79/365

Mar. 20th, 2019 09:02 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Six or so hours of sleep, followed by a three-hour class...

...but actually it was good: the lecture was on something I'm really interested in (language shift and maintenance, ftr), the small-group bit involved us getting the feedback that we didn't last week on our lit review so now we can get on with the field work we said we were going to do. Which means I don't have to go to this class any more; for the rest of the semseter we can do the project during that time and, if we e-mail to say so, get marked as attending. So I shouldn't have such early starts on a Wednesday, and if I do at least I only have to go to Stockport, a place it's easy to get a bus to!

Then I got home and spent most of the next few hours in long overdue housework. Andrew helped tidy, I swept and mopped the kitchen, did laundry, Andrew and Gary hid upstairs while I hoovered. I didn't really have the energy for this but it was motivated by Andrew's mum and sister coming up this afternoon. The plan ended up being that they just picked us up and we went out to for a meal with them and Andrew's niece, so they didn't even see the place, but it still felt good to come back to a relatively okay house. (I got some good tips from my friend Kat on ways to de-fur the place too, which is great because Gary sheds so much I'm always amazed he has any fur left.)

Went for the meal, baby screaming in a car for an hour and any time she stopped Andrew's sister whinged about driving and the traffic. It was nice to see them, however tiring.

I got back in time for the second half of an online Lib Dems meeting. Which I'm still in.

I'm going to go to uni tomorrow not having had a chance to catch up on the fact that I couldn't do the thing we learned in last week's tutorial (I think my laptop just cannot handle that big a pivot table!). I'll have to throw myself on the mercy of the tutor, but luckily she is very nice. I have work to catch up on in that class, and lectures I missed that I need to watch the videos of.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k asked for "a truly weird encounter with a stranger" but I misremembered it as being just "a truly weird encounter" so you're getting ones from my family, sorry.

I can't do a proper poll on DW any more but feel free to vote in comments.

Which is the weirdest thing an aunt said to me this Christmas?:

1) The one yesterday who said in a shocked/wary tone: "Your hair is longer than it was when I saw you in September."

or

2) The one today who said, "Is Manchester like a little suburb of London then?"

(She also told me "I like your dress, it's very London" and I don't know what that means except that it's not going to be something I find complimentary!)
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Facebook suggested my aunt to me as a "person you may know," so I blocked her because if it's suggesting her to me I worry it's suggesting me to her. And the #BiVisibilityDay frame on my profile picture right now would be enough to give me away even if she doesn't click on my profile. And if she finds out, she will immediately tell my mom.

Happy Bi Visibility Day.

Living so far away and refusing to have anything to do with my family on Facebook mean I've been able to be pretty out. So when I run up against the limits of that visibility, it's jarring and it's disappointing. I still feel like a failed bisexual sometimes, hiding behind apparent heterosexuality.

I try to remind myself that this is a reason bis have worse mental health overall than straight or gay people. I try to remind myself that visibility is a goal rather than a reality, and a community one at that. What we want is for biphobia to be challenged, for people not to be called straight or gay based on the apparent genders in their current relationship. Visibility doesn't want or need every single person to be out, just for society to reach some collective understanding of what life is like for this category of people.

The collective aim of visibility is not my individual responsibility...and if I still need to tell myself that after years and years of bi activism, maybe there are others who could benefit from hearing it too.

Hair

Sep. 10th, 2018 11:13 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I just remembered something hilarious I learned on Saturday.

One of my cousins said to me out of the blue: "So, I understand you cut your own hair!"

I do not cut my own hair. I can only do that if I want it to be short everywhere: I can't do the undercut. Which I've had for a long time! I spent a lot of last year in a quest for a good hairdresser.

Apparently my grandma has been telling people I cut my own hair.

Which I think translates as "my grandma doesn't like my hair," haha.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Keeping up that millennial stereotype, I just had to help my mom work the printer.

So she could print off the only thing old ladies care about: pictures of grandchildren -- obviously she doesn't have any actual grandchildren, but her friends' and sisters' grandkids fulfil the role for her, which is actually really nice.

