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Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 07:54 am
Wednesday: therapist & "wellness coach" present evidence that i am too hard on myself. Have a sense of vertigo as i realize that how i express my intention to change that ... is expressed in a "too hard" manner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would love to write more communicative entries, but it's time to go to work. I've hooked the mirror of my laptop up to my photo editing machine and will soon have that set up to manage email and such from while i wait to get my laptop back. And i'm going to start using my work machine -- as i am now -- like i used my personal laptop (morning and evening correspondence etc). Hopefully i'll be able to make some digital recovery steps while waiting for my machine to be fixed.
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Monday, December 5th, 2016 07:30 pm
I made a horrible mistake and read the twitter feed of the president elect. There's something about the rhetorical style, exclamations of "Sad!" "Special!" "No more!", which ... are the verbal equivalents of emoticons, now that i think about it. And now i feel uncomfortable, but i suppose "more articulate than smiley faces" is yet a low bar. I suspect i've been exposed to emoticons for so long that i am inured to the shorthand.

--== ∞ ==--

Friday i had a bit of a migraine. "Bit of" in that i was not laid completely out, but "migraine" as it was preceded by a scintillating scotoma. I was restless and raked leaves and unloaded all the unboxed books into the bookshelves: they fit! We had plumbers fix a leaky faucet, and it is truly fixed. I suspect it was about two quarts a day. Every little bit conserved helps, right?

Saturday was planned to be a bit busy. I started with burning a pile of brush, and pulled a great deal of honeysuckle and grapevine out of the near by bit of woods. I went into Raleigh to meet up with my sister. Instead of our plan to meet at the Unity rally, we met up at the art museum where i collected my niece E. We spent a while together enjoying both the modern collection and the antiquities, and then we met up with my mother at a Scandinavian Yule Fair. E had $13 burning a hole in her pocket and we went to every booth multiple times as she looked at little trolls and small figures.

Sunday, Christine and i went to the Mark Hewitt pottery and bought a 2 gallon jar as an anniversary celebration. Come the winter solstice, we will have been married 25 years. The jar was in my arms as the potter came in and we had a lovely chat with him, and he asked questions of us -- it turns out he knows our neighbors and, well, it is a small town.

Today we thought we might go see the swearing in of our new county commissioners, but instead stayed home and discussed dental insurance. We are so very very delighted that the governor's race is finally over and the progressive candidate won. Huzzah.

We saw a doe behind the house in the morning, looking delicate and magical. At lunch i found all my pansies had been munched along with the collards. Harumph.
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Sunday, November 27th, 2016 08:06 am
It has been a very relaxing holiday, although i have been in an odd emotional state in the evenings. I will refer to it as "cranky" for lack of a precise description.

List of what went on, tinted with my crankiness. )

My mind is on trying to sort out what my moodiness is about, but stepping back from that mystery, it's been a lovely holiday. I want to share photos of happy things, like the compost thermometer, time on the lake, and pumpkin ricotta, but i am all backed up with process. Time with family has been warm and loving, not overwhelming.

Speaking of pumpkin ricotta: one large tub of ricotta + one 16 oz can of pumpkin (roughly 2:1 in volume), drained for at least 12 hours, mixed with powdered sugar and spices to taste is THE BEST THING EVER. Spread on toast. Put in fancy puff pastry cups. Eat out of the bowl. Pipe on to pumpkin bread.

I have finally identified one of the ferns growing around the house: ebony spleenwort. It's low growing and not very dramatic, but i do like it. There are other larger ferns, and i worry a little that clearing out the autumn olive might clear out the shade needed for those other ferns.

Potluck at meeting today: i'm wrestling with hermit-y feelings in conflict with a sense that community is Good For You,® and therefore i should go.
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Monday, November 21st, 2016 11:25 am
So, here it is, Monday morning, and i'm dithering. Email triggered some work and i was productive on personal things (putting things up) while listening to some folks describe a new tool for doing certain software development practices.

