Sowing Seeds, Sinking Funds & 6AM

basil seedlings

Sowing Seeds

The last few weeks I’ve been sowing seeds. Both inside and outdoors. So far nothing has sprouted outdoors in the pots on the balcony, so I’ve tried a second set of seeds. Indoors the basil made an appearance! In a few weeks it will go outdoors. I’m looking forward to fresh basil this summer and maybe I’ll try some basil lemonade!

Sinking Funds

Since my federal student loans were forgiven last year, I’ve been super focused on my finances. Not having that debt feels like a second lease on life. I’ve made progress eliminating more debt and increasing my savings and investments. Before it all felt kind of pointless. Now I feel so much better and I’m enjoying learning more about personal finance.

I’ve set up different savings accounts to pay for things that I will need in the future, but didn’t realize that there was a name for them until recently. They’re called sinking funds. I have them set up, so that every week, money is automatically pulled from my main checking account and funneled into these different savings accounts.

One of the sinking funds that I’ve set up is for dental expenses. I don’t have dental insurance, so I pay for everything out of pocket. It really gets pricey, but it’s predictable. I don’t want to charge these expenses and end up paying interest on them. Which is what I was doing before. Not a good move.

For the longest time, I have been putting off getting a crown. I finally had it done! Since I had been saving for it, I was able to charge it, then pay it off right away. I got the points, but no interest! Since teeth cleanings and x-rays are predictable expenses, there’s no good reason not to prepare for them in advance.

6:00 AM

This week is going to be a busy one and the weather is going to be nice. It’s easier for me to get up early when it’s sunny and warm. So this seems like a good week to try getting up every day at 6am. I usually get up around 7:30am, so this is much earlier for me. It’s another lifestyle experiment, so I’ll see how it goes.

Hope you have a good week!

Time, Seasons + Planks

pocket watches telling time

So did you enjoy having that extra day last month? But then miss the hour we lost last night? Thinking about both changes in time makes life feel more arbitrary and random than usual.

In the natural world around us, we see the seasons change before our eyes. But the way humans interpret and manipulate time is based on the choices of very few people. The rest of us just go along with it.

I’ve always liked the idea of Leap Years and enjoy having more light in the evenings once Daylight Saving Time begins. But it is odd when you really think about it. Time is a social construct.

Time is also our most valuable resource, precisely because none of us knows how much we actually have. It is so precious. So how do we want to spend it?

If more of us thought deeply about this, I think we might choose to spend our time differently. The more time we get in life, the greater our appreciation for good health.

I’ve been making many changes over the years to improve my health, both physically and mentally. The latest tiny change that I’ve started is doing a daily plank. Like the late great RBG.

Once I blog something, I have a greater chance of sticking to it. So here it is! My goal is to do at least one plank every day for the rest of my life! And be able to keep increasing the time I can hold it.

Along with my language learning goals, it will be interesting to see changes over the next few months and years. This is another post to look back on and follow-up!

Seaweed + Sweet Potato Soup

I didn’t set out to create a new favorite soup today. But that’s what happened with this seaweed and sweet potato soup!

When January is acting like itself, it’s soup weather here in Massachusetts. So today, I decided to use some sweet potatoes and seaweed to make a quick and healthy soup. I purchased the nori, dried seaweed sheets, a while ago, but hadn’t used it too often. I was inspired to buy it after seeing several vloggers that I follow using it.

It’s not just for sushi. Nori can be cut up and used on noodles, rice and in soups. Since seaweed is so healthy, I want to incorporate it into my diet more often.

When I cook, I rarely use recipes and usually have a feel for what a dish needs. I always have soup stock ready to go in the freezer in easy to use portions. So I grabbed two large cubes of stock, and melted it in a pan with a chicken bouillon cube. It would have been easier if I did everything in one pan, but I did things out of order, so it took longer.

In a larger pan, I sauteed some shallots, sweet potatoes, and garlic in olive oil and butter until softened. I poured the stock into the large pan and added enough water to cover the vegetables with liquid. Then using kitchen scissors, I cut the nori into pieces and added it to the pan.

Now I’m trying to remember everything else that I used. Some ground spices: lemon pepper blend, garlic powder, cumin and turmeric. I think that the only other things were maple syrup, toasted sesame seed oil and rice vinegar.

