Dress Rehearsal
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The RCK's LiveJournal:

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    Monday, August 19th, 2030
    1:33 pm
    Sticky Post
    My friending policy is pretty open. If you want to read my LJ, go ahead. I won't mind. I don't automatically friend back. I used to, but my time's a little more limited now than it was then. If you feel like dropping me a comment to let me know why you friended me, I'd appreciate it. Sometimes I have no idea at all and wonder.

    If I friended you, I'm interested in reading something that's in you LJ. I don't expect to be friended back but certainly won't mind if I am. I know that I have more time for reading online than most people do, and I know that my entries about my every day life, parenting, chores, etc. aren't of much interest to most people. That's all fine.

    I don't lock very much. There's only my writing filter and a once in a blue moon post about something else. My book logging, DVD logging and fic announcements will always be unlocked.

    Also, if you stop reading my LJ, feel free to unfriend me. I won't be upset. (Though if I think we know each other well or if we're acquainted offline, I may inquire as to why.) I may or may not unfriend in response. It will depend on what sort of content you post and whether or not you lock most of of it.

    The writing filter has sporadic entries and is about my writing process. I don't post fics on LJ. I don't post fic fragments on LJ. The writing filter has me talking about story seeds so I don't forget them, griping about whatever I'm currently working on that isn't cooperating and, occasionally, me rambling about themes in my writing or what I think I'm doing when I write. I filter that content because it's of very little interest to most people who read my LJ (at least half of my friends list is people I know offline).

    If you want to be on my writing filter, drop me a comment here and let me know. If I don't know you well, I may ask why, but I'll likely add you. There's nothing particularly private about it. I'd just rather filter it to the dozen or so people who're vaguely interested and not bother the rest of my readers with it.
    Sunday, December 21st, 2014
    6:19 pm
    Scott just pointed me at a website I think I'll be spending a lot of time playing with. It's a spirograph sort of thing. It's here for those who are interested. I need to use the arrow keys to make the disks move, but somebody else said that clicking and dragging worked for them.

    I've been having fun playing with the different colors of lines and background.
    11:58 am
    Tell me what you enjoy about Zenna Henderson's People stories. (for [personal profile] hyperfocused)

    My first Yuletide, I wrote for [personal profile] hyperfocused, a crossover between Zenna Henderson's People stories and Doctor Who. I would never have thought to write that on my own, but I really enjoyed the process. Reviewing the stories was fun as I hadn't read them in quite a while. (I didn't review Doctor Who because I didn't then have access to any episodes.)

    I enjoy Zenna Henderson's People stories because they're about people who are fundamentally decent. The conflicts tend to be quiet. I like the personal relationship with the deity that the characters have and the simple phrase that calls these people to action-- "There's need." The characters aren't perfect. They feel fear and uncertainty, but they persevere anyway.

    I first read the stories when I was in high school. I'm not sure if the books were my mother's or if they were books that my father left behind when Mom kicked him out. I think Mom is more likely because those books don't really seem like Papa's sort of thing. At any rate, the books pretty much immediately became mine. I was really pleased when the Science Fiction Book Club put out an edition that collected all of the stories in one place, including the ones that hadn't been in the two previous books. (And I was fairly upset when my copy of that book got water damaged by a problem with our kitchen sink. I need to replace it. It's still readable, but it's a bit warped.)

    I had some trouble with depression in high school, and books like these helped because they gave me hope for a better world. The characters seemed like people I might know instead of like fantasy figures, in spite of their powers. They seemed possible.
    11:57 am
    I got the dishes done yesterday, including all of those I had to hand wash because they couldn't wait for the dishwasher to be full. I don't expect to do more baking until tomorrow, but the mixing bowl and baking pans are clean and ready to go.

    I also got all of Scott's and most of Cordelia's Christmas presents wrapped. I couldn't wrap the Crocs or the camping pad. Scott, when he got home, dug out a gift bag for the Crocs, and we decided that the camping pad won't get wrapped. We'll just scrounge a bow for it and put it under the tree as is. There will still be a couple of things to wrap for Cordelia, but they won't arrive for a day or two yet, and they're books, so they'll be easy to wrap after she goes to bed Christmas Eve. I just have to keep her distracted enough that she doesn't try to buy the books in question. (She just finished reading Divergent and is eager to get the next book.) I'm hopeful that having friends over tomorrow and Tuesday will help.

    Scott was pretty much exhausted when he got home. Twelve hours will do that, especially when eight of them involve pulling carts. He did some present wrapping himself after he'd showered and changed. He got his father's present wrapped and the presents for our local niece and nephew. He still hasn't mailed the package going to Seattle. He wanted to buy a gift card for the older niece and thought it would be bad if the package arrived before the gift card. I suspect the gift card will arrive before Christmas, but I see no way the package will unless we pay to overnight it.

