Happy songs!

Need a little pick-me-up? Here are a few songs that might help.

What do you listen to when you’re feeling down?

Who do you Link Love?

#2 would sort of like to change the title to “Whom do you link love?” (note: whom!) but won’t.  It reminds me of that Duran Duran song, Come Undone.  (Who do you need / who do you love / when you come undone) (#1 says:  YES.  That is precisely the allusion.)

A delightful little ditty on facebook presented by Isis the scientist.

We were an “almost editor’s pick” in this week’s carnival of personal finance.  By Magical Penny.  Apparently folks like it when we pick on Money Reasons… I wonder if we should do a post to address the one of his this week that devolved into everyone in the comments saying that only kids who had SAHM are going to amount to anything.  (Hint:  They’re not the only ones.)

I couldn’t do this, but I’m totally impressed by $30 painted faux granite countertop at pretty handy girl.

I am intrigued by Chore Wars (and its sister site, World of Chorecraft. heh).  I am a big nerd.

How many of Bardiac’s stick figure literatures do you recognize?

A PSA from ianqui on twitter use.

I was going to link love this post from minting nickels about how to figure out how much your stuff on ebay is worth, but then she just blew me away with this deep, bittersweet, life-affirming post about her late grandfather and how she’s honoring his memory.

This post that I stole from eemusing’s link love from this recording on how to be the woman in a guy’s group is really awesome.  It reminds me of my work environment.  Yes, let us push our boobs against the glass ceiling together!

Weird Al has a book.  Also check out Bob.  From Philnel.

Oh XKCD, again you are so right when you are so very wrong.  You spin me right round baby.

RBO Food weirdness

  • Little cat got into a used mint tea-bag and went a little crazy… in a way that made me wonder if I’d actually had catnip tea.  But big cat (who also responds to catnip) didn’t seem affected when I stuck the cup in her face… so maybe little cat was just being weird (as she sometimes is, having been feral much of her first year).  (#2 says, I’m pretty sure mint is related to catnip.  And most but not all cats respond to catnip.)
  • Did you know that if you put some kinds of tea bags in the microwave to heat your tea, they will explode all over everywhere?  YES.  This is one time when I learned from someone else’s mistake.  Boil the water separately, folks!
  • Also exploding in microwaves: burritos.  Loosen up that wrapper first, or face the prospect of scraping beans off the roof of the microwave.
  • Why does my cat like oatmeal?  You can’t leave it unattended around him.  I guess it does have milk in it… what a weird and un-catly thing to nom.
  • My childhood cat loved to eat Louisiana Crunch Cake.  She could eat the entire top off of one.  She also enjoyed Doritos, but at least those are salty and cheesy.
  • I like sandwiches so much.  Don’t you?  They’re so yummy!
  • New England has the best sandwiches.  Agree or disagree?
  • We are happy to note that Green and Black mint now infuses mint through the chocolate.  The former method of putting mint-sugar sludge in the middle of the chocolate just wasn’t working for us.  (But do not feed to cats, as chocolate is poison!)
  • Recently had PanAsian German fusion.  Schnitzel with black and white sesame seeds and a German/soy dipping sauce.  Over a bed of sticky rice.  With shredded German/Asian coleslaw.  It was awesome.

Do you have any fun food bit(e)s to share?

Children’s books for misfits, eccentrics, and other inadvertant loners

These don’t necessarily have the best morals… generally they’re ugly duckling kinds of stories.  We’re different because in some ways we’re better.  That’s probably why they’re not listed in Some of my best friends are books (unless Caldecott or Newbery winners).  But they sure are satisfying reads when you’re out of sync with your peers and you worry that the problem is you.  Maybe we should celebrate our differences and not be so eager to squish square pegs into round holes (“Won’t fit?  I’ll make you fit!”)  After all, boring people seldom make history.


Pippi Longstocking


Jennifer, Hecate, and Me, Elizabeth (and other books by E L Koningsburg, the most famous being From the Mixed up Files)

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Stanley Family (Also many other books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder… like The Egypt Game)

Bagthorphes Ordinary Jack
by Helen Cresswell


The Bagthorpe Saga

Ender’s Game

Artemis Fowl

(Also Harry Potter..)

