3rdragon: (Default)
I haven't replied to the Three Big Accomplishments of 2017 question on Twitter, because I don't feel like I had Three Big Accomplishments in 2017, but, weirdly, I got inspired by [personal profile] tkingfisher's GIANT LIST OF STUFF. I realize that this is bizarre, since a normal reaction to that list would be to run screaming in the opposite direction, but, I dunno, I can do a list. Pick Three Big Accomplishments? That's hard. Write a long disorganized list? Much more my style.

- I wrote 108,128 new words and spent upwards of 22.3 hours editing/etc. (The imprecision because I started counting editing hours partway through the year.)
- I wrote a first draft of Parallax, cleaned it up into a reasonable second draft, and sent that out to beta readers.
- I turned Little Hab in the Big Crater (2015 NaNoWriMo) into a serviceable draft of On The Spokes of Sector H and sent it out to beta readers.
- I started three novel-or-novella-length projects, none of which are going anywhere at this particular moment, but all of which seem like they might: Expeditionary, Falling Sideways Past the Sun, and Requiem for a Childhood.
- I think that [personal profile] vorindi and I had some good discussions about stories and plots and what works and what doesn't.
- Short fiction? I think I did some short fiction. I definitely cleaned up "Naughty, Nice, Nothing" and halfheartedly sent it out to a few places. It looks like I wrote "Field Promotion" this year, too.
- And today I started the next pass of On the Spokes of Sector H.

- I attended three (I think it was three? at least three) rallies/marches things.
- I called my elected officials (and some appointed officials, I think), A LOT. Significantly more than I had ever called them before. And did some resistbot, too.

- I got my act together to get a tooth pulled and actually get orthodontia, and my teeth are already better-aligned and easier to keep clean.

- I went to Rotterdam for work, by myself, for two weeks, and led trainings with our staff there. (And while there I saw Kuekenhof and Kinderdijk, both of which are lovely, in different ways.) I want the US to do city planning and infrastructure the way the Netherlands do. Not sure how to make that happen.
- I was in charge of buildouts for two floors, which I had previously participated in but not been in charge of.
- I set up a switch all by myself that A said that was good.
- I solved my 3,000th Zendesk ticket last month sometime (most were not this year, but it's still a nice milestone).

- Since I was in Europe anyway, I visited T&C in Norway for a weekend, which I've wanted to do for years.
- I went to Arisia and Conbust.
- I saw Ursula Vernon, Yoon Ha Lee, Daniel Jose Older, Malinda Lo, and E.K. Johnston (and got books signed).

- I gave a sermon about the Parable of the Workers.
- I completed my third year on church council (and I'm going to hit my three-year term limit any minute now, so then I can STOP being on church council). This year we made good strides towards moving from three-hour meetings to two-or-even-one-and-a-half-hour meetings, which I will consider a victory.

- I joined iNaturalist.org and contributed 70 observations.
- I did some bookbinding for the first time in eight years. Not up to what I was producing in Spain, but I also don't have all the nice equipment we had at the school, and I'm pretty pleased with the book.
- We got a proper shelf to mount our plant lights on. No more plant lights all over the corner of my room!
- [personal profile] vorindi and I spread 7 cubic yards of mulch and 1 cubic yard of soil. (That is too much. We should get less next time.)
- Relatedly, we accidentally started a feud with a neighbor, dealt with the fallout of that, and discovered that a number of other neighbors don't like her either.
- I tried started a hugelkultur garden bed. We'll see how that goes.
- I made a hoophouse for the garden (and discovered that hoophouses are WAY easier than cold frames).
- I briefly had enough shelf space for all my books, but need to do some reorganization to be able to fit the two I got for Christmas.
- After a several-year hiatus, I fell into two(!) IRL tabletop games and have found myself GMing a third over Google Handouts. It's good to game again.
- I found people with whom to play board games occasionally and played for the first time: The Captain is Dead, Evolution, First Sparks, Power Grid, Splendor, Bunny Bunny Moose Moose, Antidote, and possibly a few others that I'm not remembering. I did not like Antidote at all and was meh about Power Grid, but would play all the others again, and particularly like The Captain is Dead. It's also good to boardgame again.
- I saw a partial solar eclipse.
- I turned 30, and held a belated party at which we fit 11 or 12 people and one dog into our shoebox apartment.
EDIT: I also read 126 books.
And paid off my student loans. That was definitely a thing.

And now I'm going to go to sleep and start the new year well-rested.
3rdragon: (firebird)
My to-do list is looking very strange.

