assorted updates

by dichroic in cooking, daily updates, knitting, rowing, words

Sorted into what they used to call “heads” in old sermons (gratuitous L.M. Montgomery reference there) so I don’t just meander confusingly.

I. Rowing and such
My shoulder has been bothering me this week, to the point where I didn’t erg Wednesday or yesterday. Nothing really wrong, I don’t think, just a strain that hurts enough that it seemed smart to rest it. This is not good, partly because of that race coming up next month, and partly because my blood pressure seems to be up lately and the only thing I know to fix that is to lose a few pounds (literally a few, just 5 or so seems to help). At least it wasn’t raining yesterday afternoon, so since I couldn’t row I got in a couple miles’ walk.

II. Yarn Crawl
Tomorrow is the Rose City Yarn Crawl! Or rather, it runs from yesterday through Sunday, but tomorrow is the day I’m going on it. I really, really don’t need more yarn – what I need is time to knit the yarn I have – but I enjoyed it last year, and the LYS is once again fielding a limo to visit several of the participating stores. It’s a bit expensive to ride along ($80) but I’m considering it as a birthday treat.

III. Birthday
Next weekend for my actual birthday (well, the day after) we’re going to spend a three-day wine weekend in Dundee, a town a little south of here where you can’t throw a stone without hitting a grapevine. I’ve been wanting to go for a while, so asked to make it this year’s birthday trip. There will be much wine tasted and probably some great food as well.

IV. Parallax and poetry
There is a really cool parallax effect I see when rowing on our lake, and I’ve been trying to get it into a poem, but it’s resisting with all claws out like a cat being put into a carrier. (Actually, our current cats are more cooperative.) I tend to row fairly close to the shore, especially in cold weather, because it feels safer. There’s a park on the far side of the lake, with some fairly tall trees near the water’s edge. When I’m close to them, the trees are all I see; as I paddle further away from shore, of course the trees sink into the distance – but magically a mountain rises up behind them. Close in it’s hidden by the trees and some low hills, but from further out you can see that the mountain is way higher than the trees. There is a fairly obvious analogy in this for daily life, too, about the big things being hidden by near-term petty concerns, but it might be too didactic to add that to the poem.

V. On a foodie note – cod is still not my favorite fish, but I can recommend this recipe for it with mustard-caper sauce. What a pleasant change, to try a new recipe that only takes about 15 minutes and very little effort to make. Ted suggested that the sauce might also be good on asparagus, as well as other white fish. One warning: that recipe is from Real Simple, who have an annoying habit of giving instructions for a whole dinner at once, with ingredients and instructions for each thing all muddled up together. The Bibb lettuce, red onion and cucumbers are for a salad on the side and are not part of the fish recipe. (We had Brussels sprouts with it instead, that being what I wanted to use up). On the other hand, the spaghetti squah we had the night before will not be repeated – it’s clear that winter squashes in all forms are not welcome in my household. Though I may serve this tomato sauce with gremolata again, only over actual pasta. I used a mix of canned and fresh tomatoes, but it would be better with fresh ones only – maybe Roma ones for cooking and an heirloom one on top.

VI. Knitting
I cast on another project last night, bringing my total WiPs to four. Annoyed at myself for this. I know lots of people enjoy having many projects in work at once. That’s great if it’s what you like, just not for me. I try to keep not more than two in work, because I like finishing things – I get tired of a project when it’s been in work too long. I don’t really seem to have that much time to knit – or don’t focus on it when I do – so having too many projects going just drags everything out.

