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Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 06:09 am
Daily journaler is seeking other daily journalers. I'm looking for other diarists that share some aspect of their daily life, whether it's limited to a narrow aspect of creativity or concern or is wide ranging. The diarist should be open to reading my entries and ideally is already reading the entries of folks in my circle.

ETA: Diarist should have high tolerance for typos.
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Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 08:52 pm
This is an exercise that is supposed to help one develop and maintain a higher amount of happiness as explained in an online course i took last month[1]. EXERCISE: Think about your best possible self. Imagine yourself in the future, after everything has gone as well as it is possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all your life goals. Think of this as the realization of your life dreams and your own best potentials. (I'm going to look ahead to the end of this summer.)

I am on the train, returning from work. The walking and the use of the standing desk was tiring at first, but now i have stamina and strength. I am using the time to relax and unwind, so that when i get home i still have some "steam" for ... well, if it's Monday it's writing up or developing photos from the weekend, if Tuesday it's laundry and other housework, and if Thursday it's time to catch up on Meeting email and so on. It's been a full summer of a California in bloom. I've visited Panoche Hills many times, finding some of my target plants, collecting samples i've brought home to photograph, and some lovely nights under the dark skies. The Meeting community is experiencing the heightened sensations that come with change: some are anxious, some are excited. I wonder if after a year of looking inward, preparing for this change, the Meeting might have energy to spend outward. Christine's elephants have shrunk, and we have plans to take some of the California "bucket-list" trips. Coming up next is a trip to LA to visit the MASH filming site and some of the art museums. Work is going well, and there's a good specification draft circulating in the professional community. I feel confident that my contributions are valued at the home office.

[1] Lyubomirsky, Sonja. “Be Happy.” MOOC, The Big Know, January 2016. https://www.thebigknow.com/.
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Sunday, January 31st, 2016 07:13 am
I figured this would be a mistake, but i thought i'd try it anyhow. Very
dark brew, not particularly flavorful. Wonder what makes it an American
breakfast tea? Look at the ingredients. *facepalm*

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 06:22 am
Email to my sister after a phone conversation about Emotional Labor:

I do have a "Ha!" moment reading this, when it's alleged that it's just men who don't know what emotional labor is. For Mom's generation, it was just what being a woman was about. Christine's been reading David Foster Wallace and shared his This is water essay with me (See
http://faculty.winthrop.edu/martinme/Thisiswater.htm; there's a nice book form.)

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"

Emotional labor is the water of a woman's life in patriarchal culture. Now that we can name it, we can see ourselves swimming in it.

Very nth wave feminism. I think about the advice i got from the women with tenure in the physics department at Penn and smile. What is the quotation? The tide of justice is inevitable? Hmm, the internet is not helping me this morning.


There is one thing in the discussion that i wonder about, and that is house cleaning. It comes up in the sharing of chores and in the resentment expressed in the emotional labor discussions. However, part of a clean house is that has been how a woman has been judged for ages. My last twenty years or so i've wrestled with finding the line of where cleanliness is a true desire and where it is a social imposition. I suspect many women have been as acculturated by their mothers as we were for a cleanliness standard derived from ancestors who were servants in great homes (Mom's grandparents), the military (Granddad), or folks who had their own servants (Dad's grandparents). When is cleanliness a sort of conspicuous consumption (Downton Abbey and i have the means to keep this giant house clean) and when it a health and comfort thing (asthma, dust: hmmm)? It's hard to go against the conditioning: it's rebellion against something that has represented a valuation for ages. But is it all this cleanliness a luxury? How much is an engine of consumption (witness soap operas)? Women in the US are sold over and over cleaner and more sparkly and more lemony: how much polish is necessary to protect an investment, how much is pride?

I don't know that i've found the line.
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Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 04:35 am
So, what is going on with me:

1) Lingering sinus headaches and a feeling of tiredness. Depression? Maybe. I woke a little before 4 am this morning feeling more mentally clear than i have for a while, though.

