Saturday, December 06, 2008
We have a squirrel feeder in our front yard. Today I was watching as a squirrel figured out how to get the corn. He would lean over from the tree, grab the cord and pull it toward him. However, he still found it easier to be upside down when he got the corn. He'd bite off a piece, let the block go, and scramble to the backside of the tree to crack open the shell of the corn and eat the inside. Clever squirrel!
Sunday, November 02, 2008
A little bit later, Doug locked the dogs in the house and called me to the backyard. There was definitely a chicken.
We're not sure where she came from. Maybe someone in the area thought it would be cute to raise a chick and thought a grown chicken wasn't so cute. Who knows. But given that it looked hungry, and that we have several bird feeders (with birds spilling feed on the ground) in our yard, we expect her to be back.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Will have a week when I get back and then fall semester starts. Where does the time go?
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I did, however, get the comment today that this was the first class the student felt like they were really learning something. Guess that's something.
One more week. That's all there is, one more week. Presentations are on Wednesday and the final is on Thursday, by Friday I'll post grades and Saturday I'm getting on a plane, heading to the Pacific Northwest, for a much needed vacation.
Not sure if we'll take the laptop and post photos during the trip or not. If not, it may be almost a month before you hear from me. Maybe by that time I'll have something interesting to say.
BTW, if you haven't checked it out, my students are blogging this summer. Take a read if you like.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
For lunch yesterday I met my friend Izzy at Sichuan Garden in Round Rock. The Austin Chronicle had a good review and we figured that would be as good of place as any. It’s in a shopping center at the corner of I-35 & 620. It doesn’t look like much and was fairly empty, but the thing we noticed was the two large tables, each filled with who we presumed to be Chinese people.
We both opted to order off the lunch menu. According to the review, it was best to skip the Chinese standbys, like General Tsao’s; unfortunately, most of the lunch menu was standbys. Still, I ordered shredded pork with bean curd which was good. Izzy said her eggplant in her garlic sauce was delish. The service was okay (but it was the server’s first day) and the soups were just okay. I was able to get in and out with drink, tax and a 22 percent tip for $8. Yummy food, low cost, I’ll be back.
In the evening, I was going to meet Doug at Zax’s for dinner and then we were going to meet friends at the Zach Scott for a show. Only when Doug got to the restaurant, there was no parking. Not wanting to deal, he suggested we go some place else. I met him at the Zach and we hopped in one car. Not sure where to go, we headed down SoCo. We opted to try Woodland; I heard JB from the JB & Sandy morning show talk about how good it is. Honestly, we weren’t that impressed.
My impression was that it was trying too hard to be laidback and cool and it just didn’t work. First, the beer selection was a selection of wanna bes, instead of what a beer connoisseur would like. The menu selection seemed limited. We both ordered burgers, which were $11-$13 and really weren’t that special. Neither was the service. Definitely a yuppie-trying-to-still-be-cool-and-laidback place. We left disappointed. We won’t go back.
I guess I can include the third new place I went to yesterday – Big Top Candy, although I didn’t buy anything. It’s an old time candy store with things like candy cigarettes, Now & Laters and huge jawbreakers, none of which I’ve seen since I was a kid. I was tempted to buy something just because, but wasn’t hungry and opted not to. However, just seeing all the candy from my childhood in one place made me smile. Just what I needed after Woodlands.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
On Friday afternoon I met an acquaintance for tea at The Steeping Room. We had a few things to talk about and since neither of us drinks coffee, she suggested we do The Steeping Room. While the restaurant does high tea, we opted not to do that and instead selected from the dizzying array of individual teas. I ordered a chocolate chai frappucino and my acquaintance ordered the iced tea version of a mojito. Both were yummy. However, the reason this place is blogworthy is the service. My acquaintance ordered a chilled watermelon soup; however, she’s pretty reserved and didn’t mention that she didn’t like it. I admit, I didn’t even notice she hadn’t eaten it. After the bill was paid, the waitress came back to the table and said her manager noticed my acquaintance didn’t eat her soup and was something wrong. The waitress offered to take it off the bill. When that didn’t work because the credit card had already been run, the waitress gave my acquaintance a coupon for a free soup on her next visit. One little act of customer service gained two return visitors.