And a song for y’all.

“Anything other than that and you know you’re dealing with someone who is different, and different is not what you’re looking for.”

Are we missing any?

I will not marry my best friend

… and I’m sure #2 is pretty happy about that.

(#2 says:  Awwwww!  I’m blushing! … Or maybe that’s sunburn…)

I know #2 probably disagrees with me here, but I don’t think your spouse or life-partner should be your best friend.  If they are, I feel like maybe you’re not getting out enough (and I say this as one of nature’s most introverted people, ever).  The cultural myth that you must marry your best friend both devalues friendships with anyone else, and also puts way too much pressure on your romantic relationship. People who believe in perfect soulmates tend to get divorced more often than those of us who know that real relationships take work.*

*This sentence is backed up by data but I am too lazy to dig out the citations from the class I took in college a million years ago.  Either look it up yourself or just take my word for it.  It’s a blog.

Friendships are in a different category for me, and I think it’s really important to have intimate emotional connections with people outside your primary romantic partnership.  I wouldn’t say that what I have with my partner is a friendship, though it shares many aspects: we hang out together, enjoy each other’s company, make each other laugh, have in-jokes, share our feelings, are there for each other through thick and thin, are authentic around each other, etc.  But it’s so qualitatively different for me from a friendship, and not just because of the sex.  We have a piece of each other’s souls.  My friends are great, don’t get me wrong (hugs to #2!), and I do love them, but they don’t complete me the way my lover does.  They don’t make me want to be a better person the way he does.

By the way, to all those people who say things like “This chocolate mousse is better than sex!”, I have something to say to you:

There is nothing better than sex.  Nothing.  If there is something in your life better than sex, I sincerely feel that’s really too bad, and I sincerely and deeply hope that you can find peace and healing in your sex life.  You might want to check out Emily Nagoski, Sex Nerd.  Unless you identify as asexual, in which case, rock on with whatever it is you do to recharge your spirit!

#2 offers a different perspective:  I’m totally a hopeless romantic and my partner, if not my only best friend, is definitely my best male friend.  And it is true that we may be a little codependent, but we’re ok with that.  We have been a couple for almost 17 years now and he still makes my heart pitta-pat and I still want to hear what happened in his life during the time we were apart each day.  (And no, our relationship really doesn’t take work, but that’s only because he’s perfect and I recognize that he’s perfect.)

Do we think this post is controversial enough?  Readers, is your romantic partner your best friend?

The do you use credit cards post?

Yes.  We do.

Cash = weight gain.  When I have cash monies, I hit up the vending machine.  I buy from food stands, even if I’ve brought lunch.  I’m more likely to buy just a little something at the cafeteria.

Cash = unhappy spending.  I spend it when I have it, mostly on small food items.  Which means that I run out of cash and I can’t buy something I really want later.  That then causes me to hoard my money which makes me unhappy or to be unable to buy things when I want… or I have to carry a lot of cash on me which ends up getting spent.  Additionally, with cash, grocery shopping becomes a chore instead of a joy.  I have to keep mental track of every item I put in the cart.  If I don’t have enough cash, I have to stop, which will mean another trip to the grocery store later.   I don’t like multiple trips to the grocery store.  I could solve this by bringing the checkbook, but I don’t like using checks– they take a long time to use, they’re a pain to reorder, and I’m more likely to make a mistake with them.

So if we went to cash only, most likely I would take out too much money to avoid running out and it would evaporate.  It is true that I spend more each time I use my credit card, but I make more individual purchases when I use cash.  That’s a problem with a lot of these credit card studies studies– they look at individual purchases for which a person has chosen to use a credit card vs. chosen to use cash, which doesn’t give a complete spending picture.  There are a lot of small purchases I skip when I have no cash.

Cash = more/less spending?  An interesting recent paper finds that on average credit card usage does not increase spending in a single transaction.  But that average hides the fact that some people spend more with the credit card and some people spend less.  Specifically, they find that while credit card revolvers spend less when induced to spend with a credit card, convenience users spend more.