2) I've been taking a "Be Happy" course-ette sponsored by my health plan. Read more... )

3) I've been using a tool called moodscope for well over a year. Read more... )

4) I realized as i was trying to fall back asleep that i am stretching myself in two places at work, at meeting, and two places at home. At work, i am involved in two conceptual designs for metadata. I realized just how much i am avoiding my feelings about these two projects because there's both exhilaration and a whole swirl of insecurity and fear. At Meeting, we're reconstructing the structure of the community, the committees that structure how we interact. Insecurity! At home, i have had a to-do to request permission to collect plants on BLM land, and to submit photos to two different gallery calls. Insecurity! Fear!

I am NOT going to question whether i haven't really been sick, just caught up in insecurity and fear. That's not productive

And i suppose recognizing the fear and insecurity for what it is means i can be more compassionate with myself instead of chasing myself in circles as i try to approach and avoid at the same time.

--== ∞ ==--

Looking back at what i was writing last -- the lot in Pittsboro became far less attractive when it turned out it was brick veneer over a "log cabin" -- and not one of those 1970's log cabins, either.

Christine was trampled a few days more, but she's been doing much better since. She's composing music for her sister's documentary film as well as working on a book review, and the Hyundai is back for sale. The truck & the DMV are almost all sorted.

I've sprinkled some days off in the weeks ahead. This weekend will be four days off and i will resurrect the china project (and write the BLM and submit the photos!).

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Monday, January 18th, 2016 05:52 am
Both boyos - our two orange cats Luigi and Edward - have gone walkabout this wet morning. Edward usually goes out, but he was hesitating when confronted with the wet. I left the door open and went to the deck, where i slid the glass door open, the familiar sound reverberating in the morning silence. The boyos stayed considering the wet until they heard Greycie Loo's bell jingle as she trotted down the hall. Dash away, went Luigi. Edward gave one look back and followed.

I made tea.

Once done, i stood on the landing for a few minutes, listening. My eyes picked out a planet bright above me, and a satellite crossing -- i thought, but the approach would be wrong for a pre dawn illuminated satellite as our landing faces west. It winked out overhead, but that must have been the clouds thickening. Hmm.

The yard was filled with the sound of dripping water and steam rose from my teacup. We'll give them some time out and about. I hope Luigi has the sense to come home promptly, so Christine's day does not start with cat worries.
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Sunday, January 17th, 2016 06:21 pm
That weekend slid by without much resistance. I woke Saturday with some sinus thing, and after putting in a few hours help at the Quarterly Meeting, i was back home, dozing and napping the day away. I slept late this morning too.

Christine's elephants are trampling her down right now. I know she eventually comes out on top, but she's not where she remembers or believes that.

We're moving offices at the end of the month, so things are coming home. The photos of her from my desk have such a lovely smile: it makes me realize how long it's been since i could take her smiles for granted.

There's some grief.

I woke to my parents calling: they had driven out to look at a .6 acre lot near Pittsboro, NC i'd seen on Zillow. It's selling for half the "Land Present-Use Value," with some comment that the house may well be bulldozed. Dad was saying it was worth it just as a cemetery. (Don't ask me: he's got some interest in buying land for his forever after resting place and not investing in a cemetery lot.) They think the brick exterior looks in good shape. One is left with a "what's the catch" sort of feeling.

We did get chores done this weekend, so that's a win.
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Friday, January 15th, 2016 07:13 am
One thing i learned yesterday was a certain broken-ness in policy. Essentially, we punish corporations far more for unwelcome interruptions (phone calls, email, sms) than we do for exposing our personal information to others. I realize it's due to the question of "what is the harm," and it's clear what the harm is when we have been bothered. ("Hey, you bothered me!") With exposure of personal information, there's potential harm, but it's not certain.

This aligns with something i heard a year or so at an "internet law" presentation. What with all the data breaches that have happened, proving that it was a particular data breach that let loose your private information is hard. Thus systemic harms accumulate, placing more burden on individuals to vigilant against identity theft, driving up other costs, etc.
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Thursday, January 14th, 2016 04:52 pm
Yesterday was a Quaker day - midday Nominating committee meeting, evening Care & Concerns. I attended Nominating because the committee was going to grapple with some of the changes that are being proposed, and as associate clerk i showed up for the other.

We had a somewhat challenging issue brought forward, mixing race, mental health, gender, aging. YOICKS.

