Thursday, October 30, 2008

All I've done in Atlanta is Coke.

All I've done in Atlanta is Coca-Cola, so in lieu of Aquarium pics I thought I'd share the Coca-Cola bottle I designed.


In honor of Halloween... a picture of the undead pumpkins...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Short trip to Atlanta

Had to do some traveling for work and wouldn't you know it I've got a stinking cold! The nice thing about it was I was able to sleep most of the day and didn't have to call in sick. Hopefully today is the worst day so I can feel better at the training tomorrow.
They are starting at 6:30 am in the morning which is pretty early for people traveling to the Eastern Time Zone, but we may finish early afternoon. I'm going to try and hit the Aquarium tomorrow after the class, since it was closed by the time I made it there last time I came to Atlanta. I'm camped in the Hampton Inn right next door to Georgia Tech University and Coca-Cola Headquarters. I took MARTA here, (it's like TRAX) and then walked about a mile to my hotel suitcase in tow. It's pretty nice fall weather. Bye for now! I need more sleep!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

White girl makes chili relleno, I think!


1. Start out with 6 eggs at room temp separate and use only the whites and beat until stiff. (Like a merigne). Set aside yolks... I'll explain later.
2. You are supposed to add a tsp. baking powder to this but I forgot when I made it.

Supposedly that's it for the batter, but I didn't see this working well and questioned whether I had the real recipe or not... family secrets.... sheesh.
From Chili Rellenos Take ONe

3. Take the egg yolks and beat them. Add at most 2 TBSP flour to thicken this into a batter.

4. Take the 12 large Chilis out of the roaster after slow roasting them with a special wood chip.... or open the can of roasted chilis.

5. Two options... cut off the top and remove seeds carefully or find a whole in the chili and carefully remove the seeds.

6. Take the slices of jack cheese cut in long 1/4 inch square strips and place inside the chili.

7. Dry the chilis and or flour them lightly.

8. Coat with egg white. Coat with the egg yolk mix.
From Chili Rellenos Take ONe
(The plate started out containing flour only but later became a place to work while I tried to get the chilis coated.

9. Put in pan with 1/4 inch vegetable oil once it's hot.
From Chili Rellenos Take ONe

Cook....
From Chili Rellenos Take ONe
mmmmm getting golden..
From Chili Rellenos Take ONe

These are the finished chili rellenos. Not knowing what they should look like I thought they looked great.

Now for the sauce.
You should dump most of the oil out at this point. Being careful to save the stuff thats floating around. Remember the plate with the goo on it? Hopefully you have some left on the plate grab about a tablespoon and spike the oil...

Slice up a yellow or sweet vadalia onion and fry in the oil until tender. Add some chopped up chilis.
From Chili Rellenos Take ONe


Dump a can of tomato sauce or two in after the onions have cooked down some.
From Chili Rellenos Take ONe


Simmer 5-10 minutes. Add a cup of rough chopped cilantro. (If you didn't drain off enough oil it will tend to separate off your sauce.) Find a pretty way to serve!

I plan on making this again and refining the recipe, but this is what I have so far.

Other than too much oil in the sauce, (which was easy to remove) it went pretty good and tasted yummy.

I recently tried some at La Frontera (to compare) and if I did it wrong, I am so so glad. These were like a Bizillion times better. a bizillion. I am not sure how many zeros that is... suffice it to say I think this is a great start for a white girl.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cotton Pockets

At the beginning of this month, Trish, gifted me with some inspiration. It was just the "push" I needed to take the debt reduction plan to the next level. So exciting, people! Check out how pretty mine are.


The pink one with the circles and green interior was the gift. I later decided that if one was good two would be better and bought myself another one. Actually, Husband and I decided on 9 categories that we would pay cash for and once we put the money in the envelope we decided that we don't want to carry all the cash all the time, so I got one that matched my purse to put cash in that we plan to spend that day. (Another safety in the system.)
She makes and sells these Cotton Pockets and has tons of fabric choices.
If you haven't done the envelope system before this website, Debtbeater, explains how he did it pretty well.
What I loved about these Cotton Pockets is they motivated me to actually work a budget instead of just making up a budget report. I also got Dennis involved because I needed his help to make sure we were pulling out the right amount of cash for each category.
So we are halfway through the month and guess what?
The budget wasn't perfect. We are going to have to adjust a few categories... and I think it's great that I know this NOW and not after the month is over!
We absolutely made the right decision for us on using the debit card for fuel. We had cash for the fuel on the road trip we just took and paying with cash is very inconvenient.
We thought we were watching our spending before but now the experience is heightened. It's like spending money in HiDef and it makes you more accountable for your choices.
If you aren't doing this, I highly recommend trying it with one to three categories and you WILL be more aware of your choices and their consequences. Using a Cotton Pocket isn't necessary, you can use a regular envelope, but for me... it was motivating. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the gift!

