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Small Savings and Reimbursements

May 26th, 2022 at 03:44 pm

I spent an hour this morning filing some Flex spending reimbursements.  I'd gotten behind on that since the paperwork is a bit fussy, but the totals were over $100 with DD's allergists and various prescriptions.  I likely have more to do, but that's a start.

I got a much-needed haircut yesterday, but couldn't get a color appointment until (eek) July.  I'm not the most skilled colorist and without DD doing the back of my head, I was not enthusiastic.  But I bought a Madison  Reed color kit which I've had success with before, and spent a good hour on it this morning.  I don't like doing it; I have thick hair and it's a process.  The results are fine, I've saved $50 or so, and am presentable for a while. 

Now off to another meeting; they're endless in these weeks after classes are over.

 

 

Plants and Coffee

May 25th, 2022 at 03:11 am

I had coffee with one of my instructors to tell him I was leaving.  I'm a huge fan of who he is as a teacher and as a human.  He does a lot of film work as a sideline, and has the coolest ideas.  He's so interested in everything that our planned 45 minutes of coffee turned into 2 hours. 

Since I was already out and about I thought it was about time to buy some tomato plants and annuals for the patio.  Yikes, inflation has hit there too.  I ended up with smaller tomatoes for cheaper which I may live to regret and tried to be very strategic with purchased annuals, supplementing them with some things started from seed.  But man, sort of moderate to meh geraniums were $8-10.  All the cheaper ones left at our local nursery were salmon, and I wanted hot pink and white.  But another woman and I teamed together to sort through 50 flats, searching for red for her, and my white and pink.  I love to find someone else on a mission like me.  And we succeeded.

DD and her BF are safely in Scotland, recovering fron jet lag with a walk in Holyrood Park and a trip to her favorite ramen place. Her parents ate leftover pasta for dinner and enjoyed watching the baby bunnies who are unfortunately nested in our front planter box.  But they're adorable and likely have their eyes on my new plants.

Grades Done Now a Short Respite

May 23rd, 2022 at 08:35 pm

Pheww--It was a long weekend of grading final projects and figuring final grades.

I did manage to slip away for a couple hours to see the Downton Abbey movie with DD.  I can't say it was the best movie ever, but it's always a lovely escape to Downton for a little while.  And speaking of DD, she's left for her European jaunt today with her BF.  They'll be gone almost five weeks and covering way too much territory.  They start with a couple of days back in Edinburgh where thankfully they can stay in her dorm room with her BF in another dorm room for free.  Most of the rest of the time they're staying in hostels and a few days with family friends.  Yeah, I am a little nervous about two 19-year-olds wandering a big continent, but I like to think they're careful girls.

Lots of odds and ends to clean up from the semester, and my summer class starts in a week.  But I hope to take some time with the garden, the house, and some additional planning before the next class begins.

I've been combing through the guest room closet--a sort of catchall and gift closet.  I sold a set of sheets that I bought on impulse for the guest room, so will send that $25 and some misc refunds to savings soon.

Lots of Decisions

May 21st, 2022 at 12:50 am

I got my final retirement date from the university today.  They'd orginally told me August 21, now they're changing it to August 11.  I'm not sure it matters as I'll just do a bit of clean-up, perhaps sit in on some candidate interviews etc between when my summer teaching ends in late June and then.  The university health insurance continues until the end of August when we'll switch to DH's health insurance. 

That switch may take some getting used to.  He has a variety of plans from which to choose, so we'll need to look those over more carefully, especially now that DD is getting more intensive allergy treatments.  I'm busily booking dentist and a variety of doctor's appointments as we've already hit the copay with our current insurance.

I've decided to take the lump-sum incentive as a 403b contribution.  I will hit the upper limit for those almost exactly with the incentive.  Because I don't want that settlement money exposed to current volatility, I changed my mutual fund selections today and will temporarily stash that in a  money market fund.  We're considering all sorts of possibilities including keeping a base in the US when we move to the UK. It will be nice to have that money a bit liquid.

I can also escrow sick leave to buy into the state insurance plans later which I will do once I hear all the options.  I have some time to decide that and have any appointment with the state benefits people later in June. 

Lots of decisions!  And still...lots of grading to finish.

