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Oh. My. God. (not fiscal at all)

January 9th, 2011 at 04:49 am

Today was mostly a de-compress from the crazy busy last week, it was mostly running a set of small errands today - returning the last read to the library, getting my hair cut, loading up a smart card bus pass so sister can get to the airport and back on the light rail as easily as I can, hitting a used book store - saw a used CD that I'd like, getting a couple of travel sized toiletries and extra memory cards. Nothing individually horribly spendy, but taken together up in the $90 or so range.

Apologies to thrift-o-rama for the next paragraph.

As I was going along, I watched a bit of the Seahawk / Saint came. As well you might know, Seattle is the the first NFL team to make the playoffs with a losing season. The first I saw was 10-0 Saints, and I thought nothing more of it, just kept going. Traffic in Seattle was a bit quiet for a Saturday, but nothing special. Next to last stop, the game was 34-27 Seahawks. Walking to my last stop, everything was dead quiet. I've seen Super Bowl game traffic heavier. Last stop, 41-35 Seahawks. Heading home, I crossed our main drag in the neighborhood and heard the loud collective cheer from all the drunks at the sports bars. Still can't believe it.

snowpoclapyse, 2010

November 24th, 2010 at 02:11 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

catching up ...again

August 29th, 2010 at 06:14 am

Even though its been a relaxing stay at home, a lot had happened:

Did the neighborhood gumshoe event for $20. It was a list of 30 clues that got you about and out and around the neighborhood, and you had to answer the question regarding each place. I think the preteen set had the best mind for it; they observed, took things literally, and didn't read too much into the clues.

Went up to Vancouver, B.C. for a surprise two day trip. That one was a bit pricey - about $200 for the hotel room and parking.

Sent off sister's birthday gift for $10 - most of her gifts were home or kit-made or were provided for from the Greenwood yard sale. I especially liked how the flip book of pictures of the farmette and the two framed pics of the farmette turned out.

The rancher delivered the beef to us this afternoon. That one was a bit pricey - $316. We got our 1/8, or about 50 lbs, and I think we got pretty much what we wanted. All told, it did work out to be about $7/lb. Best of all, it just barely fit into the freezer. Here's what 50 lbs of beef looks like in a top freezer.


DH had to re-pack the big bag of short ribs into two smaller ones - he got one of the bags of short ribs into the freezer, but the other is in the fridge. Anybody got a great recipe for short ribs?

Oh yes, the official beef fest is going to be on the 11th.

Greenwood Seafair Parade 2010

July 30th, 2010 at 03:10 am

I take pictures every year, because its fun and how often does one buy a great $2 brat? Along with few free (for the taking) pics?

Perhaps you have seen a few of these Seafair m a few years running. Every year the components of the parade are similar - the Seattle police motorcycles start the parade, the Seafair pirates end the parade, and there are businesses, little kids, beauty pageant contestants, horse dressage, drill team, bands, and step teams in between. I did manage to take good pics of some components that I've never gotten good pics of before. Enjoy ... and hurry up before they turn into red x's!

There was an Irish step dance troupe that moved into the neighborhood last year - so Michael Flattley, eat your heart out...


And I finally got a great picture of the Chinese step team, a real Seattle hallmark. They did a very intricate step pattern on the street, video here. Have got to love the sweep of that pheasant feather headress.


I caught the musicians on the drill team with confused expressions, however they were very good. Underneath the dragon was a huge drum.


And while I have taken pictures of the horse dressage team before, I just like the rhythm and movement of this picture.

Greenwood Car Show, 2010

June 29th, 2010 at 03:08 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $15 breakfast + $2 ice cream + $4 muffin, iced coffee + $5 grocery produce
Found money - $0.10 (road)

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 bagel, coffee + $.67 apple
Found money - $0.38 (road, sidewalk, telephone pole)

Monday
Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 lunch
Found money - $0.36 (sideway, road, Safeway: by checkout, next to soda display, underneath vending machine)

First off, I'm very close to the $50 target in found money. I'm at $48.76: 1071 pennies, 43 nickels, 181 dimes, 43 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents. Keep on dropping those coins, guys!

