|Not Quite Synonyms
||[May. 26th, 2015|04:39 pm]
Sometimes we have different words for the same thing based on whether the living creature is still using it or whether people are using it. For example:
* pig vs. pork
* cow vs. beef
* skin vs. leather
But not everything like this gets two words. For example:
* fish (and other seafoods)
Interestingly, this phenomenon also exists in Spanish, but not for the same concepts. Here are some concepts for which they have different words:
* vaca vs. carne (del rez) (cow vs. meat/beef)
* pez vs. pescado (literally fish vs. fished - live fish versus fish for food)
And here's where it seems like they don't have two words:
* pollo (chicken)
* cerdo (pig/pork)
And I just learned two words for leather: cuero (leather) and piel (skin).
On a similar note, I've noticed that people in the US who are from Iran like to refer to themselves as Persians. If they have a restaurant with Iranian food, it is called Persian. Yea for American ignorance keeping them safe!
Craft blog entry of the day
Especially for Texpenguin, I recommend Miser Mom's Well, now I can cross "make penguins" off my to-do list. But it's fun to read even if you don't do crafts and don't love penguins (or canning jars). "Some animals look cute with really big eyes. I pulled out my button stash to do some experimenting, and I decided the large buttons would make my penguins look stoned. So I chose small black buttons for eyes instead."
Illustrated blog entry of the day
You know how little babies are always making hilarious faces at random? Well, Miser Mom has captured a bunch of these faces on her new granddaughter and used them to illustrate her guide to throwing a good party, Ocho de Mayo. "Then we sit down to lots of yummy food: rice, hamburger and beans, cheese, lettuce, bananas, and salsa. How was that salsa, Baby A? [illustration speaks for itself, but is captioned anyway for extra fun] 'Yoicks! Hot! But good!'" [Don't worry--no one fed the tiny new being salsa; she was just the illustrator.]
||[May. 19th, 2015|08:43 pm]
We'll be taking Spanish III in the fall which means we have the entire summer to forget everything. I've already forgotten most of chapter five, for example. That's not good. And that's even though my classmates and teacher think I'm a straight-A student (ha!) and my last teacher even gave me the highest possible grade (102). (She is very big into rounding up.)
It's quite disheartening.
I have lots of ideas for things to do that will help me remember (and re-learn) this Spanish so that I can jump into Spanish III ready to absorb more. So many ideas that I probably don't have time for them all and should probably prioritize them. So here goes.
Reviewing my flash cards is the single most important thing I can do. I also hate doing them. Every time I pull out a deck for a new chapter, I immediately see that I have no clue what some of the words are. Admittedly, I keep the hardest ones in front so that if I don't have time to go through the whole deck, at least I've looked at the hardest words (and concepts).
My 1.12-mile walks each take enough time to go through even the worst of decks (which I hope is chapter five) once, and most decks twice. So these walks will help me kill two birds with one stone. I plan to review one chapter per day.
I'm still not the biggest fan of DuoLingo, but I like how I get a little exposure every day and actually am learning a few new words. And it's set up to reward you for doing at least something every day. And it doesn't have to take much time.
Puntos de Partida
I found this other text in the library that is bizarrely similar to the text we're using. It's as if someone gave two companies the same instructions, and out came Vistas and Puntos de Partida.
So even though I feel like it would be super boring to go through my own text again, it's actually kind of fun to go through this other one instead. And the library also had the accompanying workbook with most answers in the back. So I'm doing that, too.
And there are online tutorials which, unlike those for our book, are available to anyone. These are for a later edition than for the book I have, so they don't match up perfectly, but since it's just review, that's okay. The tutor is not as fun as the online tutor for my book, but she's basically good and, again, it's nice to hear things a slightly different way.
So long as I'm enjoying this, it will stay near the top of the list.
That's almost all I'm making time for now, but some additional things also seem like good ideas.
Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish
I've started going through this book many times on my own. It does many things fabulously but does them very differently than normal textbooks. For example, it starts with past tense. Now that we've studied past tense in class, I'd like to start this again and see how I fare compared to the other times I've gone through it. It does have some weird things, too, though, like it doesn't teach you second person verb forms until the very end of the book!
So long as I'm enjoying Puntos de Partida, I'll stick with that first because it seems more relevant for my current goal of remembering Spanish I and II content.
