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Staycations seem to have become popular these days, but of course I’m just happy to have any time off, whether or not I get to do anything special. When I was a kid we always went camping or to a camping near the beach. (A friend of the family owned the cabin.) I never thought of those times as vacations exactly. I was a kid. Many kids at my school went to Europe or a tropical island for vacations.

My summer school is finally over. Thank the deities! I passed my Spanish class and now have six weeks or so to get some research done and relax a bit before the fall term starts. Living as we have been for the last year, with Beorn not working, makes taking any time off very challenging. Summers have been the worst for us in the last few years because we haven’t gotten financial aid. This year, even with some summer financial aid and two paychecks for summer teaching, not getting money in August will be challenging.

I enjoy having free time to putter around the house and “get things done.” (Ever seen the TV series Dead Like Me? In one episode a character reveals that she records herself doing stuff around the house and broadcasts it on the web. The show is called “Getting Things Done with Delores Herbig.”) There are a number of things I need to catch up on around here. Here is my list of things to do when you have time off, but no money to speak of.

1. Work on your vegetable garden. This week my mom visited and helped me get caught up on weeding me vegetable garden. I have a yardshare garden of about 600 sq ft that has been terribly neglected. When I got the space it was terribly overrun with bindweed.

Isn’t it cute? Any yet it’s evil. I can’t believe how much bindweed I have pulled this year and it is still winning!

2. Do some “spring” cleaning. I’m also spending time going through all the boxes in our closets. I gathered some old clothes to give to Good Will. Later in the week I will probably spend an afternoon at a few thrift stores looking for some clothing for the fall. My sewing machine and serger also haven’t gotten any use this year. The serger I bought for $5 at a garage sale last fall and I’m eager to try out sewing with it. I have a large tub full of various fabrics so I have lots of free material to experiment with.

3. Cook for the freezer or preserve some summer fruits and vegetables. Most likely, I will do some major cooking for the freezer. Having some already prepared food in the freezer makes it easier to avoid being tempted to buy food out when I’m tired or busy. We have also been freezing fresh fruits. While my mom was here we visited a pick-your-own blueberry farm and brought home several pounds of blueberries. I also froze quite a few strawberries and cherries while they were in season and so cheap.

4. Go to the library. When I was a kid we went to the public library a lot. As a grad student I don’t have much time for leisure reading, but I’m taking advantage now.

5. Play on your computer. Lots of people who are truly poor don’t have computers, which is another reason to go to the library, but I need a computer for work, so that’s a lot of recreation available to me. I can even catch up on my blog reading!

6. Go to a park. My mom and I visited the local arboretum and went for a little hike. Beorn’s mom went fishing at the county park while she was here.

7. Go swimming. Beorn and I have been swimming at the pool here at our complex, but there are lots of public pools and even rivers around here. I prefer to swim in natural water. It’s more interesting and there’s less chlorine. If you live near an ocean, even better. Swimming is the best exercise for people with rheumatoid arthritis because there is no stress on the joints.

8. Go to a museum or a concert. Most university towns have some sort of museums and concert series. As a grad student I get free entry into the museum and can get inexpensive concert tickets. Most museums have a free day at least once a month.

Now all of you academics will probably be wondering why I’m not spending all this time working on my research. But I will be spending a significant amount of time on it and I don’t think it’s healthy to drive yourself work once you have reached a certain point of exhaustion. In order to have good ideas I need time to refresh my brain.

Anyone else have ideas about what to do with “time off” when you don’t have a lot of money?

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As seen at The Philosophy Factory
1. Bold the shows you watch/used to watch.
2. Italicize the shows you’ve seen at least one episode of.
3. Bold and italicize the shows you own* on DVD.
4. Post your answers.

50. Quantum Leap

49. Prison Break

48. Veronica Mars

47. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

46. Sex & The City

45. Farscape

44. Cracker

43. Star Trek

42. Only Fools and Horses

41. Band of Brothers

40. Life on Mars

39. Monty Python

38. Curb Your Enthusiasm

37. Star Trek: The Next Generation

36. Father Ted

35. Alias

34. Frasier

33. CSI Las Vegas

32. Babylon 5

31. Deadwood

30. Dexter

29. ER

28. Fawlty Towers

27. Six Feet Under

26. Red Dwarf

25. Futurama

24. Twin Peaks

23. The Office

22. The Shield

21. Angel

20. Blackadder

19. Scrubs

18. Arrested Development

17. South Park

16. Dr Who

15. Heroes

14. Firefly

13. Battlestar Galactica

12. Family Guy

11. Seinfeld

10. Spaced

09. The X-Files

08. The Wire

07. Friends

06. 24

05. Lost

04. The West Wing

03. The Sopranos

02. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

01. The Simpsons

I think this means I watch waaayyy too much TV.

