Wandering Scientist (aka Cloud) has mentioned that age 7 is questioning age for her daughter.  DC1 is also in on it.  As with Cloud, we’ve had lengthy conversations about race and inequality and gay marriage and so on in the past few months.  Here’s some other random conversation starters.

  • What is gummi bear juice made of?  (Answer:  it is a secret!)  Why do gummi bears bounce?  (Answer:  Gummi berry juice!)  Yeah, but why?  For what purpose?  (Answer:  Um, maybe we should hook you up with some of the cartoon episodes on youtube…) There was a tv show?  (Answer:  Yes, that’s where the song came from.)
  • How much pee do you have?  How could we measure it?  How much water is in the pee?
  • How do people make so many cars?
  • Why do people mostly have multiple [significant others] before they get married?  Why didn’t daddy?  Why didn’t you know what love is until you met daddy?  Why is the type of love you have for your parents different than for daddy?  Is the type of love for us different? How many types of love are there?
  • Why is Boston so big?  Why do people live in cities?  Why is there more stuff in cities?
  • Do you wish you could be daddy?


  • Dear sports writers saying that Don Sterling’s big mistake (compared to other less well-publicized racists, I guess) was that he can’t “control his women”?  You know how black people aren’t property?  Turns out women aren’t either.
  • Actually, we’re sickened by all of the sexism and misogyny in the discussion of the Don Sterling thing.  All the gawd-awful comments about his wife and the woman on the tape.  Yet another way that the patriarchy is preventing anything actually being done about wide-spread racism, while bolstering its entrenched sexism.  Thanks patriarchy!
  • I looked up Don Sterling and misogyny because *surely* we weren’t the only folks to notice the misogyny in the commentary.  Well, turns out even the original story is full of sexism and misogyny too (note:  we hadn’t listened to the tapes, just the reporting about them), but nobody is paying attention to that, because wimmin, who cares, they really are property.  Here’s some [possible triggers] commentary.  Which is not to downplay the racism AT ALL.  But neither racism NOR sexism (nor their intersection!) should be tolerated.
  • I got a haircut.  The first after um, 14 months.  It’s a bob, because everybody else is getting bobs.  It took a week for anybody to say anything about it at work.  And another half week for anybody else to say anything.  Talking to my two RAs about it after the second person noticed (one of my RAs was the first person to notice), I said, “Either it doesn’t look any different from before and nobody has noticed, or it looks terrible and people are just being polite by not saying anything.”  One RA (the one who noticed) said, “People probably just aren’t noticing because they’re busy and the school year’s over.”  The other RA said, “Who knows?  It will always be a mystery.”  I told the first one, “Good answer” and the second, “Bad answer.”
  • In case you were wondering what this economist thinks about the Ta-Nesi Coates article in the Atlantic.  It’s excellent.  It actually gave me a lot of flashbacks to when I took Race in the Economy as an undergrad– Reparations were in the news back then too, and again, used as a starting point for discussions about what is actually feasible (IIRC, reparations were not feasible just from a logistical standpoint) and how and why we need to still do things to level the playing field.  My prof had been a beneficiary of affirmative action hirself and a big takeaway from that class was also that housing segregation has terrible consequences on many levels.  We read a lot of William Darity Jr. (Sandy to his friends) in that class, and Coates has as well.  Since then I’ve read a lot more and taken more classes and taught a lot more about disparities and discrimination.  An important and complicated subject and yes, we need another War on Poverty.  Inequality is getting worse, not better, in this country.  And we’ve had periods of time in which it was getting better.  It’s not impossible to make things better, even if we might never get to perfect, there’s a heck of a lot more we could be doing, and a lot we could stop doing, to bring back the American Dream for everyone.
  • My mom sometimes depresses me by talking about the state of the world.  It’s in pretty terrible shape, but she has hope that it’ll get so bad that it’ll turn around.  She lived through the 60s, after all.  I fear it’s already gotten so bad but we haven’t turned around.  We haven’t rebelled against our 1% overlords.  We’ve had chances and they didn’t work out.  And I wonder how the world would have been different in 2014 if Al Gore had been president.  Would 2014 be more like what my naive self thought it would be, moving forward instead of backward?  Or would it just have been 4 years delaying some inevitability.  (But maybe it would have been Jeb instead of W… who knows?)
  • [update]  The news depresses me.  And never ever read the comments section.  Especially when the article is about women.
  • I want to show you a video that DH and DC1 made, but WordPress says I would have to pay to do it (and I’m too lazy to remember my login to photobucket).  So no break-dancing Lego squirrel for you.