    Today, Scott needs to buy the present for his mother (and, I assume, wrap it). Cordelia and I have a Girl Scout meeting. Scott is planning to run errands and wrap my present while we're gone. He also needs to finish designing the photo calendar for his parents. All the others are done and sent. Unfortunately, the calendar for his parents is the most challenging because they want pictures of so many different people. Scott says it will be hard to keep from having half a dozen photos per month.
    Saturday, December 20th, 2014
    12:40 pm
    My first priority for this afternoon is to wrap presents. I have leeway on Scott's presents because he'll be at work during the day Monday and Tuesday, but it would be nice to have them done. I want to do some of Cordelia's presents while she's away, though, because there won't be many opportunities for that. The more I can get wrapped this afternoon, the earlier Scott and I can get to bed on Christmas Eve.

    I will have two extra kids on Monday and Tuesday. I volunteered for that, but I was at least half hoping that their parents wouldn't take me up on it. My main plan for Monday and Tuesday is baking some more. I was going to do some of that this afternoon, but I don't really feel like washing the necessary dishes (mixing bowl, measuring cups, and baking pans). I need to call my mother today to ask about one of my recipes because I wrote down everything but the size of the pan it goes in. Trying to bake in in a 9x13 pan when it goes in an 8x8 would be untenable. I also need to look for a bar recipe that appeals to me that uses butterscotch chips. I suppose I can make the recipe on the back of the bag and just do it as bars, but I'd like to see what options I have.

    I baked three sets of bars yesterday-- chocolate chip bars, brownies, and blackberry jam bars. I got all the chocolate chip bars and the brownies into my big plastic tub. I got about two thirds of the blackberry bars into a much smaller tin. We only have two or three more small tins, so I'm going to be scrambling to figure out how to store what I make Monday and Tuesday. I do plan to send some cookies home with the two kids who'll be here then. They're Muslim, so they don't celebrate Christmas, but I figure cookies are welcome any time.

    Scott got home at a reasonable time yesterday and showered pretty much immediately. We had an early dinner and headed north to Scott's sister's place. She wasn't going to be home because she had a party to attend with her church group. As it turned out, her husband wasn't home when we arrived, either. I would have been comfortable leaving Cordelia alone with her cousins for half an hour or so until her uncle arrived, but she asked us to stay. She and Scott played cards with our niece.

    After our brother-in-law arrived (with pizza), Scott and I hugged Cordelia and went. We stopped at an Arby's on our way to the highway and got milkshakes. Arby's milkshakes are nice and thick. That's good in one way because they stay frozen even to the end. It's bad in another way because getting anything up through the straw takes a lot of effort. Both of us had sore tongues by the time we finished our shakes.

    Scott went to bed almost as soon as we got home. I stayed up another two maybe two and a half hours. I did nothing particularly noteworthy during that time.

    I also need to edit my Yuletide fic to reflect comments from the first beta reader. I'm waiting to hear back from the the second beta reader. I don't feel any great need to hurry because I won't post the edited version of the fic until I have both sets of comments. I am wishing I was writing in something besides TextEdit-- I can't get the search function to work there, so I'm going to be skimming the fic, looking for key words, to find the points that the first beta reader has suggested changes.

    I slept a lot later this morning than I expected to. I didn't get up until quarter after eleven. That really throws off my medication schedule for the day. Oh, well, I'll muddle through.
    Friday, December 19th, 2014
    11:11 am
    I'm worried about my sister-in-law, Scott's sister. She's pursuing ever more restricted diets, restricted in terms of what foods she can eat not in terms of calories (though restricting calories results from what she's doing). She's convinced that, if she can just hit on the right diet and stick with it, her health problems will disappear. Never mind that half her current problems probably come from what she's doing with her diet.

    Basically, about two years ago, she started feeling like there was a lump in her esophagus when she swallowed. Her doctor referred her to a specialist who concluded that it was reflux and did an endoscopy which showed no issues. The specialist recommended medication for the supposed reflux.

    My SIL didn't like the idea of taking medication, so she started pursuing alternative medicine remedies. I think she tried acupuncture first. While she was there, she met someone who claimed to be able to tell her what the problem foods were by having her hold various foods while this person measured electrical flow in her arm. This resulted in a list of foods to avoid.

    The lump feeling didn't go away.

    She started pursuing other alternative treatments. I'm not sure what all she's tried, but the latest person first told her that she had a yeast and bacteria overgrowth. For this, she went on an even more restricted diet. Now this person has told her that she has mold and toxins in her blood (they apparently took and analyzed a sample). This results in an even further restricted diet. She can't eat most grains, can't eat dairy, can't eat meat more than a day old, can't eat anything fermented, aged or dried, can't eat sugar/honey (the last I heard coconut sugar was maybe okay). I think there's a bunch of fruit on the no list, too. She's off all nuts and legumes since the previous set of restrictions.

