elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, December 18th, 2014 02:36 pm
Tuesday was the promised meeting and announcements to wrap up the reorg -- but not quite. Apparently the current date is 5 Jan to make things official. (I typed "5 June" and then "5 Jul" before getting the date right. At least, i hope it was a typo and not prescient.)

Last night was the first night since my Sunday back spasm that i had a solid night's sleep. I awakened quite early, but it was on my own instead of after hitting snooze for 40 minutes.

Spent the morning sorting out morning commute options with caltrain & shuttles. I want to start taking them next year (maybe a few times the remaining work days). With the new job, new habits.

I'm a little frustrated with my low energy, but between the depth of the winter night and a few physical issues, i will not write off my hope that i will have more energy with the change in job.

Approaching death and various illnesses of family members )

So that all weighs heavily in these grey wet days. I welcome the wet, the dramatic clouds, but it certainly cuts into my energy.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, December 14th, 2014 08:01 am
The failed install on Friday night still weighs on me. On the other hand, we had a delightful Yuletide yesterday, going to the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Mart. This is where there are dozens of vendor booths bringing greenery and flowers into the city. I imagine hotel and other venue buyers and florist shop buyers fill the place in early hours during the week. On Saturdays, it is open to the public.

We have breakfast at Bechelli’s Flower Market Cafe then wander looking for a wreath for over our fireplace/video monitor. Small ones, just the right size for your door, are bargains, as are all the snowball hydrangeas, cyclamens, and poinsettias you could want in all sizes.

I saw some wonderful, but not holiday appropriate, wreaths made of lichen encrusted bare branches. We liked them for their architectural qualities, but we agreed we wanted greenery. After walking store fronts noting the choices of magnolia leaves and conifer branch based wreaths, we went into the vendor booths and found this magnificent wreath. The guys who were making these wreaths between helping customers offered two prices, one 20% higher than the other. Christine blanched at the lower price which was a bit higher than i was expecting, but not by much. My memory is that we bought much more plain wreaths in previous years, and it has been YEARS since we bought a wreath. This one doesn't even need a bow, it is so decorated with sprays of various berries and cypress seed pods. I love the contrast of the grey green conifer with the gold-backed green magnolia leaves.

Over breakfast Christine had noted our usual source for fruitcakes was closed for renovations this year: could we find a California source? Some searching on my phone turned up sellers in Napa and Sonoma, but they were all mail order. Then i found a news article about California Fruitcakes (with some editorial and authorial debate at the beginning about who was the California Fruitcake) and discovered a bakery in San Francisco which made them. So after our wreath choice, i managed NOT to buy any other plants (theres a blooming cyclamen and cactus on the deck and the Lenten rose has buds). We wrangled a route through the Castro and Cole Valley to the Inner Sunset and Arizmendi Bakery (http://arizmendibakery.com) where we acquired two smallish fruitcakes. Then we cruised through Golden Gate park to the ocean, where we sat and watched some waves for a while.

We'd bought pizza slices as the bakery, but the garlic was far to potent for Christine. As she exclaimed with wonder that anyone could stand such an overdose, i reflected on her fondness for pepper and chilies - and the chili she made in the evening provided a point in illustrating the possibility to over do other spices with delight. Since she didn't want her slice, i ate them both, sharing a bit with the gulls and a raven.

In the late afternoon, we went to a gaming store in Santa Clara to pick up the D&D introductory set for a nephew.

All in all the day was delightful, with happy energy for both of us.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, December 13th, 2014 06:38 am
So last night was an install, first one shepherded through by my new manager. It was helping him prepare that provided me with distractions and nagging worries through the week.

And we had yet another challenge-to-test integration failure with an external organization last night.

And so the software hasn't gone in.

And i am bummed about it.

(And of course i procrastinated in the afternoon.)


One of my many Philistine moments was at the Grand Canyon years ago. I believe i referred to it as a big ditch. *cough* Well, in captioning this timelapse video of clouds filling the grand canyon USA Today refers to it as a deep ravine.

