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It's spring break week for me, which means that I actually have a bit of breathing room for a few days.  Although there are no classes, campus offices are still open and I still work--so no complete vacation for me.  But I am getting some much-needed chores around the house done and recovering from the dreaded Daylight Savings Time "spring forward."

I dislike Springing Forward.  It makes me tired and cranky.  Well, more so than usual, anyway.  And our local weather can't seem to decide if it even is spring yet--we keep going back and forth from temperatures in the mid-seventies one day to the low-twenties the next, accompanied by ice and snow.  I think our hydrangea plant in the front yard is dead from all these shenanigans.  I haven't seen any new growth coming from it yet.

But today, I am undertaking my annual Thanksgiving Turkey Baking!  Yes, you read that correctly.  Every November, I always buy a huge 16-20 lb. turkey when they go on sale for Thanksgiving dinners--but M and I always go to my parents' home for the holiday, so we never have to cook it for ourselves.  So the giant turkey gets dropped into our freezer chest in the garage, where it patiently awaits until March and spring break--when I have plenty of time to devote to All Things Turkey.  Today the turkey is baked, and some of it is eaten for dinner tonight.   After dinner, I slice up the rest of the turkey and pull what meat I can off of the bones--these get divided up into several plastic bags, vacuum-sealed, and placed in the freezer for meals later in the year.  Wednesday, I will be taking the turkey carcass along with the neck and other icky parts I saved from the cavity and cooking it all down in a giant pot for stock.  I can usually get about 10-12 cups of stock, which go into 2 cup portions (about the equivalent of a can of stock) in tupperware containers and dropped into our freezer chest for use in cooking later.

The turkey has been in the oven for about three hours now, and the entire house smells really yummy.  That's the hard part about all this--smelling the bird for hours on end and not being able to eat it.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say...

...it's always something.

A couple of posts back in January, I made mention of how all M's classes had made their needed numbers so we'd be in better financial straits this semester.  I probably should have kept my mouth shut.  This is still true, but we found out that he's not getting his first paycheck for the semester until the end of this month.  That's right, a month and a half into the term before M gets paid for anything.  Fortunately I have my part-time student job to help keep us barely afloat, but we will be having to resort to the evil plastic card again for the next couple of weeks.

On the plus side, classes continue to go well.  I had to get a headlight replaced on the car, but this time I was not able to replace the bulb myself--the battery had to be removed in order to gain access to the bulb, which was more than I felt confident handling on my own.  Anyway, as wet and miserable as it's been here lately, I need my lights in full working order!  Been drinking a lot of hot chai tea with milk and honey with this weather--it really does seem to hit the spot better than any other hot beverage (with the possible exception of hot chocolate).  The cats also have been glued to M's and my laps lately, and we keep each other warm.

M. has discovered a streaming 80's radio station that comes out of Dublin and we've been listening to it a lot recently.  We've been hearing a lot of songs which get very little airplay on our American 80's stations, and it's been really nice.  No yummy Irish accents on their call sign, though, darn it all.  I guess you can't have everything.

Busy Sunday

A storm of drama for today--my dad's Facebook page was apparently copied by someone during the past 24 hours, and they tried to dupe his friends into "friending" the new page and giving over their private information.  Despite my efforts to curtail it, I'd say about 1/3 of his friends fell for it and friended the fake page before we were able to get Facebook to delete the account.  I spent a couple of hours riding herd on that during the late morning and afternoon.

Then M. and I met up with a guy who is writing a PhD dissertation over how role-playing games have shaped the way people look at and experience stories; such as movies, video games, or just how they've changed our everyday lives.  He's been traveling all over the U.S. and sitting in on game sessions and interviewing people.  He was in our area this past week, and my name was suggested to him as someone to interview by a mutual friend.  We met over lunch, and engaged in an informal-style interview regarding our experiences with the hobby.  How did we start, were we able to find people to play with in the beginning, and have we kept gaming as a part of our life as we grew up and moved around?  The dissertation is from a cultural anthropology POV.  We both signed forms giving our consent to be recorded and to use our names in the dissertation should it be necessary.  M. asked for a copy of the finished draft once he was done.

Coming home again, we got ready to record the latest podcast episode, which took up another couple of hours.  Dinner was frozen pizza, because I just didn't have the energy to do any more than that.  Luckily, M. and I both like pizza.

Very tired now.  May make an early night of it.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ........

SHE LIVES.

Okay, it's been ages since I've posted here.  And by ages, I really do mean ages.  I've let this page languish, since so few of my friends respond to what I do here, and I've let myself be lured away by the instant gratification of Facebook.  But I'll try to do better.  Yes, I know I've said that before.

A recap of What Has Gone Before Now:  I'm still gamely plugging away at college, and at this point I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Will it be the exit to the outdoors and freedom, or merely the light of an oncoming train?  After I complete this semester, I will be only five classes away from graduation.  I only have time to do this on a part time basis, so that translates to another year--IF I'm able to get a summer course I need this year.  The past two years have bad luck for me on that front, so I'm not expecting to have anything useful offered this time around, either.

