Sunday, June 30, 2019

Weekly Retrospective...

What I’m Reading:  48 Days… by Dan Miller ...

What I’m Listening ToStacking Benjamins podcasts…

What I’m Working On: Remodeling my side driveway (gravel) with paver stones ….

Where I’m succeeding: Getting things done ….

Where I’m struggling: CFP course (time to get back at it) ….

What I’m grateful for: An awesome life ….

Quote that has me thinkingKahlil Gibran quote (see last blog post) ...

What I’m excited about:  Getting back to saving/investing after a few nice vacations ….

What I’ve been pondering: Making my life about priorities rather than needs/wants ….

Kahlil Gibran Quote ...

Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste,
it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half a man’s hunger.

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine.

And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices on the night.

All work is empty save when there is love; and when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.         

                                                                   -       Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Vacation(s) Summaries...

Two weeks ago, I went to Boston for seven days with my wife. This past week I was able to fly out to Colorado for a four-day trip with my son. Some of my take aways during that time:

Stick with the big airlines, where they tell you the fees up front. Ugh. Flying to/fro Boston, we used Delta. Flying to/fro Denver, we used Spirit and Frontier. And while the cost ended up being similar overall, jumping through hoops on my phone at the last minute to pay for carry on bags was no fun, as well as the unexpected fees I hadn’t planned on. You pay for what you get....

Same with rental cars....our Boston trip resulted in paying one price up front, quick pick up and getting a zero-due receipt upon dropping off said rental car. In Denver, on top of a million extra questions and hard sell for additional options that added several minutes to my counter time, I came back to $76 of unexpected fees, taxes, etc.

Airbnb is hit/miss for me. While our experiences were generally nice overall, staying in someone’s home, oftentimes with other people you do not know, can be weird. And while we’re working on being more communal, we’re still not completely used to the experience (the one in Longmont was the BOMB, though!).

Boston’s history, tourism, eateries and scenery are world-class. But their traffic sucks. Bad. Salem, Plymouth and Cape Cod were also exceptional, but without the vehicle congestion issues. But seriously, overall a great trip, including the Freedom Trail and all the attractions it included, Salem Witch Trial tours, the original Pilgrim settlement, an awesome time visiting lighthouses in Cape Cod, and some great food.

Longmont, Colorado has the friendliest community of people I have ever been around. Seriously, every person we met was super-nice and accommodating. Our Airbnb host had an alpaca ranch, which are some really cool animals, as well as a cat that took right up with us. We visited the local museum and a heritage culture farm to learn about the history unique to this region, along with enjoying some awesome mountain ranges. We spent a lot of time in Boulder enjoying some hikes, before coming back to Longmont for a tour of the Mr. Money Mustache Co-Work space, or what I refer to as the Mecca of the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) community.  Thanks to Carl, better known as Mr. 1500, for the tour. On our last day, Carl was nice enough to invite my son and me on a hike of a nice peak in Boulder along with two of his early retiree friends.

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I am on track to retire early after years of living below my means and saving/investing as much as possible. Getting to visit the Mr. Money Mustache Headquarters and hanging out with someone whose blog I have followed religiously on my journey really cemented this goal for me. Additionally, there is nothing like hanging out with three guys who have accomplished what you are aspiring to do and seeing how much they are enjoying life to motivate you towards toward your goal.

Finally, never lose your license/main source of identification, when you are out of town and flying back, as my son found out the hard way. While Denver’s TSA team were super cordial and helpful in resolving the issue in a timely manner, the added stress and time was something we would rather have avoided.

All in all, some great memories, experiences and time with people I care about and admire from afar. One thing I’ve learned on my financial independence journey by way of budgeting is that it is important to match your spending to you values. For me, I enjoy good food, travel and time with people I care about and respect. You can have the nice clothes, vehicles, big home, gadgets and toys. On that note, it’s time to start planning my next trip before heading out for a nice dinner!

Monday, June 17, 2019


My old Army buddy, Ragnar, never lets his surroundings get in the way of a good workout….

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Hemingway Quote....

I have a lot of work to do still….

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Dealing with Life....

I had lunch with a good friend at a good restaurant today and he brought up the topic of depression. He was shocked to hear that I had received a clinical diagnosis of depression in my early adulthood and have struggled with it most of my life. He asked how I deal with it and it dawned on me that my coping mechanism has always been to find someone who needs assistance and do what I can to help them. I had exceptional role models on this front growing up, as my father and grandmother both went out of their way to help anyone in need that they came across. All this time I thought I was emulating them, when I was really just self-medicating. It’s difficult to feel depressed about your own situation when your feeding someone who hasn’t ate in a few days, visiting someone with ALS or building a home for somebody who’s struggled with spousal abuse and subsequent addiction issues.

In no way do I make light of any form of mental illness, especially when 22 of my veteran brothers and sisters take their lives each day in this country. Nor am I arrogant or simple enough to think that my approach is a one size fits all cure for everyone who deals with depression. There are different levels to this disease, as well as different precursors. If you are struggling, please seek out professional assistance. But also know that giving back is a powerful medicine that will also sooth the soul and bring you closer to your maker.

*** I am in no way offering any medical advice here. Always seek assistance from a doctor trained to deal with depression if you are experiencing symptoms.