RBOC

  • I knew John Green had terrible taste in literature (as evidenced by his deep abiding love for the required HS whiny privileged male protagonist canon), but I didn’t realize it wasn’t just that he liked terrible books in addition to good books.  He has read one Terry Pratchett.  (A Discworld too, and not one of Pratchett’s early meh children’s books.)  I can’t even.  How is that even possible?  None, All, or “I’m in the middle of the series” all make sense, but one is beyond the bounds of belief.
  • I guess I like some of the “privileged people create their own problems” literature, but generally the ones I read allow the reader in on the joke.  Like if Gatsby had Jeeves working for him.  Emma is a warning about what happens when an intelligent woman has too much time on her hands, not whatever deep lessons it is that people get from Holden Caulfield’s incessant whining.  Though I guess they both would have been better off with meaningful occupation.  We chuckle at Emma but nobody identifies with her.  Maybe because of male privilege– men want to identify with privileged losers but that’s a luxury women don’t have.  To get as whiny and indolent as Holden Caulfield as a woman, you end up being a side character put in the story merely for comic relief.
  • Note to self:  If I ever become a YA writer, try writing a story where Caulfield is a minor character played for laughs from the perspective of a female protagonist.
  • I am glad that if I wrote an “unvarnished truth” style memoir, it would be pretty boring.  Or, as our tag says, “probably boring if you’re not us
  • It is annoying that some of the jargon in my field is non-pc.  I am currently going through a paper doing a find/replace to change all the bad jargon into less obnoxious words.  I know I could probably get this published with the jargon still in place, but non-pc terms can hurt marginalized people and we don’t have to do that.  Still, because it is the jargon in my field, my early drafts always use the shorthand.  Just 42 instances more to go…
  • The times in my life when I’ve been least happy have been times when I have had less agency and the times when I’ve been most happy, I’ve been the one deciding what to do with my life.  I suspect this is healthy.
  • I keep getting upper respiratory infections. (I suspect this is not  healthy.) I do not like it.
  • It feels amazing to not be sick after being sick.
  • It is amazing to have DH back after him being gone for over a week.
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RBOC

  • Don’t forget to call your senators about health care!  They’re likely to try to repeat what the House did and pass their horrible bill that drops healthcare coverage for the neediest, breaks insurance markets for people on the exchanges, removes coverage protections for those with employer sponsored health insurance, and gives enormous tax breaks to a few people, when they think nobody is paying attention.
  • “Knives” is an awesome name for a girl.  Like Knives Chau.
  • Wonder Woman is the hero we need, but not the hero we deserve.
  • I have had minor chest congestion and a small cough since May.  It doesn’t seem to be allergies.  I know at this point I should probably go into see a doctor but I seriously doubt it will make a difference.  Maybe I’ll get chest x-rays and they’ll find bronchitis, and then what?  Probably nothing, possibly antibiotics that won’t do anything. (Update:  trying a different antihistamine than my usual helps but only while it is working, so maybe allergies?)
  • I don’t think it’s a coincidence that bloggers who complain about debt and money also borrow money to buy luxuries we don’t generally feel we can afford.
  • DH is listening to the new Al Franken book and keeps getting verklempt.  DH says he has to pause it while driving in order to gather himself together.  Apparently it hits lots of emotions.
  • Why doesn’t spellcheck know verklempt?  Overslept is not even close!
  • John Green had a brief but intense love affair with Ryan Gosling on the set of LaLaLand. It was only 48 hours, and they don’t keep in touch, but he has never felt so loved.
  • There’s this thing that several current pop songs are doing with auto-tune these days that I don’t really like.  I don’t mind auto-tune when it’s used to say, correct Brittney Spears, and I kind of liked the electronic vocal effects that they played around with in the 1980s.  I think the difference here is that it hits the uncanny valley of vocal stuff.
  • I want to play planescape torment again
  • DC1 doesn’t greedily identify, or really identify at all, with the lone genius trope.  Zie hasn’t even reread Matilda (which we own).  I think this is a good thing and evidence that zie is having a much happier childhood than the rest of us did.
  • What do I need to do in order to find a job I don’t hate given that I hate to work?  (what/how/where/how???).
  • I’ve been reading about people who hate to work.  Unfortunately a lot of the advice is “start your own business!” which is the worst.  Or become financially independent, sure, but first I have to work to get money.  “Start a side hustle!” but I don’t even have the energy for ONE hustle.

