1. Do you like blue cheese?

Um. I love cheese like it's the best thing in the entire world, but there are a lot of cheeses I prefer to blue.

2. Have you ever smoked?

I smoked briefly when I was about 25, I think? In Columbia, Missouri during grad school, when a drunken roommate alerted me to how well it went with going to shitkicking country dive bars, misdressed (him in sockless topsiders and a polo shirt and khaki shorts, the complete preppie who looked a good deal like Gregory Peck). Smoking makes you dizzy, did you know that? It's like twice the drunk for half the money! But I didn't keep it up.

3. Do you own a gun?

Wtf. No.

4. What is your favorite flavor?

This is an impossible question. I agree with [personal profile] mistersmearcase about grapefruit, but also blood orange... and... hm... lemon... pomegranate... er, all things tangy?

5. Do you get nervous before doctor visits?

Yes, because I am fat and that is a fucking sin in doctor land, even if they're not absolute bastards about it.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?

I haven't liked a hot dog since I was a kid and we had regular dinners of hot dog and butter bean casseroles. They were okay for ball games. Generally do not like.

7. Favourite Christmas movie?

I love It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. The latter is so fucking Midwestern.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

English or Irish breakfast tea... or on a lazy day, loose leaf Assam

9. Do you do push-ups?

Hahahaha. I do go waterwalking. I like water. Especially salt water, like at the Richmond Plunge.

10. What’s your favourite piece of jewelry?

I barely remember ever to wear earrings any more. I have a ring that is a biggish rectangle (1.5 cm x 1 cm?) of cloudy moonstone over (so the jeweler told me) blue paper, in a silver setting. I love it.

11. Favourite hobby?

Reading. Writing.

12. Do you have A.D.D.?


13. What’s the one thing you hate about yourself?

Laziness. I mean, I quite enjoy it, but it does make life harder.

14. Middle name?


15. Name three thoughts right now?

Less than two weeks left without work, sigh. I love having Ruby and Rosie come over to hang out, play computer games, binge watch TV and sleep over.

16. Name 3 drinks you drink regularly.

tea, fizzy water, diet gingerale (or Coke)

17. Where's the question?


18. Current hate right now?

FB friends demonizing people who vote for the Greens (like me)

19. Favorite place to be?

armchair in my bay window, Devlin on my lap

20. How do you ring in the New Year?

I have never gotten the point of NYE

21. Where would you like to go?

Montreal, Newcastle, London, Belfast, Dublin

22. Name three people who will complete this?

Yeah, two friends already did it (hi, [personal profile] mistersmearcase and [profile] ironedorchid)

23. Do you own slippers?

Yes. I got a pair for my mom for Xmas, and they were so amazing that I then went and ordered a pair for myself.

24. What colour shirt are you wearing?

Faded red smocked

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?


26. Can you whistle?


27. Favourite colour?

I have always hated this question. I love colors. I give students the challenge of coming up with as many as they can at one point during the poetry unit, and it's fun finding gradations and weird names. Go look at the list in Wikipedia: unbelievable.

28. Would you be a pirate?

In Black Sails it seems like the pirates' accountants have the better job.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?

I don't

30. Favourite girls name?

Maude or Mairead or Roisin

31. Favourite boys name?


32. What’s in your pocket right now?

a barrette

33. Last person that made you laugh?

Rosie made me laugh when she asked if (she was chatting with a friend of mine on FB for a second while I attended to something) she would get me kicked off FB if she cursed. He'd teased her about the Cubs beating the Oakland As, and she was pissed. Me, I couldn't care less about baseball, and I approve of swearing.

34. Best toy as a child?

You know, when all is said and done, I think I liked my Sunshine Family dolls the best. Barbie dolls were fucking annoying. Hippie dolls were great fun.

35. Worst injury?

I haven't really had one.

36. Where would you love to live?

I still miss Chicago (Evanston) and maybe Madison, Wisconsin. But Oakland is nice. I'm terrified about getting priced out, though. Rent is crazier and crazier. And who's ever seen rent GO DOWN once it's gone up? I mean, sometimes house prices drop... but I don't think I've known rent to do that...

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?


38. Who is your loudest friend?

I don't think I have loud friends.

39. How many dogs do you have?


40. Does someone trust you?

I think lots of people do.

41. What's your favorite movie?

I don't know. Reds? Rang de Basanti?

42. What’s your favourite sweet?

German chocolate cake with pecan-caramel icing

43. What’s your favourite sports team?

Still the Green Bay Packers

44. What song do you want played at your funeral?

I have never considered this. "The Internationale", maybe
maeve66: (Read Motherfucking Books All Damn Day)
This is a placeholder post, the comments for which are meant to be a place for suggesting three hundred and sixty-five grown-up (or at least not moronic or banal or jejune) topics for blogging. I have two post topics, so I'll put them in the comments. Please, anyone should feel free to contribute. [personal profile] sabotabby's idea was to start actually blogging the topics on January 1st 2013. Ambitious!

