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Lifted by La La Land

January 20th, 2017 at 05:11 pm

DD and I used the $5 Thursday movie special for a January mood brightener. I loved La La Land--not sure it's for everyone, but I thought it was worth seeing on the big screen as the cinematography is spectacular. And we got free popcorn with the tickets which together with the water bottles from my bag made for a lovely evening. Maybe not technically uberfrugal, but cheaper than therapy.

Our planned trip to see the eagles feed has been postponed due to the horrible weather. It's been raining half the morning. I used our $5 bagel credit for 6 bagels--another deliberate mood lifter. And I narrowly escaped a stupid multi-car backup in the parking lot. The bagel shop is next door to Starbucks and a breakfast diner, and as I entered the lot six cars were all backing out simultaneously. I knew it wasn't going to end well, and indeed it didn't as unbelievably four of them collided. I'm glad I hung back, but there was lots of shouting in the parking lot.

So, my plan for the day has been changed to tidying the family room and office, doing laundry, and maybe some quiet reading time and a DVD or two.

In the interest of eating it all, I made cheap soup from bratwurst, potatoes, carrots, and some onion. I've used this recipe before as I usually have those pantry staples, but added a handful of leftover frozen chopped spinach from Wednesday's stuffed shells. Honestly, I would normally throw that single handful out, but it worked well in the soup. And there's still some for lunch today.

DH has an actual interview on Monday. I'll prep him over the weekend.

Still Uberly Frugal

January 19th, 2017 at 05:22 pm

And still cabin-feverish. I had a fun day out for us all planned tomorrow driving west to see the eagles feed on the river. But now DH has a cold and I'm not sure that will happen.

I'm also sad--sad that for the first time in four years I am not bound for London on this third Thursday in January. I've heard from lots of my former students today, and we're all sad together. It doesn't bear thinking about and while it's probably for the best, it doesn't make me feel any better knowing that.

I am not happy either at the dire financial hardship of many of my friends. There's likely to be some serious downsizing at the university, and the bleak situation there coupled with politics, no London, no job for husband is making me blue.

I'm not a weepy person--at least not anymore--but I think I need a few days to myself to get my head back on straight. I just want to be quiet and maybe have some drinks with my BFs. If this continues, I may drive to MN one weekend soon and hang out.

But we remain uberly frugal. Yesterday the car tire needed a new valve, but it was our only spending and was $40. DD got another babysitting gig at church for next Monday, so she'll have some spending money soon. We ate leftovers for lunch and stuffed shells for dinner courtesy of the almost forgotten cottage cheese from the fridge and frozen spinach in the freezer. Maybe I'm a shark--I need to go forward.

Brrr

January 6th, 2017 at 06:06 pm

Man, it's cold. Granted I grew up in Minnesota and -20 was a fairly common occurrence, but it feels cold here, and it's only -15 with the wind chill. I have several layers on and my warmest socks, but I do let the heat drop to 58 from 8 to 2 then it rises until bedtime.

I've spent much of the morning helping DH polish his resume and am now about to write him a cover letter. We have bean soup (LOTS of bean soup) and wild rice salad for lunch. The pantry clearance continues unabated.

I also signed my university contract and returned it. Yet on today's list is the insurance reimbursements, more work on my syllabi, and lots of work on my conference talk. I did manage to get out of Costco with just the milk and required smoke detectors since ours have both gone pop. But I splurged on a cup of $2 coffee with my Costco shopping buddy. I'm still under $30 in total spending since Sunday--even with the smoke detectors at $24.99. Grocery shopping is scheduled for tomorrow, and my target is $25 at the primary store (enough to activate the double coupons) and another $5-10 on the shop with the better produce. I might be able to delay that until next week.

Stay warm, folks!

Movie Time

December 30th, 2016 at 03:42 am

I did 2/6 returns today, and DD and I went out to lunch and to see Rogue One. I had a BOGO at Noodles and a $5 gift card from buying other gift cards for Christmas, so our lunch was free. And it was $5 Thursday at the theater, but I had a $5reward, so we had all that fun for $5. DH and I spent some time on the budget. More returns on the agenda tomorrow, and I'm going to list some things to sell on the FB lists.

