elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, October 24th, 2014 06:48 am
I've not been journaling as much as is good for me ... why? Partly i think i'm a bit behind on sleep so i am sleeping a little later, partly because I'm needed a little more in the morning to support Christine as waves of anxiety or sadness pass over her on waking. I do feel i'm doing caretaking in a way that is beyond what i've done in the past (although i think there were depressions where i was the one being cared for in a comparable way).
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, October 19th, 2014 11:53 am
It was a demanding week to get to the Sunday install -- and we found a problem and had to roll back. I'm letting it go, in favor of trying to live lightly around one of Christine's elephants. In her worries, i know my over/work features highly.

I'm trying not to dwell on the "and next week i get to do it again."

Any news of a change in my role is still three weeks off.

Yesterday i made sautéd turnip greens for lunch: i'm happy it's greens season again, even if tomatoes are fading. I've a large batch of Tuscan kale: i may try kale chips. We've two winter squashes awaiting soup making. I suspect pressure cooking would be excellent for them, so i have ordered a replacement pressure cooker. The $10 yardsale cooker died some months back from abuse in the dishwasher. I spent a good deal of time shopping and trying to decide on which one. The inexpensive replacement of the abused one? The electric slow/pressure/rice cooker? The super-duper conventional one? I decided that the electric one with all the controlls was far more likely to experience a failure. The superduper conventional one will, i hope, last a very long time, especially if i take better care of the lid.

I've binge-watched Haven and read the Northworld Trilogy by David Drake.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, October 13th, 2014 06:47 am
Yesterday, much Meeting work from first thing in the morning (preparing food) to finishing cleanup at Meeting at 3. The yellow corn tortillas with egg salad were well consumed, and my fear of making disappointing food was alleved.

In worship i am spending time reflecting on practice and play and releasing results. I have few credos, but i believe results of one's efforts are, in general, a mystery. We learn and develop skills at getting along with people and many other things. Learning and developing skills can be accomplished through practice and/or play. But then there's the outcome of the efforts. It appears that there is a broad history where the wise acknowledge that one needs to release attachment to outcome, one needs to recognize what one cannot change.

If play is a very effective way to learn -- is part of it because the attachment to outcome is released at the beginning? Is it because there is an acknowledgement that mistakes will be made? Is it because it is a safe place to make mistakes?

I'm teased by a potential insight that the joy in play (not fun, but joy) could be tied to not being stressed out by the potential outcome of what is being practiced.

I ponder that play gets a bad name because someone playing implies that the person isn't going to take care to attend to the outcome.

Is there a space that can be created where we bring the sense of play yet remain aware of responsibility?

The word that just came to mind was generosity: to create that space for play, the creators of that space need to have the resources to be generous.

To make concrete, i'm thinking of the narrative i read yesterday about how "There was a train wreck at the 2014 Women in Computing Grace Hopper Celebration (#GHC)."

For the men who gave the keynote, who said things like "women should just speak up like the men do" and "women should not ask for raises but trust karma," i frame them as practicing at being allies and making very visible mistakes. This is not a place to play.

I'm reflecting, too, that play can go terribly wrong. Those playing-to-learn need guidance (coaching?).

I'm not clear here.

There's some tantalizing idea that's just out of reach, some paradoxical way of being where one is able to take risks and experience joy because of being in the frame of play while still being responsible and caring. I think the crux of this paradox is in some sort of surrendering of attachment to outcome, while yet remaining aware and responsible for outcome.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, October 12th, 2014 09:12 am
Christine's new treatment was horrible, and she may still be suffering the withdrawal from quitting last week on Tuesday. New diagnosis is thrown away. I think one significant elephant has been addressed, which is good. Her mother, though, has been assessed as appropriate for hospice.

My Grandmámá is reportedly failing. trigger warning for off-hand discussion of suicide & lousy family dynamics ) They were driving home from Florida, so i couldn't really chat with Dad to get a slightly more reliable story. I did hear that Grandmámá's third husband (presumably under the influence of Fox news) proclaimed that we need to fix voting so only property owners get to vote. Dad's response was to be even more outrageous, culminating with alumni from his alma mater get three votes.

Yesterday was lovely, although not as productive as i would have liked. I did spend a great deal of time mucking in the garden. I repotted our heavily pruned sequoia, sifted through the potato bin to find few potatoes (and the remnants mostly sprouting). I created a larger worm bin and found that we do indeed still have wriggly worms in the bin. The larger bin was filled with trimmings from the cat nip, borage, and various other plants. The plants in the broken pot are still in the broken pot, but my legs are aching this morning, so i think i got enough exercise.