The weekend was rather productive, though. I borrowed my dad's tiller, made some initial passes over the 15' by 30' garden area, and then created the beds. The long dimension runs north to south. The west side of the garden faces the house. So there's a border that goes around the north to the west and from the south to the west. The border opens in the center of the west side to have isles on both sides of a narrow center bed. What's left are two 10' by 10' beds, and those are divided into three. That was the size recommended for a "three sisters" planting.

Here's a sketch of the lay out and what i intend to grow. I made a mistake in the labeling: the basil, squash, and peanuts are for after the *potatoes* are harvested, not the pumpkins.

In the three sisters square, corn, beans, squash.... )

Yesterday i skipped Meeting to stay home with Christine who had been feeling fragile. Many times the fact that i'm a morning person and she's an evening person work in our favor, but it's not conducive to togetherness at ends of the day. By staying home, she could wake up on her own schedule and not feel rushed by me having to get out to meeting for business. I need to remember to set the Saturday mornings aside before early Sunday meetings.

In the afternoon more gardening. )

I did a little research this morning: dehydrated potatoes sounds like a great way to preserve any surplus potatoes. In some time, i'd like to be able to grow most of the potatoes we eat. I don't have anything like a root cellar to keep them in, though. I chose later to mature varieties that were "good keepers" hoping to extend the period when we can eat them fresh. Nonetheless, it's theoretically possible that i could have 50 lbs of potatoes come in over two months. I don't think i'm going to get 1 to 10 returns, but even 25 lbs of potatoes is a bit much for the two of us over a short time. Dehydrating would be great way to preserve them. I'm not excited about other ways of preserving food. Freezing is expensive and risky (due to power loss). Canning seems miserable.
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Monday, November 14th, 2016 12:00 pm
The Saturday galavanting was refreshing. We started at the local co-op for breakfast, during which i got them both to make plans to buy seed potato with me. On to an antique store that was having a holiday festival with bluegrass music and some extraneous vendors. I was impressed how long my sister could have spent looking at the farm antiques: she's all captivated by the idea of taking a wooden chicken crate and making it into a coffee table. We wound through the country side, dotted with dairies and obsolete chicken barns, country houses, and garlanded with golden autumn foliage. It was a beautiful day. Lunch was at an honest country restaurant, and i decided to ignore the odds that there was bits of meat in the black-eyed peas or greens. We wrapped up with a stop at the molasses festival, and by molasses, they mean sorghum syrup.

I will not plant sorghum to make my own syrup. I will not plant sorghum to make my own syrup.

(Searches on how to efficiently reduce juice to syrup. Also http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/agr/agr123/agr123.htm)
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Monday, October 31st, 2016 08:59 am
I read the Weather Underground blog entry this weekend about how warm this October has been and reflect on my observations: lilac budding, four flowers blooming on an azalea, a violet. Looking at the trees that are almost bare (elms, tulip poplar) i assume they are driven by day length. The others must be thinking to photosynthesize while the process is still good.

On my drive to Meeting on Sunday, i passed critters that have been hit by cars. It seems there are more now than in the summer, although it may be i became very sensitized a few months ago when i hit a squirrel. I now drive with as much concern for little darting critters as i can.

I also passed a pretentious neighborhood entry way (likely filled with McMansions) where the cherry trees were in full bloom. Poor trees. I am appreciating not having to heat and having this extended period of idyllic weather, but we haven't had rain since Hurricane Matthew and really, cold is not a bad thing. I saw even more violets blooming as i worked in the septic field Sunday afternoon. I suppose i should find a candied violet recipe.

As a log of the weekend:

* Friday night raked the glade, dinner out with Christine's sister at The Mod.

