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Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 06:18 am
The drive to Ohio on Sunday was very pleasant, except for a few moments of panic when my phone blacked out and a separate time when it seemed unable to connect to map data. I'd not turned around when, a half hour from home, i realized all my paper maps were still in my home office. I'm downloading "off line areas" to my iPad and to my phone -- I also ran over my data limits during the trip.

Bah, that was the negative -- which i am working to ameliorate for my return. The positive was that i had brunch with my parents in Chapel Hill (inadvertently choosing just the right time for Chapel Hill to be a ghost town: it was graduation and many folks were off in the stadium). The day was beautiful and, as i ascended the Blue Ridge escarpment, it was like watching spring run in reverse. I can't believe i've never noticed fringe trees before. Chionanthus virginicus is what i've seen around my new home. I thought i was seeing it as i drove through Virginia and West Virginia but apparently it's some other tree that flowers in a similarly delicate dangling manner -- at least at highway speeds.

I took a nice break in West Virginia driving down the New River Gorge to Thurmond. It's a National Park and almost a ghost town. I stopped for dinner in Chillicothe, Ohio. Some time i'll need to arrange my travels so i can visit some of the mounds remaining from the Hopewell cultures.

Yesterday i had a lovely lunch with KQ, a woman who i used as my pretend manager during the time working for the horrible horrible director KS. She's not managing now, as well, and i wasn't sure what to say. I thrive not being a manager: i'm not sure she's doing so.

Dinner was with my California colleagues and one of the local folks. I ordered a salad that was delivered with bacon bits on it. I chose not to make a fuss, and assumed i'd made the error in missing the meat in the listing. Having not had meat for such a long while, i found the bacon unappealing enough that i may begin double checking salad orders in the future if it's at a restaurant where they might add bacon as an elegant finishing touch.

Regarding the news, mutterings. )
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Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 08:54 am
Continue to feel disrupted by the absence of my laptop. Happily, the mirror i made of the system mounts on my desktop machine, and i can use my work laptop to access the interface from my lollygag locations. Better than nothing.

Taxes completed in time, after some confusion from the software regarding the multistate taxes. I resent the confusion because the software should have warned us it wasn't what we needed. Pfft. Christine's parents must have had drama every tax time because she's always had huge anxiety around taxes. My family's tradition was to procrastinate. Hm. So, clearly we keep to how we were raised.

At work, my team builds the systems that support authentication into the various services The Whale [1] offers. We're doing work to become compliant with a number of certification systems, most of which require us to amp-up our minimal password management. "Ah-ha," said our security analyst, "why don't we just buy a system that already does this. That would save this money." I in turn shudder at the thought of how much work it would be to integrate with such a thing, if we could find one that meets our requirements. Yesterday evening and this morning i wrote up the requirements for such a theoretic money saving system. I think it makes clear how much integration work is required. I don't know if it made clear some of the maintenance risks. I felt a certain sense of pride as i reviewed the requirements: we've done a great deal of good work.

Yesterday evening's yard mowing was pleasant. I was a little concerned because the east yard seems to be a urban center for ground dwelling bees. I don't think the mowing disrupted them too much. I didn't mow much of the low growing bunch grass that my sister says is a native. We love this grass! I'm delighted how well it integrates with violets. It's not a dense carpet like lawn grasses and it has a coarse texture, but maintenance is low.

A video of the bees from this weekend is at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwP9rg2b1QL3aHBJcDJmT1Z3eVk/view?usp=sharing for at least the next week or so (probably months). (Pfft, the low sun doesn't do my shadow any favors.)

Boy, do we need rain. It keeps being promised. I think i'm going to do a flood of the areas between the beds today. Here's an attempt an an ascii diagram to depict how the soil is loose beneath the level of the paths between the beds, so flooding the paths causes draining into the sub soil of the beds. I find that the water gets pulled up into the bed above the path level after some hours. Eventually, i'll come up with something more efficient, but i think the flooding beats a sprinkler at this point.
           
   / + + + + \   / + + + + \
=== + + + + + === + + + + + ===
===  + +  + + ===  + +  + + ===
===============================



I'd set my mind to disliking the azaleas up close to the house so i could remove them as a fire hazard. One of them, though, is a glorious deep pink with large blossoms, just out my work window. The salmon color shrub doesn't appeal to me, and one that is cotton candy pink is still only buds. I think i'll be able to want that one gone. It seems propagation of the bright pink one from cuttings would be feasible, so there's that.