Random Musings

October 18th, 2016 at 09:17 pm

For the last week I have found dimes on campus every day I've been there. I have no idea where they're coming from, and DD and I laughed very hard at the results of a Google search about finding dimes. People have some wacky ideas about finding change.

I got a surprise check for $150 as a result of a textbook focus group I'd completely forgotten about.

My evening class has ended and another starts next week. I'll be teaching Bestsellers again and look forward to talking about books rather than just grammar and style.

I'm buried in school work. It's always this way. Ugh.

My aunt turned 99 over the weekend. My dad's sisters are both well into their 90s, and though not without health issues, doing remarkably well.

I don't know much else. My head is in school work, laundry, school work, cooking, school work, and then some school work. Not amusing musings at all.

That Rumbling Sound

September 4th, 2016 at 06:26 pm

Yep, it's the dull roar of classes to be taught very soon. But coupled with that comes the fun of some new students, and the fabulous nearing of a regular paycheck. I have, of course, been teaching since June, but this is the "real" job.

Did I tell y'all this? My DH has decided to enroll part time for a master's in history. He'll still work full time, and I'm not sure he'll ever do anything with that degree, but it is a joy to him. Of course, grad classes are $1000 more than undergrad classes, so while I've been planning for this, it seems to have just occurred to him. He asked me this morning what budget arrangements would have to be made. I think he could cut down on buying books and wine, but wisely asked him to try to brainstorm a bit to see what he comes up with.

We all went out for pizza and to see Ghostbusters last night. It was at the cheap movies, I had a coupon for pizza, and while it was sort of "meh," DD enjoyed it a lot. I think we're becoming quite conscious that we'll likely only have her living with us full time for a four more years, so we better treasure that time.

In other monetary news, I seem to again have a fridge full of veggies, so am off to make salad and soup for the week soon. Did I also tell you that my trivia team won second in the state last month? How excited was i? We split $750 between the four of us. I think I should send NPR another donation for teaching me about the Gotthard tunnel that moved us into second place!

No Spend Day

July 29th, 2016 at 04:36 am

After yesterday's spending, it was nice to have a no-spend day. It was also CSA day so the bounty just rolled in. After weeks with the A/C on, the temps have dropped dramatically, so we have the windows open and are really enjoying it. Those CSA veggies actually made their way into minestrone instead of the usual huge salad.

I'm counting the days until payday. It's been a long stretch without any income from me!

Ima Saver, Where Are You?

July 25th, 2016 at 01:44 pm

Many of us are thinking about you. You ok?

Checking In

July 25th, 2016 at 02:22 am

It's been a busy few weeks. I drove DD to French camp--about 12 hours each way, except for the mammoth storm on the way home. Ah, there's nothing quite like a terrifying Midwestern thunderstorm. I pulled off the road six times between Bemidji and the Twin Cities; each time there were reports of tornadoes, or I was hit by hail or blinded by incredible rain. At one point I was n a gas station with two dozen people who all decided we should shelter in their cooler if the siren went off. But I made it, albeit in three days of solid driving. Two days later I was off to Montreal with my BFF. We had a spectacular time in that gorgeous city and did all sorts of wacky things from rooftop cocktails to ziplining and paddleboating. We rented bikes, took a bus to Quebec City, saw a beautiful waterfall, and just enjoyed our time.

Last night at midnight DD returned from camp, so I've been immersed in laundry and staying inside away from the oppressive heat and humidity. The specter of August looms, so I've been back in the saddle for a bit. I've finished about one quarter of my text editing, and my weekly class is half done. DD and I have formulated plans for the rest of the summer. More on that tomorrow.

I've been sorry to hear about Patient Saver's and Dido's job losses. Wishing them both the best.

Money Scavenger Hunt

June 22nd, 2016 at 08:50 pm

Readers may recall that several weeks ago the dog tore her CCL, and we were investigating non-surgical therapy. Alas, she completely tore it and is now one week post surgery. It does seem my checking account could use some surgical enhancement as well. Yes, it's my usual summer money angst, but now that DH has come home from his dad's funeral, we still have the airfare, the tree removal, the French camp, and now the dog surgery on the credit card bill. On top of that, DH had another job scare, but it appears all is well-ish, at least on that front.

