Stuff and Things

Well, here I am again after 3 weeks of silence - longer than I intended but better than 3 months for sure.

I had a blast with my cousins and aunt over New Year's weekend. We showed them a lot in just a few days including Hollywood, PCH up to Malibu, the Metro Rail, Alvera Street, and lots of good food. Mom and my aunt and my cousin's wife went to the Rose Parade and the men slept in, watched college football, played Frisbee at the beach, and ate good cheap Mexican food from El Burrito Junior.

The Navigators prayer retreat was great. I didn't have any idea that praying for an entire weekend could be that engaging but it really was. I was quite outside my typical comfort zone with about 35 people I didn't know, but actually acclimated quite quickly. It gives me hope that my social skills haven't atrophied completely - having a common purpose (conversation and communion with God) and knowing it was a friendly, positive environment certainly helped break the ice.

This brings me to my only actual New Year's Resolution. I want to be more social. I know it's vague, but I couldn't think of a good way to quantify it.

My budgeting is working - I have spent a lot less this month than many in the past and am only over by a little bit in grocery/eating out/entertainment month-to-date but can still finish within constraints if I am careful the next 10 days. I did have a couple unexpected expenses - a new microwave (which has a utilitarian purpose - it cooks my oatmeal perfectly without intervention) and the prayer retreat registration fee (which was well worth it). I also had a couple outstanding bills that will go down next month. Even with all that, I have still managed to (already) put some into savings.

I watched some of the inauguration festivities yesterday and was honestly impressed with President Obama's speech. I am trying to be positive and trust that he is in place for a reason instead of dwelling on how I disagree with him since feelings of resentment will do nothing productive.