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Bulls eye!

January 14th, 2014 at 04:06 am

Two more items on the Target front:

My CU is replacing my debit card.
Got a Target missive to go and get my credit monitored.

So far, no weird transactions. Everything looks clean.

Next week is my first condo meeting as president.

This weekend I finished a mosaic clock. Got a clock motor thingy from Amazon, drilled a hole my wood backerboard and got the motor thingy in. Mosaicked the backerboard, grouted, let the grout cure, installed my hands and put the battery in. Very pretty. I'll post a picture when I get a chance to take the picture in reasonable light. Hard to do when I leave in the dark and get home in the dark.

Fixing up my red card

December 31st, 2013 at 05:21 am

I have a Target Red Card and noticed that I had used it between the times card information was stolen. I have to assume that I was one of the 40M.

So far, no strange spurious transactions. However, I'm royally sick of the "no, they didn't steal this, so you are safe" then it turns that this happened, but you really are still safe. The final straw was encripted PINs. The hackers didn't have the PINs, then they did, but not the encription key. I changed my PINs up and made a teeny purchase to test.

Still watching.

On another note about still watching, I am collecting lists for 2014. If you are interested in playing, email me directly.


September 1st, 2013 at 08:56 pm

I still have to do my kitchen backsplash, but I helped lawyer friend and partner lay in their kitchen backsplash. We tiled two of them - they put in a basement unit with its own kitchen to rent out.

Both turned out well - my mosaic experiences directly translated - and I got free experience in set-up, the tile wet saw (don't know how running that will fly amongst my neighbors in the condo), doing corners, handling light sockets, using spacers, figuring out how to compensate for putting a design on a wall. It was funny how the three of us had different luck in the materials - most of it was subway tile with a glass tile band & I definitely had "glass tile" hands.

It was fun, but tiring. Now that I've got my own plan, know what color grout to use, and got fresh experience to draw, its time to do my own.


August 28th, 2013 at 04:46 am

test test

create entry

August 28th, 2013 at 04:45 am

when I use create entry on the control panel, it eats my entry. Grr.

keeping on

July 27th, 2013 at 05:50 am

I had my frugal burn last week, and while I have a little more money at the end of this time period, I'll have another, smaller frugal burn ending mid August.

But I will have enough to do the Gumshoe with Spondilicks next weekend. For the first time in 10 years I missed the Greenwood Parade. Bummer, but it takes two buses, so I didn't feel up to it.

Not much more is happening. I've been sprucing up my 2nd bedroom for crafts - moved my work table around, unpacked a lot of glass, tile, and china. This week I painted two sliding closet doors in dk brown chalkboard paint (14$). Chalkboard paint goes on a lot like pudding; I felt like I was really slapping it on. Took at least two coats, a light sand to knock down the biggest brush strokes, and the third coat. Love the color enough so if chalkboarding doesn't appeal the color looks like I meant it.

feelin' the frugal burn

July 15th, 2013 at 01:57 am

Gremlins ate my post, so this will be quick and less literate.

Tomorrow is payday - I had $60 to work with from Wednesday. I had a confluence of mortgage payment, COA monthly fee, and the (hopefully) last payment for kitchen, so I had to pull from my most immediate savings fund. At least I had it.

At work, the 403B switched out 2 funds and picked up 3 new ones. A couple of dividend funds to invest in there at last, along with a real estate fund to spice things up. I did a little adjusting to put a little bit into the new funds.

Have hit the gym twice last week and twice last week the week before. Soon it will be a habit again. I've been cycling between 170 and 177. Would be nicer if it begins to drop but it doesn't rise, well that's a win too.

Media costs

July 1st, 2013 at 01:13 am

A couple of days ago I bought 1Gb of data on my little Karma unit. It took me about 4 weeks to use the first 1Gb. Thus far, my cobbled together, pay as you go stuff:

Dumb phone - 16$/month (bought phone for $30 in 2009)

Internet wireless (Karma) - $14/month (bought unit for $80 last month)

Netflix - $8.75/month, and I try to finish my DVD by Sunday/Wednesday to get me about 8 DVDs a month.

