Last link love of the year

We were both on vacation in cold places visiting with family without a whole lot of internet access/time.  #1 didn’t do any political calls/faxes/protests/etc,. but she did pick a local candidate from the #Five4Her hashtag and donated.  Is there a candidate you’d like to support?  Give 5 minutes, dollars, or calls for her campaign!  If you’re on twitter or facebook, let other people know you did and tell them why and where they can too.  2018 is going to be the year that we take back our government, but it’s going to take a lot of activism, way more than I have ever done in my entire life, to get that to happen.  Let’s start fighting now.

Black women running for office.


Money metagame argues to stop setting annual net worth goals

A windy city gal discusses finances.

DC1 said zie wanted a peanut butter chocolate cake.  It’s interesting how there are about a bazillion versions of exactly the same cake (3 layer chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting made from mixing peanut butter, powdered sugar, and a cream of some kind, then dripping chocolate over the top, accenting with reeses peanut butter cups) by different home-baking bloggers that all say they invented the cake to make their child happy.  I suspect they’re actually all rip-offs of the smitten kitchen’s recipe, which she notes she has modified from an actual cookbook because she’s a big-time food-blogger and gives credit.  We didn’t choose any of those because we thought this one from Laughing Spatula looked a lot simpler and easier to make and who can resist that layer of peanut butter under the layer of chocolate ganache?  I know I can’t.  We went with a 9×13 version.  [Update:  the “ganache” had too much liquid in it and never solidified (I added cocoa powder and powdered sugar but it was still pretty soupy)– if you make it, use less cream.]

Miser mom gives out emergency preparedness kits.


Ask the grumpies: Preparing for death

Sandy L asks:

Things you should have in place in case you die or are incapacitated. (Like tell your spouse where the passwords and wills are, important paperwork in one place, etc)

What things do you wish you asked a dead loved one before they died?

We are now left with a bunch of really difficult Ask the Grumpies!  Let’s get started.

We have no idea about this one, but we can search the internet  (here’s some more checklists) and ask Grumpy Nation.

One thing that #1 is glad that we did this journal before DH’s grandma’s Alzheimer’s became too severe.  His aunt did something similar for his other grandma before she died and finally got the actual recipes for her famous homemade food rather than the slightly wrong versions of the recipes she would give to people when asked.

Another internet post on what to do if your elementary schooler keeps chewing on hir clothes

DC2 has always liked putting things in hir mouth.  As a baby we had to keep chokable stuff away from the floor for much longer than we did with DC1.  And there was the whole biting thing.  But zie outgrew it and we thought we were in the clear.

Then sometime in November or December, we noticed that DC2 had started chewing on hir shirt sleeves (if wearing long sleeves) and collar.  Zie didn’t want to chew on clothing.  Hir teacher didn’t want hir to chew on clothing.  We didn’t want hir to chew on clothing.

As an experiment, DC2 and I put cayenne on the top of hir (already wet) shirt to see if that would help.  Like most remedies involving cayenne, it did not.  Basically DC2’s chin started hurting from resting on it, so we aborted, rinsed off, and got a new shirt.

Next, we went TO THE INTERNET!  And found a bunch of blogposts, some sponsored, some not, from professional “mommy bloggers” talking about various silicon necklaces and singing their praises.  It turns out there’s a whole cottage industry of silicone teething necklaces (for mom), bracelets, toys, and even rings.  DC2 picked one out from amazon (note:  as always, buying stuff from amazon links gives us a little bit of money, so we’re just like those other “mommy bloggers”) that is meant for moms to keep from being chewed on by their babies.  But they had some pretty cool other shapes– I’m surprised zie didn’t go for one of the bat shapes given how popular batman is in this household.

