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Errands and More Errands

June 6th, 2017 at 07:47 pm

Not quite as productive as I wanted to be this morning, but managed to take a friend's old light fixtures to the charity shop, buy DD a few more summer clothes, go to the bank, and drop off book donations and library books. And a load of laundry on the line. In more financial news, I just transferred $243 to my 100K fund. That came from three sources: $25 from Swagbucks, $154 from reading capstone projects, and $64 from selling some old jewelry. I'm happy to see that fund increased a few bucks by interest bringing it over $3000.I still haven't decided what to do with the $300 teaching award cash, but the check's in the bank.

I still need to go to the garden center, but if I buy a gift card to the garden center from my church, they donate 15% to scholarships for Tanzanian kids, so that may have to wait for tomorrow.

Dejunked and Had Fun

June 5th, 2017 at 04:48 pm

Ooh, I had fun in Minneapolis over the weekend. We sold a lot at our garage sale--mine was mostly cheap and small, but my friends sold air conditioners, pictures, dishes, etc. My BFF and I went to a vintage place in the uptown neighborhood and sold a a bunch of my mom's old earrings, including singletons they use for hat trimmings. We ate out one night, breakfasted out one morning, and had cocktails by the river another night. Very fun and made $68 on the jewelry and another $82 on the garage sale items. The driving was smooth and easy, I packed lunches and water so spent nothing on road food. I'm throwing the $68 into my 100K fund tomorrow, I think. The check for my teaching award also appeared, but I'm not quite sure where that's headed yet.
I sold a few things on FB before I left so will add $4 to that total and another 75cents I found in Minneapolis on Hennepin Avenue

Bits and Pieces

May 31st, 2017 at 12:26 am

Little by little some things are selling on the FB lists, and I have a charity pickup tomorrow for some others. Tomorrow folks will pick up an air pump and DD's outgrown swim cover-up. Someone will come on Thursday for a few books. I've been a bit unhappy about not being able to add much to my 100K fund this month as I'll need my adjunct salary to help pay for our UK tickets, but delightfully, I got a check for $13.90 for a class action suit that I'll round up to $14 for a small but cheering addition. Tonight I'll go through more boxes of things to see if i can sell anything else. The cash is nice, but the real point is to clear some clutter. I'm also on a fridge clearing mission. Soup is in the future!

UK Planning and Spending

May 30th, 2017 at 01:56 am

We had our planning meeting with our daughter's BFF's family on Saturday night to talk through England planning. I think her mom really wants to join us! But it's all systems go--and I booked flights Sunday, and after looking at hotel prices in London, booked a two-bedroom airbnb for six nights instead. The airbnb also gives us plenty of options for breakfasts in, access to laundry facilities, and other meal options. It's a self-contained flat with a full kitchen etc. And--it's in my old neighborhood in London so I know the shops and transport very well. I thought about exploring a new part of the city, but finding a two-bedroom with three beds for under $200/night was a triumph. Now, of course, the girls want a day trip to Paris. DH would prefer to have a day to himself in London, maybe with his brother or BFF, so we'll trade off who has the girls so I can have the following day with my London colleagues.

Real life also progresses here. I spent more than I wanted to at the garden center, as usual. We spent Saturday clearing the raised beds and doing lots of weeding and chopping. I also drove DD to Half Price Books where happily we bought nothing and got $12 for her outgrown books. I'm making several boxes for the upcoming garage sale. Lots of things can go. Plenty to do!

Cash In and Junk Out

May 25th, 2017 at 02:02 pm

It's been kind of an odd money week. I spent nothing on Monday or Tuesday, but I needed two new headlights, and took the car to our local mechanic yesterday. He has a very hard time replacing these headlights--as has everyone who has tried in the past. He was rattled, cranky, and asked if I'd pay in cash for the seemingly slim $40 he charged. I only had $35 on me as I was expecting to put in on my card, but he was happy with that. I think he's doing some of that "under the table," but I like him,he specializes in this make, and he's six blocks away. I guess I saved $5? I also sold two jigsaw puzzles on the local FB list for $6, cashed $25 out of Swagbucks, and was paid for an editing job. The $425 is going into the 100K fund--very slowly building, but the interest rate there has gone up slightly.

