Sunday, April 27, 2008

Easy (Like Sunday Morning)

I have reached a strange milestone in my life: not getting trashed at any Fiesta event. Don't get me wrong, I still had a morning Mimosa yesterday at Susie's King Williams Fair breakfast which was followed by a fresh strawberry margarita. And even at lunch, which I chased with another margarita and a Dos XX, I still had my wits about me enough to drink enough water to get through the rest of the day. *Shrug* C'est la vie.

Additionally, I woke up at seven this morning. Typical. As I pulled out of my drive way to go the store, I contemplated taking Rude Neighbor's Sunday paper since it looked like they were out for the weekend. *Sigh* Couldn't do it. Even when I returned and saw it still lying on my side of the property line, I walked over and dropped it on their porch. Stealing their paper wouldn't help me feel better after spending $90 at the grocery store (!!!WTF!!!) and it would be bad karma.

What could I have possibly bought at the store to have spent so much? Gardenburgers, veggie patties, fruit, lunch snacks for the next 12 days, Mothers' Day cards for my two moms and grandmother, kitty litter, frozen meals for lunch, Clean and Clear toner (even though I reallyreallyreally want to get the $35 toner I love at Sephora), and Swifer floor cleaner. It's amazing to me that I feel more pain having paid that much at the grocery store and yet don't bat an eye spending that on clothes. Note to self: Food is much more of a necessity!!

To cheer myself up before heading outside and working on the yard, I treated myself to a batch of banana chocolate chip pancakes and a cup of Starbucks coffee, since I still have connections for a free pound of beans now and then. (Who am I kidding? I make these every other Sunday.) Did some other chores, read the NYT online, then headed outside. Talk about a great cardio workout! Cut both the front and back yards, replanted the basil and hibiscus, and prune the wisteria. I wanted to get this done rather quickly since the wind was picking up and the clouds were rolling in. I should have kept that in mind when I climbed off my ladder because the wind knocked it over and whacked me on the head. :-| I am not amused. Less amusing is that as I type this, Rude Neighbor's newspaper is still outside.

Sunday thoughts: travel, real estate, the election & economy.

Travel. How rational would it be to plan a vacation to India and save to buy a home? it's been a while since I've had a vacation. Jury is still out. Although, I can almost smell the spice markets.

Real Estate. I need to save $15 - 18K. Unacceptable. And that wouldn't even be the desired 20% down payment that's recommended. Plus, then there's all the stuff that needs to go inside. I can't wait for the day I don't have recycled family furniture. I may need that last pancake.

The election & economy. I think it's all talk. Hill and O want to investigate gas price fixing. Investigation doesn't fix the immediate problem that there are people who already struggling to make ends meet and $3.50 a gallon isn't helping. Old John is suggesting a gas-tax holiday. Again, no immediate effects. It's all about supply and demand, folks. More countries demand crude, more people want to make more money off of it. So what do we do? Do we look into domestic production? Then we'd have to consider ecological effects. Seriously, what's up with the reserve? Last I read, there are over 700 million barrels in our domestic reserve, although that might make OPEC tighten the belt. I'm glad my Jetta is fuel efficient, but I fear that gas may get up to $5 this time next year. Although now I'm considering looking into teleporting to work.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You're So Vain

In my quest to be fiscally frugal, I have often made decisions to not purchase things on a whim: the cute tan sandals priced at $45; a strapless summer dress for $125; a Wii/Xbox or Playstation $399. Self-control has been a difficult learning that’s taken years for me to integrate into every fiber of my short-term-attention-span being. Even with my most recent bonus pay I used 60% of it to pay credit debt:

$2000 to pay down MBNA Card #2, leaving $432.
$ 978 to pay off and close MBNA Card #1

Remaining Debt:

    $3160 Discover (transfer from two other cards to get better rate)
    $2350 Bank of America (There was no reason for me to have ever opened this)
    $ 387 Nordstrom’s (The excitement of the store’s Grand Opening)
    $ 642 Amex (Upcoming trip to visit Mom and attend my college reunion)
    $ 720 Student Loan (Yeah!)
Yes, I’ve become a tightwad. Two people have commented that I should at least get something for myself, as it is a bonus and should treat myself to something reasonable. (I guess spending $50 to take my dad to dinner and the $44 for a long overdue pedicure plus tip wasn’t enough.) So I’ve decided to sign up for twelve sessions with a personal trainer at the gym. :D

