I Just Figured Out Who Priscilla Presley Now Resembles

I’m glad I’m not a traditionally beautiful woman. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I thought it would be horrifying to be that pretty, to get that kind of attention. Especially in high school. I’ve even had my attractive moments (I thought I rocked it pretty well in college).

But I have an actual memory of being twelve years old and thinking to myself, “Well, I may not be gorgeous, but at least I’ll know my husband truly loves me. And I won’t be destroyed by getting wrinkles and stuff.”

Because I’ve never been a drop-dead gorgeous woman, I can’t ever know what that’s like, or how it feels to age, to “lose your looks” when your looks are so much a part of your sense of self.

Take Priscilla Presley. I’ve always thought she was a really, really beautiful woman. She’d aged gracefully, still looking very youthful into her forties and fifties.

She’s on Dancing With the Stars this season, and I’m having a difficult time looking at her. In an effort to stave off aging she’s obviously had a great deal of plastic surgery. I always have a hard time looking at people who’ve done extensive work like hers. Instead of looking younger they look mis-shapen. I don’t think that’s better.

Priscilla, sweetheart, there’s nothing wrong with being sixty-two. No one expects you to look twenty-one, or even thirty. I hope you’re happy with the work you’ve gotten done, but it just makes me sad.

Now looking at you I feel the same way I feel when looking at your good friend Michael Jackson.

As long as you’re happy…


Monday Morning Link Time

Another great round of carnivals this week. I’ve been extra-posty lately, and so more carnivals are being entered. Sue me.

First, I’m thrilled that my post Twenty Things to Do Before We Buy a House was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Carnival of Personal Finance: The Baby Education Edition hosted at Million Dollar Journey. I’d not been submitting to that carnival lately because I keep missing the deadline.

Posts of note in this carnival include:

  • A guest post written by a for-profit company on FMF’s blog Free Money Finance titled How to Keep Your Child’s Identity Safe had some great suggestions, and also increased my worry factor. Their suggestion that the last “four numbers of the child’s social security number can be easily used to obtain the full social security number, creating numerous opportunities for a child’s identity to be stolen,” gives weight to a concern I’ve long had about many companies’ practice of asking me for the last four digits of my own security number to “prove” my identity. Yikes.
  • Squawkfox‘s article Just say ‘NO’ to crap! is really good, serious article, but I confess that the title me laugh. All my Mommy friends know how much I love talking about poop, and crap is a close cousin.

The Festival of Frugality #118: ABC Edition, all 57 articles of it (!) was hosted over at My Dollar Plan this week. One of my favorite recent posts, I’ve Finally Found the Line, was included.

Some great posts:

The Carnival of Money Stories was hosted at Dividend Growth Investor this week. My post about my phone service, Turning Phone Service Lemons Into Satisfying Lemonade, was included.

Check out these posts I really enjoyed, and all of the others, too:

  • I was a bank teller when I was in high school, so I thought Finance Gets Personal’s post Confessions of a Former Bank Teller was hysterical. Just so you know, though, my kid’s fish faces are really, really cute.
  • Family and Finance’s article We Got Rid of Our Escrow Account! proves that you never know unless you ask. I don’t escrow for taxes and insurance because I put 20% down, and I knew I could insist on it. I think I need to write a post about homeowners insurance and how mortgage companies can really screw you up! Stay tuned…

MixedMetaphor.net hosted the All for Women Blogging Carnival, one I’d never entered before. They accepted my post Perfect Day at the Beach.

Also check out:

  • Mommy Cliques: A Ninja Survival Guide at ParentingSquad. As much as I hate to admit it, there’s something about a group of women that can immediately make me feel twelve again. The difference at age 43 is that I’m much more willing to take the initiative, I can laugh about it, I care a whole lot less, I don’t mind looking silly (and often do!) and it certainly matters much less to my general state of well-being.

Next up is the Money Hacker’s Carnival #5 – Haute Couture Edition hosted by Antishay Ventenne. My article Time To Increase the Grocery Budget. Or Eat A Lot Less. was included.

Other articles that I liked:

Finally, I’d like to thank Funny About Money for including my article Saving by Delusion in her Saturday Round-up, and PaidTwice for mentioning Shrinking Package Sizes Screw up My Recipes in her Sunday Morning Link Love. I’m so glad you thought them worth mentioning!

Thanks to all of the carnival hosts and participants, and a special thanks to you, who take time out of your busy days to read my ramblings.

      Deal of the Day March 31, 2008

      Keep the vehicles running smoothing with a Jiffy Lube Signature Service Oil Change. This printable coupon knocks $5 off the price. Since it’s good till 01/01/2009, you can come back every 3,000 miles to print another.

      Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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      Change Some Habits, Save Some Gas. And Some Money.

