mean waiting several years - next couple of years the first ones should come out and then you want the bugs to be worked out first. Why don't we have innovative cars? Look in the mirror. Smile

I went to the downtown grocery store for an apple, then for an apple and 1/2 and 1/2 for my work coffee, then I saw a deal - .99/lb for fresh, good looking green beans. Haven't seen that good a deal for a couple of years, so I bought a couple of pounds at the spur of the moment. And then I bought salad for lunch. A planned 60 cent purchase turned into $9 in the blink of an eye.

Got weighed for my gym session - still holding at 178, which is nearly miraculous, considering the fish-fry, the several restaurant lunches, the beer, the cheese, the baked goods (our hosts at the funeral home bake like crazy - yum, but yikes!), the driving-but-no-jogging. The trainer smiled - the more muscle you develop the more bad eating for a week you can get away with.

I'm back (yet again)

June 14th, 2009 at 08:29 pm

DH, Morgan (our cat), and I went for two weeks to the land of my fathers ... aka Oshkosh and Milwaukee WI. Sister has done a lot with the farmette, and we had a number of adventures, most good, one not so much.

More tomorrow!

vacation alert

May 29th, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Letting you all know - I'm on vacation starting tomorrow, so I won't be posting much for two weeks. See you in the middle of June!

splurged on b-day

April 29th, 2009 at 09:46 pm

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $2 coffee + $5 magazine

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 newspapers + $5 coffee and croissant + $7 lunch + $5 iced tea & slice of cake

Took the day off on my birthday (and splurged with the food), but I did make it to the gym - trainer was happy to hear of the 46 min jog, but still had me doing deadlifts with a 60 pound bar.

One of my little traditions on my birthday is to do something new. Today, after being a member of the gym for 3 1/2 yrs, I finally tried out the sauna. Relaxing, and strangely cool and refreshing when you step out. You have to realize that I generally have to finish in a rush, make sure that I both don't "emanate" and I get back to work on time.

After gym, I hit the library, and when I got back, I found a bouquet of flowers on the porch.

Hit the Milwaukee news first and was disconcerted hearing about 3 cases of the flu...I was thinking that it might change our vacation plans (and it still might), until I hit the Seattle news and read about our 6 cases.

Regarding the flu, can I mention how hard it is to wash your hands properly using "green" facilities stingy with the hot water - operating those hot water faucets that you have to hold down continuously - and stingy with the soap? We are supposed to rub our soapy hands over a continuous stream of hot water for twenty seconds. We need two hands free to do this, folks. NPR helpfully provided a kind of hip way of timing 20 seconds - the song soliloquy of Bohemian Rhapsody. Now all we need is the stream of hot water and the soap. Don't make us go Black Death on your a$$, folks.

baby carrots and beets

April 27th, 2009 at 08:23 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $2 cottage cheese

I got home tonight - my mail contained a $1.96 check from Ameriprise, closing my account. All of gramma's trust money is in my accounts. Consolidation at last. One less set of passwords to remember.

The container garden is smartly moving along. I see little baby carrot seedlings in my orange pot. (Purple ones, hopefully not hairy). Yesterday I looked in a different pot that DH planted and I saw baby beet seedlings.

Talked to sister about vacation plans. DH and I (along with Morgan) are planning a road trip to Wisconsin to visit the farmette. June 1 - June 15. Apparently many of the hotel chains along the way are pet friendly. No doubt it will be a busman's holiday - I'm sure that we will be put to work planting a few things in the 7 acres.

Death in the afternoon

February 15th, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.30 bagel, coffee + $.63 apple + $10 lunch

Well, not quite. I walked up Queen Anne Hill, this time with my heart rate monitor - my high was 151 bpm, which was much better than I feared. Call it a near death in the afternoon.

DH and I had our little Valentines Day at a new neighborhood French style bar. I had a combo of champagne and absinthe, called Death in the Afternoon, along with a round of escargot. So decadent, so cheap.

