lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 Who on earth thought it was a good idea to teach a class AT BEDTIME??!!

For those of you who don't know this about me, I've been a lifelong 'lark.' A morning lark is the opposite of a night owl.  Even when I was a teenager, I used to regularly get up an hour or so before my parents and make coffee, go for walks, and generally enjoy the solitude of the early hours. To be perfectly honest, in high school, I often used the extra hour or hours to do All the Make-Up and my hair. (Hard to even imagine now, isn't it?)  

These days I wake up a little earlier than I'd like. Mason's school starts at 7:10 am (first bell) and so our house is up starting anywhere between 5 and 5:30 am.  That's a bit early for me, and a lot of days I push it by pulling myself up long enough to brush teeth and get dressed and then I collapse back into bed until 6:00 am, which is much closer to my natural wake-up time.

I also typically really prefer to get 8 hours of sleep. So, staying up past 10 pm gets rough.

My Loft class **STARTS** at 7:30 am and goes until 9:30 pm. Yesterday was my first class and it went well--aided by a bit of caffeine from the coffee shop at Open Book.  I have an even dozen students, who all seem very smart and engaged. I think we're well-primed to have a good class in terms of discussion, etc.  For those of you who have taken classes from me (or, frankly, have seen me on panels at local conventions,) know that I put a LOT of energy into my teaching.  I'm also an extrovert, which means I leave class with INCREASED ENERGY.  Coming home and bouncing around until 10:30 pm = NOT GOOD COME 5 AM.

SUPER. NOT. GOOD.

I was Madame Cranky-Pants in my typical low point (--my biorhythm is such that even on good days I'm lackluster from about 2 pm - 4 pm.) I may or may not have shouted at my family, "I'm not passive-aggressive, I'm just aggressive! No, I'M JUST ANGRY." But, luckily, at this point Mason and I were lugging this ridiculously heavy kitty litter box out to the car and alternately yelling and laughing. Even so, I had been seriously bitchy previously.  

I'm NOT made for late nights.

And, yes, yes, you night owls are all laughing your heads off about how "early" this all is.  Just try to imagine having to teach a class at 6 am and you might understand.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
...An overcrowded, stuffy room in the State Capitol building, apparently, at least for me, today.

Sometime ago I got invited to the "traditional constituents luncheon" for district 64. It sounded like a very relaxed sort of affair, boxed lunches for $11 from Cecil's deli, and "conversation" with my Minnesota Legislators: Dick Cohen (Senate), Erin Murphy (House 64A, my district), and Dave Pinto (House 64B).  Senator Cohen looked out over the standing room only crowd with more than a little trepidation and apologized profusely, "We don't have enough seats. Honestly, we normally expect about ten people."

Well, they got at LEAST 50, possibly more. I'd guess close to 80.

These are Democrats, representing staunchly Democratic districts in Saint Paul.

Let me tell you something, these people were all woke.  When they spoke, they mentioned specific bills, by number! (I was really pleased that I'd been following WatchYourReps MN enough to at least know which ones were being talked about by reputation, if not actual number.) And more than that, most of the people in the room leaned HARD Left. The biggest applause (nay, it was more of a spontaneous CHEER,) happened when Representative Erin Murphy suggested they push for Medicare For All for Minnesota.  

Meanwhile, poor Senator Cohen was having a little trouble reading the room. After her big cheer, he cautioned that he'd be behind that, but it'd have to be economically sustainable, (which I actually agree with, but DUDE. CLEARLY, the 80-some people here want to hear you leading, radically, up in the front of the pack!)  But, I ended up liking Cohen. He reminded me of our governor, honestly. Kind of a slow build to any kind of fire, a bit plodding, but secretly very, very liberal.  Also, he's a career politician, with simple ambitions. It was a little hard to trust Rep. Murphy because she's running for governor.  So, she has been reading the room and knows EXACTLY what we want to hear. My sense was that she was at least somewhat sincere, but I watched her playing that room--calling certain people by name, waving to others as they came and went.... so, you know, grain of salt there.

The room was also damn near lily white. Only two easily discernible PoCs in the crowd that I noticed, which given the population of my district is... wrong.  On the other hand, this "luncheon" was clearly meant to be something for retirees and self-employeed people like me who can make time to be at the Capitol at 11:30 am on a Tuesday.  Especially since it officially went until 1:30 pm.  Also this was NOT MEANT as a town hall type meeting (though it kind of turned into one) and Senator Cohen kept stressing that normally this is very informal, but because so many people were there they basically were forced to make it a rapid-fire Q&A session rather than a conversation.  Apparently, there is a town hall scheduled for my district, so I'll have to look into attending that, too, and see if it's a different population or if this is basically my SUM (Stand-Up Minnesota, our Indivisible breakout) District group. (The invite to this luncheon got shared on my SUM group e-mail, which I'm not sure was 100% kosher, since I *think* this was an invite only event. They asked for RSVPs.)

Things I learned as far as activism goes:
     1) Go ahead and call and write the governor's office if something passes that's egregious. He's not likely to veto EVERYTHING, but he'll probably veto MORE if he knows we have his back.  This was good to know. I've been hesitant to bombard his office like I have been the legislators'. 
     2) You can contact representatives out of your district on bills/issues, but they really stressed that should only be done if you have a strong, specific story that relates.  Better to get friends and relatives who ARE in that district to bug their legislators.
     3) Corporate interest show up at these things. I was really, really surprised to hear someone in the audience identify as a business owner (NOT RESIDENT) in the district, and they pointed out several other people in the room who were the same.  I'm really, really glad residents--actual constituents--outnumbered these people or this would have been a very different meeting, at least with a very different tilt, I suspect.  As it was our legislators all heard that what we wanted was strong defense, strong leadership, and for everyone to go as hard left as they possibly could.

So, that's about it. It was a fairly interesting time, I'd say, honestly.

Now I'm getting ready for my Loft class (12 students!) which STARTS at bedtime.  OMG, I don't know how I'm going to do this whole starting teaching at 7:30 pm gig.  WISH ME LUCK.
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 A cinnamon pull-apart loaf is rising in the kitchen. I hope it turns out.  It's a new recipe and so I have no idea if I did all the steps right, you know?