    She was relatively thin to begin with, and she's been steadily losing weight. With the new diet, she's likely to lose more weight simply because there's almost nothing she can eat.

    She says that, in January, she will start low dose allergy treatments to address all of these 'allergies.'

    I'm worried about her. I think she's going to extremes for what started as a small problem. Of course, my view may be influenced by the fact that I take the medications she was so terrified of and likely will every day until I die. They're really not that big a deal. I also wonder if reflux really is the problem. It might be. The whole thing might also be psychosomatic or be a symptom of something else. She just seems to have fallen down the rabbit hole into ever more ridiculous extremes. Of course, I'm not her. I'm not in her body. For all I know the 'lump' is horrifically painful. She also has to make her own choices about who she listens to. I just worry that she's destroying her health this way.
    8:36 am
    Yesterday morning, I spent my usual three hours at the school in the library. The librarian was there, but she was working in her office while a substitute took her classes. The Scholastic book fair raised more than $4000 for the library, and the librarian was figuring out how to spend it.

    Cordelia and I donated a book to the library-- She had me buy her the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book so that she wouldn't have to wait months for a library, but once she'd read it, she had no interest in keeping it. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are incredibly popular, so I knew the library could use another copy, so I suggested donating it. The librarian was quite pleased to get it as that was one copy she didn't have to buy.

    I think we have finally finished the barcode sticks for the kids. I worked on a couple of first grade classes yesterday when I wasn't checking books in or out or shelving. When that was done, I did some shelf reading. The 500s really needed it badly. I got through about 2/3 of the 500s.

    This morning, first thing, I spilled coffee down the front of my dress. I think-- I hope-- I got the stain out, but it wasn't at all the way I wanted to start the day. I need to do a mid-week load of laundry. The extra dress and the half a dozen or so new shirts Scott got adds bulk to the laundry waiting to be done. I don't think I can fit it all into two loads on Sunday, and we don't have enough laundry baskets for me to wash three loads of our stuff on Sunday. We usually wash two loads of our clothes and one load of Cordelia's. Scott's uniforms are on a more irregular schedule, depending on if he's worked overtime. We wash our sheets every other week or so and the towels tend to get washed mid-week when I think of it.

    Although, come to think of it, the first thing that went wrong today was before I was truly up. When Scott's alarm goes off at 5:10, I go into the bathroom and take my thyroid medicine. This morning, I came back to bed and suddenly realized that I'd been so asleep that I wasn't sure if I'd taken the dratted stuff. We had to check to see if the bathroom sink was wet or not. As it was bone dry, I took my thyroid then. I'm glad we thought of that way to tell. I really don't want either to miss my thryoid med or to double up. Neither would be good for me.

    I've gotten comments back from one beta reader. I'm waiting on one other who may not get to it until tomorrow or even Sunday. She was talking about trying to review the canon before doing the beta read. Rather than address the beta comments first thing this morning, I'm planning to make chocolate chip bars. I'm a little worried about making them so early. I'd like to have some left on Christmas, and I don't trust that they'll last that long unless I hide them. But this is a good opportunity to bake something, and I've only got ingredients for chocolate chip bars. Well, I've got a brownie mix, too. Maybe I have time for both this morning. I don't think Cordelia would accept brownies when there are chocolate chip bars to be had, however.

    I have to improvise some sort of container in which Cordelia can carry the gingerbread she decorates tomorrow. I think my best bet is one of the many Amazon boxes we've got in the study. If I line one with waxed paper, it ought to be perfectly adequate. We haven't got many largish containers, and I don't want to ask Scott to brave the stores to buy some when we'll only use them once a year. I want to reserve the one large container we do have for getting the stuff I plan to bake this week to Scott's sister's place on Christmas.

    Cordelia is very angry at Scott's employer. We've explained to her that it's entirely possible that he'll be working on Christmas Eve (the last two or three years, he's gotten all or most of the day off, but we can't count on it). That means we can't do the entire Christmas Eve ritual. That involves going up to Scott's parents' place (an hour away), having pizza and birthday cake, the kids opening one present each, and all of us going to a church service. I'm not fond of this because it pretty much guarantees that it will be 10:00 by the time we get home and nearer 11:00 by the time Cordelia's actually in bed and Scott and I can start wrapping presents.

    If Scott works until 3:00 or 4:00, it's a half an hour for him to get home and an hour for him to get showered and changed (minimum). The church service Scott's parents want to attend is at 7:00. We can probably get there in time for that if we go straight there. It just seems like a lot of rushing for not very much benefit.
    Thursday, December 18th, 2014
    4:23 pm
    I have finished the draft of my Yuletide fic and posted it to AO3. I'm still looking for someone to beta it. The first person I asked is too busy. I haven't heard back from the second person. I have got someone looking at it for SPaG who has no canon knowledge. Scott looked at it, too, before I finished it, and said that it seemed to him to flow okay.

