Money Monday · Uncategorized

Money Monday | Short Update

Car repair is important.  I do appreciate my car taking me to my job.


Honestly, an emergency fund is for that kind of thing.  Like the flat tire my husband got.  It gives relief when things go wrong.  Now, I’m going to re-fill my emergency fund with money I would have paid toward my loans, but still.  I’m not going to stop kicking my student loans’ butts.


Maybe I’m being silly, but the world seems like it’d be a lot freer of a place if debt wasn’t weighing me down.  Like, a job loss wouldn’t be so terrifying if I didn’t have that weighing over my head.  I could breathe and move on.


It’s a dream that makes me happy.  I know, however, that debt can hit you very suddenly out of nowhere.  In particular, medical debt.  You don’t choose medical debt, it chooses you.  There’s only so much you can plan, outside of a nice emergency fund of who knows how much money.  You could get hit by a car and your insurance might only cover part of it, you could suddenly get cancer, you could suddenly develop a mental illness (just so you know, schizophrenia frequently makes its first appearance in your 20’s in lots of cases, random bit of information) and need lots of treatment and meds…forever.  And if that happens when you’re just starting to dig yourself out of debt?  That’s rough (honestly, it’s rough in general, this is just insult to injury).  Or right when you’ve gotten out of debt only to be buried again?  For something out of your control?


Anxiety can be a very bad thing, but I can’t say that it has ever kept me from being prepared.  Well, there was this one time I was afraid to look at my bank account for a few months…but I got over that.  Now I just plan and plan and plan and plan.  I like planning.  I like knowing what to do when something unexpected happens.  I do kind of hate the part where I don’t actually have the supplies yet to pull off the plan, but I’m getting there.



Thinking Thursday · Uncategorized

Thinking Thursday

Today, having just enjoyed 2 hours in the kitchen making some ridiculous cheesy potatoes, I realized that I love taking my time on things I enjoy.


I enjoy actually shredding the cheese myself.  I enjoy chopping the potatoes on my own time.  I enjoy folding laundry with my own hands.  I enjoy making spreadsheets that are easy to understand and foolproof.  I love drawing and making pictures.  I even enjoy learning about drawing.


The jobs worth doing, are worth doing well.  If your work is what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.  Other platitudes.


But legit.  There are some things I really enjoy, and today I just want to relish in the fact that I can find some joy in the mundane.


Life is about the journey after all.



Uncategorized · Working Wednesday

Working Wednesday | Late Again

Can it count that I was kind of working on Wednesday?  Also that my computer was unavailable to me?  Heck yes!


An awesome friend of mine has a career in the medical world.  She wants to raise money by throwing a fundraiser for her office.  She wants to have one of those paint and sip parties.  She asked me to teach.




Networking sounded so stupid to me in college?  Like why would I pretend to enjoy small talk with a stranger so I can give them my business card?  But this is technically networking?  Also, I love my friends.  And that they’re thinking of me.


I don’t know if her idea will get approved, but I can’t not think about something once it’s in my head.


I want to teach something easy, but REALLY impressive looking.  Something with mass appeal.  All my brain keeps coming up with is sunsets.  Or paintings where you peel the tape off later and come up with something cool.  Or a galaxy?  A galaxy could be fun.


This totally counts.



Trying Tuesday · Uncategorized

Trying Tuesday | Perspective Again

I decided to try perspective again (and probably again and and again and again until I finally understand it).


But this time I watched a video because that’s almost like being in class.  So I found the following awesome videos that helped me wrap my brain around the topic:




Look, I’m serious.  I even took notes:



I even attempted my own thing, which is unfinished because I got tired of it:




Mistakes are so important in art.  More important is recognizing them.  I have so many more mistakes to make, and I am happy about that.



Money Monday · Uncategorized

Money Monday | The Why

So I’m in the middle of slogging it through paying off my student loans.  It feels Sisyphean.  Like, I even know my potential payoff date (which is in November!).  But that day seems forever away and almost impossible.  I feel like I’m throwing my money as quickly as I’m making it at this danged loan.  This is the hard part of the financial independence journey, right?  This is the part where I look back in ten years, beaming with pride that I made it through?


It’s hard.  Mr. Smudged and I both have aging cars.  Cars that are now throwing lights.  Cars that need some expensive love.  Expensive love that could throw a wrench in my plans for getting these stupid loans to go away.  I have an emergency fund, but I’ll need to refill it if I use it all up.  And that would have to come from my student loan (over)payments.  Depending on the cost to fix, it could push me back two or three months.


When I was a kid, I would get scared every time we went for a ride in the car for longer than ten minutes.  What if I had to go to the bathroom?  Genuine terror would fill my heart.  It was silly.  It was ridiculous.  But that same dread fills me up now, what is two months?  Hardly anything!  My heart was set on November.


I’m trying to remind myself why I want to be financially independent.  Like it will make me feel better, instead of reminding me that my goals could be facing a setback.


I have a dream of all the things I want to do if I can only retire early.


