Google Questions Answered

Q:  do you pay for harvard grad school?

A:  No!   (Exceptions:  law and business.  But we didn’t and don’t.)

Q:  are we harminng our 22 month old child f she does not nap

A:  Absolutely not!  Unless she wants to nap and you’re somehow preventing her from doing so.  Like putting her on a brick in the middle of a pool of water like they do with animal sleep studies.  That would be horrible, so don’t do that.

Q:  does montessori stunt a childs development

A:  Of course not!  A good Montessori will enhance a child’s development.  Bad preschools take all sorts of labels, so spend time observing wherever you end up sending your child.

Q:  is it a sin to not finish eating all your food

A:  Again, of course not.  That’s why we have refrigeration.  Stick it in the fridge and have it later.  Next time take less and get seconds if you’re still hungry.

Q:  why parents want you to better than them?

A:  Because that’s the American dream.  Also they love you.

Q:  do you have to buy a house to go to good school

A:  No.  Good school districts also have rentals.

Q:  do people judge a messy house

A:  We don’t, and we’re the only people who matter.  People who do judge messy houses aren’t worth worrying about because their opinions are irrelevant by definition.  They need to get lives.  (Unless, of course, it is part of their job description to judge house messiness… like maybe a house-stager or something, but hopefully they follow judging with you know, fixing.)

Q:  gifted children sleep poorly?

A:  Sleep less:  there does seem to be a correlation.  Sleep poorly, no more than anybody else.  Unless they’re regularly bullied and tormented for being gifted, which is an occasional hazard.

Q:  do relationships take work?

A:  Depends on your definition of work.

Q:  how can market efficiency evolve without government intervention

A:  It can’t.  At the very least, gov’t needs to enforce property rights.

More series I don’t feel the need to finish (and why)

The Last Werewolf (POV shift)

When I get used to a protagonist, I don’t want to start all over with another one.

Moira Moore Heroes (gah) (#2 did finish this series, however, she skipped the poorly rated second to last book and there’s another book in the series she could have done without… really the first, second, and last books are all that are needed.  It would have made a decent trilogy!). #1 read the first and second, and then on the third one I started going enh…

Spirit Lens (POV shift)

I loved this book! I don’t want to read another character!

The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack (only half the book was good)

Vish Puri mysteries… the first one was interesting, but I don’t think I need more than one.

#2 is not sure if she’s ever going to finish the Kim Harrison series.  She wishes the author would give the main character a break, maybe even between books.  Some time off to heal or something.

The Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher.  I just don’t care enough.  (#1 agrees.  There are some parts I really like, but I don’t have the stamina for the whole thing.)

#1 is still happily going on the darkborn/lightborn/shadowborn series. 

Really amazing world-building.

Also about a million other series I am still working on!  I can’t list them all; it’s easier to list the ones I quit on. According to my LibraryThing tag “awaiting sequel”, I am awaiting approximately 45 sequels.  Doh!

Are there any series you’ve decided not to push through?  How about awesome series that you can’t not finish?

Interview questions for potential mother’s helpers

We, of course, lost the questions we used 5-odd years ago and had to recreate a list.  (I should probably finish the unfinished post in drafts about how we came around to having mother’s helpers rather than a nanny or daycare and how that worked out for us.)

Here’s what we came up with:

  1. Why are you interested in this position?
  2. What is your previous child-care experience?
  3. What do you like most about childcare?  What do you like least?
  4. How do you handle a crying baby?
  5. Can you spoil an infant?
  6. What are your beliefs on discipline for infants?
  7. How do you entertain a baby?
  8. What are your thoughts about feeding on demand?
  9. How do you feel about holding the baby a lot?
  10. We don’t believe in rigid schedules for babies (though we are fine with routines).  Are you ok with that?
  11. Do you have infant CPR training?  Would you be willing to take a class to get certification?
  12. What do you want to know about our baby?
  13. Do you have reliable transportation?  (The bus line does not come to our neighborhood.)
  14. If you start this job, would you be able to commit to it for the entire semester?
  15. Would you be interested in continuing second semester?  Over the summer?
  16. Are you allergic to cats?
  17. Do you smoke?
  18. Do you feel comfortable doing light housework while the baby is nursing (cleaning the kitchen, folding baby laundry, baby-proofing the house etc.)?
  19. A few days out of the year our 5 year old will be home from school because of school vacation days.  Is that ok?  Your responsibility will still be for the baby, not the elementary schooler.
  20. Do you have any questions for us?

And then if they haven’t scared us off, they hold the baby.  Last time we discovered some applicants said they had experience but had obviously never held a baby before.

What questions do you think are important for hiring childcare?

Radish top soup: and other super-frugal foods we no longer eat

Back when we were just starting out we had no money and very little income.  We also had education debt.  We were frugal to the bone, and we used every edible part of veggies with very little food waste.

Here are some of the things we used to make but no longer do because we don’t have to.  Wasteful?  Well, yes, but also time-saving… and really I’m not crazy about greens.

