Coffee Break – Zigzag Patchwork Scarf

I think this zigzag patchwork scarf is really fun. While it’s definitely inspired by Missoni, I think it’s sufficiently different that it isn’t a total knockoff. I love the cool mix of colors and shapes, and I think it would look great tucked under the collar of a blazer, or around your neck on a chilly fall day. It’s $9.80 at Forever21. Zigzag Patchwork Scarf



  1. Diana Barry :

    Can someone help me re: when and how to organize the house (not just clothes)?? I feel like we are drowning in stuff and I don’t have any time to organize it, put it away or get rid of it.

    Specifically, we have way too much of the following:
    – kid toys (so many!)
    – diapers, burp cloths, etc. that seem to get left around the house
    – plastic bins of kid clothes (the ones they are just about to grow out of and/or grow into)
    – plastic bins of my clothes (postpartum size changes)
    – paperwork for me (grocery lists, mail, work I bring home, etc.)
    – paperwork for my husband (home office, 3 different business entities)

    We have 3 kids, including a 3 month old, so I don’t know when I can find time to clean stuff up. I do have the kids clean their stuff up before they go to bed, but there aren’t enough places to put everything. We have an old house with small closets. Also, my husband doesn’t have a secretary or anything so we have to do the filing ourselves, and we both s*ck at it. He will just leave the piles of paperwork everywhere until he can’t stand it any more, then pile them next to the filing cabinet.

    Any ideas?

    • Get thee to UnF**kYourHabitat [dot] Tumblr [dot] com.

      (And replace the ** with “uc,” obvs.)


      • Constance Justice :

        This. Is. Life changing.

        As a woman with somewhat debilitating adult ADHD, my habitat is quite often in a state of disaster. I don’t mean to be a messy person, but it happens. And while I have managed to find a way to be quite successful at work, my home has always suffered. I can’t tell you how much this is going to improve my quality of life. :) Thanks, Kanye!

      • I am reading their FAQ. Is it awful that 20 minutes sounds like an insanely long time to spend cleaning to me? I hate cleaning so much. So so much.

        • Although upon continuing to look at the blog, I realize she categorizes organizing as cleaning. I guess I am just inherently more organized than her target audience. I cannot even fathom leaving clothes on the floor or not making my bed every day.

          • Whenever I watch shows about houses or finding houses, I’m always shocked at 1) how much stuff people have, and 2) how disorganized they are. If you look at the before and after pictures it is kind of hoarding looking

          • Yeah. I’m grateful for my 400 sq ft because it forces me to minimize both possessions and clutter. I think that when you get a place that’s bigger than you need, you feel like you have to fill it up.

    • kerrycontrary :

      Take a day off work (if you are working). Or send the kids to a family/friends house. Don’t let anyone or anything interrupt you barring an emergency.

      -Throw away or donate any clothes you haven’t worn in a year, unless they are maternity clothes and you plan to have another baby.
      -Get designated bins for kids toys, and if any of them are over the age of 4 or 5 have them clean up their own toys. Donate unused toys and throw away broken ones.
      -Get a bin for incoming mail that needs to be opened, one for bills that need to be paid, and one for coupons/wedding invites/etc…
      -File you and your husbands paperwork separately. Since he has a business he needs to keep good files! One idea is to file by function (financials, legal, contracts, payroll, taxes, etc…). There are possible legal consequences to incorrect record keeping.

      space-try using verticle space in your house. Shelves, fabric bins, and bookcases can do wonders. Go to Ikea which has a lot of inexpensive storage options for kids stuff.

    • Honey Pillows :

      I’ve started doing the FLYlady system, and it’s fantastic. (Recommended to me here, actually!)

    • Seattleite :

      Home paperwork? Honestly, unless it is safe-worthy, I’d just toss it in a box. Go through it every six months during a DVD and you’ll be able to throw most of it out.

      Face the possibility that you might have too much stuff. Thin down the kids’ toys and clothes. You’ll get more use and enjoyment out of a well-curated toybox. Consider renting a small storage unit for things that you feel you MUST keep but don’t need underfoot.

      Pretty basket in living room for baby paraphernalia. Another basket for DH’s pile of paperwork. Encourage hiring of high-schooler to come file once a week.

      www DOT flylady DOT net

    • I hate the posting too quickly. Here it goes again: I keep groceries lists on the iphone notes section. There is a note for each store, and it’s easy to just grab my phone and add stuff. Also easy to copy and paste into a text if someone else is doing the shopping that week.

      Can you spend 5 mins at the end of day at work going through that days papers? This helps me a lot. Otherwise I shove stuff into my bag, and bring paperwork home that really could’ve been thrown in the recycle bin.

      • If you hit refresh when you get the posting too quickly notice, your comment will eventually post.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I can offer commiseration. I think our houses look very similar right now…

      To concur the backlog: I set a series of small goals, broken up into small steps, preferably not requiring more than 15 min.

      To concur going forward: Make the organization accessible. Think about how and when you need to access it and do your best to arrange it so that you can. In particular, I’m thinking your husband needs to do that for his. The quicker something can be put away, the more likely it is to be done.

      I hear there are organizational experts you can hire to set up a system and sort your stuff. No experience to share.

      Kids Clothes: I have one size per tote, plus totes for winter sport and summer sport clothes. It took substantial work to get them like that, but it has made accessing the next size and putting away the old one so much easier. I originally just sorted by size and dumped. I got rid of anything obvious (and by ‘get rid of’ I mean put in bags in the basement awaiting a goodwill run or thrown out), but everything that I had to think about just got stored. It’s easier to filter as I take them out and just think about one size at a time. Attempting to sort by summer/winter for the larger sizes helps, too, but is extra credit.

      My Clothes: Similar to the kids.

      Misc yucky cloths all over the house: We don’t really attempt until after bedtime, when we swoop through the house and put them all in a pile. The pile gets transferred to the dirty laundry in the morning.

      Mail: We go through it immediately. That said, once opened, it enters our inept paperwork system…

      Paperwork: Disaster. Basically stacked on the desk. It’s something I could rant about for pages. We have a stack for stuff that needs attention and a stack of stuff that we need to keep/file. We go through the keep stack periodically – usually when it’s falling over or we’re having company. Usually by then, half of it can be recycled because we decided we didn’t really need it.

      That said, my work paperwork is kept separate and in my work bag when not in use. Old shopping lists etc are tossed immediately or lost in the car, which is purged periodically.

      Kids toys: Make me homicidal. We frequently purge, but that only goes so far. I’m currently plotting my attack, which includes thoughtful bin system (rather than simply bins we had on hand), organizing the toys in attic (not sure how yet – age? Season?), and instigating martial law with my husband who gets in a fury and ends up shoving toys wherever (he has broken bins and toys) or dropping them in the attic wherever. I expect to be taking a personal day to do this.

      • Your post reminded me of my parents. We had a similar issue at home and my dad lost it one day and brought in a big cardboard box that sat in our room. The toys went in the box when we were not playing with them, otherwise they were gone (where? who knows). We started putting away stuff pretty quickly after some good stuff went missing. I’m not advocating this method at all since twenty some odd years later I still remember how mad I was at them.

      • How old are the kids? Maybe I’m a meanie, but after a certain age, if they can’t put away their toys in an orderly manner then they should lose the toys. (Sorry, Flamingo.)

        • Research, Not Law :

          3 years and 4 months

          Our 3 year old does pick up her toys, but there are still times when some are left out for one reason or another (running late for dinner and left as-is and went straight to bed upon return, or she’ll put away her matching card game but we find three hidden in a blanket, for example). And a good part of the problem is that there simply isn’t enough space to put everything away. So she may stack up her puzzles, but we need to wiggle them into their place – or she’ll put everything in a bin, but the bin overflows. I can do it like a game of tetris, but if my husband can’t do it, I can’t expect it from my toddler.

          My child has felt the sting of losing a toy because she didn’t pick them up. I just threw out a bunch of markers last night. But since toys cost money, we usually put them in the attic rather than actually throw or give them away.

          Please don’t take this as snark, and I can’t remember if you have kids, but it’s unfathomable the way that children’s toys multiply. I always think back to when we were new parents with our little, stylish bin of baby toys and books patting ourselves on the back for not letting *our* house become overrun. Ha! Weren’t we smug!

          • I don’t have kids (although spend a lot of time with many in my family), but I hear from all my friends with kids that the last. freaking. thing. they want is more toys! So I never give toys as gifts.

            I have this Ikea room divider/bookcase thing that is divided into cubes and they make brightly colored bins that fit perfectly in the cubes. They come as large as six high and six across. Would something like that work to provide more storage space? I don’t think mine was very expensive – definitely under $500 for the bookcase plus bins and probably much less.

          • Oh, one more thing. When I was a kid, my toys were restricted to one room. If my parents were in the living room and I wanted to sit in there with them, I could select one or two small toys to take with me. It seemed like a good system. The toy room, of course, was chaos, but the rest of the house was organized. I was an easy kid, though, always eager to please – definitely this would not work for a lot of kids.

