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Planning An Escape April 20, 2014

Filed under: Budget,Change,Finance,Health,Humor,Humour,Money,Organization,Travel,Uncategorized — goodgame43 @ 10:40 pm


I have so many Airmiles that I can circle the world at least once. I may even be able to fit some stops in. However, I have a problem deciding where to go and, harder still, who will pay for the rest of the expenses.


I could always use the Airmiles differently. Perhaps spend some on airfare and the rest on a hotel. And a rental car. And tickets to things. And it looks like I am staying home and going to Victoria for the night.


I’d better not ever go to jail. Apparently, I am really bad at planning an escape.


Change of the Day:  Look into what my Airmiles will actually allow me to do without spending alot of money. And then, make some more money.


Vanity, Thy Name is Why Not? March 14, 2014

Image  There’s a reason he won’t open his mouth.


Ah, First World problems….Am I wrinkling? Does my laundry smell fresh? Is the dog being massaged correctly? Which of hundreds of pairs of shoes should I buy?  Are my teeth white enough?


Hold up. My teeth AREN’T white enough. Over decades of drinking cola, I think I actually have accumulated some “staining.”  The weird thing is, the staining isn’t dark brown like cola. The staining is yellow. What’s even weirder is some of my teeth are as yellow as French Provincial furniture and others are more like a pasty pat of butter. Nonetheless, I have avoided whitening my teeth in the past because I’ve seen other people with very bad results. One person, with very large teeth, used whitening strips. Unfortunately, the strips left her teeth striped because they didn’t cover the entire tooth surface. Bigger problem? She couldn’t afford another set. Another friend used whitening gels so much her teeth turned glacial blue. She thought they looked good until someone asked what happened to her mouth. Ouch.


Change of the Day: Try a teeth whitening product. And, hope you don’t end up as striped as a old prison shirt because, once it’s done, you’re locked into it.










Taxes Can Be Sooooo Taxing March 8, 2014



Okay, not many people look forward to tax time. So, in that, I feel a wonderful sense of camaraderie with my fellow Canadians. Where we part ways is the number that take their T4s (employment income slips) to someone else to have their taxes done. People, get a grip. There are online programs that will walk you through doing your taxes for free if your annual income is under $20,000. FOR FREE. The Canada Revenue Agency even has a LIST of the programs that are available for free. Why pay someone else hundreds of dollars to do them for you?


Wait a minute. Hundreds? Please ignore everything I’ve just said. I’ll have my ad for doing your taxes for you posted in moments.


Change of the Day:  Think about how your skill set might be applied differently to bring in some income. And, get your taxes done, girl.






Looking for the Right Pot February 6, 2014



I speak not of Mary Jane. Nay, I speak of the search for a pot of the gleaming metal and sturdy handle kind. A prize to be won, a kitchen grail to be found, and soon one hopes, as the need to make spaghetti sauce grows stronger by the day. We lost our last brave pot to the demon of being left on the stove too long. Burnt and battered, it survived five days of soaking and scrubbing before finally succumbing to its injuries.


I have searched the nearby kingdoms for a pot worthy of my kitchen for many weeks. It must be large (I apologize to those who actually believe size doesn’t matter) and prepared to work hard and often. It must understand the language of love (chicken soup) as well as the language of tears (onion soup).  Unassailable in the face of garlic (no vampire pots need apply) and available at my whim (this is not to imply the handle is loose) this pot must exist for without it I cannot continue my culinary conquest of tomatoes (crushed, diced and pasted).


I will find it and the dinner shall be good.


Change of the Day:  Try settling for something less than the perfect pot. After all, it’s going to hold a something less than perfect sauce.


Stay-cation of a Different Kind February 3, 2014


photo credit:


If you stay home but think about somewhere else, is it a stay-cation or st-ink? Safe to assume if you’re traveling with someone else and they find out the only thing you did was plan the vacation but never booked the vacation…you’ll be staying home AND be in the stink.


I read recently that planning a vacation is the most relaxing part of traveling. Makes sense, no clothes to buy, no tiny locks with no longer matching keys to find, no care arrangements to be made for pets or parents and no lines to stand in. If I were planning a holiday, I’d consider going to the bustling metropolis of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Stop yelling at the screen.  Ottawa is wonderful.


Ottawa has the National Gallery, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Canadian Museum of History, the Parliament of the Moderately Civilized and the hill it sits on, and the Canadian War Museum. The nearby Gatineau Hills are beautiful and Montreal is only a short drive away. And, if I recall correctly from 1983, there is a hopping dance club across the river in Hull.  Theme song for the trip? “Girls Just Wanna Have Fu-uh-uhn.” 


Change of the Day:  Plan a trip that I won’t be going on because my bank account has a vote in this. And, imagine meeting Cyndi and Cher at their concert in Ottawa on April 26th, just in time for my birthday.  “Fun. Girls. Girls just wanna have fu-uh-uhn…”.


Out to the Furniture Pasture January 29, 2014

Image      Image      Image


Dear Children,

Moving out can be an awesome experience. And, not just for your parents.


You will get a lesson in generosity. People who love you and hate their furniture will happily hand it over to help you out. Want a reupholstered 40-year-old rocking chair that squeaks without remorse when you land in it or try to get out? Or perhaps a set of oddly short mugs that came with a set of plates mom used in college? I didn’t like them then but I’m hoping you’ll like them now. Or at least get them out of the basement. How about some curtains made out of Grandma’s mother-of-the-groom dress circa 1978? They’re bright yellow and covered in lace. They’ll look great next to the rocker.


Okay, okay, I have a hidden agenda. I want new furniture throughout the house. Maybe a couple of nice lamps instead of the the ones that used to have shades. Maybe enough stuff gone that repainting the kitchen cupboards in today’s fashionable white would seem like a reachable goal. Do you need blinds? Because the ones I ordered in 1996 in beige but arrived more like pink need to go.


Funny what you live with when you’re busy raising kids. Now that they’re all going to be moving on, it seems silly to spend money on furniture just for me. Afterall, the ultimate plan is move back in with them.

Change of the Day: Buy something useful, but portable, like a new lamp or a mercedes. And, be sure I keep a current address for the kids.
















The Retirement Environment January 19, 2014

Image  When I married a man 11 years my senior back in 1986, I was almost immediately thrust into the retirement planning world. We did a good job, putting aside something even in our leanest years. Fast forward 18 years. When we amicably divided our assets, we found neither of us was worth very much without the other. That’s scary stuff. He moved on to buy his own small place with liquidated investments and I kept the family home. We might have had about a $20,000 net value each. Over the past ten years, there have been highs and lows for both of us. We both moved into new careers that brought us great rewards at times and headaches at other times. I’m now in the headache stage.

Because of an on-going illness, I have to take time out of the working world (the kind where you leave the house and work somewhere other than on the couch in your pajamas). That means I’m now living on limited savings. I can last a while but it’s definitely given me an early look at what retirement could mean for me. I got used to having a comfortable income. I don’t want to go back to wondering if the eight dollars I spend at the movies is a budget breaker.

That said, just because I don’t want to watch every penny doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. I’m in no immediate danger of going broke and losing my home. I can buy gas and I can afford groceries. I’m okay. But, it might be time for me to live like a retired me, someone who doesn’t have quite as many choices and for whom any and every purchase better be one that’s well thought through. The best way to do that? Keep a spending journal. And, find people who will buy me stuff.

Change of the Day: Instead Just Having a Monthly Budget to Stick To, Stick to Your Monthly Budget. And, document it on paper you already own using a pen you got free from the bank.

Info: Anything on Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s website.