That evening, Doug and I went to another new place, Gypsy, on Barton Springs Road. This quaint northern Italian restaurant had great wine, food and service. The waiter was excellent, giving great suggestions and allowed us to sample a few wines before we made our selections. In fact we discovered a few new wines. We split a dessert, a chocolate mascarpone cheesecake – it was rich and almost too much. We had an ice wine to go with it that tasted like apricots soaked in honey. Yum!
We didn’t make it to a new restaurant on Saturday, although we did have an enjoyable meal at El Sol y La Luna. Not only is the food good there, the restaurant is quick (in and out in under 40 minutes), which was good because we were on our way to volunteer for the Zach’s production of Seussical. BTW, the production had great costumes and great performances.
This morning was our third new restaurant – Galaxy Café in the Triangle. Cute little restaurant and good food. I had the Mediterranean eggs, with feta and basil. While there was nothing “oh wow” about the breakfast, it hit the spot and we’ll definitely return. Maybe we’ll even make it back for lunch or dinner.
All in all, a good gastronomical weekend.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Along with that, I've launched a new business. It's really an evolution, moving away from doing media relations freelance work, to doing more strategic work.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
According to a recent blog update on Texas Monthly, Snow’s has increased it’s production from 300 to 800 pounds of meat on Saturday; the only way to ensure you get barbecue is to pre-order by Wednesday. The Statesman’s John Kelso wrote that the barbecue is selling out in 45 minutes and that people are coming Dallas, Houston and Laredo to taste the barbecue.
We said that we would pick up the meat at 10:15, so we left the house about 9 a.m. with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. We were looking forward to the best barbecue in Texas but were worried if they could keep up the quality when their production has almost tripled in less than a month.
It took us about an hour to get there by peaceful back roads through Elgin (FM 3000 is a cute little road). When we arrived, the place wasn’t too crowded, but it certainly had its share of confusion, like the aftermath of a natural disaster. The two ladies working the counter were explaining to people that all they had left was sausage. There was a line at the door when the restaurant opened at 8 and by 9 they were sold out. Needless to say, there were a lot of disappointed people who walked away empty-handed. While waiting for our turn, I peaked at their guest book and they had folks from as far away as San Francisco. Hmm.
Our order was already pre-wrapped to go and it took a bit to explain that we wanted to eat a bit there and then take the rest with us. Finally, we got it straight and went outside to eat and watch the pit masters. We were eager with anticipation.
Although the brisket looked dry, Doug thought it was deceptively moist and tender. I thought the pork was juicy. However, it seemed like I got the dry end of the brisket and he got the dry end of the pork so I didn’t like the brisket as much as he did and he didn’t like the pork as much as I did. We both thought the sausage was okay and the pork ribs were over done, bordering on being horrible.
On the drive home (via Taylor – another nice drive) we discussed Snow’s. Overall, we rated it okay but probably won’t be in a hurry to get back. As Doug pointed out, however, that most barbecue places have their off days and this might have been one of those. Also, it may have been that all the meat is scheduled to be ready at 8 and the extra two hours of waiting for us caused our order to dry out. It could also be that they couldn’t keep the quality up with the production increase. At some point, once the Texas Monthly hype wears down, we’ll try Snow’s again. Maybe then it will live up to being the best barbecue in Texas.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I'm now on the board of directors for the local chapter of the Association of Women in Communications. In preparation for this weekend's planning retreat, I took the Myers-Briggs personality assessment. I've taken these tests before, but I was curious to see if anything had changed since I last took the test in grad school. It hadn't. I'm an ENFP.
