Monday, February 27, 2006


I guess I’m pretty lucky.

I’ve been reading all kinds of articles about how my generation is kind of screwed finance-wise. People are graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt and they’re entering a not so hot job market earning not so hot salaries.

Then there’s me. I guess once again I find myself outside of what is normal. I graduated with absolutely no student loans at all. I paid for college all by my lonesome, getting financial aid only 2 of the 9 semesters I was there. Granted, I went to UWO (aka: the cheapest school in Wisconsin), but it still took a lot of work to keep afloat during those last few years. Yay for Ramen noodles. The only debt I have is my car loan which is interest-free and 1/3 of the way to being paid off. I pay my credit card off in full each month. Actually, I only use it because I earn reward points which in turn get me $50 gift cards or checks. Since I never carry a balance, I never pay any interest, so I’m actually profiting from the arrangement. It’s a sweet deal. I’m not sure how people can run up such exorbitant amounts of credit card debt. Perhaps it was just my upbringing that leads me to be in the “If you can’t pay for it in cash right now, you probably shouldn’t buy it” school. Ok, there are always exceptions. Mine would be cars and houses. Very few people can afford those things straight out. I just find it hard to be sympathetic for the idiots who go out and buy all kinds of unnecessary crap and then cry about how they’re in so much debt. I don’t understand it.

I also don’t understand how the savings rate of this country can be negative. How hard is it to put a couple hundred dollars in a savings account every once in a while? Aren’t we all supposed to have 3 or 4 months of living expenses socked away for that proverbial rainy day? I guess this could just be a result of my doomsday attitude - always anticipating that my life will completely fall apart any day now so I’d better be prepared. This does have a certain degree of validity because for a while there it seemed the second I got some money in the bank something would go wrong. Be it car-related or something else, it never failed. These days things are going better. In the past year I’ve managed to save up some dough even though I spent a whole lot more than I have in the past. I guess when you make more you can spend more. Heh. Anyway, I don’t know if I’m just that much more financially responsible or what, but I just find it kind of ridiculous. Although what can you expect from a country with such a huge deficit…

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Book Update

Current Progress:
Days Gone: 57 (15.62%)
Books Read: 7(ish) (14.00%)
Pages Read: 2,225 (14.83%)

I've totally been slacking off the past couple of weeks. It's so sad. But, I just finished A Creed for the Third Millenium (see website for review - link is to the right) and plan to go to the library on Tuesday to return this batch and check out a new pile of books to read. Yay!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I read this morning in the paper that the Kmart in Oshkosh will be transformed into a “Sears Grand” store in the next few months. All I can say is “good for them.” I’m amazed the store has lasted so long as it is. I’m not sure adding a coffee shop and various other features will add to their customer base. I no longer shop there. I admit most of my shopping is done at Wal-Mart. Who can say no to the employee discount I use (somewhat illegally)? Ok, so I bought some pant hangers there a while ago. Wal-mart didn’t have the ones I wanted. In general I do most of my shopping in Appleton anyway. I don’t know. I guess I might be harboring some hard feelings toward the place. I just think it would be funny if they spent all this money for this great (excuse me, GRAND) transformation and then the store failed to bring in any additional business. Maybe they’ll replace the flooring that’s been coming up in chunks for years now…

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

1 Year Anniversary (of the car that is)

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I bought the Toyota. It’s been a nice year. No problems whatsoever and all the oil changes and tire rotations have been free. (Yay, Kolosso!) I’ve been keeping track of my MPG since day one. Average is at 30.7 right now. To be fair, this includes the two months of mega driving when I was going back and forth to Lancaster each week. I still think this is pretty good mileage. And unlike the Saturn, I have some acceleration when I step on the gas too. Who could ask for more?

