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Archive for September, 2006

camera babble

September 29th, 2006 at 09:30 am



I'm salivating over the Olympus Evolte E-500 (link here, photo above). I want a digital SLR with multiple lenses. The particular package I'm looking at comes with a 14-45mm lens and a 40-150 lens. This camera is great because it fits well in my hand, and has lots of features. I've read review after review, and the vast majority are glowing.



I have an Olympus Stylus 500 (a gift from SO a few years ago), and I absoultely love it. It's a great camera (photo above). It's really the cause for my photography obsession.



My old-school Nikon EM (above) has taught me a lot about apertures and lighting and all sorts of fun stuff. I love that camera too. Since I'm still learning, though, and I don't have access to a darkroom, I end up wasting a lot of film on photos that aren't quite right. And developing a whole roll of film for 1-2 good pictures is expensive (and disappointing).

I thought I wanted a Nikon D-70 after years of admiring Heather's photos on dooce.com. Once I got it in my hands, though, it felt bulky and unmanageable. It takes great shots, and I'd probably get used to the bulkiness, but I picked up the Olympus and liked it so much better.

So, that's my camera story. If I can get a nice chunk of overtime pay over the next couple of months, perhaps I can buy my camera AND go to Mexico in the spring. Wink

fending off the 'want' demons

September 28th, 2006 at 07:24 am

Jamming to tunes with my new MP3 toy. Thanks for the music recommendations, baselle!

This morning I provided slapstick comedy for my fellow busriders by slip-sliding down the rain-slicked aisle and nearly plopping onto a teenager's lap. The teenagers found it highly amusing. I had forgotten how juvenile humor thoroughly amuses high school students.

The pottery class last night was a bit...disappointing. Four of the seven students have taken this particular class more than once, and the instructor seemed more interested in chatting them up than helping out the newbies. He was completely unprepared to teach. Afterwards I was quite frustrated, but tonight I am going to the library to scour the pottery how-to books. If he's not going to teach me, I'll figure it out myself. At least I have access to the clay, wheels, glaze, and kilns.

I'm signing up to work overtime during the holiday season again this year. I could stand to make a decent amount of money if we have high product demand. Wish I could tell you what it is! Stick Out Tongue

I found a bunch of random gift cards in my purse, so I decided to tally up the leftover amounts. It came to $155! Nice! I'll have to make sure to use them up before the annual penalty fees kick in.

I decided on a digital SLR camera a few days ago (thought I wanted a Nikon until I actually held it in my hands - way too big!). Yesterday I tip-toed onto dangerous ground. I researched the best price, and then checked out 0% financing credit card offers. I talked myself out of applying for any. I could potentially have the money to buy it by the end of November, if I work hard at it. What's more important, though - a fancy new camera, or that long-desired trip to Mexico? The selfish me says both! Stick Out Tongue

just fine

September 27th, 2006 at 07:05 am

The procedure was thankfully less painful than I had anticipated. Not fun, but it's over with and I hope that was the first and last episode of that melodrama. Boss seems to be ignoring my time off request now. I'm just not up for caring anymore.

I was naughty last night and bought my MP3 player/radio. It was on sale (of course), and so far I'm liking it! I had radio reception the entire bus trip this morning, which is unheard of. The reception is not as great at my desk, but I think I can figure out a way to improve it. I bought a cheap plastic lidded soap dish to store it in so it doesn't flop around unprotected in my bag. Perfect!

Yes - I should have waited for Christmas - but I felt like I "deserved" it after all the trauma lately (silly, I know!). Now I just have to remind myself that I don't "deserve" anything more! Back on track!

About the grocery store gift certificates - I have a credit card that currently gives 5% cash back on grocery store purchases. They are changing it to only 2% back next month. I want to get the best bang for my buck, so I'm buying gift certificates now. I'll have to buy groceries, right? So I might as well get some extra cash back for it while I still can.

Stopped by Walgreens last night and stocked up on a few things they've got on the rebate list. I still need to organize my stash and write down everything I have. No more buying for a while; I need to use up what we've got. Nice deal at Target, though - Pepsi 12-packs were 4/$9, plus we got a $5 gift card for buying. That amounts to $1 per 12-pack. Awesome!

Pottery class tonight! Big Grin

attempting to think about finances

September 26th, 2006 at 07:51 am

Thanks for all of your support. I haven't shared the details of the procedure with my boss - all I said was I'm having a medical procedure done. Still no approval to leave, but obviously I'm taking care of myself first. You're right - I've only got one body.