  • True art is not bounded by paper.
  • In related news, DC2 has had hir marker and crayon privileges revoked.
  • Also in related news, we caught hir at DC1’s desk on hir stool grabbing for the forbidden crayon box.  Ze’d carried the stool in from the kitchen.  Suddenly it became clear how ze’d been getting all those things we’d thought we’d placed out of hir reach.
  • The (somewhat) terrifying thing is that ze knows to put the stool *back* (or at least not someplace incriminating) after ze’s used it for nefarious purposes.
  • Ze also drew on my monitor with a pencil.  Twice.  Once after we’d removed the pencils and cleaned the first drawing off.  DH caught hir the second time mid-draw.  It’s amazing how much havoc ze can wreak in (literally) less than two minutes.
  • I had a weird dream the other night that I accidentally sent a (small) can of catfood with DC2’s lunch.  They sent it back in the dream and suggested I meant to send tuna or something.
  • Dear democrats, wanting something to be true does not make it true.  If you think that, you are as bad as the republicans.  You may be better intentioned but you are going to do just as much damage to the country and to the people you care about.
  • Why is it that people set the a/c at 65 and the heat at 80?  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?  (Or just like 76 degrees all year.)
  • St. Andre is like if boursin and brie had a love child.  A very fat love child.  A delicious fat love child.
  • Is it just me, or do stories by SAHM about SAHP (in blogs or the media) always start out with how difficult and terrible their lives are, and then end up with but it’s totally worth it because I got to see my child’s first X, I need to savor every precious moment etc.  [Similar stories by WOHM seem more varied-- either I'm so stressed out without a "but it's totally worth it" punchline... I guess the punchline is generally, "and I wish I were a SAHM," or "but I'm not actually stressed out, I love work and family."  Sometimes with a, "but the only thing I sometimes feel guilty about is how I don't feel guilty for not following the SAHM narrative."]  And yet IRL, the SAHM I know don’t seem to have particularly difficult or terrible lives, other than the occasional financial worries.
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  • Sometimes the homemade valentines cards from preschool parents are because at 8pm the night before the parents realized they’d forgotten to buy the damn cards (and the oldest kid already used up last year’s leftover cards which is why you’re out except 3 teacher-size cards and two ripped cards) and why does a toddler need valentine cards anyway?  Update:  Only half the kids sent in cards anyway.
  • This just in:  Fundamentalist churches are tools of the patriarchy bent on separating people from their money, oppressing women, and growing their empires.  Yeah, I know, a big shock to our readers.  But it had to be said.
  • Everything does NOT happen “for a reason”.  People who can think that can’t ever have been the victims of systematic oppression.  Sometimes life just sucks (often because people suck).  Because if everything happens for a reason then that implies that some folks’ real suffering is just background there to help out a more privileged protagonist, and that’s never a good reason.
  • dear senior white male professors, I am not your secretary.  Look it up yourself.
  •  raising a girl is not easier than raising a boy when they are three and raising a boy is not easier than raising a girl when they are teens.  Take your sexist stereotypes based on your n=1 (or more realistically, n=0) and burn them.


  • Mean kitten has been tamed.  Now we still have 6 cats and no idea what to do with 4 of them (we’re keeping our original two!).  The kittens are rapidly losing their kitten-hood.
  • DC1 still loves school and has requested to stay at the same school another year.  Ze has a new math/reading teacher because the one ze had first semester was a college student who is doing student-teaching this semester.  The current one has a lot of experience and loves the kids and is better at cluster grouping than hir predecessor.  Her daughter is also a children’s novelist, which is pretty cool.  At our recent p/t conference we talked about perfectionism *again*.  It’s a constant battle.
  • DC2 is loving hir new daycare.  That last week when we were transitioning, ze would not want to leave the new place to go to the old place and ze would scream when we left hir at the old place.  Ze is all like, “buh bye” at the new place.  It’s just like it was back before our first daycare went out of business.  Whew.
  • The guy who stole all that money from the first daycare (turns out to be the ex-husband of an employee, not even the employee herself) did get caught, but he used the money for drugs, so I don’t think we’re going to see any of our prepayment back unless insurance kicks in.  DH doesn’t want to deal with small claims court now that he has a job and we don’t have much time and the director needs that money more than we do even if she has it.  So we’re probably just going to mentally write it off as a loss.
  • Last we heard, the relative’s oldest daughter doesn’t want to go to community college anymore because it’s hard and has gotten a job at Wendy’s (the economy must be picking up), but is still going to school even though she doesn’t want to.  The second daughter is working two jobs (both fastfood) while her step-mom takes care of the baby.  They’ve figured out paternity, and the father’s family wanted to work something out under the table rather than telling the government, but the relative talked his daughter out of that.  (Because it would be fraud and illegal and she’d lose her benefits entirely if caught.)
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 15 Comments »


