Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Snow

I didn't believe the meteorologists regarding the October snow storm...I mean, why should I?  Normally they are wrong.  They will predict a blizzard we get a flurry.  They say a flurry, it snows 6 inches.  They say partly sunny, and it rains.  Sure, they are right some times...but I gave up watching the weather. 

I heard rumors about the snow, and it WAS really cold, so I thought a few flurries would come.  Turns out they were right. We had about 5 inches of snow.  We lost our electricity before the snow really even began.  It was out for 28 hours.  No power = no hot water = no heat.  Burr it was cold. I slept in socks and gloves.  I had a few neighbors over last night for drinks since we were all in the same boat - it was really  nice to get to know them a little more; even if I won't be around much longer.

Driving to the grocery store today, I have to say it was so pretty, seeing snow on the ground and trees, but yet, the trees were still green/slightly changing colors.  I am a bit bummed I didn't take a picture.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chewing Tobacco

My HS friend Kevin had this habit that I hated...dipping.  As you may know - dipping goes hand in hand with baseball (which Kevin was very good at).  Anyway, in my opinion dipping was disgusting.  That wad of tobacco on his gum line, buffing out that otherwise nice smile but more disturbing was the constant spitting into cups or bottle or cans.  And if the bottle was clear...I'd have to see that.  Disgusting.
Over the last thirteen or so years, I haven't really seen much dipping, then I went to see Moneyball a few weeks ago; even though I am not a huge Brad Pitt fan.  I think Brad had about 3 super small seconds where he actually looked 'cute'.  The movie itself was really good, but I was really distracted by all the spitting.  Sure I get it...I know chewing tobacco and baseball...hand in hand.  Got it.  But is it important to show that non-stop in a movie?  Does it make the movie more genuine since it is based on a true story?  I think if I saw it twice spaced apart in the movie...I still would have got it.  But maybe that is just me.

Dipping was brought over to the USA by the Swedish immigrants.  Are you indifferent to chewing tobacco or does it disgust you as much as it does to me?

Chewing tobacco disgusts me, smoking cigarettes is gross, cigar smell make me feel lightheaded, hooka I don't see the point of, the only thing I can handle is seeing an old man smoking a pipe.

Monday, October 24, 2011

a little about Frank Lloyd Wright

In 2003 or 2004 I was introduced to Frank Lloyd Wright's work, a brilliant architect whose fame was designing homes from the landscape.  I've seen the below ones...and now make it a point to look to see if there are any where I travel.

Falling Water
Built from 1936-1939 for Edgar Kaufman Sr. in Southwest PA. In 1963 the house was entrusted to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.  It is one of the only houses that with the setting, furniture and artwork all there.  (Yes, FLW designed furniture for his houses too). 


Kentuck Knob
Kentuck Knob is close to Fallingwater.  It was designed for the Hagan family who loved Fallingwater.  FLW was 86 when he was solicited for this house, so it is one of the last houses he designed.  The house was completed in 1956.  It was open to the public in 1999.


The Martin family had this house built between 1926-1931.  It went up for sale in 1997, but local residents wanted to preserve this home instead of demolishing it.


Frank Lloyd Wright house
After looking at houses FLW designed, it was interesting to see the home where he lived for


Other Chicago houses
Since FLW lived in Oak Park in Chicago, it is no coincidence that over 25 homes were designed by FLW between 1889 - 1913.  Walking the streets in Oak Park you can easily spot the Prairie style architecture - interior light, low spaces, earth hugging buildings.  While I've been to Chicago numerous times, I haven only walked the streets and looked at the houses from the sidewalk; I haven't made it out there yet for the annual house tours (many of the houses are still privately owned, but they open their doors once a year).  One day.

Usonia is a private community located in Pleasantville NY.  The American Institue of Architects hosted an annual tour that I finally signed up for.  I have quite a bit of pictures, however they are for "personal use only" and can not be published under any circumstances.  And since I want to remain somewhat law-abiding, I will not post MY pictures.

Roland, who has lived in Usonia just a few years after it's inception in 1945 provided our small group of 17 with some great first hand knowledge of the area, the houses and the community.  Originally this 100 acre area was set to have 55 houses; and the houses were on circular plots.  However, only 47 houses were built;  3 of those houses were designed by Wright (including Roland's house) and the others were overseen by Wright.

