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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, March 25th, 2015 12:39 pm
I've not been able to really sit and listen (read) your posts for the past few weeks: i miss it. After traveling and returning last Friday, i spent Saturday going over my scribbled notes from the air and reviewing satellite imagery on Google Earth trying to track down features. I learned about the "grand staircase," the layers of sedimentary rock that make up the strata of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and so many features in between. I learned about a Navajo council, and about pig farming on a massive industrial scale i can't quite imagine -- even though i saw it from the plane. I'm not sure why i spent all that time on understanding. I could write an essay now, but....

(Last night we watched an interview with historical writer David McCullough. How did he get started? He saw photographs of the Johnstown Flood and was dissatisfied with the books he found on the subject. I however have Annals of the Former World by McPhee to read,)

Flowers are still languishing in the fridge.

Sunday my brother was in town. He and i drove to Mount Diablo, picnicked in Rock City, visited the peak, and circumnavigated on the short Fire Interpretive Trail.

Monday i overslept, and then got a call from my mother. She went into distressed mode about her and my father's relationship with my brother's family when i mentioned i'd seen him. I eventually said, "Surely this isn't why you called: what's up?" and she went into a bit of distress talking about my grandfather's wife, my grandfather's will, and the great MYSTERY of the will. I am currently the chosen one to ask for the will on genealogical grounds because ... I'm not sure what folks are afraid of.

I ended Monday feeling wrung out, after all day working on a presentation of the work I'd done in Ohio the week before. In the afternoon i'd had some nuts, got a bit stuck at the back of my throat, and triggered coughing spasms.

Those haven't stopped.

Tuesday i presented and then designed and then was exhausted. I came home wiped out, stopping at [redacted] for [redacted list of calorie laden fast food] on the way home. The calories were consumed before i got to the door.

Today is a work from home day, and once all the intensity was over (5 pm Eastern time) i've spent time reading the internet. I'm still coughing and feel under the weather.

I'm trying not to think negatively, but all that comes to mind was how last summer, from solstice into October, i limped, coughed, and generally felt a pervasive sense of unwell. Do Not Want.
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Saturday, March 21st, 2015 06:12 am
I've been thinking about how i rarely write poetry, so different from my younger years. I scribble still, scribbled for hours on the plane yesterday as i noted my observations with the time so today i can go find out a bit more about what i observed (confirming my guesses or not).

But it's not poetry.

I chatted with Christine about it. "If a picture is worth a thousand words...." "Photography is far more efficient...."

Yes, but, i thought, pondering that maybe i have decided my experiences are not remarkable enough to capture, not insightful enough to share. I hope it's that my expression is satisfied with photography, but i wonder if a change has happened. Maturity: when you realize that there isn't a need to share? When you realize the aches are not so bad? That the exquisite emotion is one of a million others?

This morning, waiting for my computer to start from its power-starved state, i walked to the bookshelf and grabbed a book of poetry, A Daughter's Geography from Ntozake Shange. Later, in the loo, i picked up Naomi Shihab Nye's Honeybee. Ntozake's words from 1983 still need to be heard. Naomi's witness to the violence in the middle east looses no poignancy when i realize she's not writing about last summer's violence.

But then there's a poem about Naomi's mother, baking, and i think of my mother working in a bakery too, in that flurry of empty nest, learn skills to escape, effort. Maybe poems about my mother is where my writing should be. I look at my sister's photos sent from Saint Patrick's day dinner and - oh, my parents look so old. But more than the aging that seems to have happened so quickly, is my emotional resonance with how my mother's face is stiff with the "I'm smiling for the camera" smile and her eyes have the tension and stress that never seems to ebb away. I don't think the camera communicates that outside of my history and experience. Words might. Maybe.
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Friday, March 20th, 2015 10:46 am
Tuesday morning:

My flights to Ohio were not crowded, and all the travel went smoothly. Sleep was interrupted once, and i am not happy with the time switch -- but i am awake!

I loved flying over the west. I just spent some time trying to sort out what i saw. Flightaware rocks. They have a table of the locations of the flight that i could use to compare to the photos i took out of the window. These coordinates, 38.3606, -115.9783 are a volcanic field i think i've flown over before.

Wednesday morning:

Well, well, well. The TV got me last night. I stayed up far too late wanting the ... satisfaction? comfort? ... familiar feeling i get from wathching a streaming, add-free show of my choice. I hopped back and forth between Forever and Person of Interest and then ended up being frustrated by all the adds in Nat Geo's Building Wild - but i wanted to see the finished cabin.

Not turning it on again! I'll try streaming over the hotel network tonight.

