Friday, December 30, 2022

Happy Belated Hanukkah

Since we couldn't do Hanukkah at the proper time, due to the storm, we're doing it this weekend -- bringing the kids and the grandkitty down today, and having latkes and matzo ball soup tomorrow. Dr. Skull is also supposed to be making a dessert, but I see no sign of one so far. I have threatened to make a dump cake, in the interests of motivating him. May have to follow through.

I'm also hoping the trash will actually be picked up today. The city hasn't come for it in three weeks now, due to weather. Today is sunny and 50 degrees. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Supply Line Problems

The store had three pints of cream on the shelf when I arrived yesterday. I am ashamed to admit that I bought two.

Still no bread flour and no decent bread. The chip aisle, I noted in passing, is decimated.

Organic veggies are still cheaper and in better shape than the non-organic. (I bought carrots.) Why would this be? Are organics locally sourced, maybe?

The storm has been over for days. What gives?

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Your Delivery is Delayed

I went to the other grocery, to find that cream is still not available. Neither is bread flour, and neither is any of the eatable sorts of bread -- Wonderbread is in fine supply. 

You can still get eggs, but not butter. Lots of margarine.

Meat and bacon are holding out, but no lox, oddly enough. Who is eating lox in Pork Smith?

I assume this is all because of the big storm, but it is creating a problem with making meals. I made some bagels with the last of our bread flour and we are having them with cream cheese, and I made bacon, which gave me some bacon fat, so I could make some black beans. (I have beans already.)

I also made gingersnaps, since we have plenty of all-purpose flour and spices. And there's some frozen sausage and fish sticks. We won't starve, at least not for a few days, and I can drink black coffee if I have too, but Dr. Skull insists on cream.

We might try Dollar General tomorrow, or the Walmart I Hate More Than Hell Itself.

Meanwhile I am reading a very interesting book by Redfern jon Barrett, an AU in which trans people rose up and defeated the Nazis (as they rose up in New York and defeated the police at Stonewall) with the result that Berlin has become a have for LGBTQ people, except conservativism arises in the 1980s (yes, conservative gays and lesbians) and -- as it did in the sixties in America -- a push to be the Respectable sort of LG (no BT or Q allowed) begins to dominate the city.

So far it's thoughtful and extremely well done. An author to watch.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

You Can Learn Anything on YouTube

My first pair of crocheted mittens:

The tricky part was not the thumbs, as I'd expected, but getting the tops to come out right. I had to rip them out and start again three times on the first mitten, and twice on the second.


The library was not only closed yesterday, and is closed today, but it's closed tomorrow too. 

AND it closed early the day before yesterday, because of the snow and ice. 

What am I supposed to READ?

Meanwhile, Dr. Skull is much better today. I tested him twice for Covid, and both times it was negative, so I guess he's going to live. I'm feeding him tea and also making him bagels. Tradition calls for Chinese food on Christmas day, but there's not a single decent Chinese food place left in this benighted town.

We could have Thai or Vietnamese, but they're all closed today. Next year in Fayetteville!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Best of 2022

These are my best posts from 2022....or at least they're posts that I made in 2022. A lot happened this year, only some of it good.

January 2022: My interview!

February 2022: My kid burns me on Twitter

March 2022: A tie: My kid gets top surgery and What it is like to be a Bat

April 2022: We join a gym

May 2022: The kid makes me an icon and Child Sacrifice

June 2022: Roe V Wade is overturned

July 2022: The Heat Dome

August 2022: Faculty Training in the American Hellscape

September 2022: My brother dies

October 2022: My kid's jack-o-lantern

November 2022: Elon buys Twitter and the left responds hilariously

December 2022: The Senate Is Blue

Bonus comic:

This was also the year my new nephew was born, and the year the kids got a cat. 

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Weather Update

A high of 17 today. Whaaaat.

But the roads look clear. I may venture out and look for cream later.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Menorah with Icy Windows

 Low of 5 degrees tonight, not to mention the wind. Very brrr.


The temperature dropped from 40 degrees at dawn to ten degrees now, and there is ice on the inside of our windows. It's snowing, but only a little bit. I'm wearing two sweaters and fingerless gloves to write, like a character in a Russian movie.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Winter Weather

We're supposed to have snow and dangerous cold and wind tomorrow, starting around eleven, so I went out to the grocery, for the first time in about a week, and holy hell the prices have shot up. I was going to make leek and potato soup, but they wanted -- I kid you not -- thirteen dollars for one single fucking leek.

