Authors I have been enjoying on my Kindle

Free books and you don’t even have to go to the library to get them! Yay Project Gutenberg.

Maria Thompson Daviess: The Melting of Molly is delightfully tongue in cheek. And has a lovely ending.

A. A. Milne:  He didn’t just write books about Christopher Robin.  I’ve been enjoying his very silly plays.  Belinda, for example.

Mary Roberts Reinhart:  Lovely romantic suspense, lovely romance, lovely suspense.  Fun all around.

Raphael Sabatini:  Sadly not all of his stuff is good; he was prolific.  But they’ve got his best: Captain Blood, ScaramoucheThe Sea-Hawk.  Mmmm swashbuckling romance!  I don’t think they have Master at Arms, which is a shame (also titled The Marquis of Carabas… under which you can get it for cash money as a paperback).

Booth Tarkington:  I loved the Penrod books growing up.  (So did my mom!)  They’re like a lower key Tom Sawyer set in a slightly later time period.

Carolyn Wells: The Patty books are so very silly.  So much like brain candy.  Quite soothing!  Even if women’s best career ambition is to be a homemaker. (Ptuii!)

Oscar Wilde:  The Canterbury Ghost, plays, so soothing, so wickedly funny.

P.G. Wodehouse:  There are at least two Jeeves books.  And assorted crap not worth reading (juvenalia, stuff that is a bit racist and just not very good in other ways).  There may be some non crap stuff too but I haven’t gone through it all yet.  Jeeves and Wooster are soothing my anxious soul.  I like hearing Steven Fry and Hugh Laurie in my head as I reread them.  It adds another dimension.

Fry and Laurie

I say!

What are your recommendations for free kindle books?

Theory of cat hair diffusion

The reason cats shed so much is that they are trying to reach cat hair equilibrium.  Cat hair equilibrium will occur when the surrounding space has the same density of cat hair as the place from which the cat hair emanates, namely, the cat.   Under this theory, the cat will eventually stop shedding once we are so deep in fur that we are unable to breathe.

A corollary to this theory is that diffusion occurs faster when the gradient between the high density fur area and the low density fur area is larger.  That is, the more you vacuum, the faster they shed.

Related:  #2 claims this furminator reduces her cat by 10% upon use.  It doesn’t seem to stop him shedding, but it does make him smaller!  Perhaps there is a complex equation about changing surface-to-volume ratio.  One time (on a previous cat) I decided that I would keep brushing until he either quit shedding, or was naked.  After an hour neither had occurred, and I gave up.

Do you all have any corroborating or denying evidence?  Alternate theories?  Stories of ginormous cat-hair tumbleweeds?

Where have you traveled?

Which are your favorite places?

My parents had a bit of a wanderlust, so I’ve been all over the US, and a good part of Mexico too (though I don’t remember Mexico so well, other than it being so dirty). I’ve also been to Spain on my own twice and Germany (and a day trip to Luxemborg) once since growing up.  #2 has been even more places over the world.

My favorite places that really stand out are places of natural beauty.

The gardens of the Alhambra. I think the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. In its full mid-summer glory.

The redwood forests.

Mt. Tamalpias– this is where my parents met. We visited many many times growing up.

Mount Shasta for camping.  (#2 hates camping.  And the outdoors.  Mine are all cities.)  (#1 notes:  cabins, running water, toilets, showers)

The Grand Canyon. Vast and deep. Beautiful colors.

Somewhere in the desert along Route 66 there’s a natural cave that sticks strongly in my mind, though I spent much of the tour with a little old lady about my height who kept me back from the railing that was too tall to protect either of us. (My dad often entrusted me to little old ladies when we traveled without my mom.)

Santa Barbara with its constantly perfect weather.

Other places have awesome food.

Little Rock, Ark has the most amazing cake lady at their weekly big market. I’d give a lot for another piece of that cake.

Rowland Heights (and related suburbs) in Los Angeles for my favorite favorite Chinese and related food. Especially shaved ice! I’ve had it other places but it’s been different.

Houston, TX has a great ice cream shop that only has chocolate ice cream. There’s another chocolate shop I really like in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA.

Luxembourg, for street waffles.

A Vietnamese place in Mountain View, CA.

Valencia, Spain for street helado. Madrid was pretty good too, but I remember it most for this amazing shrimp stuffed salmon with cream sauce.

Anywhere in Europe for croissants.. though we did find one place in California that was almost as good as the average European croissant.

So much Chicago stuffed pizza…  Great places in Chicago.

Did not really care for Disneyland.

Vancouver, BC was gorgeous, so gorgeous, and had extremely delicious Dim Sum.  I admit to being a food wimp in Beijing, though.  I would go back to Hong Kong for fun, though it’s a reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllllllyyyyy long trip.  The Bahamas were ok.

Seattle, oh so nice.  I want to stay in a B&B there for, like, ever.

We both LOVE San Francisco.

Who can forget the soul-sweetening glory of Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR?  (I would also like to go to Maine some day and PEI in Canada, but this is about the Portland in Oregon.)

