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Archive for August, 2011

hope everybody is safe from Irene

August 28th, 2011 at 11:53 pm

...and speaking from someone who lived in NC, I want to remind you to save yourself a bit of post-hurricane frustration. Check to see whether your place of work is up and running, or at least that the power is on. No sense trying to fight traffic dodging downed power lines, flooding, downed trees to get to work and there the power is also out.

I had a cheap way to check, although these days it does depend on the workplace physically having a primitive machine - the fax. I used to dial the fax machine and if I got the screech, I knew that the fax was on and the power was on.

I know, I know, who has a fax machine these days? But if you do, remember that the fax sits on the shelf and is plugged in, ie. only works if the power is on.

So why not call your voicemail or see if you can remotely log in? It might work, but your voicemail and your email servers might be offsite to provide protection during times like these. In other words, connecting to them might give you a deceptive answer.

soap nuts

August 23rd, 2011 at 06:08 am

Yes, don't need to rub your eyes. Soap nuts.

Two weeks ago I bought a sample of these for $2. I got a little muslin bag, and inside were 7-8 dried shells of

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Sapindus. The guy I bought them from at the farmer's market claimed that they were good for about 7-8 washings. So far, I've used them for 4.

Using them is pretty easy - plunk your clothes in the washer, plunk the muslin bag in the load, run the washer. Intercept the muslin bag when you load the clothes in the dryer for use in the next load ... the hard part, because the muslin bag has hiding skills.

Clothes in the dryer (or hung) ... supposedly the clothes need no fabric softener. Whatever that is. Smile!

I've really enjoyed using them. My clothes don't have any fragrance, they are clean (not that they get all that dirty) and feel soft ... although they still have some static when you pull them out of the dryer. Think I might get some more.

When they have given their all, the soap nuts can be composted.

Anybody else use them? For once, a cheap solution. (.25$/load)

anything but not everything

August 22nd, 2011 at 03:18 am

I read an insightful

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article about decision fatigue in the NYT Sunday magazine.

The basic point of the article is that decisions of any size require energy. The more you make during a day, the more likely you will either make a crappy one or that you will go with what is recommended to you ... and in a sales situation, its always going to cost.

Insightful to the frugalistas and frugalistas-in-training, for a number of reasons.

Remember the saying "you can have anything, but you can't have everything"? Of course, it means that you have to figure out what your anythings are in the whole universe of everything ... which means setting priorities .... which means decisions. Lots of decisions.

People sometimes consider my tactic of setting a routine to be ho-hum, but it means that I don't have to re-make routine decisions and I free myself for the biggies during the day.

Every so often the question, "what is the most frugal skill one can develop?" pops up. I thought it was math estimation skills but I might make the case that preventing decision fatigue might well be it.

yeah, I pick at scabs, too

August 19th, 2011 at 04:44 am

With all the gyrations of the stock market, I hadn't checked my all of my accounts in about a month. Tonight I did.

I am down over $27,000, or about 4.5%. I expect to be down a bit more before its all said and done. Ignorance for stretches definitely pays.

waiting, but productive

August 18th, 2011 at 03:56 am

Been quiet - I've been paid, and I've been waiting for something fiscal to happen.

This stay-cation was broken up. I just came back for two days in case the auditor had questions for me. I met with the auditor for all of thirty minutes. Sigh. But these two days weren't a total waste. I evaluated one of my employees and was evaluated by my supervisor, and I caught up with my emails. I will only have three days worth of emails rather than nearly three weeks.

Didn't win anything on the Gumshoe, but I had fun. I'm in the process of drawing and designing my third mosaic piece. So far I've gotten some free flat pallet wood that forms a back and a frame - I can funky it up, mosaic on the flat, and stain the frame up. Another artist, whom I took the mosaic class with, offered me some pine back boards. They were originally for the backs of wheelchairs - flat, smooth, nice. So far - free stuff!

I'll take it, I guess

August 14th, 2011 at 04:03 am

At home, I looked over my invoice at the thrift store. I appear to have gotten the 10% senior citizen discount.

I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or dye my hair. But I will take the discount.

Two fiscal blogs that made me laugh

August 10th, 2011 at 02:20 am


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one, just the pictures.
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two, the captions are a riot!

Several people commented about the Gumshoe - here's a
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link. Its a creative fundraiser, and got a lot of people out there walking with their fuchsia handouts. Got the other 10 from the main Gumshoe walk. All I have left is to identify one restaurant from a snippet of a picture in one of the side games and I can turn it in for several drawings.

where was I when the stock market dropped

August 9th, 2011 at 05:15 am

... grouting my mosaic - the fish one - with dark grout. I buffed a bit too hard or did it a hair too early and a couple of the background pieces popped out, so I covered the holes with grout. But the fishy turned out perfect. I'm going to be a bit sanguine about it - I want to use the piece as the bottom of an outdoor/indoor garden tray and if its hair imperfect ... it means that I won't be afraid to use it.

Didn't look at my stocks much. I am excited that I might be able to buy some more in a few weeks. But we will see. I'm still kicking myself for not buying more in March 2009.

My blogoversary matches DH's birthday - I took him out to dinner. $80 there, and a 30$ gift certificate to one of his favorite bookstores. Wasn't feeling all that creative for him.

It is my staycation - and I picked up a $20 entry form to the neighborhood Gumshoe 5K walk. I did it last year - you buy into 30 clues that lead you through bits of the neighborhood. After each clue there is a question that you can answer only if you are in the right place. You write the answers on your entry sheet. The clues are not tricky, but they are subtle, detailed, and every word is used. The perfect person for this is an observant 12 yr old - looks with no filters, and has plenty of energy for backtracking. I find that I can get into the "zone", catch the clues, and not put on a filter or over think it. Today I got 20 of the 30 clues - 10 left! It helped that the 5K walk was in a part of the neighborhood I lived closer to and knew better.

first day of staycation

August 5th, 2011 at 03:45 am


Much as I love time off from work, its hard on my budget and on my diet. If I'm at work, I'm not tempted to spend much money, and I'm not tempted to eat ... two temptations that really happen when I'm out and about.

But this staycation, I'm going to be finishing up on my crafts. I picked up my first mosaic - its now completely done, except for the grout sealer, which I'm applying. The grout sealer is to ensure that rainwater (of which we get much in Seattle) won't harm it. Here it is:

And last night I finished gluing the glass bits on the mesh of my second piece, which is going to be a bottom of a wire tray. (Got the wire tray at Value Village for $6!) I have yet to mortar the glass onto a board using thinset, then grout it, then seal the grout. But you can get the general idea.

I figure that I've spend about 300$ on the class and materials of which I have plenty for several other projects... and I think I can keep the costs down. Definitely enjoy this!