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Archive for February, 2007

The good thing about working too much

February 28th, 2007 at 07:42 pm

The good thing about working too much and being stressed is that you don't have time to think about spending money (other than an occassional snack or coffee).

The bad thing is you don't have any time to do the stuff you need to do to get your financial house in better order.

No more bags of milk for me

February 27th, 2007 at 08:24 pm

I've discovered over the last few months that I really prefer milk in either jugs or cartons. I have noticed when I buy bagged milk that a good part of it normally goes sour. But when it is in a jug or a carton I drink more of it.

Costs a bit more (and i have to remember to return the jug and not toss it so I get my deposit back) but I drink more so I waste less. And maybe environmentally more friendly.

I thought of titling this entry "no more homo bags of milk at my house". Homo is what we called full fat milk here(get your mind out of the gutter) Homogenized is the full word but way to long to write out and too hard to spell. So it is homo milk in popuplar parlance. But I'm a good girl and stick with 1% or skim.

The Current Gas Shortage and Gouging

February 26th, 2007 at 05:40 pm

This may just be a regional thing. A gas refinery near here caught fire. So no production out of them. The train guys were on strike, so gas being moved by them. The ubiquitous *they* are saying a month til the situation is back to normal and there are no more shortages.

The result - gas stations closed cause they don't have any gas to sell. At least 2 on my way to work are closed (though strangely not the ones of the company that had the fire.. those seem strangely to have gas again this week). Gas fill up limitations at other gas stations. Prices are almost back to where they were after Katrina.

Gas is about 20cents higher than last week and news reporters are telling us that the gas companies are saying they aren't gouging. Like with the profits they are making they hurting...

Not gouging.. Uh huh... Yeah .. whatever.. and oooooooooh how much is that pretty bridge....?

This weekend's cooking

February 25th, 2007 at 05:20 pm

Made a healthier shake and bake chicken - boneless skinless thighs dredged in cormeal with spices (basil, salt, pepper, paprika etc). Cheaper and healthier than white bread based shake and bake, and just as tasty!

Made an awesome stew with three simmering steaks I got on a day before last day of sale special. Put them in the crockpot with about a 1/4 cups of teriyaki sauce, envelope of onion soup mix and a can of tomato soup. Though salty the gravy turned out rich and thick and the meat fork tender. I cooked barley rather than rice as the starch (leaving out salt - as the gravy turned out salty). I have 5 meals with the barley, green peas and stew.

Also cooked a chicken - another 1/2 price day before last day of sale deal. Baked it with 2 cut up cloves of garlic and an orange all cut up. I used some of the orange zest to rub on the skin of the chicken - again I used the crockpot to cook this. About 6 hours on low and you have an awesome easy chicken! No liquid or anything needed. Quite a bit of this will likely end up in the freezer.

I have some onions to make carmalized onions - again a crockpot dish (yeah I love cooking in the crockpot LOL). I likely will set that up tomorrow night and start it when I go to work on Tuesday. They are super easy but do take 12-24 hours to cook (and I can't remember if last time about how long they took.

Left my Debit Card at the checkout

February 24th, 2007 at 06:54 am

I left my debit card behind after using it to pay for groceries. I really have trouble after a long day (or week) in doing any multitasking whatsoever. And packing groceries and getting your card back when you are really tired rates as multitasking.

I only found out I forgot it when a stock boy ran up to the car and handed it to me!

With all the stories of identity theft and what I would do with no debit card .. YIKES! I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes while it sank in just how bad it could have been.

Points for Starbucks

February 23rd, 2007 at 10:01 pm

I rarely go and buy a coffee out thee days (other than from the cafeteria at work when it is apparent that it is is one of those days when one must have another cup of coffee to make it til noon.

Today I went into starbucks and got a "1% cinnamon dolce latte, no whipped, sugar free syrup". A very nice treat - well other than for my pocket book. Ouch.. those are expensive when you consider they are a cup or two of milk and some syrup.

What gave starbucks points today was that I found out they offer free wireless internet here in Canada. Not sure how new it is. But Canada is a few years behind the US when it comes to free internet access.

Canadian coffee house chains take note. I'd frequent your coffee houses but you gouge me for internet access; one place is approximately $8 an hour. Ouch. So if you are wondering why I'm not there come see me at starbucks where they let me buy a plain coffee and sit and surf..

And the sad thing is - I don't even (other than this one drink) like Starbucks' coffee all that much.

The great frozen spinach shortage of 2007

February 22nd, 2007 at 07:14 pm

I've decided that we must be in a frozen spinach shortage. The last two grocery stores I have been to have both had fresh spinach but not frozen chopped spinach.

