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Archive for October, 2005

Sunday and getting ready for the week

October 31st, 2005 at 04:53 am

Today was a laid back sort of day. I finally sat down to do my homework at 2:00ish and was done by 4:00 or so. It wasnt that bad once I got started. I need to make a small presentation tomorrow and I think it will go okay. I've prepared my materials on this end, but I really dont like speaking in front of people.

Did one more load of laundry so I would have the clothes I wanted to wear tomorrow. The dishwasher is running now. We ordered pizza for dinner and watched "Sunset Boulevard" - an oldie, but goodie. Then we lounged around on the couch for a while. I felt like I was on vacation with time to burn. I havent felt this relaxed in ages. Today DH and I talked about Christmas vacation. I get time off from X-mas to New Year's. I'm going to take another week before the holidays so I can just do a whole lot of nothing. That is the plan, but in reality, I am sure we will be working on the house. Last year we did a Sopranos marathon and used up entire days in front of the TV. We dont watch a lot of TV and it was a nice change of pace. This year we should be finishing the entertainment room and we can finally move the extra chairs out of the living room.

My lunch is packed, water poured into bottles and tea brewed for tomorrow. I always make sure I pack extra on Mondays because I have an especially long day on Mondays.

I went to the Health food coop today determined to buy the olive oil that I love. Its got a great flavor and is excellent for dipping bread. When I got there, I found out it was on sale!! I bought the last two bottles on the shelf. I also got some turkey for the cats and some face anti wrinkle stuff for me. Then I went to KMart for Halloween candy. They had some stuff on sale. Overall, I spent over $80!! I think this is going to be a no spend week. The money has been going out the door way to fast lately.

Got it goin on

October 30th, 2005 at 12:21 am

Things have been busy!! This morning I loaded the dishwasher and ran a load, did six loads of laundry and cooked like we were feeding 20 people. I had to use up the veggies from our CSA for the past two weeks, so I got creative. I made an apple cake, fried eggplant, squash (which we can eat now or I can freeze) and baked ziti with turkey meatballs. No more food will fit in the fridge at this point. I will have plenty to take in my lunch and DH will have plenty to eat during the week as well.

The laundry was copious because we have been buying new flannel sheets for the winter. We are also in this phase of replacing things that we've had since before we were married. I used to work at Marshall Field's and got some great deals on linens and misc house hold items. Now a lot of them are getting worn...many of them are eight years old!! Time to bring in the new. So, we've been scouring the sales at JCP and finding lots of good deals. Last night I got four pillows for $18. I'm replacing the orthapedic thing that I never got used to and going with these. I even replaced the guest pillows for when company comes. In this process, I'm washing lots of new sheets as well as the old ones before we donate them or make them into rags for the many house related projects we have going on around here.

I also found several pairs of jeans that fit well, so those went in the laundry today as well. And a pair of leather shoes for $37. Did not go in the laundry. DH bought some shirts - all were either 50% off or buy one, get one free. His wardrobe has been suffering since I dont shop recreationally anymore. He's beginning to look dated, though he's oblivious to that...He's also wearing out or ruining a lot of his everyday stuff with the work he does around the house with the remodel. We were/are both looking shabby.

So, while things on the house front are going well, I sat down and looked at the money that is making all of this happen. My overall debt has increased by about $2000 in the past two months. Most of that has been health related expenses. But the good news is that I will be able to pay that down in a short period of time, probably the next couple of months and then get back on track. My timeline for being debt free has been pushed back, but I've accepted that. I am feeling 1000 times better than I did in the beginning of August, so its been worth it. Once I am totally healthy again, I am going to continue with a healthy lifestyle rather than revert to my old ways. It will save a lot of money in the long run.

I've decided I'm not going to take any classes next semester. First, they arent offering anything I can take. I am six credits short of completing my coursework, but have already taken the classes they are offering. And second, coming home late in the evening after class and a full day of work is not only exhausting, its expensive. We have ordered food or eaten out more this semester than any other. And I know its because I'm too tired to cook when I get home. So that's going to change after the first part of December. I'm in a lull again about finishing this degree. My job is requiring me to do lots of left brain thinking and I can feel my verbal abilites slipping away. It may also be that my blood sugar is still high and that impairs one's thinking. Whatever it may be, I am glad to be taking some time off. Work is going to only get busier and I will gladly invest more time there if it means more money.

