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Does The Countdown Begin?

July 27th, 2022 at 04:19 am

I guess  the countdown to my last day at the university should begin.  I think we're at 16 days.

I spent the day reviewing applications for one of our open positions.  Man alive, people need a class on employment communication.  One of our applicants had a picture of blue bird on top of her CV while another named the wrong university, not ours, as the one he was applying to.  But it does make them easier to sort through!

I also handed off a bunch of paperwork to my friend/colleague/ aka workhusband who is taking over my job.  That was very fun.  And I threw away (unbelievably) sets of overhead slides.  Have I been doing this too long?

In financial and decluttering news, I offered a bunch of my dissertation books to an online colleague for free and got them mailed.  He's sending me the postage.  And in a kind of strange ebay sale, I've been holding on to a pair of my mom's "fancy" eyeglasses from the late 1950s and early 1960s.  They were kind of funky cat's eyes shape, and I toyed with the idea of wearing them myself.  But my mom was a much smaller person than me, and well, they're not really my style.  However, the aluminum frames were popular on ebay, so I listed them and got an almost immediate offer. Does it seem creepy to you that I sold them?  She was a practical soul, so I don't think she'd object.  They're packed, mailed, and gone now.  Other than that postage, I spent nothing, bringing coffee to my university office.


Dejunking and Retirement Seminars

June 22nd, 2022 at 05:55 am

I spent two hours tonight at a zoomed state retirment seminar.  Ugh, I'm so zoomed out.  Zoom meetings, zoom with students, now zoom HR sessions.  I'm not sure I learned anything new but it was pretty well done.  I need to have another meeting with the benefits people at my university as they have other parts of the plan under their control.  I'm hoping for an in-person meeting there.

I walked my usual route before 7 this morning to avoid the heat as it hit 100 here today.  My class went pretty well, though the not-so-swell students are lagging while the good ones are almost done. In the afternoon I decided to take advantage of the cool basement and ready a box for the hazardous waste disposal scheduled for Saturday.  We have lots of old paint cans and dried up ends of solvents that I'd love to get out of the basement.  And during the boring bits of the zoom seminar, I sorted through files and tossed a lot of copies and excess junk.  Not exciting, but satisfying.

I've been reading the Slough House novels by the British writer, Mick Herron.  They're spy novels, which I sometimes like, but he's an excellent, very literary writer.  If you like that sort of thing, they're a good sumer read--and all from my frugal friend, the public library.


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

September 16th, 2021 at 04:28 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.



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. 






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!


Happy Belated Blogoversary to Me!

August 12th, 2020 at 08:43 pm

I cannot believe it's been that long, but apparently yesterday was my lucky 13th Blogoversary. What? No card? No flowers?

Because I'm pretty sentimental I thought about all the folks who have traveled through this blogosphere like that lady from Atlanta, Retire at 50, the guy who was living in his car for a while, and another really funny one. Someone help me remember some of the others!

I've been determined not to go to the grocery store for another few days so we've had some slightly unusual meals. Last night's burgers were accompanied by kohlrabi fries. I just need to figure out what to do with the huge cabbage in the fridge. Maybe I'll try that eggroll in a bowl again. Or resort to store cupboard enchiladas for dinner.

In other mundane but satisfying news, my DD voted for the first time yesterday. I voted absentee, but am a dedicated voter, and hope she emulates that behavior. She was proud of her "I voted" sticker. And I cashed $35 out of SB and MyPoints to add to my big goal

I also did a usage test on some crackers, sampling three kinds they sent. For that I gained a $10 Amazon card that went for a wallet for DD. No other news--hard at work prepping for classes!

Loads of Learning

August 6th, 2020 at 01:51 am

I'm spending every morning this week and next in sessions for improving online learning. I've taught online occasionally for more than a decade, but there's a lot of new technology and all sorts of tips and tricks to learn.

I had to laugh at myself today as I was somewhat astounded how many students access so much of their course material through their phones rather than laptops. "Who could use their phone as a primary learning device?" I asked my DH at lunch. He just stared at me and reminded me I access Duo Lingo every day on my phone for my language lessons.

Although I'd much prefer to be in the classroom, I'm looking forward to video commenting on papers, and some of the fancier parts of our learning management systems.

Today was a NS day. We ate up lots of leftovers for lunch, and although my DH was convinced there was nothing for dinner, I made a very good veggie-filled mac and cheese using up the last bits of leftover cream cheese, some questionable Brie, and subbing evaporated milk for the heavy cream. There is something so satisfying up using things up.

DD and I took our usual 40-minute walk today and for over five minutes we were accompanied by 5 turkeys. They followed us down the street and got a little too close for my comfort. But it was very funny. Another small joy for the day!

Quiet Days

July 25th, 2020 at 01:35 am

It started out cool and lovely this morning, but it's turned into a hot day. At 5, I gave in and cranked up the A/C. Without it the old dog lays on the tile floor and looks at me like I'm making her suffer.

