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Archive for August, 2007

Birthday & a new School Year

August 27th, 2007 at 03:02 pm

Friday was my birthday. I had planned to to take myself out to breakfast, then go in to work, and in the evening, get taken out to dinner by my boyfriend, but my plans were changed when my beloved basset, Henry, started the day by throwing up and refusing his food. The food refusal was alarming, as this dog is nicknamed "Henry the Hungry" and "Henry the Ate and ate and ate." He didn't seem otherwise actively distressed (as he did during his gastric woes of last summer), but he was quieter than usual. When we were sitting on the porch and a neighbor greeted him, he just lay there--no tail wag. Then he had an episode of diarhhea. So I called the vet and they had an appointment open right away. An exam revealed that his vitals were normal, and bloodwork showed all values in normal range for blood, kidney, liver, etc (which was reassuring to know in any case since he has been on prednisone for nearly a year). No parasites, either. However, while we were there, he had another bout of diarhhea--and this one was almost pure blood and mucous. The vet suggested that his IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) had re-emerged, though this time with lower GI tract symptoms rather than upper GI tract ones. A call was made to his internal medicine specialist, who prescribed an antibiotic. I cancelled almost all my plans and (since classes hadn't started yet and I thus had the luxury to do so) stayed home with him all day. Tom picked up Chinese takeout and a video and came over for a quiet evening in. Henry was lethargic most of the day, but, after a long nap, felt well enough to take his afternoon walk, and his tail was wagging when he saw the neighbor kids. It took another 24 hours, during which he fasted without complaint, before the occasional bouts of throwing up stopped and before his appetite reemerged.

Since my attention was preoccupied with Henry all day Friday and Saturday, I had to spend Sunday frantically working on syllabi for the start of the school year--a chore which I will finish as soon as I finish this entry.

Classes started this morning and we're off on another school year. It's scary knowing that it's possible that this is my last year of full-time teaching, but who knows what the year will bring?

MOMA

August 19th, 2007 at 05:31 pm

1. The "someday/maybe" list...things I want to buy go on a list (some items are on paper, but mostly I just add things to my "wish list" at amazon.com). Only if I keep on thinking about buying things after a long time do I usually buy them.

2. Consider buying used. I buy most of my books and furniture used, and a good portion of my clothes and some of my appliances. Lingerie, walking shoes, and electronic devices are the main categories of durable goods that I always buy new.

3. If I can get it for free, I do so. I make a lot of use of the library! And if I can borrow a rarely used item from a friend, or rent it for a day (eg., heavy duty steam cleaner), or barter for it (minor home repairs for tax assistance), those are also ways of getting things without shelling out $$.

4. If I'm going to give in and buy something new, I check out prices on the internet, and I also check to see if a coupon code is available. Today I ordered "yoga toes" for some persistent foot problems I've been having--they're about $50 on the web, but a quick search garnered me a $15 coupon code, so the cost is $35. (And given the good reviews these get--albeit without any formal scientific evidence--I'm hoping these hope me avoid more expensive trips to the podiatrist, orthotics, etc.

5. Keep track of what you spend regularly. I *do* struggle with the spending demon, especially insofar as spending too much on groceries and eating out. Keeping careful track of these categories is somewhat helpful in keeping my spending in line...I tell myself that I can wait another 10 days or whatever until it's time to refill the food budget envelope again (given that the larder is full). Since it's usually a relatively short time to wait, I can do so without depriving myself of my favorite indulgenes.

6. And, as others have said, pay off the credit cards monthly and put something aside for savings every month.