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I've been dreading writing this post. It's not even that anything all that catastrophic happened -- I fell down in some places, and chugged along well in others. But somehow, last Monday I just couldn't get myself in gear to write everything out and then Monday stretched into Tuesday and so on. So here I am now, writing it all out and cutting myself some slack.

Read more... )
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Last week I went and saw Tom Hooper's Les Miserables. It's not a story that I was previously familiar with -- I've never seen the play and I didn't read any summaries before I went.

I did not particularly like the movie. I left the theater feeling confused and off-balance.

Spoilers below. I wrote a lot.

Why Sometimes a Play Should Stay a Play )
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The first week of every month is all about money moving around -- the tide comes in, the tide goes out. We get paid once per month, by check through the mail, sometime in the first week of the month. So a big chunk of cash goes into the bank at that time. As soon as those checks are available, I go through a pay all the bills all at once -- so a big chunk of that big chunk goes away again. In some ways this is the easiest part of the month: there's a nice fat number in our checking account. In some ways this is the hardest: that number has to stay as fat as possible for as long as possible, and there's still a whole month ahead.

So how did I do on my financial goals for the first week?

Read more... )
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Below please find my thoroughly biased, unscientific, unacademic take on the best and worst movies of 2012. This is all from the heart, with a little from the head to back it up. I love movies; consider this my love letter to 2012.

 

Read more... )
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[livejournal.com profile] shesqueals recently posted a frugality challenge for herself in her livejournal.  I was toying with a similar idea for myself and her post was the kick that I needed to settle on it for myself.

I went into 2012 in really good financial shape -- two out of four credit cards completely paid off and gone, a nice emergency savings cushion, and a good handle on bills, groceries, and house planning.

Then 2012 kicked my ass.

Multiple medical costs (including those associated with the car accident) wiped out most of my emergency fund.  In the final push for our big trip I stopped putting a ton of extra into paying off debts.  Sickness and deaths in the family made life topsy-turvy, which made it difficult to plan or carry out plans.  I got out of sorts with money and have been running from emergency to emergency ever since.

So I'm going to challenge myself this January to get back on the road to financial stability.

Focus for January:  
Lower spending in general.  Make a reasonable plan for what I do need to spend.  Increase my current emergency savings.

Here are my January Rules:
  1. Plan Ahead: Plan all necessary meals out for the week during the previous weekend. Focus on using food that's already in the house first, and then using simple and inexpensive additional items.  Occasional eating out is ok -- if it's planned and fits into the week's budget.

  2. Minimize Purchases: Select three days each week to be "Buy Nothing" days -- and make zero purchases on those days.  During the rest of the week, keep a running tally of all purchases made and my purchase rationale.

  3. Increase Savings: Make a deposit into savings at the beginning of the month. Take no money out of savings.  Bonus Points: Make an additional savings deposit out of surplus funds at the end of the month.

  4. Accountability: Post once a week with a recap and evaluation of the previous week. I'll try to post these every Monday morning.
I welcome comments with suggestions and support (that's part of the whole accountability thing).

sleepymaggie: (Default)
And so it begins: blanket on the bed, sweater and socks, hot tea. Cold, cold, cold.

And a hat too. I may be getting sick actually.

Progress

Aug. 30th, 2012 08:58 am
sleepymaggie: (Default)
Today the last payment for my car loan went through. Now we really own our car.

This is the third major debt that I've killed off this year. There are still big student loan debts and some credit debt, but finally finishing this one off is really good. I can put that payment towards other debts and bring them down even faster.

I need to work on building our emergency savings back up though. Pat and I both had to have dental work done and all told it probably cost up $2000 (our insurance pays for almost nothing -- we get reimbursement checks from them for $18). So, I'm crossing my fingers that nothing really bad happens while I try to build that back up.

But having finished the car loan is a big load off my mind. I've been looking forward to this for a long while.
sleepymaggie: (Default)
I need some exercise/eating advice and I know that lots of folks on my flist are dedicated to health and fitness improvement, so I thought I'd run my question by you all.
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TLDR:
Does anyone have any suggestions for calorie-dense foods I could try? I've been eating a lot of eggs and I'm kindof sick of them. I do drink a protein shake every morning post workout (with almond milk and frozen strawberries) -- I could see drinking another one in the afternoon maybe (they never make me feel full). Does anyone have any other suggestions for a mostly vegetarian? Any help appreciated.
sleepymaggie: (Default)
Question for all you smart peeps:

I want to do more exercising at home and I'm interested in what sorts of equipment people find to be really essential for their home workouts.

I already walk a lot and I want to get back into running. I already have a yoga mat. I have a mish-mosh of a few hand weights. I've thought about rowing machines, but now I have a kayak so maybe not.

Some suggestions I've seen in books and online are:
* a more complete set of small hand weights (two 3 pounds, two 5 pounds, etc)
* an exercise band (in the pics it's a stretchy thing with two handles and some sort of hook in the middle -- you attach it to doors and such and then pull, or stand on it and then pull
* big inflated exercise ball

I don't really want to buy huge gym equipment or spend a ton of money -- instead I'm looking for a few simple items that might enhance the stuff I already have for free (gravity and my own weight). But if there's some amazing piece of equipment that will really help, then I'd be willing to research it further.

