Snow Selfie

Feb. 7th, 2019 09:14 am
lydamorehouse: (ichigo irritated)
At some point today, I have to leave this warm, snuggly house and go and get Inky's cremains. They called yesterday and said that he'd come back. 

It's really coming down out there.

Mason has a debate tournament this afternoon that he's judging over in Minneapolis. As a judge, he's a volunteer, so I have to transport him there and back again.  Given how quickly the inches accumulated already this morning, I'm not looking forward to trying to race him across town at 3:00 for a 3:30 meet.  I told him to see if he can't get the cell number of someone at the competition, just in case we run late.

My Broad Universe mentee and I had an interesting conversation last night about iGen, Mason's generation.

She's doing some kind of coursework or other that has her considering the various "personalities" of the generation and she said that iGen is supposed to be go-getters, but her experience showed them to be fairly incapable of things once considered standard, like addressing an envelope or keeping a budget.  She's very likely right about those last things. We've had to work overtime to make sure Mason has gotten skills that I KNOW I was taught in school, like how to write a check and read/write cursive. (I blame standardized testing, not this generation or its teachers, however.) At any rate, I noted that Mason absolutely fits the "stereotype" of a self-starter. I never even heard that he'd signed himself up to be a volunteer debate judge until yesterday when he asked for transportation to the meet.  Mason is required as a gifted an talented student to have volunteer hours and he found some in an area he ADORES. I told her, too, how he found himself a paying job that continues to be a perfect fit and the various times that we've found out, after the fact, that there was a scheduling snafu with his coursework that Mason just took care of--often in fairly brilliant and innovative ways, like how he finagled a TA position in English as ungraded coursework.

Obviously, Mason may be atypical. He certainly does prefer his video games over a lot of other activities--but again, I don't see this as a problem. From what I can tell, Mason has found himself a good community. They are all GLBT+/queer kids and, while I hear some trash talk in his comm, it seems very good-natured and not the kind of toxic stuff parents of gamers have to have CONSTANT VIGILANCE about. He's got himself on a team that plays in an amateur Overwatch league and it 'sparks joy' for him, clearly. So, I mean, sure, kids these days and their E-lect-TRON-ics, but I think we are all better served when we consider how such tools are being used by the generation that owns them.

Whelp, there's the call. They've cancelled afternoon activities for SPPS (Saint Paul Public Schools). I texted Mason to have him double-check that that includes his tournament, but I suspect it will.

Now we just need &!*%ing St. Paul to call a snow emergency so they will plow the &!*%ing streets.

My street is nearly impassable. WEIRDLY, where the rich people live, Summit Avenue appears to have been plowed curb to curb. It's almost like there's a socio-economic division in how the city choses to clear its streets. $10 says Highland Park is plowed, too.

But, so, the whole mentee thing via Broad Universe is going well, I think. We've done a bunch of checking in. She seems pleased with my level of critique (which can be intense and daunting) and as a mentor, I feel like my job is offer routes, but, ultimately, to go where she wants. Speaking of volunteering, it's been an interesting gig so far. 

Huh, apparently I just have to wait long enough... now St. Paul has finally called a snow emergency. Yay!

A friend of mine in Canada and I were trading selfies, and, while I normally don't post selfies, I thought this one perfectly captured my resting MURDER face in response to this weather....

me, looking decidedly murderous, and a snow covered tree behind me

I should probably go out into this mess to make sure we have something for dinner tonight, in fact. 

*sigh*
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
 I have to admit that even *I'm* getting a little sick of these.

But, since Trump forced Sessions's resignation yesterday*, MoveOn.org has mobilized their rapid-response to Mueller firing protest. Here in St. Paul, we are gathering at the State Capitol at 5pm.  It's 25 F/ -3 C here, today, with windchills that feel much, much lower. Mason this morning said, "Why? Why do we always end up having to protest in sub-zero weather??" I dunno, son, I said. It's the price of democracy: cold toes.

protest sign that reads PROTECT MUELLER

The sign (this one reads: PROTECT MUELLER) looks shiny because of my many "protest hacks" I have learned in the last two years, is that covering your sign in strips of packing tape will keep the markers from smudging and running in inclement weather (we had a touch of snow, earlier.) 

I have to admit I struggled with pithy, clever things to say this time. Admittedly, I have been taking the advice of an early 'protest self-care' blog that suggested that you pick one or two causes and follow those deeply and let others pick up the slack on the zillion other distractions that our so-called president has been flinging at us, like poo.  So, I have been leaving the Mueller investigation/Russia probe to my more politically wonky friends.  Thus, sitting in my dinning room attempting to have short, memorable signage was surprisingly difficult. I finally broke down and went for longer text on the "back side" of another sign:

protest sign that reads: you think our blue wave was a bust? Maxine Waters will have the power of financial subpoena

This one reads: "You think our BLUE WAVE was a bust? Maxine Waters will have the power of Financial Subpoena." As I was looking up how to spell "subpoena," I kept thinking, "You try and spell that right, Trump supporters!"  

