December 5, 2016

Net Worth & Life Report: November 2016

On Money

Income

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 which I am exceedingly grateful for remain the same. This is good from a stability standpoint. There have been too many nights lying awake after working a 100 hour week for the overtime and wondering how long it was before I fell apart completely and could I get us to a safe place before then? So I’m grateful for what we have.

I’m also aware that the clock could run out on my particular job, whether it be my patience or my professional stagnation, so there is some internal buttkicking going on in trying to nail down the important things I need to address when crafting my next step.

We received an unusual gift in the form of money quite unexpectedly. I must have experienced some kind of spiritual growth (or maybe I’m just a bit numb to Big Things this month) because I didn’t react quite badly to it. The biggest reason is likely that there were no discernible strings attached. Generally there are always some kinds of strings or obligations attached to those sorts of gifts so I find that whole idea abhorrent but in this case the gift was more about the giver than the recipients so I found a way to be not adamantly against accepting it. Sometimes I can’t shake the thought that it’s not my money, since I’m so accustomed to having earned every penny I hold. Not sure if that’ll ever pass. 

A question and Swagbucks: I asked last month but no one commented whether the Swagbucks posts bothered them so I’m guessing that it was ok?  (I use Swagbucks. Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join and earn.) This month’s Swagbucks earnings were good. I made enough to cash out for $100 Paypal dollars just in time to help a friend in dire need of assistance.

Spending

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

Groceries and eating out:  I spent $250 hosting friends earlier this month, feeding 18 people rather well, then 4 people for about a week thereafter. Friends also pitched in for drinks, alcohol and non-alcohol, and desserts which would probably have added another $150 to the bill. This was a grand plan months in the planning and it went off without a hitch. Pretty awesome.

Then there was another $100 on groceries the weekend before Thanksgiving. One of my favorite people came to spend a week with us and so we laid on more supplies than usual for the week, and we also ate out a few more times especially to treat her to delicious local foods. We discovered an amazing brunch spot that serves fantastic beignets (4 for $15 after tax and tip because I feel awkward not tipping for take out) and a perfect sandwich shop around the corner that borders on too generous with the pate which I didn’t think was possible and priced like back home in 1997 (4 for $16).

I might normally feel quite guilty over the indulgences but not when it involves feeding a favorite person. That brings me joy. And also great food. It took 8 days to run out of all the good food. Glory and bliss!

Christmas preparation: I splurged on a tree this year (on sale at Target, with cash back, paid using a gift card). It’s JuggerBaby’s first tree and I hope it survives zir early years of sowing destruction. We run very light on decorations, we have two strings of lights, because we have so little storage so it’ll be a minimalist tree. I’m a bit excited about this, especially the part where we put a few gifts under there and hope JuggerBaby leaves them alone. We all know Seamus is too good a dog to bother them. 

Saving and investing

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

Discovery! I had 2500 Citi Thank You points to redeem and nothing good to redeem it for. Normally I redeem for gift cards to stores we frequent but that list gets shorter every year. We pretty much shop for food and a handful of gifts, but the redeem for cash option is terrible, at 2 points per dollar. But I poked around some more and found that I can get them to cut a check toward the mortgage. Sure it’s a drop in the bucket but whatever, $25 toward principal is way more useful to me than maybe $20 worth of cash should I get a gift card and turn around to sell it. Much less effort, too! The catches are: they will cut a check addressed to the lender, mail it to you, then you have to mail it out, so it’ll cost a stamp. Good enough for me!

I’m always on the lookout for ways to increase our savings and investing.
I had intended to pick up some i-bonds this month but I hate hate hate using the Treasury Direct site and didn’t bake in enough time to log in, much less actually buy the bonds. I’ll have to tackle that in December or January, perhaps.

Our net worth: increased 3.9% from last month, and 33% from January.

After a few down months, our total holdings have perked up a little. I’m holding on to cash a bit more than I had intended earlier this year, but will likely move a bunch of it into less liquid investments once I have a moment to set up the account.

11-16-asset-allocation 11-16-total-assetsLinks from this month

On Life

On Stress: This was a tough month for me personally. My work hours have been barely tolerable. I was logging 15 hour work days and the work is still piled up ceiling high. Metaphorically speaking. Combine that with the current political climate and actual Nazis getting airtime to spew hatefulness like “are Jews people” and I find myself wound extra-tight. I’ve been wrapped in Thermacare and Salonpas patches to force my muscles to relax.

