Monday, September 20, 2004
On being me, 3 months later.
In May I took a “life” inventory. I was tired of working until 8 p.m. every night, not spending time at home with my husband, I was spending way too much money on stash and not stitching, had credit card debt I wanted to get rid of, and I was tired of not being finished with school. I had too many non-accomplishments in my life.

I prioritized my wants and decided to work on them one at a time. It was very easy for me to decide what was most important, and that was being at home in the evenings with my husband. Next was finishing school followed closely by getting rid of my credit card debt. I knew the best way to find a good paying 9-5 job was to finish school so I had to decide what to plan for next. And I desperately needed more time to stitch.

I had a long talk with DH about what I wanted to do and he threw in the pile that he could very well be retiring next November and if I wanted to finish school before then, I needed to get myself in gear. Yikes.

I know God will watch out over me if I’ll let him but I have a hard time letting someone else be in control of my life. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, took a leap of faith and reapplied for school on a full time basis. God smiled and sent me Professor C.

I had decided to take a step back and change my goal to certification as a Legal Secretary. I have been an executive secretary off and on for 10 years, plus had 2-½ years experience as a legal secretary. I had looked at several job announcements and knew I was behind the times and decided to go back to school for that to at least get employed. One of the classes I needed to take was no longer being offered because they couldn’t get enough people to sign up for it. The school was substituting in a litigation class for a law office procedures class. Neither is anything alike, and I wanted to know what book would have been used for the office procedures class so I could at least read it and see what I needed to know.

I ran into Professor C in the parking lot of school one morning. I asked him if I could walk with him and get the name of the book from him (he’s head of the Paralegal department). The first thing he asked me was if I had finished my degree. I told him I didn’t want to talk about that, but he persisted, so I confessed I was still one math class away from my liberal arts degree and he reminded me that I’d been that one math class away for over a year.

I’m a great excuse maker, but all I told him was that I was horrible at math and the professor that everyone recommend I take only taught at night at a different campus and he knew where I was every night - at the college bookstore. He tells me to sit down, picks up the phone and tells the person on the other end that he’s returning so-and-so’s call. I zoned out since I figured I’d barged in without an appointment and he needed to take care of some things before his classes. The next thing I know he’s handing me the phone and I’m doing a cold telephone interview for a part time legal assistant intern position (which I need for my certification). I left his office promising to take that math class next term and without the name of the book I was searching for. It’s been 4 weeks since I started that job and I love being back in the field again and I learn something new every day.

Three major goals down (at home in evenings with DH, back in school full time, more time to stitch) and now I need to work on the next biggie - getting rid of credit card debt. This is going to take some major budgeting since not only did my new job give me more time at home, it has me working less hours at less money per hour. And I’ve had to become brutally honest with myself.

I have issues!

I believe in plastic and I didn’t believe in balancing my checkbook. I took all but one credit card out of my wallet. I also only keep about $20 cash in my wallet so I can keep up with how much cash I’m ‘wasting’ on things, and I use my check card for everything over $2.00. I balance my checkbook more often than I used to, which was never, and this month it’s been frightening how fast my money goes. I have $14 in my checkbook and it’s 10 days to the next payday. I do have money in my savings account, which I’ll have to transfer for gas money, but I’m determined to not spend it on anything else. It’s a learning process and I talk to myself before spending any money. Do I need this?

I’m a Starbucks junkie. I was buying a large coffee on average 6 days a week. That’s $23.70 a week! $47.40 a payday! $94.80 a month! $1232+ a year! That's coffee only. How many times did I also include something to eat?!? I know there’s no way I can go cold turkey, so I’m down to two coffees a week (no food). I buy one on my way to my Monday night class and I buy one on my way to my Saturday morning class. I feel like I deserve them since I’m giving up my Monday nights and my Saturday mornings.

I’m a Stashaholic. I cannot even begin to figure out how much I’ve spent this year on stash, but I did find a way to help cut back on that also. I’ve started writing down all the stash I’ve bought (see the right sidebar) and I joined other stitchers on the Rotation BB in the Stash Reduction Implementation Plan. I’m trying really REALLY hard to only buy floss, but as you can see I’m not always successful. But I am only paying cash for what I have bought and not using my credit cards.

And this all leads into my stitching.

My stitching plans for 2004 were not that grandiose. I wanted to finish Mirabilia’s Spring Queen and Crescent Dreams and The Silver Lining’s Dream Lovers and Peace. I also wanted to start Mirabilia’s Mermaid of the Pearls and Fairy Moon.

I completely revamped my rotation at the beginning of the year but I did not include every design I had previously started in my rotation. As of today I’ve finished Crescent Dreams, put Peace aside for now, and haven’t touched the other four designs. In fairness to me, I was waiting on fabric to be dyed for Mermaid and Fairy and received those just a few weeks ago.

In July I started reorganizing my stash room, getting ready for back to school and stitching just my stash. I got my StRIP list together and am trying to stick with it. Every now and then I’ll make an adjustment (like the JCS Xmas ornaments I want to stitch) but it’s been fun going back through my stash and seeing the beautiful things I’ve forgotten about in my gluttony; and with the exception of one overdyed fiber, I probably have everything I need in my stash to stitch several ornaments. Fondling is great therapy.

And I almost forgot! I've paid off one credit card, I haven’t bought a new purse in over 2 months and there’s a promised raise as soon as my classes end in December.

Here's Sunday Brunch for Erica!

1) Do you prefer wide rule or college rule notebook paper?

College ruled!

2) What is your favorite writing instrument?

My purple mechanical pencil.

3) What is the one office or school supply that you can’t live without?

Does my day planner count? I use it for everything, but I have my school schedule and test/project dates in there too.

4) Staples or paper clips?


5) Describe the contents of the top of your desk.

Yikes! CPU; Monitor; keyboard; speakers; marble bookends holding Black's Law Dictionary and Barron's Law Dictionary; 2 candle votives; 2 coffee cups full of pens, pencils, scissor, letter opener, etc.; stapler; box of tissue; folder organizer; a stack of cross stitch things; day planner; civil litigation textbook.

2:45 p.m. I just took the next step to decreasing my expenses. I canceled my nail appointments. Sigh.

posted by Terri at 9:20 AM |