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Archive for June, 2008

Yummy Pancakes, Overspent this month

June 29th, 2008 at 07:02 pm

This morning I made Cottage Cheese Oatmeal Banana Pancakes. Besides the obvious ingredients, I added flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate flavored protein powder. My batter made 16 1/4 cup pancakes and were high in protein, but low in fat.

Best of all, I was able to freeze 12 of them for 3 more Sunday morning breakfasts (nice and easy ones!) *If you're interested in actual measurements, let me know.

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At the end of May I had disconnected my land line and then gotten dry loop DSL. This apparentally caused my previously combined bill to be uncombined.

Last week I got a "Final Bill" from AT&T that was due upon receipt. So I went ahead and paid it, thinking I was done for July.

Nope. Today I got a bill from AT&T wireless due July 11. I called to find out what was going on. The wireless part of At&T charges a month in advance. When my bill was combined, I guess the parent AT&T company paid the Wireless part, then billed me.

The end game is that instead of having lower phone expenditures this month, I'm having an extra months cell phone bill + activation fee!

Now I'm just waiting to see how I'll get billed for my dry loop - and if I'll have to pay in "advance" for them too. Ugh!

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I was comparing my credit card statement (online) and my Ing account today.

I have three accounts other than a couple sinking funds - which I use each month. One is my Orange Checking which I have direct deposit each month. Then I have my "Coming Month" account which is where I transfer my paycheck to each Friday from Orange. Then I have my Credit Card Payment account which is where I transfer whatever the balance is at the end of my last statement, then transfer it to Orange to pay the card off in full by the due date. (The idea is to get as much interest as possible before departing the money. The interest from all my ING accounts gets transfered to my ING Downpayment account.)

Well, this past month I had a number of expenses that just kind of kept on coming. This was of course after my trip to CA, where I spent more than I really should've.

I had to replace my cell phone, then I bought a new DSL router, then I bought two tickets for the Beach Boys concert in September (mom's birthday), then I signed up at this website I'd been thinking about for over a year, then I bought a Brita filter + filter replacements from drugstore.com, then I mail-ordered a 3-month supply of one of my meds (saved $20). . . . etc. etc. etc.

Some of the things on that list are things that were unavoidable. Some, I should have just waited on or thought about a little longer, some are things that will save me money in the long run.

Long story short, this month, after subtracting the total amount of what is on my credit card from what I have in ING, I officially no longer have a One-month buffer. (I could transfer it from savings (EF/Car Fund), but I DON"T want to touch it!)

This means that for July and August, I am going to really have to watch my spending very carefully so that I can get my buffer back ASAP! I might be getting a second job in August, so that will help a bit - but I also plan to see if I have anything I can sell.

(P.S. The credit card will be paid in full both this month, as well as the coming month. I'm just going to have to use some of my July income to pay it instead of using June's income.)

---Anyone know Sam's club policy on how long they'll take an unopened item back w/receipt??

A fall and Exciting! news about my brother

June 28th, 2008 at 05:51 pm

Today I was at the grocery store getting ready to checkout. Across from where I was, was an item I needed but hadn't seen before getting in line. There wasn't anyone behind me, so I thought it'd be no problem to quick step it over there and back to my cart.

Guess I forgot what shoes I was wearing. 1 . . 2. . 3 twist ankle, scrape elbow and knee, get a couple bruises along side body -- worst bruise though to pride.

I'm a major klutz. Always have been. When I was younger, my parents put me in ballet classes from when I was in Kindergarten until the 5th grade to help with my coordination. At work, I'm constantly catching myself from tripping. In high-school, my senior year, I tripped over my own feet while practicing for a running race and broke a small bone in my left foot.

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Enough about Miss. Klutz's history here, let's move on to the truly exciting news!

My brother called me tonight (that's exciting in its own right!) He is a waiter at a 4 or 5 star resturant in Napa Valley, CA. He is GOOD at what he does.

