Tag Archives: family

Talk less, smile more

Listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on my walk this evening, I was struck again by Burr’s advice to talk less and smile more. It reminds me of advice given to me, mostly by men: show a pleasant face and keep your thoughts to yourself, go along to get along. It looks like there’s a fair amount of analysis of this line online, based on a simple word search. It’s mostly from a leadership perspective, but I’d be interested in reading a feminist analysis of the lyrics. Frankly, I know a lot of women who are absolutely finished with being told to smile more.

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Stepdad had surgery over the weekend and seems to be recovering. Because of coronavirus concerns, he was not discharged to a nursing home or assisted living facility, which is what normally would happen, and is instead at home with visiting PT and health aids. It’s not ideal, he’s still very weak.

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I want a vacation. I don’t even need to go anywhere. I just want to not be responsible for answering peoples’ questions for a few days. The whole working from home thing is not ideal for me. A lot of my colleagues are angling already for expanded telework in the future, but I very much miss the separation between work and home life. One colleague mentioned a tentative plan to drive to FL to stay with a friend and telework from there because she doesn’t want to spend a winter quarantined here. That’s…further into the future than I’m willing to plan on teleworking at this point.

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Whining here – feel free to skip

I feel like tempers are fraying.  Mine certainly is.  I was ready for the weekend by Wednesday.  Our workload is going up, and everyone is scrambling to figure out childcare for the summer.  We’ve been told to expect to remain teleworking through at least July 15.

I’ve been trying to get a particular tool/license for more than a year.  I did the research.  I priced the options.  I checked out whether the provider meets security standards and if it has other similar customers/clients.  I had demos and included potential users.  I put in the funding request for the last fiscal year and this fiscal year with the primary use case and a hypothetical use case.  I updated the pricing periodically.  I’m not sure what value the “coordinator” has added, since any justification request was immediately bounced to me.  I included it in the new end of FY and next FY budget request a couple of weeks ago.  And then Coordinator, who our Director thinks is already handling this, called to ask me if I had any opinions about this tool, or if I had thought of the use case or how many licenses we might need or how it could be administered.  Why, yes, I have.  AND I GAVE YOU THIS INFORMATION IN SEPTEMBER, THEN AGAIN IN FEBRUARY, AND TWO WEEKS AGO.  But sure, I’ll give it to you again.

Thursday was…not ideal.  Stepdad’s mobility has declined a lot in the last couple of years and he’s very accident prone (falls, stumbles) and has limited range for walking and length of time standing, even with the support of a cane.  (He has rejected the idea of a walker or wheelchair to date.)  What he took to be a fall last week turns out to have been an initial stroke or mini-stroke.  He’s hospitalized and working on being stabilized, but needs surgery; the surgery may cause paralysis but doing nothing will also cause paralysis. So.  Can call and check on him, but can’t visit.

Yesterday after work I went to the grocery store, which was incredibly anxiety-inducing.  I usually go early Saturday or Sunday morning.  Friday afternoon shopping was a bad idea.  It was busier than I’m accustomed to, although the cashier told me that it would get much busier after 5pm.  No one was social distancing.  While everyone was wearing a mask nominally, most of them had them pulled aside so they could talk on their phone or drink something, or just not covering their noses.  There was toilet paper in stock!  No bleach or wipes though.  (I needed dish detergent, which was in that aisle.) The eggs looked pretty picked over, but there was plenty of milk, cheese, yogurt, and frozen foods.

I finally steeled myself and read Akim Aliu’s Player’s Tribune piece.  It was as terrible as expected.  To then read the bullshit article* published by The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa glorifying the bullying of a Bruins player, framed as “boys will be boys”, and using really tone-deaf, ugly language made me wonder again if hockey and hockey media are redeemable.  It normalizes verbal/mental abuse, and articulates a homogeneous, white, cis-het, masculine worldview that thinks anything else is Less Than and deserves persecution until conformity is achieved.  The only excuse I can think is that The Athletic doesn’t employ anyone who is not already steeped in the -isms that are hockey culture, to the detriment of both the company and the writers.

*The article’s headline and one shortish paragraph have been removed.  But the headline is still visible in the author’s Twitter feed, and the rest of the article remains pretty illustrative of oblivious, ugly, dudebro behavior at best.  The edited out piece can be seen in a screen grab in the replies to the author’s Tweet.  The comments are both excellent and awful, with readers who are horrified and readers who say that’s a normal working environment.

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Well, that was a bad idea born out of good intentions

Yesterday, feeling stir crazy, I decided to go on a drive.  So I went to put flowers on my grandparents’ gravestone.  It was nice to be out of my neighborhood, the drive was smooth.  At the cemetery, there were people out putting flags in all of the stones (they all have little holes for it since it is a veterans’ cemetery) but no one nearby and everyone was wearing masks.

