Monday, March 30, 2015

Bits and Pieces, Filling Time

I have a dentist appointment this morning, and I have 30 minutes before I need to leave for that. That isn't enough time to start any of the "real" things on my to do list, and besides, Pumpkin is home from school for spring break and my parents are here to entertain her. Right now, Pumpkin is summarizing the Chinese version of the Cinderella story for my mom.

What I'm saying is that trying to get any serious work done would be silly. So I'll write a blog post!

My parents were here over the weekend, too, so Mr. Snarky and I got a little bit of time out on our own. On Saturday, we went and looked at loft beds for Pumpkin. She really wants one, and we've decided that will be her birthday gift this year. It is much more expensive than our usual sort of birthday gift, but also a lot more practical. It will solve some space problems in Pumpkin's room, and also allow us to put a bean bag chair in her room as a reading corner. As usual, Mr. Snarky insisted on driving to several stores to look at options before settling on the option we saw at the first store (Ikea). Left to my own devices, I would have just bought the Ikea option first thing, but driving around looking at furniture wasn't a terrible way to spend a couple hours.

Yesterday, we went out to lunch. It was a beautiful day, so I suggested we go down by the beach. Mr. Snarky suggested a new beer pub/restaurant  he'd seen, and we headed off without considering that (1) it is spring break, and (2) it is March Madness. The place was packed and noisy, and we had to wait 30 minutes for a table. The food was good, though, and we walked along the beach after lunch, so all was good.

I also spent some time looking at our options for our upcoming trip to France. We'll only be there for one week, and one day is reserved for the wedding. Completely by coincidence, Mr. Snarky's sister will be in France at the same time for a vacation. So another day is reserved to drive over to where she will be to see her and her family.

Mr. Snarky originally wanted to go over to the Riviera, but the drive times are just too long. Anytime we plan a vacation like this, Mr. Snarky assumes things are closer together than they are and tries to convince me to cover a lot more ground than really makes sense. I, on the other hand, assume things are farther apart than they really are and argue for seeing less. I suspect this difference is related to both our personalities and where we grew up. Regardless, Google Maps is our savior- we plan itineraries in front of the computer now, looking up drive times as we go.

As of right now, it looks like we'll be focusing on Aquitaine, with a little bit of time either in the Dordogne region or in Basque country. Anyone with favorite things to see in those areas, feel free to tell me about them in the comments!

In between birthday gift shopping, travel planning, and loafing around with Mr. Snarky, I did some work. I had two pieces of writing to send off, one a paid article  and one an unpaid guest post. I'll write unpaid guest posts if I like the blog I'm at which I'm a guest, and if I think that I have something useful to say to that audience. I've been thinking that I should perhaps look for more paid writing jobs, but I don't have the right mindset yet. I'm not good at identifying a market and then thinking up a piece to pitch to them. Instead, I come up with a topic and write a piece on it, and then see if I can find it a home. That is not an efficient approach, particularly since I only come up with topics infrequently.

The other thing I've been thinking of doing is developing a short online class about project management. Or maybe management in general. I'd probably start really small, with just a couple hours of material.  I may put together a survey to gauge interest in this. Stay tuned! But right now, it is time for my dentist appointment. I hope you are all starting the day with something a little more pleasant!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Weekend Links, The Oh Well Edition

I'm not going to comment on the Pao/Kleiner Perkins verdict (which is not technically in yet), except to note that legality and morality are two different standards.

There are still biases pushing women out of STEM.

The natural communication style of men and women is still received differently. Kieran Snyder did an interesting analysis on differences in resumes men and women write. It would be interesting to delve into that finding a bit more deeply. Why do women write a different sort of resume? Does a male-style resume perform better for women than a female-style one does? We know that in some cases, male-style verbal communication can backfire on women because it violates our social norms.

Speaking of social norms... they are the topic of the latest installment in Kate Heddleston's blog series about how tech culture works against diversity.

No wonder women are angry.

I'm not going to read more about the Pao/Kleiner Perkins case because I think I need to ignore all of this right now, and just put my head down and work on my projects. I already know the deck is stacked against me. Sometimes it is best just to ignore that fact and plow ahead.