Where have you been and what sticks in your mind most?  The good memories, here, not the places where you remember being totally miserable… that’s another post!

[unrelated, but nifty:  We were an editor’s choice in this week’s carnival of personal finance]

Self-serving donations

If you think your child’s education system is lacking something and you’ve got means… why not make a restricted donation?

We’re interested in differentiated independent learning activities for our child’s classroom.  The previous teacher had a ton of them.  We asked the new teacher if she would be continuing the tradition, but it turns out the former teacher is taking a lot of the independent stations she’d bought with her own money throughout the years with her when she goes.

So we offered to make a donation to help the new teacher outfit her class, with a specific emphasis on independent learning activities.  We contacted the teacher first, to make sure she was ok with the idea, and to figure out how best to get her the money so that an equivalent amount of general school money would not be taken away from her classroom for other purposes.  She came back with suggestions:  a listening center with books on CD, scales for math, etc.

We wrote a check for a set amount and allowed her to use it as she saw fit.  We’re not particularly picky with the type of independent learning activities, but if we were, we might talk to the teacher, ask her if it is ok to donate the materials or time etc. to the class, and then do so.  If the money were to be more fungible (that is, if the school were to take away an equivalent amount of money), then we would need to give a gift card or in-kind donations (buying the things she wants directly).

It’s better to ask, “if you’re interested, what can we do to facilitate this?” than “why aren’t you doing this?”  People are more likely to do things if you make it easy for them, if you put your money or time or both where your mouth is.  They’re likely to accept suggestions if you ask them if they’re interested in a spirit of helping, rather than if you take up a combative position.

Even though the gift is self-serving and restricted, if it is being given to a public or non-profit organization, it is still tax-deductible.  And your child will not be the only person to benefit.

(Of course, if you’re not self-serving and just want to help education in general, donorschoose is one of my favorite charities.  Man, I cannot visit that site without giving– this time I gave $25 to a high-poverty school in an inner city whose teacher needed money for independent math learning activities for when her fast students finished their work early, so they wouldn’t have to do more of the same worksheets as a punishment for being done.  How can you say no to that?)

Related:  Guest lecturing at your kid’s school by feMomhist

Do you ever give self-serving donations?

You know you’re from SoCal if

  • You can’t say words that have more than 2 syllables.
  • You ask people questions about their personal life, and they answer!
  • You’re gorgeous.
  • You think you’re fat, but you’re 5’10” and 98 lb.  You also keep telling people that you’re so fat whenever you eat something.
  • You know all the celebrity gossip.  And all the movies that are coming out.
  • Even out-there parents in the rest of the country think your parenting philosophies are weird.
  • You’ve got tons of friends in “the industry.”
  • You complain about being broke while making >$200K/year.
  • People put probabilities on whether or not you’re going to show up and whether or not something is going to happen.
  • You’re often late if you show up at all.  You don’t get upset if folks leave without you.
  • Highways begin with “the”, eg the 101, the 5, the 10 etc.
  • Earthquakes are no big deal.
  • You know not to get in the car when it starts sprinkling.
  • You put on a ski jacket when the temperature reaches 60F.
  • You call that city upstate, “San Fran”

It’s been a few years… what are we missing?

Stinkin Linkin

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And all those new marriages will be great for the economy.  Spend it!  (we should note that as of Friday evening, all the comments are rabidly asinine, as well as being homophobic and ignorant.  But otherwise, F*CK YEAH NEW YORK)

An interesting take on the bible and homosexuality from CNN.

Clutter museum explains how Sesame Street is destroying America.  Example:  teaching poor non-white folks how to read.  Apparently somehow that’s the bigotry of soft expectations?  Anyway, F*CK YEAH SESAME STREET

Penny-arcade reminds us fantasy novels are not parenting guides

Mutant Supermodel has returned.  YAY.  And she’s back to posting awesome posts.  Double YAY.  Check out this one on three things you can do to feel better during a divorce or separation.  Again, way better than most of the similar posts I read in O Magazine (it’s linked through CNN, don’t judge me).  Also:  I love my partner to pieces but when he goes out of town I often order Hawaiian Pizza because he believes that fruit and meat do not belong together.

Tell Lindy Mint what she should do with an extra 1 or 2K.

A squid pic from pharyngula.

Squeeeee!  Baby leopards!  So teeny!

Do you think back-up eating is underrepresented in music?  tinycatpants does.

Need healthcare?  Go to jail.

Oh no, Dewey, Cathy is pregnant!  How did that happen?

Barack Obama:  Baby whisperer.

We were in this week’s carnival of personal finance.

Actually, nobody cares

And if they do care enough to condemn you for X, Y, and Z… not only are they not very good friends, or nice people, but they seriously need lives!  And who cares what not nice people who need lives think?

It is a fundamental truth that most people are too busy with their own lives to notice or pass judgment on yours.  Unless you take great effort to point it out.

That is all.

Comments?  Examples?

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