At least i had the excuse of sleeping on rocks the night before and a day's drive from Los Alamos before that.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, December 11th, 2014 06:09 am
Christine asked me to keep Edward in this windy and damp morning. He, however, is quite articulate and g78 [OK, his typing isn't so good] and he is making his desire quite clear. I am keeping him in for Christine though. I have a little wager with the devil on my shoulder on how long Christine will withstand Edwards plea.

Now he's sitting in my lap, my heavens what a big cat.

We went to see Hector and the Search for Happiness last night. It is incredibly charming, gently humorous. It's not particularly cerebral, but it's an intense journey. It seems to have been unnoticed, but the animations and other creative special effects create charm.

Skype better have paid them a bundle, is my only negative comment. And even then, that's not so much negative as just ... well, i suspect skype may become the generic for video calls.

Note to Microsoft: DO NOT RUIN SKYPE.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 06:33 am
I'm not sure to where time is slipping away; it seems i don't have time for things i used to do. What have i traded? I am hoping i have traded the business with being more present with the cats and Christine, moments of quiet and affection.

Nonetheless, i end up feeling like i am just slower. How did i have the time before? (And i rarely visit twitter and facebook, so it's not gone there.)

I did take time to walk thirty minutes yesterday in the gloom. Plants and fungi are responding to the novel damp. Five different asteraceae blooming (four were weeds), and many mushrooms. I don't know them so i ponder whether some were just different phases of the same species, but there were at least four very distinct body types.

...like just now, Mr M is begging for scritches. His incredibly loud purr rumbles as he stands, leaning on his forepaws propped in the crook of my left elbow. Every few moments he reaches his left paw up to touch my face. I hope he's just asking for affection and that there's nothing else wrong.

Storm preparation warnings are still going out. I do remember some of the storms in the past ten years and, yes, they are storms that compare to the nor'easters i remember hitting Philly.

Things in the news that disappoint me: that Amazon warehouse workers will not get paid for waiting in line to be swept for merchandise theft, the torture report. It's not any new level of disappointment in the news, but today i mention it.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, November 29th, 2014 05:32 am
I'm sitting outside, just under the eves enough to be out of the rain. It is, delightfully, coming down like a real rain. I woke in the wee hours, coughing. We flipped the mattress last night, a chore we haven't completed in ages, and i think we kicked up some dust. My lungs are complaining. I've used the inhaler, played solitaire, drank warm egg nog, and listened to the rain from the warmth of bed.

But i'm awake, so i've finally surrendered and made tea.

And with that, i decided i really ought to get some delight out of this rare event.


We watched a delightful documentary over the past few days, Mona Lisa is Missing, a charming and very human documentary which also has very solid research.

In the evening we watched Saving Private Ryan. It was an excellent bit of film making. As someone who aspires to be a pacifist, though, i found the last words of the Captain to Private Ryan enlightening. "Earn this," says the Captain, where "this" is the sacrifice of the men who went to collect him.

I cannot stand with those who believe in the sacrificial Christologies; i cannot believe in a ledger where sacrifice, violence, and brutality are totaled up and that they buy something. That injunction is traumatizing, and carries the trauma into the generations.


Also, Nathan Fillion as Minnesota Ryan (the first Ryan found) is just great in over the top mourning for his brothers.


Oh, a killdeer is calling out in the darkness and rain.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 07:25 am
"The railroad was tasked to build a line to Tres Pinos. By 1873 they made it to Paicines but did not wish to continue building more line. So in 1874 the names of the two towns were switched so the railroad could say they had fulfilled their commitment to build a line all the way to Tres Pinos."

This reminds me of some reports about work progress early on at the Whale. Then i was sputteringly incoherent. Now, I sigh.


