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Maxine Kumin died this year. I didn't know that. She is not mentioned in The Oxford Book of American Poetry, Chosen and Edited by David Lehman. Was she not highly regarded?

I started reading her poems and essays when I was new to living in the country, new to having a horse to take care of and a dog to train, new to the post-hole digger and the fencing pliers, to thinking about drainage, to making compost. Maxine Kumin wrote poems about these things that made me say yes, that.

The Excrement Poem

tax day

Apr. 15th, 2014 09:11 pm
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I filed our state and federal returns, nagged Mungo into filing his first tax returns (aw!), and filed an extension request for Nixie, because after I gave up on getting her to find time to do it with me, I discovered that one of her w-2s is missing. It's for the Indian restaurant that she worked at during her internship at UIUC. It's okay, I said, just ask them for a replacement. I have no way of getting in touch with them, she said. ARGH!

The most annoying thing is that it doesn't matter, it isn't going to raise her total to the point that she would owe any taxes, but I need it anyway!

She emailed the former roommates to see if they had it.

Mungo asked how much more of a hassle his were going to be next year, assuming he gets a job in Canada. I have no idea! I assume he still won't earn enough to owe anything, but that he'll have to file returns to that effect in both countries.
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This is an excellent poem about the lessening of fear that can come with becoming an old lady. I mean, you're still you, of course; you don't stop being anxious, if you are an anxious person, or being prudent if you are a prudent person; but the amount of being prudent, being patient, being cautious you are willing to give right now in return for pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by is much less.

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If you signed up for programming but haven't got your assignments, maybe look in the spam: that's where gmail put mine.

I only got freelance moderator assignments, three topics I am qualified to moderate by virtue of having no opinions. I don't tweet! I have seen no wuxia! Also no mecha, not even Pacific Rim!

If you didn't sign up for programming, or did, but could do another, check the list of panels that still need panelists here:
You'll notice two of my three panels on that list.

I am contemplating volunteering for
Sex Education for Kids: Consent Mechanics
It can be hard to know exactly when talk to your kids about sex and what to say. Let's talk about what we've tried, how well it worked, and what lessons we've learned in the process. The Positive Consent model is different from how things were taught thirty years ago; how can we learn to model and teach it outside the 'birds-and-bees' lecture?

Social Isolation and WisCon
For many of us, WisCon can be a magical bastion of cluefulness in an expanse of oppression. Yet even at the best WisCon, we can have internalized phobias, impostor syndrome and geek self-loathing. And when we're not here, we may not have access to the social support we need. How do we support ourselves when the world doesn't do it for us?

which are topics on which I have things to say, but I may not have energy for more than three.
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This one is called The Snow Man, by which I mean Benton Fraser, when he has been alone for a long time. In the snow. So, after the Quest, after Ray has gone home to Chicago. Before they both realize that being apart is wrong and figure out what they need to do get right. "Beholds nothing that is not there." You can keep telling yourself that, Frase, but it isn't ever going to make it true.
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Text here.

You may recognize the poet's name from One Art which is -- I think it is a perfect poem. I read that one to myself a lot. Here's one I am not too intimidated to read to you:

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I think I was having someone else's dreams last night.

First I was in my mother's house, starting prep for a big meal. But there was laundry all over the kitchen counters. I called out, "Are these clean or dirty?" Someone called back, but what he was saying didn't respond to my question. So I went toward the laundry room, asking again, "Do you know whether these are clean or dirty? Should I fold them and put them away, or put them in the laundry room?" He answered again in the same way, still sounding as if he thought we were in conversation with each other, but not actually responding to what I said. I got to the door of the laundry room and saw him in there with his feet up on the table, leaning back in his chair, reading the newspaper. He had enormous feet, in shoes that were much wider at the ball than at the heel. He looked around his newspaper, said, "Come on in, let's do this," and smiled at me with all his teeth. I realized that he was a wolf. The Little Red Riding Hood kind, who walks and talks like a man, but I knew that if I stepped into the room he would tear my living flesh from my bones.

I screamed "Mommy!" and ran, screaming, to my mother. She was also reading a newspaper. I got into her lap and told her about the wolf. It was odd: I knew that he was real, really there, really dangerous; but I also knew that he could not enter the harmonious, rational, civilizing presence of my mother.

"It talked like a person but it was a wolf," I said.
"I hate it when they do that," she said kindly.