I managed to write and submit a 300-word short story to the Queer SF Flash Fiction Contest.  300 words is a serious challenge, especially given the amount of stuff the contest expects you to try to pack in, but it was a good exercise for me. These last few days I haven't much felt like writing anything, not even fan fiction, which is VERY unusual for me. I blame Trump, I really do.  I find myself so very anxious about the news and when I'm anxious the last thing I want to do is sit still and write. Instead, I tend to want to do something physical.  I had had a really good method of dealing with stress in the past. There used to be a web site called Project 1491 that sent out daily progressive activities. I found that if I made the calls they asked of me first thing in the morning, I could feel like I'd done my part for the revolution and I could go on with my day.  They disbanded.  And I've been hunting around for other similar organizations, but I've not found anything that works quite as well for me.

I signed up for Daily Grab Back, which offers daily actions, but I find some of them kind of... I don't know, but today, for instance, they want me to donate my gently used shoes to some organization or other. That's a great idea, if I had a lot of extra shoes lying around.  But, that's not who we are. If we buy shoes, it's because the soles have fallen off the last pair, and I have LITERALLY worn shoes that other people left behind. Plus, this doesn't feel like direction action to me.

I also signed up for Do a Thing. Do a Thing is very much set up for the revolutionary who wants and needs simple, yet-sometimes abstract things to accomplish.  Do a Thing is for the activist who is in survival mode, who really needs to be able to participate, but who also has to do a lot of self-care. I signed up for this one knowing it wasn't going to fulfill the same shoes as Project 1491, but as a counter-balances for those days when I can't even. Like one of the things Do a Thing suggested was "Feel Feelings." This is good advice, but not exactly frontline revolution, you know? They do also offer concrete things, however, like donating to Meals-on-Wheels and or signing up to volunteer.

I just found this one: The Loyal Opposition, which looks to be more what I was hoping for--something with a daily phone call to make. Because part of my problem is feeling overwhelmed by all the things that are ON FIRE in this administration and not knowing where to pour water first.

I still, of course, get information from MoveOn.org and Daily Kos.  I like MoveOn.org because they have a local group that does #ResistTuesdays where they gather at the local offices of our senators to protest and to talk directly to the senior staff there. For the last few months I haven't been able to go, however, because I've had to work on Tuesday mornings. I should be able to get back to it starting in April.

All that went on hold, too, during this last week, dealing with Mark. In his honor I feel like baking a lot and bringing stuff over to Joe. :-(
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I'm sorry to have been MIA, but this has been an insane week.

Last Friday (on Saint Patrick's day) our old, beloved car Steve finally gave up the ghost.  Through a series of fortunate events, we already have a new car: Patrick Bryce.

Yesterday, my (step) brother-in-law, Mark died.

Mark was Margaret's son, Margaret married Shawn's dad some time in the late 1980s. Our families never mingled terribly well. Shawn like to explain that instead of becoming a melded family, we were more like 'adjacent.' For a long time, we really didn't even cross paths with Mark or his sister Karen, not even at Pat & Margaret's place, where it would seem likely.  But, Mark lived here in the Twin Cities, and one Pride Festival (probably in the mid-1990s), I ran into him at the "Tubby Lovers" booth. Neither Shawn nor I had ever realized Mark was gay.  He's just not the sort that automatically trips a person's gaydar, and he was always pretty closeted around his mom.  It was one of those things, though, where had we thought about it realistically for five minutes we would have realized that OF COURSE Joe was not just Mark's roommate.  

Mark always had a lot of health issues, and in these last few years his kidneys had mostly failed and so he was doing dialysis. Sometime after Thanksgiving, Mark fell in the parking lot of his dialysis place.  The hospital determined that he had sepsis--which is the catch-all phrase for a body-wide infection. Likely culprit was the dialysis port.  My father had sepsis (as did Mason, actually,) and it is ALWAYS life-threatening.  Mark seemed to be doing fairly well, recovering, however.  Joe had been keeping people posted on Facebook and the news was mostly of the "I can't believe we're still doing this, but Mark is okay" variety.  This was very familiar to me, because my dad's recovery was just as long and frustrating and the longer you stay in the hospital or hospital-type settings, the more vulnerable you are to other infectious diseases. But, as I said, Mark seemed to be in the kind of holding pattern you're in when you're dealing with this kind of major illness.

Until last Sunday night. 

He ended up back in the hospital.  Joe had just left for home when he got the call to come back. Long story short (and it is a long story), we lost him yesterday.

Joe and Mark never married. They've been together for 22 years, but for reasons, the biggest one being Mark's health insurance, they never tied the knot.  I wish they had. Partner is not a word that carries much weight (even though it should). But legally, you might as well be roommates. Things worked out for Joe, but I just want to put this out there for my unmarried friends--queer or straight--GET YOUR DAMN PAPERS. Do NOT depend on he kindness of relatives to include you, because, legally, they don't have to. You might be saying, but they've always loved me. Yeah, I'm sure they do, but will that be your consolation when the death certificate you're going need to close out bank accounts and credit cards goes to someone else? It's not that hard or expensive to have a health care directive. Wills are a good idea, but they are more of a commitment. But, there's no excuse for all y'all not to be sure you have a health care directive ready to roll.

/public service announcement

So, the car. It's lovely. It's a Ford 500, metallic green, with (by chance, since it's a used car) heated leather seats. This car is, in point of fact, the most TRICKED OUT car we've ever owned. Apparently, the first person who bought it originally did NOT see an optional feature that they did not want.  So, now that it's been passed to us, we feel like we're driving around in some kind of luxury sedan.

The story of how we ended up with it is kind of funny, but not one I'm entirely up for recounting today. Suffice to say that probably the LUCKIEST part of this unlucky day was the moment when Shawn's brother Greg called up Shawn and said, "I just got your email about that car you're thinking about. I'm sitting in my car, taking a break between work sites, and I can see the dealership from where I'm sitting. You want me to go check it out for you?" This is why our car now has a second name of Bryce.  (Greg's middle name.) The car was also DIRT cheap.  Our budget for new (used) cars is under $5,000.  Also the whole thing was kind of a whirlwind. Car was pronounced DOA at 7:30 am and I drove our new (used) car off the lot at around 2:30 pm.

Other news. My Loft class is viable, so I'll be starting teaching next Tuesday night for about eight-weeks (I think.)

And... Gizmodo linked to an article I wrote for Bitter Empire.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
I would like to petition the universe to change this whole superstition around FRIDAY the 13th and shift it to MONDAY the 13th.  I just looked up "Friday the 13th" on Wikipedia and the connection between Friday and the number 13 seems wholly unsatisfactory.  Apparently, there are some bits of folklore associated with Friday that are unlucky, but they seem mostly related to Christianity and the idea that Jesus died on a Friday. The vast majority of people in the world are non-Christian, so let's dump that whole thing, shall we?  Meanwhile, in the UK, more people commit suicide on a Monday than any other day of the week. And, frankly, we all KNOW Monday starts the workweek in most places around the world, and therefore is just plain YUCKY.  I think we should all agree that Monday the 13th is way, way worse than Friday the 13th, ESPECIALLY WHEN A FULL MOON FALLS ON SAID MOON-DAY.

