elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, July 20th, 2013 08:50 am
The phone battery died in the night. I woke on my own, a good bit later than i intended and presumably with enough sleep. I had dreamed dense detailed dreams before waking: driving the same urban off ramp over and over into a museum and university district, radiation therapy for some cancer at the base of my spine (and everyone's attitude was this was about the same as getting dental fillings: dream cancer was not cause for grave concern), music that embedded a subtle message about how to produce music independently of corporate interests, moving digital files around repositories, crowded rides over hills, hat shops, modern buildings of steel, glass, and concrete. I'm sure my brain worked out something.


As the kettle came to a boil, i watched the birds instead of doing any kitchen tasks. The new feeder seems to be successful at holding smaller seed than sunflower seed. I'm monitoring how much spills past its tray. The tray is a new feature that seems to have gotten the towhee's attention on an occasion. The goldfinches and chickadees have been delighted by the feeder: it's three conic sections of wire mesh, tiered together. The top two are an hour glass shape, and there's a baffle at the bottom of the middle tier to guide seed to the sides, but allow some to spill down into the third tier which repeats the top of the hourglass form, and then ends in a tray. At the narrow neck in the hourglass shape there's a circumscribing wire perch.

The chickadees and goldfinches make use of all the features, clinging to the mesh, perching, sanding in the tray. Housefinches, however, seem to still find the structure a challenge compared to the previous tube with the stations at set intervals. I watched one arrive and then backflutter -- hovering in the air as if aghast at the change. He landed on the porch rail as if to get a sense of the structure. He then slowly landed on the tray and craned his head back to look up at the shape. It seems the overhang of the feeder perplexed him. He considered, and i marveled that i don't think i've ever had to watch figure something out. I'm not sure if that makes him slower than the other birds that just land and feed, or if he was a more reflective bird, cautious so that he will live another day. Eventually he fluttered up to the middle tier, clasped the wire and began pulling seeds through.

Christine notes that it is more generous to assume he was a cautious bird. (As if we weren't generous enough with the expense of the bird feed.)


Sleeping in has not put forward my morning plans. I need to recalibrate my intentions.

Yesterday evening i puttered with genealogy and confirmed a switch between our authorization service and an institution's. Usually, these encounter some headache or another, so i was prepared for a long evening of poking at changes. In late June we'd had the headache of an institution that had first kept our servers blocked at their firewall, then had a round robin system for their LDAP servers and the certificate needed to successfully connect to the servers only worked for some of the LDAP servers, causing intermittent failures. Furthermore, they wouldn't give us testing credentials that would work completely.

Last night, it just worked. Testing credentials went through. Success. No hiccups. Hurrah!

Christine laughed as she looked at the two of us on the deck. She had my iPad and her iPad as she tried to get my iPad set up to test our app. I had my work laptop, my own laptop, and the genealogy book by my great aunt. We do use the tech.

As it cooled off we retired inside to watch the Gettysburg section of Ken Burns' Civil War documentary and i knitted (knooked). I'm doing a square as a washcloth, practicing a tighter knit, and practicing the right angle turn. I'd made up a right angle turn in my last project and liked the result, a raglan yoke for the top, but didn't think the turn was the best ever. So when i saw the Templeton Square i thought i'd give it a go. One thing, the column clarifies for me why this raglan technique is used in crochet and not knitting (traditionally): the number of needles to keep a growing diameter is probably a challenge. Crochet doesn't need the stitch holder and knooking trails a cord, similar, i suppose, to the "newfangled" circulars. I'm not making the lace, just the square, and i started with a crochet circle in the center. It worked from a construction point of view, but it is a more dense bunch of knots in the center of the more fluid knit.

I just ordered a bunch of rivoli crystals and earring mounts from Fire Mountain for the Meeting fund raiser. $45, a tiny bit of time, and a $100 profit, at least. $255 profit, if they sell well and at full price.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, July 8th, 2013 06:22 am
I was turned down by iStock photography for topical instead of technical reasons (ie: flower photos not needed). It's OK, as far as i'm concerned, because i'm not doing stock photography right now. I suppose i will still pull ten shots together for shutterstock, but - again - not holding my breath.


No laundry done yesterday, but i did complete one of the two nightgowns i'm making. The bodice is crocheted and knitted, made up as i went along, with my first attempts at shaping with increases and decreases in the knitting. It's a C or D quality in the knitting, but as an experiment, quite a success. (I hate ribbing.) I cut out and seamed the skirt with the goal of using as much of the fabric as i could. I didn't do a particularly good job there, either, as i figured the quality shouldn't surpass that of the top. I am very happy with the design, made up wholesale by myself.The fabric of for the skirt was a rectangle that had a long side 2*N+X. I folded it in half twice and cut it at an angle so that stitching the five panels together i would create a top circumference of N, flaring out to a much larger circumference. It works quite nicely! I would have thought that the straight edges of the panels would not look even -- and i had decided i wouldn't care -- but it actually looks quite even.

