elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, December 18th, 2014 02:36 pm
Tuesday was the promised meeting and announcements to wrap up the reorg -- but not quite. Apparently the current date is 5 Jan to make things official. (I typed "5 June" and then "5 Jul" before getting the date right. At least, i hope it was a typo and not prescient.)

Last night was the first night since my Sunday back spasm that i had a solid night's sleep. I awakened quite early, but it was on my own instead of after hitting snooze for 40 minutes.

Spent the morning sorting out morning commute options with caltrain & shuttles. I want to start taking them next year (maybe a few times the remaining work days). With the new job, new habits.

I'm a little frustrated with my low energy, but between the depth of the winter night and a few physical issues, i will not write off my hope that i will have more energy with the change in job.

Approaching death and various illnesses of family members )

So that all weighs heavily in these grey wet days. I welcome the wet, the dramatic clouds, but it certainly cuts into my energy.
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Sunday, December 14th, 2014 06:16 pm
"Why does God allow suffering if he loves us," was asked in ministry today. Suffering is due to attachment, i thought.

And framing and focus.

That is my experience, and in no way does it mean that one should not work towards justice or offer compassion.

There are some frames and focus by which this year has been horrible. Christine's depression is significant and seemingly ever present. My three months as an invalid seems like lost time.

And yet i feel lighter in my heart, and i don't think it's just that i have a new position at work. The work situation is improving. And maybe that's where this sense of gratitude and providence arises: my work life eased as my care for Christine became more significant. While i don't think my mother is "better," my sister has a new home where she and her family can live in joy and grace.

In other news, my back has been spasming with lower back pain all day. Christine's gone to get groceries so i unloaded the dishwasher. Ha, that wasn't bright. Probably should take comments about suffering from someone in discomfort with a shaker of salt.
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Sunday, December 14th, 2014 08:01 am
The failed install on Friday night still weighs on me. On the other hand, we had a delightful Yuletide yesterday, going to the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Mart. This is where there are dozens of vendor booths bringing greenery and flowers into the city. I imagine hotel and other venue buyers and florist shop buyers fill the place in early hours during the week. On Saturdays, it is open to the public.

We have breakfast at Bechelli’s Flower Market Cafe then wander looking for a wreath for over our fireplace/video monitor. Small ones, just the right size for your door, are bargains, as are all the snowball hydrangeas, cyclamens, and poinsettias you could want in all sizes.

I saw some wonderful, but not holiday appropriate, wreaths made of lichen encrusted bare branches. We liked them for their architectural qualities, but we agreed we wanted greenery. After walking store fronts noting the choices of magnolia leaves and conifer branch based wreaths, we went into the vendor booths and found this magnificent wreath. The guys who were making these wreaths between helping customers offered two prices, one 20% higher than the other. Christine blanched at the lower price which was a bit higher than i was expecting, but not by much. My memory is that we bought much more plain wreaths in previous years, and it has been YEARS since we bought a wreath. This one doesn't even need a bow, it is so decorated with sprays of various berries and cypress seed pods. I love the contrast of the grey green conifer with the gold-backed green magnolia leaves.

Over breakfast Christine had noted our usual source for fruitcakes was closed for renovations this year: could we find a California source? Some searching on my phone turned up sellers in Napa and Sonoma, but they were all mail order. Then i found a news article about California Fruitcakes (with some editorial and authorial debate at the beginning about who was the California Fruitcake) and discovered a bakery in San Francisco which made them. So after our wreath choice, i managed NOT to buy any other plants (theres a blooming cyclamen and cactus on the deck and the Lenten rose has buds). We wrangled a route through the Castro and Cole Valley to the Inner Sunset and Arizmendi Bakery (http://arizmendibakery.com) where we acquired two smallish fruitcakes. Then we cruised through Golden Gate park to the ocean, where we sat and watched some waves for a while.

We'd bought pizza slices as the bakery, but the garlic was far to potent for Christine. As she exclaimed with wonder that anyone could stand such an overdose, i reflected on her fondness for pepper and chilies - and the chili she made in the evening provided a point in illustrating the possibility to over do other spices with delight. Since she didn't want her slice, i ate them both, sharing a bit with the gulls and a raven.

In the late afternoon, we went to a gaming store in Santa Clara to pick up the D&D introductory set for a nephew.

All in all the day was delightful, with happy energy for both of us.
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Saturday, December 13th, 2014 06:38 am
So last night was an install, first one shepherded through by my new manager. It was helping him prepare that provided me with distractions and nagging worries through the week.

And we had yet another challenge-to-test integration failure with an external organization last night.

And so the software hasn't gone in.

