Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm taking advantage of the recent gray weather to look at next year's basic savings goals.

Thanks to what I thought was a real computer failure scare, I am going to make sure my business working account will cover a new computer way sooner than I had anticipated.

In addition, I want $3000 in my business education account as I have my eye on some future training. My business costs me an average of $516/month.

I'm aiming for $5000 in our cars' working account. All the other working accounts are OK for now. If there is extra money I'll give them a boost.

D told me yesterday that our average monthly expenses in 2011 came to an average of $1380.

This number includes the running costs of all 3 properties (taxes, electricity, water, gas, insurance) and 2 cars (insurance, parking and gas). Not bad.

There will be no changes to our long term savings plan.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Out West

Great news! Canadian companies have taken advantage of the whole "Black Friday" hype in the US with their own sales. Discounts were enough to entice us to buy tickets out west for Christmas after all.

Mine, because I leave a few days later than D, cost $120 more but over all a respectable price considering the season. We had already planned our winter activities at the cottage but now we get to ski instead.

Add to it 2 more times out, we will chalk up a healthy 6 weeks total time spent out there this winter reaching our goal amount of time and the whole reason for wanting to own out there to begin with.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Drama Doesn't End

Here's another one for you.

What do you do with someone who believes that gossiping/talking about people is akin to having a relationship with them? Where does that even originate from?

I know someone who believe they have a relationship with me but has never asked me in person how I'm doing in the 8 yrs they have "known me". But they talk to D and ask him.

They so believe in this "relationship" that after a number of drinks manages to burst into tears when asking D why it is they don't see me! Personally I think it is the alcohol talking.

I know when someone cares and when they don't. I am also good at smelling drama from miles away.

It's pretty straightforward in my mind. If you want to become better acquainted with someone, you must make an effort to get to know them, directly.

Should you even have to teach that to an adult?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Frustrating Friends

I'm going through a rough time with a few of my girlfriends. One is lonely and angry and want help but says she is happy and loves everything. How do you work with that?

Life can be happy and nice and when it truly matches what's really going on inside, it is congruent and beautiful. When you lie to yourself in the effort to be "positive", you are not fooling anyone and it is exhausting to be around because their is nothing more to be said, is there?

Fulfilling lives come in all shapes and sizes. But sitting around trying to stay all positive and such will not result in a happy life dropping from the sky onto your lap. Part of the beauty of where we are in the world is the ability to dream up and create the life you want. We are free here. Why not exercise it?

The other girlfriend believes and lives by the idea that any comment "against" them/their ideals/goals is "judgement" and therefore to be ignored. But what if the comment is to help them improve on an idea? A very teenage view of life that is costing her a ton of money.

Taking a "positive" approach to life as well as keeping "focused" on a goal are basically alright beliefs if done in moderation. Admitting something isn't working is very valuable because telling yourself the truth is valuable. It opens the door to change and improvement.

This year more than others I'm seeing the gap between myself and them. I have less patience with the same old stories as I have continued to grow and realize my goals and dreams.

We all get into rough patches from time to time but when it has turned into a lifestyle, it's downright depressing. I'm going to make less of an effort to stay in contact from now on as I need more inspirational input.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Computer Update

Well, my 2nd replacement computer battery arrived and my computer likes it!

All diagnostics checked out and I'm relieved. As much as I'd love a new computer, I'm happier not having to spend the money right now especially when all the money we've been putting into the investment markets have magically disappeared...

By the way, my visit to see the latest MacBook Air went really well. D reluctantly admitted he was impressed and it was the clear choice amongst everything else that was there at Best Buy.

We surprisingly liked the 11.6 in version when in my mind I had thought for sure the 13.3 in was the one. There is only a $100 difference between the 11.6 inch 128GB and the 13.3 inch 128 GB so it comes down to size and weight (1 1/2 pds less than my current 13.1 inch laptop) and it won out.

Screen wise you see very similar amounts of material which is pretty impressive. Typing felt normal and processor speed was great.

It's another market day for us. Last weekend we learned to remind ourselves to get some cash out of our food account as we are so used to paying for groceries by debit or credit card.

Friday, November 25, 2011

More Work News

D's yearly review just happened. They are happy with his work. He will need to travel once a month next year for a day or so. He got the OK to work another day at home making it Mon/Wed/Fri which works really well for us. Even with my higher cost of gasoline we are coming under or the same compared to when I had my old car.

D will be getting a small raise (highlight small as he is already at top of his pay grade) as well as a bonus. We won't know the numbers until Dec sometime. We are still waiting for the value of his pension to show up. Apparently it magically appears online when you sign into the benefit part of your profile.

I'm still feel strange about the "ownership" aspect of D to his manager/team. As I have no corporate experience, I don't know if that is normal or not. All I know is that it makes me feel weird as I'm enough of a control freak to not want to feel "owned".