Today was a brutal day - we are at the end of the fiscal year. Sometimes it ends with a yawn, but not this year. Lots of whining this year with a couple of last minute booking projects.

The Greenwood Car Show was a ton of fun - it went between 90th and 69th, an extension of both ends from previous years. And it was free! However, there did seem to be a bit of filler in the middle - food, info, and guy buying opportunities. There were a lot of beautiful cars, but fewer really exotic ones which is what I go for. No leather car this year. However, I did meet the guy who was developing the hot rod with the jet engine. He was mock stricken when I told him that I imagined him, "a Boeing engineer with time on his hands". Turned out he was a Westinghouse engineer with time on his hands.

Still, there was some interesting stuff...

The 1918 Cadillac, as is.


We aren't too far from the stagecoach - the chauffeur sat in the front with a windshield, no side windows and a deaf guy horn right by his left ear (guy pointing to it)


While the inside is more of what you would expect, complete with the wood horn that you would use to speak in (left).


Oh, and the most amazing thing of all, it was driveable.


Nearby was parked a 1947 jeep. Hadn't realized that the windshield flipped down, but that would make a lot of sense.


And the gear shift made me laugh out loud. First rule of frugality: use what you have.

pictures, still and moving

May 25th, 2010 at 04:28 am

Monday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $.50 apple + $1 bag of spinach salad
Found money - $0.04 (sidewalk, road)

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.98 bagel (free coffee!) + $.50 apple + $5 edamame, kimchi
Found money - $0.18 (road, crosswalk, escalator edge, grocery store floor)

Deposited 45$ into the tip box for the month. I decided to take my new (to me) purse to a shoe repair place downtown to see about the straps. It's going to cost a bit more to replace the straps than I expected but the layout of the purse makes it still reasonable. But I finally got brave and printed some pictures with the $20 photoprinter. They print pretty well if there isn't too much gray in them (grey seems smudgy and muddled), so I definitely got a deal - printing whatever I want whenever I want. And the quality is reasonable if I want to finish my memory book (after 3 yrs!). The guy that I bought from thought that the culprit was the paper, so I might try improving that next. Now I get to pick two that I really, really like, cut the white edge of the pictures, get a bit of white matte board and frame them up. Definitely feel like I've got my money's worth Saturday.

The movie I'm the Executive Producer on made by the son of screenwriter friend is going to be shown at SIFF on Friday. It has been getting a lot of promotion around town, much to the chagrin of screenwriter friend, the proud papa. A friend of his joked both that the son looked great in the pink prom dress and that the article (which I've linked to so you can enjoy) made screenwriter friend seem cheap.

I am cheap, screenwriter friend said, and proud of it. I laughed and told screenwriter friend that he'd fit right in my family ... and the cheapness of my family got him the last bit of cash to help them both out. And that's being fiscally real can do for you - when push comes to shove, you have the money to get 'er done. Looking forward to seeing what Victory Studios has wrought.

Greenwood Yard Sale

May 23rd, 2010 at 04:31 am

Thursday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 coffee, yogurt
Found money - $0.02 (parking meters)

Friday
Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $5 groceries
Found money - $0.11 (corner, road, Safeway floor)

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $22.50 yard sale finds + $1.50 cupcake
Found money - $0.62 (driveway, inside purse I bought)

In case anybody else is tracking me, Big Grin, ever since mid-July I've found $43.77: 942 pennies, 38 nickels, 158 dimes, 38 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

Today was the Greenwood Neighborhood Yard Sale, 2010 edition. We started late, but we still found some good stuff. There's always two ways to handle a yard sale: get there early to be the first to pick, or get there late for the desperation.

