lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 Okay, wow, I forgot to post anything for a week. Gomenasai. My bad.

I did have some stories I wanted to recount, too. First of all, I worked at Shoreview Library on Saint Patrick's Day proper, last Sunday. For some reason I thought that the library opened at 10 am, and, as I was scheduled for 11 am - 3 pm, I waltzed in the door (using my beep-y lanyard thingie) and promptly set off the alarm. As it happened, my colleagues were coming in right behind me and so someone was able to put in the code to turn off the blaring. But, that was... interesting, as we say here in Minnesota.

I've always wondered what would happen if I just randomly tried to go into a library after hours with my official employee badge door opener.  Now I know!

I ended up working at Shoreview again on Monday night, which was fine. I continue to like library work and it gave me an opportunity to discover Polar Bear Love, a ridiculous manga about cross-species love. 

I spent a lot of the rest of the week playing taxi for Mason. He has been volunteering as a debate coach and there were two big tournaments at the U (Anderson Hall, West Bank) this week.  He ended up taking the light rail home last night, because his matches went late and I had Wyrdsmiths--which I couldn't skip as they were reading the apocalypse short story of mine which is due April 1. Speaking of which, that's all revised. I need to look over it several more times before I send it off, but I feel really quite good about it. I took some risks and i think they paid off. We'll see. 

Today is Friday, and so I hung out with [personal profile] naomikritzer and [personal profile] pegkerr at the coffeeshop and talked politics and water in the basement and all that sort of stuff.

And... now I can't remember what else I wanted to report, so I guess I'll close now with a promise to be better in the future.

Hump Day!

Jan. 16th, 2019 08:08 am
lydamorehouse: (Mistaken)
I have a few days that I need to catch y'all up on.

Let's see... Monday. What did I do on Monday? I know I did a lot of household chores, because Monday is both garbage day and recycling for our alley. We amass a LOT of recycling. I also went to the pet store again. Since Ms Ball's illness, the rest of the cats got very used to the idea that wet food might be available to them at all sorts of hours. Plus, as I'm sure many of you recall, I was trying ANYTHING I thought she might eat a lot of. So now the rest of the cats are very, "What is this, hooman? This is not the good gravy stuff???" Thus, I bought a bunch of the good gravy stuff as well as some other cans of things that everyone seemed to enjoy, because why not? At this point, I look at my fat cats and think, "GOOD. There will be lots of time to figure out what's wrong before you waste away, should disease hit!"

So my memory of Monday = errands and housework.

Yesterday was far more pleasant. Even though Shawn had a migraine and ended up coming home early, the day started and ended well. As a family, we all go out to bagels on Tuesday mornings. At some point, I made a comment that I felt that Tuesday were worse than Mondays, because everyone EXPECTS Monday to suck, as it is the first day back to work after a weekend. But, Tuesdays are like stealth Mondays. They're too early in the week to start having happy thoughts about how soon it will be the weekend again, and so they're really like Monday--only without any sympathy. We decided that in the spirit of this, Tuesdays would be a day we would treat ourselves because Tuesdays are hard, too, but no one is going to say, "Ah, yeah, man, TUESDAYS, am I right?"

Then, after picking Shawn back up and bringing her home early, I went to visit my friend [personal profile] naomikritzer at her place. I was able to stay a little later than usual because Mason is in full-swing of robotics, but we had also all earlier agreed that since it was payday, we would go out to Indian at our favorite place: Taste of India in Maplewood. Taste of India is one of those places that a surprising number of people we KNOW frequent. In the past, we've run into our friends the Murphys and the Fox-Manns. This time, it was just us, but it was also just what the doctor ordered.

With Ms. Ball's illness and death putting a literal pall over our holiday vacation, my family and I have been in desperate need of quality family time. I'm fortunate, in that my little nuclear family all really love each other and enjoy each other's company EVEN OUR TEENAGE SON. Which, is kind of miraculous, I've been told. So, dinner was perfect. We all got comfort foods and caught up on life, the universe, and everything in a much need fashion.

Then, when we got home last night, Mason and I played Smash for a half hour or so. I have to report that this button-masher is starting to learn a few combos. I have one character "Cloud," that I can consistently remember how to use. This is starting to excite Mason, as it means that he has a player in the house who isn't a complete push over. He still wins every time, but I'm making him have to fight for it a little.

In other news, Mason has been having a lot of fun watching various colleges start to take notice of his early PSAT scores. Mason took the test early, as practice here in 10th grade, and did extremely well. Every day, after school Mason will update us on the various folks that have started spamming him with "hey, when you get serious about university, don't forget we exist!" emails. The other fun thing he got was an invitation to apply to a summer program at Yale. It's Yale Young Global Studies Program. There is a 20 page application that includes financial aid (because holy moley is this thing EXPENSIVE.) But, we figure we should give it a try, even though the deadline is nipping at our heels already (Feb. 6.) Because, why not? Nothing ventured, as they say. Given how many people apply, it's probably a long shot at any rate.

It's really f*cking cool spam, though, you have to agree, neh?

I also spent a good part of yesterday starting to plan for Mason's PSEO (post-secondary education opportunities) next year. Washington Technology Magnet is OUT of math for our child. So, he's going to have to continue on at university (of some sort, though we are crossing fingers to get into the University of MN's program.) To that end, we are planning on attending the very first informational meeting on Feb. 18, I think it is. (It's on the calendar). I also went ahead and booked a tour of the Science and Engineering department, because, again, why not? But, there are a lot of forms to figure out and things to do for that, too--though, much like with the Yale thing above, my job is not to apply, but to heard our smol into applying for himself.

Still a full time job, if you ask me.

I also spent a lot of time on Monday and yesterday trying to get some hours set for my library job. I tried to pick up an extra shift this week, but someone got to Shoreview before I could nab it. Alas. At least I got my Feb. schedule to my boss, who was able to give me some shifts for next months. Yay.

Luckily, I don't need to pick up too many shifts. This month got covered by a surprise royalty check that was mid-triple digits, the likes of which I haven't seen in a long, long time. (, I LOVE YOU.) Next month, my Loft teaching will carry us, too, although I won't see that money until the work is done and dusted, so not until March or April.

I did manage to do all my spell work. I will post under-the-cut below, but I do want to share the one funny observation: I thought for sure that when these spells started calling for various herbs and oils, I would have to write some scathing commentary about how NO ONE HAS THIS STUFF JUST LYING AROUND. And, yet, last night when I was shaking my head thinking, "Oh, right, like I'm going to have camomile flower heads sitting on my shelf," there, in our witchy cabinet, was a vial of camomile flowers that I harvested several years ago, dried, and carefully preserved. I have actually yet to be stumped!

To be fair, I did have to do a couple of substitutions. A spell below called for hyssop, which I didn't have, but lavender is a common substitution, and I have several jars of lavender (to be fair, we grow it and harvest it ourselves, just like we had with the camomile.) I had to make my own dragon's blood oil, but I actually HAVE dragon's blood resin in my cabinet, so there is that.

My witches' pantry is actually surprisingly well stocked!