  • Dear campus security, Don’t send sketchy looking emails with links embedded offering the chance to win an ipad if you click on the link and take an online security test.  I’m fairly sure that our online training told us to delete emails that look like yours, and I’m surprised to find that yours is legit.
  • Dear Cardamom producers, Please figure stuff out and get back to growing and selling and distributing cardamom.   The folks at Penzey’s thought perhaps the problem was in the middle east, but wikipedia tells me that Guatemala is the leading producer with India second.
  • Dear California, Can’t you figure out how to grow cardamom?
  • Dear Self, You should know that the risks of stopping by your chair’s office include getting put on another committee.
  • Dear Jury service people, I just served on a jury LAST MONTH.  Why are you doing this to me?
  • Dear stupid state that I live in.  Other states won’t let you be summoned twice in the same year.  What is UP with you?
  • Dear internet: to “peak” someone’s curiosity is not the same as to pique it…. ow.
  • Dear job market candidate:  Prezi SUCKS.  If you don’t like Powerpoint, use Beamer. Or in a pinch, Adobe.  Did you know that Prezi is a migraine trigger?  True story!  (Irony:  googling migraine trigger prezi brings up prezi presentations on how to avoid migraine triggers.  Hint:  don’t use Prezi!)  Also, seems like only people who are completely unable to think linearly use Prezi, which makes for a pretty terrible presentation even if it wasn’t making people motion sick.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 26 Comments »


  • EC update:  At almost 15 mo, if the potty is in visual distance, DC2 will take hirself to the potty, sit down (the sitting down is what took the most effort– but ze finally no longer gets hir leg stuck in the potty while trying to sit), and pee and/or poo.  If no potty is in sight, ze will just go wherever ze is.  If the diaper is still on, ze will use the diaper while sitting in the potty.
  • DC2’s diaper rash is SO BAD when hir diaper doesn’t get changed right away after a poo that ze got sent home on Friday because of it.  Poor darling.
  • When I mentioned to hir new daycare teacher that DC2 will go potty on the potty if they take hir, the teacher said very emphatically, “Not in THIS room.  We do NOT do pottying in THIS room.”
  • We’re counting the days until we can transfer DC2 to the Montessori that starts at 18 months.  Ze has a slot reserved and everything.
  • We miss the old daycare.
  • It’s unlikely at this point that we will get any money back from our 4.5K prepayment from the old daycare.
  • DC2 had been eating wheat and enjoying it, but we’ve stopped it again on the off chance that that is why ze is allergic to hir poo.
  • DC2 seeks and destroys pens and pencils, breaking them into their component parts.  Ze is very good at climbing and can get them wherever we hide them.
  • At a party the other day, DC2 picked up a nerf gun that had 2 cartridges loaded and another next to it.  Ze carefully removed the 2 cartridges, then loaded the gun with all 3.  Upon learning that we did not teach hir how to do that, an adult nearby said we’d have to watch out for hir.
  • One of my goals is to make sure that DC2 survives childhood.


