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Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

Time Event
8:28p
The Numbers Game
My mood has often been determined by two numbers - my weight and the stock market.

When I first started seriously investing, I checked the market constantly. I was working at home at the time, so I could do this. I downloaded prices into Quicken several times a day, even though most of my holdings were mutual funds which only get updated at the close of business. If I was up early, I turned on the TV to see how the Asian and European markets were doing.

I had CNBC, the late CNNfn, and Bloomberg (when that was a financial company, not a mayor) on a continuous loop, and got to know all the commentators. I could not understand what was so great about Maria Bartiromo - I guess you have to be male. There was one particularly appealing guy with glasses - I strained to see if he had a wedding ring, but his hands were never in the shot.

There were days when my investments made more than a whole year of freelance puzzle work. There were other days they lost this amount. The Dow broke 11,000. The Dow almost broke 12,000. It was a heady time - until the market started going south. Suddenly my interest in the health of my finances went south, too. I went months at a time without updating Quicken. I really didn't want to know.

Now the economy seems to be back on track. I just updated Quicken in order to do my taxes, and I'm happy with the numbers. Yet I'm not turning on Asia Market Watch at 6 a.m., don't know the value of my one share of Berkshire Hathaway "B" stock, and have no idea who is on CNBC.

The other number is weight. This came up because it looks like my scale is broken. I have an old digital Thinner where you hit it, wait for the 888's to become 000's, step on, and wait for the weight to appear. For the last few days, everything works until stepping on the scale, at which point an L is displayed.

I can't find the manual (which I have SOMEWHERE), and can't find one online, but I get the feeling this L is bad. I'm not sure the battery can be replaced. It may just be time for the scale to be replaced, but I'll check a little more for repair possibilities before ordering a new one.

Meanwhile, I wasn't able to weigh myself since Saturday. I weigh myself all the time. I just need to know. (The first thing I do at my mother's is step on her delusional scale which is about 7 pounds too low.) I make bargains that if I weigh less than a certain amount, I can get Chinese food.

Although I watch my food really carefully, this biological time of life just makes you fat. It happened to my mother, too. I've been 10-15 pounds more than I should be for the last 5 years, and half my closet doesn't fit. I know I should exercise, but that's just not going to happen.

I'm writing this in Philadelphia [posted upon arrival home]. The bathroom has a nice digital scale, so I can weigh myself again. The weight is below the Chinese food bargaining amount. I'm pleased.

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