Tonight, his service to a particular group of people will be recorded for posterity. In other words, HE is going to be filmed for a television show that is on Bravo called Desperate Housewives: 90210. The cast members will be filming some scenes in the place he works, and HE will be the server!!!

The really funny thing though, is that yesterday he SHAVED his whole head. So, he will be sporting a completely bald head, with sideburns and a goatee. LOL!

We're alerting everyone we know who might have Bravo to see if they can catch the episode whenever it airs. It will be SO COOL!

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I'd been getting pretty frustrated with my weight situation lately. Had even gained back to higher than I was when I started going to our office gym in October.

Last weekend I decided that enough was enough, and started to get back on making healthy eating choices. I also signed up for this website where they will help you with a customized food plan - using the foods you like/enjoy, and help you do something called carb cycling.

I haven't started really doing the plan yet, because it's taken most of this week to get it put together. But I have my plan set for this next week.

But, on my own this week, just by going back to making healthy food choices + my regular exercise routine . . (drum roll please) . . I LOST 9 lbs!!! Most of it I think was water weight, because I'd been eating some pretty high-sodium foods in the past few weeks, but I have to think that some of it at least was REAL weight. Smile

Ok. I'm off now to relax on my couch and watch "Brigadoon". This movie was highly recommended to me by E, my Personal Trainer. He also had highly recommended "Across The Universe" to me, and I really liked that . . so I have a good feeling about this one. Smile

Just ask and see what happens!

June 20th, 2008 at 08:18 pm

I've been pondering on what I could do to bring in a little extra money to help my car fund grow faster, etc. Babysitting, etc., seems to only happen once in a very long while - so can't really hope for too much from that.

Anyway, this morning Eric, my PT was at the gym in the morning. (Usually his dad is there in the morning.) We were chit chatting a bit when it hit me. At least 3 evenings a week I go home after work and . . . watch t.v., read, goof on the net, etc. Why not put one of those evenings each week to good use?

So I uncharacristaclly (sp?) blurted out and told him that if he had any evening hours openings (for watching the desk/gym) available, that I'd be very interested in one evening a week.

**He said that he thought he would very likely be able to find me some evening hours!** Better yet - at the same gym I already work out in (where my office is located) - so no driving to get there!

I'd still be able to read, or perhaps even do some strength training (while keeping a close eye on the front door) but I'd be getting paid! Woo hoo!

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I'm going with my best friend T tomorrow night to see Sex and the City! It will be so great to get to spend some time with her again (sans kids) as well as to see SATC.

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There has been a very definite environment/relationship shift at my workplace. It's been VERY noticeable to me since coming back from vacation. My good friend and co-worker has also noticed this.

Maybe I'm noticing it more now because I'm looking for reasons to either stay a Texan or try out being a Californian again, or if it truly had a major shift about the time of my vacation.

I know I shouldn't have let it upset me so much, but on Thursday I heard something that made me realize just how far out of the loop I was - not to mention the news itself could be something very sad.

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Very cool thing at work today. We moved into the 21st century! We got a color copier!!! Our Landman was so cute with how excited he got when someone made a copy of a land plat (sort of a map) he'd colored in - and it came out looking better than the original! Smile Smile

I'm just so excited because now whenever DW our engineering manager asks me to print out the production for various wells, I'll be able to print the black and white pages along with the color curves -- together!! --- at the same time!!! No more having to match up the b&w pages with the color curves!!

Stimulus finally & an almost free gift card

June 14th, 2008 at 02:38 pm

Yesterday I went to CVS to use my $5 off $25 coupon. One of the items I picked up was a $20 Blockbuster gift card. I went up to the register and checked out with no problem. But then when I got to my car I looked at my receipt a bit more closely and realized that I hadn't been charged for the gift card!

So I went back in to the same cashier. He was puzzled as to what had happened because the gift card had scanned - so it could've been used! He rang it up for me again, and I handed over a $1 CVS ecb which made it $19. Then I swiped my gift card (from mypoints.com) and it wouldn't work. He tried getting it to work - no can do.

