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Yesterday when Mastodon was talking about the Iranian great-grandparents that the Home Office wants to deport, and thus inevitably about the cruelty and the unsuitability of the Home Office, someone I follow said
http://whysweetlie.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-heart-secretary-teresa-may.html
This is a poem by Wes White, an acquaintance of mine who married an American. She wanted to join him here, but could not, because their income was judged too low. May was the Home Secretary at the time, with control over immigration policy.
I thanked them for sharing the poems, which really are incredible, and they replied with a bit more of the story:
The story had a happy end: after a long campaign, she was allowed in. But if it was so hard for a white US citizen married to a (very eloquent) native Brit, it's so much harder for others. I have a lot of respect for immigrants.
Obviously as another white U.S. citizen married to a very eloquent Brit, I was sympathetic anyway. But the poems really are good. There are three, "The Heart Secretary," "Teresa," and "May." The last one is my favorite.
3. May
We married on the 18th, in a vineyard in Nebraska.
Matched cummings to Breton in our vows:
“i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)” stood next to “My wife whose wrists are matches
Whose fingers are raffles holding the ace of hearts” -
In yellow sun and yellow dress
you looked like Disney’s Belle made flesh.
And you do. You carry and hold that card from my deck, my darling.
But this game was written by a joker,
and the hearts are trumped
by diamonds
every trick.
I'm glad it worked out for this couple. I wish it worked out for everybody.
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I knew some Mary Oliver poems. How did I not know this one?

It's thanks to my friend Caron that I know about it now. She says she normally hates poetry, but she loves this. (She loves dogs though.)

I like dogs too. I also like looking at the moon.
What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. Full tonight.
So we go

and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit,

I thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! How rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up into
my face. As though I were
his perfect moon.

18/365

Jan. 18th, 2019 05:16 pm
hollymath: Black and white picture of my face in profile. I'm wearing a trilby (Default)
Keyboard is better today! Didn't do anything; another restart seems to have fixed it (or that's just a coincidence, whatever). I will investigate how to map the caps lock key to something else and see if that helps; thanks for that tip [personal profile] po8crg.

I slept so much. I had "a nap" at about 6pm. I slept until 11. Andrew came to bed about an hour and a half later, and we slept from probably about 1 until his alarm went off at 9. By that point I'd done that "half waking up but rolling over and going back to sleep" thing a couple of times, which I haven't done in a very long time. It was glorious. This week, this month, the last few months, have been exhausting. I think I needed every minute of that sleep.

I have two more exams next week but I promised myself a day off today after the unending stress of uni, travel, family, Christmas, travel, work, uni, etc the last month or so. I am very bad at "days off," I don't really know how to relax. Having depression cause so much inactivity means I now can't help but associate inactivity with depression. The things a relaxing person is advised to do -- read, watch TV/movies, play games, etc. -- are also things I do when I'm low on executive function, so they don't actually seem that fun?

Andrew had some structure to his morning, which helped. We needed the alarm because he had a phone interview this morning (which he did well on and is going to be getting a bit of regular disabled-person-friendly work, hurrah!) and he also remembered that it's Friday and that still means The Good Place, though now it won't again until September. He went to Martins bakery to get himself a pile of breakfast sandwiches and a couple spinach and ricotta rolls for me, and we ate and watched the show. It was nice.

As usual after a morning lying around, I'd had enough of "relaxing" and was restless and bored. Luckily just after one my friend Tas messaged me to ask if I was still coming round. We'd agreed 11:30. It was only yesterday, but then I'd had all that sleep since then. And 1:30 ended up working just as well. She's applying for some English-as-a-foreign-language teaching thing, and had asked for help with the "language awareness" part of her application. I know she knows her stuff but most people don't have to think that much abot what an intransitive verb is.

I had fun talking about such things (though like Marvin the robot, I did have to put some effort in to "think down to her level"; I found myself trying to remember what I used to call things "when I was a normal person," as I called it, i.e. before syntax classes got me). And we had a good gossip; it was nice to see her.

I didn't plan anything for after I got home from my exam and meeting with my DSA mentor (I'd agreed to that time slot before I realized the exam was just before it, and then thought what the hell I might as well go along anyway; it was fine but kinda exhausting) yesterday but when I got home I didn't want to go straight to bed as I'd expected. Instead I did all the dishes and swept/mopped the kitchen floor, the latter for the first time in months. Today I similarly find myself without plans, and I actually opened the file that my long-neglected Kickstarter book languishes in. I've nearly finished up a chapter.