Lastnight i found the second stink bug in the room. Presumably, they got in like lady bugs do. The first one i trapped in a glass and put in the hall. Last night one flew from the curtain on to the comforter on the bed, leading to a scream when i gave up looking for where it had flown off to and then discovered it virtually in my lap, a tossed glass of whine (ok, wine), and me bundling up the covers in what i hoped would be too much of a maze for the bug to escape.

It's cold this morning, 24°, which is a little colder than i was expecting. Monday night, iin order to meet my set point on the thermostat, the air conditioner ran, so i left it off last night. This mornning i've turned back on the heat.

So, the volcanic field appears to be Lunar Crater VolcanicField.

Friday morning:

I'm not entirely sure how i consumed my other mornings. This has not been the best week for me following the plan-the-morning-in-the-evening habit-to-be. I know Wednesday night when i returned to the room i was terribly spent. After an amount of blank staring, i got myself out the door to walk a bit: that helped significantly. 

Yesterday we spent time wrapping up, and i talked to my manager/replacement-of-me for an hour. He urges me to talk about my needs, but i don't think i have any he can address yet. (There is a potential waste of time meeting on my calendar that i may need to discuss.) We spent the rest of the time with me helping with background on a staff member who screwed up, our QA status, and some other things. I explained how i had done some house cleaning for him, getting the team to take on some responsibilities before i handed the role over. He expressed appropriate  gratitude. 

I didn't  walk after but sat at the hotel bar during "happy hour." A guy in a booth seemed to have his head in his hands. I think he was reading, but he sure looked lost in despair. A woman was in the next booth, reading. And that was it. No waitstaff. So i sat, and pondered my order, and may have strated reading my email. When the waitstaff arrived, he took no notice of me as he finished getting a plate together for the other woman. When i finally got some attention, i asked "So this is happy hour?"  Apparently, they get busy after happy hour ends. Given that there seemed to be no functional difference before and after -- no discounts, that is -- i suspect that the "happy hour" sign is to make sure people realize you can get alcohol at the same place breakfast and coffee is served.

Like i  did on Wednesday night, i streamed videos from netflix quite successfully. The temptation to just watch and watch was much stronger than at home.  On Thursday night i did a bit of knitting while watching, but wasn't particuularly comfortable.


I did find the difference in the two places i walked to be interesting. The first park was larger, and the birdlife was very active: a nuthatch hung around long enough for me to see it clearly,  a pair of hairy or downy woodpeckers were at a feeder. Birders pointed out the hairy (or downy, i can't remember) in the woods, while they hunted for the pileated woodpeckers known to be roosting. In the grasslands i flushed a game bird, observed many redwing blackbirds and robins. Plenty of sparrows and similar sang in locations where i had no chance of making an ID. Birdsong was rich and pervasive, with choruses of frogs around small ponds. I didn't see anything beginning to green up.

The other wooded walk is along the bluff of a small (but significant) gorge.  I heard a few birds, but only observed robins in the old cemetary and a large bird (probably a buzzard) roosting in a snag above the gorge. I admit, the sound of the falls could have cut into my ability to hear birdsong, but i didn't see any flitting. What i did see was small woodland plants getting ready to bloom.

time to fly

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Monday, March 16th, 2015 06:18 am
Friday was a rare "start the day at 6 am" day. I celebrate just how out of practice i am. I ended up reading a novel from when i stopped work into the evening, missing a number of plans, missing some meds....

Saturday i met a friend for brunch, which was lovely. We were having a quite unseasonably warm day, though, and the car was very warm as i ran errands afterwards. I wilted. At home, i just listened to an audiobook and (along with some time yesterday afternoon) brought a crochet project started AGES ago (is 2008 possible?) to DONE. It's a finished object! Woohoo! The sleeves are terrible, and i think it is about as unflattering as possible, but it's done. Next on my list is to finish a lace-weight sweater which is 98% complete.

OMG, Ravelry says "Started October 27 2007"

I suppose i should count this as a major victory. I've a great desire to finish projects up this year, and this is a good start.

Yesterday i cooked up some greens (kale, carrot tops, and spring onions) and then froze them for meals when i get back.

This morning started a little earlier than usual, thanks to feline misadventure, but since i am boarding a plane for Ohio mid-morning to head for a three hour time shift, i welcome the early start.

I've been dragging my feet all weekend on anything that looks like getting ready for this trip. I'm sure it will go well. I just want to stay home with Christine.
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Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 07:30 am
Oh, this time change and i are not getting along. That, and/or pollen season is affecting me at some soporific level, and/or i'm just tired.

This morning, delicious with rain, i haven't awakened until the pre time change time, despite the best efforts of my alarms. Admittedly, my alarms are not designed to jolt me awake. I have a recording of a Hindu chant (that was circulate as the Dali Lama chanting) that is a low drone. That is configured to start very quietly to slowly wake me instead of a jolt. It works nicely, usually, but this week isn't going very well.

