Monday, December 26, 2011

Survived the long weekend

I was lucky and got some cranberry walnut (yeast bread) from the mark down bin at Walmart Saturday. I made french toast using eggnog on Sunday. Urban market sold Louis kemp crab and lobster delights for 79 cents for each 8 oz pkg. I bought 5- I am hypothyroid and hate most fish- I will eat this however but is usually too pricey.

We had a long weekend this week and its another next. I am not a big family person . I would rather be working.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Facing Thanksgiving

My new place doesnot come with an oven. So cooking a turkey is out. But my boss always does a dinner for us at work. So I am debating how much I really want to cook and how much I want the day to myself.
So I came up with some plans that will take care of food beyond the holiday. ( I already volunteered to work Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving-I am still paying old bills and I like not being totally broke all of the time. )
Plan A: Buy the dinner package from Urban Market the small one is $29.00, the large one $39 for an extra $10 they will cook it first and I have only to reheat. Pros : I like their food - they cook clean .
Cons: its a little pricier than I want to spend for just me. Only dessert offered is pumpkin pie- which is not a favorite.

Plan B: Be thankful and have my favorites. Not less money ( by much) but I could for almost the same amount get a mixed box of fried chicken (which includes 2 sides and biscuits) from the chicken place down the street the day before the holiday. Pickup extra sides from the BBQ place at the busstop. $12.00 for the chix , $5.00 for the extra sides. Plus $2.00 for Urban Market's Mac and cheese which I love, and a large mixed salad with extra bleu cheese $5.00 Total $24.00 before dessert but I am planning to see Breaking Dawn on Thanksgiving ( New place is 2 blocks from the theater) and Steak and Shake is open. So I could get dessert there after the movie ( I don't do concession stand -its is way over priced) . Pros: I would have more food for 30.00 than for the 39 but probably not as healthy .(con)

Plan C is I could make my lemon rosemary chicken breast on my Foreman. ($3.00), buy the bread and 2 sides from the chicken place $5.59 , 3 extra sides from bbq place $5.00, Mac and cheese and salad from Urban $7.00 and still get my dessert from Steak and Shake. Pro: Healthier than Plan B , more cost effective than Plan A. Total without dessert: $20.00 Con: More clean up and prep.

This is unique this year as I have only been here a month as of Thanksgiving. My kitchen is tiny . With all the hulabaloo over the move , I would like to enjoy the day. My paying job is high stress. I admit to being a workaholic. I am not into the whole family drama thing- I used to get sick as a kid before Thanksgiving from stressing out. I will call the family but that is a short shot ( I live too far away ) , then I have the day to myself.

Its all about choices. Have a happy one.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chef Ramsay

Say what you will about Gordon Ramsay- The fact remains that he knows his business. One of the practical applications of his knowledge is minimalize waste/control costs. I was particularly impressed with a challenge that he gave to contestants on Hell's Kitchen - to turn something into something else.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to do just that. The deli section of Urban Market had markdowns on Saturday. I picked up a ton of things (3 shopping bags) for $19.67. It included meat loaf (3 slices) , corn,mashed potatoes, salad mix in a bag, 2 cobblers- apple and blackberry, chicken fettacini, egg substitute, chicken breast-uncooked ...I turned some of the meatloaf and veggie sides into a skillet shepard's pie and had enough for 2 meals-for $1.21. Last night , I made a pan grilled chicken and vegetable  salad for dinner, cost was $1.30 and was wonderful. I intend to repeat that this evening. I haad cooked 2 chicken breasts last night ,knowing how I feel when I have worked all day. While you might not live around an HG Hills/Urban Market, check out the markdowns and cook them or freeze them when you get home. Its not only about what we earn but how much we keep.

Friday, October 21, 2011

We have arrived and are unpacking

The first two nights that Maxie and I spent here, I barely slept- it was too quiet. After 6 years of being awakened by some hoo-ha who was either just getting off of work or coming in from drinking- it felt really weird to be allowed to sleep as early as I wanted and sleep throught the night. I think that I like the experiance. I should have left years ago. The rent is higher- I should be able to offset that by continuing the practices such as Urban Market that I started months ago. Plus my utilities are included in my rent- for moderate months , I am paying $104 a month more. If utility costs continue as they did last winter, I will pay $58 less during the more severe months and be warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Allowing for 6 moderate months and 6 severe months- the actual difference works out to $23 more per month. Idealistic model - will see how it goes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Last night was the last night that I will sleep in this apartment

There are 2 days remaining today and tommorrow. I am coming along nicely  and after I finish this, will take down the computer until Monday night, I have already marked the wires and positions . Moving from 900 sq ft to 300 sq ft means cut,cut and cut again . Maxie is sitting in the patio doorway and why I could be moving the chair outside, I want her to enjoy her last hours here as well. She is already stressed with the move which got worse after I took out the couch. She does have windows in the new place . It won't be the same.

