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: (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:

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:  

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:)  

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.


Dec. 2nd, 2016 07:48 am
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 Like a lot of GLBT couples, Shawn and I have made up our anniversary.  It's a fictional date, convenient, easy to remember.  It doesn't mark anything, other than the fact that we're PRETTY SURE we went on a 'date' to Target to do Christmas shopping together.  This was 1985 and I don't even think we were on each other's Christmas lists even, yet. We probably actually met months earlier at one of Michael J. Batman's D&D campaigns, where I remember very clearly telling Shawn she had the most beautiful eyes I'd ever seen.  I'd been sketching people's D&D characters for them and Shawn told me to make hers have blond hair and brown eyes, and I said, "No one has that combination!" (Keep in mind I was 17, what the hell did I even know? At that point I was sure Chicago was in Wisconsin.) She said, "I do." And I looked up... and, yeah, I'd say that was the moment fate was sealed.

But, in all honesty, I wasn't even out to myself yet that December. I still thought I was a straight girl (kind of... ask me about how I was already reading Gay Comix I bought at a head shop in LaCrosse my senior year).  Thing is, I would go on after December 1, 1985, to have a couple of more boyfriends and a several girlfriends. Shawn, too, had boyfriends post that fateful meeting.

Yet, we count December 1, 1985 as our anniversary because we were certainly already living together at that point (and having sex).  I moved in, and never, ever moved out.  By the end, my girlfriends would look at me and say, "How can I compete when you're living with the one you love?"  

They were right. I was cheating on all of them with Shawn.

The story would have been pathetic and sad, if Shawn didn't also finally have the same realization when we were living in our first apartment on Franklin Avenue.  After a friend of ours visited and regaled us with the stories of his gay single life and his heartaches, we looked at each other over the top of his head and knew.  We knew it was time to make things official.  Why keep seeking when we'd found love already? If we could remember the date of that day, that would probably be more accurate in a very strict sense.

But, relationships are messy, so why not just count from the real beginning? Why not skip the mess and embrace that first wonderful moment?  So we do.  Your rules do not apply to us.  Or, at least, before we were mainstreamed by marriage, there really were no rules, no sense of how any of it was supposed to work, so we just made things up as we went along.  I think most people do, anyway.  It's just that the majority of people have... well, I guess, traditions and institutions to fall back on.  Marriage dates. First dates.  We never thought to mark any of those, either. I'm sure we eventually picked a date because people asked us how long we'd been together and we had no idea.  

Ask me when Shawn and I were married, and I'll say, "It was a Monday!  Oh, and hot!"  I'm sure it was in August because that was the first month it was legal and we did the official thing in front of a judge as soon as possible because I'd gone over a decade without any decent health insurance. 

Of course, I'm generally terrible about dates.  I feel like I must be the only mom in the universe who hesitates when health professionals ask for Mason's birthday.  I've finally got it down, but for a while I used to switch the last number of his birthday with the last number of the year he was born.  I also have memories like this, "It was hot."  (Apparently important things in my life always happen on the hottest days of the year.)  

So last night we celebrated our made-up anniversary the way we have been for decades.  Actually, maybe more like a single decade, since we started this tradition when Mason was an infant and Shawn and I were too exhausted to even consider dressing up and doing something fancy.  I remember complaining to my friend Ember about how it wasn't going to be romantic with a baby, and she suggested that I surprise Shawn--that I get take out from a favorite place and fancy up the table with candles (and the high chair.) It was PERFECT. I picked Vescio's in Dinkytown.  Vescio's was one of the first restaurants I remember taking Shawn to when we did finally become 'official.'  And, miraculously, it's still there. It's still EXACTLY the same and has the EXACT same menu.  Bonus: Mason loves it and always has, even when he was in his toddler "I will only eat noodles" phase.  

We had a lovely night. 

Here's to another thirty-two years!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Shawn had... a rough night. The rest of her organs, particularly the intestines, are not being cooperative with the recovery plan. There has been super-uncomfortable gas and all sorts of woes regarding that. We were up and down a bunch. On top of that, she's beginning to think that the really good, strong pain medicine might actually be making her nauseous. So today we're trying to be more active, use fewer drugs, sit up more, and keeping fingers crossed because the last thing we want to do is have to go back to the hospital.

