"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tools and Sabbats

I received a truly unexpected magical gift today:

I have searched for a cauldron for about a year and a half, forgetting the magical rule that governs my life--tools come to me and will hide if I seek them out. This precious gift came to me through divine intervention, as do all tools. I casually mentioned to a new friend with certain connections that I was looking for this tool. Then I helped my friend with a deeply personal project, expecting nothing in return. I never dreamt I would have such a large cauldron, nor one with a non-typical shape. Pleased cannot describe how I feel.

The cauldron is in poor shape and I had to do some creative Googling to find a site about how to clean and season a cauldron. Really, any site about caring for cast iron would have worked, but I wanted a witchy perspective. I found this wonderful site.

First order of business: scrub a dub dub with an SOS pad and tons of elbow grease; the interior is nasty. Then wash. Then season. Then dedicate in my Samhain ceremony. How perfect is it that my new tool arrived just in time for the holiest of our Sabbats?

The wheel of the year has turned again and Samhain is once more upon us. A year that has felt like at least three is over and a new one dawns, filled promise, passion, and purpose.

This year's lesson is best summed up by Khalil Gibran:

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

This Witch's chalice runneth over.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I don't wear pants and it's too cold to go barelegged for about six months of the year. So, understandably, I go through a lot of tights in a year. It's hard to find good tights--ones that fit, are reasonably priced, and last. Until recently, I've been going out of my way to Sears to get tights and paying about 15$ a pop for them.

Couple of weeks ago, I finally caved and decided to try Reitmans brand tights. How good could they be? They were way too conveniently located (building where I work) and very cheap (6$ a pair if you buy 3 at a time). Turns out that they fit, they're reasonably priced, and they last.

Moral of the story: just because something is way too convenient and seems too good to be true... doesn't mean it is.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

21,000 steps later

My order of environmentally friendly cleaning products having arrived, I decided to walk over to pick it up. It was about a 12km round trip. With one pace being about .75 metres, I figure I took roughly 21,000 steps this morning (if my math is correct). That's not really an extraordinary figure for me, except for the fact that it's the most I've walked in one shot since my surgery.

One thing I like about walking through my cities is that I get to pop into all the little boutiques I've noticed but could never find convenient parking for as well as read historical plaques.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Grocery Deals of the Day

On the way back from dropping off a colleague after the funeral, I decided to go pick up some fresh fruits and veggies at a grocery store. Having yet to find a new favourite grocery store, I stopped at the first store that was on the way home (Loblaws), but couldn't find parking, so I headed to the Independent Grocer's across the street. IG was tiny, but they had a decent selection of products (and PC brands). I got more stuff than I'd planned, but the deals couldn't be beat:

-orange peppers, 1.99$/lb (can reach 4.99$/lb);
-'Deliosso' brand pizza, 4.99$ each (normally 7.99$ each; I bought two since frozen pizza is worth getting on sale);
-Asian five Spice sauce by VH for 1.99$ (regular 2.79$).

The latter item made my day. I LOVE Asian spice sauce and use it the way most people use ketchup, putting it on everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to (veggie) hamburgers to stir fries. As usually happens when I get addicted to something, stores stop stocking it. So, when I find some, I just about raid the shelves! I got four today since I still had a bottle and a half in the fridge (because I'd been doling it out, afraid to run out now that it's so rare, *sob*).

My big treat of the day was a loaf of fresh cheese bread. My absolute favourite breakfast is a tomato sandwich, so I can't wait to make that tomorrow with the cheese bread. Add salt, pepper, and basil and it'll make a nice treat.

A Rainy October Day...

I attended my second Catholic funeral today, so now I have a measure of comparison. They were both very similar, so I can say this, generally, about Catholic funerals:

-they're very good exercise: you stand, sit, stand, kneel, stand, sit, kneel, sit, stand, sit, etc., and then the practitioners have to go all the way up to the front of the church for the little bread thingie and come all the way back. Oh, and there's some genuflecting involved whenever they pass the altar;

-the prayers are lovely (I'm very partial to Psalm 23);

-the music is lovely (I particularly enjoyed 'Amazing Grace' on a violin today);

-Catholics use 'tu' when speaking to their god??? I didn't realise that they use that level of informality with him;

-incense is used for the same reason Wiccans use it; to carry our prayers to the deity on the smoke;

-they pass around a plate for donations (thankfully, I had some change on me to contribute).