So, let's have some other links!

Uh oh, I don't have any other links.

So here are two adorable bunnies cuddling:


Mogli & Schoki

Reeepost Thursday

(source. But be warned, music will play when you click on that link....)

Also, here is a really nice picture of some of my favorite sea birds.

And it feels a bit mean to laugh at this... but I can't help it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Random Things, Mostly Good

I feel like writing a blog post tonight, but not like doing the work of writing one of the meatier posts I have on my "to write" list.

So instead, I'm going to write a bunch of random things.

Do you remember the dress that prompted my meltdown a couple of weeks ago? It arrived today. It fits beautifully. It needs ironing, and I need to get some shoes to wear with it. Once I get those things sorted out, I'll take a picture and show you guys how great it is.


Last night, I was in the mood to make something, so I decided to work on my next t-shirt design. This may actually be more of a mug design, but whatever, let's call it a t-shirt design. My basic method is to take a picture of something, read it into GIMP, subtract the background, and then do some other things until I have a design I like.

For my first design (the dragonflies), subtracting the background was easy, because I could just tweak the contrast until my starting image was black and white, and then remove the black.

My second design (the popsicles) was a little harder, because I wanted a color image. However, I was planning to "cartoon-ify" the image and put it on a black background, so there was a fair amount of leeway in the background removal process.

The design I'm working on now is not so forgiving. I worked on it a bit last night, but I got stuck. I couldn't get the background removed cleanly and I was just getting frustrated. Since the point was to play around with something fun, I quit and went to bed instead.

Today, the solution to my problem was obvious. It involved changing the background (so taking a different starting picture) and adding a step before I attempted to subtract the background. I essentially started over and got several steps further than I had been last night, all in less than 30 minutes.

Here is a sneak peek of the design in progress:
Coming soon to a mug (or t-shirt? or shopping bag?) near you

I am still deciding if it needs further tweaks, and what sort of products to put it on. But I'm fairly happy with the work in progress.


Yes, the links to the designs in the previous sections go to my tumblr and not to my Etsy shop. But the links in the tumblr posts go to the Etsy shop. I'm still keeping one level of separation between my full name and this blog, not because this blog is super secret but because I write about my kids here and want to make finding this blog relatively hard for their eventual junior high school friends. At some point, Google's algorithms will catch up with me and this will no longer work. My hope is that by that point my kids will be too old to care what random crap I wrote about them on this blog.

My whole charade of separation is fairly ridiculous, I know. But it helps me sleep easier at night, and that's worth something.


Speaking of things in my real name, I have been using my Pinterest account again, trying to better understand that network. I still don't really get it. I've found a few of you to follow (and if there are more of you who want me to follow you on Pinterest, let me know in the comments or by emailing wandsci at gmail dot com). I've found a few other accounts to follow. I mostly pin pictures of places I want to go, pictures of recipes I want to try, and pictures of clothes, shoes, and jewelry I want to buy. Pinterest tries to help me expand my horizons, but so far its algorithms are close... but not quite right. It suggested a beach here in San Diego as a "travel destination." It is a lovely beach and definitely a good destination for someone who doesn't live here, but it is old news to me. It tries to pick clothes I would like, but is currently showing me "modest dresses," which isn't an entirely accurate match for my personal style. And for some reason, it thinks I want tips on camping.

But, I am determined to figure this out. I'm going to be pinning ideas for our upcoming trip to France, and I keep pinning clothes I like, even if the majority come from eShakti because that's what is in my feed.

Anyone out there have Pinterest figured out and want to tell me how to better use it?


My latest Chronicle Vitae post is up. I can't link to it because it is published under my real name, but it is about personal productivity and how it is both simpler and harder to improve than you may think. If you can't find it, I can email you a link. I can find it right now by Googling my last name (which you can guess from my books), "Chronicle Vitae," and productivity.