In financial news...I've been working on holiday shopping. I ordered several delicious soy candles from Crooked Mile Candle Company. They've got new scents - cocoa cappucino! Caramel pecan crumble! Count me in (and my giftees, as well).

I'm contemplating purchasing a MP3 player with radio. I miss listening to NPR every day, and I can't stream it at work. The one I've got my eye on is 1GB, $69.

I've been busy stocking up on grocery gift cards. I have one other store to stop at (perhaps two), and we'll be set for the rest of the year. Neat!

Yesterday we watched a little Globe Trekker (anyone else a fan of this show?). They were bopping around several Carribean islands, and it looked heavenly. I told SO we should consider our Mexico trip again. We've got plenty of time to save up!

running the roads

September 25th, 2006 at 08:09 am

I had a busy weekend. Saturday we went to a nephew's birthday party with all of the family. It was nice to see everyone and catch up a little. Sunday I had lunch with my college advisors (our little yearly gathering). They are both amazing women and it was lovely to see them again. Yesterday was a fabulous day for a drive - perfect weather, sunny but cool, and all the trees are changing colors. I enjoyed having a little time alone.

I finally had to track down the doctor to find out the results of my biopsy. They were still abnormal, so I have to have the abnormal cells frozen off tomorrow. I am not looking forward to it at all. My boss is questioning why I need to have this time off. We'll see if I'm forced to take vacation time for it, even though I still have sick time left and am planning ahead. I have never been treated like a problem employee before, and I'm not liking it (in fact, every boss I've ever had has loved me!). However, having pre-cancerous cells removed is far higher on my list, thank you very much.

My pottery class starts on Wednesday. I hope I am feeling well enough to attend. I am really excited about it!

Hoping to make it to an apple orchard next weekend. We have these delicious Honeycrisp apples here...they are incredible!! I'd really love to pick up a bag, and wander through an orchard for a couple of hours. Smile Perfect fall activity.

good, bad, ugly

September 20th, 2006 at 08:09 am

THE GOOD
~ Received full refund for bad half.com transaction
~ Received full refund for damaged overstock.com product
~ Reserved a campsite in October up north at a park that's said to be just gorgeous - can't wait!
~ Received a card in the mail yesterday from a good friend saying she's there for me!
~ Saved $5 at Petsmart and $18 at Target last night with coupons
~ Free work lunch today
~ SO got up and made me breakfast this morning!
~ My back feels monumentally better after Monday's massage

THE BAD
~ Spent $163 at Target last night
~ Submitted Priceline offer was denied for cheap hotel room - will have to try again later (coincides with camping trip)
~ Have spent $50 in gifts this month
~ Prescriptions and doctors visits are adding up - $110 so far
~ Went shopping last night instead of job hunting
~ Have spent $160 on groceries already this month

THE UGLY
~ Still no word from my doctor about the biopsy results
~ Have not made it to the swimming pool yet
~ Have spent over $400 on things for ME alone - community ed classes, books, fall candles, wine, eating out, massage
~ Won't make most of my goals this month


At least the good outweighs the bad (we won't even talk about the ugly), but sheesh! Obviously I self-medicate with stuff when I'm stressed.

a case of the Monnnndays

September 18th, 2006 at 08:55 am

I truly appreciate all of your support. It's a wonder, having all of you here to 'talk' and 'listen' to! It's hard to believe that I've been blogging here for almost two years.

I noticed today that a few of the blogs I always liked to catch up on have disappeared - Retire@50, for one. Bummer. I like hearing about how people's lives are going.

Boss told me today that doctor's notes don't matter. Also found out that I can be sick one day in November or December, but any more than that until some point next year and I will get written up. I really, really hope I don't get the flu. I'll be sure to get a flu shot this year.

I unintentionally had a no-spend weekend! Friday I uncorked a bottle of wine and just tried to relax. Saturday I spent all day - 9:00am to nearly 6:00pm - working on the coupon train. There were a ton of expired coupons, so I tossed those and added over 500 of mine. I organized it to keep like coupons together. I was amazed that it took so long to do. Sunday I made black bean soup in the crockpot, delicious parmesan italian bread with the help of the breadmaker, and a peach crisp. Cooking is so enjoyable with a cool breeze floating through the open windows.