I really like frozen spinach (I either cream it or add it to meat dishes as an extra veggie). I think its because my mother always bought frozen spinach. Now I think of it I never remember her buying it fresh and it wasn't until I was an adult I actually ate raw spinach.

Could this shortage be the work of an evil mastermind who hates spinach?

I gave in and bought some fresh.

Voluntary Stupid Tax

February 21st, 2007 at 05:51 am

Yesterday when I went to the convenience store for some snacks in the evening (while still at work - I was working some serious overtime) I bought a lotto ticket. I wee bit of hope I think.

Only stupid thing is that I haven't played it yet - it is one of the scratch and win games. I guess, seeing I bought it I should. To see if I get my money back or if I paid stupid tax - cause really lottery tickets are voluntary stupid tax (a tax that gives a moment of hope as a return but a tax regardless, as some goverment agency ends up deciding where that part of my money goes)

I buy about 5 of them a year. I guess this counts as the first one this year, LOL.

Satellite Radio

February 20th, 2007 at 04:52 am

The news about XM and Sirius merging got me concerned yesterday as I bought my XM radio in the US and subscribe to the US service through my BF.

I did it that way cause after research I figured out that both XM and Sirius in Canada offer less service for more money and the service offer in Canada was missing one of the US channels I really wanted.

The news of the two merging had me all worried yesterday. After some reading I realised that the news is they want to merge. Regulatory stuff means it may never happen or may take up a year. So the news of them merging is very premature.

Good cause that means the service I paid for isn't going to get messed up for the near future with "enhancments" that only enhance their bottom line and not my listening enjoyment.

Not a holiday here

February 19th, 2007 at 07:17 pm

As I'm in Canada, and reside in one of the provinces where they haven't invented a reason for a holiday (Alberta has "family day") in February I got the joy of working.

So I worked for 10 hours. It was a long day. I got a fair bit done. I have to show this work to Snr Management on Wed and I am nowhere near ready for that. Tomorrow will likely be another long day too! But the good news is by the end of the week this should be all settled, with new crises to give variety.

Spent the day working

February 18th, 2007 at 04:44 pm

A quiet Sunday here - very quiet as most of the day I was in the office working. It is crazy busy right now and going in for an afternoon should allow me to at least come home and sleep the next few nights. The pain will be over soon but it's going to be an intense few days coming up.

The good news is that because I worked I didn't spend any money I hadn't planned to spend!

Saturday cooking

February 17th, 2007 at 11:09 pm

Did my normal weekend thing and cooked.

Big vat of pasta sauce. I cheated and instead of buying veggies I bought the arctic gardens frozen chopped "spagetti" mix. What a timesaver. They might become a regular in the winter (blend of onions, carrots, celery and green pepper diced small). I think the bag 1.5lbs - was less than $3 - no waste. This time of year likely better quality and the same or cheaper than buying fresh.

I put together the bag of veggies, 3 cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and some salt and pepper, 2 28oz tins of diced tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste and a can of pastas sauce and dumped it all in the slow cooker. I didn't add a lot of seasoning as I am planning to incorporate it into other dishes.

After a couple of hours I took out four cups of the sauce and added to it in a dutch oven 4 cups of diced potatoes, 2 cans of black beans and a 1/2 TBSP of cumin and a teaspoon of basil. Cooked it on low on the stove until the potatoes were soft - 5 servings of black bean stew

I then used a cup of the sauce to add to a spinach, cheese tortellini and ground turkey pasta dish. I also added some sour cream to make if more of a rose sauce. Again 5 servings.

I took the rest of the spagetti sauce after it had cooked a few more hours (about 4-6 cups more) and made it smoother rather than chunky by using the immersion blender in it. I have that split up between two tupperwear containers.

I fried up a pound of ground beef too as well as some mushrooms. I seasoned that with salt but otherwise left it as a raw ingredient. I think I'l make barley strogonoff with it but I have a small problem - I don't have any barley. So will have to do that either tomorrow or when I get the barley - I will likely freeze the cooked meat until then.

I know I must sound crazy with all the cooking I do. But I proved it last week when I ran out of things to eat and bought my lunch - cooking ahead and freezing is necessary for me to both eat properly and not spend a fortune eating out.

Grocery Store Torture

February 16th, 2007 at 09:02 pm

I think I have had it with the grocery store I shopped at tonight

Talked to the manager about my issues regarding it being badly stocked -lots of stuff empty on a Friday night - shelves look like they haven't had new stock in or been faced in a few days - enough carts in the parking lot for 10 normal sized store.