Still no news from Edinburgh, but our DD's drive-through graduation is tomorrow. She's so done that I had to talk her into participating and decorating the car. Lured by the prospect of a Culver's sundae later, she's agreed.

I'm also in a summer cooking slump. I made soup with a large head of cabbage and cooked down some marginal fruit to top my DH's bowls of oatmeal. Dinner tonight was a grilled sandwich and salad. I'm busy prepping for fall classes and spent ZERO again today. I feel like an extremely boring human lately, but I suspect I'm not alone.


July 24th, 2020 at 12:57 am

Three darn zoom meetings today--all with lots of bad budget news. I'm safe from more cuts besides the mandatory furlough days, but I've lost more staff.

The drips are small but good drips. Another $5 will go into my big goal from a MyPoints payout. And we got another load of CSA veggies today which made a nice veggie pasta tonight. I'll freeze some kale later for winter soups.

And still we wait for DD's CAS number from Scotland.

Lovely and cooler today!

Starting the Day Right

July 21st, 2020 at 03:57 pm

I've noticed that if I get up and go for a walk for about 40 minutes before sitting down to work, my day goes so much better. I've been walking with DD almost every day, but that morning walk alone seems to clear my head and give me much more energy. And two walks a day seems like a good idea, right?

I've got a document to edit this morning for a university committee, and will also have to face some decisions about class cancellations. My dept chair would like to drop two more classes, and I'll have to decide whose will go. I'm asking him to just drop one, but our budget is dire for the department and university as a whole.

Lots of veggies from the CSA to use up. I made veggie enchiladas a couple of days ago, and the recipe made about twice the filling needed, but my DH is the king of leftovers, so he's been filling quesadillas with it. I've got my first cherry tomatoes and lots of peas from my planter box vines. I've never grown peas before, but they've done well in wheeled planters with a makeshift trellis repurposed from ancient tomato cages. And they have the added advantage of acting as a patio screen from the neighbors who must get sick of me hanging clothes and talking to the birds.

The big goal has been updated with some cash from Swagbucks and MyPoints. I seem to be able to hit those sites regularly now without papers to grade and while watching rom-coms and documentaries with DD. If you haven't seen "The Biggest Little Farm" on Netflix, I recommend it. It's a lovely film about a young couple trying to start an organic farm.

Wishing you all a lovely sunny cool day like we have here!

Non-News News?

June 19th, 2020 at 06:21 pm

Our state university system has made a big fanfare about how campuses are re-opening. Yes, we're moving students into dorms in the fall. Yes, some classes will be held face to face. How many? I don't have a hard figure yet, but I would be surprised of the hundreds of classes offered by my department if more than one or two are face to face. It has to be this way. We don't have enough room to make socially distanced classes across the board. We will have a very hard time monitoring student behavior. But we've got to keep the machine running. Everyone I know has been sharpening their skills to teach online--classes, seminars, practicums. I seem to be both relieved and disappointed at the same time. This will be the first fall in over 20 years without me saying "Welcome to English..." in front of a classroom. But there's work to do, and we'll do the best we can.

In other news, I cashed $10 out of Mypoints which went into the UK house fund. I picked up the first CSA delivery which was heavenly. We now have wonderful greens, maple syrup, green onions, and the first darn kohlrabi of the season. No spending for days here.

Enjoy another lovely--though plenty hot--June day.

Folding, Grading, and Trying to Get Out of my Head

May 5th, 2020 at 04:55 pm

My wonderful daughter and I have started a big project. Our United Way is sponsoring a huge appeal for disposable masks. Yesterday we picked up the kit for 700 masks. It's four gigantic rolls of paper which you fold, hole punch, and attach rubber bands for behind the ears.
Because we're a bit slow on the uptake, we had to watch the video instruction about a dozen times, but then got into the swing of it. They're due back Friday so we'll have some busy evenings.

That was our only outing yesterday as we had the "pneumonia front" pass through on Sunday dropping our temps 20 degrees. Before that we had a great hike in a county park followed by Culver's drive-through custard.

This is the last week of "instruction," and I think we did as well as we could through all of this. I read a blog on a FB group of teachers titled :"Not Crushing It," which is kind of how I feel. We got through it. Of my 100 students, about six have disappeared from online access. The university is trying very hard to find them and get them back--and is being very generous with incompletes and a credit/no credit option. I'm probably the kindest grader I've ever been.
Then there's DD's college plans. Her Scottish university seems also in panic mode--encouraging her and other foreign students not to give up on them. But it all seems like a (bag) pipe dream at this point. She's confirmed at Wisconsin-Madison without turning down Minnesota or Edinburgh. And with the university system in such financial panic, we'll need a lot more funding from the state. And I worry about my pension plan and seemingly everything else at 3 am. I think this is the lowest I've been since this began; I hadn't realized how much I care about the institution I love/hate/love.