Already, I feel the stress lifting from my shoulders. I feel a giggle coming on.

I transferred my dreaded mbna balance to a zero percent interest until 6/06 with Discover. So now all my cards are below 5% except the Discover I am currently using. The health related items went on that card. And the new clothes I needed to buy due to health related weight loss went on that card too. I will have that paid by mid Jan of 06.
I've been diligent with budgeting all anticipated expenses and then projecting the remaining amount of each check to my debt. It helps to see what spending does to the amount available to pay down debt. Its not the ultimate motivator, but it has guided me in making better choices. It doesnt help much with impulse spending, especially when I'm not sitting in front of the spreadsheet. But if I do splurge, it does help to illustrate the consequences of those actions....doesnt seem to stop me from doing it again though. Need much stronger conditioning for that.

Off to do homework. Have procrastinated the better part of today away. I NEED to get something done. I have to make a small presentation on Monday night. I really dont groove on speaking in front of other people.

lazy sunday

October 23rd, 2005 at 07:21 pm

Its already 1:30 here and I am lounging around, with some intermittant (sp?) household chores. I loaded and ran the dishwasher - a never ending chore it seems. Then I cleaned out the fridge and tossed some experimental recipes that just did not work out. I feel bad throwing that much food out, but there is no way we will ever eat it, so I just need to bite the bullet and get rid of it...and the recipe too.

I found a recipe for cashew asperagu pilaf. Since I'd purchased asperagus last week when it was on sale, it seemed like a good time to make it. I love rice, so it should be gooood. I'm trying to eat lighter, more vegegarian lately. I'm in a phase where meat repulses me. Its a texture thing. I love the crunch of veggies and fruit. And I feel better in general when I eat lighter.

At noon, I finally got the sunday paper. There are some sales at KMart that look good. We have a KMart right by our house. Its very close to the healht food coop I go to. I'm going to check it out and see if they have good prices. The WalMart that I usually go to is twice as far away and I'm really tired of the traffic.

There is a wonderful breeze blowing in the doors this afternoon. There must be some lovely smells wafting about. One of our cats goes to the door, assesses the situation, then goes racing to the back of the house or up the cat tree. And then repeats the whole process. I like knowing she is so comfortable here. We've had her since March and we know she came from an abusive home. I'm glad she knows she is safe here and has the freedom to do what cats do.

DH is feeling ill with a tummy thing. Hope its not the flu. He's sleeping and probably will be for the better part of the day. We rented a video to watch tonight. My job is to get my homework done by then. I am so not in the frame of mind I need to be in to get anything left brain done. I just want to surf the web and watch the sun move across the sky.

Saturday

October 22nd, 2005 at 08:05 pm

Its the weekend again. For five days, I yearn for the freedom of my weekends - and then they are filled with the same old, same old. At least we are having a beautiful day here and all the doors are open to let in the fresh air and sunlight.

I've spent a better part of the morning going over expenses and budgetting for the next pay period on the 31st. I am including as many expenses in the budget as I can so I know the things we need are covered. I also did this in an effort to anticipate what may be comnig my way in the next two weeks so I'm less tempted to splurge and blow the budget. I got down to details like postage stamps and hair cuts. My goal is to list as many things as possible so I will pay in cash. Then I will use my cc's to order things on-line, like supplements, etc. Basically the things I can't buy locally or if the price is sooo much better on-line, even with shipping.

This morning, I transferred my mbna to a 0% interest until June 06 account with Discover!!! So very pleased with that. No transfer fees either. It will save me about $40/month in interest. I redid my avalanche and its going to take me longer to pay down my other cards, but they are at 2.9% until paid in full. So, yes, I will be paying interest, but a very low amount at that. The timeframe still bothers me. Mybe the math in my spreadsheet is off.

I cleaned off my desk so now I can again find everything. So far its been a rather productive day. Homework still lingers....arg.

health issues

October 22nd, 2005 at 04:50 am

So glad this week has come to a close. It was uneventful overall, but I'm really ready for some downtime.