Desperation worked very well this year. I bought: a purse, 1 tablecloth, 1 HP photoprinter (along with cables, and picture paper). Most people were willing to deal - 50% off as soon as you showed an interest. The four pm stroll from site to site picking in the "Free" boxes was just as productive: 1 shower head, 1 tablecloth, 2 frames, a little salt spoon. I still am a sucker for purses, but while the handle was shaggy (why it was 50 cents) this one really had the layout that I liked. Best of all, I got home, shook the purse and found 52 cents left for me. The purse gave me a profit!

The photoprinter was the 20$ purchase. I was attracted to it because I now have plenty of fun pictures that I would love to print out. Its been 3 years since Paris, and I still haven't printed anything out. Will see whether the 20$ will pay off.

The free tablecloth was as good as the one I bought for $2. (Actually, a $1.90, because I found a dinged up dime in their driveway.) I bought the one in a very rich dark green, pulled from a free bin one in a rich red-purple. Holiday festive!

Add up everything we shelled out money for and it came to $22.50.

karma, said sarge

May 20th, 2010 at 04:36 am

Wednesday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $6 tahini & bag of salad
Found money - $0.15 (grocery floors, crosswalk, sidewalk, under table)

Tuesday
Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 groceries
Found money - $0.04 (gym equipment, sidewalk, grocery floor)

Well it happens once per year - I lose things. Yesterday evening, after shlepping my groceries home, I searched my purse, patted my pockets, tore open my grocery bags. No wallet. Eeek!

My house key was in my wallet, so I after pulling out the hidden key I dumped everything out, took a deep breath, and said, "I've got to back track."

As I went to my first stop I took stock. I had $15 in money, some spare change (of course), house key, one filled coffee card (it took 10 coffees to get a free one, dammit), my Safeway card, and my debit card. Of that, I guess the debit card was the most hassle, having to cancel it and all. But I didn't sign up for the "convenience" of me over charging my debit. Once it went to 0$ it would be denied...and there was only about $100 in balance on it. Painful, but not a nightmare.

No wallet on the first stop, but I hadn't pulled it out there, so that was expected.

Checked the bus stop. I keep my bus pass separate from my wallet, so I had that. It had been about 30 minutes since I was there. Seattle is a freakishly honest place, but still it being out in the open and all it would have been a miracle if it was there. But miracles have happened to me in the past. I once left my sweater on a bus. 4 hours later I -amazingly - got on the same bus heading back home and saw my sweater next to the bus driver.

Checked the grocery store that I had bought something that night, so it was the last, best place. I went to the customer service desk and asked whether it was also the lost and found. Yep, she said, what did you lose? I lost my wallet and began to describe it ... cloth with a Beetle Bailey com--. Yep, she said, we have it right here!

Nothing was removed; everything was in place. I laughed and told her that I had lost and found it about a year ago - the Beetle Bailey comic really makes it stand out. And I think it makes it totally un-cool to steal. No petty theft teenager wants to be thought of as being so desperate as to steal a Beetle Bailey wallet.

In any case, pwhew!

Greenwood Art Walk, 2010

May 18th, 2010 at 04:02 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $15 brunch + $3 mocha + $23 piece of art
Found money - $0.03 (floor, parking lot, newspaper box)

Sunday
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)

Monday
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.

May weekends, full of temptations

May 15th, 2010 at 03:58 am

Wednesday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $9 groceries
Found money - $0.53 (crosswalk, Safeway floor, planting strip)

Thursday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.41 (under bench at bus stop, road, curb)

Friday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.02 (bus floor, Safeway floor)

With 60 days left for my experiment answering the question "How much change I can find lying around?", I'm at $42.15, after finding 3 quarters in 2 days. I can't predict that much luck in the next couple of months, and it might be a stretch, but I'd love to think that I can reach $50. Yowsa! I'll do a bit of data mining when its all over and share my findings.

