misslynx: (Aidan - w/stick)
Seriously, how many three-year-olds want to know about the atmosphere of Jupiter? )

And when gleefully typing random characters on my computer keyboard:

"I'm writing in a language a cell can't read!"

(reference to this video, where they describe DNA in terms of information being written in a language cells can read)
misslynx: (Quote - wrong questions)
So, I had been kind of undecided as to what to do about Pride this year, in that (for non-locals, and anyone local who somehow hasn't heard) it had become a huge political mess, due to controversy over a pro-Palestinian group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) which some people perceive as being anti-semitic (despite the fact that, one would think, criticizing the policies of a country's government is very different from attacking the people of that country).

More background, including today's developments )
. . .
What to do for Pride, including a mini-rant which may annoy people )
. . .
And a mega-rant which will almost certainly annoy virtually everyone )
misslynx: (Me - w/ Kiska (on couch))
OK, those of you who know me know I have, as a general rule, absolutely zero interest in sports of any kind.

However... I do always enjoy one thing about the World Cup: all the different flags people have on their cars/houses/etc. Every time I see one I can't identify, I have to go look it up, and then end up thinking something like "Cool! Who knew we had so many Ecuadorians/Uruguayans/etc. in my neighbourhood?!" I just like seeing the crazy diversity of Toronto on display as everyone gets caught up in the urge to represent their homeland.

And said urge can even infect people who, as a general, have no interest in sports. My stepmother caved this year and put up a Dutch flag, and the last couple of times, I've been increasingly tempted to do something like that as well.

The only complication is... how would I narrow it down? I am, ancestrally speaking, composed of at least seven different nationalities that I know of for certain, and there are a couple of other maybes. Add to that that I've lived in three different countries, which have zero overlap with the seven I'm descended from. So we're up to ten flags there (twelve if I count the maybes), if I wanted to be really thorough about it. Plus one more that I was supposed to have lived in at one point but bailed on due to family tensions, but where my dad has lived at a number of points and something like half his friends come from, so I'd kind of want to add theirs just on general principle.

So, if I was going to really represent, I'd have to use the giant-sized window in the bedroom, because I'm not sure where else I'd be able to fit (in order of their occurrence in the above paragraph) the English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Dutch, Belgian, German and maybe Norwegian and, er - is there an Ojibwe flag? - plus American, Mexican, Canadian and Chilean flags all together.

Of course, this could be somewhat simplified by the fact that, if I actually do this in reference to the World Cup, not all of them are in there (and thus, not available from all the flag-selling places that have cropped up lately). Also by the fact that I would sooner undergo a root canal with no anaesthetic than display a US flag anywhere at all, and really the English flag doesn't rank all that much higher in my affections (plus, my Irish ancestors would probably come back and haunt me). Also, my stepmother would probably murder me in my sleep if I had any contact with the German flag. (It's so complicated when portions of your ancestry insist on invading other portions of it.)

So really, I suppose it would just be Mexico, Chile and the Netherlands. I'd thought Ireland was in it up until I found this handy guide to what all the flags I've been seeing are (which I think I may print out and carry around with me as a cheat sheet), and realized it was Ivory Coast, whose flag is the mirror image of the Irish one. Oops. And if it's just those three, the graphic designer in me would have to veto Mexico, because its colours clash with the other two.

I suppose it is remotely possible that I am overthinking this whole thing... :-)

But... what do you think, interwebs? Will I lose all my anti-sports cred if I succumb to the temptation to put just a teeny little Dutch and/or Chilean flag in my window or on my bike or something?
misslynx: (Default)
So... the Yule/Giftmas season has snuck up on me, it would seem. Between a prolonged work deathmarch with very little sleep or breathing space, and then getting the cold from hell which stuck around for way too long, time seems to have flown right by and I could have sworn it was November a minute ago.

All of which is basically by way of saying that it is apparently now Dec 18 (well, 19, really, since it's after midnight, but 18 is scary enough so I'm going to refuse to acknowledge the time of day for the moment) and I've only just tonight acquired a box of greeting cards to send out. And am only just starting to realize that I have less than a week in which to acquire presents for various people, who in many cases I haven't yet even got the faintest idea yet what I want to give them.

Oh yes, and haven't yet gotten around to sending out my annual web hosting invoices which I usually try to get out by, well, several days before now, at least. Which, had I done it sometime much sooner than now, would be helping with the whole gift-shopping thing, which currently must be done on rather limited funds.

