The Eat-Only-What’s-In-My-Pantry-For-A-Month Diet

Yesterday, I mentioned my “Eat Only What’s In My Pantry For A Month” diet.  I sort of invented this diet in my late 20′s, after-college, starving under-paid programmer years.  I’m quite sure there are many variations of this diet around and they probably have more or less inventive names.

Back in December when I was starting the paperwork to attempt to refinance my house, before the emergency surgery interrupted, I talked to my shrink about my options should the refinancing fall through.  I brought up this memory of one July back in my younger years, admittedly when I was healthier and more socially active, that I quite literally brought a random can of something every day to work for lunch; it would be “Oh, looks like I’m having beets today!” or “Hmmm, green beans!”  I ate dry toast every morning and at least once or twice every weekend, a friend’s mom would feed me and I was not ashamed.  I only spent money on rent, utilities, and gas.  I had less than $10 in cash in my purse the whole month and I believe I managed to end up with at least $5 of it. read more

Sometimes The Best Advice Is No Advice

My mother has a talent for offering inappropriate advice at the absolutely least welcome time.  We have a regular conversation about how difficult it is for me to save money.  This conversation has been repeating itself many times over the last 10 or 15 years.  It seems that every time I get a little bit of money in my savings, something big and unexpected occurs that wipes my savings totally out.  Then when things get tight for me, my mother has the audacity to say something to me like, “You know, it’s always best to have have about $10,000 in your savings.”  She’ll also let a day or so pass and then mention that I really should be making extra payments to my mortgage principle a couple times a year.  Meanwhile, I have been telling her things like I have to make a choice between eating lunch this week or paying the water bill or that I’m not sure how I am going to pay the $1,000 bill I got from the hospital for the emergency surgery I had last month when I also have to pay for heat.  Where does she expect me to come up with $10,000?  If I had $10,000 I wouldn’t be starting the “Eat Only What’s In My Pantry For A Month” Diet. read more

Financial Quicksand

For the last few months I’ve been struggling to pull the purse strings tightly together.  I’m about to have another round of what else can I do without.

In the meantime, I began the desperate process of applying to refinance my home; my property taxes have consistently gone up in the three years that I’ve been living there.  I’m now paying $350 – $400 more than what the previous homeowner paid the year I moved in.  Let’s just say that $1900+ a year is not fun to come up with even when it’s divided up into 12 payments and added to my escrow.  The $172 Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) that the broker told me I’d only be paying for a year — yeah, he saw a naive sucker coming — really bites, and to be honest, I cannot figure out how Chase calculates the escrow.  Even if I were to write a check for $600 at the beginning of the year, it would not reduce my mortgage bills by $50 each month.  Forget trying to discuss the logic of that with them.  Bank people do not live in a world that operates with the same numeric logic that the rest of us do, I have learned over the last year or so.  Bank math logic is mysterious and mystical.  I really thought I understood accounting when I took it in college but apparently they teach all of the magic spells that go with it in the non-Freshman classes. read more

Wearing Your Pajama Bottoms In Public — You Know You Do It

Do you remember the moment it became “o.k.” for you personally to wear your pajama bottoms to somewhere outside of your house as an adult?  You know what I’m talking about, right?  For the longest time you were appalled by all of those freaks going to the Wal-mart and the grocery store in their pajama bottoms, but then there was that one time…that one time when you just needed to run out of the house real quick…and no one would know…it was just going to be that once and it wasn’t like you were one of those freaks doing it all of the time… read more

13 Things Vegans & Vegetarians Wish You Knew

When I first started this experiment and began to haunt vegan and vegetarian forums, blogs and the like, I began to discover a very complex society all of its own. The only comparison I have is religion. People feel very strongly about the choices they make in life regarding what they eat, what other people think they should eat, and whether or not those choices should go beyond just their dietary nature. Some people feel more strongly than others, and like religion, the more passionate about their beliefs, the more enthusiastic and sometimes the more venomous and close minded some people can be. read more

My Pug Wants To Know If Twizzlers Are Vegan

I’ve been trying to eat healthy since the beginning of the transition, but I’m starting to realize there are a few comfort foods that my pug and I are going to miss over the next year.

For example, Loki is just nuts about strawberry Twizzlers, has been since he was a puppy.  They aren’t even safe in the house; I have to keep the bag in a Tupperware or Rubbermaid container on a high shelf with a lip (because the cat will knock it off the shelf just to see the dog get in trouble if he can get into it).  In fact, when I have to go out of town without him (which makes me really sad :( ), I actually buy him his own bag of Twizzlers and take the time to cut up treats for him and put them into a ziploc baggie to leave with whoever he is staying with. read more

Vegans & The Sugar Debate

Nothing is more confusing than trying to figure out “the rules” about sugar and sweeteners where vegans and vegetarians are concerned.

I’ve spent the weekend surfing the web, reading forums, opinions, papers, theories, and so on, regarding the ethics of why we shouldn’t eat table sugar or its derivatives (cane sugar is processed with bone char) or why we shouldn’t be so picky (but beet sugar isn’t) or why it’s better to be safe than sorry (you can’t tell from the packaging label which one you are getting); I’ve seen websites that go on and on about how Splenda has been tested on animals by one of the worst abusers of the animal testing labs but I’ve also seen Vegetarian recipe sites full of Spenda recipes.  Some people say to stick with natural sweeteners like agave nectar and maple syrup but others say they wouldn’t dare put that in their coffee. read more