    Scott got stuck working late tonight. That sucks for all sorts of reasons. He's also working 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. We're going to have to drive Cordelia up to Scott's sister's place tomorrow evening so that she can spend the night and be available to go further north to Scott's parents' place to decorate gingerbread on Saturday. It's far from ideal, and Scott had all sorts of things he really, really needed to get done on Saturday (things I can't do for him because they require a car or because I don't know exactly what he needs). I know he still needs to buy presents for his parents and for the older of our nieces in Seattle. He's still trying to get a working garage door opener. He needs to mail the package to our younger niece in Seattle. He wanted to do some baking, too. Christmas is going to be a little bare of cookies given his mother and sister are gluten free and his father and his sister are off sugar.

    I've made a list of things I want to cook or bake over the course of the next five days. There are eleven items on the list. Some, like the salad for Christmas dinner, are easy. Some, like the Christmas porridge, require a lot of standing up. I foresee a lot of hand washing of the mixing bowl and baking pans in my future. I hope I can manage it all. I'm going to print out my list (which includes the ingredients I need that I don't know if we have in the house) and annotate it and prioritize it and schedule myself. I've got all day tomorrow and Saturday, but I don't have the ingredients for most of what I want to make. I suspect grocery shopping won't happen until Sunday. I don't even think we've got what I need to make Christmas porridge-- It takes a lot of milk. I'm also not sure how much butter we have. There are a couple of things I could make if we have enough butter.

    I am scheduled to have lunch with a friend tomorrow. Maybe I can impose on her to take me shopping for a few things. I'd feel a little guilty about doing that, but she might be willing if I buy her fro-yo at the Orange Leaf in the strip mall with the Kroger. I need almond milk, butter (lots of butter), stick margarine, cream cheese, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and macadamia nuts. I think I could find all of that but the macadamia nuts pretty rapidly. I think we've still got an untouched dozen eggs, so we're probably fine on that front, and we just bought white sugar and all purpose flour.

    I'll do the bacon wrapped dates Tuesday evening and the rice for Christmas dinner during the day on Wednesday. The salad for Christmas dinner can wait until Christmas morning. So can the cheese spread (though I may cube the cheese the day before).
    7:47 am
    I got more writing done yesterday after the kids came home than I expected to because they spent a couple of hours playing in Cordelia's room. I was comfortable enough with where I was in the story to attend the session of Scott's gaming group (just as well. There were only four of us out of the seven who usually attend).

    booniverse brought cookies (and she left the extras with us!). cherydactyl brought candy and milk and vegan eggnog. I hadn't realized that vegan eggnog existed. I hadn't had anything approaching eggnog since I was about eleven because of eggs being a major migraine trigger for me, so this was a nice treat. I don't think Cordelia was very impressed, though.

    We talked a lot about the FATE game. I think we reached some conclusions, but I'm kind of squishy on just what those conclusions were. Scott wanted to run the game that we, the players, wanted to play. Those of us present were concerned with trying to let Scott run what he wants. That made compromise both easier and harder.

    Eventually, the other three played Bananagrams while I loaded the dishwasher. It looks like a fun game. I don't know that I could play it without panicking, not competitively, but it might be possible to play it solo. Who knows?

    I've heard back from one potential beta reader. She doesn't have time to do the job. I've emailed the other one, but I'm less optimistic because this one said that she'd prefer not to beta fics over 2000 words unless there was plenty of time. Things are kind of tight right now, and my story is currently 5030 words and still incomplete. After I finish it, after my time in the library today, I'll see if anybody in Yuletide chat is able to beta for me. It seems at least possible.
    Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
    10:09 pm
    The school called and emailed about 5:30 to say that power (and heat!) is back on at Cordelia's school, so there will be school tomorrow. I'm relieved because it means I'll have a couple of hours to try to finish this fic in between when I get back from the school library and when the cleaning lady comes. I think I'm only a few paragraphs from the end; my point of view character has figured out the mystery. Now he's just thinking through the repercussions. Scott doesn't know the canon, but I had him take a look just to see if the flow made sense.
    4:45 pm
    The last word was that power didn't come back on at the school when it was supposed to. They sent out another mass email and wave of calls telling parents that aftercare at the school is canceled because it's getting very cold and very dark. They don't think the school will be safe as the light fades. I have no idea what DTE is doing or what this means for school for tomorrow. Hopefully, power will be restored soon, and the building will warm up before anybody's due to arrive in the morning.

    I suppose we'll find out in the morning. I hope there is school. I don't think I could cope with another day of kids at home just now.

