Sunday, February 03, 2019

Found Money! (I think.)

 While so much of life is suckage these days, it's nice to get a pleasant financial surprise out of the blue.

My daughter got a letter from a former car insurance company, saying they are owed money, which is awesome.  She has no idea why the money ended up as unclaimed funds with the State of Florida, but she's taken the steps to claim the money, so yay!  She told me about it and told me that my name was also on the site, and so was her father's.  I've linked here to the Florida Department of Financial Services to prove this is legit, because seriously, who on earth came up with the name of the site:

Doesn't that sound like a game show, or some sort of scam? But it's real. Your state probably has something similar, hopefully with a more professional sounding name.  Try Googling "[your state] unclaimed funds" and see what happens. Because I found over $450 that has been just sitting out there, waiting to be claimed.  $30 of it is mine, a refund of overpaid highway tolls; $300 is my late husband's, a credit balance on a credit card, and another $125-ish is some sort of extra money owed to my parents when they sold stock they'd owned for decades.  I had NO idea any of this existed until my daughter got the letter about the car insurance refund.

Of course there are hurdles to claim the money; and this is why I say Marie Kondo can suck it, because although there was no reason to hold onto multiple copies of death certificates, wills, etc. for the past decade, I happen to have a handy file folder with copies of all of those things, and yes, I have to produce them to claim the funds. I've assembled the information they requested, and I'll probably still get questions because neither my father nor my late husband had any court filings after their deaths; they had plenty of time to transfer their assets, such as they were, into joint accounts with my mother and me.  My mother did have a very small probate case, just so I could get legal permission to sell their home. So it's all been done and settled for years, and there was no reason I couldn't have shredded the extra copies of everything, but I never got around to it because you just never know what might come up.  Like hundreds of dollars held by the state in a program that sounds like a game show.  Yes, I could have recreated the necessary documents, but not without a lot of phone calls to various offices and shelling out some cash for certified copies, etc.

So yeah,  while holding onto a folder of paperwork about dead relatives most definitely has never even remotely "brought me joy," it turned out to be a very good thing indeed.  Pack-rattery for the win!

Sunday, January 27, 2019


Greetings from chilly, rainy Florida! Sunshine State my ass.  It's 55 degrees and raining steadily.  An older guy in Publix said to another man, "I grew up in Baltimore; this is Baltimore winter weather." I concur; it's awful.

January is almost over, and I'm pleased to say I've done yoga every single day of the month. I do believe I've created a habit.  I'm stronger and more flexible and feel great, and this is a habit I plan to keep.

I've also tracked WW every day, though my progress is sooo, sooo, slooow. The weather has sucked quite often, and the days are short, so I haven't been walking much. Except yesterday when I went to the Epcot Festival of the Arts and walked 7 miles in one day. 

I've made zero progress on the office redecoration or the side hustle plan since my last check-in. Work is paused on the former until I can get someone to help me haul out the old futon so I can sell it from the garage, and I feel like I dodged a bullet on the latter.

I'd signed up for a Facebook "event" by a work at home guru type, and watched the first two videos.  I was unimpressed. I was looking for concrete ideas, what to consider when creating a business plan, etc. and instead it was a rah-rah "All you have to do is believe in yourself!" "You can do it!" "BE BOLD!" pep talk that reminded me of a certain type of real estate coaching. (The useless kind.)

But I was willing to keep listening, because I was intrigued by the idea of proofreading/editing as a side hustle and one of the promoters of the FB event has a program to teach you how to do that. It's quite pricey as these things go, and I wasn't in any hurry to sign up, thank God, because things got really weird.  The creator of the program suddenly started unloading in posts to the group about her ugly divorce, and how her estranged husband was the devil, and so was the accountant, and in airing her dirty laundry to a few thousand of her closest friends, she gave the time and location of the next hearing in her divorce. And I happen to know my way around online research, so I decided to look into her and her business a bit before handing over a few hundred of my hard-earned dollars.

Her business is entangled with her soon-to-be ex, they are fighting over control, as of the last entry on the online docket she appears to be representing herself in her divorce (no attorney has entered a notice of appearance on her behalf) which is quite curious if there is a significant amount of money and control of her business at stake. You can't view the pleadings in a divorce proceeding of course, but just what I can glean from the public facing information was concerning. (It also appears that she never consulted a lawyer when setting up her "amazingly successful online business" so I have questions.) I do believe I'll take a hard pass on that one.