T+1 Valentine's Day

February 14th, 2009 at 08:35 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $12 breakfast + $110 groceries

Stocked up on groceries and minor Valentine's Day treats. This weekend is a three day one for me - President's Day is also a holiday for me.

DH and I decided to go out the next day, Sunday the 15th. V-day itself is going to be a-stay-at-home for us. Frankly, the V-day festivities aren't really a bowl of cherries for many of the coupled folks I know of either. For the average ordinary, it used to be a card and chocolates and maybe a rose or two (in the 80's, before Columbia got into the rose business, roses were very, very dear). Then the romance became ramped-upped into expensive dinner, drinks, etc, all to re-create the "most special event" ever, every year. I might just be a curmudgeon, but all holidays seem to be turning into their own Christmas. The themes change, but the orgy-like spending continues. Stop it.

Anyway, also up for this weekend, I also plan on repotting a fern into two pots, get a little exercise, and pay off this month's spendy credit card bill. It caused me great sadness to move a bit of savings out to help pay for it.

From Feb 6, looks like the paranormal (aka ghost) investigation of our offices is scheduled for a Saturday in March. 7pm - 11pm, with maybe extra innings up until 2am. I'm in on the fun. Oh I caint hardly wait! Big Grin

first day of 2009

January 1st, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.35 coffee, bagel + $3 hot dog + $6 batteries & box of creamy tomato soup

Very quiet non-work day. Walked about 2/3 of the way around Green Lake, then headed up to Greenwood Avenue for the ATM, and a stop to get AA batteries for the digital camera, or about 4 miles.

Found .26 in the Fred Meyer parking lot (a quarter and a penny). I managed to also find another quarter last night also. Last night I heard on NPR about a family of 5 who managed to save $1000 worth of sidewalk change in about a year. I'm not sure whether they are walking in a city where parking lots are paved with change or many people have holes in their pockets or whether with 3 small children their helpers are low to the ground - $1000 is a lot of sidewalk change. Good for them, but your mileage may vary!

non-Christmas Christmas show

December 25th, 2008 at 06:13 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $35 groceries

Merry (sloppy) Christmas to you all! Seattle is now in the midst of a thaw - making driving is even more treacherous than it was over ice. Then - ice that you can drive low and slow, and while it was slippery, at least it was hard. Now - ten inches of white snow-slush-mudlike consistency over a sea of cold gray water. You have to "gun" the car to keep it moving through the quicksand-y white slush, but gunning it means you're driving on the water underneath and hydroplaning between parked cars.

We were invited to Christmas dinner, but we nearly got stuck several times. Heck with it, we canceled. Make the full dinner ourselves, play with Morgan, and keep an eye on our flat roof carport.

This afternoon I re-visited one of my favorite non-Christmas Christmas shows, a Homicide: Life on the Street episode set on Christmas Eve. I love non-Christmas Christmas shows much more than the Christmas shows, if that makes any sense.

does your newspaper do this?

December 23rd, 2008 at 05:37 pm

I opened up one of the sections of the Seattle PI (Post Intelligencer) and found a sheet of printed gift wrap:

Close up of the pattern:

And I had a box to wrap so I used it. Does anybody else's newspaper provide this frugal service?

In another newspaper, I read about shoplifting going up (expected during a recession), but inside the article came an astounding (to me) statistic: 1 in 11 Americans use the five-finger discount.

finished recession kit

December 9th, 2008 at 09:10 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $10 lunch + $12 office party

Got caught up with lawyer friend at lunch and went to the office party (drinks and snacks) held two block from work, so there was a bit of spending. Tomorrow I'll bring the lunch and gym to even out the spending. I can now make $40 last the whole week.

Pulled the trigger on accumulating the devil money in the 403B. And yes, I definitely noticed the 0% 4 wk T-bill. I've learned my lesson - the money's getting pulled back into ING. To depress me a bit, I looked through my records on what my t-bills used to earn, $60, $70, $80/ month, quite a bit better than ING. Oh yes, I found two pennies today, so I immediately paid myself a better rate.

