Link Love

Well… this has been a week.

Remember when Gen X middle-class white folks thought that implicit bias and structural inequalities (which are terrible) were where we should be putting all of our anti-racism focus because we didn’t know that blacks were still being killed by whites with impunity?  When we knew that getting a cab was more difficult and police were more likely to give tickets (also terrible), but we didn’t realize that just walking outside could mean sudden inexplicable death?  When we thought the Rodney King thing was in the past?   Police brutality shouldn’t have to be video-taped in order to get press.   Children shouldn’t have to die for our eyes to be open.

Also for this Christmas season… Imagine A Christmas Story where Ralphie is black.  An icicle to the eye would be the least of his worries.  That is white privilege.  Never thinking to have made that connection before is white privilege.  The only people in this country for whom the justice system even has a chance of working are middle class white people up against middle class white people.  Poor people and minorities get shafted and rich people get away with far too much.  I’ve lost a lot of faith.

Even though state-sanctioned executions of black boys and teens are not a thing of the past, we should still be fighting against the patriarchy and kyriarchy on all fronts.

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Big Hero 6 has gender/racial diversity done right.  (#2 adds: Big Hero 6 is a great movie.  You should see it if you get a chance.  It’s funny, and also it shows how gorgeous San Francisco is!  Also it has a fat cat named Mochi.)

A rape analogy.

What women want, according to designers.

I want to buy whatever they are selling.

Flex your hustle muscles

Coffee is a tiny little mobster.

Flowchart for the opening of any and every Bond movie.

Journal submission recommendations from Larry Katz.

Contronyms

Unlike for most online postings, read the comments on this one!

A castly castle.

The lightsaber jokes begin.

I feel like this

What an editor does

Heroes and villains, Flemish masters style

Working at a research university:  illustrated

 

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Good gracious google!

Q:  what chores did children do in the 1950s

A:  My mom says she cleaned the entire house before school each day.  And walked uphill both ways to get to said school.  Barefoot, in the snow.  And they liked it.  (Actually that part about the snow and liking it are lies– there’s not that much snow in CA, and she never claimed to enjoy it.)

Q:  enrichment activities for 2 year olds

A:  Besides the iPad that they break?  Um, reading books, dancing, parent and me classes, listening to music, going new places, going to playgrounds…

Q:  we should measure country’s success by how happle its people are?

A:  Probably not.

Q:  do we have more opportunities for education than our parents?

A:  Yes.  Most of us.  Though inequality of opportunity is still a major problem in the country.

Q:  what was bell curve that some kids could sleep through the cracks

A:  Those on the right tail may sometimes sleep in class if they’re not being challenged in school.

Q:  i want a child is it the right time?

A:  Up to you!  And potentially your partner.

Q:  how would you handle a crying baby interview

A:  PICK HIR UP.  Check hir diaper.  See if ze needs burping.  Try food.  Look for signs of pain.  Bounce around, or sway, or sing, or give the baby your car keys.  They love keys.

Q:  interview questions for a mother of a 5 year old

A:  “What’s a good book you’ve read lately?”

Q:  can you use silly putty to hold up your vertical blinds when they break off from the plastic at the top

A:  Doubtful.  We use clear plastic packing tape.

Q:  what happens if you don’t make a grade of b in a graduate program?

A:  You make an A?  Or you have to retake the class?  You may even drop out and go into the work force.

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RBOC

  • Dear Daycare, why do you always call me first?  My husband does 98% of drop-offs and at least 80% of pick-ups.  He always answers the phone when you call him.  You only get me when I’m in my office.  It says on our card, “Call First” with a big arrow next to “Father’s cell.”
  • Also, no, I would not like to drop by daycare to “encourage” DC2 to get hir picture taken.  If ze’s afraid of the photographer and doesn’t want hir picture taken, we’re fine with that.  Did you notice how we didn’t fill out the form requesting professional pictures?  That’s because we don’t want them.
  • The first new daycare we looked at was great!  Sadly they don’t have an opening in the younger twos room until January and they won’t accept DC2 in the older twos room until January (“liability reasons” “choking hazards”).  Sigh.  One of hir former teachers from the good montessori said hi!
  • The university daycare said yes, we’re still on the list but because of when DC2’s birthday is and when we signed up, we won’t be off the list until next September at the earliest.  Two of my colleagues’ kids are there and they love it.  (We’d be there too if we’d signed up when I was pregnant, but we didn’t know our favorite daycare would go under, and if we’d signed up, we would have gotten off the waitlist before it went under and would have thrown away that slot.  So… without a crystal ball…)
  • I’m now at the point in my career where people introduce themselves to me at conferences sometimes.  Like grad students!  It’s super weird.  But kind of cool.  :)
  • Five months later, finally get DH’s second-to-last travel reimbursement.  They swear it won’t take as long to get the next one.  $1,700 is a lot of money to not have.
  • DH has been cooking for 14 years.  This year we noticed that he has been improvising on recipes for quite some time without a single disaster.  I’ve been cooking since I was 7 years old, so when we married I’d already been cooking longer than that.  It really is just experience, not necessarily a natural ability.
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How to fix some random kid (and grown-up!) problems

