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am I supposed to ask for coupons?

July 19th, 2006 at 01:20 pm

About this emailing of companies - am I supposed to come right out and ask for coupons? I've gotten several email replies from companies to my complimentary emails, and all they really say is "thanks." Only one (Amy's Kitchen) has said they'd love to send me coupons. I went down the Organic Coupon list and emailed those companies I knew. I'm just not sure if I'm should be forward and ask for coupons or not. And from what I've read, I shouldn't write more often than every 90 days...so I guess I'll wait a while.

Last night I made an impulse buy at Walgreens when I stopped in for my prescriptions. I bought a new fan for our home, but when I set it up, it was much louder than the display model in the store. It will be going back today. It's difficult to find a truly quiet fan.

I bit of respite from the sun and heat today...thunderstorms. My peppers and tomatoes should be happy.

Hitting Target and the grocery store tonight to stock up on provisions for my weekend guests and use some of my new coupons! Feeding my guests will be a snap - entertaining them will be more of a trick.

It's incredibly slow at work these days and I have so little to do. Dreaming of an office with a door and a job that interests me...

Amy's Kitchen & coupon train!

July 18th, 2006 at 07:22 am

I wrote an email to Amy's Kitchen, praising them for their wonderful food, and asking about new vegan options. They sent me a packet outlining all of their food items and enclosed were several awesome coupons, including one free product coupon! How exciting!

Yesterday's mail also brought my coupon train welcome packet! So many wonderful coupons, and a fat stack of them, too. Thanks so much, flash. I'm excited to jump on the train, and hoping I do it right!

Drove in to work this morning, the first time this month. I brought my gym shoes and plan to stay and work out tonight. My car is now down to two doors that will lock and unlock with the automatic locks, the A/C dripped all over SO's foot the other day, and a funny sweet smell flows into the car after the A/C has been running for a while. Mom told me I need a new car...yeah, I know.

I'm planning to visit the folks back home for a week in August. I'm not sure how it's going to pan out...if I'll take the train or if SO will drive with me...but I'm looking forward to it. I miss having summers off.

Every morning is still a struggle to get out of bed and go to work. My groggy mind thinks of all the possible ways to get out of going in, but I eventually lug myself out of bed and into the shower. It's tough, working just to pay the bills and have health insurance. I haven't seen any job opportunities I'd want to apply for lately. The grad school in Milwaukee would set me back $33,000, and that's with Minnesota reciprocity. Tack that on to the $13,000 in school loans I've already got, and it doesn't seem worth it at all. Who knows if I would get a job in the field I wanted after all that. There are plenty of people with Masters degrees flipping burgers.

I envy the people who know what they want to do with their lives, and do it!

Target is the bane of my existence

June 26th, 2006 at 02:03 pm

and I was doing so well...

SO and I went out for ice cream on Saturday night. If anyone living in or visiting the Twin Cities has not yet been to

Text is Grand Ole Creamery and Link is http://twincities.citysearch.com/profile/5522986/saint_paul_mn/grand_ole_creamery.html
Grand Ole Creamery in St. Paul, GO! It's a little pricey but so worth it. It's delicious, rich, homemade ice cream, and they put a little malted milk ball in the bottom of your waffle cone to prevent ice cream leaks. So cool! It's a good thing I don't live nearby. Afterwards we stopped by Walmart and $65 spontaneously flew out of our hands and into their cash registers.

The next day we went to the Arboretum...such a gorgeous place. I had never been. Next time, we'll bring a picnic basket and lie in the shade of the trees. Even with a full parking lot, it was easy to avoid the crowds. Afterwards, we went to Target, The Bane of My Existence. Yes, we needed cereal and yes, we needed a wedding gift. But $206? *sigh* We'll see how long we can go without visiting the grocery store/Target again.

I had made some financial goals for June, simply because I couldn't not make goals. Unfortunately the eating out/Target/groceries goal is a distant memory. I am happy to report, however, that I have only driven to work three times this whole month. Rock!

SO and I made our anniversary B&B reservation. I'm soooo looking forward to it. Smile Four years together certainly flew by.

Also looking forward to the chiropractor tonight! I think my new headache meds might be helping ever so slightly, so it will be nice to report an improvement.

