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

purpleflower

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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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!

 

Musings and Memories (and little things for which I am thankful)

My Bonkers/Bonk-Man earlier this week at Angell Memorial. He looks so sad....
My Bonkers/Bonk-Man earlier this week at Angell Memorial. He looks so sad….

I meant to write my usual “little things for which i am thankful” post last week, I really did. But between working all of my three jobs, and taking a motorcycle class this past weekend (ahem, I passed!!) it just didn’t happen. So, yes, that was a really exciting weekend for me! Met a lot of nice people and had a lot of fun. And I survived!!

So, um, why did I take a motorcycle class?? Well, I want to buy a scooter (which technically is a motorcycle, just one with an automatic transmission). In MA, if you want one that is more than 49cc, or goes faster than about 25 mph, you need to have a motorcycle endorsement on your license (if you’re like me, and already have the regular Class D one.) I saw the class was being offered this past weekend when by luck, I didn’t have to work either day, and I signed up. Yes, it was $285, but it was money well spent. You spend about 9 hours on the bikes out of the two days (which is a lot, trust me) and the instructors are so patient and helpful.

So….musings….I was thinking as I was on my way to the class this past Saturday morning – just what would my ex-husband say if he saw me now? Or my ex-boyfriend? Neither would probably believe it. And that’s important to me because it shows how far I have come! 🙂 I am so NOT the person either of them knew!

A favorite song of my ex-boyfriend was Pontoon by Little Big Town. I had completely forgotten that I had it downloaded on my iPod until it started playing on Monday morning while on my run. And you know what? It was bittersweet. And that tells me that I am healing or more possibly accurate, have healed from that time in my life. I remembered the good times, how he used to turn the stereo up a lot louder every time it came on and how he used to smile when he heard it. (He may have been born in the SW part of the US, but he is a southern boy through and through!)

But that’s it – I only thought of happy times with him, and while I was sorry it didn’t work out, I know it’s for the best. My heart and my mind are in tune with each other on this. It was when I started dating him that I realized there is a way of living without debt.  And he introduced me to Dave Ramsey and his philosophies (of which I agree with many, but not all), so those are two really good things that  came out of that relationship. He also taught me that yes, I am loveable, and can actually care about someone again.  That’s saying a lot because after my divorce, I was worried I wasn’t worthy of anyone else’s love, and that I was destined to be alone for the rest of my life. The difference between now and then is that these days, I’m ok with being on my own for what will probably be the foreseeable future.

You will see from the picture above that my Bonkers, my elder statesman, made the acquaintance of some doctors at Angell Memorial Hospital, which is very well known in this area for their level of care. I took him to my vet on Monday, thinking all he needed was an enema (lovely, I know.) I was bit worried because his bum looked sore and he had just had an enema two weeks before. So, long story short, he needed to go to Angell, where he could be sedated and looked at by a few doctors, one being a surgeon, to see if he had a hernia. Thankfully for him (and my wallet), he didn’t have a hernia. So instead of looking at what could have been a bill for $3500-4000, I got one for $1680. Relatively, a bargain!

But, it’s all worth it in my book to see him sitting in his cat bed and looking out the kitchen window. It’s amazing how even just one day at home and he looks so much more relaxed than he did yesterday when I picked him up. He knows he’s home. (He needs to go back for a check up next week just to make sure everything’s healing ok – he also had a rupture) but that’s just a quick in-and-out visit. 🙂  I am so glad he was taken care of, and he’s feeling better. I’m so grateful for the amazing care they took of him, and also that they called to update me on his progress at least twice a day. This picture was even texted to me by the hospital on Tuesday night – how sweet was that? It came with a note that said “good night from Bonkers.” And I’m so grateful to his regular vet for having called me tonight to check on his progress after she got the report from Angell about him.

My author is now on vacation until the beginning of September so my work will die down in that area just as the school year ramps up. She was also very pleased with my work that I did over the past few weeks, which always makes me feel good to hear. And, I’ve been given a few extra shifts at the gym through the month of September, which definitely comes in handy with Bonkers’ vet bills. And last but not least, I am very grateful that I have taken care of things in my life so that when this emergency came up, I wasn’t panicked about how I was going to pay for it. I knew I could. A few years ago, when my Chloe got sick, I was worried about if she would need surgery and how I would find the funds to pay for it. (Luckily, it didn’t come to that.)

My apologies for not posting my weekly gratitude post last week – as you can see, it’s been an insane two weeks! But, it’s all good. It’s all forward progress, even when the obstacles are thrown into your way. It’s just a matter of how you deal with them that changes. With that, I wish all of you a great weekend.

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Little Things for Which I am Thankful

Sorry I’m late in posting this today – it’s been a busy week, and I expect to be busy through the weekend. Yes, I’ll be working a lot, but I don’t want to let my author down. I’m lucky she has a lot of faith in me and my work product, and I’m not about to disappoint her.

Without a thought to his own safety, my boy Sebastian (with his buddha belly) protected me from the big, bad, paper towel roll!
Without a thought to his own safety, my boy Sebastian (with his buddha belly) protected me from the big, bad, paper towel roll!

1. TGIF. This was my first week back after vacation. Got paid today so I can afford to pay off Bonkers’ most recent vet bill. Almost $400 but he’s feeling better and that is all that matters.

2. Like I just said above, it’s pay day. Thank you, God. I decided to sign up for a motorcycle safety course, as I want to buy a scooter and if it’s over 50cc, in Massachusetts, you need to have a motorcycle endorsement on your license. Since I’m looking forward, I know I will likely need more than a 50cc to travel the roads out in Washington.  I plan on taking and hopefully passing the permit test this coming week, so that if I successfully complete the safety course, I can get my  license right then and there. From what I understand, I can ride a scooter at the course if I so choose, and that’s the plan.  They also provide helmets if you don’t yet own one. I figure this way, I can also test out which scooter or what type of scooter I can work best with.

So what about the electric bike you ask? I plan on keeping it for the time being until I buy a scooter. My plan is to buy the scooter toward fall when people tend to mark them down, price-wise, and don’t want to have to store them for the winter.  I won’t likely ride it much in the winter, if we get a lot of snow again, but I’d like to have it for the spring when I get the motor home (if all goes to plan.)  What I am thankful for, though, is that I could afford to sign up for the course, and also that it is held at a location that I can get to via the commuter rail and then a short walk. And I have next Sunday off because they need to do repairs at the gym!

3. I’ve had my apartment back to myself this past week.  It allowed me to deal with stressors as they came up in a way that is hard to do when you have a roommate. Some people just do better on their own, and I guess that’s me. And I found I was able to focus more on my freelance research, and be more productive in the mornings. I wish my former roommate well if she’s reading this.

4.  I received a notification that the newest issue of Motor Home magazine, to which I subscribe, was available. Yes, I’m that much of a dork. And here’s the great thing – I really don’t care what anyone thinks!

5. An online friend of mine has a son that just graduated from high school, and he’s in an area of California that is facing those horrible forest fires. So far, he’s safe, so I’m thankful for that.  It might be the last thing mentioned in today’s post but it’s the most important.

I hope you will all have a safe, or productive, or lazy-daze weekend – whatever it is you want for yourself! If you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe below, or drop me a line!

 

 

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

The reservoir, looking surprisingly green!
The reservoir, looking surprisingly green!

This has been a vacation week from my full time job, but I’ve been keeping busy. I’ve covered an extra shift at the gym, and my author has been giving me more final work to do on the chapters, so I’m keeping my brain active too. Read more

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. Read more

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!) Read more