The manager was a good retail manager sort. Politely listened to me. His reasons.

*busy store
*hard to get good staff
*looks great every morning

It isn't walmart but has that superstore concept thing happening. I wasn't impressed with his answers. The store needs a ton of shoppers in it all the time to keep it profitable. Pay more to get good staff. And sorry I shop when it works on my schedule.

Senior pie in the sky managment must do their tours at 8am and not at 8pm.

The cashier was the sweetest thing. Very nice, polite (actually the staff are all super nice) but are all on (for lack of a better expression) island time. My life these days doesn't run on Island time. I don't have 20 minutes to stand in line with only 2 people in front of me.

There is another store that is nearby (another chain) that usually doesn't have these issues. I perceive it as a bit more expensive but my sanity can't take this store I shopped at tonight.

My wallet and whatever sanity I have left are going to take a break from tonights store...

And you sent us all this money,.. Now tell us why please...

February 15th, 2007 at 10:14 pm

We finally tracked down some of the money we are owed at work on this one client. Embarrassing as it is between $3 Million and $5 Million that we've been wrongly blaming the client for not sending in. Its taken us a few months to realise we have the money

Better late than never right?

They sent us the money - but the client didn't properly tell us how they decided on the amount they sent us - the deal is they create their own statement of what they owe us and then send in that and the money.

Damn I love our business model sometimes.

For the record we are annoyed at them. It drives the accounting folks batty when they have money that's sitting around in suspense accounts. We are sending some staff around to meet with them early next week to hasten this process and express our displeasure.

My work is wacky sometimes.

So easy to be overcharged.

February 15th, 2007 at 05:29 pm

Earlier this week I bought breakfast from the cafeteria at work. Something I rarely go.

I get a bagel with cheese and a coffee - my standard breakfast out. It was a morning I was tired so I got the extra large vat-o-coffee. I was expecting this to be around $3.50 give or take (this cafe tends to be pricey but it is in the lobby of the building where I work etc etc).

Rang up at $5. Significantly more than I expected. The cashier said that was because I had a large coffee. I just stood there processing.

Finally she realized I was not going away. I think that was when I asked how much the bagel was.

She then took the time to ring it in again. It turned out to be $3.50 (I never did mention that figure to her), and I ended up with apologies and $1.50 more in change.

A good lesson in taking the time to figure out your bill rather than accepting there word for it another solution might be to always get a receipt - this cafe normally does not give receipts other than on request.

Free Mug, Styrofoam and Flylady

February 14th, 2007 at 07:49 pm

I got a free mug today at work.

Says something like "think green top up your retirement savings account". The sheet with it encourages us not to use the Styrofoam cups that our employer provides at the coffee machine - hence the cups.

You'd think if they don't want us to use Styrofoam they'd not buy them? Or buy another kind for us to use?

Too simple?

Oh and any others who follow flylady will understand my despair at this gift. Another coffee mug to add to my already barely tamed collection of coffee cup clutter.

I've had better days and pot luck cooking

February 13th, 2007 at 08:03 pm

I've had much better days. Some days working for a living really isn't my cup of tea. Today was one of those days - I'd have prefereed to be anywhere but work. Garden variety stupid work stuff - for lack of a better way to describe what was happening.

Making a pot roast for work - as we have a potluck tomorrow. I make a pot roast every time. It is my signature dish. It usually costs me between $15 and $20 - a bit pricey maybe but made up by the time it takes to prepare. I usually use wine (white cause that is what I drink) but today I had beer more accessible so I used that (drank what was left in the bottle plus a fresh one for the cook)

I have the simplest recipe going.

Yummy Pot Roast
4lbs of meat (chuck roast)
2 no name packages onion soup mix
1 cup beer (or wine) (no more than this)
3-4 garlic cloves.

I cook on high about 4-6 hours (fully defrosted meat) but you can cook on low for longer. Makes tons of delicious gravy.

Have to remember to take a piece of meat off of the roast for supper tomorrow.

Forgot about this money !?!?!?!?

February 12th, 2007 at 07:39 pm

Just when you think you are on top of things you realise it was a really good illusion.

Someone on one of my list posted a link to a gov't website. Seems the banks send money there when an account has been dormant a long time.

I went to it on a lark. Cause y'all know how organized I am..... No way would I have money there right? But maybe I can help on of my relatives .. cause well they might let something like that go right?


You guessed it. I have $54 in an account that I forgot I had (the name of the bank sounds vaguely familiar).

I have the procedures for getting it. I'll do that this week - get the paperwork rolling etc...

Duh is me ...

