It’s been about a week to the hour since I came home early from work. Greta got up to greet me. After I bustled around the house a bit, I noticed that she was standing in one place staring at me. I thought she wanted up on the couch but wasn’t feeling up to jumping so I lifted her up. She sat there for a minute and then oozed slowly off to lay on the floor and pant. Her tail never wagged when I said her name. That’s when I realized it wasn’t good.
I’m gonna spare everyone the hours of trying to get a hold of my husband while crying and then waiting for him to get home, all the while exchanging text messages with A. who had gone through similar stuff recently and was an excellent support. We got Greta to the emergency vet and they confirmed that her tumor had started bleeding into her abdomen. One overdose of anesthetic later and she was gone.
I miss her dearly. My house is too quiet while trash thieves and children on bikes pass unchallenged. My bed is too big, my couch too empty. There’s no (non-poop fountain) dog here to eat my carrots, cheese, and crackers. It’s been a rough, sad week.
I’m glad we have Zille here. Her solution to everything is “Throw a ball.” It’s a good distraction. And by god, she’s an easy dog, which is something you could never say about Greta. But I don’t think she could have taught me nearly so much about dogs as Greta. I’m a better person for Greta being in my life.
I’m going to end this three pictures that I think encompass how I’ll always think of her: Checking to see if the dinner I was eating was for dogs with her tail a blur of hopeful wags, snuggling with me on the couch, and telling boats to fuck right off. I’ll miss you, Greta-face.
Probably it will rain all day, but at least I can say I tried.
So instead of books, since I will be doing a lot of driving in the middle of nowhere, my question this week is: What songs are on your eclipse playlist? "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "The Sun Is A Miasma of Incandescent Plasma", obviously. But what else?
I have been working on the book collection, though! I went through and re-did my to-read lists, of which there are three: one on the library website, which has 300 books on it, of books the library has; the Goodreads one, which includes only books my library doesn't have and has about 250; and ~2500 owned-but-unread, so that's totally doable at my current rate as long as I never add any more to any of the three lists.
(Anybody want to be goodreads friends, by the way? if we aren't already, drop me a line. my gr is connected to my rl so I don't link it here but I will def. add people.)
Me and Mom also cleaned out the cookbooks over the weekend, which was fun! We both agreed on keeping the ones that had some kind of sentimental value to the family, of course. ( food, cooking, and diet as expressed in a collection of second-half-of-twentieth-century cookbooks. )
We got rid of about fifty cookery books. There's only about 200 left. That't TOTALLY reasonable for a family of two that cooks an actual meal at most twice a week, and usually from recipes we know by heart, right?
This is a book about the history of nationalism (and attending fascism/racism/nazism) within the Mennonite confession. A good book, but a hard read - both because of the academic writing style and because of the uncomfortable contents.
Too much of Mennonite history is presented kind of as a hagiography: look at all the ways our ancestors have nobly suffered over the years for their morals and their faith! I think this is an important reminder that we are not exempt from sometimes being really terrible too, just because we also have a history of having been persecuted.
Mennonites like to think we have always been separate from the world, but during the general rise in nationalist sentiments in the 19th and 20th centuries, many Mennonites went right along with it. Of course, what nation we were being nationalist for varied: are we German, or are we Dutch, or are we Russian, or are we our own Mennonite nation? The answer to this question swung in various directions depending on political expedience.
And along with the rise in nationalism came a decreased commitment to pacifism within the Mennonite community (at least in Europe), which was really surprising to me, but perhaps shouldn't have been. I've always been taught that pacifism is one of the doctrines that sets the Mennonite denomination apart from other denominations. We're one of the Historic Peace Churches and all! But among some groups there was all sorts of frantic back-pedalling from the historic association of Mennonites with nonresistance, arguing that if one is really committed to being part of your country then of course you must be willing to defend it (which means fight in your country's army, whatever that army happens to be doing, even if it isn't technically defense). Including one suggestion that doing so doesn't break with what the original Anabaptists meant by their pacifism, because defending your country isn't the same thing as spreading your faith by the sword. Wow.
And then we get to the Nazi era and the political expedient of what to be nationalist for swung more firmly towards being German. After all, we were held up as the Aryan ideal! More pure than most Germans, maintaining this purity even when living in diaspora! There's even this whole alarming discussion about how we were seen as the anti-Jew: a wandering people, but the good ones.
I've noticed some parallels between Jewish identity and Mennonite identity before, and it was kind of awful to see that the parallels were brought up historically by Nazis to support antisemitism, when that is the opposite of how I would personally use the parallels.
Of course not all Mennonites - not even all Mennonites who lived in Germany - repudiated pacifism or supported Nazism, but a really disheartening number did. I have a Nazi relative namechecked in this book, even. And Mennonites personally materially benefited from the genocide of the Jews, with land and other possessions. We were complicit in the atrocities perpetrated, and in some cases actively participated in the atrocities.
And then of course in the post-war period there was a whole bunch of denial of germanness (we're not German, because that would mean being stuck in post-war Germany and being held accountable, and we're not Russian, because that would mean repatriation to the Soviet Union and that doesn't sound like a good idea, so let's try out claiming being Dutch! And if that doesn't work then obviously we are our own Mennonite nationality!) as well as denial of any culpability. And Mennonites did a pretty good job of distancing our reputation from both of these things - I mean, the popular conception of Mennonites these days is of technology-avoidant North American farmers. And we did a great job of denying it internally too. Even now if you check out GAMEO (the online Mennonite encyclopedia), the article about one strongly pro-Nazi Mennonite I looked up says nothing about all his Nazi-supporting activities and instead talks about the many ways in which he was a wonderful person who did wonderful things. Gross.
It's interesting to me, the way that this book demonstrates a link between nationalism and the sense of being part of a global Mennonite church body. I've always seen the latter as a positive thing: instead of being insularly focused on other Mennonites who are Like Us, we are reminded of our connection with many different kinds of Mennonites all around the world. And I think it is a positive thing these days when we're actually willing to admit people of colour as being equal coreligionists instead of only counting the white people, but it definitely did not start with a goal I would personally find laudable.
Anyway, the book does manage to end on a positive note, which is impressive given the general tenor of most of the content of the book. It ends by reminding us that, as Mennonitism has had a multiplicity of shifting identities and priorities in the past, so it continues to change now and can continue to do so into the future, and we are not bound by the awful things Mennonites have been and done in the past - we can be better.
Which is a timely reminder, given that we are living in an era when Nazism is rising again. It's time to be better than our past!
This book's premise is that it fixes the horrific stuff that happened at King Leopold's hand in the Belgian Congo, with bonus steampunk. ( Read more... )
The F winner was Truckers, which is good, since I went from thinking about urban fantasy tropes to reading old Marcone/Dresden fic to reading all the Vimes/Vetinari(/Sybil) fic to reading all the Watch books to working on that prompt about the First Sedoretu of Ankh-Morpork.
(Finally reading Snuff was what convinced that that okay, Vimes could manage to be married to Margolotta, they have many things in common and also he can see in the dark now and she and Sybil as pen pals is canon, so.)
...which also explains why I still don't have any more reviews for you, oops.
But! We have made it to FMK #20! Which means another non-SF option! This week: Holmesiania.
How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.
I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.
Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)
( Poll: Chabon, Douglas, Estleman, Gardner, Gilbert, Hall, King, Kurland, LeBlanc, Meyer, Peacock, Smith, Springer, Stout, Thomas, anthologies )