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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Half Empty

I've started sorting through all the stuff at the studio, deciding what to keep & what to sell at the big liquidation sale on April 11th & 12th (10:00-5:00 both days). Most of it falls into the "sell" pile. I'm also looking for things at home that I might be able to add to the loot. Apparently, I still have tons & tons of crap.

So far, my friend Brenda has taken some furniture, some books, & other little things, so that it already looks half empty. It makes me sad to see it like that, taken apart, torn asunder.

Change is hard.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bluegrass Music

I went last night to see my friends play some kick-ass bluegrass at the Sail Inn. I'm so glad that they're finally playing out again. They're playing there every Sunday now, which is great because I might have just a few more weeks in Phoenix to see them play before I shove off to the wild unknown.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Liver Walk

I did a 5K liver walk this morning with the Snap Fitness team, headed by my friend Debra. It was her birthday on Thursday, & she requested that we contribute to the cause instead of giving her a gift. The weather this morning was perfect. It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The End of the Beginning

Yesterday was the last day of classes at The Spanish Place. It went a lot better than I had imagined. I held it together & went through classes as usual.

Now it's time for the next step: putting prices on everything for the big sale April 11-12.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Life: An Update

I've found that many people seem surprised, confused, & sometimes shocked at my current state of affairs. So I figured it was time for an update.

I'm closing The Spanish Place this week. March 26th is the last day. Then I'm selling off everything in a sale on April 11-12 in hopes of raising some money for my trip to Oaxaca at the end of April. Feel free to stop by between 10:00am & 5:00pm either day to contribute to the fund raising efforts.

Trip to Oaxaca, Mexico
I'm leaving for Mexico on April 19th. Originally this was a vacation, & it still is, but I will also be checking out the job market while I'm there. I hope to get a job teaching English in Oaxaca or maybe Cuernavaca. Either way, I'll return to Phoenix on April 28th. If I do get a job, I'll pack up my remaining goods & move to Mexico. If I don't, I'll think of a Plan B, which may include teaching English in Argentina, Guatemala, Costa Rica, or even China. But I almost certainly will be leaving Phoenix for good very soon.

100 Thing Challenge
I've been spending much of my spare time scanning old photos, journals, & memorabilia in an effort to reduce my belongings. This is especially relevant now when I may be moving out of the country & don't want to take a lot of things with me. Once I know for sure when I'll be leaving Phoenix, I will have another yard sale at my house to get rid of the last remaining items.

I'm leaning towards foreclosing on the house or doing a short sale, but I won't decide for sure until I know what happens in Mexico. I'm going to a free seminar at Fiesta Inn on April 7th to find more out about my options. I've talked to lawyers, real estate agents, & people who have gone through their own foreclosures. They all say that I have a minimum of six months of non-payment before I have to leave the house.

I was considering filing bankruptcy, but the $2300 attorney's fee is prohibitive. Besides, a foreclosure will get me the same result, & I can still keep my credit cards. I haven't completely ruled out bankruptcy, though. I will always have the option of filing at a later date if I need to.

Right now, everything depends on what I find out while I'm in Mexico in April. Wherever I end up, I'll be sure to let everyone know so you can start planning your next vacation!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to Start Your Own Business

Ah, the American Dream: Work for yourself so that you don't have to take anyone's crap. They always say that you should find something that you would do for free, & then find a way to make a living at it.

Bad idea.

I've found in my experience as a business owner that I love teaching Spanish, & I especially love teaching at my studio. The problem is that I would indeed do this for free, so I don't feel like I need to charge anyone for it. That makes it tough to earn a living, I must say.

So my advice to you, if you are so inclined, is to find something that you're good at, but that you wouldn't do unless someone paid you to do it. Then open a business.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Phoenix Film Festival: April 2-9

This year I'm a volunteer for the Phoenix Film Festival. In exchange for 20 hours of work, I get a full pass to the festival, which includes all of the films, plus the parties & other events. Cool, huh?

I went yesterday to pick up boxes of fliers & posters to put up around town, & will be distributing them this weekend.
I plan to make a day of it on Friday, April 3rd. Let me know if you'd like to join me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Silver Threads & Golden Needles

Apparently, I was out of the loop. Have you heard this song?

& the list goes on...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dividend Dreams

I got my REI dividend in the mail last week, & have been trying to decide what I'm going to spend those six dollars on. Should I get some climbing chalk? Another Nalgeen bottle? Some socks? With the current 20% off sale, I might be able to get TWO pairs of socks. Oh, the possibilities!

