redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jun. 27th, 2018 09:09 pm)
Keeping ourselves going matters: in a nontrivial sense, what we're fighting for is space in which we can live our lives, room to work and love and play and learn, because our ordinary lives matter.

(I just left that as a comment on a locked post, and I want it here where I can see it.)

...and then I wandered over to Jo Walton's web page, thinking I should quote a poem, but "This is comfort. Face it bravely" doesn't quite feel apropos. So: here's a stanza from "Doing Laundry on the Last Day of the World":

Yes, we could die on any morning,
slipping between moments,
gone between words in a conversation,
our worlds could end at any time.
Yet here we are, doing laundry,
making dinner,
making poetry,
making the mindful choices,
living in every moment,
because it is this moment,
every action its own action,
every word a benison.
redbird: purple drawing of a trilobite (trilobite)
( May. 31st, 2018 08:47 am)
Something I got from talking with a partner, rather than therapy: the idea of emotional weather. That is, sometimes I'm feeling bad because of random variations in air pressure or hormones, and it's not merely pointless but potentially harmful to try to answer "what's wrong?" as "what is bothering me?" rather than as "I'm just feeling down right now." Because the question "what's wrong?" presupposes that something is, and if asked in those terms I will assume an exogenous something is, and looking for an answer may pull up old memories, or things that might in other circumstances be bothering me. Example: it can be true both that I'm feeling down, and that it would be nice if I'd done X, without it being true that I'm unhappy because I didn't get to do that thing.

If the immediate answer to "what's wrong?" is "my knee hurts" I will then go in directions of "should I ice it?" or "would stretching help?" I may also consider "is that the arthritis, or the neuropathic pain, or the old injury?" but mostly in terms of "would an NSAID or tylenol help?" And whatever answers I come up with, either acting on them or saying "none of that seems useful" is a natural stopping point. If the immediate answer is "I'm feeling sad" my next question is still likely to be "about what?" (which presupposes, again, that something has happened/been done) rather than "would some herb tea help, or petting the cat, or going outside for a bit?"



(This started as a comment to [personal profile] kaberett, but I think putting the second half here may help my own moods/state of mind.)
So, the news here is that the fire alarms went off when we were about to eat dinner last night, and we trooped out (as one does, especially if they are that loud and include strobes), and after a bit could come back in and have our soup. Standing in the rain, we had assumed it was false alarm number eight or so since we've lived here, and hoped the cats weren't too bothered. There was a faint smell of smoke in the halls as we were coming back, and this morning it turns out that not only was it a real though small fire, but the firefighters found a body in the apartment. The building sent email telling us that they will be remedying water damage today, and that they can't comment on police anything, so all we know beyond that is what we saw on the websites of local news stations.

I was accosted on my way out of the building to get lunch by a couple of reporters for one of those stations. I admitted to having been here, and said it was no big deal and that we had thought until this morning that it was just another false alarm, and in fact her station had been our main source of information. The reporter pressed me on my statement that it was no big deal, and I (unplanned and probably not the best move, but words just come out sometimes) said "I'm from New York City. I've had a shooting death in the building I lived in." When she tried again, with something like "but doesn't it bother you that they don't know what's going on?" I asked her a rhetorical question to which I knew she couldn't tell the truth, namely "Is it your job to scare people?" and after she said no told her to find someone else to talk to.

The thing is, it really doesn't feel like a big deal emotionally; I saw fire engines, but we see fire engines every time the alarms go off. This is a large building, and I don't know most of my neighbors even to say hello to. The reporter was I think assuming that I would read this as "happened near me physically, therefore is relevant," but what little we know sounds like this was personal, not the sort of "wrong place at the wrong time" that makes me worry about that location.
redbird: my head and chest, from in front (new gym icon)
( Dec. 11th, 2013 09:37 am)
I'm trying some mindfulness/awareness-of-the-moment stuff, in the hope that it will help with anxiety and mood generally. I realized while doing one of my gym exercises that exercise seems to be my best focus-on-here-and-now thing: yes, I spend some time thinking about other things, but I'm also paying attention to the movements and the way my muscles feel, and the verbal part of the brain is often going …4, 5, 6, 7,… or "see if I can do another set of these" rather than thinking about plans for the rest of the day, or news, or such.

