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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Car Shopping Success

As school started this fall my budget was set to increase and buying a car was on the agenda. I kept hoping someone would have something they were trying to get rid of that we could snap up. Finally the other night in the wee hours I saw a Fiat commercial.

I began to crunch the numbers and decided if I had to go the dealership & financing route this might be just the right deal.
Late yesterday afternoon we wandered over to the lot and got the full treatment. Fiats remind me of little VW Bugs. 

The latest and greatest of what the car industry has to offer is impressive. A lot has changed in car making since before my daughter was born. Hahahahahaha

I like a hatch back and seats that lay down. I want good gas mileage but I also like a little space and leg room in a vehicle.

I ended up in a slightly used GTI with an impressive CarFax report. It was someone’s pampered baby. About 5 years old with less than 100,000 miles. 

The most disappointing aspects A) It is a boring color B) I really wanted to get back into a manual transmission.

It was my first car purchase. I am not sure how to feel. I know I want to help my daughter make this adult step when it is time. I never dreamed of doing anything like this before. When my credit score was higher I couldn’t see making  car payments. 

As a teen my parents did not think my driving or having a car was important I guess... As an adult and parent it seemed to out of reach.

My 1st car was a gift from a virtual stranger. A few weeks after I started driving it we were broad sided by a Broncho.

The next car was a trade deal between me, an at home mechanic and couple he knew who had an infant in need of child care. 

Car #3 was one of a family friend by marriage who’s daughter had ruined it. I was able to make the needed repairs and the vehicle belonged to me. When it died I was car less until my mother bought a new one after my dad died in 06. I got her old car. 

It has been hard to be totally frugal and squeeze the most fun out of every day life having to rely on public assistance. One of our favorite cheapy fun events is the drive ins off high way 50 in Rancho Cordova. For less than the price of a regular movie you can see a current double feature.

I like to look for deals and discounts from various stores and grocers every time we need to stock up or get more items for around the home. I used to be able to get my single foam mattress in the back of my old Tracer. 

I hauled home a 4ft dresser I found on the side of the road one night. It is finally in my bedroom. My daughter found a wide one with a mirror she wanted from across the street just the other day. It was too heavy to carry home with help so we had to call the guy with the car to come help us out.

Here is to 2012 and adventures old and new!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cyber Shopping Monday s

The only shopping I did for cyber Monday was comparison shopping. What I am banking on is that anything I did not buy will be cheaper or just as cheap the day after Christmas so there is no rush.

It does not hurt that my budget is stuck until at least a week or two from now. I am mostly finished getting the few gifts I want for my daughter. We are not even doing Christmas this year. I will light some candles and contemplate Hanuka next month.

Since she does not read my blog I can tell you about what I want for her. 

She wants a bath robe from Burlington and Patient Zero a zombie novel. She likes candles so I got her a cute little discount votive set. I bought her a palm sized flat iron that I hope will work well and a wet to dry curling iron I think. These things are buried so it is easy to forget.

I don't do wrapping. I can make a festive covering for gifts that have to travel but other than that I just see express packaging as waste.

A car is still our biggest need so my little wish list is on the back burner for a little longer but it includes a pop corn popper. One that you plug in. I sort of scorch the stove top ones... New inline skates, my first pair of ice skates, some wall clocks and an espresso machine. 

I saw for Black Friday Macy's had a 40% off deal and I found one over there for under $50. That was a great deal until I found one on Amazon tonight for under $40. The new perk I am discovering is rebate availability for some on line purchases now with this new business opportunity. Overstock is a partner and also Barnes and Noble.

So next month on a Monday I might be comparison shopping again and this time hitting send on some purchases. We shall see but it does seem like something to pencil in on the calendar to look forward to on a Monday you know?

I could get used to this delivery stuff. I just love cyber space. It seems hilarious now, I have an eye for things. I sold Tupperware in the late 90's they were fighting the idea of selling on line. They felt that customers wouldn't respond to the product the same way. I know there was a part of me and still is that does not exactly want no retail shopping with all 5 senses from time to time.