Credit = financial ruin?  Even if we did spend more with credit cards than cash, SO WHAT?  We’re doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.  We don’t carry cc debt ever.  Sure we still have mortgage or student loan debt, but we’re saving for retirement and other things and on the whole doing pretty well.  We are far past the beans and rice stage.  (And cash only would not have helped during that stage either, as I had a vise-tight grip on every single purchase back then… and the 5% rewards on groceries at the time had a pretty big impact since we had so little money to begin with.)

So, yes, we use credit cards.  We’re fairly sure we don’t spend more with them than we would with cash unless we were doing some sort of hardcore envelope system.  But with a hardcore envelope system we would probably spend too little and be unhappy.  Restricting our spending artificially may build up our wealth, but not enough to change our lives for the better… but the restrictions would definitely change our lives for the worse.

Do you think Credit Cards are the anti-Christ?  We accept righteous condemnation (though we will probably secretly snicker about it offline).  Do you use credit cards?

Who do you think should or shouldn’t use cc?

It is hard being perfect

But I think I’m going to celebrate it without feeling guilty about it, Catholic upbringing notwithstanding.

I’m good with money. I was brought up frugaler than frugal and have found my own happy medium as an adult. I’ve been poor and I’ve been higher income, and I’m happier being higher income (to paraphrase Mae West). But I remember the poor well enough to not want to have to go back to it, which leads to saving!

My kid is (knock on wood), relatively well-behaved and adorable. I credit an excellent preschool for most of this and my DH for the rest. Though I do my best not to destroy things, mostly through benevolent neglect and lots of cuddling.

I have the best husband on the face of the planet. If anything happened to him I would be devastated. He and DC are currently happily vacuuming while I sit here typing and thinking about how I’m the luckiest person on the planet.

Even our cats are great.

I’m not at the tippity top of my career, but some of the folks who are at that tippity top know who I am. I had a solid education and I do good solid work, even if not as much as I would like to do. Sometimes projects work and sometimes they’re not really salvageable, but I keep plugging on. I try my best to get my students to become critical thinkers and to stop hating math. I’m lucky to be at an institution with great colleagues who seem to think I’m on track for tenure.

And you know what, I’m not going to apologize for my success. I’m not going to hide it. I’m even going to *gasp* do the forbidden and brag a little. In addition, I’m going to appreciate the luck we’ve had and thank previous me for the hard work she did to help me get where I am.

And you know what else? I’m going to say that a lot of folks in my circumstances would be complaining up a storm. They’d hate living in a small town in a red state, or they’d complain about their husbands and kids and cats and stress and so on. People can find all sorts of reasons to complain about things.

In college I had a professor who invited some of us to her house once where we met her husband. It was like the Jack Sprat of optimism. She was a bundle of happiness who always looked on the bright side and he was a depressed pessimist. While I definitely appreciate the pessimists (they provide the back-up systems), I kind of thought to myself that there’s something to be said for looking on the bright side of life. To, you know, “change what you can and accept what you can’t,” like in the poem.  (NB… I think there’s something about granting serenity in there.)

So when I’m not happy, that’s what I try to do. Fix the problem, or fix my way of looking at the problem. So I focus on the amenities and remember about compensating differentials. I try to compare myself to the billions of fish in smaller ponds (though sometimes it gives me a big head) and use the few thousand big fish in the bigger pond as inspiration and role models.

I know circumstances will change, and we’ll be thrown curve-balls, but I’m mostly optimistic and determined that we will turn out ok in the end (so long as we have our health, which we may not always– that is my biggest fear).

And, of course, I’m saying it to you all on an anonymous blog because this is something I can’t say in public. I can’t even say it on the mother’s forums. They attack. But gosh darn it, I’m glad I can’t share their problems and I’m glad I appreciate my family and am not in debt (even though I make less money than they do) and so on.

Do you ever feel guilty for being better off than other folks? Do you ever wish you could smack people upside the head and tell them to fix their problems instead of just complaining about them? Do you try to always look on the bright side of life?