ETA: I have corralled what suggestions there have been so far, and added some, and we are 1/10th of the way to 365 topics. Hm. I should probably put this behind a cut. )

12/16/12: now at 75 topics! Twenty more and we'll be a quarter of the way through the year. I hope the contributions keep coming in. S-J, where are you? Also, [profile] slantedeyes65, where are YOU? And everybody else, more please, more!

1/2/13: I will keep trying to add topics, but at this point what I think I am going to do is just dip into this about twice a week, so that I have topics to write on whether or not I am inspired to write in LJ (or DW, whatever). My niece is finally blogging, but she chose Blogger, sigh.
1. What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now?

I think I have lavender soap in my tub/shower, but also this gorgeous-smelling blood orange shower gel, which is what I prefer.

2. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator?


3. Is there anything mouldy in your refrigerator?

No. But I just cleaned it out this weekend.

4. Are there any dirty dishes in your sink?

Yes. There shouldn't be, but there definitely are.

5. What would you change about your living room?

It needs a new floor. So does my whole apartment. It has wooden floors (which I prefer enough that I would have a very hard time renting a place that did NOT have hardwood floors...) but I think they're the original ones from the 'teens. Whenever an apartment is vacant, the owner refinishes the floors (and then requires tenants not to wear shoes inside the apartment) or installs that fake wood laminate flooring.

6. Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty?

No dishwasher.

7. Do you have a can of mushrooms in your pantry?


8. White or wheat bread?

White; sourdough or baguette. Or else a good local brand, Vital Vittles, which is whole wheat.

9. What is on top of your refrigerator?

Lord, so much that it will be hard to name. I have ZERO (I mean that literally) counter space in my tiny kitchen. There is a 20 inch by twenty-five inch tiled space next to the 1910s porcelain enamel rectangular drop sink, but the dish drainer is there. Otherwise, nothing. So, on top of the fridge: a huge container of homemade muesli (got used to eating it in Britain; don't like sugar in it, therefore make it myself). Flour, sugar, large nested bowls, cookie cutters, oven mitts, some standing boxes of pasta, some kitchen towels, lots of other stuff I am forgetting.

10. What color is your sofa?

I think the futon cover is wine-red, but it's covered with a more faded wine-reddish fitted flannel sheet because the futon cover is like a relentless and later unyielding magnet for cat hair. The fitted sheet is less so.

11. What color or design is on your shower curtain?

Interlocking blue and brown and green circle-y things. It's not my favorite. My favorite died, and I haven't found a good replacement.

12. How many plants are in your home?

None. I had a jade plant for a while, which is the plant I succeeded at not killing for the longest time.

13. How many candles are in your home?

I don't have decorative candles, really. But I do have really nice smelly ones, which I guess count as that. I probably have eight or so in various states of meltedness. Mostly lemongrass, some cranberry orange.

14. Is your bed made right now?


15. If you have a coffee pot, what color is it?

I have a tea pot. It's blue.

16. Electric or standard can opener?

Standard, which I rarely use because I tend to buy cans which are self opening.

27. Comet or Soft Scrub?

I think I have both, though the Comet is probably more than ten years old.

28. Is your closet organized?

Well... clothes are hanging up and there's nothing but a vacuum cleaner and a box of my dissertation research materials on the floor of my bedroom closet. My hall closet has a lot more stuff in it, but you can walk in and select some of that stuff without injury.

29. What color is the flashlight that you use the most?

I don't have a flashlight, so I use my iPhone, which has one built in, thank fuck.

30. What kinds of things are in your junk drawer?

Only one? Five million pens, little objects like a tiny plastic buddha, a rock that a student glued glitter to and gave me as "Harry Potter's Sorcerer's Stone" my first year of teaching, because I read it aloud to the class, eighteen years ago, printer ink cartridges, my checkbook, pretty cards and envelopes, playing cards, markers, pencil leads, unpaid parking tickets, an extra charger cord, hair barrettes...

31. Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home?


32. Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now?

No, but I usually do.

33. If you have a garage, is it cluttered?

I don't. Street parking only, which sucks.

34. Curtains or blinds?

Blinds, which are gross and which I leave rolled up.

35. How many pillows do you sleep with?

Two, the top one of which is one of those memory foam ones with a dip to support your neck, and a body pillow.

36. Do you sleep with any lights on at night?


37. How many ceiling fans are in your home?

None. My place was built in the 1910s, and has crazy high ceilings. Sadly it also has almost NO air flow. Every time I cook (in that tiny crap kitchen) the smoke alarm goes off. Every single time.

38. How often do you vacuum?

Almost never.

39. Standard toothbrush or electric?


40. What color is your toothbrush?

I don't know. White and some other color. Turquoise?

41. Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch?

The apartment building does. I couldn't tell you what it says, if anything. I don't.

42. What is in your oven right now?

Oven racks.