It has been quiet this week. It was payday today, so as I moved the paycheck around to pay off my credit card I'll have to think about possibly shifting savings into checking. The other 3 weekends in May are going to be fraught with temptation:

May 15 - the Greenwood Art Walk. Stepping into a store along Greenwood to look at art means stepping into a store and being tempted to buy

May 22 - we were supposed to take a weekend trip to view the steer we were to buy. The trip is going to be delayed until June. However, it means that I'll make it to the Greenwood Yard Sale. Hard to tell which situation will be more spendy - 1/2 a rental car and gas and possibly a motel room or going hog-wild at the yard sale?

May 28 - actually this is Friday night, but I'm going to the movie of screenwriter friend's son at SIFF Cinema. There's the possibility of drinks and party afterward.

un-vacay

April 25th, 2010 at 03:06 am

Thought I would make this a true vacation so I took a break from everything even though I stayed at home. The one disadvantage with vacations, even the play at-home version, is that you inevitably spend more money. I did some free stuff, but in the kicking around, I spent more money than I would normally.

I did walk nearly all of the Burke Gilman Trail... I'm not sure. On the Golden Gardens end, its easy - there's a sign: Burke-Gilman End. On the Kenmore end, the Burke-Gilman morphs into the Sammamish Park Trail and where that happens is different depending on the map. Anyway, I got past the Kenmore City Hall, saw no identifying signs and said to heck with it. Whatever I did, I did 6-7 mi/day for 3 non-consecutive days.

Did a bit of frivolous spending. $60 worth of CDs, which dates me. (Mommy, what are CDs? Big Grin). Ate lunches out, and hit a different coffee shop everyday. (Hey, its what a tourist would do.) Visited the Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum using a $5 off coupon that I got from Valpak. Did gym on Tuesday, but with all the walking, I knew Thursday that I wasn't going to be feeling it for Friday gym, so I canceled that. I figure that I've spent about $200 more this week than I normally do.

Managed to find found money every day. My grand total so far is $39.09: 859 pennies, 32 nickels, 140 dimes, 31 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

The only thing I didn't do over vacay was finish up painting the patio table. There's always tomorrow.

Seattle has apparently averted a garbage man's strike. In a weird way, I'm disappointed: one of the perks of being frugal is due to the not-buying and using until its used up is that you throw away a lot less. As it is, we pretty much only set out the can every other week...it takes us longer to fill it.

Easy, Uptight, Fancy

March 6th, 2010 at 04:56 am

Friday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $18 groceries
Found money - $0.11 (Safeway floor)

Thursday
Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $10 lunch
Found money - $0.02 (2 different parking meters)

Carless challenge:
3/4 - no car, commuted by bus 12.5 miles, walked 3 miles
3/5 - no car, commuted by bus 13.5* miles, walked 1 mile
*the reason why my commute is so variable is that I often get off the bus 1.25 - 1.5 miles from my stop, then walk home. Longer commutes mean I didn't walk. Frown .

Work eased up a bit in the last two days - a lunch with friends helped, and so did the fact that I could really buckle down and get done what I really wanted to get done. Yay.

I discovered, upon looking at a photo of the writer who is behind "Ask an Uptight Seattleite", that I know him. Matter of fact, he is my bus marker for the 8:35 number 5. So he, along with the current mayor, lives within 4-5 blocks of me. Will it get me a sidewalk? Probably not.

Final observation, this time fiscal: I bought tuna on a good deal - 10 6 oz cans for $5. I walked down the pet food aisle to checkout and noticed the price of Fancy Feast - 10 3 oz cans for $6.50. Fancy feast, indeed.