Still there is that sitting on the couch, bed or floor in total privacy and at ones own convenience thing. When we know what we want, the deal is just a steal or we are simply willing to take a gamble. Keeping brown Ups and fed the X in business, rivaling the Us P services, life is good. Or as Martha would say "It's a good thing".

Do you shop online? Is it a chore or a joy and delight? Who are your favorite retailers?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Random Odd Blessings

The day I am waiting for a package in the mail is also the day before the day before Thanksgiving.

I did not want to put it off any more. Thinking the package would come early I lounged around until 4ish then finally headed out to get a few things.

My plan was to stop by Trader Joes for pudding and chocolate milk plus samples and maybe a few other things then his Safeway for the $5 small turkey, some sweet potatoes and juice.

These were the non negotiables. Going so far made me hungry so I stopped at Panda Express on my walk from Greenback and Sunrise to Trader Joes off Madison. It is not a bad walk if you have on comfortable shoes and aren't carrying things or walking in miserable weather.

Of course I get into TJ's and just start having shopping fun. Adding a little of this and a little of that into my cart until like $200 has been used. I still have miles to go before I sleep. eke

I had no idea what time any buses going north on Sunrise might be running to help me get back in position for my commute home. Never the less I set my sites on the bus stop across from Rite Aid and hauled my goodies all that way. Just as I arrived to look around a bus stopped.

They bus driver expressed sympathy for me all loaded down. He was able to get me right to the bus I needed to get home quickly. I thanked him and called my daughter. I told her to meet me at the bus stop and help me get the groceries across the street.

My plan was to not lose momentum and take the next bus going back the way I came so I could hit Safeway empty handed. We managed that. My package still has not arrived. I got to Safeway and shopped for the rest of what I thought we needed with time to spare. I waited for the final bus I needed and it came. 

When I arrived home I had the box to open and explore. I ordered Tea, Cough Drops, 3in1 stain remover and house hold cleaner, deodorant, chocolate chip cookies, wet wipes, perfume and some business supplies. No complaints so far. I want to try everything at once. It is a struggle to pace myself.

My turkey is in the freezer. hahahahah I should have bought more juice we are all out already. I need to make some sweetened iced tea.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Healthy Living Options

My family thinks I am a little off. I call it organic and crunchy if I have to add labels. 

Who can blame me for not just swallowing the status quo when it comes to advertising and the purchases I make for my home? 

We shop at places like Elliots Natural Foods, The Sacramento Foods Cooperative down town, Whole Foods & Trader Joes. I call Walmart, Walfart and I refuse to shop there. When I get the newspaper I would clip coupons but there is usually nothing I am going to buy. I can find something healthier if not cheaper elsewhere is usually my thought. 

My mother just says something will get us all so it does not matter. I like to think if I am more choosy I can avoid going along fine and suddenly coming up ailing as I get older. I think some of the things we are suffering as people in a 1st world have to do with missing vitamins and nutrients.

It has been over a decade since I took an antibiotic. We do not keep the usual cold and flu season OTC products in the house. Instead we stock Vitamin C, Echinacea, Zinc, Colloidal Silver, and now Tea Tree oil. I have been hearing about it and seeing it in things such as shampoo. Turns out it has another name Melaleuca. There is also a company by that name which I am just being introduced to. 

Through the end of the month they are running a $1 special. Usually for about half of what it costs to join Sams or Costco you join their company as a consumer. There is also the opportunity to earn by sharing with those you know or who are interested. 

I am already excited about the idea of having supplies delivered. I have not even really gotten into all the perks that are included like other retail shopping discounts. 

A friend of mine shared this with a few friends of hers myself included. The couple she heard about it from has been involved for a long while. One of the other friends at our get together who works for the state said she had joined a while back but let her account lapse. 

