In Which Cookies Fuel A Ramble

10 March 2003

The day ahead of me is pretty clear: journal entry, a few e-mails, conversations with Mark as he wakes up and Timprov as he falls asleep. Stamps, groceries, library books. The Joukahainen/Väinämöinen/Aino story and the beginning of the edits to Dwarf's Blood Mead. Leftover ravioli for lunch and something more exciting for dinner. Calling the apartment people about the front to the AC and the squeak in the dryer, because I only got through about half of our mountain of laundry yesterday before the squeak began to drive me mad. This is why our children will not own hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, or anything else of the sort.

Well, it's one of the many reasons.

It's a weekday again, so I can expect the mail, and I can think that maybe some of those things people can only do on weekdays will get done. Maybe. I can hope.

I finished Women and Children First, and the stories in it were all right, but...disappointing, and my expectations were not at all their fault. For example, the opening line, "Everyone had a lobster. This was a serious problem." I love that opening line! But it needs to go into something charmingly weird, and instead, Not even everyone had a lobster. Just everyone at that particular dinner party. And they were cooked (the lobsters, I mean) and sitting on plates. Meh. But I'm pretty sure that most people picking up a Francine Prose short story collection would expect everyone's lobster to be cooked and sitting on a plate, and not to extend beyond the walls of a dinner party. It is not Prose's fault that I'm steeped in speculative stuff.

Also, I really dislike the pattern of "situation described in intense detail with a few clever metaphors thrown in (but not too many), then revelation/epiphany about the nature of modern/human life, then we're done." Frankly, bleah. It all feels so overwrought to me: "Aren't we all like the lobsters, really?" Well, no, sorry, but thanks for playing. (That wasn't the point of the lobster story, by the way, so if you've read it, don't write and patiently explain the revelation about the nature of life to me. I did get it. I just didn't find it all that profound.)

So I moved on to Eight Skilled Gentlemen, which is the sequel to The Story of the Stone. Fun stuff, a good read. I'll finish it sometime today, I'm sure. I also ended up rereading parts of the Kalevala while I was getting my story set up. It's going to be fun to read, I think. It's been a lot of fun to write. It's good to kick off some short stories with something I enjoy this much. The problem is, I have no idea what to call it so far. Not the first clue. I have a feeling I'm going to give it a lame one-word title, just because I can't come up with anything that doesn't sound stupid. (I don't think all one-word titles are lame. But all of the ones I've thought of are.) So if any of you are interested in working some titling magic when I'm done with this thing....

Oh, fabulous. Now the Merc reports that California is looking to tax solar power folks for the power they're producing for themselves and, in many cases, pumping back into the grid as surplus. What a great idea. That'll really help the state's power crises. Arghhhhh.

One woman was quoted in that article as not wanting to pay for someone else's solar power (presumably by letting them duck out of the fees that are "rightfully" theirs?). This makes no sense to me. I just don't see how she can possibly see it that way. These people add power to the grid, and further, they decrease the demand for PG&E power. So...decreased demand...increased supply...the cost of "normal" power would be likely to change in which direction due to these factors? Oh, damn those solar power folks, for doing what they can to lower power costs and fix power problems! The nefarious fiends!

Now Bush's unilateral action is opposed by all sorts of left-wing, Bush-hating, extremist, hippie, pacifist lunatics. Like, um, his dad. Oh. Well, okay then.

You know, I'm not sure which would be worse: to be the parent of a president or the parent-in-law of a president. I mean, I'm pretty sure if my kid grew up and got that far into high-powered politics, I'd be really disappointed and would be questioning what mistakes we'd made in raising her. But if her judgment was bad enough to marry someone like that...what do you do, as the president's mother-in-law? What do you say? How much can you yammer at the president for neglecting your child or your grandbabies, or for messing up the world? All that stuff just seems weird, and you never hear about the president's mother-in-law. At least I don't. Hmmm.

Ah well. I just love this toy: it calculates colors that harmonize with the colors you put in, supposedly. I don't always agree with the colors it figures out, but many of them are pretty decent. And it's, ooh, pretty colors. A toy I can play with on the computer without messing up my right shoulder (any further than it already is, or any further than my left shoulder, whichever).