That is my general complaint about today.

My specific complaints are as follows:

The hardest thing about the last couple of days for me has not been the time shift (ALTHOUGH THAT DEFINITELY SUCKS,) but the fact that I haven't felt like writing _anything_.  It's been true for a while that getting motivated to write original work has been daunting, but lately the well has been completely dry. I'm not even excited to write fan fic, which is *very* weird.

I'm hoping that what this is, is my brain gearing up for something. I've been finding myself thumbing through my old astrology books, because I've been toying with the idea of trying my hand at an astrological murder mystery.  I'm not sure I'm a mystery writer, but the idea of doing something creative with my half-a$$ astrology knowledge appeals to me.  Of course, I say this like I'll actually do something with this idea, and I probably won't.  

Eh, ignore my bad attitude. I seem to have caught it from Mason who woke up in a bad mood(or I have my own hormones to blame, because while I am nearly 50, I am still getting my periods... yay.) 

Meanwhile, Shawn's back is still not making much improvement--or so she feels, at any rate. This is another one of those moments where I'm sure she *is* making some, small improvements, but it's super-difficult for Shawn to sense them. The problem is that she's still in a LOT of pain, and, I remember from my own nerve pain, it's really, really hard to see past that.  What she's not remembering is that the weekend before this last one literally all she could do was lie in bed. She spent a huge amount of time upright this weekend, functioning, AND doing her physical therapy exercises.  

So, yes, I would please like to chalk today up as the bad luck of Monday 13th.  Who's with me?
lydamorehouse: (gryffindor)
 ...you get an invite for a meet-and-greet at the State Capitol from the office of your district's Senator.  

It's not a fundraiser, either. Believe me, that was the first thing I figured and I thought, "Good luck! I can NOT afford 'luncheon' prices!" I've seen those things come through my in-box before and they're out of my league in _so_ many ways.  

But, this is not that. It's a RSVP/invite-only event, from what I can tell, BUT you can brown bag it if you want or they will provide a box lunch from Cecil's for $11.00.  Eleven bucks?  I can afford that! So I hit the RSVP button and emailed the staffer my lunch preference.  Because why not? The ironic thing is that I'm NOT all that up on what's going on locally. I mostly just follow what Watch Your Reps MN  tells me to do. But that DOES mean I've been e-mail a LOT.  

With the local representatives, I haven't been calling that often, honestly. I called about the transphobic bathroom bullshit bill and I broke down in tears on an answering machine that seemed to be shared by several Minnesota Senators. Most of the bills I've been e-mailing them about aren't as personally important to me, so I've decided it's okay not to call unless it feels (like the bathroom bill did) urgent and personal.

Anyway, that's near the end of the month on a Tuesday, in the middle of the day (11:30 am - 1:00 pm). I'm guessing it will be one of those things where you mostly sit and listen to boring speeches and shake a few hands, but I love Cecil's Deli, so why not?


lydamorehouse: (shield)
 I'm wearing red today, but, like a lot of woman in my economic situation, I *have* to go to work today.

What are you talking about, Lyda? You're a writer, you don't have a job.  Actually, I have a couple, but the one I can't skip today is my job as a library page. It's not an IMPORTANT job or a critical one like being a police officer or a firefighter.  I don't get scheduled often, and, had I been thinking ahead, I could have remembered that today was a day I was supposed to try to stay home.  I didn't think of it, because I tend to say yes to whatever hours fit my schedule because we need my extra income.

I don't get sick time. I don't get vacation. I don't have to work often, but the fact is: if I don't go into work today, I don't get paid.

Shawn is going to work, too. Ironically, if she had not had her back go out, she might have been able to stay home.  But, she's up to the line: any more days off and she has to go on unpaid leave.  We definitely can't go without her income.

I like the idea of this.  It would be very powerful, indeed, if every single woman could just not show up.  I feel like, if we could really do it, certain entire economies would collapse.  I heard on the radio that there are several school districts that had to close because so many teachers were asking for the day off.  (I hope that's true.)

I stand in solidarity, however. I'm wearing red. Hopefully, people will notice all the women around them wearing red, if nothing else.


Adulting

Mar. 6th, 2017 09:12 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today, I woke up thinking about "adulting."  

Last Wednesday, I had lunch with a friend of mine.  We met at Eli's East, which I had never been to before.  As usual, I had a great time chatting with this particular friend, who is someone I've recently gotten to know after last year's Gaylaxicon.  At one point during our conversation he said that even after marriage and divorce, the thing that made him feel like a real adult was caring for houseplants.  

At the time, I mostly let this comment go by, unremarked, because I was far more fascinated to know that he'd been married and divorced already. (He's younger than I am by a decade... or possibly two.)

This morning, a half a week later, I woke up thinking about this idea: what are the sorts of actions, events, etc., that make people feel like an adult?  What constitutes "adulting" for most people?

I was thinking about this because I remember the first time I felt really independent, adult.  It was the first time I took my own laundry down to the basement laundry room of my college freshman dorm building. I was seventeen. It was, in point of fact, the first time I'd ever done my own laundry.  Despite a lot of other independent acts in high school, for some reason, doing this job that my mother traditionally ALWAYS did for me, felt like the true moment of independence.  There were things about it that also felt very... Big City. I had to have quarters, figure out the machines on my own (and all the sorting rules!), and some weirdo tried to convert me to Lutheranism--he was very affronted that I had not accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior.

But, then again, my generation has, I think, less issue with "adulting" as a thing.  We grew up in that mythical era when parents flung open doors to the very young and said, "Come back by dinner time," and we really did roam far from home without any supervision whatsoever.  I regularly had to solve problems like, "Holy heck, how do I get my shoe out of this muck I have wandered into in the local marshlands" without being able to use my nonexistent cellphone to call for help and being miles (often literally) from home.  

And I wonder if it's some of this early practicing with independence that made the transition into "adulting" a little less... noticeable?  Or, maybe more accurately, MORE noticeable on a smaller scale.  I mean, for my friend it was the small thing that made him feel grown, too.  But, it came much later for him than for me.  MUCH.  

