Hello SA friends: I'm still running behind, but had a happy moment last night as I created my schedule for the rest of the semester. There's something lovely about typing "Last Class" on May 10. My evening adjunct class has started up too, and seems to be going well.
Not a lot of financial news except plenty of things on the "to-do" list. I still haven't done our taxes, we have an appointment to get DD's passport renewed tomorrow, and we're planning summer vacations.
I battled a cold for too many weeks this winter, and have decided many things need to take a back seat to getting plenty of sleep and eating right. I'm also enjoying DD's break, while rarely happening at the same time as mine, is still fun. She is slightly unhappy that so many of her richer schoolmates are on huge holidays, but I do remind her she had almost three weeks in Europe last summer. But the French club is in Martinique, several in Mexico or Florida, and another in Paris with yet another in Argentina. Sometimes I wonder about living in an affluent area--lots of comparisons for those of us whose pockets aren't quite that deep.
We spent a cool $200 at the vet in a couple days as the dog seems to have eaten something that inflamed her gum and caused her a lot of pain. I did declutter a bit and donate some books, and sold some others.
Lots more to do, but spring is almost, sort of, kind of, here.
Hello SA friends: I'm still running behind, but had a happy moment last night as I created my schedule for the rest of the semester. There's something lovely about typing "Last Class" on May 10. My evening adjunct class has started up too, and seems to be going well.
Between my eternal cold, the busy semester, and other demands, I am very much looking forward to resurfacing here and elsewhere.
See you all on Friday when break starts!
Although I think we could benefit from continued sort-of uber frugality, I'm a little weary of it. But March is coming, I have a weekend in Minneapolis planned with my BFF, and in midMarch my spring break will lighten the load a bit. I'd like to go to NYC with DD and perhaps DH, but her break never overlaps with mine, so we may try for a short summer trip using air miles. I also have five days in June planned with my Mpls friends in Northern California, renting an airbnb. I used Delta miles I forgot I had, so I came in under $100 for the flight.
Can you tell I'm a little cabin feverish? I seem to go to school, come home and grade and prep and cook, then go to school again, repeat, repat, repeat. Weekends seem to be devoted to running our DD everywhere and catching up on cooking,grading, and housework. But then there's this: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/02/pensions-safety-net-california/553970/
And I can't say I want to be at the food pantry or handing out supermarket samples in my mid-70s. Back to work.
Yes, I bought my paczki (poonch-key) today--raspberry filled for us. Our daughter is busy with theatre stuff all week, so although I pack a lunch and sandwich for her, it's just DH and me for dinner.
All that theatre work means I have long quiet afternoons which seem to be consumed by quiz creation, homework grading, and lecture prep. Besides the paczki, I bought a few fill-in groceries and took the dog to the groomer. My closed savings account added $99 to my big goal. I'm almost at 4 percent. Yep, that seems pretty paltry to me too. But my adjunct class starts in a month which will help my cash flow.
I've started reading some of my Modern Library list of the top books of the 20th century. And Graham Greene is as good as I remember. The small joys of February.
Many of you will remember last year's discussion of paczki. I need to remember to buy some tonight or get up early to find some tomorrow morning.
But paczki aside, it's still cold, snowy February around here. Between last week's car bill and the gas bill, it's still cold, snowy, and frugal February too.
My DD had a snow day on Friday, we had a low-key weekend of library visits, Olympics viewing, and paper grading. All that was punctuated with soup making, crisp baking, quinoa salad prep, and brushing snow off the car every 15 minutes or so.
To increase motivation today, I closed out a small saving account with a teeny balance which will go to the UK House fund when it actually transfers. I seem to be in super-slow winter mode with lots of eating and lazing about. This needs to stop, and will, I vow, by Wednesday. After all, there's still some cranberry apple crisp left.
We had a busy day as DH drove me to work, drove himself to work, then got the call that DD was coming home from school ill. And by then he had to pick me up. So it was a putzy day. Some good news as the folks who installed the garage door 15 years ago were able to fix it for $99 vs the $400 new one quoted. The major kick was, of course, the car repair. The car sounds great now and runs great, but man, they are pricey. The "recently returned from the Dominican Republic vacation" tan on the mechanic didn't make me feel better about it either. Needless to say, we're actively looking for a new mechanic. I cashed out $25 in SB which will go to the big goal. I'll update when it arrives. Actively NOT thinking about the stock market as we'r long-termers.
