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


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

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

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

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

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

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

So, that's me. I'm sure I forgot some of the things we did, but I will try to be better about posting here.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Ah, it's already Monday and I have to go to work in about an hour. (I work at 10 am at the White Bear Lake branch, and it takes me a little over a half hour to get there.)  Somehow I got through the weekend without doing my homework for class tomorrow night.  I have a feeling that there will be much panicked reading this evening. :-P  

On the other hand I did manage some gardening.  I should take a picture of the amazing bleeding heart that we have in our faux Japanese garden.  (I would love a legit Japanese-style garden, but I think the closest thing I can hope for is to emulate the aesthetic of one. I'm just not that tidy and organized a gardener.) The bleeding heart is huge and gorgeous, and inspired me to pick up a couple more bleeding hearts, because: damn.  I should also connect the hose to water the new plantings.  Last week I didn't have to remember to do that because I was basically gardening in between the rain showers.  This week looks to be fairly dry and sunny, so I'd better get out there and water things. It'd be stupid to do all the transplanting and planting just to have everything croak.

Sunday, Mason's baseball team did a fundraising gig at the Cub Foods on Larpenteur Avenue.  Nine of them working as baggers raise a couple hundred bucks.  When I picked up Mason, coach made sure to let me know that Mason "had good hustle."  

Here's a picture our friend Sean Murphy (SMM Photo) took for us at last Thursday's game:

SMM Photography

Pretty good action shots.  Of course, Murphy is a serious sports photographer and you should have seen the size of his specialty lens!  Huuuuuge, as 45 might say.

Speaking of fundraisers, though, Mason is going to suggest the whole bagging thing to his Wind Energy Teacher/Advisor. His wind team still has a couple thousand dollars to fundraise to make their goal, and so they're looking for ways to make that difference up in the next few weeks.  My friend Naomi thought of a rummage sale for charity, and so we've cooked up something with one of the other moms from the team.  Gods know, Shawn and I have a ton of stuff to contribute.  We don't really have a great place to host it, but the other mom does, so fingers crossed that we can raise a few more bucks for the kids that way.  I mean, obviously, having made it past their deadline, Washington Tech is committed to sending these kids to Anaheim, but it would be nice to continue to lighten the school's burden.  (You can still donate here:  They leave on the 23rd of this month.  We're hoping to have the rummage sale that Saturday RIGHT BEFORE they leave, May 20th.  I'll post details about hours and location here and on all my other social media outlets once we have everything firmed up. 

That means we're starting to eye everything in the house with the "can I sell that???" look.  I think the cats will be lucky to escape without being tagged "$10 OR BEST OFFER."  ;-)  

Right. I should go get dressed for work. See y'all on the flip side.

lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I think I blasted this out on all my social media, but I failed to mention it here.... Mason's "Wind Energy Team" participated in the Minnesota Renewable Energy Challenge a few weeks ago, and their team qualified to go to the NATIONAL competition in Anaheim, California. This is a pretty cool deal.  Not only did these kids have to design and build a working windmill, but they also had to do an on-the-fly design and build challenge at the competition.  Mason reported to me that their on-the-fly windmill actually successfully picked up ALL the washers.


These are our future engineers, my friends!

The only problem is that Washington Tech is not a rich school.  The kids are required to fundraise 100% of the travel expenses.  Added pressure is that the principal won't start the paperwork (which has a deadline of May 1) until they've raised a "significant" amount.  Thanks to a lot of big donations (that biggest one is from us, because Shawn and I decided that we would have otherwise funded Mason's travel, so we should just go ahead an donate what we would have paid), they're getting REAAAAAAALLLLLY close to halfway. I'm fairly certain that the principal would accept half as "significant," but we don't know.

Thing is, there's no need to break the bank.  Every little bit helps.  So, if you've got a spare dollar or five dollars for science these kids would really, really appreciate it.  

Even if you DON'T have a spare buck, you should check out their GoFundMe page, anyway, and watch the video to check out the cool stuff they're up to.  The narrator is Mason's friend Rosemary, and you can see Mason in several of the shots (hint: the white dude.)
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 A lot happened since I last posted, however.  Mason and I went down to Mankato, Minnesota, on Thursday night. We had a fun time traveling together as we always do.  We ended up stopping early for "road food" in Burnsville.  Shawn laughed pretty hard when I called from the "Old Country Buffet," given that we hadn't even managed to break the exo-suburbs before pulling over.  To be fair, Mason had had one slice of pizza for lunch (one of those school fundraising things) and I was just generally starving, too.  Of course, the food there was.... meh. I always make the mistake of thinking the taco bar should be okay. (It's not.)

We only got turned around a couple of times once we reached Mankato.  The in-city map was printed very small and there was the classic confusion of is Stadium Road the same as Highway 58 (or whatever)???  Turns out it was, but we at least figure that out BEFORE we drove too far out of town.  Yes, there is great irony in the fact that we got LOST ON THE WAY TO THE GEOGRAPHY BEE.

We spent out hotel time doing geography quizzes based on Trivial Pursuit cards, which was our fun way of studying.  Mason did bring along some atlases and such, but it was much more fun to read the questions and think... is the answer going to be the USSR? Or some other country that no longer exists because this deck was printed in the early 1990s???!  We laughed a lot, which, IMHO, is the very best way to study.

On the day of, we got up early (too early in my case. I woke up precisely when the cats normally would rouse me: 5:45 am.)  We were too nervous to do much constructive, so we at at the hotel (passably okay) and then thew everything into the car, checked out, and headed to the bee, which was being held in the Student Union of Mankato State University, about four or five blocks away.

Here's another attempt at a picture:

Mason at bee 2017

This is a picture of a smiling (smirking?) Mason holding up the classic yellow National Geographic magazine's frame around his face.  He's wearing a blue plaid shirt and you can see his official geography be name tag over the right pocket of his shirt.  The wall behind him is marble-esque and has some letters carved into it, which make up some part of Mankato State University, I suspect.  