[1] Haven't used that pseudonym in a long while. It's due to the scale difference between my original library services employer and the company we merged with, now noted as "largest online public access catalog in the world."
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Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 08:44 am
I'm cranky my mac is at the shop... and that nothing turned out to be wrong with it in all the diagnostics. I'm happy this happened in just a few weeks before the warranty expired: i still have time to add two more years of Apple Care.

I'm delighted to discover pappadum make up so well in the microwave. I'm having boiled eggs seasoned with curry paste and pappadum for breakfast: delightful!

I also discovered that many of the oxalis and cudweeds around are natives: huzzah! On the other hand, my sister reports that crimson clover spreads -- when i thought it was an annual and doesn't set seed here. Gah, https://www.smithseed.com/seed/legumes/clovers/crimson-clover reports "excellent" reseeding. I wonder if i confused crimson clover with buckwheat. It still can't be as bad as the stilt grass. In "Other Non Natives That Are My Fault" the mixed cover crops that include brassicas are going to seed. I've gotten a good bit pulled up, but i thought i had a little more time.
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Monday, April 17th, 2017 08:20 am
It was a fairly pleasant weekend, despite it being warm. I couldn't think of anything to do on Saturday outside that wasn't in the sun, so i ended up sitting on the screened porch going through a year's worth of photos on my phone.  I spent some time on Sunday at my parents with my sister's family and her husband's sister's family. Cousins at play! Altogether not a gathering where you have much time with folks: my mother is delighted to have people gathered and she isolates herself in preparations. My dad is beginning to appreciate that she's happy, even though she's not actually spending time with anyone. 

The king size comforter sat in the large bath tub long enough that one of the cats "did his business" on it. It's been taken to a nearby cleaner for a $40+ cleaning. Next year -- if we use it -- it will be cared for more promptly. But what a hassle. My grandmother also had a feather duvet with a simple cover. *THAT* is a practical item. I might look for a heavier duty cover for it and skip using this maroon/burgundy satin thing altogether. 

Slugger, of Slugger & Louise, our cardinals, is showing around his fledgling son. I do hope he doesn't teach Junior to attack his reflection while sitting on the car  & truck side view mirrors. 

My laptop is unexpectedly shutting down once again. I count myself incredibly lucky that i got a decent backup yesterday. Now it's just the hassle of getting to the apple store. I've turned that into a visit with my sister plus a dog outing. Yay. 

List of things i want to research that aren't my job:
  1. Plant IDs
    1. Tree that i've thought of as a "cherry" that probably isn't in the rose family, now that i've seen the inflorescence.
    2. a DYC Dad has observed spreading in his pasture. It looks pretty much like a hawkweed, but a single dandelion-like blossom.
    3. a borage family flower growing under the dead tree of heaven
    4. a composite growing in the glade with white aster-like flowers
  2. Grace
    1. Did early Quakers write of grace?
    2. What concept of grace was around in England pre Cromwell?




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Saturday, April 15th, 2017 07:45 am
So both Asteraceae-Cichorioideae-Cichorieae: Youngia japonica & Lamiaceae-Teucrioideae-Ajugeae: Ajuga reptans in the yard with rosette behavior. Both are non-native. Both are potentially invasive but not listed in NC. Is it hypocritical of me to keep (er, not fight) the bugle plant and not keep (attempt to prevent spreading) the false hawksbeard?

I'm now recording the Family-Subfamily-Tribe of plants in big families in the Evernote entries about my observations. After taking the Asteraceae class - daisies and dandelions and sunflowers - i knew being able to key out a new plant by recognizing the tribe would be helpful. Beans, mints, and the apple family are also so large and varied that i am finding it useful to subdivide there, as well.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 07:02 am
I missed my niece's birthday yesterday. Glad i glanced at Facebook and found that out, but i carry disgust & dismay with myself. Working on tempering that: don't want to dismiss the feeling altogether because i want to motivate myself to get back to the patterns that helped me, well, KNOWINGLY miss celebrating dates for folks. Sigh.

