March 29, 2017

The fun we had: Winter 2017

What fun we had in Winter 2017

The past three months haven’t been exactly rife with fun and jollity, between spending January in and out of court, February dealing with meetings and paperwork, and March, well, March has been more paperwork. But we still had a few bits of downtime. More and more, I see the importance of having some fun to balance out all the work, not just collapsing when I run out of steam and calling it a day.

My prescription for a more fulfilled life: more belly rubs for Seamus, more ticklewars with JuggerBaby, more reading time, more relaxing with PiC. This is some of it.

What I watched

City in the Sky: Airbus 380

Everything I didn’t necessarily want to know about airports and the building of the Airbus. Flying was a bit of a mystery to me, and not having had anxiety about the mechanics about it, I was satisfied to leave it that way for the nonce.

But we couldn’t get PBS to cough up any of the Masterpiece shows we wanted to see, not without paying a premium, and so PiC got to pick his free show instead.

It was actually a good documentary. I just didn’t necessarily want to know that a single misplaced rivet could mean a plane is torn apart mid-flight. I wasn’t worried but NOW I am!

Happy Feet

I was expecting something cute with penguins. But it also felt vaguely racist and we both came away from it with these faces: -__-


That’ll do, pig.” Now, Babe, that’s a movie that’s really held up over the years. I’ve been quoting it for as long as I can remember.

What I Read

Guards! Guards!

I’ve been in a mood for Pratchett more and more, lately. I need the humor to break off the spiral of negativity that suffuses our days with the political atmosphere and not being sure how it’ll affect my career in the next few years.

Ms. Marvel

I’ll read anything G. Willow Wilson writes and this is absolutely no exception. Her version of Ms. Marvel, a Muslim Pakistani girl named Kamala Khan, is wonderful and I can relate to her version of the 1st generation immigrant’s kid’s experience, even though I’m neither Muslim nor Pakistani. The parental concerns, the preservation of culture worries, they’re the same. And a kid taking on way too much, that’s a familiar story too. The difference is that Kamala is occasionally smart enough to ask for help, I wasn’t.

The View from the Cheap Seats

I’d been saving this book for a special read, and managed to bury it under the pile of packing things. Luckily, I uncovered it when most of the book shelf was packed away and have been curling up with it for a little while each night.

They’re a collection of Neil Gaiman’s speeches and talks and forewords, random things he’s shared over the years that weren’t published in books or comics or made into film. It’s nice to read them and catch glimpses of his thoughts in the past.

What I ate 

I’ve had a vague hankering to try my hand at making St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinner for ages. This was the first year I actually made it a point to do recipe research more than a week ahead, and pick up the ingredients on the actual week of. We haven’t a drop of Irish in either of us, but I just like trying new-to-us traditional foods. 

Since I was more confused after the recipe research than is usual for that stage of cooking, I hied me to the local (fancy) butcher to get meat that was definitely going to be good and they sent me home with a fine corned beef, a bag of spices they premixed, and instructions on how to prepare it. 

Verdict: Wow but I underestimated the level of saltiness we’d be facing! But it now makes sense why all the sides are plain and boiled. PiC enjoyed it, JuggerBaby was indifferent. Ze tried everything with a bit of a shrug and neither loved nor hated it. Ze was also singularly unimpressed by the fantastic tiny red potatoes I’d splurged on. Some days it makes me wonder why I try. 

Oh, because it’s entertaining, that’s why! It was a fun experiment and we’ll probably do it again.

What was your entertainment of choice this quarter? What should we put in our queue for movie night?

March 6, 2017

Net Worth & Life Report: February 2017

On Money


Our normal income is two full time day job salaries. We experiment with earning money on the side, including minimal cash flow that we don’t touch from an investment property. The goal is to replace our day job income before my health gives out and prevents me from working. Any purchases you make going through my Amazon links keep these blog lights on.

Achievemint: I signed up on January 18th (sign up here and get a 250 point bonus!) but the app pulled data from Apple Health and retroactively rewarded me for activity done before I signed up for my account. Whee!! So I got credit for part of December and the full month of January. PiC pointed out a weird thing: he earned 7 points for running 6 miles. I earned 6 points for walking 2900 steps.

