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About Bootsie

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    Hive Mind Level 4 Worker: Builder Bee

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    ds--college sophomore; dd--college graduate
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    college professor

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  1. A package of outdoor fun activities--bubbles, frisbee, water sprinkler a badmitten, croquet, or bocci ball set BBQ or picnic supplies potted plant and gardening tools for the kids
  2. The experience when you visit any campus is extremely random--depending on the people you run into that particular day, the weather, whether it is summer, etc. You should be able to find SMU's student profile online. I am not familiar with the specifics but it is going to be a school that attracts the GQ-type student--especially more than UTD. SMU definitely has its own personality--some people like it and others are very uncomfortable there. Much of your experience may have had to do with it being summer. If there is some particular reason you are interested in SMU (a particular major, for example) I would give it a second chance. If there isn't anything especially intriguing about it, and if the other schools seemed a good fit, I would pass on considering it any more. Many college campuses are "smoke-free" but that do not enforce a total ban on smoking.
  3. I, too, wish we would end the practice of tipping in the US. In fact, if I were an employer in one of these situations, I would push to end the practice. From an incentive structure it creates an odd situation and a conflict of interest. Who is really the employer? In other situations, if the client were paying the worker extra money, it would be considered a bribe.
  4. I have had a couple of family members who were having memory problems that improved once medications were removed or decreased. Another family member kept forgetting things that she was told or saying things that appeared random in the conversation; she was getting a lot of facts confused. We finally realized it was a hearing problem. She was not forgetting things she was told--she was not hearing them. She would say "yes" or seem to be participating in a conversation but she was missing major parts of what was being said.
  5. DD's first job was in a foreign country and started a couple of months after graduation (she could not apply for the work visa until she had her diploma in hand). She lived with us in the interim; we did not charge her rent for those two months; she covered her other expenses through a combination of savings, working some odd jobs, and selling some of her college items, like dorm fridge. Her employer helped her with some of her relocation expenses and loaned her an apartment deposit/first month's rent. If we had a child who had a good job in a location that was going to require substantial relocation costs and deposits, and the child had a solid budget and career plan then we would make a loan to the child and would probably provide some support in the form of a graduation gift. My undergraduate school made small, low-interest loans to graduating seniors to purchase a suit for interviewing, pay to move, etc. That was in the era of double-digit interest rates. I don't know if they still do that or not. I had a friend who graduated in May and was going to begin a job in September. After a lot of calculations she found the cheapest way to live in the interim (with her family was not an option) was to go backpacking across Europe and stay in hostels!
  6. I know of someone who was able to get a person who wanted to scrap some of the materials from an old house who was willing to remove the house for free for the material value while the original owner maintained ownership of the property.
  7. I love my Osprey luggage. It is expensive, but it has held up well. For a carry-on, I would go with a backpack style without wheels to maximize packing space. If the backpack is lightweight and fits correctly it will not be difficult to carry. Remember that with a carry-on only you will be limited to one quart size bag of any liquids/gels.
  8. What area of Europe are you wanting to visit? IME, especially with smaller groups, tour companies specialize in particular regions or particular areas of interest (e.g. hiking, cycling, cuisine)
  9. We have never had a problem with middle names on tickets. DC have a hyphenated last name which sometimes causes problems because some systems allow a hyphen and some systems don't. This results on DDs name being extremely long and often gets cut short when entered into computer databases or actually printed on tickets. My mom lived in a state that allowed for a middle name (which she always went by) to be used on her drivers license. So her passport and her drivers license did not have the same name--so making sure the plane ticket matched the ID really depended upon which ID she was using.
  10. We would probably choose a week in the Seattle area or San Francisco. In both of those places you can experience a few days of the city with great restaurants and activities and then spend some time out of the city hiking, visiting wineries, enjoying scenery. Or we would go somewhere in Canada. If we lived somewhere that we could get a direct flight, we might go to Europe. IME whether going to Europe is practical for a week depends on if you are talking about a 10 hour flight to your destination, or 24-hour travel time each way because you have to make several connections.
  11. DD is enjoying Austria; she is trying to devise a plan to live there long term. At one time I directed a college study abroad program in Innsbruck; DD went to Austria the first time when she was less than 8 weeks old; growing up she spent many summers in Austria. We do enjoy seeing the local culture in addition to the tourist attractions. We have enjoyed going to Budapest, but we did not enjoy Prague much. I had heard so much about how great Prague was and found it disappointing; we found it more difficult to find local culture in Prague. I will need to look into Riga.
  12. As a college professor I have seen this problem increasing. The cheating now goes way beyond "wandering eyes". It is very easy for a student, even in a classroom with a proctor, to quickly snap a picture of an exam, send the copy of the exam to someone half-way around the world, have that person answer the questions for them and transmit answers back. Once you move into work outside of the classroom, the issues multiply. Unfortunately, I think our schools have played a role in teaching kids to do this. Emphasis has been placed on innovation and the use of technology at too young of an age, IMO.
  13. This sounds like the best possibility to me if the lot is not large enough for a house at this point. What are the property taxes like? I have known people in some areas to quite paying property taxes and allow the county to take the property. Whether this is prudent depends upon local ordinances and real estate laws in your state. Could the and be donated to a church or community organization for a park or community garden?
  14. We have done round-trip from Seattle on both NCL an Holland America. The staterooms on NCL tend to be smaller but both had lovely public areas where families could visit, play cards, watch the scenery, etc. We have found the Seattle port easy to deal with. NCL docks right at downtown Seattle; Holland America is at a dock a couple of miles out of the downtown area. Both were organized and easily accommodated elderly passengers We did not have kids your ages on the cruises, but after the recent cruise, we are considering a family reunion cruise next year that would include children that age. DH says that h thinks he would chose NCL for that, but most would depend on which line had the dates and itinerary we wanted.
  15. Austria is my favorite place on earth! It is so lovely, leaving it to travel somewhere else is always difficult. I will have about a month total. DD is an au pair in Austria right now. The general plan is that I will go to Austria for about 3 weeks and then the final week DD will have off and would like to travel somewhere she hasn't been the last week I am there. That will coincide with peak travel time for holidays in Europe.
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