In simpler news, it was a no-spend day, I hung a load of laundry outside and DH and I ate leftovers for lunch and chicken burgers and a cucumber salad for dinner.  I'm itching to do some house things, but back to the grading.  Grades due on Thursday, but man, I'd like to finish this sooner.

 

 

 

Well, I Did It

May 18th, 2022 at 10:29 pm

Today was indeed a one-off.  I had a sit-down meeting with my boss and told him I was taking the retirement incentive package.  I'll teach a summer class but my last day at the university will be August 21.  I turn in the papers tomorrow. Because I've always had impeccable timing, this has coincided nicely with the giant stock market sell-off. 

But heck, DH's job is going well, the university pension will almost be as much as my current take-home pay (minus, of course, the health insurance and 403b contributions.  I'll delay any other withdrawals from investments as long as possible and Social Security for years.  Except for traveling, we're pretty lean livers.  I'm forever grateful that DH grew up eating whatever was put in front of him and never wasting food.  DD's education is pretty well paid for,and she's decided to be an RA her final year at uni to save on rent and food.

So here we go.  I've got a series of benefits meetings with the HR folks, lots of house cleaning and clearing, and a complete inventory of things to do. 

And yes, I did find a penny at ALDI today!

 

 

 

 

Movie Recommendation

May 13th, 2022 at 07:28 pm

We took advantage of some reduced price movie tickets last night to see "The Duke." I know I'm a supergeek, but I thought it was charming with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren set in 1960s England.  I'm so delighted to see a movie for adults without a Marvel superhero in them. 

It's going to be a weekend full of grading for me.  Hope you all have a good one!

Happy One Day From the End of the Semester

May 11th, 2022 at 01:33 pm

Hello my SA Friends:

Yeah, it's been a couple of months.  I spent a wonderful 10 days in London and Scotland visiting DD.

She's home now finishing up her last final of her sophomore year and working part-time.  She has an internship this summer and is plotting another trip.  She clearly has my wanderlust.

Unfortunately I returned from Scotland and immediately got COVID, but both DH and I recovered pretty well.

And now I have nine days to decide whether to take my retirement incentive or not.  I'm certainly leaning that way, trying NOT to look at the stock market.  DH (he's such a youngster) will continue working, and I can switch our health insurance to his.  But the prospect of not teaching after so many years leaves me a touch sad. 

I looked at a couple new London neighborhoods with a friend, and we're trying to plot whether we can indeed be transatlantic.  As soon as I can finish up the semester's grading, I'll make a final decision.

Hope you're all well!  As I focus on financial matters, I hope to be back here more often.

 

Hello SA Folks!

March 13th, 2022 at 06:23 pm

Oof, I've been out of touch for a while.  Blame the university, personal concerns, general weltschmerz.  But we're ok here.  We recently had to say goodbye to our wonderful almost 16-year-old dog, and are still feeling that pretty badly.

But money things are fine, and I'm contemplating a retirement buyout from the university.  I'm again frustrated with them and will certainly look at their offer.  I need to submit an indication of interest next week. 

Will read some blogs to catch up, and hope you're all well.

 

Novemberitis

November 15th, 2021 at 03:43 am

Yes, with four or so weeks left in the semeser, I'm in my usual mire of grading and planning and  not much else.  The dog saga continues as now we're wondering if her issues might be an ongoing ear infection.  So we're off the antibiotics and trying ear meds hoping that will help her jaw issues.  She hangs on and seem to eat only in the afternoons and evenings.  She's kind of herself sometimes.  --some wagging, some dancing around.  I'm going to try taking her to the park after school tomorrow to see if that perks her up.

Tomorrow is my scheduled booster shot. I'm glad to get it as I'm headed to Minnesota next weekend to see a bunch of friends and the numbers--especially outside the Twin Cities are not good.  In other snooze-inducing news I spent a small fortune at the grocery store and on an oil change.  I've had to dip into savings short term to cover this month's remaining tuition bills, hosing for DD, and the new range.  But we should be able to pay things back over the next few months. 

Which brings me to the somewhat unexpected news about DH's job. He's been a contractor at a large local firm for almost 20 years--with a blip of about a year at another company.  The last two years have been his happiest there, still a contractor.  And now it finally appears they're offering him a job.  So we'll see what they offer.  But while we would've been overjoyed at the news for years, it's now sort of "meh."  We want to move to London.  But this will at least offer some stability while we prepare for that. 

