bad news

Apr. 7th, 2016 02:17 am
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I got voicemail from my mom. (Chris is my brother, Jack is my dad, Vickydali is my dad's cousin.) Mom passed on some info about Chris's kids, then said, "...and I just talked to Chris, and Jack has been in the hospital, your dad, since Saturday, and Chris doesn't know how he's going to be, whether he'll get out of it or not. He seems to have quite a bad infection. He's got a septicemia and the flu, and they're doing a lot of tests on him, and Chris is spending a lot of time at the hospital with him. So, I told him that I would call you, and that he should call Vickydali and tell her, and he's been in the hospital for about five days, since Saturday, so he hasn't been doing too well since then but he's still lucid when he's awake but he;s in quite a bit of pain. And if I hear more, I'll let you know, honey. Chris is going to call me tomorrow again I think. So call me whenever you get a chance. Bye bye, sweetie. I love you. Bye bye."

I don't even know how I feel. The first time I listened to the message I thought maybe I should go to Seattle to say goodbye. But that's crazy. I haven't seen my dad since I was fourteen. And he stopped talking to me the year before that: he said that I had been changing, that he felt like a moved in and taken over my body, that he wanted his daughter back, but until I turned back into his daughter I was not to speak to him. And I never changed back! The monster is me.
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I went up to my husband's house to have dinner with him and his girlfriend. After dinner, we took the dogs out. We ran into Sharon, who used to live next door. She wanted to buy the place then, but the owner didn't want to sell, and when she moved back into town it stayed empty for ten years.

Sharon's nephew has just bought the place, and is clearing out the broken trucks and refrigerators that the previous owner left down by the creek, and figuring out whether to repair or replace the untended-for-ten-years mobile home. Sharon is staying there, in an RV.

As we were catching up on each other's news, Sharon said to R (Neal's girlfriend), "And you've certainly grown up!" Awkward!

R said, "I'm not the daughter." And we moved on to talk about what our kids and Sharon's daughter were up to.

That would have been so much easier if I had not been there! Though Neal would still have had to cope with the "Yes, this person is closer in age to my children than to me and yes, she is my partner."

a picture of dinner )
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Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

If you are enmeshed in a jumble that makes you squirm or if you are caught in a tangle that stifles your self-love, you have three choices. Here's how Eckhart Tolle defines them: 1. Get out of the situation. 2. Transform the situation. 3. Completely accept the situation. Does that sound reasonable, Scorpio? I hope so, because the time has come to act. Don't wait to make your decision. Do it soon. After that, there will be no whining allowed. You can no longer indulge in excuses. You must accept the consequences. On the bright side, imagine the new freedom and power you will have at your disposal.

The Relationship spread provides insight into the interaction between two people or entities. It is the spread of choice for questions about partnerships, be they in romance or business.

The card at the top left represents how you see yourself. The Lovers: A caring and trusting relationship. Beauty and inner harmony. A decision calling for emotional control and faithfulness to spiritual values.

The card at the top right represents how you see your partner. Ace of Swords: The seed of victory - perhaps as yet unseen. A challenge to be met and solved through the invocation of force. An opportunity to bring reason and intelligence to bear in the pursuit of justice and truth. An excessive power that must not be abused. May suggest new ideas or information that can reveal a solution to the problem at hand.

The card in the center left represents how you feel about your partner. Nine of Pentacles (Gain): Good luck attending material affairs. Attaining refinement and embracing elegance. Discipline and nobility applied to the maintenance of security and stability. The wise use of resources and foresight. The fulfillment that comes with accomplishment, and the turning of attention to higher things.

The card in the center right represents what stands between you and your partner. King of Rods: The essence of fire behaving as air, such as lightning: A great and daring leader who inspires others to rise to challenges alongside him. An artist who can take hold of an idea and make it a reality through bold action. One who is forceful, charismatic, and honest, leading by example, but unafraid to invest authority in others. A dashing and magnetic personality, carrying authority naturally, and striking at the world with swiftness and grace.

The card in the lower left represents how your partner sees you. 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 in the lower right represents what your partner feels about you. Justice, when reversed: Lack of balance, harmony and integrity. The suspension of action until a decision is made. Lawsuits and prosecutions. Unjust decisions and the consequences of those decisions. A turn for the worse in legal matters.

