Grandma and Grandpa teach Keiki how to make a grass blade whistle.
Behold the wild Keiki in the grass.
It has taken three days of my six-day trip here to sort out my parents' internet connection, which is a bit longer than I'd hoped to spend on it. The important thing is that it seems to be working now. There was an intermittent problem which took a while - and multiple calls to service provider & visits by technicians - to fix. They ended up replacing all of the coax cable ends and connectors from the pole to the wall socket in house and that did the trick. The last tech also found a problem with the incoming signal from the roadside, which has presumably been affecting all my parents' elderly neighbours whether they knew it or not, so that should get fixed as well. Probably after I leave, which is non-ideal, but it will hopefully end up helping to vindicate the World's Most Expensive Tech Support Trip.
Last night I made the mistake of going to bed at 21:30, which meant I was wide awake at 04:30. It's going to take a lot of cups of tea to keep me awake for another 2.5 hours. I'd better get started on that.
ETA: Forgot to tell the best part of the story so far, which is the bit where my parents meticulously recorded my flight details on their wall calendar...on the wrong day. This resulted in me popping out from baggage claim after my (delayed) 9.5 hour flight and an hour's slog through immigration/border control with my suitcase and a delirious baby in a pushchair and not finding my father, who is usually strolling up and down the Arrivals hall.
I got out my mobile and dialed my parents. Dad answered after three rings. "Hello?"
"Hi Dad, it's me. Where are you?"
"Where, specifically, are you? Are you in Arrivals, or the car park, or outside?"
There is a long and ominous pause.
"I'm at home. Aren't you arriving tomorrow?"
"...No, Dad, I'm in the airport."
NB: My parents live over an hour's drive from the nearest international airport. That was an expensive taxi ride.
I'm sure this memory will be funny eventually. Like in five years or so.
I've changed my route home
a steeper hill, less known streets
I walk it to heart
the bush is absurd with bloom
the air alive with blossoming chinks
my brazen annuling of its
chuckle for each slow rub
smack of the palm
mine for the picking - ‘off with their heads’ i say
molavian backwoods upstart romanticism-
i sneer at esperanto’s mistletoe imperative
maya - roll me one into many
serve me a sherrif’s on a plate - serve me
and i’ll spit on it
i finger cold steel - with a clear brain
mine’s the expansive picture
i don’t touch secateurs myself
but matricies - shrink from my warm
current embalming life on their
grand floor in their
how green is my blade? - blood green
i appraise the blooms   prize the splayed
petal’s bud-burst above all
my slaver drools beneficence-
into a valley seared of tears
the blown i have disposed of
my kingdom is my bloom!
and what is a poor inflorescence to do
severed from its roots?
i mete out sugar to its water
as surely as it fades
to its grovel - i may show mercy i own
the power over sight and limb
but my issue is order
(From Meanjin 74.4, 2015, p. 149)
Thoughts of mine, thoughts of mine,
You are all that is left for me,
Don’t you desert me, too,
In this troubling time.
Come fly to me my gray-winged
From beyond the wide Dnipro
To wander in the steppes
With the poor Kirghiz.
They already are destitute
And naked… But they still pray
To God in freedom.
Fly here, my dear ones.
With peaceful words
I’ll welcome you like children,
And we’ll weep together.
- Taras Shevchenko
In 1999, Texas became the first state
to adopt a Safe Haven law, which
decriminalized the act of abandoning
unwanted infants and children.
One mother drove from Michigan, past
open prairie, scattered trees, acreage
where quail bones curled under the feet
of snowshoe hares. She drove past
forests, lakes where massasauga snakes
coiled in hibernation, drove until she saw
tall grass and prairie, striped squirrels,
until mourning doves and swallows signaled
the destination. Some mothers said they’d be
right back, and left their children
with sandwiches and carrot sticks.
Some kids were left with nothing as the mothers
sped away. A few children never opened
the hospital doors, instead they ran back
to chase after tail lights. At the highway
entrance one mother cried.
Her jaw opened wide
and all the animals tore out.
On the heartbreaking difficulty of getting rid of books:
After all, the romance of minimalism relies on invisible abundance. The elegantly empty apartment speaks not to genteel poverty, but to the kind of hoarded wealth that makes anything and everything replaceable and available at the click of a mouse. Things and the freedom from things, and then things again if you desire. If you miss a book after getting rid of it, Kondo consoles, you can always buy it again. Dispose and replace, repeat and repeat.
What should student doctors learn about sexual healthcare? This survey is being run by the University of Oxford:
We are redesigning courses for medical students to teach them what they need to know about sexual and genital health. If you have experience of going to the doctor for these issues, including asking about contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, screening, or any concerns about your genital or sexual health, we would like to hear from you.
I am spending a lot of time at the moment watching two eaglets grow up.
