Working from home

I’m working from home today.I dropped into a coffee shop to have breakfast, pulled out my laptop, and probably got more done in an hour than I get done in a whole day sometimes. It’s amazing what you can do without any interruptions, the velocity you can attain when racing a battery about to die. I also felt some kind of pressure to just work. Like my neighbors would judge me if they saw gmail up on my screen instead of Outlook.

You know that feeling when you would leave school mid day for a dentist appointment? It always felt so weird for me to be out in the world in the middle of the day. It still feels like I’m going to get caught.

Why I love doing my taxes

This was just a hair too long for twitter…

I really like doing my taxes because I like looking back at the year and seeing what I earned and where it went. I was just reviewing 2014, looking to see if I want to throw some extra money into my 401k for the tax break for the end of the year. I searched my account for charitable contributions to see what my total was going to be there, and I scrolled down through everything for the past few years and had to pause when I saw a donation to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence from 2012 on the day of the theater shooting. Oof.

I made a note at the time, but I’m chronically trying and failing to get better at journaling, at blogging, at documenting my own life just for my own sake. And I really like how our financials do a bit of that work for us. A charge from a restaurant reminds me of a birthday, a charge from a clothing store reminds me of the dress I bought to wear to a fun wedding, plane tickets of a vacation.

That’s all. I tried to make this into a 140 character quip but “Reviewing charitable contributions for tax purposes, saw one to an anti-gun violence org from day of 2012 theater shooting. Finances are unintentional journals.” was still 20 characters over.

Year of the (Down) Dog

Apparently this is the year I get super into yoga. I just counted on Daily Mile and today was the 111th day of 2014 and I did my 93rd yoga practice of the year. (Mostly classes at a studio, three or four podcasts at home.) I’ve gone almost every day, with a slump in March when I was sick and then traveling. I finally splurged on a monthly membership and then, motivated to get my money’s worth, I just found myself showing up most evenings and some mornings, planning my day around classes with my favorite teachers, and getting a little weird. There are colored strings representing each of the seven chakras tied around my wrist right now. So there’s that.

A friend asked me if I was feeling quite flexible, and I had to say no, I don’t really feel much difference in my flexibility. But I feel incredibly strong. I couldn’t do a proper chaturanga before; I had to modify on my knees or do that fake thing where you start to lower yourself down but then you just kind of slide into updog, waving a quick hello to chaturanga as you drive by but don’t stop to chat. But now! I’ve got the real thing going on with that solid pause in the middle. Even one legged on a good day.

I also think it’s making me a better person. More calm. More grateful. Less judgmental. (A little.)

So. Here I am, contributing to the cacophony of bragging about work outs on the internet. I’ve certainly gone through my zealot phases before. With running, with Jillian Michaels videos, with swimming, then with triathlons, and now yoga. It’s an even more expensive hobby than doing tris, but I suppose as far as expensive habits go, there are much, much worse ways to spend your money.


On Points

A coworker sparked my interest in the practice of signing up for credit cards to get the sign up bonus points and earn free travel. So, Chris and I have signed up for four credit cards and have earned about 200,000 “miles” or about $2,000 to spend on hotels or airfare so far. Peanuts compared to folks who spend a bit more effort and earn, like, a million miles a year. But hey, it’s $2,000 we didn’t have before. It would be nice, at least, to not have the huge budget bombs of plane tickets for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I just found myself down a hole looking at tickets for Fourth of July weekend. Maybe to San Diego? Maybe Portland or Seattle? I was doing points math, checking deals leaving Thursday night vs Friday morning.

Then I remembered I actually love Fourth of July in Denver. So I feel silly.


I have oft read about to 50/30/20 rule, that 50% of your income after taxes should go towards needs, 30% towards wants, and 20% into savings or debt reduction. I generally feel like I have a really good hold on our finances, so this afternoon I decided to see if our spending fits in this model.

It doesn’t.

The bad news is that we’re only putting 16% of our income into savings. That includes what we’re putting into retirement, emergency savings, our “general” savings, and our extra payment on our mortgage. This seems a little unfair to me, though. Aside from our mortgage, we don’t have any debt. (We were both super lucky on the student loan front. We occasionally used to let our credit cards balloon to a few thousand dollars and then pay them down, but since I started using mint, we got off that train. The car’s paid for. Knock on wood, debt free for the moment.)

The good news is that we’re also well under 50% for needs. Including auto insurance, home insurance, gas and electric, gas for the car, our alarm system, groceries, pet food, and our portion of medical insurance, we’re sitting at about 36%.

When I add up the wants that happen every month, I end up with about 21%. (So, going out to dinner, buying lunch, booze, mobile phones, internet, occasional parking, car2go and uber, beauty stuff (I usually get alternate months getting a pedicure or my brows done), my yoga classes, hulu, clothes, coffee shops, and housecleaning.)

If you’re a math wizard, that leaves 27% for random stuff that is hard to budget on a monthly basis because it’s not monthly. Once a year stuff, like my eye doctor appointment and contacts, vacation, vet bills, race entry fees, christmas gifts, hair cuts, funeral travel, replacing our busted wireless router, parking tickets, concert tickets, getting Chris’s tux dry cleaned, car repairs, bike repairs, fabric to make curtains for my office…it’s not like we have a big chunk leftover every month. It’s always going somewhere.

Anyhow. All just to say that budgeting is hard because categorizing is hard and there’s always something random that comes up that doesn’t fit neatly into a bucket.


Good morning

Yesterday Denver was expecting some bad weather. There was a winter storm warning, we were expecting lots of snow, the airport had even started to cancel some flights already.

I was planning to go to a 7 am yoga class this morning. I checked the website to make sure it wasn’t canceled and then rolled out of bed. I peeked out the window at the snow. It didn’t look too crazy.

I don’t love working out in the morning, but with yoga I do pretty well, even really early, because you warm up pretty slowly and because there’s very little you need to find. Like, you don’t have to be stumbling around your house trying to find your garmin and earbuds and two socks that match.

I’m rambling, but what I wanted to say was that while I really love yoga and I’ve been enjoying going in the morning, it was pretty snowy and it’s Friday and I was a little tired and thinking maybe I should skip it.

But I didn’t. I went outside to my car around 6:30 and said hello to my neighbor who was scraping off his car and he lamented that the rain before the snow had made our cars extra hard to scrape because it was more icey than powdery. And then he helped me scrape off my car. And then I helped him scrape off his car. And I felt so happy and glad to know and like my neighbors so well. Even drudgery like scraping your car can be pleasant when you’re doing it with a friend.

It put me in such a good mood, and then I found myself being extra super duper smiley and happy to the lady who rang up my breakfast and the guy at Whole Foods who helped me with the catering menu. 

I hope you are having a good day, internet friends. I am.

Trophy Wife

A few days ago Chris and I were out of shows to watch. We watch a handful of shows on hulu, but since it’s January, we’re caught up on almost everything and there weren’t any new episodes of anything. Rather than, say, finding something else to do, I suggested we watch the pilot of Trophy Wife. Hulu automatically starts shows for you when one finishes, so we’d seen like 30 seconds of it and I thought it looked funny, plus I love Bradley Whitford and would watch him in about anything.

The pilot was good. A lot of the jokes were spoiled in a commercial for the show, but it had several solid laughs, enough for us to start a second episode before bed. The second episode? I was crying laughing. Honestly, we kept having to pause it because we were cracking up.

If you decide to watch the pilot, you can also have fun just trying to spot the main character’s baby bump; it was shot when she was five months pregnant.