The road going through the area was small, windy and tight.  The community was designed as a co-operative and was originally marketed as reasonably priced houses; however as with anything...the costs were more than originally thought.  Usonia is short for FLW's United States Of North America (with an i in there) and evolved from the prairie style by taking it one step further- single story home on concrete slab with radiant heating and still no basement, attic or garage (unless you begged him like Roland did for a basement).

The tour in October was a perfect time to enjoy the autumn while walking to the different houses - it made me appreciate FLW's architecture even more because you can really see how the landscape influenced the houses.

Here are some great links to articles on Usonia
Popular Mechanics July 1951  Pages:  72-77, 226, and 228
NY Times: Green before it had a name
Roland Reisley wrote a book about Usonia 
What is a Usonian?

Other People's Pictures of Usonia:
David Cobb Craig (source for the following)

Don't think you've heard of FLW still? Maybe you heard about this small little museum in NYC: The Guggenheim Museum.
Source - Oh crap, I already closed the window.  Anyway, this is NOT my picture

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation
Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
List of FLW homes on Wikipedia

While it is a novel, I really enjoyed Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.  It was a great historical fiction book about Mamah Borthwick Cheney, the lady that stole FLW from his first wife.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bank Boy & I ride a bike

Today Bank Boy & I went for a ride on the North County Trailway.  This is the third time I rode my bike this summer - the other two times were on the Bronx River Parkway.  I was hoping that the other two times would have better helped prepare me for this ride.  We figured we'd only do the 12 miles round trip up to Yorktown.  The path was paved and quite flat - with long gradual hills.  Easier than the Bronx River Parkway so it seemed easy enough.   

But the thing is, it wasn't.  I am wondering if I have asthma.  I wasn't a sports person growing up so it was never really an issue, but lately I find that when I loose my breath, I can't catch it fast enough. I won't say I am wheezing, but my breaths aren't deep.  I feel like my breathing recovery takes way too long.

The trail this time of year was so pretty. I loved seeing the changing of leaves along the water. The trail was mostly empty with a lot of riders in spandex and runners; not many families/children. We crossed this wooden slatted bridge that we took a moment on our return to appreciate the beauty and quietness

I wish I could say that I maintained a speed of 11 mph, but it was closer to 6.5.  There was one point 1/2 mile to the end when I had nothing left, going about 5 mph that a couple that was jogging passed me.  HAHA, yes please laugh all you want. It was embarrassing.  I felt bad that I was holding Bank Boy up - I know he isn't used to traveling so slow.  I suggested that if I go with him again, we'd do the 6 miles together, I'd return back to the car & he'd keep going north to get his full of exercise at a decent pace.

On a positive note, my butt didn't ache as much as it did the first and second time I rode my bike! I was really happy about that, but my legs did ache a bit more.  I know I am not great about changing my gears, I normally keep them in 3-4 or so, but I am not sure why I can't cruise so well.  Bank Boy was barely pedaling - where I was constantly moving my legs and exerting more energy to keep going.  I need to figure that out why...if I can cruise a little then I think I'd be able to go a longer distance. 

The good news was that he adhered to the ONLY FRIENDS statement and not once did he bring anything up...until I left and was home.  Then he messaged me that he'd love to hang out more, not just bike riding, but dinner, a movie, whatever.  I don't want to give him the wrong impression, but I don't have a lot of friends, and he doesn't have many local friends right now.  It's just company.

Swayze Crazy

Every once in a while you'll catch a few movies with the same actor in it.  This time around it was Patrick Swayze.  I'll be honest, out of his 46 movie titles, I can honestly say I only like about 3 of those movies...and maybe have only seen 7 or so. 

Point Break (1991) about bank robbers  
Ghost (1990) a classic movie about a ghost
Dirty Dancing (1987) another classic

I probably saw Dirty Dancing when I was 9 or 10 or so (yes, I was younger than the PG13 standards).  I remember watching this movie over & over again when I was young.  It was probably one of my first adult movies and it gave me this unrealistic sense of love....and dancing; I think those are the two things that every girl watching this movie wants.  I have never danced 'dirty' but having just watched that movie again in my 30s I feel like I missed out on something.  Did people actually do that?  I mean, I guess when people are drunk enough at the end of the night I might have caught a glimpse of some bad close dancing, but it wasn't the same.  Also, that love...granted it was a young love; but that is how they did it in 1969 (when the movie was supposed to take place).  I was in love once, but I am not sure if it was that kind of love - I guess not if it wasn't reciprocated.