* Saturday morning, appreciated being together given the rest of the schedule. Christine cooked part of a lovely breakfast while i created rather disappointing corn flour+rice flour biscuits. Christine had an afternoon gig; i burned brush (and got rather exhausted). I do wonder about the exhaustion and pounding heart i experience when doing a good deal of bending over. I would think that bending over would be easier on the heart? In the late afternoon i finished watching Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell . I'd gotten a bit creeped out by Thistledown's stalking of Arabella; i'm glad i returned to finish the series. Christine was home in time for a light dinner: we listened to the world series as i faded to sleep.

* Sunday morning i was to be at the meeting house at 9:30 for a lecture about the local Revolutionary war battle. It turned out to also involve a great deal of historical context, which was very interesting. Also, the battle was between neighbors, essentially -- not many British soldiers brought over for the war itself, but men born in the colony. I reflected on the neighbor vs neighbor quality of the revolutionary war, the civil war, and the local & current political rhetoric. I'm not sure what insight i gleaned from the reflection. Meeting for Worship had little waiting worship, and the person who visited to speak to us was from Durham Monthly Meeting -- someone who has a passion for addressing the injustices in our legal system. Afterwards we all went to the site of the Battle of L's Mill and had a lovely walk to the existing markers, listening to a recap of the morning's lesson.

I do want to know where the road from Hillsborough to L's Mill traversed. (And i keep getting distracted to see if i can find hints online: i've found groups who work on this sort of thing.)

Christine was in a bit of a dither when i got home as she prepared for an afternoon gig. I headed out and walked around the familiar areas of our lot, then decided i's work out on the septic field area "tidying." I now have a large pile of stuff to burn and have added to the chipper piles. I spent late afternoon on the screened porch reading until dark. I managed to bestir myself and get the front light on just as Christine returned.

We had some disappointments trying to use Sling TV to watch the World Series. Apparently, we need to get an attic antenna if we want to receive channels over the air beyond a very unpredictable PBS. Instead we watched a Kenneth Branagh episode of Wallander.

I didn't sleep well, and so this morning has not been very focused.

Hoping the week turns out well.
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Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 09:57 am
Wow, the journaling is really falling by the wayside, and i suspect i'll rant to read back on what this first year is like. Ah well.

Last week flew by with the distraction of a foggy mind and some sort of sinus unhappiness. Midweek my dad let me know our rescheduled trip to the mountains would need to be rescheduled again due to a doctors appointment he had forgotten. I think i was disappointed, but i decided to keep the day off as i was feeling run down.

One lunch Christine and i went to walk outside in the front woods we've cleared back from the future driveway. A dog came trotting up the driveway, and we walked him home. )

Friday furniture )

I woke at 3:30 am on Saturday, thinking about the yard. Happy thoughts: where to plant what, what to tackle next. But i couldn't manage to quiet the thoughts to go back to sleep, so i got up and did some tidying and unpacking, and some reading. The moonlight is wonderful.

Eventually Christine woke, and we had a pleasant breakfast before i prepared for a day of yard work and she prepared for a friend/client meeting. I worked on the path around the porch and deck, transplanting violets, Heuchera americana (Alumroot), and some other attractive ground-covering plant. I am guessing the alumroot is wild, but given the proximity to the house, it might have been an intentional planting.

mystery plant )

They were transplanted to a "shady" garden outside our bedroom window. I hope it will be shady next summer, but i have cut back a number of saplings and cleared out the honeysuckle and Japanese knotweed. I've only left a small redbud in the area i consider the flowerbed, and a dogwood does reach over the area a bit. It may be much more sunny though, than it has been. There are three moss covered rocks that act as focal points as well as the huge stump from a tulip poplar tree. (The rest of the tree still needs to be removed -- the previous owners cut down trees and left the logs and branches in the woods.) I planted the 15 yellow daffodil bulbs in this area too, did what i could to encourage moss growth, and hope that it becomes a verdant little area.

