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Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Taxes “Almost” Done

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

I started working on my taxes back in February but then I had so many school assignments and other life events that I did not finish them. My taxes are complicated and I have to file in three states. I keep great records so pulling together the information is not the problem. The difficulty lies in making sure that I have everything in the right place on the form.

I use TaxAct and that helps a good bit, but sometimes their explanations are not clear. Clicking the help link takes you to the IRS explanations, which as we all know, are phrased like muddy water. I also have the Earnst & Young Tax Guide that is much easier to read and follow. The Guide has examples and a good index making it easy to find answers to tax questions.

I keep track of school expenses and in 2009 I bought many more books than usual in prep for the RSH and DIS classes. I highly recommend getting all of the books plus several more. I am compiling a list of additional books to recommend to my readers. I am expecting a couple of new ones from Amazon so I will review those and add to the list.

I am “almost” done my taxes; my daughter has a few of my receipts to send to me that classify as expenses on a piece of rental property we have. Once I have those receipts, I can add them to TaxAct and finish my return. I always feel relieved when I get my taxes finished because they take so much time to complete. I can get started back on my school work and freelancing again!

Have a blessed Easter!

Getting ready for Autumn

Monday, October 12th, 2009

This weekend, Husband and I covered the pool, swept up leaves and added some concrete pavers to make some steps leading into the sliding glass doors. Our poodle has a problem jumping up into the house sometimes so the extra few inches from the pavers should help him.

The leaves are turning colors here in Virginia. At home on the Alabama/Georgia line, the weather does not get as cool this quickly. I have already started wearing sweaters and jackets in the morning when I go to work. It is cool this morning, about 54 degrees. I am home on “vacation”…I have a number of vacation days that I have to use up before the end of the year. Right now I am working on work things, I have my lap top open, logged in through the VPN, plus my home computers and their two side by side monitors. I have my cell phone and everyone at work has my home phone number! So what kind of vacation is this?

No electricity = A day to catch up on reading

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

A big storm blew threw our area last night and knocked out the power. It finally came on at about 5PM today (Saturday). No electricity means no water at our house – we are on a well. So I couldn’t wash clothes or cook. I had a bunch of assignments to grade, too. But of course, none of those things can be done when we don’t have electricity.

So, I took the day to catch up on reading, both in the Creswell text (Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches) and several dissertations. It was good to get in some reading, but I admit that the house was so quiet that I did fall asleep while trudging through a particularly boring dissertation.

I am back online tonight and will dig into those assignments to grade. This GEN/200 class ends on Tuesday. I teach another section at the end of July. Now that I have the lesson plans for this course, my weekly planning should not take so long.

It’s good to have air conditioning, water, and the computer up and running again! Back to work!

Date Night: The New Star Trek Movie

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Husband and I enjoyed a Date Night last night; we went to see the new Star Trek Movie! It was really a lot of fun – I recommend it!

I am a sci-fi lover from way back, having grown up on Heinlein, Herbert, Clarke, Vonnegut, Orwell, Bradbury, etc. We watched Star Trek when it came on once a week in the 1960s and on through each of the movies and spinoffs. Of course, the original Star Trek covered many social issues of the day, sometimes making it fall flat with today’s viewers. It’s the old, “you had to be there” to “get it.” We were exited to see that J.J. Abrams would direct the Star Trek prequel. I admit right here in public that I am a LOSTAHOLIC. We (husband, son, me) have seen every LOST and actually discuss it!

Now that your nerd-ar (like radar) has been activated, let me tell you about the new Star Trek movie. It was a lot of fun, seeing how they developed the characters and kept them true to not only the original characters, but also the nuances of the original actors. You could almost see younger versions of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, and Nichelle Nichols. The actors did a grand job channelling these icons’ personalities and idiosyncrasies. As the story unfolds, things make sense (if you know the Star Trek legacy).