Spell-a-Day project (Jan. 13) )

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 14) )

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 15) )
lydamorehouse: (temporary incoherent rage)
 I mostly managed to stay off the internet today because I knew what was coming. 

Today was Mason's first day at his new job at the Science Museum. When I picked him up around 2 pm, there were a lot of other parents waiting out front in their cars. This program hired 80 students, I think. Most of what I know about what Mason will be doing is still fairly vague, but it seems like he's enjoying it. Today, apparently, they did a lot of getting to know you exercises and got a tour of the Science Museum (and the special employee tour which included the cheap, slightly broken vending machines.)

Shawn and I went to Menard's to pick up some plastic bins. We're continuing to deal with the fallout of Mason's reorganization of his room. He wanted a desk, which we bought for him some time ago, but moving the desk in meant moving OUT a bunch of books and disassembling (and selling) the top part of his bunk bed. A number of the books that got moved out will go to the little free library. But, there are also a lot of sentimental favorites that will be saved for the next generation of Morehouse-Rounds, and so those are getting put into bins and hauled up to the attic. (Which of course also necessitated a slight re-organization of the attic, because: of course.)

By the end of this we were all tired, cranky, and hangry. We ended up having a spat about dinner, which resulted in a drive through Culver's and a trip to Cafe Latte for gigantic pieces of PIE and CAKE because f*ck everything.

It seemed clear to me that we all had short fuses because we knew what had happened in the Senate.

It's been an awful week.

And we have only just begun to fight.
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
 I'd been waiting to follow-up on Mason's Saturday interview at the Science Museum until I posted the picture of him in his fancy outfit. We had to buy fancy shoes, too. He'd grown out of EVERYTHING.

Mason in a pollo and dress pants and shoes

It seemed to go as well as possible. From what he told us about the answers he gave to questions, he did as well as he could. Now it's up to luck and fate.  

I'm going to cross fingers for him because I've come to the conclusion that it really does sort of matter what kinds of first jobs you take.  Maybe not _so_ much in high school, but, when I was in college, I ended up taking a receptionist job because it was available and I figured "any work experience is good experience." Yeah.  Except guess what I was doing twenty years later? Same work. Same crappy pay. Every time I looked at a job outside of that area, I looked at my resume and realized that I had no experience to prove I'd be good at anything _other_ than answering phones.

If I hadn't had such crappy jobs that I could write novels while working them, I'd STILL be answering phones. Probably, in fact, I would have gotten a demotion because _no one_ needs secretaries to type their letters for them any more or file them. That's what Word does. (Go ahead and tell me that I'm wrong about this, but you know what I _mean_.)

The point is, had I to do it again, I might have been more picky about the things that went on to my resume. I would have found a way to focus more on the kinds of work I liked, teaching ESL, the cartooning classes I taught, etc.  I ended up where I wanted to be eventually, but I notice that Shawn's arc towards professional work started early. She was almost always better paid than I was, because she was almost always (except for those few stints at the Bookhouse and HalfPrice Books) doing work that was considered professional, rather than clerical.

I mean, maybe, if I went back in time and changed my resume, I would never have written a novel.  

But, it's hard to say. 

I still think it'd be nice if Mason started off on a more professional bent--I think, if nothing else, it gives him options. Shawn was always ABLE to land those gigs at bookstores, and then bounce back to professional work. I could NEVER break out of clerical---except in very narrow ways.

Probably I should have just taken the plunge and gotten a teaching license. 

Ah, hindsight. 


Sep. 13th, 2018 05:28 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I wanted share a funny indecent from yesterday.

I picked up Mason from a robotics meeting at school. It was one of those days, the kind where I'm late to pick him up and on the way, the car beeped at me, because it was low on gas. So, we stopped at the gas station on Lexington to fill-up and from there took University Avenue home, which we almost never do, because it's one stoplight after another.

So, we're stopped at University and Hamline or thereabouts and a firetruck pulled up along side the sidewalk by Wal-Mart's back wall. There's a bunch of scrub brush there and gravel. The firetruck driver uses his megaphone on high volume: "WAKE UP." Two seconds later in very bad, high school Spanish: "¿CÓMO ESTÁ?"

My only guess is that a homeless person had fallen asleep in the bushes, but both Mason and I were very startled.  It was very strange.  

But now Mason and I will sometimes randomly yell out: "WAKE UP! ¿CÓMO ESTÁ?"
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 The tree is down and the interior house decorations have all been put away.  The house seems emptier and less shiny.

We knew that it would, so yesterday we decided to console ourselves with mimosas. We sipped them as we removed the ornaments and did the annual dragging of the tree to the back yard for alley pick-up.  Given the headache I woke up with this morning, that may have been a tactical error. :-)

I also made a nice dinner of roast chicken dinner, just because.  New Year's Day is one of those "do we do anything special? I dunno. Do we?" kinds of days, and for the most part the only tradition we have is that the tree comes down.

Today was Mason's last day before he goes back to school, so we got him a haircut, spent his Christmas gift card at Barnes & Noble, and had lunch out on the town (his favorite? Wing Stop. I like it OKAY, but he loves it for whatever reason, so what the hell. It was an easy treat to give him.)  I hung out this afternoon with [personal profile] naomikritzer which is always lovely, and otherwise it's been a low key day.

Trying to decide what to watch next for anime.  I watch anime while I do the dishes, so I'm always SLOOOWLY going through various series. I just finished Mushi-shi, and am now starting Natsume's Book of Friends. (Haikyu! was it's own weird phenomenon. Normally, I can't binge watch like that. But, if Mason is invested, I will. We used to do this with Bleach back in the day, too. Under Mason's influence, we are now reading the manga for Haikyu!, too.)  Anyway, the point is, if you have anime recs for me, please feel free to drop me a comment.  I also just love to know what other people are watching / reading.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I was mostly off the internet yesterday, alas, so I'll have to enumerate my reading accomplishments a day late. I read 5 volumes (28 chapters) of a yaoi called Twittering Birds Never Fly / Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai by Yoneda You, which I loved. I have a weird attraction to kinky yakuza stories, and this fit that bill perfectly. I'm still working slowly through my bath book, Scarlett. I also finished a few more volumes of Yotsuba&! / Yotsuba to! . There are thirteen volumes of that one and I've been reading two or three a week. It's still a perfectly gentle story, which is GREAT for those moments when I just want something kind of mindless and sweet.

When I worked at the library last Thursday night, I noticed that Shoreview featured volume 3 of Kill a Kill in their new YA manga section. I had not idea they had ANY of that series, so I went ahead and requested the first two volumes. They came yesterday, so they're currently at the bottom of the stack of remaining Yotsuba&! (8-13). Kill a Kill is one of those manga/anime that I heard about a lot several years ago.  Mostly I remember some article or other in Otaku USA about how a maid cafe featuring characters from Kill a Kill was opening in Tokyo. That's the extent of my knowledge about it.  So, it should be interesting to see what it even *is*.