    I am within a few paragraphs of finishing my Yuletide story. I've found a title for it. I'm thinking about emailing potential beta readers this evening, even if I don't finish first. It would be useful to know whether or not either of the people who offered to beta the fandom have time. It's not guaranteed at this point in the season. (I'm pretty sure none of you who have betaed for me in the past know this fandom. That's why I'm not asking you.)
    2:58 pm
    Since I've still got time with the kids distracting me, here's a meme entry. I'm not sure how seriously to take this topic. [personal profile] silverr listed about twenty questions (even after I eliminated the ones that I really couldn't answer or that duplicated things other people had asked me), and this is rarely asked seriously in my experience. Anyway:

    What are your thoughts on yaoi?

    When I first came into fanfic, I came in mostly through anime/manga fandoms, and I saw all m/m slash labeled as 'yaoi,' so that's the convention I followed. I thought the terms were synonymous.

    I thought some things were strange-- Like those folks in Gundam Wing fandom who fought not just over pairings but over who topped in the pairing. 1x2 was considered a completely different thing from 2x1, and neither set of fans was keen on 1x2x1. (For those who don't know, in anime/manga fandoms, the order in which the character names are listed tells readers who they should expect to do what. The character listed first always tops.) There also seemed to be a tendency to weaken one of the characters in comparison to how he was presented in canon.

    What I didn't know at first is that yaoi is a commercial genre in Japan. It's a genre with very specific conventions and a very specific audience (adult women). There's always a size difference between the two men, and often the smaller one is younger than the larger one. The smaller one tends to display a lot of stereotypically feminine traits, and the larger character frequently (but not always) forces himself on the smaller. This results in true love.

    I'm not entirely (or even mostly) comfortable with the genre conventions of yaoi. Some of that is that I'm dubious about most romances, yaoi or slash or otherwise. I tend to want something more to the story than a lot of romance provides. I want a different type of plot complication than is typical. I think that shows in what I write. I'm terrible at straight up romance. I don't think I've written it successfully more than once or twice. Usually, I don't even try.

    So I guess my main thought on yaoi is that I wish it were more flexible and did more of the things that interest me, but I feel that way about slash in general, too, and about f/f and het romances. I wish I were clearer on just what I do want so that I could articulate it.
    2:29 pm
    Here I am posting again and my story not yet done. Circumstances have changed, and I'm not in a position to work on the story just now, so why not?

    I made it through the rest of my first draft this morning then took time out to make what I expected to be a quick trip to Cordelia's school to drop off her lunch money. I thought I'd be out of the house fifteen minutes, tops. So much for my plans.

    When I got to the school, it was dark. I found quite a gathering of teachers in the office. They were debating what to do. DTE had cut power for the school (a planned outage that they didn't bother to warn the school about). This also took out the phones and the heat. When I got there, power had been off for about two hours and was expected to be off for at least another three hours. The office staff asked me to stay because they were pretty sure they were going to want to send the kids home.

    Some parts of the school were already fairly cold. It was 32F outside, so it was warm for Michigan in December, just not warm compared to what the school should be. Some rooms were quite dark, too. The sky was overcast, so there wasn't much sun to begin with, and quite a few classrooms don't get much light even when it's bright out. They'd arranged to take the school lunches to another school to be heated, so there was hot lunch available.

    They eventually decided that they couldn't actually close the school because many parents wouldn't be able to pick up their kids. Instead, they notified parents and asked them to come pick up their kids if they could. Cordelia was in orchestra, and I figured I could let her finish that before I took her home. In the meantime, I got a phone number from the office for Cordelia's best friend's mother. I knew there was no way she or her husband would be able to pick up their kids, and I usually take them when school's cancelled. The mother was happy to give me permission (she had to talk to the principal directly) to take her two kids home. She hadn't yet gotten the notice about the problem at the school.

    There was some mix up about which kids I wanted. The younger kid is one of two kids in his class with the same name (well, his name is pronounced differently from that of the other boy. They just spell their names the same), and they brought the other boy out at first. They also, when they went to get Cordelia, didn't call for her friend. I had to send Cordelia back for her. There was a fair amount of back and forth as the kids collected their backpacks and instruments and all.

    I made mac 'n' cheese for the kids pretty much immediately. They were eager to eat. I was afraid I wouldn't get any more writing time, but after lunch, they all three went into Cordelia's room, and I could write for about an hour and a half. Right now, they're back in the living room, playing MarioKart and yelling at the screen.

    I'm very, very close to finishing this dratted story, but I can't concentrate while they're in here with me (and there isn't a good place for me to go to get away from them). Hopefully, they'll give me another break later. I want to finish before our gaming group meets tonight. We'll be a couple of players down, and I'd like to participate (I'm not sure Scott will understand if I don't). I don't expect writing time tomorrow, and I'm not sure how Friday is going to look. Ideally, I'd like to post the completed draft today and go in search of beta readers (I figure I can polish even after deadline as long as I've got a completed story to begin with). I still have to find a title. I might work on that while the MarioKart players are yelling.
    Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
    8:23 pm
    I know I said I wouldn't post until my Yuletide story was done, but...