There are slogans on the flip sides of these as well. Another one of my "protest hacks" is that it's actually very useful to be visible from the BACK as well as the front. People can take your picture without worrying about getting your permission, if your face isn't visible. This is one way that I end up in a lot of protest albums. Not that THAT is a life goal, but it means that I don't have to take a protest selfie. I can just download the picture of me on the protest's website.

Wow, what is this going to read like five years from now? Is this going to be one of those "ha-ha, protest selfie! Gramma! Really?" or "THANK GOD YOU WERE ON THE FRONT LINES, GRANDMOTHER" moments?

Anyway, the flip side of the top one is this:

Protest sign reads: NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW

I am weirdly proud of my red-white-and-blue look here, even though I always feel like I'm some kind of kindergartener in comparison to some of the protest art that I will (HOPEFULLY) see tonight.

I have a very bad feeling that this is going to be a small crowd. I had a weird dream last night in which Mason and I brought a tent to this protest (and our computers for some reason--dream reason, I guess,) and when I stepped out to see if anyone had shown up, we filled the capitol lawn like we did at the Women's March. 

I've been thinking about the timing of this march (5 pm) and whether or not I should bring clip on lights to my protest signs. The sun is going to be setting, because: daylight savings. Hmmm, I will put my mind to that. I definitely should bring flashlights, though.  Currently, Mason will be joining me, but he may decide not to. To be fair to him, the last one of these he went with me to was for Net Neutrality and it was also SO COLD and there were, at MOST, 30 of us.

Which this could totally be.

protest sign: Look who IS Afraid of our BLUE WAVE

The sign reads: Look who _is_ afraid of our Blue Wave. (This is the flip-side of the Maxine Waters one.)  
 
--
*Good F*CKING riddance, jacka$$.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 So, I'm talking about this today, but Mason and I actually took an unscheduled day off school (aka "played hooky") on Thursday to go on a road trip.  

Mason standing in front of a sign that reads "Willkommen New Ulm"

New Ulm is a smallish town in southwest Minnesota.  From our guidebook ODDBALL MINNESOTA: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places by Jerome Pohlen, we knew that one of the main attractions of this town (which was founded in 1854 by the German Land Society) was the statue of "Hermann the German."

A sword welding German who could pass as Thor made of metal atop a dome.

Alas, the stairs leading up to the balcony were closed for the season. If we'd come after Memorial Day, we'd have been able to pay $2.75 to ascend the spiral staircase to get a view of New Ulm.  The view from the hill was plenty spectacular, anyway.

We actually started our morning having breakfast at Ulmer Cafe. I had been hoping for something more traditionally German, but they had decent enough breakfast. A lot of people stopping by seemed to be having Chow Mien, which was the day's lunch special (???).  I overheard a conversation between two women of a certain age discussing various social media.  One of them said, "Oh, I'm on Twitter because I discovered I was political." I waited, half-expecting to be reminded that outer Minnesota is very red, but from what i could determine, she was actually some kind of animal rights activist and left-leaning.  So, good on you, Twitter granny!

A quaint storefront with Ulmer Cafe on it above are little Barvarian (?) designs

This cafe was on the street that is clearly the tourist trap section.  All the buildings had very 1890s-looks to them and they had names like the "Guten Tag House," etc.  Tourist season not yet started, however, we didn't really stop in any of them. There was a used bookstore/coffeeshop next called Bookshelves & Coffeecups. We had lovely Italian sodas there.  The book selection was okay. Mason had, as he put it, read the teen section. But, it's a used store, so it would be worth checking back into it.

Our Oddball book also suggested we watch the glockenspiel, which has a creepy little animatronic show at noon, 3 pm, and 5 pm.  I'd show you the photos I took of the show, but it's offensively racist to anyone who knows that maybe the Dakota people didn't exactly (as the guidebook suggests) "relinquish" their lands (see: Battles of New Ulm).

A clocktower. I didn't want to show the 'show' because it's offensively racist

New Ulm has a lot of fascinatingly problematic history, as they clung tightly to their German heritage throughout BOTH World Wars.  They had an interesting exhibit at the Brown County Historical Society, which we stopped in to look at, about divided loyalties during the first world war.  Among the thing they had, I loved this poster because it's just so... RIGHT THERE.

This picture... World War I poster with a bloody hand print that says: "The Hun - his Mark. BLOT IT OUT with Liberty Bonds."

