September reading update

I read 8 books for this month.

I finished the last two books in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy.  It was pop cheese, but there was also a lot of emotional resonance with the wartime love that was a major subtext of the trilogy and a major plot point in the last book.  On an ACU scale, the series was quite authentic and universal but not all that great on craft.

I continued with Alt-Hero, there’s a dozen or so planned in the initial crowdfunded set, so I’ll be reading at least that far with this alternate history comic book world.

I read an amazing book by Margaret Kennedy and it is a rare instance of reading without spoilers being absolutely appropriate.  It is called The Feast and even reading the book jacket is not recommended, because for some weird reason the publishers spoiled the entire book there.  It’s a tour de force.  I look forward to continuing to read her work, she is a most astonishing and excellent writer who is unjustly consigned to dustbins even among people who like old books.

I also read four Kate Wilhelm books.  She is known for her “clone wars” book Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, and I finally read that and a bunch of her short stories in various collections.  She is a better writer than her husband Damon Knight, but that’s not high praise.  She mostly writes deeply authentic character fiction about people in her area, but with sci-fi sprinkles.  Her clone novel is full of 70s ideas, with all the bad that entails and little of the good.

So, 72  books down, 28 to go.

 

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Mama Magic, oatmeal edition

One of the kids thought it would be a great idea to dump oats into the sugar jar since I said they could have a little sugar with their oatmeal.  Then there were tears since it came up mostly sugar.

I thought I would have to toss it all, but then I remembered something I used to see my own sainted mother do when baking, which was use a sifter.  I didn’t have to use a sifter, I just shook the sugar-oats out with a regular strainer into a mixing bowl.  The oats were greatly reduced in sugar content and had maybe 1tsp a serving, while the sugar just had some oat powder left behind.  Breakfast was salvaged for another few days (my children eat like the war horses at the local stable) and now I have a new kitchen task to train them on.

But the sugar jar is no longer in kid-reach.

In which Girard is very pleased with his good behavior.

Water feature or pond? You decide!

G: “I didn’t mess with the water future!”

Me: “That’s very good.  But it’s water ‘feature’.”

G: “I didn’t go near the water future!”

Me: “Feature.  Water feature.”

G:”I didn’t throw things in the pond!”

Fin.

Reviving Castle Ladyhawke

That is my current name for where we moved to.  It doesn’t look much like the former wedding venue, but it does have neo-medieval touches and flourishes we’d like to intensify.

Not actually our Castle Ladyhawke.

I hope it comes out as we’d like, but it’s a multi-year, multi-stage undertaking and we’re at stage “Hey, let’s blog-name the place Castle Ladyhawke because the movie’s aesthetic is one we’d like to put into our remodeling and additions!”

 

 

 

Private retreat is the default right wing political activism.

That people doing it don’t feel that way doesn’t matter, the practical effects are nearly the same as if they did (and plenty do feel there’s a political aspect.)

The problem with this being the way right wing people respond to mass social changes that are detrimental is that it’s expensive on a collective level and a personal level.  The costs are so high that right wing people engaging in this type of activism are almost entirely cut off from any other kind of activism.

In contrast, the left wing just sprinkles political dust on their lifestyle and keeps on moving.  The left doesn’t promote marriage as the optimal vehicle for private retreat.  It doesn’t promote private retreat at all.  The right overwhelmingly does.  It’s not that the right does no explicit activism, it’s that the default setting is to hide away privately and replicate lost social goods within the nuclear family regardless of whether it’s desirable, feasible or possible within the limitations of a nuclear family.

This breaks women.  Women are yelled at for not being able to replicate the social goods of an entire city, town or village, and also yelled at for desiring those goods and also yelled at for not taking on additional community-wide functions as more and more of society breaks down into atomization and isolated individuality.

It also breaks men, but in a more subtle way in which they are told there’s no serious obstacles to their masculine expression or nature except their own will, which is an immensely damaging falsehood.  This is as true of the mainstream right wing media as it is of numerous far right blogs.

I’d expand on this more, like perhaps delving into the trades myth that many in the right cling to but make sure to never put their kids into, or how the conservative stack for women doesn’t (that is, the pieces don’t work with each other and reinforce each other; homeschooling comes at the expense of a clean house, as a very typical example).  But our private retreat means I don’t have another woman or young girl around to keep my youngest from melting down about getting a small spot of soup on one sleeve. So I have to go deal with that.

Repost: Domestic au pair and homemaking program

It could be more or less formalized, but training young women in the domestic, homemaking arts and giving them practical experience in childcare would be amazingly useful.

There are a number of avenues by which this could conceivably be enabled, not least as part of a general program of supporting women in their women’s work.

A model to start with would taking the system of the current international au pair program, and figuring out how to adapt it to the needs of young women who’d like to be keepers of hearth and home for their families and future husbands and families who could use the help of energetic girls in their late teens and early 20s.