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Lots to Report

September 9th, 2018 at 02:21 pm

Hmm--It's been a week or so since last I blogged, and what a busy week it's been. DH had more interviews, but has taken the contract at his former employer that he left about 20 months ago. It's a great hourly rate, and honestly, he really likes it there. We think he starts on Wednesday after all the checks. Glad we got his drug test in before his surgery.

So yes, he's also had ear surgery. Last Thursday we drove to a hospital about an hour west of us at (ugh) 4:30 a.m. for his stapedectomy. He's never had any surgeries or much medical, and he was a nervous wreck. But all went well, and I think he was a bit sobered by folks getting pacemakers, stents, and much more serious things. We'll know in a few weeks how successful it's been restoring his hearing. Right now his ear is full of packing which will be removed on Friday

School started for DD; all's well there. School also started for me, and while my classes seem fine, my new administrative function is headache inducing. There are plenty of my colleagues who would rather not speak to one another, so they've decided I'm their intermediary. Because I'm in charge of class scheduling, I've had everything from pleas, to demands, to outright anger about next semester's schedule. All of a sudden I can see who the easy folks are, and who is decidedly difficult. It's going to be an interesting time.

This afternoon DD and I bought a Harry Potter package at the local theater. We got tickets for 9 shows--all the Potter movies and Fantastic Beasts for $27. We go the next eight Sundays. I really enjoyed seeing HP1 on the big screen. So much grander than DVDs at home.
It's fun for us to hang out too--if there's a week I can't go, she can always take a friend.

I've been busily using our garden and CSA veggies. Friday night it was Southern Tomato Pie, followed by Croatian Chicken last night, and tonight veggie curry.
Time to ramp up a bit of frugality. We've been too lax lately.

Crossing My Fingers

August 30th, 2018 at 08:37 pm

It looks like DH may have a job offer! And he's got another interview for a different job at the same place on Tuesday. No definite thing yet, but it looks better.

Busy day with meeting after meeting at the university.
More when we know more.

Heating Up

August 27th, 2018 at 07:45 pm

Oof--we had big crashing storms last night. No real damage here, but hours and hours of thunder, lightning, and torrential rain. A community just north of us had 10" of rain. And it's like the jungle out there again tonight with its hot and humid temps.

I spent half the day at a class on our new digital learning platform. It seems simple enough to use, but the transition will be difficult for lots of people. We have a choice of starting now, spring semester, or next fall. I've chosen to start with it in the spring after some kinks are worked out.

My DH has another phone interview tomorrow, and his ear surgery is a week from Thursday. I've canceled class that day--not my favorite thing, especially during Week One, but he'll need me there.

We had a lovely day Saturday in Chicago with a tour of the University of Chicago for our daughter, the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie house for all of us, lunch in Hyde Park, and a short field trip to Navy Pier for our ongoing history project. We came home exhausted, but rallied to go out for cheeseburgers. We needed a getaway, and it was good for all of us. Three of us in the house all day every day lately has given us summer cabin fever as the heat and mosquitoes have made the patio and neighborhood not as pleasant as I'd like.

Today's spending was $2 for coffee to get me through that three-hour tutorial. Seemingly hundreds of meetings for the next few weeks will require more.

I've cashed $25 out of Swagbucks which will continue to go to my big goal.

Unemployment Mood Lifters

August 24th, 2018 at 05:30 pm

My DH is a moody soul sometimes, and unemployment has not helped him. He's still finishing up his summer independent study, and he's put WAY more into it than need be, but it's good for him to have something to focus on--especially since he really has to wait out the ear surgery before he can start anything.

And I'm busy with my back-to-school prep and our daughter's stuff too. He's been very reluctant to go into uberfrugal mode, and while I was a bit ticked off at him at first, now I see he's a person that needs a few creature comforts to help him through this. I've loosened the grocery budget, started to make a bit better meals, and started looking at UJK airfares for Christmas. He needs something other than the pre-surgery wait and the job wait. He did the presurgical physical today, and the doc filled in all the details for his annual wellness rebate. I'm in the middle of the "wellness activity" now mandated to earn the rebate of $150. The guided meditation option has almost put me to sleep the last couple days. But heck, it's $150.

