lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
Indicative of my day yesterday, I started a "What are You Reading Wednesday?" post, only to discover this morning that I hadn't finished it...it was still sitting here, in a tab, in draft form, on my computer.

*sigh*

I mean, to be fair, I haven't had much to report in terms of reading lately beyond "my Broad Universe mentee's manuscript," but I did finish My Solo Exchange Diary by Nagata Kabi, which I reviewed here: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/my-solo-exchange-diary-hitori-koukan-nikki-by-nagata-kabi/ Thanks to a VERY QUIET night at Maplewood on Tuesday, I also have a bunch of books being pulled for me at the Ramsey County Library from the most recent Locus Recommended Reading List. So, hopefully, I'll have a better list of things I've read soon.  

Yesterday, I was also unaccountably sad to have heard about Opportunity, the Mars rover.  I know it lasted much longer than expected and it's _just_ a robot, but I feel like maybe a person is a little bit inhuman if they don't shed a small tear at its final communication: "Battery dying. Everything is going dark."  Jesus F*cking Christ, NASA. 

Then, on top of that, this morning I turned on the radio to AM950 and heard about the horrific destruction scheduled for the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as Trump's bulldozers and border control are seizing PRIVATE PROPERTY with immanent domaine.  I'm planning, on payday, of becoming a member in order to help them fight this, legally... even though I don't have a lot of hope that they'll win. And that's it, the frogs and the butterflies and the tiny little owls are all going to die because we're all a bunch of racist pig-sh*ts.

And, Shawn says to me this morning, "Hey, happy Valentine's Day, BBC is reporting that Taiwan voters rejected same-sex marriage."

It's honestly this sh*t that's going to break me.

Ugh.

In happier news, Mason really enjoys judging debate tournaments. He had one last night, at Washington, and he came home almost giddy with stories of the middle schoolers he critiqued and graded. "I'm SO PROUD of them!" he says to me, beaming. 

Next Monday we go to the informational meeting for PSEO (Post-Secondary Education Opportunities, a program that allows public school students to attend university for free, particularly if there's need--like for Mason, he's exhausted high school math, as of this year. Technically, he was done with the official HS math curriculum last year, but Washington Tech has a "College In Schools" Calc I class that he's in this year.). Mason also talked to his school councilor who is really supportive (especially after his early PSAT scores) of him going full-time PSEO next year. We're still debating the merits and the drawbacks to that, but the idea that Mason could basically be in college next year is kind of amazing. I think it could potentially be really good for him. He's a funny kid. The more rigorous the class, the better his grades tend to be. If he's in any class where there's a lot of busywork that most people would find to be "low-hanging fruit," (ie easily done), he struggles to do it, because he can't see the point. We tease him that he's the only person who get A+s in Calc I, but can barely pass "Independent Living." 

In much happier news, I have a book contract on the horizon.

It's a kind of funny story about how that happened. So, as reported here, Wizard Tower Press has put out an omnibus edition of all 5 of my AngeLINK books. As I was going around posting all the various self-promotion things one does, I came across an email from a fan complaining that she could not get a copy of Song of Secrets a book that Rachel Calish and I wrote together (but which has since been removed by the publisher for various reasons) AND she wanted to know when he heck I was going to get around to publishing that sequel to Precinct 13.

Those who have been following along at home know that i have a large portion of a sequel already written. I was posting it in installments on Wattpad for a while, but then I ran out of steam and never finished it.

WELL. I thought to myself, I wonder if Cheryl Morgan, my publisher at Wizard Tower Press, would be interested in that. Plus, if Cheryl gave me a deadline (and a contract), I might actually get off my depressed BUTT and finish it.  

Turns out, Cheryl was more than willing to send me out a contract... so, I now have a deadline of September 2019 to get things into shape. Should be very doable.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK CHERYL BEFORE. Thank you, random complainer! Without you, it would NEVER have occurred to me that I could just see if Wizard Tower Press was up for a new novel by me.

So that's kind of big news. It's not official-Official yet, per se, so I'm not shouting it from the rooftop--but, dang near. I have a draft contract in hand and everything looks very much green to go.

It's crazy, but just having this in the works has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel like a _real_ writer again.
lydamorehouse: (temporary incoherent rage)
 ...I'm going to blow a gasket.

I realize that when people talk about Bush Senior as a decent guy, what they mean is that, in comparison to the inhuman trash fire that currently holds the highest office in the nation, he looks pretty good.  I'll give them that.

But don't tell me he wasn't a racist. Have we forgotten Willie Horton

Don't tell me that he was some kind of unifier, unless you mean that he unified straight, cis people in their hatred of GLBTQ+ folks and their willingness to turn a blind eye on all the people dying of AIDs. Let me remind us all that that real people died. Lots of MY FRIENDS did not "survive" this particular terrible presidency.  Don't forget that some of us dumped our dead on George H. W. Bush's lawn to try to get him to acknowledge our right to exist.

Bush Senior was not a man of peace. Have we forgotten "Operation: Desert Storm"? The civilians killed--targeted intentionally?

I haven't.

And hearing his voice again is f*cking triggering. And I'm not even kidding.