Lots of snow here, and lots of soup made over the weekend. Mondays in February.
Three things on my mind today. The first is the car repair which, as always, turned out more expensive than I thought. Lots of potholes and a 10-year-old 143K mile car meant new bearings, suspension, struts, and all that. With a few additional things thrown in it will be $1700. Ugh, but it had to be done. Then there's the option to teach a whole set of new classes next fall which sounds wonderful. Except that four classes might mean four preps which is crazy-making. What to do? Then my sweet dog seems to have injured her leg a bit and we all fret about her. I've given her some Rimadyl and how that will help. I was going to hang out home all night, but university buddies pulled me out for happy hour drinks and apps. It was lots of fun for $15.
Ah, the long stretch of January has just hours left. I was reasonably frugal, used up lots of food, and decluttered a fair amount. That needs to all extend into February. Our dog was coughing and trying to clear her throat in the middle of the night, so I was up with her until she settled down. Unfortunately I never did and was awake from 3am on. I thought about canceling class, taking it online, but decided I could push through as I had a partner activity planned for half the class. It turned out fine, and I even abstained from my morning coffee purchase since I was planning on returning home at noon and napping. So, I saved $2 and came home for a two-hour nap. For the next month, I have a pretty darn easy semester, at least relatively. I have four sections of the same class, so it's one prep starting at 8am every day. People complain it's boring to teach just one thing, but sometimes it's just a gift. There's lots of reading and grading, but man, it's just so much easier. What happens in a month? My adjunct class starts on Monday nights. More money, but more schedule balancing.
And we continue to eat through the cupboard and freezer. Tonight before his class DH had leftover pot roast and DD and I ate pancakes and sausages with strawberries. I made half a dozen extra pancakes since the griddle was out which someone will eat for breakfast. It's going well. And payday is tomorrow. And again in 28 days.
It was a quiet day today which was particularly welcome since our daughter woke up at 1 am sick to her stomach. I didn't sleep much after that trying to listening to her, but managed to struggle up and out for my 8am class. Today's spending was just coffee, and then I headed home to take the next shift with the ill one and send my husband off to work. She appears to have revived as the day went on, so we watched Netflix, I graded papers, and we had simple lunches and dinners mostly from the pantry and from leftovers.
Not much other news--school has started in earnest, so plenty to do there.
I'm planning an early night to try to recoup some sleep. Lots on tomorrow's schedule.
I had a long meeting this morning, and at the end, colleagues talked about going out for lunch, but we talked so long it just didn't happen. Lunch out might've been nice, but it saved me at least $10 to go home, read papers, eat leftovers, and watch Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry bake on PBS.
A frugal dinner of a bargain frozen pizza awaits. And the remains of the going-into-meal-4 rotisserie chicken are now in the slow cooker becoming broth. My shriveled grape tomatoes just finished roasting with a bit of oil and balsamic, and they may dress up the pizza. That rotisserie chicken was first served as is, then chicken tortilla soup, then chicken pie, now broth. Amazing. I'm a little tired of being frugal, and have to shop for a potluck dinner tomorrow night, but we'll stay the course for the next week. Since it's hardly like we're going to Monaco the following month, I think it will also be a mostly frugal February.
While this sounds like Dave Ramsey advice, it was really me walking the six blocks to the university today, The sidewalks were full of ice, and I've developed a mortal fear of falling. Day Three of the semester seems to be going just fine, and hopefully today's spending will just be coffee. I see chicken tortilla soup on tonight's menu. It's kind of a flurried evening for us as DH starts his new class and DD is at theatre until 6, so we will eat in shifts.
To help eliminate our overseas transfer issues, we're opening up a Chase savings account--mostly for the SWIFT transfer capabilities, but also for the $200 bonus. Our local bank --which I love--can't seem to accept SWIFT international transfers, although I've sent money out from them. And DH needs to withdraw some British money for his tuition. I can't say we've come to complete agreement on that issue, but he'll pay for half with British cash, and we'll cash flow the other half. Graduate school is an expensive hobby, but perhaps one day he will teach. And the $200 bonus for keeping 15K in the account will lessen the hurt for me a bit. I opened a Chase for the bonus several years ago, but he's still eligible.