I don't know where this unexpected motivation is coming from, but I will enjoy it while it lasts!
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"Parliament are currently debating a Ten Minute Rule Bill," Andrew tells me, for reasons I can't yet fathom. Then he carries on, "About whether letterboxes should be subject to regulations."

Now the thing is, if you say that to a Lib Dem who's ever been to Glee Club, you'll have earwormed them already. "Letterboxes" is one of the most ubiquitous songs, one I learned even before I'd been because it does also get sung when we're delivering leaflets. Because it's always relevant.

"...What?" I finally said.

"Yeah," Andrew said. "Between Prime Minister's Questions, and the vote of no confidence, they're talking about this."

"Does it actually have the words 'snippy-snappy' in it?" I asked. (Apparently it doesn't. It was written by a Tory.)

'Letterboxes' lyrics )

15/365

Jan. 15th, 2019 11:16 pm
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I got to thinking, in an idle moment,* about what I could write for today. Mostly it's been pretty easy and indeed natural to come up with something to blog about. But nothing obvious was coming to mind.

Ah well, I thought to myself. It's the fifteenth today, so after this you'll be about half done!

It actually took a second before I realized no, wait, I didn't say I'd do this for a month. I said I'd do it for the year! Haha. We'll see how that goes.


* No, that doesn't mean I was on the toilet! I was...walking to the toilet.
hollymath: Black and white picture of my face in profile. I'm wearing a trilby (Default)
The prompt for this month's writing group was "New Year's Unresolutions, or Irresolutions if you prefer. Perhaps it's things you're going to let go off, or stop giving a monkey's about, perhaps it's things that you've no intention of giving up, even though you probably should, or the things you want to celebrate. Anything that isn't a New Year's resolution, or maybe kind of is."

It was such a great idea that I wish I'd been able to do something better with it than say I'm not going to lose weight and I'm not going to KonMari my house, haha.

We talked quite a lot about both things, about the desire for control but also about the judgment and shame and moral values that are put on the state of our houses and our bodies (espeically as women; this isn't a WI group any more but it's still "women writers").

Of course with the Netflix show, talk of KonMari is everywhere and I'd found it incredibly stress-inducing since one of my friends talked about it a lot last year (right before she moved on to talking about weight loss, actually...). It was such a relief to see this come up in the "Unfuck Your Habitat" facebook group I'm on, where while some people were saying aspects of it had worked for them, a lot of people were saying it set off their anxiety, it wasn't for them because they were too poor, too disabled, too neurodivergent. Here I was thinking it was just me, with my weird combination of feelings about all I abandoned when I immigrated here, about living with someone who finds tidying stressful and pruning the bookshelves not just impossible but undesireable...but it's not just me.

But as with everything popular, there is a backlash. The one against Marie Kondo seems to have focused on her advice not to own many books. This one-size-fits-all type of proclamation is a big indicator that she's not talking to people like me, and I'd leave it at that, but people have been absolutely vicious about this and I've seen several memes and "jokes" already and heard of more. Inevitably, these reactions have been racist and sexist to varying degrees, in a way I'm grateful to my Japanese-American friend for calling to our attention.

And even on its own terms, the demonstrative love of books has crossed a threshold into a kind of fetishization, as if books are inherently sacred objects. I heard it called "owning books is a replacement for a personality" on Twitter and that sounds exactly right to me. One of the images-with-words-on I saw on Facebook said "It doesn't count as hoarding if it's books" which I think is terribly disrespectful and far too flippant way to talk about something as serious as hoarding, which is already surrounded in so much shame.

So anyway, I got home from writing group and the first thing Andrew said when I walked in the door was that Book Twitter had so annoyed him about exactly this subject that he'd done something I spent years trying to get him to do and always failing: he piled up some books to get rid of. They're mostly duplicates, and books he realized are really racist so he doesn't want them any more, he said. But it's something! There's a couple dozen books piled up on a chair now, and he did it without me even mentioning it.

He did it, in fact, because he thought Book Twitter had been so racist and obnoxious toward Marie Kondo that even though he knows nothing else about her or her tidying-up system or anything, he did the opposite of what they say just to spite them.

It's an unorthodox motivation to declutter, but I'll take it!

+ + - ~

Jan. 13th, 2019 09:32 pm
hollymath: Black and white picture of my face in profile. I'm wearing a trilby (Default)
+ I got my essay done and submitted! Since I couldn't find a time, just the date, for the deadline, I didn't want to risk handing it in on the last day so it needed to be done tonight. Especially since the deadlines are usually either noon or midnight and if it was noon I'd be at work then anyway.