Also, have lost track of how many holiday meals/rituals/feasts/gatherings of various sorts I am supposed to be making dishes for and whether I'm supposed to be bringing other things to some of them, and whether people at some of them might unexpectedly give me presents making me suddenly realize I should have something for them, and that sort of thing.

It's all kind of anxiety-inducing... So in an effort to quell the rising panic, I shall now recount the good things about this time of year:
  1. I generally actually like the whole spirit of the season, apart from the stress part. People are nicer than usual and things are pretty.

  2. Lights. Tacky and energy-consuming though they may be, I kind of like Christmas lights. Sometimes they are genuinely pretty (see previous point), and sometimes they are so hellishly overdone as to be unintentionally amusing, so it's kind of win-win if you think about it. You can ooh and ah, or point and laugh, depending.

  3. Everything has ginger in it. And by "everything" I mainly mean fancy coffees and baked goods at places like The Second Cup and Starbucks. Those who know me know that I love ginger in pretty much every form with an unholy passion. Not even just edible/drinkable forms - I even have ginger perfume (well, all right, it's actually called Shub-Niggurath, and your guess is as good as mine as to why the Black Goat of a Thousand Young should smell like three kinds of ginger, but I'm not complaining, because the only thing better than ginger is ginger + HP Lovecraft).

  4. Clementines. Clementines are good. Seriously, when I brought home my first bag of them for this year and ate the first one, which quickly became the first three, I considered for a moment that clementines might possibly be the single best thing about the entire Yule season. Now, of course, I can recognize that as an exaggeration, but that may be because I have not eaten any in the past hour or so, which I should probably remedy immediately. I go through a lot of clementines while they're in season.

    (pauses to eat a clementine)

  5. Plus, I suppose, the usual things like getting together with friends and family, celebrating the rebirth of the sun and related conccepts from other religions, etc. But right now those are all tied in a little too closely with OMG-must-send-cards-must-buy-presents-must-plan-what-to-cook-for-400-potlucks-OMG-OMG-OMG. So I think I will eat another clementine and go to bed.

Catching up

Sep. 4th, 2008 11:50 pm
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
Overdue for an update, so I'll try and keep this -- well, maybe not brief as such, but at least a list of things each one of which is brief. Or something like that.
  1. My trip up north was surprisingly un-traumatic. Aidan slept through almost the entire car ride -- clearly, the night-driving approach was a good one. And [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and I got along pretty well for the most part. She and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik retrieved the kayaks, and then left the next night, and I stayed through until Monday to have some more time with my parents and away from the city, both of which are important to me. I've really, really missed being up north -- it had been two years!

  2. I am also going to miss the kayaks. My one regret about this weekend was that I didn't have the chance to have one last kayak outing before they went away. I had discovered on the trip we initially took them up north on, a few years back, that I love kayaking. But I know there are places where kayaks can be rented, even in the city. Someone mentioned one on the Humber River a while back. I think I need to do that -- anyone else interested?

  3. Big surprise when I got back -- my apartment was almost unrecognizable! Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it had been considerably tidied and organized by [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie, who as far as I knw had only been going to stop by Saturday morning to walk Kiska and feed all the animals, since [livejournal.com profile] forestweaver would be house-sitting the rest of the time. But apparently she got inspired while she was there, and an inspired Virgo can be a frightening thing. She even started in on staining the wooden shelves I had gotten from [livejournal.com profile] nocturnalia et al. I am in awe. Also, very grateful.

  4. Bike stuff )

  5. On the greatness of farmer's markets )

  6. Die mosquitoes die, or, the necessity of a flock of trained bats )

  7. One more thing everyone should check out if they haven't already: [livejournal.com profile] thrifthorror Really, where else are you going to read comments like "Nauseous bondage ghost for the win!"? I don't think any other community on LJ has ever made me both laugh out loud and recoil in terror quite as often as that one.

  8. I am sure there are more things I was intending to write here, but I can't remember them now. Possibly this means I should go to bed soon.
misslynx: (needs must)
I can has 36 hour day plz?

Or just stop time for a week or so while I get caught up. That would do it too...