I have to admit that I had a small meltdown about this in my coffee shop this morning. My radio station, which is normally far enough left that I don't have to deal with people saying nice things about a horrible politician, was all "but, the civility!"  And then, on top of that, I heard that tomorrow was going to be a national day of mourning  for this... person... and I wouldn't be able to get my mail because all of a sudden Bush Senior is some kind of saint....  AND I LOST MY FLIPPING MIND.

I ended my little rant with: "Americans have the collective memory of a... SQUIRREL." One of the other regular patrons there pulled down a 3-D printed 'Trump as squirrel' model and slammed it on the counter playfully. it broke the mood, thank gods, and I was able to laugh, because OMG. This is like when Reagan died and it was all that 'great orator' bull crap. Next, there will be airports named after this person and we're all going to have to act like HISTORY ISN'T A THING.

The problem is that Trump is such a nightmare that if Dick Cheney or Henry Kissinger died tomorrow, people will be like, "Remember when the opposition was SMART???" And, I'll be in the corner screaming: SURE SMART, BUT ALSO EVIL AF!!!!

So, that's been my morning.

How are you?

On the other hand, one of the baristas at Claddaugh took an amazing picture of the coffee shop right after the snow on Sunday:

downtown store fronts in snow

The Xcel Enegy Homesmart repair guys just left my house. Our drier decided to stop drying. This happens every so often and it's the kind of repair that doesn't necessarily make me think it's time for a new drier, if only because I think that fuses just generally have a lifespan, you know? The thing we have to save up for is our furnace. That thing is going to go one of these years and the folks that we have come out and inspect it are starting to mutter things like, "Mmmm, maybe consider a future replacement" and, the last guy, "OH MY GOD."  I mean, it's possible he was talking about the state of the basement in general, but I think he was commenting on the age of most of the fixtures.

On Sunday, we spent the day making our "small" batch of flieschkueckle

hundreds of little meat pies on the stovetop.

We always feel pretty good around 1 pm when we're mostly done rolling out the dough and filling up the little crescent pies, but I was still frying these babies until 6 pm.  I got a lot of reading in, which is good, but... well, now we have food in the freezer. There's something in my lizard brain that still feels deep satisfaction putting away stores at this time of year. I mean, sure I could pop down to the grocery store at any point, but my LARDER IS STOCKED. *chest thumping!*

Plus, these things are so delicious and they really do make great little lunch treats to send along with Mason or Shawn. In the complete perversion of ethnicities/cultural appropriation, I pack a flieschkuechkle in Shawn' bento.

Anyway, hope you all have a lower blood pressure (and cholesterol) than I do!
lydamorehouse: (shield)
 Many cold people in the snow.

MN Capitol steps covered in protestors

This photo of people crowding the Minnesota capitol steps (by my FB friend Sondra Mann)  still doesn't very accurately show the scale of the people who turned out last night. MoveOn.org suggested 500, but I think they counted early, because people were still streaming in as late as 5:30 pm.  Besides, those capitol steps are wide and two tiered. I would bet closer to 800-1,000, though I'm never great at guesstimating crowd-size.

I have a blurry picture that shows a much better sense of scale, which I took as I was leaving at 6 pm. They told us we could disperse after only an hour because they didn't have much in the way of "programming." (Several speakers spoke, which is, honestly, my least favorite part of protest gatherings. No one can hear them; most of them are not professional speakers and so are often rambling and boring.)  I wonder if they'd have let the protest grow naturally, how much we might have have in terms of turnout by say 7 pm or even 8 pm. I mean the protest only officially started at 5 pm!  That only gave people who might be running late a half-hour to catch the tail end of things!

Let's see, so a full recap.

I picked Shawn up early from work, because the three of us wanted to head out to Barnes & Noble to get Mason an AP Calculus booklet, which he's been agitating for. I guess he plans to take the AP Calculus test, even though he's technically NOT in AP Calculus, but CIS (College-in-School) Calculus. This is another one of those things that Mason decided _entirely_ on his own.  I have to say our laissez-faire/free range parenting seems to have really paid off with Mason. He is a better advocate for himself than we are. He's on the ground and seizes every opportunity and, even, in this case (and with his job at the Science Museum) hunts them down. So, I mean, kudos to him!

Since we were out there we stopped into Smash Burgers for dinner and discovered that the Har Mar Mall now not only has a ramen place (an Ichido) but also a new Hot Pot place. My Canadian introduced me to the joys of hot potting and now I need to convince my family of same! 

I got everyone home and grabbed my signage and extra layers of warm clothes and headed out around 4:15 pm. I left early because I wasn't sure about parking. I've parked in one of the public lots before and it's actually almost as far away from the capitol steps as the Minnesota Historical Society and I wanted to have time to get a spot, pay, put the ticket back in the car window, and hike the two and a half really LOOOOONG capitol lawn blocks up to the steps.

When I first arrived, I thought, "Oh, okay, it's going to be like this."

