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Abnormal cells that are not cancer, but still get me a date with a surgeon.
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Turned out I needed a biopsy. Microcalcifications. Should hear the results Tuesday.

• What are you reading?

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride. I like the voice, which makes me think of Mark Twain. John Brown is preposterous enough to be a Mark Twain character, with his freakish good luck and his inexplicable charisma, and I find it very easy to believe that when he mistakes Henry, the narrator, for a girl, he bulldozes over every attempt to correct him until everyone, including Henry, falls into line. But of course John Brown isn't a Mark Twain character: when he decides that a family he came across at random are pro-slavery, he is equally impervious to correction, and he murders them.

I would be happier reading this book if someone could assure me that Henry, who is the only child, the only Black person, and the only person in women's clothing living with John Brown's army, doesn't get raped.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler. It's no Bossypants, but I enjoyed it. The bit I liked best was about needing to apologize.
I was a shitty version of myself. The shadow side. I made a lot of noise because I felt bad about hurting someone's feelings and I didn't want to get quiet and really figure out how I felt. I was afraid to lie down and put my hand on my heart and hear the tiny voice whispering inside me saying that I had screwed up.

Your brain is not your friend when you need to apologize. Your brain and your ego and your intellect all remind you of the "facts." I kept telling myself that the only thing I was guilty of was not paying attention. Sure, I was being self-absorbed and insensitive, but who isn't? Sure, I should have been more on top of what I was saying, but wasn't that somebody else's job? Didn't everyone know how busy I was? Didn't Marianne and Chris take into consideration what a NICE PERSON I was? My brain shouted these things loud and clear. My heart quietly told a different story.
I like how accurately she voices the truths that she wishes were not true, in her apology letter from the head, and how unashamedly sincere she is about the part that she wishes were the whole truth, in her apology letter from the heart.

I like this even though it is not at all how I conceptualize my parts. When I discover that I owe someone an apology, the hurt of being criticized, the anger at being hurt, the shame of being in the wrong, those are all heart things. They are feelings, things I perceive directly. Looking at the situation from the other person's point of view; figuring out the difference between what she could see (my actions) and what she could not (my intentions, my history of being a NICE PERSON); trying to imagine what she felt about it; these are all head things, things I get by thinking. I don't perceive them directly. I don't perceive them at all unless I seek them out. Still, this is a useful step in my lifelong quest to learn how to apologize and how to forgive.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker.
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I just saw Birdman, at my local indie theater. It's a really good movie! The ending was a little disappointing but I can't think of a better one, so okay. However. In the middle, the screen went black. I think there were maybe fifteen seconds where everyone was wondering, is this part of the movie? and then five minutes where everyone was hoping someone else would go tell the staff about it, someone who was seated closer to the exit, or who didn't have to climb over other people to get out, because after the movie went black it was really dark in there! But nobody else did, so I did. When I left, I was actually expecting that they would offer us free passes to make up for it, but no. The staff were all tucked away out of sight. Not that I would have asked for a pass if any of them had been visible. I am a coward.

The contagion part is: tomorrow I have an appointment for a followup mammogram. Before the movie thing I felt confident that everything would probably be fine and now I don't. Minds are weird.
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• What are you reading?

In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang.

• What did you recently finish reading?

A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan. Enjoyable. Not enough dragon. I like the main character, especially her passion for dragons. The things I don't like about her, like her tendency to treat the people around her as means to her own ends instead of ends in themselves, are believable for her age (nineteen) and status (gentlewoman in not-Victorian England). I liked her marriage: it started as a marriage of convenience, really, on her part (she wanted access to his library!) but grew into friendship and partnership. I wish we had gotten to see more of that, too.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Next book club books are The Good Lord Bird and The Golem and the Jinni, but I also have Stranger, by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown, out from the library.
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• What are you reading?

The ghost in the electric blue suit, by Graham Joyce. The thing I love about Graham Joyce is that I can't tell before I open the book whether what looks like magic will turn out to be magic, not magic, or undecidable. He has written all three. I think this one will be magic, but the young man protagonist is facing temptations/dangers in sex, in politics, in education, in family ties, and in a past tragic event that he can't remember, as well as the one a surly caretaker warns him about: "Don't lend 'em any money. Don't buy 'em a beer. You can lend 'em a cigarette. A cigarette is all right. One cigarette. Not two. One cigarette is all right. Don't tell 'em nothing they don't need to know. Nothing. Be all right."

