lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
...is that you walk away with ART.

I ended up buying $40 worth of blank cards before last night's panel discussion/reading even started at the AZ Gallery. I couldn't help it. For one the cards all featured Saint Paul landmarks, and secondly, they were f*cking gorgeous! My pen pals NEED these, you understand. NEED.

Besides, I figure that supporting my hosting venue is never a bad idea.

The panel itself went well, for the most part. Ironically, we were somewhat hijacked by a guy in the audience ("that guy") who wanted all HIS questions answered. So, I guess we were basically a living example of the whole 'things that happen when you bring up feminism on the internet.' Except not QUITE that egregious.

I always feel a little... awkward on these panels because I read a LOT of women who are publishing currently, and so I tend to baulk when people suggest that there's a huge dearth of female voices or that we somehow didn't 'break in' to SF/F until yesterday.  I tried temper my comment by pointing out that it seems pretty clear to me that the issue has to do with how are voices are perceived--the whole idea that if women make up 30% of the discussion, they're perceived as dominating.  The percentage of women writing SF/F in the past has always stayed under the radar of that threshold.  Now that we're reaching PERCEIVED parity, people are squawking that we're taking over.  

Which I hope made my, "Yes, but there *is* a published author who wrote about X" a little less annoying. (If you're curious about the context, it was suggested that in science fiction women rarely worry about menstruation, I pointed out that, ACTUALLY, Monica Byrne wrote about it in GIRL IN THE ROAD, and I could also have brought up that you could have called the main theme of BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE by Meg Elison 'what the f*ck are we going to about our periods in the apocalypse?' TBF, the point of % representation still stands, that's two books I could think of out of how many?) 

So, it was a good panel, I'd say.  Anything that makes *me* think about how I talk about women writers is well worth it, you know?  

The reading went well, too. With luck, I drew a few more people into my work.  

lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
Tonight I'm going to be at a panel discussion about "Women in SF and Writing Female Characters" with fellow writers Victorya Crane and Abra Staffin-Wiebe at the AZ Gallery in Lowertown at 7-9 PM TONIGHT (January 17, 2017).

The AZ Gallery is located at: 308 Prince St, Suite 130, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101

For more information check out the event'sFacebook Page
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 I got my family off this morning.  Last night, apparently, it rained, froze, and then snowed on top of that.  It was very gross and i was fairly sure that we would NEVER chip the ice off the windshields in time to do our usual Tuesday morning bagel run.  

Sometime ago, my family started the tradition of Tuesday morning bagels.  It might have been me who suggested that Tuesdays are actually much worse than Mondays because people EXPECT Mondays to suck.  You go to bed on Sunday, knowing full well you need to be braced for Monday, you need to mentally gird your loins, as it were.  Tuesdays? No one is ready for the suck of Tuesdays. 

Except us, because we have bagels.

But, of course, today is a Tuesday-masquerading-as-Monday because we all had Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off, and so it's actually kind of a double-whammy.  We probably should have gotten twice the bagels.  But we were already running late.

Our new recycling bins are working out great, but I've already called the recycling company to order the largest size.  We're a single-family house, but we recycle a LOT.  Of course, it's hard to know if we'd actually have overflowed since 1) we had the last curb-side pick-up on Thursday, and the first alley/bin pick-up on Monday, and 2) some yahoo dumped their recycling in our bin.  OMG that made me mad. I was cursing up a blue-streak in the alley because not only did they dump it in our pristine bin, but also they DID IT WRONG. They dumped things in in an enclosed plastic bag (NOT OKAY, and that meant I had to tear open and dump in their gross recycling) and they also didn't break-down one of the cardboard beer boxes and just stuffed gross recycling in that, too.  I HATE PEOPLE SOMETIMES.  It's especially annoying since you can get more recycling bins and larger ones FOR FREE.  

Grrr.

So, I made that phone call first thing today. I'm going to also have to get on the phone and schedule a visit from our handyman.  We need a few things fixed around the house, and I've been putting off calling until we had enough stuff to fill an hour of his time. 

After that, it's probably going to be another call to Senator Franken's office again, because I see he sits on the House Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pension, which oversees the appointment of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  Trump's pick is Tom Price, whose senate track record is pretty abysmal when it comes to women's and GLBTQIA+ rights.  I'll let you know how that call goes. I suspect that Franken is against this appointment, but I still think it's important to call.  The Education Secretary confirmation hearing is heard by the same committee. So, yay, a twofer!  (Head's up people in Wisconsin, Sen. Tammy Baldwin is on this committee, too. No reps from Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, North or South Dakota, alas. Next closest is Indiana: Sen. Todd Young.)

Otherwise, a friend and I are considering doing a thing called Solidarity Sundays. I just wrote to the organizers to get more information about possibly starting a Minnesota chapter.  The idea is that a bunch of women gather in someone's home to do political action together--calling, letter writing campaigns, things like that. Basically, just another way to keep the momentum going.  
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 
A nice picture of my sign showed up on the Minnesota Women's March page.  I thought I'd share it here.
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
I happened to see that the Women's March (MN) had a sign-making event today from 2 pm - 4 pm at the Black Dog in Saint Paul.  I know the Black Dog really well, since it's the place that my Women of Wednesday used to meet on a regular basis.  We stopped going there when they remodeled and  switched their format to be more of a bistro.  

