Showing posts from 2009

Day #105: Preparing for the new year

I'm over my cold! Yay! I have to do laundry today because I haven't in a long time. I'm wearing my last pair of socks (have some clean underwears left though). In 2010, I want to achieve some financial goals: I need to supply my Emergency fund just in case I have another emergency. That will be my first priority. I'd love of max out my Roth IRA contribution, but that would take more than 25% of my net income. I'd like to contribute at least $1,500. My 401(k) currently stands at $6,500 and I'd like to see it rise to $10,000 by the end of 2010 with help from my contributions and my company's contributions. I want to achieve some culinary goals: I'd like to attempt to write a cookbook. Lofty goal! I would like to attempt it to see if it's something I'd like to persue. I'd like to devise a regular monthly meal plan so I can track prices and predict my monthly food budget. Currently, hitting my budget is difficult because I buy f

Days #102, #103, #104: Cold...

I've just been laying low, sleeping when I can, staying warm, drinking water and orange juice. I'm feeling much better, but I'm not 100% just yet. On Monday, I went to the shoe repair place to hear that the shoe wasn't ready yet and the bank to realize I forgot my checks on my desk. On Tuesday, I put the checks in my wallet, went back to the shoe repair place to get the shoe and deposit the checks in the bank. My father and I wandered around the grocery store deciding what to put in the vegetable soup that we'll be making today.  I finished Life of Pi, and it was quite a story. I was hoping the book would delve more into the story line of Pi being a devout believer of Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. After the shipwreck, one hears nothing of his comparisons of the three major religions. That realization was a bit of a let down for me. His zoo-keeping background helped him survive, and was interesting, but I'm not sure why his religious exploration made up s

Day #101: Salad, lentil soup and a cold

Oh noes! It is true. I have a cold. Stuffy nose, sore throat. Luckily for me, I usually don't get colds. I haven't had one since December 15, 2007. I'll be battling this current cold with: Plenty of water Plenty of sleep Orange juice (with pulp!) Tylenol Cold Warm lentil soup Elmer Elmer is a good kitty, and likes to stay around whomever is home. Today, it was me, mostly. He curled up next to me when I woke up and didn't feel like getting up. I still went to church and grabbed the other ingredients I mentioned in the list. The lentil soup was delicious! For the soup: 7 c water 3 c dry lentils 2 c celery chopped 2 c onions, chopped 2 carrots, chopped can of diced tomatoes 2 tsp salt 1 tsp mustard seeds 1/4 tsp thyme 1/4 tsp oregano 1/4 tsp basil canola oil pepper to taste I simmered the lentils, water and salt for 30 minutes while sauteing the onions in the oil and mustard seeds. I chopped up the rest of the vegetables and watched part o

Day #100: Johnson dinner

First, I must apologize. The restaurant in Ithaca, NY is Moosewood, not Moosehead. Sorry about that! The Johnson dinner was good as always! I made butterscotch pie. Delicious! Pretty laid back day. I'm on page 245 in Life of Pi and expect to finish it by the start of next week. Next week I have off of work! How exciting! I'm looking forward to cooking from the Moosewood cookbooks. Tomorrow: Church, perhaps Verizon, and need to do laundry. Maybe make a salad. If so, I'll post pictures! «Laura»

Day #99: Christmas!

I lounged about today. Ate, ate and ate some more. Pie and chocolate chip pancake for breakfast Chips and salsa for the heck of it Lasagna, garlic bread and green bean casserole And I'm going to read the introductions of the cookbooks I received from my brother Todd for Christmas. I flipped through the recipes and it looks like they are pesco-vegetarian books. I'm looking forward to cooking from the books! They're from the Moosehead Restaurant in Ithaca, NY. Road trip! Tomorrow: Johnson dinner «Laura»

Day #98: Christmas Eve

Christmas eve was wonderful! Spent time with family, then went to the Christmas Eve service at the folks' church. After was invited to two parties and I enjoyed eating shrimp and laughing with people I've not seen in several months or longer. Christmas tomorrow! I'll be eating way too much pie. Yay! «Laura»

Day #97: Christmas Eve Eve

I went to Christmas Eve service at Cedar Creek. It was fun and energizing! Must have been 1500 or more people there. There was an alter call, which I would have expected at such a large service so close to a metropolitan area. The message was good, but not enlightening. I'm looking forward to the Christmas Eve service tomorrow at my folks' church. The message is always excellent and it'll be nice to see some of my friends there.  My brother and his girlfriend is coming over with my nephews and her son and we'll be sharing a meal and exchanging gifts. Adios! «Laura»

Day #96: Vegan meatballs and spaghetti

IMG_0792 , originally uploaded by shutterfli . Quite delicious, but I didn't have patience to let the meatballs cook...also, I made them too big...and I put too many in my pan. Other than that, it was great! They tasted awesome, but not quite like meat - but I think that's my fault. The noodles are just run of the mill noodles, cooked in a not-so-special way, Meatballs consist of: Kidney beans (28 oz) Bread crumbs (1/2 cup) TVP (1/4 cup) Garlic (2 cloves) Thyme (1/4 teaspoon) Oregano (1/4 teaspoon) Soy sauce (2 tablespoons) Steak sauce (2 tablespoons) Mash the kidney beans until no bean is left whole. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mash, knead and smush the concoction until firm and mixed through. Ball the beans roughly the size of walnuts. (This may also be why my meatballs weren't how I hoped - I don't know how large walnuts are.) Fry the beans in oil for 15 minutes, stirring often. When the noodles are done, serve the noodles and

Day #95: How much do I have to pay?

Ugh. Can't get a straight answer from the hospital as to what I owe. I'm going to bed. I'm tired of them calling me after I set up an automatic payment plan with them. Goodnight.

Day #94: Non-exciting day

Slept until 10:30am, church, ate leftovers to clean out the fridge, read Life of Pi to page 115, going to bed. Tomorrow will be more exciting. I'll be making more vegan food. At least you'll get pictures! {Laura}

Day #93: Searching for a title

Couldn't think of a good title. sorry. Read Life of Pi to page 101, and watched entirely too much of The Office. Going to dry laundry and eat some stew. Tomorrow: Church Spaghetti with "meat"balls... (balls consist of kidney beans and TVP) Goodnight! «Laura»

Day #92: I don't disagree with my brother very often...

