lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I have a bunch of things to report, for those interested.  

First, I booked a hotel room for Mason and I in downtown Chicago for our trip in early April to attend the Open House at the University of Chicago. We're headed down on Thursday, April 4, for a Friday, half day presentation.  The tentative schedule of events includes "model classes," which, I mean, *I* will totally enjoy, even if Mason does not. Because the Friday programming starts so early, I booked our hotel through until Saturday morning so that we could have a little time to generally explore Chicago, which is something Mason has been wanting to do since forever. We go there fairly often, but almost always straight to the Field Museum, and I think he'd like to see some new stuff, if at all possible. To the end, I booked us some theater tickets. Since Chicago is known for its improv comedy, I found us a show called "Improvised Shakespeare" to go see on Thursday night.

I plan to hit the library in the next few days and raid it of any and all books on traveling to Chicago that they might have, because I love playing tourist pretty much anywhere.

Continuing with Mason-related news, Mason found out this morning that he did NOT get accepted to the Yale Global Studies Youth Summer Program for this year, alas. He did get the option to go on the waiting list, but since we were always on the fence about how the in living f*ck we were going to pay for this and the fact that Mason actually really ENJOYS a program free summer, we're letting him decide whether or not he's going to request to be on the waiting list or not. I feel pretty good about this outcome, despite an initial wave of disappointment. Had he gotten in, there would have been massive panic to rearrange our summer schedule, figure out whether or not it was worth a loan, etc., etc. Moreover, Mason only heard about the program two weeks before the application deadline. The fact that he got as far as being wait listed, seems pretty darned good.

Besides, because it's Yale, one of the many schools caught up in the pay to play scandal? I can totally just mutter, "Humph, I'm sure some rich family just paid to get THEIR kid on the top of the list." ;-)

Continuing on with things Mason is up to... Today is the first day of Mason's robotics tournament at the University of Minnesota (Williams Arena).  It's a three day thing, with inspections and warm-ups today and competition tomorrow and Saturday.  Mason left for school this morning saying, "Well, today the team gets to re-learn how to tolerate each other in a 10 x 10 space for 8 hours  without restarting to actual murder," which when he puts it like that i wonder why he likes this activity at ALL.  :-)

Shawn's birthday is coming up, on the first of April. Today, in fact, I need to take some time to get my butt to the store and get her the present she's been asking for. I meant to do that yesterday, but she ended up staying home with a terrible migraine. I could pretend that I stayed home to nurse her through it, but I actually left her sleeping to go hang out with my friends Harry and [personal profile] naomikritzer at a Chinese buffet for two hours to talk Marvel movies and rock operas.

For myself, I have to remember that I signed up to work/volunteer at the MELSA pop-up manga library at Anime Detour both tomorrow (from noon - 2 pm) and Saturday (6pm - 8 pm). 

Wow, we have a lot going on.

How's you?

Snow Selfie

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

It's really coming down out there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*sigh*
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 ...than using up my leftover homemade French bread for bread pudding.  I don't know why, I probably should feel more like someone who lived through the Depression (Captain America?).  

For those following along, it's a bazillion degrees below zero here. Mason's school is cancelled AGAIN for tomorrow. As he pointed out, now the only day he will have school is Friday and then it will be the weekend again. He says, "It's going to feel less like going back to school and more like a break in my winter vacation."

It's been lovely to have both him and Shawn home. We've done a whole lot of nothing all day; none of us is out of our PJs and it's 5:37 pm.  I did some stamping, but mostly I've been cooking and eating... and napping. I really have to say that this cold weather is working for me. I'm also really glad that several local businesses have taken it upon themselves to close. My coffee shop closed. The postal workers didn't try to deliver. People who could, should stay home, inside, and warm.

In less lovely news, my Loft class was officially cancelled.  I was really looking forward to it, but alas. I only got 4 people interested. (Worse, we could have used the money. Ah well.)

