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Archive for January, 2007

resisted takeout

January 31st, 2007 at 06:00 pm

I finally did it...wrote a long post, and then *poof*, lost it. *sigh*

Last night we really wanted to pick up a pizza for dinner, but resisted. We were out looking for the Winter Carnival Medallion, a treasure hunt put on by the local paper (cash prize if you find it). We walked around in sub-zero temps for a few minutes before realizing we could better strategize from the car. I am pretty sure I know where it is, but alas, I'm working today and cannot search for it. We had a mediocre frozen pizza at home instead of takeout.

I've been thinking about what LuckyRobin said about migraines and diet. I think in order for me to do it, I'd have to list what I can eat and come up with a meal plan - menus, perhaps. It would probably be good for me to try it. My problem lies in that I truly hate cooking during the week.

My former boss is finally retiring, and her goodbye party is tonight. I crocheted a wool scarf and hat set out of super-thick, reddish-black yarn. I hope she likes it. It's hard to believe she's truly leaving the organization after so many years at the helm.

Last year for our birthdays, my SIL gave SO and I a gift certificate to the vegetarian restaurant where we had our first date. We haven't used it yet, and it expires next week. Hopefully the migraines will stay away, and we will dress up and go out on the town this weekend!

positive thoughts

January 30th, 2007 at 04:48 pm

Fighting a migraine again today...has anyone tried Topamax? I think that's my last option before visiting a neurologist.

I've been trying very hard to think positively...things like, "I am a money magnet" and "I am a job offer magnet", and it seems to be working so far. I revamped my resume, sent out a few applications recently, and am getting postive responses. I am a job offer magnet...big money... Wink

Last night was our first pottery class this semester. SO is taking it with me this time. I made five pots last night...guess I was on a roll! It's fun having him with me.

My dad is creating gorgeous wood carvings these days (in addition to searching for a job). He has made some incredible Native American-style things and matted and framed them, and I really think they could sell. I created an etsy.com seller's page. I've considered eBay, but I'm a little burned out on that. I looked into local art galleries a bit yesterday. Any other ideas? He has taken photos, but their digital camera sucks. I've been researching Canon cameras and am contemplating buying one for them. The A540 has more power and zoom than my beloved Olympus, and is currently only $175. If they are serious about selling their handcrafted goods (my mother is a weaver as well), they need a good camera. I'm just still licking my wounds after getting the car fixed for the umpteenth time.

I worked lots of overtime last week, so my next paycheck should be a nice one!

what's your ecological footprint?

January 26th, 2007 at 05:15 pm

I stumbled across this site recently:

www.myfootprint.org *

After answering several questions, it tells you how much your lifestyle is affecting our earth - your ecological footprint.

My score is 12. What's yours?

I feel good about it in that my footprint is half the average American's...but if everyone lived like me, we'd still need 2.7 plants. Food for thought.

* If you're getting some weird site when you click on this link (like I am), copy and paste http://www.myfootprint.org into your web browser to get to the right page.

coupons: Nicoderm CQ

January 22nd, 2007 at 05:04 pm

I have six $7 off Nicoderm CQ coupons, expiration date 12/31/07.

Interested? Let me know in the comments field, and I'll email you to get your mailing address.

I have lots of coupons at home that aren't going to get used, so I'll post those soon, too.

no meetup

January 19th, 2007 at 06:55 pm

SO and I headed out last night, determined to be social little bees and attend our first meetup.com event. We arrived at the designated restaurant to find it closed. Apparently the owners decided to remodel it (last night). There was no sign on the door telling us to go elsewhere, and no one standing in the street, so we walked to another restaurant and dined alone. A bit of a bummer. The group organizer claims to have put a sign up on the restaurant door, but there wasn't one when we got there.

Tonight I may bake a birthday cake for a friend. She's mostly vegan, and I found a great vegan cheesecake recipe that I'm dying to try. We'll see if she's up for that or not...if not, I may just bake it anyway. Wink It looks fabulous.

