link love

NPR did some cool segments on Key and Peele.

An atlas of self-reliance.

A geography of hate.

High school student proves professor wrong when he denied “no irish need apply” signs existed.

Ugh.

Handy round up of why it isn’t just the pipeline research.

It sucks to be a woman.

The onion nails it again (potential rape trigger).

One person’s reason for donating to Planned Parenthood.

The myth that mom’s salary pays for childcare.

Mapping migration in the US over time.

What Solitary Diner has learned about money (part 2, part 1 is also good)

People are not “bad at math

I had no idea about pears.

Iiiiii can watch anything on Netflix.

Maybe I’ll wait on the update.

Mr. Darcy spills all.

Ask the grumpies: How to play with little kids

Leah asks:

How do you play with your kids when little? Anything I should be doing, or is interaction of any type sufficient?

Short answer:  Any type of (positive) interaction is sufficient.

Longer answer:  The books mostly say to do what I do naturally, probably because my mom was trained as a head start teacher before I came along.  The following will speed things up in the areas you focus on, but so long as you’re not leaving the baby alone in a darkened room, they will pick things up just from experiencing the world and focusing in one area may slow down another.  Basically they’re sponges so it’s all ok.

Talk to your baby even when ze can’t talk back.  Pause for responses as if you’re having a conversation.  Start with baby signs.  Narrate what you’re doing.  Make eye contact.  Create rituals together: these are soothing to babies, kids, and grownups!  Maybe there’s a certain game you play or a song you sing.  But don’t get rigidly attached to the rituals.  Say silly things, sing and dance.

Tummy time!

You don’t have to treat your baby like a delicate flower– babies are surprisingly sturdy.  If you want an earlier walker, carry your baby against you in a sling rather than in a cradle carry or a stroller.  Avoid jumpies, walkers, bouncers, or anything that allows movement without a person actually walking.  Spot your baby while ze practices standing or leaning on things, but don’t feel like you have to give 100% support.  (If you don’t want an early walker, don’t worry about this stuff.)  Carrying baby in a sling while you go through life will also help develop their vestibular system when you bend, twist, tilt, crouch, etc.

If you want great small motor skills, provide lots of things to practice small motor skills on.

If you want an early reader, read a LOT and trace your finger under the words you’re reading.  Babies (and dolphins!) can also sight read from flash-cards, which is rather remarkable, but I’m not convinced that’s actually a useful skill.

If you want an early counter, include counting in your day-to-day activities.  Count swing pushes.  Count baby lifts.  Count fingers and toes and cheerios.

If you want an early pottier, read The Diaper Free Baby and introduce the potty now.  Whenever now is.  Get in tune with your child’s peeing and pooing habits and get out of the diaper and over a potty during those times.

Maybe ask your kid to tell you a story about what their toys are doing.  Say “wheeeeee”  and “once upon a time” a lot.  Show them how to make goggles with their fingers.  Let them entertain themselves [with appropriate supervision].  Take ’em to the park and let ’em loose.  Get a dog [Ed: ??? NO DO NOT!!  This suggestion was quite obviously placed by the one of us without kids.] and let them tire each other out [ed:  you can see that this suggestion is not unlike the “have another baby to tire the first one out” suggestion].

Grumpy Nation:  How do you play with babies and toddlers and little kids?

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 43 Comments »

Why comment on blogs?

As I’ve noted before, I’ve been on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s bad list (she says her assistant put me on– I haven’t checked since writing this post to see if I’m still on it).  Essentially I can comment in the morning and then sometime in the late afternoon or evening, my comment appears not as a new comment, but as if it were never in moderation to begin with, sort of in the middle of a conversation that has passed it by.

This process has made me wonder about the point of commenting.  I mean, if all I care is that the blog-owner (or hir assistant) read my comment, then that situation should be fine.   But what if I don’t actually care about the specific proprietor and probably care even less about assistants?

Do I want fame, or links back to our blog or to rile things up or to see myself speak?  These are potentially painful questions.  If I’m just commenting to annoy people, well, then maybe I shouldn’t be commenting.  If I’m doing it to try to drum up business for our blog, then we should monetize it so as not to waste that effort.  If I just want to see myself speak, it would be better to turn the comment into an entire post rather than leaving it as a flyby freebie.  (Especially since we have a few money posts in the blog queue right now but nothing else!)

Ultimately, I think I care about the conversation.  I like learning things about people and maybe having people learn from me too.  I like seeing different perspectives because they make me think too and I like to think.  I also care about people not believing things that aren’t true.  I care about people not thinking that they have to feel guilt and etc. for living their lives the way that is working for them and for their families, no matter what other people on the internet say.  Admittedly, this latter reason sometimes makes me irritated and I have to take a break after leaving a possibly sharply worded comment here or there.

Now, of course, you should never wonder about whether or not you should comment on *our* blog.  We treasure every comment (except, of course, those of the occasional tiny-penis man who slips through before getting blocked).  Our commenters have really nuanced and thoughtful conversations– it’s a point of pride that when people link to us, the link more often than not says, “read the comments section.”

Why do you comment on blogs?  (Or if you can be enticed to de-lurk, why *don’t* you comment on blogs?)

RBOQ

  • Do you ever wonder if some of the crazier blogs out there are really just performance art?
  • Do you ever hope they are?
  • Does anybody chew gum anymore? (#2’s partner does.)
  • Who put the bop in the bop shoo wop?
  • Why do little things annoy me so much?
  • Do you think swamp zombies are moister or more decomposing than any other kind of zombie?
  • Will I ever get used to how awesome it is here in Paradise?  I hope not! (#1 hopes to be enjoying her Paradise soon, but only has a year of it– it’s unlikely she will have time to get used to it!)