Minnesota Capitol with a smattering of protestors looking cold and lost

To be fair, I took this picture around 4:30 pm, maybe 4:45 pm. The protest hadn't even officially started.  And, as I was walking the long haul of the capitol lawn, I kept watching streams of people coming in with each light rail stop (approximately every ten minutes). So, I thought, okay, all right, we'll be a couple hundred, you know, the steps are big, they make us look small... it'll be fine.

Then more people kept coming.

I was really surprised because the Russian investigation is... weird. It's not an easy one-ticket kind of slogan-y protest. I mean, this sign will work at almost any rally:

well-done art project of a cut-out of a very orange baby POTUS with russian doll and sickle and hammer baby bottle

When I admired this sign and asked to take a picture of it, the woman said thank you and "Don't piss off the art teachers, am I right?" I was like, you are right!

My friend Shaz Stiteler caught me "in action" once the crowd started to swell.

Fat-butt Lyda doing her protest thang

Running into Shaz was funny if only because she is one of those people who I recognize on sight, BUT in different contexts. Like, I knew who she was when she said, "Hey, Lyda," but I turned to her and was like "??" because my brain was very "Is it CONvergence? Am I in Minneapolis??" I totally forgot that she's a park ranger and works here in the capitol city. So, she ended up giving me the, "Uh... it's me, Shaz." And I had to say, "Oh! Of course!" which made me seem like such a knuckle-dragger I'm sure.

Speaking of knuckle-draggers, we had one loan pro-Trump supporter standing in the back heckling us, holding a huge "Trump, Make America Great Again" flag and his red MAGA hat.  (Rev 13:16: "And they shall wear a mark upon upon their foreheads... bearing the name of the Beast.") As I was leaving, I walked past him and accidentally caught his eye and he said, "I'm on the right side of history." I'm sorry to admit that I legit burst out laughing. I mean, "You, sir, are the epitome of delusional." We were just shouting "Restore the Rule of Law".... how contorted does your brain have to be to believe that being IN OPPOSITION to the rule of law and justice for all is the "right side" of anything, much less HISTORY????

But, any time he tried to engage people in a more serious argument someone else passing would remind us with a shout, "Don't feed the trolls!" 

Because, it's NOT worth our time. If there was more than one of them? If he shouted racial slurs or transphobic remarks or other bullshit Nazi bigotry, YES. But, not if he's just muttering "But her emails."

Moron.

Anyway, that was my night. Even though I think they would have had a better crowd if they'd held out until 7 pm, my toes were happy they didn't. I came home in the driving snow flurries and hopped straight into a hot tub.  
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)
 It's easy for me to say.

I'm sitting in Minnesota, where we went from Blue to Navy Blue. I'm sitting in a state that has protected voter's enfranchisement for generations, where voting is nearly as easy as breathing (nearly--when we get automatic voter registration, then it will be.) The lines were noticeable here, but we all voted in reasonable time and we know our votes are counted as cast because WE VOTED ON PAPER. 

Your tears are valid this morning, however. Hard fought battles were lost. But, please, please keep fighting. We have to remember that the wall that Republicans have built to shore up their failing, bigoted policies has been built over decades. We wanted our wave to break it all down. But, my brothers, my sisters, my siblings--please remember, this was our FIRST effort.  Those tea party pricks had the "indivisible handbook" long, long before we did. We only JUST thought to copy their methods. LOOK WHAT WE DID IN TWO YEARS! All of your efforts were worth it, even if you didn't win. (And if they are still counting votes where you are, fight for EVERY VOTE and do not, DO NOT concede.) We might not have taken back both houses of congress, but, really, we knew the Senate was a long shot, and we have the House of Representatives now. The stranglehold on democracy HAS BEEN BROKEN. You did that. We did that.

Do not underestimate this. It could mean everything going forward. You were voting to save Democracy? You very well may have. 

If no other thing comforts you, remember this: the gains we made for voter enfranchisement are LEGION, they _will_ be future game changers, MARK MY WORDS. The more people who can vote freely, the freer we will all be, in the end. I believe this.

Stand up. Keep fighting.

Vote 2018

Nov. 6th, 2018 09:53 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
coffee cup lid has a printed sticker on it that reads: Do you know who you're voting for?

The sticker on my coffee cup lid this morning asked me: "Do you know who you're voting for?" On Facebook, I answered this way: "My answer: so many--my trans and queer friends and family, the immigrant and refugee students and their families that are my son's colleagues at school and who still want to come to this country to make it a better place, for women and men who have been abused and should be believed, for black lives that matter, the environment, democracy, and... oh, you meant on the ballot?"

Because, yeah, I've known who is on the ballot for some time and (thanks to [personal profile] naomikritzer), I've had a cheat sheet in my wallet for months.

The coffeeshop I got this cup at, Claddaugh, has a sign out that says, "'I Voted' sticker = free cup of coffee!" Mary, the owner, told me that someone harassed her barista and said, "You can't do that; it's illegal." Of course she can. Mary isn't telling anyone WHO to vote for and rewarding only the answers she likes. In fact, if someone looks at "I will reward you if you vote" and sees something partisan, that tells me A LOT about which side of the divide THEY are standing on. It's kind of amazing that one of the things we are fighting for right now in this election is the idea--which should be a basic and AMERICAN value--is the right for every citizen to vote. 