+ Faffing around with TurnItIn reminded me my typology lecturer said she should have our essays for that class (the one I had to have done right before we flew to Minnesota) graded by the end of this week (i.e. Friday) so I went and checked and yep, I got 68% on that!

- I wrote an FB update to this effect, ending with "Just in time for me to start revision for my exams! I've got a week. It should be fine." With a little tongue-out emoji to prove that I do not think it will be fine.

But this inspired me to check my actual exam timetable again, which I hadn't looked at since before Christmas I think, and it turns out I'd slightly mis-remembered: yes two of my exams are next week. But one, the one for The Hardest Class, is Thursday.

Considering that there's no way I can start thinking about it in the state I'm in now (I've been mis-reading social media updates because I am still stuck in Middle English orthography rules), and my plan to have a big drink and go to bed asap, this means I have functionally three days to study for that. The hardest one.

~ But it occurred to me that even if I'd remembered the date correctly, I wouldn't have had time to fit in much more studying right now, or brain-space to switch gears between the historical linguistics essay and the lexical-functional grammar revising. So maybe in a way it's good that I wasn't stressing myself out over something I couldn't do much about?
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Thanks for all your good wishes on the last entry. I'm not feeling as bad today, which is lucky because since I can't find a time along with the date that my essay is due tomorrow, I'm really going to want to get it done today so that I can be sure it's done in time. I've written another hundred words since I got home from work an hour ago, but I miscounted yesterday when I said I have 700 words left to go, so I still have 700 words left to go. Still, progress eh?

I did go have a nap (and five grams of time-release vitamin C, and an ibuprofen) after I wrote that. I woke up at nine, after three, three-and-a-half hours' sleep, because my phone was ringing.

It was Stuart, asking me if I wanted to go to the movies. Of course I did. "Great, I'll pick you up in twenty minutes," he said.

"Ooh, I get to see the new car!" I said.

"Yeah, gonig to the movies might be a thinly veiled excuse to drive in the new car," he said.

The new-to-him car is his housemate's old one. Housemate inherited a bunch of money last year so got himself a new Porsche on Friday, and this meant he had no use for his existing sports car, an old but well-preserved Celica, so he gave it to Stuart.

So Stuart, who has had a string of falling-apart cars or none at all, now has this fancy black shiny zoomy thing. Last time I visited, a week and a half earlier, he felt bad he hadn't been able to give me a lift home because the Nissan Micra had finally given up the ghost. Such a difference in such a short time!

He was clearly delighted driving it even just to the cinema -- more than once he said "It isn't making any weird noises at all!" which is definitely a novel experience for him, bless him.

Our plan was to choose a movie when we got to the cinema, and there were a few we fancied but when I was asked to choose I picked Stan & Ollie, and I'm glad I did. I don't know a tremendous amount about Laurel and Hardy but I know Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly can be great and they certainly were here. They did brilliantly at the reconstructions of the acts, their facial expressions and body language were just perfect always, and Stuart said "I never expected to care as much as I did about the characters" but it was impossible not to. He and I were also enamored of the actors playing their wives; Mrs. Hardy clearly acerbic and devoted to her husband and sick to death of Mrs. Laurel, who when we first saw her on screen made Stuart say "Ivanka Trump!" and unfortunately she didn't do a lot to disabuse us of that but it was so funny to watch Lucille Hardy snipe at her and Coogan made us believe he was really in love with his wife.

After the movie we ended up on quite a long drive because as soon as we got out of the parking lot he said "Shall we go on the motorway?" because he hadn't had a chance to do that yet. And by the time we got to the M56 there was some big doomy thing going on, lots of flashing lights and as we tried to go down a junction and come back, we found in that time it'd been closed off and had to get off by the airport and drive back through Hale Barns and Altrincham and Trafford and all sorts.It was great to have a chance to chat though; I didn't think I'd get to see Stuart this week so I felt especially lucky.

I got home at 1am, didn't get to bed until about 3, and worried about the state I was going to be in this morning but I woke up half an hour before my alarm, got through work fine, and now I just need to get this essay done.
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Ugh, this weekend has turned into a race between me finishing my essay and the sinus infection really setting in.

I'm afraid the sinus infection is going to win, as I still have 700 words left to do and the first 700 took me three days.
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I'm so glad it's back! Andrew checked and apparently we get two more episodes now after this.

spoilers )

But I was completely distracted by Chidi's arms once I could see them! I am not normally one to lust after people I don't know but I could barely concentrate on anything anyone was saying after that.