Otherwise, I've been keeping my "pagan new year"* resolution to be more sociable.  On Tuesday night, I reconnected with a old friend (and fellow writer) Barth Anderson.  It's actually kind of a funny story how we ended up inviting him over for coffee and desert.  He posted on FB that he'd had a dream that I had "stolen his prose" and so he went over to my house and stole my peonies.  I don't think Barth even knows that we, in fact, HAVE peonies, but it was such a funny dream that I went I chimed in over on his thread about it, I said, "I think your subconscious is trying to say we should get together!"  So we made plans.  Barth has been having some up and downs in his life since the last time we hung out, but we had such a blast chatting--he came over at 6:30 and stayed until 10!--I'm really hopeful we can do it again soon.  

I can check off the "was social" box for this week, for sure!

I also made plans to get together with a friend from work, Dominique, at a coffee shop on Monday late morning, so I'm set to meet my goal for next week, too.  

The whole thing with Dominique happened because we were talking about how Minnesotans are so funny about getting close to people.  It's always "hey, let's do a thing" and it doesn't amount to anything.  I talked about this here, before. I don't think Minnesotans do this with evil intentions. I suspect that when people say "Oh, hey, we should do dinner some time" they initially MEAN it. But, there's just a culture here in this state for some reason *cough-I blame the early Scandinavian settlers-cough* where it's just easy to let those kinds of casual invitations lie... I almost wonder if it's a case of each party waiting on the other to make the first move.  At any rate, after talking about this, Dominique said, "Hey we should hang out and have coffee some time!" 

And we're actually making that happen, which is awesome.

Also when I was at the library picking up Kill a Kill, I picked up the book that one of the book clubs I was thinking about joining is reading.  I don't remember when that meeting is happening. I'd better check in case I need to get reading.  But, the point is, I am doing the social thing.  Go me!

lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
In reverse order.

Saint Paul has a lot of panhandlers. They tend to congregate at busy intersections. They're not as aggressive here as I am led to believe they are in other cities. No one runs out and tries to wash your window or anything like that. They just hold up various signs and attempt to figure out the right amount of eye-contact/no eye-contact that will illicit sympathy from Minnesotan drivers.*

Despite living here for over 30 years, I always fail this. I'm forever looking people in the eye. I compensate for this failure by smiling a lot. I figure if I've made accidental awkward contact, I might as well be pleasant about it. So, I'm looking out my window and I catch the eye of one of these panhandlers. He smiles broadly back at me and lifts his sign, which reads: "I bet you a buck you'll read this sign."

I laugh and reach for my wallet, because, yeah, okay, that's clever.

As I'm reaching, he excitedly runs back to his backpack and pulls out a carefully plastic wrapped pile of papers. When he takes my dollar bill, he hands me a sheet. "I'm a published poet," he tells us. "I'm going to have a reading one day. That's why I'm doing this." What can I say? I mean, I know a lot of poets, many of them professional, and it is not an easy life. Even really successful poets who try to only do poetry have a hard time making ends meet. So I take the poem with another sympathetic smile and say, "Good luck to you, my friend." He waves happily and goes back to his poetry spreading panhandling.

His poem is called "Real Love." His pen name appears to be BC the Black Clown.

"Ain't it sad?
So many people go through life
Never really feeling loved
Because when they open their heart
It gets crushed by the very one
That they gave their heart to
And ain't that sad?
That the amount of life that is received
Is often measured by
The amount of money given
The quality of the stability and comfort
And the degree of physical pleasures
Ain't that sad?"

It goes on in this fashion until it turns religious.... because, of course, you know who gives the perfect love? JE-sus.

I mean, I'm sure there's actually a place for religious poets, and I don't regret the dollar I gave him. Not only was his sign clever, but I paid a poet probably a better $/per word than they'd get trying to sell to a print or e-magazine.

The other big excitement of the day was going off with my usual Marvel crew to go see THOR: RAGNAROK. Eleanor, who hasn't seen Mason in several months, noted that his voice had dropped. Puberty is a thing, for sure, and Mason is getting hit hard all of a sudden. We also all noticed that Mason is now taller than Mr. Murphy**, by at least an inch.

Murphy bought us tickets at the AMC in Inver Grove Heights (the place I was supposed to see BLADE RUNER 2049, only ended up at the wrong comfy theater.) They have the reclining seats, which is nice, and assigned seating, which I find annoying, because inevitably people end up getting bunched together. I was knee-to-knee with a stranger, despite the fact that the row beneath us was empty. But, I couldn't let Eleanor, the introvert sit next to the strangers. That would be bad extrovert-to-introvert etiquette.*** If I'd thought of it, I'd have made Eleanor and Murphy switch once it was clear no one was going to be sitting between Murphy and the aisle. I only say this, because I predict now that Eleanor will not have liked this movie as much as she might have if she didn't have to sit surrounded by people (even friends. Since I have an introvert at home, I know how to care and feed introverts. Even having to sit that close to people she LIKES wears on Eleanor.)

We got to see some interesting previews. Of the ones I saw, I was most excited to see the new BLACK PANTHER movie. I was not super enthused by Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther: Nation Under Our Feet when I read it, but I was excited to see that movie seems to be following the visual aesthetic of the comic book. The Shield Maidens, in particular, look bada$$.

As a fan of the first PACIFIC RIM, I was equally thrilled to see the sequel's preview, as well, of course, as the newest STAR WARS (I'm one of three people who actually LIKE the character of Kylo Ren, so I'm perfectly down for a movie that features more Kylo character moments.) The one preview that I think I was intrigued by that no one else in my set seemed that interested in was Matt Damon's DOWNSIZED. It looks... I mean, yeah, it totally vibes like a Stepford Wives cross with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and I would NOT want to spend the outrageous movie ticket prices to see it first run, but I would totally Netflix it, if you know what I mean.

And then the movie.

I'm not going to spoil it at all (except a little bit under the cuts), so suffice to say that the humorous tone of the previews you've seen? It's that, all the way down. I personally did not mind the lighter tone. I'm not sure how a character like the Grandmaster would play (pardon the pun) if he was plunked into a movie that took itself even moderately seriously. HOWEVER, there are moments in THOR: Ragnarok that probably needed more there THERE.

Unless you're an Incredible Hulk fan, in which case this movie was 100% perfect for you. The Hulk gets, by far, the most poignant scenes (which given some of what transpires in Thor's life, and how complex his relationship SHOULD BE with his half-brother**** is a little... imbalanced?).

I have a friend, Rob Callahan, who had a brilliant take on the MCU franchise. He pointed out that each of the Marvel movies are kind of their own genres: you've got the war buddy film (Captain America), the melodrama (Thor), the industrial action flick (Iron Man), the heist (Ant Man), the space opera (Guardians of the Galaxy), and now, if you follow his point,... for some inexplicable reason you have fantasy comedy ala Princess Bride, (Thor: Raganrok.)

I'll be curious to know what the fan writer community thinks of this new addition to canon. Minor character moment spoilers, but several of them, so read at your own risk )

All and all, though, my complaints are minor.  Once you surrender to the tone, THOR: RAGNAROK is a fun film. The fight scenes always give this old Marvel fan a thrill because I can so easily picture the still framed panels they came directly out of.  

