Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Five whole months into the year

This is my first blog post in the current presidency. I clearly lost track of time and didn't realize the last time I blogged was January 19. I even blew right by my blogiversary, which was apparently May 17. I had it in my head as June, but I think that's because that was when I figured out how to blog as Karina Anirak (I had a brief stint under a different account). TEN YEARS. I basically started my graduate education TEN years ago.

There are a couple of things I have on my mind lately to blog about, but for now I want to do just a short check in on my goals/expectations for 2017.

Help Jon get a new, full-time job with benefits
"This is the most important thing that needs to happen this year and it will make all of the financial goals below much easier!" DONE! There was a bit of a false start a few months back, but he now has a full time salaried job with opportunity for advancement. Once he finishes the trial period, he'll be eligible for benefits too. This is a huge first for us to have TWO predictable, livable incomes. 

Get Adele a passport and renew mine
DONE! We're all set for about 5 more years.

Clear my inbox every month
"I granted myself email amnesty at the beginning of the year and I think I need to do it on a regular basis." I think I did it once so far this year... but it really needs to happen. Ugh.

Celebrate my blogiversary (10 years!)
"I want to do something special to celebrate...maybe get this printed as a book!" Not yet! I think I'll write a 10 year reflection post by the June 22 date of my first non-introductory blog post. I have a lot to reflect on, including these goals for 2017 that I wrote in 2007! I just stumbled across it looking through my oldest posts; I had completely forgotten. 

Read four books
I've read one so far. I know I can do this if I buckle down.

Pay off our car

Pay off all of Jon's course/credit card debt
We just paid off one of the cards at the end of its 0% APR period, and the other one ends in October. We're almost there! Our credit scores have been noticeably recovering from carrying pretty high balances (thankfully all at 0%).

Shorten the repayment term on my student loans
"Once we're sure we have the credit card debt paid for, then we can shorten the repayment term for my student loans to pay it down aggressively..." Not there yet.

Carbon offsets
"The easiest way to do this is probably by estimating our emissions and spreading it out over monthly payments." DONE! I added up all of our air travel and other emissions estimates from 2016 and now we pay a monthly fee to a carbon offset company.

Switch to electricity from renewable sources
"This will take a bit of research, which is the biggest hurdle." Turns out direct mail works sometimes, because we went with the company that sent us mail about the opportunity to switch to wind power, and they seemed ok. DONE!

Organizations we'll newly support with monthly contributions:
-wikipedia (we have given to them in the past, but lapsed)
-Pro-Publica (nonprofit investigative journalism)
-An organization that very efficiently transfers donations to extremely poor people (I believe that wealth inequality is a huge problem)
-Southern Poverty Law Center
DONE! On January 20, we set up modest ($5-10) recurring monthly donations to all of these.

With Jon getting a salaried job, many other things are falling into place. Perhaps next month I'll think about whether or not to stretch myself a little more in some of these areas since we've already met most of the goals.

I have a pretty good work life balance since starting my new job, and if anything this spring I've been stressed out by my non-work commitments that should count for some kind of "fun". That has toned down thankfully in the last few weeks, but as ever I am trying to find the balance. Adele turned four and is almost done with school for the year. We currently have an international student from Small Friendly College who decided it was too risky to return home for the summer living in our basement for a couple of months while he does an internship. The fear is that they wouldn't renew his visa to let him back in the country for the fall semester, so he stayed here. I'm sad that's the world we live in, but glad that we can help in some small way. Onward!

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