I understand that it would be chaotic if people are changing around all the time but from what I hear from D, most people he works with have been doing the same job for 25 plus years. Honestly, I would have happy if I can make it for another 10.

Continuing with my spreadsheet, I have 2013 all set up. It looks a lot like 2012 which I feel is good. I've written up all my rent cheques for 2012. One less thing to remember. My licencing and liability insurance fees are due Jan 1st 2012 and post dated cheques have also been written.

I have the option to pay monthly but I don't want to pay extra for that and I'm not going make any significant money letting it sit in a bank account so I might as well pay it off and live with a real bottom line.

Whereas my association dues do not penalize for monthly payment so I didn't bother changing it from the way it was set up years ago when I couldn't afford to pay in one lump sum.

When I tell people who ask that it cost an equivalent of insuring 2 - 3 cars (as I'm part time now) just to be able to work, they are often taken back. I'm not unique and I'm sure that is a small number compared to dentists and anesthetists. But there is potential to make a good amount of money so that's why people do it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Future Plans

A few weeks ago I mentioned how D had a parallel job opportunity. He had a quick interview and was "accepted" but his current manager has decided not to let him go citing the 2 yr regulation thing.

D has only been officially full time for 1 1/2 yr. We were hoping they would count the months we was contract. Next year he will be able to consider moving to a different department, one with more growth potential.

The manager who offered the opportunity says there will be a place for him when the 6 months is up. Fingers crossed for that.

Now that the count down to Christmas has begun our family calendar has suddenly started to fill up. The hype is in the air!

As we aren't heading out west for Christmas this year (I'm working past the pre-Xmas seat sale dead line which translates to almost double for flights), we are keeping our whereabouts hush hush because we don't want to be busy. We will likely hide out at the cottage. I'd like to give snow shoeing a try.

Happy US Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Settling Down?

I spent the day tweaking my spreadsheet for 2012. It is the first full year of my working part time. Each work day is responsible for a portion of my taxes, monthly credit card bill, rent and savings.

When I put in known holiday times some juggling has to occur so that I can make my time sensitive payments. This year was full of taking advantage of travel deals which required a lot of spreadsheet shifting.

I'm expecting next year to be calmer which ought to mean more money in my bank account.

So far, it is looking like 90 total working days compared to 105 for this year. I don't expect income to vary too much but you never know until you are into it.

We are slowly settling into a yearly life that is calmer and cost effective (relative to our particular lifestyle). There is something peaceful about it.

I think I maybe starting to settle down a bit. And it doesn't sound or feel like the bad word I used to think it was.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Travel Priviledges

Whenever I take a flight where I am expecting to earn points, I keep an eye out for the points to show up in my account.

This last flight turned out to be extra special because I have finally managed to reach a frequent flyer status whereby I get free upgrades and early boarding privileges.

Not having to pay to be in business class is a big deal to me, especially the eastbound leg when I'm hoping to get some sleep. Getting reduced rates for preferential seats in economy comfort class is great.

Not having to weed my way through the throngs of people who are standing there by the check in aisles when their rows haven't been called yet would be excellent.

I am anxiously awaiting my luggage tag to arrive in the mail. D is pretty excited too because my companion gets to receive the same privileges. He hasn't flown enough yet but eventually he will.

We are still fairly young and are committed to more travel in our futures. He is rationing the last of the Turkish delight supposedly until I return to buy him some more...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Making an Effort

D and I were registered to this event next week and we found out it has been cancelled. We've been to a number of this type of speaking event before and really enjoyed ourselves. The caliber of the speakers are high.

The very first one I attended Mark Burnett opened the day. Was he ever funny. I had no idea he served undercover with the military and was so accomplished. Had I not heard him speak, I'd never end up reading his books. They are entertaining.

This weekend we are making an effort to drive out to local produce markets. A large part of what appeals to us in France is the availability of outdoor fruit and veggie markets. We go everyday and pick out food that is ready for eating that day.

Here at home, we tend to buy in larger quantities and is without charm. In order for us to integrate more European habits into our lives we have to make an effort. Because distances can be far, we will have to drive and organize our day accordingly.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Computer Issues

Well, the new computer battery arrived and is now gone again. My computer didn't take to it and the diagnostics says one or more cells didn't work in the new one. So it has been sent back (at my cost) and I'm waiting for a new one...

All of a sudden my computer likes my old battery again. I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't my computer that is the problem. If you remember, I didn't have a great start with this laptop with its loud fan noise and dealing with HP hadn't been wonderful. The warranty is now expired but I don't know if it will be economical to try and fix.

I remember deciding then should it konk out on me, I'm going to Apple for my next laptop despite D's eye rolling and threat of no IT support. This current experience reminded me of that thought and I've started my research, just in case.

