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)
Friday, February 27th, 2015 07:12 am
Just read this trip report to Panoche Hills from last weekend. I'm expecting a day trip now, but getting down there is higher on my priorities now. Deciding when to leave is going to be the challenge.

What color is
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Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 05:26 pm
In an online lecture recently, i heard a recommendation that James Spradley's The Ethnographic Interview was the book to read to learn how to ask the right questions: "Map before we meddle." So, through the miracle of ILL i now have this pricy little tome in my hands.

It's a book about doing. The first chapter is on locating an informant for your novice interview.

(1) through enculturation of the informant
(2) current involvement of the informant
(3) unfamiliar scene to the novice ethnographer
(4) adequate time on the part of the informant
(5) non-analytic (ie: not someone who will reply as a sociologist)

It's a fairly odd ordering, because i think the first step is coming up with some potential cultures to examine. I wasn't planning on "doing" but now I'm thinking i'm going to pursue an interview series about Twitter or Tumblr. I don't "get" those platforms, but i know them well enough to know they have their own language and culture that is different from LJ or Dreamwidth culture. I think i know people who are throughly enculturated who might be able to be non-analytic in their responses. (If you feel you are very into twitter or tumblr and would welcome being interviewed - do let me know! You might be one of the folks i have in mind, anyhow!)


One of the things i have found curious in looking into naturalist training is the "You must keep a journal" injunction that assumes paper. This ethnographic instruction requires setting up a notebook and keeping a record, but digital records in 1979 were far more terse than they are today. Current training though, surely must accept that a digital record with crosslinks and various different formats is true to the spirit with additional benefits.

I'm going to keep my field work journal here.

I've already blown the first assignment:
1.1 Make a list of potential informants (or cultural scenes). (...should list 40-50 possibilities)

Emphasis mine: I am so not going to list 40-50.

Heh: i listened to bits of a presentation of biases in decision making. I can see that this process offered in the first section is to help one avoid some of the biases and force one to make a good decision.

The one thing about doing a twitter study is that i get the sense there's a much broader ecosystem of twitter tools than there is with tumblr, and so i ponder whether there's a difference in language shaped by the tools.
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Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 06:20 am
I am pondering heading to the Panoche Hills this weekend. It's a two hour drive. Growing up, that was nothing to my parents, and their plan would be to leave at 3:30 am to be there at dawn.

I've thought about that.

There's a hotel that's reasonable for California off I-5 near the hills, and we could drive down there late on Friday. That would provide some together time in the car with Christine and a little sense of "get away" along with the driving. The campground i've looked at is about the same for two people: it's a price that only makes sense if one is going to partake of the hot springs.

The author of http://naturalhistorywanderings.com/ has been posting flower observations from the Central valley and desert areas and it seems like the Panoche area might be ready.

I find myself balking, thinking of photos from Thursday on the coast as yet unprocessed, of closer places, of searching locally for the fetid adder's tongue (a lily that seems to be a target of searching by California flower photographers). On the other hand, it's not a particularly documented area online, but fascinating.
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Monday, February 23rd, 2015 12:58 pm
Morgan, Colleen. “Where Are the Female Contemporary Archaeologists?” Middle Savagery. Accessed February 23, 2015. https://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/where-are-the-female-contemporary-archaeologists/.

Todd, Zoe. “An Indigenous Feminist’s Take on the Ontological Turn: ‘ontology’ Is Just Another Word for Colonialism (Urbane Adventurer: Amiskwacî).” Uma (in)certa Antropologia. Accessed February 23, 2015. http://umaincertaantropologia.org/2014/10/26/an-indigenous-feminists-take-on-the-ontological-turn-ontology-is-just-another-word-for-colonialism-urbane-adventurer-amiskwaci/.

So, for every time you want to cite a Great Thinker who is on the public speaking circuit these days, consider digging around for others who are discussing the same topics in other ways. Decolonising the academy, both in europe and north america, means that we must consider our own prejudices, our own biases. Systems like peer-review and the subtle violence of european academies tend to privilege certain voices and silence others. -- Zoe Todd
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Monday, February 23rd, 2015 06:57 am
Still not feeling entirely back, although it could be some combination of pollen and new glasses causing a mild tension headache, along with a sense of overwhelming commitments. I'm hoping today at work i can allay that with my organizational tools.