Speaking of that, I suspect one of the reasons that, of my group, I had less trouble with the tone of this particular movie is because it very much reminded me of some of the comic books I read Mason (particularly the All Ages+ of Fantastic Four) in the early-2000s, like "Fantastic Four: Doom, Where's My Car" and some of the more cheesy stuff that came out of the Chris Claremont era.*****

I used to read all that Grandmaster crap in the 1970s, and it was all like this. Only, I mostly ran across him in FF, so Reed Richards would outsmart the "games," but basically this is al that, plus a giant helping of "VERSUS" titles.  Do you remember those?  I think that's what they were called--but they'd always be these one shots Hulk vs. Wolverine! etc., etc., where the writers would contrive some scenario to make our heroes fight each other just to play the "who would win" game.  

The ways in which comic book canon is like a giant fan fiction community are, in point of fact, indistinguishable.

*Many Minnesotans are weird about eye contact. I say this as a transplant, who has lived here for 30+ years, and who has yet to figure out what the proper ratio of direct eye contact and "glance away" to use to make my colleagues comfortable in my presence. This is especially tricky when you're trying to sell people something, like, say, a book you've written.

**Sean. I would call him this, but as my wife is also named Shawn, we have gotten in the habit over the years of calling Sean "Mr. Murphy."

***It is my solemn belief that extroverts exist to spare introverts from certain things: phone calls, in-person sales people, pizza deliverer, and to act as HUMAN SHIELDS in crowds or at the occasional party that you've managed to drag your introverted friend / partner to.

****Fight me. Loki was always HALF-brother to Thor in comic book canon and this insistence on "adoptive" is bull CRAP. Though, I understand the need given fandom, but, darlings, adoptive or not they were still raised together so y'all better be warning for incest. Related Thor: Ragnarok minor spoiler )

*****Double plus fight me. Before you get on your high horse, let me remind you that Claremont is responsible of the X-Babies.  'Nuff said.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo freaked)
Yesterday, Shawn took me out on a date.

We do this every so often, and always on a Friday, early afternoon, so that, as a bonus, Shawn gets the rest of the day off from work as a "mental health day." Win/Win, as the kids would say.

I picked Shawn up at the Minnesota Historical Society around 11:00 am and off we went to Saint Paul's West Side neighborhood, to our favorite date spot: Boca Chica Restaurant Mexicano y Catina. We got there just in time for the all-you-can-eat buffet to get started. The food was amazing as always. From there, we stopped off at a thrift store on 7th in downtown (and a bathroom break--and coffee for me--at Claddagh Coffee.)  Shawn managed to find a mixer bowl at the thrift store that we'd been looking for.  (I break things.)  

I got bored at the thrift store faster than usual. It's sort of a stereotype, I suppose, but my wife loves to shop for bargains; me, not so much. I'm usually good for an hour or two, if there are books, however.  Typically, I'm not a big non-fiction fan, but, when I go to thrift stores in particular, I love looking through the non-fiction.  People read and recycle the WEIRDEST stuff. But, for whatever reason, St. Vincent's didn't have many non-fiction books and most of them were ultra-religious. I can still enjoy the ultra-religious stuff, if it's something more than the run of the mill "Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul" type stuff. Alas, all they had fell into this category, what I would call basic Christian self-help.  Booooor-ring.  I dug a little through their stationary section, but also came up short.

Stationary is super hard to come by these days. This might be a surprise to you, but no one handwrites letters any more.  Barnes & Noble often has super-overpriced stationary sets, but there's not the variety that you once used to be able to find, and the sets are rarely more than 10 sheets.  That's, like, two letters for me. So, I'm always on the lookout for stationary at thrift stores.  You'd be surprised at the stuff I've found--though I've had FAR better luck at estate sales.  Even so, last trip to Good Will, I found two full packs of stationary for a dollar a piece.  They were weird (a jungle scene, if I remember right?), but I honestly don't care, so long as I can actually write on the stuff.  I'm actually expecting to get some stationary for my birthday--which is in two weeks!  I'll be fifty!--and if not then, for Soltice/Christmas.

But, St. Vincent's had nada, zilch, nothing.


After that, Shawn and I decided to head home, where I promptly napped.  Mason had had me up late the night before helping him format a newspaper for his English class. They're doing creative book reports and he decided to do Game of Thrones.  So, he wrote a bunch of articles, an advice column, a full page of obituaries, and even put together a crossword puzzle.  It was actually pretty neat, helped along by the fact that there's an HBO show, so he had lots of action pictures to use, like a real newspaper might have.  But, I haven't had to do layout since sometime in the 1990s and so there was a bit of a learning curve. I don't think we got to bed until nearly midnight (on a school night!)  So, I had intended just to "rest my eyes" and the next thing I knew it was 2:30 pm and time to go fetch Mason from school.

The evening was pleasant.  It started to snow on our drive home and so my entire family happily went into hibernation mode: snuggling under blankets, reading books, etc.  We ordered pizza because we TRIED to order pizza on Halloween night and discovered that, apparently that's a thing people do and we couldn't get one to save our souls.  On Halloween, we ended up driving to Cossetta's and picking up pasta, as well as pizza, for take home.  But it wasn't Maverick's, which is our new favorite pizza place since Eden Pizza closed its doors.

Shawn and I decided to make hot buttered rum, which Shawn had a recipe for.  It seemed like a good idea on a snowy night, but, ugh, no... never again. I was totally delicious, don't get me wrong, but there was something about having it right before bedtime that was a total mistake. Despite being highly alcoholic, it totally acted like caffeine for me.  I could NOT get to sleep.  Meanwhile, Shawn slept but seemed to get an insta-hangover and totally disrupted sleep patterns, too. It was weird. We vowed that if we did this again, it would be in the middle of the afternoon, NOT right before bed.

This morning, Shawn is making an apple cake. We have a ton of leftover apples we need to figure out what to do with.  At least neither of us seem to be suffering this morning from the rum.  
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Yesterday I got the dreaded call from the library sub coordinator: "They need someone at Roseville tonight."

I have no official hours for November AT ALL and I like Roseville, so I couldn't come up with a rational reason to say "no." After a vaguely unsatisfying dinner (I need to add some new things into my repertoire), I headed off to work. I had, in point of fact, the perfect schedule for me. I worked the AMH (the big book sorting machine that used to terrify me) for the first hour, an hour shift on the phones, and then two hours on the desk, with one of my favorite people Dominque.

When I was working the phone shift, I could hear one of the volunteers in the cubicle behind me. She is mentally disabled in some fashion, but I was very much struck by the fact that, if I were her, she's just who I'd be. She kept up a running monologue with herself about what she was doing, step by step, as well as some kind of amazingly positive self talk. For instance, she would tell herself, "Oh! That was a good one!" or "Wow, you really got that done quickly!" These positive comments were interspersed with little, gentle reminders, "Now, count carefully, okay?" and "You're going to have to start over from the beginning! Go slowly!" But, I don't know, all I can say is that I was deeply charmed by it. If only we could all be so positive in our own heads, you know? I mean, I do often talk myself through tasks out loud. I do this unthinkingly. I've been told by my martial arts instructor they they miss my "running dialogue," and I would NOT have thought that I talked much through those sessions. But, I did, or did often enough for it to be noticeable.

I'd be embarrassed, but a number of people have told me that they find it charming, too. (Also? It's clearly something I'm not entirely aware of, so I'm not sure how I'd change it, even if I wanted to.)