These are the hazards of not using a recipe or measuring anything. It will be impossible to exactly replicate what I did. But I can come close. Since I’m documenting this for my future self. And for you if you’d like to try it.

This soup was such an unexpected treat and I’m looking forward to having some again tomorrow.

Pluto in Aquarius

What were you doing between March 23, 2023  and June 11, 2023? During that time period, we got a preview of Pluto in Aquarius. The last time that Pluto changed signs was in 2008.

For me personally, some extremely significant things happened during both of these times. There has been a lot of chatter in the astrology community about Pluto and its impact.

When I first started hearing about it at the beginning of 2023, the first thing that I thought about was that I had somewhat major surgery in 2008. But it was planned surgery. I didn’t have any surgery planned during 2023, so I hoped that Pluto wouldn’t impact me the same way.

Unfortunately, it did. It just wasn’t planned. In the beginning of June 2023, I ended up in the hospital and had emergency surgery. As someone who is usually healthy, this was so out of the blue and bizarre. I was truly shocked.

Both transits weren’t all bad though. Especially between March and June last year. I was starting to make my way into the world and back to focusing on me again after COVID and moving my mom closer to me.

At the end of March, I saw Jill Scott in Boston and the next day traveled to Maryland and DC. I also went on a short retreat at Kripalu in the Berkshires in May. I had so much fun spending time with family and friends and focusing on wellness. Oh, and I got Wordle in one try!

I haven’t mentioned all the changes that happened to me personally, and there are also many things that happened to us as a collective during these times. The 2008 financial crisis, then in March 2023 there was the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Also, I will never forget where I was when I learned that the former president was indicted by the state of New York. I was on the train to DC and had just arrived in New York!

A lot happens when Pluto changes signs. It’s really quite remarkable and something to take note of. Pluto’s orbit around the sun takes 248 years. So it spends a lot of time in each sign. Astrologer Chani Nicholas gives a nice summary of the last time that Pluto was in Aquarius.

“The last time Pluto journeyed through Aquarius, between 1777 and 1798, the world’s balance of power massively shifted. These two decades saw the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The monarchy was toppled in France, showing that even the world’s most powerful institutions can crumble in the face of Pluto’s wrecking ball.

The Age of Enlightenment also reached a crescendo at this time. Aquarian ideals of reason, rationality, and humanity’s power to steer its own destiny fueled this epoch and laid the groundwork for democratic institutions and human rights.”

So why is all this relevant now? Pluto moves into Aquarius again this Saturday, January 20, 2024. An article on Stylecaster explains more about the dates and upcoming changes.

“Pluto has been transiting down-to-business Capricorn since 2008, so its initial move into airy Aquarius on March 23, 2023 marked the first sign shift for this planet in nearly 15 years. This was Pluto’s first dip into the revolutionary sign of the water bearer since the late 18th century—but in true Pluto fashion, it’ll take time to fully complete this zodiacal transition.

Thanks to Pluto’s slow orbit and annual retrograde periods, it reverted back to Capricorn on June 11, 2023, but as of Saturday, January 20, 2024, it will move forward into Aquarius once again. However, this is another temporary dip into Aquarius, as Pluto retrogrades back into Capricorn on September 1. Luckily, it will return to Aquarius for good as of November 19, 2024. From there, Pluto will remain in Aquarius until 2043 and 2044—giving the planet a solid two decades to work its transformative magic in the Aquarius-ruled parts of our chart.”

There is so much happening in the world right now, that I probably cannot even come close to imagining how this will all play out. But I expect there will be some revolutionary changes. Let’s hope for the best.

Eye Drops Recalled

This wasn’t even the post I planned to write tonight, but I just heard rather upsetting news about recalled eye drops.

I remember a few months ago hearing that several people went blind, some needed their eyeballs removed and others died due to infections. It was really shocking and scary. I use lubricant eye drops and so does my mom. None of the brands that I heard about were ones that we used. I later heard about the recall expanding and wondered if it would end up impacting me at some point.

When I checked the list of eye drops mentioned in the report tonight, some are ones that I use. This picture is the bottle that I’ve been using and just threw away. On the label, I only see a Lot number and expiration date. The list provides NDC numbers and I couldn’t tell from a quick search if it was the same as the Lot number. It’s getting ready to expire next month anyway and I have a new bottle from a brand not on the list.

If you use these types of drops, definitely check the list right away before continuing to use them. We do so much to protect our health and well-being, but there is only so much we can control.