Toast to the Pursuit of Freedom

Sister calls me the other day while I was working...
"How are you Doing?" she asked.
"Good. What's up?"
"Ask me how I'm doing."
"k"
"Ask me!" She was obviously smiling.
"How are you doing?"
"Better than I deserve! Who do I sound like?"
I quickly realized she'd been watching or listening to Dave Ramsey. He says that every day on his show. Turns out she is streaming audio from Dave Ramsey's website at work. She was excited.
We went to the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover Live Event a few months back. We came away having had a great time and a plan that had a specific outcome of becoming debt free except the house.
Both she and I always been very driven to pay down the debt and had many conversations on paying off the bills, how our credit score was doing, what kind of interest rate we could get. We would get pretty excited about doing smart things with our money and paying off the bills, or getting a low rate on a credit card...
All this energy morphed into a different energy when we went shopping. The focus became getting the nicest coolest things for our home, kids, ourselves, our spouses. There was a disconnect in our brains or some sort of throw switch that allowed us to SPEND without much regard to the bills when in shopping mode.
It was counterproductive to say the least.

I think that "throw switch" calls to me some days. Weekly, at least, I get this "crave", I want to SHOP so bad some days.
However, I am doing so GREAT!!! It's helping me a lot to be focused on what the bigger goal is and to have a plan. I want to be out of debt. Husband wants to be out of debt. We can picture it and see that it is possible.
It's not that I can't ever go shopping again, (deep breath), it's that once we are out of debt we have more freedom to buy the things we would love to have without going into debt to have it. The freedom to retire sooner than later,... the freedom to do something else with our money than paying toward debt.
I want freedom for our home and all our homes. I'm excited to hear that Kayleigh has a budget now. I am happy to have a network of support in our family. For me it's great to have this network and makes it more fun and easier to stick to. I want everyone to conquer their debt, to succeed and to get to the point that they are paying off a home. I want to propose a toast "to freedom from debt and being gazelle intense about pursuing it." I want to celebrate when each one of us reach the point of breaking free of the chains and can call up Dave and say... "We're Debt FREE!!!!!!!"

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Changes

"Change in all Things is Beautiful. Happy Autumn!"

I started thinking about a particular stage in my life recently. It's a stage of life I saw on a number of occasions. I called it "LIMBO".
Limbo is that place where you are definitely not where you want to be and anything you are doing to change it is really not an instant fix... it was a process and even though I was doing what I could, I felt stuck. It's that point when you are self aware enough to know that it's going to change but until you work through the moment you are just waiting... waiting for it to get better.
I think that during LIMBO growth is slow and is associated with a lot of growing pains. I've decided recently that my longest trip in LIMBO happened after my divorce. For the most part I usually chose to make the best of it.
Alanis Morisette was going through an angry stage right about the same time and authored a few theme songs for me. I was bitter and angry and I was thankful for her insightful music that really told it how it was. Now I think that LIMBO was longer that time because I held on to my anger. Mostly I was angry with myself, but I was also angry with life in general.
OMG that stage lasted For friggin EVER!!
About that time my mom had printed up a poem or a thought on some really nice paper about choosing to be happy now. It said that too many of us think that we are going to be happy after we get a house, after we have a baby, when I finish school, after I get married, after the divorce, after the kids are out of the house, after we get that new stereo.... instead of being happy right now.
I understood the "idea" of choosing to be happy NOW, but the actuality of my situation was that the "idea" was a load of %$#@. One thing that was certain, life was changing and I was going to hang on and hope that eventually the change would be for the better.
I'm glad it's all over and very happy with the way life has turned out. Recently I made the comment that the only thing I regretted about my divorce is that I didn't do it sooner...but really the reason for that is that the pain would have been over sooner. I don't wish the pain of the path on anyone.
HOWEVER, without all that change, my life would not be as it is today.
Today I have a life that I love living. NOW I am grateful for that change and the changes that followed. I have a husband who I LOVE LOVE LOVE and who is so so the perfect man for me. I look forward to the CHANGES around the corner, and to changing TOGETHER and loving each other through the changes that make us the people we will be tomorrow. Those changes have made me who I am and I am a much better person, a much better partner, and more able to fully appreciate the wonderfulness of my Hubby and our imperfect HAPPY HAPPY life together.
Movie I must see tonight: The Upside of Anger

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I am afraid!