Currently I’ve got 1) a lightweight sweater (Cecchetti) that has the body and one sleeve done, second sleeve barely started. The body on this went nice and fast, sleeves seem to be taking for-freaking-ever. Also, I put it aside with the advent of cooler weather, because it’s more of a summer sweater. Unfortunately I think the sleeves may end up a little tight. 2) a Dr. Who tie for my brother Hitchhiker necktie). Speaking of taking forever! I thought I’d knock this out in a week for his December birthday, but here it is March and it’s only 36” done. I’m into the narrower part, so it’s going faster now, but moss stitch is an unfortunate combination of slow to knit and boring. 3) Another, heavier sweater (Wisteria) – this one has the body done and I’m into the cabling at the bottom of the first sleeve. I’m still loving this one and would be happy to spend all my knitting time on it, but it has gotten too bulky to carry around to knitting outings or on travel, so that does justify one other project. Also, I’m sad that it won’t be done in time to wear this winter, because it’s beautiful. And 4) a shawl I cast on a few days ago, for no good reason but the desire to do something different. (All Things Oregon). I don’t know why. This is part of a local MKAL and it just looked like fun. Also, I’m doing it in rustic brown and beige yarns, so it will be different from any other shawl I own, while still going well with some colors I wear. At least the clues only come out every two weeks, so I’m hoping it won’t be too hard to keep up with.

going back to the Sun

by dichroic in travel

My trip to last last week was wonderful, actually. I got to meet up with J and his wife, also J for lunch – I worked with him in about 1997-98. I got to meet up with my friend K, the Rower Formerly Known as She-Hulk in this blog for dinner (time to retire that nom – she’s not even all that big, it’s just that at one point we were in a crew together and the rest of us were around my size, which is considered absurdly tiny for a rower). I got to meet up with some of my old Six Sigma group, which was one of the two best teams I’ve worked on in my whole career, and had a wonderful night out. Also, I got to spend the workday with a youngish programmer who has a good reputation but whom I hadn’t met before, and I both enjoyed hanging with him and approved of him professionally.

Also, the places. I was in a hotel about 4 miles from work (which is no distance at all, as roads go in the Phoenix area) and our old house is on a direct line between the two, so this was very much my manor, my old stomping groups. I was surprised at how much hadn’t changed in ten years – for instance I got to the bead warehouse store, which was having a 50% off sale on most stuff, and Changing Hands bookstore, both of which moved into their current locations while I lived there and haven’t changed since. K and I ate at Abuelos, a Mexican chain Ted and I used to like. With the Six Sigma group, we ate at Caffe Boa, on Mill Ave (which *did* move, though just down the street, but apparently that was before I left), I always liked that place, but now it’s really amazing – my caprese salad had homemade bufala mozzeralla and burrata on it. I also snuck in a visit to the mall that was built while we lived there – the Nordstrom’s there is exactly the same, and hadn’t even moved their departments around. It was always a good one, so I got fitted for a bra while I was there since it had been a while. One new thing – a Dutch store I liked, Oil & Vinegar, has now expanded to the US and had a branch in that mall, so I was able to stock up on the dippling spice we like (you add it to olive oil). Somehow I’ve never been able to make my own blend that works as well, and Ted hasn’t had a trip back to the Netherlands in a while.

And to crown the trip, on our last workday, I was able to talk my coworker into going out to Chandler Airport to have lunch at the Hangar Cafe, which lets you sit near the flightline and watch the planes take off. I never worked near enough to go there for lunch, but we used to love having weekend breakfasts there.

What surprised me was realizing how fond of the place I am, when it’s not doing its celebrated imitation of Hell in summer. It’s easy to get around, there’s great shopping, great scenery and hiking, and I miss the community we had there. By the time we’d left, I was just sick to death of the heat, we’d lived there for ten years and I was more than ready to move, so I needed this trip to remind me that I actually like Phoenix. In season, at least.

tiny decisions are the hardest

by dichroic in daily updates

I am spending way way way too much time vacillating on whether to drive or take the MAX to the airport Saturday.

Drive:
Pros: Faster (about 40 minutes vs 86).
Cons: Long drives still bother me. Ted wouldn’t have the use of my car while I’m gone – though he wouldn’t want me to use that as a determining factor.

MAX:
Pros: No need to drive. The trip is longer but I can doze or knit.
Cons: I wouldn’t get home until 9:30 at night on the return trip. I think being on the train itself is safe enough, but I’d need to change trains (though I can do that in a part of downtown that will be lively) and then walk from the train to my car at the station. Ted would need to leave my car at the train station since I don’t think you’re supposed to leave it there for days – though that’s not a really problem since he’s taking MAX to a work retreat that night.

