Jostens Breaks Through The Clutter

This afternoon, Olly Offal came home with this charming (and personalized!) flyer which practically promised eternal damnation and fewer college choices for not ordering a fifth grade yearbook.

Olly’s got many strengths, but communicating about school is not one of them. (The women’s national Olympic field hockey visited his elementary school a couple years ago, and didn’t crack his daily top three announcements, which were 1. What he ate for lunch, 2. How he did in kickball at recess and 3. If he got any strikes.) I give kudos to Jostens for effective flyer design because my child was panicked I did not order a yearbook that I didn’t know was available to order. (There weren’t any PTO announcements, which is how I learn about such things.)

Things That Got Olly in a Dither:





5. THE WORD DEADLINE (Mom’s a writer! She’s good with those!)

Other Documents I Wish Were Designed Like This

1. The dreaded reading log

2. Vocabulary and spelling lists

3. Permission slips

Jostens Breaks Through The Clutter

On Wednesdays We Use Mendelian Genetics to Try and Determine Our Blood Type

Oscar Offal doesn’t know his blood type, and he spent the last couple days researching genetic tables and trying to remember “that one time we did blood typing in freshman biology.”

After a day of furiously texting relatives, he came up with this chart:

We all have our guesses based on the above statistical analysis. Next, we’re going to try and predict Opal’s (I know my blood type, my mom’s and two siblings so we can extrapolate and figure my dad’s) and draw up a chart just for her.

Oscar ordered two blood type testing kits off Amazon because he was pledging a fraternity while taking freshman bio and is way too hazy on details to replicate the experiment.

On Wednesdays We Use Mendelian Genetics to Try and Determine Our Blood Type

What I’ve Read (and Liked) This Week

Nearly four weeks after the New Year, and Online Offal finally gets around to her New Year’s resolution of Writing More.

Why haven’t I been writing?

  • My husband, Oscar Offal, took our youngest child Olly to the Farm Show and since then defense shields have been at full power against “We should look into beekeeping,” and the followup idea, “Fewer than 10 hives.”
  • One of our cats stopped grooming herself in the genital area and I’ve been at the vet describing stools in great detail.
  • I’ve fulfilled other New Year’s resolutions, including Trying to Cook More New Things (seriously, the Instant Pot lives up to the hype), which handily helps my family’s resolution of Rejecting New Things Online Offal Cooks.
  • I’ve been reading. I finished 44 books last year, not including books I don’t list on Goodreads because at points I needed the literary equivalent of food that was not good for me. I completed six books so far this year.

So as an end-of-the-week wrapup, before I start blogging more properly, here’s what I read online and really liked this week.

  1. Ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter Takes On the World’s Most Sadistic Endurance Race, by Sarah Barker. This race completely obliterates any solidarity normally found in typical extreme competitions. And as the article describes, you’re not only running against others, you’re running against yourself.
  2. Oregon Man Becomes First Person To Cross Antarctica Unaided, by Kate Davidson and Crystal Ligori. “I wanna prove that it’s not impossible,” O’Brady said. “Not just for myself but for others who are daring to dream greatly in their lives.” (I want to add that if Oscar Offal came to me with a dream of crossing Antarctica all by himself, I would pick out the 10 beehives myself.)
  3. The Weight I Carry, by Tommy Tomlinson. I thought Roxane Gay, in her memoir Hunger, did a better job explaining her body and why it got to be the way it is now, but Tomlinson is similarly adept at describing the basic indignities he suffers every day.
  4. My Dad’s Friendship With Charles Barkley, by Shirley Wang. This gorgeous story is about an unlikely relationship that transcends Facebook friends and Twitter followers.


What I’ve Read (and Liked) This Week

I’m Having Shrimp Fried Rice for Easter Dinner in Solidarity of the Best Thing on Twitter Last Week

Happy Easter! We’re heathens, so we don’t celebrate or even get dressed up. I spent the day reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and sending inappropriate Easter memes to my sister and a former coworker.

On Friday, like most of the Twitter-verse, I read with great interest a short thread of tweets concerning someone in the office throwing out a colleague’s lunch of shrimp fried rice.

Please, read the tweets referenced in the story if you can. As someone who’s had her (properly labeled, non-smelly, work-fridge-appropriate) lunch summarily thrown out on more than one occasion, I was particularly transfixed with the story. I don’t know what was better: the wronged employee was allowed to view surveillance footage; his eventual decision not to confront the thief; the narrator going out and buying shrimp fried rice for EVERYONE, including the thief, just so he could see her reaction (which was: I LOVE SHRIMP FRIED RICE!).

I had my husband, who works in an office but in a completely different environment, and he was mystified that I was so worked up about it. “I like that you like it,” he lamely offered me with a weak smile, and I immediately took him off my list of people to whom I send inappropriate Easter memes.