Speaking of Saturn, I’ve gotten two “extra special promotional event” invitations in the last two weeks. I’m tempted to call them up and say, “I don’t have your sucky car anymore. Quit sending me crap” but that seems unnecessarily rude. Although it was unnecessarily rude for them to sell me a shitty car… hmm, it’s a draw. Maybe I should just show up to the “special event” in my Toyota, get my free stuff, and then drive away laughing.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Snow Part 2 (and other stuff)

I suppose we got a decent amount of snow – local channels say about a foot in Green Bay, a little less in the Fox Valley. I don’t know. I just expected it to be much worse. They pumped this thing up as the first big snowstorm of the year. Someone from The Weather Channel was even here to do on-site reports. I just wasn’t impressed. Meh. Adam took some pictures of our parking lot last night when he got home from work. They show the drifts of snow in front of our apartment building.

I left work yesterday around 11:30. It was a few hours of indecision on the people above me’s part until finally they said if I was feeling uncomfortable about waiting around I could go ahead and leave. Of course I left. Duh. The roads really weren’t that bad. The place I expected to be the worse (the Butte des Morts bridge) wasn’t bad at all. There was a slow down near Jackson, but as long as people drove relatively sanely, it wasn’t too nerve wracking. Of course there was the occasional asshole in his pickup truck who’d fly by at excessive speeds, kicking all kinds of crap up at everyone else in the other lane. There were also a surprisingly large number of semis who did the same thing. When a semi flies by you, you really have no hope of being able to see when they throw all kinds of crap all over your windshield. *sigh* Stupid winter drivers. The horrible plow company hired by our apartment complex sucked once again by not plowing at all. People were getting stuck in the drifts of snow at the entrance to the parking lot. Even this morning it wasn’t plowed. It stopped snowing around 7 last night. How hard would it be to get a plow out here? *sigh* again.

This weekend will be interesting. Adam has off for the third Saturday in a row. We’re going to go set up our joint “household” checking account in the morning. I went to the UW Credit Union at lunch today and took out everything except the minimal amounts needed to keep the accounts open. That’ll stay there until I know the direct deposit and withdrawal works. The rest will be put into my Capital accounts tomorrow. It was funny – when I told the teller at UWCU what I wanted to do she was like “you must be buying me something special.” Pfft. Then as I was leaving she said “make sure to put that in a good place.” I said (under my breath), “like into another bank?” Heh. We’ll probably do some shopping and Adam needs a haircut. Then we get to do some housecleaning so the place looks presentable when my dad and Cheryl get here in the evening. We planned to go to Olive Garden because I have a gift card but apparently they don’t take reservations on weekends. That’s kind of dumb. Oh well, their loss. We’ve got reservations at Good Company instead. I know, I know, we were just there. But it’s a good restaurant that’s generally not too noisy. Not sure what’s going on Sunday yet. Adam works a short shift in the afternoon I think. Nothing is planned at this point (that I know of, at least.)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Snowy Weather

So apparently we're supposed to get dumped on today and tomorrow. It snowed a bit overnight and it's snowing now. 8-12 inches total is the estimate, but with huge wind gusts it's the blowing snow that makes it so much worse. Pretty much all the school districts in the area called a snowday and Adam's work is shutting down at 9. I don't know what's going on here yet or what the chances are of my leaving early. The worst part of the storm is supposed to hit around noon. The drive in wasn't too bad. Only one pickup in the ditch near 76. I'll probably take a round-about way home to avoid the highway near 21 and 76 because those are the places where the bridges always ice over and people do stupid crap while merging and cause accidents. I guess I'll see how things look whenever I leave. I got gas this morning on the way to work so I should be all prepared. :)

In other news: we bought PowerBall tickets last night because two of our fortune cookies told us our financial investments would pay off. We didn't win. Stupid lying cookies...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Book Update

Ok, last post of the day, I promise. :)

Current Progress:
Days Gone: 45 (12.33%)
Books Read: 6(ish) (12.00%)
Pages Read: 1,879 (12.53%)

Just finished Catholicism for Dummies this evening. I'm about 1/4 of the way through A Creed for the Third Millenium and while it's easy to read (nice big font) I'm not quite sure what it's about yet... Hopefully that will clear itself up in the next hundred pages or so. Heh.

I was browsing through the 50books livejournal site the other day trolling for book ideas and I managed to get a list of 10 or 11 in addition to the others on my pre-existing list. That should keep me entertained through the next few lonely months.


