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March 16th, 2007 at 10:10 am

Last night's

Text is play performance and Link is http://www.guthrietheater.org/PLAYSTICKETS/20062007Season/TheMerchantofVenice/tabid/140/Default.aspx
play performance was amazing. I had never seen it before, and we hadn't been to the new theater yet. It was very sleek and contemporary, with amazing views of the city from the rooftop terrace. While we waited in the lobby, it started to snow over the Mississippi River. I've never seen anything like it - it came down with such force that we could not see neon signs across the river. Thankfully, it quit as abruptly as it began and the drive home was uneventful.

The woman next to me in the theater and her daughter put on some hand cream at the beginning of the performance. At first, it didn't affect me...but then I started sneezing, my sinuses filled up, and the headache started. I've rarely had such a powerful reaction to scent like that. Plus they were going on and on to each other about its subtle, refreshing scent. Just goes to show you how differing opinions can be, and why scented stuff should be applied at home. Not sure what one can do in a situation like that..."Hey lady, could you go wash your hands?" may not go over so well.
Stick Out Tongue Luckily, I had plenty of Excedrin and tissues, and the experience was still fabulous.

I know a couple getting married this fall, one-half of which just graduated from college. They both just bought brand-spanking new vehicles, and not cheap ones, either. I just don't know how people do it. Yesterday I made a chart - at best, with my current salary, I will have my college loans paid off in late 2011. I could not throw a car payment and increased insurance costs on top of that without eliminating my monthly savings. Another friend of mine is having a baby this year and just paid off her 2005 car. I'm just so envious. It's hard not get down on myself when I hear this stuff. I can't help but wonder what I am doing so wrong! I can't imagine feeling secure enough to go out and buy a brand new car (or a house, or anything for that matter)...but maybe that's my problem. Maybe none of these people do either, but they do it anyway.


March 13th, 2007 at 09:43 am

Well, we dug out, and guess what? Almost all the snow has melted already. It's nearly 50 degrees today! The mountains of snow are gone, replaced by gobs of mud and enormous puddles of water. Spring? Is that you?

I've been a bit MIA lately because I haven't been concentrating much on finances, and since this is supposed to be a financial blog, well... However, I have a plan to have $1000 in savings by the end of April, and pay off my smaller college loan in June. My investments haven't tanked too badly lately, thankfully. I am glad I have lots of time to let things percolate before retirement.

I've been on Topamax for about three weeks. It's been working fairly well for my headaches. Yesterday my hands, fingers, and forearms starting tingling and felt somewhat numb, like I had held them above my head for far too long and all the blood had rushed out of them. Shake, shake, shake - nothing. The feeling persisted all day, and my toes starting tingling, too. I went to the doctor, and he suggested more potassium. I'm going to maintain this dosage and see what happens. If this tingling thing doesn't go away, I'll lower the dosage, and perhaps eliminate it completely. It's a shame that side effects have to pop up...my daily headaches are finally starting to subside, after five years of putting up with them.

One day, I tried one Zomig to treat a migraine and was stoned for five hours straight. The doctor suggested I try Maxalt instead, so that's what I've got now. I guess trial and error is the only way to go!

And, my latest obsession, food. Vegan food, to be exact. I cashed in some American Express points and bought

Text is Becoming Vegan and Link is http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Vegan-Complete-Adopting-Plant-Based/dp/1570671036/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-1874377-8672954?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173803523&sr=8-1
Becoming Vegan. It's chock-full of great advice about nutrition and how to become vegan the right way. I have been moving away from dairy and eggs and feeling better overall. Whether or not I ever become fully vegan, I think eating less animal products and more fresh, whole foods is a good thing. My in-laws bought us a juicer for our birthdays, too, which is a great addition to our kitchen! I'd post photos of the great food we've been making, but again - this is a financial blog! I may have to create a food blog...

Mom is still in Florida - yeah, I'm not even kidding. They are having so much trouble getting help from anyone. Hopefully she will be able to come home next week.

SO and I are going on a date later this week to a play and dinner - the play tickets were half price, thanks to a discount through my employer, and the dinner will be paid for by a gift certificate, thanks to my former employer! Cheap date! My favorite.

Oh, and by the way - I'm going to The Police! Smile

got snow?

March 4th, 2007 at 10:47 am

We got hit with another big snow storm on Thursday...big enough for my employer to send us home early. That's big.

Here's how much snow we've received in one week, as seen on my deck table:

I'm happy to say the snow has stopped falling, and the sun is finally shining again. We can leave the house, but walking to the bus stop tomorrow morning might be a bit tricky...

Is it spring yet?

March's budget bender

February 28th, 2007 at 12:05 pm

It's not March yet, but I know what my budget will be slightly bending for:

THE POLICE Live in Concert are coming my part of the world!

I grew up listening to their music, I've got the boxed set and listen to it all the time...and, as silly as it may sound, I adore Sting. I do. So, I wouldn't miss this concert!

Tickets run $50-$225 (whatever that means!). Even if I had $225 to blow, I don't think I'd spend it on this. A bit too rich for my blood. One of the cheapie seats will suit me just fine. I'm so excited!!