This morning the thing I talked to myself the most about is how I really need to find a new caliber of friends on the Internet, as Captain America might say. On my favorite social media outlet, I seem to attract a very literal, pedantic set of people. Like yesterday, I posted this little gem: "My new response to any "Trump supporter" (but especially those who can't spell or seem to grasp basic English grammar): "Вы робот, товарищ" (Google translate tells me this is: "You're a robot, comrade.")" Because I'd been thinking a lot about the reaction to Donny, Jr.'s Halloween post and I happened to run across someone else's feed where the lone Trump positive voice could spell "socialism" flawlessly, but didn't seem to grasp that theres is not a word, it needs the apostrophe to make any sense in English.  The point was, however, to be funny.

A friend saw my comment and asked if she could re-post it, attributed to me, which meant that I was essentially tagged and was notified of her friends' reaction to my post.  I decided to check in late last night just to see, especially since she told me she had several Russian-speaking friends. Reading through her feed was uplifting and wonderful. People had posted .gifs of people appalling and that sort of silly, positive response, other people said "brilliant!", "clever!", and "saving for later use!"  Some people noted a few different bits about the Russian, but it even the most argumentative of her commenters were very much, "ha, ha, though! Good one!"The point is, these friends of a friend of mine totally GOT it and reacted how I would have hoped.

The majority of the comments on my own feed were similarly positive and in the right spirit, though I had a LOT fewer replies of any sort.  But, there's something about me, I think, because I managed to attract that one person who wanted to 'fansplain' (she was a woman, but it was still very much in the vein of "the thing you have to understand is....") that my "joke" was harmful to.... (wait for it!)... people with dyslexia.

It's possible, if you are reading this journal, you are unaware that being dyslexic has very much defined my life.  I have spent a lot of time being haunted by the phrase "careless inattention to detail." That was a phrase that followed me all through my public school career. Teachers would say, "Lyda seems intelligent, but if ONLY she would apply herself. She makes silly mistakes and is CARELESS in her attention to detail." NOT ONE OF THEM ever considered the fact that *maybe* I wasn't just a lazy-ass, but was actually struggling with a mild learning disability.  To be fair, my public school education all happened before 1985. Learning disabilities, especially ones like dyslexia's more mild iterations, were not on a lot of people's radars.  It was only when I was an adult in the 1990s and my boss at the Immigration History Research Center really, really wanted to fire me that I got officially tested and got the amazingly smug satisfaction of handing her the results and getting to say, "ACTUALLY, you have accommodate my disability BY LAW."

If you know me in person, you've probably heard me identify as dyslexic.  I tend to do this a LOT when I'm teaching, because it's easy to dismiss someone's intellect when they misspell a simple or common word on the chalkboard--because, you know, a teacher is supposed to be an expert, how dumb are they if they can't even spell "Egypt" (a problem word for me). So, I ALWAYS start my classes--adult and teen--with the explanation "I am dyslexic. If you see me fumble a word just let me know. If you spell it for me, slowly, I can fix it."    

I bring up my dyslexia at science fiction conventions for two reasons. First of all, a lot of writers are dyslexic. It's a weird thing, particularly given how hard it is for us to spell things properly, but I think some kind of compensation happens in the dyslexic brain that lends itself to some aspects of storytelling.  Plus, see above. If I misuse a word, I want people to cut me a tiny bit of slack (important among highly smart, but often also deeply judgmental science fiction fans).  Secondly, I can't read as fast as a lot of my colleagues. I actually credit comic books for my ability to read AT ALL.  I struggled through my issues with reading because I was interested by what was happening in comic books (the graphic format, too, meant that there was a lot for me busy brain to process and actually seeing the WHOLE PAGE AT ONCE was a feature, not a bug.) That makes for a good story, but it's also my "I'm sorry I can't read 100 novels a year" excuse.  I probably read 500 graphic novels a year, but you know, it's just an interesting difference that's worth pointing out, IMHO.

Okay, that's all background for this stupid thing that happened on my feed. So, I make the Russian bot joke that goes over SUPER WELL on someone else's feed, and, meanwhile, on my own, not only to have to deal with the person who clearly thinks I'm thoughtlessly insulting HER PEOPLE, but when I come back on to try to lighten the mood and say, "Yeah, I hear you. I'm dyslexic, too, but we're talk about Trump supporters here..." which is, I think, PRETTY CLEARLY A DEFLECTION.  

In point of fact, I feel like, if we were talking in person, this commenter would get it, they'd understand that this is me saying, "Right, okay, but this is a joke, targeted NOT at YOU, so let's just acknowledge that, sure, it's tough when our misspellings make us look as moronic as Trump people, but ha, ha... still a good joke."  NOPE. She has to come back and go on for a paragraph about how she hates how people equate proper English and good spelling with intelligence, but well, that's my pet peeve, I guess, sorry! smiley face, smiley face, but I'm still going to sit here and ruin your joke because... I don't know, because maybe life on the internet has caused me to assume literally everything is all about me, all the time.


What is frustrating to me in this whole thing isn't even that people on the internet don't know how to behave like civilized human beings anymore. I'm pretty sure that's a well-estabilished fact.  What bothers me is that, somehow, the EXACT SAME JOKE, told in the EXACT SAME WAY on someone else's feed gets the response I actually wanted, without a _single_ annoyingly pedantic person coming on to take it all as a personal attack.


Why is it that when I do it, I fail the Internet?  Why is it, when someone else takes my thing and posts it somewhere else, do they win?  WHY?  Am I doing the Internet wrong?


I mean, Shawn and I talked about this, this morning.  She very carefully curates her feed.  If anyone annoys her for the slightest reason--it doesn't even have to be egregious, she can just decide that you've posted one too many pictures of the stew you made last night--they're blocked, hidden, or even unfriended.  I have literally never unfriended a person until this last year.  When I finally needed to, I didn't know how to do it. I hid someone that I meant to unfriend and that produced very different results, unbeknownst to me.  

Now that I know HOW TO, I've been happily unfriending all the Trump posters I come across. But, that still leaves me with this very large pool of people. (I might have that dreaded social bubble everyone warns about, but mine is a BIG bubble.) 

Maybe this friend of mine has a better feed because she's more like Shawn, only keeping the people who react the "right" way. Maybe I should take this to heart and weed out all the people who annoy me in any way, shape, or form.  I haven't done that because I HAVE managed conversations where I've watched people who started out saying the sort of thing that would have triggered an insta-block from Shawn, like, "There are no women science fiction writers!" (on my page! MY page.)  Who then, after a civil discourse, are asking politely for a reading list of the women I consider hard science fiction writers.  

For me, this is how this is supposed to work.  I'm not quite ready to admit the whole Internet is broken and that we need to burn it all down and start over from scratch.

I guess this means I will have to put up with all the annoying people.

I just wish I could figure out how to balance them out with the people who post cute .gifs. I fucking LOVE cute .gifs.
lydamorehouse: (I love homos)
 ...was yesterday.  