Our water meter will be replaced by the village this morning. There's no charge but I'm waiting around for them to arrive and trying to find more things to sell.

Back from Door County

May 23rd, 2017 at 10:13 pm

I had a lovely five days with BFF in Door County. We used the airbnb where the family stayed last fall. The weather was not fabulous, but the cherry trees, forget-me-nots, and trilliums (trillia?) were all in bloom. We hiked a lot, took the ferry to Washington Island, ate delicious food, drank wine, watched movies, shopped, and talked and talked. My BFF is the best traveling buddy. We made lots of long-term plans and had a wonderful time.
My regular spring classes are done, graded, and projects headed for the shredder. Either students pick them up or off they go. I went to the university today and ran into pre-med students I'd had in my fall classes. They're lovely folks, and I told them I'd help with application materials. It's above and beyond, but I sure like them all. One young man has Syrian parents and is taking two years between now and med school to work in refugee camps. How can you say no to someone like that? Another young woman has been accepted to Kings College London and wants to sit down and talk London. Can you see why I like them?

My evening class continues with the other side of the socio-economic scale. I've got a student who is just out after 10 years in prison. Man alive, the stories.

So, I've spent a lot on Door County, our upcoming anniversary, and various things. We need to do a little belt tightening soon. I do have a few things listed on FB, but am traveling to Minneapolis in a few weeks for a friend's birthday which coincides with her neighborhood garage sale. We're all bringing things to sell so I plan on spending much of tomorrow gathering and pricing. I deposited two small rebate checks into the 100K fund. It needs a funds infusion. I need to make some lists.

That $20 Went Fast

April 29th, 2017 at 12:15 am

My general feeling is once you break a $20 bill, it just disappears. And I certainly felt that way today. Someone on a local FB list was selling serving pieces and a few extras that match our everyday dishes for $8. I met with students all morning and desperately needed a cup of coffee to make myself grade more papers, so off went another $2. I took DD for a doctor's appointment, but had to run back to judge a contest at school, so gave her $5 and told her to wait in Panera until I got back in 45 minutes. And because I was in a hurry, I had to pay for parking at school, so I could turn around quickly and pick up DD. Yep, I've got $3 left.

Not sure all of that spending could've been avoided, but I probably should've brought my own coffee. I've still got odds and ends on my gift cards. Perhaps I should try to use them up on grocery shopping this weekend to fill in some of those gaps. And darn Swagbucks maybe.

Cold and Rainy

March 26th, 2017 at 02:54 am

I had some simple goals today--the library, return and mail some packages, and go grocery shopping. Despite the cold rain, the library worked out well--and we've finally received the 5th season of Homeland. I went to the UPS store to return a pair of DD's shoes to Zappo's, but the USPS had closed before I got there with my sample glasses frames. That'll have to wait until Monday. The third return was the air compressor/inflator I ordered from Target.com which never worked. It was also my attempt to use up my various gift cards, so I got yet another gift card as credit and did more grocery shopping at Target than usual to spend it rather than "real" money."

Target grocery prices are hard for me to figure out. They're significantly more expensive on some things, but the Tazo tea, cocoa mix, and a few other things were almost 1/3 less than my usual grocery store. I still have over $35 left on that card, and a lot of credit at Target.com. Maybe when we get the bathroom remodeled, I'll buy lots of lovely new towels. We could probably use another set of sheets as well. I spent $48 at the regular grocery store, and we seem to have SO much food now. DD has spring break and I wanted to buy a few nice things. We'll also use some BOGO lunch coupons. Not Mexico or Florida like some of her friends, but a few fun outings after work.

The dog is still resting. So far, so good.


