Words of the year

by AustinMom

What do you think of the Words of the Year? Do you have a favorite? Is one missing?
My personal word of the year is flexibility. It is the trait I have had to stretch the most these past 9 months. While I am definitely a planner, I am also flexible in a number of ways. However, the inability to plan for things like when DD#2 will return for her Spring college semester 8 weeks out, does make me anxious.

See the Words of the Year here – The OED and then the NYT list.

** It may be behind a paywall, if so, LMK and I will copy and paste the word lists.

Adult Peer Groups

by Denver Dad

The impact of peer group on kids has been occasionally mentioned here, but what about the impact of adult peer groups? The No Stupid Questions podcast (an off-shoot of Freakanomics) discussed this idea recently, and it seems like a good topic for this group. Here’s a link to the podcast, there’s no transcript unfortunately.

How Much Do Your Friends Affect Your Future? (NSQ Ep. 31)

The other half of the podcast is a discussion of satisfaction levels from various jobs, and that’s also pretty interesting. The survey they talk about is from 2007 so maybe a little dated, but here are the most and least satisfying jobs.

Most satisfying:
Physical Therapists
Education Administrators
Painter, Sculptors, Related
Special Education Teachers
Operating Engineers
Office Supervisors
Security & Financial Services Salespersons

Least satisfying
Laborers, Except Construction
Hand Packers and Packagers
Freight, Stock, & Material Handlers
Apparel Clothing Salespersons
Food Preparers, Misc.
Butchers & Meat Cutters
Furniture/Home Furnishing Salespersons

Click to access 070417.jobs.pdf

Changing Covid coping

by S&M

We are nearly a year into the pandemic. Jokes and observations about how things are different now fall flat, because it’s been like this for a long time. Or has it? The following are some ways our methods of coping might be changing.

* on a different site, someone wrote “we’ve gone back to doing curbside pickup for things like groceries and Target runs, too. I’d rather spend my risk budget on other things!” A “risk budget” is a useful concept. Is yours large or small, and what do you spend it on?

* several people here commented recently on exercise routines taken up since shut-downs (of whatever sort) began. This is a strong contrast to “the Covid 19” pounds people joked about/were afraid of a few months ago. How are your exercise routines and fitness levels?

* also here, a few people commented that online learning is going well for their kids. My son’s school is meeting in person, with no shuttle service, sports, or clubs. They ventilate rooms frequently, wear masks all day, and take other safety measures. How is school settling out for your kids?

* how about work routines?

* clothing choices are supposedly also bouncing back. After a few months of sweats and yoga pants, it’s supposedly fancier stuff that’s moving off shelves now. Are you putting your big girl (or boy) pants on again, or still lounging about?

What other changes in your adjustments have you made?

Sad News & Condolence Page

Last week a terrible tragedy befell the family of our long time and beloved administrator known as “Kim”. Her adult son was killed in a highway accident when the car in which he was a passenger was struck by a vehicle from the oncoming direction that lost control and crossed over.

This page will stay up for a while to accumulate messages from the large anonymous and mostly lurking Totebag community, much like the online pages put up by funeral homes. Those of us who have full contact details will represent the community with flowers and/or other appropriate gesture on everyone’s behalf.

Kim will be taking an immediate hiatus from her admin duties, so please direct all communication to me at memetotebag@outlook.com, and resend to me any topics you may have submitted to her in the past ten days.

Christmas open thread

We have an open thread today and tomorrow.

A Homebound Nation Goes All Out With Lavish Christmas Decorations
Americans have been putting up an abundance of lights, Santas and even flamingos to create some extra holiday cheer this year

Have you decorated more lavishly this year?  You can share your holiday decoration photos in the comments anonymously by using imgur.

Did you get any new ornaments this year?



The good parts of 2020

by TCM

What are you grateful for? What were the highlights of 2020 for you?

I’m grateful for The Totebag and all of you, my anonymous internet friends. I’m grateful that my life is still pretty great despite Covid. I’m grateful that my kids are best friends. I’m grateful that I have a job that allows me to WFH.

The Art of Stepping Back

by Louise

In the past months, there has been a lot of heated debate about politics, the virus and all sorts of issues. Being in the house with family and reading social media posts has resulted in heated back and forth both in person and in some forums. Also, unfortunately the back and forth sometimes spirals out of control into ugliness with ancient history dredged up.

I decided to step back. Not abandon reading but abandon heated arguments and back and forth discussions. I didn’t quit any groups and stalk away angry virtually but I told people that I would stop engaging, if I see things spiraling out of control.
It has helped me be in a more cheerful and positive frame of mind.

What are your strategies for dealing with conflict and disagreement both in person and online ?

What do you want?

by S&M

Holidays are coming; many of us are trying to figure out gifts to give. A way to help each other out might be to share our wishes. Not the big things from your spouse; what would you like to get from your siblings or others with whom you normally exchange gifts? What are the usual parameters for presents in your set: are there areas to be avoided, a usual price range, or other expectations?

Politics open thread, December 6-12

Your place to discuss politics is here.

From WCE:

Thanks to the pandemic, the shift from coal to natural gas to generate electricity, and falling renewable energy prices, U.S. emissions fell at about the same rate during the four years of the Trump administration as the prior eight years of the Obama administration. Biden’s election likely means that the United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement that aims to strengthen the global response to climate change. He will overturn some executive actions undertaken by the Trump administration, and reinstate others undertaken in the Obama years. But, like the Obama administration, Biden’s is likely to find its ambitions hamstrung by a range of long-standing political, economic and technological constraints….

In the weeks since the election, prominent philanthropists, activists and scholars have insisted that climate voters have given the Biden administration a “mandate,” that low-income communities of color are the strongest proponents of climate action, and that, contradictorily, more resources need to be invested in communications and organizing within those communities to convince them of the necessity of climate action.

In reality, the preconditions for politically viable and sustainable climate action have always pointed in the opposite direction. The balance of power in American politics is held by rural and industrial states with energy intensive and resource-based economies. Those states tend to be culturally hostile and economically vulnerable to the regulatory and pricing agenda that the environmental community remains doggedly committed to, and Democrats can’t win or sustain governing majorities without them.

As such, there is no path to significant U.S. climate action that is predicated upon routing these areas politically, and thereby moving the nation away from fossil fuels via brute-force regulations, mandates and taxation. This has been the case since climate issues first emerged in the late 1980s, and it remains so today.

A more pragmatic environmental movement would have long ago come to terms with these realities….

Hitching the future of the climate to the political fortunes of one party—particularly one increasingly centered around Americans who work in the knowledge economy, live in coastal cities, and won’t bear the lion’s share of the costs associated with cutting emissions—was never a good idea.

To Fight Climate Change, Get Real
Activists want the Democrats to transform America. That isn’t happening.

Thursday open thread

We have an open thread all day.

A conversation starter:

Today’s older people are increasingly offended that they can’t find themselves in the ads. Instead when they turn on their TV or laptop, they see a lot of young people using that new software or having fun at that resort, or driving cool cars. As an older woman or man, you don’t see yourself, and you realize that you have been erased, and that is surely not a way to win over a customer. Enough is enough.

Hmm.  I see older people in ads.  May be due to what I’m watching or reading online.