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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.