We also walked in the night: there are new diode street lamps on our night time walk route. Fascinating patterns are made as the light dapples through the leaves, and the moon was lovely company.

This morning was a great deal of food prep. I think i made some miserable egg salad (too much onion? more salt?) and miserable sandwiches of the salad between yellow corn tortillas. Well, it's edible. And i couldn't have ruined celery sticks and pepper strips.

So, healthy and well, although family news is mostly not good shading to quite sad. When Christine and i speculate when we might travel east, the uncertainty of funeral travel hangs over it all.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, September 22nd, 2014 06:31 am
Have to go in early today for a meeting about the re-org, and the hives are back. At least i know my antihistamine friends.

And the Benadryl and other one didn't make me particularly woosy, so i'll just nuke away.

I do have that sense of heightened irritation.

Meanwhile, the psychiatrist called back and is all set to see Christine. He'll only see one of us, so i'm back in the health care lottery.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, September 20th, 2014 07:14 am
Let's see: hives are gone. Around 11 am the itching was beginning up again, so i called off work, took a claritin, and called the doctor. Actually Christine called the doctor. I was feeling a bit befuddled about what to do.

Saw the same internist who went after my cough and cold with a sledge hammer, she did the same with the hives. (No steroids, too soon after the last.) Next time i'll know what to do -- which seems to be essentially what i did but with More Antihistamines. She proscribed benedryl and a subscription antihistamine that the pharmacist said was close to zyrtec: zyxal. I can't take that sequence of letters very seriously. Z Y X? Should be zyxab. And the inverted molecule should be baxyz.

I probably didn't NEED to call off work, but work was pretty intense this week and i had a dental visit planned for the afternoon as well. After the dentist i bumped into an opportunity to do a good deed, something i wouldn't normally have felt ease in addressing. I was happy not to have an excuse, sad that the good deed was available, and was rewarded with a hug. Normally i would have had to return to the work trance, and i would have forgotten the opportunity or missed my chance.

I'm volunteering at the registration desk for the Native plant society horticultural workshop: this is networking. Off i go.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, September 19th, 2014 07:03 am
complaints )

When was iOS 8 announced? I just heard about folks having trouble downloading it. Just curious: how big is this rock i'm under?
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, September 18th, 2014 06:12 am
Christine seems to have a handle on the elephants these days, but her depression persists. I had so hoped that it was triggered by elephants. Or maybe the elephants still trigger it, but the depression is compartmentalized more.

In good family news, my sister's family has had an offer on a house accepted, and she has a part time job with her husbands company. She points out my parents are doing "better;" i've heard that so many times over the years that i can't control my eye rolling. I pointed out the cyclic nature of their behavior: they are in the good part.

I really really miss the prednisone. I didn't have the crash of losing the sense of well being (since i continured coughing), but the discomforts are coming back.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 07:45 pm
Hi internet. I have had a DAY. Also, one really dark porter and a chipolte margarita.

But a DAY. Which was supposed to start early but started EVEN EARLIER. And then i spent four hours discussing identity management and the intenet of things with a small group of identity wonks.

Also, the "let's replace passwords with smart phones because everyone has one" discussion had me scribbling WAY PRIVLEDGE in my notes and circling it with red and orange highlighter flames.

Also, the 7 am it's [my team]'s fault the preproduction testing system is down reville? Not only not my team's fault but also, we troubleshot somebody elses software.

HARUMPH.

But the Chipoltle Magarita with tamarind, WOW.

Also, i had sweet potato fries for desert.

I will now see if i can find out what has been happening on the internet and with your lives. Missed you!
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, September 14th, 2014 07:47 am
I felt at the beginning of last week that i needed a reboot, and from Friday evening to late last night i rebooted, reading straight through the last three books in Nathan Lowell's Trader’s Tales from The Golden Age of the Solar Clipper. I read the first three back when i was exercising regularly and tearing up my Achillies tendon: my enjoyment of the stories was motivational.

I may go back to reading and walking. Listening and walking is well and good, but listening takes so long.

May i note these would be great stories for children of an impressionable age in order to inculcate the value of keeping things tidy and clean. The number of times the character puts the dishes into the dishwasher is remarkable:

He took his empties and slotted them in the cleaner before heading back to his watch. ...The chief followed me, slotting her dishes into the cleaner. I got up and slotted the dirties out of habit before pulling a fresh mug of coffee from the urn. I slotted my cup into the cleaner. I slotted my dirty dishes in the cleaner... I downed the tail of my coffee and slotted the dirty cup...