I want to learn art and make art and spend so much time looking at art.


I want to learn other things, like how to play guitar or how to fix a car.


I want to (assuming we have kids) spend so much time with potential future children.


I want to wake up without my alarm clock and ease into my day as slowly as I please.


I want to have the time and energy to cooking a dinner exactly the way I want it.


I want to hang out with friends and still have energy because I didn’t use all of my energy talking to co-workers (who are fine, but it’s just so exhausting).


I want to seriously commit to making my own clothes.


I want to learn how to knit.


I want to spend so much less time in my car.


I want to make plans, see that it has snowed, and delay them because I have power over my time and don’t have to risk my life in cold weather.


I want to volunteer and help people and be able to be there at a moment’s notice, not trapped at work.


I want to spend so much time with my husband.


I want to teach potential future children to be compassionate, independent, and to know themselves.




And then there’s the don’ts:


I don’t want to hear an alarm clock ever again.


I don’t want to feel stressed about taking a day off because I am the pin that holds everything together.


I don’t want to have to report my time and activity to anyone.  (Seriously so glad to be done with high school where I had to ask to go to the bathroom).


I don’t want to waste my time feeling miserable doing a job that doesn’t appeal to me.  I know your job doesn’t have to fulfill you, but it shouldn’t make you miserable either.


I don’t want to have a heart attack at work like my father.


I don’t want work to make me into a grumpy, irritable person.


I don’t want to waste my youth doing things I don’t care about.


I don’t want to feel controlled by the whims of the world and the problems it throws at people who can’t handle it fiscally.



Famous Artist Friday · Uncategorized

Famous Artist Friday | Annette Lemieux

Today I’m going outside of my comfortable territory.  I really want to foster an appreciation for multiple genres of art within myself.  So, I’d like to discuss conceptual art and artist I conveniently found on Wikipedia after accidentally looking up Duchamp (who is the guy who signed the urinal, if you’re familiar with that particular story.).


As far as I can tell from reading Wikipedia (and I’m hungry and confused, I should really eat some lunch) Conceptual art is really rebellious.  I don’t want to say something like “realistic portraiture is too mainstream.”  I mean more of a “everything is BS, let’s see how far we can take this.”  Which I appreciate.  In a culture that values fame and money, it is fascinating to see people simultaneously break down what makes art art AND sell some fairly ridiculous things to rich people (like a signed urinal).


But to my point, I picked Annette Lemieux.  Who was listed on the Conceptual Art page in Wikipedia.  But Wikipedia lists Picture Theory as the art scene/era (I don’t know, I’m only slooooooooowly educating myself).


So I looked up Picture Theory.  I have spoken English my entire life but had to look up what the word proposition meant because (even though I totally know what it is!) the context was super unhelpful and didn’t make sense with the definition I know.  I think the idea was basically to use pictures to represent (suggest?  I think that’s the proposition link?) concepts.  To have pictures speak for themselves.


I could be totally wrong and would love to be corrected.  Also, if corrected, please act like I know nothing and should be talked to slowly and with small words.


My basic understanding of her work is that she takes objects and creates an environment that has a distinct meaning.  I think I remember an important art word:  juxtaposition (when things are placed side by side for comparison…like a giant baby next to a miniature man).


This is called Things to Walk Away With (what a heavy title!  I love it!) ( and according to the site I found it on, it is copyrighted to Kent Fine Art, New York © Courtesy of the Artist and Fisher Landau Center for Art.  Citation isn’t something I’m great at.  Also, I really want artists to get their credit and proper due, but am also in debt and cannot really afford to buy awesome art right now.  Someday.


Things to Walk Away With


Just look and ponder and think.  Why are these objects together?  Why are you walking away with them?  Just be silent, let your brain think.  I don’t want to put thoughts in your head.


That’s something I love about art.  Which is also why it’s hard to go to art museums with people who just don’t get it.  You have to slow down.  You have to shut up.  You have to think.  And that is so beautiful in a world that is so fast.


She also has a series called The Strange Life of Objects (which could also be a book).


The Strange Life of Objects


I mean, look at that.  There’s so much story in that concrete.  People tend to say things like “ugh, I could do that.”  Which honestly, had really scared me away from conceptual art.


But here’s the thing.  You didn’t do that.  I didn’t do that.  Also, it’s very impressive to take something simple and create a huge emotional impact.


Kudos, Annette Lemieux.



Thinking Thursday · Uncategorized

Thinking Thursday | Pets

I decided to read this lovely blog and found myself crying.  I was already planning on writing about our much-loved Storm.  Our beautiful, 80 pound, black lab.


Storm doesn’t quiver at lightning or thunder or honking cars.  She doesn’t gallop for comfort when the sweeper comes her way.  She stands bravely at the door, warning those who knock that she means business (unless you’ve come to pet her, then you’re welcome anytime).  The only word that frightens her is the word BATH.  Her tail goes straight between her legs and she cowers.


Her ears perk up and she jumps a few feet in the air (pretty impressive for a 10 year old dog with graying chin and belly) when the words CAR, RIDE, or WALK are mentioned in even the politest of conversation.