After all day outside, i cleaned up and dressed up. Christine and i were guests of a "table captain" at the Equality NC Gala. Conversation was impossible, but that was a plus for me as i was feeling shy. The program was very good - lots of NC House Bill 2 politics and politicians. Lovely to see such a large community of LGBTQ supporting NC politicians! The past mayor of Houston spoke and it was fairly inspiring. The program ran long though, so that was exhausting. I drank a bit more than i usually do, mainly as an analgesic. Oh, did i ache from the yard work. People watching was fun, although pretty sedate.

Sunday i couldn't bring myself to go to Meeting. We had a fairly quiet day, the highlight of which was going to the nearby mill town of Bynum to a native plant seed swap. I had nothing to swap, but the organizer was happy to send me home with seeds, and i was thrilled to get seeds of plants i've wanted for a while. (Pawpaw! Waxmyrtle! Buttonbush!) I'm trying to figure out how i am going to start the seeds. seed starting )

Yesterday i managed to finally get soil samples together. I have to get them to the state soon: In November there's a charge.

There was shooting in the large woodlot next door yesterday. I worry it's going to be hard on Christine hearing hunting going on: deer and turkey season start in a month. She's sensitive to sounds like that, sounds she has no control over. Being well isolated has reduced her stress compared to living in a dense suburban situation in California: i hate to think how she's going to be affected by the shooting.

Looks like lovely weather through the week.

[1] AKA Neighborhood public road. I think it means that the state doesn't maintain it. http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_136/Article_4.pdf
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Friday, September 9th, 2016 07:54 am
Sunday had some elephants. I also killed the weed whacker -- and Lowes replaced it.

Monday's holiday and low humidity allowed for delightful working in the yard. I found a downy rattlesnake plantain (a native terrestrial orchid) much closer to the house as i worked in the mess that is right off the deck. Mess? Yes. It seems the sellers must have had someone come do something quick about honeysuckle and jungle right next to the deck. There are some tall trees cut down leading away from the deck, and stilt grass now grows in the area cleared by the fallen crown. An area about 20 x 20 foot is mostly cleared with a few stunted and twisted saplings -- evidence of honeysuckle infestation.

On the ground are long abandoned items of cloth, busted whirligigs and other plastic decor, dog toys, children's toys, plastic plant labels, and so on. They are hidden by a carpet of weed whacked weeds which include honeysuckle coming back.

My biggest issue is knowing how much shade this area, historically very shaded, will continue to have as we clear up the mess to the west. I am transplanting the native plants of which i approve (ferns, violets) into an area with a very sad redbud. There's not much of the tree that was sandwiched between autumn olive and honeysuckle.

Just getting a little work done back there, though, has made a world of difference.

Tuesday - blur.

Wednesday night i was cranky after work and the humidity had returned, so we went to see Star Trek Beyond: it was surprisingly delightful in entertaining me. Admittedly, the bar was low, so there's that.

Yesterday was disordered by the failure of an upgrade to my work laptop. So midday we ran into Carrboro to overnight the machine to the home office, and followed with errands and a very nice lunch out. We didn't go outside to work, and we watched the second episode of Julian Fellow's Dr Thorne.

Tonight we are going up to Wake Forest (which is not where the university is: hmph) to see a friend's crochet creations on display.

Late now for work! And feeding the cat, says Luigi.
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 06:49 am
Saturday was a play in three parts, but i don't think that much of the playwright as there isn't much of a theme to tie the parts together.

Act 1: Grief.

I'd gotten the shelf and shelf lighting set up the night before? Early that morning? We placed the urns and other little relics in a place of honor and sat for a while in waiting worship.

Act 2: Friends

We went out to lunch with L&J at a nice Italian place that was echoingly empty. I really don't understand - perhaps it's packed by dinner and workday lunchtime folks? These two are Christine's friends from back in her orchestra days, and so there was much relating of Christine's attendance upon teen auditions the week before. We then headed out of town a little bit to a potter's kiln opening. For [livejournal.com profile] annie_r, i'll note the details.