So what does this mean? ENFP stands for Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving. According to the Web site where I retook the test,
ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental.
Only about 3% of the population are ENFPs. A couple of other things found interesting about ENFPs, and true about myself, include:
- ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential
- ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents
- They are good at most things which interest them
- Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime
- To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent
- ENFPs almost always have a strong need to be liked
- Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery
- They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivous to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves
- They may become unhappy when they are confined to strict schedules or mundane tasks. Consequently, ENFPs work best in situations where they have a lot of flexibility, and where they can work with people and ideas
- ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension
- They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being controlled or labelled
- Friends are what life is about to ENFPs
- ENFPs are energized by being around people. Some have real difficulty being alone, especially on a regular basis
So what do you think? Does this sound like me?
So what do you think? Does this sound like me?
Friday, June 06, 2008
I think the classes are paying off and my work is going to a new level. Below are a few of my projects from this spring. They aren't representative of all the classes I've taken (some classes are technique classes), but you can see how the work has progressed.
This is from a powders and frit class. I used frit (small pieces of glass) to recreate a scene from Hawaii. Aloha!
This was an enamel painting on glass class. You trace a picture on the glass and then paint in the detail. These are the dogs on the jetty at Port A.
Doug also took the enamel class; in fact, he got way more in to it than I did. This is Umlaf Sculpture Garden in Zilker Park.
My hand, from a textures class. You use kiln wash to make a design and then place glass on top. I made this for Doug's birthday.
Project one from the paper weights class. This takes a lot of cold working, which means using power tools to shape and polish.
Woven bowl -- pieces of glass that look woven together. There was also another project where the glass is actually woven together, but the piece isn't finished yet.
Strip bowl. You cut strips of glass and then turn them on their edge for a different look.
Of course, I have more classes on the horizon.On Sunday I start a two-week mica and enamels class -- not painting, but using mica and enamel powders to create art. The hand piece here is a great example of using micas. Thursday is the start of a pattern bars class, where you fuse glass together to make interesting elements for other pieces.
Friday, May 30, 2008
I was excited to see the June issue of Texas Monthly once again features the 50 best barbecue joints in Texas. Their top pick was as new to the editors as it was to me -- Snow's BBQ in Lexington, which is east of Elgin. I'm now jonesing to head east tomorrow.
Rounding out the top five are (in no particular order):
review. While most of the time Cooper's has been a real hit, we've been there a couple of times when it's been a definite miss. Texas Monthly was there on a miss day.
However, it looks like we have a few new places to try and there are several road trips in our future.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
The Blue Bonnet Cafe is a Texas legend, having been in business for more than 75 years. Texas Highways magazine voted the Blue Bonnet the #1 breakfast place in Texas and one of the top 10 restaurants in Texas. To be honest, I hadn’t heard about the Blue Bonnet until about six months ago when my colleague, Mike McBride, told me about it. It took several months to convince Doug to go (and actually putting it on our list) and then a month to find a day when we were up early enough and didn’t have a lot of things on our to do list to go. Today was the morning.
From our house it was about a 70 minute drive on twisting, hill country roads. Wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t imbibed a little too much at Robert & Tracy’s wedding last night and if our convertible didn’t have such a rough ride. Still, the drive is pretty.
We got there about 8:30 and while busy, we got a seat right away. It was a friendly, bustling place. It’s cash and checks only, but they do have an ATM. The portions were definitely Texas-sized. We both got omelets, which come with either grits or hashbrowns (we got hashbrowns) and your choice of bread. Let me recommend the Texas-toast. It’s easily an inch and a half thick of homemade bread. It was so yummy that we bought a loaf to take home.
The Blue Bonnet is also famous for its pies. We didn’t have room for dessert, but we bought a pecan pie to take home. Some of the pies, like the peanut butter pie pictured below, look out of this world, but we wanted something that would easily transport back to Austin.
