Catching Up

Summer was busy with lots of changes. Some good, some not-so-good but what can ya do, life is all about change.

Funnest parts of Summer were dogsitting Blanche & Honey Badger & Spikester, housesitting, Diane & Kelly invade Colorado,  my trip to CA to hang out with my parents for a week and dinners & fun-time with Tim & Brian. And Aigneis and Mildred and Tucker and Mr. Zigglesworth.

After answering way more Craigslist ads than I thought possible...and talking to way more "interesting" potential landlords than I thought possible, I moved late August. Back in Superior, a neighborhood that I cherish that's super close to work which my commuting budget loves. Superior is very much a bedroom community... a very spendy bedroom community...but the views and the parks and the proximity to most (definitely not all) of my my favorite people and places makes me really happy. And content. For now.

Had a scare several weeks ago when my Dad was rushed to the ER. We almost lost him but luck was on our side. Not going to say a whole lot about his situation out of respect for privacy, but he's doing much better now. Much better.

Still on the path to getting debt-free...closer than I was last time I blogged. The move put that on hold for a bit, but now I'm back to making progress. Yay for progress!

My friend Ryan is my inspiration. So is Mortgage Free By 30  As well as No More Harvard Debt

Mr. Money Mustache is a local blogger that has a love for bikes and common sense ways to grow your 'stache.

My daily inspiration is Dave Ramsey.  His podcasts are free and they're a lifesaver. Every time I walk into Target I'm listening to a Ramsey podcast on my phone. Have any debt-reduction/frugality blogs you'd like to share? Leave the links in the comments.

I've gotten really good at saying no to anything that costs $. Ask my friends that issue invite after invite. If it involves money and even if it doesn't cost money but requires gas to get there, 9 out of 10 times my answer is no. Short term situation for long term rewards. Haven't been to a concert in ages. I love concerts...used to go all the time when I first moved to CO. They're not in the cards anymore. 

Back in the day when I was married and we were getting debt-free from $75K in consumer debt, my go-to answer was "is it a want or a need". These days my response is "INITB"...It's not in the budget. So when you start seeing INITB on my Facebook posts, you'll know what that's all about!

Finally, let's chat about blogging. I've been doing this for awhile...since March 2004. Doesn't seem like 8 years have passed, and I'm glad I've kept my blog active even tho it's been dormant a time or two.

It's been great to go back and read the archives and see where I used to be to where I am now and I'm sure the same will hold true years from now.

So that's my news...what's up with you?

 

 


Company-No Swiffering Required!

Was in the midst of packing up all my Foster Puppy paraphenalia (towels, toys, sheepskin beds, etc), feeling sorta sad about not fostering anymore.

All of a sudden, I look outside and see that I have company!

Duckies










(Click to enlarge)

The kids were so cute and the Mommy was so protective.  After a couple minutes, they all swam off in a long line with Mom leading the way.

Sorry the picture quality isn't the best....until I get my Nikon D70 (keep dreaming) my cell-cam will have to do for now :-)


I'm Free...

Three years ago this Sunday I told my husband I wanted a divorce. I spent most of the afternoon and the entire evening talking and crying and talking some more. When I married I believed it would last forever. When my marriage died, I was devastated that it hadn't.

Ending my marriage was, up until that point of my life, the toughest thing I'd ever done. Earlier in the day on that particular 4th of July I sat in the parking lot of the apt I'd just signed a year's lease on, sobbing hysterically to my 3 best friends on my cell phone...leaving messages since none of them were home...(hello!!! it was the 4th of July)...and knowing that what would transpire when I got home would change my life forever.

Long story short....I told him, he was shocked, then admitted he'd had a feeling it was coming and he was actually relieved and proud of me since he didn't think I had the guts to end it. He wasn't happy either but had no desire to get happier.

And that's how I got my freedom back. No blood, just sweat when I moved (moving in July in FL is an insane thing to do unless you HAVE to do it) and other than the day I asked for the divorce, very little tears. Amicable, civil divorce. No lawyers. He stayed in the house, kept the Tupperware and the weiner dog. I left with my clothes, books, CD's, 1 lamp, a desk, 2 bookshelves and the TV I asked for at the last minute...he was left with 3 TV's, so that was fair. In 2003 he bought me out of my share of our house and I bought my current home.

Ending my marriage was a long time coming. Took me close to 4 years to get up my nerve to do it, and now that I see the last 3 years in the rearview mirror, I'm thrilled, relieved, amazed and gratified I chose to do so.

There are all sorts of cliches I could use...'the greater the risk , the greater the reward' is one that comes to mind, but ultimately it was all about freedom. I didn't have it and I wanted it. So I did what I needed to do to be free.

How timely and all, considering it happened on Independance Day.

