Starring Shane MacGowan As The Elf On The Shelf!

Merry Christmas! It is also a holy day on the Dinosaur calendar in that it is Shane MacGowan’s birthday. So please enjoy this traditional carol …

Though lately I have this old chestnut stuck in my head …

(Not yet weighing in on the success of the holiday because I might jinx it. Heading off to my sister’s house in another hour or so for Family Christmas. Tempted to insert poll about which of the four conditions for a successful holiday is most likely to be violated this year. Wish me luck.)


Silent BRAT

Bananas. Rice. Applesauce. Toast. These (with Jello and broth) make up my major food sources. I’ve been on this fabulous diet since the week before Thanksgiving, for reasons about which you are happiest hearing little or nothing. The not-gross part is diverticular disease. While the instant weight loss accompanying this fare is welcome and becoming, I am seriously hungry. I’m also ill-tempered as hell. Throw that into the mix with my recent depression and you have a good reason for me to self-censor and stay off the blog.

I am really fortunate to have a supportive boss. I should write summat about how to handle medical misfortunes as a federal employee if you don’t. It can be complicated. Heck, I supervised a leave program and I still have to go back and ask for help now with my paperwork.

Happy Chanuka and Merry Christmas, y’all. We here in the Dinosaur Nest are all so tired and disgruntled that we’ve decided not to decorate or wrap presents this year. Nope, we’re going to order Chinese food, pull gifts out of bags and throw them at each other, and then go to Mass on Christmas eve. I can’t decide if this represents a new low or nirvana, but every single member of the household sounded relieved to hear this idea when I broached it today.


This whole “branding” thing just isn’t working for my blog. For one thing, I don’t post often enough. I haven’t figured out a way to blog in a timely and career-enhancing manner about the professional topics dearest to my heart, namely employee relations and supervisor-craft in large organizations. This is largely because I find blog-worthy inspiration on these topics primarily at work and forget what I wanted to say by the time I am home. When I do post, it’s usually the kind of personal stuff I posted on my old blog, only less of it.

One problem common to large organizations is the way that individuals find themselves feeling far removed from core functions. I can reasonably argue that that the work I do frees up people who do perform those core functions from worrying about adminstrativia, and that’s neat. But it’s not the same as really owning a piece of the action. When I blogged regularly about personal stuff, I felt uniquely entitled to speak about it because it was my life. I can’t summon the same feeling about my professional interests, and it shows.

Marx would describe the organizational issue as “alienation.” (Nothing says “finger on the pulse of today’s workplace” quite like name-checking Karl Marx.) I’m reading a book about alienation now to try and figure out what it is I’m alienated from that keeps me from wholeheartedly writing about professional topics. Is it the David Graeber factor?  A lack of professional confidence on my part? I shall have to ask my alienist.


No, Thank You

It’s the eve of Thanksgiving. My kids and I, having braved the slush and fog of the Allegheny Mountains, are holed up in Morgantown, West Virginia, once again and planning to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow with my venerable Papaw, his lady friend, my parents, and my sister with her family. This year’s venue is the Thanksgiving buffet at the Lakeview Resort.

This week and next, I am on a diet of low-fiber liquid and mush to heal what seems to be a weird hole forming in my colon. Tomorrow I sup on the finest gravy and mashed potatoes! It will be a break from lactose-free rice pudding, jello, and apple sauce that make up my usual fare. I’m very grateful it isn’t worse and that I have the resources to seek medical attention.

(Other things and people in my life deserve enthusiastic and unstinting thanks. Lack of enthusiasm is another one of those things I’m glad to be getting some help with.)

More Unlocked Achievements

This morning around 2, I unlocked the “Windsor Knot From Internet Diagram When Husband Is Out-Of-Town And TeenBot Has Uniform Day For JROTC” achievement. This also gets points for solving the “Pissed-Off Teen So Frustrated He Rejects Help From Older Brother And Won’t Sleep” challenge and the “Anxious Tween Girl Can’t Sleep When Older Brothers Sound Angry” challenge. This and the “Successful Tween Sleepover” achievements should help me make up the lost points from when we had to take away Podrostok‘s phone and ground him for Reasons.

Today’s quest is multiple medical appointments in multiple states plus completing USAJOBS application for HR job that would be less than two miles from where we live plus completing load of delicate laundry that has to be hung up exactly as it comes out of dryer almost dry so it won’t wrinkle and I can wear it to work. I lose points on this quest for using annual leave and burning inordinate amounts of gasoline, but it helps me in trying to unlock the “Teen Orthodontia Complete,” “Chronic Pain Management,” “Work-Life Balance,” and “Professional Satisfaction” achievements.

Signs and Wonders

You may want to start your doomsday prepping. My daughter had a sleepover party. With my husband in residence. And there was no weeping or yelling or under-the-breath grumbling in Russian from any side. I feel shockingly … normal. (Insert picture of “normal” SpongeBob with his square edges rounded off.)

(I think my 17 year-old may have slept part of the night on a park bench, but that’s a whole other story.)


Scrivening by day and parenting by night wears a girl out, man. In no particular order:

  • I paid good money to get Mouse’s hair dyed purple at the ends. Remind me never to do that again. The color is amusing but it’s still leaching out of her hair and into everything – clothes, bed linens, bathtub, skin. And it cost a freakin’ fortune, even at a Haircuttery.
  • My imaginary farm/container garden produced some cucumbers and tomatoes. I am enjoying this. I think I may try composting this winter to prepare for the spring once the plants finally quit producing. Also growing dill and tarragon, which I can bring indoors (assuming the cat doesn’t eat them).
  • ANOTHER SQUIRREL GOT IN OUR PLACE but we extracted it with minimal difficulty and much less trauma than last year.
  • TeenBot in his junior ROTC uniform is alarmingly adult.
  • Went to Michigan last weekend and had a wonderful visit. Thank you Congress for not shutting down the federal government this fall.