The attic of the historical society had an exhibit about the Dakota War that was... um... cringe-worthy? I can't even begin to describe it because there was a lot of "What?" and "Uh..." since the focus was almost entirely on settler suffering (nothing about how the Dakota were starved and told to "eat grass"). Despite that fact that an early map clearly shows the reservation line and New Ulm on the wrong side... clear encroachment.  
So much wrong.

But that put us in the mood to move on, so we took a detour further south to visit the 55-foot statue of the Jolly Green Giant.

just what I said a picture of a giant fiberglass road side statue of the Jolly Green Giant
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 I'm sure my radio silence had you all worried.  My apologies. The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated, I was merely entertaining The Canadian, supporting Mason through History Day competition, and seeing "Avengers: Infinity War" (part 1).

Gods, so much to recount. 

Let's do this somewhat out of order.  First of all, Mason has been working on a ten-minute documentary about the Kent State Shootings for History Day for several months now.  I linked to an "about" page regarding History Day above, but, basically, one is competing for the best project on theme. The topic is wide open. You can research anything that turns your fancy, but one of the ways that you're judged is how closely you stick to theme. This year's theme is "Conflict and Compromise."  Students also pick the format of their project out of a pool of options. Mason picked documentary, despite it being highly competitive and something he's literally NEVER done before. In the past, he's made a website, which is another option.  You can also write a research paper or write and perform some kind of performance (like a play, skit, or, one presumes, a stand-up comedy show or a speech? This is one category that seems a little baffling to me.) 

While I was out with my Canadian doing the Art Crawl (more on that in a moment), I kept getting texts that read: "Passed this round" and then finally "Made it to finals!"  

My Canadian and I hopped on the light rail and made it in time to see Mason pick up his topic award from TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) for $500.00.

mason holding his prize for history day, a topic prize for the Vietnam War for $500

Mason also got an honorable mention in his category, but didn't medal. (First and second place go to Nationals, third is an alternate, and fourth and fifth place get medals.)  

He was initially kind of bummed about this, but $500 is an unusually high amount for these awards.  In fact, it seems like, according to the website, anyway, if you GO all the way to Nationals and win second place you get the exact same prize ($500.00).  I mean, my travel bug is probably most bummed about not getting the trip to Washington, D.C., because D.C. is one of his most favorite cities in the US (so far, that he's been to.)  But, I reminded him that this was THE VERY FIRST TIME HE EVER, full stop. First time he'd scripted a documentary, first time competing at the Senior Level (which means he was up against veterans of this competition), and first time he's even used iMovie for ANYTHING.  

However, the metaphor that I used that I think really got through to him, though, was "This is Season One of the History Day anime, you can't go all the way in the first season.  No one would keep watching."

Okay, now returning to chronological order and moving forward from last Friday afternoon....

My Canadian was given a tour de force of Minneapolis/St. Paul.  The first thing we did was hit MT Noodles in Brooklyn Park with her mother in tow. The restaurant was as authentic Vietnamese as advertised... in fact, I'm fairly certain I didn't eat my food correctly.  But, it was delicious all the same. 

After dropping her mom off at the hotel, I took her to my favorite coffee shop, Claddagh, where we promptly ran into my Friday (used to be Wednesday) women writers' group.  I introduced my Canadian around and then abandoned her long enough to pick up Mason from school, Shawn from work, and to deposit them both at home. 

Then because "see the Mississippi" was on her list, we took a little walk along the river walkway in downtown St. Paul.  Because the wind was chilly we ended up at a Caribou Coffee where we chatted like dear old friends, which, we have been, ON PAPER, but I was pleased that it worked out IRL as the kids would say.  

We went to a couple of the remote venues for the St. Paul Art Crawl on Friday night, too.  We hit the Carleton Lofts and the Pottery store that was on Front Street (both of which being places I wanted to see the insides of since forever, and was glad to have an excuse.)  The pottery place is a funky little storefront:


A sheet metal bar looking building with metal sculpture of abstract designs on its exterior

Inside they had a lot of pottery for sale, of course, as well as some clay for kids to play with in the back and a potter's wheel for adults to try out. They were also serving soup in handcrafted bowls (did you buy the bowl as part of the food? I'm thinking so.) 

But, I wanted to show off more of what the crawl would be like, so we also hit the Carleton Lofts, which was more typical. There were 50+ artists of all variety (including a puppet builder--yes, the very one who built the puppet of me, and a novelist who had a sort of sad display and a desperate look in her eye.)  I ran into a woman who runs a tarot collective, who offered to let me join, and we saw the world's CREEPIEST dolls... oh, sorry, they're not creepy (or so said the artist) they're for dark side HEALING.  Yeah, no. They were CREEPY. I was, in fact, too afraid to take pictures.

