Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just Fast Forward Through The Icky Part

Everyone is talking about money and the economy today. I know I cant be the only one who feels unaffected by this stock market crisis. Perhaps I'm not seeing the big picture, or perhaps I dont have any intangible assets (ie. stock or investments), I know where my money is (all $30.00 in my checking account), and my bills are paid.

If I want to go buy a cup of coffee from Sunshine (support your local barista and boycott Starnucks when possible) I'm not going to let the crashign of the Dow interfere with that decision. Am I the only one who feels this way? I sure as heck hope not!

On my way in to the office this morning, I was listening to my morning entertainment. They were asking callers what the last three things they would hang on to would be (aside from essentials like house, food, utilities, family.) Most people answered in the same scope; internet, cable, pizza, beer, cell phone. This got me thinking. What are three expenses that I would continue to pay in the worst economy:

1) My Cell ~ how else would I text my honey while we're both at work?

2) Tanning ~ ok so if necessary I would eventually give this up, but I live in Oregon and I am prone to depression which for some reason lying in a human microwave for 15 minutes twice a week seems to help ward off... not to mention the lovely glow it gives my sometimes pale skin... So I know it's bad (BOOOOO MELANOMA), but so is smoking and I quit that a year ago so c'mon, I need ONE thing :o)

3) My Truck ~ It's not a gas hog, we just put a new engine in it last year, it's kind of a family trophy and I got it, and I live in the sticks so riding a bike is not really a viable source of transportation. Neither is the bus, because I'm not willing to make a 30 minute commute into a 2 hour ordeal every morning and night just to save a little money. Perhaps, should things get REALLY desperate, like there is no gasoline available anywhere and people are rationing flour and milk and oats, I will ride my horse to work, but not until then.....

All this lead me to thinking about all of the things I didn't have when my daughter was a wee little thing and I didn't have ANY money. Seriously, I had to decide which bill I wasn't going to pay each month.

I didn't go to the bar (her dad did but...), we didn't have cable, we lived on Tuna Helper-esque meals ($1.50 a box, just add water or milk and frozen peas), I didn't buy new clothes every payday (or ever for that matter), and I rode the bus or walked everywhere. I only had a cell phone because my mom paid for it for her own sanity of knowing we were safe, and you know what... aside from living with a bum, my daughter and I were just fine. We were healthy, we weren't hungry, and we had a warm home with Disney and Baby Einstein DVDs, a great verity of Cd's and Books and baby toys. Life was pretty good!

So, essentially, I've already lived in a bad economy (my own) and now I have a job that, thankfully, supports my bills and groceries and daycare, with a little extra left for a hazelnut latte if I want one and the occasional new pair of jeans or cute top if I'm having one of those days when nothing feels right and darn-it I just want to. I still don't pay for cable, because I would rather spend that $65+ a month on jeans or drinks or save it (gasp!), we'll see about that.

Some people may not understand, and might say that it's socially irresponsible to not let this economic crisis phase me, and perhaps come spring when I am stuck at the Swamp because my love and I cant buy a house, I'll let it irk me a little. I just don't see how there is anything the average working American can do. We just have to ride it out, maybe start putting away the credit cards and living within our means. Eventually the crisis will be over and life will move forward, it may not look exactly like it did last year, but it will go on. So I'm not going to let it keep me up at night. I will own a home, sooner than later, even if that means investing in a larger piggy bank!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Planning to 'Wing it'

I didnt sleep well last night, and the lingering effects are that of a hangover. I look like crap, I feel like crap, I really want to curl up and go to sleep, and I have heartburn that I think was spawned from the delecious black forest mocha I wasnt going to indulge in this morning... I hate heartburn. It reminds me of being pregnant, when I ate berry flavored tums like they were candy. I'm cranky and I dont want to work, which is another unfortunate part of it being Monday because of course there is alot of stuff for me to procrastinate on. And for some reason the more I try to procrastinate the more my office becomes a central meeting point for everyone else who wants to procrastinate but make it look like they're really working, which makes it really hard to fake working. I mean, it sounds like I'm working so all should be good... maybe.

So over the weekend I was thinking about this blog. I really just need a sounding board, a place to write. Some place where others may eventually read what I put into words, and even comment some time. I really enjoy reading other people's blogs, I'm possibly even a little envoius of all the people who discovered this excellent time killer long before I. This is not MySpace, WOO HOO! or Facebook. This isnt a popularity contest, at least not in the same sense as other "social networking" sites. It's refreshing to me, at least at this point... I'm babbling arent I? ok... rewind...

Thinking about this blog over the weekend, and all of the things I could write about and it struck me that I could easily write a biography of the past ten years in one blog just to get all of the background to where I am now... but rest assured, I wont. I'm sure some things will come to surface in my entries because every event in the past 8 years or so has lead up to exactly where I am in my life right now. People talk about regrets and if only's, but I can honeslty say that while I have made some really selfish and just plain BAD choices, I do not regret a single one. I know, in my soul, that if I changed even one key event of the past 8 years, I wouldnt be in the relationship I'm in, I wouldn't be living the life I am living, and I wouldn't be happier (in the big scheme of things) than I ever could have imagined. I have an amazing daughter, a decent paying job, a mostly loyal puppy, a work in progress 4 year old buckskin quarterhorse, and plans to marry the man of my dreams once we work out some details. Who could ask for more than that?