Finally got a manager over who tried to get it to work. She finally asked me exactly what I was trying to buy. When she saw it was a gift card, she told me I couldn't buy a gift card with a gift card! So I just left - didn't even bother seeing if I could get my $1 ECB back.

I could've walked out of there with a $20 free Blockbuster gift card (for my brother and sil for Christmas I was thinking) but instead I was honest and ended up losing $1. Oh well - maybe I'll have some good repercussions come my way for doing the right thing. Smile

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I checked my mail this afternoon, and was VERY happy to see that my Stimulus check had arrived. Now I just have to wait till Friday after work to deposit it. Then probably Monday or Tuesday for it to finish clearing. Then the following Monday or Tuesday for it to be fully in my Ing checking. Then probably another week for it to be deposited in my HSBC account and start earning the 3.5% interest their offering right now.

I need to check if there's a way I can just send the check directly to HSBC rather than messing with all the transfers, etc.

On Time to Work or Wii for $.99??

June 13th, 2008 at 11:00 am

That was the question in my head last night when I picked up my mail.

There was flyer from the local $.99 stores advertising that for their 5 year anniversary celebration that they were selling a Wii and Wii Fit to the first 9 customers at one particular location. This location just so happens to be on the way to work.

Unfortunately, they don't open till 9, and I'm supposed to be at work by 8:30.

Am I the owner of a Wii and Wii Fit? Nope. The responsible Laura kicked in and reassured me that this wasn't worth being late to work for -- not to mention figuring out how to explain it to the lady who carpools with me. Smile

So . . what would you do if faced with this choice? Be 45 minutes late for work and get a Wii/Wii Fit for $.99 (or some other item you really desire); or forego the Wii/Wii Fit and follow your normal schedule?

Do I Stay or do I Go?

June 3rd, 2008 at 08:33 pm

Warning: Long post ahead.

As I mentioned in my last posting, la familia de California are seriously trying to get me to move out there. They've tried to get me to go out there before, but I previously had great resistance. My resistance now is not so great.

All of this may be a moot point if my two requirements don't happen - namely (1) situation w/family member resolved; and (2) have a better salary + comparable benefits job lined up.

** If I do decide to go, it most likely would not be till after Feb. 15. Three reasons - 1. 3-yr anniversary at job (looks good on resume and just feels more finished) 2. My apt lease isn't up till March and 3. My brother would most likely be able to fly out here and help me move (slow season for him).

Okay . . so a very preliminary Pros and Cons list. -- I welcome questions and comments to help me flesh out things I haven't thought of. --

Pros for staying in Texas:

- Stay in same apartment

- Freedom and privacy

- Very familiar with surroundings (i.e. don't get lost very often anymore)

- One of my best friends lives here, along with her two children

- My mom lives within a 45 minute drive

- Comfortable with my job

- Job pays me enough to pay my bills and put some in savings

- I like my coworkers

- I have easy access to a gym in the office building

- I have a great personal trainer with whom I have developed a good friendly relationship

Cons for staying in Texas:

* In regards to job and life in general I have been feeling very much at a stand still.

- As much as I hate to say this, I really think that my job is a dead-end. I doubt seriously that I will ever see another raise in the next five years, and if there is one, it probably wouldn't amount to more than 1/2 tank of gas a month.

- While I won't say I hate my job, nor even that I dislike what I do . . . I will say that the thought of doing this for the next 30+ years gives me nightmares.

- Although I do have good health insurance benefits, and my salary does pay me enough to pay my bills and save some -- that is only with being pretty frugal. If my rent were to go up my very much, or if the prices of other essentials were to go up much, etc., etc., then the small bit of money I am able to put to savings now would be gone.

- Although I have big plans and hopes of being able to save enough to replace my car if needed, as well as for a house downpayment -- on what I make + with rising costs, sometimes I feel like it's a lot of bluster without any substance - i.e . impossible.

