Friday, October 26, 2007

Yarn addict

They say that the first stop on the road to recovery is admitting the problem. I'm Shelby, and I'm addicted to yarn. That's right, yarn.

Let me explain, hehe. I have decided that in order to save on Christmas present costs, I'm going to handmake a lot of my gifts this year. But what shall I make?

I've decided that most of the women are going to get hand knitted cell phone holders, of my own design, although I have an idea what I want to do, just need to check with my friend J and make sure my idea will work (she is the knitting QUEEN!). I'm going to knit some things for the men, although I need to find something suitable.

The best part about this? One of the types of yarn I LOVE to use is on sale at Joann Fabrics. Caron Simply Soft. I was able to get 2 skeins for $4! Normally it's anywhere from $2.99 to $3.99 a skein. However, I will admit where my addiction came in. I saw a scarf on a girl on campus, made of fleece. It had zipper pockets on the bottom 5 or so inches of it. So, I decided to modify it, and I'm making it so it has two pockets, one zipper pocket, and one pocket like a jacket for my hands. The scarf is in black and grey, and I'm double knitting it (knitting two strands of yarn together), so it's extra fluffy and soft. If I have any yarn left over, I'm going to make fingerless mitts to match the scarf, and maybe an ear warmer.

I'm going back tomorrow to get more yarn to do these Christmas gifts, after I look through the Knitty website and see if I can find something that will work for the men. Anybody else have any ideas?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gotta love the anonymity of the interwebz

Happy Tuesday, folks! I'm already out of school for the day, and I plan on spending my afternoon finishing up a knitting project, should be finished with it here in a couple of hours. Also, I've been doing some thinking, and you know, you just have GOT to love the anonymity that the internet provides for us. It never ceases to amaze me how people will treat others like crap on the internet, purely because they can. I have a really hard time believing that things that are said on the internet would be said in real life.

Case in point: I read another blog. The link to said blog is over there ~~~~>. The gentleman that writes it is a person of admirable character, and I have nothing but respect for his views. However, the people that comment on the blog... that's another story altogether. After a comment I posted, someone succinctly wrote "Shelby, you could easily get out of debt if you were cutting off on FOOD." Uhm, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? It's more than obvious that this person is basing their opinion of me off of a small picture of me that gets posted by comments I leave. This picture is the same one that is over this way ~~~> under the picture I took of the Bitterroot Mountains. As you can see, that picture is from just below my chest, and up from there. There's about 3 foot of my body that isn't even IN that picture, but by that picture, it is determined by others that don't even know me that I need to lose weight.

Yeah, I admit, I'm a little heavy. But you know what? I don't really give a damn. I like myself as is, and I don't find many women that can look at themselves in the mirror and say "Hey, I'm a decent person, and I like myself exactly how I am." What most people don't realize from that little tiny picture is that the majority of my weight is distributed between my xiphoid process and my clavicle. God has made doubly sure that I will be perfectly capable of feeding my children when I have them. Even if I'm down to 150 pounds, I'm still a DD, people! The only way I'd be able to lose THAT weight would be to get them whacked off, and I (and not to mention, the fiance) happen to like the "twins", so they're staying. And truthfully? I'd rather obsess about my GRADES than my weight. It's called priorities.

I look at it this way: if I'm happy and healthy, that's what matters, and I can honestly say that I am both. Those that think I'm overweight? You're welcome to think that, and if you want to think lower of me because I'm not super skinny like Victoria Beckham (or whoever the latest supermodel skeleton is), that's your right. Doesn't mean I'm going to agree with you, because it's MY opinion of me that matters, and nobody else's.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Just another manic Mondayyyyyyy.... wish it were Sundayyyyyyy

Ahh, another Monday in the books. I don't have much that's very nice to say today, but I will say this: My blog does not allow anonymous comments, or un-moderated comments for a reason. People may cry "OMG censorship!" but it's my blog, and if I don't like your comments, I'm not approving them to be posted on my blog. End of story. If you don't like it, tough jerky.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A rant for my Classic Social Theory class

Sacrifice vs. Instant Gratification in a “Gimme” Society

“Moooooommmm, gimme it, I want it, you have to give it to me because I want it!!” “No, young lady, I do not have to give you whatever you want, just because you want it. Now let’s get the rest of this grocery shopping done, so we can go home, we’ve already been here for an hour.” “But Mommy, Daddy lets me get whatever I want at the store, so you have to, too!”

