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Thursday, August 28th, 2014 09:19 pm

Don Jensen posted a photo:

The Monster

The Northern lights make an appearance in the distance as the stars shine over Mount Si.

Friday, August 29th, 2014 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. How to turn down supporters’ requests to visit our office

I work for a high-profile animal welfare charity, and we often get requests by supporters to visit our office. Unfortunately, we are a small team with limited time and there really is nothing to see here! (We are not involved in hands-on work and there are no animals to see here!) We have no idea what they are hoping to see – I guess they feel we have a special relationship with them so they can just drop in for a chat when they are in town.

How do I politely tell these people we just cannot facilitate visits without sounding rude?

“We’re a small staff that tends to be stretched thin, so it’s hard to accommodate visits during the workday — and we’re a pretty basic office anyway, without animals on-site, so you likely wouldn’t find it interesting to visit! But while you’re in town, a great place to visit is ___ (insert some animal-friendly destination like a sanctuary if there’s one within driving distance).”

Also, if it’s a regular request, you might consider holding a monthly happy hour, volunteer night, or other low-resource event for volunteers and supporters, which would give you something to funnel people toward: “We’re a small staff so it’s hard to accommodate visits during the workday, but we have a monthly ___ that we’d love for you to attend if you’ll be here during it.”

And of course, it probably goes without saying, but you’d want to make the time to meet with high-dollar donors (or prospective high-dollar donors), since helping major donors feel more invested in your organization is a fundamental part of fundraising and usually more than pays for itself.

2. My former company told my former coworker that she can’t talk to me anymore

I recently left a job because I was extremely unhappy there. I made a few friends there. I was told by one of them that she is no longer allowed to talk to me and she has to cut ties with me completely because the boss says so. My former boss is telling her she can not talk to me on her private time. I did not leave and go to a competitive company; I am staying home with my family. She does not email me from work or call me from her desk; this is strictly an outside work friendship. Can a company really do that?

A handful states, such as New York and California, have laws that explicitly protect an employee’s lawful activities off the clock and off the employer’s premises, and my guess is that this would be covered by those laws. But outside of those states, yes, an employer can put all sorts of weird requirements on employees, including that they not socialize with former employees.

That said, how is your employer going to know if your former coworker is continuing to talk to you? It seems like it would be pretty easy for her to continue the friendship without them knowing about it. (Which isn’t to say that she should have to do that — this is a ridiculous overreach from the employer. But that might be the solution, unless she’s willing to push back on her manager.)

3. Can my employer decrease my pay retroactively?

Can an employer can make a pay change (decrease) retroactive? For example, I get paid a base salary, plus commission. My boss is talking about taking away the commission part of the salary structure and putting me on a base salary. Would that take effect start from the day we speak or a future agreed upon date, or could he make that take effect for this current month?

The commissions earned for the month are usually paid on the second pay date of the following month. Would the August commission be compromised if the pay change were to take effect in September? Or, would the commissions still be owed to me since it was for the month of August, and work was already completed?

Employers cannot decrease your pay retroactively. They can change it going forward at any time if you agree to that, but they can’t just announce to you, “Oh, by the way, you’ve been working at 80% of your previous rate these last two weeks.” The idea is that you need to agree to your pay rate. If you can’t reach an agreement, you can leave the job — but they can’t change it behind your back and not tell you.

Commissions, though, might be trickier, depending on the exact wording of your commission agreement with your employer.

4. Can my employer call me on my day off and tell me to come in?

Our new work schedule always comes out on Thursday and is finalized by Saturday of the same week. I check the final schedule and write it down to plan my life around my work schedule. Last week, I checked my schedule and it said that I would have Monday off. When I woke up Monday, I had a text from a coworker that said my manager decided that I was working all day — my scheduled day off.

Normally I have no problem with being called in, but I was not asked if I could; I was just told to come in. Here’s the problem: I am a few hours away from my job visiting family because I was supposed to be off. Calling me to come in a few hours before the shift was to begin will not leave me with enough time. I had to say no. Are managers allowed to schedule you last second, as in, the day of, on your day off without asking if you can actually do it? Secondly, would they be able to fire me for unwillingness to work if I can’t come in when they ask me to?

Yes, they’re allowed to do that — but you’re also allowed to explain that you can’t come in. In theory, they could fire you over that if they wanted to, but they’re unlikely to do that. (They’re also allowed to fire you for wearing an ugly tie or using words that start with Z, but that’s unlikely too.) The next time this happens, just say something like, “I can’t come in today; since I was scheduled to be off, I’m out of town.”

5. Are reimbursements supposed to be taxed?

When I incur expenses for my job (mileage for travelling to a meeting, say), I fill out an expense report and at the end of the pay period my employer reimburses me. Is this money taxable? My present employer just told me it’s illegal for a company to tax money that was paid to me as a reimbursable expense, yet my last employer always taxed it, to the tune of several hundred dollars over the 5 years I worked for them. I am living in Maryland now, my last job was in Texas, in case that makes a difference.

As long as they were legitimate, documented business expenses, that money should not be taxed. It’s not income; it’s simply reimbursement of a business expense.

I’m not sure if there’s anything you can do to correct it retroactively, but an accountant could probably tell you. (I assume you’d need them to issue you a corrected W2, and you’d need to file an amended return, but I’m just guessing.)

how to turn down requests to visit our office, retroactive pay decreases, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 10:45 pm

: (

Swine for sale: How kids’ livestock shows became a cutthroat (and expensive) business

"Severe... Pervasive... Irreversible": IPCC's Devastating Climate Change Conclusions More here

Renewable energy capacity grows at fastest ever pace

Green technologies now produce 22% of world's electricity

Could Climate Change Cause Deadly Epidemics?

The Dark Side of Almond Use

People are eating almonds in unprecedented amounts. Is that okay?

The authorities in Brazil say they have dismantled a criminal organisation they believe was the "biggest destroyer" of the Amazon rainforest.

NYPD Harassment Stories: "Stopped for Walking With a Black Guy"

U.N. says 43 Golan peacekeepers seized by Syria militants, 81 trapped

Russia sends tanks and troops into Ukraine, seizes a strategic town

Russians troops fighting in Ukraine? Naw. They’re just on ‘vacation.’

Microbiomes: You Live in Your Own Germ Cloud, Study Finds

Touring a Kurdish capital in the US

Why Are There So Few Doctors in Rural America?

The rugged lifestyle has its appeal, just not for physicians.