- I like my coworkers. For the most part it is a good work environment. But sometimes, especially the past few months, I have felt more and more left out. I think this is due to a number of factors -- 1) Two new employees closer in age to another coworker -- 2) My eating and drinking habits i.e. vegetarian and no beer/wine, etc. -- 3) I think sometimes that I talk too much -- 4) other - not really sure.

- My best friend - When we are able to get together, its great! But that's just it. She is married, a teacher, and has two young children. Hence, we don't get together very often.

- I've allowed myself to grow unhappily comfortable in preferring my own company. What do I mean? Even when I do go to church/Sabbath School I have to force myself to make small talk with people. I think in some ways I've forgotten how to really connect or make friendships. -- So, I more often than not excuse myself from even making the effort of going in the first place. There have been many, many weekends where I've cocooned myself in my apartment from Friday after work til Monday morning without leaving it once.

- I'd like to get married someday - but not to just anyone. Here in TX, single men in my age range, who don't drink or smoke, have a good head on their shoulders when it comes to money, share similar views/beliefs about God, and connect with me in the other ways that matter - just don't seem to be here.

Pros about CA:

- Greatly reduced expenses by sharing household with dad and Grandma

- Be able to spend a lot of time with my Grandma who will be 88 in Sept.

- Grandma has mentioned that she'd be ok with my having a cat -- one of the main reasons I have not gotten another cat is that I'm gone so much during the weekdays - there, in CA there would usually be at least one person in the house most of the day - so the cat wouldn't be lonely.

- Have 24/7 access to washer/dryer

- Possibility of much larger salary

- Very good possibility of being in a work environment where my lifestyle choices aren't looked on as odd or different

- Be an inexpensive and short plane ride away from my brother

- May be able to use part of larger salary to actually do some traveling

- Live in an area where being vegetarian is normal and easy to accommodate

- Live in an area where there is a MUCH higher likelihood of meeting someone with similar values/lifestyle

- Give me a bit of a fresh start - maybe feel renewed energy for life

- ???

Cons for CA:

- MOVING

- Sharing space with my grandma and dad (would need to lay down MAJOR ground rules)

- Uncertainty about what kind of work situation/environment I may find myself in

- Leaving the familiar

- Leaving my best friend, as well as another good friend who's moving to Houston soon.

- Not being able to see my mom very often (would involve a longer plane trip)

- Uncertainty that I would actually be able to connect with anyone there better than I have been able to here.

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Overall, I think the main reason(s) I am even willing to look at this as a possibility is that I feel at such a standstill with my life. I've been feeling for awhile that something really needs to change.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting something different. I wonder, if by staying here in Texas, by staying in a job that I really don't see room for growth in, and by hoping that somehow, someway, something will happen to give me the life I dreamed of when I was 12 - if that just isn't a bit insane.

Back in Texas - But for how long?

June 1st, 2008 at 07:05 pm

I made it into DFW Saturday night right abou t 10 p.m.

I had a really great time in CA. There really wasn't any downsides, but I would say my two biggest highlights was getting to ride a couple of carnival rides with my brother, and having the chance to get to really know my sister in law.

I've spent the better part of three hours today updating YNAB. I really was in denial this month of my spending - I hadn't entered ANYTHING since May 6. Ooops!

My grandma and aunt each gave me enough money that completely covered my airfare and shuttle trips for the trip to my grandma's house, then back to my brother's house. That helped out a great deal.

One really big thing that came out of my trip --- the CA family is *really* wanting me to move out there -- specifically to Loma Linda. I'm considering it.

There's a number of things that would have to happen for me to go. The first has to do with a particular situation with a family member here. The second would be that I would have a job with much better pay and comparable benefits lined up *before* going.

I'd possibly be sharing a house with my grandma and dad -- with the intention to save most of my income for two years and purchase a home of my own.

I'm working on a pro and con list for this idea. In another post I may share some of my list and see what ya'll think.

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My computer is driving me nuts. Whenever I click on one of those click boxes I have to double check that it actually got checked. Also, I can't sign in to HSBC because when I try to do the security key my mouse keeps double clicking the letters! I've ran a spyware and a virus scan, and am not sure what else to do!