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Archive for January, 2011

Goodbye January

January 31st, 2011 at 09:02 pm

It's snowing here and everyone is predicting a "snow day" for Wednesday. I'd be happy to have a day at home with DD, DH, and a big pot of soup.

It's been a cheap day with leftover pizza for lunch and no snacks purchased at school. I need to spend some time tomorrow looking over financial accounts, paying bills, and cleaning up my files. It must be the weather--I just feel like nesting!



Harry Potter Advice?

January 28th, 2011 at 07:15 am

Our DD has become a Harry Potter maniac in the last few months. We own all the books and movies and are thinking of spending some of spring break at Universal Orlando Harry Potter Land. Have any of you been there?

I'm trying to figure out much time a Harry devotee would need there. We've done Disney before and may try another day or two there, but before we sink time and money into Universal, I'd like some veterans' advice.

We'll probably stay at a condo outside Orlando that we liked before, so we're trying to figure how much time to spend there and how much it might cost.

Time for a nap?

January 27th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

It's the official end of my teaching week, and there's a busy weekend ahead. I hope I can squeeze in a 30-minute nap before DD comes home.

It's also been a cheap week. I just finished a survey on MySurvey.com and cashed $10 into Paypal. More product surveys coming up on products we've been testing.

Looks like a perfect night for spaghetti--new snow and lots of meatballs in the freezer!

January is so long!

January 26th, 2011 at 07:53 pm

Wouldn't you like 31 days in June instead of January? I would! January seems like it drags on forever to me.

School's been so busy I haven't had time to think about money much, but am just trying to adjust to the new schedule. I teach from 9:30-1:45 with only 10 minutes between those three classes. I'm trying to figure out how to eat, drink, and stand up for that many hours.

I didn't get home until almost 2:30--and then ate lunch. I think I need some energy bars, or better snacks in my bag. I usually bring water and some string cheese with me and a piece of fruit, but I was starving when I got home. Tomorrow will be better with only one class.

Any snack suggestions from anyone out there? I need something non-messy, fairly healthy, that I can put in my bag. Good cereal bar suggestions? Or should I try making my own?

Steady as She Goes

January 25th, 2011 at 09:28 pm

Well, school has officially started up again, and I'm trying to maintain the steady decluttering and calm I seem to have had over break. There's lots of stress at school with plenty of students scraping to come up with tuition, being dropped because they didn't make their deposits, and other problems. I usually teach at 8am, but nothing this term until 9:30, and I find the atmosphere around campus much busier at 9am. I used to get into the building, hunker down, teach three classes and leave, but this morning the busyness meant I had to WAIT for coffee and struggle to find a parking spot. This schedule is better for DD and DH, but I like the quietness of early morning better.

I had an interesting chat with my haircutter this afternoon. She's in her mid 30s, her husband has a landscaping business, or did before their truck got wrecked last summer. He's been working as a waiter, his restaurant closed, so they're living on her income and his unemployment with no medical insurance. I'm glad I brought her muffins, but it just amazes me how people get by. I'd be a wreck in that situation--or maybe it's just because I'm older and know what could happen?

A Big Relief

January 22nd, 2011 at 06:48 pm

I finished my promotion file today and will have it ready to turn in on Monday. I can't tell you how relieved I am to have it done. We spent a big chunk of change at Office Depot today on the binder for the file, dry-erase markers, a big box of printer paper, and other stuff.

I'm really tired tonight; I think the stress of finally getting it done has worn me out and I'm turning in immediately after MI-5!

It won't mean that much more money, but it should mean increased job security.
That seems like a darn good thing.


Last Day of Break

January 21st, 2011 at 07:38 am

Even though I've been working pretty steadily through my Winter break, I feel sad it's come to an end. Classes start Monday morning, and while I'm sure there's a great crop of new students headed my way, at least half of me would like to hang out at home another couple weeks. Maybe it's the subzero temps?