This morning at my polling place, I got a little teary-eyed. There were people occupying any space they possibly could to vote. Rather than wait to vote with a privacy screen, people were sitting on the floor and filling out ballots. This is _mid-term_, people. The last time I saw this many people so anxious to vote was in a presidential election which I don't want to name for fear of jinxing it (but which had the slogan HOPE). I was telling my friend in Wales that Shawn and I have showed up to mid-term elections (in a state that has one of the highest voter turn-outs in the nation) and looked around and wondered if we'd come on the wrong day it was so empty.  

The guy in front of me had his ballot rejected by the optical scanner. He was able to put it in and have it count, but the guy in line behind me (an older black guy) joked about a "conspiracy," we all laughed in a ha-ha-ha-TOO-SOON kind of nervous way, even though Minnesota is possibly the single safest place to cast your vote in the country because we DO have state-constitution mandated paper ballots that (as Al Franken well knows) can be hand-counted in case a recount is necessary. It can take weeks (even months), but voter intention is clear and preserved on PAPER. Frankly, I have no idea why other states don't insist on this.

We also have voting day registration, with some of the fewest requirements nation-wide. A REGISTERED VOTER who is your neighbor can vouch for you. That's _all_ you need, if you literally have nothing else. But, most people have some form of mail that shows where they live -or- a driver's license or student ID (or a provisional one) with their current address.

When people wonder why we have such good turn-out here, I'm sure that's part of it. It's ridiculously EASY to vote here. There is early voting, plus employers are required to allow all their employees time off to vote.

But, Minnesota is one state. I can only pray that the rest of the nation is doing its part.
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
Poster reading "They is here to Stay"

Lindsey Flicker (Facebook) caught a picture of me "in action" at the #WeWontBeErasedMN day of solidarity on Sunday afternoon. The other side of my sign read "Trans Ally"

I can't tell you how powerful this day of visibility was, even for me, who has zero reason to feel particularly validated by all the trans flags and the people who honked and waved or flashed us the peace sign. I loved the idea of it the moment I read what the plan was, which was for people not to march, but to stand shoulder to shoulder and to see if we could span the distance between the approximate heart of Minneapolis (Chicago & Lake) to the "Peace Bridge" (which is the River Road & Lake/Marshall Avenue) into Saint Paul. From their webpage: "Trans folks & allies, does anyone else just want to stand out in public with each other, in a never ending line and be seen? Not a protest, per se but a Trans visibility event."

What still makes me tear up a little? We did it.

To span that distance--approximately six miles--means that literally THOUSANDS of people must have been lining the streets.

On Sunday morning, I got up early to go to Walgreen's to get my 'Sunday Go to Protest" supplies. I was happy that they had blue and pink sharpies, since those are the colors of the trans flag.  The morning looked like it might be rainy, so I made sure to coat my sign in packing tape. But, by the time I left to go meet some friends at the Blue Moon Cafe, the sun was so bright that I grabbed my sunglasses.  I had coffee with Anna D., and two other people I only knew tangentially, Marion E. and Patricia Z.  Anna wanted to stand near the deaf interpreter site, which was actually planned to be close to the coffee shop, so Marion and I stopped where there was a gap that needed filling and Anna and Patricia continued on.  We stood there for an hour as people filled in and spread, and, like I said, we didn't _do_ anything--no chants, no singing (although apparently, there were spots assigned for the folks that wanted to sing AND apparently a band showed up)--but it felt weirdly amazing to wave and be waved at... maybe because there's so damn much hate in the world, the simple act of being smiled at felt astoundingly up-lifting.

But, like I said, this wasn't FOR me. It was for the kids who were standing next to me holding a trans flag with white knuckles because their LIVES depended on it, it was for my friend's friend who I stood beside who is genderqueer. It was for my friends and my cousin and for everyone who really, really needed to hear that people SEE them and LOVE them. 

The signs were all amazing, too. If you need cheering up, you should go to the website and just scroll down the "discussion" section.

Me on my porch holding a sign that says "Trans Ally."

Vote

Oct. 24th, 2018 11:17 am
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 I don't know if you've heard, but there's an upcoming election here in the U.S.

Much like this time last year, I find myself feeling very... anxious. After I finish my second bowl of breakfast chili (don't judge!), I'm going to go outside and do a f*ck-ton of yard work. I feel like I'm having a bit of deja vu and also, why, given how horrible politics has been this last year, isn't my yard more AMAZING?  I guess the real answer is that I don't consistently do yard work as stress relief. Like a lot of Americans I think I spend far too much time staring at the wall wondering what I should be _doing_ to save democracy as we know it.

Anyway, please vote.

It really matters. 



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: (nic & coffee)
 We're all sitting around at home waiting for the pizza delivery guy to show up from Davanni's.  It's a pseudo-celebration (also no one liked my dinner plans for tonight, which were going to be potato soup and popovers*) because we stopped off at the Science Museum to get Mason's paperwork done. He came home with an official KAYSC lanyard and badge. His first official day of work is Saturday. I can not WAIT to hear how it goes.