I am already working on my next post, because that is how deadlines work when editors are involved. (Don't misunderstand: I love having someone to edit my work. They just need time to do their work!) I wanted to write about argument culture at work, inspired by the Kate Heddleston post that resonated so strongly with me. I was talking about that post with Mr. Snarky, and he reminded me of the culture of the project on which I first met him, which could at first glance be characterized as an argument culture. But I thrived on that project, and clearly got along well with my colleagues since I married one of them. After much thought, I think I know the reason: I don't think that was actually an argument culture. I think it was a dialogue culture, and there are important differences between argument cultures and dialogue cultures. I want to explore that a bit... but I realized as I started to dig in that this was going to take more than the week I have left before my deadline.

So I came to my senses, and drafted a post about handling job uncertainty instead, which was something that was already on my planned topics list and doesn't require new research. I'll do the argument culture post next time.


To support my planned post on argument culture, I went and borrowed Deborah Tannen's book The Argument Culture from the library. I decided I wanted it yesterday morning, and was proud of myself for looking it up on the library website instead of just buying it for my Kindle. I determined it was available at the branch in Pacific Beach, which is not far from where I live. So I thought I'd drop by and pick up the book and a guidebook to France on my way to my lunch meeting.

I forgot- AGAIN- that library hours are shorter now than they were when I was a kid. The library wasn't open yet, so I sheepishly drove off without any new books. Luckily, it was Pumpkin's parent-teacher conference yesterday, so I was able to go back and get my books before dinner. Pumpkin came with me and found another book in the Humphrey series that she's loving. All's well that ends well.

And with that, I think I should end this post and get to bed!

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Reading Kate Heddleston's post about the negative impacts of an argument culture produced a bit of an "a ha!" moment for me. I think I'm closer to understanding what happened to make me abruptly quit a job that was perfect for me on paper. It has been almost a year since I quit, and although I am glad to be on the track I'm on now, I would like to understand what happened.

I am usually quite good at sticking to a long term plan, and the long term plan this time last year was for me to stay at that job for another 2-3 years, building up money to support an eventual foray out on my own. Striking out on my own 2-3 years early has certainly made the transition more perilous for our family finances, and although I still think it was the right thing to do, I want to understand what made me throw my long term plan out the window and just quit, so that I can better protect myself from future issues.

I will probably write more in the future about the ways in which the culture at my last full time position was a poor fit for me. I'm not quite ready yet: I feel like I'm still gathering the pieces that will allow me to put together the puzzle and understand what happened. I now know that there was a cultural mismatch and there was a commuting problem, but those don't seem like all the pieces to me. I'd like to understand the entire picture before I start expounding too much about what is shown on any one piece.

What I can say now, though, is that in some ways I would probably have been better off if I'd left that last job earlier. It did a fair amount of damage to my belief in my own capabilities, which is something I've been working to build for decades. I am surprised by how easily years of work can be undone, but I have to face the truth of where I am now and just start rebuilding.

I was thinking about this yesterday as I sat and watched my daughters' gymnastics classes. Petunia has recently moved up to a harder class, and is thriving, Yesterday, I saw her walk confidently along the high balance beam, without even the pretense of holding her teacher's hand. Her arms were out to her sides, and her head was up and she just walked along the beam, ignoring the teacher following along and spotting her. I thought back to when she first started gymnastics. She would inch tentatively along a beam that was just an inch or two off the ground. She picked her way along slowly while her classmates ran around her. She started out far more timid than her classmates, but has worked on her skills and is now as confident as anyone else in her class.

There is probably a lesson for me in that story. I've had a setback, and feel more timid than I did a few years ago. But I can work my way back from that deficit. I just need to focus on working on my skills and build my way back to where I was- or better.

Tungsten Hippo was initially conceived as a side project to help me build new skills and also protect my own belief in my technical skills as I worked in a job that was undermining that belief. I haven't been using it in that way lately- I've been focused on content, and not on making website improvements and the like. So today, I didn't just add another taster flight post (this one about assassins). I also added a new taxonomy for blog posts and now you can see all the taster flights at once. This is not hard to do in Drupal, but it is not as straight-forward as it is in WordPress or Blogger, which have tags enabled by default.

I'm also bumping my efforts to learn how to create Android apps up in my priority list, and I'm making time to include more background learning about Java and the theory of programming while I learn the specifics of Android programming.