Cleaning ships figures prominently in the plots of two of the three books.

As i spent the day reclining in bed lost in the author's world -- oh, right all the working out, too -- there was a little voice aware of ALL THE HOUSEWORK that i was not doing.

Nonetheless, i feel rebooted from the week and the previous months. Beyond seeing everything in my home as a chance for Ishmael Wang to demonstrate leadership and pride by doing a massive scrubbing, i feel clear.

Now to start my day, picking up all the plates i was juggling in an intentional and balanced way.

Biggest concern is probably getting an doctor's appointment soon: the coughing isn't easing. Oh, how i would love another course of prednisone: the itchies attacked me last night. I won't get the course, i expect, but i can wish.

In reading notes, i also finished After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back as Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan by Ted Rall, which i found engaging and useful, but certainly has a political bias. I'm also back to reading the poems in Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose" by Naomi Shiha Nye.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 05:58 am
For the bird lovers out there, this NSF article about swallow research in the Americas may be inspiring. Here is the map that shows where the nine species of the genus live.

--==∞==--

Thanks everyone for the support during the long summer cold. I'm still not at 100%, and my sister is urging a follow up. I've been keeping a log of sorts, and i'll probably email that to the doctor sooner or later.

I know i was down for the past few days: i can't tell, but maybe the emotional tide has turned this morning. I'm feeling much more ease in getting some emails done.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, September 8th, 2014 06:00 am
Apparently, my brother has asked my mom to go see a mental health professional and she might go to prove to us all she doesn't need help.

So there's that.

--==∞==--

In another digital community i'm in, there's discussion about the formation of Death Cafes:

Our objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'.

A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.


I'm not sure i feel a taboo around talking about death. I certainly feel a taboo around talking about suicide in the sense that i suspect a listener will be more on alert for "cries for help" than actually listening. It's the choice of continued existence or not, though, that has driven my awareness of death.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, September 6th, 2014 06:54 am
We went to see Hundred-foot Journey last night, and we were delighted. Helen Mirren pulled us in, but the whole cast and story and landscape delighted.

I was disappointed that the south Indian vegetarian restaurant we initially chose was closed, but the Tandori Oven chain near the movie theater was perfectly satisfying. (Eating before the movie is recommended!)

--==∞==--

While i am not at 100% yet, i am definitely improving. Yay. One small household "condition of enoughness" was achieved yesterday, overcoming a little bit of the lack of motivation i've been feeling at the end of the work day.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 12:35 pm
Greycie Loo woke me early this morning. It was not outrageously early, and as i let my mind drift, i landed on creative and useful things to do with the time. Before i started, though, i sent my siblings a rave email about Anki and recommended that it would be good for their kids. My brother was awake in Seoul, realized i was awake and called. We chatted for a long while about the situation with my parents. Both my sister and i have talked with my Dad and we're willing to hold off on significant interventions until after my dad tries his plans.

I wasn't planning on waking to heaviness.

--==∞==--

I did have a pleasant time before he called working on new flash cards. When i first got Anki, i realized i could make botanical cards not just for myself but to share with others. Since starting, i've found much better ways to phrase questions and use the flexibility of the system: my original botanical cards are not well structured. I started making new botanical cards and started making my own diagrams, too. I'm fairly happy with how they were working out.

--==∞==--

This morning i set aside an hour to work on my Yam. This yam is barely out of the oven, not a cold congealed thing, but if i can avoid procrastinating that would be great. Having a fresh hour to work on it was very good. I will keep trying -- but i see early meetings getting on my calendar again.

Maybe it was summer break with the Europeans on vacation.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, September 1st, 2014 06:27 am
Christine had a bit of elephant herding to do yesterday, and i realized that she was carrying her stuff plus the sense that she also had to make sure i got my meals. I do get distracted, and often she will fix my lunch to make sure i eat. This is something i can address, unlike most (if not all) the elephants. It is so lovely to have her taking care of me, but, i reminded her, i CAN take care of me: she isn't required to. I know some of the ways she fixes meals for me falls under rituals of love, like my making sure she has a warm cup of tea in just the right mug to wake up to. As soon as it becomes a chore and not a gift, though, i told her, stop!