Besides that, the most interesting thing that happened today was that Naomi and I went to the Farmer's Market. We actually go fairly regularly on Tuesday mornings.  There's one in Roseville in the parking lot of the Corpus Christi Catholic Church that runs from 8 am to noon.  I try not to go overboard when I shop there, because my family is not super crazy about veggies. But, I couldn't resist the green beans, jicama (which I was meant to share with Naomi, but she forgot her half), potatoes, lettuce, and a bouquet of flowers for Shawn. I should really bring my camera next time, just because I think half of my impulse buys are based on how pretty everything looks.  Maybe if I took pictures I could resist spending money on food that only I will eat.  I think I still have leftover daikon, sweet potatoes, green onions, and a lovely giant eggplant from two weeks ago.

This was always the problem with the CSA, too.

I'll eat it all eventually, but my family will ingest very little of it, alas.

I think I'm talking about all this mundanity because I can't stand to think about the travesty of justice that is the whole nomination process of Brett Kavanaugh... especially since resistance really feels futile in this circumstance. The Republicans have stopped pretending like they care and we're in the minority.  I just don't see how this isn't going to end up as a done deal and it's making me feel helpless and soul-crushed. If anyone out there has some advice for survival techniques let me know? I was looking through volunteer opportunities thinking that maybe I might feel better if I were somehow more engaged in triage--stuff on the ground that will make real world/real life differences to people's lives. Yelling on the internet isn't cutting it for me. 

Probably we'll get through this, but I sure would like the revolution to start soon.


---
*I should note, this will likely be tomorrow's dinner. Everyone was just in an "tonight?" mood about it.


lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
 I have to leave for work in 20-some minutes. I have a short shift at White Bear Lake: 10 am to 2 pm.  Four hours should be very do-able, even though White Bear is one of the branches that's small enough to be busy/not busy in odd ways.  I'm sure it will be fine, though, I like the people there a lot.  White Bear has a strong science fiction collection.

Otherwise, like a lot of people, I've been cheering on the surviving students from Stoneman Douglas in Florida. When people are asking "why are these students so different than those that came before," I think it's important to note that this is the year Teen Vogue went rogue, went radical.  I think it's just as important to note that the student leaders are mostly white and affluent. Sadly, their whiteness means they're being listened to in a way others have not been.  But that does not negate the power of their message. If it takes a cis-perceived, straight-perceived white boy to bring down the NRA and to stand up to Rubio and make the news, I'll stand behind him.  I'll stand behind all of them. 

I've already told Mason he has our blessing to walk out of school, to organize... whatever he needs to do to not feel helpless in this day and age. I tell him every day to smash the patriarchy, and this is how you do it. 

Right, well, I'm off to work.  Viva la revolution, my comrades.


lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
Last night was the big Team Internet "Save Net Neutrality" rally across the nation.  Here in Saint Paul, a small group of us met outside of a Verizon store on Hamline and University at 5:00 pm. I guess there was one over in Minneapolis, and I know there was one much earlier in the day in Apple Valley.  Net Neutrality is one of Mason's issues, so he came along.  The organizer did a great job. She and her partner filed for a protest permit from the city and discussed with the police ahead of time where we'd be allowed to stand (since Verizon's store and parking lot are private property.) There were fliers to pass out to passers-by, extra signs for those of use struggling to be pithy about a hard-to-conceptualize issue, etc.

They expected 100 or so people. I'm not sure all of them came out, however. I'm terrible at crowd-size, but I'm getting better at guesstimating thanks to attending a lot of these sorts of things and I would have figured 50-75? When Mason and I first arrived, we thought it might be a wash. We were there five minutes before things were supposed to start and there were no more than a half-dozen people.  The organizers had brought coffee and hot chocolate, though, which made me happy. As Mason said, "Join the Revolution, we have hot coffee!"  I have no idea what the temperature was, but it's been in the 20s F / -6.6 C in the sun, and the sun already setting by 5:00 so I would bet the temperature was dropping rapidly. That could account some for the poor turn out. But, it was also at a tough time.  5 pm.  Some people are only just getting off work at 5. I did notice that the crowd got larger the longer we stood there.  We even had random people joining us as they got off the light rail.  

Mason's toes got cold pretty quickly.  As a veteran of Minnesota winter protests, I had suggested he bundle up, but I apparently failed to teach him my double-socks (plus long underwear) trick for keeping the legs and toes warm.  He now knows for next time, because, of course there will be a next time. But, so we didn't stay more than 45 minutes?  Mason gave up to go warm his toes before me, but it was a school night, so I didn't stay much longer after he bailed for the car.

But we were there long enough to appear on Channel 5's news.  I'm right behind the guy being interviewed near the end of this clip, Josh, (you can only see my sign), and you can see Mason's red-coated arm waving a sign.  The organizer sent us a link to it:  http://kstp.com/news/net-neutrality-protests-minnesota/4699389/

One woman came with a homemade sign that read: "Al Franken supports Net Neutrality." When she first showed us the sign, a number of people groaned because... uh, talk about a tough sell right now.  (My thoughts on Al are complicated, as I think are a lot of Minnesotan's, so... YEAH.) But, hey, free speech.  And we were all there for the same cause.  