The card in the center represents the present status or challenge of the relationship. King of Cups: The essence of water behaving as air, such as a billowing cloud in the blue sky: Great maturity, endless patience, tolerance of other points of view, and a deep knowledge of human nature. One who intuitively knows the strengths of those around him, and gently cultivates them. Remaining calm and relaxed in all situations, and making artful use of diplomacy or a quiet word to resolve conflicts. The ability to listen to what another person is saying, and truly understand what is in their heart. A rewarding partner and a beloved leader.
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Not asking which is better. Of course pie is better. Asking whether you think this recipe, which calls itself "Impossible Pumpkin Pie", counts as pie. It has no crust. You mix a little flour and baking powder into the pumpkin custard. It is more like pumpkin bread around the edges, more pie-like in the middle; Paul Hollywood would say it's raw but what does he know.
pix )

mean

Mar. 12th, 2016 12:47 am
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I walked fast to get to SF book group, because I thought I would be late. I got there early and a little out of breath. James asked if I was rushing to set the book on fire. "No," I said. "Why? No!" We read The Stars My Destination this month. Yes, I can see all the sexism I didn't notice as a teenager, but I still like it.

Then we went upstairs to where we talk. First we go around the room and say what else we've been reading, and whether we recommend it. I said I had nothing worth mentioning. Jacqie asked if there was anything I particularly hated, I said yes but it wasn't SF. She said she'd enjoy hearing what I thought of it anyway, so I talked about The Whip, by Karen Kondazian, and then asked, "Do you think of me as someone who is mean about books?"

Jacqie said no, she thought I was always interesting about books, but I think "Do you think I'm mean?" is a question you would not answer yes even in part unless you were really good friends and had had a chance to think it over.

I don't mean to be mean, but I do want to be funny, and if I have to choose between "not mean" and "funny", I will often choose funny.

If I've been mean to you, though, I didn't mean to, and I will appreciate it if you tell me and give me the chance to apologize.
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So the book group that is hosted by the library meets in August to choose books for the year. Everyone who attends that meeting gets to propose a book; then everyone writes down their top six choices, and we read the ones that get the most votes. I did not attend last August, so I didn't witness the selection, but we are going to read a book that was written by a member of the book club. He is also going to facilitate the discussion, since it is the custom for the person who proposes the book to be the facilitator, although one can ask the librarian who runs the book group to facilitate in one's stead.

I think this is a terrible idea.

Also I have no idea how to talk about a book in front of its author, even if I don't care about the author, which is not the case here, even if I like the book, which hmmm. I have developed a little skill at beta-reading, but that is different: there, you are criticizing only what the author wants criticized, in order to improve the work before she publishes it. Here, I don't know what he wants from the discussion but I don't think he's going to get it.
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Dogs claim that they have not been fed in years, but I have photographic evidence they were treated like royalty:

shepherd princess

jack russell princess
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I'm going to California tomorrow to visit the friend who moved away, with three other members of our mutual book group. I have been fretting anxiously all day that
1. I will not wake up in time
2. I will forget my CPAP, the CPAP's power cord, my phone, the phone's power cord, or my bite guard
(prescriptions and wallet are already packed, whatever else I'm forgetting is replaceable)
3. I will be miserable because of allergic reaction to cats, or because I can't sleep, or just because I can't stand being with five other people for four days straight
4. I will spoil everyone else's fun by being miserable or sick or too slow and achy, or by saying something stupid.

There is nothing more I can do about any of these worries, so I have been cleaning things. The little dog is all fluffy, except for the long hairs around his mouth, which look a bit like this dragon: http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/dragons/images/5/59/Chinese-dragon-black.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20090603191055

The combination of rawhide bone and dog saliva makes a powerful hair glue.
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This year, my SF book group's fearless leader has chosen the theme of diversity. Jacqie picks six, and lets us vote on the other six. Here's her list:

1. Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
2. Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee
3. The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson
4. Signal to Noise, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
5. Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older
6. The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins

and the groups we get to choose from:

7. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers
Dark Orbit, by Carolyn Ives Gilman
Planetfall, by Emma Newman, or
Archangel, by Marguerite Reed

8. Wake of Vultures, by Lila Bowen
Vermilion, by Molly Tanzer, or
Orlando, by Virginia Woolf

9. Gene Mapper, by Taiyo Fujii, or
The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu

10. The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu, or
The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara

11. Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik, or
An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir

12. All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders
Slade House, by David Mitchell
The Cloud Roads, by Martha Wells, or
The Affinites, by Robert Charles Wilson

Isn't that a good list? What would you choose? I'm going to be conflicted between All the Birds in the Sky, which I very much want to read, and The Cloud Roads, which I always want to make more people read.
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Russian writer Ivan Turgenev was a Scorpio. Midway through his first novel Rudin, his main character Dmitrii Nikolaevich Rudin alludes to a problem that affects many Scorpios. "Do you see that apple tree?" Rudin asks a woman companion. "It is broken by the weight and abundance of its own fruit." Ouch! I want very much for you Scorpios to be spared a fate like that in the coming weeks. That's why I propose that you scheme about how you will express the immense creativity that will be welling up in you. Don't let your lush and succulent output go to waste.