I guess my question is, how about you? No matter how old you are, do you have a singular event where you said to yourself, "Wow, this is IT.  THIS is the moment I am independent. THIS is the transition into adulthood!"?? No shame if it's something "traditional," like, "The day I signed the lease to my first apartment" or "got married" or "got my driver's license." Similar, no judgments, if it's something really odd, like, "The day I bought my first pair of underwear" or something I can't even fathom.  

I'm also curious if you find yourself in your late thirties (or forties or fifties or whatever) and you're still not feeling like "adulting" is a thing you do regularly. 
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 I'm trying to convince Shawn that she's having a "pajama day," rather than day eleven of her back trauma.  I'm not sure it's working.  But, we are cuddled up in bed with several cats, the Sunday paper, and I have a nice hot cup of coffee and my laptop.  If Shawn wasn't still so miserable, it would be very pleasant.  

Unfortunately, Shawn is still really miserable.

Nerve pain is like that, though.  Last year, when I woke up with searing pain in my upper back, that was nerve pinch pain. It was the only time in my life that I screamed, "EIGHT, totally EIGHT!" to my doctors when presented with that ridiculous pain chart.  I think most Minnesotans, including myself, don't really like to be a bother and so even if we were legitimately bleeding out, we'd say, "Oh, I don't know? A four?"

If you've never read Hyperbole and a Half's 'real pain chart' you totally should. I always think of it at times like this.

Shawn's doctor finally consented to prescribing a fairly heavy-duty painkiller, though at a low dose. I think that's helping some, even though Shawn is convinced she's going to be crippled for life.  Like Shawn, probably a lot of you are wondering 'what the hell did she even DO???!!" Thing is, Shawn has had a bulging disc for the past, oh, nearly the entire time I've known her, so maybe 25 years or so?  A lot of people who have bulging discs don't really notice them until THEY SUDDENLY DO.  For Shawn, I think her first OHSHITOHSHIT episode happened when she sneezed.  Seriously, a sneeze brought her down. The doctors all said, "Yep, this is a thing that happens."  So, it really does not take much for her to end up bedridden. 

Usually, however, there isn't this nerve pain, and so she can slowly exercise her way back to better health.  This time, just moving her leg or putting pressure on it was excruciating (see: "I have seen Jesus, and I am scared" on the REAL pain chart.) So, that's played a big role in Shawn's slow recovery.  One of the reasons Shawn's doc agreed to the serious painkillers is that she (the doctor) really wants Shawn up and moving so that she can do the PT that is really going to help.  Pretty much everyone, including Shawn, agree that PT is the real "miracle drug" for back issues.

But, Shawn really needs to get back to work tomorrow.  Not because she's so vital (although I think she is as State Archivist), but because she's out of sick and vacation days.  If she stays home too much more, she'll have to go on unpaid leave and we really can't afford that.  Ironically, I think being stressed about that is actually tensing up the muscles that her muscle relaxants have been working so hard to unwind.

:-(

The only thing I really have planned for the day is to take Mason to Barnes & Noble.  We want to buy him a fancy, up-to-date Atlas as a reward for having gotten this far in the geography bee.  Plus, we haven't been to Barnes & Noble in forever and it would be nice to do a little window shopping. (Also I have two overdue books that need to be returned to the Roseville Library.)  Ive been thinking about attending a revolutionary song sing-along at Merlin's Rest today, just because I love singing rebel songs and it might be good for my soul.  We'll have to see if the timing works out, though. If you're interested (and local) here's the FB page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1496323087074798/.

Yesterday, I briefly entertained the idea of going to a counter-protest at the Capitol yesterday.  Apparently, it was a Trump supporter rally day, and the SDS organized a "Make Racists Afraid Again" counter-protest.  The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) are... well, I remember them from my college days.  Augsburg was hardly a hotbed of activism, but we had one rabble-rouser Biology teacher who was the head of our campus SDS. One of our colleagues got caught up with her and ended up constantly being arrested down in Chicago where they would go an join laborers on strike or what have you. I think I would have been down there with them, if I'd been able to get along with this teacher (which I really couldn't.)  The point--and I do have one--is that when I saw it was the SDS organizing this my first thought was, "Someone's gonna throw a punch."

Sure enough.

Apparently six people were arrested and there were, shall we say, fisticuffs (and pepper spray?)  Here's an article about what happened: http://www.fightbacknews.org/2017/3/4/minnesota-protesters-disrupt-trump-rally-capitol.  

You know I'm all for Nazi punching. The NY Times wrote an article about what happened in Minneapolis between the Wobblies and the Nazis (no, this is not an article from 1937, though I swear it could be:) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/arts/design/anti-trump-protest-minneapolis-institute-of-art.html?_r=0  

How do I feel about all this?  

I'm not surprised that the Socialists and the Wobblies and the far-left of of our vanguard is reacting first, reacting hard.  Should they go to jail for assault? Absolutely. Am I just as glad I wasn't there? OH HELL YES.  Would I go their bail? I dunno, but I'd certainly throw some change in a bucket.
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 Mason is in the Junior Honor Society.  As part of his membership, in addition to keeping up his grades, he's required to do a certain number of volunteer hours. It's difficult to find places that accept thirteen year-old volunteers.  However, Shawn found that Second Harvest will take volunteers 8 and older.  We managed to find free slots (no easy task!) for yesterday from 1:00 - 3:30 pm.  

The place we went was Second Harvest's Warehouse out in Golden Valley.  Second Harvest is a neat idea. They take food that grocery stores are required to dump due to "sell by" dates and, if the food is still good (which it often is), sends it off to various food shelters.  They also take the ugly/misshapen crops that famers can't sell to grocery stores and distributes it to various food shelves as fresh produce. They have huge crews of people looking through pounds and pounds of potatoes, etc.  Right before us, apparently, they had just processed onions.  Our group--which was mostly populated by a corporate group from US Banks--took donated and past 'sell by' food and packaged it into 30 pound "mystery boxes." What was cool about the mystery boxes is that they contained fun items--soda, cookies, crackers, potato chips--with bits of other more traditional food shelf foods, like canned peas or what have you.  All stuff that was otherwise going to go to waste would be distributed as a surprise, a bit of joy. I ended up with the box builders, but I was situated across from the people who were packing and I could see how much fun some people were having coming up with neat things to put into each mystery box.  One guy was specifically trying to find various things that could make a special meal. Other people were just enjoying putting fun treats in as a surprise among other more necessary items.  

Mason ended up among the sorters.  His job was to go through all the donated items and double check REAL expiration dates and then sort into giant bins of canned goods vs. 'soft' goods, etc.  He said he had a blast.  For myself, even though all I did for two and a half-hours was build boxes, I was surprised how fast the time went.

