lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
2017-05-23 08:13 am
Entry tags:

Leaving, On a Jet Plane....

 We dropped Mason off at the airport just a little over an hour ago.  He's on his way to compete in the KidWind National Competition.  (https://www.kidwind.org) with his team.  A lot of my friends contributed to the team's fundraiser, so A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE. YOU MADE THIS POSSIBLE!! 

If you want to read more about what is actually happening at the National competition: https://www.kidwindchallenge.org/p/17-about-nationals

mason leaving for Anaheim

Mason will be back on Friday, and, until then, Shawn and I have the place to ourselves.  I suspect we'll get up to all sorts of mischief, including maybe going hog wild and cleaning the house. Books will be read with abandon!  We might even have DORITOS AND CHEESE FOR DINNER.

Crazy.

Yesterday, it was sunny, so I spent much of the day outside. I'm really proud of how my faux Japanese garden is looking this year, and I'm working very slowly on getting other parts of the yard in decent shape. (I should really take some pictures before the ENORMOUS bleeding heart stops blooming).  I don't think we'll ever be a showcase garden, but it would be nice if I could look out and feel happy instead of thinking, "OMG what a mess." I definitely think we're well on our way to that.  Especially since several bulbs showed up for stuff I don't remember ordering. I planted them in a couple of different places--a few near the little free library (which is my one remaining "problem" area) and a bunch in the front of the Japanese garden.  I think they're going to be irises...?  We'll have to see what blooms next year, if the squirrels don't eat them all and/or replant them for me.

I got a couple of letters from my international pen friends yesterday.  I love all my pen friends, but I have a couple that I adore. My friend in Canada is AWESOME. Of course, I didn't get her from IPF.  She's actually someone I know from Bleach fandom who volunteered last time I put out a request for pen pals. Her letters always make me happy.

The other letter came from an IPF friend from the Netherlands. I like this particular woman because in her very first letter back to me she talked about her daughter and her daughter's partner (female.) This meant that I felt free to be my honest/authentic self, which is something that I've been sloooooowly revealing to my other IPFers.  I mean I had that one German lady quit me because I told her I wasn't Christian.  Can you imagine if I'd said that I was a big ol' lesbian?  Probably we could have heard her head exploding from across the ocean, eh? But, my Netherlander is great. She got me following the recent election there--another country that held tight against the rise of fascism.  She always closes her letters with "Ah! That Trump of yours!" in various iterations.    

A sign of our times. 
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
2017-05-21 06:04 pm

And... That's a (Rummage) Wrap!

 I'm just plain, ol' tuckered out right now.  Another wet, cloudy, drizzly day.  We finished up the rummage sale and netted Mason's team $95.00.  Not bad, actually, and about what I'd secretly hoped to make. Between that and a few other last minute donations to the GoFund me from a couple of my friends, we added an extra three hundred some bucks!  Hopefully, this will mean less money worries for the Team.

The sale was much slower today, despite the fact that the weather was actually quite a bit nicer.  I think this is a Saturday vs. Sunday thing. I know that when Shawn and I do rummaging we like to do it on Saturdays.  Sundays, particularly rainy ones, are for being curled up on the couch with a good book.  

We had a few humorous interactions with strangers who came to the sale.  One was a set of grandparents who were entertaining the kids for the weekend, it sounded like.  Apparently, after church they traditionally go rummaging and so this time brought the two (amazingly well behaved, if indecisive) kids along. They stopped at our sale specifically hunting for a "digger" for the young man. Apparently, at the previous sale the young lady had gotten a treat and now it was the young man's turn.  He reminded me of Mason at that age, which I would guess to be about three.  But, he was very articulate, though the hilarity ensued when grandma became very insistent that since our bucket was labeled "4 for a Quarter" the two kids had to chose four, and ONLY four, toys. We, alas, had no diggers, but there were plenty of trucks.  The young fellow first wanted the dumper, then didn't, then grandma finally sort of picked something for him so they could get in the car, but then, hilariously, kept coming back and forth to the bin trying to appease the kid.  It cracked me up. Finally the problem was solved by me explaining that, honestly, as long as it was okay with her, the kids could have all the trucks, no extra cost.  I explained that what we didn't sell was going to GoodWill, anyway.  She finally decided this was a good deal and took all three trucks.

The other was the two women (maybe a mother and daughter, but possibly just two good friends, with one slightly older than the other) who checked out all our board games and ended up buying almost twenty dollars worth of things (which at our sale is actually a LOT.) They were funny because they seemed seriously impressed that we "knew our merchandise." I wanted to know where they were shopping previously that people didn't really know what they were selling, but I think they were really surprised that we'd at least tried all our odd board games at least once.  I think I liked them because they reminded me of who Shawn and I are when we're out sale-ing.  We chat pleasantly between ourselves and the sellers and generally talk about all the merchandise. 

One woman came by specifically looking for bookshelves (I hear ya, sister!) but left with another nice piece of furniture.  

Then there was the big haul to GoodWill. Lisa and Shawn did most of the packing up, while I went and pulled up signs. By the time I came back with the car, they were mostly ready for me to jam everything into the trunk and backseat.  We managed to haul it all in one load because Lisa filled up her minivan as well.  I can't believe we finally got all that junk out of the house!  

We only came back with a small bag of LEGOs for Mason and a stool for Shawn to try to use with the loom.  She's got one now, of course, but since she hurt her back, she's been specifically looking for something that might offer a bit more back support. We're hoping that this one from Lisa will do the trick! Fingers crossed.

The last things I have to do before Mason leaves is get him some cash for food in Anaheim.  Shawn is going to start packing his bag a bit tonight, but we're all so wiped out that she'll probably do the lion's share of it tomorrow.  We've already done our bookstore run so that Mason will have new books to bring along for the trip. I hope that Mason remembers to take lots of pictures. Last time he did a big trip like this he actually took notes of things he wanted to remember to tell us about on his iPad. I hope he thinks to do that again. 

Ja ne! 
lydamorehouse: (renji has hair)
2017-05-20 03:52 pm

Circling Mortality

 Someone on Facebook jokingly said, "Since when did Minnesota have a monsoon season?"  It certainly does seem like that. I keep trying to remind myself that cool and wet are so much more normal that dry and hot.  