After some brief discussion, it was decided that I sit out the preliminary round. Two of his teachers were there--Ms. Lesser and Ms. Croone.  Ms. Croone was there as one of the judges, but Ms. Lesser went in with Mason to root for him.  I would have done the same, but we decided that me being there might make Mason more nervous. If you can't tell, one of the big themes of this trip for us was that we really, really wanted this to be as FUN as possible. No stressing about how far we made it in the competition, etc.  Just to accept that it's really pretty damn awesome that we made it this far--because it is/was.  Mason had to beat out not only his whole class, but also the other two grades that were eligible (there were some 6th graders in the competition: Mason is in eighth.) Out of the 500 people who got that far, only the top 100 scorers on the written test advanced to state.  

Out of those 100? ONLY 10 advanced to the final round.

Mason wasn't one of those. But both he and his teacher thought that he did very well in the preliminary round, but he was eliminated. You have to get a near perfect score (only one wrong is allowed, two wrong and you're OUT) to advance.  

We stayed to watch the final elimination round and it was INTENSE.  There were a couple interesting things that happened.  At one point, in the second round of questions, you could hear someone in the audience give the right answer. What I found fascinating is that, though there was an admonishment from the National Geographic judges to the audience, that question was allowed to stand (no re-take) and the person who answered that question went on to be the final-place winner.  I'm not sure how I feel about that, but the judges decided to let it stand.  I'm really surprised that they didn't give that particular competitor a different question. But, whatever.

it's also interesting to me that the winner was actually the previous year's winner... and home-schooled.  I've been trying to decide if I feel like homeschooling is an unfair advantage here, or not.

Also, 90% of the competitors were white and male.

As Mason wondered out loud, "Why? What about geography has a gender bias?" Outside of institutionalized sexism and racism, I have no idea. Two of the ten finalists were obvious PoCs, but they were all male.

Other than that depressing observation, we had fun.  I don't know if there is a high school version, so Mason may not have a chance to do this again, but we ARE planning to watch the National bee when it's aired.  Despite the weird start, we ended up liking the state champion.  Mason called him, "The Han Solo of Geography Bees" because it was very clear that he was making a lot of educated guesses that were turning out correct (you could tell by his occasional SHOCKED expression.)  That made him very likable, so we will root for him in the Nationals.

The drive home was fun. Mason LOVES road trips, so we had our usual enjoyment of watching small towns roll by, commenting on especially creepy rural cemeteries, etc.  We managed to leave behind Mason's school iPad's cord, but that was the only even vaguely dark cloud on the whole trip. (Cue a lot of calling the hotel, not getting answers, and then finally what I think of as a brush off, which was, "Nope we never found it." The next whole rigamarole will be getting a new one either from school, or apparently the Apple store, but that's a whole other headache. Though, it should be noted, ultimately VERY solvable.)

Saturday was Shawn's birthday. She has now successfully leveled up to level 50. When I went out to fetch the birthday cake and coffee on Saturday morning a lot of the people I interacted with asked, "So BIG plans?"  I had to say, "Listen, Shawn is an introvert. It's big enough we're going out to dinner." And, it was true, after the excitement of cake and presents we spent much of her birthday doing a lot of napping and jigsaw puzzling on the porch.  It was so lovely out that I did a little garden prep, but that was about the pinnacle of excitement for us.  :-)  Dinner was at the Indian place in Maplewood, per usual. Shawn and I both really love that place.  Turns out, Mason loves it now, too, so that's extra wonderful.


Coming Out

Mar. 3rd, 2017 08:25 am
lydamorehouse: (gryffindor)
 For years I thought I was a Slytherin.  Look, I'm very ambitious, okay?  I have some very Scorpio tendencies that align themselves with some Slytherin traits.  I knew I wasn't the typical sneaky, back-stabby (mostly) Slytherin, but then neither was Professor Slughorn. I very much felt a certain kinship with Slughorn.  And, I am a Scorpio, okay? I hold grudges. I have occasionally, deliberately, sneakily pulled strings to make bad things happen to my enemies.

But, there were signs that maybe I wasn't like the other Slytherins.  

Every time I took those "Which Hogwarts House are you?" quizzes, I would always end up a Gryffindor.  Mostly, I think, because I refused to lie. (YES, I KNOW THAT WAS PROBABLY A VERY, VERY OBVIOUS SIGN.)  Even so, Pottermore put me in Slytherin, though, and that's supposed to be the Word of God.

HOWEVER.  I can't hide it anymore.  I can't deny my true nature. My real life actions* have shown that I am, in fact, a Gryffindor. 

In other news, Mason had his parent/teacher conferences last night.  For some reason, Washington still does these "student led" conferences, where basically the student is required to self-rate themselves and come up with their own "action plans" to do better at school.  This has always been silly for Mason, since he's pulling almost straight-As. I can't imagine what it's like for the kids on the other end of the spectrum, however.  Hopefully, there's more interceding from the teachers in those cases.  What I hate about it is that we only get to see Mason's foundation teacher (like homeroom), and mostly they just observe and rarely offer commentary about how Mason is actually doing.  Mason is a good student, but he's not forthcoming.  I don't get stories about classroom antics, unless they're especially funny or something Mason decides to share. Worse, Mason's foundation teacher actually left us in the hands of his student teacher, who didn't know anything about the Geography Bee or, I think, from his surprised expression, that Mason was in 10th grade advanced math.  I have NEVER, ever  gotten to connect with the math teachers, despite stalking the halls hoping to run into them. I mean, yes, Mason is doing fine--better than fine, but that's never been the point of parent/teach conferences for us. We like to make a connection. I mean, I really, really would have loved to have met Mason's math teacher just to shake his hand and say, "THANK GOD FOR YOU," because Mason's appreciation for school jumped up miles once he was actually challenged in math. In 5th grade, before we moved to Washington and Mason was instantly advanced, he was starting to show signs of boredom and, had it gone on, I think he could have ended up depressed.  So, it was especially frustrating that first year because I really, really wanted to tell the math teacher how important being in that class was for Mason.  


