Ask the grumpies: PF blogs?

Rosa asks:

Are there any PF blogs, not on your blogroll, that you recommend?

As you note, we read the ones on our blogroll.  From miser-mom, one of us reads Planting Our Pennies.  From Donna Freedman I’ll often click on Ipickuppennies.

Feral homemaking doesn’t update anymore, but her blogroll is pretty active, so sometimes it’s worth clicking on that.  Most of the stuff on her blogroll is about living on a lot less, which really isn’t our thing these days.  Standouts include Non-consumer advocate and the frugal girl, which is kind of the opposite of non-consumer advocate in that it often has sponsored posts.  I find I really can’t read a lot of the other blogs like I used to because I feel guilty for having so much when some people have so little.

I used to read a bunch of stuff off of femme frugality‘s blogroll, but she got rid of the blogroll so I only rarely catch up on savespendsplurge or budgetandthebeach and similar well-heeled formerly 20-something bloggers.  If she still had the blogroll I would probably read more of their posts when the titles were interesting.

Other regular reads include:

A Gai Shan Life, but she’s not solely PF.

nzmuse, similar to a gai shan life in terms of not being solely pf

Occasional reads include:

Afford Anything – she posts about once a month and her posts are really interesting– usually she’s only talking about real estate investing which I have less than zero interest in (like, you would have to pay me a ton to get me to do real estate investing), but despite that, I still find it fascinating.

Leighpf – every post that Leigh does is a gem, but unfortunately for us she’s been posting *less* than once a month.  We are grateful that she still comments on other people’s blogs!  I’d say she’s the one PF blogger that I still learn things from.  I would be interested in knowing what PF blogs *she* finds useful.  (Note:  sometimes she points out good posts on her twitter feed.)

a windy city gal sometimes posts about finances

solitary diner sometimes posts about finances

stacking pennies updates once or twice a month

retirebyforty  doesn’t really have anything for me, but I’m vaguely interested in Joe’s financial life

club thrifty  Their posts are mostly PF 101 or travel hacks, so I only stop by occasionally these days.

evolving pf  Only posts about once a month now and mostly only life updates.

Financial Sam –  I suspect that many of his posts are just trolling, but occasionally I’ll stop by out of morbid curiosity.

yuppiemillennial —  She posts somewhat sporadically or I’d read her more regularly instead of waiting for her to comment here.  I did read her engineering PF blog regularly but she took it down.

I would read more middleclassrevolution.me formerly oilandgarlic, formerly etc.   But either she’s on a hiatus or she’s moved to another blog that I haven’t figure out yet!

Blogs I don’t read often but (I think) are still around:

There are a bunch of bloggers who used to comment on our blog but no longer do.  Whenever I stop by out of curiosity, I notice that their posts tend to be PF 101 stuff, so there’s not much incentive to stop by regularly.  People who are just starting (probably not Rosa) would probably find them more useful.  These include folks like squirrelers, budgeting the fun stuff, step away from the mall, retire by 40, little house, etc.  (For all I know some of these may have been sold.)

From time to time I’ll look at frugalwoods, but I dunno, before they moved I started to find the blog to be pretty repetitive and after they moved it became less interesting.  When the headline on Mr. Money Moustache is interesting, I’ll read that off Miser mom’s blog roll.

So I really don’t have anything new for you!  I bet there’s not a single name up there that you don’t recognize.

But maybe our readers have suggestions?

Stickers I deserve

Hello, I deserve stickers for doing good things!   (#IAdultedToday)

I wrote 1.5 pages on the L&K paper and edited more.

I have >2 papers under review right now.  (not sure where one is?)

I Left Work At Work (at least twice).  I am working on doing this more and not bringing annoyedness home with me.  Reward me!

I cooked food and cleaned some of the bathroom.  Sent my brother a birthday card in plenty of time!

Tried to be patient with my boss.  Failed to catch up on journal service.

I went to bed at a reasonable hour, DESPITE reading a fun book.

Took care of oil change, smog check, car registration well before the deadline.

Put a socially-responsible book on my library hold list.

here are some more example stickers.

What grownup stickers do you deserve, Grumpeteers?