We're off on a little field trip tomorrow. I'll fill in the details when we return.

A Good Sign?

August 21st, 2018 at 09:44 pm

Dh had a phone interview with his former employer of a few years ago. He did contract work for them for 15 years, and though the work was not scintillating, they're a solid place.

The plus sides are many: it's a downtown location and he LOVES the bus. And he gets free bus fare with his history tuition. They also have free lunch. Unbelievable, I know, but he ate free for years. And he knows and likes a lot of people there. He's much more social at work than I am, and he'd like to be back there. The interviewer told a mutual friend that he thought it sounded positive. Fingers crossed there's another interview.

Our DD and I went to a free event from the local theatre company. They're doing "In the Heights" in September and we got to sit in on a few songs and hear all about they're upcoming productions. And they had free food.

DH also has lunch with a contracting company tomorrow. Free food is the theme of the day!

More Scrounging

August 17th, 2018 at 03:40 pm

Just got an e-mail from my adjunct job, and they've canceled the class that begins on 27 August. It's way underenrolled. Bleah. It will be fine, but we could use that paycheck this fall.

I need to think about some strategies to get through DH's unemployment more comfortably. He does have an interview next week, so fingers crossed for that.

Where We're At

August 16th, 2018 at 09:26 am

Well, I took a look at August's upcoming bills, and tried to face what I think I already knew. It's going to be tight until October 1.

DH got paid yesterday, and will likely have one more reduced check. I'll get a check from my adjunct class on September 1. Although it seems like I've been working all summer on my regular university stuff, my contractual period doesn't start until Monday, and I'm not paid until October 1. But I'll have another adjunct class starting on 27 August which will mean a check from them on 1 October.

In the meantime I just paid DD's school fees. She's taking three AP classes so the fees for them were included in the $515 I paid. Our household insurance hit my credit card at $1200. And my DH's annual life insurance is another $760. I spent a fair amount on our trip to MN. Ugh. August is our most expensive month

We certainly have enough in savings to cover all this and much more, but I'll breathe a little better when the unemployment starts or even better, if he gets a new job soon.

His resume is all updated and posted, and he's been in contact with lots of his old colleagues at his job before this one. I don't doubt he'll get a new job, but I do hate the uncertainty.

I'd committed to doing health and hygiene kits for the AODA treatment house sponsored by our church. It's our favorite program, so yesterday DD and I went out to see how well we could tackle the list. I scrounged up coupons, checked thekrazycouponlady site, gathered registered rewards from Wags, and EB from CVS and we did pretty well. I think I need bankergurl to advise, but we went to Walmart (yuck, I hate Walmart), but managed free shampoo, ziploc bags for a rebate from SB, and 88cent shower caddies. We got free toothpaste at Wags too. I found a bag of toothbrush covers in the bathroom to check that item off the list as well as some bars of soap. We're about halfway through the list. It's satisfying to be able to do this and made me feel good.

Today is our CSA box. I foresee yet more summer squash, but we did enjoy the fresh bean salad yesterday. I think it'll be roasted veggie enchiladas tonight.

I've been doing all my cash anxiety items--daily SB, mypoints, scrounging for stuff to sell, watering the new crop of chard, lettuce, and beets. I also started the mandated 21-day meditation for my $150 wellness rebate that accompanied my health screening. But also streaming Aretha Franklin as a tribute and mood lifter.

Grumbly

August 13th, 2018 at 08:27 pm

Well, here we are one week into DH's unemployment and I'm grumbly. Not just at him, but at students, administrators, my new teaching hires, and myself. I think I need an attitude adjustment. Maybe a long workout tomorrow.

DH has been working on finishing his summer class. He's paid until 8-20, so is ready to file for unemployment. I spent the morning getting things for my new hires and their fall semester and the evening finishing the last summer class. In between I wrote a syllabus for the class that starts in two weeks. That all has made me more grumbly.

Odds and Ends

August 9th, 2018 at 12:13 pm

DH has started his unemployment application, and I'm happy to see he's been going to the health club. He asked if we should cancel it, but it's cheap and keeps his mood up.