Did i mention i have a therapist? I have felt myself getting resentful of the elephants and wanted to make sure the elephants -- as it seems likely that they will be around for a long time -- don't damage our relationship. Christine is working as hard as possible on them, and i have to balance her desire for privacy (hence elephants) but i'll say much is out of her control. Anyhow, therapist.

We talked a bit about procrastination last visit. She's mainly acting as a coach. I know what i need to do, it just helps to have someone who can remind me of what i know and not let me weasel out. Straight talk about procrastination: just stop frittering away the time! Yeah, that is what i have to do -- and there are tricks to make use of and so on -- but ... sigh.

I realize i don't know when the redbuds went away because my glasses are broken and i'm making do with my close work glasses. I'm glad dogwood blossoms are nice and large. The lilac has bloomed -- BOOM -- and smells divine. Christine has found the shrub to be in an annoying spot, and i thought it was a boring thing. But now, wow. One azalea, as well, has been blooming like mad. Like the saucer magnolia, the azaleas that are planted are not the natives but ones from Asia that have been bred up as an ornamental. They are rather flammable, and i rather think i want the ones right up next to the house gone some day. The one that has been blooming, though, is away from the house and is a lovely red (on the blue side) and looks wonderful with the lilac. If the frost hadn't hit the saucer magnolia, it would still have wonderful pink flowers as well.

Onions and mystery bulbs are about to bloom, the peonies are as well. The pansies i rescued from the remainder bin are gorgeous, except slugs are nibbling away at them (and probably the collards). I know the potatoes are nigh a month from maturity, but i went to look anyhow, willing to give up future bulk to serve my own potatoes this weekend. Pfft, not a chance. Nothing that looked like even thoughts of tubers. So, there's that.

I am reminding myself that last summer i didn't have a place to plant ready. THIS summer i will be able to get in the autumn garden and will actually have greens to eat all winter. The baby collards and onions and one lettuce made it through the deep cold we had (thanks to the "snow", i'm sure): i am confident that it will be worth it this fall to keep them going.
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Monday, April 3rd, 2017 10:31 am
I just received notice that my medical flex account claim was received. I had to email it on Saturday, a day after the due date, as the fax failed on Friday several times. They don't say whether the claim was accepted, but they don't say, "too late, the money is OURS."

So, some hope that that will sort out.

Unlike my phone, which the dog has chewed on. The screen is cracked but it seems all works, except for a crack across the lens of the "selfie" camera. (And even that works fairly well.) Given how rarely i use that camera, i may be able to get some more use out of it.

Then there was the rosemary i bought yesterday. I read the tag, after it was planted, and it says "Not for Human or Animal consumption. " Here's a larger plant with the same warning (under the image). Best i can guess is they pesticide-ed it to death in the nursery? Surely that would go away after, i dunno, a year? I'm rather irritated. (Lowes says one year. Might return it and get the much smaller plant, but it might not be as big as this one in one year. Hrmph.)

I discovered the phone and the rosemary warning shortly before water boiled over on the stove and sent the fire alarm off for a rather long bit yesterday evening. Loud sounds stress was an unwelcome addition.

Eventually, we got things settled and had a lovely dinner.

--== ∞ ==--

It was a bit of a roller coaster weekend. Venting, in brief )
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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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Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 07:34 am
A private premier of Christine's sister's film was held Monday night. She rented the Varsity in Chapel Hill and there was quite a crush of friends, associates, neighbors. Christine's brother & my parents as well. Their other sister isn't able to travel as easily and will see it at its public premier in Winston-Salem at the River Run Festival. My sister was returning from a work trip to England.

In general, folks really appreciated the film. A filmmaker mentor & friend said she nailed the memoir format; Christine & D's hairdresser confirmed that D succeeded in making the film about their family and not about Christine's transition. I think it does a lovely job of communicating that a difference like being transgendered can be accepted by bible based faith family members, and that it provides some help in being compassionate. (Left unanswered, given the initial filmed responses, what if a son had come out as gay in their family. The cognitive dissonance of Christine & i remaining together is expressed in a few comments.)