I'm doing this cleanse to clean out my liver and I feel icky. I can tell something is getting stirred up in my sytem because I'm tired and achy. I've been getting the usual amount of sleep, but I think my body really needs more. I was tired after lunch today, but felt a little revived by the time I got home.

DH and I made tacos for dinner - with plenty of leftovers for the week. There is a stack of dishes still waiting to be taken carre of, but they will have to wait until tomorrow.

I cleaned our second bathroom because I could not stand it any longer. I also put together a caddy for each bathroom with all the cleaning supplies one needs to make these rooms clean. This should save on running to the other end of the house and hopefully encourage DH to take his turn at cleaning. The second bathroom is no longer being used as the main bathroom and it was getting dirty beyond belief. I couldnt take it any more, so I cleaned it from top to bottom. The difference is amazing. I can live with it again.

I also moved the shampoo and soap stash to the main bathroom. It had all been in the laundry room due to space limitations, but that is changing as we remodel.

I think this organization process will go on forever. But we're just moving things around, not buying more...unless I see it on sale. Moving these items will allow me to monitor them a bit better as well.

I've lost track of spending lately, so will need to sit down and figure that out a bit. I know I get paid next Friday and I've still got money left from the previous pay period. That is a good sign.

The plan is for a quiet weekend. Lots of homework, lots of housework, little motivaton for work. But the semester is half over. We are definately on the downward swing. I have some major projects due yet, but am confident I can get them done on time. I'm not sure what I am going to do next semester. I may just take it off and relax, regain some sanity.

Strange day at work

October 19th, 2005 at 02:34 am

Today was a very strange day. Its like all the people who are in a position to intiatie projects and create more work woke up today and realized that I exist. I spent the entire morning in meetings and half the afternoon talking to people who were telling me what they needed to have done. Its sort of odd to suddenly find myself in the spotlight, but I really like the work I do. So the bottom line is that I am thrilled to be asked and you can bet I have got the wheels turning on how I can approach my boss on this to get a raise. I'm going to wait a bit and actually accomplish some things before asking, but you can bet it is on the forefront of my mind.

Yesterday I went to the naturopath. My health is improving!!! At 37 I have been diagnosed with diabetes. There is no history in my family so I was quite shocked. I tried a conventional doctor (which I previously ranted about) but was so disgusted that my only option would be insulin for the rest of my life. So I decided to seek an alternative method and I am so glad that I did. Though my sugar is still high, the issue is being addressed. The reason I like this naturopath is because her attitude is one of mild intervention. She believes in supporting the body to strengthen it to the point where it can do what its supposed to. She's worked with several people who have diabetes and is able to get them off insulin. I'm going to give this method of treatment about a year, though I have a feeling it will clear up sooner. In the meantime, the supplements are pricy. When I went yesterday, my doses were decreased because I'm doing better. I am paying for as much as I can in cash and budgeting around the rest of it. I will probably need to be on these from time to time for maintenance, so that cost will be there. But I'm willing to pay for these items. In just two months, I already feel better. Though not 100% yet, I can tell I am on the right path.

On other fronts...I am concerned about the bird flu thing. I have a feeling we are going to see this illness on a massive scale. With health being on my mind, its something I wonder about a lot. My gut feeling is not a good one. If a significant portion of the population is wiped out, the infrastructure for the distribution of goods will be affected. This in turn will put the economy into a spin. I'm not worried about losing my job, but I'm sure that many, many people will be affected. I'm not really sure what will happen. I just feel uneasy.

Specifics re money have been blurry. I guess my focus has been on my health and school, which is going okay. I had to purchase my lunch at work today because I forgot to pack one. I ran out the door in a hurry this morning. It was greasy and not very good. I have already packed something for tomorrow. It will be a busy day so I'm sure to burn lots of calories.

quiet Saturday

October 15th, 2005 at 08:36 pm

I've gone over the budget and have found that I've spent far more this month than I intended. It could be because I've indulged myself and done some spending for clothes this past week. I have two items to return, which will be a good thing. I was trying to be so careful, but I guess I got lulled into that feeling of security again and figured it was okay to spend. And overboard I seemed to go.