My guess was the app learns what your norm is and sets that as the baseline so that it’s not giving someone who usually runs 5-10 miles a week a vast number of points while giving people like me a quarter of a point per month. But it turns out these differentials were pulling from different apps so I am totally confused.

December: walked 47362 steps, earned 123 points.
January: walked 98,480 steps, earned 256 points.
February: walked 112,705 steps, earned 293 points.

Swagbucks: I use this daily and used to rack up near 100 points a day but earning has slowed down. My favorite hands-off earning method, NCrave, has turned into a hands-on activity, forcing you to keep your mouse on the page in order for the countdown to continue. Boo! My big earners now are surveys.

Poshmark: Sales remain slow so this stays on the backburner. It’s active, but I don’t spend a ton of time on it. 4 items sold for a total of $22.50.

Dividend income: Our stock portfolio has paid $168 to date. Such baby beans! A disappointing first quarter, I’ll tell you what.


Our normal spending includes the living expenses for two households so this ignores those ordinary living expenses. When buying anything online, I always check Mr.Rebates and Ebates for cashback.

Personal spending: $106. We FINALLY submitted JuggerBaby’s passport application. We might travel internationally this year, and I hope that that’s all we need it for.

Projected spending: Our loan was pre-approved for the vasty sum of $800k, quadrupling our monthly mortgage commitment. Eeep!!! I have a plan to cut that in half after we sell our primary residence, but it’s still ugly.

Saving and investing

We max out an IRA and 401(k) every year, and save 20% of our net salaries.

We’re going to have to cut waaaayyyy back on our saving rate when the new place comes into play. Do Not Like!

#GivingCards and Charitable Giving

I don’t believe in tooting our horn for every donation we make. The point of giving isn’t to brag, it’s to help someone in need. The exception is when the cause is sound and could use help. I’m delighted to be taking part in the Rockstar Forums’ giving project where they send out a $20 gift card each month to forum participants who sign up.

My January card arrived the day after tornados pummeled New Orleans. The Louisiana area keeps getting pounded with horrible destructive weather, hurting and killing people, destroying homes and generally making a wreck of the place. While I thought I had this earmarked for something else, my heart said that there’s no better way to spend this $20 than to provide 60 hot meals for the people of New Orleans. Better yet, we were able to get a match on the donation so our $20 #GivingCard + $20 #1GoodMoneyThing made a $40 baby, and therefore 120 hot meals!

My February card just arrived so I haven’t decided yet where it should go, but I have a couple thoughts.

Net worth: weird

Our net worth is up 10.1% since last month but this is just a snapshot of the moment.

We’re going to have a lot of ups and downs over the next several months. We’ve got a temporary loan for the down payment which will be repaid when all the dust settles. That has artificially inflated our cash account, and then you’ll see all of that and more disappear when we make an offer that’s accepted. I was going to skip this section entirely but then decided that if I’m going on this roller coaster, you’re coming with me. The more the merrier!

Total assets and asset allocation in March 2017

Links from this month

On Health

Working out: My average activity level was higher this month which was easier to figure out now that I have the Achievemint app pulling data out of the Health app. Yay apps! I wish I could just download directly out of the Health app but this works too. Assuming that 10000 steps is about 4.5 miles, since my stride is at best medium length, I’d say I’m at 2,222 steps per mile.

January (98,480 steps): about 44 miles.

Not only have I been not sick for at least several days consecutively, Seamus and I took advantage of a rare clear bright and sunny day to go for a jog. That was pretty awesome.

February (112,705 steps): about 50.72 miles.

On Life

Date night!: We paid a sitter to watch JuggerBaby for the first time ($75!) because a friend was having a Major Birthday. It was fun to see all the adult friends without kids clamoring for our attention, but I’m not in a hurry to a large gathering like that again for another … oh, a year at least.

I very much preferred what I think of as our actual first date night. After getting a fractious JB settled in bed for the night, we hung out tucked up under a cozy comforter, reading our little social media feeds. Then I found Babe, and nudged PiC into looking at the cute puppies with me. We ended up watching the whole movie together. When’s the last time we saw a whole movie, together? It was a splurge, as far as the time spent late into the night, and getting up the next morning was painful but it was cozy and enjoyable.