So, where to find some cash without moving it from savings? I am indeed on a money scavenger hunt. Yesterday I discovered the ortho bills are being paid from my credit card, not my flex card. Ortho's financial people have NO idea why. So, today I've filed for reimbursement from the flex folks Count that as $500 when it appears. My health insurance promises $200 reimbursement for CSA membership. That's next on my to-do list. A textbook publisher has contacted me about some freelance editing, but that won't pay until October. Hmm. I've got about $200 rattling around in paypal, mostly from Swagbucks. I also have a few items to return. My summer teaching gig that starts next week doesn't pay until August/ September. I'll do what I can now and hope inspiration lands on my head.

Spendfest Sadly Continues

May 30th, 2016 at 06:39 pm

Yep, we're just racking it up here. Yesterday the dog tore her CCL (like a human ACL), and we spent three hours and $285 at the emergency vet. While we're going to get a surgical consult, I think we're going the non-surgical route this time. Everything I've read indicates small dogs do as well without surgery as with. All of this after I took DD and a friend to Chocolate Fest and dropped $50.

I think I'm going to go clean and finish the garden work to make myself feel better about the spending. Between funeral airfare, French camp, tree cutting, various school graduation expenses, and now the dog we're near the $5000 mark.

Your Opinions, Please

May 26th, 2016 at 10:11 pm

I hang out with a bunch of women at my university. There's a group of about 6-7 of us who celebrate each others' birthdays, go out for drinks, and generally try to support each other. As, I suppose, with any group, there are some of them that are much better friends of mine than others.
One of the women I've known for 20+ years--since we were in grad school together. We are not close friends, but I see her often, and I respect her work, if not how she lives her personal life. She has lots of issues--hoarding, irresponsibility with things like parking fines thus getting her car towed,overdrafts, having her power disconnected for nonpayment etc. She and her husband and small boys live a very chaotic life. That said, I also think I harbor some resentment toward the chaos as she'll let people "help" her which doesn't help at all.

Before her boys were born we were all concerned about the state of her house as they are quite serious hoarders. Six of us spent the day cleaning and hauling and shredding--and it was awful. Their cats had used that room as their litter box--and several of us were ill afterwards. I swore I'd never do that again as it's pretty nasty still. Yet other friends spent days cleaning their kitchen last year--because she "needs" the help. They too were ill after removing moldy food, tons of dishes, overflowing recycling--and were a little upset that I wouldn't help. I've helped people with hoarding issues before, and I've been nothing but frustrated--but they thought as she was seeing a hoarding counselor(?!) it would take this time. Of course it's horrible yet again.

But here's the current issue: this woman has just had a fairly serious health issue and major surgery. She's also revealed all of this on FB and welcomed an outpouring of love and support. Another friend has started a "take them dinner" site, and I've happily signed up for several meals. And now another friend has secretly circulated a plea for donations for them although the medical part is completely covered, and she has the summer off from teaching. Something similar happened five years ago when they had their twins.

I find myself really torn. I honestly like this woman, but find so much of her behavior and her husband's behavior really egregious. I'm trying to figure out if I'm being petty and nasty or if I should just pony up $20 and consider it an effort toward good feelings and best wishes. I wish I had a generous heart toward this situation, but I just don't. Advice please?

Slightly Larger Potatoes

May 3rd, 2016 at 02:57 pm

Here are our major financial matters for today:
DH's car is currently at the shop under investigation. Again, hoping it's something minor. In related news, while I was away we found a new Volvo mechanic for my car. He's unbelievably close to us and half the price we were quoted for most repairs. But he just does Volvos, so that leaves my husband's clunker ineligible.

I'm selling a book today, and buying a purse. How's that for excitement? My black purse has started to look really tatty after four winters of hard London use. The lining is ripped, the strap is fraying, it needs to go. I am not a designer purse fan, but I want something reasonable, attractive, and workable. Voila--the local FB list offered a brand new Franco Sarto bag for $8. So that's on my list for this morning.

I also need to go to the university to drop off my expense reports--and best of all--go to the annual health screening. I'm picking up DH and we'll both eventually net $150 each for doing this.

My MN girlfriends are thinking about a trip to Montreal this summer, and I'm eager to go. We'll see how it pans out.

I've been fasting because of the health screening and am now REALLY hungry. Maybe I should pack some fruit for after the blood work.

