the cut

Sep. 17th, 2014 02:35 am
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Just sent mail to my daughter:
Cut almost 100 words. Mostly adverbs. Sorry, adverbs.

Young women use a lot of adverbs.

Context is that Nixie is applying for a grant for next year. Her project proposal and personal statement must be no more than 500 words each. They are 700-800 words each. She is too stressed by writing them to be able to see where to cut.

I used to have an image from the endnotes of a scanlation of the first volume of Kaoru Mori's Emma: Kaoru Mori's editor keeps pointing out things that could be cut, and she keeps exclaiming, "But that's the most important part!" I loved that! In the translation that got published in English, she says instead, "But that's very important!" Maybe that is a more accurate translation but it isn't as good.

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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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!

one thing

Nov. 7th, 2013 07:43 pm
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One thing that fills me up to overflowing with love and pride for this child of mine is that she can acknowledge when she has done something racist. It hurts her self-esteem but she doesn't let that hurt stop her from perceiving the truth. In email earlier today, she wrote:
Umm I was waiting for the bus and there was this man in a giant trench coat and what google tells me is called an 'outback' hat smoking a pipe, with a blonde, blue eyed, clean looking toddler in a stroller. And I was trying to imagine him smoking in the house with that kid, and had difficulty.

I replied:
I find it hilarious/disturbing that the toddler's blondness and blue eyes get classified with "clean looking" as reasons why its innocent pure lungs should not get dirtied up with second hand smoke.

And she replied:
WOW I am so racist that's so annoying. [...] At first I was like 'no, it wasn't the kid being caucasian that made me think this...I was just including those details to give you a picture of the scene' but there are plenty of other equally extraneous details I did not mention.
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Nixie is enjoying being at UIUC. She is really excited that she can go to a psychology brown-bag (where someone presents their research) every! day!

Living in a strange place is uncomfortable, still. It's too humid to run during the day; she's thinking about taking a self-defense class; she'd like to make friends, but that's so easy when you're just dropping by other people's already-full lives; she doesn't have internet at home; one of her roommates never stops talking.

Since a lot of what he doesn't stop talking about is how wonderful he is, I thought maybe this was his sad idea of how to impress girls, but he does the same unstoppable monologue with their landlord, who is a man, and the landlord doesn't deal with it any better than Nixie. I know Captain Awkward had a column on this. Do any of you have it bookmarked? Or do you have any strategies to try?
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Nixie is flying back to Oregon, looking forward to Paideia and school.

While she was here, she went to the dentist, the same dentist that Neal and I go to, and found out that she grinds her teeth and she should get Invisalign and then a bite guard, oh joy. Nixie said that three of the five people she talked to at the dentist's office commented on how much she looks like me. You know what's nice? She *likes* that.

I was dithering over whether or not to sign up for the due South podfic exchange. [personal profile] amaebi assured me that I had everything I needed, and I remembered that when Nixie was in high school, when she was sick, she would ask me to read her to sleep.
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I forgot to tell you guys that Nixie is living at home this semester. None of the classes she wanted were being offered Fall semester, so she decided to make herself an internship instead. She's working for a psychology professor here at CSU, taking EEGs of people looking at pictures of faces.

She also got a job as a busboy at a family-owned breakfast and lunch restaurant. They seem to like her: they've got her waiting tables and running the cash register as needed. Her purple hair really stands out though. She could use some advice on how to tell people not to put their hands in your hair when you are in a customer service position and they are the customer.
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I'm planning a trip to Portland to see Nixie next semester. Would any of you like to hang out with me?

Nixie was here for Thanksgiving week. She had a tilt-table test, because she fainted again at school, so now we know she doesn't have postural hypotension. Not sure what the next step is.

Mungo turned sixteen, and got a set of wheels: a second-hand bike.

There's a movie I love, called Wilby Wonderful, that you can watch streaming, with commercials, on Hulu:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/59586/wilby-wonderful

[personal profile] sasha_feather mentioned that it's also streaming on Netflix.