The cashbox came today, so it was time to arrange the recession kit. I want them to open it right away - no need to wait until GD v.2.0.
From the top, with Christmas card taped inside:

And from the coin tray and a peek at the till:

cash box

December 7th, 2008 at 07:36 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $10 brunch + $20 Christmas gift

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3 bagel, coffee + $1 apple + $20 cash box

I was very stiff and sore from gym and the trainer on Friday - so I went Christmas shopping Saturday instead. Ordered sister's Christmas fish(es) for Tuesday delivery - the fishmonger still had trout.

The recession kit is coming together. I forgot that my giftees now have a black lab (met him last summer), and chocolate is not for dogs, so I included a couple of doggie gifts along with the chocolate bars. I also picked up a $1.99 bag of chocolate coins.

Today I walked the 7 miles and began "interval" training. I asked him a couple of days ago what he considered cardio, and he told he whatever it took to maintain your heart rate at 110 or so for 8 minutes, and spike to 130 or so for 2 minutes. Rinse and repeat for 3-4 times. Both juggling a stopwatch (my PDA has a stopwatch program) and trying to take my pulse would be a PITA, so I came with a stripped down version: walk briskly for 5 blocks, jog for 2. I could do it six times going down to the Fremont Bridge, only three times coming back up because I go up a hill back home.

As I walked, I hit all the hardware/craft/general goods/ office supply store that I could to serve as the container of the chocolate. I saw ideas, but nothing that matched what I wanted to do. Then it hit me: cash box. Ho ho, there's a theme I can work with. Its steel, it locks, it contains things, the coins and dog treats can go into the coin slot tray, I can tape the Christmas card/recession kit note to the top, and the flat chocolate bars can be put underneath the till like dollar bills. If I feel really funky, I can get currency strips to bind the chocolate bars. And frankly, every family needs a cash box - just try holding a yard sale without one. Decided not to waste any more time. I found a cash box online for quick delivery - 20$ total.

recession kit

December 5th, 2008 at 09:25 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $8 lunch + $6 groceries

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $2 coffee + $70 groceries

Spendy day today after several days of cheapness. The $70 of groceries was really the beginnings of a theme Christmas gift, plus a turkey ham for me.

Most of our Christmas shopping is family. My sister loves the salmon and whatever other fishy/shellfishy thing that looks good. (One year I gave them 8 months of Harry and David... meh, they said. We get good fruit here, too. But you can't buy salmon in Milwaukee) A few weeks ago the fishmonger had trout for sale. Fingers crossed that that's still around next week.

That's it for my family. DH doesn't have a big list either - his sister (and BIL), and his mom. Let's divide and conquer, I said. I'll buy for his sister and BIL, and he can buy for MIL. Done, he said.

I'm going for a theme here. Big fad in Seattle is chocolate - fair trade, dark, vegan, single sourced - in other words, treating chocolate like coffee, where it comes from a country or an estate. There's even a chocolate factory in North Seattle that gives tours. So I went to the Greenwood market and ran the table of large chocolate bars. Some were of countries, some were of flavors. 1 was even 100% dark chocolate.

Now to find a nice container, or maybe a military grungy one (like it was buried in the backyard), just for laughs. (Both his sister and the BIL have a sense of humor) When they open the box, I have a nice sign over the chocolate:
"In case of recession, break seal."

weekend doings

November 30th, 2008 at 07:54 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - 0$

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 groceries and lost $7 out of pocket

Did the gym laundry Friday night, then returned the gym bag to work Saturday afternoon and walked part of the way home. As long as I was at work, I put in a few dollars to show the tip box some love.