Dog Surgery

March 23rd, 2017 at 05:11 pm

Our small dog is in surgery right now to remove her rapidly changing fatty tumor. I always worry about these sorts of things so have been up since 4:30 mindlessly fretting--but also got a bit of grading done.

Fun lunch with university colleagues yesterday. After I got home and took DD to the ortho, I cashed out $25 in Swagbucks and $45 in Chase rewards. DH spent about $20 on liquid ibuprofen for DD's braces-bothered mouth and ice cream for the same issue as well as a few odds and ends.

I'm still working on clearing out the basement freezer, so pulled out two containers of homemade soup stock and some broad beans. Veggie soup on the horizon as it seems like it's going to be a wet and miserable weekend. You may be chagrined to hear there are still some lima beans left, but I'm hoping to dump them into DH's soup over the weekend. Not much other news--lots of school work and housework. No decluttering done over break. Maybe I still have some time this weekend.

Targeted

February 16th, 2017 at 05:59 pm

I need some inspiration from my SA buddies. I did a textbook review for a publisher, but instead of sending cash, they all seem to be using Tango giftcards lately. I thought the most useful one would probably be Target, and I hoped they'd just let me apply it to my redcard, but after a lengthy chat session with the very nice rep, it seems you need to use them every time you shop either on your phone or through target.com. Ugh

I know me--if I let it linger I'll forget all about it, so I like to use at least a chunk of it on Target.com. We have no pressing needs, so I think I'll spend some on laundry detergent (man, am I fun), my DH wants an air compressor to keep our tires inflated, and we cold probably use a new set of sheets. But it's $300. Maybe I could set a weekly reminder to buy whatever we might use and that is on sale?

Other ideas from you brilliant minds?

Bean There; Done That

January 27th, 2017 at 04:58 am

Ignoring all the confusion and chaos around us, this blogger has sought to find the real truth behind the lima vs butter bean debate. This is what the always infallible internet has to tell us:

"Butter bean is a term that some use for particular types of lima beans; the only difference is in regional terminology. The lima bean is a domesticated legume with the scientific name of Phaseolus lunatus that gets its name from its place of origin, Lima, Peru. Some in the American South and the United Kingdom call particular types of lima beans “butter beans.”

Dried lima beans that are more flat and yellowish than the common rounded and green variety are often called “butter beans” in Southern States. In the South, lima beans and butter beans are considered to be two different types of bean, however, in their scientific name is the same and they are not two distinct species of bean.

The culinary terminology used in the United Kingdom differentiates between lima and butter beans more in line with the Southern United States distinction, where lima beans that are dried, larger, and light yellow are referred to as butter beans and the smaller green bean is called a “baby” or “junior” lima bean. These distinctions do not change the scientific terminology, and the two common terms used for the lima bean are often interchangeable regardless of regional or culinary preferences.


All of this marvelous knowledge comes from reference. com which cites the USDA. Scientific knowledge is important. Perhaps even more riveting than all of this is that I got my husband to eat about 25 percent of them in his lunch. Expect further updates tomorrow.

Joy in Packerland

January 16th, 2017 at 05:19 pm

Sorry,NJDebbie,but there is lots of joy in Wisconsin this morning after that amazing Packer game. And we didn't even eat all the game time snacks because we were too nervous during that last quarter. But, they will be out for next Sunday's Atlanta game.

Except for the church offering, it was a NS day with new movie titles from the library and several new books--including--to my delight, the Colson Whitehead book that has received such raves. I love the library, especially now as we're being uberfrugal.

Speaking of uberfrugality, I may need to have one day with a little leeway. We're planning to head to western Wisconsin this weekend to watch the eagles feed on the river. It will be a good day for a lunch out. Maybe I can use the cash from the boot/skate sales.

Meal plan for the week is done. It's going to be a meatless Monday with a quiche for dinner--leftovers to DD's lunch this week. Taco Tuesday and spaghetti Wednesday as per usual.

