Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness and Some Cool Links

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Taken at Buffalo Creek Park in Flagstaff – I loved how low the clouds were sitting over the San Francisco Peaks.

School began last week but I still took a day off to get out of town and go visit Flagstaff with a friend.   I’m so grateful to have a good friend here, one who I can talk with about just about anything. It’s made such a huge difference.  I hope you will enjoy the photos!

It’s funny – when I was on the east coast, Cape Cod was my escape place. I could be there for just one night but feel like I had been away for a weekend. A weekend there felt like a week away from life. Flagstaff has the same effect on me now. To be there for a day feels  like a weekend’s escape. It’s just beautiful (of course, I’ve not gone there in winter, I’m sure with the snow, I might feel differently.🙂 )

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I found this spot to be incredibly calming as I sat and talked with my friend. I really didn’t want to leave it – the sound of the breeze rustling through the leaves, the squirrels scurrying about, the birds singing. I just loved all of it. 

Call me a geek, but I am actually happy to be taking classes again. I like being a sponge and learning new stuff. I just hope some of this is relevant to actually working as a vet tech! I’ve already missed some deadlines, but I plan on having those be my last. From now on, the student cap is firmly placed upon my head. And thankfully, I have today and tomorrow off so I can get right into the thick of things.

So, for links – if you are trying to come up with ways to earn extra money while never leaving the comfort of your home, you might want to check out Survey Police.  (I’ve given the link to the page for the US.) They rank the various survey sites out there on the web, and have lots of reviews from others just like you. I may try some of the ranked sites out, and if they seem decent, I will let you know. One thing I always do is weigh the amount of time a survey is estimated to take and if it seems too long, then I don’t do it. (It’s why I don’t usually do stuff through swagbucks anymore. It took too much time to add up to anything of value.)  The way I look at it is a dollar here, a dollar there, it all adds up in the long run.

Granted, surveys don’t pay as well as other “side hustles” but they do allow the flexibility of your being able to do them in your pajamas, or at 2 a.m. in the morning, etc. And by the way, I didn’t see Survey Savvy on their list, but I can tell you from personal experience, it’s a good site, they pay in cash, and they pay pretty fast. And they have some survey software that you can install on your pc or ipad and have the opportunity to earn more. I’ve had it on my laptop in the past and didn’t have problems with viruses, etc.   If you do decide to give it a try and sign up, please use my referral link.

I’m sorry for not having more links to include this week but some nights when I’ve come home lately, I’ve just crashed. I try to not turn the TV on as it just becomes background noise, and I remember the days when I didn’t have a TV. I liked those times.

What are you thankful for this week? And have you ever done a lot of surveys? What were your thoughts?

 

Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness

Sorry for posting this so late in the day. I went to work by 615 a.m. this morning and worked my third 11-12 hour day in a row (inventory.) But better late than never, right?

About two weeks ago, I introduced myself to the girl who was answering the PBX phones at the hotel – basically acting as back up to the front desk folks. I saw she was studying and asked what it was. She was studying law, and in her second year. Now, there’s no law school anywhere near where I live, so it turns out she would travel back and forth to Colorado every week. She looked to be in her twenties, had kids and a family and seemed like a very pleasant person to be around. She was really excited to be learning law.

Last week, I came in at night  to make the night deposit and saw a sheet printed with color photos on it, and the words “In Memory of a Dear Friend” and what appeared to be photos of that same girl. I have to admit, I didn’t believe it. I was like WTH happened?! But no one was around for me to ask. So, I found out  a few days ago – she was killed in a head-on collision, with the other driver being drunk. Whoa.

Over the past month, a family I grew up with has lost two siblings. One died from a car accident, and the other just passed away this past weekend from ovarian cancer, with which she had been diagnosed for the past year. I guess it was already advanced pretty far when they discovered it. I can’t even imagine what their older sister and younger brother are going through right now. Thinking about that really puts things in perspective, though, doesn’t it? I know my problems now seem trivial in comparison.

