"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."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tired of Packing...

I love to travel. I hate to pack and unpack. It feels that I've spent most of my life packing or unpacking a suitcase.

My parents separated when I was young, so I went back and forth between them. I left a lot of items at my dad's, but not clothes. I'd pack Friday evening, unpack Friday evening, repack on Sunday and unpack again Sunday. Twice a month.

Through high school and cégep, I packed and unpacked to go to dad's, to work (where I often would spend the weekend), to travel.

In university and college, I'd pack and unpack to visit my folks and my friends. Same thing since I started to work full-time.

Then I started to travel again.

Pack. Unpack. Repack. Reunpack.

I always check my packing list, but it's a crutch. I don't need one, just reminders of unusual items I need to bring.

It will be so nice to have a house on wheels, to be at home wherever I go, to put away the suitcase and bags for a while, to spend more time seeing and doing than sitting on a suitcase filled with all the stuff I might or might not need for the traveling I'm doing while praying that it'll zip shut without bursting.

Tired of packing, but oh-so-not tired of traveling.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Must Be Something In the Air

Moments ago, I stepped out to return an empty 12-pack of beer. No less than four of my neighbours stepped out the door at the same time to do the same thing. The dépanneur clerk was a bit dazed.

When my turn came, I handed over the 12-pack and a snack cake and got back 50 cents. Drinking beer might not actually save me money, but it supports my brownie habit since I'd drink beer even if I didn't eat the brownies, but I wouldn't pay for the brownies. Works out well. :-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gift On My Organizing Site

I'm offering a free password organizing template on my site organizing-ideas.com.

Please visit the page for instructions on how to get this file.

Monday, March 17, 2008

First Dinner, Then a Rice Tip

I was in the mood for shrimp tonight and had fresh ginger on hand, so I googled 'shrimp soy sauce fresh ginger' (or something to that effect) and found a recipe called Spring Peas and Shrimp Stir-Fry with Ginger-Soy Glaze that sounded good.

I didn't have any rice vinegar or sesame oil on hand, so I knew that I wouldn't get the full effect of the glaze, but decided that the ginger alone would give me a bit of a tastebud shocker. Instead of peas, I used frozen veggies I had on hand. Frankly, I think my medley was more inspiring than just the peas. I like peas, but I also think that you can't have a soy sauce dish without red peppers!

Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written, which is rare for me. I had so many little bowls of sauces and ingredients on the counters it made me look like a food network chef! I should have taken a picture of that. I actually filled up the dishwasher with this meal alone!

The end result was very good! It was a tad salty (my fault: too much soy sauce and should have nixed the veggie broth), but since I served the shrimp and veggies over very bland rice, the flavour evened out. I'd make this again, but would make it a point to get the rice vinegar to add a bit more sweetness.

Of course, I have a picture. :-) My shrimp look darker than the ones in the picture on the recipe site because I only had regular soy sauce, not light.

And, now, for a rice tip. I got this tip from my grand-mother who also lives alone. I can't believe I never thought to do this and have been eating a lot more rice since I have. We make a big batch of rice (one cup uncooked), eat a portion with our meal for that evening, then freeze the rest in small bowls (I use glass ones and she uses ramekins):

Each one of my bowls has a plastic lid for an airtight seal.

When I want rice, I just dump it out onto my plate and nuke it for 2 minutes. It comes out fluffy and fresh.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why I've Been So Quiet

I've been building a business.

My financial adviser finally drilled it into my head that I need to focus on making more money, not saving more money. So, I bit the bullet and spent the money for a SBI! site.

A couple of weeks in, I can already tell that, if I keep on following their hand-holding process, I'll be making my money back, and maybe even more.

I've had a lot of ideas for making money with a website and/or blog for some time now, but no notion of how to go about it. SBI! does all the techie stuff for you. It truly works with mathematical precision.

Of course, I did a lot of research on this system before buying into the hype.

I know that organizing is too broad a niche for me to corner the market and retire on the proceeds of a website. But it's a topic that interests me and for which there is a lot to write about. I wanted to cut my proverbial teeth with SBI! on a subject that I knew would give me back my initial investment if I put time and energy into it. Once I've mastered the basics and manage to actually monetize this site, I'll reinvest the proceeds into a tighter niche.

Another reason that I picked organizing is that I've had an idea for an e-book and had absolutely no idea how to market it. I knew this blog would give me only minimal opportunity. The SBI! site is going to provide me with the perfect vehicle.

I'm ultra focussed on this project because I want to start monetizing the website by June so that I can know by the end of the summer if I can count on any revenue from it for my fall projects. I'm in a time crunch to put together my motorhome plan, but this actually works in my favour. The more rushed I am, the more focussed I am. I do wish I'd begun months ago since postponing the move isn't an option. At any rate, I'll see how it goes.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Reading Labels

I've had a craving for grilled cheese sandwiches for days now. Must be the (insane) weather. Yeah, that's it.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are a treat since they're made with ingredients that have almost no redeeming nutritional value--real butter, commercial sliced white bread (CSWB) and fake cheese slices (FCS).

