ar_wahan: (Default)
struggling with FAFSA! It is almost impossible to do without having had your taxes done first, but I won't be able to get them done until APRIL, and the FAFSA is due Feb. 15! So everything will be "best guesstimates" again, and then I'll have to submit an amended version.

:::::::::pulls out hair::::::::::

The good news is that Samurai has made the first round of Resident Advisor interviews for next year.
ar_wahan: (Obama women)
Yesterday I went to Amherst for the 25th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast. This event, held at the middle school, was started by a local black woman to raise money for scholarships for African American graduating high school seniors. I think they said they've given money to 68 students over the years. I went for the first time last year with some other UUs, and was very impressed by the speeches made by local dignitaries and the scholarship winners themselves. I was also rather horrified to see that in the program, a lot of other churches and the Jewish Community Association had big ads (one source of financial support for the scholarships), but my UU had NEVER placed an ad, even though we've always had our folks attend. I told the board last year that we should place an ad this year. However, I wasn't at December's board meeting to raise this issue again. So last week I cobbed together a 1/4 page ad for our UU and paid for it myself (a business-card-sized ad was $40, but you could go up to a 1/4 page for only $20 more! Seemed worth it to me.) I might be partially reimbursed later, but if I'm not, it's no big deal. Betsy from our UU (who always attends) told me she and her husband might help pay for it too.

I'd say the audience was half POC and half white. The MC was white, and the panel of speakers was all POC. With the inauguration pending, there was of course a lot of talk about Obama and hope and change and commitment and promise -- that this is a man who will really listen to us, and we have to prepare ourselves to work hard WITH him, because he can't do it all himself. There was one woman who teaches women's studies who also spoke about how great it is to see a couple who respect each other and see each other as equals and a unit -- and that historically (because of slavery and other factors), this has not been the experience of most black families. It was very moving.

I arrived just before the breakfast itself at 9 a.m. (Doors opened at 8:30 a.m. for coffee and mingling.) Our friend Stan was the MC, and he apologized to the audience during the breakfast itself (the speeches and awards were afterward in the auditorium) for some "delays" that I hadn't known anything about. It turns out it was so cold, some pipes had burst. I don't know if this was in the kitchen or if it affected the heating system. Everything seemed fine by the time I got there. (Going through a hallway to the auditorium, though, there was a VERY VERY cold spot. There was even ice on the floor!)

Michael B., who was the Early Transition Program coordinator last year at the high school (this was the program that let Samurai spend her senior year at the community college) was there, and afterward I told him how Samurai was doing, and that she credits her success fall semester to her "head start" on college work through ETP. He was pleased to hear that. (She had been posting before the winter break how so many of the freshmen had been freaking out about studying for finals, and she was not -- because she'd experienced college final exams already.)

And how cold was it?

The answer and other stuff )
ar_wahan: (Default)
was coming from me! I just spent a long time trying to locate the FAFSA folder from last year. FOUND IT! Whew! So for future reference for me, it is on the top shelf of the kitchen bookshelf, rubber-banded to the Suffolk folder.

AND ... I have until Feb. 15 to file it for Suffolk. *faints in relief*

ETA: BONUS! I don't have to file the CSS Profile this year! (Suffolk doesn't use it.)
ar_wahan: (pissed puss)
Samurai's dorm had a mock election yesterday. The Young Republicans who share a suite on her floor removed most of the Obama votes from the ballot box on the resident adviser's door, and stuffed it with McCain ballots. And THEN someone else stole the ballot box itself, so her floor doesn't even get credit for participating in the mock election.
ar_wahan: (koska and ro)
Suffolk University (in Boston) told incoming freshmen last spring that housing info would be sent out in mid-July. It was delayed repeatedly (I called a poor work-study student in Residence Life office twice this month, worried it had gotten lost in the mail -- and while I personally did not drive him nuts, he probably got many calls like mine).