Seriously, though. I realize that I'll need more than $6, but in the interest of my upcoming travels, what else might I need as I make my way around the world?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I Wanna Drive the Zamboni

I went to a Phoenix Coyotes game tonight with my friend Debra. We watched the zamboni go round & round. FUN!

Not only that, but they played this song during one of the breaks:

It was a night to remember.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Two Times 13

This is our second Friday the 13th this year. Seems like a good time to make some changes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Cost of Bankruptcy

I went to see Bankruptcy Lawyer Number Two today.

If you recall, I saw a lawyer a couple of weeks ago, who told me that his fees to take the case would be $2300. I was shocked that bankruptcy would be so expensive. If you're bankrupt, you most certainly don't have $2300 lying around. I noticed that that lawyer seemed to be well-off, with dark wood & leather all over his office, & a nice suit to greet me in. I thought that maybe he charges $2300 just because he can.

So I wanted a second opinion. I called the Lawyer Referal Directory, which charged me $35 to find an attorney for me in Tempe. Everyone gets their share of the pie, I guess. I called their referal & they said they were available to see me this afternoon. Great!

I walked into the office, which was an old converted house, & noticed that their carpeting was the same cheap-o carpeting that I have in my own place of business. Good sign, I thought. Bankruptcy Lawyer Number Two greeted me in jeans & tennis shoes. Another good sign.

Not so much. It turns out that Bankruptcy Lawyer Number Two wants $2500 to take the case. Holy Moley! I asked if there were any payment plans. He said that no, the entire fee must be paid before filing the case. He blamed that on the courts, as he looked out the window.

So now I'm left wondering: what kind of system allows you to file bankruptcy, but doesn't give you an affordable way to do it? What happens to all of us stuck in the middle?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

On Being Lazy

I don't have to be productive today. It's Sunday.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Scanning the Poet in Me

I've been scanning old photos, journals, school work, etc. in the spirit of my 100 Thing Challenge, as well as in anticipation of my leaving the country for adventures beyond. Some of what I've found has made me laugh out loud, including these haiku gems that I wrote in 6th grade.

The forest is calm
It can be very uncalm
I'm glad it is calm.

Flashlights give you light
They help you see in the dark
This way you can't trip.

Some rugs are shaggy
I like them that way, don't you?
Some people hate them.

Speaking of bad poetry...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Job Interview

Lady on the phone: So, Miss...
Me: Lewis
Lady: Yes, Miss Lewis. I see here that you have a Master degree & that you've owned your own business for the last five years.
Me: That's right.
Lady: So why are you interested in an entry-level position at our call center?
Me: BECAUSE I'M DESPERATE! - Ehem. I mean, I'm just looking at all my options.
Lady: (Judgemental pause) I see.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Announcement

I finally made the announcement today at The Spanish Place that we will be closing. I tried to be strong, but I wound up breaking into tears as I told everyone.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sedona Film Festival

I had a great weekend at the Sedona International Film Festival!

Michael & I drove up to Sedona Saturday afternoon, after my class, & made it just in time to see a 6:30pm film. After the first movie, we dined at the Red Planet Diner. Michael chose liver & onions, & I had a veggie burger. We watched a second movie afterwards, & then headed out to the Super 8 in Cottonwood for the night.

On Sunday, we got up lazily, & fortified ourselves with the free continental breakfast (read: bagels & coffee) at the hotel. Then we drove back to Sedona to see two more movies that afternoon, in between which we stopped at Java Love Cafe for some really yummy earl grey tea.

After the second movie of the day, we took a break to eat at D'Lish, where I had a quinoa burger (beware the Veganaise!), & Michael had a tasty bowl of vegan chili. I bought a T-shirt there to add to my collection. (Hm, how am I going to fit this into my 100 things?)

We decided to take advantage of the break between movies to check out the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Unfortunately it was already closed by the time we got there, so we turned around & headed down Schnebly Hill Road instead. We didn't have much time, so we stopped at one of the first trailheads to take a look around. The sun was setting & the views were really beautiful.

Finally, we went back to the movie theater for our fifth & final movie of the weekend before heading home. We made it back to Phoenix at around 11:00pm. After all that sitting in the movie theater & the long drive back home, my butt was sore! But I was so glad that we went.

To see more on the movies that we saw, see my movie blog.