cimorene: Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth in P&P (1980), sitting alone in a smocked white dress, reading Darcy's letter (working)
Today at lunchtime a two-year-old who loves food was sitting next to me without eating at all and it turned out this was because he was falling asleep - literally nodding off in fact; couldn't keep his little eyes open. I spoonfed him a couple of bites and he ate them happily enough... and then his eyes closed again emetophobia, general grossout )

Then at afternoon snacktime the kids were eating bowls of fruit kisseli which is sort of like thin jam, or thick fruit soup (the dictionary offers "fool" and "dessert cream" which sound British and weird and also I had no idea what they were). And one of my two remaining tablemates grossness )

OH AND OKAY one of my coworkers in the Little Kid House is on vacay this week and I only met her substitute on Monday before getting sick the entire week, but I knew I would see her today as well on her last day, so when I walked in and there was a woman of the right general size and shape on the floor playing with a kid, I just assumed it was her.

So when she was like "Hey, good morning", I immediately fixated on her haircut and was like "Have you cut your hair?" which, surprisingly, kind of threw her into confusion.

She said "No," but it was more like "... ??? ??? No... ???" and we kinda stared at each other and she started to explain something along the lines of, "I've come here today..." and I was like

"OH! You're not [Substitute's Name]?"

"No... I'm X, the special education teacher assigned to this daycare..."

"OH, yes, I've seen your picture on the wall in the other building, that's why you looked familiar! Sorry..." I said.

And I mean, she wasn't mad or anything. I think. Just very, very confused.

But when I was telling the other work practicer about it at lunchtime I laughed until I cried.
cimorene: Screencap of an iChat conversation bubble that says "Dude?" (wtf?)
I sent an email to ask how to go about arranging a continuation of this work practice arrangement, because the job bureau only answer the phone when I am busy with said work practice. I got an email back that said if all parties are in favor it's fine, just "deliver a new contract to the job bureau about a week before the end of the current agreement".

Not unnaturally, I think, I took this to mean that all I had to do was deliver the new papers to them about a week before the end of the current agreement.

That's next Friday, so I went there today half an hour before their reception window closes to deliver the papers in question.

But the receptionist guy seemed unaccountably angry, all like "THIS IS TOO LATE" (which left me probably visibly astonished since, half hour before closing) because apparently the social workers have gone home and nobody but them is allowed to accept paperwork because they have to be examined right away to make sure they are in order. This was brand new information for me (I was envisioning a post-box kinda situation where you get an answer in the mail later. I've even been told to send my papers to them in the mail for a past work practice).

"You have to come back Monday," he continued, sounding about as annoyed as if HE was the one who was going to have to run across town first thing Monday morning and miss an hour of work. "Between nine and three." He also conveyed with a world-weary air that the workers' office hours are ALWAYS then which I already knew, but didn't say as it was unlikely to help things along.

"Someone tried to call you," he added disapprovingly, "on the 13th, and you didn't answer." The same day I got my email reply so I assume to convey the contents of the email, and definitely while I was at work but not a number I knew came from them. Talking would have enabled me to get that detail ironed out, but I can't leave my ringer on all the time and since 9 out of 10 unknown numbers are telemarketers, I answer to them but I can't start calling them back.

I'm irritated that I have to go back, but there isn't anybody to blame really, as I imagine the writer of the email expected me to understand 'deliver the papers' to imply 'into the hands of a social worker, and then watch with an air of alert anxiety while they examine them'. So I don't really blame that person, or, hence, anyone but the inevitable gaps between cogs in the machinery of bureaucracy. Therefore, mostly I'm kinda stumped by the dude's irritation.

I mean, of course it's better when there aren't these little misunderstandings, but he has to see a lot of them working reception in the most overworked and understaffed organ of federal bureaucracy around, right? And his attitude would be entirely understandable if I had been a Difficult Customer, but I hadn't; or making more work for anyone but myself, but also I hadn't (there wasn't anyone else there and it's not like he could leave early). Maybe he was having a really bad week.

I want cookies.
cimorene: A vintage nouveau illustration of a reclining woman embracing the enormous head of a dragon (domestic)
So there's a Finnish word for "boo-boo" (which is pipi and that's a whole other story in terms of English-speaker associations lol) but I didn't know it. I'm now learning bits of babytalk at this daycare which I can use in Finnish, even though when I speak English I can't really make myself use that kind of language because I was only exposed to parental contempt for it as a small child and never used it myself at that age.

