Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A "Normal" House

OMG. Walking through the house tonight I see I now have again a dining table. And chairs. I have a sofa. I have comfy chairs and the television is talking from Comedy Central, as most nights. Its all so very normal. Ugh.

I liked it better when I had a plywood board set up on saw horses with my sewing machine in the dining area and Katie's never ending quilt project. I liked it better with just the comfy chairs and no couch (and the television reserved for DVDs). There was room then to roll out a yoga mat and stretch to the four winds. I liked it with all my papers from novels in waiting lying at my bedside. I liked the stacks of books surrounding the comfy chairs. I liked it because it was a working home. Now it's just so normal.

It's time to re-infuse this house back into the creative sanctuary it was. I'm contemplating how to do this without disrupting the status quo my Thing One holds so dear. Mostly I think I need less stuff. Time to walk around it agin with an eye for what can be removed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Verb or noun?

Back to a topic I have some control over...I hope.

Budget. Verb or noun? The obsolete definition, noun derivitive, for 'budget' is small pouch or bag. I can attest that this definition is not as obsolete as the dictionary contends. My budget is not a large pouch, nor a massive container (an antique sugar bowl holds my spare change and it never gets never goes empty either for that matter.). My budget is a small, emotional pouch.

I had to look up the word budget. I had to look it up to see if the connotations I give it are actually written into the definition. They are not. I mentally fight this word budget, as if the word itself is the problem. And maybe it is. Maybe I have given so much power to this word that simply means a little pouch (and makes me smile when 'codpiece' comes to mind...and then that makes it all better. And somehow just now a budget and a man's lively bits became synchronized). And I realize I should have no problems budgeting. And I don't, as long as I keep an eye on things. (Funny, I don't have problems with those lively bits when I keep an eye on them either.)

How did I get so far off the mark today? The above was NOT on my topic list. (hands go up in the air) Never topic tomorrow.

Monday, June 27, 2011

One never knows...

Sometimes I need to let things go.

I have come to the conclusion that I am such a whiner when left to my own devices.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


It would help getting dressed in the morning if I actually replaced the lightbulb that sputtered out on Monday morning. I keep forgetting that the lightbulb is nons electricus until I get up each morning. With the Solstice it is light outside until 10 pm or so (okay...9:45 pm) so I don't notice or remember to pillage the closet for lightbulbs until I am in the middle of the morning beat-the-clock mode.

To my credit, or not, it took until 9:30 this morning to realize the reason my pants fit funny is they are not the pants I had intended to wear. It also goes to show how much I really look at myself. Not much. This is a perfectly darling outfit when I have my chocolate brown slacks on. It's just kind of Seattle funky in these black kickers. Yes, I wore the wrong color combination of clothing today.

It's one of those days that one needs to hold one's head up, stride with purpose and pretend one intended to dress this way. (I DO TOO dress myself, says the three year old with pride.)

Note to self: Replace lightbulbs FIRST, then you can have dinner, or go play...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Not the Saturday I Planned

As I went to bed Friday my entire Saturday had been planned out. As a group leader for our buddhist area (not district leader, not chapter...Just good old fashion front line facilitator type stuff) I was due at the local Buddha Room at 9 a.m. to kick-off morning prayers. I like this stuff. It's a drop in, so once it's started I can leave when chanting gets rolling.

The plan from there was to head over to the Naked Parade (just shows what kind of Buddhist I am) in Fremont District to celebrate the coming solstice. Then head over to good friend's house to join the celebration for her guy friend's birthday. And that would round out the night at a good unhealthy hour which I would simply sleep off tomorrow morning. Somewhere in this back-to-back schedule I was going to stop by the homestead here and bake cookies for my dad, being Father's Day and all this weekend.

Friday night I fell asleep content and feeling over-full from life. Its a good feeling. I woke up to rain. Oh, that's right...I live in the North Wet. I have selective memory...often. I plan for fair weather events quite nicely. I somehow never quite remember the foul weather resources available, nor to make contingency plans. But most of all I am sick and tired of wearing my rain coat. Especially when I planned on a cute summer dress that's been tucked away in the back of my closet all winter taunting me to believe I would ever get to wear it again, and my new white flip-flops to set it off. Summer dresses that talk to me from the closet do not like to be covered in a rain coat.

