We’ve made it to 2023. Will this be a better year? No matter what, it means that I’ve now been blogging at this little space for seven different calendar years (2017 to today). When I started TLRE, I didn’t realize how much it would change my life.

But through the relationships I’ve made by being more visible online and the entire business and community that is Women’s Personal Finance, that decision back in mid-2017 to start blogging about money has literally changed my life. And yet, the money piece isn’t even the most important part of it.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. We generally spend New Year’s Eve at home because our dog is terrified of fireworks, and this year was no different on that front. We invited over some close friends and old neighbors and had a great evening hanging around the kitchen table, snacking on cheeses and pepper jelly and other finger foods.

The kiddos are now old enough to stay up as well, so we rang in the new year together at midnight instead of 9pm in past years. Really though, it’s more surprising that I made it that late than the kids. It was a really lovely evening full of laughter and good conversation and left my heart full.

2. New Year’s Day, the husband and I headed into Seattle for the Seahawks game. We got tickets through work, which is also when I went to the last game live. The weather was lovely – we even got some sunshine – and we had a great time. Plus, the Hawks won soundly. We took the light rail in and walked around quite a bit after the game, and then sat reading together/separately at the corner of a quiet bar for dinner before going home.

The kiddo had a sleepover with his grandparents, so we had no rush home, and from the photos we got and his update afterward (including saying that it was the very best part of his winter break), he had a fabulous time.

3. Since New Years Day fell on a Sunday this year, we had the day off on Monday for the observed holiday, and we decided to head out for a hike and decided on Little Si. The weather was gorgeous, albeit windy, and the trail wasn’t as busy as we would have expected.

Round trip is a bit over 4 miles with 1300 feet of elevation gain, so a moderate hike, but my lungs struggled some in the steeper parts. I had no respiratory symptoms during my acute Covid infection last month, but doing the hike made it clear that my lungs aren’t the same as they were a month ago. Honestly, after now having Covid, I’m even less inclined to have it again. Zero stars. Would not recommend.

4. Speaking of Covid and longer lingering symptoms, I have been biking again more, taking the kiddo to school a couple of days this week, along with an almost 20 mile ride on Saturday. The biking itself doesn’t get me out of breath, but I can still tell that I’m not in the same shape I was when we left for Mexico.

Being a pretty active person, I’d much rather have had more intense symptoms during the acute infection when I was testing positive than feeling the effects a month later. It’s extremely frustrating – especially when everyone I talk to who’s had Covid says oh yeah, you won’t be back to normal for at least two or three months. This might be normal for Covid, but it certainly isn’t normal for most illnesses. Shall we stop pretending this is fine?

Sammamish River Trail

5. I did end up finishing 100 books in 2022, quite a few more than the 64 I read in 2021. I’ve recapped my book lists the last few years, and you can check out what I read in 2021, 2020, and 2019, with short reviews on each book or series.

I will note that perhaps two thirds of the books I counted this year were audiobooks. I used to not count them or count that separately, but I’ve come to realize that’s ridiculous. Reading is reading, whether it is a favorite easy re-read or a new nonfiction audiobook. Let’s not gatekeep what counts and let’s instead all enjoy the stories and material produced, in whatever format works best.

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