Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day #105: Preparing for the new year

I'm over my cold! Yay!

I have to do laundry today because I haven't in a long time. I'm wearing my last pair of socks (have some clean underwears left though).

In 2010, I want to achieve some financial goals:

I need to supply my Emergency fund just in case I have another emergency. That will be my first priority.

I'd love of max out my Roth IRA contribution, but that would take more than 25% of my net income. I'd like to contribute at least $1,500.

My 401(k) currently stands at $6,500 and I'd like to see it rise to $10,000 by the end of 2010 with help from my contributions and my company's contributions.


I want to achieve some culinary goals:

I'd like to attempt to write a cookbook. Lofty goal! I would like to attempt it to see if it's something I'd like to persue.

I'd like to devise a regular monthly meal plan so I can track prices and predict my monthly food budget. Currently, hitting my budget is difficult because I buy food whenever cooking the food sounds good instead of anticipating my needs.

The week of eating a vegan diet a while ago made me realize how delicious vegan and vegetarian food is. It's generally less expensive if you're using "real" food like legumes, beans and produce as opposed to stuff like tofu cheese.

I also have spiritual goals I'd like to work towards:

I've been enjoying my time with the Cedar Creek church services and it is continually meeting my wants. I feel that I should be involved monetarily and voluntarily By the end of the year, I'd like to be contributing 10% of my income and volunteer towards at least one activity and join a small group ministry.

I need to fill my spiritual needs. I was doing well until August, then I stopped praying regularly. It's a new year and a good time to rebuild my relationship with God.

I'd like to work on meditation and I want to commit at least 2 minutes a day to be still and relax. It takes me more than two minutes to fall asleep so I shouldn't have much of a problem. By the end of the year, I'd like to have the patience to meditate for a half hour, not necessarily daily.

As far as musical goals:

By the end of the year, I want to enjoy playing piano.

That's really it. Committing myself for closed goals for me in music ends in terrible disaster. I've never achieved any of my musical goals. I'm hoping the goal for this year will encourage me to play. I love playing piano very much but I don't choose to play because I just think about the time I've wasted not playing and how much better I could be if I would have practiced. Bleh!

And my last goal for 2010: Relax.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Days #102, #103, #104: Cold...

I've just been laying low, sleeping when I can, staying warm, drinking water and orange juice. I'm feeling much better, but I'm not 100% just yet.

On Monday, I went to the shoe repair place to hear that the shoe wasn't ready yet and the bank to realize I forgot my checks on my desk.

On Tuesday, I put the checks in my wallet, went back to the shoe repair place to get the shoe and deposit the checks in the bank. My father and I wandered around the grocery store deciding what to put in the vegetable soup that we'll be making today.  I finished Life of Pi, and it was quite a story. I was hoping the book would delve more into the story line of Pi being a devout believer of Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. After the shipwreck, one hears nothing of his comparisons of the three major religions. That realization was a bit of a let down for me. His zoo-keeping background helped him survive, and was interesting, but I'm not sure why his religious exploration made up so much of the first part of the book.

Today, I'll be making vegetable soup and reading another book I've been meaning to read. I'm not sure what one I'll pick - I have a suitcase full of books I've been meaning to read.  I also will be going through my hospital claims, bills and payments to see how much I owe. I don't the the hospital staff is figuring correctly.

Ugh.

«Laura»

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day #101: Salad, lentil soup and a cold

Oh noes! It is true. I have a cold. Stuffy nose, sore throat.

Luckily for me, I usually don't get colds. I haven't had one since December 15, 2007. I'll be battling this current cold with:

Plenty of water
Plenty of sleep
Orange juice (with pulp!)
Tylenol Cold
Warm lentil soup
Elmer

Elmer is a good kitty, and likes to stay around whomever is home. Today, it was me, mostly. He curled up next to me when I woke up and didn't feel like getting up.

I still went to church and grabbed the other ingredients I mentioned in the list.

The lentil soup was delicious!



For the soup:
7 c water
3 c dry lentils
2 c celery chopped
2 c onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
can of diced tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
canola oil
pepper to taste

I simmered the lentils, water and salt for 30 minutes while sauteing the onions in the oil and mustard seeds. I chopped up the rest of the vegetables and watched part of The Office until the 30 minutes of simmering was up. I tossed the vegetables and spices in the simmering lentil water, reserving my tomatoes while the vegetables and spices were cooking. After 30 minutes, I tossed in the tomatoes and stirred the soup and let it simmer another 5 minutes.

The recipe says to drizzle red wine vinegar on top of the soup when serving. I was hesitant about that, but turn out, that's a pretty darn good idea!

Thanks to Moosewood Restaurant and The New Moosewood Cookbook, and of course, my brother for giving the book to me as a Christmas present!

I'm looking forward to more of the soup in the next few days when I probably don't feel much like cooking, but would want to eat something warm and full of protein.

Tomorrow:

Bank
Shoe Repair store
maybe the bookstore

Night!

«Laura»

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day #100: Johnson dinner

First, I must apologize. The restaurant in Ithaca, NY is Moosewood, not Moosehead. Sorry about that!

The Johnson dinner was good as always! I made butterscotch pie. Delicious!

Pretty laid back day.

I'm on page 245 in Life of Pi and expect to finish it by the start of next week.

Next week I have off of work! How exciting! I'm looking forward to cooking from the Moosewood cookbooks.

Tomorrow: Church, perhaps Verizon, and need to do laundry. Maybe make a salad. If so, I'll post pictures!

«Laura»

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day #99: Christmas!

I lounged about today. Ate, ate and ate some more.

Pie and chocolate chip pancake for breakfast

Chips and salsa for the heck of it

Lasagna, garlic bread and green bean casserole

And I'm going to read the introductions of the cookbooks I received from my brother Todd for Christmas. I flipped through the recipes and it looks like they are pesco-vegetarian books. I'm looking forward to cooking from the books!

They're from the Moosehead Restaurant in Ithaca, NY. Road trip!

Tomorrow:

Johnson dinner

«Laura»

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day #98: Christmas Eve

Christmas eve was wonderful! Spent time with family, then went to the Christmas Eve service at the folks' church. After was invited to two parties and I enjoyed eating shrimp and laughing with people I've not seen in several months or longer.

Christmas tomorrow! I'll be eating way too much pie.

Yay!

«Laura»

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day #97: Christmas Eve Eve

I went to Christmas Eve service at Cedar Creek. It was fun and energizing! Must have been 1500 or more people there. There was an alter call, which I would have expected at such a large service so close to a metropolitan area. The message was good, but not enlightening.

I'm looking forward to the Christmas Eve service tomorrow at my folks' church. The message is always excellent and it'll be nice to see some of my friends there.  My brother and his girlfriend is coming over with my nephews and her son and we'll be sharing a meal and exchanging gifts.

Adios!

«Laura»

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day #96: Vegan meatballs and spaghetti


IMG_0792, originally uploaded by shutterfli.
Quite delicious, but I didn't have patience to let the meatballs cook...also, I made them too big...and I put too many in my pan.

Other than that, it was great! They tasted awesome, but not quite like meat - but I think that's my fault.

The noodles are just run of the mill noodles, cooked in a not-so-special way,

Meatballs consist of:

Kidney beans (28 oz)
Bread crumbs (1/2 cup)
TVP (1/4 cup)
Garlic (2 cloves)
Thyme (1/4 teaspoon)
Oregano (1/4 teaspoon)
Soy sauce (2 tablespoons)
Steak sauce (2 tablespoons)

Mash the kidney beans until no bean is left whole. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mash, knead and smush the concoction until firm and mixed through.

Ball the beans roughly the size of walnuts.