 

Another Good Dog Day

November 6th, 2021 at 02:47 am

Well, we've had another good day with the dog.  She's still struggling to eat, but I've cooked her a chicken breast and found meatballs are the perfect method of getting the antibiotics in her. She even went for a little walk today.  Crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.

It was a busy day with the opening of a new writing lab in our business school.  It's nice to see corporate sponsorship for something like writing.  But it meant I'm behind in grading and planning, so much of the weekend will be devoted to that.  I've been trying to get a decent walk in every day and am listening to Roger Whitney, aka the Retirement Answer Man.  I think his podcasts are aimed for people with a bit more income and assets than we have, but they're interesting.  Anyone else listen to him? 

It will be back to 60 degrees here tomorrow, so hoping to get a few tulip bulbs in and perhaps a pot of soup made. 

We've also booked our DD's flight home from Edinburgh the first week in December. Her exams are all on line the following week, so we'll have a good stretch with her home.   She's really settled in there and loves the university.  I'm so proud and relieved that the semester has worked out so well for her. She'll head back there in January.  I'm hoping to use some air miles to pay for her next flights.

Happy Friday everyone!

 

 

Vet Bills

November 4th, 2021 at 03:57 am

Let's start with the good news: Our 15 1/2 year old dog is still ticking, still wagging a little.  Now the saga: Thursday she went to the vet for a bad itch that didn't seem to ever go away.  Treatment --claritin and see us if it gets worse.  Friday she started strangely trembling and in a lot of pain. Diagnosis--bulging disc in her back which needs rest and a strong pain reliever.  Saturday morning after one dose of the pain pills, she couldn't walk, seem overdosed and unfocused.  When the drug wore off, she ate a little something and then sort of revived.  By Sunday and Monday she seemed much worse.  Lots of accidents, no food, running a temp.  I spent a good hour googling at home euthanasia. By Monday night I was convinced it was not a back issue, but instead an infection. We were up all night with her.

Yesterday morning it was back to the vet.  My husband had to carry her in, but while she was there, a huge abscess burst which was apparently the source of the infection.  Either it was not there at the previous appointments or they missed it. Since then she's been on antibiotics and has really perked up.  She's still struggling, but she's eating and is bright eyed.  Please don't ask the total of the unused drugs and bills.  But she's worth it if she still wants to hang in there.

Oof.  There will need to be cutbacks

Home on the Range

October 29th, 2021 at 03:25 am

About six weeks ago, our 15-year-old range gave up the ghost.  I ordered one from Best Buy which was supposed to arrive last week--but didn't.  Now they are having issues tracking it down.  Since September we've been making do with the gas burners which still work and a toaster oven.  Today I went back to Best Buy, cancelled the original order, and ordered a different one for delivery on Saturday.    They seem very short staffed.  Another gentlemen was also in the appliance section and said he'd been waiting 20 minutes for someone to help him.  I finally rounded up a couple of staff, but I'm fondly remembering the days when staff would follow you around and try to help.     Cross your fingers that this one actually comes.

I withdrew a bit more money from DD's 529 to help with the tuition bills, bought some Halloween candy which I'm trying hard to resist, and picked up the last load of seasonal veggies from the CSA.  Excited to try a new recipe for a trio of vegetable salads like the ones I remember from Germany--a carrot, a beet, and a celeriac one.  I may even make the cucumber one too. 

School is busy, but it's midterm. 

 

 

So Many Things to Think About

October 20th, 2021 at 09:00 pm

Nothing like the middle of the semester to get me mired in thought.  I'm thinking about good students, bad students, disappearing students, and fraught committee work.    I'm also thinking about retirement.  I posted a question on the forums after learning some of my friends are either already taking Social Security or planning on taking it early.  Has the advice changed on that? 

Other things on my mind are the tuition bill juggling for DD's fabulous Scotland education.  She's having a grand time after a few blips.  But DH and I need to make some decisions about whether and when we might move to the UK. 

And then I think about mundane things like food budgets and decluttering and whether we should redo a bathroom here.  I should think about cleaning the house, but just thinking about that was made me decide to go for a walk in the wondrous autumn weather while it lasts. 

It's So Quiet...........

