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A few more money related updates

April 2, 2014

I’m learning French for less than $20!

For reasons I can never seem to articulate, I loved Paris and I want to see more of France.  The food, the wine, the culture – I just love it. I’m suddenly a francophile.  Still, France is the only place I can think of (off the top of my head) with a special word for people who love the culture/country/etc., so I feel comforted that I’m not the only one.

I’m planning on/considering taking a real class in May, but I downloaded a few iPhone apps to get me started and to see how serious I was.  I have dilettante/scanner habits when it comes to my hobbies, so I’m careful taking on new things.  My favorite are Duolingo and MindSnacks French.  Duolingo has a variety of lessons, including matching, spelling, speaking, and identifying what you hear.  MindSnacks is not as formal, with a variety of simple and fun games.  MemWords and BrainScape are digital flashcards.  I use MemWords quite a bit too, but I prefer the more interactive/game-like apps.   Penyo Pal seems like it is more for little kids and I”ll probably delete it.

I’ve been mostly doing this on my daily commute, and it is such a great use of that time!  These apps were free, but I had to pay in one or two to download more “lessons”.  The class I want to take is about $300 for 16 weeks, a few nights a week, so this is a great start.  Part of me thinks I should learn Spanish or Chinese, but I’m not interested right now.

IMG_1059My French apps

IMG_1057One of the MindSnacks games.  You pop corresponding red and blue balloons.
They rise up faster and faster until the screen gets too full!

Work is progressing!

I’m constantly doing an Engineering Job vs. Business Consulting Job exercise  in my head, although it really isn’t  a good use of my mental energy.  I’ve made my choice and I’m not likely to turn back.  I’ll share my thoughts on this if anyone expresses interest (and maybe even if no one does).

One thing I’ve noticed – I’ve never thought this much about working relationships and how to manage the people/political side of things.  Some things are not exactly the way I want them to be.   I’m trying to balance being patient with making sure I communicating my desires (at an appropriate level).


My first race of the year is coming up.  I’m not in shape for a PR, but maybe I’ll do a repeat half marathon in early summer to go for it.  I also organized  a RAGNAR race with some friends:  12 runners, 207 miles, a Friday morning to a Saturday whenever.  I got a hook-up on a really great discount for the whole team from a casual friend – it never hurts to ask!  I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time, and was wishing someone else would organize it.  Finally, I decided to organize it myself.  I actually told my friend that I would do it if she would organize it, then I got really excited about the idea and started organizing it myself!  Oooops?

Artwork / Framing

We have a lot of wall space in our new place.  The ceiling is really pretty cool, it is probably 20 or 30 feet tall in the center of our apartment.  We also have a lot of art.  Some purchased (prints), some created by my talented husband, much of it not framed.  And much if it in non-standard sizes!  Custom framing seems like such a major scam.  The custom framing market is due for some disruption!  How expensive can it be for mat board and some wood of specific lengths?  I’m not really looking for a high quality ornate frame – just something functional and simple!   Even my go-to solution for everything, The Internet, didn’t have a solution that I thought was a good value.

Art stores do sell frame pieces of everything, allowing you to build your own of any dimensions.  But that isn’t THAT cheap, and the selection is more limited.  However, I find a work-around!  I measured all of the art I want to frame, and figured out how to buy a custom mat with an opening for the picture and a border that makes it fit in a STANDARD frame size (sizes they sell everywhere OR what Ikea sells, which seems to be their own set of sizes).  I’ll let you know how it works out, but I’m pretty hopeful.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2014 10:29 am

    Try memrise online, it rocks for language!!

  2. April 2, 2014 2:31 pm

    I am an Italy-phile!

    Would def be keen to hear your thoughts on your career transition, not least because I’m about to go through one (and one that will include a lot more collaboration, I think, and cultivating internal relationships).

  3. The Asian Pear permalink
    April 4, 2014 10:19 am

    Thanks for the app recommendations. Have you tried watching YouTube videos? I’m watching tutorials and French videos to help me with listening comprehension.

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