Let's quickly talk about the music in Dirty Dancing too.  I bought the CD in the mid-90s; I still loved the movie and the music and couldn't get enough.  Aside from 'Time of my Life', two of my favorite songs are 'She's Like the Wind' - maybe because Patrick Swayze sang it and 'Hungry Eyes'.

Jennifer Grey I lost track of over the years, but then she was on Dancing with the stars.  I only remember her in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. 

Patrick unfortunately lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in September 2009; he was only 57.  Maybe I'll watch a few of his other movies as a little tribute.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Movin' Out

It is amazing how something like moving out makes us finally get around to doing all those things we wanted to do for a while.  I was packing up some of my stuff over the weekend and I finally got around to painting my kitchen.  Imagine, after 3 1/2 years, it is crazy, I've tried to paint it before, just never really liked the colors.  My waterline to the refrigerator burst maybe 6 months ago, and I tried to fix it three times unsuccessfully; my father replaced it this weekend.  My microwave broke over a year ago, and now I will be buying a new one to replace it.  All this for my future tenants pleasure.

During some thinning out of my belongings and a quick scrub - I realized how much I still like my apartment, despite my few issues with it.

It will be a sad weekend when the realization starts kicking in that...I am moving out. Holy Crap.  I am moving out and I really have no idea what is in store for me January 2013 and after.  This is odd because I normally plan plan plan.  Now...I hope to change things...but have no real plan and that scares me a bit.  Part of me is proud that I am finally taking some sort of action - part of me is happy that I am moving past the 'transition' period after the breakup to the now---acceptance stage, but part of me is sad because this was MY first place and I am giving it up.  But I know that I can't stay here to be as happy as I need to be and I know that deep down that good things will come to me in the future because I am a pretty awesome person :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

GUILTY as charged

Today I just plead GUILTY to my first ever anything.  I was pulled over on Monday night after my friend & I went for Indian food.  I was not sure why I was being pulled over, I knew I was not speeding or intentionally committing any violations.  This was my second time getting pulled over, and I handled it better knowing my friend was there to help distract me.

The officer approached my passenger window, but kept shinning his flashlight in my windows looking for more evidence of something.  We small talk and finally tells me why he pulled me over.  My driver's side headlight is out.  It was around 8pm.  The inquisitor bombarded me with questions:  Didn't I know my light was out?  Why would I be driving an unsafe vechile?  Don't I know how important lights are?  etc.  I tried to explain that when I picked up my friend and went to dinner, it was still light enough out that lights were not necessary and that last night, my lights worked perfectly fine, and I know that because I park my car indoors and see the light reflection in my neighbor's car as I am backing into my space.  He disappears with my info for 10 minutes or so, as I sit there becoming blind at the huge spotlight that he has on my car.

When he returns he tells me he gave me a ticket but that I have 24 hours to have it fixed and it will be like nothing happened.  24 hours?  That is not enough time.  I asked for 48 - I had to work and I had plans with the tea leaf reader the next night.  He already wrote the ticket - so arguing at this point was fine.  But no, I could not have 48 hours, just 24. He suggested I have it fixed during my lunch break.  Then I start laughing and say "Officer, not many people are as fortunate as you  to work so close to where you live.  Some of us commute to work; leave the house at 7am and do not return until the evening and may have plans.  There is no way that I can have my car fixed during my lunch and return back to work, when I work in Manhattan in under three hours".  Of course he can't disagree but informed me that the police station is opened 24 hours.  I laughed again and said, "Sure the police station is open 24 hours, but it is 8:30 pm and I can not go to a repair shop to get this taken care of NOW, nor am I car-smart enough to know how to replace something so simple on my own, therefore it must be done during 'normal working hours'.  He begins to ignore me and proceeds to tell me what I need to do in the next 24hours.  I ask him to repeat it three times to 'make sure I fully understand' even though I understood the first time.  I take the ticket, wish him a good night and drive off to return my friend home after our 30 minute hold-up.  In the car, I call my parents (I do not have a working headset) and ask them to have my car fixed the next day.

Unfortunately I forgot to leave the car key and had to leave work early to get this done...but any excuse to leave work early is OK with me.  So I had the light replaced at 3pm, was at the police station with my proof at 3:30pm left there at 3:45pm and brought my stuff to work to make photocopies and signed that I was GUILTY of the violation. 