September 16th, 2021 at 03:28 am

Yeah, that's how I feel all the time with our DD gone to uni.  It's so quiet. No Taylor Swift blasting all over the house, no Phoebe Bridgers going long into the night, no endless phone calls.  I do video chat with her a lot, but those other 23 hours are eerie.

In money news, I took a bunch of my university gals out for dinner.  It's an annual tradition my mom started as a way of showing her friends how much she appreciated them.  We had a lovely patio dinner on Saturday night, and it was great to see everybody.  Our usual coffee shop grading and office hours have sort of dried up.  After teaching hours masked, we all want to hunker down in our offices, shut the door, and unmask for a bit.  Another reason to all get together.

Day to day spending has been minimal.  I've become a library regular again, deciding to read all the Ian Rankin Rebus mysteries in order for the fun Edinburgh setting.  Lots of cooking happening here too and much decluttering. I've made appointments for free flu shots, the dentist, and an eye check. 

We've paid the first installment of DD's housing, and I'm tapping into the 529 as her tuition bill is coming up.  Not much else new.  It's very busy at school, and I have tons of committee work this year.  I mostly stagger home, make dinner, watch the news, and start the process for the next day.  More money news coming soon.

 

 

September Songs

September 7th, 2021 at 08:48 pm

I have no idea why, but I've had Sinatra singing "September Song" in my head for days.  I guess it must be back-to-school time.

We're at Day 2 of masked instruction, and despite my qualms, it's going ok.  Cross your fingers that it continues to go ok.  All of our staff is nervous, students are unsure, but we're there and we're doing it.

In non-university news, our DD is safely ensconced in Scotland.  We had a wonderful trip despite less-than-wonderful flights.  On our flight out, the Chicago PD had to haul off the jerk in front of me for hitting a flight attendant and then refusing to mask.  His horrible behavior delayed us two hours which meant 200 people missed their connections in Dublin.  Part of me wishes they could've jettisoned him out at 35,000 feet.  But I don't have enough good things to say about Aer Lingus.  They were not my favorite airline before, but they sure are now.  They handled things so professionally and even comped us  meals and a  hotel room for 8 hours so we could shower and nap before the next connection.    And the paperwork for this trip was immense.  But despite all that, we did it!  

We had a great time in Edinburgh and environs, going all around and to the Scotish border abbeys and to Stirling, then back to the area where DD and I stayed last year with a trip to southern England for five days to visit DH's family.  DD is handling thing brilliantly.  She's signed up with the NHS, has a UK bank account, got her phone straightened out,and has been meeting people and exploring every day.  Uni starts in another two weeks, and she's encountered the fun of adulting, realizing that despite making meals today, she'll have to make them again tomorrow! 

The trip reinforced our desire to move back to the UK, so we've been decluttering and making a plan.

That's it for now.  After all, it's September which means I have work to do!

 

 

Running Around

August 6th, 2021 at 01:26 am

I feel like I made about 100 stops today--all errands.  I bought a new family room rug on FB.  I love it.  It's a year old, sells for $800 on Overstock and I paid $75.  We hauled it home, set it out in the sun to air it out, and brought it in.  Lots of fun!  DD and I went to pick up our CSA veggies, went for a pre-flight COVID test, dropped off veggies that won't keep or get eaten with a friend, returned library books, went to the bank, got coffees, then came home made lunch and hung laundry on the line.  After lunch we picked up prescriptions, bought a few things at the drugstore, replenished our mask supply and zipped up and weighed one of DD's bags.  Happily it both zipped and came in underweight.

We're awaiting the COVID test results and then will try to figure out how to upload them to the various flight portals.   Off to finish laundry and do some housekeeping!

 

Monday and August Updates

August 2nd, 2021 at 10:17 pm

I spent much of the day untangling messes at the university.  Three of "my" lecturers have found mre lucrative jobs, and we're facng our usual budget constraints.  Another quit this morning, so I'm scrambling for class coverage in a month.  Instead of hiring new people, we're going to try to offer overloads.  After the furlough cuts of last year, I've had a good response to my offers.   And I keep thinking about retiring. 