Yesterday i was feeling restless after a breakfast with a friend. I came home, didn't feel like focusing, and rattled about. At noon, i came to Christine and asked her if she wanted to take a road trip. She did, and as we drove waves of sadness and tension would grip me. We talked, and i think that this is the beginning of healing i need to do. Now that the "emergency" that led to high vigilance and worry is over, the waves of relief and realization will be washing over me for some time to come. The stress energy can subside (if i let it). And that's one of the awarenesses i spoke to my friend about: i need to learn to be less intense, where the sense of urgency drives me.

That sense of urgency can drop away to a more realistic level. I need to take care not to just transfer the sense of urgency that i have carried so long to my new work, which i may have done on Friday (waking in the wee hours of Saturday morning thinking about shortcomings in someone else's analysis of a technology framework).

So i will have waves of grieving, i expect, grieving for how hard it has been, letting myself acknowledge that and let go.


Some links and POI about the area we drove through yesterday: notes )
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, November 21st, 2014 06:12 am
Wednesday morning: So we have my Real® Boss, the person whom i reported to until yesterday, who replaced New Director. It appears he's still informally my boss. Then we have my manager, who was the architect until yesterday, when he took my role.

I'm still ecstatic, possibly too much so, too publicly. But there it is.

And i was delighted how my Real® Boss designated my new gig, saying i was filling the shoes of our previous architect.

Much cramming and learning stretches out before me.


Thursday morning: well, my manager seems quite interested in being my Real® Boss. Which makes sense. It's a change i hadn't really wrapped my head around, but so it goes. (Not a bad change, just different.)

We met for two and a half hours and spent the most time on talking about team members. I recognize that that the team is the first priority for a new manager, and probably a responsibility i didn't follow up as well as i would have liked. (At this point, i am noting the challenges at the time in doing so.)


Friday morning: you'd think i could hit post.

I'm sitting in our office instead of typing in bed. It's an experiment. I forget when i got out of the habit, but it's possible i've been stressing out Christine in the morning as i type. And it's the distress that she wakes with that has stopped me from posting as i focus on her.

Here's hoping a new habit will help.

I ended up spending the past hour fighting with my laptop, but i am now starting on a potentially six hour back up of all my photos. 536.9 GB at current rate of 31.13 MB/s ... less than five at this point, yay.

Work was lovely yesterday. The Thursday meetings were off my calendar, and all my work is new and shiny. I'm going to have to ask my boss about transition responsibilities because i do worry a bit about things slipping through cracks. Fortunately, one deadline has now moved out in such a way it should be easier to meet.

I dreamed of flying with a delightful ease, somehow catching the wind and being lifted yet easily directing myself. I can't help but think that had something to do with work, yet in the same dream, there was a bit of horrible sadness of finding some teens who had killed themselves by hanging in a lovely tree. What on earth, brain? It was my usual sort of dream, landscapes (lakes and eastern forests) and interiors of public spaces (a museum). At the exterior of someone's home, i saw drifts of cottonwood down and deer fur. (Do they shed? The did in my dream.) It would make a lovely felt, i thought. I don't think it was an unusual dream (from when i can remember) except for the sense of ease and flying.

What a relief.


I haven't noted about elephants mainly because Christine's withdrawn so far that the elephants are no longer an issue except on rare occasions. I hold her depression and anxiety as lightly and lovingly as i can.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 06:32 am
I am clear how much of this new gig is predicated on how much i trust my Real&Reg; Boss. Apparently, i made a very good impression on his new boss, our Executive Director, too. I've been aware of his boss for years at the company and believe he's a Good Guy. I'm trusting and thus i am ignoring all the HR stuff that screams red alarm.

I remember when we Minnow folks merged with this Whale of a company: all the HR stuff seemed draconian and horrible. And none of it ever seemed enforced or implemented. I'm assuming it's the same pattern.

So i talked with my Real® Boss yesterday and was both pleased and ... what is the feeling when you realize someone is pretty much cutting all the strings and saying they trust you? Its a type of exhilaration? I get the reins: it's my agenda, my planning, my priorities. He didn't say that, exactly, what he said is that all the ideas i'd listed as things to start with were good. He didn't have any concrete things in mind. When we talked about projects the team will implement and my role specifying them, he didn't seem to have much concrete in mind except that i will know the industry standard ways of doing them and will be able to advise. I get the sense that i am just to be The Expert. (With appropriate lessons from Laurie Anderson.)

