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Archive for June, 2007


June 30th, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Yesterday, I made my first political contribution. $100.

The day before, during the co worker going away lunch, I sat next to another co worker who I had worked with off and on for about 6 years (right now, off). I was pleasantly surprised to find out two things - 1.) he lived fairly close, in the Licton Springs/Northgate neighborhood (another North Seattle neighborhood) 2.) he was running for the Seattle school board.

I found out some interesting things. It costs about $30,000 to run a school board campaign, and currently he has about $2000. He has nearly got a website up and running which means that he can take PayPal, however, he's running into a chicken and egg problem (needs money to get the website up, but the average high-tech Seattlite is loath to write a check). We had interesting chat about the Supreme Court decision against the Seattle Public Schools.

I asked him for more information, he provided it, I wrote him a check large enough so that I'm memorable. I consider it my version of Prosper.com. Big Grin We'll see what happens next.

I also promised to link his campaign site to my blog. I'm only going to link it to Sites I Frequent so as not to be too obtrusive. (this blog's about me, darn it!) If you are reading me from North Seattle, check the link out.

Net worth, first half 2007

June 30th, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Snapshot of net worth, first half of 2007

$128,217.03 IRA/403(B)*
$13,387.24 stock (4 DRPs)
$25,812.64 EE bonds, I bonds, T bills
$7,227.60 ING, PayPal savings
$1,777.12 immediate cash in checking/savings
$176,421.63 grand total

*Again, I've added about 40K to Vanguard, which I plan put into Roth IRAs in subsequent years.

I received the 3rd disbursement of the inheritance in March, which is why it jumped so. (No brilliance of my own, only the ability not to spend it!) I received a 4th disbursement in very late June. Because a chunk of it will be sent to sister to fund the joint account that will take care of the farmette, I decided to wait and count what was left of the funds in December 2007.

My ING/paypal accounts dipped a bit due to the Paris trip.

June 2007 ($176,422 total, $48,205 in taxable accounts)
By comparison:
Dec 2006 ($132,062 total, $40,329)
June 2006 ($120,261 total, $65,148)
Dec 2005 ($67,778 total, $23,740)
June 2005 ($46,115 total, $11,293)
Dec 2004 ($38,338 total, $7,558)
June 2004 ($29,050 total, $4,533)

tape a business card to yer luggage

June 29th, 2007 at 10:26 pm

Saving log - $7
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $10 lunch

Heard a funny, semi-financial story at lunch today. An acquaintance (just met her, not a friend yet) told us her boss was so, ahem bossy, that she took her laptop on her honeymoon to read emails. Actually, she only could plan to take her laptop to read emails; her admin got a call from said boss that she accidentally left her laptop at the security line at the airport. The boss said, its an HP, security knows about it, please have them ship it to me at the hotel room. Fine, the admin thought, and did what was asked.

The next day the admin got a call. The boss again, a bit chastened. Got the HP just fine, but it turns out that she remembered that her laptop was really a Dell. Big Grin

Wow, I thought. This is a genius way to get an upgrade. Pick a laptop you like, leave your own crappy laptop in the security line, and just arrange for the TSA to make the delivery. Big Grin

So later on at lunch it turns out that the acquaintance is sitting through interviews. The admin is leaving.

I leaned in and said in a low voice...
You can tell us. Is she keeping the HP or the Dell?

DNR doing stuff

June 28th, 2007 at 09:56 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $4.34 girly supplies + $15 lunch

Two coworkers going away parties - one a lunch, one an afternoon cake and ice cream party. I claimed that I couldn't have too much cake and ice cream because the trainer could smell it on my breath. Big Grin

On the more interesting front, sister and I will be deeded the house, barn, sheds and 7 acres Saturday June 30. Sister thinks that half and half on the joint account is a fantastic idea. She's into thinking about the upgrades - solar panels and electrical, which is okay, but I'm more interested in covering the taxes, better security and insurance. Cover the bases and ease into ownership, nothing too crazy. My fear is that while sister is there weekends and dad's friends keep an eye...its just not enough. We improve the electrical, which means copper, great, but copper prices are now high; copper turns into a "magnet" (hah couldn't resist) for thieves. If you put good stuff in, you now have to live there. Its not like they will give you a break and try to rob you during daylight.

The Wisconsin DNR (Department of Natural Resources) is already doing stuff. (Of course its now their property!) Sister asked and they've told her, which she's getting a big kick out of. They've sprayed the old fields with roundup last week, and are re-seeding with prairie grass and flowers, will cut 2-3 times a year, and burn the fields once every 3-5 years, to simulate wildfires. They're going to assess how they will restore the wetlands this fall. They seem to be very communicative and open - a very welcome development.

what makes a coin rescuer cry

June 27th, 2007 at 08:45 pm

That's a penny embedded in the black top. I walk in that crosswalk every day and pass it by. Sigh. Its dead, Jim. Let it go!

