Which made me laugh every time, thinking of friends writing Yuletide.
Anyway, her swaps were a big hit, and if you need a Yuletide beta and you think I might know your fandom, hit me up even if it's not on the spreadsheet. Comments are screened.
[*] Any kind of little craft on a safety pin that you can trade.
He and his wife just lost almost everything in the Santa Rosa fires blazing in central California, and he's made an almost instantaneous comic about it:
A Fire Story.
(thanks to umadoshi for the link)
I've started to make a transcript/image description:
Ping me here if you'd like to help create this.
. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.
The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.
It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.
Here's as far as I got before I stopped:
( picture )
(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)
I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.
So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )
Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)
( Excerpts from an essay, a video and an interview )
Riva in midair holds a marionette control high with her left hand. The strings attach to actual rivets in her left elbow, both knees and ankles; she wraps some strings around her left arm and grips them in her teeth. She wears calf-high black leather boots with very large, asymmetrical soles, a pink and purple tutu to mid-thighs, her nipples just visible through pink gauze laced vest. She's a small woman with hair dyed red except for a shock of white hair shielding her brow. A background of soft blue-green is both the floor (with Riva's shadow) and the wall: it makes the detailed life-colored painting pop out at the viewer.
Q: I have been asked to be a bridesmaid by a longtime (over fifteen years) and very dear friend. This woman is the sister I never had, and we’re closer to each other than we are to many of our own family members. I happily said yes without realizing that her tastes and budget far, far exceed mine.
She is marrying into a great deal of money, and she’s having a huge, expensive wedding. That’s fine. The problem is that the dresses she selected for her bridesmaids START at $7,000. That’s right—$7,000 is the price of the cheapest of her choices, and that does NOT include alterations, shoes, jewelry, hair, make up, etc. The dress that she favors comes in at $15,000 before alterations.
She did not give us any kind of warning that the dresses she is considering are so expensive. I’m working, but spending $7,000 plus on a dress that I will wear for less than one day (not even) and then never wear it again (it is beautiful, but it is bridal) is an expense I cannot justify. And if she opts for her favorite, at $15,000 before alterations…
I know that being a member of the wedding party is expensive. When she announced her engagement and when she asked me to be a bridesmaid, I immediately started trying to save, but I didn’t think that being part of her wedding would be this expensive. I am also hurt that she didn’t give me a heads-up but waited until we were at the salon and looking at her choices. I pulled her aside and told her that I would have to back out of being a bridesmaid, and I told her WHY (that I cannot afford the dress she chose, nor the shoes, the accessories, alterations, and more). I told her that I would be happy to participate in another way (perhaps do a reading), and if that wasn’t possible, then I would be content to be a guest. She was very, very upset with me, told me that I couldn’t back out, etc. The wedding is still a year from now so I would think there is time for her to ask someone else to be a bridesmaid.
Since then, I’ve called her and emailed her and she hasn’t responded. I finally wrote her a long letter, explaining that I valued her as a person and our friendship, and that I very much wanted to be a part of her wedding, but that unfortunately a $15,000 dress and even a $7,000 dress is completely out of my budget. I have a job but after rent, insurance, loans, and other expenses, I sometimes have to skip meals in order to save even a little for emergencies.
The thing is, she grew up like me—working class poor and didn’t have much. Her fiancé is a great guy and I’m truly happy for her, but I’m hurt that she did not ask me what I could afford to spend on a bridesmaid dress, shoes, and accessories. I have enough debt as it is, and I can’t and won’t spend $20,000 just on the bridesmaid accoutrements. I’d have to borrow to do it.
But now she’s mad at me and sent me a letter in return telling me how hurt she was that I backed out, that obviously I don’t value her or our long friendship because if I did, I would be there for her wedding. She said that none of the other bridesmaids nor the maid of honor backed out (maid of honor is her sister; other bridesmaids are her fiancé’s sisters, and her fiancé’s family is paying for their dresses, etc.) so that tells her that I don’t care about her. She said that I don’t deserve her and she is never talking to me again.
Have you ever heard of anything like this? Are brides now so unreasonable that they don’t take their bridesmaid’s budgets into account when selecting dresses? Should I have told her my limits re: the cost of the dress? She also told me that I was not welcome at her wedding. I am mourning the end of a fifteen-plus-year friendship, and am hurt and bewildered.
—Unhappy ex-bridesmaid and blacklisted ex-friend
A: Dear UEABE,
Most couples honestly don’t ask their bridal party about their budget before picking out dresses or tuxes or whatever else. But most couples don’t pick a $15,000 dress, holy crap.
It’d be awfully nice for her to consider her bridal party’s financial situation (I imagine most of the readers here tried to), but at the end of the day, your budget is your own personal responsibility, not hers. It’s your obligation to keep your finances in check and be vocal if some obligation is stretching you too thin. Which is exactly what you did! You were right, is what I’m saying here. Telling her you couldn’t afford it and stepping down were the entirely right decisions.