A colleague thought that I was a 'lapsed' Catholic and was therefore surprised by my level of unfamiliarity with the rituals. I informed her that I was raised by the atheist branch of my Catholic family. :-)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Attitude Changes

It's been a full month now since I made some radical choices as to how I was going to manage my money. It's working. It's amazing how it's working. I'm freeeeeeeeeeee! Ahem, to a point. :-)

A month ago, my credit card balance was at a 0 balance as I had just paid it off in full, like I'd been doing for a few months. Then I had an Incident With the Car and a few unplanned events and the balance skyrocketed.

My 'normal' reactions would have been to:

a) panic;
b) say "Okay, I blew it, again, might as well start living the vida loca, again."

Instead, I used my financial planning software to map out my income for the month of October as well as my fixed expenses. October has been an unusual month in that I have three pays. I also knew that a cheque for overtime would be forthcoming this month, but I didn't count on it (yet it arrived 'on schedule').

When my credit card bill for September expenses came in, I looked at my info in Buddi to figure out how I could pay it off in full before the bill came due and I would begin to accrue interest on the September expenses. I paid off the bill in full a week before it was due. I've now done the same for the remaining portion of the bill (MUCH smaller, thankfully), due a month today.

This has meant that I've worked a huge attitude shift, in that I've lived a pretty miserly month without my usual whining of 'oh, I'm so deprived, I'll just go rack up credit card debt.' Instead, I've come out of this proud to have survived two unexpected events without racking up bad interest and by using my 'regular' cash flow so I wouldn't have to touch my 'recurring' and/or 'emergency' funds! AND I've contributed to all my savings and investment accounts, on schedule! October sure was tight, and November doesn't look much better (except, of course, for an already paid for jaunt to Halifax) since I'll need to start looking at buying holiday gifts at some point, but I'm in better shape financially today than I was a month ago!

At least, all these unexpected expenses in late September and early October mean that I'll be eligible for 50$ in gift certificates from Amazon, so I can look forward to a few treats in November. :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Well, I'm Not Paranoid

At least, not about this.

Since my blog is largely about my journey to frugality and simplicity and uses clean language, I thought I was a perfect candidate for the 'Frugal Blogroll.' I applied, but heard nothing. I thought I'd done something wrong in the application process, so I tried again. Still nothing.

Now that there are so many blogs on there to compare mine with, I can pretty much surmise why I've been ignored and why the organizers should be a little, ahem, precise/truthful in their advertisements, ie. non-Christians need not apply.

Pity, my blog is no different from a lot of the Christian-owned ones, filled with little domesticities, a healthy does of spirituality, and some good old frugality.



points.com definitely rocks!

I was already using it to exchange Aeroplan miles for HBC rewards to get Airmiles. Well, I just discovered that you can convert Hotspex survey points to HBC rewards on the site as well!

I used to be active in Hotspex until they converted to their new rewards structure and I stopped getting anything out of it. Let's just say that this discovery is going to make me return to Hotspex! I still had a balance there of a couple hundred points that got me a couple thousand HBC rewards which will get me a couple of Airmiles. Talk about tangible results for taking surveys!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fun With Wool

My sweet potato fries being a qualified success (I'll make the sticks even smaller next time), I had a whole evening ahead of me. The logical thing would have been to work on an essay for the course I'm taking, but I was feeling brain dead. So, with winter bearing down on us, I decided it was time to start my favourite fall activity: Knitting a New Scarf. It's not quite an annual event, but almost.

I started by looking for a pattern. I tend to repeat the same favoured patterns and wanted something new and a tad challenging. I found: this pattern which seemed just challenging enough, but radically different from anything I've ever knitted.

The first challenge was to translate the pattern as I've never worked with an English pattern before beyond basic knit and perl stitches. That done, I had to find materials!