          • This is late, so prob no one will see it, but: honestly, kids don’t need as much stuff as us grownups sometimes think they do.

            A good friend of mine has had a rule in their house since her kids were like 3 and 4, “One In One Out.” when new toys are coming in, for a birthday, or as presents from other people, she gives them a specific time to go in their room and pick out (the same number-ish) of toys they can let go of, and those go to Goodwill. The kids don’t freak out about it, because they are just used to it. And, honestly, they always find something they realize they had forgotten about and didn’t really want anymore. And then, there is always enough storage for their toys in their room.

            My mom had a daycare in our house my whole life, it is a total mental health thing for YOU: Make sure you have enough storage for the toys that the kids can put them away without your help. Really. Make it happen. Get bigger bins, or get rid of some of the stuff, but it IS possible to take the toy cleanup completely off your plate, don’t fool yourself into thinking you have to do it. You have so many other important things to do as a parent and for yourself, and you’ll be good to no one if you wear yourself out. ;o)

        • Yeah Bluejay, probably time for us to pick stuff up. I was probably 5? It worked though!

    • I don’t have nearly as much to deal with as you do, but I find it helpful to keep a little bitty spiral notebook in the kitchen with my grocery list and other errands I need to do on Saturdays. I leave it in the kitchen for most of the week so I add things as I think of them, then I bring it up to my bedroom on Friday so I will add all of the last minute things I think of.

      For bills, paperwork, receipts, I deal with them (pay them) then throw what’s left in a deep drawer than I sort and file once a year. The good thing is, if I’m looking for a bill or receipt, I’ll be able to find it even though it’s dumped in there, by when I threw it in there.

    • I also have three kids. The way I keep up with the toys is to make sure everything fits on a shelf, in a drawer, or toy box. All three kids have a set of bookshelves in their rooms. These house both books and toys. There are bins for like toys (all the legos in one, all the cars in another, etc.) So this helps to control the small pieces that end up everywhere and also provides a place for larger toys. In the living area is one set of drawers that houses the more universal toys. So the play instruments, the play food, and the blocks are stored here. This way they are easily accessible. I also keep lids on the legos and the lincoln logs and keep art stuff in a closet up high, because other wise my kids will have 5000 lego pieces distributed throughout the house in a matter of minutes! This way they have to ask to play with those things, which may be kind of mean, but honestly that have plenty accessible to them that I think they are ok to ask to play with the more messy stuff. I also limit the amount of toys we have. When relatives ask for what to give for birthdays or holidays, I usually ask for experience type gifts instead (zoo pass, baby music classes, gift certificate to the children’s museum or pottery place, etc.) I also make them go through toys after each birthday/holiday and donate old toys to make room for new stuff.

      Then at night we all clean up together. It is part of what happens at the end of the day. When my youngest was a tiny baby, I mostly directed while holding her.

      As for baby clothes, I go through them probably once every few months, make a bag to donate and take it that same day before it has a chance to pile up.

      As for paperwork, we don’t have the home office problem, but what works for us is to have a designated spot for bills, etc and then go through it once a week. We also throw out stuff we know we don’t need right away.

      We do grocery lists on our phones with ziplist.

      And once a year we take off work, send the kids to the sitter’s house and really organize and purge our entire house.

    • Almost done :

      I agree with some of the others above that you need to make a semi-significant time investment up front to develop a system that you can maintain with a limited time investment on an ongoing basis. I would suggest setting aside a couple half days rather than one entire weekend, just to avoid burnout.
      One thing I would suggest is ordering a LOT of the clear, plastic totes on Amazon before you even start. (I like the 70-qt Sterilite ones – they fit a bunch of stuff, but don’t get too heavy to carry, the lids latch closed and the four-packs aren’t too expensive. I also order some 18-quart ones for smaller bactches of stuff.) Having these on hand seems to remove an obstacle from my organizing projects (i.e. “I have to run to Target for a tote… or I’m not sure what to do with this big pile of similar items”). Put it in a bin and label it.

      Here’s what we do:

      Kids toys- I try to purge them every 3 months or so and label the tote with the age/gender appropriateness if I think they might get used by a younger kid but aren’t needed now. (Nanny is also good at helping with this)
      Give each kid a bin/box/basket for toys – whatever fits in there, they can keep “active.” Everything else gets put in storage for a younger sibling, or put in the “to donate” bin. Be reckless about throwing away dirty, broken or missing pieces toys. If they get new toys, they have to make room in their bin by getting rid of older toys. This ensures that every night, every toy will have a home.

      Baby stuff around the house – At night when kids are picking up their toys, spend 5 minutes picking up all the little tiny socks, burp cloths, baby things that are around.

      Kids Clothes – label bins by age/size andgender and store them in the basement, rotating as they grow into/out of sizes. I also keep two smaller baskets on the top shelf of each kid’s closet. One is labeled “Too Big” for clothes I bought on sale or that are their current size but a little too large, and one is “Too Small” for ones I notice they are outgrowing. I toss the clothes into that one as they outgrow them, then when it’s full, I know that size needs a bin and it’s time to bring up the next size bin of clothes from the basement (if we have that gender).

      My Clothes – Similar to kids. I have a bin labeled “1st Trimester/Transition” one for actual maternity and one for nursing. The transition bin of clothes came back out after I had the baby when I didn’t need maternity but wasn’t ready for my regular clothes yet.

      Paperwork – we have three trays on the laundry room counter. Me, Him, Recycle. Mail comes in through the garage/laundry room and either one of us can look through and determine which one of us has to deal with it, or if it is junk. On garbage night, we empty the “recycle” tray into the actual recyling bin and take it out. We both do an ok job of keeping our individual trays from overflowing, but he has multiple businesses and no secretary as well, so his sometimes gets a little out of control. I take care of household paperwork and I have a small file box labeled with the main categories (Med/dental, Financial, Utilities, Misc to Pay, Misc to File) that I drop things into and move those files to our actual filing cabinet once a year or so (usually tax time!).

      I also suggest going through almost every bill you have and signing up for e-statements and billing, removing yourself from mailing lists, keeping lists on your phone/laptop, and doing everything possible to reduce the amount of paper that enters your house.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      Where are you located? I know someone in Seattle who gives help in these areas as a profession.

      • Diana Barry :


        This is very helpful. Unfortunately I can’t take any more time off work for the rest of the year (my maternity leave used up all my vacation) but I will try to chip away at everything one evening at a time. Also, more bins for the kids’ clothes and toys and getting rid of more toys. And the experience gifts idea is GREAT!

        I already have e-bills for everything that can take it. Unfortunately DH needs to keep paper statements for SEC regs (grr).

        I was looking at my pile of papers, and I think part of the problem is stuff that I need to be able to access but can’t put away yet – like our tax returns. We need to make another retirement contribution before we can file them, but don’t have the $$ yet (will in a couple of months) so the returns are sitting out on the counter until we are able to make the contribution. I guess I need a first filing cabinet for the the interim stuff like that.

        • It’s all about designated containers. Get a special container that is big enough to hold all of the interim things you might have for about a year. And just dump em in there. But have a separate container that is “To Be Filed” as in, stuff that you are not going to have to access within the year. That way, you will always be able to dump the interim stuff in ‘it’s place’ and it won’t be in your way. But it doesn’t need to be organized inside that. If you need something, you know where it is, and you don’t have that much to look through to find it. I find lots of great big baskets at places like Marshalls/Ross, etc, but get something that is big enough, yet easy to access even with only one hand.

    • To get rid of toys, here is what my Mom did. If we didn’t pick it up, then it went into a bag that was hidden somewhere. At the end of the month, we could get back any toys that we actually remembered (I think we may have had to give another toy in exchange). Everything else was donated to charity. This isn’t quite as mean as Flamingo’s parents, as we could actually get the “good” toys back. But we had to be able to remember what the “good” toys were to get them back, and we would still be deprived of the good toy for a few weeks.

      • Migraine Sufferer :

        My father had a similar system. He would “impound” our toys if he found them laying about and we could pay to get them back. If we didn’t pay to get them back he would auction them off to our siblings at the beginning of the next month. Seriously.

    • I really like the FlyLady system. It takes forever (at least for me) to do the actually decluttering, but once you start seeing results you want to keep up with it. And it really helps to try and get rid of stuff as new stuff is coming in.

      With the toys, one thing my Mom did (and she had 5!) was to clean out and donate bunches of toys around Thanksgiving, knowing that there would be an influx from loving relatives at Xmas. Except for those few favorites that everyone had, we usually wouldn’t miss the old stuff..

  2. SoCalAtty :

    I realized I had better re-post this here, because it may not be seen on the earlier post:

    Salary negotiation TJ! I am writing a proposal letter for my salary/benefits which are to be negotiated from my “probational” salary at the beginning of next month. (Whoo, I made it six months and I think I like it here!) I have the salary that I’m asking for nailed down by using all of the usual resources – NALP, the Robert Half Legal report, salary dot com, and a search that turned up interesting anecdotal information.

