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Archive for April, 2008

Quiet Weekend

April 27th, 2008 at 03:13 pm

This weekend has been the antithesis of last, much quieter and laid back. Good thing, too, as I am exhausted and have been for several days.

Friday I was too tired to cook but the contents of my fridge weren't inviting, so I went to my favorite little Korean restaurant, where Kim cooked me a lovely 5-course Korean meal for $12 (dumplings, soup, a selection of 4 salads & kim-chees, chicken & rice, and vanilla ice cream topped with strawberries & kiwi for dessert). It was too much to eat so I took the leftovers with me and dropped by my BF's on the way home--I left the leftovers with him for a snack and he made me a cup of coffee). (I'd invited him to eat with me, but he'd already eaten by the time I called). I got home around 8:30, watched an hour of TV, talked to my mom on the phone, and went to bed by 10.

Saturday I mowed the lawn first thing, went to the vet to pick up Henry's prescription food, then stopped by the gardening center and got some weed block cloth for the foot-wide weedy patch of dirt under the fence on the north side of the yard.

I got the existing weeds out as well as I could with my limited assortment of tools (I'm sure there must be better tools, but I have no idea what they would be; I grew up in L.A. where every middle-class family (except those with teenage sons) hires a gardener to do the yardwork), and I cut and pegged down the weedblock cloth. It's a bit messy, as every physical thing I do tends to be, but I'll get some mulch to cover over and hide the messiness. (I love the *idea* of being self-sufficient, but not the implementation; I have little patience and even less knowledge when it comes to doing anything but the most basic of physical tasks--and I often struggle with the most basic as well.)

I also spent two hours yesterday ensconced in my favorite activity: browsing at the bookstore. I buy a cup of coffee and find an armchair in the coffee shop and browse to my heart's content.

Last night DBF and I had take-out Chinese and again I crashed early.

This morning, I did a few errands (grocery, fill up the tank, deposit $$ at the ATM) and chores (dishes, vacuuming, cooking). It's now 6 pm and I'm hunkering down to do some grading of exams. I really don't know where the day has gone; I DO know that I'm exhuasted again and feel pretty much ready for bed right now!

After the grocery trip and filling the gas tank, I think I am done spending for the month, barring any unforeseen emergency, and am coming in at $2206, close to what I spent in February. That's good as it allows me to put a bit of money away.

My take-home full-time salary is about $2600/month, and I've been working a part-time job as well to bring in another $700/month, but I'm not sure if I'll have any extra income this summer.

I have to prioritize my summer projects:

Furnace yearly servicing $109
Have the roof silvercoated (?$200-$400)
Replace the gutters ($600-800)
New eyeglasses (~$400-500)

Hopefully I'll earn enough this summer to at least cover these additional expenses.

One nice thing is that my Mom called today to tell me that she's getting me an early birthday gift (my birthday comes at summer's end). I had been talking about maybe getting a grill for my backyard this summer, and she went and ordered me one that should arrive this week, so that's one item on the summer expense list crossed off already!

Busy Weekend

April 20th, 2008 at 01:16 pm

What a busy weekend this has been! Started off Friday with a "date" with my BF. He treated me to dinner at a Chinese restaurant that opened near him about a year ago; it was a bit expensive but really, really good (and has won an award as one of the Top 100 Chinese restaurants in the U.S.).

Saturday morning there was the annual undergraduate research conference in my field at the nearby U.; I went to hear the keynote speaker and cheer the students on and see a few colleagues from other institutions. Then a quick trip to the grocery store and home to do some chores and walk Henry and cook my contribution for the night's seder. The seder was fun--my friend who invites me every year purchased a small farm 1.5 years ago and is raising llamas. The seder was nice but went on a bit long for my taste. The hostess wanted to sing every song in the book, just about. I agree that a seder should be a leisurely meal, but 2-2.5 hours, not over 4 (the point at which I left) is more to my taste.

Today I pulled the lawnmower out of the basement and did the first mow of the season after first cleaning up the yard of sticks etc. The grass was actually a bit long for a first mow so it was slow going. I also did another grocery shopping trip (yesterday's was mostly for my seder dinner contribution) and stopped at BJs, and at home I'm doing laundry and cleaning and working on data analysis for a dozen undergrad projects.

I'm supposed to go out to another seder tonight but I really don't want to--I have a test to grade as well that I'd really like to have off my back. Not quite sure what I'll be doing yet.

Oh, and of course there was yesterday's hour-long talk with my sister (who was at Mom's, while Mom was out grocery shopping, which means another hour today talking to Mom).

One thing I'm NOT doing today is going to Hillary's talk at the local H.S. a mile away. I've already heard Bill in person, and Barack, and I've made up my mind. If she had come a month earlier, I might have gone. Bill has been in the area 4 times, Chelsea at least twice, and now Hillary. All I can say is that I was really frustrated by Tuesday's debate and the way the moderators emphasized trivial questions for the first half. I don't watch TV much so I've missed the barage of TV ads, but my mailbox has had 1 or 2 mailings from Obama every day this week. I'll be glad to get the PA primary over with. Back in January the local paper was hosting a "Pretend your Vote Matters" poll on its website and PA has turned out to be anything but that!

It's going to be a loooonnnnggg time until November.

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On the spending front, so far it looks good for my coming in with another ~2000 spending month, but there's still 10 days to go. I did buy a couple of books cheap at BJs plus ended up buying an 8 gig thumb drive to transfer a bunch of files from home to work since my DVD burner won't burn disks (but plays them fine), so there have been a few extras but not too many.

I've already planned to buy some Earth Boxes for container gardening and a barbeque grill for my back porch next month. This is my third year in the house and every May I buy something to liven up my outdoor living space. Other than a concrete bench for under the dogwood, this will complete the annual May outdoor buying spree, I think. My two porches and my lovely small backyard are one of the favorite parts of my house, and this is the only area where I've splurged and bought things mostly new rather than used.