<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Page: 2
 

Viewing the 'Uncategorized' Category

Perspectives

December 16th, 2017 at 05:48 pm

Oh, I was cranky all day. I committed to cooking and serving at the AODA house tonight, and with the end of the semester and Christmas, and so much to do, I was whining to myself all day. I spent two hours with my least favorite co-worker proctoring a competition which was only lightened by a couple of my students wishing me a fond farewell--one with a lovely handwritten thank you note. Then I was scheduled for a nasty two-hour meeting with of all things, textbook salespeople. Halfway through it dawned on me that the reason we were having this rah-rah meeting for this company was that my boss has just published a text with them. What a pain. At least they bought lunch--but I am NOT ordering their texts. Half my co-workers caught on too, and everyone was mad. I rushed home to finish the pies and veggies, and slice the bread, pack it all up and gather the family to drive over to the halfway house.

But yu know what? Two minutes with 16 men who are struggling with addiction, have spent time in prison, have lost their families, jobs, and senses of self who were so happy to see our chicken and rice casseroles, peppermint pies, kale and squash and green beans, and my whole stupid whining vanished. I have nothing to complain about. They are lovely guys trying their best to turn their lives around. They are so grateful for dinner, a roof over their heads, and someone to talk with. We had a lovely time. This was our second time there, and we'll schedule this every couple of months. Life is good. Plus--I'm going to finish the grading on 3/4 of my classes tonight. I sure am.

Thick Headed

December 12th, 2017 at 07:17 pm

I am determined to get this cold out of my head and chest by the weekend. I'm sick of being so thick headed. Wrapping it up in all my classes and I'd love to get everything graded and set before this weekend too.

I had a productive meeting with the dept chair today. He has promised me a new literature class in the fall and will try to iron out some various issues. I'll elaborate on them if it actually gets done.

I spent a bit too much on fruit today, but made a great dinner with items from the fridge and pantry. I've also spent a lot on parking this week, but feeling lousy has necessitated parking close. It's only two more days.

Back to yet another glass of water to help keep the head clear.

Lots of Sleep and Postponing the Day Away

December 8th, 2017 at 09:33 am

I was indeed pretty worthless yesterday. I made one class a drop-in day, and had almost a dozen students with questions and feedback requests. The second class had presentations and I sent them home afterwards. I normally park about six blocks from the university and walk, but feeling so lousy, I splurged on $5 worth of parking on campus. I came home and napped, we ate leftovers, and DD and I decided to move our fun downtown Chicago day to week after next. I'll be done with school then, and I just couldn't think about going anywhere last night. I had lots of sleep, and feel significantly better. If I'm feeling up to it, I'll try to tackle some laundry and finish grading today--and maybe get some cookies made with DD tomorrow.

I'm looking forward (really!) to an uberfrugal January with many of you. In the meantime, I'm going to have a reasonably simple Christmas. My cheap-o wreath needs to have a bow attached, we still haven't bought a tree, and decorating can't really commence until I tackle the piles of grading and laundry. But I'm going slow. I've added $50 from SB to my Big Goal.

It Figures

December 6th, 2017 at 07:18 pm

Saturday night out with friends we all commented that we hadn't yet had a bad cold--sort of atypical for a semester. And yesterday afternoon I had that --here it comes moment--and it's been worse since.

I have a few easy days at school listening to presentations, but will probably need to reschedule mine and DD's day away.

I managed to make a good pasta bake for dinner and correct a few presentations, but think I'm pretty worthless now. An early night is in order. Only spending was $2.30 for a mug of herbal tea. I bought a pizza stone last night for mu SIL's Christmas gift on Amazon through SB last night.

Dollars for Doughnuts

December 5th, 2017 at 06:44 pm

I stopped at the grocery this morning to buy a couple dozen doughnuts and some clementines for my classes. They had a scheduled walk-in work day today. Looking up with a bag of clementines over my arm, who did I spot but my work BFF office mate, also slung with a bag of clementines and two dozen cookies. Not good for the budget, but we all try to help students who are almost as tired as we are through these last weeks.

I've been listening to a Walter Isaacson audiobook. Today's selection was about Time's Person of the Century, and I'm just struck with the stature of some of the people he discussed--Jonas Salk, Alexander Fleming, Rosa Parks, FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Chinese students in Tiananmen Square. I'm weary of the news, of all the heroes with feet of clay, of all the blatant disregard of common decency in public life. Granted none of those people were perfect, but the struggle toward fairness, decency, democracy seems so lost to me. I'm weary of the world, I think.