I really don't know if any of this makes any difference, but the protests did do what they were supposed to do: we got attention for the cause. These days, you have to take whatever small victories you can.


lydamorehouse: (??!!)
 Mason is at home today, ostensibly due to an upset stomach.  He has been sick, but, more than anything, it's clear he needed a mental health day. We ended up having a horrible fight yesterday.  We were talking about the news and I accidentally made it sound as if I thought the potential write-in candidate in Alabama (Strange) was "just as bad" as Moore (the pedophile.)  It was a complete mistake. If I could go back, I'd have said that I preferred the Democrat over any of them, which was the point I'd intended.

Instead, I said something that made it sound as though somehow I'd prefer the pedophile over the other guy.... which Mason, who is FOURTEEN has every reason to be completely horrified by.

Mason is fourteen. He's at that age where lines are drawn in the sand and to be on the wrong side of those lines is something one should take arms against. AND HE'S NOT WRONG. 

So it was messy. We got through it, though, but not before a lot of tears (on both sides) and some screaming.  And, then, just when things had calmed down and Mason was decompressing with a little gaming, the ROG seemed to glitch out on him.  We were able to fix that, too, but it was the last straw.

He's sleeping in right now and I don't plan to wake him any time soon.

My birthday week could have started a bit better, though things seem to be turning around for me, at least.  I found a dollar in the wash and then, when I went to the coffee shop, I discovered my punch card was full and I got a free latte.  Yay!  Little things. That's what gets a person through.  Now, I'm headed off to the grocery store to get the fixings for Zupa Englias, an Italian custard trifle thing we make, because we're having a friend over for coffee and desert tonight.  But, I need to let the custard sit for awhile, so I should probably head off and get that stuff now rather than later.

K. Take care y'all. And be careful what you say around your teens!  
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
 Yeah, so, talk about awkward.

There I was, scrolling down Facebook, like you do, reading up on my various friends lives. One of my friends noted that she feels very old to have discovered that a concert she wants to go to is sponsored by the AARP.  I'd been noticing that, too, and--because I have this very nerd-like habit of thinking about my reply two seconds later, I scrolled back to drop my comment, right?

ONLY, I missed.

I ended up typing this lighthearted thing about growing old and having our favorite bands sponsored by the AARP on another friend's comment on the TEXAS SHOOTING.  

O.M.G.

The best part is that I didn't even notice I'd done it until I got this very confused, "Is this related?" note.  Luckily, that friend noticed almost immediately so we had a very civil and apologetic back and forth via PM, because 'Holy Inappropriate, Batman," and she deleted my comment thread with my blessing.  In our PM, she was very sweet at said, "I even Googled AARP + Texas shooting" in case there was some connection I was missing, and I'm like, "Oh my god, no. I'm just an idiot!"  

But, you know, it was a nice counterpoint to my previous rant about people on the Internet. There is, unfortunately, a scenario out there where I did something like that on someone else's feed and they went, pardon the pun, ballistic on me. I mean, it seemed so CLEARLY out of place, but people have a tendency, as I've talked about, to assume the worst in this digital age, so it was, ultimately, a civil (if initially confused) interaction. 

I don't even know what to say about the Texas shooting other than to note what I did on another friend's comment about it, which is that I knew instantly that the shooter was white because of how it was reported. When the incident happened in New York, I heard "terrorist attack" before I heard any of the details.  I didn't hear "Nine run over in bicycle lane in New York," I heard the blanket, "terrorist attack in New York."  Only later did I learn any salient details. I had to follow the headline to find out that the guy was in a van, running people over. 

With Texas, it was the opposite, "25 dead in Texas shooting." That was how this was initially reported. Given the lack of "terrorist" designation, I knew the shooter was white. Though, in the opposite of the New York reporting, I had to go to the papers to confirm my suspicion of the race/country of origin/presumed religion of the shooter.

There's so much wrong with this, America.

Also, how many people have white men with guns killed in the last 90 days?  Hardly anyone even talks about the guy who shot up the Walmart  in Colorado.  I guess it's not newsworthy since he only killed three people?  Jesus wept.

lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
Over the weekend, I went to see "Blade Runner 2049" by myself at 10:15 pm on Saturday night. I hate seeing movies by myself. I actually ended up at the wrong theater--I'd pre-purchased tickets for Inver Grove Heights, but apparently, despite living here for decades, I don't actually know the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and I ended up in Oakdale. I guess I just thought "Oh, yeah, that nice theatre with the comfy recliners" and I drove to the wrong one on automatic pilot. "Blade Runner 2049" wasn't even showing there, so I had to decide whether to race across town to try to get to the place I'd paid for, or, to head off to somewhere closer in order to not miss any of it. I opted for not missing anything, because some months ago, I agreed to talk to the folks over at Just Enough Trope about the movie. So I ended up at a super late show, in IMAX. I'm not a big fan of the IMAX experience. I'm old, so I often find it too loud and the screen is so big that sometimes I feel like it's impossible to take everything in properly.