I think that we are in economic trouble as a nation. Our Senate is going to reconsider going $700 BILLON into Debt to try and Stabilize the market.
One of the principles I blogged on last was YOU CANNOT BORROW YOUR WAY OUT OF DEBT.
I think that if they pass this bill then the stock market will go up, and that temporarily that would be a good thing... but we will have to live with the consequences long term. The same way we as a family have to live with the consequences of the debt we get ourselves into. It really scares me.
I think we are really changing some of the fundamental principles of a fair competitive market. When do people get held accountable for the choices they make? When do businesses?

I know that innocent people are paying the price for others mistakes but I really worry that we are not using the right band aid for the wound.
Check out below if you are interested in the 3 ideas that made sense to Dave. I am glad he and others had time to look at this and come up with another solution. I wish they would at least consider this as a first step.

I don't pretend to understand this whole thing and from what I understand you need a law degree and an accounting degree to wade through this bill. I do believe there are other ways to handle the problem and I read through a plan that would cost us all a lot less money as taxpayers and let the market correct itself some.

Obama is supporting it. Bush is supporting it. McCain is probably supporting it. Everyone is freaking out and they think we can get out of this hole by digging!! It's disturbing.

I actually emailed my representative and the senators to pass on the plean that Dave Ramsey has been spreading the word about. I did it tonight which means they won't read it before they vote, but I felt like I had to do something to let them know that I didn't think the plan they are voting on is worth the risk to our economy.


Common Sense Plan.
I. INSURANCE
a. Insure the subprime bonds/mortgages with an underlying FHA-type insurance.
Government-insured and backed loans would have an instant market all over the
world, creating immediate and needed liquidity.
b. In order for a company to accept the government-backed insurance, they must do two
things:
1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent to a 6% fixed-rate mortgage.
a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs into the balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them a chance to keep their homes.
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing or the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event of foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable
for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that encourages mortgage companies to go the extra mile while working with the borrower—again limiting foreclosures and ruined lives.
2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs and executive team members as long as the company holds these government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps underperforming executives from being paid when they don’t do their jobs.
c. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction of the current proposal.
II. MARK TO MARKET
a. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on only subprime Tier III
bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from being forced to artificially mark down
bonds/mortgages below the value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.
b. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate stabilizing effect on
failing and ailing banks—and it costs the taxpayer nothing.
III. CAPITAL GAINS TAX
a. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will flood the real estate and stock
market in search of tax-free profits, creating tremendous—and immediate—liquidity in
the markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.
b. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because many will say it is helping
the rich. The truth is the rich will benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the
economy. This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and retirement investments that go up instead of down.

The big plunge...

Starting Weight 193.8
Week 1 194.2 - +.4
W- 2 190.2 - -4.0
W- 3 186.4 - -3.8
W- 4 186.2 - -0.2
W- 5 184.0 - -2.2
W- 6 184.5 - +0.5
W- 7 185.0 - -0.5
W- 8 183.2 - -1.8
W- 9 180.0 - -3.2
W- 10 183.2 - +3.2
W- 11 179.0 - -4.2
W- 12 177.1 - -1.9
W- 13 175.1 - -2.0
W- 14 171.6 - -3.5
W- 15 169.9 - -1.7
W- 16 168.4 - -1.5
W- 17 165.4 - -3.0
W- 18 161.9 - -3.5
W- 19 165.4 - +3.0
W- 20 163.0 - -2.4
W- 21 165.8 - +2.8
W- 22 162.0 - -3.8
W- 23 159.8 - +0.4
W- 24 158.0 - -2.7
W-k 25 156.4 - -1.6
W- 26 154.3 - -2.1
W- 27 153.9 - -0.4
W- 28 152.0 - -1.9
August 30, 2009
W- 29 149.9 - -2.1
W- 30 147.7 - -2.2
W- 31 147.1 - -0.6
W- 32 149.5 - +2.4
W- 33 151.3 - +1.8
W- 34 150.2 - -1.1
W- 35 150.8 - +0.6
W- 36 150.3 - -0.5
W- 37 149.1 - -1.2
W- 38 149.8 - +0.7
W- 39 150.1 +0.3
W- 40 156.3 +6.2
W- 41 153.3 -3.0
W- 42 152.6 -0.7
W- 43 152.6 -0.0
W- 44 150.7 -1.9
W- 45 152.4 +1.7
W- 46 153.0 +0.6
W- 47 152.3 +0.7
W- 48 150.1 -2.2

W- 49 147.5 -2.6
W- 50 146.3 -1.2
...
...
W- 53 151.0 +2.0
W- 54 149.3 -1.7
W- 55 144.9 -4.4
W- 56 144.1 -0.8
W- 57 140.0 lbs. Goal!!!!