43. Is your microwave clean or dirty?


44.Is there anything under your bed?

Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, a big plastic storage crate of Xmas ornaments and the tree stand, a cardboard box of Sunshine Family dolls and furniture and accessories, which I got from EBay for playing with my nieces.

45. Chore you hate doing the most?


46. What retro items are in your home?

I have a stereoscope and a collection of stereoscope cards, including a cool set from just after the San Francisco earthquake

47. Do you have a separate room that you use as an office?

The living room has to suffice.

48. If you have a yard, who mows it?

Don't have a yard.

49. Is there anything on your kitchen floor right now?

Cat food bowl, cat water arrangement, selection of plastic bags for shopping, a couple of bottles of wine and gin and tonic water

50. How many mirrors are in your home?

One in the bathroom over the sink, and one on the wall in my bedroom

51. Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home?

It's not exactly hidden, and I have thought of it more as a supplemental savings than emergency money... I have a tin bank shaped like a red call box that came with caramels or something in it, years ago.

52. What color are your walls?


53. Which rooms in your house have wallpaper?


54. Do you have a peephole in your front door?


55. Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home?

You must be kidding.

56. What does your home smell like right now?

It's pretty neutral. None of my candles are lit.

57. Fave candle scent?

See earlier answer.

58. What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now?


59. Who are in the pictures you display?

I have a display along my very long hallway from old family photos I photocopied back in the day. They were black and white and I blew them up and photocopied them in color, and you can't really tell, under glass. Both sides are represented -- my father's father, who was a handsome young postman in the 1940s, my mother's mother's mother, who was a coquette in the 1890s before she got married, my father's grandmother as a tiny chubby toddler with her two sisters in Chicago in the late 1880s.

60. What color is your favorite bible?

I don't have a Bible. I can't really imagine having a favorite one. My favorite copy of the Communist Manifesto, on the other hand (I think I have three?) is probably the red one, because I bought it with the first money I was paid in my first job, which was cleaning a store downtown, age 13. I was paid in petty cash, and that first week, I took the $23 and went to Kroch's and Brentano's, a local big bookstore, and bought The Communist Manifesto (quite a Cold War edition with an anti-communist introduction I was furious about), 1984, and Animal Farm.

61. Ever been on your roof?

Yes. Our roof is huge and flat and has a sort of rim. I've tried watching Fourth of July fireworks up there, but there are too many tall buildings between this place and the estuary where they shoot off the fireworks.

62. Do you own a stereo?

Nope, all music goes through the computer, but my speakers are quite good.

63. How many TVs do you have?

One, used for Netflix and streaming shows from my computer.

64. How many house phones?

Just a cell phone.

65. Do you have a housekeeper?

I do pay a crew once a month, and if I could afford it, I'd try to do it twice a month.

66. What style do you decorate in?

Boho, more or less, much like my mother and grandmother. Wood and colored fabrics and colorful stuff on the walls. A million books.

67. Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints?

Solids for upholstery, and then patterned pillows. Hippie prints for comforter on the bed. Seriously, it looks a great deal like the comforter I had in 1972, which said "peace, love, joy" and had paisleys and flowers and psychedelic patterns.

68. Is there a smoke detector in your home?

Yes, and a carbon-monoxide alarm.

69. In case of fire, what are the items you would grab if you only could make one quick trip?

Cat, phone, iPad, back-up disk, purse (with wallet, phone, iPad in it)

70. Do you know how to work your electrical box?


71. What temperature in your home is most comfortable to you?

I try never to turn on the heat during the California winter. I don't usually make it the whole winter through (though last winter was bizarrely warm). I prefer cooler to warmer.

The End

A Meme!!!

Feb. 5th, 2015 10:21 pm
From [personal profile] mistersmearcase and [personal profile] villagecharm

Nine things you do every day
1. drink some variety of orange-cut pekoe black tea... English or Irish breakfast tea. With half-and-half.
2. feed, pet, get covered in orange cat hair by my cat Devlin
3. ignore making the bed
4. mess around on the internet -- FB, the Guardian, Wikipedia, Goodreads, YouTube, Ancestry.com
5. doodle
6. wear my glasses from opening my eyes to turning off the light at bedtime
7. read
8. write
9. either teach or think about lessons I want to teach

Eight things that annoy you
1. edubabble spouted by administrators at any level
2. ads -- which since I don't have a functioning TV are these days mostly internet ads and particularly, Facebook ads
3. a new teacher at my site who is creepy and has asinine politics with kneejerk ignorant self-deluding racism* who has for some reason chosen to KEEP TALKING TO ME
4. my own inertia, sometimes
5. laundry, cleaning, dishes
6. the lack of off street parking in my area
7. my utterly terrible, tiny, awful kitchen
8. when books in series are not all available as ebooks, but just some random selection of them