Also, SO would like to attend a theatre performance in March. As luck would have it, I can get us 50% off tickets through work! We've still got a $50 restaurant gift certificate to use, so that will be a lovely, inexpensive date night.

Free pizza at work today - but who's ever heard of a two piece limit? Not to mention, two of the smallest pieces ever. Nice, but I need to find myself a snack...


February 26th, 2007 at 06:45 am

I listed a scarf and hat set on etsy.com

Text is here and Link is http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=5450261

Here's a photo of the listing, and my mannequin!

What shall I name her? Wink

Thanks for the wig offer, Nana, but I think I'm looking for something a bit more natural, so as not to contrast with my other scarves. I've got some crazy pink/purple/green/blue ones to put up soon.

My pre/post storm photos aren't too exceptional because wind gusts kept my deck table from retaining much of the snow that fell. The knee-high drift in front of my car, though, that was nice. Photos of the deck are posted on my flickr site
Text is here and Link is http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeenes/
here. I also brought snow inside for the cats to play with...they enjoyed that.

bundled up and snuggled in

February 24th, 2007 at 03:04 pm

Winter Storm Warning in effect through Sunday evening. Storm totals of 10-14" possible in the metro.

Roads may become impassable tonight with "thunder-snow" falling at the rate of 2"/hour at times. Consider a Plan B.

Our annual March blizzard is a bit early this year. Knowing this was coming, I stocked up at the grocery store on Friday night, and we aren't leaving the house until we have to. The snow is pretty, just so long as I don't have to go out into it. The last 24 hours has brought mainly freezing rain and high winds. I'm taking progressive photos of our deck this time; I'll post the aftermath.

Today I baked a whole-wheat coffee cake and vegan vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting, and a tasty lentil loaf is ready to pop in the oven for dinner. SO is going to make garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. Yum.

I've been eating a lot better over the past few days. I stayed home to fight a cold on Thursday and read

Text is The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Control: and Link is http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Diet-Chronic-Disease-Prevention/dp/1590560388/sr=8-2/qid=1172357807/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/103-7267134-1732624?ie=UTF8&s=books
The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Control: Evidence Supporting the New Four Food Groups by Kerrie Saunders. It illustrates how the standard American diet is ruining our health - killing us, essentially. Turns out I'm a junk food vegetarian - sure, I haven't eaten meat in years, but I'm not eating like I should be. It's time for that to change, and this book has been the catalyst. Now if only I could find some kale! I'm dying to cook some up. Wink

tidbits, and angry money gods?

February 20th, 2007 at 08:02 am

Today is my sweetie's birthday. We both had President's Day off work yesterday, and are taking this afternoon off to celebrate too. He's not much of a birthday person, but I'm going to keep smooching him anyway. We might see a movie this afternoon...not sure which one yet!

I've taken a few photos of my new mannequin head modeling a handmade scarf and hat set. I'll post them soon. She really needs a wig, though. We stopped at a party store yesterday to look for one, but no luck. Too bad it's not closer to Halloween!

It appears to be spring here - yesterday it was 41 degrees!! Today should be a repeat. I'm so happy. The birds are singing, my skin is thawing, life is good. I hope this nice weather sticks around.

Mom was supposed to return from Florida this week, but they have too much left to do. I'm not sure when she's coming back; she's got to change her return flight date now. My great-aunt is going through waves of feeling well and not-so-well. It's hard to leave someone who has no family nearby, but I can tell my dad is feeling lonely. He and I talked on the phone for two hours the other night, which is some sort of record.

I took this coming Friday off work because Mom was supposed to be here, but now she won't be. I'm tempted to stick with it anyway. I had a marvelous dream last night that involved me walking into the office on a Friday and quitting. I was going to start grad school on Monday. Weird dream, but boy did I feel good when I woke up.

Yesterday we used up the last of our grocery store gift certificates at Trader Joes. Now we've got lots of tasty organic frozen vegetables in our freezer, just waiting for dinner.

Something odd and job-related - last month I applied for a position I'm completely qualified for, and the recruiter wrote me an email asking me for my desired salary range. I asked her to provide the job's salary range, and I'd let her know if it was within my personal range. She sent it to me - $14,000-$23,000 more than I make now - so of course I wrote back and said I was interested. No response. I wrote back again a week later and indicated I was still interested and would love to come in for an interview. Still no response. What's the deal? Who does that? Did I anger the money gods somehow? Needless to say, I was bummed...that much of a raise would be truly fantastic.

my latest crafting purchase

February 14th, 2007 at 10:17 am

I've been crocheting, a LOT. I'm making a baby blanket for a friend, and working on lots of scarves and hats. This prompted me to register for an etsy.com shop, and...buy a mannequin head.

A mannequin head??

Yes, a mannequin head.

Not only has she got a head, she's got a neck, too. This way, I can display hats and scarves, beaded necklaces, and perhaps earrings if she's got post holes. I thought it might make my crafts more visually appealing to the buyer. Nothing makes you not want to buy a hat more than seeing it on someone's grubby head first.

