Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's in a name?

Would a rose smell just as sweet if it wasn't called Rose?  Would a scientist be just as smart if she wasn't called Dr.?

A few years ago when I worked closely with a certain hospital Administrator, I had to correct her from calling me "That Girl".  Guess what? This girl has a name and if we deal with each on various occassions/on a regular basis take the time to learn it and use it properly. But this is not the point of today's ramble.

Working in a 'good ole boy' institution, where those with additional appendages and missing legs on the chromosomes kinda reign supreme, it's become an unsettling phenom to listen to how some of the female brains are being addressed by their first names, while broken chromosomes are referred to as "Dr So-and-So".  This happens not just from colleague to colleague (to be expected) but also lower level staff members as well.

I can consider a few of the female physicians "friends", women I will meet after work for happy hour or on the weekend for non-work related events. Off campus, we dispense of formalities (although it has taken me an entire year to drop "Dr" for one in particular). And although I am older than some of the med students/residents, I still give them their respect (some days) and call them Dr, especially in the presence of my boss. I would never, on the other hand, even fathom to address my boss or his colleagues (researchers or clinicians) by their first name to their face.  Age does not necessarily trump those initials behind that last name.

So do you become the snooty, uppity PhD and correct everyone within 5-mile radius or do you let it ride?  Do titles really matter?  Hmmm, Secretary's Day is coming up.  Oh wait, that's been changed to Administrative Professionals Day (now everyone gets a piece of the pie). But that's another rant for another day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How many years has it been...

Since we've been together?  I think the 2nd anniversary of our first date is approaching fast. I remember it was right before Easter. I am terrible with dates.  I can remember his birthday because it's 2 days before mine. I am reminded of his mother's passing because it's Valentine's Day. But beyond these two major events in his life, I don't commit dates to memory.  Is that terrible?  I don't think so. It's US that makes our time together memorable, not the date.

I was revisiting some of my posts from earlier in the year - lamenting over the doom of becoming the "boring couple" and devising a plan to fend off that harbinger. Then a comment from Karen (Fitness: A Journey Not a Destination - a great blog for helpful advice on fitness, health, etc.) appeared. She asked if we cooked together and that jarred my memory of said "boring couple".  I can admit that things are better between us.  He is making a solid effort to maintain date night and just generally "hang out" with me.  I have made a solid effort to think of him and his needs over my own (shopping and dining out). As for cooking together, we did sign up for a Williams and Sonoma cooking technique class, but ended up canceling because we both wanted to just BE (be alone with each other). He's thoroughly excited about the trip to Seattle (actually, we both are even though it is 4 months away!).

His job prospects haven't materialized due to this crappy economy.  So last night, he hit me with the notion that he may have an opportunity in Atlanta. The thought of him moving still hasn't hit me yet but I don't think I will be bummed if he did move. Not because I don't care/love him, but because he needs to do it.  He needs to break from the current living situation, the current status quo. Of course, I told him to jump at the opportunity because it would put him back into salary bracket he is comfy with.  This will also offer him the opportunity to work with a manager/mentor he was very fond of. And at the moment, nothing is set in stone.

So as the calendar event approaches, 2 years spent with a man who is a gentle lover, who hasn't made me feel dependent, and who is open to new adventures makes one reflect on the past and plan for the next phase of things to come. I have finally come to peace with my major issue with him (his living situation) and have made a silent pact with myself not to press him.  Yes, there are couples who marry 6 months after dating, there are couples who marry 13 years after dating, and there are couples who never marry but stay committed to each other. I'm not sure if marriage is the path I want, but I do know that whatever path we take, we take it together.

Song of the day: Anniversary by Tony Toni Tone

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mo' Money...

I'm in my office listening to the Black Eyed Peas latest CD and let's just say, ummmm....yeah....I'm so glad this was a gift and that I didn't spend my money on this.

Yeah, I waste money on a lot of stuff, but music isn't one of them. I actually haven't purchased a CD for myself since giving up my CD Warehouse membership.  Remember those? HAHA.  I have recently considered buying single songs from iTunes or Amazon to boost my workout playlist, but have yet to hit BUY.

Instead, I waste my money on food.  Eating out has taken the place of my thrift shopping addiction. I can say that I can now walk into various thrift shops and rarely find a thing that I truly want (except a pair of lamps I'm eyeing at the Goodwill - waiting for the yellow sticker day).

So how's that spending tracking coming along, you ask.  Um, yeah - it isn't! I can say this - my necessary bills are covered, I have food in my house and I have gas in my car. But I haven't tracked a dime on paper since the start of the month.  I can't seem to get my brain to register that I need to see where my money is going.  My subconscious must be rebelling.