Going through my yarn bin, I found a 70% acrylic/30% wool blend in 'paprika' by 'Red Heart: Cozy Wool' in 100g (3.5oz) weight that seemed suitable, and for which I had an ample quantity in the same dye lot. The wool label recommended 6mm (10US) needles, which are my favourite size, so I went with those (I have every needle size, and more than one for the smaller sizes so I can knit in the round).

Supplies in hand (isn't it cool that I can go 'shopping' at home???), I cast on and spent a couple of pleasant hours getting a feel for the pattern. Here is the result of 2 reps of the pattern:

I can usually finish a project like this in two to three nights, so looking at my commitments for the next few days, I'll be able to wear it to work next Monday morning. I wear lots of browns and greens, so this scarf will go with most of my coats and sweaters. Probably one of the reasons I bought the yarn in the first place!

I might try to make mitts after since I have tons of this paprika left. The first (and last) time I ever tried to make mitts, I got discouraged since the second one wound up being bigger than the first. I know why that happened (too wound up for mitt #1 and too relaxed for mitt #2), so it'd be worth trying again. There might even be enough paprika left to make a tube-thingamabob ('passe-montagne' en français) that you slip over your head to cover it in lieu of a hat. That'll require knitting in the round with circular needles in a simple stockinette stitch, so it'll be more mindless than is the scarf.

Rambling on cold and wet autumn afternoon

-Cold and wet indeed. I can't believe that yesterday we beat a heat record! Considering what's going on in California, I can't complain. May the goddess protect those caught in the conflagration. Dear sweet humans, how long did you think you could abuse her before she rebelled? It is not her 'wrath' we have been seeing unleashed upon us in the past few years but her desperation. Listen to her!!! And, while you're at it, listen to the god, too!

Moving on to more mundane matters:

-Trying something new for dinner tonight: sweet potato 'fries.' I've had them elsewhere, so I know I like them, just not if I can make them. For some reason, sweet potatoes have yet to make their way into regular my diet. I think this is the second time I've ever bought them!

-For protein, my obvious choices tonight were fish or legumes. Soon as I saw the jar of lentils, my tummy rumbled, so lentils it was. I threw them in a pot with veggie broth, a bay leaf, a minced onion, and some soy sauce. *takes a moment to dash back to the kitchen to add turmeric* That's my basic 'recipe' for lentils; quick and easy and flavourful. Sometimes I make a huge pot of this and add dumplings on top. Yum! I just adore lentils; they're so versatile! And cheap! For veggies, I'll either add frozen veggies to the pot of lentils or heat up a can of beets.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rewards Programs Updates

-Best Buy. I read the fine print and it clearly boiled down to 'spend 400$, get a 5$ gift certificate.' So, I appreciate the illogic that they just sent me 5$ for buying nothing. *blank look* An item I wanted there is on sale this week, so I'm pleased. Of course, they were probably just trying to get me into the store, but since I was going anyway, they didn't 'get' me, so I'm thrilled with the 'gift'!

-Aeroplan. Well... I signed up at points.com where you can register the rewards programs they're associated with and swap points between them. Aeroplan and HBC are both participating members. So, when I get a ton of Aeroplan points, I can convert them to HBC points which will then automatically convert to Airmiles!

-Airmiles. I almost redeemed for a 25$ gift card for Chapters when I discovered that I could get 40$ at Reitmans for just a handful of points more. Reitmans is having their fall sale. The certificates arrived today. Guess who's going shopping tomorrow? :-)

Hypothetical Situation

The wildfires raging through California have made a lot of people reflect on what they would take with them if they had a few minutes to pack before being evacuated. The only time I've ever been evacuated I knew I wouldn't lose anything, so I didn't have this conundrum. But I've thought about this scenario a lot and come up with this list of what would make it to the car and in what order:

1) the cats;
2) my Book of Shadows;
3) my purse;
4) my computer;
5) the top drawer of my filing cabinet, which holds all my Important Papers, all of which are essentially replaceable using data found on my computer.

