elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2020-10-22 06:09 am
Entry tags:

Dear Universe

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)
2017-09-19 06:56 am

(no subject)

Saturday i worked in the yard, mainly eradicating stiltgrass and stands of Boehmeria cylindrica (False nettle, by which they mean "non-stinging nettle") by mechanical means.

Boehmeria cylindrica clearly reproduces successfully, so i want to get rid of it in a number of places where it is "weedy." On the other hand, it is native, so i should find some place(s) for it to thrive. I see one resource claims it prefers sandy or loamy soil: i wonder if there's actually loam in the places it is growing. I generally assume everything is clay.

So, in the first area of work there was the manual pulling out. The stilt grass is about a meter high, and heaven only knows what has made a home in the thick stands. I've not seen any snakes yet, but spiders and toads and bright green leafhoppers seem disrupted. I found one milkweed growing in the stand, Asclepias variegata (White milkweed) or A syriaca (common milkweed): that was delightful! And i found a good number my current favorite little plants: moonworts (or grapeferns). These have a single frond, and then a spore bearing structure lifted like a flag above the solar panel that is the leaf. This 2014 literature review describes them as rare but (at least) one species is definitely common here. I believe i've had success transplanting them, despite comments about them being challenging. I take that to mean that the interdependence with fungi is supported over the small distances in which i have moved them. Transplanting to potting soil would likely be bad.

I also rediscovered one of the colonies of Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake orchid). It too is usually accompanied by the warning against transplanting because of the mycorrhizal interactions: i may try moving some to some places i feel i can more easily protect from trampling over time.

Later in the day i used the sling blade and the weed whacker and the lawn mower. The mower can deal with the tall stands, but i don't want to hit hidden stumps, any more than i already do. The weed whacker gets the grass all tangled in the drive: it's not a particularly good tool on the tall stands.

I grew a little disappointed in the lawn mower repair. I don't think the mechanism for raising and lowering works the way it is supposed to: it's as if the front is now at a fixed height. The lawn mower repair process was so distressing for Christine, i don't want to bring it up. But, fie, it was useful to have the great range in height.

--== ∞ ==--

Sunday began with me breaking the stylus on my phone. The version of the Galaxy Note i have was reported to have a stylus issue in that if you inserted it in the storage bit backwards, it would jam and there was little that could be done. Now i understand: while one can pull out the stylus, the little springy top, like the "clicker" on a retractable ball point, breaks off and jams in, disrupting whatever signal the phone has to turn on the pen functioning. I am glad that the new note has been released but i believe it is a bit larger than this phone - so my nice case wouldn't be used. And we bought this phone outright. After spending some time thinking about it, i decided that i am ok giving up the stylus and just using the phone as any other phone for a while longer. All the critical phone functionality still works, and i can always take a pad of paper outside with me.

If i were doing real field work, i would have a reason to spend the money on a new phone, i don't really now.

And there's also the question of the iPad, which has superior drawing applications, and whether i really need a second digital pad (that's smaller and lighter and "always" with me, sigh).

I worked myself up into other dithers on Sunday morning as well. Things i hadn't done for Meeting, baking for meeting for business potluck with a recipe that i hadn't used before, realizing i hadn't really left time for the longer than expected baking time, discovering i didn't quite have the right quantities of ingredients, running late....

I indulged myself the rest of the day after Meeting, going to a historical society presentation (the president is a member of Meeting as well) and reading a novel (a Maisy Dobbs mystery). I finished the book after dark and needed to take Carrie for her walk, so i went into Pittsboro and walked her on the streetlamp lit sidewalks. I think Carrie was delighted with the novelty, and i enjoyed it too. It will be agreeable to walk there this winter.

Monday was a long work day, mainly meetings. We had the first visit of the young woman we have hired to clean our bathrooms. She's incredibly professional, and someday she'll finish her vet school training and will take her professionalism on to her own vet practice. Until then, i think we'll be delighted with her help.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-15 02:35 pm

ARGH.

Complaints follow.

So, the poison ivy that grows 70' up the trunks of a dozen plus yellow pines. Yeah, i should get rid of it, yeah i've had irritations from little starts where i weed whack and mow, but, you know, it's actually a good bird food. (Admittedly, that's part of the problem and why it spreads.)

And the ticks. Ticks are terrible vermin, vectors for awful illnesses. But they are manageable, and seasonal. Dress right, be vigilant, etc. Give the pets their flea and tick treatments. Keep the grass mown. And if we got Guinea hens or chickens, they'd hunt those ticks down.

The spiders. SHUDDER. I really don't like spiders. But something happens here as autumn hints at an arrival: blam, the big orb weavers really get going. And webs across the driveway and the doors... shudder. And there's one of these three inch long Carolina Writing Spiders in bold yellow and black with her gorgeous web out at the compost pile. Uuuuuggggghhhhhh. I give her very wide berth. She's been there DAYS. Then there are always the wolf spiders. I'm getting pretty ... calm in negotiating access with them. I swear one was observing me as i was planting in the garden, waiting to see if i was going to get too close. She scurried away another two foot with her egg sack. But the spiders are the enemy of my enemy. And birds eat them.