Just paid $4 for a “season pass” to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along, Joss Whedon’s latest project. What a bargain!

FYI, I also paid $5 to This American Life, as I listen to their podcast all the time.

I can’t wait till I can just pay for the media I like rather than paying $60 a month for a bazillion cable channels I don’t watch. If I have to pay $60 I would rather it all went to support quality programming.

Since turning in my thesis and moving, I have had a chance to relax a little and catch up on some of my other interests. The kitties and I are settling in with the roommates and dog at “yoga house.” I have been running into many old friends from college and high school on facebook. I’m looking forward to watching movies and reading novels all summer. Yoga House now has high-speed internet so I can download all the podcasts I want! The first one on my list is The Guild. If you have ever played online games
Have I told you how much I love ScribeFire? The more I use it, the better I like it. For example, you can right click on whatever page you are browsing and then click “blog this” and the ScribeFire window will open with the link in it. You can choose which blog you want to post to, without having to log out and log in to another account. Also, if you browse to another page and want to link to it, when you click on the link button, the link to the page you are on pops up without you having to cut and paste. I’m using it right now.

Just Me and I had our first blogger meetup at Big Conference. We could have used a better venue, but I really enjoyed our talk. I think I talked too much, but hopefully she will forgive me. We didn’t take any pictures. It turns out we know people in common. Weird. It made me feel much better to meet with someone so friendly and strangely familiar. Big Conference was starting to wearing on me. I’m not outgoing although I can sometimes pretend. Now I won’t be so nervous before my next meetup.

Beorn has been playing Lord of the Rings Online again. A while back we quit WOW and got into LOR, and then we had serious real life issues and gave up gaming for a while. I’m still way too busy to really game, but tonight I’m taking a break.

Getting use to gaming after a break is frustrating. If I haven’t gamed in a while I get disoriented and can’t keep up with other players. Usually everyone is level 50 anyway, so whatever area we are traveling through is very familiar to them. Also, I have forgotten all the commands, so I’m not very good at anything.

Tonight we went on a raid with our “kinship.” Raids are confusing if there isn’t a clear leader. It’s difficult to keep up and keep track of everyone, especially since our internet connection is somewhat slow. Everyone expects you to know what quest we are doing or who to attack or not attack. Since our connection is slow I fell into a ditch/ravine which was filled with giant spiders. Not good. Everyone tried to jump in an save me, but it was too late. Ah well, c’est la vie.

Look, K8 tagged me!

1. Name one book that changed your life.
The Culture of Make Believe, Derrick Jensen

2. Name one book you have read more than once.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
(I read all those books over and over again as a kid.)

3. One book you would want on a desert island.
Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools

4. Two books that made you laugh.
Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, Spider Robinson
The Princess Bride, William Goldman

5. One book that made you cry.
American Primitive, Mary Oliver

6. One book you wish you’d written.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

7. One book you wish had never been written.
A Separate Peace, John Knowles
(10th grade English class was torture for me. No more boys coming of age!)

8. Two books you are currently reading.
The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery
Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco

I tag Beorn and Trillwing.

Each fall, as the days grow shorter I’m surprised. I always forget that my milaise and lethargy are caused in great part by the season. My perfectly reasonable desire to veg-out in my cozy house during the dark time of the year directly conflicts with (post)modern American commercialized/capitalist (or whatever you want to call it) ideas about how to celebrate the season.

In recent years I have been a real Grinch around this time of year, having trouble appreciating the holiday and feeling sorry for myself because I wasn’t having a Hallmark kind of time. Today I feel better. After reading Wil’s lovely post on the Twelve Days of Christmas, I was delighted to come home this evening to find that my stockings (i.e. slippers) had been stuffed by Saint Nikolaus! Beorn’s family is German, so I have little background on this tradition, but I love it. Beorn’s mom sends us lovely care packages each year filled with German sweets and little family heirlooms. Below are my slippers filled with chocolate coins, jewelry, marzipan, and Stollen (sweet roll filled with almond paste.) Yum!

It’s the final week of classes here. Beorn is in the middle of a massive paper writing marathon. This afternoon he sent me to the thrift store to by an air popcorn popper. The thrift store is super cute. The lady who owns it has all the Christmas decoration out in front as well as some antiques. The back room is filled with dishes and appliances.

When I got my new popcorn popper home I thought I would look on the internet for directions about how much popcorn to put in it. I googled “Poppery” but failed to find any information about how to use my new device as a popcorn popper. Apparently I should take it apart to jury-rig it as a coffee roaster.