I feel like I've accomplished a lot over my break, on prep for next term, my promotion file, and on my decluttering. The trick comes to see if I can keep it up once the craziness starts up.

A Chilly Wind

January 20th, 2011 at 02:41 pm

It's a cold one here in the Midwest, and even colder temps forecast for tomorrow. Days like this make me realize how much we need new windows, but they'll have to wait a bit. To make do until then there's 3M plastic on some, draft stoppers on others, honeycomb blinds on the bedroom windows--and the guest room has rolled towels over the sills.

I've spent the day prepping for next semester and copying eight years of teaching evaluations for my promotion file. Most of the evals were very nice, but some are just strange--one said I change the pitch of my voice too much. Students are just strange sometimes.

I dejunked a bit more, dropping off an old unused camera to a freecycler at the university and mailing an ebay sale. I do feel like I'm making progress--there's just a lot more to go.

Stay warm everyone!

Large List

January 19th, 2011 at 07:37 am

Call it January restlessness, but I couldn't sleep last night. At 2am, I gave up and decided to empty my brain by making a big list of long- and short-term goals.

Some of them were financial, some of them will be achieved only because of financial planning, but there were others too.

I think the massive decluttering and selling, especially of some of my mom's things, has me thinking about the accumulation of stuff and how we could better live our lives. Nothing profound out of this, just thinking.

On a much more mundane note, it's double coupon day, we're out of dog food, I sold another book, and we've been selected to be product testers of a "food product," more about which I'm not supposed to divulge. So that will be dinner tonight; I've got laundry to do and classes to plan. I'll think in my spare time!



Big Decluttering Continues

January 18th, 2011 at 01:01 pm

I've sold lots of books and a couple of other things on ebay for (I can't quite believe this myself) $478 in the last two weeks. Some of it was stuff from the closets, unused textbooks, some of my mom's things--and I'm going to have to start tipping the guys at the PO soon, I'm there so much.

I advertised on freecycle for someone to get our moving boxes from seven years ago, and they actually came on time today! In between, I met with a student, dropped my book donations at the library, and another huge box at the Salvation Army.

I'm very pleased with how well it's all been flying out of here. Long may it continue! Great buys on red peppers and Yukon golds--so that looks like dinner tonight.

Coupon Kindness!

January 17th, 2011 at 08:55 pm

The DD and I went out for lunch at Noodles today, and on the way in, a complete stranger handed us a coupon for $2 off. Did we look poor? Dunno, but it was very nice!
Our next stop was Great Clips for a haircut for DD. I usually have my coupon with me, but left it on the kitchen counter. When I mentioned that to the hair cutter, she produced another one for me.

Savings? Only $5--but out of midair!

Perhaps I should've kept shopping hoping for even better things?

My African-American lit class tonight read aloud Dr. King's "letter from Birmingham Jail." It was fabulous and a great way to celebrate the day, in school, in conversation with a lovely piece of writing.

Skating Along

January 16th, 2011 at 03:54 pm

It's been a cold Sunday here, but we got some things done. DD has tomorrow off, and we have fairly lofty ambitions for what we can accomplish. The husband took an old TV to Best Buy today to be recycled, and they charged him $10, but gave him a $10 gift card. A bit strange, but we're going to need a few things from Best Buy soon anyway.

The January decluttering continued with promises from Freecyclers to pick up boxes tomorrow, and one showing up today to pick up some software DD had outgrown.

I've got Cornish hens in the oven with sweet potatoes, we're back from skating at the school rink, and life seems pretty good right now!

Happy Martin Luther King Day tomorrow to all of you!

More Treasure Found!

January 15th, 2011 at 06:03 pm

DH and I tackled the basement organizing for 90 minutes or so this afternoon. We had a mini-debate on whether to throw away our wedding cards, but feeling cluttered and unsentimental, we decided to read through them and then throw away most of them--except for those from our parents. I am SLIGHTLY embarrassed to report that while reading through them, we found a Crate and Barrel gift certificate for $50 tucked inside a card. It was dated May 2001. There was no expiration printed on it, so we're assuming it's still good. So the basement cleaning has paid off!