Maybe more like a month.
misslynx: (Can't brain)
Tons of things I want to post about, but not enough time for any of it. Maybe I'll catch up over the holidays... For now, just a few quick ones:
  1. The WCC Yule ritual last Sunday was amazing. In the 25 years I've been involved with that community, I can only think of a handful of public rituals that have had that kind of spine-tingling intensity that makes them still stand out in your mind a decade later, but I think this will definitely be one of those. It was an Egyptian mystery play, based on a myth in which Hathor leaves the House of Ra and Thoth is sent to find her and convince her to return, and the thing that made it really unique was that it was done almost entirely in music -- like a ritual opera. I had no idea we had such an array of incredible voices in this community... The music was gorgeous, and Thoth's final duet with Hathor was incredibly powerful and moving, especially when the whole circle gradually begain joining in on the refrain. I think I can safely say that was one of the top ten Best Rituals Ever.

  2. December has flown by at warp speed. We are leaving town on Friday afternoon and I have so much stuff I at least theoretically need to get done between now and then that even if I didn't sleep at all I still couldn't do all of it. I think there will be some apologetic e-mails to clients in the very near future, accompanied by promises of finishing everything when I get back into town...

  3. Speaking of not sleeping, I really don't handle all-nighters as well as I used to. Night before last I didn't go to bed until nearly 8 in the morning, and my attempts at giftmas shopping the next day were pitiful. I would walk into a store and stand there in the midst of bustling crowds, staring blankly ahead of me and trying to remember what I was doing there again. Anything requiring decision-making ability was a dead loss. I spent about 5 hours out and came home with two books, nothing else.

  4. Pray for Coal: The 10 Worst Toys of All Time is too funny, in a sick sort of way. Link courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] satyrblade. I think the home atomic energy kit is my personal favourite, though the finger-eating Cabbage Patch Kids are a close runner-up.

  5. We are going to a resort-ish place for Christmas with my father and stepmother, and one of my stepbrothers and his wife and kids. Nothing exotic, just a couple of hours from Toronto and normally a ski resort, but with our current absence of snow (apparently Colorado has stolen our winter), there won't be much skiing going on. Still, it sounds kind of equal parts exciting and nervous-making. More the latter, for [livejournal.com profile] taikakettu, who is very worried about food issues.

  6. This has also necessitated us getting nice pajamas and such to wear when dealing with family members early in the morning. I now have shiny purple pajamas and, as of today, also a new pair of slippers with are ridiculously girly -- white with fake fur trim and silver sparkles and rhinestones on them. They are all soft and furry inside, so it's kind of like walking around with me feet in furry pillows. Shiny sparkly furry pillows. I love them. But I think I just lost all my goth points in one fell swoop.

  7. Claribell is afraid of said slippers -- she seems to think they're some kind of weird animal, and watches them warily whenever she's in the same room with them, as though she thinks they might attack at any moment. And occasionally tries to sneak up on them and swipe at them with her claws -- only to end up fleeing down the hall in terror if some prankster happens to nudge the slippers so that they move a little... Not that any of us would ever do such a thing, of course.

  8. Everyone who likes pretty-smelling bath things, handmade soaps, etc. should check out http://www.faerytub.com immediately. Local (as in Toronto), scented with all natural essential oils, and clearly her web site was designed by someone fabulously talented. ;-)

  9. How, exactly, did it get to be 3:11 am, and what happend to all the stuff I thought I was going to get done before going to bed tonight?
misslynx: (Default)
  1. Thank you to everyone for your messages of support and sympathy regarding Bastian's passing. I think we are starting to come to terms with it -- we miss him, but he had a good long life, and I think right now we're just glad he's not suffering any more.

    I keep having this recurring image of him yowling at the gates to the Otherworld as if to say "All right, I'm here! I said, I'm here! Open up! Now! I'm here! I'm here!" And then, once admitted, "About time! All right, where's the food?" (This will all make sense to any of you have ever met Bastian...)

  2. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] darkarts777 and [livejournal.com profile] cleasai for coming over last night. Chocolate, alcohol, and chocolate alchohol! And good company, and a silly movie. Exactly the sort of distraction I needed to recover from recent events.

  3. In other news, another gem from my dad, for those who enjoyed the most anticlimactic poly coming-out story ever:

    We were talking about setting up a blog on his web site, for him and his TAs to post announcements, readings, etc. for the students, and he said "Oh, and we don't want to allow commenting on the posts. (pause) I guess that means we're taking kind of a Stalinist approach to blogging: read this, and shut up!"

    Leave it to my dad to come up with the concept of Stalinist blogging...

  4. In other other news, Apparently Toronto has spawned the world's least impressive would-be terrorists.

    Text of article for those who don't want to register )
misslynx: (Small Manageable Goats)
I have just checked off one of the items on my 2006 Goat List -- one which has major importance to me, though more on an emotional than practical level.

