Sunday, January 3, 2010

The good, bad and the ugly of my 2009.

About a year ago I wrote down some goals for the year. Unforeseen events kept me from completing several, at least not 100%, but I learned a most-valuable lesson, there. Planning ahead is good, but rolling with the punches and focusing on TODAY is also good. In keeping with the lesson I learned, not to mention the fact that several of last year's goals are not yet complete, I'm not going to actually make a list for 2010.

I still love my job and they treat me well. Becoming a salaried, as opposed to hourly, employee and having paid time off made a significant difference in both the income I take home and my mindset. We had concerns about our field, DH and I both have architecture degrees, and worked to build our emergency fund in case our worst fears were realized. They came to fruition on January 15, 2009, when DH was laid off along with about two dozen others at his place of work. It was sad and disappointing, but we were more concerned for colleagues with a single income and families for whom to provide. We were just grateful that the savings we'd worked so hard, in 2008, to accumulate allowed us to not lose our minds! Between tightening things down and the unemployment extensions, we have been able to cover everything and still save up the leftovers for unexpected expenses, like the leaking water heater we had to replace in September. If the goal was to be more 'grown-up' about our finances, we definitely achieved that. We still worry for friends in the industry... my job is secure but municipalities and the state government aren't funding projects they've awarded already, so even busy firms may not have things to do in six-months' time.

I didn't really get to do much traveling this year, other than for work. DH took a hiking trip through part of the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains with Brother K and our friend, Paul. I don't think any of them had jobs at the time, so a week in March was a perfect time to do some serious work in the backcountry! The Great Smokies don't allow dogs, so it was also a perfect opportunity for DH, at least, to check it out. He also took a trip to Mountain City, TN, in September for an offroad/rally race! He went with cameras in tow to document the inaugural event (there will be a 5 or 6-race series in 2010) and get to know some of the east-coasters involved in the sport. We have friends out west who have been into this stuff for years, including the Baja 1000. We're planning to make a trip in February to Johnson Valley, CA, for the King of the Hammers offroad race to watch some of them (east coast and west coast) compete.

See how I go from thoughtful, outdoorsy architect-ish to downright redneck-ish, just like that? Yeah, that's normal around here. I promise, the rest of this 'year in review' is much more concise, too.

We made lots of progress on our patio and back yard, thanks in part to help from friends and DH being at home to get some things done! We're still not 100% with the patio because the dyed concrete slabs we've started making, ourselves, for the stair treads are time-intensive. We're also still finishing the cosmetic work to our laundry room and working on design ideas for the future renovation of the whole house. These things take time and we're in no rush to add on at this point.

I did not finish my exams (to become a registered architect) but made significant progress, passing 3 of the 4 I took. DH and I did study for and pass the LEED AP exam and he was able to determine that he's completed his internship requirements, so we plan on studying together for the rest of the ARE exams, starting soon.

I did, in fact, make and modify several articles of clothing with the machine my parents gave me last Christmas! Interestingly enough, I found a whole world of blogs devoted to such things. In May I took the Pledge at Wardrobe Refashion for four months and then kept it going for the rest of the year. I found so many great people there; creative, funny, interesting people whose blogs I now read regularly. It was so inspiring to see how people express themselves with fashion that I started a new project in July, Raleigh Street Fashion. It is still small, by blog standards, but growing and I'm really happy with the things I've learned and the people I've met because of it.

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