At any rate, I thought it would be a nice reason to get out of the house.  As I said in my previous post, we've been cooped up thanks to the stomach flu plague, so I haven't really socialized with anyone for about a WEEK.

I got there about ten minutes to 2 pm and was able to find parking on the street.  I'd considered going via light rail, but decided to drive since I had a few groceries I needed to pick up on the way home.  

I could tell by the poster board and boxes of supplies in their arms that a lot of the women I saw as I walked toward the Black Dog were headed to the same event.  I had checked in on the Facebook page and the organizers said there would be plenty of supplies, so I didn't bring any of my own.  There were TONS, because not only did the organizers buy a lot, but also other people had also brought enough to share.  I grabbed a latte, some markers, and poster board, and passed a pleasant couple of hours in the company of other mostly middle-aged, mostly-white women (and their children) gluing, glittering, and drawing.

Was it political activism or was it a "CRAFTER-noon"?

I'm going with: Yes.

I kind of don't see why it can't be both.  We're going to need every body in this fight.--and some of us like glitter  Plus, I keep thinking of my friend who, very recently, considered suicide in the face of losing Obamacare.  They are an artist, and they might have felt very comforted in such a positive, friendly, decidedly female space.  It would have been a chance for them to DO SOMETHING other than despair. It was easy, the room was filled with sunshine and glitter dust, and it was SAFE.

Did I change the world today? No, but I did more than NOTHING and I met people who were like-minded, who want a better world than what we have, and with whom I could spend a couple of pleasant hours, chatting and squeaking away with our fat, Crayola markers on poster board.

Next up?  Stand up, Fight back!
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
Shawn is home sick again. Our whole house has been attacked by the stomach flu. Mason got it first and then Shawn went down hard. I'm awaiting my turn with fingers crossed (and a lot of preemptive hand washing.) I've been staying away from people, too, which means I missed out on my usual social things--Tuesday with Naomi, Wednesdays with the women of Wyrdsmiths, Thursday afternoon with Nate, and this morning, Friday, volunteering at the Q Library.

But no one wants what this house has, and I don't want to be responsible for giving it to them.

Meanwhile, I just got off the phone with a staffer at Senator Franken's office because I'd seen this article go around the Stand Up Minnesota Facebook page that implied that he was "unsure" about his vote to confirm Sen. Sessions as Attorney General.  I was so flabbergasted at the idea of my outspokenly liberal senator even waffling for a second about a man with such an abysmal track record for civil rights that I dashed out a script for myself and punched the numbers.  I got through, "Hello, my name is Lyda Morehouse. I live in Saint Paul and I'm represented by Senator Franken. NPR reported that Senator Franken is waffling on his vote on whether or not to confirm Senator Sessions for Attorney General. Is that true?"

"NO," came the swift and determined answer on the other end. "It's absolutely not true. Senator Franken is very much opposed to the confirmation of Sessions."

Now off-script, I breath a loud, "OH THANK GOD."

Then, I babbled about how I only called because I could NOT believe it of Franken, of all people, but that I had to make 100% certain he heard from his constituents if it was in any way possible.  Then, I told the nice staff person to please, please tell Senator Franken how proud I have been that he's asked tough questions. I've been listening carefully to the committee proceedings and he has my support.

She seemed vaguely annoyed at this point that I was still talking to her (I'm sure phone are ringing there constantly) but thanked me and told me to have a nice day.

I feel a *little* foolish, but not enough to regret it.

I have no idea why I've been so focused on Session's confirmation of all the bullish*t happening right now, but there you have it.  If each of us picks a thing to follow closely, maybe all of us can keep track of the bread and circuses of shenanigans and evil-doings together.  I mean, I think maybe one of the reasons I am so honed in on this is that BOTH of my state senators: Franken and Klobuchar are on the Judiciary Committee and so I actually have people representing me in this particular fight.  

I don't even know who is on the Committee for Foreign Relations (I just Googled, happy to see Kaine there as well as Booker, who freaking KICKED A$$ in his testimony to the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, but I'm not represented by anyone on it, unless i wanted to pretend I was still from Wisconsin as Ron Johnson is.) But, Tilerson is just about as terrifying a pick as Sessions, so I hope people out there are on their committee members, too.

CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

I will say? I had never considered the importance of the various senate committees until this year.  

Okay off to get more of the food stuffs on the BRATTY diet... since we ran out.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
Because political news right now? Today has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I've been listening to AM950 in the mornings because I couldn't take NPR's normalizing. AM950 has a new show on, the Bradcast. On it, they played clips of the judiciary committee's interview with Senator Sessions. I had to be impressed with both Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. They asked questions no one else did--although they were both much more polite about it than I could have been. I considered calling their office to thank them, but I ended up being lazy and tweeting my thanks. (Amy Klobuchar saw it, because she followed me back.)

Then I watched Obama's farewell address and cried a lot.

Then social media gave me tidbits of Trump's press conference and I cried in a totally different way.

So, Sherlock... a much safer topic! Read more... )
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
I was thinking I might write up my thoughts about last week's Sherlock, but, given the lack of response I got from my previous post, I'm going to guess that most of my friends aren't watching the show.