And i'm taking a moment to bask in the joy that work is not the source of overwhelming commitments at this time!

I don't understand why it takes me so long to get through my incoming email these days, although perhaps i am doing more Quaker business than i feel like i am. I barely have time to jot a journal entry and read any of your entries.

Off to the day! (yikes, late)
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 06:56 am
Being back hasn't really meant being back to a regular rhythm yet. On Thursday i saw there would be a negative tide just before sunset, so we took a jaunt out to a marine reserve just north of Half Moon Bay. Friday there were a variety of errands to fill the morning. Yesterday was a day with Quakers in Berkeley, and then an evening gathering at the meeting house. I had plans for this morning, but i am going to Stay Home.

I'm slowly making progress on identifying some of the critters & growing things from the marine reserve (you can see notes at Evernote or iNaturalist

Starburst Anemone (Anthopleura sola)

I wonder how a bud feels before it unfurls. My brain is feeling too crowded to reflect. I have worries about Christine, experiences and information about issues of racism discussed at the gathering weekend and during yesterday;'s Quaker Heritage Day, opportunities for photography, and joining a co-op gallery and work.
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Thursday, February 19th, 2015 12:56 pm
Home: delighted to return to Christine, cats, my teapot, my laptop, and California weather. I had gotten to the point where 25 degrees was warm.

Friday night Burlington NJ 8 °
Snow overnight
Saturday Burlington NJ 32 ° | 12 °
Sunday Burlington NJ 19 ° | 6 °
Monday morning Burlington NJ Actual: 15 ° | 1 °
Left for Trenton to catch train to DC noonish
In Trenton until 4:45 pm 18 ° | 1 °
Arrived in DC Union Station around 7:45 20 ° | 10 °
Ft Belvoir, VA late that evening after white knuckle drive in the snow event by Dad on hwy 1. (Wager that the interstate would have been cleared but whatever)
Tuesday Ft Belvoir 29 ° | 13 °
Wednesday morning Ft Belvoir 34° | 11°

Meanwhile, i think it was in the 70s here in the bay area.

The Quaker gathering was wonderful, meeting [livejournal.com profile] songquake in person for the first time, and seeing people i've grown to know from the mailing list and previous midwinters. I've been involved with the community for seven years now and this is my fourth midwinter gathering. It is impressive what warm community we build over such time and space.

The time with Mom & Dad in the DC area was lovely, yet revealed their continued stress. In the language of trauma therapy, they trigger so easily and stay so activated. Mom's cognitive capabilities are concerning. The second morning at the hotel breakfast, when we were leaving, she asked if we needed to go up or down. Is she so distracted and inside her head that she hadn't tracked our movements for the past three rides in the elevator? Or had she forgotten? We napped and talked and took a small walk, which was probably far more relaxing than if we had gone into the city for museums and such.

I listened to the Mary Russell series episode, Locked Rooms on the way out, some evenings, and on the train south. Last night on the flight home i listened to The Language of Bees. It is particularly interesting to listen to The Language of Bees because the first Mary Russell novel i listened to was the sequel, The God of the Hive, in 2011. Since then i have been working up from the first in the series, set in April 1915, to this story of August 1924.

I am reintegrating home slowly.
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Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 05:07 pm
Flight home is tomorrow afternoon. Wheee!
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Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 05:10 pm
In celebration news, i am very busy outside of work with Quaker-involved efforts in causes i care about. The Meeting approved adding our name to this statement on climate change, and as the presiding clerk when we did so, i feel bound to guide our meeting making a "meaningful commitment... to address climate change for our shared future, the Earth and all species, and the generations to come." This will be more or less challenging because there are some folks in Meeting laser focused on green house gas emissions and others focused on the large issue of "how to live sustainably and justly on this Earth."

Another issue is responding to the call for a vigil for Tamir Rice on Sunday 22 Feb. I was asked to come up with queries about "All Lives Matter," which meant a first step in addressing why that is problematic.

