Sunday, December 31, 2006

Turning words into action

Regarding resolutions. I was sitting in my chair by the fire the other night and looking at my four main bookcases. There are a few shelves for good novels that impressed me and that I intend to read again someday.
Most of the shelves, however, contain non-fiction books related to my varied interests and goals in life. Hundreds and hundreds of books each addressing an intention I have or have had. All of them dusty.
It's almost like looking at a parallel universe in which I'm whole and fulfilled.
The resolution? To start incorporating some of those books into my life and get them off the shelves.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The secret life of cat-ownership

I have a cat who's addicted to all things paper. Junk mail, wrappers, newspapers...if it crinkles, he's on it. Wadding up a piece of paper is almost like a magic trick around here; suddenly a cat appears at your side.
The upside? Free cat toys.
The downside? He's somehow messed up my printer in a unique way. Now everytime I print a document, the printer immediately follows up with a diagnostics page. Which uses an incredible amount of ink. I can't figure out how to fix this. So now when I print something, I have to turn the printer off as soon as the document finishes. If I want to print a second thing, I turn it back on, then turn it off again when it's done.
It's bizarre and annoying.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Basic necessities

I mentioned recently that I buy as much as I can from secondhand shops. It just makes good sense and saves me a bundle of money. Or rather helps me hang onto more of my money for other things.

I came across this article today:

I'm really surprised at the backlash to which they're being subjected. "Un-American"?
As if to say that what defines us as Americans is our love of spending?

The article also briefly makes reference to Judith Levine, author of "Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping". She and her husband went an entire year without spending money on anything they didn't absolutely need. They made a pre-agreed list of must-haves and don't-really-needs. No restaurants, no movies...I think they did allow wine on their list, but only if they made it themselves. They said it was really hard, but incredibly rewarding, both emotionally and financially. Judith claims she was able to pay off an $8,000 credit card bill and put money in savings.

I wouldn't want to go that far, but I do think spending less money on impulses is a great idea.
On another note, I wonder how many of today's marriages could survive a year with no distractions?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

In which I try to score something for nothing

My mortgage company sponsored a contest this year in which participants could win either a month's mortgage payment or $250,000 toward a new home. All you had to do was write a 350 word essay on one of three topics: A) Why you want to become a homeowner, B) What obstacles did you overcome to becoming a homeowner or C) How homeownership has built your own personal wealth or security.

Limiting it to 350 words proved to be a lot harder than I thought. It's not easy to make your points, throw in a dash of humor and stay concise.

I've known about the contest since probably July, and just now got my entry in. Given the number they assigned my entry, it looks like maybe 84,000 people gave it a shot.

I have no idea how to gauge my entry. It didn't suck, but I'm not sure there was anything about it that would cause it to stand out. I chose the "overcoming obstacles" category. I really didn't have any significant obstacles to overcome, but I didn't fit into the other two categories.

The judges give out 80 free mortgage payment prizes a month, so I'm hoping I'll score one of those. I'm sure someone out there with cancer working three jobs and putting herself through school at the same time will get the grand prize. And I'm guessing she'd deserve it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

She done ended up where we can't find her

Is this grammatically correct?
You see "_____ went missing" in the news all the time, but it sounds wrong to me.
Missing isn't somewhere you can go.
Would 'became' work better, as in "the climbers became missing" ?
I could see "the climbers became tingly" or the "climbers went up", but "missing" just sounds weird.

Whenever a person posts about grammar, their own post is inevitably subject to scrutiny.
Those poor commas never saw me coming.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Good news/ Bad news

The good news is that the scary pecan tree has been turned into non-threatening yard art. And the price was very reasonable. Less than half of my first quote.

The bad news. I wasn't home to supervise and because my husband was feeling magnanimous, he allowed the guys to A) leave the remaining tree taller than I wanted, B) told the guys we'd clean up the scattering of debris in the yard, and C) let them off the hook for denting a part of the chain link fence.

None of it is a big deal, but just more stuff we have to take care of now.

I wanted the tree shorter, because in the past when I've had trees taken down to stumps, they keep sprouting stuff, trying to become a tree again and I have to keep them trimmed down. I can't really work with a 20 foot tall trunk. Maybe if I whitewash it? My husband thinks copper nails might work. Is that true? Kind of like an IUD for a tree?

It's foggy out there, so the photo is not that great. That's actually a pine tree behind the trunk, making it look like one tree. The pecan is the silhouette.


