lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
 I have to get up out of the warm blanket and go fetch some kitty food from Menard's. I just don't want to. Did I mention that my blanket it electric? And i had to squeeze my car into a parking space halfway up the block?  

Just another five minutes, then I'll get up.

So, what do I have to report? The most my family did for Valentine's Day was exchange a card or two. Mason had robotics until almost 5:30 pm, which meant I had time to start our "fake" naan recipe.  So, we had a favorite meal, something we call "Indian Butter Chicken" (because that might be what it's called on the box that contains the sauce I make), rice, and naan.  Then, because Mason is a teenager, somewhere around 7:30 pm, he says, "Uh... so, I'm supposed to bring some ingredients to Chinese tomorrow, because we're making dumplings again."  But AT LEAST he remembered to bring them with him this morning. The night before, he'd stayed up late to do some art-type project for AP Human Geology and then promptly forgot it at home. Luckily, I could text him a picture of it, so his teacher would know that it was, in fact, done on time, even if it didn't make it in on time.  

Because today is payday, we're hoping to all go out to Tavern on Grand tonight for fish.  Mason has to be at robotics again, because the wrap day (or whatever they call the day that they have to shrink wrap their robot) is coming up early next week. But, Shawn and I are thinking about hitting Roseville Library to browse the shelves and hang out until he's ready to join us.  When you think about it, that's pretty romantic. Looking for books together at the library?  HOT, am I right???

Also, I have to laugh at myself. You know how I've ALWAYS claimed that the reason I've been unable to write is because I can't write unless I have a contract?  THIS APPEARS TO _ACTUALLY_ BE TRUE, much to my chagrin.  I have an apocalypse story due the first of April, and, yesterday, I wrote almost 2,000 words on it. What the hell, brain. What the H.E.L.L.

One of my pen pals died. I recently acquired a pen pal in Duluth. Normally, I don't like to have pen pals that I don't know that close. (Like, you live in Minneapolis and we've met or we're on social media together and you want to be my pen pal? SURE!) However, this woman took Friend Books. Friendship Books are a very weird aspect of the pen pal subculture, that are fascinating, but also a burden. I've written about what they are here before, but a quick look at Wikipedia might help you understand how they work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship_book The point is, I started conversing with this person, mostly so that I had someone to whom I could pass on Friendship Books when I got a bunch of them from the two other pen pals who tend to pass them on to me.  The other day, I got a letter from her daughter. This woman had some 60 pen pals by her own reckoning, but so that might explain the brevity of this note. But, it simply said, "I know you exchanged letters with my mom. I'm sorry to tell you that she and a friend were involved in a head-on collision and died instantly."

But I can't find any information about it. No obit was included. I mean, there's no reason not to believe this, but, wow, what a shock.

Anyway, my eldest cat is staring at me. I'd better get up and fetch her food from the store or she will guilt me wit that amber-eyed stare of hers.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo freaked)
 I have to leave for work in a half hour. Normally, I wouldn't take a Friday afternoon shift (or try not to) since Fridays is now the day that the women of Wyrdsmiths+ meets. (The plus is because the group now includes other women writers who have never been Wyrdsmiths.)  BUT, everyone had to cancel for various reasons, and so when Maplewood called while we were out shopping for dress pants for Mason, I agreed to come in today.

We were at JC Penny's trying to find dress pants that fit our ridiculously tall and skinny young man BECAUSE Mason has a job interview on Saturday!  

Baby's first job interview!

This is a job he's tried for before--it's some kind of work with the Science Museum that I honestly don't entirely understand, but which appears to be a program that's offered to science-focused teens?  Washington Tech gets the notice about this every year. Last year, Mason applied but didn't get to the interview state. Likewise, his girlfriend applied last year, got an interview, but didn't get the job---so it's HIGHLY competitive. He's really going into this with the attitude of, "Well, no matter what happens, the interview is good practice." As part of that, Mason wanted to be sure to dress appropriately and, OF COURSE, he'd outgrown his previous set of dress pants.

It's been a good start to the year for Mason, actually, as we got a notice from the school a couple of days ago to inform us that he will be letting in Academics. I have no idea of letter jackets are still a thing, but we're totally getting him a jacket because BABY NERD LETTERED IN ACADEMICS.

I think the closest I got to something like this during my high school years was drama? I'm not sure you _could_ letter in drama, but I nearly won a school/drama club award for... well, basically participation, but it was more: you've been in x many plays, done x amount of stage hand work, etc.  The thing I remember about that is being DEEPLY BITTER about the award going to someone else because there was accounting for regional plays/theater done outside of school. So, I wasn't in the spring musical two separate years because I was performing with adults at the Community Theater in downtown LaCrosse.  

There's not a lot I remember about high school, but that feeling stuck with me.

The other big Mason news is that he's decided to rearrange his room and so we moved out one of the big bookcases in order to make room for an oak desk we found (on his request) through the neighborhood group.  He very SPECIFICALLY wanted a solid wood, antique desk of some sort. We'd been thinking we might luck out at an estate sale, but Shawn just happened to surf through our neighborhood group and found a guy offering his son's old desk with the promise of "free delivery." Given the size of our car, we were like, "SOLD!" He probably would have helped us wrestle it up two flights of stairs, but it's currently parked in our foyer waiting for Mason to finish getting his room ready.  And... for someone with muscles to volunteer to help us. Shawn would do it, but she shouldn't. The will is there, but her back is not strong enough. But, once all the various Jewish holidays are over, we've got a call out to our friend Sean M. Murphy, who has promised to be our "dude." We have often used Murphy in this function. He's the one who helped Mason pick out a good razor for his face, so... Murphy has long been our substitute "man around the house."

Ah, the trials of being a non-traditional family, eh?  :-)

Right, so I'd better go get dressed for work.
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
 Well, CONvergence has been over for almost a week now and I never managed to write-up my con report.  All I can say to that, is that this week STARTED with me showing up to my library gig at New Brighton at quarter to five on Monday only to hear them announce that the library would be closing in fifteen minutes.... 

Luckily, it wasn't that I had completely missed my shift, BUT that I'd showed up a day early.

OMG.

I had somehow mentally shifted my entire week in my head, because then I also had a panic about a talk I'd agreed to give at the University of Minnesota, which I suddenly worried conflicted (it didn't. That was last night, Wednesday.)  The only good thing that came out of that is that one of my colleagues at work might have me come to her library science class at St. Kate's and have me talk about manga/anime for libraries, which would be neat.

Last night, I was a guest at "From Rocket Ships to Gender Politics." There were only about 11 students, so that was a pretty perfect size, and they had all just finished reading Neal Stephenson's SNOW CRASH, which was a nice segue into my version of cyberpunk. I only feel a little badly because I am a very bombastic personality (Scorpio with a Leo Rising, heavy on the Leo Rising!) and I pretty much dominated the classroom discussion for 2 and a half hours. I gave away various copies of books that I had lying around, which was great.  I'm almost nearly entirely out of RESURRECTION CODE hardcopies.