We had our big rummage sale today.  It was pretty much a downpour all day, but we still managed to move $70.00 worth of stuff. It helped that a couple of big ticket items--including a bicycle--sold.  Despite being wrapped in cling wrap, our signs melted. I had to replace them with ones that we put packing tape over, so I kind of spent the day in a weird loop.  Picking up signs.  Replacing signs.  Rinse, repeat.  

Given how cold and miserable it was, we thought that we might have had an even better day, had the weather decided to cooperate.  So Lisa and Shawn decided that since they had everything so nicely set up in Lisa's garage, they might as well just leave it there and try again in the morning tomorrow.  My feeling is, why not?  $70 is more than I was expecting to make, but if we could get it a little closer to $100 that feels like a nice donation.  100% of the proceeds for this rummage sale is going towards funding Mason's Wind Energy Team's trip to Anaheim. (They leave Tuesday!)  They made enough to book tickets and cover much of hotel, but not quite enough.... also currently they have no funds to cover food for all 8 kids for the three days they're gone.  Any money we make (or that you donate: https://www.gofundme.com/help-send-us-to-kidwind-nationals) will go to offset those costs.  At this point, anything helps.

Otherwise, my mood has been.... feeling my mortality.  I suppose that's not a mood, but it's definitely something that's been on my mind lately.  After Mark died, I've been working hard to stay in touch with his partner Joe.  It's not terribly hard.  He's on my mind a lot.  So it's more that I have to remind myself to go ahead and text Joe when I'm thinking about him.  In fact, we text/chatted a bit today, because he'd been thinking about bringing over some donations to the sale, if the weather had been a little less gross.

I can only imagine how lonely he must be.  It's not hard to think about "what if...?" And, life without Shawn is.... UNTHINKABLE.  And, I would have Mason to share my grief.  Joe has only friends and relatives like me.

Then, today, by chance I discovered that a Facebook acquaintance lost her husband, unexpectedly, a few days ago. He seems to have died in his sleep, probably from a heart attack. I was floored. This is not someone I know terribly well.  We only friended each other several months ago, after hanging out on Google with a mutual friend who had moved out of town.  I thought she was cool, and so I followed her, like you do.  And now... this.  

It's like this "what if...?" is stalking me, circling closer.
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
2017-05-19 09:54 am

Baseball and Garage Sales... Could I Be More American?

 Mason's team did not win against Capitol Hill last night (not even close), BUT Mason got a hit, scored a run, and, for the first time, got someone OUT. Ironically, a kid also named Mason. So, it was almost like he got out his alternate universe self! (See: our tangled history with Captiol Hill in the post below.)

Mason was playing second base, which is, IMHO, a tough position because you have to be constantly alert for base steals, grounders, and of course any balls coming your way.  AND it's best if you have an arm strong enough to comfortably toss to first base, in order to do a classic 'double play.'  And coach kept letting Mason play there, which is a nice change from right field.

Listen to me, sounding like a baseball mom!

The bummer is that Mason is going to be headed off to Anaheim on Tuesday, so he's going to miss the play-offs.  Well, most of them. They start on Monday so he will likely make that one, so long as the informational meeting during 510 doesn't go overtime and it's a home game (or at a field I can find quickly.)  Weirdly, I'm going to miss cheering for the team. I jokingly asked Mason if it would be alright to cheer for the team while he was gone, anyway, and he snapped a quick: NO, DON'T BE CREEPY, IMA.

Speaking of Mason's trip, a bunch of us Kid Wind Team moms are planning a last-ditch fundraiser for the trip: a multi-family garage sale!  If you're interested to see what we're selling, feel free to stop by on Saturday, May 20 (8 am to 4 pm?) 2260 Sargent Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105.  I can tell you there will be lots of unusual things, more than your standard baby clothes (although a lot of those will be there, too!)  Shawn and I have, over the years, collected all sorts of odds and ends--and a fair number of them are on the chopping block, including an old foosball table and an antique adding machine.  It'd be nice if we could raise a couple hundred bucks, so to that end, we're pricing things TO  GO.  We will be very much "or best offer" because what doesn't sell is going straight to GoodWill.

Today I have to go get cash for the cash box and some plastic tarps, because the chance of rain, unfortunately, is quite high. (Bummer.)  But, we can't delay because the kids LEAVE on Tuesday.  We may end up extending the sale into Sunday, though I think it's supposed to be rainy all weekend (because Minnesota now has a monsoon season, apparently. Though, I do feel like this is more NORMAL than the spring droughts we've had in the past, so I'm not *really* complaining, universe!)

Because it's been cold and rainy, I made myself a big pot of borscht. I am literally the only person in my family who eat this. I don't mind making  big batch, because that means I can have ready-made lunch for a couple of days.  But, the hilarious thing is that while gathering ingredients at the store today, I FORGOT THE CABBAGE. For borscht!!  This is the second time I've made borscht with everything but the cabbage, so I guess that's partly why I keep doing this, but what heck.  Next time I spontaneously decide to make borscht I need to think: beets AND cabbage.

Right, I'm off to start the pre-garage sale errands!

Ja matta!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2017-05-18 03:10 pm

Rivalry, Thy Name is Capitol Hill

I just found out from the Loft that my "Not Just the Zombie Apocalypse" class which is being offered in July is ALREADY filled. In fact, they wanted to know if I would be willing to up my registration number to 20 (initially I had capped it at 15, because 15 teenagers is a LOT.)  Whelp, now I'm going to potentially have a many as 20, because i said yes.  The only bummer about this is that I usually try to make sure that the students get a chance to have their work critiqued and 20 is going to make doing that nearly impossible. MAYBE we can figure out something. I might ask them to bring in the opening page of their work-in-progress (or make one up) so that we can do a little mentor-guided peer critique.  Finding a beta reader can be an awesome thing, so maybe if we do a couple of exercises like that, people will get a sense of how critiquing ought to work.  

Twenty students, holy crap.

Anyway, normally, right now I'd be sitting outside of Mason's school waiting to pick him up.  But today he has a late-start baseball game against his old rival, Capitol Hill.  