August Mortgage Update: On feeling comfortable about spending more than we earn

Last month (July):
Balance:$22,465.56
Years left: 1.6666666667
P =$1,121.04, I =$93.36, Escrow =$809.48

This month (August):
Balance:$21,340.08
Years left: 1.583333333
P =$1,125.48, I =$88.93, Escrow =$809.48

One month’s prepayment savings: $0

Yes yes, I know spending more than you earn, no matter the circumstances, is heretical among certain segments of the PF community (particularly the early retirement community, though presumably not all of them are living off dividends, some of them must be drawing down based on some % rule post-retirement).

This year I’m at half-pay and our housing, health insurance, and daycare expenses are approximately doubled.  We could actually make that work (barring big emergencies) without spending more than we earn if we didn’t eat out, cut down on organics, didn’t spend money on activities for DC1, were less quick to throw money at problems, and so on.  Essentially, if we cut down our discretionary expenditures from what we were spending before we got to Paradise.

But we planned and saved for this.  Right before we started having to spend out with deposits, moving expenses, and so on, we had saved 84K in checking earmarked for this year.  (Technically 20-30K of that is emergency fund and money for next summer when I’m not paid at all, but that’s still at least 54K earmarked for increased expenditures and riotous living.)

We want to be able to enjoy living someplace where there’s things to do and food to eat.  We want to take day-trips and go to restaurants and have the ability to say “yes”… just for a year before we go back to our small town where we have to drive 2 hours to get to the nearest real city.  Where it’s harder to spend money.  There’s lots of free things we want to do around here too, but for the year, we’d like to try some of the not so free stuff as well.

And gosh darn it, I want to be able to do it without feeling guilty!

How best to do that?

Well, one of the things that bothers me is when I have to transfer money from savings to checking.  DH’s paycheck goes to checking while mine goes to saving.  Whenever we spend more than he makes, I have to transfer money from savings to checking.  That always provides a check on the spending… if I have to transfer more than the usual amount, I feel guilty and cut down on spending.

But in this case, I don’t *want* that guilty feeling or that check on spending.

Still, I also don’t want us to go hog-wild.

So… I sat down and figured out how much over our regular amount we should be spending, multiplied that by 12, and transferred that lump sum amount from savings into checking.  (The interest rates on both savings and checking are small, but the rate on checking is marginally higher.)  When that amount is gone, then we really will need to put the brakes on spending.  There’s still plenty extra left in savings as a cushion, but depending on when we run out of the checking money, we will be able to re-evaluate at that point if we want to transfer more, cut down our spending, and so on.  Rather than making adjustments every month, we’ll make an adjustment if the money runs out.

Will the money run out?  Previous experience suggests that we tend to spend a lot of money when we first move to a place, and then settle down into predictable less spendy patterns wherever we are.  I imagine that will happen here within 12 months as well, after we’ve done the museums and zoos and tourist traps and have figured out where the best low-cost and free things are that will make up our regular routines.  We’ll get closer to spending what we actually earn, possibly a little less.  But we’ll see where that crossover point is!

Do you ever feel guilty about spending money when you shouldn’t feel guilty?  Or the opposite– do you sometimes not feel guilty spending money when you think maybe you should?  What do you do to manipulate your feelings about money so they match up with your thinkings?

summertime and the linking is easy

Let’s do this thing.

We very much love this Breaking Cat News (especially Elvis-kitty)

I don’t know where this storyline is going but it sure is cute (it’s getting grim as it goes on)

Let’s play Guess the Race (again)

And then we can go ARRRGH at this

and also Fcuk the po-po at this: “What’s wrong with you guys?“, indeed.  Indeed, sir.

Bonus book recommendations: Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine, and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Read ’em.

Check out these wacky old pics

Getting ready in the morning sucks.  (Key problem: morning.  Ugh.)

This cartoon really captures a part of my childhood: SPACE MUSEUM.

 

 

Ask the grumpies: getting out of unproductive funks

First Gen American asks:

How do you suck yourself out of an unproductive funk. Do you find that allowing yourself to wallow in it for awhile is actually is more helpful than beating yourself up about being unproductive.

Yes, with the caveat that beating oneself up about being unproductive can sometimes be an important component of wallowing in it.  To get the full wallow a little self-hatred is necessary.

To get out:  Just Do IT.  Sometimes I will ask #2 to remind me about vans by rivers and request a kick in the posterior.

#2 says:  I think the how getting-out part for me has involved meeting people at coffee shops.  I haven’t done much of that recently.  Hard deadlines also make me ridiculously productive.   Unfortunately last-minute deadline blitz is unsustainable, if for no other reason than RSI.

We here at grumpy rumblings love to cross things off lovely lovely lists.  Sometimes even if I can’t be productive, I can write a list about what it would take to be productive.  Then day two I can cross one of the things off the list.  Breaking up tasks into smaller tasks is great for goal motivation.  Doing them from smallest to largest is also good for motivation, though one of us works best when she has an important goal that she doesn’t want to do hanging over her head– it makes all the other tasks on the to-do list seem so much more worthy of doing by comparison.

I guess it depends on WHY the funk.  I have anxiety which I manage with meds and awareness of it.

It’s also important to ATTEMPT to realize that it’s really not so bad once I get going.  Starting is hard! But starting is often the hardest part. Like Boice says, tell yourself to do it for 30 min– if that’s too long, then 10 min, or even 5 min. You can do almost anything for 5 min, and once you’re started it usually isn’t so bad.

What do you do, Grumpy World?

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