Getting Rid of My Debt, Part (Let’s Call It) 20

I think the last time I actually counted these posts in the title, I was at 16. So now, let’s just start with twenty. That sounds good.

You’re probably wondering what it’s down to now – of course “down to” is all relative. But now that I think about it, it’s been about a year since I really started keeping track of my total debt. Just thinking of it as an amorphously large number doesn’t really motivate you to kill it in the same way as staring the numbers in the face.

sunset last night - this view will never get old

sunset last night – this view will never get old

Continue reading

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

#4 in my list. Rush Hour on the Charles.

#4 in my list. Rush Hour on the Charles.

It has been a very long week, and I’m just fighting to get through to October at this point at work, when I can start to breathe a bit more easily at work. It’s this way every year, so I am a bit used to it, but I haven’t always worked another job that required me to be at work at 5:30 am two days a week in the past, plus the freelance work. I’m not complaining, but it has just taken a toll on my energy. I’ve not worked out as much as I used to, and I can feel and see the difference in my body. Just some days I have had to prioritize sleep, as in like this morning. (I ask you, who gets 8 hours of sleep a night??)

  1. I am so thankful for all of the helpful comments and advice so many of you have given me this past week. You have no idea how much they are appreciated.  They have made me feel like I’m more a part of a community and I very much appreciate that. (This weekend, I plan to post my scooter on some of the RV forums and put together a flyer I can post on Monday on the bulletin boards at work. I also live close to another college, so I’m going to try to find out where I can post things there too.)
  2. Today is Pay Day from my full time job! YAY!! The reason I get excited is because I go and check my online savings account and see those account balances growing. I changed the nickname of one from “auto/scooter” to “motor home repairs” and that balance will continue to grow today. I am very lucky that the full time job pays every two weeks and the part-time job also pays every two weeks, but on alternating Fridays, so I feel like every week, I get to check and see those savings increase. It’s a good feeling, knowing I am saving for my future. Not just living paycheck to paycheck. Plus, I think I have figured out a way to eek out a little bit more of my budget to go to savings, so I will be changing my direct deposit at work today.
  3. I have a bit of work to do for my author this weekend, creating bibliographies for our chapters. It can be tedious, and my author admits that, but I’m one of those weirdos who actually doesn’t mind dealing with inane details such as “should this be in italics ofr small caps?” Perhaps it’s because of my day job, when I have to try to help people find things, and having (or not having) good information in a citation can make or break you. And you know what? It pays. It pays well.
  4. The photo above is of the Charles River during “rush hour.” I’m thankful to ride my bike home rather than sitting in traffic. I was able to stop and take a breath while traveling from one job to the other last night. I find that if I can sit and be still for even just a few minutes, it helps to ground me. Stresses minimize themselves, if only for a moment.
  5. This one is a longer one that I can’t put into just  a few sentences.

    Because I work where I work, I have the opportunity to meet with people from many different countries and walks of life. This can be good and this can be really bad. There is a lot of entitlement to deal with, and that’s one of my major pet peeves. I have never been taught to think of myself as better than anyone else, and as I always tell people, if I ever turn into “that person” just take out a gun and shoot me. I’ll know why you are doing it, no questions asked.

And I digress….so one of the good things is that occasionally, someone pretty cool comes along. Sometimes it’s a student with whom I stay in touch after graduation (you know who you are if you’re reading this), and sometimes it’s a very down to earth person who realizes that yes, even the “small people” are important too. That is the case with my lunch buddy from Monday afternoon. He has reached the pinnacle of his legal career in his country (and I’m not exaggerating in saying this) yet he made time to take me to lunch. Me, the lowly librarian. I helped him and made him feel welcome when he first arrived at my school as a visiting scholar three years ago. Ever since then, he has made time to see me when he is in town. He even sent me an invite to a very important event in his legal career, so I have it taped up to my wall in my office, in  a place of honor.  This same man also went out of his way to invite all the graduate law students from his country to dinner the next night. Please understand, these students pretty much worship him. You can’t say his name without their jaws dropping open.  He defines what a “Class Act” is, in my book.

