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Magical Saturday

September 5th, 2015 at 09:32 pm

We, not the royal, martyred, sarcastic we but the family plural we, are cleaning. That is magic in itself. I couldn't find the $300 cheque made out to me until I opened a book called _Smart but Scattered_ and there it was, wedged between pages. You rest a spell and let that irony seep in. You see, when there's $300 to be found, I find also motivation to pick up every white piece of paper and determine if I need it or if it can go elsewhere. I also found $33 credit slip to one of my fave used bookstores. In a search for the cheque (I offered a "dessert place of your choice reward" to the finder) the spouse found instead a softcover overdue library book the tot could not bother to remove from an open sack a whole thirty inches away from his internet-obsessed carcass' six-hour parking spot for... twenty-five days. "No, I'm not an addict! Durrrrr. Oooh new gaming video on YouTube. "

We have already splurged on a Rug Doctor rental to clean a rug. A futon cover is in the wash, as we'd like to sell the futon and the coffee table and make a new, minimized household for ourselves.

I chose the old school fill in with pencil home account ledger instead of, YNAB, GnuCash or KMyMoney. It won't keep track of my stocks and funds, but do I want to look at that stuff right now? My psyche is fragile.

I am down to below 152 lbs, just a little over 1.5 kg away from my goal weight.

what's new?

August 23rd, 2015 at 04:58 pm

I am on my ketogenic diet again, with the cheat of a chocolate chip cookie once a week. I am down to 155 pounds. A belt I bought in a fit of optimism a few years ago I can actually cinch three notches, and I know this because I've had to use the belt to keep my size 12 pants from sliding down to my hips. My circumference around the hips is now less than a metre. I'm excited by this because it seems to be the only medium-term goal I've succeeded at in six years. However, I get so few "yays", probably because I post my victories on a forum where women have lost a phenomenal (I mean one extra adult-woman) amount of weight, or because I post on another forum where women just aren't as adventuresome or carbohydrate-sensitive as I am. I'd like to lose 4-7 more lbs, mostly about the waist. Exercise would help but I am not cleared for exercise because...

...I am still getting massage treatment for my back and it still hurts sometimes. Paid for by the driver's insurance. My car's restored from the collision and it looks beautiful. We missed it; our rental car was not kind to my back and we lost touch with the "put the key in the ignition", "put the key into the lock" machinations of making the car go.

Cluster flies swarms popped up last week: yecch. Seems the men went on a swat rampage but we still have some. The important thing is there aren't enough to make our rooms terrible at night. They must have been dormant in our house for so many of them to show up at once. We have strips to catch the downstairs ones, as our windows are painted shut.

Back to school shopping has begun. Our little boy is taking Algebra which meant acquiring a TI-84+ graphing calculator. Until yesterday Office Depot had a sale, but even with that sale we'd have spent $50 beyond the price my spouse agreed upon for a private seller TI-84+, with cord and manual.

Won $40 (yes, .ca) gift certificate. Worth about $30 US. Probably half of that would get eaten up by delivery, but better than nothing.

I am now putting extra payments to the car. I may swallow my pride and have some credit card debt for awhile, if it means getting rid of the $282.21 monthly payment. I'd still pay less in interest because the balance will be smaller and it'd be for a shorter term.

I have a new laptop, dual boot. I can either use WINE and have YNAB on Windows or I can use KMyMoney on the Linux Mint desktop or I can use pen and paper for accounts. I haven't been budgeting for the past two months.

August update

August 2nd, 2015 at 01:43 am

It is hot in BC. My friends are dealing with health issues. Everyone hates the government, but they hated the federal government since always, what's different here is the premier's obsession is Liquid Nitrogen Gas. I don't have my annual twinge-moan of "why don't I live here?" but have instead "I'm so happy I live where I do." I can't vote in either country, but boy is it fun to point to Donald Trump as Someone Else's Problem. People ask me if I've heard about Donald Sutherland's letter to the Globe and Mail. They gripe about the exchange rate.

My greatest friends right now: the US and Canadian border officers. I shuttle back and forth over the 49th parallel with the minor, and they're very casual about asking our relationship. I came back from an afternoon in Lynden, a pioneer town populated by Dutch heritage people, and very sweet people: someone apologized to us for stopping in the crosswalk as we walked (!). We were never in any danger, she was going far below the speed limit.

I'm not in town for the Greenwood Gumshoe, and I last up to three hours now before my auto accident injury complains to me, and I have garden watering duties in BC in the evening, so I am not helping baselle to another great year of winning prizes. Disappointed, because when we're all healthy and painfree, it's fun to walk around with the question sheet solving puzzles and interacting with the other gumshoers. If she wants to ask my spouse for help, he'll help.

I am off my ketogenic diet, but still am trying for low-carb and high-fat. I fit in my bathing suit with no unsightly bulges!

I have a new laptop: 477 GB for $240 US. So that's one savings goal accomplished. My sweetie already installed a network connection to our local wifi, bless him.

Challenge of Dealing with Disappointments & Drawbacks

July 20th, 2015 at 08:51 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.

Got something to let out, thankfully not my clothes

June 27th, 2015 at 07:51 pm

I've lost a few inches on a low carb, high fat diet, and I didn't even exercise. I was scared at first to check my weight, because the sizes I wear are those reported by those who report a weight I was at just before I gave birth, and the sizes I want to wear are reported by people my height who are around fifteen lbs or seven kilograms or just over a stone less than that. My gut is still bigger than I want it to be though. I'm thinking maybe I should exercise to cut it.

I just learned this week about ketogenic diets, just joined reddit this week and am learning lots.

The healthfulness of the diet I initially found questionable, especially after my messy, scary blood clinic episode. I have since added potassium chloride to my dining table, and put a few shakes of it into my drinking water, and supplement with magnesium. I do miss my toilet-bowl wonders, those daily affirmations I have a healthy colon, though. The body's grabbing its glucose from fat stores and not from ingested carbs, so I let less out than a government or St. Louis Cardinals online database.

I am having more coconut oil, a little more these days. Working up to five tablespoons a day.

