A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? What has this week been like for you? I keep seeing jokes on social media about not knowing what day of the week it is and I admit that I completely relate. Hah!

Yesterday, we arrived home from our little family retreat — we stopped to see a ~5000 year old megalith structure on the way back. It’s called La Roche-au-Fées — or Fairy Rocks. Oh my goodness I love stuff like that so much!!

Today we unpacked, did some housework, chipped plaster off the stone walls at the cottage, and said goodbye to Olive. She’s spending a few days in Paris with friends before she heads back to Montpelier and her au pair job. (Ralph and Maude will fly back to Oakland on the 13th.)

This evening, we plan to go see Little Women after we return our rental van in Caen. (The car we drive here only seats 7, so for the retreat we rented a bigger van that can fit everybody plus luggage.)

How about you? Did your kids go back to school this week? Or will they return on Monday? Is your holiday stuff put away? Or do you like to keep it around well into January? Have you made resolutions or goals for 2020? Maybe picked a theme or word to focus on? Or does that kind of thing stress you out?

Here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you:

-Australia’s hellish heat wave and wildfires, explained.

-Related. Global Apathy Toward the Fires in Australia Is a Scary Portent for the Future.

-Any interest in sleeping in an Edward Hopper hotel room?

-Wars and rumors of wars. Hard to wake up to headlines like this.

-This sounds like good news. U.S. regulators have approved a vaccine to protect against the deadly Ebola virus.

-These contractors won more than $800 million in federal contracts by making dubious claims to being Native Americans.

-NASA is planning to go back to the moon by 2024.

Is it worth losing transparency in order to make your views more palatable to others?

We just ordered this suit for a second time, in a bigger size because he outgrew the last one. It’s very well made and reasonably priced.

-Yikes. “We found that counties that had hosted a 2016 Trump campaign rally saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally.”

Protests can swing elections. “On average, a wave of liberal protesting in a congressional district can increase a Democratic candidate’s vote share by 2% and reduce a GOP candidate’s share by 6%.”

-How do you deal with Baby cravings?

Here are a few tweets I’ve saved for you:

-Why New Year’s is the most universal holiday.

-I see so much truth in this tweet. We consistently punish those in need and the most vulnerable among us by making it as hard as possible to get help.

-Remember: Seeking asylum is legal.

-Do you deal with a lot of work emails? How do you like this suggested format?

-Hahahah! I feel seen.

-What do you want to accomplish this year? You can shoot your shot in response to this tweet.


-I love how she describes the Little Women movie as “innocent, wholesome, and un-ironically so.” (I’m excited to see it!)

I hope you have a happy weekend. I hope your holidays have been lovely. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


15 thoughts on “A Few Things”

  1. I’m seeing Little Women with some friends tomorrow. I’m so excited about it. I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen any version of this nor have I read this book (this despite being named for Amy March).

    I typically make resolutions that I execute with greater or lesser degrees of success. This year my resolution is to be more mindful – it’s a deceptively simple resolution that if I do well with could be seriously life changing. I don’t always choose a word (I let one come to me; if one doesn’t, no word for that year), but this year I’m going with “listen” which is funny given it’s 2020. It fits in perfectly with my resolution though. I’m excited to see what I can do with all that.

    Unrelated, I’m trying to embark on the NYT Sugar Challenge, but so far I’m off to a pretty weak start, especially considering I just picked up a cookie (and a brownie!) from the break room and I have one last holiday party this weekend … :)

  2. That immigration tweet is so validating! Clients are mad that it’s so difficult and expensive and slow now, why am I not doing a better job? They’ve never heard of cases taking this long! Guess what? It’s because we are facing the longest waits EVER across multiple case types, and a very high level of unpredictability even on employment-based immigration visa categories that had 95%+ approval rate 3 years ago.

    1. Yes. I saw the tweet you’re referencing, but it’s quite disingenuous, don’t you think? I’m sure you know as well as anyone that rallies were not a common or frequent feature of HRC’s campaign, and there is zero record of violence being incited at her events. Beyond that, I see no reason to take the “replication” at face value — the authors make a claim without providing any evidence. To quote a response tweet: They just link to data (not sure where they got it). Don’t talk about their methods. And they don’t even mention results of their “analysis.” Just say “actually that’s wrong” but don’t show why or reference what their actual results were, if there even were any.

