Tag Archives: oh life its bigger

:(

My calendar just reminded me that this time last year I was wandering around Terceira, oblivious to what was about to happen.

Direction post in Angra do Heroísmo

I miss traveling. But I am not sure when I’ll feel safe to fly if/when restrictions loosen.

Leave a comment

Filed under travel

Mish mash of things

Today, this morning, was such a relief. I don’t remember ever feeling so emotional about an inauguration before, for better or for ill. Part of it was celebration over the first Black Asian woman to be Vice President. But part of it was specific to the political atmosphere in the US right now.

I mentioned this to my sister and hadn’t really expressed it anywhere else, but I was very concerned about violence at the inauguration today. (I’m sure a lot of people were.) Yes, law enforcement seemed to be taking security more seriously, but in theory they should have been taking security seriously on 1/6 and failed. The thing that brought home to me the degree of security concern was the cancellation of all MARC trains from Sunday through Wednesday. I’ve lived in the metro area and commuted to DC through five inaugurations now. For prior inaugurations, service ran as usual or on a holiday schedule, or in 2009 on a special schedule that required specific tickets for specific departures, which is not how they operate generally. (I’ve always wondered if the inaugural trips, or at least in 2009, were money makers for a segment of public transportation that is always under threat of budget cuts.) Cancellation of four consecutive days of service is incredibly unusual and just flagged the concern about otherwise uncontrolled or untracked movement into the District.

~~~

I’m trying to figure out how to refer to VP Kamala Harris when I speak or text about her. Kamala is a distinctive name, so is referring to her by that alone like Serena or Beyonce? A mark of respect for women who need no other identifier? Or is it disrespectful and diminishing, first-naming a powerful woman in a way that the last VP didn’t get named and the way white (male) politicians don’t get named?

~~~

Every so often I’m reminded of an old (2010?) RWA presentation by Lauren Willig about throwing readers out of stories because of what they think they know. She was talking about the use of cameras in the early 19th century. There were cameras, or the ideas behind them, just not the same way modern readers think of them. But mentioning them in a Regency novel may jar readers out of the story, so writers need to weigh their choices.

Anyway, I read a sentence in a novel that described an antebellum mansion built in Atlanta in the early 20th century. Cue the mental record screech. Yes, antebellum means pre-war. But in the US and in the South, antebellum is generally a reference to pre-Civil War. Could the author have been referring to pre-WWII? Sure. But context matters for readers, and I had to re-read the sentence and then ????? before deciding to move on and finish reading.

~~~

I used to get up at 5am to go to the gym before work. Since I’ve been teleworking and my commute is merely to my office nook or kitchen table, I’ve been going later. I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to the 5am gym schedule if/when we return to office hours.

~~~

I pushed my Thx travel plans to March, and now am wondering if I should push them again. I’m pretty far down on the list of priorities for the vaccine, so I doubt I’ll have it by then. Which is fine – better that more vulnerable people have it first. I’m just a little stir crazy again.

Leave a comment

Filed under miscellanea

Not a great start

I went to bed last night, or rather early this morning, feeling pretty hopeful about 2021. The Georgia runoffs seemed poised to change control of the Senate. Team USA shutout Canada to win WJC gold. The election results would be squabbled over by some possibly seditious politicians but ultimately be done.

I expected protests from white supremacists in DC and threats of violence perhaps. I did not imagine an actual coup, shots fired in the Capitol, and the death of someone present.

Video clips of the police doing nothing don’t surprise me any longer. But opening the barrier to let them in does. And a selfie when they are trespassing – possibly a criminal, felony trespass – is breaking my brain.

1 Comment

Filed under miscellanea

:|

I need to figure out how to change my Shutterfly settings. They keep sending me notifications about my memories from years past. Staying home is fine. I’m doing the right thing, we all are. But reminding me that this time last year I was in Boston, the year before in Rome, the two preceding years before that in Pittsburgh for playoff hockey – it isn’t helping right now.

