Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Ok, maybe these are not so little!  But the pictures included in this post are ones where I just realized the simple beauty that is always around me. I love cloudy days (good thing I want to move to the pacific northwest, huh?)

Sunset in St. Lucia - loved the clouds down there over the ocean

Sunset in St. Lucia – loved the clouds down there over the ocean

When I was in St. Lucia, if I sat still enough, I was treated to the sight of so many sand crabs digging out their homes, and I  marveled at how efficiently they worked, plus how well they blended in with their surroundings. And finally, the last photo of the sky through the trees – my ex-boyfriend got me into noticing the leaves on trees a lot more. I took this last photo below while on our field trip in St. Lucia. Because it’s so humid, the climate is basically like a rain forest. Continue reading

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Beach flowers from St. Lucia

Beach flowers from St. Lucia

Well, it was my first week back after the conference, and it was a busy one. Sorry I have not been writing much lately but I’ve been extremely busy and there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day, sometimes. I know I’m not alone in thinking this way. Anyway, I hope that will change after this weekend. It’ll be my second attempt at passing the CES (corrective exercise science) certification exam. You need 70 points to pass, and on my first attempt, well, I got 69. My chiropractor said that’s pretty good considering I have not gone to an actual school to learn all of this. Self-learning anatomy and physiology is really hard, trust me.   I also know that I sometimes freak out when a test is timed, as this one is. (So, if I normally read your blog and make comments and haven’t done so this past week or two, I plan on catching up!) Continue reading

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Bird taking flight

Bird taking flight

Just a very quick post before I head down to the beach to take a walk along the water’s edge… (btw, I had meant to take this bird’s photo while he was stationary but as I got closer, he took to the air. I think the picture came out even better that way!)

 

sunset on St. Lucia

sunset on St. Lucia

  1. I’m very thankful to have spent the time with friends again in the Caribbean, and that my presentation (seemed) to go well earlier this week. It was cool to see all these librarians who usually work in a formal setting getting up and stretching and laughing amongst each other.
  2. I met a librarian who my school really wanted to interview, but because of timing and other circumstances, it didn’t work out and she got hired elsewhere. She was really cool and she said I inspired her to start working out again. :-)
  3. I’ve been worried about my furballs, and one in particular, this week, Bonkers, because he was sick. But my roommate (and her boyfriend especially) took care of him and he seems to be recovering well. I am so glad that he was not alone when he got sick and that someone who really cared about him was there to help him out, get him all cleaned up, made sure he was eating enough canned pumpkin, etc.
  4. I’ve been able to swim in the near-bathwater-temperature of the Caribbean every day this week. Many of the people around here take it for granted but I never would.
  5. There have been a family of cats that live at the hotel area where I am staying – they’ve been super cute and a lot of people here have been feeding them (although they still look a bit on the skinny side), so they’ve made me feel a bit less like I am so far from home.
  6. I am thankful to be returning home to my furballs. I have really missed them.
  7. I realized by being down here that I think the pacific northwest will definitely be  a good match for me. It was very overcast here in St. Lucia yesterday, and I loved it. I’m definitely ok with some grey days as long as I know it won’t be raining nonstop and also that the sun will eventually come back. As long as I won’t be freezing to death on all of those really grey days, I’m good to go. That’s the difference between the northwest and the northeast. In the northeast, it can just become absolutely miserable.

I will write more over the next few days, and add in lots of pictures of St. Lucia.  I put a few on facebook but that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of how many I took!  (The little guy below was pretty friendly – we met him on our tour on Wednesday afternoon and he even let me pick him up and hold him!)

My buddy from our tour

My buddy from our tour

Little things for which I am thankful

She sleeps.... (just try not to say "awww" when you look at her picture...I dare you!)

She sleeps…. (just try not to say “awww” when you look at her picture…I dare you!)