That evening (with a random stop at Office Max for my panicked History Day family for printer paper), we went to hot pot at Little Szechuan. I have never done hot pot before, so I let The Canadian take the lead.  If you've never done it before, it's kind of a weird process. You get a checklist menu where you fill in what you want (and the amounts, as in half order or full,) and it's things like 'fish' and 'prawn' and 'beef' as well as a fairly wide variety of veggies. Basically, you cook each one in a broth, but they all mingle together so you kind of want them to sort of all go together?  A pot comes out with broth--ours was divided between plain and spicy and then it sits on a stovetop on your table and boils. Once it's roiling you start dropping in various things you want to eat, watch them cook, and then fish them out.  It's a lot of fun and tasty as all get out. We mostly did fish and veggies so it was quite delicious.

We had a helluva time getting the Canadian back to her hotel thanks to closings on 94 (and my fierce need to pee), we blamed it on the creepy dolls.

Mason and the rest of us were up until 3 am dealing with technical difficulties (and my perfectionist son's inability to think 'good enough'--which I guess paid off, so there's that.) 

On Saturday, I dropped Mason off at Coffman Union.  Actually, at the stairs on the River Road that lead to Coffman, because the only directions we had on the History Day packet presumed that we would be parking.  Maybe because so many of the participants can drive themselves?  Or maybe because there's just that many parents who wanted to be along for the whole day?

I collected my Canadian and we did the traditional walkabout Lowertown.  I ditched my car here at home and she and I took the light rail in to Lowertown using the Art Crawl transit pass she printed out for us.  The whole day was a whole lot of looking at odd art and checking out people's apartments/studios, because basically that's what you do. There's just a ton of people who open up their homes and set up art displays. I'd been hoping we could catch lunch at some food trucks, but we ended up at the very trendy Biergarten Germania instead for lunch.

A sample of some of the art we saw during the crawl. This one is entitled: "Super Fan," which give that I am very much a super fan of Bleach, I appreciated a great deal:

A crude painting of a superhero with a cape who has a fan--like a box fan--for a face

As I noted above, we ended up dashing to catch Mason's award ceremony, and then, because we had tickets, we BARELY made it, but arrived only a few minutes late for "Pounded in the Tingle" at Bryant/Lake Bowl in Uptown.  That was... well, let's just say there was shadow puppet sex.

We stayed late at the bar drinking (me a Coke and her a craft beer of some sort) and talking. We had some kind of debate about how money works and the social construct somewhere near midnight on the way home, so I'd say the day was a success.

I had thought she only had the two days, so we were slightly at loose ends on Sunday. My Canadian is a thrifter/antique shopper so someone ([personal profile] magenta , I think?) suggested the Minnehaha Mile and so we hit the Falls for a classic tourist destination, walked a bit of the trails, and then "thrifted" through several of the stores along the mile. I'm not a huge fan of shopping, but thrifting is really about window shopping and looking at all the weird/cool vintage stuff and I had a lot of fun. We stopped at Dumpling for a light early dinner/late lunch.

I was pretty worn out at that point and luckily the Canadian also felt the need to spent a bit more time with her mom, so we called it an early night somewhere around 5pm, which meant I could go home and see my family a bit over the weekend as well.  

It was SO MUCH FUN.

And I was super-glad that a text based friends worked so very, very well live and in "meat space."


Edited to add that I will address my thoughts on "Avengers: Infinity War (Part 1)" in a separate entry.
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: (Default)
 We were supposed to head to Indiana this weekend, but we were derailed by Shawn's bad back. (She re-injured herself helping with the air-conditioning.  Ironically, I did ALL the heavy lifting, but last minute she decided to give the bed a tug... and that was all she wrote, as they say.)

Mason and I had  been itching for a road trip, regardless, so we pulled out our handy guide to random Minnesota Road Trips, Oddball Minnesota: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places.I picked something at random, an entry called: "Hitler's Handkerchief."  Apparently, in the Military Museum at Camp Ripley, there is, on display, a handkerchief supposedly once belonging to Hitler that was brought back as a war souvenir by a Minnesota soldier after World War II.  

Google maps led me to believe that Camp Ripley was only about an hour and a half or so out of town, so it sounded like a lark.  

It took us FOREVER to get there.  

Getting punchy, Mason took pictures out of the car window:

Central Minnesota landscape

You can see, at least, that it's a beautiful day.  Today, temps were up in the 70s F/ 21s C.  We stopped in Coon Rapids (a Saint Paul suburb/exo-suburb) at a Panera Breads for a spot of brunch and extra caffeine fortification for me. Turns out? I'm kind of cranky without enough caffeine. WHO KNEW? This is where I think we lost time, honestly. I wouldn't have thought it took us that long to find the Panera, but we were driving up and down Main Street a LOT.