For the vegans and high-fat diet fans, a

Text is recipe and Link is
recipe for cold brew coffee with vanilla coconut milk. Low-sugar people, well, maybe do without or reduce the coconut sugar.

It is summer: I feel I must change the landscape of my lawn to get the house ready for sale next year, but I have so little cash and am such a newbie I'm paralyzed by lack of ideas, knowledge and resources.
I may need some help/push in the right direction for where to begin.

A plus: the house now has greater than $300K equity.

The boy received his McDonalds stock funds. I wish the Direct Purchase Plan stocks we have performed better. Slow and steady may win the race but they have to rely on momentum zippers stalling or reversing.

Off-topic, possibly off-putting

June 12th, 2015 at 03:45 pm

At one supermarket, I won't say what chain or what location, I seem to get free food without asking. I don't consider it stealing: stealing is when you're in the aisles and you take merchandise with no plan to present it for purchase at checkout, you exit the supermarket with goods unpaid. That to me is stealing. Even popping grapes at produce is stealing, in my book. When you present all the merchandise on the conveyor belt, with your bags and coupons you signal to the checkout counter staff your intent to purchase. Anyway, I ended up with free halibut (!!) one time and yesterday free organic chicken breasts, both items I put on the belt with merchandise I was charged for. I believe that if one's going to get free food always get the good stuff, none of this spray cheese or Dinty Moore stew business. I believe what happens is that the checkout "override" for original price (I'm no spender, I wait for the halibut and chicken to be marked down half-price before it goes in my basket!) doesn't go through, the food package sports a "freeze or use by" today's date sticker, and the counter person either doesn't scan it at all, or says "whatever, there's a line forming and we can't sell it tomorrow, enjoy your free food." This happens only at one location though, not the one closest to me.

I made the difficult decision to stop blood donations. In March I had a vasovagal response of vomit and lightheadedness, on Wednesday I had an epic "Elvis moment" response: passing out on the throne, coming to on the floor (okay so Elvis didn't revive in August 1977), skidmarks on clothes and floor and my lunch and dinner exiting the entry way on my Marimekko top. I had to wear a Tyvek blue shirt, and be wheeled out in a chair to the donation area, with my puked-on Marimekko shirt in a plastic bag. I felt like such the rock star (Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix...). If I knew how to prevent that, I would continue with the blood donations but let's consider: I made the appointment on Monday morning when a blood bank volunteer telephoned me; I said to her I did NOT want to throw up again; she said I should be well hydrated and start drinking a lot of fluids immediately; I consumed 80g of protein and 84 fl. oz of water Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday I made my own electrolyte drink of lemon, honey, water, baking soda and sea salt, and sucked down 24 oz of that prior to blood donation. My vitals were a little high but lowered within three minutes at first check at the blood clinic. A nurse called me the next day to see how I was, and to try to identify what could have caused this severe vasovagal response. She wasn't the investigative sort, which is a pity, I'd have trusted someone with medical training to advise me on preventing this. She said it was unusual for someone who's given 3 gallons cumulatively to suddenly develop this reaction. If the only advice I get from the blood bank crew is the advice I already followed, it's obviously not going to help me.

So many people in this country eat tons of carbs, sugars and starches: why don't more of them give blood? They probably wouldn't be passed out with their pants down in the bathroom.

I did eat some sugary bakery treats yesterday after Wednesday's debacle. I wanted some evidence that life is still living, and a chocolate eclair and strawberry danish were pretty convincing...

My husband tossed my handmade soap away because the plastic container was warped. :-(

Exasperation Level Reduced by $700

May 28th, 2015 at 01:22 am

The clarinet was found in our house. I took it in for repair to pads and replacement of cork, costing $86.70. So that's a few hundred saved. The retainer is... I don't know where. It's difficult for me to believe it's outside the house.

I've reduced my waist by an inch. My tops hang better now, no shaming skin bordering the hem and bottoms. The sad things are that my macronutrient intake is not sustainable, and the diet requires a greater outlay of $$ after week 3, but it's good to know that I can reduce my waist. How'd I do it? I upped my caloric intake and consumed more nonhydrogenated saturated fats, introduced digestive enzymes and probiotics, ate eggs daily. I avoid grains, sugar and milk. Sugar is especially bad for me as I wake up in the dark with dry mouth and night terrors. I'm sure I'd have made more progress with exercise.

The dairy I do have are yogurt and butter. It may have merely been water weight or glycogen stores that were flushed away, but hey, one inch went, plus! I have no salt cravings. The disappearance of salt cravings means potato chips with their salt and starch don't tempt me, so only nutritious calories go in. If I need salt I can use potassium iodide or pink Himalayan salt.

tiny steps, long paths, new cookbook

February 22nd, 2015 at 07:05 pm

I am considering a savings/debt allocation system that will allow me both some financial cushion and accelerated debt payoff. I have a spreadsheet that estimates our auto loan could be paid in full between November 2015 and April 2016. Life without that payment would be easier, plus I suspect that when we move, and apply for another mortgage elsewhere, the end of the car loan will factor in our favour. When we increase our cash reserves by $300 monthly, $75 is divided into accelerated payments for the car and the home equity line of credit. I'd like to have $120,000 in principal paid off on the house by the end of 2015, hence the payment to the home equity line of credit.

Have I mentioned we've paid over $40000 in mortgage?

Zillow predicts a 1.7% increase in our property value for the year, but I doubt the growth rate will be that low. Not just wishful thinking: a school is currently under construction 1.5 blocks away. We live in a cheap neighbourhood overcrowded with students. Although we live in a cheap neighbourhood, crime's relatively low -- I've never heard gunfire nor seen crime tape in the 16 years I've been here, this part of the city is great for school kids. I'd like to see if I can sell the house for 10% beyond what Zillow says its value currently is. Who wants a new school? Who wants to live on a property with a big lawn and walk only 1.5 blocks to the new school? Families with children.