Today, at Alterna Savings (formerly Metro Credit Union), I signed the papers for a new business bank account. I had applied last week, despite the dreaded words "credit check". I really didn't expect to be approved, what the whole declaring bankruptcy thing a few years ago -- I was mainly just testing the waters. I know my credit rating won't completely repair itself for seven years, but I wanted to see if there had been any progress in the meantime. And I was really sick of paying Money Mart's cheque-cashing fees.

But they approved me. They approved me! With a 15-day hold on all my deposits for the first year, mind you, but still -- they approved me! I am amazed and delighted.

I'll probably still have to cash some cheques at MM just because I won't always be able to afford the 15-day wait, but still...! This is one of those things that marks an emotional milestone for me, the realization that no, bankruptcy doesn't taint you forever, and it really is possible to work your way back up to being a respectable citizen again.

Also, I realized recently that the ten year anniversary of my starting my business is coming up next year. Ten years of self-employment. That's longer than I've spent doing anything else in my life career-wise, unless you count attending university. I will have to have a big party for past and present clients...

Other good news, though probably of no interest to anyone but me )

This weekend, we go away to [livejournal.com profile] optimystik's parents' cottage. Will be good to get out of the city for a bit, but much work must be done before that can happen. On which note, back to doing exactly that.
misslynx: (with Ladyjane)
Body: Oooh, a cold virus! This could be just the thing to slow her down a little...

Mind: OK, so before going out of town on Friday I must finish a logo redesign and two PDF sponsorship packages for client A, a whole stack of modifications to the content management system I set up for client B, troubleshoot the issues client C was having with their database and try to finish the admin interface for it, finish the site redesign for client D, do client E's business cards, finish updating the admin system for client F and catch up on tech support e-mail from their site, do two or three more graphic versions for client G, and try to salvage client H's fubar'ed Movable Type blog by converting it to WordPress, and finish my first advice column and my giftmas shopping. No problem.

Body: Oh, you think so, do you? La la la... *Hums to itself while installing virus, diverting energy reserves to immune system, decreasing brain power and lung capacity, activating cough and sneeze routines, and cranking up mucus production.*

The dialogue continues )

So, we're off as of 6pm today, first to visit [livejournal.com profile] optimystik's family tonight, then tomorrow up north to my family. [livejournal.com profile] darkarts777 is looking after our kittycats while we're away and Kiska is coming with us. We will be back on the 27th, which is coincidentally [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane's and my 4th anniversary (relationship anniversary, that is, not wedding anniversary).

Four years. Wow.

See everyone when we get back. Have a happy holiday-of-your-choice, or non-holiday-of-your-choice, or whatever works for you.
misslynx: (seal kiss)
I will be flying down to Philadelphia on Thursday for my grandmother's memorial service, courtesy of my father and stepmother. They may be on the same flight with me or possibly a different one - their schedule is a little more complicated so it's taking them longer to sort out. The service will be on Friday at the local Quaker meetinghouse, the actual burial on Saturday in Baltimore (that's where my grandfather is buried), and I will be flying back on Sunday.

So: anyone I have plans with on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or in the daytime on Sunday, I will have to reschedule. I should be back for Sunday evening though.

Now I need to (a) decide on appropriate funeral clothing (you would think that would be easy with a mostly black wardrobe, but you would be wrong), and (b) acquire some escapist fiction for the trip down. And (c) notify the editor at Xtra who assigned me a (really awful) book to review that I will probably not be able to have it done for this Friday.

In a rehearsal of sorts for the service, here are a few of my favourite memories of Grandmom )
misslynx: (Default)
Friday night: I finally got my long-awaited post-hospital-visit sushi dinner, courtesy of the fabulous [livejournal.com profile] crucible (thank you, thank you, thank you!). I do not think, in fact, that I have ever eaten so much sushi in a single sitting in my entire life. I even tried the sea urchin, partly in order to test the truth of [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane's assertion that there is nothing under the sea that I would not eat, and discovered as a result that there are, at least, some things under the sea which I would not eat twice. Ah well. Live and learn. Everything else was wonderful, though!

Saturday: We departed with [livejournal.com profile] optimystik and his grandmother to attend his family's Thanksgiving dinner, at the hobby farm in Prince Edward County (a.k.a. Quinte Isle, though it's actually more of a peninsula than an island) that they recently bought as a retirement property. I was somewhat terrified of this prospect, but it turned out to be remarkably non-traumatic, despite the fact that his family are the sort of people who live in a pristine cookie-cutter home in a suburban subdivision, in which all interior decor contains fake flowers and/or references to Jesus. Yet miraculously, they dealt with the whole poly triad thing pretty well, albeit mostly by not talking about it, and were very nice.