And i am bummed about it.

(And of course i procrastinated in the afternoon.)


One of my many Philistine moments was at the Grand Canyon years ago. I believe i referred to it as a big ditch. *cough* Well, in captioning this timelapse video of clouds filling the grand canyon USA Today refers to it as a deep ravine.

At least i had the excuse of sleeping on rocks the night before and a day's drive from Los Alamos before that.
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Thursday, December 11th, 2014 04:11 pm
The Mercury News coverage of the storm notes that there's been unusually light traffic: my colleagues and i are part of that with most of us working from home today. It's wonderfully wet. One colleague was without power all day.

Christine withstood Edward's wheedling for quite a while, and there even was a point where we offered him out, and Edward stood, staring out at the rain, then returned inside. But he's now out.

I have been procrastinating a bit, as there is something large for me to understand, and i lost a week to bereavement leave. I'm helping the colleague who took over my role to do one of the painful tasks, and so those interruptions are playing into my old procrastination habits. However, i think this afternoon i pushed past the initiation barrier, and i should make some more progress tomorrow. I have also done something i never learned to do in grad school: i lowered my expectations for myself.

Now to sort out what sort of energy i have left. Christine is very blue today, and that certainly plays into my energy levels, too.
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Thursday, December 11th, 2014 06:09 am
Christine asked me to keep Edward in this windy and damp morning. He, however, is quite articulate and g78 [OK, his typing isn't so good] and he is making his desire quite clear. I am keeping him in for Christine though. I have a little wager with the devil on my shoulder on how long Christine will withstand Edwards plea.

Now he's sitting in my lap, my heavens what a big cat.

We went to see Hector and the Search for Happiness last night. It is incredibly charming, gently humorous. It's not particularly cerebral, but it's an intense journey. It seems to have been unnoticed, but the animations and other creative special effects create charm.

Skype better have paid them a bundle, is my only negative comment. And even then, that's not so much negative as just ... well, i suspect skype may become the generic for video calls.

Note to Microsoft: DO NOT RUIN SKYPE.
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 06:33 am
I'm not sure to where time is slipping away; it seems i don't have time for things i used to do. What have i traded? I am hoping i have traded the business with being more present with the cats and Christine, moments of quiet and affection.

Nonetheless, i end up feeling like i am just slower. How did i have the time before? (And i rarely visit twitter and facebook, so it's not gone there.)

I did take time to walk thirty minutes yesterday in the gloom. Plants and fungi are responding to the novel damp. Five different asteraceae blooming (four were weeds), and many mushrooms. I don't know them so i ponder whether some were just different phases of the same species, but there were at least four very distinct body types.

...like just now, Mr M is begging for scritches. His incredibly loud purr rumbles as he stands, leaning on his forepaws propped in the crook of my left elbow. Every few moments he reaches his left paw up to touch my face. I hope he's just asking for affection and that there's nothing else wrong.

Storm preparation warnings are still going out. I do remember some of the storms in the past ten years and, yes, they are storms that compare to the nor'easters i remember hitting Philly.

Things in the news that disappoint me: that Amazon warehouse workers will not get paid for waiting in line to be swept for merchandise theft, the torture report. It's not any new level of disappointment in the news, but today i mention it.
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Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 02:59 pm
Home on Sunday. Very tired. Made it through Monday.

Meanwhile, they bay area prepares for the Impending Storm of DOOOOM (since we have forgotten what to do when it rains). We have Flash Flood Watch and High Wind Watch ... OK, maybe it is worthy of paying attention: https://twitter.com/NWSBayArea/status/542223954237071361.

I actually took a walk during the work day. Yay!
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Saturday, November 29th, 2014 05:57 am
And then there's cat news.

Yay for the tracker, maybe? Last evening, as Christine played with the neighbor's cats, and i had done everything to rip up the bedroom except quite flip the mattress on my own, i looked up where Edward was. Across the street. And by street, i mean, two lanes headed towards the freeway and two lanes headed into town from the freeway. I think people are already on the freeway in their mind when they turn onto that stretch. I scampered across and looked for him, but no luck. I returned home and Christine caught my unhappy mein. We checked his location, and he was still in the vacant lot. Christine went out prepared to call me if she needed up to the moment tracking information, but she had the sense to turn on the "pager," a red and blue blinking diode.

I stayed at my desk getting a new position every moment, watching the location marker wander a bit in the field, then take a prompt and direct change tracing the route home.

Christine said the light made it easy to find Edward in the field, but that Edward did not like being carried across the street.