I was home lateish for me and was up this morning barely in time for the 9 am Eastern PrivacyCon. Which then started somewhat late. Distance attendance had me more engaged with others than if i had been there in person, thanks to twitter. The twitter space was far more diverse than most twitter conference threads i follow. Ah, diverse politically and indignation wise, that is: there was the guy who was indignant that no non-researcher engineers were presenting research papers, the "any regulation is bad" crowd, the K Street shills pushing their "Privacy Panic" paper every hour, and a bunch of Pro Palestinian (i think?) protesters. Universal snark when the FTC apparently sent an email to 900 people, with all the email in the To: field. The FTC speaker apologized first thing.

Listening (when the stream wasn't stuttering) and reading privacy papers all day, particularly without my usual slow transition from sleep to engagement, has me all brain-full.

--== ∞ ==--

Meanwhile, Christine is getting the truck smogged and the title for the truck straightened out. Our mechanic had NOT smogged it and she's quite cranky about it. Hrm, looks like it is the seller's responsibility: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/vr/smogfaq#BM2537 .

--== ∞ ==--

I had about a half hour in the car yesterday to listen to Seveneves, thanks to the committee meeting. I'm not sure i can buy the seven races narrative: just because your family has a grudge against another family rarely seems to create a barrier to the next generation's inclination towards procreation. (Apparently geneticists don't buy it either). I don't spend that much time listening -- one to three hours a week, i suppose, given my variable number of days with a commute. I've three unspent Audible credits and other un-listened to books.
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Tuesday, January 12th, 2016 08:46 pm
I don't quite know why i haven't written.


Let see: we bought the truck, we're in the process of selling the Accent. We had it detailed, and Christine posted it to Craig's List. We were slammed with folks who wanted to see it -- then Christine realized she'd calculated the bluebook value for a car two years older. At the higher price, everyone was scared off. She realized that she ought to get it smogged before selling and deal with tags and all sorts of details. So, Helen on Wheels isn't gone yet, but will be soon.

I spent a great deal of time virtually in Death Valley, reading reports of the 2005 flower bloom and then realizing this year may be just as amazing. A friend and i have been talking about going: we now have our hotel reservations and I've two different photographer's guides to Death Valley requested from the library. I chose the weekend closer to the new moon, and i've checked when and where to see the Milky Way.

I'm quite excited!

--== ∞ ==--

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business went well on Sunday: we are asking Meeting to consider taking risks and changing. The process has been well handled: i think people are ready to take on change.

--== ∞ ==--

I've had many thoughts about making patterns for spoonflower. I realized i could make a pattern collection using the "native" color palette and then make a variation with an "on trend" color palette each year. The "native" palette could persist, while the trendy colors could be retired. Complimenting the patterns could be a pattern of quilt squares that used more photo-real images (such as more complete images of redwood trees, or details of bark and so on, without the adaptations needed to make seamless repeats. Another complement could be a photo-real border, like a horizon of trees.

Meanwhile, i am procrastinating on exporting photos from lightroom to submit for two gallery shows. Some sort of anxiety blocking me there.

--== ∞ ==--

Tonight i finally got to the Seven Eves part of Seveneves. I had a very hard time listening to the politician in the second part of the book. Had i been reading, i am sure i would have skimmed the dialogue, just enough to register the creepy twisting of reality. Listening, i had to experience all the creepy twisting dialogue which i found depressing.

While the narrative features constant digressions to explain physics to make everything very concrete, i realized that how the robots convert the iron of the asteroid into manufactured iron was NOT explained. The little iron foundry did not get a digression. Or maybe it was so far at the beginning of the story i've lost track -- but i really don't see how the little robots made the iron wall.
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Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 01:10 pm
With the rainy days we can open our south facing office windows without bringing about The Sauna. As i gazed out at the skyscape -- backlit, unlit, and side lit clouds playing dark grey to bright white -- i missed the Zeppelin. It very cool to have near by: a distinctive hum as it came over our house, and the sight of it cruising up the peninsula with passengers.

