lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 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)
 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: (ticked off Ichigo)
 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)
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)
 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: (Default)
 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: (ticked off Ichigo)
 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: (nic & coffee)
 A lot happened since I last posted, however.  Mason and I went down to Mankato, Minnesota, on Thursday night. We had a fun time traveling together as we always do.  We ended up stopping early for "road food" in Burnsville.  Shawn laughed pretty hard when I called from the "Old Country Buffet," given that we hadn't even managed to break the exo-suburbs before pulling over.  To be fair, Mason had had one slice of pizza for lunch (one of those school fundraising things) and I was just generally starving, too.  Of course, the food there was.... meh. I always make the mistake of thinking the taco bar should be okay. (It's not.)

We only got turned around a couple of times once we reached Mankato.  The in-city map was printed very small and there was the classic confusion of is Stadium Road the same as Highway 58 (or whatever)???  Turns out it was, but we at least figure that out BEFORE we drove too far out of town.  Yes, there is great irony in the fact that we got LOST ON THE WAY TO THE GEOGRAPHY BEE.

We spent out hotel time doing geography quizzes based on Trivial Pursuit cards, which was our fun way of studying.  Mason did bring along some atlases and such, but it was much more fun to read the questions and think... is the answer going to be the USSR? Or some other country that no longer exists because this deck was printed in the early 1990s???!  We laughed a lot, which, IMHO, is the very best way to study.

On the day of, we got up early (too early in my case. I woke up precisely when the cats normally would rouse me: 5:45 am.)  We were too nervous to do much constructive, so we at at the hotel (passably okay) and then thew everything into the car, checked out, and headed to the bee, which was being held in the Student Union of Mankato State University, about four or five blocks away.

Here's another attempt at a picture:

Mason at bee 2017

This is a picture of a smiling (smirking?) Mason holding up the classic yellow National Geographic magazine's frame around his face.  He's wearing a blue plaid shirt and you can see his official geography be name tag over the right pocket of his shirt.  The wall behind him is marble-esque and has some letters carved into it, which make up some part of Mankato State University, I suspect.  

After some brief discussion, it was decided that I sit out the preliminary round. Two of his teachers were there--Ms. Lesser and Ms. Croone.  Ms. Croone was there as one of the judges, but Ms. Lesser went in with Mason to root for him.  I would have done the same, but we decided that me being there might make Mason more nervous. If you can't tell, one of the big themes of this trip for us was that we really, really wanted this to be as FUN as possible. No stressing about how far we made it in the competition, etc.  Just to accept that it's really pretty damn awesome that we made it this far--because it is/was.  Mason had to beat out not only his whole class, but also the other two grades that were eligible (there were some 6th graders in the competition: Mason is in eighth.) Out of the 500 people who got that far, only the top 100 scorers on the written test advanced to state.  

Out of those 100? ONLY 10 advanced to the final round.

Mason wasn't one of those. But both he and his teacher thought that he did very well in the preliminary round, but he was eliminated. You have to get a near perfect score (only one wrong is allowed, two wrong and you're OUT) to advance.  

We stayed to watch the final elimination round and it was INTENSE.  There were a couple interesting things that happened.  At one point, in the second round of questions, you could hear someone in the audience give the right answer. What I found fascinating is that, though there was an admonishment from the National Geographic judges to the audience, that question was allowed to stand (no re-take) and the person who answered that question went on to be the final-place winner.  I'm not sure how I feel about that, but the judges decided to let it stand.  I'm really surprised that they didn't give that particular competitor a different question. But, whatever.

it's also interesting to me that the winner was actually the previous year's winner... and home-schooled.  I've been trying to decide if I feel like homeschooling is an unfair advantage here, or not.

Also, 90% of the competitors were white and male.

As Mason wondered out loud, "Why? What about geography has a gender bias?" Outside of institutionalized sexism and racism, I have no idea. Two of the ten finalists were obvious PoCs, but they were all male.

Other than that depressing observation, we had fun.  I don't know if there is a high school version, so Mason may not have a chance to do this again, but we ARE planning to watch the National bee when it's aired.  Despite the weird start, we ended up liking the state champion.  Mason called him, "The Han Solo of Geography Bees" because it was very clear that he was making a lot of educated guesses that were turning out correct (you could tell by his occasional SHOCKED expression.)  That made him very likable, so we will root for him in the Nationals.

