RBOC part more

  • My preschooler:  “I. Am. A. Ro.  Bot. Bun. Ny.  Hop.  Hop.”
  • Said preschooler is going to be a pirate for Halloween.  Arrrrr.
  • When you refinance, remember that a few months later you’ll get a note in the mail asking for your missing escrow payment from that month.  Don’t forget to budget for it (or you can just roll it into higher payments the rest of the year which is probably economically more optimal since they’re not charging you interest on it, but can mess you up if you’re OCD).
  • Even more gremlins:  The dishwasher is making funny noises.  I am currently not investigating it.  The garage door refused to close without assistance (it probably needs grease).  UPDATE:  Dishwasher has died, DH took it apart, the motor is deader than a coffin nail.  Est cost:  $160 (if DH can fix it himself).
  • My kid just leveled up.  It’s neat how the development isn’t steady and continuous but there’s big jumps in what (s)he can do.  Right now we’ve got longer sentence structure with multiple clauses, among other things.  It’s always neat when the vocab levels up.
  • Irony is form email thanking me for my comment on a blog saying that I do not like form email thank-yous for comments on blogs.
  • I love pesto.


    ... with a spoon!

  • I recently re-read Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst and it was so totally delightful! I love re-reading these books. I think each one is more wonderful than the last, but especially this one.
  • I can’t wait until my preschooler is reading real chapter books.  ((S)He did read half of a Stink book when my mom last visited a few months back, but lost interest, so I think we’re not quite there yet.)  I wanted a tower room just like Anastasia, though as an adult I realize they will be isolated and drafty.  UPDATE:  The Magic Tree House books are AWESOME.
  • As we get more established, we’re getting much more complimentary spam.  No more penis enlargement, it’s all about the “I have to send this post to my mom. ”  “This is the best post ever.”  Though in broken English and with links to blogs that are obviously spammy.  We here at grumpy rumblings do our best to protect you from those false links.
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Jacq from Single Mom, Rich Mom brings some research on tightwads and spendthrifts from one of my behavioral science labs.  I have an enormous pile of these amazing new research papers (plus I recommend everybody read the book Nudge and the book Insufficient Funds)… would people be interested in a post on the occasional econ article?  (Though right now I’m reading about brainwashing…)

This post from the same blog this week is also great– it has LOLcats, a thought provoking premise and interesting article, and a link to one of our posts.  Hard to beat that!  (Two links to the same blog in one week!  A new record for us.)

Lotta posts this week on how much a college degree/major is worth if anything.  Here’s Dean Dad’s.  Here’s Invest it Wisely’s, which links to others (though not ours!  UPDATE:  We have evilly pushed our way into his links. Eeeeevil.  We take back the weirdness of his Canadian-hood), though he’s some weird kind of Canadian, apparently.  And Wealth Informatics which I especially liked because it actually mentioned the truth that for middle and lower income families with bright kids the private school can actually be cheaper than state.  I think there were more that I’ve missed… feel free to add them in the comments.

More on grading:  an oldy but a goody

ROFL Cakewrecks… Old spice cakes.  Yeah, you’re a little late to the meme if Sesame St. has scooped you.  Hm… cake…scoop.  I want ice cream.

I promise you, Dame Eleanor Hull, our mid-semester doldrums are EXACTLY as advertised.  And there are no flowered cover pages, because each work is crappy just like everybody else’s (my great comfort– all research is bad).

Why not to go to law school. from Dr. Virago at quodshe.  Xtranormal cartoons made by professors never ever get old.  We’ll have to dig up our favorite of all time a little closer to finals.

Exercise is dangerous!  From Active Academic.  Though that is probably not the message she meant people to take away. Why on earth do people exercise?

I have a feeling I’ll want to link to Monday’s minting nickels post… but it is only Saturday so I’m stuck with the “a fascinating post is coming” post.  But hey, it links to us, which is automatically ups its coolness.

We were in this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance as two morning radio girls.

Mack the Knife, in the original German from Three Penny Opera sung by Lotte Lenya, the wife of Brecht. (Check out her rather horrific, but well sung, Pirate Jenny as well)

What do you do when you need to comfort yourself?

Work is hard.  Sometimes life just doesn’t go as well as we wish it would.  Here’s the things we do to calm ourselves down and get some perspective.  Or at least some comfort.

Look at savings.  This reminds me that in the worst case scenario we won’t starve, not for a while at least.

Eat chocolate ice cream, preferably male*

Make chocolate chip cookies, also preferably male

Read something engrossing.  I read somewhere that this does good things to the brain in times of stress and is better than some other ways to relax.  So it must be true.

Watch something brainless and funny.  Ah, Big Bang Theory, how I love you.

Snuggle.  Wasn’t there just an article making the rounds about the power of touch?  So yeah.

Look up alternate careers.  Because we are never trapped.