As  I sat down to write this, my little calico Callie came over and started rubbing all up against my computer, so she starts off my list – I’m so thankful for all of my animals and their continuing to remain healthy even as they age. I like to think I have something to do with it, by giving them good food and a good home where they feel safe and can sleep as much as they want. Or, they could just have really good genes. :-)

I’m all packed up and ready to go on my trip to St. Lucia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I know people think all I do when there is sit on the beach, but really, our conference is a good couple days with events at night as well, so I won’t have much free time after my first night there, until pretty much my last day there before I fly back. But don’t worry, I’ll still take lots of pics of the beach for all of you!! (Do I sound like I”m gloating?? Well, ok…maybe a little….lol)  I’m thankful my roomie is here to take care of all of the furballs – makes me feel a lot better to know their environment doesn’t have to change just because I’m traveling. Especially for Osito, that makes me very thankful. She tends to get nervous when she is in a strange place, which is understandable with her lack of vision.

With the help of two very good friends, I am feeling pretty good about the decision I made this week, to move to Washington State by next fall, if my savings plan works out the way I want it to. My hope is to start attending the National Personal Training Institute in Renton, WA in September, for their 6 month program. It’s $6300 if you pay it all up front, and it lasts for 6 months. The program consists of 300 hours of classroom time, and 200 hours of hands on time, which also includes an internship. They do have a program here around Boston, but really, I want to meet people in the field where I will be living, so I’ll put off attending until I move.  One of my brother’s lifelong friends lives out there now, and he’s been super helpful in answering all my inane questions.

With the decision to move, I have put off my decision to buy an RV or a tiny home and land. Since I don’t know for sure where I will end up doing personal training with clients, and I’m not familiar with the Seattle area, it just doesn’t make sense. Plus, I looked into the campgrounds near the Seattle area, even the state parks, and it would still end up costing me at the very least around 500 but more likely closer to 750/800 a month to rent a spot. I can get an apartment for about 650-700, I think, so financially, it just makes more sense to rent at first. Plus, WA does not have income tax, and Seattle’s minimum wage is $15!!!!  But they make up for that lack of income tax with very high property taxes. Just something else to think about.  I

I’ll also slow down my debt repayment for a bit to stockpile savings.  I will still make at least double payments on the private loan.  I think I’m better at stockpiling savings, and then if I can, pay a chunk of it before I move. We’ll see. The plan is still evolving, but with my friend L’s help, I saw last night it’s financially feasible for me to do this, and (hopefully, which is my word, not hers) not have to touch the money I’ve already saved for the tiny home.   Honestly, my fascination for tiny homes began when I saw people living in these tiny apartments. So now, I’m hoping my unattachment to things will help me find a small place out there that will also hopefully be easier on my wallet.   It’s going to all be about living simpler. I’m excited at the thought of downsizing my space even more.

I’m grateful for boxes. Why boxes, you ask? Well, they give my animals something to do, which is entertain me with their silly antics! I got lots of packages delivered this week (I get their pet food online), so there has been much exploring being done by my boys, Max and Sebastian.

I’m feeling like my life is coming together, like I’m figuring out my purpose. And it’s a good feeling. I  hope you will all have a wonderful fourth of July!

 

 

 

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

If you know Boston at all, you know where this was taken.

If you know Boston at all, you know where this was taken.

  1. I am so thankful for my friends, both new and old, in person and online. You know who you are. I’m grateful for all the questions you throw in my direction when you feel I might have my head stuck in the clouds about my dreams, because they keep me down on this earth. And I’m grateful for your ability to make me smile and laugh.  You teach me that it’s ok to dream, and not be like everyone else. And that if you work hard enough at it, your dreams CAN become your reality.
  2. Air conditioning, folks, plain and simple. Yesterday, there was 93% humidity in the Boston area at one point. In case you live in a climate where you never see those kinds of numbers, well, let me just tell you, it’s GROSS. You basically walk outside, take a breath, and wonder why you ever bothered to shower that day already.
  3. It has actually been really nice to have a roommate these last few weeks. While it’s been an adjustment to having someone else around, she’s pretty respectful, and so is her partner, and when I walked into the apartment last night, she was doing some exercises, so I got to teach her a few things and correct her form on some others. It was nice to see her doing something which I love so much, and to realize, you know, I really can help people with this. I may feel like a fraud some days, not having the hands-on experience yet, and I definitely don’t know everything there is to know (and won’t even claim to do so), but it’s something to work on. When you know everything there is to know about a subject, then it gets boring. Luckily, my current field, and my next one (notice I didn’t add in the word “hopeful” after next…I AM going to make it happen) are fields where lifelong learning is involved.
  4. Baby geese!!!