I'm glad he normally wears long-sleeve shirts or I wouldn't even know if I like this show!
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An aerial video of Mars, laboriously stitched together from HIRISE photos by Finnish filmmaker Jan Fröjdman. Nice space music accompaniment too!

https://vimeo.com/207076450
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"Flicking the v's at you!" Andrew just said to his book. He was doing it too, of course.

He's reading a history of western philosophy (he's been ranting to me for a while now about what a dick Rouseeau is) and the sentence that inspired this reaction was something like "John Stuart Mill is not quite in the first rank of philosophers."

Andrew, a good Liberal, might be said to disagree with this, heh.
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My timetable for spring semester isn't nearly as bad as the fall one. I'm back to a decent "one or two things a day" schedule that works best for me -- with one problem that I knew I could fix. I even had a day off! It made me smile to see it was Thursday.

When James and I started talking and first arranged to meet up, it was I think a Monday. It was the beginning of one of the three-day conferences my work ran at the time, which makes for a pretty intense week for someone who was only employed for three days a week (some weeks I worked a lot less, which made up for these weeks where it was more because I had to hang around in the evenings). The upshot of this was that the first day I'd be free to see this person I suddenly wanted to see what Thursday. And he didn't work Thursdays.

This, especially combined with him visiting me during a hellscape of things going wrong at home which happened to occur on the next Thursday, seemed to establish a pattern of one of us visiting the other on Thursday. We traded off but it often worked out better for me to travel, and I got into a nice routine: leave the house by the time In Our Time is done, maybe get recognized at the train station for always asking for tickets to this weird place, buy snacks for the train journey, go for lunch when I got to Brighouse, then nap/go to the pub/listen to cricket/go to the cinema or whatever, and I'd usually get the 8:32 train home, which would get me back in time to go to bed.

It worked great for a few years but now James on Thursdays. This job seems better for him in every way except that, and even that isn't bad because he has weekends off like normal (when he had Thursdays off it was because he worked Saturdays, and he missed out on stuff his friends were doing because of that). But it does mean I have to wedge my visits into weekends, which means no routine, less reliable trains, and more stuff for me to juggle in my schedule (like, since June I have worked on Sunday mornings).

But even though it doesn't mean anything any more -- we both work on Thursdays now! -- I still thought of this and smiled when I saw that Thursday was my day off at uni.

Well. Provisionally. I knew I had to change that one thing. And I figured The Law of Sod would mean it'd end up changing to a Thursday. I finally sent the email to sort it out today, and when the reply came back...yep, I can choose one of two other times but they're both on Thursday. Ah well. No full days off, but this is still better than the alternative.
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I saw Em J for the first time in weeks, which is always so nice. But it was extra nice because she had such lovely birthday and Christmas presents for me!

I got a Moon nightlight, swirly space colored pencils, a planner with shiny constellations on it, and two other notebooks with constellation covers, one that's got a planisphere, a rotating paper disc so you can move it around to see what constellations are visible at different points if the year.

"I thought it might be a good thing to mess with in lectures when you're bored," she said about that, which made me giggle.

The planisphere notebook also has all different kinds of pages: ruled (nice and thin! I never see it thin enough for me), dotted, graph, even some with tessellating triangles.

The space pencils I remember seeing in Fred Aldous and being so excited about them I wondered if Em J had been the friend I was with. But then I remembered that'd been a different friend, Em J just knows me so well.

The other constellation notebook she said she was thinking might be nice if I want to do some poetry like Stuart. She got him a nice leather-covered notebook that he says he's going to read out of next time we go to Spoken Weird.

6/365

Jan. 6th, 2019 05:15 pm
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Me when I got home from work two hours ago: I am so headachy and nauseous, I can't get any work done. I should try a nap and see if I feel better when I wake up.

Also me: Noooo, can't afford nap, must get essay work done.

Me: But I'm too sick for that.

proceeds to spend two hours not even in same room as computer, wasting time on phone and staring into space when too sick to look at phone

Also me: OH NO WHAT A COMPLETELY UNPREDICTABLE WASTE OF AN AFTERNOON.

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Andrew was out most of the day, helping his dad do some work.

I celebrated this rare occurrence of having the house to myself as I usually do: vacuuming and singing along to Hamilton very loudly.

(It makes sense, honest: he hates Hamilton with a fiery passion, and the vacuum aggravates his asthma.)
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I saw an article shared about Kyrsten Simena geting sworn in on a copy of the Arizona and U.S. constitutions rather than a religious text, which is pretty great in itself (why don't they all swear on the Constitution? that's an awesome idea) but what made me share it myself was the picture:

I said, "Making a fascist vice president glare at you like that is so totally bi culture."