(This may also be why my meatballs weren't how I hoped - I don't know how large walnuts are.)

Fry the beans in oil for 15 minutes, stirring often.

When the noodles are done, serve the noodles and meatballs with marinara sauce.

Now I'm off to watch a movie!

«Laura»

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day #95: How much do I have to pay?

Ugh. Can't get a straight answer from the hospital as to what I owe. I'm going to bed. I'm tired of them calling me after I set up an automatic payment plan with them.

Goodnight.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day #94: Non-exciting day

Slept until 10:30am, church, ate leftovers to clean out the fridge, read Life of Pi to page 115, going to bed.

Tomorrow will be more exciting. I'll be making more vegan food. At least you'll get pictures!

{Laura}

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day #93: Searching for a title

Couldn't think of a good title. sorry.

Read Life of Pi to page 101, and watched entirely too much of The Office.

Going to dry laundry and eat some stew.

Tomorrow:
Church
Spaghetti with "meat"balls... (balls consist of kidney beans and TVP)

Goodnight!

«Laura»

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day #92: I don't disagree with my brother very often...

But So Delicious brand soy ice cream isn't better than the Tofutti brand.

Sorry!

Tomorrow:

Lunch with Niki
Buy Christmas presents
Read Life of Pi

«Laura»

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day #91: Potluck crashin'


IMG_0776, originally uploaded by shutterfli.


I didn't really crash a potluck my former team was having - I brought cookies! We had a great time eating and laughing and playing Apples to Apples. After work, I went home and made vegan avocado grilled cheese sandwiches with bean sprouts. Delicious!

To get from the top picture to the bottom picture you need:

2 piece of bread
1 avocado
Vegan mayonnaise
Vegan butter
Vegan cheese
bean sprouts

I threw a pat of butter in a pan and heated it up while I grated the cheese (was in a block). I spread some mayonnaise on a piece of bread, threw some cheese on it and microwaved it for 30 seconds. While I was waiting for the microwave to do its thing, I cut the avocado in half lengthwise, removed the pit, scooped out the deliciousness inside and put that on a piece of bread which I tossed in the warmed pan. Took microwaved bread out of microwave, put bean sprouts on the bread/mayo/cheese and flipped it upside down onto the pan-cooked bread with avocado on it.

Then I just waited a minute or so, flipped the sandwich and waited some more, probably 2 or 3 minutes. When the bread was dry and crunchy, I knew it was done.

It was so good I had to make myself a second sandwich.



And now, I'm off with a happy and full stomach!

«Laura»

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day #90: Ready for more vegan recipes!

Today I baked more vegan cookies because I'm crashing another potluck at work tomorrow. This weekend, I plan on making avocado grilled cheese with vegan cheese and butter (my own recipe), as well as spaghetti and bean balls, from Veganomicon.

I did read up to page 39 in Life of Pi yesterday as well as got my tires inflated. I'll go find more soy ice cream, as it was really good!

Tomorrow:

Avocado grilled cheese
Life of Pi

Now:
Sleeeeeeep!

«Laura»

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day #89: early post???

I'm posting now because the internet has been down in my house for 24 hours, and that's a rare occurence. I'd rather get this post out a little earlier instead of worrying about the internet connection when I get home.

I tried Tofutti soy ice cream (chocolate) and it was way better than ricemilk ice cream. I'm going to find another brand of soy ice cream and see if that's even better (I know most grocers stock the So Delicious brand).

After I get out of work, I'm going to head to the Honda dealer to get my tires checked, go purchase soy ice cream, then head home to read a few (probably 50 or so) pages of "Life of Pi" which is the book that won the poll for January's book in the Toledo Book Club.

Tomorrow, I plan on reading more "Life of Pi" and relaxing.

I realized that I'm most relaxed when I'm reading and when I'm cooking. Interesting!

Catch you later!

{Laura}

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day #88: Charlie's Christmas program

Today was super fun! I visited with my great uncle (He's 95!) and watched my nephew sing several Christmas songs along with other kindergarteners. The nephew did well and the group of kids were rather impressive knowing all the words to the songs.

I made black bean soup for dinner and enough to have lunch for the next three days.

The soup:
1 red onion, minced
2 cloved garlic, pressed
2 14oz cans of black beans, drained
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

Heat a stock pot with a bit of oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook for at least 3 minutes, but I prefer to cook them longer - I think I cooked them for 7 minutes. Add in the water and cook around a minute before adding everything else. When all the rest of the ingredients are in, turn the heat up to high until the soup boils, then turn the heat to medium-low. Let soup simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add salt or pepper if desired.

And it was very good!

{Laura}

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day #87: Rice cream!

I bought a pint of chocolate ricemilk ice cream, and it's good! I think I'll look around for different kinds of vegan ice cream - coconut ice cream, hemp ice cream, almond ice cream... there are options to discover!

I am going to cook vegan meals in the next few weeks - I enjoy cooking and don't care if I have to pay attention to the ingredients.  However, when I'm eating out, I don't want to pay as much attention or if I'm offered food from others, I don't want to decline just because the item might have eggs or dairy milk in it. I'll let you know what I cook!

«Laura»

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day #86: boo, no internet on my compy

The phone is nice for entering short things and checking up on stuff. but it isn't great for posting entire entries. Will catch you all later!


Laura

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day #85: busy day!

Work went well for the week, thinking about doing another weekly challenge. Any suggestions? Went out with Niki to Best Buy and Borders to purchase Christmas presents. Will have to return the item from Best Buy. Found a better deal on Amazon.

I read the first 10 or 15 pages of Julia Child's "My Life in France" and it is so fun and cute! She is such an inspiration. I look forward to reading more of it.

For tomorrow:
return stuff to Best Buy
visit with uncle
relax

«Laura»

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day #84: The Julie and Julia movie, experienced by Kassie, Joe and Laura

And if we weren't so darn tired at 10:30pm, we would have discussed it. In short, it was good. Book was better.

Tomorrow:

get the little Honda looked at - low tire pressure light is on, probably because the car sat on the lot for a few months before I purchased it.

go do something fun with Niki!

That's all.

«Laura»

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day #83: More vegan cookies!

I made another 2 dozen vegan cookies tonight! So delicious! I also configured my gmail account POP stuff to go to my mail client.

Relaxing day! Now I'm sleepy.

Tomorrow:
take compy to Joe's
watch Julie and Julia
eat dinner


«Laura»

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day #82: Just relax

Two different people whom are close to me told me that I try to do too much and I should work on relaxing.

It sounds so foreign to me! What do I do when I'm not doing anything? I feel like I'm slacking and wasting time when I'm not creating or reading or learning. If I'm just on the computer, I'm not propelling myself forward.

So, I'm going to think about how I spend my time, and how I should spend my time. Should give my time percentages like Ramit Sethi's financial worksheet?

Looking at my work schedule, I dedicate 10 hours of my day on grooming myself, driving to and from work, and sitting in my cubicle. That's 42% of my weekday. I prefer to sleep 8-9 hours to be sure I'm nice and functional for the hours that I'm awake. That requires 33-38% of my 24 hour block. It leaves me with 21% or only 5 hours. I also have to eat dinner!

Do you have any suggestions on how I should schedule myself to get rest but not slack off?

«Laura»

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day #81: Laura the pseudo-celebrity

I had a lovely and short day at work today! I had to leave at 2 to be interviewed by one of the marketing fellows at UTMC. The video of the interview will be posted on UTMC's homepage and I'll also have access to put it on my blog! The video will go out sometime in the first week of January. After the interview, I met with a few more gentlemen from the marketing department about having my stroke and aftermath story pushed to the national media. I think it'll be an interesting and good experience for me!