The last two children's books I checked out were picture books with both the English and Spanish. It is quite disheartening how much of children's book Spanish I just don't get. Probably because the most common parts of language are the parts that get most mangled and make the least sense. (Most of the most common verbs are irregular, for example.) Still, it's a good idea to expose myself to real (baby) Spanish so that it can seem more familiar.
Spanish language movies
My last Spanish teacher highly recommended watching Spanish movies in Spanish while reading English subtitles. I don't think she quite understands my powerful ability to completely ignore what I'm hearing (except for the expression) when there are English subtitles. But she thinks it's good for helping us get used to what Spanish sounds like. And hey, I like movies.
Other learning websites
I've listened to a lot of Sr. Jordan's videos, but there are quite a few more I could listen to. I'm not wild about his songs I've heard so far, though Robin has found his indirect objects song and especially his preterite irregulars song to be helpful. Sr. Jordan teaches American high school students and so is very aware of which things are confusing and he explains well.
Barbara Kuczun Nelson has some lessons with really good practice attached, and we learned about this resource fairly recently, so there are many things left to check out. I've already gotten a lot out of the preterite versus-imperfect exercises I've done and plan to re-do those and do the others as well.
And there are plenty of others I've heard of but not tried out, plus googling for specific topics can lead to more.
Yea, libraries! I'll keep poking around libraries, seeing if anything looks interesting. For example, I recently checked out Charles E. Kany's Spoken Spanish for Flying Cadets and Our Armed Forces (1942). It has the most thorough description of how to pronounce Spanish (all in three pages) I've ever seen. I think I'm gong to make some flash cards! And part one is general (not just for folks in the Air Force) and only 13 pages--probably I can make it through that as well.
I also found Dwight Bolinger's Essays on Spanish: Words and Grammar (1991). I love that author:
"How could I persuade [my beginning Spanish students] not to be put off by the seeming strangeness of a language that was new to them? One way was to exploit what they already knew--often without knowing that they knew--about their own language. The trick was to find the parallels. I had the flicker of a hypothesis--that any phenomenon in any language will have, somewhere in its meaning or structure, a matching phenomenon in any other. We would see this as a rash form of 'universalism' nowadays, but my vision was not quite so grand; I merely believed that I ought to be able, when a student resisted something because of its oddity, to say, 'Look: you do this yourself every day; you just haven't recognized it,' and proceed to peel off the disguise.
"Any teacher faced with a 'why?' is compelled to test this hypothesis or fall back on the rapturous Whorfian copout that reads, 'Every language is a world to itself; accept it for what it is.' The sink-or-swim method. Of course we all must sink or swim eventually, and not every attempt to help someone across will succeed. But I think one is entitled to say, "I offer you a bridge; just don't expect me to carry you over it.' So there were some modest successes, and they are the main sources for this book, and putting them in one place is the main excuse for it."
Why, yes, he is a linguist. (Note to self: must resist urge to ask future teachers, "Must you fall back on that rapturous Whorfian copout?")
Sadly, I fear much of the book is over my head. However, I did understand the first essay, "En efecto Does not Mean In Fact." In spite of what virtually all textbooks say (including mine, in the evil chapter five). It means something more like as expected or indeed.
I at least want to look at the essays on topics we've covered. And I'm on the lookout for other works by him.
||[May. 18th, 2015|05:31 pm]
I've participated in three fitness challenges over the past 15 months and they have improved my prospects for fitness.
Employer's Physical Activity Challenge (2014)
Last spring, my employer had a physical activity challenge. The official goal was to walk 10,000 steps per day or do equivalent exercise at least 5 days a week for at least 5 of the 6 weeks of the challenge. Technically, you had to get in 50,000 steps per week (across all 7 days) for at least 5 of the 6 weeks. Also, they supplied a tool to "convert" various exercises into steps in a way that seemed to overestimate your steps.
I remember at the time calculating how many steps I should get in during my four work days to make sure that I could walk much less than 10,000 steps on my three days off and still achieve 50,000 steps. That's because my baseline for work days is about 6500 steps per day, but on weekends I can be perfectly happy doing less than 500. Or even 200. So I wanted my extra steps to be spread out evenly across all days.
I was able to achieve this. Mostly I paced at bus stops and walked during lunch at work.
