A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? It was a fun education-focused week at the Blair House. Monday was the first day of school in Oakland, Ralph registered for classes for this semester — they start this coming Monday. And Maude arrives home from New York this evening. Her classes start Monday after next. (That’s Olive above, pictured on her first day of Senior Year — she gets to attend high school for two weeks before she heads to the South of France where she’ll be an Au Pair this year.)

This weekend, our big event is Oscar’s Eagle Project. He’s building a Little Free Library that will live near his middle school, and he has recruited members of his troop, and other friends and carpentry-tool-owning grownups to help. : ) We’ll also be helping Maude go through her things, so she can move into her near-campus apartment next week.

How about you? Has back to school season hit yet? Or are you still enjoying summer break? Either way, I’ve got some terrific links for you this weekend. Here are a few things I’ve wanted to share:

-A gorgeous remembrance of Toni Morrison.

-Have you fallen in love with Lizzo yet? Listen to her NPR Tiny Desk Concert. (The song you’ve probably already heard — Juice — starts at the 11 minute mark.) Watching her play the flute is pretty darn fantastic too.

-Over the span of 14 years between 1950 to 1964, black farmers in Mississippi lost almost 800,000 acres of land. When translated into today’s economic value, this is a loss of between $3.7 billion to $6.6 billion.

-Dammit. New rules from the Trump administration are designed to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

-Please read Questionnaire, a poem by Wendell Berry. “How much poison are you willing to eat for the success of the free market and global trade?”

-Hey Teachers. I saw this announcement that you can get a free subscription to the Calm app — it usually costs $60.

-They’re calling it a bigger fraud than Enron. “My team has spent the past 7 months analyzing GE’s accounting and we believe the $38 Billion in fraud we’ve come across is merely the tip of the iceberg,”

-Does your town have a Tool Lending Library? We borrowed several tools from our or Oscar’s Eagle Scout project.

-The harmful and serious reverberations from Gamergate are still felt, and have possibly even been amplified. (NYT)

-What the what? An American woman with no medical training ran a center for malnourished Ugandan kids. 105 of them died.

-Oh my goodness. Am I the last person to discover handheld luggage scales? There’s a ton of options, they all cost around $10 or less, get great reviews, and are accurate within about 1 pound. I just ordered this one.

A few twitter posts/threads I thought you would enjoy:

-He asks teachers to share something from their coursework that would surprise others. The answers are fascinating tidbits!

-She’s looking for book recommendations — novels that have lengthy asides about something really technical. Such an interesting niche question.

-Have you seen the discouraging reports of the inverted yield curve? Which often precedes a recession? She offers an explainer.


Hahaha! Made me laugh.

-Do you say tennis shoes or sneakers?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


18 thoughts on “A Few Things”

  1. We’ve used a handheld luggage scale for years. My husband and I used to live in Indonesia, and always wanted to maximize our 50 lb luggage allowance, since we usually didn’t come back to the States for a year or more, and wanted to take as many treats as we could possibly fit in our luggage. We figured that with 8 bags (there were 4 in our family at the time), if each bag was only 45 rather than 50 pounds, that adds up to 40 pounds of unused, wasted luggage space! So I packed the bags to as close to 50 pounds as I could, at home, with the handheld luggage scale, but not going over 50 pounds. I would also bring to the airport a small bag of loose items that didn’t weigh much, that weren’t a big deal if we ended up not being able to bring them – food treats, Bath and Body works hand soaps, etc. We would always get to the airport a bit early, and find an empty check-in station that had a scale we could use. I would weigh each bag there, and make sure each one was EXACTLY 50 pounds on the airline scales, since those occasionally would differ from my handheld scale. I’d move items from bag to bag if needed, and if we were under at the end, I’d throw in a few things from the extra bag of goodies to make sure it was right at 50 lbs. Any items that didn’t fit would go home with the person who had dropped us off at the airport. It worked for us for the 7 years we lived in Indonesia!

  2. Pingback: A Few Things – Stumblecup

  3. What kind of shoes is this map referring to exactly? Where I grew up in Minnesota, “sneakers” and “tennis shoes” were used interchangeably for more lace-up shoes with a less thick sole (think Vans), good for walking and casual use but not really meant for athletic applications. Actual shoes you would wear for sports were “gym shoes”, or maybe “running shoes”.

    1. Here in New York, sneakers are what you call gym shoes/running shoes (shoes that lace up and are used for sports/walking/etc.).

  4. Can you please share more about your son’s experience with scouts? Curious about your take of being a mom of a scout 😂

  5. We got a handheld scale for a recent trip and it was off by 4 lbs! Still had to scramble at the airport. Sigh. Why do they make the bags so big?

  6. I love how stuff for teachers only includes K-12. I’ve been a toddler teacher for the past 8 years, with a class of 24 18-30 month aged kids. I’m in charge of a classroom and a full year-round curriculum, and BELIEVE ME I need apps and discounts too! But I’m not a “real” teacher so there you go.

  7. I definitely didn’t realize that “sneakers” is not used throughout the United States!

    I have a hand-held luggage scale- mine seems to be quite accurate- and it’s very useful! It goes with me any time I fly!

    1. I’m going to guess you are not an East Coaster in Canada because we definitely say sneakers here! My husband grew up in BC and he says runners 😊

  8. I’m in VA and I say sneakers most often, but occasionally say tennis shoes for no particular reason. I definitely hear both, but being in a suburb of Washington DC with its highly transient population, we’re a big melting pot for regionalisms.

  9. A Texan here and I pronounce it like “tennashoes.” I also grew up around people who said it “tennyshoes”

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