Life is too short. It really is. And you never know when your time is up. It’s a cliche, yes, but it’s also very true. So, if nothing else, after reading this story, please tell your family how much you love and appreciate them, or if you live alone and have pets like I do, hug them extra hard.  I’m writing this post on a Sunday because my next few days at work will be filled with inventory, but as I write, I’m looking out my window at Lone Rock at what appears to be a beautiful, if somewhat muted, color-tone sunrise. I will never take sunrises or sunsets for granted. If it’s a beautiful one that I am missing and someone yells at me to come see it (as my grandma used to do), I will run right out there. I don’t ever want to be that person who says “eh, there’s going to be another one, I can see it tomorrow.” Because you know what? Not to be morbid, but you might not.

So, instead of adding links today like I normally do, I want to share a video with you that a good friend, Helen, shared with me a few days ago. (No copyright infringement intended, I would give credit to the creator if I knew who it was.) Anyway,  I’ve not seen Helen in a few years due to the fact that she lives in the Caribbean, and I do not. But she’s an amazing woman. Someone who just exudes gentleness, and a calm, loving nature. You know how with some people, you just get a good vibe when you meet them? Yep, that was Helen for me. So, Helen, if you are reading this, please know how much you are appreciated, and how much I loved this gift of this video. I hope you will all enjoy it.

As always, thank you for reading. Please drop me a line below and let me know if there’s anything you are particularly thankful for and appreciate.

Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness, Totally Awesome Links

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I was so grateful to see this way-too-cute-for-words pairing yesterday. Usually HoneyBun moves when she sees Osito heading toward her bed, but right before this photo was taken, they were snuggled up and sleeping together.❤ HoneyBun and Osito

Good Tuesday to all of you! This week, I’m thankful for the Patriots having won against the Cardinals on Sunday night’s football game. I admit, without Tom Brady, I was a bit worried about how we would do, but I have a lot of faith in Bill Belichek. To watch the game with some Arizona Cardinals fans, and have the right to talk some smack was just awesome! LOL.  They knew it was all in good fun.

As I announced last week, in my post called What the Heart Wants, I’ve decided to go back to school to become a vet tech, with an eye to possibly working with wildlife in the future, or hospice care for animals. (We’ll see what happens!) Being older and wiser than the first (or second or third) time I achieved a degree, I’m determined to find as many options for scholarships and free money to go to school.  Last week, I mentioned FastWeb. Today, I came across an app called Scholly. They charge $2.99 to join and that’s the only charge, and the app itself is free to download for iPhone and Android.  I don’t watch the show Shark Tank, but I understand his app was featured on that show! Another website I’ve just come across is Scholarships.com – it’s a free database that you can use to look for scholarships, and supposedly is updated every day. I’ll be testing it out this week.

Now, I know not everyone reading this is thinking of going back to school, so I’d like to share another website that I’ve come across recently, and it’s about intentional living (and in part, minimalism, which usually goes hand in hand with intentional living.) It’s called Break the Twitch.  In case you prefer to watch videos over reading text, he makes a lot of videos that you can see on YouTube at this channel

And with this, I need to get off the computer and get ready to go down to the local animal shelter so I can walk some doggies!! Then it’s off to the gym again to try to push myself and sweat a lot! I hope you will all have a wonderful Tuesday! Please feel free to drop me a line below and let me know if there are any amazing links you want to share or think I should highlight in a later post, or what you are feeling thankful for this week!

Also, let me know if you think these posts should come later in the week – would Thursday or Friday be better?

As always, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

What the Heart Wants

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The night I took this photo, it had poured rain, so the sun was peeking through the clouds, shining on the large rock formations at Lake Powell.

What the heart wants and what the mind thinks it can do are sometimes two totally different things. Allow me to tell you a short episode from the other night. If you’re friends with me on facebook, you may already have seen this, so I apologize to those of you in that category.

The other night, I was driving home from having dinner with a friend in town. As soon as you drive out of town, it’s quite dark. The national recreation area is what they call a dark sky area, so there are no street lights and such like you would find in a city. It can sometimes make things feel pretty desolate, honestly. But, that night, I saw an animal in the middle of the road. It looked like it was just sitting there, but it was a jack rabbit. They don’t sit in the middle of the road and wait for cars to come by. They get the hell out of dodge and fast! So I knew that it must have been at the very least, injured. I quickly pulled over and turned around to try to take a look at it. Cars were coming along and I somewhat hoped that if it was injured, that someone might strike it so it would die quickly and not feel any pain. You see, out here, it’s not like there is an emergency vet I can take it to within a few minutes. The local vet isn’t open on weekends and the closest vet (even for domestic animals) is in Flagstaff, which is about 132 miles away. I don’t even know if they take wild animals. Best Friends is about an hour away, but I doubted that someone was there after 10 pm at night. (Actually, it would be even later them as Utah follows daylight savings time and Arizona does not.) Continue reading

Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness, and Totally Awesome Links

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View from the AirBNB my family rented last week in Flagstaff, AZ. I was only there for a few hours but it was SOOO relaxing to look at this beautiful view.

