Web Miscellany: Compilation #87

Hello, friend! What have you been up to this week? How are you doing? It has been raining in Phoenix, which we have needed desperately following a record-dry year. Having been born and raised here, I can confidently saw that the only two things I don’t hate about the Valley of the Sun are the deluging monsoon storms and vibrant sunsets. I’ve enjoyed both this week.

Two years ago, I vacationed in the Pacific Northwest with my partner. Upon our return, we checked out real estate price and absolutely fell in love with a rural, forested area where the homes were priced around $400k. Those same home are now selling for over $1.2M! We have been living on a shoestring budget to save for the future for our entire adult lives and sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. It’s a bit discouraging.

Speaking of homes, we scheduled out mold remediation project (yay!); unfortunately, homeowners insurance will not cover the project (boo!). So, we’ll be out-of-pocket $7,000 to $20,000, depending on whether the mold has extended beyond the visible surface mold to within the walls (likely). And that’s just a bare bones mold removal, leaving all our lovely 1980s fixtures intact (ha!). Homeownership is the best and the worst thing in the world.

What are your plans for the week ahead? I am reading The Midnight Library and sewing up the Ogden tiered maxi dress I mused starting last week. It’s a undertaking, but I am having so much fun and look forward to sharing more when I’m done.

Here are some obligatory cute kitty pictures. Meet Georgia and baby Independence (Indie)!

I hope that your the week ahead is good to you. Here are a few links from around the web. Feel free to share anything interesting you’ve stumbled upon in the comments.

  1. Food for thought: “Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” – Leo Tolstoy
  2. From the archives: “Each of us is part of at least one minority. Whether skin color, religious beliefs, career path, sexual preference, ethnicity, or propensity towards literature, we each have our own unique fingerprint. It is simply not feasible to create a world in which eight billion people are in full agreement with one another–a world in which no one is ever offended.” We Need to Stop Trying To Protect Everyone’s Feelings. Three years later, and this issue is only getting worse.
  3. The etymology of the Jeep: “The auto brand Jeep is named after a teleporting, interdimensional dog. It’s also the 4th most popular auto brand in the United States, selling almost 800,000 vehicles per year. All of these are true facts.
  4. Life satisfaction metrics: “The percentage of Americans who evaluate their lives well enough to be considered “thriving” on Gallup’s Live Evaluation Index reached 59.2% in June, the highest in over 13 years of ongoing measurement and exceeding the previous high of 57.3% from September 2017.” Good news from Gallup.
  5. What I’m watching: Wartime Farm is a British historical documentary TV series in eight parts in which the running of a farm during the Second World War is reenacted. Maybe my inner nerd is showing, but I found this to be fascinating!
  6. Board game I’m playing: I recently played (and won!) Isle of Cats. It’s like feline Tetris and I love it. My brother, a board game enthusiast, introduced me to it.
  7. Current frustration: Dozens of blogs I’ve following for 10-15 years have been veering down a different path that my own over the last two years, and I find myself uncharacteristically frustrated. Many opinions seem short-sighted and fail to see the bigger picture, and I worry that well-intentioned persons with authority are doing more harm than good. The current problems in the world will take several generations to rectify; placing a band-aid over a festering wound is doing more harm than good. We need to play the long game. We need to take calculated risks.
  8. Don’t act like a conservative: “Aw Shucks Conservatives are willing to disagree with the Left, but they first want to get all the terminology right… They don’t understand that the chaos is the point. They have lost every important cultural battle… They are polite and naïve. To the activist Left, they look like a meal… There is another sort of conservative, of course—the youthful, chest-beating, triumphalist sort. Chest-Beating conservatism offends on purpose, as if offense itself were an argument… Stop playing the Left’s game of victimhood, stop straining to adopt its lingo… I’m suggesting that you’ll never win a victimhood contest, in part because you don’t believe in victimhood contests.” From Abigail Shrier. I try not to get into politics, but we need to learn how to think critically and speak intelligently about the topics we most care about. No matter what “side” you’re on, we are all human inhabiting the same pulsating planet with varying dreams that require cooperation.
  9. Bird photos: Check out the Audubon Photography Awards if you like birds. Really like birds? I can recommend the game Wingspan and the book The Atomic Weight of Love. I’m fascinated by ornithology, personally.
  10. Investment-backed loans: “For borrowers, the calculation is clear: If an asset appreciates faster than the interest rate on the loan, they come out ahead. And under current law, investors and their heirs don’t pay income taxes unless their shares are sold. The assets may be subject to estate taxes, but heirs pay capital-gains taxes only when they sell and only on gains since the prior owner’s death. The more they can borrow, the longer they can hold appreciating assets. And the longer they hold, the bigger the tax savings.” Buy, Borrow, Die: How Rich Americans Live Off Their Paper Wealth from Wall Street Journal.

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