Mason's rivalry with Capitol Hill started in pre-K.  He had a friend in pre-K called Noah.  Noah was a lot like Mason, only... bossier. He tended to mock Mason for things like not knowing how to count after 100 or how to spell Mississippi. (Keep in mind, this is PRE-Kindergarten.  Both Mason and Noah equally qualified for gifted and talented, and Mason, like Noah, was ALREADY READING. Something neither of them would really be taught for another year or two.)  Noah ended going off to Capitol Hill, the Gifted & Talented magnet school.  We chose to keep Mason at Crossroads for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that, while Mason is gifted, he's NOT a "high achiever."  Giving Mason extra busywork results in him blowing off said busywork to read more about animals and fish that live in the twilight zone under the ocean, aka the thing HE wants to learn about at the moment. (This is, btw, still very true of Mason. He has a tendency to do what is required to get the grades and not much more. Unlike his friend Rosemary, who will voluntarily do the History Day competition, even when it's not mandatory.)  

The rivalry continues into Mason's tenure at Washington Technical, because for the longest time there were only TWO junior high school math teams in Saint Paul, Washington and, you guessed it, Capitol Hill.  Capitol Hill still having mostly gifted and talented students at this point regularly wiped the floor with Mason's team at the various math meets.  Defeat at the hands of the Capitol Hill math team is something Mason's math team has now faced for THREE YEARS IN A ROW.  (Despite Mason placing among the top scorers in the region, individually.) 

Then, out of all of the students who qualified for the state competition for the National Geographic geography bee, Mason was one... as was one kid from.... yep!... Capitol Hill. THAT GUY made it into the top ten finalists, and I have to admit that both Mason and I silently cheered when he was finally knocked out of the competition.       

So, for Mason, today's game against Capitol Hill's baseball team is very FRAUGHT.  Those guys have no idea how motivated Mason is to make a run against them.  

Should be interesting.

As long as the rain stays away....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2017-05-17 09:22 am

Wednesday is Reading Day?

I kind of feel like an idiot that I only just discovered that on both Dreamwidth and LiveJournal, Wednesday has been a designated "What are you reading?" day for... well, probably since forever, for all I know.

I'm going to try to remember to participate, because I love reading other people's posts about their reading lists, even though lately I have been having a hell of a time consuming entire novels. I don't know if this problem has to do with mood, my dyslexia, the political situation in America, or my attention span. But, whatever causes it, I tend to ride it out by reading a LOT of graphic novels. So, since last Wednesday, I have read:

Princess Jellyfish (Volumes 2 & 3) by Akiko Higashimura: It should probably be noted that I read the two-in-one volumes of both 2 & 3, which actually brings me up to volume 6 of the traditionally packaged tankōbon. Princess Jellyfish is the story of Tsukimi, a nerd obsessed with jellyfish, who lives in a female-only commune. Her life becomes topsy-turvy when she mets Kuranosuki, the son of a high-powered politician, who likes to cross dress. The plot basically revolves around three basic questions: will the commune get sold out from under the otaku women in order to make way for a high-rise development? Will the others in the commune figure out that Kuranosuki is actually a man? And will Tsukimi fall in love with either Kuranosuki or his dorky elder brother? Princess Jellyfish is josei (basically: written for an older female audience), so, despite these romantic elements, I'm not automatically expecting a HEA. I have some caveats/reservations before I would recommend Princess Jellyfish, in particular around how 'performing femininity' seems to net the nerd girls more positive results than when they're being their authentic selves...(and I HATE that message and that trope). BUT, so far, there's enough progress in the 'hey, nerd girls have useful skills/inner beauty too!' counterpoint that I'm willing to roll with this and enjoy its whacky ensemble cast. A lot of people chimed in when I posted about this on MangaKast, because the anime is apparently VERY popular, despite there being only one season and it having been produced some time ago.

I read a number of one-shot and single volume yaoi on Sunday while I was waiting for the dozens of small batches of flieschkueckle to fry. I read Ace no Kyuujitsu by Nishida Hagishi (about a baseball star that hooks up with a cruise ship captain) and Host is Down by Nishin Matsumi (a one-shot/single chapter story of an android seemingly alone on a derelict ship).

The things I have in my queue/TBR pile right now include:

Manga:

Nozaki-kun Monthly Girls
' by Izumi Tsubaki. I loved this anime and, when I saw that the Saint Paul library had copies of the manga, I decided to try reading it as well. The title character Nozaki is a high schooler who also has a "secret" life as a shojo (girls' romantic) mangaka. I have volumes 2-4, because... libraries. But, I'm not sure that's going to stop me from reading these, since I know how the story starts thanks to the anime.

Books:

Waiting for me on the hold shelf of Ramsey County's Roseville branch are:

Company Town by Madeline Ashby
The Reader by Traci Chee
Waypoint Kangaroo by Curtis C. Chen

So, that's what I'm reading and hoping to read... How about you?





lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
2017-05-16 09:39 am

Rainy Day People

 Poor Mason, I think his baseball game is going to get rained out.  It's been spontaneously storming on and off all day so far, with no sign of abating. Although it's only 10 am.  Maybe something will happen and everything will dry out before 3:30 pm.

He's been really looking forward to this game--well, any game.  

In fact, last night Shawn and I took him out to "Play It Again, Sports" and dropped a fairly decent chunk of change on a used baseball bat so that he can continue to practice and play ball this summer.  He really, REALLY wants to get good enough to be on the varsity team in high school next year.  I'm perfectly wiling to help him practice, but I have the skills of any 50 year old nerd who never played any kind of sport, which is to say: almost none.

I'm really hoping that Mason works up the nerve to ask his teammate Eh-Ku if he would be wiling to get together this summer and practice throwing and hitting and such, but I get what that might be difficult for a thirteen year old boy to manage. Hell, asking people you admire for help learning a thing you don't feel especially good at is hard for anyone of any age.  

If nothing else, we found a good batting cage for him to go to. It costs money, but not a huge amount. 

