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Archive for March, 2011

More Decluttering Triumphs

March 31st, 2011 at 02:55 pm

Not one, not two, but three! Purple Heart came to pick up a big box this morning, followed by a freecycler needing kid's clothes. I took a pair of DD's outgrown rainboots to school for colleague's daughter.

More to come, I hope!

Only 10,762,511 items to go! (Rough approximation only)

Small Triumphs

March 30th, 2011 at 08:48 pm

Though I was running on fumes, I made it through all three classes today. I had visiting grad students in each, so they got me at not my best.

After teaching, I ran to two grocery stores and got all the week's deals, some of which were very good. One nearby store was closing out all their premium jams and jellies for 50% off. You know the ones--the St Dalfour (?), Bonne Maman, and those types. DH, my stereotypical English husband, adores jam. I bought 8 jars. The McCann Irish oatmeal was also half off, so I stocked up on that as well. One of them didn't ring up as half off, so the customer service worker checked, and then gave it to me for free! Free Fancy Jam! I think only I could get that excited about something sort of mundane. No, come to think of it, DH was also thrilled.

Picked up DD at play practice after school with a few minutes to spare, so I thought I'd have a root around in the lost and found bin where three (amazing!) of her winter hats and one hand-knit mitten turned up.

It has indeed been a day of small triumphs.
Now a good night's sleep, and I'll be well on the road to wellness!

Cough, Hack, Splutter

March 29th, 2011 at 07:06 am

Well, it's been a non-starter for the second half of the semester. I've been home sick with a yucky fevery flu for the past two days. I feel find 60% of the time, then start coughing and spike a fever. But my second half of the term is all planned out and I'm actually eager to go back!
DH is home from the UK, and his mother seems slightly better, He has his usual" I miss England" moroseness, but he'll perk up soon, I hope. The super-cold weather here hasn't helped either my cold or his homecoming joy.

I also canceled my evening class last night, but DH drove out there to drop off materials for the students. He picked up a "request for credit" portfolio for me to evaluate. They are fun to read and usually mean a quick $75. I'll spend some time with it today.

None of my mom's misc china sold on ebay,so I'm planning a consignment shop visit in a few days. I'd also like to start a freecycle program at work. Has anyone done anything like that? I've read a couple of web articles, but would like to talk with someone who has experience getting it set up and running.

Finally Sunshine Today!

March 24th, 2011 at 08:42 pm

And it sure does improve the mood. It was a day rife with disasters, but they all seemed to roll right off me. I suspect it was the sunshine. Two more days until DH comes home from England. My goal is to have the house spic and span, good food in the fridge, and lots of welcome for him.

Some spring break--I'm still not caught up with my grading or laundry, but while the sun shone, it doesn't seem to matter!

I sold another couple of books--including some gift books I've been given. I feel vaguely guilty, but my book shelves are overflowing.

We did get the projections for all the state budget hurt today. For folks like me on a nine-month paycheck, we'll pay four months of health insurance premiums at the new doubled rate on our June paychecks, I figure between that and the dental insurance, they might as well pay me in quarters, dimes, and nickels. There won't be much else there.

I continue to look for places to economize--and my big excitement besides cleaning and grading tomorrow is a church rummage sale. What bliss!

Cold and Gloomy Again!

March 23rd, 2011 at 11:14 am

I planned to walk with some friends this morning, but it's 32 degrees and sleeting. We went inside the nature center instead and drank coffee.

DH is still away, and we're coping, but I haven't achieved as much on my break as I'd like. I guess I have five more days to go, so maybe now's the time to step up the office cleaning.

I've got tons of my mom's china stashed in my home office, and while I'll keep her "good" set, there are way too many misc cups and plates in assorted other patterns that I need to either try to sell or donate. I find myself having real emotional resistance to it; it's like losing part of her, I guess. But they're not doing anybody any good in my office!
I'm going to devote the next two hours to listing and sorting them. If they don't sell on ebay in a week, I'm taking them to the consignment store or Goodwill.

Grey and Gloomy

March 21st, 2011 at 10:00 am

Wow, did we have a rainy first day of spring yesterday! Today's drier but not much brighter.

DD and I had a quiet weekend with DH gone to visit his ailing mother in England. Mt hat's off to all of you single parents out there--and folks like creditcardfree who raise kids with spouses on military service. I am not cut out for that life. I crave more alone time and end up staying up too late grading or watching TV and grading when DH is gone. I miss having DH around!

We did spend some time decluttering and straightening the basement yesterday. I hoped to put in some time on the taxes, but it was too gloomy not to get DD up and doing things.

Our very hopeful daffodils have started pushing through, but all the talk of rain/snow mixes for the next few days makes them seem foolish.

Anyone starting a garden plan yet? I'm thinking about it, but have gotten no further than thinking.

A Nice Nod for My Efforts

March 17th, 2011 at 07:32 pm

I got two bits of good news this week. First, I got named "Teacher of the Year" at the small school where I teach an evening class. They don't pay much, but they're very good about recognizing their employees. I like them, and I have to say, it made my day.

More importantly for my budget, my promotion was passed by my academic department at my university today. One more hurdle and some payoff for the weeks I spent putting the packet together.

The final bit of good news? Tomorrow begins my spring break--right after a morning meeting!

I plan to clean up, clear clutter, do the taxes, read some books, eat lovely fresh healthy food, and get some badly needed rest and exercise.

Various Expenses and Spring Break Downturn

March 15th, 2011 at 07:37 pm

Today's various expenses included a very large cup of coffee to get me through the day, dog grooming (overdue!), and our newest expense, piano lessons for DD. I'm hoping she enjoys them. My DH has a good musical ear, but I hated piano lessons, though I love music. I topped off my gas tank at $3.42/gallon and made a big Tex-Mex casserole for dinner.