The second nightgown's bodice is in progress. This one has a crocheted collar line, and a raglan design with a knit lace. The knitted increases at the corners are not so great. On some corners they are even, but other corners have mis-stitches and irregularly large gaps. I began experimenting with crocheting the corners every few rows and then knitting around the crocheted increases. The lace and the straight lines look good, though. I'm just knitting the armholes together at the join: i think a crocheted stitch would have been wiser. The knot wouldn't stretch as much as the knit stitches.


I'm ready to go back to work, although not looking forward to it. It's the interactions with people that dismays me: i could stand a month of hermitage, i think. On the other hand, i wonder if my emotional shields drop so much that i forget how to balance engagement with others. I closed meeting yesterday, and the speaking at the end seemed to wipe me out.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, May 11th, 2013 08:06 am
After work i came in off the deck. Midafternoon i dropped the blinds, but i think the sun that filtered through reddened my cheeks a bit. I spent hours knitting (with the knook, not needles) and watching things. First the mildly entertaining series Alphas, then Christine's delight, Star Wars III.

I'm doing an openwork pattern: lots of yarn overs and knit-togethers. It's intriguing to watch the shape of the openwork pattern take form, especially given that i'm not really following instructions anywhere at all. Note taking so if i ever want to try this again, i have a cue how to replicate - or not - this effort )

My parents have a three hour layover at SFO ....

and, zippity skippity, i got to see them.

Now i am on the deck with a good bit of the day gone and pondering what to do.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 07:25 am
Wednesday: My LJ feed is full of posts from [livejournal.com profile] usgs_earthquake reporting on aftershocks (and preshocks) from the M 8.0, Santa Cruz Islands event. I've only noticed a tweet from the local police that there is no tsunami warning for California: i haven't had a chance to check the news.

I've had work phone calls and email engagements this morning, cutting into my reading and review time. I didn't work on Nominating committee tasks for meeting last night, so i will be behind at the meeting, i suspect. How can i frame that differently, so i don't hang my head? Well, at least i can recognize it's not a helpful frame.


Well, that was a quick day. I did some data entry all during the committee meeting and partly caught up. And i did QA testing into the evening, finding problems that depressed me. Will we do our install tonight? Oy.

From http://hbswk.hbs.edu/rss/7145.html

John Mackey, cofounder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, is no fan of big government and the "crony capitalism" he believes it fosters. He thinks private sector responsibility is the answer and his prescription is described in a new book, Conscious Capitalism, that he coauthored.

Conscious capitalism is made up of four elements:

* a purpose higher than merely generating profits and shareholder value;
* integration of all stakeholders in that sense of purpose;
* conscious leadership devoted to the higher purpose and stakeholder integration;
* a conscious culture with shared values that reflect the higher purpose.

Part of me believes that the four points are critical to work-life: the first point is certainly why i have worked where i have, the next three points are things i attempt to foster in my corner of the Whale and, in general, i am not alone in that effort. But my overall reaction, particularly to the proposal that this is a solution to income inequality, is one of distrust and cynicism as i read the article. The author of the article seems to be dubious as well, concluding,
Is this an important answer to the inequality now thought to be burdening economies from the US to India and even China? Or is it an exercise in self-indulgence associated with a retailing strategy that would succeed in any case? If it is so promising, why do so few organizations practice it, as evidenced by macroeconomic trends? Is the basic premise even correct, given evidence from Europe, where less inequality prevails alongside slow growth? What do you think?

Meanwhile, in Jojoland Rhythm news, I finished Christine's purse cover while watching a second episode of Star Trek as we both unwound from our late evenings. I was delighted by how the yarn hid the whip stitches i used to attach the cover to the zipper: i know i wasn't doing an even or precise job, but it looks just fine. Phase two will be to replace the handles, as the leatherette is peeling there, too but she can start using the purse now.

This seemed to break my post late-Yule-gift crochet block: i believe i'll be able to finish a few other projects now, with the momentum returned.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 07:01 am
Huzzah! The Quarterly Install -- the deployment of new releases of many of the Whale's products -- went off with no phone call to me last night. Huzzah, huzzah.

My old blogs and my website at my domain name have been offline for a week as the (mac mini) server they were running on was shipped to our home. Christine set up the machine on our network last night, and so i am slowly porting content to an Amazon bucket. Hacking the old html and getting them up onto Amazon feels like spring cleaning. I'll be ready for "positioning myself" once i figure out what i'm trying to do.

I just mentioned jojoland rhythm yesterday but didn't explain why the yarn is so special. It's a four ply yarn where the colors shift: the yarn might start as a three strands of blue green with a strand of wheat, then shift to a strand of wheat, two of russet, and one of blue green, then a russet, a blue green, and two purple blues ... These shifts go over many many yards, so there might be four or five shifts in a hundred yard ball -- but there are dozens of color combinations in the color pattern! Each ball doesn't necessarily have all the colors. We picked this colorway for the red: i don't think any of the balls i got have the red in them.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, October 1st, 2012 06:29 am
I have a bunch of recordings of observations made while driving on Saturday that i think i will delete. The most notable point is that crepe myrtles are still in bloom in places.