But clouds and rain have been much missed, so i welcome the grey. The bay area -- inland from the marine layer -- never seems to have unbroken flat grey days as i remember from the east. The sun is breaking through for a moment, streets glistening.
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Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 07:15 am
I dreamed office HQ was eight hours of driving away. Did the basin and range and the rockies disappear? At least dream geography got I-80 correct.

My new year is in the spring, the beginning of March with my birthday. I've tried to use January and February as a dreaming time, a time to evaluate and set course. I'm not sure i want to change course this year, though.

The Elephant in the Room has been an overwhelming aspect of the past few years. We're in a phase where Christine is slowly assembling a vessel from shattered pieces of the past. I can see the progress, remember when all there were were shattered pieces. I know she's making progress, but it's still a difficult task.

I note that, because i feel aware of how the antidepressants i use cut me off from a treasured part of myself. Maybe i will see about reducing the medications, replacing with caffeine as necessary. Still, i make significant effort to keep an even keel with the Elephant in the Room shifting its weight unpredictably. I trust that the antidepressants keep my resources available to me and provide a type of predictability.

The focus on building habits, finishing projects, releasing the things we've accumulated that marked last year still seem valuable. I can't help but start new creative efforts, but the scope seems more focussed.

One lesson of the past year is that i am incredibly challenged when it comes to developing habits of doing things. I think it was a year ago i tried starting some basic intentional habits of the sort that most people have had since they were small children. I must still make a conscious effort.
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Monday, January 4th, 2016 07:04 pm

TL;DR? Group tries to create a libertarian paradise by selling land they had no right to sell. Buyers sad and hope to regroup and move forward.

So, is this really the libertarian response to getting scammed? Oops, i should have known better. Oh well, lesson learned? My responsibility.

I'm kinda admiring the consistency.
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Saturday, January 2nd, 2016 03:37 pm
We live walking distance from Google's headquarters (perhaps a long walk). Between November 2014- November 2015 the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro region had 5.1 percent job growth, second largest in the nation. We're just north of Sunnyvale in the run-together sprawl that covers all the flat areas around the bay. In May the median house price in the county was $900,000, which reflects the 60% growth in housing prices by the year's end. "Among counties with a population of at least 1 million, those with the biggest increases in rents are Santa Clara County, California in the San Jose metro area (up 9.3 percent)." If our landlord increases the rent by the same amount he has the past four years, we will have had a 50% rent increase over our 2012 rent. From news about the rent control wranglings at city hall, this is common in the area.

Against this background, two of our neighbors were given 60 day notice. Their respective landlords have renovated the units to increase the rent, the unit next to us doubling. Listening to how hard it was to find a place with pets led us to realize we should decide what we would do it it happened to us. We looked at places and thought about it for a good while and decided moving east was our answer.

We have family back east to whom we'd like to be closer, and we've been thinking about that too. We've come to the conclusion that we want to move in a few years, anyhow. Currently the line in the time-sand is when a friend of mine retires from work.

Right now the biggest uncertainty is whether we'd be moving to the HQ of my current employer in Ohio or to be near our family in and south of Chapel Hill, NC. That can't be decided until we determine whether my employer would let me telecommute. If they didn't, we still might move to NC: there are plenty of attractions there.

So moving has become an undercurrent in our thoughts in the past months. Where would we like to go before we leave California? Is this purchase something we'd want to move? Something we'd want after we move?

--== ∞ ==--

We drove by our mechanic's today so i could get a look at a pickup truck he has for sale, a 1998 Ford Ranger XLT. (I think it's an automatic with inline 4.) We really like our mechanic, T---, and he'd bought the truck for his son. This helps me believe we will not be committing the same expensive infatuation mistake we did with the Wrangler. His son just happened to be pulling up in his HUGE four wheel drive black shiny -- did i say HUGE? HUGE. lifted RAM truck. I can just imagine the offhand comment from the son. "I think I need a truck." And the father finding just the thing: a practical, decent gas mileage, reliable, durable vehicle with low mileage. And the son saying ... what? "Thanks Dad, but that's not really what i had in mind." Christine asked him, "So what do you use it for?" Christine said T--- Jr got this funny look on his face like he never really thought he needed a reason to have such a vehicle. "Getting around mainly, going to Tahoe this weekend," was the eventual answer.