    I’m stuck on the vacation time. What would you ask for in a firm of 3-4 attorneys? I’ve seen some older employee guidlines from when they were a bit bigger that says 3 weeks, so I’ll ask for that, but no mention of “sick” time or any kind of maternity leave policy. I’m getting a very generous stipend to pay for my health insurance since I like mine and the firm only offers one very limited choice. I am asking for a later start time 2x a week so I can ride in the mornings (starting at 9 instead of 8) but other than that, I can’t think of anything. Help? What would you ask for, or what do you wish you had asked for?

    To answer an earlier question: I don’t have a billable hours requirement, it is just “do a good job on what we give you and wherever your billables end up is fine.” I’m good at asking for more work and more sophisticated work. They do seem to have a policy for PTO that, as long as it is a reasonable request and your work is done, it’s fine. No policy at all makes me a little nervous, though.

    • SoCal Gator :

      When I was a partner in a small 3-5 person firm in the OC, we started our associates at two weeks vacation and then they got more over time. They also got a certain number of sick days. We paid annual bar dues for California and the local county bar and for reasonable MCLE credits. Those are a few more thimgs to think about.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I would as for an un-designated amount of sick time. The reality is most lawyers, even when home sick, still end up checking email, responding etc… so having a designated time just makes you annoyed that you are burning “off” time working. Also, you aren’t going to call out sick for the sniffles anyway, so why have a limit if you don’t really need one….

  3. Research, Not Law :

    Moving Comfort sports bras – anyone have experience? I’m a 32E. I want to be able to run, but I don’t want to be completely compressed. (I’m nursing, and that is both painful and invitation for issues). I’m looking at the Jubralee. I’d ideally like the Rebound Racer for the racerback, but reviewers say it runs small in the cups and I’m already pushing the edge of the sizing. Fiona seems popular, but similar to Jubraleee – and they are out of the clearance colors in my size. I’m cheap like that.

    • Try the UnderArmour Moxie. It claims it’s only up to DD, but the XL is perfect on my H cups and it doesn’t compress too much – definitely no uniboob, and the band is adjustable.

    • karenpadi :

      I love my moving comfort bras. They are very durable. I bought mine 3 years ago and they are still good. But I am a 36A so ymmv.

      • Check out Enell brand. I’ll hunt around for a good onlien shop for them once i finish this awful work project, but if your in the DC area, i can give you a recommendation of where to purchase.

    • LegallyRed :

      Similarly small band size/large cup size–I love Fiona and Juno. However, I do occasionally get some chafing around the band, especially on really long runs or hot days, so I use Bodyglide if I think it’ll be a problem (and I haven’t found a sports bra that doesn’t at least occasionally cause chafing). I haven’t tried Jubralee–I think I just read in RunnersWorld that it’s new? Athleta, Title9, and RoadRunnerSports [dot] com also sell Moving Comfort sports bras (although I think sometimes under different style names), so check to see if there are any sales there.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’m a 34D and I love my Fionas. I also like the Maias (sp?). I also loved both of those when I was a 34DD and a 36DD.

    • Yes – love them. I actually really like the Phoebe – have never tried to Fiona/Jubralee. I feel like they’re snug, but don’t squash me, and provide good support for running. I’m a 34DD and wear a large.

    • goirishkj :

      I was a 34D/DD and loved both the Juno and Fiona. Juno is my new love because it worked great when I was marathon training. REI has Moving Comfort and sometimes they are on the outlet site, but it is hit and miss.

      Sorry to hijack this, but if anyone has suggestions for sports bras in size 34DDD, I’m all ears. I’m pregnant and have finally had to get new bras (yay Nordies, you are AWESOME!) and I think my sports bras may need to be replaced soon. Looks like Enell makes sports bras in my new size, but any other suggestions?

    • I am a 32F/FF, depending on the day. I have both the Fiona and the Maia and both are fine, but not great. (I have never nursed, though, so I haven’t had that concern.) I just want compression, to keep my breasts where they are, and these bras are ok, but don’t eliminate bounce completely. One issue is that the velcro in front doesn’t hold long term — I have had to safety pin all of my bras, because having the straps pop mid run is no fun.

      I have the Enell. It sucks in a lot of ways (too visible in a lot of tanks, too warm, breasts are smooshed into an odd square shape that makes no kind of sense), but out of all the bras I have tried, the Enell minimizes bounce the most.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        32 F here, and no pregnancy experience, so this is just general info. YMMV

        I have 3 Enells that I’m now wearing to the gym and for running, waiting to wear them out so that I can wear my surprisingly comfortable *underwire* Freya bras all the time (well, all the time I’m doing high-impact exercise, at least). I have a crazy-narrow ribcage (under 30 inches), so I did have to have my tailor put a dart on the outside of the band on each side, but…seriously. No uniboob!

        And no sweat. I think the bra is made with some kind of wicking material. Having worn Enell for 2-3 years, and they do a great job stopping bounce, it felt almost weird not having a river of sweat running down my cleavage (etc.!). The Freya feels different, and definitely jump up and down in the dressing room when you try it on, but I’m switching. I started with one just to try it out and should have more collected by the time my Enells wear out.

        You may have to go to a bra store rather than a running/sports store to find the Freya.

        Now I’m looking for a low-to-medium impact bra that won’t give me uniboob, so the above suggestions are appreciated and something I’ll look into. I’ve been hesitant to try bras that are not cup-sized because, well, part of me is sized “small” and then other parts are sized somewhat larger, but the Moxie sounds interesting.

  4. wny grad student :

    threadjack for scientiste t t e s and anyone else combating summer doldrums:

    I’m a PhD student in the biological sciences (generally speaking) and have been. so. unmotivated. this summer. Help me snap out of this! It’s the same old same old every day, going over good but not great results, analyzing data and trying to figure out what to do next, and starting some experiments, but more often than not I’m spending all afternoon looking at the clock and trying to figure out when I’ve put in enough time for today and can leave. I’m normally very self-motivated, but I’m having a hard time focusing and even getting “grunt work” done efficiently.

    Has anyone else (in any field, I know this is universal) gotten over this recently? Thanks for any thoughts!

    • I liked summer for bringing a stack of articles or one of those giant textbooks outside and reading – you spend so much time trapped in the lab you need to get out! Or go to the magically less busy coffee shop since all the undergrads are away. And be sure to take some proper vacation time, guilt inducing as it may be.

      • Second the studying outdoors. Especially if it is sunny, it just helps lift up your mood and the background noise prevents you from dozing off.
        I used to do research in an underground lab and that truly was depressing, sometimes we underestimate the soothing effect of people walking by in the background.
        Also try to keep hydrated it will help you feel awake, take small breaks but real breaks. That means move away from your computer, NMR machine, microscope, whatever is related to your research. Go for a small walk, or go read a portion of a magazine at the library and then come back and start fresh.

    • Ugh, me too (although social sciences rather than real science). I have 15,000 words in on Monday and am currently reading chicklit novels. I didn’t get a proper holiday this summer and there isn’t a break in sight between my studies, internship, and jobs. I am hoping to steal away for a few days in the fall, I have this idea of going somewhere new and exciting but will probably head someplace familiar and easy. Or head to the sea to go for walks, drink tea, and read novels.

    • Research, Not Law :

      When I was a student and trying to get through my thesis work, I made myself keep a log of my day’s work. It basically shamed me into working. I also had luck by setting goals and not letting myself leave until they were done – but I could leave when they were. Suddenly I was finishing my work and leaving at 3 pm.

      I do also consider the slow summer months a perk of sorts, so I meet deadlines but also enjoy a lighter production.

      • I did this, too. It worked really well for me — for thesis writing I set a goal of minimum 2000 words, and once that was done I could stop. I also logged how many words I wrote per day, and one happy side effect was that on days when I felt like a sad sack who never accomplished anything, I could look back over my log and see how much I’d actually done in the past few weeks.

    • How close are you to graduating? Do you have a plan to get out? As someone who has seen too many bio PhDs languish for years in unproductivity, I think you need to start looking at post-docs (or whatever you will do after graduation) if you are after year 3 in your program. Also, start looking at what motivates your professor/department to graduate students. They will tell you it is the research results or a paper in X journal, but that is usually BS. Some research results are necessary, but there is usually something else that finally prompts the final defense. Often, it is having a post-doc lined up. And keep in mind that you can almost always get something published if you have truly been plugging away at the research for a few years. Maybe not in a top-tier journal, but your interests usually lie in getting published, period. It is your professor that cares more about the quality of the journal.

      I feel like I’m ranting, but most Ph.D. students tend to be a bit naive when it comes to looking out for themselves and their own careers. Many don’t realize until years later that their professors and grad program didn’t have their best interests at heart.

      • I’m probably too late, but this 1000000X. About the professors and grad program not having an individual student’s best interests at heart. Look out for yourself.

