in a perfect world of yancies: 2013

23 December 2013

Work, Play, and Be Merry

Hope you're having an amazing holiday season so far, reader!

Really glad I had the chance to catch up with Will and Elliott last week!

I'm pretty sure he rebuilt the hard drive in my office at Seattle U., but it seems to be fine—maybe even a little faster:

I share that office with three other contingent/adjunct/non-tenure-track faculty members. Encouraging to me that our voice seems more likely to be heard on campus lately.

In what is perhaps a parallel effort, some of my colleagues have been pursuing unionization. There's been a big move in that direction across the US—read more about it with the help of the two most recent posts on the SU College of Arts & Sciences Faculty & Staff Assembly blog:

Recently I've been thinking that this is too important to go on behind the scenes. And when the Provost's Office issued a statement asking faculty to stop pursuing the option of joining a union before having any public discussion, I decided it was time to call in a favor from our old friends at CHS.

If you ask me, they did a great job with the story. That story in turn got the attention of KUOW. I told them they'd be better off interviewing someone more directly involved, which they did. Take a listen here.

Meanwhile, these happy workers enjoyed last week's Sisters of Providence Provincial Administration Christmas party:

But all work and no play, as they say... So Franklin and I continue our Friday visits to the Volunteer Park Playground, rain or shine:

No amount of sunshine or puddles for splashing would have helped, however, when we visited Santa:

At least Franklin can say he's carrying on a family tradition:

Christmas cards are also a fun tradition; happy to see Franklin enjoying the ones we've received. This one especially:

Hoping by the time we see Baby Rose on New Year's Day we can get a "Happy New Year" out of him :)

We didn't do a photo card this year, but please accept this blog post as our photo card. First, Yancy's most recent headshot:

And Franklin's school pictures. Our favorite is up top, but here's another:

And the whole class:

Note how everyone really wants to be looking at Emily, who is standing just off camera :)

All right, reader. If we're going to do this holiday, I'd better get back to work.

See you soon, and until then, the Merriest!

09 December 2013

Yet What I Can, I Give

Okay, that title's a quote taken out of context (see below), and it's meant to be not truth but rather aspiration. This time of year our thoughts of course turn to questions about giving, and I thought I'd share an update since last year's post about our giving.

Thankfully, the Times did another story too, this time with lots of helpful links and even more Peter Singer references.

As you can see, our distribution is relatively unchanged from last year: a questionable commitment to the arts even though we know that helping people living in extreme poverty is the only morally justifiable choice. I guess we could pat ourselves on the back for giving almost 30% to Oxfam while the US average for overseas giving is just 6%, but I think our first step for 2014 should be telling Oxfam that we'll up our monthly gift.

Now you might wonder about the stuff further down the list: is the Nation Magazine a charity? Well, we subscribe but never read it, so I put in on there. On the other hand, we hardly ever use our YMCA memberships... if you put even half of the cost of that onto the chart, it would actually rank above the radio stations.

It would still, alas, not get us to the 5% mark...

The cool calculator the Times linked to agrees that we should be up closer to 5%. What's worse, we're actually down from last year. I'm ashamed to say that although a pay raise explains part of the decrease in the percentage we're giving away, we also let a couple of things slip and just forgot.

Emily and I are discussing sending a one-time end of the year gift—probably to, yes, Oxfam—to offset our mistake a little, but even if that happens we likely won't make 5%.

Where are you at on all of this, reader? What's a good distribution? What kind of percentage do you think makes sense?

Personally, my hope at this point is that writing about it now will make it a little harder to ignore in 2014. Tune in next year to see how it goes!

[Clunky transition alert!] Speaking of tuning, we've been enjoying some wonderful music during this season of giving.

First, take a listen to Franklin's rendition of Old McDonald:

And Sunday took us to St. Joseph Church for the Seattle U Festival of Christmas. Truly beautiful music. Glad we got to share it with Grandma Christine this year!

Also the source of the title of this post, which is a partial quote of a line from In the Bleak Midwinter, one of the songs we heard yesterday. Nothing like hearing it live, but if you want you can listen to another version On YouTube.