So many choices! So much to give thanks for!

Last night as i stayed late working on the miserable miserable change instruction tickets i both comforted myself with "will not be my job tomorrow!" and reminded myself that not only is there the transition, but there is also being backup.

But so not my job!!
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, November 16th, 2014 06:53 am
I finally sat down to do the cryptography homework last night. Oy, calculating probabilities. And, actually, no, i don't think i've ever studied probabilities beyond whatever one gets in high school. Off to https://www.boundless.com, which appears to be a collection of free and reasonably edited text books, then add to my flash card deck forty-three more study cards (this counts the virtual "backs" and variations, so there are fewer concepts).

Yesterday i made a potato curry in the pressure cooker and created my own smoky horror. Christine had done so a couple weeks ago. I think the curry is OK, but i am not looking forward to my turn scrubbing carbonite.

Unrelated to that cooking event, we ended up in Max's in Redwood City. While not entirely fulfilling its promise of "Everything you've always wanted to eat," i indulged in "the ultimate grilled cheese" with brie, dill havarti, muenster and tomato on wonderful sourdough.

I've been pondering whether the wheat is really an issue or if it is over-carbing that caused the sensation when i was doing the dietary wheat challenge. At the moment, i know my biggest issue is too much sugar.

I think the semi-official announcement of my new position will come on Tuesday. Still haven't seen the title or the official job description.

(posting after meeting, after groceries)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 06:25 am

I had a little get away with Christine and her sister this past Sunday night and was home yesterday for dinner. It was lovely, except Christine's depression is so heavy.

I'm not sure what to do other than what i do: ensure she can get care from professionals, encourage her to see the professionals, and hold her smile for her.

I have lost my smile,
but don't worry.
The dandelion has it.

-- via Thich Nhat Hanh

I suspect Christine would say the cats have her smile for her, as i listen to Mr M's loud purr waking Christine in the faint rose light of dawn.

These days, there's far more depression than elephants.

--== Workday occurs ==--

Reorg announcement now postponed another eleven days to Dec 16th.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, November 8th, 2014 07:50 am
On my tickler list was some travel planning, so i poked around Wednesday night.

If i were to fly to the Midwinter gathering of Friends and then take the train to NC and fly home, it will be the same cost as flying all three legs plus meals. And whether i could get a day's work on the train is open to question.

I'm pondering it: it would be responsible.

And then i was looking at the 2017 eclipse. I'm thinking about Driggs, ID, on the west side of the Tetons. I think that would put the mountains in the frames.

Some time ago i imagined hiking up into the Tetons to take the photos. I am a little less ambitious now. Although if we can keep trying Mission Peak....


We have acquired Tagg, a pet tracking device. It's rather large, but works on 19 pound Edward. Edward was a neighborhood stray whom we adopted. He can come and go as he pleases if the deck door is open (he happily jumps from railing to stair railing or to roof), but the other cats have always enjoyed the deck (without causing my heart to stop as they leap from here to there). So, we let Edward roam. He used to come to the sound of his dinner bell, but he hasn't been that responsive since a neighbor at the end of the building has left food out for her orange cat (and Edward and another neighbor's orange cat Luigi).

It's already provided insight and ease in knowing what he is up to: he appears to hang out at a corner of the complex away from where we have usually looked for him. Ah-ha! I don't know if we'll subscribe to the annual fee, or if two months of tracking that comes with the purchase will be sufficient. (If you're thinking about such a tracker for your pet, i can go into more detail.)


[2014Nov07, 9:48:22 AM] My boss: Is [colleague] aware that you won't be his mgr. going forward?
[2014Nov07, 9:48:28 AM] My boss: I wanted to talk re-org and travel
[2014Nov07, 9:48:35 AM] My boss: but not if he isn't aware

At this point i'm thinking, "OMG he's saying this like it's REAL!"