There is a line that Arina sayd to Henri ( married vampires in my work in progress) that sums up how I felt when I woke up this morning. " I don't want to get up, the minute my feet touch the floor , we belong to the world and all of this is real." So for some hard core evaluation :

I knew that the client was leaving even before they announced it- my employers did not want to hear it. Whatever caused the initial problem , had snowballed before I even felt it. That client is now totally reorganizing- managers with whom we had dealt for years are being moved away from liablity . In a normal economy , I might have looked for a new job. This is not a normal economy , at least not until now. We were told that our department was not to blame. It was our department that suffered. One woman was released from her job, I thankfully was moved to another dept., only one of the owner's moms is still working our old biz. Starting Tuesday, I have to up my game for being out, even though I took it as vacation time.

My employer although I was unhappy with them for refusing to look at the obvious- has been supportive . One can forgive alot when they put their money where their mouth is . I have 2 great clients and am determined to make them shine. I have a loan which has no particular paydate - asap- small but stopped the inevitable for awhile. It wasn't to be. Everytime we solved a problem - the players escalated the stakes. The stakes eventually got too high.

Two factors were major:

- Nashville Electric service added fees to offset any energy savings I effected. I cut my bill by over $30 , only to have them tack on an adminstrative fee of roughly the amount of the savings.

- I was never far behind on the rent- but it takes time when you work partly on commission. We had a change of management , and I thought that the guy who had been assistant twice seemed ok. I know him now for a liar. The last time that we spoke , we discussed what I could pay- I knew that I had a commission (small) and said I could come up with $1000 to be followed with $400 per month repay and the monthly rent. We would have been paid in 90 days. He said he could work with that- he took the money - and sent me to the attorney anyway. When I complained about the lie- he said not to worry that the attorney would take the plan. I spoke with the attorney- there had been no such accomodation . They wanted it all in 14 days which was not possible, So I took an agreed judgement and made arrangements to move. The landlord has stayed away from me- and I do not seek him out. I did get a smaller payment per month . Tempting as it sounds, I am not going to drag it out .

-Why this is a good thing:

They donot use bonded repair people but whoever- usually when you are not home.

Screening leaves a lot to be desired - as in they don't do stringently enough. We had an upstairs neighbor who brough critters (insects) and even though they were evicted, we battled them for months. There are many who have been to jail.

Along the same line, TN law requires 24 hours notice before they can enter an apartment. Management here did that about 65% of the time. My vet and I suspect its part of what killed my 13 year old cat, Daisybunny - they came in to spray unannounced, she was loose, was scared of strangers , hid and got sprayed. How do I know? They never locked my door properly invalidating my insurance and putting my goods at risk. I keep the dates on a calendar.

No consideration for the schedules of the tenants- one of my neighbors who works nights , found workmen wandering around her apartment while she was sleeping. She moved yesterday. There is more consideration for the service companies that the management co pays than the tenants who pay them . This seems skewed to me.

So see you on the other side later this week. Time to finish the packing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I had to go out this afternoon for cat food, another container for books , and trashbags. I decided in the middle of all of this to stop for a cup of coffee, I ran into a woman who used to take the bus with me from Metrocenter here in Nashville (Its the center of nowhere-its so distanced from downtown that its Roswell Southeast.)

She had been out of work since'09 and is about my age. She is living at the Salvation Army shelter. Cigna lost the contract for the area in which she worked-and she has been unable to find another job. My question is how can any religion or philosophical enity claim to honor their mothers and fathers - i.e. their elders and not only warehouse them in nursing homes but put them on the street? Does this strike anyone else as a paradox , maybe hypercritical? I am going to the Imperial Palace compared to that . This is a woman who worked hard all of her life- as have I and most of my friends- but there are days, like today , where it feels scarey and unappreciated . No American should be allowed to drop so far. Not when they are willing to work.

" I complained about having no shoes , then I met a man who had no feet..."

3 Days Remain

When I took my baby dragon lamp from my home office to work, I felt that the apartment was no longer mine. It feels happy at my job, so there it will stay . The art work , the bulletin boards, all gone. I am not doing storage this time- economic times being what they are - I am not comfortable committing beyond my hourly income.