On second thought, the time difference is not quite that dramatic. Figure ten minutes waiting to get on the airport shuttle, ten minutes riding it to my car, ten minutes paying and getting out of the lot, so that makes it closer to 70 minutes – though to be fair I should also add ten minutes waiting for the train. So 70 vs 96 minutes. And as for driving desensitization, I’ll be doing plenty of driving in Chandler – it will all be in an area that used to be my home turf back in the days when I was most confident driving (not the nervous new driver I was in Texas, but before the issues stemming from vision weirdness that developed in Taiwan) so I think that will help.

Sounds like I’m taking MAX. I do find that writing things out like this can help.

plans and appointments

by dichroic in daily updates

Life is speeding up again. Business trip to AZ next week (I fly out Saturday). Then when I come back we head down to the lake for some much-needed water time. The weekend after that is the Rose City Yarn Crawl – my LYS is booking a van again for the Saturday. I’m going to go just for the fun of yarn crawling, even though I don’t really need more yarn! (I’m sure some will come home with me anyway, and there are a few notions I hope to acquire along the way.) Then the next weekend is my birthday – we are planning a long weekend in Dundee, in the heart of the local wine country. And it’s probably back to the lake the weekend after that, because if we want to race there in early April, we need to get in as much water time as we can.

Add to that a ridiculous number of doctor’s appointments, for someone who is basically healthy. So far I’ve had my work physical (in the office) at the end of January, followed a couple weeks later by a real physical with my own doctor (because the work one doesn’t check thyroid function) following a visit to their lab the previous week so they could draw blood and have results ready for the doctor to discuss with me. There was also a dermatologist appointment, because I’m close to the end of my 40s and it seemed like a good idea to have one, and now in March I have an appointment with a more expert dermatologist to check up something the doctor “is pretty sure is fine – but I can’t say for 100%, so…” (There is a faint dark stripe that runs the length of one toenail – apparently this can be the result of a mole at the base of the nail. However, the doctor pointed out something the dermatologist missed – a matching but fainter line on one thumbnail. How likely is it that the skin on my entire body is fine except for two moles in hidden spots? Not very likely, I’m thinking. But getting it checked still seems smarter than not doing so.) Anyway, so that’s in March. And so is a dental check-up and an annual eye doctor exam. I guess at least they’ll all be out of the way after that!

It is illustrative that I called yesterday for a haircut appointment and had to book one three weeks out, between my calendar and theirs. Good thing I have long hair, so a cut or lack thereof doesn’t really show.

Interview with a Fairy Godmother

by dichroic in daily updates

This one is for Louise.

Recording Date: 2/15/2016
Transcription of Radio Show, “You Do What?” from the Faerytale Broadcasting System

Host Paula Pennywhistle (HPP): Hello, I’m Paula Pennywhistle and I’m the host of your FBS network’s show “You Do What?” in which we interview people with unusual careers. My guest today is Dame Ella Nettleblossom, a Fairy Godmother Emeritus and the founder and head administrator of the Fairy Godmother Coop.

Good morning – er, do I call you Fairy Godmother, Dame Ella, or what?

Fairy Godmother Ella (FGE): Oh, just Ella is fine, dear. I’ve gone by many other titles, but we in the Co-op are simply too busy to stand on ceremony!

HPP: Ella, then. Ella, let’s start with some background. I know you’re connected with the Royal Family, though I confess I’ve always been a bit confused about the details. But isn’t it unusual for a royal to work in the Fairy Godmother field? I mean, we’re used to Fairy Godmothers helping princesses, not being princesses. Can you tell us a bit about how you got started?

FGE: You know, that is the oddest thing about growing old – one minute it seems that everyone knows your entire history, then a day later it’s all faded into the dim past. Very well, then, once upon a time – well, really, it did start that way. And really, it’s fair to say the current Royal Family started with me. Technically, I suppose, I am still the Dowager Queen

HPP, startled: Your Majesty!

FGE, continuing: But, really, it’s rather hard to know what to call one’s self when there have been two other Dowager Queens since I first took that title. My daughter-in-law, and granddaughter-in-law, you know. My beloved husband and son both died fairly young for our kind, I’m afraid – only 90 or so. So there I was, very much at loose ends, with plenty of other people there to handle the usual royal duties, visiting orphanages and patronizing young artists and so on – and I started thinking of my own Fairy Godmother, Grainne Nettlethorne, and how very much she’d done for me.