There was appreciation for our willingness to be vulnerable, and that awareness of vulnerability -- seeing yourself on the big screen with a hundred or so mostly strangers -- is bouncing around in both my & Christine's emotions. The next year will be festivals and some point the NC PBS station. I know there are some Texas festivals D's applied to.

--== ∞ ==--

Meanwhile, Christine's aunt died, the last member of her mother's generation. We drove up to the little country town for the graveside service yesterday. It was simple, which i appreciated but perhaps not Christine. The closing reading was of the rapture as described in Revelations. We were the city cousins, particularly with D's Fluevog high heels in pink and black, her grey tights with black flowers and birds, her fit-and-flare black dress, and her capelet with pink chenille embellished on the black net. (I'm forgetting what that textile work is called.)

--== ∞ ==--

I'm sick, although pine trees are entering into the pollen season.
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Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 11:44 am
Carrie seems terrified of towels. Unlike drought era California, we do have rain here and she has no choice but to get wet. Not sure how to solve this: manhandling her so that i can dry her doesn't seem likely to help. Must remember to have treats at hand. Maybe some treats while holding towels, etc.

Winteresque weather has returned. We're due some solid lows (22°F). The peony has emerged, and i think i need to keep it protected. It out grew the cover i had for it on the first day -- i need something else. Maybe a sheet or towel over an old tomato cage?

Christine gave me a game camera/camera trap for my birthday, and i think i have ruined it by leaving it in "aim" mode all day on the very first day. Eventually i need to call them for support. Not happy about the fuss.

This morning a near catastrophe occurred. My teapot's handle gave way: it is bamboo held on with wire hooks through the ceramic, one of which finally slipped through the loop. I had a heavy robe on, protecting me from a serious scald. I was able to have a controlled drop of the tea pot, right side up, on to the empty dog bed below, so there was still tea. The thought of that failure occurring at some other more vulnerable moment is daunting.

I can't remember if it was my Silver or Cadmium year resolution that was about habits, but i think that this year is going to be about habits again. I've dropped so many. Some drops may be just fine, but i think others need to come back.

Goals Check-In )
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Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 04:20 am
Is there a graphic novel of a team of superheroic ex-presidents swooping in to the White House to save the country? Reading that George W Bush has lectured the President on the importance of freedom of the press.... Eight years and one month and a week sure puts GWB's tenure in a new light.

"Now, I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated." -- President Donald Trump to governors

It's so hard for me to not find this a poorly written comi-drama. Would Pence have had the sister of a transgender woman perform at his inauguration? Yesterday we have singer Jackie Evancho’s sister Juliet winning an injunction against a stirred up school board so that she and two other students can continue going about their education without (additional) stigma -- three days after Trump drops the order that all schools behave in a similar way. The Evancho sisters want to meet with Trump to explain.

I suppose my brain sorts this into "entertainment" because it's a way to cope. Christine was devastated last week by the headlines. Me? I'm here wondering about the next twist in the storyline: will we hear about the chaperones the Evancho parents insist on being in the room, because what sane parent would allow their daughters near that man? Creating a depressingly crude tweet storm about the girls' attractiveness and peppered with slurs against transgender women? Or is it Pence and the evil manipulators invoking The Base? Tune in tomorrow morning when the headlines read.....

It's a distraction.

--== ∞ ==--

Christine's elephant herding skills are so much better than ... well, probably a year ago. Her capacity has expanded. But there are still stampedes. I wish i was able to show her how much "better" she is now. As for me, i felt very worn down, but i also have self care available to me.

Last night i stood on the front walk, quickly shifting out of my own sense of weariness to a sense of wonder as i listened to sounds in the woods. The crashing came closer and closer, the night lit by reflected lights on the overcast clouds - not pitch dark. I wondered if i would see deer or ... and then something dark scurried against the light of the gravel just six feet away and -- as i startled -- disappeared. What was it? It was where we saw the fox tracks in the snow, but i don't think the dark shape was long enough or large enough to be a fox.

I want a game camera.
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Monday, February 27th, 2017 05:01 am
Yay, Trump wasn't the big news this morning! Seems like something to celebrate.

I was depressed last week: no particular triggers. I'm hoping i'm pulling out of it to a place where i can be intentional and not slide back. I was pretty clear that i was not in a place where anything other than day to day needed to be my concern.