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Countess Conspiracy, by Courtney Milan. Enjoyable.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan, for SF book group.
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Today I got to watch someone cope (that is, trim) the beak and talons of a barn owl. This bird has a persistent wing droop that has kept it at the raptor center for a while. It doesn't cooperate with being restrained, but it doesn't fight much either. (There's a tiny screech owl that's been there for a couple weeks, and both times I've seen it handled, I've seen it injure its handler. There's a reason up-to-date tetanus shots are the first requirement of a volunteer.)

The bird's beak and talons grow like fingernails, and if the bird doesn't wear them down, or wears them down unevenly, they need to be trimmed. To restrain a bird, you cover it with a drape, like a cut-open pillowcase. If they can't see, they can't fly, and also they are less likely (though not unlikely) to try to attack you. So one person holds the bird, with the bird's back to his chest and his hands around the bird's legs, and the other uses a Dremel to grind the beak and the talons closer to their ideal shape. This is not to blunt them, mind you; we don't want to take away the bird's weapons, we want to make them less likely to crack.
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While he was still in Montreal Mungo wrote
I've read all the books I brought with me & half of my neighbors. When I come back to Colorado can I borrow some to take with me? (What I'm really asking is if you'll make me a pile that you think I might like)
I know it's a pain because you don't know what type of books I like & i apologize, I just don't really know what things I like in a book either as silly as it sounds


I do wonder where he is finding all this time to read, but let's not talk about that. In the twelve days he's been home he read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, all of Digger, Dodger, and now he's reading Swimming To Antarctica, which was one of his dad's suggestions.

When he was a little boy, I was very good at picking out books for him; the geeky little boy in me had excellent taste. It's been a lot harder since he started high school.

My suggestions so far:

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey
Fool on the Hill, by Matt Ruff
Moo, by Jane Smiley
All Over Creation, by Ruth Ozeki
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski
Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Foreigner, by C. J. Cherryh
whatever I've got on the shelves by Kurt Vonnegut

I keep being tempted to put Oglaf on the stack, opening it, and realizing that no that would be weird.
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I am thoroughly and happily snowed in. I still have electricity, so I am watching every episode of Would I Lie To You in which Miranda Hart appears. Miranda Hart is an excellent liar, you guys.

I was considering going to the library to return Raising Stony Mayhall, which is due today. It is 2.2 miles there and back, perfect length for a dogwalk when you're not wading through snow the whole way. I have some tall snow boots that used to be my daughter's, that are all right for taking out the trash, but I don't think I want to walk two miles in them.

I used to love going to the library with my dog. I'd clip him to an unoccupied bench, or a bike rack if all the benches were full, and give him a Greenie. I worried a little about someone bothering him while I was inside, because he is so very pretty and shy, but it is all self-serve now and doesn't take more than a minute to drop off returns, pick up holds, and check them out on one of the many machines. Then one day a security guard told me that that was not allowed. He said that Fort Collins police consider an unattended dog to be a loose dog, even if it is leashed to something. I don't think a police officer or Animal Control is likely to show up in the minute that I am inside, but the prospect of being hassled by security is unpleasant enough that I don't do that very often anymore.
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I got a Christmas card from [personal profile] oursin! Thank you! Next year at Wiscon.

Didn't get the snow tires put on, dammit.

Winter Storm Warning for Northeastern Colorado
Active for next 17 hours ·
National Weather Service
Posted 2 hours, 30 minutes ago

A snowy Christmas night and Friday for North Central and Northeast Colorado.

A winter storm system will affect Colorado through Friday. Snow will become heavy at times late this afternoon into the evening hours, especially in the foothills and along the I-25 urban corridor from the Wyoming border south to Boulder. Heavy snow may also develop over the western suburbs of Denver and over the Palmer Divide this evening. Gusty Northerly winds will also cause some blowing snow and reduced visibilities over portions of the Plains tonight into Friday morning.

People Planning travel across North Central and Northeast Colorado tonight into Friday should be prepared for hazardous winter driving conditions.

Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 8 am MST Friday.

Timing: snow will increase across eastern Larimer and Northwest Weld counties this afternoon and continue tonight. Snow may be heavy at times this evening. Snowfall will begin to decrease after midnight.
Snow accumulations: 5 to 10 inches by Friday morning mainly near the Wyoming border and along and west of I-25.
Wind/visibility, north winds at 15 to 25 mph will produce areas of blowing snow and poor visibilities down to a quarter mile or less at times mainly this evening.
Impacts: People Planning travel over the northern portions of the I-25 corridor should prepare for difficult winter driving conditions tonight and Friday morning. Expect reduced visibilities due to snowfall and blowing snow.

Recommended actions

Roads will become icy and Snowpacked with hazardous travel conditions. Visibilities will be reduced at times due to the heavy snowfall. If traveling allow extra time to reach your destination and keep an extra flashlight, a blanket, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
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I'm thinking of hosting a storytelling party at Wiscon. A mike for the teller, chairs for the listeners. Refreshments. A big piece of paper to sign up on if you want to tell a story. Is this a good idea? If you were at Wiscon, would you come? How likely would you be to tell a story?