Depending on how quickly I get the cat-kids in their carriers and how much time I have left I'd grab toiletries (I have an always packed travel kit with all the essentials ready to go); a change of clothes; and my pillow.

What would you take?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Starting to feel like work (but in a good way!)

Balancing my expenditure transactions with my bank account, that is. It reminds me of the days when I worked for accountants and had to reconcile accounts.

Work has been on my mind this week.

I have a job the likes of which I never, as a child, imagined myself having. I work in an office and stare at a computer for 8-12 hours per day analysing legal documents for the federal government. The job has its moments, but it's usually tedious, frustrating, pointless, boring, and irritating. I wouldn't have hacked it two years (and plan to keep hacking it for another year or two) if I didn't have an incredible work environment with the best boss ever. The pay cheque doesn't hurt, either.

It wasn't so very many years ago that I worked at my dream job, a job I stuck at way too long because I loved it, even though more than one financial adviser informed me that I wasn't being paid enough to live. But that was okay; work was my life and I hacked it out until the job environment became unbearable and I realised that it would nice to be able to eat on a regular basis, take vacations, buy clothes, pay down debt instead of accumulating it....

The decision was tough to make, but it was made, and I've been working in an office now for three years. I'd done some office work before, but it was not my full-time job and there was always the chance of being able to spend time outdoors.

A friend said to me a few weekends ago that she remembered a chat we had, way back when I was in school, in which I adamantly said that I would never work in an office and do the nine to five grind, and yet there I am today.

Yes, there I am today. Older, wiser, and more cognizant of the kind of life I want to lead. The life I had before, with that dream job, was just half of the life I want. The life I have now is still just half of the life I want. But of the two jobs, this current one is the only one capable of putting myself on an expedited path to the whole life I want.

Lovely weekend

I've had one of those quiet, domestic, and spiritual weekends that I love, one where I nurtured my body and soul.

The first thing I did was 'create' an entrance closet. The owners put in pegs for hanging coats and whatnot, but that gets messy fast since I have several coats, shawls, scarves, etc. It was okay for the warm months, but I needed something more aesthetically pleasing and organized for the winter. What I did was make use of a big piece of 'catchall' furniture that I had placed in the general vicinity of the entrance with the vague idea of one day doing something practical with it:

This armoire had been my pantry for five years and was outfitted with removable shelves. When I moved to this house, the owners left their pantry so I figured that I could eventually turn this armoire into a wardrobe of sorts. One trip to Réno-Dépôt and less than 9$ later, I had an entrance closet:

I already owned the fabric shelf thingamajig. The green bin is filled with all my canvas bags for shopping. My original intent was to leave the bin in the car since I never knew when I'd be going shopping, but then I realised that I hardly drive now and that I always plan my shopping. So, the bin never makes its way back to the car and I've been tripping over it in the kitchen for months. Yay for giving something a home!

Another thing I did was process a huge pile of leeks bought on mega sale. Okay, six leeks. But when you're single, six big leeks is a lot!

Here are some of the tools I use:

I start by slicing the roots off the leeks with the chef's knife. Then, I use the scissors to cut the tips off the green part. I remove a couple of outer leaves, then use the scissors again to slice the green part until I can't cut anymore. I turn back to the butcher knife and slice the rest of the green and the white into half-inch (or so) slices. I throw the whole lot into the colander and pressure wash the bits until I can't see any more dirt. Then I shake the lot and start again. When I'm done, I empty the leeks onto a grill to drain.

Once they're drained, I pat them dry with a clean towel (too lazy too take out the salad spinner!) and then bag them in freezer bags. Of course, I leave some out to make a potato/leek casserole which takes about an hour to cook, by which time the green parts of the leek have turned brown-black and crispy and oh-so-sweet. I love leeks!

While the casserole was cooking, I made some brownies but messed up somewhere since the gluten developed as I stirred the batter. So, I wound up with 15 chocolate bread buns. Still good!

Finally, after doing the usual routine of laundry, vacuuming, and floor washing, I took advantage of the fact that I'm now allowed to lift and move things again and rearranged the living room furniture. I'm not quite done yet and not entirely satisfied, but the room is awkward and I doubt I'll ever find a thoroughly satisfying layout; that is one that blends aesthetics, logic, and function. But I'm close!