2 Comments

Filed under miscellanea

More of the same

The Downtown Partnership is offering a gift card incentive for a bunch of small, local businesses.  The clip from Saturday’s news broadcast includes two of my favorite stalls at the MarketPlace.  I’ve ordered from both of them since they started carryout, and also tried a third (carry out cocktails).

Mandatory face coverings for groceries, pharmacies, indoor public venues, began yesterday.  I’d already been wearing my DIY t-shirt masks, so it was not a big deal.  It remains utterly frustrating to me that runners in my neighborhood (and beyond) are both failing to wear masks and ignoring the idea of social distance.  I walked a five mile loop today, and watched dozens of runners hog the sidewalks without making any effort to avoid pedestrians; they seemed to expect that pedestrians should be the ones to make an effort to social distance, not ever themselves.

Watched the rest of Star Trek: Picard.  I have to say that if I had not read the prequel book before watching, I would have missed a lot of what was going on.  Or maybe I’m able to appreciate it more?  There’s a whole history for Raffi and her family, and for the Aggy/Maddox relationship.  I’m still fuzzy on the whole Mars-synth debacle, although I feel like perhaps that is explained by Oh and the Tal Shiar as an inside job.

I’m assuming there will be a season two, given the ending.  But if not, it finished in an okay place.

Haven’t made any reading progress this week.  Reading for pleasure, I mean.  None of the TBR shelves appeal at present.  I’m #15 on the hold list for the new Robert Reich book at the library, and #40 for the new C.S. Harris book.  Tried one book that Amazon’s algorithm suggested, but it failed the sample read by pressing on two hot buttons all at once:  the anti-abortion secret baby.  One of them would have been enough, but together?  Nope.

Leave a comment

Filed under miscellanea

A holding pattern

Last week marked the fourth full week of mandatory telework and social distancing; it had been preceded by a week of encouraged but not required.  It has not become more comfortable or routine to me.  We are busier than usual, and everyone is stretched thin between work and home schooling and worry (even as we know we are luck to be able to telework).

I’ve taken to putting an hour on my calendar in the middle of the day in an attempt to schedule a break for lunch and a walk around the block, but more than half the time it doesn’t happen.

Sacrificed a t-shirt to make a series of tie-able face masks.  Not ideal but better than nothing.  Wear them whenever I go for a walk now, even as I cross the street or walk in the street to avoid people on the sidewalk.

Hadn’t been to the grocery store in three weeks, and was out of fresh vegetables, meat, and dairy, so I went yesterday evening.  It was incredibly disturbing, mostly due to people’s behavior.  Still no toilet paper or cleaning products.  No flour of any kind at all. No eggs.  I’m not sure if that is because everyone had descended like locusts earlier in the day or if it is habitual.  Store patrons completely ignored social distancing.  They didn’t have lists and lingered or meandered.  No one (other than me) had a mask.

The nice weather this weekend meant a lot of people were out.  Most of them didn’t seem concerned about social distancing.  Very few of them had masks, and none of the runners did (still).  Very few moved to avoid contact with strangers.  Maybe we really are too stupid to live.

The seasonal farmers’ market should have started last Sunday but has been postponed indefinitely.  The city office that coordinates has some websites for the farms, so I poked around to see about delivery/pickup.  A few have CSAs, but most don’t do half shares; my experience with CSAs in the past is that a full share is WAY too much.  But I do want to help support, so I’ll see if maybe a neighbor wants to share.

Watched the second episode of ST:P.  Started reading Sharon Kay Penman’s Lionheart, but am kind of disinterested in Alicia as MC or potential narrator.  Have been enjoying the #recipesforthepeople videos posted by Chef José Andrés with his daughters.  The recipes aren’t necessarily things I would cook, but I love his delight in cooking/food, and his admonishment to respect the garlic.  (If I lived closer, I would absolutely be ordering takeout from his Jaleo – my two favorite dishes are the espinacas a la catalana and patatas bravas, which I do not share, sorrynotsorry.)