The drive home was fun. Mason LOVES road trips, so we had our usual enjoyment of watching small towns roll by, commenting on especially creepy rural cemeteries, etc.  We managed to leave behind Mason's school iPad's cord, but that was the only even vaguely dark cloud on the whole trip. (Cue a lot of calling the hotel, not getting answers, and then finally what I think of as a brush off, which was, "Nope we never found it." The next whole rigamarole will be getting a new one either from school, or apparently the Apple store, but that's a whole other headache. Though, it should be noted, ultimately VERY solvable.)

Saturday was Shawn's birthday. She has now successfully leveled up to level 50. When I went out to fetch the birthday cake and coffee on Saturday morning a lot of the people I interacted with asked, "So BIG plans?"  I had to say, "Listen, Shawn is an introvert. It's big enough we're going out to dinner." And, it was true, after the excitement of cake and presents we spent much of her birthday doing a lot of napping and jigsaw puzzling on the porch.  It was so lovely out that I did a little garden prep, but that was about the pinnacle of excitement for us.  :-)  Dinner was at the Indian place in Maplewood, per usual. Shawn and I both really love that place.  Turns out, Mason loves it now, too, so that's extra wonderful.
 

 



lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 ...waiting to head back up the hill to pick up Shawn to take her to physical therapy.  For those of you who have been following along with all of Shawn's back problems, I'm happy to report that she's doing better (?)  The screaming pain, at least, is being managed. Shawn tells me that parts of her leg are still numb, however, which seems pretty BAD, if you ask me. She considers this progress, so I have to take her word for it.  I guess the PT guy told her that what they were aiming for was for the pain to mostly return to her lower back, and Shawn says they've got it there.  

I still yell at her any time she tries to pick things up.  

She's also still forbidden to do laundry, but Mason has been very happy to take over that duty.  So, it's working out just fine. (Well, Shawn will tell you that no one is doing things WHEN and HOW she would, but we would counter that things *are* GETTING DONE so that ought to count for something!)

Meanwhile, Mason and are getting pumped to head off to Mankato tonight.  We've booked a hotel so that we can be there bright and early for his big state National Geographic geography bee competition tomorrow.  We were looking through all of the material again last night and I realized that there are only 5 students from the Minneapolis/St. Paul school system going.  Actually, there is at least one person who qualified who is listed as homeschooled. I can't remember if they were one of the Twin Citians or not, though.

OF COURSE one of the other Saint Paul schools that qualified a student was Capitol Hill, Mason's deep, deep rival school (thanks to Math Club.)

it should be a fun time, no matter what happens.  I'm only sad that Shawn is going to have to stay home.  Because, wouldn't you know it, Mark's memorial service is tomorrow.  One of us really needs to go to that. Shawn decided that it would be her because she really wasn't sure how her back was going to do with the trip to Mankato, anyway. It's not THAT far away, but Shawn has been really working to not sit too much--she even got a standing desk at her PT's advice.  And being stuck in a car is different than sitting for a half hour at a funeral home chapel.  

I'm a little bummed to be missing the service, actually. Many of Mark's friends are flamingly fabulous and it might be quite the thing to see how Margaret deals with all of that gay on display.  Plus, I'd like to be there to support Joe, Mark's partner.  But, it's not like we could send Mason to the bee on his own.... 

So that's that, I guess.

Fingers crossed we have fun news tomorrow!
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 Mason is in the Junior Honor Society.  As part of his membership, in addition to keeping up his grades, he's required to do a certain number of volunteer hours. It's difficult to find places that accept thirteen year-old volunteers.  However, Shawn found that Second Harvest will take volunteers 8 and older.  We managed to find free slots (no easy task!) for yesterday from 1:00 - 3:30 pm.  

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

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

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

Anyway.  

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

Coming Out

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

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

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

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

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

Grrr.

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

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

So that's that.



---
* I discovered, in real life, that I am actually willing, without a plan, to intercede in a situation with a stranger just because it looked wrong.  I may tell the details later, but suffice to say that I'm now putting the MN ACLU on my speed dial.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 The other thing that happened yesterday was that Mason's LEGO League team won the regional competition!  He and his team will be going on to state! I would post a picture of Mason with this medallion, but I'm trying to figure out what's up with the pictures. (I thought I had them fixed, because *I* can see them on any device, even not logged into my journal.  All our devices, however, are Macs or iThings. I wonder if that's part of it. I'm going to try to do more research, because a journal without ANY pictures, ever, is kind of sad.)

