Sunday, January 29, 2017

This is also a good book.

Another Day in the Death of America, by Gary Younge.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I don't live in a hellscape.

I'm just saying.I'm not sure when Donald Trump last saw a place that wasn't a rally, the inside of his living quarters/"work" cave, the inside of a limo or fancy plane, or otherwise buffered from normal life. I don't think that Donald Trump has any notion at all about what my daily life is like.*  Well, I don't think he has any notion at all about what anybody's daily life is like, but I feel especially irked by the way he talks about cities. Cities are awesome. Cities are going to be what saves us.

*This is what my daily life is like (after, of course, I rescue my children from the terrible money-wasting public schools, navigate the American carnage and the burning and whatnot, and get home):

Saturday, January 21, 2017

We marched.

Sort of. Actually, we stood in the rain for an hour because there were so many people there that we couldn't move,* and when we were finally able to move and get out of the march, we went off and found a coffee shop and had cocoa with whipped cream (and went to the bathroom) and then came back to march for a few blocks** before tackling the interminable transit ride home. So it was a bit anticlimactic, and we didn't exactly march the way I expected to, but it was really cool to see SO many people, including a lot of children, out there in the pouring rain. We were, apparently, among 50,000 to 100,000 people there.

*Skipper looked up at me, dripping wet, teeth chattering, and said calmly "Mom, am I going to die here?" - I'm pretty sure she meant that she thought we were going to stand there for decades, but I was starting to wonder if we might get crushed to death myself.

**"Mom, what's a pussy?" asked Skipper.

Just a note

I was looking at the coverage of the marches today, and I got curious and went to the Fox News home page:

At first I thought it said nothing about the marches, and then I saw the little item on the bottom lefthand corner.

Here's the NY Times:

No wonder it feels like we're living in different worlds, when your standard media coverage (not EVEN your facebook feed) looks so different.

Anyway, Skipper and I are off to the Portland march. Don't look for us in the Fox news coverage; we won't be there.

Friday, January 20, 2017


I have a lot of thoughts today, like most everybody who thinks about politics at all. I'm home sick today (actually sick, not just hiding from the expected violent protests downtown that are very likely to disrupt my transit commute), and hate-reading coverage of the inauguration.

I glimpsed the headline of an article I read a few days ago - Republican Men Say It's a Better Time to Be a Woman Than a Man. My initial reaction, of course, was an immediate gut response of FUCK YOU, REPUBLICAN MEN!! Ugh. I think it's just another illustration of the kind of feelings that got Trump elected in the first place, the I-think-other-people-are-getting-my-privilege feeling, the systems-are-great-until-other-people-get-to-benefit-from-them feeling.

I'm finding myself becoming more and more liberal in MY feelings, so you can thank Donald Trump for my evolving understanding of privilege, racism, and the future, which is more or less encapsulated by "Hm, the idea of reparations is really starting to make a lot of sense to me."

Also, on another rambling note, Cook and I were talking about Clinton's campaign the other day, and I said, as I have before, that I believe that the role of misogyny in her loss is much more significant than the coverage and the conversation around it indicates, and I said "I don't think we're going to have a woman president for a long time" and I started to cry. To CRY. I didn't know how much that bothers me until that moment.

And, for my last rambling note, here are some pieces of media that I have found interesting, useful, or comforting lately:
A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media
The Psychological Research That Helps Explain the Election
Busted: America's Poverty Myths
Cities in the Age of Trump
This Machine Kills Fascism
Planet Money episode 748
Every Way Jezebel Described Donald Trump During the Presidential Election
Most episodes of The Weeds if their voices don't make you crazy
The Onion's version of Joe Biden and the Biden/Obama memes
What Americans Wrote to Obama
Slate's Trumpcast: The End of American Leadership (and actually, all the Trumpcast episodes, even if all you listen to is the Reading of The Tweets).

Monday, January 16, 2017

Tomorrow is another snow day.

Today the girls and I walked a few miles to run errands. The sidewalks, most of which are not shoveled (probably because of relationship-ending shovel-related arguments) and roads, none of which are plowed (I think because we don't have many plows in Portland, though I'm not ruling out the effect of paralyzing methodological arguments between plow operators), are covered in several inches of very hard packed-down-snow-now-converted-to-ice-after-six-days-of-compression. We all slipped several times, and Skipper fell down once.

The morning is expected to bring a lot freezing rain, and school is cancelled. Work is cancelled. This brings us to a total of three weather-related-cancellation days off work this winter, and NINE days off school. NINE.

In the good news, Skipper had a friend over today, and they played in the snow like normal healthy children,* making the most of it before it gets all freezy and melty. In the bad news, I have to go put everything absorbent in the basement up on a shelf, in anticipation of the basement getting all melty and floody.

