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Sunday, March 14, 2010

What's Happening at Amy & Mr. Ito

Just wanted to share the happenings at Amy & Mr. Ito, my new food blog.  I'm trying to get it off the ground and need your help!  Please take a look at amymrito.blogspot.com and become a follower of the blog and a Facebook fan (just click on the link on the sidebar)!  

Thanks for your support, guys!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Our New Home (Almost!)!!

I'd like to introduce to you the Lansers' future home!  We just had the inspection done, and everything is all clear.  Now, we wait until mid-April, when we move!  Here are some (I'll admit, sub-par) photos for your enjoyment. :)


Welcome Home!


Here's a view of the backyard...
...and the garage.
Through the front door, you step into the living room.
Then move on through the house to the kitchen:
Here are the two bedrooms on the main floor.
And, of course, the bathroom (the photo doesn't do it justice!).
Here's the upstairs master bedroom (please excuse the fuzziness!):
And finally, the hubs's domain. :)
Unfortunately, the TV doesn't come with. :(


It's a great house, and we are very excited!  Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Blog!

Hello All!


I know it's been a long time since I've posted here, but I've been working on my new food blog that will probably take over this one, eventually.  You can find it at amymrito.blogspot.com. I'll be adding things to it on a fairly regular basis, and hopefully getting my butt in gear and getting some photos up for recipes, etc.  Please go check it out and become a follower if you like what you see!


Thanks!  

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Updates

Here is a "week in review":


1.  Made an offer on the house below; two other offers cropped up the day after, and we lost the bidding war.  It was upsetting last week, but now the hubs and I are over it and we're going looking again this weekend.


2.  Read two McMurtry books in a week, Horseman, Pass By and Streets of Laredo, further cementing my opinion that McMurtry is an American master and will be in American Literature Anthologies in fifty years or so, next to Hemingway, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald.  I've now made it a goal to read all of his works by the end of the year, and start collecting copies of them for my own library.  Including Horsemen and Streets, I've read nine already, and have another out from the library.  I prefer his "present-day" novels to the Old West ones, though the latter are definitely growing on me.    


3.  I got new glasses that are going to be my new staple(as George Costanza says, "my new face"), as opposed to contacts.  I think they're pretty good-looking.  Perhaps I'll post a picture!


4.  I've also done some thinking about the direction I want the blog to go.  Should it be random ramblings about the minutiae of my life, or take a more focused tack?  I was discussing this with friends over a great burger at Burger Jones; I think the best job one could have would be a food critic.  Getting paid to eat wonderful food and getting waited on hand and foot seems like the life to me, although food bloggers are a dime a dozen and it's not like I'd be working for New York Times Magazine or anything.  


5.  In my further study into point four above, I took a couple of food books out of the library, just to see what food writing looks like.  The two I got are A Stew or a Story: An Assortment of Short Works by MFK Fisher, edited by Joan Reardon, and Delizia!, a book that tracks the history of Italy through its food.  I haven't started Delizia!, but I am 100 pages into Stew or Story and have loved every page.  I am actually just getting into the food writing portion of the book; the first chapter is devoted to three short stories, two of which are some of the best pieces of short fiction I've read in a long time.  "What Happened to Miss Browning" is especially delightful (that's all I'm saying for now; you'll have to read it!).  Perhaps I'll do a review of this book when I'm finished with it.


6.  In conclusion, I may focus Western Shorebirds into a more gastronomic venture, or I may start a whole new blog devoted to that.  You'll have to wait and see!  Now I'm upset that I didn't take photos of the Chicken Rochne Casserole I made for dinner.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Folks, We May Have a Winner!

The hubs and I had a quite successful house hunting run yesterday, and saw a house that we think may be the one!  It's in Robbinsdale in a nice neighborhood, and is essentially turn-key: New furnace, new roof, renovated and decorated rooms, a fence, and a nice, big basement that has finishing possibilities.  I actually took pictures of my own, so I can conduct a virtual tour for you now!


Here's a photo of the front of the house...
...and the back (through the back porch door.  I know, it's not a great photo.  Note the two-car garage!).
Here's the kitchen.  I love the color of the cabinets!
Here are pictures of the bright living room and the nice sitting area, which was an addition.


Now for the master bedroom...with two closets!

And the second bedroom (it's a terrible picture, I know)...
Finally, here is a shot of the 3/4 bath in the otherwise unfinished basement. 