Crazy how I can be guilty of something that I have no control over. It isn't like my light beeps before it is going to die out.   Don't get me wrong, I fully understand how important it is to have a car that is safe and is working order for everyone else I drive around with.  I agree headlights are important and need to be repaired when they die out.   What I don't agree with is the office accusing me that I knowingly and purposefully was driving around like that and that a simple warning to get it fixed would have been enough for me (especially because I have zero record with the DMV).  I am concerned about this stuff on my own and would have had it fixed before I drove around at night anyway (that is just the type of person I am).  But because I use my car three times a week...and I work in Manhattan, getting something done so quickly is difficult.  I am fortunate where I have the kind of job that I tell them I need to leave and they let me do what I want...but not a lot of other people have that luxury.

Hopefully this will be the only thing I am guilty of in a LONG LONG LONG time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tea Leaf Reading: Take 2

I went for my tea leaf reading with Roisin at Katie's Cottage back on May 19th.  She told me some great stuff, and I was really happy with the reading.  I left there in May more confident with myself and very hopeful with my future. I felt great.  But lately, I wondered if I was started to become more depressed again.  Nothing was really happening...and I was getting impatient.  When was the time frame for the things she said?  I decided I wanted to go back to Katie's Cottage and see Roisin again, to find out if my reading would be similar or drastically different than five months ago.  Let the experiment begin!

This time around there were 6 of us - all in different parts of our lives. I was the last to have my reading done.

My reading had these major points:
  • New job in the new year, in Manhattan, the commute will be better - with the initial B or R or K  (FYI, I have more info on this, but can not discuss quite yet)
  • I'll meet my boyfriend around February.  I'll move in with him at some point in 2012 or early 2013
  • I am in excellent health
  • I am more confident in myself / different air around me
  • I am gorgeous inside & out
  • I love the people I chose to spend my summer at the beach with
  • I am eating healthier
  • I am relocating
  • The decision to rent my apartment is the smartest decision to make - something about that I don't need that part of my life anymore
  • Great decision to move back home, allow my mother to cook for me a little more
  • Use the time at home to be more relaxed
  • Go on a vacation before I start my next job
  • My current job is having some management issues and/or reorganization
So let's compare from the last time:
  • I have fantastic health  --> SAME
  • I need to control my hormones --> didn't come up second time
  • I will have a new job in Manhattan --> SAME
  • 3 weeks into that job I will meet a man, I think I recognize him, but I don't (as in I never met him before). A week after that he comes around and we start dating.  --> not as specific this time
  • I will have a small winter wedding in Colorado or a place with mountains in the background. It might not be winter, but the tops of the mountains have some snow on it. Only 30-40 people are in attendance. I am wearing a simple but elegant ivory or slightly pale pink dress. Nothing over the top big, lacy, or what we now see so many people wearing on their weddings. The music is classy  --> we didn't even discuss my wedding.
  • I am very fertile. She cautioned me a few times to use protection.  --> didn't come up second time
  • I will have two children; a boy and a girl. They will be about 18 months apart and will be healthy. --> didn't talk about children
Now for a little disclaimer...I was the last in my group to go - and when I was brought back into the back room, she asked if she'd ever seen me before - she did not recognize me; I said she did back in May...then she looked at me and was like, well, you've changed a lot since the last time you've been here, aside from your new haircut and cute outfit - something about the air of you were here before but this is a different you now.  I agreed and told her I left there more confident in myself because I liked my reading.  I did volunteer more information to her this time as well...but my major issues were still there and she elaborated on some of the issues a little more which I appreciated.  At the same time, I felt like my reading was the fastest in the group - I would have liked a little more...but because I have a lot of things going on RIGHT NOW in the next 5 months..I think that is the most important of the leaves and going back again after some things have FINALLY worked out, then my reading could be a little more futuristic (financially secure?  travel the word?  amazing vacations?  well behaved children?  health of my family?  etc)
I am really happy I went a second time, and I am more happy that my readings were similar.  It gave me that extra jolt I needed to not lose faith in finding my fh and also it gave me a little encouragement that my recent relocation decision is a good idea.
On a side note, when I was there, I noticed a sign for tarot card readings by mom & I wondered at the same time if this was the same Vickie that was in the Bronx 10 years or so ago that was amazing...and you know what? The only way to know is to make an appointment and have that done my group from last night will probably go back down for that next month.
As for the others in my group - I think some of them were really happy with their readings, one started to worry a lot, and one felt a little unsure.  Most importantly we were there for 4 hours laughing and talking and having such a great time. 
Katie's Cottage:
521 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers NY 10704
Telephone: 914-965-0422

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What's your number?