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $10 lunch and groceries

Deposited my tip box money today. It was a little lighter this month - $40. I found .58 cents in the oddest place today, at work, right where we touch our security cards to get into work. The coins were just sprayed out in the hallway. I mean we are a non-profit, but cripes that's weird.

image, funny story, and outta here

June 26th, 2007 at 07:50 pm

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $5.45 lunch

Nothing, nothing, nothing happened today. I mean I always think of something to write about, but today absolutely nothing financial happened to me. (Okay, when I got back from an hour of gym, I got 22 messages, all from a fax machine.) So little has happened today that all I'm going to do is post the image, tell a story, and get outta here.

Its summer, and the poppies are out...

Which reminds me of a story.

Back in the 80s, I went to a housewarming party in West Seattle. It was a charming little place, tiny front yard with a little deck, and a high fence. I went into the backyard and came chest to face with a clump of 4 foot high red poppies, the flower and ovary capsule swelled up the size of a baseball. The real (ahem, illegal to grow in the US) thing, if you know what I mean. I remarked on it to the new owner ... how could I not? He smiled and told me that when he moved in the entire garden was comprised of two plants - these huge poppies, and dill (!) While he enjoyed opium poppies as well as the next knowledgable non-DEA agent, he wanted a little more variety. So he dug all of the dill and most of the poppies out and composted them.

A couple of days later, some of the older neighbors came to visit, and were very, very disappointed to find that the new owner had dug most everything out. It turns out that the old owner was the daughter of a Chinese missionary and used to make a "medicinal tea" with the poppy leaves. The neighbors remembered with a certain amount of fondness that they would all sit around, sipping tea and dreaming about how they would renovate the kitchen.

So I say to you ... if you want to get away with something, have a good story. Don't want your opium den busted? Invite your neighbors over for tea and dreams.

tweaking the savings

June 24th, 2007 at 04:41 pm

The credit card check got posted to my account. I'm caught up, with about $60 in total debt. Hah.

I have about $300 left in my checking account to last me 4 days, so I put in another $150 into my Paypal account, which is in itself paying 5.02% interest. If I have $300 in checking by this time of the month its really not doing me any good. I'd much prefer $100 - $150.

Will be seeing what this paycheck is going to look like - I couldn't get a fix on the last paycheck because it has retro pay on it. With the pay raises, I plan on hiking up the monthly amounts I put into savings. How much depends on what I see in the next paycheck.

My newspaper subscription is going up by an estimated $3/month.

Saturday roundup

June 23rd, 2007 at 09:45 pm

From Friday
Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $15 lunch + $40 DRP

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $11 breakfast (all meals include tip, FYI) + $44 groceries + $1.85 iced coffee

Friday, not much big happened, so its cleanup of a couple of things. I seem to have lost 3 lbs, so I'm at 184, and now I seem to be back at pre-Paris shape. I'm on a little roll, so I'm aiming to be in the 170s by mid-July.

DJ friend is now in New York, so its time to develop a tight working relationship with my other employee, getting her started on a couple of important projects.

Got a chiropractic adjustment. So much for the "neck adjustment of death." I feel like a daredevil.

Saturday, DH and I checked out a new-to-us large chain Chinese grocery. So far, the best prices of produce. I'm happiest when the produce prices are under $1/lb. I eat more in season that way. Found a splurge - $5 screw container of tea-flavored pumpkin seeds. (Gotta be careful not to eat them all at once!)

I've made it another goal to use fewer plastic grocery bags. It's not a crime to get them - I reuse the bags as wastebasket liners - but the grocery baggers seem to put five items per bag, leaving you to carry 8-10 bags. When you walk out of the store, with your 4-5 bag handles on each wrist, you look like a dog walker of plastic bags. Then when you get home you have to bag up a zillion bags. Its all just so wasteful. Anyway, I've put a collection of 3 cloth totebags in the car on the passenger side floor. If we bring them, we'll use them and if I see them when I get out of the car, it reminds me to grab at least one. The final step is to get the baggers to fill them. Big Grin

Made it to the Greenwood Car Show in our neighborhood. Nicely restored cars and admirers for 20 blocks, but I was tired and looked at just the ones along my two blocks, then got an iced coffee and people watched for a half an hour.

lunching with

June 21st, 2007 at 09:52 pm

the lawyer friend's partner (lfp). Just the two of us. Lawyer friend is on the east coast. We went to a 20 yr favorite place of mine - my hideout - and chatted about blogging.

Blogging is such a weird activity, when you think about it.

