The Smart Museum of Art of Chicago is asking for donations of handmade blankets (40"x40") to welcome families coming to our country (the USA), but also to try and make a GIANT blanket equal to the size of the proposed wall between us and Mexico. As a way to protest the wall.
The museum is going to display the blankets (and notes if you include one) from now until December when the blankets will be delivered to families. The deadline to send blankets to the museum is November 4.
Here's the start of my blanket!
It was not an official service. No priest was present. But we took it very seriously. We walked over to Woolworth's and bought our first wedding rings as soon as we left the church, and even though we got better ones a few months later, those two rings are still in my jewelry box today.
Later, she called her parents to tell them we were getting married. Grady and Thelma were - understandably - dubious. Oh, they congratulated her and talked to me and wished us the best, but then a couple of weeks later they showed up suddenly, packed up her stuff, and took her back to their home in Texas "to give us both a chance to think about it."
The rest of the story is here.
On this 45th anniversary, my thoughts turn to Stan Rogers' song, Forty Five Years. Seems appropriate.
A reader writes:
Last week’s question about workplace dress codes reminded me of a question I’ve been long meaning to ask.
Let’s say you have a workplace that allows nice sleeveless blouses or dresses. What constitutes acceptable showing of a bra? By this, I don’t mean the actual cups themselves, but the straps. Bras are expensive, and even the best fitting ones don’t always have straps that fit perpendicular to the floor, meaning most of the time they’ll sit a little lower on the top of the shoulder.
I’ve always been under the impression showing a plain white, black, or tan bra strap, depending on the outfit, wouldn’t raise an eyebrow (so long as there aren’t any bows or anything), but I’m curious to know your opinion on this.
Nope, your bra straps shouldn’t show at work. It falls under the “no visible underwear” rule.
Now, no one should freak out if your shirt shifts and they get a glimpse of your bra strap; sometimes that happens. But if you’re talking about the strap being visible even when your outfit is positioned correctly, it’s probably not an outfit you should wear to work.
That’s not because bra straps are somehow shocking; they’re not. But there are loads of relatively arbitrary rules that go into what we consider professional dress. (For example, why is a skirt okay but shorts of similar length aren’t? Who knows, and yet it’s the case in most offices.) And visible underwear, even something as unexciting as a bra strap, is pretty well-established as Not Professional.
Caveat: As always, your particular workplace may be an exception to this. Workplaces have varying degrees of formality and a single answer can’t account for all possible variations when it comes to something like dress. I’m giving you the answer that’s most often true, but not The Only Answer Everywhere and Always.
The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis by Wes Davis
I'll admit that I started reading this as Guns of Navarone background, but even given that I found it pretty shallow. Basically it recapped almost entirely from the reports and journals of the British officers, with the odd German thrown in, didn't consider the Greek perspective in more than the briefest passing mention. I read the first two thirds and then sent it back to the library because I just didn't care.
Coed Demon Sluts: Beth (Coed Demon Sluts #1) by Jennifer Stevenson
I saw the author talking about this on Scalzi's blog, and decided to give it a whirl. Pretty much read it straight through on the plane, and enjoyed it, I guess. On the whole, there was way too much talk, and not enough action (or "action"). I didn't really connect with the characters because a lot of the time they sounded like talking points, not people. The actual plot, when it occurred, was engaging enough. Not sure I'll bother with the rest of the series.
(Though I did have the great pleasure of the preppy young man sitting next to me on the flight asking me what I was reading.)
Hold Me (Cyclone #2) by Courtney Milan
Enjoyed this one even more than the first one. I totally got the issues both MCs had, and why they set each other's teeth on edge, but at the same time their alternate relationship was totally believable and in keeping with that. They had great chemistry and I loved how their genuine issues were resolved by working things out and patience, not but Surprise Drama.
The Edge of Worlds (The Books of the Raksura #4) by Martha Wells
It's always good to get back to the three worlds, and I really enjoyed seeing how all the characters had grown over the years, plus all the new cultures and places they encountered on their adventure. The book also brought something I'd wanted from the start, the glimmer of hope for at least some of the Fell, in an exploration of their culture as well. Heck of a cliff hanger though.
The Harbors of the Sun (The Books of the Raksura #5) by Martha Wells
I'm sad to see the end of this series, but what a great send off. Everyone got something to do, we met all kinds of old friends again, and Pearl and Malachite got to hang out (the Pearl-Malachite show was easily worth the price of admission).