But the greatest thing about this person – he has not changed. Success has not changed him one bit. In fact, he’s even more aware of who his real friends are. When I told him about my plans for next year, I prefaced it with “you might think I’m nuts to do this, but….” He told me that he didn’t think I was crazy, just very brave. (In his country, it’s not like it is here, where people can sometimes just say “you know what? This career isn’t working out for me…I’m going to now try “x, y, or z.”)

I told him what I do like about my job and he said “then you definitely have to do something in customer service, or dealing with people.” In fact, I am finding that this year, knowing it’s going to be my last, I am relating to people in a different way. I feel like I’m being more “real, or more me” and less the image that I think this place wants me to put out.  I even told my friend that part of the reason I had always liked him was because he didn’t put on any airs or act like he should be treated any differently than anyone else, even though at home he’s pretty much a superstar.

So, I’m thankful for people like him in this world. For his understanding that it’s ok for me to not necessarily follow the path that everyone expects me to take. He made me feel less silly in turning away from what I have achieved to pursue a new type of life. And again, I’m so grateful to all of you who left comments for me, especially this week, about the RV lifestyle. I appreciate all the support. Very much so.

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Just How Low Can I Go?

Don’t worry, people, I don’t mean in a mental way. Although last week was stressful, I’m talking about finances. When I get stressed about the unknown, or thinking and wondering to myself if I’m being unrealistic about possibly workamping next fall, I start to play with figures on a piece of paper. It helps me to see things in black and white, literally, on the paper in front of me. And not on a computer screen, I mean, the literal paper and ink. Continue reading

Little Things for Which I am Thankful….wellll……

Yep, the “welll…..” says it all.  It’s been that kind of week.

Ok, first, a picture of my kitty cat, Bonkers, aka, the Bonk Man. He’s mentioned in number 6 below so having his picture here is not completely random. (And it occurs to me I may have used it before, but hey, he looks super cute in it, no?)

Don't you just love his ears???

Don’t you just love his ears???

Let’s start with the draft of a post I had started yesterday, but didn’t get a chance to finish due to my running from one job to the other:

“I’m feeling like I am in a bit of a funk this week, and I’m not sure why. This morning I started to try writing it out in my journal because sometimes that helps. But I’m just feeling, well…really, bleh. Meh. You know the feeling. You just don’t give a shit about much.

My apartment is a mess, and usually this would bother me enough to spur me into action. Today? Yeah, not so much. Was supposed to work out with my trainer this morning – my last of ten sessions. Decided I felt like crap and just couldn’t do it this morning, so I cancelled. Feeling exhausted, even though I went to bed last night around 8:30, and only got up around 4 a.m. this morning. That’s more sleep than I normally get during the week nights.  Been drinking more coffee during the daytime, and not liking the fact that I think I need it to make it through the day. Usually, I only drink it at home and then just toughen up during the daytime.”

  1. I am thankful today to not be in such a funk.  After I wrote that yesterday, I made myself kick my own ass into gear. It was hard, and definitely slow-moving, but I got moving nonetheless.
  2. A family member of mine ended a relationship this week. Without going into details, let’s just say if I ever come upon this other (now-ex) person in real life, they are going to get a good ass-kicking, because no one makes a sibling of mine feel the way my sibling did, NO ONE!! (Seriously, people, there is a reason some people refer to me as the Tasmanian Devil. Don’t get me pissed off!) (Just kidding…welllll…..) LOL (Really, I am very protective of my younger sibling, so when someone puts that sibling down, I get really upset.)
  3. It is finally Friday. I seem to be including that a lot in my lists lately….hmmmm
  4. I’ve felt really adrift lately, not exactly sure where I want to be next fall, but just knowing, not here. Been getting really down thinking of what the workamping salaries might be like. But I realized this morning, I can make it work, I just have to work really hard at also getting some sort of online thing going to create a bit of a buffer zone, financially speaking.
  5. The scooter – oh…the scooter…those of you who are friends with me on facebook know already – I just don’t feel comfortable riding it. In fact, I’m downright scared. Yes, after getting the motorcycle license and everything. I just get this feeling in my gut when I’m on it, that I shouldn’t be. So, now I’m trying to sell it, either via craigslist, or even possibly to a dealer.  Only thing I am grateful for is well, at least now I know what I DON’T LIKE, and what I DO LIKE.  For me, that’s the simplicity of my electric bike. <3
  6. This morning, my Bonkers, my white cat with the funky ears that make him look like a teddy bear, came up to me and sat on my lap. Although he loves for me to pet him, and he purrs a lot, he’s never done that before. He got all snuggly this morning too. I hope it’s a forecast of more snuggles to come with him.