That's it!  We really like this one!  Let us know what you all think!


Also, congratulations to my cousin and to good friends in the cities who added new members to their families this weekend!  Welcome to the world, Finlay and Abigail!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shorebird Gets in Touch with Her Duck Cousins

I've always enjoyed swimming.  I took swimming lessons for what seems like my entire childhood, either at camp or through my hometown's winter swim lesson program.  When I was a counselor in training at Camp Newfound in 2000, I swam multiple times a day, trying to complete the 100 mile challenge (I didn't get there...stupid lazy younger self!), and participating in several 2-mile "Harrison Swims".  I would have certainly been on the Nashoba High School Swim Team if such a thing existed (I guess they held practices in the third floor pool).


In high school and college, I got certified as a Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor and taught summer camp swimming lessons near my hometown.  I learned how to perfect my strokes and show kids how to do the same.  I did that for 6 years, and then didn't swim at all for 3!


So, I've decided to take full advantage of my fitness center's pool and try to get back in the "swim of things".  I'm going to keep track of how far I swim on the blog so you can see how I'm doing.  Once I work up to a full mile (1800 yards), I'm going to try some more complex workouts I've found on the internet, all of which are 2000 yards in length.  

Wish me luck!  Maybe someday I'll be a real swimmer!  Masters, here I come!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Handsome Boy! Handsome Boy!


Ain't he cute?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

The hubs and I had quite an eventful Sunday yesterday.  We went house shopping for the first time with our awesome realtor, and found a home that we really like!  We know it's only the first time out and that we will take more trips in the future, but it was fun finding a home that's in our price range and a good neighborhood that we liked.  At a request from my father, who thinks that somehow harm will come our way if I post homes that we're looking at online, I am not going to post the link to the home we like, but would love to email the listing to anyone that is interested.  Just request I do so with a comment below.


Just because I'm not going to link the listing doesn't mean I'm not going to divulge any good details, however. :)


The home is in a nice neighborhood in Robbinsdale.  I was really excited when we first pulled up to the home because it is so cute!  There are tall windows with cute green shutters that make the home look miniature somehow (art people, please tell me why!); I think it's the proportion of the window to the height of the wall.  Anyways, the front door opens on a cozy livingroom with the neatest, original, 1930s fireplace with built-in bookshelves.  The bathroom is small by most modern standards, although comparable to the apartment bathroom we currently use.  It has original tile and a bead-board ceiling.  There is a bedroom on the main floor that is also small that would be an excellent office.


The kitchen has been updated and is about twice the size of my current kitchen (!!!!).  All the appliances are new and there's a dishwasher.  There's also I ledge on the windows over the sink so I could grow fresh herbs.  The kitchen connects to a large, four-season porch that would serve as a dining room/game room.  There are windows on all the exterior walls of the porch--lots of light.


Upstairs, there are two weirdly-shaped bedrooms that have plywood walls.  We found this a little bizarre, but guess that rearranging that space and putting actual walls up would make the upstairs quite workable, and guess that plywood walls would be easier to replace than drywall.  The basement is unfinished, leaving room for possibilities in the future.  


The outside is nice as well, with big oak trees out front and a large garage that takes up most of the lot behind the house (the front yard is quite deep).  


If you are still with me after that epic post, give yourself a pat on the back.  Shoot me an email or comment below if you'd like to see the listing!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

House of Interest #4

Here's number four:

TheMLSonline.com - Robbinsdale Listing - $144,900 - MLS#3865608 - Call 763-576-8286

Pros: It's large (4 bedrooms!). It has a nice, fenced-in backyard. It's a corner lot. There's a big garage and a storage shed. The interior needs updating, but does not appear to be too severe in its need for renovating (although the kitchen is ominously absent from the photos).

Cons: The bedrooms are kind of small. The bathroom is just weird! The basement looks bizarre, but I remember Laurelaura's "before" pictures of her basement prior to renovation, so I know that it is not unsalvageable.

Not too much to say on this one, I guess. Can't wait until tomorrow!

Friday, February 5, 2010

House of Interest #3

Happy Friday!

Here is House of Interest #3. It's way out in the northwest suburb of Robbinsdale:

TheMLSonline.com - Robbinsdale Listing - $139,900 - MLS#3860119 - Call 763-576-8286

Pros: OMG it's updated. A big backyard...with a fence! I like the brick exterior. Two-car garage. Finished basement. Nice big tree in the backyard. Big picture window in the living room. Fireplace!

