elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, June 18th, 2017 06:47 pm
So, just to assure [personal profile] randomdreams that his experience with Ailanthus isn't unique, there are small sprouts coming up everywhere in the septic field. Copper sulfate in the line hasn't discouraged it at all.


Mimosa tree seedlings are everywhere, as well.

There's a cluster of non-native thistles beside the road maybe a quarter mile away. I so want to apply a flame thrower. And the neighboring lot also has a big patch of vinca.

The latest issue of "Conservation Gardener" from the UNC arboretum has an introduction from the editor that described their battling with invasives on their small patch of North Carolina. The challenge was observed, the drop-in-the-bucket-ness, but the editor concluded that it's the way forward. Everyone doing their bit.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, June 18th, 2017 11:13 am
I've spent some obsessive time developing filters for my personal email. I had had filters, but many were made long enough ago that i didn't really know what they were doing. I tried to name these more clearly. Meanwhile, in my "miscellaneous" folder i had 200 journal comments i meant to reply to, some from a year ago. Um, not going to happen - i mean to reply, but i think it's better to work on going forward, not the past. So all those went into the archive and now i "only" have 100 emails lingering.

More on digital backlog )

Friday evening i took Carrie over to my folks so she could run in their pasture - and run she did. Mom committed her usual "here, take all this" but this time the book was one i remember dearly from childhood: Euell Gibbons' Stalking the Wald Asparagus. I didn't know until just now that he was a Quaker, but the resonance with my inclinations becomes more clear. I'm tickled.

Saturday was muggy. One drips working outside, even without much exertion. I planted my peanut and melon seedlings, moved marigolds from thick plantings to other areas, and dug  up the last of my Huckleberry potatoes. I will buy those again. Definitely a good producer! I hope for the marigolds to be deer deterrents: no nibbling on those. I'll check to see if the peanut starts made it through the night. I also planted melons -- "Minnesota midget" muskmelons -- but perhaps i should add some seeds as the article i just found said they don't transplant well.

I made a "potato salad" seasoned with lemon and mint, inspired by a NYTimes recipe. I tried to follow the pressure cooker recipe for cooking the potatoes: i think i could have cooked them less than the 7 minutes. Also, i wasn't thinking and vented the steam inside. Next time i'll carry the pot out and vent it outside. Despite the potatoes not holding shape, the flavors were a pleasant change from the usual mustard or mayo based potato salad preparations -- and, let me tell you, we do have plenty of mint.

I'm watching a pair of Carolina wrens build a nest in my "greenhouse" -- a rack of shelves for seedlings that comes with a clear plastic cover -- long since removed -- and is now covered with a sheet. I've mixed feelings about letting them nest there. It's tempting to watch them -- and let Edward watch them, but it is so close to comings and goings and i need to water those plants. But not so much the ones on the top where most of the nesting work is going on -- a seedling persimmon, some seedling button bushes.

We do have a go pro, we could be watching them....
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, June 15th, 2017 01:13 pm
Watching Louisa & Slugger care for their three nestlings, i think it's impressive that Cardinals have such an easy time managing diaper changing. They feed the nestling and then carry of a little white sack of waste.

I wish i could be sure they were getting all the bugs from my garden.

Particularly the scarily large spider. (Although he's probably doing me some favors. *shudder*)

--== ∞ ==--

In Carrie news, this morning she did some lunging at Luigi accompanied by a bark. Water bottle time. Now Christine's sure Carrie will never return to the front room.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, June 15th, 2017 07:05 am
Tuesday evening i harvested some very nice potatoes. Wet purple potato skins seem almost iridescent with a sheen that seems to change in the light. I stopped harvesting because a huge wolf spider seemed unwilling to move along. I'll pitchfork that hay out of the way tonight.

I saw a different doe yesterday, who moved through the yard rather quickly. I need to tweak the game camera because i think a movement like that deer's that would trigger the camera, but the delay would just capture an empty yard.

Yesterday evening as we watched some show, Carrie bounded of the hassock, baying alarm, "Foes at the door! Foes at the door!" Just beyond the deck was a young buck, maybe a year old. He clearly heard the ruckus, but wasn't alarmed, just alert. Carrie continued to growl and bark and warn. A bit territorial, not hunting. It was sweet to be able to observe the young deer, although i wonder how wise it is for it to be inured to barking. (Admittedly, we have double pane windows and good sound proofing here so i'm not sure how loud Carrie seemed to the deer.)

