Friday, October 28, 2016

Weekend Reading: The Getting Used to It Edition

I had a visual migraine on Tuesday (at a client site! Wheeee!) and have been headachey and tired, and occasionally nauseous for the rest of the week. I took this morning off and slept an extra 2.5 hours. I don't know if that helped or not, but it felt nice to sleep. I debated whether or not to skip my usual Friday afternoon rollerblade, but it is one of my favorite parts of the week, and after other migraine sufferers on Twitter said that exercise mostly helps them, I went, but didn't go fast. I don't know if it helped or not, but it was nice to get out and enjoy the day. There were lots of birds out by the bay today, which made the skate even nicer.

So now, I have to figure out how much to try to do this weekend to make up for the rather unproductive day. I think I'm going to have to learn to work with the headaches and occasional migraines, although maybe one of the things my doctor has me trying (extra magnesium, a change in my birth control pills, and a new migraine prescription, assuming my insurance company lets me have it) will help. It does make me wonder what I'd be doing if I hadn't set up shop on my own a couple of years ago. Probably burning through vacation time and facing a less than stellar performance review. Life happens, and our work world is woefully ill-prepared to deal with that.

Anyway, you came here for links, so let's get to them.

First, the self-promotion links: I got a nice review on Small and Spooky today, and the GoodReads giveaway for it went live.

In not promotional but very much "self" news: I've been trying out the new social media platform Imzy. I am still figuring it out, but I think it has promise. There's a lot more safety built in, in that you join communities, and those communities have leaders who can set rules, etc. Time will tell if it lasts and if it proves to be less abuse-filled than Twitter, but I wanted to check it out. I've joined a few communities and set up one of my own. I've decided to be "the whole me" there (although it has pretty robust features for having multiple profiles), so I'm under my real name, and my community is named after me (first name). If you're on Imzy and want to find me and can't... let me know, and I'll email you a link.

I'm not planning to ditch Twitter anytime soon, but I'm a bit nervous about some of the news coming out about it. If Peter Thiel buys it, I may decide to seriously scale back my use and try to find another online home. If he doesn't, and the new focus on safety actually works... well, Imzy can be my vacation home, or something like that.

In other self-reflective news, I'm inspired by Xykademiqz' plan to do NaBloPoMo. I've been feeling like there is something I really want to write, but I can't quite pin down what. Maybe a more regular writing practice will help me figure out what it is. I don't think I can manage to post every day, so I'm setting myself a less ambitious goal: I plan to post 2-3 times per week (not counting my Friday links post) in November. This starts next week!

OK, on to the real links:

Stella Bugbee's honest appraisal of how she didn't have any sympathy for working mothers until she became one herself is a really good example of why our work world is so ill-prepared to handle it when life happens to people, whether that life is happy (e.g., a baby) or less happy (e.g., a long-term illness). We need to change our work culture so that everyone has a chance to handle whatever life hands them and still make a living and have the satisfaction of contributing through their work. Our current set up is outdated, and we can do better.

I really liked this article by Ann Friedman about peer mentoring. It is inspiring me to try again to start up my local "ladies who lunch" club.

Did you hear about Illinois senator Mark Kirk's obnoxiously racist remarks to his opponent, Tammy Duckworth? They're summarized in this article from German Lopez, but the real reason to read the article is because it explain that as outrageous as they are, they are nothing new for people of color.

Gene Demby's essay about going to Ghana is wonderful. You should read it (or listen to it: I heard it on NPR).

Chimimanda Ngozi Adiche's Feminist Manifesto in 15 Suggestions is brilliant. I could quote and quote and quote from it (which is what this piece does really well).... but really, just go read the whole thing.

This article from Victor Tan Chen about the dangers of over-reliance on metrics is so good that I'll be including it in all my link round ups this month. I'd say it is the one link you have to read this week, but the previous two make an equally compelling claim for that title....

After watching the final years of my next door neighbor, who died in her home at the age of 93, just as she'd requested, my husband and I talked about writing our older selves a letter about how dying in your home may not be as idyllic as you think. And about how as hard as it is to face the end, there may be changes to your thinking necessary to allow you to face the end with as much happiness as possible. I've not written that letter yet, but Terry Baraldi did write a letter to her older self, and it is wonderful and worth your time to read.

And here is an essay about how saying your house is messy because you play with your kids is a privilege that comes from having a certain amount of money and social status.

A reader sent me a link to Princess Awesome dresses, and while I've seen them before, I agree they are indeed awesome and so will share them again.

This was indeed an awesome response to being asked to sign a permission slip to allow your kid to read Fahrenheit 451.

This tweet made me laugh:

And the Rabbit Isle bot continues to delight me:

I mean, really delight me:

And that will do it for this week, I think. We have a Halloween party to go to tonight, and I need to go get my kids and get them dressed as a rugby player and a scientist.


  1. I've been lacking in empathy in a lot of ways at various points in my life, but I do remember thinking that my company's three days of sick time per year (I think they later upped it to five days) was a ridiculously low number. At the time, I said that it seemed to me that the baseline should be 12 days, because, particularly if you had kids, it seemed to me that on average, someone in your household would be sick one day per month. And I didn't think that was generous sick leave, mind you. I thought it was an amount that would be workable.

    I also never criticized the parents who left work to go to their kids' events, because I remembered how much it meant to me to have my parents at my events--and because our company was clearly insane. Everyone worked hard, and longer hours than they should have, and more than one divorce was attributed to the company culture. And I figured that some day, if I were lucky, I'd want to be able to leave work for my child's events. Thankfully, my current workplace makes that possible.

    This doesn't get me off the hook for the other people to whom I have not shown that kind of understanding. But I have learned to listen more, and assume less. That's an ongoing process, but hopefully I'm getting better at it.

  2. For a long while I worked in an office where family didn't matter and it was starkly obvious that the only family that mattered was the one in the office, headed by two totally dysfunctional patriarchs. I didn't have the chance to not-empathize with working moms there, but I knew right away what that lack of empathy looked like. I also knew that I didn't want to spend my career with those people specifically because, even if I didn't have a family of my own, I didn't want to work with people who thought that was ok.

    Mark Kirk's comment was an eyeroller but it's true. We hear that sort of tripe all that time.


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