Meanwhile, on planet Stupid Cough: "Let that be a lesson to you [me], Mucinex! Your reign of terror [coughing] is over!" the regent cries, as Mucinex is tossed into the dungeon [under the sink].

I can feel the difference this morning. Admittedly, my sinuses were happier while i was taking the Mucinex, but the sense of lung irritation is far reduced while my sinuses feel familiar. If i hadn't found the Mucinex in a tablet form, i wouldn't have taken it. I hate cough syrups.

I won't try to get two weeks worth of work and chores done today. I promise. I hope to make way for an easy transition back, though.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 01:55 pm
SATURDAY


Prednisone seems to be leading the side-effect race, particularly with wakefulness. Awake late, awake early. I dozed through the mid morning, and i am somewhat out of it now. I decided to eschew caffeine, which may be part of this splitting headache.

We watched Gravity Friday night, which had me pondering whether the debris cloud issue was real (very plausible, it seemed) and whether we could effectively lock ourselves in our planet with our debris. Today i find the description of the Kessler syndrome. The original article presenting the issue describes a belt, so i presume we are far more likely to just make particularly useful and inexpensive orbits unsafe than totally deny ourselves access to space (barring that intention). It also seems that the cascade of collisions would not occur over the timescale of the movie.

The lake, it turns out, is Lake Powell, rendered unrecognizable with greenery from computer graphics.

SUNDAY


Last night's ride woke us up, and i could hear buildings shaking. I tweeted promptly, remembering the first medium sized quake i experienced in the bay area. This time, even with the very massive Edward, there was no way to mistake that shaking for a cat jumping on the bed. My goal was to get back to sleep as soon as possible, so after filling out "Did you feel it," i did my sleep ritual and managed to even sleep in.

I am looking for any notes of the 2007 5.4 Earthquake. I remember it vividly. I seem to have no notes in LJ, none in my elainegrey twitter account, and i can't go back that far in my elaine grey twitter account. Ah! The date is in UTC: here's my LJ entry.

--==∞==--

I've received several emails from my distressed staff member. He's concerned about how he can't remember what he said, and is clearly obsessing over the event. He's been dealing with something he has identified as a health problem for several months. I am impressed at how it seems no doctor has said, "do you think you might be depressed?" to his presenting symptoms of low energy and lack of motivation. On the other hand, i think he would dismiss that all together: he seems to be very dismissive of emotions. With his concern over his mental gaps of the conversations on Thursday he's now reporting he's going to see a psychiatrist.

--==∞==--

I continue to rest. But i'm having tea this morning since i got plenty of sleep overnight.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, August 21st, 2014 07:13 am
Yesterday was triggery. There were some excellent aspects: i successfully isolated an hour to get some things done first thing, and i got a call-back from a psychiatrist who sounds tolerable. However, engaging with the health insurance company and their obsolete list of providers (3 of 5 no longer taking patients, the remaining 2 with month long waits) did not cheer me.

Again, thank you to the three professionals who have the "no longer taking new patients" message on their voice mail!

There were kerfluffles and poor communication channels. One kerfluffle had me thinking back to my mental state a year ago: job loathing, huge crisis, weeks of round the clock crisis response work. I do see from a journal review that i was trying to keep a good frame of mind: i noted something good from my previous incompetent "new director."

I believe i have deeply offended the HR professionals by blowing off participation in last fiscal year's "Management Incentive Program" and then saying the reason was because i found it annoying. My new boss raised his eyebrows, and went with a whatever, (but may have forwarded my response verbatim). In retrospect perhaps just an abject apology would have been more politic. Apparently, one must participate in the incentive program.

While i had apparent success in the mental health professional lottery, Christine had a failure. Possibly triggery bad behavior from a therapist )

One thing about the elephants: one of the concurrent issues was Christine going off paxil after over a decade of use. As time has passed, my conclusions are that it has a really nasty withdrawal. Now that the withdrawal distress is subsiding, she seems to be coping with the elephants pretty well. During the withdrawal distress i was really worried about her, and so was urging care of a psychiatrist. Now, i think much of the worrisome reactivity was withdrawal.

There are still elephants tromping about, and i still need to let her lean on me when she gets tired, but she's got capacity again to let me lean on her.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, August 17th, 2014 07:43 am
My yam was downed pretty quickly and proficiently yesterday morning. It's made me think: i've had many fewer early meetings (is my new boss glowering at folks for me?) and so i'm wondering if i can now begin to set aside morning time as Work-Yam time when i am working from home.