Cons: The fireplace is in the basement (weird!). The bedrooms are TINY. It's way out in Robbinsdale, where I haven't even been before. There are train tracks right behind the home, which wouldn't bother me (I like the sound of trains), but would be bad for resale. There is an electrical tower basically in the backyard, which sucks.

I'm not sure how I feel yet about venturing northwest, as all of our friends and one of our jobs are south or east of Minneapolis. What you get for your money is pretty good, however.

Comment time!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

House of Interest #2

Here it is...House of Interest #2! Click on the link below to view the home.

TheMLSonline.com - Bloomington Listing, $124,900, MLS#3641748 - Call 763-576-8286

Pros: Farmhouse in the city (awesome). It has a huge, partially-fenced yard with big trees. Ivy on the side of the home. Porch. 3 beds and 3 baths. The bead-board in the kitchen is nice! It's by far the largest home in the neighborhood, and zillow.com says those other homes are worth between $180,000 and $230,000.

Cons: No idea about the neighborhood, but based on prices of the other homes it might be ok? The price is right, but it's a short sale (ugh). What is with that contemporary fireplace in a 1914 home? The hubs is worried about "old wiring", something that hasn't concerned him with other older homes, but is worth a thought. The bedrooms are small. Did you spot the Asian wildlife in the living room?

Let the commenting begin!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

House of Interest #1

Here's House of Interest #1. The MLS number is 3867275. I don't want to violate copyright laws concerning the photos of the home, so I've provided a link to the listing below.

TheMLSonline.com - Richfield Listing, $122,400, MLS#3867275 - Call 763-576-8286

This is a home that qualifies for the Hennepin County loan program. It is a bank-owned home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a nice backyard, and a garage. It has radiator heat (for better or for worse), and it doesn't look like it has a dishwasher. It also has some funky carpet and paint jobs, which can be remedied in a day or two.

We haven't seen the home yet, and I know that pictures can lie, but this looks like it could be a good investment, especially if we could get the $25,000 renovation loan.

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!


Big News!

It's been quite a while since I last posted.  One might assume that I was super-busy; nothing could be farther from the truth.  I am home all morning long, and could post then, but the inspiration hasn't struck in a long time.  This is partly because nothing is going on, but mostly due to laziness. :)


However, something big did happen to the hubs and I this weekend--we got pre-approved for a mortgage!  We're very excited.  We are going with an FHA loan and looking at homes in the southwest metro area.  We're especially interested in homes that fall under the generous Hennepin County loan program.  The program gives loans to homeowners who buy bank-owned homes in certain cities--between $10,000 and $30,000!  There is also a $25,000 renovation loan that is available through Hennepin County.  


So, to keep you all clued into the process, I'm going to post a daily "house of interest" and see what you all think!  See above for the first home.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Oh Thank Goodness!

The hubs was home sick yesterday and got to spend all day with me (and learn all of my what-I-do-when-I'm-home-all-day habits), and we saw a story about Scott Roeder's trial on CNN.  Roeder is the man that shot a Kansas abortion doctor in May of last year.  Today, the AP released news of the jury's decision regarding his case.  Here's the AP article (through MPR) regarding his conviction.  


The jury only took 37 minutes to decide that Roeder was guilty of first-degree murder (he admitted to killing Tiller twice--once before his trial and once on the stand).  When I read this I breathed a big sigh of relief, because the talk on CNN was that Roeder's lawyers were trying to get the judge to consider a voluntary manslaughter conviction.  From the AP article:


"Roeder's attorneys were hoping to get a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter for Roeder, a defense that would have required them to show that Roeder had an unreasonable but honest belief that deadly force was justified."


My amateur, Law and Order-fed understanding of law (and I'd love my lawyer friends and family who read this to comment) leads me to think that if somehow the voluntary manslaughter went through on this case that it would have set a terrible precedent.  It would mean that any creepy psycho could get away with murder, as long as he or she thought that their actions were justified ("unreasonable but honest belief").  Think Hitler.  Think Pol Pot.  Think Stalin.  Think Khalid Sheikh Muhammed.  


So, thank goodness this guy got what he deserved, and didn't get away with murder.  


  

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coolest Thing on NPR in a Long Time

I just was in the car listening to NPR and Neal Conan's interview with Temple Grandin, a woman on the autism spectrum who has transformed the meatpacking industry by developing humane methods of slaughter.  The interview is available at 5 pm.  Well worth a listen!