But, at least it's not critical for us to talk to any of these teachers, you know?  I seriously don't know what people do who have kids who are struggling. I also wish I understood the philosophy behind this. It feels inherently lazy, like the teachers are making the kids do work traditionally done by them.  I know that's unfair to teachers to some extent, but at the same time, aren't they uniquely qualified to talk about individual student's progress?

Anyway, we did run into the principal who shook my hand in a crushing MAN grip and told us how proud Washington is that Mason is representing them for the Geography Bee. I did find out that this is the first time (in a while? ever?) that Washington has sent anyone to state.  The school has always participated in the school-wide bee, but there is a computerized test that qualifies students for the state-wide bee. Mason apparently took the test in 15 minutes, and it normally takes about 45.  His Geography teacher figured Mason had blown it, honestly.  :-)  
I also baffled the principal when I suggested that maybe we'd let Mason go entirely on his own.  Of course, we'd WANT to see him participate. Of course, we're PROUD of him. But, this is not OUR accomplishment or OUR event. It's Mason's.  So, if Mason would feel best going on his own, that's legitimately up to him.  But, one of us may have to go since the school can't exactly rent a bus for one kid, and it's unclear yet if any of the other St. Paul schools are organizing transportation or if everyone is on their own reconnaissance, as it were.  If one of us has to drive, likely both of us will go and attend.

So that's that.

* I discovered, in real life, that I am actually willing, without a plan, to intercede in a situation with a stranger just because it looked wrong.  I may tell the details later, but suffice to say that I'm now putting the MN ACLU on my speed dial.
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 The Dementors did their best to wear me out on Friday, but I managed to survive, anyway.  Luckily, because the deliveries were late, I actually managed to find some time to compulsively organize juvenile series titles.  (Weirdly, things like this relax me.) Also, the author in me rebels whenever I see all the 39 Clues books all jammed together willy-nilly on a shelf, like it's not important that some of the books are part of the regular series and some are from the Unstoppable series or the Double Cross or the Cahills vs. Vespers... especially when the subtitles are right there on the spine.  THIS IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE.  Especially, I would think to young readers.  

Anyway, I survived that AND dinner with one of Shawn's brothers.

Mark Friday as a success.

Today, Mason is off at Math Counts. I delivered him at 8:00 am at Washington and they're being bussed off to some college for the competition.

This means Shawn and I had the house to ourselves this morning, so there's been a whole lot of nothing going on, as well as a trip to the Goodwill outlet.  

The Goodwill Outlet is different from other Goodwill shops in that it's just completely unorganized bins of STUFF that people dig through and pay for by the pound. For our loom, we brought home 45 pounds of fabric.  It was an interesting experience.  Shawn had a blast, and was among her people, digging away for bargains.  I hung back a little, since I had no specific goal and watched people.  There was one guy obsessively digging through bins for shoes.  He seemed intent on finding pairs.  He had an entire cart full of shoes, and was super methodical in the way he sorted and dug.  The staff all knew him by name.  My first impression was that he was legit OCD, but then it occurred to me that he might just have a method for hunting down to a science and be searching for shoes for a shelter or some other non-profit organization.  There was another woman who was actually very desperately hunting for clothes for herself/her family, and had a budget that seemed to involve pocket change.  That was very hard to see, but, as Shawn pointed out, the good news is that she did walk away from the super-store with three or four shirts for fifteen cents.  I also saw lots of people hunting through pockets and purses for... extras?  That was fascinating, especially as I watched one woman pull out what was clearly nicotine gum from a purse, consider them, and then toss them aside.  I was fascinated because my first thought was: "Who doesn't clean out their purse before they donate it?" Of course, the answer immediately presented itself: "Dead people."

Still, a very interesting experience.  
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 Saint Paul did not close its schools.  So guess who was up at o'f*ck o'clock shoveling the sidewalk and unburying the car?  That's right. THIS GIRL.

I was so irritated by St. Paul that my chiropractor literally pulled me aside to talk to me about my shoulder tension.  I resisted screaming into his face, "BLAME THE ST. PAUL SCHOOL SYSTEM!" Because, okay, yeah, I'm probably unreasonably irritated about having to get up early and shovel, but what made my shoulders that high was having to drive on half-plowed street with my family in the car.  Myself, alone, maybe I wouldn't be so tense.  But, with Shawn AND Mason along?  Yeah, no, that's a lot of responsibility and I really don't want to be responsible for having killed them, a pedestrian, or another driver and/or their family.  Yeah my shoulders were up over my ears. I was lucky they weren't higher.

Now the sun has come out to mock me.

I kind of wish that the skies had dumped an extra fifteen pounds of snow on St. Paul's head so I could self-righteously shout: "HA!"

On the other hand, because I was up and about early, I stopped by Whole Foods and picked something for the crock pot for dinner tonight and made myself a very early lunch (technically brunch? Maybe breakfast with lunch-related food?)

When Shawn was recovering from gallbladder surgery, a friend of ours, George, brought over his guaranteed vegan, all-the-fiber stew, which was basically: garbanzo beans, tomato chunks, and various veggies all simmered together.  It was super simple and he kept apologizing for it not even being a particularly tasty batch, but I LOVED it and now make a version of my own on a regular basis--mostly for myself, because my family is a bunch of unrepentant carnivores.  So somewhere around ten am, I stuffed my face with bean/tomato/potato/mushroom/okra/carrot stew.

Being irritable takes a lot of fuel, apparently.  

lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Mercury's backwardness* continues to affect my household.

Last night, Mason was hit by a terrible bout of insomnia.  Normally, if he can function at ALL, we send him off to school.  Today?  We decided to let him catch up with his sleep.  The semester is almost over and it's the day after a long weekend. He should be fine to catch up, particularly once he's gotten a decent amount of sleep.  