There's going through the minutes for the Meeting for worship and reports and decisions for the gathering this coming weekend. My personal inbox wasn't really ready for all the email this has produced and the many threads of discussion and meta-discussion.

Christine is presenting our poster to the first meeting of the Citizen Science Association this evening, which means she's been very busy. I've contributed a teeny bit of editing. I was giddy with joy when i saw her black and white draft on Monday night: she presents us in such a polished and clear way. I hope this evening is not triggering for her but a encouraging and warm welcome from a broader community.

Work is OK. Stress is lower. I've a little itty bit of resentment building with my New Manager that i am working to manage. He has an issue with my vocabulary (larger than his, apparently) and is creating a frame for others (most critically our product person) that "[Elaine's] communication is way over everyone's heads." While there is some important critique of my communication to which i need to respond, i'm also feeling a little like i'm being seen through someone else's projection.
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Monday, February 9th, 2015 07:30 am
I probably need a deep debriefing, but there's not time this morning.

Last week i spent time proposing that Meeting hold a Public Meeting for Worship on the night of the 22nd, in concert with other groups around the country marking the third month anniversary of Tamir Rice's death. I was chided for some of my proposal for a Usual White Error viz leadership and carried that heavily as earlier communication advices at work were also still weighing heavily: am i that oblivious, i wondered. By the end of the week, though, the chider had publicly apologized for misunderstanding me and she apologized to me in person. I value her thoughtfulness, so i am glad to find that i had not stumbled into the territory of the completely oblivious. (Although, i do think i wrote my original ideas out in a very unclear manner leading to the miscommunication.)

Meeting will be going ahead with this public witness, and i am glad. Two other folks are helping make it happen.

I clerked my first meeting for business yesterday. Early at the beginning the recording clerk had to nudge me to notice someone raising their hand. Ah, i don't need to just listen to those speaking: i need to listen to those listening! I noticed a Friends shaking her head in disagreement later in meeting, while a minute was being read. Ah, she has an issue, i noted. I kept her in mind as we approved, and was happy when she spoke about her concerns at the very end of meeting: she felt the minute was too optimistic but in the right direction. She felt more was needed.

Another point was realizing another Friend had asked a question and raised a concern that wasn't answered. The speaker hadn't heard her real question and was lecturing her. I interrupted, answered the question she had asked, and checked to see if that was the question. Later i checked to see how her concern still rested with her.

I think i did OK on my first time out. Friends were all supportive.

It was a short meeting for business, but it was plenty of spoons. But i had them.
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Sunday, February 8th, 2015 07:36 am
I am struck by how many of the Eurasian "weeds" are edible as spring greens -- and then i'm not. We've preserved our folk knowledge of survival skills in herbals over the past five hundred years. The pre-refrigeration, pre-canning desperation for fresh food after a long winter must have meant that there were hundreds of years of experimentation available for reference. "Yeah, we ate that last year and no one died." After reading up on henbit yesterday, i now have four rules for foraging unidentified plants.

1. If it's in the Mustard family, edible.
2. If it's in the Mint family and smells minty, edible. (My new rule)
3. If it's a seaweed, edible.
4. If it's in the Lettuce tribe (dandelion-like flower with all rays with five "teeth")

Henbit is an edible mint that doesn't smell minty, by the way.

All the plants i found yesterday were Eurasian, and so far only one, groundsel, is not edible.

I leave you with yesterday's oxalis:

Oxalis pes-capraeOxalis pes-caprae SS morph
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Saturday, February 7th, 2015 07:59 pm
Christine has had a rotten day, and her mood has been hard for me to escape. Dinner was a stew, which burnt in the pressure cooker, and i think she's called it a day.

I took a walk between downpours and sprinkles and collected a bunch of "weeds." It turns out Bermuda Buttercup, (Oxalidaceae) Oxalis pes-caprae, is a rare plant in South Africa. It's a hugely successful weed here. I took some photos of the pistil and stamens and noted curious structures. An image search turns up all sorts of discussions about the pistil and stamens due to the curious reproductive choices of the Oxalis plants: despite having both male and female structures, they cannot self pollinate. There are three different arrangements and cross pollination occurs with a morph of a different arrangement. Apparently it was very rare for the California plants to set seed -- i assume this is because the populations of morphs were not balanced. It turns out there's an article looking at this question in respect to the invasive populations in the Mediterranean.