Philadelphia Earns Millions By Seizing Cash And Homes From People Never Charged With A Crime

Treatment Centers Are Closing, But Ebola Patients Have Nowhere to Go

Ebola Is Rapidly Mutating As It Spreads Across West Africa

Islamic State Executes Dozens of Syrian Army Soldiers

Facing Islamist threats, some Arab nations tilt toward Israel

Yeah, because they might hate Israel, but at least Israel isn't fucking terrifying. Well, it's an ill wind that blows no good, I guess.

If You Want to See Inequality in the U.S. at Its Worst, Visit an Impound Lot

'Poor door' opens a window on housing affordability crisis

This 3D-Printed Vertebra Is A Huge Step Forward For Medicine

Walking a mile a day can cut risk of dying from cancer by 40%
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 06:57 pm
A revision of our road construction map: behind a cut, because image )

The red section is still closed and will be until October 21 according to their current estimates. The blue section is where there will be street that wasn't there before.

The orange section is no longer ACTIVELY being worked, and the steel plate has been removed. The square, 3-4 feet on a side, that it covered, however, is not fully filled in, but is sunken several inches...and has been left that way for a week or more. Apparently that's our new reality. It COMPLETELY fills the lane of travel, the right lane of Courtside, at that intersection. It's not dangerous except to very low cars and maybe motorcycles/bikes, but it's annoying and no one wants to go through it. So we go around. I figure it's only a matter of time before that causes an accident.

Tonight, hopefully not for too long, they closed Town Center Loop between Courtside and the Wilsonville Road. That is the purple spot on the map...and meant we couldn't head home that way and I had to loop around a long way to get back. Fun! Anyway, the closure at Courtside blocks the right lane inbound to the neighborhood, so they had a flagger there moving us through since it was one car at a time.

Maybe they'd just like to close our neighborhood?? Seriously, why could whatever they are doing on Town Center Loop there not have been done earlier this month _before_ Vlahos closed at least?

Ah well. If worst comes to worst, we can park in the next neighborhood over (NO shared roads) and walk in on the trail that crosses the wetlands. And the fact that I even briefly consider that is sign of how stressful/annoying this is, but I didn't know until I got alllll the way back around the loop whether or not Courtside WAS open, since I couldn't see that far from the block between the Wilsonville Road and Town Center Loop.

I know, road construction season, but this is a wee bit ridiculous. :P

At least I'm getting good stories out of it?
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 09:00 pm

  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 08:18 pm








I’m still doing the easy rooms and avoiding the tough ones. (15 minutes)

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 06:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I’m a 59-year-old professional woman with Stage 4, metastatic breast cancer; my original disease was diagnosed and treated in 1996, but multiple metastases emerged and were officially diagnosed in 2007. I received a very aggressive course of chemotherapy at that time, achieved symptomatic remission, and have continued on maintenance therapy ever since, with occasional ups and downs. I have been continuously employed during this period, with full-time, exempt, home-based positions in my industry. The 2007 chemotherapy resulted in a permanent hair loss of about 90%, but otherwise, my appearance is healthy: I’ve interviewed for, and secured, 2 new jobs since then.

I love my current job, where I’ve been for more than 3 years, and have several colleagues whom I work closely with, but have never met in person, as most of us are remote. I’ve told a very few co-workers about my situation, over the years, but given the flux in the company (normal for this industry), I am not even sure if any of my currently closest colleagues know. And normally, they really don’t have to—I manage my treatments and other medical procedures within a flexible full-time work schedule, with only one period where I took significant time off from this job (3 weeks) due to my disease. At this point, I believe that only HR has the full story. I present as an energetic, very productive employee; people who know me and subsequently learn of my medical situation are invariably surprised.

But now, I have found that after 7 years in remission, my disease is progressing significantly: I have 2 new tumors and increased activity in old ones. This is a very bad prospect, and at the least, I will have to start a much more aggressive treatment program, which is likely to have side effects that will be painful and disruptive. And this progression could continue, despite additional treatment; it could prove fatal.

(Pause for a note about breast cancer: once metastatic tumors have appeared, the disease is considered incurable. The average patient dies within 2-3 years after this diagnosis; the US Social Security Administration includes it in their list of compassionate allowance conditions for disability determination. So by being alive and working, 7 years later, I am already on velvet! Normally, a patient may go through several cycles of exacerbation-treatment-remission before the disease finally cannot be controlled and becomes terminal. I would like to continue to survive, and even, dream of dreams, be able to retire in a few more years….)

Because this new source of chemotherapy is likely to impact my ability to work, within the next few months, I feel obliged to inform my supervisor and colleagues, so that we can plan for coverage (I am the only permanent employee in my role). Still, I really can’t be certain how impaired I might become, and any changes will probably be gradually increasing over time, rather than sudden. Of course, the worst-case scenario is that this is the beginning of the final battle, and I will become incapacitated, and eventually, die.

How in the world can I do the right thing by my colleagues and my company—balancing the uncertainty of this disease flare/treatment against our business needs and planning—when most or all of them are unaware that I even have a problem? My direct supervisor is in a high administrative role, and we communicate rarely and via email only; I’ve never talked by phone with him, much less met him. My previous supervisor knew, but he left the company earlier this year. I am much closer to certain project managers, who would be the most affected by my disability, and I’m more inclined to start with them. Also, the majority of us are remote.

HR of course would say that I don’t need to tell anybody until I actually need time off (I know this is a protected condition), but as a professional and dedicated team member, this just seems wrong to me. And even as a social matter, it’s awkward to bring up out of the blue. At least when people meet me personally, there are hints in my appearance that make it easier to introduce an explanation, but when we only know each other from teleconferences and email, there’s no warning that I have a Dread Disease.

What’s your opinion about whether, when, and how I should communicate this news to my colleagues? Where business protocol is concerned, I feel I have little to go on—as a data point, I’m what we call an “outlier.” What are the rules? Help!

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.

Please don’t let how to tell your colleagues become an additional source of stress. I think the best thing you can do is to make this part of things as simple as possible for yourself: Don’t worry about the fact that you haven’t told them previously, or that there’s uncertainty about what this will mean for your job, or exactly how it will play out. Just tell them what’s going on now, starting out with the basics: “I want to let you know that I’m being treated for cancer. I’ll be doing chemotherapy over the next few months, and I’m unsure right now exactly what that will mean as far as what time I’ll need off. I’ll keep you posted as things move forward and I get a clearer idea of what I’ll need.”

People will probably have questions, and you can share as much or as little as you want. But this initial language will convey the most important parts for them to know.

And I think it’s fine to start with the project managers who you’re closer to if you’d like to, but I’d tell your manager soon after that so that he hears it directly from you rather than through the grapevine. Since you generally communicate with him by email, it’s fine to do this by email too — but if you’d rather do it over the phone, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Go with whatever you’re most comfortable with.

