May. 13th, 2012 10:40 pm
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Last night I dreamed I had acquired a small, snot-nosed, not very bright child, as I do every year or so. In the dream I resign myself to my responsibility. "Raising a small child is hard work, especially at my age," I think. "It wouldn't seem like such hard work if you were... more rewarding. More like the two I gave birth to. But I will raise you, and I will love you, because you are mine now."

Waking from that dream I finally realized who that unappealing child is: it's the one Joanna Russ called "The Little Dirty Girl" in the story of that name, which you can read in The Hidden Side of the Moon.

Waking a little further I realized how lucky I am never to have felt that way in waking life. Sure, I've been angry, irritated, frustrated with my kids, but they've never been a disappointment to me.
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I got into a stupid fight on James Nicoll's LJ, which inspired me to post:

How many syllables does "Julia" have?
How about "Danya"?
And "Darya"?

Given that the correct answer is "However many the person whose name you're pronouncing wants it to have," do you find it difficult to pronounce any of those names with two syllables?

How many syllables does "jewel" have? "Poem"? I don't want to start a stupid fight on my journal, but so far everyone who comments here has reasonably good sense and reasonably good manners. If you feel safe answering this question in this context: Do you have prejudices about people whose answers to the last two questions are different from yours? What are they?

And what is it about being female on the internet that makes people think I couldn't really understand what I just said, so they ought to explain it to me?
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Today is my husband's birthday. He invited me to have dinner with him and Mungo after Mungo's jazz concert, and said something about which restaurants would be busy on Cinco de Mayo, and then corrected himself to say, "This year it's Cincuenta de Mayo."
And I said "Huh?"
And he said "This year only. One time occasion. Cincuenta de Mayo."
And I still didn't get it.
So he said, "Am I not saying it right? What did I say?"
"You said May fiftieth. Oh my god, are you fifty? You are, you're fifty! Happy birthday!" He still cracks me up. And I never remember how old he's turning, because he's one year older than me, and I'm not 49 until October.

Today was also CSU Horticulture students' organic plant sale. I got six cauliflower seedlings, six broccoli, and eight onion for ten bucks. I think she liked me.

The lilacs are just about spent. Usually they are still in glorious bloom when I go to Wiscon, and they look like this when I get back. There are three white irises blooming in my front yard that smell like key lime pie.

And now a link, because this post argues that posting links on DW to good stuff you read helps build community here.
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I don't watch Law and Order, so I didn't catch those references in this week's Community, but there was a joke in there for me: when Annie called the unblooming yam "A big orange splotch on your perfect record!" I don't know why this tickles me so much, but Community + Pinkwater! Of course!

The older I get the more everything seems to refer to everything else. Possibly because there are more stories in my brain for each new story to refer to. Possibly I am just going crazy. Referentiality tickles the pattern-making part of my brain even when I know it is meaningless. (The Big Orange Splot reference is not meaningless. It tells you something important about Annie's character and, I hope, her character arc.)
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Saw a belted kingfisher on this morning's walk with the husband and dogs.

Yesterday I dug a lot and now my wrists hate me. I still have boxes of irises (which weren't going to bloom this year anyway because they were too crowded) waiting to be cut up and replanted. My neighbors to the left are out of town, the ones to the right have a brand-new baby, so they probably don't want my leftover mystery irises for the blank spots in their newly-landscaped yards.

Called my mom yesterday. Wish I hadn't.

My mom's a storyteller too. I won't say I get it from her, because I've had a thousand teachers, and also I resent admitting how much my gifts resemble hers, but-- I get it from her. But I don't use it to make people feel bad. At least, not often. At least, not people I claim to love.

I could, though.
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I've been intensely fannish about The Good Wife lately, wolfing down the backlog, waiting for the next episode like a dog waits for dinner, and reading all the commentary I can find. I've been running into the notion that Alicia couldn't tolerate being deceived over the Peter/Kalinda affair because Alicia doesn't lie.

Alicia does lie. She lies less than any other main character, maybe less than any recurring character except Pastor Isaiah, but she does routinely lie: to her children. She lies to them in that very episode. Zach asks why his parents are separating, and Alicia says, "Because we decided it was time." No, actually, Alicia decided. Unilaterally. Peter did not even get the chance to discuss the decision after the fact.

And a minute after telling her kids this lie, which will not fool them for long even if Peter backs her up on it, Alicia tells them, "We don't lie here. We don't lie to each other." This is exactly the double bind that creates liars like Peter. On the verbal level you learn that you must not lie to the people you love. On a deeper level, you learn that you must lie to the people you love, and you must do anything (including lying) to prevent them from finding out that you lied. And both those messages come from your parent, your moral teacher, the person without whose care you would have died.

I'm sure that Alicia can rationalize why she had to say that then, to protect Zach and Grace, because she loves them, because the truth would only hurt them and what difference could it possibly make? And I am sure that Peter's rationalizations for his lies to Alicia sound remarkably similar. And I am intensely interested in whether the show is going to bring that similarity to light.
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You know that moment when you have come inside because your knee is telling you, "You can stop hauling compost now, or I can make you stop," and you take off your boots and make a cup of tea and sit down at the computer and realize that you have to go out again right now because there is a tiny tiny praying mantis on your arm? Yeah.
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I should have thought about this earlier, and asked you guys for feedback, or maybe I should have waited until next year. But here's what I just sent to this year's Wiscon access committee:

Problem: Panelists sometimes forget to use the mike or to move their hands away from their mouths when they talk.

The only method I, as an audience member who cannot understand what is being said, have to address this problem is to put my hand up and wait for the moderator to call on me. This solution is not available when the panel is not taking questions[*], takes some wait time even when it is available, and is an interruption to the actual discussion.

Suggestion: Print HANDS or MIKE (depending on whether the panel has mikes) on cardstock in large friendly letters. Leave them on the blue-stripe seats or at the entrance to the room. Somehow inform everyone that these are intended to be used to remind the panelists to move their HANDS or use the MIKE.

ETA: The access team thinks this is a great idea. They're going to see what they can do for this year.

[*]ETA: I know that some people can call out "mike!" even when the panelists are talking. I appreciate it when they do. But. I wish everyone could understand how painful it is for a shy person to push herself forward, when it is not her turn, to ask.
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I eat out alone a lot. I like it. I bring a book.

I'm a creature of habit. I like going to the same restaurant every week. I also like the fact that waiters remember whether you are a good tipper, even if you are a fat middle-aged odd shabby woman eating alone, with dirt under her fingernails and a book.

Pretending that a professional interaction is a personal one is always going to make me uncomfortable. It's hard enough making eye contact and small talk with my friends, when I really like them and I trust that they really like me. I understand that service workers pretend to like customers because they (or their managers) believe customers like it. I cope with it as well as I can.

This musing brought to you by a new waiter at my favorite restaurant, who addressed me as "my dove". Immediately after a conversation with the people at the next table in which he disclosed that he did not know who Warren Zevon was. If you do not know who Warren Zevon was then you are too young to even pretend to flirt with me. I do not expect you to know this rule, child, since I just made it up, but if you are going to flirt professionally then I do expect you to know that if a woman suddenly stops making eye contact or even looking in your general direction after you address her as "my dove", that is not your cue to ramp up the flirting and the leaning and the hip-shot lingering and the amount of emotion you put into urging her to enjooooy her dinner.


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