While we're here talking about atheists who love Christmas music, I have to tell you about this amazing story on NPR the other day. Actually, take a listen:

I can't remember the last time something made me smile this much.

In fact, I can't stop yet. Here's their version of Angels We Have Heard on High:

Man I love this time of year!

Okay fine, here are the pictures of Franklin. Helping to decorate the tree:
Decorating the Tree

Decorating the Tree
Thanks for giving your time, reader.

03 December 2013

A Moving Image of Eternity

Happy Thanksgiving!
In Plato's Timaeus of course time is defined as "a moving image of eternity." A great line, and one we were reminded of recently: it's one of the quotes at the beginning of Tasha Tudor's A Time to Keep, a book that my Aunt Dorothy gave me when I was just about the age that Franklin is now, and a book that Grandma Christine found recently, which means now Franklin too can enjoy it.

Anyway, some days I really wish I had a little more time—even an extra hour—so I could do things like upload Thanksgiving photos.

And then sure enough Franklin sleeps in and what do I do but flip through a magazine and end up right back where I started...

So, okay, what were we talking about?

Had a great Thanksgiving. Thanks all!

Luckily we had a great helper in the kitchen:

Great company too of course:
Happy Thanksgiving!

And if you were wondering about the pie, it was awesome:
Slice of Pie

Afterwards we had a nice quiet weekend. Good chance for a stroll around the neighborhood:

Also a nice quiet time for Franklin's first haircut at a salon:

Pretty sweet setup at Kids Club. And a commemorative photo-card:
Haircut Commemoration

Long weekend also meant good chance to try on some clothes that we've been waiting to grow into:
Cubs Fan

Turns out Franklin really enjoys saying the phrase "baseball shirt":
Thanks again, Grandpa Ray & Grandma Rhonda!

But most exciting of all we had time to get our tree!
(From the awesome place across the street of course!)

Haven't quite finished decorating it, but Emily and Franklin got off to a strong start:
Hope you're keeping warm this December, reader!

27 November 2013

As Holidays Approach

Couple of guys in fleece hoodies, bravely facing the brightness of the coming holiday season:
Winter Stroll
Thanks to Pete for the photo!

Lot of cooking to be done this week. Franklin got in some good practice the other day:
Peeling the Onion
Emily was out of town and it was way too cold to go out for a walk, so we made black beans together. He peeled the onion himself, helped me rinse the beans, and helped get everything into the pot.

Onions for Black Beans
He also really likes adding salt, but tends to get a little, well, excited...

But hey, they tasted great, so I'll take it!
Onions for Black Beans

And now we're on to Thursday's feast. First step: roasting some pumpkin for our pie:
Pumpkin Pie, Step One
Going to try the recipe on the Times' cool Thanksgiving page.

I may have said this before, but Melissa Clark is awesome.

You know what? See for yourself—here's the video:

Pumpkin Pie, Step One

Meanwhile Emily was working on the advanced preparations for one of the most important parts of the meal: spiced vermouth for the Holiday Manhattans!
Spiced Vermouth

All right, I should run. Little more work to get through before the rest of the cooking. Speaking of work, my Greek reading group met yesterday, and I discovered this wonderful line by Plato:

ἅπτει γάρ πώς μου τοῖς λόγοις τῆς ψυχῆς, ὦ Σώκρατες
somehow you touch my soul with your words, Socrates
(Ion 535a)

I mean, that about sums it up!

So, back to the words... and I'll see you soon with more food.

Happy Thanksgiving reader!

20 November 2013

A Post For Those Who Will Not Read It

Okay, so here's a funny fact: Grandma Christine has been in Seattle for a month already! And we've seen her at least once a week—often more—since then. And yet... somehow... we're always too busy or distracted to get any photos. Next time, I promise!

Busy doing what you ask? Mostly the sort of shopping and errand-running involved in relocating to the other side of the country. Here's little map of our travels with Grandma:

She was also awesome about watching Franklin last week so I could attend the Arrupe seminar on Jesuit education. Our topic was Friedrich Spee. I would never had heard of him were it not for our book (same for the Jesuit priest leading our group).