Spiritually, I read, meditated, prayed, and began to create a master bibliography, using the bibliographies of the books I've read, of all the books I 'should' read at some point or another. I have so much to learn, but so far my education has been manageable as I've noticed the gods tend to parcel out the information, keeping new levels out of reach until I'm ready for them.

I also organized my songs on iTunes, which motivated me to go hunt out some pagan music when I realised that the most spiritual music on my list is country songs about Jesus!!! So, I did some research and got some names of cds I might want to try out. I think I'll go to HMV first to see if it has any of them since HMV lets you try out a cd before you buy it. If not, I'll just buy online. *makes a mental note to pick up the newest Bon Jovi cd at the same time*

Dinner tonight is spaghetti squash (for which my secret weapon is a grapefruit spoon for scooping out the innards) and some mystery tomato sauce I found at the back of the freezer when I was making room for the leeks.

A weekend like this makes going back to the weekday grind almost bearable because I'll have a clean, tidy, and organized home to return to and lots of goodies in the fridge and freezer!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tracking My Spending

I continue to absolutely adore Buddi.

Reading about financial tracking, I've come a lot of people who can't figure out how to split the tax between items in different categories on one receipt.


I'm tracking how much tax I pay. So, when I go to, say, Walmart, and I buy one grocery item, two household items, and one article of clothing, I put the grocery item under 'groceries', add up the total of the two household items and put that under 'household', and well, you get the picture. I then put the GST under GST and the PST under PST. Same thing for gas, I even track the FET and PFT when I buy gas. Adding all the taxes up, I have paid more than 455$ in taxes since September 22nd! That's income tax, sales tax, gas tax, and other smaller taxes!

I won't go into my usual medical rant. :-)


This morning was a lovely cool and slightly overcast fall day... and I had nothing pressing to do at home. So, after tidying the kitchen and passing the vacuum upstairs, I headed off to Chapters to check out books and treat myself to a now rare cinnamon soy latté at Starbucks. Part of the exercise was to get some exercise, so I parked about fifteen minutes from the Chapters. :-)

Chapters had nothing I was willing to pay for, their Wiccan books completely fluffy and everything else overpriced. So, I got my latté and ambled down to the Sunnyside Bookshop, the place in town for all books Egyptian. There, I found a huge pile of wonderful books at greatly marked down prices (probably remainders), so I pulled everything that interested me off the shelf and then went through the agonizing process of weeding down my selection to a reasonable total. I took a chance on An Enchanted Life: An adept's guide to masterful magick and Devoted to You: Honoring Deity in Wiccan practise. But my real find just about made me faint: Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. This book retails for 95$ new and the cheapest used copy I could find was on Amazon for 55$. I got a pristine, brand new copy for... 15$. Woohoo!!! It won't be pristine for long though as I'll need to add to it by putting in the various ways things are spelled and including any other info as needed (Post-Its will be great for this), but I've FINALLY got my most coveted book. Patience pays off yet again! Thank you, lord Thoth; I recognize your doing.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Feeling... zennish

I can always tell that I'm walking my Path when I feel like this for several weeks straight: serene with a need to nest. When I start to wash my floors on my hands and knees, I know that my life is on track! LOL

This fall is crazy busy with an insane university course and tons of overtime at work. The most precious time of my days is the half hour before I go to sleep, when I'm lying in bed after a hot shower, reading something soulful and/or talking to my gods and/or meditating. The busier your day is, the more important it is that you take care of your soul.

I'm currently rereading Cunningham's Wicca: a guide for the solitary practioner for the first time since embracing my faith. I can't believe how much I've grown since I first read it! I am two years and three months older and wiser. :-) That is not to say that I dislike the book, far from it! I just recognize broader statements now and what's truly 'negotiable.'


Wow, according to Site Meter I seem to have actual readers! Even someone in India!

If you're reading, please comment to let me know you're here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rewards Programs

I signed up for three rewards programs this week: Best Buy Rewards, AeroPlan Miles, HBC Rewards, and SCENE rewards.