On maybe not common sense, and phone maintenance: PiC’s been jogging along with his low key iPhone, getting increasingly frustrated with the loss of functionality as it got harder and harder for his charger to make a connection. He kept jamming it in there and making it work but I suspected we were going to face another phone purchase well before plan.
Usually I’m the family IT and tech troubleshooter but I just had no time to give it more than annoyed thoughts at the end of the day. Then things became dire when the memory filled up but I couldn’t do a massive clear off like usual, my desktop just wouldn’t recognize his phone.

He finally sat down with it, all set to be MacGyver, and felt like a right fool when it turned out the plug couldn’t connect because it was physically blocked by a gob of fluff, dust, and fur!

His phone hacked up a furball and they’ve been getting on swimmingly since. Free and easy – just the way I like all my tech solutions.

:: How was your February?

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and Super Saving Tips*

February 6, 2017

Net Worth & Life Report: January 2017

Money & Life Report: January 2017

On Money


Our normal income is two full time day job salaries.

We experiment with earning money on the side, including minimal cash flow that we don’t touch from an investment property.

The goal is to replace our day job income before my health gives out and prevents me from working. Any purchases you make going through my Amazon links keep these blog lights on!


Our normal spending includes the living expenses for two households, these updates ignore those ordinary expenses.

I stopped tracking our expenses to the penny five years ago because it was too time-consuming. That was fine for a couple years but I’ve observed increases in our spending in the last three years, mainly unusual expenses, that need to be budgeted for. For a fresh start this year, I’ve created a new spreadsheet where we list the bills we paid with an average spending amount listed in the budgeting column. Specific types of spending (food, gas, groceries, utilities, insurance, etc) are paid by credit card, so those will be mildly opaque but we seem to do better when we aim at reducing aggregate amounts rather than “$100 per month on drinks”. Not that we spend that on drinks.

We became hyperaware of our spending this month as we faced our unexpected housing challenge. We’re mentally spending $1M – $1.2M on a new place to live. YIKES. Nothing’s set in stone yet, we haven’t even found a suitable candidate on which make an offer so it’s early days yet, but mentally it sure feels like we’ve spent massively.


Do you count your spending when you’ve committed to it, or when you actually pay for it? I had a surprise root canal and two fillings this month which would have cost $1600, but for insurance. We’re waiting for insurance to pay their bit first before I pay the remaining balance, estimated at $350. Mentally, that money is also already spent, but they think it’ll be 6 weeks before I have to actually pay it. Then, it goes on the credit card to earn rewards which also takes advantage of the float, so I’m guessing it’ll be March before that money goes out of our account.

Property taxes: $3000. The second half of our taxes is due three months after the first. I’ll never understand why our county bills this way but it’s a bit annoying. Going into 2017, instead of stressing over cash flowing it, I’ll be transferring a tenth of the expected taxes due to a savings account per month to be held in advance of the tax payment. This makes more sense when anticipating an expensive year.

Saving and investing

We max out a 401(k) and IRA every year and save 20% of cash of our net salaries.

New CDs to ring in the new year
I picked up two 5-year Ally CDs at 1.73% interest using our emergency fund on the 1st. I didn’t have any immediate need for that cash so it should work harder to earn money while it’s waiting around. Well, I didn’t, at the time.

We’ve had some cash sitting in the Tradeking account for a while. Nothing caught my fancy, and the dividends were also making a small heap in the cash held column. Since there’s no point in trying to predict what the market will do and when, I picked up a couple more sets of dividend stocks at prices I was willing to pay and called it a day. This has been a surprisingly effective technique over the years.


I’m delighted to be taking part in the Rockstar Forums’ giving project where they send out a $20 gift card to forum participants each month. I have a list of places to donate to. Among them: Project Night Night, National Immigration Law Center, Donors Choose – dental care project, Donors Choose – snacks for kids.

It’s hard to pick just one, but I’m just happy that I get to start somewhere, even if our own money’s quite tight. Unfortunately there was a hiccup with the January cards so you’ll just have to check back in at February’s update to see where my first donation went!

Net worth: increased 1% from the beginning of the year.

I wipe the slate clean each year but that wouldn’t be very helpful with the charts, would it? I’ll keep it a rolling 12-month chart.

This update is a bit weird, though. PiC and I decided to remove an asset from the net worth tracking list because it’s an odd account that may not stay with us and so I’d rather not count it while I’m tracking our money. This creates a dip, but that’s fine, I’d rather know what assets we can truly include.