Random life updates

Do any of you follow the story threads of our lives and then wonder what happened since we forgot to update?  Here’s some updates:

Little Kitty’s IBS and health:

  • She had idiopathic elevated calcium levels (meaning they don’t know why).  This was the best possible outcome since the other outcomes where they know were all bad.  First she got steroids for two weeks.  Then she got taken off the hydrolized diet and put on a low calcium diet and now her tummy seems to be all better.  No more IBS even when she steals her favorite people food (chicken).  It is mysterious.
  • Once her calcium levels got balanced, she got to have her teeth cleaned.  Unfortunately 7 teeth also had to be pulled.  Also it is insane how even though these costs are expensive, they are waaay less expensive than costs of the same thing in paradise.

DH’s relatives:

  • The one with the abusive baby daddy has moved back home.  She’s not getting along with her dad because he says she frequently does dangerous things when taking care of her son and he tells her not to.  Her step-mom is doing well with chemo and is really enjoying taking care of the baby while her step-daughter works at the Walmart a few towns over.  I have no idea how the menu planning stuff went down or if now that the oldest girl is back she’s taken over some of the responsibilities.
  • The other one who was a teen mom is still living with her two kids with her husband near her biological mom across the country.  She seems to be doing fine.

Kitty saga:

  • I don’t think I ever mentioned this, but my sister ended up taking a second kitten from our back-yard cat saga since we were only allowed to take two cats with us to Paradise.  Her two still love each other and my sister seems to have bonded with them.  Problem:  her new roommate brought a bully cat and boy kitty started peeing on things in protest.  So now her two cats stay in her bedroom suite during the day, mostly sleeping while the bully cat roams the rest of the house.  :(

DC1 at public school:

  • In the end, DC1 transitioned well to public school for 5th grade in Paradise.  I think it was good that it was still an elementary school.
  • Zie seems to be doing fine at middle school for 6th grade so far this year.  Zie has to do some testing to get admitted to the GT pull-out program.   One of hir friends from private school is in orchestra with hir, which helps.  They should both transition from 5th grade orchestra to 6th grade orchestra at the semester.  (DC1 decided against another year of trumpet, which means zie has to have weekly violin lessons to ease the transition since zie is a year behind.  Zie is surprisingly not that awful– much better than my memories of that first year of my sister practicing.)
  • Zie tested into 7th grade advanced math, which is really nice.  This and orchestra are two big advantages over private school.  I do miss having a foreign language though.  DC1 had Spanish as an after school program last year (they also had French, but only for native speakers(!), so we dropped that), but it doesn’t appear that anything like that is available here.
  • The after school program is cheap ($115/mo and goes until 6:30pm) and the bus stop is literally at the corner of our house.  For now we’re doing after school instead of having hir take the bus home so we don’t have to worry about hir being latch-key when DH is out of town for work.  The law in our state is vague… it basically says, you’re ok so long as something bad doesn’t happen, but if something bad happens you made the wrong decision.  If we still had a home phone I’d feel a bit better about a latch-key situation.  If we do go latch-key DC1 will need a cell-phone.

DC2:

  • Returning to the Montessori here has been great.  So great we decided not to start K this year and to leave hir in Montessori another year.  Then we may skip K next year if zie doesn’t get into the dual-language program.  We’re playing it by ear a year at a time.
  • Zie really does miss hir friends, but many of them were heading off to public school anyway (either K or Pre-K), so…  And we’re happy zie is back to more academics and less of the creepy religious stuff.  (Nothing against non-creepy religious stuff, but even though DC1 and DC2 both attended a year of preschool from the same Lutheran branch, DC1’s was not at all creepy and DC2’s was full of not preschool appropriate stories.  Just comparing the children’s bibles they each got was pretty crazy.  Like, it wasn’t our imagination.)  Hir reading and math abilities have skyrocketed since we got back.

I think those are the big things in my online blog persona life.  If anybody cares.

Auto-payment

I just switched our gas bill to auto-payment.  I’d let our email go for a while and when I finally got around to looking at it, I saw that our gas bill is due in a couple of days.  The gas bill is paid by credit card for no additional charge so I figured, why not just auto-pay it.