This is an exchange I heard a few days ago at the grocery store. The part I’ve left out is the child subsequently throwing herself to the tile floor, flailing her arms and legs, screaming, because her mother wouldn’t buy her a bag of candy. The mother, helpless, turned her cart around, and left her daughter in the aisle. All I could do at this point was shake my head, and remind myself why I’m glad I don’t have children yet. The children of today’s society are growing up in what I call a “gimme” society. Gimme this, gimme that, gimme, gimme, gimme. One has to wonder where this young lady picked up this mindset she has, is it because she’s just being a little girl? Is it because her nice daddy gives her whatever she wants, and mommy is just being mean? Is she being raised in a “gimme” world?

I think she is. It astounds me the sheer amount of consumer debt we have in this world today. Unbeknownst to many, 100 years ago, credit, in the way that we think of it now, basically didn’t exist. Henry Ford didn’t allow credit to be used at Ford Motor Company until ten years AFTER General Motors did. Why? Henry Ford thought that debt was a lazy man’s way of purchasing items. In 1910, the Sears catalog stated “Buying on Credit is Folly”, yet they make more money now on their credit cards than they do their merchandise! J.C. Penney department store founder detested the use of debt, and was nicknamed James “Cash” Penney. So what’s changed? Three of the biggest lenders today were founded by people who HATED debt. One hundred years ago, people saw the holes that debt can create. Now, people (lenders) are seeing the opportunity to take advantage of the gimme society that has been created. We’re all about instant gratification and having things now than waiting a few months, saving up the money, and paying with cash. It takes sacrifice to pay for things with cash, and most people today won’t sacrifice that. Have you ever noticed that it’s way easier to walk into a store, pick up a few things, and swipe a card than it is to open your wallet and start handing over cash? Spending cash has a different mental “feel” to it than paying with a card. Even the new “Fashion Frenzy Barbie” preys on young girls, and engrains the use of credit, with the comment “I love shopping, you never run out of money!”

Simmel says that sacrifice is the means to an end. But what end are people in this gimme society working towards? What are they sacrificing to get there? The means of today’s society is the plastic card with American Excess written on it, Master Charge, what have you. But what is the end of those means? Massive credit card bills, where the bank gets to make money off of you. Most people don’t see that credit cards are basically a person paying the bank to let them borrow money. Why not sacrifice a small portion of a paycheck, put the money under your mattress, and pay for something outright? Most people in today’s society see that as too much of a sacrifice, and would rather pay the same price for a product, plus fifteen percent interest, because they wanted it right that second.

Simmel also states that the value of anything is a result of our sacrifice in order to obtain it, and that you cannot have one without the other. I think this also has an effect on whether or not something is determined as a “need” or a “want”. The value of water to a thirsty person is much higher than the value of food to someone that is not hungry. The priority of what is a need or a want completely changes when you have to sacrifice something to get it. For example, my fiancé feel that we need to be out of debt. What is our sacrifice? I sacrifice 20 or so minutes of my time to search through the ads of the local grocery stores, finding the deals, and making our menu accordingly, which means that we get to throw a few extra dollars to debts we owe, or extra money to savings. My fiancé sacrifices 3 afternoons a week to work at the College of Technology as a teaching assistant so that way his personal spending money doesn’t come out of our monthly budget. I clean a house once a week for the same reason, not to mention it saves us money, because we don’t have to budget twenty dollars a month for quarters for laundry, as I can do our laundry at the house I clean each week.

My friends are shocked when they hear that my fiancé and I live comfortably on less than fifteen hundred dollars a month, and that we are able to put money in savings every month. However, slowly and surely, we are getting out of debt, because we feel that is something we need to do. Sure, I’ll admit, I want things. I want an ipod, for example. So what am I doing? I’m slowly saving money for one. I sacrifice two mochas a week so that way I have money to put in savings for that ipod.

Fact is, Simmel has it right when he wrote that sacrifice is a means to an end. I just hope for our sake, and the sake of our children, we learn that instant gratification isn’t sacrifice, because eventually it will lead to a forcible sacrifice of cars and houses, and then at that point, life will really be rough.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Collection Agency Research

So, as if I didn't learn enough in school, I decided when I got home to do some research on that collection agency that I've been dealing with. The results are astounding. Here's the site that had the best information.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this info, from my research, it looks like no matter what I do, they will violate the FDCPA. The idea of a complete cease and desist letter appeals to me, because after reading through that site, in March they'll be getting rid of the debt anyway. I'm going to have to do some more thinking.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

I HATE collection agencies

So, here's my first rant about my debt situation. A couple of years ago, I was extremely stupid, and got a Dillard's card (Dillard's being a department store). At the time I got the card, I was working full time, and able to make the payments. I ended up leaving my job, and wasn't able to make the payments, so they sent it to collections.