Before that, I was only collecting Petro-Points and Airmiles (and CDN Tire money, if that counts as a 'reward').

I prefer to be 'loyal' to one program so that I can accumulate lots of points and get free stuff, rather than spreading points around. Petro-Points is my catchall reward program since I get points for anything I buy using my credit card. I double my rewards at places like Shell, IGA, and Jean Coutu to get both Petro-Points and Airmiles rewards by using both my credit card and my Airmiles card. Between both programs, I get several hundred dollars worth of rewards every year.

I signed up for Best Buy rewards because it doesn't cost anything and I shop there frequently. I doubt I'll ever get a reward since the points expire and you need to spend 400$ to get 5$, but I don't lose anything by using the card.

HBC Rewards used to be the Zellers rewards program and I was peeved when the switchover came because I lost all my Zellers points. I'd taken all the steps to have my points transferred over, but my paperwork got 'misplaced.' Since then, I've satisfied myself with the Petro-Points on my credit card. This week, I got an offer that made me look at HBC Rewards more closely and I discovered that the points can be linked to my Airmiles card, with HBC points being automatically converted to Airmiles. Great! Another place where I can 'double' my rewards.

Jean Coutu has a great selection of products, but their prices aren't great and they're not located conveniently. There's an Uniprix in my building at work and they have most of the products I want (including the only shampoo and conditioner I use) as well as great sales. I don't shop there often and it's usually for amounts too small for me to want to use my credit card, so I conceded to not getting any points for transactions there. But they recently associated themselves with Aeroplan Miles so I figured I might as well get a card. Even though it'll take forever to rack up enough points to get anything from them, it's still better than not getting anything at all!

Finally, I'm kicking myself for not getting a SCENE card sooner. You get points for both movie and concession purchases. I think that the 'worst' you can do with this program is watch 10 movies, get the 11th free. I don't see a ton of movies at full price now, favouring 'discount' cinemas, but this program seems pretty sweet, and they give you a pretty good signup bonus, so I'll probably get my free movie in 6 or 7 movies rather than 10, even if it takes a couple of years.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ah, I love turkey day...

As is fairly customary, I was invited for Thanksgiving dinner on a Sunday to a friend's mother's home. This mother has never been fooled by my overweightedness and has always believed that I need feeding. Even though there are plenty of dishes I can eat during the Thanksgiving feast, she always insists on making me my own special meal, and then she sends me home with enough leftovers to get me to Yule (only slightly exaggerating).

One of the many offerings I left with was a margarine tub filled with the night's leftover veggies:

-mashed rutabaga
-mashed squash
-broad beans

Normally, I'd eat those veggies over the Monday and Tuesday, but today was our first cold, rainy day of the fall when I was out and about. I came home craving hot soup.

So, one tubful of veggies (see above)+1 cup of veggie broth+1 blender+1 pot=

Yum! Soooo good for you and soooo easy (and quick!) to make and non-fat to boot! The parsnips really gave it a unique flavour. I love these improvised soups; you never know what they'll taste like and you never get the same one twice. I served this with a low-fat grilled cheese--sharp cheddar in a tortilla, toasted in a non-stick non-greased skillet. Dessert was one of my dubiously healthy, but definitely low-fat, brownies. :-)

Monday, October 8, 2007


A colleague asked me to supply something for this year's charity campaign bake sale. I decided to be brave and accept; baking just isn't my thing. I made my vegan no nut brownies. These are truly 'mine'; I came up with the basic recipe and fine tuned it to the point of perfection (if I do say so myself). The theme of the bake sale is Halloween, so I ruined my brownies with icing, but I think they look pretty cute (and, okay, a tad messy). The Smarties are supposed to be the eyes and mouths of the 'pumpkins', but I ran out of brown ones, so I'll just say that the topping is Halloween candies. :-)

One nice thing about baking for charity is that you can put staple purchases such as flour and sugar under 'donations' rather than 'groceries' in your budget, leaving more money for other food. :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Patience pays off yet again...