Radish top soup.  This is actually a pretty tasty mildly spicy green cream soup.  Made from radish greens from the tops of radishes.  You get the radishes, you cut off the tops so the radish doesn’t get wilty, then you use the radish greens right away before they get wilty.  In Radish Top Soup.

Beet greens.  These you cut off the beets, saute in olive oil, and serve with the cooked beets.  These days, I just toss them into compost!

In case you’re wondering how we were able to afford fresh produce on very little money, we’d go to the city’s big open air market near the end when everything was being marked down and get huge bags of fruits and veggies at a dollar each.  As we got more income, we’d go earlier when stuff was fresher and spend more to get less!  Eventually we had enough of a money cushion that we’d walk to Whole Foods and buy from there instead.  (Now we have to drive into the city to get to a WF, so we buy from the fru-fru section at the local chain grocery.)

Chicken leg-thigh combinations.  I would buy these on bulk when they hit 69 cents/lb and boil them for the meat which I would then freeze and add sparingly to future meals.  Clean-up was a PITA.  Now we keep bags of individually frozen chicken breasts in the freezer.

Macaroni and cheese from a box.  Just kidding!  We still eat these, but we no longer wait until they’re on sale, and we tend more towards Annie’s than the store-brand Kraft imitation.  (“We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft dinners”  “But we would eat Kraft dinners, we’d just eat more!”)

Leftover cold pizza from department events.  Now I only eat this if it’s from a good pizza place or is a kind that I particularly like.  Or sometimes I’ll have a piece anyway (because, you know, pizza) but not 3 pieces and I certainly won’t take a box home.

Are there things that you used to eat when you had less money and choose not to eat now?  If you still have less money, are there things you are looking forward to no longer eating or doing?

Link love: the pre-semester stress is building edition.

The Blog That Ate Manhattan has some extremely interesting information about women’s health and evidence-based medicine. (Also recipes, travel pics, the usual.)  Check it out, especially this fascinating post about breast density, mammograms, and scare tactics.

A gai shan life talks about her evolving relationship with money and what it can do.

Man we admire MutantSupermodel.  Here’s her list of 10 things she’s learned as a single mother.  Then check out her solution to last week’s Disney Dilemma in the post before it.

A post from captain awkward (linked out of comments on a Scalzi post about how not to be a creeper) about what friend groups should do with the “creepy guy” and how not to back up a rape-culture.  (Caution:  triggers)

Thanks to femmefrugality for the sunshine meme nom.

We were in this week’s carnival of personal finance.

Ask the Grumpies: Video in class

Leah asks:

What is your preferred way to use a video in your class?

#1 says:  I love them, I use them as much as possible, students love them.  I show them whenever I can think of an excuse or find a good video.

#2 says:  I generally only use video in my electives, and generally Daily Show or Colbert Report clips on current events that just happen to fit with a topic we’re discussing.  Occasionally I’ll dig up a Youtube video of an old commercial or something to explain what things were like before they were born.  I tend to use NPR a bit more, either having them listen in class or as a homework assignment that we’ll then discuss in class.  For one of my electives, I have a video of a talk that an architect of an important piece of legislation gave that I just show instead of lecturing because he just does a great job of explaining what and why and what are the problems.  I also have a video on another topic that I play sometimes because it has a nice overview of all the scholarly articles we’ll be reading on the topic.  One year I had my students watch a Michael Moore video for the final exam and use what they’d learned in the class to critique it.

Telling kids how they feel: a deliberately controversial post

One of the things I don’t like in many parenting books, but have found no research pro- or against- is this idea that you’re supposed to tell little kids how they’re feeling.  The books tend to call it “acknowledging feelings” and it’s what you’re supposed to do instead of praise, instead of solving kids’ problems, interfering in sibling conflicts, and a number of other verboten parent-interactions, depending on which parenting book or “expert” you’re following.

My first problem with this is, even if my kid is only two, how the hell am I supposed to know what he or she is feeling better than ze does?  Isn’t it presumptuous of me to say, “You’re sad because X” or “I can see that you’re angry”?  Sometimes I will ask, “Are you sad?” But, I’d get pretty pissed off if someone told *me* what I was feeling.  I think even very small children deserve more respect and agency than that.

My second problem with this, and mind you, this is correlation, not causation, is that I’ve hung around parents that use these techniques and their kids are either 1. holy terrors or 2. hold a bit of contempt (or just healthy ignoring) for their parents whenever their parents pull this crap.  In practice, it doesn’t seem effective.  But the parents who follow “experts” blindly tend to be less confident in their parenting in other ways, so it might be something else going on and not a problem with the actual (unproven) technique.

Do you think it’s appropriate to tell small children how they’re feeling?

Same names

I recently watched a terrible documentary on netflix about Alan Berliner, narcissist.  It was actually supposed to be about the science of naming.  (Related to work, though it turned out to be useless.)  Probably about 80% of the movie was Alan Berliner complaining that there were other people in the world also named Alan Berliner.  Or just him saying his name over and over again.  (The other 20% was mildly interesting, but not as in-depth as it could have been.)