I can tell you that I have purchased items for my house and started planning for my upcoming HS reunion in Seattle.  This is what I can remember buying:

1. an art deco buffet is on layaway ($200 total, $50 down)

2. late 40s Japanese tea set ($8) - it's beautiful on my dining table
3. a new runner for my upstairs hallway ($15) - the old one will be sold at the consignment shop.
4. various clothes/make-up items ($60 - approximately) - I even bought shorts/shirt for the Fella because, well, he's a man - they wear items until it's only hanging on by a thread.

5. The big ticket item: 2 airline tickets to Seattle ($600).  If I continued to wait, the ticket price would only increase.  Why is it so damn expensive to fly from Houston to the West Coast I will never understand.

I can see how this may look like frivolous spending, however, it's a hell of a lot better than the past 6 months. The Fella and I agreed to postpone the bike purchase for another month. I'm also expecting another check for some side work which will cover the price of the bike rack (I've managed to scratch my car over the weekend attempting to put the blasted thing in the truck - grrrr).

Goals for the next two weeks:

1. Attempt to once again track spending. I won't / can't know where to cut back if I can't see where the hell it's going - I know this. It's just time to put it in action.
2. Put aside $50 each pay period for the next 5 pay periods to cover B & B expenses for upcoming trip.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Budget - Smudget

I'm really beginning to dislike that word, the one that can't be mentioned. It's like a diet - a money diet per se. And once I've subjected myself to an overly restrictive diet (money or food), I will inevitably binge. There are so many things I want to buy, e.g., a vintage record cabinet (I've already committed to the $30 purchase), and mid-century cocktail bar (planning on haggling down to $100 vs the $259 asking price) - that's just for starters. 

So yeah, I said March 1 would be the kick-off date for keeping a log of what I spend daily. I also said sometime back in Jan and probably Feb that I would track my food intake (boy, I have the worse memory ever). Well, um, you's Day 3 and I haven't found the perfect spreadsheet. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Actually I did just find a decent daily log that I can customize til my heart's content. Hmmm, now if only I can find the receipts from Monday and yesterday.

If you're looking for a new budget (ah hell, I said the word that's not supposed to be spoken) spreadsheet try HERE or HERE.

So here goes nothing (why is "Send in the Clowns" playing on my iTunes station - and a horrible version at that? Wait. Is there a good version?). Ok Ok - back to the point.

Spending to Date:

Food:              $7.40
Parking:           $24 (it rained on Monday and I have a meeting after work tonight).
Household:      $30 (the record cabinet I've committed to and will pick up after my meeting this evening. Did  I mention that it's vintage and in MINT condition?)

Somewhere, somehow I will break this habit.  Maybe a talking bobble head of Dolph Lundgren saying "I must break you" a la Rocky IV will help.  Hmmm, running to ebay to see if there's one for sale. Kidding! Maybe

Monday, March 1, 2010

Checks and Balances

Thank goodness today is March 1.  I get to start tracking where I spend my money (and if it's anything like this past weekend, it will be on eating out). I guess my brain went on vacation and I had an out-of-body experience thinking I won the lottery and just spent money like I was buying bottled water. Egads!!! Oh well, it's water under the bridge and quite possibly some fancy, smancy Artesian well water under the bridge. I'm not sure which is the worse evil, spending money on clothes or food.  Actually, I do know - food is worse becuase it's not tangible (or returnable).

No, I didn't buy some super sexy, red bottomed sole shoes, or soft-as-butta skin-tight leather pants. I bought - drum roll, please: FOOD.  I ate out to a tune of "I have no freaking clue because I didn't keep receipts". But I can tell you that the food was good. Friday was lunch at a wonderful French bistro ( the duck confeit was delicious; Saturday was dinner with a friend and her son on at a terrific Chinese bistro (369; no link but here are some reviews:; Sunday was breakfast at a local dive - great coffee and yummy pancakes followed by lunch at the same Chinese bistro as the night before. Thank goodness I worked out some over the weekend. I may be broke, but I won't be gaining weight.

Oh and yes, I bought rodeo tickets. What more can I say? It's the largest rodeo in the world! Actually, I gave a coupon book to my guy so he can take his kids to the carnival. They can eat themselves sick and ride all the rides for under $50 - that's a great deal. I still need to pay for my Girl Scout cookies, but my order has yet to be delivered. I also purchased 2 wonderful scarves from Linda at Charming Crochet.

So with all this willy nilly high-on-the-hog eating and rodeo preparation, I am starting the month off a little behind the 8-ball. BUT, I do have a small amount in savings and a small cushion in a secondary checking account (not my main account). I am going to help my guy buy a bicycle. It's going on layaway (gosh, I love layaway) Saturday and 90 days to pay it out. I'm also hunting now for our airline tickets and lodging for our trip to Seattle in July!

I think with this pre-planning, March will be a good month with minimal money stress. Let's keep our fingers crossed and our budget tracking sheets ready.