Seven fears/phobias (not sure I have seven... also, hella depressing topic)
1. bad health; specifically the complications that progress with diabetes
2. trying to keep up with fast-moving crowds, e.g. demonstrations, these days
3. dementia, which an uncle has... though his seems to be vascular dementia
4. cockroaches and most chitinous beetles, UGH
5. ants
6. unemployment
7. an impoverished old age

Six songs that you’re addicted to
1. "Beeswing" as performed by either Richard Thompson or Christy Moore
2. "Landslide" as performed by pretty much anyone
3. "Roobaroo" from one of my favorite Bollywood movies Rang de Basanti
4. "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba
5. "50 Thousand Deep" by Blue Scholars
6. Right now, "Highwayman" but not the Phil Ochs (or god forbid the Loreena McKennitt) version adding music to the Alfred Noyes poem, but instead an original song and collaboration between Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson. I do love the Phil Ochs song, though.

Five things you can’t live without
1. my family
2. friends, whether in person or via the internets
3. books
4. tea
5. my cat

Four memories you won’t forget

1. being present and witnessing my older niece's entire birth, and cutting her umbilical cord
2. finding out I had won a French prize my Senior year of high school which meant I would be flying to Paris and taking classes at the Alliance Française and living at a nun-run hostel on the Île St. Louis (and then escaping the classes to go to a revolutionary youth peace camp in Germany with revolutionary marxist youth from all over Europe)
3. meeting a young(er than me, by a good 12 years) Air Force linguist at a bar and deciding to go out with him, despite the many and highly obvious reasons this was fairly ridiculous.
4. coming back from Spring Break to teaching, my fifth year of teaching (2003) and being greeted by the principal, the vice-principal, and four teachers in a row with queries about my arrest at an anti-war sit-in in Richmond, at the Chevron HQ, a photo of which I had not known had featured on the front page of the Oakland Tribune

Three words you can’t go a day without
1. "Turn to page..."
2. "Hey, baby" -- to Devlin, my cat.
3. "ludicrous" possibly not DAILY, but fairly frequently, at school -- it used to make my Oakland students howl, in the early 'aughts. Because, Ludakris

Two things you wish you could do
1. go swimming at the Richmond Natatorium (salt water pool!) more regularly
2. recommit to learning Hindi... and/or FIND A DAMN CLASS in the language. That doesn't cost $5,000

One person you trust:

I trust a lot of people. It's hard to reduce this one to one person. I trust everyone in my family. Hmm. Of non-family people, I trust [profile] amarama


*I am trying to think of an example of this. It was obvious the first time he buttonholed me in my classroom after school, condescending to me because he has a masters in some insanely stupid field of history... oh yeah, the history of the Olympics, and then talking confidingly to me about "these kids, you know, they come from broken homes and drugs and just can't handle higher levels of thought; they're ignorant of any kind of current events and have no capacity to analyze what's going on, and they don't care" -- after which I shot down every fucking word he said and talked about students I'd taught in West Oakland and their extremely on point political understanding. He's kind of been trying to backpedal and I guess curry favor with me since, and I wish he'd stop and just hate me and avoid me.
Day 24: Are there any minoritarian takes on what has happened in history (I am avoiding the phrase "conspiracy theories") that engage your curiosity for one reason or another?

No. Well, that was easy! Ha. I really don't give a shit about conspiracy theories and I think they're 100% bullshit.

Day 25: What is this War on Obesity all about?

This isn't so easy. I think there is a lot going on here, from simple capitalism (the weight-loss industry is ENORMOUS and enormously profitable, from corporate behemoths like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig to fly-by-night internet commandos who tell you about "one weird rule for flattening your tummy!" to food industry titans who produce Splenda (hi, Northwestern... or maybe your researchers invented that earlier one, in the blue packet?) to Olestra to blah blah blah) to the inevitable results of cars and decline in walking, to the unknown results of pesticides and toxins in our environment -- as far as people generally getting fatter, and as far as capitalism succeeding at making money off of that. Then you add the United States' insanely libertarian counterintuitive notions of privatized healthcare, and punishing and excluding people who in actuarial terms will cut into insurance profits. Culturally, the contemporary social policing of acceptable bodies (particularly women's "acceptable" bodies) collides with these factors and with the moralizing examples of anti-smoking campaigns, anti-drugs campaigns, the "War on Drugs" rhetoric, and stigmas around class and consumption, you get Michelle Obama's "War on Obesity". It's incredibly oppressive and horrible. The idea that someone's workplace could punish them for their weight, for example, is horrifying. And it's happening. The cultural and political opposition to this -- fat studies, fat rights, Health at Every Size (HAES), the harm reduction model -- all of those are helpful, but it's an area where the viciousness and prejudice is widespread and often ignored, even by progressive or left wing culture, such as that is. All very difficult, and I live it every fucking day.