The other thing I ended up being pleased about during this volunteering was the careful way Second Harvest talked about hunger. The videos we watched about it made no effort to claim that hungry people were anyone other than your neighbors. They talked about rural hunger, suburban hunger, and urban hunger.  They did not talk about... oh, I don't know, a certain kind of poverty, maybe? Thing is, there have been plenty of times when Shawn and I have considered whether or not we needed to use food banks/food shelves, etc.  Having read a lot about food politics (for some reason this is an area I often end up going down the rabbit hole about. I don't seek it out per se, but if I hit an article in the Atlantic or wherever, I will read the whole thing, etc.) I know that food is a complex issues and that lots and lots of working people are hungry in this country.  

Anyway.  

It was a good experience.  I'd do it again.  

Coming Out

Mar. 3rd, 2017 08:25 am
lydamorehouse: (gryffindor)
 For years I thought I was a Slytherin.  Look, I'm very ambitious, okay?  I have some very Scorpio tendencies that align themselves with some Slytherin traits.  I knew I wasn't the typical sneaky, back-stabby (mostly) Slytherin, but then neither was Professor Slughorn. I very much felt a certain kinship with Slughorn.  And, I am a Scorpio, okay? I hold grudges. I have occasionally, deliberately, sneakily pulled strings to make bad things happen to my enemies.

But, there were signs that maybe I wasn't like the other Slytherins.  

Every time I took those "Which Hogwarts House are you?" quizzes, I would always end up a Gryffindor.  Mostly, I think, because I refused to lie. (YES, I KNOW THAT WAS PROBABLY A VERY, VERY OBVIOUS SIGN.)  Even so, Pottermore put me in Slytherin, though, and that's supposed to be the Word of God.

HOWEVER.  I can't hide it anymore.  I can't deny my true nature. My real life actions* have shown that I am, in fact, a Gryffindor. 

In other news, Mason had his parent/teacher conferences last night.  For some reason, Washington still does these "student led" conferences, where basically the student is required to self-rate themselves and come up with their own "action plans" to do better at school.  This has always been silly for Mason, since he's pulling almost straight-As. I can't imagine what it's like for the kids on the other end of the spectrum, however.  Hopefully, there's more interceding from the teachers in those cases.  What I hate about it is that we only get to see Mason's foundation teacher (like homeroom), and mostly they just observe and rarely offer commentary about how Mason is actually doing.  Mason is a good student, but he's not forthcoming.  I don't get stories about classroom antics, unless they're especially funny or something Mason decides to share. Worse, Mason's foundation teacher actually left us in the hands of his student teacher, who didn't know anything about the Geography Bee or, I think, from his surprised expression, that Mason was in 10th grade advanced math.  I have NEVER, ever  gotten to connect with the math teachers, despite stalking the halls hoping to run into them. I mean, yes, Mason is doing fine--better than fine, but that's never been the point of parent/teach conferences for us. We like to make a connection. I mean, I really, really would have loved to have met Mason's math teacher just to shake his hand and say, "THANK GOD FOR YOU," because Mason's appreciation for school jumped up miles once he was actually challenged in math. In 5th grade, before we moved to Washington and Mason was instantly advanced, he was starting to show signs of boredom and, had it gone on, I think he could have ended up depressed.  So, it was especially frustrating that first year because I really, really wanted to tell the math teacher how important being in that class was for Mason.  

Grrr.

But, at least it's not critical for us to talk to any of these teachers, you know?  I seriously don't know what people do who have kids who are struggling. I also wish I understood the philosophy behind this. It feels inherently lazy, like the teachers are making the kids do work traditionally done by them.  I know that's unfair to teachers to some extent, but at the same time, aren't they uniquely qualified to talk about individual student's progress?

Anyway, we did run into the principal who shook my hand in a crushing MAN grip and told us how proud Washington is that Mason is representing them for the Geography Bee. I did find out that this is the first time (in a while? ever?) that Washington has sent anyone to state.  The school has always participated in the school-wide bee, but there is a computerized test that qualifies students for the state-wide bee. Mason apparently took the test in 15 minutes, and it normally takes about 45.  His Geography teacher figured Mason had blown it, honestly.  :-)  
I also baffled the principal when I suggested that maybe we'd let Mason go entirely on his own.  Of course, we'd WANT to see him participate. Of course, we're PROUD of him. But, this is not OUR accomplishment or OUR event. It's Mason's.  So, if Mason would feel best going on his own, that's legitimately up to him.  But, one of us may have to go since the school can't exactly rent a bus for one kid, and it's unclear yet if any of the other St. Paul schools are organizing transportation or if everyone is on their own reconnaissance, as it were.  If one of us has to drive, likely both of us will go and attend.

So that's that.



---
* I discovered, in real life, that I am actually willing, without a plan, to intercede in a situation with a stranger just because it looked wrong.  I may tell the details later, but suffice to say that I'm now putting the MN ACLU on my speed dial.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 On Monday night, I joined a couple hundred people in downtown Minneapolis.  This protest was billed as "Minneapolis Against Trump," but it was really about workers' rights.  


Here's another attempt at a photo. If you can't see it, it's a young white woman holding a hand-painted, anatomical heart-shaped sign that reads, "Lead with Love." The heart itself is very nicely done, she's got a lot of pink and red shading going on.  Realistic in an ARTY way, you know?

This particular group was a little more... well. Let's put it this way. Normally, there's a call and response that goes, "What do we do?" and the answer is, at certain  marches, "Stand up! Fight Back!" At this one the response was, "Shut. It. Down."

I have no problem with either statement, but "Stand up! Fight Back!" is more in my comfort zone, if you know what I'm saying.  On the other hand, right now, I feel like it's okay for me to stretch outside of my comfort zone from time to time.  The Socialist Alternative people carried legit red banners and the #NativeLivesMatters folks led the march with a banner that read, "Cut off the head of the Black Snake."

These people weren't fucking around.

Unsurprisingly, I think I only saw one pink pussy hat.

I will say that seeing all the signs has made me realize that I really need to up my 'art' game, if I'm going to keep going to these things.  Gods know, I have a ton of art supplies, so I certainly have the materials (and some skill... mmmm, maybe I should play to my strengths and see if I could do a good rendition of Captain America punching Hitler?)  I also, weirdly, want to find a way to embrace this ridiculous slur, "Libtard."  I feel like there needs to be a movement to turn around "Libtard" the same way there was with "snowflake."  I don't know if I wrote about this earlier, but at the Powderhorn march that Mason and I went to, there was a woman who's only sign was an oversized snowflake.  It didn't say anything else. I thought it was brilliant.  So, I dunno, I kind of want to have a sign that says, "Another Libtard for Justice" or some such. (If you think of anything brilliant, please leave me a comment. And, yes, I know the word 'Libtard' is super-offensive and ablist, but it's also so freaking ridiculous that I feel like its power should be taken from it, and we should be able to mock it and embrace it somehow.)

