Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne ... again!

I can't believe 2008 is coming to a close. What a huge year this has been. I finished my procert, I started my 4th year at fartless school (and the first time I stayed more than one year at a campus), my BFF moved here after 11 years of my trying to get her to, the economy went down the shitter (while my personal 'economy,' oddly, improved tremendously), Airbear & I celebrated 4 years (and got matching BFF rings), and my crazy old Boss Lady made it through another year. I made some new friends and lost some old relatives, some people had some drama but I avoided it pretty well, and I even started singing at Rock Band. Oh and of course the happiest election day of my life[1]. All in all I am feeling very strong. And hopeful! That's a change. I'm pleased with how 2008 has gone, and certain that 2009 is going to be even better. I'm going to become a saver this year, I'm going to get off my butt, and I'm going to do amazing things. I'm going to turn 30 too, but let's not talk about that one for right now ;)

So now because it's New Year's Eve:

Top 5 Things To Do In 2009
5. Send more letters (real life letters) to some of my "chronologically gifted" relatives (This was a goal last year too and I didn't do so hot at it.. going to get better this year - have even bought some birthday cards ahead of time and am prepared!)
4. Get off my butt. Seriously. Since I will be becoming debt free in 2009, I will have some leftover willpower for other things, like walking my ass around the block a few times. Or getting a Wii Fit!
3. Try to be more patient with the people I love
2. Become a saver and start making my money do positive things (this actually comes after goal #1 chronologically, but I think #1 is most important so I saved it for the end of the countdown)
1. Pay off the Bank of Mom and become finally debt free!

Top 5 Things To Avoid In 2008
5. Being bored (and grouchy) at work. It may be boring at the moment, but I need to try and stay positive, make lots of calls, and keep busy!
4. Getting worked up over stupid people (or determinedly irritating students) (again, also a 2008 goal, but this one will probably stay a goal for the rest of my life!)
3. Careless spending!
2. Clutter - The condo is looking pretty good, but I'd like to keep it that way, as well as cleaning out some of the junk in the storage space at some point in 2009!
1. My Crazy Boss Lady. Ha ha, couldn't resist keeping this one.

I spent a bunch of time today getting groceries, running errands, cleaning up the house etc. so that I can start 2009 on a really solid footing. I love New Year's... I'm feeling really positive as I look back on 2008 (even with all its hiccups) and I am so excited and optimistic about 2009. I'm ready to celebrate! :D

[1] except for those a-holes in California. But time shall ultimately tell.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowpocalypse 2008

Most places, when it snows you wait for the plow, or put on your snow tires, you scrape the snow & ice off your car and you get on with your life. In Seattle, you don't have snow tires (or plows). You might not even have an ice scraper. So what you do is just leave your car parked wherever it was parked 4 days ago, your work gets canceled, and you walk around everywhere. If you live on one of the city's big hills like I do, the roads all get shut down and you buy out all of the food at your neighboring grocery store and hope you survive.

But the best part about living on the one of Seattle's big hills that is filled with young people is that the hill gets shut down and what most people would consider an inconvenience turns into play. We walked down to the pub (in a snowstorm, ha ha), fell down on the ice a few thousand times, and then when we got down to the busiest intersection on the hill we found... a neighborhood sledding party! People in condos neighboring the main arterial had their windows open and fun music playing as about fifty people gathered in the street to sled down the main street. I saw a few snowboards (they usually stuck to the sidewalks), some skateboards with the gear removed, a surfboard (yes!), flattened cardboard boxes, tarps, trash can lids, and even a few sleds. Apparently someone even rode down on an ironing board.

It didn't match the thousands of people that poured into all the roads on the hills when Obama won the election (and there wasn't anybody playing a tuba this time), but the sense of community joy was the same. Say what you will about Seattle-ites being incompetent drivers in the snow (and they are... this is as much snow as they usually see in 8 years put together and no one is prepared), but I don't think there are many places where six inches of snow creates an impromptu midnight party with you and several dozen of your neighbors. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


So a lady in my book club just ended up ... sort of emergency adopting her six nieces/nephews, all at once, into her tiny little house. The kids need clothes, food, everything, four of them have lice, etc. It's a huge mess. The woman that runs the book club sent around an email, and people are giving clothes or toys if they had kids that age, or money for gift cards if they have it. However, my BFF just lost her job (that she moved to my city for, about 3 months ago) and so I am trying to hold onto my poor little pennies in case she needs help. She doesn't have credit cards to fall back on, which is brilliant of her in the long run (although she probably doesn't feel like that right now) but it is more stressful and she's in a panic and feels like a failure etc. So I am going to be her Emergency Fund. I know, I know, I can hear the groans and foreheads being slapped all the way from here. This is not a fiscally wise thing to do. But she's family, and she needs me, and I had to have Chase/Citi/whoever pay *my* rent for a few months once upon a time, and if it comes down to it I'd like to be able to buy her a little time. I know she won't rest until she finds a job, because it makes her insane to not have one.

In any case, I am kind of holding my breath at the moment because of that, and trying not to spend just in case it is needed. Of course this will work out beautifully if she gets a job fast and doesn't need a dime - great saving motivation! But then it means I'm already stretched, and I had to tell the book club leader that. Of course I don't like admitting that either. I also just don't like saying no when someone needs help. Or, well, ever. But I said I'd ask my mom, who might have the right size diapers or something, extra stuff from daycare kids.

Mom got on the horn through the Mom Network, and apparently is collecting a whole slew of coats, clothes, and stuff to be mailed over for kids of all ages (since the emergency adoptees run from 7 weeks to junior high age). She's also giving a $100 (!!) gift card. I wanted to make sure I hadn't guilted her into it or anything, and of course that was not the case. She said that she feels lucky to be able to help. Once when I was a kid, a friend of hers and her son were down on their luck, and Mom took them grocery shopping. The friend never forgot it, and neither did Mom. I think if she had millions of dollars, she'd just make a job out of going around and doing things like that.

The best part of the story, though, was when Mom told me to send an email to the book club friend and tell her what a wonderful thing she was doing by taking in all those kids. "She's earning her wings!" Mom said.

My Mom must have so many wings :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Spirit

I called around to local businesses to say that I was a campus manager for a small private school and I was putting together gift packs for my teachers for the holidays, and were they offering any deals/discounts/etc.? (at the suggestion of one of the WIR ladies). Most said no, but one local coffee shop owner gave me six $15 gift cards for only $10 each! I thanked her profusely, and she said they loved to help out teachers, because we "fight the good fight." Thanks for noticin'! And for saving me some $$ :) That'll pay for the supplies for making them friendship bread. Yay!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holly, Jolly

So I have a hard time with spending this time of year.

Like, spending a lot.

It's even worse this year because I don't have huge extravagant ideas. Last year, I bought a Wii for Mom & Dad, which is expensive, but once I bought that I knew for sure I was done shopping. When I get important people little presents, I keep buying more and more and more little presents. And I can't seem to stop.

I did something good today, though. I had ordered something for Airbear, but when it came I didn't like it so I returned it to the store. I really wanted to buy him something else to replace the gift, but I didn't. And then when I got home and looked at the list of things I am still getting him, I know that I made the right choice.

So why is my trigger finger twitching?!