We finally got the Christmas tree down, and I've chosen some unloved ornaments to go in the donation bag. I'm also making granola bags for my buddies without full teaching loads. I have lots of oats and dried fruit, so no outlays there. In other exciting plans, DH and I will clean the carpets, and I have meetings at school beginning tomorrow.

Happy MLK day! We're spending some time today to act on his words: "The time is always right to do what's right."

The UberFrugal Begins

January 1st, 2017 at 08:11 pm

We had a lovely NYE. Rather than sacrificing our rather modest tradition of pizza, a movie, and a jigsaw puzzle by the fireplace, we went ahead with it. We saw the Dev Patel movie, Lion, which I recommend although the more cynical among us may find it sentimental. In my current mood, I thought it was very good.

I did some bargain grocery shopping on double coupon day yesterday, and the freezer is well stocked. Lots of pasta bargains, the usual chicken breast markdowns for the dieters and some freebies.

In an unusual situation at our church, they had no volunteers for the nursery this morning, and they sent out a call for paid help. DD was interested, so she made some spending money, and I tagged along. They tried to pay me as well, but that's silly, and I refused. Through both services we had one very charming little boy who played with toy cars on the playroom rug. We came home and made pumpkin pancakes which were delicious, I must say. We've now used up the non-carryover part of our flex spending, we gave some time to church, and (!) I sold my ice skates for $12. I hate to admit it, but I think my 50+ years of skating are done. My fear of falling has overcome all the joy I used to get out of skating. I'm happy to have them out of the basement and happy to have the $12. Now to find some more crud to declutter--especially if it brings in some cash.

Unemployment Claim Filed

December 30th, 2016 at 05:08 pm

This has been an interesting morning. DH and I filed his first unemployment claim. I'm a little amazed at how much the state already knew about him. The form seemed to fill itself. He's updating his resume now. I've never claimed unemployment, and he found the process much easier than in the UK where unemployment is means tested.

I have more returns to do today. DD has been a great help, particularly yesterday when we returned some things to Target. She got me out of the store without buying a thing. Target is horribly tempting, but I resisted even the after-Christmas sales.

I also have $100 of flex spending that won't carry over to next year, so I'm planning on marching everyone out for a flu shot this afternoon. And I'm signing us mentally up for the Uberfrugal Month Challenge. One thing that has already struck me is lunch prep. DH is an easy person to feed; he'll eat all sorts of leftovers, but we've spent 16 years with him getting a free lunch at work every day. I see many more pots of soup and rice and beans in our lunch future.

So, today's goals are:
finish the returns
flu shots
list three things for sale

Really? It's Been Over a Month?

October 7th, 2016 at 12:27 am

Ah, yes, it has been over a month since I've posted. Between DD's 5:45 alarm and a full load of classes, I'm pretty beat when I get home. Things are as busy as usual at the university, and overall, my students seem fine. I've managed to finish up the summer's freelance work, keep teaching my evening class, and get a very few things done.

I could easily spend $8/ week on coffee, especially between classes. I've been holding my office hours in the library coffee shop which only adds to the temptation, so last night I unearthed an old electric kettle for my university office. My office mate and I have decided to do either instant coffee or tea there. We both feel a little broke.

Our state budget woes continue, and while I have a full load scheduled for spring semester, she doesn't. Last fall I sort of fell into the habit of stopping at the grocery on the way home to fill in for the week and pick up lunch. But that's off my list too--either lunch from home or lunch at home almost every day. Thankfully with two classes each day beginning at 8am I can usually go home--unless there's meetings or other appointments.

I've transferred some cash that was sitting in Paypal into my online savings. Most of the cash was from Swagbucks which I let run in the background while I'm grading papers. I spent nothing today and picked up the CSA veggies--some of which went into the spinach, broccoli, red onion, red pepper quiche. We also roasted some carrots with thyme--delicious. I feel very boring, but seem to be on track.

