Seen while Christmas shopping


Yes, I am doing (almost) all my shopping online. Merry Christmas shopping. Stay sane. Buy through my Amazon portal no matter what your mental status!


You stupid, special snowflakes

Art, so I’ve been told by people smarter than me, is meant to provoke, to cause people to think and maybe even to take action. Colleges are also supposed to be places where people are challenged to think, sometimes even by provocative arguments or displays.

But today’s college student’s and faculty are apparently such special snowflakes that not only are they not able to handle views contrary to their own (see: the yearly disinvitation season), but they can’t handle statements that actually agree with them unless written in simple, declarative sentences. Preferably in crayon.

An art prof at the University of Iowa made an anti-racists display that does what art often does: turns a symbol on it’s head, subverting it’s original use/meaning for an opposing purpose. In this case, he made a huge decoupaged klansman from newspaper articles of past and current instances of racial violence. Unfortunately, it caused a big ol’ hissy fit from students and faculty who couldn’t be bothered to think about it for a hot minute and determine what this art was trying to communicate. Seriously, a big paper klansmen made of stories of racial violence. It’s not exactly subtle. But it could not be allowed to stand. Literally.  It was removed because the professor forgot to fill out the proper paper work, but the director of the journalism school even said, “If it was up to me, and me alone, I would follow the lead of every European nation and ban this type of speech.” So not are the students incapable of understanding political art, the journalism professor hates free speech. Comforting.

It makes you understand why artists go with stuff like this. Much harder to be offended by, except maybe the price tag.

onement VI

It’s almost as dumb as threatening to fire a janitor for reading a history book that detailed how college students defeated the Klan. (No, seriously, that happened. And the university only backed down after lengthy public shaming.) Apparently, the university-approved way of dealing with information about the Klan is shutting their eyes tight, putting their hands over their ears, and shouting, “Lalalalalala, I can’t hear you!”

“Too distraught to think” is something of an epidemic on college campuses, with law students at Columbia, Harvard, and Georgetown saying current events have left them too emotionally disturbed to take finals.

Look: I get that these are trying times, and I get being upset at the whole hot mess. But too upset to think at college? That’s bad enough, but it’s disgusting that rather than help students be ruled by their heads and informed by their hearts, university officials reward and reinforce knee jerk reactions. Should we expect lawsuits over the next few years when these now-employees are “too upset to work”? Who wants to be the first to tell them life doesn’t particularly care about their feelings?


Terrible Tuesday: Road to recovery

Over the past week or so, my family has been fluviated. First MTG went down, the Satchmo, the me, then Bulldozer. The girls are prancing around like they’re Wonder Woman. Women. Smarmy little hearty immune systems. (For those keeping count, MTG got the flu shot, the kids got the flu mist, and I got nothing. Yeah, the vaccine is for the wrong strain, but it definitely hit me a lot harder than anyone else. Whether that’s because of the minimal protection the vaccine provided or because I’m weak is anyone’s guess. )

But after a week and a half, we have woken up fever free. And even though I still feel like I was hit by a freight train and dragged ten miles (drug?), I’m going to say we’re over the worst and on the road to recovery. (Please stay healthy, girls!)

Weak as a kitten links!

Many of you are filling out Christmas cards now. I am not, because if I manage to pull off a Charlie Brown Christmas tree Christmas, it will be a miracle. But if you are, then please read this important article on pluralizing names. Hint: There are no apostrophes involved in the making of plurals. Ever.

MTG would like to draw our (but especially my) attention to these Cinnamon Bun Apple Galettes with Apple Whiskey Carmel Drizzle.

If I had known about this, all my kids would have had the middle name of Gotham. (Yes, I know it says specifically a boy, but I don’t see what’s so gender specific about Gotham.)

baby gotham

Advent calendar for science geeks: the Chemistry Advent Calendar.

If there’s no inflation except on the things that you need to actually survive (food, energy, etc), then yes, there is inflation. By 12% over the past five years. You stupid, pointy-headed idiots.  (Auto-play video at the link.)

Happiness is freedom and family. If you’re going to get a pet for Christmas, these guys would like you to consider adopting a shelter animal.

puppy rescue

Now I’m wiped out. I’m gonna go lie down.

Random blogging

Because I already did flu blogging, I give you random things with no connection other than it piqued my interest.

Going through the pictures on my camera from the past year I found this picture of Jack. Not sure what I did, but he’s definitely giving me The Look.

random Jack

Random C.S. Lewis quote, from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

“But that would be putting the clock back,” gasped the governor. Have you no idea of progress, of development?”

“I have seen them both in an egg,” said Caspian.” “We call it ‘Going Bad’ in Narnia. This trade must stop.”

Random video. I remember those days.

No rhyme, no reason. Just random. Now I’m going to randomly lie down.

Flu blogging

You know how when you’re sick, you think you’re coherent and intelligible, but you’re really not? Yeah, I’m not even going to try to string words together.