HPP: Can you share that story with our listeners, Ella?

FGE: Oh, I think they’ve heard it many times. In my younger days, I was nicknamed Cinder Ella.

HPP: Stunned silence

HPP: Oh!

FGE, amused: Yes. That’s what I meant about the oddness of getting older – you probably thought that was only ever a story. Anyway, all those years later, I started thinking about dear Grainne and wishing I could continue on with her work. Then one day I must have wished on the right star or the right white horse, and next thing I knew I was recruited.

HPP, intrigued: How do fairy godmothers recruit?

FGE: I’m sorry, dear, that’s a deep dark secret of our order and I don’t know all the details myself.

HPP:
Well, we’ll certainly respect that – after all, no smart person wants to annoy the fairy godmothers! And so then you were an active fairy godmother for some years?

FGE: Yes, and I enjoyed it greatly. You may have heard of some of my girls, but I can’t share their stories – privacy, you know. Anyway, after some time I began to see a need, and that’s when I founded the FGM Co-op.

HPP: Nice segue! That brings us to our main topic for today. Tell me, Your Maj- Ella, I think we all understand the important work Fairy Godmothers do – you all are one of our important channels of economic mobility, after all. But can you please explain to us all what a Fairy Godmother Co-op does?

FGE: Well, there are really two main things. Funnily enough, I got the idea, not so much from the work the cobblers and the other guilds are doing for their members, as from the mothers’ groups my daughter-in-law was organizing in the villages.

First of all, as a working woman yourself, you must know how hard it is sometimes – you have always to be polite to everyone, no matter how you feel. Fairy Godmothers go one step beyond that; we are expected to be unfailingly cheerful, nurturing and supportive – and despite our *ahem* special powers, we are only human. We are ill sometimes, or sad, or overworked – and until we formed the Co-op, we had no sick time! We simply had to work, no matter how poorly we felt. A scullery maid wouldn’t have stood for it, in these enlightened times. We in the Co-op have developed a system to back each other up; if one Godmother is ill, another fills in for her, with a simple glamour on her appearance to preserve continuity for the clients.

It’s difficult to provide statistics, of course, since there were no data for the previous system, but our members report that simply being allowed to stay home when they need to has both increased their job satisfaction tremendously, and vastly improved their health. A contented Godmother is an effective Godmother!

HPP: You mentioned that the Co-Op has two functions, Ella – what is the other one?

FGE: Well, another common pitfall of our work is what I call the empty pitcher syndrome. Tell me, my dear Paula, do you have children?

HPP: Yes, I do – two little girls and a baby boy.

FGE: And like most mothers, you care for them on top of the other work you do. Do you ever have the feeling that you do nothing but give to others, until there’s almost none of you left?

HPP: I love caring for my children!

FGE, in the stern but kind tone used by all the best Nannies:That’s not what I asked, my dear.

HPP, a little embarassed: Well – sometimes.

FGE: Then you can imagine what it’s like for us. Few women become Fairy Godmothers until their own children are grown, but of course we still have families, grandchildren and so on. And the very basis of our job is about giving to others – our magic pulls on our own life essence, you know. Our members were experiencing tremendous rates of burn-out, even after we instituted our back-up system to let them rest when they were really ill. And so – we started our Godmother’s Godmother program!

HPP: Godmother’s Godmother?

FGE:
Precisely. Each year, at our annual Yule Ball, we draw names from a cauldron. Each of us is assigned one other member to be her Fairy Godmother.

For that year, the Godmother treats her assignee as an extra client – though, let us say a less needy one than the usual client, since Godmothers are selected for the stable personalities and life situations, among other good qualities – and treats her to some of the pampering our other clients get.

HPP, fascinated: But doesn’t this just add to the workload?