    Baby geese!!!

    I came in late to work on Monday because of an appointment and because our policy is either you make up the time or have to take an entire half day off, I took the half day. It allowed me to spend time on my way home just gazing at the Charles, sitting (and laying part of the time) on a park bench, as if I didn’t have a care in the world. And I truly didn’t for that short period of time. I was still enough that even the baby geese felt safe enough to walk right past me.

  5. I am so very grateful for the view below and the cloudy skies. A lot of people don’t like having an overcast day. But for me, I enjoy them. First of all, I LOVE running in overcast skies. In sun, I literally feel like I am going to wilt. And also, they make me appreciate the sunny days all the more. I’m grateful for this realization because it has really helped me to focus and decide on an area of the country where I want to move. At least a state and a few regions of that state anyway. More on my decisions in a later post…..dum dum dum….. (by the way, I was touched with how many of you responded to my request for information on WA state. Thank you…)
  6. I think I have made a few decisions this week about the direction of my life over the next year or 18 months and while they are a bit terrifying, they’re also exciting. Might involve slowing down some of my paying off of debt so I can bank a lot in savings, but I’ll keep at both goals. I”ll explain in a later post.

 

:-)

:-)

 

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you will all have a great weekend if I don’t post over it (although, I’m in a writing mood so you never know…)

If you’ve liked this post, please hit “like” below or subscribe or drop me a line! Thank you!!

 

Getting out of my Debt, Part Umpteen!!

I don’t even know what number I am up to by now….

Well, folks, I have hit a few milestones. I’m happy to say that FINALLY my private LAL loan has fallen below $16K. The balance on it is now 15,921.62.  That means I have paid off about 25% of the loan since September, because it was over $20,900 at that time!

So here is what the numbers used to be like:

Sept. 2013:

Personal loan: $4,211.42
LAL loan: $20,939.94
Simmons Loan: $23,620.04
Big Daddy (federal) loan: $75,390.94

TOTAL BALANCE: $124,162.34

Here are what the numbers look like now:

June 2014:

Personal loan: GONEEEEEEEEE FINITO, NON-EXISTENT!!!!
LAL loan: $15,921.62
Simmons Loan: $23,620.04
Big Daddy (federal) loan: $75,390.94

TOTAL BALANCE: $114,942.60

DIFFERENCE: $9,219.74 REDUCTION in DEBT!!!!!!!!

In addition to that, I guess I can say it now – I’ve reached the halfway $ mark for my tiny home/motorhome/land fund (whatever it ends up being.)   I admit, sometimes I am tempted to take that balance and throw it all at the LAL loan just so I can see the balance go below 10K sooner than scheduled, but I just need to keep plugging away.

To keep myself inspired this morning, I read through a couple blog posts of people who have really gotten themselves out of debt:

http://www.givemebackmyfivebucks.com/debt-payoff/ (How I wish my amount was as low as hers to start with! It’s all relative, folks…)

Fairy Tales, or How I Paid $200,000 in Student Loan Debt Loan Off in 5 Years

If you haven’t read this guy’s book or blog yet, check out No More Harvard Debt.  Pretty inspiring.

Oh, and another friend sent me this link over the weekend – I love how this guy has been helping very elderly senior citizens get stronger! This is definitely an untapped market in the fitness industry.   The post was called A Chiseled Body Builder, Frail Clients, and A Fitness Story for the Ages.

And in case you  like reading these kind of stories in bulk: People Who Got out of Debt.

What do you do to give yourself a pick me up when you need it? Whether it’s about debt or something else?

If you have liked this post, please hit like or subscribe, and again, if you’re at all familiar with living/traveling through Washington state, please drop me a line below.  (I’ve been looking at personal training programs out there because I just don’t feel like I have enough practical experience to do a good job training people.) Thank you!