Lori from work is getting the 3 bookcases. I also have 2 childrens books (she has grandkids) , a game and a rotissaire she can have - she doesn't know about that. When Amazon pays me for sold used books this week , I am also going to give her $20.00 for helping me move tomorrow. Goodwill comes on Monday for the rest of the usable furniture. I had been thinking about replacing the living room suite before this and am now glad that I did not. I still am taking alot of stuff with me for my smaller space. Much of it is books that I am selling on Amazon.

I went to the dollar store yesterday for frozen pizza- I had gone to get another plastic container for books to be sold. They were over priced at Home Depot - I think I paid 4 dollars for them last time  now they wanted 12 . No Sale. As I sat outside HD , a truck pulled up and the driver came over and spoke with me. He knew me from my job- but he knew me from when it paid more than it does now. He is a contractor and is very disgruntled with the Presidential policies regarding jobs. It should never had to wait. It should have been first. I think that Bill Maher ( to whom I have become addicted) said it best " It isn't that Obama did not recognize the problem but that he failed to treat it with the Urgency of Emergency that FDR had done ." I agree. His reelection looks like New Montgomery Street in SF after it crosses Broadway in North Beach. ( If you have never seen it, it is a large hill  almost straight up and down-bring oxygen and climbing gear. ) Many have tried , few have succeeded .

I was putting things out yesterday , as were some of my neighbors as there are 80 of us moving from here over the next 30 days - and the ragpicking vultures actually parked their cars and pawed through the trash . We are not allowed to have yard sales  in the complex. I just wanted to scream- People , have a little dignity and get out of the dumpster. I believe in working hard and being frugal but that is too much and is low. Its one thing to see me carrying something to the dumpster.  and ask if you can have it, but quite another to jump in the dumpster and pull it out. I believe that the energy changes once in the dumpster and becomes that of decomposition not composition. Like dragging a dead body home.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Eight days remain

Maxie feels the impending move- and is stressing on it. I did the only logical thing yesterday and got my hair cut after work- it needed it, I usually am off work after they close, and was  the first step towards order once again. I got 9 books sold last week through Amazon and there are 2 more that have been sold since I shipped the orders. Monday is Columbus Day so there is no mail. I will ship those on Tuesday.

Saturday on the bus, a woman gave me a tip that HG Hills has included a flat of eggs in their pick 5 for 19.99 The rent is a little higher than I'de like at the new place but the security is better. I lived there 7 months last time. I told my friend Sheila where I was moving , and she was delighted. She lives in an apartment complex that also includes the electric service. So with the information from the bus, I am sure I can make it work. At least I won't be facing $300 electric bills in the winter- this is a good thing.

I picked up my mail from the laundry room this morning- lots of junk mail- but noticed that the new landlord is very group oriented. He is organizing things like field trips to credit seminars etc- maybe this is good- even hiring a bus. But I am not a group participant type of person even if I were still here.
He is also family oriented-I have noticed . He has a vision of what he wants this place to be and even without our disagreements, without his lies, my disatisfaction with the maintenance and security of the place which has deteriorated , I don't fit. Many of those moving are older, some with disablities. If this were CA , there would probably be a class action suit. I don't feel up to leading the charge- you have to care for that and all I care is that I get better from the arthritis . So , there probably won't be one - though I will sign on if there is- not to get rich because only the lawyers get rich from those but to make a point. I don't regret the move , but I have lived here, good or bad over 6 years and am leaving that part of my life behind. As much as I know that this is a good thing, it was the last place the Daisybunny lived with me. Maxie , who is sitting on my CPU , is supervising this blog today and is ready for the challenge. I view this as a return to the crossroads-we go forward from here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Moving Day-15 days remain