SAM for a library card

March 1st, 2010 at 05:17 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $35 (breakfast for 2 w/tip) + $19 groceries (for work food and snacks so I can avoid stopping for lunch)
Found money - $0.49 (road, planting strip)

Sunday
Saving log -$0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $9 headphones + $3 tea + $12 groceries
Found money - $0.09 (sidewalk crack, road)

Got V.I.s nails clipped yesterday, and it took about 10 minutes. The vet tech said that she was no trouble. What happens is that kitties get so surprised, then so relieved that its just the nails that she can get in there and trim fast...not to mention that it isn't her kitty, so its routine to her.

Took a 5 mile walk yesterday, and was finding coins all over the place... most of them, though, in the road. No dimes though, but several nickels. I generally find fewer nickels than quarters, so it was a tad surprising. $27.49: 669 pennies, 27 nickels, 110 dimes, 28 quarters, $1 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

Today I went to the Seattle Art Museum - if you showed your library card, you got in for free - and saw the Calder exhibit. (So I missed the hockey game.) Fantastic show, seeing a few of the paintings and non-mobile sculpture, including a rare wooden one he did during WWII when metal was scarce. And of course there were tens of mobiles - little ones, big ones, delicate ones, burly ones. You could see the Matisse and Mondrian in them, and in a couple, ikebana. I heard about this event from the paper - due to the recession, there is now a Freeloader alert column promoting and itemizing free stuff/events. I hope that when this recession ends that the column will continue ... but I know that's unlikely.

One other fiscal thing to get off my chest. I was walking past a neighborhood thrift store and saw in the window display a quarter holder. Not just any quarter holder, but one for the new set of 2010 to 2020 quarters, these honoring select National Parks. Now I'm as fond as the next person in getting (rescuing?) an interesting coin, but somehow in these times of need ... did we really need to spend money to make pretty quarters? I'm sounding like my grandpa more and more.

catching up with friends Sunday & Monday

February 9th, 2010 at 05:14 am

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $14 breakfast
Found money - $0.44 (planting square, road, car wash parking lot)

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee + $7.50 rennet + $13 groceries
Found money - $0.05 (Safeway change cup)

Monday
Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $6 lunch
Found money - $0


Boy, Jeffrey wasn't kidding when he suggested cutting through parking lots with car washes on them to hunt for dirty money. I cut through a car wash parking lot about a mile from my house - 11 cents right off. Something about people washing their cars, then detailing them, means the customers get a bit sloppy as they run the vacuums over the mats. I'll have to cut through the car wash more often.

$23.68: 593 pennies, 23 nickels, 101 dimes, 22 quarters, $1 bill.

Friday I got weighed by the trainer - 170.8. That's with my shoes on. Nobody in the gym would want me to weigh myself with clothes and shoes off, but I'll bet I'd be 169 if I did so.

Went to visit the Duvall friends for the Super Bowl - DH made no knead pizza crust, and we put a lot of anchovies on one. We also went out during halftime to watch ducklings still in their cute fuzzy phase and to admire the new fencing. (How was The Who anyway?) The Duvall friends are planning on adding goats to their menagerie (chickens, ducks, geese). They have the land for the goats to clear, and they want to start to make cheese from the goat's milk.

Their first attempt of cheese was an attempt - they got yogurt, and yogurt cheese, but not cheese yet. Hence they wanted us to pick up fresh rennet from a contact very near us. We'll have to start hanging out in there - the store has homebrew equipment, rennet and cheese making equipment, and vinegar mother.

Today I had lunch with lawyer friend and screenwriter friend in the Columbia Tower food court. Only a couple years ago, we would have had to hunt hard for a table at noon and every place would have had a line. Now, its take your pick even at noon. Lunch seemed to be cheaper also - $6 bought a fairly nice lunch. Lunch conversation turned around screenwriter friend - his son made a great 80 minute film for his senior project. The Seattle Independent Film Festival (SIFF) is going to premiere it in June. Very exciting - as a matter of fact, its more exciting for us than it is for the film maker, who is a tad too teenage-casual about the whole thing. Oh well, you learn as an adult that great progress doesn't fall in your lap. If something succeeds, pounce!