Today is Vegan Friday. I had a wheat bagel with peanut butter for breakfast and a banana. I've got an apple and dinner leftovers for lunch - vegetable curry with rice and vegetable pan-fried noodles. What to have for dinner? hmmmm.... I talked veganism over with SO last night, and he doesn't feel he can give up eggs and cheese too easily. We decided to start with one vegan day a week and see how it goes. I became vegetarian without any prep (cold-turkey, as they say) but slowly working on vegan meals feels better. SO still sometimes eats seafood when we go out, but doesn't cook it at home, thankfully.

I never feel good when the credit card bill is higher than a paycheck. I've taken the money out of savings to pay for the car repair bills, but still...it's too high, too scary. February will be a new year for me...more contemplation, as I become an even-numbered age again. At some point, I've got to move from contemplation to action.

vegan?

January 18th, 2007 at 09:07 pm

Picked up the car last night...why did it start sputtering again on the way home? I guess I'll drive it this weekend and see if it still does it.

I've been reading a lot of vegan blogs lately. I've found some really fun ones:

- Vegan Eats & Treats
- Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
- Vegan Cookbook Tester
- Vive le Vegan!

Once again, I'm seriously contemplating trying a vegan lifestyle. My dependency on dairy products is pretty bad. I've got to start taking more baby steps toward veganism - maybe some soy yogurt, more soy milk, egg replacers, etc. I've simply GOT to get more veggies into my diet. It's time to start facing the facts - I can't continue to subsist on bread, cheese and chocolate. (ok - it's not that bad - but bad enough.)

I'm reading a non-fiction tome on Elizabeth I. After a bit of an argument with a friend about how much control one's spouse should have over one's life, I realized that I really like Elizabeth I because she never married. She lived in the 1500s, a time when women were expected to get married, raise kids and be utterly subservient to men, and she never married. She never caved to those societal pressures, and she managed to rule a country just fine.

Speaking of ruling a country - England allowed a woman to rule in the 1500s, yet we can't seem to elect a woman (or a person of color) to power in the United States? Give me a break. Sometimes I feel like we are going backwards.

And, something finance-related: I need to set up a high-yield savings account for my parents, and figure out where to move their 401k savings. I am trying hard to not get stressed out about the whole situation, but when dad says mom needs my support right now, and mom says sister needs my support right now, and everyone says dad needs my support right now...well, I just want to curl up into a ball and wait for the migraine to pass. Thank God for painkillers.

Thanks for your comments. I know my blog has not been particularly positive lately...this too shall pass (right?).

about to drive the car off a cliff

January 17th, 2007 at 02:37 pm

On Monday, I drove my car around town and it ran just fine (after adding antifreeze, of course).

On Tuesday, I drove it to work. It had a hard time starting up in the morning, but I assumed that was because it was our coldest overnight temperature yet this season. It ran just fine after warming up.

I went out to the car after work, and it had a hard time starting up. Again, I assumed it was because it was -4 degrees. It ran just fine after warming up.

On the way home, I stopped at a gas station two blocks from my house to fill it up. Shut the car off, filled it up, paid for the gas, got back in, and....nothing. All the electrics worked, but the engine would not even attempt to turn over. SO came and tried to jump it (we didn't think it would work, but tried anyway). We pushed it off to the side and waited an hour and a half for a tow truck.

The car is sitting at the shop...again. I could scream. I'm waiting to find out what the problem is this time, and how many hundreds of dollars it will cost.*

And can I just say...there were tons of people at that gas station. SO and I were trying to push that thing off to the side for at least 15 minutes (those big lumps in the concrete, mixed with icy snow, weren't so helpful). Only one person stopped to help us. One person! (A very nice, petite woman, I might add.) Bubbas in their pickup trucks were zooming around us (irritated that we were in their precious way) but did they stop to get OUT of their pickups and help push?? Nooooo...

* Looks like it will be $375 to fix this stupid thing. The starter needs to be replaced...again. After this, I have no more savings.

trading boring for...boring?

