Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012

Maybe my year wasn't quite as great as Adele's,
but close.
We have to end the year on a high note, so after completely Debbie Downering this blog yesterday, let's take a look at the stuff that happened this year that is awesome (it's a much longer list).

1. Paid Vacation!
This year, I went on vacation to Sweden, Denmark and Minneapolis and still got paid even though I wasn't working! One positive about working in the non-profits is that you may not get paid much per hour, but they give you a lot of vacation.  I started out with 21 days vacation + personal time that accrues.  It's just silly, but I am not complaining--at all.

2. Free Yoga!
This year I started getting into yoga for the first time in my life, which has made me stronger overall, and possibly slightly more flexible (though I really don't think so).  If I was paying for this yoga, I would not be able to afford it, but the studio allows me (and a few other people) to exchange light cleaning duties for unlimited free yoga!  Being in the hot room makes winter much easier to bear, and I think I'm getting some ab definition...  maybe.

3. Free Bike!
After my bike was stolen, I had the sads big time.  I still wander back behind our house where it used to be hoping that the person who took it just needed it for an emergency and would return it when finished.  Of course, that is not the case.  BUT, I put an ad on Freecycle saying that my bike was stolen and asking if anyone had one they weren't using that I could have, and someone responded!  I got a new-to-me bike that's in really good shape completely for free.  I need to take it to a mechanic for a once-over, buy a basket and some lights, but then I'll be back on the road in time for spring puddle season!

4. Walking to Work!
Not really much else to say about this one, but the walk to work clears my head, wakes me up and lets me smile at the quirky world I live in.

Walking home from work in the snow, I stopped
to make this tiny snowman and put him on a Stumpchair.
5. Bonus Money!
Though I do make less money working at only one job, I still fill in at two other libraries.  It's a bit of a grind to work those extra hours, but it's also fairly awesome because they don't expect as much of me.  Yes, that sounds really lazy, but I'm basically just a warm body who can do that job, but who doesn't have real responsibilities.  Double bonus, one of the libraries I fill in at still pays time-and-a-half on Sundays.  Bonus money gets split between my Roth IRA and my travel fund, so I know I'm not squandering it.

6. Crock Pot!
At first I was a bit intimidated by the crock pot, but now I absolutely love it and would never want to be without it.  Everything made in the crock pot tastes better--fact!  I can use it to soak beans and barley, which are frequent work staples and doing them in the crock pot is nearly effortless.  I can simmer away delicious healthy soups that not only taste amazing but also make my house smell good.

7. Home Gym!
I have broken up with my gym (though that's still a work in progress--more on that in a later post) but I have also created a highly functional home gym that has everything I need.  For the days when I don't have time to run or go to yoga, I can still get in a good workout without leaving my house.  2013 shall be the year of abs!

8. Friends!
Two of my besties came out to visit me this year for my birthday, and I'm currently making plans to go on a mini-break with two other besties in the spring.  I'm so lucky to not only have so many wonderful friends, but  also to have friends who I don't see that often, but can catch up with instantly, years later, and it feels like no time has passed at all.

9. Learning How to Live Within My Means!
It's my one-year anniversary of my job, and I now know what to expect at work, but also exactly how much I'll make and how to budget accordingly.  Setting up my budget last year was all guesswork, and I was still on a high from the excitement of even getting this job, so I wasn't making great choices.  Now, I have an entire budget from 2012 to refer back to, and nothing should really be changing for 2013 except for the fact that I should buy fewer clothes.

10. Clean(er) Closet
I'm ushering in the new year with a cleaner and better organized closet.  Yes, my closet will never be perfect, mostly because it's a narrow/ deep hidey hole under a staircase, but I think I finally have it sorted out in a way where everything has a place and I can actually find things.  Plus, I only had to spend $16.99 on a six-shelf organizer and I used furniture we already had to organize the rest.

11. Free Holiday Party + Holiday Bonus!
At my library, we have an awesome Friends of the Library group.  Many of them are there on a daily basis sorting donated books, cleaning DVDs and CD, and twice a year they have books sales that make some serious cash.  Apparently, they also give the staff a holiday bonus!  Also, the regular library patrons were coming in every day before xmas and giving us homemade cookies, truffles, donations and cards.  As if that wasn't overwhelming enough, The Progressive Democrats of Rhode Island, which is a group that regularly uses our meeting spaces, collected money from their members and gave us $100 for a staff holiday party!  This is the first time in my working life that my holiday party wasn't a potluck, and it was so nice not to have to stress about what to bring.  This is the stuff that makes it easy to love my job.  Like I always say, it doesn't pay in money, but it does pay in warm fuzzies.

What awesome things happened to you guys in 2012?

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