Paid off a student loan!

Thank you to everyone who helped me pay down one of my students loans by buying a t-shirt or coffee cup! I paid off the Wells Fargo student loan this weekend and only have about $98,000 left to go! Help me celebrate by sharing this post! Yee-haw!

Boom! Paid off the Well Fargo student loan. Help me celebrate by sharing this post!

Boom! Paid off the Well Fargo student loan. Help me celebrate by sharing this post!

I started selling these t-shirts and coffee cups with funny and snarky designs at Cafepress and Zazzle several years ago. While I don’t make a lot of money doing it, it does help me to pay down my student debt faster and this weekend I had the great joy of zeroing out the Wells Fargo student loan.

Curious about my t-shirts? Here are a couple examples. You can follow the links in this post to see more funny snarky t-shirts and coffee cups. And if you buy from one of my shops, it helps me get out of debt faster without government hand-outs or crowd funded begging. And YOU get a cool thing! Check out the world map of where people are wearing my snarky designs.


Student Loan Memories Tshirt
Student Loan Memories Tshirt by MalarkeyPie
Find more College T-Shirts at Zazzle

Need to brush up your science-y Back to School stuff?

Are you looking for lunch boxes, coffee cups or sweatshirts with funny science designs? Then you have come to the right spot! These make great gifts for the student heading back to class this fall. Give them something to smile about, other than the opportunity to learn cool things!

Science-themed lunch boxes



Science-themed tote bags




Science-themed coffee cups




Every time you purchase a t-shirt or coffee cup from Malarkey Pie on either Cafepress or Zazzle, it helps me to pay down my student loans faster. Check out my designs and don’t be shy about pinning, posting, liking, rubbing or licking any of them. Don’t worry, they can take it! And send your wee free student back to school with serious swag!


Auntie Thea’s Crosswalk Etiquette

Some of today’s youth never learned etiquette growing up. This is a sad truth that our schools don’t teach proper comportment or how to cross your ankles when sitting or even how to cross a crosswalk without being a total douchebag.

So today’s lesson, kids, is how to cross an intersection safely while at the same time respecting the time and space of everyone else either walking or driving on the planet as yourself. Because, my sweet little snowflake, it isn’t all about you.

Auntie Thea Crosswalk Etiquette600x900

So, it really is very simple… once you have stepped into the road, proceed with alacrity to the other side. This is not the time to saunter, dawdle, or lollygag about. There are cars waiting to go. Just because you, as the pedestrian, have the right away doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respect the others using the roads. And while you are at it, give the nice people in the car a friendly wave. After all, they are not currently running you over, even though they may want to. Courtesy is its own reward.

So a simple rule of etiquette when crossing the street, is to boogie on down the road and get the traffic moving again.


Where in the world is Malarkey Pie?

… Or Further Adventures in “Who’s wearing my t-shirts today?

There is something extremely satisfying in creating a thing and having people like the thing you have created. This is especially true for something as intimate as clothing. I mean, every morning, you wake up and decide who you want to be that day and then you don the costume that tells the world about your decision.

Where in the world are people wearing Malarkey Pie?

Where in the world are people wearing Malarkey Pie?

When I started making the t-shirts to sell on Cafepress and Zazzle around seven years ago, it was just a way to express a creative side that had been set away during graduate school. It later developed into a way to help pay down my student loans faster. And that part is working! I’ve paid off one private loan and will soon stick a fork in a second. Only $100,000 left to go between my federal loans, private loans, and Parent Plus loans, because student debt is now multi-generational.

Recently, I became curious as to where my designs were being worn splashed across the chest. I mapped the locations and found that not surprisingly, most of my sales where in North America. But I am tickled to no end to see just how far afield my snark extends. [insert evil laugh here] Seriously, someone in Ireland is probably drinking Guinness right NOW wearing something I designed!


They are wearing Malarkey Pie in IRELAND!


So I began to dig a little and found sales to Australia (It figures that THEY get my sense of humor!), all over Europe, China, Tunisia (Really?), and the United Arab Emirates. Check out the Google map and see where fine and intelligent people have purchased my snarky designs for yourself.

Malarkey Pie truly is an international purveyor of fine snark for the discerning taste.

Malarkey Pie - International purveyor of fine SNARK for the discerning taste


What to get some Malarkey Pie for yourself? Check out my shops!

Auntie Thea’s Safe Driving Tips – Coming to a full stop.

