RBOC

  • Lately I’ve been feeling a bit creative about foods.  For example, I recently decided to make savory pancakes with Northwoods seasoning (similar to Emeril’s, but available from Penzey’s– kind of a paprika thyme garlic salt mix) and no sugar, just eggs, flour, a little olive oil, and seasoning.  We also made a roasted red pepper dip that I really want to add sour cream to and use as the base cream for a vegetable tart which would be like a fruit tart but with roasted veggies instead of fruit and this red pepper cream instead of custard.  Maybe puff pastry on the bottom.  I wish we still had easy access to WW puff pastry squares with butter like we did back in Paradise.
  • When dealing with blog/internet drama, we often ask, “What would Scalzi do?”  That’s generally a good guide.
  • I made the mistake of looking at the youtube comments on Georgy Girl (the song) and they were full of misogynist men ranting about feminists and how songs like this were so wholesome (and to go to the Ukraine to get wives because they’re totally subservient)… but… Georgy Girl (the movie) is one of the least innocent movies I’ve ever seen.  Maybe these commenters see themselves in the position of the creepy rich old man at the end (more likely they just don’t actually know anything).  (Georgy Girl is definitely a movie that works as a cautionary tale for women to never be dependent on a man!)
  • I’ve noticed my OCD tendencies gradually getting worse.  I suspect this has to do with feeling like I have no locus of control with world events.  So nameplates need to be centered and teas need to be organized and categorizing things is even more soothing than usual.  (Looking at my home and workplace you’d never know I had these tendencies unless you looked at my spices or my bookcases.  I am a very alphabetized slob.)
  • My fear of crowds has also gotten worse since I had that panic attack at the first women’s march.  I had to do CBT breathing walking around a dealer’s hall at a spec fic convention in a nearby city, which is something I haven’t really had to do before because the level of crowding didn’t used to hit my panic-meter (unlike, say, amusement parks during the busy season).
  • I am excited that wide pants are coming back (at least where I live– my most recent trip to the east coast shows they’re still wearing skin-tight pants) and that ripped jeans are in and that it’s summer.  This means I was able to unearth my favorite pair of jeans that got put into storage many years ago because the knee is ripped across and I am a grown-up.  They are SO COMFY!  And fashionable!
  • If you hate a lot of people, chances are I am one of them.  (Not counting the hate we should all have for fascists and racists and Nazis.)  Except #2 likes me, which is the exception that proves the rule.
  • Obviously the room labeled “Quiet Area” is where you go to have a conversation. Of course. Because it’s quiet.
  • DC1 was in the “worst” (and largest) of 3 orchestras in middle school this past year.  Zie was kind of upset because zie had hoped zie would at least make it into the middle orchestra after the previous year, even though zie started a year behind (in 5th grade zie played trumpet while we were on leave instead of violin).  Zie worked super hard this year, practicing at least 30 min/day every day and doing more pointed practicing (zie read the intro to “Practice Perfect” and a lot of what hir previous orchestra teacher had been trying to say about how to practice finally made sense), and we got a better (and very strict) outside teacher who started teaching hir basic stuff like how to correctly hold a bow.  (DH and I both played brass so we are completely clueless when it comes to strings.)  Zie is one of TWO kids moving from the enormous “bad” orchestra to the smaller “best” orchestra.  (Most of the movement comes from the middle orchestra to the small best one or from the best players at the previous school.) We weren’t expecting this outcome at all– DC1 had been hoping to make it to the middle orchestra and is worried that zie isn’t ready for the small elite one, but we have 3 months and lots of summer lessons for hir to get ready.  I’m super proud at how hard zie has worked.  :)
  • The fourth child (third daughter) of DH’s relative is going to graduate from high school a year early (!) and has definite college plans.  She wants to be either a teacher or a journalist, but probably a teacher (because her top choice state school isn’t the journalism school but has a good teaching program).  We told the relative not to bother with community college since she’s state-school eligible and we would 100% foot the bill.  We’re trying paying for high school summer camp for her even though that didn’t work out well for the oldest when we tried 7 or so years ago because of homesickness.  But they are different people.  And if there is homesickness, I guess that will help make the community college or not decision.  It would really be nice if the last two kids get degrees right out of high school.
  • i made chicken tetrazzini (cooking light style) and I really liked it.  It was a real comfort food which is odd because it isn’t one my family made, but definitely a midwestern potluck staple.  So much comfort food that is out of style these days.  I did leave out the pimiento and increased the mushrooms and roux (with milk in place of water) instead of using a can of cream of mushroom soup.  So updated a bit and the cooking light version had more veggie than the tetrazzini of my youth.
  • I saw a high temp forecasted for tomorrow and I said, I kid you not, “Holy schnorkles!”  I do not know what has happened to my words.
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RBOC