But, I saw it and we recorded my part of the podcast on Sunday afternoon.

I'm listening to the podcast right now, for the first time, and I don't sound too stupid. http://justenoughtrope.com/2017/10/09/237-sexbot-boobie-business/  They edited me a little, but not a lot, so you get me in my most rambling, interrupting myself glory. The podcast itself is surprisingly long. I talked to them for about an hour, and almost all of that is there. But, the conversation is interesting (at least I thought so both at the time and listening now.)  We get into some interesting things about cyberpunk and the questions of humanity that it often plays with.  If you get a chance, check it out and see what you think of it. On the Just Enough Trope page, they list the time stamp for when my interview/conversation starts, so you can just jump to that. Though I listened to the front matter, just to hear the context.

Other news is that late last night, Mason announced that he is going to homecoming with A DATE.  He won't tell us who (because he's a little sh*t), but we have some guesses.  We do know that it's a young woman, so take that for what it is. Adorably, he calls her his "lady friend."  We are going to be doing some shopping in preparation.  Mason still has a few nice dress shirts, but he'd like to get some dress pants that aren't high water (damn those growth spurts!) and check out shirts and ties, just because. We're going to re-dye his hair either tonight or tomorrow.  It's kind of exciting.  It made me remember my first high school dance.  I already think Mason will have a better time than I did at the first one, since he's actually going with someone he likes, as opposed to me, who just longed balefully in the direction of Rich Steffans.  (Kind of pathetic in retrospect. No offense to Rich, but I obsessed on him and literally NEVER talked to him, so he must have been so baffled by my odd behavior.)

I did later go to most of the dances with dates--yes, I dated boys, some I quite liked, in fact.  

Anyway, I'm excited for Mason.  

II spent yesterday doing some more fussing-because:POLTICS.  Shawn confessed over the weekend that she's always hated the bins we have for recycling in the pantry and wanted another solution to them. I suggested reducing the number (we had four) and moving one of them to the bottom of the landing, since we have alley pick up of mixed recycling now and that's on my way out to the back.  We left one in the pantry for guests, but moved it into a more out of the way place. I painted both of the ones we decided to keep. Shawn had wanted brown, and I hunted around in the basement, certain that we had a brown--only it turns out what we had was a dark brick red. They turned out really nice, actually, though when they were still wet I was pretty terrified that I'd be saying, "Um, so..... I know you wanted brown, but how do you feel about pink???"  I took the remaining bins out to the garage where they'll function as storage.  Into the spot they used to occupy we pulled down Shawn's grandfather's spool table from the attic.  It's got a bottom shelf, so we're using it as a bookshelf for our overflow cookbooks, which had been piled around Shawn's comfy chair in the living room. (Our personal home decorating aesthetic is built around this New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/31/style/lets-celebrate-the-art-of-clutter.html.) 

At any rate it looks nice, though it has made it starkly obvious that on my list of home improvements, we're going to have to move "repaint the pantry" further up on the list.  :-)

Maybe I should go listen to the news and see if it makes me anxious enough to tackle another project!  ;-)
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
Wednesday and yesterday, I finished painting the window trim of half of our house... well, less than that, really. I was able to do both the second and first floors in the back, because we have a walk-out flat roof back there.  I could only reach the bottom half of the side of the house that faces University Avenue/our neighbors, James and Katherine. Given the forecasted rain and the temperature drop that MAY be it for this year.  I'm hopeful for a few more decent days so that, maybe, I can also do the side that faces Shields. I'm loathe to paint the front if we can't do the top as well, though it looks surprisingly nice on James and Katherine's side.

We're going with a deep, glossy black.  

It kind of classes the place up.   

Today I spent some time weeding out all the jeans that don't fit any more from my closet.  While I was in there, I looked through a bunch of shirts and pulled those out, too. They're all in a pile waiting for Shawn to decide if any of the material is rug worthy or not.

Then, I changed a few kitty litters (a constant job in a house of five cats) and then mopped the kitchen floor.

This is what I do when the world is falling apart.  

The news cycle is killing me, I swear. It's actually really hard to keep from spiraling into despair between the hurricanes, the mass shootings, and now that fuck Sessions announcing that transgender people are no longer covered by anti-discrimination laws.  As I was writing to my Canadian friend today, I just don't understand what's happened to this world. When did it become a viable political stance to say, "Yeah, actually, those people? You can go ahead and screw them over. As Americans. who have a proud history of defending the weak and sheltering the injured. we give literally no shits about THEM"? How is this ever okay? I mean, yes, I KNOW people have always been like this and that America has actually been a land of racism and discrimination of all varieties for a long, long, LONG time, but didn't we used to at least PRETEND we were all equal under the law?

Ugh.

Goddamn it. What else needs cleaning?
lydamorehouse: (yaoi)
I have written here, in the past, about how I have suspected that some of my International Pen Friends, who have sent me "rejection" letters, after a few back-and-forths, might have done so because I chose to come out to them as a lesbian. I have no ACTUAL proof, of course.  No one has ever written to say, "I'm sorry I can't write to you any more; you are a disgusting queer."  Mostly, they say, "Oh, jeez, look at the time. I committed to writing to you, but suddenly I can't because.... uh, BUSY.  HONEST." Yet, these letters (I've gotten two) would IMMEDIATELY follow my telling them that, yeah, actually "Shawn" is a lady, and my wife.