I didn't get much job hunting done like I had planned. Tonight the masseuse is coming over (yippee!). I'm waiting for the doctor's phone call and just trying to remember that it's nice to be alive. Smile

job search in overdrive

September 16th, 2006 at 10:36 am

Yesterday I was informed that because I had one sick day in July and one in August, if I have one more unplanned sick day between now and sometime next year, I will be put on written notice. That means no raise, no time off whatsoever, and and my job is at risk.

Ridiculous.

Yes, this fact is in the employee manual, and yes, I should have remembered it. However, I think it's ludicrous to expect employees to come to work when they are legitimately sick. My July time was taken to get my eyelid stitched back up after the cat attack. August's was for a bacterial infection that required antibiotics; I was literally running to the bathroom every 15 minutes all day. At my job, if you are sick with the flu for three days in a row, you're put on written notice.

Again, ridiculous.

I felt like I was one of those people who are out of the office all the time - like I've taken 20 sick days this year. I've taken a total of 4.

I was also told that my error rate since January is unacceptable. Care to know what it is? 1.7%. They expect perfection.

This, on top of everything else going on right now, is too much. I had to have a biopsy last Wednesday and if the results coming in next week aren't good, guess what? I'll have to take more time off to have surgery. Will I get written up for it? I have no idea. All I can say is, my health is more important to me.

So, after I'm done with the coupon train (it's enormous! so great!), I know how the rest of my weekend will be spent. Job hunting.

a wee bit of gloating

September 14th, 2006 at 06:52 am

Last night we hit two grocery stores, and with coupons and advertised savings, we saved a total of...

*insert trumpet fanfare here*

$52.77 !!

One grocery store has double-coupon Wednesdays. (I had completely forgotten until we were at the checkout!) I have never, ever, saved that much on groceries. SO and I were both so excited. Big Grin

Our pantry is bulging and we have enough liquid products to float a boat on. I think we're set for a while. Now to plan menus around what we have.

We looked into camping up north in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area over Columbus Day, but it's all booked! Amazing. We'll have to remember it for next year. I think we'll keep looking...I so want to camp again before the snow flies!

The doctor's appointment...I don't even want to talk about it. We'll see what the test results come back with next week.

Since Citibank is lowering the cash back on groceries from 5% to 2% next month, I'm thinking about getting a few grocery gift cards before then. Do you think that will qualify for the cash back? It would be a purchase made at a grocery store, but I'm not completely sure.

downfall of the month

September 13th, 2006 at 10:56 am

BOOKS!

I've done it again - spent too much on books. It's an interesting pattern I have going here (Clothes, Books, Personal Care, Hobbies). I've spent $140 on books this month, and only a small fraction of that was a gift. Yikes. Good deals, yes. Necessary? No. I get a little overzealous with book shopping sometimes. Yes, I visit the library, but when the library says it won't order a book for me and it will take a month to get it from another library, and I can't renew it....that places me square in Half Price Books. Oh well. I need to clean out my bookshelves and pass on those books that have already been read.

Last night I cleaned up my coupon mess and organized it all. My coupon train packet is bulging and will hardly close! Can't wait for the train to come so I can pass on some good deals.

Anyone need Silk soy milk coupons? I have about a billion, and can't possibly use them all.

Also picked up a new CD - Be a Bright Blue by Saxon Shore. Really mellow. Good for listening to while you do something else (clipping coupons, for example).

Doctor's appt this afternoon...not looking forward to it. Hoping the results come out ok. Also have to deal with the fact that they billed the wrong insurance company last time and now I have a big bill sitting in my purse - not cool, and they haven't returned my phone calls. It's been a month of struggling with people to get things right!

scatterbrained

September 12th, 2006 at 08:38 am

I'm completely scatterbrained. I'm not sure if it's because I upped my daily headache med dosage, or if it's the winter weather closing in on me, or if it's just life in general.

I ordered a book from overstock.com and it arrived damaged. I HAVE to send that book back, preferably tonight. I don't know why I keep forgetting about it.

I need to mail a box to my mother because she forgot some stuff here. Must do that soon as well.

I ordered a gift on half.com and it never arrived. I filed a claim, but haven't heard a peep from them. I wonder how long it will take me to get my $8 back. Did I mention I'm done with half.com? Oh yeah, DONE.