The first agency they sent the card to violated the FDCPA, and when I called them out on it, they stopped calling. Out of sight, out of mind. I went back to school (I had taken a year off), and nobody had contacted me about the debt. Still, outta sight, outta mind.

So, a few weeks ago, my mom calls me, and asks me to get a voicemail off her phone. I call, and the company that called was Redline Recovery. Little bell went off in my head that this is a collections agency, and I had already been having a bad day, so I decided to call. The first lady I spoke with was seemingly understanding, and said she was going to put my account in a holding status until January (the next time I'm going to have enough of an income to settle with these people), and that I shouldn't be receiving any more phone calls. I should have remembered Dave Ramsey's advice about bill collectors. THEY ARE LYING IF THEIR MOUTH IS MOVING.

Couple days later, I get a phone call. Yep, from Redline. Before the guy can even get into his spiel, I ask "Wait a second, why are you calling me? I was told by the first lady I spoke with that this would be in a holding status until January when I have money to pay you with." Luckily, due to the LLNOE boards, I had what is called a "Limited Cease and Desist" letter ready to print out to send to the company. I got off the phone (fuming), and got ready to print the letter. Printer having issues, so outta sight, outta mind.

I'm a full time college student. I'm often in school from 8 in the morning until late afternoon, so obviously if I'm in school, I'm not home answering my phone. Today, I check the voicemail on my phone, and there's THREE messages from these people, first one saying that my account will be "escalated", second one saying "it's imperative that you call me back" and the third one saying "You're OBVIOUSLY avoiding our phone calls, Mr. *insert my last name here, mispronounced*, call me back immediately or we'll be seeking a judgment against you." (WTF? *looks down shirt* I'm still a chick!)

Allow me to let you in on a secret, I don't work. I work at being a student. Soooo, if I don't work, then obviously I don't get a paycheck, right? They can't garnish a paycheck I don't get. Also, the only thing I physically own worth anything is my car. Most people won't/can't attach a lien to a car, because it's just not worth it.

Anyhow, I need to get that Cease and Desist letter out, at the very least by this afternoon. Then, once I have the little green card in my hot little hands showing they signed for my letter (sending it certified mail, return receipt requested), if they call again, they violate the FDCPA. They do that, I'm SO calling the FTC down on their rears.


Oh, and double grrrr at 3:10 PM, apparently they've called my dad. Peachy, huh?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Grocery Rockstar

So, I've done all of my grocery shopping for the month this week, except for having to buy milk, produce, you know, the stuff that does go bad after a while.

Here's how I did.

Tuesday - Went to both Albertson's and Safeway.

At Albertson's, I bought $204.80 worth of groceries. Spent $102.39, for a total savings of $102.41. Bought TONS of stuff, including 12 chicken breasts, which I have cut in half and frozen, and tons of breakfast stuff.

Hit Safeway after that, bought $22.32 worth of pork chops, milk, and cottage cheese. Actual spent was $15.17, so I saved $7.15. The pork chops are in the freezer, except for the ones that we've already eaten.

So, today, I hit Albertson's again, because they have their bottom rump roast on sale, buy one get one free. Whenever this sale hits, I always buy 2, and have one cut up into stew meat, which I separate and baggie up when I get home. When I got there, I picked up my two roasts (just about 3 pounds each), and headed over to the steak section, because they were supposed to have petite sirloins on sale. However, the buy one get one free sticker caught my eye. Eye of round steaks, 3 per package. So, for $6.45, I got 6 steaks. Then, I remember that we're out of dishwashing sponges. They are ALSO buy one get one free. All in all, I picked up 2 roasts, 2 packages of steaks, 1 case of Pepsi, 2 packages of sponges, 1 potato (already had 2, just needed one more for dinner), 1 gallon of milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Total SHOULD have come to $72.40, but I spent $41.42. Saved $30.98. The only things that weren't on sale were the potato and the milk.

So, for the month, we have $200.00 budgeted. We've spent $158.98. For everything I bought, it should have come to just shy of $300.


I imagine that the meat we have will last into next month, and all we'll have to buy to finish out the month is perishables. How awesome is that!?!?!?!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Yay! Studied for the stats exam

My friend M-M called, and we got together and studied. I'm SO ready for this exam, wahoo!!!!!!!!