Links from this month

On Life

On purging clutter from our home: We donated two huge boxes of good clothes that we can’t use any longer, passed along three piles of hand me down clothing, and cleaned zir closet (which has become our catch all closet and I hate that) so that at least one door can be opened and shut safely. Three more bags of clothes sit on the closet floor that are being posted for sale, and if those don’t go, they’ll be donated too. I can see floor! And carpet! And walk into the closet! It’s a miracle!

Also I went through my desk drawers to clear out unnecessary paperwork, and organize our tax filing paperwork that goes back to Tax Year 2010. I double checked the IRS to confirm I could purge Tax Years 2010, 2011, and 2012. Since 2013 was filed in 2014, so that can be shredded this April.

Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return. Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.

(Of course, this always happens to me – as soon as I shred paperwork that I haven’t needed in years, I think of some reason I needed it. *tsk*)

Rehash: I spent a bit of time fixing things that should have been completed last month.

  • My application to fund our trust with our Ally accounts was returned because they wanted more postage.
  • 3 holiday cards were returned because the recipients moved a week (or, uh, a year and I forgot) before I sent them. And I sent them early December, too! Curses, I hate being thwarted.

Damn those germs! It was hubris, I don’t mind telling you. I thought I’d make it through this month without getting sick and I let down my guard. One too many drooly kisses from JuggerBaby infected me and it was back to the Robitussin for me. Sadface. The good thing about being able to avoid the office most of the time is not infecting my coworkers, and it’s easy to be a germy mess without worrying about how it looks. Who wants to worry about looking professional when you might have coughed out a lung??

Last year’s stash of fancy tissues with lotion (rapidly running out!) has been sparing my nose admirably but not this time! Pro-tip: after each bout with a tissue, a smear of Vaseline  rehydrated my nose so it’s not a gross peeling mess when I have to show up in the office.

:: How was your January? Are you getting ready for tax season – 2016? How are you dodging germs this cold and flu season?

January 9, 2017

2016: Our year in review


2016 highlights


The good

My day job income stayed the same, PiC’s increased a little. My competitive side HATES that mine stayed the same but my realistic side knows that was part of the deal of accepting the job with more risk. With more risk, I should remind myself to be glad the job is still alive and kicking!

We focused on our areas of our side money project which generated the funds to send much needed support to friends who’d hit rough patches: severe illness, loss of loved ones, injuries.

We didn’t splash out on a jumbo loan for a bigger house, nor did we add a second dog to the pack. I wanted to but reined in those currently unsupportable desires. Reminder, I need early retirement more than I need to take on more responsibility and I don’t want the guilt that comes with taking on more dependents than we can truly care for.

1. Debt reduction is saving. We refinanced our mortgage, freeing up our cash flow, halving our interest, and sending more straight to principal. We had the original mortgage for 4 months of the year, and the refinanced mortgage for the remaining 8.

See what a difference the lower interest made:

From January to April, we paid $3,628.05 toward principal and $4,151.61 toward interest. The next 8 months on the same loan would have seen $7,256.10 toward principal and $8,303.22 toward interest for a total of $10,884.15 (P) and $12,454.83 (I), or $23,338.98 spent by year end.

Instead, we paid $6,985.28 (P) plus closing costs, and $3,510.48 (I), totaling $10,613.33 (P) and $7,662.09 (I), for a year end total of $18,275.42.

Savings: $5.063.56. This was one reason we absorbed this year’s financial hits a little more easily than we might have any other year.

2. Automatic savings. We reduced our automatic savings rate to increase our cash-flow once JuggerBaby started going full-time at daycare. Hard to believe we held out for 2/3 of 2016 on a part time schedule but that saved another tidy sum.

We maxed out PiC’s 401(k), my IRA, added $10,000 to JuggerBaby’s 529 plan out of savings, and saved 25% of our income after that.

The bad

We had all manner of unbudgeted expenses this year and had to dig into savings. I HATE touching savings. We absorbed them but this removed $25,000 from our assets. *grouse*

Also, I secretly wanted to bump up our savings rate. Wait, let me rephrase that. I wanted to bump up our savings rate in secret and see if anyone (PiC) noticed a change in our lifestyle. This might be an unethical human case study but c’mon! Never mind, though, that didn’t happen because – see Spending.