I go through about a purse a season, then I lose patience with it because it starts to show wear. That's what you get with vinyl, even 'nice' vinyl. So, for some time now, I've been looking for a unique-looking (perhaps tooled?) genuine leather purse in a neutral colour such as tan. I was prepared to shell out several hundred dollars for the 'perfect' purse.

Long story short, one of my cats destroyed my latest vinyl purse last Friday (don't ask), which motivated to go 'hunting' in Toronto while on holiday there. Lo and behold, I found THE purse at Winners! I couldn't believe it! For one thing, I never, ever find anything at Winners! With tax, it came to a mere 40$! Let's just say I didn't need to think too hard about that purchase.

This afternoon, while looking at wallets at Bentley's (just looking, no hurry to replace my current one *g*), I saw that they'd brought in new leather purses. One was strikingly similar to mine, but didn't have quite as many pockets and the hardware was shiny gold, rather than the brushed bronze I favour so much that all the hardware at my old house was made of that metal! Benley's price for the purse? 100$. Sad thing is, I've been looking so long, I would have probably been thrilled with that one and bought it!

Now, I don't recommend driving 1,000km to save 60 dollars, but sometimes it's a good idea to look in new places when you've exhausted all your usual haunts.

Wish me luck with my next search: for the perfect winter coat and boots!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Financial Software Update

Well, my love affair with Cashbox was short lived. I was having a difficult time with the report functions and discovered that, lo and behold, I wanted to track my spending by very anal categories!

So, I did some more research and found another freeware app with potential called Buddi. I'm definitely at home there. It's easy to use, full featured, and the developer responds to emails very quickly. I've already made a donation, and this less than 24 hours after migrating over from Cashbox! It's even supported on a bunch of platforms, including BOTH Windows and OS X!

I recommend checking out the 'Developer's' site to download the still-in-beta version 2.9, which is much more intuitive and full-featured than the current fully tested 2.6. The developer is using the beta version for his own personal use, so that gives me confidence in it. Moreover, the more people who use the app and report bugs, the better it'll be!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

One person's trash...

Whenever I see a pile of trash, especially on a non-trash pickup day, I sneak a peak. Today, I saw some cruddy looking shelving units, a filthy broom, and... a perfectly good Swiffer broom.

My house has two stories and both get coated with cat fur very quickly, so I like to Swiffer between vacuum cleaner jobs. I was thinking the other day that it would be nice to have a Swiffer broom on each level, much the way I have a cleaning supply caddy on each floor. Too often, I head downstairs to get the Swiffer, get caught up in something else, and forget to go back up with the broom.

The gods sure do work in mysterious ways! Woohoo!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Slow on the uptake sometimes...

My 5x1$ General Mills coupons were going to expire this week, so I was determined to spend them during tonight's grocery pick up. I couldn't believe that there wasn't something on my pantry list for which the coupons could apply. When I got to the end of the last aisle, I found myself looking at the Old El Paso products and debated whether I should 'treat' myself to a taco kit or two using the coupons. Then I made the connection between the shelf and my cart. Tortillas. HELLO! I buy the store brand tortillas normally, but they're just 20 or 30 cents less than the Old El Paso brand. With the coupons, the OEP tortillas became 50 to 70 cents less than the store brand (and they taste SO much better). I put five packs in my cart, patted myself on the back, and shook my head at how slow I can be sometimes. LOL

'Course, passing through the cash was a different story. Coupons are just not that common here when compared to the States and a lot of cashiers don't have the training and/or authority to scan non-circular coupons. So, checkout took a while and the cashier kept on apologizing to me when I think she should have been apologizing to the poor couple behind me! I didn't mind the wait since there was no issue with acceptance of the coupons, just how they would be processed in the computer. Someone goofed at some point because according to the receipt, the store owes me 761,367.11$... The manager who processed the coupons just looked at the before coupon total, subtracted 5$ in his head, and punched that into the Interac system. Once my transaction was approved, he said that he was going to go have fun undoing his more than seven hundred thousand dollar mistake. Hee hee.

Money 'saved' today: 10$. 5$ on the tortillas, 1$ on frozen strawberries, 4$ on cheese. Not a bad haul.