  • I hate it the way people in the South default to Mrs. instead of Ms. in writing.  (In speech it all slurs to Miz.)  The thing that bothers me about it is not the assumption about my marital status, but the way that they call me Mrs. Maiden, when properly I am Mrs. Married.  (Legally, I am Ms. Maiden or Dr. Maiden, but I’m not picky about that outside of my work.)  I have the weirdest grammar OCD triggers.
  • It also really really bugs me when people write beta * X instead of X * beta when X is a vector and not a single variable.  How do journals let this get through copy editing?!?
  • I have recently done some interdisciplinary work with non-economists that’s been placing in interdisciplinary journals.  It is insane how much faster and easier the publication process is with these.  First off, the papers are a lot shorter and aren’t criticized for telling part rather than the entire story.  Then the turnaround is so much faster!  And they ask for so much less on the revisions.  And they’re so positive.  And there’s fewer revisions.  My n isn’t very large right now, but man, this could get addicting.  I wonder how much of this is the anonymity (reviewers don’t know who we are) and how much is the lack of anonymity (editors do, and my credentials seem to be more impressive to non-economists than to my peers who also have the same or better credentials).
  • I made another obscure academic pun.  I crack me up.  But I don’t crack anybody else up.
  • *this* year’s mother’s day tea (with the kindergarten) specifically says that the person taking place of mom if she can’t come must be a grandmother or aunt (so no dads– I will be interested to see if the fathers day donuts thing has similar instructions) AND that younger siblings need to stay at home.  So… sucks for both working moms AND SAHM this time around.  At least it’s at 8:30am which is before work instead of in the middle of the day.  I’ll be at a conference in another city though.  I really hate these taxes on parents.
  • It has become even more difficult to view facebook and twitter if you don’t have an account.  That makes it pretty clear that it’s not advertising that they’re trying to sell– if that were the case, they’d be happy for me to read through and they’d just show me more ads, especially on the facebook pages for business.  No, they want information.  They want a world in which corporations are big brother and can perfectly target… and possibly more.  All those mid to late 1990s movies were pretty prescient.  Information is power.
  • Did you ever have one of those days where you thought you were gonna leave the house and be all together and collected but then it turns out later you’re not as together as you thought?  For example, I need a belt.  I do not have a belt.
  • I have to take an online course in order to be allowed to telework.  Yay?
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RBOC

  • Little kitty got another ear infection—this time two bacteria and a fungus.  :(
  • FINALLY got DC1 hooked on Diana Wynne Jones.  I was getting worried that it was never going to happen, and even worse, that there was something actually wrong with the Chrestomanci series (like the suck fairy visiting), even though I have definitely reread it as an adult.  But apparently zie just needed to grow into it.  The lives of Christopher Chant hooked hir so hard that zie chose to finish reading it instead of playing video games (or sleeping)!  And that was after Charmed Life, which I consider to be one of her creepiest novels.  (Granted, after I read it the first time I flipped straight to the beginning and read it again!)
  • I often wonder how DC1 can be so smart and so thoughtful, and yet be seemingly completely incapable of:  hanging up hir wet towel, putting away hir empty fizzy water can, or putting on a shirt right side out and not backwards.
  • DC1 grew three inches in three months.  In theory zie no longer needs a booster seat, though since most of that height is leg, in practice zie still needs a booster seat.
  • Posts that say you “need 300K to be middle class” in any specific part of the US confuse being middle class with being able to have everything.  You do NOT need 300K/year to live in a 2-3br place in good school district, eat yummy food, save for retirement, and have some luxuries anywhere in the US that’s commutable for work.  Even Manhattan.  Yes, you need that or more to have a McMansion in those places/send kids to private school/have elaborate lengthy vacations and so on, but when you have all of those things someplace where it’s also amazing to live (and expensive because it’s so amazing), you’re no longer middle class.  Last time I did a calculation, which was before the Trump tax hike for people who live in coastal states, we’d need 230K/year to move out there with no negative lifestyle changes other than downsizing and renting.  But we are NOT MIDDLE CLASS.  That’s a life without any sacrifice except the one imposed by reality.  And we’d be getting more of so many other wonderful things (eating out a lot more!).  (Alas, DH does not have a job offer for 230K and I have no job prospects.)  There’s a big difference between comfortable and upper.
  • It takes a while to refill an emergency/slush fund that you’ve just taken 33K out of.
  • The plumbing company owner came out finally and figured out a way to get our water filter to fit in our hot water heater closet where the main water line enters the house.  But then sort of ghosted again instead of scheduling an appointment.  Not a high priority, but man… I do wonder if this is ever going to happen.
  • The women’s history month thing turned out to be a huge waste of time.  Two terrible talks (including one that went double or triple time) and two decent talks.  Followed by 12 minutes remaining for the poster session which ended at 5pm, which meant that almost everybody (including the fourth speaker whose talk was really interesting, but sadly abbreviated) had to leave to get their kids before 5pm instead of looking at posters.  I left with 6 min remaining since nobody had looked at my poster other than the group of 6 students whose poster was next to mine (“This looks really… complicated… how do you know so much statistics?”) and they were crowding in my space trying to stand in front of their own poster.
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RBOC