I fly to Ohio next week and i am not excited about more time change.

Maybe there won't be pollen, though.

I checked the flowers from my Panoche trip in the fridge last night: they don't look much worse for wear, all things considered. I've not gotten out for a walk in days and haven't looked at the back log of images, and there are these blossoms that will not last! Please, please, motivation and energy, return to me!

This low energy is also making it hard to practice morning and evening habits, too. I am unclear as to how to proceed here, with travel next week. Habits are hard for me. I wonder if it's a slight ADD tendency.

Although, this reminds me of how i notice particular number and letter confusion and ponder dyslexia. A label doesn't help. Although... maybe in this case reading how ADD/ADHD folks manage to develop habits would give me insight into my own challenges.

But instead of going off and researching ("Squirrel!"), let me think: the main thing i want to do is focus on the end of work and evening ritual of listing things for the next day. Let's just set ONE challenge for these next ten days: end of work and end of day, tidy up the to-do list and schedule.
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Sunday, March 8th, 2015 06:35 am
One might argue that the time i spent grooming my Evernote tags (merging tags that meant about the same thing, making consistent the use of "." or ": and all caps vs lower case) was not so much procrastination as all i could manage thanks to the onset of daylight savings time. However, procrastination is occurring. I've created a yam for myself for no good reason, except that summarizing the State of the Meeting is daunting. Apparently i'm expecting a great deal from myself.

I have a nagging feeling that there is a third person to whom i want to send condolences. I dug the cards out last night, but i can't recall the third. THERE, flashes the memory. It's someone whose husband died unexpectedly about the same time Christine's mother died.

I'm just catching up, i think, from the winter with its additional blues this year. All the "ticklers" and "to dos" are in order now. There is a deep pile of physical paper and a backlog of email, but I'm nibbling at it. And if i did the procrastination-causing task, a nice chunk of emails would be covered.

I guess it's time to do that task. What foot dragging!
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Saturday, March 7th, 2015 11:59 am









I'm having a meta-productive day in that i'm going through stacks of random digital bits and entering things into my calendar and to do list. The stacks are getting smaller, but the to do list is not.
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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 06:48 am
One of the many things i have had to unlearn from my family of origin is the artificial sense of urgency. Heading out last Saturday morning there were multiple ways to depart.

Alarm goes off, adrenaline burst through the body, lights are turned on, clothes thrown on, and dashing about to take care of last details. That is how i learned to leave for a trip. Instead we had a gentle awakening, did the chores that had to be done without looking at the clock, and we left. Instead of getting into the car and feeling the adrenaline drain and a sense of exhaustion replace it as we turned onto the highway, there was no adrenaline so no exhaustion.

It wasn't as early as i would have left on my own, because Christine has more chores that must be done promptly and regularly. (Because of all my distractions, she does them, and i get chores that have much more flexibility.) However the sense of departure was much more celebratory and delightful. With the tumult in the atmosphere, clouds and sun and small squalls of rain, and the called for thunderstorms, all sunlight was going to be unpredictable. Rushing to catch dawn light wasn't worth the gamble.

The drive is broken up into four segments. First, 101 to Gilroy. This is half asphalt landscape and half the Coyote Creek and Coyote ridge landscape which is green and the first taste of leaving the urban landscape. We were deep in the shadow of the Diablo range to our east: sun danced on the tops of the Santa Cruz mountains to the west. In Gilroy, we leave 101 to take a road across the agricultural landscape of the valley. The soil is a beautiful black loam and fluorescent green seedlings dotted the long rows. There's much i enjoy in this stretch, but the road is notoriously dangerous. Christine drove so i could soak up the views of small San Felipe Lake and a nearby ranch dotted with beautiful oaks. Theres a gravel pull off near the lake, but not really far enough off the road to seem safe for scenic stopping. And we were driving through.

The third segment is an even more glorious landscape: the Pacheco Pass. I believe Henry Coe State Park and Pacheco State Park would be ways to visit that landscape, and as we drove through i questioned my fascination with this more distant landscape. Coe is a well loved place, though, and BLM lands offer some freedoms that State Parks do not.

And one can't help falling in love and fascination with a place.

Some day i will make those my destination. We continued on the last segment: I-5, the major artery of the state. Mustard fields and almond groves gleamed in the morning light. I recalled that we would be exiting through an almond grove so i bided my time, observing some past peak bloom, some before bloom, and bee hives liberally distributed at the edges of the groves. (Why not in the middle?)

First stop was the edge of the almond grove just before the asphalt ended.