9.4.16 - Baron and Baroness of Vulgaria summoning ze spies in rehearsal. I have very mixed feelings about this play. The musical itself is racist, sexist, and features these two SPECTACULARLY QUEER-CODED demonised villains. On the other hand, this production is fun and full of fun people and I’m really enjoying the Baron and Baroness in particular.
We can stick anything into the fog
and make it look like a ghost
let us not become tragedies.
We are not funeral homes
with propane tanks in our windows,
lookin’ like cemeteries.
Cemeteries are just the Earth’s way of not letting go.
let’s turn our silly wrists so far backwards
the razor blades in our pencil tips
can’t get a good angle on all that beauty inside.
Step into this
with your airplane parts.
and repeat after me with your heart:
“I no longer need you to fuck me as hard as I hated myself.”
Make love to me
like you know I am better
than the worst thing I ever did.
I’m new to this.
But I have seen nearly every city from a rooftop
I have realized
that the moon
did not have to be full for us to love it,
that we are not tragedies
stranded here beneath it,
that if my heart
every time I fell from love
I’d be able to offer you confetti by now.
But hearts don’t break,
they bruise and get better.
We were never tragedies.
We were emergencies.
You call 9 – 1 – 1.
Tell them I’m having a fantastic time.
living time capsules
cicadas from '99
will emerge next month
House of shadows / Rachel Neumeier. This book handles complicated loyalties very well in one character and then resorts to a cheesy one-dimensional villain, which is so much less cool.
Quicksilver / R.J. Anderson. Did not finish; unreadable unless you've read the predecessor, ULTRAVIOLET.
Lost lake / Sarah Addison Allen. Ehhhhh. There are lovely elements in this, but I thought all the magic was shoehorned in at the end, and I never believed in the characters as real people.
Mornings on horseback : the story of an extraordinary family, a vanished way of life, and the unique child who became Theodore Roosevelt / David McCullough. I'm so happy the Suck Fairy did not visit this! I loved this book as a child, and it is one of the primary reasons I get enraged at boring obligatory family-history chapters of biographies, because the background of the Roosevelts and the Bullochs is FASCINATING. Admittedly, McCullough has excellent subjects who saved all their letters (the Lees of Boston apparently did not keep Alice's letters and I am very angry about that), but omg I love this book.
Sea room : an island life in the Hebrides / Adam Nicolson. Still making progress.
Blue hour / Carolyn Forché. This is weird and increasingly fascinating. I don't know what the hell she's talking about half the time, but it's lovely.
No place to call home : inside the real lives of gypsies and travelers / Katharine Quarmby. This is depressing as fuck and Quarmby's introduction left me feeling super-distrustful of her.
Of beast and beauty / Stacey Jay. Beauty and the beast is not one of my ur-stories, but setting it in a sci-fi context has potential.
Heart of iron / Ekaterina Sedia. I have been dying to read this since forever, the premise is amazeballs, and so far I am not disappointed.
Walking the clouds : an anthology of indigenous science fiction / edited by Grace L. Dillon. I'm really glad this exists, even though I dislike anthologies that rely on excerpts from longer works, and I'm kind of skeptical about a couple of the pieces as sf (I *like* Diane Glancy's "Aunt Parnetta's electric blisters" but I'm not really seeing it as sf?). Saving the Nalo Hopkinson for last.
- papersky has a modernized retelling of The Bacchae in ballad form: Not in this town.
- slashmarks adds a really great rant about the parlous state of history teaching to the usual standard rants about how terrible science teaching is. I've seen people pointing out before that eurocentric history is, well, racist, but I've not seen it all put together in a way that points out that the history of colonization also makes no sense if you only look at the history of the colonizers and not the indigenous populations.
- legionseagle writes compellingly about sexism in reporting mountaineering disasters.
Currently reading: Still Ghost spin, by Chris Moriarty. It was a bit slow to start in a way but it's picking up and is doing lots of cool stuff with the same character in multiple timelines.
Up next: The next thing on my extremely slow reading challenge list is
A book with a color in the title. I've just sent most of my to-read books back to my real house with jack, so I can't look through them and see if anything qualifies. rysmiel gave me Burning days by Glenn Grant as a belated birthday present, so that's a likely choice. Or maybe some of the genuine Hugo nominees; I've been meaning to pick up Uprooted by Naomi Novik for a while.
In Chota Nagpur and Bengal
the betrothed are tied with threads to
mango trees, they marry the trees
as well as one another, and
the two trees marry each other.
Could we do that some time with oaks
or beeches? This gossamer we
hold each other with, this web
of love and habit is not enough.
In mistrust of heavier ties,
I would like tree-siblings for us,
standing together somewhere, two
trees married with us, lightly, their
fingers barely touching in sleep,
our threads invisible but holding.
Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up
waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through
the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,
I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,
I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss–we want more and more and then more of it.
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.
- Marie Howe