But So Delicious brand soy ice cream isn't better than the Tofutti brand. Sorry! Tomorrow: Lunch with Niki Buy Christmas presents Read Life of Pi «Laura»

Day #91: Potluck crashin'

IMG_0776 , originally uploaded by shutterfli . I didn't really crash a potluck my former team was having - I brought cookies! We had a great time eating and laughing and playing Apples to Apples. After work, I went home and made vegan avocado grilled cheese sandwiches with bean sprouts. Delicious! To get from the top picture to the bottom picture you need: 2 piece of bread 1 avocado Vegan mayonnaise Vegan butter Vegan cheese bean sprouts I threw a pat of butter in a pan and heated it up while I grated the cheese (was in a block). I spread some mayonnaise on a piece of bread, threw some cheese on it and microwaved it for 30 seconds. While I was waiting for the microwave to do its thing, I cut the avocado in half lengthwise, removed the pit, scooped out the deliciousness inside and put that on a piece of bread which I tossed in the warmed pan. Took microwaved bread out of microwave, put bean sprouts on the bread/mayo/cheese and flipped it upside down onto the pan-cooked bread with av

Day #90: Ready for more vegan recipes!

Today I baked more vegan cookies because I'm crashing another potluck at work tomorrow. This weekend, I plan on making avocado grilled cheese with vegan cheese and butter (my own recipe), as well as spaghetti and bean balls, from Veganomicon. I did read up to page 39 in Life of Pi yesterday as well as got my tires inflated. I'll go find more soy ice cream, as it was really good! Tomorrow: Avocado grilled cheese Life of Pi Now: Sleeeeeeep! «Laura»

Day #89: early post???

I'm posting now because the internet has been down in my house for 24 hours, and that's a rare occurence. I'd rather get this post out a little earlier instead of worrying about the internet connection when I get home. I tried Tofutti soy ice cream (chocolate) and it was way better than ricemilk ice cream. I'm going to find another brand of soy ice cream and see if that's even better (I know most grocers stock the So Delicious brand). After I get out of work, I'm going to head to the Honda dealer to get my tires checked, go purchase soy ice cream, then head home to read a few (probably 50 or so) pages of "Life of Pi" which is the book that won the poll for January's book in the Toledo Book Club. Tomorrow, I plan on reading more "Life of Pi" and relaxing. I realized that I'm most relaxed when I'm reading and when I'm cooking. Interesting! Catch you later! {Laura}

Day #88: Charlie's Christmas program

Today was super fun! I visited with my great uncle (He's 95!) and watched my nephew sing several Christmas songs along with other kindergarteners. The nephew did well and the group of kids were rather impressive knowing all the words to the songs. I made black bean soup for dinner and enough to have lunch for the next three days. The soup: 1 red onion, minced 2 cloved garlic, pressed 2 14oz cans of black beans, drained 2 cups of vegetable stock 1 1/2 cups water 2 teaspoons cumin 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce Heat a stock pot with a bit of oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook for at least 3 minutes, but I prefer to cook them longer - I think I cooked them for 7 minutes. Add in the water and cook around a minute before adding everything else. When all the rest of the ingredients are in, turn the heat up to high until the soup boils, then turn the heat to medium-low. Let soup simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add salt or pepper if desired. And it was very good! {Laur

Day #87: Rice cream!

I bought a pint of chocolate ricemilk ice cream, and it's good! I think I'll look around for different kinds of vegan ice cream - coconut ice cream, hemp ice cream, almond ice cream... there are options to discover! I am going to cook vegan meals in the next few weeks - I enjoy cooking and don't care if I have to pay attention to the ingredients.  However, when I'm eating out, I don't want to pay as much attention or if I'm offered food from others, I don't want to decline just because the item might have eggs or dairy milk in it. I'll let you know what I cook! «Laura»

Day #86: boo, no internet on my compy

The phone is nice for entering short things and checking up on stuff. but it isn't great for posting entire entries. Will catch you all later! Laura

Day #85: busy day!

Work went well for the week, thinking about doing another weekly challenge. Any suggestions? Went out with Niki to Best Buy and Borders to purchase Christmas presents. Will have to return the item from Best Buy. Found a better deal on Amazon. I read the first 10 or 15 pages of Julia Child's "My Life in France" and it is so fun and cute! She is such an inspiration. I look forward to reading more of it. For tomorrow: return stuff to Best Buy visit with uncle relax «Laura»

Day #84: The Julie and Julia movie, experienced by Kassie, Joe and Laura

And if we weren't so darn tired at 10:30pm, we would have discussed it. In short, it was good. Book was better. Tomorrow: get the little Honda looked at - low tire pressure light is on, probably because the car sat on the lot for a few months before I purchased it. go do something fun with Niki! That's all. «Laura»

Day #83: More vegan cookies!

I made another 2 dozen vegan cookies tonight! So delicious! I also configured my gmail account POP stuff to go to my mail client. Relaxing day! Now I'm sleepy. Tomorrow: take compy to Joe's watch Julie and Julia eat dinner «Laura»

Day #82: Just relax

Two different people whom are close to me told me that I try to do too much and I should work on relaxing. It sounds so foreign to me! What do I do when I'm not doing anything? I feel like I'm slacking and wasting time when I'm not creating or reading or learning. If I'm just on the computer, I'm not propelling myself forward. So, I'm going to think about how I spend my time, and how I should spend my time. Should give my time percentages like Ramit Sethi's  financial worksheet ? Looking at my work schedule, I dedicate 10 hours of my day on grooming myself, driving to and from work, and sitting in my cubicle. That's 42% of my weekday. I prefer to sleep 8-9 hours to be sure I'm nice and functional for the hours that I'm awake. That requires 33-38% of my 24 hour block. It leaves me with 21% or only 5 hours. I also have to eat dinner! Do you have any suggestions on how I should schedule myself to get rest but not slack off? «Laura»

Day #81: Laura the pseudo-celebrity

I had a lovely and short day at work today! I had to leave at 2 to be interviewed by one of the marketing fellows at UTMC. The video of the interview will be posted on UTMC's homepage and I'll also have access to put it on my blog! The video will go out sometime in the first week of January. After the interview, I met with a few more gentlemen from the marketing department about having my stroke and aftermath story pushed to the national media. I think it'll be an interesting and good experience for me! All the thinking and talking and meeting left me pretty tired by this evening (and I wrenched my knee two hours before the interview, so I was trying my best to look like I wasn't in considerable pain or limping around!) so I'm heading to bed. I know, it's not even nine, but sleep is the best medicine.