Walked Saturday and Sunday - it is getting harder to do the full trip because I much prefer to walk during daylight. When it gets dark by 4:30, that's my deadline, and it if takes about 3 hours, I have to start at 1:30. Not complaining particularly, weekends are for a bit of laziness. Even if I have only two hours, walking is good, because I made these three observations:

1. Listened to Marketplace radio. The piece talked about the price of eggs and the correspondent let slip that she pays $3.35 for a dozen. Yikes! Still the rationalizations flew: "But LA is so expensive and I have them delivered." Cry me a river. Here's a hint: buts cry out for a creative solution in times of trouble. Do you really have to have your eggs delivered?

2. Same radio show, except the piece talked about re-setting children's expectations. If only we can tap into peer pressure. What if everybody's teen was told, "nope, we can't afford it."?

3. Discovered that while my new hoodie is a magnet for sidewalk small change, its pockets expel dollar bills. Time to be more careful where I put my change. Sucks.

More signs of the times: the North Seattle Goodwill is doing brisk business, even on a Sunday (Monday's when the new stuff gets laid out), even at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Where am I going to get my colon cleaned now?


Ah the seamy underside of the holidays...

thanksgiving day scores

November 28th, 2008 at 06:32 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.35 bagel, coffee + $1.61 yerba mate + $3.60 for 2 pie crusts

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.35 bagel, coffee + $17.41 many, many storage containers

Duvall Thanksgiving was a lot of fun, with a lot of food made for 4 people. Leftovers! We scored:

1. One large yogurt container of homemade pumpkin pie filling. Score because 2 pie crusts are way cheaper than one filled pie at the grocery store. Pumpkin pie is cooling comfortably on the counter. Now I all I have to do is ignore DH pleading, "is it ready yet?" No - not until its cooled.
2. Raw turkey liver. I love turkey liver. Its my tradition to fry up the liver with a bit of sage while the turkey roasts. Thank G*d none of my friends and acquaintences like turkey liver. More for me.
3. Goose fat. Cassoulet in January. I got several plastic bags of dried beans from sister. I gave the Duvall friends a bag of sister's dried beans.
4. Turkey bones. Not all the bones that I would have gotten had I hosted, but guests in general rarely get bones. Soup in a couple of days. Yippee!

Next week I'm going to brownbag it with the leftovers and I have a fresh supply of plastic containers. My homework with the new trainer is to hit the gym at least two more times a week in addition to the one hour per week with him. Unfortunately everybody seems to want to schedule over my time. The solution I've come up with is to hit gym at lunch (yeah, busy, the locker room will be like high school), then eat at my desk. Nobody schedules anything at noon, hah hah. Since I will have leftovers next week, it gives me a big break to try out getting into the habit.

early paycheck

November 25th, 2008 at 08:39 pm

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $12 lunch

We're getting our paychecks early this month - normally its the last day of the month, which this month falls on a Sunday. On a weekend, we get paid on the last work day of the month, which in other months would be Friday. Of course this month Friday is not a workday (hopefully its not your workday either), so the last workday of the month is ... tomorrow. 5 day early paycheck.

I finally got the hint and decided to cut off my recurring T-bill buying. For laughs I looked at what I would have earned on a 4wk $4,000 T-bill: 16 cents. The money that would have bought the T-bill now goes into the Treasury's no interest account, and I move that back into ING. What $4,000 will earn in ING in 4wks: $8.43.

I've been noticing more living thrifty articles. Here's one from Alternet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

up the down escalator

November 19th, 2008 at 08:32 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $9 lunch

Watching a guy do a very frugal 15 sec stair step workout. It wasn't busy, so he ran up the down escalator.

We got all of our temp staff here and orientated. Orientation included food, so I didn't have to tear into my breakfast/ energy bar stock. I got a little SBC coffee card which I will hold in reserve. Plastic in the bank, as it were.

Put my tip box squeezings in for this month.

Made the Thanksgiving Day plans - we are eating with the Duvall friends. It made sense because if they come here, they have to put the poultry away for the night (otherwise the free ranging cougar gets her own Thanksgiving) or they have to come here early to leave early to put the poultry away. When it gets dark at 5pm, it puts a crimp in the festivities.

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