I don't mind the few black racers and other snakes i've seen. My understanding is black racers will take on copperheads, so they're on the list of allies. Christine is very distressed by snakes, but she's coming to terms with them just as i am coming to terms with spiders.

But now, now.... [much swearing] fire ants. At least they aren't the invasive South American fire ants, just native red stinging ants.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-14 08:02 am

Oy

Irma irma irma....

I did spend some good time outside this weekend. Our septic area is looking clear, and i even found some flowers that i had planted in May including a purchased goldenrod I bought last April.

Spent time with my parents after Meeting on Sunday. My dad was still beside himself about his mother in the Tampa area. On Monday she still had power, and all is well with most of the family down there. One uncle was out of power, but it sounds like that's it. Monday after work i was going to walk both Carrie and my parents. They came over at 5 pm on the dot, just as it started to rain. Christine was kind enough to walk Carrie, who showed off her stylin' yellow rain coat, while i chatted with M&D. I was tired from a late night watching Irma, so, after reading a draft of Christine's latest book review i retired.

Yesterday i worked on writing a script to generate a UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagram of some of our team's java code. I ended up having to count whether curly brackets, which delimit nested sections of code, were open or closed and there's still a great deal of imperfection in the diagram generation. On the other hand, i met my need. I do hope i can find a good excuse to run the script on some other code, both to continue to improve it and to get some return on the investment. I worked late on it, so it was well dinner time by the time i stopped. We needed to do a grocery run, so we ate out at a new-to-us-place, "Moon Asian Bistro." I had a rare challenge of not knowing what i wanted (i wanted food FAST as i was hungry), so i ordered the hibachi shrimp, following Christine's lead. It hit the spot. We then spent a little too long at the grocery, buying many indulgences for Carrie.

Late night.

So, i'm feeling a little dislocated. I think i'm going to try and do a little planning and email tonight -- try and get some perspective on priorities like some banking tasks, and miscellaneous household to-dos.

Although the temptation is to skim the Diana Gabaldon Outlander e-book that i borrowed ....

And so i did that, having another late night. I feel rebooted, as i usually do when i read for hours at a stretch. I am also a little cranky because the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court SciFi quality slowly slipped into bodice-ripper territory. I was skimming to finish, but haven't quite. It looks like the sequels run on and on, so i'm not sure it ever finishes.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-09 06:37 am

Time machine

I started thinking about myself in 2000 and how some news would be familiar, and some other news, surreal.

EG2017: huge hurricane about to hit south Florida.
EG2000: Another Andrew?
EG2017: Bigger.
EG2000: Is Grandmámá ....
EG2017: Still alive and well and in the same retirement area.
EG2000: And-
EG2017: And married to a real jerk.
EG2000: Wait, what? Married again?!

EG2000: So, who is going to win the election: Gore or Bush?
EG2017: Ummmm, that's a long story.
EG2000: ???? How can the outcome of an election in two months be a long story?
EG2017: Next topic please!

EG2017: You'll be amused to know you have two laptops and three desktop computers, two devices like the PADD on Star Trek: TNG and the cell phones are similar to the PADD but smaller. And i don't know how many terabytes of storage in the house.
EG2000: ....why?

But how to break to her the news that President Donald Trump (Wait, Trump Tower Trump??) beat Hillary Clinton (Wait, Bill Clinton's wife??? We had a woman nominee?!!?!!) potentially due to fake facebook accounts (???) and twitter accounts (???) run by the Russians? At least there would be the news of two terms of the first black president to share.

EG2017: I'm blogging this on Dreamwidth and LiveJournal.
EG2000: So, i leave tripod.
EG2017: Yes, very much so. It's easier, but you still have your own website. It's hosted on Amazon's servers.
EG2000: The bookseller? Am i a writer?
EG2017: Um, well the bookseller sells EVERYTHING now including computing infrastructure, and, no, sorry, not a writer.

EG2017: Equifax was hacked and most of the data seems to have been accessed.
EG2000: Damned credit companies.

(It's hard to be sure, but i really think i would have been unsurprised.)

EG2000: How's X?
EG2017: You haven't called your spouse that in a long time. She's Christine now.
EG2000: And ... happily ever after?
EG2017: Well, for you two. But a whole culture war has passed where same sex marriage was vilified, prohibited, and then won the day. So now transgendered people are being vilified. Christine is really distressed by it.
EG2017: But you're living in your mortgaged home, with two orange cats, a black and white cat, and a dog. You've four acres and a garden. You're listening to roosters crowing in the distance.
EG2000: Wow, that sounds like happily ever after. People know we're married? It's OK for two women to be married?
EG2017: People recognize two women can be legally married.
EG2000: Wow! That's amazing! I guess the grey boys* can't live forever. Do we have a jeep?
EG2017: Um, no jeep but a pickup truck. I can't talk about the jeep.

