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Easy Like Sunday Morning

 I'm trying to convince Shawn that she's having a "pajama day," rather than day eleven of her back trauma.  I'm not sure it's working.  But, we are cuddled up in bed with several cats, the Sunday paper, and I have a nice hot cup of coffee and my laptop.  If Shawn wasn't still so miserable, it would be very pleasant.

Unfortunately, Shawn is still really miserable.

Nerve pain is like that, though.  Last year, when I woke up with searing pain in my upper back, that was nerve pinch pain. It was the only time in my life that I screamed, "EIGHT, totally EIGHT!" to my doctors when presented with that ridiculous pain chart.  I think most Minnesotans, including myself, don't really like to be a bother and so even if we were legitimately bleeding out, we'd say, "Oh, I don't know? A four?"

If you've never read Hyperbole and a Half's 'real pain chart' you totally should. I always think of it at times like this.

Shawn's doctor finally consented to prescribing a fairly heavy-duty painkiller, though at a low dose. I think that's helping some, even though Shawn is convinced she's going to be crippled for life.  Like Shawn, probably a lot of you are wondering 'what the hell did she even DO???!!" Thing is, Shawn has had a bulging disc for the past, oh, nearly the entire time I've known her, so maybe 25 years or so?  A lot of people who have bulging discs don't really notice them until THEY SUDDENLY DO.  For Shawn, I think her first OHSHITOHSHIT episode happened when she sneezed.  Seriously, a sneeze brought her down. The doctors all said, "Yep, this is a thing that happens."  So, it really does not take much for her to end up bedridden.

Usually, however, there isn't this nerve pain, and so she can slowly exercise her way back to better health.  This time, just moving her leg or putting pressure on it was excruciating (see: "I have seen Jesus, and I am scared" on the REAL pain chart.) So, that's played a big role in Shawn's slow recovery.  One of the reasons Shawn's doc agreed to the serious painkillers is that she (the doctor) really wants Shawn up and moving so that she can do the PT that is really going to help.  Pretty much everyone, including Shawn, agree that PT is the real "miracle drug" for back issues.

But, Shawn really needs to get back to work tomorrow.  Not because she's so vital (although I think she is as State Archivist), but because she's out of sick and vacation days.  If she stays home too much more, she'll have to go on unpaid leave and we really can't afford that.  Ironically, I think being stressed about that is actually tensing up the muscles that her muscle relaxants have been working so hard to unwind.


The only thing I really have planned for the day is to take Mason to Barnes & Noble.  We want to buy him a fancy, up-to-date Atlas as a reward for having gotten this far in the geography bee.  Plus, we haven't been to Barnes & Noble in forever and it would be nice to do a little window shopping. (Also I have two overdue books that need to be returned to the Roseville Library.)  Ive been thinking about attending a revolutionary song sing-along at Merlin's Rest today, just because I love singing rebel songs and it might be good for my soul.  We'll have to see if the timing works out, though. If you're interested (and local) here's the FB page for the event:

Yesterday, I briefly entertained the idea of going to a counter-protest at the Capitol yesterday.  Apparently, it was a Trump supporter rally day, and the SDS organized a "Make Racists Afraid Again" counter-protest.  The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) are... well, I remember them from my college days.  Augsburg was hardly a hotbed of activism, but we had one rabble-rouser Biology teacher who was the head of our campus SDS. One of our colleagues got caught up with her and ended up constantly being arrested down in Chicago where they would go an join laborers on strike or what have you. I think I would have been down there with them, if I'd been able to get along with this teacher (which I really couldn't.)  The point--and I do have one--is that when I saw it was the SDS organizing this my first thought was, "Someone's gonna throw a punch."

Sure enough.

Apparently six people were arrested and there were, shall we say, fisticuffs (and pepper spray?)  Here's an article about what happened:

You know I'm all for Nazi punching. The NY Times wrote an article about what happened in Minneapolis between the Wobblies and the Nazis (no, this is not an article from 1937, though I swear it could be:)

How do I feel about all this?