Oh my, her Facebook posts are open to all, and, YIKES. VERY HARD PASS.'s still raining.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Um, where to begin?

I just started and deleted three posts about the ongoing dumpster fire that is this country these days, but seriously, I can't decide where to begin, so I'll just say this: I knew it was going to be bad, potentially catastrophic, when Trump was "elected" - but I honestly didn't count on how utterly amoral and horrible and complicit in treason the Republicans are.

So yeah, for the sake of my blood pressure, let's talk about something else.

I listen to podcasts, music and sometimes audiobooks at work. My office is so quiet most of the time, the hum of the A/C puts me to sleep. I don't listen to anything too distracting because I AM working, and sometimes I'll just find an old audiobook in my library for a re-listen, mostly as background noise. Last week I picked Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny

I've listened to it before years ago, of course, so I wasn't really paying attention until a part in the book about how changing something in your home can change your life, and it pretty much kicked off my major project for 2019.

I need to find a side hustle. (Hang on, the dots will connect in a bit.) I am earning slightly less than I was earning 10 years ago, while the world continues to get more expensive. I have various ideas and talents, ranging from the professional (I could be a technical proofreader for construction, especially construction litigation depositions) to the decidedly more fun - a jewelry shop on Etsy, maybe? Maybe a blog that actually MAKES money? It could happen. Ideally, I'd like something I could do part time now and grow into an actual retirement side income in 5-7 years. So I'm somewhat casually researching and brainstorming side hustle ideas, and that plus Martha Beck's words, led me to contemplate the room I refer to as my office.

It's not an office. It's a dumping ground for all the shit I don't know what to do with, and as with many other things in my life in the last couple of years, it's gotten out of control:

Bags of unfinished knitting projects, old files of stuff like the manual for a television that died two years ago, my 5 year anniversary "award" from a company that went out of business a decade ago, lots of random in those bins.

Those plastic tubs aren't normally in the middle of the room; I dragged them out of the back of the very large walk-in closet because I had NO recollection of what was in them. I made a first pass at throwing stuff out and emptied one entire plastic tub, consolidating the stuff I'm not sure I can pitch yet. I'll go through that when I'm in a less Fuck It All frame of mind.

I did find a job offer letter from a decade ago, and discovered that my starting salary THEN was $1,000 more than I'm making NOW, and I also got profit sharing. This did nothing to improve my mood. Yeah, I need a side hustle.

And I need to reclaim this damn room, and make it a functional space for whatever I pursue, and just because this is a really nice space that is totally wasted now. I'd like a nice big work table/desk instead of that little Target thingy. That ancient futon is leaving ASAP. Our community FB page has an online sale page, and I'm listing a few items in a week or two. First I need to enlist some strong bodies to help me get the futon down to the garage, because I'm not inviting strangers into my actual home to see it and it's heavy. I don't mind living upstairs 98% of the time, but when there's something heavy that needs to be moved, it IS a pain in the ass.

I loaded Leia with a ton of stuff for Goodwill, found takers for a couple of items, and actually made a dent in the mess.

The closet is looking better already:

So turning this madwoman's attic into an attractive and functional space is my project for this spring. And this project will have its own section in my bullet journal. (It's all connected!)

In other news, I've done yoga every day of 2019, and plan to keep it going forever. WW continues to work, slowly but surely. I'm down 8 lbs since November, which is good because it's 82 today and that drawer full of tight shorts that mock me MUST fit this spring.

Oh, funny thing about yoga - as I've mentioned, I do Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. I noticed a few days ago that Ellie was watching the TV, not me, while it was on the other day. She's not a TV watcher like Sophie, so I thought it was cute but didn't think anything of it. But every day since, when I unroll the mat she comes over for pets, then hops onto the bed and watches yoga. I have no idea why; my daughter theorizes that Adriene has a very pleasant voice, maybe that's it. I'd take a picture but I'd have to stop what I'm doing to grab my phone, and I suspect if I did that I'd distract Ellie and not get the shot, so you'll have to take my word that my cat is a Yoga with Adriene fan.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Let's talk bullet journal.