I have never prayed more for someone to fart in my life.

If you're worried I'm not taking care of myself in all this, don't. When Mason first came home from the hospital, someone told me "sleep when the baby sleeps." Like you do when you have no idea, I totally thought that that was ridiculous advice. Within days, it proved itself invaluable. I've reverted to this methodology. So if Shawn is sleeping--or even if I've gotten her to the bathroom and she's spending quality time there, I take a micro nap.

We've got a friend coming to take Mason away for fun this afternoon. He'd never ever admit it, but he's been pretty terrified. Hospitals are scary places and seeing a parent in a bad way is never easy (no matter how old you are.) So, I'm super glad we have a friend willing to take him off for several rounds of cut-throat Munchkin. That should do Mason a world of good. I don't mind having him here; he's totally not under foot, but I think he needs a break too.

Meanwhile, even though I had a hardcopy of GOBLIN EMPEROR, I gave up on it. I read at least 50 pages, which I think is a reasonable attempt. There's nothing "wrong" with it, I'm just not in the mood for high fantasy with elves and goblins at the moment. Since none of the other Nebula nominees have come from the library system yet, I hunted around the internet and found another good list to try. The Locus Award is coming up (it's being voted on right now) and so I decided to see what might be interesting on the many books they have on their lists. I decided that there were far too many for me to tackle in the science fiction category, so I'm going to read the debut author list.

The Race, Nina Allan (NewCon)
Elysium, Jennifer Marie Brissett (Aqueduct) (Already Read)
The Girl in the Road, Monica Byrne (Crown; Blackfriars)
A Darkling Sea, James L. Cambias (Tor)
The Clockwork Dagger, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager)
Unwrapped Sky, Rjurik Davidson (Tor; Tor UK)
Otherbound, Corinne Duyvis (Amulet)
The Angel of Losses, Stephanie Feldman (Ecco)
The Memory Garden, Mary Rickert (Sourcebooks Landmark)
The Emperor’s Blades, Brian Staveley (Tor; Tor UK)
The Stone Boatmen, Sarah Tolmie (Aqueduct)

The St. Paul Public Library's e-book collection had The Girl in the Road so I started that. It's pretty interesting so far. Our heroine is a manic/depressive and unreliable narrator who is convinced she's being stalked by assassins (and may be to some extent, it's not clear yet--I'm only 20% into it) in a future India. The future India has been very cool, and the heroine is troubled, but fascinating. I decided she was sympathetic after she was nearly giddy with excitement during a trip to a museum (been there, done that). Things have taken an interesting turn, so I'm anxious to get back to the book soon to see how everything turns out.

But, as you can see, 9 out of 11 (approximately 80%) of these books would qualify for Tempest's challenge. That's not why I chose this list, however. I'm really trying to be better read in general and picking new authors with new speculative books out seems like a lovely way to do it.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
We got to the hospital on time and all that and everything went according to plan.... until Shawn's surgery kept going on and on. Mason and I struggled not to be worried. Finally, the monitor switched from "Procedure" to "Closing" and I could finally breathe. When the doctor came he said, "She's fine," but then had us go into a private room which had me nearly hyperventilating with worry. Turns out, half way through the procedure they had to switch from robot-assisted to laparoscopic.

The surgeon was clearly HORRIFIED by the state of Shawn's gallbladder. He could not believe, I think, that she could even walk around give the state of it. He said, "There were several large stones, but the whole organ was... filled with a gritty sludge." He kept saying, "I guess people experience pain differently." I said, yes, Shawn is an exception because of her migraines. She really doesn't know what pain-free is like, so probably this felt minor in comparison. He kept shaking his head. "She's the definition of stoic."