Stupid Customer Moment

February 11th, 2007 at 06:50 pm

You'd think that people would actually think to check they had their credit/debit card with them when they shopped right?

Cause once you check out and go to pay and find you don't have said car do you inconvenience EVERYONE - you have to gop do the wild dash back to the car and hope your card is easy to find in whatever safe place you put it.

Only saving grace moment of the entire incident is that it isn't a store where I often shop.


double coupons rock!

February 11th, 2007 at 03:02 pm

They don't have double coupons at grocery stores in Canada - so it is nice when I'm in NY state or PA that I can sometimes get some nice deals with double coupons at the grocery stores there.

Today's score was some body wash on clearance for 1.74 for which I had a 75c off coupon that the store doubled!!!!! A good brand and variety! So I'm really happy!

Had to stop my self buying MORE shampoo - was I already have so much shampoo that even with it on sale and a doubled coupon - it was a great deal but if its a great deal and you don't need it it isn't a really great deal right? And it wasn't so good a deal as to be free. If it was free I'd have bought it LOL

Early Valentines Present

February 11th, 2007 at 07:30 am

I got to pick out my valentines present yesterday.

My sweetie took me to Bed Bath and Beyond. And I got to pick out something. This for me was fun! I don't normally walk in to any store and go -hmm what do I want to buy today without doing that entire needs analysis to be followed by comparison shopping to be followed by the "are you sure this is a need and not a want internal debate"

I chose this really funky silicone collapsing strainer. Yeah, I'm weird. Man is it ever cool! I saw it and I had gadget lust. This is wayyyyy better than a box of chocolate. And it is red Smile So it fits the holiday scheme.

We went to an early valentines party last night too so it was a great day all around!

Cheque from Pinecone

February 9th, 2007 at 09:34 pm

Got paid $5 for doing a survey for pinecone. I got a referral to them ages ages ago and am very glad I took it.

I probably average a survey for them once a month. It takes a reasonable amount of time and they always pay.

I'll be adding this to my challenge money when I get to depositing it.

Civic Duty

February 9th, 2007 at 09:30 pm

Did my civic duty on Thursday and voted in the bi-election (our prior representative having vacated for some reason or another). One of the candidates running had ran for local council and I met him then and was impressed. He didn't win so ran in this election. For a change the guy I voted for won. Very strange for me - I usually the one you don't want voting for you cause the other party will get in...

I know the folks that do the polling booths (the election officials) are folks that know someone etc.. Patronage "overpay them for the day" jobs. But come on folks. Please screen them for the ability to read. Literacy rocks for positions that require reading. Or if they are visually impaired provide them with the voters list in braille. Buddy boy looking each person up in the list had a lot of difficulty. It was painful and made something that should have taken less than 5 minutes take about 15 - most of it being spent by him trying to locate your name of the voters list.

Why are you frugal?

February 8th, 2007 at 05:25 am

I love being frugal because it allows me to be generous in other ways. My objective is to spend my money mindfully not to be the stingiest on the block. So frugality for me directly leads to mindful generousity... and allows me to have my financial house in order at the same time!

Why do you love being frugal?

Freebie or Scam?

February 8th, 2007 at 05:19 am

I got a link to a freebie directly from the company today. It is a large company who routinely sends out freebies. They MUST have stats on the size of their mailing list, how many people take advantage of an offer etc. This wasn't a mom and pop operation nor was it a freebie I found on the web. THEY SENT ME an email offering me this.

And 10 minutes after getting the email (if that) I go to say yes, thank you I'd like it and it is already finished. But I can print off a coupon for $2 off. Pft. The nasty suspicious part of me wonders if they had any freebies to send out? Was it just a scam to get us to read about their product and then say "sorry" and here is a coupon cause we all will buy anything with a good coupon right? (Yeah right...)

I'm not naming the product or company here as I want to give them a chance to respond to the email I sent them:

Thank you for sending me the link for the free sample

I got the email at approximately 4.06pm today and tried to apply for the freebie within 10 minutes of getting it only to be told that it was no longer available because of overwhelming demand.

I would never want to accuse you of sending that out in bad faith rather I can only think my email provider (gmail) was very slow in delivering it to me. However I was quite sad and dismayed to not find that you were already out of stock on this - and I only delayed by about 10 minutes from when I got the email telling me about the freebee.

I wish you much success in marketing your new product

A better day today

February 7th, 2007 at 05:54 pm

I seemed to do a bit better today. Still second guessing myself and stuff but nothing like yesterday.

Kept my spending to $1.40 for a decaf coffee this afternoon.