This morning i went out in the dawn. Flitting overhead were two bats: oh, more please!
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 10:46 am

Oh, the deer i chased out of the corn yesterday came back to browse on the thick clover. She has a crooked ear, so she's readily identifiable. I'm not sure what i should call her. Saunters-through-corn seems a little long.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 06:24 am

I recently read an article about the benefits of talking to yourself out loud. One interesting study result:
[Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, and colleagues] found that when their subjects talked about themselves in the second or third person — for example, “You can do this” or “Jane can do this” instead of “I can do this” — not only did they feel less anxiety while performing, but their peers also rated their performances better. Mr. Kross said this was because of self-distancing: focusing on the self from the distanced perspective of a third person, even though that person is you.

In another study:
The study concluded that motivational self-talk worked best on tasks based on speed, strength and power, while instructional self-talk worked best with tasks that involved focus, strategy and technique. In the real world, this might translate to parallel parking, following a recipe or putting together an Ikea side table.

“My bet is that self-talk works best on problems where you’re trying to stay on task and there are possible distractions,” Mr. Lupyan said. “For tasks with a multistep sequence, talking to yourself out loud can help you keep out distractions and remind yourself where you are.”

I've been wondering about my journalling and one thing i have realized is that the need to "talk through" distressing things is much lower than it has been in the past -- along with a reticence to write in any detail about the elephants. I've started seeing a therapist to talk about the elephants, although i don't think we've actually made that a topic for a while. Self compassion and self care has been the topic of the past two sessions.

[At this point, i wandered away from writing.]

Apparently the self care is a bit tender with me. Christine gently pointed out to me i'd called myself "lazy" when i handed her a block of text


So.... perhaps i should be writing to myself in a self care way. (And, yeah, review time is at hand and i probably am avoiding thinking about that.)

attempt )
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, June 12th, 2017 06:19 am
This morning i received another prompt to investigate Lindt chocolate to determine whether i should stop buying from them. I was delighted to find a thesis that compared a FairTrade program to Lindt's program in Ghana:


Let me say that an "empowerment" survey at my employer probably wouldn't fare any better than the Lindt farmers: do we feel respected or that we have influence? (I consider some hoops i had to jump through to get influence over an obvious-to-me decision, and note that i do have to remind myself i did affect that outcome... but it was in a domain where i feel i ought to be affecting the outcome. So... it was more of an experience of wresting control back....)

Anyhow. After reading several chapters of the dissertation this morning, i can continue to feel comfortable with buying Lindt. (That is, as comfortable as anything i consume from the global markets.)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, June 11th, 2017 02:43 pm
Thursday my computer was FINALLY ready. We picked it up after work, then picked up subway sandwiches, then sat outside in the remarkably cool night air to watch the Ron Fricke film
Samsara at The Nasher (a contemporary art museum at Duke). WE were home after 11 pm. This is relevant because ...

Friday i woke before dawn to be picked up by my parents at 5 am to take a day trip to the mountains. We had breakfast (eggs and grits swimming in melted margarine) at a rural diner at rural prices, several delightful hikes, a picnic, a waterfall viewing, and a stop for a snack at the Winkler bakery in Old Salem. I was home at 6 pm and worn out.

Yesterday i restored my mac, a mildly annoying process as the laptop has only one port so the battery drains extra fast as it powers the remote drive from which it was both booted and restoring. So, yay. I can slowly begin to get my digital life back. I also spent a great deal of time looking at flower bulbs, very tempted by low prices for 30 calochortus at http://www.bloomingbulb.com/. Thing is, almost all the flowers there are non-native to my area.

Would anyone like to trade gladiolus corms? I have ones that look like Gladiolus 'My Love' Gladiolus x hortulanus except a softer pink.

After running errands with Christine, I went out for the evening with my strangely sweet adverse nephew. We saw a Doors cover band, Mojo Rising, at the a "roadhouse" (an old Esso station converted to a farm to fork restaurant, small local arts and crafts store, and performance venue). It was pretty cool, W was not the youngest person there, but he and i did seem pretty young compared to the majority of attendees. (I am guessing most of the attendees were at least ten years older than i am).

Today has been pretty laid back as i slept in and actually edit photos. We're off to see an Emily Dickinson film shortly.

I'm a little done in by so much relaxing.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, June 11th, 2017 02:41 pm
We have entered yellow squash season. We appear to have enough for dinner every night -- which isn't going to happen. I suppose i finally have an excuse to take veggies to neighbors! Also, apparently baked squash chips are a thing.