Now, I should be clear, I've had a number of success stories. My pen pal in Netherlands who loves "F.R.I.E.N.D.S." has a lesbian daughter, so coming out to her was a no-brainer. Both of my Australians could care less. Another one of my German pen friends is clearly a LITTLE prickly about it, but my sense is she's kind of prickly about a LOT of things. :-)

But, here's a new piece in the puzzle of "What is up with the conservative streak in pen friends?"  

A couple of entries ago, I explained FBs (Friend Books).  Several days ago a random person in Maryland who found my name on a FB, sent me a pile of them.  Most of them were half-way full and this Maryland correspondent had included her name in all of them, like you do.  However.  One of them was from that someone I shall call "Cass," who started one for herself.  She had a long entry on her front cover about the various things she was interested in and things she'd be willing to swap, all very typical stuff.  Then she adds, "I am bi, open-minded pen pals only, please." 

No one had added their name.

Not one soul.

Not even the person who sent it to me, who had put her name in literally every other FB.

Despite a plea from Cass that the FB be "passed quickly." 

I know I live in the era of Trump, when people boldly and proudly wear their bigotry on their sleeves. Yet, pen palling, by its nature, seemed to me to be the sort of hobby that would naturally attract people who were interested in other people. It's a hobby that requires you to talk to strangers. The entire POINT of pen friends is to reach out, sometimes across international borders, with a hand out in friendship.  

Of course I wrote to Cass. I sent her a picture of my family, a short introductory note that suggested that we could be pals, and sent her a pile of FBs to "swap," hoping that somewhere in all of them, she would find someone else who would write back.  I added my name to the FB that she started and sent it on to a friend who I know is open-minded, even though she isn't part of the pen palling community.  

But, I don't entirely understand it.  I mean, yes, pen palling is an old-fashioned kind of hobby. I guess maybe that 'old-fashionedness' lends itself to certain stereotype of a stay-at-home mom, who is lonely... but I still don't see how that lends itself to "eew, gay!" Also what are these people worried about? That we're going to write long letters detailing our sex lives?  No, I'm just as boring a pen pal as anyone else. I talk about my failed garden projects and my cats.  Do you suppose other pen pals are worried about being hit on?  Even though I explain I am MARRIED with kids.

It's weird and baffling, and it makes me sad.
lydamorehouse: (shield)
Let's see. What's been going on with me?

Last night Mason and I went to a vigil for Charlottesville at Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun,) over in Minneapolis.  Did we end racism by gathering. listening to a few speakers, lighting candles, and singing a few songs?  No, of course not.  But I needed to get out of the house and be with likeminded people, and that helped. The Minneapolis weather witches kept us dry, providing a break in the drizzle. Once we were safely home, the sky opened up and all the rain came down. It was a howler, as they say.

It's been very rainy here and that has done very little to improve my mood.  It's supposed to rain all week. It's also a busy work week for me, I work Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon (and maybe Saturday, too. I'll have to check the calendar.) 

So, I dunno, just sort of blah. You?
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
Yesterday, when I went to pick Shawn up at the History Center, I saw a baby bunny just sitting in the road, near the curb.  She seemed stunned, maybe?  So I went to try to shoo her back into cover, but it became evident that she was injured.  There was blood near her neck.  Worse, (because it's not a good sign when wild animals can be easily picked up), I was able to scoop her up and get her into a towel filled bucket that Shawn prepared.  We took her to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.  

It was the longest drive of my life. The Rehabilitation Center is actually not all that far away--just on the other side of Hwy36 on Dale.  But, not long ago, I picked up a bird that was stunned and it died while in transport, and... I just.  The world is full of awful things, and I just did NOT want a dead baby bunny in the back of my car.

She made it to the Center, at least. She perked up a bit, once inside, actually. Hopping about a little.  But, who knows what happened to her overnight, if she pulled through, or if I only managed to make her death that much more frightening and strange.  I'm going to hope that my attempt to rescue her will save her.  

Then the news hit about health care and that traitor John McCain.  You know, if this were Ireland, they'd have a song about that guy already, I swear to gods. 

All of this contributed, I think, to this sense I woke up with today. I feel like I'm behind on something or I've forgotten something important.  So I spent much of the morning so far reading something that I promised someone I would--a beta reading thing.  I got that done.  In a minute or two I will hop up and do the dishes. Normally today is a day for me to go to the coffee shop and hang out with the ladies, but I'm skipping that in favor of attempting to do enough stuff around the house to banish this feeling. I suspect what I'm feeling is actually 'political hopelessness' like I did right before the election, and what I need to do is garden or sweep or do something else physical. (I have a feeling that if I were still doing martial arts, this political season would have made me an uber-athlete, because my desire to punch stuff and scream is very high right now.)

It's drizzle raining outside which isn't helping my mood, alas.

Okay, off to banish this feeling by doing something.
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.

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