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Sunday, July 9th, 2017 07:09 am
This news story is just shy of being a Gary Larson "Far Side." One wonders about a child getting in and finding both of the items that were in the vehicle, but i'll assume that the owner lived alone in the woods.

Spoiler )

--== ∞ ==--

In more uncomfortable thinking, tensions about "cultural appropriation" on a mailing list continue into a second week. There's some generational tension, i think, and today's post had hand-wringing over "Why must we be so painfully correct all the time?" There was an attempted distinction between micro-aggression and cultural appropriation: this makes me bang my head because the precipitating issue can easily be interpreted as a micro-aggression as well.

I think the original purpose was what i'll call a subversive ministry of gender expression to tradition bound American men when transgender folks were deep in closets. Having a S-- Day to celebrate a skirt-like item of clothing that was gender neutral made for a way to encourage men to wear skirts for a day without the "feminizing" label "skirt" or the defensive masculinity of a kilt. Theoretically, it's gender inclusive, but it certainly misses the obverse of constrained gender expression for women. Indeed one person, female identified at birth, gently noted this issue.

I don't think they were heard.

I think attitudes have changed enough in liberal Quakerism, that addressing gender expression with a "S--- Day" isn't nearly as powerful as it may have been originally. I wonder, even, if younger folks completely miss the subtlety of the choice as they ask, "Why not just have a skirt day?" which would be an honest and plain spoken goal, but far more challenging to masculinity.

Then, there's the fact that this is not a formally organized event, as far as i can tell, but one person's celebratory mission. That the person who brings it forward is more boomer generation than millennial does not escape my notice. That they may not be aware of the male privilege inherent in the framing despite challenging the policing of male privilege is intriguing.

All of this plays out in the larger context of some tempest over white privilege and white supremacy in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, where i also perceive a generational divide between "I marched at Selma, how dare you!" and "Black Lives Matter", get woke folks.

I don't think S--- Day is any more culturally appropriative than wearing pajamas and is less so than a Kilt Day. I do think there's much more going on though, and the energy of the kerfluffle on list certainly strikes me as pulling strength from some warm ocean of discontent. I wonder if the current group can survive it's calling to be radically inclusive when it comes to nostalgic folks who feel they've done their work.

--== ∞ ==--

Friday night we were out late celebrating Christine's sister's birthday. Carrie woke me at 6:30 barking at the young buck just beyond the deck. I skipped tea, worked outside in the steam for a while, and then dozed for the rest of the morning. Not a highly productive day, and i couldn't bring myself to go back outside at 5 pm, it was so steamy. By the time we could bestir ourselves, the evening thunderstorm hit.

This morning she woke us barking at 5:30, and it was too dim for me to see any critter. I was more rested this morning, and made tea, and have spent the time on the back porch. It's 99% humidity, with the dew point only a fraction of a degree below the temperature, but it's cool enough that, being still, i'm not soaking.

I finished the potato harvest in that outside time yesterday, and planted the whole row with a variety of seeds. On the ends of the rows, where the plants may sprawl beyond the defined borders i planted the mini-melons and yellow squash. The current yellow squash are in abundance, but i don't know if they'll survive to frost. In between i planted marigolds, peanuts, and some very old bean seed. I picked a ear of the popcorn. The pollination of the kernels wasn't as thorough as i'd wish, and -- while it may have been at milk stage -- it wasn't nearly as tasty as sweet corn. This might keep it from falling prey to critters. Time will tell.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, July 2nd, 2017 12:29 pm

It is a bit ironic, perhaps, that it's more likely for Donald Trump to be removed from office that it is for him to be removed from Twitter.



I made an excellent potato bake casserole last night, all things considered. (TVP is not the most delightful of vegetable protein sources, but whatever.)

Overnight, Carrie ate one of my flip flops. If i could walk around barefooted i would, but between Achilles tendonitis and plantar fascitis.... pfft.