Everyone is in a different financial situation. But fifteen grand is… a lot. Even considering the fact that we’re not all coming from the same place financially, that’s a lot of money.
It was your choice to spend that lump of cash or opt out, and it was her choice how to respond to the news. She decided to take it personally, and frankly, I don’t know what you could’ve done to avoid that. It sucks. It’s just not your fault. You couldn’t have foreseen a $15,000 dress, and you couldn’t just dig in the couch to find that money once it was proposed. Her hurt feelings suck, but they’re unfounded and not your responsibility.
You say your friend had the same financial background as you before meeting this guy, but I’m wondering if she just cannot relate to “not being able to afford it.” Even folks who consider themselves on the same financial page are usually in very different places. In trying very hard (so very hard) to give the benefit of the doubt here, I’m thinking maybe she just cannot fathom how you can’t afford this dress, and assumes that means you’re prioritizing other things above her wedding (which you are—rent and food and electricity). But on the other, wide-eyed judgey hand—this girl has lost her mind. Fifteen thousand dollars for a dress? That’s crazy talk, and her accusatory response was out of line. Maybe after the wedding is over, she’ll find her common sense again. But till then, you’ve done what you can, and I would try not to give it another blessed thought.
P.S. We know, we thought we were being trolled too… but we did some digging, and all we can say, is we give this AAPW a very high chance of being 100% real.
- The New Yorker linked to our 2015 post about the sinister subtext of Thomas the Tank Engine. Yes, that New Yorker. Ain't no thang. *hairflip*
- (That article was then shared at BoingBoing, where the comments were filled with nerds taking our silly post very seriously indeed.)
- BookRiot's crime fiction podcast discussed our post on why we're not supporting the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries film Kickstarter, and our earlier post (linked in our recent one) about the racism in the books and TV series, and how it's something that non-Australians seem to overlook.
- The podcast included a wonderful bit where the hosts were like, "Well, these Australian ladies say the books are problematic, but we wanted to make up our own mind, so we read one each." But they chose the books at random, and had the misfortune to end up with Blood and Circuses, The One With The Infamous Clown Sex. (If you watched the series -- which I really love, when it's not being incredibly racist -- you should take a moment to appreciate the lack of clown sex. Really.) Anyway, they concluded that, yes, the books are very bad in terms of exotifying and othering people of non-Anglo backgrounds, but they're also just not well-written and ... bad. Which is fair.
- And The Monthly, an Australian publication whose essays and articles appeal to flat white-sipping inner-city lefties (so, me), linked to our first Discovery post in an article about angry, racist nerds complaining that Trek is "suddenly" appealing to an "SJW" agenda.
- (I am extremely proud to get the word "feelpinions" into The Monthly, BUT I also wonder if my use isn't a bit defensive, ie, no one can accuse me of being emotional, irrational or otherwise a silly lady fan if I say it first. Am I putting myself at a disadvantage by emphasising that my posts are reactions, not reviews, and that my opinions derive from my emotions? On the other hand, what is television for but to elicit an emotional reaction?)
1) What is the first song you remember from your childhood?
"Never Mind the Why and Wherefore" from Gilbert and Sullivan's 19th C operetta Pirates of Penzance.
song and lyrics
2) What is the first music you purchased with your own money?
Joni Mitchell's Song to a Seagull, 1968. I think I wore out the grooves.
3) What's a piece of music that you know by heart?
"How Can I Keep From Singing" happens a lot in the shower.
4) What's a song that makes you turn off the music right away?
"Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard"
5) And why?
Lived below someone who played that song 20 times a day for a week.
Support the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (S. 200, H.R. 669) to require a, you know, declaration of war by Congress before the President can launch a first nuclear strike.
rydra_wong has links and context, and rachelmanija has phone numbers and a script. (Don't, however, spend your time contacting members of Congress outside your districts; save your energy.)
Recently, I showed my friend a picture of my daughter that showed one of the tattoos on her upper arm. My friend said, "Oh, I am so sorry about the tattoo," and proceeded to cover the tattoo with her hand, implying that my daughter would be attractive if it weren't for the body art. I was shocked.
I have always been supportive of my friend's children and have never criticized any of them, even though I haven't agreed with everything they have done. I was so hurt by her comment that I was speechless. I'm not sure I can continue the relationship feeling this way. But I'm hesitant to lose a 30-year friendship over something I might be overblowing. Am I being too sensitive? How do I resolve this? -- COMPLETELY THROWN BY THIS
DEAR THROWN: For a friendship of 30 years to end over one thoughtless comment would be sad for both of you. Sometimes people say things without thinking, and this is an example. Resolve your feelings by talking to her in person and telling her how deeply hurt you were by what she said. It will give her the chance to apologize and make amends.