Good morning safe drivers! Today’s driving tip from Auntie Thea is about “stopping”, as in the physical action of coming to a full rest, absence of motion, lack of forward momentum, as in “stop the hell right there”.

Auntie Thea's Driving Tips

Auntie Thea’s Driving Tips

A “stop” does not mean “slow down and THEN blow through the red light”. A stop is a very simple concept. It means just…. fecking…. stop. Period.

Drive safe out there, boys and girls! I love you and want you to get to where you are going. Remember, kids, life is not about the destination, it’s about not killing a family of four on the journey.

Buying a home? Think natural hazards.

My husband and I are beginning the process of buying a house. The last child is out of the home and we will no longer have her as a tax deduction. While I do acknowledge that children do have their uses other than as tax deductions, this is a really big deal. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind paying taxes as I feel it is important to have good roads and a populace that are not un-educated dolts, I just don’t like spending money I don’t really need to.

So, I naturally started looking on-line for information on buying houses. And went to Pinterest, as you do. And I found all sorts of really good information that prompted me to start my own Pinterest board on this subject that I so cleverly named “A home of my own”. And I began reading all of the really good tips, infographics, and blog articles. And I learned some useful stuff, but as I read, I realized that no one was addressing the role of natural hazards in home buying. And being an emergency manager who works in the world of natural hazards I thought that this needed to be rectified. So here is my blog post on taking natural hazards into consideration.

Because no matter where you live, you will have natural hazards to deal with. It’s not something we as humans like to think about. We live in a shiny happy bubble, right up until the earthquake shatters your chimney, the tornado rips your home off the foundation, or spring floods carry it away. It is something we need to think about and prepare for so that when it happens, we can back to normal life as soon as possible.

And you need to think about it especially when you buy a home. While bad things can happen at anytime, we want to have some reassurance that we will have a home to go to after the bad thing happens. So do your homework about natural hazards just like you would in vetting a realtor, or mortgage agent, or any other of the many things you need to think about in buying a home.

What do you need to know about natural hazards before you buy a home?

What do you need to know about natural hazards before you buy a home?

So let’s talk about natural hazards. The most common are flood, fire, weather-related, and earthquake. There are more fun games that Mother Nature can share with us, but we’ll concentrate on these.

  1. Flood.

Flooding happens when water rises high enough to reach normally dry land. It can happen because of rain, or tsunami, or hurricane. It can happen suddenly in a flash flood, or slowly as rivers rise in the spring thaw. But the flood zones are fairly well mapped so you can find out if the home you are interested in buying is in a flood zone.

River Flooding

Go to FEMA’s National Flood Layer Map and type in your address to see if the home you are looking at is in the flood plain.

If the home is in the flood plain, your mortgage company will likely require you to buy flood insurance. But thare is a lot that you can do to mitigate flood risk. Check out to get more information.

Hurricane Storm Surge

Hurricane storm surge is ocean water that is pushed on land by the force of the wind. It can reach up to 30 feet high and run miles inland. Remember Hurricane Katrina? If you are buying property in the south and east anywhere near the shore, go to check out the NOAA interactive map on modeled storm surge.

Storm Surge Inundation (SLOSH Maximum of Maximums)

 Tsunami floods

Tsunamis are caused when there is a large earthquake under the ocean. It can be extremely hazardous to be near the shore when one of these occur. If you are near the beach, and you feel an earthquake, get to high ground immediately as a tsunami could come ashore in just a few minutes. But what does this mean for you folks looking to buy a house? Well, if you are looking at beachfront property, take some time to find out if it is in the tsunami evacuation zone.

If you are looking for land in Washington and Oregon, you can check out this interactive map to see if the property you are interested in purchasing is at risk from a tsunami.

Oh, and the FEMA flood insurance covers tsunami. Good thing, that.

  1. Fire

So fires that can destroy a home come from two sources, an internal house fire and what is called “wildland fire”. I’m going to focus on wildland fire, for more information on house fires, go check out what the American Red Cross has to offer.

We love to live in the wild places of the world. To build our homes in the forests in order to be closer to nature. Well, Nature can be a bitch. One of her favorite toys is wild fire. And when we build our homes in or near the forests, we put ourselves in harm’s way. The National Fire Protection Association runs a program called Firewise. When you are looking at that gorgeous home in the trees, keep in mind that you may need to watch it go up in flames unless you mitigate the hazard.