Tonight, I decided it was time to indulge, so I headed to GT. They had the CSWB I favour (Weston), but not the FCW. I usually buy Kraft 'real cheddar' slices. I don't care what anyone says, processed cheese is processed cheese, but these slices have a less 'plastic' feel to them. GT offered two options, both containing 24 slices. The first was by Black Diamond (maker of the some of the best sharp cheddar in the whole world) for 4.99$. The second was a brand I'd never heard of, for 88 cents.

I looked at the ingredient labels for each. Black Diamond's first ingredient was cheese. The other had oil and starch as its first ingredients and didn't even have the words 'cheese' or 'milk' anywhere in them. You can guess what I bought.

The resulting sandwiches were very, very good. :-) I've got lots of FCS and CSWB left, so I can have a few more sandwiches over the next week until I'm all grilled cheesed out, and then I'll be good for several months.

Financial Advice

I met with my financial planner yesterday. It was our first meeting in six months. I just wanted to reevaluate where things stood and discuss a few options I'm looking at. When I pulled out my hairbrained idea and asked him what he thought of it, he shrugged and said "Why not?"

He then continued with words that just about gobsmacked me:

"You have no dependents and your financial future is assured. Why, then, would it matter if you piss away everything else you make doing things or buying things that make you happy?"

He brought up the following points:

-there's no point in depriving myself today so that I can live super well tomorrow. Instead, I should be puting money aside to live well tomorrow so that I can live well today;
-I don't realise it, but I'm one of his best off clients. Yes, my portfolio is worth very little today, but I'm starting at a young age, understand the magic of compound interest, and already know how to pay myself first and then live within my means with whatever's left over.

The only reason he said that I should be tracking every penny is to ensure that I have a good balance in my life between consumables (food, clothes) and durables (life experience like trips and entertainment). He's the only other person besides me I've ever seen sort expenses that way.

I am under strict orders to reach a certain salary level within the next five years. My eyes must have bugged out when he told me the figure and he smiled. "It'll be easier than you think now that you know you're free to take the necessary risks."

I've never had such amazing financial advice that is perfectly tailored to my lifestyle, values, dreams, and goals. Last night confirmed that he is the perfect financial planner for me at this time of my life and he assured me that he'll be there as I take the first steps into my new and very unpredictable life, providing me with at least one measure of security and stability.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Little Things That Irk Me

(very little)

1) Unexplained Mini-Windfalls

There was a small deposit made into my chequing account two days ago. It's described as a 'branch deposit.' I wasn't expecting anything payments for anything, so I have no idea where this money comes from or even if the deposit was made in error. The bank was of no help ("According to our files, ma'am, that entry was a branch deposit." (Ma'am?!)) How long am I expected to leave that money in my account before I can do something with it, like move it to my high interest savings account? Money appearing from nowhere might sound great in theory, but it's annoying for someone who tracks such matters. I won't get into what happened the last time this happened, other than to say that the bank (not the bank I'm currently with) charged me interest for a five figure deposit they accidentally made into my account....

2) Changed Packaging

Like many eaters of tofu, I have a favourite brand because one curdled soy bean is not the same as another. I've been eating this brand for about fifteen years. I can't even tell you the name of it!!! I just grab the beige package for a full-sized brick, or the pink box for half a brick. Well, now they put their flavoured varieties (YUCK) in the same-colour packaging!!!!!!!!!! It wasn't until I'd ripped open the pink box today that I realised that I was holding herb-flavoured tofu that is normally sold in yellow packaging! Thankfully, this wasn't dramatic for the meal I was preparing and worked out fine, but what if I hadn't been planning to make something savoury with it (thyme tofu uncheese cake anyone)? Very, very annoying. If a gal can't count on her tofu, what, if anything, in the universe can she count on? There was also an announcement on the box for new 'feta-flavoured' tofu. Oh, brother. Let me guess, they're going to jack up the price, too?

*takes a deep breath*

I love my life!!! I mean, these (and having a hard time getting out of my parking spot because of the snow) are the most annoying things that happen in it!!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Jim Karter Contest

Jim Karter is having a contest whereby you can win 500$ by subscribing to his feed and/or blogging about the contest. Pretty sweet!

Beautiful, Unique, and Functional

I try to bring into my life things that are beautiful, unique, and functional and I pay attention to detail. Whenever I have my own home again, I'd like to have a 100% personalized house, down to the toilet flusher (cue in laughter). One thing I never considered was mailboxes.

My first thought when I came to this site was to roll my eyes as I thought "Yay, more junk for the rich crowd." But, I still gave the site a perusal and decided that I like the offerings. Seattleluxe.com sells a wide variety of mailboxes for both residential and commercial uses. Custom, anti-theft, multiple unit and unique mailboxes are a few of the thousands of varieties of mailboxes that Seattleluxe.com sells. The right mailboxes can both beautify your home and protect your identity from mail theft.

Seattle Luxe sells a variety of other products ranging from butcher blocks to mirrors, and just about everything is beautiful, unique, and functional. It's definitely one to bookmark if only for inspiration in outfitting a home.