Spending a bit of time thinking about posting photo galleries (and blogs) to Amazon S3. I have discovered an Evernote blogging platform, Postach.io. Here's my naturalist notebook transformed through their interface. Essentially, you create an account on their site, give their system access to a notebook, tag notes with "published", and boom!, it's been posted to your postach.io blog.

I've found another flow that can depend on evernote notebooks as well, both more flexible and more technically demanding. I'm not sure i have an argument for blogging (beyond here) any time soon.
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Thursday, June 15th, 2017 01:13 pm
Watching Louisa & Slugger care for their three nestlings, i think it's impressive that Cardinals have such an easy time managing diaper changing. They feed the nestling and then carry of a little white sack of waste.

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

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

--== ∞ ==--

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

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

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

This morning i went out in the dawn. Flitting overhead were two bats: oh, more please!
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Thursday, June 1st, 2017 02:26 pm
In the BC era -- before Carrie -- Christine would come into the front room to drink her coffee, and Luigi would follow. Luigi would sit on my lap, and Christine and i would chat a little as i worked. Then there was Carrie, whose safe space was the front room where i work. Luigi dared not come in. He looked in once or twice, but Carrie would get excited, and that was that.

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

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

And then Luigi got up and sauntered over to me! Lap time, with the dog in the room! This counts as lovely progress.
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Friday, May 12th, 2017 09:45 am
Christine came in to ask Carrie where her sock went. It was buried in Carrie's living room dog bed.

Earlier Carrie brought a rawhide bone in out from the rain and buried it in her blankets. I love how she takes her snout and pats it down when she's done.
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Thursday, March 30th, 2017 07:22 am
Carrie carried many shoes into the living room overnight and chewed a strap off one of my sandals and one of Christine's shoes overnight. She also took socks out of the bedroom and left them in front of the library, and pulled jeans to the door of the bedroom. It would be adorable if it wasn't so expensive. Christine talks about nominative determinism: i should remind Carrie her name is not "Carry."

I've ordered "bitter apple" spray that should arrive in a week.

Also, i will be trying to not let her sleep all day.

--== ∞ ==--

A black snake slithered out of my way as i was mowing the east yard yesterday -- first snake of the season. The exterminators found mice under the house, so snakes follow. (Actually, we'd seen a snake going under the house when we first moved here.)

Also, when i went out before heading to sleep, fireflies. Fireflies! Already! I don't recall them before June, but i also didn't have the habit of going out every night when i was growing up.

The exterminators gave us a quote for replacing all the vents under the house, around $1500. It seemed wise to get an estimate for sealing off the crawl space as we had pretty serious humidity issues last summer. I was sure it would be over $10k, but it wasn't. So, we'll have the crawl space sealed up and included in the HVAC system. I think it will help reduce Christine's anxieties about snakes under the house, and it should be more efficient. All around a good investment.

--== ∞ ==--

I saw a therapist yesterday. She thinks i'm lonely, and that's affecting my capacity in dealing with Christine's elephants. She's echoed one of my goals for the week and helped chat me through some of the procrastination. It's hard for me to see myself as lonely, but i have been aware that my interactions with people have decreased. Even here with you all.

One insight i had was that i didn't have a clearly social relationship with many of my CA friends. That is, it was either a group gathering, stopping to see someone at work, or in conjunction with Meeting activities. I never had a pattern where they or i reached out directly to each other.

She also loaned me a book about living with someone with one diagnosis of what the elephants may be. Much of the details did not resonate. Christine said when i shared the book that it was a diagnosis that was one of the more unlikely. After reading some of the diagnostic points, i'm leaning towards discarding it as a possibility altogether.
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Friday, March 3rd, 2017 06:38 am
Yesterday there was a certain amount of distress in the household. Carrie should be taking it easy to recover from the spay operation. Thus she is a ball of excessive energy and gets rambunctious around the cats, which they find distressing. Christine then tries to fix it, and gets distressed and then i get distressed.

