Monday, January 26, 2015

Planning for Tomorrow

This pot of "convenience" food is a packet of Pict Sweet black bean and corn with Mexican seasoning veggie mix.  It was on sale at Tops for a buck a bag and it's just the type of thing I buy with a mind to make quick lunches ahead when I am pressed for time.

Tonight I managed to get half a swim in -- I got kicked out of the pool on account of a water aerobics course.  That drives me crazy, they should leave one lane open (but I digress).  TBG had dinner made but I still needed to make veggie slop for Teddy and fold laundry after dinner.  That doesn't leave a girl much time if she wants to be in bed by 10PM (and I'm not going to make it!).
Once the veggies were cooked up, I added a healthy handful of frozen cooked shrimp, some ranchero sauce and sofrito, plus a bit of sour cream and plain yogurt.  Yes, it looks like a runny mess, but it should be fine.  I shredded in some Assiago cheese and divided it up for two lunches.  It will be fine to eat for lunch tomorrow and I'll mix some lettuce/salad in too.  This is the type of money saving lunch I'm willing to have instead of a cafe-style meal that would cost over five bucks.  I'll have Cheerios and strawberries for breakfast, bring lemon wedges for ice water to drink throughout the day, probably steep my own cup of green tea and also eat a couple of huge red grapes.

In addition to making my cheap meal ahead, my other plan for "tomorrow" was to set up my 401(k).  The representative who helped me had just finished with a woman who had opened one -- and she had already been with the bank for two years.  I've been there six days and I did not want to wait!  While I am not eligible for matches until a year of service, I still want the tax deferred savings.  While I did not deduct as much as I ultimately plan to save, the extra I'm not taking now is so that we build up more discretionary cash on hand and put $$ into savings that we weren't able to contribute while I was out of work.

I don't fear the future -- because I cook ahead for it!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekly Wardrobe

I've got my wardrobe for the week set out.  There was no time to take pictures of each outfit but this week I'm doing some blue!  I have yet to select jewelry but that doesn't often take me long.  The hose I wear can be selected the night before.  Having just washed a bunch I wore last week, they need time to dry.  Almost all of the clothing here came from a thrift store but there are a few pieces I found new.  There is enough in my closet now that I wouldn't have to repeat an outfit for a month!
This is a four dollar find from Savers.  It was missing quite a few buttons and I think I am now set.  There is a double row going down the front and I wasn't able to line everything up exactly, but I think I got it close.  The new buttons do not match the older ones exactly.  Replicas were a bit pricey and I am cheap. I put the new/different buttons further down the dress where I am thinking fewer people will be looking.  I did find a few fabric snags and did some "rescue" stitching here and there.  But mostly, the dress is in good shape.  I pulled about eight safety pins off of it, which I believe the previous owner was using to keep it together.  Sewing buttons is really easy so I'm not sure why she resorted to pins. 

With big shoulder pads, it would appear this garment might go back as far as the early nineties or late eighties. That's OK, I'm a retro kind of chick!  I'm actually looking forward to being able to wear my peep-toed Candies pumps with it once it warms up.  I've got big clunky white beads I can wear as a necklace and figure this dress needs gold jewelry.  I can't wait to wear it!

While I was out buying buttons, I stopped into Burlington Coat Factory and picked up three slips.  Two were beige/nude and one was black.  I should be set now -- as I will have a slip for each day of the week.

I can't dress as creatively as I did during my contract because I'm in a non-casual dress location, but that doesn't mean I can't still have some fun... I hope!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Shrimp Scampi Pizza

It was nice to have time to make dough today as it meant we could have a pizza for dinner.  With the bag of shrimp I've been putting in salads all week having half remaining as well as a handful of onions, I had what was needed.

There's enough dough for me to make bread tomorrow so we can have chicken parm.  I will have to do some grocery shopping, which I hate to do on the weekend -- but that is my lot in life now that I am back to work. 

I managed to take a mondo-nap today which was swell.  The memory foam mattress with added topper is uber cozy but the three of us can not get a good night's sleep on it, so I sleep on my futon -- which has a thin foam topper. It's comfortable but not as much so as the "big bed."  One splurge I plan to make this spring is to buy a proper bed.  I've done OK with the futon but am ready for a regular bed again.

Now I don't know how I managed to get on the topic of mattresses from pizza, but it happened... and I'm not ashamed of it!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sushi Celebration

We celebrated my first Friday at work with sushi and champers.  When we want to celebrate something, these two things generally end up in the plans.  Rather than going out to eat, we like to eat in.  The restaurant is just around the corner so take-out is easy.  The sushi for two is what we order and it is never the same selection twice -- they make the platter up based on what they have on hand and what they have on hand is generally fresh.  I believe we were lucky enough to get a spider roll for one of the selections -- at least that's what it seemed like to me.

My first work-week came to a fine ending.  I like the job and I like the people.  I am learning a lot of new stuff, but some of the stuff I am seeing is also familiar.  That familiarity is comforting but it is also nice that they expect anyone new needs to learn a lot, so I don't feel pressured.  There are a lot of web-based training modules that I'm just digging into.  My desk is across from a lady who is around my age and she's helping me with everything.

