Monday, April 27, 2009

Got Refinanced -- Training Going OK I Think -- Two by Two -- Mini Vacation Soon?

The value of our home has certainly taken a beating in this market, but (a) it had gotten ridiculously high during the bubble and so is now merely reasonable and (b) was enough for us to refinance and get our bills more organized and less expensive interestwise. Plus this interest is tax-deductible. So there is great rejoicing. And the place is mostly clean—wowza!

Had my first "real" training session for Kaplan yesterday, where we spent the whole time doing "teachbacks" -- we teach a section of the test and get feedback. It went so much better than I thought it would. (When I told Doug that, he just rolled his eyes. Then I said, to be funny, "I don't think I flunked," because that's what I said all the way through grad school every time I had a test . . . then got 100 percent. He doesn't understand my insecurities, which is very sweet of him—not to understand why I wouldn't feel confident about my abilities.)

I'm also working on a GRE book for Kaplan Publishing right now, so I'm getting a GRE immersion experience!

Two by two: I saw two bunnies under the birdfeeder at the same time the other evening. That means baby bunnies! Also, last summer we had a small reddish squirrel join the big gray ones we're used to seeing, and the other day, I saw two red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus; see also the U of Mich site here) chasing each other along the fence. That means baby red squirrels! Still not seeing many birds, just the ubiquitous house sparrows, a pair of house finches, a male cardinal, and the odd robin looking for bugs.

American Red Squirrel
Photos © Patriot Plaistow John

I desperately need a change of scenery, and although Doug travels for work, he'd like to get away without working for once. I think we're going to go on a little jaunt to Madison, WI, for a couple of days. Enjoy the restaurants on State Street, cruise the art galleries, walk around the lakes, visit the Oldrich Botanical Gardens . . . As long as we can work our schedules so we can both get away when the weather is good there—it all needs to come together . . .

Haven't updated about the fish for a while. Maybe it's about time for another long, geeky tropical fish update?

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