Day #80: Kale!

Vegan eatings to close the week: Breakfast: cookies! Lunch: pizza! Dinner: kale! I baked kale with oil and sea salt, thanks to a recipe from Anne Berg! It was crunchy and salty and tasted like a potato chip. Tomorrow, I'm going to work through lunch because I'm leaving early - going to have an interview (no, not a job interview) with a marketing fellow from UTMC talking about my stroke and the level of care that UTMC exhibited. Sleepy time to make sure I look my best! «Laura»

Day #79: Vegan Pizza #2

IMG_1502 , originally uploaded by shutterfli . Vegan eatings: Breakfast: 3 (or 5) chocolate chip cookies leftover stew Lunch: Mustard pretzels Dinner: Vegan pizza The second try of pizza was wonderfully successful! I loved it - tasted just like pizza! I grated the "cheese" - I think it was better than having it sliced. I went Christmas shopping with my mother and we bought almost all of the gifts on our lists. It's always nice to have a successful shopping day, even if I have to sacrifice a real lunch to do it! Tomorrow, I'll be heading to church, but I'm not sure what else I'll do. Eat vegan leftovers, certainly. Maybe play some piano! Right now, sleep! «Laura»

Day #78: Two more days of Vegan week!

Vegan eatings:   Breakfast:  Tea  3 clementines   Lunch:  2 pieces of vegan pizza  footlong veggie sub sans cheese   Dinner: Curry  Chips with pineapple salsa  Lemonade   Don't get me wrong - I'm enjoying eating vegan food! I just won't miss checking everything I eat to make sure it has vegan approved ingredients! Last night I made Chickpea and Spinach curry as well as Chocolate Chip cookies. Both were very good!   Curry needed a little extra salt.    Cookies were just amazingly delicious! (see photo at top) I'm looking forward to Saturday and eating more cookies!   «Laura»

Day #77: Lucky number 13!

1203091845 , originally uploaded by shutterfli . Vegan eatings: Breakfast: 3 clementines Lunch: Chipotle Stew (Still as amazingly awesome as the first time!) Delicious veganness for dinner!! (see photo at top) Greek salad Artichoke and tomato and mushroom soup Hot chocolate with soy milk. the clerk forgot to not put whipped cream on it....that's fine, I got a spoon and disposed of the cream into my soup lid. I looked around the Toledo vicinity today to see where I could purchase vegan cheese. I thought I found it in Meijer: Veggie slices! Next to the tofu! But it has a milk protein in the ingredients. I sadly put it back and went to Anderson's. No luck there. I was surprised, I thought Anderson's had EVERYTHING! I called Wal-Mart, Kroger, Giant Eagle, Schorlings, Bassett's Health Store, Churchills, Super Churchills, Reddy Food-N-Spices, Target, Aldi's, then I finally found Claudia's! They even had more than one brand of vegan cheese! I was so excited! I just fin

Day #76: Done with Julie and Julia and now I'm onto Isa

Vegan eateries: Breakfast: Tea Lunch: 4 clementines Chipotle stew Dinner: Greek salad without the feta cheese Blueberry bagel with grape jelly Dessert: Hot chocolate made with soy milk Snack: Guacamole with tortilla chips I enjoyed Bible study with Niki and Tiff and I finished Julie and Julia and LOVED it! I'm looking forward to the book club meet. Now I'm sleepy. Will update tomorrow! «Laura»

Day #75: Doux Vegan!

I'm sure my French is incorrect in the title of this post. Vegan eatings for today: Breakfast: Tea Lunch: Chipotle, corn and black bean stew (leftovers - and just as wonderfully tasty as when it was made originally!) 4 clementines Dinner: Stir fry consisting of:  --White rice  --spinach  --mushrooms  --bamboo shoots  --water chestnuts  --pea pods  --garlic powder  --curry powder  --onion powder  --salt  --pepper Dessert:  --hot chocolate, made with soy milk. So far, my taste buds don't think that this vegan food is like a death march to blandness. It's been quite good! Next recipes will be spinach and chickpea curry, and chocolate chip cookies. I found one brand of butter that is vegan at Meijer! (No vegan butter at Kroger.) Yay for Willow Run! I'm considering dropping this daily blog back to a weekly blog and starting a music composition blog and a cooking blog. I'm going to see how much cooking and writing and all I do during the Chri

Day #74: Hey, it's vegan week!

IMG_1482 , originally uploaded by shutterfli . Vegan eatings: Breakfast: clementines trail mix --dried fruit --nuts --seeds --M&Ms. (Crap! I didn't realize that they're not vegan!) Lunch: Subway footlong veggie sub (no cheese!) --lettuce --pickles --cucumbers --green peppers --black olives --banana peppers --jalepeno peppers --vinegar snack: trail mix sans M&Ms dinner: Chipotle, corn and black bean stew --crushed tomatoes --onions --carrots --potatoes --black beans --garlic --cumin --chipotle peppers --lime juice side: --fries --malt vinegar I read Julie and Julia during lunch, and I'm glad, as I didn't have time today to read after work. This dinner took quite a while! I served 3 bowls, and have five large bowls packed up for lunches. I'm excited that my first try was so successful! Tomorrow, I'm going to hang out with my friend Niki! Yay! «Laura»

Day #73: Julie and Julia and Laura

I'm really enjoying reading "Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell.  She's a very entertaining writer! I'm currently on page 137 of 362, and I need to have it finished by Thursday at 7pm. I'm sure I can get it done. I enjoyed church with Kassie and Leo! We went to the 10:45 service, and it was packed! I'd like to try a different service or at least get to this service earlier than we did. I'm really enjoying the Cedar Creek atmosphere and I'd like to give it a try. Of course, it's always easier to go to a new place with a friend as opposed to just by yourself. It's also nice to have a friend that knows where she's going! (Thanks for making sure I don't get lost, Kassie) The guacamole was delicious! More than delicious! I was trying to get every bit of guac from the bowl. I didn't visit my uncle, but I will do that tomorrow. Right now, I'm off to bed!

