Countdown to 24

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I gotta admit: I wasn’t all that excited about my birthday. Usually, I politely (or blatantly) remind people it’s coming up or count down the days, but this year has been real chill.

Some of it is me still finding my way. I’m cool with floating on my life ocean until I hit my next shore of lessons. I maintain time and space for myself, but that’s about the only constant right now. Well… that and The Hero and Bro’Ham. Everything else I play by ear.

Anyway, my birthday was like that until yesterday. I won’t say I’m all like ‘IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!’, but I definitely have a plan on how I’m going to spend my birthday week. I made a list of experiences. And I’m mulling over making those adventures into a blog series.

Now don’t get excited. The list doesn’t have some amazing thing like ‘go skydiving Tuesday morning as the sun rises.’ It’s regular stuff that I think about doing, but for some reason never just do. It’s action-based regularness. Man… I’m good at inventing words and phrases.

It does involve eating cake.

There’s alcohol on the list too. That one ought to be hilarious.

Lots of walking. Bike adventures too. I hope that seat doesn’t chafe my butt though.

Some dancing. Maybe. It’s hard to keep a beat for an extended amount of time.

The week ahead promises to be pretty spectacular. I look forward to kicking it with teachers in their perpetual ‘It’s Friday’ summer state of mind. And I definitely look forward to going to my favorite day spa. I think I’m telling too much. Look for an adventure recap in the near future.

I’m Rich!

If I had a million dollars, then I…

suitcase full of money

I’ve dreamed about waking up and there’s a suitcase on the patio with nothing but crispy one- and five-dollar bills in it. Why the low denomination? Easier to spend without causing alarm. Ever hand a cashier a 100-dollar bill and watch him stare into his drawer confused? I don’t want that when I start spending.

I have a plan for the money. First and foremost, no quitting the day job… at least not until some investments are making me enough money to blow the joint. Low profile is what I’m saying. Very low profile. Actually, it would be great if the suitcase was on my patio sometime soon since I’m still new and don’t have any bonds with the people at my job yet….

First things first, gag orders for The Kid and The Girl and their dads and for The Hero. I don’t want my phone blowing up before I have a chance to get used to having the money. Everyone shuts it. Ohh… and my dad. His loose lips sank a couple of my ships in the past.

Next, pay off my and The Hero’s massive student loan debt and put some money in a trust for all four of the kids to go to college. I’m not paying for their education because that’s their first investment in themselves. I’m just… leveraging other funds for them. Maybe one of those college plans I never invested in for them. I’m not paying for Ds and Fs though, nor am I sponsoring college parties. I traveled that road and I got my best grades when I started signing on the line.

I think the Lady – my Altima – would love to be retired, so I’d buy us both cars. Oh… and I’m SO ready to leave my current neighborhood, so a house is on the list. Something large enough for us to have space for our hobbies and guests, but not so big that when it’s time to clean we’re both wondering why we live there. I’d build a garage with one of those apartments too if zoning allowed it because they’re just cool.

garage apartment

NEW CLOTHES! You’ll be so disgusted, but I realized I don’t have basic black heels, or brown or black flats for work. Who does that? How is my whole shoe collection summer fly, but winter dumb? I’m suffering right now, so this would be high on the agenda.

Imelda Marcos's shoes in 1987

Now that I have my selfish things out the way, my dad comes next. He’s been there for me as far back as I can remember. He doesn’t NEED anything, but I’d offer to rent him storage lockers for life. He owns four houses and I think every garage is full of cra… stuff. All the tenants will be happy to finally be able to park in the garages. Maybe I’ll hire an organizer to store said stuff for him so he knows where to find it. Or maybe this whole idea encourages more hoarding. Hmmm… I’ll think about it.

I’d set up a scholarship fund through my graduate school in my mom’s memory. That’s always been my goal since we both went there and graduated from the same college. It’s a tangible way to help defray the costs of graduate school. Sidebar: how is it that my student loans for graduate school are the same as undergrad? That’s some crazy math.

