Month: January 2013

I Got Five On It.

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five Our thoughts make us what we are and out thoughts make us what we will be come.  I started this journey to become better with my spending habits and become a master of my money.  Midway through this process, I started to treat saving like I was playing a game.  Now the game just got serious.

I have learned to control my money versus letting my money control me.

As I mentioned earlier, it means a great deal to my mental health to be able to sit and have lunch once or twice a week with my friends. I cook almost seven days a week, and even though I am a great cook, I get sick of eating my own food.  My time out with the girls is my treat and something I do for myself.  I have learned that in order to continue this special option, I had to be smarter.  If I am to pay myself first, then my “lunch money” will come out of my personal payday.  I needed to stretch my lunch money and be creative.

I made myself a personal challenge, that if I could not do it for five bucks, then I did not need to do it.  You will be surprised at what you can get for five dollars.

SetWidth330-MoeMondayOn Monday’s, Moe’s has $5.55 lunch special includes any burrito, drink, chips and salsa.  It takes a while to master all of the combinations that you can do.  It is also fresh and tastes good.  PS, I bypass actually eating the tortilla, and literally slice it open and eat the goodies inside.

Tuesday and Fridays at the Flowers Bakery Outlet, you can score bread for $.89 a loaf.  I left there today with a package of White Wheat hot dog rolls, Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Breakfast Squares, two loaves of bread for only $4.89.   Pretty good huh?

Wednesday I love to head to Salsa’s for the $4.99 lunch special which includes a fountain drink. The right choice can hold you all day.  They know us, and since we come in between rush hours, we can sit and take our time.

Friday’s are perfect for fish, so we head over to Harbor Inn for the Friday special for $4.95.

There is of course five dollar footlongs, five dollar burger and fries. There are other places but I don’t want to seem like I am being an over eating fool, I am just letting you know there are choices. The great thing is the people I associate with are okay to eat at the discounted rates. This is also Step Number Five.  The people I associate with will determine if you will achieve your financial goals.  If my friends are willing to eat a five dollar meal with me, then these are friendships that I will bet on.

I have a few extra bucks and am will to place a small wager; I got five on it!

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Giving Back

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This week’s assignment was for me to donate ten percent of my income to a charitable organization.  I didn’t do it and I will tell you why.  I was always taught that charity starts at home so that is where I placed by 10%.  Not in my home, but in someone who feels like home to me.

It started off as an odd weekend and I started to receive calls from friends and family I had not heard from in a while.  I then went through my phone to make sure I returned the calls to those who had called me, but I was too busy to at the time to either speak with them or I forgot to return the call. I spoke with my mother’s brother, the last of the my mother’s brothers, who is a grand eighty five years of age.  I spoke with a friend of 30 years who has been going through some personal trials.  I then decided to call a friend that had mentioned on Facebook that he was not well.  After about twenty minutes, he told me of another friend who was having personal financial difficulties.

This friend and I go back a long ways.  We have shared a lifetime together from our high school, to college and even adult years.  She, to me, is a symbol of home.  My ten percent, I put in an envelope and a card that said, “just because.”

I am learning.  I am growing.  I am becoming a master of my money.

You know what else I learned: that shit felt good.

Commandment Number Seven said I should know my friends, and my friends should also know me.  They should know that I don’t forget, and if I can, I will be there. This also directly reflects on Commandment Number 10, that I am spreading the wealth.  I don’t have much, but I can share what I have.

The Indie Author’s Marketing Guide

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Dictionary Series - Politics: independentIt is that time of year, when we flock to book festivals to discover what is new, hot and trending.  There are a few indi authors out there who have registered at some festivals and decided to get a table. If so, make sure your table states that you are a professional author and are serious about your craft. Here are a few tips to help you slick up the presentation.

Website:  It is important to have a professional web page.  If you are not really computer savvy, you can create a webpage for $18 on http://wordpress.com.   If you want to step up a bit and have a professional email address as well as a webpage, http://iPage.com is good and it is only about $23.00.