Also, I have been saying now and then that living in Bellevue and spending time here and in Seattle, without a car, is an exercise program in itself. Not a complete one, and I'm not trying to use it as such, but some amount of cardio and leg exercise. I think this is true; at the same time, it may be either an excuse for not doing as much other exercise as I believe I should, or a form of "I don't mind all these hills, they're good for me." Mostly I don't mind them, but some of the steeper bits of downtown Seattle are still no fun, especially when I'm tired. (Fortunately, if I'm tired I'm probably going uphill: up is just strenuous, down is more likely to be dangerous if I slip, at the level where it's a steep sidewalk or staircase rather than actual mountaineering.)

This morning's exercise numbers, cut as usual )
So, [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K. asked "I would like to know how your reading life has changed since you were a girl."

That's a pretty large question, but the first difficulty is one that she probably hadn't thought of: I don't remember as much as I suspect some of my friends do. I do remember that I spent a lot of my free time reading, and that "I want to finish this paragraph/page first" was often an acceptable answer to things like "come set the table for dinner."

These days I'm more likely to finish a sentence while closing my book or shutting off the kindle, if the bus comes or the doctor's receptionist calls my name. But I think that's less about different kinds of patience, than about having fewer contexts in which "one minute please" is a plausible answer to "come do this": I set the table on my own schedule, and if I say "just a minute" the bus will leave without me.

I'm fairly sure I reread differently. I don't remember the stage of wanting to be read the same story over and over. I did some rereading as a girl, once I had learned to read for myself. I did more when I was a teenager, I think. These days I reread some, depending on the kind of book, but less than I did ten or fifteen years ago, I think. This is one reason it's even possible to cull the book collection; I know I won't reread most mysteries, and I've been buying and keeping books long enough to be able to see more places where my tastes have changed over time.

I'm not sure when I started having multiple books in progress at the same time. Right now it's likely to be one novel, and maybe a short story collection and/or work of nonfiction at home, and one book at a time on the kindle, for waiting rooms and the like. (Those tend toward fiction, but not exclusively.) I'm getting through all of those more slowly than I used to: I'm more easily distracted by blog posts, online short fiction, and crosswords than I used to be, or than I entirely like.

I lost a chunk of reading time in moving from New York City to the Pacific Northwest, because I can and do read comfortably on moving trains—and mostly got around New York on the subway or on foot—but start to get motion sick if I read in a moving car or bus. I spent about two hours on buses yesterday; on subways, that would have been a significant amount of reading. Here, I spent some of it looking out the window at unfamiliar streets and shops, and some listening to bits of other people's conversations, and wondering how long it would be until we got downtown and I could get a cup of tea.
I had my more-or-less usual session with Emilie on Thursday, this time after spending some time at the office holiday party. That was slightly weird: around Thanksgiving they sent around email saying that instead of an off-site party, they were going to donate to some good causes (and they did seem like good causes) and just give us a lunch. Then about a week ago there was a message with the subject "Re: Holiday party (revised)" saying that no, there was going to be a holiday party in the afternoon on 12/16, lunch in the office and then a "cocktail reception," reply by 12/10 if you planned to attend the off-site party. I decided to go, in part for the hope of a raffle prize (I didn't win).

In the end, I had some good conversation with a bunch of people while eating ziti and lasagna and salad; and then talked about books with one coworker, and then gyms and exercise with a couple of others, until the drawing. Then I left (bars are always loud, and they were playing music, making conversation even less plausible, and wandered up to the gym via the library.

gym details, and some introspection about the process )

This morning (Saturday) I had an appointment with my dentist. The dentist I think of as "my dentist," who I've been seeing at least since 1995, is only seeing patients on Saturdays now. I don't like his partner (the partner is competent, but not as patient with me as Dr. Mahindra), so I went downtown this morning. So, I have clean teeth, and apparently there's a tiny bit of cavity that he wants to keep an eye on (seen on X-rays). The dentist is near my branch of the gym, so I worked out afterward.

more details, mostly numerical )
I had another good workout, including her showing me more things to do with one of those big physio balls, and reminding me of a couple from last week that I'd been unable to recall on Monday.

And in the middle of it, she said something that, well, it didn't floor me because I was already sitting on a mat on the floor: my body is a very good learner. That is way off of my self-image, much more so than thinking of myself as being brave for sticking with this was. But while Emilie clearly wants to encourage me, and cheers when something clicks or she sees me being more vertical, I don't think she's making things up.

