Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ingratitude Practice

This is from facebook:

I posted a link to an article recommending ingratitude practice: listing the things in your life that you are really ungrateful for. This was an alternative to the more common gratitude practice. I've thought about this and have come up with a list of things I am not grateful for: (1) world politics, especially US politics, (2) global warming and environmental degradation, (3) growing old. We are supposed to accept aging with grace and wisdom. Can't do it. I saw my doctor for a checkup a couple of months back and told her about a friend who had died. I said this reminded me that life is fragile. The doc said, "Yes." I added, at my age the statistics are not in my favor. The doc said, "Yes." So there we have it. What is good about this situation? It makes me crabby.

Usually I do the gratitude practice. But reminding myself of the things which really bother me is useful. How does one make a good life in an environment that is in many ways hostile? This is where where mindfullness is useful. Often, it's small things that give pleasure -- or at least things smaller than world politics. My new haircut. My friends. Writing. Sunflowers blooming along the local freeways. The prospect of a meal out on Sunday. Once this move is over, I think Patrick and I should drive to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and look at lighthouses -- and the lake, of course. Both lakes.

Friends are not small, by the way. Neither is writing. Actually, neither are sunflowers. Neither is the Farmers Market. I need to get dressed and go out and buy bread. The choices are traditional Irish soda bread and wild rice bread. A difficult choice.

New Story Out


A new original anthology, edited by Jonathan Strahan, who does good work. It looks like a good list of writers, and I am in this!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Another Picture

And this is me before Wiscon this year with my newly-cut and streaked-blue hair.


I can post these photos, because Patrick took them, and I am not infringing any copyright. We need to get out and take more photos of landscapes, for example...

Picture

I haven't been including enough pictures. Here is me, leaning up against one of the Euclid trucks that are used at the Hull Rust Mine on the Iron Range. This one is not in current use, because it has a flat tire.

Shopping

Happy Bastille Day! Many happy returns! I am sitting here at the start of a hot, bright day, drinking my coffee. The muffin with marmalade has been eaten. Today I am going to the Mall of America to help a friend look for sandals. Patrick has given me ten dollars to spend for him at the Lindt chocolate shop. I have no plans to buy anything for myself. Our beloved Paradise Pen shop has closed, so I will not be tempted to buy a pen. How many pens does a person need, in any case? Still, the Mall is inside and air conditioned, and while walking around is a very mild form of exercise, I am at least moving. It should be fun. The Nordstrom shoe department is awesome.

*

Patrick asked me to buy two bars of Lindt dark chocolate. I bought four: there was a sale. After, my friend and I swung by a Mexican folk art store in SW Minneapolis. I was much taken by the folk art bobble head chickens and the folk art arm reliquery earrings, but did not buy either.

*

We did pass through Nordstom’s. The shoe department was mostly curtained off for a special sale, which was frustrating, since I like looking at shoes. I am actually thinking of buying a pair of Wellies, since our winters are no longer cold enough for winter boots. When I got home I went online to check the Wellies that Nordstrom's carries, and then I decided to look at sneakers. I decided to look at the designer sneakers, thinking I could find a nice pair of Converses. Did you know that you can get sneakers trimmed with genuine Norwegian fox fur? Did you know you can buy a pair of sneakers that cost more than $1,000? As Bruce Banner said, Truly, these are the End Times

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Livestock Warnings

Full of good intentions, I took my fiction writing computer to the coffee shop, opened it, and discovered it needed to be recharged. That was no outlet near me. I wrote a little in a notebook. My friends showed up and gave me CONvergence reports. As usual, it was a very well run con, which they enjoyed a lot. However, one friend felt the energy level was lower than in previous years. One explanation she heard was the Trump administration. This is possible. Trump is certainly not helping my mood or my energy level. So this leads to a panel idea: How to Have Fun during the Trump Administration.

I got rides to and from the coffee shop. Usually, I could take a bus. But the temp is in the 90s, and it's humid. I am old enough to pay attention to the Old People Weather Warnings. They used to be Lifestock Warnings, when I was young and Minnesota was a serious farm state. I kind of miss those. Get your cows into the shade and make sure Granny is okay.

I have mixed feelings about thinking of myself as elderly. Patrick had a friend with a healthy, active mother -- biked everywhere and was always up to do things. When she reached 65 she sat down and said, "That's it. I'm old." She stopped biking. She was no longer active. She made herself old. It's probably sane to realize one is no longer a spring chicken. But there is no reason to give up and turn into a vegetable.

As the broken arm heals and I am doing more, I feel a lot better. I am back to three times a week at the gym, though I can't use the broken arm to lift weights or push. I find I can do a lot, though planks are out for the time being.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Notes from facebook

My facebook posts are mostly trivia from everyday life. Here is a sample:

Breakfast was the usual English muffin, toasted. One half was spread with sour cherry jam, the other with Tiptree marmalade. Now I am drinking tea from a glass teapot I almost never use. Very nice. I will make more tea soon. There is yet another study showing that drinking coffee lengthens your life. I think I have coffee covered by the two (small) pots have most mornings. After that, it's almost always tea.