It is written and directed by Daniel MacIvor, who goes very light on the existential despair, for a Canadian filmmaker.

It has Paul Gross looking nearly as unattractive as is possible when you are Paul Gross, who gets to say the best line in the movie: )

It has Callum Keith Rennie, which is why I watched it, but not why I'm recommending it. Callum Keith Rennie has been in lots of bad movies and you don't see me recommending them, do you? All right then.

It's sad and sweet and funny, and morally complex, and humane:spoiler )

And if you watch it, then you can read there's a warm town in the shadow of you.

good news

Aug. 24th, 2011 12:39 pm
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Said beautiful daughter came back from Belize and went almost immediately to Portland, but before she went, she got a second opinion from a neurologist, who doesn't think she has a seizure disorder.
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I have been listening to a lot of emotionally manipulative language lately, ranging from "you're going to hate me saying this, but," through "if *my* beautiful teenage daughter were suddenly having convulsions, I would want to *do something* about it," all the way up to "so, just, no driving for three months, you're okay with that? And after three months, if she has a seizure behind the wheel, and kills herself and maybe someone else, you're okay with that?"

I realize that decades away from that kind of language doesn't give me any protection from hearing it again. But hearing it again gives me all kinds of appreciation for the decades away from it.

I realize that when my husband asks, "Why did you tell them?" he doesn't mean, "You shouldn't have told them." He doesn't mean, "You should have known better than to tell them." He doesn't mean what it would have meant in my family of origin, "Since I can see a way you could have avoided this, any suffering you experience is entirely your own fault." He just means, "Why?"


Said beautiful teenage daughter is WWOOFing in Belize.
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Mungo won the Patrick Gilmore award, which his high school gives to its outstanding freshman music student. It's kind of a big deal.

I can't decide whether to tell my mother. Naches are a gift, you know? And people who look gifts in the mouth shouldn't necessarily be expecting to receive more. And in my last phone call I mentioned that Nixie has planned out her entire three remaining years at Reed, because she wants to take all fifteen Psych classes Reed offers and enough other things to fill an extra major or two, so she had to get permission from a prof to take a senior-level class next semester, but that was easy because it was the same prof who wants her to TA for the class she just finished.

And my mother said in this oh-dear voice, "Do you think she'll go on to grad school?"

And I said that although I thought it was silly to expect a college freshman to have chosen a career, Nixie was planning to be a neurobiologist, as she has since tenth grade, so there were necessarily going to be lots more years of school after Reed.

And I tried to keep my irritation out of my voice, but I must have failed, because my mother said, "Well, I'm just concerned for her. I don't know what she can do with a bachelor's degree in psychology."[*]


And this is a common occurrence in my conversations with my mother. About this time last year, I remember, my mother asked how Nixie's graduation went. I said it was fine. She said, "Didn't she graduate?" as if that were a natural followup to what I said. Yes, she graduated, with honors, from her honors IB program, with a National Honor Society tassel on her graduation cap, which she wore to her graduation. Which you would know if the cognitive dissonance you experience at anything good being produced by me had not erased that information from your brain.

It turned out that what she wanted to talk about was my awesome nephew's graduation, which she got to attend because my sister invited her. Still. "Didn't she graduate?"

[*]Recognizing this as concern-trolling makes me grateful to you, and you, and everyone who has made up my online social life. Vocal conversations are too quick and too ephemeral for me to understand much about what just happened there. I've learned so much about human interaction from written conversation, which sticks around to be studied, and especially from other people's comments on written conversation, which names concepts like "concern-trolling" and pins them up for study.
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So Nixie's back at Reed, and we were talking about Paideia and cartwheels and fishbones and stuff, and how this semester is similar to/different from last, and she said, "I love being here, and talking to my friends about what we're all reading, and what we're thinking about what we're reading. And they're all smart, and interesting, and bring interesting perspectives to the discussion, but I miss getting to talk about this stuff with you. Because you--"
"--have different experiences, yeah."
"You have so much more experience, and you say things that no one else says, and you connect things for me that no one else does. I should tell Mungo how lucky he is."
"He doesn't talk to me much about his classes, actually. He tells me more about his social life than you ever did, but not about his classes. I don't know which is better."
"I don't think either is better. Just different. We're different people, so," she said.