I've also steadily started to get replies from the letters of introduction that I wrote to my various pen pals. Yesterday, I got a reply from my ONE correspondent in the Netherlands. She seems amazing. She's the first one to acknowledge that I wrote to all of my pen friends that I did NOT vote for the current present.  Her reply was, "GOOD for you."  She also just casually mentioned her daughter's girlfriend.  I LIKE this pen pal.  It should be very easy to reply to her.

Yay!
lydamorehouse: (shield)
 I almost wish I lived in a red state.

Almost, being the operative word here, but the problem is impact, right? I mean, there have been a lot of calls to action to get on the phone to your congress reps to tell them to denounce Steve Bannon.  I plan to do that, but it's not going to have a lot sway when it comes from Minnesota, which is not only very blue, but also represented by the likes of Al Franken.  Also, I'm not sure what we can actually get done there beyond symbolic statements.  Of course, I'm not saying we shouldn't try.  I sincerely feel every effort is worth doing.

I wonder if another thing I could do is write or call various media outlets and demand they stop using the term 'alt-right' and start saying Neo-Nazi or white supremacist, which is, in point of fact, accurate.  Maybe I will see if anyone is organizing that sort of thing. If not, maybe I should just start planning a lot of letters to the editor.  I am a writer, after all, this is one skill I can loan to the revolution.

Speaking of feeling like a drop in the bucket (while also feeling extremely proud of my city and state), when I went to sign-up for new volunteer orientation at Planned Parenthood, I discovered that the entire month of December is already booked. They do two orientations a month and have space for 50 people. 50! That means that, locally, over a hundred NEW people have committed to volunteering for PP.  This is where I wish they could bus us into states where more help is needed.  Although, maybe, they will send us out to rural spots--those of us who can and will travel.  I certainly could do that.

I've been talking to people about how *do* we go forward from here, how *do* we talk to people who might have voted for Trump, and I don't know the answer to that one at all.  Most people in my life are very much taking the stance of 'never surrender' and no compromise. I think that's absolutely appropriate.  I really loved (though was also harrowed by) the article by Masha Gessen, "Autocracy: Rules for Survival,"  which makes a very compelling case for never normalizing any of the hate or craziness of this new regime we're facing. I really think, too, that if people close to you, like family, voted for Trump it's absolutely appropriate to say no to Thanksgiving with them.  I think people who voted for hate need to disavow it in some real and concrete way (like, not just words; I want to see your donation to the ACLU or hear about how you called your congress person to repudiate bigotry) before I make any step towards them.  They need to be the ones coming to us to bridge the gap, not the other way around.

But, like, how do you chat with the bus driver on the way to work? I think it is important to continue to make connections. Maybe now more than ever.  I took a chance saying 'stay safe' to a white neighbor and discovered that he was gay, like me.  This is one way in which I feel like the safety pins can be more than a hollow gesture. If I see someone else wearing one, maybe we can get to talking, maybe we find some common ground, maybe I make a colleague, a friend.  And maybe our talking about this stuff on the bus/in a public space gets overheard by someone who needs to hear it, someone who needs to wake up to it or who maybe had been feeling lost and alone.  

Tiny steps.

But the ways in which we might need to be there for each other might not come with the obvious, righteous sound of the horn of Gondor.  We might just have to hold each other's hand as we pick our way through Mirkwood, and try to stay on the path.

All the while, we also have to remember to save energy for the daily protests.  I just found this wonderful group that's pledging to give us something to DO every day that Trump is president.  It's called Project 1460 and you can sign up to get daily emails with calls to action.

Meanwhile, life goes on.  Last night was Mason's student conferences. In a surprise to no one, Mason is more than passing all his classes. Washington does this very odd thing where they have the students give reports to their parents. This is sort of self-defeating, in a way.  The good students prepare and do a good presentation.  I have no idea if the kids who are failing even show up, you know?  I suppose that's true, no matter what, and maybe the idea is to get the middle of the road students to feel some kind of shame in having to face their parents and tell them that their grades are NOT awesome.  Maybe the idea is to get a dialogue going about what kids are feeling and what parents can do to actually help.  I don't know, but it's kind of an odd practice and feels somewhat useless for us when Mason is just reading a script.  On the other hand, we FINALLY got to meet his 8th grade math teacher, whom we've been trying to connect with since Mason took 8th grade math in 6th grade.  Mr. K kind of cracked us up because he made a point to say that of all the advanced students he's ever had in his classes Mason was the "most well socialized."  I took full credit for that, jokingly.  