So on Independance Day...4th of July...aka my favorite holiday other than Hanukkah...I love to do things that remind me of my freedom and how important it is to be free. Last year I bought a bike the day before, rode for two hours, worked out at the gym, then walked for 7 miles along A1A. Yeah, theme from last year was freedom from blisters and heat-stroke!

As for this year, will be spending time as a volunteer for Team Jim Stork and his 'Fresh New Vision for South Florida' quest...he is running for the 22nd District and I'm proud to be working with his staff...they, like Jim, are the BEST!!

Getting into politics (thank you Howard Dean) has been a dose of freedom as well. Freedom from apathy. Freedom from being cynical. Things are different now...I KNOW that a single person can and DOES make a difference. And with the freedom comes hope...sometimes Pollyanna-ish....(hey, that's me...deal with it!) sometimes skeptical, but always the hope is there.

And hope, like freedom, is a very good thing to have.


iPod 101

Couldn't fall asleep....so I pulled out my iPod to hopefully lull me to snoozeland while listening to my fave tunes.

Word to the wise....always check the volume level BEFORE listening....trust me on this one.

And since we are talking about iPods, have you seen the new iPod commercial where the dude is walking down the street by the dancing billboards???

As if!!

YOU try gyrating and flailing and rockin out like the iPod listeners in the collective billboards and you just know there is NO WAY IN HELL those standard issue earbuds are staying put.

Am I right????


I've had a wonderful day :-)

Took the day off from work to help The Florida Grassroots Project with Voter's Registration for Palm Beach County High Schools.

WOW!

Where do I start?

The school I was assigned to was north of WPB, had about 90 Seniors, 45 of whom were on campus...26 of them registered, and 25 of them registered as Democrats. I started my shift with two guys who said (to quote them) "Couldn't fucking wait to register so I can vote Bush out of office"! The other said his mom and dad have nightly debates at the kitchen table about the harm that Bush has done to this country and he was SO PROUD that he gets to register to vote so he can do his part to 'dismantle the Evil Empire".

Seeing that I was representing a non-partisan group all I could do was sit there and smile...but what I really wanted to do was shout "Way to go, Dude...you really get it!!" It gave me hope, it made me smile and with each and every kid that approached my table, more and more talked about their eagerness to 'do my part to change things'.

I really needed to hear this today.

So many times I attend my weekly DFA meeting and wonder on the drive home 'what did we accomplish..what did I accomplish'?

And after today, I know what it feels like to have actually MADE A DIFFERENCE in someone's life...and hopefully in our country's future.

Could my day get any better?


This makes me laugh every time I read it!

Got this email from a buddy at work. I'm sure you've all seen it a gazillion times. Still, it makes me laugh every time I read it!

Dear Dogs and Cats,

When I say to move, it means go someplace else, not switch positions with each other so there are still two of you in the way.

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn’t help, because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king size bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue to sleep on the couch to ensure your comfort. Look at videos of dogs and cats sleeping, they can actually curl up in a ball. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space used is nothing but sarcasm.

My compact discs are not Frisbees.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, try to turn the knob, or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. In addition, I have been using bathrooms for years, canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is: Kiss me, then go smell the other dog’s butt. I cannot stress this enough. It would be such a simple change for you.

To pacify you I have posted the following message on our front door…

RULES FOR NON-PET OWNERS WHO VISIT AND LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PETS:

1. If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.
2. I like my pet a lot better than I like most people.
3. They live here. You Don’t.
4. To you, it’s an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter!

Dogs and cats are better than kids. They eat less, don’t ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called, never drive your car, don’t hang out with drug using friends, don’t smoke or drink, don’t worry about buying the latest fashions, don’t wear your clothes, don’t need a gazillion dollars for college, and if they get pregnant, you can sell the results.


I have company :-)

My college buddy came for a visit. It's been ages since we've seen each other...last time was in Palo Alto right before I moved to FL.

He looks great...really really good. Took him to City Place for shopping (killer sale at the Gap) then Cheesecake Factory...his first time! He's decided it won't be his last.

Love having company to begin with, but when they are this special to me, well, it's a slice of heaven on earth.

Am operating on 3 hours of sleep so this is it for now. Boston Cream Cheesecake is calling me from fridge...it can keep until tomorrow!

Layla Tov...sweet dreams!

:-)


Watching 'The Pianist'

Saw it the first week it was released. Absolutely excellent movie...incredibly sad subject matter. Watching it this time was different. Thoughts keep running thru my head...

Thoughts like how this movie is based on a true story. 'Schindler's List' was also based on a true story.

Passover starts Monday night at sundown.

It commemorates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt.

The overall theme of Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew....I refer to it as Pesach) is freedom.

Freedom to live as Jews with no persecution.

Freedom to practice your religion as you like.

Freedom to be who you are.

Freedom.


Happy Birthday To My Truck!

