Inflation and Interest

“What should nervous investors do to position their portfolios for the years ahead? Mr. Smithers suggests lowering stock and bond exposure, and holding more cash instead, even though short-term interest rates today are below inflation. ‘People underrate cash,’ he says. ‘The point of cash is to avoid losing money.’ He says keeping 20% of your portfolio in cash, and either buying or selling stocks and bonds each year to maintain that ratio, has historically been a smart move for most private investors: It has cut your risks more than your returns.”

This is an excerpt from an article I read in the Washington Post this evening. I thought it was interesting because it answers a question I asked my Economics professor last week. We were talking about investing and the inflation rate and he was explaining how to determine if you are getting a good return on your investment. The question I posed was during times of high inflation when interest rates are low what should you do with your money? Is it even a good idea to invest? I had this picture in my head of old ladies who lived through the depression and never learned to trust the banks again burying their cash filled mayonnaise jars in the back yard. My economics teacher said that you would still lose money due to inflation but you would make some of that money back at least.

Ex: You invest 100.00 at the beginning of the year at a 7% fixed interest rate. At the end of the year you would have made 7.00. Now lets add inflation into the picture. Lets say the inflation rate that year was 14%. That means of that 100.00 you invested you lost 14.00 to inflation leaving with you with 86.00 at the end of the year.

Now if you had not invested and just held your 100.00 by the end of the year your 100.00 would only be worth 86.00.

Because you invested at 7% though you get to add 7.00 back on to your end of year total giving you 86+7= 93.00. It is still less than your original 100.00 but it is 7.00 more than you would have had if you had chosen not to invest.

Man, never did I think I would find economics interesting.

The Curious Incindent of the dog in the night-time

The author uses the literary technique of the “unreliable narrator” where the narrator gives a limited or possibly false version of the story, and the reader must work out the real story. Where (specifically) in the novel is the narrator unreliable, and what impact did this have on your experience of reading the novel and your understanding of the main character?

In the story The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time the narrator is Christopher Boone. Christopher Boone is a fifteen year old boy who appears to fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. Due to Christopher’s difficulty understanding the social behaviors of others he views the world, his world specifically, differently than most people. As the reader makes their way through his story they begin to realize things that not even Christopher himself is aware of.

While reading Christopher explains that he does not understand humor or any type of language in general that is not literal. He has trouble understanding metaphors, sarcasm, idioms, even common facial expressions such as a look of surprise. There are plenty of instances in the book where he encounters all of the above and as he does not understand how to respond he typically takes the approach of either being silent or repeating a question or statement he has made until he receives an answer he understands. While this is taking place in the story the reader is left to fill in the blanks and is able to visualize these awkward interactions between Christopher and the public.

A specific  instance in the book was towards the beginning when Christopher’s Mother dies and his father starts spending some time with Mrs. Shears. The way the story unfolds the reader is led to believe that the reason Mr. Shears left Mrs. Shears was possibly because Mrs. Shears was having an affair with Christopher’s Father after the death of Christopher’s Mother. Christopher is unaware of this possibility however as he does not understand that two adults spending time together and taking care of each other the way that Mrs. Shears did with Christopher’s father could mean something. It is not until later in the book that the reader learns from Mrs. Alexander that it was Mr. Shears and Christopher’s Mother that were in fact involved in an affair.

A few chapters later Christopher finds the letters from his Mother hidden in his Father’s closet. Immediately the reader is aware that Christopher’s father has lied to him but it takes Christopher quite a while to work this conclusion out in his mind. At first Christopher is confused because his Mother is writing him from London but he knows his Mother never lived in London while she was alive. The first conclusion that he draws is that the letters must be meant for a different Christopher Boone and they were mailed to him accidentally. All the while the reader is about three steps ahead of the narrator. When Christopher finally becomes conscious of the fact that his Mother is still alive and his father has lied to him he is forced to push himself completely out of his comfort zone to reach her.

I loved the way the story was written from the point of view of a teenager with autism. My nephew has autism and try as one might I don’t think you can ever really understand how they view the world. I loved having a chance to see things similarly to how he does. I also think that because Christopher does not have the same level of understanding in certain situations he winds up simplifying things so he can try to better understand what is going on. I enjoyed reading the story from his point of view in that way. At times he may have over simplified a complicated situation but at others I felt that it was OK to simplify things a bit. It was refreshing. Another element of the book I liked was Christopher’s inability to tell a lie. That in and of itself simplified his life tremendously. If only we could all live so simply.

