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Hectic Days

November 16th, 2017 at 02:36 am

Man, these days are long and full. After my classes, I worked with two struggling students, helped a colleague figure out a group project, met with more students, then went to the London orientation meeting. No, I'm not going to lead the program this year, but they've asked me to talk with the new students. And I got to see an old London buddy, so it was fun And then it was sad because I really want to go again right now. And classes are such a slog lately. I spent a chunk of time working with a student who has been kicked out of her house and has been sleeping in her car. She's from a very strict immigrant family, and I put her in contact with student services to try to find her some help. And there's another one in tears as her child's father keeps threatening her and she's had to file a restraining order. Man--sometimes I'm a part-time social worker. I can't wait for Thanksgiving break.

Trying to keep the lid on spending until we get ahead of the game a bit. Good news on my DH's bank transfer than his UK bank screwed up. They've apologized, refunded a bunch of fees, and credited us 150 GBP. But we're still making soup here.

Cold Night

November 11th, 2017 at 01:29 am

I had a productive day, despite too many meetings, and other errands. And I made a delicious smoked sausage, cabbage, and other veggie dinner. Several loads of laundry done, a couple baskets pressed or fold and put away too. In some good financial news, I got a check for $100 from a book review I forgot I did.

Looking forward to getting more stuff done, some bills paid, and a great relaxing weekend.

Oh, My Aching Budget

November 10th, 2017 at 03:27 am

We seem to stagger from budget drain to budget drain lately. Today DH walked out to the car to find a puddle of brake fluid beneath it. But the money will sort itself out, just more slowly than I wanted. We just need to keep other spending under control.

After my classes today, I picked up the penultimate CSA box. Lots of goodies in there that will keep us stocked up for a few more week. I'd also volunteered to roast, debone, and freeze turkeys for the shelter Thanksgiving meal so I have the turkey bones to make more stock. Back to the reliable budget staple: soup.

My office mate--and university BF--is struggling with her own budget woes. Her DH works under contract at the large insurance company where mine used to work before the big layoffs of a year ago. They just bought a house, spent a lot fixing it up, and today learned her DH has also been laid off. She's been applying for other jobs as we're all discouraged about salary issues, so as much as I'd hate to see her go, she could use a better-paying job.

More on the Bank Incident

November 6th, 2017 at 12:11 am

I searched our local news this morning to see if I could find more out about the closure and police cars at my bank branch yesterday. Sure enough, it was an robbery that happened about 10 minutes before I got there. There was a chase, a crash, no one injured but suspects captured and cash recovered. We live in what must be the quietest suburb of our city, but seems like things happen everywhere these days.

I did a bit of shopping yesterday, renewed the Costco membership and bought lots of things to make our increasingly busy weeks simpler. It smells lovely in the house with the turkey breast roasting and potatoes simmering on the stove.

Bank Incident?

November 4th, 2017 at 06:38 pm

Twice today I visited our local bank branch, first at 8 when the drive-ups were closed so I decided to come back later, then at noon when it was also closed: closed and surrounded by police cars with the branch full of police officers. I have no idea what was going on, but glad I wasn't there when whatever happened occurred.

It's that point in the semester when I'm buried in work, so household things are in super-simple mode. Lots of soup made and simple meals. I did start to defrost a turkey breast figuring there could me some more soup and sandwiches out of it this week.

I'm not the only busy one. DH has a presentation in his history class this week, and DD spends all her time building stage sets for the school production of 1984. Tonight I'm out with colleagues, DD is at a birthday party so DH will be home with his European History paper.

I've e-mailed my hellish student's advisor, re-posted, with warnings, my syllabus's notice on "discourteous behavior," and am arranging a meeting with her and her advisor. I refuse to spend the rest of the term thinking about her behavior. While I was at it, I e-mailed another advisor with concerns about his student's progress. He was shocked as she has reported her classes are going well, especially mine. I beg to differ; she is almost at the point of no return. My 100 students this term seem to have 100 issues rather than the usual 10 or so. Sigh.

Drips Only

November 2nd, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Even with an pretty darn frugal week, I'm a bit discouraged with the slow progress of my big goal. I got my last paycheck from my adjunct class yesterday, and I think most of it will have to go in the general fund, not into my big goal.

Maybe I can list a few things for sale this weekend to help make those tiny drips a bit bigger.

