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Many Things

October 12th, 2019 at 07:19 pm

Lots of bits and pieces today: DD worked on a school project called Generosity Feeds both last night and today assembling soup kits for school counselors to distribute as needed. And I did laundry, pickup, grading and more and more of that. It was very cold here too, and while I toyed with the idea of holding off on the heat, I thought, the heck with it. It was 35 this morning. Too cold to mess around.

Yesterday afternoon I brought in my potted herbs and cut some chives. The chives usually go into a freezer pot to be used as needed throughout the winter. They grow so well outside I can't see much point in digging them up and bringing them in.

Much more to think through, but that can wait. Time to take the darn ironing board down. Exciting Saturday nights here in my English castle, eh?

Now We're Cooking!

October 11th, 2019 at 11:50 am

While the dog and I took an early walk, I've been mostly inside today--alternating between grading and cooking.

I made a big pot of potato leek soup, adapting Pioneer Woman's recipe to include leeks instead of celery. The not-so-swell apples went into cranberry apple crisp, and I've cooked down some red cabbage. Happy to use lots things up, and SO happy to have a day home. I really don't like the administrative part of my job--too much responsibility and too little reward. Give me the classroom any darn day.

DD has a jam-packed weekend with work and lots of school service projects. I intend to do lots of work and get my horrible house picked up--starting now with my kitchen mess.

No spending but plenty of goodness today!

Battening Down

October 10th, 2019 at 07:17 pm

When I got home from the university this afternoon, I put on the remaining storm windows and looked up some new soup recipes. It must be fall, eh?

We have only a few weeks left of our CSA share. Right now we have loads and loads of potatoes, onion, leeks, and squash as well as celeriac, kohlrabi, and so much more. I think it'll be leek and potato soup tomorrow--maybe a load of roasted veggies over the weekend.

It's week six of the semester, so buried in grading and work. If the weather turns out to be as nasty as they're saying, it'll be a good weekend to stay in, grade papers, and make soup.

I visited the benefits fair at the university yesterday, got my free flu shot, and investigated other health and dental plans. I think we'll probably renew what we had this year. And tomorrow my wellness incentive forms are due. I can't access them until today's activities process, so it needs to be done tomorrow.

Save Save Save

October 8th, 2019 at 08:39 pm

Long day at the university today, but I spent nothing. Long talk with a colleague about money; she's the only sensible one of all my university colleagues, but she noticed I was eating a salad from home while she'd got one from the Farmer's Fridge vending machine. I also had coffee from home and had to leave briefly to move my car.

Sometimes we all spend money to make our lives a bit more smooth, but I had to laugh when she estimated she spent $20 today vs my zero outlay.

Some of my more intensive financial focus came from the news my adjunct class (and the paycheck) was cancelled for low enrollment. No adjunct work until January. Bleah, but also hooray.

I was hoping to throw that cash into DD's college fund, but have a bit more time and energy to attempt some other money-saving ideas. Penny saved and all that.

Updating Slowly

October 7th, 2019 at 06:42 pm

Glad SA is back, and I guess I'll update things slowly as I get more time.

The last couple of weeks have been devoted to DD's college stuff. She's chosen five US schools and five UK schools to apply to. And we've gone over the costs a bit. It's so hard to know until the financial aid offers come through, and I'll need to finish her FAFSA soon. I wouldn't mind seeing her go to a large public university in the Midwest, but she has lots of ideas. The bottom line on all of this is some belt tightening--especially since DH's ancient clunker has almost breathed its last. He only drives it to the Park and Ride, but it didn't pass emissions and the garage says its not worth fixing. So on to a slightly newer clunker. I dearly wish we could get away with just one car, but I can't seem to make it work.

Lots to do and plan for.

Back To Work

March 24th, 2019 at 06:45 pm

My spring break is ending, and DD's is starting. I always wish they were the same week, but they never seem to overlap.

In financial news, we've been looking at the totals for DD's France trip when she graduates. She's aiming to pay 25 percent or more and have some spending money. We'll chip away at it with the installment plan.

It's been a cheap-ish break for me. I went to Minneapolis last weekend to see my BF, but got a great deal on a hotwire hotel. Parking for the weekend cost more than just about anything else. BF and I went to see a band we like, toured a model home, and planned our trip. I also got a couple hours to visit with my brother and his wife.

DD has a lot of work hours this week as they're teaching her to frost cakes. Sweet, huh?