Emilie says my body learns well (or, translating into less dualistic terms, I am learning and internalizing the balance and proprioception stuff, and at least some of the new exercises. She also says that I'm doing so quickly. From inside, it feels like a long process, but it's only been a few months.

(Numbers later, maybe.)
I was on Size Acceptance 101 Friday night; that went pretty well, though not perhaps as focused as I'd have liked. I mentioned this to Adrian, who said that 101 panels tend to be like that. But I think we said some useful things, and nothing really stupid, and the audience seemed to think we were being informative. One of my fellow panelists did complain about an ex-coworker who walked every day at lunch and cycled to and from work, and seemed disdainful of the panelist for how fat she was; someone else pointed out how problematic it was to criticize someone else for her body choices (and cycling 20 miles each way to work is a serious distance but not an absurd one), especially in the context of that panel, and she backed off, saying it was about her interactions with that coworker. Still a little problematic, but we went on to other things. One of those other things was people's attitudes toward exercise, both in terms of how it helps us connect to our bodies, and the ways (good and bad) that others react to a fat woman exercising, or wanting to exercise. [The panel was all-female, as was the other I was on and I think two of the three I have attended; this is Wiscon.] We talked about some health things, including the destructiveness of weight-loss surgery and of insurance industry attitudes toward it: in particular, people who have had that surgery because the insurer would pay for it, and insisted on it as a precondition to paying for treatment they actually needed or wanted. I felt a little off balance right at the beginning, because the moderator asked us to talk about our journeys toward fat acceptance and where that had started, and I don't really organize/remember things that way. It's not an unreasonable question, even though I don't have a good answer for it; [personal profile] wild_irises suggested that if this happens again, on that or some other topic, I just say "I'll pass, that's not how my memory works," (Other areas I can see that coming up would include "how long have you been poly?" and "when did you realize you were queer?"; I can say things that might be relevant on either, but I suspect not briefly or as an introduction to the discussion.)

My other panel was "Would you let your daughter…?" which I had offered to moderate thinking it was going to be mostly about guiding children through choices of books, movies, etc, and the reasons for why we might advise children (from small kids through teens) to not read/watch certain things, or want to discuss the implications of the material, and which wound up having a bunch of more general parenting choices, and some parenting venting/pitfalls stuff (including feeling judged by other mothers). The audience wasn't much larger than the panel, and it wound up being a pretty open-ended discussion; at the end, I addressed the audience and said "Thank you all for agreeing to be on this panel." So, not what I expected or really planned (to the extent that I did plan), but I think successful.

"Revenge of Not Another F*cking Race Panel" was a lot of fun: six panelists, all women of color, answering questions on audience-posed questions in categories including "We Welcome Our Robot Overlords," "Apocalypse A-Go-Go," "_________ in Space!", "Khaaaaan!", Super Michael Jackson Ballerina, and "Sparkly Pony." Questions in the last included "tell us about your bad Mercedes Lackey fanfic"; about as serious as it got was "Tell us about a time when you adapted a recipe to be vegan or gluten-free and it went really badly, or really well." The ground rule was that the panel could/would discuss anything except race; a few times panelists said "or is that about race?" and got a pass. (The origin of this panel, I gather, was people complaining that if there was more than one non-white person on a panel, they would be asked to talk about race or about a writer of color, and that they were tired of it: not that we shouldn't be talking about race, but that they wanted to be asked about as wide a range of topics as the white panelists are.)

For related reasons, I went to a panel called "White to White," on ways white people can talk to/educate each other about race and racism. It was a lot about ways of pointing out when a statement or action is racist or problematic without eliciting the sort of defensive "am not! How dare you!" reaction that gets in the way of conversation: if someone reacts as if they've been accused of treason, they're not going to think about whether they should change what they're saying or doing. (A large part of what was suggested—and I agree it's useful, but it's far from sufficient—is to try to emphasize the statement/action rather than label the person, and if you're not sure, say that you find something problematic, rather than that you are sure it's racist.) This connects to stuff about choosing your battles; when do you say "that bothers me" and when do you say "How about that local sports team?" or "I need to go say hi to cousin Jay"? (There's no single answer to that; it depends on your energy levels as well as on the ongoing relationship if any.) They talked a little about the value, when listening/talking in a group, of making it clear that someone disagrees with the prejudiced statement: that even if the speaker doesn't change their mind, it's worth making clear that not everyone, maybe not anyone, agrees with it. And to remember that it's usually not a one-off: the person who dismisses an idea now may think about it later. (And that may connect to what I was saying above about often not being able to identify when, where, or how I started thinking about something.)
It would be nice to be in Montreal for Worldcon. But: I get 2.5 weeks' vacation a year, and I have other things I need to do with it. I also have finite energy, and Wiscon feels large these days. If I had lots and lots of time, yes, Worldcon and some days to recover afterwards. It wouldn't have been the "take commuter rail to Worldcon" thing I pulled for Millennium Philcon (my last worldcon), but there was a certain appeal to a Worldcon in a conference center right above the metro station I use semi-regularly when going for dim sum or to Maple Delight for ice cream.