For myself, I deal with panic by reading so I read the entirety of ELYSIUM, OR, THE WORLD AFTER by Jennifer Marie Brissett. Turns out, if I *were* doing Tempest's challenge this book would have counted in more than one criteria. The bio at the back of the book tells me that Jennifer Marie Brissett identifies as "Jamaican-British American" (born in London, now living here). The book itself was... very complex. The writing was smooth and beautiful, but you had to pay attention and think through the whole thing. I can very much understand why it might be that Aqueduct Press published it, as opposed to a traditional New York publisher. I explained it to a friend as the kind of book where you spend a lot of time thinking WTF, but you keep turning pages. It's 100% science fiction. It might not qualify to some as "hard science fiction" but there are (eventually) space ships and aliens and artificial intelligences. So, that's skiffy enough for me, thank you very much.

Now, I'm going to finish THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE by Meg Elison. I set it aside because I had to use Inter-Library Loan to get a hold of Brissett's book and so I knew I couldn't renew it, if I didn't read it fast enough. Elison's book will disappear soon too, but I got that one from a new Kindle loan feature which gives me much more time.

Also in my possession is the first of the Nebula Award nominees that I'll be reading a book called THE GOBLIN EMPEROR by Katherine Addison (who is actually Sarah Monette). All of the books up for the Nebula this year are available through Ramsey County Library, so I signed myself up on the waiting lists for the rest of those. I'm only going to try to read all the books up this year, so if you're curious what's going to be on my TBR list it will be:

Trial by Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)

Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu ( ), translated by Ken Liu (Tor)

Coming Home, Jack McDevitt (Ace)

Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; HarperCollins Canada)

So, you can see, if you were at all concerned, I will be reading plenty of (presumed) straight, white, (presumed) cis, men.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Other than a stop for food (at a McDonald's, I think) we continued the rest of the way to Bearskin Lodge without stopping. We talked about places we wanted to go on the way back: Iona's Beach and the Split Rock Lighthouse (which I have never seen). But, we were starting to get anxious to arrive before the sun completely went down.

We got there around seven and checked in. Bearskin Lodge is about thirty-miles up the Gunflint Trail and pretty much delineates the "Last Homey House." There are flush toliets, running water, and showers in the cabins. You can gave motor boats on parts of East Bearskin Lake, but the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) is just around the bend. A lot of people rent a cabin at Bearskin but use it as a place to take off from and come home to. We like to just call it "home" and do very short trips into the wilds.

Each cabin comes with its own, private dock. Inside are all the amenities including a kitchen (we packed all the food we'd need since the nearest store is MILES/hours away) and a fireplace. This time we took full advantage of the fireplace. It got very chilly late at night, so the fire was functional as well as fun.

Here's a blurry picture of me roasting marshmallows for our champaign and S'mores honeymoon feast (yes, you read that right. We had champaign and S'mores for our honeymoon):


Here's a better one of Mason doing the same thing (you can kind of see the main room of the cabin in this shot, too):


We had for the most part really good weather. As we left at the end of the week, Bob, the owner, told us we'd hit the "weather jackpot" and I think he was right, especially since we've come home to days and days of seemingly unending rain. While we were up there, both Shawn and Mason managed to get sunburned. For reasons of Bizzaro-World, I think, I managed to be the one who remembered to reapply my sunscreen early and often. I am a bit browner, but I managed to not get scorched. To be fair, I may have gotten burned if I'd brought more than one book to Bearskin, because this is what my family did most nice days (which is to say, sit on the dock and read):


I love to read, but I'm bad at it. I'm easily distracted partly because reading has always been a bit of a chore for me thanks to a mild case of dyslexia. Plus, I'm that person. Last time we were at Bearskin, Shawn teased me because I was always the one up at 6 am ready for a hike deep into the underbrush. At the time Modern Family had just had its Hawaii special episode and there was a funny bit about the two dads and how one of them preferred to relax and sip Mai-tais and the other wanted to visit the obscure lavender farm that had all 50 varieties of lavender. I was the lavender dad; Shawn was the Mai-tai dad.

Mason, too. He could read all day.

But here's my dock queen in her element:

IMG_9070 copy

Okay, I think that's it for tonight. My internet has been very come-and-go thanks to all these storms we've been having so any more pictures might break it. More tomorrow.