I did keep focus on gardening. Saturday was balmy and quite unseasonable: i kept looking at my gardening Gantt chart to see what else i could be about planting. Tomorrow is five weeks from the average last frost date. Saturday i planted potatoes, breadseed poppies, parsley and beets. The peas are breaking through the soil. Next fall i really want to make sure i get romaine lettuces and greens started early because the one lettuce i did get in is looking quite nice.

Saturday morning i took my mother to visit a camellia nursery: i meant just to buy the native holly that has caffeine, and i came home that that PLUS a glorious ornamental camellia hybrid in a pale gold color and Camellia sinensis -- TEA. She went home with a plant from Darjeeling and her own ornamental camellia. I need to figure out how to get my dad to forgive me. He's of the opinion mom buys plants but doesn't plant them. Maybe by cloning some of her existing camellias?
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Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 10:39 am
I am back from my trip to Florida to celebrate my grandmother's 100th birthday. I now have over 8 hours of music from the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. I used some lists of best American songs of the twentieth century to make sure i had appropriate classics. I'm not sure it registered for my grandmother, but my parents were delighted. Watching my youngest niece be inspired to dance by Rag Mop was a hoot.

I managed to spend much of the driving around in more rural routes than interstates, which was a pleasure: pines, palmettos, and cypress knees. I had brunch with a friend B in the market town of Webster FL. Only the buffet place was open. A few cows lingered in the cattle auction barns, and friend B, Carrie and I wandered the empty open market stalls. Family visits were pleasant, watching the kids fish wonderful. The place i had found for my parents and sib's families worked out wonderfully: i was gratified by a number of acknowledgements as to how pleasant it was. Tampa area weather was balmy. There were some significant emotional demands. I've returned home with one of my facial inflammations: a tiny ulcer in my mouth and an ache that consumes half my face. (Not the burning pain, at least.) Not particularly rested -- i'm glad i didn't over do it earlier in the week.

Carrie was a great road trip companion, and we visited four different dog parks. All were pleasant, and Carrie was a good participant. Winter Park's dog park has lake access and MANY squirrels. That was the best. Also, the first, and i became happy to see how willing Carrie was to stay close while off leash. I would like to have her off leash while i am working in the yard, but a road is moderately close. I was coached on dog park etiquette and dog psychology by my aunt and her husband, which eased me past my anxieties about how Carrie would take it. Then i was able to ease Christine's anxieties.

I do wonder how i could entice squirrels to play with Carrie.

Now struggling to get caught up after my absence.
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Monday, January 30th, 2017 08:33 am
My dreams tend to have surreal landscapes. Last night's involved river-like waters and odd fishing. The night before i dreamed of a new home that had a second cottage attached. I was finally checking out the cottage and it was a maze of additions and ad hoc construction, including a school bus. It was furnished in a weird sort of dollar store luxury, odd dog kennels built in (and then i would see how plastic laundry baskets and towels were involved. And then we discovered that an older women (or women?) still lived in the maze.

I'm not sure why i would want to remember my dreams. I have a strong sense that the visual symbolism is not tightly coupled to the process that is occurring: the seeking and exploring experience seems more significant.

However, sleeping in the past two mornings i actually have snippets to remember, so there's that.

Friday night Carrie and i went over to my sisters, ostensibly to go for a walk. Instead i plopped down and had a few glasses of wine with my sister. Yesterday morning i spent with my sister at my parents, ostensibly to go through a pile of my mother's craft stuff. I cam home with block printing tools and stuff to preserve flowers. My sister: much more stuff.

We also had a long chat with my Dad who remains distressed about his mother's husband, C. C was scheduled to come home from rehab this week, but had yet another stroke. Meanwhile, Dad's mother has been paying all C's bills (including his broker bills), running her into an overdraft state. I think Dad's resolved the urgent part, but he's anxious about getting C's sister to pay his mother back. All in all he's anxious about C and his people exploiting his mother's generosity. (And C is not in need of financial generosity to survive.) (Although Grandmámá's gifts of gold to C ... eyeroll.) The long story of how C has only partially managed his affairs, such as appointing those responsible for financial & health decisions, but not telling them and not being willing to tell my father who they are, just leads to more indignation.
Because now i'm indignant that this man's selfishness and paranoia puts my dad in the uncomfortable situation of being the competent person on the scene with no authority. I know C has accused my dad of being after my grandmother's money, and dealing with such accusations weighs heavily on my father.