But enough about work headaches, we're nervous but excited about returning to Scotland. DD has found affordable (?) housing in one of those new privately run sorta dorms.  She'll have her own room and bathroom but share a kitchen and common space.  So far her new kitchen/pod mates include a girl from Trinidad, an Irish girl, and three boys from Aberdeen.  Sounds chaotic, but I think she's up for it.  We managed to cash flow her tuition last year and without housing costs, the year was under budget.  We're going early as my close friend (from second grade!)is getting married in northern Minnesota at the end of the month.  While we'll be gone two weeks, we'll get a chance to see DH's family and friends at the other end of the country too. 

We'll need to get DD a phone plan, a bank account, and an NHS doctor.  She'll need things for her room and the kitchen--most of which will be purchased there.

No matter what, it's kind of an expensive trip.  Airfares from Chicago through Dublin to Edinburgh are cheap-ish these days, but parking, airbnbs, trains, meals, etc, it all adds up.  But I'm focused on only one meal a day out and looking very much forward to it.  My English husband has never been to Scotland, so while we won't be able to fit everything in, it should be fun--and great to go away.  Sadly for me, my only moments in London will be the tube changing trains in Kings Crosss and emerging at Waterloo.  I may leave the family with the bags during the hour layover and go out and gaze at the Thames from Waterloo Bridge--sighing deeply.

 

 

Well, Hello!

July 31st, 2021 at 03:29 am

Hi SA Friends:

Long-time, no check-in.  I guess I'm tired of screens--teaching on screens, chatting on screens, working on screens.  But I need to get back on the SA Wagon. 

So what's news in our world?

DD and I spent most of July in Minnesota seeing friends and relatives--lots of hiking, eating, drinking and fun.

DD is headed back to Scotland for university in a few weeks--more on that to follow.

DH is still working from home

I taught a summer class remotely.

So overall, not much.  We've spent some $ on landscaping which is lovely and more on new doors which we're waiting on.  We also got new family room blinds when our old ones fell apart.  Our old dog has renal failure but is hanging in there so far. 

That's enough for now, but I promise to be back soon.

Hope you're all well!

 

 

 

I Got A Haircut!

March 10th, 2021 at 03:56 am

When else would that be such exciting news?  It's my second haircut in a year.  .  And just a cut, no color.  I'll handle the color myself as I've actually liked the Madison Reed color I used in November.  And I tipped my stylist a lot; what a hard year she's had. 

My DD has been cooking one night a week--all vegetarian dishes.  Tonight she made the Tiktok feta pasta which was rich, but delicious.  I feel a bit restless, but am eagerly looking forward to break in a week and a half.

 No other news to report.

March? Really?

March 1st, 2021 at 02:45 am

How on earth is it possible that it's March tomorrow?  It seems incredible.

My DH and I were taking a walk this afternoon and talking about how a year ago our daughter was prepping for her AP exams and trying to make college choices.  It seems like forever ago.

But we're all healthy and all employed and not spending much at all.  I've decided to use two days of my spring break to go over all our accounts and do some serious retirement plannng as well as ensure we have enough for DD's remaining years at university.  I'm confident we do, but would like to see the numbers.

March 1 is also a big day for educators (me) and grocery workers (DD) as eligible for the vaccine.  We've managed to secure appointments through a lot of screen refreshing, so we should (crossing our fingers) be vaccinated by the end of the week.  I'm pretty darn excited. 

We have a few things coming up including a food drive at church and muffin making for a local organization that packs meals for the homeless.  And that's it for Sunday night. 

 

Paying Myself Back

February 19th, 2021 at 05:45 am

It's been a busy day with student zoom conferences and an unexpected vet visit.  Our old dog had a strange episode last night--something the vet called an acute collapse.  She came running in from the yard, and when I turned around she was flat on the floor and not moving.  She stayed that way--though conscious --for about 4 or 5 minutes while I sat next to her trying to comfort her.  There was no sign of injury, so I'm not sure whether she ran into our unforgiving iron chair legs or collapsed for another reason.  But when my DH came in, she raised her head, and a few minutes later as I tried to carry her to her bed, she got up, drank some water, and sat there staring for a while.    By midnight she seemed almost fine, eating, drinking, etc

 

The vet was unsure too--did she have a concussion from running into something?  A cardiac event?  He ruled out a seizure as there was no shaking or spasms.  But she seems pretty good today for almost a 15-year-old.  So aside from $70 at the vet, I stopped into ALDI on the way home for some bargains.  I also am slowly paying myself back for DD's first year at university.  I owe myself $15,000 but have paid back $3000 since November.  A few other minor additions from refunds and Swagbucks added more to my big goal.  Financial goals for the weekend include DD's taxes.  Happy it'll be warmer!