I wore the dress to morning prayers. It's not a dress made of sugar, so running between the car and the building is just fine. Mostly I prayed that the rain would stop so I could go to the parade and enjoy it. It's crowded for the Fremont Parade. I mean this whole solstice event at the Center of the Universe is huge. The parade goes on forever - the naked part is really just a part - with the art and the community and the families involved. It is totally cool. And totally attended. There is no sitting room near the curb unless one gets there to stake a claim early in the morning. Standing in the rain, straining to see over people's heads, all this somehow lost it's appeal as the rain continued to bounce off the cement and wet the underside of my car. Alas, I am a fair weather parade attendee. Somehow I feel I failed, even if there is a next year.

Knowing I was not going to the parade I still did not stay for the entire prayer meeting. I stopped at the grocery store to pick up chocolate chips, some butter and a bag of brown sugar. No parade? Then it's time to bake cookies. I figure I have hours before the birthday party, positively hours.

I have now baked and ironed, had dinner, watched the 2010 version of "True Grit" (Which I purposely avoided as I have the story memorized-yes, I can lip-synch this movie. That and "The Sons of Katie Elder". Don't start with me. I am being a true friend to have watched this video), read a book in one sitting (The author got paid for this? I wonder how long it took her to write it?) and it is only 8 p.m.

I'm still wearing the summer dress, and a lovely lightweight cardigan that sets off its colors without diminishing its summer-ness. The b'day party ended up being family. I was smart enough to text first regarding timing and food. The return text was what keyed me in to what to expect. I am not really wanting to be family over there yet. I feel better for staying home. There are some people that family and friends co-mingle so regularly you can't tell which is which. This isn't one of those events, or types of people even.

I actually had a good day. I got this dress worn so it will quit talking in the closet for a little while. I got prayers off and running. I got chocolate chip cookies and ginger-snaps baked up. I watched a movie for a friend. I have two weeks worth of blouses and slacks pressed and ready for work. I read a book. I talked to my own family. I avoided being the third wheel at another's family event - or is that fifth wheel, I never know.

So, tomorrow I figure sweats, a hoodie and a pair of thick cushy socks. Before they start talking to me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Worth Looking Over

So, I'm going over my dental bill. I am going to submit it to the first dentist for reimbursement (one never knows if it will happen unless one asks). As I'm reviewing this thing it just feels wrong. The billing for the second dentist feels wrong. I pulled out my box of useless papers with agreements, changes to agreements, movie ticket stubs, receipts for car batteries (save that, it's from February and already the battery's not got the juice it should), and paid statements and receipts in general. Everything with anything related to dental went into one pile. I found the treament plan estimate and set it along side the actual paid statement.

Well hey...I had not received credit for a promotional payment in May. I do not owe $371 for my tooth next Friday. When all is said and done, (I called the billing office to be sure we were both on the same page now) I owe $21. That's it. Because of a promotion I took advantage of it is now unnecessary to pay $371. I want to say I'll put it all in Emergency Fund. I want to say I will put it in the account to have a sunnier home. I want to say I will put it in the account for a newer car. But, right now, this minute I haven't decided. It will stay where it is until I decide. That's the best I can do for today.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not Mathilda

My grandmother called me Mathilda, which I equated with Country Bumpkin. Now I see it was an endearment even if it wasn't exactly a compliment. Maybe it's not the name that matters, but what we read into it.

I sent some money to an out of state bank account for savings. For a couple years now I've considered the account to be a slop account. As in, money for when I get sloppy. I renamed the account today on that website, Kind of funny how when one actually gives a name to something, that something takes on the qualities of that name. I've renamed the out of state slop account. It's now my Emergency Fund.

Which is interesting, because yesterday I was thinking how this money has been set aside, so if I need anything - like a haircut, or to fill the refrigerator a little better - its there. I've been thinking of jumping on a train for a day to see parts of Oregon. I've been thinking of a brown sofa, instead of the deep green leather one I inherited. The minute I named this account Emergency Fund I got visions of jumping on a plane to see my mother, or my father or his wife for medical emergencies, or retrieving my daughter from out of state. Naming it Emergency Fund all the sudden took the money in that account and made it important; it made the money more important than new furniture. Today I'm considering how to put more money in for an emergency, rather than take money out in a sloppy fashion.