Day #72: Weirdest menu ever

Today I ate: breakfast: pickles chocolate chip pancake pork roast with potatoes lemonade lunch: cheesy casserole with fried onions chocolate peanut butter pie starbucks double chocolate chip frappacino dinner: chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups pickles clemetines more pickles lemonade I purchased the book "Julie and Julia" at Barnes and Noble and will read it by Thursday, as I have a book club meeting then! Rereading this menu makes me laugh. Tomorrow: Read "Julie and Julia" Go to church with Kassie Make guacamole Visit with Uncle Louie Read more of "Julie and Julia" Right now: Sleep! «Laura»

Day #71: Johnson dinner

The dinner was fantastic as usual, and my pie was great! I forgot to take a picture of it before people started eating it - it was made with an Oreo shell, a layer of vanilla pudding mixed with peanut butter and a layer of chocolate pudding, and drizzled atop the pie was carmel and chocolate syrup. Sugary goodness! I didn't get too far in my songbook exercises, but I'll continue working on it tomorrow. Also, tomorrow I'm planning on heading to Barnes & Noble to read Julie and Julia sometime during the day. That's all! «Laura»

Day #70:AlmondChocolatePudding

Yeah....not so good... but my father made a pork roast that was just delicious!! I'm looking forward to making a pie for the large Johnson dinner on Friday afternoon. I'll post a picture of the pie when it's done! Tomorrow: Make a pie Work on songwriting Visit with family «Laura»

Day #69: Veganlicious

IMG_0758 , originally uploaded by shutterfli . I'm currently making some chocolate pudding with almond milk as opposed to cow's milk. I'll let you know how tasty it is. I drank some in a glass and it's quite good! It's a bit like delicious nutty candy. Thicker than skim or 2% cow milk, not as "chalky" like soy milk. Tomorrow I'm just going to hang around home and get creative stuff done. Woo! «Laura»

Day #68: Happy Birthday, mother

I spent all evening with my mother, and it was fabulous! I brought home some steak from a local restaurant and we spent the time together by discussing Christmas and work and schedules, then we both fell asleep around 9pm. I didn't get the song done... but I'll have plenty of time to do this weekend! «Laura»

Day #67: Mmmmm, hummus!

Niki and I hung out at The Beirut on Monroe and now we're at Panera. Looks like it'll be closing soon - perhaps about in ten minutes. Had a great and busy day at work today and I'm looking for another day for the same effect tomorrow. My to-do list for tomorrow: Wish my mother a happy birthday (She's so cute!) Think about Christmas presents for others (no, I won't be doing black friday) Write a song (I hope to prepare it for recording soon after) Panera is kicking us out. Goodnight! «Laura»

Day #66: Cedar Creek

I attended Cedar Creek with Kassie. I enjoyed it, and want to return. The message was about the fifth and sixth beatitudes, concerning mercy and compassion. I have always felt that I do not have much compassion nor show mercy to others, but after digging deeper, I found that I do - not just as much as others. After the service, I ate a delicious veggie sub! Kassie, Leo, Joe and I hung out at their house for an hour or two, then they went to Menards, and I went home. I played with my phone and got all the contacts that I care about from my Palm Centro into my Env Touch. Didn't really do anything creative - ended up watching real films of WWII filed with horror and gore. Wasn't exactly what I wanted to watch. I really wanted to watch something lighthearted, but my mother wanted to watch WWII in HD on the History channel. It was a good show, but... sobering. Tomorrow, I want to hang out with Niki and eat hummus! That's all I really want to do! «Laura»

Day #65: Internet on my phone day!

I am posting today's entry from my phone, and it is terribly exciting! I went to Gino's Pizza this evening with Joe and Kassie. We saw Murder Among Friends, a delightful play about attempting to murder your loved ones. I didn't do much today except for that. Tomorrow: Church with Kassie Play with my phone Do something creative That's all!

Day #64: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

IMG_1476 , originally uploaded by shutterfli .

Day #63: The Cat in the Hat

IMG_1469 , originally uploaded by shutterfli .

Day #62: The Lavacake edition #2

I am making another set of lavacakes for a potluck that I'm crashing on Friday. I'll be baking the muffins today and then pouring in the hot fudge tomorrow. I've been busy taking photographs of different work teams at the office.  I'm terribly exhausted. Night! «Laura»

Day #61: The exercise is done!

I thought of 10 people I respect, and their most common traits were: Risk-taking Calm, laid back Fun Artsy Frugal These are traits that I have or wish to acquire. So tomorrow, I want to work on the artsy trait.  I'll be heading to Barnes and Noble. I think I'll work on taking macro photos with my 50mm f1.8 lens. I'll upload a few good ones tomorrow! «Laura»

Day #60: Yay for willpower, Toad!

I went to Barnes and Noble with my father and enjoyed some hot chocolate and skimmed some vegan cookbooks and philosophy books. I didn't buy any books!  I also couldn't come up with four more people for the exercise I'm trying to complete. I have tomorrow! «Laura»

Day #59: Go go Bible quiz

I sat in the opening practice for this year's Bible quiz at my folks' church. They wanted me to play, so I buzzed in, but since I hadn't read any of the material, I couldn't answer correctly, though my answers were close. I went home and recorded a silly song (I won't upload it here, mostly because it isn't that fantastic) and then took a three hour nap. Niki and I stayed up quite late last night! Tomorrow is the beginning of "Spirit Week" at the office. I'm excited for Tuesday, "Bundle Up Day". Finally, I won't be cold in the cubicle!!   Joe and I are official photographers, so we get to randomly walk around the office all week. To do tomorrow: 1) Go to Barnes and Noble with my father. 2) I am determined to NOT buy a book! 3) Finish an exercise, listing 10 people whom I respect and what qualities they possess. I have six on my list so far. There you have it. The computer and I are going to go sleep in different rooms! Th

Day #58: Yay, Niki is in town!

