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A Summer Bug

July 29th, 2019 at 08:41 pm

or was it food poisoning, I'm not sure, but the last five days have been mostly attending to digestive matters. I'm still not right, but am better every day. I have not been out of the house since Thursday, so except for some upcoming travel reservations, have spent very little. And I don't doubt the grocery bill will drop since I haven't eaten much, skipping dinner every night. Today went better, and I made a double batch of the NYT summer minestrone, freezing one large container for a later dinner.

On the financial side, I've sold a half dozen more books, including my DD's ACT and SAT prep guides. Lots of things are lagging but that's the way of the world, I guess.

DD and I have a MN jaunt planned for Thursday, so hoping to be at full speed by then.

Week One Done

September 28th, 2018 at 11:53 am

All seems to be going well at DH's new job. He's having a bit of trouble with his fear of heights as the new office is 23 floors up. But I hope he'll gradually get used to it. And again, he loves their free lunch, And he's using his university transit pass to get him on the bus and back for free. He's become cheap to have around!
I've also been pretty cheap this week--spending only on a couple cups of coffee and not much else. We also have piles of CSA veggies so grocery spending has been minimal.

I have a large pile of grading to tackle, and instead, spent the morning on university "service" evaluating Fulbright grant applicants. It's very fun to see what other folks are doing, and I always enjoy the others on the panel.

We've got theatre tickets to see "In the Heights" tomorrow night from the season package I bought DH for his birthday. DD is a huge theatre geek, and she's going with us. It should be fun.


The autumnal weather is making me want to bake. I see a pumpkin loaf or cake in the weekend's forecast.

Happy Fridays to all of you.

Lots to Report

September 9th, 2018 at 02:21 pm

Hmm--It's been a week or so since last I blogged, and what a busy week it's been. DH had more interviews, but has taken the contract at his former employer that he left about 20 months ago. It's a great hourly rate, and honestly, he really likes it there. We think he starts on Wednesday after all the checks. Glad we got his drug test in before his surgery.

So yes, he's also had ear surgery. Last Thursday we drove to a hospital about an hour west of us at (ugh) 4:30 a.m. for his stapedectomy. He's never had any surgeries or much medical, and he was a nervous wreck. But all went well, and I think he was a bit sobered by folks getting pacemakers, stents, and much more serious things. We'll know in a few weeks how successful it's been restoring his hearing. Right now his ear is full of packing which will be removed on Friday

School started for DD; all's well there. School also started for me, and while my classes seem fine, my new administrative function is headache inducing. There are plenty of my colleagues who would rather not speak to one another, so they've decided I'm their intermediary. Because I'm in charge of class scheduling, I've had everything from pleas, to demands, to outright anger about next semester's schedule. All of a sudden I can see who the easy folks are, and who is decidedly difficult. It's going to be an interesting time.

This afternoon DD and I bought a Harry Potter package at the local theater. We got tickets for 9 shows--all the Potter movies and Fantastic Beasts for $27. We go the next eight Sundays. I really enjoyed seeing HP1 on the big screen. So much grander than DVDs at home.
It's fun for us to hang out too--if there's a week I can't go, she can always take a friend.

I've been busily using our garden and CSA veggies. Friday night it was Southern Tomato Pie, followed by Croatian Chicken last night, and tonight veggie curry.
Time to ramp up a bit of frugality. We've been too lax lately.

Unemployment Mood Lifters

August 24th, 2018 at 05:30 pm

My DH is a moody soul sometimes, and unemployment has not helped him. He's still finishing up his summer independent study, and he's put WAY more into it than need be, but it's good for him to have something to focus on--especially since he really has to wait out the ear surgery before he can start anything.

And I'm busy with my back-to-school prep and our daughter's stuff too. He's been very reluctant to go into uberfrugal mode, and while I was a bit ticked off at him at first, now I see he's a person that needs a few creature comforts to help him through this. I've loosened the grocery budget, started to make a bit better meals, and started looking at UJK airfares for Christmas. He needs something other than the pre-surgery wait and the job wait. He did the presurgical physical today, and the doc filled in all the details for his annual wellness rebate. I'm in the middle of the "wellness activity" now mandated to earn the rebate of $150. The guided meditation option has almost put me to sleep the last couple days. But heck, it's $150.

We're off on a little field trip tomorrow. I'll fill in the details when we return.

A Good Sign?

August 21st, 2018 at 09:44 pm

Dh had a phone interview with his former employer of a few years ago. He did contract work for them for 15 years, and though the work was not scintillating, they're a solid place.

The plus sides are many: it's a downtown location and he LOVES the bus. And he gets free bus fare with his history tuition. They also have free lunch. Unbelievable, I know, but he ate free for years. And he knows and likes a lot of people there. He's much more social at work than I am, and he'd like to be back there. The interviewer told a mutual friend that he thought it sounded positive. Fingers crossed there's another interview.

Our DD and I went to a free event from the local theatre company. They're doing "In the Heights" in September and we got to sit in on a few songs and hear all about they're upcoming productions. And they had free food.

DH also has lunch with a contracting company tomorrow. Free food is the theme of the day!

Did I Say It Would Be a UFM?

July 24th, 2018 at 08:26 pm

I am so wrong, says the woman who spent $800 on rugs today. And I had coffee drinks, bought a crate of peaches, and a bunch of craft supplies.

Truly I was planning on buying new rugs for the dining room and family room. Would you be shocked if I told you our dining room rug was bought in the 1980s? It's done its duty. And the family room rug is part of my vast redecoration scheme in there. More on that as it develops, but I did look at paint colors and get a bid on the painting. We'd attempt it ourselves but it's a vaulted ceiling and a huge room. You'll see it's on my 2018 goals.

The peaches have become a summer ritual for us, but this year half of them will go to my friend whose husband's kidney comes out tomorrow. If you're a praying sort, keep them in your prayers. please. And the craft supplies (slime--eww) were for her son who is making slime with friends tomorrow to keep him busy.
I'm really pleased with the rugs; they were part of the Bon-Ton going out of business sale and were supposedly 70% off. I think that's a dubious figure but I really like them. Much jazzier than my usual traditional taste.

I made a huge Greek salad for dinner to use some CSA veggies and will shortly head off to bed with my new library book.

Update on UFDay

July 2nd, 2018 at 06:30 pm

The frugal feeling is in full flower. I've got rotisserie chicken bones in the crockpot with some veggie scraps to make a batch of broth. Dinner was all from the CSA box with the addition of the last of the rotisserie chicken--an excellent strawberry spinach salad. And the NS day got even better when I listed some basement clutter on FB and sold the first thing for $5. Another is being given away tomorrow.

Fat Tuesday

February 13th, 2018 at 02:17 pm

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.

Still Making Soup But Eating Paczki Tomorrow

February 12th, 2018 at 03:11 pm

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.

Ending the Month with a NSD

January 31st, 2018 at 04:56 pm

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.

An NSD!

January 26th, 2018 at 03:31 pm

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.

Teeny Tiny Baby Steps

January 24th, 2018 at 10:08 am

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?

Snow!

January 23rd, 2018 at 10:36 am

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.

Meetings and More Meetings

January 18th, 2018 at 12:09 pm

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.