A Good Week In Londontown

March 23rd, 2016 at 09:57 pm

It's been another fun week with really good classes, not much spending, and lots of adventures. I had my hair cut and colored last week, and got an unexpected e-mail later from the salon about the colorist wanting to re-do the color. I thought it looked great, but if she wants to re-do it for free in two weeks, I'm all for it. It'll stretch the next appointment a bit.

Another highlight was a fun coffee date with a former colleague.

And today I took my British Life and Culture class to the Sky Garden in the heart of the "City," London's financial hub. It's has an amazing garden and beautiful view spot on the 35th floor of an office building they call the Walky-Talky. We always go for coffee on Wednesdays, and although you have to book , it's just a normal casual coffee shop in the morning. It was a cloudy day, but fabulous anyway. Lots of fun and lots of memories for them and me.

Magic Continues

March 10th, 2016 at 11:15 am

Yep, another wonderful week here. I was getting a little restless last weekend, but this week has been great. Monday saw my British Lit class on a little walking tour of literary sites. Tuesday the British Women Writers class was on fire with a fabulous discussion and then all students (and me) went to see The Lion King. I think they loved it more than me, but the spectacle was very good. I couldn't sleep after all that, but classes went fine. The best part, however, was the surprise invitation from a colleague to the British Antiques Dealer Show. He'd bought things there before and had free tickets--complete with a champagne reception. So, I got to rub shoulders with the fancy antique types, look at some fantastic paintings, silver, ceramics (oh the Art Nouveau bowl), and furniture, have a lovely (and cheap) dinner, and several glasses of free Taittinger champagne. I spent 12 GBP on dinner; my colleague wouldn't let me buy him dinner, had a magnificent crab salad and a wonderful evening. Someone remind me of this when I'm decluttering and selling crud from my basement this summer.

Not Very Successful

February 13th, 2016 at 11:49 am

But nonetheless, fun. I've been to the theatre two nights this week and had a snack and a glass of wine at both. Did I "need" those? Nope. But no regrets. It seems a shame to be at the magnificent National Theatre and Branagh's new rep company and not have a glass of wine, doesn't it? I did nab my free cappuccinos at Waitrose before both shows.

The plays weren't cheap--20 GBP last night, but oh so wonderful. But I didn't spend much else. I bought a book I needed for class, but managed to find a super cheap copy at a off-price shop in Camden. And I bought some fill able travel bottles for going to France. Both of those cost 5GBP together. And now the shopping has begun for DH and DD to come back at Easter.

I need to buy a birthday gift today so intend to slip out to some markets and maybe a charity shop or two.And since I'm spending Valentine's weekend alone, I'm buying some nicer-than-usual groceries. I used Target.com through SB to send small gifts to DH and DD. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!

A few photos

February 7th, 2016 at 12:43 am

Hoping to get a photo from Bath to upload.

Allons-y!

January 21st, 2016 at 01:32 pm

I'm packed, weighed, and almost ready to roll.

There are a few things that need to be done around here, but I'm going out to breakfast with my university gals, then will come home and tackle it.

I'm so happy to have a housesitter, and the dog will love her.

Lots to do with my online class, but much of that can wait until Sunday/Monday.

Breathing deeply and ready for the adventure.

Getting There

January 18th, 2016 at 06:48 am

I was in a bit of a panic yesterday worrying about getting everything done. I spent hours yesterday working on my new London class, and have worked it all out: syllabus, calendar, PowerPoints. It's ready! And two evenings of solid grading got me caught up on my Winterim class, so I feel much better. I'm halfway packed and have made a huge stack for DD and DH. I even made a big pot of veggie soup from fridge odds and ends.

Today I made a huge list and have been working it all day. And yesterday's mail brought something lovely: $350 for a survey I did in November about a new textbook. Honestly, I'd forgotten it.

It's pretty darn cold here, and I think I'm developing a slight case of cabin fever. Luckily I have a lunch date tomorrow.

Winterim Class Begins

January 5th, 2016 at 02:05 am

My online Winterim class began today with everyone except three or four logging in and starting to work. I'll wait another day before I remind them again. I've also begun my UK packing pile. I have a two dept meetings tomorrow, several errands, and a dentist appointment. And I'm incredibly grumbly. I'd much rather read all day, and maybe eat some deli lunch.

