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Challenge of Dealing with Disappointments & Drawbacks

July 20th, 2015 at 01:51 pm

I am a week away from departing for the homeland. This week I eat down the stores and learn how to responsibly dispose of the food, detritus and distractions that are not good for us. I was going to plan an exercise regimen but maybe burning the calories as a human whirlwind may be more constructive. With the weight loss my hormones are rebalanced: an estrogen dominance thickened my waist, an estrogen deficiency brings the return of hot flashes. The release of body heat, perspiration, hormones and ketones was a heady scent-stew that sent my cat racing into our bedroom, right for ME, to check up on me. Cats are insanely gifted at smelling things.

I have learned that my returned right to vote has been overturned by a province's Court of Appeals -- not the province I most recently lived in, but the nation's capital happens to be in that province.

Also learned that I need more information and to share more information with my optometrist. We are stymied by insurance's irrational and unexplained restriction on quantities for renewal. My plan B, with doctor's blessing, was to head for a Canadian pharmacy, but the optometrist wrote out quantities for over 90 days, which Canadian pharmacies will not fill, and furthermore I require a Canadian physician's approval for filling the prescription. My field of vision and intraocular pressure remain stable: I won't qualify for a seeing-eye dog anytime soon.

The circumference and weight loss is still working, even though I remain wary of its drawbacks. Down to 40 inches, or 101.6 cm in the hips, and 32.5 inches or 82.5 centimetres in the waist. Not low enough to buy new clothes. The family is not touching much of the refrigerated leftover starches I made for them. We have learned so much about metabolism of carbohydrates, gluconeogenesis, insulin resistance, glycine, trace minerals, benefits of bone broth, intermittent fasting. One man improved his glaucoma with a ketogenic diet but his personal experience and three paragraphs of Adelle Davis' _Let's Get Well_ are not a sufficient base of evidence for me. The man suggests he may have had undiagnosed diabetes, the symptoms of which reversed with metabolic adaptation. Adelle Davis suggested supplementation with wheat germ, fortified milk, lecithin, and B vitamins. Milk gives me stomach cramps though.

The interesting thing is until I went on this low-carbohydrate diet I was going through butter at the rate of a pound a week. Butter is fat, and is important for keeping a high ratio of fat to carbohydrates. But because I'm not using it on pasta, potatoes or bread, and instead for eggs and vegetables and with olive oil for sauteing animal protein, I seem to have a lot more of it. The vegetables I eat now: cauliflower, asparagus, tomatoes, celery, leafy greens don't use so much butter, except for green beans.

Debt-wise, some karma monkey is chucking wrenches into my works to pay off the car loan: buying new tires for the bike, bimonthly utilities, semiannual vehicle insurance, a new computer to take up north. The good news is if we switch to T-Mobile, we can use our phone on Canada networks. Right now I lose $1.25 in minutes cash per month on Canada's 911 service fees. And the Canadian dollar is dropping. I'll still be buying dairy on my way to the border though.

I'd been paying so much attention to macros and summer reading I haven't been inputting my numbers.

Midmonth narrative for April 2015

April 20th, 2015 at 08:09 am

I finally went on vacation: a four-day jaunt to the West Coast. I am kind of already on the West Coast, but I mean the kind of Coast where you look out into a vast grey sea and understand the next land mass directly west is that needle-looking Russian island just north of the Japanese island Hokkaido. Sure, one can look out directly west from San Diego or Newport Oregon, but Tofino is more west. Reno is west of Los Angeles, even. We hiked through Wild Pacific Trail: perfect for beginning hikers and walkers of all ages, with many magnificent views. Also ate at one of the top ten restaurants in Canada, believe it or not. We saw the Cézanne exhibit in Vancouver as well.

So now I have that to pay for, and can focus on motorcycle maintenance, and a new phone. I'd been eyeing some e-readers, but I'd rather have a new wardrobe. I'm transitioning to those dyed hemp loose clothes the over 40s like to wear, with the colourful complementary scarves. And a proper haircut. Maybe even highlights. Saving for a mattress. Everything about me cries for updating.

