Friday, July 29, 2011

Baxter gets a bath

I ended up taking Baxter to Buckle's Feed Supple for his bath. They have a self service dog wash. For $8, you get to use their dog tub, shampoo/conditioner, towel, hair drier, and brushes included! Usually Baxter's preferred method of drying off is to go strait from the bath tub to my bed. There, he rolls around pressing out all the water into my bed which is just gross. I say it was worth every penny to have zero water on my bathroom floor and zero water on my bed! For those in the area, Buckle's is officially the cheapest place in town!

For whatever reason, I only got 6 hits yesterday and I had exciting news! Go back and read it if you want to know why I was so excited Thursday morning!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grad students stick together for a budget win!

This is our 2010-2011 Purdue Graduate Student Government

I was actually lacking inspiration for any kind of post today until I opened my email and got my billing statement from the Bursar. My student fees went down by $28 per month. This is a big deal for a lot of reasons. It all started about 3 years ago or so when the Purdue Graduate Student Government decided enough was enough on the fee situation. For whatever reason, when we get funding, that funding can cover our tuition and stipend, but not our student fees. Student fees help pay for things like computer labs (which most of us never use), the gym (which you can tell by looking most of us never use), and I don't know what else. The one thing a lot of us use is the City Bus. Our City Bus system is free to all Purdue Students. Pretty awesome right?!?! Well, back to complaining about fees. As it turns out, Purdue was one of the only universities that had this grad student fee business. What made it worse was that these fees were something like $800 and due at the beginning of September. Most grad students who start at the end of August get their first pay check at the end of September. And, that pay check is often only about $1400. Knowing that the fees were over half of most students paychecks and that they didn't even get a pay check until after the payment was due, Purdue worked out a payment plan. To participate in this payment plan, you had to go to the Bursar Office, wait in line forever, talked to a grumpy lady, and fill out a paper form. All of that AND you had to pay interest! It was such a scam.

Move forward to the PGSG. The student government stuck together and got the fees on a reduction plan PLUS an automated payment plan! Starting in 2009, all grad students were automatically enrolled in a monthly payment plan and the fees were reduced by a decent chunk. Everyone was happy about this. I have a feeling that even the grumpy lady in the Bursar Office is not so grumpy anymore! What I didn't expect was for our fees to be reduced again! Maybe I was told that they would be reduced again and I forgot. Seriously good chance. But I'm still very excited to update my budget with $90 a month going to Purdue instead of $118! So not only did I get a raise this year, but I also have reduced fees! Do you think Congress is reading this? Income and less spending equals money in the bank! Wink Wink!

How will I use that $28 a month. I'm not sure where it will go. I was talking with friends yesterday and the hardest area of our budgets is the eating out category. The other category that's tough to stick with for me is gas. I already pumped up the gas budget since I got the raise. I think I'll bump up the dining out budget by $8 which is about one lunch out a month. The other $20 will go towards the emergency/moving fund. More on that another day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My travel mishaps

Me on one of the 2 days I was in Taiwan.
I travel quite a bit. There are folks that travel a ton more than me, but compared to the average Joe, I'm in airplanes more often than most. Considering my carbon footprint, I should probably consider an electric car! Generally I fly about twice a month. You might think that I have the system down pat, but the reality is I don't. Occasionally, I still forget to take my shoes off at security. All this traveling just puts me at a higher risk of something going wrong!

The worst thing that happened was when I missed a flight to DC. I was sitting in the gate! Granted I was probably in my own little world, I was still there. I never heard my name called and the plane ended up leaving a little early! The desk attendants were super nice and re-booked me for the following morning and it all worked out just fine.

My first ever day skiing, and I was skiing in the alps.
I hate packing. I forget something almost every time I travel. My domestic travels are the worst, but my international travels aren't immune to bad packing. I mostly blame my ballet friends. When I was a kid and we had spontaneous sleep overs, they had everything I needed. I didn't have to pack pajamas or anything. At least I don't remember packing anything. So now I forget stuff all the time! Usually it's a hair brush, something cosmetically related, or most recently I forgot my running shoes. I've compensated to some degree by leaving extras of all my toiletries at a certain someone's place so that I don't have to worry about forgetting that stuff. On my most recent trip I bought a $25 pair of decent running shoes at T.J. Maxx. Now that problem is solved too!