But, that was a good time. I had initially expected to only have to carry 45 minutes or so of the class, but we were having too much fun and I ended up staying longer and longer.  :-)  In fact, I ended up staying all the way through and even listened to the class discussion of SNOW CRASH, which was interesting, since I haven't tried to re-read that book since it came out.

Okay, so, backtracking to CONvergence....

My CONvergence was fairly good.  It ended on a down note for me, but that was kind of me just feeling like a fraud/loser who hasn't published anything since 2013 (which is accurate, but mostly I don't feel the loser/fraud part so keenly.) I think having two panels in a row about literary awards is what caused that, alas.  

One of the first things that happened when I got to con on Thursday was that I ran into my old editor (now writing colleague) Laura Anne Gilman.  Laura Anne and I ended up hanging out together, getting coffee, and generally having a great time chatting about state parks and road trips and things like that.  I mean, I never know how she feels about me, but, this many years later, I have nothing but fond memories.  I ended up following her to her panel on "How to Say 'No' to Your Editor." I probably embarrassed her by publicly commenting that I thought that her editorial letter, while LONG, actually made my novel better.  Which is all true, and it's not like sucking up to her NOW would help my career any.

From there I had a panel, which I moderated, on DEATH NOTE a manga which has spawned a zillion adaptations, including an American remake for Netflix.  I thought that panel went very well. I think it helps that I reread the entire manga a few days earlier, so all the character interactions were fresh in my mind.

I did a lot of bumming around at con this year because I was semi-chaperoning three teenagers: Mason, his girlfriend, and their mutual guy friend.  So, I took them all out to dinner and whatnot and ended up watching part of the "Infinity War" panel with them. But, while waiting for my teens to get their acts together, I ran into [personal profile] opalsong and talked fandoms and the various things she's been podcasting.  I made Thursday an early night, though. I think we were all home by 8pm-9pm. 

Friday I had a 9:30 am panel. I saw Eleanor having breakfast in the hotel restaurant and so I crashed her table for a few minutes (and an extra cup of coffee) before my panel. Anne Lyle was there so we ended up talking about the World Cup and some of the other differences between American and U.K. life.

My panel, another one that I moderated, seemed to also go pretty well. This one was about Timothy Dalton as Bond and I think we ended up with a fairly lively discussion, despite the early hour.

At some point later, I ended up at "Judging a Book By its Cover."  CONvergence always has this track of panels that are really more like entertainment, Villification Tennis, Power-point Karaoke, the Poetry Slam, etc.  This one is one that Mason and I have seen before and it is almost always quite hilarious, even if the 'panelists' flail, because the covers they find for it are always worth the price of admission.  But, the performers were all amazing, so it was very entertaining.

I spent a LONG time sitting on the floor near the costuming atrium near the pool/cabana area chatting with Ty Blauersouth about... kind of everything, which was lovely.  

Then, I was one of the judges for the Poetry Slam, which went very well. It was enough fun that I think I'm going to try to catch it next year, even if I'm not a participant.

The final panel of Friday for me was another one I moderated which was the Chuck Tingle fan panel. I'm not sure how well that one went, but the audience seemed to enjoy it as one of them gave me a "good job" ribbon afterwards (which is only ironic since I really felt like I'd flailed around a lot.)  But, I mean, the subject matter alone is fairly entertaining, so there is that.

Saturday was my off day, but I did get to have lunch with [personal profile] naomikritzer and Ms. Shannon Paul, which prompted me to hit the comedy show to watch Ms. Shannon perform, which was, by far, the highlight of my day.

I ended up skipping con entirely on Sunday because I was WORN OUT.


lydamorehouse: (swoon)
 I don't think I'd have a single title to report if last night wasn't a REALLY SLOW shift at the Maplewood Library.  

Perhaps you've heard, Minneapolis/St. Paul and surrounds have been bombarded with snow. 6-8 inches, easily. Yesterday, when I was driving around the visibility wasn't EXACTLY whiteout conditions, but the fourth or so block way from wherever I was, was that hazy blur you get in those kinds of snow storms.

So, of course, the library needed me to come in at 5 pm.

In a surprise to no one (but probably library administration) hardly anyone wanted to be out at the library last night.  Well, that's not entirely true. While I was shelving books in the adult comic book/manga section, I overheard two gentlemen discussing where they were planning on sleeping after the library closed. Let's say, instead, last night wasn't a high book turnover night.  So, when it was my turn on the AMH (colloquially known at Maplewood as "the oven,") there was not much for me to do.  I even asked my supervisor if I should be doing something else and she looked at me somewhat askance and said, "Read a book."

So, I hunted around for a first volume of some manga or other. I ended up readed Sapuri / Suppli by Okazaki Mari. (Amusing note about the title, it's merely a 'translation' into the same sounds as spoken by an English speaker.  This sort of thing drove me crazy in Nana when I read it because the scanlators insisted on writing Reira when she specifically says she was named after Eric Campton's 'Leila.'  If you're translating everything else into English pronunciations just write her name Leila. It confused me because I'd have to stop every time her name came up to remind myself to say it "Leila" in my head. I've seen people do this with the name Alice, too. It's dumb, because the last thing you want a reader to have to do is break the pacing of the story for something that USELESS and easily remedied.)  At any rate, the book was okay. I had checked it out and returned it within an hour.

At any rate, the roads were pure ice and packed snow on the drive home at 9 pm.  That sucked (though not as much as having to figure out how to sleep somewhere in the rough.)  I saw two accidents on the way home.

Today, at least, we have bright sunshine. However, it's stupid-ass cold, 17 F / -8 C.  Tomorrow is supposedly the Twins' first home game... they play in an open-air stadium. I heard on NPR that they're hosing off the stadium seats (metal, btw) with hot water.  Fans (if they go) are going to be sitting on ice cubes.  

While I was at the library, I also picked up some novels to try.  I have no idea if I'll actually crack these either, but fingers crossed.

How about you?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
Yeah, I know it's not necessarily unseasonable weather, but, frankly, I'm tired of it.

I'd been hoping that the snuggly weather would make me feel in a writerly mood, but, instead, I've been kind of zoned out or distractible all day. This kind of weather always makes me want to cook and eat All The Things. So, I distracted myself with some cooking. I made a big batch of borscht again this morning and had two huge bowls for breakfast/brunch. I pity my co-workers at Maplewood tonight. (Beets make me FART.)

I didn't really want to say 'yes' to work tonight, but, somehow, I managed to miss the call last month for regular hours for THIS month.  It's kind of on-call for me for April, or nothing at all. Of course, tonight is kind of the worst possible night to have to drive all the way to Maplewood (and back after 9 pm!) They're expecting as much as 8 inches?