Southern Minnesota Puppy Mill Raid

Here's a great video showing how much work goes into getting rescued puppy mill dogs ready for homes.  All of the dogs in newscast were from a raid on a southern Minnesota breeder on January 14th.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hey All You Lawrence Alums!

Just got a forward from a good friend regarding an informal poll conducted by Kiplinger's magazine about the best liberal arts colleges.  Please vote for your alma mater!


Go LU!

Happy Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!

Virtual Bubble Wrap

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Years Goals Update

Eek!!!  It's been almost an entire week since I last posted!  Unforgivable!  


Anyways, thought I'd start this week off (a day late) with a little update on my 2010 goals.  I'll go number by number, and hopefully won't bore you to death. :)


1. Keeping in Touch.  Yippee!  I think I'm already doing better with this.  I'm sticking to the monthly schedule on my calendar by writing letters, emails, and making phone calls.  I'm counting leaving messages because I figure I made the effort and the ball's in the other person's court.    


2. BMI Goal.  Ha.  Hahahaha.  Well, this isn't really happening.  I've had a relapse into my old, Culver's, sitting-in-front-of-the-computer ways as of late.  I did try to get back in the swing of things last night when a fellow shorebird graciously invited me to yoga.  It felt awesome, and although I'm quite sore now (stupid down dog!), I'm hoping it was enough to get my butt in gear.


3. Write More. Well, working on this.  Didn't really fulfill my "write every weekday" goal last week, and already botched it this week by not writing Monday, but the point of writing for fun isn't deadlines.  My free time attention has been more focused on CNN and the Haiti earthquake than my writing.  Perhaps I can combine the two?


4. Cook Dinner.  Getting better at this for sure!  The hubs and I didn't really go out for dinner at all last week, and were in Wisconsin with family over the weekend.  I have a lot of meat in the freezer to get through, which is a motivator on this front.  I just need to remember to defrost it.


5. Eat Primally.  Still haven't gotten back into the primal swing of things since the holidays.  I'm incorporating it slowly back in, however, especially when I prepare meals at home.  


6. 50-Book Challenge.  Going strong!  I finished two books (see list) and am in the middle of a third, albeit LONG, book (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle).  The hubs's mom gave me a whole bunch of new books that look fantastic, good ammunition for the 50-Book Challenge.  I'm going to have to take the multi-book approach and have several on the table per week to finish it up, I think.


7. Animal Welfare.  I signed up with Midwest Animal Rescue & Services to help out in all aspects but foster care.  I haven't heard from them yet, but they are purely volunteer-based, so I anticipate some sort of communication soon.  They take in a lot of puppy mill breeding dogs, which I think is great.  I also want to continue to post periodically about animal welfare issues.


8. Saving Money.  Well, we're working on this as well.  I just went in and spoke to a financial adviser today to see about moving some retirement money around so it makes more for us.  Hopefully, we can meet that 10%-15% goal soon.


9. Time Outside.  Haven't really been inspired to go outside since it's been below zero for a while, but the hubs and I did take a walk around Veterans' Park in Milwaukee this weekend with the hubs's mom and sister.   Also, the drive to Milwaukee was beautiful--there was hoar frost on the trees and the snow-covered hills were beautiful.  I've never seen a more beautiful Wisconsin winter landscape!  


10. More Time with the Hubs.  Ten hours in the car this weekend was great!  We also went on a date at the wonderful Wakame Japanese bistro last week (I love the Crazy Monkey Roll!). 


Well, lots of room for improvement, but I have all year, right?  Thanks for keeping me honest...feel free to nag! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Anyone Want a Fur Baby?

Laurelaura sent me an email forwarding information on a little Jack Russell Terrier mix named Boy one of her friends is currently fostering.  I am posting his picture and foster mom's description as a favor--anyone interested?  He'd be mine in a minute if I owned a home!


From the email:
Boy was put into the shelter drop box so we don't even know why he ended up there. He appears to be a Jack Russell mix, most likely mixed with Boston Terrier as he does have a bit of an underbite. He weighs about 20 pounds and is solid muscle.About 3-4 years old. Boy is very dog friendly and will run from a fight with another dog rather than fight. He loves to play with other dogs. Boy is a BIG fan of toys and will play fetch with any toy. He does love balls and rope toys. He likes to share his toys with other dogs and likes nothing more than a good game of tug of war with a rope toy and another dog. He will carry his toys around and invite other dogs to play with his toys. He is also people friendly, but seems to prefer the company of other dogs. He would be happiest in a home with another playful dog. He would be a great kid's dog too! 