We went into solution mode: i found Benadryl is supposed to be a bit of a sedative for dogs. A friend asked about chamomile, and i found this article: http://dogsaholic.com/care/how-to-sedate-a-dog.html

Let me take a minute to share my eye-rolling about uncritical representation of natural = safe )

I didn't think chamomile tea in the water dish would be as assuredly consumed as Benadryl in cheese, so i went the Benadryl route in the evening when my extended family was coming over for birthday cake. Christine took the exercise route: she's hired a dog walker for the next week. I can't say the dog walk Christine took her on and the Benadryl sedated her much for the family gathering, but we gave it a go.

Over the weekend i had noticed Carrie chewing on the plastic wrap that Christine's prized books are wrapped in. I had considered the cost of some of the books, the leather bindings on some, and how much peace would be in the household if Carrie came to believe books were toys. I promptly went to Amazon and searched for toys that are designed to engage a dog. I was delighted to find puzzle toys abound. I bought several, and some arrived yesterday. The one with little compartments and a spinning lid was mastered pretty quickly. The toy i thought of as just being a chew toy, though, "PetSafe Busy Buddy Jack Dog Toy," was clearly more than just something to chew on. She worked HARD trying to manipulate the object to get at the "gnawhide" rings. I think it exhausted her last night -- but not enough that she didn't dance at the cats on the bed.

And so, the final dog behavior moderator: the spray bottle. Wow. Carrie promptly left the cats and went to lay down very low on the floor.

I think we have enough tools now to keep Carrie calm for One More Week. Then i can go back to playing with her in the back yard and in the lovely large dog park where she can race around like ... nothing i've ever seen before!

--== ∞ ==--

Meanwhile, it was my birthday which i share with my Dad. It was delightful to be with him and share the celebration: Christine indulged us all buying two glorious cakes, one of which was half icing. I have never had a slice of cake where i felt there was enough icing -- this one ... took the cake! I was quite satiated last night, but this morning i find myself.... Well, i think some slices are going to have to get frozen and wrapped up so that i pace myself responsibly. And there's enough that i think i have something to take to our next door neighbors whom i have not met.
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Saturday, February 18th, 2017 03:55 pm
I lingered a bit longer inside than i meant to Saturday morning. We're trying to let Carrie out of the front room at night, but in the wee hours of Saturday she slipped under the baby gate to make a raid on the kitty litter cabinet. Fortunately the cabinet doors made a sound to wake us as she tried to get in, so i was able to scoop her up and deposit her in the front room. Last night she seemed to stay on the couch all night.

I thought lingering might be a good idea, as it had gotten down to almost freezing last night. My suspicion was confirmed in the garage, as it was 40°F when i went out. But no, i had lingered too long because outside of the garage it was 60°F.

My great pile of brush went up in flames very quickly, no struggle getting it started. While it burnt i cut down a bunch of autumn olive and pulled down honeysuckle. There's now a tidy patch of woods beyond the screened in back porch. The honeysuckle is definitely greening up. I've found the young yet very long shoots of autumn olive flexible and have made a loose "fence" from the "whips" for the peas to climb. I am not making a super-tidy construct: i hope its irregularity is more charming than sloppy, in a wabi-sabi sort of way.

In the front, the pink saucer magnolia (Magnolia × soulangeana) is suddenly exposing lipstick pink buds. I'm sure they weren't there yesterday. I've forced some branches -- not as attractive as other forced branches, but they're what i have. The next ten days look terribly pleasant and mild. I don't suppose i can go shouting around "another month and a half till average last frost" to the plants. Instead, i have created a form to use to log the status of all the plants, in an attempt to capture first and last bloom dates, etc.

Today i ponder another fire on the other side of the house. There's also the annual meeting of the county history association, which is tempting. Monday is the chipper.
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Friday, February 17th, 2017 09:02 am
Yesterday we came back from a disappointing errand and i wandered the yard before returning in. While i was out, Christine let Carrie into the back yard. She was so excited, so i went to play with her and accidentally lobbed her toy out of the fenced area. I bet she'll stick with me to go get the toy, i thought.

Ha, so wrong.