So anyway, there you have it, folks. I hope your week has been better than mine. But I do know that overall, I’ve got it good. I really can’t complain. Sometimes, the tired part of your brain just takes over and makes you whine. Which is annoying.

So anyway, if you have liked this post, please hit like or subscribe, or drop me a line below. I especially appreciate the comments, as I really want to establish or help grow a community on here. I love talking with and (hopefully eventually) meeting with people that I feel like I really connect to.

Have a great weekend!






Little Things for Which I am Thankful (go hug your mom)


I like watching documentaries, and I like finding things to see for free. Sometimes the documentaries are not necessarily the most uplifting, but it’s those documentaries that can be grounding.

I know that my mom and I didn’t always have the best relationship. In fact, I stopped talking to her for about 8 months after my split from my ex-husband. I felt like she just couldn’t understand me and what I was going through, since I had been the person to leave the marriage, and not the other way around. I should explain – I grew up in a single parent household after I was about 8, and we lived with my mom. Our dad was still in our lives, but she had us most of the time.  At the time that it was just us four and the dog, she had been out of the workforce for about 12 years, and only had a high school education.

(Note, my use of the term “only” is non-judgmental, I am using it in comparison to my father’s bachelors and masters. I do not look down on anyone who didn’t go to college. In fact, sometimes, I think those people are much smarter than me, as they don’t have the student loans I still have all these years after I am out of school. My current salary may (or may not) be higher, but so much of it goes out the window every month for payments, that I definitely don’t live like someone probably would who made my salary without debts.)

The two documentaries I ran across were produced by HBO, but you can see them for free on YouTube.

HBO Documentaries: Paycheck to Paycheck

HBO Documentaries: American Winter

The reason I bring up my mom is because of a line in the Paycheck to Paycheck movie. She mentions things that you do if you’re a mom. You give up things so that your kids are taken care of. And I know my mom gave up a lot. She was in her mid-40s at the time and started cleaning houses so she could work and be home when we came home from school. And, for a while, she kept her working as a housecleaner secret from us. At the time, I thought it was because of shame, but I could be wrong. Let me just tell you, when you are in your 40s, like she was, your body can’t keep up to that kind of work for a really long time, especially if you weren’t in really good physical shape to start with. (Mind you, she wasn’t overweight but she wasn’t in shape to run marathons either. She was like most people her age.)

So anyway, instead of writing up a list today, I’m just going to leave this post at my being thankful for my mom and for having raised me the way she did. None of us ever got into drugs. We know the value of a dollar. We are self-respecting adults. She taught us to be hard workers. Actually, she (along with my grandma) taught us a lot of things. I don’t know if she will ever read this, but I’ll just say thank you, Mom, I think you “done good.” :-)

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Ah, that consumer lifestyle…

This makes an appearance at the reservoir every year. Is it a dredger?

This makes an appearance at the reservoir every year. Is it a dredger?

Or, the way I used to be, but no more!!