Email - $20/month. I might work on moving it to get that a bit cheaper, plus after a few years one gets a thick level of spam and old commitments. You move your email, decide on your most important accounts and let the rest go. Smile

I like the pay as you go - it keeps me aware of what I'm doing and I can manipulate things a bit.

got wireless

May 29th, 2013 at 04:30 am

Broke down and now have wireless Internet. I got a little Karma unit. Its $79 flat, 1 Gb/month free and if I need more, its $14/1Gb extra. We'll see how I do. The flatness of the pricing appeals to me. It would be perfect for my sister, who usually piggybacks from a neighbor's wireless. Unfortunately its not available in Milwaukee.

how's the apocalpyse workin' for ya?

December 22nd, 2012 at 03:53 am

Well it is the great Mayan reset day, the end of Bak'tun 13. Yippee. Decided to not bother with the diet today. Big Grin. Nothing like being caught on a diet on the last day of the end of the world! And if the world goes on tomorrow, well, then I can get back on the wagon.

I haven't weighed myself and I think that I'm gaining, but I put on a blouse known to be 'tight' on me and voila, a bit of space. So perhaps the routine of nearly every night spending 1-2 hrs painting a wall or an hour setting up to paint said wall perhaps counts as exercise after all. Or if, as it was tonight, clearish skies with no rain .... the golden rule of the carless person: "buy something heavy and awkward that you don't want to be lugging when it rains". Such as tonight, when I laid in two more cases of canned cat food. Lugging that on the bus and walking it home counts as weight bearing exercise, probably about 20 minutes of kettlebell swinging.

I'm still settling in, but I'm going to try to cheap out in surprising ways. For instance, I'm going to hold out on buying household Internet and wireless as long as I can. Several coffeeshops and the library maintain wireless within a three block radius of my condo. Clearly I'm not going to be doing sensitive work in a public network, but it should be fine for blogging and I think I can do my banking at work. I'm finding value in that a non-wired home forces me to be in the present and really relax. Pet the cat. Actually watch and enjoy the DVD. Paint the wall. Carpet the floor.

Carpeting is done. I showed off my pictures to them and they were thrilled. The carpet tile people (Flor) called me an asked if I would like a couple of boxes of samples. Totally free, and they paid for shipping. Smile I said yes - I can make many bath mats, kitchen mats, entryway mats, and I have several friends who would be interested in what I come up with. So an opportunity presented itself.

Tomorrow will be the start of another big project - moving my stuff out of the old place. The ex is back with his family, and he flew out. He told me that I could use the car and that he would gas it up. I have a lot of stuff, but what I think I will do is just intensively get a slice of stuff every day for the next few days. for instance, tomorrow will be clothes and mosaic hobby stuff. Tomorrow cookbooks and a cooler of beef, etc. Then when ex comes back we take it room by room. I was saying (long)

December 13th, 2012 at 08:50 pm

Well, this is the first post in about 5 months. My entry title is a take off on Jack Paar's first words when he came back to his Tonight show after a big long kerfluffle.

Anyway, what happened was not a mere storm to my routine it was a fiscal hurricane (apologies to those still coming back from ss Sandy). It was all self induced. Pull up a chair and let me tell you about it.

First of all, no more DH. Actually, just to be clear, DH was more a DP (partner). We never got married, but we were together for over 20 years. I fudged the legal aspects of the relationship to provide myself a hair more anonymity. And now, it matters little except for the fact that no marriage, no divorce.

I had been dissatisfied in our relationship for some time, but something good usually happened that I could go on for a little longer. Last July though, I just looked around and saw that DH (okay, DP) was not going to change and I was damned, if I continued, that I was going to spend my next 30 years picking up after him. I blew...for me I blew, and then while I snapped back I snapped back into a different place ... a different realization.