FGE: It all balances out. We have done studies; our members use up to 20% of their magic on their assigned Godmother, but – remember I said our magic draws from our life essence? – we found that it is more than replaced by the benefits each member gets from her own Godmother. Not only is there the feeling of being cared for, for once – being the caretaken rather than the eternal caretaker – but after all, our help is targeted at improving all aspects of a client’s life and that includes our own people as well. Those two factors strengthen each member’s life essence, and thus, her magic.

HPP: I see. And what is your own role in all of this, Ella?

FGE: Well, I founded the system and I have done the organizational work so far – but I’m about to step down from all of that and retire, yet again.

HPP: Uh, oh – will the whole system end when you do?

FGE: Oh, heavens, no. Our members are capable and intelligent women – and in fact we are discussing whether to add some men to our group. Fairy Godfathers, if you will. We’ll use an elected board to manage things, and if that doesn’t work out we’ll hire someone to do it. In fact, our clients are frequently in need of temporary employment, so that would enable us to funnel the costs back into our main work. Of course, we would try to hire the girls – or boys – we feel might join our organization later on in their lives.

HPP: Fascinating. I’m afraid our time is coming to an end, but let me say how much I have enjoyed the chance to speak with you. Can you give us any final tips? If we have an audience member who is in need of a Fairy Godmother, or who wants to become one, how can she get in touch with your group?

FGE:
The selection process is shrouded in mystery, even for us. But I can say that selection of our clients is based on need and on who you are. The best advice I can give is, regardless of your situation, treat every one you meet as you’d want your Fairy Godmother to see you treating them. But remember, most of us have been in your shoes, glass or not, and we don’t expect you to
stand for being mistreated! Seek the help you need, and help others when you can, and keep hoping we’ll find you. If not, at least you’ll have found other help.

For those who want to become a Fairy Godmother, my advice is nearly the same: wish on stars and stones and wells, but even without Fairy magic, do your best to be a Godmother to those already in your life – and to support those who are making the same effort. Remember that you cannot help others when your own
well has run dry, but do what you can to help the helpers, as well as those who need help, and we will hope that you are tapped to join us.

HPP: And that’s the end of our show. This is Paula Pennywhistle, of FBS’s “You Do What?” radio show, with her Royal Majesty the thrice-dowager Queen Ella, founder and Chief Administrator of the Fairy Godmother Co-op. Thank you, Ella, for joining us today, and thanks to all of you for listening!

grump grump grump grump

by dichroic in daily updates

1. My arm hurts. It’s for a good cause – I went to the doctor for an annual physical yesterday, asked her about what innoculations are needed for our trip ti the Galapagos this summer, and she offered to give me the tetanus shot right there and then (I don’t technically need one, since I got one in 2007 and they’re good for ten years, but it’s been nine already and I’m not sure where my records are anyway). So it’s to allow me to do something I’m looking forward to. But it huuuurts. Also, my bra strap keeps sliding off my shoulder and crossing over the sore spot, which is not helping! (It’s not one with straps that can be hooked together or crossed.)

2. We won’t be able to make our usual biweekly trip to the lake next weekend because I have a work trip and I have to fly in on Saturday,

3. Said work trip is a mixed bag. I’m going to where I used to live in AZ. This is the perfect time of year to go there, I’ll get to see some old friends, and I’ll get to see one of our offices I haven’t been to before. Also, I’ll probably enjoy the work. So far all to the good – but on the down side I will lose a weekend to this trip and probably won’t get compensatory time off. The biggest issue is that grandboss, who is running this project, is being weird, restrictive, and weirdly restrictive about it. It’s something smack in my area of expertise but all suggestions are being smacked down hard. Not only that, she keeps saying stuff that’s just wrong – not only the work stuff, which is at least a matter of opinion, but also basic facts. She tried telling me that AZ is on Central timezone part of the year which is factually incorrect – but she wouldn’t brook even a polite demurral despite knowing I lived there for TEN FUCKING YEARS, so I had to let it drop in self defense. (AZ does not do Daylight Savings Time. They stay on Mountain Standard Time all year, so effectively they’re with the rest of us on Pacific Daylight Time in summer and with the rest of the Mountain timezone in winter. They never ever match summer time.) This is not auguring well for my time on the project.

