Home > Archive: June, 2007

Archive for June, 2007

tape a business card to yer luggage

June 30th, 2007 at 05:26 am

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 29th, 2007 at 04:56 am

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 28th, 2007 at 03:45 am

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 27th, 2007 at 02:50 am

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 11:41 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 24th, 2007 at 04:45 am

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 22nd, 2007 at 04:52 am

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 22nd, 2007 at 04:28 am

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 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 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 21st, 2007 at 03:59 am

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 20th, 2007 at 04:11 am

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?

Bwa hahhahhh 500!

June 19th, 2007 at 05:10 am

I couldn't resist! I can't imagine that I even had 500 things to say...

More bus tips

June 19th, 2007 at 05:03 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $6 lunch

Just thought I'd write up something different...

Saturday my bus stop got a shelter that it didn't have on Friday. It was amazing that it was built so quickly, but it was a bummer too. It means that this so-called temporary bus stop is now the permanent bus-stop. R.I.P former, convenient, all buses stopping bus stop. Sigh.

Oh yes, note to Metro transit: with the shelter we now need a big wastebasket. When you have people sitting down away from the elements, you get litter.

So last Saturday I felt (and might have written) that I was riding with the transit amateurs. Transit amateurs just don't know the rules of the bus - boyfriends stand in the aisle next to their girlfriends even though they are corking up the aisle for other people even when the driver tells him not to - people looking confused when they pay (to be fair, a bus going toward downtown you pay getting on, a bus leaving downtown you pay getting off. Not foolproof) - people even not remembering to hang onto rails - people really, really wanting a window or an aisle - and everyone with a duffle bag or a backpack that you're just wearing. Cripes, its Saturday, and you're heading to festival in the city. Whatever happened to the wallet and the clif bar?

So some new professional bus transit tips...
1. Use the penguin hold for your backpack if you are standing in the aisle. Its simple - take your backpack off, pretend its a penguin chick and stick it between your feet. You won't bash someone in the face.
2. I hate the window and being constricted and I'm going to sit in the aisle seat and sigh loudly if someone goes to the window seat. Get over yourself. You're in a community of transit riders for a 30 minutes. Play with others even if you're sitting in a seat you hate.
3. Couples - its okay if you aren't sitting or standing together. Just get off at the same stop. Big Grin Are you that worried that another bus rider is going to steal your girl away? And we are all going to laugh if you call each other on the cell phone.
4. Don't annoy the professional riders by asking us "what's this bus like during the week?" or "I'll bet its real quiet on the weekdays." If you want to know, ride the bus during the week.

And here is the best tip for busriding in Seattle.

1. Watch and learn where your bus goes along its route, and look at other bus numbers at the stops it stops at. It means that:
The more routes you know and the greater the willingness to walk means you have more flexibility in the buses you can take.
If there are a ton of people at the stop you are waiting at, backstep and wait at the stop before the stop with a ton of people at it. (You'll probably get a seat.)

art cars (long)

June 17th, 2007 at 04:50 am

Saving log - $lots, see later in the post
Spending log - $20 for 2 breakfasts, $5 lemonade

This weekend's the Fremont Fair, which I usually don't go to even though its free - it just concentrates badly behaved people - but I wanted to see the art cars. I didn't realize that Seattle hosted the 3rd largest art car gathering in the US.

Here's one using materials familiar to a blogger:

This one can only be described as a tart car, with black bras and curlers on the top:

A working fountain on the hood?

This one has a wicked sculptural quality to it - the top of the windshield has the words 'outta my way' in mirror image, so you could see them that way in your rear view mirror.

Art cars intersect with frugality in weird sorts of ways. For instance, the one thing that art cars share is that the car part is all paid off; I'm sure that GM Financing takes a very dim view of gluing black bras on the hood of a car that you are still paying on. Smile. In most cases, the materials used as a motif for the car - discs, lingerie, beads, chalk, paint, match box cars, pennies - are usually cheap or worthless. Making something out of nothing, as it were. And you have to be very, very willing to live with and still use the results.

Today I also received the 4th payment from dad's estate. The state of Wisconsin signed off and is buying our 2nd piece of property, but that money hasn't come into the estate yet. With this 4th payment, the sale of the first property is now divided up between sister and I. The amount is small enough so it would be FDIC insured as a CD, but large enough that its weird to see it as a simple slip of paper. Shouldn't it have a gilt frame or something?