I'm not surprised that the Socialists and the Wobblies and the far-left of of our vanguard is reacting first, reacting hard.  Should they go to jail for assault? Absolutely. Am I just as glad I wasn't there? OH HELL YES.  Would I go their bail? I dunno, but I'd certainly throw some change in a bucket.
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 Mason is in the Junior Honor Society.  As part of his membership, in addition to keeping up his grades, he's required to do a certain number of volunteer hours. It's difficult to find places that accept thirteen year-old volunteers.  However, Shawn found that Second Harvest will take volunteers 8 and older.  We managed to find free slots (no easy task!) for yesterday from 1:00 - 3:30 pm.  

The place we went was Second Harvest's Warehouse out in Golden Valley.  Second Harvest is a neat idea. They take food that grocery stores are required to dump due to "sell by" dates and, if the food is still good (which it often is), sends it off to various food shelters.  They also take the ugly/misshapen crops that famers can't sell to grocery stores and distributes it to various food shelves as fresh produce. They have huge crews of people looking through pounds and pounds of potatoes, etc.  Right before us, apparently, they had just processed onions.  Our group--which was mostly populated by a corporate group from US Banks--took donated and past 'sell by' food and packaged it into 30 pound "mystery boxes." What was cool about the mystery boxes is that they contained fun items--soda, cookies, crackers, potato chips--with bits of other more traditional food shelf foods, like canned peas or what have you.  All stuff that was otherwise going to go to waste would be distributed as a surprise, a bit of joy. I ended up with the box builders, but I was situated across from the people who were packing and I could see how much fun some people were having coming up with neat things to put into each mystery box.  One guy was specifically trying to find various things that could make a special meal. Other people were just enjoying putting fun treats in as a surprise among other more necessary items.  

Mason ended up among the sorters.  His job was to go through all the donated items and double check REAL expiration dates and then sort into giant bins of canned goods vs. 'soft' goods, etc.  He said he had a blast.  For myself, even though all I did for two and a half-hours was build boxes, I was surprised how fast the time went.

The other thing I ended up being pleased about during this volunteering was the careful way Second Harvest talked about hunger. The videos we watched about it made no effort to claim that hungry people were anyone other than your neighbors. They talked about rural hunger, suburban hunger, and urban hunger.  They did not talk about... oh, I don't know, a certain kind of poverty, maybe? Thing is, there have been plenty of times when Shawn and I have considered whether or not we needed to use food banks/food shelves, etc.  Having read a lot about food politics (for some reason this is an area I often end up going down the rabbit hole about. I don't seek it out per se, but if I hit an article in the Atlantic or wherever, I will read the whole thing, etc.) I know that food is a complex issues and that lots and lots of working people are hungry in this country.  


It was a good experience.  I'd do it again.  

Coming Out

 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.

Protests and Such

 On Monday night, I joined a couple hundred people in downtown Minneapolis.  This protest was billed as "Minneapolis Against Trump," but it was really about workers' rights.

Here's another attempt at a photo. If you can't see it, it's a young white woman holding a hand-painted, anatomical heart-shaped sign that reads, "Lead with Love." The heart itself is very nicely done, she's got a lot of pink and red shading going on.  Realistic in an ARTY way, you know?

This particular group was a little more... well. Let's put it this way. Normally, there's a call and response that goes, "What do we do?" and the answer is, at certain  marches, "Stand up! Fight Back!" At this one the response was, "Shut. It. Down."

I have no problem with either statement, but "Stand up! Fight Back!" is more in my comfort zone, if you know what I'm saying.  On the other hand, right now, I feel like it's okay for me to stretch outside of my comfort zone from time to time.  The Socialist Alternative people carried legit red banners and the #NativeLivesMatters folks led the march with a banner that read, "Cut off the head of the Black Snake."

These people weren't fucking around.

Unsurprisingly, I think I only saw one pink pussy hat.

I will say that seeing all the signs has made me realize that I really need to up my 'art' game, if I'm going to keep going to these things.  Gods know, I have a ton of art supplies, so I certainly have the materials (and some skill... mmmm, maybe I should play to my strengths and see if I could do a good rendition of Captain America punching Hitler?)  I also, weirdly, want to find a way to embrace this ridiculous slur, "Libtard."  I feel like there needs to be a movement to turn around "Libtard" the same way there was with "snowflake."  I don't know if I wrote about this earlier, but at the Powderhorn march that Mason and I went to, there was a woman who's only sign was an oversized snowflake.  It didn't say anything else. I thought it was brilliant.  So, I dunno, I kind of want to have a sign that says, "Another Libtard for Justice" or some such. (If you think of anything brilliant, please leave me a comment. And, yes, I know the word 'Libtard' is super-offensive and ablist, but it's also so freaking ridiculous that I feel like its power should be taken from it, and we should be able to mock it and embrace it somehow.)