* the three grey cats we had.

In 2000, if i was imagining life after Christine's transition, i know i would have been sad that people wouldn't assume we had a life commitment. I would have known that our marriage was legal -- the understanding at the time was that the marriage contract could not be broken by outside parties, so her transition wouldn't change the contract. I don't think i imagined that same sex marriage would become legal, though.

Looking at the wikipedia article on the topic, i found this phrase, "undermine a right of children to be raised by their biological mother and father." I'm sorry, what?? Please explain adoption to me.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-09 06:36 am

(no subject)

Thursday morning: more Irma. There's not much news from Puerto Rico.

Thursday: Mom's birthday. My sister, father, and i conspired a celebration at a local seafood restaurant, with my sister bringing flowers and a balloon, and i the cake (or cupcakes, as it was). I could not remember what sort of cake my mother liked: she took one of the chocolate cupcakes to my surprise. Getting four different types of cupcakes was a lovely solution to how to address the what sort of cake to get question, so there was that. And the cupcakes were delectable, with creme or custard in the center. I had one of the mocha cupcakes and was well indulged. (The cakes were from the local Phoenix bakery

The restaurant's fish was also delicious, as well.

Friday morning: more Irma.

In therapy on Wednesday we talked more about changing my frame to see the positive, delightful, and joyous. It's not what i carry around with me usually, and Christine too has a strong tendency to dwell on the disappointments and pains of interactions.

I think one of the things that means is that i shouldn't think that outward experiences need to change for me to consider them happy or delightful or joyous. It's easy for me to identify pleasant sensory experiences: the cake, the basil cocktail that i later topped off with ginger beer. My sister's locally brewed basil beer. The blackened swordfish, and so on.

And next i think it's easy for me to identify my satisfaction. Thanks to Christine's coaching, as she is wonderful at gift-giving, i picked out a silly card with a crab that sang and danced and a bottle of locally produced  "Damn Fine Chocolate Liqueur". (North Carolina, where branding appears to have a strong "Damn" component... wait, no, maybe it's just the current hipster branding.) It was good to indulge my mother, although her first instinct is to announce she'll wait to try the liqueur when i'm there.

She'd forgotten how she'd serve me coffee and Kaluha after i'd driven home from college. Exams, plus an 8 hour drive, plus that drink: i'd talk for hours and couldn't remember a thing i told her. I joked it was her truth serum. (When i say, "she'd forgotten", it's tinged with a wary grief. Mom has, by her accounts, forgotten so much of ... everything.)

I think the meal was a happy family occasion. I think that is what it means to be happy with family. In my normal frame i would focus on the too loud restaurant, the lack of deeper connection. But noth the place or time for that.

The most important thing is that i am thankful to have this time with Mom, to celebrate Mom. We're all a little worried about her. She's always been dysfunctional (diagnosis is not my job), but it's clear to me that she is so much more befuddled and fragile. She's aged.

The weather is glorious. I'm looking forward to a good bit of yardwork tonight and tomorrow.

[posting saturday morning, geeze, hit post, will ya?]
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-06 08:03 am

IrmaIrmaIrma(JoseKatia)IrmaIrmaIrma

Irma is getting a good bit of my attention. More than she deserves? Perhaps. I'm sure part is that i'm recently returned to where i do not need to have earthquake preparedness as a thought. Yet Irma is Not Insignificant, and my grandmother rode out Andrew in Homestead FL. My dad and brother went down after to help with the recovery and i know how Andrew tore up families in the aftermath of tearing up possessions and the landscape. One acquaintance's parents divorced, and my step-grandfather's family went through some convulsions, indirectly leading to his death (in my family's opinion).

We still talk about how we miss the Florida style avocados. Poorly informed Army Corps of Engineers folks bulldozed the downed trees and burned them -- the trees actually could have been set back up and persisted.

Grandmámá will shelter in place unless told to evacuate. I spent time looking at the evacuation zones in Hillsborough county (near Tampa) where she lives. She's not far from the most severe zone, and predictions are Irma will loose steam and be Cat 3 by the time it gets to Tampa. My sister is in a dither about Grandmámá's choice, but i think it's reasonable. (A well built home, not too much glass, "high"ground, etc.)

Of course, knowing her husband, he wants to stay and guard his hoard from the looting and race war that will erupt in the aftermath. (In the latest episode about my grandmother's husband, last December, when he was hospitalized, we found out that the son he had designated medical power of attorney had declined the responsibility. My uncharitable feelings for him became more entrenched with the confirmation his closer family shared them.)