I have many meetings on Friday, but it's nice to be 3/4 through with the teaching week. In thinking about uber-frugality this month, I think we've been more frugal than usual, but probably not up to uber. Maybe I can find a few ways to increase cash and limit spending in the remaining week. We have been good about eating through the pantry and freezer, and the chicken tortilla soup will help with that. Hmm--maybe a few things to sell? Or make some time to review our internet service? Anyone have ideas for a couple quick wins?
It is gorgeous here with about four inches of snow. Yes, it made driving a little scary this morning, but I have a short commute and left early. However, the snow emergency plowing compelled me into the parking ramp at the university again this morning, but it's so lovely.
Classes Day Two have gone well. Most of my students seem fine, though it's hard to tell right away.
I'm headed home to do some housework and maybe start a pot of tortilla soup. For some lame-brained reason I subscribed to a Dave Ramsey Food Ideas list on FB looking for frugal meal ideas. I don't think it's the list for me as Sunday night they were discussing ways to eat squirrel. However reading their suggestions had my DD laughing so hard it might have been worth it for the humor alone.
I almost hate to ask this, but have any of you eaten or considered eating squirrel? I suspect that other (many) qualms aside, it's probably a regional thing.
We decided not to have an official date night before the symphony Saturday night and had dinner at home. I can't say it was a good idea. It just put a damper on the evening and made me feel cranky and deprived, so we got a glass of wine at intermission--then ran smack into my boss. DH's tuition is due again, and our electric garage door has broken and is apparently not worth fixing. But I did officially start the 52-week saving program X2 to fund London. Since I had a fair amount of cash I saved bigger weeks instead of starting with $1. Then this morning on the first day of class it was pouring rain. I just couldn't face walking my usual four blocks in the rain, so spent $5 on parking. But we have been good about eating through the freezer and pantry.
DD's passport needed renewing so I had photos taken at CVS today and used extra bucks. Some small economies I guess. Back to it.
This is one week of seemingly nothing but meeting after meeting. I somehow escaped the parking monitor when my last meeting went (ugh) 90 minutes over. No excuses for that, I think. In other non-eventful news, I was invited to a brunch tomorrow and baked banana bread from the freezer bananas and bought bacon as requested. Now it's been canceled as my colleague got a last-minute class, so I think we'll be eating banana bread and bacon and something else in the days to come.
I've transferred some $ from Swagbucks toward my big goal which has hit $3800 or a whooping 3.8% funded. That seems sort of sad to me, but slow and steady, I guess. Today is the day our London students leave for the UK. So wish I was rolling my big suitcase out to the car too.
I've had a couple of lovely days. Yesterday a tedious meeting turned into a happy occasion as two of the top three places in our writing competition were taken by MY students from last term. I couldn't be happier if I won myself. The prizes are small-ish with the top student earning $150, but it's so fun for them and great for their resumes. I've also made progress on readying my classes for the upcoming term.
We got lots of decluttering done, and today I made $15 on a selling some of that stuff. And I had lunch with a colleague--one of those lovely long lunches because it's so fun to talk with them. I cashed $50 out of Swagbucks which is going to my big goal. I'll credit my totals when it hits the bank.
And I made the most delicious mac and cheese yesterday from a recipe on a can of evaporated milk. Fattening and decadent, but used up lots of pantry stuff and delicious.
We're all home today for MLK day which has turned into a nice snowy organizing day around here. We continue Uber-frugal helped by the overflowing pantry and freezer. I've just started bean soup for my DH's lunches this week. I had beans in the pantry and a ham bone in the freezer. I also extracted a bag of CSA carrots from the freezer which I'll put in the soup and try roasting some with dinner. I'm not sure about roasting veggies which have been frozen, but we'll give it a try. yesterday's spending was a canister of oatmeal and the church offering. We're also going to sit down today and try to fund DH's grad school tuition more mindfully. His classes handily total (ugh) $5200/year, and I think he finds that figure staggering as do I. But if he wants to continue, some cuts will have to be made elsewhere. We'll see what happens. For now, the decluttering and the freezer contents reduction have been very satisfying. Ideally I'd like the chest freezer empty by spring break.