Meanwhile, at home, Shawn has been on the VERY slow and super frustrating road to recovery.  Her pain isn't really subsiding, but the muscle relaxants do seem to be doing something. She's no longer sobbing in despair, which is good. Although the muscle relaxants do seem to make her a little loopy and when I had to go off to work on Tuesday I got a very funny (in retrospect) paranoid text from her, in which she'd convinced herself that someone was lurking on our porch (they were not, and possibly, she has since confessed, she might even have dreamed the doorbell ringing.)  So, though I'd been planning on attending MarsCON this weekend, I've decided it might be best to stick closer to home... at least until Shawn is on fewer drugs.  :-)

Mason, we found out yesterday, has qualified to go to state for the National Geographic geography bee (if you follow this link, you will see his name, alphabetically under his school: Washington Technology). The next step will be that on March 31st, Mason will compete against the other qualifiers in the state at the University of Minnesota: Mankato.  So, that's a huge yay!  Shawn and I are typically anti-helicopters in the extreme and don't even go to watch things like last weekend, when Mason and his team went to state for Lego Robotics.  That one was held at Mason's home school, Washington Technology, and lots of other parents tagged along to watch, but we stayed away, mostly because Mason performs better without us watching over his shoulder, and because we really feel that Little Nemo deserves his own adventures.  That being said, one or both of us MAY tag along to this Geography Bee, depending on what the school provides in terms of transportation and whatnot.  I've been telling him, too, that we might have to--for fun--play an all geography Trivial Pursuit game.  Mason LOVES Trivial Pursuit and, to that end, we have collected a TON of different versions of the game.  Goodness knows we have enough card packs to play an all-geography version no problem.  I suggested that we invite Rosemary, but she's, apparently, a little sore to have lost out. (She was a semi-finalist in the in-grade competition, though as Mason put it, "I didn't have to strangle my best friend to take the prize, at least." So I guess she got disqualified before the final round. I can understand. I have a highly competitive streak, myself.)

Tonight are Mason's parent/teacher conferences, which Shawn will likely miss for the FIRST TIME EVER IN MASON'S LIFE.  Believe me, she's fairly crushed about it.  I hate to say it, but I'm weirdly glad to be going on my own, however, because I find that often teachers won't talk directly to me. They hear Shawn introduced as Shawn ROUNDS and they--unconsciously, I believe, but still--treat her like she's the important one, the *only* parent, and even when Shawn makes a point of saying "my wife" when talking to me, I'll get a cursory glance like, "Oh, okay, I guess you're not some random stranger," but then they go back to addressing her.  I find myself desperately trying to insert myself in these things with comments that prove my legitimacy as a parent.  Sometimes I try to blame this phenomenon on the fact that we often schedule our parent/teacher conferences right after work, and so Shawn is dressed in full-on professional clothes and I often look a bit like I forgot to remove my stained shirt and comb my hair.  Shawn is also a physically impressive person at 6'1".  BUT... that doesn't change the fact that I often *feel* like the issue is that I'm not seen as a legitimate parent as the "other" mom.  So, for me, it will be a nice change, since they'll have to talk to me, if they want to talk to a parent. :-P


Monday Morning

 On Thursday, Shawn threw out her back.  She's been in varying amounts of pain throughout the weekend, ranging from extreme discomfort to 'crying in despair.'  We went to the emergency clinic on Saturday in hopes of some relief. She did get a some prescription pain meds at that point, but they don't entirely seemed to have helped.  (There's been, at least, some change, though it's hard to call it improvement. First is was back pain, then she had shooting nerve pain in her leg, and now it's back to back pain. Dr. Google suggests that with Shawn's bulging disc issues--which were diagnosed decades ago--the back pain is actually BETTER because at least exercise can get the disc back into shape. But this is cold comfort to poor Shawn.)

Today we're headed to her primary care doctor at around 10:30 am.  Hopefully, the doc will have something useful.