The other Mason news is that we went for his once-every-few-years check-up on his hydronephrosis and got... cautious news.  We've been expecting Mason's doctor to sign off and say that the major problems have been cleared up with gravity and growing older, but the kidney is not improving as fast as they'd hoped.  We're back on a more frequent watch.  Not good news, but not panic-enducing yet either. Mason's kidneys continue to grow and the hydronephrosis affects his left kidney far more severely.  Everything is still working, but we were very bummed not to get the sign-off/all-clear we were hoping for.

One day at a time. One day at a time.
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 The Dementors did their best to wear me out on Friday, but I managed to survive, anyway.  Luckily, because the deliveries were late, I actually managed to find some time to compulsively organize juvenile series titles.  (Weirdly, things like this relax me.) Also, the author in me rebels whenever I see all the 39 Clues books all jammed together willy-nilly on a shelf, like it's not important that some of the books are part of the regular series and some are from the Unstoppable series or the Double Cross or the Cahills vs. Vespers... especially when the subtitles are right there on the spine.  THIS IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE.  Especially, I would think to young readers.  

Anyway, I survived that AND dinner with one of Shawn's brothers.

Mark Friday as a success.

Today, Mason is off at Math Counts. I delivered him at 8:00 am at Washington and they're being bussed off to some college for the competition.

This means Shawn and I had the house to ourselves this morning, so there's been a whole lot of nothing going on, as well as a trip to the Goodwill outlet.  

The Goodwill Outlet is different from other Goodwill shops in that it's just completely unorganized bins of STUFF that people dig through and pay for by the pound. For our loom, we brought home 45 pounds of fabric.  It was an interesting experience.  Shawn had a blast, and was among her people, digging away for bargains.  I hung back a little, since I had no specific goal and watched people.  There was one guy obsessively digging through bins for shoes.  He seemed intent on finding pairs.  He had an entire cart full of shoes, and was super methodical in the way he sorted and dug.  The staff all knew him by name.  My first impression was that he was legit OCD, but then it occurred to me that he might just have a method for hunting down to a science and be searching for shoes for a shelter or some other non-profit organization.  There was another woman who was actually very desperately hunting for clothes for herself/her family, and had a budget that seemed to involve pocket change.  That was very hard to see, but, as Shawn pointed out, the good news is that she did walk away from the super-store with three or four shirts for fifteen cents.  I also saw lots of people hunting through pockets and purses for... extras?  That was fascinating, especially as I watched one woman pull out what was clearly nicotine gum from a purse, consider them, and then toss them aside.  I was fascinated because my first thought was: "Who doesn't clean out their purse before they donate it?" Of course, the answer immediately presented itself: "Dead people."

Still, a very interesting experience.  
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Mercury's backwardness* continues to affect my household.

Last night, Mason was hit by a terrible bout of insomnia.  Normally, if he can function at ALL, we send him off to school.  Today?  We decided to let him catch up with his sleep.  The semester is almost over and it's the day after a long weekend. He should be fine to catch up, particularly once he's gotten a decent amount of sleep.  

Consequentially, the whole household was delayed getting out the door.  Normally, this makes me a little cranky, if only because, even without a regular job, it still messes up my routine.  Today, however, I was glad for it, because I've been meaning to get to the bank to finish off a transaction that will FINALLY finish setting up my account on ACX and I can get the whole ball rolling with my voice actor friend, Jack, and the audible versions of my AngeLINK series.  We dawdled.  I bought coffee.  I waited patiently through traffic lights, drove the speed limit....

AND THE DANG BANK ISN'T OPEN UNTIL 9 AM.

Even after all that noodling around, I still ended up having to go home for a half hour before heading back out.  Again, none of this is fatal, but gosh darn it, it's irritating.

On the other hand, yesterday was extremely pleasant.  For any overseas friends reading this, yesterday was what you would call a bank holiday here in the U.S.:  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Schools were closed, as were all federal businesses.  Shawn had the day off work.