I managed to get over to Rachel Hoffman-Dachelet's place to pick up some of the shade plants she was splitting. I got a ton of ostrich feather ferns, which I put in the back border of my fake Japanese garden. (The garden is fake Japanese on two counts. One, I am obviously not Japanese and this is not Japan, but, possibly more importantly, the Zen aesthetic of clean lines is one I can only aspire to, but never achieve.  It's kind of anthesis of my basic personality which can be broadly categorized as: loud and messy.)  I also put in a whole bunch of wild ginger in a ring around the new rock border I put at the top of the main hill of our front yard.  The dirt there is root bound and hard packed, so if any of them live I will be deeply grateful to whatever Nature God(-desses) favor me.  I also cleaned up another problem area and planted hosta and some Siberian Irises.  (I may have misplaced the irises.  I think they need more sun than I gave them.) BUT the idea there is that I'm really trying to work on some areas that are "gateways" into our backyard.  Similarly, I put a bunch of stella del'ord day lilies as a border to the other exit/entrance to our backyard. 

I worked like a fiend to get everything in the ground last night, and I'm VERY grateful for the downpours this morning for MY sake.  Now, I just hope things clear up for Mason's.

We've got a projected high of 83 degrees F (28.3 C) today and I don't know how that could happen without sun.  But sun and a muddy field still doesn't do Mason's team much good, alas.

Tonight is my last Loft class. I'm going to miss this crew. They were AMAZING.  Like I've been saying, I'm not sure if you can say that I was the best teacher, but, in this case, that's beside the point because what I did for these people is facilitate their workshopping.  And, honestly, when you're an intermediate to advanced student, that's all you REALLY need: colleagues at (or above) the same level you are that can push your skills forward.  At the advanced/intermediate level the main thing to do is write, critique/get critiqued, send out, and repeat until something hits.

Often the trick is finding a good group, so that's definitely what the Loft provided.... and I happened to be there to help it happen.  So, I feel very proud of them, even though I kind of did nothing especially profound.  

It's going to be weird to have my Tuesday nights free again. I won't necessarily miss the critique load, though.  60 pages of in-depth critique every week? It's a lot, especially on the weeks when Wyrdsmiths also hands-out (although we met last time without any critique, just to have an industry gossip.... I mean networking meeting.  So that wasn't as bad as it could have been.)  

I'll have to find something to do with myself on Tuesday nights.... maybe I should try this writing thing for myself, eh?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2017-05-15 01:52 pm
Entry tags:

Mother's Day, Like You Only Have One

 Why isn't it punctuated "Mothers' Day"?  That's my question.  I mean when Mason was born, I decided that I was far too selfish to share a day with Shawn and so we invented Ima's Day (December 5, the day I legally adopted him), which makes sense as a singular, since it is only celebrated by Mason, who, in point of fact, only has one person he calls 'Ima.' But, like the big Hallmark thing is supposed to be for all mothers, isn't it?

Regardless.

Shawn had a lovely Mother's Day. Facebook informed her that four years ago, we had apparently made the food of her people, aka fleischkuekle, and so she turned her big brown eyes to me and said, "Pleeeeaaaassssee." Which always works, so we spent a huge portion of the day making and frying up fleischkuekle. We now have 120 of these lovely little meat pockets. And, I spent three hours deep frying them--that was a little less fun, but, honestly, I've gotten to the point where I don't have to watch them, I can listen to the sound of the grease.  There's a particular change in the bubbling noises when they're ready to be flipped. So, I sat next to the deep frier and read. I ended up reading a lot of random manga, which I queued up for Mangakast.  (If you ever want to read my reviews of the manga I'm reading, check out: https://mangakast.wordpress.com. WARNING: I do read a lot of NSFW yaoi and yuri and I review them using the grown-up words, though I do tend to eschew writing out the swears for some reason, probably because I started this blog/podcast when Mason was still quite young.)

Today, I managed to get outside and mow before the thunderstorm hit today. I also remembered to pull the grill into the garage. We'd grilled out on Saturday, after my shift at the library.

The weather was amazing this weekend, although I'm not super-fond of actual heat, which is to say anything over 72 degrees F (22.2 C).

I didn't manage any gardening despite the amazing weather, mostly because I worked noon to 5 on Saturday at Roseville, and then cooked all dang day yesterday (don't listen to me, it was fun. There's something really soul feeding rather than tiring about making ethnic food like that, which is made by the whole family, talking in the kitchen all day, generally in community, as it were.)

I actually managed a lot today. For some reason I was convinced I'd have no time to read and review my critiques for tomorrow's class so I quick drove out to Office Max for printer cartridges for our little Jet Ink thingie, printed out stuff for class, and read some work that I'm being paid to critique this morning as well.  I did a bunch of laundry, most of the dishes, mowed, and... a whole slue of little things I'd been meaning to do forever.  I guess this is what productivity is, eh?  I'm not very familiar.

Speaking of that, I ought to get that next load in the drier.  

Ja mata!
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
2017-05-10 07:29 pm

I Hit That Point in My Language Tapes...

 ...where I'm skeevily trying to pick people up.  

I don't know why this always seems to happen in the language CDs I'm learning from, but here I am on lesson seven and I am already asking:

Me: Nani ka nomumassen ka? (Wouldn't you like something to drink?)
Her: ii desu ne (Sure / it's okay) Doko de? (Where at? Basically: where should we go?)
Me: Watashi no tokoro de.  (my place.)

What the hell, language tape!  I am NOT THIS KIND OF GIRL.  

And I am not kidding you. Pimsluer is teaching me to ask, "At my place?" BEFORE TEACHING ME HOW TO ASK "at the restaurant?" Restaurant is literally "restaurant" in Japanese. It's a borrow word. Sure, you have to kind of say it in a Japanese accent, but C'MON!  Also, I'm apparently a little rapey, because the next conversation goes:

Me: Nani o nomumasu ka? (What would you like to drink?)
Her: Ah... so desu ne... wakarimassen. (Hmmm, let me see.... I don't know.)
Me: Wakarimassen ka? (You don't know?) O-sake? Biiru? (Sake? Beer?)

I can not believe I'm like, "You don't know?" What kind of jerk am I? Am I really shaming this nice woman about her being hesitant and indecisive? Then, I'm pushing the alcohol!??!  Why not kouhi? (coffee) Or o-cha? (Green tea, which, like sake, gets an honorific 'o' in front of it.)

On the other hand, I'm certainly learning all the super casual interactions and, because this method really seems to works for me in terms of how I'm learning and the amount of repetition, I'm remembering everything.  I was talking to a friend of mine who is also studying Japanese and she told me her flashcards are all very "Your company is very efficient!" and other such business-like transactions. I told her that I'm clearly studying to be a frat boy to her salaryman.  Suddenly I had this wonderful image of the two of us in Japan: me, trying to hustle the women on the train, and her, brokering the deal with Nissan.  She can get us reduced rates at the hotel; meanwhile, I'm making small talk with the receptionist at the hotel.... 