If you watched it and gave up, I'd be curious to know why.

Just in case yo were wondering, the second episode this season totally redeemed itself in my book. They even addressed, explicitly, my issue with Mary. Milage for other fans may vary; Shawn was not as pleased, though she thought the ending was worthwhile.  Thing is, I have this weird thing about drug addicts. For some unknown reason, I LOVE stories about them. When I was a kid th book Go Ask Alice was super popular. I remember finding it at my tiny little north branch library one summer and being so excited to start reading it that I did, on my way home--while riding my bike.

I hit a parked car.

Yes, kids, I'm here to tell you, bicycling and reading do NOT mix.

But, somehow none of that put me off either bicycling or reading about drug addicts.  I loved the cyberpunk movement in the 80s because there was always some junkie in the background.  Visual Mark in Pat Cadigan's Synners, one of my favorites, and his line, "Change for the machine."

In other news, I finally heard BACK from one of my pen pals!  A woman in Australia wrote back and told me all about her cat!  Also, the German woman who sent me glitter has written again. (I love her! She's super chatty and always includes something fun like a postcard!) And, out of the blue, ON THE SAME DAY, I also got another letter from a German also NOT on my list.  So, what the hey.  I think I'm probably in the running for about 30 pen pals. So, that's actually pretty cool.  I have no idea why I enjoy this so much, but I am rather fond of other people and I have always LOVED getting mail.

Mason has been home from school for the last two days. He got a wicked case of stomach flu.  The BRATTY diet to the rescue and he seems to finally be on the mend.  The hardest part about having a sick teenager is that he can basically take care of himself. He even cleaned up his own puke without prompting, leaving moms to just wring hands in worry wishing there was something more we could do.  I mean, I've been able to make food and whatnot (the R? Rice? A super cure in our house) but, otherwise... I kind of miss when he needed me a bit more.  :-(

Shawn ended up at home today, too. She wasn't sick, but the weather outside was "frightful" as the song says, and she got a late enough start by accident (alarm got turned off) that she just decided on a mental health day.  We did end up having to fight the slick roads and snow to get her to her neurology appointment for an annual check-in regarding her migraines. She still gets them on a regular basis, which *I* don't feel is managed, but...*shrugs* It's up to Shawn what she can tolerate. I do worry about her since her sense of pain is so skewed that the doctor that took out her gallbladder actually asked how tolerate she was to pain--he figured given the state of her gallbladder it must be pretty damn HIGH.

That's about all I know. How's by you?
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
I will put most of my comments below the cut, but I'm curious for those of you who did watch it last night, what did you think?

Things I can say above the cut.
  1. I have never believed in Mary's backstory, so this episode was particularly suspender stretching.
  2. No matter how cool camera work is, it is no substitute for storytelling, IMHO.
  3. Neither are montages. (Unless they are training montages, I would much rather live all the moments, thank you very much. I am literally here for the story, so, like, story please?)
  4. I don't understand why people get mad when unreasonable promises get broken.

Okay on to the things I can't say without spoiling... Read more... )

So that's my rant. Thoughts?
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 I don't know if this is a good omen or what, but the cats let me sleep in this morning.  On the other hand, as I as taking down the porch ornaments, Buttercup found a fly--a living one.

Well, the fly seems like an obvious metaphor.  There's a giant, ugly, unexpected insect in our future in the form of the PEOTUS.  Hopefully, we can all be on it like Buttercup.  (I'm pretty sure he ate the fly. He certainly was only distracted once, and I helped him find the ugly thing again.)  With any luck, that will be another metaphor for all of us, too.  We're on this form the start. We might get momentarily distracted, but we'll get this.

Fingers crossed.

I also started out 2017 writing a review for BitterEmpire.  I finished WE ARE ANTS last night around 1 am.  I actually started the book as a way to stay awake until midnight and then ended up finishing it an hour into the new year.  I have two books in the queue at BE, this one and PLANETFALL.  

I have never before signed up for the Goodreads' challenge, but this year I've tasked myself with reading 30 books. That probably doesn't seem like a lot to most of you. I notice that most of my friends regularly sign up for a book a week, 52.  With my dyslexia, 52 seems wonderful, but a recipe for disappointment. Maybe, if I were more religious about including comic books, graphic novels, and manga, I could make it, but I think shooting for 30 novels seems like a reachable goal. Having started off the year already finishing one, seems like a good start, anyway.

My parents came up for a short visit.  That was really quite lovely.  We ended up having lunch in downtown St. Paul at Sawatdee.  Presents were opened and nice chats were had.  A good time for all.  One of the things my parents traditionally give me is a hundred dollars. Normally, I put the whole thing on a coffee card at Claddaugh. This year, I split the difference and put half on a coffee card and the other half on an Amazon.com card.  More books! Yay!

How has your first day of 2017 been?
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
First, I have to do a little whining. It's not real complaining mind you, just a little bit of shoulder shrugging at the world. Remember when I signed up for the International Pen Friends? I got this enormous list of people to write to--about fourteen or so names. I've spent the last couple of months writing individual letters to each of the people on the list. This has been an enormous amount of fun, mind you, even though I found the idea of an introductory letter a bit daunting. I mean, writing to strangers? It's a little weird because you want to say something interesting, but you have no idea what the other person might like to hear about.

