unemployment

What A Year It’s Been

I kind of knew 2012 would be a challenge. Michael had gotten word from his boss in December of 2011 that he may be losing his job and sure enough, restructuring happened and he lost his job at the end of January. Because of that, it’s been a year of ups and downs. Going down to one income was difficult, especially since my paltry income in no way could cover the mortgage. Luckily, we scraped by on my salary and his unemployment without going into any debt or suffering too much.

Stress levels were definitely high this year but I tried to focus on my personal growth and used fitness as my stress-reliever. I increased my cycling this summer more than I ever did last year. I was able to somewhat successfully commute to work by bike 3 times a week (with some bumps in the road because of lots of flat tires).

The cycling training I did didn’t prepare me for that full Century I wanted to do. Instead, Michael and I biked the Salem Metric Century (64 miles). It was a great ride and I felt strong and happy at the end.

peach

My knees, however, ended up being a literal pain the remainder of 2012. I was diagnosed with the dreaded runner’s knee but immediately started physical therapy, altered my workouts, and was able to rehab my knees enough to try running again. I’m still not 100% but I’m glad I can do something!

The Highlights

The biggest highlight of 2012 was Michael landing the perfect job. I really do think things happen for a reason and the reason for our struggles this year was for Michael to find an even better job than his last one with better people, benefits and pay.

I had my 15 minutes of fame when I was on the local news about my weight loss. And I found an agent for my book!

Traveling

It’s funny how the year that Michael loses his job ends up being the year we do the most traveling. I don’t know how, it just ended up that way. We were really, really lucky this year with our vacations.

The first one was to Vegas. We cashed in all our airline miles to make the trip doable. We stayed at the Monte Carlo and had a wonderful time (but I never have a bad time in Vegas). I won on roulette the entire trip, we saw a Cirque show and ate some amazing food.

vegas

The second trip was to Texas for his sister’s wedding. Since it was a family event we didn’t have to pay for airfare or a place to stay for the wedding. It was nice seeing his family and the wedding was beautiful. We ended up going to Austin for a few days to celebrate our 4th anniversary before heading back home.

wedding

austin2

I surprised Michael for his birthday and whisked him away to the beach. We walked in the sand, saw sea otters, ate some good food and drank beer at Rogue.

rogue

Lastly, the trip to Hawaii. Man, that was a surprise! Another gift from the universe. Our friends invited us to stay with them at their condo and all we had to foot was airfare. I have to say that the best parts of Hawaii were running and swimming in the ocean.

beach
birdsof

Also, the flowers.  🙂

Moving Forward

What does 2013 have in store for me? Only time will tell. I have a lot of goals I want to achieve in the new year and I’m going to be focused and determined to achieve them. A lot of my goals revolve around cycling, my book, and hopefully some personal enrichment. I’m forming a book club, I applied to volunteer at the cat shelter I used to volunteer at, and I’m planning some fun trips (of course one will most likely be Vegas!).

Cheers!

QUESTION: How was 2012 for you? What were the highlights?

January is Beer Month

First, thank you all for the kind comments on the post about Michael’s job. I appreciate the supportive suggestions. I think we will be okay. The common theme of comments was that Michael needs to stay busy while he’s looking for a job. I think he’ll be really productive. He was unemployed about 10 years ago and he says that he regrets not using that time wisely. Since he’s known that the lay off was coming, he’s made a list of all the home and self-improvement things he wants to accomplish. I think he’ll be successful in those things.

I’ve never been unemployed as an adult, so I can’t even imagine the stress and devastation Michael is feeling. The one time I got laid off I was still living at home. I was heartbroken and upset but I didn’t have the extra stress of having to make rent payments (thankfully).

Okay, enough of the heavy stuff! Let’s talk about something fun. BEER.

I associate January with beer. I think part of the reason is that our tradition is to go to Bend in January to play in the snow. Deschutes Brewery is one of my favorites and we always drink beer in Bend! Good stuff! The January is Beer Month began on Friday the 13th with my friend Robyn’s birthday celebration. It was her 40th birthday party and she had it at the Pyramid Alehouse here in Portland.

Robyn has been a really good friend for over 10 years now. In fact, she was laid off from her job this time last year, too, after working there for like 12 years. She has spent her time unemployed going back to school to change her career. I think that’s a fantastic and incredibly brave thing to do!

I got off work an hour early to fit in my swim before Michael and I headed to the brewery. I wore a new outfit that my mom had gotten me for Christmas. A Merino Wool sweater and a new skirt.

It was a cute place in the Industrial area of town. The party was a lot of fun. Michael and I had a budget for the night of $30. We successfully enjoyed ourselves and came in at $25 for the night! I sampled a few of the beers before deciding which one to get.

We split a burger and fries. Not only did splitting the entree save our budget but it saved some calories too. I enjoyed the burger, even though it was a little overcooked for my tastes. It had a smokey flavor that I enjoyed. The fries were rosemary and garlic flavored.

Michael had the Thunderhead IPA beer.

I had one Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA. LOVED it. It was a dark red and deliciously hoppy. And also 8.5%–which is why I only needed one of those babies. The beer was sweet and crisp.

On the way home from the party, Michael and I stopped by the store to grab some ice cream as a treat. We did come out under our $30 budget so dessert was an option! The ice cream at home wasn’t quite the same as the awesome dessert Robyn had, but she was the birthday girl! 🙂

It was such a good night. I was happy to be able to celebrate with Robyn and have a nice night out without breaking the bank.

QUESTION: How do you tighten your budget? What’s your favorite beer?