Saturday, November 29, 2014

Looking back and thinking forward

So I think, from the clothing, that I was about 16 in this picture. That would have made it roughly 1987 or 1988. That's me on the left, and then my brother Mark on the right, and my grandmother in between us. Grandmother (because that's what we always called her) was my dad's mom. I'm closer to her age now than it really strikes me to think about, but if you look at a current pic of me and then look at her... well, the resemblance is pretty clear, allowing for purple hair and everything.

With my exams finished finally and all the good stuff going on in my life right now, I find myself thinking of her often. I admired her greatly -- she taught me a lot about crafting and being a pretty cool and creative person. She was a painter and a pretty darn good one at that. I have her art on my walls here, and I'd take more of it once I have a good place to hang it. My dad loved his mom, but their relationship was a lot more conflicted -- he wasn't wrong, and she wasn't perfect, and I had the luxury of knowing here when she was older and wiser and a grandmother rather than a young, poor woman with a temper who had three boys in four years of each other and a husband who was always out on the road, selling. And I'll leave it at that. That said... she was awesome to me, and I never saw her lose her temper once at her grandkids, and there were a lot of us, and we were not always in the best behavior.

But anyway. So yeah. I think she'd be proud of me. I think I look more like her than I realized. She contributed so much to making me feel special and loved and worthwhile, even though I was different and a bit odd. I still miss her, and even as I finish up my Ph D and move on into work, I find that one of the things I judge the world by is "Would Grandmother think this is cool?" And if the answer is yes, then on we go. She hasn't steered me wrong yet.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

THANKS-giving! Hah!

See what I did there? Of course you do. :)

So, things I'm thankful for this year.

Firstly, I'm thankful that I passed my exams. Like all the thankfulness that it's done. It pretty much ate my life for a year, and while I don't regret it in the least.... I have a number of other things I'd like to move on to, not the least of which is my dissertation.

Secondly, I'm thankful for my husband. Matt made it possible for me to do... well, everything over the past year. He really honestly is the best thing to happen to me, and he makes all the rest of it worth doing.

Thirdly, I'm thankful for my kids. Alisdair and William are really the best sons I could ask for. They live much further from me than I like, but I respect their choices -- our time together again will come. They're such awesome people, and it's a privilege to be their mother.

Fourthly, I have these dogs, you see. As I sit crosslegged on the couch right now, Si has wrapped himself around me and is sleeping with his head and shoulders between me and the couch back, using my leg as a pillow. Si is irritating and stubborn and noisy and demanding and really the sweetest dog I could ask for. Leo and Sephi are lovely and I would never want to do without them, don't get me wrong, but Si's my doggie, and I'm incredibly glad to have him.

We have a lot of problems in the world, but we also have a lot of things that are right and worthwhile. Sometimes distress over the former makes it hard to identify the latter, but it's always, always worth making the effort. In that spirit, I will keep trying to find ways to make the bad better while celebrating the good, in this year and years to come. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I'm looking to my friends this morning because I need help knowing how I can deal with this. This situation is not about my feelings or my response, and I know that, so I won't waste space with them. I just... from my friends who engage more deeply in activism than I do, I want to know... where does that emotion go? And how can I turn around and help when I don't have much money to help with? How do I find a place to direct my need to engage without burdening someone who has enough burdens of their own over the system we have?

I am overwhelmed this morning, and I need a conduit, a way to refocus and help make some sort of change. If anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

All I want for Christmas...

At Matt's request, I'm making a Christmas list of things I think are nifty.

First off, I have an Amazon wishlist.

Second, I love this site and nearly everything on it.

Third, I could use more winter dresses and good leggings. This site has a number of them.

Fourth, I don't really have enough geeky nerdy literary shirts. There's lots of sources for those, though. 

Fifth, here's a link to my ThinkGeek wishlist

If you need more suggestions... um, I have no idea. That should do it, though. :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Post-exams update

The Edgar Degas painting to the right is pretty indicative of how I'm feeling at the moment.

So, exams are done. I passed both my oral and written exams without having to redo any of them. I've been asked to ponder my dissertation. I have to catch up on the grading and Latin I've let slide this past week. I am so very DONE, but I'm trying to at least keep a semblance of forward momentum through the rest of the semester. My committee was helpful in pointing out some of the weaknesses in my approach for moving forward, which is really helpful, and I need to take back a billion books to the library, which I'm actually really looking forward to -- but not today, as the weather is a complete pain. As I look out the window, the snow is coming down in what I think of as sifted powdered sugar -- light enough you can't really see it snowing unless you've got a dark backdrop, but enough to slowly blanket every freaking thing out there.

I am due to phone my sons tonight after gaming, and I'm starting on new Christmas knitting projects, and I made three jars of preserved lemons yesterday, and four jars of harissa the day before that, but I still haven't made the cheesecake I wanted to make, and yesterday I ended up sleeping for two hours due to a headache, and I didn't get any grading done, but I did clean two kitchen counters and all the stuff on them, and I picked up in the bedroom a bit, and I put clean sheets on the bed, and I did dishes this morning even before coffee, and and and and and.  As you may have noticed, I'm having problems breaking out of the to-do list mode of living. To some extent this is helpful, as it actually borders on making me competent at daily life. On the other hand, I am so lost and at sea right now on what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. I feel as though I'm going through the motions and trying to catch up on what else is going on. I'm hoping this vague malaise passes before the holidays kick in -- I'm not traveling this year, for good or ill, and so I want to be able to enjoy all the staying-put-ness and build up another year of traditions.

So yeah. Back to things like blog posting. Good to see everyone again, and thanks for sticking around and reading, even if only in my mind. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I voted yesterday. I did research, I looked over the issues, I even read background on the judges, for heaven's sake -- and EVERYTHING except the school bond that I voted for lost. There were a few bright spots nationally in races I couldn't affect, but by and large, people voted for the exact opposite that common sense and a vague overview of the issues would have told them to... and I'm so very depressed as a result. What the hell, people. *hugs her coffee cup tighter*