I am thinking about positive things that deal with the move. Things that I will change after I move . Maxie and I will both have some changes in the smaller space but at least , it will give me a chance to gather my wits in peace without constant invasion by management. Three things I liked about where I live- large enough to be like a small house, close enough to the Dollar store that I don't have to always run to Madison Station by bus to pick up things, a few of my neighbors. Three things that I hate about where I live now:Lack of respect by management/management company - they are always in your face, have no respect for your schedule and frequently lie when caught. The below par care of the buildings. The poorly lit hill on which I was mugged a few years ago. I swear it gets higher and darker every year- there is a street light at the bottom and one at the top and nothing between. The rest of the neighbors. This is not a cohesive neighborhood. I had the neighbors from AR whose young men, 12 and 14 had concrete blocks surgerically grafted onto their feet- they knocked things off my walls as they moved, followed by Psychobitch and her crew. I got a brief respite when I got the sweetest little unwed mother upstairs- the only sound from there was the giggling race of the patter of her baby daughter. When she moved on, I got Dave and Mike , 2 prison guards from Riverbend. They were the greatest comedy team since Abbott and Costello. They were very light on their feet for men of their sizes ( about 300 lb each) . It was all about the women with them and I heard about every line in the book and a few that weren't from the porch over my bedroom. They made me laugh as I heard the women give in on the dumbest lines. Strictly , and you believed that? Then they  left and I got rotating Mexican construction worker crews, not all of which may have been legal- I don't know but the initials  INS made it get really quiet.
Now there is a nice Phillipino family and they are respectful. Sure , now they move in , just as I am leaving.

Older people are not encouraged to stay. There has been a real trend towards young families. Its an owners' market due to the deflated housing bubble. I have topped out on the rent here for three years and that might be part of the issue as well. But I have noticed the departure of anyone near 60 here.

I sold some books over to Amazon- and am thinking of opening a shop there as a sideline to my regular income. I will make that decision after the move. a little extra money is always welcome.

Urban Market had Bob Evans sausage for 1.09 each this week- so I got some.

Saw a wonderful film this am on Netflix- Love's Kitchen.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moving Day-20 Days and Counting

In the Bushama Depression , we have all had to make sacrifices. My employers lost a multimillion dollar client for damage claims and I lived without commission (2/3 of my income in better days) for about a year- not pretty. My landlord bore most of my attempts at repayment- but I just could not get over the hump . So we talked yesterday and I am moving in 20 days. I am going back to a extended stay hotel where I lived before moving here. They will allow Maxie (cat.) I am not taking storage this time- but my friend Lori says I can store some things with her. I am giving away furniture to friends and Salvation Army. I am leaving nothing for the skanks who reside in the complex who dumpster dive- they are part of the reason that I am moving, why I did not fight harder.  Some of them broke into the machines in our laundry room and stole the coin boxes and the Coke machine. Two weeks later , the laundry room is not restored. I have worn damp clothes to work 2x not knowing that it was not fixed. I told Lori, I would take an axe to the furniture before letting anyone here have it. Now what to decide to take. My computer, of course, they provide cable , electricity, free phone service- local and ld . I have lived here 6 1/2 years and the neighborhood has declined. Sadly this happens just as I got 2 new clients and the income is picking back up. I will get through this. I have sold a number of books through Amazon . I am taking the rest with me as they may pay additional expenses. It will be crowded - but I will manage - I did before. If the cost of heat goes up as it did last year- I actually break even or do a little better. There is a kitchenette and as I know I will be with them until Spring, I will buy a convection oven and a bread machine to handle the holidays. I am taking 3 small lamps , my desk lamp will go to my office (baby dragon) , clothes, of course. I will continue to write and work on my novels. I will get my credit from anything donated to Salvation Army and get a POB  downtown near my office. Its incredible how the mind works. - I awoke this am planning what to take and what to toss. There is no time for tears but I am planning on buying an incredibly large bottle of Jack Daniels for after the move. I will cry when its over. This part of my life has ended but a small part of me says that it is time and that I wouldn't have done it without this boot in the pants. Perhaps. Bottom line, I will be fine. I wouldnot have it any other way. I donot excuse or forgive Obama- he waited too long, I am a union brat and the first 500 items on my agenda are US jobs at a living wage. Minimum wage jobs do not count.

In this apartment, I have survived 4 changes of management, some good, some obnoxious. My first cat in TN moved in with me and died 14 months ago at about 13 years old. I made a new friend in my new cat , Maxie a year ago and she will continue the adventure with me. I have had a lovely young woman with a wonderful baby overhead and had her move, 2 great guards , Dave and Mike from Riverbend prison give me unending source of amusement in their pursuit of females. I have had the bad, the corporate construction folks who rotated and didn't care and then there was Psychobitch- a generational family of white trash hookers who hung out with drug dealing gangbangers. They threatened my life before they left. I know that they did not know the meaning of quiet and sincerely doubt their ability to spell it. I lived my life. I have been surrounded by interesting characters.