All the thinking and talking and meeting left me pretty tired by this evening (and I wrenched my knee two hours before the interview, so I was trying my best to look like I wasn't in considerable pain or limping around!) so I'm heading to bed. I know, it's not even nine, but sleep is the best medicine.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day #80: Kale!

Vegan eatings to close the week:

Breakfast:
cookies!

Lunch:
pizza!

Dinner:
kale!

I baked kale with oil and sea salt, thanks to a recipe from Anne Berg! It was crunchy and salty and tasted like a potato chip. Tomorrow, I'm going to work through lunch because I'm leaving early - going to have an interview (no, not a job interview) with a marketing fellow from UTMC talking about my stroke and the level of care that UTMC exhibited. Sleepy time to make sure I look my best!

«Laura»



Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day #79: Vegan Pizza #2


IMG_1502, originally uploaded by shutterfli.

Vegan eatings:

Breakfast:
3 (or 5) chocolate chip cookies
leftover stew

Lunch:
Mustard pretzels

Dinner:
Vegan pizza


The second try of pizza was wonderfully successful! I loved it - tasted just like pizza! I grated the "cheese" - I think it was better than having it sliced.

I went Christmas shopping with my mother and we bought almost all of the gifts on our lists. It's always nice to have a successful shopping day, even if I have to sacrifice a real lunch to do it!

Tomorrow, I'll be heading to church, but I'm not sure what else I'll do. Eat vegan leftovers, certainly. Maybe play some piano! Right now, sleep!

«Laura»

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day #78: Two more days of Vegan week!






Vegan eatings:  
Breakfast: 
Tea 
3 clementines  


Lunch: 
2 pieces of vegan pizza 
footlong veggie sub sans cheese  


Dinner: Curry 
Chips with pineapple salsa 
Lemonade  


Don't get me wrong - I'm enjoying eating vegan food! I just won't miss checking everything I eat to make sure it has vegan approved ingredients! Last night I made Chickpea and Spinach curry as well as Chocolate Chip cookies. Both were very good!  


Curry needed a little extra salt. 


 


Cookies were just amazingly delicious! (see photo at top) I'm looking forward to Saturday and eating more cookies!  


«Laura»


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day #77: Lucky number 13!


1203091845, originally uploaded by shutterfli.

Vegan eatings:
Breakfast:
3 clementines

Lunch:
Chipotle Stew (Still as amazingly awesome as the first time!)

Delicious veganness for dinner!! (see photo at top)
Greek salad
Artichoke and tomato and mushroom soup
Hot chocolate with soy milk. the clerk forgot to not put whipped cream on it....that's fine, I got a spoon and disposed of the cream into my soup lid.

I looked around the Toledo vicinity today to see where I could purchase vegan cheese.

I thought I found it in Meijer: Veggie slices! Next to the tofu! But it has a milk protein in the ingredients. I sadly put it back and went to Anderson's.

No luck there. I was surprised, I thought Anderson's had EVERYTHING!

I called Wal-Mart, Kroger, Giant Eagle, Schorlings, Bassett's Health Store, Churchills, Super Churchills, Reddy Food-N-Spices, Target, Aldi's, then I finally found Claudia's!

They even had more than one brand of vegan cheese! I was so excited!

I just finished baking my vegan pizza and I'll pack it up for lunch tomorrow!

«Laura»

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day #76: Done with Julie and Julia and now I'm onto Isa

Vegan eateries:

Breakfast:
Tea

Lunch:
4 clementines
Chipotle stew

Dinner:
Greek salad without the feta cheese
Blueberry bagel with grape jelly

Dessert:
Hot chocolate made with soy milk

Snack:
Guacamole with tortilla chips

I enjoyed Bible study with Niki and Tiff and I finished Julie and Julia and LOVED it! I'm looking forward to the book club meet.

Now I'm sleepy. Will update tomorrow!

«Laura»

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day #75: Doux Vegan!

I'm sure my French is incorrect in the title of this post.

Vegan eatings for today:

Breakfast:
Tea

Lunch:
Chipotle, corn and black bean stew (leftovers - and just as wonderfully tasty as when it was made originally!)
4 clementines

Dinner:
Stir fry consisting of:
 --White rice
 --spinach
 --mushrooms
 --bamboo shoots
 --water chestnuts
 --pea pods
 --garlic powder
 --curry powder
 --onion powder
 --salt
 --pepper

Dessert:
 --hot chocolate, made with soy milk.

So far, my taste buds don't think that this vegan food is like a death march to blandness. It's been quite good! Next recipes will be spinach and chickpea curry, and chocolate chip cookies. I found one brand of butter that is vegan at Meijer! (No vegan butter at Kroger.) Yay for Willow Run!

I'm considering dropping this daily blog back to a weekly blog and starting a music composition blog and a cooking blog. I'm going to see how much cooking and writing and all I do during the Christmas break before I make my decision.

Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to finishing Julie and Julia (only 100 pages to go!) and having Bible study with Tiffany and Niki.

Right now, I'm exhausted.

«Laura»

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day #74: Hey, it's vegan week!


IMG_1482, originally uploaded by shutterfli.

Vegan eatings:

Breakfast:
clementines
trail mix
--dried fruit
--nuts
--seeds
--M&Ms. (Crap! I didn't realize that they're not vegan!)

Lunch:
Subway footlong veggie sub (no cheese!)
--lettuce
--pickles
--cucumbers
--green peppers
--black olives
--banana peppers
--jalepeno peppers
--vinegar

snack:
trail mix sans M&Ms

dinner:
Chipotle, corn and black bean stew
--crushed tomatoes
--onions
--carrots
--potatoes
--black beans
--garlic
--cumin
--chipotle peppers
--lime juice

side:
--fries
--malt vinegar

I read Julie and Julia during lunch, and I'm glad, as I didn't have time today to read after work. This dinner took quite a while!

I served 3 bowls, and have five large bowls packed up for lunches. I'm excited that my first try was so successful!

Tomorrow, I'm going to hang out with my friend Niki! Yay!

«Laura»

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day #73: Julie and Julia and Laura

I'm really enjoying reading "Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell.  She's a very entertaining writer! I'm currently on page 137 of 362, and I need to have it finished by Thursday at 7pm. I'm sure I can get it done.

I enjoyed church with Kassie and Leo! We went to the 10:45 service, and it was packed! I'd like to try a different service or at least get to this service earlier than we did. I'm really enjoying the Cedar Creek atmosphere and I'd like to give it a try. Of course, it's always easier to go to a new place with a friend as opposed to just by yourself. It's also nice to have a friend that knows where she's going! (Thanks for making sure I don't get lost, Kassie)

The guacamole was delicious! More than delicious! I was trying to get every bit of guac from the bowl.

I didn't visit my uncle, but I will do that tomorrow.

Right now, I'm off to bed!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day #72: Weirdest menu ever

Today I ate:

breakfast:
pickles
chocolate chip pancake
pork roast with potatoes
lemonade

lunch:
cheesy casserole with fried onions
chocolate peanut butter pie
starbucks double chocolate chip frappacino

dinner:
chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups
pickles
clemetines
more pickles
lemonade


I purchased the book "Julie and Julia" at Barnes and Noble and will read it by Thursday, as I have a book club meeting then!

Rereading this menu makes me laugh.

Tomorrow:
Read "Julie and Julia"
Go to church with Kassie
Make guacamole
Visit with Uncle Louie
Read more of "Julie and Julia"

Right now:
Sleep!


«Laura»

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day #71: Johnson dinner

The dinner was fantastic as usual, and my pie was great! I forgot to take a picture of it before people started eating it - it was made with an Oreo shell, a layer of vanilla pudding mixed with peanut butter and a layer of chocolate pudding, and drizzled atop the pie was carmel and chocolate syrup. Sugary goodness!