Mom made a nice Freudian slip the other day when she was bitching to one of her sisters about not having an updated picture of that sister's grandson, and she said something about wanting it to put "with the rest of the grandchildren." She quickly corrected herself but I was so glad to hear her say that, as it's the closest thing I've had so far to confirmation that she thinks of these kids that way, even though I first noticed a few years ago that this is how she seemed to be acting toward them.

It makes me feel better about not making grandparents of my parents, who'd be great at it. Anyway they'll see all these fictive grandchildren a lot more than they'd see any actual ones I had!

RIP Jim

Dec. 25th, 2017 10:02 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Today the world lost a good man. I knew him a little but I know and love his son James very much, and I know how much of an influence he had in making that son into the person I love.

This alone would be enough reason for me to be fond of him, but I have other reasons too. I remember him being smart and thoughtful and kind, I remember the touching speech he gave at his daughter's wedding, and how obvious his love for his wife and hers for him was every time I saw them together.

I am very glad I got to know him a little, and so terribly sad for all the people who knew him better.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I'm weirdly delighted at this card my grandma got Andrew for his birthday.

He didn't bother punching out and assembling the paper airplane, but I did!

"Maybe it's because she thinks of us as going to visit on a plane?" Andrew said when he'd opened the card and was telling me about the paper airplane in it.

It certainly makes me think of that, now.

I miss my grandma. It was nice to see her handwriting again. She doesn't do e-mail or cell phones or anything, but she used to write occasionally -- it's harder now, because of her eyesight -- and I wrote back, never often enough.

This time of year is often the worst for me missing people. One of the unexpected upsides of university is how much better I've handled the changing of the seasons because of it: I've been too busy to be wistful. But there are moments.

I'll write her a nice letter, thanking her for such a great card.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Skype with parents My mom emailed to ask if I was around to talk to (I've trained them to do this because they don't understand that unlike them I don't have it running all the time) when she was talking on the phone with her mom and bored and wanting an excuse to get off the phone.

My mom using me as an excuse because she's tired of talking to her mom on the phone is the kind of thing that convinces me my parents have an impermeable irony shield.

Like this week they also sent Andrew his birthday present with a card that basically said vegetarians make shit cakes. When their daughter, the person who'd be making Andrew a cake if he was going to have one, is a vegetarian. And...you'd really have to struggle to make a cake not vegetarian? I told Twitter about this and Twitter thought my parents were mean but they're not, they just...don't think about things like this. Plus they sent him chocolate, which is nice but since he's Not Eating Sugar I, the vegetarian, had all the sugar-filled chocolate-covered aspects of the birthday the card wished for.

My dad asked what my classes are so I told them and predictably they didn't care about the others but when I got to Arabic they were stunned and I think my mom is probably a bit nervous of this. My dad came around to it pretty quickly, making the point I'd guessed one of them would in an attempt to normalize this new fact: "You could probably get a job doing that!" because learning Arabic became such A Thing in the U.S. after 9/11; the government needed a lot more people who could speak it. Whereas I really don't think the UK is going to give me a job involving Arabic that could go to any one of thousands of native or otherwise more fluent speakers, but whatever.

Dad also asked "which one?" and knew there were different kinds of spoken Arabic, which honestly I was kind of surprised by (though the only places that he could name that he thought spoke it were Iraq and Iran, oh dear, see also previous point re Arabic being The Language of Terrorists).

So I expect that'll be all kinds of fun conversations at Christmas, though it's sounding like my aunt's partner is expressing no enthusiasm about visiting us for the holiday this year, so now I have reason to hope it'll be a lot less overtly racist as he's the Trump troll of the family. There are plenty who voted for the guy but he's the only one who seems to delight in talking about it, or at least did last year and since my parents have just been to visit them and said "We didn't agree about a lot of things" I can only presume that continued. Though then I think she was talking about who got to pick what they watched on TV so it could've just been about that!

And I can always hope Trump is impeached by Christmas, anyway.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Here's a little clip of me and Gary from the BBC Breakfast twitter account.


I've had lots of nice messages from friends, family and even the people from Scope I talked to on Friday about this. Most of them have been about Gary.