Yesterday was mostly lovely. Flu shot then breakfast with a few friends, home for a bit of cleaning on the deck then lunch with a friend.

During the deck cleaning i decided to dig up the potatoes and was delighted to discover they were successful. I'm not sure i can grow potatoes over winter, but i'm going to try with little red potatoes from the grocery. (Given the white potatoes were from the grocery, too, it's not a bad place to start.)

I'd like to grow more specialized potatoes in the spring so that i can experience some of the heirloom types.

After lunch the day is a bit of a haze. A nap was involved, and the day was quite warm. We were out of habit in keeping the place cool. I did the grocery run and came home to an emotional downturn. I grabbed some dark chocolate and sat and watched "Once Upon A Time" while crocheting. I've now finished the hat for my nephew: it's turned out nothing like i planned. I'd hoped for a more beret-like top, but the ribbing i did, following the instructions on the hat making tutorial, did not pull in. Instead, it flares out a little -- harumph. It still is hat like, and i can imagine it working.... maybe. I am frustrated, but have decided to commit to the way the hat has made itself and hope it works as a gift.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 06:29 am
I had fun with crochet this weekend, making a mug cosy for Christine so that her cup of tea isn't quite ice cold when i hand it to her hours after i started drinking the pot. Acrylic doesn't seem to retain heat: i assume wool is better. However, for experimenting and household decor items i have a stash of Lion Brand Vanna's Choice to work down.

Interweave press, a craft press, is having a sale, and i bought a downloadable video to watch. I was surprised how, even thought i was poking at other internet things as the video ran (there was some repetition in the instruction), i feel i learned a great deal. I did take extensive notes with screen grabs of different patterns. I was so delighted on Saturday, that i bought more of the on sale videos (all $6-8) on Sunday for future learning.

One other thing about the extensive crochet day was that on Sunday morning i was able to substantially break the Yam-resistance on a number of Meeting responsibilities and get through a stack of to dos. I am left with a stack of things i feel some guilt about: things i did not get to during my tenure on some committees, things incomplete.

I don't recall ever, since leaving school, having a sense of done-ness. There is always something. This is where the "conditions of enoughness" practice is supposed to help. As i write this, i am "grooming my backlog," in the jargon of agile management: looking at the lists of to-dos and deciding on the priorities, noting conflicts.

--==∞ And then the work day crashes in and i rush about ∞==--

Going out to the Devo concert tonight.

--==∞ And the work continues to crash in and i rush about and then i Go Out ∞==--

My ears are still ringing, and the late night didn't do me favors. Still they put on a great and powerful show. The second act -- it's really had to think of them as the opening act, although i guess they were -- did not seem to have quite so much energy. Specifics? Unfortunately the sonic distortion was so much that i have a hard time saying anything intelligible about the new music. I shall have to get the new album. I'm now motivated to get the new album, interested in their newer work and beyond just having a nostalgic interest, so i think that's a good sign.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, September 7th, 2012 07:18 am
I had no motivation yesterday evening, so i sat and continued crocheting on a purse for my niece while watching episode after episode of Bones.

crochet analysis )

... Thinking about Yule gifts i just went off to search eBay for Bison fiber to make mug cosies as part of a themed Yule gift donation to https://www.americanprairie.org. There's someone selling an unspun ounce of Bison fiber for a price i'm willing to pay. I also found an affordable bit of scrap bison leather lacings.... But then i found Bison nickels turned into buttons: that's perfect. Purchased.

Of course, this too was avoidance of a sort.

I'm reminded of [personal profile] sonia's article on core commitments .

It's my habit to berate myself for avoiding forced commitments. I realize a great deal of what i would have wanted to say are "ongoing commitments" really are "forced commitments." My committee responsibilities to Meeting are forced, despite being motivated by the ongoing commitment to the community. Attending Meeting and Meeting for Business are ongoing commitments i take with ease.

Care for my physical health in the form of exercise is forced. Care for the state of much of the household is forced. Even correspondence with many friends and family is forced (although i have definitely found that calling my parents and sister during my morning commute has become an ongoing commitment).

So i am berating myself from avoiding all those commitments and "goofing off" all evening.

That's not a compassionate understanding, and it's not going to help me balance my behaviors.

Speaking of commitments, the work hour approaches.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, August 11th, 2012 08:51 pm
§ Christine had a migraine last night; i didn't sleep well either.

§ My lost beads order remains lost; the Fire Mountain folks are doing the best they can to make it right.

§ Some months ago, i broke a glorious and heavy turquoise necklace my grandmother gave me. I can restring it essentially as is. I could make two necklaces out of it and intersperse with other beads. I was thinking read horn beads from the Philippines (lighter!) but that's not "traditional." I could find a vintage Navajo necklace that's inexpensive and restring with hollow silver beads.

I'm mixed in the feeling of re-purposing for my enjoyment and honoring the original crafts person.

§ My 32 GB Micro SD card arrived yesterday. That much data storage on such a tiny bit of plastic. It's astounding.