One Big Chunk

August 22nd, 2016 at 07:46 pm

To deal with DH's upcoming pay cut, I have been nosing around for more bargains. Here's what I've done, starting with the minor.
A large pot of soup for lunches and tonight's dinner successfully using some wilting veggies.
Less expensive back-to-school shopping than anticipated. DD is fine with much of what she has. We can buy more to supplement as the school year progresses.
A Costco trip that filled in some gaps
A cheap Hotwire motel for next week's Minneapolis trip.
and my large triumph--a truly bargain flight for DH's trip to his nephew's wedding in October. He's going alone as mid-semester trips are impossible for DD and me. I'd been looking for weeks for a good fare between Chicago and Heathrow and struggling to find anything in the strict timeframe under $1000. We'd used consolidators before without any problems, and since he's flying alone, I thought, "why not?" The ticket has gone through, he's flying AA for under $600. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. If you have a consolidator horror story, please don't tell me. Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

And on the income side, my grades are in for my summer class, learning platform and assignments ready for tonight's new eight-week class, freelance project bill ready to be submitted. I still have loads of freelance work, but it can wait a few days.

DD and I are off to visit my brother and fam in MN tomorrow. Hanging out at the lake seems like a good way to wind up the summer.


Study Abroad Changes

August 18th, 2016 at 05:37 pm

I spent yesterday with our Center for Intl Education. They've received the bad news that our academic department is no longer willing to pay faculty salaries when they teach studies abroad. This comes from all the budget cuts we've been faced with at the university. So, they'll need to raise costs to students, even though we teach courses in our subject area abroad, just as we would at home.

I spent some time brainstorming with them about how to cut costs. The drop in the exchange rate will help for now. But mostly I came away sad--sad that I can't go again for another fours years, sad that fewer students will be able to afford this, sad at the devaluing of university education into some sort of trade school.

I also came away determined to really stockpile cash and cut back--smarter spending on everything. My overflowing closets and cupboards are testimony to impulse buying. I've become so much better, but we still have so much excess.

My Friends and Money

August 12th, 2016 at 07:23 pm

I was having lunch with some friends last week. They're all hard-working teachers, all married with kids. One of the usual moans from all of us is our broke summers. As you may recall, I'm teaching one class, doing some freelance editing, and trying to recover from spending on funeral airfare, my summer trip to Canada, Tree removal, and dog surgery and PT.

The hoarder of the bunch has had major surgery this summer which has brought her issues again to everyone's attention. You might also remember that friends raised (gulp) over 5K for her. Then it came to light that an employee was embezzling from her husband's business to the tune of $25,000. Now the money from the fundraising is gone to help the husband's business, and she is swamped by medical bills.

In the midst of this lunch, another friend--who rolls her eyes at my carefulness with money-- said they we should all go to the hoarder's and help--me especially--because I'm "good with money." Happily for me, I was busy the day they went to her house to help. Two of them spent four hours there. Two hours of it was opening unopened mail. They had to argue about throwing out all the return envelopes since so many of the bills were second and third notices for the same procedures. There were two giant garbage bags full of mail and one room they weren't allowed in. People brought them gifts when she was in the hospital and they're all piled in the entry way.

Is there a point here? I'm not sure, but I needed to vent to someone who is not my child or husband. I have plenty of chaos in my life--not everything is always under control, but I really can't understand how people can live like that. It makes my head want to explode, and perhaps the Swedish work ethic part of me finds their constant (years' worth) need of all sorts of help really trying.

Some In, but More Out

July 28th, 2016 at 05:24 am

We started out the day with some more vet spending. The round of vaccinations, heart worm treatment, etc ran a cool $225. I came home to a $200 rebate from our health insurance for our CSA membership which just made it into the checking before we headed to the graveyard of no-spending: Target. DD needed a new phone, and we slightly upgraded her current pre-paid phone. It's mostly from her birthday cash, and she's v excited. As current phones go, it was cheap--well under $100. I'm a bit shocked at how many of her friends have $500 phones. But she understands our attitude towards things like that, and never complains.
While there, we also bought the graphing calculator required by her school which was on sale for $89.