      A few months ago I wrote a post that gave Tips on Pumping Gas. It gives some pretty good ideas for stretching your dollar at the pump.

      Today I went shopping with Son, and was lucky enough to get a parking space close to the store right away, as it’s previous occupant was pulling away as I drove up. Normally I will wait for a space, and so I got to thinking about what a waste of gas that is.

      And so, a post is born.

      Here are some things you can do to reduce your gas usage, save money and get healthier all at the same time:

      1. Take the first available parking spot you see. Instead of driving up and down the aisles of the supermarket parking lot looking for the spot nearest the door, or sitting idle while someone loads their groceries and the triplets, just park. On nice days you can save a little more by pulling into the first available spot near the lot entrance. I might even – gasp- get some exercise. Say it isn’t so!

      2. Minimize idling. Idling gets you zero miles per gallon. If you are at the bank, the drive-thru or chatting with a friend and are going to idle for a minute or less, leave your car on. If it’s going to be much longer than a minute you should turn off your car.

      3. Plan your route. On errand runs go to the furthest place first, then backtrack. I’ve done this for years for the most part, but I’m slacking less.

      4. Try new merchants. If your current dry cleaner is six miles away and there’s one with comparable prices right next to the supermarket, why not give the closer guy a try? You never know…

      5. Walk more. If you’re going to several locations in relatively close proximity park your car in the middle and walk. Today Son and I went to a different Target than our usual one, located in a shopping center which unfortunately had a Chuck E. Cheese. Instead of driving from one end of the center to the other we walked. Secondary tip: Never, ever go to Chuck E. Cheese during Spring Break.

      6. Use your cruise control. This method has actually been proven to save a lot of gas, as it reduces heavy acceleration and heavy use of the brake (I’ve always been a hard braker Get it?). A steady driving speed will improve fuel economy.

      7. Use your bicycle. Ride it to work, or the grocery store, or the gym. I can’t wait for Son to be steady enough on a bicycle for us to use bicycles as transportation.

      And the biggie.

      8. Stay home. You don’t need to get dressed to go to Starbucks for overpriced coffee. You can sit in the comfort of your own home in your jammies with some nice music on the stereo. Now that the weather is getting better you can have the kids can play in the yard with their friends instead of driving to Chuck E. Cheese. Join Netflix (as little as $4.99 a month!) and have your movies delivered. Have a family game night and whip up some homemade (or heat some frozen) pizza instead of an expensive (and noisy!) visit to Chuck E. Cheese.

      My goodness, what would become of our society if families spent more time at home together?

      Deal of the Day March 30, 2008

      Happy 70th Birthday, Dad!

      For those of you who have coveted Photoshop and it’s incredible capabilities, here’s a freebie you must see.

      Adobe has announced Photoshop Express, a free online application (nothing to download) that offers Photoshop’s most-used image features. Users also get 2GB of online storage for photos to boot. This is great for anyone who doesn’t want to fork over hard cash for the full version of Photoshop!

      Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

      Subscribe to my RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

      It’s a Good Thing I’m Not Watching the News This Week

      If I was watching the news this week I’d have to comment on:

      this: Jamie Lynn Spears engaged … good idea? Video,

      this: TSA Forces Woman to Remove Nipple Ring, Woman Represented by Gloria Allred, and

      this: Drew Petersen’s PR Expert Tangles with CNN Host Nancy Grace.

      I could have had a lot of fun with these.


      Saving by Delusion

      I’m not one of those people that can set my clocks ten minutes ahead and fool myself into thinking it’s later than it is. I just open one bleary eye, think to myself, “It’s not really six o’clock yet!” and go back to sleep. Too smart for my own darn good. Given that, it’s peculiar that my savings strategy is basically to delude myself. I pretend I don’t have it. And it works, for me at least.

      Let me backtrack a bit.

      I still remember opening my very first bank account. I was seven years old, and my Mom took my sister and I to the bank to open our own savings accounts. We’d cleaned out our piggy banks, and the very patient bank representative counted out every nickel, dime and penny with a smile. I was very proud to hold my passbook, and I looked forward to every trip to the bank, every deposit I made. The first time interest was applied I clapped my hands with glee. A saver was born.

      That account was nice and flush after my Bat Mitzvah. That’s when the Saving by Delusion plan first came to me. I decided to pretend I didn’t have it, as that money would be used for college anyway. I was well into my Saving by Delusion plan when I was stymied by the only real flaw in it: others did not pretend I didn’t have it. We had to raid it to buy my Mom a car when I was fourteen, another fun episode in the My Mom Is Notoriously Bad With Money saga. Easy come, not so easy go. Lesson learned.

      Today I actually use a money market account as my long term “savings” account. That gets the highest interest rate, but the fee-less withdrawals are limited. Money going into that account is there for the long haul. It’s where we keep our emergency fund, our new-to-us car fund, and any other long-term goal money. I pretend I don’t have it, unless I’m making a deposit.