Its the same money with a new label. Its changed my vision.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reading during dinner

My bus buddy was sharing with me her thoughts on relationships. She has recently found a bit of success at Last weekend she had a date that went rather well. This coming weekend is another date that she is looking forward to. We speak as two single women. I wonder sometimes that I am happy enough being single. Yet, to hear her talk I wonder at how I live. She spoke most directly about the loneliness that comes with being single. This evening I reheated last night's dinner and read my book while I ate. There are food stains on those pages now. The book is getting good and I didn't want to set it aside while I ate. I am not lonely when I have a good book to read.

Earlier this year I purchased two tennis lessons; one for me, one for my friend that enjoys tennis as well. Of the many lessons I have gone to, she has made it to two. These are the things that make me lonely. Why am I going to tennis lessons when there really isn't anyone but my friend to play tennis with?

I wonder that when I am in a relationship I feel more lonely for that person not being there. I feel lonely waiting for that person to get off work, or to call or talk after work I guess. When I am not in a relationship I don't worry about whether I feel lonely or not. I am alone at those times by choice. That is not loneliness.

I have been considering eHarmony and I dabbled in the last year during "free weekends" without much to say about it. If I were to get serious about not being single there are ways to change it. Is there a point where it is too late to take action? Am I getting too set in my ways as a single woman? I thought I was clearing my heart and my guilt to be a more prepared person when a glimpse of a relationship showed up. I feel pretty clear anymore.

I'm not lonely. I wonder that I feel no guilt at being alone.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Just say No

Is easier said than done. But I did. And I feel better. Television commercials are sinister, planting perfectly photographed, impossibly created succulent promises in our brains. The truth of reality is never as good as the commercial will have us believe. AND YET, the Red Robin commercial touting it's seasonal strawberry chicken salad has caught the attention of Thing One. And she brought it to my attention. And we drool in front of the television, even while I know it won't be the same once we are seated in the restaurant and served. Still, there I went and offered for us to go to said restaurant and share a said salad on said payday. What was I thinking?!

Lo, it did not come to pass. Reviewing my incoming and my outgoing there was no way I could justify the trip to a sit down dinner. For that matter I can't justify a drive by, I mean drive thru, either. Thing One totally understood. In fact she was wondering how I was going to pull this off. Maybe it was a relief to her that I did just say no. We've been scouring the internet recipe sites and discussing all weekend. The grocery list now lists raspberry vinegar, ginger root and strawberries. We have strawberries now, but they will be eaten by the time we get the other items. We are in agreement we can probably make a better strawberry chicken salad than what could have been served up. While we'd still like to taste theirs so we can pattern our creation after it, we are willing to go into the kitchen blind to see what we can do for ourselves.

On a side note for updating purposes: I finally got the letter written to the bad dentist letting him know my disatisfaction with his services. I'm going to sit on it for a day. I'll re-read it tomorrow before I send it. I am requesting he reimburse me the additional charges for fouling up the other tooth. Am I naive to think he will actually reimburse me? Hey, at least he will know he screwed up.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How-Low-Can-You-Go and Flying kites is an interesting site. They think of themselves as intuitive. It's not. I haven't found a good resource (haven't looked real hard either) on how to use this site to it's best advantage. I have learned that it takes a month of transactions to make any kind of useable information available. Patience is a virtue with this program. It won't tell you in the beginning stages that you are wrong, but it will after that.

I get red lettering e-mail that tells me my bank account is low, $48.08. So, I guess the program is set to alert anything under $50? I tend to play the game, How Low Can You Go? I lose that game often, and have to pay the dealer (I mean the bank) $30 for going too low. Of course, the bank is set to red letter me for anything under zero. What this all means is that the alert system in is a good thing for me. I need to stop playing that game. Even as I type this I'm at $12.01. Payday is tomorrow.

