Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Thanksgiving Dinner

22 November 2005

So, dear readers: a challenge. Your most awkward Thanksgiving dinner ever. I just told Rick about this one, which I rarely discuss for reasons that will become obvious.

There was a guy I dated on and off for more than a decade. Whenever we weren’t otherwise engaged, we’d go out. These days, I’d probably call it “friends with benefits,” but at the time it didn’t seem like that. We’d met at the ice rink — he had a pairs partner, and I ice danced with him. I wish I could say that we had the sort of intimacy that would come naturally by being held aloft bowling-ball style from the crotch, but it just wouldn’t be honest. There really is no ice-dancing equivalent except, perhaps, a torrid tango.

He had two kids by a prior marriage, plus, I later discovered, a third that he’d raised in the early years but who didn’t live with him. When he married his wife, she was pregnant by someone else. When they divorced, she got custody of the eldest son; he got custody of the younger two.

A few years after we started dating, his ex-wife was killed in an auto accident. However, his ex-wife’s family had invited him over for the holidays so that “the children” could all be together. Awww.

A complication, however: one of his ex-wife’s sisters wanted him. Badly. And it was not reciprocated. Her family was for this, because it would bring the children “together again.”

Could I please (he asked rather desperately) come play a serious girlfriend?

One of the things that annoys me about women is the way play the “I know so much about this person, therefore I must be more intimate with him than you” game as a competition sport — frequently seen as played by the outgoing ex-girlfriend or wife to the incoming — in part to compensate for insecurities they have about their relationship. However, in this case, I was being asked by said gentleman to use that power for good.

At first, the entire situation was quite awkward, because everyone was wondering who I was and how they could wrest me from my date, so I was peppered with questions, some innocuous, some not. Plus, of course, there were the usual quasi-intimacy claims, because they really had known my date longer than I, though not as well as they may have hoped.

I answered some questions, deflected some, and just stared at the questioner for some (dumbstruck that someone would ask me something like that). However, as time went by, they began to realize that a) I was smart; b) my date respected me; c) we’d obviously been going out a long time. At some point, I could see a look of resignation from proposed wife, at which point my date relaxed considerably.

All in all, it turned out okay, but it sure seemed odd at the time. I remember the oddest details: the place we parked our car (and how desolate that seemed), the trepidation at the doorstep, the look from his mother-in-law when she saw me, some of the knick knacks sitting atop the side table. It was a plain house, one that seemed to me to be entirely without joy.

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TextParty and Ouch

19 November 2005

I woke up this morning feeling completely wiped, hung over (I had a single glass of hard cider, which isn’t enough to do that), and I ache weirdly all over. I took a nap, but still felt fuzzy-brained.

All of this was the evening after a small TextDrive gathering in San Francisco. We hung out at Lucky 13 until the patio closed, at which point all but Adam headed off to Dean’s hotel, ordered cheeseburgers, and gabbed until three something in the morning.

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The Power of Grief

15 November 2005

It’s an interesting thing, grief. Bodies don’t forget, even when people do. Tuesday (the 15th) was the 9th anniversary of my first husband’s death. A lot of people thought I “should be over it” 18 months after his death.

If only.

It’s just not that simple. Every year, I get sideswiped by some day: wedding anniversary, his birthday, anniversary of his death, etc., wandering around feeling fuzzy in the head, sometimes ill, but not quite sure why — until I remember what day it is (or almost is). I still remember having to excuse myself from a meeting several years after his death when it suddenly hit me that it was Valentine’s day — and that Richard died soon enough after we were married that we were never married on V-day. During the time of that meeting, I had been re-married a few months, approximately the same amount of time Richard and I were married before his sudden death.

I still remember what Richard looked like, what he sounded like, and, most unfortunately, the feeling of abject terror when I realized he was having a stroke and one brain function after another shut down while I watched, helpless. I sincerely hope that will be the scariest thing I ever see (or feel).

This time, I’ve been in a fog for a week.

The good news is, the fog has lifted. It’s nice to have a functioning brain again.

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Galleys

15 November 2005

Yesterday, I got galleys for the paperback edition of Turn the Other Chick, so that should be out some time in the not-too-horribly distant future. Meanwhile, I’ve picked up another batch of hardcovers to take to Loscon.

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Super Happy Dev House 5

06 November 2005

Well, it was a blast. Had I known that our host would want us to take off our shoes, I would have worn wool socks, because it was pretty cold.

I got to meet a couple of people, including Andrew, who said that he’d come because I posted about the event on my blog. ::waves at Andrew::

Andy Smith did an apparently funny presentation on getting chicks with python. While I missed it, it sounded rather reminiscent of Don Marti’s essay on chickmagnet.org, except told from a man’s point of view vs. advice to a woman. Presentations happened outdoors on a huge screen.

I wound up showing off some hacking to Bill Lazar, though we didn’t get to do any pair programming as the setup space was already rather crowded.

I must say that David Weekly was an excellent host, as well as kind and generous.

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Women: the Technology Bell(e)wether

01 November 2005

When I first arrived at RubyConf, one of the first people I met said, “Wow. I think you’re the first woman ever at a RubyConf.”

Since there were six women at RubyConf, I can’t say as I’m the first, since we all arrived at the same time, really.

But, as I put it, “women are the technology bell(e)wether.” If you start seeing women adopting a new technology, it’s really about to take off.

So, bellewethers are us.

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