I bought a sports bra yesterday, a sign I am serious about fitness. I started a crunch, sit-up and squat challenge four days ago, and began drinking apple cider vinegar. Next on my list will be adding intestinal gut flora to aid with digestion. Also I'm doing an eight-minute daily energy routine and even yoga a few days a week in my house. I'd like to try fermenting and pickling produce. I love kombucha tea but am not convinced of its health benefits. I'm sticking with yoghurt and berries for now. Gradual small changes. I want to stay with what works: I'm encroaching upon a size 14, my thighs still touch (are they supposed to?) and clothing choices are limited past size 12 in the US I have noticed. Ultimate goal is to reduce to between size 10 and 12, lose four-five inches each in hip and waist.

I also bought America's Test Kitchen's colossal instant classic The New Family Cookbook, and I used a coupon. I hardly ever buy things for myself. I sometimes think I have too many cookbooks: I certainly don't use some very often, such as the ones before 1985 or the ones for "ooh la la" entertaining. I saw this compendium of over 1100 recipes and thought: yeah! We tried Honey-Lime Glazed Salmon and that was excellent.

Cats, Clothes, Calisthenics - the Monday Update

January 12th, 2015 at 10:25 pm

I'm in shock at my $313 water/sewer/yard bill. I will check the outdoor hoses for drips: I can't hear any drips or see any leaks inside the house. Normally it's $250 for yard, water and sewer for two months. We have not had freezing weather that would make the pipes burst.

DH needed to go out and for me to go with him on Sunday so we went to Value Village to go buy clothes for the boy and for him. I didn't have a wardrobe plan of what to buy so I merely admired but did not buy the Coach and Chanel purses and totes attractively priced for under $100. In retrospect I perhaps should have used the 30% off coupon in the Chinook Book for their purchases. My little one still has smaller feet than I do, yet he takes a size 16 in pants. He is shopping in the men's section now, although for small sizes. He is still eight inches shorter than me.

I have not bothered to weigh myself, but am programming via temporal tap my body to reduce its set weight to 140 lbs. I know I am at least 168 lbs. and am still fitting into US size 12 clothes. It looks like if I drop to 150 lbs I will get into a size 10, and size 8 at 140 lbs, according to "My Body Gallery: What Real Women Look Like."

Negatively worded phrases "It's not my fate to be fat" for example are repeated as the finger tips tap around the left ear; positively charged phrases like "I'm looking fine when I weigh 139" are "tapped in" the same way over the right ear. It's important to find and use personal phrases your body's inclined to use as truth. For example, someone on the metric system probably wouldn't want to use 139 as a number. The messages don't have to be weight-based, even. If you have salt cravings like I do, you may find tapping messages helpful for preventing a 15-oz Chex Mix feeding frenzy. Or you might program your mind and body to return your wardrobe to two sizes smaller than present. More on the temporal tap

Text is here and Link is
here (PDF). What I don't like is that one has to do it five times a day for about a month to see benefit from it. It's like using St. John's Wort for depression, or starting from absolute couch potato when undertaking a new exercise routine. A challenge for the easily sidetracked and impatient like me.

Debt payoff is still the dominant goal for us financially. Until February 1 I'll see if I can raise our assets by $102.60. I'll likely end up cheating by adding $4543 worth of stock and house value increase as $4440.40 of planned and unplanned expenses fly away from us. I'll be gleaning what I can from your blogs.

We sort of have a new cat. Okay, we are feeding someone else's cat. In the summer, after our white cat died, our brown one would venture out and not always come back when called in the evening. We tried shaking the treat bag, and a large ginger neuter came up: "Hey you have treats!" Now the large ginger tabby waits for us to return home, or scratches at the door, to get at our cats' food. Our resident animals are too old and puny to resist other than a perfunctory hiss when they're up to it. He doesn't stay in the house long. He is a happy nomad and not Otto von Bismarck.

Giving GnuCash another go. This time it is easier, as long as I don't jolly myself into thinking I can save and import my TD Ameritrade balances and transactions. I haven't used any of the Loan Wizards either, as they give me months upon months of automated payments all with the wrong amounts. I'm cheating by pretending I owe more than I actually do. My genuine totals owing are in the sidebar.

How are you today?

Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow Book Entry

January 10th, 2015 at 11:58 pm

Text is Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow - Saffron Sect cover and Link is
Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow - Saffron Sect cover

What's good about where I am now:
I can think of my financial situation and still sleep well, other than my cat overheating me by resting on my neck. It gets cold at night, he won't burrow, won't use a pet bed, won't snuggle against the other cat, the electric heating pad shuts itself off after a while as a safety precaution, so it's my neck and chest.

I had the discussion, walking the spouse through the withholding. It turns out that we have one exemption too many, plus $75, and about $8000 in our Health Savings Account, so again a four-digit tax refund is anticipated. I may've convinced him he could put $50 toward his 401(k) per payperiod with little damage, but definitely convinced him to alter the withholding.

Starting Point: Bust - 43"; Waist - 35"; Hips - 43"
I am still proportional, except for the adiposal gut. Some prominent doctor claims women with 35" waists are at risk of getting cancer. I assume he must mean all women regardless of height percentile and proportionality.

I have lots of teas to get me through the grey soggy day. I have recipes for broths and juices. I don't have a fancy-schmancy Vitamix, but a good ol' juicer.

I have everything I need to start an exercise regimen for free: time, exercises, mat, weights.

I have everything I need to start learning mySQL, Python, XML, maybe start hadoop.

I have a $15 gift certificate, and a credit good for one .mp3 download.

Our pantry looked scant, as did our refrigerator, so we went to Safeway, and shopped enough to merit a 40-cent per gallon gas reward. There must be some big National Football League game on: lots of people wearing team jerseys, and a giant NFL refreshment display.

Trying one cookbook per library visit: This month it is Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1. It is not at all a budget-buster. Lots of these recipes remind me of when my mother was learning French cuisine. I tried bistokes a la Russe, which are just ground beef patties with creamy nutmeg sauce on top. Lots of these recipes are also in my budget 1967 James Beard How to Eat Better for Less Money. Looking forward to those ragouts and cassoulets and soupes.

I'll get there, but where is there?