A poet and priest active in the early 1600's, he's now most famous for writing a book cautioning against the witchcraft trials going on at the time. It's a work that sounds remarkable on a number of levels, and I haven't actually read it all, but it has what may be my favorite preface of all time:

Meanwhile in our enlightened age Franklin continues his interest in the arts:
Guitar with Dad

And is getting bigger and more self-reliant every day. No more being carried by mom in the Ergo for this young man!
Walking to School

12 November 2013

It Just Mattered That You Played

Just a coincidence that Franklin spent an afternoon transfixed by the guitar two days before the Times ran a story on the benefits of music lessons?
Guitar Lessons
Either way, sounds good to me!

He's also been busy cleaning up at daycare. Not always clear why you'd want, for example, to sweep up rain puddles in a sandbox, but there you go:
Smiling & Sweeping
I love that his classmates paused to smile for Emily's camera while Franklin was just too busy to take a break.

Busy with the Broom

Did pause the other day to look at some recent issues of the Journal of the History of Philosophy:
Light Reading
He insisted that I look at one while he flipped through another. Cute, yes, but also helpful: he pointed me to an article on Aristotle that I think will prove quite helpful in the classroom. Not bad!

Speaking of journal articles, you know how I was working on a paper on Plato's Symposium a few years ago, and then the Classical Quarterly said they'd publish it?
Well, I'm happy to say that now it's finally out! Woo! Feel free to take a look—I'd love to know what you think!

Oh, and as I mentioned on Facebook the other day, Franklin really loves apples. Ate all of this one:
I mean all—seeds, core... eventually Emily asked where the stem was and he smiled and spit it out.

And I mean, they are delicious, especially this time of year.

Okay, speaking of this time of year, I'm still finding great shots from our walk through the Arboretum last month:
Puddles at the Arboretum
Hope you enjoy it while it lasts!

Cheers, reader.

03 November 2013

Let It Fall!

A little of this and a little of that:
Walk Down Azalea Way
Love this photo Emily took! And it sure is a beautiful fall here this year! Made our rainy walk through the Arboretum last weekend especially nice.

Franklin & Dad at the Arboretum

Franklin sure likes puddles!

Looking at the Leaves

Look, Leaves and Puddles!

Trying to Pose for Mom

Mom & Franklin on the Arboretum Footbridge

He also seemed to like Halloween, though we stuck with just the indoor, daycare version over at Mt. St. Vincent and the St. Joseph Residence:
Happy Halloween Honeybee

Trick or Treat

Mom & the Honeybee

Back home, Emily and Franklin worked on some yoga poses. Here's the Three-Legged Downward Dog:
Three-Legged Downward Dogs
Emily usually goes to the Y to do yoga on Sundays, and last week while she was gone Franklin said "Mommy yoga," so it seemed like he was ready to try a few poses...

It's sunny and calm so far today, but it is fall, which means, in the words of the book that inspired the title of this post:
Chilly, windy, gusty breeze,
rake, rake, rake the blowing leaves
And also this:

Luckily no one was injured when it happened; and luckily we happened to walk by at the right time: my tweet was front page news on CHS for most of Saturday!

Also showed up in a KIRO TV photo gallery, apparently uncredited... But hey, it's TV news, what do you expect? ;)

All the wind and weather couldn't keep our young friend from having fun at the park, though. Had it all to ourselves on that blustery day:
With a Ball on a Quiet Playground

And finally, one of Franklin's current favorite words and objects: ladder!
Rope Ladder

Rope Ladder 2

27 October 2013

Welcome Home, Grandma!

Snack with Grandma
Hectic few days, but we're all thrilled to have Grandma Christine here in town!

I flew back to Illinois to help with the final stages of the move:
Just About Empty
Or really to stand around while the movers cleared things out, but, hey close enough ;)

Luckily we decided to stay at a hotel in Lake Zurich once the house was empty, and it was just around the corner from Hackney's!
Onion Loaf!
Onion loaf! Yum!

Meanwhile Franklin and Emily were getting ready to welcome Grandma to town:
Welcome Home Grandma!

And of course they had a little fun too:
In the Leaves

Hat & Glasses
Okay, much more fun coming soon. But now I've got to get to the store—grandma's coming over for dinner! :)