Eat pasta.  (This doesn’t work as well for #1 because it is often followed by a carb crash.  But there’s something very homey about spaghetti with meat sauce.  The ultimate comfort food.)

Re-read silly novels.  They can’t surprise you with sudden depressingness.

Listen to MC Frontalot.

Call partner on phone

Look at lolcats… or kitenwars… or dailysquee… Cute aminals.  Nuff sed.

Cuddle a kitteh


IM #1 (see above whine)

Go to bed and sleep it off.  Tomorrow is often better, assuming you don’t have crippling nightmares that keep you from sleeping.

Distract self with internet (LibraryThing)… or blog about it.  (See whine.)

What do you do when you need a little TLC?  (The care, not the crackers.)

*male ice cream includes NY Super Fudge Chunk, rocky road, everything but the, turtle soup etc…  male cookies include generally walnuts or pecans.

Mid-semester doldrums or a more serious problem?

This semester has been very wearing on me.  It’s been like death by a thousand tiny annoyances.  I could enumerate them, but I think that would probably just depress me.  In any case, I don’t think it’s been a very productive semester and I hope my teaching evaluations don’t tank my tenure chances.  I feel very put-upon.

I haven’t been very happy this semester.  It’s nothing major (other than the usual paper rejections, student whines, etc.  oh, and pretty much everybody who is supposed to be subordinate to me in one respect or another being completely and totally incompetent and entitled about it…) but I wonder if maybe it’s time to jump ship.  I want to live in Northern California.  I want to not feel guilty when I come home and don’t work.  I want a lot of things that I don’t really have the money for just yet.

Is this just more pre-tenure angst?  Will it get better after tenure?  I am just SO TIRED.

#2 says:  Wait, what?  Did I write this in my sleep?  Are you me?  GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

Series we didn’t feel the need to finish

This is not a post about books we didn’t like.  This is a post about books we thought were ok but that didn’t make us feel like reading more in the series.

These are not books where, for example, we read the whole series but only liked the first one.  Also these are not books where the first in the series sucked.  These are just books that make us go, ok, I’m done here.

Rita Mae Brown’s most recent: not that compelling nor different from her other series.

Homicide in Hardcover and If Books Could Kill:  Good enough but not great.








Storm Glass, Sea Glass, and I feel finished.  She spent the whole second book being kidnapped and it got old.  #2 says: Hey!  I felt that way too… They’re getting shipped to reader cousin.  Too bad because I really liked Fire Study.  But I did feel like the author has exactly one villain with one motivation and one plot (even though the villains are actually different, they all seem to do the same sordid thing for the same sordid reasons).

The Graceling series:  The first one was so fantastically great that I’m afraid to read the next one in case it’s not as good or even just different  #2:  I haven’t read the first because #1 has scared me that it will suck me in and I haven’t had a block of suckinable time.

The Mysterious Benedict Society: #2 wants them all, but I think the first one was enough for me.  I liked it; I feel done.  #2 says:  book 2 was not as good as 1 but it was still good.  I hope to get 3 at Christmas.

A Beautiful Blue Death:  again, ok.  Pretty decent, even.  But I don’t feel compelled to read more.  Lovely covers on these.

The Decoy Princess:  I enjoyed it, and I’m done.  #2  Could not finish it, sent it to cousin after a year of being halfway done with the book.  Seemed appealing at first but I just couldn’t get into it.  Spunky heroine not spunky enough?

Lankhmar: Swords and Deviltry.  Less fun than I think it should have been.

The Glasswrights’ Apprentice:  enh.

Silent in the Grave:  I loved loved loved the first three.  I feel done.  I don’t feel a need to read the fourth.

#2 says:  I do!   Though I also loved the way #3 ended.  I’m hoping #4 is several years later.  [possible spoiler deleted!]  But somehow I doubt.

The Apothecary Rose:  I read two, but they were only so-so.

Anvil of Ice:  It was ok, but I’m done.

Resenting the Hero etc.:  The series just steadily gets less funny, and more depressing as the heroine gets more neurotic instead of spunky and the hero’s character development gets more 2-dimensional instead of less.  She should do a book from the hero’s perspective for a change.

Magic Lost, Trouble Found.  Just lost interest in the third book after loving the first two.  Maybe someday I’ll pick up #4…  I think the problem with #3 is that it has the feeling that there won’t be any closure anytime soon.  Sort of like watching Naruto anime when they’re running low on manga.  (Let’s drag things out.)

I mean to finish the Kage Baker The Company series (#1 says: me too!) and the Kim Harrison Dead Witch Walking series (#1: not me), but they’re just too hardcore for me to read when work is stressful.  If I’m gone for a weeklong conference where I don’t know anybody, I can finish one if I have a 6-8 hour plane ride home.  I do wish that the main character in Dead Witch Walking would get a week off from people trying to kill her.  She doesn’t even get to take a breath between books.  How do her muscles ever heal?  (Yeah yeah, she has charms for that.)