The area we stayed is really lovely, by southern Ontario standards anyway (meaning that overall I am more enamoured of the rocky/piney northern Ontario landscape). It's rural but not remote - a house on 2 acres of land with a couple of small outbuildings designed for chickens and such, and a great big garden space, but on a paved road and not far from a small town. You can even get high-speed internet access there. The back of the property faces onto a small lake, which is currently suffering from severe fertilizer pollution and accompanying massive overgrowth aof algae and water lilies and such. They're currently using it as a cottage of sorts, going there most weekends, but will be moving there permanently in another year or two, when his dad retires. Being there stirred all kinds of desires in me to move to the country, and at a certain point I found myself perusing the real estate section of the weekly county newspaper. The fact that their house, mini-farm, lakefront, and all, sold for less than you'd probably pay from some tumbledown ex-crackhouse in the worst part of Toronto only added fuel to the fire. Of course, the day when we'll be able to buy property of any sort is probably a long way off, even if we end up doing it collectively with other people. But still... *sigh*

Kiska adapted very well to her new role as Farm Dog, prancing around outside and following alongside the little tractor in a supervisory capacity, as we used it to move wooden packing crates from their neighbour's property to theirs (the neighbour is moving, and wanted to get rid of the crates, and they had ideas for using them to build garden beds, compost bins, etc. She's always so much livelier and happier when we take her outside the city. But I don't know how much of that is just that we're more likely to be outside doing things, and not inside glued to our computers while she lounges around in her dog bed. Maybe if we had a garden here, or went for more long walks in ravine parks etc., she'd be that perky in the city.

I also had an idea, at one point, when Optimystik's parents were talking about concerns about the lake's condition and initiatives in the local community for restoring it, that maybe that could be a workable Major Project for finishing my master's degree in environmental studies. Ecological restoration was a part of my area of concentration, and while my original focus was more on wilderness and this area is mostly rural residential, it wouldn't be as far off from my original A of C as some of the ideas I've had, and would probably be a really satisfying project to work on. Restoration work is still something that calls to me pretty strongly, even if it's a lot harder to get actual paying work in that area since a certain previous provincial government decimated the Ministries of the Environment and Natural Resources...

But for now, back to the city, back to work, back to daily life.
misslynx: (With Kiska)
I had to fudge this a bit by looking forward or back a day or two if there were no entries on the actual day, since I don't post every day. Actually, I was astonished to find that out of all of these month-points, I'd only posted on one. Is there something about the 23rd of the month that makes me not post? What kind of a chaote am I?

Actually, the 23 factor in this reminds me that I have yet to post the tale of how Coyote and BPAL helped me get my Canadian citizenship. Maybe later.

3 months ago I was dealing with Kiska's eye infection, and talking to my 16-year-old past self.

6 months ago I was discovering I'd lost weight (yeah, I know, not very momentous to anyone but me).

9 months ago I was worrying about spending Christmas without my family for the first time in 41 years.

12 months ago I was en route to Colorado to perform my cousin's handfasting.

24 months ago I was inadvertently talking a Telus representative into giving us new cell phones.

And I added the following two, since I've been on here for a pretty long time:

36 months ago I was worrying about tensions in my family (most of which still exist, sadly).

48 months ago I was making a big mess of trying to sort out my feelings about Nikos, with embarrassing results. Actually, that one's kind of ironic given how things ultimately worked out several years later. :-) (Nikos = [livejournal.com profile] nikosw = [livejournal.com profile] optimystik)

Home again

Aug. 1st, 2005 11:05 pm
misslynx: (Default)
We are back.

The weekend up north was lovely, but seemed way too short. It's funny - when I'm planning a trip, just a few days away seems like a huge commitment and gives me major anxiety. And yet, once I actually get away, it always seems like I wish it was for longer. I suppose a big part of it is guilt over missing work. When I'm here, work is always on my mind and any time away from it feels like it's going to get me into trouble - I think a lot of self-employed people have that problem. It's hard to take vacations when you know there is no one there to cover for you in any way, shape or form. But when I'm away from home, and thus able to actually get work off my mind for a change, then I realize how much I really needed the time away... And usually, more of it than I've given myself. Oh well.