We also decluttered a bit! I found on our state Attorney General's website a calendar page of recycling events. On Saturday we released from our house dead electronics and my brother's big box of academia. He won't miss it, and his widow knows better than to ask for a big box of paper written in a foreign language to be shipped across the ocean. However, I would like my mom's recipes back, if she hasn't recycled them. Also recycled are my printer ink cartridges. With some energetic soundtracks and the warmth of Mr. Sun, I could see my way to making my house less of a candidate for "Hoarders."

Just learned of the Reddit content pod

Text is "Eat Cheap and Healthy" and Link is http://www.reddit.com/r/EatCheapAndHealthy/search?q=flair:%27recipe%27&restrict_sr=on
"Eat Cheap and Healthy". Wonder what else I've been missing.

Some good news: mortgage is 30% paid. If I didn't refinance the 1999 mortgage at all, I'd be at 30% paid on March 2015. After sixteen years of a 30 year mortgage, I would reach 30% mortgage paid. Insert gulp.

A pittance of successes, plus a finances reboot

November 16th, 2014 at 05:41 pm

I seem to have lost a spark. Read then, if you dare, this plodding narrative.

This whole burning & burying the brother episode led to a surprise: a credit limit increase to $21000 on one card, the day after I paid back the last of the amount. What this does to my credit utilization ratio is probably close to nothing: I still get so-so credit card offers, and ThirdFederal routinely sends me mortgage offers I can't qualify for.

Albertson's is having a meat sale: I amazingly purchased about ten pounds of fish (sole - $7/lb), pork (BOGO), chicken ($1.99 bnls skls per pound), stew meat, and steak (BOG2). I intended to buy animal protein under $5.00, so this was a windfall for me. I saw

Text is this golden oldie and Link is http://www.savingadvice.com/forums/general-discussion-food-etc/7894-am-i-only-one-using-crock-pot-4-print.html
this golden oldie and
Text is Miz Pat's and Link is http://patmfinance.savingadvice.com/2014/11/03/pork-roasts-anyone-got-recipes_169224/
Miz Pat's Pork Roasts recipe request, so am feeling more optimistic about feeding my family for under $3/plate.

I am starting my finances from scratch after my Spending in September and October. I keep a debt repayment/assets spreadsheet and am, sigh, $4000 under from the beginning of September. I have a fair bit in gold and silver, and that's tanked along with the Canadian currency I maintain "for emergencies", as the US dollar is so strong. Apparently some of my stocks like IBM, ONNN and GILD have dropped significantly in value as well. I'm happy I didn't buy PCLN, and that I managed some BRK-B purchase while it was still under $140. My first clue should have been how cheap the Yen was compared to my first trip to Japan. The good news is that I have run out of brothers and parents to bury, I guess.

If I can brave the dark and cold, I can get $100 for participating in a focus group on Thursday. I have too many wants for the $100 to cover. Birthdays, heating bill, a handful of hot soaks in a women-only sauna and hot tub place, Christmas gifts, maybe even Amazon Prime for a year...

Oh yes I am also currently in the lead in a Dirtnap for Dollars competition. Fortunately for me the lead competitor, who had four people in common with me on her list, disqualified herself by not ponying up the $20...

Menu for the Week -
Monday - Roast Sirloin
Tuesday - Chicken Tonkatsu
Wednesday - Cottage Pie? Leftover Roast Beef?
Thursday - Solo Sole. Guys can have whatever. Or I'll eat out, knowing I'll be getting $100...
Friday - Red Lentil Curry for real this time
Saturday - pork maybe? who knows. The mind reels. Especially after a few toots of Gentleman Jack (my bro's friends and I toasted him in a sendoff with this. I learned how to ask for aspirin in Japanese the morning of the funeral.)

Halving a Debt Time, Glad You Are Here

October 15th, 2014 at 07:55 am

For some people in the Atlantic Provinces, the month is half-over. My HELOC is, after an eleven-dollar adjustment, at half; my mortgage is a little more than half of my original 1999 loan of $184450, which in turn is half of what Zillow says my house is valued. Car Loan, not halved yet, but I've paid more than half of the car's retail price.

