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2015-04-23 10:06 am

Knights in white trainers

The next time anybody feels the need to inform me of the fact that they think American holidays are silly and Americans celebrate them in silly ways, I hope I remember to tell them that today I saw a bunch of guys walk into Wetherspoons dressed like knights out of Monty Python (the scruffy trainers under their red-and-white robes adding particularly to the Pythonesque effect).

Remember, kids: No country has a monopoly on being silly or looking for excuses to skip work, dress up, or start drinking lager at breakfast time.
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2015-04-18 07:56 am
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I had an extremely odd dream.

Andrew and I were on vacation, somewhere in Britain but there was a Target there. We went in and, seeing that they had a counter where you could change your name by deed poll, I spontaneously decided to.

I didn't have anything particular I wanted to change my name to, but I was suddenly very keen on having a name people could spell and understand when I said it ("Holly" sounds different in my accent than in the ones people around me use, and I have had to spell it a lot recently...And of course my last name continues to be a nightmare). To illustrate the difficulty of my name, in the dream I had to write out my current/old name a couple of times, and I kept making odd spelling mistakes and writing it illegibly.

Since I wanted to change my name but I didn't know what to, dream-Andrew suggested "Morag," which I wasn't sure about but couldn't think of any reason why not. The guy at the departmet-store deed-poll counter (this should so be a thing) was Scottish, so he thought that was a good idea. I thought I might keep my own middle name -- which is Michelle -- but then I saw he'd written "Lynsey" down on the forms (this is also how I learned I was apparently going to "Jones" as a surname) which I did not like, so the three of us had an argument about what my new middle name should be...It was nearly "Ginny" but then the Scottish man said something about "Kean" (and, in the way with dreams, I immediately knew it was that spelling) and I excitedly latched onto that.

So I happily walked away with a big envelope full of paperwork and a list of all the things I had to notify of the name change...all emblazoned with the name Morag Kean Jones.

I'd love to know what dream-world I was living in where a Scottish first name, an Irish middle name usually expected to belong to a gender different from mine were going to be easier to navigate the world with than the name I've already got!

It amused me when I woke up (which is good because I woke up way too early to the noise of the damn smoke alarm whose batteries need changing but which I hav never been able to take apart to get at the batteries, so I'd have otherwise been very grumpy).

Waking-me hasn't ever really thought about changing my name, beyond using that as a rhetorical device to whine about how sick I am of having a name people get wrong, and the whole milliseconds it took to make the decision not to change my surname when I got married.

But in the dream, I didn't feel much attachment at all to my name. As I signed the paperwork, I distinctly remember being a little sad I would no longer have the same name as [personal profile] miss_s_b's daughter, and thus the still-running joke of her being my mum (a real thing! which, months after the misunderstanding that spawned it, is still an idea that makes me laugh) might have to die. But on the other hand, dream-me mused, it'd take Andrew absolutely ages to get used to calling me anything other than "Holly," and I'd enjoy laughing at him when he did.

I was vaguely aware there'd be a lot of bureaucracy to deal with in changing my name, but I didn't dwell on that nearly as much as losing my affiliation with another awesome Holly and watching Andrew get something wrong.

Brains are such funny things, aren't they?
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2015-04-17 10:24 am

And I never liked the taste anyway

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

My life seems full of half-eaten elephants all over the damn place right now. I try not to think about this too much because it diminishes anything I have accomplished. But some days the slog gets too much and I just long for anything to be easy or straightforward.
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2015-04-16 06:54 pm
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Happy (very-nearly) two-year anniversary to me and [personal profile] magister!

"Very nearly" because it won't technically be two years until Saturday, but on Saturday he'll be working and I'll be painting [ profile] haggis's kitchen, so I consider today, with pizza and Doctor Who and beer, to be a much better celebration.

This afternoon we sat in the same pub in the same place (only me sitting where he had been and vice versa) where he first said he'd like to kiss me and my life changed for the better.
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2015-04-09 05:07 pm
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"We're not terrorists"...ffs

Some of my well-meaning friends say stuff like "hit them with your white cane!" as a response when I mention that some fine upstanding citizen has done, like run into the cane and then yell at me, or sneaking ahead of me in queues seems to be a popular one at the moment...).

I appreciate my friends mean well, they're trying to indicate that they think bad things should happen to people who behave in a disgracefully ableist way.