We get a lot of comments, both good and bad, about how much stuff we make our oldest kid do.  Ze, for example, makes hir own lunch for school, has a list of household chores to do (mostly limited only by height restrictions), and is in charge of remembering things like homework and recurring special things like pizza money on pizza day or that Wednesday is special uniform day.

It’s expecting a lot of a 7 year old (and even more of a 6 or 5 year old, which DC1 once was!)  But it’s something we need to do to keep our household running in the absence of a full-time live-in housekeeper.  As full-time working adults with high-level jobs and a 2 year old we just don’t have that kind of mental load.  And DC1 is capable and it isn’t usually that big a deal when we all forget things.

Except occasionally DC1 forgets to wear the special uniform 3 weeks in a row and we get an email noting that if there’s a fourth time, then demerits will follow.  We’re not sure what demerits are going to do, but they sure sound scary.  Or DC1 will forget chores or homework and blissfully spend the evening playing board-games with DH, only remembering long after bedtime or the next morning that there’s an assignment due.

So here’s what we do that works.

Uniform, pizza money, and school holidays/fairs are all put on DC1’s wall calendar.  Each day at bedtime ze crosses off the day and sees what is listed for the next day.  If it’s the special uniform, ze takes it out of the closet and hangs it on hir dresser knob.  If it’s pizza money, ze demands it from DH and puts it in hir back pack.  If it’s a holiday, then we’re reminded.

For that long list of chores, during one of DH’s business trips I made DC1 make a full checklist of all the chores ze has to do each night.  Homework (or workbooks on weekends), piano practicing, making lunch for the next day (if applicable), putting away the clean silverware, loading the dishwasher, feeding the kittens, helping fold laundry (if applicable).  (See, we’re tyrants!  DC1 never gets to do anything fun.)  Once all of those chores are done, DC1 is free to spend hir time as ze wishes on weekends, and can do anything except video games on weekdays (since even the checklist couldn’t help DC1 remember hir chores if video games are an option).

Of course, it’s not enough to do the homework or make the lunch.  Those items also have to make it into the backpack.  So there’s a new rule that they have to go into the backpack as soon as they’re done.  They’re not allowed to sit out on desk or counter where they can be forgotten and then I have to turn back to get them on the way to school and everybody is late.  Because I hate that.

So… calendar, checklist, and automation.  That’s how we keep things together with DC1 during the week and that’s how we’re able to give DC1 so many responsibilities.

Related:  financial diffraction talks about using her calendar to keep track of money

How do you and yours get out the door in the morning every day of the week?  Any tips?

On judging how poor people spend their money

DH has some extended family whose spending choices compared to their lack of income drives me nuts.  They’re always spending money on luxuries when they have the money (often on luxuries for other people) and then have no money when a small emergency strikes or their taxes were higher than expected or another debt comes due or what have you.  At Christmas we always feel like we have to send money to help out with the latest emergency, though we resist during the rest of the year when there isn’t a good excuse to give.

And it’s really easy for us to judge.  Back when we made little money, back when we had debt, we were frugal to the bone.  We got out of debt by spending money on no luxuries and sending every penny to the debt.  Then we built an emergency fund.  Then we started saving for retirement.  Only then did we loosen up and spend on things we didn’t need.  (Though to be honest, we started eating meat again after the debt was gone.)  I wanted us to be secure before we bought anything we’d wish we hadn’t in an emergency.

But honestly, these days, who are we to judge?  We spend a ton of money on luxuries, just different ones.  We have different priorities.

I think nothing of spending $200 on our annual umbrella insurance, who am I to judge a $200 game console purchase?  How can we judge a $1K granite-topped bar (relatives bought after a windfall) when DH has a $1K ergonomic chair (that he saved his allowance to get)?

