Thursday, January 29, 2009

Attitudes, they are a-changin'

For Math this semester, Hannah is doing the high school curriculum version of Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University". You may have heard of the general program, but he has filled out his program to make it a semester long and geared to private schools and homeschooled students.
Harry and I have been skirting the issue that we are OK money managers, but not excellent at having our money do the best job it can for us. You might remember me blogging before about watching the cash-flow and such because of the economy, but after a unit or two of this financial curriculum made for 10-11 graders, we are changing some stuff in our own financial mindsets.
What we're working on right now is the idea that way too much money gets spent on nothing. We've talked about tightening up (but not cutting off) the unaccounted for spending money.

Today Hannah and I took a trip to St. Louis because we were both going nuts looking at the same 3000 sf every day. We had a great time. We went to the St. Louis Art Museum (free but I dropped a 10 in the donation box) (hope to get time to write a separate blog about the visit) We then went looking for a place for Lunch. We by-passed The Cheesecake Factory for the food court in the Galleria. While in the mall I did something I have never done - walked into a Sephora and walked out with nothing. We did buy some stuff at Bath & Body - but Hannah had a gift card from Christmas - thanks DJ! Bought a pair of pants off the clearance rack at REI (and a birthday gift for Harry) and didn't even walk in to the really cool but really expensive kitchen gadget shop I adore. Went to Whole Foods and kept picking stuff up and putting it back. I did buy some stuff we can't get here, but my restraint was exceptional.

The bottom line was that I came back with a lot of the money I took with me. Huh. I guess it can be done.


OK, I bought a collection guide at the museum, but those don't count. That's an educational expense. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

On Newness

We've acquired a new computer. For the first time in nine years the box on this desk is a complete switch out. Oh, The keyboard, monitor, and mouse are the same, but 'mainbox' is sitting forlornly on the floor. It is the victim of a viscous one-two punch - a failing power supply and a nasty Trojan virus that even McAfee couldn't tell us how to remove from it's tangled innards.

Harry ordered a new Dell - one stripped of the crapware, and most of the price raising options. It's supposed to be faster, stronger, and have the capacity of an Olympic sized swimming pool. So far he has spent about 10 hours setting it up, feeding it programs and files, and trying to smooth out the spots where the os doesn't like *anything* we already own. This is my first chance to sit down and have a look.

I found my blog. I found my precious picture files - but also found out that if I approach them from the wrong direction it is like they are all thrown into a big box and jumbled up. (from the right direction they are neatly filed by dates, events, or subjects - just as I left them) I found iTunes, and my music, but none of the history, playlists, or checkmarks. It's ok - I need to tidy up my library of music anyhow.

I found out that there are broken links between Facebook and Youtube, and between blogs and Wikipedia. Going to have to figure that one out.

So, it's kind of like getting a new pair of shoes. It's really cool, but the breaking in period may be a mite painful. Thank God for Harry, who is in charge of this whole conflagration. I have no idea how people who don't have live-in computer geeks even keep these things running.

Now you know for sure what you have always suspected. I am pretty much computer illiterate. But, it's not what you know, it's who you know. *wink*


Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Little School

It's a new semester at Goldenwood Academy. Our Star Student seems a bit reluctant to embrace this as an opportunity to knuckle in and excel at her studies, but that isn't unexpected. As the subjects get harder, the education days get longer and we both look back fondly at the time way back in the elementary school years when two or three hours of paperwork a day had her sailing through the rather artificial academic expectations of our American definition of a good education. Now in these highschool years when college testing looms along with the expectation of cogent writing and a working knowledge of history, science, literature, mathematics, and at least one foreign language - well the books are open a lot longer each school day.

My job, now that I can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, is to make sure that all of the requisite pieces are in place to insure her a successful start in her college career. I am facilitator, guidance councilor, motivator, disciplinarian, housekeeper and taxidriver.

Then, when she cheerfully goes off to college dorm life in the fall of 2012, I shall be - what? unemployed? Retired? - No, but certainly in for a career change.

lots to do between now and then, though. ~M.E.