But, that's not the part that I want to talk about.

I guess I assumed since i paid for a package of 15 people that the people on my list were it. My full 15. But, twice now, I've gotten letters from people NOT on my list. (One from Germany and another from France.) This is not a bad thing, not at all (both letter writers were absolutely delightful!), it's just... confusing. Does this mean, potentially, I could end up with over 30 pen friends? Like, did my name go out on 15 other lists?

I mean, in a way, this makes a certain amount of sense, right? Out of thirty people SOME of them will write. A couple of them might even become regulars--people I really hit it off with. I, of course, quickly replied to both my pen pals. I'm sure the pen pal in Germany is a little stunned. She sent me a happy little note and I replied with a copy of Tall, Dark & Dead IN GERMAN. (What? She said she loved to read!?)

It's a funny, thing, too, because both of the people I received notes from had a very standardized sort of introduction. "Hello, I am ____, I got your name from the International Pen Friends." I suspect I was probably supposed to start my letters that way. Instead, I just launched into all sorts of weird things, including drawing a map of the North American continent with a tiny dot near St. Paul labeled "me." I probably seemed very odd.

Which might explain why I haven't heard back from anyone I've written to yet.

Who knows. It's all a grand adventure. I do so love getting mail, so I've been enjoying running to the box to see what's in it, like I'm fifteen years old again. Oh, and if you're reading this and thinking, "Damn, I wish Lyda would write to me!" I totally will. You just have to send me your address: lyda.morehouse@gmail.com

In other news, I've decided that in the up-coming year I'm only going to read All the Gay. I thought I'd follow along with Gay YA's book club as much as humanly possible as well as hunting down other queer books to read. 2017 is going to be the year of Teh Gay. Everything will be super-fabulous and queer af. I think that is one of the many ways in which I'm going to deal with the incoming administration from Hell.  

Speaking of the incoming administration, I really wish I could afford to go to the Women's March on Washington.  I ran into someone at the coffee shop the other day who said that there's a scholarship to help pay for the bus ride there and back again.  If I could afford it, that would be cool. I've heard that the march is likely not to be very well organized, but, you know, having marched with a bunch of people on Lake Street I'm kind of figuring that'd be okay.  Very likely, however, I'm going to end up at the Minnesota State Capitol with a handful of women.  I say that like it's a bad thing, which it isn't, but it feels very missing out on a potentially awesome, historical moment.

Thoughts? Anyone I know going?

Rogue One

Dec. 28th, 2016 08:09 pm
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
Things I can say above the spoiler cut:
  • I would say that Rogue One is one of those films that I left the theater feeling generally good about. Like, when I'm tossing away the remains of my popcorn bag, I'm saying, "Yeah, good film. Good film." But, the longer I think about it, the more I consider the missing bits. I still would rank this one of the better Star Wars films. I ADORED the way it dovetailed into Star Wars (known to you heathen children as "A New Hope.")
  • People were telling me that this film was a blueprint for fighting Fascism or that it was some kind of World War II film. It really isn't either of those things at all (though I wish it had been more of the latter, more about that under the cut). However, if this film saying anything political, it's that your liberal allies aren't revolutionary ENOUGH. If we're going to win at all, we need to say 'fuck 'em" TO OUR OWN PEOPLE. And that maybe, if we're already dying on the ground, they'll lend their ships. (Not sure this is a positive message. Might be accurate, but not at all positive.)
  • I didn't really like the two main characters (Jyne Erso, the daughter or Cassian Andor,he scruffy dude). My favorites were all side-characters, particularly the sassy K-2SO.
  • In comparison to The Force Awakens, I felt like 99.9% of the female cast was missing. Like, I just didn't see very many female faces among the rank-and-file, on the streets, or among the volunteers for the final mission. Ironically, some of the MIA women from Star Wars made cameos.
Okay, the stuff I'm going to say under the cut mostly revolve around two of my favorite side charters, affectionally known already in fandom as "the monk and the warrior." (character names: Chirrut Îmew and Baze Malbus, respectively.) Read more... )

Maybe that seems like a lot of complaining, but I'm still processing, is all. I'd love to hear squee about this film. Like I said, when I left the theatre I was very much in love with Rogue One.  Probably when I go see it again, I'll love it more.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 Yesterday, during the ice storm, our phone went out.  We couldn't get a dial tone, only eerie silence. We waited for weather to settle down, and when the phone did not fix itself, I called the phone company (using my cellphone, which, of course, I first had to buy minutes for, BECAUSE NOTHING IS EVER EASY.) It was kind of weird being on the line with a robot who then checked our phone to see if it was working.  Like, the phone rang while we were on the phone with them, and then the robotic voice said, "Yes, you have a problem on your line. Would you like to schedule a technician?"

I have no idea who says "No" at this point, but the robot then made me an appointment for today between 2 and 6 PM.  

Sometime around 3 pm, there was a knock on the door and the technician wanted to make sure things were working.  And they were. It was kind of like magic. I'm sure he was expecting 100 year old people to answer the door, because what self-respecting 21st century person still has a landline.  But, we have phone service again, so hooray.