Usually I like to keep our energy bills paid manually even if I pay them via credit card online because I like to keep an eye on our energy and water consumption and to make sure nothing weird is going on.  Our regular utilities that cost the same every month (internet, netflix, etc.) no matter what I’ve been happy to let automatically charge the credit card bill.

But lately I just haven’t had as much time or attention.  So… hopefully I’ll notice any unusual gas bills when I go over the credit card statement.

I’ll still manually pay bills that come from our bank account or that charge extra for credit card billing.  But who knows, maybe I will relax that in the future.  We’ll see.

How do you decide which bills to automate and which to pay manually?

Another late link love

Modern lynching involves burning people in cars.  Another activist murdered this year.

Arrested for exercising free speech against racism.

I am totally with Hillary Clinton and was just yesterday reminded of this double bind.  Several times, both with a bullying colleague and a cluelessly entitled student.  But what could she do?

Matt Lauer has a history of being a sexist turd.  Allowing him that stage is harmful.

Nobody ever tells Trump to smile.

Donald Trump still hasn’t released his tax returns.

After bribing Attorney General Pam Bondi to drop the lawsuit against Trump University, Trump held an additional fundraiser for her and charged way less for his properties than he’s charging people who donate to his campaign.  That’s right, Trump is making money off his campaign from people donating.

Shut down the Trump Organization NOW.  It’s not like anybody will die of aids or bad water if you do.

WaPo says the email story is out of control, and it is right.  Also, this news story, WOW.

How the media undermine American democracy.

I only got 50% on the quiz in the middle of this article.  It was really hard!

Colin Kaepernick is a hero.

Guac the vote.

Bardiac discusses trigger warnings, and more than that, who they affect and questions why so many of them affect women– why is there so much violence against women everywhere?

This person is amazing!

What to do after paying off your mortgage.

Why does #2 get cookies and why doesn’t she share with me?

grape beard

Land of the answered googled questions

Q:  romance novel.with.character having.big.boobs

A:  Bet me.

Q:  how do raises work

A:  #1 wouldn’t know.  Ask #2.

Q:  Can you have vertical blinds and horizontal in the same room

A:  You have many choices in life.

Q:  matter which scholastic flyer order from

A:  I hope not!

Q:  what to do with a starting bonus

A:  Do you have an emergency fund?  Did you max out your IRA contributions?  Have you paid off high-interest debt?  Are you maxing out your work retirement savings?  Are you on track or ahead with your other savings goals?  If yes, give some to charity and blow the rest on crack.  (Not the bad kind of crack– get really good books or something.)

Q:  how much time off work do american professors get?

A:  all the time (outside of class and meetings) and none of the time

Q:  how can a teacher help a student who complain of falling test

A:  Ask your teacher and ze will tell you what zhe recommends.

Q:  what to do with 25k

A:  paypal to grumpyrumblings at gmail dot com (Or see above with the starting bonus– that’s a better idea, really.)

Q:  if majority of mortgage is paid can you still foreclose

A:  Probably yes, but this may vary by state.  Check with your state’s mortgage lending laws or consult an attorney.

Q:  what page us the sex scene in before i fall

A:  Don’t know the answer to this one, but it sounds kinda kinky

What are we reading

do not recommend sweetest scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt.  What could be a fun story is ruined by graphic details of sexual abuse when the heroine was a child.  Very 1980s and destroys the fun.  Also lazy on the part of the author. :(

Also do not recommend Only Beloved, Mary Balogh’s odd end to the otherwise cozy Survivor’s series.  Really she should have just made it a novella or have it run through the rest of the series with the hero and heroine as secondary characters.  Then she could have cut down the boring repetition of the cozy middle aged folks falling in love and removed the stupid sordid back story (which she telegraphed early on) and the stupidity of the heroine’s life being put unnecessarily in danger by the icky villain.  The part that fits with the rest of the series drags.  The “excitement” part doesn’t fit with the rest of the series given its ickiness.  At least Balogh seems to have given up rape in the past decade.

how the duke was won by Lenora bell was fun ($1.99 on kindle!).  Recommended only if you’re good at suspending disbelief and don’t get caught up on historical accuracy.  It is a bit of The Bachelor Regency Edition.  Her voice is similar to Sarah MacLean’s.

one night in London by Caroline linden dragged and was just kind of boring.  A good editor would have cut it down by at least a third.

christmas revels four regency novellas by Kate Parker, Louisa Cornell, Anna Allen, and Hannah Meredith was fun.

Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas was great until the last couple/few chapters.  She just did not stick the ending.  The book would have been a lot better if she hadn’t decided to do the Elizabeth Hoyt thing and drag out the secondary story into the second book.  Or maybe she could have handled that better without putting unnecessary drama in.  Ugh.  C’mon, stick the landing.   Still, I guess I’ll be reading the second in the series even if I no longer plan to buy the first.  At least our red state library seems pretty stocked with romances even if it has pretty much nothing else in adult fiction so I’ll still be able to try before I buy even though I won’t get off the wait list in time in Paradise.

The first Ribbon Ridge book by Darcy Burke, also not worth it.  This is a modern romance (free on kindle).  Without spoilering too much, the hero has issues and really needs a therapist before he can be in a relationship and it’s bizarre that the heroine doesn’t get creeped out about him acting like a creep most of the times they meet (really only the first meeting is him not acting creepy).

Read the first three Shelly Adina books.  The first one is free for kindle, but it’s really like the first part of the second book, and has some boring bits to skip through plus you have to suspend a lot of disbelief.  The second book is excellent and well worth having read the first.  The third book is just not very good (thankfully it was a library book).  I’m wondering if the fourth book is as good as the second or if it’s boring with bad stuff happening like the third…

Ugh.  Got any recommendations for books that are light and don’t have super creepy heroes?  Also please no rape, incest, child molestation, etc.  *SIGH*

Ima reread To Say Nothing of the Dog now.

Jury duty and videos (kitten and otherwise)

In which #1 tries to stave off boredom in the crowded jury assembly room by bothering #2.

#1: welp, I’m sitting in a grim jury assembly room next to a grimmer basement cafeteria. What mischief shall erupt?  Signs say, “Do not stand in this corner. Take a seat.”

I mean…. it’s better than being at work?

well crap, my leg is asleep from these chairs. And no standing in the corner. I guess I can stand up in the cafeteria next door, though.  My mom was on a Grand Jury for a month of drug dealers and child molestation cases. She said it was gross.

who knows, maybe I’ll get called!

The chronicle fora are talking about pasta. Oh man. Do want! (Not hopeful about the options in the cafeteria here…. although it does say today’s special is spaghetti…. sigh)

Marijuana Improves Night Vision of Tadpoles, Study Suggests

I want this now: Tonight’s pasta: tomatoes from the farmers’ market, feta, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and a dash of white wine. Simple and perfectly late summer, with an ear of corn also from the farmers’ market on the side.

ooh this looks good too: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/browned-onion-kugels-231507

also the video they had us watch about being jurors was a masterpiece of … something.

“Deliberation was my favorite part!” –former juror

#2 says:  I liked being on the traffic jury.  There was video and everything of him not stopping at a stop sign.  His argument was that he’d stopped Before the video part– which was like a full car length before the stop sign– which didn’t count as stopping.  So that was super easy… very unlike all the other jury deliberation processes I’ve been on.  It took less time than the first round of jury selection because it was so unimportant.

#1:  My partner and I have a bet about which part of my life would get me thrown out first.  I have a PhD, I want to smash the patriarchy, and the criminal justice system is racist. Go to town.

Also, I was on jury duty the same day as Taylor Swift!!!  (Not in the same state though.)

argle I’m back from lunch and we have to watch the video again!

Ours is a state of beauty…. harmony… but not always. Sometimes we have conflicts. Who can decide fairly? who can make decisions without any personal bias? Many times, we don’t trust any single individual to decide the case.  There are times when no one person should have so much power.  “I feel our system is a bit better than other countries. You get to go to trial” –former Juror.

#2: But Ms. Video Person!  Jury selection is still really racist.  Lawyers can remove a person for any reason.

Democracy is made real every day by thousands of juries across the country

#2: Prosecutors know that black jurors are more likely to find black defendants innocent, so they come up with bogus reasons to remove them, and those bogus reasons have to be accepted.