I rearranged and reorganized my room - it looks much more open and the piano is more the focus of the room. I didn't make waffles, but I did start laundry and I played piano and visited my grandmother. I've moved my computer (yes it's a laptop) to the spare room so that I'm not tempted to watch ridiculous movies during ridiculous times of the night when I should be sleeping.  I enjoy reading and cleaning today, and used the computer to look up a few things on Verizon and Google maps. Used it for a total of 10 minutes until Niki and I got to Maxwell's Brew. We started our Toledoan trek in west Toledo, visiting the Verizon store. I was tempted to upgrade my phone and get internet as well. I decided to wait and re-evaluate in a few months. If I would have changed phones and plans, I would have paid: $200 for the Env Touch phone (but have a $100 mail-in rebate, they won't let me have internet on my Palm Centro because it's "too old". Grrr.) $77 dol

Day #57: The Re-arrangement

Well, I have re-arranged my room and I need to reorganize the papers on my desk. There are a lot! Tomorrow, I'll work on getting my room organized, make waffles for breakfast, do laundry, play piano, write songs and visit my grandmother. Sounds like a nice cozy day. My computer's new home is the spare room so when I go to bed, I can't watch more Hulu than I planned. Goodnight! «Laura»

Day #56: Hey apostrophes, why do you make people so possessive?

Went to dinner with the folks and friends. Went to grocery store to get a few things and got home around 10pm. Too late to really do anything. Decided this afternoon: When at home and not doing something important (important=anything that does not involve watching TV/Hulu or wasting time on the Internet) I will play piano - scales, etudes, original songs, chord progressions, covers; or ukulele, or write songs, or learn something about recording. Tomorrow, I'm going to work on rearranging my room so I would want to get to my piano and play it. The computer is going to find a home elsewhere in the house. And I'm going to sleep. «Laura»

Day #55: Sleepitized!

I'm sleepy, so short post. Played ukulele. Made two chocolate chip waffles. Stretched. Played piano. To do tomorrow: 1) Going to get a schedule together for my post 5pm life. 2) Do something musical. Yep. That's all. «Laura»

Day #54: A Well Respected Man, demo version

I need to remember not to stuff so many things into my day. I got home at 8pm after Bible study and I just can't get everything done. I practiced ukulele and ended up recording. I won't be doing scales, but I will list the books I WILL read before I sell them. They are: "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Burton Malkiel "The Automatic Millionaire" by David Bach "Fasting" by Jentezen Franklin "The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing" by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBouef "Inside Songwriting" by Jason Blume "Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die" by John Piper "The Indie Band Survival Guide" by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feeham "Confessions of an Introvert" by Meghan Wier "All You Need to Know about the Music Business" by Donald Passman "The Republic of Plato" translated by Allan Bloom "Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" by Charles Se

Day #53: Chocolate chocolate chip waffle!

IMG_1054 , originally uploaded by shutterfli . I really liked today. I got a lot of work done, but wasn't stressed out. At home, I ate dinner with the folks, found more books that I've been meaning to read and made a chocolate chocolate chip waffle! It was an amazing dessert. The waffle doesn't look super chocolaty, and it isn't but it has subtle hints of cocoa goodness in the batter. The real chocolate flavor comes with the chocolate chips inside and the chocolate syrup on top. Anyone feeling like they're somehow going to contract diabetes yet? I didn't play scales for a full hour, but I did play for a good amount of time. I stopped before the full hour because I started making mistakes that were due to tiredness. I usually get tired around 9 or 10pm, but if I'm awake, I am "functional" again around 1-3am. I wake up whenever I have to, but I'm not fully there until 10am. I'm good until 2pm through 4pm and I get sluggish. Then 4pm to 9 I&#

Day #52: Busy busy busy!

Didn't stretch, but did make a chocolate waffle!  Went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in the new Lucas County Arena on Jefferson, downtown. I hope Toledo can get a revitalization. It's a nice town, but it feels like a ghost town. Tomorrow's to-do list: 1) Stretch 2) List books on 3) Play scales for an hour 4) Play whatever I want on whatever instrument I feel like playing Ben Folds is my musical hero, and he played scales every day for six months to get to where he is - and so I just need to make it a priority. There is no reason for me to NOT make music a priority. If I start today, I'll be very comfortable where I am just before my 25th birthday - also around Ben's age when he started doing piano seriously. There is no time like the present! ♪Laura♪

Day #51: Waffles!!

The waffles were amazing! I used: 2 eggs 2 cups of unbleached flour 1 3/4 cups milk 1/2 cup canola oil 2 tbs sugar 4 tsp baking powder 3 tsp cinnamon 3 tsp vanilla Heat waffle iron per manufacturer's instructions.  Beat eggs. Combine rest of ingredients in order. Beat until the batter is smooth and consistent. Pour 1/2 cup batter on the waffle iron. For vegan waffles, one could substitute 2 tbsp flour, 1/2 tbsp shortening, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 2 tsp water for eggs and soy milk for regular milk. Super delicious! I cleaned my desk but kind of took a nap instead of listing my books on I did email the eateries and my father decided he wanted to eat larger seeds than the pumpkins I have will generate, so I'm waiting for him to get me some large pumpkins. I didn't stretch but will do that before I go to bed. Tomorrow, I'm going to church and then the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in the afternoon, followed by eating at Blue

Day #50: The FAIL edition

Yep. Bible study was cancelled, and I didn't email the businesses. Instead, I bought a waffle iron and ingredients to make waffles!  I'm excited to make waffles, as I've been hankering for some homemade ones! (I also inventoried my portion of the pantry.) I spent the evening watching TV with the family and Elmer. To-do list for tomorrow: 1) Make waffles 2) Clean Desk 3) Email eateries 4) Pumpkinate 5) Stretch 6) List books on Okay, yay for waffles tomorrow!!! «Laura»

Day #49: Cute Elmer edition

IMG_5594 , originally uploaded by shutterfli . I know, this picture is a year old, but it's still one of my favorites. Anyhow: In my stretch book, Zone 1 is all about upper legs, hips and trunk. It's nice to start an exercise program but I'm more looking forward to Zone 2, shoulders! Hopefully I'll be able to be correctly limber to get rid of most of my shoulder pain. I did laundry, I stretched, adding one new exercise to the other six that I've practiced and I moved the pumpkins to the garage. Saturday, I plan on setting up a card table and cleaning out the pumpkins then. Didn't clean the desk, nor did I email eateries. I have a letter set up for businesses, I just haven't gotten the email addresses. At this point, I'm getting sleepy and I have a whole weekend ahead of me, so I'll conquer these things at that time! Things to do tomorrow: 1) Have bible study with Tiff 2) Email businesses The other things I will do on Saturday. Later! «Laura»

Day #48: I blame it on AT&T Wifi

Hmm. How did I do today? I read the magazines and pitched them except for one issue of Scientific Mind. Didn't clean desk nor dug up books to list. Uhm, neither did I inventory the pantry. If AT&T wifi was any good at Barnes and Noble, I would have got more vegan meals plans, but I did check out Veganomicon (awesome cookbook), and I plan on purchasing it soon. I did enjoy Barnes and Noble with my friend Laura! She's cute and fun! I didn't get to the pumpkin patch, nor did I match my black socks or email local eateries. However, I did do some stretching and added two exercises. Tomorrow: 1) Email local eateries regarding vegan entrees 2) Stretch 3) Pumpkinate 4) Clean desk 5) Do laundry Right now, I'm going to sleep.  Later! «Laura»

Day #47(a): Stretchy!

