Are you a bad parent if…

(hint:  The answer is always no)

  • you take your kid to the playground and let them play while you sit on the bench and do your thing?
  • you take your kid to the playground and play with them?
  • you sign up your kids for tons of activities and lessons?
  • you don’t sign up your kids for any extracurriculars?
  • you skip baby food?  or buy it in little containers at the store?
  • you make baby food lovingly by hand?
  • you send your kid to a good preschool?
  • you skip preschool?
  • you start potty training before Brazelton’s signs of readiness?
  • you wait on potty training until Brazelton’s signs of readiness?

Just a little comment from blog posts I’ve read recently where someone makes a side note confirming the conventional wisdom or takes the conventional wisdom and says that no, only the opposite is what people should be doing.  Seriously, there is no “right,” just trade-offs.  If you play with your kid on the playground, ze doesn’t get solo time or just kids time.  If you do, the kid is getting more adult/parent interaction.  These are both good things.  Activities and lessons provide new and interesting ways to grow, but they also take time away from other activities and family time.  Which is better?  Neither, they’re just different.

What are some dichotomies you have encountered?

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Wasting food is a sin

or at least it was in my depression-baby father’s kitchen.*

Fortunately there are delicious ways to repurpose food after they’ve gone stale.

Tonight we had one of my favorites… Bruschetta.

Slice stale bread
Liberally drizzle olive oil on top
Cover with garlic (crushed, diced, sliced… you make the call)
Bake in oven until garlic is starting to brown. (I like 375 for 10 min, but you can do it for longer at lower temperatures or shorter at higher. Heck, you can even broil.)
Take out of oven.
Spoon diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, oregano, garlic, salt, or really whatever your heart desires over top.

#2 wishes we could get away from food-as-morality, which I think contributes to lots of unhealthy attitudes in our society (fat-phobia, overeating, anorexia, bulimia, emphasis on weight instead of health, overemphasis on willpower and self-control over biology, etc.).  It makes eating into an anxious situation fraught with meaning and duty and power, when really it’s just all about fun!  Also, telling your kids, “Eat that!  Think of all the starving children in China!” will only make them hate you and whatever you are trying to feed them.  I always thought that the starving children in China were QUITE welcome to my lima beans, or whatever.  Let’s get away from a sickening combo of food-and-guilt, please, and just focus on having fun with food.


#1 notes that her household never had a “Eat that!  Think of all the starving children in China!”  Instead we were encouraged to take small portions and go back for seconds.  Taking a large portion and not finishing resulted in eating leftovers from that meal the next meal.  In any case, the point about not wasting food in this post is not to throw out tons of wasted food from the fridge each week, instead to menu plan more carefully, and to use creativity when faced with things like stale bread.  (Because, of course, you only buy/make high quality bread.)  But we still should be careful about language.  Or else #2 gets grumpy.  And that rumbling isn’t her stomach, no matter how delicious bruschetta is.

What are your favorite ways of repurposing leftovers?  #2 likes to make “whatever’s in the house, over pasta.”  (#1 also likes the same as an omelette or stir-fry.)

*Caution: Don’t take eating old foods too far. Food poisoning is not frugal. “If in doubt, throw it out.”

postscript:  DH tried and failed at making mozarella this weekend.  Sadly, that resulted in a gallon of (organic, whole milk) buttermilk.  So we had pancakes for breakfast and buttermilk rolls at lunch.  Then DH made ricotta and a cheesecake.  Mozarella attempt #2 ended up with cream cheese.  Also, did you know that when maple syrup gets a skin, that’s mold, and you can take it off, reboil the syrup, and it should be ok to consume.  According to chow-hound anyway.

Quick quiz: Housework!

When one spouse is working full-time and the other spouse is getting education, how should the housework be divvied up?


(Also, if your answer is, “It depends,” then what does it depend on?)

For the Love of Our Links

Find out some science about delicious delicious cheese:

Now I’m all hungry.

We here at Grumpy Rumblings continue to love Tenured Radical. Here she talks about whether girls rule the world (or whether, as we insist, we should keep on blaming the patriarchy).

Historiann talks about how even among the insane, actions from insanity are gendered.

The internets this week talked about mothers and work, and working mothers, and stuff.  Cloud has a synopsis of some of the good ones this week.  Also:  We don’t want to hear about your personal life on your cv.  As long as you weren’t in jail, we don’t care why you left the labor force.  We just care about the experience you have that is related to the job at hand.  Sure, mention in your cover letter that the gap was for family reasons or a business start-up unrelated to the work at hand, but please don’t go into detail.  We don’t care.  No more than part of a sentence, please, unless you have something to say that helps your case for our position.  Choices = consequences.   #2:  We already said this!  #1:  We did?  We said things related in that one post, but apparently readers of FSP didn’t get the memo.

