Nifty Effects of the Eclipse

Each of these circles is an overlapping image of the sun.

Know how I know?
Because this is what it looked like at the height of our partial eclipse:

Aug 21, 2:55p

Same tree, same sun, big moon.

Here it is 8 mins prior:


And 5 mins later:


Fascinating to see the sun sliver slide around the moon’s shadow (and create new tongue twisters).

For further comparison, here it is almost 40 mins later. There’s still a chunk of the moon’s shadow on the left of the images, but the shadows aren’t as sharp because more visible surface area of the sun = more locations for the light to originate from = reduced spotlight effect.


We weren’t sure at first that we’d get to see any of the show because a thunderstorm let loose about noon (fantastic nature show in and of itself), but it cleared around 1:30. By then, things were already in full swing, and the sun was nearly 30% gone.

As the moon ate up more of the sun, the light started to feel…wrong.

It’s hard to describe; “flat” doesn’t really capture it, but it’s the only word you think of in those moments. And it’s definitely not the same as when clouds cover the sun. I took a couple of pictures, not sure the difference would show up for my auto-focusing, point-n-shoot.

Then I did the side-by-side:

3:02p & 4:00p no filters/alterations

(Though there were clouds at 3, they weren’t near the eclipse.)

So there you have it. More fun with science thanks to the eclipse.


A Credit Card That Can Help With Your Debt

There’s no denying that most debt is bad, and that credit card issuers don’t have an incentive to help you get out of it. After all, they make a lot of their money from the fees and interest rates they charge borrowers.

But once in a while, a card will offer an attractive sign up bonus that can actually help. This is the case with the Barclaycard Ring Mastercard.

It has 0% apr for 15 months, and 0% on balance transfers made within the first 45 days of account opening. But it shines with no balance transfer fees.

Most cards offering a 0% introductory rate charge around 3% for balance transfers. It may not sound like much, especially when compared with a high interest rate currently imposed on the debt, but the best way out of debt is to have it cost you as little as possible.

There are a few cautions to make this work, though (assuming, of course, that you’re approved for the card in the first place).

  1. Do not charge anything new to this card. The goal is to reduce your debt, not add to it.
  2. Don’t transfer more than you will pay off in about 14 months. That way, you won’t have a balance when the introductory offer ends and the regular interest rate kicks in (currently over 13%).
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, forget to pay at least the minimum each month before the due date.

As an example, transferring $1400 from a card charging (a modest) 12% and paying $100 per month will pay it off 2 months faster and save you over $100 in interest. Savings are even more dramatic on debts with higher interest rates.


As an aside, I’m not getting anything for recommending this card. I just know that when I started digging my way out of debt, offers like these helped me gain traction on the slippery slope of high interest rates.

Mindset Mindset Mindset

I’ve always had an interest in personal finance, but lately, a few things happened that brought it even more to the forefront:

  • I downloaded a copy of University of Berkshire Hathaway while it was free on Amazon
  • Berkshire Hathaway had their annual shareholder meeting, so it was all over headline news
  • A friend asked me about the debt management company I used to escape my debt

I was originally going to do a post about one effect that growing up poor can have on your future financial perspective. But as I thought about it, I realized I was describing the symptoms of “poverty mentality” (Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to it as a “scarcity mentality”).

Whatever you name it, it boils down to a defeatist attitude. The thinking that no matter what you do, “The System”, or “The Man” is designed to keep you down. Some people blame Republicans, some the Democrats, many look accusingly at large corporations…

The truth is, in spite of all the policies and laws in place, in spite of ANY circumstance, YOU determine your own level of success or failure.

Years ago, I saw a sign that used two men holding donuts to depict the poverty mindset. One looked at how large the hole was, so his donut appeared like a thin string around it, while the other focused on the donut itself. His was big and fat around a tiny middle.

Viewing life through a lens of lack—the money you don’t have, the opportunities only the rich are afforded, the time it would take to make any changes—ensures that you will stay in your nice, safe, current situation.

But there is NO reason you have to be stuck where you are today. No reason you can’t get out of debt or move toward your own definition of success. It all starts with where you focus your attention.

An interesting example of this mental shift in action is in the movie Back to the Future (1985). In the beginning, Marty’s brother (Dave) is wearing a fast food company uniform. At the end, he’s in a suit, saying, “Marty, I always wear a suit to the office.” All things being equal, a bit of self-confidence set the whole family on a completely different path.

In coming posts, I’ll be sharing how I got out of debt, as well as my thoughts about what I learn while determining what to do with money next.

Please Hug a Nurse

Sometimes, patients just have a horrible, rotten, no-good day. Their fight has been long and difficult, and just when it seems like things are finally stabilizing, they get a million times worse.

Kudos and hats off to the nurses who are kind while forging ahead and doing what must be done. We can’t thank you enough.

Some Things Just Aren’t Meant To Be Pt 2

Most normal women paint their nails all at once with only a few minutes between coats. Then they’re rendered useless while waiting for the polish to dry.

I have never been accused of being normal or like most women. And as a caregiver…well, there are reasons my nails enjoy naked freedom.

But darn it, this dinner would be worth it, and they could certainly last one night for me, right? Well, timing problems became apparent right away as it took me longer between coats to get done what I had to do. No problem. I still had plenty of time. I could make it.

My last coat didn’t go on until the sun was coming up Sat morning, and after flawless applications all night, I hit something and one of my nails wiped off, down to the nail bed.