I wrote a review of the movie, here’s a link: The New Star Trek Movie Captures the Essence of Our Favorite Characters

Be cautioned – lots of spoilers in the review! So if you haven’t seen the movie you might want to let it unfold without reading the review. But come back and re-read my review and let me know if I captured it right.

So after the movie, pizza and a beer. And of course a visit over at GameStop for a used PS3 game for Husband. We had a great time, taking a break from life, school, teaching, writing, etc.

I’m refreshed and this morning settling down to write lesson plans for week 2 of GEN200 at the University of Phoenix (Richmond). But still thinking about Star Trek – it’s one of those movies that you walk out of and say, I want to see that one again!

Bit of a Break

Friday, June 20th, 2008

I’ve had a bit of a break from my studies during the month of June.  My Marketing class technically begins July 1st. After getting all the way through MGT5012 with its difficult and time consuming assignments, I really needed a little break. I have started reading the chapters in the text but have not begun to write. I will not have an opportunity to start this weekend either – Son is flying in from Atlanta for a visit! I am very excited to see him and get some big hugs! We are ready to see him – it seems like it has been a long time…but it really hasn’t. I saw the children in May when Son graduated from college. But as a mother I never get enough hugs and kisses from my babies!

Goochland Farmers Market

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

We enjoyed our Saturday by making a visit to the Goochland Farmer’s Market. The market supports sustainability of the rural culture of Goochland County. The Center for Rural Culture  organizes the market.

The market features local produce and hand made items. We visited the market several times last year but yesterday was our first visit this year. It was a very hot day hovering near 100 degrees but it was great to see so many neighbors out supporting the community. We purchased some vegetables and some goat cheese. Husband bought a buffalo steak and enjoyed talking with the buffalo farmer about hides. I bought some blue sodalite earrings and a rutile cabachon dug and polished by the craftsman, the Virginia Naturalist.

After visiting the market, Husband and I went to several yard sales and we each found some treasures. He bought some old tools and I bought some carnival glass. We were very hot by the time we got home. It was great to get out with my best friend!

Bonnie Tomatoes, Roses, and Dudley Lumber

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Last weekend we planted our little bucket garden with tomatoes and peppers. A bucket garden is like a raised garden, but uses buckets – the big paint buckets you can get at Lowe’s. The tomatoes are really growing well; the Bonnie Plant Farm ones are growing the best. Bonnie Plant Farm is from back home in Union Springs, Alabama. They came in the new peat pots which were very easy to use. The other non-branded tomatoes we bought do not look as good. It felt good to put in a garden using something from back home.

This weekend we planted two climbing roses on the new fence. Last summer we put in a fence around the yard and it needs softening up. These are pink “Climbing Queen Elizabeth” roses that I purchased at Wal-Mart for $6.00. They look very strong and one has buds on it.

Yesterday we also worked on adding lattice to part of our pool porch. The pool porch is lower than the main back porch and the 4′ vertical space between them was an issue with dropping things off the back of the porch and there was also the potential for falling. We added a wood lattice and framed it with 2″x4″s. When we set up the boards for sawing I saw the stamp on the lumber: Dudley. Could this lumber be from back home? Dudley Lumber is located in Salem, Alabama, and planes softwood lumber for decking and pallets. I have decided that yes, the lumber is from Dudley. It makes me feel better using lumber from pine trees back home in Alabama.

Snow in Richmond

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

It snowed today and Husband took some photos:

Richmond Snow 01-17-08

thinkPhD Book Store NOW OPEN

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Books are a huge part of my life. We have thousands of books and seem to add more every week. We have book shelves and book stacks in every room. Husband is a book lover, too, although he has different reading preferences than I do.

A book is a wonderful gift for any reader. Books open worlds and open minds. Invariably, when we go shopping we end up at a book store. Not too far from here is a used book store with many bargains that I cannot resist.

I have added a thinkPhD Book Store to the blog. Perhaps you are a book lover, too? Be sure to check out my recommendations. Enjoy!

visit thinkPhD's Book Store

Elf Yourself

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

I elfed my family and had some fun when I did it !!!