Today, I’m thankful for being in the new apartment. It is much less furnished than the other place, so it feels more minimalist and it’s more relaxing for me to be in. It may sound weird to say this, but I think even The Herd is much happier here. Callie has been out and about more often, and HoneyBun has been quietly finding her “spot” to relax and sleep in. (As I write this, she is laying down with her head on my leg. It’s a very AWWW moment.)  Max, of course, thinks he rules the roost, and Osito just loves to sleep and cuddle, as usual. And I’m feeling more inspired overall. To write, to think about my next moves, what I should do with my life. I have a better view of Lone Rock (the image you see in my blog header), so I’ve been spending some good time on my patio, reading and looking out at it.

I’m also thankful for the Passion Planner that my friend Claudia sent me. I haven’t used a planner in a while and I think this will be helpful to me in reminding me to do a little something every day to get me closer to fulfilling my dreams. Or, rather, to figuring out what those dreams are.  It’s a different kind of planner and at the end of every month, it has a lot of self reflection kind of questions. Even though I just got it, I went through the questions at the end of August, and it helped me to think about a lot of different things, like what I was most grateful for this past month, what major lessons I’ve learned, etc. You can also download extra pages and insert them into the planner, like this finance insert.  I can’t wait to start using all of these, but especially the finance pages.

In keeping with my financial goals, I’m always looking for ways to save money. I read through the book, Frugality for Depressives, and it had lots of suggestions that anyone can use.  Among them was the website, 365 Days of Slow Cooking, and it even has a vegan page! I can’t wait to try some of them out – the awesome thing is that it usually includes a lot of ingredients I already have at home.  Another good one was Gift Card Granny, which compares prices on gift cards that can be bought via a few different websites.  Right now, I’m living in a small town, but I can definitely see myself making use of it in the future for items I do use and things that I normally buy, like gas, and groceries, etc. Some discounts are better than others, of course, but any little bit I can save will be good. It’s the small things that add up over time.  I’ve been constantly reminding myself of this at work and  when I get paid this week, I’m going to make a transfer into my savings account of $2.35 for each day I didn’t buy crap at the campground store where I work. I think it’s really going to add up over the next few months. I have an idea of what to do with the money I save up, but I’m going to leave that for another post.🙂

Anyway, I hope that all of you are having a great Tuesday – with my work schedule, Tuesday equals Sunday, so I plan on making a productive day of it. I have animals to snuggle (they are all on the bed with me as I write this, which I absolutely love!) and animals to walk at the Page Animal Adoption Agency and Page  City Shelter. (By the way, if you shop on Amazon, please consider using their Amazon Smile link and doing your shopping, as a portion of the proceeds will go to them!  It will cost you absolutely nothing.

By the way, I am taking part in a fundraiser called Strut Your Mutt in a few weeks, at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Any funds raised by our team members will go to help the shelter with its medical bills. The shelter doesn’t get any funds from the city, and there is only one paid staff member who even comes in on her days off to take care of the animals. If you would like to support me in this endeavor, please visit my fundraising page. I will be taking little Osito with me but we will be doing more of a “carry” than a walk, since she has slowed down somewhat these days and sprained her shoulder a few months ago.  But I promise you, she will look as adorable as ever, and I will probably put her in a dress.🙂 Laugh if you want, but you can’t look at her and not smile when she’s wearing a dress. LOL

I hope that some of these links are helpful to some of you. I’d love to hear about any websites you have found to be helpful with saving money, or following your dreams.

As always, thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Thoughts, Thankfulness, and Totally Awesome Links

This photo was taken while on the Panoramic Cruise around Lake Powell yesterday. Enjoy!

This photo was taken while on the Panoramic Cruise around Lake Powell yesterday. Enjoy!

