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Rich Dad, Poor Dad February 9, 2009

Filed under: Books & Mags,Very Good Things — suzanne turner @ 1:51 am

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Personal Finance

This book teaches you the essential rules of managing money, and that it isn’t all about just making more of it. It is about making smart choices, and not stretching your budget, no matter your income, to the limit. It advocates building assets versus aquiring liabilities. The first step is knowing the difference and this book does a great job of laying out the concepts to help you understand how to acquire assets and minimize liabilities. I recommend it highly. A friend who is also a fan of this book told me about a game that accompanies it called Cashflow, which is supposed to be a fun way to apply the ideas from the book. Unfortunately the game costs around $200… so I don’t think that is a prudent decision for my budget right now. 🙂 But I’ll keep an eye out for it in the free section of Craigslist. In summary though, I’m very happy Joel and I found this book when we did. It has changed the way we look at money, how we are handling the budget now and setting future goals.

 

The Business of Being Born

Filed under: Entertainment,Health & Beauty,Very Good Things — suzanne turner @ 12:48 am

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Documentary

I gave The Business of Being Born 5 hearts because it is exactly what I want from a documentary: life-changing, enlightening information presented in an interesting way. This film was inspired by Ricki Lake’s (yes, the former talk-show host) experiences during the birth of her first child, when in the hospital she was given little choice in the way the process unfolded. It chronicles several pregnancies of women who have decided to have a certified nurse midwife attend their home births, rather than have a doctor deliver the baby. It is filled with sobering statistics and sensible explanations regarding the correlations between doctor interventions with drugs and the rise in recent years in the number of caesarian sections performed. I think this is something everyone should know about, and this is a great way to find out more. If you have had a child, plan to someday, or know anyone in either of those situations, this should be mandatory. Not everyone may agree completely with the all ideas presented, but having more information with which to make important life decisions is never a bad thing in my opinion.

 

What Politics are not about… November 1, 2008

Filed under: Rants (Politics) — suzanne turner @ 12:13 pm

Glasses

Balloons

Ears

Religion

Suits

Nepotism

Affairs

Shoes

Big Macs

Hair

Jokes

Celebrity

Why is anyone watching this crap? The news anchors can go kick rocks. I’ll hear what matters in the debates.

 

Southbound/Hellbent October 8, 2008

Filed under: Books & Mags,Rants (Politics),Religion & Spirituality,Travel — suzanne turner @ 1:06 am

Seattle today! Helena Tomorrow… maybe.

I had only been to Seattle briefly, passing through until now. But today, Joel and I ran around that city like nobody’s business. The forecast had called for lots of rain, but lo and behold, it was the most fantastic day imaginable. Everywhere we looked, it was a scene straight out of that computer game Myst. The sun was shining on the water as we took the ferry from Bainbridge Island to the city. On the Island, we are staying with Joel’s Uncle, who has an amazing house with his wife, who was unfortunately visiting family in Japan as she often does. So sadly, I didn’t get to meet her. Their house, which they designed themselves, is just a beautiful example of traditional Japanese design. And the Zen-like feeling is palpable. Simple wood, glass, and bamboo surrounded by acres of forest- needless to say, it was a more relaxing stay than anywhere else we could have imagined. I soaked in the deep Japanese hot bath for quite a while before retiring to bed in a casual kimono- I forget the word for it. It was wonderful. Today we walked from the ferry terminal over to the fish market, up to find a place where Joel remembered having great Russian Pieroshky, which we did find and enjoy very much. We found the Seattle Public Library, which I have been reading about since I had heard of its design, and it was amazing to see in real life. I get to cross another famous architect off my list of buildings to see- Rem Koolhaas! I don’t think I’ll ever beat meeting Daniel Liebskind though. 🙂 We then walked up to the retail core, where I saw this amazing restauraunt called Purple which had this ridiculously huge spiral staircase in the middle surrounding their open, cylindrical wine storage. They had big dark, gothic looking light fixtures hanging from the double height ceiling that looked like they held big candles, which I’m sure were really light fixtures, but the effect was stunning. It was very Sarah and Ted. 🙂 It would be so much fun travelling with friends, we decided. Running around there, a couple of couples, would be so much fun. Joel is really good though about shopping with me and looking with me at things I like. Which brings me to my next subject.