But as I was doing all this, I was trying to remember what the heck we did when the phone went out back before we all carried cell phones. It's not like the internet was around, either (although it was an option at one point).  Did we go over to our neighbor's house and borrow their phone? What if their phone was out too?

What's weird to me is that I really no longer remember.  To be fair to me, this would never have been *my* problem. My parents would have dealt with this. But, still. Why do I have no memory of what we used to do?  I swear once a certain technology exists, it's very difficult to even remember how we used to function.
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
My family has given up any pretense of doing Christmas properly. To be fair, we're pagans, anyway, but we no longer even pretend we're going to wait to open presents until some "decent hour." Yesterday, Christmas Eve day, Mason talked us into opening presents after I went on a coffee and donut run. So, we've had two full days of playing with out haul.

Besides, Santa always fills up stockings and brings a few extra presents for Christmas morning.

As usual, Mason was the big winner. He got all sorts of PS4 games, tee-shirts, and LEGO sets. Shawn mostly wanted some fancy, cut-glass plates and, predictably, socks. (Socks are a traditional gift for us.) I got more stationary and stamps. Pretty much everything a person could want--plus days to play with it all. My stamp album is getting difficult to close, but I'm still finding more and more stamps to put in their various places.

Shawn's (step)-brother Mark is still in the hospital. Sepsis is really hard to recover from. It's the thing that sent my dad into the hospital for months, and it seems to be on course to do the same for Mark. :-( We haven't been to see him yet, because his immune system is pretty crashed and he's not staying awake for more than a few hours. But, when he gets moved to a nursing home/recovery place, the one they're talking about sending him to is literally within walking distance of Shawn's work, so we'll be able to visit a lot. Which will be good, because very likely Karen (Mark's sister) will be headed back to Indiana at some point, and Joe (Mark's partner) is there a lot, but needs breaks, too. So, hopefully, we can help take over the "sisterly" duties.

Our relationship with Mark is much like it is with much of Shawn's family--very laissez-faire. We don't make a huge effort to stay in touch and that's mostly mutual, though with Mark, at least, we have being queer in common (though as a survivor of lesbian potlucks, that's not as much as you might thing. At least Joe is a pagan and a science fiction reader! Those things make up a huge gap).

Even though we had to find out that Mark was in the hospital via Facebook, I think he's always wished we were a little closer. Perhaps this is something we can rectify in the upcoming year. I've been thinking a lot about an article I read about How to Survive in Trump's America. In particular, 11. Make eye contact and small talk. The idea is that not only does talking to people breakdown social barriers--like, hey, so-and-so isn't just some '[ethnic group] menace, but a real person whom I know!," and also that it will be good to know who you can trust. If you never talk to real people, you never know who around you shares your political view. I've been very conscious of maintaining a lot of chatter in my daily life. I've always been the sort who talks to strangers (I'm THAT person), but I've also been thinking about other ways to build small, strong communities. Literally, one way is to stay in better touch with people. This is one of the reasons I've been trying to blog more regularly here, but also why I hope that we'll be able to spend more time with Mark in the future.

Of course, the article also suggests making friends abroad. I still haven't heard a peep from any of my international pen friends. But, then again, I also don't know much about how often people expect to write or anything about the aesthetic of this thing. I may break down and write a second letter to one of my people, though. i've got all this GOOD stationary going to waste otherwise!

The other things that are coming up is: my parent's visit before New Years, a reading at AZ Gallery in Lowertown on Jan. 10 at 7 pm, and a panel discussion on "Telling Our Story: LBGT Writers and Publications" for the Wells Fargo PRIDE Minnesota Team Member Network--which is a closed group, but they've had really good attendance lately (this is a phone-in thing? Skype? Google Hangouts? I'm not sure. Should be interesting, anyway.) That one has me thinking about where I went to find out about GLBT+ things back in the dark ages before the internet.

Hope you all have had a happy holiday. 




lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I occurs to me that I never wrote anything about my experience volunteering at Quatrefoil Library.  

I got there right on time, having managed to get my package off to New Zealand in record time (considering what the queue looked like AFTER I left, which is to say: stretching all the way outside.)  If you know nothing about Q Library--which I didn't really, either--it's now in a "new" location on Lake Street. They're in the bottom floor of the Spirit on Lake building. There is a small, convenient parking lot behind the building as well as lots of off-street parking.  When I showed up, I would have SWORN that the back door was locked, but after going around the building once, knocking on all the doors like a moron, I came back to discover a very confused Brian who opened the door to me and asked, "Did you even try it?"

...

Maybe not?

He gave me an exasperated eye roll, which is literally why I like Brian so much.  

Then we had some confused back-and-forth where I had to confess that, yes, I work at the Ramsey County Libraries (RCL), but, no, not a librarian--I don't have a masters in library science.  I think this bummed him out, because from what I gathered, maybe they only have one retire librarian doing cataloguing for them? But, he set me to work, anyway. I had to find some potentially MIA books on the shelves, because copies had been donated that could either replace them or replace copies in bad shape. 