Knock on wood, but I've never actually lost my luggage. That's a blessing I try to remember to be thankful for often! Just so you know, if you buy your plane ticket with a credit card, or buy the $13 extra travel insurance you usually get something like $100 to buy new clothes to get you through till your luggage arrives. That extra insurance is always worth it for international travel! I seriously doubt that your current insurance covered much of anything internationally. I know someone who had a medical emergency that caused a plane to land in London. Not only did that $13 cover all her medical expenses for the brain tumor that was discovered, it covered expenses for her husband who was with her. Then, they flew them home first class. That insurance might actually be $40, but trust me you want it.

JFK Memorial in Dallas.
My other travel woes seem to happen in the parking lot. Ive never lost my car, because I always take a picture of the sign marker closest to my car with my phone camera. One time I left my window down the whole time I was gone. Another time I completely lost my parking ticket thing. Luckily if you show your boarding passes, they'll only charge you for those days. Whew! So my most recent travel mis-hap stems from trying to get to the airport by 5 am. That's why my alarm was still set for 3am yesterday. Arg. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I got to my car in the airport parking lot only to find I had a dead battery. Turns out I left the dome lights on. Oops! Lucky for me, the airport provides a free jump-start service. Obviously I'm not the first one to need a jump. The guy told me they jump about 10 cars per day. Sadly, I didn't have any cash for a tip. I did have a Starbucks gift card that was empty, but registered. I gave him the card and told him I'd add money to it from my phone. Which I did. Weird thing is that because the card is registered, I can see the account balance on the card. The guy hasn't used it yet. He seemed excited at the time, but maybe he's just not the Starbucks type. Maybe he lost it. Maybe he's saving it for a present. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how long it takes before using it!

What are your crazy travel mishaps? Did everything work out ok?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Letting other people do the talking

I've had a rough morning. Evidently, alarm A was still set for 3:30am and it was on. Not cool. It was so hot I had trouble falling asleep. Alarm A rudely interrupted what precious little sleep I was getting! Arg! That made it really hard to wake up to Alarm B at 7am. Not a good way to start the day. It's coming up on the end of the month, so I figure I'll just let other people do the talking. In the next couple of days, you should do the following...

1. Check your monthly statements! Kevin just posted about this yesterday.

2. Review your budget. If you don't have one, make one! Molly over at Molly on Money actually has some good step by step reading for you. J. Money over at Budgets are Sexy has a nice list of free budget templates you can use.

3. Think of all the things you're thankful for. I saw a good quote yesterday, but forgot to save it. I think it said something to the effect of, "What you already have was probably once on a list of things you didn't have, but wanted." For the month of August, I'm going to try to be appreciate the stuff I already have! It's my birthday month though, so I'll probably have a little "happy birthday to me" spending in there too!

Today I'm thankful for
  • My air conditioned office
  • Splashtop on my iPad so I can work from home when I need to even though I'm not today (see above)
  • A really good journal paper that an intern found
  • that my friends Rebecca and John finally got their brand spankin' new Prius!!!!!
  • That I had clean clothes to wear
  • That it's still summer, because let's face it...summer is awesome!

Monday, July 25, 2011

What it's like to have a unique name

I've been a little off-track with the weekly money check-ups hosted by MyPrettyPennies. I'm so excited that she revealed herself to her readers last week! Not in a flasher kind of way. She told us her name. She is Ginna!

Bloggers often have quite the dilemma when considering whether to blog publicly or anonymously. Some reveal very intimate details about their lives in anonymous writing. I think there must be something very therapeutic about that! Others, chose to put it all out there. They blog under their real name AND reveal intimate details. I fall in another category; I write under my real name, but censor my writing to some degree. I chose to do this for several reasons. The main reason is because my name is so unusual. If some future employer decided to do some serious spy work, I feel like there would be some risk of them figuring out that an anonymous blog belonged to me anyway. It's not like an anonymous blog would link back to a Sarah, or Katie, or Emily. It would link back to TusaRebecca. so, here's my take on my name.

My name is who I am. My name represents family history. My name means I never had a personalized lunch box or back pack, because those embroidery companies only allowed 10 letters. My name means I have to explain myself every time I'm introduced. Of course, that's a good thing, because then people almost always remember my name.

Here's the story. My great great grandmother was a Native American named Tusa. At that time in US history, Native Americans we not treated with any respect, so she was sent away to England. When she came back, she didn't claim her Native American heritage. The first part of my name helps keep her story alive. Rebecca was my grandmother's very close cousin. They grew up more like sisters than cousins. I always imagine them playing together during the summers and having loads of tea parties and picking wild flowers. This may not be what they did, but I'll keep that idea in my head!

To answer all the usual questions:
No, you may not call me just "Tusa" or just "Rebecca."

You may not call me "TR." Only a select few people can call me TR without getting a scowl. In fact, I think there are only 3 people who I let get away with it. I can only think of one of those people who may be reading this. She can still call me TR.