On the other hand, Broad Universe is trying out a mentoring program, and I signed up to be a mentor. I've got myself a mentee, and we've started working together. By chance, she's written a fantasy novel involving the sidhe and Irish politics. Considering that I wrote something similar (my first novel, which got weirdly published via a pay-as-you-go outfit: https://tapas.io/series/sidhepromised), I'm VERY excited by her novel.  So, that's a yay. 

I am reading something, but I'm not enjoying it. I decided to try to pick up the books that are up for the Philip K. Dick award and I started Claire North's newest book 84K. I'm... not much liking the fact that she leaves sentences trailing off, unfinished, and there are a LOT of fragments and fragmented scenes. I'm not QUITE ready to give up on it, but, man. It's tough going.

What are you reading this fine Wednesday?

lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I guess we only ended up with 4 inches on the ground, but St. Paul Schools shut down early last night. You might wonder WHY the capitol city in a state that often prides itself on toughing out temperatures and conditions worthy of the arctic panic closed when the forecast looked bad. You only have to look back one year to find out: www.mprnews.org/story/2018/01/23/many-students-stuck-in-schools-buses-hours-st-paul. (Last year, some students' buses didn't make it home until LITERALLY after midnight. Might be fine for high schoolers, but imagine kindergartners....)

Pretty sure our superintendent is going to close early and often, rather than let something like that happen EVER again.

I know closing school on a day like today makes a lot of parents mad and inconveniences them, but I kind of get it. I mean, I can say that, because, of course, our family is fine. I'm home today, anyway. Having Mason here is a feature, not a bug. Of course the superintendent might get in Big Trouble again, since the temperatures are supposed to plummet dangerously low over the next couple of days and schools are required to close if the temps drop into the 'your face/skin ACTUALLY freezes within a minute of exposure" range. So, people have implied that we could end up with several days off this week, given the forecast.

Honestly, I can't believe this kid's luck. He needed a mental health day on Thursday, had Friday officially off (some kind of end of quarter grading day for teachers), a weekend, and now this. It's like he really gets a Christmas break do-over, like we wanted. It's only too bad that we had to take Mom in to work, or we could have had some lovely, much needed family time.

As it is, we're probably going to spend the day filling out the Yale Global Scholars application. Mason finally finished the last of the THREE essays required for the program (and we gathered up all the documents needed for financial aid.) Whee.

All right, I promised to catch you all up on my spell-a-day project. I have skipped a few here and there, but part of that is being determined not to do anything ill-advised again.

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 24 & 25) )


Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 26) )


Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 27) )

Hump Day!

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

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

So my memory of Monday = errands and housework.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still a full time job, if you ask me.

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

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

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

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

My witches' pantry is actually surprisingly well stocked!

Spell-a-Day project (Jan. 13) )


Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 14) )


Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 15) )
lydamorehouse: (ichigo freaked)
 I have to leave for work in a half hour. Normally, I wouldn't take a Friday afternoon shift (or try not to) since Fridays is now the day that the women of Wyrdsmiths+ meets. (The plus is because the group now includes other women writers who have never been Wyrdsmiths.)  BUT, everyone had to cancel for various reasons, and so when Maplewood called while we were out shopping for dress pants for Mason, I agreed to come in today.

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

Baby's first job interview!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Right, so I'd better go get dressed for work.

FTP in 2018

Mar. 6th, 2018 12:22 pm
lydamorehouse: (writer??)
Like, who is still FTPing files to their websites any more? OH, THAT WOULD BE ME.

The ways in which I'm still living in the early 1990s astound me. I don't have a smartphone (we even still have a landline), I have no GPS in my car, and I still write my own HTML for my web site. I know my website kind of looks like it's from the early days of the Internet, and that's 100% because it *is.* On the other hand, it's mostly up-to-date as of yesterday. I'm still hunting through various pages trying to find out which links have broken due to time, but it's in better shape than it has been in a couple of years (at least in terms of the information.) I also had to email my ancient provider because literally no one FTPs any more and I could not get a connection, despite having updated six months ago.

So, yeah, that was like something out of Mousenet.