We broke up, but we did go to Argentina together. I did give him the option to not go (he took out trip insurance), but told him that we all did want him to come. I can't say what he thought about the whole thing. I know that strangely enough, it took the heat off of me. If he did something cringe worthy, I didn't think of it as a reflection on our relationship because there now wasn't one.

Next day after I snapped, I went to my credit union in search of a home loan. Which, if you look at my net worth, was easy to get. I had 20% and could qualify pretty easy for a 3% 15 yr fixed. Next I thought hard about what I really really wanted. I thought, wouldn't it be nice to have a real yard? Yeah, I suppose, but really yard work only appealed to me once in awhile, while plants in the yard grew relentlessly. And if I waited for Seattle home prices to turn reasonable, well I'd still be spending 30 yrs waiting for that. Plus, if I truly wanted to do yard work for a couple of weeks, I could fly out, spend some time with sister at the farmette, help her with the garden and weeding, and since I co-own the farmette, well, it helps me also.

After a bit of searching, I found probably one of the last sweet condo deals in Seattle, out in Lake City/Cedar Park, out at the northeast edge of Seattle. And yet the bus commute was 20 minutes shorter than what I'm used to (buses here are express, and I'm on the last stop before downtown), and the neighborhood itself sports a +90 walkability score. So I now am a proud condo owner.

With it, well I'm still spending money right and left. However, I'm buying quality and getting exactly what I want. New carpet, but carpet tile instead of wall to wall shag; new paint, but high end paint which means I can get away with 1/2 coats, only buying 1 gallon and taking only 1/2 sessions to paint a room. V.I. (kitty) has moved in with me and seems to have settled in well. Of course that litter genie could have helped much.

I can't rightly say that I'm saving money yet, but I am saving my sanity, resetting my routine, making new friends (I'm now closer to Spondilucks, who invited me to her New Year's party).

More to come, but as it is, while life is different, it is nicer for me than before.

calm before the storm

August 17th, 2012 at 03:45 am

Its been 10 days since I last wrote. Not that much has happened:

Got evaluated at work, and did smashing. I did read though that our medical insurance is going up double digits so who knows if a smashing evaluation translates into a raise.

Did the Gumshoe but did not win. Paulette did the Gumshoe and she did not win. We made plans next year to do the Gumshoe together ... and not win.

Working on the mosaic business numbers. Am about 30% done. Don't know if I'll get them done before Argentina, but we will see. Went online to vistaprint and did up a $10 box of business cards.

Got the first notification of what our 403B fees are or will be, with a lunch meeting about it next week.

KO split on Monday. 246 shares. Yippee!

Been hotter than blazes lately up here in the northwest corner. In addition, I've been averaging 2-3 hot flashes/day.

But all in all, it feels like the calm before the storm. I don't think the storm will happen before the Argentina trip, but mostly after. And by a "storm" I mean a complete change in my routine. Things feel different, like the routine that I have I will not have too much longer.

I do have one change already - my current trainer left the gym and I have to decide whether the new spot is convenient enough that I can work it, namely get there by public transit within 15 minutes. If not, I think I will see if and how I can get by with just me. I say that, but the last time I said it I was 20 pounds heavier. Right now, altho I'm stalled in the mid 160's, I feel that really ... 150s is about the right weight and I'm pretty close. And without gym, I can get some real savings in for the "storm" to come.

jury duty

June 24th, 2012 at 02:15 am

My second day is Monday, and am part of a pool for a trial. If I'm picked for a jury, I'll be out for a little while. I'm a little quiet these days anyway!

first commission

June 18th, 2012 at 03:48 am

I screwed up my courage, took my photos and talked with one of the art/decor/design boutiques in the neighborhood. It was a swing and a miss for what I wanted to sell (she is moving away from furniture and going toward purses, clothing, rugs, car upholestry). Anyway, she looked at sister's house numbers, wrote her house number on the back of a business card and wanted a mosaicked house number for her house in up rural Snohomish. Yeah! Not super duper big, but a confidence builder nonetheless. She asked how much it would cost, then caught herself because she herself has trouble pricing a job. I'm to keep track of my parts and labor.