But from my perspective, "Hit them!" is not only impractical as a serious suggestion of course -- for reasons ranging from "it's only made of aluminum" to "I'd be the one who got in trouble" -- but also there are people who genuinely think disabled people who use canes for mobility will also use them as weapons.

No, really.

An eight-year-old had his cane taken from him at school because 'they thought he was getting violent' and the worst of it is, the school gave him a fucking "pool noodle," one of those foam tubes kids use to help them float when they're splashing around in the water, to use instead.

Claiming the kid "posed a danger to himself and others," the school not only took away what the kid's mother calls "his eyes" as punishment, but seemed to think a silly toy was a suitable replacement, clearly intending only to humiliate him (which, if my experience in elementary school is anything to go by, he probably didn't need the help with) and neither knowing or caring that a white cane is a tool and all its ability to convey information -- about where people and objects are, about what kind of surface is being traveled over, so many things -- is in the rigidity that made it seem so threatening in the hands of this eight-year-old.

Also, some blind people had a harrowing time trying to get into Six Flags because security thought their white canes were "sticks" that could start a fight if they ran into someone with one.
After about another half hour, we finally spoke to the man we were waiting for. He brought out paramedics to try to determine if we were blind.

He then asked us if he could give us a sighted guide so we could leave our canes at the gate. We told him no.

He then told us he didn’t want us to have the canes because we might hit people’s legs by accident with them, and it could start a fight. Zach then gave the gentleman his very first travel class. He instructed him and showed him how a blind person would only tap another person’s ankle.

After that, he made us give our solemn word that we would not use our canes as weapons. He then said that "after 9/11, you could never be too careful because terrorists are everywhere."

I replied, “We’re not terrorists.”
I know my friends mean well and I'm not upset at any single example of being told "hit them!" because I know my friends mean nothing more than cheerful solidarity. But I just wanted to say that such comments make me uneasy, and yes it's ridiculous that people do have these reactions -- when disabled people are much more likely to be victims than perpetrators of assault -- but since they do, forgive me for not having much of a sense of humor on the subject.
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2015-04-09 03:25 pm
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What I've waited all winter for

Andrew is, touchingly, sympathetic at me after I've RTed the results of my belovedTwins' games so far (after the 4-0 Opening Day loss I said "Starting as they mean to go on there, I see," and last night I said "It's going to be a long season" after they lost 11-0; yep they're still yet to even score a bloody run this season!).

I thanked him but clearly seemed resigned to my fate. And while I'm used to that, of course -- after all, I've been from Minnesota my whole life -- I also recognized something in my tone of voice as being like [personal profile] magister's when he talks about English cricket. And I've been teasing him so mercilessly that I'm sure I've stored up enough sports-fan karma to keep me subdued for a while!
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2015-04-07 11:59 pm
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Things Andrew has (inadvertently) taught me

That princess in The Princess and the Pea is definitely autistic, isn't she.
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2015-04-07 07:40 pm

Times that try women's souls

This morning my phone was telling me it's an hour earlier than it is because it updated and thought I'm in Reykjavik (things I didn't expect to learn today: Iceland apparently uses GMT and doesn't have daylight savings).

The wire in the bra I was wearing broke, which means a) it's trying to stab me and b) I have to start thinking about buying bras again and there's nothing about buying bras that I don't hate.

My phone also decided to remember [ profile] diffrentcolours's old weird phone number and not the one actually useful for him.

Indeed the phone update, while probably an improvement overall, has deleted all my text messages, made it nearly impossible for me to figure out the noises it makes or how to change them, added a weird Siri-like thing, and made things more graphics-intensive in ways that make them more difficult for me to figure out. There's a pretty direct correlation between how much of a shadow gradient is on something and how much information it conveys to me. All of this has combined to make the world just that bit more disconcerting for me today.
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2015-04-06 12:11 am

Just another Sunday night

After his latest blog post, explaining what's gone wrong with the Hugos this year for people who've seen the outrage but weren't previously clued-up and now want to know what their friends are talking about, Andrew's been invited onto some podcast so he's on Skype downstairs.

...I'm trying to read and I keep hearing him yelling things like "the Futurians were Trotskyists!"