Energy being finite, I will visit Montreal and the people I care about there later in the year, when everyone is less overwhelmed. The disadvantage is I don't get the cool energy of lots of people bouncing off each other, but I also don't have to put as much energy into the socializing when I'm seeing three or four people, or even a dozen for an evening when that isn't part of an n,000-person event. I live in a city of more than 8 million, but I don't interact with them socially in groups that size very often: the thousand people near me at a Worldcon are part of a different kind of thing than the hundreds near me on the rush hour subway, or even the crowd at a concert that I'm attending alone or with one or two friends.

One of these years, I will get to Worldcon again. In the meantime, I hope those of you who are there have a wonderful time. (I have enjoyed Worldcons; at this point, I doubt that I can do so if I have to go right back to work afterwards. Not if I think of the whole experience: because a month or year later, I'd remember the crash as well as the good stuff, and in the moment I'd have to deal with the tiredness and with working while that tired.

[Does anyone know if [livejournal.com profile] bittercon exists on Dreamwidth as well as LJ?]
It would be nice to be in Montreal for Worldcon. But: I get 2.5 weeks' vacation a year, and I have other things I need to do with it. I also have finite energy, and Wiscon feels large these days. If I had lots and lots of time, yes, Worldcon and some days to recover afterwards. It wouldn't have been the "take commuter rail to Worldcon" thing I pulled for Millennium Philcon (my last worldcon), but there was a certain appeal to a Worldcon in a conference center right above the metro station I use semi-regularly when going for dim sum or to Maple Delight for ice cream.

Energy being finite, I will visit Montreal and the people I care about there later in the year, when everyone is less overwhelmed. The disadvantage is I don't get the cool energy of lots of people bouncing off each other, but I also don't have to put as much energy into the socializing when I'm seeing three or four people, or even a dozen for an evening when that isn't part of an n,000-person event. I live in a city of more than 8 million, but I don't interact with them socially in groups that size very often: the thousand people near me at a Worldcon are part of a different kind of thing than the hundreds near me on the rush hour subway, or even the crowd at a concert that I'm attending alone or with one or two friends.

One of these years, I will get to Worldcon again. In the meantime, I hope those of you who are there have a wonderful time. (I have enjoyed Worldcons; at this point, I doubt that I can do so if I have to go right back to work afterwards. Not if I think of the whole experience: because a month or year later, I'd remember the crash as well as the good stuff, and in the moment I'd have to deal with the tiredness and with working while that tired.

[Does anyone know if [community profile] bittercon exists on Dreamwidth as well as LJ?]
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 29th, 2007 01:51 pm)
As the days and weeks go by, I'm doing more and more bits of the new job. It is very good for my confidence, because when I take them up, they are well within my abilities and experience. In some cases, they come with unexpected flattery, like Susan asking how I wanted comments on a manuscript she's copyediting, and in the course of the discussion saying kind things about my science knowledge.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 29th, 2007 01:51 pm)
As the days and weeks go by, I'm doing more and more bits of the new job. It is very good for my confidence, because when I take them up, they are well within my abilities and experience. In some cases, they come with unexpected flattery, like Susan asking how I wanted comments on a manuscript she's copyediting, and in the course of the discussion saying kind things about my science knowledge.
I got a very nice email from [livejournal.com profile] papersky a few days ago, inviting me to be on a panel at the Farthing Party. I thought about it for a few days--the topic looked plausible, and the other panelists she'd invited all seemed like good people to be on a panel with--before deciding that what I concluded after Wiscon still holds. I need a break from being on convention panels: I've gotten into a state, or mindset, where the nervousness beforehand outweighs the pleasure and satisfaction of being on a good panel.