If the storytelling part lasted three hours, and the stories averaged five minutes, plus a minute for changeover, that would be thirty people. That seems like lots?

Have you ever hosted a party at a convention? How much did you spend? How did you decide how much food and drink to have? How did you acquire, prepare, and store said food and drink if you were far from home?

I should decide soon, so there's time to get the word out so people who want to tell a story will have time to prepare one. Should I have a theme?

Any advice is welcome.
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The Fourfold Vision spread offers a progression of different ways of looking at an object, person, or situation. It is a powerful tool for gaining deeper insight into the specific subjects of other readings.

The card on the far right represents the object being viewed, be it an idea, relationship, or the self. The Star, when reversed: Lost hopes, doubt and failure. Physical health and mental outlook lost in the outer darkness. Desperation leading to blind faith in false solutions.

The card second from the right represents the physical vision: how the object is seen at a base or mechanical level. Eight of Pentacles (Prudence): Dedicating yourself fully to a task. Learning a new craft or skill. Applying painstaking attention to detail. Industriousness and the efficient completion of tasks. Sticking with a project long enough to see it through.

The card in the middle represents the mental vision: the object personified and seen through a humanized perspective. The Hierophant: Faith in tradition and the old school. A justified and ancient source of power. Being supportive, sympathetic and loyal. Receiving instructions, learning, guidance or inspiration. The ability to hear a higher or inner voice. May also indicate a religious ritual, such as a marriage or an initiation.

The card second from the left represents the emotional vision: how passions and values are creatively stimulated by the mental vision. Four of Pentacles (Power), when reversed: Using your power freely for your own enjoyment and the betterment of others. Coming to grips with progress and using your position to help it along. Finding security and identity someplace other than in the possession of material things. Letting go and encouraging others to find their own path. Being magnanimous and generous with your success.

The card on the far left represents the fourfold or mystical vision: still viewing through the previous three, we now add a spiritual element, revealing unseen aspects of the object. Judgement: A swift and conclusive decision. The resolution of a matter long unanswered. A change in point of view, most frequently towards greater enlightenment. Final balancing of karma.
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Gutted a bunny. Skinned a silky chicken, but had to sit down and let Neal gut it. Not squeamish, just unfed and underslept. Mornings at the raptor center are pretty nice.
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I appreciated that The Good Wife portrayed a person with auditory processing disorder, but I was surprised that it disqualified him from jury duty. When I was called for jury duty, the judge told us that the ADA required him to make reasonable accommodation to allow everyone to serve. The accommodation that juror needed did not look unreasonable: he appeared to function just fine when he could see and hear you talking.

Do the lawyers know which juror is the alternate? I did not know that. The jurors don't get to know, because they're afraid the alternate won't take the duty seriously.


Got to go to bed. I'm doing a.m. treatments at the raptor center tomorrow. Neal's going to pick me up at ten to seven. A.M. In the morning.
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The birds at the raptor center live outside, even in the well-below-zero temps we had last week. They're wild animals, they're evolved for it! Not the Swainson's hawks, though. The ones we're overwintering were not happy about missing their deadline for the trip to Argentina. They are very well-nourished right now, though, because they exhibit hyperphagia in spring and fall to prepare for their 14,000 mile migration, so they have the calories to burn.

One of the American kestrels got the first stage of frostbite in her armpit. That area doesn't have good feather coverage, since it can normally be covered by the wing, but this bird has some nerve damage that makes her right wing droop. She's inside now, in one of the hospital cages, to recover, and we're trying to figure out how to keep her warm at night when she moves back out.

Aiko is shedding his summer coat, so I got to use my new Furminator. It was very windy today. Literalized the metaphor of "blowing coat".
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A thing I did not know about [personal profile] kaberett's it's a love meme is that screening comments would make comment notifications not work. But that is okay, because I before I put my name up I asked myself, "Self, if you ask for reassurance and nobody answers, are you going to be okay?" and I answered myself, "Yep." But I got all these wonderful comments, from old friends and new friends and a complete stranger!

I'm watching Take This Waltz again. It's even better the second time. Free (but not ad-free) on Hulu for one more day.
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I went to story swap! I had a story! I put my name in the pitcher! My name did not come out of the pitcher.

Which is okay, because my story was kind of a mess. I like telling stories that look like they're going to be a mess, like I'm handing you a codfish and a bicycle wheel and Euclid's fifth postulate, but at the end you see how they all fit together!

