Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Reviews

Also elsewhere (i.e. the new main home).

Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Lee): Entertaining, though a bit fantastical/unrealistic - teen goes on Grand Tour, shenanigans and falling in love with his dude best friend ensue. I hasten to add the queer themes are not unrealistic - we already had one round of terrible history, we don't have to repeat it in fiction! - it's more dramatic kidnappings by pirates, etc. A book like cotton candy. 

Empire Games (Stross): A nice-ish continuation to a long-running series, but the whole book is a little "Meanwhile, Our Heroine..." 

Slightly Dangerous/ Slightly Married/ Slightly Blurring All Together (Balogh): A set of somewhat old-school Regency romances. Okay. Some of the characters know what consent means!

Everything KJ Charles Ever Wrote, Especially Simon Feximal (except not Unseen Attraction): Read the summary before you start, because this may not be your cuppa, but what a writer. (Unseen Attraction suffered from a dose of "look at this character with a disability NO LOOK HE HAS... yes, we get it. At the expense of plot, alas.)

Third Girl (Christie): Er... it had been a while. A Product Of Its Time, let's say. But not bad, for all that.

Winter Tide (Emrys): A gentle but compelling Cthulhu-mythos novel, where the Deep Ones are as wise and reasonable as anyone else, and the humans are the true monsters. Highly recommend.

Closer to the Something Or Other (Lackey - not the real title): These books have all blurred together into one boring heap and I am done with them.

Reluctant Queen (Durst): sequel to a more interesting novel. In both, the spirits of the land/air/water/fire are hostile to humans and the ruler of each province somehow has control. I kept expecting there to be some reconciliation with the spirits, but no... just purely human conflict, not all of which was particularly interesting.


As always, your recommendation for reading material are welcome!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The time has come...



"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?
"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"








Dearest Readers, the time has come for me to write at another place; specifically, a place where I can be certain that my relatives and fellow-small-town-dwellers are not reading my sometimes-unkind thoughts.  (I can say such things to everyone inhabiting this town, dear readers, or I can say them all to you.  I leave the reader to determine which one is preferable.)

The new home is here.  I regret to say that an account is necessary.  (If you have a different pseudonym, Dear Readers, please tell me who you are!  Not your real name, just "I'm Squirrel Fan!")

Yours in snark,

Jenny F. Scientist

ADDENDUM: If you have a blogger/wordpress/other OpenID login, you can also use it at dreamwidth.  You can leave me a comment and I will give you access!  It will be amazing.  And yes, there is a RSS feed.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Trip Survival, Summer Projects

We lived!  (I expect N. was exhausted in our wake, because SO MANY CHILDREN, but thanks! It was so nice to see you all!)  Some poor flight attendant eventually bribed Sweetpea with a free snack box ("If you'll stop screaming, I have some snacks for you! No... you have to stop screaming first.") 

I resisted the urge to move back to the Land of Cheese and Sausage by reminding myself that all my stuff and, more relevant, all my plants are here.

We spent some time with my parents.  My mother Had A Sad At Me over my youngest sister.  We came home and... Bug and Sweetpea got packed off to camp!  She ran off the first day without a single look back.  I think preschool is going to go great.

Tatoe and I are having two weeks of Fun With Mommy, for variable values of fun.  So far, we've picked blueberries, met up with friends, and done some gardening together (he loves plants).  Tomorrow, we're going to take out the whole house vacuum. 

Having been inspired by N's house decorating, I have conceived a scheme to:

A) Rip out a large, useless closet (and whole house vacuum) and turn the resulting hallway into a large mudroom/ shoe storage area/ small closet

B) Rearrange my furniture to make it useful

C) Finally fix the shelves on the cedar cabinet

D) Do Something about my kitchen storage

E) Actually clean the damn house on a regular basis.  (This is greatly aided by how as I finally feel about 95% better.  Turns out correct diagnosis is key to recovery, who knew?)

F) Acquire and plant some gooseberries to control weeds below my grapes (I know, but the spouse asked me to buy more plants).


Next up: another round in the endless What Am I Doing With My Life (aside from all the plants).


Friday, June 23, 2017

Adventures

I am about to haul all three children off to visit N. and her critters.  Hopefully we will all survive the actual travel and my nostalgia for The Land of Cheese and Sausage will not overwhelm me on my return!  The spouse is looking forward to two very peaceful weeks (except for his undergrad research students, who are basically toddlers with knives as far as lab is concerned).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Regrets

Someone I know here had some major surgery a few weeks ago.  Her family is far away; her spouse had to go on a trip that couldn't be moved.  So I brought them dinner yesterday.

They just got new license plates:


  I have regrets.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Very Brief Update

I have nothing interesting to tell you about so here:

Health: still iffy but somewhat less so following some minor surgery and lots more drugs
Job: doesn't exist in the summer, but my last paycheck deposited last week.  I like money.
Children: all home for two weeks until camp starts and they are going to SO MUCH CAMP
Plant habit: still going strong (a bay-leaf shrub, a particular rugosa rose, a penstemon and... something... are the latest acquisitions). I've also started propagating stuff from cuttings, so there's a wee nursery going by the side of the house.  It's quite satisfying.  Some of them, I've forgotten what they are, so it's also an exciting mystery...
Spouse: is in exceedingly poor humor lately despite getting a paper published and being awarded not one but two grants, which come with a virtual guarantee of tenure.  I don't even know.
Travel: I am taking the children to the Land Of Cheese And Sausage in three weeks, to visit mostly N. and maybe see a few other mom-friends (the ones I do actually like, though not enough to go 900 miles only to see them). 
Children: did I mention they're ALL home?  Three kids is still a lot of kids. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

FMB: Jobs, Part 2

With respect to the previously mentioned diagram: I don't think one's job necessarily can or should fulfil all the desirable qualities at once - it's labelled 'a reason for being', after all.  Ideally, 'get paid' should be included: that's what jobs are for.  (Please don't start with parenting is a job because it is but no-one is paying me for this nonsense. For the purposes of this discussion, 'jobs' are 'things we do in exchange for money', as opposed to, say, 'work'.)

So... what is lacking in *my* job?  Change.  Opportunity to learn or do something different. 

And what do I love?  Gardening.  Explaining how science works in the real world (it's all chemicals! let me introduce you to... the liver!).  Sewing, canning, making things.  Having a tidy house, though not actually tidying it.

It is no coincidence that the things I love are the things I do the least: I am the primary caregiver for a two-year-old, and I only have childcare while I'm at work.  (For many complex reasons, starting with finances and ending with small-town-with-only-one-daycare and did we mention holy hell it's expensive, 'just pay for more childcare' is not going to work.) 

Next year, I will have twelve hours a week of child-free time when I'm also not teaching; this includes lunch.  Six hours go to class prep.  At least an hour goes to lunch.  The last block will be between classes - so gardening is probably out - and I expect medical appointments to take up much of it. So the main problem is I just don't have time to do anything I want to do.  (For health reasons, I also haven't been strong enough to do much, either.) 

Next up: how can I make room for these things in my life?

(It took me 30 minutes to write for five minutes due to children arguing, the phone ringing, and numerous requests.  Argh.)