The last act was Very Dramatic (well a lot of the book was), but really how much had changed since the first trilogy, and I love how much of a family everyone now has, and how many forms that takes.
(Loved this series so much, the sting of loosing it is lessened by Murderbot being so good, and by the snippits that show up on Wells' Patreon.)
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, narrated by Aidan Kelly
** spoiler alert ** I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It is a book about a gay man who is somewhat genderqueer who spends the entire book with the love of his life and is still with him at the end (they are in fact married with a family by about two thirds through). It was gorgeous. The writing was stunning. The content was often brutal.
Not in a Tragic Gay way, but in a wow the MCs were in the US army during the genocide of the Native Americans, and in the Union army during the civil war, and then we did another round of genocide in Wyoming. And so... yeah.
But on the other hand, it painted nothing as glorious, and I really appreciated a "Wild West" story that actually showed what was going on, and boy howdy did it not romanticise anything. And while it never excuses any of the characters, it does lay out how a lot of that happened, how even good men got sucked into being monsters.
So, gay HEA, beautifully written, uncountable slaughter, would rec the audiobook, as the reader has a pleasing Irish accent.
(This was strongly recced to me by Dad who goes in for depressing things with pretty writing. He also may have been trying to bond over queer content, which is nice. Your mileage will vary widely on how much you can handle the MCs being complicit in crimes against humanity, even if they were only foot soldiers, and in the army as victims of imperialism themselves.)
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, narrated by Ron Butler
I don't have a lot of the historical context for the first half, but the writing is so perfect, and the ideas are clear and sharp, and it's pure pleasure to read. (It's somewhat depressing how little has changed.)
Keeping Her Pride (Ladies of the Pack #1) by Lauren Esker
One of my favourites by Esker (still doesn't top Guard Wolf, but probably edges out Dragon's Luck)! I really liked Debi and her slow road to understanding and redemption. I love how her vision of herself changed, and part of that was just a matter of realising that yes, she could put sugar in her coffee. The business plot took something of a back seat until the end, but it's a fast read, and I mostly loved watching Debi grow.
Fletcher wasn't my favourite hero, but he was solid and his issues made sense. His complicated relationship with his ex wife and their daughter made sense. I liked that the kid was there to be trouble as well as cute, as four year olds tend to be. She was pretty cute though.
Nice guest spots by various agents from the other books, but this was entirely readable as a stand alone. I haven't read Handcuffed to a Bear, where Debi first showed up, and followed it just fine.
(I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which is horridly late. Sorry, Lauren!)
What I'm Reading Now
I've got the first Sharing Knife book going on audio, which I'm enjoying in a peaceable idfic sort of way. I can see why some people want to set it on fire. I quite like it.
I'm also drifting through Sister Emily's Lightship and Other Stories, a collection of mostly fairytale riffs by Jean Yolen, which is very good.
What I'm Reading Next
The Stone Sky is out. Once I've braced myself, I'll start that.
And then I discovered 1010! Which is like Tetris but without the blocks dropping - instead you place them wherever you like/they'll fit to make complete rows etc. And I have spent the past few days enthralled and exhausted because I've stayed up way too late doing this. I even paid $1.99 so I could have it ad free!
And then last night when I looked up from my phone after many, many games, and it was 12:45 am, I deleted it, because I can't be having with that. I was seeing it behind my eyelids while awake, and dreaming about it when I was asleep. Ugh. It was so nice and soothing too. But since I can't control myself, I had to get rid of it. Sigh.
Anyway, Wednesday means books, so buckle up!
What I've just finished
Babylon's Ashes, the last currently available Expanse novel, which I liked a lot. Are these books perfect? No. There's still too much Holden, though I did like that ( spoilers ) Avasarala, Bobbie, Naomi, and Amos are still my faves, and Alex makes a good showing here, too. This and Nemesis Games are really one long arc, and should probably be read together.
Buried Heart by Kate Elliott, the conclusion of the Court of Fives trilogy. I enjoyed it, though I still think maybe Jessamy made some assumptions that she had no real basis for which turned out to be true (this happened in the first book too), which is a downside of first person POV, because I kept waiting for her to be wrong about some things and she wasn't (well, she was wrong about a bunch of things, but not some of the things I thought she might be wrong about). Anyway, I found it a satisfying if slightly pat conclusion, and as with the Cold Magic trilogy, I found the revolution a lot more interesting than the romance.