On food: I pulled off a glorious victory this month. I ambushed PiC with the perfect day. It’s a good thing he takes some direction well or he would have ruined everything but since his instructions were fun and a nice break from his usual duties, I was confident he’d follow through. Plus after 8 months of planning, does anyone for a minute doubt that if he tried to back out I would have hogtied him and delivered him to his friends? You betcha I would have.

But it didn’t come to that.

So he had a great morning with his buddies, then came home to a luncheon feast and cake and more friends. It was a ton of work and, thanks to some fantastic friends helping out, worked beautifully. I’ll be smug for at least another month over how well it went off.

On weird neighbors: One embittered, bizarre neighbor wasn’t enough, we acquired another strange set recently. They are oh-so-unfortunately much closer to us, they can easily see our front door, and their lack of boundaries has led to a lot of quick entrances and exits so as not to be caught on the sidewalk with them.

When we met, they seemed so nice! Just a young couple starting a new chapter of their lives here. We were friendly to them, that was our first mistake. Usually it takes me a year to do more than a nod and a hello. Four years to organically develop a chatty relationship that’s not awkward if they’re our kind of people. And by our kind, I mean: respects boundaries!

When we first met, they claimed to love both dogs and children but every other time Seamus and I rounded the corner on a dash home and came face to face with them the Wife, who made it such a point to pet him when meeting him and expressing her love of all dogs, would jump back with alarm and dismay. What kind of dog lover ARE you?? Then the Husband would repeatedly catch us outside at the end of a weekday and, without asking us if it was ok, invite JuggerBaby inside. People, this is a toddler with no self determination. Ze goes into no one’s home without us. Leaving aside the assumption you seem like you’re trying to abduct my child, has it never occurred to you that it’s 6 pm on a work night and we’re just getting home? Every single time we have to remind them that Ze needs dinner NOW and isn’t a young adult who can stop to play for an hour.

The nights when Ze is having a meltdown, not often, thankfully, they’d open their door and watch. CAN WE HELP YOU?

The last straw was when they had family visiting. They’d told their parents about “the adorable neighbor kid”. When they heard us coming home from work, they all came out to say hello and AGAIN invite zir to come play. Again, what makes them think this is appropriate to just ask a sub-2-year-old to come play? That wasn’t enough forced socializing, the parents heard us leaving for work the next morning and ran out in their pajamas, calling out to JuggerBaby to come over while we were herding zir to the car. Who does that?? What possesses four grown adults to have zero presence of mind to think that maybe you shouldn’t call a stranger’s child over to you when they are clearly going somewhere?? Anyway, in a very short space of time, it’s become clear there are more neighbors to avoid now.

After every encounter, I go hop onto Zillow or Trulia, looking for a new home. Preferably with tall walls and a moat.

:: How was your November money? Do you have more good or weird neighbor stories? Are you uncomfortable receiving monetary gifts? 

November 7, 2016

Net Worth & Life Report: October 2016

Money and Life Report: October 2016

On Money

Income

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

Poshmark: I talked about the reselling experiment earlier this year as part of an ongoing effort to earn money separate from our day jobs. It’s quite slow, no doubt because I don’t own spectacularly covetable items, but I’ve made three additional (small) sales since, netting an additional $32.

I have no intentions of becoming a boutique shop so using Poshmark to move used clothing and shoes out (shipping is paid by the buyer, I can schedule free USPS pickup for the items I’m shipping, money is available for transfer 3 days after delivery) is worth the fees ($2.95 for sales under $15, 20% for sales over $15). The earnings are almost secondary to clearing up the clutter on my ongoing closet curating quest.

Swagbucks earnings: I use Swagbucks. Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join and earn. This month I’ve shared some Swagbucks promotions for extra SBs. I aim to keep them unobtrusive, but I prefer them to sponsored posts because I’m just sharing offers. Earnings are minor, but it costs about $600 a year to keep this blog up, disregarding my time, and that’s before paying for FinCon. Since this blog’s been in the red more years than the black, a bit of cash would help. This isn’t a reliable source of income but it’s a decent steady earner for now which preserves our capital. I hope it hasn’t bothered anyone and maybe some will be helpful or interesting. Let me know!

Spending

Our normal spending covers the living expenses for two households: lodgings, insurance, utilities, etc. This update ignores those ordinary living expenses.

