Saturday, January 30, 2010

Free Rice Donation Program

FreeRice will donate 10 grains of rice for each question you answer correctly. Choose from English vocabulary, math, art, chemistry, foreign languages. It's educational, addictive and fun! My daughter answered 1000 questions last weekend. See if you can, too!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Potted Plant of Pens

Check out this functional yet decorative idea for storing pens on Carrie's Unique Journalist blog. I love it!

Wednesday Weigh-In 20100128

I remembered to weigh myself yesterday only after I got dressed, and I didn't want to strip down to my tighty-whiteys just for the Weight-o-Meter.

Anyway, the weight is down, but the fat is up.

Waist = 37.75"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday Backyard

Just our backyard on a sunny morning...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review "The New Frugality"

Chris Farrell's "The New Frugality: How to Consume Less, Save More, and Live Better" uniquely offers advice on how to live frugally. It's set in the historical context of our recent economic crisis. The author provides some explanation of how the Great Recession came about, as well as interesting historical references, especially to the Great Depression for comparison.

In giving financial advice, the author doesn't treat us like irresponsible children as some other authors of financial advice might. For example, he doesn't say that you should never use credit cards and use only a debit card. Rather, he offers an example of how some credit card companies offer nice rewards, and you can use credit cards only if you know you can pay off the balance in full each month. Similarly, while he says term life insurance policies are more cost-effective than cash value plans such as whole life, universal life, etc., he doesn't actually say to avoid these cash value plans. Instead, he writes, " value insurance can be an attractive option for those people who still have money left over after contributing the maximum into retirement savings plans and adding to their already hefty savings accounts." In other words, no one. I got the distinct feeling that he has at least one close friend who makes a living from selling whole life policies. Or maybe that's his sense of humor coming through.

My favorite is his discussion of college savings, which he keeps very succinct. He narrows our choices by steering the reader toward the 529 plan and describing the Coverdale as outdated and the UGM act as losing control of your money. He describes financial aid and student loans so quickly and clearly that I no longer dread starting to think about how soon our 12 year old baby will need help paying for college.

Unfortunately, this book was difficult to read for two reasons. First, there's the omission of words and the misuse of words, for example using "with" for "will," "you're" for "your" and even "barrow" for "borrow." I lost track of how many such errors there are. Second, the many lengthy sentences strung one after the other slowed me down and made reading a chore as I wondered when I would next encounter a verb.

Also on the negative side, several "side bars" were too long to be placed in-line with the main text. They should have been placed in appendices. Finally, there is no index, and the Table of Contents is sparse and even misleading -- life insurance is discussed in "Make Frugality a Habit," not "Live Long and Prosper."

If you're sensitive to typographical errors, or would prefer a book more focused on just financial advice, you might be better choosing a different book.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 20100120


Waist = 38.0"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Busy Body

I'd hate for this blog to degenerate into just Shadow Shots and Weigh-ins. But I've got some many other things clamoring for attention. Aside from the job, the family and the pets, there are all these hobby-chore-thingies:
  • Books to read.
  • Two book reviews to write.
  • Office furniture to buy or design & build.
  • Yet more decluttering.
  • Serve as leader of a professional organization.
  • Get a new website design squared away.
  • Serve as treasurer for my daughter's Girl Scout troop.
  • Photography.
  • Income tax returns (with probably a decent refund due).
  • Maintain art website.
  • Fix leaky flapper valve.
  • Replace carpet in LR.
  • Get back on diet and exercise plans.
So I apologize for taking longer to respond to your comments. I do read every one because I get them e-mailed to me. Eventually I'll write those reviews and get bored with the art site. Then I'll return to this in fuller force. Anything's better than getting back into the weight loss habit!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 20100113

I've lost my focus entirely on healthy eating and daily exercise. Even as I write this, I'm planning my next raid into my coworker's cubicle for her free chocolate.

Waist = 37.75"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday Golden Pathos

This little bit of wall between the fireplace and the archway was the perfect surface for this shadow of our Golden Pathos.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What Have I Done So Far List

In her book "Refuse to Choose," Barbara Sher suggests (on page 24) making a list of experiences and accomplishments. The idea is for us "Scanners" to get rid of the notion that we're failures just because we have so many unfinished projects and haven't "succeeded" or stuck with one confining career.

Here's my list (so far):
  • Studied music theory
  • Learned to play bass guitar very well and played in a Top 40 band
  • Converted a bass guitar into a fretless bass
  • Taught myself to play the Tuba and played in high school marching band
  • Wrote some music
  • Sang bass in a choir for 16 years
  • Started a diary at age 13
  • Started two blogs and write in one
  • Wrote poetry
  • Wrote persuasive letters to advocate for daughter's ESY and to get excused from jury duty
  • Editor of non-fiction for school art magazine
  • Edited a newsletter
  • Created two websites
  • Write book reviews
  • Pencil drawing, pen & ink, scratchboard, pastels, paints
  • Photography
  • Avid reader
  • Electronic Technician
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Tutor of Math, Physics & Programming
  • Drafter
  • Chairman of a professional society
  • Public speaking
  • Organize dinner meetings
  • Designed Printed Circuit Boards
  • Taught myself programming languages: C/C++, Fortran, Lisp, Pascal, Basic, Visual Basic, Object-Oriented Programming (OOP).
  • Maintained mail server
  • Served as administrator for LAN user accounts
  • Set up / reconfigure MS-DOS & Windows computers
  • Operate many programs including (but not limited to) MS Office, AutoCAD, MapleV.
  • Created relational databases
  • Can use a soldering iron
  • Built model spaceships from scrap cardboard (as a nine year old)
  • Did lapidary and sold jewelry from gem stones
  • Earned green belt in karate
  • Did 924 sit-ups in 30 minutes
  • Played soccer (Fullback, goalie)
  • Bicycled 30 mile circuits
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Road a horse on a trail once
  • Self-study health, fitness, diet, nutrition
  • Learned how to dream lucidly
  • Be, not Do (meditate)
  • Husband
  • Father
  • Pet owner (cat & dog)
  • Home owner
  • Changed many poopy diapers
  • Broil / grill meats & fish
  • Prepare meals
  • Fix appliances, electrical wiring
  • Simple plumbing (clearing drains & replacing washers)
  • Sew hems, buttons, curtains
  • Paint / Spackle walls & ceilings
  • Built a bookcase & CD rack
  • Modified a desk
  • Drive a car (since age 18)
  • Changed car engine oil & radiator fluid & other simple DIY car maintenance tasks
  • Care for, re-pot and propagate indoor house plants
  • Build compost piles
  • Clear brush, fallen trees
  • Gardening of herbs and vegetables

Wednesday Weigh-In 20100106

I was hoping that the home office renovation would have brought about some weight loss, or at least a halt to my recent weight gain. But alas, it has not turned out that way.

Waist = 37.75"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Creative Plumbing

Creativity is clearing a partially-clogged toilet using only a few buckets of water and the plastic tear-off strip from a 27 lb container of Tidy Cat scoopable Cat Litter.

I do have a snake for sink drains, but they tend to scratch toilets.

And I don't care if your tampons say they're flushable -- don't flush 'em!

Wednesday Weigh-In 20100101

Weighing in on Thursday because yesterday I was so wrapped up in painting the home office, and not because of all the food I ate at the German restaurant. Wow, that date nearly looks like a binary number.

Waist = 37.5"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.