Friday, September 26, 2008

I Only Read The Headlines

My idea of keeping up with world events is to read the headlines, I dont generally read more than the headlines, because I'm not a details person when it comes to the news. It's all so depressing and I am believe that, ultimately, if I cant do anything to change it..."Wow that is sad/unfortunate/incredible/doesnt actually surprise me"...next...

I read alot of "Pop Culture" and otherwise useless articles because I'm far more shallow that I care to admit (but I just did admit it so perhaps that makes me one step closer to recovery!) and they tend to be quick to the jist sparing all the unnecessary details.

Needless to say, I dont pay much attention to Wall Street. Such things that are out of my scope for comprehension, mostly because I dont have any investments, I dont wear a suit to work, and I get my paycheck and I can pay my bills so I dont think about money markets and what fat cats are doing in the economy. It just pisses me off that groceries are so expensive and I cant afford to go for my hour long drives through the "enchanted forest" anymore because gas costs too damn much! But this morning I read that Washington Mutual was seized; the largest bank failure in the history of the US. and I got a little worried. I read the entire article, which I can not quote any part of except the headline (go figure) but I am quite confused as to how such a thing happends.

As I'm witing this my brain is processing the answer to my confusion. All of the headlines from the past few months have been leading to this very thing. Banks and Lenders gave loans to people whom they knew were not likely to pay them back. Then offered these loans so that people could buy homes they could not really afford but felt they were entitled to. Then slowly, as gas prices began to rise, and the cost of our way of life began to rise, more and more people realised they could not afford their homes and began to default on their loans. So the banks are out all this money that they loaned to people whom they knew probably couldnt pay them back, and now the banks are failing. Bottom Line.
Somehow this all ties into the mega-mergers of the 90's, I know it!

Recap of my morning learning:
WaMu is no longer
Senator Mcain is going to attend the presidential debate (woohoo!)
Brad and Angie moved again (I think these two are amazing in their humanitarian work and the media needs to focus more on the selfless things they do rather than how many kids they have and if they're breaking up or not! Just a thought)
and by far the most mind boggling thing I have read yet... maybe ever but I cant say for sure...
PETA proposes that Ben & Jerry's use breast milk in its ice cream
ARE YOU SERIOUS??? Who are these people!

I wonder what the afternoon will bring...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What would you do?

Check out this story:

Man Claims Penis Amputated Without Consent

The Swamp and The Crazy Horse Lady

For the past year I have lived on a ranch. Technically the ranch is on wetlands so, it would be more accurate to say, from October through April it's a swamp. On the ranch are 30 horses, one is mine, two are my love's, and the other 27 belong to the crazy horse lady (read; crazy cat lady only with horses) who pays the other half of the rent and the untilites (when she remembers).
I heart the crazy horse lady, she has some great stories about when she was cowboying in Wyoming and south-eastern Oregon, and how she learned things from 'real' old timers, and she is mostly a kick in the pants. She's got some interesting views on politics, horses, aliens, recycling and anything that may possibly have a hint of liberalism... but I respect her anyway. You can teach me something that may change my understanding, but you cant ever tell me that what I believe is wrong and what you believe is right and expect me to change my beliefs on that basis alone. She gets that, so we're good.
You know how people say never discuss Politics and Religion, well she throws horses in there too, then she talks non stop about Politics and Horses like she is the end all be all know all on both subjects and she will argue with you even when you are agreeing with her. It's amusing in small doses, and since I'm not much of a debater I let her and my love go at it while I listen in and laugh.
I grew up in the suburbs so when I first moved to the ranch I felt so lucky, not many people that I know have an opportunity to live on a ranch and take care of horses everyday. That feeling has waned substantially in the past 12 months. Dont get me wrong, I love the space. I love the horses, their sounds, their smell, their presence. I love the hay, in all of it's glorious itchiness. I even love the clockwork train that rattles my house at 7pm, 11pm, and 530am. I accepted my newly discovered allergies, and the fact that a couple cats, while annoying in their own right, are better than even a single mouse in the house.
I dont love my slowly sinking house; apparently living on a swamp has repricussions on a foundation. I dont love the musty smell it's taken on or the lovely, bar like, air quality that signifies when the crazy horse lady is home. I dont really love sharing my space, ie. other than my love and his children, no more roommates. And I dont love lugging 4 bales of hay, one at a time, through knee high mud in the rain everynight to feed 20 horses that should have been sold last spring but the crazy horse lady stayed home for 4 months then didnt stick to her plan.
This should not be misconstrued as me not loving the horses. I feel sad for the horses, I dont want to resent the horses, it's not their fault. I'm sure they wish they had thousands of acres to roam, instead of just 40. I'm sure they want endless supplies of food to keep them plump all winter long. But I know that most of them would rather be out in the field than in a stall, they dont like stalls.
Next year, come springtime, when the mares are putting new foals on the ground, and the yearlings are starting to look more like horses and less like large deer, when my newly discovered allergies flare back up, and the mud starts to get hard again, we will leave the ranch. Even in these craptacular economic times, we are planning to buy at least 5 acres, a house with room for 6 (his, mine and us), two dogs and a barn for our 3 (unmultiplying) horses.



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