We need to shop a lot less. Saving money has never been a forte for either of us, but its time to stop making excuses. So many people want to live a lot richer than they are. Maybe our parents or grandparents generation are doing ok now, but we don’t see the half-lifetime worth of work that has gone into preparing that lifestyle. Some of the people our age have inherited some of their wealth, or a position to make wealth from that same source, but for most of us, we need to realize that hard, hard work is the way to come by wealth. And that wealth needs to build slowly but surely over a number of years. We need to learn to accept that the house we want and the housing we can afford are often two different things most often these days. Think of where your parents were living when they were in their twenties, versus where they are living now. We decided to be starving students, but refusing to acknowledge that decision is not getting us anywhere. We can only dig ourselves out of debt steadily, or rack it up and suffer forever. And for what? Stuff? One good thing about moving seasonally is that it keeps your pack-ratted shit in check. That card someone gave you years ago- did it change your life? Then go ahead and throw it away. People want to keep things with sentinental value, but they could really just keep the memory. Or take a picture and store it on the internet. The thought of how much money I have spent sickens me. Some in worthwhile endeavors, some on pure bullshit. I wish I could just have the money back for all the things I bought. But going forward, I just need to remember that. In fact, today I found a book of Buddhist essays on the urge to spend and consume, which would be cool to read, to bolster my resolve. But I decided to just go ahead and keep that $17.95 and walk away. I could look up the subject on the internet for free if I really care to read up. Joel and I both have a weakness for books and magazines, which is ok to a certain extent. Its somewhat justified, but we still need to keep it to a minimum, and only what applies to helping make more money. When we are bored and want to spend money- hey it sounds like we have free time to be working on learning more, and working out. We just agreed to not get cable when we get to Denver. People our age consider TV a near necessity. Silly and sad.    

When we get back home, I want to go through all that storage in my bedroom- all that stuff I have no idea what it is- and sell it. Everything. Cutthroat. We dont need a TV. We don’t need anything. I want to get the stuff we BOTH own down to what we can fit in the 4 Runner. That’s a large enough vehicle. A few totes for household stuff, the rest for only the most useful clothes and things. No more. Its sickening how much I have, how should I be wanting more? I thought tonight of a mantra that encompasses my goal for the winter: Aim for being the person you want to be, and not having the things you want to have. I want to keep that at the front of my mind.

I just finished reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which talked a lot about the nature of quality. The book was rather long winded at getting to the point, but quality is a concept I have often contemplated myself, so it kept me (barely) intrigued enough to finish it. It did get better, but not until the very end. If you include the afterward. Though the concepts could have been summed up more quickly, it did give me a lot to think about. I want to pare down the things I have and trade them for quality things. I have thought about this topic mostly in terms of architectural appplications, but I think it applies regardless. I am always drawn to things that have quality and good intrinsically in them. I love architecture with the joinery and cladding naked, the methods of construction apparent. I love materials like wood, metal, and concrete that are themselves the material beauty. Paint is never necessary in my mind. When you think this way anyway, other things seem to fall into place- for instance with the absence of paint, you have no volitile organic compunds off-gassing in the baby’s bedroom. The simplest road is usually best. And its true that the best things in life are free. Luckily also, we are at a time when most of the things we could ever want or need are very accessible, and even for free. Books and music are very available at the library, and I intend to spend more time there again. I can easily spend hours there, and for free. We can work out, go for a walk, make a light dinner, hang out with friends, listen to music- shopping is not the answer. I wish I had never bought girl-mag subscriptions for my sister. I know my girlfriends and I were influenced by those at a young age, and not in a good way, but obviously, it is worse now. The only way I can teach her now is by my example that things are not where its at.