On the plus side, I have a massage scheduled for today (and will tell them to avoid that arm!), can sleep late in my own bed this weekend, and will get to go blend wines tomorrow, an event we enjoyed a lot last year.

And also my smartphone was indeed smart just now and went straight to voicemail for someone I didn’t particularly want to speak to. Just because you can find my resume on line from last time I was looking for a job (a few years ago) does not mean I want to be an insurance agent! Especially when that has nothing to with any of my experience or stated goals. Smart girl, Siri.

Correction to yesterday’s post

by dichroic in daily updates

Because apparently I was thinking very fuzzily. Yesterday I wrote, among a list of things that have annoyed me:

The US Electoral College system. Did you know that Clinton won New Hampshire? According to the CNN article I linked there, it’s true – in the only way that really matters. She got more delegates than he did, even though he won about 50% more of the popular vote. But it depends how you count – other articles say he had 13 delegates and she has 9. The discrepancy appears to be because she’s got a bunch of “superdelegates”, who can support whoever they want. (ETA: Here’s a clear explanation.) This is an evil system, for a few reasons. First, if you tell people they have a representative democracy and get their vote counted proportionally when in actuality there are a bunch of unelected party officials (and former officials) steering from the backseat, that is what we technically call a “lie”. Second, I actually kind of understand how those superdelegates hark back to the original intentions of the Founding Fathers, only it doesn’t work. Jefferson wrote about this very clearly. The original point of the Electoral College (in a time without computerized counting of ballots) was that citizens would each elect the wisest local person they knew, and then those wise men in each state (of course they were men) would gather together and choose their candidate for President. He (Jefferson) opined that this two stage system tended to choose better than a direct election would. Maybe he was right, but you can’t tell that from our current ridiculous system of pledged and unpledged candidates. The problem here is, citizens don’t get to choose those unpledged delegates. They are a shadow electorate, forged in the bowels of party machines.

Except the superdelegates aren’t part of the Electoral College, because they’re part of the primary elections, not the general. And the primaries are basically the internal workings of the two major US political parties – how each one chooses the candidate they’ll put forth for the general election. We’ve institutionalized the two parties to where we think of them as official governmental groups, but they are really not – as far as I know, they are still private organizations who can organize themselves as they see fit.

So:
1. I still don’t like the Electoral College, because while I think it was needed logistically once upon a time and had a laudable goal, I do not think either of those things are still true, and it takes us a step away from true representive democracy.

2. I do not like the superdelegate system (though I don’t blame candidates for using it, because they have to work within the system they have) because I think that a system where some people’s votes count more than others is unfair.

But they are two separate things – and since superdelegates are essentially a private matter within each party, I don’t think electoral reform can clean out those stables.

Things that have pissed me off in this election cycle so far

by dichroic in daily updates

(I mean, other than almost everything Cruz and Trump say and the fact that people still want to vote for them.)