I cashed out some Swagbucks, filed for a flex reimbursement for his hearing tests, and did a quick pantry/freezer inventory. I'm going to try to limit grocery spending to $25-35/week while he's unemployed. We have a full-ish freezer and weekly CSA deliveries, so not much to buy. And I may try to sow some radishes, carrots, and spinach where the blight has destroyed my tomatoes.

My major purchasing quandary is our UK airfare for December. We've paid for our airbnbs, so there's no question we'll go. I need to look into all our air miles and see if I can patch one or two flights together out of those.

Back to Bad News

August 7th, 2018 at 03:08 pm

Despite many too-long driving days, DD and I enjoyed our road trip, particularly lots of hiking and friend time on the North Shore of Lake Superior. We were not especially frugal, but managed a tour of the University of Minnesota, an overnight with my brother, my aunt's funeral, three days of lovely hiking, West Side Story at the Guthrie Theater before we arrived just in time for me to teach my evening class last night. My DH met us in the parking lot, ready to take the cooler and DD home. But then the not-so-good news: he got laid off without warning yesterday afternoon as part of a corporate reorganization. They gave him two weeks of severance pay, and out the door he (and three others) went.

He was pretty shook up, and I can't say last night was my most successful class ever after that news. But onward, right? He's been there 18 months, and the stress has been pretty awful. Tomorrow he'll start the unemployment process, and we'll do a financial review. But he's on my health insurance, so no worries there. Honestly, as worrying as it may become, I'm sort of relieved. He could use some time off, and his ear surgery is in a month. As usual, my first impulses are all about a fridge inventory, a review of the bills, and then a renewed focus on my job. I've got a full schedule of teaching in addition to adjunct classes through the end of the year. With some minor belt tightening, we should be fine. Remind me of that, please, should this drag on.

Not Quite the Road Trip I Had in Mind

July 30th, 2018 at 07:10 am

Well, I was longing for a road trip for the summer, but be careful what you wish for? We got the news Thursday that my 100-year-old aunt had died. We were very close when I was kid, and I took the train to visit them in Montana a couple of times. We saw her last fall for her 100th birthday party in Fargo, ND. This is also the week that DD and I were headed to northeastern MN with my Minneapolis girlfriends to spend time on the North Shore of Lake Superior. DD and I were also planning on a stop in Minneapolis for her tour of the University of Minnesota, an evening with friends with dinner and the theater.

It means a lot to all my family that we make the trek, so our revamped plans include leaving tonight after my class (ugh), stopping tomorrow morning at the U of M, driving to my brother's lake home in central MN, then the next morning to Fargo for the funeral. That afternoon we will drive across Minnesota to the North Shore where I will drink lots of wine and collapse in a heap. I hope we'll have great weather, can hike, reconnect with friends, and just enjoy life and being outside. We've tacked another day onto the end of the trip so we can use our theater tickets, but that means we will probably arrive back to Cheeseland just in time for me to teach next week's class.

As the North Shore part of this was planned as a girls' trip, and the logistics for DH to accompany us were headache-inducing, DD and I are on our own. We headed to the library Saturday, got an armful of audio books, and I'll pick up maps and other stuff today at AAA. I got an oil change and refilled my tires yesterday.

I was planning on leaving my car in the Twin Cities and driving up north with my girlfriends, but I can't see a way for that to happen. Glad I was able to rearrange the theater, but not looking forward to the drive. I probably should not have totaled the miles and times on Google maps. It's 23 hours and 46 minutes of driving and 1452 miles.

Lots of issues at work too. Hope to get those settled before I leave tonight.

Did I Say It Would Be a UFM?

July 24th, 2018 at 08:26 pm

I am so wrong, says the woman who spent $800 on rugs today. And I had coffee drinks, bought a crate of peaches, and a bunch of craft supplies.

Truly I was planning on buying new rugs for the dining room and family room. Would you be shocked if I told you our dining room rug was bought in the 1980s? It's done its duty. And the family room rug is part of my vast redecoration scheme in there. More on that as it develops, but I did look at paint colors and get a bid on the painting. We'd attempt it ourselves but it's a vaulted ceiling and a huge room. You'll see it's on my 2018 goals.