Consequentially, the whole household was delayed getting out the door.  Normally, this makes me a little cranky, if only because, even without a regular job, it still messes up my routine.  Today, however, I was glad for it, because I've been meaning to get to the bank to finish off a transaction that will FINALLY finish setting up my account on ACX and I can get the whole ball rolling with my voice actor friend, Jack, and the audible versions of my AngeLINK series.  We dawdled.  I bought coffee.  I waited patiently through traffic lights, drove the speed limit....


Even after all that noodling around, I still ended up having to go home for a half hour before heading back out.  Again, none of this is fatal, but gosh darn it, it's irritating.

On the other hand, yesterday was extremely pleasant.  For any overseas friends reading this, yesterday was what you would call a bank holiday here in the U.S.:  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Schools were closed, as were all federal businesses.  Shawn had the day off work.

Since it was also supposed to be a bazillion degrees below zero (the scientific term), we decided to make the day a game day.  It would have been also a pajama day, but at 8:30 am our doorbell rang.  It was our neighbor, Ruthie, whose car wouldn't start. She needed a jump.  After running upstairs and throwing on some jeans, I pulled the car around and waited while they got it going.  (Ruthie is a nurse and doesn't get holidays like the rest of us and had a shift starting at 9 am.) But, outside of that tiny bit of excitement, we spent the day quietly.  We played two games of Munchkin (we have a lot of sets and we found a fun combo in Apocalypse and Mission Impossible/Spy,) and a seriously cut throat game of Monopoly.  I posted a picture of our game board on Facebook because by the end the board was RED with hotels. Ever since the time I quietly became the slumlord of Mediterranean/Baltic and brought my fellow gamers to their knees with the crushing rent of those awful properties with massive hotels on them, Mason has become obsessed with building on his monopolies. So, it was a fun game.  I actually survived paying $750 in rent. TWICE.

It was a good day, honestly.  I've been doing a lot of stamping, as I call my stamp collecting.  I'm still baffled as to why I find this activity fun.  But, it's very companionable, since Shawn will often sit next to me at the dinning room table, sewing together strips of cloth for the rugs/loom, and we will just hang out, chat, or watch/listen to a show.  She's been watching some British show (some soapy thing, I can't remember the name of it ATM)  that I've been experiencing mostly as an audible book, as it were, since it's too much trouble to try to watch and look through my stamps.  But, that's pleasant, too. Very old-timey, in a way.  Like listening to a radio play.   

Okay, well, it's just turned 9 am.  I should zip off and see if I can get my business sorted at the bank.  See you all later!

*In case you're wondering, as I often do, when will this madness end? The answer is:  Mercury goes direct on the 25th.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Damn you, Mercury Retrograde!  *shakes fist at skies*

Today was so classically Mercury Retrograde, too, almost from the start.... Mason woke up with spots on his face.  We noticed some redness after he'd gone ice skating on the super-cold Saturday night, but totally chalked it up as windburn. This morning?  It looked much bigger, much blotchier, so we made the executive decision to keep him home for the morning, or at least until we could get him in to see the doctor.  Mason has had Fifth Disease in the past (not nearly as horrible as it sounds, it's just a facial rash, but it has that name because it was the Fifth rash to be categorized an it didn't end up with a cooler name, like Mumps.)  Fifth can come back, is treatable, but highly contagious. So we thought we'd better rule out a contagion before sending him into the teaming horde that is middle/high school.

Only... we got THE bad doctor.

Shawn is the one in our family that remembers this stuff, and she was out with a migraine.  So it was down to Mason and I to remember which of the pediatricians we usually see is the one who consistently misdiagnoses Mason---once so badly that her, "eh, it's nothing," ended in a trip to the Emergency Room THE VERY NEXT DAY.  

And... we guessed wrong.  

Mason is also now the age where he can (and should, IMHO) go into the doctor's office without a parent chaperone.  If he wants to ask private questions, I don't want my presence to be the difference between him getting information and not, if you know what I mean.  Plus, it's an easy way NOT to be a helicopter parent.  BUT had I known we'd picked the 'bad' doctor, I would have just insisted that I come in to help advocate. As it was, she said, "Meh, windburn"... we'll probably end up doing all this again when things get worse.

But hopefully, they won't.  

The whole experience served to only make Mason grumpy and going to school that much more frustrating.  It didn't help that we bickered about whether or not he should have to go in, after all--the ironic part being that *my* argument was 'you don't have to, but you were the one who wanted to go to the math meet, since it's your last one..."  I found out at school that Mason has no idea what his locker combination is, and hasn't for most of the school year.... he's just been hauling all his stuff around all day.  


Anyway, I eventually got Shawn into work, but by this time, all I wanted was a big Do Over button to push.  Which, I kind of did, by doing the dishes and watching another episode of "Psycho Pass" (my current anime). I also decided to cancel with my friend Theo's friend Jack, who is, among other things, a voice actor, and who is going to be working with me to bring YOU audio versions of the AngeLINK books.  I've re-arranged with Jack to hopefully see them early tomorrow morning and get this thing done!  Because how cool would that be?

So my day?  Mom Gave Up and Is Eating All the Cookies.  But cookies are yummy, so it could be worse.

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: (Default)
Because I forgot to come back and post our podcast link, "30: Still No Aizen" and my link to the Gangsta manga review: Gangsta by Kosuke, A Review, you are now inundated with the linky-links.

Also, today is a new Tate chapter. I'm rather proud of the opening line this time. It goes like this: "After being told I was off the case, I did what any well-adjusted grown-up would do: I sat at my desk and sulked." You can find this gem (and others) in Part 27: With a Little Help from Friends.

Later today, there will also be a new School for Wayward Demons chapter for you, but I think that Rachel has those set to go up around 1 pm. If you go there, be sure to check out all the little improvements we've been making around the site. We have a lovely new Table of Contents page, which you can go to to check out any chapters you may have missed (or want to re-read!) We also have link to our Patreon page, so you know, if you feel like supporting our work, you should go for it.

I support you supporting us.