I think the final thing I need to do to shore up my confidence is start studying more of the academic literature about management. I was by all accounts really good at this aspect of my job. The problem was that it was not an aspect that got a lot of respect. I think management is worthy of respect, but maybe part of me has internalized the negative opinions about it. To combat that, I'm toying with setting up a schedule for "journal club" like posts over at my "real name" blog. (As always, send me an email or DM if you want a link to that blog- I'm happy to share, but am hiding the association of this blog with my real name from Google, so don't make many actual links.)

I have to find the right balance between doing what I need to do to bring money in for short term needs and doing what I need to do to support my long term mental health and goals. I'm finding this balance difficult to strike, but perhaps if I just keep inching along I will eventually find my way back to the confidence I need to walk confidently on the high beam again. In fact, maybe I'll be able to walk on a higher beam than I've ever managed before. In the meantime, I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and at least I'll make some progress.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekend Reading: The Why Do I Keep Pretending There Is a Theme Edition

When I signed Pumpkin up for a make-up gymnastics class this afternoon, I thought this would be a good day to do it, because I wouldn't be too busy. I was wrong! I spent roughly 2 hours on Wednesday shuttling paperwork for our house remodel and getting the kids signed up for summer camp... so I'm a bit behind on my to do list for the week.

So once again, my links list is going to be a bit terse. Sorry about that! However, the links themselves are all great, which is hopefully some consolation.

This article by Jen Dziura has some really great ideas for how to make sure you split the parenting work fairly. (It also has a really annoying format, but the content is worth the annoyance.)

This article about the pioneering programmer Stephanie "Steve" Shirley provided me with a new favorite quote:

"You can always tell ambitious women by the shape of our heads. They’re flat on top from being patted patronizingly."

Here's a piece from another pioneering woman in tech, successful entrepreneur Heather Hiles, about the diversity problem in Silicon Valley's venture capital firms.

Kate Heddleston is writing a great series of posts about the aspects of tech culture that work against diversity. Go read her posts about the problem with argument cultures and why criticism is ineffective feedback. Anyone who gives anyone else feedback should really read that piece about criticism: it is an excellent introduction to how to give effective feedback. The fact that it also explains why negative criticism is more harmful to underrepresented groups is a bonus.

Her most recent post in the series is about onboarding.

Turning to problems in popular culture. Anne Thériault got a lot of online abuse when she wrote about GamerGate. Here, she writes about how the misogynistic trolls used her love for her child against her.

This is a really interesting piece about the color of people in comics.

Here is a post from the mother of the young man at the center of the uproar about the school that said the pledge of allegiance in Arabic. I'll just note that since my daughter goes to a Spanish immersion school, she says the pledge in Spanish every day. My husband thinks the entire pledge this is a bit weird. Since I grew up saying it, too, I never thought much about it, but now I'm inclined to agree with him. Having our school kids say the pledge of allegiance every morning is a weird thing we do.

In other news, California is in the midst of a very bad drought. Bad Mom, Good Mom discusses the problem, and provides a lot of links for people who want to know more. And you should want to know more if you live in the US: chances are, a lot of your food comes from California. Here's an LA Times story with more information about our drought.

The San Diego Police Department has been trying out body cameras. Here's how it is going.

Every once and awhile I run across something online that just bends my brain a bit. This post about how "pop up" cities in the Canadian Arctic might be models for future installations on other planets is one of those things.

This is a really interesting piece about Medium and blogging. I'm not sure yet what I think of its arguments, but there is certainly a lot to think about in it.

And, of course, some happy things at the end:

Here is a nice article about women surfing in Iran.

Here's a tumblr of snarky opt out messages.

Awwww... what are the chances?

I love this picture.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Uncertainty Resolving

The uncertainty that sent me over the edge last week is resolving. We got our taxes back. We owe, but not too much, so we can go ahead with the room addition. That is going to relieve a lot of pressure on our family long term- we have a couple of serious space use issues that were going to be hard to solve without more space. I'm sure we would have found a way, but I like this way. Before the room addition, our house is only ~1300 square feet. After the addition, our house will still be smaller than most newer single family homes. I've ranted before about how everything that goes into our house- from furniture to toys- has been upsized over the years (really, go look at the Fisher Price Little People sets from now and from 10 years ago if you don't believe me). We try to use space consciously and well, but there are limits to what I can do with creative storage solutions!