That's when it does go well: when the topic is reasonable (including reasonably well-defined, and of a size suited to the available time), and I and the other panelists are prepared, and we don't walk into the room with badly conflicting agendas. Those characteristics define most of the programming I've been on, I'm happy to say. But the last few cons, I'm not getting out enough to be worth what it takes out of me, even with something like the Bechdel panel this past Wiscon.

Having thought about this, and concluded that I didn't feel significantly different now than I had in late May, I wrote back declining the invitation, and explaining. I mostly wanted to note the difference between "not that panel" and "not this year."

I almost certainly won't fill out a program participant questionnaire for the upcoming Wiscon, for the same reasons (only moreso, because there are likely to be an order of magnitude more people at Wiscon).

This is an instance of the general thought that this is a hobby, it's supposed to be fun, and if it's not, it's probably time to stop doing it. (In this case, I haven't taken on organizational responsibilities, which simplifies things: there are better and worse ways to unravel oneself from those.)
I got a very nice email from [livejournal.com profile] papersky a few days ago, inviting me to be on a panel at the Farthing Party. I thought about it for a few days--the topic looked plausible, and the other panelists she'd invited all seemed like good people to be on a panel with--before deciding that what I concluded after Wiscon still holds. I need a break from being on convention panels: I've gotten into a state, or mindset, where the nervousness beforehand outweighs the pleasure and satisfaction of being on a good panel.

That's when it does go well: when the topic is reasonable (including reasonably well-defined, and of a size suited to the available time), and I and the other panelists are prepared, and we don't walk into the room with badly conflicting agendas. Those characteristics define most of the programming I've been on, I'm happy to say. But the last few cons, I'm not getting out enough to be worth what it takes out of me, even with something like the Bechdel panel this past Wiscon.

Having thought about this, and concluded that I didn't feel significantly different now than I had in late May, I wrote back declining the invitation, and explaining. I mostly wanted to note the difference between "not that panel" and "not this year."

I almost certainly won't fill out a program participant questionnaire for the upcoming Wiscon, for the same reasons (only moreso, because there are likely to be an order of magnitude more people at Wiscon).

This is an instance of the general thought that this is a hobby, it's supposed to be fun, and if it's not, it's probably time to stop doing it. (In this case, I haven't taken on organizational responsibilities, which simplifies things: there are better and worse ways to unravel oneself from those.)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( May. 2nd, 2007 09:06 pm)
One of the things Wiscon asks for, when a person fills out the program participant questionnaire, is a short biography (for the program book) and a long one (for the Website). I did a short one, and think there's still time for a long one, if I have anything useful or relevant to add. If I don't, they'll use the short one in the program book.

The short bio reads: "Vicki Rosenzweig is a longtime Wiscon attendee. She was a Tiptree juror, and found the reading and discussions rewarding though sometimes exhausting. She conducts much of her social life online."

What else should I add, given that this is a biography of me for a feminist science fiction convention (rather than a CV, mortgage application, dating service, or a high school or college reunion)?

I'm guessing it's not too late to send a long biography, but the question seems potentially interesting even if it is.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( May. 2nd, 2007 09:06 pm)
One of the things Wiscon asks for, when a person fills out the program participant questionnaire, is a short biography (for the program book) and a long one (for the Website). I did a short one, and think there's still time for a long one, if I have anything useful or relevant to add. If I don't, they'll use the short one in the program book.

The short bio reads: "Vicki Rosenzweig is a longtime Wiscon attendee. She was a Tiptree juror, and found the reading and discussions rewarding though sometimes exhausting. She conducts much of her social life online."

What else should I add, given that this is a biography of me for a feminist science fiction convention (rather than a CV, mortgage application, dating service, or a high school or college reunion)?

I'm guessing it's not too late to send a long biography, but the question seems potentially interesting even if it is.
As I posted last night, on Sunday afternoon and evening I'd been feeling as though I hadn't accomplished much during the weekend. Much of this is an illusion: we've split up certain household tasks so that I'm doing stuff that can mostly be dealt with in three minutes here and five there, and [livejournal.com profile] cattitude is doing stuff that gets done in larger chunks of time. He usually does those Sunday, which means that it's possible for me to notice him doing laundry, and overlook that I've been doing the dishes all week, in small chunks of time. Another piece of the puzzle was that I had deliberately set Saturday aside as a rest day, but however useful or necessary rest is, it doesn't look like getting something done.