In other news, I'm starting to get excited about Yuletide. I checked out the Sign-Up Summary and I found out that someone actually requested that funky little food manga I adored called, "Kinou Nani Tabeta?/What Did You Eat Yesterday?" and I'm super-duper hoping that I get assigned to write that one.  But, seriously, OMG, if I don't get this one, I'm SO writing someone a treat in that universe.  Because: food!  Because: gay men! Because: ridiculously boring slice-of-life.  IT IS ALL THE THINGS I LOVE.

Yesterday, as Mason and I were headed to school about a zillion police cars raced past us on Rice Street.  An ambulance raced up and then back down the street, faster than I have ever imagined an ambulance would go.  Police had blocked the road off near school, and a cop directed traffic.  It was crazy.  We speculated about what might have happened as we made our way to school.  Only once I was home an scouring the new sites did I find out that a boy, 11 years old, was hit by a car while walking to Mason's school.  I spent much of the day yesterday worrying that it was Mason's friend Donte, who I've written about on my LJ, because he's a frequent guest for sleepovers.  He walks to school every day, along that exact same route.  I was briefly relieved to find out it was not, but then I spent the rest of the day feeling sad about this recent Napali immigrant who has yet to regain consciousness and who wants to be a policeman when he grows up. (Please, goddess, let him grow up.  Because there but for the grace of fate... go we all.)

So, yeah, Monday kind of sucked.

Here's hoping today will be better for everyone.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I put this out on Facebook (and, if I can figure out how to say it within the character limit, I may ask it on Twitter,) but, okay, so I'm teaching a class in fan fic to teens in a couple of days as part of the Loft's Youth Writing Conference, so I'm wondering are their some simple things that seem especially prevalent in fan fic writing that people could fix. For instance, in my fandom, I have to put up with people being described by their hair color, "The redhead considered this problem seriously." I can't STAND that (especially when it's some crazy made up color, like BLUEnette).

CJ Cherryh (yes, THAT one) said, "Mirrrors. NEVER let your character describe her/himself via a mirror...for one thing, avoid describing your main character in any meticulous detail...after all, your reader is supposed to identify with same." (She actually came back to add several more, including: "I can give you a string of others, upon which I may be moved to elaborate on my own page: 1. Ya killt ma mudder, ya killt ma fadder.... 2. The Enterprise tour, in which we visit all the stations/houses in the neolithic village/ and meet each person in a nice folksy way before the story starts. 3. man on the beach---the guy who wakes up naked AND amnesiac.... 4. the big gory opening battle, in which we know absolutely no one and really aren't led to like anybody. 5. the Perfect Person---a hero who, like Dudley Doright, has a gleam in his teeth and a dimple that just melts hearts. We instinctively hate such people.")

My friend Sari said: "In a similar vain, trying to come up with a number of different descriptors for someone in one paragraph instead of using pronouns, which do indeed, have a use."

Naomi Kritzer said: "Said-isms. "She exclaimed" "he snorted" "she sighed" "he grumbled." The rule of thumb I gave my daughters is to stick with "said" and "asked" 90% of the time. Once out of ten tags you can use another word, or an adverb. This runs counter to what a lot of kids are taught in English class, but it's really, really good advice."

Other thoughts?

Also, this week is "Spirit Week" (pre-Homecomming, I think,) at Mason's school.  Today was mustache day.  Is it me, or does Mason, look surprisingly like Jamie from Mythbusters?


Jamie from Mythbusters:

Personally, give our kid a beret, and I think it's uncanny, really!

Tomorrow, the only thing required for Spirit Week is something "Disney."  Mason is going to wear a Star Wars shirt, since Disney recently acquired the rights to the Star Wars universe.  Wednesday is "Pink Day" so we went to Good Will yesterday and managed to score not only a fairly masculine hot pink shirt, but also a pair of pink jeans in Mason's size.  He also bought a wig, but I'm pretty sure he's going to lose his bottle to wear it:

He was weirdly cute about this wig.  Because we don't do a whole lot of gender-shaming, Mason wore the wig around the house for several hours because it made him feel kind of fancy. Eventually he took it off because, "Long hair is a pain.  It gets into everything."  

lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I'm at the coffee shop drinking a latte and scamming some free wifi for an hour or so.  

I expect our new hot spot to show up some time today, but it will take a while to set it all up, so I'm going under the assumption that we won't be back to our normal routine until sometime tomorrow.  HOWEVER, today has started out much, much better than yesterday already.  I decided, once again, to go in to try to talk to a live human being, Ms. Sanchez, about Mason's 8th grade math and to basically make sure it was a decision the school made with some kind of forethought and wasn't just a technical error.  

Turns out, they knew what they were doing.

But, I'll get to that. First, the lines were a lot shorter today, and, in point of fact, I by-passed them completely since I already knew the abilities of the people at the front lines.  I just wrote myself out a visitor pass and headed up to the office.  Where I waited no more than ten minutes and managed to catch Ms. Sanchez live and in-person in her office.  I sat down with her and explained that we were VERY HAPPY with Mason's acceleration, BUT we just wanted to make sure that it was a decision that would be best for him.  She looked up his test scores and said, "Oh," and then, "Oh, yeah, we have another one like him in 8th grade right now, so when the time comes to have college-level classes for Mason, we'll have it figured out by then."  

Which was not what I was asking, but totally answered my question.

Thing is, Mason tested for UMPTYMP  and didn't qualify so we were figuring that maybe he was only just moderately above average in math and not this accelerated.  Now I think there are a couple of factors, one of which is that he was well and truly terrified of that test that day and simply may have not done as well on the test due to nerves.  (Tests used to paralyze me occasionally when I was Mason's age.)  The second is that Mason isn't really the UMPTYMP personality.  If my friend Naomi's daughter is an indication, I think there has to be a love for math that goes beyond the average that Mason really doesn't have.  I know from the essay part of the UMPTMP application that Mason had a hard time even imagining math as 'fun' or something that he ever thought of outside class. Plus, there are just levels of aptitude, all of which are valid, and Mason just may be in a different range of that than most UMPTYMP applicants.  