The peaches have become a summer ritual for us, but this year half of them will go to my friend whose husband's kidney comes out tomorrow. If you're a praying sort, keep them in your prayers. please. And the craft supplies (slime--eww) were for her son who is making slime with friends tomorrow to keep him busy.
I'm really pleased with the rugs; they were part of the Bon-Ton going out of business sale and were supposedly 70% off. I think that's a dubious figure but I really like them. Much jazzier than my usual traditional taste.

I made a huge Greek salad for dinner to use some CSA veggies and will shortly head off to bed with my new library book.

In the Eye of the Hurricane

July 22nd, 2018 at 02:33 pm

A little Hamilton reference for y'all. In the eye of the hurricane it IS quiet. But man, so much going on for so many around us. My DH's ex-professor and now friend seems to have either a stroke or a mental breakdown. He's been calling us all hours for days; sometimes calling 40 times a day. We've contacted his estranged family and the local police because he seems to be in real trouble. And we've had to turn off the phone.
You may remember a few weeks back when I asked for advice about a colleague/friend struggling with money. She's had a tough road--a son with childhood leukemia, a husband with half a kidney removed from cancer, her own gallbladder out, etc--now her husband's cancer is back. We've spent the last couple of days trying to allocate her classes to other teaching colleagues and help with a childcare and meal rotation.

In the midst of that I got a FB message from a cousin and my elderly aunt is fading fast. They expect perhaps a few days left for her.

And then there's my DH's sister whose physical and mental stability have really gone downhill.

But we have good news through of all the pain and trouble around us. Our Friday appt with DH's ear specialist went very well, and we will schedule him for ear surgery in September. They're confident it's a bony overgrowth and that they can correct his quickly diminishing hearing with laser surgery.

And we had a lovely however wet day working on our history project in a nearby town. We also enjoyed a tour of a WW2 submarine. We are such history dorks. An hour on that sub convinced me a life under water is not for me. What brave sailors those were.

Cancelation Means Relaxation

July 18th, 2018 at 07:44 am

My DD has been taking an ACT prep class along with her summer French conversation. And we've been trying to get to the gym almost every day. These balanced with too many summer university meetings (for which I am NOT paid) have made things hectic. She needs to be driven to all of them--too far to bike. This morning looked particularly hectic with a dog groomer drop off, water zumba, and picking up a friend. But halfway to the groomer's, we got a text that zumba canceled, so we canceled the friend. Normally this would have us a little upset, but those hours crammed in before her classes now feel like a gift.

Yesterday was too hectic--my Tuesday morning teaching hangover from a late class, two meetings, lesson drop-offs, my DH working late from home until 10, and trivia with my trivia buddy. Trivia was a disaster. Neither of us know anything about Formula One racing or country music, and normally we do pretty well. I had a fun time chatting with him, but there is just too much going on.

So onward. I've got a few hours of work and can fit everything else in, including the gym with a bit more breathing room. All this running has meant lots of gas spending, as well as coffee shop spending since no one seems to want to meet at the university. We need a vacation from summer vacation.

A Steamy Weekend

July 16th, 2018 at 05:57 am

Ugh--it's been like a steamroom here the past few days, but the humidity is supposed to lift today. We had our usual round of groceries, laundry, and cooking this weekend. I'm ready for a bit more excitement.

I did get a closet reorganization done. I still need to do DH's closet, but despite earlier promises, he hasn't been too eager. He spent $100 on shoes over the weekend, but because this was at the local Bon-Ton store closing, he got THREE amazing pairs of shoes--Nunn Bush and Cole Haan for that price. I spent nothing. I really need nothing at all.

Keeping up with the CSA veggies with a stirfry and a big pot of minestrone for DH's lunches this week. Off to the gymn- It's going ot be a busy day with lots of appointments. More on that later.

Five Percent?!

July 12th, 2018 at 01:50 pm

Well, I've finally hit five percent on my big goal, but am now faced with another goal. My best friend is having a "milestone" birthday" next year and wants to go to the Cote d'Azur. Hmm. Maybe a lottery ticket.