  • The person who inveighed against Bernie Sanders “because he’s not a real Democrat”, meaning, he isn’t staunchly loyal to the party. As far as I’m concerned that’s an asset; I want a candidate whose loyalty to the party is far outweighed by their loyalty to the country. Then it’s up to the party to decide if that person’s values are close enough to their own to throw their weight behind the candidate. (My opinion on party politics are fairly similar to John Adams, which is to say I think in general they’re a bad thing.)
  • Anyone on either side but especially on the liberal side who has lied about Hilary Clinton. The woman has been in public life for just about my entire life; her record is out there, and it’s not a simple one. If you want to dislike her on the basis of it, fine and good, but try to understand that record first, and don’t just make shit up. (I thought this article illustrated the point very well, but it’s by no means exhaustive – and doesn’t even address the emails issue, which still troubles me a bit.)
  • The US Electoral College system. Did you know that Clinton won New Hampshire? According to the CNN article I linked there, it’s true – in the only way that really matters. She got more delegates than he did, even though he won about 50% more of the popular vote. But it depends how you count – other articles say he had 13 delegates and she has 9. The discrepancy appears to be because she’s got a bunch of “superdelegates”, who can support whoever they want. (ETA: Here’s a clear explanation.) This is an evil system, for a few reasons. First, if you tell people they have a representative democracy and get their vote counted proportionally when in actuality there are a bunch of unelected party officials (and former officials) steering from the backseat, that is what we technically call a “lie”. Second, I actually kind of understand how those superdelegates hark back to the original intentions of the Founding Fathers, only it doesn’t work. Jefferson wrote about this very clearly. The original point of the Electoral College (in a time without computerized counting of ballots) was that citizens would each elect the wisest local person they knew, and then those wise men in each state (of course they were men) would gather together and choose their candidate for President. He (Jefferson) opined that this two stage system tended to choose better than a direct election would. Maybe he was right, but you can’t tell that from our current ridiculous system of pledged and unpledged candidates. The problem here is, citizens don’t get to choose those unpledged delegates. They are a shadow electorate, forged in the bowels of party machines.
  • Anyone who believes the next President will make a huge and immediate difference in our country. The US President has an enormous amount of influence on domestic matters, but only a limited emount of direct power. (They do have more power in international matters.) Aside from Executive Orders, making anything happen requires getting the buy-in of Congress. This actually hurt Obama, when people who expected immediate and sweeping changes that failed to materialize became discouraged and disillusioned with him. It would hurt Sanders or Trump similarly (though I think it would have less effect on someone like Clinton, who people expect to work within the system). Obama’s actually gotten quite a lot done, but it took time and a lot of arguing.
  • Speaking of whom, I’m going to miss Obama. We haven’t had a President I’d describe as a genuinely good man since Jimmy Carter, or one with as much dignity since I don’t know when. I hope he can become as successful an ex-President as Carter has been, whether that’s in the Supreme Court or in another arena.

(Apologies to anyone who read an earlier version of this – it was a formatting mess.)

Fic rec, and four more random things

by dichroic in daily updates

This one is really wonderful – a crossover featuring Hilary Thorpe and Jerry Wimsey at Hogwarts in 1931. Plus a Triwizard Tournament, Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey as supporting characters, and cameos by a young Fileus Flitwick and a host of others.

Superbowl thoughts: Granted, I’m not enough of a football fan to appreciate the subtleties of a good defense, but really, you know it’s a boring game when even the announcers don’t sound excited. Commercial-wise, I was very pleased that the PSAs from the NFL(?) about domestic abuse and from Budweiser about drunk driving were as well-thought-out and engaging (though notably lower-budget) as any of the regular commercials.

Friday I telecommuted from the lake house. It was wonderful – I took advantage of the quiet there to write three intranet articles and expand one for outside publication, got another batch of apple fruit leather made (I did the peeling and chopping on my lunch break; the rest takes only occasional oversight), and went kayaking afterward.

My steel water bottle (Kleen Kanteen) has been demoted from Favorite to Still Pretty Good, after it fell off the dock and promptly sank. To be Favorite, it has to be good for travel, erging, sitting around the house and rowing – you just can’t be a good rowing accessory if you don’t float! I haven’t gotten it back yet, because the water was too deep – might be able to get it sometime when the water level is lower, but of course it’s easily replaceable. I might get an insulated one next time – not only will that be nice for when it sits in the car in summer, it’s possible those float.

I just realized I have been on Ravelry (knitting site) for nearly a decade now – 8.5 years. I was member number #7551. (For those Ravelers who don’t know how to find this and want to, go to your profile and enter the Konami code–up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.)

If you ever want something depressing to think about…

by dichroic in daily updates

In the history of humanity, only 12 people have walked on the Moon. Only 7 of those are still alive, and the youngest of them is now 80. If we don’t get a move on, it’s likely that within the he next 20 years or so, there will be no one alive who has set foot on any astronomical body other than Earth.

If you still need more to depress you, all 12 of those were straight (as far as I know) white Christian men, even though none of those characteristics has any relevance to anyone’s ability to be a good astronaut. I’d have been out on two counts, myself. You can make a pretty good case that astronauts are our best and brightest (if you ever doubt it, don’t look at the minimum requirements, look at the bios of those who are actually selected). If we’ve made no other progress in the last 50 years, at least we don’t use those unimportant characteristics in determining who is the best among us any more.

(RIP Edgar Mitchell, Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 14.)