A reader poll

I’m curious, dear readers, and I hope you’ll satisfy my curiosity.

This blog has long been my refuge. Over the years I’ve shared, learned and grown in the experience of writing it. This is a greatly enjoyable hobby through which I’ve had the great fortune to make a better life and even found friends.

One friend called this a successful blog and, looking around the greater PF blogosphere that’s utterly transformed since I first started up almost ten years ago, it never would have occurred to me to consider it as such. But, from very modest beginnings, we’re still kicking! That’s one kind of success.

Would you care to tell me….

What have you enjoyed reading?
The topics I generally land on are:
Money: general money (deals, sales, maximizing savings)
Personal money (decisions, mistakes, planning, negotiations)
Investing (stocks, real estate,  retirement portfolio)
Family: (pets, difficulties&complications, planning)
Career: (changes, planning, commentary)

What would you like to see more/less of?

And about you!

How long have you been reading?

How did you find me?

Have you filed your tax returns yet?

What are you most looking forward to this year?

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Life lessons from Star Trek: Voyager


Discovery: I still really love Star Trek: Voyager.

From the very first, I loved Janeway. She was tough, she cared about her crew and wanted to hear feedback that she could act on even if it challenged her expectations. She was openminded while maintaining focus.

Over the years, I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to punch your way through. – Captain Janeway

There’s a time for tact, there’s a time for getting shit done. The trick is knowing the difference.

Did you ever consider allowing the Ocampa to care for themselves? … Children have to grow up … It’s the challenge of surviving on their own that allows them to evolve. – Captain Janeway

This is the fight I’d had with my parents since I was 14. I don’t pretend to have all, or most, of the answers when it comes to parenting but when it came to my sibling, I was pretty sure I knew what was more likely to work with him. In the few years that they stepped back and left the handling of him to me? He came closest to being an adult, earning some kind of living, and not being a complete utter leech.

He soon reverted to form, though, so maybe I don’t know anything.

Misery loves company, Tuvok.

A thing we would do well to remember when miserable people are dragging you down with them.

“A daughter? I don’t have anything to teach a daughter.” – Neelix
“Why would it be any different for a daughter than a son? … I have three sons and one daughter. I can assure you she benefits as much from my presence and guidance as my sons do.” – Tuvok

Right on, Tuvok! I think we all know how I feel about this sort of sentiment.

Did you have a favorite Star Trek series? Do share :)


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Estate planning: the In Case of Emergency kickoff

*ICE: In case of emergency

This series jumps off of Item 1 on my massive list of things to do in case of Bad Times.

There are several sections of things to do and decisions to make so I thought I’d lay them out here as we tackle them, in case it’s helpful to anyone who hasn’t yet taken the plunge.

The anatomy of our estate plan:
Designating executor(s)
Dependent care plan
Living will and trust
Advanced health directive
Life insurance

The first thing I’ve done is considered who would be handling our estate should both PiC and I be out of the picture. We are, of course, the primary executors and then we’d need trustworthy people to take care of things in our absence.

This is first because I want to work closely with the executors when each part of our arrangements are made. It’s a lot of stuff so this will help familiarize them without overwhelming them if the time comes… Suddenly.


I’ve asked two trusted family friends to serve as co-executors of our estate, the vasty mini empire that it is, and will be keeping them apprised of progress as we put together the estate plan.

One of the two drily reminded me that I function in a very different PF sphere than most of my offline friends. He doubted that most of our friends and acquaintances had any working knowledge of estate planning and what it means to be an executor. It’s true, I forget that having an entire estate plan together at this age is probably not terribly common, but I’m prepared to make it as cut and dried as possible in case the need should ever arise for it to be put into action.

The important factors that came into play here: they are close friends who have demonstrated a sufficient working knowledge of managing money and wealth, they would not be asked to take on any other estate and family-related affairs other than making the arrangements as they are laid out. They will be paid a percentage of the estate for their troubles and would not otherwise have any claim to any of the estate so there’s no incentive or way to manipulate the estate to put more money in their pocket.

I didn’t want the same people who might become LB’s guardians to serve as executor of the estate, that feels like a conflict of interest. While we’d only be asking them to serve in that capacity because we trust them, I think it’s important to remember that things can always change and I’d like a third party to be looking out for LB’s interests in addition to the caregivers. It’d be terrible if we set aside a trust for LB to pay for long term expenses and eventually college, only to find that the caregiver, having access to the trust and rights to disburse funds at will, had become so pressed for money they raided the trust even with the best of intentions. Or deprived LB in some other way because the influence of having ready access to the estate was too much.

I’m not risking that.

Alternatively, we could choose to have an attorney serve as executor, that person would have fiduciary responsibility and also be an objective third party, but we haven’t worked with any attorney enough to trust him or her with this role.

This was one of the easier decisions because there aren’t many people I would trust with this level of responsibility, and who I would be willing to ask to take on this work.  There are a few but not many. I might do a third backup just in case, but I think having two executors in place after PiC and me is a good start.

Have you got designated executors? Do you know who you’d trust to take on that job?

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Just a little (link) love: RIP Terry Pratchett


Why Terry Pratchett’s writing resonated

Death meets Sir Terry

Terry Pratchett’s world examined our own


Do your own thing

Cadaver dogs


Rescued pitbull puppy!

lure an owl with a strawberry

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark for a little kid


Hiring differently

When languages die

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a sad few weeks losing Nimoy and Pratchett. Double dose of cute is needed.

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