Its not all bad , and this I have shred a few tears about. Much as there is a sound business decision to go by both my landlord and I - and I would rent from them again if they would have me but not here.
I cannot do the stairs ( all 6 of them ) as I did when I moved in . I was in a terrible car wreck 30 plus years ago as a passenger, and arthritis has caught up with me- the hotel has elevators. This is the reminder of my mortality . But I am  reminded that Robert Lewis Stevenson was a cripple, that George Gordon aka Lord Byron had a hunchback , and in such good company, how could I fail? I have maximized what I can do for decades and now the decades are declaring victory - small for now but encrouching. I will continue to fight for my independence and will not go gentle into that good night. This is me raging against the Darkness. As Author/ Producer Kurt Sutter has said- everything has a price. It will be interesting to see what I have purchased with my coin.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I suppose if you have been following this

you are wondering why I am not posting on The Examiner. The best reason is the truth- I don't work for free and they changed the rules 2 days before I would have gotten paid.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Being flexible-Impromptu Mexican Stir Fry

It started with a bag of microwavable Old El Paso seasoned black beans being on sale for 1/2 price at Reese Market. Deals had 2lbs spaghetti noodles for sale @ $1.00. I never buy steak - too pricey. Reese sells roasts which I rebutcher into steaks and stew beef. The result was economical and delicious.

Saute about 1/3 of a white onion, 1 roma tomato and 1 jalapeno pepper in a small amount of vegetable oil. You will want to put your  salted water on for spaghetti at this time as well . When the veggies are softened, set them aside in a bowl . Brown about 1/2 lb stew beef in pan,and if the water is boiling in the other pot , add your spaghetti(2 servings not the package) . Heat the black beans following package directions, in microwave for 1 minute.

When meat is how you like it , remove from heat and add the reserved vegetables back into pan m stirring. When spaghetti is cooked, drain and add that to pan, turning the heat on once again to med.
Add heated beans and stir. Make sure that everything is heated , and mixed together . Serves 2.
Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese ( on sale at Kroger's last week) over top.
Estimated cost:$1.05 per serving.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Yahoo news reported that the Middle class is still being squeezed

Right out of existence , if their economist is to be believed.

The life that is being envisioned for me is not the life that I planned for myself. I am sure that is true for many other people. I don't see myself on the shores of the Cumberland River , living in a mud hut , hammering together sandals for an overseas company. Its just not in me. I won't do it. But I am alarmed that they are now predicting that the economy won't be fixed till 2018. That is seven months and 2 National elections away,which is unacceptable. I would be about 68 years old . I did the right things , went to college, have a good work record, and moved into an area where ,until recently, I could manage without credit cards and many loans.

 So I have become an advocate for life  modification not deprivation. Deprevation only leads to depression and exhaustion. Have I made cuts in my life? Yes, I cut cable off and took Clearwire as my internet provider. I watch everything on the computer , a day or so later from the networks or choose just those I enjoy and pay Amazon for the episode. It is still less expensive than cable or satellite. The cuts hurt me less than it has those who escalated prices beyond a reasonable cost. Do the math, I might spend $10 per month at Amazon , $24 for Netflix and $52.00 for Clearwire. $86.vs $140 for cable. I am seeing everything that I saw before the cuts. I am actually seeing more than previously seen. I am happy with that. For those with families , there are boxes that will transfer the programming to your tv.

Now let me show you a little trick. I pay Clearwire $52.00 for service per month . Now , what would you think if I told you that I actually pay them $26.00 per month? Here is how. Because I do the paid blog, and spend much time researching and writing, I allocated 50% of my internet bill as a business expense(based on time ) . I am not charging back apartment space , though I could ,based on home office, but IRS is hard on home offices and it is better to underreport. Still this is a savings of an additional $320 per year just for internet. Everything helps. I have to put out the money first but at the end of the year, my Netflix is offset , therefore free. I have $2 left and can have 6 bags of dollar store popcorn (Microwave popcorn) , or chocolate ice cream and (thawed ) frozen strawberries (see article that follows) per month.

I just submitted my second article for the internet publication , Examiner. Enclosed is the link for the column.:

I had answered an ad on for part time independant contractor work. They say that they pay standard rate - so I figure about a penny a word as that is what I have seen elsewhere. They are very clear that this will not support you . Still , I figured that anything helps ( they pay through paypal and I am happy about that) and it gives me experiance with working with editors That was another thing that I considered to be valuable.