Middle Kingdom March to War
Right after that challenge ended, my brother-in-law set up a challenge for his co-players in their local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. The goal is "To strengthen and train the Dragon Army for War." The war happens at Pennsic, an annual event that occurs about 400 miles from where they live. And so basically you record distances that you travel under own own power over one year and each time you travel 400 miles, you are considered to have delivered a soldier for the battle. Walking counts, running counts, 1/4 of bicycling miles count, and swimming counts, and it can be indoors and/or outdoors.
So that's a little over one mile per day per soldier. The tough part is that "Normal daily activities do not count, only additional planned exercise." So continuing what I'd been doing would put me on track to provide one soldier.
But I decided to start jogging again, Fridays and Sundays. I eventually got up to jogging three miles at a time. I had thought that when the weather cooled off in the fall I might go longer or speed up, but I did not. And when winter came, I actually exercised less. Still, by the end of the year, I had provided a soldier and was on track for 1.75 soldiers by the end of the challenge.
So another thing I wanted to do was to get in the habit of getting up off my butt instead of sitting all day. So at work, I would periodically get up and walk around the building. At home I would walk around the block. Then I decided to walk around the block twice, for a half mile. And now I walk down the street and back for 1.12 miles per trip and try to take three trips per day.
I had thought that when I retired I might spend more time exercising, but that didn't really happen. I'm now up to 779 miles, easily on track to provide two soldiers by the end of the challenge, which is the end of this month.
Employer's Physical Activity Challenge (2015)
By the time this year's physical activity challenge started I was already retired and thus did not have a lot of commuting exercise built in to my day. However, the Middle Kingdom March to War had set me up with some good habits that allowed to to meet this challenge even though I hardly took advantage of the step-translation bias. I've gotten in the habit of taking three of those 1.12-mile walks. With just a little extra activity, I can get to 10,000 steps.
In fact, last year I clocked 361,096 steps; this year, 446,883.
I don't remember any awards with last year's employer challenge. I did get a free pedometer which I accepted in case Robin wanted to try it. He never did. I tried it when mine broke and it worked except it was made to fall off belts and waistbands and it didn't work in pockets. So finally I got a newer Omron pedometer that I like even better than my last one--it works just the same but is smaller and sleeker!
This year I ended up with a pair of free sunglasses which I keep in my knapsack just in case. They have already come in handy as a prop for our Spanish play to help Robin look more like a pilot. There is also some kind of luncheon for people who finish which I'm hoping will allow for some socialization with ex-coworkers. (There's also a t-shirt and a blanket that I'm not accepting.)
The Middle Kingdom challenge awards a "bronze coin" for the first soldier, a "silver coin" for the second soldier, and a "gold coin" for the third, etc. (So the obvious goal was three soldiers, but that didn't happen.) I'm looking forward to these coins because I assume they will be homemade by some minting enthusiast(s) with a fun medieval design. I will enjoy adding them to my coin collection.
I've been realizing that what these challenges are focusing on is being active. This is not really a category that I've thought about before. In the past I have concentrated on aerobic activity, strength and speed exercises, flexibility, balance, and coordination. But this focus on a certain amount of activity per day which can just be walking (which doesn't really feel like exercise to me) is a whole different aspect of exercise which is really just getting off your butt sometimes. And, as someone with a lot of sitting-down hobbies, that's important for me, too.
I am greatly looking forward to to my own personal challenge which will let me count daily activities and not just extra activities meant for exercise. So if I'm walking around all day sight-seeing like on our trip to New Orleans, that counts. So does walking for transportation. And I am also greatly looking forward to subbing out other exercises like my pilates video.
My next goal will be to continue taking those three 1.12-mile walks each day whenever I'm mostly sitting around so that I continue being "active." But I can also replace one or more of them with other activities. For example, I recently learned that Body Flow videos can now be found online.
|Favorite Avengers Characters
||[May. 14th, 2015|09:08 am]
Apparently market research (or at least the guts of marketers) shows that Black Widow toys won't sell well, even if she's on a motorcycle that comes out of a plane (my source: Daily Dot). Toy replicas of the plane and motorcycle are still being sold (because: duh!), but Hasbro's is ridden by Captain America and Mattel's by Iron Man.
This greatly surprises me because Black Widow was my favorite character in the first Avengers movie. All because of that scene with the phone call.