Comcast: We don’t have many internet provider choices here (does anyone?) and Comcast just keeps on being a mediocre disappointment. I used to switch between them and AT&T but it was hours of hassle  to go back and forth. We saved a good amount when I did (around $360 a year) but it also took hours that I can no longer spare so it’s a cost we have to swallow.

They sent an email saying that they’re going to start capping our usage on November 1st to 1 Terabyte (1024 GBs). Our average usage the past three months has been about 238 GBs so we’ll be well within the limit. That’s useful data, it tells me that I can’t save anything by switching to my hotspot device (MyKarma) fulltime.

Target haul: There’s a weird allure at Target that makes it a dangerous place. Is it the ambiance? The bright colors? The sometimes awesome deals?

Whatever it is, I have a hard time resisting the urge to browse. To avoid the temptation, I save it all up for an online order. Their online shopping user experience stops short of torture so there’s zero lingering.

This time, their ineptitude worked in my favor. I started with an order of 5 items (2 packs of cotton swabs, 2 lotions, a sweater) for $28, and received a $5 promotional gift card. They screwed up my address so I had to spend time following up online which was a pain but in the end, I paid $10 less for a bigger order than I planned and we’re now owners of 30,000 cotton swabs. No regrets!

I do have questions, though:

  • Why do men need their own Q-tips? Will you not use regular Q-tips?
  • Why was L’oreal facial lotion cheaper than the generic brand?
  • Why was expedited shipping on Saturday for Tuesday delivery $90??

Baby gear: We avoid buying stuff for JuggerBaby on the premise that zir basic needs are met – food, shelter, clothing, and the luxury of lots of free toys and books. Once in a while we concede and pick up a bit of baby-sized furniture. PiC’s great at finding high quality stuff that will last years, and hold its value when we decide to resell it. This time, he found a great Stokke high chair that ze can use for several years, bought for $100. It retails for $200 and still sells for half the price as a used item, so we can expect it’ll be worth something in some years. We may also look out for a toddler sized table and chair set so that ze can draw more comfortably.

Car gear: We made $200 on a car rack that we couldn’t use on the “new” car, but it went right back out again ($150) when PiC found the right replacement so that we can safely road trip this winter.

Giving and spending: Even while I feel like money is flowing out the door much faster than it’s coming in, despite my earning extra income beyond our regular day jobs, it’s coming to the end of the year when I traditionally identify charities that we should make donations to before December 31, 2016, if we hadn’t already done so. It’s a weird feeling to look for more ways to spend money after a year like this.

And sometimes those ways present themselves without my needing to look – as I mentioned to Ms. Montana, we’re in the habit of sending care packages when someone close to us suffers a loss. I’m always glad that we keep a tight rein on most spending that allows us to spend a bit on providing comfort to friends.

Saving

Business as usual: Our savings are automated. PiC maxes out his 401(k), Vanguard takes $458 monthly for my IRA, then we save 25% off the top of the remaining paychecks after pre-tax accounts and health benefits are deducted.

Saving thanks to Swagbucks: I’ve been hoarding my SBs so that I could redeem for one large PayPal check in addition to funding JuggerBaby’s diapers with the discounted redemption once a month and I’m just about ready to place the order! The PayPal check goes straight to savings. The Amazon gift cards have replaced my hard earned cash to buy necessities and the occasional gift from Amazon, and I simultaneously add that amount to our savings as well.

Our net worth: went down 0.9% from last month, reducing the total increase from January to 128%.

The markets shivered in fear this month, or so it seems by the look of all our investments. I’m assuming that’ll be true through mid-November.

Our asset allocation has stayed largely the same, and I’ll leave it that way for the next month or so, except for the cash I have set aside for any Election Day stock drops.

 

On Life

On Fitness: Yoga hasn’t been happening every night, and even after only several weeks, it’s clear that nights with yoga are better than nights without. It’s not huge, but I notice a lot more stiff muscles, and creaky joints, on the nights we have to skip. Thanks to having guests, and visiting friends on the weekend, my steps have gone way up. This would be a good thing if it was in combination with yoga because without it? OW. Many days of ow.

On catharsis: I shared something incredibly personal this month.

On fun: We were really active this month, despite my heavy workload, going to the Cal Academy, the parks, to visit several friends. Halloween was a bust, though. Heavy (welcome!) rainfall kept us indoors and it’s clear that JuggerBaby has inherited my dislike of being dressed up. Drat.