Assignment #5 MGT5016 Managing Change

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I finally got back my graded Assignment #4 and I am very pleased with my grade. Dr. S. made some comments on the paper that were encouraging. I have been outlining Assignment #5, and so far it is not much more than a skeleton! I am writing about my company and the change processes that we are working through. One topic that I will explore is the plateau or stagnation during a change initiative. I have been through several “transformations” and there always seems to be a leveling out – lots of progress at the beginning and then we hit a wall. That is where we are at work. Almost everyone got on the bus to go, then the bus broke down! How do we avoid a breakdown?

Tonight Husband and I put together three metal shelves that I bought at Target and put them in the utility room. I have a lot of canning equipment and mason jars and we are using one shelf for these. On another, I will put Christmas decorations. In this house we don’t have a usable attic because of the vaulted ceilings. In the other house we had an attic with a floor.  It feels *Good* to take a step toward getting organized!

Tomorrow evening is reserved for grading papers.

Getting Organized

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Tonight I put together a new wood file cabinet that I purchased at Staples. It is a cherry color and very pretty. This new office is not yet arranged how I want it and so I am working to become organized. I feel un-organized right now because we still have boxes from the move. This house does not have an attic so I cannot “hide” files and papers upstairs. Tomorrow, I plan to buy another file cabinet and have two matching ones.

Catch Up

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

This is a catch up post because I have neglected thinkPhD! I finished up the last course with an “A” and have completed three assignments out of five for MGT5016, Managing Change, with Dr. Arthur “Lee” Smith. This is my fourth class at Northcentral which leaves about 13 more. Today I am working on Assignment 4 and frankly, delaying the inevitable….writing!

Work has been going fairly well but some things that have made the adjustment difficult. Employees in the corporate office tend to be just that – employees. A number of them have little or no engagement in the business. After coming from a mill setting where everyone had personal buy-in, this has been difficult for me. There are a bunch of little fiefdoms all around the office with conflicting goals for each group. For example, one group wants me to do something (that will increase numbers on my side) that will decrease numbers on theirs. They don’t even want to entertain thinking about what would be best for the company as a whole. They are so afraid of not meeting imposed metrics. Indeed, there have been a number of firings and leavings ….enough to make anyone worried. It is sad that there is so much division and competition among the groups.

Mom and Dad have decided not to move to our City, but to remain in Alabama. Daughter is adjusting to her teaching work schedule and Son is adjusting to his Senior Year at the University. Daughter’s Boyfriend has gotten a job new near their new home in NC and is enjoying the work. Step-Daughter has a new job as a Police Dispatcher and she is doing great. I am very proud of all of them.  

This month we started on a path to remove debt from our lives. Dave Ramsey’s website is a great resource and I highly recommend it. My Sister-in-Law recommended that I check out the resources there, and we used September to create a budget. October we will start cash-basis only with no credit.

This week, I started teaching a GEN300 with the University of Phoenix here. I have been working for them in our previous town for several years. It has taken a few months to get in on the rotation. With all of my other responsibilities (work, Northcentral PhD, home, etc.) I am going to go slow and only teach one or two classes at a time.

I suppose I need to get started on the next paper….

Moving …..Ugh!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Well we are almost all packed up. The moving company sent four strong men to load us up. Today was the second day. They think they will be all finished tomorrow. We are going to get the Christmas decorations down from the attic tomorrow morning. Hopefully, we will be all loaded up in the afternoon and we will start out our trip to our new house on Friday morning. Look out Richmond, here we come!!

We Bought A House in Richmond

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Much has happened since my last post. We have finally found a great house in Richmond. It is really nice inside and I will have plenty of room for my large office desk. I think we are going to really love this house. In the meantime, I started a new class on April 1st but have been traveling so much that I have not written the first paper. I hope to get started this week on the first assignment. Now that we have an accepted offer on the house we can move forward. We are so excited!

House in Richmond