January 5th, 2015 at 12:58 am

Yesterday I had the sick feeling I'm horribly behind financially. That must be a progression from "everybody dies young in my family so why bother saving." The feeling squirmed in as I listened to a woman talk of her spouse's retirement, her planned purchase of a second vehicle, college savings. I have a second vehicle but I wouldn't take it out when it's 2 degrees Celsius. Looking at GnuCash and my budget, I see maybe $150 leftover per month. I'll feel much better when I can eliminate one debt. Someone I know is planning to pay off her car loan this year, although she is considering borrowing from her 401(k). I may just sell some CDs if I feel like joining her in her car loan freedom.

Something I'd like to save up for is a delayed 20th anniversary vacation. I didn't get one last year. We were supposed to go to Hawaii this Christmas, and that didn't happen either. When the net worth improves by $2000 I'll start making reservations at places in the Gulf Islands and on Vancouver Island. Fortunately I don't have to go far to have an "exotic island getaway." My dad was married to his second wife for 22 years; my mother didn't make 20 years with any of her three husbands, and neither did my brother. I did surprise the woman in the first paragraph that I had been married for that long: I hope it's because I don't look like someone who's been married for twenty years.

Maybe start buying foreign currency so I can save a little bit. Maybe convince the spouse to put some aside, if there's a match by employer. I did put $100 into my kid's college account but can't think of what equity to purchase with it. Maybe an ETF with a few more hundred dollars.

I have started exercising, however gently and sporadically. It's the building of a habit that matters, right? I did sit-ups today, started "bouncing" and shoulder shrugs, from Chinese Healing Exercises while watching movies, restarted tracing my meridians. Everyday I had been walking at least a mile, until today, so now I'm bouncing, trying for 1000. I think adrenal exhaustion might be a large part of my expanded waistline. Seeing connections between my eyesight and adrenals and blood pressure and caffeine and adipose. I suppose if I didn't have any hope of a happy golden age there's always the combo of energy drinks and alcohol to speed up the blood clots to take me out. Honestly, I don't know why someone would have that combo at all, let alone regularly enough when one's been hospitalized for blood pressure like 240/120mmHg and has sky-high creatine phosphokinase levels from muscle tissue damage stemming from surgeries on TWO shoulders, but if you ever thought "yeah, my four-year-old doesn't need me and I don't need to see him/hr grow up" or tune out people like your doctor who advises you to cut out the energy drinks because you know everything, I suppose Monster or 5HrPerformance plus a beer can make up for years of bad financial planning. Just make sure you do more than tell your sister you're PLANNING to make a will, and go make a will.

Thanksgiving, Getting On With Life

October 13th, 2014 at 02:19 pm

One silver lining about my little brother's passing is that my friends our-his age who have similar health problems (hypertension, blood pressure) are now super-inspired to treat and defeat them!

Me, I've lost some 1.5" (4 cm) around the waist, without doing much exercising, mostly from stress and four tiny dietary changes: homemade sweet potato chips instead of Lay's (a few to me is a 9.5 oz bag), no sugar or milk in coffee, 1 serving of bread only 2x/week, and filling 2/3 of my dinner plate with vegetables. Oh yeah and stressing so much the adrenalin eats up the fat. But it feels really good to fit comfortably in my smallest jeans without jackknifing on the bed to pull up the zipper, or feeling the raw pinch marks around the waist.

Roasting real turkey pieces this year, to approximate the homey sensation of an in-use oven for hours. Thanksgiving is always just the three of us in October: the spouse's birthday is always in the fourth week of November so we go north and eat at a diner and let him buy CDs instead of hanging out here. It is fun to be an immigrant without parents: I make my own traditions!

Dinner menu: turkey, beets, potatoes, succotash if I can get away with it else kale and carrots.

So if you're having a Thanksgiving dinner today, let's toast to better days and better health.

Hey Hey Hey It's Hesitance Day!

February 17th, 2014 at 09:08 pm

Taxes are done, filed. I passed on the Amazon giftcard because I was afraid I'd err and end up putting all my refund in the giftcard. Ditto on the I-Bonds. Lost internet four times this weekend and was afraid of anything getting lost, or resubmitted.

Return monies potentially allocated thusly:
* one Raspberry Pi
* x% of outstanding HELOC paid, where range(x) is 4-6%
* x% of outstanding car debt paid, where range(x) is 5-7%

It would feel delicious to see those balances down to four-digit figures before the end of the year

*Rest of $$ for family

More importantly, I am at the magic point where we have 3 months living expenses in our liquid assets. My plan now is to put 1/5 of the surplus aside for investing, where anticipated gains > 6.5%, and 3/5 toward debt repayment, and the remaining 1/5 to the assets for inflation creep or Savings Challenge. The plan for this executes 21 February 2014, when the credit cards are balance-free.

Menu planning:
Franks Paprikash
Fried Tidbits of Swordfish or Other Fish
Baked Fillet of Sole with Tomato, Oregano and Hot Pepper
Eat whatever day
Beanie Weenies
Chicken Tarragon Spaghettini
Veal al Limone
Coconut Lamb Curry

We will have eaten down most of the freezer meat by payday. I have the money for our next great meatmarket venture in the Money Market Account. Only with extreme planning can I get our monthly grocery spending below $600. I use coupons, price book and check for meat markdowns.

Menu for the Week

January 12th, 2014 at 01:44 am

Sad but true, the chicken did not thaw overnight. So, I thought to use the udon noodles Imooto-san (little sister) left in my kitchen. Sadly, the noodle package is exclusively Nihongo (Japanese language) so off I went to the Internet, where I found this comforting breakkie/dinner

Text is goodie and Link is
goodie, so nice on a cold rainy day. I didn't have watercress, so didn't use it.

Saturday: Miso Soup with Udon, Egg and Caramelized Bacon (the cats give paws up to Caramelized Bacon). A good way to use up leftovers.

Sunday: Oven-Baked Chicken
Chicken did not thaw overnight

Monday: Leftover Chicken, "Three Sisters" Stew (beans, parsnip, carrot)

Tuesday: Roast Beef w/Yorkshire Pudding

Wednesday: Roast Beef Leftovers, maybe
Text is Roast Beef au Diable and Link is
Roast Beef au Diable

Thursday: Curried Lentils & Cauliflower

Friday: Veal & Something for Boy
Veal al Limone I think for me; Boy is happy making his own ramen these days.