[2014Nov07, 9:48:40 AM] Me: No, i haven't said anything to anyone'

Anyone... on my team. Friends, family, it's all i talk about.

[2014Nov07, 9:48:43 AM] My boss: okay
[2014Nov07, 9:48:44 AM] Me: Is it a done deal?
[2014Nov07, 9:48:55 AM] My boss: officially no
[2014Nov07, 9:49:00 AM] My boss: but given [blah blah that didn't make solid sense]
[2014Nov07, 9:53:49 AM] Me: So, should i be comfortable sharing with my team that a management change is coming?
[2014Nov07, 9:54:11 AM] My boss: Totally up to you - will they panic?

Well panic now or panic later, this is a little late to ask that, isn't it?

[2014Nov07, 9:54:20 AM] Me: I would appreciate being able to do so, but i've not felt comfortable with the uncertainty
[2014Nov07, 9:54:33 AM] My boss: Go for it then
[2014Nov07, 9:54:56 AM] Me: I think the level of panic is less if they're told this is something likely coming

So, i told two team members tomorrow that it was likely i'd be moving to a non-management position, first calling my team member who said that she didn't care about the reorg as long as her manager was the same. I'm pretty sure my exceeding delight at the possibility came through loud and clear.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 07:22 am
The more i take these botany and biology classes, the more i think that plants are alien creatures to us animals.

Alien, in the sense that the common ancestor with animals was a single celled creature, and our evolution has been diverged for so very very long.

As long as physical laws are consistent, it seems likely that life elsewhere will be proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. If a biologist were to assert that any hydrocarbon based life must have to use DNA or RNA to communicate protein sequence information, i'd accept it as quite plausible. The relationship between the nucleic acid code and amino acids is determined by the physical shape of the molecules: what is interesting is that earth life doesn't make use of all the amino acids. New proteins could be part of the molecular machinery of other life.

General cell development seems pretty much chemistry and not something earth specific.

So, there are two classes of cells, those where there's just an inside the cell and an outside, and those where there are smaller units within the cell separated by a membrane. It's those smaller units that are likely to be different than ours based on what the abundant forms of energy are. And that is part of the fundamental difference between plants and animals: plants have one of these units that process energy, and we animals don't. Plants colonized the land long before animals: if animals hadn't come out to fill the niche available to creatures that moved, would plants have developed that facility? Watching the parasitic dodder in time lapse as it hunts out its prey plant is ... really creepy.

I remember how [livejournal.com profile] nellorat opined that timelapse was in general creepy. As i become more aware of the biology of plants, i find the timelapse images alien. Plants aren't just some background stage dressing. They really do have behavior in perceptual zones that are different than ours....


Energy is mostly up around the house, which is good.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, November 3rd, 2014 07:19 am
Halloween evening Christine and i sat down and watched Frankenstein (1931) then the X-File episode Post-modern Prometheus.

The cognitive challenge for me was watching the 1931 episode and wonder, was it really a horror film when it came out? Did audiences identify the horror as the initial bullying? Or was all of that invisible to the sensibilities of the time? Was the identification of Victor Frankenstein as the monster immediate?

(Having not read the book, either, i wonder how many had read the book before seeing the film -- the loose derivation may be significant in distinguishing the interpretations of the characters.)

I note both Dracula (1897) and Frankenstein (1818) were epistolary: i wonder at the technique and whether that was just the thing at the time (although eighty years seems to argue against "at the time").


The cleaning experience was good. I stayed and cleaned, too, although it was more clutter shifting than scrubbing. I ran laundry (a load of slip covers).

I've two more visits to use this year under the auspices of the Groupon. I wonder if they clean insides of refrigerators and shower curtains. And refrigerator coils.


Yesterday we felt like we got the extra hour over and over: slept in, more afternoon time, more evening time! Waking up today i hardly notice it.