AN UFM Fail but a Birthday Success

July 11th, 2018 at 08:30 am

My UFM has gone off the rails. I have plenty of excuses, the major one being my daughter's 16th birthday yesterday. I guffawed through articles about what to do for a 16th birthday that included new cars, trips abroad, and a cake made of rolled up dollar bills.
But DD was hesitant about her birthday plans, and decided at the last minute what she'd really like is a whole day with her BFF, especially since the BFF recently moved back near us. I was just the driver and offerer of options. They decided on an hour or so at Target where they bought nothing and looked at everything, followed by a trip to the amazing ethnic grocery next store where I bought olive oil, and they spent 35 minutes looking at imported squid, Polish candy, Mexican peppers, Turkish grape leaves, and just about everything else you can think of. I remember very well loving trips like that with my friends when I was that age. On to the Humane Society where I fell in love with a dog and they fell in love with a cat. Lots of petting but no adopting. We then had lunch in Milwaukee's funky third ward followed by more odd shopping. They spent, I kid you not, 60 minutes looking at succulents. Then we all had pedicures, paddled boats on the lake, followed by dinner at PF Changs and more d**m shopping for them.

I kept up my cheerful demeanor, but by the end of the evening, I let them shop and goof around while I sat in a comfy chair at Barnes and Noble. DD loved the day; it'll take me days to recover. And today won't be frugal either as I'm meeting DH for lunch to cheer on English football. Frugality will resume, but it's likely to be next week. Hey, she's only 16 once.

How Much to Say?

July 8th, 2018 at 07:50 am

Long-time readers (man, you all are so patient with the minutiae of my life) may recall some of my concerns about my colleagues/friends. Most of my university teaching friends have doctorates, some masters' degrees, but our pay is not so great. Everyone I know picks up extra work wherever we can--adjunct jobs, freelance editing, you name it. And the salary issue is worse for those whose spouse is also teaching for us. I won't go into my political rant, but we've had issues all over our state university system. The issue is, of course, compounded by the fact that many financed grad school with student loans.

I have a core group of about six women who I'm close to, and of those six of us, four of them struggle mightily with money. They are all married, each have two kids, and work very hard, picking up extra work where and when they can. But during a lunch on Friday, three said that apart from the mandatory state pension withdrawals, they had NO retirement savings, nothing in IRAs or the 403b the university offers. That made me feel really sick. I'm the oldest of all of them, but the rest are about to turn 50 soon. So, here's my question. Do I just completely butt out? We agreed years ago that if we sub for one another on an adjunct job, we pay the sub. One of them owes me $200 for a sub job, and I would so love to walk her through signing up for a 403b and depositing say $100 of the $200 she owes me in that account. They've had so many medical issues, a child with leukemia, broke parents, you name it. It's a head/heart issue. I want them to be ok. But it's too interfering, is or isn't it?

A Frugal 4th!

July 4th, 2018 at 12:48 pm

It's been a hot day here, but we've managed to make it a Frugal 4th so far. Most of the frugality has come from cooking. This is a strange thing to admit, but despite being 1000 years old and cooking a lot, I've never made pancakes without a mix before. I've always had Bisquik or Krusteaz around, but not today. I'd promised DD red, white, and blue pancakes, so found a recipe online and stirred some up. We decided they were a great success, though a bit putzy. I may make up some dry ingredients ahead and store enough for a few batches for us. I wonder what other surprises the Ultra-Frugal Month will offer? I also stirred up a batch of granola, made potato salad for tonight's dinner using some of the lovely garlic scapes from the CSA along with some radishes, and roasted some CSA beets.
DD is off to Summerfest, our big music festival, with her friends, so the Old Brit and I will have the day to ourselves. I have lots of prep work for my upcoming class as does he. The midweek 4th doesn't seem quite as festive to me. But still fun and time to think about ways to make the country better for all of us.

World Cup Lunch

July 3rd, 2018 at 09:14 pm

We had a lunch out today--not ultra frugal, but I did have a coupon, and who can deny an England fan a chance to see his team finally break through the knock-out round. What a match!

I did sell two games on FB and made a swift $10. They're already gone; it's so satisfying to declutter and make some cash. And I got to the gym. An all-around good day.