  • DC1’s algebra teacher quit to join administration a couple of weeks after the second semester started (after a week long absence).  I guess we’ll have to keep a closer eye on the rest of the semester since algebra is so fundamental and I’m pretty sure zie doesn’t now how to factor polynomials even if zie does know how to multiply them.
  • Super bummed that Teen Vogue is no longer doing a print edition.  The last few issues were AMAZING, including one guest edited by HRC.  Irritatingly, they switched DC1’s subscription over to Allure magazine “the magazine for people who care about beauty” or something like that.  Full of “beauty tips.”  This month’s issue was on nudity and had a nearly naked airbrushed stereotypical model on the cover.  Completely not appropriate for an 11 year old or really anybody.  And very different from a magazine that features people like Malala Yousafzi on the cover.  I will be getting a check for $2 in the mail for my cancellation– Teen Vogue should have been charging more.  It’s a different market and was worth much more than the ridiculous $10 for 2 years or whatever it was I paid.
  • Forgive me, for I have referred to a paper about fertility as “seminal” in published work.  Next up:  referring to a paper about religion as “canonical”.  And a paper about building cities as, “ground-breaking” (or should I save that one for agriculture?).
  • it is weird to me that my kids have had macarons before having had macaroons.
  • DC2 has moved onto chapter books at school.  Zie is in love with the Geronimo Stilton that DC1 read maybe once or twice.  They have such different taste in books.  Really the only commonality is that they both love Jim Benton, author of Franny K Stein and Dear Dumb Diary.  I so wish we had Scholastic so I could indulge in buying sets of series we don’t have (like Thea Stilton!)
  • Preserved walnuts are really good.  If you ever get the opportunity to try/buy them, take it!
  • My cholesterol is fine this year (whew!), so maybe all that additional lunchtime walking did some good!  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have helped with my vitamin D levels (which may explain the fatigue I’ve been having), so my doctor wants me to go from 2000 iu to 5000 iu.  I’m going to compromise and do 4000 iu because that means I can have a 2000 iu when I brush my teeth and keep another bottle of 2000 iu in my office when I get my mid-day slump.
  • It isn’t a bargain if you can’t afford it.
  • We owed an additional $2846 in taxes this year, not counting the estimated taxes for this next year.  [Update:  We forgot a whole ton of donations– didn’t go through the school email folder or the check register, so it’s actually $100 less than that.  With the additional donations, we’re just a little over the standard deduction.  Also turns out there’s no point for us to declare a home office since we don’t get anywhere near the minimum for it to count for us– We make too much and our house is too big and too cheap.]
  • DC2’s school was having a performance for parents/relatives and one of their dances had them shooting with finger guns.  This disturbed DC2 enormously given that they started practicing right after the FL school shooting.  Thankfully someone decided to change that number to something in less bad taste.

