Five Things Friday Vol. 73

Five Things Friday: just five things I’m thinking about or things that made my week, or things that I otherwise feel like sharing.

It rained this morning. And I went for a run in the (drizzling) rain. And it was glorious. We’re expecting a much cooler than usual weekend and get a first taste of fall on this first day of September. I know there are many more hot days ahead for us here in California, but I am really going to enjoy the cooler temperatures this weekend. 

While I was out on my run, I passed by a Starbucks and remembered that I had stars to redeem that were going to expire today, so I picked up a croissant to go with my morning coffee. Win-win! (I don’t go to Starbucks often and usually don’t have a lot of stars, but when I do, you can be sure I’ll got out of my way to redeem them.)

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Feedly (non-)update: After two weeks, we – as in the Feedly Platform Engineer, who kindly contacted my hosting provider on my behalf, and I – received a response from the hosting company’s technical team basically saying that Feedly was blocked due to “suspicious activity” and that they won’t get unblocked unless they clean up their IPs. (If you’re scratching your head, so am I and so is the Feedly guy). He kindly responded that this information was not helpful (what suspicious activity?) and explained that they were a legit RSS feed reader service and asked for guidance on how to get their IPs unblocked. I hope it’s not going to take another two weeks to hear back.

You know, I have been really happy with the move to my new hosting provider in every other regard, but this issue – and the fact that the support is so slow – is a little ridiculous. It’s been 5 months since this all started and I still can’t explain why sometimes my posts will show up in Feedly (but only infrequently and in batches). My blog engagement has definitely suffered (and I am sad and sorry about that). You’d think that this would be an easy thing to figure out for the tech support.

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I got an (unexpected, but not surprising) small pay raise this week. I am not sure if you’re familiar with the GS pay scale (it’s the federal pay scale). It is separated into 15 grades (GS-1 to GS-15) and each grade is separated into 10 steps. Permanent employees earn regular step increases in their grades after serving a prescribed period of time, dependent on their performance reviews. Long story short, I got a step increase in August (because I was hired in August) and it was a nice little surprise because I had forgotten I was due for one. We don’t get raises often and in the federal workforce, you can’t really negotiate salaries, so these step increases are all I get (unless I get promoted to a higher grade or apply to a different position with higher pay).

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I hadn’t mentioned it yet, but didn’t want to let it slide here on the blog completely. Jon’s dad passed away last week. It wasn’t completely unexpected as he’d not been doing well for quite a while, but it was still a shock. When is it ever not a shock when someone dies? I don’t know. I keep thinking and trying to wrap my head around (once again) how “one minute someone is here, and the next minute they are not”. 

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I felt like we were bleeding money in August. Between a few necessary purchases to replace things that broke (like the rug and hummingbird feeder), we also booked flights to Southern California (for Jon’s dad’s Memorial Service), I paid the race fee for my half marathon (which is never cheap), and had a couple of subscription items come through (the price itself is cheaper than not being subscribed, but because they all renew on the same day, it always feels like a big chunk to pay all at once). I am glad to start a new month in my budget, is what I am saying, although rent is due today. Sigh.

What’s been going on in your world this week?

  1. So sorry, hearing about Jon’s dad. Saying goodbye to family members is never easy.
    Our week was very quiet. With the weather cooling down and becoming a bit more unstable we enjoyed slow mornings. Summer holidays are almost at their end and it’s feeling really nice to just spend some time together. Unfortunately the cooler temperatures also brought the first round of sniffers and cough. Something I don’t look forward to…
    Have a nice weekend!

    1. Thank you, Andrea. I know change is in the air… we’re slowly moving into fall. I hope you can enjoy the last few days of the summer and that the flu seasons will be mild this year.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of Jon’s dad. It’s always hard to say goodbye to someone you love and feels shocking regardless of timing. I hope you are able to have a lovely memorial service in his memory.

    Congrats on the pay increase! That’s great news and helps offset how ridiculously expensive everything is now!

    1. Thank you, Elisabeth. I appreciate that. I do hope the memorial service will be a nice celebration of his life.
      Haha, and I had the exact same thoughts (and hope) that the pay increase will help offset how expensive everything is!

  3. So sorry to read about your father in law passing. No, it is never easy even if expected. Congrats on your pay increase! I kind of like a rainy run sometimes

    1. Thank you, Deb. I appreciate it. And yes, rainy runs can be fun sometimes (when it’s not too cold and windy LOL)

  4. I’m so sorry about your father in law.
    Congrats on your raise! Mine is just talk so far, but yours is real!

    1. Thanks, Birchie. And yes, I guess you have a point ;)

  5. sorry about your loss. it never stops surprising me that people just disappear from our lives.
    congrats on the raise. Don’t you get a yearly raise to keep up with the inflation?

    1. I know, right? It’s confusing that people just “disappear”.

      We sometimes get a COLA (cost of living adjustment) at the beginning of the year, but it’s not guaranteed (Congress has to approve it and we have gone several years without it) and sadly, it usually is less than inflation, so it doesn’t really feel like a raise at all (although I’ll of course happily take whatever small increase we get).