Weirdly sort of suits my personality. I mean, I hope I'm not rapey, but you know the sort of super-pushy aggressively overly friendly sort.. that's me.  As I told my friend, I already talk to strangers on the train. This isn't that far off. :-)

So what do you say? Watashi no tokoro de nani ka nomumassen ka?  (Wanna have drinks at my place?) 
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2017-05-08 08:14 am

Monday... Again?

 Ah, it's already Monday and I have to go to work in about an hour. (I work at 10 am at the White Bear Lake branch, and it takes me a little over a half hour to get there.)  Somehow I got through the weekend without doing my homework for class tomorrow night.  I have a feeling that there will be much panicked reading this evening. :-P  

On the other hand I did manage some gardening.  I should take a picture of the amazing bleeding heart that we have in our faux Japanese garden.  (I would love a legit Japanese-style garden, but I think the closest thing I can hope for is to emulate the aesthetic of one. I'm just not that tidy and organized a gardener.) The bleeding heart is huge and gorgeous, and inspired me to pick up a couple more bleeding hearts, because: damn.  I should also connect the hose to water the new plantings.  Last week I didn't have to remember to do that because I was basically gardening in between the rain showers.  This week looks to be fairly dry and sunny, so I'd better get out there and water things. It'd be stupid to do all the transplanting and planting just to have everything croak.

Sunday, Mason's baseball team did a fundraising gig at the Cub Foods on Larpenteur Avenue.  Nine of them working as baggers raise a couple hundred bucks.  When I picked up Mason, coach made sure to let me know that Mason "had good hustle."  

Here's a picture our friend Sean Murphy (SMM Photo) took for us at last Thursday's game:

SMM Photography

Pretty good action shots.  Of course, Murphy is a serious sports photographer and you should have seen the size of his specialty lens!  Huuuuuge, as 45 might say.

Speaking of fundraisers, though, Mason is going to suggest the whole bagging thing to his Wind Energy Teacher/Advisor. His wind team still has a couple thousand dollars to fundraise to make their goal, and so they're looking for ways to make that difference up in the next few weeks.  My friend Naomi thought of a rummage sale for charity, and so we've cooked up something with one of the other moms from the team.  Gods know, Shawn and I have a ton of stuff to contribute.  We don't really have a great place to host it, but the other mom does, so fingers crossed that we can raise a few more bucks for the kids that way.  I mean, obviously, having made it past their deadline, Washington Tech is committed to sending these kids to Anaheim, but it would be nice to continue to lighten the school's burden.  (You can still donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/help-send-us-to-kidwind-nationals).  They leave on the 23rd of this month.  We're hoping to have the rummage sale that Saturday RIGHT BEFORE they leave, May 20th.  I'll post details about hours and location here and on all my other social media outlets once we have everything firmed up. 

That means we're starting to eye everything in the house with the "can I sell that???" look.  I think the cats will be lucky to escape without being tagged "$10 OR BEST OFFER."  ;-)  

Right. I should go get dressed for work. See y'all on the flip side.

lydamorehouse: (renji has hair)
2017-05-03 07:58 am
Entry tags:

How Did it Get to Be Wednesday Already??

I think I stepped into a time warp.... or maybe I was just THAT busy these last few days?  I'm really not sure. It was one or the other. At least I do REMEMBER time passing, so I'm hopeful that it was the latter.  

Monday I worked at the library.  It was a very, very short shift--only three hours, 10 am to 1 pm.  Even so, I considered calling in to cancel because Mason woke up with a migraine and stayed home from school, but, given that he spent the day sleeping it off, I figured he'd hardly notice me gone for three hours. Plus, he's thirteen and has mastered the life skill of baking a frozen pizza for lunch.  

I'm not sure how much help I was at the library, however.  I was having one of those days were doing one thing took my whole attention and took FOREVER.  Normally--and, for some reason, especially at this particular branch--I'm a workhorse.  I do all the things kind of mindlessly and efficiently. This time I was like, "Oh, a book! I love books!" and I'd read the back cover flap and somehow an entire half hour would go away and when the book finally hit the shelf I was all, "Uh, oops, somehow I still have two thirds of a cart undone...." (On the other hand, I found a memoir about two pen pals that got me curious about other books about pen palling.)

When I left they were complaining about how they'd SOMEHOW fallen behind.  As I waved goodbye, I was thinking, "Yeah, I did that. You're welcome!"

Monday was also the day it SNOWED. I took a video and posted it on Facebook actually, because: dang.  It melted almost instantly but it was briefly disheartening to see tulips covered in snow.

Yesterday I spent hanging out with a friend during the day and teaching at the Loft at night.  My class continues to go really well. As I was saying to a friend, in a lot of ways, teaching the advanced/intermediate students is easy money.  I mean I put a lot of time and effort into critiquing, but, the thing is, so do they.  Learning to think about how writing WORKS (and when it doesn't) is invaluable. At least, it was for me. That's how I learned what I did about writing an why I always structure my classes so that a huge percentage of the time is spent engaging in peer (and instructor) critique.  I mean, I think that's also something people really want from a class--you know, a chance to talk about their own work, have it reviewed, and discussed.

I left last night full of energy, too. Of course I am an extrovert, so that would happen to me no matter what. I always leave the party late, with increased energy.  But my students are also really smart and engaged, so that's a double plus good boost. I came home at 11 pm to discover that I had forgotten to pick up cat food, so I turned around and went out to Walgreen's to pick up a couple of boxes of canned wet food. I probably didn't get to bed and asleep until midnight.  Which would be fine, I suppose, if the alarm didn't go off at 5:30 am. 

But today I did that thing where I pulled myself up out from under the covers long enough to put my clothes on and then I crawled back in to snooze until Shawn yelled that we were leaving. So, I probably stole an extra hour of sleep that way.  Granted, not DEEP sleep, but I'll take what I can get.