§I'm planning my freeform crocheted -- what? -- I look at some lovely long tunic vests, but i'm not sure that's the right cut. I wasn't starting with tons of yarn. I could make a heavy scarf with the planned yarn. So i bought some colors in some on sale worsted.... I fear this will be a loud expensive mess of a garment. Sigh.

§ Laundry tomorrow. And meeting. And groceries. And some Meeting work i haven't done yet.

§ I'm pretty sure i've been in a depressed state the past week or so. I need to exercise to help fight the blues and i need to not read about Creepers. One of the interesting things about reading critiques of rape culture is the analysis of how women are made the responsible parties for the success of communication. This is "interesting" in comparing it to the training and advice on how one should "manage up." A lot of the advice to midlevel managers about managing one's boss pretty much assumes the boss is limited in their communication style: the managed person should adopt communication styles to what the boss needs (details, no details, numbers, etc). The managed person should always provide a solution to a problem. The managed should do this that and the other to get whats needed by the managed to do their job.

Reading about creeps makes me think management culture is a corollary to rape culture: it's all about exploitation.

Clearly i manage my staff in all the wrong ways, she said, rolling her eyes.

§ I did do a little crochet today, practicing interweaving bulky yarn in a freeform worsted structure. Proof of principle succeeded.

§ I Really like nachos made with undressed cole slaw under the cheese.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, July 5th, 2012 06:30 am
I think this is the second morning in a row we've not had hot water when i went to make tea. Hrmph. The embarrassing thing is not remembering if there was hot water at all yesterday: did i try to wash my face with warm water? We use the dishwasher for dishes, and don't take daily showers, so....

It was a lovely day off: i need a vacation. I had coffee for two hours with friends in the morning, and then the comic book store was open. What happened to everyone getting the day off? But no, the coffee shop, the comic book store, the doughnut shop (for Christine): all open. I feel rather conflicted by giving the companies my business on a day that "should" be a holiday. I bought my reward, King City, and splurged on the first book of Moomin comic strips. I'd read [personal profile] laughingrat's mention of Moomin and had only known it was a book of some sort.

Over coffee i'd offered my scanner to a friend who needed to scan slides, so i went digging for the software. I found antiques. Boldly i decided to dump the old software, the 5.5" floppies (Christine rescued the MS DOS 2.2 floppy), my three (three!) hard drives i had wrapped for rescue some day. We think Christine has a power magnet, meant for wiping tapes in her radio days. I think i'll use those on the drives and then chunk them in the digital recycling. I think they're already damaged drives and the data is fairly old, so the data and identity theft risk is already low. We used to have a company near by with a reasonable hard drive shredding price.

This purge freed up a little space, so that felt good. Purge purge purge.

We watched Jaws, our Fourth of July tradition, and i did some mending (yay, decreasing that stack). I'm plowing along with a second sweater out of heavy chenille yarn. I'd bought the close out yarn and matched it up with a sweater pattern years ago. After working with the lace-weight sweater and getting it wearable -- not quite finished, but finished enough! -- I felt i ought to be able to whip up this sweater. Well, the Doris Chan Cinnibar pattern is much harder than the Marylin cardigan pattern, even though both have the same general design principle for the yolk. I'm currently just using the pattern as a suggestion and making do: i was trying to follow it, but something didn't quite go right (and i do have the errata for the book).

I did get a bit of walking in, joining a crowd standing on the 101 overpass to watch the fireworks. And then i had to ice my ankle. I'm ordering an ankle brace.

And, two hours later, hot water. WTF?
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, June 10th, 2012 07:15 am
I am apparently so impatient to go pick berries at the local U-Pick that we headed out Saturday morning a week before the farm opened. I'm not quite sure why i am so impatient, but i'm delighted that i noted the date before we drove too far.

We were heading out "late" because my father called at 7:30 and we had a delightful hour long chat. He was home alone, recovering from the eye surgery on Friday that corrected the mistakes made during the Tuesday eye surgery.

Dear baby boomers, the eye surgeons are getting plenty of practice on my dad, so i don't feel guilty feeling relief at the thought that they will be well practiced on you all by the time my eyes need surgery.

On the other hand, my dad thinks his cataracts have to do with years of unprotected eyes in south Florida light. If so, my life by the dim computer light should protect my eyes from needing similar surgeries.

Since i wasn't off late to pick berries, i could go spend an hour with a colleague in the farmers market. I made the mistake of getting root vegetables from a stand with unmarked prices. Two baking potatoes, two large beets, and three skinny carrots for $15? Bitter melon green and miso soup Yikes. I ended up going a little over budget because of that pricing (it was the only stand with baking potatoes), so when i was getting some yellow crookneck squash and saw the pile of greens i was in an spendthrift mood. $1 for a gigantic bundle of -- what? Bitter Melon greens? Stir fry or pout in a soup? -- i bought it.

The quinine flavor was pronounced in a raw leaf. I made a soup by blanching the leaves first in boiling salted water, rinsing in cold water, then squeezing out the leaves, before adding to the soup. The broth was diced candied ginger (because i was apparently out of ginger root, and i figured the sweetening of the bitter wouldn't hurt), miso, soy sauce, and a dash of Hunan red pepper sauce. The soup was bitter but tasty. However, the total cost of these greens in prep was not insignificant. The little tendrils that seemed so tender were actually pretty twiggy. The mature leaves were tender after cooking. Picking the leaves from the branches and blanching took some time. I can't decide if i would buy them again. Admittedly, there aren't lots of other greens in the market this time of year and $1 is pretty inexpensive compared to chard, etc.