But when I first got here I didn't know and a few days in the two-year-old who constantly demands adult attention was like:

CHILD (in a trembly little voice): I'M BLEEDING
Me: Oh yeah, I see, do you have a small wound on your lip?


Well, she picked that up from me - the somewhat situationally inappropriate "wound", I mean (babytalk aside, it's not really a word that makes you think of a tiny scratch with a single drop of blood welling up, hence my attempt to modify it with 'small'). And ever since then she's been talking about the wounds she has (and once she told me that I had a wound on my face - it was a healing zit). These have included another split lip from the playground, a bruise, a scrape, a hangnail and a papercut. It always goes

CHILD: Look! Look, I have a wound!!


It's very cute because she's really really tiny and can't completely form the words correctly yet but she says it super super solemnly, all 0.0
cimorene: (Default)
So as the lone native speaker in an English "shower" (less than an immersion which in Finnish is a "bath", so it's a sort of pun) daycare where part of the paid service is using English phrases with children, should I correct my Finnish coworkers' mispronunciations?

I've noticed two so far, but I haven't corrected them. In one case she'd already taught all the children to pronounce "owl" OH-wl, and in the other she wasn't talking to the children at all and I presume she just said pudding ("POOdding") so any little eavesdroppers wouldn't realize we were having chocolate for snacktime and get excited in advance.

People feel quite differently about such things - some welcome it and some hate it - so usually I don't offer corrections without strong reason to believe the person would welcome it, usually when they've asked me to teach them something. But having been told that I was chosen for the work practice partly so they could get the benefit of my English skills (although the context for that was using them to talk to the children!)...?
cimorene: (stfu)
I got so much appreciation for overacted death-by-poisonings from some preschoolers today that they got overexcited and started throwing the plastic insects at me instead of "biting" me with them and I had to ultimately say,

"Girls - GIRLS! NO! - You know you aren't allowed to throw - DON'T THROW - STOP IT. No throwing toys and - STOP no pulling my clothes! Tugging on people's clothes isn't allowed!"

I didn't even get to use more than a tiny fraction of the potential overacted death impressions available to me, and apparently this activity is about as safe and sane for 4-year-old ingestion as a whole bag of Halloween candy all at once, so I suppose I won't be able to go back to it. Their tiny bodies just can't handle that amount of excitement I guess.
cimorene: the antique shop by john watkins chapman (studying)
The work practice has been going for 2½ weeks now and I'd say I have settled in and am enjoying myself.

In the past, I have found younger children less interesting than the 1st-3rd grade schoolchildren I have also interacted with, because the latter are more cognitively complex, I suppose. This particular daycare has already got the full complement of assistants and practicers in the older children's group, though, so I am with the up-to-age-3 group except 2 hours during their naptime.

But surprisingly, my Finnish is enough better now that I communicate more easily with the small children. Also of course, there is less talking in this group (although there wouldn't be in a similar sample of under 3s from my family so I am always a little shocked by the relative untalkativeness of other young children: however, as always, there are a couple of complete chatterboxes who demand adult attention 100% of the time and more than make up for everyone else's comparative quietude).

The terrible twos are perhaps aptly named - I've witnessed several drawn-out, lying on the floor tantrums for utterly mystifying reasons1 which were quite difficult not to laugh at -, but I actually find the children in that stage more interesting than the ones that are just slightly older than them, because the age group around 3-6 for the most part aren't very interested in adults:

  • they are mostly uncurious about the presence of adults around them and the changes in the adult cast

  • most of them will accept adult participation in their play if offered but will not request it, but others are too shy to play with adults, even known ones

  • for most of them this lack of curiosity extends to obliviousness about being observed by adults and they not only don't notice if you are laughing out loud at them, which is a relief because my baby sister always did at their age, but many of them will say things directly in front of the adults in the room that are supposed to be secret from them ("I took this from the other playroom but don't tell anybody!" "Let's play that we're making food for her but really we put poison in it but don't tell her until after she eats it.")


There are a few unusual children who are equally as interested in interacting with adults - at their age, in demanding the adults play with them, where children of that type a bit younger just want any adult attention whatsoever and a bit older often want to be talked with and listened to instead. So mostly I'm not actually left with NOTHING to do, unless the adult-friendly children are asleep or playing outside, and then I have to make more of an effort to join in other children's play.

A few memorable conversations:

CHILD: I was afraid of it.
ADULT: You don't have to be afraid of shirts!

CHILD: This lion doesn't have the energy to live anymore.
OTHER CHILD: This game is cool!

CHILD (on play phone): What? (gasp) The Groke is going to EAT me?!
SAME CHILD (calmly): What a pity.