      1. Actually, I don’t think it’s disingenuous to perform the same analysis using HRC to demonstrate that the study’s methodology is extremely flawed. I’m not sure what you mean about not providing any evidence – the replication data and results were posted publicly and linked in that article. And if that’s a reason not to take it at face value, even more reason not to take the original at face value, as no evidence has been provided for that. By the way, I’m not arguing the opinion, just the use of junk science to try to score political points. And that goes for both sides.

  3. I’m intrigued by the idea of a family retreat! What do you do, exactly? Is it structured and does it require a lot of preparation?

    I love all these updates from France and look forward to hearing more about French life this year. Happy new year!

  4. Thanks for the link about Australia’s bushfires – its absolutely devastating. In Sydney the smoke in the air is a moment to moment reminder of the terrible situation faced by others closer to the bush fires and the horrific conditions our volunteer fighters have faced exhausted day in day out over what is our major holiday period and summer break rolled into one. Tragic loss of lives of brave young firefighters who are fathers to young families has brought us to tears.
    And the rage I feel at the incompetence of our government that took weeks to even acknowledge that this is the effect of Climate Change is almost overwhelming. There is no leadership in our leaders at this time. I only hope the anger that is palpable’in the community (and this comment…) will motivate a government whose only modus operandi is to stay in power to change their mind to actually do something that may protect our beautiful country in the future.

  5. Aussie chiming in here. We are kicking arse at banding together and doing what we can to make a difference. I raised a thousand dollars with art sales, check out Celeste Barber’s campaign (thirty million dollars!) my retiree mum is making mittens for burned koalas. Our inept government is an embarrassment and our people, like yours, have voted in fear in the past, our right wing conservatives have peddled financial ruin as the apocalyptic end with little consideration for our environment.

    However, I am optimistic that we can turn this ship around, if we work TOWARDS hope, recovery and growth, and I might be biased, but no one does this better than the Aussie Bush. Please support us how you can, share our stories, donate money or time. We need you, this issue is global.

    Much love from Australia.

    1. To you and Maryanne above: You have our heartfelt concern. We admire you all for banding together and pitching in. We’re offering extra prayers for Australia today.

    2. Thanks for this optimistic reminder Tracey. Your absolutely right – it’s been wonderful to see the incredible efforts Australians are making to support each other.
      Your post has helped me remember that anger is only valuable if I channel it somewhere useful.

  6. Unfortunately I tried the “no other misdemeanor can result in your kid being taken by the state” point, and was corrected. You can go to jail for a misdemeanor, and I suppose if you don’t have a safe place for your kids to go, the state would move them. Right??

    1. What misdemeanor can result in jail? And how often is jail the result of that misdemeanor? At best, someone would come up with an exception that proves the rule.

      And the argument that “the state would move them” is such baloney. We are separating families who are legally seeking asylum and putting both the adults and the children in cages. We are not offering them an option to place their kids with a family member or friend. No one can sincerely compare how we treat legal asylum seekers and how we treat the families of people in jail.

      1. Which misdemeanors can result in jail time (and how much) depends on the state, but the category of misdemeanor seems to include anything from shoplifting to a first DUI, burglary, grand theft, assault. So again it depends on the state but any of those can result in jail time.

        How often do they result in jail time? I don’t know (and didn’t look it up) but I imagine it depends on factors like: whether it’s a first offense, how much room is available in jail, and which class of misdemeanor the offense falls in. It would be interesting to have these numbers, though I’m skeptical that for some of the more serious misdemeanors jail time is the exception not the rule—but that’s a guess.

        When I said “the state would move the children” I of course didn’t mean that the state would remove children from parents who were not in jail! But my understanding is that the fact that a parent’s incarceration would result in separation from her child (or even in placing the child in the protection of non-family) doesn’t standardly warrant not incarcerating the parent. (One might think it should—But clearly it doesn’t.)

        Also, I think I should’ve made myself clearer in my original comment. I think how we are treating asylum seekers (and even people illegally crossing the borders) is disgusting and inhumane, and in a variety of ways there isn’t parity in how the US treats immigrating people (legal or otherwise) and citizens. But I wanted to reply to the twitter post you shared because it’s not true that no other misdemeanors can result in the state removing your child (any misdemeanor that results in jail time when you don’t have another place for your child to go will result in the state removing your child), and in my experience it hasn’t helped to change people’s minds when I make false claims.

  7. Twitter has allowed Trump to continually abuse their rules and policies with no consequence. Not sure why people are still supporting Twitter.

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