So what are your favorites? I know there are people who read me who are super fantastic at exercise and gym stuff -- what would you recommend as being really useful?
sleepymaggie: (Default)
I haven't dreamed about Colorado or Apple in months. Just now, it was both, together all mixed up. The genius bar in the middle of the store like a Joann's cutting table, but otherwise all Apple-y. My co-workers were there, recognizable and talking. On my lunch break I had to go visit someone I'd known during school -- now she had two pre-teen daughters living in her house.

The dream had the distinct feeling of returning to somewhere left behind long ago. This wasn't a normal workday -- I was coming back for a one-time fill-in of some kind. And I wasn't normally in Colorado either -- somehow I was just visiting.

Lately, I've been thinking about all the lives that I've had. It's felt for a while now like people of my generation reincarnate over and over during their normal lifespan. I don't know anyone who has a career, something they've done for decades. I know very few people who are using what they went to college for.

In my life I've been a religious studies graduate student, I've cut fabric, I've worked in an animal hospital, I've run help desks, I've fixed computers, I've programmed, I've cut bagels, I've given telephone surveys. Some are similar seeming on the outside, but culturally they couldn't be more different.

The life we had in Colorado seems like a dream now -- except Pat and I both remember it together. It was a part of our lives that no one else here shared, except for some visits from family. It was completely different from here and now.

Likewise pre-Colorado was a different life. All that Rutgers jazz, just doesn't seem real anymore.

I feel like I'm walking around with the weight of all these other people inside me, the people I've been. I feel heavy. The dream last night put me two lives back at the same time.
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Happy belated birthday to onyxtwilight!

I hope today is better than yesterday.
sleepymaggie: (Default)
Ten years is a very long time. And ten years ago today, Pat told me he loved me for the first time.

We were babies back then, both only 19 years old. We really grew up together, into the people we are now. Only a month later the world completely changed and we lived through it together. We moved across the country together and then back again. We've had more weddings than I can count, because every day he asks me to marry him again. One third of our lives spent together, those particular crazy years where people figure out how to be people and live.

And I can't imagine life without him. He's my other half, without whom I would not truly be whole.

cute
sleepymaggie: (Default)
If you have a dreamwidth account, and you'd like to connect over there, put a comment on this post, would'ja?

Some peeps I've already got, but its a pretty small number.
sleepymaggie: (Default)
Just got home from a awesome road-trip weekend with Pat and my sisters. Molly wanted to head out to Pittsburgh for her birthday weekend (which is why no Halloween-in-July today -- we're having a makeup version next Saturday, details to follow) and it turned out to be a blast.

Saturday we drove out to southwestern PA. We checked out Ohiopyle State Park and Fallingwater (the Frank Lloyd Wright house). Both were gorgeous in their own way. I could easily see spending a weekend just out there, going kayaking, hiking, and checking out all the little eating places and weird stopoffs. Fallingwater is amazing and everyone should take a look.

Later that day we headed up to Pittsburgh. We stayed in the Oakland part of town -- which is where many of the universities are. Really nice, quiet, walkable.

Pittsburgh is a great town with lots to do, at a slow, relaxing pace. I definitely want to go back out there too, to see some of the things we didn't have time for.

What we did get to see:

* Andy Warhol museum = awesome.
* So many bridges and tunnels and hills and valleys and twisty-crazy roads
* Lots of dinosaurs
* Lots of great food -- German food, pub food, good beers, Pierogies, ice cream -- too much food to eat in one weekend.
* Gorgeous buildings and all kinds of architecture tucked into rolling hills and rivers

So, yeah, good times. All the people who thought we were crazy for going out there were completely wrong.

Also, road trips = love. Short ones, long ones, whatever. I love seeing the countryside roll by. I love being able to just change course and figure out a new route. Awesomeness.

Where to next?
sleepymaggie: (Default)
There are things to write, but i am without voice, full of fever, achey from head to toe. My jaw is in violent pain, and when i move there's a stutter, like my brain is slower to understand where i am than the rest of me.

I am sick, in other words.

Have this to tide, until writing can happen:

ANU-ANULAN AND YIR'S DAUGHTER, a superb short piece of mythological comic.
sleepymaggie: (Default)
Wow, i am in a bad way today.
sleepymaggie: (Default)
If a gummy bear goes to a support group, what kind of group is it?

a) strictly for gummy bears
b) for different kinds of candy (swedish fish, twizzlers, and snickers?)
c) for different kinds of bears (gummy, grizzly, and sleepytime?)
sleepymaggie: (Default)
"My daughter was first sued in the womb. It was all very new then. I'd posted ultrasound scans online for friends and family. I didn't know the scans had steganographic thumbprints. A giant electronics company that made ultrasound machines acquired a speculative law firm for many tens of millions of dollars. The new legal division cut a deal with all five Big Socials to dig out contact information for anyone who'd posted pictures of their babies in-utero. It turns out the ultrasounds had no clear rights story; I didn't actually own mine. It sounds stupid now but we didn't know. The first backsuits named millions of people, and the Big Socials just caved, ripped up their privacy policies in exchange for a cut. So five months after I posted the ultrasounds, one month before my daughter was born, we received a letter (back then a paper letter) naming myself, my wife, and one or more unidentified fetal defendants in a suit. We faced, I learned, unspecified penalties for copyright violation and theft of trade secrets, and risked, it was implied, that my daughter would be born bankrupt.

But for $50.00 and processing fees the ultrasound shots I'd posted (copies attached) were mine forever, as long as I didn't republish without permission."

-- Nanolaw with Daughter a very interesting short story.
sleepymaggie: (lemony)
test.

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