Christine watched a Daily Show interview with the author of Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong, Ed Conard. Jon Stewart kept the conversation going as he tried to communicate with Ed that homeowners and the middle class were the ones with real risks in the economy. After watching Christine watch an episode of PBS's Commanding Heights, documenting the global economy from WW I to the early 90's, i wanted to bang my head repeatedly into a wall. I have simplified my understanding down to simply seeing that it seems that the economy goes into the ditch, folks figure out they need to steer in some direction (say right) and then leadership decides, "Damnit, we're going to steer this economy to the right come hell or high water." Lo, back into another ditch, and the only way to get out is to steer in the opposite direction, and back to monomanical steering without paying attention to the road.

Christine is taking economics this summer session: i may go back and read [personal profile] amaebi's posts on economics with a clue after i get an osmotic dose of basics from Christine. [Who is live editing as i blog, which is at least reading it, right?]

I didn't feel focused, as if i could make reasonable priority calls of what needs doing, so i ended up spending the day crocheting while watching videos. I started with a Tommy and Tuppence mystery, but felt like i could "do better." I went to my @watching tag and the first three saved notes were TED talks:

* Erik Johansson: Impossible photography | Video on TED.com
** Surrealism in photography and a bit about how he did his images. I was not impressed.
* Ron Gutman: The hidden power of smiling | Video on TED.com
** A nice peptalk on why smiling is good for you, although correlation and causation seemed awfully confused. As a chronically depressed person, i have mixed feelings about this. But what the hell, maybe i should smile more.
* Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on TED.com
** THIS is fantastic: wonderful personal narrative about power and stories.

The next thing on my watching list was a documentary about the role of several Afro-Colombian women in the continuing armed conflict in Colombia. The whole series of Women, War, and Peace looks like it's a good stiff study of war zones.

At this point i turned back to Netflix and watched a documentary that had been on my list for a long time, Obscene: A Portrait of Barney Rosset and Grove Press . It was interesting to have the economics video from Friday in the back of my mind, informing my reflections on the issue of regulation and control both in the economic realm and in the moral artistic realm.

I got a good number of yarn snarls undone -- why do my center pull balls fail so? -- and made great progress on the lower part of my cardigan. I'm adding a ruffly expansion at the bottom, and planning on slowly increasing the number of full cluster stitches to simple net stitches so the flare at the hip will be more of a net than a full lace fabric. I hope it works out. I'd hate to frog this yarn.

As a side note, i'm listening to The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. The second chapter, on brain plasticity, has me wondering why it took so long for conventional wisdom to recognize that adult brains change. Carr provides a good foundation to his argument that our tool use can change our brains. As i drove back and forth to the market listening, i wondered how the car has changed our brains, and snidely wondered why Carr wasn't bent out of shape about that. The whole tone of Carr's book -- not helped by my reaction to the narrator, i'm sure -- strikes me as reactionary conservatism so far. We own a copy of Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson, which probably takes similar observations and spins them in another direction.

In health news, i feel like i have put on several pounds in the past few weeks, my Achilles tendon still feels stiff and painful when i just walk around the house, and the flare continues. Feh.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 06:32 am
We had a pleasant evening power outage last night, but it seemed pretty frightening on the roads with no stop lights. The power went out just before sunset after a fairly warm day (86 degrees high at Moffett Field). We shut off and unplugged a few things as a precaution for the surge and noted that it was cooler outside. Christine went to take care of a chore, and i got a few candles and matches in easy reach. We'd spent a good while on the deck earlier in the day and it seemed we'd just move out there, but there was the matter of dinner.

Driving to get a burrito we saw evidence of the extent of the outage: a mile from our complex down a main thoroughfare was dark, including traffic lights. I saw more than one car fly through an intersection. The police were pulling folks over: why weren't they out directing traffic?

I'm also rather curious: why was such a large swathe of town out of power?

Oh well.


I frogged a great deal of the sweater i'm making with LaughingRat's mineral alpaca on Friday. I had dropped a cluster in a shoulder, which i didn't think would matter that much, and so i had plowed on ahead. When i was getting to the end of the yolk -- the part that wraps around the top of chest and back, over the shoulders and top of the arms -- i realized that i would need some more room in the front of the sweater, and that the increases were needed in rows much earlier on. So i frogged while listening to the team describe the work they'd done this iteration, frogged while listening to some presentation, and frogged while watching The Third Man, and i was finally able to begin crocheting again yesterday. I think the increases will look OK.

I think back to the first sweater i tried, and i suspect i could speed through it now. Then i struggled and struggled with the collar. I think i see the stitches so much better now. I'll pull the yarn out later this year.