Anyhow, any more reflection on Irma is just dwelling, at least until updates come out at https://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/atlantic/2017/hurricane-irma.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-05 07:29 am

Everything is broken

It seemed that way yesterday. The lawn mower, only recently back from repairs, has had the belt slip off. The blade has been put on so tightly i couldn't get it off to repair. So back to the shop.

I moped about it a good bit yesterday, although i also gave the reel mower a go. (And, wow, new muscle aches!) Christine is pretty frustrated as well.

I did get enough mown on Sunday that the glade was pleasant and mossy for an evening sitting out with friends. From my vantage, i could see a pine snag in the woods and witnessed red-headed woodpeckers as they made a racket around the top. It was lovely to have the glade as i have dreamed for it to be. I'm hoping i scalped the stiltgrass at just the right time that it's gone for the season.

Evernote pushed an mac upgrade through the app store that doesn't search successfully. I've documented what i could and opened a support ticket. I've not had an opportunity to use the upgraded tables support.

Then i decided to work on my webdesign -- and the current state looks all wrong. Did i loose a bunch of edits working across machines? (Editing on my laptop with the desktop's hard drive mounted on it?)
Fie.

I then spent a great deal of time using the Valspar paint company's color tools to come up with a color scheme for our front porch. Currently, the porch has a red cement landing, raw cedar ceiling and a basic white door and porch posts. The floor needs a repair, and once that is done we will repaint it. It's a fairly common cement paint red right now: we want something different. On Saturday we went out for breakfast & looked at colors while we waited. Christine picked out a peach for the floor, and i think it was an inspired choice. It's novel yet actually works well with the clay.



Since carpenter bees are working on the ceiling, i've wanted to paint the ceiling and have dreamed of a blue -- something surprising and delightful. A blue green is the compliment of the peach, and works well. We'd picked out enough colors for a Queen Anne to have every detail highlit: it was too much for our rustic cottage.



We finally settled on replacing the white with simply a warm white and echoing the peach floor in the trim around the door. (Maybe also highlight some of the turnings in the posts?)

It looks like we've got a dry stretch coming up Thursday to Saturday. I'll need to see if that's long enough for the hydraulic cement to cure. We'll just be painting the cement to start: not a huge project.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-03 07:42 am

(no subject)

Friday: Up very early to watch a presentation out of the Netherlands. What i have learned so far could have been skimmed off a diagram, i think with grumbles, but there are probably subtle details that i am actually picking up. ... Ah, participation in the QA for remote folks is adequate.

I've awakened EVERYONE, apparently, although i think Christine was actually awakened by Luigi. He started his morning yowling in the entry hallway that has such a lovely acoustic quality that amplifies his complaining. I've read that cats "meow" to communicate with their owners, that it's a communication developed between the two. Years ago, when Luigi was our neighbor, he learned that he could get Christine to let him in to his apartment when his owner was away by yowling piteously at his door (which shared a landing with our door). He now does this in the mornings, hoping that some miracle will occur and he will be able go outside. I guess my going to my work desk made him think it was 8 am and time to start asking to be let outside.

--== ∞ ==--

I spent some nice chunks of Saturday afternoon in the yard. I have a new tool, a two pronged hoe, which is nicely effective. I found the pitchfork great for deep turning of the soil to get the garden started, but now i'm in the cultivation mode. (Also, i've ruined the pitchfork getting rocks out.)

The Seminole pumpkin, escaping the bounds of the garden, is finally setting fruit. I think it's possible there's a fraction more sun to the west of the plot? I'm thinking i'll just let it go until frost. The yellow squash succumbed to powdery mildew plus too much baking soda treatment. The long stems, jointed with leaf nodes that only had stubs of stems, looked like an algae covered sea monster carcass. I'd started some seeds in hopes that maybe i'd get some more squash before the frosts due in October. I set those out in a new bed: maybe they'll settle in and set fruit. (Little flower buds were on a few of the plants.)

The autumn garden starts i'd made in August are not encouraging. The seed tapes germinated, but nothing seems to be thriving. A dill seedling seems to have taken, and some tiny red cabbage seedlings persist. The radishes came up but the fleshy part of the root seems to be above the dirt and long and stringy.

I've been pondering my assessment.

It seems legumes are a deer food and thus not really going to produce unless we do some serious deer repellent or exclusion work.

The popcorn is a win: while some stalks got nibbled on early, once it gets going it's too tough for deer and the corn itself isn't sweet enough to attract anyone's interest. Sweet corn wouldn't be worth the work.

Squash was great before the powdery mildew, and the dehydration seems a reasonable way to deal with bounty. It seems also to agree with getting a seedling start. The cucumber seedlings from a friend finally seemed to do OK once out of the shadow of the yellow squash. The melons haven't set fruit (shade issue as with the Seminole pumpkin?) but are worth giving a go again.