Meanwhile, at home, Shawn has been on the VERY slow and super frustrating road to recovery.  Her pain isn't really subsiding, but the muscle relaxants do seem to be doing something. She's no longer sobbing in despair, which is good. Although the muscle relaxants do seem to make her a little loopy and when I had to go off to work on Tuesday I got a very funny (in retrospect) paranoid text from her, in which she'd convinced herself that someone was lurking on our porch (they were not, and possibly, she has since confessed, she might even have dreamed the doorbell ringing.)  So, though I'd been planning on attending MarsCON this weekend, I've decided it might be best to stick closer to home... at least until Shawn is on fewer drugs.  :-)

Mason, we found out yesterday, has qualified to go to state for the National Geographic geography bee (if you follow this link, you will see his name, alphabetically under his school: Washington Technology). The next step will be that on March 31st, Mason will compete against the other qualifiers in the state at the University of Minnesota: Mankato.  So, that's a huge yay!  Shawn and I are typically anti-helicopters in the extreme and don't even go to watch things like last weekend, when Mason and his team went to state for Lego Robotics.  That one was held at Mason's home school, Washington Technology, and lots of other parents tagged along to watch, but we stayed away, mostly because Mason performs better without us watching over his shoulder, and because we really feel that Little Nemo deserves his own adventures.  That being said, one or both of us MAY tag along to this Geography Bee, depending on what the school provides in terms of transportation and whatnot.  I've been telling him, too, that we might have to--for fun--play an all geography Trivial Pursuit game.  Mason LOVES Trivial Pursuit and, to that end, we have collected a TON of different versions of the game.  Goodness knows we have enough card packs to play an all-geography version no problem.  I suggested that we invite Rosemary, but she's, apparently, a little sore to have lost out. (She was a semi-finalist in the in-grade competition, though as Mason put it, "I didn't have to strangle my best friend to take the prize, at least." So I guess she got disqualified before the final round. I can understand. I have a highly competitive streak, myself.)

Tonight are Mason's parent/teacher conferences, which Shawn will likely miss for the FIRST TIME EVER IN MASON'S LIFE.  Believe me, she's fairly crushed about it.  I hate to say it, but I'm weirdly glad to be going on my own, however, because I find that often teachers won't talk directly to me. They hear Shawn introduced as Shawn ROUNDS and they--unconsciously, I believe, but still--treat her like she's the important one, the *only* parent, and even when Shawn makes a point of saying "my wife" when talking to me, I'll get a cursory glance like, "Oh, okay, I guess you're not some random stranger," but then they go back to addressing her.  I find myself desperately trying to insert myself in these things with comments that prove my legitimacy as a parent.  Sometimes I try to blame this phenomenon on the fact that we often schedule our parent/teacher conferences right after work, and so Shawn is dressed in full-on professional clothes and I often look a bit like I forgot to remove my stained shirt and comb my hair.  Shawn is also a physically impressive person at 6'1".  BUT... that doesn't change the fact that I often *feel* like the issue is that I'm not seen as a legitimate parent as the "other" mom.  So, for me, it will be a nice change, since they'll have to talk to me, if they want to talk to a parent. :-P

lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 On Thursday, Shawn threw out her back.  She's been in varying amounts of pain throughout the weekend, ranging from extreme discomfort to 'crying in despair.'  We went to the emergency clinic on Saturday in hopes of some relief. She did get a some prescription pain meds at that point, but they don't entirely seemed to have helped.  (There's been, at least, some change, though it's hard to call it improvement. First is was back pain, then she had shooting nerve pain in her leg, and now it's back to back pain. Dr. Google suggests that with Shawn's bulging disc issues--which were diagnosed decades ago--the back pain is actually BETTER because at least exercise can get the disc back into shape. But this is cold comfort to poor Shawn.)

Today we're headed to her primary care doctor at around 10:30 am.  Hopefully, the doc will have something useful.

Mason had a busy weekend, despite all this. His team competed in the state LEGO robotics tournament.  They didn't advance, but they had plenty to be proud of, nonetheless.  They got call-backs for "Core Values," which is a fancy way of saying 'teamwork.' Mason was in good spirits about it, saying that he really did feel like his team worked well together and he's looking forward to getting everyone together again for the 'wind power' competition later this year. This is their last year competing in LEGO robotics. High schoolers go on to some other version of robotics, apparently. One of Mason's friends was feeling very nostalgic about it, but he's very excited for what's next. I suspect high school is going to be legitimately fun for Mason.  A lot more opportunities are going to open up for him, I suspect. (Of course, I may be projecting. I actually liked high school in terms of the things I got to do, like theatre and such. Being with other high schoolers, less so.)

For myself, I had a very quiet weekend.  I've been trying to write a piece of fiction for an anthology, which has a deadline of tomorrow, with only moderate success.  I'm still very distractible by the current political environment and this anthology asks authors to try to imagine a future based on the current administration's policies.  I had an idea that wasn't mind-numblingly bleak, but coming up with a plot that doesn't end in utter darkness has stymied me.  I'm going to spend today trying to hammer something out, but this might just have been a poor choice in projects for me.... given how easily made anxious I am by all this stuff.

We're having more weird weather here in Minnesota. The sun is shining and, although it was below freezing when we woke up, it's supposed to be 40 degrees (F, that'd be 4 C to most of the rest of the world). That's really very weird for Minnesota in February, especially given that we also have zero snow on the ground.  As a side note, I was very much one of those Twin Citians who was PISSED OFF that we didn't get our promised snowpocalypse this weekend.  For me, it's largely because this is my least favorite situation--where there is no snow so all the season's dirt and garbage have been exposed, but still WAY TOO COLD/FROZEN to actually get out and rake up some of the trash.  Much to Mason's chagrin, I always pick up anything that blows into our yard/over our property line.(I think he thinks I look like some weird garbage lady). 

