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Archive for February, 2012

Leaping Lizards!

February 28th, 2012 at 08:02 pm

Well, not leaping yet. But soon, eh?
Any one have any great ideas on something to celebrate the leap day?

I had a boringly frugal day today. I'm too busy to eat at school, I parked for free, bought nothing except coffee, and feel a bit like a hamster on a wheel lately.

The evening was spent helping DD with her homework projects, raiding the pantry for a homemade Tex-Mex soup concoction of leftovers and dribs and drabs of other things. DH actually loved the soup with chicken, black beans, and other tasty tidbits. No wine or dessert though makes for a less happy meal.

It's two and a half weeks until my university spring break and I wish I could say I had exciting plans. But the break itself sounds glorious.

We're Pantry and Freezer Cooking Too

February 27th, 2012 at 10:39 am

To use up our overflowing freezer and pantry stores, I'm just buying a minimum of fresh things for a while. I made a lasagna last night and we'll have plenty for lunches and tomorrow night. Our church is having another themed food drive: mac and cheese vs chili, and we love both, so will raid the pantry for both of them.

I wish I could report we haven't missed the wine or dessert that are gone for Lent, but last night I would have loved a glass of wine.

I still haven't done the taxes (sigh), but did spend some fun time teaching DD how to do laundry on Saturday. It's part of my overall goal to make her feel more a part of the work of the household--and to teach her valuable life skills. I wonder if my students would mind her grading their quizzes.....?

Bit the Airfare Bullet

February 25th, 2012 at 06:59 pm

All the oil price rumbling sent me to book our summer flights to the UK. I tried a dozen ways to make it cheaper--through the Chase Rewards, using my American miles--all in different permutations. But I ended up booking on Virgin--which is cheaper with a child--and just got it done. It wasn't pretty, but I'm worried it will just get worse.


The rest of the day was devoted to grading, laundry, and all the other scintillating fun parts of my life.
Four days until February-itis lifts?

Quieter Today

February 22nd, 2012 at 11:51 am

I seem to be slowly getting caught up on things. I have another hour of grading left today, but really enjoyed having the night off from cooking and having pancakes last night at the church dinner. We met a few people we didn't know, and enjoyed our quiet time there a lot.

Both DH and I have decided to knock out the wine and liquor for Lent. If I appear cranky, let that explain it. No sweets for us either. We both tend to reach for them for quick comfort. Instead I'd like longer-lasting comfort like exercise, sleep, and nurturing.
That's my plan.

Green-Eyed

February 20th, 2012 at 11:50 am

Sigh. I have to admit I'm envious of our friends' real estate success. DH and our friend bought property in the UK at the same time, DH's in Surrey and our friend's in Oxford. We let out DH's for a couple years and then sold it, albeit at a nice profit. Our friends just told us that his property in Oxford which he bought for 69K pounds just sold for (ugh) 355k pounds.

All in all he put about 10L pounds into renovations, but I have to admit, it sort of makes me slightly queasy and very envious. I never lust after cars, only rarely after clothes or bags, but their present house, man oh man. And the lifestyle that profit enabled.

Must think of something else now.
All my blessings, all my gifts. But sigh.

Work Work Work

February 16th, 2012 at 07:33 pm

The days my face-to-face classes run, I hardly get a chance to take a breath. I walk into the university at 9, and if I get a chance for a glass of water or a bathroom break before 2, I feel lucky.

Stepping out of the rush for a minute, I can see we need to do some mid-and long-term planning. Perhaps this weekend? Taxes still need doing, we need to set a budget for our summer trip and our house projects.

But tomorrow our weekend guests return, we have a school carnival, and I have a mountain of papers to grade. It also looks like there may be changes in the offing for DH's job situation. I feel boring and tired, but it's just the routine for a while.

Kohl's Bliss

February 13th, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Trying to evade other responsibilities, I ducked into Kohl's today to spend the $10 in Kohl's cash burning a hole in my handbag. Ok, I spent $50 more than that, but could hardly lift the bag full of tops for DD (in dire need), a lovely black sweater for DH, and some very nice things for me--badly needed pants, a cute jacket, two tops, a dress for DD, etc. All their clearance was 80% off. You know that feeling when you try on a sale item and go, "YES!"? That was it with the cute Chaps black jacket ringing up at a lofty $14.

I came home very happy.

DD and DH spent the evening weaving Swedish paper hearts for her Valentines, and I spent the evening grading. I need stupid TV on while I grade--and my new stupid TV choice is "The Voice." You don't have to pay much attention--so it's perfect to grade by. I'll refrain from my feelings on the coaches for now--but not much longer.

Party Ponderings

February 11th, 2012 at 08:32 pm

We successfully got through our day with a house of very loud 10-year-olds. I found that they divided into camps along the loudness lines, but my ears are starting to recover.

The web site I read said dipping and decorating cake pops would be messy--and they weren't just kidding. It took about 10 minutes to clear the hardened candy melts and various sprinkles off the table, but they were fun to make. The rock star bracelet kit was also fun--and we eventually got the hang of weaving Swedish paper hearts. Despite some party girl nerves, DD did fine.
The Wilton pan that makes a heart in the center of each cake slice worked like a charm. The center heart was a combination of whipped cream and seedless raspberry jam.