Saturday: Sweet'n'Sour Lentils
from More-with-Less cookbook

Eggs go superfast here.

Meal Planning Week 8 Jan - 12 Jan 2014

January 6th, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Sunday Meal: Pulled Pork Sandwiches - a big hit, but also a big hit of spice to the tongue. I'll pay more attention to the powder measurements. Also made cole slaw with some purchased cabbage, and our supply of celery seeds, maple syrup, tamari and sugar.

Wednesday Meal: Red Chicken Coconut Curry on Rice Noodles.

Thursday Meal: Red Lentil Coconut Curry or Roman Lentil Soup.

Friday Meal: Rib-Eye Steak w/baked potatoes

Saturday: Roast or Baked Chicken.

Sunday: Roast Beef w/Yorkshire Pudding
Freebie: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser box, so adding $2.49 to the $4.25 for this week's physical savings.

Empty Purse to go with my Empty Hearse

January 5th, 2014 at 04:31 pm

Recorded my shopping experience at, in hopes of winning a $100 gift card.
I saved $50.56 from my total shopping, using paper coupons, Just-for-U savings and card savings.
However, I have now $140 to last us five days, unless the GE stock purchase goes through, in which case $100 to last us five days. I won't be needing to fuel up in six days, so that's good.

I planned close to three weeks' worth of meals. We have a full freezer now. I'll need about twelve onions and canned tomatoes, and maybe if I'm feeling rich some whipping cream along with the eggs, bread and milk we'll eventually need to restock.

From January to mid-April I go through a First Quarter panic. We'll have some tax bite from the sale of some stocks my spouse sold a year ago. Plus car tab renewal in April as well. I'm determined to eat better this year's First Quarter panic. I've a greater assortment of “cheap cooking” blogs, and dozens, if not one hundred, slow cooker and cheap cuisine books available to me from the local libraries, including the busiest library system in the United States.
Said to me today over a juice break: "You placed SECOND in a Dead Pool?"
Looked at Lifehacker article: "Write Down Exactly What Your Savings Are Allowed to Be Spent On". Okay: furniture, home improvement, debt repayment, shareware donations, Donors Choose projects, stock purchase, and Safe Deposit Box Rental. That money isn't going to be moribund in a 0% account while there's some prettying to be done, some debt to pay, and money to be made. But it will accumulate in that 0% account until certain minimums are reached.
Spent an hour scouring the Web, including Google search " [cheap eats] [thrifty meals] [budget cooking]" for blogs with content combining frugality with food. I just discovered "Grocery Budget" category in the forums. And

Text is this article and Link is
this article

Blogs and Sites Outside - a popular one among retired/old-timer SA bloggers (this is a UK site.) (Pinterest aggregate)


Miscellanea-Logorrhea Post

December 20th, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I have thoughts swarming and distracting me. In no particular order:

I mailed a parcel (no insurance) to the United Arab Emirates. Flying parcels over there is expensive. I had this idea that because my brother works at an institute of higher learning, somebody would sign for the parcel. It arrived at the building I addressed, but as my brother was away from his office teaching, it went away with the courier. I don't have a tracking # for it. It's the cost and effort that counts, right?

I am using whey protein shakes but I find I get hot flashes, despite use of coconut oil and coconut milk. Not that hot flashes in freezing temperatures aren't welcome, they just don't last long. I must do some research about cortisol, branched chain amino acids, female hormones and serotonin. Sleep is brief now because the cat, a South East Asian variety lacking a thick coat and fat, sleeps on us or beneath the covers, making rolling over burdensome. There are other cats, but he's on the wrong end of the pecking order (they hate him) for all of them to cuddle up with each other, and he won't go near my gentle, sensitive, kind child (no sarcasm here. Unfamiliar cats find my child more approachable. I genuinely don't understand the aversion).

I learned efficiency isn't luxury. I hate everything being cluttered but it's not like I get any help at home. At least no past-due statement calamities have happened. Such a bother determining what to toss and where; where to track down those folders and statements meant to go into those folders.

I am dreading dealing with ComputerShare to get replacement userid and password info. The credentials were lost to the hard disk drive. I know this is nothing compared to the Library of Alexandria's destruction, but chee!

My small comfort about this Target breach is that our credit cards and debit cards have already been replaced due to other breaches, after I started exclusively using the RedCard and cash at Target. Therefore only my Target shopping data may be compromised. Will Target close the account and issue a new one without my needing to request one?

It has snowed here. I have no real snowboots, only rainboots and fashion boots. I don't like wearing rainboots: my socks end up sliding down past my ankles or if they're already mid-ankle, past the heel. Do I have to wear garters?

Thank you for keeping your blogs lively, honest and true, and not blighting my eyes with passive, third-person toneless palaver about insurance or car loans or loan consolidation. Thank you to the eagle eyes who report those blogs so they are "smote into gobettes" by the vigilant site administrators.

I have something else, very budget related, but it's for a separate post. Stay tuned.

Food plan, mind-stretching for seeking alpha

October 14th, 2013 at 12:47 am

Even our credit union is changing the terms of our credit card, from fixed to variable. I sense either yet another impending economic collapse in the US, or that credit usage is greatly reduced and less frequently utilized.

I am now understanding that our credit union struggles, first with the reduction of interest in our savings and chequing accounts, then with the shift from fixed to variable rates for our credit card. I thought they shifted to variable in 2009: I haven't been keeping up.

I am disenchanted with my debt group. I am considering a break until I get my mortgage down to a five-digit figure. I feel left out because I am neither on Facebook nor do I have diabetes. All I have to talk about is reduction of interest.

Another gripe I have: it seems every three days I am buying $20-$24 worth of vegetables and fruit. They go fast!