The Blue Bonnet Cafe is worth the trip. As Doug said when we were leaving, this is a place we’ll cross off our list many more times.
So what was on my mind? In a word, my job, or rather wondering if I would have one next school year. At the beginning of the school year, the school had plans to hire one tenure tact professor (this means someone with a PhD) and one senior lecturer (no PhD required). The senior lecturer, and promise of a three-year contract, was one of the reasons I came back this school year. The senior lecturer is basically what I've been doing for the last two years, the only difference is that it is a three-year contract, so at the end of each year I wouldn't have to go through the angst of whether I'd be hired back. And what angst it has been.
Somewhere along the line, the school started thinking they could hire two tenure track professors and no senior lecturers. Fast forward to April, only one PhD had accepted the offer and at that point, the school opted to look for a senior lecturer. On Dead Day (the day before finals start, where there is no class) I interviewed for my job. It was somewhat surreal, interviewing with my colleagues for the job I already had. I also had to give a teaching presentation. Despite it being a day off for everyone, I was able to get quite a few of my colleagues, as well as several students there. That, I think, was the best part, getting the students. Many current and former students who couldn't make it wrote letters supporting me. I am very appreciative of the support.
In the end, I got the contract and I will be back. Without going into much detail, one of the things I learned was to stand up for yourself and know what you want and others will go to bat for you (assuming, of course, that you're good to begin with). I got a lot of support along the way and it was great. In fact, working with some great students and other really neat professors is one of the reasons I love teaching.
So now I have some time off until summer school in July. Well, I do have a student who has to finish a project, but other than that, nothing pressing. I am going to do some more work on my own consulting business, as I have some ideas there I'd like to explore. At this point, I just have six weeks and I know it will fly fast.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
Saturday was opening night of Doubt at the Zachary Scott. This isn’t a review of the play because I didn’t get to see it (but I hear it was good). Instead, I volunteered, which Doug and I do most opening nights. This one will stay in the memory for a long time, beating out the night the homeless guy wandered into the opening night party and started partaking of the free champagne.The reason this opening party is memorable is because it was self catered, but not by choice. A normal opening night has volunteers running the bar before the show and at intermission, taking tickets, playing ushers, selling shirts, etc. After intermission, the volunteers help set up for the party, setting up tables, popping the cork on the champagne (Doug’s job), pouring the glasses. The food and all the goodies are set out by the caterer. Only this time, there was no caterer.
The show was short, 90 minutes and no intermission. At 8:30, the house managers were worried. By 9, they were in a panic. By 9:05 they were at Schlotzsky’s, buying goodies and sending someone to Whole Foods. We had just finished pouring 150 glasses of champagne when the first volunteer came back with brownies and lemon bars from Schlotzsky’s. Working in the semi-dark, as quietly as possible so no noise could be heard in the theatre, we unwrapped the baked goods, cutting them in fourths, just to make sure everything was bite-sized and there was enough to go around. “Who here is good at making this try look pretty?” someone asked. We all just shook our heads.
Then the head house manager came back, carrying full trays of lemon bars and dreambars. He had bought out the restaurant. In the kitchen we were frantically cutting and prepping, as the show was about to be over. “Dara’s good at cutting,” someone said and handed me a knife. I had an ooyie-gooyie, crunchy, sticky mess in front of me. One platter filled, then another, out to the table they go. Make sure the powers of be know what’s going on – the staff talking over the walkie-talkie. Where’s the meat and cheeses from Whole Foods? No matter, it’s 9:30, the show is over, the audience leaves the theatre and comes to the party. We are still in the kitchen, cutting, waiting for the rest of the goodies to arrive. I have dreambar goo on the front of my shirt. Someone walks into the kitchen, upset, wondering how the caterer forgot. The head house manager swears he tried to get through to absolutely everyone he could think of to ask. The girl goes on. Maybe it’s not my place, but I said it doesn’t matter whose fault it is now, they can worry about it later, but right now we have to focus on making the party a success.