Did I mention how done I am with this weather?

We keep getting random texts throughout the day from Mason.  Today's best one was, "Have seen three street preachers in two days so far.  If you listen closely you can hear hundreds of people's un-given f*cks."

That's my boy, the comedian.

He also reported today that they were on the Staten Island ferry, so presumably they made it to see the Statue of Liberty and all that.  Ms. Auyeung's itinerary for them was fairly ambitious. They had to bail on a bunch of things yesterday, though I notice things aren't so tightly packed today.  Today it was supposed to be: Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, Battery Park and ferry to Staten Island (for AM), in the afternoon: Manhattan Chinatown for lunch, Museum of Chinese in America, some shopping time after, and then...?  She has nothing for the evening, but they're staying in the Chinatown in Queens (which apparently at one time was known as "Little Taipei" for all the Taiwanese that settled there) so I suspect they'll explore their own neighborhood, as it were, in the evening.

I'm really sad that I'll miss whatever texts come through while I'm at work tonight, but I'm so glad that he seems to be having fun.  Apparently, they only briefly lost some students in Times Square.... 

lydamorehouse: (??!!)
I love living in the future. It's true that we don't hav personal jetpacks and the political landscape is some nightmare cross between 1984 and Handmaid's Tale, but I can talk to someone 7,000 miles away in real-time, via Google Hangouts.  Tell me that's not the most awesome thing!  

Yeah, so yesterday, I was able to spontaneously coordinate a chat with [personal profile] jiawen who is currently living in Taiwan.  It was her night time, my mid-morning.  It's really kind of amazing to think that I was able to sit on my sunporch and chat with her as though she were sitting right beside me instead of, almost literally, on the other side of the world.

I love technology.  

People who say that iThings and social media and tech are what's wrong with kids these days are full of crap.  There are downsides, of course, but I think the kinds of communities we can create vastly outweigh many of the other issues.

In completely different news, when I was making a quick grocery run with Mason after school, I got a call from my library schedule coordinator who asked if I could work at White Bear Lake today from 10 am to 2 pm. I really, really wanted to say 'no,' but, as you know, gentle reader, we're kind of strapped for cash at the moment, so I said 'yes.'  In a few minutes, I'm going to have to get up and do the dishes and get ready to go to work.  I worked last night, too, at the New Brighton branch.  I didn't mind that one so much because it was a super-short, three hour shift.  I was basically there to cover dinner breaks for people. New Brighton, when they're not being anal-retentive, can be a quiet, easy shift.  

Mason's been coming home at the usual time this past week. He's in the final push for his History Day project.  He's doing a documentary on the Kent State massacre.  It's been kind of a timely project, in a way, since he's been listening to news clips of college-age students shouting, "Hey, hey, LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?" and I literally just heard a radio segment of the school safety walk-outs, where the high school-age kids were shouting, "Hey, hey, NRA! How many kids did you kill today?"

The more things change, eh?

Okay, well, as much as I'd like to continue to sit with the cat on my lap, I need to get up and get things in some semblance of order so that we don't all come home to a messy house.


P.S. Skipped Wednesday reading because I have finished nothing again this week, though I read a hundred pages or so of at least one non-fiction book.  
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Yesterday, at work, one of the librarians came over and asked me, "What's this thing you were a...speaker (?) at recently? Or maybe coming up?"  I look at her for a long moment, because, honestly, I have a terrible time remembering the names of people I work with regularly, and I'm also thinking, 'do mundanes know about cons?'  Hesitantly, I say, "Uh, well... I'm going to be a guest of honor at MiniCON over Easter weekend?" She shakes her head, "No, no this would be something recent."  "MarsCON?" I offer in my squeakiest, most uncertain voice. She smiles with recognition. "Yes, that's it!"

Then, without missing a beat, she adds, "What *is* it?"

Which is good, because, briefly, I was totally freaking out that someone outside of our community might actually be aware of the local SF scene. I mean, heaven forbid!  (TEASING. It would be lovely if regular people started knowing more about what we do.)

I've been wracking my brain ever since, trying to figure out how this person even heard of MarsCON in the first place. It occurs to me only just NOW that John, the branch manager at Roseville, called me Saturday morning hoping I could work a few hours. I told him that normally, I totally would, but that I was headed off to a panel at MarsCON. It's entirely possible that John mentioned that in passing (because I gave HIM a quick low-down on what MarsCON was, too) to other folks at the library.  Probably people figured it was something as cool as ComiCON in San Deigo and were shocked that something like that existed here in Minnesota.  (Don't worry, I put that idea to rest.  I told the librarian "You can think ComiCON, but think on a significantly smaller scale with more nerds and fewer celebrities." I think that's fairly accurate, wouldn't you?)

That was one interesting thing that happened at work.

The other is that a few minutes later,  I had to show something to the librarian... regarding their change in how graphic novels are going to be shelved. They've decided, I think wisely, to shelve by title. Okay, let me back up, here's what's dumb is that they kind of did this before, but it was somewhat haphazard. Like, they might collect a single copy of something, like AMERICAN BORN CHINESE and shelve it by author (makes sense) and then put all the SPIDER-MANs together (also makes sense, until you get to the fact that 9 out of 10 circulation staff don't READ comic books, don't bother to check the list to see which titles are series being collected, and don't understand how graphic novels are organized in terms of is Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man title, yes or no?)  The previous "solution" (which actually worked fine for the most part) was to organize first by collected series title (Spider-Man) and then by author (Bendis) and then by volume (number.)  

As any long-time superhero comic book reader will tell you that MOSTLY works, until, of course you hit the end of JMS's run of Spider-Man and the final volume in that series is actually written by someone else entire, since JMS quit over artistic differences.  (which is, of course, very different than manga where the mangaka and the manga are inseparable. You could organize manga by author, since the author never changes. They do those by title, because that's how most readers look for manga.)

To solve this, the libraries figured that they would just switch to volume title and volume number.  Hahahahahaha!  Yeah, that's WORSE. Because they're not collecting individual comic books (which are, for the most part numbered sequentially) but graphic novels, which collect, say issues 147-153, but might be volume 5 of Fraction's run.  So, I pulled out three AMAZING SPIDER-MAN volume 5s to show them this problem. I should have shown them the title page that explains which issues are collected, because honestly, if they organized this by ISSUE numbers they could mostly solve this.

But, the likelihood that they care this much about graphic novels is low. The comic book section will become a complete mess where Spider-Man will have 17 number 5s ALL FROM COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY ARCS and readers will be like, "WTF" and probably stop bothering to follow an arc.

Which is too bad, because, frankly, comic books/graphic novels are expensive and I feel like more comic book fans would read collections via the library if they knew they collected them (and how to find the ones they wanted.)  

