not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summertime...and the livin's madness.

So. Summer is just about full swing. We finally had a FULL DAY of sunshine and warm weather and shoobies. Boom. It's really here. Work {I'm still at Mildred's just in case you were wondering} has been super slow and super inconsistent, but I'm hoping that within the next few weeks {ahem, ahem - DAYS} that it will pick up. This is how I've noticed the economy affecting my waitress income: no appetizers, no desserts, shared entrees, and smaller tips. People are pinching their pennies and damnit, that is not good news for my travel-the-world-savings-fund. Speaking of savings: I'm back to the tried and true ENVELOPE SYSTEM. Yes, envelopes: it's the key to my financial success. I've always been good with money -- I definitely got that from my parents. They work hard, they play hard, and they are smart with their mo-nay. Anyways, when I was a kid I started an envelope system: I had 4 envelopes and they were titled "savings", "surf", "retirement", "random". Yes, retirement at age 15. My dad pulled out an article from one of his finance magazines and said "Cailin, look at this number. Now if you put X amount away each year starting today, you will have this number by the time you are 55.". Well, you can't argue with numbers so I was sold and the retirement envelope was enacted. I've always been a saver, so the 'savings' envelope was obvious. "Surf" was a big one -- I saved up in this envelope for wetsuits, bathingsuits, boards, any and all surf. The "random" was probably spent on eyeshadow at Joyce Leslie and cheesesteaks & onion rings at the Shack with my little cousin Bridgey. All of these envelopes had percentages on them...I don't remember what they were specifically, but I'm betting that the SURF and RANDOM were pretty much priority. I did this for a while and then lost touch with it in college. I now have:

  • Savings: 60% {deposit into savings account: 30% save, 70% for winter travel}
  • Bills: 20% {deposit into checking account: rent, cell phone, misc.}
  • Play: 10% {shopping, food, movies, etc.}
  • Retirement: 10%
Every time I get home from waitressing, or cleaning houses, or singing or any other of my odd-jobs, I take the money out and break it up into the percentages, putting the amounts in their respective envelopes. These specific percentages are seasonal though. There is no way that these would work in the winter. In the winter 60% would be saved for bills, 20% savings...the income just isn't there in the cold months. This system: It works. I'm telling you.

With my "play" money I purchased herbs. "Premade", as I call them, herbs from McNaughtons. I did not inherit my father's VERY green thumb...instead I got my mothers very-not-green-thumb. I'm trying very herb, showering my potted herbs with love and attention -- but despite it all my damn cilantro has bugs. This morning I had to kill it. So sad to see if go, but hopefully I will get some good herbs out of this new kit that Gina made me. You all remember Gina Enberg right? My fabulous friend who makes beautiful stationary and cards amoung other things??,

Anyways, we had discussed my new interest in {attempting to} growing herbs. Don't you know it that a little over a week later I get a big box in the mail from Gina. It has a fenced in 'garden' for herbs {an old clementine box, remodeled and renovated} along with seeds, homemade labeled planter sticks, as well as some typewriter-typed instructions on "how to". I love it. I'm going to start them today and give them EXTRA love and attention...hoping that they don't end up with the same dreary fate as my cilantro.

With the envelope system initiated I'm hoping to save enough for a FULL winter of travel..this means leaving in November and returning May 1st....therefore missing every second of chilly weather. I will definitely have to work while I am in Costa Rica, but that's lessons, singing and bartending aren't so bad. Pat and I in Ecuador for 3 weeks in November then headed to Costa for the rest of the winter. I'm hoping {cross your fingers} to go to Australia for the month of April, but I don't know if I could swing it money-wise. Let's hope.

Speaking of Costa Rica...the crew is coming to Jersey!!!!!! Yes, that's right. Ozzie, Adam and Pat are all headed to Jersey in just a few weeks! They arrive in NYC on June 13th, staying there until the 18th...meeting us in Camden for the Jimmy Buffet Concer, then heading down to south jersey for some nose-walkin, trash-talking , pig-roastin extravaganza until the 29th!!!!! To add to the excitement DR LARA PAPPAS arrives in from Cali on the 27th! Madness. They are going to have to WIPE the smiles off our faces.

Random thought of the moment:

When I grow up I want to....

a. be a caterer {this is if i am living in the US of A}
b. own a bed and breakfast {this is if i live abroad...cross your fingers!}, or
c. be a writer. travel writer, or food writer. or just a columnist...hoping that people want to read my random babel.

The other night we had a big Indian Feast at my parents house. My mom had won a personal chef/caterer/whatever the hell he was, as a raffel at the Springtime Health & Music Faire. It was quite an evening. Some things they made were yello dal, coconut curry, chicken tandoori, cucumber yogurt mint salad, saffron rice and more! Here were some pictures from it:

Mom and Me

Coconut Chicken Curry

Brian, the caterer?

Dad, telling a story about something, or maybe his reaction to the spicy string beans?

Mom and Brian in the kitchen

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