Luckily, it was a success. None of the patrons ever knew about the catering mishap. The audience grabbed a glass of champagne and some sweets and went back into the theatre for a talk-back session. The Whole Foods stuff arrived, so there was an assortment of fruit, veggies, cheese and meat when the talk back was over. The volunteers manned the party like normal – pour wine & champagne, picking up glasses, etc. All in all, a good night and a good party, but not one any of us will want to relive in the near future.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Evan Smith, editor of Texas Monthly, spoke to my PR Campaigns classes yesterday. Since he’s involved with I Live Here, I Give Here and several non-profits, I thought it might be good for him to talk to the students about the campaigns the students have been working on this semester (each team is working for a non-profit) as both a journalist and a donor. He was open, bluntly honest and funny; the students really enjoyed having him in class. A few things he discussed:
- People who donate to non-profits want to see results, where their money goes. Success stories, highlighting a particular individual or group, are great for donors, and journalists are more likely to run the stories.
- Journalists do not like PR people; they find them annoying. This is because many PR people just spam journalists and don’t understand what the journalist writes about or what the publication is about. He advises PR people to get to know a beat reporter way before they pitch the reporter.
- The media is undergoing a revolution. People aren’t reading traditional media anymore, particularly the younger generation. Media companies will need to figure out what the next model is. Additionally, media is more prevalent and segmented than ever before. I think Evan said there were 400x more publications available than when he first started. He gave an example that there used to be just People magazine, now there is also Teen People and People en Espanol.
- PR is changing too. In fact, PR people could become irrelevant because there are more ways for clients to now reach reporters directly.
All of the above, I’ve told my students before. However, I always think it’s good when they hear it from experts, particularly the media. Evan had worried about being too harsh on the PR thing, and I disagreed. I told them I’m always sharing those stories and they need to learn how not to be an annoying PR person before they begin their career.
He also told stories about Texas Monthly:
- Willie Nelson has been on the cover 8 times, more than anyone else. They will have an upcoming issue celebrating Willie’s 75th birthday. The cover story will be an oral history about Willie, where they’ve talked to just about everyone connected to Willie.
- Evan had the idea for the infamous January 2007 Dick Cheney cover 11 months before the issue. He just hoped that no one would be a bigger bum steer that year than Cheney, and while no one beat him, a few came close.
- The original idea for the January 2002 American Gothic cover was to have both Willie Nelson and Kinky Friedman in dresses. Evan called Willie, told him about the idea and Willie replied, “That’s not funny.” Quickly coming up with an alternative, Evan pitched the idea of Willie in overalls and Kinky in a dress. “Now THAT’S funny,” Willie replied.
He also told stories of job interviewing, gave the students specific feedback about their campaigns and was a great overall resource. I’m glad he took time out of his busy schedule to speak to these students; I know they got a lot out of it.
Monday, March 24, 2008
The other thing is that there is only one month left and I have no idea what is in store for me next year. Just like last year, I have not yet been asked back. Last year, it was the last day of class before I was given an offer and by then I was so frustrated I said no. Only during the summer did I change my mind, and part of that was because I was told there was going to be a three-year, non-tenure track position open. I'm not sure what happened to that position, but it looks like the university would rather hire a PhD and put them on the tenure track, although that hiring hasn't happened yet either.
Sometimes I feel so caught up in this that I can't breathe, much less sleep. But I have to work through the fact that in academia, decisions are not about me, whether I'm doing a good job or not. It's not always about the students either. And most importantly, I have little influence and can't control things. To paraphrase Stephen Covey (the 7 Habits guy), I have my circle of influence and my circle of control. As I'm learning, university hiring decisions are beyond both my circle of influence and my circle of control.