When the time comes, my 4th laptop shall be a MacBook Air, probably the 13" size. That way I won't have to buy a new carrying case. When we are out and about this weekend I want to go and look at one and ask some questions.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


It is back on the non dairy, non egg business for D and I. We did "cheat" while away.

I resisted for about 3 days and I started nibbling on corners of the pain au chocolat which led to entire ones as well as croissants eaten. I also had a couple of cafe cremes and tiramisu. D went all out and enjoyed every bite.

He was given this supplement to counteract the effects of eating dairy after being off of it for a while. It is really ironic that having eaten it all his life with no pain, after being off of it for 6 weeks has meant stomach cramps now.

I didn't get any pain myself but after a particularly heavy dairy day, I decided to take one of his pills just in case. Well, that was a mistake because I broke out in hives all over my back.

It took 2 days of anti histamines to get rid of it. D had no issues so I don't know what happened with me. Needless to say I will not be partaking in those pills again.

Curiosity almost took out the cat.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scary Stuff

We came home to some bad and badder news. The easy one is my computer is telling me I need a new battery. It was barely over 2 yrs old! A new one has been ordered.

The badder piece of news is friends of ours' daughter had gotten into a serious car accident on her way to school (university). Her barely 1 yr old Ford Focus was totalled and was basically crushed underneath a dump truck.

The incredible thing is that she walked away with a couple of knee sprains, a broken wrist (non dominant), sore elbows and a bruise across her nose from the main air bag. And a huge fear of driving right now. But not one sign of whiplash or concussion!

Otherwise she didn't see anything once all the airbags deployed. We all agreed from the pictures of the accident she did incredibly well and the car literally saved her life.

A person at the scene happened to be a trauma nurse and he assumed she was decapitated from the wreckage as all the crumple zones did their job and the car looked an accordion.

They had to tear the car apart to get her out and she was found just sitting there stunned, ducking down, covered in dust with no idea what the results of the noise and impact were. She is one lucky girl. We are so thankful she is recovering well.

They do have the type of insurance coverage that will replace the car and she has already gotten the cheque and paid for another Ford Focus, a 2012 with even more safety features.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Return from France

We didn't deliberately plan our return to the south of France during the G20. Add to it the torrential rains in the region requiring evacuation of small coastal towns in France and Italy, it made for an interesting challenge.

Paris wasn't spared of rain either despite it being much further north. This trip marked my 10th to France and 1st time I left without an intense longing to return to Paris. Both the city and I have changed.

I find myself much preferring the slower pace of life in Nice and environs. We cruised the Seine a few times, visited favourite restaurants and haunts and was glad when the time came for our connection south.

Due to the request of our original apartment owner to find an alternate logging so he could secure a long term rental, we opted to give Nice Pebbles another try. We used them about 5 yrs ago when they were brand new and didn't have the best experience.

I'm happy to report they have come a long way and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking to visit the french riveria. They aren't the cheapest game in town but with them, you don't have to worry about a thing.

It is back to work today and I have a hopping schedule. Jumping right back into the fire.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Great Turn Bad Turn

I got a second opinion on my winter tires from the tire guy at the dealership and he gave me better news. The front set is 50% worn and the rear set is pretty good.

There isn't need to buy new tires for this season after all. I was concerned the difference would not be good for the car but he didn't seem to think so.

Should I repeatedly see my traction control light come on to assist, then I can consider replacing the 2. Great news! I had already mentally prepared myself for the expenditure.

The winter tires don't do curves (or maybe hugged too well) as well I noticed yesterday. Tried to do a sharp turn at 80 km/hr (possible with my summer tires) and ended up locking my brakes and maybe skidding? slightly.

Didn't come close to losing control or anything but I probably shouldn't have tried that on dry pavement...silly girl...note to self...I told D upon arriving home and he told me he wouldn't have tried that to begin with and shakes his head.

I have a few more office loose ends to tie up before the packing starts. Cheers Everyone, back in a week or so!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time To Go

I'm glad we are leaving soon. D so needs a vacation. He has had a lot on his plate and is having trouble keeping everything straight.

He left a new bag of frozen shrimp at the cottage this weekend...Our fridge has been shut down...Luckily the temperatures will be cool enough to keep it partly frozen until we get back up there in a month...

Yesterday he locked us out of the house. It also happened about 4 yrs ago. So, I walked to the bank to deposit some money while he used a neighbour's phone to call the locksmith. One hr later and $110, we are back in our house.

D's company year end is at the end of Oct so he has been very busy finishing up reports and stuff in anticipation of that and being away. His part time contract gig was coming to completion too.

He also had a job interview yesterday (internal posting). It looks like a lateral move financially but will be in a different department which is where the action is. So more room for advancement in the future.

His office policy says they are supposed to stay in one posting for 2 yrs before moving to another position. D is at the 1 yr 8 month mark and they would like him to start in a month. He is going to talk to his boss today.