The Planetarium

November 26th, 2017 at 09:40 pm

We have a lovely planetarium at my university run by a fabulous astronomer. Ever since DD was about 8 or so, we make it a habit to go to their special shows a couple of times a year. Usually they're Friday and Saturday nights with special shows for things like meteor showers and the eclipse. Today they started a Sunday show and although their prices have risen from $2 to $5, it's a lovely way to spend some time. This one was on the Colors of the Cosmos. DD, her BF, and I loved it. They then talk through the stars in the current night sky, what to watch for, and take questions. I think I only retain about 15% of it, but I really enjoy it.

As we drove home, we passed a shopping center jammed with cars, and I couldn't help think I'd much rather look at stars than be in a crowded mall.

Chicago Laura, I hope your DD has visited it!

Oh, My Aching Budget

November 9th, 2017 at 07:27 pm

We seem to stagger from budget drain to budget drain lately. Today DH walked out to the car to find a puddle of brake fluid beneath it. But the money will sort itself out, just more slowly than I wanted. We just need to keep other spending under control.

After my classes today, I picked up the penultimate CSA box. Lots of goodies in there that will keep us stocked up for a few more week. I'd also volunteered to roast, debone, and freeze turkeys for the shelter Thanksgiving meal so I have the turkey bones to make more stock. Back to the reliable budget staple: soup.

My office mate--and university BF--is struggling with her own budget woes. Her DH works under contract at the large insurance company where mine used to work before the big layoffs of a year ago. They just bought a house, spent a lot fixing it up, and today learned her DH has also been laid off. She's been applying for other jobs as we're all discouraged about salary issues, so as much as I'd hate to see her go, she could use a better-paying job.

Drips Only

November 2nd, 2017 at 03:20 pm

Even with an pretty darn frugal week, I'm a bit discouraged with the slow progress of my big goal. I got my last paycheck from my adjunct class yesterday, and I think most of it will have to go in the general fund, not into my big goal.

Maybe I can list a few things for sale this weekend to help make those tiny drips a bit bigger.

I had lunch today with a former London student. She's from our consortium school in Wyoming, and it was so fun to see her again. I last saw her in April 2015 in Russell Square. We have had many happy class sessions together. She's graduated and is considering our university for her Masters in Library Science.

Cool and cloudy here all day. Very November-y

I added $75 from Swagbucks and an additional $3.80 in interest to the big goal

Bothersome Student--Very Long Rant Caution

November 1st, 2017 at 10:34 am

As I start to write this, I can see my tag of "bothersome" doesn't even begin to describe the deep distaste I have for this student. And I feel bad talking about not liking students because I genuinely enjoy about 90 percent of them. But here goes.

On the first day of class this young woman announced she wasn't sure why she had to take my class since she already knew all the material. My class is a requirement for Business majors. Nothing I can do about it. Since then she has been rude to other students, arrives late, leaves early, has been cautioned about her phone use half a dozen times, is consistently rude to me both in person and via e-mail. For weeks I've been simmering with anger but have managed to keep it under control. My class has also turned against her. Her presentation partner dropped the class. She is smart enough. Her work is good, but her rudeness is so offensive that I'm continually having to swallow my anger. Since her presentation partner left, I struggled to find her another partner, and offered extra credit to students who volunteered. While she clearly prefers to work alone, she insisted I find her a partner since she felt I was unfairly penalizing her for her partner dropping. In fact, the part of the presentation she turned in was mediocre, and the opportunity to re-do was perhaps an unwarranted favor. Last night I offered her three options: Stand with the grade, re-do it herself, re-do it with a partner. After initially saying she wanted a partner, she said to her classmate's face--If I have to work with him, I'll do it myself. Now she e-mails me and demands extra credit for taking on the project herself. I refuse saying it was her option in the first place. She e-mails again saying she found my comments offensive. I have six lovely weeks of this creature in my class. I'm honestly not quite sure what to do. Thanks for listening. Send zen waves of patience my way.

Be Back Soon

October 24th, 2017 at 08:22 pm

I doubt I'll be back in SA-Land before my French Mlles are gone, and there will be plenty of budget damage to report. Two baguettes a day, lots extra entertainment expenses and two more mouths to feed is adding up. But we're still having fun though I'm MILES behind in everything from cleaning to grading. See you next Mardi--see how good I'm getting!

The French Invasion

October 18th, 2017 at 08:11 pm

Our French students arrived last night and will be here for two weeks. I can already tell my purse strings will have to be loosened. We have lots of activities planned, and I'd like them to have a fun time. I will search out some coupons and groupons to help, but this doesn't seem to be the time to watch every penny.

We had a fun time last weekend in our mini-trip to Fargo. It was splendid to see my old aunts and uncle and celebrate my aunt's 100th birthday. Again, my terrific brother comes through. We stayed there--about 120 miles from Fargo and saved the cost of the hotel and dinners out. They fed us, housed us, and we brought some wine and small treats.