So, yeah, that was work.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 ...and yet, I have to leave in about twenty minutes.

Normally, I would treat myself to a fancy latte at Claddaugh on a day like today, but we're out of money until payday for everything except necessities.  Mason's Chinese teacher (or, probably more likely, Washington's administrative office) decided to cash all the checks we've been slowly giving her over the last few months.  So, instead of a nice steady, planned _depletion_ of our account, a whole HUGE wad came out at once.  Luckily, Shawn had moved money over to cover Bearskin (our semi-annual trip to the BWCA) or we would have been in even bigger trouble. As it is, I have go without lattes for a few more days and watch what I spend. Not a crisis, just annoying.

Mason heads off to New York with his Chinese class on Monday, April 2.  The itinerary that the Chinese teacher has planned is... ambitious.  I hope they get to see everything.  I've only been to New York once (discounting stops at airports, heading overseas).  I was about Mason's age, and I won a trip there for some Peace speech project or other.  As Mason's Chinese teacher was talking about things they'd see in Manhattan, I had a huge wave of nostalgia.  I suddenly remembered our trip to the UN, for instance. Something I hadn't thought about for decades.  We were given a lot of freedom, too. I remember that after our group trip to Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty, three of us decided we wanted to walk back to the hotel, up Broadway.  Somehow, miraculously, we were allowed to do so, COMPLETELY by ourselves. It was probably my favorite part of that trip. We walked through Greenwich Village and Chinatown and all of that... I mean, some of it is a blur, and who knows what we missed that was "scheduled," but I think we were told it was fine since it was "free time" and most of the other kids were going to spend it prepping for speeches in the hotel. I did not advance.  The other things I remember about that trip was seeing "La Cage aux Follies" on Broadway and using my French to help a German couple that were locked out of their rooms....or maybe it was the other way around, and they helped us... (Anyway, the doors were tricky, you had to wiggle the key left, then right before it would go.)  The only language we had in common was French. It was probably the one time in my life language study was practically useful.

I hope Mason has a good a time in New York as I did. I hope he gets more opportunities than I did to go BACK.

It was funny, speaking both of money and traveling, Mason was telling us about his reaction to a friend's story about how their brother and dad took off for a car show in Florida this weekend.  Mason told us, at first, he couldn't even entirely comprehend how a trip like that could happen spontaneously.  He said, "I opened my mouth to say, 'What? How do you even?' and then I remembered other people don't have to plan for months in advance. They just BUY plane tickets and go places whenever they want."

Yeah.

And, yet, if next year, Mason decides he wants to go to China with his Chinese class, he has the money saved to do it.  We started an account for him when he was very small with all the little bits of money that Shawn's dad would slip us for "something nice for Mason." We've used that money for things like his changing table when he was an infant, but Shawn's dad was totally the sort that would slip both Shawn and I twenties throughout a weekend and we'd come home with a couple hundred dollars, discovered amongst our things.  So, we saved it all.  Maybe if Shawn's dad had lived longer, it would be a college fund.  As it stands, it's enough for a trip to China.

But, the Chinese teacher is a little... laissez faire? So, part of this New York trip is for Mason to decide if traveling with her is something he's comfortable with.  It's one thing to go to New York; another to go to China.  For myself, I'd go.  I mean, my old French teacher was a LOT laissez faire, and I don't regret a second of our high school trip to France.  That's another trip where, even though I've forgotten 9/10th of high school, I still remember vividly.  It also changed the way I travel, but that's another story, perhaps.  (We had an insane itinerary.  If it was the ONLY trip I ever made overseas, it would have probably been my preference... maybe? But.. as it was, I still have nightmares of being told I have an HOUR to spend at the Louvre.)

Right, okay. That's the time. I need to head out.  See you all on the flip side.


lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
Oops.

Yeah, so, I guess the last few days have escaped me. I know where yesterday went: I worked at White Bear Lake library. While there, I discovered that I may have lost a book.... one that *I* checked out. I'm going to have to go to Roseville and confess today. The dumbest part is that I think I lost one of my OWN Japanese language books in the process. I think I returned a book that I actually bought at the Friends sale, thinking it was this missing one. But, I have turned the house upside down and the book remains at large. It's so weird, because I always put my library books in one or two places. I do this because our house is otherwise quite full of books and a library book can easily get lost among all the others.

Ah, it's going to be embarrassing. But, there's nothing for it.

But, so, yes, speaking of books. Last week I quit a number of books. I had been trying to find a good mystery that had Taiwan as a backdrop, but the books I found all wanted to be mysteries more than they wanted to be travelogues. So, I quit on Toroko Gorge by Jacob Ritari and Out of Turns by Anne G. Faigan. While looking for the authors of these books, I see that Ed Lin has produced two more books in his Night Market mystery series. I liked Ghost Month quite a bit, because the mystery was really quite secondary to all the interesting bits of scenery of Taipei and Taiwanese culture. Looks like Ramsey County has the next book, Incensed, so I'll put that on request.

I'm going to be forced to quit The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss, because it was due yesterday and when I went to try to renew it, it picked up a hold. Since someone else is in the queue for it, so I'm going to have to get back in line if I want to finish it. Which is a bummer because I was actually starting to enjoy it, despite the fact that I normally despise anything that breaks the 4th Wall.

And then there was the usual manga/manhwa/manhua:

Make Me Bark by Sagold
Hamerare Host by Kaneko Ako
Gentei Kareshi / Limited Boyfriend by Uni Yamasaki
Ani no Chuukoku / Brother’s Warning by Asada Nemui
Ore Monogatari!! / My Love Story (Vols. 1 & 2) by Kawahara Kazune / Aruko

Most of the above is yaoi/boys' love/BL, with the exception of Ore Monogatari / My Love Story, which is a shoujo (a girls' romance) about the type of guy who is never the hero of love stories, except in this case he is. He's a big bruiser type, but he has a gentle heart and, for once, a girl falls for _HIM_ instead of his classically handsome best friend.

I finally broke down and started watching "Ancient Magus Bride."  I am... wow, did NOT expect it to start the way it did, so we'll see if I stick with it.  There's only one season so far, however, so it might be something I can get through reasonably quickly while washing the dishes.

As I posted before, MarsCON is this weekend.  The only panel I'm NOT looking forward to is the manhwa/manhua one, despite the fact that *I* proposed it.  I proposed it, however, hoping that I was not, in point of fact, the only local person reading these.  I'm certainly no expert, and now I'm the only person the the panel.... on top of which, they seem to have slotted me in the "teen" track (because OF COURSE) and literally the only manhwa/manhua that I've read is COMPLETE SMUT.  I'm trying to decide what to do about it.... it's possible that I won't have much of an audience anyway, in which case we just have a roundtable discussion.  But, I should prepare a list of titles, maybe?  I dunno.  UGH, I'm not looking forward to it, honestly.