So we're having onion and potato soup instead. Celery was seven dollars for a spindly, wilted bunch. I checked the organic, and it was four dollars for a better bunch. Potatoes are still cheap at least, and we have some chicken stock left over from our dinner party.

All the cream is gone. The lady at the check out says its supply chains. Probably it's also everyone baking. There was still milk and half and half, so I got some of each. Potato soup is better with cream, but half and half works.

My recipe:

  • a leek (or an onion)
  • A carrot
  • A stalk of celery
  • One potato per person and one for the pot
  • flour
  • chicken or vegetable stock or water
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Some sort of fat -- bacon grease is best
Cut up the leek, the onion, and the celery and cook them in a couple tablespoons of fat over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add about a tablespoon of flour and the pepper and cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes. You want to wake up the spices and cook the flour. You can add a little curry powder or some garlic at this point too.

Add a little water or stock. Stir to mix. Cut up the potatoes -- you can peel if you want, but I like the peels on. They should be diced, more or less. Add more stock, enough to cover the potatoes, and then bring to a boil, while stirring. Once its boiling, turn down to low heat and simmer for about fifteen minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Taste the broth to make sure it's salty enough (there's salt in the bacon grease and in the stock, probably) and add salt if not.

Pull out some of vegetables and mash. Return to soup and stir. Add cream or half and half or milk -- as much as you want. I like a lot. Then bring to a simmer again. 

Eat with toast or crackers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Menorah with Cat


Time and Sleep

I've been having trouble writing since the end of summer. I was struggling to get five hundred words a day, and every line was like rowing up hill. Now all of a sudden my mojo is back. The pages just roll right out. I can't tell you what a relief it is.

Also, this is cool. (Stolen from TYWKIWBDI)

Oh No!

Not women with graduate degrees!

Apparently conservative men are terrified of women who are smarter and more educated than they are, which explains a lot about the GOP, frankly.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Happy Hanukkah

 Day One. We're just lighting the candles, not doing latkes or anything, because (1) the kid can't get down here yet and (B) we're both dying from whatever this plague is.

Dr. Skull says I bought non-standard candles, but I say they're burning, aren't they?

Post-Semester Plague

Dr. Skull has what I am hoping is not COVID (he tests negative so far) and I am feeling achy and sore. Since everyone in town is sick with a ferocious cold, I'm hoping that's all it is.

And of course the bug waited until the semester was over to lay us low. Thoughtful!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Let the Festivities Begin!

I have finished grading *and* sent off one of my book reviews. The other is due in early February, but I have made a good start on it.

No classes until January 17. Nothing to do now but drink coffee and write my novel. It is bliss.

Thursday, December 15, 2022


You're getting links because I'm grading final exams and working on two book reviews whose deadlines are fast approaching. I should clearly be spending less time on the internet, but.

Gifts for the MAGA in your life. These are all apparently real, and I'm not sure whether that's hilarious or just really sad.

Fox News attacks a Minnesota teacher. How dare she say that students are indoctrinated? That's their job!

I love this poem.

This is long, but makes a good point about moral panics.

Cars used to be the leading killer of children. Now it's guns. That's because we made laws about cars (seatbelt laws, car seat laws, rules about how they were built, rules about driving drunk or speeding in school zones, licensing laws) whereas all we do with guns is sell more of them.

Mike Pence wants to make it legal to kill police officers entering your house illegally. I mean, that at least fits the parameters of the Second Amendment, I guess.


Monday, December 12, 2022

It's Exam Week!

We've officially launched into final exam week. Since I'm only give that one exam (at eight a.m.), this mostly means, for me, heaps of grading. Final papers are due in all five classes, and the final exam in the Global Lit class. Ugh. I hate grading.

Meanwhile we had a good dinner party. The dump cake was a big hit. I sent the remains home with Charger, something I am now regretting.

Oh, and the boyfriend did indeed make deviled eggs. They were excellent. Next time I'll get a photo.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Heading into Exam Week

I'm only giving one exam this semester, and it's at fucking dawn on Tuesday. (Exams before 10:00 a.m. are the real oppression.) For my other classes, students are turning in big papers or portfolios, depending on which class it is -- portfolios for fiction workshop, papers for Comp I.

Meanwhile we're having Dr. Skull's birthday celebration today: chicken schnitzel, asparagus, mashed potatoes, chocolate pie, babka, and a dump cake I am making especially for Uncle Charger and me. I might get the kid's boyfriend to make deviled eggs again. He made them for our last dinner party and they were excellent. Everyone is coming, including my SIL. She's coming down for Hanukkah in a couple of weeks too. (I think I need to give her a blog name.)

