About Marjorie


Underwritten Approved

We are toying with the idea of moving. We’re looking but, unfortunately, not agreeing on properties. Plus, our house isn’t on the market. Nor have we prepared it. There’s a lot that needs to be done. But, based on recent sales in the ‘hood, whoever moves in is going to do extensive remodeling regardless of the condition. The house across the street sold for a whopping $1,635,000 more than a year ago – 15 months to be exact. And the new owners have yet to move in. The house was really nice, but they gutted it anyway.

A house around the corner actually did need a total renovation inside. It sold for $1,200,000 before Christmas. Those owners have yet to move in, either.

So, basically, we feel that improvements we did would just be torn out. I’m not saying they wouldn’t increase the value of the property. It would show better, for sure. But we wouldn’t put in a $75,000 kitchen. No matter what. The buyers would probably change whatever we did, anyway. And, if we did do the kitchen, then we’d have to do the bathrooms and replace the parquet and refinish the rest of the floors, and paint, and put in new skylights and driveway and garage door and landscaping. I don’t see the sense in doing anything unless we did it all. I’m counting on selling to the 35-yr-old couple who demand everything be perfect. With our house, they are buying a desirable location and a very good floor plan.

Anyway, the market in Denver is hot, hot, hot. If we find somewhere to buy would we lose out on it if our offer was contingent on the sale of our existing house? If we put our house on the market, would it sell in one week or three months? In anticipation, I contacted our mortgage broker. Neil is awesome. We’ve done a number of loans/refinances with him and have always been very happy with both the products and his services.

Rather than getting pre-qualified or pre-approved, Neil is going to get us “underwritten approved”, which is better than either. And, as usual, we’re only looking for no cost products. The interest rates are always higher, but they will save us $3k-$4k in costs. We’ve never kept a loan long enough for the lower interest rate to save us more than the closing/appraisal/etc costs. If we do buy, any loan we get will be paid off quickly once we sell our existing house. If we can earn more investing the money somewhere, we will. But I’m betting we’ll be mortgage free in under five years.

In Search of Lip Gloss

Sometime in the past year or so I bought some NYC lip gloss at Target. I really liked it. And you couldn’t beat the $1.99 price. So I bought another one about 6-8 months ago. Now that I’m running low, I looked for it at Target and, of course, they no longer carry it in their stores.Not online, either. 🙁

I checked on Google and the only place that seemed to carry it at the low $1.99 price was K-Mart. Luckily, there’s one pretty close to our house and we were driving past it the other weekend when we were out looking at open houses. I hadn’t been inside a K-Mart for eons. It was like stepping inside a time capsule! I bought any and all of the NYC lip gloss colors that I liked. Because, I’m pretty sure this K-Mart isn’t long for the world. Huge store. Massive parking lot. Desirable location.

And hardly any shoppers.

I should be good for a couple of years or so.

Bulletproof Coffee

I am sold on Bulletproof coffee. I’ve mastered making it now, having gotten a Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee Dripper. I got mine at Target, but you can get one at Amazon for around the same price. I already posted that I bought Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof coffee, ghee, and brain octane oil. I’ve made it with Kerrygold Pure Irish Grass Fed Butter, too, instead of the ghee, which I find a little easier to use. It tastes great with either. I’ve also tried it with the espresso coffee I’ve used for years and it works just as well (although it won’t be anywhere as pure and organic as Dave’s). I AM going to order more of his brain octane oil – the biggest one this time!

I also mix in a 1/2 teaspoon of Laird Superfood Turmeric Creamer. And, to finish it off, I use a teaspoon of Xylitol sweetener.  Most paleo or low carb diets recommend Stevia and I have no idea why since it’s SO terrible. But xylitol tastes awesome!!

The coffee is creamy and tasty and filling. And I’ve found that it’s becomes more and more tasty as I’ve gotten used to it. I don’t miss my Vietnamese coffee in the least! I can’t say the same for bread and pasta. 🙁 But I’m hoping that the longer I go without them, the easier it’ll become. I definitely don’t miss the belly fat I’m losing!

Trader Joe’s Greeting Cards II

I recently posted about buying cards at Trader Joe’s. So far I’ve sent a card to my niece for her 30th birthday, a sympathy card to my friend and her husband (his mom died), and a thank you card to the mother of one of my kid’s friend’s.

I just checked my May calendar and I’ve got three birthday cards and one anniversary card to send. Like this month, the majority of the cards are international – Canada and Mexico. Good thing I bought two sheets of global stamps!

