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Saturday, April 18th, 2015 06:46 am
on retreat.

Much of the week had the sense of procrastionation-paralysis. I didn't want to spend time sorting out my to do lists because that seemed just like more procrastination, but when i finally did, my mind cleared and what i needed to focus on became obvious. I can hope it was the action of working on the list, but i have a suspicion it was something before that.... It may have been talking about how i was feeling with Christine and her assistance in getting me through a few steps (laundry and a walk).

At work i was poking at learning some things like Linked Data concepts. Friday morning my Boss had questions for me and, after answering, i mentioned i would take off work early in the afternoon to prepare for this trip. "Take the whole day as a comp day" he said, which was wonderfully sweet. Admittedly, i showed up for the team meeting, but i did appreciate taking the time to get things done, including some extra things.

The retreat theme is Practice and Play, and last night we played games. We were terribly few, and there were a few physically challenged folks. It took the coordinator a moment to really surrender her plans, but she eventually did. Presumably, many more folks will show up this morning.

I'm stopping now to make words with marker on construction paper for a mind-map. I'm hoping for some fun as people get tangled in yarn linking the words together. I HOPE the tape holds.

I hope your weekeends go well!
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Monday, April 13th, 2015 07:18 am
Yesterday i clerked my second Meeting for Business and, due to last minute scheduling shifts, i also attended our Worship and Ministry committee. I am trying to acknowledge my cranky feelings without dwelling too much in them: the clerk of the Worship and Ministry committee can't seem to manage the agenda task. I was happy the Clerk of Meeting could join us as he too could note that, yes, our committee was given a charge back in January or February and it wasn't just i as nag.

The next layer of grumpy was the couple persons who, having been given opportunity over MONTHS to contribute to retreat planning and have say, became all brainstormy and enthused about new ideas. I'm sorry but it's a week away and where were you when we had our planning calls and the months of discussions.

Similarly, one person who had had a chance to edit the State of the Meeting report via email, then in the early Worship and Ministry meeting, waited to have ideas during the Meeting for Business where editing as we go is not best practice for our community.

Amazingly, someone i respect praised my patience after meeting. I wonder about whether i would have this composure if i was still managing at work: I have so much feedback about how harsh i was as a manager. I know the harshness was the effect of years of stress, nonetheless it's hard not to frame it as failure. I remind myself that i held things together over the years of insane management, and if i was intimidating and oppressive, the team was being protected from stuff that is no longer going on.

Meeting for Business was very short, and a friend remarked on the shortness when i clerk. I think i have just been fortunate to have non-issues in the past two business meetings: surely issues will come forward as time moves on and i move to the role of Clerk.

--==∞==--

Between committee meeting and Meeting for Business, my worship led me to reflect on what's next for Christine and i (settling here or not, my work life), and i feel led to be as open as i possibly can be to alternatives to the expected. I suppose i was somewhat affected by Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and the vision of pursuing something that made my heart leap. The delight of thinking about forestry management on Friday, leads me to ask how can Christine and i find roles as very middle-aged sedentary persons that allow us to get involved with biodiversity in any of a number of ways?

I reflected back to a series of visions i had over ten years ago. The Divine gave me a huge seed (perhaps more a rhizome or corm) and told me that this was my happiness to plant in my garden. I remember the hesitation and fear i had: what if it ran rampant and took over everything? I distrusted, i was concerned about my control, my decisions and choices. And i overcame that fear and planted it. Over the years i've been aware that i have let that garden get trampled and apparently destroyed, but as soon as i take care, the happiness plant (some sort of lily) sprouts up green again. It persists and now cannot be eradicated.

Providence has given me glimpses of possibilities, of happinesses in work and life, and i know i need to be open to stepping out into the unknown. I think i'm slowly emerging from the deep rut, and so i will have a chance of seeing myself other possibilities. How to get there.....
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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 06:59 am
Last night we watched the documentary on James Cameron's expedition to the bottom of Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench. There were critters and, while the camera gazed lovingly at them for moments, the narrative quickly skipped over any details. The focus was on the expedition itself, which was interesting from an engineering project management point of view and from a human interest point of view. Project management: really? You schedule the ship to arrive before the submersible is ready? Oh to have the edited footage that the scientists analyzed for critters and just gaze at the depths for an hour or so!

So.

Does the website from National Geographic link to scientific papers about the trip? No. Are there papers? Yes. I read the paper about the community patterns last night. I found the microbial mats paper this morning. There were also big -- giant! -- amoeba called xenophyophores - i hope to find a paper on them.