Bombshells vol 3: Uprising - after Recent Events, I decided to go back to this and finish it, and the titular uprising made me tear up on the subway. Also, MIRI MARVEL!!! I don't know if I knew about that? But I LOVE IT. ♥♥♥ I can't wait to pick up volume 4.
Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan volumes 1 & 2. These were fine. I enjoyed them, but they were somewhat repetitive when read in trade - there was a lot of catching up in the narration, which is good for a monthly comic but less good when reading it all in one go. Also, every other page, he's like, "Don't call me kid!" which got a little old. Mostly interesting to me for sad Jedi details, like Caleb saying Styles was his first friend even though we seem him with Tai and Sammo - were they not friends? That's so depressing. Unless he meant first non-Jedi friend, which is better. I'm just going to pretend that's what he meant so I can be slightly less sad.
Also notable for explicitly referencing the "Jedi code" which I hear a lot about in fic but am not sure I'd ever seen in any currently canon material, and it was "emotion, yet peace; chaos, yet serenity; death, yet the Force" which is interesting to me because it makes so much more sense than the other formulation I see in fic a lot: "there is no chaos, there is serenity" etc. I mean, you know me and my "take what I like and ignore the rest" approach to canon, so it's nice to have it there as needed, but as always I find the way things get flattened in fanon so interesting.
Because I mean, yeah, the Jedi were certainly culpable in both Anakin's fall and their own demise, because they were hidebound and corrupt the way any millennia-old organization made of people would be, and they definitely had some blindspots about a variety of things (providing therapy to members who needed it, using a slave army, being co-opted by the Senate, etc.), but they didn't deserve what happened to them. Let's not ever actually grace Anakin's horrific dumbassery ("from my POV, the Jedi are evil!") with any validity. Like, sure, Yoda gave him some poor advice, and Mace Windu was critical sometimes, and they made some compromised decisions, but that doesn't justify slaughtering anyone.
Anyway, it was also nice to see Rae Sloane, despite her poor life choices.
I also read Star Wars #34 this morning, which is mostly a standalone issue featuring Sana Starros swindling everyone in the galaxy from pirates to Hutts to Imperials and back. I would watch a whole movie about her. She might be Han Solo's fake (ex?)wife, but she's also Aphra's ex-girlfriend, so that would be amazing to see on screen. You could cast Nicole Beharie as Sana and Arden Cho as Aphra, and let them go be con artists together and I would line up multiple times to give Disney my money. Especially if Hondo showed up, too.
What I'm reading now
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin, the third book of the Broken Earth trilogy. But I'm only a few pages in and it's taking me a little while to get back up to speed, especially since my brain isn't working so well today because of my lack of sleep. *g*
What I'm reading next
The next Craft Sequence book comes out in a couple of weeks, but before that, I dunno.
A reader writes:
I’ve recently become a manager at my workplace and I oversee two people, both of whom are really great workers and I’m thrilled overall to have them. They both do one thing that really annoys me – when they don’t know how to do something, they immediately ask. I am talking fairly inane things, e.g., how do you tell what page size a poster is in Microsoft Powerpoint or how you drag and drop a folder. They are such bright people that it really surprises me they wouldn’t automatically think to search how to do these things on the internet before coming to me for help. I would like to politely suggest they do this but I’m wondering what the right way to phrase such a thing is. Any ideas?
I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.
Other questions I’m answering there today include:
- How to avoid socializing with a coworker’s kid at work
- I wasn’t included in a meeting I’d asked to be a part of
- Hiring manager said he’d call me if his new hire doesn’t work out
- Can you really leave a job off of your resume?
how can I get employees to find answers for themselves? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.
Happy Wednesday Readers! The Hellions are back in school for the 2017-18 school year. Which means I get my house back from two mopey tweens and one hyperkinetic 8 year old who think it’s too hot to play outside. Bwahahahahaha!
After four hours of deliberation a jury ruled in favor of pop star Taylor Swift in her countersuit against former radio talk show host David Mueller, who was accused of groping Swift at a photo op in 2013. A win for the sight of light against the douchebags!
Japanese born actor Diane Huey, playing Ariel in the touring company of the musical based on The Little Mermaid, got a rude welcome from middle America when the show opened in Memphis…
Diana Huey doesn’t seek out negative social feedback. But too often, it finds her.