-Mrs. Crane's Party
-Shrike and Amity have lunch
-Safe necromancy for aliens
-The Mrs. Schultz
-Dafydd comes back
-Zombie cemetery
-The friends the Selenda
-Shrike and Carrie find stuff out (but not too much)

With an addendum:
-Mention Park in More Confusion About Witchburning
-The class the Selenda the Ethics
-Fur paint at Party

There are also sideways arrows pointing at the calendar:
<-Lecture of Shadowing

And our whiteboard reads:
Faerie in a pickle jar
has done so for months.
3rdragon: (firebird)
Me: Isaac, do you care about the aloe in the bathroom?

Isaac: The what?

Me: The aloe.

Isaac: There's aloe in the bathroom?

Me: The plant.

Isaac: Oh. No.
3rdragon: (firebird)
I kept track of all (? close, anyway, if we don't count picture books read to small children) the books I read in 2013, so I thought I might as well post it. Approximately but not entirely in order by date read; re-reads/re-listens underlined.

Behind the cut. )

Some of them were really good, some merely so-so. I had thoughts of posting comments with some of them, but I don't seem to feel like it and it would mess up the table formatting, so ask if you have questions, I guess.

Edit: Okay, the version with the table is too long for lj, so you're getting the text-dump unformatted version.
3rdragon: (firebird)
One of the interesting things about having a public professional blog is the ability/responsibility to screen posts. On the one hand, a part of me says, "The internet should be FREE!" but a wiser and more cynical part of me knows what the unmediated internet can look like, and feels that curation and moderation is entirely appropriate, particularly on the blog that represents me to the world. Being a sensible sort, I listen to that part of myself, and keep the first post screening up.

Of course, this then introduces the question of what to unscreen and what not to unscreen. )
3rdragon: (firebird)
So this seems a good year to do NaNoWriMo, what with the currently unemployed, particularly since NaNo is a good way to get myself writing when I'm not writing enough, which I'm not. Only thing is, I've been fairly busy recently, and it's four days until November and I don't know what I want tow write for NaNo. [livejournal.com profile] vorindi suggests that I work on the Ridiculous project we've been neglecting, but that doesn't feel sufficiently flexible or frivolous to suit my current mood. I have a couple of half-started scribbles, but for various reasons don't feel like working on any of them.

So I'm asking you, if you're still there: what should I write this November? I'll take suggestions of plot, genre, conflict, setting, character(s), general idea, situations, that weird dream you had about the rescue nuns, striking images (I've never worked from images, but I'm told that people do), whatever you've got. I think I'm feeling more silly than serious, though I'll take serious suggestions, too, and I won't write anything I have to research too heavily, because research and nano-style are kind of antithetical.

Even if you don't have ideas, you could just wander in and say hi, so that I know that there are people still reading here, and that I'm not just tossing words into the wind when I post here.
3rdragon: (firebird)
So, I'm on vacation right now. I am still checking work email about once a day, though, because there was some stuff relating to the yearbook, and so it doesn't pile up too much, and in case there is anything really important that I can deal with remotely. Or things that aren't *that* important, but should be dealt with anyway. Such as this.

I got an email two days ago:

hey miss Miriam this is -Name Redacted- what is everything that is supposed to be in the business plan (sic)

The business plan being a project that was assigned six months ago that was supposed to be REALLY REALLY due July 25th, the last day of fake makeup school before summer recess. I (and other people) have been in contact with Name Redacted, and he knew that this was a graduation requirement and that he needed to finish it and that I wanted it before the 25th so that I could edit it and he could correct it and give me a final version by the end of the day on the 25th. (Or perhaps sometime last week, if he was really late with it.) Furthermore, I don't HAVE a copy of the business plan handout with me: the paper copies are in my office, and the electronic copies are on the share drive, which I can only access from the school network. And while I could take a pretty good stab at listing all the things that are supposed to be there, I'd want to have the paper to refer to before giving a student an Official Pronouncement (and this is not a student whose behavior makes anyone feel inclined to give him extra slack), and also I don't trust him not to cut any corner he can, and while he can still cut corners on the handout, at least they're nicely delineated corners that will take a bit more effort to cut.

So I sent him a reply:

Everything that's in the handouts I gave about it. If you no longer have your handout, ask Ms. -Boss- for one. You can tell her that they're with my lesson plans.

Ms. Miriam

ok but all i need is stuff like a letter stating my business plan and the plans that i will take to make it happen right?

No, student, no. You need a business plan, with all the information that entails. Like is spelled out for you, step-by-step, specifically designed to make it as easy as possible to include all the information you need, in the template/worksheet handout.

It's not a letter. It's a specific document providing all the information that is asked for in the handout.

Ms. Miriam

Mind you, this whole exchange happened within the space of two hours. Which I think is pretty good for a random email sent to me WHILE I AM ON VACATION.