Also, if you're curious how my class went today, the answer was very well. My lecture started out a bit rough, but I could see it hit some of the students because I watched their gears turn and eyes light up and suddenly people had things they wanted to share. I love moments like that. Plus, we had this one as well:
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I've gotten our trip a bit out of order already, because we actually stopped at the historical marker for the Buchanan Settlement (12 miles from Duluth) before we got to Two Harbor's break wall. According to our guide book, this is the sight of a town that has since disappeared--a Minnesotan ghost town, if you will.

Honestly, we didn't even see any part of the remaining town. What impressed us was the beach that was just a hop down from the historical marker:

IMG_9026 copy

It was our first real up-close-and-personal with Lake Superior. As you can see, it was a gorgeous day. The sun was bright and the water and the sky were nearly the same color.


It'd been a long trip to this point. Duluth isn't all that far away, maybe three hours (?), but we'd had to turn back after we'd gone a half hour from the cities. Shawn had forgotten the passports. She only remembered them because we kept seeing sign after sign for Thunder Bay and we'd made a special point of getting Mason a passport so that we could travel to Canada on our last day of our honeymoon. So, it was a half hour to "oh sh*t!", a half hour laughing at ourselves back home, a quick call to Bearskin to warn them we might be late for check-in, and then a half-hour to get back where we'd started.

As the driver, I could have been irritated, but I knew that, like the last time Shawn and I and Mason had done this north shore trip, we'd be doing a lot of stops at overlooks, waysides and attractions along the way.

Next up was, as I already posted Twin Harbors break wall. Then, we went on to Flood Bay, a spot we'd enjoyed last time around. It's supposedly some of the best agate hunting along the north shore, but I'll be honest you. I wouldn't know an agate in the rough if it walked up and introduced itself to me. Luckily, the beach just has cool rocks. Tons and tons of Superior flattened, time worn, awesome looking rocks. Shawn found some "sea glass" (which Superior produces, even though it's a lake) and Mason found a rock with a perfect hole in the center of it--a fairy spyglass. He's been wearing it as a necklace since.

Here's what Flood Bay looks like:

Our guide book says "agate picking is good for the soul" and I have to agree. We often spend a huge amount of time sitting on this beach sifting stones. It's just... relaxing.


Much, much more to come, but I'm going to stop here again. Today, the other things I did was have a lovely critique session with my Loft students. It ended up taking the entire class, but I think that the students got a LOT out of it. Tomorrow we only have one person to critique, but I think that will make up for the lack of lecture today.

Also, it's Wednesday so, Mason and I did our usual podcast silliness. This one was lucky number 13, and I felt it was a lot of fun... see what you think.
lydamorehouse: (slytherin)
Shawn talks in her sleep. Last night, as I'm coming back up the stairs after being harrassed awake by my annoying black cat Inky who is perpetually convinced he's starving to death, Shawn calls out. She yells, "Your feet are rather heavy on the stairs, Mr. Potter!"

I was clear to me that the only proper response was, "Sorry, Professor Snape!"

I thought, actually, she might be awake so when I got back into bed I said, "I'm kind of surprised you're not dreaming of Mordor..." (since we'd watched "Fellowship of the Ring" last night,) but she was SOUND asleep (and snoring, but she'd deny tht last part.) I worried for a few minutes that I might have caused a dreaming mishap, wherein Harry goes to Mordor, but she had no recollection of either the conversation or any Potter/Mordor crossover dreams.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Before Shawn ended up in the hospital, I'd started a book by Catherine Asaro called THE LAST HAWK. I'm normally a very slow reader thanks to my mild dyslexia and the fact that I'm usually easily distracted by Mason and/or my own writing and life. I brought the book along to the hospital and, because it was much easier to focus on than my own writing, I finished it.

And now I'm trying to decide how I feel about it.

I really loved Catherine Asaro's first couple of books. Though it's been a long time since I read them, I have a strong sense of having enjoyed PRIMARY INVERSION and CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

THE LAST HAWK, however, is from the period in which I remember a lot of my fellow SF fans complaining that Asaro had slid (as in downward - poo! poo!) into romance. I have no problem with romance obviously, but this book *isn't* romantic. (Spoilers under the cut...)