Kiska was wonderful - she's turning into quite a good traveller. She seemed very relaxed in the car, and settled right in up at my parents' place*. No puking, even though she ate lots of grass and drank out of puddles. She didn't seem too eager to eat her regular food while we were there, unless we added other interesting things to it like bits of cheese, but other than that she was perfectly well-behaved. And she loved romping around in the forest.

And I remembered, as I always do when I'm up there, how much I really love the northern landscape, the rock ridges covered with moss and blueberry bushes, the spruce and jack pine and birch trees, the cool breezes and clean air... It just feels so right. The northern Ontario area in general, and my parents' land in particular, even though I didn't grow up there. Sometimes I really feel like I need to live up there eventually. And other times I get spooked by how far it is from Toronto, when so much of my life is based here. That tension's especially apparent right now, since [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane is becoming increasingly interested in starting some kind of intentional community, whether rural or urban, and many of our friends are too. I can't help wondering whether there's some way to convince people to consider places further north than the outskirts of Toronto... But I don't know what the chances of that are.

I also wonder about the future... As much as I love my parents, they won't be around forever. What will happen to their land when they're gone? If my sister and I inherit it, will either of us really be able to live up there? My sister seems very attached to Guelph, so I don't know... I feel like I'd like to, but my life isn't just my own any more. It never is, once you have a life partner, and especially if you have two (damn polyamory!). Could Ladyjane and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik live six hours away from Toronto? Could others of our friends? I don't know...

Right now, I think probably the best I could hope for is that if we do form our intentional community, some years down the road, maybe it could be somewhere between the two so that while not overwhelmingly far from The City, it will also bring me closer to the land I love. But I don't know how many people will be interested in that. And living in rural areas does make it harder to support oneself. Not so much for me, because I work at home anyway, but for other people.

Well, it's a long way off in any event...

Getting back to this weekend: the only thing that went wrong was that we didn't get to go kayaking, which we'd been really looking forward to. It rained all day on the day we had set aside for it. *sigh* Well, at least we got to spend some time outdoors, anyway. And the weather was very cool - down to 15° C on the day it rained, and cooler at night. Nice change, although coming back into a resurgence of the heat wave we were having before really sucks. We may just have to go back up north again much sooner than next summer.


* "Parents" in this context = my mother and my stepfather. I tend to use the same term interchangeable for my father and stepmother, who live in Toronto, and that can confuse people a lot. So I try to remind myself to clarify which set of parents I mean in any given context.
misslynx: (Default)
I'm about to leave for the train station, en route to my family gathering in that big scary country to the south. I will probably not be on LJ until I get back Sunday night, but will try to catch up then.

[livejournal.com profile] ladyjane is not coming with me, though - due to her immigration situation, she's a little wary of border-crossing until she gets her Approval in Principle and will then definitely be in their computers as an immigrant-in-process. So those of you in Toronto, try to keep her entertained while I'm gone, OK? :-)

See you all in a few days...
misslynx: (Default)
Partly inspired by various people's eloquent tributes to their mothers yesterday, and partly by [livejournal.com profile] elorie's post about the origins of Mother's Day, and our consequent discussion of how Hallmark would react, this started forming in my head and wouldn't stop. It's partly tongue-in-cheek and partly not, but it just somehow needed to be said.


Dear Mom,

Thank you for taking me to anti-Vietnam-war marches in my baby stroller when I just a wee child. And to the occupation of the ROTC building at dad's university, where we got to meet that radical Catholic priest who'd had to go underground.

Thank you for resisting the temptation to name me Sunshine, Rainbow, Galadriel, Moon Unit or God, and settling instead for something that was only mildly unusual. While I still have to constantly spell my name for people, at least they don't giggle.

Thank you for being critical of Marxism and teaching me that today's revolutionaries could be tomorrow's dictators.

Thank you for being an avid consumer of many and varied spiritual traditions, and sharing them with me, so that I could understand concepts like karma, reincarnation and vision quests while my age was still a single digit.

Thank you for doing your best to explain the phrase "Up against the wall, motherfucker" to me, at my request, when I was 7.

Thank you for providing a childhood environment where on any given weekend there would be people in our living room doing Tai Chi, mime or yoga, playing sitar or improvisational jazz piano, or discussing the finer points of eastern philosophy. The fact that the air was also typically blue with pot smoke may have been a contributing factor to my asthma, but on the whole I'd rather be wheezy and creative than boring but able to breathe well.

Thank you for teaching me to cast astrological charts and read tarot cards.