Birthday cookie cake:

Birthday flowers:

Valentine's Day flowers:

Happy Valentine's Day!

First off, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Or Anti-Valentine’s Day if that’s more your thing.

Here we are, on the first Valentine’s Day ever where I am half of a couple. It took 23 years to get here, but it sure feels good. I was forbidden from going into the living room all of last night. I resisted the temptation to go peek at 2am and was allowed out there this morning when we woke up. I found more flowers (which I’ll take a picture of later tonight), a huge card, and a big heart of chocolates. :) Although what I found when I came back into the bedroom was better of course – Adam. I know I don’t express it quite enough, but I’m really glad things have worked out the way they have. He’s working tonight so we’re not doing anything fancy at all, but we do plan to go out tomorrow night for some Chinese food. Yum.

All members of the hamster clan are doing well. Pigster appears to have pulled through and is active and alert. He still scares easily but I hope that will diminish over time. Howie kind of keeps to himself and I don’t see much of him. Duey runs all night long in his little squeaky wheel. He stuffs his pouches to the brim with food and dumps it all out if you put him in his ball. He’s a funny guy, but very gentle. He likes doing laps around my neck for some reason. He’s nuts.

Nothing really big is going on these days. Kind of the calm before the storm. Adam’s birthday is next month and we’ll also have to book our plane tickets for Catherine’s graduation in May. I’m in wait mode for my banking transition although we do plan on heading back to the credit union on Saturday morning to set up a joint household checking account. See how badly I’ve been gotten? It was even me who proposed this joint account, much to Adam’s surprise…

I’ve been doing a lot of religious reading lately. I’m almost through Catholicism for Dummies. It was interesting, definitely enlightening me to aspects of both Catholicism and Christianity in general. Take, for example, the term “Immaculate Conception.” Most people think (me included) that this refers to Mary being a virgin when Jesus was conceived/born, but it doesn’t. The Immaculate Conception refers to MARY’S conception. When she was conceived by her mother and father, God apparently made it so she didn’t have the original sin that all other humans are born with (according to Catholics.) He wanted a perfect place for his son to hang out for 9 months before making an entrance into the world, so he had to create a sin-free zone – the Immaculate Conception. I never learned that kind of thing in all the years of Sunday school at all the different churches I went to. You learn a whole bunch of other kind of useless information and are required to memorize a whole bunch of crap. You never really learn the foundations of the beliefs you’re supposed to have. At this point, I probably know more about Catholicism than some Catholics do and I still have the whole Concise History of the Catholic Church to thumb through. Maybe I should read Protestantism for Dummies too... To be fair, perhaps this was never brought up in any of my religious teachings because Protestants don’t buy into the original sin concept… who knows? In any case, I’m finding it all very interesting. I won’t be converting to Catholicism any time soon and I don’t really buy into a lot of their beliefs, but it’s fascinating to get the backstory about it all. Plus, assuming things continue in their current direction, I’ll need to know some of this stuff later on since in order to marry a Catholic I have to agree to raise any children we have in the Catholic church…

But I digress.

Back to the original point of this post. Yay love!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Icky Weekend

My birthday went a little differently than planned. Adam turned out not working since they’d been slow lately so we went out to dinner at Good Company on Thursday night. It was a good thing that he called ahead and made a reservation because it seems like everyone was having a birthday there including our waiter. The food there is always good and we only had to wait a minute or so for our table this time so it was all good. After the meal we went home and ate some of the big cookie cake he got for me. Pictures will hopefully be up later this afternoon. All in all it was a good birthday.

The rest of the weekend kind of sucked. Although I thought my sinus and cold thing was getting better, I was wrong. I was up at New London on Friday and I ended up leaving around 11:30. I brought work home with me fully intending to do some of it when I got home, but I was worn out I guess because I practically fell asleep on the living room floor. I didn’t sleep very well Friday night and was even sicker on Saturday. I went shopping with Adam for awhile and between my feeling like crap and my being crabby it didn’t make for a very pleasant experience. I spent most of Saturday afternoon in bed. I felt much improved on Sunday. We went out to breakfast at Griddles and I did dishes and laundry while Adam was at work. I also took a nap and read during the afternoon. I didn’t really accomplish much this weekend, but that’s ok. My nose is all red and flaky, but I feel much better overall. I certainly supported the Kleenex company though. It’s a good thing we bought 10 boxes from Sam’s club recently. Heh. Hopefully this week will be more normal than the past few have been.