Four years ago, I paid out about $3K per month and that was before I had eaten. How, you ask? Well, $1250 for rent, $900 for my half of a mortgage payment, and $900 in student loan payments. Yep, that’s a whole lot of cash going out the door. It left me with about $500 for the month, and that was to cover food, utilities (I mean, CABLE was a must!!), car repairs, etc. Not to mention that I was also fighting through the stages of unmedicated clinical depression, and add in the turmoil of a marital split after 11 years together, and you don’t get a frugal person. You get someone who doesn’t want to sit home because then that forces you to sit with your thoughts. And who wants to do that when all you feel is guilt, a heavy heart and lots and lots of self doubt? No, you want to go out and shop. Continue reading

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Oh my God, thank GOD it’s Friday, people. I am just exhausted this week. Could be the working of many jobs has caught up to me, or the 90-some degree heat we had this week, or the walking of my bike yesterday in the heat when it got a flat tire, or the fact that I have been leading tours to new LLM students all week, but I’m definitely a tired lady right now. But it’s been a good week too.

1. I paid $300 on my student loan and was rewarded with seeing that damn bastard LAL Loan balance go below $15K. Whooppee – that’s about $6K paid down on it in 11 months. While that may not seem like a lot, I’ve paid off a total of about $10K in debt over that time period while also saving a fair amount. When I add the two numbers together, it makes me really happy. It tells me that I am capable of really cutting my expenses and prioritizing, especially when the situation warrants it.

2. You read above that I got a flat tire on my bike this week. Yep, that kinda (ok, it really) sucked. It was really hot out I was not super close to a bus stop at the time. But I am thankful that (a) it was not out of the realm of reason to walk to a bus stop and (2) the fact that a bus was even an option. In a lot of other cities, I would have been royally screwed, and had to walk the bike for miles.  Also, something told me before I left to not worry about the extra weight that a bottle of water would give me – just to go ahead and fill it up. Thankfully I listened to my gut!

3. I’ve gained some new readers this week, and it’s definitely making me feel like I’m more and more part of a community out there. A community of people who have decided that maybe the “expected” way of life isn’t necessarily the only course you can choose. It helps to keep this in mind as you explain to others who know you in your regular “sticks and bricks” life that don’t quite necessarily grasp why living in any other way might be desirable. Not that I care what others think, mind you – if they don’t like the idea of living in a motorhome or think it’s “trashy” – well, they’re entitled to their opinion. Doesn’t mean I have to listen to it or allow it to have any effect on me. (It’s so freeing when you finally don’t care what others think!)

4. There have been a few very hot days this week but the others have been, well, just amazing. Very low humidity and such gorgeous breezes. I just sat down by the reservoir with Baby O on my lap yesterday and thought of how lucky I was to be able to enjoy it.  And, of course, she brought smiles to the faces of many people walking by. One person even said “thank you!” to me.

5. My Bonkers is feeling a thousand times better this week. Took him back to the animal hospital this week so a doctor of internal medicine could check him out, and they retested him for anemia. Luckily, the anemia he had last week seemed to be gone – his body had just slowed down making red blood cells while it was fighting everything else going on.

Not sure why, but I’m not questioning it but I woke up this morning in a really good mood, even though I’m working on the day before a long holiday weekend and am working this Sunday. Some people might hate to work, and I do love my free time, but every day I work now, I just keep telling myself, it’s money I can set aside for the future. For my new life, when I likely won’t make anything close to what I am making now, but will be more free to follow my heart. I can’t wait!  In the meantime, I will just be very envious of my older brother and sister in law – check out their blog – It’s Not a Slow Car, It’s a Fast House – they are going to be living in their van, Alta, starting in 35 days!!

By the way, in case you are curious – I’m going to be shopping for a scooter this weekend, and this is one of my possible choices (isn’t she pretty??!!):

Sym Fiddle II 125

Photo courtesy of Alliance Power Sports

Photo courtesy of Alliance Power Sports

If you have liked this post, please hit like or subscribe, or join me on facebook! And I love hearing from you, so please do leave me a comment! Have a great Labor Day weekend if you’re in the US and if you’re outside the US, just have a great weekend then!