I felt better to come home and see the business is a member of the BBB and also recommended by Dave Ramsey as a viable home business for those who want to work for themselves or climb out of debt. 

So check out the products and promos. Send me a note somewhere. Twitter, FB, Email. I know you need products for the home to get you through the rest of the year. 

I am excited to reach out and get to know more people using the products. The lotion and the basic tree oil are definitely spoken well of. I want to see if the one they claim works against house hold pests like fleas really does. My poor kitty has a few and you know what that means. We finally got her Brewers Yeast but it appears to be a deterrent but not fatal to the little parasites.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How to Blog Tidbits

If you follow blogging experts mine breaks all the rules. 

When I started I thought I was going to blog 7 days a week once each day. I did not care about pictures. I also was not sure what direction I wanted to head in with it all. 

Finally now that I have 2.5 blogs I think I have things pretty figured out. My blog is a hybrid if you ask Jeff Goings. More personal than thematic or business but not strictly just about me. 

I feel more like a reporter even if I am telling the story of my own life. I have a beat, it’s Sacramento and the surrounding area. I have underlying convictions which would be like loyalty to an employer if I were working for pay. 

Here are some things I have learned: 

Readership drops off on the weekends so you can post as little as 3 times a week. 

If you get inspiration for all three at once write them all. Schedule them to fall separately in the future. 

Find a community to share with. I recommend Facebook groups and Twitter. 

Use pictures. You can make your own or get them free. 

Small paragraphs. Give the readers eyes a break, often as in every 3-5 lines. Not too dark or hard to read. Larger print. We are already staring at our screens don’t make us squint. 

No guilt and have fun!

Write from the heart. If that is sparked by current world news and events all the better. 

Use links to add information and depth to your posts. 300-500 words is average and ideal. If you have more to say sometimes 600 can be ok. Often I edit to keep it under or one post turns into two. 

Reply to your commenters. It lets them know you notice and care. 

Follow a few good blogs if you can find them. 

Comment on interesting and informative blogs. 

Check your stats but do not let them define you or how you blog. 

It is ok to do it after midnight. hahahahaha 

Don’t fake or force it. 

People are nosy and want to live vicariously. 

Blogging can be a place to vent and release after some of the narly things that can befall us each day. 

If you have a pet we want to see it/them. Same with crafting ability. 

Some people like to repost a link to their newest blog post multiple times a day. Others like myself will wait until a subject that we have posted about comes up in social media before linking others over and over again. 

A tip: Please do not say “New Blog Post” that is SO generic. So what? Who should care??? If the post has a title use that. If it has no title but it has a theme go ahead use that

If you can’t figure out what any of that means you can still say A Random Gathering of my Thoughts today instead of “new post” #ImJustSayin

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vinegar Egg Yolk Pie Crust

I use a variation of a fool proof pie crust recipe that is running around online. I have it written in an old cook book I was compiling as a teen or even pre teen as it were. Yes that is how old this recipe is for me but it works.

2 Cups Flour 
1/2 Cup each shortening & cold butter
1.5 Teaspoons of Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1.5 Teaspoons Vinegar
1 Egg yolk
1/4 Cup ice water

This time of year my mother would be calling me saying I was in charge of desserts for our holiday get togethers. My dad's favorite was apple pie. Hers might be pecan but I think we had sweet potato more often.

Mom did not like pumpkin...

In latter years I started trying to eat better. I bought whole wheat bread and flour. I found a nice recipe using whole wheat flour butter and apple juice or apple cider, sea salt optional. I cannot recall if I added the egg and vinegar. It has been so long since I baked like this.
What I came to respect about the process for getting out a perfect dough is the following:

Use cold butter and ice water.

Rest dough in the refrigerator 20-30 minutes.

Do not over work.

Do not touch with hands. I use wax paper.

Cut the butter into the flour etc. moisten with the liquid and mix thoroughly. Round into a ball and chill.

Roll out and bake as directed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Movember

Such is the life of us single girls. Even Christian singles girls. We like a little pg man porn every now and again if that even makes any sense.