The thing is, with us, our money is ours to keep and shelter.  We have no family to impress with conspicuous consumption.  They know we’re doing just fine and they live far away.  We have no childhood of deprivation to try to make up for (though neither of us had much stuff because our parents were often low income, we always had security, we never felt deprived).  We don’t have relatives telling us that we need to give any savings to even more impoverished family.  We’re not caught in the trap of having to spend the money now or give it away.

Possibly most importantly, even when we were living on low incomes with high basic expenses, we knew that situation was only temporary.  We could always and can always tell ourselves that we will have things in the future, when we are out of school and have real jobs, and it’s true and we’ll believe it.  It’s harder to think that way and stay deprived when you haven’t graduated high school and keep failing the GED.  Or when you’re a grandfather in your 30s.  If you don’t buy that  luxury now, you may never get it.  You may never have happiness or an item to show off.

Why can’t people just set up automated savings accounts that put the money away so relatives don’t know about it and people don’t feel the need to spend it?  Because when you’re low income, savings accounts can be dangerous.  Even the most basic bank accounts are expensive when you hit an overdraft fee that you can’t cover or bounce a check or make a mathematical error.  And sometimes you need to draw on that money and everything is empty and instead of just having no money, you have fees and more debt.

And yes, we think we would be perfect and save our way out of poverty, but it’s hard to say what we would really do in those kinds of situations.  We don’t have the pressure.  It’s easy for us to say we’d never be in that situation or we’d get ourselves out as soon as possible, but what would we really do?  People behave remarkably similarly when they’re deprived in experimental settings.  I’m not sure that my willpower is enough to dig out of that big a hole, especially if I didn’t have hope to go with it.

Is yours?

Link love

Theology and Geometry had her baby!

how many of these have happened to you?  Definitely more than one here!  Insecure men outraged that smarter man recognizes sexism and apologizes to women.  Someone was stupid on the internet.

My mom says this article makes more sense than any other ACA article to date

Fascinating article on Whole Foods in Detroit.

What do you do if your grandma is a murderer?

Cultural appropriatation in the birthing community.  (Though I will maintain that the zipper pocket makes my super-expensive ring sling worth the extra money!)  Our Babies, Ourselves has a section on baby-wearing around the world and throughout time, and is a great read.

On having said racist things.

Only after a man called Bill Cosby a rapist did anybody listen.

Oh Slate, why ya gotta be so addicting sometimes?  Honest trailer for The Little Mermaid.  It’s not your kids holding you back, it’s your husband.

So the huffington post directed me (via a clickbait headline) to a mommy-blog and I was all, I wonder what the GOMI people have to say about this blog given that huffpo linked me to it, it must say something.  And my first hit was this forum page that has some really good points on it that make me feel less crazy, you know?

The seriously troubling racial history of that Kim Kardashian Champagne Shot.  And that photographer is a serious racist.  Disgusting.

This pretty much sums it up.

Not surprising, but still.

baby groot!

Live kitten cam!

Apparently Barbie can’t do it.

Cool alternative to advent chocolate.

How to explain papers in a non-academic interview.

How could anybody say no to this?

Why stock picking is a losing game.

 

 

Ask the grumpies: Potluck dishes

Debbie M. asks:

What’s good for potlucks?

Spinach balls! Pasta salad.  Casserole?  Cookies.  Cake.  Rolls.

This is a hard one for #2– lately I’ve been bringing things like “soda” and “cups” to pot-lucks.  It’s not that I don’t like to cook, it’s just that I don’t have the time or that’s what I’m assigned.  I think the last pot-luck I was assigned to bring Pocky.

One pot-lock I brought a chicken pate thing that nobody ate at all.  It was delicious later with my RAs, but sad at the time.  (#1 has tried this recipe and ATE IT ALL UP!)

My Swedish rose cookies are always a hit (butter cookies with a thumb-print of raspberry or strawberry jam in the middle).

If asked to bring a salad, I will often make champagne salad , which was my mother’s potluck standard.  It’s kind of like a healthy ice cream, for some definitions of healthy.  I make it with whipped cream instead of cool-whip.

#1 is too tired to cook most of the time, but I generally try to bring something I’d like to eat; something easy; something that’s ok at room temperature; or something I had lying around anyway.  Ain’t nothing wrong with bringing a store platter of hummus, pita, cheese, grapes, etc.  I can barely get up the motivation to cook my OWN food sometimes!

Golly gee wiz, I just don’t know.

Grumpy Nation:  The potluck season is upon us.  What is good for potlucks?