1. An unexpected on-paper-only change meant our taxes cost more than $13,000.
2. We had to replace a car earlier than planned which came with a lot of unplanned maintenance: $4,000.
3. PiC has a health thing: $7,000.


  • This was a great travel year: Seattle, Hawaii, SDCC, FinCon! We flew with JuggerBaby and it didn’t kill us.
  • My sewing kit and I bonded this year over torn seams, preloved toddler shirts falling apart, and crafting new pockets for PiC’s pants. I’m 0% crafty so these tiny successes were a big deal for me.
  • I celebrated ten years of blogging and don’t feel like hanging up my keyboard anytime soon.
  • I spent quality time with longtime blog friends, and made new friends, at FinCon. All bonuses in a trip with no clear purpose at the outset.


  • I was sick with one virus or another for ten months of the year. That’s 83% of a full year being sick but not being able to call out sick because you can’t just call out from being mom, wife, or dog-mom. Professionally, I can’t take sick time because I have zero backup. It shouldn’t have been any surprise that I took so long to get better after each infection.
  • We broke the baby. We fixed the baby (yay) after breaking zir (whoops).
  • Coming to terms with Dad.


Plan for 2016

  1. Save 25% of our income. If we stay on track with regular income and barring any catastrophes, we should come within shouting distance of a Major Milestone Net Worth Number in 2016.
    DONE and DONE. We hit our first Major Milestone this year, and saved 30% of our income counting all forms of saving. 
  2. Finish the last steps of our estate planning.
    DONE. Oh my goodness, we FINALLY completed this one. Now we have to finish transferring all our assets to the trust.
  3. Decide on JuggerBaby’s college savings vehicle and set up a savings plan for zir.
    DONE and it was easier than it looked to be, at first.


  • TOTAL MONEY – Our Net Worth increased by 34%. Exactly half of that was updating our real estate valuations, the other half was saving cash and adding to our investments.
  • DIVIDENDS – Our last dividend payouts for 2016 were later than expected so I didn’t have time to pull together a report before we traveling. I’ll publish our next updates on a April / July / October schedule so I’m not publishing all reports in the first half of January which is BOR-ING. Besides, I shouldn’t have another dividend payment until February so there’s no point in reporting before them. At our last dividend update, we had a grand total of $434.50 in dividend income and I projected a final total of $600. Our final 2016 year end total was: $710.60! Yay, I beat projections!
  • SIDE MONEY – $855 was earned from Swagbucks, Mr. Rebates, and ebates; $2920 was earned from Craigslist sales making a total of $3775 in alternate income.
  • BLOG MONEY – $200 was earned by the blog which goes toward expenses (hosting, FinCon2017, etc). It’s a LONG way from paying me for my time.

Hello 2017!

  1. MONEY – Save 30% of our income, PLUS max out PiC’s 401(k), my IRA, an IRA for him, and
  2. MONEY – Organize our retirement funding for tax and income efficiency.
  3. MONEY – As part of the above, research the backdoor ROTH IRA and decide when would be best for us to do one. I think I’ll need our CPA’s help running some numbers for this.
  4. MONEY – Decide if we’re going to hoard more cash (investing it) or pay down more mortgage, then do it.
  5. LIFE: Mail hand-written letter to one of JuggerBaby’s surrogate grandparents every month. We always send hand-written thank you cards to the loving surrogate aunts and uncles who think of zir or send lovely thoughtful gifts but I’d like to be more proactive in this area, and sharing a bit of life in a more meaningful regular way instead of reacting to their generosity or hoping we can visit.
  6. LIFE: prepare one New Baby Care Package to send to an expectant mother friend per month. The first half of the year is spoken for! This is a hobby though sometimes I think it’d be a fun job.
  7. LIFE: travel will definitely be happening this year, that’s not a question. The open questions are: how much of it can I travel hack and will we enjoy it all? I’ll be setting up a travel calendar to address these questions.

:: What were your bests/worsts of 2016? How’d you do this year with spending and saving your money? Did you remember to make time for life? 

