Friday, October 31, 2008

You're welcome

We have lived back in Utah for more than a year now, so I decided to share a few of my personal favorites, Bests of Utah, if you will. Most are restaurants, because that is my absolute favorite thing to do with a little extra money. My other favorite places -- Target and Costco -- obviously don't count as Utah treasures.

Mexican : Las Tarascas -- mmm, yum. I've only been once, but can't wait to go back. They had me at fresh, chunky guacamole and lardy refried beans. Also, very affordable. Located in Albertson's strip mall on University Parkway.

Italian: Gloria's Little Italy -- Great ambience (although they're about to move locations), beautiful desserts (although who needs the temptation?) and fantastic food (although, be warned: the spicy pasta is very very spicy). Quite a hotspot. (Go anyway.) For now, located on 300 South in Provo. Moving to downtown.

Thai: Thai Ruby -- I'm a sucker for Thai food. We've tried just about all of them in the area and this is our favorite. Many a times we've tried to eat at the restaurant only to find a sign on the door saying "Closed for the holiday" or "Will return in one month". Which is just as it should be. (The anti-chain!) Located south of BYU campus, I don't know what street.

Casual pizza: Nicolitalia's -- Greasy and thick and awesome. Also, indirectly responsible for helping me know who not to vote for for Utah State Senate. Also located near Albertson's on University Parkway in Provo.

Pizza without the kids: Pizzeria 712 -- All-around delish. In the great and spacious building on State Street, Orem.



{I'm so, so hungry.}


And now, 
Hands-down best Utah radio stations: KRCL 90.9 FM -- funky, eclectic, indie AND KOHS 91.7 FM -- cooler high school kids might not exist

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anyone else?

I just read this scripture quoted in a blog comment thread, alluding to. . .me.

2 Nephi 9:28

28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not.



The context: I had suggested that Ezra Taft Benson's political views as expressed in 1968 before he was the prophet were not the official political views of the church, and shouldn't be construed as such.

It is actually not the first time this month that I've been told through scriptural references that I am a wicked person {my extrapolated take-away from the conversations}.


I give up.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A way to get back home



Mindy sang this song last night with Stephanie's two beautiful little girls. I cried. I looked over and Sarah was crying. I'm pretty sure my mom two rows back was wiping those tears away, too. My dad sat next to me and sang every word. It was all very tender. Today, I can't get enough of this song. It's a new favorite, for sure.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Come!

{Click on picture to enlarge}
This is where I'll be this weekend.

: in Mesa, at Mountain View High School, watching the awesome Mindy Gledhill sing at a benefit concert for the awesome Stephanie and Christian Nielson. Won't you join me? Even if you've never heard of Mindy or Stephanie, it will be a fun show and a great time. Plus, I'll introduce you to Mindy and the ever delightful CJane and Chup (not their real names). Plus plus, my mom will be there and everybody loves my mom. Ditto my sister Sarah. Ditto my dad, Big D. Plus plus plus, I want to see you!

Buy tickets here or at the door.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Worth watching



I agree with almost everything Powell said, although I personally would not be troubled by more conservative appointees to the Supreme Court. This interview cemented my opinion of Colin Powell as a thoughtful, deliberate, intelligent man who is willing to speak out against his own party when necessary -- and I wish he would make himself available again to serve on the national level. We could use more leaders with his abilities and integrity.

Friday, October 17, 2008

All about nothing

For breakfast today, I ate french toast and turkey bacon. Also, I drank water.

I drink water every morning. It is the first thing I put in my mouth every morning without fail, or my system of order is disrupted.

My brother thinks by nature of being a Godfrey, I am automatically 16% obsessive compulsive, but I think my percentage might be a tad higher. Maybe in the 20s?

My awesome 16% OCD parents are in town for a few days and we are having a great time. Today we drove the Alpine Loop and walked the gardens at Thanksgiving Point. Soon I will post a picture of my (other) brother's name painted all official-like in the middle of the road on the Alpine Loop. It was kind of bizarre.

My husband has taught himself to fall asleep by meditating and frankly, it has been an incredible thing to watch. The man used to take hours to fall asleep because his brain was too full. Now, a minute, or two. Five at the most.

Perhaps if you have read thus far, it has been for you an exercise in wastefulness, as in your time. I am sorry. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. (Sometimes that old commercial just needs to be quoted.) (You, all right! I learned it from watching you!)

Good night and I hope you have a very nice weekend!

Friday, October 10, 2008

M. Scott

"When I discovered Youtube, I didn't work for five days. I did nothing. I viewed Cookie Monster sings Chocolate Rain about a thousand times."



{I almost want to watch this 1000 times.}

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Corruption

The news is that Paulson is now going to invest money that we don't have in the failing banks, because all the other drastic and expensive measures he has attempted haven't done a darn thing. Question one is why in tar hill does one person have so much unchecked power in this land? Question two is why oh why doesn't he just leave well enough alone? A recession is inevitable. Just let the free market system do its thing.

The article I read today about AIG blowing through $85 billion dollars in a few days, and then coming back and begging for -- and getting-- $37 billion more makes me very, very angry. Especially this part: days after receiving part one of the handout, the top execs followed through with a $440,000 vacation retreat, including $23,000 spent at the spa. They don't even have a semblance of integrity, nor are they making any efforts whatsoever to hide their corruption. How are they getting away with this?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Thanks, Nicole!