If you look for synchronicity in your life, even casually, it tends to appear.  I was going to write about something I actually stuck with for the last couple of years, and it was the bullet journal. I've been asked about it and how "hard" it is, because if you Google it now, you'll find scads of artsy-fancy journals on Instagram and YouTube.  It's been artsy-fied and monetized for clicks, and yay for them for making money online when I haven't figured out how to do it.  Anyway, I'm as enchanted by the artsy lovely spreads created by artsy young'uns on Instagram and YouTube as anyone. I have some favorites I follow, because for me it's like the modern day version of Bob Ross and his happy trees.  I really enjoy the pretty bullet journal spreads, and there are some seriously talented artists doing fun things, and yay for them.  But I also had the feeling many of those who were monetizing the journal were...missing the point?

And apparently the creator of the bullet journal weighed in.

So, my point is this: the bullet journal is a tool for anyone. You don't need any artistic talent to use it. If you have the desire to make it cute and fun, go for it, but the way it's become distorted by the internet is really a disservice to what really was: a bare bones, clean and simple, get your shit together pen and paper system.

And as I was planning this post, my daughter told me she'd started a bujo. She's enjoying making it pretty, and she's way more artsy than I am.  She finds the creative stuff relaxing, and the concept useful.  She's using hers pretty much the way I do, as a to-do list for shit I think of at work that I'll forget by the time I get home, and I'm kind of excited that she's trying something her old mom likes. She'll do it her way, as I'll continue to do mine my way. Because that's the point. You don't do this for the Internet, you don't do it for a YouTube channel, you do it to organize your life. If you genuinely get pleasure out of making it pretty, by all means have at it. But if you're doing it for social media validation, you're seriously missing the point.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Happy Almost New Year!

 We had a very pleasant little Christmas, and I followed up by coming down with a cold that took over my brain for most of last week.  Not as bad as last year, not the flu, but what is it with me getting sick around the holidays?  I'm on the mend; I've reached the disgusting "productive cough" phase of the festivities. I was well enough yesterday to take down the Christmas decorations and reclaim my yoga space in my living room.  I had been doing yoga in my bedroom while the tree was up, but it's a bit tight there.

I have Plans for 2019; reviving this blog is one of them.   I've spent the last couple of years elsewhere online, obsessed with political Twitter, and not accomplishing all that much for ME.  I'll remain obsessed with politics, because there is NOTHING more important than saving our democracy, period, and shit's about to get even crazier in 2019. But I need to focus on myself as well.

My three self-care items:  yoga, walking, and WW.  I've been doing fairly okay, muddling along with all three, but for the month of January and beyond, I'm going to step it up and commit to goals for all three:

Yoga: Yoga with Adriene, specifically her new year January program, Dedicate.
I just printed the calendar and was happy to see that other than the first couple of sessions, the daily practices are all under 30 minutes, which means I can get them done before work.  I am much more likely to do yoga in the morning than in the evening when I get home hungry and the animals are clamoring for attention and...and...and.

Walking: WW has added guided exercise options to its app, and I'm going to start with their walk/jog component.  I can already walk a 5k with ease, but yeah, I'd like to progress to running, if my knees will let me.  I have good shoes for the first time in my life and haven't been bothered by knee pain when walking since I found the right ones for me, so we'll see if this 60 y.o. grandma can become any sort of runner.  (There, I put it out on the innerwebs for all to read, so now I have to go for it.) I commit to walking/jogging 30 minutes a day after work at least 3x a week, with a longer walk/jog on the weekend, weather permitting.  This IS Florida, after all, and so far our "dry season" has been rainy AF, with building-shaking thunder and lightning.  We had a few cool, pleasant days, but the A/C is running again.  This means my mission to get into that drawer full of shorts that are too tight is even more critical.

WW: no explanation needed, just stick with it.

Serendipitously, WW has an article this morning about goal setting, I wrote the above before I read it, but I'm accidentally doing what they said: instead of making a resolution about "getting in shape," phrase it as the 4 Ws:  What you'll do, When you'll do it, Where you'll do it, and With whom (if anyone.)  So my yoga goal for January would look like: What: Dedicate. When: every morning. Where: my living room: With: Yoga with Adriene.

 So those are my three primary self care plans for January.  I still have the no spending on non-essential crap plan, of course, and I really want to get my creative groove back, so 2019 is going to be chock full of stuff to do.

Today's missions are mundane: Leia the RAV4 still needs an oil change, the aforementioned head cold from hell led me to postpone it for a few days.  I need to plan meals and restock the fridge, and dump the rest of the lowfat eggnog.  Sophie needs to go to the vet at 1 for her annual checkup, which was postponed too long already.

Okay, 2019, I'm ready! Let's do this!