We are doing things around the house today. Sort of puttering, but doing the little things that make the big things run more smoothly during the rest of the week. We are still moving things around and sorting out as we go. This time DH had a couple of things to take to the second hand bookstore and a charity that we donate to. Things that he admitted were impulse buys and now he doesnt really have a need for them. I'm so glad he's not a pack rat.

I've got bread in the machine and something I've never made before in the crock pot. Its a mushroom barley veggie combination that I hope is tasty, because it certainly is healthy. We've been eating the leftovers in the fridge until dinner is done tonight. I'm really trying to use what we already have. I'm tired of running around chasing sales. There are a couple of things at two grocery stores I've never been to in our area. But I think I'm going to do the isolationist thing this weekend and use only internal resources. Also, when you have a reasonable number of choices, its easier to decide what to make for dinner. Otherwise, I get overwhelmed and end up making nothing and going for the junky snackies that arent filling and arent good for you either.

Enough procratinating. I really do need to go study. I am so dreading it.....

still quiet on the money front.

October 13th, 2005 at 06:25 pm

There were two small bills to pay out of this paycheck. I wrote them out on Tues and will put them in the mail tomorrow. All the other items that I've budgeted for this pay period are for services. I have a hair cut tomorrow, and a list of three or four other things that escape me at the moment. So I am sitting on a huge amount of money in my account. Interestingly, I'm not feeling tempted to spend it. Its already allocated. By Tuesday of next week I should be able to pay of a large chunk of my eternal mbna. I've stopped spending on it, so the balance is not increasing.

Work is starting to get under my skin again. All summer, and several months prior, we were waiting for documents to come through. Nothing could be done until they were delivered. Well, they finally were three weeks ago and now everyone wants their websites redesigned yesterday. I love the work, but I really hate feeling pressured to produce something that I need time to do. AND suddenly, out of nowhere, everyone is asking for the heavy duty stuff that is quite labor intensive. I'm glad to do the work, because I love this stuff. But I cannot deliver a four week project in two days. Being rushed always makes me angry. I wish I could develop a more laid back personality about it.

I am right now formulating a way to march into my bosses office and ask for an upgrade. I need to calm down a bit first.

On other fronts, the house is continuing to come along. We moved furniture into the second bedroom last night. Now DH can start moving things into his office which will free up the entertainment room for remodeling. We are systematically going through each room, painting, tiling and finishing off whatever else was undone when we bought it. It will be like new when we get done. Already, I love the rooms that are done and cant imagine how we lived in the unfinished ones. Living in it while working on it is more of a challenge than I realized it would be.

School is going well, sort of. I've talked to a couple of other techy people who are in the program, but who are also frustrated that its not techy enough. I've got one semester to go (if I push) and I will be done. I will have my paper in hand and (hopefully) a wider range of job options available to me. I'm so tired of working hard and not being paid a wage that will allow me to do the things I want to in life - even while I am generally being frugal.

I guess I am stressed today and tired of working on other people's terms. sigh....I have Monday off to see the naturopath. The drive will do me good. I daydream about skipping my class, though I'll see how I feel as the time draws near. If I'm in the mood, I might as well go b/c they count attendance - in a graduate class!!!

general sense of calm

October 11th, 2005 at 10:14 pm

We are making plans to travel for Thanksgiving. We are driving to CA to visit family. Normally we fly, but this year, I am taking the whole week off which will give us plenty of time for the two day drive. I am actually looking forward to it. The relatives out there live a very different lifestyle and it is CA...but I'm craving some civilization right about now. I'm also very glad we are driving. This season I'm very concerned about catching a cold or something worse from the stale, recirculated airplane air.

But there is something more...I have another semester, maybe two, before I complete my master's degree. It depends on just how hard I want to push the process along. I am looking at job options once I get past that hurdle. In some ways, I would like to stay in my current position. Its comfortable, but I've pretty much maxed out my advancement possiblilities. That means no more significant raises; just the annual 3% and even that is not guaranteed.
I'm daydreaming of a big job, something that pays well, as in doubling my current salary. The relatives live very close to a blue chip company that recruits from the academic program I am in. I'm not sure I would like to move to CA, but I certainly do like to daydream about a better life and the option of doubling my income. I'm going to look at things with a very critical eye when we are there for a visit and see what I can uncover...