Anyway, how's you? What have YOU been reading?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I have a number of books that I'm currently reading, but I'm not sure if I finished anything. I did read four volumes (two in paper, and the others via scanlation sites) of Totsukuni no Shoujo / Girl From the Other Side by Nagabe, which is a very creepy/cool manga that I'd highly recommend. Otherwise, I have a book I think I started last week called An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King on my Kindle. I picked up a hardcover book, a mystery that takes place in Taiwan, called Taroko Gorge by Jacob Ritari...but it's a disappointment to me so far because what I really want out of mysteries set abroad is a travelogue with a small story attached, and currently I'm getting a lot of character study of a disgruntled, jaded American journalist and his hippy/New Age cameraman.

That's my reading.  In fact, I think I may head out early today because I have a bunch of things that need to make their way back to the library.  Maybe I'll poke around and see if there's anything else of interest there.

How about you? What've you been reading this week?
lydamorehouse: (ichigo hot)
 Guess who called at 9 am? Work.  The branch manager at Roseville wanted me to come in for the day.  I said no, because I wanted part of the weekend to myself, but the ironic thing? I HATED SAYING "NO." I _love_ working at Roseville. A full day at Roseville, feels like a half day anywhere else. The people there are legitimately my favorite. And, of course, we could always use the money.

In other news, I'm excited because one of my self-selected pen friends ("the Canadian") is coming to town!  Her mother goes, every year, to a yarning event here in the outer Twin Cities. She decided to tag along. So, near the end of April, I get to play tourist.  As I just wrote to her, I actually love traveling.  You might have guessed that from the random road trips Mason and I have taken over the years.  I would love to travel more and greater distances, but speaking of money, we just can't afford it.  Plus, my wife HATES airplanes.  

I tend to sublimate by being a tourist at home whenever possible.  Last couple of summers that Mason has had off from school, I've taken out travel guides to the Twin Cities and tried to find local places we haven't already been to explore.  So, I'm really excited to get to do this with someone who hasn't already been to all the classic spots.  She's never seen the giant spoon and cherry!  She's never been to Dinkytown. She's never even EVER seen the Mississippi, not to mention all of our local lakes.

She confessed when I started bombarding her with all the options in terms of museums that she really loves coffee, and the idea of seeing a thing and then getting coffee, and seeing another thing, and having coffee, and then lunch... is more her speed.  So, I'm going to try to see if I can find fun coffee shops near some typical destinations. I only have a single weekend with her, so it'll be hard to narrow down the best of the best (most likely to impress.) I really want her to have fun and want to come back again. 

So, if you have ideas about good places--local folks can chime in, but I'd also love to hear from people who have visited here, but don't live here. What impressed you the most (if anything did)?


lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I had a seven-hour shift at New Brighton library today. It was... well, there were a couple of things that made it a little rough around the edges. One, the library shares its space with the Eagle's Nest, an indoor play place. Saturdays are especially busy because a lot of parents book it for birthday parties, and when there's overflow the staff at the play place helpfully suggest that parents and their squirrel-y children could go "hang out" in the library. I think that this is, on paper, a good idea. There are a lot of people who go to this community center who would not otherwise think to stop at the library. But this is functionally a bad idea because the kids really want to play, they don't want to sit and read, they want to be at the Eagle's Nest RUNNING AROUND AND SCREAMING THEIR HEADS OFF.

So, that made work... entertaining. I was told that I needed to clean up the children's room more often than normal because the kids tend to destroy it. Though, to be fair, not ALWAYS. Once, when I went in to clean, there was a dad with a small boy in the room. The place had clearly been, let's say, fully explored. I stopped in my tracks, because there's no point cleaning up when someone is actively playing. That makes people feel like they have to leave. So, I just smiled and probably muttered, "Oh, you're still at it; I'll come back and clean everything up later." When I came back, five minutes later, they had done it for me. That was nice.

The other thing that was rough? I worked seven hours with two other people who were... particular. A lot of librarians/circulation staff are. Being a little OCD is considered a feature, not a bug in the library business. Normally, I have no problem rolling with it, but normally I'm only there for half a day. A full seven hours with people who neaten your neatening is a little demoralizing. At one point I was told to go stack some weeded books on a table. I did that. Stacking books is not a difficult job, I figured. You pile them up in an orderly fashion so that none of them will fall and that's a job well done, right? I came back to the backroom for something and my pile had been rearranged. Nothing makes a person feel more incompetent to find something they just did, redone.

But that's over now, and I have resolved never to work there for a full 8 hours again. I will happily take short shifts, but now I know that any longer and I might murder my co-workers.

In happier news, Shawn bought herself a bento box. I like to tell her it's the best thing she ever bought for herself that's clearly actually FOR ME. I have been having a tremendous amount of fun packing her lunch and making it "kawaii." (The overused by otaku, Japanese word for cute.)

Traditionally, bento boxes are wrapped in cloth that can serve as a napkin/tablecloth. So, this is the box wrapped in one of our checked napkins:



Then, just to show you the box:



This particular brand of bento box came with a wooden spoon and a fork, which aren't pictured. The elastic strap holds the two sections together and you can tuck the silverware underneath it on the top.

Here's the first lunch I made her:




(The top part is furthest from us in the picture.) You see the top part with the little dividers (bought separately, alas) with cheese and baby carrots. The circle is a turkey sandwich cut with a cookie cutter. The lower tray has candy hearts, a star shaped turkey sandwich and girl scout thin mint cookies. A thoroughly American adaptation of a Japanese tradition.  :-)

I have never had so much fun making someone else's lunch.

On Friday night the whole family went over to my friend Sean Murphy's house to watch the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. That was a lot of fun.  I have one take-away: Tongan athletes are HOT and should be required to compete half-naked as well.  Otherwise, it was fun to try to listen for the one phrase I remember from Korean (our martial arts was Korean, so we counted and said a few phrases in Korean) which is "thank you very much."  

Okay, it's early, but I might go to bed soon. I was hoping to write a few letters to my pen pals.  I'm not sure I'm going to be able to keep my eyes open long enough, however. Work really took a lot out of me.

lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 It's Wednesday! I actually spent a good portion of this morning reading so that I could report that I have FINISHED all 21 volumes of Nana by Ai Yazawa.  Whoo!  Of course, I raced to the end only to find out that the mangaka is on indefinite hiatus and the end wasn't the end, but sort of just stopped due to her illness.  :-P Eh, the non-ending ending was traumatizing, but it was still a good (highly-addictive, very soap opera-y) series. 10/10 would recommend.

