What challenges do you like reading about and why?

I really like reading and hearing about no-spend challenges or buy-nothing-new and so on.

I like reading about how people’s lives are changed, with their relationship with “stuff” now different.  I like seeing people pay down debt with what they didn’t spend, or increase their savings (or vacation fund, or whatever they put the money towards that they value more than their gazingus pins or whatever they were buying habitually without really appreciating).  I can’t really seem to get tired of reading about people’s personal journeys with challenges that limit what they can buy.  Even their failures are instructional.  (I googled “no spend challenge” and it seems like it was really a THING back in January 2018!  But it’s still a thing even if not a THING.)

I don’t know WHY I like this brand of challenge so much.  A friend suggested it’s because I’m uber-frugal, and I’m like, so I like watching people challenge themselves at doing something I’m really good at!  (I’m not actually uber-frugal, given that we spend more than the median family makes each year, but conditional on our income one could make that argument.)  But that can’t be it.

Because I’m also REALLY good at reading novels.  Like SUPER good at reading novels.  And I find people’s novel reading challenges to be supremely boring.  Like, read 12 books a year or 30 or whatever.  I don’t count and I don’t get counting.  So me feeling superior is not it.  Though, I do kind of get a kick out of when people who read only white dood books do a “read only women authors” or “read only authors from underrepresented groups” challenge.  Because then they discover all these great books that they never knew existed, which is cool.  I do already read mostly women authors and a lot of underrepresented authors, but because the fact of bias in the publishing industry means that anything by an underrepresented group actually published is probably going to be better than average or it wouldn’t be published.  Similarly self-authored stuff is going to be better on average for the same reason– more underrepresented group people aren’t getting regular publishers because of bias so there’s higher quality.  So… that’s kind of selfish on my part even ignoring the benefits of diversity.  I’d love for a world in which mediocre books by underrepresented groups are also published just like they are with white authors, but we’re not there yet.

So I guess I like challenges when people’s eyes are opened and they learn something about themselves or about the world.  When challenges help people grow.

I do kind of like wheezywaiter‘s random challenges even when they don’t work.  Because I’m curious about people’s experiences with things even if they’re not things I’m going to want to do.  So it’s not just challenges that are likely to be successful and life-changing, but seeing what happens and what works.

I am not the only person in this world who loves reading about challenges.  I mean, that’s kind of wheezywaiter’s current brand right now, and it’s made his popularity go way up according to a couple of his videos.

But I don’t like all challenges.  Maybe the question is more about why I don’t like the reading some number of books challenges.  And maybe it’s just that I don’t like challenges that are about doing something fun.  Which makes sense– a few years back #2 did a read steampunk books challenge and she hated it.  Challenges take away fun from things that are already fun, but they add something to things that aren’t.  Sort of like taking that Jane Austen class in college was the last time I ever reread Pride and Prejudice without zombies, but it made Mansfield Park somewhat interesting.

Do you like to read/watch other people’s challenges?  What genres are your favorite?  Do you prefer doing or watching?

Halloween costumes of years past

So, I was thinking of my Halloween costumes years past…
Here’s what I can remember:
1. Angel (I vaguely remember my mom ordering wings from Sears and them almost not coming in on time)
2. Flapper (I did not look like a flapper– I did wear one of my mom’s old 1970s style dresses. No fringe, but I did have a bob)
3. Beethoven (poet shirt, black pants, teased hair)
4. Witch
5. Witch (same costume)
6. Martha Washington (my mom got married in 1976; this was her wedding dress which was also her bridesmaids dress for her sister’s more opulent wedding that year)

… That’s all I can remember. There may have been a few more witches in there. And I KNOW that at some point I wore one of those cheap plastic pinny costumes with a cheap plastic mask once our town got a Walmart, which was a huge relief to my mom, but I cannot for the life of me remember what– maybe Wonder Woman? I’m pretty sure there were no black-face or Roma or Ninja costumes in my past.

One of the things about being rich is that on the years that my MIL doesn’t just send Halloween costumes, we can go to Target or to a Halloween supply store (last year DC1 needed a costume zie could play violin in Target was out of non-offensive things in hir size that allowed violin playing) and spend $30 and get a costume that will last long enough to be passed down.  No need for creativity or effort!  DC2 is going as a Ravenclaw this year (DC1 is 12 and maybe shouldn’t be trick-or-treating, but if zie does, zie will reuse hir grim reaper costume).