I have a nick name, but you have to be grandfathered in. If you already know my nick name because we were friends in college, feel free to keep calling me that. Otherwise, you may only call me by my name.

TusaRebecca is my first name. Rebecca is not my middle name. My middle name is Eleanor.

So far as I know, I am still the only TusaRebecca. Google my name and you will only find stuff about me. It's kind of scary to have a name so unique that a last name is not even needed, but it's pretty super cool at e same time! It's almost standard that employers at least do a Google search of your name. At least most of you have the benefit that multiple people will come up in that search and might throw the employer for a loop. On the other hand, could be bad if your name is Sarah P. Jones and another Sarah P. Jones from your same town has a serious police record! Do a Google search of my name and you will find a few manuscripts for which I am an author, a few news articles, my blog, etc. It's all me and it's all relevant!

Well, back to the weekly, money check-up.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a new Patagonia Margot dress.

2. Today I am thankful the rain we had this weekend!

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was "real science" with my nephews.

4. I will consider this week a success if I pack my lunch every day, put away all my clean clothes, get at least 2 workouts in.

5.A good friend is someone who likes you just the way you are, but will encourage you to be better every day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A few things I'm loving right now.

Here are a few things I'm hooked on right now.Things other than school, that is. I'm on a roll at school for sure. I've written about 20 pages in the last week or so. Might not sound like much, but trust is! Every word has to be chosen carefully. I have to spend time reading articles that will help me develop my expertise in the area I'm working in, etc. It all takes more time than the term papers I used to whip up in undergrad, that's for sure!

Thanks to Paula over at, I discovered StumbleUpon. She was (maybe still is) hosting a book giveaway. To earn an entry, one option was to post one of her blog posts to StumbleUpon. Now I'm a wee bit hooked on the site! Ack! Basically, you key in a few interests on your account, click "Stumble" and random web sites come up! I've found tons of great recipes I want to try, so decorating ideas for some day when I actually have my own apartment, and some cool blogs I might end up following for a long time!

Thanks to StumbleUpon, I discovered Pinterest. Pinterest is this cool site that allows you to catalog ideas you find online. You could make a page of craft ideas, or recipes, or gift ideas. You name it! I requested an invite and I'm seriously hoping I get my invite soon! I already have ideas of the pages I want to make. 1) DIY projects 2) hand made gifts 3) Party ideas 4) recipes which will probably be divided by category 5) Store bought gift ideas 6) ok that's all I can think of!

It's been over 100 F all week and I can't imagine wearing anything other than sundresses. I have a Patagonia Margot dress that I love, and I've been wanting to order another. Lucky for me, they are on sale right now!   

It's hotter than hot, so our garden isn't producing too much this week. Everything is just trying to survive the heat. I love ol' X6 though! It's so peaceful out there! Yesterday I took my nephews to see the garden. You may be tired of reading about them, but I don't really care! They are my favorite little boys in the whole world and I could pretty much write an entire blog about all the funny things they do and say! Here they are helping me out in the garden!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Confession of a girl who LIVES to be an Auntie!

 Well...I confess that I didn't get to the office at a reasonable hour today. I just thought making strawberry pancakes with my nephew was way more important than an hour of work. In my not so humble opinion being an Auntie pretty much rocks! My nephew wakes up with more energy than 10 spider monkeys or 100 ninjas. Today he woke up as soon as he heard my alarm and was very patient with me when I hit snooze and wanted to go back to sleep for a few minutes. Pancakes just seemed like the right thing to do this morning. He did a great job stirring the batter! Couldn't have been a better breakfast! I mean do you resist a little guy with underoos hanging out his pants? Look at that face! It begs for strawberry pancakes!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

County Fair 2011

I love the county fair. Brings back so many happy memories. Don't get me wrong. During my 11 years of 4-H, there were plenty of unhappy memories too! One year the judge told my mom that I didn't get one of the top prizes for modeling a skirt I sewed because I insisted on carrying my doll with me. She was wearing a matching outfit. It was completely adorable! Everyone EXCEPT the judge thought so! The happiest memories are of the heat, the lemon shake-ups, climbing on the tractors, visiting the animals and wish I had my own horse, and generally the rest of the fair food! Yesterday I'm glad I got to share those happy memories with my sister and nephews and some friends! Last year the animals were a big hit. This year John Deere won the kids' hearts!
New Friends

Giant yellow digger thing wins every time!

When you get big, you can come mow my lawn any time you want!

Way too cute!

Please don't figure out how to put this thing in gear!

