day 1: alone vacation is boring.

28 08 2012

for the next 8 days, i am on summer vacation. “stay-cation” if you want to used a stupid made up word to describe the fact that i can’t afford to actually go anywhere. but regardless of my being tethered to this zip code for the next week, i’m actually quite optimistic about the prospect of a week of paid down time to do nothing but take naps and catch up on several year’s worth of to-do lists gathering dust in the back of my brain.

seriously, i’ve had the same bag of dry cleaning for at least 3 years. possibly 5. so long that i got too fat for the clothes in the bag, and then eventually lost the weight so that i can probably fit into them again. likely, they are no longer in style. i should really put “reevaluate contents of dry cleaning bag” on my to-do list before i spend $60 having disastrously dated frocks professionally cleaned.  Read the rest of this entry »





packing it in.

10 02 2012

i packed my first box today.

13 actually. 13 paper boxes full of books, dvds, and things that will probably get broken in transit despite their many layered protective newspaper cocoons. theoretically, this should be good news (especially for my breakables). but really, i’ve got 4 days until my movers show up, and i’ve only packed about 1/8 of everything i own. and that was the easy bit. unfortunately, the rest of my apartment is far less square and regular than my book and dvd collections.

and now, here i am, watching netflix and writing instead of playing through the pain and packing up my kitchen implements before i have time to forget that i’m moving and accidentally get them all dirty again.

thing is, i don’t want to move. Read the rest of this entry »





in defense of netflix.

14 08 2011

dear netflix,

you and i have been together for a long time. since november 2004 actually. that’s longer than any relationship i’ve ever been in. and so far, you’ve never really let me down. sure, occasionally i’ve gotten a scratched disc, but you always dispatch a replacement within 24 hours. and yeah, sometimes you take an extra day or two to get my movies to me… but that could just as easily be the fault of the postal system. what i’m saying is that overall, it’s been good. really really good.

and then last year, we decided to take it to the next level. i purchased a roku, so that i could take advantage of your unlimited streaming. and i STREAMED. i streamed so hard. remember that time we watched all 7 seasons of buffy in a row? you’ve always known what i like.

2 dvds and unlimited streaming, all for a mere $15.74 a month. life was good.

but then, last month you announced that things were going to change. and at first, i felt hurt, betrayed… how could you do this to me after all of our good times together? 7 years of history, and you’re jacking up your rates?! $19.98 for my current plan to continue?

for a while, i stamped around like a spoiled brat.

but then, i realized something: netflix, you’ve been very good to me all these years. we’ve had 7 glorious years together, where i’ve taken all that you’ve had to give. and you only increased your prices once.

the reality is that our relationship has changed over the years. it takes me longer and longer to return my dvds (i’m pretty sure i had “logan’s run” for like 6 months), while i bask in your streamy goodness, every single day. maybe, it’s just time that we reconfigure the way that we do business.

so, i’ll make a deal with you. come september, i’m going to downgrade to streaming only. $7.99 for all the movies & crap tv that i can digest is a really really good deal. a great deal. a deal with a future. as for new releases and other various holes in your streaming library… (it’s hard for me to say this), i’m going back to videoport. it’s close to my house, and i’ve been feeling really guilty about not showing them more love over the last few years.

but i just wanted you to know how much i value our time together, and hope that we can continue seeing each other on these new terms for many years to come. i’ve paid a lot more for a lot less from other services, and it’s time i started giving you the credit and respect that you deserve. i took you for granted, and i will never let that happen again.

i love you netflix. i love you forever.

xo.

-a.





acid flashback.