I also heard back from Twin Cities Geek. They're interested in having me, and so I sent along bios and photos and such.  Now I'm just waiting to figure out assignments.  I don't know if, like at Bitter Empire, I just do the thing and send it to them or if I'm going to get actual "do this thing" kinds of assignments.  Regardless, I'm honored, because reading through their site they seems like 'the cool kids.' (in a good way, like those slightly cooler than you, 'sempai'-types, but with whom you really, really want to hang out, because OMG SO COOL.)

Today I've got a few errands to run and then I'm going to spend some time at the coffee shop with 'The Ladies.' (A group that started out as the female contingent of Wyrdsmiths, but has morphed into a group of cool writer women.)
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2017-04-29 01:43 pm
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Slow Saturday

 I kept up on my tiny bit of gardening every day goal today, at least.  My neighbors at the end of the block were giving away edging rocks. I hauled all of those over to set up a title border at the top of my hill.  As I think I mentioned before, the plan is to give up on trying to grow grass there and plant a deep/dappled shade garden. If I could afford it, it would be neat to do a woodland shade garden with native plants, but that might be asking too much (both of my skill set and my pocketbook).  I can totally do ferns and such, though.

Next step will be buying some dirt from Menards.  Part of the idea of the little rock border at the top of the hill is to hopefully stop all the dirt from eroding down the hill.  

Otherwise, sent in an application to write for Twin Cities Geek.  It's not a paying gig, but they were specifically looking for women to review comic books and since that's something I'm reading, anyway, I thought it might be fun to do it for them.

You?


lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
2017-04-28 09:53 am

My Unofficial Resolutions for 2017

 I suspect I had other resolutions earlier this year, but I've forgotten them.  I'm certainly not doing them, unless one of them was to try to do a little bit of gardening every decent-weather day.  Yeah, so that's the thing I'm trying to do this year. I'm really hoping it will stop my gardens from becoming their usual weed-infested, overgrown disaster areas.  It would be one thing if, when I let my gardens grow wild, they would become a haven for woodland creatures.  Somehow that doesn't happen. Somehow I just end up with a mess.

To that end, so far this year, I have spent probably a total of four hours on a couple of problem areas.  One, hardly anyone will see, but we have this pathway that leads from our backyard to the front.  It's usually completely ignored by me and becomes the place the weeds with the sticky burrs live. Then every time I take the garbage out and come back again, I have to pick those little sticky bastards off my sleeves.  WELL. A couple of days ago, I dug that whole area out and transplanted some hostas and day lilies and now my fingers are crossed that the predicted snow does not kill them.   

Today I spent an hour or so on the front hill. The front hill... when we first moved into this house we had lush, green grass growing down the hillside.  It was a really big pain to mow, but it was GRASS (something, it turns out, I have no skill in growing or maintaining.)  Now... now there's a lot of dirt and weeds.  Underneath the weeds are some hosta, so pulled out a lot of the weeds today and uncovered several hosta. A few were big enough to split and a couple were in places where they were going to get smothered out--so I moved some stuff around.  I'm hoping this will help things look intentional.

The second resolution is that I'm going to try to learn more conversational Japanese.  I did NOT start this year out well in that regard as I have had to drop out of my community education class, however, I did find a REALLY GREAT set of language CDs at the library which I'm listening to while I do the dishes/make dinner/other housework.  I love these CDs because they're actually teaching me some useful phrases ("I don't understand Japanese being the FIRST THING THEY TAUGHT ME) and they keep bringing up the things you learned in earlier lessons on heavy repeat.  I actually, for once, feel like I'm retaining some of this information I'm learning.  That's a HUGE step forward in the language department for me. Because I can't otherwise seem to retain information. I told Shawn that I'm going to have to buy this particular brand of language CD.  

I should probably resolve to write fiction, too, but sometimes I feel like I should give up.  :-(
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2017-04-26 09:38 am

Science! Send Some Smart Kids to Anaheim!

 I think I blasted this out on all my social media, but I failed to mention it here.... Mason's "Wind Energy Team" participated in the Minnesota Renewable Energy Challenge a few weeks ago, and their team qualified to go to the NATIONAL competition in Anaheim, California. This is a pretty cool deal.  Not only did these kids have to design and build a working windmill, but they also had to do an on-the-fly design and build challenge at the competition.  Mason reported to me that their on-the-fly windmill actually successfully picked up ALL the washers.

Go, SCIENCE!

These are our future engineers, my friends!

The only problem is that Washington Tech is not a rich school.  The kids are required to fundraise 100% of the travel expenses.  Added pressure is that the principal won't start the paperwork (which has a deadline of May 1) until they've raised a "significant" amount.  Thanks to a lot of big donations (that biggest one is from us, because Shawn and I decided that we would have otherwise funded Mason's travel, so we should just go ahead an donate what we would have paid), they're getting REAAAAAAALLLLLY close to halfway. I'm fairly certain that the principal would accept half as "significant," but we don't know.

Thing is, there's no need to break the bank.  Every little bit helps.  So, if you've got a spare dollar or five dollars for science these kids would really, really appreciate it.  

Even if you DON'T have a spare buck, you should check out their GoFundMe page, anyway, and watch the video to check out the cool stuff they're up to.  The narrator is Mason's friend Rosemary, and you can see Mason in several of the shots (hint: the white dude.)

https://www.gofundme.com/help-send-us-to-kidwind-nationals
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
2017-04-24 04:49 pm
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"FB": What Would YOU Think It Stands For?

 Under normal circumstances, in America, FB would be Facebook for a lot of people, right?  WELL... if you're a German pen pal (and trust me, if you are a German woman of a certain age, I think it's a fair guess to say that you either are, or have experimented with pen friending at some point in your life,) FB stands for Friendship Book.  

What is a friendship book?  It's... okay, it's usually handmade, here's a picture of one sent to me:


german friendship book

Inside the booklet are people's names and addresses. Some people handwrite their addresses, but others have address labels specially printed for FBs, which include a whole lot of mysterious acronyms.  "NPW" = New Pen Pal Wanted.  SNNP = "Sorry! No New Pen Pals!" (I'm considering keeping a list handy, because some of them are counterintuitive.)

Often people will include the various languages they could potentially correspond in, you might see "NPW in English, François,.." etc.

