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Archive for September, 2010

London & Paris

September 29th, 2010 at 08:24 am

I rarely post more than once in a day, but I have more news.

I just got the financial info for the London/Paris trip. Here's the deal --

The total cost is $3,299 for a singleton, and $2,699 for each if you travel as a pair.

8 days, 10 meals (6 breakfasts and 4 dinners), round trip airfare, hotel transfers (what does that mean?)

The price includes a tour of Trafalgar Square, St. Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Westminster and a performance of "Blood Brothers" at a theatre in London. A tour of Windsor Castle is $80 extra.

In Paris, it includes a tour of Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs-Elysees, Place de la Concorde and Place Vendome. Also, dinner at Paradis Latin with a cabaret show and a Seine River cruise. For $185 more you can tour Versailles Palace and The Louvre Museum.

The hotels are the Crown Plaza London and Concorde Lafayette, Paris. It doesn't clearly state that the price of the hotels is included, so I will have to check on that.

In each city, you have one day on your own.

What do you think?

The dress, the dress

September 29th, 2010 at 06:08 am

Will the saga of the dress never end?

I hope it finally has.

I woke up on Monday morning with a clear head and realized that I didn't have enough time to shrink myself into Analise's dress. Even with my iron maiden underwear, I couldn't cut it.

And another look at the MOB's dress convinced me I couldn't wear the other.

So I went looking again.

I found a long, midnight blue gown that seemed like it might do. I put it on hold. Meanwhile, I bought a pair of black kitten heels to go with it.

When I went back to pick up the dress and have it fitted, I realized that it was really no more comfortable than Analise's dress, so it was ridiculous to buy it.

Starting over again, I found a silvery gray ruffled jacket and a black chiffon tiered skirt (knee length). Ironically, I had tried on this very same outfit in the beginning, but rejected it as too dressy. It fits and feels good, so I bought it. Luckily the kitten heels will look fine with it.

Next day, I'm surfing on the web, and I find the very same skirt, only full length. With a full length skirt I will match all the other key players, so I call Macy's to see if they have it in stock. No, but I can order it from the warehouse if I come in. I ran in during my lunch break, and low and behold, it actually IS there. I bought it.

So now I have two skirts, but I think I will keep the shorter skirt. Since I work in fundraising, I often have to work at events, and I can use a knee-length dressy skirt.

In between all this, I also bought and then returned the iron maiden underwear (they call them body shapers).

Now the only thing I could possibly need is a camisole, in case the jacket gaps.

The financial damage: $310 for the top and two skirts, $43 for the shoes.

Looking good at my son's wedding: priceless!

Dogsitting

September 24th, 2010 at 04:25 pm

I'm dogsitting -- and housesitting -- this weekend. You should see the house! Just imagine a big brick stately home in a genteel neighborhood, big open rooms, wood floors throughout, a pool in back and every room furnished with all the best stuff. This is what I was supposed to be born into! Smile I will enjoy it. Oh, the dogs are nice, too.

I am not going to be paid, but have been told to help myself to any food I want. I was glad to see that the house is well stocked with veggies and low-calorie things, because....

I must lose some weight to fit into Analise's dress! It came in the mail today, and it is just lovely. I want to wear it, but it's tight! Can I lose enough weight in just two weeks? Maybe. I'm going to try, and if I can't wear it, I will wear the dress I already bought.

By the way, isn't our Analise wonderful? I hope I don't embarrass her, but she is giving me this dress and even paid for the shipping. That's really above and beyond nice, and I am very, very grateful and quite blown away. I really, really hope I can wear it to the wedding.

In other news, tomorrow is my grandson's first birthday. He doesn't need a thing in the world, but I found some soft Caterpillar bulldozers -- a set of three -- that also talk. Deeply discounted. We have been invited to bring food for the food bank if we'd rather not bring a gift, so I will do that, too. I will have to leave the dogs for a few hours to go to the party, but I have been told it's fine to leave them as long as I feed and walk them on schedule.

My new laptop computer arrived today, too, but I won't have a chance to set it up until I'm home again. It's very small! I didn't quite expect it to be THAT small, but I think I am pleased about it. Just as long as it's comfortable to use. I will certainly like it for travelling.

I have decided that takin Align is going to be a regular thing for me, so I looked into how to get it cheaper. So I'm having it delivered by Amazon -- shipping is free, and the cost is $10 less per month. I'm pleased.

Last night I bought a birthday card for my grandson and a bottle of wine for me on the way home from work, and when I logged them into my spending log, I realized that I had not spent anything since 9/18. And really was not tempted. Ordinarily I would grocery shop on Saturday, but since I'm not home, even that will be postponed. (And since I am crash-dieting, it will be a different kind of shopping). Hopefully, I'm going to save some money.

This is getting long, but I have something else to talk about. I've been thinking about my future, after I retire. My number one priority is to move to the North Shore, but living there will be expensive. It may force me to live a very different kind of lifestyle. It occurred to me that I could try out a leaner lifestyle now -- I could rehearse what it's like to live without a car, without TV, without internet access. (I know it sounds kind of grim, but I would be in an urban area with lots of amenities close by, and my kids and my nephew, and even my ex to give me a ride once in a while.) So I think I will try it -- probably not till after the wedding when things settle down more. I won't cancel any services now, just see how I do not using them -- and I'll use the car for work and to visit my kids but otherwise pretend I don't have one. It will be an interesting experiment. But not yet. I'll keep you posted.