Read more... )

I think it's simply difficult to write this kind of thing well, unless one's tongue is firmly planted in cheek. Perhaps I'm supposed to have read this as the feminist twist on those horrible Gor novels. As I said, if I told you I didn't enjoy this book, I'd be lying. But, if you look at the situation with a critical eye, it's pretty dispicable.

And now I find out there's a sequel. Do I want to find out what happens next? Kind of... but, am I going to need a shower afterwards?

Does anyone out there know of a book that does this well??

In other news, Shawn bailed early from work yesterday, though she's back at it today. She's still suffering from these weird new headaches that involve stroke-like symptoms (numbness on one side of her body.) So, the medical mystery that is Shawn continues. She's going to contact her doctor today, though, so hopefully, we'll start down the path of figuring out how to manage her headaches more effectively.

Mason has been occupied by the thought that Pokemon's new Black & White game is coming out for the DS in a matter of days.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
If a picture is worth a thousand words, do you think I could send in a photo montage instead of the last several chapters of my novel to Penguin?

But seriously, I thought I could post a few pictures of the other stuff we did this last weekend BESIDES being in the hospital. Plus, I promised Grandpa a picture of Mason's gap tooth smile:

Also, I don't think that I was able to report this earlier, but Mason did really well in the kuk soOlympics. They divide by belt, of course, and, even though Mason was the only white belt junior competing, he placed FIRST in "techniques" (where you throw people to the ground.)

Here's Nikki Jo Kyo Nym listening carefully to Mason's introduction:

And the winner's block:

In the middle of all the trauma with Shawn and the hospital, I got a very nice surprise in the mail:

Shawn, BTW, is doing well enough that she headed off to work this morning around 9:00 am. Mason and I are still on intersession vacation for a couple more days, so we're planning to get together with our usual Women of Wyrdsmiths Wednesday crowd. It's nice to be back to old routines.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
A quick Shawn update -- thanks to everyone who has offered support. It's been really tremendous that so many people care and are willing to offer prayers, well-wishes, thoughts and support. We're all back home today. Despite the "failed" stress test, the cardiologist is certain that Shawn is in no immediate dangers so they sent us home. She (the doctor) also gave us the good news that the stress test has about a 5 - 10% chance of showing false positives, and, given Shawn's utter lack of family history with heart disease or risk factors, thinks this much more likely the case.


We're stuck waiting around the house, however, because the doctor put Shawn on the schedule for an "echo test" of the stress test (where they do a similar test, but there's no radiation injection. Instead, they run an ultrasound) and we're waiting for the call to see when that will be. They say it SHOULD be today, but in-patients get first priority. And, frankly, I'm okay with that. Shawn has had so many heart tests in the last three days that if there were any other abnormalities something would have shown up by now.

Shawn is, of course, sound asleep still. Hospitals are one of the worst places to try to rest, IMHO, so she's utterly exhausted. It's so great to be home and to know that everything is going to be okay. Because, even if this "reversible defect" turns out to really be there, they have a procedure to fix it permanently. That'll mean angioplasty, or something like that to unclog the block, but it's a very routine procedure.

So I'm feeling really very confident today. Mason has been an absolute trouper through this whole thing. I'm just really glad that he's off school right now on intersession so I didn't have to try to cart him back and forth to school and hospital and everything else. We've just hung out playing video games, like we would if we were sitting in the coffee shop all day. Of course he still got squirrelly by the end of the day (you can only sit so long), but that was about the time when I took him home for the night anyway.

So that's everything for now. I'll drop Mouse into another post. Because I actually wrote a little vingette last night while waiting for the cardiologist. I'm afraid I'm one of those people who gets comfort from "going back to work." Though, I do think that I probably made this next scene slightly less scary than I might have otherwise had not all this stuff gone down with Shawn.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Turns out Shawn's heart *is* broken a little. We're still in the hospital this evening because the stress test turned up what is called a "reversable defect" (possilby "mild reversible perfusion defect," according to the Googles -- we haven't seen the cardiologist yet.) Anyway, her heart functions normally at rest, but under stress this tiny portion of her heart doesn't get enough oxygen, probably due to some kind of blockage.

