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June 27th, 2007 at 05:15 pm

Three weeks this Just wanted to let you know that I am alive, and still reading your blogs. I have google feeds for several and take a peek at the main blog page whenever I have the chance. So although I may seem absent, I'm still keeping tabs on you!

Let's see...the baby shower I hosted was fabulous. I think most everyone had a nice time, particularly the soon-to-be parents, and they received so many nice gifts. I baked four dozen vegan cupcakes (root beer float flavor and lemon flavor) but didn't take ONE photo of them! They were a big hit, even after SO told everyone that they were vegan. (For whatever reason, that tends to freak people out.) I am incredibly excited about this baby's arrival. Since they are keeping the gender a secret, it will be fun to see what it is!

I have a job interview tomorrow. My main goal is more money and less boring work at this point. I purchased an LSAT study guide last week...still on the fence about actually taking the test and actually going to law school, but it's a start. I need a life plan, a career plan, something I can really feel involved in that will bring in some decent money. Right now, I'm just floating through life, and I hate that feeling. Fern, I've been thinking a lot about what you asked in my previous post, and my biggest gripe is the monotony of my current job. Every day is the same and far too simple. Some of my coworkers drive me nuts, but that's inevitable. I should be getting paid more in general, as well.

If I do go to law school, it will preferably be full time, so it would be nice to have a job for a year that brought in more money than my current job. Anyone with insights on law careers and law school, bring them on! I'm most interested in environmental law, international law, and public policy.

I cut out my daily Topamax pills and am waiting for my headaches to subside. At the moment, I'm pretty sure it's just medication withdrawal. I hope I'm right, or I may need to finally give in and visit a neurologist. I just don't want to be eternally medicated, and cutting out dairy and eggs has really helped with the headaches. I hadn't had a migraine since March, up until last Saturday, when I quite taking the Topamax.

My five-year anniversary with SO is tomorrow. Five years! It certainly doesn't seem that long. I guess that is a good sign, eh? We have no plans to celebrate, but we bought ourselves a Wii...romantic, I know. Wink It's seriously fun, though.

I've been posting Project 365 photos to my

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flickr page, but here are a few small ones.

If you think vegan food is boring, bland, or uninteresting, think again.

Bean enchiladas with vegan "cheese" sauce, tofutti sour cream, and salsa:

Seitan tacos (one of my favorite recipes):

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chiffon mousse frosting - these are to die for:

and, not food-related - beautiful daisies in my yard:


June 5th, 2007 at 03:26 pm

Yikes! I've been away for a couple of weeks. I visited my parents for the long Memorial Day weekend (and my dad's birthday) and have been pretty busy lately.

Since I haven't posted two weeks' worth of Project 365 photos here, I'll spare you the endless array, and just direct you to

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my Project 365 site on flickr. Click on a photo's thumbnail to see it bigger. Please feel free to comment! My favorites include the little green worm that attached himself to SO's shirt, my dad's old GMC truck, and my mother's sweet 29-year-old horse.

My sister moved into her apartment last weekend, so I hosted her and my mom again. I spent waaaaay too much money as well. June is shaping up to be an expensive month already.

I purchased some of the upcoming baby shower food items at Sam's Club but I've still got more to get, including decorations. The party isn't until the 16th, but I feel like I've got a lot to do...including baking four dozen cupcakes.

Still losing about a pound a week! Big Grin I received the completed payment notice regarding my student loan, too, so I'm free and clear on that one. I also dropped down my car insurance levels and removed collision entirely, so that will help immensely. The yearly premium plus deductible was more than my car is worth, and I don't even drive it that often. I kept comprehensive, since I live in the city. I'll be saving $250 a year - not bad!

One of my coworkers is quitting, and I'm pretty envious. I've been looking for something new, but nothing clicks. Same refrain - six years after college, still don't know what to do with my life. All I know is that it's not this. It would be nice to be happy in a job, and feel like it was a career. Am I dreaming? How many people actually obtain that?

good news!

May 21st, 2007 at 04:15 pm

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photo credit

I paid off my smaller college loan! *happy dance*

My remaining college loan is finally under $11,000! I like that the figure starts with a 10 now. Wink

To date, I've paid off $12,217 in student loans, not counting interest!

And, this isn't financially-related, but I can fit into my favorite jeans again! I've lost 11 pounds, and am consistently losing about a pound a week. It's a nice little side perk of my vegan diet. Oh cute jeans, how I've missed thee...

lattice, P365, Day 28: 5/17/07

concentration, P365, Day 29: 5/18/07

puff, P365, Day 30: 5/19/07

more with the P365

May 17th, 2007 at 01:52 pm

Getting sick of this yet?

