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December 2013
Next month:
February 2014

Haiku - 17 syllables, 17th of every month

Haiku is a poetic form that when written in English it is usually composed of 17 syllables in 3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables respectively. Check out the Wiki post on Haiku. 

For 2014 I plan to select a haiku and post it on the 17th day of every month. 17 syllyables = the 17th day of the month. Corny I know, but this is my blog after all! I also happened to get a Christmas present about Haiku poetry from my sister in law. It's called "Haiku, Japanese Art and Poetry" by Judith Patt, Michiko Wartentyne, and Barry Till. ISBN # 978-0-7649-5610-2. It's a beautiful book.


2013 Year in review

I think that it is a worthwhile thing to take the time and look back over the year. Time flies at such an impossible rate, sometimes it is best to take a deep breath and think about the year that has been.

For us, the year began sadly, with the passing away of Jane, Kevin's mum. Luckily Kevin flew out just in time. But it was a sad time, for him, for his dad and sisters. I wish that I could have known my mum in law better. She was such a wonderful lady, and she was always very kind to me.

We attended her memorial service in August of 2013.

It is tempting, I think, when reviewing to try and catalog, or count the things we have done. But I think for 2013 the defining moment was a discovery that changed my assumptions, and philosophy.

The most radical change for us, was the discovery of a financial independence blogging group, that made us question our assumptions about retirement (only when you are old), financial independence (that's impossible), and spending (need more stuff!) It all began with reading this blog post. It made Kevin and I really talk to each other about our financial goals and philosophies. It also meant that we made some changes. For example, I gave up cable tv (I have Netflix, and free local stations), instead of buying lunches and Starbucks, I bring lunch and soda to work, and drink the work coffee. Instead of buying a car new from a dealership, we picked up an old beater Toyota on Craigslist. And we took a long hard look at our employer IRA's, and voluntarily tax deferred instruments. We delved into expense ratios, and the actual cost of doing business with our employer vendors. Yikes, what we found out really shocked us - and so we made changes. We found through reading this article that there is a whole movement of people out there, from all demographics that have embraced the spend less, and save more philosophy. Stuff doesn't define us. What a liberating concept!!

If I have to look back over 2013, instead of counting the trips, the events, the visits, the goals not accomplished,  I think I can say without any hesitation that the defining moment for me in 2013 was discovering the Mustachian philosophy.

If you are interested in learning more here are a number of blogs that I enjoy reading...

Mr Money Mustache

Collins- Money, life, Business

There are many more blogs and forums of people that want the same - financial independence (FI). FI doesn't mean having the largest house, or the flashiest car. It is not about having stuff. It's about have enough of a stash that you only work because you enjoy it, and you only buy or spend because it is something you really really want. It is truly a liberating philosophy (especially because it is so far from the norm.)

So goodbye 2013 and thanks!




2013 Thanksgiving Tucson Trip Final and Round up

It's already 2014 and I haven't finished the final section of our 2013 Thanksgiving Tucson Trip. Things just got a little busy.

For the blog postings so far of our trip:

Day one

Day two

Day three

Day four

Day five was Thanksgiving day. We decided it would be a good day to drive around Tucson and explore some of the neighborhoods. We explored and headed north to Ora Valley and the settlement of Oracle. Then we headed west across the desert plains on Park Ridge road to the I-10. Park Link Road has a splendid view of the Pichacho Peak with some saguoros in the foreground.


We headed to the West side of the Saguoro National Park, explored a bit, and decided to explore the Hugh Norris trail. This is a great hike (although at our fitness level, we waddled rather than hiked.)

The trail winds up through the saguoro groves. We spent a lot of time taking photos. Here are some:


Kevin taking pictures as we followed the trail.


I loved the shapes the saguoro's made against the sky.


We were lucky with the light, as the sun started to sink towards the horizon. I loved the way these giants were back lit.


During our hike we heard a noise. We turned and looked down at a red tailed hawk with a large wriggling snake. Gave me the heebie jeebies. (Yes, yes, I know. Snakes are all part of the great circle of life! Yes I know that they are great for the environment. But I just can't abide them.)


Ahh the shapes! The light! Gorgeous!


Saguoros are so slow growing. This huge giant must be a couple of hundred of years old. Amazing.

The next day, the day after Thanksgiving was our departure day. We really didn't have much time before we had to get to the airport, return our car, and catch our flight back to Denver (via Phoenix.) We drove to east Saguro National Park, but really ran out of time. A pity.

In the five days that we had to spare for Tucson, we certainly jammed a lot in. The days were pretty short, so we found that we ran out of light quickly. I am glad we decided to visit Tucson, and give it a thorough explore. Flying down, and spending all the time in Tucson meant that we really took our time to see as much as we could. There is still much more that we didn't get to see. Perhaps that will be for the next trip?