Mason and I meanwhile have gotten very proficient at hanging out. I'm ETERNALLY grateful for the free WiFi that United provides its guests. Otherwise, I'd be bored out of my skull. I have managed to get a little work done on Tate's novel, but, despite long stretches of nothing to do, it's hard to concentrate here. We're always getting interrupted by nurses and other staff, and, of course, we're at a HOSPITAL. Not exactly the sort of place where people feel relaxed and at ease. I mean, d'uh, right? Plus, I'm worried sick about Shawn this whole time, although, honestly, I was less worried before they found something. Before we figured her brain had just gone a bit haywire with the migraine stuff... now....

Now, as I was joking to her earlier, we need to get the Great and Powerful Oz on the line. We not only need a brain, but we need a heart too! And maybe a little courage to boot!

lydamorehouse: (Default)
We're at the hospital.

After the kuk soOlympics, Shawn complained of dizziness and upper chest/arm pain. I wanted to just slink off to bed and ignore it, but, of course, these are classic symptoms for a heart attack. Woman of the certain age which we happen to be tend to ignore subtle signs of heart disease and end up dead. So we decided it was time for a trip to the emergency room.

I think we all expected that the folks in the emergency room would solve this mystery quickly and with something simple like "Oh, it was heart burn; you can go home now." But Shawn was admitted. They took EKGs and X-Rays and a battery of blood tests. Then, when she told them about some of the other symptoms including intermittent numbness on her left side, they wanted to rule out the possiblity of a stroke.

So she stayed the night under observation. Mason and I went home last night and came back this morning. She's going to be here at least until Monday, though, because, even though they're PRETTY sure that she didn't have a heart attack _or_ a stroke, they're not sure enough to feel comfortable letting her go home. Especially since they don't know what it is. She's in a 40-minute MRI right now, and then tomorrow they've scheduled a final stress test (just to double and triple check the heart). The doc's suspicion is that this may be a new complication to Shawn's continual migraine problems, but they're all about rather safe than sorry. Which I'm mostly grateful for, though they also sent in an "insurance counselor" to give us the bad news that we've been classified as "under observation" rather than "in-patient" which may cost us a LOT more out of pocket. We're going to check to see what we can do about that, but we might just be screwed.

Wish us luck.

Will keep you posted.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
We interrupt the regularly schedualed program for this local announcement:

Tuesday March 10, 2009:
Who Owns What? Learn about permissions and copyright

On Tuesday, March 10 at 1 PM, the Twin Cities chapters of the National Writers Union and the Professional Editors Network will hold a free workshop abou t permissions and copyright and other intellectual property issues concernin g writers and editors.

Location: St. Louis Park Library, 3240 Library Lane, St. Louis Park. Two attorneys—Debra Kass Orenstein and Kenneth Kunkle-- will explain copyright and permissions.

Literary property lawyer Debra Kass Orenstein is in private practice representing writers, publishers, and agents all over the country. She has worked in the legal departments of Harper & Row (now Harper Collins) and McGraw Hill and was General Counsel to the Lazear Agency in Minneapolis. Attorney Kenneth Kunkle’s practice focuses on legal issues affecting creative professionals. He assists his clients with a variety of matters, including copyright, trademarks, licensing and general business issues.

Please join us for this FREE event! For more details about the Twin Cities National Writers Union, visit For more details about the Professional Editors Network, visit


And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

So I'll be at MarsCon this weekend, and at some point it would probably also be wise to post my schedule (if, for no other reason than that the retyping/reformating of it would help me remember to go!)

But most of my brain has been eaten by gerbils.

Least you think I'm being metaphorical, I should tell you that yesterday, after school, we bought two, two-month old gerbils. Oh, and they are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cute. I am actually a huge fan of rodents. Gerbils, in fact, were my very first pets. Shawn and I kept gerbils in our college dorm, even though the keeping of pets was actually forbidden (gerbils were easy to hide.) We had gerbils before we had cats and then we successfully had cats and gerbils until we finally got too sad at how short their lifespan actually is (not much more than two years.)