24 07 2011

i am a child of the 80s. when i was born, video stores didn’t exist. but by the time i was 6- BAM, there they were. you could rent an atari 5200, or any one of tens of titles on VHS or betamax.  as a young child being seduced by the glory of in-home movie viewing (commercial free!), there were precious few titles available in the G ratings bracket in 1984.

also, my comprehension of the english language was still in its formative stages. so, i relied entirely on movie box pictures to make my choices. i was particularly obsessed with the movie above: angel- high school honor student by day, hollywood hooker by night.

obviously at 6, i didn’t know what a hooker was. i merely saw pretty shoes and shiny hot pants. what could possibly be inappropriate? my older sister and i would BEG repeatedly for this movie every single time we went to the video store… never fully understanding why we were being shut down. unfortunately,  being the prudent parent that she is, my mother never caved.

flash forward 25+ years later.

despite being readily available on netflix (with a 4 star recommendation based on some other hilarious movies that i’ve watched), i have never managed to view it as a consenting 17+. actually, i had forgotten about it entirely for many many years (it would fade slowly from local video stores to be replaced with “higher quality” fare usually starring eddie murphy in a fat suit). until…

LAST SATURDAY. Read the rest of this entry »





the chopping block.

19 11 2010

so after spending some time rolling around with tuesday’s therapy musings, i got to thinking about how i use shopping to ease my anxiety. any time i’m about to make a life change, or do something that is stressful to me, i make myself more comfortable by assuring that i am wearing an impeccable outfit. new job= new wardrobe every time, assuring that even if i do make more money at said job, i won’t actually ever get to see any of it.

as many of you know, i’m about to embark on yet another crazy performance opportunity in the form of the burlesque nutcracker.  generally, this would mean several hundred dollars in new lingerie and dancewear, but i’ve decided to try and fight the power. for the snowflake number, instead of getting this (which i really really want to the point where i’ve convinced myself that i NEED it), i will borrow something completely cute and serviceable from someone who was in the number last year. not mine, not perfect, but so far more painless than spending $68+ shipping on something that may or may not actually contain my boobs, and that i will likely never wear again.

well, as i’m thinking about the HUGE (and potentially) lingerie sacrifices that i’m about to make, it made me start thinking about what would happen if i lost my job or got sick and had to make some real sacrifices- what would  be the first to go?

1. as much as i hate to say it out loud, my $100 a month cell phone bill is LUDICROUS. goodbye iphone, hello virgin mobile pay as you go… could i get by with no phone at all?

2. goodybe dr. shrinkage. $300 a months for therapy is a lot. i find it hugely beneficial, but i could survive without it if it meant being able to make my mortgage payment.

3. my student loans are steadily shrinking, and i get to write off the interest every year on my taxes. but if i had to make some cuts, these guys speak the language of need based deferment, which is a blessing indeed.

4. those are the big ones (and we all know that i can’t stop paying my credit card bills- as much as i would like to), but then there’s all the little bits and pieces like neftlix ($17), my gym membership ($10), and non-specific spending money in general ($75). i don’t have cable, and i would have to be in pretty dire straits before i let anyone pry this internet connection out of my little clenched fists.

5. i can’t weed out things like medication, but i do think that if i was really proactive about it, i could axe my food budget down to $15 a week. although i might have to get over the ick factor of shopping at the save-a-lot or the dollar store. hey, at least i don’t eat meat.

still, as it turns out, i need at least $1,200 a month to get by. it’s a lot. it’s scary. it’s exactly why suze orman recommends 6 months worth of expenses in the bank for everyone.

is there anything you wouldn’t be willing to cut?





getting to the mailbox.

16 11 2010

i pay my therapist to give me advice. that’s the way it works, right?  but today we talked about something we had never talked about before- MONEY. which is a little bit surprising that it took us this long to get to it… but what wasn’t surprising is that just like everyone else in my life, he gave me unsolicited financial advice. which is not what i pay him for.  and it made me really agitated for a minute.  i got a little sassy. there may have been some eye rolling…

but then, back to the part that i do pay him for, he made me talk about it.

step 1 of the 12 step process is admitting you have a problem, and i’m really good at that. probably too good. at the crazy doctor this week, i realized that I AM STALLING. i’ll admit my wrongdoings up and down and all over town, but i use my transparency as a shield to draw attention away from the fact that i’m not actually doing anything (other than making my slightly more than minimum payments), and i’m not sure why.