I didn't get too far in my songbook exercises, but I'll continue working on it tomorrow.

Also, tomorrow I'm planning on heading to Barnes & Noble to read Julie and Julia sometime during the day.

That's all!

«Laura»

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day #70:AlmondChocolatePudding

Yeah....not so good... but my father made a pork roast that was just delicious!! I'm looking forward to making a pie for the large Johnson dinner on Friday afternoon. I'll post a picture of the pie when it's done!

Tomorrow:

Make a pie
Work on songwriting
Visit with family

«Laura»

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day #69: Veganlicious


IMG_0758, originally uploaded by shutterfli.
I'm currently making some chocolate pudding with almond milk as opposed to cow's milk. I'll let you know how tasty it is.

I drank some in a glass and it's quite good! It's a bit like delicious nutty candy. Thicker than skim or 2% cow milk, not as "chalky" like soy milk.

Tomorrow I'm just going to hang around home and get creative stuff done. Woo!

«Laura»

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day #68: Happy Birthday, mother

I spent all evening with my mother, and it was fabulous! I brought home some steak from a local restaurant and we spent the time together by discussing Christmas and work and schedules, then we both fell asleep around 9pm.

I didn't get the song done... but I'll have plenty of time to do this weekend!

«Laura»

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day #67: Mmmmm, hummus!

Niki and I hung out at The Beirut on Monroe and now we're at Panera. Looks like it'll be closing soon - perhaps about in ten minutes. Had a great and busy day at work today and I'm looking for another day for the same effect tomorrow.

My to-do list for tomorrow:

Wish my mother a happy birthday (She's so cute!)
Think about Christmas presents for others (no, I won't be doing black friday)
Write a song (I hope to prepare it for recording soon after)

Panera is kicking us out. Goodnight!

«Laura»

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day #66: Cedar Creek

I attended Cedar Creek with Kassie. I enjoyed it, and want to return. The message was about the fifth and sixth beatitudes, concerning mercy and compassion. I have always felt that I do not have much compassion nor show mercy to others, but after digging deeper, I found that I do - not just as much as others.

After the service, I ate a delicious veggie sub! Kassie, Leo, Joe and I hung out at their house for an hour or two, then they went to Menards, and I went home.

I played with my phone and got all the contacts that I care about from my Palm Centro into my Env Touch. Didn't really do anything creative - ended up watching real films of WWII filed with horror and gore. Wasn't exactly what I wanted to watch. I really wanted to watch something lighthearted, but my mother wanted to watch WWII in HD on the History channel. It was a good show, but... sobering.

Tomorrow, I want to hang out with Niki and eat hummus! That's all I really want to do!

«Laura»

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day #65: Internet on my phone day!

I am posting today's entry from my phone, and it is terribly exciting!

I went to Gino's Pizza this evening with Joe and Kassie. We saw Murder Among Friends, a delightful play about attempting to murder your loved ones. I didn't do much today except for that.

Tomorrow:

Church with Kassie
Play with my phone
Do something creative

That's all!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day #62: The Lavacake edition #2

I am making another set of lavacakes for a potluck that I'm crashing on Friday. I'll be baking the muffins today and then pouring in the hot fudge tomorrow.

I've been busy taking photographs of different work teams at the office.  I'm terribly exhausted. Night!

«Laura»

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day #61: The exercise is done!

I thought of 10 people I respect, and their most common traits were:

Risk-taking
Calm, laid back
Fun
Artsy
Frugal

These are traits that I have or wish to acquire.

So tomorrow, I want to work on the artsy trait.  I'll be heading to Barnes and Noble. I think I'll work on taking macro photos with my 50mm f1.8 lens. I'll upload a few good ones tomorrow!

«Laura»

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day #60: Yay for willpower, Toad!

I went to Barnes and Noble with my father and enjoyed some hot chocolate and skimmed some vegan cookbooks and philosophy books.

I didn't buy any books!  I also couldn't come up with four more people for the exercise I'm trying to complete. I have tomorrow!

«Laura»

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day #59: Go go Bible quiz

I sat in the opening practice for this year's Bible quiz at my folks' church. They wanted me to play, so I buzzed in, but since I hadn't read any of the material, I couldn't answer correctly, though my answers were close.

I went home and recorded a silly song (I won't upload it here, mostly because it isn't that fantastic) and then took a three hour nap. Niki and I stayed up quite late last night!

Tomorrow is the beginning of "Spirit Week" at the office. I'm excited for Tuesday, "Bundle Up Day". Finally, I won't be cold in the cubicle!!  Joe and I are official photographers, so we get to randomly walk around the office all week.

To do tomorrow:

1) Go to Barnes and Noble with my father.
2) I am determined to NOT buy a book!
3) Finish an exercise, listing 10 people whom I respect and what qualities they possess. I have six on my list so far.

There you have it. The computer and I are going to go sleep in different rooms! This arrangement is working out nicely!

«Laura»

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day #58: Yay, Niki is in town!

I rearranged and reorganized my room - it looks much more open and the piano is more the focus of the room. I didn't make waffles, but I did start laundry and I played piano and visited my grandmother.

I've moved my computer (yes it's a laptop) to the spare room so that I'm not tempted to watch ridiculous movies during ridiculous times of the night when I should be sleeping.  I enjoy reading and cleaning today, and used the computer to look up a few things on Verizon and Google maps. Used it for a total of 10 minutes until Niki and I got to Maxwell's Brew.

We started our Toledoan trek in west Toledo, visiting the Verizon store. I was tempted to upgrade my phone and get internet as well. I decided to wait and re-evaluate in a few months.

If I would have changed phones and plans, I would have paid:

$200 for the Env Touch phone (but have a $100 mail-in rebate, they won't let me have internet on my Palm Centro because it's "too old". Grrr.)
$77 dollars/month for the plan with internet (as opposed to $67 without internet now)
$20 for upgrading early
Tax on the phone

I was not happy with the deal, so I decided to walk out. I'll scope out Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals on the phone.  

Niki and I went to Zingo's in downtown Perrysburg, where I enjoyed a greek salad with hummus and pita bread. Niki had the original gyro with her pita bread and hummus. We got dessert to go - she picked up a brownie and I went for a vegan chocolate cupcake.

Headed to Maxwell's to get coffee with our chocolaty desserts and used the free wifi with our laptops. That catches me up to this blog post. I'm considering getting a beer, but I'm almost cold, so a cold beverage doesn't sound all that terrific.

Stuff for tomorrow:

1) Read and write things that I've been wanting to read and write.
2) Play piano

Yay!

«Laura»

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day #57: The Re-arrangement

Well, I have re-arranged my room and I need to reorganize the papers on my desk. There are a lot!

Tomorrow, I'll work on getting my room organized, make waffles for breakfast, do laundry, play piano, write songs and visit my grandmother.

Sounds like a nice cozy day.

My computer's new home is the spare room so when I go to bed, I can't watch more Hulu than I planned.

Goodnight!

«Laura»

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day #56: Hey apostrophes, why do you make people so possessive?

Went to dinner with the folks and friends. Went to grocery store to get a few things and got home around 10pm. Too late to really do anything.

Decided this afternoon:
When at home and not doing something important (important=anything that does not involve watching TV/Hulu or wasting time on the Internet) I will play piano - scales, etudes, original songs, chord progressions, covers; or ukulele, or write songs, or learn something about recording.

Tomorrow, I'm going to work on rearranging my room so I would want to get to my piano and play it. The computer is going to find a home elsewhere in the house.

And I'm going to sleep.

«Laura»

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day #55: Sleepitized!

I'm sleepy, so short post.