I'm really looking forward to doing some shopping while we are there!!! I so need clothes. This morning I scraped together what I'm going to wear for the rest of the week. I have about three, maybe four, decent, work appropriat outfits that I can get buy with. Everything else is jeans and t-shirts - all just a bit too casual for me at this point. Things are going to get very busy at work and I'm going to be meeting with the Big People on a regular basis. I want to look a little more put together. Clothes make the woman; and I can tell the difference in my attitude when I am dressed professionally.

Plus, now that I am feeling better with my health improving and I'm still enjoying the light feeling after dropping 30 lbs since May, I'm in the process of re-defining myself a bit. Friday is a haircut, something shorter and fresher. And I want a carefree, easy wardrobe to go with it. Lots of knit items in natural fibers. I ordered shoes off zappos.com today. Need to move beyond the Keens. Lovely and comfy, but I'm going a bit more city.

Just rambling. What I think I am trying to say is that on nearly all fronts, things feel like they are finally, finally coming together and maybe even paying off. Its been such a long time in the making that I feel a sense of relief all the way down to my bones. And I am grateful.

Sunday spending

October 10th, 2005 at 12:13 am

We went to the XPrize event. It was pretty good. I'm not a space buff, so I didnt get into it like some people. We saw a couple of rockets launch, do a short air show and then land. These are the prototypes for future personal space travel. Its supposed to become an annual event.

We packed a picnic, but didnt get to eat it until after the event. There was a shuttle we had to take, so we didnt take it with us. I am glad I packed something, because there wasnt anything served there and neither of us thought to bring cash.

It was very windy out all day. The temps are dropping now, so the night should be cool as well. Finally, a break from the heat.

After the show we came back to town and finished up our errands. Pria bars are on sale at Target for cheaper than Sam's, which is where I ususally get them. I keep a box in my desk to resist going to vendo land and buying junk food at work. So far, its been working like a charm. I also try to keep some at home to have on hand when I crave sugar. That's been working too. For the past several months, I've been avoiding chocolate both at home and at work.

Looked at clothes, but didnt find anything that looked good on me. Disappointing. I think either I need to loose more weight or start buying upper end clothes. Nothing I find looks good on me. I'm starting to get frustrated.

Saturday errands and good deals

October 8th, 2005 at 11:32 pm

DH and I ran some errands. We need bedside lamps for the new bedroom that we have been working on. He is hanging the mirror on the closet and taking care of minor touches. We should be able to move in next weekend. We could do it this weekend, but there is too much else going on and I'm not in the mood to spread myself thin right now.

So we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and found two lamps that have a rustic look - and I had two coupons. One for 20% and the other for $5. We each took a lamp and each made a purchase. This saved us $13. The lamps were only $40 each to begin with, which is very reasonable compared to most that we looked at. Most were starting at $60 just for a single base. By the time you add shades, its nearly $200.

We also stopped at Big Lots to pick up misc like hangers, sponges, cotton pads, mustard and a toilet brush. Real exciting. But DH went with and was impressed that we only spent $9 on all the stuff we bought. After we bought the lamps, I told him again how happy I am that he will use coupons to save money. He sort of chuckled and thought it was odd that I'm so enthused about this. I told him that a lot of people are too embarrassed to use coupons. His response - I guess I've never met a lot of those people. One less battle for me to fight!! Smile

Earlier, I went grocery shopping at WalMart, Albertsons and the local coop healthfood store. I spent a lot of money, over $100 total, including coupons. But I did the stock up thing. We've been keeping lists on the fridge of things we use regularly and have run out of. The only things that go on these lists are the things we use hardcore. So, between the sales and coupons coming due, I figured it was time to finally get some shopping done. I feel good knowing that I didnt buy anything extra or frivolous. That helps to defray the large bill. And we now have several staples on hand, so I wont need to do a big shopping trip for quite a while. With gas at the price it is and time also being at a premium, that's a good thing by me.

I found the tea I like at WalMart for half the price that Albertsons charges. Its a new item and Alb seems to carry them before WalMart, so I was paying more. But now Walmart has caught up and I will buy it there from this point forward. And I also found out that the rice milk I drink regularly is on sale for the month of October AND I can order it by the case and recieve a 10% discount. Payday is Friday and I'm going to order two cases!! Our cupboards are beginning to bulge, but its a good feeling to have a surplus on hand.