Mason had a busy weekend, despite all this. His team competed in the state LEGO robotics tournament.  They didn't advance, but they had plenty to be proud of, nonetheless.  They got call-backs for "Core Values," which is a fancy way of saying 'teamwork.' Mason was in good spirits about it, saying that he really did feel like his team worked well together and he's looking forward to getting everyone together again for the 'wind power' competition later this year. This is their last year competing in LEGO robotics. High schoolers go on to some other version of robotics, apparently. One of Mason's friends was feeling very nostalgic about it, but he's very excited for what's next. I suspect high school is going to be legitimately fun for Mason.  A lot more opportunities are going to open up for him, I suspect. (Of course, I may be projecting. I actually liked high school in terms of the things I got to do, like theatre and such. Being with other high schoolers, less so.)

For myself, I had a very quiet weekend.  I've been trying to write a piece of fiction for an anthology, which has a deadline of tomorrow, with only moderate success.  I'm still very distractible by the current political environment and this anthology asks authors to try to imagine a future based on the current administration's policies.  I had an idea that wasn't mind-numblingly bleak, but coming up with a plot that doesn't end in utter darkness has stymied me.  I'm going to spend today trying to hammer something out, but this might just have been a poor choice in projects for me.... given how easily made anxious I am by all this stuff.

We're having more weird weather here in Minnesota. The sun is shining and, although it was below freezing when we woke up, it's supposed to be 40 degrees (F, that'd be 4 C to most of the rest of the world). That's really very weird for Minnesota in February, especially given that we also have zero snow on the ground.  As a side note, I was very much one of those Twin Citians who was PISSED OFF that we didn't get our promised snowpocalypse this weekend.  For me, it's largely because this is my least favorite situation--where there is no snow so all the season's dirt and garbage have been exposed, but still WAY TOO COLD/FROZEN to actually get out and rake up some of the trash.  Much to Mason's chagrin, I always pick up anything that blows into our yard/over our property line.(I think he thinks I look like some weird garbage lady).

Other than that, not much is going on here.  I don't even really have much politics to report, what with Congress being in recess.  Somehow I ended up on a great alert service called WatchYourRepsMN:  I've been using it to call/write my local MN legislators about local issues (something, I have to admit, I've never really followed ALL that closely before.)  Say what you will about the Resistance, but, holy heck, people have gotten organized and are now WATCHING EVERY DAMN THING. Civic involvement for the win, I say. We're not winning at much else, but we are showing up.

Lumberjanes vols. 1 - 5

I finally got around to reading Lumberjanes written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis / art by Brooke Allen

Here is a picture of the cover of volume one which you might not be able to see. It features the five main characters: Ripley, April, Jo, Molly, and Mal (in Stevenson style, which is hard to explain so go look at the cover of Nimona). Lumberjanes are a kind of Girl Scouts on steroids estrogen, plus these five particular girls keep running into monsters that are far from the average. Each issue collected starts with a little excerpt from the the Lumberjanes handbook, done in a tongue-in-cheek "Miss Manners" style, about how proper young ladies should behave when confronted with the Wilderness. Each one starts out sounding like something horrible from the 1950s, but ends with implications of bad-assery, ala, "A young lady should be well versed in how to cook. After all, her knife skills may come in handy when confronting a mutated grizzly." (That's my example. Stevenson and Ellis are cleverer than I. Unfortunately, I already returned the volumes or I'd give you something actually from the text. But they're very much in that vein.)

At times, for me, the characters were trying a bit too hard to be... hip? I dunno, I guess I mean whatever you kids are calling 'cool' these days... or clever. Mostly, however, I liked them. Jo was, of course, my favorite even beforeCollapse )Likewise, Mal and Molly, the lesbian (or at least in love with each other) couple were runners-up.  Of them, though I liked Molly a little better, if only because she seemed nerdy in a way I could relate.  Mal, though, at least, physically looked like me--in college--but, in college, I used to complain that the butchest lesbian we ever saw on TV was Willow from "Buffy," and that wasn't saying much. So, it's really nice to see the butch, punk girls not only being represented but also allowed to secretly/not-so secretly be very NOT butch when it comes to being brave, etc.