Ahh! Sounds so cute!  If you can't take him in but know a family in Minnesota that's looking for a dog, please let them know about Boy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review Monday: The Druidry Handbook

To keep me honest about my progress in the 50 Book Challenge, I am devoting the Monday post of each week to discussing the book I read the week before.  


Last week's book was The Druidry Handbook by John Michael Greer.  Somehow I stumbled upon modern Druidry on the internet, and was intrigued enough to check the Handbook out from the library.  


When one thinks of a Druid one of two images comes to mind: A white-robed, bearded Irish guy with incense in the forest, chanting in Gaelic; or, in the case of gamers, a Night Elf or Tauren that can change into a bear, cat, treant, or boomkin, depending on your spec.  With images of both in mind, I began my study of Druidry.


Not surprisingly, what I discovered about Druidry from The Druidry Handbook was that modern druids are neither of these things, at least not completely.  Druidry today focuses on one's relationship with the Earth, especially finding and strengthening the spiritual connection we have with it.  There are three paths that Druids follow today: The Earth Path, the Sun Path, and the Moon Path.  


The Earth Path encompasses your physical connection to the Earth.  It includes finding ways to get outside, be still, and focus on the essences of nature that we overlook day to day (a patch of grass, a stone, waves).  As you travel the Earth Path, it's necessary to make adjustments to your lifestyle that reflect your renewed connection to the Earth (your basic green changes: Recycling, efficient appliances, simplifying your lifestyle, taking the bus, etc.).  


The Sun Path focuses on the cycle of the year and involves ritual and celebration.  Druids celebrate the solstices and equinoxes as well as the dates in-between them (ie: February 2nd, which is midway between the winter solstice and spring equinox).  There are various rituals and meditations for each of these days.


The Moon Path is the spiritual aspect of Druidry.  It involves meditation on your connection to the Earth, Druid mythology and symbolism, and other emotional or mental challenges you may be experiencing.  Someone who has been practicing Druidry for a while will meditate for about 20 minutes daily.  The Moon Path enhances your spiritual connection with the Earth.  


This is the most brief, general synopsis of the book I can give.  There are many other interesting things that encompass the practice of Druidry that are discussed in the book, and if you're at interested in Druidry, this book is a must-read.  I found it intriguing enough to pursue other books on the topic and see if it may be a good fit for me, at least in some aspects.  I'm not sure I'm quite ready for a wand just yet.


Greer, John Michael. The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth. York Beach, ME: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2006.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy National Bird Day!

Happy National Bird Day!

As a student of ornithology (yes, it's true! One month off the grid in Ely, MN!), I have a strange love of birds and birdwatching that keeps me in tune with my future elderly self.  I love listening to birds when I'm out on a hike and trying to find the source of the tune with my binoculars.  So, to celebrate Nat'l Bird Day, I'd like to share some fun bird activities from the NBD website:


Name That Tune!

Spot Your State Bird (it's the loon if you live in Minnesota)

Of course, you could go outside and try to spot some of our feathered friends, but given that it's -2 on the shore today, I bet the birds are nestled all snug in their...nests.  Installing a bird feeder near a window is a great way to spot some songbirds (as well as a squirrel or two) during the winter, if you own a home.  



Me, all I can see out my window are crows on rooftops.  I know the cats like them!





Happy National Bird Day!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hey Jude...

A great article about people making the best of the Newark security debacle:


http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/news_cut/


Make sure to watch the YouTube video!

10 Things for '010

I'd like to start the real new year (let's face it--the new year really doesn't start until you go back to work) with a list of goals that I'd like to accomplish in 2010.  I figure letting the world know about them will hold me accountable.  Here's a list of my 10 resolutions, in no particular order, as well as my "action plan" to achieve them (geez! That sounds like a teacher in-service!).


Keep in Touch with Far-Away Friends More Often
Well, this really shouldn't be hard, but that's what I say every year and I totally suck at it, so I need to really lay it out.  On my Google calendar, I've listed all the people I've lost touch with and would like to talk with at least on a monthly basis, giving them a time and date slot based on their work schedules, time zones, etc.  I've set up the calendar to email me two days before to remind myself that the call is coming up.  So, even if they don't pick up, I know that I've done the best that I could, and can shoot them an email instead.