What I mean is this: I dislike facial hair on a man. There I said it. Who says women cannot be visual from time to time? It is probably about the same as men liking women who get err umm plastic surgery.

Even my daughter knows the dirty little secret about facial hair. It's itchy and scratch to have rub against you.

As much as I love a clean shaven face, thank you Hollywood, it is indeed Movember. The month when men sign on to grow their fuzzies in support of their safety and fight against disease and other modern day maladies.

The fun thing about facial hair is men have it and I like men. I am not at all above lurking where they like to show off pictures of their...'staches, goatees and beards because very often lovely faces lurk beneath them. I am definitely a girl who is a sucker for a pretty man face.

I think I first heard about this idea while looking up a hilarious seeming new show I saw advertised on cable. 

Have you heard of Whisker Wars? Hahahahaha I stay away from stupid humor and slap stick most of the time. There was just something about seeing these grown men with serious whiskers preening and battling it out in a commercial clip. The pictures on the web site are a trip. 

My dad wore a mustache all of his life that I can remember. My daughters father fluctuated between wearing his and not especially knowing I was not a huge fan of them. I applaud everyone who rocks it out as an individual what ever their personal style. 

If you have noticed some familiar mugs strangely decorated this month maybe now you know why.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Coffee & Crisis

Well I have been saying

All I want for Christmas is a car. Dear Lord I need it early so I can drive myself to all the parties.”

This idea became exasperated when I dropped by the bank on a whim the other day and realized I was close to over drawn. When school funding came out this fall I thought I had budgeted well enough to hold on to around double my rent in cash and put it towards my next vehicle.

I need a miracle. The funny thing is I am better off than I have been in years. Last fall when we moved into this remodeled rental condo we are in I put money into a savings account for the first time in over a decade. 

I wish I had realized that as I stood in the bank trying not to panic the other day. 

Instead I came all the way home on the bus to grab my cash instead of just transferring some funds. Over draft protection? I had all but forgotten what that is but it should have kicked in too if I needed it.

Like I said things were looking good last fall. I had no idea my car was going to die a sudden death.  I could never have imagined I was about to go through another season of bus rides and car pools by force.

The further irony is I know some mechanics and folks who work on cars now. If I had known them then my car might have been able to be preserved. What it means now is if I find a car that is not running or needs work there are affordable options. 

My daughters would be BIL is one of those who I could call on. He needs a car himself. They are homeless and jobless with a toddler.

They stayed with us for a weekend which would not have seemed so bad if my house was toddler proof. 

Yikes lol One morning my cat was pacing in my bed waiting for me to get up. She was not pestering me more than that so I felt no rush but wondered what was wrong.

When I finally wandered down stairs I saw that her water dish was filled with soggy cat food. Right now she asleep on the back of my couch. This would be ok except I have on a short sleeve and I brought a sweater down stairs knowing I would need it. 

I threw the sweater on the back of the couch. Guess where the cat is laying? Did I mention it is an L shaped leather couch? Of all the spaces you silly feline! Move hahahahahaah

Now oh yes back to the inspiration for this post. So Anderson Cooper and Wolverine were on tv sharing a cup of coffee. Someone twittered a link where viewers can buy the brand of coffee they were drinking.

If I was going to do a tree this year and filling out a wish list Jampit Estate and Taman Dadar would certainly be on it!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Diaspora for the People

Diaspora diaspora… So yesterday the founder of this relatively new social networking site died. An apparent suicide. That is a post for another day. Today I just want to talk about how excited I get when I see open source social networking.

The word diaspora means to disperse. The software is available for individuals to use and share. If that is over your head do not worry. 

The fact that you are reading this blog means you know as much as you need to know about social media to come on over and check it out. If you are reading this blog I will bet you have a Facebook and or LinkedIn account. 