Three years ago today I brought my new truck home. Some people call it an SUV, some a car...all I know when I was shopping for 'it' I told the sales guy I wanted to buy a car and he said 'We don't sell cars, we sell trucks'. So truck it is and truck it has been for the last 3 years.

I must have window shopped and researched and test drove other makes and models for close to six months...yet I kept coming back to the choice I eventually made. I knew when I bought my next vehicle it HAD to have 3 things....#1-HUGE sunroof (for driving around with the top open during the winter season)...#2- In-Dash 6 CD player...oh yeah...gotta have my music...that's a must!! #3- Leather interior. Had never had leather in a car before and really wanted to try it.

So I looked high and low and here and there for the vehicle that was to be mine. The dealership in Delray Beach was yanking my chain, so I tried the dealership in Pompano Beach. Whoa, what a difference! Had a deal in 5 minutes. A very good deal! They gave me $2400 for my trade-in when I know the Kelly Blue Book was $1700 tops....got 5 year 0% financing which was (and is) sweet and Chris the Service Mgr at my dealership is THE BOMB!! He always looks out for me, has been great with the few auto-related emergencies I've had, and even tho the dealership is out of my way, it's the only place I'll take my truck.

My truck (which needs a wash and wax job like you wouldn't believe) has been one of the best purchases I've made in the last 10 years. I got it at a time when I knew I'd be making lots of changes in the near future and knew I had to buy something totally reliable and dependable. Have yet to be dissapointed!

And no, I'm not one of those chicks that has a 'pet' name for their vehicle...to me it's always been just truck...nothing more.

But seeing as it IS 3 years old, I think I will celebrate by giving it a wash and wax tomorrow. What did you expect??? Cake and ice cream?

Nah, I'll save the cake and ice cream for Tom. And for Dominique. It's their birthday today as well!


1/5th of the Fab Five

I saw Carson Kressley today! Yippee!

Went to the 'Home and Garden Show' this afternoon with my buddy Giblet and her hubby Jeff. It was your typical homage to those things you never really knew you needed for your abode. Things like hanging dried potpourri wreaths, specialty artwork for college football fans, doors for all reasons and all seasons, and that one booth that home and garden shows everywhere MUST have on each and every aisle...the amazing aluminum cookware booth complete with guy-talking-a-mile-a-minute.

But all of that was secondary, for we were there to see Carson. Carson, the fashionista Fifth of the Fab Five aka Queer Eye For The Straight Guy...one of the few shows I regularly watch. LOVE the show. LOVE Carson...and Thom...and Kyan...and Jai...and Ted. Totally love those guys like you wouldn't believe...if I could I would adopt them all in a heartbeat.

So okay, Giblet , Jeff and I take a food break then decide to be prudent and show up to the Carson venue a good 1/2 hour early, wanting to beat the crowds. Apparently the crowds were way more prudent than we figured...the place was already packed by the time we got there. But that's cool, waiting is good especially when it involves sitting in a chair after being on your feet AND constantly dodging wheelchairs and strollers for the last 2 hours!

Finally, Carson takes the stage to huge applause! What a total cutie!!!

Dressed in his signature color pink, he sports a pale pink Ralph Lauren Polo shirt, snappy blue trousers that hang PERFECTLY (he did share with us that he is a perfect sample size!) and way cool slip-on loafers...couldn't quite see them from where I sat, but one member of the audience asked if she could take a picture of them....and he happily obliged.

Carson was gracious, kind, outrageous and overall hysterically funny. Told stories about himself, the show, the other Fab Mates...the whole time he had us where he wanted us...hanging on every word. Or at least I was.

Sadly, it ended way too soon. He said he'd stay and sign autographs...many people had copies of his new book...I had no idea he even had a book out otherwise I would have stayed behind for an autograph...oh well, next time I'll be better prepared.

Thanks for the popping by, Carson. Your visit totally made my day! Come back to South Florida really soon, 'k?


Costco

Ya gotta love Costco. I do!

It’s a modern day Mecca for the hunters and gatherers of the 21st century. Did a long-overdue stock up.... Protein bars, Lysol wipes (a godsend when you have puppies), toothbrushes, girlie hygiene stuff, Coke, Cheerios in a double box...how totally cool is that???

Yeah, sometimes they don’t always have what you need...case in point, Swiffer cloths were not available this time around...so will have to get those at Target. Shopping at Costco is so satisfying on so many levels. The convenience (right around the corner from work), the efficiency of getting it all done at once, the selection, the challenge of getting thru the warehouse without mowing down one of the numerous elderly Palm Beach Co residents and most of all the feeling of protection that having certain items stockpiled gives me.

And ya just can’t beat the $1.59 Hot Dog and all-you-can-drink soda. Yeah, baby :-)

You can keep your malls...I'll take Costco anyday!