So far, so good. We’ll see if I keep this up. I’m piling lots of new “stuff” on my plate – golf, bridge, Bulletproof diet, Spanish… I’m definitely keeping myself occupied!



Bulletproof Diet

Two weeks ago we got back from a long wedding weekend in New Jersey and I felt I had packed on a couple of pounds, at least. My jeans were tight. I could feel my flabby stomach when I was in bed. Yuck – I hate that feeling.

Skip forward a week. One book leads to another and I was reading The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life. I’m a pretty skeptical person, but lots of what Dave Asprey says makes total sense to me. And much of my skepticism these days is reserved for the so called health industry and “mainstream” nutrition advice. So, I ordered the ingredients to make his Bulletproof Coffee. It arrived last Friday. I made it Saturday morning, worried about missing my beloved Vietnamese coffee and worried that I’d be starving without my oatmeal (the Bulletproof coffee is all you have for breakfast.)

Well, I did miss my Vietnamese coffee a bit as I was preparing the Bulletproof Coffee. But, I didn’t give it a second thought afterwards. And I didn’t get hungry. I mean, I finally ate something around 2:00, but not because I was really hungry. It was just getting really late for lunch. We went out for some street tacos for dinner that night and I drank wine, too. So, I wasn’t actually being good. I ate “regularly” on Easter (as in not Bulletproof) including Vietnamese coffee, some oatmeal berry bake I made, some veggies, ground beef, and two glasses of wine, although I didn’t indulge in candy and baked goods.

So, I skipped the Bulletproof Coffee on Sunday, but I had it yesterday (Monday). I ate an avocado and some smoked salmon and a chicken thigh for lunch. Had baked salmon and carrots and brussels sprouts for dinner. And I ate some leftover oatmeal berry bake before bed because if I know that if I don’t eat any carbs I can’t sleep. And that’s simply not acceptable. I was worried about missing my oatmeal, so making it a before bed snack is a perfect solution for me.

Anyway, when I got up this morning I was surprised how thin I felt. I almost never weigh myself but decided to get on the scale. I weighed 135.2 lbs. I was almost positive I usually weigh 138 or more. I remembered that I’d weighed myself every Friday for awhile and recorded it on my calendar (which are searchable Word docs). I searched and, sure enough, in May of 2015 I was “religiously” weighing myself each Friday. NOT – I weighed myself all of three times. 😉 My weights were 141 (May 1), 136.6 (May 22) and 136.4 lbs (May 29). If I remember correctly, I weighed myself a fourth time, in June, and my weight had gone up and I was mad, because I’d been really good. So, I abandoned the whole exercise.

Anyway, this morning I weighed 135.2 lbs – with virtually no effort whatsoever. I can’t get into Dave Asprey’s program here. But he’s onto something. Check out his website and his blog:



Bridge Lessons

I’m working hard at both learning some new skills/interests and rediscovering ones I’d let fall by the wayside. For example, about five years ago, after a 20 year lapse, I started swimming laps again and have done so most Fridays since. That was easy!

Other sports have been a lot more intimidating. I played golf (poorly) when I was younger, but stopped 25 years ago when I was pregnant with our second child. Jay is a pretty good player and it would be nice if we could play together. So, last spring I took some lessons and played once during the summer. I was bad, but at least I was better than my friend. She had no history with the sport, save the lessons we took, and I realized how valuable my past experience was, no matter how long ago! I’ve played twice in the past month. Boy am I crappy, but determined to keep at it. Not sure when I’ll be ready to play with Jay. Plus, for some reason, I’ve got tennis elbow – so I need to get that resolved. Ouch!

In March, I skied for the first time in five years. I was so nervous, but it was a gorgeous, bluebird day, I didn’t fall, and I loved it. 🙂

As I mentioned last month, I’m learning how to speak Spanish with Duolingo. It was pretty slow going at first. My memory seemed so bad I was concerned I might have dementia! But, I’ve stuck with it and am very encouraged at how much better I’m getting. I can tell that I’m going to be able to read Spanish well before I can understand someone speaking it, let alone speak it myself. Anyway, I’m quite impressed with Duolingo and highly recommend it.

Finally, I started taking bridge lessons last week. My mom has played for years. A number of acquaintances have recently taken lessons. And I was finally inspired when I read The Bridge Ladies: A Memoir. We had our second lesson yesterday. It’s scary (I broke out in a sweat when it was my turn to bid), but I’m confident I’ll figure it out well enough to play with beginners.