Part of why we have this division this way is that I like not having to set aside chunks of time for household tasks, and he prefers to be able to get stuff over with in a batch. (Another piece of it is that he really dislikes doing dishes, because it can hurt his back, and my back is better to start with.) So I need to remember, or remind myself, that I am getting things done. That the work is incremental doesn't stop the task from being accomplished. Also, it's more practical to batch laundry into a week or ten days' worth at a time, which doesn't work with dishes. Those, I load into the machine as they accumulate. I run the dishwasher at night, and do most of the unloading while waiting for the kettle to boil in the morning.

I've talked some of this over in email with Q, which may also help me remember that yes, I am doing stuff, pulling my weight, and so on.

Yesterday, I not only worked a full day, I spent my lunch hour at the bank, dealing with my new IRA. The official investment advisor wasn't there, and while the bank manager is licensed to set up the investment account, she was extremely hesitant to accept my "just put it all in a midcap fund" and insisted I talk to the investment advisor first. So we filled out paperwork, and she gave me the investment advisor's card, and made a note for her to call me when she's next in that branch. ( I will then say "no, I know what I want, do this," but I wasn't up to arguing with the bank manager about it.) There was also the fine moment when she asked for ID, and (as I reached for it) I pointed out that she shouldn't need it, because one of her staff had, unprompted, looked at me, greeted me by name, and asked what I needed. Ten years ago, I think she would have accepted that.

There was a moment at work in the late afternoon where I found myself thinking, disgustedly, that I was the first person to have actually read parts of the manuscript I'm copyediting. I should have been at least the third: the author, and the editor who accepted it, should have read it before me. There's just a lot of the sort of careless error that can slip in when you write quickly and don't reread the material before sending it off. For example: "not all A are B" when it's actually that not all B are A, and all A are B. (See also: why you shouldn't proofread your own work.) The editor told me it was a light reworking of a previous book; there've actually been a lot of changes and expansions. This is fine, from my viewpoint as a copyeditor and I hope the viewpoint of the state that's being offered the material, but suggests she didn't take a close look at it.

After work, I went to the gym. In the morning, I'd told Cattitude I was thinking of a short workout. He said "some say, a long workout." When I was done at the gym, I called him and said "some say, a middle-sized workout." I'm not actually good at predicting how long I'll exercise, unless there's a time constraint: I'd predicted short because my elbow had been bothering me in the morning, but skipping the gym altogether isn't good. Without a time constraint, the length of the workout will depend on how tired I'm feeling at that moment, on any random joint pains, and on how crowded the gym is.

Then I did some freelance proofreading on the way home from the gym. Conclusion the first: doing it on the way in is more practical, because I can count on a seat. I can proofread while standing on the A train, but marking the corrections is tricky. Conclusion the second: Stan Kelly-Bootle is seeing just how far he can push his copyeditor, and the English language. Conclusion the third: just because the book reviews are picked up intact from a different ACM publication doesn't mean they'll be clean. Only the first of these is new, although the book reviews are often clean copy by the time I see them, and this month decidedly weren't.

cutting the gym numbers, because this is quite long enough already )
As I posted last night, on Sunday afternoon and evening I'd been feeling as though I hadn't accomplished much during the weekend. Much of this is an illusion: we've split up certain household tasks so that I'm doing stuff that can mostly be dealt with in three minutes here and five there, and [livejournal.com profile] cattitude is doing stuff that gets done in larger chunks of time. He usually does those Sunday, which means that it's possible for me to notice him doing laundry, and overlook that I've been doing the dishes all week, in small chunks of time. Another piece of the puzzle was that I had deliberately set Saturday aside as a rest day, but however useful or necessary rest is, it doesn't look like getting something done.

Part of why we have this division this way is that I like not having to set aside chunks of time for household tasks, and he prefers to be able to get stuff over with in a batch. (Another piece of it is that he really dislikes doing dishes, because it can hurt his back, and my back is better to start with.) So I need to remember, or remind myself, that I am getting things done. That the work is incremental doesn't stop the task from being accomplished. Also, it's more practical to batch laundry into a week or ten days' worth at a time, which doesn't work with dishes. Those, I load into the machine as they accumulate. I run the dishwasher at night, and do most of the unloading while waiting for the kettle to boil in the morning.

