We all struggled with the heat this week. This house does a good cross-breeze when such a thing is worth doing - this week that was usually from approx 9pm to 7am, so a lot of opening and closing windows and doors according to temperature and people being awake. We acquired a standing fan to help. I did a lot of waking up about 5am to open things and then droop back on my bed waiting for the breeze to help. I think I'd be a lot less resentful of the lost sleep if I'd been able to be productive with the time, but no.
I went out to a PARTY yesterday and enjoyed catching up with people, and being introduced to Subjective Guess Who? This is played using the standard board game set, but you can only ask questions which have no objective answer - some memorable ones from last night included "Have they ever played World of Warcraft?" and "Are they a morning person?". The kibbitzing from the audience is the best part.
Going to the party was utterly self-indulgent given the state of my studying since the election. Today will probably not include much studying either, as plans already include: taking C to see Transformers: The Last Knight, attempting to get some sandals beforehand, getting in my weekly call to my mother before she gets on a bus to San Francisco, and making the cheating version of Tudor costume for C's class trip to Kentwell this week.
Cotton Jenny | I'm Gonna Hire a Wino | Out of the Frying Pan (And into the Fire) | Delta Dawn | Lady Takes the Cowboy Every Time | Cruel Summer | Stay Young | Good Vibrations | Nobody | Boys of Summer
( And one I associate with summer both because of how I first heard it and the contents )Meme list
Today, James and I will go to the hospital to fetch her belongings. Monday, the social worker will contact me about arrangements for her disposition.
The kids are fine. James and I are fine. My mom is alternately fine and wrecked, which will probably be the way of things for a while.
We lost her a long, long time ago. There's some finality in the past day's events, but not much has changed.
Munchkin the Younger came up yesterday to check in, to tell me that I am her real mother, and to get comfort in talking to someone who understands not having any emotion left for the person we lost all those years ago.
I'm sorry there was no way for us to reach her. I'm sorry her life was sad and hard, and that she caused so much damage in our family.
I am fairly hmmmm about this piece on empaths, and wonder if some of those consultant empaths are employing the cold-reading tricks attributed to psychics, but buried in it is actually an interrogation of how useful quivering responsiveness to emotion is and the suggestion that 'empathy alone is not a reliable way of coming to a moral decision', and
Empathy is not action. It’s much more useful to be knowledgable about what’s happening so you can effect structural change. If everybody’s swimming in a sea of feelings, it’s an impediment to action.
And possibly somehow related to this, on the advantages of scheduling over spontaneity.
See also, review here of Selfie by Will Storr: 'This engaging book links the ‘self-esteem’ industry to Ayn Rand and neoliberalism. But is the selfie-taking generation unusually narcissistic?'. And is there not something problematic about making a big deal out of a single young woman who takes a lot of selfies? (shoutout here to Carol Dyhouse's Girl Trouble and the constant motif of young women's behaviour epitomising what is supposedly wrong with These Here Modern Times.)
And in Dept of, Countering National Stereotypes, the French minister who wants sexual harassment fines and is annoyed by the cultural myths about Frenchwomen.
Born in 1799, Anna Atkins captured plants, shells and algae in ghostly wisps and ravishing blues. Why isn’t she famous? - how long have you got to listen to my answer?
A book on hares which is, it sounds like, more about hares than the writer's journey and epiphany from their encounter with nature
I think I felt like that because I did spend the morning in my pajamas wasting time on Twitter. But also, I was fielding comments on a Lib Dem Voice article introducing our new group, Lib Dem Immigrants (which I am super excited about). Unfortunately, anything about immigration attracts some trolls, even if it's as innocuous as "here's a new internal party body" (I did like that we also got a comment saying "we waste too much time on internal party shit!"). I found this set of comments dismaying for an interesting new kind of separating the wheat-from-the-chaff approach to immigration: even the people telling me they want to end freedom of movement and other such things tell me that they support me having rights, and right away, because I married a British citizen. Hm.
Anyway, I eventually made myself do a bit of tidying, sort out the room booking for Plus's AGM at Autumn Conference (which I don't know if I'll be able to go to because I can't afford accommodation, which is making me very sad), call up our soon-to-be-ex-home-insurance-company which gosh that phone call made me glad of because it was agonizing, get a Plus parcel ready to post and send it off, go to the shops to buy boring things like a light bulb, stand precariously on a too-short ladder to replace the light bulb, go see my friend Katie for a couple of hours, come back via a different shop to buy dog poo bags which we were suddenly out of, and watch Lego Batman with Andrew which we'd been trying to find time and energy for all week.
That is an okay day. I didn't do all the things I wanted to do, but I did a lot of good things.
Today I'm going to see fictive-nephew (who's almost eight already, how is that even possible) in some local am-dram production, and then Games Night has restarted so I get to see my Brighouse people twice in three days! This should be a good day too.