At RCL, this would have taken me no time.  Maybe a bit longer, if I'm not familiar with the particular branch's layout, but over the past three years I've become pretty comfortable with how RCL is organized.  Q Library baffled me.  First of all, their non-fiction is organized via the LOC (Library of Congress) system which is, frankly, utterly foreign to me. RCL uses Dewey Decimal.  LOC is just about as intuitive as Dewey Decimal, but it still took a bit of a mental adjustment.  I mean, I don't have to understand what the purpose of the organizational system is, I just have to know how the numbers/letters fall in order, you know?  Alphabet still starts with A and ends with Z. Numbers still go from 0 up.  So, I'm good.

Fiction is alphabetical by author, same as anywhere.  But for some reason, I could not fathom how the shelves were working for a while, but eventually I got it down.  While combing the shelves, I discovered a HUGE cache of yaoi (in non-fiction, so don't be confused), which, when I left, I borrowed a half dozen of, with plans to take out the rest at some point.  I've been reviewing those over at MangaKast.  If you're curious about Q's holdings, I made a search term/tag for it, so you can just plug-in "Quatrefoil Library" or if you're afraid you'll misspell it, "Q Library."

After I finished that, I got a very fun task: going through recent donations to see if there was anything among them that should be added to the collection. The criteria is pretty simple: author must be GLBTQ+ _and/or_ a significant character must be GLBTQ+.  Any books that don't meet these criteria still help Q Library, though, because they're sold via various outlets--kind of like what RCL does with its book donations.  So, that was kind of fun because it was investigative--used my brains and my Google Fu.

Then, because it's that time of year, everyone who was working at the library was invited over to the community room for a potluck get-together for residents and staff.  Awkward forced socialization is awkward, but the food was very good.  Life came full circle when I met my very first lesbian nun (ex).  

I may never have told this story in any public forum, but my first exposure a larger sense of a larger lesbian world was when Phil Donahue
 interviewed lesbian nuns on his talk show sometime in the 1980s. I remember watching this pretty raptly.  I knew that one of my dad's colleagues at Viterbo was a lesbian, but here were SEVERAL lesbians ON TV.  I think my mom, who was watching with me, probably got her first clue that maybe I was queer at this point.  It could have been the MASSIVE crush I had on my dad's colleague (Betty? Betsy? Something completely different?) or the Gay Comix I'd bought at the head shop, too.

Anyway, I left shortly after eating, mostly because I was overheated--I'd dressed for a much colder day and didn't have a very good way to shed layers. Q is well heated PLUS they have huge windows that get a ton of sun.

I would totally do this again. It's certainly work I feel comfortable doing and it's enjoyable, if for no other reason that it's something I would NEVER be allowed to do at RCL. Acquisitions is 100% the purview of librarians at RCL, so getting to be part of a decision like that is very cool.

Speaking of things I barely remember from the 1980s, one of the bids for copies of Resurrection Code for Jim Hines' charity went a guy I went to high school with.  Honestly? I kinda hated this guy.  In fact, the year I was voted "Biggest Women's Libber," he was voted "Biggest Male Chauvinist."  But, he has the sort of name that--particularly in the Midwest--is really fairly common and so when I wrote the "uh, so how do you want the book delivered?" e-mail to him, I stayed very formal since I thought it would be much more awkward to act all chummy only to discover I was talking to a totally DIFFERENT person who just happened to have the same name.  We're considering getting together to exchange the book, so it will be interesting to see how this guy has changed since 1985.  I suspect a lot, given that he just donated to a trans hotline.  I remembered him as not only a male chauvinist, but also as a raging Republican.  But, then again, I don't even remember the name of my first lesbian crush, so probably he was never any of those things I remember, anyway.

One of the reasons I have not gone back to a high school reunion since my 5 year, is that I have utterly jettisoned all, except the most critical, memories from high school. I hated high school. I mean, I actually enjoyed learning--I always have--but I was not living an authentic life, while also going through a lot of hormones.  I barely even recognize MYSELF from those days, much less anyone else.  

And, that's the problem. Since becoming a published author, I've had people I knew in high school say "Hey, remember when we did this? Remember so-and-so?" and I draw an UTTER, embarrassing blank. Like, clearly this was a significant moment for the person I'm talking to and I literally don't even know for sure WHO THEY EVEN ARE, much less remember a single detail of whatever they're trying to convince me was the most epic thing we did together.

I blame the fact that I off-loaded my memories every day in high school. Seriously, I was a religious, devout journal keeper.  I wrote a diary entry every single day in high school. I poured out all my thoughts, my emotions, chronicled events, ruminated about gossip, etc.  So, I think I literally dumped those memories because part of me knew they were stored off-site--kind of how no one remembers phone numbers any more because we all keep them in our smartphones.

But, add on to that the fact that I've always been mildly narcissistic and high school was especially a time that was all about ME--in my own head. I was trying to figure out who *I* was and so I pretty much remember nothing except those things that were critical to defining "moi," as Ms. Piggy might say.

So, yeah.  That should be interesting. Probably it will be a lot of "Remember when?" and I'll be, like, "NOPE."