Since it was also supposed to be a bazillion degrees below zero (the scientific term), we decided to make the day a game day.  It would have been also a pajama day, but at 8:30 am our doorbell rang.  It was our neighbor, Ruthie, whose car wouldn't start. She needed a jump.  After running upstairs and throwing on some jeans, I pulled the car around and waited while they got it going.  (Ruthie is a nurse and doesn't get holidays like the rest of us and had a shift starting at 9 am.) But, outside of that tiny bit of excitement, we spent the day quietly.  We played two games of Munchkin (we have a lot of sets and we found a fun combo in Apocalypse and Mission Impossible/Spy,) and a seriously cut throat game of Monopoly.  I posted a picture of our game board on Facebook because by the end the board was RED with hotels. Ever since the time I quietly became the slumlord of Mediterranean/Baltic and brought my fellow gamers to their knees with the crushing rent of those awful properties with massive hotels on them, Mason has become obsessed with building on his monopolies. So, it was a fun game.  I actually survived paying $750 in rent. TWICE.

It was a good day, honestly.  I've been doing a lot of stamping, as I call my stamp collecting.  I'm still baffled as to why I find this activity fun.  But, it's very companionable, since Shawn will often sit next to me at the dinning room table, sewing together strips of cloth for the rugs/loom, and we will just hang out, chat, or watch/listen to a show.  She's been watching some British show (some soapy thing, I can't remember the name of it ATM)  that I've been experiencing mostly as an audible book, as it were, since it's too much trouble to try to watch and look through my stamps.  But, that's pleasant, too. Very old-timey, in a way.  Like listening to a radio play.   

Okay, well, it's just turned 9 am.  I should zip off and see if I can get my business sorted at the bank.  See you all later!


*In case you're wondering, as I often do, when will this madness end? The answer is:  Mercury goes direct on the 25th.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Damn you, Mercury Retrograde!  *shakes fist at skies*

Today was so classically Mercury Retrograde, too, almost from the start.... Mason woke up with spots on his face.  We noticed some redness after he'd gone ice skating on the super-cold Saturday night, but totally chalked it up as windburn. This morning?  It looked much bigger, much blotchier, so we made the executive decision to keep him home for the morning, or at least until we could get him in to see the doctor.  Mason has had Fifth Disease in the past (not nearly as horrible as it sounds, it's just a facial rash, but it has that name because it was the Fifth rash to be categorized an it didn't end up with a cooler name, like Mumps.)  Fifth can come back, is treatable, but highly contagious. So we thought we'd better rule out a contagion before sending him into the teaming horde that is middle/high school.

Only... we got THE bad doctor.

Shawn is the one in our family that remembers this stuff, and she was out with a migraine.  So it was down to Mason and I to remember which of the pediatricians we usually see is the one who consistently misdiagnoses Mason---once so badly that her, "eh, it's nothing," ended in a trip to the Emergency Room THE VERY NEXT DAY.  

And... we guessed wrong.  

Mason is also now the age where he can (and should, IMHO) go into the doctor's office without a parent chaperone.  If he wants to ask private questions, I don't want my presence to be the difference between him getting information and not, if you know what I mean.  Plus, it's an easy way NOT to be a helicopter parent.  BUT had I known we'd picked the 'bad' doctor, I would have just insisted that I come in to help advocate. As it was, she said, "Meh, windburn"...

...so we'll probably end up doing all this again when things get worse.

But hopefully, they won't.  

The whole experience served to only make Mason grumpy and going to school that much more frustrating.  It didn't help that we bickered about whether or not he should have to go in, after all--the ironic part being that *my* argument was 'you don't have to, but you were the one who wanted to go to the math meet, since it's your last one..."  I found out at school that Mason has no idea what his locker combination is, and hasn't for most of the school year.... he's just been hauling all his stuff around all day.  

*sighs* 

Anyway, I eventually got Shawn into work, but by this time, all I wanted was a big Do Over button to push.  Which, I kind of did, by doing the dishes and watching another episode of "Psycho Pass" (my current anime). I also decided to cancel with my friend Theo's friend Jack, who is, among other things, a voice actor, and who is going to be working with me to bring YOU audio versions of the AngeLINK books.  I've re-arranged with Jack to hopefully see them early tomorrow morning and get this thing done!  Because how cool would that be?