Balance needs and wants. This is your one and only life, and quality counts.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Indulgence of Budget Grocery Shopping

Budget grocery shopping need not be a punishment, No, wait, it should not be a punishment. Everything in life is a form of Challenge . You are capable of meeting that Challenge. The solution is not a sentence of 22 days of  unadulterated ramen noodles for $4.80 so that you can put gas into your vehicle. The slow economy ( made slower, I believe by the media touting the slow economy ) need not sentence you to a life of peanut butter sandwiches on white bread. Before you reach for your credit card and spend $20 that you could put to better use, make a list. What do you like to eat? Now , beside that , make a second list. What have you been buying because its on sale, marked down , or you have a coupon? Are the lists the same ? Because they should be pretty close to identical. If they aren't , then there is something wrong.

Think back to when you were a child and Mother put something that , maybe you did not like so much on your plate. (If this never happened to you , rent Mommy Dearest, and pay special attention to the steak scene.) There was a feeling of frustration because you could not do or get to something that you liked better without consuming the thing on the plate. Guess what , you are doing the same thing to yourself everytime you deny yourself what you  like for what is okay and on sale.

This week I had baked chicken , Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwiches(modified) , strawberry shortcake , sausage biscuits, steak with baked potato and green salad,  grilled cheese sandwiches,bacon cheese burgers and hamburger bean and green bean casserole. And I only spent $25 for 2 weeks. I shopped specials at local markets.

The bread for my sandwiches all came from Pepperidge Farm. I had their Ancient Grains and their Soft Oatmeal , both marked down to 99 sents each. The cheese was real not product and I had Swiss and Mild Cheddar. I paid $4.99 for 6 lbs of chicken. If you don't have fistsful of money to throw into the grocery store, you are going to have to invest time.

Flyers tell part of the story but if you are a good food detective, there are sometimes unadvertised specials in the store. Poke around. I found a head of butter lettuce for a dime at my local market. It wasn't advertised and was in good shape. If you don't tell and are selective in your purchases, neither will the food.

I do recommend a list but be flexible with it. Its a road map to keep you on track . Ask yourself what elements you want to eat.I am not talking high school chemistry but flavor elements. I mentioned the Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich. What foods does the original recipe have ? Chicken ,ham, cheese-usually Swiss, Dijon mustard with a breaded coating. My sandwich is 2 pieces whole grained bread, toasted, on one piece , spread some commercial ham salad( was 99 cents at Reese Market in Madison),
top this with some leftover baked chicken strips from the breast, top with Swiss cheese and the other piece of toasted bread. ( I pretoasted my bread because I packed it for lunch where I nuked it for 30 seconds in the microwave- it was very nice. If you are eating this at home, you could fry it like a grilled cheese.) . What other things can be made by combining the same flavors if not the cost of your favorite foods. Remember if it rots in the refrigerator , its not a bargain.

Luxury is in mouth feel. If its creamy and delicious , it is. Your brain doesn't care that it wasn't five dollars but $1.50. The strawberries for my shortcake were an unadvertised special . My shortcake cost me $1.50 per serving and was many fresh strawberries, biscuits( from a can ), and whipped cream (from a can.) It was big, it was beautiful and it felt so good in my mouth. Learn to trick your pallet. Its not what you can't have but how you can have your favorites at lower cost. It doesn't feel like depravation if it looks and tastes indulgent.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Consumer Beware- The Good Advice May Not Work For You is a recent article on 15 foods never to buy again. The author did not identify his target audience but my best guess is that is is family oriented. ( This is a very annoying site, I have a good popup blocker and had to refuse to allow on every section of the article.)

There were four suggestions with which I disagree. #9 Salad kits, if I were feeding a family maybe this would not be a good idea but as I only buy them when they are on sale , some times as low as 75 cents to a dollar, for me a single , these can be a good idea. Alternative, buy the salad makings IF you intend to use it up - and if you can get individual portions of dressings, ( Urban Market sells them for 25 cents each pt) - it stops the "I am single and doomed to eat this forever feeling." Usually I buy the green salad mix when on sale as opposed to the kit, add what I want to it and  choose up to $2.00 of dressings from their individual rack. ( Average bottle dressing is 2.50-4.00 ) . I also have used salsa mixed with a little mayo as a dressing over hamburger which has taco seasoning in it.