I had lunch today with a former London student. She's from our consortium school in Wyoming, and it was so fun to see her again. I last saw her in April 2015 in Russell Square. We have had many happy class sessions together. She's graduated and is considering our university for her Masters in Library Science.

Cool and cloudy here all day. Very November-y

I added $75 from Swagbucks and an additional $3.80 in interest to the big goal

Bothersome Student--Very Long Rant Caution

November 1st, 2017 at 05:34 pm

As I start to write this, I can see my tag of "bothersome" doesn't even begin to describe the deep distaste I have for this student. And I feel bad talking about not liking students because I genuinely enjoy about 90 percent of them. But here goes.

On the first day of class this young woman announced she wasn't sure why she had to take my class since she already knew all the material. My class is a requirement for Business majors. Nothing I can do about it. Since then she has been rude to other students, arrives late, leaves early, has been cautioned about her phone use half a dozen times, is consistently rude to me both in person and via e-mail. For weeks I've been simmering with anger but have managed to keep it under control. My class has also turned against her. Her presentation partner dropped the class. She is smart enough. Her work is good, but her rudeness is so offensive that I'm continually having to swallow my anger. Since her presentation partner left, I struggled to find her another partner, and offered extra credit to students who volunteered. While she clearly prefers to work alone, she insisted I find her a partner since she felt I was unfairly penalizing her for her partner dropping. In fact, the part of the presentation she turned in was mediocre, and the opportunity to re-do was perhaps an unwarranted favor. Last night I offered her three options: Stand with the grade, re-do it herself, re-do it with a partner. After initially saying she wanted a partner, she said to her classmate's face--If I have to work with him, I'll do it myself. Now she e-mails me and demands extra credit for taking on the project herself. I refuse saying it was her option in the first place. She e-mails again saying she found my comments offensive. I have six lovely weeks of this creature in my class. I'm honestly not quite sure what to do. Thanks for listening. Send zen waves of patience my way.

Let the Frugality Begin

October 31st, 2017 at 09:28 pm

We really did enjoy our French girls, but I estimate we spent perhaps $500 extra in two weeks. Is that possible? First--the food. We were in charge of all three meals--an easy breakfast, packed lunches, and dinners. Admittedly my dinners were somewhat fancier than usual; after all they were guests. I skipped out occasional leftovers dinners, bought and made more desserts than usual, and wow--the baguettes. I brought the girls to the shops with me and while baguettes may be half a Euro or so in France, the $3 baguettes--often two a day--really added up. They made me laugh with their requests for "a bit of bread." The very nice artisan loaves we usually buy were rejected and they just wanted baguette. Then there were the tickets--Haunted Houses, China Lights, movies, bowling, trampoline park, wildlife center. I grouponed a few, but yikes. And pizzas. But it was really lovely getting to know them, their family stories, the talk of French schools, their views on everything. They live in a beautiful part of Provence, and I got the impression that one of the girls comes from some serious money. They have a beach house in St. Tropez, a boat on the Med, and lots of ski trips. Her father is a dentist. The other girl just shook her head and said, "We do not have a summer house or a boat." Though it was a lot of work, we were sad to see them go. They left us lovely notes, lots of little gifts, and big hugs with some parting tears.

So--tonight I clean out the fridge, make celeriac soup, boil down some chicken bones, and try to make up some time.

Let's Do an Ultra-Frugal Apres- French Week

October 30th, 2017 at 05:29 pm

My ravaged budget will need more than one week, but I'm starting with one. The groceries left over will help us through this week. More on the French soon--fun, but budget destroying. And sleep destroying.

Leftover soup for lunch. Leftover tacos for dinner.
List a few items for sale, and come up with a plan.

Be Back Soon

October 25th, 2017 at 03:22 am

I doubt I'll be back in SA-Land before my French Mlles are gone, and there will be plenty of budget damage to report. Two baguettes a day, lots extra entertainment expenses and two more mouths to feed is adding up. But we're still having fun though I'm MILES behind in everything from cleaning to grading. See you next Mardi--see how good I'm getting!

More Non-Frugal French Fun

October 23rd, 2017 at 02:56 am

Chalk up a trip to the Wildlife Center and lots more groceries towards our French fund. Today I took them to the shopping mall, and DD got a new pair of boots and a long cardigan. I think she's watching the French girls and their clothes. One of them says her favorite thing is fashion; the other says her favorite thing is desserts. They're starting to feel very relaxed here, but my baguette budget is going to have to be much larger than I anticipated. On October 30 we'll be on rice and beans, I think.