We even had a few hours between their departure and the arrival of our English guests. Thankfully time enough to have a decent dinner and watch one of my favorite movies, "Local Hero." It's dated now--but the Mark Knopfler music is so lovely as is the Scottish scenery.

Off to bed, but satisfied with the day.

Party Prep

February 10th, 2012 at 09:37 pm

Tomorrow is DD's party and the arrival of our English weekend guests. Thoughts and prayers welcome as each my try my patience.

Today was a whirlwind of house cleaning, guest room prep, shopping, and cooking. I'm making this heart cake for DD's party and the filling is supposed to be Cool Whip. I was raised by a whipped cream purist and am proud to be one myself, but was worried about the cream's stability. I looked up some internet blogs that advised adding gelatin, but unsure how well it worked. My experience tells me that 10-year-old girls will eat chocolate cake with whipped cream raspberry filling even if the cream flopped.

There's lots to do and still unsure of Sunday's menu as one of our guests is a very picky eater and the other a very eager eater.

My California trip is now officially off. I was near tears canceling the Culinary Institute reservation but should suck it up and get over it. And we've got subzero windchills. Bah.

One of those days

February 8th, 2012 at 08:18 pm

Not horrible, just wearying. DD and I were having a conversation on Monday about how everything just seemed to go smoothly that day. Plenty of time to get to appointments, enough sleep, good food, great selections at the library. Simple satisfying pleasures. Today was payback, I guess.

No breakfast as I rushed to get my online class updated and get to my haircut appointment. My pregnant haircutter was in a tizzy about lots of things, and my hair looks like it. Then rushed home to finish the assignments for my class to do, but my PC crashed. I was late eating lunch and dropped the salad dressing on the floor. The dog started licking it up, I yelled at her to stop, and she peed on the floor.

I'd signed up to make a casserole for the after school inner city tutoring program, and I followed the recipe provided, but it was revolting. A horrible combination of hamburger, cream soup, corn chips (!), corn, cheese, and enchilada sauce. If that's what people think poor kids should eat, they should think some more. Plus they wanted it in a disposable pan, and I had none. So off I drove to Walgreens when I found my register rewards expired yesterday. There are about 1500 lines more of this to write, but I'll spare you.

Wishing for a calmer, more serene tomorrow. But yeah, I have three classes back to back then a departmental meeting which mean no food from 9-3. Yikes.

Sick and Tired

February 7th, 2012 at 08:22 pm

That title sounds worse than I am. It's just that this is about the fourth cold since Christmas. I'm tired of being sick. Nothing major--just yucky and drippy and all that.

Luckily my classes had a guest speaker today so I mostly sat and tried not to cough. half my students are ill as well. Because it's so cold, and because I feel so lousy, I paid for parking today. I intended to go home early, but students kept finding me.

So now off to bed with some Julian Barnes short stories.

Taxes Undone but Basement Tackled

February 6th, 2012 at 10:35 am

The goal for the weekend was taxes. For me, it's a lonely endeavor full of muttering, papers being flung up, and high resolves for the future. But I sort of enjoy it.

But DH had nothing on the agenda on Saturday so I locked him in the basement and we decluttered. He can't quite understand why I won't do this all myself, but I despise cleaning--especially alone and thankless cleaning. It's so much easier with someone to help make decisions, tote stuff to the car, and help rearrange things. The back of my car is now jammed with stuff.

I applaud myself for my ruthlessness. I had many things in my hand that I pondered keeping, but I must admit, some of them had tags from the last attempted garage sale. That was two years ago, and they were still untouched in my basement. So out they went. After lunch today they're headed to the charity shop.

It's a busy upcoming week full of school obligations, meetings, conferences, parties, and guests on the weekend. I've got yet another cold, so am pacing myself.

Today's goals then are to eat sensibly, review the Love and Logic discussion, haul junk to the charity shop, pick up groceries for the after-school meal program at church, catch up with my online students, and write a quiz for Thursday. Chili made for tonight and Love and Logic class enjoyed already.

Pheww--taxes will have to wait.

Fifteen Minutes till Freedom

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I had the hard talk about texting with my classes today, and I think they're getting the (not text) message. Three good classes and I'm tired but happy.
I have a lot of online work for the weekend, but my main goal in the taxes. I almost always do them Super Bowl weekend.

My Napa trip is now questionable, and I'm already sad about it. One of my girlfriends has a very ill dog--the vet says the dog will likely die in the next three-four weeks. Not only does this mean a cancelled trip if she decides not to go, but it's a $100 change fee on my airline ticket, and I have to use the other $200 up in the next year.

I got two of my three speed goals done yesterday. All my homework is graded and I got my ebay listings up. But the treadmill? Don't ask.

Today's Speed Challenges

February 1st, 2012 at 09:57 am

I've been procrastinating so much lately, I've decided I need a couple speed challenges.

Here are today's hurdles:
1. List four things on ebay
2. 30 minutes on treadmill
3. Finish grading homework.

Boring but necessary.
Off I go!