I just found this email, which was sent at 1am this morning:

ok i have to turn it in tomorrow and i don't have the time to come up there and get can you just tell me ms. Miriam and i can get it done

Upon reflection, I strongly suspect that "tomorrow" means today. (And, y'know, I would feel a lot more inclined to put effort into this, like maybe trawling through my work email to see if I can find a copy of the handout in question, if he'd showed ANY interest in getting this done during the last two weeks of sort-of-actual school, when everyone and her mother was getting on his case about finishing all this stuff. Or even if he'd managed to pay any attention to it last week. This student needs to learn to deal with the fact that deadlines are deadlines and you need to meet them. And by this point, I'm not feeling very sympathetic. And I don't have the information he wants.)

No, I can't. I told you that I needed it by three Thursdays ago. If coming to school was not convenient for you, you should have made sure at that point in time that you had all the information you needed.

I'm not in Pennsylvania right now, and I do not currently have a handout with me.

Ms. Miriam

I CCed my boss on that one. I'm pretty sure she'll back me up.
3rdragon: (firebird)
Dear Internet,

If you commission a knitted object -- that is, if you ask a knitter to make you a thing -- the knitter will often expect that you at least pay for any yarn or trimmings s/he does not already own. In the knitting community, this is not considered selling your work; it's just covering the cost of materials. Occasionally there are exceptions to this if the knitter likes you a lot, or if the thing is for a Big Occasion present, but don't assume that it's an exception unless it's been made clear that both labor and materials are part of the gift. If, when talking about possible materials, price is one of the considerations, that's almost certainly because the knitter thinks that you're paying for it.


(I probably would not have taken on this project if I'd realized that it included a $25 investment, but at this point, I just want her to take the blanket and be happy with it, and for this not to be awkward anymore. I certainly don't want the blanket back. What am I going to do with a large and somewhat boring baby blanket?)

Well, things to make EXTRA CLEAR next time. I guess it just didn't occur to me that someone wouldn't expect to pay for materials when she requested the object.

. . . and this is why I often avoid working on commission; it just seems to get complicated. And part of why I laugh so hard when people tell me I could sell my knitting.
3rdragon: (firebird)
What world-broadening experiences did you have in college?

Who or what in college took you outside of your comfort zone?
3rdragon: (firebird)
After YouthBuild, I will be the host of a reality tv show called Resume Idol, in which people submit resumes and I deconstruct/edit them. Snarkily.

(This inspiration brought to you by the gal, applying for my position, whose resume contained twenty-five errors. (That I noticed.) Among them having her margins set so oddly that the entire document was only five inches wide. For a tech position. For which she included among her skills Microsoft Word and basic web design.))
3rdragon: (firebird)
At church on Sunday, I sat down next to my father as the prelude started. He wrote something on the corner of his bulletin, then showed it to me:

E.L. Konigsburg died
Age 83

That may not mean anything to you. I've come to realize that, for as prolific a writer as she was, most people don't know her name. But if I ask, "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? Silent to the Bone? A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver?" Sometimes their faces light up and they say, "Oh, the one about the kids who go live in the art museum? Yeah, I read that when I was a kid!"

She was never what I considered one of my favorite authors. Her work was too varied, to wide-ranging. I didn't even like Journey to an 800 Number. But I probably read it 15 years ago, and yet found myself thinking of it just the other week, going, Hm, I should see if I like it better, now that I'm an adult.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was one of the staples of my childhood. The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place held its own on my 1GB iPod Shuffle for years, despite the 3-minute tracks, because it even on the hundredth listen, it was still fresh and interesting, and I could slip into the story at any point. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I read Silent to the Bone, because it stuck with me -- enough so that I read it again in college, because my memories of it were haunting.

And that's what many of her books were, for me. Books that stuck with me, that made me think, even when I didn't really think I liked them on the first read. I made an E.L. Konigsburg reference on Saturday. Neither of my coworkers got it, but that was okay; I don't make E.L. Konigsburg references because other people will recognize them, but because she precisely, concisely, captured something about the nature of the world, and I cannot say it better.

There may have been a time when The View From Saturday was my favorite book. Maybe not. I don't remember what else I was reading at the time, and realistic fiction has often had a more uphill battle than genre fiction, in the arena of my enjoyment. Either way, her writing has influenced me, and I did not wish her to pass without salute or acknowledgement.
3rdragon: (firebird)
So on her way back from ConBust, [livejournal.com profile] vorindi stopped in Philly, and tagged along with me to work for half a day. My students' reaction?

"Ms. Miriam, is she your daughter?"

. . .