I have three cousins with the same first name.  Two of them were named after the same great-aunt.  The other is a step-cousin, so it’s just coincidence (as much as fashions and trends can be coincidental).  In my family this is not a big deal.  We have a strong tradition of reusing family names, until very recently we’ve had sizable families, and we tend to live a long time.  It’s just natural that there’s going to be some overlap.  Since we’re spread out all over the country, even when there’s the same first and last name, it doesn’t generally cause much confusion.

My husband’s family feels quite differently on the subject.

I can’t remember if it was just before or just after she married into DH’s family, but my (then childless) sister-in-law gave me a lecture about how she hated it when her friends gave their babies names that she had already laid claim to.  She was genuinely angry about it, even though she no longer even lived in the same town as said high school friends.  She not so subtly told me two names that I must avoid.  I noted with silent irony that these two names just happened to be the top most popular baby names of that year, and if she wanted her future children to have unique names, maybe not the best way to go about it.

And time went on.  We had a child.  Both prospective boy’s names and girl’s names were family names, as in our tradition (on my side).  Presumably we chose ok because we didn’t get any hate-mail.

BIL and SIL had a child.  Oddly, they chose the non-traditional family name of my aunt/uncle (on my side, not DH’s!) that we were going to use if we had a second child of the same gender.  I have no idea where they got the idea, but because of my SIL’s warning, we had to jettison said name and ability to honor said relative from our potential name-box.

Then BIL and SIL had a second child.  Rather than using one of the names SIL had warned me against… they used the name that our DC would have been had ze been the opposite gender.  By that point, it seemed like everyone we knew who had had a baby in the past couple years had used the same name (it jumped way up in the naming charts the year DC was born), so we’d moved on (plus my MIL says she always hated that relative)… but how bizarre.  It’s not like we kept our potential names a secret or anything.

On my side of the family, these things wouldn’t be a big deal because nobody feels like they have property rights to any specific name.  You can name your child the same thing as a cousin, no problem.  But, in deference to family peace and tranquility we won’t be “stealing” any names from the in-laws and came up with a new set.

Update:  If you want to check out name popularity by year:  baby name voyager is fun.

Do you get upset when a friend or relative “steals” a name you’ve chosen?  What are your family naming traditions?

Does living frugally mean you should settle for a smaller salary?

Something that people who follow YMoYL note from time to time is that if you don’t spend much, you don’t need to make as much to become financially independent.  You can choose to do jobs that don’t pay as well, to follow your muse, save the world, that sort of thing.

One thing that is noted is that you can make a big sacrifice by choosing a career that helps people and makes you feel warm and fuzzy rather than one that rakes in the big bucks… teaching in an inner-city school instead of in a highly paid suburban district, for example.

Of course, if you make a super big salary, you can do a lot more charitable giving, enough that could actually make a real difference on its own.

Should you settle for a smaller salary just because you can?  That depends on what your trade-offs are. If you’re really into something that a lot of other people are into and doesn’t pay well… like art, then yes, settling for feeding your muse may be worth it.  (Though note:  Scalzi doesn’t think a person should get paid less than 20cents/word for freelance, but he’s also not beneath taking technical writing assignments!).  If a smaller salary means you get something tangible like a more flexible schedule or the ability to work fewer hours per week, sure.

However, if living frugally means you’re allowing yourself to be exploited… no, we don’t think that’s a good idea.  Obviously, you do have agency, and you are allowed to make that decision to be exploited if you’re conflict-averse, if you don’t mind the negative spillovers being a doormat has on other people who don’t want to be doormats and so on (we’re ambivalent about choice feminism here at Grumpy Rumblings)… But we’d like to remind you that money buys goods and services.  Living frugally means that you can use your extra money that you deserve by being a productive person to help make the world a better place.  You don’t just have to spend it on yourself.  There are better ways to make sacrifices than by accepting a lower salary just because you can.

It’s a brand new Link Love

We’re a little light this week because #2 was busy having a baby!  woooooo!

Apparently the NYTimes ran out of mommy-war stuff to write about so decided to do an idiotic editorial on why algebra shouldn’t be taught.  Here’s a good rebuttal from xoom that basically lays out why it’s a dumb article.  The NYTimes should be ashamed that they’re stooping so low just to generate controversy, and the lack of fact-checking is unconscionable.

If you want to either sigh in disgust or have a happy few minutes, depending on your outlook, check out this post on Acephalous and the links to photos of male and female Olympians.

Mutant Supermodel needs your help— please give her support, encouragement, advice, etc.  As always, we are rooting for her!

I found this hilarious column about keeping going on your writing when your environment is chaotic.

Also, I know this meme is so-three-weeks-ago, but I do love this and it made me laugh:

Let’s hope the Goblin King doesn’t steal any babies we love, because we are too tired to go through the labyrinth.

Anything cool going on in the world that we missed?