The best thing about being with the same person for twenty odd years is that there are moments like the one that precipitated our buying gerbils. So we're at the pet store a month ago, probably buying cat food or litter or something for the fish. Shawn sees some gerbils on sale. We both remark how cute they are, and go on with our lives. Then, over the course of several days, Shawn says shyly, "I really love gerbils." Really? "Yep," she says and we go on to talk of other things. Then, finally a few days after that, I get from her, "I REALLY like gerbils. I kind of miss having them." Aha! Now I understand. Shawn wants gerbils. If I didn't know her as intimately as I do, I probably would have thought she was just being wistful, but, honestly, our conversation about having children went much like this... only it took a bit longer for me to get the hints and she finally had to just blurt out, "I want to have kids!"

So now we have kid... and gerbils.

The gerbils have no names yet. There is a bit of contention in the household as to what they should be called, so we're considering a "name jar" where we can put slips of paper with name ideas on them and perhaps, randomly chose at some point. I have been aggitating for "XOXO" (pronounced: "zoezoe" because Shawn jokingly claimed I'd bought a Valentine's card for someone named "zoezoe" when all that was written on the outside of the envelope had been XOXO.)

Enough about that for now. I must to go check on said gerbils, shop, write an article for the Midwest Muse (my local RWA chapter newsletter), and, of course, write the book.

Hope you all are well.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
...I'm still with the same woman.

Today is the 23rd anniversary of my relationship with Shawn. We count from our first date (a Christmas shopping trip to Target), because, in the true way of my people, I moved in shortly after that.

I can see why the Christian far right is so worried about allowing people like Shawn and I to marry. Given the track record for most marriages (50% success rate), we'd make 'em look bad. Yeah, they'd better defend their marriage against people like us. We're WAY better at it. We would totally OWN marriage.

So, how's by you?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Steve's car (as we call our car) has a tendency toward rattling. Thus, I'm sitting at Coffee News, a coffee shop/restaurant a block or two from our car mechanic's, waiting for the call that they've removed the heat sheild that had become loose under the car and was making a god-awful racket. I'm going to have to get up soon, though, because I need to pick up Mason in an hour, and if they can't do it by then I'm just going to have to bring the car back later today -- after running about a million errands. There are pictures of Shawn's dad that need to be picked up at ProEX (for the funeral), kitty litter and food to buy (because we leave tomorrow), stuff to drop off in the mail (a book for a fan in Scotland and papers for a student who missed class last night), and an overdue library book that needs returning.

*sigh* I've turned into such a soccer mom.

In the meantime, I haven't written a blasted word on Tate's latest novel. I should never have discovered that my deadline is June. I work so much better under pressure. :-)

Yesterday was "crazy hair day" at Mason's school in honor of Shawn's birthday, otherwise known as April Fool's. I was pleased to discover a lot of the boys in Mason's class participated. Mason was really excited to do it, but, being a couple of lesbians, we had to do a pretty serious hunt around the house to find any PRODUCT to add to his hair. I pull out -- and dusted off -- an old curling iron, and we curled Mason's hair. From the back of the medicine cabniet I found some hairspray that some enterprising Aveda stylist talked me into at some point. It was really cute the way Mason worried over his "curls" all morning until he got to school. A lot of the kids had that cool spray on glitter/color, which one of the students snarkily informed me I "_could_ have gotten at Target" for Mason if I were a better mom (okay, she didn't actually add that last part, but it was said in that four year-old way that implied HER mom was much smarter than I was.)

Shawn's birthday was relatively low key given how she's been feeling about her dad's death -- and the fact that I had to teach last night. But, Mason and I made a cake (pink! Shawn's least favorite color -- long story) and she had various gifts to open (oooh! small boxes!) and flowers delivered to her work (pussy willows! tulips!). So there was some fuss made, which I think she needed.

Another funny story. Last night after class, Shawn and I were talking and laughing about life, the universe, and everything and I teased her that she's been much chattier since her father died. She said, "Actually, I'm between books." I had to laugh. It's good to know I'm second fiddle to a good book. :-)

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