Why Tuesdays?  Well, I know on Monday we all have to get back to work. By Tuesday, we’ve caught up and if we work in an office, we might have some time to take a few moments and check out blogs or whatever else we like to surf on the net. So, I hope that this post will be a good distraction for you and if you’re reading it in the morning, help you get your day started on a good note. And I promise to keep them short!

They will include some new links of possible interest to  you, thoughts about things for which I am thankful (it used to be its own series on this blog, so this is my way of bringing those back to life), and possibly different perspectives to help you get through the day. Hope you like this new series!

By the way, if you need some cuteness overload, check out my new blog page: The Herd. Yep, there you will find pics of my awesome furballs.

  1. If you’re sitting at your desk, and not  loving your job, think of it this way – you are earning a paycheck, and outside of work, you can work on changing our work situation. Spend some time updating the resume, or take time to research into other options, even if it’s only on your lunch break. If you feel stuck, take at least one small step today to make yourself unstuck. It’s empowering. Trust me. For me, I’m grateful to at least have money coming into my life that allows me to put a roof over my head and that of my pets. I just need to stay disciplined, and it can help me to save money for my new future that I’m envisioning right now.
  2. I’m very thankful that my family (my older brother and his family) have been able to travel to the southwest for a week. They are spending a few days in Lake Powell, and then heading to Flagstaff on  Tuesday. I’ll be hanging out with them for the day!  It has been over a year since I saw them.
  3. As I’ve been trying to gain control of my financial life, I’ve started seeking out others who write about this field and came across some awesome podcasts: Budgets and Cents, and Martinis and Your Money.  Both make me feel like I’m listening to a conversation between friends, and I’ve definitely been binge listening! The latter had an amazing episode called Frugality for Depressives. Having struggled with depression, it really hit home and the lady she interviewed had some really insightful comments.
  4. Sometimes you need a little inspiration or to see beautiful things to help you get through your day – I hope you enjoy these two photography blogs that I’ve just added to my links (can’t believe I didn’t do it before): Adventures of Dorrie Ann and Joyfully Green.
  5. Like I said above, check out the newest page on this blog, The Herd!!

As I said, I want to keep these posts brief, so I hope you will all have a good Tuesday!  If you have anything you are thankful for in your life right now, please feel free to drop a line below and let me know what it is! And if there are some good links you want to share with others, please do that too!

As always, thanks for reading!

“Change Your Money, Change Your Life”

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The view outside of the public library, where I’m taking advantage of the free, amazing wifi!

The line above is one that is used a lot in one of my new favorite podcasts to listen to, called  Budgets and Cents. The “budgets” part is from Cait Flanders (formerly known as Blonde on a Budget) and Carrie is from Careful Cents. Cait got herself out of about $28,000 in debt in 2 years. Carrie and Cait are both freelancers in the financial writing field (and they do other things as well.) Their podcast is relatively new – in its second “season” as they call it. A lot of the topics relate to their freelance work, but there are also episodes that talk about how they did find life after debt, and how they take care of themselves with self-care, etc. I just find them extremely down to earth and it’s like I’m listening to friends. I get inspired listening to them. So, let’s talk about how I’m “changing my money” these days.

I have good news. I found someone to sublet my apartment, and a place where I can move to on a month to month basis starting in September. The person who will be taking my current place is only taking it until December, but there is a possibility it could be for longer, so I’m crossing my fingers the new tenant like the area and decides to stay. Because then, I can move to a larger city, sooner. Oh, so excited!!

With any change, I see opportunity. Yes, I’m only moving literally next door, but I see the opportunity to get rid of some of my stuff. Yes, get rid of some of my crap! When I moved last year, I fit everything I had into my car and a car carrier that rode on top. The only thing I originally mailed from Boston was a large painting, and then my friend Dan helped me free up some room in  my car by mailing some boxes for me. But you know what? I don’t need all the stuff I’ve accumulated, and I certainly don’t need all the clothes I’ve been holding onto. And the idea of lightening the load of crap in my life is exhilarating!