  5. Sports-fan C o r p o r e t t e s,

    What do you think about the Penn State sanctions? I can’t say I’m surprised, but it upsets me that the NCAA has effectively punished students and alumni for the actions/omissions of administrators who have already been fired. The players who legitimately won victories from 1998-2011 weren’t involved in wrongdoing and none of those victories were won illicitly. The current players and would-be scholarship recipients aren’t guilty of anything either. I have no connection to Penn State, but I think the NCAA has gone overboard with sanctions in recent years in a half-baked effort to justify its existence, and this is the worst abuse of power to date. I’d be bloody furious if I were a Penn State alum.

    I have no problem with the fine, assuming it’s coming from the sports programs and not being paid for with tuition dollars or taxpayer funds. The probation seems entirely reasonable, too.

    For those who haven’t followed the news today, according to Deadspin the sanctions include:
    • A $60 million fine, with the proceeds going to an endowment fund for victims of sexual abuse.
    • A four-year bowl ban.
    • Vacated all Penn State victories from 1998 to 2011.
    • A reduction of annual scholarships from 25 to 15 for four years. Current players will be permitted to transfer and have immediate eligibility elsewhere.
    • Five-year probation in which the university will have to work with an NCAA monitor.
    The Big Ten is also depriving Penn State of conference bowl revenue for the next 4 years and banned Penn State from the conference championship for the same period of time.

    • karenpadi :

      It is a harsh punishment. I think it’s more to show that the NCAA is not going to tolerate pedophiles. Given the RCC, boy scouts, and other scandals lately, I am really glad they are taking a strong position. I wish the other institutions would follow their example.

      • But does anybody really think that the NCAA would tolerate pedophiles? That’s why it seems so self-righteous to me. I don’t mind them punishing the responsible parties – no objection to the sacking of Paterno – but taking action that harms students and alumni more than anyone else just seems petty and pompous.

        • kerrycontrary :

          I just think it’s weird because the NCAA exists to prevent unfair competitive advantages between schools and/or players. They have never punished a school for criminal actions which occurred at said school before (i.e. players that are accused of sexual assault are arrested by local police and kicked off the team by their own coach). They usually realize that courts are able to take care of this (which is why Curley and Shultz are facing criminal charges). I mean the NCAA isn’t the sports police.

          • I agree with you, to a point. The NCAA may be setting new precedent here, but the lack of institutional control at Penn State is something that can’t be addressed through criminal charges. It is unfortunate that people who had nothing to do with the cover-up feel like they are the ones being “punished,” but I think their anger is a bit … misdirected. Be angry at the men in power who did nothing when they learned about young men’s lives being ruined, forever. They’re the ones who took down Penn State. Not the NCAA.

          • I think the lack of institutional control is being addressed A. by Penn State firing all the administrators involved in the cover up, and B. the 5-year probation imposed by the NCAA. Taking away the possibility of participating in title games from 19 and 20 year old athletes doesn’t address institutional control, at least not in any way that I can see.

          • kerrycontrary :

            Agree with Bluejay.

          • This. And what Bluejay said.

          • A lot of other institutions including the Catholic Church and Penn State football apparently did tolerate pedophilia for decades so like Karenpadi I find it really encouraging that the NCAA came out so quickly and so severely to punish the institution that did wrong.

          • Remember — those 19 and 20 year old kids/players are able to transfer without penalty (athletes) or stay at PSU and keep their NCAA scholarships.

            I work in educational admin — secondary, not higher — and, like many, am completely appalled by the scope of what went on. Jerry Sandusky and all of his enablers are the ones that did this: not the NCAA.

        • Why not? Paterno and Penn State did for years.

          • kerrycontrary :

            There’s a big arguement that Joe Paterno did not actively know or process that Sandusky was a pedophile. Although I must realize that most people commenting on this issue have not actually read the full Freeh report…

            Paterno wasn’t solely responsible for Sandusky staying at PSU or flying under the radar. There were multiple social workers who investigated abuse allegations as well adoption agencies that not only reviewed him but approved him for adoptions (and now his adopted son claims abuse as well). Paterno told his family that he figured that if social workers (professionals in this area) checked him out then he must be ok. But is anyone punishing Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile, or the adoption agencies? Or the social workers on those cases? No, because they aren’t as famous.

            And it’s a stretch to say that all of Penn State tolerated a pedophile. Because when it comes down to it, what is a university? Because to me it consists of students first, the adminstration, the faculty, etc…And in the case of Sandusky there were 3 administrators, 1 football coach, and 1 graduate assistant implicated in “covering up”. So I wouldn’t say that all of Penn State (which consists of 100,000 students active students at any given time) tolerated a pedophile.

          • kerrycontrary, I don’t mean to say all of Penn State tolerated a pedophile. I’m talking about Paterno and the top brass of the athletic department. When it’s your name at the top of the organizational chart, it falls on your shoulders. That’s how it works.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            I agree re: your name at the top of the chart.

            Think of it this way – if you are Mary Sue, a factory line worker and you do a good job every day, show up at work on time, and work hard, you think your job and life are pretty stable. But if your company’s CEO makes a shitty decision and profits fall, you might get laid off. It’s not your fault, it’s just bad luck.

            People at the top are responsible for the organization and their decisions have rippling consequences for the organization as a whole, good or bad. That is to say, if it was a particularly great year and everyone got a bonus, company wide, that bonus might go to some people who deserved it and some who didn’t. If it was a bad year and people got laid off, again, some of those laid off people might have been doing an excellent job. To say “But it shouldn’t affect *ME* because *I* did nothing wrong!” would show a lack of understanding of organizational dynamics and the way our organizational culture is set up.

            The only solution is to demand better of our leaders.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            Reposting because I forgot to * out a dirty word.

            Kanye East, I agree re: your name at the top of the chart.

            Think of it this way – if you are Mary Sue, a factory line worker and you do a good job every day, show up at work on time, and work hard, you think your job and life are pretty stable. But if your company’s CEO makes a sh***y decision and profits fall, you might get laid off. It’s not your fault, it’s just bad luck.

            People at the top are responsible for the organization and their decisions have rippling consequences for the organization as a whole, good or bad. That is to say, if it was a particularly great year and everyone got a bonus, company wide, that bonus might go to some people who deserved it and some who didn’t. If it was a bad year and people got laid off, again, some of those laid off people might have been doing an excellent job. To say “But it shouldn’t affect *ME* because *I* did nothing wrong!” would show a lack of understanding of organizational dynamics and the way our organizational culture is set up.

            The only real solution is to demand better of our leaders.

          • “There’s a big arguement that Joe Paterno did not actively know or process that Sandusky was a pedophile.”

            Kerry, it is right in the freeh report. “In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the university – Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse.”

            Of course he wasn’t solely responsible. No one is saying that.

            And the problem is yeah there were 3 administrators, 1 football coach, and 1 graduate assistant in the coverup. And then thousands defended the coach. Thousands had protests for a man who “repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to sanduskys child abuse”

          • @cfm she doesn’t say she believes it or that it’s a reasonable position. Just that others say it.

      • The NCAA is the last organization that should ever take a moral stance. While I agree Penn State should be punished, it should probably be through the (inevitable) civil law suits from the victims/families. Instead, the NCAA is flogging a dead horse and wanting us to congratulate it.

        …obviously, I have some strong feelings regarding the NCAA organization as a whole.

        • +1. Everyone that was involved in the cover up needs to be punished, but I think that has to come from the courts not the NCAA.

        • Yeah, I do too, so maybe that’s coloring my view of things. Because I am seriously NOT a Nittany Lions fan, so normally I’d be all “haha, all your wins against my alma mater are vacated, jerks!”

    • I agree with you that its a weird muscle flex, but I am totally ok with alumni being furious. Its unfortunate for the sane alumni I know are out there, but the Penn state alumni as a whole are so nutty and delusional, I almost do think the alumni should almost be punished too.

      • The alumni should almost be punished too?! Are you kidding me? As a proud Penn State alumni who is neither nutty nor delusional, I find this highly offensive.

        • Not nearly as offensive as some of the defenses of Joe Pa I’ve seen.

          (And it was meant to be tongue in cheek. I realize plenty are sane. But thousands have this weird, weird blind spot with this whole thing. happy valley indeed.)

    • kerrycontrary :

      I am a penn state alum and I think it’s an abuse of power. Though the NCAA states that this sort of case is unprecedented, which is why they didn’t follow their normal procedure, I think they are jumping on the hype of Penn State removing the Joe Paterno statue. They normally would give any university due process so they can respond to allegations. They would then conduct their own investigation (instead of relying upon the Freeh report as they did in this case), and hold a hearing. They did none of these before sanctioning PSU. Anyone implicated in the Sandusky scandel has either been removed from the administration, is dead, or is in jail. I believe they are punishing current students and faculty for past misdeeds which is a mistake. I hope that the public can remember that Jerry Sandusky is to blame for all of this rather than the administration who was put between a rock and a hard place.

      • The rock was a man on the staff was raping underage boys on the university campus. the hard place was…. that it would make the school look really bad? *head explodes*

      • Jerry Sandusky isn’t the only one to blame, though. He had a network of support who were knowing and complicit.