I’ll set aside $50,000 to give to family members on a competitive grant basis. I figure that will keep me from getting pissed off when people start crawling out the woodwork because someone broke the gag order they signed.

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Set up an annuity or something for the Columbus Library. I love that library. Absolutely LOVE it. Even when I can’t find a book, they’re always helpful at getting it from some library on the planet without giving me a whole bunch of lip about it. And it keeps me from buying books I’ll probably never read again.

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What’s left I’ll invest for the future when we’re old. That’s also why I’d continue to work: save for retirement and for every-day-life fun things like traveling, date nights, parties, etc. Plus, I like my job and it took me about 18 years to finally find one that uses my skills effectively without me having to go out and find clients.

See what other people would do with $1 million by clicking the icon below. What would you do?

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

The Birthday Vacation Recap

I’m back from vacation and happy to be home. While I had a great time visiting Baltimore and DC, there’s nothing like the slow-paced, routine life of Columbus.

If you follow me on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook some of these photos are familiar. Forgive me for the repeat, but I just don’t have the tenacity to sift through what I posted on the fly and what I didn’t. Plus, you’ll get to see the panoramic pictures I took with my new LG phone. So here we go… the five-day birthday vacation party.

On the road

Road Signs

My goal was to get all of the cool signs along the way. Unfortunately, passenger seat duties kept me from capturing some on the way. The one The Hero wanted was of Negro Mountain in Maryland, but we came home a different route and didn’t get to see the sign again. I didn’t know that the summit of Negro Mountain was the highest point in Pennsylvania. Thanks, Wikipedia.

Baltimore

We stopped to visit one of The Hero’s close friends and his family for a couple of days. It was H-O-T hot down there. The temp was 95, but felt like 100. Hotness! Once we convinced ourselves to leave the comfort of central air, we went to the Harbor.

Baltimore Harbor

The second day we escaped long enough to go to the African American Festival for a little while before we hit the road to DC.

Baltimore

Washington, D.C.

Saturday, we arrived in D.C. to visit the city and hang out with another of The Hero’s close friends (he has a lot of close friends) to celebrate birthdays (mine and his friend’s). Still hot, but for some reason not nearly as unbearable as Baltimore. We stayed at the aka Hotel on 17th, which was AWESOME.

DC Penthouse

Saturday was a blur. We went to dinner at The Hamilton. I didn’t take any pics because I was too busy enjoying my beef brisket platter. After dinner, we had fun at the pre-club hotel soiree, then went clubbing and at some point passed out from exhaustion. Sunday was eventful too: the hotel got the check-out dates mixed up, our car broke down and after walking 10 blocks, my shoe literally fell apart. All of the unfortunate events were remedied (hotel fixed the reservation, The Hero fixed the car and I fixed my shoe) and we decided that maybe we needed to slow down a minute and get some rest.

Monday we got up and decided to be quasi-tourists (The Hero will deny this). We headed to the first tourist spot we could find and got out in the heat to take a few pictures and at least say we toured some national places.

U.S. Capitol

The Botanical Gardens were close so we decided to tour and take pictures. I’m glad we did.

Botanical Gardens

These collages don’t do the plants justice. It was an awesome place to visit.

Botanical Gardens

After the Botanical Gardens we agreed we were a little homesick and made the drive back to Columbus. This was hands down one of my favorite birthday vacations to date.

Joy Journal Countdown

 

In my Joy Journal post, I promised to find at least one great thing every day to count down before my birthday tomorrow. It was a good way to look at and appreciate the things that I overlook sometimes when I think life handed me case of lemons and I forgot all my lemon recipes. Here are a few of my favorites.

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To celebrate my birthday this year, The Hero and I are going on vacation. I’ll be gone for a week and will be back to my regular schedule on July 10. In the meantime, you can follow my randomness on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.