First it was dreadfully, miserably hot. When we arrived the sun was pouring down and we may have missed the display of bowls as we made for the relief of the barn. The "outer" barn is lined with the apprentice's work, which is fine work itself, and I think we all found our purchases there. Inside was Hewett's work. I am NOT a pottery expert, but i think most of Hewett's glazes nod to traditional NC salt and ash glazes. Ah "They are using these new glazes, as well as their traditional salt and ash glazes for this current load for Firing 95 of the ‘old’ salt kiln." Whatever "these new glazes" were, they were not dramatically different fom what is familiar to my eyes as traditional NC glazes (Ah, here - https://hewittpottery.com/galleries/preview-gallery-august-2016/ )
The embellishments included pressed indentations and primitivesque free hand whimsical line drawings. There was just a touch of cobalt in places to accent, and there was a pale pale green grey glaze. The forms were masterful. There was nothing i loved so much that i wanted to overcome the price barrier.

The pitcher and cup i picked out was in a very dark brown glaze - i suspect it's from an older firing and not this seasons work. It's a birthday gift for my mother.

Fortunately, heavy storm clouds had gathered in time for us to be shaded while standing in the purchase line. With the increasing volume of rolls of thunder, i did look with some concern at the iPads and other tech being used to manage purchases. We ducked into the working barn for lemonade and found a heavily gullied clay floor, polished by years of traffic. As i picked my way carefully to the refreshment, i figured the insurance lawyers had never seen the place.

As we stepped outside, gusty winds picked up, and i figured we had time enough to get to the cars before it dumped. We did, and we didn't see rain at all on the drive home, although the road we live on was slightly damp.

Act 3: Family

While at the potter's, my dad called to make check whether we had been invited over. My mother had forgotten whether she had. I find that a new behavior, in part because growing up mom was always certain she'd told us things but hadn't (exactly). It adds more weight to my concern for her mental health, and heightens my awareness of the opportunities to spend time with her.

We had a hour or so to rest before heading off on some errands before heading over to my parents for dinner with them and my sister's family. Mom had created a feast. Stories were re-told, dead birds were declined at the dinner table, and a generally pleasant time was had.

The heavens finally opened up and rain poured down, dropping the temperature dramatically.

Epilogue

We left early enough to get home and manage a few chores before finally retiring.
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Thursday, March 17th, 2016 06:05 pm
I'd felt like a little unproductive lump earlier this week, but today i had a glimmer of confidence: i really do know useful and important things that other people need to know. I do earn my keep.

Last night Christine and i spent an hour and a half on the phone looking at Zillow postings of NC area houses together: that was a pleasure.

Today my ankle has ached a bit more than in the past week. I've written my doctor and hope to have it poked and prodded next week. A colleague at today's meeting had a broken thumb that went untreated for a week or so until he finally took it to a doctor. I do hope that i will find that, no, i was doing just fine with my standard first aid.

Tomorrow i fly to see my folks, Sunday i go home! Yay!

Boringly yours....
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Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 06:11 pm
I've not been sulking, really. Just over busy with work, tired in the evening, and trying to sort out the next few weeks and weekends. I've Quaker stuff i really need to do before leaving for Death Valley, next week I must go into the office ankle or no, the weekend after is Meeting for Business, the week after that i am in Ohio (the joy of flying with the ankle), and then i am home. Wah. I was intimidated by all this before spraining my ankle.

Meanwhile we got the rent increase notice. It's about 20% more than our current rent, enough to trigger the decision to make the effort to move before the next rent increase.

Good news is that rain seems to be on the way.

We went to a cheap shoe store, and i've bought cheap shoes to cut up around the ankle brace. I also had a pair of Blackspot Unswooshers (an anticorporate, eco friendly, union friendly pair of incredibly uncomfortable black hightop sneakers: these will be perfect for this weekend.
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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 01:08 pm
Yesterday work was full of various responses to issues. Today, we wait for an customer to get back to us so we can fix their issue. I imagine they're making do today, i verified they're closed tomorrow. Monday will probably be all a-dither: i think the person who took over my role is back on Monday, and i won't have to deal with the less attractive parts of the issue then. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, buttermints. Such decadence. Must not go back into the kitchen yet again to get one out of the container.