Trying a new approach to what I put in my stomach, after three weeks of Pop-Tarts. Daily morning lemon squeezed into water has given me new energy. Plus, I put a teaspoon of cinnamon in my daily coffee. The first night I woke up feeling my stomach was incinerating its contents. I have yet to establish a baseline for weight loss though: 100% of the time I feel urge to lose weight is when my pants are tighter around the waist and 24-48 hours later my period shows up. Has anyone had success with a plan from Timothy Ferriss' The Four-Hour Body?

Also going for more black beans and lentils, because it is turning to soup weather here, and I love the extra iron from lentils when my period comes. Mostly though, 4-6 ounces of lentil is cheaper ($0.55) than 4-6 ounces of meat ($1.60). I did pick up veal scalloppine at 50% off: my big thrill of October. I still love meat: I am just choosing to have it less often and be more creative about eating down my stores.

Sunday - Marinated Roast Beef (30% off)
Monday - Turkey Breast (Thanksgiving)
Tuesday - Lentil Soup, probably with bacon
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - New York Strip Steak
Friday - Roast Chicken w/Red Peppers and Tomatoes
Saturday - Black Bean Tostados

Holiday Treat Time

July 4th, 2013 at 04:37 pm

Have fun with Independence Day.

Text is Great Men Repeat Themselves and Link is
Great Men Repeat Themselves.
Back when the US had better things to do than to spy on its citizens and tax-paying foreign nationals, a
Text is love letter and Link is
love letter from a Canadian. And
Text is one and Link is
one from Albert Brooks.

If you're worried about these offerings from a ferner, they're tame and pro-American.

Lost 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs) and am now under 160 lbs! I'm beginning to think I can get back to 140...

Sweet frugal new-to-me food tips!

June 10th, 2013 at 01:59 am

If you have a Cuisinart or KitchenAid chopper, you can grind regular sugar into superfine for use in recipes. Lavender tea cookies and homemade strawberry lemonade are two such summer recipes that call for superfine sugar.

This one is from Dr. Robert Lustig: reduce the quantity of sugar a baking recipe calls for by one-third -- you won't miss it.

small things to report

May 17th, 2013 at 12:42 am

HELOC is down for now,
found creme fraiche for $2.99, plus one dime in the self-checkout kiosk.
Lost five pounds since May 1 on Mary Dan Eades and Michael R Eades 6-week cure for middle-age middle.

Early morning waking habit not due to cortisol spikes.

Frightened about moving. There should be some apartments or rental where I can keep two cats, right? If they stay indoors and quiet? (One I'm going to kennel, maybe, because she stays outdoors except to eat). Also the whole cleaning and painting thing. But at least I have some of my energy back.

I have had some sips (1 espresso at 8:30 am, two sips of Ikea coffee, 1.5 ounce regular) coffee. I can pretty much leave it for now, especially if drinking a full coffee is giving me vertigo and palpitations.

Caffeine-free day: I guess miracles can happen

May 5th, 2013 at 08:15 pm

I had my first no-caffeine day in close to twenty years yesterday. I did not slap anyone. It is past 1 pm and I still have not had coffee, nor, weirdly, desired it. My spouse likes having his two cups a day.

I would be lying if I told you I had no withdrawal symptoms. The third day of tapering off coffee I had excess saliva and a runny nose. What was manageable was 1 cup of coffee, then 1/2 cup the next day, and 1/4 cup the day after with one half-cup green tea in the afternoon.
Day four was the caffeine-free day.

And I found the ring I thought I lost, in the bathroom cabinet, behind some supplement bottles

Haven't seen any waistline reduction yet, but I did fit into my Lilly Pulitzer (RIP) pants today.

My starting food plan weight is 170 lbs. My mother was only that heavy when she was on cancer drugs. Some US charts say the ideal weight for me should be at 136 lb, but 146-150 lbs would look good on me.

If I can lose ten pounds, I'll start to think I actually have some control over my life and create positive outcomes.

12-year no-fee mortgage rate dropped 9%, to 3.4%. Our credit union does not seem to offer 10-year mortgage products.

started a diet yesterday

May 3rd, 2013 at 02:50 am

Well, a protein-heavy food plan designed to shed pounds. The 6-week plan calls for caffeine withdrawal. I limited myself to one cup before noon on Wednesday, and had headaches in the night and the next morning. I took 1/2 cup of coffee to get rid of the headache. I am not happy with my weight, nor with having to get bigger belts because using the belts I have result in raw red rims around the waist.

All the supplements and protein shakes are not good for the food budget, but so far the energy has been up, except for the headache, and the dysfunctional sleep patterns. I met with my doctor today to discuss this, after weeks of attempting to combat insomnia. Could by thyroid, could be depression, could be light, or a combination of the three. I tried valerian, both in alcohol and glycerin-base tinctures. Does not work with me.

What else: can't find my ring from Wednesday. Some s#!t keyed our car when we were in Lynnwood -- don't know why, we weren't in a handicap parking spot, we were within the white demarcation lines for the spot. Boy I wish I could understand people here: I would be happier and less inclined to avoid them. And the caffeine withdrawal headache: only an icepick behind the eye sensation, not the thick, bloodsoaked foamnoodles pulsating in the noggin, like I had the last time I went without caffeine.

This is not a good week. Except for listening to Foxygen and the Allah-las. And getting Office 2013 for $10: that was pretty cool.

I am not saving money. We had our ducts and dryer vent cleaned. I bought a duvet cover from Target to replace our old cotton ink-stained one. I felt like I was in a bed-and-breakfast (good). Then we'll fix the lawnmower, put new plants in front. But I don't care about saving money right now. Right now I need to experience the worthwhileness of life, as a respite from defeat, anxiety and lethargy.

We did get rid of some furniture, and the house has some regenerative energy. That may sound woo to you. I'm just happy that I have energy, little that it is.

Resolve to move is weakening, thanks to an anomalous circumstance where our market value, in get this, a 82 Walkscore neighborhood, in a city that had 10+% increase in market value over the 12 months, is dropping. I vowed I would not move unless our market value was over 65%. I have an accelerated mortgage, and that's probably the only factor slowing the deceleration.