DEAR ABBY: Yesterday I was in a retail store with my service dog. The clerk asked me what kind of service dog she was and I replied, "She's my service dog." She kept pressing me as to exactly why I have one, so I asked her if she was inquiring about my disability. When she said, "Yes," I politely informed her that federal HIPAA laws protect my right to privacy. She then said -- loud enough for everyone in the store to hear -- "I don't know what the big deal is. I just want to know what the dog does for you."
Please let your readers know how to be around a person and their service animal:
1. You do not have the right to ask about the person's disability. To do so is rude. Most people prefer strangers not know their medical condition. The dog may be for PTSD, a hearing or seeing dog, or to alert the person to a medical emergency.
2. Children (and adults) need to understand that when service animals' jackets go on, the dogs know it's time to go to "work," and they take their job seriously. At that point, they are not pets and should not be treated as such. If a child rushes a service dog, the animal may react badly because it is there to protect its person.
3. You may ask to pet the dog, but don't assume it will be allowed. If given permission, the dog should be scratched under the chin only.
Service animals know their place. It's a shame that most people are not as polite. -- NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS
DEAR N.O.Y.B.: Thank you for sharing this information. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act website (ada.gov): "Businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person's disability."
tl;dr: I use Dynalist, a free webpage/app that allows you to generate collapsible outlines, to keep a to-do checklist and journal bullet points for every day. I like this because things that don't get done can just be dragged into a new day, and because bullet points for journaling lowers the mental energy required to keep up with it. This system is highly flexible, goes with me everywhere, and lets me keep almost everything in one place. (I use Google Calendar for things that need to be scheduled more than two weeks out.)
( Setting the scene: )
Then, in early January, I read Tobias Buckell's post on bullet journaling, which made it sound sensible and appealing. After a little more reading (I noted down this Buzzfeed post), I found a recommendation for Workflowy as an electronic bullet journal—necessary because I will not carry paper with me everywhere and I need to have access to my to-do list at all times—the examples were way more complicated than I needed, but did show that it could be very powerful and customizable.
I stopped using Workflowy at the end of July for two reasons: first, the mobile app was not good, it was way too easy to drag stuff around by accident, but hard to move it on purpose; second, it only lets you keep a single (infinitely long and collapsible) outline, which was cramping my reference-note-keeping-consolidation.
Hence: Dynalist. Which is free, and which has an Android app in beta which is much more functional, and which lets you have multiple documents. (It also has a Workflowy import.) The paid version is a smidge expensive ($8/month billed annually), but I haven't felt the need for it; I might, however, end up signing up anyway just to toss them some money. I use a pinned Chrome tab (like so) on desktop, because I didn't realize it had a Windows desktop app in beta until I just checked.
( Here's how I've adapted the general bullet journal idea to a collapsible outline app: )
I've sometimes gotten a few days behind, but never more than a few, and I've always gone back and filled in at least a point or two about the day. And I started on January 9, so that's really pretty darn good. It hasn't been a magic (heh) bullet about getting things done, but it has reduced the amount of effort I put into keeping track of things, which leaves more energy for actually doing them. So on the whole, I'm pretty happy with it; and in case it sounds useful to you, here it is.
I am an older, sexually conservative woman who got herpes from a man I was dating. He’s a pillar of the community and did not tell me he had herpes. I had a long dry spell before we started dating. My issue is that I have an unlabeled bottle of herpes medication in my desk drawer at work. My administrative assistant asked for some pain relievers, and I opened my desk drawer and shared from a labeled, over-the-counter bottle of acetaminophen. I saw her staring at the unlabeled bottle in the drawer. Later that day I went back to my office, and she and another person had actually opened the unlabeled bottle and were looking at the medicine! I was too stunned to say anything, and they left. I guess they looked at the color and numbers on the pills and looked up the medication. In the few months after that —I kid you not—several people at the office have “casually” mentioned herpes and how disgusting it is. At the company potluck, no one touched my dish. One co-worker asked about a red spot on my hand and said loudly, “Yuck, it looks like herpes!”
One odd thing about this is that I have been extraordinarily financially generous to the admin who peeked and told. I don’t understand why this is happening. I used to like my job, and I make a very high salary. If I leave the company, I fear this issue will follow me. I was not in the least bit promiscuous in my life (truly). I feel so ashamed, though.