The collards were great until they became insect magnets. I really miss my daily greens. I probably need to be more aggressive with control. The collards are still sort of producing, so with control i could have had collards all year! Right now i'm wrestling with getting rid of the plants vs hoping that the bugs will go away and i'll have mature collards producing in the autumn. "Hoping bugs will go away." Ha, i guess it's obvious written out like that.

I'll try fame flower again, with seed tape and greenhouse starts....

At this point i went into much more detailed planning elsewhere.

--== ∞ ==--

Large orbweaver spider has made a web in our door frame. Is it planning on catching me? Geeze, spider season has begun. Carolina writing spiders are at work (aka Black-and-Yellow Argiope, Argiope aurantia). Two large wolf spiders watched me work in the garden yesterday. And yes, watched.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-31 12:44 pm

Meta Journaling

So one of my issues with journaling these days is much of what is on my mind can stand some research -- just a click away.

I've often declined to write about my feelings or thoughts about the news because i've not felt the time to develop any nuance. Storm sad. Murders sad. Politics bad. Politics mad. I certainly could stand to be more articulate, but the landscape of my discourse is either heady postmodern and existentialist queries to Christine or listening to my dad's lasted provocative plan that sounds horrible but has progressive ideals at its heart. I'm not sure i want or need that to change.

But my feelings and desires for this new phase in my life -- homeowner, more prominently daughter and sister, landscape restorer, remote employee -- those need more sorting. I don't want to dig past "it's fine" because what if it's not? Working at home is fine. (But what if the two days in the office introduced a focus to the three days at home when i was in CA?)(What if the commute gifted me with a type of down time i miss?) My new Quaker community is fine. (But it demands so little.... And what about the lack of waiting worship?)And so on.

So, i don't want to face certain types of "it's not fine."
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-30 04:12 pm

(no subject)

For whatever reason, my therapy appointment didn't happen. I was driving in thinking, "it's all good, but i'm dissatisfied. I arrived esarly & started to doodle. After a while i looked at the time and realized i should do something. After leaving a voice mail, i came home.



I've dithered a little, but one of the things i thought about was how i am not journaling regularly and how that might be part of my muddled feelings. I've had my reasons, and i still feel like all the time slips away.

As one time-slip solution, we're trying to limit entertainment evenings. That's helpful, and we've not slipped into "just while we eat" patterns since recommitting.

In making the living space better, we've replaced the attractive but poorly located light in the kitchen with a ceiling fan with a light kit. Motivation took the form of the halogen bulb blowing and the inability to find a replacement bulb (because we couldn't get it out). I thought the bulb had been caulked in, but it's just different from the bulb bases i was looking at in the hardware store. The ceiling fan with light kit, though, provides much better light to working in the kitchen and the fan will be very welcome. So that addressed a mild nagging issue.

On the other hand, after spending bucks enclosing the crawlspace, the electrician added lights and now we can see a mysterious pile of ... well, looks like someone's scat. And bigger than mice, too. That's concerning.

I don't know exactly how to fix the mild dissatisfaction. I want to blame Christine's elephants as dampening everything, but i'm not sure that's entirely honest.

Celebrate * Give Thanks * Help Others


To some extent, i also do "know" how to fix the dissatisfaction (which might be more accurately described as depression, but, hey, try something new).

Right now there's an ocean of stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) to try and defeat. There's apparently no point in fighting it until right before it sets seed. And here we are. The weather has cooled off, but it just seems so slow going.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-27 08:36 am

(no subject)

I'm not sure when i last bought new to me music, but i bought Queens of the Stone Age's Villains and Iggy Pop's Post Pop Depression this week. We listened to tVillains last night. I quite enjoyed it, although i can't make out most of the lyrics. We listened with the Massive TV -- which is going to need a name ... ah, Humberto, big & bright ... -- playing the XBox visualizer. Carrie was entranced for a while, but i think when she concluded that an elder god was NOT about to jump out at us from the psychedelic tunnel she settled down.

I did enjoy listening, and it's a step towards not watching a show during every dinner. My newphew turned me on to QOTSA: I wonder if he will like Villians. Christine and i kept pointing out echoes of other rock bands, Led Zeppelin, "Canadian Art Rock" (our code for Rush), and ZZ Top.

I did battle with the stilt grass Saturday. There's so much of it, it's hard to see the win. Christine was delighted, though, so that keeps my spirits up. And underneath the apparent monoculture, some tufts of native grass and moonworts -- the most delightful plant i didn't know existed. Moonworts are in the Ophioglossaceae family, not a true fern, but no flowers, either. They raise their stalks with the sporangia on them high above the one solar panel, i mean, leaf. They depend on fungi, which makes me think of the lichens and their three family life form. With the current understanding that mitochondria and chloroplasts were single cell life forms separate from the single cell life forms they combined with, i can't help but think of lichens and Adder's tongues as demonstrating how important interconnections were in the early period of life.