--== ∞ ==--

I didn't post that on Wednesday, but we did take potatoes and squash to the friendly couple who greeted us when we moved in. They in turn shared their bounty of green beans. I'm dubious i'm going to have any beans due to deer, so that was a delight.

I was sucked into the Senate testimony Thursday. This composite of the written statement from McSweeneys is delightful, but when i sit back and think about what i've learned i feel a pit of disgust.

First is the visceral understanding of how hierarchical bureaucratic, law enforcement, and military cultures are -- and how harmful cultural ignorance is at the top of that culture. I sense some of the Senators don't necessarily get the cultural challenge, probably from moving around in more of the wheeling-dealing world. But the senators who have been prosecutors seemed to get it. I don't think i could function well in a hierarchical culture: i am far too used to a much more academia informed culture of all folks being heard. I can recognize what complete dedication there is to such a culture too. The pointed questions of why didn't he quit
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 04:12 pm
I'm not sure how many deer i saw today. Just after lunch i looked up and a deer was grazing just outside my window. I was delighted and watched as she ate up a shrub i'm trying to kill and grazed on clover. Then she went and nipped up a plant i've been watching to find out what blooms it might have. The plant is going to have to go back to work on growing its reproductive organs again. (Some sort of aster, is what i expect.) I saw the deer stare down the eastern side of the house, so i went to another window and saw a second deer back in the glade. (So, two unique deer.) Then the first deer went to my corn. I went to the front porch and yelled, "Hay, that's my corn!" and the deer simply sauntered out of the patch. Hmph.

Later, another deer was moving around the garden and looked like it was nibbling on the hibiscus. This time the deer was gone by the time i opened the front door. Same deer? A third?

And then later i saw a deer skirting along the north edge of the woods, slipping in to shadow at the corner -- and then another deer dashed into the same gap.

So possibly five deer, or two busy deer. The same pair we've caught grazing on the west side of the house, perhaps?

I've not seen deer moving around in the day since last summer. Today's attempt at research on deer movements didn't help explain why this might be a seasonal behavior. The best guess i could make would be that the deer are bedded down somewhere near by. One writer mentioned that the deer don't seem to stay bedded down for longer than two hours before getting up, stretching, peeing, and nibbling before going back to doze. Yet, why would they only be coming to the yard now? Unless the woods are TOO much of a thickety-mess to manage in the summer?

Cardinal still nesting. A couple visits from Luigi to my work table today. The volunteer tomato plants in the raised beds look like they may actually be quite productive. The most sprawling plant clearly is one of those grape tomatoes. I hope it does well!

Hoping things will even off after the last bump on our home calendar last night. My travel and other disruptions are now over, and the horizon reveals some pleasures. Friday i will go on a road trip with my parents (or my Dad, at least). And i realized that we can make it to the eclipse without the trip funds we had begun to set aside, but spent on the move. Not to the Tetons, but the path of totality isn't that far away. I've gotten a hotel room for us in the western part of the state, twenty minutes from the path. I've picked out an ideal location, now need to figure out weather patterns and what fall back locations might look like.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, June 1st, 2017 04:34 pm
[6/1/17, 4:23:09 PM] [Colleague GK]: I just stumbled on a message from [New Director]
                                     to the [larger] team - and you in particular.
[6/1/17, 4:23:27 PM] [Colleague GK]: He was decidedly obnoxious.   The bold face, red
                                     lettering is rather insulting.

I took a moment to see if i could find a post where i transcribed one of those missives. It was enough to just glance through some of the entries where i recorded my dealings with him.

My world is such a better place.

(Although i'm having a rather low couple of days, right now.)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, June 1st, 2017 02:26 pm
In the BC era -- before Carrie -- Christine would come into the front room to drink her coffee, and Luigi would follow. Luigi would sit on my lap, and Christine and i would chat a little as i worked. Then there was Carrie, whose safe space was the front room where i work. Luigi dared not come in. He looked in once or twice, but Carrie would get excited, and that was that.

Luigi has always had a very loud and whiny me-yowl (more than a simple meow), and in this BC era Luigi has found just the most irritating and attention getting pitch and volume. He also has more complaining vocalization, a grumbly and short mow-mow-mow-mow. Carrie is the target of the grumbles and the attention getting vocalization might be targeted at Carrie as well, or perhaps us. "There's a DOG! There's a DOG! Why is there a DOG?!"