Then I woke up. It was the middle of the night, but I was too flooded with adrenaline to fall back asleep again easily. When I did, I dreamed that I was backstage at a busy, crowded TV studio. I was supposed to appear on a talk show, but I had found out about it late and arrived at the last minute. I found the producer, who handed me a sheet of paper. "This is the question you'll be addressing," she said. "Don't be tempted to ramble on about drug policy. Keep to the topic." I could read the paper, which I never can in dreams. The question was about Area A Enterprise Zones. I didn't know anything about Area A Enterprise Zones! I was a drug policy expert![*] I tried to find the producer again, to ask whether I should drop out even though it was the last minute, or appear even though I knew nothing about the topic. I overheard someone saying that I was going to be on with Hillary Rodham Clinton. "Oh, I love that woman," said Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hillary took me by the arm and said we had to get ready. We found a bathroom. Someone powdered my face. I was alternating between dread of making a fool of myself on national television, and a giddy feeling that I could do it -- I could do anything -- I was with Hillary Rodham Clinton! I asked her what she knew about Area A Enterprise Zones. "They're the ones in Pennsylvania, that they named after superheroes," she said. I was going to die on national television. Hillary got me some pretzels. "She's afraid she won't know what to say," she explained to the kids at the pretzel stand.

"This is your first time?" asked one of the kids. "You're going to be toast, newbie."
"Crash and burn," agreed the other.

[*]I am not in fact a drug policy expert.

Both dreams were terrifying enough to be memorable, which makes them feel like they have a message. But I don't think the message was for me. Do any of you recognize either of them?
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Three minutes of a raven trying to interact with a snowy owl, who is not having any: I can't eat you and you can't eat me, so why should I pay any attention? But the raven is insatiably curious.
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so today was book group and I mentioned that Nixie has a summer internship with a neuropsychologist at UW-Madison, and my book group friend Barbara wondered whether it was with her college roommate's ex-boyfriend's brother, who is a neuropsychologist at UW-Madison and a really nice guy. And it is!

DEAR day

Mar. 22nd, 2014 02:58 pm
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It's snowing. Book group tomorrow. I'm having a Drop Everything And Read day. My kids' school used to do this occasionally: classes cancelled, we're just going to read all day. Bring a book (Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver for me today) and your favorite stuffed animal, pillow, or blankie. Pajamas encouraged.

Thank you to [personal profile] jesse_the_k for pointing out [personal profile] were_duck's Wiscon friending meme. It's still a long way away but it is coming.
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I'm so pleased to tell you that Mungo will go to McGill next year. He applied to Nursing and Arts. Nursing accepted him. He hasn't heard from Arts yet. He doesn't know which he'll choose if he gets into both, but he is definitely headed for Montreal.
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• What are you reading?

The Road to Ruin, by Donald Westlake. Dortmunder novels are comfort reading now, though I can remember how puzzled I was the first time I read one: these people, am I supposed to like them? am I supposed to root for them? Eventually I figured out that Dortmunder was just this guy, you know? and whoever he was robbing was a moral horror, so yes I was supposed to root for him.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Like the Lion's Tooth, by Marjorie Kellogg, recommended by [personal profile] delphi. It was interesting reading this book so close to Haven Kimmel's Indigo. They're both about children who are physically, sexually, and emotionally abused by their same-sex parent, who see themselves as the protector and partner of their other-sex parent. Both of them fail to protect and eventually lose the parent they love and their siblings. Both of them go on to a sexual relationship which would be horrifying if it were not so much less horrible than what they came from. They are both surrounded by other stories of cruelty inflicted on the powerless by the slightly less powerless. Like the Lion's Tooth is a much better book, I think.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I should be reading N. K. Jemisin's The Killing Moon, for bookgroup. I ordered it from Amazon a few weeks ago, but I ordered it along with The Goblin Emperor and a couple other things and chose the free shipping, and Amazon decided to hold all the books until The Goblin Emperor comes out, which is in April. I knew they could do that, of course, I just didn't think about it because they never have done the other times I pre-ordered something. They did send along the giant bottle of generic Benadryl from that order, which is good because Aiko needs nine Benadryl a day. The library's copies of The Killing Moon were all checked out. Nobody local that I borrow books from had a copy. I requested a loan from the Denver public library, which has been IN TRANSIT for a while. If it shows up today I can still make it to bookgroup tomorrow.
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I want to get a handle on Luna Lovegood's voice. It would be useful to have a list of every location in the books where she speaks, or everywhere she appears, or even just everywhere her name appears. Has anyone out there on the internets made such a list?
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Passion is much better. Eating oatmeal and hay, not interested in being groomed. I should remember, she always gets a bit colicky in spring. She can't reach more than a few grass blades from inside the corral, but it was enough to make her quite miserable.


Mar. 9th, 2014 07:19 pm
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First 72-degree Sunday in spring. 33 cars parked on the road outside Horsetooth Mountain Park because the parking lot was full. The last of the ROTC kids heading up the hill past the reservoir with his full backpack was alarmingly red in the face.