Work, Tests, Studying, Cleaning.. Mlah mlah mlah mlah mlah!

This week, like every other, was busy. I have 4 tests next week, a paper due and a debate! Most nervous about the debate. Not true I guess.. I am equally nervous about my Math test and the debate.

On top of school goings on I received a phone call from a former co-worker on Wednesday asking me to come work at his job. He wanted me full-time which wont work because of school but said he might be able to use me part-time. Here is the thing, he is a jerk. He always has been a jerk. He used to make people cry at my last job because he was such a jerk. I don’t know if I feel like working with him again. He says he has changed but just based on the phone call I don’t believe it. Ultimately I think he was just blowing smoke up my ass. He was supposed to text me the fax number so I could send my resume and didn’t. Don’t think I will be hearing from him again.

This did bring up the issue of me needing to get a job though. I am out of money, down to my last 20.00, and bills are due. So I reached out to a few people and am in the process of setting up one interview and if that doesn’t work I have another friend willing to interview me. I am lucky to have good friends and hope that I am able to be as good to them in a time of need.

Yesterday Toddles had to work for half the day so I went to Chuluota to spend time with my parents. It was fun. Mom and I (more Mom than I) made pumpkin spice cookies with cream cheese icing. Yum! Then I helped Mom color her hair and we all went outside and washed the cars. My car is like new. It has new front tires, new hub caps, it has been vacuumed and washed. It never gets that special treatment. Last night Todd and I walked over and briefly checked out Jazzfest in College Park before we went to a movie. We saw The Master. I agree with the reviews I have read. The acting is great, very believable characters but the plot is confusing. It feels pointless a lot of the time. I didn’t hate it though. Then we ate outside at a little Mexican restaurant in the Village and came home to play Aggravation. I won 2 out of 3 but according to Toddles only the last game mattered, that was the one he won.

Today was another beautiful Sunday so I took my studies outside. 🙂

I was so much more focused than I usually am trying to do the same work inside. It was lovely.

I made a new friend in Math class this week, Keely. She just moved into College Park with her boyfriend, I think she and I may go for a bike ride sometime. 🙂 I love new friends.

Today Toddles and I need to go to the grocery store to get our groceries for the week, Toddles is in desperate need of a hair cut 😉 , and I think we will go on a bike ride in the evening. I bet it is going to be a pretty evening. Cant wait.


Happy Birthday to Toddles


Yesterday was Toddles Birthday. I may be financially broke but my creativity is limitless. I gave him a proper birthday. I made a birthday banner from Scrapbook paper and the art from old CD sleeves, a garland of spheres also made from the art of old CD sleeves, a birthday card that I painted and a chocolate cake per his request. I was also able to afford a few gifts. 🙂 It was a great day that ended with a birthday steak the size of my head.

Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings

We have had some beautiful autumn mornings of late and evening more stunning have been the evenings. 5:00 is my favorite time of day in the fall, the whole world looks beautiful in the 5:00 light. Todd and I went on a night walk Friday in the neighborhood. It was so pretty. The weather was nice and a lot of the houses on our street were decorated with lights and pumpkins for Halloween. We went all the way down to the lake and sat under the oak tree with the bench and just looked at the city skyline all lit up. While we were sitting there an owl swooped in and perched itself on a branch above us. It was so quiet when it flew up, had I not seen the dark outline of it I would have never known it was there.

The weather has cooled slightly, not enough to get you really excited for the season but it will get there. This Sunday morning is especially beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky, a slight breeze moving the leaves and every couple of minutes I can hear an acorn fall from our oak tree on to the roof of my reading room.

Yesterday Todd and I went to lunch with my Mom’s side of the family to celebrate the September/October birthdays. It was fun. Later in the evening we went to a church carnival with my family to play bingo. Todd and I both won one round of Bingo a piece, 10.00 all together. 🙂 It was fun. Not to get gushy but I love him so much. We have so much fun together and we get each other. He is a good man, I count myself lucky.

Staying on the topic of Toddles, I found out yesterday that I will be going home with him for Christmas! We will be in Illinois for two weeks. I am hoping for a white Christmas. I have never seen snow so I am over-the-moon excited about the possibility! I am just so excited to have a reason to wear all these fun pea coats I have too. We get a winter here but I have never experienced a northern winter. I know it will be cold but I cant wait! I just know I will be day dreaming about from now until December.