    I've only got two pages left on my revisions. Then I have to find an ending for the story. I'm not sure I'm close to it. There's something I want the point of view character to figure out, and I'm not sure he has enough clues yet. I'm taking a break from the revisions because Scott and Cordelia are both in the living room with me which means I can't concentrate on writing. We're watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.

    Yesterday, I frittered away all of my time, getting nothing much accomplished at all because I wasn't sure where to start with my Yuletide story. All of a sudden, Cordelia was home, and I'd done nothing at all.

    I did try a variation on a recipe from that slow cooker cookbook I bought at the Scholastic book fair. We didn't have and don't like the spices the recipe called for, so I used lemon juice, thyme, and garlic powder instead of lemon pepper. I'd have liked some fresh garlic, but we hadn't got any. I did, as the recipe suggested, cut up an onion and put that in. I also dumped some mushrooms on top of the chicken. After the chicken had cooked on low for about eight hours, I shredded it and removed most of the liquid. The recipe called for adding yogurt to the chicken and serving it up on pita bread. Unfortunately, Kroger no longer carries hearty pita bread. It just has the really thin sort that's good for wrapping around stuff but not so great for filling with stuff.

    In the evening, we went to Orange Leaf for frozen yogurt to celebrate Cordelia's stellar report card. I enjoyed the fro-yo, but I managed to drip some down the front of my coat. I always feel stupid when I do that.
    11:51 am
    I'm going to be taking a hiatus from posting here until I post my Yuletide story. I've been using writing posts here as a way to procrastinate, and I want to remove the temptation. I hope to finish the dratted story today or tomorrow, but it may take me until some time on Friday (and I may post here on Thursday as that's pretty much a complete write off as far as writing goes). I'm even thinking I may need to skip out on Scott's game session tomorrow night. I really don't want to because I don't think he'd understand and because I'd like the chance to give input on the FATE game.

    I've done most of my work for [community profile] metanews for the week. I might end up doing this week's post, but that's not certain yet. The person who would normally do it may well be back in time to do it. That'll probably happen on Thursday if it happens at all. The rest of today is mine but for a few chores such as the dishes.
    Monday, December 15th, 2014
    9:41 am
    What's been your best fandom experience to date? What made it great? (for [personal profile] silverr)

    It's very hard to narrow it down to one thing. My fandom experience hasn't been particularly eventful, not really. I'm not very vocally fannish, so I don't always connect with other people. I have made some friends through fandom, but I can only think of one that I talk to regularly now. I suspect that part of it is that I don't fall headlong into fandoms and so often don't have love for a canon to share with others. I enjoy reading other people's joy in their fandoms; I also enjoy reading criticism of canons whether by people who love them or by people who hate watch/read/whatever. But I don't tend to respond to those posts because I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. My silence makes it rather as if I don't exist.

    Perhaps that's a New Year's resolution I should make-- to comment more often, on fannish posts or otherwise. I wonder if I could manage a comment a day? Or maybe more?

    At any rate the thing in fandom I take the most joy in (and am most likely to participate in) is fic exchanges. I prefer exchanges to challenges because having a recipient gives me a specific person who's expecting the story from me. Without that, I'm likely not to finish or, at best, to be late. The only challenge I managed to do that wasn't exchange was the Finishathon, and that had an audience expecting the story because the conceit of the challenge was that each author put up a list of possible fics and then anyone who wanted to could vote as to which story the author should complete.

    Still I think fic exchanges are my favorite part of fandom. I like the writing better than the receiving, so as long as I finish (and I've not yet defaulted), I'm satisfied. I was pleased, for example, by the Shameathon even though I didn't receive a story (only about three stories ended up getting written for that exchange. I have no idea why the default rate was so high. We got to pick which prompts we wanted to write to) because "Rustication" worked so well. I took a completely off the wall pairing (Mousse/Ukyou from Ranma 1/2) and made it work. I'm very proud of that.

    Yuletide, Remix, and Not Prime Time (and a couple of others I've done once) make me stretch to write fandoms I never would have tried otherwise and, some times, to take angles on canon that wouldn't have occurred to me independently. I love that. When I write, I want to do things that are new to me, things that are a challenge to make work. My first Remix, I wrote Miroku/Kikyou from InuYasha ("Interstice (the Saddle in the Rain Remix)"); I picked that story to remix because I thought the pairing would be hard to pull off right and I wanted to see if I could do it convincingly.

    I've enjoyed single fandom exchanges, too, but I'm less likely to do them because there aren't many fandoms that have exchanges for which I'm certain I can write. There have been a couple of Weiss Kreuz exchanges, I forget the names, and there's the Narnia Fic Exchange every summer.