A Quiet Day?

October 20th, 2017 at 02:28 pm

We've had another fun day with the French. They shadowed my DD yesterday at school, and are starting--slowly--to get acclimated to the time change. Last night we went out for pizza and then to China Lights--a huge display at the Botanical Gardens. It was magnificent, and they really enjoyed it. One of my university students works there and she shared a link for discounted tickets which helped the budget a bit.

Today they're in Chicago for a tour, the Willis Tower, the boat trip, etc and won't be home until 10 tonight. My DD has the day off from school, but we're attending conferences and she's working on a stage set, so I'm hoping--hard--to get some laundry and grading done.

I picked up some meatloaf mix yesterday, so if I don't have to cook much, it would be grand. One of my French girls loves "le cookies!" and the other eats mostly bananas so far, and they struggle to get up in time for breakfast. This weekend we have a trip to a nature center planned and maybe some apple picking. Sunday looks rainy so it's a trip to the shopping mall which they are eagerly anticipating.

The French Invasion

October 19th, 2017 at 03:11 am

Our French students arrived last night and will be here for two weeks. I can already tell my purse strings will have to be loosened. We have lots of activities planned, and I'd like them to have a fun time. I will search out some coupons and groupons to help, but this doesn't seem to be the time to watch every penny.

We had a fun time last weekend in our mini-trip to Fargo. It was splendid to see my old aunts and uncle and celebrate my aunt's 100th birthday. Again, my terrific brother comes through. We stayed there--about 120 miles from Fargo and saved the cost of the hotel and dinners out. They fed us, housed us, and we brought some wine and small treats.

It's midterm at the university! Where did the semester go?

Soup Weather

October 11th, 2017 at 08:25 pm

We had more than an inch of rain overnight, and it's cold and blustery. I came home from school, googled a recipe for kale and potato soup, and found my inspiration with the Pioneer Woman Olive garden potato soup knockoff. Luckily i had Italian sausage in the freezer. I added a few leeks from last week's CSA box, and it looks delicious. I subbed fat-free evaporated milk for the cream to cut the fat.
Cleaning out the fridge is one goals for the week--mostly in preparation for the French girls' arrival on Tuesday. We had an info meeting last night, and I certainly hope we don't get the ones who smoke and drink! But before then, I need to get ready for our road trip to Fargo for my aunt's 100th birthday. It's been so busy at school, I haven't had a moment to think about anything. Eeek! Lots to do. I'd better get on it!

So Close

October 5th, 2017 at 02:08 am

I thought the brilliant new bathroom (aka the budget buster from hell) would be done today, and I could share pictures. But something funny happened today; at least I think it was funny still. I came home to the dumpster gone, the floor protection all rolled up, and the bill on the countertop. But no bathroom mirror. So I gave their office a call, the receptionist put me on hold for a loooooong time, and I finally got the master carpenter who assured me the mirror was coming on Friday. I honestly think they forgot to order the mirror. Everything else has been sitting in our living room for 7 weeks, and the carpenters sounded a little flustered.And the junior carpenter mistakenly drilled a hole in the tile today when he was hanging the shower curtain rod, so the crazy tile setters are coming back tomorrow. As much as I'm eager to get in there, the extra couple of days will, I hope, mean I can wait for the cash DH transferred from the UK to hit. A long day full of students and endless meetings, but I brought my lunch and only spent the requisite $2 on coffee.

We roasted a turkey breast on Sunday, have had two dinners from it, and lunches all week. Thankfully we have another in the freezer because semi-austerity is going to have to continue for a while. CSA veggies tomorrow will help too. In a effort to keep my big goal coming, I transferred $25 from Swagbucks and am adding on the trifling interest for September. Very eager to start paying myself back for the bathroom.

Holding the Line

September 28th, 2017 at 10:57 pm

I've had a bunch of financial decisions to make lately, and this may be the month of saying no to many things. My fabulous girlfriends are going to NYC in December, and oh how I'd like to go. But airfare, hotel, Nutcracker tickets, dinners out--it would be 1K at least. My aunt's 100th birthday is coming up, and it's 570 miles from here. How I'd love for all three of us to fly. But I said no to that too--and we're driving. Airfares were almost $500/each. We'll get an audio book, take turns, and just do it. With my class, I could've covered all those extras, but heck, I have plenty to do here.

