Monday, March 31, 2014

I'm alive!

I'm busy! Work plus not sleeping enough plus volunteer gigs galore plus, you know, being lazy and unfit, equals no blogging. But I can tell you that we're all fine. Cook is recuperating from a sinus infection bad enough to actually motivate him to go to the doctor (this does not happen often), Skipper has started swearing like a sailor (last week she was in room being angry, and we heard her yell "Fuck a fuck a fuck a FUCK!"), and Duchess continues to be up and down with social crap in her class. Cook and I are trying not to show her how much we want to smack her classmates.

Also, Duchess has now officially been labeled TAG (by the skin of her teeth), and feels much more confident about her intelligence now that she has the label. Seriously. She's taking a before-school TAG math class that the principal let her take because I had complained that it was limited only to TAG kids (but she only invited Duchess, because Duchess has a Pushy Parent). Duchess has been doing well in it and enjoying it, but after I told Duchess that she had passed the TAG test, she said "Now I really belong in my math class!" as if she hadn't belonged before. Ech.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


 The weather was gorgeous this weekend. Photos were taken.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Positive feedback

Hey, you know what it turns out I've been starved for? Being praised. In the last week or so, I've had several people tell me I've done well at various tasks at my new job, and thank me for my work. These were not important tasks, and while I did them well, I did nothing exceptional, and yet people THANKED me for them! And they were genuinely pleased with me!

I can't even tell you how good that feels. I'm pretty sure I've gotten more positive feedback in the last week than I had in the preceding five years, total. It has an astonishing motivating effect; I'm so delighted to get praise, like a golden retriever, that I'll go the extra mile for people who are nice to me, and fetch any grubby tennis ball you want. I think employers who are considering employing people who have been unemployed for a while should know about this effect.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


The girls went to the eye doctor today, escorted by Cook. Skipper got her eyes dilated.

Skipper also has new glasses on the way, with frogs decorating the earpieces. This is exciting. What is even more exciting, though, is that Duchess's eyes* have improved so much that she no longer needs to wear glasses all the time - just for reading and schoolwork. She's delighted. We took her to school, and got to her classroom just before the rest of the class returned from lunch, and Duchess stood at the door waiting for her friends, every single one of whom asked as they came in, "Duchess, why aren't you wearing your glasses?"

*Eye, actually. The other eye has always been just fine.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

stage names

The girls and I watched part of an episode of The Voice the other day, and they were curious about why Usher and Shakira don't use their last names. I explained the concept of a stage name to Skipper, and she said "What's MY stage name?"

I told her it could be whatever she wanted, and she said "I will be 'Tyrannus.'"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


One of my favorite podcasts is doing an episode this week on whether it's worth it to learn a foreign language. (Probable answer, based on my experience with this podcast: no.) I also heard a blip on the radio recently saying that it won't be long before we can get perfect instant translation using a phone app. This evening I mentioned that to Duchess, and she said, without hesitation, "No, it's still totally worth it to learn a language." She said that learning a language is something you accomplish, and if a phone's doing it, its just a thing the phone does. And learning a language makes you special. And if you don't know the language, you're not talking to people, your phone is talking to people.

So we will be paying for Duchess to attend a week of Mandarin immersion day camp this summer.

Oh, and in relevant news, Skipper is learning hiragana. She also sings a great phonics song that goes something like "ka ka ka ka, ka ke ku ke ko."


Holy cow - it's hard having a job! I spent the day digging myself partway out from under a pile of urgent to-dos, and fielding several drop-in visitors with whom I had to meet. I have to pick up Skipper at 2:15 at her school, a 8-minute bike ride from my (temporary) office. I said goodbye to my second drop-in visitor and looked at the clock, which read 2:14. I raced over there, and caught her before she made The Walk of Shame to the office, but she was the last kid there. She was not pleased.

But it's interesting, and my mind is working again! Hurrah!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bobbing, anyone?

Skipper just wandered into the living room waving a Bob Book, asking "Anybody want to do some Bobbing with me?"