Yesterday, Christine took Carrie to the dog park, and Luigi promptly came in, marked everything, and sat in my lap for a while. There was grumbling, and a hiss or two at the empty bed. This morning, Christine joined me for coffee and Luigi followed her to the doorway. Loud complaining at the dog. Carrie moved a bit towards Luigi but Luigi held his ground. Eventually Luigi settled down into the feline roosting position and just kept complaining. Carrie kept looking at us quizzically. Once, Carrie barked, and we told her to hush. As Luigi also became quiet, though, Christine wondered at whether this was actually an exchange we should encourage.

And then Luigi got up and sauntered over to me! Lap time, with the dog in the room! This counts as lovely progress.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 07:35 am
Last night to the genius bar. At first, i felt despondent that the issue was not going to repeat for the support person and that i would be stuck with this crazy behavior. Barry, who helped me, seemed ready to push through all possible diagnoses, though. I was starved though (or "starved", i'm sure a hormonal and stress related tension), so while Barry removed the disk-wide encryption i had applied and reinstalled the system, Christine and i went to a nearby burger place.

After a salad first course, i returned to find Barry quite indignant on my behalf. It is so not software, he announced. He seemed quite irritated with the previous genius' management of the issue as clearly not trying hard enough to find the issue and passing it off as software, leading the technical staff to not do much in the way of solution, either.

I thought back to the conversation with my therapist and your comments: how hard was i on myself in trying to solve the "software" problem? Particularly when he said "I was not going to tell you you were crazy," i wondered what i had telegraphed to him about my expectations of how this would go. How much of the previous "support" was gender biased? Such that i came in this time with all my command line geek-fu on display? Such that Christine felt she needed to be there as witness and to chime in that i'd spent about a 100 hours on the issue? (That was an exaggeration, in my mind.)

It was very reassuring and comforting to have someone pissed off on my behalf. I have a suspicion the April person who "helped" me is going to get chewed out, as Barry seemed both intent on solving both problems: the machine problem AND the process issue. (I'm going to write the store a appreciative note about Barry, but probably not with the first sentence as written here.) There's a possibility that the macbook, the first version in the very compact form factor, was poorly manufactured. (The technical term used was "meh," which i completely grocked.)

I do think i could have been more direct, as i would have told me, "Look, i know sending it back to get the logic board and another part replaced may seem unsatisfying as you've now been through this three times. This is the last time we'll try to fix the machine: if this doesn't resolve the issue, we will replace the machine with a new macbook." I felt like i was being prepared for the possibility that i may have to give up my attachment to that piece of hardware. Pfft. I'm just delighted to know that i will have a functioning chassis that will hold my data and software sooner or later.

All of this is under the extended warranty. There have been times in the past where i've needed to use an apple care warranty in year three, so i've found it a sensible precaution. In general, i've found apple hardware to last well past the extended warranty, and have felt i could have gotten even more use out of them (Christine has instead, eked the last useful processing out of them). I often wonder if the extended warranty is just a way to pull a bit more cash from the customer: this time, it's definitely to my benefit.
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Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 07:54 am
Wednesday: therapist & "wellness coach" present evidence that i am too hard on myself. Have a sense of vertigo as i realize that how i express my intention to change that ... is expressed in a "too hard" manner.

Thursday: started work thinking there were no pressing things so planned to take Friday off. by end of day, pressing things. Still took Friday off. Did take a break mid afternoon to walk Carrie before evening thunderstorms & saw a black snake eating a frog. Carrie didn't really notice that, but a deer across the field? Bow wow wow wow and a dash to chase.

Friday: yard work, significantly on the septic field/meadow. Lots of puttering in the yard. Trip to the dog park.

Saturday: morning a little puttering in the yard and then the afternoon at the Meeting house for "The Art of Fearlessness." Delightful.

Sunday: Wee hour awakening to Carrie collecting clothing to chew on in the living room. Need to crochet a fix to a lace sweater. Meeting for Worship with the message from the Alamance county chapter president of the NAACP, the afternoon at my sister's with her parents-in-law, her husband's sister A, A's husband, and their three kids, and my parents. C had had plans with her sister.

Monday: major tree take down from the end of the septic line, along with a long fire burn and it was so hot. Pondering goats again as there's a section we haven't kept clear. Then to the pet store to buy a dog crate, bed, and many treats & toys for Carrie.