Also, in more Plants are REALLY WEIRD commentary, not only do the morphs not self pollinate, but one morph has FIVE sets of chromosomes while another has THREE.

We're more closely related to slime molds and fungi than we are to plants.

So, we now have a mystery: why is a plant that can't set seed invasive? Apparently the little bulbs it set are very successful.
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Saturday, February 7th, 2015 09:31 am
I've looked at house prices in western NC and note that a down payment here could own a house outright there. A house with an acre, i note.

I find myself speculating: buy a house on an acre, plant a grove of pecans (Cape Fear and Gloria Grande). Maybe a few black walnut. It's not really ideal pecan climate now, but one could bet on global warming. Rent the place. Let the trees grow to fruiting stage. Retire and harvest pecans.

elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, February 6th, 2015 06:39 pm
Last weekend, i think it was, we stopped at the local Scandinavian furniture store that is not Ikea. A pair of recliners that shared a wedge shaped arm rest cum table caught our eyes, and we sat down. Wow, incredible! As Christine boggled at the comfort, i stood up and checked the price, inner troglodyte chanting "Take home now. Take home now." And then i boggled. One chair was well over $3 grand. The suite was... well, wow.

It certainly puts the four new tires and front disc break that the mechanic identified as needed today in a new context.
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Thursday, February 5th, 2015 09:04 am
There's nothing like kicking off a random listen to music on a device to make one aware of a really odd music collection. Kingston Trio was followed by Circle Jerk's "When the shit hits the fan." I can't help thinking that the protest thread is kinda strong.

n a sluggish economy
hits the land of the free
standing in unemployment lines
blame the government for hard time

we just get by
however we can
we all gotta duck
when the shit hits the fan

10 kids in a cadillac
stand in lines for welfare checks
let's all leach off the state
gee!the money's really great!

soup lines
free loaves of bread
5lb blocks of cheese
bags of groceries
social security
has run out on you and me
we do whatever we can
gotta duck when the shit hits the fan
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Monday, February 2nd, 2015 07:06 pm
Well, sort of random. I didn't like the first set of queries i rolled, so i rolled again.

Are there yams[1] i've eaten in the past day, yams getting cold on the plate?

Sunday morning i worked on an outline for the Meeting retreat, which wasn't quite a yam (in that i wasn't feeling completely avoidant) but it was something i'd passed over.

Right now there's an awful lot of email about an ad hoc committee i'm on for a national Quaker organization that is all tangled in my in box. I need to untangle that. It's also not quite a yam, but it seems a bit much. Our clerk is presenting a decision that i sense the clerk has strong feelings about.

Then there's a member of Meeting who has cc'd me for unclear reasons with unclear messages. It began with this NYT link via the NYT email share function and the following message:
"Sorry if this [the NYT website to which my email has been given?] spams you! M---- said she was not likely to see this [article?]. [Paul] Krugman gives more detail about costs. Ask if you want some of these [estimates or articles by Paul Krugman?]. There are also links [floating on the web?] to a recent climate conference at Stanford with political luminaries, and lots and lots of videos summarizing work-in-progress at Stanford [randomly available?].

There, i made myself parse it. I'm suspecting this person is continuing a conversation i did not attend last Friday and thought he'd include me. And now i've reread his second email a few times, and i think the author is basically reacting against what a perceived trend to argue that climate change requires a rejection of capitalism, and that to present such an argument is to risk alienating the capitalists in such a way that they won't address climate change. I'm pretty sure that presenting a book on rejecting capitalism as adult ed in our Meeting will have only the tiniest effect on whether large corporations reject working to mitigate climate change (my correspondent's verb).

On the other hand, now that i've parsed that email, i shall just let that committee do its work. Oh, and look, the book "On Capitalism" by Michael Spence has been emailed to us all as a pdf. I suppose there's some irony with the "all rights reserved" on the publication information page?

Well, there. I've dragged you through some of the almost-yam emails. I wanted to do laundry to night, but i am not so inspired.