I took an online class in targeted communication. My mind is a jumble with awareness of areas i can improve as well as concerns that the feedback i have received is gender biased. Since no one is giving me demerits for my current communication abilities, i am trying to accept the feedback and improve.

I was very tempted to take the afternoon off. All my todos are not particularly critical. But, after actually looking at them, all of them are the type things that never get done because they aren't critical.

Back to work!
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Monday, December 21st, 2015 06:40 am
So, in the world of, Wow, that arrived quickly, the case for my new phone arrived yesterday. Cool, i thought, and snapped it on in time to go to the grocery store. There, I was trying to take a note and half the screen seemed to not respond to the stylus.

Did i break the phone when i dropped it on Friday? No, it had worked while i was at meeting.

It's the magnetic closures on the phone. They disturb the screen significantly and dull responses to the stylus.

For crying out loud.

New cover ordered; old one returned.

I should have realized it would be an issue: I guess i just assumed no one would manufacture something so stupid. Silly me.
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Sunday, December 20th, 2015 03:32 pm
Yesterday we went to the city to see the Asian Art exhibit about the influence of Japanese art on Western art. I fell in love with Paul Signac's pointillist "Portrait of Saint-Cast" while Christine got to visit the Van Gogh postman and a number of Monets.

We drove home via the Twin Peaks and then highway 1: there was the most wonderful sunset.

I've spent hours making my own catalog of the exhibition with photos from the web and from my iPad, along with various commentary from the web. (Oops, forgot to add the youtube video and the iPad tour app as sources.) The catalog wasn't that expensive, but it didn't seem to have the juxtapositioning of images that the exhibit had. Now i have my interpretation of the show interspersed with the photos from the day. It's 100 MB. (Edited) It has loaded to Google Drive: here if curious.

I dropped my new phone while walking on Friday afternoon. Fiddlesticks! I had ordered the case just that morning.

Rain today, huzzah.
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Saturday, November 28th, 2015 09:54 am
I returned home from my ten days of travel with a bit of under-the-weather level lurgy. I think i'd been fighting it since leaving Ohio, and possibly had the cold reinforced my nephew & niece who were both under the weather, as well. I had a good bit of sleep and reading, and Friday tried to catch up. I spent much of today at the Meetinghouse, where we were trying to have a fundraiser without customers.



Someone bought one of my prints!

For Thanksgiving, Christine had an attack of the blues that was not particularly surprising. Indeed, when i think of some of the holidays in our early years together, she greets holidays now in a much better state of mind. I read a novel and made way through the backlog of email. While i had skimmed it on my iPad while traveling, my habit is to file it on my own hard drive. Somehow, reading email on the iPad (or my phone) feels ... hampered ... unlike reading novels on the iPad.

It's a bit chilly here and i surmise many of our neighbors (whose heat diffuses into our space) are out of town.

Tomorrow is going to be busy: i managed to get myself committed to overlapping Meeting things from ten am to six pm.
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Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 04:37 am
I am so happy to have found that Ghirardelli chocolate is environmentally and socially sustainably sourced. Yippee!

I am feeling a little guilty about eating in with microwaved frozen entrees and carrots and olives and a nice but unexpectedly garlicky cheese. But why go out to eat? It's dark here before 6 pm, as well, which removes my usual woodland walks as an evening outing.

I'm in a flare, with various bits of my dermis screaming, "Itch, itch, itch," or at least presenting small swollen lumps of discomfort. Is that an excuse? (Or is staying in introducing too much temptation that i will go scratch scratch scratch?)

