• Lately I’ve been feeling a bit creative about foods.  For example, I recently decided to make savory pancakes with Northwoods seasoning (similar to Emeril’s, but available from Penzey’s– kind of a paprika thyme garlic salt mix) and no sugar, just eggs, flour, a little olive oil, and seasoning.  We also made a roasted red pepper dip that I really want to add sour cream to and use as the base cream for a vegetable tart which would be like a fruit tart but with roasted veggies instead of fruit and this red pepper cream instead of custard.  Maybe puff pastry on the bottom.  I wish we still had easy access to WW puff pastry squares with butter like we did back in Paradise.
  • When dealing with blog/internet drama, we often ask, “What would Scalzi do?”  That’s generally a good guide.
  • I made the mistake of looking at the youtube comments on Georgy Girl (the song) and they were full of misogynist men ranting about feminists and how songs like this were so wholesome (and to go to the Ukraine to get wives because they’re totally subservient)… but… Georgy Girl (the movie) is one of the least innocent movies I’ve ever seen.  Maybe these commenters see themselves in the position of the creepy rich old man at the end (more likely they just don’t actually know anything).  (Georgy Girl is definitely a movie that works as a cautionary tale for women to never be dependent on a man!)
  • I’ve noticed my OCD tendencies gradually getting worse.  I suspect this has to do with feeling like I have no locus of control with world events.  So nameplates need to be centered and teas need to be organized and categorizing things is even more soothing than usual.  (Looking at my home and workplace you’d never know I had these tendencies unless you looked at my spices or my bookcases.  I am a very alphabetized slob.)
  • My fear of crowds has also gotten worse since I had that panic attack at the first women’s march.  I had to do CBT breathing walking around a dealer’s hall at a spec fic convention in a nearby city, which is something I haven’t really had to do before because the level of crowding didn’t used to hit my panic-meter (unlike, say, amusement parks during the busy season).
  • I am excited that wide pants are coming back (at least where I live– my most recent trip to the east coast shows they’re still wearing skin-tight pants) and that ripped jeans are in and that it’s summer.  This means I was able to unearth my favorite pair of jeans that got put into storage many years ago because the knee is ripped across and I am a grown-up.  They are SO COMFY!  And fashionable!
  • If you hate a lot of people, chances are I am one of them.  (Not counting the hate we should all have for fascists and racists and Nazis.)  Except #2 likes me, which is the exception that proves the rule.
  • Obviously the room labeled “Quiet Area” is where you go to have a conversation. Of course. Because it’s quiet.
  • DC1 was in the “worst” (and largest) of 3 orchestras in middle school this past year.  Zie was kind of upset because zie had hoped zie would at least make it into the middle orchestra after the previous year, even though zie started a year behind (in 5th grade zie played trumpet while we were on leave instead of violin).  Zie worked super hard this year, practicing at least 30 min/day every day and doing more pointed practicing (zie read the intro to “Practice Perfect” and a lot of what hir previous orchestra teacher had been trying to say about how to practice finally made sense), and we got a better (and very strict) outside teacher who started teaching hir basic stuff like how to correctly hold a bow.  (DH and I both played brass so we are completely clueless when it comes to strings.)  Zie is one of TWO kids moving from the enormous “bad” orchestra to the smaller “best” orchestra.  (Most of the movement comes from the middle orchestra to the small best one or from the best players at the previous school.) We weren’t expecting this outcome at all– DC1 had been hoping to make it to the middle orchestra and is worried that zie isn’t ready for the small elite one, but we have 3 months and lots of summer lessons for hir to get ready.  I’m super proud at how hard zie has worked.  :)
  • The fourth child (third daughter) of DH’s relative is going to graduate from high school a year early (!) and has definite college plans.  She wants to be either a teacher or a journalist, but probably a teacher (because her top choice state school isn’t the journalism school but has a good teaching program).  We told the relative not to bother with community college since she’s state-school eligible and we would 100% foot the bill.  We’re trying paying for high school summer camp for her even though that didn’t work out well for the oldest when we tried 7 or so years ago because of homesickness.  But they are different people.  And if there is homesickness, I guess that will help make the community college or not decision.  It would really be nice if the last two kids get degrees right out of high school.
  • i made chicken tetrazzini (cooking light style) and I really liked it.  It was a real comfort food which is odd because it isn’t one my family made, but definitely a midwestern potluck staple.  So much comfort food that is out of style these days.  I did leave out the pimiento and increased the mushrooms and roux (with milk in place of water) instead of using a can of cream of mushroom soup.  So updated a bit and the cooking light version had more veggie than the tetrazzini of my youth.
  • I saw a high temp forecasted for tomorrow and I said, I kid you not, “Holy schnorkles!”  I do not know what has happened to my words.
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Leaving breadwinner status

I wanted to have a cheerful money post because the stuff in the drafts right now is a lot of dark stuff about income inequality, and Little Kitty is not doing well and may need expensive medical treatment so talking about renovating the kitchen is not happening right now.  So I am going to share some news from #2!