mixed (Black Friday) bag

November 28th, 2009 at 03:55 am

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

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

Wednesday
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.

food doings

November 16th, 2009 at 02:32 am

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 14th, 2009 at 05:56 am

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

Thursday
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 12th, 2009 at 06:31 am

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

Wednesday
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.

fire vs mayor

November 10th, 2009 at 05:39 am

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $5 coffee, bagel, apple
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk)

Monday
Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $2.00 2 coffees + $10 lunch
Found money - $0.02 (sidewalk, bus floor)

Busy at work counting pledges. It feels like more than last year, but that's only a feeling. As I walked to my bus to work this morning I wondered if Seattle has a mayor's residence, or whether he uses his own house. And if he uses his own house, how much security? This is not an idle thought - I now walk past the house of the guy who won. (the fence around it is tad junky, if you ask me) I guess I will find out the answer to both of those questions shortly. Increased security can only help catch the arsonist, though. I wonder who would win?

CD has matured - I think I will renew it for 6 months. The money will be for a down payment on a house, so its return of investment, rather than return on investment. The interest rate is depressing - in the 5-10K size range, the amount of money I'd make in interest rivals what I find around town. ($1.50 - $3). My found money totals are at $7.89 since July 15.

I haven't eaten all that much of the beef, and its a lucky thing - I got a call from the person who wants to trade for fish. I still have some beef to trade!

2 more arsons last night

November 6th, 2009 at 07:00 am

in our neighborhood. The Seattle fire department is now going to be patroling in our neighborhood & I've never been so happy to ride out tonight's fall rainstorm. Hard to light a match in the wind and rain.

I've been busy tonight: beef bones have been roasting, and are now simmering in water for beef stock. Tomorrow I have the day off. I only hope some moron with a lit match doesn't spoil it for me tonight.

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.02 (floor of coffeeshop, parking meter)

totally uncreative post

November 5th, 2009 at 04:22 am

Saving log - $8 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.17 (2 nickels, 7 pennies on sidewalk, road, bus floor) + yesterday $0.05 (various sidewalks)

Not much has been going on - sister got the dutch oven, the no-knead bread recipe with other stuff - a Bad Cat day calendar and a little pocket planning calendar with a plastic cover for rain, and a recipe pamphlet that we got for the beef. Sister is interested in making a similar thing to give to her CSA and farmer's market customers.

Work is getting very, very busy ... and that's nice. Election day was yesterday - I live about 5 blocks from one of the mayoral candidates. Thankfully, Seattle's low key about political publicity. If it snows, beware, that street is one of the least plowable in the city.

dime and penny show

November 3rd, 2009 at 05:36 am

Monday
Saving log - $0 tip box + $35 drp
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.11 (parking meter, sidewalk)

Sunday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $9 tea, apple, oatmeal bar, magazine
Found money - $0.18 (sidewalk, coffeeshop floor)

Found a 5 cent euro on Sunday. I figured I'd count it - after all, the exchange rate of the euro: dollar was 1.47:1. In other words, the 5 cent euro is worth a hair over 7 cents.

I-bond rates also came out today. The fixed rate is 0.3%. Better than 0.1%, but not enough to think about buying more. The variable rate, though, is much better on this 6 month go around - a bit over 3%.

Took a walk at noon and discovered an ING Direct/Shareholder branch on King Street. For laughs I went in and chatted with the receptionist, who told me that there were plans for it to turn into an ING cafe.

Final Jackie Handey thought: We are now back on "Standard" time, coming from "Daylight Saving" time. Count the number of months of each. Standard = November, December, January, February, 1-2wks March. Daylight = 2-3wks March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October. Since we are in Daylight Saving time for longer than Standard time, isn't Daylight Saving really Standard?