RBOC

  •  Solution to the CSA turnip problem:  veggie spears with dip.  Turns out raw turnip is pretty inoffensive.
  • MIL was being reticent about accepting our portion of the cabin/hotel costs (or even letting us know what said costs are– thankfully there’s google to give guestimates based on posted website prices), so we just sent her a check for $800.  She cashed it.  Victory!  (I hope that means it was a reasonable amount and not that we low-balled the costs.)
  • I took a whole bunch of “what anime should I watch next” and they all said ouran high school host club even though they all had different questions.  But I’ve seen it literally three times.  I do own the dvds… maybe I should just give in.  I kind of want to rewatch yamato nadeshiko shichihenge and I also own that so maybe.  I bet the kids are old enough to enjoy scrapped princess.
  • As I often do when I can’t figure out an anime to watch, I read some manga.  This time around I found Kimagure Orange Grove since I last saw the anime like 20 years ago.  What gets me this time around is how current some of the 1980s fashions look (even though my closet is full of brand-new 60s-style print dresses!).  In the past 1980s manga/anime has seemed really dated by the clothing, but no more!  I guess everything old is new again.
  • DC2 is really into books about people (kids, cats, etc.) behaving badly.  Hir favorites were David of No David! fame and Bad Kitty (of Bad Kitty fame).  Hir swimming instructor recommended Junie B. Jones, which I purposefully never ever got for DC1… but we picked one up at the library for DC2.  I’m hoping that the explanation that Junie B. Jones does NOT behave well (and DC2 would NEVER behave like her) will be sufficient.  After all zie hasn’t behaved like David or Bad Kitty… I worry a little because when I was little I would sometimes pretend to be book characters, but some of that was me not being mentally stimulated enough, and we work hard at getting our kids mental exercise.  But DC2 is ok with but not crazy about Magic books (like The Magic Treehouse), unlike DC1 at this stage, and zie isn’t yet into mysteries… so if one wants DC2 to eagerly read chapter books, one has to supply what DC2 likes.  (I forget when DC1’s love of mysteries suddenly and mysteriously started, but I think it was closer to age 6.)
  • Nice kitty has learned how to play fetch with her favorite toy– a thick shoelace that she wants us to drag on the ground so she can chase it.
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RBOC

  • PSA:  If you need to save space on your grant proposal, do not, I repeat, DO NOT mess around with the spacing between letters to buy yourself more space.  Cut things, play with your margins, get rid of adjectives, whatever, but playing with the spaces between letters just makes life difficult for your reviewers.  Leave Kerning Alone!
  • We hadn’t been shopping in the city for something like 3 months.  When we finally went, we spent almost $300 at TJ’s (DH says this is a new record) and $175 at WF.  And also we bought loose tea at the tea shop and ice cream at the ice cream place and poke (yay!) at one of the new poke bars and a lasagna at the fresh noodle place and… Our freezer is now full and our pantry is over-stocked.  Since we also have the CSA (which also provides eggs and a pound of ground beef each week) going right now I told DH we weren’t allowed to go grocery shopping except to get milk for a few weeks.
  • I really like the teapot DH got me for my birthday.
  • It’s a little depressing looking at stats for random posts and seeing that some quite excellent posts haven’t had a single view in aeons.  Do they get lonely?  Do they feel unloved?  Back when we had less of an archive, occasionally we’d have people read all the posts, but I think there’s too much now.  Which is a shame because there’s some really good stuff in there.
  • I found out that the Davis, California Whole Foods recently went out of business.  If a hippie university town near SF can’t support a WF, what hope does our nowhere have of getting one?
  • It’s creepy seeing that a college ex-boyfriend has checked out your LinkedIn profile.  (He’s a product manager at Google in case you’re wondering, so I can’t imagine that he’s got any professional reason to look.  Plus apparently we only have one connection so it’s unlikely he accidentally landed on my page.)  I probably wouldn’t have minded if this guy hadn’t turned out to be a jerk, but this is not a guy I think fondly of if I think of him at all.  (Whereas I was super happy for my sweet first boyfriend when I heard through the grapevine that he’d gotten married and later he’d had kids.  I think I’m happy leaving him with that Happily Ever After.)
  • I suspect that at this point in the season I am about 70% zucchini bread by weight.
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RBOC