Ok, so I talked to my doctorin' friend again, and she said that no, doctors will not grant "interviews".
It will basically depend on friend/family recommendations and trial and error.
Kind of what I thought.
But I do have a couple of names to start with. I just have to make sure they are included in my/my husband's health insurance booklet.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rites of Passage

It's time for me to find a primary care doctor. I've gone 39 years without one; using walk-in clinics, Planned Parenthood, and Knoxville Breast Center to take care of the basics. I don't really get sick much.

I went 12 years without missing a day of work before I put a stick through my foot and had to have surgery two years ago.
But with the new panic attack development, I need to get on board and find someone who can help advise me on medications and treatment. And obviously I'm at an age where things need to be looked at more closely and more often.

But here's my dumb question; how do you go about this? Do you go around and "interview" doctors? Will they just sit down with you for a half an hour and let you kind of preview them? And if so, what kind of questions would you ask to determine whether he/she was the right doctor for you?

My husband is in the same boat, so we'd like for it to be someone we both like and who can address problems that each of us might have.
Any advice? Recommendations? Am I making too much of this?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Not as serious as a....

Well, so...I had my first panic attack yesterday and ended up checking myself into the emergency room. I really thought it was possibly a heart attack. I have no idea what brought it on or why. I lead a very routine uneventful life. And while I'm a nervous type of person generally, I've never been overwhelmed like that. The doctor prescribed me a combination antihistimine (for the hyperventilating) and anti-anxiety drug. I'm supposed to take it for the next couple of days and then as needed.
I came home, took a pill, and slept for 12 hours.

I can still feel the panic potential down inside like a glowing ember this morning. Like if I blew on it, it would rage up again. I feel so freaking delicate.
Is this something I'm going to be at risk for the rest of my life?
Because let me tell you, it sucked big time.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Last night I went out drinking with some friends. So apparently there are these things called laws that can really screw your night up when enforced.
My friend's driver's license was expired. He's 31. It clearly states that on the license. But a bartender can't serve a person with an expired license.
So another friend at the table orders a beer and gives it to him. He hadn't even taken a sip, when the waitress comes over and takes his beer away. So not only can't you purchase the alcohol, but you're not allowed to drink it either. Despite being old enough and being able to prove it.
My friend doesn't own a car and doesn't need his license to drive these days, but he has to keep it current so that he can drink a beer?
I've given it some thought and I guess basically it boils down to blackmail by the state. You don't pay your fees and they whittle away your privileges. I can see that the state would want an updated photo every 10 years or so, but that's about it.
I still can't believe the waitress took the beer out of his hand.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stopping to smell the bacon

I mentioned I had a bottle of Zyban, but chickened out of taking them. After talking to a friend of mine who knows doctorin', I plucked up my courage and started the regimen. I honestly don't feel a whit different, (it's only been four days), but there have been some changes in my behavior with which I'm happy.
This stuff makes it hard to sleep all through the night, so I've been getting up at 7:00 the last two mornings instead of my usual 8:30. All of my morning chores are done by 7:30, so I have this big block of extra time.
And I've been using it to make honest-to-god breakfast. I normally never eat breakfast. Yesterday I made BLT's and today scrambled eggs and toast. I like the routine. I'm going to try to stick with it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

In which "Hello Rock" pays for new threads

I'm sure I've said this before at some point, but I love thrift shops. I get about 70% of my clothes second-hand as well as most of my textiles (blankets, curtains etc..). My strategy is to hit the book section first. If I find some good books to resell, then I give myself permission to look around and pick out a few things for myself. Almost every time, I can come out with books that surpass the cost of any clothes or household items that I bought.

Today I went to an antique shop and a thrift shop, spent 25.00 on 160.00 worth of books and spent 30.00 on 7 nice shirts for my husband. So 55.00 spent and 105.00 profit potential.

I've been doing this for so long now, that it's really weird and uncomfortable for me to buy new things from department stores. I'm so used to that sense of a built-in rebate on every purchase. Plus, if you don't end up liking the clothes as much as you thought you might, you're only out 2-3.00 per garment.

I'm still smarting from an indulgent new dress purchase from a few months back. I bought the last one they had at the mall; too big. I return it, order my size online and pay way too much for shipping. I get the dress and the first day I wear it, it rips up the back and can't be repaired. It's just not worth it.