        Of course the sanctions are harsh. But that’s the law-and-order when it comes to organizations. Banks get fined and they pass the sanctions on to consumers. It happens. It’s not perfect.

        And personally, as the survivor of a childhood sexual assault, I don’t think the sanctions are too harsh. As the survivor of a childhood sexual assault, I do not think the administration were “between a rock and a hard place.” Opposing sexual predation on children is an easy place to be. It’s that simple.

        • kerrycontrary :

          Ok, bad choice of wording on “a rock and a hard place”. Of course I think that the administrators (namely spanier, curley and shultz, and joe paterno) should have behaved differently. I am not defending any of them. But I think that the media is basically focusing on the wrong people rather than the pedophile.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            I don’t think so. I actually (in this case) applaud the media for pointing out that it is absolutely as bad to sit back and do nothing (or worse, cover things up) when you know someone is victimizing a child, as it is to victimize the child yourself.

        • Thank you for being willing to say this. And I (for similar reasons) agree.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        My understanding was that the university leaders functionally stipulated to the facts presented in the Freeh report (which was a much more in depth investigation than the NCAA would ever do), and the NCAA handed down the sanctions on the basis of that stipulation. My understanding was it was akin to walking into court, pleading guilty, and accepting the sentence the judge hands down and that it was Penn State’s own administrators that allowed the Freeh report to be used in lieu of an NCAA investigation.

        Also, I’m sorry, but Jerry Sandusky is to blame for molesting kids, but many other people are to blame for covering it up and not taking enough action to stop it and achieve justice for previous victims.

        • You’re right – Penn State entered a consent decree stating they would not contest whatever sanction the NCAA imposed. But I still think the NCAA is unreasonable at best.

      • The administration was NOT between a rock and a hard place! You find out a guy is molesting kids, YOU DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO MAKE SURE IT NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.

        Sorry, but that’s insane. The short term fallout of removing Sandusky and turning him over to the authorities would have been a blip on the radar compared to the sh*tshow they’ve got on their hands now.

    • I am more than okay with the sanctions. Something needed to be done to punish the university for its lack of institutional control. If not the NCAA, then who? Trust me, I am no fan of the NCAA, but its the only organization that has the authority to do something about the culture that led to this mess in the first place.

      • Absolutely agree with anon.

        Sandusky was wrong. But in many ways, the whole culture there that existed FOR YEARS and allowed it to go on has been much worse. The fact you’ve got people chanting around Papa Joe’s statue shows there is still a lot of leveling in that culture that needs to take place.

      • Ding ding ding. The NCAA needs to punish Penn State, not for Sandusky’s actions, but for creating a culture of football supremacy that made it okay for his actions to be hidden and ignored for decades because football is king. Now…you can have an argument that the NCAA is a big part of the problem here (and it is.) But if you don’t do something to punish the football program. If you just pretend it was the rogue actions of one man, then you ignore the institutional failures on all levels that allowed that man to continue his activities for decades.

        When you decide that winning at football is more important then keeping little boys from being violated, then something is wrong. And that football program deserves to be punished. It certainly deserves to be punished if a football program deserves sanctions for players getting trading paraphernalia for tattoos. It’s not just about “fair play” but also about the sanctity of the game.

        • I’m SAYIN’. Thank you.

        • Thank you, TCFKAG. I’m not hugely knowledgeable about US football, but it is the whole principle of the thing that counts here.

        • Wholeheartedly agree.

        • TCFKAG, thanks. You just saved me five-ten minutes of typing up a post and said it much better than I would have.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes. This, exactly.

        • Yes, TCFKAG–thank you for writing this. Sanctions like this will make it much harder for this type of culture to get a free pass at other schools. The men in charge should have known that they were risking these types of sanctions. Now all the people in charge at other schools know exactly what the stakes are. They should have known before, but now they really know.

        • I believe this is my second stand and slow clap for you this week. My office is going to start thinking I’m weird

        • TCFKAG makes a good point about using NCAA sanctions to punish the lack of institutional accountability. I still have issues with the NCAA mostly because I feel there is no consistency in their approach to penalties (although this type of offense is unprecedented), but that is another story.

        • +1,000,000,000

        • This is very late to the thread, but it’s such an interesting topic that I had to weigh in. I have issues with the NCAA generally, because I think they should stop making themselves the moral police and stick to football– i.e. stop pretending college football is about integrity and admit that it’s about money (anyone who doesn’t realize this is, quite frankly, either naive or delusional). But, since they seem to insist on taking that role in general, they had to act in this situation. It’s a million times worse than most of the stuff that the NCAA usually gets worked up about.

          As for the specific sanctions…the financial penalty and bowl eligibility penalties are good and valid. Vacating wins is just stupid. Not because I care at all about PSU’s record, but because it’s a fiction. I don’t understand why the NCAA insists on doing this. Like, who won the national championship in 2004? USC. Oh what? the NCAA vacated that? whatever. I watched it on tv and I know they won and so does google, wikipedia, etc. We can all pretend that no one won but what’s the point? Same here. So now Paterno is no longer “officially” the coach with the most D1 wins. Except that he still is, here in the real world- a point made by Bobby Bowden, who is the second most-winning coach but now has the most wins in NCAA- land. It’s not that I think this unfair to PSU or Paterno or the students or players- it’s too meaningless to be unfair to anyone.

          Overall, I’m glad the situation is getting attention because it highlights the importance of doing a difficult thing and how easy it is for the responsibility of speaking out to get lost in a big institution. I don’t think this had much to do with Penn State’s specific football culture or football at all, quite frankly, I think it could have happened in any institution (like say a church). The fact is, these types of crimes make everyone really uncomfortable and the tendency is to pass it along to someone else to deal with or bury your head in the sand pretending it didn’t happen. That’s wrong and cowardly, but it’s easy. People like to do the easy thing. Institutions make it very easy for people to do the already-easy thing: i.e. nothing, because no one feels like the responsibility is solely theirs. And I hoped that this scandal would at least make it more apparent to everyone that institutional accountability is the problem, not football and not church. I dislike that the attention to the NCAA makes it seem like this is a football problem because that misses the point, in my opinion. And I hope that Penn State is taking further action to address this and isn’t pretending that the problem was solved by NCAA sanctions or removing a statute.

      • This. I think the NCAA is nutty and delusional, but I hope that what they are saying by these sanctions is something along the lines of: if you allow your football program (or other sports program) to become so big and powerful that your coach and administrators protect the program instead of protecting innocent, defenseless children, be prepared to suffer some very harsh consequences.

        I’m not an alum so I cannot fully understand those feelings, but they are punishing a sports program, people. Who really cares if they cannot participate in bowl games or share revenue from bowl games? Those are meaningless consequences compared to the lifetime of mental anquish the victims will suffer. And I don’t think anyone can argue that it’s *possible* that prompter action by Penn State could possibly have saved some of the most recent kids from abuse.

        • But you’re setting up a false dichotomy here: It’s not either Penn State participates in bowl games/shares revenue in bowl games or children suffer. This is punishing 19 and 20 year old kids who had absolutely no involvement in the cover-up, etc. Like Bluejay said above, I understand probation and I understand a fine (and vacating wins, to an extent). But this was such a calculated, cynical move on the part of the NCAA that it’s difficult to approve of it for purposes of setting a dangerous precedent.

          • Yes, the taking Penn State out of the bowl games now will not erase the abuse Sandusky’s victims suffered. It will allow the school to change its culture and other institutions to learn from this. If those 19 and 20 year olds you mention were the ones who came out and protested in support of Joe Pa and not Sandusky’s victims, then I don’t feel sorry for them. Maybe this will make them learn something too.

          • I’d have a lot more respect for Penn State if it had voluntarily forfeited past or future seasons instead of waiting for the NCAA to bring down the hammer. Again, the culture was part of what allowed the cover up to happen. And it’s scary how many PSU fans refuse to acknowledge that. If there was ever a school that needed to take a break, reflect, and learn from its mistakes, it’s PSU.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think it was a punishment made to functionally change the culture of athleticism at Penn State and to say athleticism without ethics is something that has no place in the NCAA.

      Penn State had a culture which elevated individuals and one team to a god like status, a culture which enabled leaders to act without morality and outside the law. It seems clear to me that all JoePa’s actions were about preserving his legacy and the legacy of the football team, and preserving the culture that supported that legacy. The problem is that culture is broken, and that culture led to not one person abusing children, but multiple people acting together to cover it up and not pursue it and rationalizing those actions to themselves. That culture needs to be completely obliterated and a new one needs to be built from the ground up. The NCAA sanctions accomplish that.

      Is it tough, if you’re a PSU student or player, and you were not involved personally in this scandal, to see why this is necessary? Of course. I can understand the frustration. But I haven’t forgotten the protests and riots in Happy Valley when this scandal broke, and I don’t think this was a problem that could have been fixed from the inside out.