I need to learn about Duolingo’s theory of language learning.  I’ve been using the app to learn a little Portuguese for the last couple of weeks, and I’m utterly bemused by the vocabulary that they introduce early on and their sentence construction.  Is armadillo really an important word for a new language learner, relative to others?  The dog cuts the steak? Seems a little Noam Chomsky to me.  Having said that, my favorite words learned so far, based entirely on how they feel in my mouth and how they sound, are borboleta (butterfly) and tubarão (shark).  Some of it is strikingly similar to Spanish (tiburón) and some is not (mariposa).  And I find the app’s lack of explanation of rules of pronunciation and grammar a little frustrating.  For instance, for the difference in the pronunciation of the letter O –  as I understand it, O gets more of U sound when it is not in the stressed syllable, but that isn’t articulated anywhere.

4 Comments

Filed under language generally, miscellanea

Keeping myself entertained

+ Working on a scarf.  Just because I like the pattern and it’s easy and kind of mindless.

+ Watched the first episode of Star Trek: Picard.  The way it picks up explains the abrupt and somewhat unsatisfactory ending of the ST book I mentioned in an earlier post.  One bit early on in the episode felt a bit un-Picard-like, but it sets the scene for the rest of the series, so…

+ Made shortbread with Lady Grey tea and orange peel.  Think I’ll add orange extract next time, as I think it could use more citrus. Tomorrow I’ll make turkey-zucchini meatloaf and figure out sides to accompany it.  I think the carrots in the vegetable crisper probably need to be used soon, so maybe those with some frozen broccoli.

+ Finally watched Rogue One.  I liked it better than any of the most recent trilogy, although I haven’t seen the third one of the trilogy yet.  Of course, I’ve had a crush on Diego Luna since Y Tu Mamá También, so I am perhaps not the most demanding of viewers.

+ Everyone in the office is watching Tiger King, with a virtual happy hour proposed for next Friday to discuss it.  I have not watched because it doesn’t really look appealing to me, but I may watch just to participate.

+ Went to the post office to mail a gift to the BIL.  The post office has marked off six foot intervals in masking tape on the floor so people know where to stand.  Did people pay attention?  Nope.  We are literally too stupid to live.

+ Sacrificed a t-shirt to make a do-it-myself mask (without sewing), which felt a little over the top, but I expect at some point to be told that masks outside are mandatory.  And since I like going for walks, I want to be ready.

2 Comments

Filed under miscellanea

Recent read

My library has what seems to be to be a fairly good selection of ebooks.  Just as they closed, I borrowed The Last Best Hope, a Star Trek: Picard novel.  I haven’t watched the series yet (maybe next weekend?), but I believe the book is set before the show.  It was enjoyable, a nice visit to a couple of the Enterprise crew, but it ended in a somewhat awkward/sad/bad place, I assume as a lead in to the series.  Or maybe not:  I have only ever read one other ST:NG novel, so I don’t really know how to judge the content.