So, i'm not sure i like the knowledge that the times we've seen the signal across the street it was an accurate reading. On the other hand, instead of a half hour calling and wandering around fruitlessly looking for him, we very effectively brought him home.
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Saturday, November 29th, 2014 05:32 am
I'm sitting outside, just under the eves enough to be out of the rain. It is, delightfully, coming down like a real rain. I woke in the wee hours, coughing. We flipped the mattress last night, a chore we haven't completed in ages, and i think we kicked up some dust. My lungs are complaining. I've used the inhaler, played solitaire, drank warm egg nog, and listened to the rain from the warmth of bed.

But i'm awake, so i've finally surrendered and made tea.

And with that, i decided i really ought to get some delight out of this rare event.


We watched a delightful documentary over the past few days, Mona Lisa is Missing, a charming and very human documentary which also has very solid research.

In the evening we watched Saving Private Ryan. It was an excellent bit of film making. As someone who aspires to be a pacifist, though, i found the last words of the Captain to Private Ryan enlightening. "Earn this," says the Captain, where "this" is the sacrifice of the men who went to collect him.

I cannot stand with those who believe in the sacrificial Christologies; i cannot believe in a ledger where sacrifice, violence, and brutality are totaled up and that they buy something. That injunction is traumatizing, and carries the trauma into the generations.


Also, Nathan Fillion as Minnesota Ryan (the first Ryan found) is just great in over the top mourning for his brothers.


Oh, a killdeer is calling out in the darkness and rain.
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Friday, November 28th, 2014 03:56 pm
Dear Universe, thank you for slime molds, which i now understand to be really quite weird. Note, slime molds are not molds. Molds are fungi. Slime molds solve mazes.
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Thursday, November 27th, 2014 02:08 pm
Ferguson: http://qz.com/250701/12-things-white-people-can-do-now-because-ferguson/

I need to write my state reps about holding our highway patrol more accountable.


I got a little engaged with work as i journaled yesterday, but when i got to a "done" point and the clock said i could go, Christine and i popped in the car and drove to a winery in Half Moon Bay. Some years ago we'd been there with friends. She and they had done the tasting, and we'd bought a bottle of orange muscat that had been quite a treat. This time, we planned to buy a gift for a generous friend and i would get to do the tasting.

(Hmm, i wonder if the southeastern muscadines were named after the muscat grapes?)

The tasting was quite generous and a bit more alcohol than i am used to consuming. We bought a bottle of the sparkling wine as well as the black muscat. The server mixed them to a delightful effect. I think i may mix with sparkling apple juice as i don't think i need full strength wine for a good while.

Home via the grocery store, which i expected to be a madhouse. It was not; i think we beat the rush. (Also, every checkout isle was staffed.) The Dungeness crab were stacked a-plenty, and so i asked for one cracked and cleaned.

For dinner we had smoked salmon, dill havarti, dill, on cocktail pumpernickel. A treat! We'd planned a salad, but i was satisfied with that.

My sleep was disrupted by waking as the alcohol finally left my system; after a snack and water, i slept in. Nonetheless, i woke before Christine. I made my tea, called my parents and chatted as i picked the crab from the shell. When they had to go, i called my sister and sliced lemon for lemon pie, grapefruit for a citrus tart. I left voicemail for my grandmother and picked out pomegranate arils. The citrus and pomegranate are macerating away.

The day seems to be sliding away so quickly, but quite pleasantly. I watched Downton Abbey with Christine: my first full episode. Christine didn't mind stopping every scene (it seemed) to explain the backstory.

A walk awaits us ....

and we've taken it. We're watching a Thanksgiving episode of West Wing now. Dinner was crab stuffed crepes topped with pimento cheese. It was nice to do something a little special while maintaining our tradition of not feasting.

It has occurred to me that perhaps a wine tasting the day after my colonoscopy was not a good idea for being sharp of mind today.
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Thursday, November 27th, 2014 10:24 am
stained glass depicting a cup, grapes, and grain
Happy Thanksgiving
to those of you who observe
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, November 27th, 2014 09:24 am
Colonoscopy ended with a clean bill of health. Yay. I look forward to not having blue jello and sports drinks for another five years.

I am well rested and sort of goofing off today. We get to go early, so yipee! I am back to being giddy about not being in charge.

(Watches clock.)

Thank you [personal profile] firecat, Little Inferno was perfect for me during the prep day.

I'm still in love with Panoche hills, but wonder when i will go next. Holidays seem likely to be filled with people wanting to shoot guns. The trio we noticed with high powered rifles dressed in cammo with balaclavas was worrying for Christine. (Why a balaclava? I was wearing short sleeves? It wasn't by any stretch *cold*.) Fie.
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Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 07:25 am
"The railroad was tasked to build a line to Tres Pinos. By 1873 they made it to Paicines but did not wish to continue building more line. So in 1874 the names of the two towns were switched so the railroad could say they had fulfilled their commitment to build a line all the way to Tres Pinos."