      • Exhibit A: The statement that JoePa’s family released today. I can understand that it must be devastating it must be to learn that your husband & father, a beloved member of the community, could’ve been part of the problem. But he was, and so was every other administrator who knew and kept his mouth shut. The fact that alumni are furious that people aren’t focusing just on Sandusky … well, it certainly doesn’t give me a lot of faith that Penn State could fix this on its own.

        • I think it is tragic that JoePa died and never had the chance to defend himself. Perhaps the Freeh report would have reached different conclusions and thus led to different sactions, so I understand why the Paterno family is upset that his record as the winningest coach has been vacated by fiat. That said, their statement displays a serious lack of empathy for the victims. Paterno’s legacy is not a victim here.

      • I have mixed feelings about it. I feel like it’s fundamentally unfair to the players on the team from 1998-2011 to be punished, as they had nothing whatsoever to do with the problem that went on at an administrative level.

        On the other hand, I think it’s time for the NCAA to make changes and start taking stronger stances against those schools who elevate athletics above integrity/ethical behavior. I know in my state, the NCAA’s recently tougher stance has led to greater scrutiny by the state/local districts at the K-12 level as well. In many states, athletics are revered from a young age, and winning is valued above all else. The NCAA really needs to lead by example in order to get this culture of athletics above ethics/integrity to end.

        • I agree that it feels unfair to the players, but – if this had come out more than a decade ago, how many of those players would have chosen Penn State? Who would have coached them? The whole premise of those seasons is hollow.

        • I just can’t see how it’s “unfair” to the players from the older teams. So they went to Penn State, got a college education probably for free, and had a great time playing a sport they loved. Now the NCAA says the games they won don’t count as official wins any more. So what? Presumably these guys have all moved on with their lives since their days of playing football (and if they haven’t, then that’s just sad).
          I think the real point here isn’t so much about punishment as it is about deterring future behavior. If this causes even one administrator at some other school in the future to act differently — to contact the authorities instead of turning a blind eye, to put the needs of kids over the reputation of a school or a sports program — then it was the right thing to do.

      • Agreed. Also: these kids are still on scholarship for playing football. I am exposing my academics-over-athletics bias here, but I don’t really care. They can still get a good education for free or nearly free if they want one. They don’t have the right to go to the Rose Bowl or whatever. If the NCAA sanctions cramp their style and they’re elite football players, let them transfer to another university. But make no mistake. Those 19- and 20-year-olds are not the victims.

        • I don’t think anyone is arguing that the college kids are the victims here. I think the argument is that the NCAA wasn’t the proper body to discipline the school. And if the NCAA really wanted to change the culture at that school, they would institute the death penalty at Penn State.

          Also – some of the punishment was loss of scholarships. So there will be less free education to go around. I don’t know the nitty-gritty details, but transferring from one university to another usually leads to a loss of a year of eligibility for student athletes. I’m sure the NCAA likely waived that punishment for the students, but it’s a common disincentive to transfer.

          • The one-year sit out period is waived for athletes transferring from PSU.

      • Very well put.

        If someone’s just now catching on to the fact that there’s unfairness in this world because their football team is in trouble, d a m n. I guess it must be hard to be confronted with that lesson as an adult. I figured out that sexually assaulting children was wrong by age six–when it happened to me–so I just can’t relate to the confusion or mixed feelings right now.

    • The fine is apparently the equivalent of one year’s revenues from the football program. At least that’s what I heard. Shocking. While it may seem harsh to the existing students, I don’t think it’s too harsh on the school. They have to deal with the actions of those who knowingly allowed these atrocities to continue. The program will be rebuilt.

      • That’s ALL? Isn’t the fine something like $62 million? I had no idea that college football made so much money.

        If that is what the football program makes in ONE YEAR, I’m sorry, they should be fined 5 years’ revenues and be forced to put it into inner-city education or s*xual abuse recovery programs or something like that.


        • Keep in mind that college football and men’s basketball tend to be the only sports that bring in money for schools’ athletic programs on a consistent basis. Some of this money is typically used to fund other low-profile sports. If Penn State is fined $362 million, will it cut the football team? Absolutely not. Will it start to cut other low-profile sports that provide scholarship opportunities for thousands of students? Absolutely.

          • Merabella :

            This. There are a lot of sports that rely on the revenues from sports like football and basketball. Sports that don’t make ESPN or fans show up in droves for. This sanction will not only hurt the football team, which in this case may be valid, but it will most likely kill other non-revenue sports.

    • I don’t think the NCAA went far enough. It should have included no more football. At all. Ever again.

      • I don’t have kids, am not an abuse survivor, and have never known of any abuse of or by anyone I know…and yet as a human being I’m just so disgusted I can’t think straight. I have trouble imagining anything that the NCAA or courts could do that I would feel is too much. I know that isn’t the case, but that’s how much this story has made me lose my sh*t.

        I went to grad school at a large public university where the entire state worships one of its sports teams and its coaches, they bring in tons of revenue, they’re a huge part of the university “brand,” etc. The head coach once said hi to me on campus, and I still tell people about it years later. So I’ve felt a terrible shudder of recognition throughout this mess. A message needs to be sent, and yet I’m sure it won’t get through.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Monday – I’m with you. This line, from the grand jury report, quite literally moved me to tears:

          “Victim 5, now age 22, met Sandusky through The Second Mile in 1995 or 1996, when he was a 7 or 8 year old boy, in second or third grade. Sometime after their initial meeting at a Second Mile camp at Penn State, Sandusky called to invite the boy to a Penn State football game. Victim 5 was thrilled to attend.”

          This whole thing is just heartbreaking.

        • Yes. This is the place I’m coming from, too.

      • Silvercurls :

        I’ll go you one further. Apologies in advance for the coming rant.

        Not only do I agree with you said at 6:34 pm and what TCFKAG said at 4:49 pm, I think the _entire_ football industry should be shut down–top to bottom, from middle school right on up to and through the professional leagues–and all of its financial, human, and cultural capital redirected to high-quality early childhood programs. (Okay, so I’m being unrealistic, plus I have *no* concrete suggestions re how to make this happen.) IMHO society would be vastly improved if we paid more attention to nurturing our most tender and vulnerable members and ensuring that everyone gets a good solid start in life. By contrast, not all, but a LOT of the football community values team victories over personal integrity and flashy material success (see average NFL player salaries and owner profits) over the deeper accomplishments of learning about complicated intellectual subjects (which is the so-called real reason that the football scholars go to college) or caring selflessly for others (back to early childhood). The caring coaches and inspirational team captains can find other venues in which to lead. I’m not against all athletic activity or professional sports, but everything in moderation!

        Full disclosure: as a graduate student at one of the big Midwestern football powerhouses I was horrified by the massive crowds (for football? who cares?) and excessive wearing of team colors (grown men in neon orange blazers?! Come on, folks!). I understand the game requires lots of strategy, but I can’t get beyond the brutality of enormous, solidly built men deliberately running into or piling on top of each other.

        Okay, rant over. (It’s safe to stop clutching one’s pearls.) Time to spray my keyboard with a fire extinguisher. Maybe time to go soak my head in a bucket also. I promise to be more restrained in my next few comments.

        • +100000000000000

        • I agree with you. As someone raised overseas, I don’t get this obsession with football in the States and just shake my head at the enormous waste of material and emotional resources that surrounds college sports.

    • I love football and feel terrible for the students that this impacted (though the ability to transfer without sitting out the year is fair), but all things considered, I think this was more than generous to Penn State. The only disappointment is that Paterno is no longer alive to witness this and be held responsible.

  6. All I can think when I look at this scarf is “Charlie Brown.”

    • I was thinking Cliff Huxtable!!

    • It is a GOOD buy for $10.

      But I have a Beef! Their is a FAKE Ellen posteing this morning!!! FOOEY!

      Kat let that fake post in but I get modderated? DOUBEL FOOEY!

      I onley POST when I have some thing to say so I do not like it when a Fraud tryes to be me b/c my father says I am euneek as their is onley one ELLEN!


  7. I think you were at the other end of my metro car today. If you had on a bright orange/coral blazer it was super cute and sorry I couldn’t make it to your end to say hi!! (basically sorry for creeping!) –grace- we met at the meet up

    • Green line or redline? Then yes that was probably me. You can’t miss me in that jacket. I thought of you guys when I boldly (I thought) paired the coral jacket with a colbalt necklace. No worries on creeping!

  8. Are there any good certification programs for becoming a paralegal? I’ve tinkered with the idea of doing something in the legal field and think the training may complement my current field (gov’t) and open up additional avenues. TIA!

    • Marguerite :

      I am an attorney at a big firm in NY, so my comment may or may not be relevant to you. But I don’t know any paralegals who took certification courses. I suspect that they’re a waste of money, especially if you already have basic professional/office/computer skills. If I were you, I would first search out and even interview for positions and find out what firms are looking for. If in your city and in the type of firm you want to work at, they do expect or value a certificate, then it might make sense to get one. But otherwise, don’t bother.