I've talked some of this over in email with Q, which may also help me remember that yes, I am doing stuff, pulling my weight, and so on.

Yesterday, I not only worked a full day, I spent my lunch hour at the bank, dealing with my new IRA. The official investment advisor wasn't there, and while the bank manager is licensed to set up the investment account, she was extremely hesitant to accept my "just put it all in a midcap fund" and insisted I talk to the investment advisor first. So we filled out paperwork, and she gave me the investment advisor's card, and made a note for her to call me when she's next in that branch. ( I will then say "no, I know what I want, do this," but I wasn't up to arguing with the bank manager about it.) There was also the fine moment when she asked for ID, and (as I reached for it) I pointed out that she shouldn't need it, because one of her staff had, unprompted, looked at me, greeted me by name, and asked what I needed. Ten years ago, I think she would have accepted that.

There was a moment at work in the late afternoon where I found myself thinking, disgustedly, that I was the first person to have actually read parts of the manuscript I'm copyediting. I should have been at least the third: the author, and the editor who accepted it, should have read it before me. There's just a lot of the sort of careless error that can slip in when you write quickly and don't reread the material before sending it off. For example: "not all A are B" when it's actually that not all B are A, and all A are B. (See also: why you shouldn't proofread your own work.) The editor told me it was a light reworking of a previous book; there've actually been a lot of changes and expansions. This is fine, from my viewpoint as a copyeditor and I hope the viewpoint of the state that's being offered the material, but suggests she didn't take a close look at it.

After work, I went to the gym. In the morning, I'd told Cattitude I was thinking of a short workout. He said "some say, a long workout." When I was done at the gym, I called him and said "some say, a middle-sized workout." I'm not actually good at predicting how long I'll exercise, unless there's a time constraint: I'd predicted short because my elbow had been bothering me in the morning, but skipping the gym altogether isn't good. Without a time constraint, the length of the workout will depend on how tired I'm feeling at that moment, on any random joint pains, and on how crowded the gym is.

Then I did some freelance proofreading on the way home from the gym. Conclusion the first: doing it on the way in is more practical, because I can count on a seat. I can proofread while standing on the A train, but marking the corrections is tricky. Conclusion the second: Stan Kelly-Bootle is seeing just how far he can push his copyeditor, and the English language. Conclusion the third: just because the book reviews are picked up intact from a different ACM publication doesn't mean they'll be clean. Only the first of these is new, although the book reviews are often clean copy by the time I see them, and this month decidedly weren't.

cutting the gym numbers, because this is quite long enough already )
Back at Thanksgiving, after the intended challah came out as a rather different bread and I didn't want it, [livejournal.com profile] adrian_turtle said, in a very off-hand tone, "You don't like surprises." She said about the same the next day, I think in the context of my disinclination to try a new ice cream place in Harvard Square when it Toscanini's was nearby. It was the same matter-of-fact tone that she'd have used to observe that I like purple, but it startled me: that's not how I thought of myself.

We talked about that over the next couple of days, and since, and I've bounced it off [livejournal.com profile] cattitude.

There are ways in which she's right, of course. In particular, I'm a lot happier with "here's a new dish I invented, I think you'll like it" or "would you like to try this birch juice?" than with a food that I have reason to expect will have a particular flavor and texture, but doesn't. Even there, it varies: I was startled when I went to Tchang Kiang with [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel and [livejournal.com profile] papersky and the "shrimp with lobster sauce" turned out to be in a brown sauce, not the white sauce I'd get anywhere in New York, but after the initial surprise, I enjoyed it. I suspect the differences include my own state of mind, and what sort of sensory cues I get before I taste the thing. (The not-exactly-challah looked a lot more like a conventional whole wheat challah than the Montreal shrimp with lobster sauce looked like the New York one.

There are other kinds of surprises I like, including unwrapping presents. I don't usually want to be able to predict the plot of a book or play. Rereading, or watching a new production of something familiar, offers different pleasures, and I wouldn't be happy with, say, a production of Hamlet that changed the ending, or left out something that I was expecting to see. [Yes, almost all stagings of Shakespeare are trimmed at least a little, but there's a rough consensus on things that should not be cut.]