#10 Individualized servings of anything. As a single person , you are well familiar with the 4-6 servings mindset of the food industry. As some one who is both American ( and our concept of portion sized is seriously skewed) and has fought with her weight, I would amend this to Temptation foods. I am seriously addicted to potato chips . I am better with the small bags of chips at 3 for a dollar at the dollar store than the bag marked down to $2.00 which maynot see the dawn if I am stressed enough. Going along with this, because ice cream is another temptation/trigger/comfort food for me, the article suggests don't buy gourmet ice cream(#13) . My amendment here is think of portion control and do invest in the individual cups of ice cream made by Blue Bunny, Haagen Daz, Ben and Jerry's, Walmart Neighborhood markets have a house brand that is a faux sundae all for about a dollar each.
I tell people that I buy slices of cake when I go out for coffee with friends as opposed to baking a cake. Why? its a slice of cake not a whole cake. While candybars can sit in my house for months without being molested, chips and ice cream do not. Stay mindful of what you are eating. Its not a bargain if you binge frequently on temptation foods. We live in stressful times- and we all feel betrayed and beaten up. McDonald's used to say " You deserve a break today." Yes , yes I do, I deserve the government that represents me and my interest  above all foreign ones, not to gorge on a 1/2 gallon of Brownie batter ice cream and the largest bag of Salt and Vinegar kettle chips because they were on sale. There is always a morning after the gorge. Plan for it the day before it happens . You may still eat more than you planned, but openng 5 individual bags is more conscious than opening 1 large bag.

#15 Tomato based pasta sauce: As a single , I like the jarred sauce and sometimes add things that I like to them. Sometimes it comes down to time , sometimes its the budget. I cannot buy everything that is in their sauce for less than I can buy their sauce though mine is better. Besides , as I buy jarred sauces, I have only to use what I need. I do make sauces on Sundays when I am off but even then not more than I would use in 2-3 days. Why? because my freezer is the size of 4 shoe boxes . I don't own, don't have room , can't see the need of a freezer. The investment is greater than the savings. So all of those well meaning family friends don't get it when they urge larger sizes on you and say that you can freeze it. Again, look truthfully at your own situation.

Having debunked those alleged savings, let me offer some more practical ideas. If you are Kosher or Islamic , it will be harder as the first one has a heavy pork base.
H.G. Hills, Urban Market, Reese, Save-A-lot, Food Lion all offer the 5 meats for 19.99. I like the pizzas that Reese includes in their selection. There is alot of pork based products in these selections, but it does stretch . Their selections are varied - when going this route, try rotating where you go.

Dollar Tree @ Madison Square : I spoke earlier about individual temptation foods. In the back , they have a frozen food section . The individual slices of pie that are $2.35 and up at the other markets are a dollar here. French Fries and onion rings( they have the good kind with whole onion rings under the batter) are a sollar each for a standard sized bag(usually 2.50-4.00 elsewhere.) They also sell small bags of cooked shrimp, turkey bacon, salmon, cod , talapia and pkgs of 3 legs and thighs (chicken) .Best value, in my opinion are the standard large size of vegetable mixes (frozen unsauced) and the bags of frozen fruit. This is a place to practice portion control watch as sometimes , its the size as well as the price which is smaller. Both they and their sister store, Deals in Rivergate, sell bread/breadproducts for $1.00. Deals sells canned goods but not frozen foods.

Shop watchfully.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Let's Talk Portion Control

There are many ways that we ,as consumers , are being duped. Raising the price is one- one company recently raised the cost of its potato chips by thirty cents. Another lowered the weight of the contents but kept the price the same . What looks like a bargain , maynot be a bargain .

Example: I recently bought coffee on special from CVS. It was a national brand and was 2 for $5.00. So mentally , you think , great 2 lbs for $5.00 pt. Look again , each can only contained 11 oz so instead of 32 oz or 2 lbs, I actually recieved 22 oz which is 1 lb 6 oz. Was it still worth it to me? Yes, because it came in dark roast and most of the coffees on sale are a medium or light roast. Its hard to find bags of coffee that are really a lb. You can go to Peets, Starbucks and Books-A -Million but you are going to pay a higher cost per oz than the prepackaged stuff. Instead of paying 2.2 cents aprox per oz., 5.6cents per oz.
(This information is supposed to be on the white tags with the bar codes on the front of the shelves in supermarkets. It is not always updated.) Becareful , though, as they are not always updated as regularly as we would wish.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Day That Nothing Goes Right Part 2-Worth and my Dream Job

Last time , I asked you what you would do if? It can happen to anyone. 

Here is what I am doing that is proactive while I still have a job.
I am looking  actively for another and I am asking what I made what I did before the nimrods in DC decided that I but not they earned too much.
Am I out of my mind? Maybe but if I am not for me, then who is? Something more expensive is always more desireable. I am not a charity though this last eight plus years , I have been nonprofit. That ended yesterday.