Also the internet suggested that it might be anxiety (DC2 denied this), sensory processing disorder, autism, oral fixation and so on.  Or it might just be a phase.  I used to chew on my hair at this age but DC2 doesn’t have enough hair to be capable of doing that.  I may have had anxiety or sensory processing disorder or oral fixation (I do like kissing DH!) or who knows.  But eventually I stopped.  So if it is still happening in August at the annual checkup we might bring it up, but we don’t think it’s worth taking a doctor’s trip for given that DC2 doesn’t seem to have any other problems (other than the occasional hives).

One of the teachers at DC2’s school (who isn’t DC2’s actual teacher) told hir such things were for babies.  But DC2’s actual teacher was really happy and literally clapped her hands with happiness.  So far, no more wet shirts with pulled collars.  So yay internet!

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So we opened (taxed) traditional IRAs and Roth converted them

We decided to do this both for DH and for me this year.  With the tax bill, I got very worried about whether or not I’d be able to keep both the 403(b) and 457 contributions, so I figured we could do this for me too, not just DH.

It was super easy.  Like, there was a button on the Vanguard website.

Here’s the process:

  1. Set up a link between our credit union and DH’s Vanguard account.  Wait a day for them to transfer pennies and then take them back.  They actually transferred the money without us saying how many pennies there were, but eventually DH had to fill in that information on the account.
  2. Wait a while because we got busy and weren’t paying attention.  Then tax bill stuff happens which reminds us we should really do something about this.
  3. I send DH the link on how to turn a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA in Vanguard.
  4. We ponder how DH got more than $5 in interest while we were being lazy when we get like 16 cents a month from our Wells Fargo account with more money in it.
  5.  DH reads through it and says, “we just need to press a button”.
  6. Turns out since DH doesn’t have a Roth IRA on his Vanguard account (his is still in etrade) that he has to create a Roth IRA account first.  But then he can press the conversion button.
  7. Wait a day for it to convert.
  8. I’m like, hey, I should do this too.
  9. I transfer money to Vanguard (my account is already linked)
  10. The next day I press the button (I already have a Roth IRA at Vanguard)
  11. I decide to put all $5,505.35 in DH’s account into VANGUARD TOTAL INTL STOCK INDEX FUND ETF (VXUS) because I feel like his account needs more broad-based international exposure.  I have to put a limit order on this because their # of shares calculator rounds, so either I get 97 shares or I need to wait until the price drops to get 98 shares.  It’s on a downward trend, so I set a limit order for 60 days.  The limit posts the next day.
  12. I decide that dealing with an ETF is kind of pain, so I choose the Index version for my account even though the fees are higher.  This means I just say I want $5,500.38 worth of index fund shares (man those money market funds may not be FDIC insured, but they sure do rack up the pennies).  I intend to put in another 5,500 in January and then get the Admiral funds expense ratio instead of the regular funds rate, assuming that this is still allowed in the coming year.  (By the time this posts, we will know.)  The trade is executed the next business day (Monday).

So all of that was pretty easy.  If you have a lot of money in traditional IRAs it isn’t as easy at tax time, but we converted all our traditional IRAs into Roths back when these conversions were first allowed.  I’ll let you know at tax time if I missed anything important.

P.S.  Given the tax bill and its limited property tax deduction, we opted to not to bunch our property taxes.  I paid the other half of this year’s property taxes before the end of the calendar year.

T’was the link love before Christmas

Propaganda and fascism

This thread would make a really great novel, but unfortunately it’s true…

It really is a big heist

Individual tax planning under the tax cuts and jobs act of 2017

Not only did Susan Collins sell out her constituents’ health insurance, she also cast the decisive vote to appoint an unqualified anti lgbt anti choice judge to a lifetime post.  Time to vote her out, Maine.

The upcoming crash

Stacking Pennies describes her end of the year money moves.  A Gai Shan Life talks about hers.

How Putin’s proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns

How one harasser can rob a generation of women

Politics polarized

The politics of anger and the roots of authoritarianism (amazon link)

Facebook flagrantly violates the ADEA

Guerrilla public service

Millennial Greek Mythos thread

Kristin Wong on how to set freelance writing rates

Good writing advice

An epic tale of one woman dumping a douchebag

Thread lovingly trash talking other cathedrals’ nativity scenes

Big cats get Christmas treats

Cards against humanity does its own version of the GSS


Googled questions you didn’t know you had

The remaining ask the grumpies are HARD, so here’s us answering some googled questions instead.