I was called upon to make a presentation today, a bit unexpected. Poor voice: i was trying to project to the large room, and i felt i was straining it a good bit. That and public speaking nerves. I feel i did well, so i'll pat myself on the back for that. One particular colleague engaged in a bit of eye-rolling around a particular response. This particular person seems to have an issue with our team or our team's work or something. And unfortunately, he's pretty highly placed in the organization.

[Next morning]

Christine and i had a very enjoyable long conversation last night. The topic itself was not very enjoyable, starting from the violence of Friday night in Paris. Christine's favorite contemporary philosopher, Slavoj Žižek[1], had been part of a round table discussing the film Children of Men, and she had just finished marking up her transcription of the discussion for her blog. (I don't see it at http://ideaspeak.us/2015/11/ ... maybe it's going up in an undated section?) Ten years out and the discussion (and presumably the film) is remarkably pertinent, she notes. I never watched the film -- it looked depressing, and i don't need help in that direction -- but i might read the book.

[1] It took a number of attempts at a phonetic spelling before Bing figured out which "philosopher and social critic" my following jumble of letters was supposed to mean.
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Friday, October 23rd, 2015 04:03 pm
More pica cuteness (plus other critters visiting the pica's haypile).

Orion above the Tumey Hills, night of the meteor shower


Wednesday night we drove down to Panoche Hills and set up to watch the meteor shower. We might have seen more had we started at 2 am instead of stopping then, but there was something wonderful about watching the quality of the darkness change as the moon set behind the mountains. We saw a number of meteors but they didn't all seem to have a strong relationship to the Orion radiant.

The next day we drove around a bit, testing routes on the old USGS maps and Google Maps. There are some places we might have been able to go had we had a high clearance vehicle that would be able to get itself unstuck, but instead we drove down a road to return and find the gate locked. Ooops. Fortunately, i found another route out. Whee!

That exit route took us by a campsite with RVs and dirtbikes and a tall flagpole topped with an American flag. I have various snarky and irritated thoughts about why one might fly a flag at ones campsite, but then i recall learning to raise and lower the flag with respect at girl scout camp. My grandfather also made a practice of having the flag up. Perhaps it's simply tradition.

I never did find a route to the area i wanted to visit.

We had some nice chats with the BLM recreational manager. First, he chatted with Christine while we were poking about in the back of beyond. There was a remarkable amount of traffic on these BLM roads, apparently for pipeline work. Once we were trapped, we asked a bridge inspector if he had a key, but he did not. He let the BLM guy know, so we chatted with the BLM guy when we saw him by the gate as we returned on the other side of it. Then he was headed for the same day use area we were, and we had more chat there.

Only one person playing with their guns: no quail and feral chukar hunters about. The BLM fellow was going to go let the target shooter know that he was too close to the day use area, perhaps inspired by how Christine and i jumped when the gun shot echoed off all the hills.

I was quite pleased with my topo map app on the iPad, and have identified some external GPS so I don't have to estimate where we are. As i told Christine, though, the area is so rugged that it is easy to determine where one is due to the contours.

I can't wait for it to green up down there.

The hotel we stayed in was pleasant enough, although the water at the hotel and in the fast food place was not. The only campground with facilities is $35-$40 per person per night. (Admittedly, that includes the tubs at the hot springs. Which is "mineral water." Which is probably not dissimilar to the hotel water.)

Home seemed green and lush, which is an indicator of just how incredibly dry the hills were. I found a skeleton of a fiddleneck plant that just crumbled to dust when i reached out and touched it.

Planning my next trip -- but really i should be writing their botanist to ask about field work with him this spring.
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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 09:32 am
HOME! And twelve hours of delicious sleep (plus a cat hissing event).

So in outline, this trip:

Thursday: San Francisco direct to RDU. Beer with my sister to debrief. Gathering at my folks home with Mom & Dad; mom's brother, his wife, his son; my brother and his eldest and youngest; my sister, her two kids, and her husband. I went home with my sister to sleep in her guest room. Her son stayed with his cousin.