RBOC

  • Oven roasting vegetables is surprisingly easy and tasty.  Why have I not been doing this all my life?
  • I accidentally deleted my amazon wishlist and couldn’t bring it back.  I was able to recreate the first page (because I had it open in another window), but not the second, which means I lost some Darcy Burke books I wanted (I don’t love all of hers, but some were worth getting) as well as the replacement watch I want to get at some point but not until my current watch stops working.  And… I’m not really sure what else.  :/  Oh well, if I really really had wanted whatever it was, I would have gotten them by now.
  • GT pullout for Kindergarten is supposed to start in March with permission and testing in January.  But DC2 told us that zie and the other kid in hir “I” level reading group have been going already since before winter break.  I think I’m not bothered that the school didn’t mention this to us.  And we did fill out the nomination/permission slip for GT testing and got it in early so maybe that counts even though zie hasn’t done testing yet.  And I would feel bad for kids if their parents didn’t give permission.
  • I have gotten so many colds this year.  It sucks.  :(
  • It’s the first day of the quarter and the rain is pouring.  The phone system is broken indefinitely and the printers/copiers have gone down.  The fire alarm isn’t alarming, but it is beeping inconsolably.  At least the pipes didn’t freeze and flood my office like those poor professors on the East Coast.
  • Our compost pile is really the only way to get dirt around here absent of buying it.
  • Remember how I had the scary dentist experience (newer readers should definitely read this story– it is pretty awful)?  Well, it turns out she didn’t even do my crown right– it was too high and that is probably why the top tooth cracked requiring my second crown.  My amazing current dentist fixed the old crown when the bite wouldn’t work with the new one.  I didn’t realize how bad my bite was during those 6 years, but it seems obvious now that it has been fixed.  I wish I’d thought to ask him to check 5.5 years ago when I switched to him– I could have avoided (or at least put off) this second crown!  The experience was a lot different too– he spent the time explaining about the architecture of the tooth and what parts to sand down and which tools to use to do it and how to get the angles right and so on.  He also discussed the different materials that these crowns are made of and what research says about how they affect mouth muscles while chewing and why he prefers the one he gets for his patients.  It was lovely.  Or about as lovely as an hour and a half of sanding down and refitting a new crown could be.
  • DC1 (now age 11, but 10 when zie took the exam) got a 1260 (out of 1600) on the SAT.  Not bad for someone who hasn’t quite finished half of Algebra 1.
  • DC2’s report card came with excited notes that DC2 can count past 100.  But… DC2 can do multiple digit addition and subtraction with borrowing and carrying at least two different ways (traditional US and Singapore style) and can do quite a bit of single digit multiplication.  I wonder if we should talk to them about math. [Update:  We emailed and they said they’d add harder stuff to the math stations, which in practice, according to DC2, seems to be a couple of those puzzle games where you try to match up square cards based on the pictures they have on them.]  We also wonder what grade would be best to skip given the dual-language thing and if there are immersion summer programs we could send hir two to bulk up on Spanish if zie does skip a grade.  We have until May to decide about grade skipping testing for the year.
  • It seems like a lot of people have no idea how horrific slavery actually was.
  • DC2 is learning angles.  Zie says, “Obtuse!  Obtuse!  She says I’m obtuse!” in hir best Rudolph voice.
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RBOC