I finally went and opened my new accounts at Capital Credit Union. As soon as I get my ATM card and checks and am sure my direct deposits and withdrawals are working, the UWO credit union can kiss my money good-bye. Yay! A branch of CCU just opened in Neenah so that’s kind of convenient. They have better hours, better interest rates, better online banking. Better everything, basically. I’m moving on up…

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me...

Today’s the big 2-4. I don’t have anything special planned since I’ll be at work all day and Adam works tonight. Plus, like normal, I’m sick. I’ve got some cold thing going on and I’d much rather be in bed than at work. Oh well.

On the good news side of the spectrum, I’ll tempt fate by saying that Pigster seems to be getting better. It’s been a week now and just the fact that he’s still alive is encouraging. Time will tell I guess. I’ll be doing to major cleaning of his cage and accessories tonight. Yup, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do on my birthday – clean a hamster cage. :)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Weekend

Adam had the whole weekend off which is rare. Also rare was the fact that we didn’t get on each other’s nerves and have a fight of any kind. That’s what usually happens when we’re around each other for extended periods of time. Apparently we kept ourselves occupied enough that we didn’t get bored enough to pick on each other. Who knows. In any case, it was nice. We were both kind of tired on Friday night. He had woken me up at 3am that morning to tell me that Pigster was getting worse. This reduced me to tears and neither of us slept much after that. I felt like absolute cow poo all day long and just wanted to go home and hide in bed. We went out to dinner to Gulliver’s – a restaurant right down the street that he’s been wanting to go to. It wasn’t too busy when we got there. They have good food, huge portions, and a nice “fishy” atmosphere. I think I drank too much on an empty stomach and all I wanted to do when we got home was go to bed. Adam assembled the Bowflex that he bought while I hung out in bed.

On Saturday we did some shopping in the late morning/early afternoon and then went to church and dinner with his parents. We went to the church in Greenville rather than Appleton (it’s closer, I guess.) It was very different from the other church. The priest is a young man with a lot of energy. As I commented to Adam, the whole congregation seemed to be young. Lots of kids and babies. There was a baptism at the mass so I got to see how that went. During communion they had these chimes that they rang. That was different and Adam had no explanation for them. The mass was a lot more like the Lutheran services I went to for a few years. Hymns were sung and all that good stuff. It was another interesting experience which inspired a lot of conversation on the way to the casino later that night. Before that though we went out to Cinder’s with his parents for dinner. I think this was the first time we went out with them. Usually we’re at their house for some holiday or they come to our house. It was interesting. After that we drove up to the casino to lose some money. I had gotten a $10 gaming certificate for my birthday so that really is what inspired the trip. As luck would have it, it was snowing and the weather kind of sucked. In addition to that there was an accident about halfway to Green Bay and they had closed off the highway and were re-routing everyone down to the frontage road. Turns out some older lady had been trying to cross the highway to get some help because her car had broken down and someone hit her (and killed her.) It took a bit longer to get up to GB, but that’s ok. We proceeded to lose our money quickly enough that we got back home plenty early.

Sunday we slept in until about 9. I went and got the paper while Adam did… I don’t know what he was doing. Anyway, we went grocery shopping in the early afternoon and then settled in to watch the Super Bowl. I was mainly there for the commercials. I read a book during the actual game. I wasn’t sure who to root for anyway. I generally try to go with the underdog, but in this case the Fox Valley wasn’t too keen on the Seahawks winning because some people see Holmgren as a traitor. It turned out to be a moot point anyway. For a minute there it looked as though they might have had a chance, but that changed very quickly. The commercials weren’t really the greatest either. There were a few cute ones. The magic fridge (Bud Light, toward the beginning) was probably my favorite. To see it go here. The FedEx caveman and Ameriquest heart paddle ones were good too. I guess it was an ok football came with a couple questionable calls. Meh. Pittsburgh should be happy.