Dilly Dally I just want to day dream

I have my school’s site pulled up, my homework writing assignment is loaded in front of me, I read the first 5 words and proceed to stretch in my chair and look up at the ceiling for the next three minutes. When I am done with the ceiling I look at the window, then down at my cereal bowl. Then I think, ” I should really put this away before I get started”. Ultimately I decide that it makes the most sense to just go write in my blog.

<Two minute pause to stare out the window>

It’s a really pretty day today but the windows in my book room are dirty. I should really go get the Windex and correct this.

<10 minutes later>

Ha! Easier said than done! The dirt is on the outside of the window and I cant figure out how to get the stupid screen off. I’ll have to recruit Todd to help me later.

I really love this book room I have. I hope every house I live in has a room like this I can call my own. I have my desk with a vase of peonys, a picture of my sweet nephew, my “mail organizer” that I use to hold my anxiety journal, Peanuts sticky notes, stamps, envelopes and whatever book I am currently reading. The book of the week is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Truth is, I have been so busy with reading chapter for school it has become the book of the month more so than just the week.
On the same wall as my desk I have my book shelf with all my favorites displayed. Th connecting wall holds all my Jordan Crane framed art work, I am so glad I finally have a room to display it – he is my favorite artist.

<5 minute pause to look at my bookshelf and art>

My book room also has a sweet little sitting area. The idea was that I could sit in here and read quietly. I rarely actually use the sitting area for that purpose but it is a favorite place to sit and drink wine with my girlfriends when they come over.

My sitting area in the book room

It’s such a beautiful Sunday. I keep day dreaming about the window boxes I could put on the front windows. I think mums would be lovely for this time of year. I am excited to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters this year with Todd. We decided not to go out this year for Halloween. Its our first year in the house and I am really excited to just be here and be apart of the Halloween experience in College Park. Plus, he has been so busy with work and I have been so busy with school neither one of us is much in the mood to do costumes. So unlike me really. I normally know what I am going to dress as in June.

OK enough. I need to finish my coffee and get my head into my assignments. Todd and I are going out later so I have to get this done.

Silent Communication.

I went to Wal-Mart today and purchased a lunch box. I left the last one behind at my old job and being a broke college student I had to shop around for the best price on a new one, big surprise it Wal-Mart won. Of course all of this is irrelevant to the story. 🙂

When I was checking out it took a bit longer than I’d hoped for. The lady that was the front of the line had questions and the cashier was kind of slow.. What struck me as funny was the man in front of me, so far as I could tell all he was purchasing was a bottled water. Why stand in a somewhat backed up line for something you could have paid for at a vending machine and been on your way? I also thought his manner was curious. He just seemed to have a lot on his mind, distracted or something. Anyway, his turn comes, this whole time waiting in line behind him he never made eye contact with me, he waited for his bottle water to be scanned and then asked for nicotine gum, the Orange flavor. As soon as he asked he glanced over and made eye contact with me. I just smiled and he smiled back. I wanted to say, Congratulations. Good for you. I think he could tell because his smile seemed to reply with, Thanks, it isn’t easy.

I love being out in the world and, even for just a moment in a glance, feeling like there was a connection with another person. A silent conversation, a smile, even just eye contact. I will settle for it. I genuinely enjoy interacting. That’s a funny thing really given that I am by nature an introvert. I have my moments without a doubt but I do love those small connections made with the rest of the world in passing.

I am doing quite well in classes. Well, with the exception of Math that it is. That, unfortunately, is nothing new for me. I am not a Math student. I am working on it though and will pass just fine. I have no other options. If I want to reach my goal I have to meet my full potential and do what I may have thought impossible before.

I had lunch with a classmate on Wednesday. We share the same major and it was nice to get to talk more about our lives and what brought us to where we are. It seems to me that she is still searching. She is younger than me by 7 years and has a bit further to go with this part of her degree before she can move on to the next. I explained the requirements of the program we are planning to apply for and gave some suggestions on things she can do to make herself look good on her application. I think she may do some volunteer work with me at some point, hard to say when though. She seems hesitant. I can appreciate that. I didn’t start volunteering until a few years ago. When you are in your younger twenties your time feels more precious. You go through that mind-set of ” I only get to be this age once, I don’t want to waste it being responsible”, or such was the case with me at least. 🙂  I have no regrets about the decisions I have made, even the less thoughtful ones led me ultimately in the right direction. I wouldn’t know myself as well as I do if I hadn’t broken my own heart a few times along the way.

