Monday, January 24, 2011


intenseDebate is in . . .
and old-school blogger comments are out! after observing maria and iman's back-and-forth on saturday's post, i decided something had to be done about the non-threadable comments that i had just accepted for . . . uhh, 6.5 years.

furthermore, the reply system always frustrated me! just so y'all know, the comments pop up in my email and i of course read every single one (it's not like i get an unmanageable amount or anything!), but i don't always respond because:

a) i'm at work, and i don't want to log onto my site
b) i am often doubtful that anyone would bother to click through to check whether there was a response.

after reading about the top two add-ons for blogger (IntenseDebate and Disqus), i went with IntenseDebate because it looked prettier (i think) and i have had problems commenting on other blogs where Disqus was used.

Go to IntenseDebate
you can click on this icon to pop over to ID and check it out if you like

with this system, you can now 'reply' to each other, and i can reply to you! conveniently, i can do it from my inbox. and the icing on the cake is that if you ask a question (and don't want to forget about the response), all you have to do is subscribe to those comments -- there's an option so that you can choose to receive just the responses to your comment, rather than the whole thread.

let me know what you think! of course, if everyone hates it i can always go back to the blogger platform. it's always hard for me to accept change (it only took me 5 years to change my ridiculous blog name!) but i think this one is a good one.

what a weekend!
now with that out of the way, can i just say: that was an AWESOME weekend on call! i would say that usually the 'being woken up from deep sleep' rate hovers at around 50-75%. this weekend, it was 0%. at one point i actually checked to make sure i was actually still ON the pager because it was so quiet.

i had checked off all of my to-do items by 3:00 pm yesterday and was able to spend hours lying on the couch plowing through my latest murakami (i've been working on this one forever), which is totally bizarre, even by murakami standards. i also had time to draw up a budget, and i thought i'd share this with you all . . .

budgetmania: SHUbox style
so here's a disclaimer: neither josh and i are very disciplined about money, and we've been lucky enough to have things work out for us the way they have (example: my med school loans are much less than typical because i was an MD/PhD initially and therefore only had to pay for my 4th year). if either of us REALLY wants something, generally i'd say . . . we buy it. we take nice vacations and i shop primarily at whole foods. i spend a small fortune on my hair. i do shop sales . . . but mostly at anthro, and we all know there's nothing budget-friendly about that.

however, despite our habits, we have managed to save a pretty decent chunk of $$ (about 10 months-worth of future day-care!) while living well. i attribute this to three main factors:

low cost of living in NC. this area is inexpensive on the whole, and we live in a one-bedroom apartment that is not fancy.

being really busy with work at times ie: it's hard to blow your budget on weekend activities when spending all of those hours in the hospital.

generosity from our families in years past so that we are not saddled with big loans. (example: my wonderful parents bought my car for me in 2002, and i have no plans to replace it anytime soon.) (thanks M + D!!!)

however: i know that things are going to be a lot tougher when we do eventually have a baby, and we're also planning on moving to a cool loft apartment in durham this spring which is considerably more expensive than the one we're in now (it also has 2 bedrooms, one of which will HOPEFULLY house a little one at some point!).

and i just think we (umm . . . especially ME) could do a bit better with our money management. it's one area of our life that just isn't particularly organized . . . and clearly, that needed to be fixed!

so i turned to excel. i know: i'm a self-proclaimed paper princess. but paper doesn't add up numbers for you! here's what i came up with:

this budget is based monthly. on the top section of the sheet, you can see all of our 'essential' purchases (you can see, for example, that my hair straightening falls under this category. heh). the frequency/year is entered, so that purchases that are not actually monthly (car insurance, for example) will be spread out based on the month-to-month cost.

i went ahead and filled in estimations of what i THINK would be reasonable for each category (left mostly blank for blogging purposes here), and i will fill in the actual amounts spent on each thing beginning 2/1. after all, much like a diet makeover, you really need to see exactly WHAT you're doing before you try to go tweak things.

on the other side of the sheet is a space for our monthly gross income, and then automatic totals of the subcategories (essential and not) from the previous page. this gives us a snapshot of where the $ should be flowing + are actually flowing each month.

hopefully those values won't be as wildly discrepant as this example!

so: do me the honor of christening the new comment system by sending any budgeting tips my way! does anyone else use a similar system, and has it worked? this is new for us, so i'll be sure to let you all know how it goes.

an important question
is there room in the budget for this?

kor delta: 500 ml water bottle

ahh! i've been waiting for this for over a year now! chu-ching . . .



workout: 70 minute dave farmar yoga podcast. i picked his 'beginner' one because i know how intense dave can be. it started out slow, and i became concerned i wouldn't get much of a workout. however, 3 million chataurungas and warriors later, i was more than reassured (and very sweaty).

clean eating, martha-style
something about this recipe from the latest CE reminded me of martha.

pork tenderloin with pear/cranberry relish + wild rice + gorgonzola-topped salad

a delicious end to the week.