Cool Christmas videos that everyone has already seen a million times but whatever!

And a flash mob video. I was going to do another one but it seemed repetitive.

And now I’m going back to bed.

Santa! NO!

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas, and I learned something new. St. Nick wasn’t just a kindly pastor who gave money to the needy, he also punched heretics.  The basics are this: Nicholas was a contemporary of Arian, and at the ecumenical council called to sort our the Arian controversy, (and eventually we got the Nicene Creed), Nicholas thought he should show not tell. He got arrested and defrocked, but it all worked out. You can read the full story and find more fun heretic punching memes here.

Nicholas punch heretics


Honestly, I understand the impulse, and frankly, it’s not completely without precedent, but still.


Anyhoo, it is The Feast of St. Nicholas. Even though I’m not Catholic, I was planning on putting candy coins in the kids shoes to celebrate the day. However, this week was very mean to me and I didn’t get around to getting the coins. In fact, we haven’t even been able to put up our Christmas decorations. So we’ll do that today, which is somewhat appropriate. Yeah, I meant to do that!

We also (miraculously!) managed to score a Lego Advent Calendar, which has been sold out since before Thanksgiving. I went into the Lego store while we were waiting for the free monthly mini-build, and said, “I don’t suppose you have any Advent Calendars left.” And lo and behold, someone had just returned one! Since all the other parents were being responsible and supervising their children, I got it without a fight. Hooray for lax parenting! We’re also going to try to build our own Christmas village from our stash. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Happy St. Nicholas Day! I suggest you celebrate with gift giving and not punching heretics. But that’s just me.


Friday is normally our enrichment classes, and even though our group is on break we were going to have an extra meeting for our Destination Imagination teams. However, someone stole the copper leading up to our church. Again. So the meeting was canceled. Dear thieves, are you familiar with Krampus? Just saying.

But despite the extra room in the schedule, we’re still all sideways. The girls are have been having a hard time getting back to their work and are spending the day catching up. Satchmo is sick. Nothing tastes good to him, but he’s hungry, so it looks like a short order cook threw a temper-tantrum here. And Bulldozer… well Bulldozer wove a cute little blanket for his stuffed animal on a cardboard loom. That’s actually pretty impressive.

woven blanket

Still, it’s been a hard week for a lot of little reasons and a couple of big ones, and we could all use a little peace. This should help.

And Magic Cookie Bars. I could definitely use Magic Cookie Bars.


An old dog learns a new trick

A few years back, my girls wanted to learn how to crochet. Since I hadn’t the foggiest notion how to crochet, I did the obvious thing: I bought them a book. Between that book, Youtube videos, and asking more capable friends and family members, they taught themselves to crochet, and then went on to teach themselves to knit by the same method.

Flash forward a couple of years, and I decided I wanted to learn to knit and crochet. But this time I had the advantage of in-house experts. Last winter, I learned the (very) basics of knitting. This winter I’m tackling crochet. (I don’t know what it is about the winter that makes me learn handicrafts, but I’ll take it.)

Anyway, I’ve completed my first project: a simple bag that I modified to hold some essential oils. Pro tip: keep your vetiver lid on tight. That stuff is strong.

Obviously I’m not going to win any awards with this effort, but it’s pretty good for a first try. It doesn’t lay quite flat because I added a divider, which I should have made narrower.


crotchet 4

I added the divider so that I could use it to hold my essential oils without them clinking and falling over.

crotchet 2

I went a little overboard with the divider. It probably could have been half the width and worked. I’m not sure if I’ll redo it or not, but it wouldn’t be too hard to fix. That’s the great thing about crochet: it’s much easier to correct mistakes than knitting. And I make lots of mistakes.  For example…

crotchet 3

I haven’t quite got decreasing down, so I have the funky curves in the flap. I’m not going to fix it; it gives it character. Or something. I may fix the divider, just so it will close better and look a little neater.

Anyway, that’s my new trick.  What new tricks have you learned lately?

Almost back to normalish!

I got my replacement computer in today All we need to do is switch out the drive and I’ll be all set. It’s amazing how important a computer is, especially when you blog. Who knew?

I hope to be doing actual blogging and less filler and fluff soon. But soon isn’t today, and I’ve got a streak to keep. So until soon, I give you…





An English professor from the University of California described it in her instructions to a first-year English class: “Today we will experiment with a new form called the ‘tandem story.’ The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story.

“You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph and so on, back-and-forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely no talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.”

It went about as well as you would expect.

Normalish returning. . . soon?

Happy birthday, Wonder Woman

She’s not the “official” Wonder Woman, but she’s absolutely the real deal.





sis cuddled


Fierce and funny



The cool aunt


sis & girls

And always my baby sister, no matter how much taller she is than me.

sis & me 1

Happy birthday, sis. You’re an amazing person who has enriched my life and the lives of everyone you’ve touched in countless ways. I’m so very glad you were born.

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