Pfft. If that was my vehicle i could go *anywhere* in the Panoche Hills. I can't imagine the place where you have to ford the creek ever being as high as that vehicle was jacked up.

Christine says she'd feel better with me driving the Ranger in the Panoche Hills than our cars. It does have better clearance. The gas mileage is comparable to my commute car, and i'm planning on taking the train more, anyhow.

So, i think we'll get the Ranger.

Which means we'll need to find a name. I'm thinking Liandra, the Ranger ship in "The Legend of the Rangers." We advertised the show by having our then commute car, a Jetta, wrapped in an advertisement for the pilot.
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Saturday, January 2nd, 2016 12:57 pm
Our deck is crowded with plants. I've tried in years past to keep a log of the state of the various plants so i can know how old various plants are, how long i've had them. Last year, though, i did not care for the garden the way i have in the past. Some of the distraction and disinterest is becoming so interested in wild flowers and wanting to photograph them. Collecting from the vacant lot had more attraction than tending the garden. Thoughts of moving and of the drought also became a block in my thoughts about the plants. I've been distancing myself.

I do have a collection of nasturtium pods that have been sitting in brine for six months. I should pickle them and perhaps start another collection of pods. The lemon tree has done beautifully -- i ensured it was well watered with whatever shower water or vegetable rinse water or what have you.

I suppose sometime when it's a touch warmer outside i should do a purge of plants, or perhaps i mean consolidation. I suppose i want to practice shaping the geraniums, testing what pruning and wiring can do as i dream of making espalliered and hedged plants.
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Friday, January 1st, 2016 06:38 pm
Cutting out more branch bits, figuring out how to effectively
"posterize" them, simplifying the color palette and allowing me to
replace with the color of my choice. This seems like it could be the
beginning of an interesting pattern with the needles in circles of
different scales and different colors. I'm also imagining a
herringbone-ish pattern and a random "leaf litter" pattern I think i
need more diversity in my shapes, but i'm more confident that this isn't
going to look a mess.

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Friday, January 1st, 2016 05:55 pm
Our living spaces have become overrun with projects in the past year, and i'm not sure we're motivated to change that. I can't imagine how the space hits someone who has never seen it: i suspect they would be hard pressed to make sense of it.

One gap that may make it hard to make sense of the space is that we did not have the standard living room seating: we were making do with some very comfy desk chairs and hassocks. We had two couch disasters in a row, and I felt dread at the thought of finding something. There's also the sense that we may move across the country in eighteen months or even next March (if we get hit with the 50% rent increase that is becoming common in town). Why not wait to buy in the east?

We now have a recliner and a comfy chair -- and a fourth hassock. A neighbor is making way for a new child and listed them as available. They're worn, but apparently the slip covers for the arms have never been used so the most worn parts are covered. Christine has dozed off in the recliner, with Greycie Loo happily in her lap, so that works.
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Thursday, December 31st, 2015 07:42 am
Oh, fiddle. I still have packages to pack up and send.

Oh well.

--== ∞ ==--

I'm reading M Train by Patti Smith, terribly jealous that she's written something so beautiful. I could write like this, i think, and wish i took more time writing. There's a class in memoir writing at the public library that i've just discussed taking with Christine. (Turns out she has purchased "The Art of Memoir" by Mary Karr.

Maybe i should just write.

I'm thinking about writing through the apartment, just seeing where objects take me.

--== ∞ ==--

It is NOT the last chance to help all the worthy causes in the world. We try to make our contributions monthly and ARGH, i am sick of end of year pleas.
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Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 01:00 pm
Still listening to Seveneves. Not much progress as commutes are blessedly short right now. I think i'm past the parts where Ivy is having to struggle with her apparent leadership failures, as the Earth is now "gone." The issue of women in leadership positions and appearances comes close to a sore spot that isn't healed. So, i'm back to enjoying it. I wonder how long the book would be if Stephenson didn't instruct you in every detail. Instead of going over the various types of radiation, the various ways they interact with matter, etc and then explaining the concern of the captain, etc (while also explaining how reading logs works), the narrative could have us inside the cabin by now!