January 16th, 2007 at 04:40 pm

At what point is it a good idea to change jobs? If I had a potential opportunity that paid slightly more but offered less benefits, meant a longer commute, and was potentially just as boring as this job, is it worth taking? Just to get away? I had a terrible time getting out of bed this morning after a three-day weekend. All I could think about was how boring my job is, and how I wish I was doing something else. Trading boring for boring may not be the best choice, but it would be different, I guess.

I started up my car yesterday, and it sounded awful. I popped the hood, and voila! No antifreeze! None whatsoever! So I dumped some in, and now it's fine. You'd think those people I just paid $430 to would have noticed that there was no antifreeze. Grrr.

We spent $100 on spices this weekend. Yes - $100 on spices (half of it was for my mother) - at Penzeys Spices. We got some great curry powder, a cheese blend, the Bangkok Blend (sweet peppers, garlic, ginger, black pepper, galangal, hot peppers, lemon grass, basil, cilantro), shallot salt, Vietnamese cinnamon, etc. I adore that store.

We also spent too much at Target, but what else is new?

Coming up this week: maternity clothes shopping with my pregnant friend, a meetup.com event, and a friend's birthday dinner.

migraine rebound

January 12th, 2007 at 05:07 pm

Wednesday migraine! Wha-bam!

It was a weird one. I waffled between taking an Imitrex and just toughing it out. A wave of mildly-Excedrin-masked pain came over me, so I took the Imitrex and went to bed. On Thursday morning I could tell the headache was still lurking there in the background, waiting to pounce (guess the Imitrex didn't kill it). I avoided dark chocolate, caffeine, artifical sweeteners, and (sadly) a drink at the bar during a friend's celebratory party. I'm feeling a bit better today, but it needs to just GO AWAY. Seriously. What headache needs to linger for days on end??

The celebratory party was for a friend who finally graduated with her doctorate degree. She will be moving on to do her post-doc in Manhattan. I will miss her. She is the only friend I have who is not gung-ho about getting married and having kids.

I joined another group on meetup.com and am planning to go to my first meetup next week. It's a dinner, and SO is coming with me. I hope it's fun. I tend to be shy in social settings, but I need to branch out and make new friends.

SO and I signed up for the next round of pottery-making. Yes - I lured him into it!

Long weekend, yippee!! The Christmas tree will come down tomorrow. Otherwise, not a thing on my schedule. Nice. I need some down time.

a fat monkey

January 10th, 2007 at 08:18 pm

My head is killing me this afternoon. I know all the triggers this time - stress, staring at the computer all day, and the two beers I had last night.

Stress. It makes me eat more, eat poorly, crave chocolate and salt, want to curl into a ball, be snippy with my SO and the incessant meow-meows, feel down, and creates one big headache. The only thing it hasn't done yet this time around is make me spend money friviously.

I am $437 poorer today. I am grateful that I have a job and make enough money to be able to cover the car repair. The shop owner told me that I should only consider a new car when my average repair bills total $300 a month. $300? I couldn't afford a $300/month car payment. I am seriously considering getting rid of this car, though.

I got the first two seasons of Grey's Anatomy for Christmas, and finished watching season one last night. A friend turned me on to the show last fall, and though I'm not much of a medical drama fan, it's mindless entertainment.

It's amazing how stress can feel like a real, tangible object - like a (fat) monkey sitting on your back, weighing you down. I'm sure everyone here has experienced that feeling when it comes to financial struggles. It's shaking him off that's the trick.

the car strikes again

January 9th, 2007 at 02:32 pm

2007 is off to a seriously crappy start.

My car started shuddering violently on Friday. I took it into the shop last night, and the repair estimate is $437. That's if they can get the spark plugs out (apparently they are rusted in place). I have about had it with this car. I don't have another $436 to spend on it, unless I take money away from my vacation plans. So much for Mexico. I cannot get ahead.

Our electric bill came yesterday. Last month it was $90 - this month, $146. I have no idea what that is about, but I'm not happy about it. We have a programmable thermostat. Maybe it was all the holiday baking, but an extra $56 in holiday baking??

