Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Portland's (Barter) Economy is Booming!...

It turns out that massage is very much in demand, and it has been really fun to meet people and exchange goods and/ or services. Many people are struggling financially, but it works out really well to exchange what we already have or can do, taking cash out of the equation. Many of these trades are for things that make our life feel rich, but that we would have a hard time justifying spending money on. So far, I have traded bodywork for:

Hair Services
A Spa Gift Card (worth $450!!)
Voice Lessons
Grass Fed Beef
Restaurant Gift Certificates
Acupuncture Treatments
Private Pilates Sessions
Custom Woodworking
Website Design Consulting
Professional Photography

Can you believe it? I am lucky to live in a city that values community highly, and loves to find creative ways to help one another. I am currently working on having someone come clean my house 1-2x/ month as a trade (this may be the most exciting one for me yet!) It also feels good to know that I am providing something that people really need, but can't afford.
We feel so fortunate!

Friday, January 15, 2010

2010- The Year of Possibilities

So, this year seems a little more unpredictable than most. I feel like every year we go through major transitions, but I guess 2009 was a little dull: no moves, no job switches (just all the drama that goes with being told you're losing your job, looking for a new one, and then finding at the very last minute that you have not, in fact, lost your job,) no pregnancies or other major life events. Just things breaking, leaking, or flooding and lots of big things almost happening.

But this year, this year may be different. Lots of things could go either way.
For starters, it turns out that we might not actually lose our house. We are deep in the process of applying again for a loan modification. Since we tried last time, banks have been pressed harder to play nice and actually try to help people out. So that might happen. Or we might do a short sale. In either case, it is unlikely that we will be out of here in the next month or so.

Unless... We go to Sicily in the Spring. Yes, it's back. The same position that Jeff originally applied for has opened again, and he has applied again. Things are going a little slowly on their end, but we expect to hear something from them soon. As far as we know, if we were offered the position, we would accept.

If not, I continue to work hard and enjoy the fruits of my labor (more work!) with my business. There is an office space that I am contemplating that is literally three minutes from our house (by car) and downstairs from my Naturopath's office. She is my greatest source of referrals, so that would obviously work nicely!

Also, I am thinking about finishing my degree. Portland State has a degree completion program, and I would get a BS in Sociology with a minor in either Psychology or Women's Studies. I recently applied for a big scholarship designed for women who are older (ahem) that never got their college degree. I just found out today that I didn't get it, but I am still considering the options for going back to school. I figure that if we go to Italy, that would be the perfect opportunity for me to work on that, since it can all be done online. We'll see!

Lots of things could stay exactly as they are, or we could be living a completely different life in the summer. Either way, we ware feeling positive. If we stay, there are many possibilities to be explored, and things are looking better for our family. If we go, many of our worldly worries would be relieved, and it would be a big adventure for us. What an exciting year!