Have you pooped out on any series lately?

Another comment on doing what you love

There’s a balance to doing what you love. In economics, it’s called compensating differentials. The more you love your job, the less they have to pay you to get you to do it.

I’m not sure that the recommendation to do what you love is necessarily a myth, but that maybe it should be “do what you love up to some extent so long as you’re willing to make the sacrifices entailed … you could also do what you like if it helps you get a lifestyle you prefer, or even what you hate if it’s for a short enough time and allows to to become financially independent so you can eventually do what you love”.  That’s a mouthful, though.

You can be an artist if you are talented and willing to make other sacrifices or have other support — if your view of “enough” is small, if you have family support, if you have a lot of money in the bank creating its own income, if you don’t mind working in whatever situation you can, if you’ve got a different day job. And if you’re from a working class background and deciding between being an artist or working minimum wage jobs… well, might as well do what you love. Not everybody is willing to be a nurse or an accountant, even for more money. You can do what you love, but maybe not as a full-time day job and generally not for a lot of money since a lot of talented people seem to love the same things.

I do come from the middle class and do have a very different idea of the value of education than my husband’s working class family. For me, college was always about the consumption value, the coming of age experience, becoming a more cultured person. I went to a small liberal arts college. My major didn’t matter– I would gain critical thinking skills in whatever discipline I enjoyed and quite possibly do something entirely different once I graduated. Turns out I enjoyed some pretty marketable stuff, but it could have easily gone a different path had I chosen linguistics instead of my field as my second major.

When it came to graduate school, I did look at what was marketable– my field made a lot more sense than math in terms of opportunity costs of time, and future employment and salary, given my interests in the intersection between the two, it was an obvious choice which to pursue (not math).

My husband took a different path. His parents decided he was good at math and science and should become an engineer if he didn’t want to be a doctor. He started with an engineering major right away at a big university. In the end, both paths seemed to work for us, and if they haven’t there’s still plenty of time to change.

I’ve never really thought of my future career as being defined by what I majored in in college. And really, even in my PhD program there were plenty of people who had majored in things other than my field, but chose to get their training in graduate school instead after working in the real world and developing new interests. It is never too late to switch.

#2 chimes in:  I, too, come from privilege.  My father has a PhD.  When I was in high school, he actively discouraged the view of university-as-trade-school, and encouraged the liberal arts.  I went to grad school for what I love, only because I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.

What do you think the purpose of higher education is?  How does your family background affect that view?

Remembering to enjoy life (1 day a week)

For the first time in recent memory, I feel relaxed.

I have more things to do than there is time to do them.  I’ve been chronically running around.  I’m behind at work with no hope of getting caught up anytime soon.

We took Saturday off completely.  Recently we’ve been spending all weekend every weekend running errands and getting food ready for the week.  This week we drove up to the city and visited a museum.  We got bi bim bap and local ice cream and walked around a park and sat at a playground and didn’t run a single errand.  Because, if we hadn’t, we still would have felt like there was nothing to look forward to in life outside of work and chores.

I want to feel guilty on some level (probably on the Catholic upbringing level) but I can’t.  There is and was no end in sight to the work and the chores.  I’m all for getting things done first and taking breaks later, but sometimes that just isn’t feasible.  Free time is taken in uneasy unpredictable chunks spent checking a blog or doing emergency childcare.  But sometimes it’s important to schedule in that fun relaxed family time too.  (Lest you think we’re neglectful parents– our kid is fully involved in family chores– he’s not neglected… he’s just learning how to cook and clean and shop as a family unit.  And playdates aren’t exactly relaxed.  He also gets just mommy time on Sundays when DH is at board gaming and just daddy time on the day I teach an evening class.)

If you believe the Whitehall and other studies, chronic stress leads to elevated levels of cortisone which leads to all sorts of chronic diseases and a weaker immune system.  Now, we’re not chronically stressed like much of America– we have more control over our own destinies with our education and precautionary savings and we live in environments where it’s pretty much safe to go out even at night.  We don’t always have to be watchful of danger.  But it is also easy to forget to remember that we can and should relax.  We don’t always have to be thinking about work or struggling to get everything done.

So I don’t think I will regret Saturday.  I did it for my long-term health.  I’m ready to attack chores and work with renewed purpose and vigor.  A day off on occasion reminds us why we’re alive and why we do what we do.  And most importantly, it reminds us that there’s life outside of work.

When I was doing my dissertation, my mother told me to work 6 days a week and do nothing work related on the seventh day.  For working 7 days a week leads to burn-out and insanity, not to mention unfinished dissertations.  The same is true for a tenure-track professor.  Though life as a true grown-up may require that more time be spent on chores and so on, it is important to note that chores don’t always count as not-work.  Sometimes a true vacation, however small, is required.  That, and ethnic food not available in one’s own small town.

What do you do to remember why you’re alive?