There's probably some failed biological understanding in there that would make a scientist familiar with these plants cringe, but HEY, I'VE HAD TO LISTEN TO STUPID QUANTUM PHYSICS EXTRAPOLATIONS SO THERE.

Anyhow, tiny plants that i don't want to douse with glyphosphate to reward me for my manual labor.

Grilling: i don't think there's a value of threading mushrooms, onions, etc, on skewers since i happily have a grilling basket. Pineapple marinated mushrooms probably need more than an hour to absorb essence of pineapple.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-25 09:37 pm

(no subject)

Elephants and my own blues have affected this week. I'm feeling mentally dull: the new-ish camera somehow just doesn't work with me in a way that makes sense. It's like the settings change with the phase of the moon or something. Anyhow, that makes me feel dull. And generally, i don't feel sharp.

I've a suspicion that if i was taking my antihistamine regularly it would help. So, there's that.

Work is OK. My boss and i had our review meeting that we'd forgotten -- oy, i forgot to do the acknowledgement, done -- and no surprises. I am eased that he's not harping on my communication anymore. If he wants to take credit for coaching me, fine, but the removal of significant amounts of stress has done most of the work. I can take comfort in being valued. I have an edge of bitterness about the title "architect" but i also have choices i could make to address it. Not right now.

I spent time pondering blogging last night. I certainly don't want or need something that replaces my community here. (I can barely ... i don't keep up as much as i wish here.) With respect to the architect comment above, i wouldn't mind having to learn a bit more python/css/html5. Prototyping skills wouldn't hurt me.

Today's distractions:

Sumac, what species would be best for both the edible fruit (as spice and extract) and for landscaping.

Sprouts, what seeds should i get for my long unused sprouter?

MUCH reflection on a future website. For $15 you can have a font made for you, and then turn it into a webfont!

And we finished Amazon's The Night Manager. Wonderfully intense and textured and delicious. Hugh Laurie's villain is insidiously smooth. And a pregnant heroine! Angela Burr for the win.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-23 06:53 am

(no subject)

I enjoyed our eclipse trip, sandwiched between visits with my mother and her sister here at home. But, instead of a sensible narrative, i give you (with appreciation to George Carlin) brain droppings.

My email box is full of intense messages between white Quakers and one black Quaker. I've tried to pull the entire discussion into a filtered folder, and right now there are 57 messages from the last week. I feel the only way to do justice is to sit and really read, and that's overwhelming, and this is a little microcosm of the larger world and and and and.

My dad was in Florida with his mother last week, and my aunt flew up here to be with my mother who was too sick to travel. Mom had my sister's family and myself over Saturday night for gumbo. (Dad's prolific okra for the win; Christine didn't have the spoons to deal with my family.) A strange and wonderful thing happened in that my mom asked all of us how we were doing and what was going on with us. How incredibly pleasant! I must discuss this with Dad, in part because i don't know how much this novelty was due to his absence. It could also be due to my mom having had hours and hours to talk to her sister. But also, Mom was sitting down with us before dinner! Also a strange new and pleasant experience. I thing that might be because my sister and i said we'd arrive between 5:30 and 6, and we both arrived at 6. This could be a tool my sister and i use in the future to help my mom not be bustling up to the meal.

Or it was a miraculous alignment not to be repeated in my lifetime. I dunno.

My mom looks so old. I need to see what at what age her mother died: 74. Hmm. Ah, and Mom is 74.

Ah.

My mom's sister is just a year younger than Mom, but looked years younger at lunch yesterday.

(When i use "mom" as a generic noun, "my mom" i should not capitalize it, but as a form of my name for her, "Mom", i should, right?)

--== ∞ ==--

The eclipse trip included some very intentional routing to avoid traffic and other intense human context. Probably the most awkwardly crowded human and vehicular press of the whole trip was at the Flat Rock Wood Room restaurant. The place was packed and making reservations simply provided for a table, not a parking place. We were in plenty of time, though, and had our spot on the patio where Carrie was welcome along with our party of four.

The intentional routing was to take US 64 west, through many little NC towns. I think i only saw two confederate flags flying in front of homes. There is the vacuum that interstates caused: I-40 arcs northward to hit the mill cities of the triad (Greensboro, Winston Salem, High Point) and all the traffic ends up there, along with the gas stations and fast food places. 64 gets a little traffic from Raleigh to Asheboro, where the state zoo is located, but east of that is even deeper in rural NC.

I enjoy such "blue highway" drives, and i think Carrie did too, standing with her back feet on the back wall of the truck cab, front feet of the console between us, nose working the air brought in by the air conditioner, and alert for hours. Christine, though, experiences anxiety (carrying with her awareness of her "deviant lifestyle") and depression (the lack of human culture beyond church after church). Christine was much happier with interstate driving. I think Christine passes, and i expect we get read as sisters or friends, not as a couple. Her heaviness makes me think of the heavy concern people of color must feel driving through similar areas. JD Lanham gives a good accounting of those experiences.

