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?
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

"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.
cimorene: Screencap of an iChat conversation bubble that says "Dude?" (huh?)
  1. Cannon slash, beware Australian spelling.

  2. Rating: Mature, but if you're 16, it's probably fine (maybe not - I have no idea)

  3. tags: Kent and Chandler are hoples

  4. [bookmarker's notes:] kidnapping and torture :)

  5. Summary: On your eighteenth birthday, the voices of your future children start speaking to you. They help you through your life, to help you have the best life before they are born.
    Notes: I've seen a lot of Tumblr promps for AUs about hearing your soulmate's voice in your head. This evolved from that. Basically, you hear the voices of your future children from the day you come of age to the moment of their conception. They help guide you through your life, and help you find your spouse/partner/ect.

cimorene: Screencap of an iChat conversation bubble that says "Dude?" (huh?)
  1. This is an Inspector Lewis/Hellraiser story.

  2. Tags: James Hathaway, Robert Lewis, Laura Hobson, Jean Innocent, Christmas, OBAMA

  3. Summary: Инспектору Чандлеру важно знать, что он может рассчитывать на поддержку своего сержанта. И не только в рабочих вопросах.
    Language: English

  4. A Story just for Halloween! Heart-ripping fluff!

  5. Rating: T
    Rating is purely because I used the f-word a couple of times. It's actually pretty fluffy stuff.

cimorene: (face!pie)
This unemployed-job-seeking support class is turning out a bit rough, with its emotionally gruelling combo of time-wasting and inadequate guidance.

The problem isn't the teachers - they seem good at what they do - but bureaucracy: 2 teacher/advisors with 30 advisees between them and a 6 week time limit. They have to keep EVERYONE occupied for 6 hrs/day that entire time, and they just don't have time to squeeze in more than 2 one-on-one sit-down meetings per advisee. The rest of the time is filled with general information about ceasing to be unemployed. Almost all the information is inapplicable to a chunk of people (people applying to schools and people actively seeking jobs are two largely non-overlapping groups), who are nonetheless not allowed to miss days. In addition to tons of info of no personal use, we've suffered a couple days' worth of repetition and an unbelievable number of times where the teacher is just reading aloud from a website ("There are a lot of pizza franchises in town, so much so that you probably can't get a loan to open one for love or money... let's see, what does PizzaLine want in a franchise owner?").

I HAVE actually gotten useful information - the information I wanted out of this course in the first place and some more as well. I'm just as uncertain about what I want to do as before, but for a completely different reason. ) So, like, I can't say that I didn't get what I came for or what I expected out of this class - on the contrary. It's just that all of the above is frustrating and exhausting. I've been like a sad sleepwalking zombie with the refrain "This week has been 2½ weeks long" for... I can't remember... maybe two and a half weeks. And THEN.

Then last Friday there was this non-communication INCIDENT between me & my Russian classmate on the one hand, and on the other our teacher who seemed incapable of hearing what we were saying or answering our questions and sort of delivered a condescending-feeling lecture in a slightly raised voice instead. Intellectually I know she wasn't angry and didn't intend to yell, but it SOUNDED like yelling and her delivery FELT impatient and like she just couldn't believe we were asking such dumb questions.

The thing is, I don't handle being yelled at... I was going to say 'well', but it would be more accurate to say I don't handle it at all, because I don't even know how to start to handle it. I REACT to it, yes, but can 'crying and obsessing over' be considered 'handling' a thing? I don't think so. (Or maybe the fact that I act calm in the moment and only cry & obsess later, at home, qualifies me for a You Tried.) I'm still not handling it. Awkward social situations WITHOUT yelling can freak me out for months, so obviously, three days is not enough for something like this that plays right into my key insecurities.

Trying to tell my therapist about it today: I was a mess. I was trying to talk, not just cry, because TIME LIMIT, but it turns out trying to force talking while crying kind of shreds my throat and makes my voice sound quite interesting. I must have been REALLY pathetic, because my therapist apologized to me three times for ending our appointment at the normal, scheduled time.
cimorene: A vintage nouveau illustration of a reclining woman embracing the enormous head of a dragon (cuddle time)
"X and Y are the guests of honor, but I don't know who they are," said my sister.

"I don't either, but I know I'm not interested in their work because they're both men," I said.

My dad said, "Yeah. And weren't all the other names on the list of guests men, too?"

(They were... except for one.)
cimorene: (stfu)
Yesterday my wireless keyboard and mouse stopped working and I got them started again by vigorous jiggling (of the USB wireless receiver: my current theory is that some tea spilled on the top of the computer case dripped down onto it) but in the process I got distracted cleaning the fuzz from the keyboard with a card between the keys.

Only then when they started working again the keyboard was... on and off. It stopped and then started about 6 times last night and today. Also the green battery power LED on the keyboard which had gone out months ago came back and then went away... about three times.

It probably needs replacing :(. It's already lasted a lot longer than the cheap ones I was buying before it, but it's still a drag that the wireless kind is like 4-5x the cost. And that I apparently accidentally broke it (by poking it between the keys I guess?!).


cimorene: (Default)

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