Singing the Same Song

February 15th, 2021 at 08:03 pm

It's cold cold cold.  We were whining abut -4 until I checked my friends in central MN at -26.  My cabin fever comes and goes, but February--ugh.

We had a nice cheap Valentine's Day with lots of good food. I made strawbery pancakes and sausage for breakfast, then jambalaya for dinner with a bakewell tart--my first attempt at those.    I'd ordered some cute penguin earrings for DD, and DH bought a pretty blooming plant for me.  It was a nice day.

I have student conferences all week.  They're challenging weeks as I try to juggle regular work with talking to them.  But it really helps us all to talk to each other and build a solid bond. 

In between I'm decluttering,  and adding more layers to my bulky Michelin man conference clothes.

Good luck to all of you with the weather challenges!

 

 

February Cold

February 9th, 2021 at 11:08 pm

Yes, it's my least favorite month of the year, and we have a long cold snap.  Oh yeah, and everything else that's going on.  COVID has hit our circle hard--My best friend has lost her mother-in-law, two work colleagues have lost parents, and Friday my aunt died.  In between those, we lost two friends to colon cancer.  Man, I'm cheery, aren't I? 

So we keep on keeping on.  Work is fine for all of us.  DD is very busy with online classes, and my minor victory is I actually got on the treadmill today.  Little money news here.  I've become a fairly regular ALDI shopper as it's big and mostly empty when I go--and cheap.  I'll do the taxes this weekend. 

My major decision looming is whether to try to figure out our retirement timeline myself or hire a CFP.  I know some of you have experience with them, and I think I'd feel reassured if I go that route.  Dido?  Anyone else have recommendations?  My only qualm is that many of them I've found want huge $$ of assets, some stipulating over 2 million.  That's not us.  But we are a bit complicated with money in two countries and juggling tuition etc. 

 

Revving Up for the Semester

January 14th, 2021 at 04:20 am

This week and next week are all meetings all the time.  Those of you who are able to sit still and not fidget in long zoom meetings, please divulge your secrets.  I find myself moving around, nodding like a bobble head, or messing with pens and paper.

DD has started back (virtually) at Edinburgh, but my university doesn't begin classes until 25 January.  I have lots of prep for my classes and a lot of training for new instructors. 

Our only real significant financial news is getting our stimulus check.  We've decided to donate at least half and have set DD to find the best new donation spots.  It's been officially 10 months of this now, and I know how great the need is everywhere.

I sold a pair of extra ice skates and will throw that cash into the 100K fund soon.

Wishing you all safe and peaceful days.

 

No=Spend Stretch

January 7th, 2021 at 09:34 pm

Let's see--the last time I spent any money was ....Monday!  I stopped at Aldi to pick up a few things.  I'm not the world's biggest Aldi fan, but I can get in and out in a jiff and only needed basics.  And they certainly are cheaper on most basics.  Our standard grocers charge from $2-2.59 for a container of half and half.  Aldi is $1.59.  I haven't encountered a problem with their quality yet.

We got the bill from the plumber which was quite a bit less than we anticipated since my DH got impatient and removed the old toilet himself.  That saved us about $50-$75. 

My other freebie news for the week was my free evergreen garland.  We have a large brick planter box under our picture window and have strung Christmas lights there for years.  I've often thought about evergreen garland, but frankly am too cheap for it.  Here in snowy Cheeseland I have no compunction about leaving pine decor up until mid-February, and while DD and I were out for our daily walk, we spotted a very long garland dumped curbside with a Christmas tree at one of the fanicer houses on the lake.  Two minutes after our walk, we drove over, scooped it up, and it looks fabulous hanging on the planter.  I love a freebie.  It's good and calming to be personally non-eventful when so much is happening in the outside world. 

And we've reached a new milestone on my 100k goal.  We're 7 percent of the way there. 

I'm reading an interesting book called "The Last One Million" about Displaced Persons after WW2.  If that doesn't make you feel gratitude for your life now, nothing will. 