The Shadow Truth spread provides insight into your attitudes and hidden feelings. This spread is used when you are having trouble confronting something, or fear that you are concealing something from yourself.

The card in the center represents the attitude you assume. Eight of Swords (Interference), when reversed: No interference. Avoiding responsibility.

The card to the right represents the thoughts and feelings that underly your attitudes. Ten of Stones (Richness), when reversed: Delay. Not appreciating material wealth and security.

The card at the top represents how your attitude is evolving and will evolve in the future. Nine of Swords (Cruelty): Cruelty. Feeling like a victim.

The card to the left represents how others perceive your attitude. The Hierophant: Tradition, community and teachings. Conformity. Marriage, or any solemn commitment.

The card at the bottom represents what you cannot confront or are hiding from yourself. Son of Swords (Osiris): Someone gentle, yet persuasive. An initiate to esoteric mysteries. Kindness.
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The Wiscon Member Assistance Fund got a lot more requests than money this year. A donor has offered to double-match donations made between now and Saturday: for every dollar you put in, three dollars will go to someone who wants to go to Wiscon but can't afford to. Read all about it:

http://blog.wiscon.info/2016/02/matching-donation-to-member-assistance-fund-fund-drive/
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http://hth.dreamwidth.org/94228.html

I am delighted that my kids and their friends are feeling the Bern. I am optimistic that, for some of them, this will develop into the kind of political engagement that means becoming or volunteering for or at least voting for their local real life Leslie Knope. Because that is where the power to change the world comes from.
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[personal profile] lightreads reread Children of Morrow and Treasures of Morrow by H.M. Hoover, and I commented
There was a time when eugenics was all over SF written by women. And I was reading SF during that time, but I was a kid, and didn't notice it.

I am curious about it now, and I wonder:

What time period was that, exactly? [I'm thinking of the seventies]
Is my sense that it was more common in books by women than by men correct? If so, why?
What were they thinking?
Why did it stop?

Would you say that these are books I should include if I make an investigation of the phenomenon?


Can you think of any books I should include if I want to take a broad look at eugenics in SF? When I say eugenics I mean an attempt to improve the human race through selective breeding, not genetic engineering. And for this I'm not interested in books about breeding for The Perfect Child that has been foretold unto us, who will save the world; that trope is also creepy, but different.

Two Paths

Jan. 18th, 2016 12:59 am
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The top left card represents the first possible outcome. Strength: Raw power. Health and physical fortitude. A surge of tremendous force. Recovery from sickness. Victory after apprehension and fear. The ability to face and overcome opposition brings the inner qualities of strength and forbearance. Delays and setbacks will be overcome.

The top right card represents the second possible outcome. The Tower, when reversed: Unexpected upheaval leading to a positive change in life. Catastrophe survived or narrowly avoided. A new lifestyle and enlightenment. May indicate a broken relationship, divorce, or failure in business or career.

The middle left card represents the force drawing you towards the first possible outcome. Queen of Wands: The essence of fire behaving as water, such as a rainbow: The natural embodiment of passion and sensuality, who is always the center of attention. One who reflects the desires and ambitions of others, and ignites them. A radiantly vital person, cocky and charismatic, who sees what she wants and goes after it.

The middle right card represents the force drawing you towards the second possible outcome. Ten of Wands (Oppression), when reversed: Refusing to take on burdens greater than you can carry. Noble leadership restrained from transforming into tyranny. Bearing the weight of ultimate responsibility without being crushed. Through careful conservation of their fuel, the engines of creation continue onward.

The bottom card represents the critical factor that decides what will come to pass. The Moon: Cyclic transformation covering the mysterious forces of the night. Feminine beauty and the intoxicating vitality of youth. The metamorphosis from beauty to beast and vice versa. Occult forces, sensitivities and intense dreams. Dangerous situations and perilous times.
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• What are you reading?

A Stranger in Olondria, by Sofia Samatar, for SF book group, which is my favorite book group because 1. I like a really good proportion of the books we read, and 2. I can get loud and funny there and people still like me, even if I'm saying something mean about a book they like.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, for a new book group, which would be my fourth. It's a roundtable discussion of classics, led by CSU grad students, hosted in a very interesting small press/bookstore/coffee shop/community space. There were seventeen people at this first meeting. The discussion was good. Everyone got to talk. I said that while I was reading about Hester Prynne on the pillory, I was thinking about 21st century victims of public shaming. When I was seventeen, I thought that we could throw off our hypocrisies, be honest about who we loved, be honest about who we were, and eliminate shaming! Nope.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Something I've got checked out from the library, I hope.
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The first card, the significator, is placed in the center of the cross. This card represents the prime energy manifest in your life. The Hierophant: Ritualism. Mercy. Kindness. Forgiveness. Inspiration. Compassion. Servitude. Inactivity. Timidity. Captivity to ones own ideas. Tendency to cling to outdated ideas and principles. Conformity. A religious or spiritual leader.

