Monday, December 21, 2015

The Cost of Kindergarten - asks #7, #8 and #9

Date: December 18, 2015
What the ask was: When Scott dropped Star off at the bus stop, he was asked to contribute to a financial gift for the bus driver.
What we gave: $10
Why we gave that amount: I'm not sure how he arrived at that amount, but I think it's a fine amount.  

Date: December 21, 2015
What the ask was: We were asked to purchase tickets for the Malcolm X auction which will be in February. 
What we gave: $30
Why we gave that amount: Tickets are $15 each.

Date: December 21, 2015
What the ask was: End of Year Appeal.  
What we gave: $0
Why we gave that amount: I still feel like we gave too much for ask #1.

ask #1 - $1,111
ask #2 - $49
ask #3 - $31
ask #4 - $3
ask #5 - $10
ask #6 - $20
Fall 2015 After School - $2950
ask #7 - $10
ask #8 - $30
ask #9 - $0
Running Total: $4,214

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The cost of Kindergarten - Fall 2015 After School

Date: Fall Semester 2015
What the ask was: Care for After School
What we gave: $2,950
Why we gave that amount: Star's Kindergarten goes from 8:10am - 1:30pm.  Scott and I both work more than full time.  So, she needs to be somewhere safe after school, from 1:30pm until 5pm-ish, Monday through Friday.  We could spend less money if we went with her school's on-site after school program or some local park option (which are quite competitive to get into), but we decided to do a Hebrew immersion / Jewish education program 3 days each week (on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays) because I want her to have some sort of Jewish education.  On Mondays, either Scott or I (honestly, mostly Scott) spends the afternoon with Star, and on Wednesdays, my mom is with her.  The total amount listed above includes: registration ($100), membership ($500), an earthquake kit ($50), and the monthly amount of $575 for each month (September, October, November and December).  Presumably, what we pay for Spring Semester 2016 will be less because we will have already paid the annual fees.  

We are happy with Edah.  The people who run it are competent and friendly.  Star is learning Hebrew with an Israeli accent, and has developed some good friendships there.  She is learning about the Jewish holidays and bringing her learning home to us.  Success.  

ask #1 - $1,111
ask #2 - $49
ask #3 - $31
ask #4 - $3
ask #5 - $10
ask #6 - $20
Fall 2015 After School - $2,950
Running Total: $4,174

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Cost of Kindergarten - ask #6

Date: December 3, 2015
What the ask was: We were asked to pitch in $20 per family for a Winter Holiday gift for our 2 teachers.  
What we gave: $20
Why we gave that amount: It was the "suggested" amount.

ask #1 - $1,111
ask #2 - $49
ask #3 - $31
ask #4 - $3
ask #5 - $10
ask #6 - $20
Running Total: $1,224

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Cost of Kindergarten - ask #5

Date: November 20, 2015
What the ask was: The teachers in our classroom requested some school supplies (tape, paper, glue sticks...)  One of the room parents purchased all the supplies on Amazon for $190.  She then suggested that each family put in $10.
What we gave: $10
Why we gave that amount: It was the "suggested" amount.

ask #1 - $1,111
ask #2 - $49
ask #3 - $31
ask #4 - $3
ask #5 - $10
Running Total: $1,204

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Cost of Kindergarten - ask #4

Date: November 16, 2015
What the ask was: Berkeley Bowl Field Trip.  The kids were going to walk to the Berkeley Bowl and then buy some produce.  Each family was asked to contribute "a few dollars".  
What we gave: $3
Why we gave that amount: That sounded like "a few" to me. 

ask #1 - $1,111
ask #2 - $49
ask #3 - $31
ask #4 - #3
Running Total: $1,194

Monday, October 19, 2015

The cost of Kindergarten - ask #3

Date: October 17, 2015
What the ask was: Annual Walk-A-Thon
What we gave: $31
Why we gave that amount: First of all, we never got Star's pledge forms.  The courier pigeon approach to information sharing (which drives me crazy, by the way) finally broke down, and the pledge forms never got home.  And, yes, I could have contacted the organizers and somehow received the pledge forms, but honestly, I feel like we gave too much at ask #1, so I'm not inclined to over-give at this point.  The $31 that we gave broke down like this - $10 for all the laps she walked (minutes she danced, hula hoop time...), $6 for 2 tamales and $15 for one t-shirt for Star.  

ask #1 - $1,111
ask #2 - $49
ask #3 - $31
Running Total: $1,191

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Page Updates

I've made a few changes here.  I updated my About Me page, and, I added a page on indoor cycling.