The stories themselves impressed me less than the characters.  If you're really hoping for something whiz-bang in terms of storytelling, I'd say go read (or re-read) Nimona. But, if, instead, as one of the Lumberjanes slogans goes "Friendship to the Max" is more your thing, then you will enjoy the heck out of Lumberjanes.

I will say that, in this current political climate, Lumberjanes was exactly what I needed. I got through many nights by pouring myself a hot bath and settling into soak for a good long time while reading Lumberjanes. I used Lumberjanes the way I used "Free! Iwatobi Swim Club" and "Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories" ... which is to say, I turned to them when my brain needed something vaguely mindless, but ultimately happy/satisfying.
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Another Day, Another Dollar

...Or $11.50/hour as the case may be.  

I'm not really sure what possessed me to agree to EVERY Tuesday and Wednesday at the library for the entire month of February.  It's not that I mind putting in the hours themselves, but routine of it... Okay, I realize that most people have to go to the same job every day, five days a week.  I used to do the same thing. I don't know how you do it, okay? Honestly,  don't know how I used to do it.  Maybe it bothered me less when I knew that was just what it was.  I think what's starting to bug to me about this all this regularity lately is that one of the things I've really come to enjoy about my library job is that I go different places at different days and times.  

I don't actually like consistency or regular hours.

If I'm honest, I don't think I ever did.  If I could have found a career that allowed me to keep odd hours, I probably would have done well at it. I liked university life because it was different every semester--so maybe I should have been a college professor. But, I think one of the reasons that I used to hop from job to job was because I'd just get to a point subconsciously where I'd be like, "Yeah, okay, I've done this one thing enough now. Time to move on!"  

Though, I did find several that I lasted years at, like the Immigration History Research Center and the History Center. (Of course, by that time, I was also writing novels on the job.)

Hmmmm, so maybe I'm good at staying at jobs I don't really work at?

Oh well, my proclivities have made for an interesting resume. Too bad I never developed any really useful skills.  I can answer the phone like nobody's business, though.
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Is it Saturday? Must be Protest Day.

 MNs love Muslimes

Starting with a picture again. If you can't see it, it shows the street-view crowd at Saturday's Solidarity March with Immigrants and Refugees and the back of a woman holding a sign that reads, "Minnesotans Love Muslims, dontcha know."

This was Mason's favorite sign out at the march.  We weren't able to go for very long, but I was pleased that we passed one of the crowd counters before we had to peel off.  It was a good march.  I'm realizing more and more that I need a release like public yelling to deal with the anxiety that the Trump administration fosters in me.  If I don't yell constructively, it comes out in other ways. And my family does not need me going ballistic over directions to Shoreview.  :-)

We drove out to Shoreview yesterday to look at a possible new car.  It was a Ford 500 and had high miles on it, but it seemed like it could have been a good car for us.  But, when we got there it was in much worse shape than advertised (and by "advertised," I actually mean as Shawn's brother described it to us, not an actual ad.)  The windshield was cracked, the interior was filthy, and, most importantly, it wouldn't start... not even with a new battery.  So, that was a bust.  I'm only disappointed because the price was right.  It would have cost us under a thousand bucks, because the guy is pretty desperate to get rid of it, since he's living in Ecuador right now.  

On the other hand, we had a nice time chatting with Shawn's brother, his wife, and our ex-nephew-in-law (eh, he's still our nephew,) Ray.  Shawn and I had never had much of a chance to talk to Ray since the wedding (it was a very short-lived marriage), and, at the risk of sounding like an old lady, i just want to say he's a very nice young man.  Should I also say he "seems to have a good head on his shoulders"? What are the other cliches I could use?  Seriously, though, it was a pleasant time with all of us standing around in the driveway looking at the sad Ford. 

Then we had Rosemary over and I finally managed to make her something she enjoyed eating.  To be fair, it was very simple.  We just had black bean and cheese quesadilas with Spanish rice on the side.  I kind of figured they'd be a hit, since it's the sort of thing I make myself all the time.  But, we're slowly working up to something more complex.  

Today, Shawn is headed up to her brother's house (catching a ride with her other brother) because they're doing some kind of renovation to the basement and there are items up for grabs.  I'm just as happy to be skipping that. It seems very much like a Rounds thing, if you know what I mean.  Mason and I will hold down the home front--do a little house cleaning and whatnot.