 

 

 

 

 

That Post-Christmas Lull

December 28th, 2020 at 05:39 pm

There's always a post-Christmas lull, isn't there? I've finished up my grading for my regular classes, but have some work to do for the FLEX classes I'm babysitting.  And I'll need to start planning for next term.  And there are some errands to be done.  But I'm starting it slow today and trying to think of what I want/need to do.

I've put a few things on the calendar: our teaching symposium will be virtual, there are students that will need to be talked to, we'll need to cancel some classes.  For me, the biggest item will be finding a financial planner to help us sort through retirement/relocation planning.  I've done a lot of the online calcultors, contacted my university pension people, etc, but I'd llike to have a firmer plan in place in a few months.

DH is still working away in the basement.  His office is closed (even virtually) but since he's a contractor, he's still working. even over the holidays.  We're glad for the regular paycheck.  Grateful for the stability so many lack right now.   

Not much financial news: I'll pay half the property taxes this week, we'll make some donations.  Our Christmas was pretty cheap with minimal gifts.  The holding pattern continues,.

 

Merry Christmas to All

December 25th, 2020 at 07:33 am

I was half dreading today, knowing I'd miss my usual Christmas breakfast with my Minneapolis friends, and then Christmas with my brother and his family.  But it went very well with just the three of us home.  It's been a food-centered week.  On Tuesday I drove out to our admin's house.  She's been the only one in the office since March, but was recently diagnosed with cancer.  A bunch of my co-workers made food.  I made chicken soup and squash soup and gingerbread, and dropped it off.  She'd just got back from chemo. 

And today we had a lovely cheese fondue, homemade bread, veggies etc.  It was a quiet night, but we lit candles and watched our church's service.  A peaceful end to the day.  Merry Christmas all.

One More Set

December 21st, 2020 at 04:35 am

I've finished grading all the projects which seem to have been better than I expected.  There were some awful ones, but far more excellent ones than I usually see.  I don't know what that means, but I'm happy about it.

And speaking of good news--my DD got her French grades back from her first semester.  Very nice praise and a grade A n French.  She's so relieved.

I spent nothing today, leaving the house only to go for a midafternoon walk.  I finally got the pine boughs into the planters and tied up some found birch logs with a big red bow for a few more outdoor decorations.

It's going to be a busy week. Looking forward to finishing my grading tomorrow!

 

Still Grading

December 19th, 2020 at 06:47 am

Oh yes, I am still grading.  It's going faster today, but I had meetings with a couple of people who report to me--one of whom won a big grant.  That's really good news for him.  He's an innovative and caring instructor but with no real job security, so this will help with summer funding and some more stability for him.    His office is next to mine, and I used to see him a lot--and so it was extra fun to Zoom with him and meet his small daughter.  I miss my staff!

In the never ending attempts to clear things out of here, I sold an unused soup pot today.  It was a pretty pot, but I have two favorites already.  A hefty $5 goes into my fun fund when fun restarts.  I also cashed out $25 on Swagbucks which probably indicates I'm spending too much time on the computer.

My DD finished her first set of exams for University of Edinburgh today.  She feels good about them, but we're both pretty darn tired of online education.  All of that, a pot of minestrone and calzones for dinner just about rounds out the day.  Look for that same headline tomorrow.

 

 

Still Grading

December 14th, 2020 at 08:31 pm

That will be my slogan for the next four or five days: Still Grading.  I'm never quite sure whether I should take a day off now classes are over and just do house things and errands or push straight through the grading.  I certainly hit the wall on grading on Saturday, and I wasn't alone.  All my teaching pals were cooking, messaging, decorating--anything to step away from the dropboxes for a while.   

I have another meeting and a final student session to round out the afternoon, but then will go back to grading. 

It's been a cheap weekend here--a no-spend Saturday and Sunday though we did look at dining chairs.

I also listed few things on Facebook and have started yet another Goodwill box.  Our wondrous admin person at the university is starting chemo this week, so I'll make some soup, collect some things from others, and drive out to her house this week. 

My biggest "gulp" has been our property tax bill which which has risen by more than $500.  Ugh.  I normally auto-save each month for that bill, but borrowed some for DD's tuition.  I think I'll pay it in three installments this year since there's no tax advantage to paying it all before December 31 any more.

Such a frugal December here....

 


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