My sister's university will not give her any more financial aid this year. I'm not sure what that will mean for her.

My parents are in rough shape. I'm not close enough to check up on them and force them to eat and sleep. I feel helpless.

Yes, I wish they had planned better. I wish they had saved more for retirement. I wish they had been able to pay off more than a fraction of their house. There's not much we can do at this point but look back and wish things had been done differently. The thing is, they don't have new cars, they don't have expensive toys, and they don't frivolously waste money.

I hope they can get past the feeling of desperation and hopelessness and try to move forward. This is why living paycheck to paycheck is very, very bad.

considering a PT job

January 6th, 2007 at 05:10 pm

Thank you for your thoughts and advice on my family's financial situation. Keep it coming, if you think of anything more. I am really not sure how they are going to do this. I just edited a letter from my sister to send to her financial aid office, asking for more help...hope it comes through. Your comments have really been helpful.

I'm considering getting a part-time job to help out my family. There are lots of stores nearby, including Michaels and Barnes and Noble. However, retail really doesn't pay that well. How does one come across freelance writing/editing jobs? What other things could I do that would pay a bit more than retail?(Besides standing on the corner of Hennepin Avenue, of course) Wink

We just picked up a Yucatan travel guide a couple of days ago, but I don't really feel good about taking an expensive trip to Mexico at this point. Maybe it would be better to forego the pricey island getaway and find something cheaper around Cancun or Tulum. I still really want to go, but am feeling guilty. SO and I need to discuss this further. I don't feel good about moving away, either. It's amazing how one little incident can change perspective on everything.

I'm so glad it's the weekend!!

advice needed

January 5th, 2007 at 04:07 pm

Devastating news today - my father was fired from his job yesterday. He worked there for 25 years. They have been slowly trying to force him out for the last several months...it's a long story, but the end result is that now, he's jobless.

He has no college degree. My mother has an AA degree but has not worked in 24 years. My sister has 1.5 years of college left.

How can I help them?

I asked them to send me their resumes so I can update them. I told him to ask friends for job references. He is getting a severence package, but it won't amount to much after taxes.

What does one do after 25 years?? I can't believe the audacity.

Your thoughts, suggestions, advice...all welcome.

2007 goals

January 3rd, 2007 at 04:53 pm

Today I'm jamming to Imogen Heap (got her I Megaphone album for Christmas - it's great) and contemplating my future.

I've been skirting around leaving this state, finding a real career, being happy, for years. I'm tired of being wishy-washy about everything, just staying here because it's easier, applying to hundreds of jobs but getting nowhere. It's ridiculous. Something is going to change, and it is going to change this year.

I'm also losing 30 pounds this year, period. There is absolutely no reason for me to have the body I have. I have no children, and I'm not having any children, so why am I carrying all this weight?

My only New Year's resolution - start living my life the way I should have been living it all along.

2007 Financial Goals
~ Finish off smaller college loan
~ Emergency Fund: $1000
~ Family Fund: $350
~ Moving/Vacation Fund: $4000
~ Roth IRA: $1000
~ Retirement: continue with 6%

restless

January 2nd, 2007 at 07:06 pm

Happy 2007!!

Is it a relief to anyone else to finally find the holidays behind us? All that prep work, all that planning, and then *poof*, it's done. I, for one, am glad for it.

It seems that late 2006 was a baby-making year. I personally know four people who just announced that they are pregnant, one of which happens to be my best friend. Another friend of mine recently told me that best-frienddom ends once marriage enters the picture. She must be right, because I had no inkling that my best friend wanted to have a baby now (or, three months ago, incidentally). I am officially out of the loop.

News like this inevitably makes me reflect on my own life and its apparent stagnation. Everyone is pursuing careers and creating families and doing that which makes them happy. It's time I make me happy. I am tired of being the person who is always there for everyone else.

I applied to a few jobs in Oregon today and am researching the safest Portland neighborhoods to live in. Any recommendations, Oregonians? Mexico may have to wait...I'm ready to leave Minnesota.