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LARP, Lifestyle, Travel

Goals for 2016

I make mental resolutions every new year, but writing them down kind of solidifies them. This year I want to DO MORE of a lot of things, and I’m on track to do just that.

Pay off my debt: My Gap Year was amazing, but it did put me in some debt. I should be able to pay it off by the end of the 2016, probably even earlier, but I need to be smart about my spending—it’s really hard to pay off a credit card if you keep putting new things on it! (And that interest, ugh.) Especially since I have big plans this year that aren’t exactly cheap (see below) so I need to be frugal with everything else. At the moment I am considering two options: a personal loan, which theoretically should have a lower interest rate than my credit cards and would consolidate the bills, and/or a balance transfer card, which is, yes, another credit card but would have a 0% balance transfer rate and 0% interest for the first year or so. I’m looking into it. If you have suggestions, please let me know!

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LARP, Lifestyle, Travel

2015: My Gap Year of Adventure

When last year was drawing to a close, I did not write a reflection post like I did in 2013 and I’m not entirely sure why. However, I did want to do one this year and can hopefully keep it consecutive with the years going forward. I think that taking time to look back on the year that’s gone by is an important part of looking forward to the new year ahead.

I’m going to start with some notes about 2014, since I did not reflect on it in writing last year and there are factors that affected my 2015 a great deal: 2014 was a year not unlike 2013, full of change—some forced and some of choice—and growth. I ended a relationship that had lasted almost a year, where my partner was emotionally unavailable and subtly mentally abusive. About six months after that, in August, I started a new, much more healthy relationship with my current partner, Rob. But in that same month I was also laid off from my job, after an incredibly rough year at the company. I was, thankfully, offered a few months severance. I also had stock, which I sold, and some savings, so I was okay financially. In September 2014 my great-aunt passed away and while it was a difficult time emotionally, she did leave me a small inheritance.

Thus, with my bank account fairly stable, I ended up being able to take what I refer to as my “Gap Year” from full-time employment. Between August 2014 and November 2015, I was technically unemployed, and this was mostly by choice. I did some freelance work, which coupled with all the aforementioned had enabled me to still live comfortably and afforded me the opportunity to travel without having to worry about taking vacation days. And seize this opportunity, I did!

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Lifestyle

Cat(s!) Update

If you follow me on Instagram at all, you’ve probably noticed I post a metric ton of cat photos. You’ve also probably noticed that I’ve adopted a second cat.

I posted back in March when I adopted Calluna, but I didn’t make a post for Gigi. It was partly because I hadn’t really settled on her name until later, but also because I wasn’t sure if I would be keeping her.

Back in April, after I returned from my Nicaragua trip, I was having some behavioral issues with Calluna. She had started to howl and cry in the middle of the night, and would continue to do so for hours until the morning when I get out of bed to feed her. Originally I thought it was because she was hungry, but if I fed her at 3 or 4 am (when she started the howling) she would only be quiet for about 15 minutes while she ate, and then she’d start up again.

After that, I thought it was probably revenge on me, for being out of town for a week and leaving her alone. However, I did have my neighbor (who has a cat of her own) come in and feed/play with Calluna every day for the express purpose to prevent her from being lonely. After two weeks with no improvements, I feared maybe there was an underlying medical issue and I took her to the vet. $300 in tests later, she checks out perfectly healthy. The vet said it sounded like she was acting as if she was in heat, but that that cause is impossible because she is spayed. He said it was very weird, but my options included putting her on some Prozac to calm her down or consider getting a second cat.

Needless to say, I did not want to put her on Prozac. As the vet put it, doing so would be like putting a nail in a wall with a sledgehammer—overkill. So I decided to consider a second cat. I talked with a few friends who have more than one cat and they reassured me that it’s not much more difficult than having one. My main concern was them getting along, as I did not want to have them hate each other, which I knew was a possibility if their personalities didn’t mesh. I opted to get a kitten, since a younger cat would be easier for Calluna to adjust to and Callie is still pretty young, herself. (She is about a year and a half old.)

So I went to a kitten rescue to meet some kittens. Gigi (who was called something different at the rescue) was a 4-month (now 6-months!) old tortoiseshell-colored kitten. She was following around an older male cat and was very playful, though timid when I approached her. The owner of the rescue assured me that she is skittish but warms up after some time. I decided to take her home and see how well she would do with Calluna, with the understanding that if they didn’t get along after a week or two that I could bring her back to the rescue.

Kittenface

Obviously, things worked out swimmingly. Calluna only hissed at Gigi for about a week before she got over it. Gigi was constantly approaching her, wanting to play. Now, they’re seriously inseparable and do everything together—they sleep together, lick/groom each other, play together, chase each other in circles around my apartment, etc. They also kind of eat together, but I have to keep them separated a bit because Gigi is still getting kitten food. They both sleep with me at night, too.

Callie & Gigi relaxing together

I’m pleasantly surprised at how well they’re getting on, and extremely pleased that it’s worked out so well. Calluna has completely stopped howling in the middle of the night, basically starting the day I brought Gigi home. The only one who “cries” now, funnily enough, is Gigi, at around 8 am right after I hit snooze on my alarm, because she really wants me to get up and feed her. But I can’t be mad about it, because she has the cutest, tiniest mew ever.

Lifestyle

Meet My New Cat-Baby

I’d like to introduce you all to Calluna, my newly adopted cat-baby. She’s a black domestic short hair cat, just over a year old, and weighs in at a whopping 7 lbs.

My Cat, Calluna

She’s a rescue that I’ve adopted from a local shelter. They found her in someone’s backyard a month or two ago, but don’t think she’s feral at all. She must have been someone’s lost pet, sadly! Though no one had come to claim her, so she got put up for adoption. I brought her home last Friday night, the day after seeing her adoption page on Thursday evening! It was basically love at first sight. (When I saw her on the shelter’s website I was basically like “I MUST HAVE THIS CAT SHE’S PERFECT.”)

I’ve named her Calluna, after one of my favorite typefaces! (Which is used right here on this blog as the body text.)

I’m super, super happy. She’s adorable. Expect lots of impending cat photos on my Instagram.

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