      For shorter-term savings I use a regular statement savings account. Since my checking account earns no interest I need somewhere to park money temporarily, yet still earn a little interest. Because I’m not limited in the number of withdrawals I can make I can transfer money into and out of this account at will.

      All money that does not come from Husband’s paycheck gets deposited into short-term savings. Any survey money, Craigslist/Ebay money, Health Savings Account reimbursements, gift money – any extra money at all – goes here.

      At the end of the month any money that’s left over in checking or statement savings goes into the long-term savings account I pretend I don’t have.

      I rarely look at the balance of the money market account because I don’t want that figure in my head. Husband is on board with the Saving by Delusion plan, but every once in awhile there will be a conversation that goes like this one, which we had last year:

      Husband: I want a new computer. My current one is too old and I can’t update it anymore. I’ll be able to get more freelance work done faster if I have a new one.

      Me: Okay, I agree. You’ve really waited a long time. How much is it?

      Husband: About $4000.

      Me: Whoa!

      Husband: We could take it out of savings…

      Me: We don’t have savings, remember (wink). How will we pay for it?

      Husband (throws up hands): I’ll do freelance work, and you can save it up until we have enough to buy it.

      Me: That’s a great plan, honey. I’ll even put my Craigslist money towards it.

      He got his new computer for Christmas, even though he’d only earned about half of the cost. This week we deposited the check that will have him repay our savings.

      The delusion is intact.

      We’re In Debt is holding a group writing project this week to encourage saving. If you have a savings idea or strategy, please share it!

      Deal of the Day March 29, 2008

      Happy Birthday, Vanessa!  Happy Birthday PaidTwice!

      This weekend only, Disney takes 25% off sitewide when coupon code BONUS25 is used. Other savings include their Spring Sale with savings of up to 60%. Coupon expires 03/30/2008.

      Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

      Subscribe to my RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

      Why I Should Not Watch the News

      I’m generally a light-hearted person. I find humor in most things, and thank goodness for that. I used to have a slight fascination with the macabre, but since becoming a Mom even benign troubles can make me teary, or irate, or send me much deeper into introspection than, oh, 99% of the population. At least I hope that’s true, for the population’s sake.

      That’s why I should really never watch the news. When I do, instead of

      this: I’ve Finally Found the Line,

      this: Using My Frugality Against Me, and

      this: Death By Chocolate

      you get to be on the receiving end of

      this: A Miracle For One Family, Heartache For Others,

      this: Is Your Decision Not to Vaccinate Your Child More Important Than the Population’s Health at Large?, and

      this: Will the Real Baby Daddy Please Swab Up.


      I think I’ll avoid watching this week.

      You can thank me later.

      And whoever sent me the Prozac article, thanks but no thanks.

      Will the Real Baby Daddy Please Swab Up

      There are home pregnancy tests, home HIV tests and home drug tests. There are home ovulation tests, diabetes tests and cholesterol tests.

      Home medical testing is a booming market, and so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you can now answer the Who’s your baby daddy? question without leaving home. Just go down to the Rite Aid and drop $20 per possible Daddy. A cheek swab and another fistful of dollars for the lab later and you have your answer.

      Maury Povich and Judge Hatchett must be shaking in their Manolo Blahnicks.

      My first reaction to this news was a serious eye roll, followed by the usual lamentations about the deterioration of the family and it’s effects on society. Blah, blah,blah. I just couldn’t imagine someone getting pregnant and not knowing who fathered the child.

      And then I remembered my Mom.

      When I was thirteen someone broke into our apartment and raped her. I was on a sleepover at a friend’s house, but my sister was asleep in the bedroom next door. My mother did not resist; she was thinking only of my sister’s safety.

      The next day she brought a huge Siberian husky home, and a few weeks later she found out she was pregnant. She didn’t know if the baby was her fiance’s or her rapist’s. She had enough issues, and didn’t feel that she could take on raising the child of her rapist. She couldn’t take the chance that it was his.

      So she had an abortion. While I’ve always supported her decision, I’ve always felt a profound sadness when I think of the loss of my little brother or sister. I’m sure the experience has led to my own feelings about abortion.

      Yeah, this test would have been good to have.

      And people make errors in judgment. I thought back to a certain get-rid-of-the-new-guy-and-get-back-with-the-old-guy indiscretion in my youth where I could have been faced with this possibility if not for my at-least-two-and-sometimes-three-methods-of-birth-control-at-all-times policy.

      So amidst all of the drama of uncertainty and irresponsible promiscuity that makes it’s way onto the public stages of Maury and Jerry and all the rest, I hope these tests can give some terrorized, ravaged, brave women, and some other regretful, now-making-better-choices ordinary women, some private peace of mind.

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