But we're going to try 8th grade math in 6th grade, because why not challenge him?  Gods knows he was BORED SENSELESS when he was required by his previous teacher to help others after he'd finished his own work.  Plus, you have no idea how excited Mason was to be the only 6th grader in an 8th grade class. He loved the teacher, whom he described as funny and smart. (As a note, this may be the first teacher in a LONG time that Mason has labeled 'smart.')  

So that was a great start to my day.  

Plus, when I told Ms. Sanchez that I was a science fiction author (I only did that because we exchanged business cards), she was super-excited because apparently her son is a big fan of SF.  I should also say that I was generally impressed with Ms. Sanchez.  She kind of reminded me of some New York agents and editors that I've met, which is to say that she was sharp (in both senses of that word,) a bit abrupt, but straight-forward and no-nonsense in a way you don't find much around these parts (thought TBF to my friends, I do tend to find people like that to surround myself with).  At any rate, I didn't have to deal with Minnesota Nice (which I hate) so I cottoned to her immediately.  

For the rest of my day, my plans involve not going to my usual Women of Wednesday at the Black Dog, which makes me sad, but at the time I would have been there, I'll, instead, be at a different coffee shop meeting up with my writing collaborator, Rachel Gold, and our artistic collaborators Mandie Brasington and Alexis Cooke to talk about our SEEKRIT* project, which, with luck, will be launching at the end of September.  This is a project I'm super excited about.  I can't say a whole lot about it right now, but there will be urban fantasy and there will be art. (Two of my favorite things!)  

*I kind of hate the whole "seekrit" thing, but mostly because I'm jealous when other people have them and I don't.  :-)  Also, this one shouldn't be under the table for too much longer.  

So, if we can just get internet soon, life will be pretty good.
lydamorehouse: (chibi renji and zabi)
 I'm only on-line thanks to a roving xfinity signal and a free one-hour trial offer, and so I figured I'd get as much out of these few moments as I could and tell you about my day-OMG-MY-DAY.  

It started out at oh-f*ck-o'clock, our new start time at Washington Technical. Our internet was acting wonky since we'd gotten home, so I wasn't able to do my morning routines, but as a bonus we got Shawn to work and Mason to school in no time flat.  I decided to go in with Mason to try to sort out a scheduling snafu... this took MUCH longer than it probably should have, considering the result.  But, okay, here's the story in a nutshell:

We were going to be out of town for Washington Technical's Open House and this was only a problem because the Open House was the day that the students picked out their after-school program (which is a mandatory extra hour, but completely elective and ranges from everything from Spanish to Robotics to Swim Team).  So, I called the school to see what we could do to make sure Mason got into something he liked.  I was directed to talk to a counselor who read me the list over the phone and, I was assured, signed Mason up for Robotics.  BUT, lo and behold, when we got to school on the Camp Six day (the practice run for 6th graders going to middle school for the first time), his schedule was completely different--instead of Robotics, he was in "World Languages" which sounded suspiciously like a dumping ground for people who neglected to show up to the Open House.  

SO!  I went in with Mason this morning and first stood in a line only to be told that the person I'd been waiting to talk to couldn't help me because he only dealt with 8th graders and above.  He directed me to an EVEN LONGER LINE to wait to talk to the person in charge of 6th and 7th graders.  Fine, I had nowhere to go, except out for a cup of coffee, so I waited.  When I finally reached that guy, I was told, "Nope.  Too complicated for me, go up to the office."  WHERE THERE WAS ANOTHER queue.  I waited my turn in that line and finally got to talk to a person who ended up saying, "Oh, that?  We corrected it already.  His new schedule has him in ROCKETRY.  Will that be acceptable since Robotics was full?"  I was like, "Yeah, that's fine."  

I treated myself to TWO cups of coffee after that, I tell you.

Good thing I did, too, because dealing with our Clear (now Sprint) people was the next headache and a half.  Very, VERY similarly, I ended up waiting in a lot of "lines" or perhaps "on the line" a lot.  The annoying menu did not give me the option to say, "Yes, I've tried rebooting," so every time I called I had to listen to a Siri-like happy woman's voice telling me how to do the single simplest solution in the history of solutions, possibly in the history of history.  


But I went through the whole thing with a Tech Support person again after happy Siri-lady because this person was in some country far, far away.  It may be a stereotype, but if this person was in this country 1) they could not deal with going off script even slightly and 2) they could not deal with *me* going off script even slightly.  WHICH MEANT I HAD TO FLIPPING REBOOT MY WIFI WITH THIS PERSON AGAIN.  Finally, when we were getting somewhere interesting, my phone battery died.

And when the tech guy called back?  He didn't leave a name or an extension, so I had to go through all of it again, except with a completely different Technical Support person.


On the other hand, by this point, since my phone was only a tiny-bit recharged I ended up using my walk-around cordless phone only long enough to get through the push-button menu, and then switched to my hard-wired rotary phone.

Yes, that's right, I talked through tech support for my wifi on A ROTARY PHONE.

But, the best part?  Even after all that, they couldn't fix it.  They're sending us another one, which has already shipped (according to AN EMAIL they sent, because, yes, I am the last person on the planet without a smart phone who has no way to get email when, let's see, MY INTERNET IS DOWN.)  

At that point, I picked up Shawn from work and we both lay down for an afternoon nap before going back to pick up Mason.  Mason, meanwhile, had gotten a migraine at school, so he ended up crashing when he got home too.  On the flip side, Washington Technical seems to have spontaneously moved him into an 8th grade math class (he'd already been planning on being in the 7th grade one, so this is an extra bump we weren't entirely expecting.) I'm not completely convinced that Mason is 100% ready for this, so guess what?  I get to try to talk to a counselor tomorrow again, just to check in and hear what their reasoning is.  We'd all be super-happy if they have a good reason, but we don't want Mason to be pushed too far ahead, especially if it were to make him frustrated. 