  1. Wind


Ok, I admit it, I love the movie Twister. There I said it. But I also know that the reality is that tornadoes are a dangerous hazard that are going to get worse as climate change really digs into our weather patterns. When you are looking at home in an area that can get tornados (which is anywhere, really), ask about if the gables have been braced and the connections between vertical walls and roof have been strengthened. FEMA has a FAQ on tornado safe rooms.


Hurricane pose probably one of the most destructive, and familiar, types of natural hazards. If you live in the south and the east, you probably have been through one, or know someone who has. We all remember Hurricane Katrina. I do. It was one of the events that changed my life path and brought me into emergency management. But what does that have to do with buying a home?

Well, as you are doing your house shopping, keep things hurricanes in mind, if the hazards exists in your area. has a great website with information on hurricanes.

  1. Earthquakes

Ok, here is my personal favorite, earthquakes. The focus of my job is to get Oregon prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis. So, naturally, I think about these things day and night, and certainly when I am looking for a house to buy. So I’ve ruled areas of town because of flood hazard and now I look at expected shaking from earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Service has seismic hazard maps that you can look at to get an idea of areas of higher hazard.

Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries has an online hazard viewer, HazVu, that you can check out to see expected shaking in the area you are looking at houses. You might check to see if your state agencies offer a similar mapping service. Using this service, I ruled out some of the lower areas of Salem and am now concentrating on the south side, which is up on hills.

Well, this blog post should feed your paranoia about buying a home pretty well, as if you needed ONE MORE BLOODY THING to worry about in this hot mess that is buying a home. But that is what it is right, a home, and not just a house. You put so much effort into choosing the paint colors and floor coverings. Protect that sweat and tears that you put into your home. Consider the natural hazards in your area and buy a home in a smart way.

Additional Resources:

[amazonjs asin=”0793108985″ locale=”US” title=”Healthy Home Kit: Inspecting for Environmental Hazards, Working with Professionals to Avoid…..”]

Pi Day Scavenger Hunt List


  • Who were the first people known to find a value of pi? When was it?
  • Who memorized 42,195 digits of PI on Feb. 18, 1995? Where was the person from?
  • What is the symbol for pi? Who first used it and when?
  • Name the Swiss mathematician who first popularized the Pi symbol.
  • What is the location of your birthdate in Pi?
  • What is the formula for the DIAMETER of a circle?
  • What is the formula for the CIRCUMFERENCE of a circle?
  • What is PI to 30 decimal places?
  • What is PI the ratio of?
  • What famous mathematician was born on March 14?
  • What does it mean to “Square a Circle”?
  • What day is celebrated on July 22?
  • Which US state flags include circles?
  • Name the US city with a zip code containing the first 5 digits of pi-beginning with 3.
  • Name a US city with a name that references circular things (name of city and state).
  • Name three sports or games that use a circle or a sphere in their play.
  • Name three song titles that refer to something circular.
  • Post a Pi pun in the comments section of this page.
  • What is your favorite pie? Please provide the recipe.
  • Name three movie titles with reference to something circular.
  • Name the mathematicians who have birthdays on March 14.
  • Name three kinds of candy that come in circular pieces
  • What is your favorite Pi joke?
  • Find your birthday in PI and record the location.
  • Find the number of decimal places of Pi that has been calculated since 1999.
  • Find some Pi art.
Pi Day Scavenger Hunt!

Pi Day Scavenger Hunt!

Not-so Easy, but hey, you are tough!

  • Find a Pi mnemonic and use it to memorize the first 314 numbers of Pi.
  • Which fraction is closest to the actual value of PI… 337/120 or 22/7 or 355/113?
  • Which capital letters in the alphabet in block style have rotational symmetry ?
  • Find and perform Pi song and post to YouTube. Leave the location in the comments.
  • Find a Pi poem or any math poem and post to YouTube. Leave the location in the comments.
  • Create some Pi art and post an image online to Instagram. Leave the location here in the comments.
  • Doctors used to think that trying to square a circle was an illness. Name of the illness.
  • Is PI a rational or irrational number? Explain the difference.
  • Which geometric solids have circular cross sections?
  • Name three formulas that include pi.
  • What was the most inaccurate version of PI? Explain who, when, and what the value was (sentence form).
  • What value of PI did the Egyptians obtain 2000 years before the Common era?
  • What value of PI did the Babylonians obtain?

Design 365 Challenge – Design a t-shirt a day to pay the student loans away!