I always have tremendous conference presentation nerves which I don't totally understand since I stand in front of students and talk every darn day. But despite a hot room jammed with people, our talk went fine. I did a little networking, ate a rather lousy free lunch, and am now ready to start again on semester work. We all have Monday off for MLK day, but DD is in her intensive study mode.I think I'll spend a chunk of the day tomorrow and Monday getting everything lined up for the semester.
We are diligently--and indeed joyfully--eating through the pantry and freezer. Last night's excellent enchiladas incorporated taco leftovers, a lonely somewhat shriveled sweet potato, the chipotle cheese no one was eating, and one can of the four cans of enchilada sauce clogging up the cupboard. We also have a lot of pumpkin so I made a large loaf (now half gone) of pumpkin bread. I just extracted a bag of mixed beans that will transform into soup for DH's lunches next week.
I spent nothing yesterday and had a happy day at home.
Not much willpower required as we're in a quiet zone right now. I'm finally almost over my cold, and only spent some cash on groceries over the weekend. We went nowhere else and did nothing. How's that for boring? DD has school exams coming up and rejected the offer of a movie. I'm working on a conference talk and spent a good part of the weekend doing a lit review. Later today I'll put it all together, create a PowerPoint, and an annotated bibliography. I love these projects so I'm happy as can be.
Tomorrow I'll go glasses shopping and spent some time at the university working on my annual review and next term's projects. It will be good to get out!
Leftovers loom for lunch (how's that for headline?), and perhaps for dinner as well. I tried a new pot roast recipe from Cooks Illustrated that was pretty darn good, so I'm looking forward to the dinner leftovers. I need to do some intensive tidying around here too. DH and I are still working on our jigsaw puzzle--a Monet sea scene. I feel a little dorky saying it, but we're enjoying doing it together.
January quietness hasn't turned into January blahs yet--probably because It's so nice to have a break from the classroom. Two more weeks of this bliss to come.
We've started the uber-frugal month around here, but so far it's been no problem at all. We all got cold after Christmas, and mine struck last Sunday cancelling our NY plans. We have gift cards for CPK and the movies so we've rescheduled NY Eve to next Saturday night. We did get started on a jigsaw puzzle, and I've managed to keep up with normal housekeeping and cooking, but not much else.
For the New Year, we've started to make some plans, but they're not much different from last years. I need to lose some weight, ideally about 20 lbs. We need to pay ourselves back for the bathroom remodeling. We'd like to spend Christmas next year in England. I've started to make travel plans with friends for some mini-getaways. I still have many house plans, but DH and I need to sort them out.
The only spending for the year so far has been an eye exam for DD and me. My prescription increased very slightly, and DD apparently has the eyesight of a sniper, according to the optician. New glasses for me. Plans to follow.
I'm thinking so much about Thrift, her writing talents and her determination. Please know we're all pulling for you.
Yeesh--a busy 10 days since last I checked in. Christmas was super busy--driving to Minneapolis, a hotel stay, two days of family, brunch with friends, another day spent mostly driving home. We had one quiet day home now both DD and DH are down with my brother's Christmas cold. Since then I've been make juice drinks, soup, and trying to avoid getting sick myself. I ran out to the library for books and movies, for groceries, and to pay the property taxes. I finished my grading and have spent lots of time sorting, clearing, and doing laundry. Here are my lessons from the holiday. Make dinners ahead and freeze them. Next fall will be a make one/ freeze one marathon. Buy as much as possible in one go. I honestly bought 80 percent of my gifts--very happily--at Marshall's. Third lesson--my DH's anxiety issues make it difficult for us to stay in a single hotel room. When he can't sleep, we are all miserable. I think I'd like to spend next Christmas in London with the Brit family. We'll get an airbnb and relax. Christmas has become a hassle for us, and I want it to be peaceful and wonderful.
In other family news my sweetest nephew is moving from Minneapolis to a huge fancy job outside of Oakland. We'll miss them--but what a cool job with so many opportunities for both him and his wife.
Hoping everyone recovers quickly. I need to take some stock of what's in the house to prepare for our Uber-frugal month I'm looking forward to it!
