State of the Blog: September 2017

Welcome to our State of the Blog report for September 2017. This month, we talk about more blog updates, another beach trip, and doing good things.

Blog Stuff

A couple of things have prompted me to work on telling our story.

First, I updated our About Us page. I’ve wanted to do this for a while and feel really good about the new intro to Jon and me and our blog.  I still want to add some updated headshots, though.

Then, someone asked me if I had a post about how we changed our lives to make our semi-retirement possible. I realized I didn’t have one, but that it’s really been what the blog has been about for the last year and a half. It’s about time I wrote our story down instead of just leaving it as subtext.  I’m working on that post.

Beach Trip

Jon and I had debated whether we would take a trip during the late summer track out and where we might go if we did. Ultimately, we decided to take another beach week with Jon’s parents for the week of Labor Day.

Since we weren’t quite into fall rates, we stayed in a slightly smaller beachfront cottage than we did in May. We also saved money by limiting our meals out to one night of seafood and avoided the souvenir shopping. (okay, we bought 1 Nerf football for $5.)

Little Bit found some playmates on the first day, and we spent plenty of time in the waves and walking on the beach.  I even found a whole conch shell this time. In close to 50 years of beachcombing, I’d never found a completely intact one before.

With the cost sharing, we spent less on two weeks at the beach this year than we did one week and 3 days last year. If Jon’s parents are up for it next year, we’ll probably continue to share our beach vacations (and their cost).

 

Volunteering

One of my goals this year was to Do Good Things. In September, I started two new good things that I’m very excited about.

First, as I explained in my last gardening post, I’ve gotten a plot in a community garden. Part of the terms is that 10% of any of the produce I grow has to go to the local food shuttle. North Carolina has a ridiculous food insecurity problem. Nearly 1 in 6 people in the state suffer food insecurity, including almost 1 in 4 kids.  Food pantries can’t fill the bill entirely, and often provide only stock shelf-stable foods. Providing fresh organic produce to people in need is incredibly important.

Needless to say, I feel really good about being able to provide some.

That said, the good thing that makes me go “SQUEE!” is actually a little different: I’ve started to volunteer in the library at Little Bit’s school shelving books.

Maybe that wouldn’t excite too many people, but shelving books was probably my favorite task when I worked for a bookstore chain…for 17 years. I loved it. While I didn’t realize that I would have shelved books for free, I’m now tickled to do just that.

I also got trained in processing new books and repairing books, but that’s too much like wrapping presents for me. Since my gift packages always look like I let a preschooler wrap them for me, I’ll stick to shelving books and keeping them in order.

Right now, I’m going in twice a week to shelve books for an hour or so. That frees up the librarian and the TAs to work with the kids more, making them more effective.  I get my book fix. Everybody wins.

The To-Do List

To recap, my goals for the year were to:

  • Live Healthier
  • Increase Financial Health
  • Improve the Blog
  • Do Good Things
  • Get Rid of Excess Stuff

Live Healthier

I feel like I got plenty of exercise this month. I spent plenty of times on walks and in the water during the week at the beach, and swam several times when we got back.   Little Bit’s scout troop went on a couple more hikes, parents in tow, and Jon and I also started getting back into our walking routine. That becomes more important now that the pool we’ve been using has shut down for the winter.

I tried a free introductory Tai Chi class, but the teaching style didn’t agree with me. I’d still like to try an exercise class on a regular basis, but I’m looking for the right one.

Both the garden and the book shelving, while not exercise, are putting a little more movement into my days.

Increase Financial Health

I finished all of the required continuing education for tax preparation. I’d like to take a certification test or two this month to see if I can’t get a slightly better rate this year. I have 3 months to do it, but I’d like to pass one in October.

My other goal for the month is to freeze my credit and Little Bit’s. I’ve put it off, but after the Equifax hack, it’s past time.

Plus, I need to schedule the Required Minimum Distribution for my inherited IRA. While I had it with a broker, he took care of most of the details. Now that I’ve moved it to Vanguard, I need to make the time to set up RMDs. Since it’s an inherited account, that means phone calls instead of web forms.

Improve the Blog

Covered above. I started an SEO class but fell way behind with all of the other things that were going on. I need to finish it up, even if others have finished.

Do Good Things

In addition to my new gigs, I taught Sunday School and worked the school store. I need spend some of my tv viewing time this month knitting things for the charity sale in December.

Get Rid of Excess Stuff

Little Bit and I did her fall closet evaluation, getting rid of her outgrown clothes. Other than that, we didn’t do much in September.

Other Thoughts to Wrap Up September 2017

  • If you have a choice between Cookie Butter Oreos and Apple Pie Oreos, choose Cookie Butter. You can never go wrong choosing the Cookie Butter option, but especially with this one.
  • I skipped my last hair appointment due to our last minute beach trip. I have received more compliments on my hair in the last 3 weeks than in…forever. I guess I should let it grow out a bit. Meanwhile, it’s very gray these days, but I think I’ll keep it that way.
  • Little Bit has informed us that we’re parenting all wrong: moms are supposed to cook and do dishes and dads are supposed to take kids to do fun stuff like swim in the ocean and go on waterslides. Also, her friends say we’re old. We told her girls can grow up to do anything, including going boogie boarding with their kids, and dads can and should cook and do dishes, at least some of the time. We also told her that yes, we are at least Oldish.
  • Little Bit is 4 allowances away from her laptop.

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How did September 2017 go for you?

29 Responses to “State of the Blog: September 2017”
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