Played ukulele.
Made two chocolate chip waffles.
Stretched.
Played piano.

To do tomorrow:

1) Going to get a schedule together for my post 5pm life.

2) Do something musical.

Yep. That's all.

«Laura»

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day #54: A Well Respected Man, demo version

I need to remember not to stuff so many things into my day. I got home at 8pm after Bible study and I just can't get everything done. I practiced ukulele and ended up recording. I won't be doing scales, but I will list the books I WILL read before I sell them. They are:

"A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Burton Malkiel

"The Automatic Millionaire" by David Bach

"Fasting" by Jentezen Franklin

"The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing" by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBouef

"Inside Songwriting" by Jason Blume

"Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die" by John Piper

"The Indie Band Survival Guide" by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feeham

"Confessions of an Introvert" by Meghan Wier

"All You Need to Know about the Music Business" by Donald Passman

"The Republic of Plato" translated by Allan Bloom

"Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" by Charles Seife (won't be selling, but need to re-read beginning and read to the end)

"Selected Stories" by O. Henry

"Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?" by Molly Ivins

"Mere Christianity" by Clive Staples Lewis

"A Fistful of Fig Newtons" by Jean Shepherd

"The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut

"The Economic Naturalist: In search for everyday enigmas" by Robert Frank

I recorded the baritone ukulele and vocal part at the same time and this MP3 is the second take.

So, here it is!

Download

«Laura»

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day #53: Chocolate chocolate chip waffle!


IMG_1054, originally uploaded by shutterfli.

I really liked today. I got a lot of work done, but wasn't stressed out. At home, I ate dinner with the folks, found more books that I've been meaning to read and made a chocolate chocolate chip waffle! It was an amazing dessert. The waffle doesn't look super chocolaty, and it isn't but it has subtle hints of cocoa goodness in the batter. The real chocolate flavor comes with the chocolate chips inside and the chocolate syrup on top.

Anyone feeling like they're somehow going to contract diabetes yet?

I didn't play scales for a full hour, but I did play for a good amount of time. I stopped before the full hour because I started making mistakes that were due to tiredness. I usually get tired around 9 or 10pm, but if I'm awake, I am "functional" again around 1-3am. I wake up whenever I have to, but I'm not fully there until 10am. I'm good until 2pm through 4pm and I get sluggish. Then 4pm to 9 I'm full of energy. Ramble, ramble, ramble. I could have deleted most of this paragraph but I felt like wasting your time.

Next. Didn't list the books because I want to read them first! I actually want to get through the books I've purchased. I shall prevail!

Play whatever I want. I practiced "A Well Respected Man" on the ukulele again. It's a fun little song!

I'll be stretching right after I publish this post.

For tomorrow:

1) Stretch

2) Play scales

3) On this site, list the book I want to read and how long I'll take to read them

That's enough for now. I want to encourage, not overwhelm myself. Adios!

«Laura»

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day #52: Busy busy busy!

Didn't stretch, but did make a chocolate waffle!  Went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in the new Lucas County Arena on Jefferson, downtown.

I hope Toledo can get a revitalization. It's a nice town, but it feels like a ghost town. Tomorrow's to-do list:

1) Stretch

2) List books on half.com

3) Play scales for an hour

4) Play whatever I want on whatever instrument I feel like playing

Ben Folds is my musical hero, and he played scales every day for six months to get to where he is - and so I just need to make it a priority. There is no reason for me to NOT make music a priority. If I start today, I'll be very comfortable where I am just before my 25th birthday - also around Ben's age when he started doing piano seriously. There is no time like the present!

♪Laura♪

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day #51: Waffles!!

The waffles were amazing!


I used:


2 eggs
2 cups of unbleached flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tbs sugar
4 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp vanilla


Heat waffle iron per manufacturer's instructions.  Beat eggs. Combine rest of ingredients in order. Beat until the batter is smooth and consistent. Pour 1/2 cup batter on the waffle iron.


For vegan waffles, one could substitute 2 tbsp flour, 1/2 tbsp shortening, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 2 tsp water for eggs and soy milk for regular milk.


Super delicious!


I cleaned my desk but kind of took a nap instead of listing my books on half.com.


I did email the eateries and my father decided he wanted to eat larger seeds than the pumpkins I have will generate, so I'm waiting for him to get me some large pumpkins.


I didn't stretch but will do that before I go to bed.


Tomorrow, I'm going to church and then the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in the afternoon, followed by eating at Bluewater Grill.


My to do list will be pretty short:


1) Stretch


2) Make a chocolate waffle for breakfast. 


That's it!  I'm looking forward to a pretty sweet day tomorrow!


I'll take pictures of the waffle making process then, too!


«Laura»

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day #50: The FAIL edition

Yep. Bible study was cancelled, and I didn't email the businesses. Instead, I bought a waffle iron and ingredients to make waffles!  I'm excited to make waffles, as I've been hankering for some homemade ones! (I also inventoried my portion of the pantry.)

I spent the evening watching TV with the family and Elmer.

To-do list for tomorrow:

1) Make waffles

2) Clean Desk

3) Email eateries

4) Pumpkinate

5) Stretch

6) List books on half.com

Okay, yay for waffles tomorrow!!!

«Laura»

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day #49: Cute Elmer edition


IMG_5594, originally uploaded by shutterfli.

I know, this picture is a year old, but it's still one of my favorites.

Anyhow:

In my stretch book, Zone 1 is all about upper legs, hips and trunk. It's nice to start an exercise program but I'm more looking forward to Zone 2, shoulders! Hopefully I'll be able to be correctly limber to get rid of most of my shoulder pain.

I did laundry, I stretched, adding one new exercise to the other six that I've practiced and I moved the pumpkins to the garage. Saturday, I plan on setting up a card table and cleaning out the pumpkins then.

Didn't clean the desk, nor did I email eateries. I have a letter set up for businesses, I just haven't gotten the email addresses. At this point, I'm getting sleepy and I have a whole weekend ahead of me, so I'll conquer these things at that time!

Things to do tomorrow:

1) Have bible study with Tiff

2) Email businesses

The other things I will do on Saturday.

Later!

«Laura»

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day #48: I blame it on AT&T Wifi

Hmm. How did I do today?

I read the magazines and pitched them except for one issue of Scientific Mind.

Didn't clean desk nor dug up books to list.

Uhm, neither did I inventory the pantry.

If AT&T wifi was any good at Barnes and Noble, I would have got more vegan meals plans, but I did check out Veganomicon (awesome cookbook), and I plan on purchasing it soon.

I did enjoy Barnes and Noble with my friend Laura! She's cute and fun!

I didn't get to the pumpkin patch, nor did I match my black socks or email local eateries.

However, I did do some stretching and added two exercises.

Tomorrow:

1) Email local eateries regarding vegan entrees

2) Stretch

3) Pumpkinate

4) Clean desk

5) Do laundry

Right now, I'm going to sleep.  Later!

«Laura»

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day #47(a): Stretchy!

I am happy with my progress this evening!

Elmer was in the harness, but we've decided to get him a different harness, and he really gives me dirty looks when he's in it.

I voted!

Didn't get to the pumpkins - it was dark by the time I was ready.

Read the intro and four exercises in the stretch book.

Practiced those four exercises.

Didn't match up my socks. Not an urgent task.

To-do list for tomorrow, 11/4/09

1) Read magazines in room, then pitch them

2) Clean desk

3) List books on half.com

4) Inventory my part of the pantry

5) Find more vegan meal plans

6) Enjoy Barnes and Noble with friend Laura

7) Get the pumpkins around and ready to be massacred

8) Match black socks

9) Stretch - add a few more exercises to the ones already known

10) Email local eateries to know if they have vegan meals on the menu

My guess is that I'll get through items 1, 5, 6, 8 and 9 tomorrow, but wanted to give myself more things if I happen to find the time.