I also connected with the mosaic store/workshop in Wallingford (Seattle neighborhood). The owner and staff were extremely friendly and enjoyed the pictures.

So big lesson: say hi, make connections even if its scary, and always bring pictures.

I'm saving for... (dark)

June 2nd, 2012 at 03:04 am

This is a warning that its dark.

I work maybe two blocks from

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Every Sunday, I walk past
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During my walk home, I have found much money on the blacktop of this
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I've been known to have a coffee
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This is a bit over 10 blocks north of where I live.

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This is about 4 blocks south of where I live.

I'm saving for a Kevlar vest. What are the fashion forward colors this year?

lot o' little

April 15th, 2012 at 01:30 am

Currently, steady as she goes...

Found out that I can use the new CU ATM in the grocery store without any charges either from them or from BECU. New CU seems a bit more focused on service inside the grocery store - they were open at 4 pm this Saturday.

Enjoying the several days of sun, for once this year, we finally got some! Sister is in the midst of planting for her CSA this year. She is a little north of the big tornado alley warning this weekend.

Holding tight at 167. I did do a quick analysis of my food diary, highlighting what I ate that was outside the paleo diet, counted the highlights, then compared scores when the two days my weight was high, and two days my weight was low. Right now, it appears that I can predict my weight based on a six day moving average of what I ate. The more closely I hewed to the paleo diet (lower scores) for those six days, the more likely I lost weight. The less closely (higher scores), the more likely I will gain. Time to really re-double my efforts.

Shut off optional contributions to two of my DRPs - IP and WEC, but have started them for Target (TGT). I've also put $300 into my Sysco (SYS) DRP. SYS has a $3 fee, so it makes more sense to put $300 in every so often than it does to put in $50/ month.

I found a useful used book on raising meat goats for the Duvall friends, copyright date for 2006, for $12. They have two milk goats and now several meat goats in addition to the boy milk goat, which equals a meat goat. I'm not sure if they have the book already; DH doesn't think it likely - their budget is stretched tight these days.

Another friend is saving ceramics and found materials for me. She has one of the best gardens in South Seattle, in my opinion. Might be fun and a change to do an outdoor project. Over my little break, I saw a couple of mosaic pieces in the window of one of the art gallery/consignment shops, screwed up my courage and talked to the owner and showed some of my photos of my pieces. She was warm and friendly, thought I was doing great. Also said that if I make her a mirror, similar to a piece I've done, she has a place to hang it. Smile

a few days off

April 10th, 2012 at 04:33 am

Work has gotten a little quieter and I'm back to the two main projects. Still a little challenging but at least I've returned to sanity. Right now I'm taking a few days off - Friday, today, Tuesday, Wednesday. I didn't really plan on taking off Easter, and out here in Seattle, there isn't a complete shutdown for Easter holiday.

I've reading a lot of spending diaries. Apologies that I'm not participating. I do feel quiet keenly that as soon as I'm away from work, I spend much more. When I'm working, my daily costs are basically one bought coffee ($2), and whatever daily groceries ($10 - $20) I go for. Starting on Friday, my spending jumped to a good $50/day with bought breakfast, bought entertainment, and bought lunch. Out and about, I do find more loose change ... but that doesn't keep up with the spending. Smile.

This last Friday, I used a friends and family coupon and saw the Gauguin exhibit. Still $18; however it was cheaper than buying the plane ticket to Paris. Plenty of Gauguins - Breton ones, Paris ones, Martinique ones, 1st trip to Tahiti ones, 2nd trip to Tahiti ones - but the real stars of the show were the war clubs, craft boxes, sculpture and tattoo work of Tahiti and New Zealand which was his source. The other lookers were pretty mellow - it was senior Friday. Some looked like they could have seen Gauguin himself.