I splurged on a genetic genealogy upgrade (during a very short DNA day sale) for both my father and my mother's father, adding the first round of mitochondrial DNA testing to both samples. The Y-DNA tests have been less than enthralling, but this investment is for the long run. I ponder having my sister's son tested. He shares the maternal mitochondrial DNA of my mother's line. We have my mother's father's line, and we have both lines from my father. My nephew would also introduce his father's line, which may be of some interest in the distant future.

The calculations here are that XY chromosome folks can trace both their direct paternal and their direct maternal lineage, but XX chromosome folks only trace maternal lineage through mitochondria. Thus, someone with XY can have more tests done.

I could get all steeped in genealogy research, but i really want to finish my notes on last Saturday's walk and post the photos. I feel so proud of myself that i've culled the photos down to just less than 60. There may be a few rather good ones of bees in lupine: i need to be more careful about grasses and sticks interrupting the sight lines.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 09:35 pm
I watched a Scooby Doo video recently (Christine's nostalgia), and found myself appalled that the monsters were "real." I was glad to read that i am not the only one:


Obsessive resting by just watching Bones for hours. I did a little crochet, finishing a small, simple pattern that i had designed with beads in single crochet. I had tried on grid paper, and found the stitches really are more of a brick pattern than grid. I'd ripped out that work and redesigned on a graph paper i'd found designed for bead work. That mostly worked, but i found myself slightly changing the pattern as i stitched it to fit reality. As i was working on it and adapting as i went, i realized how happy i was with the ease with which i adapted: not exactly "going with the flow," but more of a detachment from "being right" with my plan. I think this is an evolution for me to not get hung up on "being right." Of course, i was fortunate in that the second plan used fewer beads than the first, and i didn't have color changes to manage. All the beads have to be on the thread before you start.

I'm going to be late again to work today, but resting and taking it easy in the morning seems wise. I can tell i'm afraid of feeling under the weather while traveling, worried about exhausting myself. I am trying to just recognize the fear and let it go. I am merely suffering from some minor head cold with very mild body aches: i'm trusting i will feel energized again when it passes and holding my older, ingrained fears of giving in to being lazy or depressed back. "Trust the body," i remind myself, "We have seen how energy just suddenly returns to the body without it being the result of a force of will." (That's not the royal we but the internal committee we.)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, November 27th, 2011 06:49 am
The foggy sky was a rosy grey for a few moments. A sky of another planet, i thought, as the Japanese maple's flaming leaves glowed in its light, the redwoods dark and in silhouette.

Red-lit tree in the distance, blue glowing snowflake in the foreground We decorated for Yule yesterday, as i will be flying to Ohio next Sunday and won't return for over a week. It's the first time we've really decorated in a couple of years. I realize i have to plan for this trip and adjust my own traditions. I miss our junket up to the Flower Market in San Francisco, but we had a lovely breakfast at Hobees instead of the Flower Market cafe. The huge wreath for the fireplace is the one thing we can get at the market in the city and not nearby: this year the living room is not quite ready for such decor as the fireplace/video/technology pile is a jumble.

Hmm, as i ponder travel, i realize that i won't have my bright light for those days. I suppose something is better than nothing. Buying one of the less expensive travel lamps could help make the travel easier.

I pulled the scarf i'm making for Christine off the knitting loom and put it on my knook. The knit is not as even as the loom knit, but i do enjoy the knook so much more. I think i was getting a callus from the loom hook, and the motion to move the yarn over the pegs was so inefficient. I'm happy to trade perfection to get a more meditative movement. This knitted scarf -- a simple striped muffler -- illustrates for me the significant difference in knitted vs crocheted fabric thickness. The yarn seems to last forever compared to the skeins i went through for a simple scarf i crocheted for me last year.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, November 25th, 2011 05:39 pm

I have finally written the condolence and arrangement messages to begin the process of arranging for a Memorial Meeting for a member of meeting whom i do not know. This tangles up with the trip Christine and i made to see the grave of my stillborn nephew-who-might-have-been. And i've now written my brother.

I suppose it's better to compose these thoughts than to have a telepathic connection transmitting the jumble of emotions.


The left-over gluten loaf slices thinly, like left-over dark turkey. And when we returned home, and i was starved, nibbling on the left-overs before Christine heated them up for dinner was just as satisfying as i remember.

Also, cranberry sauce and sharp provolone cheese are an addictive combination.


Yesterday's yarncraft included another practice knitting swatch with the knook. This time, i just did what "made sense" -- keeping the free yarn on the same side of the fabric as i pulled it through the loops -- and it turned out like stockinette stitch. (Samples) I'm not skilled with keeping tension even yet, but it seems like it's working. Nifty! I wonder if i can take the scarf off the blankety blank loom and use my largest knook to finish it.

Off to experiment!
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, November 25th, 2011 07:19 am
Two men are going through the recycling bins collecting recyclables. I know it's theft from the city, but these two are doing so fairly quietly.... I wish there were more jobs.