Answer: That is absolutely horrifying—both that your administrative assistant would paw through your unlabeled medication and that your co-workers are now mocking you for a confidential medical condition (one that, by the way, is both extremely common and easily managed with medication, and not something you should feel ashamed about or isolated by). What they’re doing, in addition to being cruel and unprofessional, is also a violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which prohibits the disclosure of private medical information in the workplace. It’s unbelievably childish to treat a dish you prepared as somehow “contaminated,” doubly so when it’s common knowledge that herpes cannot be transmitted via potluck. The fact that this is your subordinate makes the issue additionally uncomfortable, but you do at least have the authority to correct her. It’s understandable that you felt too flustered and embarrassed to address the issue in the moment, but you should absolutely set up a meeting with her and make it clear that it’s wildly inappropriate for her to go through anyone else’s medication at work—labeled or otherwise—and that it is a potentially fireable offense. If your office has an HR department, you should bring them into the conversation, because (once again!) it’s not appropriate for employees to mock their colleagues for their perceived or actual medical conditions.
Until reading this piece, I’d thoughtlessly hummed along to the stereotype that adoptions are about how wonderful the adoptive parents are.( read it now )
I’m Done Debating Racism With the Devil: White people playing devil’s advocate in conversations about race are completely counterproductive to actual progress. by Maya Rupert
“Devil’s advocate” arguments have always annoyed and angered me, but this essay explained why.( now you can too )
Though she keeps her house as clean as possible, the very presence of these pets causes my daughter to sneeze, congest, and sometimes break out in hives. I’ve repeatedly asked Sally to either get rid of them or keep them outside during our visits, but Sally claims that though she loves her niece, she can’t keep her pets outside all weekend because the cats are “indoor only,” the dog is too little to stay outside, and coyotes are a danger. She also told me that I was out of line to ask. Was I? They’re only animals, after all, and her niece is family. When she visits us she boards them or gets a sitter, so I don’t see why she can’t do the same when we visit. She’s also suggested that my daughter take allergy medication, but I find that out of line. Is it? How can we resolve this?
A: The most important thing to do here, I think, is to make sure you don’t let a conversation about reasonable accommodation turn into one about whether your sister’s pets “really count” as family. (I’m on your side in the sense that I think a human child’s health is paramount here, but I just don’t think it will be useful to turn this into a litigation on your respective reproductive choices.)
It’s absolutely fair of you to say that the present situation is dangerous to your daughter’s health. It’s also fair that your sister is anxious about leaving her dog outside for an entire weekend, especially if she lives in a coyote-heavy area. If she were willing and able to hire a pet sitter during your visits, that would be an ideal solution, but since she isn’t, you should advocate for your daughter’s health and stay in a nearby hotel so that she can get a full night’s sleep without having difficulty breathing.
Incidentally, unless your daughter has an issue with allergy medication, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t have some at the ready with you, given that she might have a reaction to someone else’s pet at any time. That doesn’t mean she’ll be suddenly able to sleep comfortably in a house with three small furry animals, but there’s nothing wrong with giving someone allergy medicine for an allergy attack.
I like happy endings, gen (at the moment, for these fandoms), humor, politics, friendship, robots & AIs, found family, and things written in third person. I dislike character death and grimdark. Not that I think it would come up with these fandoms but PLEASE NO child harm.
The Martian - Andy Weir. I would love something about Mark maybe solving a problem on Earth, after he's returned? I like anything about Mark Watney, TBH. I would also love something, anything about Rich Purnell - does he actually ever meet Mark? What did his NASA interview process look like? Rich solving another problem, maybe a practical life problem, would be super awesome.
Wayfarers Series - Becky Chambers. I would love ensemble fic, or anything that continues either book on past the ending (AU is fine, Nobody Dies is fine, character redemption is fine, politics is fine). I would love to hear what happens politically after the first book, but anything about the found families in either book would make me so happy. More about how Owl adjusts to her re-found family - and her years of isolation - would also be amazing.
Wonder Woman (2017). I would love Chief's Napi's story, or more of his perspective on the war. Please make as specific as possible to a single First Nation/tribal nation; feel free to use any of Eugene Brave Rock's character details that he talks about in interviews to fill out characterization or backstory. How did he become a smuggler? What is he doing in Europe, so far away from his tribe? What the fuck does he make of all these white people and their sudden interest in how bad war is now that it's happening to them? Or go full AU and make him Wonder Chief, from the isolated continent of the First Nations, come to straighten out a bunch of fucked up Europeans at the behest of the dashing Amelia Earhart, who has crashed in his territory, or Etta Candy, a Women's Airforce Service Pilot. Please please please lots of research to avoid cultural fail and/or find a cultural beta.
I'd love to receive a story in any of the fandoms listed, and if you are in doubt about a story idea you can ask thefourthvine what I would like. Please do know that I have a second and a sixth grader, and so first thing Christmas morning I will be caught up in a frenzy of "wheee presents" and family. I probably won't have time to read the story and give proper feedback until mid-day, for which I apologize.
GENTLE READER: Yes, it really is. Every once in a while, etiquette likes to shock people, and this will do it.
However, as it offends you, you can invest in asparagus tongs. Miss Manners assures you that seeing what look like small silver forceps on the dinner table will produce an equal amount of shock.