  • I think I’m going through premature ovarian failure.  I had stopped showing symptoms for a while so my doctor wasn’t all that concerned at my annual check-up other than doing the usual thyroid check and a (less usual) prolactin check to rule out other stuff, but symptoms have returned.  I do not like them.
  • It’s more than a little depressing that when I ask my colleagues “Where would you move?” each one of them has an immediate answer because they’ve thought hard about which countries to go to if they had to flee.  We’re kind of in a bad situation for that given that the countries that do DH’s thing aren’t necessarily the best for me (especially since I am hopeless at German– Ich sprecke nicht!), but in an emergency, if we were able to get our savings out of the country, I think we’d be able to retire without working to Spain, which I think I could handle.  I don’t want to be an ex-pat though– I am too patriotic.  I want to save my country instead.
  • DH found my faculty ID when he was sorting stuff for taxes.  Putting off getting a replacement for >6 months for the win!
  • I want to buy a t-shirt that says, “Dismal Scientist” but I may have to make one.
  • We bought silverware at a discount kitchen place when we were grad students.  After having my spoon bend again while eating ice cream, I decided that maybe it’s time to get a grown-up set of flatware.  After reading a lot of reviews, I determined that silverware sets have gone down in price quite a bit since we last shopped for them, but mainly because they’re really bad quality.  Lots of complaints about rusting and not being dishwasher safe for things that are supposed to be made of the highest quality material.  Pieces in the same sets aren’t standardized.  Production is mainly in Vietnam, Indonesia, and China, which wouldn’t be a problem except that there’s no quality control on the finished products, even from name-brands like Oneida and Lenox.  So we’re trying out the one remaining US manufacturer which is more expensive but seems to be getting pretty rave reviews.  You can get a set of 3 factory-seconds to try out different patterns for $8 (including shipping and handling), so that’s what we’re doing.  I’ll write a full post if it works out.  (Lots of the online reviews about it are in exchange for a free place setting, ours won’t be– they don’t know we exist.)
  • DH didn’t get an oxford comma joke that I showed him.  I had to explain what the Oxford comma was.  He still didn’t get it.  Readers, it was the first time I have ever questioned our marriage.  But then he said he always puts the comma there in a list so I said we could stay together.  Whew.
  • DC1 is better at piano now than I ever was.
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RBO answering First Gen American’s questions about #1’s finances post-mortgage

The next near term unmet savings goal seems to be DC1 and Dc2 college fund. More posts on that would be interesting to me as I also have one about the same age. Although I am about a year behind you on payoff, that is my next savings goal.

We decided to up it to $750/mo/kid, basically splitting the difference between what we’d need for a super pricey school and what we were contributing already.  That also means that is eating $500/mo of the not-paying-the-mortgage-savings we were seeing.

