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Labor Day weekend recap

September 7th, 2007 at 08:52 pm

I've taken a bit of a break from blogging lately...a combination of spending too much and feeling guilty about it, not saving enough and feeling guilty about it, and spending my time doing other things. Still checking in on the rest of you, though. Wink

I'm taking an Adobe Photoshop class soon, and am very excited about it. I think I'll learn a lot and it will really help my photography. Pricey, though, as are all computer classes.

I had an eye appointment and bought new contacts. Though I'll get a $100 rebate soon, it was still a chunk of change. This month I've got several medical appointments, including one to a neurologist (the migraines have returned). Yippee skippee.

I had an extremely busy Labor Day weekend with five house guests - fun, but stressful! We took them to the State Fair, joining about 190,000 other people:

I baked a vegan Boston Cream Pie for my sister's birthday (it was a hit):

and we visited the site of the 35W bridge collapse. The city finally opened up one of the nearby streets overlooking the site.

More photos

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This weekend will involve me, my bed, a big jug of water, and a bottle of vitamins. I seem to have caught a cold after all that fun!

cookies, anyone?

August 9th, 2007 at 08:02 pm

Last weekend I made some delicious double chocolate almond cookies (vegan, of course). They were gone in a matter of days. I think my father-in-law ate half the batch!

This is my second photo to make it into flickr's Explore feature, which is pretty cool. Smile My next goal is to make it into the top 100 Explore photos of the day.

This month I'm trying to concentrate on building up my emergency fund. It's only got a $100 in it, and guess whose car is making a horrendous rattling noise again? I've already botched that by ordering UV filters (and a circular polarizer) for my camera. The UV filters are basically a necessity, because I've been super worried about scratching the surface of my lenses (big $$ to replace them). The circular polarizer? Not so much.

The problem is that I keep thinking of things I want. Magnets! and a haircut! and shoes! and take-out! and and and...I really need to just stop thinking.

My net worth is up to $1,127! Whoo hoo!


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?

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!

change of plans

March 23rd, 2007 at 04:01 pm

I'm heading to Florida!

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photo link

Mom is coming back this weekend for a brief two-week hiatus to get some stuff done at home. Then she's got to go back to Florida for another month. My great-aunt's affairs are still up in the air...she doesn't want to be in an assisted living facility, but she can't take care of herself, she doesn't want anyone living with her, she won't move anywhere else where a family member could help her out... It's a bit of a mess.

I'm going to Florida with Mom to help her out for a week (and, to a suck up a little 80 degree weather). Wink This throws my savings and student loan goals off, of course, but I think it's worth it. I haven't seen my mom much lately, and she's completely stressed out with all that's been going on this year. I've never met my great-aunt, and I've been dying for a vacation. It may not end up being the most relaxing vacation in the world, but hopefully my presence will be appreciated.

Time to dig out the summer clothes!

March's budget bender

February 28th, 2007 at 08:05 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...

my latest crafting purchase

February 14th, 2007 at 06:17 pm

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 shop, 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

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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 07:34 pm

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

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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!

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 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

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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'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.

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.