Get My BMI Between 18%-20%
Right now it's sitting between 24% and 26% (eek!).  That needs to change ASAP, so I intend to stick to going to the gym and working out Grok-style: Low-impact activity 3-5 times per week (yoga, pilates, walking, slow biking, and slow swimming all count), 2-3 days of strength training with the medicine balls, and 1 day of sprinting every 7 to 10 days.  Hopefully, that will do it.  I've been pretty good about going to the gym for yoga and pilates classes; now, I need to get myself pumped up for lifting.


Write more
I really enjoy writing, but it always takes a backseat to other "priorities" like the gym, hanging out with friends, work, watching Hulu, etc.  I'd like to devote more of my personal time to writing--be it blogging, fiction, poetry, or something else.  I'd like to get (Mis)Adventures of the Captive Kitties going again (I haven't touched it since the first blog post!) and see if I can come up with any coherent ideas for a picture book.  I'm aiming for blogging on (Mis)Adventures at least twice per week.


Cook Dinner 
At least five times per week, no excuses.  I like to cook a lot, but it's wicked hard to get myself motivated after work, especially when I come home ravenously hungry and attack whatever is inside the cabinets.  This is a money-saving resolution and a health resolution. It is intricately tied to my next goal.


Eat More Primally
I got away from the primal diet over the holidays, and definitely noticed several negative consequences of doing so.  I gained weight, slept less peacefully, broke out more, and ate a lot more (stupid carbs!).  The hubs and I also spent a ton more money since we were eating out more rather than cooking.  So, I'm gladly making more of a commitment to eat more protein, less carbs, and a ton of veggies in 2010.

Take NavyGirl's 50-Book Challenge.
My friend who writes the blog Marrying the Navy has decided to try to read 50 books in 2010 (harder than it sounds!), and I've decided to join her in the challenge.  I'll keep a list of books that I've read on Western Shorebirds to track my progress.  

Become More Active in Animal Welfare
Many of my readers already know how passionate (read: bizarrely obsessed) I am with animals.  I devoted a week of posts to the sad issue of puppy mills in Minnesota last year, and hope to become more involved in animal welfare in 2010.  I can accomplish this by blogging more about animal issues, volunteering with different animal rights groups that support my views, and (hopefully!) working in the field for a shelter in some capacity.  


Try to Save Between 10% and 15% of the Household Take-Home Pay  
Kiplinger's magazine has a crazy table in its February '10 issue that shows that if you save less than 5% of your pay, you can plan on working indefinitely during retirement age; 5% to 14%, work part-time; and 15% or more, be work-free.  I think getting at least 10% into a savings account, 401(k), and Roth IRA is a noble goal for 2010.  Having this goal in mind will also keep us honest about saving for a new home.


Spend More Time Outside
I'd like to do more of the things I love but don't make time for, like backpacking and canoeing.  The hubs and I like to take walks around Lake Calhoun, but I'd love to get up north and spend some quality time in the woods listening to the songbirds and on the lake with the loons.  


Spend More Time with the Hubs 
Especially time that doesn't involve a computer or television.  We've gotten into this rut where we rarely do things together that aren't media-based or errand-based.  I'd like to go out to dinner (versus pizza delivery), enjoy a concert or a show, and the occasional movie (again with the media!).  This also is connected to the previous goal.  The hubs isn't what you would call an outdoors guy, but I'd still like to show him how awesome northern Minnesota is.


Wow! That's it I guess.  Thanks in advance for helping me stick with my plan!     

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome, 2010!


The hubs and I are really excited about all the things that 2010 may hold.  A new home, new fur babies, and finally feeling like we're making money instead of just getting by.  2009 was a good year, and a lot happened in those 365 days, but we're happy that 2010 will be mellow and we will be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy married life.  


To help Western Shorebirds welcome in 2010, I'd like to take a census of my readers.  I know that you're out there because I hear off-hand comments regarding posts, but I'd like to have a more concrete idea of my readership (I'm sure it will be a humbling experience).  To those who are already followers, thanks!  If you're not, please help me out and do one of the following:


a. Follow Western Shorebirds using Google Friend Connect (and make me feel popular :-P)
b. Write a short comment (an emoticon would be sufficient) as a response to this post.  Post topics would be welcome, as well.  


Thanks in advance!  Here's to a wonderful 2010!