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Monday, September 29, 2008

Yard Sale #2 Results

What a long day yesterday was! Whew! Am I beat! Having a yard sale is a lot of work.

But it was worth it. I sold a ton of crap! I still have some things left, but I'm calling the thrift store today to come pick it all up. I finally have a living room back with all the yard sale junk out of the house. I'm sure the roommates are pleased.

Thanks to everyone that helped out yesterday, moving furniture, going to get lunch, delivering yard sale purchases, & hanging out with me all day. You really made the day a good one!

Total take from Yard Sale #2: $270

Friday, September 26, 2008

Antici... Pation!

Unlike just before the first yard sale, when I was a little nervous about selling my stuff, this time I'm impatiently awaiting the day when I can unload all my crap on the rest of Tempe. Back in July, I was just at the beginning of this anti-material endeavor, sure that I wanted to undertake it, but not sure how I would feel about it once it was done.

Since then, I've sold my bed, among other things, & collected (in the voice of Cartman from South Park) "tons & tons of crap", which is now piled in my living room to be sold at the yard sale this Sunday. Every day I find something else that I want to get rid of. It feels great, cleansing. I can't wait to get it all out of my house & onto my front lawn.

After the sale this weekend, I won't be saving any of the remains for another yard sale. I'm calling the local thrift store to come scoop it all up & take it away. I'm sure my roommates will be relieved to finally have a living room back after several months without one.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Couch Potato

Since I've been paring down my possessions, I've gotten to the point where I don't need as much space as before. Combine that with my obnoxiously high mortgage payment, I have decided to move into my office & try to rent out my bedroom. Looks like I'll soon be sleeping on the couch because there is no room in my office to sleep on the floor. I kind of like sleeping on the floor, but I'm flexible. I'll probably like sleeping on the couch too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

To Sell or Not to Sell

Part of the master plan is to sell the house. If I'm going to be permanently on the road, I don't want to be tied to any mortgage. The whole point of this big life change is to be free of all attachments.

But the way the economy is going, it's not looking like that will be possible without selling at a loss. Instead, I may have to rent out the place while I'm away. Not ideal.

Maybe I can rent it out for a little while until things stabilize, & then sell it when I can get a fair price for it. Anyone know of a good property management company?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Autumn!

Relief. After months & months of being cooped up inside because it's too darn hot to do anything but stare at the walls, we can finally start looking forward to going outside to play. That's what we moved here for: being able to play outside while everyone else is shoveling snow.

Fall in Phoenix is like spring everywhere else. We all get giddy over the prospect of cooler temperatures. Even though it's still 100 degrees outside, now is when we start planning our fall gardens & our fall hiking trips. We even have more energy & smile more in the fall.

I'm so looking forward to it.

Too Positive?

My blogger friend Joe said that the new title of my blog "Mid-Life Awakening" is too positive (The old title was "Mid-Life Crisis"). But I like the more positive title. It feels better. I even used it in this post, one of the first posts on this blog.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yard Sale #2: Sept 28th

The next yard sale is in one week, on Sunday, September 28th from 8:00am to 12:00pm. I'll start setting up around 7:00am. If you have a folding table that I can borrow, please bring it on over. Feel free to stop by any time between now & Sunday to drop off your crap. Like I said, the more crap on my front lawn, the more potential buyers will stop to haul it all away. Also, if you're not doing anything on Sunday, I would love to have some company during the sale. You can always do a little bit of shopping yourself - I'm getting rid of tons of stuff!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stop Running!

When I was in 5th grade, this boy chased me on the playground EVERY day. Finally I got fed up & went to the teacher. I said something like, "Teacher! He won't stop chasing me!" She replied, "Just stop running & he can't chase you anymore." That was an enlightening conversation then. But it's only recently that I see the broader implications of her wisdom.

Just stop running.

We all have the power to change what is happening to us. By running, I was providing that snot-nosed kid with the opportunity to chase me. By standing my ground, his power was taken away. I am now attempting to apply the same principle to the rest of my life, but on a much grander scale.

I mentioned a similar idea in this post.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Socrates Cafe

The phenomenon of the "Socrates Cafe" has spawned from a book by the same name written by Christopher Phillips. These "cafes" are meetings where people can get together to discuss opposing viewpoints, & hopefully gain insight into each other's perspectives. Skepticism is encouraged, as well as the rethinking of one's own opinions.

One local Socrates Cafe meets at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe on the third Sunday of the month.

