Friday, October 27, 2017
We are all of us in the gutter
Hello, friends. Apart from my UK travelogue we haven't really talked about life and stuff and things since July, have we? Well, plenty of life and stuff and things have been happening since then, boy howdy!
Amazon had 23andMe kits half-off on Prime Day over the summer, so P and I bought a couple and mailed our spit off to the lab, and my results came in the day before we left for the UK. I already knew about my British Isles and German and Southern European ancestry, so those were no surprise. But I did NOT know about my Japanese, Ashkenazi and Sub-Saharan African ancestry, and those were the most bizarre and delightful surprises ever. I am still processing what this all might mean, but I'm pretty sure it means I'm at least 5% cooler and more interesting than I already thought I was, har har.
I turned 51 in September and now it's October and that means that I'm exactly the same age my mother was when my daughter was born (one month past her 51st birthday) and my daughter is exactly the same age that my mother was when I was born (one month shy of her 20th birthday). That's a pretty nifty little bit of matrilineal mathematics, eh? I've been thinking a lot about that, too. I cannot imagine my H having been married for two years and giving birth to her first child right now. And I cannot imagine being the mother of a 31-year-old and a grandmother of two right now. Holy cannoli. Quit trying to freak me out, Time.
C got his driver's license in September which was a HUGE deal. As most of you know, my boy C has some challenges. He took and passed driver's ed when he was 15 like most kids in the US do, but he found driving so stressful that he opted out of getting a driver's license. For a few years he made do with a bicycle, then an electric bike, for getting around town without parental involvement. But we live way out in the 'burbs with no real public transportation, so that wasn't a great solution. Last year he had progressed to the point that he felt comfortable taking a motorcycle safety course, and he was able to get his Class M license. We bought him a scooter that looked a LOT more like a motorcycle than I was expecting, and he was able to get a bit further from home under his own power, but scooters and motorcycles definitely aren't weatherproof, you guys. Even though he was still super nervous about it, he indicated earlier this year that he might maybe perhaps someday be interested in possibly getting a license to drive a car, and P seized on that and basically did all the legwork to make it happen. He bought C a used convertible (because C was worried he'd feel claustrophobic in a car) and got a learner's permit added to his Class M license and practiced practiced practiced with C every week until C was feeling confident enough and comfortable enough to test for his Class C license. And he did and he got it! So now he can drive a car, something that I honestly never thought would happen given his anxiety around it. We are SO SO PROUD of him!
I've read some more good books since last we spoke. Really enjoyed William R. Anderson's The Ice Diaries, even though his descriptions of piloting a nuclear submarine between massive chunks of polar ice and the ocean floor freaked me RIGHT OUT. Loved Emma Donoghue's The Wonder. Had complicated feelings about Hillbilly Elegy but it's absolutely worth reading. LOVED Grady Hendrix's Horrorstör. I liked Ben Aaronovitch's first Peter Grant book, Midnight Riot, very much but I felt it wanted some editing and it took me forever to finish, by which point I was glad to be done with it. Thumbs up on Louise Penny's Glass Houses, the most recent Chief Inspector Gamache. Loved Hannah Kent's The Good People. I was delighted to discover Karen MacInerney's Dewberry Farm series of cozy mysteries earlier this fall when my brain just couldn't focus on books for whatever reason. Fluffy but well-written and with a local-to-me setting. Right now I'm re-reading the whole His Dark Materials series because I totally forgot I'd pre-ordered Philip Pullman's latest, The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage until it showed up on my Kindle.
P and I have been dithering back and forth on cutting the cable TV cord this fall. We have and love Netflix and Amazon Prime Video but we need a good option for live TV. Hulu has too many commercials, YouTube TV doesn't have TBS, we're still looking at Playstation Vue and Sling TV. Oof. Anyone have a streaming service they love that isn't Apple? Requirements: commercial-free option (we're happy to pay extra for it), cloud DVR, must have TBS, must work with both Roku and Android. Go!
I've actually weaned myself off TV quite a bit, to the point that Game of Thrones really is my only must-see, and that's only because it's moved beyond the books (like WAY beyond). But I've been enjoying some other stuff on the tee-vee, y'all! If you didn't see the first season of Claws, find a way to do that. The cast is fantastic and the writing is bananas and I found it completely unpredictable and awesome. Episodes is over now and Broadchurch is over now and Orphan Black is over now and I loved all of them. There's not nearly enough Thandie Newton in my life right now so I can't wait for Westworld to come back. The new Doctor Who is a woman and I am SO EXCITED! People of Earth is so great, The Detour is so great, Wrecked is SO GREAT, and that right there is why any streaming service we use has to have TBS. (Also: The Guestbook. Because Garrett Dillahunt.) I love The Good Place and I like Ghosted and I have warm feelings toward The Orville. And that's pretty much all I'm watching these days. I gave up on American Horror Story and The Walking Dead and The Strain ages ago. I feel like life already is horrifying enough these days without watching horror on TV, but maybe that's just me. I'm pretty sure it's just me.
Other stuff going on: I've been knitting ALL THE THINGS. Well okay, socks and scarves and cowls, mostly. But I've been doing so much knitting that I invested in a cheap swift and winder and sure, they tangle the center-pull strands all to hell, but they make awfully attractive yarn cakes, and pulling from the outside works just fine. So yay for that. I've started volunteering every week at a local food pantry and I am here to tell you that the very best antidote to feeling helpless that I've found is to help someone else. And if you're looking for a great way to put your own shit into perspective, maybe try helping a resident of a domestic violence shelter sort through shelves of donated food trying to find something that she can keep down when the chemo makes her nauseated. I'm just saying. It's hard to have bad days anymore since I've been doing this, you know? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO COMPLAIN ABOUT NOW?!
Anyway. Hi. Sorry this was so long. How are you doing? I've missed you.