Menu Plan for the week, food & drink saving tips

January 20th, 2013 at 01:46 am

I did a REAL pantry inventory, and a freezer inventory. I planned nine meals. Then I went shopping to use some coupons and up the entree stash to twelve.
Menu Plan
Tonight: Beef Fajitas with Salad
Sunday: TriTip Roast w/Yorkshire Pudding
Monday: Vegetable Lentil Soup w/Brioche
Tuesday: Roast Beef Sandwiches or maybe Chili
Wednesday: Skillet Chicken Dijon w/Rice Salad
Thursday: Cod, Broiled with Mustard and Tomato Sauce, w/Quinoa
Friday: Japanese-Style Salmon, Spinach and Soba Noodle Soup
Saturday: Either Chicken Paprika or Chicken w/Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Saved $30, gained 30 cent cash reward, at supermarket.
Bought single portion coffee filter cone. These are harder to find, because the Keurig products are taking over so much retail space. But check this out: where a $1.50 coffee, plus 10% tax, and 17% tip, will set back someone close to $2.00 for eight ounce drip, using gourmet whole bean coffee priced at $7/pound. One pound of whole bean coffee yields 32 eight-oz kitchen cups. So $1.90 x 32 = $60.80. $60.80 - $7.00 = $53.80 savings. And $1.50 is cheap for drip where I am. So paying $2.99 for a filter cone, plus $3.99 for some filters, will help in the medium term.

Froze some fajita marinade and now am preparing strawberries for freezing, to be used in smoothies, pies or sauces over custard and ice cream, and on Pavlova. How to freeze: first wash, hull, rinse, and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet w/strawberries in freezer for a few hours. Then put strawberries in freezer storage bag.

Our Valentine's Day Dinner will be Potatoes Anna, Steak au Poivre (tenderloin under $14/lb, plus $5.00 discount for meat purchase over $20), and Chocolate Satin Pie. I am the only one in the house who goes gaga for Pavlova.

Eager to start fermenting, especially whey so I can use it on taro root and daikon and beets.

Chickened out of selling my mom's gold bracelet today. When I have a set date for Sacramento, or feel some financial pressure, or have a high three-digit 1040 tax return amount owed, I may sell it. I know I can get $800 for it.

The Long Dark Teatime Post of Food and Gambling

November 4th, 2012 at 11:53 pm

It is 3:55 pm on a damp, breezy Sunday. We have just returned from Safeway supermarket with four bags and $53 worth of groceries, and nine more gallons of motor fuel at $3.42 US per gallon. I saved $20 and earned a 30 cent per gallon reduction. I need not buy anything other than fresh fruits and dairy for over three weeks.

The kid won even more money at scratch tickets. I feel dirty signing my name on the back of the winning tickets and bringing his cash home, like running to the store to buy cigarettes for the stepgrandmother, and I feel mild shame seeing him punch selections on the lotto vending machine. As long as he wins money and follows our rules and has a limit mild shame and dirt are what I put up with. His fourth grade teacher won $1000 at the supermarket from scratch tickets, so telling him nobody ever wins at those is futile.

We will need to replace our vacuum cleaner soon. I have been to Consumer Reports to identify an economical Consumer Reports Best Buy canister vacuum cleaner that works well on pet hair and wood floors.

I have not posted my weekly menus for awhile, and will not do so this week either -- the boys are out for half the week, and I may either attempt to invite people to my house for dinner, the economical option, or enjoy the $30 for three entrees November promotion with people. I like shellfish, Polish/Hungarian food, English food, Japanese food and Italian food. This week I crave chicken and waffles.

The anxiety gripping two of my acquaintances along with me is the recognition we will need to buy replacement vehicles very soon, before the DE/MD/PA/NY/NJ waterlogged vehicles make their way westward as Katrina vehicles did seven years earlier. One has less than a month, I don't know how much time we have but would like a newer car before December 31. None of us has the money outright to purchase our desired vehicle. I may try asking DH if he can broker a 36-48 month loan at 2.25% APY from his mom and dad. It'd be more profitable than a CD for them, and we would not have a credit hit before we sell the house and buy somewhere else. Otherwise, I will have him apply for a loan through the credit union.

Off-topic: my kid's school is hosting a Fall Family Feast for fourth and fifth grade children, staff and families. We are invited to bring family feast favourite (read "ethnic") foods, but the notice in the takehome bulletin contains the text "We are looking for healthy food, no 'junk food,' and I do not know what they mean by 'junk food'. My spouse says "They mean no 'Twinkies' or 'Zingers'," but I think "who brings boxed Hostess-brand foods to a traditional family holiday feast"? I will have my kid bring Yorkshire pudding, I don't know who among the organizers has the final say on what constitutes 'junk food'. Yorkshire puddings are ethnic (not in Canada but apparently the mixes are in the 'international foods' aisle at our US supermarket), portable, require no reheating, and are guaranteed to be eaten by the kid if there are any leftovers. Not all that healthy, but no sugar or high fructose corn syrup or peanuts, and yes we did have them at family feasts.

I generally ignore most food guidelines set by the school, the sole guideline I pay absolute attention to is not bringing anything with peanuts. I always print out an ingredients list with the label of the food I bring and check for food allergies or diabetes among the guests before I prepare and bring items and think that is enough. Offering food under any circumstances gives me anxiety: I am proud of what I make, I know it is delicious, but there are always leftovers UNLESS the food has frightening amounts of sugar, like maple syrup pie or butter tarts. The worst was when we went to British Columbia to a relation's for Thanksgiving, I asked what to bring, she said and I quote "salad" so we went to Granville Island in Vancouver for organic greens, and made salad dressing in our car with some oil and vinegar and herbs we bought from a supermarket, and the BC guests who are fellow relatives did not touch it because the salad had green, leafy ingredients...

Menu for next week

October 14th, 2012 at 05:14 am

I made Veal Paprika from an old _Joy of Cooking_ recipe: sadly we all **loved** it: veal is expensive, but I think it is one-third as expensive to make at home than what is served at a restaurant. And veal is not very filling either.