Not liking certain kinds of surprises appears to be recursive: it took me a while to get used enough to this idea to be willing to write about it here. A piece of that is that a lot of my friends consider neophilia to be an actively good thing. Some discussions of that suggest that if some novelty, or enjoyment thereof, is good, more must be better. Many mental traits that are valuable at some level can be taken too far, but that doesn't get much attention unless the subject is the excesses (OCD and mania come to mind, as does the "Focus" in Vinge's Deepness in the Sky).

When I started thinking about this, neophilia as a perceived good tied in with some of what [livejournal.com profile] roadnotes has said about being resilient, though I don't think that was her intended meaning: resilience is like having a healthy immune system, a useful way of dealing with life but that doesn't mean that you want lots of serious infections to fight off, and I'm not seeking out trauma, emotional or otherwise.

Liking or not liking surprises, or liking only some kinds, isn't a big deal: what feels important is being able to adjust my self-image if either I change in significant ways, or an untested assumption proves false.

There's a useful distinction between my enjoyment of learning or trying new things, and the idea that everything needs to be new: I can like new ideas and information without being delighted to find that everything I know is wrong.

It seems worth noting that the ways in which I am thrown by surprises are something I could probably have gone another ten or twenty years without noticing, if Adrian hadn't been close enough to see it, and looking at me with fewer assumptions about myself than I've accumulated over a lifetime.
Back at Thanksgiving, after the intended challah came out as a rather different bread and I didn't want it, [livejournal.com profile] adrian_turtle said, in a very off-hand tone, "You don't like surprises." She said about the same the next day, I think in the context of my disinclination to try a new ice cream place in Harvard Square when it Toscanini's was nearby. It was the same matter-of-fact tone that she'd have used to observe that I like purple, but it startled me: that's not how I thought of myself.

We talked about that over the next couple of days, and since, and I've bounced it off [livejournal.com profile] cattitude.

There are ways in which she's right, of course. In particular, I'm a lot happier with "here's a new dish I invented, I think you'll like it" or "would you like to try this birch juice?" than with a food that I have reason to expect will have a particular flavor and texture, but doesn't. Even there, it varies: I was startled when I went to Tchang Kiang with [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel and [livejournal.com profile] papersky and the "shrimp with lobster sauce" turned out to be in a brown sauce, not the white sauce I'd get anywhere in New York, but after the initial surprise, I enjoyed it. I suspect the differences include my own state of mind, and what sort of sensory cues I get before I taste the thing. (The not-exactly-challah looked a lot more like a conventional whole wheat challah than the Montreal shrimp with lobster sauce looked like the New York one.

There are other kinds of surprises I like, including unwrapping presents. I don't usually want to be able to predict the plot of a book or play. Rereading, or watching a new production of something familiar, offers different pleasures, and I wouldn't be happy with, say, a production of Hamlet that changed the ending, or left out something that I was expecting to see. [Yes, almost all stagings of Shakespeare are trimmed at least a little, but there's a rough consensus on things that should not be cut.]

Not liking certain kinds of surprises appears to be recursive: it took me a while to get used enough to this idea to be willing to write about it here. A piece of that is that a lot of my friends consider neophilia to be an actively good thing. Some discussions of that suggest that if some novelty, or enjoyment thereof, is good, more must be better. Many mental traits that are valuable at some level can be taken too far, but that doesn't get much attention unless the subject is the excesses (OCD and mania come to mind, as does the "Focus" in Vinge's Deepness in the Sky).

When I started thinking about this, neophilia as a perceived good tied in with some of what [livejournal.com profile] roadnotes has said about being resilient, though I don't think that was her intended meaning: resilience is like having a healthy immune system, a useful way of dealing with life but that doesn't mean that you want lots of serious infections to fight off, and I'm not seeking out trauma, emotional or otherwise.

Liking or not liking surprises, or liking only some kinds, isn't a big deal: what feels important is being able to adjust my self-image if either I change in significant ways, or an untested assumption proves false.

There's a useful distinction between my enjoyment of learning or trying new things, and the idea that everything needs to be new: I can like new ideas and information without being delighted to find that everything I know is wrong.

It seems worth noting that the ways in which I am thrown by surprises are something I could probably have gone another ten or twenty years without noticing, if Adrian hadn't been close enough to see it, and looking at me with fewer assumptions about myself than I've accumulated over a lifetime.
.

About Me

redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
Redbird

Most-used tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style credit

Expand cut tags

No cut tags