Glamping with the Girl Scouts

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A couple of weeks ago, I hinted at some exciting weekend plans. Before I continue, however, I think it’s important to provide a little context. Continue reading →

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For the Record: August 2018

For the Record is a look back at the month that was: I share my current obsessions, future plans, and other snapshots from a life in progress. Continue reading →

Notes on Having Something to Look Forward To

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One of summer 2017’s highlights: a weekend of camping in British Columbia.

It’s been a pretty dry summer. I mean that literally–a nearly monthlong stretch of 90-plus degree days, anyone?–and figuratively. Usually at this point in the year, I’ve been on a couple of trips, with another trip or two lined up in the coming months, invariably spending my time vacillating between giddiness and anticipation. Continue reading →

Why I Decided to Keep My Old(er) Car

This post should really be titled “Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Take Beauty Shots of Your Beater Before You Trade It In.”

Because that’s what I did.

On the day I was supposed to buy a new car (and simultaneously trade in my old one), I took my current vehicle out to the nearby waterfront and took a scenic photo with the Seattle skyline as the backdrop. The sun was rising, the clouds had parted just so, and–well–this was the result.

Maker:S,Date:2017-4-1,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

After a final vacuum and wash for old times’ sake, I headed to the car dealership to test drive the car I planned on buying. However, every time I looked at my old car through the dealership window, I just couldn’t imagine leaving it behind. We’d been through too many adventures together.

The road trips from New Jersey to Vermont on Memorial Day weekend. The cross-country adventure with my oldest brother when I moved from the Garden State to the Emerald City. Weekends in British Columbia, the North Cascades and the Oregon Coast. We’d made so many memories.

As I tried to remind myself why I decided it was time to sell, I couldn’t remember a single reason. My car has never had any real issues besides the occasional maintenance expense (and the tie rods I had to replace twice in fewer than five years). I guess I’d been conditioned by the shiny new cars I’d pass on my way to work every morning to view my car’s age as a liability. But I always promised myself that I’d drive every car I owned into the ground and my car ain’t dead yet. Besides, there are myriad benefits to keeping my older car:

Pay off other debts more quickly

By holding off on buying a new car (and postponing a car payment in my roster of expenses), I’ll be able to get to my goal of finally (FINALLY!) paying off my student loans ahead of schedule.

Save more towards a downpayment

By pumping the brakes on a new car, I hope I can build a more robust savings balance, allowing me to pay down more in advance and hopefully reduce the amount or length of an auto loan.

Reduce my auto insurance bill

A newer, higher value car would indubitably mean a larger auto insurance premium than I’d been accustomed to paying.

Do I still want to buy a new car? Heck, yeah. Sometime. Soon. But not today. For now, I’m just gonna keep on truckin’ in my current set of wheels until replacement becomes my only option.

Making the Most of Time

The hour is late and I should be asleep instead of writing this, but it’s been another long day at work and I’m tired. Quite frankly, it’s a miracle I’m still able to string words into coherent sentences. My eyelids are falling and my words–the ones in my head that I’m not even speaking aloud–sound like they’re slurred. But I’m pressing on, anyway.

You see, this year I promised myself I’d blog consistently. At least once a week, I said. On Thursday, I said. But this week came and went and in the midst of a couple of long days at work and the emotional day that lies ahead tomorrow, I’m here after 10:30 pm, writing.

In other words, I ran out of time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. And, in particular, Benjamin Franklin’s approach. “Dost thou love life?” he asked. “Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” I scribbled this quote in the margins of my bullet journal last week and they’ve been echoing in my head ever since.

In spite of his many other shortcomings, Franklin was a master at time management. Volumes have been written about his about his productivity, so I’ve been determined to emulate his methods to make the most of the my time.

A milestone birthday is on the horizon, and it’s a reminder that my days are finite. It’s scary and sobering but I’ve also been inspired to use every moment in a manner I can be proud of when I look back over the landscape of my life.

That approach has changed some of the ways I approach living:

Work

As much as I love my job and what I do, I’ve stopped giving my employer a “blank check” for my time. I’m much more conscientious about being focused at work when I’m there and closing up shop when it’s time to go home. In doing this, I’m free to pursue my other goals and passions.

Play

Social media, I love you, but you’re a time suck. Nowadays, I use the timer on my smartphone to limit the amount of time I spend on Snapchat or Instagram or Twitter. As much as I enjoy sharing in other people’s lives, I also need to be busy living my own to the fullest.

Sleep

This one’s a biggie. I have a hate/love relationship with shut-eye. Although I hate that sleeping basically cuts the time we actively live by one-third, I’ve recently realized how much better–and more productive–my waking hours are when I’ve slept for roughly eight hours.

Until recently, I’d been getting by on between six to seven hours of sleep. We’ve had a colder than normal winter here in Seattle and on many nights, I found myself getting under the covers in the evening and falling asleep earlier than I wanted and sleeping for a full eight hours. But then the strangest thing happened. The brain fog that had been plaguing me for years lifted. My thoughts became less sluggish. Clearer. Sharper. I began to feel like my own self again. And with greater clarity of mind, I’ve been better able to focus on hitting my targets. Who knew?

With these changes to my routine in combination with an improved focus on my goals through bullet journaling, I’m confident this year will be a year I can look back on and know it was successful because I made time for the things that matter most to me.

Knitting Can Be Expensive…and Sometimes, That’s Okay

 

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The Ashland Pullover via Brooklyn Tweed

 

Even though August tends to be the hottest month of the year, in the back of my mind these dog days of summer always mean September–and subsequently fall–is right around the corner. I immediately begin dreaming about cinnamon-spiced everything, changing colors, and cooler days. And, if I’m honest, I’m really fantasizing about sweater weather and getting a new woolen garment on my knitting needles. Continue reading →