All in all, this picture sums up the conflicting signs on the economy. Its a real picture, fyi.

lot'l little

October 31st, 2009 at 03:28 am

Friday
Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk)

Thursday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee, $10 snack foods
Found money - $0.22 (road, bus floor, Safeway floor)

Took money off the 403B table and rebalanced back to the 60 yr old man portfolio - cash, bonds, gov bonds, equal small parts of: large cap, small cap, mid cap, international, value. Saw my changes yesterday.

Saw that my transfer agent bought the $300 worth of SYY; it was bought along with the re-invested dividend.

Found out that the fire from last weekend was arson. When I tried to shortcut through the Taproot parking lot, I found that the back parking lot was all fenced in along with the fronts.

Behaved myself during the parade of work potlucks today, and I contributed with fruit snacky items.

V.I. (kitty) and I are having a nice time. So far, she's been hitting the litter box with me. I have changed a couple of things - I've shut the bedroom and home office door during the day, so no "surprises" in those rooms. I've also made the living room quiet - most of her "surprises" are left underneath coffee table, desk, behind the couch. Quiet, shadowy places. DH loves to have the radio on during the day and I suspect that loud human noises and bustle startles her. Most of all, when I hear her use the box, I quietly and quickly get a greenie from the bag and reward her as she walks past. I also play with her for at least an hour in the evening.

funny hat, bright light, cheap food

October 26th, 2009 at 03:05 am

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

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

Friday
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.

Greenwood yard sale 2009

September 14th, 2009 at 02:15 am

Sunday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $3.88 coffee, bagel + $26 vitamins, bath salts, apple
Found money - $0

Saturday
Saving log - $0
Spending log - $12 coffee, breakfast + $16 various yard sale finds in the neighborhood
Found money - $.10 carpet of breakfast place + $.01 crosswalk

It was this year version of the Greenwood Yard Sale - it used to be held in April, but ever since last year when it hailed the day of the yard sale, the neighborhood re-set the time to September.

I don't whether it was due to the recession or that it was such a nice day that a lot more people participated (what? not going to the new Bravern mall), but the pickings were very good. I got a map from the Senior Center just up the street and began. I was specifically looking for a dutch oven for my sister, but I got:
2 bars of homemade soap (senior center) - $1
4 homemade brownies (senior center bake sale) - $1
1 metal bowl - $2
1 encyclopedia of container gardening - $1
4 burly patio chairs, 2 cushions - $7 (one had a strap out)
1 fold out patio table - $4

I could have gotten a foam cheesehead, a dehydrator, 2 bread machines, boodles of TVs (ha ha), a couple of flat screen monitors, a Bell & Howard film projector (got a flashback to second grade on that one).

We are in the process of getting rid of our ancient, flimsy patio chairs. Here's are two of the yard sale chairs. Stripping and repainting a patio table is in my future somehow.


In addition, we are going to give sister the smaller of one of our dutch ovens - we have two cast iron ones, each burly enough to make the NYT no knead bread recipe. I got the dutch oven that we're planning to give her from in a thrift store in Tucson for $10... made a lot of great meals in it.

fun, spendy day

September 6th, 2009 at 05:49 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $12 coffee, breakfast + $41 cat toys, collar, treats + $17 id, camera case

Sometimes you just have to have a spendy day. At least it was fun stuff. We used another PAWS coupon for some cat spending - the cat pillow was appreciated, the new collar, not so much. V.I. must have had an attachment to her old collar even though there was a cat claw embedded in it. Hers? I don't think we will ever know.

I also made a stop at Office Depot and solved a problem that has been nagging me since the long walk/jogs on the weekends. Its inconvenient, but necessary, to carry the remnants of my wallet as I jog - need at the very least, my bus pass, driver's license, a bit of money, key, and if I buy an apple or have a bit of tea at the end, I need a place to put the change. My running pants have one rudimentary pocket. I've been jogging in my jacket with the pockets to get one, but it does get mighty warm during. Smile I originally thought about a wrist wallet ($15), but never pulled the trigger. Today I just went with a very simple ID pocket on a cloth lanyard ($4) and see if that works.