With the decrease in rent I will be paying (the new place is unfurnished and not professionally managed like the place I have now), I will plan on saving some of it and putting some of it toward my credit card bill which is currently sitting just below $4,000. I can’t WAIT to see that balance come down! To remind myself of it, I set up an alert with my account. Every day, I get a text message reminding me of the balance, as well as the fact that the balance is over $3900. When I get it below $3900, I will then change the alert to let me know when it’s over $3800, and so on. And every time I open up that freezer and see that other credit card literally encased in ice, I feel more confident and strong, and in control of my life and finances.

I’m going to start tracking my spending, and actually stick to it for more than 3 days this time. I need to know exactly how much I am spending on groceries, etc., because since I don’t do many activities that cost a lot of money, that’s really my biggest ticket item, I’m pretty certain of it. And I already know one area where my spending has got to stop. It’s going to be pretty hard though. It’s spending on junk food or munchies food at the campground store where I work. We get 20% off as an employee, but the prices are still too high in my opinion (you pay for the convenience of not having to go into town to get your food and other items.) And I can definitely find more healthy alternatives to the food offered there. (Example, eat fresh broccoli dipped in ranch dressing, rather than potato chips.) I’m trying to come up with an incentive for myself to keep that up –  I will start up another bank account and every day that I don’t buy something there, transfer $2.35 into it (that’s my cost for a large can of Pringles with my discount), or I do buy something, if it costs less than that dollar amount, transfer the difference into that savings account. And at the end of a certain period of time, decide what to do with that cash that has accumulated.

In fact, I just opened an account with CapitalOne360, and it’s called No Junk Food (you can give your accounts nicknames.)  So this morning, I transferred $1.35 to that account, since I bought two things of crackers that totaled $1.00 yesterday. And I also just went through my checking account statement and wrote everything down in a small notebook I plan on carrying around with me, and wrote down next to all the expenses what they were for. That is definitely eye-opening, but I think it will be even more so when I write down the number at the same time I’ve just spent it. I’ll let you know regularly how the money is adding up. (Yes, I plan on being more regular with posting onto the blog.)

I think I know why I hadn’t posted on this blog so much this past summer. I was feeling pretty frustrated and out of control or lost about a lot of things.

  1. Financially, I felt very constrained, and will, for a while, but now I feel like I’m taking steps to get in control.  I will write more about that in a separate post, in addition to what I’ve already mentioned here.
  2. Job-wise, I was unhappy and felt directionless. Now, even though I’m not exactly sure when I will be leaving my current place of employment, I know I am starting to make plans to do so. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I made this drastic move in my life, why it hasn’t come out exactly the way I planned, and what I can do to rectify that.
  3. I’ve realized small town living is not for me, so I’m taking steps to be more financially fit and be able to make a move to a larger city. I’m talking to folks about that new prospective city of Albuquerque and am researching into it a lot before I even go for my first visit. I’m remembering that it’s important for me to live in a lower cost of living area than where I am right now, and that that is a big priority for me in looking into prospective places to move to. Living where it’s less expensive gives me more freedom to explore work that makes me feel happy about being on this earth and contributing to society, not just punching a time clock every day for a paycheck. And I know in my heart that that kind of work will involve animals, in some way, shape, or form.
  4. Finally, I’m turning my attentions to things that make me happy. Some of them are activities that I used to do regularly and had fallen away from – like going to the gym or exercising. I’m still not at that regular pace I used to be when I worked in an office and had a very routine daily schedule, but I’m allowing myself time to get back to that gradually.  I’m not gonna make myself feel guilty about it. I know it’s gonna be rough and my body will definitely feel sore some days.
  5. Writing is another thing that makes me happy and I’m thinking up ideas for regular series of posts. Ideas about things that will remind me of what it’s like to live in a way that makes me feel like I’m grateful to be alive, and living a life of abundance, and not just deprivation. I think I’ve been spending too much time lately thinking about what I don’t have, rather than what I do have.  I’m hoping the ideas that are percolating in my brain will be helpful to others.
  6. I’m spending more time reading and learning (currently reading The Book of the Navajo by  Raymond Friday Locke and loving it because it teaches me about some of the history and culture of the folks I work with and live around every day.) I never want to stop learning and I want to be respectful of them and their history.

Speaking of things I have in my life, I have some amazing coworkers. The below photo is what a coworker and friend did as a surprise for me. She’s always playing practical jokes on me, and they just make me laugh and feel loved. I wouldn’t want her to change a thing. I hope she is reading this, because she knows who she is!  :-)

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