Q-Library and Life

I'm off to volunteer at Quatrefoil in about fifteen minutes.  I don't think I'm going to last very long there.  You can ask my family, but I'm not in a very sociable mood.  (I would actually have said no to this, but I haven't been able to go for the last few weeks, and so I felt guilty).  Plus, Shawn had to make a same-day appointment at the doctor's.  She's developed a fluid filled lump on her elbow (bursitis?)  But since I'm the one who harassed her to make the appointment, I can't complain that I need to cut my day short to take her in.  (Well, I CAN, but it seems disingenuous.)

And I didn't have big plans for the day, anyway.

I was thinking about starting a short story. Every once and a while, I go trolling through the anthology listings at  Yesterday morning, I found something that seemed like a  fun idea--post-apocalypic military horror--and I did some brainstorming with the ladies over coffee and got a pretty good plot idea that's percolating right now in my head.  I'd much rather stay home and do that than deal with... people, even the nice people at the Q.

Although I will say that the idea of horror and post-apocalypic stuff are really depressing... I mean, we kind of live in a horror apocalyptic world right now.

On the other hand, I got a lead on a job yesterday that's pretty exciting.  I can't say too much about it, because the actual listing hasn't been posted yet, but a friend of mine alerted me to work as an acquiring editor (non-fiction) for a local publisher.  It would be a good fit for me, actually. So I polished off my resume and sent it off.  Fingers crossed.
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Road Trips and an Invitation

 First, I need to kickstart my career by 2018.  I just got an invite to be one of the GoHs for Minicon next year. It would be nice if I had something to promote by then.

This summer Mason and I are planning a road trip.  Normally, we tag along to Shawn's annual COSA/NAGARA meeting (Council of State Archivists/National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators). This year, however, it's in Boise, Idaho.  Nothing against Idaho, but I'm not sure there's enough stuff there for Mason and I to entertain ourselves for 5 whole days.  So Mason had this brilliant plan.  When mom flies off for Boise, we hit the road.  We drive through the Dakotas and Montana and meet-up with her in Idaho, then we all travel back by car and see Yellowstone in Wyoming and the South Dakota badlands.

I think this is brilliant. Shawn agrees (especially since she hates flying and this saves her a return trip).

We're going to do it!

In fact, at the library yesterday I picked up some guidebooks because I have no idea what's even in Montana. Glacier National Park is, for one, although that's at the far western end of the state--(though we are talking 5 days to get from point a to point b, and driving straight through we could make Boise in 24 hours.)  Shawn is activating our AAA membership and ordering all the road maps and AAA tourism guides to all the states we could potentially drive through.

The best part is that Shawn's conference isn't until this summer, so we have lots of time to look at maps and guidebooks and plan. I found a couple of really fun guides to interesting backroad attractions in Montana and it's been fun to page through them. A nice distraction from the political barrage.

I've never travelled much in this direction (that I remember. My parents, of course, brought me back to Wisconsin from my birth place in Sacramento, California, but I have zero memories of any of that as I was an infant.)  I've been to visit Colorado a couple of times, but both times I flew.  I know that a lot of both Dakotas are pretty flat. We drove through some of that to see Mount Rushmore, when Shawn and I went with Karl from Czech. I'm pretty sure we're going to do South Dakota on the way back, though, ironically, all of Shawn's relatives are in North Dakota so we may have to figure out a way to reverse this while also saving Yellowstone for Shawn.  Previously, when we'd talked about road tripping while Shawn was stuck in Boise, the thing that made Shawn sad was the fact that she'd be missing experiencing some of these major landmarks with Mason, particularly Yellowstone which she hasn't seen either. She'll still miss some this way, but not all. Shawn likes traveling when it's by car, so this really is a two-fer. (This really is a brilliant solution. Go, Mason!)

And we will very likely have a new car by then.  One is in the works, in fact, though the one we're looking at has more milage than the one we're currently driving. However, it might be worth it if the price is right AND it has fewer issues. Our current car has sprung an oil leak on top of its preexisting radiator leak.  Not something you want to traverse mountain passes in.

Doesn't this sound fun?

Plus, as I said, the planning for it has been a welcome distraction.  It's nice to have a future thing to look forward to and be excited about.

Now I just have to figure out how to re-launch my career!