I'm a bit sad my own family can't see me on TV -- while also kind of glad because they Don't Think of Me as Disabled and I'd worry they'd think I was complaining -- but I thought maybe I'd see about finding some nice stills from the video and getting them printed as proper photos for my family's Christmas presents. Seems a bit self-absorbed but I'm sure they'd like it. They don't have many pictures of me anyway. And none of the dog!
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
So my mom's sister -- the nice one who moved back to Minnesota to look after my grandma who couldn't stay in her house on her own -- has cancer. All my mom's told me about it is "she'll need surgery as well as chemo."

My grandma, meanwhile, has just been told she has macular degeneration.

Tonight

Nov. 19th, 2016 12:58 am
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Andrew and his mom went to a gig tonight so she's staying overnight.

When they got back we sat at the table, her smoking cigarettes and sharing her beer with me (the bag she brought with her seems to contain clothes, a tablet so she can listen to the radio all night, and cans of lager; I approve of all of this), and we all talked about progressive politics and how great Gary is and other good stuff.

And then we had to go to bed, so I checked on Gary and closed the door to keep him downstairs...but it wouldn't close! It was stuck nearly-closed. This extraordinary thing had never happened before.

I eventually discovered he'd left his Dentastix treat between the door and the frame, seeming for all the world as if it'd been intentionally placed there to wedge the door open so he could sneak upstairs to sleep with his humans. That's some dog, that wonder dog.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
So remember my aunt with the severe burns and the broken ankle full of pins and plates?

I got an e-mail from my mom yesterday that just said she
has blood clots in her lungs. She is now at st. Mary's hospital. Depending how fast the clots dissolve as to when she gets to come home.
This is the whole e-mail. So it's left me with more questions than answers, starting of course with What?! Fucking WHAT?!

I mean, I guess if it's "when they dissolve she comes home" that means they will and she will. Mom doesn't seem worried at least. And...I guess it's a break for her and her sister who had been having to alternate spending a few days at a time with my grandma and this aunt, both of whom now need looking after; hopefully she'll get better care for the things already wrong with her if she's in a hospital (though if she's at St. Mary's (in Rochester) she's a long way from the specialist burn unit she had been visiting (in the Cities)!).

But...blood clots in your lungs sounds really bad? Why has this happened?! Are there any other complications from whatever's caused them, or likely to be?

And most of all Jesus when can my family and particularly my aunt catch a fucking break?!

Aunt

Jul. 22nd, 2016 12:07 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
My mom's wonderful ability at writing e-mails:
We will try on Sunday to skype.  Dad has his colon test today and then there is [my aunt, Mom's sister].  She got burned from boiling potato water and broke her ankle, which she needs surgery on.  She is at a burn unit in the cities.  We are going tomorrow to see her and see what is going on.  I was at the hospital last night till the transmitted her to the cities burn unit. 
And this is all I know, except for the Skype call, which ended up being on Tuesday. (I still don't know a) why my dad's having a colon test or b) why I need to know this.)

My aunt got discharged from the burns unit more quickly than expected -- apparently despite severe burns on her torso and groin, she hadn't had to take a single prescription painkiller she'd been prescribed. (Which is a bit of a shame really as my mom had to pay for them! Their other sister paid for a little mobility scooter to help her get around while she can't walk. Apparently Medicare didn't see fit to pay for these things. Useless fucking American no-healthcare system.)

She's had the operation on her ankle: a plate ans eight pins are now holding it together. I thought the ankle must've been related to the scalding water incident that caused the burns, but apparently my aunt says not? My mom assumed they were related too and I'm confused as to how it might have happened otherwise but I guess there's no point wondering.

This is the aunt that moved back to Minnesota to look after my grandma after my grandpa died, because she couldn't manage alone. So my mom and the other sister have been taking it in turns, a few days at a time, to stay there and cook and clean and care for both of them.

My parents are taking my aunt back to the specialist burns unit some time today, to have dressings looked at I think (but I get all this like third-hand from my mom so I never understand what's actually going on with my family's health crises).

Once the burns are sufficiently healed and the cast is off her foot, my aunt is apparently going to need lots of rehab and therapy in order to be able to walk properly again. She's been through a lot (my mom, who doesn't believe in TMI, shared some grim details with me), and she's got a lot more to get through.