I am happy with my progress this evening! Elmer was in the harness, but we've decided to get him a different harness, and he really gives me dirty looks when he's in it. I voted! Didn't get to the pumpkins - it was dark by the time I was ready. Read the intro and four exercises in the stretch book. Practiced those four exercises. Didn't match up my socks. Not an urgent task. To-do list for tomorrow, 11/4/09 1) Read magazines in room, then pitch them 2) Clean desk 3) List books on 4) Inventory my part of the pantry 5) Find more vegan meal plans 6) Enjoy Barnes and Noble with friend Laura 7) Get the pumpkins around and ready to be massacred 8) Match black socks 9) Stretch - add a few more exercises to the ones already known 10) Email local eateries to know if they have vegan meals on the menu My guess is that I'll get through items 1, 5, 6, 8 and 9 tomorrow, but wanted to give myself more things if I happen to find the time

Day #47: Today's to-do list

After contemplating this blog, I thought it would benefit me to publish a to-do list in the morning, and see how far I got at night. These blog posts will generally be short, but I'll also have an item in my list a few days a week discussing something in length on the blog.  I usually have too many things on my to-do lists, so I won't be depressed if I don't get them all done. Things happen. To-do list: 1) Put a harness on Elmer (We really would love to have him be outside with us, but he runs away when we put him on the ground.) 2) Vote (Of course!) 3) Clean out pumpkins to get the seeds (Mmmmm!) 4) Read a part of "The Stretch Book" because I'm tired of my back and neck and shoulders always hurting (Ow. : (  Sad.) 5) Do some stretching (Ahhhh...) 6) Match up my black socks (They're in a pile and it's going to be a pain to look for a pair of socks in the morning.) Okay, so I feel better - I don't want to abandon this blog, an

Day #46: A realization?

I notice my blog posts have been short recently. I'm rethinking and re-evaluating my goals of this blog. I'll let you know what I decide soon. Meanwhile... «Laura»

Day #45: The COSI edition

I went to COSI with Kassie, Joe and Leo!  I took a bunch of pictures of Leo because he's the cutest of the group. After the exploration of science, they made dinner and we played Uno  drums.

Day #44: Roasting Charlie's Birthday

I finished roasting the 6 cups of delicious pumpkin seeds! Except for the first batch, they all came out great!  The first batch was a little overcooked, as I wasn't sure how long to cook them. In the middle of the day, I went to my nephew's birthday party. It was a fun, noisy affair! I've put a set on my flickr page - enjoy the photos! I'm happy with the shots I captured, but not the coloring. I just used the 18-55mm kit lens as I needed a wider angle. The slinky shots look pretty cool. «Laura»

Day #43: The fatigue

I've been running myself ragged lately, and I know I need enough sleep tonight to get to Wauseon to register my car tomorrow morning and not be a zombie. Sorry about the short posts lately, but I'll get back to better stuff soon! «Laura»

Day #42: Don't Panic!

I'll be creating a new blog very soon but it won't hamper with this blog, nor its posting frequency.  I'll let you know what it is once it's ready. Unrelatedly, I still love my Honda Fit! «Laura»

Day #41: So tired

I went to see Ben Folds in concert with the Columbus Symphony and it was amazing! I've never been to a symphony concert where the crowd was encourages to yell out expletives. This, however, is a late post since i arrived at my house at 2am after the concert. Was soooooo sleepy. «Laura»

Day #40: The lava cake edition

IMG_0717 , originally uploaded by shutterfli . I didn't roast the pumpkin seeds today because I realized if I was going to participate in the potluck for the Canadian/Nissan teams Friday, I will need to make the cakes today. Tomorrow I'm going to a Ben Folds concert in Columbus, and Thursday is my last scheduled doctor appointment about the whole stroke stuff, so I'm going to celebrate after that! The small cakes will get filled with hot fudge Thursday night, then frozen until the potluck. They'll be served with ice cream and Magic Shell on top after being microwaved a short time. Everyone whom has tried my concoction has given me rave reviews! «Laura»

Day #39: A not yet finished project

IMG_0711 Originally uploaded by shutterfli The pumpkin seeds are not yet dry, but I'm working on them. I have 6 cups of seeds! And, I need another day to practice. My sound quality isn't up to my standards. But here's a picture of my seeds taking over the kitchen! (I'm posting this entry through Flickr!) «Laura»

Day #38: A Well Respected Pumpkin Seed

I learned to play the song, "A Well Respected Man" by the Kinks on my ukulele, which is super fun! Of course I have to sing it with an English accent. I also am soaking pumpkin seeds to prepare them for roasting tomorrow. Yay! I'll record the song I learned tomorrow so you get to laugh at my poor uke playing. Thanks for checking in! «Laura»

Day #37: Stroke speech video!

Enjoy! «Laura»

Day #36: Weekend, woo!

I'm looking forward to a nice lazy sleepy weekend. The only plan I have is to get a free cookie and hot chocolate at Barnes and Noble - they're offering an internet coupon. Yay for free warmness in a bookstore! Other than that, I'll just be reading. How boring! Heh. «Laura»

Day #35: The reading list

I took Ramit Sethi's book, "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" back to the library. It was good, but not good enough for me to write further on it. I spoke about the percentage styled budget and opening a Roth IRA, but that's all of the information I gleaned from it. I'm currently working through David Bach's workbook, "The Automatic Millionaire" and I have three other books that are on my pile, "A Random Walk Down Wall Street", "The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing" and "Vegan with a Vengeance". I'll start reading "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" right after I'm done reading the current issue of Wired magazine. «Laura»

Day #34: Speech! Speech!