At least this time I know that Mason's official counselor is Ms. Sanchez and where to find her.  So, that's half the battle apparently.  

Oi vey, what a day.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Nana Spider speaks in riddles and rhymes, but Alex finally gets some vital information about her true nature:

That's right, folks, the newest installment is up on WattPad for your enjoyment.  It's a little shorter than usual.  My apologies.  But this morning was eaten up by Mason's "celebration" (read: faux graduation) from Elementary School.  Certificates were handed out, applause were applauded, and there was cake.  I had to laugh though, because martial arts has kind of ruined my child.  We haven't been to Kuk Sool in well over a year, but after all the belt ceremonies and whatnot, it's still very ingrained in Mason that you shake hands and then you bow.

So, there goes my child to shake the principal's hand and then he her offers her a bow.

Afterward, he kind of realizes he's done something a bit off, looks vaguely awkward, and yet, when his teacher hands him the certificate and shakes his hand, he does it again.

It was kind of cute, especially given that none of the kids of Asian descent did anything remotely like that.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
You know that social experiment where there's a bunch of grad students taking a test and the room starts to fill up with smoke, but the authority figure acts like there's nothing wrong? Supposedly only a small number of people will defy authority to say, "Hey, look, there's a problem. We need to get OUT."

Well, today St. Paul Public Schools robocalled our house to tell us that they were open despite the tremendous amount of snowfall. All of St. Paul's charter schools are closed, but the public ones are remaining open. I called them back (Crossroads, specifically,) to say, "Nope. Ain't doing it." Because, you know what? No. Some of the streets are very passalbe--I know, because Shawn decided she wanted to try to get to the History Center today and I took her--but the side streets are atrocious.

Also: screw them.

I don't know why St. Paul is being such obstinant morons about this. There's like seven inches on the ground and it's still falling -- fast and furious. The plows haven't gone out because they didn't call a snow emergency last night and the roads SUCK ROCKS. Forget it. I'm not risking taking Mason in to school today. Apparently I *am* willing to risk myself and my partner, but seriously, yeah, I think that's different. Though I did tell Shawn that history could WAIT, even for the State Archivist of Minnesota. But she's an authority I can NOT defy. Plus, she can take the public bus home if the roads get worse and I can also go fetch her at any point. ;-) St. Paul Schools also have the ridiculous policy of not closing early once they've made the decision to open.

It's funny because we were kind of talking about this at MarsCON this weekend, too. A bunch of us were hanging out after the Blog panel on Sunday--a large contingent of "transplants" (though [ profile] haddayr and [ profile] naomikritzer and I should hardly count any more, since we've lived in Minnesota now for a LONG time) and a few native Minnesotans. We were talking about how Minnesotans are particularly bad at speaking up for ourselves. This came up because, while on the panel about blogging, some guy got a phone call in the front row on his cell phone and... answered it. He actually sat twelve inches from us and talked on the phone. I have to admit that my usual, "Hello? What are you DOING?" did not come out. Sometimes, I'm so STUNNED by people's behavior that I can't to react right away. Haddayr was giving this dude a healthy stare down, but he was oblivious. Luckily, the conversation was quiet and short, but, damn. I can't believe I didn't say something. None of us did.

As was pointed out in the conversation afterwards, we really should have said something because Fandom allows a lot of strange behavior and, unless people get called on it, they tend to get the message that while it might not be okay to do "x" in the mundane world, it's okay to do it at con.

Shawn, in fact, argued that I should not tell Crossroad's attendance line that the reason I was keeping Mason out of school today was because of the snow. I said that if we don't tell them, they're going to keep thinking it's okay with us that they risk our children's lives. But, we compromised. I didn't say anything at all about why I was keeping Mason out today, other than that he should be considered an excused absence to the official school line. But, I did send a private email to the school saying that I found the snow policy moronic.

So I guess that's the best a Minnesotan can do. ;-)


Feb. 10th, 2012 09:45 am
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I am skipping, as in playing hooky or skivving off. I'm supposed to be at "African-American Parent Involvement Day" at Mason's school. (Yes, even though I'm not African-American... it's supposed to be for all parents, with special emphasis for parents of color.) At any rate, I started out with good intentions. I walked Mason to class as usual, talked a bit to his teacher, and then headed over to check out the coffee and treats situation. The treats were actually first-rate. Brugger's donated a bunch of bagels and cream cheese (and brought their costumed mascot to school for free advertisment). The coffee was... industrial. But, still, I hung out and chatted with a few strangers, which normally I have no problem with, but for some reason this morning I was feeling sort of like I had to be more "on" than I wanted to be. Then, when I looked over the programming for the day, I broke. I did NOT want to sit through a concert. Mason's class wasn't going to be participating, so it wasn't like I was going to miss out on a precious Kodak moment. Plus, as the minutes ticked onward I realized that all the usual suspects were showing up... all the parents I already knew so very well from hanging out with them every day after school at pick-up time.

I bailed.

I at least went back to let Mason know I wasn't going to stay. Luckily, today is reading camp for his class, so he has his books to keep him company. He wanted to me to hang out, but I explained that if I did, we'd still end up seperated, since I couldn't sit with the class through the concert and that was pretty much the bulk of the day. He took that pretty well. Anyway, I had already spent the entire afternoon at Crossroads -- first in Mr. G's classroom and then at chess club. I was feeling pretty Crossroads full-up.

My plan is to make a pot of decent coffee, do a few dishes and a bit of other housework, and then maybe... just maybe get started on a Garnet Lacey e-book.

Oh, speaking of writing, Wyrdsmiths is looking for a new venue. Our old coffee shop, the Black Dog has decided that they really want to have loud (annoying) music on Thursday nights. We'd like to keep meeting on Thursdays at 7:30 pm, so we're trying to find a good coffee shop (preferably in St. Paul since the majority of us are St. Paulies) that's open until at least 10:00 pm. This is proving surprisingly difficult.