*My strange cave children do not play in the snow unless inspired by friends. I should probably try recruiting Skipper some physically-active friends now because I suspect her adolescence will otherwise be spent in our basement in the dark.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Belated photos from the Snowpocalypse!

Duchess and Skipper attempted to make a snow person. Their snowballing technique is poor. They claim this is due to being Portland children.

Me and Cook shoveling the walk. Being East-Coasty people, we believe in shoveling the sidewalk (unlike 90% of Portland residents). We did, however, have a nearly marriage-ending argument about how comprehensive the shoveling should be,* at the end of which I stomped off and let Cook shovel alone. For hours.

*His position: Shovel all of it. And the whole walkway to the house, edge to edge. And sweep the porch clean. My position: Eh. A path is good enough. No point giving yourself a heart attack. This is basically the entire difference between us.

Friday, January 13, 2017

In an effort to distract myself from fear about the future,

I will inform you that my kids have had ELEVEN DAYS OF SCHOOL IN THE LAST SIX WEEKS. They're now completely sick of staying home. (I am so grateful that they can take care of themselves. I have friends and coworkers who have been scrambling to find coverage for the snow days, and it's a great relief not to have to worry about it...)

It's an indicator of my mental state...

... that I just sat alone, weeping, in a darkened room, for 38 minutes, watching Barack Obama presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Joe Biden. Wait till you get to the bit where Biden says he has never doubted Obama's judgement in even the most difficult decisions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Snow Day!

The girls have missed SEVEN days of school due to "snow" so far this year in December and January. What with that and the 11-day holiday, they basically don't go to school any more. I suggested on Monday (yet another snow day) that they get jobs. They didn't think that was funny.

Most of the "snow" days are actually "ice or some snow makes the roads slippery and because the City isn't set up to respond to that, it basically paralyzes the entire transportation system" days. However, we woke up this morning to find half a foot of snow had fallen overnight, and it didn't stop. By the time the snow stopped and Cook and I went on a walk,* nearly a foot of snow had come down. THAT'S a snow day. 

*City employees (and almost everybody else) got a snow day, too. We've had one other complete day off and several "late start" days when the kids have had "snow" days

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Other notes

I started 2017 by cleaning some old condiments out of the fridge (composting the contents and cleaning the jars, not just chucking the whole thing - this is why I hadn't done it before), and that felt perfect. A small, easily-accomplished but long-delayed effort to impose order.

Also, I wanted to report that this weekend we watched two movies: Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which we all enjoyed, and also The Lady in the Van, a movie Skipper has been agitating to watch for weeks and was super-excited to finally get on hold from the library. I didn't even try to watch that movie, because I don't like crying ALL the time, and Duchess watched for a while and then gave up, declaring it "too old" for her. Skipper has a weird inclination toward things that are "too old" for her, like this movie and the book she recently read cover to cover, Lab Girl. It's hard to know how much she enjoys them and how much she gets out of them - it could be just determination to be seen as a sophisticated eccentric. She's certainly an eccentric.


Well. It's a new year!

Things I expect to happen in 2017:

  • Duchess will become a teenager. 
  • Skipper will sleep over at a friend's house for the first time.
  • Duchess will move into the basement (aka The Dungeon of Asbestos and Radon).
  • I will get a new job. 
  • Cook will finally get fed up with his job and will also get a new job.
I don't have any resolutions, though of course I'd like to be a better person. Though I think I'd like to wear more wool. And sing more. Sleep more. Try not gain all that weight back. (I don't have any actual plans to make these things happen, so they're just New Year's Vague Notions.)

We've had an exceptionally mellow two weeks. The girls have pretty much just laid around and read a LOT of books.  Duchess is done with it and ready to see her friends, but Skipper, unsurprisingly, says she'd be happy to log a few more weeks of this. We've also been enjoying a nearly-complete hiatus from extracurricular activities, and are musing over how nice that is and what that might mean for future choices.

Duchess attended one day of Zombie Camp this last week, and her reportage from that experience was interesting. She was one of the few kids who didn't get caught and "infected," and she spent the entire day pretty much running away from and hiding from the ever-growing zombie hordes in the woods. She said she was on high alert all the time, and that her vigilance, while exhausting, was what kept her "alive" because she was the first to realize whenever the zombies were attacking, and the quickest to leap up and sprint for safety. I find this reassuring given the growing likelihood that society will completely collapse in the next few years - Duchess will survive, at least for a little while. (She will, however, NOT protect any of the rest of us. She figures we'll be the sacrifices she'll have to make in order to get away.)

Skipper chose not to go to day camp that day. Skipper hates day camp, because day camp is all about new stuff all day - new place, new kids, new teachers, new activities. Ugh. New stuff is the worst. She instead spent half the day at my office and half at Cook's, with a shared pizza lunch interlude. Both offices were very empty and she was very quiet, so it worked out fine.

So - 2017. Let's hope for no zombies.