    I write mostly for the pleasure of it. I won't pretend that comments and kudos aren't sweet, but I have a realistic enough sense of what I choose to write to know that I'm never going to write anything wildly popular. That's what comes from writing obscure fandoms and characters. If a fic on AO3 garners a tenth as many kudos as hits, I consider it a success. Not all my fics make that threshold, but I'm not less pleased with those that don't make it. I don't love "Not All My Grief" better than "Rustication" even though "Not All My Grief" is, going by hits to kudos, quite the most popular thing I've ever written. "Rheotaxis" may be a bit dearer than other stories, but that's because of the time I've invested in it rather than because it's popular compared to my other stories.

    I don't think all of that really answers the initial question. I'm not sure I have an answer to that question because my fandom experience doesn't have any particular highs or lows. It's simply a good part of my life.
    7:49 am
    We slept late yesterday morning and so didn't get most of the things Scott was hoping to do done. It was past 1:30 by the time we got out the door to go to the library, and we were expecting Cordelia's friend at 3:00. Scott had wanted to drop off the clothes he wants to get rid of, and he had wanted to visit a store downtown that carries a cherry wine that his parents have asked for for Christmas. As it was, we had time to visit the library and stop to pick up lunch. We tried to pick up food at Wendy's but the line, both inside and at the drive-thru, was long, and there didn't appear to be anyone providing service, so we went to Subway.

    Cordelia's friend actually arrived about 3:10. Scott had gotten the tree set up by then, and he retrieved the ornaments while the girls and I were setting up a couple of plates of cookies. He put on the lights and the two strands of sparkly decorations. Cordelia and her friend put on most of the decorations. I hung a handful-- my favorite glass candy ornaments and my new owl ornaments, but I left most of the ornaments to the girls.

    Cordelia's friend dropped one of our few breakable ornaments and shattered it. It's a pity. Scott and I both liked that one, but we didn't make a big deal out of it. There was nothing to be done, after all, no need to make her feel bad.

    The girls actually didn't eat many cookies. They finished off the chocolate chip bars (which came out spectacularly well. Someone in Yuletide chat suggested a variant on the Tollhouse recipe that worked pretty well-- Half as much white sugar and twice as much brown sugar as the recipe calls for).

    The actual decorating took about half an hour. Our tree isn't particularly big. After we were done, we put in the Phineas and Ferb Christmas DVD. Once that had ended, the girls went into Cordelia's room and played cards.

    After Cordelia's friend went home, we had a quick dinner and finished watching the movie we started last night. It's a good thing we did. We only had a couple of hours left on the rental. We hadn't realized it would expire so quickly. Then we went out for bubble tea.
    Sunday, December 14th, 2014
    9:41 pm
    New Year's resolutions? Love em? Or leave em? (for rthstewart)

    I'm not usually prone to making New Year's resolutions. It's not out of any strong feelings one way or the other about them, though. It just generally doesn't occur to me.

    Last year, I had a sort of New Year's resolution in that I intended to focus my writing time on Rheotaxis in a push to get it finished. That didn't work out particularly well as I'm blocked hard on the current chapter.

    This year, I expect to have two intentions for the new year-- First, Rheotaxis again. This time, I'm just going to write fragments and see what I can shake loose. My second intention is to get back to exercising regularly. I fell off the wagon with my daily exercise during November and haven't managed to pick it up again. I keep wanting to bake or write during that time instead. I'd like to get back to Body Electric and Sit and Be Fit again. I'd also like to start walking on our treadmill again. I haven't done that in more than a year. I've got audiobooks on my iPod, waiting for me to start walking again. (Walking on the treadmill is more likely to happen than walking outside. I can walk longer and farther on the treadmill than outside even under the best of circumstances. I don't do so well with uneven surfaces or hills. Also, at this time of year, spending time outside is fraught-- I'm asthmatic to cold air and so have to be really careful about exerting myself when it's really cold.)

    Of course, the reality of parenthood means that my 'resolutions' will start on the 5th of January when Cordelia goes back to school. I won't have time to myself before that. I'm hopeful that I can establish habits before school ends in June. Summer will be a hard time to keep everything going because time kind of flows differently then. Cordelia and I sleep later, and she often wants the TV in the afternoon when my exercise programs are on. Or she has friends over then, and I feel weird exercising when they're around.

    Of course, her two most local friends are moving away at the end of May. They may or may not finish out the school year at her school (their parents have said they may end up moving outside of Ann Arbor because it will be cheaper). I don't know who she'll play with next summer. I can think of three kids within moderate walking distance (about six blocks), but one isn't a real friend, just someone she's been on many sports teams with and who used to be in her class. The other two may not be home during the days because their parents work. Then again, I think sixth grade is about the time that most options for kids for daytime in the summer evaporate.
    12:44 pm
    Cordelia's volleyball team had a great game yesterday. I felt sorry for the other team because Cordelia's team ran right over them. In the first game, I was worried that the other team wouldn't make it into double digits. Everybody on Cordelia's team was serving well, and they were able to return most volleys. They even won the game they played on the side of the gym the girls were convinced is cursed. They did less well in that game, probably because they thought they were certain to lose, but they won handily.