She finally heard about housing on Friday  -- just over two weeks before she has to move in! She's in a "quad," which I thought (remembering my days as a freshman in Oldenborg Dorm at Pomona College) meant two doubles that shared a bathroom in the middle. Nope. Apparently it is a large room with four beds, and a bathroom down the hall. She seems happy with that, though, although as an only child, she's never had to share a bedroom (except on vacation or at a National Student Leadership Conf. event --she's been to several) with anyone.

Her roommates are a girl from Framingham, MA, a girl from India, and another from Taiwan.

Her dorm has regular twin-size beds, not the XL twins, so at last we knew which kind of bedding to buy. (Her existing sheets here are kind of, um, dated, even though I did get rid of the My Little Pony ones some time ago! :P)

The timing of this was good for me, because there was a Sales Tax Holiday weekend this weekend, and I was hoping to stock up on all this stuff and save the sales tax. So yesterday after she got out of work, we went on a rampage. We got:


  • new towels in dark color -- she chose dark blue (why dark? because I have learned that light-colored towels start to look dingy no matter how carefully and often one washes them, even with bleach)

  • collapsible backpack-style clothes hamper/laundry bag

  • pillow

  • mattress pad

  • zippered vinyl mattress protector to go under it (I've mostly female friends on this journal, right? And we know what can happen if the Moon Goddess is feeling generous)

  • shower caddy

  • electric hot-water pot

  • two plastic under-bed storage thingies with wheels

  • dorm fridge (it was 1/3 off, and I doubt the girls from Taiwan and India will bringing theirs. I got a 3.9 cubic foot one -- the largest allowed at Suffolk is 4.0 -- because it will be four girls all trying to use it. I remember  being in the Pomona four-girl "suite," and to say, "You can't keep that there, it's MY fridge and there's not enough room!" does not good roomies make. Not that Samurai would do that. I can swing it, why not?. Plus, it has a freezer unit that is big enough to, MAYBE, hold a pint of ice cream, not just those miniscule ice cube trays the others come with.)

  • Epson printer at Best Buy (a similar model showed up today at Target for $29! Gah! But I had a $40 gift card from Best Buy from when I bought the Dyson vacuum, so it came out the same. Not worth the hassle of returning it, etc.).

  • EasyShare digital camera, because I'm nice. I don't want her taking mine, and I want her to post pictures in her LJ!!!! :P



No bedspread yet -- I think we have some that we've never used in our linen closet (given by MIL), and I want her to see if she wants any of them first. Also, she's thinking of taking her electric blanket with her, so that's why no blanket.

She still needs a bookcase.

I have a floor seat cushion that we never use that she can take, too.

I need her to send me the link to the instructions for moving in website. Suffolk is in the heart of downtown Boston. Students are to arrive in preassigned shifts (ours is 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31). The police will have closed the street outside the dorm and parents/kids/carscrammedwithcrap are to arrive, and legions of waiting upperclassmen will be there to whisk all the belongings into the rooms (Samurai's on the third floor). Then parental units will Pahk The Cah not in Harvahd Yahd but somewhere else (Samurai says they have provided directions to parking garages) to park and return to meet with deans, etc., while their offspring see their rooms for the first time -- and, presumably, their roommates, but having not yet seen the website (HINT, SAMURAI), I'm not sure about the latter.

OK, that's enough on that. I've been doing a ton of other stuff throughout all the last few days, but I'm glad I got that shopping done, anyway.