It’s entirely reasonable to make this about what’s most comfortable for you and trust that others will be okay with that.

And I’m sending you many good thoughts from here, and I’d bet you have the good wishes of thousands of readers heading your way today as well.

how do I tell my coworkers that I have incurable cancer and it’s progressing? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 01:46 pm
When I call my sister up to share a particularly interesting bit of news and she goes "Yeah, I know", is it wrong of me to threaten to dangle her out the window by her toes? To wish her well on her trip to Hell? To hate her with the burning passion of a thousand suns?

How hard is it to pretend that the news is new to her!?

On another note, this is an interesting use of "was sat" from a presumably American waiter. I thought that was restricted to British speakers! Anybody hear that irl in the US lately?


A Rising Tide Only Lifts All Boats When Everyone Has a Boat

An anti-immigration group’s imaginary scapegoats

A top Ukrainian army officer said a "full-scale invasion" of his country was under way Thursday, as a U.S. official said up to 1,000 Russian troops had crossed Ukraine's southern border to fight alongside pro-Russian rebels.

UN Calls emergency meeting on Ukraine crisis

Pro-Ukraine Volunteers on New Frontline Despair of Stopping a Russian Attack

Rape and Sexual Slavery Inside an ISIS Prison

It should go without saying that there is some seriously triggery stuff in that link

There is a 20 to 50% possibility that the Southwestern United States could face a "megadrought" that lasts more than 30 years, according to researchers from the U. S. Geological Survey and two universities.

If You Think the Water Crisis Can't Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained

Rich People Are Trucking Their Own Water Into Drought-Ridden California

Indian team among finalists to build Star Trek-style tricorder

Dogs Eating Dead Bodies Of Ebola Victims On Liberian Streets

Ebola vaccine to be tested in humans at NIH Clinical Center in Maryland this fall

Fueled by Superstition, People Are Violently Attacking Albinos in Tanzania

Mystery of Death Valley's 'Sailing Stones' Solved

Three Things You Didn’t Know About the Arachnids That Live on Your Face

Remember the Wendy Davis Filibuster? The Law She Fought Is Driving Dozens of Abortion Clinics Out of Business

How rural poverty is changing: Your fate is increasingly tied to your town

6 Disturbing Things I Learned Writing Your Textbooks ( article)
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 04:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Assuming that you don’t employ robots, at some point you’ll have employees who make mistakes. (Although if you do employ robots, no need to read further.) Some mistakes are routine – a typo here, a misunderstood instruction there. But what do you do when a mistake is more serious?

At Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today, I talk about four key principles for responding to a serious mistake on your team. You can read it here.

what to do when an employee makes a serious mistake was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 03:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

On a post last week, commenter Joey said: “I used to work with a guy that did triathlons and biked 12 miles to work in the Texas heat. He’d wear his Lance Armstrong wear on the way to work, strip down in the staff bathroom, use a wash rag to take a bath in the sink and get dressed for work. He didn’t wear underwear under his bike stuff.”

The gauntlet has been thrown down. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at work?

(Edited to add: People who don’t normally read the comments, READ THESE. We’re only 12 in as of this writing and they’re already amazing.)

what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at work? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 02:00 pm

Posted by PJ Jonas

Fall is almost here and that means that Cider Press and Pumpkin are the limited edition soap scents for September. They both smell delicious!  Cider Press smells just like apples and cinnamon and Pumpkin smells like yummy pumpkin bread. Both of these soaps will be announced in the Goat Milk Stuff newsletter and available on the website on September 1st.  Those of you […]
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 08:02 am
Cordelia and I went to the gathering at her school yesterday. It was really, really crowded because they were giving out class assignments and orientation packets. Cordelia's homeroom will be with the teacher who'll do math and science (the two teachers have rooms across the hall from each other. The kids will go back and forth). Cordelia's best friend is in the same class. Her next best friend wasn't assigned to a class even though she's supposed to be enrolled. The boy Cordelia plays with has a similar problem. His siblings are enrolled, but he isn't even though his parents filled out the right forms. With luck, they'll straighten it out. There's room in the sixth grade classes; I think, from what I saw, that there are only twenty-two kids in each of the two classes.

For the first time, this year, we have a school supply list. Up until now, the school has supplied everything Cordelia needed, but this year, we're to supply paper and five notebooks and a couple of folders and a bunch of other things. We're hoping to shop for that stuff tonight when we go shopping for a present for the birthday party Cordelia will attend on Saturday.

I have never seen so many people at the school. The area above the playground where they were giving out packets and hotdogs was so packed it was hard to move. I think Cordelia and I stood in line for about fifteen minutes to get hotdogs (I had a veggie dog. Normal hotdogs give me reflux. The veggie dog didn't, so I suppose that's a win). The playground was incredibly full, too, with dozens of kids running around. All the swings were full. I think those of us who were at the school last year were kind of dazed. We're not used to crowds like this.

We ended up not even trying to get Cordelia to soccer.

I'd warned the other players in Scott's FATE game that we might be running late, so they all arrived a little late to give us time for dinner. As it turned out, we didn't really need it, but I'd expected that we would. I think we're right on the edge of something really major happening in the game-- I think we were too late to stop the bad guys from doing what they were trying to do, and I think it was some kind of summoning (technological as much as magical). All the signs point that way. I just hope we managed to intervene in time to save the lives of the people they were using as part of their summoning array. (They injected people with some stuff that took them over. We managed to deactivate that part of it, but the magical aspect still activated.)

I've got two extra kids today. Cordelia's best friend and her brother are here for the day. That meant getting up at 7:00 which is, I suppose, practice for next week when we'll be doing it all the time.
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 07:23 am



after several weeks of living like an absolute slob (THANKS DEPRESSION) i finally made it liveable again.

p.s. being caffeinated + loud motivational music helps

p.p.s. admire my dinosaur laundry bin pls

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 12:30 am
Figure from Open Notes study illustrating access to doctors' notes found here