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

Now that I actually own Tim Ferriss’ new book Tools of Titans I’m going back through it in an effort to absorb the content better. I’m trying some of the products mentioned by Tim and/or his subjects. I’m reading the recommended books and plan to watch the recommended TV shows and movies.

I’m not going to get obsessive about it. At least I don’t think so. The first book I read was one of the most enjoyable reads in a long time – Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character).

I laughed out loud so many times. I kept interrupting Jay to read parts to him. No wonder it was one of the most gifted books of Tim’s Titans. I can’t believe I’d never even heard of it before.

I wonder what young people would think of it? I’m sure hard core feminists wouldn’t be impressed, but I found him very lovable and the times were very different back then. It makes me a little sad for Gen X and Millenials. There’s not nearly as much freedom, adventures, active participation, or  human interaction these days. Everything is so ridiculously PC. Of course, much is improved. We aren’t in the middle of a huge war. TB is all but eradicated. Gay people don’t feel forced to stay in the closet. I’m not oblivious to how much better it is in many arenas. But this book made me yearn for the days before iPhones and Google.

Make Sure You Actually Have Your Driver’s License

We went to New Jersey for a wedding last weekend. Wow – what an event! But this post isn’t about weddings. It’s about not assuming your driver’s license is in your wallet when you go to the airport. I’m always so careful about my passport when we’re traveling out of the country. But, I always have my driver’s license in my wallet – right!!

No! Not when I transfer stuff to my small “evening” purse to go out at night – something I’d done the previous weekend when my brother came to visit and we went downtown. I almost had a heart attack at the check in.

Luckily, my little purse was in my luggage. And, luckily, the check in guy hadn’t heaved my bag onto the conveyor belt already. He’d heaved Jay’s onto it and Jay said “hey, I’m not checking in if my wife can’t” and the guy replied “well, I’m not chasing after it”, although it was only about 5 feet away at that point.

All’s well that ends well. But I will be physically looking to make sure I have my ID with me from now on. Funny thing is, between checking in and getting on the train to our terminal we ran into two other people who actually didn’t have their IDs with them. Apparently, it’s possible to get on a domestic flight without it – but they put you through the wringer interview-wise. Our flight was delayed by two hours, so we probably would have been fine.

Probably. I don’t care to ever find out!

Take the Blame and Get Rewarded

I had a some good luck last week. Nothing big, at all. I had an overdue book to return. The library has a two day grace period, but I was on day three. So, I was going to get charged $.25/day for a total of $.75. I wanted to make sure that the book got checked in that day vs. the following day, which would make it even later, so I took it to one of the librarians instead of putting it into the return book slot. I explained that I wanted to make sure it was checked in because I was late. She mentioned the two day grace period and I said that I was past that, but my husband had really wanted to finish the book and it couldn’t be renewed because there was a waiting list – so I was expecting a fine. She very kindly offered to check it in and change the date so that I wouldn’t be charged any fee.

Very nice of her, indeed!

From there I went to King Soopers to get some groceries. I gave the clerk a coupon for $2 off $10 of produce. I thought I had enough produce, but the coupon wouldn’t ring up. I told the clerk not to worry, I would just use it next time and make sure I bought enough produce. She just smiled and said I was close enough and “forced” it through for me.

Both times, I explained how I was in the wrong or mistaken about something. And both times I was immediately forgiven. I’ve noticed this pattern before. I’ve also noticed how much more willing I am to work with patrons who take this approach vs. blaming a situation on my company or me or a coworker. “I accidentally registered my kid for the wrong swim lessons – can you help me out?” goes over much better than “you registered my kid for the wrong lessons and you’d better fix it”.

Always give credit. And always take the blame.

Trying New Parmesan Cheese

Between many of my go to dishes – Caesar salads, cauliflower au gratin, pasta/shrimp Alfredo, homemade tomato soup, regular spaghetti with meat sauce, and yummy chicken tenderloins – we go through a LOT of parmesan. I usually buy the Kirkland brand at Costco, but today I decided to try out another brand that they carry – BelGioioso Freshly Shredded Parmesan-Romano. It’s in a 2 lb plastic bag vs. a 1 lb plastic screw top container. But at $8.99 it costs a fraction of the $11.49 Kirkland brand.

And it tastes better, too!