This reminds me of some reports about work progress early on at the Whale. Then i was sputteringly incoherent. Now, I sigh.


Yesterday i was feeling restless after a breakfast with a friend. I came home, didn't feel like focusing, and rattled about. At noon, i came to Christine and asked her if she wanted to take a road trip. She did, and as we drove waves of sadness and tension would grip me. We talked, and i think that this is the beginning of healing i need to do. Now that the "emergency" that led to high vigilance and worry is over, the waves of relief and realization will be washing over me for some time to come. The stress energy can subside (if i let it). And that's one of the awarenesses i spoke to my friend about: i need to learn to be less intense, where the sense of urgency drives me.

That sense of urgency can drop away to a more realistic level. I need to take care not to just transfer the sense of urgency that i have carried so long to my new work, which i may have done on Friday (waking in the wee hours of Saturday morning thinking about shortcomings in someone else's analysis of a technology framework).

So i will have waves of grieving, i expect, grieving for how hard it has been, letting myself acknowledge that and let go.


Some links and POI about the area we drove through yesterday: notes )
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Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 06:31 am
Just had good sense prevail: what would be Singapore's likely stance towards my nephew owning lock picks? Yeah, probably not the right gift for Yuletide, even if he is a Houdini fan. Ah, the glow in the dark drumsticks: just the thing.


The white bread and lots of dairy diet urged as preparation for my procedure on Tuesday is not making me very happy.

I am also feeling "ought tos" -- i ought to be incredibly productive on all my personal things because i have the far less stressful job.

However, i need to remember that recovering from major extended stresses can take long times comparable to the time in duress.

I am going to go be a lump and try not to feel guilty about it.
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Friday, November 21st, 2014 06:12 am
Wednesday morning: So we have my Real® Boss, the person whom i reported to until yesterday, who replaced New Director. It appears he's still informally my boss. Then we have my manager, who was the architect until yesterday, when he took my role.

I'm still ecstatic, possibly too much so, too publicly. But there it is.

And i was delighted how my Real® Boss designated my new gig, saying i was filling the shoes of our previous architect.

Much cramming and learning stretches out before me.


Thursday morning: well, my manager seems quite interested in being my Real® Boss. Which makes sense. It's a change i hadn't really wrapped my head around, but so it goes. (Not a bad change, just different.)

We met for two and a half hours and spent the most time on talking about team members. I recognize that that the team is the first priority for a new manager, and probably a responsibility i didn't follow up as well as i would have liked. (At this point, i am noting the challenges at the time in doing so.)


Friday morning: you'd think i could hit post.

I'm sitting in our office instead of typing in bed. It's an experiment. I forget when i got out of the habit, but it's possible i've been stressing out Christine in the morning as i type. And it's the distress that she wakes with that has stopped me from posting as i focus on her.

Here's hoping a new habit will help.

I ended up spending the past hour fighting with my laptop, but i am now starting on a potentially six hour back up of all my photos. 536.9 GB at current rate of 31.13 MB/s ... less than five at this point, yay.

Work was lovely yesterday. The Thursday meetings were off my calendar, and all my work is new and shiny. I'm going to have to ask my boss about transition responsibilities because i do worry a bit about things slipping through cracks. Fortunately, one deadline has now moved out in such a way it should be easier to meet.

I dreamed of flying with a delightful ease, somehow catching the wind and being lifted yet easily directing myself. I can't help but think that had something to do with work, yet in the same dream, there was a bit of horrible sadness of finding some teens who had killed themselves by hanging in a lovely tree. What on earth, brain? It was my usual sort of dream, landscapes (lakes and eastern forests) and interiors of public spaces (a museum). At the exterior of someone's home, i saw drifts of cottonwood down and deer fur. (Do they shed? The did in my dream.) It would make a lovely felt, i thought. I don't think it was an unusual dream (from when i can remember) except for the sense of ease and flying.

What a relief.


I haven't noted about elephants mainly because Christine's withdrawn so far that the elephants are no longer an issue except on rare occasions. I hold her depression and anxiety as lightly and lovingly as i can.
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Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 11:45 am
"Ok. I think we'll be going a lot of talking very soon. Promise you won't giggle as you transition processy things to me?"

My new manager, as i send emails off to various folks asking to be taken off their mailing lists and asking for him to be added.

I was already giggling with glee.

"Um, can i just promise not to giggle where you can hear?"