Thank you for taking that job at the birth control, VD and abortion information centre when I was 8. Thanks to going in there after school to wait for you to get off work, I was not only able to tell all my friends where babies came from in great detail, but also the early warning signs of syphilis and gonorrhea. No wonder I didn't have sex until I was 25.

Thank you for teaching me to question authority, and not getting too pissed off when the authority I questioned was sometimes yours.

Thank you for ensuring I would not develop the kind of drug habits many of my friends later did in their teens and 20s, by making sure that recreational drug use was firmly ensconced in my mind as "one of those boring things your parents do", like playing bridge, rather than something forbidden and exciting. And also for telling me enough of your own entertaining drug stories that, despite not doing drugs myself, I have never been at a loss for something to contribute when friends were discussing that sort of thing.

Thank you for reacting to my discovering Wicca in my teens by asking if you could borrow some of my books, and maybe come to a circle sometime. And, a dozen years later, asking me to perform your handfasting when you remarried.

Thank you for taking me to my first lesbian bar when I was 19, even though you were and are straight, because you knew I was struggling with coming out and figured meeting some actual lesbians might be helpful. And thank you for not being overly startled when I came out a second time as bisexual 18 years later. And polyamorous four years after that.

Thank you for complimenting my creativity instead of freaking out like most parents when I dyed my hair six different colours, crimped it, and teased it out until it looked like a pom pom except for the shaved parts. And thank you for coming out to punk (and later industrial) concerts with me and my friends, and nearly giving the security guy who was checking everyone's ID at the MDC show a heart attack when he looked at the birth date on your driver's license before he actually looked at you.

Thank you for being proud of me when I was arrested in my first civil disobedience action, and for contributing poetry to the anarchist journal I was a volunteer editor for in my early 20s.

Thank you for understanding when I later became cynical and disillusioned with political activism, since the same thing had happened to you 20 years earlier.

Thank you for helping me understand that even though the world isn't going to change overnight, it's still worth trying to make it better, even in small ways.

Above all, thank you for being a courageous, freaky and fascinating person. And for doing your best to make sure I grew up to be one too.
misslynx: (red)
OK, so I haven't finished that catch-up entry I started last night. But I did finish my Christmas shopping, at least! Walking stick and clay sculpture stuff for Gryphon, paper-making kit and mythology book for Duncan, scarf and hematite bear pin for my mom, and yes, cell phone for my sister. I am now so overdrawn it isn't even funny. But the more I thought about the cell phone thing, the more I felt really sure that she should have it. I don't know if that's some kind of premonition of trouble in which she'll need it or what, but I decided I'd rather spend a bit too much and deal with the consequences of that than later find out she had car trouble and got stranded on the highway at night and had no way to call people.

Who, me overprotective? Hey, just because I ended up anxiously nagging [livejournal.com profile] elixxir to look up symptoms of alcohol poisoning on the net when one of her party guests (who shall remain nameless) who had overindulged considerably in Amaretto passed out in the bathtub... :-)

Side note: when I was first getting to know said nameless individual, and he discovered that the two forms of alcohol I most disliked were beer and Amaretto, he used to tease me by rhapsodizing about the pleasures of some vile concoction one could make by mixing them together until I was nearly physically ill from the description. And I must confess that in between bouts of worrying about whether he'd done himself in with the stuff at the party, the distinctly uncharitable thought crossed my mind that "Hey, I bet he won't be going on about that any more..."

Hmmm. Maybe the reason I'm compulsively protective of friends and family is that underneath I'm completely evil? :-)

Returning to the topic of Christmas shopping, I got many interesting comments whilst carrying the walking stick home. It's basically a big twisty tree branch, albeit with a shiny finish, and it was particularly eye-catching given that I'd had them gift-wrap it at the store (I didn't trust my own ability to wrap something that weirdly shaped), so it was all done up on gold paper with a big gold bow on it. A cashier in the food court started to give me the usual holiday greeting, then stopped, staring at the walking stick, and said "I was going to say Merry Christmas, but now I'm scared. You gonna make light come out of that thing?" And later a homeless guy who was holding the subway door open said "I give up, don't beat me!" I should carry strange golden staffs around more often.

And I found something very nice for [livejournal.com profile] ladyjane but of course I'm not going to say what that is here... :-)

More...

Sep. 12th, 2001 01:28 am
misslynx: (Default)
I have a splitting headache from the tension, and have hardly gotten any work done today. But I have had more news...