Unreasonably bummed

September 20th, 2010 at 02:15 pm

I got some pictures in my email this morning showing the dresses the mother of the bride and the stepmother of the groom will be wearing. They are both full-length, very dressy, very formal. And I was told it was definitely NOT formal. In the reasonable part of my mind, I am pretty sure that they didn't really mean to snooker me, but I feel snookered just the same.

At the same time, I personally do not want to be that gussied up, and I like my plain Jane dress better.

I REALLY don't want to pay for another dress! Or look for one!

But I don't want to feel dowdy at the wedding either, or have my son thinking I don't compare to his mother-in-law ... or stepmother.

GRRRRR!!!!!!

I'm also bummed because I recently had to raid my savings to send my sister money to travel for the wedding. I had already promised to do this, as part of my wedding contribution, but it is so costly. Airfares were more than $350, so we decided to go with car rental, which should be covered by $300. (She'll pay for the gas.)

If I hadn't bought a computer this month, I could have covered the car rental without tapping into savings, but c'est la vie. You can't plan these things.

Suddenly I'm not feeling like it's so important to go to Europe.

A new computer and -- London and Paris?

September 15th, 2010 at 10:41 am

Today is payday. On an ordinary payday, I would take whatever is left in checking and transfer it to savings. Today, however, I am not doing that. My Discover bill is unusually large, due to all the pre-wedding expenses, so instead, my goal is to pay all my bills this month without raiding my savings account.

Next month will be much the same, because I just bought a computer. I had to admit my laptop was dying, and I decided to replace it before I lost all my data, like last time. I bought an HP Pavilion online. It was $631 after a $100 instant rebate. Also, I bought it through the MyPoints link, so I ought to get a lot of points soon to turn into gift cards.

So I am really trying not to spend on anything not necessary. That concept was challenged this morning when I looked in the freezer and saw that there were no Lean Cuisines left. I had to quickly pack a sandwich. Tonight I will take stock of the food in my pantry. I'm going to pull a Mike Royko. He was a Chicago columnist who once wrote an article about how he used up ALL the food he had before he went to the grocery store. Not for financial reasons, but because he was batching it, and didn't want to shop. So he had some unusual meals, like popcorn and pickles. Okay, I won't be that bad, but I will try to use things up before I buy.

Two temptations are drifting in my vision -- one, my BFF invited me to come visit her this weekend (about a three-hour drive) and two, the alumni office is offering a tour this March -- 3 days in London, 3 days in Paris. I've never been to Europe, and that is exactly what I would like to do if I ever go. Well, I will pass up the visit to my girlfriend this month -- but should I pass on the trip? I can't afford it, in light of having to save for a place to live after I retire -- but can I afford never to take my dream trip? That's what I have to decide. I will go to the organizational meeting just to find out what the cost will be. That might put on head on straight.

It's over.

September 12th, 2010 at 11:18 am

That is, the shower for my DIL-to-be. It was already stressing me out, and then a disagreement between my two DIL's caused a rift that ended with my other DIL not attending. Some others didn't attend as well -- one because of the rift, and some for other reasons. It was a small group, but it did seem that everyone there had fun.

I spent $114 on it this week, and that didn't count what I spent on the gift, or some of the shopping I did ahead of time last month.

When it came time for the gift opening, my gift was the least expensive -- or certainly the least flamboyant, and I felt bad, even though I had already given in the form of food, etc. I suppose people understood that, but I still felt a little embarrassed. It wasn't a bad gift, either -- a place setting that sold for $60. I guess I'm really getting old. In my day, a nice shower gift was a hand mixer or a set of Tupperware. It just seems that people are crazy spenders these days, all trying to top the other. I can't afford to play that game.

I was so exhausted afterward that I couldn't join the group for the evening bachelorette party, which probably made me seem like even more of an old grump, but I was so drained from the preparations and from all of the emotion beforehand, I just had to bow out.

All evening my injured leg ached so much that it spread to my whole body, and I finally went to sleep after taking a pain pill. (I still have a few saved up).

So, yeah, kind of a downer for me, but I do hope the bride-to-be had a good time. If so, mission accomplished.

Got the Dress!

September 5th, 2010 at 09:40 am

Here is a link to paste in for a picture:

http://www.jny.com/Paisley-Flare-Dress/25330800,default,pd.html?cgid=25126439&itemNum=17&variantSizeClass=&variantColor=JJZ01XX

(I will not wear the belt.)

Also got a short, chocolate brown jacket with a bit of a sheen and a pair of gold Anne Klein pumps with kitten heels.

You can't tell from the picture, but the dress is very silky in texture, very drapy and flowing.

It is not a traditional MOG dress, but the wedding is not formal -- for instance, my son will wear a suit, not a tux -- so I think it is dressy enough for the occasion. Anyway, I feel good in it, and I will be able to wear it again.

I thoroughly looked at all the "finer" dresses and could not find ANYTHING I liked. I will try to dress it up a bit with jewelry.

The dress was $86, the jacket $120 and the shoes $64. All that combined is less than I paid for my other MOG dress which has only had one wearing. (And it had to be altered, as well).

I found it at Carson Pirie Scott. Because of my purchases, I got two $10 gifts cards to use on a $25 purchase (each) -- so I will try to think of something I can use those for. Gifts, maybe. I have two grandson birthdays coming up.

On the same day, I bought a short lightweight coat (Eddie Bauer) at Goodwill for $7. Now, that's more like what I'm used to paying! But, it's because I get most of my clothes at that price that I can splurge sometimes without feeling bad.

After all that heavy shopping, I couldn't resist driving through Potillo's for lunch. ($9)

I also got my oil changed ($24) -- so what a productive day, huh?