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Archive for April, 2007

made a purchase

April 30th, 2007 at 04:02 pm

Remember my post about the Olympus Evolt E-500 camera back in September? The camera I've been salivating over forever? Well, we stopped in at Comp USA's store closing sale yesterday, and there it was...brand new, with two lenses...deeply discounted. The cheapest I've ever seen it on amazon is $630, and Comp USA was selling their last model for $475. After some deliberation, I bought it! I've never done something like that before. Normally when I spend that kind of money, it's poured into my engine. It feels a little weird to spend it on myself. I know it was the best deal I could find, though, and the camera is perfect.

I'm really, really excited! Project 365 just got more interesting! Big Grin

I'll still be able to pay off my smaller college loan in May, and everything else will carry on more or less as usual. I'll just have to live with a few less new books and pay a little more attention to what I'm putting in the Target cart.

Good news on the baby shower - I used a gift card to by fabric paints and invitations over the weekend. I found a great deal on cute invites - 4 invites with 4 thank you cards for $1 per pack! Can't beat that!

P365, Day 8: Happy Arbor Day (last Friday) - this is my giant rubber tree


P365, Day 9: Maplewood's enormous snowman


P365, Day 10: cute kitty, taken with my new camera

A Thai Goodbye

April 27th, 2007 at 03:07 pm

P365 Day 6, oil lamp:



P365 Day 7, fried tofu, peanut sauce, egg rolls:



We went out to a Thai dinner last night to celebrate my friend's birthday/upcoming departure for NYC. She finally finished her doctorate degree and is leaving us! It was a bittersweet gathering. Good Thai food, though. Hopefully I'll get a chance to visit her sometime.

I have been sick for three weeks. After a certain point, you start to feel like you'll be sick for the rest of eternity.

I'm planning a June baby shower for my best friend. It certainly adds up, doesn't it? I'm planning to buy some onesies and fabric paint as the main activity, and maybe some baby food to do a "taste test" challenge. Then there's food and beverages (hopefully other family members will help pitch in with this), decorations, cake, plastic/paper tableware, and a gift. What am I forgetting? I need to develop a budget for this, stat!

Project 365 photos

April 25th, 2007 at 01:24 pm

Day 4: one of the trees off of my deck, just starting to bloom. I have a thing for trees.




Day 5: vegan fettuccini alfredo with steamed broccoli, from Vegan with a Vengeance. It had a kick! Definitely hit the spot.



The vegan thing is going quite well, much better than I expected. It has been really easy for me to eliminate dairy, eggs, and chocolate (though I've found some vegan alternatives to that). I lost five pounds in Florida and am down eight total. If I could give up all sweets, the weight would be falling off...as it stands, Hot Tamales and Golden Oreos are vegan. Tsk tsk. Wink

I signed up to do a bake sale at work next week. Guess I'd better start baking! I recently made some delicious peanut butter oatmeal cookies from the cookbook mentioned above, so I'll make some of those, and maybe some biscotti. It will be an easy way to bring in some cash.

I've got a busy weekend coming up - a goodbye party for a friend, a birthday party, another friend is moving, and another friend wants to get together. Plus, I've got to bake. Yikes!

wealth

April 23rd, 2007 at 02:10 pm

I may complain about bill payments.
I may bemoan my eternally broken-down car.
I may get frustrated with feeling like I'll never pay off my student loans.
I may feel like I'm earning less than everyone else I know.
I may feel like I don't have a solid career path.

But...
I live in a country where I am free to express myself.
I earn a decent wage at a job that gives me and my significant other excellent health insurance.
I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and way too much stuff cluttering my house.

I've always got a fully stocked fridge. I am grateful for that.

zonked

April 22nd, 2007 at 02:23 pm

I'd like to be a well-fed, much-loved house cat in my next life...

St. Anthony Falls

April 21st, 2007 at 04:32 pm

Here's my first photo of Project 365!

A view of the St. Anthony Falls from the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota.



It was the only waterfall on the Upper Mississippi River until it partially collapsed. You can read more about the falls here.

The University of Minnesota also has a laboratory near the falls.

still processing

April 20th, 2007 at 04:01 pm

I've been back from Florida for a few days, but I'm still processing everything that happened. My great-aunt was an interesting character. I would have liked to get to know her under different circumstances. As it was, our time together was stressful and filled with more confrontation than I would have liked. I'm not one for confrontation, but make my mother cry? And look out.



When I left, I thought we had come to an amicable solution; we found a lovely assisted living facility that my great-aunt loved, and she put down a deposit on a room. My mother is staying for another three weeks to smooth the transition. Yesterday, however, the rehab center my great-aunt is currently staying in decided to inform the assisted living facility that she needs an excessive amount of care - more than she really needs, in my opinion. I'm not sure what their motivation is. Thus, the assisted living facility may not accept her, and she's only got a week left of Medicare coverage. My mother has to deal with this headache on her own. In the face of this, my great-aunt is again threatening to move back into her house with no care whatsoever (not possible or safe).



Sometimes my great-aunt is "there", sometimes she's not. She's very witty and very funny when she's present. When she's not, she's calling my mother by my grandmother's name, throwing out crazy accusations, and telling us about the music (voices?) she's going going on in her head. She refuses to move to where my mother lives simply because of the state, even though she's never been there. She's got no family and no friends in Florida, or within 1100 miles, and doesn't mind one bit. It's an interesting existence.



Mom and I made it to the beach one day to watch the sun rise. It was simply gorgeous. After the sun rose, we spent some time splashing through the warm water looking for seashells. What a great memory.



More photos, including photos of the Morikami Japanese Gardens, are on my flickr site.

catch up

April 6th, 2007 at 02:57 pm

I'm leaving for Florida this weekend. Somewhere along the way this week, I managed to catch a cold. I've been trying to fight it with all sorts of stuff. I really don't want to bring it to my great-aunt.

My employer's IT department was a bit freaked out over a recent internet virus scare, so we had no internet for two days. Let me tell ya, two days without internet at my job is pretty rough. I'm not sure what people did during work lulls before the internet...created giant rubberband balls? Chatted endlessly around the water cooler? I made up an Excel spreadsheet outlining exactly when I would pay off my big student loan based on different monthly payments and the interest rate - yeah, I was that bored. I'll share it with you, though, because you're really the only people who might possibly be interested.



$135 is the minimum payment. I'm going to shoot for $300/mo payments in 2008 - it might be a bit of a stretch, but that might be good for me. I can't believe it's still going to take me so long to pay it off. I just want to be rid of it already.

Good news, though - my smaller loan will be paid off in May! Big Grin

I also figured out my net worth for March - I'm up to ($1,113). Perhaps that will be a positive figure by August.

On a related note - I'm thinking about going back to school. What's it this time, kashi? Law. I wouldn't want to be courtroom, criminal lawyer - I'd rather do something more like public interest law, environmental law, or international law. Something that felt like I was making a difference. I love research, writing and editing, thought-provoking materials... So I've been mulling it over. Law has always been in my personal top-ten careers list, and my aunt reeeaallly thinks I'd make a good lawyer. We'll see. It definitely would not help me reduce the student loans, though...

I'm going to start adding a photo a day, as Fern suggested, but that may not happen until after I get back from Florida. Internet access will be hard to come by.

Sweet 80-degree weather, here I come! What a shock it will be, considering it's been snowing here, and 16 degrees this morning!