Weather has finally improved, so I got caught up on grouting three pieces. I showed lawyer friend a picture of the piece I made for him for his housewarming. I was relieved that he was thrilled with it.

I'm back up into the 167-168 range. I'm in the process of going through my food diary and seeing what I can change in my diet, looking for triggers, just looking for patterns. I did this this morning with a coffee sitting on a bench overlooking the Ship Canal. Very relaxing.

Oh yes, no one had Mike Wallace this year. I had Mike Wallace last year. As I've said repeatedly, I'm good at picking people, its the year I'm crappy at.

question of the afternoon

March 31st, 2012 at 02:30 am

Didja buy a Mega Millions ticket?

I did. Just one. First lottery ticket I've bought in 30 years. I still debated about it because I was on record for saying, "its a tax on people who don't get probability".

What tipped me to buying it though was, well, I managed to find over $1 in change during the last four days so I could make the case that I bought the ticket with other people's money.

So what would I do with over a quarter billion? Probably what someone in Illinois did: put it in an LLC and keep my name out of the papers.

But what I did buy with the mini-lottery win (aka paycheck) was: rent, groceries, electric bill, and a pledge to my public radio station

something frivolous

February 29th, 2012 at 05:26 am

The stock certificate came tonight.

I was reading the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and I realized that the Packers were having their stock sale. I've been tempted a couple of rounds before, very tempted in 2001 ... now I finally pulled the trigger.

I now have a share in the Green Bay Packers. I own probably a billionth of the team ... maybe a blade of grass in Lambeau. It was basically a way of dressing up a 200$ gift - only bragging rights, and an excuse to go to the shareholder meeting in Green Bay in July.

perfect day, actually

February 22nd, 2012 at 02:06 am

I've been sick since Friday, when I first felt that tickle in the throat. I canceled gym on friday, and, the same as the time before, the gym failed to get the message to the trainer. Sigh. Note to self: forget the main phone line for the gym, use the trainer instead.

I got everything that I wanted done that day, though, including pulling three large data sets due to be formatted and booked onto a little flash drive.

Saturday I was a little worse, but not that bad. Sunday a little worse yet. It was Monday that I really bottomed out - didn't do anything except sleep. Today I was a little better but probably pretty contagious and still not even 70%.

So today was actually perfect. I worked out my three data sets from bed, with a little moral support from kitty. No distractions, got the formatting done, and will book them when I come back.

I felt energized enough to walk to a pho place in the neighborhood for a bowl of pho ... my favorite thing for a cold or flu.

Personal Finance with Cormac: the lottery

November 13th, 2011 at 02:46 am

Based on this

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Boy and man came into a store, sign blinking in bright neon. They trudged to the back smelling hardware and rubber and tired men in the midst buying things needed for tired men projects. Man was after bullets. Bullets were always sold in the back. Man was happiest buying anything in the back, nothing in the front was worth the time. Boy followed. He was a good son but he was of an age were he did not understand that the back sold reality, the front sold image.

But the man loved his son and after bullets were selected for the gun they needed to protect the cattle they had to trudge back to the front toward and through the candy colors and ringing coin to get back to the reality outside.

Boy spoke first. May we? He pointed to the brightest machine. Lottery $1.

Man paused. Stupid thing for a man to hope. Man filled ovals under the rimmed gaze of baleful blue eyeshadow.

Name? asked the woman.

Man shook the bag of bullets. LLC, said the man.

the next issue

November 10th, 2011 at 04:40 am

I got a note from my credit union yesterday. They are moving their neighborhood banking center and ATM from the Safeway. Now I normally don't care much about the banking center - I use direct deposit and another banking center downtown is what I use for snafus - but I'm not very happy about the ATMs going.

Oh, and every time I think "I should get a financial planner", well, karma delivers the reason

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why. Geez, I think I can screw up by myself and for free.

not a dang thing

November 5th, 2011 at 04:18 am

Has happened to me fiscally. I did come down with a cold and took off a couple of days from work. Since I was either sick as a dog or working like a dog, didn't spend much money nor did I think any deep thoughts about money.