Sorry for the big whine. I need to re-set, keep folding masks, and live with the uncertainty that we've all had to live with. My husband loves this isolation; he's not nearly as social as me. I get a lot of energy from going out, seeing students/friends etc. So glad our daughter is home; she's the best company and one great mask folder.

Not much detailed financial news. My seeds are sprouting, we have a lot of food to use up including another magnificent pot of bean soup, and I've reverted to my bag lady behaviors of moving money around and running stupid Swagbucks while grading.

Devastating Totals

April 28th, 2020 at 04:28 am

A friend from Minnesota has an elderly mom in a care facility there where now 17 people have died of COVID, while another's mom is across town where another 18 have died. The numbers in those care facilities are just staggering. Please keep these folk in your thoughts and prayers while the arguments for and against quarantine continue.

We spent nothing today, and my garden seeds have arrived. Tomorrow the hair scissors come. I'm busy busy teaching and trying to keep my mind clear for students and spirits up for them and my family.

Wrong Walk

April 22nd, 2020 at 05:19 pm

After updating classes and grading papers, my DD and I decided to drop off some pansy bowls I'd planted with the remnants of the pansy flat I bought earlier.

Since of our pansy recipients was a co-worker who lives close to the university, we decide to walk around campus. It seemed like a good idea; I haven't been there in well over a month, the flowers on campus are usually cheery, and it offers a lot of things to see. But instead I came home almost in tears. It seems so sad to see campus completely empty. All of those buildings should be bustling with students, and friends, and colleagues. The coffee shop should be full, and the library should be open. Instead of a good idea, it seemed like a bad bad dream.

Then I came home and cooked a big dinner, but faced with yet another stack of dishes, I think I just spiraled down. One of my dear co-workers is ill, so I did some of his grading and stayed up too late.

I need to find something else to help raise the spirits. Maybe, like CB, I need to paint something. Or maybe just a book and a nap. Ugh.

Dribs and Mostly Drabs

April 14th, 2020 at 05:09 pm

Yes, it's been a strange time here, hasn't it? I have little financial news as we've done little spending.

Sunday night I ordered a few things, about a dozen I think, from It was mostly fill-in groceries, pet food, and some toiletries. The Easter ham will be on the agenda for quite some time. What's that joke from Dorothy Parker: "Eternity is two people and a ham." There's three of us, so maybe we can outwit eternity.

We also have colored hard-boiled eggs to use up so I foresee a CSA spinach, ham and egg salad. And a million other things with that ham.

In earning news, there is little. I continue to push away at SB, mostly running videos as I e-mail students and grade papers. I like their new $10 Paypal cash out. My very bored DD is also running SB. But DH and I continue to work and continue to get paid.

And although the mail is quarantined in a corner of the entryway, it looks like our auto insurance rebates have arrived. I wish I was kidding when I say I'm really looking forward to a visit to the drive-up bank.

It's been so cold that I didn't walk yesterday. It does make me restless without the walk.

I ordered a few extra groceries from Target to bring to the drive through food collection at church. It sure hurts the heart to see those food donation lines.

Lots of NS Days

April 2nd, 2020 at 05:38 pm

There will be lots of NS days ahead, I think.
And more soup making on today's agenda. I've got another wild rice soup that I'll throw in the Instant Pot today.

Lots of questions and a few postings from students, but online education is slow.

DD and I had a lovely walk yesterday and hope for another today in the sunshine. Other outdoor activities may include garden prep. I can't seem to get a definitive answer about whether it's too early to plant spinach outside. But I have a lot of seeds so may attempt an early crop.

I'm worried about a work colleague, actually my "work husband." He's the sweetest guy in the world, but lives alone, struggles with depression, and is morbidly obese. I brought him chili last week and will go by tomorrow with some soup and fresh food. He has lots of health challenges, so if you have room on your prayer list, please fold him in. I would be broken hearted without him.

A Surprise No-Spend Day

February 22nd, 2020 at 01:21 am

I expected today to cost me at least $10. It was award ceremony day for our professional writing students, and I had to park in the ramp, haul the trappings for the ceremony upstairs and help set up.

But the barrier at the ramp was up as we were holding a fair for incoming students, so parking was free. There was leftover food which I patched together for lunch, and even coffee and a quart of cream. These small bonuses are so fun.

On a frugal front, I had to meet a new teaching assistant to go over his work and we usually meet in the coffee shop at the library. I was early and ran into a former student who shared with me how his GI Bill is paying for his education, and he's received full scholarships for his upcoming training as a therapist. We laughed about his packed lunch, my free coffee, and our shared aversion to debt.

Bean and cheese enchiladas for dinner tonight--and it's Friday.

Another NS Day!

February 3rd, 2020 at 11:23 pm

Very busy at work translates into very little time to spend. But I did get one thing checked off my list: consolidating an old 403B into my IRA. Swift and simple with one phone call.

Instant Pot soup for tonight for all of us. And thene back to grading, writing up class observations, and annual reviews. It never ends.