Day 26: If you could time travel and be a time-anthropologist for a while, without sticking out like a sore thumb (you have the language and clothes and appropriate money and a reasonable back story) when and where would you go? (I might repeat this question more than once; I can think of several time periods to write about)

This deserves a longer answer. Dunno if it will get that right now. I'd love to see what the insides of the suffragist movement and other early 20th C. reform movements were like, for example -- to live at Hull House for a while, and see what Chicago in 1910 was like, immigrants, and women, and progressive reform, and cranky Anarchist celebrity widow Lucy Parsons, and visiting speaker Emma Goldman, and women trade unionists -- oh, man the Triangle Fire, though in New York City and a year later -- and American socialists and the IWW and my own Southern biracial union, the Brotherhood of Timber Workers, which struck and was destroyed by lumber operators in 1910... Yeah. Say, June 1910 to June 1911 in the United States, able to travel around. That would be FASCINATING. I could meet people from my (unwritten but fully researched) dissertation!

Day 27: Why do you think people delude themselves that getting rid of anonymity makes the world a nicer place?

I guess they think that anonymity online allows people to be meaner assholes. But it seems to me that even having your identity linked online doesn't necessarily make people nicer (witness Facebook posts, where MOSTLY people use their own names) even among friends.

Day 28: Who is a historical figure you find interesting, and why? (Again, this is repeatable multiple times)

My classic answer would be Rosa Luxemburg, who has fascinated me since I was a (revolutionary) child. I read a volume of her letters to Leo Jogisches, her mostly long distance lover, in college at the University of Sussex, and its kittenish, vulnerable, emotionally dependent tone (contrasted to her public contempt for socialist "women's" politics) satori'd me straight into feminism, which I had not at all understood the need for, before that. But there are other historical figures I would love to know more about (or, in the case of the earlier posited historical time-traveling anthropology, to meet and possibly get to know). Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr (Hull House, lifelong companions); Eleanor Marx; Mary Wollstonecraft; Aphra Benn; Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Victoria Woodhull; Isabella Beecher Hooker; and oh, why not -- Lucy Maud Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Yeah, the whole Beecher clan (Catharine included, but Lyman and Henry definitely EXCLUDED) utterly fascinate me. Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Yellow Wallpaper; Herland) is part of that clan, too...

Day 29: What fiction that you have read recently would you review/recommend?

Let's see. Of re-reads, I would always recommend Margaret Frazer's Sister Frevisse mysteries, set in the 1430s in a Benedictine priory. They're much more serious and better researched than the Brother Cadfael mysteries, although I like those for what they are, as well. Also Frazer's Player Joliffe series. Of books new to me, my niece (and John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars) both recommended to me, one directly and one via an internet list -- a trilogy by Veronica Roth with the titles Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant. I have finished the first two books -- sort of a mash-up of ideas from The Hunger Games and Lois Lowry's The Giver series, but set in an a post-apocalyptic ramshackle downtown Chicago, on the shores of the brown, mostly dead, Marsh Michigan. So I guess the apocalypse was at least partly climate-related? The Bean is mentioned. Also the Hub (former Sears Tower), the Merchandise ("Merciless") Mart, the Hancock building, and the stone buildings across Michigan Avenue from Millenium Park. Very odd. They're interesting, very action-oriented for this generation of action junkies, somewhat thought-provoking as to how a person defines their basic characteristics or aptitudes. Not very deep. Enjoyable. What else? Another YAF book -- it's not incredibly new, but I hadn't read it before, though I'd seen the cover and title and thought, "Oh, I should read that." It's really good -- Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye, who is a Palestinian-American poet and songwriter and author. Older than I thought. The novel is about a Palestinian-American girl whose father moves them from St. Louis to just outside Jerusalem. Its detail of the country and the conflict is deep and also poetic.
maeve66: (Nagini)
This is from [personal profile] sabotabby, but I had to simplify it for my brain.

Think of something random you'd enjoy me babbling about, and post that topic in the comments. I will try to babble on said subject during the month of December.
maeve66: (Read Motherfucking Books All Damn Day)
I haven't written in more than a month, and this isn't the easiest topic. What does a good life look like in a time when there's little access to meaningful work and family relationships are flexible?

I guess in brief, what a good life today would be like is inherent in the question -- access to meaningful work, and the creation of family, one way or another. I think that this sounds like a question that [personal profile] springheel_jack might have made up. It's very focused and perceptive, about exactly what people have a strong desire for, and more difficulty now than ever obtaining. Families fracture or move great distances apart geographically. Wages are far beyond stagnant and low and interesting, fulfilling jobs hard to find or qualify for or both. Leisure seems like the opiate of the masses more than religion does, although I guess both work and neither supplants the other, necessarily.