Payday can't come soon enough though it's going to take us some time to dig out. I did do some Swagbucks, cashed out, and added $100 to the big goal. And now that fall weather seems to have arrived, I've been cooking up a storm--including a fridge clearing veggie soup for DH's lunches.

The good news is HOORAY the bathroom should be done early next week. Pictures to follow! My only spending is that $2 cup of coffee to push through my morning classes.

More Juggling In Store

September 27th, 2017 at 03:10 am

Last night at my adjunct class I learned my next session which would start in late October has been canceled due to low enrollment. I think they're going through some tough times there, and I'm not all that surprised. It's not-for-profit, but it is private. So that income--always headed for my big goal-- is gone until my next scheduled session in March. I have mixed feelings, I guess. My regular classes keep me plenty busy, but I like the demographic and the extra cash certainly helps. But I also like being home weeknights to work on house stuff, spend time with my family, and do extra school work. I didn't say anything yet about their security issues, but will still voice my concerns.

In happier news I had a lovely weekend in Chicago with my BFF. We played hipster in Logan Square, ate at great places, drank good beer and fun cocktails, and in last weekend's heat went back downtown for a boat ride on the river and lake. It was a very fun weekend, and my BFF always makes me feel so much better. Not too spendy with a great airbnb and the just the train ticket.

The forecast is for cooler weather tomorrow so I'll roast more tomatoes when I get home from the university--and maybe even do some ironing.

Incidents and Thoughts

September 13th, 2017 at 02:35 am

Mondays are my long days with my regular classes, a short trip home for food and to check in with DD, then off to my adjunct job. In the best of all possible worlds, I wouldn't teach there, but it's a nice steady source of work, and as I've said before, I like the different demographic. But tonight was a mess. A former student walked into the computer lab and started cussing and threatening her former instructor for giving her a C in his class last term. My classroom is across the hall, but she was VERY loud, and I'm sure half the building heard her.
I have to admit there have been times over the years there when I've been concerned about safety. Long-time readers may remember a few years ago they had a string of issues with people roaming the halls, and one breaking into a student's car. The evening tutor is an old friend from my regular university, and he popped in to tell me they'd called security as the student was still out in the hall screaming and cussing. After about 15 minutes, she disappeared. My class wanted to run out there and see what was happening, but I convinced them that gawking would just make it worse, and I was concerned for everyone's well being. But no sign of security. Half an hour later the student reappeared and started it all over again. This time I popped my head out the door, and discovered, of all horrible things, that she had a small child with her--a little boy about 4 who was witnessing this volcano of abuse coming from his mom. Honestly, it was all I could do to stay put, but I worried that if I got in the middle of it, she might become angrier. Still no security. After 10 minutes or so, she left again. Needless to say, we didn't have the most productive class, and I've really beendissatisfied with the institutional response. They contacted me this morning , and I expressed my concerns. Their response? The student needed to exercise more self-control. What about everyone else in the building? Where was security? I have some big strapping ex-Marines in my class, but no-one is a match if she would have a weapon. Rethinking my future there very seriously.

Just Food

September 10th, 2017 at 04:55 am

That's all I'm spending on is food, and not much on that. The CSA veggies are plentiful and seem to feed us continually. Corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, coleslaw, roasted carrots tonight with a bit of chicken. I made some banana bread with a couple of aging counter top dwellers

We're still in strict budget mode, and will likely be that way for a while. I'm trying to figure out the best and cheapest way for us to get from our house to my aunt's 100th birthday party in Fargo, ND. The airfares are not pretty, the train runs at awful times, and the drive seems very long. I think we need a Star Trek beam up or some floo powder.

I've been out of sorts for no real reason except money. DH has been reluctant to transfer money for his grad school tuition from his British account, and I'm feeling like I'm juggling everything to manage here. We need to work it out. We never argue about money, but this is bothering me a lot.

In slightly more upbeat news, I got a notification from Delta Dental that I never cashed a check they sent FIVE years ago. They'd like to send me a new one--hooray! It's only $50, but heck, I'll happily take it.

I think part of my mood is the complete turmoil the house is in because of the bathroom remodel. We seem to have things everywhere. Maybe I'll retrieve another plastic bin and fill it up with the bathroom items that didn't fit in the previous two.

Onward--let's face these things.

First Day Back

September 6th, 2017 at 01:05 am

The busyness of it all has started in full force. I met 50 new students today, and I'll meet another 50 tomorrow. The administration is really intense the first few days, and I'm tired, tired, tired.