I enjoy reading Dr. Fred Pelzman's blog over at MedPage Today. Read this from MedPage Today:
Fred N. Pelzman, MD, a primary care physician at Weill Cornell Internal Medicine Associates, writes a weekly blog for MedPage Today, and in his spare moments he reads about what's going on in the world of primary care medicine. Take a few minutes to check out Pelzman's Picks -- a compilation of links to blogs, articles, tweets, journal studies, opinion pieces, and news briefs related to primary care that caught his eye.
His Pelzman's Picks interest me, and one link from yesterday was particularly engaging entitled When Patients Read What Their Doctors Write  and published on NPR's health news page. Here's a snippet:
The woman was sitting on a gurney in the emergency room, and I was facing her, typing. I had just written about her abdominal pain when she posed a question I'd never been asked before: "May I take a look at what you're writing?" 
At the time, I was a fourth-year medical resident in Boston. In our ER, doctors routinely typed visit notes, placed orders and checked past records while we were in patients' rooms. To maintain at least some eye contact, we faced our patients, with the computer between us. 
But there was no reason why we couldn't be on the same side of the computer screen. I sat down next to her and showed her what I was typing. She began pointing out changes....continue reading here
The author of the piece, Dr. Leana Wen, an attending physician and director of patient-centered care research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University, went on to comment about the concept of giving patients access to the information in their charts, specifically the doctor's documentation about a visit or exam. You can read more about this practice inspired by a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2010 conducted by a team of physicians and nurse researchers here: Open Notes: Doctors and Patients Signing On:
Few patients read their doctors' notes, despite having the legal right to do so. As information technology makes medical records more accessible and society calls for greater transparency, patients' interest in reading their doctors' notes may increase. Inviting patients to review these notes could improve understanding of their health, foster productive communication, stimulate shared decision making, and ultimately lead to better outcomes. Yet, easy access to doctors' notes could have negative consequences, such as confusing or worrying patients and complicating rather than improving patient–doctor communication. To gain evidence about the feasibility, benefits, and harms of providing patients ready access to electronic doctors' notes, a team of physicians and nurses have embarked on a demonstration and evaluation of a project called OpenNotes. The authors describe the intervention and share what they learned from conversations with doctors and patients during the planning stages. The team anticipates that “open notes” will spread and suggests that over time, if drafted collaboratively and signed by both doctors and patients, they might evolve to become contracts for care. [Bolding mine] Continue reading here
I would agree completely with the team's anticipation of a shared plan of action which includes input from both clinician and patient. One of the reasons this study and it's commentary caught my interest was the fact that this is how my rheumatologist Dr. Young Guy conducts all of our visits. I can read the text of his entries into my chart online soon after the visit. My new internal medicine physician does this as well. If I have trouble recalling exactly what was discussed, the doctor's note appears in my after visit summary that I can view online or receive a paper copy when I leave the appointment.

I appreciate this now more than ever. I do view my medical care as a collaborative process and I never have to wonder how I am being assessed and what conclusions and plans are reached by physicians and other health care providers since it's all there for me to see. Most of my lab and test results are there as well, and if they're not I know that I will be receiving a phone call explaining the results with a follow up letter stating the same info.

Not all physicians in my medical services provider system follow their example, however. I'm delighted that my doctors do -- and I hope that others see the benefit of active patient involvement and will begin sharing their documentation as well.

Does your physician enter information about your visits on a computer in the exam room? Are you able to see and discuss what is being entered in your medical record? And if not.....

.....are you considering asking why not?
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. How do I list a receptionist job in a brothel on my resume?

I work in a place with a legalised, regulated sex industry. I worked as a receptionist in a brothel for over a year and for the most part, I was really good at it and gained some really valuable experience while there, that I think would be transferrable to other jobs and industries — possibly office or project management or something like that.

My issue is that I’m not sure about listing this position on my resume. Generally, brothels usually have alternative business names and receptionists might list their position as working front of house in a restaurant or something like that. That’s possible here but if I go that route, I don’t get to talk about my actual experience – juggling phone calls, coordinating bookings, paying attention to occupational health and safety, etc. Also, if you google the alternative business name, it comes up with a few directory pages saying that it is a restaurant, has been in operation for 20+ years, and that 15 people are employed there, but that’s pretty much it. One of those pages includes the address and it would be easy to link it to the brothel. I’m not sure whether it’s a believable cover. On the one hand, I could just say that it’s very small and quite old fashioned, hence such a small online presence. On the other hand, I don’t want to get caught out in a lie if they ask me for more details about it.

Would listing this position be a really bad idea? Or would someone who is hiring me be able to see the value in my experience and not get too caught up in what industry I worked in?

I’d list the alternate business name on your resume, but I wouldn’t outright lie about what it was (saying that it was a restaurant or something like that). Talk about all the experience that you want to talk about; just don’t specify that it was a brothel. You should be able to talk about experience in juggling phone calls, coordinating “entertainment bookings,” and so forth without saying “brothel,” “sex workers,” or other giveaway terms.

If you’re asked in an interview what kind of business it was, I’d say “entertainment industry” — and if pressed for details, I’d say “adult entertainment.” While that will get some interviewers clutching their pearls, there will be plenty who will see it as a business like any other — especially if you make a point of being extra polished and professional to counter any concerns they might have about norms in that industry. (And some might even figure that you probably picked up great customer service skills in a uniquely challenging environment.)

2. What Facebook posts should I block coworkers from?

I’m not a huge fan of being friends with work colleagues outside of work. It’s not that I’m not friendly, it’s just that I prefer to keep it very professional, maybe to a fault. I’m in a new office, and it seems like people here don’t prescribe completely to that same convention. So I’m trying my best to fit in with the office culture. I’m thinking about making a baby step and friending them on Facebook because they regularly come in in the morning and comment on pictures and postings saying things like, “Oh that hike looked really fun, where did you go?” “Hey let’s go on a hike this weekend.” Blah blah blah.

Anyway, I want to make Facebook groups, but I’m not sure what things should I let them see and what things I shouldn’t. I ask this because I don’t really post anything outrageous. I don’t drink or party so I don’t have any of those photos to share. I share funny stories about my crazy toddler and pictures of his cuteness. The only thing that might be “controversial” is that I post some unconventional political opinions for the region in which we live and for the religion of which I am a member (as are a few of my colleagues). Any guidance would be helpful.

Well, first, you really don’t need to friend coworkers on Facebook if you’d rather not. Plenty of people make a point of not connecting to coworkers. But if you decide to, it sounds like limiting them from political and religious posts would make sense. Put them in a “toddler pics only” group.

3. How can I refer a job candidate without vouching for them?

A former colleague from my previous place of employment reached out to me to let me know that he has been laid off during a restructuring. He wants to know if I can help him find a position at my new place of employment. My former boss did not think highly of him or his work product, and while I did not work with him directly, I wasn’t that impressed with him either. He was the type to sing the “No one appreciates me. Why am I treated so unfairly? How come no one recognizes how smart I am?” song.

On the other hand, this man has a family and two young children to support, and I would feel terrible refusing to help him. Still, I do not want to attach my name to his application, or in any way imply that I endorse him as a candidate.