Aiee! I'm clerking meeting for business on next firstday.

[1] http://elainegrey.livejournal.com/1041377.html?thread=1116129#t1116129
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Sunday, February 1st, 2015 05:01 pm
A blush of mental spring: I found a thread of mental creativity this morning and held on tightly. It wasn't until hours later, as i was following the thread, that i realized today was the cross quarter day. My winter, my "no" season, my fallow period is November through January. I'd rather it not be a whole quarter and instead from Yule to 1 February. The holidays take a chunk of time in there, though, and the light is noticeably short for me at this latitude from late October through the early part of February. So, honoring my own rhythms, i give myself leave to not follow through, stay at home, and so on, this dark part of the year.

And i think the rest works wonders for me. The way my thoughts were skipping along this morning, the sense of possibility and opportunity: it's a quickening like sap rising and seeds beginning to germinate.



I continue to reflect on changing the patterns of my day. This past week i've been lax with my somatic practice, so i want to renew that this week. What really strikes me though is a question about how to best use the morning energy i have: another question of following my own cycles. The read-write-plan bit just isn't working. Part is due to needing to also be present for Christine's grief, which hits her hard in mornings. Part is due to my sleeping later. I'm assuming without the adrenaline of the previous role, i'm catching up on rest.

Still, there's really not enough time for read-write-plan.

I'm thinking that i need to plan in the evening -- but there i need to take care. Planning right before bed can either catch my evening depression or activate a certain amount of adrenaline that makes it hard to go to sleep. Journaling is also something that might move to the evening.

I'm getting fairly good at a practice of tidying up my work to-do list at the end of the day: i'd like to do that with my personal to do list, as well.

Thus, an experiment for this week. Maybe this will lead to a more engaged evening for me, as well.
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Saturday, January 31st, 2015 07:01 am
Mr M is well over 15 years old. I met him as a sweet, large grey cat on 48th street who would walk with me from the trolley line to our place on Cedar in the summer or early fall of 1999. By the time it began to get cold and wet, we realized he was living in the shrub by our door. We bought a collar and stapled a note to his owner on it, and never heard anything back. We built a little shelter (that was probably less of a shelter than the cedar).

Finally, one November day, Christine returned home to find him at the door with a torn and bloody ear. We took him to the vet, had his health needs taken care of, and then he was our cat, to the consternation of our alpha cat Greybeard. As we had two cats, Greybeard and Greybrother, who came to us with their names, this was a chance for repressed naming to express. Due to his extreme affection, he was Romeow Montague. However, we quickly learned that he would bite and scratch on the turn of a moment, and thus his full name became Romeow Marcel DuChomp Montague. (The Museum of Art in Philadelphia has some fabulous Duchamp pieces.) As that is a bit of a mouthful, a delicious mouthful that rolls around quite nicely, but a mouthful -- he's Mr M.

My memory is that the vet who first saw him said he was at least three. thus, he is at least 18. Some random chart suggests we should compare him to an 88 year old. He's no longer The Interloper receiving swats and glares from Greybeard, but the Senior Cat. Edward expresses respect towards him. Greycie will acknowledge that he is "chasing" her, even though she bounds down the hall in one long flying leap as he fast-walks after her in a stiff slow gait.

In recent months, when i sit on the couch he will stand next to me, one paw in the crook of my arm for balance, and he reaches his other paw at my face while engaging in the deepest, most rhythmic of purrs. He'll pat my nose or cheek. I think he wants pets back, and he gets them.

He has also become absolutely addicted to whipped cream. He's always had a sweet tooth, as the video below will attest, but now he is attuned to the rhythm of the evening so that when Christine or i enter the kitchen after dinner is over, he stands in the door, reaching his paws up: "Gimme my cream!" As he is clearly arthritic, with a stiff gait, the change that comes over him at the promise of whipped cream is all the more remarkable.

He's receiving care for a variety of health issues, and he has not seemed like a butterball for some time. Little Old Man, we are more likely to call him now. His coat is getting matted in odd ways. Nonetheless, he's still a vital member of our clowder, and i thought i would share him with you all a little more deeply this morning.