CHILD: What do you want?
ME: Can I have anything from the menu?
CHILD: Yep.
ME: A shortage, please.
CHILD: If you order that you'll be here all day!


Footnote: enumeration of tantrums:Read more... )
cimorene: (Default)
Last Tuesday's false alarm about getting sick aside - at least, I still THINK it was a false alarm - I now can't breathe through my nose. It started feeling mildly congested Friday morning and by dinnertime I had to take a Sudafed. I'm still inclined to consider Tuesday a false alarm though, because I've certainly never had a complete recovery from the sore throat phase of a cold/flu followed by two days of perfect, symptom-free good health and high energy before the onset of head congestion. Although I guess it's possible my immune system was winning at first but got overtaken.

I finished reading all Catriona McPherson's literary output and the series remained a favorite throughout (My mom and [personal profile] waxjism's mom are the only people in my immediate circle who read mysteries but I have talked mine into them already with my review, and will give one to my MIL as a gift at the next opportunity.)

I also read the whole Rivers of London series because three people on my Tumblr feed had simultaneously started posting about them and I happened to catch a couple of quotes that I liked. (Then I read some fanfiction about them - not all of it, but most of it - and I started trying to talk my family and [personal profile] waxjism into reading them but none of them have yet. My parents don't do ebooks, and they're both sitting on about a year-long to-read pile which in my dad's case is regularly augmented by free review copies, but they and my sister at least agreed, after being plied with quotes, that they were persuaded.)

I've also continued reading the output of British contemporary detective writer Ruth Dudley Edwards, and still like her wit, plots, and characters; however, contrary to expectation, the introduction of the apparently well-known Baroness "Jack" Troutbeck has put me off rather. You see, the first book she appears in has as its central topic Political Correctness Gone Mad Read more... ).

I also read the first 1½ Campion books by Margery Allingham, but I'm finding the second one pretty impossible and am on the verge of giving up. I know she started writing very young, so I wonder if there's anyone who can recommend one of the better ones to start with? Part of the problem is that they are tending a little more towards action-thriller than simple detective stories, which is not my preference, and on top of that they're flavored strongly with Gothic, and then on top of THAT they've been too tropey for my taste so far.
cimorene: A vintage nouveau illustration of a reclining woman embracing the enormous head of a dragon (domestic)
Sometimes my throat swells most of the way closed, which feels similar to the intensely sore throat that usually precedes the nasal congestion stage of a cold for me.

Not counting colds - I don't think it swells quite as much with a cold? - this has happened to me maybe an average of (I think) less than once a year for the last 12 or 13 years.

I'm fairly certain the reaction is caused by perfumes, but perfumes and perfumed cosmetics have so many ingredients that I can't really be sure which one(s). Lavender is a suspect, but I am exposed to lavender a lot of times when it doesn't happen (this could be because it's a small concentration and doesn't go in my nose and mouth enough, I guess). Most of the times have been caused by perfumed stuff actually on my face - the first time memorably by smearing a streak of Bath & Bodyworks hand sanitizer that hadn't fully dried on my hand accidentally on my cheek next to my nose, and the second-latest time by a Body Shop cream face cleanser with a billion ingredients. (The reason I suspect lavender is because the only time when perfumes weren't involved, it happened after drinking a cup of herbal lavender tea.) (My mom used to have lavender soap in the linens though, and I guess it made me sneeze maybe, but it never caused a big bother. That I know of.)

Anyway, I thought I was getting better at guessing but today I was almost certain I was getting sick, but then my throat started feeling almost all the way better so I guess it was an allergic reaction after all. Depressing. And maybe I should see a doctor or something about it.
cimorene: (crack)
After my previous disillusioned post, I had the idea of digging into the early history of Golden Age mysteries and ended up link-surfing from Wikipedia to this book's page on Goodreads.


The line that sold me on reading it was:
"This is the first of Ruth Dudley Edwards' witty, iconoclastic but warm-hearted satires about the British Establishment."



It wasn't as personally enchanting to me as the Dandy Gilver mysteries (male protagonists, no historical setting and fewer of my narrative kinks), but it was a funny satire, extremely vividly and skillfully written, with a light-ish tone of black humor. It was a contemporary novel in 1982 so I don't know who edited the writer into the Wikipedia list of Golden Age authors, as she is obviously well after it, though one can see the resemblance. Still, grateful that they did and all that. Will happily read the sequels.
cimorene: (perfect)
I was looking at popular series and award-winning writers from a couple of websites that specialize in cozy mysteries, then looking for female protagonists and female writers. My main motivation in looking for cozies is a preference for a more Golden Age style versus modern bestsellerese (style), thrillers (genre), and law enforcement (subject matter). I'd be just as happy to read a modern locked mansion murder that was graphically bloody as long as the narration and storytelling were good and lacking clumsy clues, exposition dumps, and too many points of view.