    Scott and I are trying to encourage Cordelia to play on her school's volleyball team after all. She just says she doesn't want to play if that particular friend doesn't. She thinks she can't both play and help her friend improve her playing. Scott is pretty adamant that Cordelia should play on the team. He thinks it's a great opportunity to play the game she loves. I would like to see her play, but I don't feel like we should force her. During our drive home from the volleyball game, Scott was so wrapped up in trying to talk Cordelia into playing that he completely forgot to stop for bagels.

    We did end up getting bagels, just later in the day. We bought sandwiches, too, so we didn't have to fuss with trying to figure out what Cordelia would eat.

    In the evening, Cordelia went to a Girl Scout event at the regional headquarters in Ypsilanti. She got a ride with a friend, so we didn't have to worry about getting her there or getting her home (Scott was asleep when she left. He was utterly exhausted). From what she says, the event was noisy and dull. The few members of her troop who were there ended up leaving early and going to the troop leader's house where they toasted marshmallows and watched TV. Cordelia forgot to take her phone with her, and I forgot to suggest it. Neither of us has gotten used to her having a phone.

    While Cordelia was out, Scott and I got food from a local Middle Eastern restaurant. We did carry out because we didn't want to fuss with eating out. Plus, I had just showered and, rather than putting my dirty clothes back on, I'd put on my pajamas. I didn't want to get dressed again. We were running rather late, so I regretted the garlic sauce I had on my chicken once I lay down for bed.

    Cordelia decided that she couldn't wait to see Guardians of the Galaxy. (Scott put it on his Christmas wishlist, and his parents are buying it for him at my strong suggestion.) Scott decided we could do an iTunes rental, so we spent several hours downloading it yesterday. It had finished downloading by the time Cordelia got home from the Girl Scout thing, so we watched part of it then. We didn't get through all of it because I wasn't willing to stay up late enough to finish. Scott and Cordelia would have been happy to, I think, but I like to try to have the lights off by midnight on the weekend.

    We want to do something nice for Cordelia. She brought home her first trimester report card on Friday, and it was all As, well, two As (math and social studies) and three A+s (English, science, and instrumental music). I feel like we should do something to acknowledge that. It's Cordelia's first report card with letter grades. I don't think it ever occurred to her that she wouldn't get As, so she doesn't seem to think it's a big deal.

    We did know in advance what her report card was going to look like-- The school uses a website called Power School to track every child's grades, assignment by assignment and test by test. I'm still not in the habit of looking at it as often as I ought to, but the teachers update it frequently, so it's actually useful. It also has a feature that lets me track how much money Cordelia has left in her lunch account. I find that much easier than my old method which was to mark the calendar for when I thought she would run out.

    I called my mother and step-father yesterday. My mother'd just left for Florida to try to tie up the loose ends with her father's estate. I don't know how long she'll be down there. That meant that I talked to my step-father for a change. He was in the midst of grading papers (he's a professor of social work), so I think he was glad to have a brief break.

    It looks like my parents won't be coming to Michigan this month after all. My step-father says they're still considering it but that he doesn't think it will happen. Flying up here and renting a car would be really expensive this time of year. I'm sure they already considered that, but putting off making arrangements until the last minute definitely won't make it any cheaper. I doubt even traveling after Christmas will help.

    My step-father actually thanked us for the calendar Scott designed and sent. That's a first. Scott does photo calendars for the whole family every year, and everybody seems to love them, but my mother has never once even mentioned receiving hers, so we've always wondered whether or not they actually wanted one. We've kind of assumed that they appreciate all the photos of their grandkids. They're just generally lacking in social graces.
    Saturday, December 13th, 2014
    3:06 pm
    Favorite science show/book? (for [personal profile] silverr)

    My favorite show is also a series of books-- I'm very attached to The Magic School Bus series. I haven't seen all of it, just what's available on DVD (maybe a third of the whole series). I like the way it introduces basic science concepts in a fun way, with a story and kids exploring things they wouldn't really be able to investigate quite that way. It's science with a touch of magic.

    For those not familiar with the series, the conceit is that an elementary school teacher, Ms. Frizzle, has access to a school bus that can shrink and turn into various other things. It can also transform the people riding in it-- At one point the members of the class become bees; at another point, they become drops of water. The bus can fly and can travel in time. It can do just about anything that's needed to show the kids the day's science lesson.

    Some of the books extend to having the class visit certain historical events, but I haven't gotten my hands on any of those. Cordelia used to have a large collection of Magic School Bus books, but she decided a few years ago that she no longer wanted them, and we donated them to her school. Only a very few hardcovers ended up in the library; most went to classroom teachers. I think we had thirty or forty books, and we didn't manage to collect all of them.
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