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December 30, 2005

Winter Wonderland and Season's Greetings

This time of year makes me think of great song standards, such as Winter Wonderland, Chestnuts Roasting, and Let It Snow. My New York jazz standards band, Weep with Katie, where I serve as reigning female torch singer, even performs these tried and true classics, with moi on vocals. So catch us if you frequent the city's worst hangouts filled with useless denizens of the night. But I jest.

angelsKatie's winter wonderland

I suddenly realized that it's up to me to make this time of year a winter wonderland. It sounds sort of silly or obvious but it came as a brainstorm to me. Whatever the weather (or circumstances), we have the power to control our own outlook. I think we often forget this. And I know it can be hard. But the reward is big. Happiness really isn't expensive. It's just dear.

December 14, 2005

What is Money?

Do you ever wonder what money really is? Money is a made-up concept represented by paper with numbers and pictures on it that we use to trade for goods and services. But money means so many different things. What does it mean to you?

piggybankmoney flying

Money can mean freedom. A new beginning. An old dream. A different life. Money can mean being stuck in a boring, tedious job for fear of being without money. Money can make us stingy or kind. It can make us "think big" or hord things. Money wears many faces.

I am setting up a new relationship with money. Though basically good with numbers, a happy relationship wtih money has eluded me. I am now questioning why. Like other behavioral traits, our attitude and relationship with money can be strongly influenced by the way our parents did or didn't do things. I've been reading books on money lately. My favorite is the best-selling Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I like it because he opens your mind up to new ways of looking at money. Despite being filthy rich, he seems to have a down-to-earth partnership with money.

Do you think that people who are kind are generous with money? Money is tied into so many different ways of looking at the world, what we deserve or want or think we need, that it isn't as simple as nice = generous. They say that money breaks up more marriages than anything else.

When charging clients, do you determine fairness based on what everybody else is doing or some other standard? Economics is part of all of us playing this money game. To whom do you give "deals," and how is it a deal if you're not being paid fairly for services rendered? I am beginning to wish there was no concept of bargaining. Thinking about money can make you feel Socialist when you thought you were a Capitalist. I don't think I'm an anything-ist (but I'm not a Nihilist either).  

What I like about the ideas Robert Kiyosaki puts forth is that he begins to make you see that money is a constructed game of sorts. He has even created a board game called Cashflow. Cashflow aims to teach you how to get out of the "rat race," the endless trip so many of us run from paycheck to paycheck, even if that paycheck is decent. I, for one, want out of the rat race and am determined to find my way through the maze.