Author Bio: This can be tough, but here is a website that provides a great example as well as how to write a bio that sells you, http://www.absolutewrite.com/freelance_writing/bio.htm. It also looks great in your bio if you belong to a writers group.  Here is a link to a list of writing organizations, some may even be free, but make sure it is in your genre. You can do an easy search on Google with these search parameters “free membership for writers,” and a great list will pop up.

Author Photo: A professional photo is important.  It establishes credibility and let people know you are serious about your craft. The iPhone photo of you in the bathroom mirror, no, no and stop that nonsense.

Business Cards:  You will come into contact with a lot of indie publishers, authors as well as people you may want to keep in touch with for a great chance to rub elbows, but you need to have a business card. Check out your local Staples and you can order some new cards that feature you as an author, for about $10.00.

Handouts: People love tables that are interesting.  Make sure you have a candy dish on your table and bring a table cloth that is eye catching, not loud and scary, but one that has some color.  You can have bookmarks, postcards that feature your book easily printed at http://www.vistaprint.com. Make sure to not use dates, so you can use the materials again. You can always personalize pens and pencils for a low cost.

Posters:  You can now have posters printed for less than $20! You can use a high resolution image of your book cover and have it printed at Walmart (will need a frame) or printed and mounted at Staples for about $10.00.

Sales:  No one can ever argue about the power of cash, but being able to take a debit card is smart business.  There are several options available to you for card readers that work on your phone.  If you have a PayPal account, there is a card reader or you can order https://squareup.com/.  Remember your phone charger as well.

The crowds will come, but if you are not ready to wow them with your presentation, then they will be unlikely to invest in your work.

The Chilli Cook Off

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Recently at a friend’s house, I was given some of her chilli.  It was reminiscent of one of my favorites tales.  It is an oldie but goodie, enjoy.

Notes from an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast:

Recently I was honoured to be selected as an outstanding famous celebrity in Texas, to be a judge at a Chili cook-off, because no one else wanted to do it. Also the original person called in sick at the last moment, and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking for directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy, and besides, they told me that I could have free beer during the tasting. So I accepted.

Here are the scorecards from the event:

CHILI # 1: MIKE’S MANIC MONSTER CHILI

JUDGE ONE: A little to heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavour. Very mild.

FRANK: Holy Shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with this stuff. I needed two beers to put the flames out. Hope that’s the worst one. Those Texans are crazy.

CHILI # 2: ARTHUR’S AFTERBURNER CHILI

JUDGE ONE: Smokey, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavour. Needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

FRANK: Keep this out of reach of children! I’m not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave of two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich manoeuvre. They had to walkie-talkie in three extra beers when they saw the look on my face.

CHILI # 3: FRED’S FAMOUS BURN DOWN THE BARN CHILI

JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

JUDGE TWO: A beanless chili. A bit salty. Good use of red peppers.

FRANK: Call the EPA, I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting shit-faced.

CHILI # 4: BUBBA’S BLACK MAGIC

JUDGE ONE: Black Bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods. Not much of a chili.

FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills; that 300 lb bitch is starting to look HOT, just like this nuclear-waste I’m eating.

CHILI # 5: LINDA’S LEGAL LIP REMOVER

JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

FRANK: My ears are ringing, and I can no linger focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly from a pitcher onto it. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Freakin’ Rednecks! ! !

CHILI # 6: VERA’S VERY VEGETARIAN VARIETY

JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.

JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions and garlic.

FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulphuric flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that slut Sally. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone!

CHILI # 7: SUSAN’S SCREAMING SENSATION CHILI

JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum. Tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am worried about Judge # 3.

FRANK: You could put a #)$^@#*&! Grenade in my mouth, pull the #)$^@#*&! pin, and I wouldn’t feel a damn thing. I’ve lost the sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my X*$(@#^&$ mouth. My pants are full of lava-like shit, to match my X*$(@#^&$ shirt. At least the during the autopsy they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing, it’s too painful. I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the four inch hole in my stomach.

CHILI # 8: HELEN’S MOUNT SAINT CHILI

JUDGE ONE: A perfect ending. This is a nice blend chili, safe for all; not too bold, but spicy enough to declare its existence.

JUDGE TWO: This final entry is a good balanced chili, neither mild now hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge # 3 passed out, fell and pulled the chili pot on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor Yank.