The commute is getting more routine.  TBG jokes that I am a "big girl" now since I have a job in the city and I take the train to work every day.  He needs to ride the train -- it's mostly kids and non-professionals, with lots of obnoxious rap music you can hear through people's ear buds (some don't even bother with them although that is against Metro rules).  Every so often I see someone from my building on the train, but mostly they're kids.  But that's my ride.  If I get my list on the employee lot and eventually get a space, that will be quicker and cheaper than transit.  It's anyone's guess how long it will take for my number to come up.  For now I'm fine with the train and working down town is growing on me.  It's a good job, I'm glad I found it!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dregs of the Fridge...

When we are retired on the French Riviera, we'll look back at the desperate meals I made and laugh... OK, we probably won't save quite enough through my miserly ways, but there will have to be a time when some of the money saving meals I make actually pay off!

This mess of a meal started with onions, a chicken breast, and went second class from there.  I had one lone breaded piece of boneless pork and a container of plain left-over spaghetti (which I chopped into little pieces).  There was also a bunch of mushrooms to use up and the last of a bag of frozen corn as well as a  spare handful or so of chick peas.  You can mix up just about anything if you have cream of chicken soup. I also used some broth from an open box in the fridge.

The concept looks and sounds horrible and the quality of my picture kinda sucks too.  But the meal wasn't actually awful.  I don't plan on saving the remains because tomorrow night is Friday.  When I'm back at work, we dine out on Friday. Woooo hoooo!

I always want to use up what we have before we go out to eat and I managed to do it.  It wasn't pretty, but it worked!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Double Leftover Dinner

We had soup last night and soup again tonight because there was plenty left.  I also bought a loaf of Italian bread (it kills me to do that but I didn't have time to make/rise dough) to go with it last night.  The  night before that we had meat loaf.

Tonight along with the soup, we had a meatloaf on Italian bread pizza.  It isn't the most exciting dinner but it fed us and used up stuff we had.  I've got no idea what I'll make tomorrow but if I defrost a chicken breast, that's somewhere to start.
I've already made my lunch for tomorrow.  This is a mound of bagged salad with additional shredded carrots added.  I bought it all pre-washed and cut to save time.  There are chopped mushrooms, raisins & dried currents, plus walnuts.  The jar has a couple of heaping tablespoons of Opa yogurt/dill dressing that I've packed some cut shrimp into. The shrimp is pre-cooked and frozen from Tops.  It was on sale but mostly I chose it for the convenience factor.  This will be a healthy low-cost lunch.  It was the same thing I had today and it was delicious.

For breakfast I've been having cereal and strawberries and noshing at my desk on a piece of fruit (banana or clementine) or a handful of almonds.  I've managed to forgo the expense and calories of coffee with sugar and cream but have a cup of tea in the morning.  I can get all the free ice I want up until the cafeteria closes at 2PM which means I can sip cold water with a chunk of lime (I bring from  home) most of the day.

I'm getting the hang of the commute and today was able to sign up for my transit flexible spending account.   That means I have to save my tickets for reimbursement.  I will probably also try to get myself on the waiting list for the employee parking lot.  That is 60 bucks a month and would cost less than the subway.  However, I've already signed up for the withdraw and can't change it until January.  I've also had a lot of paperwork to send in to prove my identity and marriage.  But I think most of it is done!

This transition hasn't been as hard as last time and I'll have it figured out soon.  As long as I can keep on top of the food part if it, I'll be half way there!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy Day 1

OK, so this wasn't the lunch box I took to work today.  The truth is I am using a small rolling luggage bag to cart my stuff in -- it makes it easier to go up and down escalators and navigate the subway.  I did pack a lunch today and I ate with a new colleague.  She's the lady who sits in the cubicle across from me and she is really nice. In fact everyone in my new department is remarkably nice.

I am so very glad my contract ended the way it did and that I had the opportunity to get that experience but move on.  My gut tells me that I will do better and be much happier in my new position than I would have been had I managed to find a way to stay in the area where I originally contracted.  It is a bonus that I made good friends there that I will continue to be connected to -- after all, we still work for the same bank.

In addition to meeting my wonderful new team mates, I was photographed and fingerprinted.  My new ID picture is fine.  I also worked out the timing for my commute pretty well.  From door to door, it's about 40 minutes.  I might leave a little bit earlier tomorrow just to see if that makes a difference.  Commuting will be a little more expensive because I am spending 4 bucks a day on top of the gas needed to drive to the station.  I'm going to wait until next week to start swimming before work -- I'll have to work out the timing for that too.  My preference is to do that after work so I can relax in the sauna, but the place will be too crowded after work.  I still plan to have some sauna time but will have to do my hair and make-up then get dressed in the locker room, which doesn't thrill me.  Oh well, at least I have a job!

As of today, I am feeling fully recovered from my original lay-off.  Even before I was downsized, there were years where I was always waiting to get the news I was out of job.  It was a persistent fear that I could never shake. I was afraid that there would be nothing good for me next.  I am now past that fear and feel I could not have had things work out better.  

I'm not religious or really spiritual and don't tend to believe things happen "for a reason."  I believe things occur because of timing and are influenced by our efforts and motivation.  It worked out for me that an opportunity was available at a time I was paying attention and the situation was there for me to take advantage of it.  Vigilance pays off -- as does persistence and a positive attitude.  So I will be looking forward to what I can make of this new chapter, and I plan to be dressed well for it too!