Come on! This is why I let each coat dry thoroughly. It wasn’t fair.

Too exhausted to think, I decided to fix it and try the cold water quick-dry method. Since I hadn’t paid attention to the instructions before then, I had to come up with cold water fast, no time to let the ice melt as per the directions. Instead, I filled two little bowls with ice and poured in cold water from the fridge then plunged my fingers into the arctic.

Four minutes later, my fingers hurt beyond belief. Certain I’d given myself frostbite and that they were going to fall off (but wouldn’t they be gorgeous?), I pulled them out of the water and tried to shake some warmth into them.

The polish appeared solid, so I rushed off to finish my last task before sleep. A nap more than a luxurious night of shut-eye at this point.

Before I finished, my nails remembered they were still wet underneath and the tips wore off. On one nail, the polish slid to the side, and clung to the edge of my skin like a glacier on a mountainside. Not easily fixable.

By then I’d lost too much time to shave and fix everything; I’d already been up for over 24 hours. I went to bed for a 3 hour nap, disappointed that the knee-length dress was no longer an option.

When I got up, I realized the pants I’d planned as an alternate weren’t clean. My choice was a fast wash or wear yoga pants. Yeah, right. Fast wash it was. By the time my husband would be ready, I’d have just enough time for the pants to be dry if I dried them at a higher temp than normal, assuming nothing else crazy happened.

And wouldn’t you know it.

There are certain aspects of life with a wheelchair that you just have to deal with whether you want to or not, whether you plan for it or not, and whether you have the time or not. We did what we could to make sure it would not be one of those times.

But again, this is me we’re talking about, and it’s still during this crazy year that has chewed us up and spit us out into completely unrecognizable territory.

We took care of it. There was no choice about it.

Stress level quickly ratcheting higher, we ripped through our final preparations in record time, and managed to make it into the car without a minute to spare.

Just before we set off, I painted a layer on the disastrous nail. At least it would appear to have color on it. And I’d just have to keep my fingers splayed on the steering wheel as I drove. No problem. Not as gorgeous as I’d hoped, but I still looked decent enough for the event.


(You’d never guess these were perfect when I finished them this morning. At least the toes came out good.)







As we got on the highway, one of the alert boards showed a wreck ahead, and times that normally read 9-11 minutes stated 45 mins or longer. We passed too quickly to see where the accident was exactly, but I grew up here and know several alternate routes.

The traffic came to a standstill just after the last exit before the one we needed, and there were flashing lights at the one we would have taken. I got off at the earlier exit. But on the over-road, another sea of red lights greeted me. Great, must be the bleed off of everyone using side streets to avoid the accident.

After several light changes, we were finally close enough to see that the traffic going straight, down another back road I could use to skirt to the highway I needed, had cleared. Though I was in the turn lane (hoping to get to a closer access road), the car behind and next to me went slowly enough that I was able to jump over.

Now we were moving again. Not ideal, but we’d still make it only a few minutes late.

At the next access road, I turned right…and came to another standstill.

Just like on the highway, traffic had stopped and there were flashing lights at the ramp I needed. Ugh. We sat through 4 light changes not moving AT ALL. I was able to jump over to the turn lane, but it ended in a neighborhood with no outlet. I made a U-turn and headed in the opposite direction I needed to go.

It was a long work around, but would eventually put me on the highway I needed to get to. At this point, my husband was giving up on ever getting there.

I wasn’t done yet, though. We’d been in plenty of tight situations before and somehow always managed to pull through and get where we needed to be.

The road passed one of the back roads back to our house, and as we stopped at the red light there, the engine started coughing and sputtering.


At this point, there was no way we would be less than 30 – 40 mins late and my brain quickly flashed forward to the car engine quitting on the way home, if we even made it there.

That was the final straw.

I made a U-turn at the next light and headed back for the road to home, engine running fine. My husband asked why, and I pointed out how many figurative walls we’d hit trying to get to this thing. I was done.

He called Disney Dining (who seemed mystified that this event was happening, and on Disney property), and they eventually got him transferred to the restaurant. Unfortunately the managers were all occupied beginning the event, so the woman took our name and number and said someone would eventually call us back to explain the cancellation procedure and what it entailed.

Very nice speak for “kiss your money goodbye.”

As this was taking place, we passed another bad accident on a busy overpass, very glad we weren’t stuck behind them, because there was no way to get off the bridge. Those cars weren’t going anywhere for a while.

It felt like the world had gone crazy.

For whatever reason, we were not meant to be at that dinner. It was mystifying. Sure there have been bad accidents in the area before, and blockages on local highways weren’t unusual. The timing of these were. Never had we been blocked at EVERY access point and stuck in traffic that did. not. move.

I’m not saying some deity caused those accidents so we wouldn’t make our event, but I don’t believe in coincidences. And the engine sputtering was hard to ignore.

I went out the next evening to pick up groceries and supplies and had no problems.

I told my husband we may never understand why, and we never heard back from anyone. It wasn’t like it was just an expensive lesson because there wasn’t anything to learn. Had we left as early as we’d wanted, we might’ve been involved in any one of those accidents. And when we did leave, there was no reason we shouldn’t have made it on time.

Fast forward to Monday evening though, and we got an email receipt showing they’d refunded the entire cost.

Now I’m making reservations for his birthday. A nice, quiet, normal dinner. No nails will be polished, and my hair color may have faded by then, but I just might get to wear that dress after all.