Yesterday I discovered that Louis Armstrong is a really good way to get rid of some of my undercurrents of worry. I just put an album of his duets with Ella Fitzgerald in the CD player. Maybe I should expand our collection (we only have two Louis and one Ella-and). It's not like I'm going to stop being a worrier, and if it helps to be singing along with "A Foggy Day," well, it helps.

We also picked up some Girl Scout cookies. I'm pretty sure I ordered five boxes, but I can't figure out what the fifth one would have been, and the little girl had left her sheet at home, hadn't separated out her orders or anything. Sigh. I like ordering in advance from actual, real-live Girl Scouts, but it didn't seem like this one was learning much from the experience (except "Mom will do a lot of work," maybe). I haven't opened either of the ones I wanted yet (Tagalongs and Thin Mints, two boxes of the latter), but Mark has proclaimed the Samoas yummy. (And of course they're not, they're disgusting, and what's worse, they replaced Kookaburras, which were the ultimate in Girl Scout cookies, chocolate and caramel and no coconut, and I haven't had them since I was 6 years old, and I think I should give up on them now.)

I loved selling Girl Scout cookies. I remember being just filled with despair when I was a kindergartener, because I felt I would never be old enough to sell cookies and do all the wonderful fun things Girl Scouts got to do. (It didn't hurt that my back-door neighbors were one and three years older than me, active Girl Scouts, and unsquelchable gloaters.) My mom was the leader for our troop, and she didn't put much emphasis on "SELL, SELL, SELL!" We had, for our neighborhood, a pretty wide variety of economic circumstances in our troop, and she and her co-leader were pretty sensitive to it, I think. And I could tell the difference between selling GS cookies and selling fruit for band, and that was: people wanted the GS cookies. Of all the fundraising sales we ever did, the Girl Scouts had done a good job of making sure that it was a once a year thing (so people knew that they could just buy some cookies and we wouldn't be knocking on the door again in five minutes with something else) and that the product was reliable and fairly tasty. Nobody was ever angry to see Girl Scouts at the door in our neighborhood, whereas other fundraisers were often received less happily.

So when I came upon anti-cookie commentary like this in my web wanderings, it was surprising to me, and it seems odd to say that the girls aren't getting enough money per box and then not give them any money by not buying any cookies. As I said in my response post to it, it's not like the directors at the council and national levels are buying mansions and sports cars with the cookie money. Councils use money like that on projects that benefit the girls. Specific councils may be bad at that, but that seems to me to be a reason to reform the council rather than refusing to buy cookies.

Girl Scouting experiences depend heavily on troops and troop leaders, and I think that's an overall good thing. I'm sure there were girls who would have been disgusted with our city-girl activities and our lodge-camping (and our school-gym-sleepovers) and all of the things we absolutely loved. And we really, really didn't want to go tent-camping like some of the other troops we knew. We tried it (in many of our cases, more than once) and hated it. We had a better Scouting experience because it wasn't standardized, because it became a framework and a set of suggestions but not a set of limitations. I mean, sure, there were some limitations -- my mom had to get CPR/first-aid certified to take us across the border into Iowa, for example. But mostly not, and mostly it worked out well for us all. We had some fairly different personalities in that troop, and yet I think most of us were pretty happy with being Girl Scouts together. Some troops turn out pretty cruddy, but I'm not at all convinced that that's the fault of GSUSA.

Aaaanyway. I didn't mean to turn it into a Girl Scout ramble. And there are all sorts of institutional things I dislike about the Girl Scouts, or things I think could be better handled. But generally I think it's a good organization that does a decent job for girls.

Look, I managed to avoid a United Way rant! Aren't you proud of me?

Okay, so. I said first thing that my day was pretty well laid out before me, and it still is. The library doesn't open until 1:00, so the order of it is even pretty clear. So, then. Off I go.

Back to Novel Gazing.

And the main page.

Or the last entry.

Or the next one.

Or even send me email.