I caught a matinee this weekend - What's your number?  While the film wasn't exceptional by any sort of brought up something I do. 

Ally (played by Anna Farris) reads an article staying that if a woman doesn't settle down/marry someone by the time she sleeps with 20 men, then most likely she will never marry.  Ally makes a list of all the guys she slept with and reached 19 - she realized she needed to be more careful and not sleep around until she meets her future husband - but she got drunk and slept with her ex-boss.  At number 20 she decided to seek out her past men to see if they are date-able again now.  She solicits help from a good looking neighbor who she soon falls in love with. 

So what makes this resonate with me?  Well, I try to keep my number low and tend to sleep with people I've already slept with.  Yes, that is right, I've recycled the men back in.  Not the smartest idea since there is a reason it didn't work out the first time - but sometimes when you just need to get laid, it isn't the worst idea.  Then again the difference between Ally & I is that Ally actually dated these men...while I only have had what 2 boyfriends?  The rest of the guys were causal.

While the magazine article Ally read was fictional - and stated 20 as the magic number, what do YOU think is a decent number for an unmarried 30 something single person?  Do men look at women differently after a certain number? 

I hope my lucky number is below 10. I am getting close, which is why I better meet my fh soon!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saugerties Lighthouse

After the garlic festival my sister & I headed to the Saugerties Lighthouse.  The tide may cause the trail to flood, so timing to get to the lighthouse is important; getting there was a short and flat walk from the parking lot.  The lighthouse is not your typical looking lighthouse - it really looks like a house and it also is a bed & breakfast.

Friday, October 7, 2011


My friend told me that I was part of the Boomerang Generation - this revelation made me feel a little better about my recent decision to rent my apartment and move home for a year.

But that decision was not an easy one - admitting defeat is hard for anyone.  Knowing that I only lived alone for 3 1/2 years before having to move back home sucks.  BUT then I thought about it a little more. 

4 Years ago, my goal was to live in my apartment for 2-3 years.  Granted that is because I thought I'd then move in with a boyfriend or ex.  Neither of those happened. Instead I am still 100% single and broke.  Additionally, I needed alone time.  Having broken up with SI, living with my family was so hard. I needed my own place. I needed to date. I needed  a place to cry without pissing off my father and making my mother so worried. 

I thought about my town and it was perfect for my commute to the train but I don't really use many of the town amenities.  I used to frequent the library once or twice a week, but now I am doing a lot of e-reading.  I used the town pool once and tried almost all of the restaurants at least once...but what else? My town is more of a family town and I don't have my own family so there really isn't a lot for me here.

My apartment is about 850 square feet, so it is not big...I knew I could not live here indefinitely even if I remained single. I would like a little more space. My goal is to get a townhouse, so I don't have to listen to footsteps above my head. Also, I realized I can not live across the street from a school or a park. Things that I didn't realize 4 years ago.

My apartment allowed me to be independent, which was important to me after living with someone else and feeling like I constantly needed to be extra amazing because they supported me, I walked on eggshells fearful that if he wasn't happy, then I'd be out on the street (I guess either way I ended up alone, so my original fears were pointless). Buying an apartment gave me that boost that I needed - sort of like...look SI I can do it too, I can be happy, I can support myself, I can furnish a place decent and make it homey, I can cook and clean and have a place to bring people to. I was proud of myself. But I don't need that anymore - and it isn't because SI and I haven't spoken in 10 months - it is because I accomplished what I set out to do. I did it. Now I can be a little more smart and pay off some debt and save money for the next segment of my life. This apartment was my transition apartment. I know more about what I want and what I don't.

When my parents asked if I wanted to move home a few weeks ago, but I said no.  The thought didn't really cross my mind, I figured I'd stick it out and just keep racking on the credit card debt.  But then one day, I realized I had so little money in my checking account and I also remembered that I barely go out for fun because, well, I have no additional money to do that.  My other friend told me she'd help me with a budget...but when I was getting her all the information I realized I was in bad shape so I started to work on my own Personal Strategic Plan.

I want more out of my life - and this is the gateway to make it happen.

See, boomerang.  Live with them - Move out - Live with them - Move out - Live with them - eventually move out.  Hopefully this will be the last time I live with them...until they live with me when they can't live alone anymore.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Personal Strategic Plan

We've all heard of businesses creating strategic plans, but not so much on the individual level.  I learned a lot about strategic planning in school but have not yet had the opportunity to actually do it hands on add to that my infatuation with goals and what do you get (aside from me having too much free time)?  I want to become and stay financially secure and what better way than to sit down and really look at my financials in what I call my Personal Strategic Plan.