After a year of funemployment, her DH has decided to go back to work and has a job offer that he’s negotiating with a firm that he really likes.  It’s a hefty paycut from what he was making at the job he left, and he’ll probably keep drawing down money from previous dot com boom stock options to keep his current standard of living, but even so, he’s got a nice salary.  They’re back to upper-middle-class status.

Yay money!!!

Also yay being able to get a tech job after 40.  There’s hope for us…

To the man who makes my heart flutter

When I see you, my heart still skips a beat.  You are the most handsome man I know, and I love the distinguished grey at your temples, the ever deepening crinkles around your eyes.

When we touch it still tingles just as much as it did when we were 17.  And it tingled a lot at 17.  One difference that time and proximity has brought is that cuddling close to you can provide more peace and calm than it ever did at age 16 or 17.  Being with you has always felt immeasurably right.  We are supposed to be together.  God is in His heaven and all is right with the world when you’re near.

I still have a hard time believing that I get to spend my life with you.  That I share your bed at night.  That we’re *supposed* to spend time alone together, completely unchaperoned.  Even though it’s been that way for 18 years.

Life with you is exciting and also warm and comfortable.  You provide every positive emotion for me, just by being who you are.  I am so lucky.  So very lucky.  You’re amazing and I never want to have to imagine life without you and your beautiful wonderfulness.

You’re mine.  I’m yours.

We fit well together.

I love you so much.  Today and every day.  I love you.

Link love

There are a lot of links this week about Trump’s policy of separating children, including infants and toddlers, from their parents for unknown periods of time.  I have grouped them all together and have also included some things that you can do if you’re an American citizen.  Of all the things the Trump administration has done, so far this one is the worst, IMO, although there are a lot of contenders for most lives destroyed among their many policy decisions.  Every day that they delay in fixing this more children are torn from their parents.  As of Friday, the number is 2000.

What is going on at the border is horrifying, but we can’t go numb and turn away.  We have to keep fighting this until it stops.  We must.

What can you do? 5Calls has scripts you can use.  The bill in the senate is the Keep Families Together Act.  The bill in the House is the HELP for Separated Children Act.  Do not be fooled by Cornyn’s “Humane Act”– it is anything but.  Here are some scripts you can use from Celeste Pewter, along with additional activism items you can do.  Note that if you live in Texas near the border, she suggests talking to your local city/county/state legislative staff.  Donate to Raices Texas to help keep track of families and to help with bail for adults.  There’s probably other places to donate, but I’m not linking the others I’ve seen because I’m not sure how legitimate they are.  Feel free to post any you know about and trust in the comments.

Trump administration has selected a US border facility near El Paso to build a tent city with 450 beds for migrant children.  This facility, unlike the (now overcrowded) one that has been in the news that was originally designated as a temporary place for unattended minor to stay while their cases were being sorted out, will not have to be a licensed daycare facility.  That means a whole lot of regulations they they will not be having to follow.  It strikes terror in my heart and got me to call again on Friday.  More info— they hope to hold up to 5,000 children in tent cities.

We don’t know where the babies and toddlers are going.  WE DON’T KNOW.  They took a baby who was nursing from its mother’s breast.  They separated a child with severe epilepsy and autism from his grandmother.

We did this back in the 1930s too.  This woman’s grandfather never truly healed from that separation, even though he was reunited with his family.

I can’t even with this story about a 4 month old whose father was deported.

ICE captures and detains legal resident

Long but very important post from Captain Awkward on how you can help people with depression

Also not satire:  Nobody wants to work at the white house so it had a job fair.

Also not satire:  Meet the guys who tape Trump’s papers back together

Florida stopped background checks on concealed weapon permits for a year

If you live in a state that is doing one of these frivolous lawsuits against the ACA that the justice department has decided not to defend against, figure out if your attorney general is elected or appointed– if elected, see who the challenger is and support them!  There’s also more actions you can do, including those from 5calls.

Sexual harassment is rife in the sciences finds landmark US study

In case you didn’t catch what Fridging was the first time Anita Sarkenseen explained it, here’s a link.  Also, here’s a bunch of pieces on being told to smile which is super irritating.

Existing only in relation to someone else.  I don’t really find much identity from being a wife or a mother… I feel like those are things I do (though I also see the wife thing as a bit of armor, since my DH looks scary and like he could protect me from harassment).  But I do have a lot of identity tied up in my career and training– being an economist really is what I *am*.  The poster tweet in the comments is really amazing.

Intersectionality or GTFO

Why Diversity programs fail

Two types of diversity training that really work.

Books not guns

How linkedin made this failmom into a socialist

Here’s what you can do to save net neutrality.

How to remove your information from Spokeo, Mylife, PeopleSmart, Intelius and other people finder sites.

Looks like I won’t be getting PG&E dividends for quite some time

Congrats to yet another pf blog!

Check out delagar’s big idea!

Leigh adjusts her family’s giving strategy.