So anyway, the room addition is going forward and we are all very excited about that, albeit a little nervous about what the construction period will be like.

It also looks like Mr. Snarky will get to come to my friend's wedding in France with me, because it looks like he will be able to combine it with a work trip. We're still awaiting final approval on that, but for now, our assumption is that we are both going. The kids will stay home with my parents. (Construction will start after that trip, because it seems a bit much to ask my parents to take care of my kids and deal with construction, and due to permitting, etc., this only introduces a two week delay.)

Since our home will be under construction this summer and Mr. Snarky and I will be having a little vacation in France, we won't be trying to do an extensive family vacation this year. We'll still take a week off, but we'll probably just stay here in San Diego and enjoy our beaches and other tourist attractions. Maybe if the construction is frustrating us, we'll even treat ourselves to a night or two in a local hotel. We'll see.

With that settled, and with info from day care about when their special summer activities will be, we were able to decide on summer camp plans. I have them all mapped out and just need to go book them. I may even do that tomorrow.

So... phew. It is good to have all that settled. I still have a lot of work-related uncertainty- I want to find more hours of contracting work, and it is not yet clear where those will come from. I'm more used to dealing with that sort of uncertainty, though, and am already working to resolve it. Still, if you or anyone you knows could use some project management or informatics advice or hands on help... hit me up!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Book Notes

I have a bunch of little things I feel like telling you about, so I'm going to smash them all together into one post, and not even pretend there is any unifying theme beyond the fact that they are all about books.

First, I wrote a post for Tungsten Hippo this week. It is about how good stories bounce around in your head and collide with other ideas, and also about how even though the things that we'd like to change about the world often seem overwhelmingly large, sometimes one person really can make change happen (this would be the result of one of those idea collisions). It is a short post, so go check it out.

Second, I can't remember who asked me about chapter books for sensitive kids like Pumpkin, i.e., kids who don't want a lot of tension and certainly don't want any violence in their books. At the time, I didn't have a lot of suggestions. I have a new one now! Pumpkin got a book called Mysteries According to Humphrey,by Betty G. Birney, for Christmas, and we're almost done reading it. She loves it. I love it, too. It is sweet and funny and actually talks about relevant issues without being overbearing. It is told from the perspective of a class hamster, and there's some plot- but nothing that worried Pumpkin. In short, it is a huge hit here.

I had a Barnes and Noble gift card to use up and needed to run an errand near our local B&N store today, so I took the kids with and let them each choose a new book. Pumpkin chose to get the first book in the Humphrey series, The World According to Humphrey. Petunia picked a "step into reading" book about Olaf, which I'm less inclined to gush about.

As a reminder, if you like my recommendations for kids books, I'll be posting two each month over on my author site. I'll cover all ages, but since the criteria for inclusion is that we read it and liked it, the upper end of the age range will advance with Pumpkin.

Third, the first manuscript for the Annorlunda Books release not written by me is with an editor now. I think it will be released in the May-June time frame. Soon, I'll post more about it. I'll also be looking for advance readers for this and other Annorlunda Books releases. Advance readers get a free electronic copy of the book in exchange for a review of the book on either one of the retail sites (e.g., Amazon) or a personal blog.

I'm hoping to manage this via my Annorlunda Enterprises mailing list, so if you're interested in being an advance reader, go sign up for that. You can choose to just get emails about books, or you can get emails about my other activities, too. It will not be a high volume mailing list. I'll send out calls for advance readers, announcements of new releases, and announcements of sales/discounts. There will be similar content for the other "channels," too. If you tried to sign up earlier and it failed, try again- I discovered the broken form and fixed it yesterday. Oops.