Tomorrow we are attending the XPrize cup events. DH bought the tickets on-line for $6 each. I will pack a lunch and drinks to make sure we arent held captive to high prices. After that, we are heading to the mall. I have a couple more coupons BOGOF sort of things. I want to use them before they expire. I love getting stuff for free - or even discounted. It makes me feel like I am getting more for my dollar, but it seems like its closer to the price it should be in the first place. DH had purchased some very nice bath salts for me as a gift. One of them smelled like lavendar and I swear I slept better the night I used them. I'm going to pick some of those up and then I can get a lotion free. If the scents are too much, I can always give it as a gift.

I've been very, very good about resisting the temptation to buy clothes. I think I'm still losing weight. The jeans I bought just a couple of weeks ago are now sagging off my bum. The scale says I'm staying the same, but none of my pants fit me. I think I'm toning up rather than dropping pounds. I'm still eating like a horse. I really do need clothes for work. I'm starting to dress like a college student and that's not the look I'm going for. I need something a little more dressy than jeans. I'm not sure what to do. I dont want to spend money on clothes that will need to be replaced in a couple of months, but dont really want to look like a slouch much longer either.

Another factor is that we dont really have any nice places to shop in town. So I have to travel to the next town over and I dont know the area well enough to feel confident that I am getting good deals. Plus, its a large city and parking, even at the large malls, is a problem. The stock is usually picked over when there is a good deal, so you do a lot of digging for very little return. I havent had prodcutive excursions in the past, so I'm not especially eager to go again. But I'm also not happy with the local JPC either. I really dont know what to do to remedy this. But its beginning to become a problem - one that will not easily go away.

Today, my health is wonderful. I got plenty of sleep last night, but I also think I'm just getting healthier in general. I have an appt on the 17th to check my progress and I'm really excited. I have more energy than I did two months ago though in other ways, I still feel awful. It will take time, I am sure. But so far, the results are encouraging.

Overall, things are feeling productive here. I'm slowling getting things done and am just as slowly, but surely, and finally, seeing some results from all the work. I hope it all continues in this direction.

Today was another no spend day

October 2nd, 2005 at 10:10 pm

I was really tempted to get some jeans at JPC. They are having a sale and I have a 20% off coupon that came in the mail last week. But I really dont feel like spending any money. There were also some good deals on pants and t's at Target, but again, I'm feeling too lazy to get out of my comfy sweats and drive across town just to spend money. This is one time that I am NOT talking myself out of being lazy.

I'm in front of the computer with my homework piled up, ready to type up my papers, but I am procrastinting. Grrrr...will be glad when this semester is over.

Garbage has been on my mind lately. Actually for some time now. DH and I are spending a good deal more time at home, especially when it comes to eating. I've been cooking like mad on the weekends, so we have plenty of food during the week; and I have things to carry in my lunch. What amazes me is the amount of garbage we seem to be generating. This has been going on for several months now. I keep forgetting to write about it.

We dont buy many convenience items and try to recycle as much as possible. We buy basics whnever possible, which I believe has less packaging. In addition to taking plastic bottles, newspapers, etc to the recycling center, I try to use as much as we can internally, i.e. any sort of plastic bag that is not fit for food is used when I clean out the cat boxes; almost all paper that is blank on the back gets used for scratch paper for grocery lists and menu planning, etc. The idea is to get as much use out of something as possible before retiring it to the garbage can.

But we still have to take the garbage out several times during the week. It seems to fill up very quickly which means we are generating quite a lot of it. It disturbs me that two people are making so much garbage. And it seems to coincide with our efforts to be more frugal. Was it that I never noticed before or are we doing something differntly than before? Either way, it bothers me and I would really like to find a way to reduce the volume. As a disincentive, we have to pay the city for trash pick up every week, wheter we use it or not. I really wish there was some way for them to give a break to the people who use the service less. Probably just utopic thinking...

No spend day

October 2nd, 2005 at 02:20 am

This was a rather good Saturday. No spending. Got some things done around the house. I would like to go shopping as a reward. Will see what the Sunday paper says.