The second card, placed above the significator, represents Air. It describes your spirit, process of thought, and the influence of reason. Knight of Clubs: A journey. Advancement into the unknown. Alteration. Fight. Absence. Change of residence.

The third card, placed to the right of the significator, represents Fire. It describes your motivations, creative energies, and the influence of passion. Two of Coins (Change): Difficulty in launching new projects. Difficult stations. New troubles. Embarrassment.

The fourth card, placed below the significator, represents Water. It describes your emotions, meditations, and the influence of love. The World: Attachment. Completion. Perfection. Ultimate change. The end result of all efforts. Success. Synthesis. Fulfillment. Capability. Triumph in undertakings. The rewards that come from hard work. Eternal life. Admiration of others.

The fifth card, placed to the left of the significator represents Earth. It describes your physical presence, position in life, and the influence of the material world. Eight of Cups (Indolence): Discontinuance of effort. Disappointment. Abandonment of previous plans. Shyness. Modesty. Abandoned success.

At this point the cross is complete and the triangle is formed. The sixth card, placed on the bottom left of the triangle represents one of two opposing forces. Queen of Clubs, when reversed: Jealousy. Deceit. Possible infidelity. Unstable emotions. Fickleness. Resistance. Opposition.

The seventh card, placed on the bottom right of the triangle represents the force that opposes the bottom left card. These forces may be external, but they are frequently one's own inner archetypes in conflict. Six of Clubs (Victory): Conquest. Triumph. Good news. Advancement. Expectation. Desires realized as a result of efforts.

The eighth card, the reconciler, is placed below the cross in the third vertex of the triangle. This is the force that will resolve the conflict between the bottom left and bottom right cards. By meditating on this force and bringing more of it into your life, you can bring the matter at hand to a swifter conclusion than would naturally occur. Knight of Cups, when reversed: Subtlety. Artifice. Trickery. A sly and cunning person. A person capable of swindling.

The ninth and final card, placed in the center bottom of the triangle, represents the final outcome unless you change course. The Hanged Man, when reversed: Lack of sacrifice. Unwillingness to make the necessary effort. Failure to give of oneself. Egotism. False prophecy. Useless sacrifice.
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I have 23 items checked out from the library:

This year you write your novel / Walter Mosley.
Barn owl / David Chandler.
Making origami masks step by step / Michael G. LaFosse
The checklist manifesto : how to get things right / Atul Gawande.
Age of contradiction : American thought and culture in the 1960s / Howard Brick.
Bad feminist : essays / Roxane Gay.
A paradise built in hell : the extraordinary communities that arise in disaster / Rebecca Solnit.
The gift : creativity and the artist in the modern world / Lewis Hyde.

Hotel du Lac / Anita Brookner.
Dead to me / Cath Staincliffe.
Persona / Genevieve Valentine.
Deathless / Catherynne M. Valente.
Ancillary sword / Ann Leckie.
Watership Down / Richard Adams.
Ex Machina. Book One / Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris.

Californication. The second season
Silicon Valley. The complete first season
The theory of everything
Borgen. Season 1
Deadwood. The complete second season [
Home
Boy meets girl
Clouds of Sils Maria

Plus 2 items on my Overdrive account:

What's a dog for? : the surprising history, science, philosophy, and politics of man's best friend / John Homans
The scarlet letter [electronic resource] / by Nathaniel Hawthorne

18 items on my hold list, of which 6 are fiction, 4 are non-fiction, and 8 are movies or TV shows. 1 is ready for pickup, 11 are frozen, 6 I probably should freeze even though their waitlists are really long.

That's close to normal fiction/nonfiction ratio for me. I don't read nearly as much nonfiction as fiction, but I keep them a lot longer. Even so, half of those are probably going to go back unfinished. This is the second time I've had A Paradise Built In Hell out, and it's going to go back unfinished again, and I'll cycle through the waitlist again. I should just buy it, but then it would keep getting bumped by books with time pressure.

It's Nixie who's reading The Gift, not me. Only 24 of those items are mine!

4 of them are for book groups. 3 of them are books I already own, but I can't find them right now and I need to read them right now. I have no idea how that situation with the TV shows happened. No idea.

What does your to-read pile look like?

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