If you know of any place, let me know!!
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Normally, I try to keep the "my son is SOOOOOOOOOO awesome" (how awesome is he!?)" blogs to a minimum, but I have a couple of stories about Mason I just really, really want to share.

In the first story, however, the awesome rightly belongs to Mason's new teacher, Mr. G----. When I picked up Mason at school the other day we had this conversation:

Mason: "Do we have any books at home that contain a lot of information?"
Me: "Sure. We've got the Encycolpedia Britannica." (Brief explaination that we actually have several copies of the 11th edition.) Then, "Why?"
Mason: "So I can get a scholarship to Yale, of course."

This prompted a whole discussion during the rest of the ride about what undergraduate degrees are, graduate school, and Ph.D. programs. I reminded Mason that his grandpa has a Ph.D. and this got Mason even more excited. Plus, he was just about jumping out of his seat at the idea that he could actually get a degree in READING (like me, I told him, as I got a BA in English). He decided that he would get his docorate in "fantasy literature," just like one of his favorite authors J. R. R. Tolkien.

Turns out, Mr. G. had been talking about how a friend of his got a full-ride to Yale and really stressed to the kids that if they wanted to, they could go to one of the best colleges in the world and not pay a dime in tuition.

I LOVE this man.

Then, when I stopped by Mason's class yesterday to talk to Mr. G. about what time he wanted me to come in on Thursdays to do my volunteering, Mr. G. had a couple other funny stories to tell. He had an introduction excercise where he had kids write down "Three things you might not know about me...." He collected everyone's answers and read them in front of the class and had the students try to guess who the answers belonged to. When he got to Mason's he started reading, "I have an EXTENSIVE..." and hands shot up instantly. Just the use of the word "extensive" caused the entire class to guess Mason. (Full answer, even bigger clue: "extensive library at home.")

The second introduction excercise he had them do was bring in pictures of their families doing something they enjoy. Mason brought in a picture of the three of us up at a friend's cabin. But when we were going through pictures with him, he decided that, for fun, he'd bring along the picture I shared here of him reading AND swimming. Mason, ever the showman, set the picture up by saying, "As you know, one of my favorite things is reading. I also like swimming. But how about combining them?"

One of the other personality plus boys in the class, our friend from kindergarden, yelled out, "That's IMPOSSIBLE!!" (unwittingly playing the perfect straight man.)

Mason said, "Ha! I have photographic evidence!" and showed off the picture. Mr. G. was utterly delighted and has asked permission to put the extra picture up on their board in class.


And it's only the first week.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I should be writing, but I've gotten to the end of revising everything I had saved up to this point. Now I have to write entirely new (but lost) stuff, and I'm feeling a bit discouraged. I thought I might feel up to going back to it after a short interlude on the Interwebs.

Yesterday, Mason and I went to the Minnesota Zoo with Eleanor, despite the heat. It was a lot of fun, as zoo trips with Eleanor always are, but we all got pooped out a lot quicker thanks to the brutal heat. Mason, at least, had his swim trunks so he could play in the sprinkler park by the entrance to the Grizzly Coast exhibit. The grown-up, alas, did not think to pack a change of clothes.

We saw some cool animals. I mostly refrained from taking many pictures, because I was enjoying just hanging out with Eleanor and Mason. But I did get this awesome shot of a wild turkey that wandered into the Minnesota Trail.

And, this amazing shot of a snoozing Amur leopard:

However, probably the coolest thing was watching the grizzly bear who was trying to fish salmon out of the pond. S/he walked along the bottom. Someone else watching made the observation that she seemed to be trying to kick the salmon up closer to her front paws, so she could grab them. Everyone wondered why she wouldn't just dive down and nab them, but perhaps she didn't know how (I think all the bears there were raised in captivity.) Anyway, it was utterly fascinating. Mason and Eleanor and I watched her for several minutes. I got this picture of how close she was to the glass:

We also had an open house at Mason's school. Not much to report about that, except that Mason's new teacher seems like a winner. Fingers crossed for a good year for him in 3rd (and, because the school loops, 4th) grade!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I need to write today before noon, because I have a number of heavy-duty errands that need doing before we head up to our friends' cabin in Siren, Wisconsin. I spent much of the morning already being quite productive. The plumber came to fix the upstairs bathroom sink trap which had 'sploded on us Sunday. I was happy that it was actually a bit of a big job for him, since I was feeling like a bit of a dope with my "There, I fixed it" solution.

Also, I finally got around to putting the finishing touches on an on-line class proposal for the Loft. I've never taught an on-line class before, and they wanted a sense of how the class would actually work (like, on-line). I have to admit the request baffled me, since, as a brand new instructor, I'm supposed to sign up to learn how their system works (and I sort of thought this was the VERY thing that would be explained/discussed at that time.) But, I think I cobbled together something that will satisfy the requirement. I don't know. We'll see if they take it. I did, however, decide that for my usual optional reading requirement that I'm going to point students to the myraid and wonderful podcast options for listening to (and in most cases also, if you wish, reading) short stories. So, Lightspeed and PodCastle, if you get a bump in traffic next winter/spring semester, that's me! (Also, if you folks have a favorite source for science fiction story podcasts, feel free to let me know.)

I also finally got around to mailing out hardcopy xeroxes of the wonderful review Michael Levy did of my Resurrection Code and Tate's Almost to Die For to my agent, my editor, and my dad in David Hartwell's The New York Review of Science Fiction. I should take some time in the next few days to find a good excerpt to post, but the whole review is quite delightful so you should try to track down a copy if you're so inclined. Perhaps I will memorize it in its entirety and you can ask for a dramatic reading next time we meet. (ha!)

Today is also Mason's last day as a second grader (for those just tuning in, he's in a year-round school, which is, of course, a bit of a misnomer as he gets three months off, just not all in the summer.) At any rate, he'll be starting in September as a THIRD GRADER! I'm not sure how he got to be so grown-up, but there you have it.

For a bit of nostalgia, here he is at the beginning of the school year:

October 2017

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