Friday: Breakfast at my sister's place and then lots and lots of family at my folks. All of the above, plus my mother's sister and her husband. (And my sister's husband worked during the day.) It was very low key, and i spent most of the time listening.

Saturday: Morning at my sister's place and folks visited her new-to-her home. My brother's wife and his other son arrived very late Friday night, so they were added into the gathering. Lunch was at my folk's place and once folks retired, we took the kids out to decorate my folk's car. I departed with my sister's clan, dressed for the party, and then my sister and i set up for the shindig. (All of ten minutes: the rest was provided by the venue.) My parents were delighted, astounded by the shindig: i swear it is the only occasion my mother has experienced where she wasn't deep in the organizing other than business events. (They planned their own wedding.) After, i met up with my sister and her dear friend in the bar and had a few cocktails. One had Aperol, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and prosecco; the other was Hendrick's Gin, Fever Tree tonic, and cucumber. Very pleasant and fun (a rare for me bar experience).

Sunday: After breakfast with my sister, her husband, and their daughter, we arrived at my folks just as some family were departing (my dad's step-sister and her creepy husband, my aunt and her husband). Others had left very early (my uncle and his clan). After lunch my sister took all the boys and her daughter home, my brother, his wife and daughter settled in for what turned out to be a very long nap, and i had some time just with my parents. After a regathering for dinner, my sister headed home, dragging her son behind her. It was his first separation from his cousins since i arrived. My folks took me to the train. Amtrak was an hour late so we went out for an unnecessary but incredibly indulgent desert. It took some time before my roomette was ready on the train; once in the room i quickly retired and watched little towns slide away into the night.

I really liked sleeping on the train.

Monday: I woke in Savannah and not Jacksonville as expected: Amtrak had added another hour of delay over night. I sketched pine trees. Meals: leftover veggies and cheese from the party, cheese and crackers from the train. Once in Kissimmee, Enterprise took an hour to get me a car. I was steamed, mostly literally as i waited in the tropical pre-thunderstorm air. Severe accident on the interstate led Google maps to route me on some country roads: still a longer drive than i had expected. I had a shorter than planned visit with Grandmámá, then met up with BB at Pirate's Pointe. We then had a fish dinner out with Grandmámá and Charles, BB listening to Grandmámá's stories of Brazil and the Bahamas (and imperialist natural resource extraction in which her father was engaged). BB and i enjoyed a lovely gulf sunset, a pair of osprey, and a juvenile Night heron.

Tuesday: A good breakfast with BB, sun shower and rainbow on the Little Manatee River, hours with Grandmámá (i'm not sure we could have engaged much longer), Taco Bell for lunch, Flight out of Tampa at 3 pm, and then the travel delays begain. )
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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 07:07 am
Woe. I've some sinus infelicity and hope this has resolved before my planed flight east later in the month.

Meanwhile, the construction has begun next door. Bang, bang, bang. It is driving home the knowledge of our neighbor's forced departure.

We investigated our our-of-network health claims today. I now wonder if my calculations about going to the more expensive insurance were correct: it turns out that the charge for service is only considered up to the medicare contracted fee. Thus, 40% of the out-of-network provider fee is totally ignored. Back to the spreadsheet. [Edited to add: whew, we still come out ahead paying for the more expensive insurance that subsidizes out of network providers.]

I'm fighting my sweet cravings with carrot chips. I just found a second bag in the fridge, so apparently it's my intent to fight, at least.

I had my first self therapy session today. That is, i sat down and wrote what i would say if i was visiting a therapist. It was useful. I probably haven't been journalling as much as i used to because i don't feel free to write about the elephant in the room here. Writing in a private venue, imagining i was talking to a therapist, helped me process. The best parts were not having a commute and not having to give a long background. At the end of the session i was clear that what i am dealing with is loss. Having that frame helps.