It will be interesting to see what this next month brings, and what decisions will be made. I'm sure the end of the semester will fly by sooner than I think. That's actually a bit scary, because I don't feel ready for decisions. But in the meantime, I have a bunch of papers to grade today and errands to run, so I better get back at it. Grading and errands -- those are in my circle of control.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Bottom line, they never made a big deal about holidays in Doug's family. I knew they did "practical" Christmas gifts, and Doug only got to trick 'n treat a couple of times because he had to keep lookout that the house of two teachers (his parents) weren't tricked. But I was floored last night when Doug said he never received an Easter basket or went Easter egg hunting. He remembers coloring eggs once, but never the hiding or finding of them. So I snuck out early this morning, went to the grocery store, bought a basket, filled it with candies and hid a half dozen candy-filled eggs. At 44, Doug went on his first Easter egg hunt this morning.
Funny how we remember things like holidays. When I was little, I always felt left out because I didn't have a cool, store-packed Easter basket or a plastic orange pumpkin candy holder on Halloween. All the Halloween costumes were from the attic, not the store, and Christmas gifts were saved until Christmas morning. Now that I look back, none of that matters. I think store-bought costumes and baskets look cheap and Christmas Eve is for a party with friends and family, not for opening presents. The traditions of my mom, lives through me.
I remember the first time I knew someone who didn't celebrate Easter. It was my good friend from junior high, Sandy. We were going on a day trip to some cavern in the Ozarks and we stopped at Wal-Mart. All the Easter goodies were on sale. She mentioned she wished she would get something for Easter and I questioned what she meant. Sandy said she was a Jehovah's Witness and they didn't celebrate Easter. I was sad for her. I think our friends got her a stuffed bunny that year.
When I think of Easter, I remember the smell of vinegar and watching the Paas color tablet dissolve in it. I remember how for the week before coloring eggs, we'd poke holes in our egg shells and blow out the yolks so we'd have enough eggs to color. I remember the three baskets on the coffee table waiting for my sisters and I. Obviously, as an adult, Easter memories are a little different, but they are never as fun as the ones from childhood.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Actually, it really is all good. There is this t-shirt I saw with a guru, holding pieces of glass and meditating, with the saying, "Therapy with sharp edges." I love that! I would have bought that shirt except it was for a stained glass shop, not a glass fusing shop. Who knows, I still might get it. Still, that's what I feel like when working with glass. I can get into my little zone and not think about anything except the little pieces of glass in front of me.
I had really wanted to take my fusing to the next level, and it's getting there, at least in my mind. I haven't had a chance to work on anything at home yet. I found this place in January, Helios Glass Studio, owned by Paul & Karen Tarlow. Paul has a national reputation, so I feel like I am learning from a master. There were things I wanted to learn, but since I don't learn well from books, I was a bit stuck. Now I'm learning them, or soon will be, can ask a lot of questions and try things out. I'm most excited about learning cold working, which means working with power tools. I can't wait until the end of the month when I learn to sandblast a piece!
So it's all good. I'm just busy, but I'm definitely one classy lady.
Friday, March 07, 2008
The coolest thing to me about this honor is that it is bestowed by the students. They nominate you, write an essay about you, and then the faculty is selected. I didn't even know I was being considered until I received the invitation to attend the event.
It also means whatever the university decides to do, I know I am a good teacher and am reaching the students.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Last night we celebrated my birthday by first meeting my sister Chris and her husband Mark, for drinks. We actually had a great time chatting. It's the first time ever that I didn't feel like the little brat sister. Maybe because it was just two couples and not the family dynamic. I wish we could have stayed longer, but Doug and I had dinner reservations.
We went to Bob's Steak and Chop House. This has been named one of the top steak places in the nation and it didn't disappoint. Man, that was some of the best ribeye I've eaten. And for as good as the steak was, I was blown away by their carrots. I know it sounds weird, but that was a damn good carrot. The server said the carrots were marinated in cinnamon and orange juice. I believe it. I told Doug I thought it tasted like Christmas. To round out dinner, we had a Napa cab from one of my favorite wineries, Silver Oak. The dinner was outstanding!