And she's so nice. She made the summer vacation that I had to go on with my family last year bearable for me. Having spent her adult life halfway across the country, she and I share the We Got Out and We Know There's a Bigger World Out There mentality that separates us from the rest of our family, who never say what they're thinking, eat fresh vegetables, or have a beer without it being a big deal.

She's also the one who's best with newfangled things like texting and e-mail (I think her daughters trained her better than I or my cousins managed to get our parents up to speed with this kind of thing...though my parents' new iPad has meant I'm now afflicted with them wanting to Skype all the time). So I really should get in touch more.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Spent a nice evening with Andrew's two sisters, him, and my parents. We got takeaway pizza (yay leftovers for tomorrow morning!), a couple bottles of wine and played Apples to Apples to Apples -- a new game to my parents but one they took to really well, my dad eventually tying Andrew for the win -- and generally had a great time and reminded me why family can be good and cozy and fun and sweet, everything that family visits can be.

Apples to Apples is a game that rewards knowing who you're playing it with, and it was sweet to watch how often my mom picked the card my dad had chosen.

Sound facts

Mar. 4th, 2016 12:50 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I just found this as a note on my phone, saved several months ago. No idea why I wrote it. Figured I'd share it.

Andrew's just answered the phone and said "hello?"

Pause.

"HELLO?

"WHAT WAS THAT?

"Does sound have a weight? No."‎

‎I think that might be an even better phone call from his dad than the time he rang to ask Andrew who the singer is that wasn't Roy Orbison.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
...the more we give honest answers to "How was Christmas?" the more people say "Why don't you just get your parents to come to the UK for Christmas instead?"

And it's starting to remind me of that time we had no internet or phone service for a month because of multilayered cock-ups between two or three different telcoms, and days and weeks into this whenever Andrew or I offered any kind of update or gripe about this, someone always said "You should tweet them about it, that really helped me/my friend/my uncle/my niece's monkey when they had a problem..." And I was just like, "We are so far past that now..."

Thanks for wanting to help but really. We know. We've thought of this, and if it was going to work it already would have.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Today I taught [personal profile] magister and his dad that no, his parents are probably not going to Nebraska on their cruise.

Turns out it's New Brunswick.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I got the most amazing Christmas present from Andrew's mom today.

The first thing Andrew took out of the big shopping bag containing our presents from his family was labeled for me and had a printed note taped to it that said "No 1 - open this first" in big letters.

It was a little box full of littler things: cotton buds, double-sided tape, hairspray, a bag of nuts (as in "bolts and..." rather than the foodstuff or...any other kind of nuts), pipe cleaners, a few other things...each with another printed* note taped to it, with a picture of something Christmasy (ranging from snowmen to the Christmas poo from South Park), saying stuff like "the polite thing to do is smile and say thank you" and "at least it isn't another Christmas jumper." One of the best things about this was watching Andrew's brother sitting across the room from me start out confused and amused like the rest of us, but with each pound-shop-esque item I opened, each note I read promising all would become clear later, his bafflement seemed to escalate into a frenzy of just being absolutely desperate to know what the hell was going on here.

I had a lot of presents to unwrap. After that first box of utterly random items there was a bag with different colors and sizes of balls of yarn, and a pair of knitting needles. This was intriguing. Finally I opened the last package (with its "No 4 - open last" label plastered over the wrapping paper).

And all did become clear, because it was the instruction booklet for a knitted chess set kit. The cotton buds and hairspray and double-sided tape are all things the pattern requires.

But to wrap them up separately and make me open them first was absolutely genius, and kept the whole family entertained for quite a while. Andrew's mom was so organized she even put an empty plastic bag next to where I was sitting in which to collect the huge volume of wrapping paper I was about to accumulate. And Andrew and his brother and sister and parents seemed to have as much fun watching the gradual strange process unfolding before them too, so it's fun for the whole family!

Now I just have to see if I can make the damn thing! It's a big step up from the triangles (hats) and rectangles (scarves, though I also once made a jumper entirely out of rectangles) I usually stick to.

* "Mum just got a new printer," Andrew's sister said in explanation when she saw me examining these little notes.

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hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Holly

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