While I would normally never consider this purchase (and the trainer I met with needs a little work on a genuine smile), I’ve rationalized it as follows:

$780 =$65 per session, 12 sessions
-$319 = $400 Health & Wellness Benefit Paid in July from Work - $81 for Q1 gym fees
-$400 = $600 estimated Tax Rebate on May 16 ( need the balance to pay for trip)
$ 61 = Out of pocket expense ($5.08 per session)

I’ll have to eat up the rest of my gym membership myself, but I was already doing that before my new job. And, this is something for myself and not just another toy (although a giant flat screen with a game console to boot would be kinda fun). It may be just appealing to my vanity, but whatever. Along with getting out of debt, getting into shape has been my other focus. I can't wait to see some results.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Three Little Birds

Today was a Bob Marley day. By that, I mean I would hum or sing one of his songs when I started thinking about the tornado in my head: an issue with work that I wanted to take care of first thing, Lisa Marie still in the ICU, the fight my brain and my heart continue to have. To remedy this, I blared Three Little Birds from the stereo as I got ready for work.

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou:")

Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."

Two out of three isn't so bad. The work issue is mostly resolved, but it was somewhat frustrating to get through all the steps. Fortunately, I've some support in a handful of coworkers and they help me navigate all the procedures and drama that comes up.

On my way to visit Lisa Marie, I played No Woman No Cry. I know the song has only to do with hard times Bob had, but the chorus is really all everyone remembers.

My feet is my only carriage,
So I've got to push on through.
But while I'm gone:

No, woman, no cry;
No, woman, no cry.
Woman, little darlin', say don't shed no tears;
No, woman, no cry.
I don't think there are many people who like to visit hospitals. The smell, the despair, the pain. (Unless you're visiting the newborns in L&D, which makes almost everyone smile.) Try as I might, I couldn't stop my shoulders from tensing up as I walked in, preparing myself for the ICU party. I was doom and gloom for no good reason: Lisa Marie was being prepped to be moved back down to the post-surgery floor which means she should be able to start physical therapy by the end of the week if there are no further complications. Good times all around, boo-hooing for nothing. I can't help it. I am a natural worry-wart and all around spaz. I do feel a lot better about her health today, but there are still other hurdles for her to jump.

As for the other topic of torture... I give you Satisfy My Soul.
(Satisfy my soul) You satisfy my soul (satisfy my soul);
You satisfy my soul (satisfy my soul).
Every little action (satisfy my soul),
there's a reaction (satisfy my soul).
Oh, can't you see what you've done for me, oh, yeah!
I am happy inside all - all of the time. Wo-oo-o-oo!
There's an interesting theory brought up to me by a wise elder not so long ago, that my heart can withstand all the tears and breaks because I learn more about myself and what I can endure. And while I want to wave the one-fingered salute high and say, 'fuck it all,' it's been true this far. I'll still curse life, karma and God (there's a couple of guys who have really done a number on me), but I continue to think in puppies and rainbows about the whole thing and hope that someday, someone will be up for the challenge.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Twitchy Eyeball Socket Flesh

Sounds appealing, doesn't it? Try having your lower left eyelid twitch for over TWO WEEKS. I am beyond peeved, beyond aggravated. I want to stick my finger in my eye in the hopes that the searing pain of it will get it to stop. Yes, I am that desperate. After looking for any information about this phenomenon (gotta love self diagnosing on the web), the only conclusions I could draw were:
  • dehydration
  • stress
  • brain tumor

Right. While I wouldn't be surprised about a tumor at this point, I'm willing to bet its one or both of the first two. I've been drinking a lot of water and juice, even treating myself to a Route 44 Cherry Lime slush. I think I'm pretty low stress, though, as I haven't been exhibiting my typical stress behaviors of not sleeping for days and been Extremely Bitchy. Going to The Doctor is my last resort, 'though I've racked up a fair share of frequent flier miles there this year. This is abso-fucking-lutely irritating.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Money For Nothing

While I would love to do nothing and make money, that's not my reality. What is pretty real is the amount of debt I've dug out from under; since December 2006 I've cleared more then $9K in debt. I won't get into the horrors of how I got there (that's on another blog), but I am pretty damn proud of myself. Six thousand more to go, and I will be clear of it. I was fortunate enough to cash out my Starbucks stock when it was still good, and that helped out tremendously. Plus, I started a new job and have tried to apply as much extra money as I can as well as any bonuses. I project to have only twenty-five hundred left to deal with by January and can start beefing up my house and emergency fund.