Finally, this week's Tungsten Hippo short ebook pick was really a lot of fun, and it is one that I think a lot of readers of this blog would enjoy. It is a story about a skeptic who has the unsettling experience of perhaps running into someone who really is channeling the voice of a dead person... and wait until you see who it is. I don't want to say much more for fear of ruining the fun. I got it via a Humble Bundle that is no longer available, but you can still get it as a standalone purchase from the usual places.

That's it for now. I hope you are all enjoying a nice weekend. It is beautiful here, so I'm off to finish up my chores so that I can join Mr. Snarky and the kids for a bike/scoot by the bay in a bit. Feel free to leave book recommendations of all sorts in the comments, or talk about whatever else this post makes you want to say!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekend Reading: The Everything Edition

The uncertainty I talked about in the last post is slowly resolving, and resolving in ways that I like... so I'm feeling less overwhelmed. Thank you all for the supportive comments!

I also have house guests, so this is going to be... concise.

Somewhat apropro to that... Jen Meyer's Notes in the Margins section of her newsletter this week is about "doing everything."

This article about parenting a child through a loss of faith in the world is wonderful. I can't remember who tweeted it out, but I am so glad I read it. I've filed it away to refer back to in case we need it.

This looks like a really interesting book about... I'm not sure what to call it, since the point is that I shouldn't call it work/life balance!

We need our companies and other institutions to help us get to the 50-50 split that more and more couples say they want.

I'm well aware that wearing skirts to work makes it easier for people to dismiss me as "non-technical," but I've been trying to wear my skirts and dresses more often again, anyway, because I like them.

An introduction to how our engineering environments are killing diversity, by Kate Heddleston, which contains this awesome quote:

"Women in tech are the canary in the coal mine. Normally when the canary in the coal mine starts dying you know the environment is toxic and you should get the hell out. Instead, the tech industry is looking at the canary, wondering why it can't breathe, saying “Lean in, canary. Lean in!” When one canary dies they get a new one because getting more canaries is how you fix the lack of canaries, right?"

There is nothing subtle about the sexism being revealed by the Kleiner Perkins trial.

This is somewhat familiar to me:

This true cartoon about a phone call from your college rapist is a powerful reminder that the only thing that has really changed about rape on campus is that we're willing to talk about it now.

And as always, we need a chuckle at the end... Bad Mom Good Mom talks about data as a foreign language and xkcd tells you how to predict the success of a new product based on how engineers and programmers react to it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

It Is Not about the Money. Or the Dress.

I would not have expected it to be something as trivial as a dress and $20 that pushed me over the edge, but that is in fact what did it.

My best friend from college is getting married (in France! How cool is that?) and I am of course going to her wedding. I need a dress, and I don't need to spend a lot of time and emotional energy traipsing around the mall trying on dresses, so I decided to buy one via eShakti. I've bought a couple of skirts from them, and really liked them. I love being able to customize the fit so that my clothes actually FIT. It is awesome.

So anyway, I clicked around on the site and found a dress that I think will be good for the wedding (this one, if you're curious, except in a brighter green that is apparently now sold out). I got Mr. Snarky to help me take the gazillion measurements I needed, and then... my browser froze. So I tried again in a different browser, and then... I logged in with the wrong email address and couldn't use the $20 off coupon I had.

And then I lost it.

A little while later, after literally crying in my beer for awhile, I successfully completed my order, complete with the $20 savings, and the dress is now being made.


I'm not really sure why the dress and the $20 pushed me over the edge. We are being a bit more careful with our money right now, since we're hoping to add a room on to our house, and that is a major expense. But even so, $20 wouldn't sway things one way or the other.

Perhaps it is because I really wanted to take advantage of the "buy two, get one free" offer eShakti was also running and get this really cool rabbit dress I had my eye on and that is now also apparently gone (but here is a tank top in the same fabric). I decided against it, because we are being more careful with our money right now and I don't need another dress. But that bothers me, because the reason we have to be more careful with our money in order to do the renovation is that I quit my job last year. Contracting is going well, but not well enough to replace my former income right now, and the other things I'm doing aren't bringing in much money yet.