Oh, I was cranky all day. I committed to cooking and serving at the AODA house tonight, and with the end of the semester and Christmas, and so much to do, I was whining to myself all day. I spent two hours with my least favorite co-worker proctoring a competition which was only lightened by a couple of my students wishing me a fond farewell--one with a lovely handwritten thank you note. Then I was scheduled for a nasty two-hour meeting with of all things, textbook salespeople. Halfway through it dawned on me that the reason we were having this rah-rah meeting for this company was that my boss has just published a text with them. What a pain. At least they bought lunch--but I am NOT ordering their texts. Half my co-workers caught on too, and everyone was mad. I rushed home to finish the pies and veggies, and slice the bread, pack it all up and gather the family to drive over to the halfway house.
But yu know what? Two minutes with 16 men who are struggling with addiction, have spent time in prison, have lost their families, jobs, and senses of self who were so happy to see our chicken and rice casseroles, peppermint pies, kale and squash and green beans, and my whole stupid whining vanished. I have nothing to complain about. They are lovely guys trying their best to turn their lives around. They are so grateful for dinner, a roof over their heads, and someone to talk with. We had a lovely time. This was our second time there, and we'll schedule this every couple of months. Life is good. Plus--I'm going to finish the grading on 3/4 of my classes tonight. I sure am.
I am determined to get this cold out of my head and chest by the weekend. I'm sick of being so thick headed. Wrapping it up in all my classes and I'd love to get everything graded and set before this weekend too.
I had a productive meeting with the dept chair today. He has promised me a new literature class in the fall and will try to iron out some various issues. I'll elaborate on them if it actually gets done.
I spent a bit too much on fruit today, but made a great dinner with items from the fridge and pantry. I've also spent a lot on parking this week, but feeling lousy has necessitated parking close. It's only two more days.
Back to yet another glass of water to help keep the head clear.
I was indeed pretty worthless yesterday. I made one class a drop-in day, and had almost a dozen students with questions and feedback requests. The second class had presentations and I sent them home afterwards. I normally park about six blocks from the university and walk, but feeling so lousy, I splurged on $5 worth of parking on campus. I came home and napped, we ate leftovers, and DD and I decided to move our fun downtown Chicago day to week after next. I'll be done with school then, and I just couldn't think about going anywhere last night. I had lots of sleep, and feel significantly better. If I'm feeling up to it, I'll try to tackle some laundry and finish grading today--and maybe get some cookies made with DD tomorrow.
I'm looking forward (really!) to an uberfrugal January with many of you. In the meantime, I'm going to have a reasonably simple Christmas. My cheap-o wreath needs to have a bow attached, we still haven't bought a tree, and decorating can't really commence until I tackle the piles of grading and laundry. But I'm going slow. I've added $50 from SB to my Big Goal.
Saturday night out with friends we all commented that we hadn't yet had a bad cold--sort of atypical for a semester. And yesterday afternoon I had that --here it comes moment--and it's been worse since.
I have a few easy days at school listening to presentations, but will probably need to reschedule mine and DD's day away.
I managed to make a good pasta bake for dinner and correct a few presentations, but think I'm pretty worthless now. An early night is in order. Only spending was $2.30 for a mug of herbal tea. I bought a pizza stone last night for mu SIL's Christmas gift on Amazon through SB last night.
I stopped at the grocery this morning to buy a couple dozen doughnuts and some clementines for my classes. They had a scheduled walk-in work day today. Looking up with a bag of clementines over my arm, who did I spot but my work BFF office mate, also slung with a bag of clementines and two dozen cookies. Not good for the budget, but we all try to help students who are almost as tired as we are through these last weeks.
I've been listening to a Walter Isaacson audiobook. Today's selection was about Time's Person of the Century, and I'm just struck with the stature of some of the people he discussed--Jonas Salk, Alexander Fleming, Rosa Parks, FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Chinese students in Tiananmen Square. I'm weary of the news, of all the heroes with feet of clay, of all the blatant disregard of common decency in public life. Granted none of those people were perfect, but the struggle toward fairness, decency, democracy seems so lost to me. I'm weary of the world, I think.
Yesterday DD and I were right next to a local Target store. I had a return, but we also walked through the entire store without spending anything. I didn't buy the gift card deal either. Now granted I was in a Target the day before, but this may have been one of the few times in my life I went through a Target without a purchase.