When I did, a friend said, "between this and the post from Rep. Omar's father about arriving into the airport...getting a bit weepy." I didn't know this story (despite it featuring one of Minnesota's newly-famous politicians!), so went to look it up. It turns out Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN of course) and her dad realized that when they flew into Washington D.C. for her swearing-in, it was to an airport they hadn't been to since they first entered the country as refugees, twenty-three years ago. That gives me goosebumps.

Looking up that story about Rep. Omar, I also read
When she takes office, Omar will also become the first person to wear a headscarf on the House floor. During her orientation and transition period, Omar worked alongside incoming House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and incoming House ules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern to amend a 181-year-old rule that would have forbidden her from doing so.
And it wasn't long until I read about Ilhan's co-first Muslim woman in Congress, Rashida "We're Gonna Impeach the Motherfucker" Tlaib (D-MI). Honestly I hope that is soon her official nickname.

But I'm not just happy for them because they're so cute and happy and clearly delighted to be there -- though I am (Ilhan's Twitter is a joy right now). I'm happy because they are already doing things. After the frustrating, terrifying and dangerous rhetoric we're all sick of from the Democrats (and some opposition parties in this country, ahem) that you don't want to differ too much from the ruling party or no one will vote for you, it is a relief to see "Medicare for All" (i.e. dragging the U.S. kicking and screaming into nationalized health care) and "the Green New Deal" (i.e. can we at least stop accelerating the climate catastrophe we've induced?) being seriously pursued.

They're still a long way away, and the suffering is right here now, but they're proof that the bipartisan Boomer stranglehold on U.S. politics -- which was happy to burn the oil, lowering their taxes so we can't have nice things, and securing the value of their assets and property at the expense of everyone who came after them -- may finally be breaking.

3/365

Jan. 3rd, 2019 05:10 pm
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Me at work today: washing dishes

Other people in room: quietly looking at stuff on phones

L, reading something out that he found on the internet: "Old lady to small child: 'How long have you been in your wheelchair?' "

Me, thinks: If I used a wheelchair and somebody asked me that, I'd have to answer with something like, "This morning."

L, continuing: "Small child says, 'Since eleven o'clock this morning.' "

Me: "Ha! That's how I would answer that question!"

L: "Holly...are you sure you're neurotypical?" (L is autistic.)

Me: "Increasingly less so!"

I have been assured you can't catch autism. And I have theories about how both my visual impairment and my immigrant status give me more overlap with autistic traits than is normal for neurotypicals. But it amuses me to place some of the "blame" on my partners--all of whom are autistic, none of whom thought they were when I fell for them--and my many friends who are not neurotypical.
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I went to sleep almost right after writing last night's entry and, with an hour or so interruption when Andrew came to bed at 4, slept right through until my alarm went off at 9:30 for work. A few more sleeps like that and I might actually feel like myself again!

I feel a lot more like myself after today anyway. I mused earlier that it was such a comfort to get up and shower, dress, make breakfast (avocado on toast), start laundry, walk the dog, go to work. Well try to go to work: I missed my bus. But that gave me time to fetch the prescription the doctor's refused to have ready for me on Monday, so I've got it only two days late.

After work I went to see Stuart. We watched a lot of TV so I'm kinda tired now but I've now seen all the Doctor Who for this season (and, for 2019!) and I'm so happy with it. The one December Days prompt I didn't get around to was [personal profile] magister asking what I thought of this series, so I'll write that as soon as I can. I want to re-watch some of them first though. I wish I'd written about them more at the time but it coincided with me being so very busy.

The other stuff we watched was the first...four, I think? episodes of Star Trek Discovery because I mentioned I hadn't seen it yet. I'm enjoying it and I've introduced Stuart to the audio description so he didn't have to read out Klingon subtitles to me while he was trying to eat his dinner.

I gave Stuart his Christmas present before I left but mine didn't arrive until after so he gave me my birthday and Christmas presents today: a book about cricket and a t-shirt that says "Hail Sagan" with the pentacle and dripping blood and text in that Heavy Metal Album Cover font and everything, but with a picture of Carl Sagan in the middle of the pentacle. It made me laugh so much. Can't wait to see the weird looks I get when I wear that.

Bless him, he said he hadn't wanted to ask me for present ideas because he knew how exhausting I was finding the whole thing (and he was right; I didn't get a present from Andrew because I could never think of anything to tell him I wanted) so he just typed "Carl Sagan" into Google and eventually came up with this, haha.

Now I've seen all my partners, I feel much more like I'm back too: back at home, back to normal.

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Holly

January 2019

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