Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve - Taking Time to Ponder

It's just after noon on New Year's Eve and it's raining. Which is adding wetness to our blanket of snow. Which turns it into a mess. Which reminds me why I'd rather be inside. But this gives me the perfect opportunity to ponder the past 12 months and the coming year.

I'm definitely ready for 2010. Although a lot of good things happened in 2009, I'm happy to move forward. I'm not happy, however, with the quick passage of time! I have so much to do and the years are jetting by with no regard for my wishes. I guess that's just the way it is as we age.

My goals for 2010 are to increase my writing and the resulting income. This is about the most fun I've ever had making money. Except for quilitng, of course. So I'll still be doing that, as well. I mostly need to get organized so I can accomplish tasks more quickly. And how does all that fit into being "retired?"

Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve. We're staying home (where we live, what would be our other choice?) and having some traditional prosperity foods for dinner - black-eyed peas, pork and cabbage. I'll be going to bed at the regular time. I'd much rather usher the New Year in bright and early than stay up to see what it looks like at midnight!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wrapping Up 2009 and Looking Toward 2010

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! I enjoyed a few days away with family and friends but am home again now and wrapping up the year. I like to spend the last few days of December looking toward the coming months. While I discontinued making actual resolutions a long time ago, I usually do have a few goals in mind that I’d like to work on. I find creating long term improvement is easier when implemented through small changes. For instance, last year I wanted to make daily stretching a habit so my goal was to stretch 5 days out of 7 each week. Well, it’s a habit now. If I don’t stretch, something is missing from my day. Haven’t decided what my new goal(s) will be but I have a few days to figure it out!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Countdown to Christmas

Christmas Eve is just two days away. I’m actually more ready than I thought I’d be when I last posted to this blog although I am going to end up doing my final shopping on Christmas Eve which has NEVER happened before – EVER!!! How on earth did this happen to me this year?

Thank goodness for the Internet! I’ve actually ordered a couple of gifts this year and had them shipped direct. How slick is that? It cost $4.99 each for the shipping but would have cost me at least that much to ship them myself after paying the $4.99 to have them sent to me. So I saved there for sure. I’m also sending an Amazon gift certificate by email, which is even better than sending a gift direct by mail. But next year, for the sake of my sanity and health, I just have to be better prepared. This last minute stuff drives me crazy!

Rather than kicking myself repeatedly for my failures, I guess I need to focus on my successes of late. Since embarking on my freelance writing journey in late July, I’ve made close to $700. Not a fortune by any stretch but a good use of the time I’ve invested. I’m also developing residual income streams, which is where the real earnings potential lies. In addition, I’ve been keeping up this blog pretty well. Plus, I completed a custom memory quilt in November. So I’m making some money at home with every indication of continuing to do so at an ever-increasing rate into the foreseeable future. I guess that’s not a bad trade off for being a little unprepared for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas seriously sneaked up on me this year. I guess I could blame it on a late Thanksgiving, which is usually the trigger to get on the ball. Maybe my new freelance writing career is keeping me busy. Maybe I’ve just had a series of life events that have demanded my attention. Maybe it’s age. Whatever the reason, the result is the same. It’s only eight days until Christmas and I’m NOT READY!!!

After some deep breathing, I’ve come up with a plan. Rather than detailing specifics, I’d like to share some general ideas that can be used by most anyone. No rocket science here, just practical tips for avoiding the consequences of too much procrastination.

Gift Cards

Always popular and appropriate for most anyone, the easiest last minute present is a gift card. Available from local merchants, chain stores and online retailers, a suitable gift card can be found for anyone, anywhere. For increased versatility, opt for a VISA gift card.

Admittedly, the drawback of giving gift cards is the expense. While cards can be purchased for a small amount, the value of the card is what the recipient will have to spend. Consider giving a family card to increase the spending power. For instance, for a family of five, $10 each may not buy much. With a $50 gift card, however, the family can choose something nice to be used by all members.

Homemade Candy and Baked Goods

If both money and time are short, consider making some holiday goodies. Many of the ingredients needed are probably already on hand. Think cookies and popcorn balls. Homemade fudge is my personal favorite and seems to be eagerly anticipated by those on my list.

Gift Baskets

Customized baskets or gift packs are appropriate for both young and old. No, I’m not talking about the ones you can buy in most every store this time of year. Consider putting together your own. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to find an appropriate container and fill it with a variety of small items. Think crayons and coloring pads for small children, specialty tea in a nice cup for a friend or several types of nuts with a nutcracker for an uncle.


Give the gift of time. It doesn’t have to cost anything and the actual event can be scheduled for after the holidays. For instance, for a family with children, give parents a gift of babysitting and the kids a game or craft night. Take an elderly neighbor shopping or a small child to the park. The memories created through the gift of time are free but priceless!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Type 1 Diabetes Hits Close to Home

A few days ago our 8-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, which is also known as juvenile onset diabetes. In retrospect, there were warning signs over the past few weeks but all could be easily attributed to other non-serious causes. Apparently, when the pancreas shuts down, it can fluctuate and may take a while before becoming a crisis. She had reached the crisis stage with a blood sugar level about 8 times higher than normal.

After spending several hours in the emergency room at our local rural hospital, she was taken 45 miles by ambulance to the next larger town to be flown to Sacramento as no hospitals north of there deal with paediatric diabetes. Fortunately it was caught early enough that it appears that the extremely elevated blood sugar levels and resulting ketoacidosis did no lasting damage.

After just a few days, she’s home now and learning to deal with her diabetes. This condition requires frequent finger pokes to check blood sugar levels and insulin injections after each meal and before bed. While this is a life changing condition, it is manageable and a lot of progress has been made in recent years.

Anyway, when starting this blog, I resolved to post 2-3 times a week. Obviously I’m a little behind and now you know why. For more information about juvenile onset diabetes, see the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Internation website.