In other news, I feel fairly productive in a complaining sort of way.  When I went out with the kitty litter, I discovered that our recycling bin had not been emptied.  I called Eureka and talked to a very diligent person, who seemed very concerned.  We've been missed a number of times, so we'll see if anything will actually be done. He promised to have the drivers tag us next time, if somehow the missed pick-up is our fault.  I will be very pissed off if they say it is, however.  BECAUSE our recycling is so particular, I make it part of my Monday morning routine to make sure that the bin is situated properly. They have these stupid robotic arms and so they say they have to have two feet or some crazy distance around the bin for them in order to pick it up. So, after dropping Mason and Shawn off, I always go to the back and pull in our garbage can (they ALSO come on Monday, but are capable of actually just pulling the thing around to dump into their truck) and double-check to make sure the recycling bin is close to the alley and unobstructed.  It's stupid and a hassle, but it sucks more when we run out of room in the bin because they miss us for weeks at a time.

But, having had a mostly successful conversation with Eureka, I finally wrote a letter to my city council person, Russ Stark, about the parking situation in our neighborhood.  We don't have a working garage. We never have, but that's never been much of a problem in the past, oh, 15 years or so.  There was always plenty of room on our block to park in front of our house. These last few years, it's become really difficult.... in the middle of the day.  I suspect Russ is NOT getting a ton of complaints about this, because many people come home AFTER the parking clears up.  But, I will often come home at 8 am and there will be no place for me to park.  

A lot of it, ironically, is due to the fact that we're a block from the Fairview Green Line stop.  I don't know what is appealing about our neighborhood, but people come here to leave their cars and then take the train into work. I've watched them do it.  One time I ended up sitting in my car for an extra fifteen minutes listening to the end of a radio program, and sure enough I watched THREE different people park their cars and walk to the train station.  

The rest of the traffic belongs to employees of the businesses on the end of our block.  I wish that the businesses had been required to provide parking for their employees, but for some reason they weren't. The irony is that there's a huge parking lot at the end of our block. It belongs to Wendy's and the Russian Tea House. The Russian Tea House has rented out some of their space, because the energy company parks their vans behind the tea house.  But, I wish Wendy's would make a deal with the other employers.  The lot sits empty and our block fills up.

At any rate, I asked Russ to consider permit parking. It would, at the very least, cut down on the ditch and ride people.  (If you're going to commit to public transportation, you should go all the way!) 

We'll see, once again, if anything comes from my complaint.  But, hey, I've only been putting it off for months. I'm glad I at least wrote something finally.

I don't know if it's the weather or the fact that my usual Wednesday group has moved to Friday, but I'm feeling a little down today. I should be happier.  Mason told us about the win in Alabama last night.  But, but somehow I'm just feeling low.  And work called.  They want me in New Brighton from 5 to 8pm.  It's only three hours, so I said yes.  It'll probably be good for me to go out and earn a little money, too.

lydamorehouse: (ichigo irritated)
 I'm not even sure what I'm planning to make as the meal that goes WITH the oatmeal bread I just started, but, I don't know if you've noticed, fellow Minnesotans, but it's [bleep]ing COLD out there.  The cold weather always makes me want to hunker down and bake bread.  Oatmeal bread seemed especially hearty. I've made this recipe before. It isn't overly sweet. Maybe I can just make tunafish sandwiches or some such.

Mason is home sick today.  I think that, while he does have cold/flu symptoms, he's run himself down.  His schedule has, as has been reported, is pretty grueling. I'm not surprised he feels like crap. He needs way more sleep than he's been getting.  

The big thing on my list of things to do today is decorate the porch. Of course, today would be the day that the windchills are -2 F / -18.9 C.  The last thing I feel like doing is futzing around on the unheated porch for several hours.  BUT, I do love the lights once they're up, so I'll just have to bite the bullet. 

I finally got FB to work so here's a picture of our tree this year:

traditional looking Christmas tree

We put up a combination of a lot of Solstice ornaments (birds, the Solstice spider, the sun, an orca, several fish, etc.,) and classic blown-glass. Our newest cat, Buttercup, is fairly convinced THOSE BIRDS are for him.  This morning we discovered him "gutting" and gnawing on a pine-cone nested bird ornament.  When we took that one away, he tried to get another bird.  So, I found a sacrificial bird (ironically? A white dove) to give him.  Hmmm, yeah. So. The symbol of peace has been mauled in 2017.  TELL ME THAT'S NOT SYMBOLIC.  Especially since I foolishly offered it to him, knowing what would happen.  :-)

Work was good.  Apparently, I was sent to North Saint Paul's library because Mondays are their school visit days. So, when I arrived to this very tiny suburban library, it was filled to the brim with countless screaming argonauts (as They Might Be Giants might say.)  I spent the first hour catching them up on their shelving, since the staff has to spend a lot of time corralling the youths. But, as soon as the waves of children was over, North Saint Paul settled into its usual quietness. I found a manga for when I finally finish all 21 volumes of Nana.

While I was pulling this new one (it's called I Hear Sunspot, about a hard of hearing college student,) I got to chatting with one of the patrons who was sitting in the YA room (at North Saint Paul the teen room is very isolated, and a lot of people end up using it as a quiet room during the day).  He's moving into the neighborhood and was looking forward to making this little place his new library. Maplewood is just a little out of the way for him, though he liked it a lot, and I asked him if he'd ever been to Roseville.  Turns out? His girlfriend DIED after falling down the stairs there.

What's especially weird about this is that I remember coming in the night, maybe two years ago (?), when everyone at Roseville was really shaken up because a woman had fallen down the stairs.  She had left there alive, but, according to this guy, she developed complications because she was on some medication or other that thinned her blood. Worse, because he was only her boyfriend and not a relative, even though she'd called for him, they apparently wouldn't tell him everything that was going on with her.  (This gave me flashbacks. It never happened to us, but I used to be terrified of being denied access to Shawn before we were legally married--which is why we always had a medical power of attorney in our back pockets.)  But, anyway, it was heartbreaking story.  I felt so bad for him. But, being an awkward Minnesotan, all I ended up doing was saying how sorry I was.

What else can you really do?

Yikes.  

Right. So. On a happier note, I think I will check on my bread and decorate the porch. I should at least try to get the lights strung. 
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I don't remember the last time I called my congress critters.  I've been thinking it's probably time again. I don't want them thinking that we've lost faith, but I think I finally had that 'OMG I can't cope/too much' moment a couple of weeks ago. I need to pull myself back together and get back on the letters and postcards and phone calls.

The world isn't going to save itself.

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

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

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

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

:-)

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

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

So, I started balling.

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

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

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

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


lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I occurs to me that I never wrote anything about my experience volunteering at Quatrefoil Library.  