Yesterday, while I was taking a few bags of things to GoodWill, like you do, I ran into our gay neighbors down the block. (These folks are not to be confused with our now-former gay next-door neighbors, Lee and Chip, who is now just Lee, moved out years ago, but is still our tax consultant.) The new gay neighbors down the block are also an older white couple, whose names (OF COURSE!) I instantly forgot, but are comprised of a hairdresser and a lawyer.  I met the hairdresser on 11/9, when I was out raking and he randomly asked me, "How are you?" in that "I'm just fulfilling the social contract by acknowledging my neighbor" way, but I responded with a full on rant about Trump, which then caused him to lament honestly as well, us both to come out to each other, and form a 'we should get to know each other' kind of Minnesota friendship*.

That was a while ago now, but yesterday they were both walking together as I came out of my house with my donation bags, and we got to talking. I made a remark about the fact that it was National Coming Out Day, and I find out that the lawyer used to DATE one of the co-founders of NCOD. How cool is that?

His bit of information made me go look up National Coming Out Day on Wikipedia, and I discovered that I came out as a lesbian one year before the official establishment of National Coming Out Day in 1988.  Also a cool bit of information, wouldn't you agree?

In other news, Mason is off to see Romeo & Juliet at the Guthrie today.  He's basically missing most of his school day, getting to go to his two favorites: first period math and "510" debate.  He's also staying late tonight because it's the robotics team's recruitment potluck tonight, for which I made two dozen cookies (none of which were my best. I think I should always bake in the early afternoon when it's certain I've had sufficient caffeine for the job.)  Last night we went to Kohl's to buy him dress pants for homecoming, as well as some new school clothes, which he's been needing for a while. (Damn those growth spurts.)

For myself, I'm off to work at Shoreview Library in about fifteen minutes.

Anyway, here and queer in case you somehow missed the memo.  :-)

* Minnesota Nice is actually not what most people would consider "nice."  We tend to keep ourselves to ourselves, as the British might say, and so there's this whole category of friends to whom you cheerfully and 'sincerely' say, "We should do dinner sometime!" but really mean, "I like you enough to offer potential future closeness, but that will actually never happen, BUT *I think* I like you enough to say you would make a good dinner companion!" 
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Yesterday was a fun mail day.  

One of the very best parts of being a member of the International Pen Friends (IPF) is that, occasionally, the postal carrier delivers FIVE personal letters, all addressed to you.  Two of them were from my regular Canadian pen friend. She's an actual friend who became a pen pal, and her letters are always a delight. We didn't actually know each other terribly well when we started corresponding, but we knew each other from exchanges in Bleach fandom.  She's a lot like my friend in Seattle, who I knew passably before we started corresponding (she was a writing student of mine) and we've become closer thanks to years of letter writing.  I got my Seattle pen friend by asking Facebook for volunteers. 

Of the other letters that arrived were:

1.  A letter from Malta.  MALTA, you guys.  The other nifty thing about my Maltese correspondent is that she got my name not from IPF, but from one of the various FBs that I've participated in.  I had genuinely never HEARD of Friendship Books until one of my German pen pals, Petra, introduced me to them. I still think they're kind of weird. Just slips of paper or homemade booklets with people's addresses in them and odd codes. Seriously, SNNP (sorry no new pen pals) and NPW (new pen pals wanted) that are passed in the mail a little like a chain letter, without the pressure, because you can always return it to the original sender. 

But, Malta, that's cool. I hope my reply entices another from her.

2. I seem to have finally snagged a correspondent from the UK.  You would not think this would be SO hard.  English/UK addresses easily make up a third of what's on offer for an English-speaker like myself on any given IPF list.  Yet, despite faithfully writing to all of them, I have only ever gotten one previous reply from anyone in England and that was a "rejection." Somehow, I seem to have passed muster with someone there finally. Fingers crossed this winning streak continues. Interestingly, in my grand experiment of "should I come out right away or not?" in the introduction letter I sent this one (Kate) I decidedly did NOT. So, I should probably return to my strategy of, "wait until they know you pretty well before you reveal that you're a big, old butch lesbian." I already took a chance revealing to Kate that I'm an otaku.  Let's see if I can weather that storm!

3. The last one was also a new IPF member, this one from France. I have a couple of other French correspondents, but they seem to have slowed down.  The thing about IPF is that it's like any kind of blind matching site.  Even when you're willing to try anyone, some people click better than others.  This is why I sprang for a half-year renewal because I wanted another list so that I could keep throwing out feelers.  

Anyway, I know all of this stuff is likely only really fascinating to me.  I have always been interested in other people's lives and this is a fun way for me to explore that.  I was writing to my Maltese pen pal last night explaining how I got into pen palling.  I have discovered that many of the people who are in IPF have been members since they were teenagers. It's a hobby that they've kept all their lives, unlike me. I hunted up IPF because I remembered being assigned a pen pal in 4th grade or thereabouts. There was a time in the 1970s when pen palling was kind of the 'it' hobby, particularly among teenage girls. At least, that's how it seemed to me back then, at any rate.  I wasn't into it then, though the idea intrigued me. I was a fairly terrible correspondent, too, when I did have the opportunity, probably because I imagined that somehow I would have an instant foreign friend, with whom I could share the secrets of my soul, etc., etc.  In 1970, I would have killed for a French pen pal. Instead I got someone from Japan. Ironically, I found that annoying at the time. Japan? Who's even heard of it?  Why is this girl sending me all this crap with a weird kitty on it??

Ah, things that are wasted on the young, eh?

I wrote a lot of letters to friends and family when I was in college.  To be fair, that was how we communicated before the internet, but I have always liked the feel of pen on paper.  There is something, too, about sharing your thoughts with just one person at a time.  Obviously, you can still do that with private messaging and e-mail, but a letter is more sensual--in that it appeals to all the senses.  

Plus, shit shows up in the mail.  I love when shit shows up in the mail.  Did I mention I got 5 letters yesterday??? FIVE!
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
With Labor Day and our very brief trip back to LaCrosse, I completely forgot to post anything.... and I'm not entirely sure which day of the week this is. Thursday? Yeah, that seems right. I guess I missed Wednesday Reading, but the only thing I managed this week was all 48 chapters of Kiss Him, Not Me / Watashi ga Motete Dōsunda by Junko (no relation, despite the fact that Junko is my fan pen name) a shoujo, reverse-harem manga that I actually really enjoyed.  Normally, I'm not a fan of either sub-genre, but this was very well done. Though I spent a lot of time having deep introspection about how much of an otaku I am, and whether or not that's actually a GOOD thing.  (The heroine is an otaku who is into yaoi and shipping her male friends with each other.)


But, so for the rest. I went back to LaCrosse only for a day because my parents are in the process of moving their house and so didn't have a huge amount of time for our usual Labor Day visit. We stayed at an AmericInn, which was possibly okay--we had a kind of crappy room, right off the pool with a vending machine just outside our door (thus a high traffic area), PLUS we were the very first room off one of the entry doors, which meant when people went out for a smoke it was right outside our window. That sucked and felt deeply unfair, since thanks to our big Yellowstone trip, we're VIP AmericInn members.  Probably we should have hassled the front desk for a better room, but we were only there for one night and didn't want to bother.  