How you use this is kind of like a chain letter, only much less malevolent.  One person starts it (in the case of my example above someone has started it for someone else), and they send it on to one of their pen friends. That pen friend adds their name (and whatever notation they might like), and then they pass it on to one of their friends.  When the booklet is filled, it's returned to the original, initial address.  Sometimes these are used to actually gain new pen pals, but sometimes they're just sent off into the world to see how far they go before they come back.  There's apparently a whole subculture of FBs, which... weirdly, I am now part of, that include things called "decos" and "crams." In addition to the several books that have now been passed to me from German pen pals (this is REALLY a German thing,) I also received a Friendship Sheet

Here's another couple examples of what they can look like (sorry this is a little blurry.)

more FBs

If anyone out there wants to be part of this German pen palling thing, let me know. I should note that it's not unusual for people from other countries to have gotten roped into this.  The only thing they need to have had is a German pen pal.  I've seen names from Russia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Austria, and I'm not the only US pen pal to have been part of one of these.  

It's a weird/cool thing. Feels very retro, very 1980s.  It's kind fun.
lydamorehouse: (shield)
2017-04-22 08:33 pm
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What Does Democracy Look Like?

 Today, democracy looks like a mad scientist (photo credit to Curtis Johnson, Stand Up Minnesota.)



My own sign was less clever, but I did manage to make one before I left for the March for Science (Saint Paul, Minnesota):

400

This march was smaller than the Women's March, but there was still a HUGE turn out.  I can't believe the reports that are only counting us at 10,000. I would easily have said 50 or 60 thousand.  I went with Mason and his friend Rosemary and her mom (and a friend of her mom's).  We were able to get fairly close to the Cathedral to be dropped off.  We could even have found parking, but the plan was for a drop-off. It may be that with the nice weather, a lot more people were finding non-car ways of getting to the march.  I know that my friend Naomi biked, and she reported that she could hardly find a spot to lock her bike.  Given that this march took place on Earth Day, I wouldn't be surprised if a large number of people biked in (there was still snow on the ground for the Women's March.)

The signs were all amazing. So many math puns. 

As I remarked to Rosemary's mom, it was impressive how "on theme" everyone was.  I mean, there were a couple of re-treads. I saw at least one: "Things are so bad, the Introverts are here!" and one or two on the overarching theme of Trump Sucks, which could have been recycled from the Women's March.  But, from what I saw, science really was the main theme. The T-Rexes were there. Someone (people, probably,) had a giant wholly mammoth puppet.  Lab coats seemed to be a bigger theme than the knitted "brain" hats (which were meant to the be science version of the pussy hats.)    

The sun was bright.  It was actually kind of hot, despite the typical Spring-like weather.  Me and the kids gave up early (the acoustics for the speakers were still really very bad) and we hopped on the light rail and went to Ichiddo Ramen for some sustenance.  Then we light railed it the rest of the way home.  

It was a good march, I'd say.  Am I fired up to keep fighting?  I hope so.  I hope everyone there is still making all the calls and sending the postcards.  We must continue to resist!

Via la revolution!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2017-04-21 08:22 am

I'm Currently Avoiding Going to the DMV

 Like you do.

But apparently, something didn't happen that should have when we donated our last car because we got a tabs renewal notice from the DMV for the old Taurus.  I called the Make-a-Wish people and the woman I talked to was very... helpful/not helpful.  Possibly she could have been MORE helpful if I wasn't half-asleep and had known which questions to ask while talking to her, but all I ended up getting out of our conversation was that maybe there was some part of the sale process that I didn't do.  LUCKILY, Shawn photocopied our original title, so I can bring that and the acknowledgment of sale to the DMV in Roseville (I go there because it tends to be less... soul-dead).  Hopefully, someone there will hand me the right form or be more clear about where I need to go to get the proper form (and/or tell me for sure if anything really needs to be done, because what's especially confusing is that Make-a-Wish has already SOLD my car to someone else. You'd think if I didn't do some part of the transfer of sale, that couldn't happen. But who knows? Hopefully the DMV knows.)

So, yeah, I'm avoiding going there at the moment.

I'm avoiding heading out because it's hard and I don't want to do it, but also I'm  hoping to combine this trip to Roseville with a stop in at the Roseville Library.  A manga volume that I requested has come in and I have a bunch of books that need to go back.  

I'm giving up on ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY.  I feel... badly about this.  I know and like the author, Charlie Jane Anders, and worse, there was nothing inherently wrong with this book.  In fact, I really feel like the old "It's not you, it's me" is applicable here, because what would happen is that I would start reading, enjoy myself for however long, put the book down and then forget about it completely for days at a time.  I've renewed the book once already. I could do it again, but I'm going to take this as a sign that I'm just not in the right mood for it. (Or possibly book reading, in general. As I said in my previous post, sometimes my brain only wants to consume graphic novels/manga.) So, it's not like I'm QUITTING the book. More that I'm setting it aside, for now.

You can see how guilty I feel, right?

I have a bunch of other books that I've been moving around the house rather than reading, too.  I'm hoping one of them will finally hit me at the right time/in the right headspace and I'll jump into it with both feet. I kind of hate these periods when they hit me.  I mean, it's not like I'm not reading at ALL, but some part of me still thinks of all the comic books/graphic novels/manga I read as "not proper books." Which is silly because I'm usually the first to jump up and defend graphic novels as REAL LITERATURE, because they are.  And I KNOW this.

Whelp, first day of glorious sunshine and I'm going to go spend it at the DMV. Wish me luck!


lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
2017-04-20 11:13 am

Another Gray Day...

It's kind of grim and rainy out again this morning.  I spent almost two hours at Hy-Vee this morning.  That's the last time I go THIS LONG without doing my basic staples shopping. On the other hand, our pantry is now stocked with All The Things.  Ah, tomato soup again!

Mason is supposed to have a baseball game tonight, but I wonder if it will be cancelled due to weather.  As the person who will have to sit on the cold bleachers, I really, really hope it is.  If not, I'm bringing not only a PARKA, but also a thermos of hot chocolate.  Maybe some blankets, too.

This weekend is the March for Science.  I'm looking forward to it, because I have not been very good in the last few weeks about keeping on top of my congress-critters and local legislators. I think the last thing I did was the town hall, and there's still SO MUCH stuff to fight.  Still, I try to remind myself that this is neither a sprint NOR a marathon; it's a relay race. It's okay to hand the baton to someone else and let them run with it for a while. 