On the way home we stopped at grocery as it's double coupon day, and I needed a few things for dinner. Our local grocery chain has been purchased by Kroger, and it appears they're eliminating all their own brand organics. I was WAY too excited to find most of those items tucked away around the store for 75% off. Oh my word, I got $4 granola for 75 cents, cans of chili beans for 35 cents, organic applesauce for 75 cents--it was pure delight. I loaded up the cart. We checked all the expiration dates and bought a few extra things for food shelf donations. We spend $65 and the register tape (never completely fair) said we saved $98.

It's been an interesting day; I'm sure enjoying having DD home. We spent part of the evening watching the convention and the rest reading her required book for Honors English in the fall.

A Little Bonus

June 27th, 2016 at 09:46 pm

A couple more things occurred to me as I continue scavenging for cash to boost the balances. I had a meeting at the university this morning and dropped a few things off at my office beforehand. Ah--much to my delight I found the $44 I'd won with my trivia folks in May. I spent $3 on iced coffee, but the additional $40 went into checking. We also have a couple offers from Chase Bank and BMO Harris for $200 bonus on $10,000 for 90 days. I can transfer some cash from long-term savings to cover that, and we'll use the cash when it rolls in later. It won't ease any current crunch, but it something we should do. I've also encouraged my paid-by-the hour DH to work an extra hour or two for the next few weeks. He usually works 38 or 39, and they don't want him working over 40, but I'd like him to hit that upper limit.

I've yet to file the claim for the CSA rebate with my health insurance folks, but that's on my list next. Still thinking...

All the Low-Hanging Fruit

June 25th, 2016 at 07:21 pm

My scavenging has paid off, but I'd dearly like to find another $500, so the scavenging will continue. Except for a massive five-item grocery list, everything this week will be from the cupboard or freezer. Maybe I can do this in $25 increments and get some decluttering done at the same time.

My daughter learned a valuable lesson yesterday at Starbucks with some friends. Her drink didn't come and in her adolescent shyness, she was a bit scared to speak up--something she never is around here. but she texted me (isn't this odd?), and I gave her a script of what to say to the cashier. She got her drink, a free cookie, and a $5 gift card. Lesson learned; speak up for yourself.

Still Scavenging

June 24th, 2016 at 01:35 am

Bless the flex folks; the first $400 came today with another $100 on the way. I returned my husband's Father's Day fitbit as he was not at all thrilled. I checked my gift closet and found a birthday gift that I'd bought in London for a friend's birthday and returned the other gift I just bought. I sold an outgrown dress of DD's for $3 (not too impressive, but still), and realized that I hadn't swept the Chase cash back rebates onto the bill for a while. I had $65, and DH is checking his now. The editing contract came today. I cashed another $25 out of Swagbucks and now have $250-ish ready to transfer to checking.

We're watching the Brexit votes come in; it should be an exciting evening.

Spending Spending Spending

May 25th, 2016 at 12:44 am

In stark contrast to last week, this has been both an expensive and a sad week. We lost my father-in-law on Friday, and we're all dealing with it. The fuel pump went on my husband's car on Friday morning. My daughter was confirmed on Saturday so that was happy, but also a bit expensive with a new dress, dinners, and a gift. So, all these bits of life have added up to lots of spending. Although we'd all like to fly to the UK for the funeral, that's probably not practical. After hours of searching I've found my DH a flight for $1250 through BA. But he'll need to take a week off work, so that will all add up. The fuel pump was $500, and yes, the French camp payment is rapidly approaching. My daughter's outgrown all her summer shoes, I spent $150 at Costco on various necessities, and we had a tree taken down for $900. I think I'd better stop adding it up as it's making me a bit ill.