As soon as I exit the bed to get ready for the day, she’s immediately in it, curled up next to her boy, my husband.  She follows him around like…a puppy.  And when he’s not around, she follows me.


She drools whenever food is remotely near her.  She lays by the oven in anticipation, endangering everyone carrying hot, heavy objects and not looking where they’re going.


Storm is the best alarm clock; she works in stages.  Upon discovering she is hungry (never before 7), she starts to cry ever so quietly.  If that doesn’t work, she nudges us gently with her wet nose.  If that doesn’t work, she resorts to wrapping her paw around whatever arm she can grasp and attempting to shake us awake.  That always works.


When times have been hard, and they have definitely been hard, she sits still and lets you hug her.  She’s been known to lick up a tear or two.  Storm always sits still for hugs.  She knows when to comfort.  She never says I told you so.  She never refrains from loving you.  She loves anyone who is willing to give her butt scratches or food.


Storm has the most impressively awful farts.  They can clear multiple rooms of the house at once.  No one else’s farts have ever been mistaken for hers.  Silent but deadly rings true.  But as she’s gotten older, stairs make her fart loudly.  Nothing can make us laugh like Storm “toot toot tooting” all the way up the stairs.  She does not seem to get the joke.


Storm is getting old for a lab.  She gives us slightly annoyed looks when children play a little too rough.  She sighs when she lays down.  More and more white appears, contrasting with her black coat.  Two lumps are slowly growing in her armpits.


I’m so scared of losing Storm.  I know that when you get a dog, that they won’t live as long as you.  I know that you should give them the best possible time in their short lives.  But I’m still scared.  There’s no replacing Storm.  No other dog could possible be like her.  I wouldn’t want to replace her either.


Our Storm is beautiful and loved.



Uncategorized · Working Wednesday

Working Wednesday | Taxes Part 2

So as I recall, I ended last week not knowing whether or not I had to pay taxes on a quarterly (or even monthly!) basis on my art generated income.


So I found this which both made me happy and sad at the same time.


Basically, as I am an individual (and not a corporation), unless I expect to owe more than $1,000 in taxes, I have to pay yearly.  More than that, it’s quarterly.


Also, unrelated, how am I supposed to know how much I expect to owe in taxes?  Since this income is extra, I’d say save half of whatever I make and take a guess.  I suppose I could fill out the forms I mentioned last week, which I’m totally not going to do because I’ve made less than $300 on my art this year…so there’s no way I owe more than $1,000 in taxes.


I will keep all of this in mind when I really get serious about selling stuff.  But for now, I just plan on learning as much as possible.



Trying Tuesday · Uncategorized

Trying Tuesday | Danged Buildings

I was wasting time on the internet today…or researching, paint it how you will.  In any case, I found this AWESOME tutorial (or awesome to how I work in particular) for perspective.  Can I just say that drawing buildings, inside or out, just hurts me.  I want to be able to so much, but I try, cry, and then go on to doodling more faces.






It’s supposed to be terrible because pre-sketch (keep your expectations LOW):


Let’s move it and pretend like that will help me:



My hopes were low (but hey, first attempt at this method, obviously need LOTS of practice):



Clearly should have done some warm-ups:




End result, mostly because I literally gave up:



I have much more practice to do.



Money Monday · Uncategorized

Money Monday | Broken Chain

I didn’t blog yesterday.  I blame the holiday.  I broke the chain, and realized that I don’t have anything set up as punishment to keep myself from breaking the chain.


So I’m going to reach into the past (and present a little), and blog about something that should totally count as punishment on Money Monday.  Mostly because it’s valuable and I HATE it.




Nothing strikes fear into my people-pleasing, hyper-obedient heart like negotiating.  I know that sometimes it’s silently expected.   I still hate it.  Also, it saves a lot of money.  And I hate it.  I want everything to be black and white and easy, but that’s not what life is.


We got a ticket a few weekends back.  We accidentally almost went through the wrong toll lane.  In our defense, I don’t think we could see that we were not in the “Cash” lane because of a large truck.  I wasn’t driving or paying attention though.  We BARELY managed to get into the correct lane.  But we did.  We also got a ticket.  Which hurts to the depths of my heart.  Getting in trouble AND having to pay money for something stupid?  AG. O. NY.


I went to pay it online because that’s what you do when you hate talking on the phone (especially with your tail between your legs).  The website recommended NEGOTIATING.  Like straight up, said that we could apply for a first-time going through without a pass thing.  So I did.  My heart was beating SO hard in my heart.  And I did it.


And then I waited.


And then the phone rang.  They couldn’t just email me.  They had to call me.  And I trust giving out certain information on the phone not at all unless I have like double researched the phone number.  So I BARGAINED with the nice customer service rep.  She brought the ticket down significantly AND was willing to email me instead of have me pay over the phone.


Please don’t laugh.  It’s a big step for me.




PS: Let’s see if post-dating makes it look like I actually published this on Monday!