I leave you with a non-financial picture.

The harbinger

when you might be bbq

August 15th, 2009 at 06:22 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $278 beef + $26 dinner, drinks
Found money - $0

Delivered the beef money to our organizer, and it turns out she lives in the neighborhood, but on the opposite end (She: SW edge, me: NE)

But she does live close to the site that a neighborhood arsonist hit last night. Said arsonist has hit several times in the last two months, using the usual - crap that the homeowner/renter left lying around. The latest fire was started in a backyard garbage can.

Policemen are handing out flyers, but the only one I've seen is the one shown in the neighborhood blog, Phinneywood. I asked DH to check around our yard and lock up our storage shed. I had a spare gym lock and key. Not Fort Knox, but at least it makes us not the patsy of the block.

Not exactly a personal finance topic. But staying safe and unburnt saves money in its own special way.

pull, never ever push

August 5th, 2009 at 05:44 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.64 coffee + $3 tomatoes, peaches + $1.80 coffee
Found money - $0.27 (road, 2 ft from traffic island) + $0.01 (floor of Safeway)

I learned a very important fact today.

Not that coffee costs 16 cents less in my neighborhood than it does downtown; and not that I can spot 2 pennies and a quarter on the road from my bus seat, stop at the next stop and walk to the change and pick it up. (I'm committed to coin rescue...or perhaps I should just be committed.)

Nope, I learned these days that the bigger brick & mortar banks (like JP Morgan Chased) will charge you a $3 fee for the privilege of moving money to an internet-based bank like ING. The reason why I read it and did not experience it first hand was that I, by shear luck, hit upon the right way to transfer. Always, always, always get ING to pull out the money from the brick & mortar bank. Never tell the brick & mortar bank to push it out. $3 ain't that much - or its 9 weeks of change hunting. Smile

I also learned that my secret downtown Post Office office is in danger of being shut down. The list. In Seattle, you can wait in line for a couple hours at the gigantic feedlot at 3rd and Union site, or you can go to the little, intimate, general store PO in the Old Federal Building. Which would you pick? Time to let the secret out and mail my Drp payment from there and sign the list.

show, don't tell

July 30th, 2009 at 03:05 am

Tuesday
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $0
Found money - $0

Wednesday
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.83 iced coffee
Found money - $0.01 (Fred Meyer parking lot, close in)

Instead of complaining, might just as well let our neighborhood grocery store sign tell the tale.

Greenwood Seafair parade 2009

July 23rd, 2009 at 05:18 am

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $2 brat dinner + $1 donation to Make A Wish + $2 Thai iced tea
Found money - $0.01 (sidewalk, between audience chairs and a wastebasket)

Went and saw this year's Greenwood's Seafair parade. The price was right - free - and the dinner, hosted by the grocery store, price was right also - $2 bought me a brat heavy with onions, a bag of chips and a bottle of water. A few parade pictures to entertain you.

To keep this an actual financial diary, I note here that the recession is never too far away ...


Our old friends the police motorcycle drill team were there, as was the usual mix of classic cars, bands, grocery cart drill team, a couple of floats, the vendors, the Seafair pirates. I thought I'd show a couple of more interesting snaps.

Fascinating, or alarming? Discuss.


My favorites tonight were the Mexican vaqueros. Their control of their horses was fantastic.


And the fact that vaqueros planned ahead, or in this case, behind...


It was a warm night, a long (time and blocks) parade. The folks in red were interesting to me - they scurried alongside the band, squirting water into the players, and pulling out a band member or two that was about to succumb to heat exhaustion. FWIW - the band played the Colonel Bogey March. For all you movie fans out there, it was a tad too appropriate. Smile


Couldn't resist the littlest member of the baby unit of the drill team. I have a thing for the blurry action shot. About this time I found that penny, my change for the day.


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