Currently living/working: We’ve done minimal work this month. We both wrapped up a few projects before jet setting to the East Coast and we’ve been in Mexico since 11/21. This is the chunk of the year when we live off our savings thanks to our seasonal work as well as the random freelance paychecks that trickle in through the year. I occasionally experience a twinge of guilt admitting we’re not actively working on anything for nearly a month, but then I quickly remind myself that there is zero free time during our intense summer schedules, and that is why we have the luxury of this flexibility.
Current mood: The autumnal sunshine I’m experiencing in Mexico is euphoric! I can say with certainty that my physiological need for vitamin D is being more than fulfilled and I think the overabundance of sunshine will carry me through the dark housebound winter months ahead awaiting me in Alaska.
Current confession: Being a grown up and reversing the roles to take care of your parents is hard, and I know there are many friends out there in that sandwich generation who can commiserate (of course I don’t have kids, so I’m more like an open-face sandwich, but I digress). Being needed can feel purposeful and joyful, but it’s equally claustrophobic. After spending a week in NJ overthinking my mom’s living situation and health with my sister, I feel we are no closer to committing to what’s best for her. My type A personality and anxiety are my worst enemies in these situations because I get so hyper-focused and like to be proactive, yet the multitude of possibilities cloud my brain space and torment me.
Currently amazed by: The beach will never beat the mountains for me, but my fondness for sun and sand has surged during the last few years. (My sister is jumping for joy to hear me say that—although I should say that I’m still not a lounge on the beach for hours kind of gal). Regardless, BEACH = Best Escape Anyone Can Have!
Currently excited for: Practicing my extremely imperfect Spanish in Mexico! I double majored in English & Spanish, but the words and phrases have been tucked in the dungeons of my brain sitting unused for the past 2 decades.
Current guilty pleasure: Spending 27 days in Mexico & seeing how many days I can eat tacos in a row.
Currently worried about: Are we spending too much money on tacos? Our on-the-spot peso-dollar conversions are not completely accurate, so sometimes we are buying $3 tacos, and other times they are $10. This has been an experimental vacation as we want to spend time away from Alaska every year in a sunny place without spending a fortune, but tacos are tempting.
Currently proud of: Being self-employed translates to inconsistent income, creating an inherently precarious financial situation. This is the precise reason Justin & I try to avoid accumulating debt. It’s sort of been our mantra that we don’t live on income; we live on the lack of expenses. With that being said, there are plenty of times we’ve carried payments. Case in point: our Chevy Silverado that we bought new in 2020. We are thrilled to say we paid it off last month!!
Currently not excited for: I signed us up for our Marketplace plan this month, and of course the details of the plan changed, and the premium, deductible and copays increased. Justin always hits his deductible within the first few months, but those first few months are always expensive. I try to stock up on his prescriptions and doctors appointments leading up to the renewal to spread the initial spending, but it’s always a bit tricky.
Currently regretting: We spent Christmas in Healy last year, and it was so fun to be a part of the local community festivities and volunteer programs. So I’m kind of wishing we were there—but not really because … darkness.
Currently thankful for: We have a friend staying in our cabin in Alaska while we’re gone, and it’s been a relief to not even think twice about what problems might arise from our absence.
Currently reading: Searching for Happy Valley: A Modern Quest for Shangri-La is about exactly what the title says. The memoir explores the author’s (Jane Marshall’s) journey into three sacred valleys around the world. I admire Jane’s bravery to connect with the indigenous cultures and challenge herself to connect with ancient ways of living.
I don’t know how this book ended up on my Kindle, but I read In the Shadow of the Valley by Bobi Conn. I started it because I thought I was reading the above book, Searching for Happy Valley! Anyway, I read the book through to the end, even though I couldn’t pinpoint the reason for continuing. The memoir was overwhelmingly depressing, focusing on the author’s upbringing in impoverished Appalachia Kentucky. While Bobi was hugely vulnerable in her writing—and I commend that—I found some parts to resemble an assignment for a creative lit class. Kind of just an uneven chronicle of an unfortunate life.
We Alaskans is a compilation of short stories from Alaskans around the state. It was a quick read that only solidified my opinion about those pioneering Alaskans!!
Currently watching on Netflix/Peacock/HBO Max/Starz/AMC: Nothing of note, other than our old standby of Below Deck.