Gotta go to work: the most adorable photos of the trip were of Carrie. Everyone gushed about her. In the hotel someone exclaimed about how happy she seemed. On the trail, she received constant attention for packing in her own water bottle and treats.

Carrie dog, with green panniers

We had a cloudy eclipse, but it still brought with it the experience of darkness, like just at the end of twilight when all color drains from your vision. And the horizon with clouds of pink and gold, a 360° dawn, compressed into moments when light returns.

I'd spent much of Saturday, unpacking boxes from California, looking for where i stashed my camera filters. I failed at that (but unpacked some useful things). I wouldn't have been able to use the filters as it was, and the clouds compensated for my lack of filter.

Camera showing back display of cloudy eclipse


Lanham, J. D. The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature. Milkweed Editions, 2016.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-17 08:39 am

(no subject)

[Sunday morning] I'm not sure it was rhetoric distressing me on Wednesday: i got myself into a right good funk though. Therapy was good, with gentle coaching through procrastination and the identification of a reward system for me.

I took Friday off, inspired by an errand i needed to run and, with the day cleared, i decided to spend the morning with my nephew & niece. We had breakfast at the classic small town restaurant (blueberry waffle & banana pancake for them, respectively, hashbrowns & eggs for us), a little visit to our home where they hadn't been for a while, and then -- yay, i found my beading tools! -- to their house for playing with beads for a bit. It was lovely, and now that i have all my kit, i should do it again in an organized way. Also, when my sister is there, so we can use her beads, too.

I'd made a bit of a mess trying to find stuff, so i spent some of Saturday in the residual moving task of sorting out jumbled stuff. We have many residual moving tasks lingering. I also fixed some jewelry of Christine's i'd said i'd fix and made the necklace and earrings to go with my Easter dress with the faceted yellow chalcedony and vermeil links and pendants i bought with birthday money from my grandmother. The dress is a 50s influenced, A-line dress in a print of lemons, so this necklace and earrings is a sparkling accent for that.

--== ∞ ==--

The week is flying by. Sunday i stopped by my parents after meeting, where "stopped by" means driving an extra 35 or more minutes. My parents are in the opposite direction of meeting. Later, as i was spraying my yellow squash and other cucurbits with a milk-soap-baking soda mixture, my dad stopped by to take a look at the crack in the slab in our front porch. He agreed with my assessment that the "fix" someone had applied in the past was part of the problem. He also knew a much better way to repair it than someone had told Christine. (That instruction was to essentially replicate the bad repair.) He confirmed it was a cosmetic and not particularly structural issue, and wouldn't stop thinking about the issue until he came up with a cause for the crack.

We also have an issue with the light that is not quite over the island in the kitchen: i think "Mr Handyman," the previous owner, caulked the halogen light bulb into the socket. I am happy for the excuse to replace the otherwise attractive but poorly located pendant lamp with a ceiling fan with lights.

Yesterday, my niece and nephew stayed with us during their parents' workday. They had to entertain themselves mostly, but over lunch we made oobleck, a non-newtonian fluid with interesting shear properties. That is, we mixed one part water with around two parts corn starch and examined how the behavior changed when you stirred it slowly vs quickly and a variety of other messy experiments. My favorite was watching an apparently solid chunk fly out of the container, hit me, bounce off, land on the counter and then slowly melt into a puddle.

Making gravy will never quite be the same.

I tried mowing last night, but somehow our lawnmower has lost the adjustments to the front two wheels and all one can really do is scalp the grass. There are some areas where that is desirable, but it was even scalping the moss, which isn't.

It's miserably humid, by the way. Miraculously the forecast for Monday is "clear", although the detailed prediction for Brevard, NC is 50% cloud cover in the afternoon. I've been trying to pretend like it's no big deal and have not been practicing camera stuff, etc. I guess i ought to be getting out the eclipse glasses and filters now, though.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-09 10:55 am

(no subject)

Oddly, or maybe not, the rhetoric around North Korea is distressing me.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-04 08:46 am

Funk

Thursday: I think i'm identifying a pattern to my nadirs, a pattern i had hoped to have aged out of. Ah well. And so, here i am.

Christine has been helping her sister out by watching movies that are being vetted for a festival. One recently earned her description as being about the "tyranny of the mundane." I think i felt victim to such a tyranny in Mountain View at times, and i reflect that perhaps part was how it took an effort to get away from suburbia. Not a large effort at all mind you, but when depressed effort is magnified.

Here, even in a funk, i can witness the pollinators dancing around the bright yellow flowers of the bearsfoot, a doe stepping through the yard -- and by following her gaze and going to another window -- witnessing a small herd of deer in the glade. There's a magic to it all that i can rest on.