On backing up precious memories: I spent several hours making sure that our photos from the last two years are backed up in at least three different places. Vital documents are next on the list. It’s possible my priorities are backwards 🙂

On holidays: Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday. I’m looking forward to having my favorite cousin over to cook a ridiculous dinner for three adults. Then I’m pulling out our Christmas lights in a few weeks and decorating something like the bike, or the armchair, since we won’t be getting a tree. No point, since we’ll travel a bunch around Christmas. :sad face: The whole POINT of growing up was to be able to get my own tree.

On health: Is it a surprise at all that I’ve been sick for the past two weeks? Anyone want to take bets on whether I can kick this before 2017?

:: What did you do for Halloween? Have you backed up your important documents and photos? If not, what’s stopping you? What should I decorate with lights: a bike, the television, or the floor lamp?

October 12, 2016

A quarterly look back: Q3 2016

In February, inspired by Cloud, I decided it was high time to get back to the business of being me. Life isn’t all about work, money, and family. Life is meant to be lived, and we are meant to grow.

Summer 2016 recap: See what I read, where I went, what I learned, and what I made in the past 3 months.What I read

Last Woman Standing, by Thelma Adams

I can’t recall why I snagged this one, might have been free on Kindle for a limited time, but I loved the idea of reading up on the woman in Wyatt Earp’s life. I’m familiar enough with Wyatt Earp’s general legend, but I was always curious about the woman by his side.

It was a mostly satisfying read.

The Daughter of Union County, by Francine Thomas Howard

This was an Amazon Prime First free book. Didn’t enjoy it. Maybe it was just too hard reading about the horrific American racism towards black people in the past that simply has not stayed in the past. This is racism now, and it’s not even subtle or that much diminished. Interracial marriages aren’t illegal anymore but we haven’t come very far beyond that.

Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho

This was very different in style from her last book. It wasn’t hugely complex, but I really enjoyed the story and the characters. Also the names. Nidget!

Six-Gun Snow White, by Catherynne M. Valente

I wanted to love this but it sat uncomfortably with me. Not sure why, it was well written and creative, but maybe I was reading it with the wrong mood.

Where I went

SDCC 2016

San Diego for FinCon16!

Also we roadtripped down the coast to outside of SLO. It was only a blistering 104 degrees, no big deal. Luckily we stayed at a decent hotel where we all enjoyed air conditioning, cool tile floors, and an indoor swimming pool. Luxuries!

What I made or did

On a whim, and a strong desire not to either mark up baby clothes with Sharpies or risk losing any more clothes at daycare, I bought some twill tape and cross-stitched JuggerBaby’s name for name tags. The first one took me an hour and I managed to average a mistake every ten minutes: freehand stitching meant my letters were a bit crooked, my Xs were totally non-uniform, I trimmed the twill tape too close to the letters so it started to fray dangerously close to the name. I chalked up the first few problems to beginner’s skills, and salvaged the fraying bit by sewing a piece of fabric, folded over the end bit, onto the tag as a colorful “backing”. Almost looks like I meant to do that all along! Bonus: it covers up the ugly backside of the cross-stitch.

What I learned

I can do any load of dishes (handwashing) in ten minutes or less. That means a heck of a lot of other things that feel onerous or time-consuming are probably not nearly as difficult to shoehorn in as we think, when we’re not thinking critically.

I picked my battle one morning after PiC complained of a stiff neck that’s been getting worse since “last year”.  Because of aging.

I declared mandatory nightly 5-minute-yoga sessions, no excuses. Nine pm, or within a hour of nine, but no skipping. He practiced more yoga than I did way back when, and I only did senior yoga at that, so I knew he’d likely say yes but I also didn’t phrase it as a question.

We don’t have a choice about getting older but we can choose not to get creaky and inflexible along with the years.

Just give me five minutes, pick your stretch or pose, and start your deep yoga breathing. Five minutes is so easy, you’d find yourself at ten minutes awfully quickly if you were truly relaxing. We ended up doing fifteen minutes in our first round. Nothing fancy. He in his jeans on the yoga mat and me in my pajamas on the rug since we just have the one mat between us, easy as pie. No, easier than pie. I even started getting that tingle in my fingers that means some good stretching is getting that circulation going.

Just five minutes. Plenty of things I can’t do for a sustained five minutes, sprint, hold my breath, pull-ups, but laying on the ground and breathing slowly while my muscles remember what it’s like to have blood flow? Yes, this is possible.