And now for my latest career thoughts...I like researching people. I can find things on the internet like nobody's business and it's fun for me. I think it would be fascinating to do geneology research or work in a history museum doing research. I found a MA program in Milwaukee that sounded interesting - a double degree in Anthropology and Library Science. Still tossing it around in my head. It's 51 credits and about $9K per year if I'd get Minnesota reciprocity. I don't know that a degree is necessary, but it certainly is difficult to get a job at the Minnesota History Museum. and...Milwaukee??

I have contemplated being a private investigator, since that deals with researching people too. I just couldn't be the one sitting in the car for hours staking out the cheating husband, you know? I'd much rather be in the office, looking up information.

waiting for the phone call

June 2nd, 2006 at 10:17 am

The CT scan is over. I had it done early yesterday morning. It was a bit uncomfortable and my teeth ached all day afterwards, but it was a quick procedure.

I'm waiting to hear from the doctor about the results. *insert Jeopardy music here*

I still have daily headaches, but I've only been on the blood pressure meds for a week. I'm soooooooo tired! It's got to be a combination of the meds, poor sleep, and staring at the computer all day.

They've updated our tech environment at work and now many of my favorite sites are blocked. I hope this one isn't the next to go. I have no idea how I will manage if that happens!

Speaking of jobs - I did not get that job I interviewed for, the ridiculously long one interview one. I'm glad I didn't get it. After stating that I wasn't chosen for the job, they graciously offered to give me a free half-hour analysis of my test results. (We didn't like you, and here's why?) Uh, no thanks. I talked to some friends and found out that they know people who have worked for that company and were absolutely miserable...so I'm glad it worked out this way.

To pass the time, I've been checking out homes for sale again. SO would really like to buy a house. There are some cute ones out there...but how much can we truly afford? and what about that pesky miserable winter thing? We're going to make a pros and cons list. The thought of moving all of my stuff again so soon doesn't thrill me, either...but if the place I lived in was MINE...it might be worth it.

certificate of rent paid

May 24th, 2006 at 07:57 am

I finally remembered to call my previous landlord and ask him for a 2005 certificate of rent paid. Once I get that, I should be able to file for a property tax refund. It kept slipping my mind (by law, though, he was supposed to send it to me in February). Last year I received $291 back - this year will most likely be less, but something is better than nothing.

I agree with what Thrifty Ray commented on in my last post. The thing is, I find it difficult to be a model employee when I'm unhappy with my job. It's hard to stand out from the crowd and tap dance my way to a better salary when I have to pry myself out of bed to trudge into work every day. Part of it is perspective - I could force myself to love it! - but that's not really authentic. If going to a private college taught me anything, it's that faking it makes me nauseous. It's not as if I make it obvious that I'm unhappy, but I find it hard to go above and beyond.

Well, we'll see. I'm still looking for a job that makes me happy (or at least doesn't require a tractor trailer to pull me out of bed in the morning). I do appreciate the suggestions.

In other news - tonight - more authentic Mexican food! Big Grin I've been corresponding with a friend of a friend via email in Spanish. Tonight we are all going out for dinner and I'll get to meet her in person. Mmmmmmm Mexican food.... (sorry Jeffrey!)

I need some anniversary gift ideas. SO tends to buy me really expensive electronic equipment and then my gifts seem silly in comparison. We have some cash back coming to us from our credit card...maybe I will suggest we go to a nice bed and breakfast and use that cash to pay for it. Hmmm....

I'm not the only one

May 23rd, 2006 at 08:08 am

Had a weird thought this morning as I groggily got out of bed. It will take me five more years to reach the $40K mark at this job, assuming I get another raise in December, and the same raise each year after that. Ick. Five years? I'll be 32.

I attended a benefit concert last night and talked to an acquaintance. She is probably about 10 years older than me (as many of my friends seem to be) and has had several high-paying, high-profile management jobs. She is seriously dissatisfied with her current position, though. I felt a small amount of comfort when I asked her what she really wants to do, and she said she has no idea. She has the luxury of taking a long sabbatical to figure it all out, though. Wink

I just started reading No Parachute Required. It's geared toward recent college graduates, but hopefully I will get something out of it.

I'm going to start a "Musts Before 30" list...