Of course I am not the target since I almost never buy toys connected to movies. And the first Avengers movie may be ancient history to six-year-old boys.
So then I was trying to think who my favorite character was in "Age of Ultron." I quite enjoyed the moment when I thought to myself, "Hey, we really could use a couple more Avengers." But I can't helping thinking my favorite character might be Thor's hammer. Yes, yes, the hammer was overused, but I really liked three of its scenes.
|Spanish II Skits
||[May. 13th, 2015|06:47 pm]
Yesterday we had our oral presentations in Spanish II, which was the last project, and thus we are now done. Whew!
Before class, one of our classmates said, "I only have to get a 2 on this to get an A." I replied "A 2? I have to get a 10." R added, "I have to get a 50." So, stakes were low for many of us.
We got to go first, like we wanted. Unlike usual, our skit just flew by for me. (Accidental pun, woo!) Our skit was about a flight on Air Rumba. I remember almost nothing. We did get big laughs during the part where the captain explains that Air Rumba is not great with emergencies, so if one happens (flight attendant pulls something out of the ceiling), just close your eyes (that something turns out to be a blindfold and the flight attendant puts it on), cover your ears, etc. Also, many, many people did not want any food or anything at all, though some people were thrilled to get water, popcorn AND cookies.
So I'm hoping that means I magically whipped through my lines quite well on some kind of high. R. says he missed a minor one. Our skit was well-received, so that was good.
I was worried that we'd gone a bit overboard, but the other skits had just as many lines or more than ours did, so we only went overboard on the props.
Unfortunately, I did have some trouble understanding the other skits. But I got enough from each one to find some funny bits, even in my least favorite one (though I'm not totally sure those funny bits were all intentional).
There was a nice variety of themes. The second skit was three friends getting together to plan a surprise party for a fourth person (also in the class!). One guy said, "I want steak. I'll bring the meat."
Then there was a game show where the MC would describe something in Spanish and the contestants would buzz in and guess what those things were in Spanish. I understood this one the best, so I loved it. The last question in the final round seemed to be a description of a heart attack, but I think the MC was just describing his symptoms in an unanswered call for help since he finished by slowly crumpling to the ground.
The next one was my favorite with two gals going from their baseball game to the emergency room, one with an arm in a sling and one with a bandage over her eye. They were totally hilarious, yet the nurse stole the show with her bored bureaucratic responses.
Next was two people ordering things from a waiter. Once they carefully established that a wine recommended for one of their dishes was also a great match for the other, they both ordered their own personal bottle of wine anyway.
Next two friends talked about their daily routine--one guy was complaining that he ran out of water in the shower, but then it came out that he spends a lot of time in the shower, not only showering, but also shaving and brushing his teeth. Then they each quizzed each other on something from their majors. I was a little surprised at first that the guy who thought it was weird to brush your teeth in the shower was also an ancient Egyptian king come back to life, but then I realized that really it was a who-am-I sort of game.
Finally there were two guys in an open-air market: one in charge and one asking questions. Suddenly, the customer starts complaining about various symptoms and doing hilarious acting across a table when a third person (who'd just been rolling an invisible shopping cart everywhere all this time while wearing a stethescope) figures out the problem--it's just indigestion.
Can you tell we recently had a unit on health and medicine?
After class I still felt drained. We had a relaxing evening and went to bed at a reasonable time. Three hours later, I woke up and never fell asleep again. I kept re-living scenes of our play and otherwise having racing thoughts.
Today I joined some old co-workers for a "poker walk" in which the employer encourages walking and now I'm still glad we're done with Spanish class for a while. I will still be doing Spanish all summer to try to get all of Spanish I and Spanish II material more solid in my head for Spanish III in the fall. It feels like I'm an expert in class, but when I look back at old chapters, it's shocking how many of those things I once learned are gone again. Still, I'll just be doing stuff that's fun and that's mostly review at whatever speed is fun rather than whatever some teacher assigns.
|E-mail Etiquette for Businesses
||[May. 8th, 2015|07:15 pm]
You would think people would know their own e-mail addresses. Sadly, this is not always the case. Also, typos happen.
So please do not let customers tell you their e-mail addresses by typing them in or telling you over the phone rather than by sending you an email (at least not without confirming that they received an e-mail sent to the address that they supplied). But if you must, don't then proceed to supply them important information only via e-mail from a no-reply address.