This story had a theme, which was that telling the story of a traumatic event is healing, but the fish and the postulate did not come together to support that theme. They went to the place of Things People Actually Say to a woman who has just lost a baby and stayed there, because I can make Things People Actually Say funny, and I love making people laugh. It is the best.

Next time I will be less scared!

The Frame

Nov. 18th, 2014 11:46 pm
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I just saw The Frame with my husband and his girlfriend. Very beautiful, and strange, and relevant to the interests of anyone who has loved a tv show so much that it became real. See it if you get the chance.

I liked seeing it without knowing anything about it, but there is a trailer available here: http://double-edge-films.myshopify.com/pages/trailers

It made me think of The Velveteen Rabbit, of course. And the Laurie Anderson song where Laurie sees God, and
she was making it all up
and she was writing it all down
and she was laughing

And I said Hey!
Give me that pen!
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Just finished Elisabeth Sanxay Holding's The Blank Wall, based on this review by [personal profile] skygiants, which tells you everything you need to decide whether you want to read this book. I will add that I was disappointed in the plot-resolution device, but it was entirely worth it for the vivid, precise depictions of the racism and sexism that constrained the protagonist and her housekeeper. I got it through Interlibrary Loan, in a double with The Innocent Mrs Duff, and hoped to read that too, but I had to return it in order to read

The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes, for book group. I was tempted when everyone else was reading it because everyone else said it was really well-written, but turned off because everyone else said it was really horrific. Both those things turned out to be true.

Next up, Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for my other book group.
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the beautiful sex flush on her chest last night.

The Good Wife really gets female desire. I mean, I don't feel any attraction to any of the men on that show, but I believe that the women do.
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The card not shown but at the center of the cross, represents the atmosphere surrounding the central issue. Judgement: A swift and conclusive decision. The resolution of a matter long unanswered. A change in point of view, most frequently towards greater enlightenment. Final balancing of karma.

The card visible at the center of the cross represents the obstacle that stands in your way - it may even be something that sounds good but is not actually to your benefit. Four of Swords (Truce), when reversed: Restlessness and mental disharmony. Deserting a struggle in progress. A temporary retreat from stress that turns into a permanent rout. A lack of vigilance that could lead to disaster.

The card at the top of the cross represents your goal, or the best you can achieve without a dramatic change of priorities. Two of Swords (Peace), when reversed: Indecision due to contradictory characteristics brought together. Tension in the aftermath of a quarrel that has been resolved. Scheming, abuse of trust, and agreements made in bad faith. Allowing the mind to block off the emotions. Self deception as a means of justifying cruel acts.

The card at the bottom of the cross represents the foundation on which the situation is based. Death, when reversed: Stagnation or petrifaction. The refusal to let go of the past. Resistance to change because of fear.

The card at the left of the cross represents a passing influence or something to be released. The High Priestess: A pure, exalted and gracious influence. Education, knowledge, wisdom, and esoteric teachings. The forces of nature. Intuition, foresight, and spiritual revelation of the most mysterious and arcane sort.

The card at the right of the cross represents an approaching influence or something to be embraced. Two of Wands (Dominion): Established power and influence over others. Setting goals and a vision for the future. Coming to grips with the impact of past decisions, considering the current state of affairs, and developing a plan of action. Responsible leadership.

The card at the base of the staff represents your role or attitude. The Fool, when reversed: Apathy, negligence, and dangerous carelessness. Unquenchable wanderlust. Obsession with someone or something. Losing all sense of proportion. Foolhardy adventuring and lack of interest in critical matters. Immature or unrealistic ideals. Strange impulses and desires coming from unexpected sources. Vanity, delirium, folly, and oblivion.

The card second from the bottom of the staff represents your environment and the people you are interacting with. Nine of Swords (Cruelty), when reversed: Mental anguish or ill health endured and overcome. Refusal to be dragged down by the dishonor of others. Attempting to avert a shameful or regrettable act. Faithfulness, patience and unselfishness. May indicate the narrow avoidance of a death or other catastrophic loss.

The card second from the top of the staff represents your hopes, fears, or an unexpected element that will come into play. Four of Cups (Luxury): Being surrounded by love and devotion but taking it for granted. Ignoring the real and longing for the indefinable. Apathy and disengagement from the world. Dissatisfaction with the condition and direction of affairs, but the inability to accept new opportunities.

The card at the top of the staff represents the ultimate outcome should you continue on this course. Three of Swords (Sorrow), when reversed: Unsettling news that helps you to distance yourself from a destructive relationship. Painfully honest communication that needs to take place. Not letting yourself be dragged by your emotions into a negative situation. A trust or confidence betrayed in an attempt to help someone in need. The revelation of a painful truth.

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