Q:  should we ever make kids do things they don’t want to do

A:  To some extent.  It’s valuable to learn math and hygiene, for example.  However, there are more- and less-engaging ways of teaching these things.  My dad believes there is meaning in making kids make their beds each day, but I don’t.

Q:  how can i get enough money for my self

A:  Don’t rob a bank.  That rarely works out.

Q:  husband doesn’t make enough money to support family

A:  It’s a good thing that women are allowed to work (as are men, in case this is not a heterosexual marriage).

Q:  are vertical blinds in style?

A:  Never in the history of time.

Q:  college romance novels where hero heroine hate each other

A:   Why?  There are so many better tropes out there.

Q:  how you would plan to work on cousin’s wedding about ten lines

A:  Do your own homework.

Q:  our parents grow up in amuch better world than we did do you agree

A:  No.  Our drugs are more advanced, at the very least.  Wait, are you a straight white dude?

Q:  what is the difference between percentage and percentage points?

A:  You’re looking for this page.

Q:  how big is your uterus at 23 weeks compared to fruit

A:  I don’t know about uterus size, but for baby size, here’s a collection.

Q:  why does parents want to do better then there parents

A:  Because we love our children

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What are we reading: Romance edition.

#1 skipped large middle chunks of Patricia Bray then deleted on kindle.  Waste of a dollar.

I enjoyed Poetic Justice by Alicia Rasley enough to purchase it.  There’s no onscreen sex, if that’s important.  It’s a fun caper where the protagonists fall in love over books.  The end is a bit rushed, but there’s also no unnecessary angst.  (The best part though is a glimpse the love affair of the long-dead parents!)  The first in the series is free on Amazon but I haven’t read it yet (update: it was ok, but not worth paying for).  I also haven’t read the second in the series, but plan to…

I tried a couple of Patricia Rice regencies, but I don’t like how the heroes take away the heroine’s agency, even when having agency is a big deal for the heroine and it seems like the resolution should include the hero giving in on that.  We’re talking about things like, I dunno, secretly marrying the women against their will in Scotland where the marriage rules are different and not telling them they’ve been married until months later when circumstances have made it far too late for an annulment.  Or, you know, not stopping sex when the woman is in pain because of his “need”.  UGH.  Or forcing the heroine to have sex as a transaction in a situation where she doesn’t want to, but feels that she has to in order to save someone else.  Not cool.  Her Genius series is a modern set of romances… the amazon reviews complain about it having a liberal agenda, but there are too many uncomfortable racial and homosexual “jokes” for it to truly be liberal… or maybe it just shows how far we’ve come in the past 20-30 years in terms of what’s not cool to say about minorities.  I won’t purchase it, but I think I’ll try the second in the genius series, and later books seem to get higher reviews.  So I dunno… it felt like the books could be really good if they were just updated and the bad parts that used to be more common in this literature were removed.  It’s possible that, like Mary Balogh, her more recent books are less icky because the entire genre has moved away from icky.

Genuinely enjoyed The Heiress Companion, which is an old fashioned (and clean) regency novella by Madeline Robins.  It is no The Grand Sophy, but a pleasant read nonetheless.  Lady John and My Dear Jenny were also pretty good.  Spanish Marriage and Althea were both pretty awful, though in different ways.

Danse de la Folie by Sherwood Smith was also worth buying.  An old-fashioned style regency, if that makes sense.  (Not a bodice-ripper, older than that– more Austen-style.)  Not perfect, but soothing.

We both love love LOVED KJ Charles’ latest, Spectred Isle. The adopted son of Simon Feximal is in it!  SOOOOO GOOOOOOD.  Neither of us can wait for the next one.