And, this is very comfortable middle class money: my grandmother worked for the phone company when it was an monopoly. We're not talking fiscal empires here.

The rest of the afternoon and evening i just relaxed. We did take Carrie for a walk at the walking track at the near by community college.

At home for me, elephants have been a concern. The rest of the clowder have had their own small dramas: Greycie Loo is coming out of the traumatized reaction to her teeth cleaning. Carrie was going to be spayed, but after being left at the vet, it turned out the vet & back up vets were unwell.

I've finally settled up for my road trip with Carrie, reserving places for us to stay. I remain closed up, not reaching out to family other than those here and not reaching out to friends. Hard for me to parse what is going on with that. The governance issues of this country can't be blamed for everything -- yet ....

[and then i had to go about my day]
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Friday, January 20th, 2017 07:15 am
Wednesday collapsed under the weight of too many concerns. I read  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children sitting on the deck in the sun: it helped. Mental reset. Christine & elephants yesterday and the wee hours this morning. I think once Greycie Loo is back from her teeth cleaning (off to take her in shortly) things may settle here.

Measuring the weight i felt i was carrying, i decided to not attend the Raleigh march and stay home. I suspect i'll end up working outside in the rain, moving dirt.

Carrie Dog is settling in -- which actually means she's less settled. She's getting a bounce in her step and i really wish we could let her off leash in the front yard. She just isn't quite under voice control yet, and she seems attracted to going down the driveway. She's got energy we don't know how to dispel. She's not interested in fetch. Long walks seem like a good plan, and Christine's sister has suggested a local dog park. I'm thinking of trying to tie her out while i work in the yard Saturday.
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Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 07:07 am
One of my reactions to the election of Donald Trump was subscribing to the New York Times (digital version). What has surprised me most is the cooking section, a constant trumpet of "what to cook tonight." Clicking through reveals a huge cooking section with tons of how-tos, such as this encyclopedic soup how to: http://cooking.nytimes.com/guides/40-how-to-make-soup.

Day ... 4 of waking up to beautiful snow on the ground. We're going to leave freezing temperatures today, so tomorrow may not be so lovely. Last night, with the bright moonlight, the landscape was amazing. I think i would have liked to go walking, but Christine reminded me of the slipperiness. It's not really snow.

Indeed, when we did our daily perambulation for Monday, we finally saw deer tracks -- and these included a few long, skating skids. I prefer to imagine a bit of a frolic and delight, while Christine -- already worried for the poor creatures in the cold -- added yet another worry. We also saw a track of some critter cutting across the wide open of our yard. I think a canid, and i surmise a fox, as the distance between the paces seems small for a coyote. I suppose it could have been a cat, but the running prints seemed more canid like in the open space and direct choice. It went by the compost area without checking it out, and followed a path beyond which aligned with the kitty litter bags -- so there's that.

On Sunday we'd seen a rabbit track, and there's a fan of tiny tracks going in and out of holes beneath my raised beds. No critters seem to have found the seeds and peanuts out the back. Maybe today.
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Sunday, January 8th, 2017 07:53 am
I remember cold snaps growing up and i remember accumulation of winter precipitation growing up, but i sure don't recall both here in NC.

The two together, "snow" first, is a good thing! I know the little green plants out there are all encased in the inch plus of sleet and ice pellets with a decorative coating of snow on top. It's 8° F this morning, but the ground is, i'm sure, still above freezing. We didn't get much in the way of the ice glaze that weighs down trees and snaps them, so continuous power has made this all the more pleasant.

My memory growing up was that one woke the day after the snow to a drippy mess. This morning it is spectacular outside. Tomorrow morning should be the same.

We are "stuck" here, though. Road plowing is a good ways off, i suspect: it's not snow plowing, either. It's the inch of sleet pellets that those who have been out in their vehicles have packed to ice. We have decent tires on our Ranger pickup Liandra, but as we don't need to leave, i see no reason to test just how good the tires are.

The HVAC is running on electric heat, so i've just cranked the gas logs. Should have thought of that earlier.