That’s what happened one recent day in Memphis, where Japanese-born Huey was set to perform the role of Ariel in a touring production of “The Little Mermaid” at the historic Orpheum Theatre.
Before the show, scrolling through Facebook, she came across outraged comments from Disney fans criticizing the casting of an Asian-American in a role they expected to be played by a white woman. That’s despite the fact that the character is based on an animated film featuring a mythical creature who cavorts with singing crustaceans.
“It’s hard not to take it personally,” Huey said in a phone interview from Nashville in advance of the tour’s visit to Shea’s Performing Arts Center from Aug. 15 to 20. “I had kind of a funky first part of the show and I was like, how do I get out of this? I can’t let that affect me.”
Teen Vogue is once again taking point in the battle against bigotry, explaining How “Nice White People” Benefit From Charlottesville and White Supremacy.
White people benefit from white supremacy. Period. Peggy McIntosh spelled this out for us in 1989, but apparently we’re still not quite getting it. Her famous piece, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” lays out undeniable ways that it is simply easier to be white in this country, like always having a boss who is a fellow white person, or, you know, being able to eat Skittles at night without getting shot. Most white people didn’t ask for this privilege. Actually, that’s the whole idea. White privilege is an inherent advantage that easily goes unnoticed and unacknowledged. Rather than stuffing down the sense of shame associated with this obvious unfairness, why not work to even the playing field?
Look, getting a job because your name is Geoff is not the same thing as joining the KKK, but that privilege is precisely the thing white supremacists were working to reassert in Charlottesville. They chanted about not being “replaced.” Their very existence is grounded in insisting on a moral claim to this country as a superior race. They want to continue having every possible advantage based on the color of their skin; that’s practically the mission statement. Most white people are at least aware that they benefit from white supremacy, and yet we stuff down these painfully obvious truths, tending to our cognitive dissonance like a paper cut that won’t heal, worrying more about being called racists than the effects of racism itself.
In a press conference today Trump posed the following questions:
“George Washington was a slave owner. Was George a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? Do you like him? OK, good. Are we going to take down the statue? Cause he was a major slave owner. Now are we going to take down his statue?”
You do not ask questions like this in a press conference. These are questions you find answers to before you go into a press conference. It just so happens that these questions do in fact have answers. In a strange twist of fate, I answered these exact questions myself in a blog post back in May. In that post, I was responding to an article in which slavery-apologist Doug Wilson posed the same questions. Here is an excerpt:
Hey, actual parenting content! Megan Leahy answers a reader question… My 6 Year Old has a Fun Comfortable Life, Why isn’t She Grateful?
If you follow the Grounded Parents Facebook page (and you should,) then you’ll see a lot of links we share over the course of the week. Here’s a round up…
Renegade Mama responded to this weeks events in Charlottesville… Dear White Women: This is Definitely Us.
In somewhat more inspiring news, Toddler Spills Massive Slushee In Target. When Witness Sees Dad’s Reaction, She Whips Out Her Phone. It should be noted that the bar for decent parenting in this story isn’t that high. And readers should consider whether a Mom would be receiving internet acclaim for the same actions.
Our own Steph writes… Sorry, But I’m so Happy World Breastfeeding Week is Over.
This week’s video is because we can’t not talk about Charlottesville. Stephen Colbert explains what should be an easy choice for the Cheeto Tinted Tyrant.
Featured Image Credit: Mark Tracy Photography
One of the many things I love about this series is that now, so near the end, it could easily have descending into all grim all the time, but first there was Nie’s surprise reappearance, and then Lin Chen strolls in, and proceeds to tease absolutely everybody with his insouciant wisecracking and unruffled competence.
The result is, the serious scenes still hit with resonating impact, carrying all the emotional velocity of the storyline so far, but we get these delightful moments of relief and delight that keep emotional reaction swinging from bright to dark and back again.
( Read more... )
So, Provenance will be out in a bit more than a month! I can’t wait for folks to read it, honestly.
Not long ago, you had a chance to read the opening, oh I’d say half first chapter, for free online. And maybe that just whetted your appetite and now you have to wait until nearly the end of September for the rest?