Does sunlight help you against the flu?

Does weed help you focus?

I feel attacked

This seems like work but also delicious

I’m into this

An excellent musical sketch about the NYTimes OpEd…


Ask the grumpies: What music did you enjoy in high school

Leah asks:

In high school, what music did you enjoy?

I can answer this one for #2 too since she traumatized me with the NIN cd by letting me know she played it whenever she was feeling sexually frustrated.   On the other hand, she’s also responsible for my love of They Might Be Giants, which is a good thing.  And we both loved the spectacular girl bands of the time, with a special love for Salt n Pepa.

More seriously, like most kids growing up in the 1990s we were really into alternative.  #1 also really liked heavy metal because of an ex-boyfriend and musicals because she grew up with them and monty python from another ex-boyfriend, and opera from growing up, especially from the Romantic period.  Also classical music from the Romantic period more generally.

Most of #1’s music likes come from other people, either a roommate or an ex-boyfriend.  Seriously, I honestly disliked 70s music until I got a crush on a guy who loved it in college.  (He ended up dating one of my friends who shared his love from her own interests rather than his transferred interests.  He’s also the guy whose glass I accidentally broke with my wrist.)

Ugh, now I have the worst song from Pretty Hate Machine stuck in my head.  Why?  Why?  And it keeps interlacing with Wonderwall which one of my other high school roommates would play on repeat until I had no choice but to hate it.  All we need now is the base from Under the Bridge by RHCP which the upstairs people would blast every morning at some UNGODLY hour and we’ll have all my least favorite high school music associations combined.  Oh, except the next door neighbors one year who would crank up the base at like 6am on Saturday and Sunday mornings with their boombox next to our beds so the beds would shake us awake, but it wasn’t the same stuff each time.  We were the ones who got in trouble for retaliating when they didn’t stop after we’d asked them to politely multiple times (I believe we left a note under their door saying something to the effect of, “Jesus wouldn’t play His boombox so loud that it made his neighbors’ beds shake a 7am on a Sunday after repeatedly being asked not to”).  I hate fake Christians who are too selfish to be considerate of others’ sleep needs.  /end rant from being 17 years old  Man, I did not need that memory.  I’m *still* angry about it!  I bet she voted for Trump.

Here’s #2’s actual answer:

Music I liked in hs that I still like now:
Pretty Hate Machine by NIN
music from the Renaissance era
Baroque music
some Madonna
musical theater

Music from hs that I now can’t stand:
most of Red Hot Chili Peppers
Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden
I was actually going to mention a whole album here that used to plague me, but to my delight, I have totally forgotten what it was. (#1 suspects it was wonderwall) (it actually wasn’t)

Ask the readers: How do I get more patience (at work)?

#1 asks:

How do I become more patient?  I can think of good reasons to be more patient (e.g., “this is just their policy for their business, it’s not personal against you, you know.” and “this isn’t that big of a deal, you can let it go” and “fuming doesn’t help anything and being calm might get better results” and even “bless their hearts, they can’t help being stupid, poor things”) but NONE OF THEM WORK.

I am all out of patience for [BS] and I’d like to buy some more, please.  How?

#2:  I don’t think you should do illicit drugs.  And you’ve tried CBT, so probably not that.  And having kids is probably also a non-starter.  Have you considered distracting yourself with novels?

#1:  It’s kind of hard to do when my boss is in the same office with me

#2:  I guess you have to distract yourself with other work then.


Reminder: Sometimes you need to double-check reimbursements

Our DDA (dependent daycare account) provider this year has been super obnoxious.  After years of correct and mostly easy (they would occasionally lose a fax, but were otherwise ok) handling of reimbursements, this year has been a huge amount of pain.  Last semester any time that we had to pay for a day off from school, the claim would be denied because we’d already paid for after school care for the semester.  This semester I did the day/week off reimbursements first and I hit a bunch of flags trying to submit my claim for after school care for the semester.

While I was poking around trying to figure out how much to charge for the semester’s after school care given that we’d paid for the full year, I noticed that the number we got reimbursed was not equivalent to half of the full year charge.  I thought that was odd and looked at our additional documentation.  I’d requested half the amount, but it hadn’t been reimbursed fully because my DDA hadn’t been debited that much yet.  Usually this isn’t a problem– they reimburse what they can and then reimburse the remainder the next month when my DDA gets the new payment.  This time they did not do that.  They *said* in the error message that came with the claim that they would do it, but then they never did.

Often you think you’re done with some kind of paperwork, but then for whatever reason it never fully executes.  It’s irritating, and adds to mental load.  But not paying attention can lead to lost money.

I added the difference to this semester’s claim.  That’s easier than calling them up and getting them to fix it that way.  There’s plenty in the DDA to cover it.  I also added a note to the form explaining how each type of care I had requested for reimbursement purposes did not actually conflict.  We’ll see how many errors they throw up this time.

Have you noticed any billing/reimbursement/etc errors recently?  How often do you check?  How do you remember to check?