It's slightly distracting, but I so very approve of this. If nothing else, it means he's explaining things that bother him in great detail to Americans who aren't me!
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2015-04-03 06:35 pm
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This picture makes me happy

Lady and small child carefully examining this train which has just pulled into the station.
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2015-03-26 08:56 am
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Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up

This isn't a perfect list for me (no single attempt is going to work for everyone), but it's a pretty good start.
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2015-03-24 07:56 pm
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I made not-perfect but perfectly-serviceable hollandaise sauce and had it with spinach and toast and more eggs. I am well impressed with myself for how it turned out, considering I'd never even (as far as I can remember...) separated an egg before. This is something I remember my mom always hating on the rare occasions she has to do it, which had put me off bothering to try, but I got my three egg yolks with no problem at all. Perhaps just beginner's luck, or maybe it's just another of the differences between U.S. and UK eggs. But even if so, the recipe made more sauce than I need so it'll be a little while before I need to worry about this again.
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2015-03-20 01:41 pm
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Spaceship Earth

This week, what with its aurora and its solar eclipse, has been awesome for me because at times like this everyone else gets as excited about space as I am all the time.
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2015-03-19 07:07 pm


The weather has been so nice this afternoon that I'm wearing a sleeveless dress and sandals.

With a hoodie. But I wear hoodies all summer anyway.
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2015-03-18 09:20 pm
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My sore throat (sinusitis again, argh) wanted me to eat mashed potatoes tonight. But I don't really like potatoes (as the fact that I have more piling up from my veg box than I thought I did!), so to make them more enticing I added garlic, cheese and apples.

Yum. So good. I will do this again.
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2015-03-17 06:16 pm
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Mom's tried to call a couple of times when I was asleep or out, so I haven't talked to her yet but I've got an e-mail. Here's what she says about the glories of Hawaii:
It was great over there.  We kept saying it was hard to believe we were there.  The flight is long and you only get water,pop, pretzels or peanuts once.  So we did have crackers and I tried to buy water before we got on the plane.
From that description, I find it hard to believe they were there, too!

I'm gonna call her in a minute, but I just don't know if I can yet handle the deluge of information about the ghastly-sounding Pearl Harbor Experience, the bound-to-be-racist luau they'll have gone to, and a detailed report on the clothes Mom wore while she was there, which she will call "outfits."
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2015-03-14 01:43 pm

Until you shine

I crawled into bed and woke Andrew up, which is just as well as I didn't want him to wake up to see me upset -- I'd been crying, out of sheer overwhelm and pain that words weren't adequate to express.

He spent a long time giving me cuddles and trying to make me feel better...and, in the process, make himself feel better because he so hates to see me weepy and miserable that it's almost impossible for him to overcome that. So desperate to fix what can't be fixed, he can get distraught

Eventually he, face buried in my pillow next to me and arms tight around me, said "I just want to envelope* you in loves until you shine with lovedness."

It was heart-meltingly sweet and I loved the image but I told him I wasn't sure what that meant. (In emotional situations, his vocabulary can get a little surreal in the endearing way of people just learning a language.) He said he didn't know either but we agreed it clearly meant a good thing.

* Not envelop. Envelope.
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2015-03-13 08:50 pm
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The good news is, maybe the anti-depressants are finally working on me after all?

The bad news is, the only evidence I have for this is that I've accidentally stopped taking them and I have felt unusually shitty all week.

I can only hope these two facts are related. It'd be the easiest fix for this problem, and I really want to fix it.
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2015-03-13 06:59 am
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Further observations on another day out with the white cane:

1. People stare at you in a way that screams, even to me who isn't great at reading facial expressions, "No need to pretend politely not to stare if it's a blind person you're staring at!"

A little part of me wants to yell "I can see you!" But it's more fun when they all think that I can't. It's like overhearing conversations people think I can't hear because I've got headphones on, apparently never guessing that it's not some young persons' hippity-hoppity music but only ever an audiobook or a Radio 4 podcast playing into them.

2. People really stare at you if they see you suddenly stop walking, take your phone out of your bag, and let the cane dangle from its cord on your wrist as you reply to the text you just got. As if blind people, what, can't use mobile phones? Don't have friends to text them?

That happened to me a couple of times yesterday; funniest thing I'd seen in a long time.
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2015-03-12 08:53 pm

"A man is not dead while his name is still spoken."

James rang me up this afternoon to read this to me. It is perfect.