That dog raced around the house multiple times, looping around in the cleared areas, sprinting like a horse. She lunges as she runs, both front legs extended out in front of her. She paused to look down the driveway, which Christine and i have been carefully treating as "not-yard". I was relieved when she just raced around some more, eventually racing into the back yard again.

--== ∞ ==--

Other animal drama includes Slugger and Louise, a pair of cardinals. Slugger perches on the rear view mirrors of both car and truck, frequently enough that plenty of sign is present, and attacks his reflection. I'm a little worried that they may be planning to nest in one of the brush piles, so i have finally arranged for the chipper on Monday.

--== ∞ ==--

In the yard, i am saddened to see Autumn Olive leafing out. I'm not ready. North Carolina in winter is still more green than the bay area in summer. I've enjoyed being able to see through the woods, get a sense of the shape of the clearing. I need to remind myself we've made much progress and it will never be the wall of jungle it was last May. When we are out driving, it seems spring is even more on the way. Forsythia, quince, foaming cotton candy pink trees (cherries, i think, not red buds), some white flowers on trees - not dogwoods yet, i think. Daffodils are blooming elsewhere, too. Our yard seems slow, perhaps because our slope faces north. I think i am thankful for the reprieve, especially if it means future fruit trees won't rush to bloom and get caught by freezes. Average last frost date is April 4th.

--== ∞ ==--

I am greatly enjoying the NY Times mini-crosswords. Their application makes crosswords more enjoyable for me - some element of immediate gratification, i suppose, along with easing the clue to box visual logistics. The full crosswords require another subscription, so i have refrained -- and i am not sure how much self control i would have to not do crosswords all day. I've never liked crosswords in the past, so it seems the mini was just the right size to get me hooked.

So tempted to buy a novel and blow off the rest of the day.
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 01:40 pm
An extended family member, on Christine's side, had a crisis yesterday. Christine's been carrying the concern that this person was headed for such a crisis since before we moved. I'd been spared the details. I knew there was some reason to be concerned, but i didn't want to be nosy or gossipy. Now i know how bad it was... is... and i find myself with a sort of free floating distress today.

It's not helped by less focused distress, captured like the NY Times headline from today, "‘Unbelievable Turmoil’: Trump’s First Month Leaves Washington Reeling."

An opening for discernment is whether i should volunteer to serve on the county Climate Change Advisory committee.

Meanwhile, in dog news, the mailman thumps a package on our steps before Carrie or i notice. And by notice, i mean, lifts head up. But bicyclist ride by some distance away while Christine starts the truck? Ba-roo! More barking than i've heard from her.

Last night she made a short bark outside. I went out to hear baying of hounds somewhere to our south east and dogs barking in other areas. Also, rustling in the woods consistent with deer browsing. Perhaps we'll still have visitors if they've all learned that dogs are penned up critters.
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Friday, February 10th, 2017 04:40 pm
Tonight, a concert with Laurie Anderson & Philip Glass. My 49th birthday is some ways off, but Christine considers this an early salvo of the celebration. I've not been much for celebration in recent years, and this year it will be the first anniversary of the rent increase that triggered the move. I'm beginning to find space to hold both the delight in our new home & being close to family and the loss of established connections. I share my birthday with my father & i would love to have a cake decorated with the fine skills my mother developed in handling gum paste and making flowers. I regret, though, that the rest of my family had too much of the very good thing and have dissuaded Mom from making such elaborate cakes. And now i wonder if she can manage any more. Still, being with my Dad on our birthday for the first time in years: that will be a delight.

Another joy+loss is probably one parents find: the dawg consumes attention and time. I've lost some quiet moments and i'm aware of the attention i need to keep on her. It's been almost a month. We still need a bit of supervision around the cats because Christine does not like the cats acting spooked. It's not entirely overprotective, i guess. And Carrie is getting a bit more boisterous and seems likely to chew on random things and pull things out of boxes, etc. No harm yet, but there is the care in attending to where things are left. I expect most of the hyper vigilance will fade away as we have better voice control. She is delightful to watch when she frolics and plays!
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