«Laura»

Day #47: Today's to-do list

After contemplating this blog, I thought it would benefit me to publish a to-do list in the morning, and see how far I got at night. These blog posts will generally be short, but I'll also have an item in my list a few days a week discussing something in length on the blog.  I usually have too many things on my to-do lists, so I won't be depressed if I don't get them all done. Things happen.

To-do list:

1) Put a harness on Elmer
(We really would love to have him be outside with us, but he runs away when we put him on the ground.)

2) Vote
(Of course!)

3) Clean out pumpkins to get the seeds
(Mmmmm!)

4) Read a part of "The Stretch Book" because I'm tired of my back and neck and shoulders always hurting
(Ow. : (  Sad.)

5) Do some stretching
(Ahhhh...)

6) Match up my black socks
(They're in a pile and it's going to be a pain to look for a pair of socks in the morning.)


Okay, so I feel better - I don't want to abandon this blog, and writing everyday is important to me, so I'm glad I'll be able to continue writing about "Things I did today" and not feel bad for occasional short posts.

‼Laura‼

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day #46: A realization?

I notice my blog posts have been short recently. I'm rethinking and re-evaluating my goals of this blog. I'll let you know what I decide soon.

Meanwhile...


«Laura»

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day #45: The COSI edition

I went to COSI with Kassie, Joe and Leo!  I took a bunch of pictures of Leo because he's the cutest of the group.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shutterfli/sets/72157622589746817/

After the exploration of science, they made dinner and we played Uno drums.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day #44: Roasting Charlie's Birthday

I finished roasting the 6 cups of delicious pumpkin seeds! Except for the first batch, they all came out great!  The first batch was a little overcooked, as I wasn't sure how long to cook them.






In the middle of the day, I went to my nephew's birthday party. It was a fun, noisy affair! I've put a set on my flickr page - enjoy the photos! I'm happy with the shots I captured, but not the coloring. I just used the 18-55mm kit lens as I needed a wider angle. The slinky shots look pretty cool.



«Laura»

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day #43: The fatigue

I've been running myself ragged lately, and I know I need enough sleep tonight to get to Wauseon to register my car tomorrow morning and not be a zombie.

Sorry about the short posts lately, but I'll get back to better stuff soon!

«Laura»

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day #42: Don't Panic!

I'll be creating a new blog very soon but it won't hamper with this blog, nor its posting frequency.  I'll let you know what it is once it's ready.

Unrelatedly, I still love my Honda Fit!

«Laura»

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day #41: So tired

I went to see Ben Folds in concert with the Columbus Symphony and it was amazing! I've never been to a symphony concert where the crowd was encourages to yell out expletives. This, however, is a late post since i arrived at my house at 2am after the concert. Was soooooo sleepy.

«Laura»

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day #40: The lava cake edition


IMG_0717, originally uploaded by shutterfli.

I didn't roast the pumpkin seeds today because I realized if I was going to participate in the potluck for the Canadian/Nissan teams Friday, I will need to make the cakes today. Tomorrow I'm going to a Ben Folds concert in Columbus, and Thursday is my last scheduled doctor appointment about the whole stroke stuff, so I'm going to celebrate after that!

The small cakes will get filled with hot fudge Thursday night, then frozen until the potluck. They'll be served with ice cream and Magic Shell on top after being microwaved a short time. Everyone whom has tried my concoction has given me rave reviews!

«Laura»

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day #39: A not yet finished project


IMG_0711
Originally uploaded by shutterfli
The pumpkin seeds are not yet dry, but I'm working on them. I have 6 cups of seeds!

And, I need another day to practice. My sound quality isn't up to my standards. But here's a picture of my seeds taking over the kitchen! (I'm posting this entry through Flickr!)

«Laura»

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day #38: A Well Respected Pumpkin Seed

I learned to play the song, "A Well Respected Man" by the Kinks on my ukulele, which is super fun! Of course I have to sing it with an English accent.

I also am soaking pumpkin seeds to prepare them for roasting tomorrow. Yay!

I'll record the song I learned tomorrow so you get to laugh at my poor uke playing.

Thanks for checking in!

«Laura»

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day #36: Weekend, woo!

I'm looking forward to a nice lazy sleepy weekend. The only plan I have is to get a free cookie and hot chocolate at Barnes and Noble - they're offering an internet coupon. Yay for free warmness in a bookstore!

Other than that, I'll just be reading. How boring! Heh.

«Laura»

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day #35: The reading list

I took Ramit Sethi's book, "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" back to the library. It was good, but not good enough for me to write further on it. I spoke about the percentage styled budget and opening a Roth IRA, but that's all of the information I gleaned from it.

I'm currently working through David Bach's workbook, "The Automatic Millionaire" and I have three other books that are on my pile, "A Random Walk Down Wall Street", "The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing" and "Vegan with a Vengeance".

I'll start reading "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" right after I'm done reading the current issue of Wired magazine.

«Laura»

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day #34: Speech! Speech!

I delivered a speech to doctors and business people today about my stroke and my care at UTMC. I'm hoping I can upload the video to show y'all.

«Laura»

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day #33: Kentuckle photos

Whee! Photos from my Kentuckian adventure last weekend!



























Just a few pictures. Will get to editing the rest soon!

«Laura»

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day #32: Hair today, gone tomorrow

Yep! I cut off my hair for locks of love. I donated 12 inches of my hair to a kid who has no hair!



I'm glad I own a scarf.

«Laura»

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day #31: The DO SOMETHING you LAZY PERSON day!

Yesterday:

I introduced myself to a photographer who specializes in photography for live concerts, which would be a dream position besides, of course, writing the music for the live concert.

I wrote a few songs (yeah, I really did!)

I ate way too much food...uuughh...

I know today is going to be a crazy "Let's sit in the car for five hours straight from northern Kentucky to northern Ohio" day.

Thanks for the great weekend Niki and Lexington!

I'm all packed for the drive home...

«Laura»

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day #30: The Kentucky edition

My Honda Fit performed well beyond my standards. I drove down from Toledo to Lexington, Kentucky, average speed of 70-75 and I figured I would get 33MPG. Not so! I was able to have 39MPG most of the drive, and on one stretch with light traffic (so I could use my cruise for a loooong time) I got 42.1MPG. Crazy!

Niki lives in a very nice house in suburbia with two roommates, whom are not here this weekend (one offered her bed for me to use, how generous, considering she's never met me!)

We went to Baker's 360 which is an upscale club on the 15th floor of a building. It was quite....loud. There was a sushi bar, and I bought yellowtail nigiri; it was delicious!

Now Niki and I are in a coffee shop downtown. We just had lunch - a ton of mediterranean food that was delicious! After such, I'm not sure what we're going to do.. maybe go to a cupcake buffet at 5:30, maybe to dress up for the club, maybe I'll just play piano (one of her roommates is a piano teacher) until 2 in the morning like I did this morning.

Whatever we do, I'm sure it will be a unique blast!

«Laura»

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day #29: The super tired edition

I went to an amazing They Might Be Giants show in Cleveland last night, and man am I exhausted. Decided to sleep an extra hour and worked from 9:30-1 instead of the usual half day.

Then I get to go to Kentucky! I'm excited! Niki has wireless internet in her home, so I will be bringing my laptop for posting. I had too much work to do and couldn't get my posts for Friday and Saturday done.  Oh well, no time like the present.

I'll let you know how the drive down went!!

«Laura»

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day #28: Forget it!