Beside that, we hauled an old TV upstairs to take to the recyclers, a box of books to donate to the library, and a big box for the charity shop. And we actually got some straightening done!

One of the books I listed this afternoon has already sold! It's been a good day.


Quiet Saturday

January 15th, 2011 at 02:24 pm

It's been a nice quiet day here. DD started her Saturday French lessons again, so husband and I went to the local Einstein's for a bagel sandwich with the coupon. We stopped at a library out of our normal orbit to get a DVD I need for my Monday evening class and discovered a bunch of things we'd like to see there.

Another of my million reasons to love the library--DD signed up for the book club at the local library, but forgot her book at school yesterday. The discussion is Thursday night, she's not finished with it, and school is closed for MLK Day on Monday. The local library was out, and I checked Barnes and Noble but didn't want to pay $5.99 for a copy. The other library had a copy, so all's well.

DD has also outgrown her skates, so to avoid my clutter build-up, I've already listed them on Craigslist as well as some books on Amazon.

It looks like football night in Wisconsin, and we've bowed out of a party to stay home, snuggle in, and watch the game.

Sometimes winter is not so bad.

Still hauling stuff out

January 14th, 2011 at 08:36 am

I went downstairs this morning to do a load of laundry and thought--man--some of this has got to go.
I think guilt makes me hang onto things. I bought a framed chicken picture (don't ask) at an estate sale a couple of years ago. About two weeks after I bought it, it fell on my head. That should have been a sign that it and I were not meant for each other. The glass broke, the picture tore, but still, it's been in the basement since then. Today it got boxed up and has exited the house.

My slippers, ruined from another spilling disaster, were also downstairs. I was putting away wine, dropped a bottle (of course the good stuff) and the slippers were beyond help. I've since bought a new pair, but the ruined ones stared sadly up from the laundry room floor. They've left quietly with the chicken picture.

DH and I need to spend a couple hours in the basement tomorrow getting it up and running nicely. Sometimes I feel like shouting at things, "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"

Rice Goo

January 13th, 2011 at 11:16 am

Yep, that's what I got when I thought I'd use the Tortilla Soup Mix I bought at the church bazaar. I love tortilla soup, and usually make my standard recipe from Cooking Light, but this was for a good cause. I'm now thankful I only bought one jar. I followed the directions exactly a got very mildly soupy rice. Doublechecked the recipe--5 c water, 1 can tomatoes with chiles, etc. It tasted fine, but it was NOT soup.
And there's a vat of it. I think it'll go in stuffed peppers tonight.

Returns and Rebates

January 12th, 2011 at 07:59 pm

I knew there would be treasure in the guest room if I cleaned it. I found a lovely photo of a London Underground sign by St James Park that I framed and put up, a suitable hostess gift for an upcoming dinner with friends this weekend, and three items that I bought for gifts and didn't give. I had a couple of days to spare with the TJ Maxx gifts and ToyRus too, so I took them back today to a total of about $75. It was very satisfying to get the stuff out of there, and I found a Hasbro rebate for a Toys for Tots donation, so I got that filled out too.

I'm not quite done in there, but it looks so much better. I'm tempted to post a photo of the closet when finish!

The Dread Closet

January 12th, 2011 at 08:23 am

Actually, only one of the dread closets will be tackled today. Today--the guest room closet. I committed to hosting some college kids singing in our church choir at the end of the month. This has indeed spurred me into taking a look at the guest room closet--and all the guest room.

Like many people, I suspect, the guest room in our house quickly becomes the junk room. I have so much stuff stuffed into that closet, and it has to be dealt with. For reasons beyond my imagining, we have six bed pillows in there, four heavy blankets, tons of "gifty" things that never got given to anyone, various other bizarre items.