I feel lucky, in that I am close to my small family, even those who are two time-zones away -- but also somewhat worried in that I have not created my own small nuclearesque family via partner and/or children. There's a certain amount of tradition in my family of older independent widowed or single women, so let's hope I embody that tradition. My mother's mother lived alone as a widow for most of her 50s on; her sister Kay divorced a drunken artist and made her own way from the 1950s until her death in the 1990s, and seemed perfectly fulfilled. Both of them reproduced, though. Hm. Let's see... my mother's father's sister... she was a quirkyalone if ever there was one, but also pretty unhappy and possibly nuts. Lived as an adult with her parents after her long-term lesbian partnership ended, however it did. I wish I knew that story. My father's father's sister: a nun. My father's father's cousin/aunt (some relationship: I can't do those second cousin-y things) a spinster schoolteacher in Milwaukee from about 1886 until the 1930s! Ancestry.com is instructive in these patterns. Apart from genetic connections, these days, there is also a stronger idea of created family after the 1960s. I like the idea of that, but it still feels less sure or stable (even if that sureness and stability can be illusory in a family of blood).

As for jobs, I am lucky there, too -- I chose to be a teacher because I felt like there was more political and union scope in public school teaching than in professoring, and the chance of getting a job was infinitely higher. And it does feel useful to teach middle school (as I am sure it would to teach elementary, as my sister and brother-in-law do, or high school, as I often feel I would like to). All jobs are stressful and difficult at one point or another, but in teaching, for me, there are many compensations. I like to make curriculum and invent projects and find new ways to get information across or teach skills to analyze and organize information. I like to learn more history and more background on what I teach, whether it's literature, young adult fiction, grammar, or various eras and cultures in history. I like to do the projects and assignments I give students, ostensibly as "models" but also because I just like to make an illuminated manuscript letter featuring events surrounding Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1175, or to do an illustrated Timeline of Muhammad's Life, or to draw maps, or birds' eye views of manors and medieval villages, or color in Islamic designs or Japanese Hiroshige prints I've recreated as line drawings. For me, all those things are fulfilling, even when the local teachers union I now belong to is much more boring than Oakland, and mostly exists to funnel phone banking for Democratic candidates, propositions, or certain local school board challengers. Ugh. It still feels more democratic, lowercase D, to work in public education as it is under assault than it seemed like it would be to work at the college level.
1. What can you see from where you're sitting?

God, my desk is a mess. I can see: a bag of cat treats, my iPad, ready to take and read on in bed, two bottles of nail polish, one bright red and one top coat, a weekly pill box that I have to refill tomorrow, an unsteady pile of Young Adult fiction, new books from Scholastic which I want to read before I add to my classroom collection, another pile of YAF which is my own, including two old favorites (The Perilous Gard and The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope) and a two-part series, new (to me) by K. M. Peyton called Small Gains and Greater Gains which are about, if descriptions are to be believed, English class conflict in the early 19th century, and transportation to Australia. Can't beat that. I can also see one of my computer speakers, a phrenology head, a plastic rocking chair with the dark-haired Sunshine Family female doll, a can of Aranciata Rossa soda, an NEA Today magazine, a tin bank shaped like a red telephone box (which doesn't have much money in it right now because I raided it to go to the races at Golden Gate Fields yesterday, where I lost most of my bets, but strangely won one on a grey horse named "Best Girl Ever" which I bet on because a) grey, and b) sounds like that terrible One Direction song which entrances my students.

2. Reading anything good/bad/dull lately?

I am at 374 books of my 365 year-long goal. They are mostly YAF, historical mysteries, and randomish memoirs -- Steve Jobs, Wil Wheaton, Melissa Gilbert are the most recent. Right now, having finished a sort of pedestrian medieval effort by a former history teacher, Mel Starr -- his series has six books so far, focused on a surgeon and bailiff near Oxford in the late 14th century, thus, plague times -- I am going back to quick rereads of Ellis Peters' genial Benedictine warrior/herbalist monk.

3. First thing you can remember

I have trouble with this. I feel like my first memories are all attached to photographs, and are thus suspect. One of the few that isn't is me burying the bathroom furniture set from my dollhouse in the snow near our apartment in Madison, Wisconsin... experimenting to see if... what? More would grow in the Spring? I don't know. I do know that was the last I saw of the little porcelain fixtures, which was a shame because they were super cool.

4. What's for supper?

I did not do supper well today because I did not do breakfast or lunch well (at all) so I was hella hungry after our dreadful staff meeting on restorative practices. So dinner was fast food on the way home.

5. What are you wearing?

a shirt to sleep in in a few minutes -- or to go to bed in, since I'll probably read for a while. I was so tired after work that I slept for several hours when I got home. This has been a frequent occurrence this year. I like the students; I'm actually enjoying what I teach; but I am dead fucking tired EVERY DAY.
maeve66: (1969)
Wow, an old-fashioned meme, apparently from somewhere called VillageCharm, via Microbie:

Most Enjoyable Current Work Assignment:
Start Date:
5 Favorites:
Recently read book:
Recently screened movie:
Local restaurant:
Place you’ve ever visited:
Secret talent:
In another life, I might have had a career as a (blank) and I have had a job as a (blank).