Work is unique in that you’re thrown together with random people not necessarily of your choosing, yet you have the same common goal. When I was working, I spent more time with coworkers than with my husband. At my first job, my coworkers doubled as my friends.

At the same time, work is dreary and monotonous and I don’t care if people say “if you do what you love it’s not work” or some other facile hokey claptrap. There’s hardly any vacation. Health insurance is expensive. If you don’t have good chemistry then work can get passive-aggressive really quickly.

So the shrimp fried rice story simultaneously amplifies and distracts from the minor indignities one ensures at work. That’s what makes it great.

I’m Having Shrimp Fried Rice for Easter Dinner in Solidarity of the Best Thing on Twitter Last Week

Happy International Women’s Day!

I’m not an expert in many things, but I’ve spent more than 41 years being female.

I tend to think about nearly every issue or event in terms of being a woman, but I’ve compiled five tips below that are easy, simple actions you can do (or not do) every day to make the world a little easier for a woman in your life. Human rights are not like pie; there’s not a finite amount of them. We move forward and become a better society as a whole when everyone is treated fairly.

  1. When disagreeing with a woman, don’t (a) interrupt her or (b) immediately call her a name that denigrates an entire gender (i.e., bitch, c*nt, etc.) or (c) dismiss her as mentally imbalanced. I assure you, multiple people disagree with me every day, including my husband, children, relatives, neighbors and other people in the world. On the whole, they disagree with what I’m saying, not me personally.
  2. Refrain from catcalling or wolf-whistling. Despite your intent, it’s not complimentary and reduces us to sexual beings. I read online that a good rule of thumb is never shout at a woman what you wouldn’t want a man shouting at you in prison. (Among other times, I’ve been catcalled at a train station, during the day, in 30-degree weather, wearing three layers of clothes.)
  3. Don’t tell a woman what she wants, or what she’s thinking, unless you’re repeating what she just told you to make sure you’re on the same page. You’re not a mind reader.
  4. When a woman tells you to stop touching her or you’re in her space, please step back. Women’s bodies are not inclusive. And again, see number 3.
  5. Don’t tell women to smile, unless you’re a photographer and you’re suggesting she say cheese.
Happy International Women’s Day!

What Occupies My Head

I often tell people I don’t judge others–especially moms and women–because I literally don’t have the head space to do it.

Here’s what I think about instead:

  • Does Queen Elizabeth have any friends? My grandmother has a pinochle club, goes swimming and lunches with her friends. Do you think Betty plays cards, meets up with anyone besides Prince Philip or sends emails to her family about how Jesus loves them, here’s a balloon?
  • Why don’t more batters bunt when the defense uses the shift? I think it happened once during the World Series and Joe Buck harrumphed, “You can only do that one time and get away with it.” Why? The third baseman is hanging out with the second baseman and if you bunt it hard enough, the pitcher and catcher can’t field it cleanly. I don’t care how bunting affects slugging percentage and other metrics. It’s your job as a hitter to (1) get on base, (2) advance the runner and/or (3) bring the runner home. If you can bunt to make this happen, then bunt.
  • All I want on my social media platforms is to see posts in chronological order in my timeline. The algorithm that can accommodate this request cannot possibly be as complicated as the mess I see now.
  • How many drafts does a script go through–before and during production–until it’s finalized? Either television episode or movie. How closely does the finished product resemble the original version?
  • As I get older, I increasingly relate to Bert from Sesame Street and Squidward from SpongeBob Square Pants. (This might be its own separate post in the future.) I mean, they both just want to relax and have a little dignity but constantly have to put up with an annoying roommate (Bert) or an annoying coworker/neighbor (Squidward).
  • Yesterday my (newish) trainer just asked his clients to post, in gif format only, how they feel about burpees. I waited until after our session and after other people posted because I was afraid he was going to use the submissions to determine how many burpees we would have to do. Some people used positive gifs and now I’m wondering how to politely request my trainer never to put me in a group during a session with those people, please and thank you.
  • How are people not sick of Ryan Seacrest? I don’t even watch or listen to anything he does (American Idol, Live With Kelly and Ryan, New Year’s Eve, E! red carpet, Top 40 countdown) and I’m over him, even before the harassment allegations. I mean, is he so bland and inoffensive that networks think there’s no alternatives?
  • If you could have a dinner party with anyone you wanted, alive or dead, who would you invite?
  • I really would like to meet famous people and somehow pull off being witty and charming that they’d want to be MY friend, but then I remember I have regular, everyday friends who are pretty great in and of themselves and still want to hang out with me because I’m also awkward and uncomfortable.
What Occupies My Head