lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I don't remember the last time I called my congress critters.  I've been thinking it's probably time again. I don't want them thinking that we've lost faith, but I think I finally had that 'OMG I can't cope/too much' moment a couple of weeks ago. I need to pull myself back together and get back on the letters and postcards and phone calls.

The world isn't going to save itself.

The other thing I've slowed down on is my Japanese.  I didn't listen to my CDs at all while I was away in LaCrosse and, even though I've been back a couple of days already, I've not picked them up again.  I will have to throw the "Japanese: A Short Course" CDs I got from the library into the car's CD player so I can at least have something for the times when the radio sucks (which is kind always these days, I've noticed.)  

I have to head off to work in about 45 minutes.  Probably, since it's White Bear Lake, I should head off a little earlier than that, because the construction on Snelling has been a bear.  I worked last night at Roseville, which was busy (as usual) but fairly stress free.  They were still behind from Memorial Day weekend and so I spent the last two hours on the desk dashing back and forth between answering patron questions and helping the volunteers shelve the requests.  SO MANY requests.  On the flip side, I FINALLY got a copy of A Closed and Common Orbit, which I started reading last night.  I think I was #47 on the list... and I'm sure there's someone waiting for it after me.  

I watered the front and the new transplants a little bit this morning because I somehow, miraculously, have grass under the maple tree and I'd like to keep it alive.  Plus the little fuckers squirrels dug up one of the violet plants I carefully transplanted all the way from LaCrosse. So I had to replant yesterday, so I thought it could use a little boost of wet today.  It's actually supposed to be kind of HOT this weekend, so I think I'll finally be able to move my bonsai tree outside.  (*whispers* I can't believe I've managed to keep this tree alive this long. Normally, I suck at keeping anything resembling a houseplant alive....)

I'll close with a funny story from yesterday.  I have cash again because Mason bought a game using my PayPal account (he always pays me back in cash from his allowance).  As I do the moment I have "folding money" I stopped by my regular coffee shop, Claddagh, to get my morning infusion of caffeine.  The barista there said that she was thinking of me over the weekend because the coffeeshop team had a working retreat over Memorial Day.  One of the games they played was "try to name as many customers, their drinks, and one fact about them as fast as you can in five minutes."  Apparently, EVERYONE, every single barista there, named me.  They all remembered my drink and most of them remembered that I was a writer.  But, this cracks me up on a deep and profound level, because... yes, I'm THAT customer. Yet another sign that I am definitely not "from around here" was that Tim, one of the guys who is even MORE regular than me, was remembered only by half of them and most of them had trouble naming a fact about his life.  Tim is much more typically Minnesotan.  Personally, I could tell you several things about him: he plays Fall Out 4 on his phone, his son is the exact same age as Mason, loves to hunt, and has a dog named Chester.  But, see, that's because I'm THAT GIRL the one who talks to everyone about EVERYTHING.

:-)

I did joke though that I think I would have failed this quiz of theirs on their retreat because I am pretty sure I can only name about four of my barista.  I know the owner and Becky... but the woman who talked to me?  Maybe Molly?  There's a Lydia there and I know this because we talked about how I'm often called by her name and she is tattooed so I had to sing her the "Lydia, oh Lydia, Lydia the tattooed lady!" song.  But, the rest of them, even the ones who know me so well?  I would be hard pressed.

Now I have a new goal.  I need to learn all my barista's names.
lydamorehouse: (swoon)
That's not entirely true. I spent much of today working on an urban fantasy proposal for Carina Press, which is having a limited time offer of accepting proposal packages.  I've got until June 4th to turn it in, and I'm feeling fairly positive about it.  I managed to dig something up that had amused me in the past, and have been reworking it.  I had already written a proposal at one point and I had a fairly decent start on it. So all I really have to do between now and midnight on Sunday is write like a demon, because OF COURSE they want sample chapters.  

Ah, my old enemy, sample chapters, we met again!

The other part of the day I spent with my friend Naomi, catching up on news from WisCON. Every once and awhile I feel like I should consider going back to WisCON. I used to love it and it's probably worth my while to go again.  The big problem is that we've gotten into this lovely routine of visiting my folks over Memorial Day weekend and I would hate to break that tradition. Maybe I'll go back once Mason is in college. That's not actually that long from now. Four or five years?  (Hard to believe, but there it is!)

I'll have a lot to report tomorrow for "What Are You Reading, Wednesday" as I read a TON over the weekend.

I have to work tomorrow night, which is something I can't forget to do.  I say that because I spent much of today thinking today was either Monday or already Wednesday. 

Mason is in the basement playing video games and Shawn is down there with him, looming on a rug.  I'm upstairs contemplating a bath and writing to my Canadian pen pal, whom I owe a letter. The only reason I haven't gotten up to start either one of those is because I have TWO cats. One is sitting, warming my lap, and the other is perched on the back of the comfy chair, warming my back. It's tough to leave, but I suppose I'd best.