It's actually a rubber makeup practice head, so I guess if I decide to go down the makeup artist path one day, I'll have something to practice on!

I am soooo excited. I bought it on eBay, and it should be here on Friday. I'll post photos ASAP.

Otherwise, trying to keep it together. Still looking for jobs for my dad and finding nothing in their area. Mom is still in Florida, and today I've been searching online for an assisted living home for my great-aunt. It seems she hasn't been taking care of herself like she should. She's open to the idea, so it's just a matter of finding a nice one that won't break the bank.

Two of my fish died last weekend, despite medicating them. Two are left, and I hope they make it. My tank has been acting funky for months now.

My cookbooks arrived, and I have been drooling over them ever since. My current fav is

Text is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and Link is http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Cupcakes-Take-Over-World/dp/1569242739/sr=8-1/qid=1171475243/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-4020304-8611342?ie=UTF8&s=books
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. Margarita cupcakes, people! I'm going to have to start making cupcakes and posting photos so you, too, can drool over them.

new headache drugs

February 8th, 2007 at 11:34 am

Had a doctor's appointment this morning - Topamax and Zomig, here I come. I really like my doctor; he actually takes the time to listen to me, considers what I've said, does a little research on his laptop, and gives me a few options to choose from. He's very thoughtful and considerate. I appreciate that. I find it sad that his type of medical care is unusual.

Luckily, he gave me ample samples of both new drugs, so I don't have to fill pricey prescriptions until I know they work.

I am so incredibly tired of having a perpetual headache.

Last night SO and I used a soon-to-expire restaurant gift certificate. It was a nice place. We did something we've never done before - sent back a bottle of wine. It didn't seem spoiled, just...gross. The restaurant was empty, so we didn't inconvenience our server; we just felt bad about doing it. The second bottle was much better. On the way home, we had to create a pep talk for ourselves - it's ok to politely refuse something unpleasant and ask for a replacement if you're paying for it. That's harder for me that it should be.

We had to take a "strengths finder" quiz at work. Turns out I am intellectual, adaptable, empathetic, have a craving to know more, and am inspired by the future. Didn't really come as a surprise to me, but I'm not sure how to apply that to my career.

I received a very nice birthday gift of cash from my aunt. I'm spending half of it on books and a

Text is writing computer program and Link is http://www.amazon.com/Writers-DreamKit-4-Win-Mac/dp/B000I8FADG/sr=8-1/qid=1170963083/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-8456391-9184651?ie=UTF8&s=software
writing computer program (a.k.a., my kick in the pants). The other half will go into savings.

I wish we were going to Mexico this weekend!

fantastic birthday

February 7th, 2007 at 08:48 am

Thank you for all the well-wishes! My birthday was great! SO and I took the day off. After bringing my mom to the airport at 5:00am, I went back to bed. SO made me breakfast, picked up my free Caribou Coffee drink (free email club!), and we headed over to the Science Museum. The exhibit on race was fascinating and very thought-provoking. One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was a grid of photos of faces. A person's voice was played, and you had to mentally match the voice to the person. Then you hit a button to see who was actually doing the talking. I didn't do as well as I thought I would, and some really shocked me. In this online world, it's easy to forget about personal things like that.

Later, a friend and her husband came over for my homemade lasagna dinner and chocolate turtle cake. I talked to my mother twice, my dad once, and my aunts in Texas. One aunt congratulated me on my birthday and then informed me that now I'm halfway to 56! Thanks! Stick Out Tongue All in all, it was a really nice birthday.

This weekend we're going to an incredible Thai restaurant with friends to celebrate a bit more. I love this restaurant and haven't been there in ages. They have a delicious mock duck curry, the best pad thai, amazing tropical drinks...really, it's all delicious.

I love when birthdays spread out for a week. It makes it much more "real". SO mentioned last night that big events in his life tend to happen during odd-numbered years, and my life is quite similar. I was born in an odd year, graduated from high school and college in odd years, have moved to a new place every odd year since then, and started dating SO in an odd year. Perhaps 2007 will pick up...?

human popsicles

February 5th, 2007 at 07:08 am

When your uncovered skin instantly stings...

When you feel every nostril hair seizing and freezing...

When the gentleman across from you on the bus has icicles dripping from his mustache...

You know it's winter in Minnesota.

This morning I stepped out into a balmy -15 degrees F. Luckily, there wasn't a breeze.

More sad family news - my parents' last indoor cat passed away over the weekend. He had cancer, poor baby.

My 87-year-old great-aunt was in a car accident last week and shattered her knee. She lives alone in a two-story home in Florida. Turns out my mother was listed as her emergency contact. Mom is taking the Greyhound bus here today, to fly out of Minneapolis tomorrow. Too bad her flight leaves at the crack of dawn; we could spend more of my birthday together. Mom will be back in a couple of weeks. She just doesn't need more stress!

I'm taking tomorrow off, so after dropping Mom off at the airport, I'll be heading home for a quick nap. Then I'm planning to check out the

Text is race exhibit and Link is http://www.smm.org/race/
race exhibit at the Science Museum. Later, a birthday dinner of cheesy lasagna, salad, and chocolate turtle cake. Yum!