B-day Countdown: The Joy Journal

Joy Journal

This was an idea that came to me. I don’t even remember what inspired me to do this, but I wanted to do something a little different this year as I countdown the last days of my 37th year.

The idea is to find one thing each day that makes me feel happy, grateful, overwhelmed with positivity or any other good thing that makes me want to smile uncontrollably.

Ideally, I’d love to do a picture every day, but I know me well enough to know that even if I took a picture each day, I probably wouldn’t print it, so… I’ll stick to whatever moves me.

Anyway, I intend to use the joy journal and any pics of my birthday celebration as reminders of one of the greatest years of my life to date.

I’m still trying to decide if I want it spiral bound or loose to put into a card box. I’ll post an update in July.

Joy Journal

Each card is dated for easy reference… in case I HAPPEN to miss a day.

DIY DeVa: First Knitted Scarves…. Ever!

I pride myself on my ability to learn to do anything. Unfortunately, I could never get the hang of crocheting. I tried videos, books even taking a class at Joann and I still couldn’t get the hang of it. After the last failed attempt, I gave up on crocheting and figured if I couldn’t get that, then I couldn’t get knitting either.

This year, however, The Girl told me she really likes wearing scarves and wanted to know if I could make her one. Sigh. Why does life always present me with challenges when I’m pressed for time? I decided to give knitting a try using a loom.

I read reviews online for different brands and after eliminating the Martha Stewart loom and not being able to locate a Knifty Knitter within 20 miles of my house, I settled on a Boye Assorted Loom Set on sale at Joann for $19. I read pretty good reviews about one of their standard looms and figured the odds of the assorted pack being garbage had to be pretty slim. If I got the hang of knitting, I could expand my loom collection and make blankets down the road. Plus, I figured I wasn’t out of anything since I paid for the loom with a gift card.

The verdict? I LOVE the loom. While it certainly isn’t true knitting, I understand how the stitches make up a project. Once I got the hang of casting on and off and checking to make sure the pegs were securely in place after each row, it was a piece of cake. In the last three days, I’ve completed 2.5 scarves. Unfortunately (or fortunately for The Hero), I’m out of yarn and Winter Storm Euclid is currently underway so I won’t be going out any time soon to get more. And if The Girl, The Kid AND The Hero don’t like their scarves, I’ll have three new accessories to add to my closet.

burnt orange scarf  rainbow scarf

Vision Boards

I’m an information junkie. So much so that sometimes it retards me from making progress and decisions because I want as much information as possible. Over the years, it’s caused me to stop projects, doubt my dreams and try to change my desires because something seemed too big to tackle and I had no clue where to start. So I made some vision boards:

I’d heard about vision boards before and I seriously tried to create one on Oprah.com. I’m starting to believe that at that time I wasn’t open to trusting the process. I wanted to get the RIGHT pictures and line them up perfectly so that my energy flowed across the page and…. The idea became so massive that I drained myself before I even got started. My Oprah vision board consists of an old picture of my kids and some phrases that made me ask myself “What the…?”

Two nights ago, I came to know one more thing I’d like to do even if I didn’t get paid for it. As with all my great ideas, knowing where to start bogged me down. The Universe worked in my favor. I came across this post. At first I didn’t connect my dreams to visual stimuli, but after one text exchange with Naila, I decided to give vision boards another chance. Immediately, my mind was ready to get at it.

I decided I would read only TWO articles on how to put intention into what I was creating. Limiting myself to two articles served three purposes: I could get a better understanding of making it work for me, forced me to take action and stimulated my creativity. My mind literally dumped words out. Seriously. I was writing on scrap pads and Post-It notes so I didn’t forget anything that’s been buried in the recesses of my mind. When I searched for images, I took the advice from Martha Beck and let my body tell me which images to choose. There were a few times I REALLY didn’t want to save a picture, but I did anyway and I’m glad I did.

I printed a copy of each one and also sent them to my phone for mobile stimulation.

Have you ever created a vision board before?