I had the night "off" from my adjunct class last night because of the holiday, but spent most of the evening reading their papers.

In more financial news, we received an unexpected refund from the dentist for $67, and I just did a textbook survey that promises a $50 honorarium. We are pretty darn broke right now without moving cash from savings, so every little helps.

An early bed for me as I have an 8am class in the morning, followed by another one, office hours, DD's dental appointment and the high school meet and greet.

Here it Comes

September 4th, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Yep, the new school year is about 14 hours away. DH and I have spent the day trying to get things done around here. I made quinoa salad for both DD and DH's lunches, made muffin tin fritatas for breakfasts for the week, and got the lunch boxes ready.

I still have a few things to do because we spent yesterday in the Wisconsin Dells taking a boat trip through the Upper Dells. The commercial trashy Dells are pretty awful, but the natural Dells--the beautiful river and rock formations are breathtaking. We saw Stand Rock and the fabulous Witches Gulch. It was a fun day followed by our dinner out using a restaurant gift card.

I look forward to the new school year. Let's go!

Two Fun Days

September 1st, 2017 at 01:33 am

Yesterday one of my London friends was visiting her parents in Chicago, so we met for lunch at a nearby outlet mall. I haven't been to an outlet mall in years, but she had shopping to do, and brought her mom. We had a delightful lunch, I really enjoyed her mother, and her dear mother bought lunch! Meaning to spend nothing, I did end up buying a cute gray and white striped shirt at the Gap outlet. I had an additional 15% off so it was only $18. Not strictly necessary, but it's nice to have one or two new things to start a new season, yes? I also had a coupon for the Ghiradelli outlet and got a small bag to add a daily treat to DD's school lunches. It was fun to ramble around the mall's shops a bit. I spent time in the Le Creuset and Company Store, but resisted.

Today was even more fun. DD and I spent hours at a nature center in a town about 45 minutes away. We saw lots of animals, got to feed some, and I sort of fell in love with a porcupine. Beautiful day in a beautiful forest setting and a nice way to wind up our summer. We'd heard about a place to pick peaches--which I didn't think was possible in Wisconsin--so then headed out there to pick some peaches. It was lots of fun. Between those peaches and our CSA veggies, we have enough food for a week. Or two. More fun awaits tomorrow. It seems like a good way to end the summer.

It Was an NSD

August 29th, 2017 at 08:44 pm

My second consecutive NSD day hopes were dashed when my friendly carpenter wanted the second part of the bathroom cash. I expected him to ask for it a week ago, so perhaps I earned a few cents interest on that $8000. Ugh. But things are progressing in there.

My class started last night with nine students. It's beginning composition and usually we read a variety of essays from a textbook assigned by the university. I've decided to tweak it and make the readings all essays about people and their relationships with money. They're all adult learners, so why not talk about money, right? We'll see how it goes. I pulled a bunch of essays off the web, but would welcome anyone's suggestions for more.

The bright spot is more junk is leaving my house. We keep throwing random things into the dumpster, and the red wagon has been picked up as has the light fixture. Count that as $20 in. I've just listed a small table which has sold too!

Determined to Recoup

August 28th, 2017 at 05:02 pm

Yesterday's garage cleaning did mean I found some more items to sell and declutter. I've sold DD's red wagon from her childhood days (kind of sad?), and it's awaiting pickup with the bathroom light fixture.

I've also cashed $25 out of Swagbucks which is being transferred to my Big Goal UK house fund.

In other frugal news, some of the fridge veggies found a new home in a pot of soup, and I've made extra brown rice and quinoa for salads this week. DH is taking soup to work for lunch all week.

My adjunct class starts tonight, so it's good to be back in the earning cycle. it's just composition, but maybe I'll have another superstar like my ex-con from two terms ago.

Cleaning the Garage

August 28th, 2017 at 04:22 am

DH and (briefly) DD and I spent the bulk of the afternoon cleaning the garage. We got a lot done, and happily I found a few things I can sell. I'll try to get them listed tomorrow. But what a yucky job. We tossed a bunch of wood and pipe found in the garage, recycled garden pots, threw away big sheets of plastic, folded tarps, and sorted all the various types of garage-dwelling liquids. We have two shelving units in there and have always rather slovenly just put all the various things on either shelf. I wiped down the shelves and separated the garden stuff from the automotive stuff. It looks much better. After a shower and a drink, we complimented ourselves on a job well done.