Cheap Weekend

May 16th, 2016 at 03:16 pm

One way to have a cheap weekend? Tackle house tasks you've been putting off? My Dh is done with his spring class, so he's now available for many chores. He's started cleaning the basement, I spent some time dejunking various spots and we had a fabulous time yesterday digging out creeping bell flower. If you want to know exactly how fun that was, google it.

Our big evening out consisted of $5 tickets to DD's school musical. She ran the stage crew. We have several more evenings of that kind of fun ahead of us as the band concert and spring sing are happening soon. And there's plenty more garden work to keep us busy--despite the SNOW flurries we saw Saturday.

We've been getting by remarkably well on freezer and cupboard stores with just a few trips for milk and fruit and veg. Our Meatless Monday menu looks like it'll be a Southwestern bowl burrito.

Happy weeks to you all!

More Montreal Planning

May 9th, 2016 at 06:21 pm

My BFF has booked her airfare to Montreal with ai rmiles. We don't have enough, so I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and pay mine. But we did find an airbnb that is cheaper than the hotel, has good reviews, and lots of space. This will be our first time in airbnb, and I'm sort of glad we're doing it together. Between the shared expense of that, I hope now that it can come in with airfare under $850.

Among other considerations are DD's French camp arrangements. I've told her friend's mom that I'd drive up there, and she said she'd pick them up. This is a long drive--maybe between 9 and 10 hours. But the thing is they have a program on the final morning, and I'd like to see it. But it means 20 hours total driving and at least one overnight motel. And I hate to drive that far by myself. DH would happily come, but he'd have to take a day off work, meaning about $500 in lost wages. I think I'll get over my desire to see the program, three tanks of gas, a motel stay and several meals out. Gees, when I add it up it's pretty nasty. Let's save that money to camp next year or college.

We had a nice Mother's day brunch yesterday--simple but fun-at a local place. I dug up the raised beds, seeded some chard and radishes, and look forward to the bounty. Over the weekend I sold some clutter on FB too.

Missionettes Accomplished

May 4th, 2016 at 02:45 pm

Surprisingly everything went according to plan yesterday. I got my new purse for $8, and I like it. DH and I got to our wellness assessment, completed it in record time, and found we're about the same as last year. We both need to lose 10 lbs and eat somewhat better. We've been walking after dinner for a while, so I hope that will help. And we're looking forward to the $300 incentive sometime this summer. After I deposited him back at work, I went out to my adjunct job to drop off some UK gifties for my friends there. I just brought home some tea and canvas bags from Primark for their teenagers who like them much more than the 1.50GBP I paid. And I got the travel authorization process moving. DH's car repair came in under $900, so the car lives on.

Along the way though, I heard several stories of how tough things are in higher ed right now. Our director of Intl Ed has deserted the floundering ship that our state university system now is. She's taken a job in California after 20+ years here. She's originally from our English Department so I've known her for years, and we're all sad--as is she--to see her go. And I met a colleague who is thinking of early retirement before our massive cuts take place next year. She doesn't want to leave, and will be a big loss to us as we have no one with her expertise--and won't be allowed to hire anyone either. And my adjunct job looks bleak too. I have a summer class in late June, but they're ready to let go of some of their classroom space as enrollments suffer. It made my $8 purse seem like a very wise buy.

Sunshine

May 2nd, 2016 at 06:21 pm

After a very rainy weekend, we have some sunshine today.

Despite the rain, we had a nice time. The child had a confirmation retreat so we went to dinner and saw "Eye in the Sky." Both were very good. And we caught up on sleep which had been eluding both of us this week.

In financial news I'm thrilled to report that our trivia team (I play twice a year!) won second place in the local tournament and sixth place in the state. That means $48 each. Very exciting. And I sold some of DD's clothes for $10. I'm adding both to my junk money fund.

We're a bit concerned about my husband's car which seem to be leaking everything lately. I hadn't planned on a car purchase this year, but he drives it very minimally--mostly to the bus and back, and it would just mean another banger car. If the repairs run more than $1000 we've agreed it will go. Cross your fingers that it's something simple.

