That Time When…

…you spend an hour and half entering random search terms on the internet and posting on a half dozen What’s the Book? forums trying to find a book, whose title and author you have both forgotten, that you read somewhere between two and four years ago, and then suddenly you realize that you have this feature on your blog in which you track the books you’ve read and the missing book has been at your fingertips all along.

Check in Time: The Year of Austerity

Remember my New Year’s Resolution to stop buying things? Well, since I started my resolution on November 26, I’ve reached the halfway point. Hurray! Let’s see how I’ve done.

Here are the forbidden purchases (in no particular order). The original assessment is in italics and the update is in red. Continue reading →

The Portland of My 49th State

When I was young, my family took a lot of road trips up, down, and around everywhere east of the Mississippi, and even once all the way out to Montana. When I moved to Colorado, I took a lot of road trips around the western states to see everything I could before getting my master’s degree and moving back overseas. When I stuck around after graduation and found that travelling internationally from Denver was kind of a pain, I took some large pseudo-domestic trips, such as to Hawaii and Alaska. After all this travel, I found myself at the beginning of 2017 with only two states remaining to set foot in: Oregon and Idaho.

And now, there’s just Idaho. This is my somewhat-creative writing blog, but by day, I’m a technical writer and I work for an excellent and successful company. So excellent, in fact, that they picked up the tab for me to attend the Write the Docs conference, which happened to be in Portland, Oregon, this week. I have to specify Oregon because as an east-coaster, I still think of Maine first when I hear Portland, and I imagine some of you do too. I won’t go into all the details of what one learns and talks about at a technical writing conference, but if you’re curious about the career, I highly recommend Tom Johnson’s blog. He’s a tech writing guru, and he totally had groupies (including me) at the conference. Here, I’ll sum up some of the other highlights of the trip and save the show notes for my coworkers. Continue reading →

The Year of Austerity

It’s the delusional time of year when we all make promises to ourselves that we have no intention of keeping even through the end of January. Mine is to stop buying things. I buy too much stuff. Even though I don’t buy knick-knacks or holiday decorations or home goods or anything that really is just clutter, and even though I only set foot in a Target or Cost Plus World Market or Bed, Bath, & Beyond about twice a year, I still buy too much stuff I don’t need. I’m a sucker for a good deal and tend to amass certain items without using up what I already have first.

When I was 18 and got my first credit cards, I bought all the things because credit cards were “free money.” Woo-hoo! I was living on my own but never sat down and did the basic calculations of income versus expenses, and I got into financial trouble pretty quickly. After defaulting on all four cards and tanking my credit score, I decided I needed to get it together. I started writing down every single item I bought in a journal. Even purchases as a small as a $1.59 cup of coffee at a gas station. Spending those few moments thinking about where your money went and then having a visual record of everything you spend is a great way to see how much you waste on crap and a good motivator to stop. After I got my finances back together, I spent six years living overseas: a few semesters abroad in undergrad and then working abroad after I finished my BA. This is a great plan for anyone who is trying to be less materialistic. When you are bouncing around from country to country, living out of two suitcases, and the baggage limit on an airplane is 20kg, you really have no interest in buying anything at all. Continue reading →