Even though it means that large swaths of our country are not actually represented fairly.  Leading to a racist justice system.  Prosecutors, just trying to win their cases, will inject racism into the proceedings.  The system is set up so that there is no alternative but racism.

#1:  The attorneys will make opening statements. (fun fact: these are not evidence)  This video is 2/3 done I think….

You’ll weigh what is important, and what is the truth. You will use your everyday common sense.  [p.s. closing statements are not evidence either. They are points of view.] These POVs may oppose each other! Only the jury can decide.

“Trying to come to some sort of agreement with 12 perfect strangers was my favorite part of the whole thing.”  –former Juror.  You may organize yourselves as seems best. It will be your duty to give your opinion, and also, to listen to other. Everyone counts. ..  The decision of the jury has been made! Justice has been served. [I didn’t paraphrase this part, I swear]  “I came out of this process more confident in the system!”

sigh.

quick, time to look at kittens!  http://livestream.com/tinykittens/felicity  Here comes mommy. Baff-time!  Mommy does baff; kitten tries to baff mommy.  Mutual baff.

Here’s #2’s experience on jury duty.

#1:  sigh.  KITTENS.  baby will wrestle mama! no bafftime anymore! oops more bafftime.  Are you seeing how cute this is!  it’s even cuter when they all chirrup at each other.

Now little boy chews his own hand, little girl has fallen asleep.  They have gotten so big! uh oh, brother wants to wrestle sister.  Sister says, BOP on your face!  Sister and brother say, wrassle wrassle. Mama says, I baff my foot.  Mama says, I FEEL LIKE SOMEONE IS WATCHING ME.  Sister has murdered a feather; brother is involved with red fishy toy.

#2:  maybe you could blog about this?

What’s your favorite video about actual justice in the justice system?

 

September Mortgage Update: And what did we do with the leftover money?

Last month (August)
Balance:$7,481.78
Years left: 0.5833333333333333
P =$1,180.12, I =$34.29, Escrow =$812.79

This month (September)
Balance:$6,296.99
Years left: 0.5
P =$1,184.79, I =$29.62, Escrow =$812.79

Saved from prepayment ($0)

I have to admit, I was pretty tempted to pay off the mortgage this month just so I could put off some of the decision of what to do with our unspent leftover money from paradise.  That would only save $52.43 and only account for $6,296.99 and, to be honest, I’m not yet ready to give up this monthly post.  Plus I kind of like the idea of being done with the mortgage on my birthday.  Irrational!

Here’s what I did:

  1. I did have some pre-payment I could do, specifically to the US government.  I sent them the remainder of our estimated taxes plus some extra since I got some untaxed honoraria and writing fees.  $4,305.
  2. Hid traces of my stupidity from last summer when I scraped my car against the side of our garage TWICE right before leaving for paradise.  New bumper, front lamp, and fender:  $1,265.  (Surprisingly, this is still less than the car is worth!)
  3. Bought a second (custom-made Amish wood) filing cabinet:  $1,479.
  4. Tree removal and stump grinding (one of our remaining two ornamental pears fell over):  $563.
  5. Donors Choose.  I know I said I wasn’t going to do charity with this money, and I probably shouldn’t even count this since it’s only $200, but NPR had this story about a school in Louisiana losing its entire library and… (we also sent $100 to DH’s sister as a housewarming gift since they just bought, but I’m not counting that):  $200.
  6. Home laser removal thing:  $450
  7.  Vanguard Admiral Shares VTSAX:  Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund.  Because it has the lowest expense ratio and it seems pretty diversified and I have plenty enough bonds in our retirement accounts and emerging markets etc. are just so expensive.  Please don’t let Trump be elected president so I won’t regret not having put more money in international funds.  (Not that international funds will necessarily be doing well either!  Not even US Treasury bonds!):  $30K.

That leaves about 2K extra over and above what I want as an emergency fund, but I’m not getting paid for another month, and the stock market could be in freefall, and etc., so I think I’ll be happy to have the emergency fund stay a little extra padded this month.  I think what I will want to do is wait until we get 10K extra in savings and then put money into more admiral funds.  Maybe I’ll be more adventurous with diversification with additional 1oK lumps.