Friday: today a new sort of magic: new to me monitor, new webcam. All this to compliment the new chair i bought at the beginning of the month. I sit properly now, with my hands at the right level. Next will be to consider whether to get an ergonomic keyboard, so that i don't have the laptop monitor somewhat obscuring the bottom of the larger monitor. I'm not sure any of this will address the persistent elbow ache, but hopefully it will help me open up instead of working curled over and into the laptop. I'm able to lean back a bit right now. It feels good.

Although i never learned to type. So now i'm finding out that i can sort of touch type from the years of keyboarding. It's a little odd, like finding one's way through a familiar house in the dark. I doubt myself, but find i am not blundering around.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-01 05:46 am

(no subject)

Animals. Carrie and the boyos woke me up in the wee hours. I think Edward was snuggled against my back and Carrie had settled in by my legs. When i turned and woke them, Edward was startled to find himself so close to the dog. Tossing turning, Carrie wanting out, Carrie bringing a chew toy to the bed and crunching on it, cats walking across me, hot, cold....

So I went outside in the blessedly cool air and the boyos (Edward & Luigi) followed. Before bed, last night, i stood in the yard, delighting in the owl's call, the stars and moonlit clouds, the moonlight in our yard. The owl was still calling moments ago; first bird song at 5:45.

In more amusing pet news, we were watching Netflix's series "Stories of Light" -- episodes documenting a photographer at work. This episode included tiger photography. When the tiger appeared on screen, Carrie growled. The photographer went to look for another tiger, this one carrying prey out of the woods. Carrie stood on the hassock, hackles and hair along her back to her rumpraised up, and barked and barked.

Wow.

She really does watch the TV; it's been very entertaining to watch her watching.

Mulling over tree purchases. Bloodmeal protectant or plastic tubes? Order seedlings from the state this year and plant willy-nilly? (Premise, now is the second best time to plant a tree?)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-07-31 07:03 am

(no subject)

Oh divine low humidity day!

I spent it in the shady glade, following the shade around the northern border, weeding the moss by hand. We have a Adirondack style bench we stained over the 4th of July weekend that we intend to place back in the glade. I've not mown in ages, it seems (since before my brother's family came) and the glade is overrun with stilt grass. Where we want the bench and then, around the edge toward the ferns, i felt weeding by hand might be the best way to manage.

I'm glad i did. Moonworts are leafing out now -- genus Botrychium, a tiny cousin of ferns in the Adder's tongue family (Ophioglossaceae). (We have Adder's tongue, too, they came up in the early spring and have faded.) The tiny leaves would likely have been whacked, as i mow as low as i can in the hopes of exterminating many of the plants growing out of the moss. I also found some other small ferns in the process of getting established.

I'm hoping that i'm rested and back to myself. July seems to have gone by so fast, but swept my attention to a variety of things with it. I feel like i am still recovering from 2016's move and election.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-07-30 06:37 am

(no subject)

Sleep is good, and i think i finally had a good night's sleep.

Tuesday night i was out late at a networking career thing of questionable value beyond practicing speaking to people.

Wednesday night i read a novel, but didn't go to bed promptly. Christine and i had a very late dinner and it was another late night.

Thursday we went to see an outdoor drama, home late, etc.

Friday night i think i went to bed at a reasonable hour, but Carrie woke me in the wee hours.

Last Saturday night Christine was triggered enough to open the gates for more elephants. The trigger was not elephants, and i think she's kept the elephants away from the trigger. Elephants didn't help this past week with my bad sleep patterns, but i think things will settle back down.

Last night i was to bed on time, woke on time, and the temperature outside is wonderfully cool.

I feel like skipping meeting again: i'm not sure this is a good habit, i know an edge of procrastination is running underneath (i said i'd do something and it ain't happened), but the past week did drain me. However, a quiet day with some waiting (silent) worship with Christine on the porch will help feed me.

Yesterday, i worked outside on things that didn't take much consideration and spent time watching butterflies flutter on the large Bearsfoot plants (Smallanthus uvedalius). The flowers are a bit like tiny sunflowers; the plants eight foot high with dinnerplate sized leaves. Pollinators seem to adore the blossoms. I wish i could think of more landscape uses for these perennials that disappear in the cool months and become so massive in the summer. Duh - where the sunflowers failed this year -- on the western exposure of our house, where i'd hoped for the shade to help with cooling. I guess the same challenge of the hard baked clay that didn't seem to support the sunflowers remains; although the Smallanthus are tubered plants. Maybe that will help them succeed?

I also made gluten free chocolate chip coconut cookies. I was dubious as i brought them out of the oven: crumbly, they didn't spread out, etc. But when they cooled they had a lovely texture. I put half the batch of dough in the freezer, so there will be more.

Dehydrated squash yesterday. That might be all i have to "preserve". I'd finally learned how to defeat blossom-end rot (remove the blossom) when i realized i have a terrible case of powdery mildew. Fie. I burned much of the infected foliage, but it doesn't sound like that's going to be sufficient.