• Finances,  self-improvement

    Operation: Katie

    Yesterday morning I was awakened at 8am by the phone. Katie had finished the train part of her journey and wanted to call while she awaited her first bus. She shared with me how she’d decided not to spend the money on a taxi in Chicago; she had gotten turned around and had to ask for help to reach the…

  • Finances,  Investments

    A Tale of Cowardice

    This is the very first year that I will file tax forms in relation to my investments. The very first time in my life that I’ve actually had real, Big Dog investment income to report. I’m having to fight the urge to turn tail and run. The other day I received the small package with the necessary tax forms to…

  • Investments

    (Not So) Light Reading

    You see that gigantic stack of papers in the photo? That’s the latest SEC filings for BlueKnight Energy Partners, one of the dividend companies I’ve invested in. That stack of papers is close to 300 pages of legalese, deliberately designed to be completely incomprehensible to the average person. I have to don a business suit just to get the words…

  • Business,  Investments,  Personal

    Three Jobs?

    Since yesterday was a maudlin day (as you could tell from my post), I called up my beloved Auntie early this morning for some much-needed encouragement. “Well, it’s no wonder you’re exhausted and feeling emotional!” Auntie declared once I’d shared, “You’re working three jobs, taking care of your house, and studying like you were in an actual college class besides!…

  • Empty Nest,  Housing

    Broken Bones

    I received a letter from Katie yesterday. As I was reading it the phone rang. It was the kid. She’d suffered multiple stress fractures in her right leg during a PT test in addition to injuring her knee. As a result, the Navy was sending her home. To say that she was disappointed would be an understatement. Even with a…

  • Cash register
    Business,  Finances

    Surprise Promotion

    While puttering around at work the other day I received a page to the office. “What’s up?” I asked as I stuck my head in. “Have a seat,” the main managers gestured to a chair positioned between them. When I got up from that chair, I had been promoted to management. I started my training the next day. I must…

  • Washing machine
    Finances

    Upgrading My Life

    Every year I try to invest in at least one thing that will improve my quality of life. In 2017 I invested in a refurbished desktop computer to make writing easier. In 2018 I invested in some shelves, a number of books to educate myself, and a larger monitor so that I could see the screen on my computer better.…

  • Empty Nest,  Finances

    First Month Without Katie

    I just finished paying the first round of bills without the kid sharing half of the expenses. I made it. I even had a bit to spare. I must confess that I was worried so I clamped down drastically on my spending. I’m not quite sure why I was worried (this isn’t my first rodeo, after all), but that old…

  • Empty Nest,  Food,  Personal

    The Miracle of Water

    It was close to midnight. I padded into the kitchen to quench my thirst and picked up the water pitcher. I blinked at the heft. Huh? I raised it up to examine the water level. It was full. My water pitcher is never full. The only way I can ever get a drink of water out of it is to fill…

  • Health,  Life,  Personal,  self-improvement,  Success

    The Process of Recharging

    Day by day, in every way, I’m getting better and better. Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie I sleep in when I can. I rest instead of endlessly working. Bit by bit, I can tell a difference. Instead of scolding the dogs for their excitement in the mornings when they wake me to go potty, I gather my coat and take…

  • Health,  Personal

    Practicing Selfishness

    It has been six days since I watched Katie leave with the recruiter. Five days since I saw her last, on the day she shipped out to BASIC. Four days since I’ve had any contact with her. And I’m doing perfectly fine. I’ve not had a day off work since last Tuesday, the last day I saw my little girl.…

  • Life,  Personal

    New Beginnings

    This is it. Last night I said my final farewell to the kid. The very last call was scripted, just letting me know that she had arrived safely and that she would be out of contact for the next couple of weeks. I am now officially free of the full burden of motherhood. It started a few days ago. We…

  • Happiness

    A Bit of R&R

    I had the house to myself during my day off yesterday. I woke up early, knocked out my daily tasks, and then curled up with my current book. It was so pleasant to simply exist. I didn’t have to go anywhere. I didn’t have to do anything. I could simply be… …Until the messages and the phone calls started, that…

  • Finances,  Retirement

    Social Security is Not Enough

    A coworker is being forcefully retired at work. At over 70 years of age, he has worked for my bosses now for 40-plus years. Tears were shining in his eyes as he told me the news. He has one month’s notice before his last day. “But you’ve got Social Security, right?” I asked, casting about for a way to console…

  • Finances

    How to Start Saving Money

    Habits rule our daily lives. From what we do when we first awaken to the last thing we complete as we crawl into bed, we are controlled by habit. Habits allow our brain to take a break from the mundane, to power down for rest, or even to focus on other things. Tweak those habits, and you tweak your life.…

  • Decluttering,  Minimalism

    Tossing Your Stuff is NOT the Answer

    The other day I about fell out of my chair. Two DJs on the radio were discussing Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix. What? I could not believe my ears. Back when I became a minimalist people thought I was insane. I caught so much flak for eliminating my excess and writing about it. I’ve got family members to this day…

  • Finances,  Food,  Frugality

    Resisting Temptation

    It was early evening. I was on my way home from work, hungry after my shift because I’d not eaten since the day before. The aroma from a local pizza place called to me, enticing me with its flavorful aroma. My nose went on high alert. My stomach started growling. My eyes drifted to the restaurant as I began to…

  • Happiness,  Personal

    I Don’t NEED Anything

    Yesterday. Walking to work. I was crossing the street after checking the free stack at the local library. That was when it hit me: I don’t NEED anything! I really, really don’t. I have a roof over my head that I can easily afford even if Katie moved out tomorrow. I have clothes on my back. A surplus, actually, that I will use…

  • Economy

    Is the Social Security System Becoming the New Welfare?

    I came across an interesting article from NPR that other day titled Unfit For Work: The Startling Rise of Disability in America. It’s definitely worth a read. While I cannot speak for the nation as a whole, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in my small area. I’ve noticed a rise in multi-generational Disability recipients. People I have known for years…