And these are 18-20-year-olds, not third graders.
3rdragon: (firebird)
I have a very important question:

Suppose you're a teenage-equivalent alien stuck on Earth because your parents work here, and you're upset that you're stuck on a dirtpit of a planet with bad reception, no social life to speak of, and a bunch of confused ape-descendants who haven't even figured out the basics of interplanetary travel. If you were looking to American popular culture for What Aliens Do, what conclusions would you reach? (Bonus points for things within your budget and available technology level.)

So far we have: make crop circles, disrupt utility networks, and cause general low-level mayhem.
3rdragon: (firebird)
I just got back from a day of selling soup at the Second Annual Mennonite Philadelphia Mennonite Central Committee Festival and Benefit Auction (Where my test knit of Madison's Bell Lace Stole sold for $120, which I was very pleased about. (There were quilts that went for less than that. Which is more a commentary on how quilts do not sell in Philadelphia than a commentary on how awesomely well my stole did, but we'll just ignore that. And enjoy our new hand-quilted double-bed-sized Falling Blocks in lovely shades of green that we accidentally bought for $200.)

Also finished my first week of my new job, which was exhausting, even though I did almost nothing, but oh yay employment, and they seemed pleased with the almost-nothing I did, which is something. (And it's more than I did in my first week at my last job. Possibly more than I did in my first month at my last job. At least, if I don't count the daily work of living in Zambia.)

And I think that tomorrow I'm hauling all of my books and clothes and various possessions back to the third floor in order to make room for the Colombian ballet student who will be coming to live with us in early November.

Also a meme. )
3rdragon: (Default)
I have a job! I have a job! I have a JOB!

It's an Americorps position here in Philadelphia, teaching computer skills to young people without high school diplomas.

I have a job!

Pardon me while I go phone my mother and dance around the room.
3rdragon: (Default)
I am 25 years old. A quarter of a century. That's kind of cool.

Also I got holds in at the library and a bag of free strawberries because my work shift at the local food co-op this morning involved throwing away all the moldy strawberries, and there are lots of strawberries in between "Nice enough to put in a box to sell" and "Ew gross throw it away!"
3rdragon: (Default)
My mother and grandmother and I are plotting a road trip west, visiting various people and attractions in Ohio and Iowa. Because of the way these united states are arranged, there will also be a good deal of driving through Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana. Right now, current plans seem to place this trip around the beginning of October.

Off-hand, I don't recall any of you being in this area, but have I forgotten someone who would like a couple of hours of visit? (No promises.) Or suggestions for must-see things we'll be driving past?
3rdragon: (Default)
My mother, aware of my interest in world food, and Indian food in particular, sent me a link to the food blog of one of her coworkers and his wife. (It's very hardcore. The food looks amazing, but I doubt that I will be making many dishes from it. And this is supposed to be the easy version.)

However, today, faced with two tomatoes, one of which was half-ripe and 1/3-rotting, and the other of which was ripe but half-rotting, three kinds of lentils on the counter, and an absolute dearth of vegetables in the house besides carrots (and the aforementioned tomatoes), I decided to take a stab at Tomato Rasam. I haven't a clue if it turned out how it was supposed to, but mom and I thought it was pretty tasty, especially for something that uses up tomatoes that aren't hardly fit to eat.

I served it over brown rice and (green) lentils, which I tried throwing in the pot together with some water and cooking for 40 minutes, a technique that was pleasingly effective, and that I will use again. I don't have hing or coriander leaves/cilantro, so I skipped them, and substituted bay leaves for curry leaves, and onions for shallots, and a large splash of lime juice for tamarind water, and a dash of cayenne for fresh chilies, and various other ground spices for whole ones (not to mention chopping finely rather than crushing, since I wasn't really sure what crushing entailed, and if it required a mortar and pestle, it wasn't happening), but I think it came out pretty well. We had fried green tomatoes on the side, which went very nicely.

It was tasty, fairly easy, a bit-but-not-too-much spicy (mom had yogurt on the side and seemed okay with that), required few exotic ingredients (after you substitute a bunch of stuff, anyway), vegetarian, reasonably balanced, and took an hour from beginning to table. I will definitely make it again, although not necessarily frequently.

(Two weeks ago I made chana masala, a chickpea dish, from Smitten kitchen's recipe, and that was good, too.)
3rdragon: (Default)
Who washes clothing with ammonia or acids?

Chlorine bleach I understand, yes, and it's nice for the washing machine to warn me. But I wouldn't even think to put ammonia in with laundry, nor acid, except possibly vinegar, and even that would be a bit weird, or tomato products (those are mildly acidic, right?), but that wouldn't be intentional, nor in sufficient quantities to be a problem.

I mean, presumably someone did, or there wouldn't be a warning about it, but who says, "Let me mix some bleach and ammonia with the dirty laundry"? (I realize that this is a thing that people accidentally do sometimes, which is why it's nice to be warned about it, but . . . the washing machine?)

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