    • lucy stone :

      I teach in an ABA-accredited paralegal program. I’m in the midwest and a lot of the firms around here want to see a paralegal certification. Our program offers a post-baccalaureate certificate that takes most people a year to complete.

      • I am in the midwest as well, and my state does NOT accredit/certify paralegals.

        My advice to the original poster is to do a little research to figure out if your state even OFFERS a certificate.

        Generally, larger firms in my area want to see a bachelor’s degree. Note that paralegal jobs are hard to find in a down economy, as paralegals get let go before attorneys in some cases.

    • It may depend on the state. In mine, there was some discussion drawn out over multiple legislative sessions that would require a paralegal certificate for new employees but those currently in the role would be grandfather. I don’t know if it eventually passed or if some of the larger firms just require a certificate as a default but it is listed as a requirement in the postings.

      Wow, that was a longwinded random rambling, but I guess the point of it was to check what your locality requires

  9. Interview tomorrow. Had a haircut on Saturday. I say, “long layers in back” and she completely ignores me, making the first set of layers in back shorter than my layers framing my face! Now I have a super awkward haircut that didn’t style right this morning. Maybe if I use lots of product tomorrow it will behave??

    • Always a NYer :

      Put your hair in an updo. It may take more time because of the shorter layers but practice tonight and you should be golden. Good luck with the interview!!!

    • Confessions :

      For the interview, can you just straighten it all, so that the layers blend together?

      • I’ve had similar awkwardly too short layers before. Straightening will actually (at least it always has for me) make it worse – it highlights the layers rather than blends them. I’ve had luck doing curls – try making loose curls with a curling iron, holding the iron vertically if that makes sense.

    • Call the salon and ask to have it fixed by a senior stylist (not the same one who messed it up) before your interview. Politely insist. Salons are usually agreeable to fixing bad cuts.

  10. manomanon :

    2 things…
    I think I’ve been doing something wrong my whole life… or at least according to a saleswoman earlier I am… What’s the deal with mesh lingerie bags? Do things actually get clean in them and are they a worthwhile investment? (Please note.. in my house we did not hand wash anything nor did we own mesh bags for this purpose. Until today I didn’t know they existed.)
    The second.. has anyone here used products from The Laundress before? I came across some today and they are pricey but if they work I am willing to go for it since they are the right size for my current needs.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I use the bags for clothing that I don’t want to get stretched or distorted in the washer. I believe they help clothes keep their shape, but I haven’t conducted an actual experiment. I have a lot of them, and just about anything that’s not a plain cotton t-shirt or workout gear gets tossed in one before washing.

    • Love love love my mesh laundry bags. I absolutely think they increase the longevity of my undergarments and and other delicate laundry. It also makes it easier to organize laundry–I just throw all lingerie, and anything else that needs to be line-dried, instead of getting chucked in the dryer, in a mesh bag, and bam. Laundry sorted.

      But basically, since they cost like, $5 for a pack of three, I would say there’s no way it can hurt for you to try ’em out.

    • I use the mesh bags for lingerie. When I had a top-loading washing machine and something didn’t make it into the bag, I would sometimes find it wrapped around the center thing when I took everything out. That cannot be good for the elastic. I haven’t had any problems with things not actually being clean, and it wasn’t a big investment (I went through the old stuff my mom bought me for camp when I was 10, which included a bag for underwear and a bag for socks, so I’d be more likely to come home with most of my own stuff, and that’s what I use).

      I use Woolite and cold water for my “delicates” (basically all work clothes, lingerie, more delicate weekend stuff). I use Method detergent for all other things, so I’ve been wondering if it wouldn’t be better to just use the Method–unscented, fine for cold water, and maybe less harsh than the Woolite, even.

    • I use the mesh bags for bras with wires and for nylons/hose. The bags I use are quite large, and as long as you don’t stuff them the contents can move about and get as clean as anything else in the washer.

      The bras go into the mesh bags because otherwise there´s a risk that the wires come loose and escape into the bowels of the washer – apparently a very common washer killer. The nylons go into the bag so that they don´t end up ridiculously tangled with everything else, basically.

      They´re not that expensive either, shouldn´t set you back more than a few dollars really.

    • manomanon :

      thank you all. I will have to try this out….It sounds like it will be helpful in the long run especially for only a few dollars at the moment

    • Agree with others about the mesh bags. I have tried the Laundress. To be honest, I liked it…but I’m not sure it’s any better than any other similar product, other than it cost more.

  11. Quick SOS: do I have to wear hose to the VA bar exam? I’ll be in a knee-length dress, flats (don’t judge–I’m here to take the exam, not impress people). The examiners say “traditional professional attire” (WTF?), but… This is the south. And I’m visibly pregnant. *whine*

    • Tons of people wear flats so don’t even think twice about that. Half the women will be wearing flats with the suit pants that are hemmed for their 3 inch heels. It’s just a matter of practicality. Pantyhose are definitely not required but you may want to stash a pair in your bag for warmth. (While it’s hot as blazes outside in Virginia, I wore both a cardigan and my suit jacket indoors while I took the exam 5 years ago).

      The only people I saw get kicked out showed up in jeans or were wearing a hoodie in place of a suit jacket-we’re talking decently egregious attire. As long as you’re wearing something that resembles a suit, you’re fine.

    • Wear whatever will make you the most comfortable. I took the VA bar several years ago. Everyone has to comply with the dress code and wear a suit, but a lot of people just barely complied. I saw some people wear normal T-shirts (crewneck-soccer-practice-in-sixth-grade-style) with their suits. Good luck.

    • I think you’re fine without stockings but maybe bring some in your bag just in case? Good luck!

    • emcsquared :

      Or wear ’em and if nobody else is wearing them, take them off in the bathroom right away and leave them in the trash.

    • MaggieLizer :

      If you’re visibly preggers I think you get a pass on hose. Good luck!

    • I have to admit, at first I thought you were having a laugh…professional dress…then I almost fell out of my chair when I realized you weren’t. That’s so many levels of wrong, I can’t even count them all. You have every right to whine! Good luck.

  12. Does anyone use LinkedIn actively? I have a profile (and got my current job through it — someone I already knew who also saw me there) but I tend to associate more active use with guys with bad jeans and their phones clipped to their belts. Does anyone use the recommendation feature? It seems a little hokey to me and I’m not sure how I’d ask someone to write one. On the other hand, I plan to start thinking about a job search soon and I know I should make good use of it. What do the rest of you do with it? Anything beyond having a basic profile? What about the groups? Any of them good?

    • I have a profile up and have joined a bunch of alma mater groups plus a handful of groups relevant to my desired position. I mainly use LinkedIn to find friends of friends who work at companies to which I am applying. So many jobs these day require you to apply online and send your resume into a black hole. If you can find a live person to submit your resume to a live person or at least mark you as an employee referral, you’re ahead of the game in terms of garnering yourself an interview.

    • I don’t use the recommendation feature (eeww) but I use it to connect with people I meet at networking events and to check up on people professionally before interviews or other professional events. I also use their job listings, though they are limited.

      • Former MidLevel :

        This. It’s also a great way to keep track of lawyers who change jobs frequently–if you’re connected, you should always have their contact info.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I don’t use LinkedIn actively, but I do recommend completing your profile. If you have a 100% complete profile, your name pops up first for recruiter users.

    • I believe some states have rules against recommendations for attorneys. It was discussed at a recent women’s bar luncheon I attended, and I admit, I was only half listening. It fell under the advertising and soliciting feedback from clients rules or professional conduct. It would be worth looking into before asking for a recommendation.

      In my former (higher education administration) life, recommendations were very common and used quite a bit.

  13. NAS iPhone Find :

    Just found this on sale at Nordstroms. It is my favorite iPhone holder. I can slip my iPhone (in a case) in it, plus cash, id, credit cards, a key fob, and a pen and go. It is the perfect size — I can throw it in my purse/briefcase, or I can use it on its own (which I do around the office). Totally worth it for the sale price (though I have seen it for lower — but in less work appropriate combos).

  14. I should probably go anon for this, in order to preserve my ladylike delicacy, but–oh well. As I mentioned in the weekend thread, I appear to have acquired a Gentleman Caller. Slumber parties with him have, so far, been very enjoyable, except for one thing: his um, size, if you get what I’m cooking with. Basically, it hurts a lot, despite him being extremely considerate, taking plenty of time for foreplay, all of those things one is supposed to do. I don’t know if it’s that his equipment is significantly larger than anything I’ve dealt with before (and I’m no blushing v i r g i n), or if it’s that I’ve taken a long hiatus from throwing lady-garden parties, or what. I’m due for my annual in August, so I figure if things aren’t better (/we’re still together) by then I’ll ask about it, but I just wanted to poll a wider audience than is available to me in real life, to see if anyone else has any thoughts in the meantime.

    • Also, weirdest question I’ve ever asked on [this website], by a country mile.

    • OMG the metaphors are fabulous. Sorry, just had to observe first of all.