This coming weekend, I will not have access to my computer, nor the internet. That means:

No compulsively checking Mint or ING.
No using Facebook (Don't use it much regularly anyway)
No watching Hulu (What?? I have to wait to Sunday night to watch the Office??? Nooooooo...)
No reading blogs (I read most of my blogs at the cubicle during lunch)


Why will I not have access to my computer and the internet?

I'm heading to Lexington, Kentucky to see my friend Niki!  She's very cool and cute!

I'm sure I'll be taking photos and writing lyrics. I'm a musician and photographer! I forget that. I really shouldn't.  Anyway, here I go, see you later, internet!

«Laura»

P.S. This weekend's blog posts are already written and will be scheduled and released on time. No worries! : )

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day #27: The Automatic Millionaire, Chapter 2

Chapter two talks about his trademarked "Latte Factor", the acknowledgement that small daily spending drains your wallet. Another way to think about it is the saying, "If you watch your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves".

I do my best to watch both the pennies and the dollars. I've been loosening the belt a bit, being okay with an occasional hot chocolate and a cheap 6 inch sub from Subway for dinner while I'm at Barnes and Noble, writing away. More than 90% of the time, I pack my lunch rather than buy it. And if I'm eating out, I either eat half of it and save it for the next day's lunch or order something cheap, like a cup of soup. I don't go out to eat to taste certain foods, I go out to be nourished and spend time with friends.

I'm not going to complete the exercises in this chapter because I have my budget set up well that I'm within the limits I want, and I have lived it for nearly a year. I know my "Latte Factor" and it's either a part of my frugal want or it's not a transaction.

I'm looking forward to getting this medical debt off my back, but what I really ought to do is STOP THINKING ABOUT FINANCIAL STUFF!

Yeah. I yelled. I'm in Barnes and Noble and I'm writing about finance, which is good, but I really should write a song. Play piano. Or flute. Something! That's my gift! I'm just getting worked up about things that won't be affecting me for the next 40 years.

I have my 401(k) and my Roth IRA set up. I have a budget that works and most, if not all, of my expenses are automatic. I don't have to worry about a darn thing.

Perhaps I should shift my focus to composing or minimalism or fasting or Bible study.

Here I come, piano. I've missed you!

«Laura»

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day #26: The Automatic Millionaire, Chapter 1

Chapter 1 builds upon the exercises done in the introduction.  The author, David Bach, gets into more detail about the McIntyres. They have no debt and have retirement accounts - even a rental property that is paid for!  He then wants the reader to talk about their retirement wants and the time to achieving the goal. His category "Y/N" is defined as "retirement wants that you want in retirement (Y) or you don't care (N)". This seems a bit ambiguous to me - does the "No" answer mean "I don't care WHEN I get this want" or "IF I get this want".  I'm going to answer the Y/N column as "I don't care WHEN I get my want."

Actually, maybe this way:

R = I want this in retirement
B = I want this BEFORE retirement
X = I don't care if it is before or during retirement



The Automatic Millionaire Goal Developer
Actionable Goal
Y/N
How close? 10 = Achieved, 1 = Not Begun
Save money in my 401(K) and Roth IRA - enough to live off of dividends/percentage of portfolio
R
2
Continue creating passive income streams through blogging, composing, etc
B
2
Enjoy spending money on things that are important to me and not spending money on things that I don't care about
B
5
Give 10% of my income (or retirement withdrawals) to the church
B
5
Sign up for frequent flier programs or a credit card that gives back miles
X
1
Have a vacation fund for this type of travel (not include the "Travel" goal)
B
1
New Zealand!
B
1
Europe!
X
1
Israel!
X
1
Get a Master's degree (perhaps PhD) in Music
B
1
Exercise interests in music, writing, cooking, vegetarianism, minimalism, reading, investing
B
3
Buy/build a  house that suits my creative needs
B
1
Have some sort of self-sufficient house (solar or wind power) if I can handle or hire for the upkeep
X
1


That's interesting. Most of my goals are before I retire. Two thoughts come to mind.

1) Does that mean that I'll still want to do the same things in retirement that I want to do now or in my 40s?

or

2) Does that mean I cannot see that far into the future to be realistic?


Hmmm. Maybe I need to re-evaluate my goals toward retirement.  Or not.

«Laura»

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day #25: Worried?

I'm not worried today. But I worry unnecessarily other days. I worry about the future, mostly. Financial plans are great to have, but I obsess.  I'm checking Mint and ING daily, wanting to make sure I can afford to live the way I want to - be able to pay for my car and knock out my medical debt as soon as possible.

In my debt basket, I owe around $15,000 on my car (including interest) and $5,000 in medical debt. Luckily, I have five years to pay the car loan off, and I hope that I can get rid of the medical debt in the next 6 or 7 months.

In my savings account, I used $4,000 of the $10,000 for a down payment of my car.  My first goal is to get rid of the medical debt, and after that, I will build my savings fund back to its original state.

But I still worry.  And once the debt is gone and the savings is back, I'll still worry. I'll have more goals and want to learn more things which will cost time and perhaps money.

However, worrying about uncontrollable things is silly. I should just plan, do my best, watch what I spend money on and enjoy the day instead thinking about my daily spending.

«Laura»

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day #24: The Barnes and Noble realization

When I'm at Barnes and Noble, I write at least one post. When I'm attempting to write elsewhere, it feels like an effort and I try to find any way to distract myself. Looks like I'll have to frequent the bookstore more often!

I'm heading there tomorrow after work. Right now, I'm heading for a nap. Darn lazy Sunday.

«Laura»

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day #23: Fitting photos

Here are photos of the crunched Cirrus and the fantastic Fit!







The Fit is go!











Friday, October 9, 2009

Day #22: The phone conversationalist

I was really productive today!

Got a lot of work done,

called Progressive to change my policy from my Cirrus to my Fit,

had them fax the changed policy to Brown Honda for proof that the new car is insured since I'm getting my financing through American Honda Finance Corp,

called Westfield insurance to make my statement (and hopefully get my $500 deductible back since it wasn't my fault),

faxed the local Progressive rep my bill of sale to get the sales tax reimbursed (up to the value of the sales tax of the Cirrus),

called Straightline, the company that manages my 401(k) on the cheap and negotiated a good rate for my account management,

drove the awesome fun new car a little, from home to work, then to the local hospital to see my friend Tiff (She works there) and drove back home.

I just finished the ice cream, so I might buy more tomorrow before I head to Joe and Kassie's.

Mmmm, ice cream...

«Laura»

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day #21: The Fit is Go!

Actually, my Fit stopped...right in my garage!!  I love it so much! I was able to negotiate $850 down on the purchase price and 0.135% down on the finance rate and put enough down that my monthly payments are $260. Yay for my first real try at negotiating!

This weekend will be a rather lazy weekend. I'm looking forward to it!

I'll have pictures soon!

«Laura»

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day #20: Last full day of driving a 2005 Dodge Neon

For those whom want to guess where I rented the car, in the passenger seat is a handicap sign, a pillow, a cane and previously an oxygen tank.

Tomorrow is the day to get Fit. Tonight is the night to get sleep.  Later!

«Laura»

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day #19: Car car car car car....

My mind is all about the car junk, but it will be settled on Thursday night. I've decided on the 2009 Honda Fit Sport, black.  I have negotiated the price down $800 and I'll get it from Brown Honda.  Now I just need to figure out what I'll get for interest rates on the portion that I'll be financing. Yikes!

I said my final goodbyes to my crunched Cirrus during lunch today.  I drove the Fit again and absolutely loved it! My friend, Joe, said it felt like being in a cockpit.

Tomorrow I'm heading to different banks to get interest rates on a loan.

«Laura»

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day #18: Totaled!