Name: I love my name; it's from a John Steinbeck novel and few other women have it -- bizarrely, my last Assistant Principal had the same first name as me, and I really liked her. She got a job as a high school principal and is gone, sigh.
Most enjoyable current work assignment: showing Dorothea Lange and other WPA photographers' portraits of farmworkers, and then more recent pictures, and then the UFW organizing campaign and Cesar Chavez, as a powerpoint (yeah, I'm behind the times) to my sixth grade students, while they wrote their reactions to the pictures and then discussed them at their tables; then we read an excerpt from "The Circuit" by Francisco Jimenez, and had a whip-round discussion where everyone gave a comment or asked a question -- and my 8th grade Teaching Assistant was so interested he wanted to take part in the discussion and also wanted to find the book, which, reading between the lines is most likely because his parents or other relatives were farmworkers. I love that kid. For some reason he annoyed all his teachers last year except me.
Start Date: November 18th, 2003
5 Favorites: English breakfast tea -- loose leaf assam; books -- electronic! Ha, too many to name, but I currently have 1046 on my iPad; music -- electronic, also! Ditto, too much to choose from -- 7823 on iTunes; animals -- cats; dolls -- Sunshine Family dolls from the 1970s. I know, that last was pretty random.
Recently read book: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacsson -- christ, what an asshole.
Recently screened movie: Man, hard to recall. There haven't been many great movies of late... I liked the last Bollywood movie I saw in a theater, Yeh Jawaani Hai Diwaani.
Quote: "50,000 deep, and it sound like thunder when our feet pound streets" -- from Blue Scholars, song of the same title, about Seattle and the anti WTO movement -- I am still a sucker for a mass demonstration, when it's really mass and not just rote habit by nearly professional activists.
Local restaurant: Hmmmm... Saul's Deli, in North Berkeley on Shattuck... very good deli food including good chopped liver, and matzo brei, and matzo ball soup and kreplach and and and...
Place I've ever visited: Um, Britain, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Portugal... but so long ago, now! And all over Canada and 48 of the 50 states (not Hawaii nor Florida, yet). I'd like to go to Ireland, India, Mexico... back to Britain and France.
Secret talent: Catching things I've dropped before they hit the ground.
In another life I might have had a career as an archaeologist and I have had a job as a translator and interpreter of French.
No, I am not posting a picture. I am sick, I look sickly. I didn't list any huge challenges to overcome or goals to meet within the time period of this 365 day meme, so I have none to report. I'm glad to have done the whole year, though -- I am impressed at my staying power despite the incredible banality of a lot of the topics. Yes, I could have quit because it was stupid, lots of times. But I decided to finish it and I am glad I did. [personal profile] springheel_jack suggests we come up with our own list of topics, because I am not entirely sure what is going to motivate me to write now that this meme is done. Agh. I guess I will see whether I now suddenly stop writing regularly, and then decide. In any case,

I am done!
No, not really. My beloved Rilke died, and I grieved a long time. Now I have a silly little kitten girl who needs to get spayed pronto. She's sweet, though I don't think she has all the personality depths and quirks that Rilke did. But it's early days. I am probably more emotionally free of M. than I have been in years. I think I am, net, unhealthier, and I need to work on blood sugars. I don't hate my job more -- I might like it a bit more, this year, in fact. I am intentionally and consciously not dating (whatever the slight hanging on of J. means, which is purposely platonic on my part anyway) and not doing that -- especially in its online variants -- makes me relieved and glad. I might be becoming slowly financially healthier -- I have only a couple more payments on my car, and then I can roll that money over to my single credit card, and I am slowly, slowly building up savings. Once the credit card is paid off, I should roll that money over to the school district's 413b or whatever that stuff is called, ugh.
maeve66: (black and white tea)
It was tentative, like someone walking into an echoing, empty room and starting to talk to herself, self-conscious that someone unknown to her might be actually listening. The first few were like that, actually. I think it was November, 2003. Wow. I have just been rereading the first several entries. Nine years on, I do not know most of the people who commented then.

Yes, this entry is late. It was TDay. I was grateful for family and friends, but not grateful for my health, because that damned sneaky cold which I thought was ebbing, was not, so I could not smell a thing, or taste much of Thanksgiving at all. Very sad, it all looked great.
maeve66: (me in sixth grade)
... I don't know. I tell social lies. Big lies? Given that the meme-originator is in high school (or was)... were there any Big Lies back then, for me? I had a lot of lies of omission, where one parent assumed I was sleeping at the other's house, when I wasn't. Ah, divorce. I had a lot of ... I don't know what you would call them -- action lies, e.g. forging my father's signature on sick notes. I got very good at his signature, enough so that I could easily have cashed checks, not that it occurred to me to do so. I didn't cheat at things, so no lying there. There wasn't much discipline -- I think I was punished exactly twice, both times by grounding, and both times I ignored my mother's diktat, and she couldn't do anything about it, as she was at work, probably working her 9 PM shift, since I clearly recall leaving the house and taking the El to Old Town in Chicago, to see a folk concert I was very keen about. In biggish crises, like my many, many fender benders, I never lied about being at fault. I dunno. I don't think I can identify one Big Lie. Maybe my sister could, on my behalf.
I used to play this game with my mom, when we'd missed the 203 Ridge bus and were walking downtown, sometimes in the rain, like today. Back then, the unimaginable lottery sum was $1,000,000. Now it's more like $85,000,000.