The big hightlight of the day is that a junior in my office has been assigned to help me with a project. We work together a lot and know each others strengths and weaknesses. My strength is that I am very good at my job. My weakness is that I'm lousy at filing. As such I had about 2 years of filing scattered throughout my office (mixed in with other stuff that needed to be filed). Pretty much a disasater.

Well he took me in hand today and things are now organized and in files - at least on that project. Woo hoo! I did have a desk under all of that!

Raok Wh&*ring

February 6th, 2007 at 09:38 pm

I am in a small group with a bunch of ladies who coupon. It is a small group and from what I can tell the people are all good people.

I've been sending out a ton of RAOK envelopes (Random Act of Kindness)to people in that group with coupons in them that are on their wishlists. This has made me feel wonderful. Mostly they are coupons I'll never use or ones that greedy me found a lot more of than I'll ever use *oink oink*.

Honestly the warm fuzzy when I get thanked is great (I don't put my name in it but usually they'll figure it out as I do put my return addy on the envelope), and is worth way more than the cost of the postage in "warm fuzzies"

I got a note from one of the girls with $3-$4 in stamps (I never did count them) with the note .. "gotcha - this is to help you with your raok wh*&ring. I have not laughed so hard in a while. She made me feel so good about what I am doing and is only encouraging me to do more of it. Which might have been her idea. Seeing I found a few coupons tonight that I know a couple of folks are looking for - it won't be a problem to use up those stamps, LOL

One of the other girls on the list sent me an envie today with a free product coupon in it for a product I use all the time. My is it ever nice to get mail like that!

Oh and on a related note, I've found Staples in their clearance section often has fancy envelopes marked down to good prices - I've found some pretty ones for a good price. They aren't shiny-shiny but they are pretty-pretty.

Dealing with stuff

February 5th, 2007 at 08:30 pm

Worked today. Well more like went to work. Didn't get much done. Am still (duh) very sad about Mao.

I'm not second guessing what I had to do but I am wondering if I should have done it sooner etc. I think that's all part of grieving.

Tossed his litter box (though did manage to dump litter on the floor *sigh* while doing so) and scooper. I left one blanket at the vet as they can use them, and will likely donate his other blankets to a shelter.

Open leftover food was turfed. The rest of the dry kibble and the 2 cans of wet food that are left will be given to a coworker who has 2 cats on that formula of food (K/D from Hills)

The house feels empty. Even though it is usually just me and him it still feels empty.

R.I.P. Mao

February 5th, 2007 at 10:00 am

I've had Mao since about 1990 (give or take a year) - he was full grown adult chocolate point Siamese when I got him. His age now is estimated to be 23-24 years of age

On a silly/funny note - he was cat in a bag this morning. I know he shouldn't get cold so I swaddled him in a blanket (he was very accepting of that though not very happy about it) and then put him in one of my purple bags unzipped enough so his head stuck out (and after moment or two both his front paws were out too... Though he stayed in it otherwise....

The vet did an exam and said his kidneys have shut down. Mao was down to 6.6 lbs from 7.6lbs in the middle of December. The vet said that I could have left Mao there for a few days and they would do intravenous and antibiotics (I never did confirm if he had a cold too but I think he did) and that that might give him some more time or might not. He wasn't very hopeful though and seemed relieved when I said no to that.

Mao was already being treated for Kidney failure - his kidney's almost shut down in October - and he's been on twice a day pills and drops and special food since then. So it wasn't like I was giving up on him quickly - He's already been through a lot with his kidneys and in my opinion it was time so say "no more" and let him rest.

They didn't let me be with him when they put the intravenous in (which almost killed me). But I was able to hold him when they gave him a dose of anaesthetic that was large enough to stop his heart. I held him as they did that - him on my right shoulder with his head tucked under my chin and his paws on the top of my shoulder. I am glad I was able to be there with him. He went very quickly - basically just passed out/drifted off to sleep.

A hard decision but I know it was the right one. He's been a very good cat and it was his time.

I came to work. Didn't know what else to do really. As I was planning to go home again so after all my cooking on the weekend I don't have lunch with me...

Please give your furbaby's (if you have them) a hug/pat/treat for me in memory of Mao.

Sunday Cooking Blitz

February 4th, 2007 at 12:01 pm

Once again its the weekend and I'm cooking up a storm.

This week I'm making

Singapore Pork and Peppers (double batch)
Crustless Leek and Spinach Quiche
French Canadian Pea Soup
Turkey "sausage" patties

I think I'm going to also make a casserole dish too - just not quite sure what. I want something different and diet smart that I have the ingredients for - just not quite sure exactly what that is yet! I have the extra lean ground beef defrosting so I'll figure it out soon!

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