I went to Masonville to take care of the horses, because Neal and Mungo are skiing. Passion is very old and very thin. I think this is the third winter we've said that we'll be surprised if she makes it through. Today, I'll be surprised if I see her tomorrow. I brought her a bowl of oatmeal, but she wasn't interested. I pulled some big knots out of her mane. It's superstitious to think that knots will bind you and untying them will release you, but, you know. Tomorrow I'll go back with a comb and without the dogs, who were being annoying.


Feb. 28th, 2014 12:13 am
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I just renewed my driver's license online. Yes, it expired on my birthday. Which was... not in February.

Then I recommended a fic from due South Seekrit Santa 2013 to someone, and realized that I never talked here about the fics I received in that fest. Which I am sorry about, because they are both really good.

They're both for the prompt
Ray wants kids. Fraser loves kids. I love stories about them having kids, but I wish there were more in which the kid's mom was alive, not evil, and involved in her child's life.

My mind turns naturally to polyamory, but I would also be happy with a story in which Ray & Fraser's relationship with their child's mom was not sexual or romantic. I'd like it even more if it is sexual and/or romantic, but I am a parent, so I realize how difficult it is to fit kids and sex into the same life, much less the same fic.

I love thinking about them going to the hospital together.
LABOR NURSE: And which of you is the father?
RAY: We both are.
LABOR NURSE: ...How does that work?
FRASER: Very well, thank you.
ELAINE: Speaking of work, I am in labor here.

Or to their first parent-teacher meeting, pulling up a third tiny chair. When they introduce themselves, Fraser adds, "We are not married." The kindergarten teacher says that that doesn't matter, and Fraser explains that it does: "Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada makes it a crime to practice or enter into any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time; so it is very important for us to be clear about the fact that, even though we are living together and raising a child together, we are not in a conjugal union."

(Since that time, this happened, and I love Canada so much right now I can't even.)

First, And the summer night is fragrant with a mighty expectation of relief, by armadillo1976. Armadillo1976 doesn't have any other stories on AO3, but I think she must be a writer, or one heck of a reader, because there are so many rookie mistakes she doesn't make. Martha, her original female character, doesn't get her individuality trimmed away so she'll fit neatly into whatever spaces exist in Ray & Fraser's story. She's a person, with agency, and she fits in inconveniently and messily like people do. Zoe, the kid, isn't there like a mirror in a still life to show us another aspect of Ray & Fraser's wonderfullness. She is also a person, with her own agency. In polyamory, in parenting, and in armadillo1976's story, the fact that you love each other very much doesn't mean that your goals will always coincide. It takes hard work and creativity to make a life that satisfies all of you.

Second, 4 Times Fraser Wished His Father Could Have Been There, by dessert_first. I love this so much. It was a last-minute pinch hit, which dessert_first decided to do by just giving me everything I wanted, but she is a real writer and she turned it into a real story. It works so well that she has started writing more of the story here, and I would love you all to go read and leave kudos to encourage her to continue.

And then there are the two I podficced: Sweeter for the Wait, by Spuffyduds, which is one of the sexiest things I've ever read, and I don't mean for podficcing, I mean ever, and Detente, by Sena, which is hilarious, and so right about how Ray K and Fraser fight.

You can find my podfics here.

Author Subscriptions 0
Kudos 11
Comment Threads 10
Bookmarks 2
Subscriptions 0
Word Count 255
Hits 1337

My hit count is leet but my hits/kudos and hits/comment ratios are pitiful.
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I got three (<3!) valentines, celebrating three kinds of love.

First, from Geoffrey Tennant to Anna Conroy:
my sender wisely did not use a Valentine card for this one )
transcript )
That massive run-on sentence is a really good take on Geoffrey's voice. And I am so pleased to see Anna get a drop of the appreciation she so deserves.

And then this, from Billy Tallent to Billie, the daughter he discovers when her mother attends the Hard Core Logo reunion tour:
images )
transcript )
Yeah, Billy's parenting skills are terrible. But he is sincere and trying.

Last, romantic love, from Ray Kowalski to Fraser:
images )
transcript )
Thank you to my generous giver.

Then there's the one I sent, which is romantic like Heathcliff: I'm terrible for you, but I'm the only one for you, and I'd rather destroy your life than see you happy without me. From Joe Dick to Billy Tallent. And here it is.

It was fun to browse the Valentine card aisle as Joe. I was very tempted by the card with princesses and toe rings, but decided it wouldn't work because it had characters who didn't exist in 1996. I am filled with admiration for everyone who manages to drop their own persona to inhabit another: I felt sure that Joe Dick would begin his valentine with "Hey, cuntface," and end it with a pictogram of his name, but me, I just. couldn't. go there.
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I just learned from [personal profile] sovay that Maggie Estep died. A bright light has gone out in my world.

Emotional Idiot:


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