*thud*

Boston

Mar. 31st, 2008 07:12 pm
ar_wahan: (Default)
The Universe was smiling on us yesterday... today it is cold and damp and dark and snowing again, but yesterday, when we faced hours of driving and lots of walking, it was beautiful, sunny and, the closer we got to Boston, warmer, too! The grass was actually starting to turn green there, and I saw forsythia blooming! *faints*

I drove us on the Mass. Pike to Newton and the Riverside T station (the end of the Green Line). An extremely nice attendant helped me figure out how to use a machine to buy our fares and save 25 cents each way by getting something like a debit card that one swipes in front of the turnstile. We got off at the Boston Common stop and walked less than half a block to Suffolk Law School, where the registration for this "Suffolk Showcase" open house for admitted freshman and parents (and the occasional sibling) was held. There were posh refreshments and a little mingling, with friendly students in special jackets drifting around to answer questions. We'd been already divided up into smaller groups, and the room number in each student's welcome packet told the student and family where to go to get an overview of the university. The remarks by the registrar, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a current student, and an alumnus (Class of 2003) were relaxed and inspiring and often funny. As Samurai and Spouse later noted, the academic buzzwords "Innovative" and "Collaborative" were never uttered, which is a good sign. :P

We then trekked off over several blocks to the other side of Boston Common to meet up with other students who would give guided tours to small groups. Spouse had told Samurai that parts of Suffolk are a "stone's throw" from the Statehouse, but he wasn't kidding. It will be easy for her to meet up with Stan for lunch or a cup of coffee (he's a friend who is also a state senator). The whole area was pretty now, and when things are in bloom, will be even lovelier.



ar_wahan: (Default)
We visited Suffolk University today, and I think it will be great for Samurai. I'm very impressed, and having driven both ways and hiked all over the "campus" (which is really a number of buildings scattered all around the Boston Beacon Hill area, not a contiguous "campus" like one usually imagines), I am also beat.

Full report tomorrow. Maybe. (I have work to do first.)
ar_wahan: (highland kitty)
Tomorrow we're going to the Suffolk University open house for incoming first-years and parents. We have to register between 10:45 - 11:15 in a hall at Suffolk Law School. Because I have the energy-efficient Prius, I'm driving. Plan is to leave here a little after 8 a.m. and park at the end of the Green Line -D (there are several Green lines) in Newton, where there's a big parking lot, and take the T in to Park Street (which is by the Boston Common). The Law School is right there, across from the common! The trains run every 10 minutes. But it took me a bit of searching to find that info on line.

The last few days have been days of puttering in addition to interviews for a work assignment. I boxed up two Duncan tartan bagpipe bag covers and the matching set of cords/tassels (used to connect the drones to each other) and shipped them off to Bob Duncan's 14-year-old grandson, along with a bunch of old bagpipe music books my dad had. (The grandson is studying the pipes.) I sent the leather sporran ("purse" that hangs at the waist) and one of my dad's balmorals (caps) to Colin, another of Bob's grandsons... this one is a young adult who received my dad's Duncan tartan kilt after my mom gave it to Bob. He doesn't play the pipes, but he likes wearing the kilt to the family reunions.

Any bagpipe music that was written down on blank sheet music paper in my dad's handwriting is staying here. Same with his Stewart tartan balmoral, and his skean dhu (the black knife that fits into the top of the stocking).

I am starting to feel a little foolish about my on-line order of the bagpipe display rack I mentioned in my post of the 19th. I've had no confirmation of the order, and upon revisiting the web site, discovered there was no contact information at all! (Even though the site says "Any questions, contact us below." The links below have no links within them with which to contact them.) I considered pointing this out to eMartCart, which handled the transaction, but after doing a Google search did find an email address for the company. I think this is a home-based operation, and it's only been a week. Also didn't see anything bad written about it by irate customers.

No more weird dreams last night. Whew!

I have an assignment to write Monday, but I'm not going to think about it now! :P

Last week I also sent in my passport (which will expire tomorrow), new photos and the fee for a passport renewal. I am kind of intimidated about going to Japan, but I think Samurai and I should still do it this summer. I need to get my act together and start figuring out how long we'll be there, though, so I can book our flights.

So many of you have been talking about how it's spring where you are. We got MORE SNOW the other night, and it is still very cold (27 degrees last I checked). But if you can find a sunny spot here out of the knife-like wind, the sun is warm on the face. Spring will come, will come ...