Small Potatoes

April 28th, 2016 at 07:28 pm

My first blog entry since coming back to the grey,cold Midwest is indeed full of small potatoes. I'm digging out from a mountain of unopened mail, events and a house that both need some organizing.

In budgetary matters, I'm working our way through a mountain of food that is the usual response to my DH's trips to Costco. We just happen to have 20 sleeves of Oreos, 36 containers of applesauce, and enough Mandarin oranges (?) to feed most Mandarin speakers. While I'm happy to use up the applesauce and oranges in DD's lunches, some of those Oreos are going to the university tomorrow. Our learning platform has been down half this week, and many of my colleagues need a cookie.

I've made a swift $25 off Swagbucks that is assigned to DD's French camp fund, listed some things on FB lists, and taken a couple of textbook surveys totaling $30 in Amazon gift cards.

This weekend's fun includes taxes. I've filed for an extension, but need to face the music soon. Yes, real life is grand.

Lovely Purchases

February 14th, 2016 at 02:18 pm

I set out yesterday to buy a birthday gift. It's been cold, and of course, it started to rain minutes from the flat. I'm SO happy I put on my quilted vest under my raincoat. Folks here are always saying, "You're used to cold weather," but I never spend five or six hours outside in my daily routine. Here I'm always walking, walking to the tube, or walking and waiting for the bus. My fitbit is happy, but my feet get cold.

I haven't been to that great tourist trap Portobello Road for a while, so thought perhaps I'd find a small piece of jewelry for my BFF's birthday. I almost bought a small amber necklace, but wasn't completely sold. So I decided to head off to my old haunts in Muswell Hill as I've always had fun at their many charity shops. Two of my favorite tops were from one of them, so I headed there first. By this time, I'd been on the bus seemingly forever as there's no tube service there. And it started to sleet the moment I exited the bus. But my Air Ambulance Charity shop did it again. I bought the BFF a very pretty heart amulet for (wait for it) 2GBP, then found a gorgeous purplely grey shirt for 3.95GBP (less than $6). It was a great brand, Marks and Spencer's Per Una line, and I love love love it. You know, one of those things you put on and go "Yes!"

Fueled by my success I hit all the other charity shops there and even a couple (gasp) full retail. I bought another really cute shirt for 3.75GBP that I also love, then tried to figure the best way home. I think I was dizzied by my retail success, and I didn't pay much attention to the bus route. I'd read the numbered route, but got on the bus going the wrong way. I can't believe I did that, but blame the rain and cold. At least it wasn't going somewhere awful, so I got off again in Central London, grabbed a tube, bought some lovely food, got another bus home within minutes.

Refueled by tea and a cherry tart, I bought DD and DH's airfare. Everything that worked with their dates was in the high $1200s, but I found one with a stop in Manchester for under $1000. So--a lovely $600+ savings there. Skyped with them both, and we're all looking forward to us being together. All in all, horrible weather but great shopping. I'm going out for a stroll, but then will be home to prep for the week's teaching.

Minor Spending

February 8th, 2016 at 10:00 pm

My spending today was all about necessity. My new phone was dead as dead can be, and although I tried to charge it for hours last night with the computer, it was still dead this morning.

I took my class to the Imperial War Museum today for a little lesson on WWI. My doctoral research was done there years ago, so it was sort of like coming home. After class I bought a wall plug with a USB slot as I'd read it charges about five times faster. And indeed, in an hour, my phone was up and working.

I got a free cup of coffee from a lovely lady in front of Le Pain Quotidien on Tottenham Court Road and headed home to work. Normally I'd go to the galleries or museums on these short days, but the wind has been awful, and I have a lot of prep for my new class. Horrible gales and slanty rain tonight; I'm happy to be inside.

But now that I have the photos going, how about one from the sunny day of our Parliament tour?



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