So anyway I'm spending this morning cleaning up and making dump cake. I should get to it.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Weirdness on the Right

I'm not reading many conservative blogs or webpages these days, because they're all so unhinged they make me wince with second-hand embarrassment, but here are a few talking points that are boiling up from the Right.

I've seen a couple of people on the Right predicting a "hard winter," and asserting that America is going to be starving by spring. I have no idea where this is coming from. I know that on at least one blog (a very odd one) it's been asserted that the "Marxist Left" is keeping people from making or distributing fertilizer, because progressives are evil and love death, apparently; so maybe it's part of that?

Over on Twitter, conservatives have moved on from how evil it was for Biden to work a deal that got Brittney Griner out of a Russian prison to claiming Griner is actually a man. (To be fair, it's mostly TERFs doing this, but however much TERFs claim they are feminists, they are actually gender essentialists, which is to say, conservatives.)

And this, which I first noticed coming from Rod Dreher and wossname, up in Idaho -- the idea that fascism is necessary to save America from the non-Christians. Apparently the Right only believes in originalism so long as they're winning elections and the culture wars. When they start losing -- because most Americans don't like bigotry, actually -- why, now it's time to ditch the Constitution and the law. America is going to be a Christian nation, or else.

They're also very upset by the Marriage Equality bill. This is a little odd, given how many of them assert earnestly that the GOP would never overthrow Obergefell, why, that's settled law! (Same thing they asserted earnestly about Roe V. Wade, if you recall.)

There was a story in the Guardian about the mountain lion who lives in a wilderness preserve above LA, and how the fact that the lion is now attacking small dogs and scaring residents. The wildlife experts explain that the lion is stressed by the smallness of his habitat and his growing age (he's very old for a mountain lion), that these attacks are the result of stress. Not sure why this made me think of Conservatives. 

Thursday, December 08, 2022


I'm enjoying the comments on this post at Unfogged.

This fake crisis from the Right is also funny -- I mean, as Roy Edroso pointed out, previously the Right was wailing because Biden hadn't gotten her out of the Russian prison. Someone else in the thread points out this same pivot happened back with Obama and Bergdahl. 

Though I do like Pharyngula's take.

This is good news: The Marriage Equality bill got through the House. Some bipartisan support, even.

For all y'all Wordle fans, here's Hurdle, which is frankly more fun.

Wednesday, December 07, 2022


I have so many things I have to do in the next week. Some of them are things I want to do (dinner with family, for instance, or writing reviews for various science fiction magazines) and some are things I could do without (grading papers, exams, meeting with disgruntled students) but all of them are adding stress to my already over-stressed system.

Honestly, all I want out of life is day after day with nothing planned.

Can't I just sit here and drink my coffee and write novels?

The Senate Goes Blue

On the one hand, it's Georgia, so the fact that Warnock was elected is definitely a move in the right direction.

On the other hand, 48.6% of people in Georgia voted for someone more incompetent than Trump. 

Monday, December 05, 2022

Giving to Charity

I donate to my local foodbank, to ACLU, to Planned Parenthood, and to donor's choose, in roughly that order. (That is, monthly to my local foodbank and the ACLU, to Planned Parenthood and donors choose when I have some extra money.)

Nicole and Maggie have a post on places to give!

Other suggestions welcome!

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Birthdays and Hanukkah

Dr. Skull and the kid's boyfriend have the same birthday, December 8. 

Because Dr. Skull had lingering trauma from when he was a kid, and his birthday and Hanukkah coincided so often, he insists every year on having a separate party for his birthday. This year we're holding it on December 10, since that's a Saturday and the kids are both off.

Then Hanukkah runs this year from December 18 through the 26, so we'll probably hold the Hanukkah party (Latkes and corned beef) on the 24.

You see what this means. Yes, it means I must clean the house TWICE in two weeks.

On the other hand, latkes.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Extremely Cool

 There's also version aimed at people with more scientific knowledge:

All I Wanted to Do Was Read a Few Books

I'm at the point in the semester where I hate my life: grading season. Yes.

Ten percent of my students do wonderfully, but honestly they would do wonderfully without me. Ten percent are hopeless, and I spent 90% of my time working with them. The middle 80%, the ones I could help, end of getting short shrift because of that bottom ten percent. Honestly it's just depressing.

Why did I become an English professor? What was I thinking?

(This is a rant. Don't take me seriously.)