I did halve my credit card balance, by paying all of the October Statement. I booked the Japan return flight on that, and went to Nordstrom Rack (I can do a smart thing on occasion) for funeral clothes. Funny thing is that I had the presence of mind to call my credit union to ask for permitted charges from Japan merchants, but I never used my credit card there. I brought Yen but the Yen I purchased at face value were collectors' items (think Susan B Anthony dollars or silver certificates, or King George VI-era minted coinage) and no Japanese national was going to let me spend it! The women shouted "Sugoi!" (super, amazing) when I brought the bills out of my wallet. I also had an American national for a host who has a USD account so we did some arbitrage. I came home with: Hong Kong Dollars, Japanese Yen, United Arab Emirates Dirhams, American Dollars, and Canadian Dollars. I was not much loved at espresso shops, rooting about and finding every coin except those with white Presidents on them. My son had to buy me coffee with his birthday money (embarrassment).

I wrote earlier about smartphones. I probably could have used one in Japan: I didn't have constant access like what I'm used to in the US, and that caught up with my family when I returned to North America. My husband had the good sense to pack my laptop and drive it to BC (while our kid was at school! how great is it to drive to another country and back during your child's school hours!) the day after I arrived in Canada so I could communicate better and not be at the mercy of the hotel's desktop PC.

I'm fed up now with Virgin Mobile, and don't like that 7-11's SpeakOut Canada doesn't accept US credit cards (I have to show up at a Canadian 7-11 to buy minutes). We'll be investigating smartphones and a T-Mobile plan. Thanks to everybody who contributed useful information and explained their reasoning for going with the plans they have.

At one point yesterday we had $11.20 in our chequing (checking) account. Good thing the "House Master" as my sister-in-law puts it (we all know in real life our cat is the House Master, right?) gets paid in two days, and that we have turkey leftovers and wild sockeye salmon at $5.00/pound.

Thanks to all of last post's commenters

September 23rd, 2014 at 08:56 am

I'm kinda relieved now I am not already over the Pacific. I've just been reading up on Japanese funerals. Bluesfemme kindly filled me in on the pearls, but now I have to get hosiery and a black handbag, maybe a nice Ambien prescription. Sleeping was hard last night. I exchanged some money for the "funeral envelopes" (I did this for the wedding years earlier) but fear it is not enough. I don't think this is the right time for me to be stingy, and maybe I should expect to be in debt for a month or so.

Anyway: $1576 Canadian after taxes to fly to the Far East, no awkward transfers in Honolulu so Ambien can send me for 6 to 8 hours.

An American is going to greet me at the airport and take care of me at least partly so I don't burden my sister and her family too much. I do not know if my brother had a will. He made mention of making me executrix last year when he had a health scare. I'm scheduled to stay a week. This would've been open-ended if there were a will and I would have to take care of things. I think intestate decedents leave half the estate to the surviving spouse, don't know if Japan government takes the other half.

Japanese funerals cost $25000 USD on average. I think I might have a heart attack of my own. I don't know if I'm going to offend by putting as much as I can afford (the maximum) in a funeral envelope, or if I'm going to be surprised with a bill for funeral expenses.

Today's Special

February 11th, 2014 at 04:03 pm

We went to a different supermarket today because one location is three blocks away from a superb butcher shop, and I figured if we didn't get a good deal on food at the supermarket we would go to the butcher's.
Most items we bought at the different supermarket were below what our regular supermarket charges. I saw some fellow "school parents" shopping there too, always a good sign. Got NY Strip steak for $5/lb; veal scallops for $7.33; I might start shopping at the other supermarket's location closer to us more frequently and start scheduling moments to view its online ads. Our regular supermarket offers gas rewards, but going three miles away for shopping we saved, even with the $1 we spent on gas there and back, close to 20% what we'd spend at the regular supermarket, and saved 1300% more than we would have earned in gas rewards.

Today my spouse received an offer in the mail to move the car loan to my credit union. My credit union, so 1.5 stars out of 5 that I keep accounts only for the privilege to throw my bling in its safe (I rate the credit union two because it has its own parking lot, is the closest establishment where I can get a safety deposit box, and the staff attitude is pretty good), offered 3.04% for seventy-two months. Yeeeeah right. First, we have under 75% LTV, not 81% LTV as the credit union guesstimated; a "green" and "new" car; and I'm not ever going to happily consider extending a car loan to seven years past its purchase. All three factors should earn us a 1.79% APR according to the credit union's website if we want a car loan paid off in four years. Mailed offers are the scratched-out-of-the-rectum crud.