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, and Racing Towards Retirement*

January 4, 2017

Net Worth & Life Report: December 2016

Money & Life Report: December 2016

On Money


Our normal income is two full time day job salaries. We experiment with earning money on the side, including minimal cash flow that we don’t touch from an investment property. The goal is to replace our day job income before my health gives out and prevents me from working. Any purchases you make going through my Amazon links keep these blog lights on!

Our incomes remain the same. I don’t anticipate any danger to them this year, but the election result is very likely to impact both of our industries to varying degrees. I think we have at least a year before we start to see negative changes but that might be optimistic.


Our normal spending includes the living expenses for two households so this update ignores those ordinary living expenses.

Charitable giving: We don’t do as well in this area as I’d like, and the way I know this is that I end up making monetary donations at the beginning and at the end of the year. What this tells you is that it isn’t yet a regular part of our budget – or that I have trouble committing the funds throughout the year regularly. One reason for that is uncertainty. When unexpected expenses creep in, I need to know that we have enough cushion in the cashflow to bear it, and this hasn’t been the case this year. The other reason is that I do give regularly to individuals. When dear friends suffer loss, when dear friends hit a rough patch. While causes are important to me, the people I love are that little bit more important to me, and I have to take care of my chosen family before I can lend a hand to others outside that circle. This is an extension of my policy of taking care of my biological family – they’re not a burden on the state and taxing those meager resources.

I have to decide if I am ok with giving twice a year and making that our plan so that we have the flexibility to continue sending care packages as needed or if we should change to monthly contributions even if they’re still small.

Personal spending: PiC and I spent $800 on clothing in December. Most of it will be returned. Of the 4 pairs of pants for me, I’ll keep one pair ($70). It’s quite hard to meet my exacting specifications, one of which is that these pants will last at least 7 years. The pants these are replacing are worn all the way through, cost $15 and only lasted 4 years. Of the 13 pairs of pants bought for JuggerBaby to get zir through an awkward growth spurt, we kept 2 pairs ($12). We were able to raid the yard sale pile a little while after that, but we couldn’t go 2 weeks without pants in the winter. Both my Target shirts for layering were perfect ($12 for both) so they’re staying with me. That totals $94, or around $100 after tax, and is more than we normally spend on clothing, but we also rarely buy clothes and everything will last. We’re also very lucky that we have good access to used clothing for JuggerBaby.

Saving and investing

We max out a 401(k) and IRA each year and save 20% of our net salaries.

An IRA for all, or a ROTH?
One thing that I’ve well overdue to take care of: an IRA for PiC. He always maxes his 401(k) but we need to be maximizing our investing dollars. Whether that takes the form of a backdoor IRA or not, we should be putting more dollars into an IRA for him too. This action will partially be a concrete action to combat that feeling of strong pessimism and worry about our future.

Our net worth: increased 1% from last month, and 34% from January.

I’m holding on to cash that I was going to move into investments for a few reasons: uncertainty with the government situation, prices in the market are too high to buy, my next focus is now on a second rental property.

Links from this month

On Life

On holidays:  I didn’t get to enjoy the holiday period as much as I would have liked because I had to work the whole time, but we finally scheduled a week of visiting that was much less stressful than previous years. Part of the success was not overcommitting. We broke up the visits by location and group instead of trying to fit multiple visits in a day and we had to give up seeing several friends, but it was necessary to maintain our sanity.

On horrible neighbors: I am mentally living on Zillow or Trulia now.  Still looking for tall walls and a moat. After PiC remarked to the PigeonFeeding DogPoop Neighbor that leaving out dishes of water and cat food attracts vermin as well as stray cats, he showed up on our doorstep twice on New Year’s Eve, the latter time to bang on our door with a cane and leave a threatening note saying that he was going to make sure that “you, your family, and your things will all pay!”

That’s enough. I called the police to file a report. They can’t do anything until he actually harms someone or something, which is Just Great. But they spoke to him, saying that he was to leave us alone, that he wasn’t allowed to leave notes, and that he had no reasonable expectation that people wouldn’t clean up his messes if he persisted in leaving things out on public property, particularly if it was going to attract vermin.

Supposedly he agreed to this but who the heck knows what he’s going to pull next. He is a horrible person. What a way to ring out 2016.

:: How was your December? Are you as grateful as I am that 2016 is over, in the high hopes that 2017 will be less nervewracking and sad?  Do you have any concerns for your jobs with the incoming administration?

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