Interspersed within was wrestling with my laptop: after a clean install it's still crashing. This morning i called Apple and the consult person seemed pretty clear that they need to find the issue. I hope they can.

Sigh. I could easily spend several more days working on issues around the house -- the computer distraction is not welcome.

I would love to write more communicative entries, but it's time to go to work. I've hooked the mirror of my laptop up to my photo editing machine and will soon have that set up to manage email and such from while i wait to get my laptop back. And i'm going to start using my work machine -- as i am now -- like i used my personal laptop (morning and evening correspondence etc). Hopefully i'll be able to make some digital recovery steps while waiting for my machine to be fixed.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 07:20 am
!! ?? !!.... )@*(&$!! WHO NAMES A HORSE CLOUD COMPUTING???

I'm posting to facebook a series of "a year ago today"noting our movie across country. It's part of an engagement practice. (at this point, my computer decided to give me grief, before I could share with YOU)

Sadly, my personal computer is being very trying when it comes to supporting my communication efforts. Anyone use macs and have a favorite debugging tool?

I spent much of my free time Monday trying to sort out what is wrong. I was using ssh to access the machine's command line, but it would crash when I was trying to pack up my email directory. I have ordered a cable so I can put the machine in target mode and treat it like an external drive.
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Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 08:19 am
A year ago i went wine shopping in Safeway for wines to move with us to North Carolina. (I don't think we've consumed any of them yet.)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 06:18 am
The drive to Ohio on Sunday was very pleasant, except for a few moments of panic when my phone blacked out and a separate time when it seemed unable to connect to map data. I'd not turned around when, a half hour from home, i realized all my paper maps were still in my home office. I'm downloading "off line areas" to my iPad and to my phone -- I also ran over my data limits during the trip.

Bah, that was the negative -- which i am working to ameliorate for my return. The positive was that i had brunch with my parents in Chapel Hill (inadvertently choosing just the right time for Chapel Hill to be a ghost town: it was graduation and many folks were off in the stadium). The day was beautiful and, as i ascended the Blue Ridge escarpment, it was like watching spring run in reverse. I can't believe i've never noticed fringe trees before. Chionanthus virginicus is what i've seen around my new home. I thought i was seeing it as i drove through Virginia and West Virginia but apparently it's some other tree that flowers in a similarly delicate dangling manner -- at least at highway speeds.

I took a nice break in West Virginia driving down the New River Gorge to Thurmond. It's a National Park and almost a ghost town. I stopped for dinner in Chillicothe, Ohio. Some time i'll need to arrange my travels so i can visit some of the mounds remaining from the Hopewell cultures.

Yesterday i had a lovely lunch with KQ, a woman who i used as my pretend manager during the time working for the horrible horrible director KS. She's not managing now, as well, and i wasn't sure what to say. I thrive not being a manager: i'm not sure she's doing so.

Dinner was with my California colleagues and one of the local folks. I ordered a salad that was delivered with bacon bits on it. I chose not to make a fuss, and assumed i'd made the error in missing the meat in the listing. Having not had meat for such a long while, i found the bacon unappealing enough that i may begin double checking salad orders in the future if it's at a restaurant where they might add bacon as an elegant finishing touch.

Regarding the news, mutterings. )
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Friday, May 12th, 2017 09:45 am
Christine came in to ask Carrie where her sock went. It was buried in Carrie's living room dog bed.

Earlier Carrie brought a rawhide bone in out from the rain and buried it in her blankets. I love how she takes her snout and pats it down when she's done.
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Friday, May 12th, 2017 07:05 am
Along with upgrading operating systems, i've decicded to switch to firefox. I started because i thought a google update might have something to do with the crashing, but i'm going all the way after reading an article that asked one to reflect on how much of your life is mediated by "the big five": Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and .... oh, right, Facebook. Because i don't use Microsoft products personally, i use Microsoft's search engine much of the time. Google was still getting all my browser traffic, though -- and they get whatever leakage of my life comes through my phone. No need for them to have access to all my browser usage.

I think i feel a little different about Apple and Amazon than Google: i am actually a paying customer for the first two, but the only way Google can make money is by monetizing what it knows about me. (Ditto Facebook.)

I can't remember when and why i switched from Firefox to Chrome, but switching back is quite a distraction. The number of places I am authenticated is remarkable.

--== ∞ ==--

In other news, TL;DR: we are cranky and out of sorts because of bills and family. )

Also, ticks.