One of the sites also had a thematic division of mysteries so I browsed through their description of the historical ones, but the few that I looked up samples from weren't at all what I was looking for. Read more... )

I also looked at short samples of a handful more modern American so-called cozies, but they had the same tweeness and unskilled writing, though in varying mixtures, as the aforementioned cookie shop mystery that irritated me so much.

So now I guess if I want to find more mysteries to read I should look at ones that are not considered cozy, perhaps? But I'm not sure I really feel up to it anymore yet. I've spent a week or so reading Catriona McPherson and have almost finished everything in her ouvre (I'm saving the last two because I am reluctant to run out), and after you discover a new writer that's rocketed up into your top ten list, almost everything else you try to read is going to be a bit of a let-down. Maybe I'll just reread some old favorites instead.
cimorene: murder magician: "i'm serious." assistant: "he is." (srs bzns)
My last update on the subject of unemployment support and my future career was from the career-planning course and mentioned my indecision about continuing to pursue classroom assistantship because the job market is particularly bleak for it. But the career advisor later advised me to pursue finishing the cert. (i.e. finding a new program) nonetheless, because, in short, nothing to lose really. Read more... )

The job-hunting watchword right now is apparently what is different about you from all the other applicants, and so we decided my main one is the fact that my native language is English, so she recommended a daycare with English as easier to talk into work practice (because there are private daycares which are not affected by the municipal hiring freezes) on the basis of my native language, and gave a starred review to one she had past experience of. So accordingly I polished my CV and requested a work practice placement at this daycare, and that was right before Christmas. After Christmas the boss there emailed me back and scheduled an interview which I went to last week, and she liked me and all.

So, said Boss, we've got two groups we could potentially put you in... but make sure you are pre-approved from the employment bureau to do a work practice and then we'll do the paperwork and discuss which one to put you in! We both agreed that the bureau would PROBABLY approve the placement, but both Boss and I have previously thought we were going to be approved for a work practice only to have the employment bureau reject it for utterly confusing reasons. I agreed that she was right.

And so began the Quest to Find Out from the Employment Bureau if I Can Haz This Work Practice. Wednesday I mostly spent on the edge of an attack of acute anxiety because social anxiety, calling people on the phone, etc. But Thursday I carefully wrote out all the points I thought I needed and called the number given to me by my caseworker when we spoke in October.

It rang about 500 times. She didn't pick up.

Since this was office hours, and there was no message, I decided to try other employees of the job bureau, and I spent basically the rest of the day combing their FAQs and called two more numbers, and waited on hold twice, to go through ALMOST the same conversation with the national and local job office phone question answerers. Both of the phone question answerers told me Probably, which was exactly what I already thought.

I submitted a request for my caseworker to call me and Friday I got a receipt that the message had been received by the message-handler, but still nothing from my caseworker. I know that as [personal profile] waxjism points out what I SHOULD do is call and just keep calling, like every thirty minutes or something, and that's what I should have done on Friday as well, but I haven't worked up to it yet, and at least my request is in the pipeline, so if she is available to answer the phone she will surely also be handling her emails? Right? Eventually?
cimorene: (crack)


Catriona McPherson’s After the Armistice Ball is the first in a series of mysteries starring 1920s Scottish gentlewoman Dandy Gilver and I give it and its sequel eight stars out of five. I simply can't recommend them highly enough. I'm a converted fan for life (knock on wood, unless she later says something racist on the internet...) and my immediate goal is to acquire lovely paper editions of everything she's ever written.Read more... )
cimorene: art by autumn whitehurst (godlike)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

This is first in a series of mysteries solved by the owner of a cookie catering business and seems to be strongly emblematic of the cozy mystery genre.Read more... )
cimorene: Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth in P&P (1980), sitting alone in a smocked white dress, reading Darcy's letter (working)


Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen is the first in the series of the same name by a well-established award-winning British writer, starring an invented great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria who solves mysteries in 1930s Britain. Read more... )
cimorene: the antique shop by john watkins chapman (inanimate things)
I was in a Miss Marple inspired mood and decided to go digging through a couple of big Cozy Mystery websites for series recommendations and found a few to try out.


Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay is the first in a series of thematic hat shop mysteries set in London with an American protagonist. Read more... )

I originally put this on Tumblr because I thought my mom, the only mystery reader with whom I regularly converse, was more likely to see it there; but actually she's not that predictable and might just as easily remember this blog exists and forget to check the other.
cimorene: Screencap of an iChat conversation bubble that says "Dude?" (is this thing on?)
... Presented as an Illustration of My Emotions and Viewing Habits Regarding Evil and Dead Lesbians


  • The Sittaford Mystery ★ ★ ★ Neither evil nor dead, but arguably platonic Read more... )


  • The Body in the Library ★ ★ Evil (and being dragged to the gallows), which is annoying but doesn't stop me watching. Read more... )


  • A Murder Is Announced ★ Dead (not evil), which is where I draw the line. Now that I know, I won't watch. Read more... )



There's also Nemesis, but although I am fond of saying that ITV added incestuous dead lesbian nuns, it wouldn't make the above list because Read more... )

I will not boycott further rewatches of stories that happen to include evil or dead gay men in this manner, although there isn't a Christie adaptation that I can think of that includes the death of a gay man (there's off-screen, pre-episode gay partner death related to the plot in "The Moving Finger", but the character is never seen onscreen, he's just discreetly mourned by his surviving partner). But if it came up in passing in another crime show, for example, I wouldn't avoid the episode if I were otherwise inclined to rewatch.

In general, though, if I know in advance that the entire plot is about evil gay (or lesbian) people I will watch it, and if it's about dead gay men I will watch it, but if I know in advance that it is about dead lesbians I won't. Basically the line is anyone involved in a f/f relationship should survive.
cimorene: a pink polka-dotted teacup on pink ground (tea cup)
I asked for some calligraphy stuff for the holidays from my mom, because as an art teacher, she has unparalleled access to and knowledge of art supplies and she also frequently gets them for free (and she's lost more of them in her house than exist in our entire flat).

Although drawing letters is okay and I have an enormous collection of free fonts that I don't do anything with (now that I no longer make icons or a layout for my website), I haven't ever had a particular interest in calligraphy until a few years ago when I bought a metallic gold pen with a flat calligraphy tip for the purpose of addressing Christmas gifts directly on the paper, thus eliminating bows, ribbons, and To/From stickers, all of which have irritated me for a long time in my role of present-wrapper. The necessary angled stance, though, as I was testing it out, made me think it would be a waste not to look at a visual reference, so I found a Chancery cursive font or something like that to copy. But of course, once starting a skill like that, you can't just stop right away. A small amount of practice made it clear how much more practice would be necessary to be deft at handling the flat tip. Then some googling turned up lots of lovely-looking letters that I wanted to try.

So now I'm the proud owner of two fountain pens, and the book on medieval quill lettering I picked up at the giftshop of the Medieval Museum in Stockholm has seen a lot of work. I still like Uncial lettering the best, so it's nice that it's the easiest for a beginner. I mean, I thought it was challenging, until I moved on to the Gothic page. A paragraph of lowercase blackletter "a" last night was so irritating to my mind and wrist that I had to put the paper away and take 400 mg of ibuprofen.

So far I'm just using an efficient, light German fountain pen with interior ink reservoirs, but I also got a dip pen with interchangeable brass tips, so I look forward to buying Chinese and Japanese ink sticks and making my own in the near future.

Also, I'm thinking about what to use for practice lettering, aside from the alphabet of course. Fanfiction, maybe. Or memes.
cimorene: (Default)
I just realized that I forgot to post this here when I posted it to Tumblr on the 1st.

The Affair of the Private Affairs of Miss Lemon (3069 words) by cimorene
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agatha Christie's Poirot (TV), Poirot - Agatha Christie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Hercule Poirot, Arthur Hastings, Felicity Lemon, James Japp
Additional Tags: Queer Themes, Queer Gen
Summary:

"I wonder why Miss Lemon hasn't married," said Hastings presently.

"Indeed, Hastings?"

"I mean, she's not bad-looking!" said Hastings. "As a matter of fact, Poirot, she's a very attractive girl."

"Oui, mon ami, and she has also the filing system most excellent."



I must thank [personal profile] waxjism and [personal profile] perhael, by convention, for their assistance with this story, although I think they're too involved with hockey and J-rock respectively to notice the omission if I didn't.

The main thing is to thank my recipient, though, for the opportunity to venture a small amount of Poirot pastiche. I've had ideas about dialogue and narration bouncing around in my head for ages, without enough unified direction to turn into a story until now. It was lots of fun and gave me an excuse to rewatch about half of the Suchet episodes again.

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