Ready to farm!
On a money saving note, we all had our own drinks for lunch. Buying sodas would have seriously doubled the price of lunch. Do they really need to charge $2.50 for a soda? That's just nonsense! It was actually too hot for sodas anyway. The air temp was 97 F and heat index of 110F. Way way way too hot! Lemon shake-ups and water was all anyone really wanted!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Disjointed News!

Baxter loves the garden!

I can't believe I didn't post Monday morning. Actually, I can. I don't know many people who had a fantastic Monday today. So that's my excuse. Monday was just kind of a bummer of a day. are a few disjointed thoughts that will suffice for Monday and Tuesday. All pictures are just for fun.

As it turns out, I have a lot of lotion. Special lotion I got for gifts, lotion from hotels, big bottles of lotion I bought because I thought I needed "good" lotion. In fact I'm pretty sure I won't have to buy any for a very long time. I also have several bars of pretty soap that are still their original packaging. My guess is I'm not the only one. Pretty sure other people do the same thing with pretty candles too. Why don't we just use this stuff? Why is ingrained that pretty things have to be saved and not used? It's one of my new goals to use up all that lotion. I'm not a daily lotion user, so it could take a while. I suppose if I become a daily lotion user my skin will look much nicer! Maybe I'll think to post about it again when all the lotion is all used up!

Never thought I'd get 3 dogs to sit long enough to get a picture!

In other news, I got a raise! The best part about Monday. Very exciting as pretty much no one in the our academic world is getting a raise right now. My raise ends up being about 2% which isn't too shabby for anyone. If I were making "real" money, that could be a decent chunk of change. Two percent of a little bit isn't actually very much. We all know every penny counts, and for me this raise basically means I don't have to worry about things like fluctuating prices of gas, the headlight that's out on my car right now, and I can still meet my savings goals. Yay!

Just so you know it wasn't a fluke! Same dos sitting at the same time on a different day! Amazing!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Show Me App Review and update

So I downloaded a free app called Show Me. It's basically a white board. You can draw with your finger or with one of those fancy iPad pens if your have one and talk while you draw. The app records what you're saying as you draw. It's pretty, fun to play with so long as you don't freak out at the sound of your own voice! I think it would be great for communicating concepts long distance. So far it looks like most people are using it for academic stuff. I can see how this would be useful for some academic concepts, but I decided to use it to tell you about my recent hair transformation! I've dropped a serious chunk of change in this transformation, but the end result is the most ridiculously low maintenance situation ever! Watch it here

In other news, I have done some serious writing for school. In my field, writing journal articles and having them published is super important. Publication is your bread and butter! No publications, no job. Seriously...some day when I'm a professor, my career will somewhat depend on getting my research published. I won't get paid for each publication, but I will pretty much lose my job if I don't publish my work. Eek! Good thing I'm getting in a lot of practice now! Besides, everything I'm writing is a part of my dissertation. Yay for being one step closer to graduation!

Tonight I took a few minutes to clean out my coupon file. The bigger pile is getting thrown away. The smaller pile is all I have left. With all the recent traveling, I've pretty much fallen off the coupon bandwagon. It's good to purge them every once in a while anyway. Tonight I got sulfate free shampoo (part of the hair cash dump!) on sale and I had $6.50 in CVS extra care bucks. Made it pretty close to free! Maybe this Sunday I'll see what I can get for close to free at CVS. Fun times. That's all for now. Should have a good garden post soon!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Too many USB sticks

So the other day I was looking for a USB stick with a specific file on it. I found all of these in my desk only to realize that the one I needed wasn't in my desk! I think if you have more than 7 USB sticks you probably have too many. Just sayin...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Weekly Money Check-up

Image Credit

This weekend was a fantastic tour of Americana. Cubs beat the White Sox, and I was right behind home plate! I had amazing food all weekend! Generally a wonderful couple of days.
Might as well get back on track with the weekly money check-ups provided by Pretty Pennies!

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on my hair. I'm in the middle of a transformation!
2. Today I am thankful that I got a good night's rest.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was hang out up at the river.
4. I will consider this week a success if I make my own coffee every day.
5. My favorite 4th of July tradition is fireworks!

Friday, July 01, 2011

My blog isn't dead.

My blog isn't dead. I'm just super tired and can't get everything done right now. I'll get back to it next week for sure. In the mean time, you can enjoy this awesome collage of a pup that my nieces Anja (age 3 and a half) and Greta (age 2) made for me. That's some serious gluing going on! I love it! I need to find a special place to display it. Probably my desk is a good idea. Kudos to Annie for being able to cut out the dog. I mean pup. That's not a stencil folks! She's just that good!