Raining and Pouring Into the Budget Sinkhole

August 26th, 2017 at 03:34 am

What a week--this morning I got an e-mail from the capstone project coordinator that after a dozen years of evaluating these projects, the university has decided to eliminate the post on all their campuses. It's not a huge amount of money, maybe $150-200 a month, but this last term is it. Not sure what this will mean for my big goal since that was a major source of funding for it. I'm going to have to figure a few more things out, but I keep reminding myself it's only money.

Dishwasher Costs for CCF

August 23rd, 2017 at 09:54 pm

I've been curious about how much it costs to run the dishwasher after your earlier post, CCF. Here's what I found from the SF Gate:
Multiply the wattage of your dishwasher (most models fall in a range between 1,200 and 2,400 watts) by the number of hours you run it each day. Divide this number by 1,000 to find the number of kilowatt-hours the dishwasher uses. Multiply this number by your cost per kilowatt-hour to come up with the daily cost of running your dishwasher. For example, suppose your dishwasher is rated at 1,800 watts, you run it for two hours a day and your electricity rate is 13 cents. Multiply 1,800 by 2 to get 3,600 watt-hours, or 3.6 kilowatt-hours. Multiply this figure by 13 cents, resulting in 46.8 cents. So it costs you just under 50 cents a day to run your dishwasher.

Those are pretty much our Dishwasher wattage and costs per kilowatt hour. Fifty cents a day.

From Budget Sieve to Sinkhole

August 23rd, 2017 at 08:35 pm

Last night we got a call from the bathroom contractor that, while not unexpected, has turned my budget sieve into a budget sinkhole. The toilet in the family bath they’re re-doing has been leaking and many of the floor boards are rotten. All was revealed when the tile came up. That wasn’t too awful, but taking off the drywall also revealed that our ensuite shower—located just behind the family bathroom—was leaking from the dial and had been doing so for some time. The drywall was completely soaked, the joists and lath were rotten through and through. The only real cure is to tear out that shower as well.
The previous bid on that bathroom was way too high for us, so I’ve asked their designer to try to find ways to bring that price down. We could live with the current vanity and sink; the sink is an attractive marble-look Corian, and while the vanity could benefit from a paint job, it’s mostly fine. I’d consider installing some sliding shelving baskets in there ourselves to make better use of the space. But no matter what, it’ s going to be a chunk of change. I’ve been resisting an uber-frugal month, but we certainly need to cinch things in. A tighter food budget only does so much. I wonder if I can find some things to sell? I’d look for extra editing work, but I have a full class load and my evening class from Monday until Christmas. Thinking, thinking, thinking.

My Budget Sieve

August 23rd, 2017 at 04:07 am

I've needed at least one or two new tires for a while, but over the weekend, we decided to take a look at all of them, and one was very bad. So today out went $573 for four new tires. That included free installation, and I'll get a $60 rebate. Looking at the fine print it appears it's not a cash rebate, but a gift card to one of several retailers--Best Buy, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Home Depot, Staples, or Target. So now my Target gift cards just keep on piling up.

I've also paid the insurance today, transferred more money out to pay the bathroom remodelers tomorrow, and it looks like there is some damage to the bathroom floor that will need addressing before the new one goes on.

Good thing we've got tomatoes.

Gutted

August 22nd, 2017 at 02:39 am

Not me, just the bathroom! Our bathroom contractors showed up at 7:30 this morning and spent the day taking out the sinks, toilet, vanity and wall tile along with removing the light fixtures and towel bar for reuse. I'm giving the relatively new and nice Kohler faucet to a friend; she may also take the light fixture. While I'm still a bit anxious about the cash, we're also excited. DD and I watched the eclipse at the university. We have a widely respected astronomy department, and the director of the planetarium is a real treasure. We were able to buy glasses there for $1, and had a great time sitting with friends. Lots of them constructed box viewers, brought picnics, and enjoyed the humid afternoon.

I do have a bumper crop of tomatoes. It may be time for a caprese salad. While I've enjoyed the tomato canning of years past, I'm probably going to pass this year. The semester is sneaking up on me, and I'd rather get prepped. We had BLTs for dinner tonight with some coleslaw. Any one have some fabulous summer easy dinners to share? I have the August menu blahs. I can figure out how to use my CSA veggies but am uninspired otherwise.


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