I guess you can also ponder some more about when to get that next car

This is a constant pondering thing.  It was in the shop again for a week because it started doing the squealing thing that it had been doing two years ago, and even though it is a cheap fix (tighten things), it takes them forever to figure it out.  Partly because it only squeals when the engine is cold and it’s cold outside.  Only $70 for that + replacing the windshield wipers (because why not), but also there was a week of us having to deal with only having one car (indeed, they didn’t completely fix the squeal because DH had to drive to the city for a meeting and needed me to have the car to do dropoff).  And since they’ve tightened everything the shocks aren’t being as nice and shock absorbent as they usually are which means my ride is more bumpy.  But each time my car needs fixing, we don’t know if it’s going to be the last repair for a while or not.  If it is, then we’re happy, but if the car has to go in again, it’s a pain.  So I don’t know.  We’re still pondering.  Eventually there will be enough excess in savings that we won’t have to rebuild the emergency fund after buying a Prius or something similar.  (We’re not there yet.)  The other car seems fine for now, and the insurance company of the at-fault driver took care of our costs and our insurance company’s costs.

Do general posts on spending budgets (not the day to day expenses, But those emergency ones). I remember feeling a little overwhelmed when my TV, washer and water heater broke within months of each other, until I realized they were all old and due to be replaced… A lot does get fixed when you have a big emergency fund. You don’t really need to keep such close track of everything.

Yeah, we just have a big emergency fund that could cover a washer and water heater and heck, even a new roof (though maybe not solar panels to go on said roof, which we might do after getting a new roof).  We have two water heaters and I guess they’ll be due to be replaced in a few years– can’t remember if we got the 15 year or the 20 year kind.  (And actually, a few months after we moved into this house, shortly after we finally purchased a washer and dryer, the water heaters needed to be replaced, and our dishwasher broke and we ran through a series of broken microwaves… fortunately we’d had paychecks for a few months at that point.  But it did put off our ability to buy furniture.)

Maybe some posts on where you’d move in retirement. I guess if you earn a lot but don’t have a lot of house, a no state income tax place may be a good place to live. I think I generally prefer paying state income tax as there are limits to what low income folks are required to pay. Paying crazy property taxes with a fixed income in retirement is no fun.

We hope to maximize friends and fun things to do in retirement, so we’ll probably be moving to a high tax state!  Most people will retire in place or move closer to family.  But it is a good idea for some folks to think through the tax and cost of living implications of different geographical areas once they’re no longer tied to a job.

RBOC

  • Someday I will figure out the light switches in the house I’ve been living in for 10 years.
  • the best thing about dc1’s after school care at this public school is that they provide extra time on early dismissal days so we can pick hir up after a full days work.
  • hibiscus mint is my new favorite tea
  • I ate moose.  I like elk better, but it’s still pretty good.  I like elk better than venison and venison better than beef, but beef better than moose.
  • Over Christmas, the next oldest cousin (~2 years younger than DC1) was literally bouncing off of walls, so I started quizzing hir on hir multiplication tables.  It worked to calm hir down just like it does with my kids.  Hir father looked at me a little oddly though.  :/
  • Dear conference organizer, if you want me to pay attention to specific parts of your email and get back to you in a short time frame, WRITE SHORTER EMAILS.  I don’t actually have to do anything until the end of next month so I’m not going to read your multi-page email now.  If you have responses that you need before then, you need to put them and their deadlines at the top of the email in an itemized list, and, if there is information in your lengthy screed that I need to get you those responses, either tell me where to find it or repost it.
  • DC2 was getting hives on hir face at night and sometimes in the morning.  We think we’ve narrowed it down to hir toothpaste (it’s either that or the water or the towel she had been using).  We’ve switched from toothpastes with red dye to those without (and rewashed all the clean hand towels, just in case) and it seems to have gone away which suggests it’s not the water.  Zie was also a bit hyperactive and defiant the weekend that was the worst rash-wise, so I’m kind of wondering if zie has that red dye allergy that people talk about on mommy forums.  (Hives also happened in conjunction with hir deciding zie only wanted bubble-gum flavored toothpaste, not mint.  Now we’re using Tom’s of Maine strawberry and it seems to be ok though DC2 is upset that it is strawberry and not mango.)
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