FRANK: – – – – – Mama?- – – (Editor’s Note: Judge # 3 was unable to report).

Sell it!

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This week I am still working on making more money.  I started to look around the house for stuff that was just taking up room.  I discovered that I have all good stuff, but those tires sitting by the shed could go.

Snap, upload to Craigslist, use hubby’s email address, and viola! Instant $400 bucks. Yes, hubby got the money and I did not keep it for myself.

What else around here can go……

Hey, my cash only journey said I needed to earn a little more once a month.  I can sell something on Craiglist’s each month and build up my reserves.

Thinking outside the box.

Well, What Is It You Want?

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The other night I was watching Chicago Fire.  I actually like this show.  It has a strong leader, Chief Wallace Boden, played by Eamonn Walker who tends to over act a bit, and a mighty fine supporting cast.  I like the realness of the show.  It has been a while since there was a gritty show that takes you out on the job with the team.  It is reminiscent of the old Hill Street Blues, when the audience gets to feel with the cast.

There is action.  There are hot fire fighters and romance.  Well some.  They are fire fighters, so there are hookups .  However there is a chance to see a couple learn each other and fall in love.  The only problem is that the main character Gabriela Dawson, played by Monica Raymund doesn’t quite know what she wants.

MonicaRaymund She is a woman who is great at her job.  She is a paramedic with great skills, a chip on her soldier and way too much to prove.  Women like this always want the man who they shouldn’t or can’t have.  The man that is perfect for them is too attainable and of no challenge.  When there is something to prove, why take the easy way right?  Wrong.  It makes it hard for the audience to cheer for you when you cannot seem to cheer for yourself.

We get it.  You want to go to medical school.  You want the sexy blond guy who had a girlfriend in medical school who seemed to be living your life. You have nothing in common with him and he is distracted with his own issues. You are his coworker and are taboo.  He will flirt with you, but he will never belong to you.

We get it, he is hot.  He is a leader.  He is an accomplished.  Enter Lieutenant Matthew Casey played by the sexy Aussie Jesse Spencer. Not only is he a hot fire fighter, he is also good with JesseSpencerhis hands and is a contractor.  The bad news is that his doctor girlfriend just dumped him, his mother is coming up for parole and his sister won’t speak to him.  There is more.  When the show started he lost a good man, another of his team members had his lungs singed, and well, most days are just not good days for this man.  Gabriella, you invited him to dinner, he would not kiss you.  You took him to the family Christmas party and he still would not kiss you.  He told you he is dealing with some things. He needs someone to talk to you volunteered to be an ear. This is probably what he is going to give you, lips service to your ear.

This man will never be yours simply state; you will never be his first choice.

Just because you are not his first choice, does not mean you can’t be the first choice for someone else.

CharlieBarnettThere is always that guy.  You know the one.  He is kind of hot, he is nice, he is great to talk to, and fun to be with.  Unfortunately, he is the backup husband.  He is the one the guarantees you a comfortable life.  He will always go to work.  You will never be hungry, and you really won’t fight. It will be a normal life, full of sweet nights and days of smiles.

It may not be the all the bells and whistles, but there are some sparks.  We have Peter Mills, played by Charlie Barnett.  He has it all.  He is a paramedic, a fire fighter in training and a chef. He is caring, giving, understanding and supportive. Gabriella invited him to dinner and he did not pass on his chance.  She awoke with a smile. She wanted to blame it on the alcohol, but his attitude changed her mind.

He was even polite to make her breakfast and coffee and serve her before he left for work, with the parting words, “this is our thing.”  The night was good and she planted one on him with promises of more to come.

Sounds good right?

She doesn’t know what she wants.

He stays quiet.

She doesn’t.

She outs their steamy night not once, but twice.  The office big mouth knows and so does the boss, who tells young Peter to not poop where he eats.

Peter is bummed out and seeks Gabriella to have a conversation, and there she is in the face of Lt. Casey.

Gabriella, well, what is it that you want? Please don’t play this as the stereotypical woman chasing a man that will never be yours.

So far, that is where we are.  Tune in on Wednesday nights on NBC to follow the story. It returns on January 30th.