Another Socrates Cafe group meets on the 2nd & 4th Wednesday evenings at the Tempe Library.

I have yet to go to a meeting because of this or that, but I was added to the email lists. One of the groups' coordinators recently sent out an email to the group with a provocative question about whether health care providers should be required by law to prescribe birth control pills, & the coordinator & I engaged in an interesting email discussion on the topic.

Finally, I asked how the rest of the group had responded to the question:
NANCY: Great topic! I think I'll bring this up in our next Puntos de Vista class. Has anyone else responded?
WENDY: No, sorry Nancy. I didn't get any responses to that email.


Isn't the Socrates Cafe a group of people interested in questioning, discussing, & sharing opinions? Didn't these people sign up for the group of their own accord? How could there be a bunch of philosophers who are uninterested in philosophizing?? Is anyone else floored by this?!

What has happened to us? We are all so busy trying to decide whether or not bulldogs wear lipstick that we have lost our sense of what is really important.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ni Hao!

I pulled out my mp3 player the other day, hoping to get some Chinese studying in. It had been a few days. When I turned it on, the volume was SUPER loud. Looks like those ear drops are working.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yoga vs. Bryce Canyon

When I got back from Bryce Canyon, I expected to be hella sore for the next several days. Miraculously, I wasn't sore at all. At all.

Now that I've been going to yoga classes again (I had skipped yoga for two weeks in favor of Camelback to train for Bryce), I'm sore. It definitely feels like I've been using my muscles. But it feels good, like I've been doing something good for my body.

I said it before & I'll say it again: I heart yoga!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Facebook & You Tube not taking up enough of your precious time? to the rescue!

Test your English vocabulary skills with really hard words. Or take the quiz in a foreign language. You can even see how well you know famous artists, or test your knowledge of the world's capitals.

With every correct answer, you donate rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

Now you can waste away the hours & feel good about it!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea is the account of Greg Mortenson's efforts to educate the uneducated in Pakistan & Afghanistan by constructing schools in the very poorest of areas. I have a few issues with the book, but nonetheless, it's an interesting story. Even more interesting is that his daughter, mentioned throughout the book, has recorded a song to go with the book. Enterprising to say the least.

I was discussing the book with my friend Debra over coffee this morning. She mentioned another organization that also aims to educate those in third world countries, Room to Read, headed by John Woods, formerly of Microsoft. Apparently this guy has even been on Oprah.

I wonder if they're hiring.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bryce Canyon Photos

Click here for more Bryce Canyon photos

Total Distance: 21 miles

High Point: 8313 feet

Low Point: 6661 feet

Elevation Change: 1652 feet

Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 6926 feet

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ear Doctor - Part Trois

I went to see the ear, nose & throat specialist yesterday. He looked in my ear, sniggered, & asked why I hadn't gotten my ears checked out sooner. Apparently I'm suffering from swimmer's ear, & have been for years. Odd, since I don't swim much. Anyway, he gave me more ear drops & told me to use them for two weeks, after which I should be able to hear crystal clear.

So why *haven't* I gone to a doctor before now? When you don't have insurance, you tend to avoid doctors at all cost, because it'll probably cost you. I spent 10 minutes with the ENT & it cost me $165, which was actually cheaper than what I expected. Hopefully it will be money well spent.

Look for the update in two weeks...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Survived!

I'm back in Phoenix.

The hike was HARD! It was uphill both ways! I'm not kidding. I'm glad that I had a good group of people to hike with or it would have been miserable. On the contrary, I had a surprisingly good time over the weekend.

We hiked ten miles through a part of Bryce Canyon that most people don't see, into the pines. It was beautiful of course, but different than what most people think of when they think of Bryce.

On the way in on Saturday, the sun was beating down on us, which made for some really good photo opportunities of the surrounding landscape, but made the 10-mile hike that much harder. I was exhausted when we finally made it to the camp site.

On Sunday, we did the same hike backwards. It rained pretty much the whole day, a relief from the hot sun, but I was drenched to the bone & covered in mud. I was so glad when we finally made it back to the car. The first thing I did was take my hiking shoes off.

Monday, since we didn't see the famous hoodoos on our backpacking trip, we did a 4.5-mile hike through the hoodoo valley. I was so tired from backpacking that it felt like another 10-mile hike.

After the day hike through the spires, we had an 8-hour car ride ahead of us. I finally made it home around 10:30pm, & I promptly went to bed.

I don't have my own camera, so when I get the photos from the rest of the group, I'll post them here.