I got there right on time, having managed to get my package off to New Zealand in record time (considering what the queue looked like AFTER I left, which is to say: stretching all the way outside.)  If you know nothing about Q Library--which I didn't really, either--it's now in a "new" location on Lake Street. They're in the bottom floor of the Spirit on Lake building. There is a small, convenient parking lot behind the building as well as lots of off-street parking.  When I showed up, I would have SWORN that the back door was locked, but after going around the building once, knocking on all the doors like a moron, I came back to discover a very confused Brian who opened the door to me and asked, "Did you even try it?"

...

Maybe not?

He gave me an exasperated eye roll, which is literally why I like Brian so much.  

Then we had some confused back-and-forth where I had to confess that, yes, I work at the Ramsey County Libraries (RCL), but, no, not a librarian--I don't have a masters in library science.  I think this bummed him out, because from what I gathered, maybe they only have one retire librarian doing cataloguing for them? But, he set me to work, anyway. I had to find some potentially MIA books on the shelves, because copies had been donated that could either replace them or replace copies in bad shape. 

At RCL, this would have taken me no time.  Maybe a bit longer, if I'm not familiar with the particular branch's layout, but over the past three years I've become pretty comfortable with how RCL is organized.  Q Library baffled me.  First of all, their non-fiction is organized via the LOC (Library of Congress) system which is, frankly, utterly foreign to me. RCL uses Dewey Decimal.  LOC is just about as intuitive as Dewey Decimal, but it still took a bit of a mental adjustment.  I mean, I don't have to understand what the purpose of the organizational system is, I just have to know how the numbers/letters fall in order, you know?  Alphabet still starts with A and ends with Z. Numbers still go from 0 up.  So, I'm good.

Fiction is alphabetical by author, same as anywhere.  But for some reason, I could not fathom how the shelves were working for a while, but eventually I got it down.  While combing the shelves, I discovered a HUGE cache of yaoi (in non-fiction, so don't be confused), which, when I left, I borrowed a half dozen of, with plans to take out the rest at some point.  I've been reviewing those over at MangaKast.  If you're curious about Q's holdings, I made a search term/tag for it, so you can just plug-in "Quatrefoil Library" or if you're afraid you'll misspell it, "Q Library."

After I finished that, I got a very fun task: going through recent donations to see if there was anything among them that should be added to the collection. The criteria is pretty simple: author must be GLBTQ+ _and/or_ a significant character must be GLBTQ+.  Any books that don't meet these criteria still help Q Library, though, because they're sold via various outlets--kind of like what RCL does with its book donations.  So, that was kind of fun because it was investigative--used my brains and my Google Fu.

Then, because it's that time of year, everyone who was working at the library was invited over to the community room for a potluck get-together for residents and staff.  Awkward forced socialization is awkward, but the food was very good.  Life came full circle when I met my very first lesbian nun (ex).  

I may never have told this story in any public forum, but my first exposure a larger sense of a larger lesbian world was when Phil Donahue
 interviewed lesbian nuns on his talk show sometime in the 1980s. I remember watching this pretty raptly.  I knew that one of my dad's colleagues at Viterbo was a lesbian, but here were SEVERAL lesbians ON TV.  I think my mom, who was watching with me, probably got her first clue that maybe I was queer at this point.  It could have been the MASSIVE crush I had on my dad's colleague (Betty? Betsy? Something completely different?) or the Gay Comix I'd bought at the head shop, too.

Anyway, I left shortly after eating, mostly because I was overheated--I'd dressed for a much colder day and didn't have a very good way to shed layers. Q is well heated PLUS they have huge windows that get a ton of sun.

I would totally do this again. It's certainly work I feel comfortable doing and it's enjoyable, if for no other reason that it's something I would NEVER be allowed to do at RCL. Acquisitions is 100% the purview of librarians at RCL, so getting to be part of a decision like that is very cool.

Speaking of things I barely remember from the 1980s, one of the bids for copies of Resurrection Code for Jim Hines' charity went a guy I went to high school with.  Honestly? I kinda hated this guy.  In fact, the year I was voted "Biggest Women's Libber," he was voted "Biggest Male Chauvinist."  But, he has the sort of name that--particularly in the Midwest--is really fairly common and so when I wrote the "uh, so how do you want the book delivered?" e-mail to him, I stayed very formal since I thought it would be much more awkward to act all chummy only to discover I was talking to a totally DIFFERENT person who just happened to have the same name.  We're considering getting together to exchange the book, so it will be interesting to see how this guy has changed since 1985.  I suspect a lot, given that he just donated to a trans hotline.  I remembered him as not only a male chauvinist, but also as a raging Republican.  But, then again, I don't even remember the name of my first lesbian crush, so probably he was never any of those things I remember, anyway.

One of the reasons I have not gone back to a high school reunion since my 5 year, is that I have utterly jettisoned all, except the most critical, memories from high school. I hated high school. I mean, I actually enjoyed learning--I always have--but I was not living an authentic life, while also going through a lot of hormones.  I barely even recognize MYSELF from those days, much less anyone else.  

And, that's the problem. Since becoming a published author, I've had people I knew in high school say "Hey, remember when we did this? Remember so-and-so?" and I draw an UTTER, embarrassing blank. Like, clearly this was a significant moment for the person I'm talking to and I literally don't even know for sure WHO THEY EVEN ARE, much less remember a single detail of whatever they're trying to convince me was the most epic thing we did together.

I blame the fact that I off-loaded my memories every day in high school. Seriously, I was a religious, devout journal keeper.  I wrote a diary entry every single day in high school. I poured out all my thoughts, my emotions, chronicled events, ruminated about gossip, etc.  So, I think I literally dumped those memories because part of me knew they were stored off-site--kind of how no one remembers phone numbers any more because we all keep them in our smartphones.

But, add on to that the fact that I've always been mildly narcissistic and high school was especially a time that was all about ME--in my own head. I was trying to figure out who *I* was and so I pretty much remember nothing except those things that were critical to defining "moi," as Ms. Piggy might say.

So, yeah.  That should be interesting. Probably it will be a lot of "Remember when?" and I'll be, like, "NOPE."

Tonight our whole family has been invited over to Mason's friend Rosemary's house for a night of casual gaming.  I'm looking forward to that.  I might have to bake some bread or some other treat to take over there, but everyone is on vacation now so there's lots of time.  I actually got up stupid early again today... I've been having trouble sleeping and might need to go back to the chiropractor. If I lay on my back for too long, fingers in my right hand go numb--so numb it wakes me up!  That doesn't seem right, and, weirder, is the opposite arm than the one I had trouble with earlier this year. So that's a bummer. It might not help that I've been hunched over my stamp collection a lot lately, but the chiropractor can still help with that.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 Today's breakfast is two eggs over easy (but three yolks, because I got  double one!) and two slices of yesterday's cardamom bread. This is a little heartier than normal for me, but I'm bracing myself for a long day at Quatrefoil Library.I'm volunteering with the acquisitions committee. I have no real idea what I'll be doing exactly, but hopefully it will be fun or rewarding or both.  I'll let you know how it went tomorrow. I'll be doing something with them from 9:30 am, until 1:00 pm.  