As for yesterday's forum post, I can only say that I had close to an anxiety attack, and I am still antsy but the idea of spending under $10 to reward myself on something calming like wild orange oil, or an Income Tax Cocktail, ameliorates the horror of either doing pencil & paper, or using TurboTax. I dealt with this attack by using my home made

Text is orange vinegar and Link is http://www.thesimplehomemaker.com/homemade-orange-vinegar-cleaner
orange vinegar with baking soda for some bathroom floor grunge cleaning, and at the end of the day dabbing lavender oil drops on my feet and on my pillow.

I should offer a prediction poll.
Paulette will _______________ the IRS
a) owe more than a thousand dollars to
b) owe $750 - $1000 dollars to
c) owe less than b to and feel ashamed for moaning about
d) get money back from and feel ashamed for moaning about

I will tell you I have owed every year for the past six. I seem to remember paying over $800 last year.

Sochi Savings Challenge now $31

TAXES ARE DONE. The ANSWER is D! For DOPE! DELUSIONAL! DIMWITTED! DELICATE!

Deadbeat Kindle Reads, plus Budget Drawback

January 15th, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Today on

Text is Money Saving Mom and Link is http://MoneySavingMom.com
Money Saving Mom I lucked into a time-limited offer of free licenses for Kindle eBooks. Titles I downloaded include Frugal Living: Powerful How To Advice on Living Frugal..., Dirt Cheap Organic, Paleo for Beginners and The Ketogenic Diet. I don't have a Kindle but downloading Amazon's Kindle-for-PC application was completely free, without adware, and fast.

I also visited my favourite drug store for amazing deals ($3.30 savings per toothpaste tube) on Tom's of Maine toothpaste. Adding $7.60 (two tubes) to the 52-week Saving Challenge.

I slipped a bit: we got the fundraiser Guest Bartender date wrong last night so we consoled ourselves with dessert takeout from the supermarket. Sugar doesn't do me any favours, but with 1200mg alpha lipoic acid daily intake I can handle an eclair or half a Pop-Tart without waking all sweaty in the dark. So I had an eclair. I did wake a few times with weird, weird dreams ("oh look! a human corpse. Someone should clean that up."). I walked it off today.
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I froze some orange peels earlier in the year. Today I took some out for thawing: half are in a jar of vinegar for cooking use; I will scatter orange peels around my food plate because we have a lazy, greedy cat who lurks on a dining chair ALL DAY, and gets belligerent when we eat. The peels will repel her. If I can manage some vodka, I could extract oil from the remaining peels to use in the bath. When I can manage the cash to buy a microplane grater, I have additional uses for them. Orange peels are good to use as kindling or to throw in a fire.
Text is Here and Link is http://thesproutingseed.com/30-ways-to-use-orange-peels/
Here are more ways of using orange peels around the home.
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Update for Sadness: My son's complained a few times about the $40 clarinet we bought him in August. We brought it to a local instrument shop for possible repair, but were advised that abandoning it and renting would be the better way to go. My child has a concert next week. We are back to renting, but it's $8/month cheaper than where we last rented. We agreed on some pad protectors (my child paid for those) and a cleaning case (the woman wasn't up for haggling with the $22.13 cash I had with me).

Payday Frolics

January 10th, 2014 at 05:46 pm

Deadbeat Follies

Turned in one empty 12 oz bag of Starbucks Coffee for a free 12 oz drip, and hubby used his gift card from work for Starbucks for a break time. We bought flour, vanilla and cane sugar.

Estimating we'll spend close to $600 on groceries, having spent $199 over the past eleven days. I was tempted to spend more $$, but that would entail getting into the car and driving, so I opted to walk to our nearest supermarket for only bread and milk. I find that walking with reusable bags to Target and our supermarket is a great way to restrict food spending to what we can carry.

This week's 52-Week Saving Challenge Deposit will be ten dollars ($4.98+4.25+0.80, rounded down). Paltry sum, but I know what expenditures lie ahead. At least it's a double-digit sum, and at least the rusty cogitation wheels are creaking with a smidgen of industrial creativity grease.

For decluttering recipes, Susan Pinsky, author of Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD, suggests trying a recipe within a week of receipt. All of the recipes from the backs of food products, printouts from Epicurious, Yummly, about.com, et cetera, are to go into an accordion folder. I tried putting my photocopied recipes in a binder with tabs but the binder was too small. Pinsky recommends tossing cookbooks too but I am not ready for that. Ninety percent of my cookbooks are from the old country. Who tosses out a perfectly usable copy of The New Basics or The Joy of Cooking or The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook?