Tonight our whole family has been invited over to Mason's friend Rosemary's house for a night of casual gaming.  I'm looking forward to that.  I might have to bake some bread or some other treat to take over there, but everyone is on vacation now so there's lots of time.  I actually got up stupid early again today... I've been having trouble sleeping and might need to go back to the chiropractor. If I lay on my back for too long, fingers in my right hand go numb--so numb it wakes me up!  That doesn't seem right, and, weirder, is the opposite arm than the one I had trouble with earlier this year. So that's a bummer. It might not help that I've been hunched over my stamp collection a lot lately, but the chiropractor can still help with that.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Last night was our traditional all-night Solstice vigil.  

To be fair, the tradition has varied over the years. When it's -bazillion out, we tend to go heavy on the SYMBOLIC when it comes to actually sitting outside around a bonfire.  But, yesterday was mild enough that we planned to try to stay out as long as we could.  

First, though, before the sun went down, we lit the Yule Log and sang "Fa-la-la-la-la," because it's one of the few Christmas songs that is clearly about Solstice/Yule.  Then we pulled out a picnic meal and opened Solstice presents.

Solstice presents differ from Christmas presents in that they're personal, simple, and cheap (possibly even homemade.)  But, if they're any not those things, then they're MEANINGFUL in some way. Like, for instance, the Solstice Fairy always buys our family a gift--often a jigsaw puzzle because that's a group activity, and this year she found one with the Periodic Table of Elements on it.  

In a surprise to no one (but a GREAT JOY to me), I got more stamps. 

After we ate and cleaned up and played with our various gifts for a while, we went out to start the bonfire in the chiminea.  Normally, I like to light the bonfire from a flame started at the Yule Log, but for some reason the candles I picked this year for the Yule log decided to poop out. But, so I got a fire blazing in no time.  Mason made some snow people, because the snow was melty and easy to manipulate.  We sang a bit, chatted, and drank hot chocolate.  Mason went in and out to stay warm, and I fed the fire until we ran out of fuel for it sometime around 11 pm.  At that point, I transferred the flame to a ten-hour votive and brought it inside.

I went to bed. Mason stayed up the rest of the night watching over it.  He only just went to sleep after Shawn and I woke up in time in time to join him at sunrise to greet the returning sun.  

A good Solstice.  The sun is bright and strong this morning.  A few minutes ago,  watched sunlight hit the prism we keep in the windowsill and throw rainbow stripes all across the ceiling.  (The Solstice miracles besides the return of the sunlight? The tree which hadn't been drinking much water, suddenly sucked up a ton last night!  Also? The plows finally went down our block having missed our block several times now since the big snow storm.)

I spent a lot of my time in front of the fire last night just thinking about the up-coming year and the fight we have in front of us.  There are a lot of flames we're going to have to tend and guard.  Even if the big fie goes out, we're going to have to hold safe any light, no matter how small, that remains.

Even when the darkness is at its strength, when the night is longest.

We will preserve the light.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 Today's breakfast is two eggs over easy (but three yolks, because I got  double one!) and two slices of yesterday's cardamom bread. This is a little heartier than normal for me, but I'm bracing myself for a long day at Quatrefoil Library.I'm volunteering with the acquisitions committee. I have no real idea what I'll be doing exactly, but hopefully it will be fun or rewarding or both.  I'll let you know how it went tomorrow. I'll be doing something with them from 9:30 am, until 1:00 pm.  

I also have to take off even earlier this morning to hit the post office before Q.  Not only did I finish off my pen pal list, but I also have a package that needs to go to New Zealand for one of the winners of the charity auction that Jim Hines organized to help fun the trans hotline in Michigan. If you're curious, I raised a decent amount of money considering that there were only three books on offer. I'll be curious to know how this auction is going over all, but fingers crossed that he's raising good money.

Otherwise, the weekend was very quiet.  My family intended it to be that way, since, like most Minnesotans, we'd heard that the polar vortex was coming and so basically planned to hunker down and wait it out.  I went outside exactly three times this weekend. The first time early Saturday morning to shovel the sidewalk. The second time, I started up the car Sunday morning to move it over to the day plow side of the street (a frustrating exercise since the day plow NEVER SHOWED.)  The third and final time was to take Mason over to his friend Rosemary's for their traditional Saturday (moved to Sunday) dinner and movie night. I guess last night they also made a gingerbread house with Rosemary's brother, which frankly looked AMAZING (ours last year was more of a gingerbread shack and kept listing to the side.)

We finished decorating the house for Yule, which, in our case, meant actually getting the Yule Log together and putting various evergreen boughs around the house.  Yeah, we decked the halls.  Except without holly, since I think holly berries are poisonous to cats... and this year I would not trust our new kitty Buttercup not to eat ALL THE POISON.  He already likes to climb up on of of the larger presents under the tree and carefully chose various ornaments to steal and then noisily bat around the room.  THIS is why we decided to revert to our "toddler tree" in which we hang absolutely nothing breakable on the lower 2/3rds of the tree.

Solstice shopping is done, but I still have a few Christmas presents to get.  The bonus of being pagan is that decided to double up on the gift-giving holidays and we celebrate Yule/Solstice AND Christmas (because, really, outside of this whole birth of Christ thing, have you LOOKED at Christmas?  It's completely pagan.)  Plus, Shawn was raised Christian and decided she wanted to keep Christmas.  Given that none of what she wants involves going to a church, it seemed perfectly fine with me.  I will say that I'm just as happy to celebrate it.  Easter always gets me, because we celebrate Ostara and it ALWAYS comes early (being one of the points from which such things are counted) and so I end up wandering around on Easter Sunday wondering why the heck all the stores are closed!  