I also have to take off even earlier this morning to hit the post office before Q.  Not only did I finish off my pen pal list, but I also have a package that needs to go to New Zealand for one of the winners of the charity auction that Jim Hines organized to help fun the trans hotline in Michigan. If you're curious, I raised a decent amount of money considering that there were only three books on offer. I'll be curious to know how this auction is going over all, but fingers crossed that he's raising good money.

Otherwise, the weekend was very quiet.  My family intended it to be that way, since, like most Minnesotans, we'd heard that the polar vortex was coming and so basically planned to hunker down and wait it out.  I went outside exactly three times this weekend. The first time early Saturday morning to shovel the sidewalk. The second time, I started up the car Sunday morning to move it over to the day plow side of the street (a frustrating exercise since the day plow NEVER SHOWED.)  The third and final time was to take Mason over to his friend Rosemary's for their traditional Saturday (moved to Sunday) dinner and movie night. I guess last night they also made a gingerbread house with Rosemary's brother, which frankly looked AMAZING (ours last year was more of a gingerbread shack and kept listing to the side.)

We finished decorating the house for Yule, which, in our case, meant actually getting the Yule Log together and putting various evergreen boughs around the house.  Yeah, we decked the halls.  Except without holly, since I think holly berries are poisonous to cats... and this year I would not trust our new kitty Buttercup not to eat ALL THE POISON.  He already likes to climb up on of of the larger presents under the tree and carefully chose various ornaments to steal and then noisily bat around the room.  THIS is why we decided to revert to our "toddler tree" in which we hang absolutely nothing breakable on the lower 2/3rds of the tree.

Solstice shopping is done, but I still have a few Christmas presents to get.  The bonus of being pagan is that decided to double up on the gift-giving holidays and we celebrate Yule/Solstice AND Christmas (because, really, outside of this whole birth of Christ thing, have you LOOKED at Christmas?  It's completely pagan.)  Plus, Shawn was raised Christian and decided she wanted to keep Christmas.  Given that none of what she wants involves going to a church, it seemed perfectly fine with me.  I will say that I'm just as happy to celebrate it.  Easter always gets me, because we celebrate Ostara and it ALWAYS comes early (being one of the points from which such things are counted) and so I end up wandering around on Easter Sunday wondering why the heck all the stores are closed!  

Ah, I'd better run. There's sure to be a line around the block at the post office, and I don't want to be late to my first volunteer gig!
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
Last night was the board meeting of Quatrefoil Library.  Normally, this would have been a Wyrdsmiths night for me, but shortly after I bowed out, a bunch of people chimed in that they had conflicts and/or ENDED UP IN THE ER, (but that's another story.)  

The board meeting was fascinating.  One of the things I discovered, listening to people talk, is that many of the other board candidates had put in a lot more people-hours into the organization.  One of the other board candidates had been an artist in residence; another had helped with an archival project.  And, I thought: what am I doing trying to jump in at the top?  Especially when I found out that there were a number of committees that a person could join without being a board member.  

What I really want to do for Quatrefoil is physically HELP.  You know what I mean? Maybe not staffing the desk (because I think the hours might conflict with my existing library work), but maybe to help build/expand content for their social media or review books for their newsletter or other places where I can link back to  them to help raise their profile. I can put out chairs for an event.  I can set out snacks or help clean-up.  I can help recruit writers and readers. Stuff like that.

I made what I felt like was a good connection to the acquisitions board member, and I'm hoping that, though him, I can find the right kind of committee work for me.  Ideally, he and I could work together to really raise people's awareness of Quatrefoil's collection... which is HUGE and expansive and I don't know how many people know that much about them, despite how long they've been in the community. So, if you see me talking them up here, that's all part of my overall goal.  :-)

At any rate, I just wrote some follow-up emails to my contacts that hopefully made my continued excitement clear, but explained how humbled I was at the meeting and how much I'd like to work my way up to the position of board member... after paying some real dues.

So, that was last night.  

Today... today is starting out slowly.  Shawn is out with a migraine.  I'm huddled under the blankets because it's so cold outside that the radiators haven't managed to catch up. I'm thinking about writing another pen pal letter. I have about four or five left to write on my list. It's been a little frustrating, if only because I'm such a school girl and I run anxiously to the mailbox every day, hoping to find some new treasure from some stranger overseas.  I did get the one, but it's been otherwise silent.  I wonder if they give you such a big list, knowing that a lot of people aren't going to follow-through?  Or maybe I'm just being anxious and I'm the person down on the list, like the last few stragglers are on my own.


lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 I accidentally agreed to work at the one branch of the Ramsey County Library system that I usually avoid like the plague it is.  In fact, I think my boss is on to me, because she tricked me.  

Her: "Oh, how about 9 to 1 on Friday?"
Me: (unsuspecting) "Oh, yeah, I could do that."
Her: (with a note of triumph in her voice) "Great! It'll be S----."
Me: (silent screaming of rage, 'oh no, not Umbridge and the Dementors!') "Oh... uh... great. I'll... uh, put that down on the calendar...' (more silent cursing.)

So, I don't know what a person does to prepare for Azkaban, but I decided to stop and get two cups of my favorite coffee latte from my favorite coffee store.  I'm hoping that will help me be perky as my soul is slowly sucked out for the next four hours as the boss of that branch cheerfully/not-cheerfully sputters "NO PROBLEM" (subtext: 'YOU F*CKED UP!!!') any time I make some tiny mistake that at any other library would be laughed off and/or gently corrected.  

It's also just... grueling.  The Dementors hate substitutes and so we are given the repetitive and back breaking tasks, things like hand checking books in.  It's the kind of work that makes a person start to think they work at a book factory, not a library.  In the past, they had me doing that one thing for the whole four hours (most branches trust subs enough to let them shelve or work the desk or answer phone to mix things up a bit, so it's not just mind-numbing monotonous work for the entire shift.)

What always amuses me about S----, is that it seems that nearly everyone at the other branches feels the same way about them. When I first started, it was kind of an initiation/are-you-one-of-us-or-a-robot kind of questions:  "A sub, eh?  So... have you been EVERYWHERE....?"  And, I'd say, "Yes, I've been to every branch now."  And, they'd drop their voice and ask, "So... what do you think of S---?"  To which I replied, "Oh, you mean Umbridge and the Dementors?" And then we would laugh and I would have a fast friend for life. Last time I stopped in at Roseville, they lamented that they hadn't seen me in a while and asked if I was getting many hours and when I told them I'd been tricked into working this particular shift they nodded solemnly and said softly, "I swear that's the only way [boss] gets people to work there."

So that's what I have to look forward to today.  Hope y'all are doing better! 

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