  • Happiness is your 6 year old watching the best movie ever made for the first time and liking it.  (The Princess Bride, obviously.)
  • Found out recently that one of our new tenured hires writes homophobic screeds under her married name on the internet.  Swell.
  • I have four papers under review.  I think this is a new record.  (And only one of those has been rejected from someplace already– three are first-time submissions.)
  • DH’s car got hit by a hit and run person while he and DC1 were inside a friend’s house on a playdate.  Now the bumper is all messed up.  People suck.  At least nobody got hurt.
  • I don’t want to write a novel, but I want to have written one!
  • Making a friend can take years.  Making an enemy can take minutes.
  • DC1 seems to be enjoying a subset of the 1980s things we keep forcing on hir.  I was just thinking that our parents didn’t seem to force stuff on us from their childhoods, but then I remembered Nick at Nite… The Adventures of Dobie Gillis, for example.
  • As one of the remaining singles in her social group, it is my sister’s job to throw parties… bridal showers, baby showers… and now a “gender reveal shower.”  Apparently that is now a thing.  And no, it isn’t because one of her friends has recently had gender reassignment surgery.  Because that would be a good reason to throw a party.
  • After a false start around a year ago, DC1 is now entranced with Harry Potter.
  • I have the Dangermouse theme song stuck in my head.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 32 Comments »


  • My new nephew was over 11lb when born.  Vaginally.
  • Our new department chair is a dick.  He told me to stop playing the gender card.  When I then explained about how small incivilities hit genders differentially ON OUR CAMPUS (I’m on this university-wide committee and they did a study), he told me that his wife experienced real sexism and was brave enough to combat it.  I’m like… wha?  It’s like a double whammy of oppression olympics and my best friend is black (only in this case, I’m married to a woman who is more oppressed than you could ever be).  (Hint:  while that is terrible and your wife is to be commended, that has nothing to do with incivilities hitting female faculty more than male faculty on our campus.)
  • Was at another one of DC1’s friend’s parents’ excellent parties.  This time the woman who was bitching about the mom doing the awesome party last time bitched about:  1.  her husband, 2.  how being a housewife means she needs to have a perfect house but she can never get to her level of perfection and she hates people who can, 3.  the teacher, 4.  the school, 5.  after school activities, 6.  her husband (again)… and a lot more I’m not remembering off the top of my head.  She’s having her son shadow at the Catholic school in town.  But hey, at least she didn’t bitch about the hostess this time.
  • When I decided to make an effort to stop changing people (bad former habit of mine), I stopped liking so many people.   I think that’s related.
  • It is nice when all the questions that a referee poses are answered in the article the referee recommends you include in your paper.  “Cite me here!”  Yessir, I will do that!
  • I keep having the same conversation with my students, “Dr. #1, I keep trying to do this thing and I keep getting an error code, could it be because [something that makes no sense]?” “What does the error code say?”  “Huh, I don’t know, let me see.  It says [something totally reasonable]”  “Then I think your problem is [something totally reasonable].  Does it say anything else?”  “It says to try [suggested solution]”  “Did you try [suggested solution]?” “No.” “Try [suggested solution].” “Oh hey, that worked.  Thanks Dr. #1!”
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 46 Comments »


  • It’s weird when you finish up one deadline and it’s a while before your next, and you think you have some time off, all the little things you’ve been neglecting or that you “should do someday” end up filling up all that space and then some.
  • Our mortgage interest may be only 6K/year, but when you add that to the state tax deduction, that puts us over the standard deduction and thus makes any additional charity donations deductible.
  • Hint:  None of your colleagues want to hear about your emotions.  That’s what friends, therapists, and family are for.  (Corollary:  nobody wants to hear about your toe fungus except maybe your doctor.  Possibly also your elderly relatives.)
  • So, um… what does it mean when the entire chain of command in your department quits (slash “retires”) over the course of a week?  As in, your chair, other departments’ chairs, associate dean, and dean.  Along with many many of the admin staff in the dean’s office?  What just happened?!?
  • Have you ever met anyone native from the Pacific Northwest who isn’t a flake obsessed with some superficial version of finding meaning?  No, I’m seriously curious about this.  Also, I’m not sure if Seattle counts… I could imagine that people from Seattle aren’t flaky, but I don’t know!
  • I am old enough that I can wear a younger-style haircut.  Yay!
  • If you wait long enough to discuss a controversial post, nobody notices the two are linked.  Which is a good reason to have a long queue if one wants to be secretly snarky.
  • If you write an offensive post, and someone tells you that the post is offensive (you know, straight out says, “this is an offensive post,” not mincing words with softening “maybes, perhaps, I feel, etc.”)… then perhaps the reason it bothers you is not because the person commenting is a meanie-head, but that deep down you know it was an offensive post and you feel guilty.  DARVO.
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