Christine gamely kept going with the dirt road, not bringing up some of the roads i've directed us down in the past. First drove past the "recreation area" sign, where "recreation" seems to be heavy use of the area for riding motor bikes or dirt bikes. Next to the scars of treads was a vibrant orange carpet of fiddleheads.

These would obviously not be the rare forked fiddle head, so i gathered some for my studio work and took some photos. At home i discovered the classification for rare meant that they have very limited distribution and could possibly become endangered, but are not endangered at this time. Well, the ones by the road were.

Must start the work day!
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 08:21 pm
Complaining: I saw some linked article somewhere on Facebook about not complaining. I didn't read it but thought, yes, changing focus to the things to celebrate is a good way to engage with others.

I've now spent an hour documenting a bug to have the bug change from "error message generated, no action taken" to "no error message, bizarre behavior."

Can i complain now? Pleeeease? The complaint is more "I feel i am wasting my time in a quixotic pursuit of software working as advertised, and i'm frustrated" than the details i have spent writing up for the trouble ticket. Why do i feel compelled to inflict this state of mind on y'all?

Tagged "354" for 35mereld4 for Esmerelda: my archnemesis who causes bugs like this to thwart my goals.
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 07:31 am
Christine got a photo of me before i left for work yesterday for my mom. I thought i'd share.
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Monday, March 2nd, 2015 02:52 pm
I've done a bit of my birthday celebrating on Saturday with the road trip and fudge purchase and yesterday with lunch at an (overpriced, overchichi) oyster bar.

Today thoughts of thankfulness at my role change pass through my mind. While i did read about a stack of (male) people promoted to the role my Director asserted i should have, i am extremely thankful for the lower stress and the sense of calm i have.

An email came by about one of the horrible tasks i used to have: managing change requests. One couldn't delete a change request if, for some reason, plans changed and work stopped or what have you. I would try to recycle them so these inexplicable entries wouldn't clutter up the past. Instead i set them for the future. I always used my birthday for the month and day, and rather arbitrarily picked 2033 as a "far future" date. Someone posited i had picked my retirement date. I think the 2033 might be a bit young and 2044 a bit old.

Today we were asked if we needed these entries and whether they could be deleted. I affirmed, and got back the following message. There's something pleasant about having these deleted on my birthday, a reminder of how my previous role was so draining.

I deleted the following change requests:
CR                 Planned Start Date/Time
CHG0049514 2033-03-02 09:00:00
CHG0057327 2033-03-02 00:00:00
CHG0055751 2033-03-02 12:06:33
CHG0053450 2033-03-02 00:00:00
CHG0051264 2044-03-02 00:00:00
CHG0049210 2033-03-02 00:00:00
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Sunday, March 1st, 2015 06:21 am
So far, looking at the photos from yesterday, i am mostly muttering "What WAS i focusing on??!!" but i think the answer is, "USE THE TRIPOD." There are landscape images that are not as crisp as i have managed in the past.

I did bring the tripod but left it in the car.

Almonds in bloom

Almonds are in California news for how much water they take to grow.

Goldfields in Panoche Valley

Panoche Valley was not covered with goldfields, but there was a lovely stretch with enough to create this image.

Next time i 'll be smacking my forehead will be as i face the flowers i collected and realize i did not document well enough where i took my samples from.

I'm building the trip notes up in Evernote, but in short it was a gloriously lovely trip. There was weather, downpours and sprinkles, as well as puffy clouds and passes of sunshine. I had thoughts not to visit the BLM Access Road area in Panoche Hills, and am glad we decided to head up there to use the picnic table. We didn't use the table, but the flowers were wonderful.

For the California photo list i wrote that we, "Found carpets of goldfields, some asteraceae bigger than gold fields but about the same color, hill sides with fiddlenecks and phacelia. Some were on Panoche Rd (a dirt road which was fine for our car when we were on it this morning), others up in the BLM areas off the Panoche Hills Access Rd before the picnic/overlook spot. Looked like there had been a terrific fiddleneck bloom earlier and many were fading, but other areas were still lovely. The hills were getting showers while we were there. Other flowers - lupines, blue dicks, cream cups, tidy tips, owl's clover other asteraceae, variety of native brassicas -- sighted. Between the hills and I-5 the almond tree bloom was lovely, with petals coating the ground under trees. Plenty of mustard along I-5 between Pacheco Pass and Panoche Hills."
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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 the dress? I can see both. I'm pretty sure there are a couple of effects going on, but i can look at it and have it change like the old woman-young woman optical illusion. I suspect there's something going on with color and brightness constanciesin that the dress is unfamiliar (and perhaps ugly), the lighting around it is ambiguous, and one can "read" the photo as the white and gold dress in the shade with a bright background or a blue and black dress over-lit under harsh lighting.
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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.