The fantastic Nicole from A Little Sussy invited one and all to come to her food-on-the-head photo shoot. We convinced Abby and Jamie to come with us, and we had so much fun! I think the food choices and the expressions on the faces capture my kids' personalities well. Norah has always been a rather stoic child. I can't wait to see more of the photos.

Here are my sweet sister's family's shots. Milo was definitely not feeling the Fruit Loop love. He jumped off that stool so fast. I'm truly amazed that Nicole got such a good shot. What a great photographer she is, and so so nice!






PS -- Abby, you should be a model. Also, it looks like you're not wearing any clothes.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

1844

Joseph Smith ran for POTUS before he died. From his platform, I gather that he was for reforming the penal system, abolishing slavery, annexing Texas and Oregon and maybe even Mexico, and forming a national bank. Looks interesting. I am going to read it through tomorrow, just for fun.

For tonight, I am going to go to bed and dream about sitting at the kitchen table with Biden in Scranton, with strong twangy Palin colloquialisms as the soundtrack to my slumber.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Another taboo topic: money

I don't have a lot of real visible or artistic talents, but one talent that has served me well is an ability to manage and organize money well. A few of my sisters-in-law have asked me how I do the family budget, so this is a straight up accounting of how I do the accounting.

When we get a paycheck:

10% tithing right off the top

Then, with the remainder (net minus tithing), I divy it up into percentages and put money into different "funds" -- that I keep track of in the back of my paycheck because I'm old school like that.

Mortgage: I figure out the percentage it will take to cover my mortgage. Usually 29-30%. I think this percentage needs to stay under 35% of take-home after tithing.

Baby steps: 20% goes to meeting financial goals a la Dave Ramsey's baby steps. This means that you focus on one thing at a time, leaving the rest so that your money is not so thinly spread and you can make visible progress. This presupposes that one has abandoned using credit, and is working to get out of debt aggressively. The baby steps are: (1) $1000 in the bank as an emergency fund (so you won't put emergencies on the card) (2) pay off all debts, smallest to largest (3) three to six months' expenses in a liquid, interest-bearing account (4) 15% of income in retirement account such as 401k or Roth IRA (5) kids' college funds (6) pay off the house (7) invest, build wealth, and be generous with it. I choose to put some of our tax refund every year into the kids' college 529 plans, so that takes care of that baby step for us. Currently, we are working on getting our retirement account fully funded at 15%. Whatever percentage we have coming out of our paycheck into 401k, I subtract that amount from the 20% that I put into this fund. For example, right now, we have 10% deducted from paycheck into 401k, so when I am divying up the net paycheck, I take an additional 5% and put it in an IRA for retirement, making for 15% total (and not worrying about whether that money is pre-tax or post-tax), and then I put another 5% extra on the mortgage payment because that is the next baby step we are working on. When we change our 401k allocation to take out 15%, the percentage that I use toward the baby step fund will be 5%, and that money will go toward extra on the house. Does that make one ounce of sense?

Charity: I take 5% of our net after tithing and put it in the "Charity Fund", out of which I can pay fast offerings, donate to the school, buy girl scout cookies, buy groceries for the neighbor in need, etc. This allows me to be generous to such causes, and then when the money is gone, it's gone and I can say no and not have guilt.

House: 5% goes into a fund for home maintenance, repairs, appliances, etc. Mostly for things that will stay with the house when we sell it.

Travel: 5% to fund my need to see the world. All expenses while on vacation come out of this fund.

Car: 10%, or more if I can swing it. Everything car-related comes out of this including insurance, gas, repairs, registration. Any more left over in this fund gets saved up toward paying cash for a new car eventually. Also, Steve's bike repairs come out of this, which is sort of cheating. It's nice to have a car fund because when gas goes up, I know just how much I have to spend and I don't have to stress that it's eating into the grocery budget.

Then, I give a fixed amount to the Steve fund for him to spend on whatever he wants (yes, he gets an "allowance", so to speak). He buys lunches, clothes, books, whatever-- wants, mostly -- with this money and he doesn't have to save receipts for me to balance the checkbook. Steve is always generous with "his" money and when I've spent the monthly budget on various things, he will pull through and take the family out to dinner, "on him". He's awesome. Also, I get a much smaller amount each month to spend on myself for clothes, shoes, makeup, etc.

Usually, about 30-35% of our net income-after-tithing is left over and I just keep that available to pay bills, buy groceries, entertainment, gifts, haircuts, shoes for the kids. Everything else. For some people, it would be helpful to budget specifically for utility bills, groceries, and other expenses, but I just take it all out of the leftover money, after our other "funds" are funded.



I think that covers what I do with each paycheck that comes in. Please ask me to clarify anything that doesn't make sense, or share what works for you!


EDIT: I certainly did not intend for this post to be offensive to anyone, but alas! it has come to my attention that it has done just that. I am not trying to brag that we have money to put aside for things that we want. I am sorry if it comes across that way. There are multitudes of things that we do without because we cannot afford them. I am trying to convey the principle of living within one's means. It is a principle I believe in and one that has brought peace in our lives. Like I said, money is taboo, but I wish it wasn't so much so. I think we ought to be able to help one another, as money is such a pervasive part of our existence, for good or ill.