It's midterm at the university! Where did the semester go?

Incidents and Thoughts

September 12th, 2017 at 07:35 pm

Mondays are my long days with my regular classes, a short trip home for food and to check in with DD, then off to my adjunct job. In the best of all possible worlds, I wouldn't teach there, but it's a nice steady source of work, and as I've said before, I like the different demographic. But tonight was a mess. A former student walked into the computer lab and started cussing and threatening her former instructor for giving her a C in his class last term. My classroom is across the hall, but she was VERY loud, and I'm sure half the building heard her.
I have to admit there have been times over the years there when I've been concerned about safety. Long-time readers may remember a few years ago they had a string of issues with people roaming the halls, and one breaking into a student's car. The evening tutor is an old friend from my regular university, and he popped in to tell me they'd called security as the student was still out in the hall screaming and cussing. After about 15 minutes, she disappeared. My class wanted to run out there and see what was happening, but I convinced them that gawking would just make it worse, and I was concerned for everyone's well being. But no sign of security. Half an hour later the student reappeared and started it all over again. This time I popped my head out the door, and discovered, of all horrible things, that she had a small child with her--a little boy about 4 who was witnessing this volcano of abuse coming from his mom. Honestly, it was all I could do to stay put, but I worried that if I got in the middle of it, she might become angrier. Still no security. After 10 minutes or so, she left again. Needless to say, we didn't have the most productive class, and I've really beendissatisfied with the institutional response. They contacted me this morning , and I expressed my concerns. Their response? The student needed to exercise more self-control. What about everyone else in the building? Where was security? I have some big strapping ex-Marines in my class, but no-one is a match if she would have a weapon. Rethinking my future there very seriously.

Just Food

September 9th, 2017 at 09:55 pm

That's all I'm spending on is food, and not much on that. The CSA veggies are plentiful and seem to feed us continually. Corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, coleslaw, roasted carrots tonight with a bit of chicken. I made some banana bread with a couple of aging counter top dwellers

We're still in strict budget mode, and will likely be that way for a while. I'm trying to figure out the best and cheapest way for us to get from our house to my aunt's 100th birthday party in Fargo, ND. The airfares are not pretty, the train runs at awful times, and the drive seems very long. I think we need a Star Trek beam up or some floo powder.

I've been out of sorts for no real reason except money. DH has been reluctant to transfer money for his grad school tuition from his British account, and I'm feeling like I'm juggling everything to manage here. We need to work it out. We never argue about money, but this is bothering me a lot.

In slightly more upbeat news, I got a notification from Delta Dental that I never cashed a check they sent FIVE years ago. They'd like to send me a new one--hooray! It's only $50, but heck, I'll happily take it.

I think part of my mood is the complete turmoil the house is in because of the bathroom remodel. We seem to have things everywhere. Maybe I'll retrieve another plastic bin and fill it up with the bathroom items that didn't fit in the previous two.

Onward--let's face these things.

Two Fun Days

August 31st, 2017 at 06:33 pm

Yesterday one of my London friends was visiting her parents in Chicago, so we met for lunch at a nearby outlet mall. I haven't been to an outlet mall in years, but she had shopping to do, and brought her mom. We had a delightful lunch, I really enjoyed her mother, and her dear mother bought lunch! Meaning to spend nothing, I did end up buying a cute gray and white striped shirt at the Gap outlet. I had an additional 15% off so it was only $18. Not strictly necessary, but it's nice to have one or two new things to start a new season, yes? I also had a coupon for the Ghiradelli outlet and got a small bag to add a daily treat to DD's school lunches. It was fun to ramble around the mall's shops a bit. I spent time in the Le Creuset and Company Store, but resisted.

Today was even more fun. DD and I spent hours at a nature center in a town about 45 minutes away. We saw lots of animals, got to feed some, and I sort of fell in love with a porcupine. Beautiful day in a beautiful forest setting and a nice way to wind up our summer. We'd heard about a place to pick peaches--which I didn't think was possible in Wisconsin--so then headed out there to pick some peaches. It was lots of fun. Between those peaches and our CSA veggies, we have enough food for a week. Or two. More fun awaits tomorrow. It seems like a good way to end the summer.

Raining and Pouring Into the Budget Sinkhole

August 25th, 2017 at 08:34 pm

What a week--this morning I got an e-mail from the capstone project coordinator that after a dozen years of evaluating these projects, the university has decided to eliminate the post on all their campuses. It's not a huge amount of money, maybe $150-200 a month, but this last term is it. Not sure what this will mean for my big goal since that was a major source of funding for it. I'm going to have to figure a few more things out, but I keep reminding myself it's only money.