My Personal Strategic Plan included the following steps:
  1. Personal Assessment: What is not making you happy? How can you be happier?
  2. Write down goals for the next 12 months
  3. Write down goals for the next 5 years
  4. Get a very clear overall financial picture
    1. Find all account balances and write them down
    2. Find your bills and write down monthly/yearly charges
    3. Look for areas that you want to improve (pay down debt, save more money, etc)
    4. Create a budget
  5. Required Action
    1. Based on financials find a way to achieve your goals
    2. Contact the necessary people for more information regarding their services
    3. Make smaller goals so larger goals are more attainable
  6. Assessment - take a look at overall picture every few weeks/months to ensure you are staying on track
    1. If you are...continue
    2. If not, figure out why and get back on track
    3. Modify if necessary
  7. Outcome - at the end did you meet your goals?
  8. Continuous Improvement -
    1. What did you learn during last attempt? Can you better it?
    2. Do this again for the next year/few years
I am not going to lie, this is a very eye-opening experience that I think everyone should do.

Here is my plan:
1.    Personal Assessment.
I am not that happy in general.  I struggle financially so I can not always go out with friends for food or drinks. I don't take decent vacations, I bring my lunch to work daily, I try not to indulge in too many things for me.  I think about my future and wonder about a future husband and children- and wonder how I'd raise a child financially if I don't make enough money to save.  I need to plan for this in case I have to adopt a child and be a single parent.  My apartment is decent, but in the long run, this is not where I want to live.  I hate my job.  I want new friends.

2.  What are my goals?
I am a list person and tend to make goals for myself so I can be sure I eventually work on things. So this part was a little easy.
  • pay off 2 credit cards
  • put a little extra money into
    • savings account
    • 401k
    • IRA
  • start a new job with a higher salary - or - take a more local job and a pay cut to be a little 'happier'
  • start using cash on regular basis
  • some others on my goals for my 30s
  • quit CM
  • sell leftover CM inventory
  • get out of house more
    • volunteer
    • second job?
3.   What are my long term goals?
  • upgrade to a nicer place to live (townhouse)
  • pay down debt (student loans & mortgage)
  • increase savings into investment accounts
  • travel
  • find a husband
  • have child/ren
  • buy life insurance
  • things on my bucket list
4.  Clear financial picture
I made a few excel sheets. The first one basically has my income/expense report. I have my income at the top and under that, I have the major categories of expenses. Then I have the 'extra' money (which was been negative since I bought my place).  Next, I took a look at all my accounts. I wrote down all the balances I owed (mortgage, student loans, credit cards, etc), the balances from assets (checking accounts, savings account, IRA, 401K, and the part of the mortgage I paid).

5.   Required action
I can't achieve my goals with my current living situation.  I realized I needed to do something drastic to change my financial picture; I knew I couldn't solve it within the 12 months, but at least what I can do would be a huge step.

1.  Get a second job.  I've put this off for so long because a)  paying $10 per hour wouldn't really help as much as I needed it to...sure all little bits help - but to not have any social life and still have debt didn't seem worth it and b) I was hoping to use my free time to date someone and travel with them, maybe start a family, etc.

2.  For the last year I've told my life coach that I needed to change my living environment. Maybe I wanted to relocate to another state, start looking for jobs that living where I am now would be difficult and what if I had to take a pay cut for a job? I felt tied down because of this apartment and I thought selling it would be a little tough right now (although I did speak to real estate agents in March).

3.  Rent my apartment, live with family

4.  Quit my job, sell/rent the apartment and move far away

5.  Continue as I am, increasing my debt, not saving money

6.  Find a rich man and marry him for his money

Action decided on:
I decided the way to achieve some goals simultaneously would best work if I rent my apartment and live with family.  While my living situation will not be ideal, now is the time I can do it.  There are both pros and cons of living with family, and after carefully outweighing them all, I decided that the pros win...I just need to wake up every morning and know I am doing it for my future. 