My ego grew three sizes that day, I am telling you.


She's reading The Republic.
Have you read the one where Socrates proves to some guy that he's a son of a bitch, I ask her?
No, she says, laughing in anticipation.
Yeah, Socrates asks this guy, he asks, do you have a dog? And the guy says yes I do, and she's a great dog. And is she yours, asks Socrates? I'll fight anyone who says she isn't, says the guy. And has she had puppies, asks Socrates? Yeah, she's a great mom, says the guy. Are you sure they're hers, asks Socrates? Yes, they're hers, I was there when she had them, okay? Right, so, says Socrates, she's a mother. She's yours. Therefore she's your mother, and the puppies are your brothers.
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So my daughter and I were making zucchini bread (delicious!) in my new silicone loaf pans (I love living in the 21st century!) and I said, "You mix the dry ingredients and I'll do the wet." And then I said, "The sugar was supposed to be a wet ingredient, actually."

And then I wondered why that is. Because the sugar would clog your sifter if you were using one? Because the sugar mixes better if it gets to dissolve? Those are just rationalizations, aren't they? Do you know the real reason?

Halloween

Oct. 31st, 2009 07:30 pm
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We've lived here for 21 Halloweens without one trick-or-treater, even when there were two little girls next door. That's how it goes when when your driveway is a quarter-mile right-of-way cut out of someone else's pasture. My kids used to go trick-or-treating with friends who lived in town. This is the first year Mungo (almost 14) hasn't gone; he would have gone if his friends did, but they didn't. He did go to a Haunted Corn Maze with them.

I meant to hand out candy at my house, but when I got there I realized that my lack of gutters + the recent blizzard + the current balmy temperatures = melting snow dripping on the heads of those who mount my front steps. So the better part of neighborliness was to leave my lights off.

I did clear away several big branches the blizzard had broken off the catalpa, which were obstructing the sidewalk, and swept up all the wet slippery leaves. Which means my brush pile, which I had been stomping down and hemming in with cinder blocks, has grown out-of-bounds again. Neighborliness is hard.

Nixie is having a movie night/sleepover at a friend's house. Hugh, Mungo, and I are watching the first season of Battlestar Galactica.

I called my mom back yesterday. She told me she had had surgery for breast cancer the day before yesterday. They caught it early and got it all, so no chemo, no radiation.

It's amazing that I've figured out how to have communication and relationships even as well as I have. Amazing, I tell you. I am grateful for all the help I've had from Hugh, Nixie, and Mungo.

I'm going to do NaNoWriMo this year.

snow day

Oct. 29th, 2009 11:25 pm
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Snow! and lots of it! PSD schools were closed today and yesterday. Unfortunately, CSU didn't close until the afternoon, so I had to drive Nixie to her math class. There was a quiz, and Nixie isn't doing well enough to skip it.

The math class -- it's basically the second half of Thomas's Calculus -- is surprisingly difficult. Not because of the material. After the lecture on partial differentials Nixie said she had paid attention, but still didn't understand what they were. So I got a vase and a marker, and drew parallel lines on the vase from base to lip. "This is y=0. y=1. y=2." Then I took a toothpick and surfed it up and down one of the lines. "The partial differential with respect to x gives us information about how x changes while we hold y constant." I put down the toothpick, picked up the marker, and started drawing circles around the vase. "This is x=0."

"Okay, I get it," said Nixie. She glared at how obvious it was. "She's such a bad teacher!"

"No," I said, "I'm such a good one." But I think Nixie is right. Her teacher is really not good at teaching.


About the house: I thought I could have at least a virtual housewarming party this weekend, but no. The plasterer will probably be done sometime next week, and then I can move in. This weekend, I am using Samhain's energy to finish things at this house.

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