So, take the taxes off and that's what, $56 million? Well, I would put a sizable chunk, say $10 million, into some kind of an income producing fund for Solidarity, my socialist group. That would be interesting, to see what our group would do if it had enough funds for organizers.

Then I would take two-thirds of the remainder and find a smart tax lawyer to do the same for me. How much income would 21 million produce in a year? After googling, let's say it produces (after taxes) $300,000 per year. That would be extremely relaxing. And no, I would not work a job. I am almost never bored, and I would be prolonging my life without the stress of working, I swear to god.

That leaves another $15 million. I would pay off my sister's mortgage and establish college accounts for my nieces. I would buy a nice craftsman house, possibly in Rockridge, possibly in the Upper Dimond district. I would put in a saltwater pool, with whatever pool service that requires. I think I would also buy (this is fantasy, and there are still several million left) a nice craftsman for my father and stepmother, so they could live in Lake Geneva AND out here. I might buy their Evanston house, too, which they're trying to sell -- so they wouldn't have to, and could be in Evanston when they wanted. I guess I'd buy a car -- my sentimental favorite would be a Subaru Outback station wagon, maybe forest green instead of dark red. I don't really have a ton of other material objects I'd like to own.

With the rest of the money I think I would travel. I'd go to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Holland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, North Africa, Egypt, possibly Iran, Pakistan, India, Australia, maybe Japan, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.
I wore grey yoga pants, a grey and white geometric print knit blouse from Old Navy with a surplice top, and a warm black shawl collar sort of cardigan with long ... I don't know what they are... wings? from the front. That being a more complicated piece of clothing, you know *I* didn't buy it. [profile] amarama gave it to me. I like it. I wear it a lot. Oh, and I completed this look with birkenstocks and high pressure stockings. Five more days. What am I going to write about when this challenge which I have GRITTED my teeth through is over?
maeve66: (aqua tea icon)
Urghh. I feel like I've done this before. Very briefly: I go to work -- I get there around 7:20 AM and leave around 4:30 or 5 PM. Wednesdays are early days, but we have meetings, so effectively I leave at the same time anyway. Most weeknights I can't deal with doing anything except going home and reading or messing about on the internet, except that I often eat at least once a week at my sister's. Weekends I socialize with friends, usually Friday and/or Saturday evenings. I also spend time with my nieces and my sister and brother-in-law most weekends. Sundays are chores (I have laundry in right this minute) and sometimes the Sunday night blues. That's my week in a nutshell.
maeve66: (journaling)
Obviously yes -- since I wasn't addicted a year ago and am not now -- and also yes, if by Tumblr you mean LJ, I am still into LiveJournal, stubbornly clinging on to the small circle of people I feel I know on this platform.
maeve66: (AQ bikini 1973)
Ew. No. God, I am glad I am older than this meme author. I never wanted to be a power ranger of any hue, or any of those crappy Renaissance-named teenage mutant ninja turtles. Whoever thought that up was HI-igh.

I am hard pressed to think of my generation's equivalent. I liked some scary live action TV show with talking trees (like in the Wizard of Oz) and a witch and a boy marooned on this island. I can't remember what it was called, though.
maeve66: (some books)
I would like to be (this is dreaming, now) a successful series author along the lines of Anne Perry (but not Mormon and not a murderess) or Barbara Hambly or Sharan Newman, or Kathryn Lasky (but not of a YA series like the Guardians of Ga'Hoole... just all her other work). Not necessarily mysteries (especially because I have difficulty giving a shit who the murderer is, or plotting the false clues, etc.) But fiction. Maybe historical fiction. Maybe YAF.

In an alternate life where I thought about what I enjoy doing daily, hourly, etc. more, I would have liked to get into editing and publishing early and be doing that, although who knows, maybe computers and the internet are killing that as a job as they are newspapers and journalism.

Failing those two options, teaching offers a lot of positives.
maeve66: (FI hammer and sickle)
I'll take that as plural. And I'll give the American version, which is closer to the original French.

Arise ye prisoners of starvation
Arise, ye wretched of the earth
For justice thunders condemnation
A better world's in birth
Away with all your superstitions
Arise ye slaves, no more in thrall
The earth shall rise on new foundations
We have been naught, we shall be all
Tis the final battle
Let each stand in his place
The Internationale unites the human race

English version:

Arise ye starvelings from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And thus ends the age of cant
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses, arise, arise
We'll change forthwith the old traditions
And spurn the dust to win the prize!
So comrades come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race!



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