So my day?  Mom Gave Up and Is Eating All the Cookies.  But cookies are yummy, so it could be worse.




lydamorehouse: (ichigo irritated)
Last night was a tough one.  I didn't sleep terribly well.  The pain woke me up more than once, as did a desire to roll over.  Thing is I normally don't sleep the whole night on my back, but, instead, curl up on one side or the other. Staying on my back is tough and makes me restless, I think.  Also I can't tell if things are getting better or not because mornings are always the WORST. I felt pretty worn down and discouraged this morning because of it, too.

But... we got Mason to school via the train and bus.  Shawn has loaned me her Go Pass and you can use it to pay for more than one person.  The only thing that's weird about it is that you don't get a physical ticket (or at least I couldn't figure out how to get one) and that made me nervous.  Nervous enough that I just went ahead and purchased a ticket for Mason, so I may have inadvertently given MTC an extra couple of dollars today.  

Mason really wanted to use our lack of car as an excuse to stay home today.  He was VERY grumpy on the way to school.  He's not fond of that sorts of things that I've learned to classify as "adventures."  He much prefers a map, a compass, and a schedule, complete with a list of unexpected events, if you know what I mean.  And, he really, really hates the fact that I'm the sort of person who says, "Oh, here's a bus, let's see if it's going the way we want to and hop on!"  He particularly hates that my breezy, laissez faire attitude usually works out in our favor 9 times out of 10.  He was especially annoyed as we got off the 62 bus a block from the street that led to his school and we were there about ten minutes earlier than we usually get there by car.  He gave me a sour look and sighed, "Cripes.  We should do this every day."

Poor baby.

I wish I'd managed to instill in Mason the ability to enjoy the 'off the road' moments in life, but he's just not that sort.

It's so hard to realize that our children are not copies of ourselves, no matter how hard we wish they would be.  

I told him to day that I think he's a new(er) soul--that he hasn't been this way much before--and that's why it's hard for him to roll with the punches. But then again, maybe he _is_ more pragmatic than I am (which is what he usually tells me). He might be right because I have a tendency to believe that most things will work out--at least the little things in life. I used to believe the big things would, too, but that was before Ella.  Losing her made me a lot less trusting in the universe.

Which is probably part of why I'm having such trouble with my slow recovery. I don't entirely trust that it WILL get better.  Maybe I just need to think off all this as an adventure in pain.  :-)
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Since I'm teaching again, I'm writing about the process of writing again.

Because my Tate Hallaway blog has been dead for some time, I directed my students to check-in over there to see what I have to say about various things. Basically, I promised them a slightly more coherent version of my lectures since I've long ago come to realize that my lecture style is best described as "organic," which can drive some folks fairly insane. I have this tendency to INTEND to talk about A, B, and C, yet actually talk about A, Z, B, Q, F, and C. I promised to remove Z, Q, and F when I write up my "notes" for them. I can't entirely say I'm 100% more successful, but forcing myself to write it down does often help keep me on track.

At any rate, if you'd like to follow along, I've got two writing-related blogs up right now:

"From Idea to Story"

"Emotion as Story"

In other news, I woke up to the sound of my child barfing. Mason's stomach is giving him trouble... maybe from the very rich Indian food we had last night. Because I'm teaching, we weren't able to go out to dinner on Shawn actual birthday night (Wednesday) so we went out last night. Our favorite place lately has been "Taste of India" in Maplewood. Mason decided to be brave and tried something new. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have agreed with him.

Poor Mason.

The only comfort to all this is that it's cold and gray outside at the moment and if there was any GOOD day to have to spend snuggled up in bed reading and recovering, this would be it. We have a couple of errands we need to do--our taxes have been done for some time and are awaiting our signatures, so I need to go collect those soon since April 15 is looming. And I had wanted to get fish for the big tank, finally. I have successfully kept our betta alive for months now, so I'm feeling confident enough to consider trying again in the tank of doom. I've been changing the water in the unoccupied tank as though there were living fish in it (so approx. once a week), so I'm figuring that whatever evil might have been lurking in there should be well and truly diluted by now. Fingers crossed, at any rate. Plus, I was thinking of NOT getting our fish from PetCo, but a decent fishery like World of Fish.

But, that certainly doesn't _have_ to be done today. Taxes is the only necessity, like so often said.

Plus, Mason can feel good about taking advantage of his spring break. We've already done a very awesome hike through Minnehaha falls.