::What can you do in five minutes to make your day better? What did you do this summer? What did you wish you did? What fun is in store for your fall?

October 3, 2016

Net Worth & Life Report: September 2016

Money and Life Report: September 2016 ON MONEY

I use Swagbucks. Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join and earn. Any purchases you make going through my Amazon links keep the blog lights on!

Our normal spending covers the living expenses for two households. 

Spending

FinCon happened: to the tune of $1685. It sure was fun but ouch!

Home maintenance: we fixed that thing and it cost $1250. That bill comes due in October and our property taxes are coming due in November for another whopping $2500. This means digging into savings, precious, and we don’t want to! Hissss!

A few days after FinCon, I went shopping in the worst possible way: angry, hungry, and tired. Brought our week’s worth of groceries, and 3 cakes, in under $40. It could have been so much worse but lugging that many pounds of food in was plenty.

Saving

Future saving by way of reducing interest: My master plan of paying the same amount that we were paying into our mortgage before, now that the monthly payment has been reduced by half, was thwarted by a crop of large expenses. And also increasing our actual savings rate by $400 per month. Undaunted, though, I have decided to push another $500 to principal per month and just make that work. It’ll mean more belt tightening, and some creative tapdancing each month, but this way the savings to principal will happen, period. If I can’t make our goal one way, I find another. If we look to be running short, I’ll just steal a little from savings.

Related: I haven’t decided if I want to pour on the steam and prioritize paying off the mortgage entirely because I might prefer to hoard and grow our cash stash for future investments or another property. There are only so many parts to the pie unless I can fix on the right strategy to make our dollars work twice, or thrice, as hard.

Question: Is it really spending if you’re moving money from a savings account to a different savings vehicle? I opened JuggerBaby’s 529 account, funded it with a chunk of zir savings, and Mint called that spending. It’s future spending, sure, but right NOW it’s saving and investing.

Our net worth: increased 2.3% from last month, and 58.7% 29% from January.

Note: Edit: Oops, I just spotted an error in my spreadsheet! Drat. Somehow I keep doubling our value on paper through purely clerical errors. That 10% real estate March – April bump was updating the assessed value of our home.

 09-16: allocation of our assets by category

ON LIFE

  1. On Fitness: FinCon caused a major spike in my steps. I averaged 3.5 miles a day! In other news, I may not walk again for two weeks. Don’t be alarmed if I become a permanent fixture in the rocking chair.
  2. On food: I have been AMAZING at putting a hot fresh dinner on the table nearly every night. *self congratulations* I’m still working full time, blogging, taking care of Seamus, etc, so this is a big deal. How, you ask? I’m glad you asked!  I’m not strict about it but I borrowed Cloud’s method of repeating recipe types from week to week, and I vary it according to what we have in the pantry. My cooking rules: no more than 3-5 ingredients unless I want to add them, use fresh ingredients where possible and easy, simple recipes only. There’s no time for gourmet cooking with sauces and all that. We love one pot meals, and I aim to make balanced meals.Check it out: Monday, turkey and ricotta enchiladas (homemade enchilada sauce); Tuesday, turkey and veggie pasta with red sauce; Wednesday, shepherd’s pie with bok choy, carrots, onions, green beans, corn and turkey (yes, there is a trend here); Thursday, leftovers; Friday, zucchini and tomato omelette, hash browns, French toast, orange slices and apple slices. It’s not restaurant food, in a good way – it’s healthy, filling, and my family loves it. And since they’re so easygoing, I enjoy cooking for them. Sidebar: I’ve been told that this here blog is too random to be a regular read because readers like to know what they’re going to get. That’s fair. But good and easy food is such an important part of our lives, I can’t fathom not talking about it. I’ve been toying with the idea of sharing recipes one day a week, would anyone be interested? On the one hand, I love sharing what works for me. On the other hand, actual food bloggers already do that food and recipe blogging thing. But they’re fancy. Let me know in the comments.
  3. On work and computers being frustrating: All of the sudden, my computer refused to open DOCX files. It was working fine one day, and the next started giving me lip: “You are trying to use Office but don’t have Office.” LIES. I thought it was because I didn’t have Office 365, which is true, but it’s not because Word 2010 wasn’t working anymore. It’s because Microsoft was being sneaky sneaks and trying to force me to upgrade unnecessarily. It turns out even though I’m trying to use Word, they’re calling it Word in Office 365 just “Office” so the message implies that my entire Office Suite is no longer working. The solution: Right click on the file and select “choose another app”, select regular Word, and click the box that says “always use this”. That fixed the problem immediately. Well, immediately plus the whole day I spent trying to troubleshoot it because I didn’t Google the right key phrase.