Text is Link du Jour and Link is http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/how-to-live-like-a-king-thor-harris/
Link du Jour - How to Live Like a Royal Person, by Thor Harris. Expletive-rich, so not violating any sort of copyright by reposting the whole thing here. Chances are excellent you've used most of Thor's list anyhow.
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Water/sewer/yard waste/recycling bill now $231, because rates have gone up AGAIN. I can't even be all **HULK SMASH** about the rate hike because we're paying $90 less per bill than the typical house, and we ARE the typical house.

$100000 principal paid, plus Holiday on Ice!

December 24th, 2013 at 05:12 pm

Went ice skating today. Have not done this in over thirty years and it shows. I'm used to a bigger rink and there were so many young children with walkers that I didn't trust myself to pick up speed. It's a Christmas miracle there were no collisions. Some of us set blade to ice for the first time ever, and although we wore out fast, we all want to do this again.

Beautiful blue sky, we could see the peninsula and the water: another Christmas miracle there. Bought ingredients for Osso Buco: it's just us this year, but I still want something special if not gluttonous, so Osso Buco it is, plus blood oranges for juicing and Quebec/Vermont maple syrup for pancakes.

The supermarket was busy, the parking lot packed, but everyone was in good spirits -- Christmas miracle number three. A woman who staffed the till at a local retail shop recognized us. She noticed me after she muttered a four-letter-word in the spices aisle, and had looked over to see if my son had heard her. Good times!
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I pulled the trigger so to speak and threw some extra principal to our home equity line of credit. Officially now we have $100000 paid toward the house and unofficially I am 102 months and a bit ahead of schedule.
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Merry Christmas Festivus End-of-Year Gaiety. I hope my blog can let registered users comment okay.

Spending now to save later

October 20th, 2013 at 08:54 am

But not really... the West Coast supermarket strike looms. Supermarket parking lots were full yesterday, but rather than gather provisions with the crowd, we thought to use our remaining independent-grocer and "green product" coupons that expire October 31 and order a 31 lb. bulk-box of meats from one county up. The independent grocery was so quiet and there was no wait for service, so we chatted a little with a checkout person about the impending deluge. The independent grocers have better music, believe it or not. I feel that Kroger/QFC tries to get rid of me with the music it plays.

I did notice that the independent grocery prices were not as low as Safeway's and Fred Meyer's, but I know where the cheap vegetables can be had. I don't know how long the strike is going to go on for, but my food budget will be highly uneven as we bulk-shop and eat down the remains. I feel we can last one three-month-supply of sugar, coffee, quinoa, canned vegetables and toilet paper at Costco, literally run to Target for last-minute incidentals, and head to ethnic markets (Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean) for good deals on oils, beans and to Pacific Food Importers for spices.

Rudimentary Food Plan
Sunday: leftovers, maybe with udon.
Monday: That Hungarian Goulash thing
Tuesday: Lentil Soup
Wednesday: Black Bean Soup
Thursday: Spaghetti con Tonno
Friday: Red Bean & Quinoa Chili
Saturday: Wieners & Sauerkraut
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Our favourite video store is struggling, and to be honest, I'd been watching films and TV shows on YouTube and European websites and from our local library; however, these films and TV shows I watch online are not available (yet) on DVD. I feel everyone except corporations is struggling, so we renewed our 10-rental-pack. Maybe I need to budget 3-5% of our takehome income for "saving the struggling" like schools.

This week we learned that my mom's old Hobart KitchenAid food processor is missing two shafts. I've had her 1979 12-cup processor for fourteen years but used it only three times because the set-up seemed arduous and let's not kid, 20 lbs is a heavy weight for a food processor. I scouted the Web to find out what the attachments not shown in the KFP-700 manual were, then learned that Hobart recreated its model and accessories for other companies, so we could still get shafts, although they are pricy. I do want to use all four slicing discs, and I don't want to use the "Whole Body Feed Tube" every time I want to shred carrots or cabbage so maybe I'll treat myself and experiment with the KFP-700 recipes. I kept thinking "hmm, seven minutes to assemble a food processor, or seven minutes to hand-grate or use Cutco knives on vegetables. Which is faster? Which involves less cleanup?"