What Halloween costumes do you remember from your youth?

On break

Nothing’s wrong– just traveling and out of backlog!  (If you’d like a grumpy hit, check out our back list– 2011 had some especially entertaining posts, for example.)

How’s your summer going?

A dialogue on cephalophones

I realize these dialogues would be much more exciting if one of us could draw, or pretend to draw, on the computer.  But alas, we are lazy.

#1:  I didn’t realize there was a word for this, but it makes sense.

#2:  …and it has to be saints, not just anybody carrying their heads?

#1:  maybe it’s a term about saints that you could apply to other people?

#2:  but that might confuse people– how would they know you’re speaking metaphorically?

#1:  hmm

#2:  like you don’t want people to think that an *ordinary* group of people carrying their heads are actually saints

#1:  haha

#2:  Or worse!  It could be dangerous.  You might confuse a group of headless horsemen for saints.

#1:  only if they had horses

#2:  or British houseghosts!

#1:  (nearly)

#2:  They’re not always nearly headless!  What about the Canterbury Ghost?

#1:  What about him?

#2:  He’s not a saint.

#1:  Right.

#2:  Or what about Nearly Headless Nick’s Frenemies?  I bet they’re dangerous.  Can’t go mixing them up with saints.

#1:  hahahaha

[end]

 

 

things you don’t actually have to do (unless you want to)

As we’ve gotten old and allowed to be lazy, we’ve made some discoveries about things that we grew up thinking everybody did, or found out that other people thought everyone did (even if we didn’t)

  • make your bed
  • fold your underpants
  • declutter
  • puree baby food (they don’t actually need mush)
  • cut old tshirts into same-size pieces to make rags (you can use it as rags without cutting it, you can tear where there’s already holes etc.)
  • shave your “lady-bits” (embarrassingly, I didn’t even know this was a thing until I saw people talking on a mother’s forum)
  • sleep train

ETA:  I’ve heard great things about Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu.

Grumpy Nation, what are some things you’ve realized don’t actually need to be done, or that you were surprised to find other people thought were necessary?

Ring in the Link Love

Happy 2019!  Here are some links.

We are excited that delagar (Kelly Jennings) got a Patreon!  We love her writing.  Speaking of whom, read this blog post and don’t be a dick about gender and sexuality.

Let’s not be real.  Especially not at work.

People should read more Shirley Jackson, I guess.

If you turn up the sound real high on this kitty, you can hear a purr.

It me:

Yeah.

I love this:

and this:

(mainly for the book Craig’s dad is reading)

and I love this, just because:

 

Get rid of unwanted mail.

One good thing about Texas.  Speaking of which, this piece has been getting spread far and wide this week, as it should be.

 

What’s good in 2019, Grumpeteers?

 

Last Link Love of 2018

The year is on the way out and we’ve been on airplanes.  Here are some slightly belated links!

Definitely follow @sewwiththeflo, which is Nancy’s account from Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  (Artist account: https://twitter.com/EricaFails )

Here’s some cheer:

 

Don’t forget to donate to charity.  Speaking of which:

Here are some things #2 sent me that I don’t know what they are:

https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/12/conservation-by-baumgartner/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-mar-a-lago-party-tents-government-shutdown_us_5c26e042e4b0407e9082b572

In 2019 maybe I will post about books more.  Just for joy.  Out with the old, in with the MOAR NOVELS!

Cheers, Grumpeteers!

 

You know you’re getting older when

  • You start recognizing fewer and fewer names and faces on the People magazine covers at the grocery store.
  • The only Lady Gaga song you know is by Lady Gaga is the one that sounds exactly like that Madonna song.  You know it is Lady Gaga once you hear it because you read on CNN (or heard on NPR) that her newest hit single sounds like Express Yourself.
  • you realize that the above bullets were written over 7 years ago(!).
  • none of the students get your jokes anymore.  Any of them.
  • They haven’t even seen Stand and Deliver.  What is up with that?
  • we should have saved the “your good hip hurts” thing for this rboc, not the previous one
  • there are definitely more aches and pains though
  • there’s so much you used to care about that just seems like trivial drama now
    • Though that could be because there’s actual life-at-risk drama and treason and stuff coming at us on a daily basis, which has nothing to do with our ages so much as our cohort…
  • you have 131 unfinished posts in your drafts, but zero under scheduled….