My very informal and unscientific poll reveals a lot about the economy. Of my 100 day-class students, only about 6 or 7 are going anywhere on their breaks. Everyone else is broke, going home, or staying around to work extra hours. Used to be that more than 1/3 of them went somewhere. I suspect that their parents are all hurting a bit, and so are they. One told me she was very excited about getting her hair cut because she'd put it off until she got paid! It's not as fun to be 20 as it used to be...


Tomorrow is the first batch of midterms! Break, please hurry !

Three Days Until Spring Break

March 14th, 2011 at 09:25 pm

Not that I'm counting or anything.
I'm tired--just tired and need a break badly. I've been really busy with many things--people over on Friday and DD had day off, grading and writing exams and out to some friends' home for dinner on Saturday. We left there too late and remembered after we got home about the time change. DD had three hours of choir and practice on Sunday and then I went to a very sad funeral for a colleague. I'm worn out.
Break cannot come soon enough.

Deciding not to look

March 9th, 2011 at 06:48 pm

As the news from our state capitol gets worse and worse, I've decided rather pointedly not to look at it for another couple of days. I've got a lot to do at school and at home, and the anger and sadness about the direction the state is headed is slowing me down.

I'll come back to it perhaps over the weekend, but I need a mini-vacation from it.

I had to park on campus today to the tune of $7. We had four inches of wet slushy snow this morning and there wasn't a street spot anywhere.
No other spending except that. Spaghetti tonight for dinner.

Bah--but need to get to work....

Walked In and Out...

March 8th, 2011 at 09:01 pm

I stayed at the office long past my regular office hours and thus arrived very hungry at the grocery store. I wasn't planning on buying lunch at the deli counter, but almost did. The reason I actually went there was to buy paczki, the Polish doughnuts so popular on Fat Tuesday. But the fancy grocer only had the prune ones left, and I knew DD wouldn't eat those. So I left without buying lunch either. I stopped at my regular store, bought raspberry paczkis and came home to eat last night's leftovers. They were fine and saved me $5--as well as cheaper paczkis.

The state's political problems still are bothering everyone--including me. I ducked a discussion with another mom at church's pancake supper. I just don't feel like talking about it--the rhetoric runs too high and I find it wearying. Especially since it's my pocketbook and retirement plan they're all complaining about. Bah.

We did get DD signed up for piano lessons so that was today's triumph!

A LIttle Civility, Please?

March 6th, 2011 at 02:50 pm

The political battle lines around Cheeseland seem to be making everyone edgy. I'm in a ongoing battle to stay positive and think and act thoughtfully about all this.

Today a volunteer came around with a petition to recall one of our state senators. I tried to get a petition myself yesterday, but the lines were overwhelming. I've contacted this senator's office numerous times--letters, phone calls, e-mails, and received no answer. I'm frustrated with that senator and the unwillingness to listen to the other side of the debate.

Anyway, the very polite young-ish man who came around had his children in a stroller with him, and I told him how happy I was to see him and support his petition. I was ready to send him away with a signature and a box of Girl Scout cookies when he told me the women across the street actually yelled at him and told him to get the hell off her property.

I am shocked and dismayed. This is a professional couple--she an attorney, he an accountant. We don't have much to do with them, except an occasional hello and help with the snow shoveling, but imagine swearing at a well-meaning (at worst) man with his children with him?

My bad angel wants to send my dog over to poop on her lawn, but thankfully, so far, my good angel has won out.

Absolutely No New News

March 4th, 2011 at 09:53 pm

I've spent the entire day grading--except for making some enchiladas. I feel like the most boring person in the world today, but at least I've been productive.
I spent nothing, shopped for nothing, indeed never left the house--just me and my student papers until DD came home from school.

Tomorrow! Taxes! Who can stand the thrill of it all?

Air Miles Helped

March 3rd, 2011 at 08:12 pm

My DH's mom is struggling with her health. She's in her 80s and not doing well. It's very hard on him that she's 3500 miles away, so tonight we used some airmiles and booked him a trip to the UK to visit.

I'm glad we had the miles. glad he can go.
DD and I may go to Harry Potter World while he's gone if we can find a cheap deal, and if there's some money in the tax refund. I remain very glum about the state situation, but I'm trying to focus on other things.

Keeping a lid on it... till it spilled

March 2nd, 2011 at 09:20 pm

I'm trying hard to be hyperaware of spending with all the salary and benefits cuts coming. I made it to double-coupon day between teaching and taking DD to dance. I got some very good deals: free pasta sauce, toothpaste, mustard, and half price chocolate milk. All very well until I dropped the gallon of chocolate milk on the tile floor, causing a chocolate milk tsunami. Tonight while grading I've discovered a failing student submitted a late paper that was entirely copied from a website.

While yesterday seemed like I was living a bad MI-5 episode, today seems more like a lame sitcom.

State Budget Woes Continue

March 1st, 2011 at 09:49 pm

I won't belabor the obvious for anyone who has been watching the news from Madison. Wisconsin.
Let's just say it sucks here right now.

I'm trying very hard to be positive about things, but please excuse me if I start getting snarky or glum.

On a more positive note, I guess, is the bagful of free toothpaste and vitamins and shampoo from Walgreen's today. I had a cheap and lovely lunch with an old friend. It's March 1. I collected a bunch of supplies for a homeless shelter's schoolroom. They're going to need all the help they can get in this environment. Tomorrow I'm taking Girl Scout cookies to my local firefighters who are supporting teachers and other state employees in this debacle.

This is an interesting piece about the current crisis here.
http://www.ppulse.com/Articles-c-2011-02-25-97101.114136-Locked-Into-The-W

Now I'm having a big glass of wine and going to bed.
Sigh.