We had a lovely holiday together yesterday, although Christine did git hit with some family-pains. She coped, and we cooked. I am delighted that i now have a recipe for a gluten protein that i can turn into something we can enjoy. I flavored the bean-gluten dough with molasses and poultry seasoning and celery salt, stuffed it with fairly traditional stuffing, layered sage and rosemary from the garden and steamed it up as our main dish. Instead of olive oil i used butter butter butter! Cranberry sauce was a variation of a recipe i made in 2006 (and have made many times since), with a Meyer lemon from the tree. Christine made the most decadent mashed potatoes, and we steamed up a bag of green beans. Traditional without too much fuss. We had pie as well: a Shaker lemon pie with Meyer lemons in a coconut crust. I forget when i cut up those lemons: they've been macerating in sugar in the freezer -- for a year?

I am delighted that we have merged on a celebration that suits us. Christine was worried about whether i was cooking from duty as i bustled in the kitchen, and i can happily say the cooking was a joy and delight. No stress, and the mess wasn't too bad.


I spent most of the day parked on the couch with beads and thread in my hand watching amusements. Sigorney Weaver and Sam Neil were in a Snow White film that provided a dark take on the fairy tale, although there are plot bits that annoy me. Most annoying: the step mother gives snow white a puppy when they are first introduced with the admonition that if she treats the dog well, he will always be loyal. Hello, this is the gun in the first act, make it make sense in the last act! But, no, there's nothing about whether the girl treats the dog badly or not, and the dog makes an appearance in the final act without much narrative connection to the first appearance.

I watched some episodes of a Discworld animation, and then we watched the last two episodes of Masada. Masada fascinates me as propaganda and as an interesting window to look at American attitudes towards freedom, slavery, and violence. I don't have any clever conclusions to draw, but i found myself wondering about audience identification. The "freedom fighter's" rhetoric sounds so familiar, and, oh!, the injustice of taxes! The suicidal conclusion: a romanticized Jonestown. The depiction of Sheva, the woman who saves herself by selling herself to a powerful man as she flees from the common Legionaires raping and pillaging, intrigues me as well. Is there a message in her choice of nonviolence and intellectual resistance?

At the end of this marathon i had completed twenty four inches of beaded rope, a four bead spiral. I'm not quite sure what to do with it now, but i'm delighted to have finally figured out how to make it work. I wonder if my mother would wear it. I've not picked up the project i bought to make for her a year ago since a vacation week when i could not get the cuffs of the slippers to turn out the same size. I have also forgotten how to knit with the knook, but i did acquire a thicker cable for the trailing bit. I think i will practice knitting some wash cloth squares and crocheting borders.


Despite canceling meetings left and right, my phone keeps reminding me of business meetings that are not occurring. (It's as if it doesn't comprehend when one of a series is canceled.) A colleague grossed that his phone did this his entire honeymoon. The reminder tone is easily ignored, but i am a little frustrated that all the fuss i went through canceling meetings didn't pay out.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, November 24th, 2011 08:55 am
Happy Thanksgiving (1 of 1) It's grey and drizzly outside. Yesterday Christine and i stepped out to run a few errands, in hopes of breaking our respective funks. The ginko trees along Middlefield were brilliant, fallen leaves pooled under the trees. It was like all the sun that had been shaded by the tree over the summer, lit up the ground all at once.

After we sat and had coffee, i was inspired to go buy some pony beads to attempt making a crocheted beaded rope in large scale. With the large beads and thick yarn, i was able to practice and finally understand the technique. I'm not sure what to do with the chunky beaded length i now have. It's too long to be an ornament, too short to be beaded garland. I suppose i could pull it all out and do something else with it. First, though, i want to try with seed beads!

My sister talked some sense into me yesterday. New Director had rounded up our phone call with the request, the gift, that the team should take the day off to compensate for all the work in getting things deployed over the past month. I felt that mainly the two folks who had focussed on that should take the time, and felt that i had managed my time over the days and didn't require comp.

But after the 7 am phone call was far more frustrating than i expected, and after wrestling with whether a bargain airfare was truly a bargain -- to find that it disappeared -- i was out of sorts and really did NOT want to work. So, i didn't, really.

Maybe the mental rest early on will help me get some activities managed over these four days.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, March 12th, 2011 08:26 am
I was tired Friday afternoon and just watched the BBC Robin Hood series until i could have an early dinner and fall asleep in front of the news. A long night's sleep, and I felt well and alert.

I realized that my Ponoko order arrived while i was gone. I was delighted to unpack the sheet of laser cut purple acrylic and the sheet of laser cut leather. All in all, i'm pleased. The etching in the acrylic needs some help to be visible, and i can scratch and paint on the scrap to find a good solution.

One of the many little projects was to make a back for a comb-bound notebook, so that it would be stiff enough to be a writing surface. I didn't get the measurement between the comb-binding punches quite right. I must have slightly under-measured -- a rounding error -- and the error propagated so that any few combs can go through but all twenty some have problems. I notched the combs so it would work with what i have.

To experiment with pendants, i made a pattern by swirling a seven pointed star in Illustrator. In acrylic the pendant and earrings are a little pointy, but cute. The leather pendant in the same swirled star seems much more attractive. I'd also used the free area on the leather to make little name/email/phone number tags to attach to things to keep them from being lost. Those turned out quite well.