Mason will Read anywhere
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 I'm back to posting on UnJust Cause finally, so if you want to check that out, it's up on Wattpad now:  "To Err is Human (and Tomorrow is Another Day.)"  There's not a lot there, not too much more than 500 words, but I needed to get back in the habit.  Honestly, what I really, REALLY need to do with this is what Rachel and I just spent three weeks doing to School for Wayward Demons (SWD)... I need to take all the parts and get them into a huge document and start to really examine the whole shape of it.

Because if I'm going to make it into a book, it needs that.  I am learning, somewhat the hard way, that writing one's way into a book (and not planning it out like I used to do) might be hella fun, but it means a lot of work on the far end, the finishing end, as it were.

It's good for me to experiment with different ways of writing, though.  So no regrets.  I have learned much.

Besides, despite my belly aching, it's a well-known fact that I'm a heavy reviser no matter which method I chose: pants-ing or outlining.

In other news, Mason and I had some fun yesterday.  Shawn had to work late, so we went to our usual favorite hang-out place when we have time to kill but it seems foolish to go all the way home: the Roseville Library.  Mason tore through the shelves and took out old favorites and a few new-to-him books.  I'd settled down at a table and was starting to write when he did that kid thing, "Can we go to the coffee shop and get a scone??" I didn't think we should.  You know, it's money and treats, but then I thought about my own treat: a mocha, and so I was convinced.  As we were waiting for the staff to ring our stuff up and make my mocha, we overheard two guys behind us starting up a game of Munchkin. If you're unfamiliar, feel free to check out the Wikipedia article I linked to, but the short of it is that Muchkin is a card-game version of D&D.  Instead of role-playing you pull various cards and move through a very random "dungeon" as part of gameplay. It doesn't matter.  What you really need to know about the game is that 1) Mason LOVES it, 2) it is ridiculously geeky and often involves, like the best D&D games, arguing the rules, and 3) Mason constantly begs us to play and Shawn and I... well, we like it, but don't LOVE it, if you get my drift.  So, when these two nerdy college-aged boys asked if we wanted to join them, Mason was over the moon with joy.

I decided to opt out and sat nearby with my computer.  At one point one of the boys came over and said (in such an adorkable outgoing nerd way, honestly) "Your son is a delight." To which I replied, "Isn't he just."  But when nerd-boy looked baffled at that I said, "Yes.  Thank you."  Nerd boy wanted to let me know, too, that Mason was not only keeping up with them but, "talking just enough smack."  Which I honestly found deeply delightful to hear.  I wanted to say, "That's because I raised him right," but merely nodded and thanked them again for inviting us to join.  Because I mean, Mason is 11, I bet these two young men were twice his age: 22.

Mason was so happy afterward he not only nerdgasmed about the game play all the way home, he kept dreamily and happily muttering, "They argued the rules, Ima.  They argued the rules."

"Yes, my son," I said.  "You have found your people."
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 In case you're following the School for Wayward Demons as it comes to press, we had another installment yesterday  "The F.U. Cake":  



Art by Alexis Cooke
 

Things are starting to get interesting at the School, so you don't want to miss any installments.


In other news, my Japanese class had a dinner out at Tanpopo last night. I had the Age-Dashi Tofu appetizer, and, because it was a blustery winter night, the Nabeyaki Udon, which is a kind of hot-pot stew that comes in a clay pot with (in this case) fish cakes, chicken, mushrooms,  hrimp tempura, tamagoyaki (the rolled omelet thing I've only ever before written about!)  and, as advertised, udon noodles.  I had a weird kind of flush of pride when I realized that the instructor and I had ordered the same thing.  Made me feel like I was making good choices, you know?  I also had edamame mochi for desert, which was terrific, though not a lot of people liked it because it is green bean paste inside a kind of rubbery rice wrapping.  I'm a big fan of any kind of bean paste, though, so I was very happy.

The only bummer was that our friends the Jacksons had shown up about an hour before I had to take off for the dinner so I missed out on all the initial catching up.  Luckily, they'll be around for the whole Thanksgiving holiday, so I'm sure I'll hear all the news eventually.

The only other thing to report is that Mason has another date!  The young lady friend called up and asked him out to a movie, so he'll be headed out on Friday to go watch Mockingjay with her!  (So adorbs!)  

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