She's in ICU right now, unlikely to regain consciousness, unlikely to live out this day, and I'm sorry that she had such a mean, small, painful life, but I'm not at all sorry that she'll be gone, because it's hard to cause fresh hurt and injury once you've died. Not impossible, but hard.
I'll go with my mom this evening so she can say good-bye. For myself, I don't find it necessary; Barbara's been out of my life since my kid turned 18 (gosh, almost 8 years ago), and for the last couple years, she was in prison, so there's nothing to say good-bye to. For my mom, this is so so so fraught. She blames herself for my sister's mental illness, dissipation, and alienation. She feels like if she'd been a better mother, it would have gone better.
Honestly, my mom was a better mother to my sister than to me -- children who act up often get more attention and effort than the compliant, goody-two-shoes ones. I haven't made any secret of my sorrow over my mother's mistakes in parenting, but they're not the reason my sister is who she is. Not saying none of it was ever a factor. Just that picking one person as the cause of another's bad deeds is pretty much never the way to bet.
Anyway, I'm totally fine, emotionally. I'm just feeling pensive about the ripple effects we all have on the people in our circles, even years after we have any contact at all, and I'm feeling a renewed desire to be a positive force in my loved one's lives, instead of a negative one.
For a short book, this packs a lot in. As well as a competent whodunnit plot, the story explores the backstory of Barrayaran culture and social attitudes, particularly attitudes to disability, and more universal themes of generational differences in social attitudes. It's the sort of science fiction that doesn't really feel like science fiction; with the exception of the interrogation drug fast-penta there's no futuristic techology and it's hard to believe it's set in the far future instead of, say, the 1930s. It's an interesting and thoughtful read, and I liked it a lot (though I was a bit taken aback at "Ma" apparently being a formal honorific for older women, but maybe that's just Barrayar).
*The presence of a minor character called Pym, on a planet where most names appear to be Russian or Slavic in origin, did nothing whatsoever to dispel the Wimsey associations my brain kept making, either.
Well, not literally.
But I have finally managed to have a discussion with the editor at the Very Estimable and Well-Reputed Academic Press whom I had hoped to get together with during the Massive Triennial Conference the other week, which did not happen for, reasons.
And they are very keen about a book I have been thinking about for ages, which is not the Major Research Project of the moment, though somewhat tangentially related, and I'm hmmmmmm about it.
Because it's a book where I haven't done more than research rather a small part of one angle of the bigger picture, but on the other hand, I do know what has to be in there and where to look.
And unlike the Major Research Project, which is large and contains multitudes, this would be a discrete project that wouldn't (I hope) keep starting yet more hares for me to go baying after.
The leader of a tiny UK political party, the Liberal Democrats, resigned because
To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me.And a tiny UK Jewish denomination, Orthodox-aligned Sephardim, are up in arms because R' Joseph Dweck taught something about homosexuality in Rabbinic sources and commented
I genuinely believe that the entire revolution of…homosexuality…I don’t think it is stable and well…but I think the revolution is a fantastic development for humanity.
This stuff is minor on the scale of things, but the media love the narrative of gay rights versus religious traditionalism. Anyway lots of my friends are religious Jews or Christians who are also gay or supportive of gay people and other gender and sexual minorities. So lots of my circle are exercised about one or both of the incidents.
( opinions )
I mean, what did you, yourself, actually do to influence where you were born or bred? Unless you were a particularly ambitious embryo, the answer is “nothing”. Sure, your parents might have made some kind of effort to select your place of birth. Maybe they strove to move to better housing in a neighbourhood with better services and schools. Maybe they’re even immigrants, like my dad, and they struggled long and hard to learn their fourth language in order to integrate into their adopted country. But you? You didn’t do anything. Why are you so proud of that? Think of the things you've accomplished in your life. Isn't it far more fitting and fulfilling to be proud of those?
And why the obsession with asserting the superiority of a single identity over the others? “I’m English first and then British.” Pro-tip: Most of the rest of the world considers both of those to be synonymous with “ex-colonialist imperialist arsehole” so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. ^.^
Here is a list of the geographically-linked identities that I consider myself able to lay claim to. I’m proud of some and not others.
- San Diegan
- Brummie (this is a new one; still feels a little odd)
Today, I think I’m proudest of being European. I earned that identity and that passport, and I’m still very pissed off that some people want to take it away.
Today is also, weirdly, simultaneously:
- the anniversary of Brexit, aka the Colossal Waste of Time and Money Foisted Upon Us by a Generation That Tore Down Decades of Painstakingly Won Goodwill with Our Neighbours and Won’t Live to Experience the Disastrous Consequences, Thanks a Lot, Dickheads.
- International Women in Engineering Day
So, to close this post, here is a peaceful photo of a woman doing some engineering.