April 2023 in Review

Well. April was not as bad as I was expecting, to be honest. It wasn’t a great month, but considering how bad April and May tend to feel for me, I’m happy that things have been as even keel as they have! Fingers crossed that this continues!

April was also an eventful month, with five foster kittens, an unexpected surgery for Jojo, Elle getting home from college, neighborhood-wide garage sales, setting up multiple portfolio photoshoots, our young tabbies turning two years old, the garden exploding with life, early voting for city-wide elections, and a bunch of smaller house projects. The only downside to this is that it all occurred within a very narrow list of places, all within my smallest comfort zone. I need to actively widen that circle going forward, or I’ll become far too homebound for my mental health needs!

Reading and Watching
It was a good month for books! I read six this month, half print half audio. I also tried and culled another nine books from my list. (My extra-long TBR pile was starting to get to me, so I ordered a bunch from the library to sort through!) Favorite: The London Séance Society.

I finished watching Love is Blind this month, of course, and had a fun watch party with my friends for the finale and reunion. Our host went so far as to get us our own gold goblets for the party! I also finally watched Wednesday, only six months late. Still haven’t watched any of the movies on my list, some of which have been waiting for 18 months now…

One of the goals that Jason and I set this year – separate from any personal goals that I have – was to pay off a significant amount of our debt. This includes all debt, from credit cards to mortgage, and the goal was to pay off 10% of the total we started with on January 1st. We knew this was doable, because we were set to get a tax credit bonus for installing solar panels last year, and that entire refund was going straight into the loan for the panels, paying off 25% of that loan. That was part of our initial loan paperwork. However, that alone accounted for under 5% of the total debts, so we would need to make up the rest, which we couldn’t do on minimum payments alone. With the rest of our tax refund and Jason’s work bonus, we were able to do some aggressive payments in March, and in the first weekend of April, we surpassed that 10% mark. Now, that can change if we build up consumer/credit debt, or have to replace a car, etc. The goal is to end the year at least 10% down, and so far, we’re doing well!

We finished the bits in the backyard that we started in March, including a raised bed that we planted some dewberry bushes in. Hopefully they grow! I love dewberries and would be so happy to have some growing in our yard, but we’ll see. We still had money left from our yard fund after this was done, so we finally replaced the hideous light fixture in our dining room, and installed a rain shower in the master bathroom (yay!!!). We still had money left, but we had to stop with the house projects. Jojo suddenly needed surgery, which we hadn’t planned on yet, so we took the last of our banked funds to pay for that. It felt nice to have that cushion saved up already, though! We haven’t had that privilege since our previous house collapsed in the summer of 2018!

The Ferals
Miss Sassypants aka Sassafras is still with us. After her first week with us, she’d dropped a tiny bit of weight, so she still wasn’t up to the right size for surgery. The shelter gave us some meds, which she absolutely hated, and which may not do anything at all. The girl is just a dainty eater. The meds are dewormers, but she has no poop-issues, so I’m not sure if they’ll do anything or just make her mad to swallow. Either way, we take her back in again on the 9th, so hopefully she’ll be above her 2 lb goal by then. She’s grown super sweet, though still very timid and jumpy, and hopefully all these good experiences (minus the meds) with humans will help her to transition into a new home well!

Mentally, I’m about 50/50 for this April. On the one hand, it’s been cooler than usual for this time of year, so the heat hasn’t been as oppressive, and it wasn’t until late in the month that my brain started to slip into zombie mode. On the other hand, I did eventually slip into zombie mode, and I’ve additionally found myself very homebound this month. This tends to increase my agoraphobia issues. When I finally realized this was happening, I started trying to get out more. Hopefully between that realization, my child coming home from college, and an upcoming vacation in May, I can get beyond the hardest months of the year!

Fitness-wise, and physical-health-wise, this month was awful. I hardly exercised, though I did finally finish up my yoga backlog from 2022. Since there were literally only four videos on that backlog, it’s not a huge win, but I’m still going to give myself a gold star for it! My body has struggled a lot, and I want to be more mobile. I need to work more on that in May. Fingers crossed.

Favorite Photos
I spent a lot more time on the business side of photography this month, so I have far fewer photos to choose favorites from. Outside of portrait sessions, these are my favorites for April.

Top row, left to right: portrait of Alex; iris in bloom; sweet little Bean
Bottom, left to right: spiral upwards; baby Okra; portrait of Spring

Highlights of April
I haven’t been very good at recording my happy moments this month, but here’s what I remembered to write down.

  • met our insurance deductible very early in the month, to our surprise
  • surpassed our debt-payoff goals for the year by April 1st, woohoo! This, and the accompanying bump to our paycheck because we’ve paid off our 401k loan, finally gives us the clean slate we’ve needed since our finances collapsed in 2018.
  • getting my art wall started – it’s sparse, but I can see where it’ll be one day, and I have time to curate the art I choose to hang there
  • bookworm princess photoshoot with my friend’s daughter, Ashley
  • the first time Sassafras purred
  • one of our irises bloomed – the first time any of them have since we planted them in 2020!
  • scheduling a collaborative shoot with a costume-designer from Austin
  • finally replacing the godawful “chandelier” that came in our dining room with some decent lighting
  • a new rain shower head in my bathroom
  • LIB watch party complete with golden goblets
  • the Veggie Tails kittens all got adopted within two days of going onto the adoption floor, yay!
  • Elle getting home safely for the summer (with pink hair for bonus fun!)
  • Murderbot party (ha!)
  • a lovely meet-and-greet with my hiking group, meeting so many new folks and seeing many old friends

Coming up in May
PLANNIVERSARY!!!!!! That’s right – assuming nothing goes amiss in the short time left, Jason and I will finally go on our 20th anniversary vacation, only 3.5 years after our 20th anniversary and only 3 years after Covid got our original plans delayed a half-dozen times… (We were meant to sail out of Seattle in May 2020.) There’s also a possibility that Morrigan and Katy will be traveling to SA toward the end of the month, overlapping a little with our vacation, but hopefully we’ll be able to see them briefly before they return to Kansas!

Note: It’s unlikely I will be blogging super regularly in May, potentially through August, as is often my pattern. That will all depend on reading mood and writing slumps and all the typical things. So if I get sporadic or even disappear for a bit, I’ll be back like always.


About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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