We did spend a bit at the grocery store, but they were having a reopening sale and I got peanut butter, and a case of bottled water for 99 cents. We normally don't drink bottled water, but I always think it's good to have some around in case of emergencies. Bread was 49 cents--not a favorite brand but good enough for sandwiches and chicken breast for $1.49. We made chicken Parmesan last night ( or chicky chicky parm parm if you're a Parks and Rec fan)
It's been a splendid day as my classes are just working on final projects and I'm there to offer advice and feedback. It's nice not to have to "perform" some days.
I'm on a mini-declutter roll. I took a bag of stuff to Goodwill this morning, and as I put the rest of the Christmas things out, I'm sure they can be sorted and culled. Friends gave me a lovely Molton Brown gift set for my birthday--it's my favorite English bath brand. The gift set included trial size shampoo, but I'm a shampoo monogamist, and I thought, heck, try to sell it. It sold for $3 on the local FB list which I'll add to my totals. I'm feeling frugal--time to make some soup!
We went to a local Christkindl Market last night. Lots of food vendors, gluhwein, sausages, etc. in a very prettily lit market. DD had a couple gingerbread men, and I bought three jugs of bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup I'd seen on a local food show. The guys who own the tree farm were there selling it, and I had a sample shot and was convinced. Deliciously bourbony syrup that will be a great Christmas gift for my two foodie nephews and their wives. I bought three bottles, and intend to give the other away, but it was really really good and may end up in our old fashioneds or on pancakes.
The three of us stopped at a neighborhood spot that came highly recommended by a friend. Great food, but they didn't have the service right. Our long wait was relieved by the appearance of an appetizer wrongly delivered to our table which we ate. Oh well, it was free, and they ended up comping our drinks because things were so screwed up. Then a nice drive around a neighborhood called Candy Cane Lane to look at the Christmas lights. Lots of fun and family time for not much cash.
I've spent hours reading annotated bibliographies, so even eating lots of the omnipresent turkey seems like fun. We gobbled up turkey fried rice last night, and both DD and DH had turkey sandwiches in their lunches.
One of my students appears to be using voice-recognition software for his writing, and last night I read this sentence: "John is an expert in can e see all a G." At first I thought it was just a typo, but now I've sussed it out. But what a headache. They do not pay me enough.
I'm biding my time waiting for the workload to lighten. After this stack of bibliographies, it's just group projects. Two more weeks of classes: Serenity Now.
Not much in financial news--coffee spending and a can of crescent rolls for tonight's turkey pesto delight.
Our next-door neighbor came over this afternoon with a bird in the hand. She'd bought a frozen turkey breast and thawed it for Thanksgiving, but ended up going to her daughter's house to take care of her grandkids. And now she's headed out of town for a week, and didn't want to roast another turkey breast. Well, you can't really look a gift turkey in the mouth, can you? But this make seven turkeys/breasts I've roasted in the past three weeks--two for the congregate dining site, one for us, and three for our Thanksgiving with friends. I've made bone broth from all of them; indeed the freezer is fully stocked (get it?) with broth. And yet. So I roasted yet another bird this afternoon and besides the turkey sandwiches, it looks like turkey tikka, turkey fried rice, and a turkey pie is coming up soon. If you hear us gobbling.. . .
In minor other news, I had an emissions check on the car today, bought coffee cream and salad, and graded endless papers. More poultry adventures on the horizon. Three more weeks in the semester.
We have a lovely planetarium at my university run by a fabulous astronomer. Ever since DD was about 8 or so, we make it a habit to go to their special shows a couple of times a year. Usually they're Friday and Saturday nights with special shows for things like meteor showers and the eclipse. Today they started a Sunday show and although their prices have risen from $2 to $5, it's a lovely way to spend some time. This one was on the Colors of the Cosmos. DD, her BF, and I loved it. They then talk through the stars in the current night sky, what to watch for, and take questions. I think I only retain about 15% of it, but I really enjoy it.
As we drove home, we passed a shopping center jammed with cars, and I couldn't help think I'd much rather look at stars than be in a crowded mall.
Chicago Laura, I hope your DD has visited it!
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