Ah, I'd better run. There's sure to be a line around the block at the post office, and I don't want to be late to my first volunteer gig!
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
That was me today, only in the not sexy way. It's that time of year. PLUS the Midwest is expecting a gigantic snowstorm, and so Shawn had me go to the grocery store and buy ALL THE THINGS.

We are now stocked up on Things, all the edible things--so if somehow we are actually snowed in, we have absolutely no need to go anywhere this weekend.

Yay.

I also stopped by Mischief Toy Store today for the first time ever. Their branding, intentional or not is: geek-queer. I was looking, specifically, for fun stocking stuffers for Mason and Shawn. While I ADORED the store, I was actually kind of bummed that they didn't really have exactly what I was looking for (which is a little unfair of me, since I can't really quantify WHAT I was looking for, exactly.) Now, if Mason was Jack Jackson (the son of our friends), I would have had the stocking completely covered, because they had an AWESOME collection of all the hot new graphic novels (as well as individual issues of certain titles.) There was also a Black Panther plushy that I would have totally bought John (because I'm fairly certain John has dreams of cuddling up to Prince T'Challa.)  But, I kind of struck out for my family. I did find a few things--which I can't name, because, you know, while my family actually rarely reads my blog THIS WOULD BE THE TIME THEY WOULD.  But, I dunno.  I might actually have to take a trip to United Noodle to see if they have any new, exciting Japanese treats that might make good stocking stuffers (and of course if I just HAPPEN to buy a few things for myself, well... finder's fee, am I right??)

Ah, Shawn just called. Even though it's not even snowing at all, she wants to be picked-up early. I love how Minnesotans are both really "heh, we can handle all the cold" and at the same time being all, "It MIGHT snow 12 inches?  F*ck it, I'm going home early."

Fundraiser

Dec. 13th, 2016 08:36 am
lydamorehouse: (shield)
I contributed to Jim Hines' on-going fundraiser for Transgender Michigan, one of the only transgender helplines in the country that's 24/7. If you've been wanting to try Resurrection Code but never got around to buying a copy, now you can do it AND support a good cause!

http://www.jimchines.com/2016/12/tgm-fundraiser-morehouse/




As an FYI, there are very few physical copies of this book left. The publisher shipped me the remaining stock after the book went out of print. It also features a trans character. I know a lot of my readers bought this book when it came out, but like I say, this is a chance to help out a worthy charity as well!
lydamorehouse: (shield)
I'm starting to become a protest connoisseur. Yesterday, I attended the Anti-War Committee's march for Human Rights.


Hopefully this photo show up complete with credit (David E Romm). Apparently, WCCO did a short segment about us (it needs flash. I could NOT get it to work on my Apple products, but Shawn was able to watch it on her Kindle.) The TV segment makes us look better than I think we were. It was not a large crowd, in my estimation. As I've said before, I'm fairly bad at guesstimating groups of people, but I wouldn't have thought we had more than 50, but maybe 100?

Also the Anti-War Committee folks are a bit more radical than the previous group. You can tell by the list of sponsors, which include: Natives Lives Matter, Minnesota Neighbors for Justice,MN Peace Action Coalition, UMN Students for a Democratic Society, Veterans for Peace, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, Women's Prison Book Project, Young Muslim Collective,Black Lives Matter Saint Paul, Saint Paul for Justice, Blue Lies Matter, and Black Lives Matter St. Paul. They were also slightly less organized.

It was REALLY cold out yesterday afternoon--probably 7 F / -13.8 C. I got there only about fifteen minutes to and by the time we actually hit the streets, my toes were throbbing from the cold. The problem was that the Anti-War people, like the Minnesota Immigrants Rights Action Committee, had speakers planned ostensibly to fire us up... but theirs SUCKED. The first one was so depressing that I think we lost some people. I mean, yes, America has been sh*tty on human rights, particularly international human rights, for a long time. But, no one there, except a few crusty radicals, really wanted to hear a speaker dump on Obama and talk about how they'd planned this march initially thinking we'd be protesting Hillary. This is the apocalypse, people. Let's look forward, not back. The police were also blocking traffic already by the time they started with their speakers and a lot of us were anxious to get going. I found myself muttering unhappily when they tried to get us jazzed to chant because no one could hear us besides ourselves with the roads blocked.

But, when we finally got going, it felt good. I really do like the feeling of being in a crowd, no matter the size, and shouting. Does it make any kind of impact? Does it do any good? I think we have yet to see. If protests get coverage like this one did, albeit brief, it still raises awareness, I think. I don't know.

The other thing that was different from this group than the previous one is that the parade route was a straight line. The MIRAC people had us march back up Lake Street, essentially in a circle, so we were spared a long trek back up Lake Street alone. I mean, it wasn't a huge deal, but we marched 30 blocks down to a church (for more speakers and a warm-up), but I bailed on that, so I ended up trudging the 30 blocks back to retrieve my car.

I guess this is the price for democracy, right? (Sore feet and cold toes).

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