I delight in Google Image search as an assist when reading that scientists prior to the trip "identified several distinctive features that characterize hadal communities including a) dominance of certain groups like the actinians, polychaetes, isopods, amphipods, echiurids, and holothurians, b) lower representation of non-holothurian echinoderms, c) insignificance or lack of fish and decapod crustaceans and d) mass-occurrence of holothurians at maximal trench depths."

I'm realizing that these days i read fewer books but delight in reading various science papers as topics catch my interest. Instead of book lists, i now use Zotero to collect the citations for both the professional documents and my diversionary reading. A browser plug in, Lazy Scholar, helps me find full text on occasion, although this morning i note that it can't find the full text of the paper presented in full on the Science Direct website. I will blame Elsevier (which always produces a satisfying sense of self righteousness).

Off i go to day two of the internet identity workshop, hoping to return this evening not feeling exhausted by the pressure of so many people talking and presenting myself as a competent being. I am tired of feeling so tired, which does seem a depression symptom.

Cameron, James. Deepsea Challenge. National Geographic Entertainment, 2014.

Gallo, Natalya D., James Cameron, Kevin Hardy, Patricia Fryer, Douglas H. Bartlett, and Lisa A. Levin. “Submersible- and Lander-Observed Community Patterns in the Mariana and New Britain Trenches: Influence of Productivity and Depth on Epibenthic and Scavenging Communities.” Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 99 (May 2015): 119–33. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2014.12.012.

Munroe, Munroe. Lakes and Oceans. Webcomic, April 9, 2012. http://xkcd.com/1040/large/.

Nunoura, Takuro, Yoshihiro Takaki, Miho Hirai, Shigeru Shimamura, Akiko Makabe, Osamu Koide, Tohru Kikuchi, et al. “Hadal Biosphere: Insight into the Microbial Ecosystem in the Deepest Ocean on Earth.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, no. 11 (March 17, 2015): E1230–36. doi:10.1073/pnas.1421816112.
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Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 06:15 am
I wonder what Edward Cat thought when he looked out the door this morning and saw rain (and did not leave the house). He's certainly older than the drought, but he's used to his ritual of leaving in the morning. I think he's sulking at the foot of the bed.

I delighted in hearing the rain in the wee hours. I'll go out in a bit and collect the rain water from a couple buckets. I imagine a new home frequently, and often design a rain collection strategy (no matter where i imagine the home).

I've been imagining living in a tiny house (not that we live in a large space now). There's the stuff question, which gets easier as i carve away things i might do and digital delivery of media makes it imaginable to reduce a library. I still can't imagine living without one floor to ceiling bookshelf (we currently have six, and that doesn't count the partial shelving, desk tops, counter tops, and floor space occupied with books). I would keep art books and poetry, i think, if i were to prune ruthlessly. The home i imagine though (putting the stuff question aside) would have a large outdoor living room. I imagine a space that could be shielded with outdoor awnings or clear plastic roofing as the season required. I think i could enjoy having people over in an outside space: i find i want every inch of interior space tuned to private life.

This outdoor living room has been easy to imagine in a drought here in a very temperate area of California. Even then, i am aware that we've sat on the deck in the evening light and retreated indoors, too cool for comfort.

--==∞==--

I've talked with Christine about a strategy for dealing with aspects of our elephant issues (ours in so much as the elephants affect me) and that seems to have helped me feel less distress.
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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 07:04 am
Current pondering various financial strategies for housing. We don't have a pressure on us, but i wonder about paying rent vs paying (equity+interest)+taxes+insurance. If the later is better, switching sooner is better. Yet water shortage and uncertainty whether we could stay here without my current job.... So, ponder. We've set a moratorium on decision making so that we can spend the time pondering, dreaming, imagining with intention.

Becoming an orchardist with peaches and various fruits and nuts in coastal Carolina areas passes through my mind as wishful thinking.

--==∞==--

I shared with Christine my impression that i am slower and not getting as much done as i used to. (Not talking about my employed activity here.) Could it be that in the years of dealing with trauma and angst, with depression, the effort crowded everything else and made it seem to me like i was interacting more? (The "done" as i think of it is reading the morning news and folks' journals and my email as well as my journaling and introspection.) Perhaps i am doing more unrecorded introspection? I can't help but believe that this sense of less done and time evaporating is an illusion (although time is pretty illusory), and that my capacity is more now.

My goals for "Conditions of Enoughness" were met yesterday, and i'm trying to not write, "The goals were embarrassingly meager and i can't imagine not meeting them, but i haven't met goals for so long." Belittling and beating myself up isn't going to help. I met the goals! Yay!
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Sunday, March 29th, 2015 09:30 am
I am much improved without dramatically lingering coughing, which points to the wisdom of taking my daily steroid dose for my lungs.