The cost of Kindergarten - ask #2

Date: The week of September 28th, 2015
What the ask was: School Pictures.  We weren't required to buy school pictures, but I'm kind of obsessed with them.  
What we gave: $49
Why we gave that amount: This bought us packages K, E and S which will give us a variety of sizes of Star's individual picture so that we can keep some, and pass along some to Star's grandparents.  We also got the class composite, and the image download.

ask #1 - $1,111
ask #2 - $49
Running Total: $1,160

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I am now a certified Indoor Cycling instructor

A few posts ago, I alluded to having a specific goal for the past 15ish years which I never worked towards.  With my husband's encouragement, I worked towards that goal and I'm now a certified spinning/indoor cycling instructor.

I love it.  It's a fun, healthy hobby.  It keeps my fitness in check and lets me be a leader which I enjoy.  I also love picking the music for my classes (and I don't have to listen to another instructor's musical choices!)

I've been working at a local-to-me studio which offers indoor cycling classes.

But, I've had my eye set on a different studio.  I auditioned there a few days ago, and I thought I did a kick ass job.  But, today, I received a nice rejection email.  I'm a bit heartbroken, but I'm trying to keep it all in perspective.  I am doing some work as a spinning instructor and I'm pretty newly certified, so that's a good thing!

The other good news is that they let me know quickly, so now I get to look for other studios who may want to hire me.  I'm currently teaching about 1 class per week and my goal is to teach 2-4 classes per week.

Their loss, right?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Cost of Kindergarten - ask #1

This is a series of blog posts that I wish that someone else had written a year ago when I was trying to figure out what our expenses would be once our daughter started Kindergarten.

My goal here is to document every time we are asked to pay money during Kindergarten.

Date: September 2, 2015 - the first day of Kindergarten
What the ask was: The PTA is doing its BIG fundraiser.  They say that they spend $350 per child each school year.  They encouraged us to donate to them what we would have paid for one more month of pre-school, child care or summer camp.
What we gave: $1,111
Why we gave that amount: I was aiming for some amount between $350 and $1,600.  I wanted to at least cover my daughter's cost and then some for families who can't cover their $350.  And, as a side note, $7 of this amount goes towards our families' PTA dues for the year.  I'd like to say that so far, I am very impressed with our school's PTA.  They seem like they are hard working and smart people who work hard to make our kids' school as good as it can be.

Running Total: $1,111

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

36 Questions

Years ago, I became passionate about John Gottman's The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.  Specifically, I loved the part where you got to answer questions about what you knew about your partner.  Like - who are your partner's best friends right now.  I feel like every time that Scott and I did some of these questions together, we grew closer to one another.  But, with our busy lives and raising our daughter, it's been a long time since we looked at those question.  

A few months ago, the New York Times published a quiz - the goal of the quiz is to increase intimacy between 2 people.

A few days ago, my husband and I answered these questions together.

This New York Times quiz felt similar to John Gottman's set of questions, but you aren't answering questions about your partner, you are answering questions about yourself and listening to your partner answer about themselves.

As intended, doing these questions brought us closer.  It feels so good to be able to talk about important things in a structured format and to be listened to.  And, I got to be a good listener and learn things about Scott that were new to me!

There's one specific thing that stood out for me.  Question 14 asks, "Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?"  

I've had a specific goal for the past 15 years ago which I've never shared with anyone.  (It's not sexual even though my secrecy around it sounds like it might be.  It's more mundane and a self-improvement kind of thing.)   For some reason, this question prompted me to talk about it with Scott and he was totally supportive!  And, let's just say, I got the ball rolling to finally realize this dream.  I'll update when there's something more substantive to say about it.  