Cactus Beating

A while back I read in the Sheboygan Press of a female roommate being attacked by her male roommate with a cactus. I admit I found this rather humorous, but also disturbing since apparently the cactus inflicted quite a bit of damage on the woman. Today I read an editorial in the paper that made me laugh out loud…

“I am appalled over a recent Sheboygan incident in which a man attacked his roommate with a cactus. It is with this in mind that I propose our legislators enact a concealed cactus law. Such a law would help prevent future crimes of this nature by allowing anyone with proper training to carry a concealed cactus on their person. We should have the constitutional right to defend ourselves against cactus-carrying criminals at all times. It would certainly have the makings of a succulent debate between the various political parties. For instance, would a person be allowed to carry a cactus into a school? Would there be a limit on the number of cacti a person could carry at one time? Will Christmas cactus be exempt? All of these thorny issues could cause the lawmakers to be stuck in their chambers for quite some time. They will be subject to strong lobbying from garden clubs who will try to put them over a barrel. Of course, some of the legislators will turn out to be spineless and vote against the concealed-cactus law. However, in the end common sense will prevail and I'm confident the majority will vote yes for passage, allowing us the freedom to walk the streets without fear of attack. Maybe we can bundle this together with a voter ID bill. Now that would be a prickly pair. I can only hope the governor does not veto it.”

Knowing all the hullabaloo that’s been going on lately with the concealed weapon issue, this clever bit of commentary was a riot.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I'm Cursed

It looks as though Pigster is going the way of Chewy. I noticed it for the first time last night as I was do the weekly cage cleaning. Adam says he'll try his best to treat him and get him better, but I can't help but resign myself to the fact that yet another hamster will succomb to wet-tail. Everything was going so well and I thought we were past the danger zone, seeing as how we got him almost a month ago. *sigh* There's nothing really to be done. Just hope that maybe this one will pull through. I'm not holding my breath though. I'm done with hamsters after this one. I wasn't sure I wanted to get another one when I went to get him and now this just convinces me that Brownie was meant to be my one and only hamster in life.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hamsters, hamsters everywhere

I think Adam has an addiction. He’s addicted to hamsters. Last night we went out and bought a third hamster. The original idea was to give Howie a playmate since he seems to do nothing but tunnel and bury himself in his cage. Unfortunately they didn’t get along too well so we had to go get a different cage. Oh well. I was worth a try. The new one is a Russian like Howie, but he’s brown rather than gray. His name is Duey. He’s a tiny thing right now, but seems happy enough. (Don’t let these pictures fool you, they fought fiercely when caged together.)

In other hamster news, it has been determined that mine is indeed a male so Pigster it is. And a pigster he sure is.

Book Update

Well, I gave up on the Proust book. I hadn’t read a page in about a week and a half and that was really dragging my numbers down. Perhaps I’ll come back to it at some point. Or maybe not. I’m counting those 62 pages though. :) In any case, I’ve moved on to Silas Marner by George Eliot. One of my favorite movies, A Simple Twist of Fate, is (loosely) based on this book, so I figured I’d read it and see how they compared. They’re obviously quite different and so far I’m amused by the religious undertones in the book. Fortunately this book is much easier to read than the Proust one was. I’ve got a few more books on the kitchen table at home that I plan to read next. One is Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I found a list that I made probably 5 or 6 years ago of books I wanted to read. I’ve been trying to work through that list (although I own a better part of them at this point.) The other fiction book I’ve got from the library is A Creed for the Third Millennium by Colleen McCullough. I really have no idea what this book is about, but it was on that list. I think I made the list right after I finished a huge independent study project on distopic futuristic novels my junior year in high school, so my guess is it probably has something to do with that. I guess I’ll find out.

Current Stats:
Days Gone 32 (8.77%)
Books Read 3 (6.00%)
Pages Read 987 (6.58%)