My goal for the rest of the evening is to find my lost motivation. It must be here somewhere.

The Force

January 2nd, 2016 at 01:54 am

The Force was finally with us today as we reshuffled our NY's plans to see the new Star Wars today. Why the reshuffle? The inane Ipic theatre wouldn't let anyone under 21 (even with parent) into a film after 7 last night, and our tickets were for 7:10. While we were a bit disappointed, we came home and played our new board games--and ended up saving over $20 on today's tickets.

I haven't worked out 2016 goals as I haven't quite accomplished all of 2015's leftovers. So we'll likely see some repeats.

As for now we're really enjoying the NY concert from Vienna and looking forward to Sherlock.

Happy New Year to my SA friends!

A Mini Update

December 19th, 2015 at 05:01 am

I'm almost done grading! Well, almost almost done. I finished my adjunct grading last night and half of my regular grades have been submitted. I've spent a fair amount of time deflecting pleading e-mails and 'shocked" realizations that assignments they forgot to turn in months ago were too late to submit. So--another push tonight and I may move the bar from almost almost to almost. I'll certainly be done tomorrow.

On a minor financial front, I've sold a load of my daughter's things on a local FB list: a total of three jackets, a Christmas skirt, a Christmas dress, and best of all--the Barbie Dream House. It's not so much the $50 or so, but more the physical and psychic space this stuff occupies. And it's just lovely to sell it to someone very excited to have it.

In between, I've ordered and wrapped about half the Christmas stuff, evacuated the contents of the guest room closet where many treasures are stuffed, and hope to get them all in their place by Tuesday.

There's still plenty on my list, but I'll review that tomorrow. Back to the grading.

Hacking Away at the List

November 22nd, 2015 at 01:03 am

This is the time of the semester that I despair of ever getting everything done. I spent a chunk of yesterday on personal chores including buying a winter jacket for DD, getting Thanksgiving groceries and wine, and listing some outgrown clothes for sale--and I paid for that time later. After dinner I started in on my massive mountain of grading and graded steadily until 2am with only Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear for company.

But I'm now three-quarters done with the grading and assignment creation, made soup, lasagna rolls, and cookies. I could really use three days at home, but DD has a cold and we've skipped out annual tree lighting visit, so I may get more done tonight.

It's been a spendy week between jackets, wine, and various fill-in spending. Better get back to it to avoid another Longmire-filled wee hour binge.

Simple Shopping

November 13th, 2015 at 04:15 pm

I've spent an hour this morning catching up and getting ahead on some needed shopping. I had stopped in Kohl's on the way home Wednesday, but abandoned my purchases mid-shop as I could feel I was buying too much, was too tired, and not very focused.

But armed with several coupon codes, the Swagbucks portal, and good night's sleep, I bought curtains for the office, pj pants for DH, and new valances for DD's room. I made much better choices, found office valances on line they didn't have in the store, and saved a lot of money. Kohl's kind of makes me crazy and it's much better online.

I now have several things for Christmas purchased and ideas for many more. I also bought a dress for myself from Loft. My work clothes are tired, and I actually wore a dress the other day to teach--and got a ton of compliments on it. I need a few new things.

Any one have recommendations on the best (control top) black tights? I used to buy Donna Karan tights, but I'll bet there are better cheaper ones out there.

November? Really?

November 1st, 2015 at 04:43 pm

It's a beautiful morning here after all the rain and gloom of the past few days, so it's hard to believe it's November. I have to admit, I love November. The fall cooking is fun; my classes seem to have settled down, and Christmas crazy hasn't started yet.

I'm having a rare moment of feeling caught up --which probably means I've forgotten something--but I feel like doing some planning. Maybe I'll start with menu planning, then go on to allocating some money to different pots. We put off our bathroom remodeling when DH's job was shaky, but things have settled down a great deal, and I think I'm ready to get a couple more bids and get started.

I've really been enjoying the World Series. Usually I consider watching sports not the best use of my time, but I can easily write assignments and grade them on the laptop with baseball on, and I'm almost caught up on laundry. Now the horrible choice of the Series tonight or the Packer game.