It took us forever to get to LaCrosse for some reason. We left right at the usual time (around 8:30), but didn't roll in until nearly 12:30.  LaCrosse is not that far away. We did make an extended stop at Lark Toys to play a round of mini-golf, but I would not have thought that we were there THAT long (but apparently we were.)  We went to Rudy's for lunch, which is another last-of-summer tradition, which was nice.  Rudy's is one of those old-fashioned drive-ins and still has waitresses on roller skates to bring out your food. The food is decent, but it's an experience more than anything. From there we went antique shopping in the quaint section of the North Side called Old Towne North. There's not actually THAT many stores here, but the Sweet Shop (which really does have awesome ice-cream and a fountain soda dispenser) is there, too.  It is a neat little part of town. My only disappointment is that they've never quite been able to keep a coffee shop going there, though it should be an ideal location.  

Then we went to see my folk's new place and said good-bye to the old. Dinner was at the Pizza Hut that I swear has not changed since I was in high school (1980-1985.) I was pretty exhausted from the road, so I didn't even notice all the foot traffic in the hallway outside our hotel room and promptly crashed ridiculously early.  At some point, when we visit LaCrosse again, I would actually like to experience some of its nightlife, of which there is a TON.  

On Saturday morning we had breakfast at the Hungry Peddler. My folks joined us there. The Hungry Peddler is a big nostalgia trip for me, since my dad and I used to go there a lot when I was younger.  Then my family and I attempted to do a tourist thing in LaCrosse and find the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I have linked to a blog of someone who had a wonderful time there.  We did not. I kind of think that they could sense we were pagans trespassing, and so we only really saw the interpretative center and couldn't figure out how the heck to get up to the actual shrine.  We left disappointed.

Then we drove back in record time.  In fact, we zipped back to St. Paul so fast that I managed to miss seeing my friend Paul who was headed down to LaCrosse for a funeral.  I did managed to catch up with Paul on Tuesday, which was nice. Paul is probably one of my oldest remaining friends... that I actually make time to see. I mean, I have a ton of old high school pals that I'm in touch with on Facebook and other social media, but Paul is someone I will actually seek out to hang out with in person.

We hung out with Rosemary and her mom on Sunday because Mason wasn't sure if he was going to end up with ANY classes with his BFF, but it turns out they have Foundations (Washington's answer to homeroom) and debate together.  Mason came back from his first day of school absolutely bouncing.... literally. At one point I had to tell him to stop, I was afraid he was going to shake plates off the shelves in the kitchen.  But, he LOVES high school--as I knew he would. Things start to get interesting and challenging now and he's been kind of waiting his whole life for classes like that.  (Luckily, he's had a few, having been advanced into a couple of high school classes while he was in middle school.) He did not have to change school, which was nice, especially, as I said, he's already been doing some high school classes.  

So, that's me. I'm sure I forgot some of the things we did, but I will try to be better about posting here.
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
We spent a lot of time baking this weekend.  Shawn made pumpkin & cranberry muffins, some pecan pinwheels.  I made cinnamon swirl bread, pizza dough, and French bread.... Oh, and we both made a blueberry pie:

blueberry pie with a moon cut-out

The artist flair happened when I realized I'd cracked the pie crust. So, I decided to repeat the design intentionally around the crust and then add the moon cut-out. As my friend [personal profile] jiawen says it's sort of a reverse eclipse pie.

I do a lot of things like this when the politics suck. Remember how right before the election I spent days and days on lawn care? Well, it's been raining here a bunch (though nothing like Houston, HOLY SH*T) and so I couldn't get out to do any weeding or mowing or raking. Thus, much baking.  This current administration is going to make me gain five thousand pounds.

On the flip side, the house smells AMAZING. And there are a lot of leftovers.

The other thing that happen is that on Friday, a gift arrived in the mail! At CONvergence, I promised my friend in Oregon,[personal profile] offcntr ,  that I would send him a signed copy of Seanen McGuire's Rosemary and Rue.  In exchange, he offered pottery.

handmade poetry, looking down, with a falcon visible painted in the well of the bowl

This is what I got!  Lovely, isn't it? It is now displayed prominently in our dinning room next to my stamping things.  A place of honor!  If you like the look of this, you should check out the rest of Frank's wears at: !!

The other stuff that happened this weekend is that Mason went to the State Fair with his friend Rosemary.  Rosemary and her mom always run the 5K "Milk Run" at the crack of dawn (sometime after 7 am?) and Mason is their official "purse holder." In exchange, they get him a free ticket to the State Fair and they all hang out together for as long as my little extroverted introvert can take it.  Mason is extroverted enough that he likes going to things like this, but he's an introvert at heart and he leaves the party early with decreased energy, if you know what I mean. When he came home he had to hide in his room for several hours just to recharge his people-battery.  We had been hoping to hit the Munchkin Tournament  at Mischief Books & Games, but Mason just could NOT any more people.

This ended up working out just fine for me, because we had planned a big Sunday roast chicken dinner, and the timing would have been difficult if we'd run off to do the tournament.  The food was amazing. The French bread and blueberry pie, both HUGE successes.  I tried a simple roasted Brussel sprouts recipe that was... okay. Both Mason and I like Brussel sprouts, but I have been struggling to find a recipe that's tasty.  I swear I make them differently every Thanksgiving. Everything else was delicious. Shawn is only moderately fond of mashed potatoes so we ended up having hominy as our other side.  It worked pretty well, but I missed having an extra thing to slather with gravy and so had to do with extra helpings of "gravy bread."  :-)

So. Many. Extra. Pounds.

Though, if they all come from such good food, I will pat my round belly and sigh in happy contentment.  

lydamorehouse: (Renji talking smack)
 We went to Whole Foods yesterday, thinking to have a nice lunch after soap shopping. It was a disappointment.

I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but Mason had been looking forward to samosas and chicken marsala, both of which he's had before at the Whole Foods deli and really enjoyed. They didn't have any samosas and their chicken marsala was watery and the chunks of chicken were so big that they didn't absorb very much flavor.  It was kind of a bust. (My sushi was good, but...)

We did manage to find some fun soaps, however. There was even a scent called "dirty hippy." Mason was surprised when I guessed that it was basically patchouli.  He didn't buy it, but I could see he was tempted just because of the name. 

Since we were out driving around, we decided to head out to the Ramsey County Library to pick up the books that had come in for me. I requested the first four volumes of Pandora Hearts, which is an anime I started watching.  I figured I might actually be able to plow through it a little faster if I read it.  I'm not very good at binge watching, alas.  Binge reading? Yes. Watching, not so much for some reason. At any rate, I picked them all up and also found a few more on the shelves, so now I have the first seven to read.

From there, Mason talked me into stopping at Game Stop and picking up "Street Fighter" because we've been looking for a game that we can play together. I really like racing him in Mario Carts, but I think he feels bad for me because I'm SO TERRIBLE at it. He'll come in #1 and I'll be dead last. The point is, even though *I* found that fun, he really wanted something we'd be more equally matched in. "Street Fighter" totally works, because a button masher like me can totally win.  In fact, I easily won half of the time.  I think we've found our game.