In other work news, my new boss has offered to "make it happen" for me, where "it" is a rather nebulous new job that is not management but more product direction oriented. I am very curious as to what he has in mind for "it" but it sounds very good.

--==∞==--

We did some shopping yesterday morning, culminating in a stop at a glorious Italian bakery where we splurged on a half dozen cannoli. They sell Amarena Fabbri Wild Italian Cherries: i wonder if that's the cherries that at the end of the cannoli. Christine hasn't eaten her share yet. I think i can hold out on eating my last one for perhaps 90 minutes more.

--==∞==--

After we got home both of us had some variation of being down, low energy, something. It was odd. I read the following and pondered about whether i should mention last week's fever to the doctor:

Five residents of Santa Clara County have been infected with the West Nile virus … Those with the virus in the county live in areas where the highest concentration of mosquitoes carrying West Nile were found this year, including Mountain View….

Symptoms: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/


I collected our share of the farm box in the early evening and loved the look of one of the huge beefsteak tomatoes. I had a vision of a dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches with the tomatoes and, yes!, it was decadent and delicious.

I really need to make the salad niçoise and ginger roasted apples and beets i planned last week. The beets and apples are sad relics at the bottom of the fridge. So, that's on today's to-do list

--==∞==--

I created a Twitter list to consolidate the streams of many of the journalists (plus Alderman @AntonioFrench and @Felonious_munk) in Ferguson, Mo, and started reading it yesterday. I checked in for a half hour before curfew last night, watching the live stream from VICE news, but *cough* my bedtime meant missing the post curfew events. I generally believe getting caught up in the news cycle is a bad idea. There's a term from postmodern discourse that describes the way we humans can get caught up and own a story that isn't ours. Various school shootings, various tragedies get picked up by national media, and it seems to me people consume them emotionally without critically examining the news. They are, truly, stories, and not news. How aware are we of our own local shootings and tragedies?

So, i do try hard to keep news as news and not as story: to look for news that informs and doesn't inflame.

Why am i reading the twitter feeds? Because the injustice in this country isn't localized to St Louis, and because the feeds are giving me the insight into the pain of those who live subject to the injustice. I think of the transit police's shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant: why didn't i get up and do something. (Probably depths of depression at that time? Or in the long downward slide?) No one in Meeting talked about it.

I may talk about it today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cases_of_police_brutality_in_the_United_States#California seems helpful, although there's the recent issue of the older woman... Marlene Pinnock.

--==∞==--

OK, that cannoli awaits.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, August 16th, 2014 07:19 am
Moss Landing Dunescape

From two weeks ago, nice bigger.


Taking asthma meds: still coughing. Took yesterday easier than perhaps i should have, but plan to start work shortly to get the hardest thing done. I went through the "Learning about learning" course week 3: this addressed procrastination and a bit about memory. It all continues to be a refresher, but -- if i had learned this before grad school!! I don't know how the depression would have played in, but the depression and the procrastination led to a vicious, vicious spiral into the black hole. I don't think memorization was an issue for me in grad school: indeed, the focus on just deriving everything from known concepts and not having to fill in blanks about names means i'd no need to memorize, just conceptualize. This section also addressed memorization and mentioned some of the mental hacks i've picked up in the past year. The Anki software i've recommended was given a brief positive shout out, as well.

In the slides there was another sad frog rendered in clip art and the lecturer noted some writing coach as recommending eating the frog first in the day. What is it with eating poor frogs? It's yams for me, and i'm off to eat mine.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, August 14th, 2014 06:03 am
Twitter news, thank you for the OMG-headshake of Ferguson news overnight. The fascinating view of http://map.ipviking.com/ had revealed to me last Tuesday the Anonymous attack on the St Louis area.

Query: Are there yams i've eaten in the past day, yams getting cold on the plate?

There are probably yams getting cold, as i have been feeling like a lump as i wait to clear from the asthma attack (and then had the face pain flare yesterday afternoon into evening). There's a staff review that is definitely on the to-do list as critical to wrap up.

In Fury news: the psychiatrist Christine went to see yesterday sent her packing when she mentioned her other therapist. He wants to be your only mental health provider. I haven't sent my letter yet to the health care company. MUST SEND EDITED LETTER. Is that a Yam? Probably. I should call, too. Have them find someone competent again as the guy Christine saw was one of the only highly ranked providers for the health care company. She's going to go see another person out of pocket who comes recommended by her current therapist.