If you're wanting to increase intimacy between you and someone in your life, I'd recommend these 36 questions.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How much do we spend on a year of preschool in Berkeley, California

We have loved Star's preschool.  She has been treated with respect, learned how to treat others respectfully and has learned useful skills (listening, writing and monkey bars among them.)  Star attended preschool from 8:30am - 5:30pm (I actually usually pick her up around 4:45pm, but we pay until 5:30pm) 5 days a week.  I don't resent the money that we spent, but I wish I had a bit of a more realistic sense ahead of time.

Without further ado, below is what we spent for a year of preschool.  Some of these numbers are estimates, and it's possible that I missed something major, but I think this is pretty accurate.  Also note that these are the numbers for her last year of preschool.  The prior 2 years were more expensive because at the preschool Star went to, tuition is higher for the younger kids.

Tuition - $1595 per month x 11 months = $17,545
Winter Camps - $450 x 2 weeks = $900. The $450 number is an estimate. I usually seem to spend around $450 for a week of camp. Sometimes it's a bit more and sometimes it's a bit less. (When she starts 2nd grade, she might go to sleepaway camp which will triple the $450 per week estimate, but we can wait a few years until we get to that.)

Summer Camps - $450 per week x 4 weeks = $1,800. See note above.

Random field trips, various days off, auction, gifts for teachers... - $500
Morning Helpers - $2,000. We have a Cal student come to our house most mornings at 7:30am to finish getting Star ready and to push her in the stroller to school. Scott and I leave for work at 7:30am, and this is the system we've found that works for us.

Total Annual Cost = $22,745

Star is about to start public Kindergarten, and when she does, I plan to start posting about how much public Kindergarten in Berkeley actually costs.  I know that it's not really free, but it's some mystery as to what we will actually be asked to pay for.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

10 Things I Would Tell My 22 Year-Old Self

  1. You will find love.  Don't worry about that.  For the next 10 years, approximately, figure yourself out.  Dance, travel, work, spend time in coffee houses, make art, make love, volunteer, play soccer, meditate, sky dive, knit, do yoga, host women's dinners, go to museums, cultivate friendships.  Date, definitely.  But, don't obsess over finding the right partner.  If you find the right partner before 10 years pass, that's totally fine.  But, don't make that the goal.  
  2. Once you figure out who you are, don't apologize for it.  You can't be someone else.  
  3. Deal with your health issues.  Get mentally and physically healthy.
  4. Learn healthy eating habits.  You might be able to gorge on pasta, bread and alcohol right now, but that will catch up to you.    
  5. Money is important.  If you want to make a difference in the world, that's fine, but, it is crucial that you also figure out how to earn a living.
  6. Don't settle on a career.  If you've effectively done item 1 above, then you are probably on your way to knowing who you are.  With that knowledge, and if you trust item 5, you should be well on your way to choosing a career which you will enjoy, and which will generate a sufficient livelihood.  
  7. Don't settle on a partner.  Evaluate any future life partner intently and compassionately.  Do they treat you well?  Are they kind?  Are they interesting?  Have they figured out how to make a living?  Do you share values?  Are they supportive of you?  Do they have longtime friends?  When you disagree with one another, as you inevitably will, do you do it in a constructive and kind way?  Choosing your life partner is likely the most important decision you will make.  
  8. Cultivate gratitude.  You are a lucky person.  Appreciate and acknowledge that.  
  9. Treat people with respect.  The world works in interesting ways.  The person you meet on Super Shuttle might have a cousin who is hiring in a field that you want to be in.  An ex-boyfriend of yours might end up being a doctor who treats a member of your family.  People might forget what you said, but they will not forget how they felt when they were with you.  
  10. Your family of origin might be bizarre.  Most are.  But, they are who you have.  Keep your connections strong with those in your family.  Call your mom and dad and tell them that you love them.  Spend time with them once a month or so.