I delivered a speech to doctors and business people today about my stroke and my care at UTMC. I'm hoping I can upload the video to show y'all. «Laura»

Day #33: Kentuckle photos

Whee! Photos from my Kentuckian adventure last weekend! Just a few pictures. Will get to editing the rest soon! «Laura»

Day #32: Hair today, gone tomorrow

Yep! I cut off my hair for locks of love. I donated 12 inches of my hair to a kid who has no hair! I'm glad I own a scarf. «Laura»

Day #31: The DO SOMETHING you LAZY PERSON day!

Yesterday: I introduced myself to a photographer who specializes in photography for live concerts, which would be a dream position besides, of course, writing the music for the live concert. I wrote a few songs (yeah, I really did!) I ate way too much food...uuughh... I know today is going to be a crazy "Let's sit in the car for five hours straight from northern Kentucky to northern Ohio" day. Thanks for the great weekend Niki and Lexington! I'm all packed for the drive home... «Laura»

Day #30: The Kentucky edition

My Honda Fit performed well beyond my standards. I drove down from Toledo to Lexington, Kentucky, average speed of 70-75 and I figured I would get 33MPG. Not so! I was able to have 39MPG most of the drive, and on one stretch with light traffic (so I could use my cruise for a loooong time) I got 42.1MPG. Crazy! Niki lives in a very nice house in suburbia with two roommates, whom are not here this weekend (one offered her bed for me to use, how generous, considering she's never met me!) We went to Baker's 360 which is an upscale club on the 15th floor of a building. It was quite....loud. There was a sushi bar, and I bought yellowtail nigiri; it was delicious! Now Niki and I are in a coffee shop downtown. We just had lunch - a ton of mediterranean food that was delicious! After such, I'm not sure what we're going to do.. maybe go to a cupcake buffet at 5:30, maybe to dress up for the club, maybe I'll just play piano (one of her roommates is a piano teacher) until

Day #29: The super tired edition

I went to an amazing They Might Be Giants show in Cleveland last night, and man am I exhausted. Decided to sleep an extra hour and worked from 9:30-1 instead of the usual half day. Then I get to go to Kentucky! I'm excited! Niki has wireless internet in her home, so I will be bringing my laptop for posting. I had too much work to do and couldn't get my posts for Friday and Saturday done.  Oh well, no time like the present. I'll let you know how the drive down went!! «Laura»

Day #28: Forget it!

This coming weekend, I will not have access to my computer, nor the internet. That means: No compulsively checking Mint or ING. No using Facebook (Don't use it much regularly anyway) No watching Hulu (What?? I have to wait to Sunday night to watch the Office??? Nooooooo...) No reading blogs (I read most of my blogs at the cubicle during lunch) Why will I not have access to my computer and the internet? I'm heading to Lexington, Kentucky to see my friend Niki!  She's very cool and cute! I'm sure I'll be taking photos and writing lyrics. I'm a musician and photographer! I forget that. I really shouldn't.  Anyway, here I go, see you later, internet! «Laura» P.S. This weekend's blog posts are already written and will be scheduled and released on time. No worries! : )

Day #27: The Automatic Millionaire, Chapter 2

Chapter two talks about his trademarked "Latte Factor", the acknowledgement that small daily spending drains your wallet. Another way to think about it is the saying, "If you watch your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves". I do my best to watch both the pennies and the dollars. I've been loosening the belt a bit, being okay with an occasional hot chocolate and a cheap 6 inch sub from Subway for dinner while I'm at Barnes and Noble, writing away. More than 90% of the time, I pack my lunch rather than buy it. And if I'm eating out, I either eat half of it and save it for the next day's lunch or order something cheap, like a cup of soup. I don't go out to eat to taste certain foods, I go out to be nourished and spend time with friends. I'm not going to complete the exercises in this chapter because I have my budget set up well that I'm within the limits I want, and I have lived it for nearly a year. I know my "Latte F

Day #26: The Automatic Millionaire, Chapter 1

Chapter 1 builds upon the exercises done in the introduction.  The author, David Bach, gets into more detail about the McIntyres. They have no debt and have retirement accounts - even a rental property that is paid for!  He then wants the reader to talk about their retirement wants and the time to achieving the goal. His category "Y/N" is defined as "retirement wants that you want in retirement (Y) or you don't care (N)". This seems a bit ambiguous to me - does the "No" answer mean "I don't care WHEN I get this want" or "IF I get this want".  I'm going to answer the Y/N column as "I don't care WHEN I get my want." Actually, maybe this way: R = I want this in retirement B = I want this BEFORE retirement X = I don't care if it is before or during retirement The Automatic Millionaire Goal Developer Actionable Goal Y/N How close? 10 = Achieved, 1 = Not Begun Save money in my 401(K) and Roth IRA

Day #25: Worried?

I'm not worried today. But I worry unnecessarily other days. I worry about the future, mostly. Financial plans are great to have, but I obsess.  I'm checking Mint and ING daily, wanting to make sure I can afford to live the way I want to - be able to pay for my car and knock out my medical debt as soon as possible. In my debt basket, I owe around $15,000 on my car (including interest) and $5,000 in medical debt. Luckily, I have five years to pay the car loan off, and I hope that I can get rid of the medical debt in the next 6 or 7 months. In my savings account, I used $4,000 of the $10,000 for a down payment of my car.  My first goal is to get rid of the medical debt, and after that, I will build my savings fund back to its original state. But I still worry.  And once the debt is gone and the savings is back, I'll still worry. I'll have more goals and want to learn more things which will cost time and perhaps money. However, worrying about uncontrollable things

Day #24: The Barnes and Noble realization

When I'm at Barnes and Noble, I write at least one post. When I'm attempting to write elsewhere, it feels like an effort and I try to find any way to distract myself. Looks like I'll have to frequent the bookstore more often! I'm heading there tomorrow after work. Right now, I'm heading for a nap. Darn lazy Sunday. «Laura»

Day #23: Fitting photos

Here are photos of the crunched Cirrus and the fantastic Fit! The Fit is go!

Day #22: The phone conversationalist

I was really productive today! Got a lot of work done, called Progressive to change my policy from my Cirrus to my Fit, had them fax the changed policy to Brown Honda for proof that the new car is insured since I'm getting my financing through American Honda Finance Corp, called Westfield insurance to make my statement (and hopefully get my $500 deductible back since it wasn't my fault), faxed the local Progressive rep my bill of sale to get the sales tax reimbursed (up to the value of the sales tax of the Cirrus), called Straightline, the company that manages my 401(k) on the cheap and negotiated a good rate for my account management, drove the awesome fun new car a little, from home to work, then to the local hospital to see my friend Tiff (She works there) and drove back home. I just finished the ice cream, so I might buy more tomorrow before I head to Joe and Kassie's. Mmmm, ice cream... «Laura»

Day #21: The Fit is Go!