The challenge will be the darkness of homecoming.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, October 31st, 2014 06:57 am
It seems grey out there, and i am reminded rain is predicted. The Ham Cam is socked in with clouds (why do we use that phrase?), sunrise is twenty minutes away.

At the weatherunderground, i see that the chance of rain goes from 20% to 94% at 8 am. Bring it!

I came home from the conference a bit early yesterday. Christine was triggering on the conjunction of an upcoming visit and the event last year. She went to sleep, and after some time comforting her, i went and watched many episodes of Haven. I'm two away from the end of this season (4 not 3!): netflix has no more.

My stresses play into a negative feedback loop for Christine: she feels helpless and guilty she's helpless so she feels even worse about herself. It makes transitioning to something that would helpe me thrive all the more critical: and so my stress about this reorg gets increased.

I wonder about waves of nausea this week and whether it is merely - ha - stress.

My director's executive director wants to meet with me today for a half hour to discuss what i am doing and my insights on the team. He did not come out and say, your appropriateness for changing to a new role. My director says that's what this meeting is about, but my discussion with the HR person makes me think that the ExecD is a more thoughtful, deliberative, pondering person who does not like to be rushed. I wrote in response to the invitation that there was much to discuss in a half hour: did he have any particular focus.

Mmmm: sunrise in ten minutes and the sky has wonderful bands of red. A rosy light glows in the corner of the room.


In other topcs, i am wondering about class distinctions this morning. I was reminded of some things a friend shared with me when she came back from a conference. The distinctions were more along the lines of cognative frames and there was something about generations out of poverty or at least working class that triggered some realizations about my mother's family.

I recently started reading a book on Swedish history which started with a discussion of slavery in Sweden. The transition from not having slaves (there was a different word) to servants wasn't so much of a transition, and the legal structure didn't change until 1927. My Swedish great grandparents left Sweden for America before that change. The upward mobility they wished for their descendants (my great aunts' remarkable college careers before ending up as a teacher and principal) hits a current peak with my brother's family. How my sister and i are different, though, in our sense of housekeeping and our intentional un-learning of the values our mother instilled in us is, apparently, a class transition.

There were other points of distinction: i suppose i'll write to find them out.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, October 30th, 2014 07:51 am
Intense week with
* crisis circus going on with work,
* my review in weird limbo,
* reorganization still mysterious (two more weeks, perhaps),
* attendance at a tech conference with an unpleasant undercurrent (field prominent woman co-organizer being trolled for raising issues of diversity),
* Christine's elephants and mental health causing her distress,
* a certain amount of gastrointestinal distress
and that's probably enough. Top of mind, at least.

The good news is i think i'm still "on top" of various responsibilities: i don't feel like there's a looming overwhelming wave of things put off due to the conference. This is evidence -- attention, attention! -- of a certain amount of resiliance and capacity! Celebrate!

Christine is carrying a great deal of worry on my account as i shared the details of various worry around the top three bullets. It seemed important to let her know what was going on, yet sometimes i wonder if i externalize my emotional response to things to her. Is that possible? For a partner in a couple to carry all the grief and ache in order that the other can be strong? How could that work? If this happens -- if i really am relying on her to feel the negative feelings -- i need to stop it. She has enough on her plate.

I have some thoughts about a person whom i will call Boundary Woman, whom i met at the conference. She's interesting, intriguing, yet stands on her boundary with a bristling, ungenerous, angry stance. Is it posible to be graceful in defining one's boundary, graceful in the face of microagressions? I think what i found horrible was the gossipy way she included me in identifying others who committed microagressions and simple rudnesses. I'm sure it is in a defensive posture, to ask for support, but it seemed less that as she regaled me with the stories of this and that persons rudeness. I suppose she wanted backup: yes, you experienced a rudness and yes, it is OK to ask a person to finish chewing before talking to you, but she wasn't framing it as a sharing because she wanted a little support.


Anyhow, on to the last day of the conference.
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.