Another Monday gone

*sigh* I just got home. I'm exhausted. Had my Classical Social Theory exam this morning, and the first exam in a class of the semester is always the difficult one, because you haven't a clue what the instructor expects. My first thought after walking out was "Whoa, I WAY overstudied for that", which I did.

Overall I had an alright day, found out that a friend of mine whom I haven't spoken with in a while moved 30 miles away from me, rather than being in Cincinatti! We're planning on getting together for lunch as soon as we can.

My geology lab is about to drive me nuts. I'm not trying to toot my horn here, but I'm rather intelligent, I understand the material, I do the reading prior to class, etc. There is a guy in the class that is the husband of a buddy of mine, and he seems to think that it's perfectly okay just to copy off my paper on the labs (it's a lab course). I just keep thinking that if I ever miss a lab day, he is just going to be up a creek, and as evil as this sounds, I can't wait until the midterm (next Monday), because I know for a fact he doesn't know what he's doing. Not my problem. I've been debating whether or not I should email the instructor of the course, and find out what to do. I've been tempted to write down all the wrong answers, wait until he turns his in, then erase/rewrite everything correctly, but for some reason I'm thinking that won't be as effective. Ideas?

Meh, just me rambling I suppose. I'm waiting to hear from my friend M-M as to whether or not we're getting together at a local restaurant to study for our stats exam, and she hasn't emailed, nor has she called, and I don't have her cell number. Bleh.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Happy Saturday!

So, this week has been a crazy one. I turned in all of my graduation paperwork, and provided all of my ducks are in a row, I will graduate on May 10th.

I'm excited, but then again, I'm not. I've loved school, and I enjoy learning. And yes, I realize that I don't have to stop learning just because I'm not in school, but I keep telling R that if we ever win the lottery, I'm becoming a professional student.

The main reason I'm not looking forward to getting out of school is because I really don't want to see how much my student loan payments are. I think I've racked up somewhere in the 30-50k range. Granted yes, the way R and I have it planned out, we'll be completely out of debt, including those student loans, by September of 2009, provided that we both find jobs fairly quickly in Texas, if we do still move there.

Also, today, my cousin is getting married. I'm happy for her, because she deserves to have happiness in her life. Before she met the guy she's marrying today, she's dated a bunch of losers that would have never made her happy in a million lifetimes, so I'm very happy for her. Little jealous too though, cause she's getting married before me, hehe.

Anyhow, gotta start finding the outfit I'm going to wear to the wedding and hop in the shower, etc, but thought I'd write down some more of my mind's wanderings.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A little history...

So, here I am, starting a "real" blog.

First, let me introduce myself, and give you a bit of history about who I am.

I'm a 25 year old college student, in my final year (FINALLY), studying Anthropology with a Forensic emphasis (yes, CSI kinda stuff) and Sociology, with a Criminology option. I have just this semester and the next one to finish. That is, if I don't decide to go on to medical school, since I've been considering that as well.

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. My parents divorced when I was nine. My mom remarried a wonderful man, who I am VERY proud to call Pop. My dad has been dating a woman for a very long time, however they are not married, and I'm not sure they're ever going to get married.

I moved away from Portland when I was 14, to the town my mom was raised in, Missoula, Montana. I love it here, and this is home for me. I graduated from one of the local high schools here in 2000, and I started college in 2002, knowing if I started earlier, it would be a waste of my time and money.
I have two people I would call "best friends", they've been friends of mine since my sophomore year of high school.

I floundered for a lot of years, dating guys that quite frankly, weren't worth my time. In 2003, I met the guy that is now my fiance, online, playing a game called Dark Age of Camelot. We started dating in January of 2005.

In November of 2006, a friend of R's (my fiance) sent us a book called "The Total Money Makeover", written by a gentleman named Dave Ramsey. I fought R tooth and nail, because I didn't want some book telling me how to live my life. After a pretty big argument, I read the book out of spite. It's changed my whole outlook on life, finances, debt, credit, the works. We are now looking forward to being financially set up within the next 7 years, including a paid off home. We haven't bought our home yet, but we will when we have the cash on hand to plunk down on it.

I decided to make this blog, partially as a place for me to keep my own ramblings, to vent, to cry, to laugh, etc. I also plan on posting recipes and such that I find, both for my own records, and perhaps other people can find them useful too.

That's enough for today, methinks! Have a fantastic Wednesday everybody :)