I think I could apply more discipline to my spending habits, and perhaps I can meet my goals that much sooner.

Short Term Goal:
  • Save up to two paychecks in a money market account in case of emergency. Anticipate completion by September.
Mid-Term Goals:
  • Have $20,000 in retirement savings. Depending on market fluctuation, I currently have $12,000. Anticipate completion by 2010. Continue to add in efforts to double contribution total in five years.
  • Purchase home by end of 2010.
Long Term Goal:
  • Save every third paycheck in savings or investment.
  • Travel, travel, travel.

Here's another song stuck in my head today:
Now that aint workin thats the way you do it
You play the guitar on the mtv
That aint workin thats the way you do it
Money for nothin and your chicks for free
-Dire Straits


DO called me out the other day while having a couple of beers at the Flying Saucer and discussing our current state and the recent odd behavior of our friends: "Now you have something to go home and blog about, but you'll have to create pages and pages of back story" The truth of the matter is, I've so far yet to blog about our non-relationship and the events that surround it. And to that, here begins the blog...

The first time I met DO was at a pool hall. He was there with his friend J, I was there with my friends, including C, whom J was dating. DO drank his beer, made some obnoxious comments, and disappeared to the bar.

The second time was at J and C's wedding a year or so later in Eagle Pass, incidentally a few months after DO's mother had passed away. At the time, I was in a relationship that was on it's last leg and had brought JW with me. The traveling troupe of friends ended up all at the same restaurant after the ceremony to kill some time, and DO proceeded to have a lot to say about J marrying C. OK, really it was more like making many barbed comments. Later that night, after everyone had put away numerous alcoholic drinks, DO delivered a toast that rubbed me the wrong way.

A few weeks later my relationship with JW had completely broken down. The next time we were in close proximity was at J and C's house for C's birthday, and I told him what I thought about his toast and his crappy attitude. He responded with an apology and stated that very few people were ever that honest with him. After that, the flirting dance began.

We dated for a few months until one of us got spooked with the idea of a relationship and the potential for seriousness (and for the record, it wasn't me). Since then, we've been in what we both refer to as a 'situation.' Not so much on-again off-again, but not with any clear definition. (Note: While I'm not looking to define a relationship as exclusive or as dating, my brain has difficulty processing our current status) There's discussion here and there, both admitting to caring for the other and all that. DO, however, has come to the conclusion that he is "too immature" to be in a relationship. Kudos for coming to a point of clarity. Not really providing much of a resolution. Patience non-withstanding, it is frustrating at times. As one of my friends told me recently, I've got it bad, sprinkled with some good.

Uncertainty and I just don't seem to get along, but I guess I always hope for a good outcome. I can't help what happens in my head, and I'm sure he can't either. Good old George puts it in some perspective with the song, Faith.

There it is in a nutshell, ('look! I'm in a nutshell!) in all its chaotic beauty. I think it's time for a tasty beverage.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

There, but for the grace of god, I go.

OK, so I'm not imprisoned in the Tower of London and about to watch someone be executed. I am embarking in something just as serious, though, in becoming Godmother to my cousin's son, JD. This means I've been asked to take a vested interest in JD's upbringing and personal development. (That's the view I'm taking as I know my cousin didn't select me for my religious perspective, even though I've completed the necessary sacraments.)
I went to my first 'baptismal' class last Saturday. The Deacon is pretty cool, calm, and wicked intelligent. And while I did keep my personal crazy in check, I need to become a member of the Parish to complete the necessary documentation for JD to be baptized at his church in Kingsville (hereto known as 'K-Ville').

Let's take stock:
  • moved 2,000 miles from home to go to college
  • got first tattoo
  • lived in 'sin' for a while
  • moved back home
  • had a job that didn't utilize my degree
  • quit job for more challenging position, actually starting a career
  • got second tattoo
  • rarely go to church, more of a believer in spirituality
  • swear a-fucking-lot
  • working on getting my place in the Ring of Honor @ the Flying Saucer
  • like sex
  • like rock and roll
  • just say no to drugs
  • have questionable social skills
Hmm, guess that's all good; I'll be an upstanding member of St. Brigid's in no time!

I hope to make two trips a year (at least) to visit until he's more cognizant, then more as needed to keep that kid in line. JD is already the ladies' man and I'm hoping to parley that or his potential athleticism to get him into and pay for college. (Clark legacy, anyone?)

Hang on, everyone, I'm now involved in raising another member of the human race.