Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thoughts For a Saturday

It's been a pretty typical Saturday on the 14th floor. Slept in until a little after 8. Got up and cleaned the cat litter box. Packed my bag and went to the gym with Babs. Worked out pretty hard. Went out for breakfast afterward. Made a run to the dry cleaners. Made a list and went to the grocery store. It was 14 degrees at the Mini. It was good to be in the car and not walking to the store. Got back. Ate lunch. Did a crossword puzzle in the newspaper. Swept and swiffered the floors. Whew!

Now here I am at my new desk. How cool not to be working at the dining room table. Babs is happy about the clutter being gone. I'm happy to have an actual space of my own to work. It also organizes me. A place for every thing and every thing in its place, so to speak.

I was looking at the business pages in the New York Times today. The Dow Jones is still in the crapper. This is a clear indicator that I do not want to look at any statements I've recently received regarding IRAs or Mutual Funds, or things of that nature. I am happy to say that CDs, savings accounts, and Money Market funds have not managed to find a way to lose me any more money. They keep plugging away and making me a little more money every month, not much, but a little more.

On the up side...OK I have to admit this. I am addicted to reading the International Currency Exchange Rates. So anyway, on the up side, the U.S. Dollar has gained incredible ground recently against the, hold your breath.....British Pound and the Euro. Of course, the dollar is tanking dramatically against the Japanese Yen, but I'm not planning any trips to Japan any time soon, so "To heck with Japanese money anyway."

Now some of you out there may be wondering where this fascinating tale of currency and intrigue is going. You may well be saying to yourself, "Just what does this have to do with the price of eggs in China?" Not sure about the price of eggs in China, but I read that the Chinese are annoyed about Obama appointees making rude remarks about Chinese manipulation of their currency's value and subsequently the international money market, aka currency exchange. That's not where this is going, however.

When I looked at the exchange rates, I saw that the U.S. dollar, on Friday, was trading at $1.38 to 1 British pound. This is the lowest the pound has sunk in my memory. It was not too long ago that I canceled a planned vacation to Scotland because the pound was trading at $2.00 to 1 British pound. Let me just say at this point that it has been my experience when traveling in the British Isles that the cost of things there usually go something like this. If it costs $1.00 in the U.S., it most likely costs 1 pound in the U.K., which means that during the period that I canceled that vacation things cost just about twice as much in the U.K. and that makes for a pretty darned expensive vacation for Americans with the travel bug.

The Euro has sunk a good bit as well, trading at $1.30 for 1 Euro. The Yen at 89 Yen per $1.00 is pretty expensive. Let's just say that being stuck for 5 hours in the Narita airport a few years back cost a pretty chunk of change (250 Yen for a Coca Cola out of a machine, for instance) and that was when the exchange rate was something like 120 Yen per dollar. You get the picture. Europe cheaper. Japan more expensive.

Quite possibly a more savvy investor would be thinking, "Hmmm, the European currencies are down. This would be an excellent time to invest in European stocks in anticipation of the return to normalcy after the current worldwide economic funk ends. That could possibly yield some very pretty returns indeed." Instead what I'm thinking is "European vacation! Cool! I can afford it now." Remember that canceled vacation. I'm thinking this summer would be an excellent time to get in touch with my Scottish roots. Did I mention that? Ray. An excellent Scottish family name. OK, actually the Rays were a bunch of dirt poor Calvinistic Scots who the British were glad to get rid of. Sent them off to live in Ireland and fight with the Irish. The Rays got tired of that crap and ended up moving to the U.S., helping to establish redneck culture, and building fundamentalist churches all over the South.

Anyway, there is always that possibility of investing in Europe for some delayed gratification down the road. Orrr... there is that instant gratification of the moment before the currency rates change and the opportunity won't be there again. Invest? Vacation? Hmmm. Just trying to get my mind around the possibility that once there may have been Ray men running around in kilts. See ya in the highlands laddies.

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