At any rate, it was almost 1:00 pm by the time we finally hit Camp Ripley.  Camp Ripley is military base/training center and the museum was inside, so we had to drive through a checkpoint and show ID.  Shawn had warned us of this before we left, so I actually grabbed our passports. It's really the only picture ID Mason has, but, it turns out they didn't really care THAT much.  They just took my drivers license in and swiped it and waved Mason and I through.

We were issued a pass:

the pass that got us into Camp Ripley. Not very official looking, honestly.

Not very official looking, but there it is.  I also forgot to drop it into the box on the way out, so I guess I went rogue with this....

The guard told us to turn left at the tanks. For some reason, I wasn't entirely expecting THESE kinds of tanks:

military tank

The museum... well, was it worth the long drive?  The hanky was there, so I guess there was THAT. I did take a picture of it, but I decided against posting it on Facebook because: Nazis, you know?  I did take some pictures of the interior:

military uniform and museum display

There were a lot of displays like this one of the Viking Division of the Minnesota National Guard, with uniforms and other memorabilia.  It might have been more interesting if I had someone other than an Already-Bored-of-It teenager.  Mason was far more amused by the sign we saw on the way to the museum which read:

A sign proclaiming "You Can't Beat Rickey's Meat."

"You Can't Beat Rickey's Meat"---ah, teenagers.

On the way back, we saw a sign for 'pick your own' pumpkins and a Corn Maze.  Corn Mazes are such iconically Midwestern thing that we decided we HAD to stop.  It was actually quite a lot of fun.  I mean, really we just wandered around on dirt paths that had been trampled in the dry corn stalks, but... I dunno. It was a THING.  Kind of made the whole ridiculous road trip worthwhile.

enter sign at beginning of corn maze

Mason taller than the corn stalks

The funny part is that I *think* corn mazes are supposed to have the reputation of being scary.  This one wasn't.  I mean, it was BROAD daylight, so that was probably part of it. I suspect this could have been a little more spooky in the twilight, but also, as you can see from this picture--Mason is almost taller than the corn stalks. So, there was no real way we'd get lost.  Also, we're not two, so I suspect that's a big part of it.

We also picked our own pumpkin.

pumpkin patch

Still, all and all, this was a fun trip.  We didn't really do much except drive A LOT, but we always say: it's not the destination, it's the JOURNEY. Mason and I had a blast listening to crap country music, chatting, and giggling at various oddities along the road. Good times.

Though... I do think I will cross off "Hilter's Hanky" from my bucket list.  I may also attempt a lot more research before randomly choosing another site from the Oddball book.

Maybe.
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: (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: (nic & coffee)
That was me today, only in the not sexy way. It's that time of year. PLUS the Midwest is expecting a gigantic snowstorm, and so Shawn had me go to the grocery store and buy ALL THE THINGS.

We are now stocked up on Things, all the edible things--so if somehow we are actually snowed in, we have absolutely no need to go anywhere this weekend.

Yay.

I also stopped by Mischief Toy Store today for the first time ever. Their branding, intentional or not is: geek-queer. I was looking, specifically, for fun stocking stuffers for Mason and Shawn. While I ADORED the store, I was actually kind of bummed that they didn't really have exactly what I was looking for (which is a little unfair of me, since I can't really quantify WHAT I was looking for, exactly.) Now, if Mason was Jack Jackson (the son of our friends), I would have had the stocking completely covered, because they had an AWESOME collection of all the hot new graphic novels (as well as individual issues of certain titles.) There was also a Black Panther plushy that I would have totally bought John (because I'm fairly certain John has dreams of cuddling up to Prince T'Challa.)  But, I kind of struck out for my family. I did find a few things--which I can't name, because, you know, while my family actually rarely reads my blog THIS WOULD BE THE TIME THEY WOULD.  But, I dunno.  I might actually have to take a trip to United Noodle to see if they have any new, exciting Japanese treats that might make good stocking stuffers (and of course if I just HAPPEN to buy a few things for myself, well... finder's fee, am I right??)

Ah, Shawn just called. Even though it's not even snowing at all, she wants to be picked-up early. I love how Minnesotans are both really "heh, we can handle all the cold" and at the same time being all, "It MIGHT snow 12 inches?  F*ck it, I'm going home early."
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
St. Paul didn't close schools today.

The wind chills are expected to reach -35 F (-37.22 C for my foreign friends--also is this right?  I don't know that my converter can handle minus temps). Winds are expected at 15 to 25 mph. How wind chill works is that it's "the measure of the perceived decrease in air temperature felt by the body on exposed skin due to the flow of air."  Another fun fact is that when the real temperature is -19 F, exposed skin can freeze in one minute.  The REAL temp outside at the moment is -23 F.  (My family thinks the skin freezing thing is false, well, fine: it's still colder here that it is on some parts of Mars.)