Actually, my Fit stopped...right in my garage!!  I love it so much! I was able to negotiate $850 down on the purchase price and 0.135% down on the finance rate and put enough down that my monthly payments are $260. Yay for my first real try at negotiating! This weekend will be a rather lazy weekend. I'm looking forward to it! I'll have pictures soon! «Laura»

Day #20: Last full day of driving a 2005 Dodge Neon

For those whom want to guess where I rented the car, in the passenger seat is a handicap sign, a pillow, a cane and previously an oxygen tank. Tomorrow is the day to get Fit. Tonight is the night to get sleep.  Later! «Laura»

Day #19: Car car car car car....

My mind is all about the car junk, but it will be settled on Thursday night. I've decided on the 2009 Honda Fit Sport, black.  I have negotiated the price down $800 and I'll get it from Brown Honda.  Now I just need to figure out what I'll get for interest rates on the portion that I'll be financing. Yikes! I said my final goodbyes to my crunched Cirrus during lunch today.  I drove the Fit again and absolutely loved it! My friend, Joe, said it felt like being in a cockpit. Tomorrow I'm heading to different banks to get interest rates on a loan. «Laura»

Day #18: Totaled!

The insurance company totaled the car and is going to give me $2500. I've been eyeing those Honda Fits for a while and I tested one out this evening. I really enjoyed the car and now I have to get a good loan rate and all, research what dealership I'll be getting my car from and all. The Fit handles spectacularly well and the controls are intuitive. It is a fantastic car. I went through three medical tests today and I think I passed two and failed the other one. We shall see the verdict on Oct 29th.

Day #17: The funeral

Today was a tough day. One of my friends from the folks' church passed away on Thursday and his funeral was today. He was young, only 61 but he was very sick. I helped set up with the dinner afterward. He had an awesome life full of faith and family, and was always very funny and kind. Tomorrow I have a few rounds of medical tests... I better get the papers around or else I'll have no medical tests tomorrow.  Afterward, I'll get into my regular posting stuff. I promise. I'm sure I'll have something great to say about car insurance, since my car will be towed to a body shop and the claims adjuster will inspect it.  I'm hoping that the car will be repaired and the insurance from the girl who hit me may reimburse my deductible. We shall see. «Laura»

Day #16: Clean up day, or One Wedding and a visitation

Oh, life. How you like to change my plans. I forgot that I was going to a wedding reception this evening.  Since my car is currently unavailable, I'll be getting a ride from my folks, but they are going to a visitation for one of our church family.  After that is the wedding, and then the reception. Sounds like a full day of not being able to write about finance or life or that sort of fun stuff. However, I need to remind myself that this blog is not topic-specific. In fact, I titled it "Things I did today" just so in times where I couldn't get a "real" post done, I can just blog about my day. My goal for this blog is to write every day. Look I'm writing! So, there you go.  Mission Accomplished. «Laura»

Day #15: The short post

Yep, it will be a short post tonight. I'm pretty tired and sore. I was in a minor car accident yesterday evening. I was driving on an access road, and a teenage girl failed to yield to me as she was approaching the road from a parking lot. I hit her car on the right side, and the front of my car is in pretty bad shape. The car was able to be driven home, but I doubt it'll last longer without repair. I had the police file a report, and then I filed a claim with my car insurer, Progressive. They called about an hour after that and got more details. It will be towed on Monday to a local shop and a claims adjuster will survey the damage. I'm afraid they'll total my car since it's an older car - 1995 Cirrus. So, I'm going to eat some ice cream, then go to bed. I'll work on a more substantial post tomorrow! «Laura»

Day #14: Thanks for the budget, Ramit!

One of my new favorite personal finance bloggers is Ramit Sethi.  He has a blog, " I will teach you to be rich ", and new book of the same title.  I've checked out his book from the local library and this weekend will start reading it.  My friend Joe DeStazio  has already read the first few chapters and explained Ramit's take on budgeting to me - automate it! Ramit advises using rough percentages for the large groups of the budget; fixed expenses, saving, investing, guilt-free spending. Joe, being the awesome friend he is, created a personalized spreadsheet that with his blessing, will share with you! The figures in the spreadsheet are dummy data, so please enter data that is relevant to your life (mortgage instead of rent, for example.) Happy fiddling! «Laura»

Day #13: The Automatic Millionaire Workbook; Introduction, part 2

Yesterday, I discussed the American Dream and what it means to me, as well as a bit of what I'll need to realize the dream. Today, Bach gives us the names of a couple, Jim and Sue McIntyre, whom talked to Bach about early retirement and how their values influenced how much money they'll need to live the way they wanted.  Bach suggested writing out a "Values Conversation", a pie sliced into six pieces. Value Enjoy my retirement life Continue to tithe Be able to see relatives regardless of distance Travel! Continue to educate myself in hobbies or new ways of enjoying work (ie a new skill) Enjoy my home with a sense of happiness and security (ie sunlit room with a piano to create new songs) After this exercise, Bach builds upon these goals with the Automatic Millionaire Goal Developer, which takes your 6 values and breaks them into smaller actionable goals. The Automatic Millionaire Goal Developer Value Actionable Goal How much will it cost

Day #12: The Automatic Millionaire Workbook; Introduction pt 1

I read The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach a year ago (yay library!), and it was an amazing piece about saving and how to go about it.  It inspired me to purchase The Automatic Millionaire Workbook. I thought that reviewing and working through each chapter would be a good exercise for me and a helpful insight for you. Bach discusses the "American Dream" and how the baby boomer generation is not faring well with their savings and retirement accounts.  He continues with posing the question, "What's your idea of the American Dream?" So then, what is my American Dream? I want to live debt free (except a mortgage, or perhaps a car loan if the conditions are right).  After I retire, I hope to have income passively and work only when I want to.  I want to cook whatever kinds of food strike my fancy.  I'd like to travel to different parts of the world (United States, Western Europe, Iceland, New Zealand, Israel, Japan) and not worry about money. I'