:: What was fun, exciting, or expensive about your September?

September 5, 2016

Net Worth & Life Report: August 2016

August 2016 Life and Life Report: ON MONEY

I use Swagbucks. Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join and earn. Any purchases you make going through my Amazon links keep the blog lights on!

Spending

Credit card churn, Card #2 of 2016: After $1,000 of paying bills, I’ve crossed the threshold for the required minimum spending to earn 35K Alaska miles. I don’t have a specific use in mind for these miles but I suspect they’ll come in useful in a year or two. The first card was also an Alaska card, in my name, but only earned 25K bonus miles. Humph.

Open ended travel planning: 3 free RT domestic travel tickets costs 75K miles and $36 (we paid $75 for each card, so the actual total is $186). Our current total of 60K miles is still 15K miles short. It doesn’t look like Alaska does discounted mile redemptions like United does, so to shore that up, I’ll sign up for dining miles programs so that any spending we do also earn miles on top of any credit card award points. Then we’ll be set for a trip that costs more than $500.

FinCon is coming up! The cost of the hotel is quite a bit now that it’s just me but I have rather specific sleep and rest requirements so I can’t risk a roommate who might snore. You’d think it’s such a small thing to be fussed about and wouldn’t I rather save $400? Yeesss but I’d also like to enjoy the conference that I’m taking time away from work and family to attend which absolutely cannot happen if I don’t get real, adequate, sleep.

Homes cost money: The cost of not being a renter means that minor (but expensive) damages to the home structure caused by guests comes out of our pocket. We’re looking at $1400 in repairs right now so feel free to imagine my facial expressions.

Saving

Forced savings increase: Last month I bumped up my automated savings by $200 per check. I previously said it was per month but then realized that in my absentmindedness, no, that was per pay period. Whoops. Overreach! That’s ok, though, because I hadn’t been transferring cash to savings to transform our Side Money Earnings into true savings, and we all know that if you replace cash spending but don’t save that money? You didn’t save anything! So here we are, saving extra.

Our net worth: increased .49% from last month, and 55.9% from January.

Note: Most of our April bump was updating the assessed value of our home.

08-16: net worth changes from month to month

08-16: net worth by asset breakdown (cash, investments, real estate)

ON LIFE

So much coddling of body parts this month trying not to let the beginnings of a flare-up turn into a disastrous episode. Like Cloud, I have trouble moderating at the beginning of a health-related problem because it doesn’t seem like it’s serious enough to stop chugging along. And then of course, duh, it gets really serious and I’m out of commission for 2-3x as long. I tried ever so hard this time to stop and rest on the days (luckily, weekend days) where I could feel the early signs of muscle and joint pain turn into a severe flareup, and managed to head off at least two flares. So it works! The trick is to keep on top of my silly logic when I start trying to power through again.

Domestically speaking, I hauled out my sewing kit for a few projects. A gorgeously textured shirt handed down to JuggerBaby came pre-loved and pre-torn, so those seams were not beautifully but definitely functionally fixed up. An awesome plaid shirt, also a hand me down, had a button come loose the first day ze wore it so I took care of that. PiC’s pants pockets have a problem with fraying fabric and holes. I painstakingly fashioned a new pocket for him. Pretty proud of that last one – lost count of the number of times I jabbed myself with the needle but it was sturdy and almost neat looking by the time I called it quits. Also? I’m quite proud of not having anything of my own in the mending pile this time. There’s something oddly soothing about having a simple sewing project once in a while. I don’t do this more than twice a year, probably. Bonus: the pants are otherwise in perfectly good repair so he can get a lot more use out of them.

File under fitness: I was targeting around 2000-2200 steps daily when I first started using my iPhone but it’s been creeping upwards in fits and spurts, mostly when I force myself to attend social things.

I think I do best, as far as pain and fatigue goes, when I’m around 3000 steps a day but much more than that is a huge cost for negative benefits. It’s not the only measure of what’ll affect me but it’s incredibly useful to be able to put a number to some part of it.

:: How was your August?

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