Friday Musings

October 31st, 2015 at 12:42 am

I feel like I've been playing catch up for more than a week. Usually Friday is a solid work day for me, both at home and with school work. But last Friday I had a mammogram and my daughter had the day off, so I didn't get much done. I was planning on a lot done today, but Tuesday I got the call I needed a follow-up mammogram scheduled for today. Everything turned out fine, but instead of the 90 minutes they told me to plan for, it took over three hours with the ultrasounds and consultation. Of course I was exhausted afterwards and didn't really kick into gear until after 5.

Thankful for my good health insurance and that I still had money left in my flex account for the co-pay.

My DH's new contracting agency is paying him weekly, but he does not get any PTO, even holidays. His hourly rate is higher, so we should still come out ahead, but it's time we take a closer look at our budget again. But that may wait for yet another Friday.

Quiet Quiet Quiet

October 3rd, 2015 at 09:04 pm

And mostly quiet because I can hardly talk. Did I say it here? I have pneumonia; I was diagnosed at Urgent Care a week ago and have been home over since. I've significantly improved, have found someone to take my adjunct class, and have been running my university classes from the recliner. After five days of fever and chills, I'm glad to be on the mend. But I can tell the doctor is right, I'm at less than 50 % lung capacity.

So, I'm doing what I can from here. I've read capstone projects, graded papers, folded laundry, read, watched Netflix, and counseled students via e-mail. My London numbers are not strong, but I think we'll make it.

DH is doing his best but he'll never make it as a caring professional. We had good news on his job; right in the midst of this, his contracting agency dumped him, but he's landed a new agency that might even be better for us cash wise. I'm going to try to roast some veggies, but the least little thing gets me pretty winded.

If you like Scandi crime dramas and can put up with subtitles, I recommend Diche on Netflix. I like those stories.

So Far, So Good

September 11th, 2015 at 08:16 pm

I did get hit for the $8 for parking with my SA rep yesterday. But I got a free lunch at the SA fair and we had a very busy day. Our Study Abroad Fair runs from 9-2, but we got there around 8:30 and didn't have a minute to breathe or talk virtually the whole time.

I'm pleased to see so many students interested; one of our virtues is that our program fees are pretty inexpensive--just a bit more than a semester's tuition and housing here here on campus. Of course they spend a lot in London, but compared to some of the semester programs, we're cheap.

After I came home, DH and I headed to the Fall Orientation for DD's last year of middle school. She's had a really good year so far, and is over the moon that she's in the highest vocab group--which consists of three kids.

I'm still cleaning up after the office remodel, and I will definitely get it done this weekend. It's really a paper morass--teaching materials for every class I've ever taught, office supplies, personal letters, bills--you name it, I've got 12. But slowly and surely I'm getting there.

My reward for getting it done will be to finally list the small mountain of stuff I want to sell. If it doesn't sell quickly, out it goes.

Soggy

September 9th, 2015 at 12:15 am

After a mixed weekend of fun and work, today certainly started out soggy. I parked in the underground garage at the university though it's so darn expensive--but it was tipping down. That and coffee added up to $10. Not the best start for the week, but it had to be done.

I did deposit a $20 rebate in the bank, and also cashed $25 out of Swagbucks to deposit in Paypal--with the $1.50 discount.

Hoping for a good and cheaper week ahead.

Irritated and Frustrated

September 3rd, 2015 at 03:16 am

My check for my capstone project reads was due August 1, but sometimes they're a month behind. Yet when it didn't show up yesterday, I contacted them. They've changed job responsibilities and the BIG boss was supposed to submit the read list. But he didn't and said he'd do it this month. Really? No apology for being two months behind on these? It's $750 and these are tight months. I've already submitted the next term's list and said I'd like to be paid for them both as soon as possible--which I know will be October 1. But man it irritates me that there was NO apology.

In more significant news, I met my first two classes today. My favorite moment was a very cranky young man who didn't appear on my class list, and who got even crankier when I told him after class I'd need to check on his enrollments. He insisted on showing me his schedule on his phone which indeed had him in my classroom at the right time---but TOMORROW--not today. He brightened up a bit when I told him he didn't have to show up tomorrow morning since he sat through the opening day once already. I signed an add form for a very personable young man who wrote a very persuasive e-mail and did all the right things to get in. Then I later got a follow-up thank you e-mail from him. Somebody raised that kid right.

We'll see how they shake out--it's very early to tell.


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