Fingers crossed, other than the cosmetic damage, my car seems to be in pretty good shape.  Hopefully I can put off car-buying for another few years.

If we didn’t have this extra cash, we definitely wouldn’t have spent more than a thousand dollars on cosmetic damage on my car, and instead of getting a second filing cabinet, we would have either culled, scanned, and shredded or we would have stuck some bankers boxes in the attic.  I feel a little bit guilty about the filing cabinet but it is so beautiful.  Oddly I didn’t feel guilty about the first cabinet or the similarly priced Amish recliner that I sat in while pregnant with DC1 and had to get, but maybe it’s because we had to save up several months and make sacrifices for both of those items.  In this case we already had the money.

We also started maxing out DH’s retirement, but it turned out we’d actually already been contributing more than I had thought, so that’s only 5K more over the course of the year.

We decided not to do a backdoor IRA because we’d like access to the money should we need it short-term without hassle.  (Also we want to avoid the hassle of putting it in there.)

We opted no on the kitchen renovation for now mainly because we just don’t have the time.  Partly because DH’s company only has enough money to get through February and cash in hand (or in the stock market) is better than a mostly done kitchen renovation that has gone over budget and taken all our time.  DH has gotten 3 head-hunter emails over the past month so it’s hopeful that he’d be able to find work should his current company go under, but we might not end up staying here and the market for houses in our neighborhood is so hot we could probably get away with not redoing the kitchen.

DH was pushing for cosmetic updates on the bathroom, but I wasn’t excited about them, so we decided not to do that.

DH went all over our neighborhood to see if anybody xeriscapes and only people with tiny lawns, big shady trees, and in hidden areas that aren’t immediately visible from the main roads seem to.  Plus we can’t think of anything that wouldn’t have to be sprayed to prevent bermuda grass (other than, of course, our thirsty St. Augustine).  So we’ve tabled that.

Not only do people not have solar panels in town, but the BBB has some really nasty reviews about the solar panel provider.  Plus our roof is neither new nor in need of immediate replacement, so…

And we’re not redoing the floors because we’re lazy.

So… yeah, laziness.  (I just spent 5 min trying to find our post where we talk about how being lazy can lead to saving money, but I gave up…)

Sunday link love

This week was pretty hectic, so link love is late.  If we don’t update regularly through the month of September, it’s because we’re busy.

Why is media mostly ignoring Trump Foundation Pay for Play story.  How the media is turning the Clinton Foundation’s “optics” or “potential” for wrong-doing, even though they *did nothing wrong* and have saved thousands and thousands of lives into another “scandal

Oh man, NYTimes, wtf.

I love propane jane so much

This week in F the police.  SRSLY, Santa Clara?

Laws restricting abortion hurt women literally

Patriarchy smash!

Important experiment

Ailes attempts to smear reporter

ICYMI, and you might have since I read a CNN article where they cover the Maine governor’s expletive response towards being called racist but didn’t mention why he was called racist in the first place (answer: he’s dangerously racist)

wow, it really is modern-day slavery, complete with company store, ICYMI:  Trump’s illegal use and abuse of teenage illegal immigrants for modeling

The stuff about Trump in just August alone is insane when you put it together into one article.  And yet… he is rising in the polls as the mainstream media tries to manufacture fake scandals about HRC.  Are they afraid Trump will sue?  Does Ailes have blackmail on key people?  Are they just trying to promote a horse-race narrative?  Is it underlying misogyny?  Whatever it is they are playing with danger.

Why does the NYTimes have any readers left?

Could the election be hacked?  Seriously, we are in the worst-written Thriller/spy/con book right now.  It’s like our reality was written by Donald Westlake or something.  Also:  Russian hackers alter hacked documents… which makes sense, why just release them when you could do so much more damage?

Nasa agrees 100% with high school me.  Take that sexist physics teacher who didn’t think the people aspect of getting people to mars was important (and thought we’d have a space elevator two years ago).

So much outrage

I like the cut of this guy’s jib

More patriarchy

Ugh twitter.

Wedding steps

Awww

lego grad student

mystery

These are true

Sharing the pain

Cat comics

kitten

Time to lifestream some kittens.