The insurance company totaled the car and is going to give me $2500. I've been eyeing those Honda Fits for a while and I tested one out this evening. I really enjoyed the car and now I have to get a good loan rate and all, research what dealership I'll be getting my car from and all.

The Fit handles spectacularly well and the controls are intuitive. It is a fantastic car.

I went through three medical tests today and I think I passed two and failed the other one.

We shall see the verdict on Oct 29th.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day #17: The funeral

Today was a tough day. One of my friends from the folks' church passed away on Thursday and his funeral was today. He was young, only 61 but he was very sick. I helped set up with the dinner afterward. He had an awesome life full of faith and family, and was always very funny and kind.

Tomorrow I have a few rounds of medical tests... I better get the papers around or else I'll have no medical tests tomorrow.  Afterward, I'll get into my regular posting stuff. I promise. I'm sure I'll have something great to say about car insurance, since my car will be towed to a body shop and the claims adjuster will inspect it.  I'm hoping that the car will be repaired and the insurance from the girl who hit me may reimburse my deductible.

We shall see.

«Laura»

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day #16: Clean up day, or One Wedding and a visitation

Oh, life. How you like to change my plans. I forgot that I was going to a wedding reception this evening.  Since my car is currently unavailable, I'll be getting a ride from my folks, but they are going to a visitation for one of our church family.  After that is the wedding, and then the reception. Sounds like a full day of not being able to write about finance or life or that sort of fun stuff.

However, I need to remind myself that this blog is not topic-specific. In fact, I titled it "Things I did today" just so in times where I couldn't get a "real" post done, I can just blog about my day. My goal for this blog is to write every day.

Look I'm writing! So, there you go.  Mission Accomplished.

«Laura»

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day #15: The short post

Yep, it will be a short post tonight. I'm pretty tired and sore. I was in a minor car accident yesterday evening. I was driving on an access road, and a teenage girl failed to yield to me as she was approaching the road from a parking lot. I hit her car on the right side, and the front of my car is in pretty bad shape. The car was able to be driven home, but I doubt it'll last longer without repair.

I had the police file a report, and then I filed a claim with my car insurer, Progressive. They called about an hour after that and got more details. It will be towed on Monday to a local shop and a claims adjuster will survey the damage. I'm afraid they'll total my car since it's an older car - 1995 Cirrus.

So, I'm going to eat some ice cream, then go to bed. I'll work on a more substantial post tomorrow!

«Laura»

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day #14: Thanks for the budget, Ramit!

One of my new favorite personal finance bloggers is Ramit Sethi.  He has a blog, "I will teach you to be rich", and new book of the same title.  I've checked out his book from the local library and this weekend will start reading it.  My friend Joe DeStazio has already read the first few chapters and explained Ramit's take on budgeting to me - automate it!

Ramit advises using rough percentages for the large groups of the budget; fixed expenses, saving, investing, guilt-free spending.

Joe, being the awesome friend he is, created a personalized spreadsheet that with his blessing, will share with you!

The figures in the spreadsheet are dummy data, so please enter data that is relevant to your life (mortgage instead of rent, for example.)

Happy fiddling!

«Laura»

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day #13: The Automatic Millionaire Workbook; Introduction, part 2

Yesterday, I discussed the American Dream and what it means to me, as well as a bit of what I'll need to realize the dream.

Today, Bach gives us the names of a couple, Jim and Sue McIntyre, whom talked to Bach about early retirement and how their values influenced how much money they'll need to live the way they wanted.  Bach suggested writing out a "Values Conversation", a pie sliced into six pieces.


Value
Enjoy my retirement life
Continue to tithe
Be able to see relatives regardless of distance
Travel!
Continue to educate myself in hobbies or new ways of enjoying work (ie a new skill)
Enjoy my home with a sense of happiness and security (ie sunlit room with a piano to create new songs)


After this exercise, Bach builds upon these goals with the Automatic Millionaire Goal Developer, which takes your 6 values and breaks them into smaller actionable goals.


The Automatic Millionaire Goal Developer
Value
Actionable Goal
How much will it cost?
Enjoy my retirement life
Save money in my 401(K) and Roth IRA
$2mil
Continue creating passive income streams through blogging, composing, etc
$?
Enjoy spending money on things that are important to me and not spending money on things that I don't care about
$?
Continue to tithe
Give 10% of my income (or retirement withdrawals) to the church
$500,000 (just a ballpark figure - I hope to leave a large chunk of money upon my death)
Be able to visit relatives and friends regardless of distance
Sign up for frequent flier programs or a credit card that gives back miles
$0-$50 (it better be a good deal if I'm going to pay for it!)
Have a vacation fund for this type of travel (not include the "Travel" goal)
$250,000
Travel!
New Zealand!
$15,000
Europe!
$25,000
Israel!
$15,000
Continue to educate myself through hobbies or learning a new skill
Get a Master's degree (perhaps PhD) in Music
$100,000 (ballpark, guessing large for inflation)
Exercise interests in music, writing, cooking, vegetarianism, minimalism, reading, investing
$0-$500,000 (depends if I just go to the library or if I purchase equipment for the hobby)
Enjoy my home with a sense of happiness and security (ie sunlit room with a piano to create new songs)
Buy/build a  house that suits my creative needs
$200,000
Have some sort of self-sufficient house (solar or wind power) if I can handle or hire for the upkeep
$100,000+


This is a great chart to remind myself of my long-term goals and as I age, I can revise them easily.

«Laura»

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day #12: The Automatic Millionaire Workbook; Introduction pt 1

I read The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach a year ago (yay library!), and it was an amazing piece about saving and how to go about it.  It inspired me to purchase The Automatic Millionaire Workbook.

I thought that reviewing and working through each chapter would be a good exercise for me and a helpful insight for you.

Bach discusses the "American Dream" and how the baby boomer generation is not faring well with their savings and retirement accounts.  He continues with posing the question, "What's your idea of the American Dream?"

So then, what is my American Dream?

I want to live debt free (except a mortgage, or perhaps a car loan if the conditions are right).  After I retire, I hope to have income passively and work only when I want to.  I want to cook whatever kinds of food strike my fancy.  I'd like to travel to different parts of the world (United States, Western Europe, Iceland, New Zealand, Israel, Japan) and not worry about money. I'd like the equipment and space to compose and record, assuming I still have my wits about me.  Of course, I'd like to taste some of these wants before I retire so money management is very important now and in the future since my wants are rather expensive!

After this exercise is completed, Bach asks to fill out a table titled, "American Dream Snapshot"

What are your top three American Dreams?


What are your top three American Dreams?
What do you want?
What will it take?
Why is it important?
The equipment and space to record
$100,000
Music is my life, and I want to be able to create it anytime I want
Travel the world
$1 million
I'm not sure how much it will cost, but I feel that $1 mil should cover it!
Live comfortably without the need to work
$2 million
I want to be able to live on a small(ish) percentage of my retirement income (around 5%) so I won't have to worry about money.

Lastly, Bach wanted to have readers take "The Automatic Millionaire Truth Tester".

Habit
True or False?
What can I do to change it?
I buy things I can't afford
False

I often spent "some" of my paycheck before I even get it
False

I shop for fun, not because I need to
False

I say "yes" to new credit card offers
False

I only pay the minimum on my credit cards
False
I'm often late on my credit card payments
False
I don't balance my checkbook or check bank statements
False
I promise to save money every month, but don't
False
I don't save anything towards a down payment on a home
True
I am not thinking about purchasing a home soon anytime soon, but I know my 10% savings account will be part of that payment when it happens
I put money aside for future emergencies and I end up spending it
False


These exercises are a great beginning to looking at what your lifestyle is now and how you want it to be in the future.  Next post, I'll discuss the last half of the introduction!

«Laura»