I have been selling “print on demand” (POD) t-shirts at and for several years now with the goal to use the extra money to pay down my student loans faster. Up until this last year, it hasn’t been a very focused endeavor. I’d create few designs each month and post them with no clear strategy. Just doing it for fun really. To convince myself to do better this year, I developed the Design 365 Challenge and created printables that you can download. The goal is to make a new design every single day. Or at least have 365 new designs by the end of the year. Join the fun and play along at home and increase your own sales!

Design 365 Challenge

I started with in 2005 to sell t-shirt and coffee mugs. I’d sell a few designs now and again, but not a lot. Then last year, I decided to really up my game and spent a great deal of time developing new designs and learning how to market them. All that time and hard work paid off! In fact, I made enough money last year from selling at these two places that I will actually have to pay taxes on the royalties. Um, Yay?

No, really it’s good, it’s progress. I have enough business-related deductions that it should offset things so the hit shouldn’t be too bad. (I like good roads and schools, so taxes are ok, too) Maybe future posts will be about taxes (I’m not an accountant but a procrastinating entrepreneur) and more about the business end of well, business. But today I wanted to talk more about something exciting that I am doing this year… the Design 365 Challenge.

Design 365 Challenge

In December I took a few weeks off to burn down comp time I had accumulated at work. I had a lot of free time to think about how to grow my t-shirt shops. One of the things I was working on was developing a set of planner pages to help organize the business side of things. And I came up with the Design 365 Challenge to keep myself honest and to help track where and when I post. I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my designs, keywords, and descriptions. But I hadn’t come up with a good way to track product development and social media posts.

Each Planner page has a free notes space at the top, a monthly calendar with places to show where I create products to sell and where I post to social media. It is has been very helpful to keep the design mojo flowing and it certainly has helped me to get higher on the search index of both Cafepress and Zazzle.

I use HootSuite to schedule social media posts and that has been a life saver. I can plan a whole week’s worth of posts before my husband even wakes up on Saturday morning. Woot!

Check out my other article on how I am using my t-shirt design business to pay down my student loan!

Get the Design 365 Challenge Printables! (Free.pdf files)


Althea can’t get Netflix in Canada. You won’t believe what happens next!

So on a recent work trip to Canada, I found out to my frustration that none of my viewing-pleasure subscriptions worked in the Great White North. I was being denied the joy of enjoying the new episodes of Miss Fischer’s Murder Mysteries. Are Doc Martin, or anything of value. It only took ten minutes of regular teevee viewing to remind me why we dumped cable all those many long years ago. So I worked on some work-stuff, worked on some t-shirt designs.

Then I got bored. While perusing my Facebook feed, someone mentioned how I am the Viscountess of Photobombing. While that may not be “technically” true, I do enjoy a good photobomb.

And you know what else I love?… the Doctor….


Althea photobombs the Doctor(s)...

Althea photobombs the Doctor(s)…

And then, all hell broke loose as it were….

I give you all a taste of how Althea runs amok (and frequently with scissors).

Althea photobombs the Muppets.

No one could show Althea how to get to Sesame Street.

Sunny Days! Laughing the Clouds away!

Sunny Days! Laughing the Clouds away!

 See, Canada! See what happens when I can’t get my Netflix!

See, Canada! See what happens when I can't get my Netflix!!

See, Canada! See what happens when I can’t get my Netflix!!

Cumberbatching the Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch may think he’s champion photobomber, but he’s got nothing on Althea.

Khan, Red Shirt Bob, and Me. What could go wrong? Worst away mission EVAR!

Khan, Red Shirt Bob, and Me. What could go wrong? Worst away mission EVAR!

Every family has one…

Mr. Bean may stumble around and fall into situations. Althea jumps onto planets and stumbles into state occasions.

House Atreides hires a new planetologist.

House Atreides hires a new planetologist.

Marvel finds a new talent

When asked about her superpower, she replied coquettishly that she has the best one ever… she can transfer the contents of her bladder into anyone with a one mile radius.

The new Avenger, the Tsunami TSue makes her first (and last) appearance.

The new Avenger, the Tsunami TSue makes her first (and last) appearance.

And I’m spent!

And I'm spent ...

And I’m spent …

And then my daughter joined in ….

Who stole the Last Fishstick?

Who stole the Last Fishstick?

Who stole the Last Fishstick?


Something something ocean ocean…

Wait… what was the question?

Something something ocean ocean

Something something ocean ocean