My inclination is to direct him to our company’s jobs page, and tell him to let me know if he sees anything that he thinks would be a good fit, and that I can then send his resume to the assigned recruiter so that it at least gets seen. But what happens if the recruiter (or worse – the hiring manager) asks for my opinion of the guy? Should I just say that I did not work with him directly and leave it at that? I love my new job, and love working at my new company; it’s a huge fortune 100 though, and I feel morally inclined to put the best interests of a fellow human being above any loyalty I have to a corporation.

It’s kind of you to want to help, but make sure that you don’t tar your own reputation in doing so, because that can harm you in real ways. That means that you’d want to be very clear that you weren’t vouching for his work. At a minimum, you’d need to say something like, “I know him slightly, but I can’t vouch for his work.” But I’d think twice about helping in this way at all — if you’re encouraging him to apply for jobs with your company, you risk being associated with his application regardless, and this is someone who you know to be an undesirable employee. Why not help him in other ways, like offering to look over her resume or send him job leads elsewhere?

4. Setting goals for support positions

As we set annual goals, we are struggling to ensure that different roles have goals that have similar levels of rigor. We want everyone in the organization to have outcomes-driven goals (i.e., a sales total vs. cold calls made), but are particularly challenged by administrative staff. In the past, our goals for those roles have been very compliance oriented, and not really centered around the larger goals of the organization. Do you have strong examples of goals for receptionist, payroll clerk, and other types of support staff positions?

With roles where success is hard to quantify, goals should paint a picture of what the work looks like when it’s done well. The trick in doing that is often to picture someone doing a mediocre job in the role and someone doing an outstanding job in it. What’s the difference between the two? Your language can probably be found there. For example:

* Serve as a warm, helpful, and professional face of the organization to visitors and callers, leaving all visitors and callers with an image of XYZ Corp. as a friendly and easy-to-work-with resource.
* Interactions with visitors, vendors, and other employees regularly elicit unsolicited praise.
* Staff’s payroll questions and problems are resolved quickly and accurately, within one day for “urgent” issues and within three days for others.
* All meetings requests have been scheduled within 48 hours, with a first attempt to schedule made the same day request is received.
* Flawlessly execute weekly luncheons that present a highly professional image of the organization, have all logistics running smoothly, don’t go over budget, and receive at least 90% positive feedback on evaluation forms from both presenters and participants.

5. Can I see the profile of me that a recruiter is circulating?

Is the profile a recruiter has created about you considered their proprietary property? Or are you entitled to a copy of it?

I was contacted recently by a recruiter for a position that I am now actively interviewing for. Everyone I have met with so far has mentioned the great “profile” of me that the recruiter gave them, and now I’m very curious and would like to read it. I really like this recruiter, and would like to maintain the relationship even if this specific job does not pan out, so I don’t want to commit a faux pas. Totally acceptable or no?

You can absolutely ask to see it. And frankly, it’s a good idea, because you want to make sure that it’s representing you correctly — you don’t want to find out later on that the recruiter claimed you had skills you didn’t have or otherwise portrayed you inaccurately.

I’d say something like this: “Several of the people I’ve interviewed with have mentioned that they loved the profile of me that you sent them. I’d love to see that — could you send me a copy?”

listing a brothel job on a resume, blocking coworker from Facebook posts, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 09:00 pm

  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 06:25 pm
Interesting times, we sure do live in some interesting times. It's easy for me to be flippant, of course, the only interesting thing happening to me is one of my cats wandered off. Actually, I'm a bit concerned, it's the second cat disappearance this summer, the other cat belonging to a neighbor. On the other hand, this cat always has has a bit of a wanderlust, and even before this it was never unusual for him to disappear for half a week at a time, so... I don't know.


Laser pulse turns glass into a metal

Why Israel’s bombardment of Gaza neighborhood left US officers ‘stunned’

No-frills coats set a trend for designer viruses

About 620,000 Military Families Rely on Food Pantries to Meet Basic Needs

McConnell Promises Billionaire Donors He Won’t Waste Time On ‘Gosh Darn’ Minimum Wage Increases

Ohio lawmakers want to limit the teaching of the scientific process

Why You Should Embrace Surveillance, Not Fight It

Ukraine crisis: Rebels push into port of Novoazovsk

How Couples Play With Dolls Predicts Their Parenting Style, Study Says

Trash Burning Far More Polluting Than Expected As Countries Often Fail To Report Emissions

Climate change poses a growing health threat, the UN warned on Wednesday, saying extreme weather and rising temperatures could claim hundreds of thousands of lives and spread disease.

A Look Inside a Slum Cut Off by the Ebola Outbreak

Ebola causing huge damage to W.Africa economies

California drought: Drilling deeper in the hunt for water

Scientists able to 'reverse' emotions associated with memories

Maybe Orphanages Aren’t So Bad After All, Study Says

Walking fish reveal how our ancestors evolved onto land

A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled that Connecticut police cannot claim immunity to quash lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages from a botched 2008 raid by a SWAT team that severely injured a homeowner and killed his friend.

Every last article relating in any way to ISIS, or Syrian or Iraq, because I have plenty of them today )

And here are all links related at all to police brutality and/or militarization and/or Ferguson )
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 05:03 pm


Ask UfYH: Don’t Give Me This Whole “Men Don’t See the Mess” Bullshit


[Original publication date: Jan. 2, 2014]

Q: My boyfriend and I just moved in together, and although we agreed on splitting the chores, I’m doing most of the cleaning. My boyfriend says it’s because men just don’t see dirt and messes like women do. 

A: Oh, sweetie, your boyfriend’s full of shit. (more…)

View On WordPress

In case you missed it the first time around…

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 06:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

There’s a guy on our small work team that’s mostly made up of women, let’s call him Chumley. Whenever we go to a team lunch or outing, he puts his arm around or puts his hand on the lower back of a coworker. She’s horrified when it happens, and the other female coworkers comment on it, but nothing is ever said or done beyond that (and he doesn’t seem to get the hint).

Chumley is a temporary worker, but the manager wants him around for his skills. Should I say something to our manager or report it to HR?

Why not say something to him directly first, which is the most direct and efficient way of solving the problem?

When something bothers you — and especially when it’s at the point that people are talking about it — the first move should be to talk to the person directly. There are times when you might not feel comfortable doing that, of course, particularly when someone has more power in the situation than you do. But this is a temp and he sounds like a peer. Talk to him. (Besides, your manager’s or HR’s first question is likely to be, “Have you asked him to stop?”)

The next time it happens, your coworker should say something like this:

“Hey, hands-off, please.”

“Chumley, please don’t do that.”