I always try to pick up small items to send our World Vision sponsored child and other small things for Operation Christmas Child, but I had maybe eight small bags that didn't get sent this year. I put them all in a shoebox to remember for next year. Thankfully they were things like colored pencils etc, that will keep nicely. I'm freecycling,ebaying, and starting a donation box. Somehow I thought I'd be done in 30 minutes, and 90 minutes into it, I'm taking a break. Wish me luck!

Gray Monday

January 10th, 2011 at 10:13 am

A little bit of snow and a very gray day on this Monday.

We had a quiet weekend with some shopping on Saturday and a sleepy quiet Sunday, only leaving the house for church. Our daughter is VERY excited about a family sock hop at her school this week. She got some cute clothes for it, probably more than she needed, but what the heck. I doubt her father and I will look at all cool.

Our regular Friday night friends' group is full of bad news. One couple isn't working at all; the other couple just took a 25K pay cut. We feel very blessed and lucky to be doing as comfortably as we are.

I sold a book over the weekend and have a bag of charity donations on the front steps. I hope they get through the snow!

My eight-week class starts tonight with 30 new students. I haven't been in the classroom for almost a month and am actually (gasp) a little excited.


The Curse of the Internet Shopping

January 6th, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I'm still mostly home, mostly sick, but because it's been a very long seven days, and I had this $5 Eddie Bauer reward certificate burning a hole in my pocket, I did a bit of online shopping. Boy that $5 is a ruse. Nothing is $5, and I noticed that although they were offering "free" shipping, there was a $3 handling charge tacked onto each order. Ordinarily that would make me mad enough to cancel the order, but I did need a few things.

Tonight we got a babysitter and went out to see "The King's Speech." We loved it. The story was great, beautifully written, and the acting was top notch.

Best Intentions

January 5th, 2011 at 03:13 pm

Someday I'll get out of the house! I was up coughing AGAIN for a long time last night and so was dragging today. I was determined to make it the grocers, but sat down after getting my list and coupons together and promptly fell asleep for 90 minutes. By the time I woke up, DD was home from school.

But the nap helped and I'm optimistic about seeing daylight tomorrow!

So again, I haven't spent a thing! However, if I don't get out soon, we'll have to eat those strange cracker leftovers in the back of the cupboard or have popcorn for dinner tomorrow.

Coughing Curtails Spending

January 4th, 2011 at 09:42 pm

I've been meaning to get out all week to do some shopping, but my cold, while better, is still making me tired. I get work done at home, but have little excess energy for shopping. Count that as a plus.

I worked on my promotion packet all day, we all ate the big pot of veggie soup from yesterday, and still need another day of resting, it seems.



A slow start to the New Year, but probably a good one.

And So It Begins....

January 3rd, 2011 at 07:53 am

Our DD is back at school, and although very snuffly still, I'm at the computer putting items together for my promotion packet.
I need to write out goals for today and the week, so here are today's set: Complete two parts of promotion packet including teaching contributions and university service. Find at least a dozen unsolicited student recommendations and ask four selected students for recommendation. Clean office and take down card table that is natural clutter magnet. Mail book sale.
Make big pot of veggie soup.
If I get those accomplished, I come up with more!

Good Luck everyone on all your goals!

Still Working on my Goals

January 2nd, 2011 at 01:44 pm

I'm glad to be back in SA-Land and will post goals tomorrow. My first one will probably be to clean my home office which shows all the signs of my recent neglectfulness. For now, I need to head off to Walgreens and redeem some bonus bucks that expire today.

I've got a few weeks off from teaching but have a big project to put together. This is the ideal time to straighten things up and create some calm zones both physically and emotionally.

Glad to be catching up with you all!

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2011 at 02:43 pm

We've hunkered in for the now-cold NY and are enjoying the quiet weekend at home.
I accomplished several of my 2010 goals but need to update them for 2011--perhaps tomorrow or Monday.

Glad to be checking back in after the past crazy semester.

Happy New Year SA!