M. continues to work as an adjunct professor.  His hours fluctuate from semester to semester, so some times have been leaner than others.  This semester looks to be one where all his classes make, so the paycheck should be somewhat more substantial than last semester's was.  Bills will be paid.  He also finally has all his information submitted to University of Arlington to enroll in their Doctoral program next year.  We should know whether or not they've accepted him later this spring.

My two courses I'm enrolled in this semester are Black & White Photography and History of Graphic Design.  They both seem to be quite interesting so far, although the darkroom procedures look more than a bit daunting to me.  I hope that I'll get into the swing of it all and not screw up too badly!  While I don't expect to ever need those skills, since virtually everything is going to digital, I suppose one never knows.  And regardless of how I feel about it, it's a required course for me.  So I will master darkroom techniques if it's the last thing I do!  (Hopefully it won't be.)

That's all for now.  Say something encouraging, it will help me to keep on track with this poor little neglected blog of mine!
Large machines are scalping the paving off of the street in front of our house.  Orange blobs of spray paint have materialized at various points on our lawn and our neighbors' lawns.  Both ends of the street have been blocked off to traffic.  We are trapped in the house with two freaking out cats.  Send help.

Success!

It's official--I'm employed and I begin work this Thursday!  *does happy dance*  So far, 2012 is looking pretty good.  I can't wait for classes to start up again next week.  M is filling out a Master's degree graduation form for the university, and I've got paperwork of my own to finish up now.  Must dash--later, all!

Lazy Sunday

Just relaxing and enjoying the last week of winter break before school starts up again. It's a fairly quiet--if chilly--day, and I have spaghetti sauce simmering on the stovetop since 2 PM. It should be super tasty by the time dinner rolls around tonight. I applied for a part-time clerical position on campus this past Friday, and I should know whether or not I'm hired in about two or three days. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one, because some extra income would be quite nice and a campus position will work with my course schedule from semester to semester.

Wow, that spaghetti sauce is smelling really good...

It's a new year, Charlie Brown

Well, 2012 is upon us and not much has changed since my last post. The graphic design job opportunity fell through, as did the refinance for our mortgage. On the plus side, another semester of classes has been dealt with and I'm inching closer to getting that degree. This time around I'll be doing primarily graphic design related coursework rather than the art core classes, and one of them deals with website work. I'm very excited to finally have the opportunity to begin learning some web design--this has been the biggest stumbling block to me getting any really good job offers in the field. Virtually everyone wants someone with web experience, and I just haven't had it.

M and I spent Christmas with his father in Mississippi, and while we had a good time there it's very good to be back home. Driving exhausts me, and the older I get the less adaptable I am to sleeping in strange beds. Getting back to our own was sheer bliss.

I have finally gotten M to start watching episodes of The Guild--we finished Season 3, and will start on Season 4 probably tomorrow. It's frightening how many people we knew in reenactment fit into the personalities of the various characters in the show. Heaven help us, but we even knew a Clara-type. It's funny because it's true.
The second of the foundation companies came yesterday and went over the house. Their estimate for repair was $3600, just over half of what company #1 quoted us and with far less work being done. Naturally, since they're cheaper I'm inclined to go with these people...it certainly doesn't hurt that they've been in business for over a century, as compared with company #1's twenty-year run. However, we're doing nothing until company #3 swings by next week and gives us their opinion on the matter. This should give us a better range of options, and I'm quite interested to see where they fall on the scale of work being done on the house.

I applied for a part-time graphics position this past Sunday, sending in my resume, etc. via e-mail that afternoon. I received a reply the very next day, wanting to know what days I was available, etc. I have an interview scheduled for Friday at 10 AM, and I feel very hopeful that I will have good news to share on that front soon.

Photography is starting to make sense now. I know my way around the camera functions without having to refer to the owner's manual before every picture, and terms such as shutter speeds, ISO, and F-stops aren't making my head hurt quite so much anymore. I still don't know if I'll manage an A in this course, but I feel more confident about pulling a strong B now.

We have an appointment with our bank on Monday to see about refinancing our mortgage to a lower interest rate. If successful, it will take a bit of the sting out of the foundation work costs.

Cross your fingers, and send any spare leprechauns you may have to us!
Foundation Part One: The first of our estimates is in, and our opening bid has come in at over $6000. As we suspected, the main portion of the house is mostly fine, and the bulk of the problem lies with the addition which is trying to drift away. There is also some sinking around the front corner of the house where the fireplace is, probably due to the weight of it and the chimney.

I am hoping against hope that one of the other estimates will be better than this, but am not terribly optimistic about our chances. I knew this was going to hurt, but had hoped for something more in the $4000-$5000 range. On the plus side, all of the places we have coming out to give estimates give a lifetime guarantee on their work, which is transferable to new owners if we sell the house later.

Also on the plus side, my expensive used camera arrived in the mail today! So at least I'll be able to do all of my assignments for the photography class. Silver lining, silver lining...yeah.

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