Minneapolis closed school.  

For a point of reference, Minneapolis is 10 blocks from my house to the west.  I can drive down University Avenue for less than a minute and arrive in Minneapolis.  

So... Mason is home today because I'm not sure what St. Paul is smoking, but it's not safe.

St. Paul has decided that all absences are excused today, at least, but we would have kept Mason out regardless and he doesn't even wait for a bus.  Why?  Well, firstly, in protest, because most other people do have to wait outside and buses do not run on time always.  Secondly, because the last time we decided to go in temperatures like these our car broke down and Shawn and Mason had to walk several blocks home while I was forced to sit in the car to wait for triple-A.  I was lucky, our break down was tire related and I could have heat, but our car door also sticks open and super-cold temps, so I was really very chilly.  

The decision, St. Paul has said on its Facebook discussion about this, was partly to aid homeless youth for whom school is the one place they can get a regular meal.  At the same time they announced this, a call went out to the neighborhood for warm winter coats for homeless kids because there's a real shortage.  So, St. Paul required homeless kids to leave the warmth of their shelters, wait for the bus without winter coats, just for a meal?  I'm not entirely sure how well all that works in terms of logic. 

So, yeah, that's my morning.

As I just told my friend in Wales when she asked me if I was writing--not yet, I have to drink more coffee and complain about the weather.  It's the Minnesotan thing to do.

:-)

I also thought I do a very mini review of Ms. Marvel #10.  My subscription finally came, btw.  Long ago, I decided to subscribe to Ms. Marvel because at CONvergence many years ago, I was on a panel with Sigrid Ellis, who suggest that the best way to support women comic book writers was to subscribe to the titles they wrote.  So, dutifully, I went to Marvel.com and put in my credit card info.  I was pretty sure I was being ripped off because nothing ever came.  Turns out, I apparently signed on to start AFTER #9.  At any rate, #10 "Generation Why" showed up at my doorstep a couple of days ago.  

Read more... spoilers.... )

In general, I'm just as happy my subscription starts now.  I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next (though I'm really hoping for an actual defeat for the Inventor soon).  I really like G. Willow Wilson's voice for Kamala.  Like my example under the cut, it's funny and sharp and smart.  Also, I'm growing very fond of Adrian Alphona's art.  It's stylized, but in a way I like?




lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Yeah, okay, I don't think 2015 has started off very... organized, given that today is the first day I thought to sit down to write to y'all.

I blame my dreams.  Had a nightmare that I just couldn't shake last night.  I woke up a couple time from it, thinking, "Damn, glad that's over," only to fall asleep and go right back to it.  It was a strange one.  You know that video that went viral several years ago about the woman who was supposedly living in some guy's cabinet?  A web cam supposedly caught her coming out at night to raid his fridge?

I think it's turned out that this is faked, but my dream was loosely based on something like this.  I dreamed my friend Naomi came over and showed me a picture she'd taken in one of her daughter's bedrooms.  It clearly showed someone lying under her daughter's bed.  The dream continued on where Naomi told me that they finally caught this guy and he'd been living with them, undetected for DECADES.  Okay, brain, here is where I should have stopped to consider the fact that Naomi hasn't even lived in their current house that long, but you know: dreams.  Anyway, it was super creepy, but I think because my subconscious decided this wasn't at MY house, but someone else's, it was OKAY TO KEEP GOING BACK.

No, brain, just NO.

Needless to say, I woke up a lot.

This was a bummer on many levels, not the least of which is that today is the day everyone goes back to school and work.  The alarm in our house went off at 5:30 A-f*cking-M and we all struggled awake, got lunches together, had breakfast, and bundled out the door into -22 degree F wind chills.

Damn you, Minnesota!

I will say, though, as I chatted up a storm on the way into school and work, the sky was beautiful. When I was a kid, I used to get up before the rest of the household on purpose.  I was a weird, emo kid, who happened to be a lark, so instead of being a normal teenager who stayed up too late, I got up too early and went for long walks while the coffee brewed.  The sky this morning was the color of those pre-dawn skies I loved.  It a "backlit" blue that so deep to be almost indigo.  It's that very odd, "the sun is about to rise" quality of the light that I adore most about it, I think, because its vaguely reminiscent of those deep blue Christmas lights shining in the dark.

Otherwise, I spent much of the day so far working the the Demon School novel.  I'm really making progress, though.  I've at least made one pass through the first 275 pages.  The book, currently, doesn't have many more pages than that, so there's actually still a lot to be written, alas.  BUT, I'm filling in some gaps and formatting everything to look the same.  I think, actually, I'll have a fairly decent draft at the end of this week to send out to my beta readers.  That'll give me next week to go through their comments, make corrections, additions and adjustments, before it goes back to my collaborator, Rachel, on the 15th.