Update on UFDay

July 2nd, 2018 at 06:30 pm

The frugal feeling is in full flower. I've got rotisserie chicken bones in the crockpot with some veggie scraps to make a batch of broth. Dinner was all from the CSA box with the addition of the last of the rotisserie chicken--an excellent strawberry spinach salad. And the NS day got even better when I listed some basement clutter on FB and sold the first thing for $5. Another is being given away tomorrow.

The UFM Begins and a Fun June Ends

July 2nd, 2018 at 09:55 am

We spent the weekend in Madison so DH and I could work on his history project and DD could tour UW Madison. Great hotel with some nice dinners out, but it was sweltering which put a damper on some plans. We met up with a former student, swam in the hotel pool, and enjoyed their lovely free breakfasts as well as the huge Farmers' Market. As an employee of UW Madison poorer sister campus, I was blown away by their fabulous facilities and beautiful setting. I go there at least once a year, but am always impressed--as was DD. Their offerings tick a lot of her "want" boxes.

We came home to a very warm day, but managed to unpack and get some laundry in before our power blew out with a strong rainstorm about 4. No electricity until midnight, but everything appears to have survived in the freezer and fridge.


Today's plans include a trip to the gymn, DD's French lessons, some meal prep for the week, and perhaps dinner with friends. Thankfully I have a gift card just waiting to be redeemed for dinner. My dear friend is headed back to AZ on the 5th, and I'm eager to see her again before she goes.

Midsummer

June 25th, 2018 at 09:53 am

We had a very fun time yesterday at the Scandi Midsummer festival. They raised the Maistang, we made flower wreath crowns, and joined in some wacky circle dancing. It cost nothing, but we did have a quick lunch between church and the festival. Lots of world cup viewing going on here, and we're continuing our library movie binging, reading marathons, and gym workouts. More dejunking today too.

Another Fun Day

June 22nd, 2018 at 08:53 pm

I went to the gym this morning, DD and I had our second Friday summer lunch out at Noodles, then headed to the art museum to see some friends. We had a lovely time, saw some beautiful Goya etchings, a few of my favorite O'Keefes, and a Rembrandt etching too. They lent us magnifying glasses to see the detail on the etchings, and it was great to see some old friends and some art. I bought a pizza for dinner. Man, such leisure. We got free parking, I found a dime, and collected cash for my clothing sales.

I do have some work to do tomorrow, but am enjoying being lazy.

Relaxing Week

June 21st, 2018 at 08:48 pm

Well, it has been relaxing--especially since my department's part of the grant fell through. I thought it might; we just weren't the best fit. I just wish they'd have figured that out before 10 hours worth of meetings. So DD and I have been hanging out, and I've really enjoyed it.

We even enjoyed cleaning the closets today. She found an old state quarters map, and was thrilled to pop out the quarters and add them to her cash stash. No luck on jobs yet. Having a summer birthday sort of hampers that. We've spent some money on summer fun. We joined the local gym and have been every other day. We took a free water zumba class which was pretty funny. A bunch of older ladies, me, and mu daughter in the pool dancing to "You can Leave Your Hat On" had me laughing all day. And DD is also taking an advanced French conversation class to keep her French up over the summer. She loves French, and may very well do some sort of international something. I think it's in the genes.
We sold some clothes from the closet purge this afternoon too and took the rest to the charity shop. All in all, a very satisfying rainy solstice. We've also been making great use of the library; she has a stack of books, and so do I. Tonight we watched the last Star Wars; last night it was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I think we're doing a darn good job of balancing lazy and productive. I am planning an ultra-frugal July, but we have so much stuff in the freezer, it shouldn't be too hard. And the CSA starts next week too. My new class starts in 2 1/2 weeks, so I've been writing the syllabus. More to do, but only tackling one job at a time. The weekend looks like it will have lots of World Cup, a Scandi midsommer celebrations, and probably the art museum with friends tomorrow. Not sure I could tackle this much leisure all the time, but it's nice to have a few weeks of it!