(For those of you that read yesterday, you know that I have a check in the mail heading to an out of state bank for $59. This check will not even get to the out of state bank until today at the earliest - so yes, in a sense I am kiting checks. 1. At least the check is to myself. 2. The day the out of state bank cashes the check my paycheck will be newly in my working bank account and I won't have to worry about forgetting I wrote a check. Well yes, I do have an issue with forgetting to check the checkbook. I mean really, checks take so long to clear. This was a timed mailing to make sure the check gets there before I have a chance to empty the account.)

Good thing to celebrate is that the company I work for pays for public transportation costs to and from work. I am now in the system and I got my first distribution of funds. They pay me to ride the bus!! What's not to like? I love the bus. It's two thirds of my entertainment for the day. They pay me to come to work. I find this positively amazing. This is a bonus program I can live with. This program frees up $157 a month (my cost to ride the bus) to apply to other bills. I would like to put this in savings. Except I think I was living over my means so this amount will help to be within my means.

When I sit down with the basic list of non-changeable necessities Rent, Utilites, Auto Insurance, Internet, Old Credit Cards, etc., there is not really a lot left over for food, gas and savings. I'm still fussing with the lists. I don't like them, because they are not saying what I want to hear. The lists may be right. But, that's beside the point.

One other Good News moment...The secondary checking account that gets money swept into it every payday to take care of my rent is working GREAT. Rent was just not an issue this month. I mean, I got to forget about that whole account. I didn't worry about leaving enough money to cover rent. It was swept into the account already. I didn't think about it at all. That's the ticket. That's the way I want this all to work.

One step forward. Hold.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Budgeting Blogs

Blogs dealing with budgeting can be fun. And liberating. They remind me that I am not alone...not that I ever felt I was. The blog carnival over at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff has lead me to an interesting site that asks the question, Do you have $2000 available for emergencies? Which, as my readers know, I have to answer no. Now I'm working on it. If I am to have a $2000 reserve within a year I will need to put aside $167 a month. Today I sent off $59 to an out of state bank for safe keeping. The $59 is what I made on overtime pay last payday.

They say one is to put aside all the extra money that comes in as savings. This is the first time I've been paid overtime in years. Mind you, I still have $371 left to pay on this crown for my tooth. That will be over $1,000 going out this month (last 30 days) for dental work. So this $59 I've sent to just might be coming back again in a couple weeks to help finish paying for this tooth. I've got some overtime pay coming on this paycheck too. The tooth will be taken care of, that's all there is to it. These dental issues since April has sucked up $1000 right there. I'm wondering if $2000 for emergencies is enough?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Insights into Budgeting

Okay, it's been a month of recording my spending. I've thought about where I want to be spending. I've considered what I don't want to be spending. I've lists and calculations of what is available and how to channel this into those things that are necessary and/or enjoyable. Everything works out on paper. AND YET, my bank account tells me a totally different story. It's all great on paper, until the bank redoes all of it.

If I could just get the bank to figure their numbers like I do.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Warnings and Relief

A full week has passed since the last Great Dental update. I believe I've found a dentist. Last night, I was scheduled for a root canal. It didn't happen. The dentist was unable to get to the roots. The roots are still covered. I got a crown build up instead. That means my tooth wasn't as deeply chipped as I (or my dentist) thought AND I saved a good chunk of money. What's not to like?

I still believe the first dentist did me wrong. I also understand that there is no way to prove it. I will be sure to write up my thoughts on Yelp or otherwise. But that's the extent of being able to warn people that the first dentist is a little lacking in common sense (don't crack your clients teeth), patience (sit back to assess the situation if it's not going as planned), and integrity (maybe it would have been good for him to call me that evening to make sure there were no issues such as continued bleeding or otherwise). I guess I'm still pretty hot about this...and the thousand extra dollars it's costing me. Don't' go to Dr. Raymond Liu in Edmonds, WA. Just saying.

But, back to the good news. You know that look that people in the service industries get when everything goes right? It's the little unconscious smile (maybe just the corners of one's mouth) when the haircut turns out great, or all the groceries fit in the trunk after all, or the glasses that you ordered really do fit your face just right. Service industries people can be rather stone faced, maybe good at poker, but I love when that little smile or the moment of satisfaction arrives when they know, they KNOW it all worked or looks great. The dental assistant did it twice last night.