40$ per paycheck

October 18th, 2011 at 03:21 am

The raise wasn't too shabby. I think I will increase the savings transactions to compensate before I get too used to it.

I looked at my own Chase rewards and I've activated the 5%. One of the categories this month was charitable giving. I'm toying with the idea of giving by credit card vs giving by payroll the system a little bit.

the 8 year itch

October 8th, 2011 at 06:14 am

It turns out that I use my electronic stuff just fine for about 9 or so years. Back sometime in 1994- 1995, I got my first "laptop" - a subnotebook brick. 386chip ... I was riding high ... and at the time, the internet was mostly usenet so we all grunted and got on with typing. My critter did suffer from Y2K ... all my files were written in 1900. Big Grin

By 2003- 2004 DJ friend (and co worker) had a friend selling Dell laptops. I was a hair nervous buying from him, but as of yesterday, it was what I went online with, and it still works today. It is, however, a good 5-6 pounds. In other words, these days its a tank.

The night I blogged that I was trying out the netbook from DJ friend I wrote the check for $250 - includes the DVD/CD drive, and a wireless mouse. In return, I loaned him a 12 year old copy of Word 2000 for his wife's job search. In return of that, DJ friend's business partner who does sound mastering needs a laptop to run the mastering software and tanks work well. Since the laptop was an old friend, I didn't want to just toss it and storing it in the attic was wasteful too. Giving the laptop to him was a perfect solution! ...And it was 8-9 years so I got a good cost to use ratio.

So I got a serious lightness and speediness upgrade for $250, DJ friend got Word, DJ friend's business partner got a laptop that he can use.

On a side electronics note, I also got the ad version of a 3G keyboard Kindle. Wow, so light and reading things are just so easy. I'm a little bummed that I appear to have to pay a small second subscription on a home delivery subscription. If I love reading the paper on the Kindle, I might drop the home delivery to just weekends or something.

It will be strange, though. I wonder what stuff I'll be using 8 years from now.

brava mjrube!

October 6th, 2011 at 04:55 am

I'll be cryptic because you know why. You were the only one - 44 points and a commanding lead.

test driving a netbook

October 5th, 2011 at 02:16 am

So DJ friend bought a netbook for his dad, but found an iPad even better for his needs, so he is interested in selling the next-to-never-used netbook to me for $200. So far, I've loaded Firefox, NPR and this blog. Its very cute and very light, and frankly, as long as I can surf, crank an Excel sheet, I'm happy. It'll be quite a change if I get this - I've had my laptop since (also bought from DJ friend) 2004. Sweet!

quarter was a bust

October 1st, 2011 at 03:08 am

With the stock market 12% off and with the never ending recession, and with a virtual certainty that if you have a checking account with a big bank you'll be (expletive deleted)... well, I need to share just one good thing that happened this quarter. Here it is, made it myself:

Olive oil and mosaics

September 18th, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Early yesterday afternoon, DH and I visited the Greek Festival at St. Demitrious Church. Its gotten a bit more focused than in years' past - no $2 raffle tickets at the front and the deli is a bit smaller. Plus with following the paleo/primal eating diet suggested by my current trainer, I really had move along quickly to avoid the baklava and powdered sugar desserts. We went, looked around, and bought 2 multi quart cans of olive oil, and we were done. Hopefully the olive oil will last us the better part of the year. Although with this diet you can practically drink the stuff.

Speaking of that diet, I've been on it for a month and lost 6 pounds - I'm at 165. If I hit 163, my BMI will fall below the overweight threshold and into average. Woo hoo. The big surprise was the body fat reading - normally its been stubbornly holding at 35%. Yesterday the reading was 33%.

Afterward, I grouted my third mosaic project. I'm going to give it the Duvall friends for Christmas - which added an additional twist to grouting. Grouting always makes me nervous, but this turned out well.

(I was going to upload a pic of it, but the site is bombing out on me.)

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)

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