When you accept wrong e-mail addresses and then don't even allow the recipient you are bothering to let you know about the error, that's not nice. Especially when you are also sticking things on a calendar that is attached to that address, American Airlines.
And especially when your e-mail yells at me for looking at private information that's not mine, doctors.
It's not even good business.
Here's a bonus hint: If someone hasn't been to your clinic in over two decades, you might want to confirm that the snail-mail address you have for them is correct. Especially if that's where you're mailing your bills.
The Wrong Debbie
P.S. Providing me a long-distance number (which I'm going to assume will bring me to a non-human) is not encouraging me to get back to you on this, either.
Blue Bell News of the Week
Poor Blue Bell is out for the count. It's going to be "several months at a minimum" before ice cream is again sold to the public. They are going to extreme lengths to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. For example, they are cleaning everything including air conditioning systems and "Eliminating possible contamination pathways, including redesigning work spaces to re-route traffic in production areas, placing barriers between work areas, installing additional foot washers at doors into production areas, and discontinuing use of outside materials such as wood pallets in sanitary areas."
|Not a Good Time for I-Bonds
||[May. 1st, 2015|06:28 pm]
As you may know, I-bonds have a two-part interest rate. One part is based on the rate of inflation over the past six months; this gives you protection against inflation. It changes every six months. The other part is a fixed rate that is basically added to the other part. (The actual, slightly more complicated formula is explained on Treasury Direct's IRA Rates and Terms page.) Finally, if inflation is so negative that it wipes out your entire fixed rate, you actually just earn 0% instead of losing money (more inflation protection!). So, since I was raised partly in the 1970s, I can't help liking these.
In general. Not this month.
New I-bonds for the next six months will have a fixed interest rate of 0%. Sadly, this is common nowadays, but so long as inflation is above normal bank interest rates, you might still be interested.
Except that inflation over the last six months has been measured as -0.8%. So your total interest rate will be zero.
So, I guess our government doesn't need to sell any of these? Or somebody's buying them anyway?
The only reason to buy them now is if you are maxing out your purchases every year to keep this portion of your portfolio in line with the other parts of your portfolio. Even so, I'd wait until November when there will be new numbers. Even if those numbers turn out to be just as bad, you'd have to live through them anyway if you bought I-bonds now. (You have to wait at least one year to cash them out.)
As soon as the 0% fixed-rate I-bonds I already own have earned 0% for three months, I will sell them (and pay the penalty of three months of interest, which by then will be no penalty at all) and move the money into my online savings account, at least for a little while. I'm willing to give up the time I've put in towards the five years you need to own an I-bond before you don't have to pay a penalty. That's because I've been buying these with money I would normally have put into savings anyway. (I've been focusing my investments in my Roth IRA, figuring I could build up my I-bonds later.)
If you have US savings bonds, you can find out what the story is by entering your information at Treasury Direct's savings bond calculator. The interest rate they show is the combined rate you are earning that month. The value shown is the amount you could cash them for that month (the three-month penalty is already taken into consideration).
You also can enter the date for future months through November 2015. Three months after your interest rate goes to 0, you can see your value stop increasing.
|LED light bulbs
||[Apr. 30th, 2015|03:21 pm]
I just read something interesting today over at The Simple Dollar: Light Bulb Showdown: LED vs. CFL vs. Incandescent. Holly Johnson says, "they’re now available for about $8 a bulb on Amazon [$54.98 for a 6-pack of Cree 9.5-watt (60w) LED * 6 Pack * - Soft/warm White (2700k) Light Bulb]. IKEA sells its own 60W-equivalent LED light bulbs for just $5 [$4.49 for a LEDARE LED bulb E26, dimmable, globe opal], and Home Depot is reportedly running a promotion in May that will discount Philips LED light bulbs to as low as $2.50 per bulb."
(I can't find additional information on the Home Depot promotion, even though it's May tomorrow, but I do recall reading that Home Depot has some light bulbs that are subsidized by my city.)
So if you've been putting off getting these, now might be a good time financially. Also, summer is coming, so if you live somewhere hot, it might be nice to switch to some lightbulbs that don't emit heat.
I've heard mixed reviews of LEDs over the years and have started keeping track of people's favorable reviews.