Well, if you sign up for my newsletter, you can get all of Chapter 1, plus chapters 2 and 3! You might see a black banner across the top of my website asking you to sign up for the newsletter, with a text box for entering your email. You can use that, or if you’ve dismissed that click this link to go to a form you can fill out–a text box for your email, and then under that are checkboxes for which newsletters you’re signing up for. You want to check the “Ann Leckie” one, and you might or might not want to check any of the others, depending, but it’s the Ann Leckie one that will get you the chapters.
Here’s the deal–I hardly ever use my newsletter so I guarantee you won’t be spammed. What it does get used for is things like this. And for announcements of upcoming publications and such. Folks who are already signed up probably already have the chapters in their inboxes. If you aren’t signed up yet, you’ll get the chapters when you do. So, if you want to read the first three chapters early, there you go!
Mirrored from Ann Leckie.
I don't talk about it much here. This blog, and bironicwastaken, are my dedicated fannish spaces online. It looks like we all understand that media consumption, fannishness and other creative pursuits are permissible hobbies, community building in an environment of divisiveness, necessary breaks and even artistic acts of resistance as we struggle with current events. Still, I sometimes (1) worry that fannish-oriented posts strike the wrong tone in wider context, such as yesterday's, and (2) feel a defensive urge to point out that I'm doing things "in real life" to fight what's happening, even if they may not be enough and even though no one has said anything.
When I get down on myself about not doing enough, I focus on things like these, in addition to thinking through how I can have a greater impact:
- Since November, every feature article I’ve written at work has made an explicit or strong implicit political statement
- This auction vid not only raised money for a good cause but is also about celebrating many characters of color in current genre sources, and that's not for nothing these days
- Every month, I donate to activist, investigative journalism and/or minority-support organizations
- I talk to people, including family and friends who voted in ways I am trying to understand
That is all. It's a[nother] tough day. ETA: Not least: ( Event & dream involving anti-semitism )
A reader writes:
I have a question that I’ve been getting mixed advice on from my normal go-to work people.
I don’t have to travel very often for my job, but when I do I’ve generally been by myself or in a group of three or more. Same thing with any business lunches I take. But it’s getting to the point in my job where I will have to do some more short-term business travel (as in hours traveling in a vehicle, not a flight) because of accounts I handle, and I’m handling more and more interactions with vendors at business lunches, and sometimes there’s just no one else going but me and one other person.
The issue is that I have a pretty strong objection to attending travel or lunches by myself if the vendor rep or person I’m with is of the opposite sex. I just honestly am not comfortable with how it might appear to others who don’t know it’s business-related (The company is located in a small town, and it’s not uncommon to see many people who I work with if I go out to lunch.) There’s also the problem that things can happen between consenting adults, and even though that’s the last thing on my mind, I’d prefer to not allow the question to form in anyone’s mind (again, small town, smallish company, lots of scuttlebutt) or to create an opportunity for anything. My husband has also admitted that it would make him uncomfortable too, and holds himself to the same standard I do. My supervisor, who has to travel with me on occasion, is male and close to my age, so that makes it worse.
I have no issue with anyone who doesn’t object to this like I do. But I’ve talked to others (my grand-boss included, who is female) who make it seem like I’m way outside of the norm. Is there a way to tactfully say no in these cases? Am I way off-base here? I searched your site but can’t find much that fits this case.
Yeah, you’re pretty outside the business norm. It’s a normal part of work life to travel and dine with colleagues who might be of the opposite sex. In general, at work the expectation is that you’ll work with other people without regard to what sex they happen to be, because their sex should be irrelevant. You’re there to work and interact professionally.
Declining to do it will potentially limit your professional opportunities and is likely to be at least somewhat of A Thing that gets connected to your professional reputation.
There’s a reason Mike Pence’s refusal to be alone with any woman other than his wife has drawn so much ridicule — and, frankly, offense, given the implications it has for women’s professional access to him vs. the access that men get, and how that hurts women professionally. Unlike him, you’re not disenfranchising others — because men are not a traditionally marginalized group at work — but you’ll be disenfranchising yourself.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. You can do whatever works for you and your marriage. But you’d want to be aware that — like your grand-boss said — it’s not the norm and it’s going to strike a lot of people as odd. To be blunt, it’s going to come across as if you’re injecting Sex Potential in a place where it doesn’t belong, and that’s going to feel very weird to people who weren’t thinking about sex in relation to work conversations at all.
I don’t want to eat or travel alone with people of the opposite sex was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.