I've got coupon inserts lying on my counter from Sunday. I haven't even flipped through them yet, much less cut them out and organized them. Good mail yesterday though, I received my prize pack from Flash. Yeah! I need to get this stuff together to get ready for the coupon train.

I have all the stuff to fix my camera now - why can't I find the time to do it?!

I haven't journaled, haven't swam, haven't put plastic over the attic windows yet... and believe me, I need to. I organized my half of the attic over the weekend (felt so good to clean!) and found three disturbing bugs. Some research indicated that they were Western Conifer Seed Bugs. Think boxelder bug but twice the size, kind of resembling a cockroach. They were harmless and went outside without a fuss, but scared me silly when I stuck my hand in a box and nearly grabbed one!


(photo from whatsthatbug.com)

I'm going to write up a to-do list to try to sort my muddled thoughts...

great restaurant deals

September 8th, 2006 at 09:47 am

Today I happened upon couponmom.com and noticed that they had a link to restaurant.com gift certificates. I checked it out, and lo and behold - 40% off! So I picked up two $10 gift certificates for $3.60. Amazing. They will come in handy when we crave eating out but don't want to spend much.

Had a nice time with my friend last night...we spent the majority of it going through old stuff from 14 years ago (notes, yearbooks, etc). It was fun. Smile Hilarious to see how silly we were back then. It's nice to have had a close friend for so long. I recently read an article that talked about how siblings are our true life partners - they've been with us the longest, longer than our parents or significant others. My friend is like a sister to me. I feel blessed.

Hoping to get the camera fixed this weekend (if I can find naptha alcohol, whatever that is). I have some neat photos from my trip home, but many of them are ruined because of the light leak. I'll see what I can salvage and post them when I can.

This will be the first weekend in eight weeks that nothing is planned. What a relief! I've been meaning to go to the farmers market all summer - maybe tomorrow I'll finally get there.

enrolled

September 7th, 2006 at 02:03 pm

I signed up for two community ed classes yesterday - pottery and geneology. It will be good for me to have my own thing to do every week. Pricey, though - $159.

Feeling frustrated with life in general today. I thought the halfway point to my parents' house might be a nice compromise in terms of moving (I miss them, too much). There aren't too many jobs there, though. I haven't had much luck here (in a much larger city) and am getting fed up.

Irritated with SO, my job, my weight, my clothes, my constant headache, everything. It's just one of those days, I guess. *sigh*

I received the camera repair kit...now I just need to do it. I have to find a specific type of alcohol first. Hmmm...

Pizza with a friend tonight...here's hoping it cheers me up.

asleep at the keyboard

September 5th, 2006 at 08:20 am

My family came this weekend and we were busy, busy, busy. We went to the fair twice (SO and I went alone once, and later with family). I steered clear of the deep fried twinkies (YUCK!) but had some delicious cheese curds and fried pickles! It's a nice experience, but crazy busy. After a while in crushing crowds, I can't help but feel claustrophobic.

I'm dragging today...so tired after moving my sister back into her dorm. I definitely got a workout! She has some heavy stuff.

I'm so excited to get great coupons from Flash! Yeah! I'll stay out of the coupon questions thread now. Wink The coupon train will be here soon too, and I can't wait to see it!

SO and I need to schedule another one week spending freeze - maybe next week would be a good time!

falling leaves

September 1st, 2006 at 12:28 pm

September? Already?

August Goals Recap:
~ Limit groc/Target/EO to $300: NO, $132 over, but we stocked up at Sam's Club
~ Put $170 into savings: YES (but had to take it out again)
~ Drive to work no more than 3 times: YES
~ Don't use personal credit card at ALL: HA HA HA

September Goals
~ Limit groc/Target/EO to $300
~ Put $100 into savings
~ Drive to work no more than 3 times
~ Enroll in 1-2 community ed classes
~ Swim at least four times

I'm also going to journal, read up on meditation, call about photography classes in my area, and fix my camera seal. I'd also like to go camping at least once, maybe twice.

I'm not going to the chiropractor anymore unless I feel I need to. She'd like me to stay on the "maintenance plan" of once per month, but the last couple of times haven't done much for me. No need to waste $25.

Hitting the state fair tonight! Hopefully the rain stays away! Almost-any-food-on-a-stick, anyone? Last year I tried the deep-fried candy bar on a stick...ewww. We'll see what culinary finds there are this year!