I've made purse bottoms out of both leather and acrylic, with laser cut holes around the edges for crochet attachment. I'm not sure when i'll move to that project.

I made a run to the farmer's market and soaked in morning sun. Blood oranges, asparagus, and fragrant strawberries tell the story of spring. I've eaten one of the oranges and hope to make a vinaigrette for the asparagus with the remaining one -- but i might just eat it, as well.

In gardening news, Read more... )

The lavender and rosemary are already blooming.

I am delighted with the bodice front i've made of a slubby worsted weight silk-llama blend yarn i picked up in Santa Cruz. It's to go with a wrap skirt made from vintage sari silk that i also picked up in Santa Cruz. I plan to just wear it around the house during the summer. Maybe i'll line it and wear it in public. [Design notes.]

The next step is a different story: I ripped out the crochet work i did on the return flight. I didn't quite have enough yarn. Had i been home, i could have weighed the yarn and divided it in two equal segments to make symmetric sleeves. Now that i'm home, i think i will focus on using the brown yarn to wrap around under my arms and the remaining red yarn to go over the shoulders.

Off for a busy day.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 05:49 am
The car's care wasn't the cheapest bunch of changes, but Christine had the 100,000 mile service done and, as i have apparently worn out the door solenoid with my fidgety button pressing (lock-unlock-lock-lock-unlock) as i walk to the car we prepaid to have that replaced. Christine will have them do that when it's convenient. No one's told me recently that it's my fault, but i recall how when i would play with other things like turning the dial on the TV (because that's literally how you changed the channel, you darn kids, get offa my lawn) my dad would fuss that i was going to wear it out.

Thus, i feel fairly certain i wore out the door lock on the car.

I'm torn between being pleased she got it fixed and annoyed. I'm fairly certain i would have just adapted to using a key (because it works), and would have agonized over the decision to get it fixed, wondering if it was really worth the money. And then, nigh four times daily, i would be reminded that i was not fixing something.

It's a real tension for me, one i'm not entirely at peace with. On one hand, i recognize the sense of well being that comes from things that just work, the ease they move you through life. The worn and broken surrond me: is it consumerist brainwashing or authentic human reaction to see these things as projections of self? On the other, there is the sense of waste and of other needs and desires. I've so many projects, do i really need to add this to my list of things to fix? I've other acquisitions i want to make, do i really need a new one? And what will happen to this when i throw it out?

Two particular examples come to mind. The first i am actually at ease over. I broke the little ceramic bit off the tea pot lid that would hold the lid in place when pouring soon after receiving the pot. I've not fixed it (even though i think it's in the bits and bobs drawer) and heaven knows i wouldn't replace the pot over this. This irritation is minor, mainly because i think the little bit didn't really hold the lid on that well. I should hold the lid when i'm pouring even if it was repaired. Probably the only irritation is that it is not expensive in time or money to fix -- there just needs to be a time when i'm not using the pot that i think to do it.

The second is the cover for the toilet lid, some acrylic shag thing where it was held on with elastic. Has it ever remained on? Should i mend? Should i get a new one? What is it even needed for? I tend to think of it when i'm in its vicinity and forget later.

It's not that i don't mend things. I darned and patched socks this weekend as well as making a pair. Sometimes mending and extending the life of clothes makes me feel clever and creative, like when i've overdyed stained things. Sometimes i'm pleased not to replace things (the socks would need to be replaced; i'd rather mend than shop for socks).

The question is one of priorities though: would i have a better (amortized) sense of well being if i mended the toilet lid cover than if i crocheted a new thingy from scratch? The immediate sense of pleasure might not be there with the toilet lid, but what about every time i cleaned the bathroom after?

Interesting: i see myself persuading myself to prioritize fixing it, not discarding it (what purpose does it serve?) or replacing it. Both it and the matching rug are six years old and have been attacked by cats, well trafficked, etc. The towels will be nineteen years old at our anniversary. I was really wondering if i should splurge on new things for the bathroom.


Edward, oddly, is the only cat that crosses my tiny desk. I chose to get a small desk in the theory that there would be less surface area to pile things on. (Forgot i'd have a floor.) Edward, the largest, will try crossing and turning on it, but there's really not that much room for him. He has such a pleasant way of letting me know he's ready for morning walkabout, and he's huggable like a big stuffed animal. His fur is not that fine but it's plush and healthy.

Greycie Loo has discovered my lap and pays a visit for a while in the morning now, demanding petting, throwing herself into the affection, rewarding me with love nips. She settles down for just long enough for me to think she might stay for a while, and then she's off. She seems so much more restless than the other cats.


I did some more mad crocheting yesterday evening, finding the basketweave pattern to be incredibly rewarding to stitch and incredibly greedy with yarn. I'd hoped to do a scarf sixty stitches wide (about a foot and a half), but i realized that 1.5 oz of the yarn would make just about five inches of the pattern. I'll make a skinny scarf. I bought the yarn to use up the yarn left over from making gloves. I suppose with time i'll accept left over yarn and will realize a ball of yarn just doesn't go very far.