I depressed myself listening to the results from the Ossoff race in Georgia, especially the news of the midnight hour (almost literally) voting machine "glitch."  I can't help but feel that we were robbed of a straight-up win. The truth is, we'll never know, but the doubts will ALWAYS linger, especially since he had a clear lead before for the "corrupted" memory card was found. Shit like that makes me lose faith.  

I mean, yes, there was a groundswell movement. Yes, he nearly did it... but, what's that going to matter, if people start to worry that their votes aren't being legitimately counted? And, Georgia isn't the only place. We never even got a decent recount of Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania, despite best efforts.

ARGH.

So.... I've been reading a lot of comic books.  I've been working my way through the Hugo nominated graphic novels. So far, I read Ms. Marvel: Super Famous (Vol. 3), Black Panther: Nation Under Our Feet (vol. 1), Vision: A Little Worse Than a Man (vol. 1) and  Vision: Little Better Than a Beast (Vol.2), and Paper Girls (Vol 1.).  I started Montress: Awakening (Vol. 1), which has been interesting so far. The only one I haven't tried to get is Saga (Vol. 6) because I suspect I'd need to read the other 5 volumes to know what's going on. Pretty much everyone says I should be reading Saga, anyway, but I'm not and I'm being obstinate about starting it for some reason, probably the whole "eh, but all the cool kids are doing it, so it can't be that great." After all, I finally got around to trying Bitch Planet, and I could have done without.  Not at ALL what I was hoping for there and absolutely NOT worth the hype.

I have all the Hugo nominee novels at home, but I have not been able to really get into any of them.  As I was telling a friend of mine the other day, I go through these periods where I read a LOT of novels and other times when my brain can only handle shorter, graphic stuff.  I've been in that second phase lately.  Like, I'll sit down with a book in my lap and two seconds later I've set it down and wandered off.  The thing about graphic novels is that in two seconds, I've read half of it, so it's no as much a strain to continue on for however many more seconds it takes to finish the thing.

I also haven't been able to write much.  I'm THIS close to finishing the latest installment in my long-running Byakuya/Renji fan fic, but I just haven't been motivated to keep on with it.

I blame Trump.
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
2017-04-19 10:33 am
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On Being a Baseball Mom...

 Mostly, Mason is everything that two "indoorsy," geeky mothers would want. He reads a lot, is a gamer, and is generally fairly nerdy, himself.

Except this one thing... his love for baseball.  

Parenting requires sacrifice and let me tell you the wind was COLD last night out at Lawson Field.  Shawn and I sat on metal bleachers and cheered on the Washington Eagles, even though they lost 5 to 8.  


Mason up to bat

Last night was also my class at the Loft, so I actually ended up having to leave Mason and his mom at the field in order to make it to class at 7:30 pm. (The game was a late start.)  But, Shawn has a Go-To card, so they hopped the bus/light rail and made it home in no time.  

Class continues to be amazing. I finally had a lecture that didn't feel entirely like babble (did Venus go direct yet??) But, whatever the reason, I was glad. We ALMOST got the timing to work out, too. I think we only overshot class by about 5 minutes, which isn't egregious, at least. I also try to be very clear that if people need to go, they should.  But, you know, Minnesotans. They'd sit there politely, make themselves late for the bus, and curse me all the way home... and I wouldn't hear about it until the evaluations.  *sigh*

I'm also volunteering to host the student reading at the Loft. I just sent out the information to my students.  Hopefully a bunch of them will sign-up or I will be STUCK WITH POETS....and I can barely think of a worse fate. (Unless they were science fiction poets. Those folks, I like.)

If was funny because normally when I ask if my student have read the assigned short story only one or two hands go up. This time, when we were dismissing, one woman said, "Wait, aren't we going to talk about the story??" It was "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies" which I believe is up for BOTH the Nebula and the Hugo this year.  It's an interesting story if for no other reason than it is told in bullet points. There's been some unique (in a good way, not the Minnesotan way) formatting in this year's Nebula nominees.  Our first story was a chose-your-own adventure, the second was semi-epistolary.  Fascinating stuff.

Right, I'm off to hang out with my Wednesday writing group. See you all on the flip side.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
2017-04-14 01:42 pm
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Hey, Hollywood/Disney....!

 There are two things I think would make Hollywood/Disney 743 ZILLION dollars only I'm certain they will never, ever do them... or, if they somehow do, they'll do them badly. 

1. "Lady" Loki, aka Loki in their female form.  So, I saw the new Thor teaser trailer and just about lost my mind.  For a very brief moment, before everyone on the internet crushed my dreams. I thought that unmasked Hela was Loki.  I thought, "Blessed Mother, they've done it. They're going with gender fluid Loki." Loki, who *is* canonically gender fluid (both in the comic books and the myths), should really be the focus of this new movie since, last we saw, Loki had seized Asgard.  A movie of Thor v. Loki would pretty much send all the fan grrls and boyz into a frenzy the same way seeing Tony/Bucky/Steve in Captain America: Civil War did. Gender fluid Loki with hot female lead + already smoking hot Tom Hiddleston = 345.2 ZILLION DOLLARS in profit. I swear to all the gods, Marvel/Disney.  Just do it. Watch people line up and scream, "Just take my money already!"

2. Then I saw the new Star Wars trailer and thought, "Meh, okay, but WHERE'S MY QUEER POLY KISS between Poe/Finn/Rey???!!" I like Naomi's reaction when I posed that question on FB. "Maybe they're saving it for the next teaser?" Because honestly, if I don't get AT LEAST a Poe/Finn romance/subtext I will be very unhappy.  I will give you my vision of how I'd love to see a tiny (harmless) scene go:
 
Rey (leans into cockpit to give Finn a kiss): Good luck on the mission!

Finn (smiles happily at her, then turns to Poe, leans over to kiss him): Good luck on the mission!

Poe (looks at Rey)

Rey (looks at Poe)

Poe and Rey (simultaneously give each other the thumbs up!) 

I know there's a big contingent of people who are really rooting for ace Rey. I'm okay with Rey having no romantic interest in the movie (though it would be even cooler if she were EXPLICITLY asexual.) But, I think that this OT3 thing would be amaze balls.  

So of course they'll never do it.

OT3!