The bold progressive few might also have a Google+ profile. Why on earth would anyone need one more social networking site? We will not even discuss Twitter

The social networking concept of Diaspora is all about conscious social networking. The benefit to humanity is privacy and ownership. Keep the rights to your content. They do not try to tell you how to present yourself. Use a name you make up, have a non self icon whatever you like. 

All things Facebook and Google cannot say to their gaggle of sheeple. Yes I am signed up everywhere but only because it’s where the people are. I am too social to be a web site/host snob. Still those of us who have been around a while know great ideas when we see them. 

My crafty friends wish we could clone our favorite Code Monkey and introduce him to MZ and the other web site leaders that be. We love how the site Ravelry runs. 

Diaspora looks a little like G+ with it’s streaming. Which someone said reminded them of Twitter and Facebook. This means you should be able to navigate with out too much confusion. You can even integrate your FB profile with the site which will then grab your name and photo icon.

It has a little of that best kept secret feel. The people seem friendly and active. There is no sense of big business or Big Brother looking over your cyber shoulder. Maybe for me it will be a place to hide.

Hidden in plain sight has always suited me well. I like that diaspora offers me the choice to be private and keep things to myself. I like the option of sharing only what I want with whom I want, the way I want. I always love the idea of empowered community.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Preemtive Outrage

Today is Move YourMoney Day. Waa waa waa I can’t participate because I am not a sheep. I am a leader ahead of my time. 

To that end there are quite a few things I just never get to be a part of because I have managed to keep myself out of them instead.   

Anyone else like me?  

1. Never used a big bank
2. Never been trapped in a relationship
3. Never taught myself to smoke
4. Never weighed more than 18 lbs over my target weight (1996 while pregnant)
5. Never tried drugs
6. Never been drunk or even tipsy
7. Never been addicted to retail therapy ;>
8. Never thought "they" were out to get me
9. Never tried to hurt anyone
10. Never been fake or image over substance.

I must watch too much television. There are shows for people who need to lose weight, shows for bad girls who like to be that way, shows for hoarders and shopaholics. 

People need years of therapy to get rid of their addictions and unlearn destructive habits they have been using to cope with life. God bless the modern age for all it has to offer to come to their aid. 

Where is the love for the rest of us is all I ask???

I am only outrageous by my normalness which might be so rare as to not be normal. 

Yes I do have problems. No I am not perfect. I did get pregnant by my own ignorance and misplaced trust. I did get my heart broken by a woman. I have made mistakes with credit. 

In all sincerity I am happy to have avoided all the pit falls that I did. This reminds me of the day Oprah did a bra show. She had all the women in audience measuring themselves and getting fitted for proper sizing. Somewhere in the last few decades as we went away from customer service and tailoring women have forgotten or forgotten to teach how to bra shop.

The measurement is to be taken from under the breast. Measuring across them is for shirt making.  So women who had been measuring and buying improperly went down in the number and up in cup sizes. Boy were they excited and HAHAHA up lifted! I could not resist...

For me nothing changed. There went my reason to head to hit clearance racks and bargain bins I love so much.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Play Blog Tag

Happy Weekend! Anybody want to play Blog Tag? You answer 7 questions with posts from your blog and link-tag 5 friends. Find out more here


Most helpful post - How 2 Twitter 
What post has the best picture(s)? Trash 2 Treasure Shoes!
Which post is most popular? News and Scandal ...
Most controversial post? Brainy Girls?
Most surprising response post? Latch Key Parenting
Most unloved post? Head Bumping
Your pride and joy post? Acting Black

Those questions and answers could be misleading but I hope you have fun. Stats can be so awkward... hahahaha

Okay so for friends to tag, this was harder because I do not really follow other peoples blogs. Shhh keep my secret but I might be a blog snob. lol I am also just too busy between school and social media. I flitter around to whatever catches my eyes.

These folks are from Twitter mostly but I think they know each other. 
A Sac Food Blogger @Ms_Munchie
Someone Frugal @TheNonConsumer
Someone my age @MidLifeBloggers
A friend @FigTreeAlley