“Personal space!”

(There’s also a school of advice that says you should be much more stern and formal about this — along the lines of “don’t touch me without my permission again” — but I see no reason to go straight to that kind of wording when more less harsh versions haven’t been tried yet. If Chumley means well and is just clueless, informal language will solve the problem with less awkwardness.)

Or, your coworker could even go and talk to him right now rather than waiting for it to happen again: “Hey, Chumley, I realize I should have said something about this to you earlier, but you tend to put your arm around me or your hand on my back when we’re walking together, and I’d rather you didn’t. I like my personal space. Thank you.”

After that, if it continues, then sure, report it. But the first step is to tell him directly to stop.

how to tell a coworker to stop touching you was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 05:13 pm

Posted by Tab

Thought you were getting a linear story line? HA. It’s relevant flashback time!

Anwar here is a gratuitous portrait of myself- ever just slump somewhere like a broken toy like ‘nope, fuck this.’?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 04:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

When it comes to how you’re perceived at work, it might be tempting to think that the quality of your work is all that matters. But the reality is that your colleagues’ perceptions of you depend on much more than just the work you produce. Consciously or unconsciously, most people in a workplace pay attention to everything from who you hang out with to how you’ve decorated your office. And while that might sound superficial, it’s human nature to make assumptions from all the data you give people.

At DailyWorth, I talk about some of the signals you might be sending without even realizing it. You can read it here.

are you sending the right signals at work? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 03:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

Sometimes at work for employee birthdays or for special occasions, my boss will bring in wine or other alcohol, and after we close, they will drink and celebrate a little. I have always been offered the drinks and declined. Bet recently, even though I decline, my boss is pouring me a glass anyway and leaving it on my desk. I have said things like, “No, thank you” or “I appreciate it but I am not interested, thanks.” This last time, she was so insistent that she actually placed the cup into my hand and told me to drink. I was really upset, although I tried not to let on that I was so upset by it. I said, “Really, I am not interested, thank you” and placed the cup down on the table. She then proceeded to talk about me and how I must be a closet drunk because I don’t drink at work.

What am I supposed to do? I don’t drink because I don’t want to. I don’t enjoy it and I am just not comfortable drinking. I have explained that point and they don’t seem to listen. I have nothing against them drinking but I don’t want to drink. How do I get my boss to respect this and stop pressuring me?

Your boss is an ass. Pushing people to drink and drawing conclusions about them if they don’t is the sort of immature behavior most people left behind in high school.

I’d try saying something to her like, “Jane, I don’t mind the rest of you having a drink at work, but I don’t enjoy doing it myself. You know, there are a lot of reasons people don’t drink — simply not liking the taste of it, not liking the buzz, having a low tolerance, being on medication, religious reasons, past problems with alcohol, and lots of others. I’d hate to see us as a group put someone in a tough position by pushing drinks on them when they don’t want them.”

Beyond that, you might also pour yourself a glass of something non-alcoholic so that you can “celebrate” with them and actively participate, which might help the situation.

And file this away as valuable information about your boss’s judgment and common sense.

my boss keeps pushing me to drink was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 02:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

Our dairy goats are not only foundational to Goat Milk Stuff, but they are a big part of our family as well. Each of them has a personality and during this series we’re hoping you’ll get to know more about them. Ivy is one of our biggest and strongest goats.  She is Colter’s favorite goat, and is very […]
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 10:47 am
Since we watched the last episode of season three of Legend of Korra, Cordelia has watched seasons one and two again and then gone on to season two of Avatar: the Last Airbender (season one is on loan to a friend). I've mostly been listening to music while she watches. I can follow a lot without the sound (though the lack of captioning really annoys me) because I'm so familiar with what's going on.

I'm wearing my new sandals for the first time today. I'm not sure how it's going to work out. There are a couple of spots that I think might chafe. I suppose I'll see. It's not like I'm going to do a lot of walking. Most of that will happen this evening when there's a gathering at the school.

The thing at the school was originally intended as a ribbon cutting for the renovations, but they're putting off that part of it until the Friday after school starts. As it is, this will be a picnic of sorts with informational packets. We pretty much have to go in order to get this information, but Cordelia's going to be the only one of us who can eat the food (hotdogs and veggie dogs).

Cordelia's trying to use the picnic as an excuse to get out of soccer practice. We haven't decided yet whether or not that will work, and we have to decide soon so that we can let the person who'd give her a ride home know whether or not she'll be there. We want her to go, but it may depend on how long the picnic runs. The picnic starts at 5:30. Practice runs 6:00 to 7:30 and is about half an hour away. We have people coming over at 7:00 for Scott's FATE game. I just don't know.
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 09:14 am


The fall semester starts the day after Labor Day, and my wonderful fiance assisted me in unfucking and reorganizing the Den of Creativity (DOC) so that I have study space.

Gone is my little corner desk, replaced by his 6-foot DJ gig table. I now have room for my laptop, desktop, tablet, and piles of books, binders, and notebooks. He was so sweet to give up his gig table for me, and I’m determined to make good use of it. 

The cat litter box is now hidden away under a table, which I can use as a staging area when getting ready in the morning. The kitties seem to like the little extra privacy.

My pink file cabinet is no longer 4 junk drawers, but is tidied and organized and ready to receive my school stuff.

Since my closet is also in the DOC, I wrangled that mess as well. Even the rat’s nest of jewelry has been dealt with and sorted.

My fiance also set his DJ equipment up again, in a nice ergonomic way. He replaced all the old speaker wire and ran new, and all the blacklights (except for one) have been plugged in.

I love the way this room looks now. I’m tempted to rename the room the Den of Productivity!



And can I have some props for the jewelry organizer? :)


Last thing - can someone please tell me how to insert multiple pictures in Tumblr posts, side-by-side? I originally had this post with multiple large pictures one after the other, and hated how it looked so I created photo collages. I see people that have before and after pics side-by-side, and I don’t know how to do that!

For the side-by-side pictures, make it a photo post instead of a text one, and then you can drag and drop them in the right order. I think there’s a limit (ten, if I remember right) to how many pictures you can put in a photo post, though.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 09:14 am
August 20th:

CREDO Mobile Action Committee: *sends out solicitation to members asking for contributions for next round of elections*
Yours truly: *sighs and kicks in*

August 27th:

Yours truly: *unsubscribes*
CREDO Mobile Action Committee: But WHYYYYY
Yours truly: .... seriously?