Grumpeteers, how do you know you’re getting older?

On life and planners

Yesterday after work I went to Staples and got myself a small planner.  I’m gonna get my life together!  (Well, ok, *sort of* together.)

It has a pretty cover.

In my previous job, I had a google calendar on my work account that other people could see, and I could see theirs.  This made meeting planning more easy.  For personal life, I wrote things on scraps of paper.

In my academic job before that, I had a large paper planner with 1 page per day and I wrote EVERYTHING in there, which was the only way I stayed sane.  Haircuts, office hours, meetings, to-do lists, deadlines, birthdays, everything.

Now, I have too many scraps of paper and work calendars aren’t great.  I was hoping to share an electronic one with my boss, but she has an idiosyncratic system so that’s not gonna work.  So!  For the first time in like FOUR YEARS I am going back to an integrated calendar for work and life.  It’ll be on paper so I don’t have to log into anything to see it wherever I am.  And it’s pretty.  I discovered I needed it when I (finally!) made a haircut appointment and had no good place to write it down.

Isn’t it great how many varieties of little notebooky things there are these days???

It’s really hard to find perfection.  I spent a long time at Staples.  The good news is, they have many customizable and build-your-own options there, so you can put in the types of pages you want.  (task-planning?  to-do list?  month-per-page?  day-per-page?  etc.)

I think there’s some metaphors for life in the above.

#2 has a Moleskine notebook that isn’t perfect, but she’s satisficing.  (Perfect was the free calendars that various professional groups used to give away each year before everyone had online calendars on their phones instead.)  Her DH keeps all the family stuff on Google calendars, but #2 hasn’t switched over yet (plus her work is still on Outlook calendar(!)), though she does have google calendar on her computers and phone.  There’s still something nice about being able to flip through a paper book to see things and to be able to write things down with a pen instead of thumbs (plus I’m bad about keeping my phone on me– I often leave it attached to a charger, whereas my dayplanner generally stays in its dedicated spot in my Binh bag when not in use).

How do you plan your life, your work and everything?  Are you old school paper?  100% electronic?  100% memory?  100% personal assistant?  Do you integrate work and life or have separate systems for separate spheres?  How has your planning changed over the years? 

Trying out recipes that sound kind of gross

The first recipe I remember as an adult that fit this category was egg and onion soup from Help! My apartment has a kitchen!  The name sounds awful.  But this turns out to be a quick and amazingly delicious soup that became part of our regular rotation until our children started mobilizing against diced tomatoes.  It’s a comfort food that blends different textures and feels healthy without tasting too vegetal.

Most recently we bit the bullet and made eggs sardou Cooking Light style (so hard boiled eggs instead of poached and a faux hollandaise).  Basically:  frozen artichoke hearts, spinach, green onions, with sliced hard boiled eggs on top, then covered in a roux that has a touch of thyme, pepper, and Parmesan.  Finished with Parmesan and paprika sprinkled on top.  It came out and looked terribly healthy.  But… it actually tasted good.  Hard boiled eggs, cooked spinach and all.  And it didn’t make me feel at all gross like eggs Benedict recipes often do.

This has me wondering if I should try the next appetizer in the Gourmet Magazine cookbook— it is a chicken liver pate (we’re in the crostini section).  I am not a fan of liver in any form (disclaimer:  have not tried foie gras) and hate the smell of it being cooked.  (One of my grandmothers LOVED calf liver and onions, and although I loved my grandma, I did not love that dish.)  But maybe it’s worth a try?  [Update:  it was ok– the first taste was kind of yummy, then it was ok, but then I didn’t like the aftertaste.  So not as horrifying as I’d predicted, but also not something I feel the need to make again.]

Have you tried out any foods lately that sounded gross but turned out to be ok, even good?  Have your tastes changed as you’ve aged?