      So it could be either of the first two options, tough the second may be more likely. My beloved Dan Savage has dealt with this many many times before in his column, so I’d suggest an archive search. The other possible issue is that if you had or have recently had a yeast infection or similar, it can cause swelling that can cause extreme discomfort. So of generous lube and practice doesn’t clear it up, I’d get checked out by a lady parts doctor.

    • MaggieLizer :

      What kind of pain? Like a cramping type of pain or more general soreness? If it’s the first, he could be hitting your cerv*x in an uncomfortable way, which requires a change of position or at least angle. If the second, use l u b e. Good Vibrat*ons has helpful reviews on which types to try.

      • Research, Not Law :

        I was thinking the same on both points. Try being on top, where you have more control.

        Also, the long hiatus may have seen you transition to a different level of hormones, which could leave rough turf in your garden party. Not menopause, but just, well, age.

        • Lube’s on the to-try list, so I’ll go check out the reviews! I’ve never needed it before, so I’m pretty in the dark about how you actually select one.

          We’ve done all kinds of positions, and some are definitely better than others–I’d say being on top is actually about the worst, even though I thought it would be better, too. Argh.

          • You haven’t used LUBE? You have to get the his and her lube (the kind that comes and the pink and blue bottle). Its awesome. If that doesn’t work, research what is the most industrial strength lube that works with protection (remember it has to be water based.)

            But seriously, his and her lube…its like…awesome.

          • No? All of my BFs have commented on how um, naturally well-lubricated I am. Perhaps this is no longer the case. Silly lady-garden.

        • Try coconut oil. It is lovely. I can’t go back to the fake stuff like K Y or Astro Glide. Not only does it smell heavenly, but it lasts a lot, rinses away easily, and can be rubbed everywhere. You can get a big jar at Whole Foods or Trader Joes.

          • Coconut oil and latex c*ndoms will not mix, just FYI. If this is a new partner, definitely stick with lubes that will be friendly with c*ndoms.

    • I have no advice to add. I just wanted to say I loved the way you presented the question.

    • used to be in same boat :

      My husband avoided using the full extent of his equipment for a few years until I was, um, fully adjusted. Maybe that would help.

      • Yeah, I was thinking I will probably adjust (or we will break up, in which case I will be sad but will survive). Just need to practice more, I guess! What a shame. I shall lie back and think of England.

        • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA …. I. Am. Dying.
          I nominate this for comment of the day ;o)

        • what will you do when you go to spain? “I shall lie back and think of England.” haha. Reminds me of a Family Guy episode….

        • Actually it’s “Beige… I think I’ll paint it… beige.”

        • OK, not to break up the laffs, but if he’s actually banging into your cervix, don’t lie back and think of England. Move around and find a better position so you don’t actually get injured. For reals. Even if you really like England.

    • No advice but laughed out loud at the phrase “throwing lady-garden parties.”

      Good luck!

    • Does it hurt because it’s too long, or too wide? If the former, try different positions or at least different angles, and go slowly. And I agree, check out Dan Savage’s archives. If the latter, I blame the long hiatus and think you will become less tight with repeated use. Also, try having him go down on you before penetration – in my experience, anyway, you may be a lot looser and wetter after you’ve come.

      Finally, lady-garden party is my new favorite euphenism.

      • It’s both. Rrgh.

        I hope I can make lady-garden party happen, unlike fetch.

        • I’ll just file this under B for “be careful what you wish for, Bluejay”. It sounds like he’s a good guy who really wants you to enjoy it, and this whole problem can’t be bad for his ego, either.

    • Silvercurls :

      No advice, but heartfelt thanks for posting a much happier reason to clutch one’s pearls than I did (see football rant above).

    • i am so late to this party, but i just HAVE to say how much i heart your entire comment, a. And most of what you say most of the time. Yur awesome. ;o)

      • aw, thanks! I think all of yall are awesome too. I’m sad I’m kind of MIA these days, but food service doesn’t really leave a lot of time for refreshing [this website].

        • ((hugss)) yeah, me too, i’ve been super busy and haven’t had a lot of time to keep up on the conversation. But, I am so grateful for all the r e t t e s, b/c being able to drop in and read a bit when things are crazy always makes my day a teensy bit brighter. And convos like this one are Uh. Mah. Zing.

      • This. I think the world would be a better place if we all spoke like you do, a.

    • Try on your side. Also, I know this is hard, but if you’re really relaxed, things naturally lengthen (for you) – or so I’ve read.

    • I’ve had a coke-bottle issue before too. It was really all about entering slowly…”soaking”…wiggling…advancing slowly…soaking…wiggling…advancing….you get it. It actually helped if he was on top with my hips elevated on a pillow.

      Also, lube. Lots and lots of lube. I was pretty naturally slippery but having the lube took the pressure off and allowed me to relax without worrying about friction.

  15. Not sure what kind of pain you’re experiencing exactly, but a lot of women experience some kind of painful intercourse with hpv. Pain from this won’t go away with everything you mentioned unfortunately. But if it does turn out to be hpv it goes away immediately after treatment. Or at least it did for me.

    • Oops that was supposed to be a reply to a.

    • Innnnteresting. I do have HPV (or maybe I don’t? just had my most recent check-up Thursday, still waiting on results; as she said, “I hope you sat your cervix down before you came in here, and told it to get its act together.” I heart my lady-doctor so much.) and that wasn’t mentioned as something to watch out for.

  16. Saw this and had to share:

    Worst air-brushing job ever?

    • Research, Not Law :


      I can’t turn away. It’s like a bad car accident. It’s so… creepy.

    • Eh, probably an intern flexing, unsupervised, her Photoshop muscle. Or his. Maybe a fantasy geek trying to create an elf, because the proportions of this person are not human.

  17. Sally Ride died today of pancreatic cancer. She was my idol growing up an I’m weirdly sad.

    • We must have posted at the same time — you’re not the only one who is weirdly sad…

      • I hadn’t really thought about her in years either. She and Amelia Earhart were so cool to 8-13 year old me for being women pioneers.

    • When I was in 3rd or 4th grade (can’t remember which), my mom got in a knock down fight with my gifted-ed teacher when she told me I couldn’t do my “Explorers” project about Sally Ride. I ended up having to do it about Marco Polo (cool in his own right…but still).

      But that teacher learned not to mess with my mom. And I loved me some Sally Ride.

      • My kid got to do a Sally Ride project for her gifted class this year. I’m happy your mom stood up for you – things are changing.

    • Me too. I feel like I lost an aunt or something – I wanted to be an astronaut so so badly when I was a kid.

      • I used to put on my roller skates and skate around the house pretending to be weightless in space (being on roller skates was the closest thing, I felt, to being weightless). Sigh. Astronauts were where it was AT in the ’80s.

  18. Sally Ride died today. She was only 61, cancer.

    Rarely am I really saddened by the death of a famous person (beyond general sadness that someone died), but I am tearing up at this. Hadn’t thought about her for years, but she was (is) pretty amazing, and 8-year old me thought she was awesome.


    • I had posters of her in my bedroom. She made me think I could do anything. I didn’t end up being an astronaut, but thanks to Sally, thousands (millions?) of us dared to dream big. RIP.

  19. You guys! I (she of the big law job, baby who hates the car, stupidly long commute, near breakdown-in-early-December fame) just got a job in the city where my husband works! SO EXCITED!!!!! Sorry to go all Ellen, but this occasion calls for caps lock!

    • CONGRATEULATIONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Ellen caps deserve Ellen spelling.

    • I remember that post – congratulations! I hope you get some time off in between.

    • Omg I actually kind of teared up reading that. I’m taking the bar tomorrow so I’m a stressball, but wow I’m so happy for you. Good luck!

    • CONGRATS CONGRATS CONGRATS! I am so happy for you :)

    • That is AWESOME!! CONGRATS!! ;o) I lurv updates!!!

    • I remember you!! This is amazing, awesome news. I hope you’re celebrating tonight!

    • That’s you?! Congratulations!!! So excited for you :)

    • That’s awesome and thanks for reporting back!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Made my day! YAY for you!

    • Oh, Congratulations! Thanks for reporting back, and I’m so happy for you!

    • anon prof :

      So happy for you! I was so worried about your safety driving in the car with screaming baby and exhausted, and your general welfare. It brought back all kinds of bad memories about how hard the first few months were after having a baby. This is great news!

  20. New poster :

    Nordstrom Anniversary Sale question: has anyone ordered/received the Nick and Zoe ponte sheath dress? It comes in red and black and is online only. Any reviews/opinions greatly appreciated!

    • Very belated answer without much help, but I ordered it and haven’t gotten it yet. I am ver excited to though! Though, given how much I spent in person this weekend, maybe I should hope it makes me look like a pudgy linebacker. :-)

      • New poster :

        Thanks for the reply! I will look forward to seeing your review, though I may not be able to control myself from placing my order anyway…

  21. I’m extremely inspired together with your writing skills as smartly as with the structure on your weblog. Is that this a paid topic or did you customize it your self? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to look a great blog like this one today.

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