3% isn't bad, I guess

May 22nd, 2006 at 12:40 pm

Apparently my employer does not offer percentage raises, but dollar amounts. I got a $1000 raise, which essentially amounts to 3%. I'm not complaining; just slightly disappointed. It makes me miss the yearly 6% increases I received at my last job (except for that year when no one got a raise).

I'm still making a full $2000+ less than I would be had I stayed at my previous job. I don't miss it at all, but I am still envious of my friends of equal standing who are making waaaay more money than me.

At this rate, it's going to take forever to pay off my student loans. The current total stands at $13,054. *sigh*

I revamped my budget a bit, and I'll have $1000 back in my emergency fund in September, and pay off my smaller college loan in October. Here's hoping nothing goes wrong between now and then!

Potential Upcoming June Expenditures:
- CT Scan/doctors appts/chiropractor
- Cats need to see the vet & get microchipped
- Donation to friend's double marathon event
- Anniversary gift for SO
- Landlords are getting married (gift)
- Father's Day gift
- My favorite aunt's partner is retiring (wish I had enough $$ to make the trip!)
- Parents might visit
- Sister will most likely visit

job review

May 20th, 2006 at 09:59 am

Yesterday's job review went pretty well. Suddenly my nice boss was nice again. I decided to express my frustration with the office environment, and now she is on a mission to help me make friends. I told her that was unnecessary but that I wanted her to know that it's been a difficult transition for me. To go from one environment that was generally very warm and chatty (almost too much) to an environment that's cold, sterile, and silent....well, it's been tough. I went from a place where my boss was yelling for me every two minutes to only talking to SO all day long. Very strange.

I have two bosses - one did my review, and the other one is doing my raise. I find that odd. I won't find out what my raise is until Monday morning.

This morning I made roti (aka chipati) bread. It's like a thick, whole wheat tortilla cooked on a dry skillet. The only ingredients are whole wheat flour and water, but it's delicious. I had never made it myself before but it turned out pretty well. I'll have to make a nice soupy Indian dish to go with it. However, tonight we're going to a Greek restaurant for a friend's birthday, and then to the Da Vinci Code movie (if it's not sold out).

Headache today, a carryover from last night. SO pulled out the Mayo Clinic medical handbook and read the entire CT scan section to me this morning. I'm feeling a little better about it. I'll call the doctor's office on Monday. I'm going to have to take out more $$$ from my emergency fund to pay for it, though.

Today is my favorite aunt's birthday. She is an amazingly strong, capable, sweet woman, and I have always adored her. Hopefully she and her partner will come visit next month. I haven't seen them in several years. They will both finally be retired this summer, so hopefully we will see more of them. Off to make a happy birthday phone call!


May 18th, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for your well-wishes! I had a job interview today (the one I was hoping for). I had to do an hour-long pre-test which analyzed my personality, and then today I had a three-hour interview. They required me to take three tests today and do two interviews. The last interview was the most absurd interview I have ever done. It was with two people, only one of which was actually there (the other was on speakerphone from Texas), and every single question was, "Tell me about a time when..." Awful. Truly awful. These questions weren't just like, "Tell me about a time when you had a big project to finish and how you did it." They were like, "Tell me about a time when you had a big project to finish, and the person you were working with made it difficult, and you had trouble finishing it, and what you learned from that experience, and what you would do differently, and and and..." Every single time I answered a question, I had to ask what the rest of the question was, because there was no way I could remember every variable they set up. It was insane. I think the actual work might be interesting, but I didn't click with anyone I met, especially not the boss. So, in short, no way.

The nice thing is that I took the rest of the day off (since they had me block off 4.5 hours of time for the interview - yeesh!) and it is a gorgeous day. I had a picnic lunch with SO and now I'm going to see if I can meet my friend who is on maternity leave for a walk.

My job review is tomorrow...I'm going to take it with a grain of salt (or maybe a boulder of salt) like you've all said. Smile

I feel like I'm way overqualified for these jobs and starting to feel like I'm a little old too, since everyone is fresh out of college. More brainstorming about where to go next, coming up!

BTW, thanks for the ideas with the cats. I could close off the spare bedroom. The strangest thing about it is that I have TONS of plants in the house - I just counted, and there are 40. The cats only touch the spider plants (and seedlings, apparently).