Caio.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I've been reading a lot of people's blogs lately. I don't know if this is a product of my pen-palling, but I find myself more and more drawn to the stories of people's lives and their various takes on things. This morning I ended up reading a mini-rant someone posted about a ship war in the Tokyo Ghoul fandom, and that inspired me to write my own mini-rant about the Trials and Tribulations of Being a Queer Otaku. I don't have anything particularly brilliant to say, but, what the heck, this is what blogs are for, right?

When I posted it to Facebook, a friend of mine came on and poked at the open wound that is my relationship to the ending of Bleach. She didn't do so intentionally, she just casually mentioned that she was find with Renji ending up with Rukia at the end because, for her, "it felt right." I don't even necessarily disagree, but in going back and forth with her, I realized that I might have been a lot better with that particular pairing (which absolutely had a foundation in canon, at least on Renji's part,) IF ANY queer couples had survived in tact. Read more... )

So, yeah, I might be less bitter about RenRuki--which I have always supported, even in my super gay fan fic--(I always make Renji bi), if the other queer characters in Bleach had not been so poorly treated.

But no one cares about that, but me.

In other, non-fannish news, Mason is expected home late tonight. I'm looking forward to hearing all the stories of Anaheim.  I did find out that their team did NOT place at the competition, but Mason had not expected them to, so he didn't seem the least bit disappointed. In fact, he kept say, "It was so much fun!"  I'm super-glad that we have somehow instilled in him this attitude.  It will serve him well all his life, IMHO.

We're packing to head off to LaCrosse tomorrow early.  Poor Mason will land sometime around midnight and then be bundled into a car around 7 or 8 am the next morning (or same morning, if it's after midnight, eh?)  But, as I told him, he can sleep in the car.

It's nice enough out that I mowed. I have to say that--knock on wood--the yard is looking half-decent this year.  Now I just have to keep it up, which is always the struggle, isn't it?
lydamorehouse: (renji has hair)
 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: (Default)
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: (nic & coffee)
 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)
 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: (renji has hair)
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)
 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: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Everyone deals with "big" birthdays differently.

For instance, this year, both Shawn and I are turning 50. Shawn has been very typically unhappy with her "transition through the demographic lifespan." She would like to have remained in her early 40s.  She decided this year that she's going to game-ify birthdays. So instead of wishing her a happy birthday last Saturday, she wanted everyone to congratulate her for achieving LEVEL 50--which I have to admit sounds pretty badass. Some of you may not know that I met my wife playing D&D.  (I know, she SEEMS so mundane!  But she's secretly pretty darn nerdy.)  In fact, in one of those 'if you wrote this into a novel, everyone would say that things like this don't happen in Real Life (tm)" moments, one of the last things that our campaign did was marry Shawn and my characters.  She was an assassin; I was a thief.  And for a while, our college's cafe (as opposed to their formal cafeteria) sported graffiti of a heart pierced by a katana with our character names in the middle.  This was a cafe that had decades of graffiti, going all the way back to its founding, so it wasn't quite as awful vandalism that you might imagine.  So, for Shawn to have achieved level 50 as an assassin seems fairly legit.

For the most part, I'm not terribly fussed about growing older. In fact, I have a tendency to pre-birthday myself shortly after my actual birthday. For instance, I already think of myself as 50, even though I be 49 until mid-November.  I have actually accidentally lied to reporters and interviewers because of this tendency, and many printed articles about me have me as a year older than I was at the time.  Ah, well. It's always a pleasant surprise when I realize I'm not nearly as old as I think I am.  (I do this on my driver's license, too. I always add at least 5 pounds to my weight.  I figure that way I can look at it and think, "Wow, I'm thinner than I think I am!")

But... 50 is a big one, so I've decided to think of it as going into my Hobbit years.  I'm going to accept the fact that I can comfortably rest my arms on the swell of my belly and just embrace the odd bits of hair that my body has started sprouting.  I'm going to aggressively garden and intentionally watch sunsets with a cup of tea (my equivalent of a pipe).  I'm going to make sure my larder is always well stocked in case a bunch of random dwarves show up, and, while I will complain when they do, I will lay out a fine spread and enjoy myself--because food should be a pleasure and we should *all* know about second breakfast and elevenies. There will be a  lot of jigsaw puzzles and other Hobbit-like pursuits, like gossiping about my neighbors and avoiding grand adventures--except, of course, when they come to you.  You wouldn't want to be rude, now would you?
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 Well, apparently, there is such a thing as free photo development.