Hot cocoa to come.

I haven't been feeding the birds. In California i realized just how much we were paying for bird seed, and when we quit (due to the apparent ease of predation), i resolved not to feed birds unless i could grow the food. That's one nice thing to say about the Autumn Olive: it's bird food. I'm looking at oil-seed sunflowers and millet for next year, as well as popcorn and peanuts. For now, i threw out the bug riddled rye grass seed, some old peanuts i roasted in the shell, and buckwheat seed. No one has descended to inspect the seed, but i've seen birds come around foraging in the woods. Maybe today.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 06:44 am
The thermostat says it's 22°F outside, but when i stepped out, the dry air just registered as crisp. The stars were sharp in the sky. I looked up at the last quarter moon and thought how every dawn view of it over our home will remind me of arriving here in late May. I also reflected that 25 years ago, the moon was full, rising in the eastern window of the church, opposite the nave, when Christine and I were married. This home is our 25th anniversary celebration.

I had expected silence except for traffic sounds, but the owl seemed rather vocal this morning. And i heard the cat flap. After making tea i went out on the back porch to join Edward who seems to love the brisk weather. Poor thing, i think he must have spent all summer in dismay at the heat. The vet says that at 22 lbs he's about 3 lbs over weight, and i suppose that he, like i, can take the cold with the extra insulation we carry.

Yesterday evening Christine went out to see Rogue One with her sister. I didn't mean to, but i watched the three episode story arc that end season 9 of Doctor Who. The story arc was compelling, but i was procrastinating about communicating with people directly.

Still am.

News from yesterday is that my grandmother's husband had another TIA, mini-stroke. I'm angry, not sad, because i don't think he treats my grandmother right. )

So there's that venting off my chest.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 07:17 am
For some reason, it feels warmer outside today, even though the thermostat reads a bit warmer in the house. I suppose it's something to do with slight humidity levels. I'm on the deck, listening to the wind in the trees. We are promised a rain storm today, very welcome. I've a big pile of brush we cleared on Saturday that needs to be disposed of, which is by burning it here, out in the woods. I'm learning NOT to burn to ash but to stop at a char stage, and then use the charcoal/biochar in the garden. The ash is a fine amendment for our acid soil, but i can get lime for that.

My compost is in the red zone this morning, which is finally up in the pathogen and seed killing temperature. Huzzah. 

I need to make a new place for composting: the current location is too visible. I fantasize about creating a woven (wattle) screen around the area. It's not like i'm wanting for materials. The autumn olive branches are very flexible, and it would be nice to put them to use.

--== ∞ ==--

List of things i'm procrastinating over:
communication with extended family and friends
getting my to-do list back into order after a month of ignoring it
getting engaged with Meeting
photography
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 10:31 am
Family gatherings were the most concerning thing about moving back home. We did NOT miss being at big bustling day-long gatherings. Nor did we miss the massive meals. Indeed, we don't like making big food productions on the holidays. I like having the time off to make some special things, but we don't eat them all at the same meal. Feasts make sense in the times of want, and also in the times of poor storage options. That's no longer the life Christine and I live.

We also don't eat most animals: we have some fish and shell fish we chose to eat with environmental awareness. Sitting with omnivores' platters of meat on the table is not appealing, particularly for Christine.

It seems we are negotiating this holiday with aplomb. We'll have 'brunch' for Christine's sister & husband here, and then desert over with my extended family at my parents'. It will have the quiet and space we're accustomed to on holidays. I'm very happy it's working out to be low drama and low stress. (Except for Christine immediately assuming any food i mention is intended for brunch.)

I might try baking cannoli this weekend. I don't think i can stand to fry up cannoli, but there are a number of recipes for baked pastry that might be a pleasant adventure. A filling of pumpkin and ricotta seems like a wonderful treat.

I hope for those of you observe to able to enjoy the coming American holiday as you wish.

--== ∞ ==--

I didn't go protest last night, i didn't even leave to accompany Christine to the concert where she volunteers. I was pretty sleepy well before she got home.

Today i have a list of calls to make to advocate for the Water Protectors in North Dakota. I'm also trying to round up tasks and to-dos, clean out in boxes, etc.