in a perfect world of yancies: December 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!