Look, guys, you're the action wing of my phone company and I love what you do, but if you keep sending the exact same THE STREETS WILL RUN WITH OUR LIQUEFIED ORGAAAAAAAAAAAAAANS message and don't at least cross-check it with 'people who have already donated and therefore should probably get an email message referencing a different threat this time', it's not going to help. I'll come back later, but right now I'm still dealing with the facial tic that usually only erupts when I don't get enough sleep, and would prefer not to have it touched off by anxiety and/or the desire to go into politics just long enough to challenge everybody in Congress to a series of broadsword duels.
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 07:23 am


One thing I’m really really proud of that I accomplished before leaving for France was this epic unfucking. Took me about three days straight, but god it was worth it. I also managed to get rid of about fifteen boxes worth of stuff that I never use. Hooray!

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 12:30 am
The folks over at the pain clinic LOVE those plastic ID bands, for which I'm grateful. One has my name and information, the other my drug allergies. AND they marked the correct butt cheek with a sharpie indicating "x marks the spot". Excellent identification, people.  

Yesterday's epidural went swimmingly and as I write this I'm lounging comfortably with an ice pack propped behind my back. Nice.

John is relieved and happy that it went well, as am I. He's decided that we need to celebrate my pain-free tushie by putting it -- and me --- into Goldie and head out over the long holiday weekend on one of our famous meandering getaways.

I can support that idea wholeheartedly.  The ahhhhh factor registers consistently high on the John-and-Julia-rest-and-relaxation-meter after trips like these. So after a day or two of rest and ice and assuming that my recovery continues uneventfully, we're throwing some ice packs, water bottles, our luggage, my favorite travel sized pillows and snuggly blankies, hat and sunscreen, and a Garmin updated with the latest map information for the continental US into the car and begin a new adventure.

Destination? East. After that, who knows? Anecdotes and pictures to follow. Woo hoo! I get a mental boost of positivity when we scrutinize our road atlas planning potential destinations and points of interest. We debate the merits of various snacks and drinks to include in the car and I download several audio books for the journey. We love planning these things almost as much as actually participating in them. Almost. Because if I have a pleasant outing looming in my near future, the anticipation tends to put a rose colored tint to my emotional glasses. Yeah. This makes me happy.

When people ask me how I can keep a somewhat healthy attitude after dealing with the long course of my disease, I tell them about events such as these. I know that I am incredibly blessed that John actually likes hanging out with me for days on end cooped up in the car; and that he has a job that allows these types of outings; and that so far we have returned from our trips still liking each other. Excellent.

Many years ago as a staff educator for caregivers in an Alzheimer's facility -- dang, I still miss that job -- one of the classes that I taught dealt with mental illnesses including depression. I often find myself thinking back to the curriculum for that class provided by the state. It contained some really good information regarding these diseases and the medications used to treat them, but more importantly it also included behavior modifications and strategies to minimize the severity of depressive symptoms. One of these strategies that had great success was planning positive events and to encourage the patient and their caregivers to follow through on that planning.

It was good information and advice not only for those with diagnosed depression; but for all of us regardless of the type of our challenges.

Pleasant events in the future for anyone out there? I recommend them highly.
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My company’s managers all joked to me about not hiring women who might get pregnant

I was telling the senior division chiefs of my pregnancy a few months ago, in individual meetings, and each of them said something along the lines of, “Wow, there so many pregnant women now! We are going to need to stop hiring women in their late 20s/early 30s because you all get pregnant. Just joking of course!” I don’t think they would actually make hiring decisions based on that criteria, but it didn’t make me feel very positive. I didn’t say anything at the time as I was relatively stressed out about telling them in the first place.

Where I’d like your opinion: I’d like to go to our newly appointed HR person and report that this happened. We have a lot of women at our company. Can I do that, even if it’s months later? If I do, what steps could they actually take to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else? I was thinking about why women are at a disadvantage, and I think it’s partially because our company policy provides women 6-8 weeks paid leave, while men only get 1 week (and most don’t take it). If men had access to additional parental leave, then the playing field would be more equal.

While I’m (mostly) sure that the managers you talked with were joking, they shouldn’t be saying things like that. Pregnancy discrimination is a real thing that women have to contend with (whether they’re pregnant or whether they’re just of typical child-bearing age), and no good comes of having comments like that floating around, no matter how non-discriminatory the company’s actual practices might be. It’s bad for the women who work there, and it’s bad for the company itself if they ever happen to be faced with discrimination allegations. So yes, it’s something your HR department would probably want to know about it.

I’d say something like this: “I don’t think they actually meant they’d factor this into hiring, but the comments bothered me enough that I’m still thinking about them months later, and think the company probably has an interest in making sure that its managers aren’t saying things like this. Again, I do know they were joking — but I think someone needs to explain why they shouldn’t be making those jokes.” A good HR person will step in and handle this from there. And you should also be able to request that they take steps to ensure that you don’t face even minor repercussions for raising it.

2. My remote team isn’t as fast or responsive as I need

I’m working for the first time ever with a 90% remote team, where there is a 9.5 hour time difference. Most of the “action” in terms of decision-making, deal-making, etc. happens in my time zone with my clients and the leadership on our account team. In a lot of situations, time is of the essence and it’s the difference between winning a big project or losing out to a competitor. However, I’m finding that it’s difficult to make quick decisions, because we need to vet all of our estimates with the remote team before we commit to timelines and costs.

When it comes to communicating with my remote team, I’ve been experiencing a lot of frustration. It’s difficult to create a sense of urgency, and they tend to focus on pedantic aspects of what we’re being asked to develop or estimate, rather than taking a more holistic view of the issues.

The branch of the company they work in also functions differently than my branch, in that it’s a lot more bureaucratic. In my local office, titles don’t mean much and people work collaboratively to get things done. For my remote team’s office, titles and perceived power/position are important, so I’ll often need to get a member of Sr. Leadership on the phone before they’ll speed up their processes or provide needed information.

Do you have advice on how best to work with remote teams, especially where the time difference and culture make trying to connect remotely (and work harmoniously and collaboratively) really challenging?

I don’t think this is about working with remote teams; it’s about working with a team that’s out of sync with your needs and priorities. This is something you should raise with your manager — spell out what you need, how it’s working currently, why it’s a problem, and what you’d like done differently. This is exactly the kind of thing your manager should be aware of and charged with resolving.

3. Company rejected a job applicant because of a past relationship with a current employee

Recently a qualified job applicant was not hired, because they were in a past relationship with a current employee of our company and there were concerns about people feeling comfortable working with each other. Neither person was talked to directly about the issue. Is this is legal? We do have an internal policy about relationships, and spouses/partners cannot be hired if they will work in the same location (which this falls under). My concerns are about the grey area of past relationships. Is there any legal standing for this or is this just a subjective call by HR?