This beautifully poignant post from Mutant Super Model made at least one of us  cry.   MSM should submit this to O magazine!

Never try to take First Gen American’s Babci in an alley.  She’s got a shiv. 

We were in this week’s carnival of personal finance.  Hosted by my personal finance journey.

I am strangely entranced with these short fictions about how China Miéville wins at life…

Favorite movies post

The Princess Bride:  I’m sure this one needs no description.  The book, of course, is even better.

Tales of Manhattan:  A wonderful b&w movie, sadly not on DVD.  It’s a bunch of little life-affirming mini-stories following a tailcoat as it changes of the life of everyone it touches.  You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel joyous.  My favorite is the Charles Laughton one.  Unfortunately the last one kind of sucks in its stereotypical 1940s Hollywood way; Paul Robeson is sorely used.

Captain Blood: A wonderful Errol Flynn piece, romance, sword fights, pirates, cunning, and a hilarious ending.  Ah, the book is better, but the movie is also wonderful.

When Harry Met Sally: Like flan.  (In a good way)

The Silence of the Lambs.  For someone who’s not into horror/suspense, I’ve watched this a surprising number of times.  Great movie.

Secretary: Amazing acting and psychological maneuvering from Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader.  I appreciate it even more now that I’ve watched the director’s commentary.

Say Anything’s pretty good, too.  Buckaroo Banzai.  Charade.  The Wedding Singer.  This is not a comprehensive list.

(Note:  #1 only likes the happy movies from the above, but does not include Say Anything which she found painfully boring, though she likes John Cusack more generally, especially when teamed up with John Hughes.)

What are your favorite movies?

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Grammatical (and spelling etc.) pet peeves

10.  Saying anymore when you mean “these days.”  As in, “Seems like everything is a race anymore.”  Ack.

9.  Its vs it’s (see also #1)

8. Learn to spell!

7. Subject-verb agreement.  Folks for whom English is not a native language get some leeway here, but it should be fixed by your second draft, and if English is your native language, you don’t have that excuse.

6.  The most effective, not the most affective.  Unless you’re like a psychologist and even then I’m not exactly sure what that phrase would mean.  (How can you be more affective?  Do you have more emotions?  Not clear.)

5.  Fortunately, The Alot has my back.

4.  Weird formatting.  People, your paper or your blog is not more artistic if you center the entire thing.

3.  People, you look ridiculous when you type rediculous in a comment.  Srsly.

2.  Less instead of fewer.  Less is continuous, fewer is countable.  (AGAIN.)

1.  Apostrophes.  Learn their proper use.

What are we missing?

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Teasing sucks

And I mean teasing in the sense where you think you’re going to get something nice but it’s all a lie.

There’s something professional that I really really want.  It would help my career and make life easier and be a big boost reputation-wise in the profession.  A lot of my colleagues (not in my department, but in the greater community) have it… but I made some incompatible choices, ended up at a place that isn’t a top 10 school, and although I have been productive and have impressive publications, they’re not tippity top… I’m in the potential pool of candidates with a mass of people who are qualified but not obviously must-have contenders.

This year on a schedule, there was something written suggesting I’d gotten this thing.  But on the official page, there was nothing.  Finally I made a phone call and it turned out to be a typo.  Some folks just assume I’ve got this, hence the typo.  But I don’t.  So I don’t have access to the professional benefits that come with it.

I wouldn’t be feeling bummed right now if it weren’t that they’d dangled the possibility in front of me that this could actually happen this year.  All my hard work might have paid off.  This could be my year, and it would be an excellent year for it, with my tenure packet being sent out to external reviewers and so on.

I also wouldn’t be feeling quite so bummed right now if I hadn’t looked at the cvs of the people who got this benefit last year and saw that they were inferior to mine even at the point in their careers that they are now.  Usually the folks who get it I’m like, “I wish I could be that cool, maybe I will be in X years.”  The folks from last year are at better schools but they don’t have the cvs to back it up, only promise (they’re earlier in their careers).  And it is much easier to fulfill promise when you’ve got this benefit, and are at a better school.

I like where I work, but if I’d made different choices, maximizing my career would have been easier.  I need to remind myself that I’m doing ok, I’m respected, I do good work, even though it is slower than I’d like.  I don’t work as hard as I could, I don’t put myself out there as much as I could.  But my quality of life isn’t so bad.  And if I’d never gotten my hopes up, I wouldn’t be feeling them dashed right now.

#2:  They’re pooty brains.

#1:  YEAH!  Poopy heads with pooty brains!

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