Sunday: Beef stew
Monday: Sole
Tuesday: something with pork and cabbage
Wednesday: Meat loaf
Thursday: frittatas, possibly
Friday: Salmon
Saturday: Baked or Roasted Chicken

I thought it would be wise for me to start having protein snacks a few hours before bed so I do not wake up between 3 am and 4:30 am with night sweats. I tasted some smoked jack cheese and it was good enough for me to take home but it is also $17/lb. Sigh. Nuts are going for $10 - $11 a pound where I am too.

Another thing: Saving $100 a month is not going to do it for most people who want to buy cars in cash unless they have some way of getting 6% a year, or they buy very inexpensive cars.
Several have suggested the Hyundai Sonata for a replacement car: I just learned there is a hybrid model retailing for $25K. Drool. I am grateful for the recommendation because I never noticed the car before and now I see it nearly every day.'s refinance calculator told me that I never quite recouped the costs of my first refinance. I would have had to stick with the first refi for another 18 months to break even. I did save close to $84800 in interest with the first refinance, and $8700 in interest with the second. This new refi I recouped the costs before the end of 2011, because I did not pay for any application fees.

I may need to be even trickier about saving money. Shorter showers. More exercise to warm the body. Find nutritious foods that make me feel full. Pay more attention to local ads for rummage sales and flea markets.

Off-topic day: dead people, weight loss

September 21st, 2012 at 04:44 pm

101 days until my list is due for Fantasy Celebrity Cemetery 2013. When I see the competing lists I see five that I perceive to be stronger than my list: that is, I would throw away three of my lingering picks for any three on their lists.

Secondly, I have lost fat! I have not weighed myself, but I can see my toes even when I look down past Mounts Baker and Rainier, I look only three-four months pregnant instead of five when I view myself in the mirror, and my waist is a half-inch smaller. I attribute this to the coconut oil and the qigong exercises where I stretch and redistribute my energy. I now take 2-3 tablespoonsful of coconut oil daily, in coffee and tea.

I picked up Dr. Joel Fuhrman's _Eat to Live_ but it owes so much to the now-discredited China Study by T. Colin Campbell, its quickie weight-loss diet is low in protein and healthy saturated fat, and there is no mention of coconut oil, or hormone rebalancing to stabilize the cortisol and blood sugar so not so much fat is created. Also nothing about magnesium.

Problem is, highly caloric nuts and seeds have lots of magnesium; so do spinach and cocoa powder. But I could wean myself from caffeine by doing half-coffee and half-cocoa with coconut oil in the afternoons, hmmm...
The nuts and seeds have lots of fiber and very little sugar, so that is helpful. My vitamin and mineral supplements skimp on the magnesium: not sure why, supposedly the majority of people in this country are magnesium-deficient.

This week in housekeeping

August 13th, 2012 at 02:04 am

The whole family did pantry, freezer and refrigerator inventories so I could figure out what foodstuffs we need to eat before they spoil. We will "chow down the grains" which is fine because after eleven days of mostly roadtrip food we are ready to eat fresh vegetables and fruits.

Anniversary is tomorrow so we went to Peaks Frozen Custard so my spouse could have a double-scoop freebie. Then to Whole Foods, where all the fish is a dollar more a pound than my price book advises. I did find some deals: bulk-packaging chicken thighs for Japanese cooking, chard and kale bunches discounted by a dollar, and Garden of Life Raw Meal powder canisters at 40% off. I wonder if I could lose weight with those meal replacements. We are not eating out for the anniversary: we celebrated enough with custard, margaritas and pie slices. We will see "Safety Not Guaranteed", a homegrown indie movie that looks fun and clever.

Have a better idea how to time my bill-paying so nothing falls into arrears. Filled out MCDirect Purchase Plan application for DS, thought to pay into GE and WAG. Johnson Controls (JCI) looks really good now too.

More Spending, and most not on fun

July 23rd, 2012 at 08:01 pm

DS has three adult teeth coming in, two of his baby teeth are not giving way -- his mouth again resembles that of a shark with a second set of munchers. 31 days from now the baby teeth get removed by dentist. Kaching Kaching. Weep.

Went out to Ivar's Acres of Clams as our guests, on a Sunday night, vacillated between seafood and pizza (show me a restaurant that does both well) -- getting reservations for six on short notice in tourist season is tricky. But I managed it. Brother knows pizza is four blocks away if he wants it: very fresh, like from the water to the pier, seafood is not. On days like that I am reminded how small our city is.

My waist is finally at 34", a one-inch reduction. I keep reading that women with waists 35" in circumference or thicker are at increased risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease: what if you are taller than 98% of women? What if you are over 40 and your tummy naturally thickens as part of the aging process? What if your waist is still slimmer than your thighs and your breasts and you can look down and see your toes?

Roadtrip will damage my diet. That is why I have protein bars, trail mix, and spring water for food supply. Pondering taking coconut oil for insomnia and sleep issues, but I would need something portable as an oral debriding agent.

One cat has adopted my brother's family. The one that jumps on people ran back to us on the first cool evening and has not left the bed sixteen hours later. No he is not dead.

No dead pool news: Julius Pierpont Patches has died, which saddens those of us who grew up watching him on TV. Andy Williams is dying and I am sad about that too.

My $90 day

March 14th, 2012 at 08:57 pm

10.719 gallons refuel @ $3.909/gallon, cheapest within three miles of my home. I even beat the closest gas station to my house, one of the cheapest in Seattle (which means I went outside Seattle for fuel). $41.84

$39.64 - organic milk (brought wrong coupons), tea tree oil (for cleaning mildewy/smelly fabrics and other), MarketSpice tea (it's wet wet cold wet today), Spike seasoning in bulk, Ginger Peach tea in bulk, chicken breasts @ price-book level, red wine vinegar, five other items I can't think of, sirloin tip roast @ close to price-book level, organic carrots @ price-book level, eggs @ below price-book level, walnuts @ price-book level.

$8.79 -- favourite expenditure: PIE slices at $3.14/slice! with San Pellegrino water: I have cystitis, UTI or a kidney stone, so I bought the water to lower the internal pressure I was feeling. Left a tip 'coz I ain't no drip.

I did a second, clean pass through our taxes and saw that we owed $14.40 more than originally estimated. Crossing my fingers we don't get a tax penalty.

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