31 December 2016

Money money money

I've been listening to a great podcast called Death, Sex, and Money recently and it's inspired me to both think about and talk about these topics more. They are so integral to our lives and yet so taboo!

Today's blog is about financial integration!

Hooray for home ownership!

Okay, I'm not really a homeowner, but my partner is and I'm doing everything I can to share those responsibilities.
We agreed that since K put in the downpayment on the loan, I would make an equal contribution and be added to the deed and loan. So I am purchasing the furniture and then will make a payment on the loan capital equal to K's downpayment minus said furniture.
I really like having such open financial discussions - it helps us both feel positive and clear on our mutual and individual responsibilities. I highly recommend a frank, regular money chat with your partner (or boo as some people prefer).

This podcast, Death, Sex, and Money is produced by WNYC Studios and hosted by Anna Sale and covers the "big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation." Every episode is beautiful and tough and touching and leaves me feeling both a little awkward and relieved at the topics covered.
It's definitely been a learning process. I never tried to consolidate finances with a partner before. It feels like a huge step - a big commitment to one another. K was worried about taking on my student loans; I was worried about her different spending habits.

Once we talked about it, we found some easy and effective solutions. Because I had the chance to save up while I was in Beirut, I was happy to keep my student loans to myself and not lump them into family debt. And to deal with spending habits, we agreed to create a joint account for the house, food, bills, and vacations, then individual accounts for our personal spending - makeup, clothing, gifts, computers, snowboarding equipment, books, etc.
We haven't implemented the plan yet - I've only gotten one paycheck so far so starting up a joint account didn't make sense yet! But I know that with the dialogue we've already started; we are in a great place to set ourselves up for 2017.

In fact, just last night I made a big move and paid off one of my student loans! Only one to go now :)

17 December 2016

I'm back!

I was not successful with my goal to post every day in November but I did learn a lot.

1. I discovered that I have something to write about every day.

I thought that this was going to be the hardest part - finding a topic to talk about every day. But in fact, and especially with the low minimum word count, I found that I didn't get to the pre-planned topics. Instead, I wrote about what had happened during my day, things that I was thinking about, news, etc. I was surprised by the fun and discovery of my every day life and delighted that I had thoughts to share about it.

2. I realized that I really need to take more time editing before I post.

This was partly a side-effect of the low bar I set when I decided to blog every day. My minimum word count meant that as soon as I met that count, I felt finished. Even if I was in the middle of a thought or hadn't carefully explained the experience or story. When I re-read some of the posts I was disappointed in their abrupt endings, poor layout, and bad readability

3. I decided that blogging every day is unnecessary.

I'm not trying to sell something to you. In fact, the number of daily emails that I get from sellers makes me quite certain that sending content *new* *you've got to see this* *everyone on your block has one, why don't you* every single day doesn't actually work from a marketing point of view. Plus, if you're a subscriber, you don't really want to see my blog popping up in your email every day - we all have email overload. Consistency but not overkill is what I'd like to have.

4. I need to set a specific time of day to write.

Too often, I would get to the end of the day and realize that I hadn't written anything; hadn't even thought about a topic. This stressed me out at the end of the day and ultimately reduced the quality of writing too.

5. I would like to spend more time on the aesthetic of my blog.

I focused just on the content and didn't create a look for the blog. Most of the 'also read' blogs are years out of date. Just in general, I need to update what the blog looks like and links to in order to make it a happy place with fun and interesting ideas to explore.

So I've decided:

I'd like to set a new goal of updating once per week, I'm aiming for Tuesdays. I'm keeping the word minimum to 200, but with a goal of at least 500.  I don't have many subscribers just yet, but hopefully once I'm consistent, I will find like-minded people who are interested in what I'm saying.

In truth though, I think what I really want out of this blog is a record and a memory of the beauty and fascination of life and all the amazing things I get to experience.  I'd like to be able to look back and find joy in memories made clearer because I put the time into writing about them.

Listening to: Best of Star Wars playlist on Spotify
Feeling ⛸⛸⛸ - This freezing rain makes me ice skate on my back porch!

01 December 2016

Rabbit rabbit rabbit

Happy December 1st!

Can't believe it's already December.
My big news is that I started my new job on Monday!!!

I will be coordinating, monitoring, and doing strategic planning for assistance programs in Morocco and Algeria.
I am so excited and happy about the opportunity. The team is great, the work is interesting, and I feel that as soon as I get my feet under me, I'll be able to make a solid contribution.

In the mean time, I'm reading and listening and having meetings and asking questions.

Also, I'm doing all the important mundane tasks like adjusting my desk chair so that it doesn't tip me backwards when I sit down in it. I'm setting up hanging files to keep the reference documents I'd like to have a hard copy of. I'm running around getting badges and computer logins.


It feels so nice to have a job again.
Don't get me wrong - I know that at some point I will be tired of being in the office and wish for a vacation - but for now, it is great to have somewhere to be everyday. To get out of the house for a purpose, not just a whim. Doing 10,000 steps a day is a breeze when I'm working. When I was at home, sometimes getting 5,000 steps was a struggle! (Alphabetizing the spice drawer just doesn't require walking around very much)