A view while out geocaching - Day 24, 5/13/07

$3.24 a gallon and rising - Day 25, 5/14/07

lilacs, Day 26, 5/15/07

My landlord's 10-year-old dog, racing circles around me with the frisbee. He's a boxer pitbull mix, and the sweetest thing ever. Day 27, 5/16/07

Project 365 update

May 14th, 2007 at 04:52 pm

I had a wonderful weekend with my mom, sister, and SO. We found several geocaches, did a little shopping (but not too much) and enjoyed the unbelievably warm weather. Yesterday it hit 92 degrees!

Still taking photos every day! I'm posting small versions here - if you'd like to see bigger ones, click

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Guitar Hero Obsession, Day 18, 5/7/07

Got Insulin? Day 19, 5/8/07

one of my bowls, Day 20, 5/9/07

yarn, Day 21, 5/10/07

loved, Day 22, 5/11/07

family of geese we saw while out geocaching, Day 23, 5/12/07

A few more photos of geese & ducks
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weekend update

May 7th, 2007 at 02:55 pm

Mom came back from Florida this weekend, relieved to finally be back, but worried about the future. It's hard to know what to say sometimes.

We went geocaching yesterday and found three out of three! Whoo hoo! I'm glad we were able to find all of them - it made the first geocaching adventure for my mom and sister that much more fun. Smile Thanks again to the savingadvicer who mentioned it on your blog (I'm sorry, I can't remember who you were!). What a fun hobby! We approached one geocache from the wrong direction and ended up accidentally trespassing, which we didn't realize until much later. Whoops! We had no idea, though, because there were no signs, and no one came out to tell us. We walked around the grounds of an overgrown monastery, up and down a grand staircase covered in weeds and branches, and came across an old swimming pool full of trees. It looked like a movie set. I wish I had taken more photos.

It was nice to spend time with my family and friends. I spent a bit too much money on dining out, though, and I wish I had another day to relax. Oh well - back to the grind.

As for the bake sale's final figures - I made $72.15! Not bad! I should factor in the cost of ingredients (most of which I already had in the house), but frankly, I'm just content with the cash.

On to posting my Project 365 photos!

Juicy Tomatoes, Day 14: 5/3/07

Sheriff at a stoplight, Day 15: 5/4/07

My new camera, Day 16: 5/5/07

Bench, Day 17: 5/6/07

ready for the weekend

May 3rd, 2007 at 01:46 pm

Last day of the bake sale! Today I brought in caramel corn. I hope it flies off the table. I'm doing really well, but I'll save the final figure for tomorrow. Poor SO has been watching this stuff walk out of the house with just a nibble here and there, and I don't feel like baking anything more! Maybe I'll get inspired again this weekend...

I've been playing around with my new camera when I've got a spare moment...still haven't read the user manual so the photos aren't crystal clear and I don't understand all the features. Wink I'll get to it, hopefully this weekend.

P365, Day 12: 5/1/07

P365, Day 13: 5/2/07

My sister did something somewhat illogical, from my point of view. She decided to rent an apartment for her final year of college and not go home this summer. Fine and dandy, except for the fact that she has no job, no car, and no furniture. She already signed the lease and now is scrambling to find a job on campus to cover rent, utilities, and food. I hope she does, because my parents cannot help her (my father is still unemployed). Summer housing is not covered by her college loans because she isn't taking any classes. I understand wanting the independence...but I also don't get it. It's just one more year of living in a dorm, and then the rest of her life to live in an apartment. My mom is really sad about her not coming home this summer, too. Oh well, I guess, live and learn; I just hope it's not to the detriment of my parents' already delicate living situation.

3-day bake sale

May 1st, 2007 at 02:26 pm

My employer is having a three-day employee shindig this week, and I have a sale table. I'm selling baked goods, all proceeds benefiting me! I've made about $20 in the first hour. Not bad! On the table, I've got orange almond biscotti, rosemary bread, blondie bars, mini banana bread, mini banana muffins, and giant peanut butter oatmeal cookies. If it all sells, I should make about $70 today. Wish me luck!

P365, Day 11: 4/30/07
Banana Walnut Mini Muffins

made a purchase

April 30th, 2007 at 04:02 pm

Remember my

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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

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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 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!


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.

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.


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

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