This week I return to writing UnJust Cause, too.

It's going to be a busy 2015...

Now if I can just get more organized. 

lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I haven't seen the movie "Captain America: Winter Soldier" yet, and I might not get out to it tonight because we got 6+ inches of snow on the ground and it's still falling. However, I read the review that the Star Tribune gave of it http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/movies/253753221.html and I wanted to say that if you hated Marvel's Civil War, you're going to hate this movie.

It sounds very much like (which I had guessed from the trailer) that the main conflict is going to center around the idea of security vs. freedom, which was, in effect, the issue that tore apart the Marvel Universe in Civil War. The Tribune's reviewer seemed to think that the issue was given complexity, despite the fact that Cap is very clearly on one side of this issue, and very strongly so, from his line from the trailer, "This isn't freedom; this is fear."

Personally, I hope they deal with some of the issues that were brought up in Brubaker's run of the Winter Soldier collections (vols. 1-4) in particular the fascinating role his Bucky played in the war. I say "his" Bucky, because, quite obviously Brubaker's Bucky is a complete recast, being a lot older than the original. But Brubaker did some cool things with that, particularly with the idea that Captain America was the symbol of America during the war, so there were missions that the uniform couldn't go on, because AMERICA couldn't be involved. But, Bucky could go.

Because he was a crack shot.

And the war needed winning.

Maybe this messes with what a lot of people think of as the core of Captain America, which is to say that he's somehow always does the Right Thing and is always on the side of truth and justice and some idealistic 'American Way' that never existed anywhere in Real Life (tm). I don't know how Cap could have gotten through WWII without losing a little faith in humanity. We like to think of WWII as this nice, clean war, but that's simplistic. Of course it wasn't. It was a war. Wars are always ugly. Full stop.

So I'll be curious where they go with it in the movie. Hopefully, the roads will clear and we can get out and about soon. I'd love to be able to see this tonight, in fact. But, I actually kept Mason and Shawn home from school and work today because, as the driver, I said 'no.' Saint Paul Schools are still open and so I had to call Mason in as sick, and I'm sure the roads are more passable than they look, but why risk it? I think he'll survive a day without. If M.I.T. rejects him because he skipped school on a snowy day, well, then M.I.T. isn't worth our time, anyway. :-)

Because, seriously? This is how it looks outside right now:

IMG_8886

Here's our car before we unburied it:

IMG_8887

Yeah...
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Shawn and I discussed whether or not we're "officially" done with winter or not this morning. I believe I'd been in the "eh, I still think the snow is pretty" camp, until we got stuck, spinning our wheels, at the intersection of Summit and Snelling.

Now, I'm officially done.

Thing is, I probably would continue to be the "meh, winter is okay" camp, if PEOPLE WEREN'T MORONS. Because as we were very clearly struggling to get going several people thought it extremely clever of themselves to go around us.  This was stupid for a couple of reasons: 1) I could have easily gotten a sudden burst of traction and sideswiped them as I fishtailed, 2) they made me tense, thus making it even harder to do the tricky work of trying to get the car in the right gear and move slowly enough to get going, 3) their random pulling out in front of me could have also resulted in a crash if I'd had a sudden burst of uncontrolled sped.

The only satisfaction I got was, after I'd had a chance to back up a bit, I was able to get moving and the MORON who was next to me, hoping to go around, got stuck.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  I gave her the one finger salute as I pulled ahead.  It was deeply satisfying.

Shawn and I spent the rest of the drive wondering why the roads SUCK SO MUCH still.  Do they no longer put down sand in this town?  What is the deal with the snow plows that seem to hover about an inch over the asphalt?  If they're hoping this will save on wear and tear on the asphalt, they're wrong.  The few places it is clear to the ground the streets are riddled with potholes.

Also, as Mason and I were leaving Great Clips this afternoon, I noticed there was a cop car with its lights on at that same intersection I was stuck at.  S/he was either directing traffic or there had finally been an accident there.

No surprise.

Oh, and in other news, Susan is still alive.  In fact, I can see her right now dancing around at the top of the tank munching up the tubifex worms I put in for her lunch.  I had to change a bit of the water in the tank, however, because she is NOT FOND of the sinking pellets she's supposed to like, and they were sitting on the substrate looking ready to rot.  So, I sucked them up and gave her a tiny little water change.  I don't want to change the water too much, because I'm now fairly convinced that Susan is helping condition the tank.  I'm hoping, given some time, I can actually introduce some other fish.  As it is, I'm so, so happy to see Susan every morning, it's almost sad.  I (whispers) even did research on dojo loaches, so... yeah, I'm officially in love with her. [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer said, when she was over, that Susan reminds her of a mermaid, the way she wiggles her long, flowing tail.