I mean, there probably is, somewhere out on the internet, but what happened to me was actually kind of cool.  As I've written before, I have a bunch of folks that I'm corresponding with as part of my International Pen Friends membership.  There are a couple of things I'm learning, one of which is that it's standard to send along a photo of yourself.  This is the sort of thing I should have been prepared for, but wasn't.  Several people have sent along theirs and so I decided today was the day I'd head over to Walgreen's and get a few developed.  Since the advent of the digital camera/iPhone, we've been TERRIBLE about having actual developed pictures around.  

Despite not yet having my morning coffee, I managed to figure out the photo printing machine and sent off my order.  A message flashed up that seemed to imply that I could pick up my photos TODAY.... in an hour?  But, the message went by so fast (and I didn't get any kind of receipt) that I waited by the photo register for a minute to see if someone could tell me if I should... hang around? Actually go home and come back in an hour? Or should I really just come back tomorrow morning or something?  A manager-type came over and said that he would "press some buttons" and then it should just be a couple of minutes. So, I agreed to wander the store (I always enjoy fondling the art supplies and pens) and come back. When I did, another person tried to help me out. At first she couldn't find my pictures, but when she did, she couldn't get them to ring up on the machine. Apparently, there's some kind of new photo package software and it EATS THE PRICE TICKETS.  They called the manager over and he handed me my photos and quoted the Monopoly game: "Bank error in your favor."  I understood what he implied, but I still stuttered, "What? You're not serious?" He nodded and said, "It's too much of a hassle for three bucks."  

Deal.

The pictures I picked for my pen pals include one of my Tate Hallaway head shots--of me by a cemetery gate. Then, I also included one of me protesting--because that is literally what I look like most days.  And... then there's a lovely one of Shawn and Mason.  

I haven't come out to all my pen pals yet.

I know I'm being silly, but I have already lost a pen pal due to the fact that I'm a pagan.  This lovely correspondent, Bianca, from Germany asked me what I typically do for Christmas and so I told her.  It involves a Yule Log and no Christ in Christmas.  I mean, I think I said it much nicer than that, but, well, that was the last I heard from her.

I find that odd. One of the boxes that I checked as an "interest" on my pen pal compatibility chart was "religion." I guess *I* presumed that meant that anyone I'd be connected with had an interest in religions, as in plural, multitudes, all of them--not just looking to talk to other Christians.  Apparently, that's not the case.  One of my Australians just asked me what I plan to do for Easter, so I told her that we already celebrated Ostara....

So, maybe I will whittle this down to one or two correspondents.  

I suspect that coming out as queer might be the last straw for some of these folks. I have mentioned Shawn and use pronouns when I have to, but I've been kind of vague. Which is weird, because normally I'm like, "Hi, Lyda Morehouse, lesbian."  Of course in person, looking at me, it's hard not to guess.

On the other hand, my Netherlander already knows because in her first reply to me, she told me about her daughter and her daughter's partner and how they have cats named after Star Trek captains.  :-)

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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (Bazz-B)
 The revolution will long and hard, my comrades, so I have followed the advice of every columnist out there and have chosen Thursday as my "Aggressive Self-Care Day."

What this means is that, for the most part, I try to stay away from political news.  I say "for the most part," because it's fairly impossible to miss all of it and I don't actively stop listening to the radio shows that give me comfort like "The Stephanie Miller Show" (because humorous) and "Democracy Now" (because solid, steady.)  Both of those are highly political, but neither of them TEND to stress me out.  What tends to stress me out is the all-caps frenzy of social media.  

Basically, I take a day where I stay away from Twitter and Facebook, and where I actively consider doing things that refresh me: reading, writing, drawing, practicing Japanese, and watching shows. Downtime things.  The fun downtime thing I've been enjoying lately is watching "Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories" on Netflix.  

Do you ever have things that get recommended to you on various venues? "Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories" was one of those things for me.  Sometimes, it works out badly (see my review of Tokyo Ghoul on MangaKast,) but this time I've been really enjoying That Thing That Got Rec'd a Bunch. As I told another friend, the simple, sweet stories are a perfect antidote for this political climate.  The only drawback? Every episode makes me hungry. Basically, the set up is that somewhere in Tokyo there's a small, one-man show diner that opens at midnight and stays open until 7 am.  Our proprietor has a simple menu, but he'll make anything his customers request, so long as he has the ingredients for it. Each episode is named for a customer's custom order and the food, in some way, features in the story.  As I say above, the stories are simple and mostly end happily... certainly with the promise of happiness. Then in a typically Japanese way, there's a weird, short omake at the end where everyone kind of breaks character/doesn't quite break character and silliness (and probably puns I don't understand) ensue.  The episodes are anime length--about 30 minutes each.  PERFECT for washing dishes.

Also there are several food ordering, food related vocabulary words that come up a lot, so I can pretend I'm also practicing Japanese while watching.  

Today, I was supposed to be at Shoreview again, but Mason woke up with a stomach flu type thing. I bailed in favor of taking care of him.

How's you?

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