Because Mason really craved samosas, we managed to talk Shawn into going out to the Indian place for dinner last night. (We like "Taste of India" in Maplewood.) Mason tried vindaloo chicken, Shawn had her usual chicken marsala, and I had curried veggies.  By chance at the restaurant, we ran into our friends Sean Murphy and Katherine Carlson who were coming back from Mankato, after having, unsuccessfully, tried to get into see the Viking's training camp.  They'd also stopped at "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store" on the way back, though Katherine thought the amount of candy on display was almost "obscene." I'm not sure I disagree, but, for me, that's half of the fun of that place. (I'm guessing they managed more virtue than we did. We left with a huge bagful, which was pretty obscene all by itself, after all.)  So we kind of chatted over the booths for a while, but we'd gotten there earlier, so we left after a few minutes.  Still, it was neat to see them. It's been a while, and Sean is one of my very best friends. (I was reminded, seeing him, that we still haven't made it to "Spider-Man: Homecoming.")  

I think I fell into a food coma after that.  I read a little bit in bed, but next thing I knew it was morning.  :-)

Tonight: Twins Game! We should have good weather for it. I will take a lot of pictures.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Just in under the August 11 deadline, I got my proposal in to the Loft for an intermediate/advanced adult science fiction/fantasy class.  Fingers crossed that they decide to take it.  Apparently--at least according to the front matter for the submission process--the Loft is going to offer fewer classes in the hopes of promoting them better. I would feel slightly better about my chances if the Loft had any real sense of just how many science fiction/fantasy geeks live in this town and/or how to reach out to them. But, fingers crossed! I would certainly help them find folks, if they asked!

But, I feel good for having gotten that done. It's been on my to-do list for over a week. Earlier, I submitted a workshop for teen writers, at the request of my Summer Youth Class Coordinator, which HAS already been accepted into the catalogue.  So, provided that people sign-up for that, I should have work in 2018, even if the adult class doesn't make the cut.

Otherwise, I've kind of forgotten how to Monday.  Having three days up at our friends' cabin was so blissful that I've kind of lost track of all the stuff that needs doing. Let's see, tomorrow is the Twins game against the Brewers that Mason and I decided to go to. We'd actually had tickets for last Thursday, but that was the really blustery day/night AND Mason managed to get a stomach bug.  He was pretty upset having to miss it (especially since there's really no cancellation policy and we were out $$), so we went ahead and made plans for tomorrow. Should be fun... I mean, I'm not a huge sports fan, but I've learned to enjoy baseball, as it is Mason's sport, and pro games are always kind of amazing (as opposed to amateur, I mean.)  Anyway, that's one thing on the agenda this week.  

I also reserved tickets for LATE (10 pm!) Friday night to see my friend Naomi perform in her show at the Fringe Festival.  I'm only disappointed that my other Fringe performing friend, Commarrah, has a show on the same day at the EXACT same time. (Part of the deal with the Fringe is that you have to have a day pass and I was really, really hoping that Commarrah's show would be same day, only, say, _earlier_. Alas. I may still have to contrive to see it. Her show has been getting great reviews.) But, I have never done any part of the Fringe before, so this should be... interesting, as we say here in Minnesota.  We'll see how it all goes. If any of you local folks have advice, feel free to leave it in the comments.

One of my goals for this week is to write up a nice proposal for the thing I'm currently working on and send it off to Martha, my agent.  I should probably have an outline at any rate, so writing up something like that is never a bad idea.  

Mason and I are probably going to go to Whole Foods for lunch. We've been meaning to get Mason over to Whole Foods to check out their fun soaps (something he'd wanted for a stocking stuffer, but we kept forgetting to get for him....and then we decided it might be nicer for him to pick out his own scents.) The new location has a large buffet area, so we can kill two birds and all that.

Yeah... so, that's me. How's your Monday going?

lydamorehouse: (ichigo hot)
 Hello from 1998 or thereabouts.  No, I'm not actually time traveling, alas, but my computer is. I'm on a super ancient (in computer years) Gateway, which I am using as a stop gap replacement until we can figure out a cheap new laptop for me.  

So what happened to the Mac? I wish I had a story as good as the time I dropped a frozen turkey on my laptop, but, alas, I think what killed my Mac as a combination of age and... abuse. Yes, it fell off something while it was running... But, thing is, I have dropped this particular Mac from the distance of my chair cushion to the floor multiple times and it's survived just fine. This time? Alas, this time it decided "Nope. Peace out."  Can I blame it? Not really. It's lasted far longer than a lot of my computers.  I'm hard on technology, fam. I just am. I drop phones into rivers in South Dakota and I pummel laptops with 24 pound frozen turkeys.

And, until Shawn can do some research into the best, cheapest laptop, I will be without... well, mostly Skype, it seems. Pretty much everything else can still be run from the 1990s. Once I downloaded a more up-to-date version of Chrome, I seemed to be able to  function pretty well on Facebook without freaking out every time I hit a graphic bundle. I have not tried Twitter or Tumblr, both of which might be beyond the capabilities of this machine.  Tumblr, I suspect, will be too graphics-heavy, though, with the new Chrome,, this guy was able to survive the new .gif and video things on Facebook... so maybe?  Not that I've been going to Tumblr much these days, but it is nice to check in now and again.

No Skype is a bummer. But, I'm hoping to have a new laptop before the week is out. 

I lost nothing of consequence, except a bit of the stuff I was trying to do to salvage a trunk novel for my agent who, for reasons known only to her, really wants me to to try to sell another novel to Tapas Media (that place where we sold Sidhe Promised, the app that made you pay as you go).  I had foolishly started working on that in Word.  But, most everything else I do these days I do on Google Docs, so it's automatically saved on the cloud or inside the brains of Google HQ or wherever that stuff goes.  At any rate, it was not ON my computer, per se, and that's good because it means I still have access to all my works-in-progress, even my Loft course proposals.

Yesterday was just bad technology day because Mason couldn't figure out how to get his Nintendo Switch remote charger to work.  (It may just be, we discovered, that Zelda sucks more energy than the charger can recharge, so he might have to just connect to the console or whatever if he wants to keep playing that particular game.)  But, there was a lot of swearing and reading obtuse manuals, etc. 

We also tried to do our usual Skype chat via Skype on Mason's ROG laptop, but Mason has disabled cameras (for reasons of being 14 and cyber savvy) so between that and issues on my folks' end, we had to give that up after a lot of swearing and reading Skype help pages, etc.

I am hoping today will be less technologically stressful. 

The good news is that my needs are low. I like to be able to check a few social media site, read a few on-line articles, and write in Google Docs. I can do all that from here. It's slower and clunkier, but it's very do-able.  I could complain, but why?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I don't remember the last time I called my congress critters.  I've been thinking it's probably time again. I don't want them thinking that we've lost faith, but I think I finally had that 'OMG I can't cope/too much' moment a couple of weeks ago. I need to pull myself back together and get back on the letters and postcards and phone calls.

The world isn't going to save itself.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But no one cares about that, but me.

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

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

It's nice enough out that I mowed. I have to say that--knock on wood--the yard is looking half-decent this year.  Now I just have to keep it up, which is always the struggle, isn't it?

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