The biggest hurdle I see is that dating would be difficult - who wants to date someone living at home? BUT I just need to remember that 1) I still own my apartment and 2) when I marry...I will go into that relationship with less debt  3) I haven't really dated much in the last 5 maybe this won't be an issue...but if it is...hopefully we can make out at his place

The rent that I will get (which will be less than my mortgage & maintenance fees) I plan on:
  • paying off my two credit cards...paying off the one with the highest interest rate faster
  • double what is going into my IRA each month (still no where near where I want it to be)
  • double what I put into my 401k (still no where near where I want it to be)
  • add more money into my savings (I'll need cash in a year to rent someplace)
  • get out of the house more (as little as I can be there would be good):
    • be more social - hang out with friends/go to dinner/get drinks/etc
    • new activities
    • volunteer
    • second job?
  • continue cooking/making new foods
My other goals (find new job, volunteer, and other on my 30s list & bucket list) will start falling into place.  Since I don't want to be home a lot, I will use my calendar to be sure I schedule make sure I stay on track with those as well.

I am not sure what will happen after 12 months, and this caused me a lot of stress in the last few days before my decision; I was even told that I am over thinking it...but I feel like how can people not look that far in advance?  I don't want to be with family much longer than 12 months, I won't have money to buy anything else (and I don't want to do that until I know I am settled into my future - determine where my future family will live), buy an RV and travel and work crappy jobs in the middle of no-where so I can see the country, or maybe rent a place with ... dare I say roommate?  oye.  But, I am trusting everyone..and not thinking about this yet.  Just see what happens and worry later.

6.   Assessment
Of course it is too early for this, but I will continue to assess my plan every month - as I have set up my excel file for me to plug in all the numbers each month and my numbers & graphs will change accordingly.

7.   Outcome
Obviously this it too early to tell since I am starting this in November 2011.  This time next year I hope to be in a much better financial situation. This will not only help my overall mood - because I will be able to go a little more with friends, and save and pay down my debt.  Living with family will be hard, so I get to work on another goal #19 join more activities, #12 do things out of my comfort zone, and of course I'll still get to work on #17 becoming a better cook/baker. 

I will not have saved as much money as I would like since my credit card debt will take a while to pay off...but that means in the few years after, I'll be in a much better position.  I really don't know how single people survive & have enough money to go shopping, eat/drink out, etc.  I am not sure where I went so wrong.

I will update my outcome next year.

8.   Continuous Improvement
I will have to update this next year since, I am not sure what areas need improvement at this time.

My goals for 2013 will include to remain credit card debt free (until I have children this would be great!), continue using cash, and each year continue to increase how much money is put into the investment accounts.  Of course there will be other goals that I will decide to include throughout the year.

In case you are wondering how I did, check out my debt progress and one year recap

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

He loves me; He loves me not

I was cleaning out my emails this week, and one of the starred (important) ones was as follows from SI's mistress:

Good morning. I know it’s ridiculous that I’m writing again already but I didn’t sleep at all and I realized something, which I wanted to share: SI loves you more. He wants a real life with you, not with me. I realized this when I was thinking about the timing of everything. He told me about you in July, I guess in the hopes that I’d just pack it in and go. And even after that, he still never really told you about me until you did some “research” and confronted him. He never intended to screw things up between the two of you; I guess it was my fault for not slinking off with my tail between my legs.So anyway, that’s what I’m going to do now. If you guys want to be together, I really do wish you every happiness. I won’t get in the way and I won’t be in his life. I sent him an email late last night, saying basically the same thing. I don’t want this drama in my life, and we all deserve to be happy at the end of the day.That’s all. I just thought you would want to know

This was about 5 years (October 14th).  Obviously SI's power of seduction worked because this did not happen - she was wrong (and in fact it became even less civil later), he won her over and she moved in; but you can see WHY I kept thinking it would work out. 

As I am making HUGE changes right now...ones I am not sure if I have thought all the way through and ones that scare me a little, how can I not think back to the chaos that has drifted my life in this direction?  Because of that, I feel like everything I do now is unsure. I have a horrible feeling I keep making the wrong decsions.  And even 5 years later, my life is no more 'settled' than it was during this chaos and I am still just as unsure about everything.

I want nothing more to rewind the last 5 years and start over...maybe 7 years.  I probably would not have settled down in my current area. If I knew when I left things were DONE DONE, I would have quit my job and moved away for a while, instead of floating by waiting for things to fix itself.

I am about to make a decision that will greatly affect me...and I have a hard time thinking about the long term consequences of it because I hate to think in the long term I'd still be single, at a job I don't like, not afford to live alone, etc.