The glass class finished about 2 p.m. today and we headed home, exhausted. After two days being the only guy in a class of eight women, Doug is out having a beer and getting some much needed testosterone time. I'm home, checking email and watching Gladiator on high-def. Tomorrow we'll be back in the grind.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Let me get this right. You have poor credit. You decide to buy a house that you can't really afford. You decide to take out an adjustable rate mortgage that is really low when you take it out, so you can make those house payments, but the rates will go up. Now that they have gone up, it's the lenders fault that you can't make the payments? Get real.
I know this is a rough situation. And yes, it is partially the fault of lender. They qualified risky applicants. They probably also did a huge sales job. Still, the borrower has responsibility in this as well.
Recently we were talking to some mortgage companies about refinancing our home loan. One of Doug's work friends recently refinanced his home and got a 5% rate; he thought we could do the same and it would cost us less than $1,000. Save 2% on mortgage, why not?
Calling around, the rates were up to 5.75%. And while it would only cost us $750 out of pocket, the rest of costs would be rolled up in our loan. The actual cost would have been about $2,500. Even with the monthly savings, it would take us 24 months to break even on this. We were hoping to move to a different house by then. We decided not to go forward and instead take the cost and put it straight to our principle. Any other savings, we'd use to fix up the place. The refi just didn't make financial sense.
Of course, the lenders made it sound good. Get a lower rate and pay only $750. This way you are paying less interest and more principle each month. They do try to sell it. They make it sound good and put a shine on it. But is that predatory lending?
It is up to the borrower to know what he/she is getting into. When we bought our house, they qualified us for way more than I would have expected. However, we opted to go with something much smaller, something we could afford on one income, and after the tech crash, that has served us well. I don't know if we could have kept a more expensive house. They also offered all sorts of mortgages that sounded great, but we weren't buying. No ARMs for us. We wanted a 30-year fixed. And we got what we wanted.
I call banks and lending institutions a lot of unflattering things, but predatory is not one of them. When it comes to your money, you have the say and you have the right to agree to the terms or walk away. Get smart when it comes to your money and don't fall into this victimization trap just because you won't take the time and effort to become educated on money. It's not predatory lending just because you didn't know what you were doing.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
In addition to the Go Red photo, Korey also did a professional head shot for me. Doug said he prefers the red photo, but I like them both.
Then I remembered why -- the students. I've got a great group of students this semester. Actually, every semester I have a great students. I just have to remember to focus on that and forget about the rest of the b.s. Of course, that's easier said than done...
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I didn't get the final count, so I don't know how much we raised. There was both a live and a silent auction, dinner and dancing. There were lots of things to bid on, so my bowl didn't go for much -- just $60 and a friend bought it. I think my highlight of the evening was watching a film a student made, and hearing everyone comment after. The student brought her mother from Port Arthur, Texas and you could tell how proud her mother was of her. Once of my friends said she thought I got a tv station to produce it. That made the student and her mother smile.
Below are photos of us as we were about to leave the house. Isn't Doug handsome in his tux?
Here's me in my dress. Isn't it great? I got a lot of compliments on it.
Amy, my hairdresser, did my hair in a 1940s style updo. I'm always afraid that my hair will fall, but Amy made sure it didn't.
Doug and I did get our photo taken together by a professional photographer, so if we like it, we'll buy it and post it. Some of my students were volunteers and they took photos as well. I hope at least one of Doug and I together looks good and I can post it.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Tomorrow is the Heart Ball for the American Heart Association. We've been working on this since the summer, so I'm glad it's finally coming together. Doug picked up his tux yesterday. I didn't see it, but he said it looks sharp. I've got appointments to get my hair, nails and make-up done.
Busy week with school, but it's going well. I'm loving this 70-degree weather we're having.