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The Laursonian Institute

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Posts tagged money


It was darn hot today.  The weather says it hit 106, but my house was a trooper!  We never really needed to turn on the AC, though it was 88 degrees in here by the peak of it.  We got new blinds installed a week or two ago, and it’s amazing how much keeping the sun out of the windows does for the temperature inside.  I’m very pleased!  Plus I washed and cleaned all the front windows today before it got hot, so it was looking particularly nice and sparkly when we finally got to pull the shades back up.

I’m doing an excellent job of wasting my break away, which I suppose is one of the activities I actually intended on accomplishing.  I do wish I could put myself to task a little better doing school work in addition to the projects and gardening I set up for myself.  It’s hard, because if you start the day with school work, you end up wasting the whole day sitting at the desk or table, and then by dinner time I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done, and that I’m a dope for having not left the house all day.  However, if you start the day in the garden or doing some housework, like I prefer, you end up spending the whole day doing not school work.  Definitely sub-optimal.  Perhaps I’ll have myself better put together when we hit July.   It really has only been a could of weeks since class ended.  I’m always too hard on myself!

I’ve been cooking so much, it really makes me happy.  This week I’ve mastered the Denver omelet (why did  it take me so long to figure out how to cook an omelet?) and I made red beans and rice for dinner today.  Mmm.   We’ve got so many delicious left-overs in the fridge, and lots of tasty salad stuff we haven’t even dug into.  For all that cooking more means eating well, it does sort of obliterate one of my better excuses to get out of the house.  But we’re doing a good job of saving money, anyway.  And it means I get to try out a bunch of new ideas – ricotta pancakes, mozarella chicken panninis, baked sole…

Money is still too much on my mind, but I think that’s always the way of things.  We did our budget for next year, and calculated it a few times over and came to a very sad conclusion: there’s really no way to pay for car insurance.  I’m feeling very deflated after this decision… I was really looking forward to having a car, and having a car of our own we could take places more guilt-free and easy-like.  The prospect of Davis without a reliable car next year is rather daunting, though do-able.  I guess it’s the first thing we’ve really had to cut out in the “you can’t afford that” category.  We’re just going to be barely scraping by next year – we’re already making so much less money than we were when we were both working, and our appointments next year (and the loss of the one-year-only fellowship Lewis had) means we’re making almost a third less than that.  We’re canceling all the extraneous costs (our veg box, our carshare dues) but that really leaves just a smidge of an emergency buffer after our necessary budgeted expenses.  So unless car insurance is magically rather affordable, we’re sunk.  And that means a few things for me, the spelling out of which seems so trite.  It means I’m probably giving up the gym, because I can’t seem to muster the gumption to bike there (particularly in 90+ degree weather), and it means I need to start shopping at the Co-op weekly or more often.  I’ve been getting so spoiled by the ability to drive to the store and bring home all the bottled water and cat litter my heart desired.  Now it’s back to the ol’ cubic feet calculations.  Whine, whine.  I know.  Like I say – it’s just the first of these “we can’t afford this luxury” things, and it’s a cranky one to let go.


I can’t remember the last time I spent a whole afternoon making optimality theory tableaux.  I think it was 2004.  And I think they were on syllabification in Nuxalk.  The next summer I found a Nuxalk dictionary in a speciality bookshop near MIT while Lewis and I were hanging out at the 2005 LSA summer institute.  I don’t know if I’ll ever really have use for a Nuxalk dictionary, but it’s one of my more cherished silly books.  Doing OT is amusing, though much of the time spent doing the work is making the tableaux, which is just asking for everything that could possibly go wrong with word processing software to do so.  Turns out I have two Linux-related OT problems:  a) OpenOffice doesn’t permit dashed lines in tables (!) so I can’t show my unranked constraints properly, and b) the bomb symbol isn’t in unicode!  At least I finally found my pointing hand.  For a minute there, it felt like OT was going to demand Microsoft Word, and that just seems like a ridiculous presupposition for a phonological theory.

But speaking of the LSA… what am I going to do this year?  In more prosperous times (read: no rent to pay) I would have been there in a flash.  The institute is at Berkeley this year, commutable from home, which makes it seem a bit like an opportunity I couldn’t possibly pass up.  On the other hand, committing 6 weeks of my 12 week summer to commuting to Berkeley every day and not having a job seems like a pretty poor idea.  Coupled with the fact that I could only go if I got a fellowship to cover tuition (admittedly a not-unlikely prospect) and that students with fellowships are required to attend all six weeks instead of one of the two three-week sessions generally open to the linguisty public and furthermore that there aren’t really 8 classes I want to take… makes me wonder if it’s worth going.  I need letters of rec and transcripts as well as a personal statement to apply for the fellowship before next week, and I’m really feeling uninspired and unsure about my summer.  My graduate advisor reaaaally wants me to go (and wants to write one of my letters of rec)… but meh.  Money is a pain in the ass.  On the other hand, infinite time and means seems like a bit much to ask.

I made saurkraut-y cabbage tonight.  It wasn’t intended to be kraut-esque; I used the Chez Panisse recipe for warm cabbage, apple, and onion salad.  But it sure was good, at any rate.  Had dinner over one of my favorite new public television related activities – watching Huell Howser.  When I was in LA, he really used to get under my skin.  Though Pinks did have a hotdog named after him, which should have been a tip-off of his potential greatness.  Anyway, for some reason his boundless enthusiasm and child-like irrepressability warms my heart at the end of a long day.  Who couldn’t use a few more handy facts about out-of-the-way California towns?  Today we learned about Smallsville and Timbuctoo.  High quality.