Are you writing for you, audience be dammed, or are you writing for a following?

What if nothing happens that day? Or if you only like posting 1-2 entries/ day, what if a lot happens?

How anonymous, that is, how descriptive should you be? Lively descriptions and observations make for good reading, but it makes it easy for the real life people to find themselves. Then if an entry is heartfelt - when the word gets out, klablam! Actually, if a blog gets big enough, that issue gets a little easier. Imagine pawing through 502 entries of mine to get to the 1 entry that I skewer you. Just ignore that search button. Please.

And on top of that, it does take a certain strange dogged quality to keep these logs up.

At the end, I bought, which is why I logged in a $20 lunch. lfp will have my back at the next lunch.

worth opening the door

June 21st, 2007 at 09:28 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.25 coffee + 20$ lunch

I was sort of a bad girl today, along with all the other bad girls today. Our workplace has an all-staff meeting once a month. I planned to miss and I slept in a bit. Evil, no? There was only one piece of info at the meeting that I wanted to know, and I found it out after the meeting. (if you got an evaluation rating of 3 or greater, 4.5% raise). Whenever I do miss those all-staffs, I claim that I'm doing everyone a favor - the room limit is only for 120 people, yet if we have everyone in, its 140. Missing the all-staff makes the room safer. Big Grin

But I didn't sleep in too much. The large inheritance check from last weekend had been kicking around the house for a few days and it really should be put to work. My plan was to deposit it while the all-staff was happening. And the larger the check, the longer it takes...you have to say no many more times.

One of the local banks has an ad in the window for their CD rates visible from the bus. 5.6% for 11 months. Best rate I've seen for a brick and mortar bank in Seattle. So I stood at the door at 8:59am, and I must have looked prosperous, because the manager came and unlocked the door, and we began.

It turned out that 5.6% CD was the rate if you had a number of accounts with them and you banked with them before, but I did manage to get 5.4% out of them, splitting my check into a 40K CD and the 26K and change in a high interest checking, which I wanted in case sister was interested in the joint account. The manager was friendly, and had a good poker face when I told him about the inheritance and presented the check. I also got a tote bag and a water bottle.

The manager did a soft pull of my credit rating. 808. A little bit of gossip - I told him that I looked for this bank in bankrate.com. He told me that they used to advertise there (they have online banking), but they got too much "east coast" money. So Tony Soprano banks here, I joked. He laughed, but it turns out that the real issue that it would come in easily and electronically due to the high interest rate, and it would flow out just as easily if someone else gave them a better rate. So they just advertise in the window for local money.

All in all, it took about 40 minutes of signing and printing out materials. Pretty easy, and they were very friendly. I wonder if after I left and turned the corner that the manager whooped for joy. The romantic in me likes to think so.

N.B.: tote bag is in the car. Sturdy, well made, good green color, its turning into the grocery produce shopping bag.

laundry list of stuff

June 20th, 2007 at 08:59 pm

Saving log - $1
Spending log - $1.25 coffee + $7 lunch

A mostly workplace entry.

Got a note from the payroll person that there was a possibility that I was underpaid in the retro pay. I emailed back that what I got was a bit higher but pretty close to what I thought I was getting. Turns out she got over excited.

And I still get asked whether I use my science degree. Of course I do - I make predictions and then I test them. I'm sometimes right, even.

I missed my chiropractor appointment - the night before, I read an article on MSNBC about neck adjustments and freaked. Took me a couple of days to reconcile the article with my experience. Used my science degree for that one, too.

Every quarter we can adjust our 403B withholdings. What with the promotion and a new upward salary adjustment I shot the moon and went for 15%.

And right now I know of two other co workers who are leaving, 1 a surprise, 1 not. Lawyer friend is back east with his dad.

The Internet radio station is up and running!

escrow proposal

June 19th, 2007 at 09:11 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $7 lunch

What's left on the inheritance is for the proceeds on the property that the Wisconsin DNR bought are to be divided up between sister and I. Then the house, barn, sheds, and the 7 acres left (aka the farmette) are to be deeded to the two of us equally. I emailed my sister a proposal that we form a joint savings account that each of us contributes equally to pay for insurance, taxes, maintenance and upgrades.

I figure that this account would give sister some flexibility to pay what needs to be paid, it earmarks money to the farmette, it would set up a natural limit on spending, and it wouldn't hurt to put it in a vehicle that will pay us in interest while we make thoughtful decisions.

Sister mentioned the possibility of "buying me out" of the farmette in about 5 years. I also think if each of us puts equal amounts into an account like this it would make the accounting at that time a lot easier. Nothing like avoiding a "you spent this, but I spent this" fight.

Wonder what she thinks about this?