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your father-in-law. Losing a family member is never easy.

  7. Sorry about Jon’s dad… death is always hard…

    Thanks for the reminder… I do have stars to redeem.

    $$$ – it’s always something… Just had to replace my car… school taxes are due soon. OY!

    1. Thank you Darlene. I appreciate the kind words.
      And dang, you feel the $$$ too, I see.

  8. Oh, I’m so sorry about Jon’s dad. Yes, even when it’s “expected” it’s still a shock. Congratulations on your pay rise, a pleasant surprise. I have been booking tickets (trains, tours etc) for our holiday in October so not a cheap time for us, but I’d allocated the funds in our budget so that is OK.

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about your FIL. Even when it comes at the end of a long illness, the actual event of death can be shocking. Hugs to you and Jon.

    I’m shocked at both Feedly’s and your server’s response to this problem. It can’t be unheard of, can it? Feedly is an incredibly popular RSS reader, right? I’m so frustrated on your behalf because it must be sad to work hard on a post and then get no engagement from your readers!!

  10. I am so so sorry about Jon’s dad. Sending lots of love and warm thoughts your way.
    I am v familiar with the GS pay scale and what feels like random pay raises because it’s so hard to remember when steps are due! LOL! Congratulations!!! This inspires me to look up how far along I am with my current step. And what step I am at.
    WTF with the Feedly nightmare. I can’t believe how long it’s taking to get this figured out, and not for lack of trying! GAH!

  11. So so sorry about your family’s loss. Death is an enemy.
    I’m happy to hear about your raise and I’m super hopeful you can get your blogging stuff figured out. Those tech problems are such a pain!

    1. Thank you, Kristen. Yes, death is an enemy :(
      And thanks for keeping your fingers crossed about the blogging stuff. I really do hope to find a solution.

  12. I’m so sorry about your FILs death. That is really hard, so many feelings.
    I like that a new hummingbird feeder is in the ‘necessary’ column! I love ours, and would be really sad if it broke. And I get you on the subscriptions. It’s almost time to order more of our detergent, and I ordered a year’s worth last time to avoid multiple shipments, so yeah, that’s going to be expensive.

    1. Thank you Julie. I appreciate your kind words.
      And yes, I didn’t know how necessary hummingbird feeders were until I got one :)

  13. I am so sorry to hear about Jon’s Dad. Wishing you strength win your grieving. It is never easy to have a loved on go. I hope you have many wonderful memories to fill a sad moment.

    I feel you with the money running through your hands. August was a tough month here too. But then we booked a vacation and bought new suitcases. All great things to invest in but it still hurts.

  14. Condolences to your family, San. I hope John is doing okay and you can take comfort in the memories. <3

    I can't believe your Feedly issues are still happening! I thought things had been fixed because I started getting more regular updates, but then I just saw a whole bunch of blog posts show up in my feed on one day so I guess not. WHAT is going on?!

  15. San, so very sorry for your loss. May John find solace in memories.
    Congratulations on your raise! As a state employee (not federal) we also use a step system and teachers union negotiates our salaries. I know how special that may feel since we can’t negotiate with the district, only the union at contract expiry time.
    I can relate to bleeding money, too. We traveled a lot this summer, and I could not wait for my first paycheck 09-15, feels so good to have money again. Don’t get me wrong, I love working 10 months out of the year but I miss my paychecks lol I do summer pay where I ask the district to withhold a certain amount for the summer but that does not compare to my full pay. Anyway, feels good to know that on every 15th and 30th of the month I’ll get salary.

  16. I’m behind since I rely on feedly for updates. I need to subscribe to your blog. I also don’t get notifications when you respond to my comment like I used to! Blogging shouldn’t be this hard.

    Now all that aside, I am so very sorry to hear about Jon’s dad passing. That is so terribly sad. Sending warm thoughts and hugs to you all.

    1. Thanks for catching up on some of my older posts. I am sorry Feedly is still not behaving. I’ve been trying to find workarounds…. you can try to subscribe to “” which seems to update in a timely manner in Feedly.
      Also, you should be receiving email notification for this response to your comment – if not, I’ll need to look into this also. Sigh.

      Thanks so much for your kind words re: Jon’s dad’s passing. We had a nice memorial service last week.

  17. I’m sorry to hear about Jon’s dad. I hope you are both doing okay in the grieving process. I feel like it’s never not a surprise when someone passes, even if they aren’t doing well. I think it’s just an abrupt ending.

    When are you running your half-marathon?? That’s exciting (and impressive to train for, given the heat of summer)!

  18. Oh, my friend, I am so sorry to hear about Jon’s dad. This is the problem with the Feedly problem. I feel terrible that I am commenting on this so late, and I hope that the memorial service and time with his family provide(d) you with comfort. Knowing that it may happen, and then realizing you will never see someone again, are two very different things. <3

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