Other than that, not much is going on here.  I don't even really have much politics to report, what with Congress being in recess.  Somehow I ended up on a great alert service called WatchYourRepsMN: https://watchyourrepsmn.tumblr.com.  I've been using it to call/write my local MN legislators about local issues (something, I have to admit, I've never really followed ALL that closely before.)  Say what you will about the Resistance, but, holy heck, people have gotten organized and are now WATCHING EVERY DAMN THING. Civic involvement for the win, I say. We're not winning at much else, but we are showing up.
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I finally got around to reading Lumberjanes written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis / art by Brooke Allen


 

Here is a picture of the cover of volume one which you might not be able to see. It features the five main characters: Ripley, April, Jo, Molly, and Mal (in Stevenson style, which is hard to explain so go look at the cover of Nimona). Lumberjanes are a kind of Girl Scouts on steroids estrogen, plus these five particular girls keep running into monsters that are far from the average. Each issue collected starts with a little excerpt from the the Lumberjanes handbook, done in a tongue-in-cheek "Miss Manners" style, about how proper young ladies should behave when confronted with the Wilderness. Each one starts out sounding like something horrible from the 1950s, but ends with implications of bad-assery, ala, "A young lady should be well versed in how to cook. After all, her knife skills may come in handy when confronting a mutated grizzly." (That's my example. Stevenson and Ellis are cleverer than I. Unfortunately, I already returned the volumes or I'd give you something actually from the text. But they're very much in that vein.)

At times, for me, the characters were trying a bit too hard to be... hip? I dunno, I guess I mean whatever you kids are calling 'cool' these days... or clever. Mostly, however, I liked them. Jo was, of course, my favorite even before Read more... ) Likewise, Mal and Molly, the lesbian (or at least in love with each other) couple were runners-up.  Of them, though I liked Molly a little better, if only because she seemed nerdy in a way I could relate.  Mal, though, at least, physically looked like me--in college--but, in college, I used to complain that the butchest lesbian we ever saw on TV was Willow from "Buffy," and that wasn't saying much. So, it's really nice to see the butch, punk girls not only being represented but also allowed to secretly/not-so secretly be very NOT butch when it comes to being brave, etc.

The stories themselves impressed me less than the characters.  If you're really hoping for something whiz-bang in terms of storytelling, I'd say go read (or re-read) Nimona. But, if, instead, as one of the Lumberjanes slogans goes "Friendship to the Max" is more your thing, then you will enjoy the heck out of Lumberjanes.

I will say that, in this current political climate, Lumberjanes was exactly what I needed. I got through many nights by pouring myself a hot bath and settling into soak for a good long time while reading Lumberjanes. I used Lumberjanes the way I used "Free! Iwatobi Swim Club" and "Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories" ... which is to say, I turned to them when my brain needed something vaguely mindless, but ultimately happy/satisfying.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
...Or $11.50/hour as the case may be.  

I'm not really sure what possessed me to agree to EVERY Tuesday and Wednesday at the library for the entire month of February.  It's not that I mind putting in the hours themselves, but routine of it... Okay, I realize that most people have to go to the same job every day, five days a week.  I used to do the same thing. I don't know how you do it, okay? Honestly,  don't know how I used to do it.  Maybe it bothered me less when I knew that was just what it was.  I think what's starting to bug to me about this all this regularity lately is that one of the things I've really come to enjoy about my library job is that I go different places at different days and times.  

I don't actually like consistency or regular hours.

If I'm honest, I don't think I ever did.  If I could have found a career that allowed me to keep odd hours, I probably would have done well at it. I liked university life because it was different every semester--so maybe I should have been a college professor. But, I think one of the reasons that I used to hop from job to job was because I'd just get to a point subconsciously where I'd be like, "Yeah, okay, I've done this one thing enough now. Time to move on!"  

Though, I did find several that I lasted years at, like the Immigration History Research Center and the History Center. (Of course, by that time, I was also writing novels on the job.)

Hmmmm, so maybe I'm good at staying at jobs I don't really work at?

Oh well, my proclivities have made for an interesting resume. Too bad I never developed any really useful skills.  I can answer the phone like nobody's business, though.
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 MNs love Muslimes

 
 
Starting with a picture again. If you can't see it, it shows the street-view crowd at Saturday's Solidarity March with Immigrants and Refugees and the back of a woman holding a sign that reads, "Minnesotans Love Muslims, dontcha know."

This was Mason's favorite sign out at the march.  We weren't able to go for very long, but I was pleased that we passed one of the crowd counters before we had to peel off.  It was a good march.  I'm realizing more and more that I need a release like public yelling to deal with the anxiety that the Trump administration fosters in me.  If I don't yell constructively, it comes out in other ways. And my family does not need me going ballistic over directions to Shoreview.  :-)

We drove out to Shoreview yesterday to look at a possible new car.  It was a Ford 500 and had high miles on it, but it seemed like it could have been a good car for us.  But, when we got there it was in much worse shape than advertised (and by "advertised," I actually mean as Shawn's brother described it to us, not an actual ad.)  The windshield was cracked, the interior was filthy, and, most importantly, it wouldn't start... not even with a new battery.  So, that was a bust.  I'm only disappointed because the price was right.  It would have cost us under a thousand bucks, because the guy is pretty desperate to get rid of it, since he's living in Ecuador right now.  

On the other hand, we had a nice time chatting with Shawn's brother, his wife, and our ex-nephew-in-law (eh, he's still our nephew,) Ray.  Shawn and I had never had much of a chance to talk to Ray since the wedding (it was a very short-lived marriage), and, at the risk of sounding like an old lady, i just want to say he's a very nice young man.  Should I also say he "seems to have a good head on his shoulders"? What are the other cliches I could use?  Seriously, though, it was a pleasant time with all of us standing around in the driveway looking at the sad Ford. 

Then we had Rosemary over and I finally managed to make her something she enjoyed eating.  To be fair, it was very simple.  We just had black bean and cheese quesadilas with Spanish rice on the side.  I kind of figured they'd be a hit, since it's the sort of thing I make myself all the time.  But, we're slowly working up to something more complex.  

Today, Shawn is headed up to her brother's house (catching a ride with her other brother) because they're doing some kind of renovation to the basement and there are items up for grabs.  I'm just as happy to be skipping that. It seems very much like a Rounds thing, if you know what I mean.  Mason and I will hold down the home front--do a little house cleaning and whatnot.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
I'm off to volunteer at Quatrefoil in about fifteen minutes.  I don't think I'm going to last very long there.  You can ask my family, but I'm not in a very sociable mood.  (I would actually have said no to this, but I haven't been able to go for the last few weeks, and so I felt guilty).  Plus, Shawn had to make a same-day appointment at the doctor's.  She's developed a fluid filled lump on her elbow (bursitis?)  But since I'm the one who harassed her to make the appointment, I can't complain that I need to cut my day short to take her in.  (Well, I CAN, but it seems disingenuous.)