The other thing I've been doing is updating my deviantart page with all my juvenallia (stuff I drew when I was young and foolish); that's been fun.  I'm still trying to find my Marvel stash. I know I have some pictures of Gambit that I drew when I was in college, but damned if I can find where I've put them.

It's made me what to draw again, though, and that's fun.

Have I told you guys what I've been reading lately? I'm about three chapters into Haruki Murakami's 1Q84.  It's a novel that was translated from Japanese, and it's... trippy.  It's starts with a young woman whose name is 'green pea,' Aomame who is stuck in traffic on her way to an "important business meeting."  She takes the advice of her taxi driver and ditches the taxi to go down a service staircase in order to hop the subway and make it to her thing on time.  Only, as she leave the taxi, the drive makes some cryptic remark about how "there's only one universe, you know."

Well, clearly, there isn't, and our heroine somehow ends up in an alternate one.

But that's really not clear except on the dust jacket.  Because the second chapter is from the point of view of a crappy wannabe novelist named Tengo, who looks like a linebacker and whose salient personality trait seems to be that he's haunted by vivid memories of "someone who is not his father sucking his mother's breast."

F*ck I hate mainstream fiction.

I may be giving up on it soon, but, just when I was ready to, Green Pea busted out and assassinated someone.  And, I was like, OKAY, I'm in!  So, I don't know.  It's also dauntingly gigantic at 925 pages, so we'll see...

Wintery Mix

Nov. 6th, 2013 09:54 am
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
It's Minnesota, all right.

Here's what we woke up to:

wintery mix 003

wintery mix 004
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I left Diversicon 19 with a huge list of things I need to read -- many of them are comicbooks, of course, but also on the list is a re-read of Milton and several young adult novels with new-to-me authors. (Also, the list of movies grows longer as well.)

Otherwise, I think the most awesome part of being a special guest was access to a minion. Shawn was truly horrified when, on Sunday, after our upstairs bathroom sink's plumbing decided to 'splode right before I was meant to leave for the con, I actually called my minion on the phone to request a special latte delivered to my first panel. Shawn is a traditional Minnesotan from the Iron Range, and the idea of actually _imposing_ on someone, even someone who says they're happy to do such things, is EVIl and WRONG and there is a SPECIAL place in HELL for those who would _impose!!!_

But I'm not from here. I'm from the East Coast (of the Mississippi, in Wisconsin,) where people are brassy and loud and demanding. I have no shame and I take people at their word. If they say they're my gopher and are happy to fetch things for me, I assume they mean it.

Which, of course, has caused no end of trouble for me here in the Norwegian stronghold of Minnehiem (see Steve Fox's post on Facebook about the Thor panel and how cool it would be to rename Minnesota "Minnehiem" in honor of the fact that the original Dr. Donald Blake/Thor is supposed to be a Minnesotan.)

The other cool thing about Diversicon and honorable guesting was the fact that I got to be on all the panels about the things I never usually get to talk about, which is to say comic books. Usually, I don't have enough expertise (being a mere fan) to rate a comic book/comic book movie panel, but I got to pull strings, as it were, and get myself a prime seat on both the Captain America panel and Thor. In other fun sidenotes, I am slowly corrupting Eleanor Arnason into a comic geek (at least as far as the movies are concerned. She asked me on the way home from Captain America, "Do you think comic books are modern mythology?" I said, "Of course!" Because, they are in so many ways. Like ancient myths they're popular, they're epic, ever changing through generations of storytelling, and they reflect the modern human's take on the questions about Truth and Honor and Heroism with the capital letters.)

I had a lot of fun. And I got to bond with David G. Hartwell over ties, as I was wearing several of my grandfather's ties at various times at the convention (on Saturday I had three "costume changes," though, alas, never into Tate's get-up.) He suggested that my grandfather was likely wearing the ties I favor sometime in the 50s and/or early 60s. I guess the slim, square-cut pink one I wore on Sunday really narrowed (pardon the pun) down the date, as those were only popular for a very short period.

That was fascinating to me, because the family story that came with the tie collection was that these were the ties that Grandpa wore to take my grandmother dancing. My grandpa was working class (having worked his whole life in a blue collar job at Trane Company), and many of these ties are very fancy indeed. Some are silk. It's interesting timing if this is accurate, because my father, the middle child, would have been a teenager in the mid-50s, and I always had had the sense that these dancing dates were earlier... perhaps they were simply a long standing tradition (which, frankly is quite romantic.)

I also got to reconnect with some people I don't see very often, and, in fact, am going to slip off later today to meet up with one, [livejournal.com profile] jiawen, at noon today. Hooray!

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