i have netflix movies from april sitting on my credenza. 4 of them actually, and i can’t seem to get them to the mailbox. theoretically, i should just put them in my purse and drop them in the mail slot at work, but it just hasn’t happened. it’s the simplest thing, and somehow i can’t manage to pull the trigger. it’s the same thing with money. yes, cutting back and saving money to throw on the blazing inferno that is my debt is difficult. changing lifestyles and making sacrifices totally sucks dick. but you know what’s not difficult? opening an HSA, or transferring my high interest credit cards to lower rate cards, or taking out a home equity loan and using it to pay off my debt.

every time i get agitated and defensive about money, it’s when someone who loves me has given me a sound piece of advice that i am just unwilling to follow. i try to turn it around to make it like they’re the jerk for meddling in my affairs, but i’m the jerk for being stuck, for being unwilling to listen and try. maybe i will make some big changes in the new year, or when i’m not so busy, or when i get my tax return money… but i probably won’t.

the good dr. and i didn’t get far enough to figure out why the hell i’m shooting myself in the foot like this, or how to stop being so stubborn and pointless, but it felt like a significant breakthrough anyway.

tomorrow, i’m gonna mail back my netflix, and maybe call my insurance company about setting up an HSA. at some point i need to realize that if i’m really serious about getting rid of my debt, i have to do EVERYTHING i can. not just the things that are easy.

please tell me that i’m not the only person who gets stuck on stupid shit.





portland’s greatest hits.

3 11 2010

remember that time i posted about all the things in portland that have been going out of business lately, and how bummed out about it i am? well, i’m still bummed out about it (north star- nooooooooo!), but i’m willing to let  it go… as long as the following 5 businesses promise me (blood may be required to seal the deal), that they will always be here. ALWAYS.

now, i didn’t just go for places that are fancy or popular. in fact, many of my favorites didn’t make the list (i’m sorry caiola’s and rosemont market, there just isn’t room for everyone!). i wanted places that were iconic, and integral to the structure that makes portland porltand. do you remember when jennifer grey got that nose job, and then she looked like nobody anymore and we all forgot about her? that’s what would happen to portland if these businesses went away. i’m THAT SERIOUS.

in no particular order…

1. material objects: first of all, we are extremely lucky that there are a lot of great consignment shops in this town, especially now that shit is going down with the economy. but material objects is the king of them all. i love that it still looks exactly like the 90s in there. i also love the fact that pretty much everything in the store is less than $20. friendly, unpretentious, and always stuffed full of dirt cheap fashiony goodness. love.

2. paul’s food center: ok, totally shifty- i would probably/definitely never buy produce there… but there’s just something about a sketchy independent grocery store plopped in the middle of town that warms my heart. it feels like the land before time in there, but with more drunks.

3. bill’s pizza: hub for late night wasted snackage, this is another kind of gross one for the list. their pizza isn’t very good (so salty), and kind of pricey (for a single slice of kind of shitty pizza), but they have beer and orange soda on tap, and if you’re lucky, you can hear drunk people having sex in the bathroom.

4. videoport: as a complete netflix whore, one wouldn’t figure that i’d be singing high praises to a video store,  but videoport feels like home. probably because it consistently employs the very best people in town, and last time i checked, netfilix didn’t have an “incredibly strange” section. it’s a cinematic archeological dig in there. i don’t care if all video is going online, videoport needs to stay open FOREVER. are you listening dennis?

5. yes books: YES. BOOKS. everywhere. piled into corners and on the floor. dusty and disorganized, like a vaguely alphabetical treasure hunt. i love the musty used book smell and the ornery owner. to me, it’s portland’s own tiny musty version of the embryo concepts bookstore from funny face.

honorable mentions: the eastland park hotel, geno’s, old port candy, and ferdinand.

what local landmarks do you refuse to live without (you don’t even have to live in portland)?