May money & seedlings destroyed

May 17th, 2006 at 08:57 am

I have to cut back on chiropractic appointments. I had to pull $75 out of my emergency fund to pay for them this month already, and my fund is down to $125. I'm not going to be able to contribute anything to it this month, unfortunately.

Tonight I have a neck-cracking appointment and I'm going to have to tell her that I need to cut back to every two weeks or longer. I've been feeling a lot better...not 100%, but a lot better. She wants to solve the mystery of my headaches...I don't have the money to do that right now. I'd rather keep up with monthly massage appointments, which definitely help my body overall, rather than spend all I've got on weekly cracking.

I'm way overbudget this month. If I can stay out of Target until June, I'll be doing ok. I've only budgeted about $40 for groceries ($80 combined) for the rest of the month, but I think we can swing that.

My mom loved her Mother's Day gift. I got to see my parents for about 24 hours last weekend, which was nice. Smile I hadn't seen them since Christmas. They paid for way more in that 24 hour period than they should have - lunch, dinner, breakfast, gasoline, a new rain jacket for me - but fighting it just makes them more adamant. I guess since I so rarely see them, I should just try to enjoy it. I love my new rain jacket (essential in MN in the monsoon seasons of spring and fall). My old one was a men's size XXL and came down almost to my knees! This one actually fits. Wink

I have tried three times already to grow basil, tomatoes, and pepper plants. The cats are fascinated by the grow light and the little seedlings underneath it. I have the seedlings covered up with a tupperware container but the cats work to pull it off. Every time, they have managed to make off with one or more of the dirt pods. Last night I came home to dirt spread all over the kitchen and dead seedlings. I have to start all over again. I'm not sure where else I can put the grow light and the seedlings...I'm about to give up on this. I don't understand the fascination! I have a hard enough time trying to grow plants from seed - I don't need their interference!

Tomorrow is a big day in job-world...please send good vibes my way! I'll update tomorrow.

I'm an INFP

May 10th, 2006 at 10:35 am

Thanks for all of your support. This is such a nice place to visit and express ideas.

I've taken the Myers-Briggs personality test, the Kiersey Personality Sorter test, and many others on the internet for years. I most often get INFP (sometimes INFJ). Interestingly enough, SO is an INFP as well.

Text is Live Career and Link is http://www.livecareer.com/
Live Career offers a free assessment test if you're interested in knowing what your type is. You have to register (free) and the quiz is 100 questions long - it takes about 20 minutes.

I'd love to hear what your personality test results are!! Post them in your blogs or here in the comments field if you have a chance.

I've been looking up ideal INFP careers this morning and found several interesting websites. If you know what your type is, here's an extensive careers link:
Text is Ball State University's personality type & careers page and Link is http://www.bsu.edu/students/careers/questassets/type/
Ball State University's personality type & careers page.

There's also a
Text is Jung Type Descriptions and Link is http://similarminds.com/jung/infp.html
Jung Type Descriptions page that tells you what you're like and what careers would be good and not so good for you, based on your type.

I found this site fascinating as well:
Text is Murray State Myers-Briggs information page and Link is http://www.murraystate.edu/secsv/fye/m-b.htm
Murray State Myers-Briggs information page. The descriptions are very detailed.

I found a few lines from the last website interesting:

- People with INFP preferences have a great deal of warmth, but may not show it until they know a person well. They keep their warm side inside, like a fur-lined coat. DEFINITELY - is that why I've made no friends at my current job?

- They stick to their ideals with passionate conviction. I'm not going to sell my ethics for a $5 book! Stick Out Tongue

- They want their work to contribute to something that matters to them--human understanding, happiness, or health. They want to have a purpose beyond their paycheck, no matter how big the check. although if the check is big, I'm not going to complain!

-In the long haul, what INFPs choose as a career must serve their own idealism. If it doesn't, they can become restless and stressed and their work can become sloppy and counterproductive. restless - CHECK! stressed - CHECK!

According to all of these websites, I'm on the right path with my job search. My "favored careers" are all things I'm interested in. I just have to pick something new and run with it, I guess! What to choose...that is the question.