So on Tuesday I start volunteering at the Russell Home for Atypical Children. I am excited and nervous. Excited because I want to be hands on and experience this so badly. I want to be exposed to struggle and good will and love and heart ache. I was originally interested in this particular group because of Isaac, my nephew. He is the lightness in my step. He is also autistic. I want everything for him and I don’t want his differences to hold him back but in the same breath I would never under any circumstance want to change him. I like to think of myself as an optimist, a happy person with a kind disposition. However, I believe that no amount of good I will ever be able to do will hold a candle to the goodness in that boy’s heart. You will never meet a sweeter soul. Quite aware of what I am saying here, I would count myself lucky to have a son exactly like him. So he is my reason for wanting to help with this group. I also feel timid about this decision as well though because even with my experience in the medical field and what I have learned after Isaac’s DX I have still never had this much contact with so many disabled people at once. My experience from my medical background is more with MS and Oncology patients. We would have an occasional Cerebral Palsy case but that was few and far between. I guess I am just worried for the same reasons I always worry, that I am not emotionally strong enough or that I just wont be able to give enough.

I am going to have to stop for now. Todd has come to bed and he is talking to me and muddling my thoughts.

Anxiety is a layer cake

Seems that every time you feel you are making some progress you are confronted with the next obstacle to overcome. I guess if you think about it that is the nature of progress, moving forward from one point to the next. I remember the night I told Todd about my anxiety disorder, it was within the first two weeks of dating. I knew I liked him and felt the need to start laying my cards on the table as to not waste our time. I also remember his response, “That’s ok, that’s not going to be a problem for us”. I don’t know what kind of response I was expecting, something less understanding I guess or to be hammered with questions.. I think my fear was when he heard I am on medication he would think I am crazy and peel out on me. I know I have a tendency to worry and over think things but that concern was valid because in a way that had happened recently. I think I was trying to give him an exit if he wanted it. It was only a week later that I had my first break down with him, well not with him exactly.. I called him and he could hear it in my voice, without hesitation he said he was going to come over, that whatever it was we would talk it out. That was the night I fell in love with him. I told him all of my secrets, made myself completely vulnerable and he didn’t run. He stayed with me until we talked ourselves out and had moved on to laughter. I had only been diagnosed and started treatment 4 or 5 months before I met him. I was still working things out, that’s just it though, your always working on things.

It started with controlling my emotions better when I would get nervous or anxious, less episodes and outbursts. I have mastered the outbursts, I don’t know if I will conquer the crying though. I am kind ok with that though. I am sensitive, I always have been and it feels better to let it out sometimes. I think as long as it managed it’s ok to feel that way every so often.

Then it was getting into a routine but at the same time not getting all twisted up if something disrupts the routine. Done.
Very basic things to help feel better at the beginning. Once I was “back to normal” it became more what it is now, introspective observation and working to fix what needs attention. I don’t think I will ever get rid of my anxiety, I don’t know if it’s possible but I will at least do my best to better myself as much as possible.

The latest thing I am coming to grips with is my compulsive behavior. When I was diagnosed the Doctor diagnosed me with GAD and OCD. The OCD dx upset me. I did not agree with the dx, I decided that he just said that because anxiety in general can be compulsive. At the time I did not identify any compulsive behaviors in myself other than the thoughts and feelings of anxiety themselves. No physical behavior though. What I have learned through all of this is that you rarely see things that you don’t come to on your own. What I  mean is, you have to come to your own conclusions. It’s denial essentially, you won’t believe something until you are ready to. <Deep Sigh> I am ready.

I don’t want to elaborate on my specific compulsions but I will say this, this is difficult. I want to do something so bad that will not benefit me in any way and if anything it works against me. However, NOT doing it gives me severe anxiety. It’s worse when I am alone because I have all this time to be thinking about it. When I am at school or with Todd, my family or friends I am distracted and really don’t think about it much. When I am alone it is like every fiber in my body is pushing me to do it. It doesn’t help that I am constantly exposed to the things I am trying to control. It isn’t that people aren’t being supportive, it’s just life, it’s how this is. The situation is not going to change, the way I view it and react to it is what has to change.
It’s not easy.

Another concern I have, but not one I can worry about right now while I am fighting this battle, is that once I have overcome this I will develop some other negative behavior in its place as a coping mechanism. I am trying to be self-aware and careful of that as I work through this. Maybe writing will take its place.

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