I'm also teaching my night class which is a good source of extra cash, but I am so tired the next day. I've thought a lot about giving it up, but will teach through June.

I cashed in some Swagbucks, mostly earned from online shopping and put it toward my big goal.

Seven weeks left in the semester and seven weeks to France.

Catching Up

March 9th, 2019 at 07:07 am

The last month has sort of been a whirlwind, and it's good to be back reading everyone's blogs on SA. It's been extremely busy at work as we're trying very hard to hire for two new faculty positions. We have eight candidates chose; the seventh came on Thursday to speak, and the eighth arrives Monday. All of this has meant lunches, lectures, campus tours on top of the usual mayhem of the semester. And this is my first semester writing employee annual evaluations. And we've hosted professional development sessions. And my part-time class starts Monday.

And that's just my work. Our DD is enjoying her new part-time job with all the thrills that go with a paycheck and bank account. She is tired. She's also been very busy with theatre as they have two more performances of Mamma Mia. There have been a couple of weeks of craziness as she tried to balance that with school work, 6am meetings of the French Honor Society, bake sales, you name it. We are both longing for spring break.

DH is enjoying his class and his contract has been renewed for another three months. Although we odn't like the uncertainty of contract work, he is making more money than he ever has. That's been a good thing. And he still has free lunch and bus fare there from his student bus card.

We are pondering a trip to France for DD. Her French teacher is from Lyon, and the advanced French students are offered the opportunity to travel to a Francophone country every two years. The cost is, well, yuck. It would be Summer 2020 as she graduates. They've offered us ways to reduce the cost including hosting a French student for a few weeks this summer and deciding early. These would save about $350--about 10% of the cost of the trip. We will sit down and talk this through in the next two weeks as she'll have to write the application letter in French which might take a bit.

She is also looking at more colleges, including British universities. So much to think about.

In the meantime, I'm thinking about France too. Two months before I take off with my BFF.

Another Snow Day

February 12th, 2019 at 08:22 am

With 10" of new snow overnight, we're all home again. I think this is a good opportunity to get a lot done--caught up on grading, laundry etc.

I spent nothing yesterday as I brought my coffee, and made a great big pot of soup from Thanksgiving turkey stock. I have another turkey in the freezer, and this might be the perfect weekend to roast it.

No real money news, but would like to get the taxes done this week and get a bit ahead of the game.

Back to it!

This and That

February 3rd, 2019 at 08:53 am

There was a fair amount of spending today, mostly on necessities. DD spent the morning at ACT prep, but headed to Target with me for khakis for her new job. They also wanted brown shoes, so DSW had a comfy pair. And then groceries. All in all I think we spent over $200 on the combination. Little bits of savings with red card and coupons, but not much.

I'm headed to brunch with my university friends. I'm eager to see them and catch up. I haven't been AT work since last Tuesday--and that was the only day last week with the snow and cold cancellations. I'm going to drop off the results of my decluttering either this morning or tomorrow.

I'll have lots of errands this week and need to plan easy portable meals. DD is working after school from 3-7, and DH is out two nights. Sounds like me and the dog will become besties for a while.

I thought I might run Swagbucks this month as it's a short month, but after 20 minutes on their site, I may just not. Not enough bang for the buck.

Enjoy the Super Bowl, folks.

New Month

February 1st, 2019 at 06:49 pm

Goodbye, January. The ghost of you will reappear in our heating bills, but it's nice to close the door on that cold, hard month. And it's nice to get paid. I also hope we can move on from all of our car bills, dental bills, etc.

In fun news, my DD opened a bank account today. She started her after school jojb orientation. Between that, the theatre, and all her schoolwork, she is going to be very busy.

I haven't spent a dime in days, but did contribute today to a friend's nephew's gofundme page. He's 27, has two children, and has just been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

It's time to buckle down for a serious pantry/freezer cleanout. I'd like to spend as little as possible this month--just milk and fresh fruit and veg. That's all for tonight.

$2 Coffee and Then the Darn Dentist

January 15th, 2019 at 06:21 pm

I led a brainstorming session with colleagues today, spending only$2 on coffee. But then there was the follow-up dental appointment where the hygienist had me somehow convinced that I needed additional lab work to help determine the cause of my periodontal disease. To the tune of $150. I'm glad I decided on the fancy/expensive dental insurance this year. I have a feeling it's going to be an expensive year for my mouth (again).

A thrifty dinner of cauliflower cheese ensued. DD had a phone interview for a job this afternoon. She's eager for her first real job at the advanced age of 16. I hope it works out.