Well! :-)

Mar. 19th, 2008 06:05 pm
ar_wahan: (koska and ro)
Samurai just got an email from Northeastern University saying an admission packet was on its way. A year ago this time, Northeastern was her first choice -- and still was until just a month or so ago. It's flattering that she made the cut. (On paper, she looked right in the middle of what they were looking for.) We'll have to see if their "lettuce" offer ( [personal profile] daily_rant calls financial aid "lettuce") is more lavish than Suffolk University's miserly $3500 a year loan. It will have to be really lavish, though, for her consider attending.  (Northeastern is $8000 a year more than Suffolk. )

She has received one rejection letter -- from UNC Chapel Hill!  I find this kind of bizarre, actually, since its English Department folks came a'courtin' HER back in October, when she wasn't even thinking about UNC. It was a nicely written rejection, though, noting that 21,000 students had applied for 3200 first year slots. They also encouraged her to consider applying again as a transfer student, but she's done with them. For four years of free tuition (the scholarship they dangled in front of her), yeah. But otherwise, she'd rather stay in the northeast.

Also, this now indicates that if she wanted to transfer to Northeastern after a few years at the much-smaller, more intimate Suffolk, she'd likely be able to do so.

Taxes are done! I can pick them up this week and use them to update the FAFSA and CSS Profiles! Whee!

Samurai is on vacation this week. The car wash manager called this morning to tell her they weren't going to open today because of the snow/sleet/rain (no one in his or her right mind would wash a car today), so she had a day off (with no earnings, either, of course). She's going to Anime Boston on Saturday and wanted to buy a shirt at the mall to use as part of her costume -- she had a coupon for a particular store, and she can wear the shirt other places, too. So we went out together to eat a late lunch and shop for clothes.

This morning, a guy from my heating company came out to evaluate our heating needs... we really should replace our ancient (mid-1960s vintage) furnace before it dies. Our tax refund will just about pay for one of the two systems he suggested; but the other system, about $1230 more, will make up the difference in cost in energy savings in 3-4 years. If we go with his company (and I've been with them since 1985), he will "erase" the bill for the $227 repair job we needed on March 10, and use the new expansion tank that was part of that repair with the new system.

We can't do anything right now because a snowbank is blocking access to the backyard and the basement door, but he understands that. (Same reason why I haven't replaced the basement freezer yet, even though I have it picked out.) PLUS... we will REALLY need to clear JUNK out of the basement to allow access! It's high time for a cleanout, anyway. This will be the incentive.

I'll update on other things later.
ar_wahan: (besieged)
OK, so both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile will need to be "corrected" once I have exact figures for profit, loss, taxes paid (I usually get a big refund because I pay my self-employment tax on the high side, to be safe.). There is no way I could do my taxes myself. And the earliest I could get an appointment with my preparer is March 17!

Well, the guesstimates I made are pretty darn close; the only actual "error" is the mortgage one. I think I'd better send that correction out now, rather than waiting a month and a half, and then send out the other corrections later.

*sigh*

Oh, phoo!!

Feb. 1st, 2008 01:16 pm
ar_wahan: (pissed puss)
I realized this morning that I made an error on the CSS Profile! When it asked for our monthly mortgage payment, I included the whole amount -- including our property tax escrow! I'm sure they only wanted the principal and interest.

Once you hit that "submit" button, you can't change your information online. You have to print out a hard copy, note the correction and mail it to the college that requires the Profile.

One good thing about having to do all this paperwork: In searching for a document that he never did find, my husband went through about four YEARS worth of random papers that have been filling up a wooden box that was originally supposed to be a mail sorter for the three of us, so that mail doesn't take over the kitchen counters. His mail completely took it over, and there was no room for Samurai or me to use! Now it's been thinned out considerably. Looks a lot neater. It was an unsightly mess before.
ar_wahan: (Default)
Well ... not quite. I'll have to go back and revise when I get the actual, vs. estimated, numbers for my business profit after the losses are calculated. But still...

*thud*

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ar_wahan: (Default)
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