If you go looking at my web page and discover something broken or not working (or horribly misspelled), let me know. I'm trying to get ready for my MiniCON gig (March 30 - April 1).

That's been a lot of today, though earlier I had a doctor's appointment I'd been putting off for some time. Now, I also have to go back for a cholesterol test, mammogram, and the dreaded colonoscopy. under the cut for possible TMI )

Tonight was way too much running around. We had Mason's conferences at 3:30pm, which are still these ridiculous student led things. I've complained about these before. They take place in Mason's homeroom, which is a teacher who never sees him, except on Wednesdays. This time, his homeroom teacher looked at Mason's schedule and said, "Chemistry? Why are you in 10th grade chemistry?" Like we would know. The real question is, who decided to advance him in 9th grade to physics? (No one thought this was a bad idea, mind you. But it was still like, "Isn't one of the reason we go to conferences to know the thought processes behind our child's education??")

Then, because it seemed silly to go home, we killed some time at the library in Roseville (where I finally confessed having lost a book), SmashBurger, and then Barnes & Noble. Then, it was back to Washington to listen to the parent conference for the Mason's New York spring break trip with his Chinese class. My big takeaway there is that Mason is going to do a lot of walking... But, I'm sure he'll have fun.

Now I'm tired and want to collapse into bed.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Today I'm going to be ferrying Mason and one of his fellow debate judges over to a school in Minneapolis. That should be fun, she says with a bit of a sigh. I'm actually looking forward to meeting the other judge (these are high schoolers who are judging middle school debaters) as he's someone Mason talks about a lot.  I hope he lives up to his nerd reputation.  :-)  

To be fair, I have otherwise shirked a lot of the driving duties that other friends of mine seem to have had with their kids.  No endless soccer practices or any of that sort of stuff.

Yesterday, I stopped by the Roseville Library to return a few books and pick up the Princess Jellyfish volume that came in for me.  I haven't had many calls about subbing and, as I know my boss is set to retire soon, i had a worried thought that maybe I'd missed a retirement party or an email about whoever is taking over.  So I stuck my head into the branch manager's office and he waved me in.  I didn't miss anything, apparently as part of training the new person in, my boss had been delayed getting hours out to other people.  But, while I was there, the branch manager offered to pay me for an hour if I would sign off on my performance reviews.

Before working at Ramsey County Library, I used to DREAD performance reviews.  Let's be honest, I was writing a novel while sitting at that receptionist desk. How stellar are my reviews going to be? I also never really cared all that much about where I was working, so long as it had the kind of office culture where I could get away with long lunches and working on my novel. I am normally NOT the employee you ever want to hire for anything.

Except, for some reason, my library work. I think it helps that I love libraries and always have.  

I honestly think it also helps that I'm a sub, so the stakes are always kind of low (for me.) I mean, I do legitimately love the work, but if there's an annoying co-worker or restrictive policy, I just don't interact with either for very long, you know?  The annoying co-worker? I see them once a month, tops.  That policy? How often am I ever going to have to deal with it, compared to how often full-time people do, you know?  Plus, people are happy to see me, too, because I'm often coming in with only an hour's notice because someone's car failed to start in the cold or their child fell ill or whatever, you know?  So, I'm always appreciated, too.

The point is, I now get performance reviews that say things like, "Lyda is a joy to work with" and aren't sarcastic.  It's really amazing.  

Plus, the branch manager and I ended up just shooting the breeze about the writing life and such afterwards. I like the kinds of people who chose to work at libraries too. They're almost always nerdy and arty and liberal and cool.


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.)

You?

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, mason slides into baseMason running for home

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: https://www.gofundme.com/help-send-us-to-kidwind-nationals).  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.

Go, SCIENCE!

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.)

https://www.gofundme.com/help-send-us-to-kidwind-nationals
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.  

Grrr.

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....

AND THE DANG BANK ISN'T OPEN UNTIL 9 AM.

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"...

...so 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.  

*sighs* 

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?

Mason:





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."  


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