I have gone over the flower bouquets in the living room and removed dead flowers. Next comes checking my favorite political websites. (Always a mistake.) I have two bits of writing business to get done, and then I am going to spend at least an hour on the dread files. I want to have them gone over and cleaned out by the end of August. I have too many folders full of I don’t know what.

I sorted through some old issues of NYRSF from the 90s, trying to figure out why I have kept them. A couple had letters from me. Goddess, I sounded stiff and pompous. It's a strange experience to look back that far -- at myself and the field. I dumped most of the issues

I moved on to a folder of letters and cards. The first letter I opened was an 11-year-old note from my friend Cassandra, who is no longer living. It was an invitation to a dinner to celebrate the Year of the Rat, and it was covered with charming cartoons of rats. She was smart and talented, and life wore her down into a crazy old lady. I decided to put off the folder for a day or two.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Political Posts

I do these political posts, where I try to work out ideas, and they are much less fun than posting about the Farmers Market. In many ways, I suspect they are also less profound. Life is about concrete particulars. Once you drift into abstraction, you are moving away from the Real.

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

I suppose I should credit the poem: by William Carlos Williams, who also wrote a really good poem about plums:

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

Farmers Market

I did a bad thing. I went to the Farmers Market, which was not the bad thing, and there was one loaf of cinnamon raisin bread at the baker's table. There was also a woman kind of ditzing around and asking questions. Taking time. I don't recreationally shop at the Farmers Market. I know what I want. She bought a loaf of bread, I don't know what kind, then asked to taste the cinnamon raisin. As I said, there was one loaf visible. I asked the vendor if there was more cinnamon raisin bread. She thought so, but wasn't certain. So I reached in front of the lady and took the possibly last loaf. The lady left. I assume she was shocked and angry. Being a Minnesotan, she could not say, "I beg your pardon. I was planning to buy that loaf." There are times when my impatience -- or maybe my years in New York -- pays off.

Next time I will be a proper MInnesotan and wait and grit my teeth while the other person dithers. I was late to the Market, and it was full of people drifting from side to side, stopping in mid-aisle to think, discussing possible purchases, helping frail elderly relatives, reining in their small kids... Helping frail elderly relatives and kids is fine, but I really dislike the drifting and stopping and dithering. Aside from the bread, I got tomatoes, small red potatoes, green leaf lettace, scallions, a goat cheese, and flowers.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Zoo

I went to the zoo with a friend yesterday. This is the big zoo, the Minnesota Zoo. We saw bears, otters, takin, Bactrian camels, a Siberian tiger in a pool, kangaroos, wallabys, an Amur leopard, caribou, a sleeping dhole, sharks, moon jellyfish, seahorses... All in all, satisfying. I also rode on the carousel and had a root beer float. I feel about ten years old.

It has been a long time since I have seen so many blond mothers and children. Aside from needing a car and time off, you need a bucket full of money to go to the Minnesota Zoo. (An adult is $18. A kid is $12.)

On the other hand, the Como Park Zoo and the awesome Conservatory are free and can be reached by bus. And Como has a lovely restored carousel.

A poem about Como Zoo, since I was talking about zoos. Zoos and operas lead me to write poetry.

A Visit to Como Zoo and Japanese Garden

Three silverback gorillas
knuckling in the sun,
two feather-duster ostriches,
too hot to run,
picking grass along a fence,
while giraffes with shambling elegance
perform a kind of mating dance.

Bears and monkeys! Maybe cranes,
though not in view. ( The sign remains.)
A deep, green garden,
a silent pond,
shining koi,
and so we end.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wiscon

I did one panel at Wiscon this year: an introduction to the history of feminist SFF. One of the other panelists said SFF feminism in the 1970s was like race now, when white people are learning to care about the problems people of color face. I said, No. Feminism in the 1970s was a fight. For the most part, the men in fandom -- along with some women -- resisted, ignored, mocked... Wiscon was created because almost all SFF cons ignored women's issues. The Tiptree Award was created because all existing SFF awards were named after men and women rarely won them.

I am not sure what the speaker meant. I heard the comment as saying that women didn't have to fight in the 1970s, that it was men learning to care about women's issues that was important. At that point, I exploded.

(Among other things, I thought the comment gave an odd impression of current anti-racism struggles. But that is another topic.)

Later, a woman in the audience said we were talking about women feminist authors. What about the men feminist authors? I wondered, what the hell kind of question was that? Several people on the panel mentioned Delany and then some much more recent men as male feminist writers.

The thing that bothered me was a panel on women and feminism was being pulled around to men.