And I didn't have big plans for the day, anyway.

I was thinking about starting a short story. Every once and a while, I go trolling through the anthology listings at ralan.com.  Yesterday morning, I found something that seemed like a  fun idea--post-apocalypic military horror--and I did some brainstorming with the ladies over coffee and got a pretty good plot idea that's percolating right now in my head.  I'd much rather stay home and do that than deal with... people, even the nice people at the Q.

Although I will say that the idea of horror and post-apocalypic stuff are really depressing... I mean, we kind of live in a horror apocalyptic world right now. 

On the other hand, I got a lead on a job yesterday that's pretty exciting.  I can't say too much about it, because the actual listing hasn't been posted yet, but a friend of mine alerted me to work as an acquiring editor (non-fiction) for a local publisher.  It would be a good fit for me, actually. So I polished off my resume and sent it off.  Fingers crossed.  
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 First, I need to kickstart my career by 2018.  I just got an invite to be one of the GoHs for Minicon next year. It would be nice if I had something to promote by then.

This summer Mason and I are planning a road trip.  Normally, we tag along to Shawn's annual COSA/NAGARA meeting (Council of State Archivists/National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators). This year, however, it's in Boise, Idaho.  Nothing against Idaho, but I'm not sure there's enough stuff there for Mason and I to entertain ourselves for 5 whole days.  So Mason had this brilliant plan.  When mom flies off for Boise, we hit the road.  We drive through the Dakotas and Montana and meet-up with her in Idaho, then we all travel back by car and see Yellowstone in Wyoming and the South Dakota badlands.  

I think this is brilliant. Shawn agrees (especially since she hates flying and this saves her a return trip).

We're going to do it!

In fact, at the library yesterday I picked up some guidebooks because I have no idea what's even in Montana. Glacier National Park is, for one, although that's at the far western end of the state--(though we are talking 5 days to get from point a to point b, and driving straight through we could make Boise in 24 hours.)  Shawn is activating our AAA membership and ordering all the road maps and AAA tourism guides to all the states we could potentially drive through.

The best part is that Shawn's conference isn't until this summer, so we have lots of time to look at maps and guidebooks and plan. I found a couple of really fun guides to interesting backroad attractions in Montana and it's been fun to page through them. A nice distraction from the political barrage. 

I've never travelled much in this direction (that I remember. My parents, of course, brought me back to Wisconsin from my birth place in Sacramento, California, but I have zero memories of any of that as I was an infant.)  I've been to visit Colorado a couple of times, but both times I flew.  I know that a lot of both Dakotas are pretty flat. We drove through some of that to see Mount Rushmore, when Shawn and I went with Karl from Czech. I'm pretty sure we're going to do South Dakota on the way back, though, ironically, all of Shawn's relatives are in North Dakota so we may have to figure out a way to reverse this while also saving Yellowstone for Shawn.  Previously, when we'd talked about road tripping while Shawn was stuck in Boise, the thing that made Shawn sad was the fact that she'd be missing experiencing some of these major landmarks with Mason, particularly Yellowstone which she hasn't seen either. She'll still miss some this way, but not all. Shawn likes traveling when it's by car, so this really is a two-fer. (This really is a brilliant solution. Go, Mason!)

And we will very likely have a new car by then.  One is in the works, in fact, though the one we're looking at has more milage than the one we're currently driving. However, it might be worth it if the price is right AND it has fewer issues. Our current car has sprung an oil leak on top of its preexisting radiator leak.  Not something you want to traverse mountain passes in. 

Doesn't this sound fun?  

Plus, as I said, the planning for it has been a welcome distraction.  It's nice to have a future thing to look forward to and be excited about.

Now I just have to figure out how to re-launch my career!
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 OMG.  So, this is an activism first. I ended up breaking down into tears while calling my state House Representative Erin Murphy.  There's a bill that was introduced to the MN State Legislature, HF1183, which, if passed, would allow health insurance companies to deny health services related to gender transition to trans folk.  I was doing pretty well on the answering machine until I got to why this is important to me.  This is LITERALLY what the friend of a friend killed herself over--a fear that something like this would come to pass and she could no longer get access to the things that are critical to her life.  Two of my other friends have considered (and attempted) suicide over the same thing.  

So, I started balling.

I'm sure Erin Murphy's office will remember the call.

I was lazy with my Project 1491 project. I was supposed to call Senator Franken (who is, of course, on the committee that hears this) about S.J. Resolution 13, which, if passed, with give states the authority to defund Title X programs, which is just the Republican hating on Planned Parenthood some more. I wrote him a postcard on my fancy new post cards that I purchased just for this reason. (Bummer? The card is shiny and slick on BOTH SIDES, which actually made it really hard to write a letter that didn't look like it came from a crazy person.)

Otherwise, I put in 4 hours at Shoreview. Today was labor intensive... but I survived because of our usual Tuesday bagel.

I just finished reading LUMBERJANES Vols. 1 -5, because the library had them.  I will probably write a review here in the next couple of days.  Generally though, I enjoyed them.  Good clean fun, as grandma used to say.  Today I checked out a couple of books about Montana because Mason would really like to plan a summer road trip there. 


lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
A friend and I drove up to North Branch today to door knock to get out the vote for Laurie Warner, who is running in a special election (Feb. 14, Valentines Day) for MN House seat 32B. We all met at the candidate's house, listened to a few speeches and were handed a clipboard with a map and a list of registered Democratic voters.  At this point, we really weren't expected to try to change minds or convince voters to do anything more than show up on Valentine's Day to vote.  

Democracy is cold, tiring work.  

We probably had about forty houses on our list.  We knocked on all the doors, left literature at most, and maybe talked to a half dozen people?  The responses ranged from "Yay, Laurie!" to vaguely annoyed people who used their barking dogs as an excuse to take the literature and shoo us off.  No one was openly hostile, however.  Face it, even *I* don't like it when strangers show up at my door--especially when one of them is holding a clipboard.  So, I feel it went as well as expected.  

I was very glad we weren't knocking on every door, only ones already left leaning.  The whole thing was a huge flashback to the weeks or so that I worked at various "activist" jobs: Clean Water Action Project and ACORN (both jobs I quit very quickly because I HATED the work. It was all the hassle of door knocking and phone banking PLUS having to ask for money.) On the other hand it was also the sort of thing I grew up watching my parents doing... so the circle is unbroken.

At least the weather was fairly decent and this was yet another one of those things that makes me feel less anxious. 

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