My family are all OK. Hans, my New York stepbrother, got home OK - but he saw a lot of it first hand. He was on the Brooklyn Bridge, en route to his job in the financial district, when he saw the first plane hit. Although somewhat in shock, he continued on his way to his office, where of course they were sending everyone home. On his way back, walking his bike across the bridge because the traffic was so snarled with people trying to get away that there wasn't room to ride, he saw the first tower fall.

I can't even imagine what it would be like to see something like that with your own eyes, especially when it's a place near where you go to work every day... He and his family were going to be trying to leave the city tonight and go to their cottage in Vermont, but depending on how crazy it is, they may or may not be able to get out.

Hamilton, my Washington stepbrother, got sent home from work, but wasn't very close to the Pentagon anyway so he didn't get exposed to too much of it directly. But Marianna, his wife, works right next to the Pentagon! She could have been hurt, or at least had to see the whole thing, but she was off work today - thank the gods for that.

So they are all OK... But a couple of things I've heard from people on mailing lists today really upset me, if it even makes sense to say that in a context where everyone is already emotionally devastated.

One was someone in Australia who wrote that when her son came home from school today, he told her that a boy in his class who was the child of Afghan refugees got beaten up by the other kids because of the attacks. What the hell kind of logic is there in taking something like this out on a little child?!

The other was a university student who wrote that one of her professors, who was a Muslim from some middle eastern country, showed up for class a little bit late, pale and shaky and looking terrified. When he saw the students sitting there as usual and not making any move to attack him, he started to cry and said he had been afraid that they would kill him if he came to teach class today.

This is what's scariest about situations like this: the hate and fear that it brings out in people. Everyone wants a scapegoat, even if they have to attack innocent people or even children in order to have one.

Some days I just don't want to be part of the human race any more...
misslynx: (Default)
I was relieved to find out that my younger stepbrother, who lives in New York and works very near the disaster site, and his family are all right. As of the e-mail my parents got from his wife this morning, my stepbrother was making his way home on foot as transit is not running and most of the major roads are closed, and they were planning to collect their kids as soon as he was home and try to get out of the city.

I've not yet heard any news from my older stepbrother, who lives in Virginia and works in Washington DC in one of the government buildings.

What scares me most is not knowing where things will go from here. Politics in the Middle East, where most analysts' suspicions seem to be pointing, are so murky - yes, there's a difference between the acts of individual terrorists and the acts of a nation-state, but it gets complicated when some nation-states are suspected of harbouring terrorists and may be officially condemning what happened while covertly supporting it - or may not be. It's hard to know, and it would be too easy for the US to either over-react and attack an entire country, killing many innocents who may not have supported the terrorists, or under-react and not succeed in finding the culprits at all. Though under the current American government, I think the former is far more likely than the latter.

I suppose one small comfort is simply the fact that the very land conflict that may be at the heart of this means that they can't use nuclear weapons on the Palestinian areas without damaging Israel as well, so they can't very well do that... :-/

And the creepiest thing is that even though I am (a) a relatively pacifistic person, and (b) somewhat sympathetic to the concerns of the Palestinians, I felt a tremendous surge of anger at the accounts of people celebrating in the streets, and for a few short moments could well identify with some of the more extreme vengeful sentiments that have been expressed by people over this. But I had to remind myself that the news accounts said some Palestinians were celebrating, and there may very well be others who feel differently.

It's very dangerous to start tarring an entire population for the sins of only some of its members - in fact, that's the same mentality that likely led to the attacks in the first place! The idea that the Middle East should be "turned into a glass desert" as someone put it, for the crimes of one organization, is not so very different from the idea that it's OK to crash a passenger jet into a large building for the crimes of one government. In either case, ordinary people are being made to pay with their lives for the actions of their self-appointed representatives, which they may or may not have supported at all. And the fact that I found myself being sucked into that mentality, even briefly, really scares the hell out of me.

In closing, I just got an e-mail from a friend suggesting that pagans light a black candle in their windows tonight as an expression of concern and a means of sending energy to the people affected. And if I can figure out a way of safely leaving a burning candle in my window without risking setting my apartment on fire (I have curious cats who have been know to knock over jar candles), I will.
misslynx: (Default)
My stepmother had her surgery today, and it went better than they'd thought. The growth was very self-contained and didn't appear to have spread at all, so they were able to just take it out and not 8 inches of her colon as they'd thought they would have to. So this means she will be able to recover much faster.

I'm going in to visit her tomorrow.

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