All the things I want I can either figure out how to get for free, cheap, or just decide to forego. I’m at the point where I’d rather have a bike or a kayak than a car. I guess quality is just finding the right combination of things that make you truly happy. Finding the right place to live that suits your needs is crucial. I think people don’t explore enough on their own. I have always wanted to visit Seattle, but whenever I mentioned it, people always say, probably some who have never even been there, “yeah, well it always rains there, who would live there?” Now that I have lived half a year in Juneau, with the worst weather they have had in easily over 15 years, I’m glad to know rain won’t stop me if I want to live somewhere. Juneau, no. But someplace like this, oh yeah. I would live here in Bainbridge Island, or over in the city in a heartbeat. People there are really cool, and the whole feel is so artsy, cultural, and yet laid back. I know we caught the weather in its prime today, but the shops I saw here and the culture is exactly what I’m looking for. Rain may not stop me, but we’ll see about snow as we make our way south, and then east to Denver for the winter. I want to give Joel his chance to be back near his friends and family, and since I’m feeling ready to explore anywhere new, now is the time. Joel is good to me, and if I am utterly miserable somewhere, I know he will help me do what it takes to fix things. Plus, we won’t be there forever.

 

Goodbye, Cloudtown! October 6, 2008

Filed under: Travel — suzanne turner @ 1:37 am
Tags: , , ,

Last Night in Juneau!

And we happened to hear thrashing see a big ol’ black bear tossing our big trash cans around under our front second story window tonight. Sweet. I’ve had good vantage points for both of my bear viewings.  🙂 That’s how I like it. That thing was loud and it wasn’t even tryin.

Also saw today a wild dog that wanders out by the shop in Skagway where we were this morning, which looked like a husky but I noticed right away had HUGE paws, longer legs, high skinny haunches and brown/gold eyes. I stayed in the shop and let it roam around outside. He came up to Joel and said hello, but Joel is a lot better at judging dog moods. I looked at him, and the look was cold, like that of a reptile- distant and analytic. I was scared to look too long as that can be taken as a challenge. Paul gave him a leftover hunk of meat, as is their deal for the dog keeping bears away. A while back the dog and a big ass bear had a standoff that woke the distant neighbors, shook the near ground, and went on for hours. Paul said the dog walked out of the hills a couple years ago and is just starting to let people pet him and probably has a good deal of wolf in him, as most huskies do but more distantly. 

The trees in Skagway are turning yellow, orange and red. Some higher up are still dark green, above that the trees trail off into rock, and the rocks on top are dusted with snow. Unbelievably beautiful ferry rides this week. Good Alaskan day to end on. For now. I’m sure we’ll be back. We’ve only seen a fraction of Alaska. It’s incomprehendable just how big, dense, dark, dangerous and beautiful a place can be. I often get the feeling this place is not meant for visitors. But who can resist the allure?

That being said, Juneau is a place unlike any other I’ve seen. When it’s nice, oh man, it’s amazing. But those days come, I’d say, one in forty days. It’s just not enough. And that’s in the Summer! I don’t understand the appeal during the winter, but I guess I’d have to stay and see. Which will never happen. Darkness, cold, isolation and lack of food would drive me out of my mind. For most people here, it just drives them to drinking.

Well, in celebration, I have started to compile my silly list:

You Know You’ve Been in Juneau Too Long When…

  • You know what color Carhartts used to be even when covered in a season’s worth of grit and grease.
  • You call each other to report the daily soups and specials at the Breeze.
  • You’ll gladly pay $4.50 for a single red bell pepper. Literally.
  • You now know a lot of different words for drywall, though most often hear “sheetrock.”
  • You feel like you’re back in high school beacuse there is no escaping gossip and drama. It follows you from work, to the bar, back to work, and then home!
  • One or more of the people you met end up going a little crazy.
  • You project the current state and admit that this town has the capacity to drive you a little crazy.
  • You take a liking to plant-inspired names like Cedar, Jasmine, Willow and Aspen.
  • Party planning consists of buying Alaskan Amber, smoked salmon, flares, and parts for a potato gun and a trebuchet.
  • Tourists are your bread and butter, and the bane of your existence.
  • You have started considering buy Extra Tuffs just because they not only seem practical, but somewhat fashionable?!
  • You have started calling nearly every truck a “rig.”
  • You find yourself in a McDonald’s… because it’s open.
  • You and your significant other have together gained 100 lbs. in 6 months.
  • No matter how cheap the rate, you vow never to stay ever again at the Super 8.
  • You can’t think of anything that smells worse than work gear and vehicles: sled dog + fabric + moisture + time = blechh.
  • Rent in San Diego sounds pretty reasonable.
  • If someone tried to convince you the sun still exists in September, but is just fogged over, you might just argue otherwise.
 

Women’s Health Mag & Barley Salad September 6, 2008

Filed under: Books & Mags,Food,Health & Beauty — suzanne turner @ 2:41 pm

When I was at the airport in Seattle coming home from Aaron & Brenda’s Lovefest, I picked up a couple mags for the flight. Shape, and Women’s Health. First I started flipping through the Shape, and it took a while to get past the ads to any meat. The articles were mainly about products, clothes and accessories, just like any other superficial women’s mag. There wasn’t much solid advice on food or exercise, and I was getting a little bummed and felt ripped off. I could have just bought Cosmo- at least that would have had some juicy stuff too. I’m so glad I also bought Women’s Health! It was everything I had wanted: tons of exercise stuff, interesting news and studies, food and recipes I tried and love, and sultry tidbits similar to those you might find in Men’s Health. It was so awesome and refreshing, and I’m so glad I got it. If I had just grabbed Shape, I would surely be bitter. But I plan to subscribe now to Women’s Health. AND they have a great website where you can grab recipes and stuff you missed! I wish it came out weekly. 🙂

One of the recipes that is now in my regular rotation is a barley salad, a sort of variation on Tabbouleh. I ate it so many days in a row, I had to give it a rest for a little while. Eveyone who tasted it loved it too. I can’t seem to find the recipe right now, but when I do, I’ll update you with it. But now that I’ve made it, I kind of just wing it anyway. It’s cooked barley, lemon juice, parsley, green onions, chopped greens, chopped hazelnuts, olive oil, salt, pepper. I tried walnuts and it was still good, but hazelnuts are better. I love parsley, so I could eat this everyday. I love chopping everything for this, and it is so hearty for a salad- it’s a one bowl dinner. Plus the cooked barley makes this a warm salad which is a nice change. Although it definitely makes a delicious snack right out of the fridge the next day.

 

Why facebook is so cool

Filed under: Family & Friends — suzanne turner @ 12:52 pm

One of the best things about living in a new place is getting to meet new friends. One of the hard things about seasonal work is that you leave these cool people you met, but I’m so excited a lot of the people I met are on facebook. Its so great that we live in a time where so many people have access to this kind of connection. I love staying in touch with people I have met, even if it is just being able to see pictures of what they’re up to. We don’t all always have time to say the things we want to, but just being able to- whether its in a bulletin, comment, or message- is such a great thing. Especially now when weddings, babies, travels, and all sorts of other things are going on with everyone. It’s hard to keep up, but I’m so grateful that so many of my friends are really good about posting pictures and updates on what’s going on in their lives. It’s so great to see people happy and doing their thing.

Plus Facebook has kept me connected to people back home while I’ve been here. I get to play games and IM people, and see what they’ve been up to. A lot of people who can’t seem to drag themselves to myspace are finally seeing that facebook is a good alternative. It keeps your info private and doesn’t let in people who don’t know you. It also really is a great tool for networking. I’m realizing I probably should have been closer and kept in touch with more people I went to school with. I really am glad to keep in touch with teachers who I still consider mentors. There were so many cool instructors at the Art Institute. I’m glad to still have their advice and insight at my fingertips.