Finishing Up the School Year

June 7th, 2018 at 07:23 pm

Our DD finishes up her sophomore year tomorrow. Not sure where those last two years went, but she's such a great kid. She and I spent part of the afternoon looking at gyms. We're thinking of a no-contract easy plan at a gym close to our house for the summer. She's been applying for jobs, but hasn't heard from her top pick yet, and she wants to keep busy. I'm sure she can find some pick-up work from a couple places, and she's volunteering at the local Alliance Francaise and library.

The university still seems to have a chunk of me for the summer. I had another grant meeting this morning, and will start planning for the fall pretty soon. I have lots of new ideas. Yesterday we got the news of our student writing competition, and one of my students took second place, so I'm delighted for her. Too bad it meant another long meeting with my least favorite colleague, but I got through it without opening my big mouth.

I got some CVS bargains on toothpaste and a few other things, but spent no other money today. And I'm meeting another dissertation editing client tomorrow. I really enjoy dissertation editing, and think i'll start on hers over the weekend. In another bits of cash, I filed for flex money on my new glasses, and I'm subbing for a colleague for $200 on Monday night. I've been a bit antsy since coming back from California, but now the summer looks better. Lots to do but I'm eager to jump in.

Back From California

June 4th, 2018 at 02:43 pm

Back from my little five-day jaunt to Bodega Bay with my Minnesota girlfriends. Man, we had fun. We got a VRBO right up from the beach, walked through Armstrong Redwoods, drank wine, hiked to a lighthouse and all around. It wasn't extremely cheap as it was a friend's birthday, but it was a lovely trip and really helped clear the mind and get me ready for summer. I used airmiles for the flight, and that always feels so good.

We had an interesting talk about retirement goals and our next travel plans.

Back to reality later today.

Updating interest on UK House Fund

Making Christmas Plans?

May 23rd, 2018 at 08:20 am

I feel a little wacky, but last night we finalized out Christmas plans. Unusual for me as frequently I don't know what we're having for dinner until 3 some days. But I love to plan travel.

We've decided to go to England for Christmas--a week in London in an airbnb and another week with friends in my DH's home island,also an airbnb. The last few years at my brother's home in the Twin Cities have been fun, but it's a precarious icy drive with lots of planning and a hotel stay since they've downsized. This is in lieu of our summer UK trip, and we're looking forward to a lovely London Christmas. We miss our UK friends too.

We still haven't figured out summer vacations here. Tonight perhaps. I also need to do some budget adjusting as I'm still in the "just our of school" mode. But I've got a load of laundry on the line, one more in the washer, and actually have thawed some chicken for tonight!

Almost Done

May 18th, 2018 at 02:30 pm

I'm almost done with all my grading and admin. It'll be done tonight. I've also been busy on a grant application. It's the first time I've been part of such a huge team, and it's very interesting work. One of my fun tasks for the evening is assembling the names for the "excellent student" letters our department sends out. It's far too easy to remember the bad students, and I enjoy putting together the names of the great ones. Our department chair sends out letters to them. For many of them, it's the first recognition they've received since high school, and I've heard many tales of their moms posting the letters on the fridge.

I have a lot of digging out to do--much decluttering and planning, but that will be fun along with some gardening. I don't have another class until July, but it's a class I've never taught before so that will involve some planning. We've also got to tighten the belts a bit--the dog somehow got conjunctivitis and that's another sizeable vet bill.

Tomorrow is service day at our church so we've been assigned to help clean the warehouse at Lutheran Social Services. They house furniture and household good for families they resettle. It'll be good service hours for DD and necessary and inspiring work for us.

Glad to be back on track here. Also happy that my big goal has had some $ added to it.


Edging Back In

May 10th, 2018 at 07:28 pm

Yay Hooray! Today was the last day of classes! Days of grading and admin lie ahead, but the load lessens.

I had sort of an eventful last day. On my way to the university I stopped for a last day doughnut treat for my favorite class. Unfortunately for the store, my handy reusable bag caught a wine bottle display and off went two bottles of Riesling smashing to the floor. The clerks were great about it, but I was a bit abashed.

I've somehow got put on a huge, intense, grant- writing committee that looks like it's going to require some work well into the next month. If we get the money, it'll be great, but more committee work was not on my wish list.

There's plenty more to chat about, but I am indeed just edging my way into summer break.


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