So perhaps the reason I fell to pieces over a dress and $20 was that I'm a bit stressed about my career choices right now. I'm in the process of ramping up my networking efforts and hope to find another contract soon. I in fact am waiting to hear about one small one. I'm also working hard to set my other efforts up for success, but even if everything I'm trying works (and it won't), it will be quite awhile before I see any monetary fruits of this effort.

I don't think it was the money, or even the extra effort I'm putting into work right now, that pushed me over the edge, though. I honestly think it was the uncertainty. You see, we are waiting to find out whether or not we're going to owe a lot of taxes. Last year was quite unusual in several ways, and we truly have no idea how it is going to work out. We should hear back from our accountant by the end of this week.

But we can't decide about the renovations until we hear about the taxes.

And we can't decide whether or not Mr. Snarky gets to come with me to the wedding in France until we know whether we're doing a renovation.

And we can't figure out what, if anything, we're doing for a family summer vacation this year until we know if Mr. Snarky is coming to France (and whether we're doing the renovation).

And we can't figure out a summer camp schedule and register for our camps until we know what we're doing for summer vacation.

And we need to get the camp registrations in ASAP, because Pumpkin wants to go to a couple of the popular camps.

We also need to decide when we're going to move Petunia from day care to camp (or perhaps straight to school).

And aaaaaaahhhhhh.... so much uncertainty!


Anyway, I'm back to trying to ignore the uncertainty tonight. Our accountant has told us he'll have our taxes done by Friday, so we'll get to figure everything out soon. I've also regained some of my usual perspective about how none of these problems are actually bad.

Still, this has been an interesting experience- I was not previously aware that I am so sensitive to uncertainty. What about you? What sort of thing pushes you over the edge?

Friday, March 06, 2015

Weekend Reading: The Short on Links, Long on Travel Edition

I hate it when a week goes by and it is time for another weekend links post, and I haven't posted anything else all week. I have so many things I want to write about- but this week has been a bit hectic. I'm traveling right now. Just me: the kids and Mr. Snarky are at home.

It is a somewhat workish trip and I'm someplace cold. Not New England cold, but still quite a bit colder than San Diego. So I had to drag out my warm coat. It still fits... but it is snug. It was bought before kids, and my bra size was 2 or 3 notches smaller then. Sigh. I also had to go buy boots. The only other boots I own are hiking boots, and therefore not appropriate for a workish trip. And then I had to figure out appropriate outfits that would be warm. My San Diego wardrobe strained under that effort.

So, what I'm saying is that I've been busy worrying about clothes and packing and the like, and not writing. I had hoped to get some writing time in the hotel, but it has not turned out that way. Travel often doesn't go as planned. I didn't get hit with any weather related delays, but I did have a mechanical delay on one leg... so I spent the time I might have been writing wandering around an airport trying to get the cramp that had developed in my right leg to go away. It never did. I ended up having to take ibuprofen and run through a rather long yoga routine in the hotel before I could go to sleep.

Oh well. At least I picked a relevant quote for Tungsten Hippo this week.

And I do have a few links for you:

I loved this interview with Brene Brown so much that I've added one of her books to my already overloaded "to read" list. She is so right about how in some circles, exhaustion is a status symbol. That is so messed up. (Technical term!) My big, ambitious life goal is to help change that. I think we can do meaningful, exciting work without being exhausted and super busy all the time- we have just arranged our work cultures in a way that is counter that. But, what people build, people can change. (One of the blog posts I have brewing is about that... it is for Tungsten Hippo, so it is inspired by one of my recent books there. Maybe I'll get it written next week!)

Here is an essay from a woman who used to be part of the broken work culture, and is now trying to change it. I think it is sad that it takes children to make some people realize that there is more to life than work. It is is even more sad, I suppose, when even having children can't make people realize that. But honestly: I love my kids and yes, they currently consume the majority of my non work time. If I didn't have kids, though, I'd still need, want, and deserve a life outside of work.


Neil Gaiman's answer to this snotty question is so perfect.

This is a somewhat depressing look at American democracy, from Matt Yglesias. Perhaps we should buy a vacation home in New Zealand....

This looks like a cool YouTube channel. Maybe I'll get to explore it next week... (h/t @RowGirl2012)