  • On a recent plane trip, I shared a row with the guy partly in charge of food on American Airlines.  I told him I really liked the Biscoff and he said that was one of his programs.  :)
  • Trying to get flu shots for my kids has been non-trivial this year.  I called and the receptionist said only my doctor’s nurse could make those appointments and then I got the voicemail for the nurse which said that if this was about appointments to press 0 because the front desk could make those appointments, then the front desk again refused.  Later that day DH called and actually got the nurse, but she said they couldn’t get flu shots unless they had their well-child appointments for the year (even though they both had them before school this year!), but the first available for a well-child visit was not for weeks and they would have to be taken out of school (and while DH was on the phone, google calendar suddenly decided to have a bug on all our devices throwing back to 2015 and not showing any items for 2017– it worked again on all devices like 10 min after DH got off the phone).  Then DH realized that DC1 is old enough to get a shot at the pharmacy so we all went to the pharmacy.  So I guess DC2 will just not be getting a flu shot this year.
  • DC1 has the same shoe size as my sister now.  I still have another half toe in size on hir, but it’s getting close!  It is a bit crazy how quickly the feet grow compared to the rest.
  • DC2 watched Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar and cried and cried that it was over and there wasn’t a second season and zie couldn’t watch it again for the first time.  I tried Angelic Layer, but zie wasn’t into the first episode.  Right now zie is watching YumeIro Patisserie on youtube.
  • We cleared out a bunch of board books and similar books that DC2 has outgrown (we kept stuff like Sandra Boynton, but not the super easy readers meant only for babies), and now there’s a bunch of empty space in one of our bookcases where we had been keeping the grade K-3 chapter books (which are now in DC2’s bookcase).  I feel a bit twitchy about this.  I’d expected to be buying Spanish stuff from Scholastic (Club Leo), but the teachers never started Scholastic even though they said they would.  I guess they forgot.  :(
  • I CANNOT imagine borrowing money to go on a vacation ever, whether or not I already had a ton of debt.  This is probably the first time I’ve felt that we could probably handle a Hawaiian vacation given our income.  However, I think I would rather spend that money on the kitchen (also political action and charity).  (Plus there’s always that looming question of whether or not my 12 year old car is going to finally give up on us.)  Of course, I can’t imagine borrowing money to renovate a functional kitchen either.  (Borrowing for a car is often a necessity, particularly in areas where public transportation is poor.)
  • Related:  Consumer debt from buying luxuries and choosing to service high interest debt rather than sacrifice spending to pay it down is VERY different than medical debt caused by insufficient insurance from our broken health insurance markets.
  • I have finally abandoned “he or she” or “(s)he” in my technical writing.  I’m still having trouble replacing it with the singular “they” so I’m mostly rephrasing to remove pronoun use at all or to make the they plural.  (On the blog I’m sticking with zie and hir.)
  • DC1 grew a bit more after I typed that third bullet [#2 edits:  bonbon], and is now the PERFECT size for a chin rest.
  • I called about the Dream Act yesterday.  Today is for SCHIP funding.   https://5calls.org/issue/bipartisan-renewal-chip-funding

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RBOC

  • Amazing discovery:  TJ’s Happy Trekking mix left in a hot car and then taken inside results in the most amazing fruit/nut chocolate clusters.  A+++ would recommend.
  • I have been really enjoying fancy fruit balsamic vinegar mixed with seltzer.
  • I finally got a letter from George Soros.  He wants me to fight to legalize marijuana which (other than the racial aspects of imprisonment which are a problem and the medical aspects that are already dealt with pretty well) are so far down on my “to protest” list… I can’t even with the “paid protestors” bit the alt-right keeps trotting out.  If Soros were paying we’d be protesting marijuana laws, not the affordable care act or anti-science or laws that harm minorities.
  • Roses are red
     I’m in a training
     Poetry is hard
    Caffeine.
  • I hate when you have to schedule a meeting for a group of people because it is the only way to get one (white, male) guy to do the one tiny piece of work that only he can do, that you sit there waiting for him to do at the meeting, and it actually takes longer to schedule the @#$@3ing meeting than it would take for him to just do the one tiny piece of work that only he can do and then email the results out.
  • Speaking of meetings– I would like to stop getting cryptic emails saying we need to set up an appointment to meet/talk on the phone about an urgent sensitive matter.  THREE this week.  About completely different things!  Stop sending cryptic emails!  Just pick up the damn phone and call or stop by my office.  Or, better, stop having urgent and sensitive matters that need my input!
  • update:  none of them turned out to be that big of a deal in the end, or at least nowhere near where my imagination went!
  • “The usual” interview questions are generally asked for a reason.  Asking bizarre vaguely threatening questions in an interview to catch the interviewee off-guard does not make you a good administrator, it makes you a bad one.  Interviewing is not a gotcha-game, it’s a negotiation between two parties, both of which will be making a decision about fit.  Though I suppose in the world Republicans want, people will be so desperate for low-paid work that they’ll put up with whatever stupid psychological games their boss wants to put them through.
  • huh, look what you made me do IS I’m too sexy (for my shirt too sexy for my shirt)…and she did the right thing and paid to use it.  Cool.
  • I’m still doing my weekly calls but it feels like the bad guys are starting to get ahead, particularly in the realms of fascism.  Nobody showed up to the Indivisible voter information session other than the organizers.  What else can we be doing?  What are you doing?

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