Are the glory days over?

I was flying home from my really nice trip to Maui today when I started putting together a spreadsheet. On one side, I listed my expenses: things like mortgage, property tax, insurance — you know, things that you can’t get away from. I threw a few other things on the list like the gym and therapy — things I could live without (though I’d hate to give up the latter).
On the other side of the spreadsheet was my consistent income. It’s been dropping over the last two years, and really took a dive this summer, as the economy tanked. Advertising is about as mediocre as it has been over the years (though I did have a nice Casio campaign recently), with the real hurt coming from the huge decline in PriceGrabber clicks.
I subtracted my expenses from my revenue and was shocked at the result. I have very little money leftover when all is said and done! And, if things continue to worsen (as I expect), I may have a big crisis on my hands.
I really don’t want to have to dig into my savings — which have dropped by like 40% this year — so I may have to consider other things. Cutting all unnecessary expenses. Monetizing the website is new ways. If that doesn’t work… get a job? Sell the site, or shut it down entirely? I’d hate to give it all up after 11 years of hard work, but I’m starting to wonder if I’ll even have a choice.
Quite a sour note to end the vacation on….

A heroic cat

Today, at the animal shelter where I volunteer, I was handed an article from the local paper. The story talked about how the family cat (Holly) came out of nowhere to distract two pit bulls that were attacking a 3 year-old boy. The dogs took off after the cat instead, chasing it into the house. It took two people to pull the dogs away from the cat, but the cat survived with relatively minor injuries. This brave feline certainly saved the family’s 3 year-old from harm.
What makes the story even cooler? I was the one who adopted the cat to that family last December!

Sending myself on vacation

It’s been a rough couple of months around here. I’ve been working really hard, and making less money. The economy stinks. I’m stressed. And life is just feeling a bit… routine.
So, I’m sending myself to Maui next weekend. I’m going to take it easy… laying around, seeing the sights (for the umpteenth time), and just NOT WORKING.
I’m not thrilled about going by myself, but my desire for a break is too strong. Next stop: the beach.

Jeff goes on a diet, or: How I learned to stop eating crap and love vegetables

I’m officially on a diet as of this weekend. The first “real” diet — err, lifestyle change — I’ve ever attempted. My initial goal is to lose about 20 pounds, which would be fantastic.
The hardest things for me have always been 1) thinking about what I’m eating BEFORE I eat it and 2) limiting portions. I eat out a lot, and after I’m done, often think “geez, you know, that probably wasn’t very good for me”. I have pretty horrible willpower, so resisting my favorite foods (or at least limiting how much I eat) is going to be quite a challenge.
I’m going through WeightWatchers, who make it fairly easy to figure out how much you get to eat per day. They have some high tech online tools, too, so I can track my “points” on the computer, or even my cellphone.
So, we’ll see how it goes… I’ll post an update in a few weeks with my progress.

DCRP plugged on CNBC!

Man, I couldn’t ask for better publicity… thank you David Pogue and CNBC! Click the video to watch…