Getting a Bit Tight

January 14th, 2019 at 05:54 pm

We've paid both visa bills completely,so our travel bills are all accounted for. It's going to be a bit tight for the next month as my contractor husband won't get paid for while we're gone.

I haven't taken many steps toward frugality since we've been home, but we could take some steps towards eating through the freezer. Instead we've been doing some cleaning and decluttering. We thoroughly cleaned our fridge, have worked our way through the closet, and I'm cleaning the office and downstairs closet later this week.

Next weekend I'm off to Minnesota for a weekend with my best friends. One, a friend since second grade, has recently bought a house on the north shore of Lake Superior and is working half time in the Twin Cities. So we're all headed up north of Duluth where the temps should be below zero all weekend. I'm cold just thinking about it.

In the interest of frugality (ha), I've used gift cards earned from textbook reviews to buy a new jacket. I'm going to need it if we're snowshoeing this weekend!

I also need to load in 2019 goals. Many of them will be unaccomplished 2018 goals. It was that kind of year.

Lovely Lovely London

December 23rd, 2018 at 01:25 pm

Ok, it may be raining right now, but what a lovely time we're having.
We arrived Wednesday, found the airbnb with no problem, got settled in, went for a walk by the Regents Canal and got some groceries. It's quite a spacious two-bedroom in a nice area of London, but I do mss the "old neighborhood."

Thursday, I had lunch with a study abroad friend, we did a little stint at the British Museum, than a dinner at home to recoup a bit.
We tried to see the WinterWonderland in Hyde Park, but it was just too crowded. Friday we were off to see the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, catch up with some friends, and then headed to the Southbank to see their European Christmas Market--which was much less crowded, free, and fun. Friday night was
the Barbican to see Macbeth. Meh--but worth it to see Eccleston, at least for me.

Really fun day with a long walk in St James's Park with family yesterday, lunch, a chance to see the new great nephew too. DD and went to the National Theatre to see Hadestown--her Christmas present. It was wonderful--and walked and walked on Bond Street and through Piccadilly to see lights. Very fun day.

Today we mt friends for lunch in Hampstead, did a long walk, and came heme stuffed and suitably tired. The airbnb has been good with both a washer and dryer. We've spent little except on food as the theatre tickets were all bought ages ago. We;;, maybe a few books at my favorite bookshop.

I've also managed to keep up with the project grading I took n to help pay for all this. It's fun assessment, and so far, not bad at all.


Happy Christmas to all my SA Friends!

Different Sorts of Days

December 8th, 2018 at 01:54 pm

I had to laugh at an encounter with a student group yesterday. I ran into them in our library coffeeshop, and they were surprised to see me, asking if I didn't have Fridays off. It's a week until the end of the semester--nobody has a day off, even on weekends.

But yesterday was filled with staff meetings, class scheduling issues, and then a wonderful few hours evaluating freshman research projects. We've been encouraging veteran instructors to help their students develop research projects and mentor them. I looked at projects from history, English, and psychology which were all so well done and interesting. And there was food! I cannot tell you how welcome a huge plate of vegetables and a lovely urn of coffee is in the middle of a day like that.

Two more student meetings followed--then off to the History Department to see my husband receive his award--where there was MORE FOOD. I think I should have been a historian--what lovely people, gracious and charming.

And then home to grade more projects of varying quality. So these late semester days are different, but bless the folks who order in food to keep us going.

Our DD did her first stab at the college entrance exams this morning. No news for weeks, but she can breathe a sigh of relief that it's over for a bit. And she's been made the head of costumes for their upcoming production of Mamma Mia.


Back to grading and how to improve this assignment next time.

Small Sale

December 4th, 2018 at 07:53 pm

Yes, I sold a game for $8. We had a duplicate, and more than the cash, I'm happy to move it on out. I have much more to go, but I can feel the semester about to wind down even if there are almost two weeks left. My pot of soup made over the weekend was a nice no-work dinner tonight.

I stopped at CVS on the way home from work for some chocolate to fill up the Advent calendar

Still patching in some London bits. We've always taken the tube into London from Heathrow as it's the cheapest, but it can be a hassle with big suitcases, depending on the final destination. I hemmed and hawed over the Paddington/Heathrow express as it's pretty expensive unless you book significantly ahead. But I found we can take the non=express train right to Paddington for only a few quid more. And the airbnb isn't far from there, so I think that's the right decision. We have a long list of things to do before then--and it's only two weeks!