In October of 2013, MMM recommended GE Energy Smart LEDs--"the first LED bulbs I found with a sufficently good "color rendering index" to make the food look tasty, and thus they finally allowed me to remove the power-hungry halogens." But his current recommendations page lists LED Waves which he reviewed in March 2012, but then updated at a later point to include those bulbs. But he likes a really focused light and I like an uncultured widely dispersed light. Why, yes, I do like overhead fixtures! (I've read that overhead fixtures are a terrible way to light up your house and instead you should have millions of spotlights in the areas where you actually like to look at things like paintings and work surfaces. Apparently I am not supposed to like to look at my whole house, like bookshelves, the inside of cabinets, or the floor I'm walking across.)
In January of 2014, Financial Ramblings liked Cree's warm white bulbs. "They immediately reach full brightness, they put out a ton of light (800 lumens/bulb), and both the color and light dispersion are fantastic. Oh, and they use marginally less electricity than an equivalent CFL (9.5W vs. 13W)."
In March 2015, Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar liked LE's A60 E26 bulbs to replace 75-watt bulbs and Triangle's candalabra-based bulbs for ceiling fans.
In November, 2014, Miser Mom posted that she had noticed that a lot of light bulbs don't actually last as long as they're supposed to, so they don't save you money after all. Unless you save your receipts (she saves hers in an envelope in the box where she keeps her new light bulbs) and keep track of which bulbs are how old (she writes the installation date on the bulb itself when she installs it). Then you can negotiate a refund or replacement bulb.
Warning: one of the CREE reviewers on Amazon says, "Cree has stated that they will not honor their warranty for Amazon purchases, unless the seller sends you their receipt from Home Depot!"
The weird thing I want is bulbs that are equivalent to 40 watts instead of the usual 60; most of our overhead light fixtures involve two or three light bulbs.
My current plan is to see what's up at the Home Depot that is walking distance from my house tomorrow. I'm hoping to find the 40-watt equivalent Cree light bulbs.
|A to Z challenge: Yaks
||[Apr. 29th, 2015|09:54 pm]
On the Snowman Trail in Bhutan, they use horses and yaks as pack animals except in the highest parts of the trail where only yaks are used. Yaks are related to cattle but built for higher altitudes with big lungs and long fur.
I now officially declare that I am tired of the A to Z challenge and may quit.
|A to Z challenge: X-bar in housing
||[Apr. 28th, 2015|10:37 pm]
X-bar (which I don't know how to type on many devices) stands for the mathematical average also known as the mean. (It looks like an x with a horizontal line over it.) To find the mean, add up all the values in question and divide by the number of values. You'll get a number based on all the values that is somewhere between the lowest and highest.
Another common measure of central tendency is the median. To find the median, just line up the values in numerical order and find the middle one. (If there are an even number of values, there is no middle one. So people go with the average of the middle two.) You'll get a number that's an actual value (or between the middle two) but is only barely affected by the other values.
It's often better to look at a median when the extremes pull the average so far out of whack that the mean stops making much sense. For example, if you're a teenager thinking of working at a fast food place, it might be the case that most people there are making minimum wage, a few people have gotten one or two tiny raises, and a manager or two are making real money. The mean will be some number that does not resemble anyone's actual salary. The median is going to be minimum wage or maybe a salary of someone who's had one raise, and that will give you a much better idea of what your starting wage would be.
Housing values are another example where people generally prefer to look at the median. In fact I am wondering about one right now.
When I bought my house a million years ago (aka 1996), the median cost for a house in my city was $100,000. My house cost only 61.5% of that. It's centrally located but was built in 1955 and is smaller than average (960 square feet).
People say that housing generally just keeps up with inflation (plus needs repairs) so it's not a very good investment. If you want a house anyway, some people say you should just rent until you can afford to pay cash. These things were not true for me. My house value went up faster than my salary, so waiting until I had a larger down payment would not have made things easier for me.
Now gentrification has hit and I'm wondering how my house compares. According to Austin Home Search, the median value in March was $255,000. My 2014 appraised value was $181,308. That puts me at 71.1% (though it's probably higher by now.)
According to Zillow the median list price is $341,000. They say my house is worth $265,305. That's 77.8%.
So it looks like my house value (and the associated property taxes) are still significantly below the median house value in my city. Good to know.
And if my salary had kept up with my house value (the lower one above), I'd be making over $60,000 right now. Heh.
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