What are you worth? Not what they want to pay you, but what are you and your experiance worth?
Remember you are selling your presence , your experiance, your knowledge, and your time. Time is pieces of your life that you won't get back. Like any challenge on RuPaul's Drag race, I echo his last instructions for any challenge presented. "Don't %#@!! it up!"

I do have a dream job. As far as I can tell, it doesn't exist but you can see it in Three Days of the Condor. Its the one that Robert Redford had, analyzing novels for terrorist threats . Technically he worked for CIA ( which isn't of interest to me) but the idea of sitting all day and reading , not interacting with the general public is very appealing. I read everything and always have. I recommend this to start :

Monday, April 11, 2011

Urban Market 4th and Church

I found some good values here this week . I got 2 (13 1/2 oz) low fat cream cheese for 25 cents each, chuck was marked down from $4.49 to about 1 1/2 lb to $2.49 and I got 2 large chicken legs and thighs for 1.99.

I had paid full price for a bag of 6 bagels last week, got some salmon($1.00 in pouch( but not lox), a red onion and tomato  But for the price of $1.08 a day , I have (faux) lox and bagels for lunch .

Urban Market is owned by H. G. Hills.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Starting at the beginning- The Day that nothing goes right.

You have recieved the news have to take yet another cut in salary to keep your job. People think that you are morally bankrupt because you now cannot meet your most basic of bills. You know that is not true, but you want to keep your job. You are smart enough to know that the unemployment figures are a lie. They are tweaked not by a massive rise in employment but by some poor sap falling off the benefits payroll.

What do you do? Chances are they told you at the end of the day so not to disrupt the office. You get mad, you cry , you scream , you get drunk until you almost puke. Been there- as a single person , male or female, these are terrifying times. Then you get realistic.
-What can you cut
-What do you have to keep
-Can you get a letter from your employer to document your new found poverty ? If so contact everyone , and I do mean EVERYONE that they will be recieving payments probably less than they want . Explain the situation and lay your plan of action before them. What are you going to do tomake the situation better , preferably sooner.DONT' WAIT on this and mean to keep your word on any promises.

-Keep a papertrail, and hold your breath. YOu have lived this long, and you are strong enough to solve this. If you are reading this, I would love to hear what you plan or are doing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Join The Discussion At Sister Yahoo Group

Mission Statement

Welcome to Single,Smart and Surviving. Everyone is welcome. If you are as  SICK of this economy as I am, if you feel that you deserve better because you  have worked hard and smart , then this is the place for you to be. I don't care whose fault it is. Its still broken with no end in sight. "THEY" think that we have NO POWER , that no one is on OUR side. "THEY" are WRONG!
The purpose of this blog is to better our lives through our networking and savy . There are many sites out there that cover the same material for families, but singles are pretty much on their own.
I am in the Nashville area so much of the information will be about here. Information is flexible, it flows and can be adapted anywhere. It just takes a fighting spirit, a level head and dogged determination. Change is good, it motivates, it inspires and under the proper control, which should be directed by US, lives are enhanced not diminished.
The information will include the best markets to shop , where to find a bargain on almost anything ,and free or almost free activities in the area. I encourage the use of our local bus line which is building their workforce. Somebody in this country is making a major profit from the high price of gasoline. That someone is not you and I know that it isn't me. (So let them get their own blog. ) Its not just about the best price but the best value , that little something special that rewards your efforts.
I am a single American woman currently living in Tennessee.My parents are Depression era babies-they still live on their own and are 84 and 87 .  I grew up in Massachusetts but lived for almost twenty years in Oakland , CA . I have a degree in English Literature from a state college in MA and took classes at UC Berkeley . I have worked about 32 jobs since I was 15. I love my wide range of experiance.
For the past 25 years, I have worked in the Collection industry. My original training was through Internal Revenue. I will say what everyone says as they look back, I never intended to be doing ...for so long. But its been a great run and I intend to keep running for about the next dozen years or so. I hate bullies in my business and am not fond of kitchen table folk wisdom on the consumer side either. This is not a legal blog and no legal advise is offered or intended. I may , depending on my time and mood, offer opinion based on experiance .
About two and a half years ago, I decided to start putting a passion of mine out there again. I have written since I was about nine. I am editing my first novel , A Ceiling of Stars, which is the first in what I hope to be a series of paranormal vampire novels. I am also an avid reader.
So come along for the ride and let your voice be heard. Remember the Minutemen of the Revolutionary War weren't CEO's , CFO's or Heads of  State. They were ordinary citizens with a passion . Awaken your passion and reclaim your life.