Fine, fine: a very special link love.

I think Bardiac has read my mind.

The super-haters make a bad name for the regular-haters from Roxie’s World.

Thoughtful money analogies from Mutantsupermodel.

Congratulations to eemusings!

Academic readers!!!  Small Steps for Big Change has been offered the chair position at her school and NEEDS YOUR ADVICE.  I’m inclined to say no, but I’m also not that experienced.  (It’s a university that doesn’t give tenure too, just 5 year contracts.)

Grading. We hates it.  From Proflikesubstance.

We sort of got addicted to I Love Charts.

A neat older article on four year olds in kindergarten.

Frugal Forties with a rant on people who fool themselves with no-spend challenges.  Some folks spend a heck of a lot more than we do in regular months with lame justifications during their no-spend challenges.

This here is why we are feminists. We usually try to stay away from religion and politics on this blog, because that’s not the kind of noise we are making here. But come on.  A group of men and boys allegedly gang-raped an 11-year-old girl, and then passed around photos and videos of it.  As if child-rape and public degradation weren’t bad enough, the media have to be evil about it.  Why is anyone, anywhere, in any context, reporting things like:

how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?

“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.” [Right. The BOYS have to live with the outcome. Sure.]


They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said. “Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record.
[Hey, we can blame men's behavior on multiple women at once! Score!]

This sickens us.  Frankly, we blame the patriarchy.

Also, don’t forget to Spring Forward this weekend! As if I needed to miss more sleep right now. ARGH!

Egregious Shoe Post

Either an egregious post, or else a post about egregious boots.  Dedicated to our good friend, CPP.

I went looking for boots.  I wanted a chunky heel.  It turns out there is a very fine line between “chunky heel” and “cowboy boots”.  I wanted at least mid-calf but preferably knee-high, in leather or suede, and not boring.  No wedges, no stilettos, no flats.  Not your standard boots that I could get anywhere, but something with a little flair.  Beautiful colors a plus; not black unless really rockin’.

It turns out that these boots really do exist:

Gears... !


Here are some nice boots, probably my favorite on this page:

Also some other ones:

I like the heel on these:

Check these beauties out:

But I feel like these are trying too hard (though they look ok in black):

Look at the sweet sweet color on these:

It turns out I didn’t get any of these, but I got another pair that is insanely great.  I won’t show you though, because they are a little bit distinctive and I am sort of anonymous on here.

Don’t you like boots?


In which we contemplate our February challenges

I have learned that I do not like working 7 days a week.  Even if one of those days is only for 30 min.

I learned that I will not get up and write for 30 min bright and bushy-tailed every morning  (me, either, says #2).  And that sometimes I need to do a bunch more non-writing work before it is obvious what I should be writing next.  Instead writing comes at different times of the day depending on whether or not it is obvious what writing needs to be done.  When there’s something pressing, morning writing is easiest.  When I have no clue, often something else takes precedence.  Trying to force myself to write in the morning when there’s something else work-related I would rather be doing results in me wasting an hour or three doing nothing but internet surfing.  Doing something work-related is better than doing nothing just to avoid writing.

Also with the 7 day a week writing, I found myself doing things that it would have probably been more efficient for my RA to do.  Like fixing citations.

I also learned that I probably can handle 6 days a week and forcing myself that 30 min can sometimes lead to an hour or three of happy productivity.  And I already knew that I can almost always find 30 min every day for 5 days a week and that writing pushes me to keep up with it through reading and research.  In fact, this past Sunday in March I just didn’t feel right until I did 30 min of writing starting around 6:30pm.  So maybe I’ll try to hit 6 days a week of writing instead of 5.

The other half chimes in:  I have learned that I probably shouldn’t commit to more reading challenges, especially ones with tight deadlines.  It makes something I do purely for fun into something more like work, and that doesn’t feel as good as it could.  However, I do really love the Monthly Challenges idea and its webpage, and I want to be able to show results there.  So that’s motivating.  I have also learned that inbox zero may not be possible when I’m getting 25 new emails in 14 hours, and almost all of them require me to do something or think something or write something or check something… gah.


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