Also borrowed Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, based on the recommendation of an original fiction writer from AO3, who was “trying” traditionally published romance maybe for the first time and recommended it.  Uh, all I can say is that while I have liked some of the recommender’s writing, I definitely do not have congruent reading taste, because the narrator of RWRB struck me as a twit and the first couple of chapters read as pedestrian-at-best YA/New Adult.  DNF.

~~~~

Work has not really improved this week.  Primarily this is a function of my director, who is desperately trying to add value and seems unable to get out of the way of her staff.  She emailed me today to put me in charge of a project that is already in mid-swing.  I hate this.  I’m still trying to untangle a different project that was organized by someone else is a Project Manager by training but has no practical/substantive experience in the underlying project.  Meaning that he created a timeline that is completely unrealistic; promised an outcome/product that is unlikely; and completely ignored data access constraints, the tools required, and the expertise needed to do with work.

3 Comments

Filed under miscellanea

Oddities of working at home

My admiration for my colleagues who work primarily from home grows as I do this longer.  How do they do it?  Is regular work from home better organized and less stressful than pandemic-caused work from home?  I don’t know.  But I know that I’ve been a lot more tired and stressed by the end of the day over the last two weeks than normal.  I spent four hours on phone/webex meetings today, and by the end of the day I didn’t want to see or speak to another human being.

I’m pretty pleased with my office nook, but find that I prefer standing to sitting.  I need to get one of the anti-fatigue mats though.

Unrelated, the brother-in-law’s birthday is approaching and I know what to get him…but it won’t arrive in time due to virus-related shipping delays.  😦

In terms of entertainment, I’ve managed to watch bits of different comfort movies/shows all week.  Different Harry Potters are airing each night, and I’ve watched some of my favorite episodes of GBBO, as well as bits of North & South.  I’ve gone through and bookmarked a bunch of things to watch, but haven’t started them.

Want to read Robert Reich’s new book, but I can’t buy any new books right now unless I finish/cull other books.  The library is usually my alternative for that, but they are closed for the duration.

Got my census reminder, have done my civic duty.

I’m going to have a glass of wine and fall asleep early.

 

5 Comments

Filed under miscellanea

Hereinafter referred to as TGBP2013

Whereas I have been sorting through my embarrassingly large collection of books; and 

Whereas some of those books are being kept while considerably more books are discarded; and

Whereas I felt the need to both share the sorting/discarding, and to name this event The Great Book Purge of 2013; and

Whereas typing “The Great Book Purge of 2013” seems to be a problem when I’m posting in a rush or on a mobile device:

Now therefore know all men by these presents that the same activity may be abbreviated as TGBP2013 hereafter.  At my discretion.  (Translation: when I’m feeling lazy.)

 

Today’s discards are books dating to the chick lit fad of the mid 2000s.  I’ve never read Candace Bushnell, and I DNF’d the first Bridget Jones book; other big names of that period like Emily Giffin and Sophie Kinsella left me cold.  But there were a few books that I liked enough to keep.  But upon re-read, eh, not so much.

Pushing 30 by Whitney Gaskell.  I remember liking this because it managed to check the chicklit boxes while being slightly different:  set in DC rather than NYC; not-broke heroine; professionally competent heroine in a non-fashion/advertising industry; older hero.  I still like some of those elements, but felt a lot less patient with the heroine’s refusal to stand up for herself or respond in any way to criticism or adversity.

True Love (and Other Lies) by Whitney Gaskell.  I can’t remember why I liked this book; the central conflict really bothers me now.  I tried a couple other books by Gaskell after liking Pushing 30 but LibraryThing reminds me that I didn’t not particularly care for them.  Must not have since she’d fallen off my radar until TGBP2013.

If Andy Warhol Had A Girlfriend by Alison Pace.  I can’t remember what I liked about this book other than the cover art.  It seems like an okay read but I can’t really remember the plot and don’t care enough after skimming random sections to go back and do a full re-read.

Up next:  a bunch of YAs (Judy Blume, Cynthia Voight).  Possibly with a break to read non-TGBP material — American Savage by Dan Savage.

~~~

This isn’t book-related but it is related to editing and proof-reading.  I read menu boards as I walk through the neighborhood(s) nearby.  Just to see what today’s specials are.  After all, maybe I won’t want to cook after seeing what’s cooking.  And sometimes what’s written on the sidewalk menu board sends me fleeing rather than stopping for lunch or dinner.  Recent menu items that made me cringe:  “tomato bisk” as soup of the day and a “prefix dinner” menu.  Presumably the soup was a bisque and it was a prix fixe menu rather than language building block dinner menu?  Stuff like that makes my fingers itch to update the menu boards.

6 Comments

Filed under Book related