Sunday, April 30, 2006

Downsizing Dilemmas

There was a time when I looked lovingly on my stuff. My collections, my furniture, electronics and my books. Now I see a lot of the stuff like an anchor. The book I'm reading, the cup I'm drinking out of, the clothes I'm wearing. They seem valuable. But the miles and piles of 'stuff' seem to be weighing me down. I want to reduce it all. I want to get stuff stored on hard drives. I want to winnow down the collections and the souvenirs. Sift through the books for the gems worth their weight. Give useful things I'm not using to people who can.

I like capturing shop windows as art and never printing the results on photo paper, just saving them as bits in the computer.

In this shop window shot, I like how my husband's shape is part of a portrait capturing striped motifs from the merchandise and a reflection of a vent in the apartments across the way.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Financial Advice

Who am I to give financial advice? Nobody. I don't have a designation with a C in front of it like CPA or a Certified Financial Planner. Still, I have advice. Everybody does.

First there is my basic philosophy. It has a three-letter code like all those certifications. Only it begins with D. It is DDE. This is the DDE financial philosophy. Debt-free. Diversified. Enjoyable. You will be SO much better off if you pay off your debts, don't put all your eggs in one basket and make sure that you enjoy what you are spending your money on. (As far as possible. This doesn't mean you shouldn't pay your taxes or your utility bill.)

There are all kinds of caveats and corollaries to my advice. Things like budgeting and investing and creating options for your life. But that's the basic tenet. Maybe others have done better than I with fewer opportunities. But I've muddled through with this philosophy.

And what, you may reasonably ask, does a picture of a flamingo dressed up as Patsy Kline have to do with this philosophy? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. Patsy decorated our table at the Red, Hot and Soul benefit on Saturday night for the Zach Scott Theater here in Austin. The donation to the theater was wrapped in the enjoyment of the Keepin' Austin Weird decorations. I like spending money on charity and also have an abiding belief in decorated flamingos. (And naked ones, too.) Hey and you should have seen the Brokeback Mountain flamingos!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Waiting for....

I hate it when I start feeling that if I can just get this one thing over with then life will be good. Or, actually, multiple things. I know that is stupid. You have to find your joy in the moment. There is always something to get over with.

The fact is that I feel good. And today the only obligations I have are to do things for my immediate family unit and myself. Oh, I may have to fill out paperwork for my dad's day surgery tomorrow. But that's about it. Dad said on the phone this morning. "You get a day off from me. You can work out." In fact, I plan to play tennis and work out. I plan to get our bed linens washed and catch up some of the personal financial stuff that my bookkeeper and friend would do. If she hadn't died. Her memorial service (Saturday) is one of the things I feel I need to get over with. Those celebrations of a life are really a good way to move on. And I'm hoping my dad's day surgery helps him get back to feeling better and not going to the doctor or imaging center several times a week.

Even yesterday, when I spent five hours taking Dad to a doctor and to the imaging center for MRIs and getting him some lunch, I did manage to start work on the financial stuff. And to have a short workout. And to read and watch mindless TV. There was pleasure in my workout, my books and newspapers, in getting some of the stuff figured out.

No, there's no reason to be waiting for Godot or anyone else. Just live. That's how people make it. Like my parents after the war, broke I imagine, and with a child (my sister) you can't see in this picture. They just lived. Tried to make money, get by, love and laugh. My dad couldn't have dreamed he'd be living alone in a house twice as big as he needs, feeling weak and tired but still able to take care of himself, his children well past middle age and his wife gone for several years.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Too Sad to Blog?

I always bounce back and I'm sure I will this time. But here's an Austin Second Street shop window photo that I think is cool. Be back soon. Or visit