That’s perfectly legal. And in some cases, it makes a lot of sense. For instance, if one would be managing the other, the company might rightly fear bias or the perception of bias. Or if their current relationship is strained or hostile, the company might rightly not want to deal with the fall-out from that. Or it could be a situation like this one.

4. Should I ask this staffing agency to remove me from their database?

I applied for a position advertised on Craigslist that was being handled by a temp/staffing agency. It was a specific position in my field, for which I am qualified, and I only submitted my resume because of this. However, the response I got was that the agency does not currently have a position that fits my experience but they will store my resume in their database and contact me if something matching my experience comes up in the future. While I do need a new job, I’m not seeking “representation” by this agency. Can I/should I ask them to discard my application?

One reason to ask them to discard it is because if they submit you for jobs without you knowing about it, but you’re also applying to those jobs on your own or through a different recruiter, you risk a big mess over the question of who “owns” your candidacy (and whether the employer would owe a fee to them if they hired you, even though you weren’t actively working with this agency). On the other hand, you might want the advantages of being connected to jobs you might not otherwise know about.

If you decide you’d rather opt out of their database, you could say something like this: “Thank you, but in order to avoid the complications that can arise if a candidate is submitted by multiple recruiters, please remove my materials from your database.”

5. Companies that ask candidates to pay for background checks

What are your thoughts on companies that ask prospective employees to pay for their own background checks?

Those companies are asking prospective employees to pay what should be the company’s cost of doing business — companies should pay recruiting costs, not candidates.

(By the way, a small number of states do prohibit employers from passing this cost along to candidates, but most don’t.)

my remote team isn’t responsive, my managers joke about not hiring women who might get pregnant, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 09:00 pm

  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 05:08 pm

Look around. Find five things that aren’t where they belong. Put them away. Resume dicking around on the internet.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 05:32 pm
I'm not ready for Cordelia to go back to school. It seems like no time at all has passed since the end of the last school year. Next Tuesday, we'll be back to getting up at seven (and counting ourselves lucky to get to sleep that late). I hope we can get the hang of the new school schedule-- Cordelia will need to be at school about forty-five minutes earlier than she needed to be last year. We have sufficient cushion built into our day to be able to manage it, but it will be tighter than we're accustomed to. Also, if there's cross country this year, we'll have to get up earlier than we're used to if Cordelia wants to participate. The earlier start time for school may mean that cross country won't happen-- Getting kids to school at seven is harder than getting them to school at seven forty-five.

I'll also have to get used to Cordelia coming home right as I finish my exercise programs. I'll have to get in the habit of unlocking the front door before I start in on Body Electric. Setting an alarm on my cell phone to remind me to do it won't make as much sense as it did in years past.

We don't know yet what Cordelia's schedule will be. Class assignments should be coming any day now, but it won't be as clear cut as we're used to. She will have both of the sixth grade teachers at different times during the day as one will teach language arts and social studies while the other teaches math and science. I have the impression that each teacher will have a room and that the kids will move back and forth between them. I just don't know on what schedule or how things like art and music and foreign languages fit in.

I think I'm worrying about all of this more than Cordelia is. I'm not sure she understands how different things will be. I suppose she might just be figuring that it will all work out somehow.

I should probably e-mail the new librarian again to figure out when I'm to volunteer in the library. I'm offering one morning a week, two or three hours, depending on what's needed. I don't want to do Tuesdays because of my commitment to [community profile] metanews, but pretty much any other day could work. Last year, it was Thursdays which worked pretty well by putting all of my socially stressful stuff on the same day so that I didn't have an anxiety spike twice in a week. The librarian said, when I e-mailed her before, that I could set my own schedule. Maybe I should offer Thursdays again.

We also need to find out how much lunches are going to cost this year. Middle school lunches normally cost more but offer more food and more variety of food. It's not clear that Cordelia's school will be offering the middle school students a middle school lunch, however. The school's not really equipped to feed different things to different groups of students, but middle school students realistically need more food than, say, kindergartners. Another parent I know has been trying to get this information from the school district, and he keeps getting passed from person to person because nobody knows the answer. I'm surprised nobody knows because the district has another K-8 school, so following the pattern set there ought to be a no-brainer.
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 01:56 pm
Because they really, really have no clue about current events. Their schools never did it, which I just don't get. Current events was a weekly feature of my life from second grade on. Twice weekly once I entered middle school, as universally my social studies AND science teachers wanted it. But I guess it's not in fashion right now. Ten minutes a day seems reasonable, and I must say I'm impressed with the sheer groanworthiness of their closing puns. It's a lot harder to just casually talk about the news when we don't watch TV news that much and I don't get in-print newspapers like we did growing up. But who wants to kill all those trees?

Part of today's episode had to do with the new cases of Ebola in the Congo, and Ana's commentary? "Why are all those doctors white?" Well, yes, I suppose that's one thing you can take away from the segment.


Liquid salts can improve the treatment of skin infections by killing bacteria and enhancing antibiotics' ability to penetrate the skin's outer layer, a new study finds.

Russian soldiers detained in Ukraine; leaders meet in Minsk

NSA built 'Google-like' search engine to share data

The United States' Continuing Border Crisis: The Real Story Behind the "Invasion" of the Children

United flight diverted after passengers fight over legroom

Bad Decisions Yield Grim Results in Europe

Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According to This Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

Anybody else think the Koch brothers could've benefited from a few more hugs as children?

The long-standing mystery of why human children grow so slowly compared with our closest animal relatives has been addressed by new research. A study has shown that energy funneled to the brain dominates the human body's metabolism early in life and is likely the reason why humans grow at a pace more typical of a reptile than a mammal during childhood.

Three quarters of whites don’t have any non-white friends

Vermont Quits War on Drugs to Treat Heroin Abuse as Health Issue

Fifteen previously unknown monuments discovered underground in Stonehenge landscape

U.S. court overturns law limiting biotech crops on Hawaiian island

Isis accused of ethnic cleansing as story of Shia prison massacre emerges

Islamic State turns radical Islam on Syria Muslims

ISIS swiping hashtags as part of propaganda efforts

The Kurdistan Regional Government can bring $100 million of crude ashore in Texas after a U.S. judge threw out a court order that would have required federal agents to seize and hold the cargo for the Iraqi Oil Ministry until a court there decided which government owns it.

Could support for the 'other' Kurds stall Islamic State?

Israel accepts Egyptian proposal for Gaza ceasefire

Report: U.S. begins surveillance flights over Syria

The World Watches Ferguson, but Racial Discrimination Is Also a Health Issue Across the US