Called mom to let her know I would be dropping some stuff on her porch.  (Mistake #1) She was out waiting for me.  She took off her mask.  She bugged me to take off my mask. (Mistake #2)  She wanted me to come into the house.  When I wouldn’t do that – her feelings were visibly hurt – she wanted us to sit on the back porch; me standing several feet away rather than sitting next to her also visibly hurt her feelings.  I didn’t want to hug or kiss her and she started to cry.  (Mistake #3) She wanted me to stay and socialize, asked me to come inside repeatedly.  She asked me to stay overnight.  (Even in non-pandemic times, I don’t stay overnight; I prefer my home, which is not far away, and also find the excessive attention smothering, which is weird since she wasn’t a smotherer when I was a kid.)

Mom knows better.  I know she does.  And yet she was utterly disinterested to actually complying with social distancing rules.  Mom kept saying that she’d been quarantined since March so it wasn’t a big deal and okay not to social distance.  Ugh.  I live in a multi-unit building in which some people refuse to wear masks in common areas; I go for a daily walk while masked and veer out of the way of other pedestrians who often don’t wear masks or make the slightest effort to keep distance.  She shrugged all that off.  I get that she’s lonely and this is hard.  But I am not doing that again; it feels bad to say it, but it probably would have been better if I hadn’t stopped by at all.

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January 2011: the month that was

On the reading front, very little progress.

1.  The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell, YA gothic/paranormal, written about here.
2.  One True Thing by Anah Crow & Dianne Fox, gay BDSM, written about here.
3.  Mercy Kill by Lori G. Armstrong, mystery, written about here.
4.  Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh.  Trad Regency.  Meh, written about here.
5.  Caught by A.B. Gayle, gay romance.  I tweeted a little about this, plan on writing a short post later this week.
6.  What Child is This? by ZA Maxfield, gay romance.  This holiday novella failed for me: it was too busy trying to catch readers up on older characters and also have a plot that was almost completely unrelated to them.  Plus it was ridiculously expensive for its length, which often seems to be the case for Loose Id books.

Work is kicking my ass, as I mentioned the other day.  Am spending 60+ hours a week at work.  I left private practice because I didn’t want that.  Plus, I’m fairly confident that I’m just going to get grief about this project, and any good that comes out of it is going to be credited elsewhere.

Leisure:  went to New York last weekend to hang out with The Biochemist.  We clung, and went to the theater together.  I saw The Imporance of Being Earnest:  Brian Bedford was excellent as Lady Bracknell, and the set design was gorgeous.  She saw one of the last shows of Time Stands Still.  Together we saw Driving Miss Daisy and American Idiot (again).  Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones have surprisingly good comedic chemistry and timing.  And Billie Joe Armstrong as St. Jimmy is a coked up Calvin who comes across like a cheerful little perv.  Visited the American Museum of Natural History, which I enjoyed, although I had forgotten the cardinal rule of museum cafes:  the more kid oriented the museum, the worse the food offered.  After the museums, I wandered around for a bit, then we met on Amsterdam for dinner at a French place.  Can’t remember the name, but it was on the corner of 79th.  Great potato leek tart appetizer.  All that was fun, but the best part was the company; I wish we could see each other more often.  [And yet I’ve made no effort to relocate to Texas.  Hmmm.]

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Random babble redux

+  \o/ for the Senate voting to repeal DADT

+  Check out this interesting discussion about whether language shapes thought.

+  Every time I’ve gone to B&N lately, I’ve bought things other than books.  When I look at books, I end up putting them on my wishlist or downloading a Kindle sample to decide if I really want the book or not.  Obviously B&N is still making some money off me as a consumer — bought Elf on the Shelf, a puzzle, a Moleskin notebook, holiday cards, etc. — but if I’m not buying their books, what does it say about their success in their primary market?

+  I’m contemplating writing fan fiction for the first time ever.  There’s a plot bunny bouncing around my head and it just won’t die.  Not even an emailed exchange with my sister got it out of my system.   I blame this tumblr.

+  Mailed a package to Texas today, and it should arrive in plenty of time for the holidays.  The line to mail packages?  Only three people long.  The line to pick up packages at the other window?  Wound around the waiting room and out the door.  Fortunately for me, all the packages I ordered were delivered by UPS and my neighbor signed for them (he’s retired, and takes deliveries for several neighbors).  

+  Saw an intriguing recipe for potato chip cookies, must find it again and experiment tomorrow.  Must also go get one last gift — a gift card to a restaurant, because I’m stumped for a better gift for my brother and SIL; I did send them doggie cupcakes from here, but wanted to give them something more.

+  I’ve been pretty good about not buying paper books, or any books except pre-orders done pre-holidays, but I broke down and finally ordered a copy of Yo, Juan de Austria from Abebooks.  I should have bought a copy when I first saw the book more than a year ago, when I was in Madrid, but I assumed it would become available sooner or later in the US and didn’t want to add it to my luggage.  Mistake.  Still not available in the US yet or translated. (TBH, I doubt it will be translated, since I’m not sure that Juan of Austria commands a great deal of attention from English speakers/readers.)  So I ordered a copy from a Spanish bookseller online.  The shipping…is ridiculous.  My own fault.

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Protected: The withering of the family tree

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