Very confused right now. Not sure how to make the decision...flip a coin?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I intentionally ate a spider

Last night I was getting into bed, and I saw a spider above my bed.  I refuse to kill bugs since I have a fear of them.  I was exhausted and didn't want to sleep on the couch so I made a decision to go to sleep, on my bed, under the spider.

I was very conscious for a while - making sure the covers were over my mouth. But I know bugs like heat (warmth, body heat, whatever it's called).  It took a while for me to realize that instead of killing the spider, that I would practically be ensuring that I'd be digesting this spider.  As much as spiders scare me, I know we ingest what 7 per year? others say 7 per lifetime.  Who knows.  When I woke up this morning, I was not surprised to not see the spider anywhere in my apartment.

Butternut Squash Soup, Chicken Enchilada Casserole & Eggplant Rollatini

Today I made three items (I wanted to make 2 more but I was too exhausted to keep going).

Butternut Squash Soup
I don't know if I ever ate butternut squash before.  I thought my recipe said to slice it in half, take out the seeds and cook it at 400 degrees for a while...but I misplaced the recipe I wanted to use, so when I looked online, It told me to peel the squash and cut it into 1 inch pieces - so that is what I did.

In a pot, heat 2 TB oil, add 1 finely chopped and three cloves of garlic - cook for 8 minutes.  Add butternut squash, 2 tablespoons curry powder, and 6 cups of chicken broth (see my note later).  Cook squash for 25 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer squash to a blender and puree.  Add back to pot and cook for a little bit. Add 2 tablespoons of nutmeg.

The soup smelled delicious and 'clean' however, my squash may have been smaller than it should have or I used too much chicken broth because my soup turned out to be more like butternut broth.  It had a great taste; but it was very thin.  I re-read the directions a bunch of times afterward to see if I should have transferred the puree to a different pot; but that was not clear. 

I'd have to say, I will need to find a new recipe and try this has potential, but this wasn't it.

Squash $2.00
Olive oil  $0.30
Garlic $0.10
Chicken broth - free...I used some from when I made it a  few months ago (it was in the freezer)
Curry Powder  $0.80

Total $3.20  for 4 servings of about 1 cup

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
I found this recipe in the October edition of Martha Steward's Everyday Food. 

2 pounds tomatillos    $3.06
2 tablespoons vegetable oil  $0.20
1 white onion $0.16
2 jalapenos  $0.45
3 cloves of garlic  $0.10
12 corn tortillas  $2.00
2 chicken breasts $3.25
3 tablespoons sour cream $0.15
   cheese $varies

Total $9.37 = $1.56 per serving + cheese which varies by type you want to use.

I loved Mexican food & I discovered last week I like tomatillos, which is why I thought I'd try this recipe so close to when I ripped it out of the magazine.  Heat the oven to 400.  I husked and washed the tomatillos and coarsely chopped them and pureed in a blender.   In a pot, add the oil, oil and jalapenos for 8 minutes.  Add garlic.  30 seconds later add the tomatillo puree and bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper. 

While the pot is simmering, warm the torillas so they are pliable (microwave if you have one).  Fill each tortilla with about 3 tablespoons of shredded chicken (I cut up chicken into small pieces and put in a frying pan and cooked it that way, then once cooked - put in a food processor to shred super small).  Layer the filled tortillas in a baking dish; overlapping.  Pour the tomatillo puree over the tortillas, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Recipe suggested mixing the sour cream with 2 tablespoons of water and drizzle over casserole and sprinkle cheese * cilantro.  I just put the sour cream on with cheese.  6 servings.

I found this recipe very dry.  Corn tortillas are dry to begin with, and my chicken was so finely shredded - I wonder if that could have added to the dryness.  I liked the way the corn tortillas baked - but it needs something else.  I actually put a small packet of taco bell fire sauce on a little bit, it helped, so I wonder if adding some salsa or avocado or something.  Not bad...but needs improvement.

Eggplant Rollatini
I bought a small eggplant, I wasn't actually thinking about making this when I went shopping - I was just going to bake some, but since I happen to have ricotta and mozzarella cheese because I planned to make a calzone this week.  So I sliced the eggplant and added the ricotta, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, and dry spinach and rolled up. I topped with vodka sauce because I had some left over from last week, and a little more Parmesan cheese.

It was very tasty.

Eggplant - $3.24
Ricotta $1.99
Mozzarella $0.40
Parmesan Cheese $1.40
Sauce $1.33
Egg $0.21

Total $8.57, 2 servings would be $4.29 each or 3 would be $2.85