In the modern world, #2 read and liked Attachments, which was Rainbow Rowell’s first book. Can you fall in love with someone via email? (Of course.) I think I’ve already mentioned Carry On somewhere on this blog.

Finally, we love books. I loved the little book, Dear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life. Writing letters to books is a neat idea and maybe I’ll try it sometime.

Get to reading, Grumpeteers! Tell us what’s good in romance.

Some anonymous spending polls for Christmas :)

For the family member ones, pick the person or people you would consider to fill that role (ignoring DNA unless you don’t want to ignore DNA).

Each one of these is a separate poll, so you’ll have to click the vote button for each one.  Sorry!

Linkity love

Call or fax your senators and representatives!  The new Tax Bill is bad and repeals the ACA!  Chip still isn’t funded.  There’s still no DREAM act.  Congress can DO something about Net Neutrality.  Heck, congress could do something about sensible gun legislation.

Black women are not magic negroes.  Here’s some sociology explaining.  Here’s how to truly thank Black women (hint:  donate money and time to their political organizations).  Also:  VOTE THEM IN OFFICE.

Here’s a list of the changes made in political activism in Alabama for this election.

Open Secrets with a running list of all the President’s emoluments

Propane Jane speaks Truth about misogyny and patriarchy.

In case you missed Billy Kimmel.

Republicans killing Obamacare

You already know this, but appealing to Trump Voters is a Lost Cause.  Mobilize the base!

Hazards to market futures.

Pollution deregulated

Your tax dollars being used to attack Patagonia

There’s a lot of speculation that Trump is going to fire Mueller and congress is going to let him if we don’t act right away.  There are a lot of suggestions that the firing is going to take place next week while many Americans are traveling or celebrating the holidays.  Here’s information on where and when you can go to protest.  If it happens before 2pm, the protest will be 5pm that day.  If it happens after 2pm, then the protest will be at noon the next day.  Keep some posterboard and markers on hand in case you need to make signs!

We could fix this problem with revolving door legislation

Courtney Milan also had a #metoo (trigger:  sexual harassment)

This moment is about being able to WORK unmolested (trigger: sexual harassment).

Imagine yourself a young reader in the margins


Eco Cat Lady discusses something that has surprisingly helped her get better sleep.

The 2017 Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog takes a bit of a #resisting turn this year.

For the Pastafarian on your list


John Boyega is showing up all over the internet because he’s on a publicity tour for the new movie.  I am finding him to be completely and totally adorable.

Sometimes you just need to see lots of pictures of baby octopodes

Evergreen tweet

At least 20K other people in the US got this joke enough to like it, which means I’m not alone.  Right?  Right?  (I feel so alone.  I had to explain it to 3 people including my husband and #2.  Then I gave up.)

Best Christmas songs you’ve never heard.

I have been loving the holiday stream.

I had never heard of Leadbelly until this week when I was curious about the origins of Black Betty.  He was a black singer who recorded over 100 songs (may of them while he was in jail) with the help of a couple of Linguists.  It’s astonishing how many of these songs later became huge hits when covered by white dudes.


Ask the grumpies: kids learning stuff

Sandy L asks:

I still sometimes feel guilt that I haven’t forced my kids to learn an instrument or even the 2nd language I speak with my mommy. They know some but are not fluent. What are your feelings on that? Do you force your kids to do things they hate?

The Official Grumpy Rumblings Parenting Philosophy ™ is that people are going to want you to feel guilty whether you do or don’t have your kids do activity X (or indeed, any activities at all), so do what you feel is best, which may be whatever is easiest for you.

Do we force our kids to do things they hate?  Sometimes!  I suspect DC1 would never ever ever bathe or take a shower if we didn’t make hir.  Certainly not as frequently as every other day.  And there’s things we’ve made them do the initial not fun parts and they end up liking them more later after they’ve gotten better, like cooking for DC1 or the tough parts of Train Your Monster to Read for DC2.

What about the rest of you, Grumpy Nation?  What are your thoughts?