One part of me harumphs, i guess because that part of me wants to be tough and not need the stuff.

But really, HUZZAH, because i don't need to go through six weeks of lingering hacking and feeling subnormal.

Yay for rest, yay for my lower stress work situation.

I spent much time doing nothing yesterday. Some of the nothing was with my eyes closed, but a pleasant amount of it was with my ears very open listening to the sounds i could hear from our deck. There's a sound that i have heard often, hiking as well as at home, that i cannot assign to a particular critter: bird or bug? Six or seven crunch/snap in a row, pause, repeat.

Christine bought Guardians of the Galaxy for us to watch. It was entertaining, but i find i am unimpressed with the Marvel universe movies for anything other than entertainment. I did like Rocket and Groot, and found the portrayal of their companionship to be sweet and touching. I said something to Christine about her being a Groot for me sometimes and i a Groot for her; i think she sees far more of herself in the sarcasm and pain evinced by Rocket.

I imagine "I am Groot" might enter our vocabulary at some level, but it isn't as valuable as --Squirrel!

Part of my reading this week and for this day's worship: http://www.holyweekofresistance.net/ (#ReclaimHolyWeek) & http://www.carisadel.com/3560/where-white-people-should-start/
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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 12:39 pm
I've not been able to really sit and listen (read) your posts for the past few weeks: i miss it. After traveling and returning last Friday, i spent Saturday going over my scribbled notes from the air and reviewing satellite imagery on Google Earth trying to track down features. I learned about the "grand staircase," the layers of sedimentary rock that make up the strata of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and so many features in between. I learned about a Navajo council, and about pig farming on a massive industrial scale i can't quite imagine -- even though i saw it from the plane. I'm not sure why i spent all that time on understanding. I could write an essay now, but....

(Last night we watched an interview with historical writer David McCullough. How did he get started? He saw photographs of the Johnstown Flood and was dissatisfied with the books he found on the subject. I however have Annals of the Former World by McPhee to read,)

Flowers are still languishing in the fridge.

Sunday my brother was in town. He and i drove to Mount Diablo, picnicked in Rock City, visited the peak, and circumnavigated on the short Fire Interpretive Trail.

Monday i overslept, and then got a call from my mother. She went into distressed mode about her and my father's relationship with my brother's family when i mentioned i'd seen him. I eventually said, "Surely this isn't why you called: what's up?" and she went into a bit of distress talking about my grandfather's wife, my grandfather's will, and the great MYSTERY of the will. I am currently the chosen one to ask for the will on genealogical grounds because ... I'm not sure what folks are afraid of.

I ended Monday feeling wrung out, after all day working on a presentation of the work I'd done in Ohio the week before. In the afternoon i'd had some nuts, got a bit stuck at the back of my throat, and triggered coughing spasms.

Those haven't stopped.

Tuesday i presented and then designed and then was exhausted. I came home wiped out, stopping at [redacted] for [redacted list of calorie laden fast food] on the way home. The calories were consumed before i got to the door.

Today is a work from home day, and once all the intensity was over (5 pm Eastern time) i've spent time reading the internet. I'm still coughing and feel under the weather.

I'm trying not to think negatively, but all that comes to mind was how last summer, from solstice into October, i limped, coughed, and generally felt a pervasive sense of unwell. Do Not Want.
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Saturday, March 21st, 2015 06:12 am
I've been thinking about how i rarely write poetry, so different from my younger years. I scribble still, scribbled for hours on the plane yesterday as i noted my observations with the time so today i can go find out a bit more about what i observed (confirming my guesses or not).

But it's not poetry.

I chatted with Christine about it. "If a picture is worth a thousand words...." "Photography is far more efficient...."

Yes, but, i thought, pondering that maybe i have decided my experiences are not remarkable enough to capture, not insightful enough to share. I hope it's that my expression is satisfied with photography, but i wonder if a change has happened. Maturity: when you realize that there isn't a need to share? When you realize the aches are not so bad? That the exquisite emotion is one of a million others?

This morning, waiting for my computer to start from its power-starved state, i walked to the bookshelf and grabbed a book of poetry, A Daughter's Geography from Ntozake Shange. Later, in the loo, i picked up Naomi Shihab Nye's Honeybee. Ntozake's words from 1983 still need to be heard. Naomi's witness to the violence in the middle east looses no poignancy when i realize she's not writing about last summer's violence.

But then there's a poem about Naomi's mother, baking, and i think of my mother working in a bakery too, in that flurry of empty nest, learn skills to escape, effort. Maybe poems about my mother is where my writing should be. I look at my sister's photos sent from Saint Patrick's day dinner and - oh, my parents look so old. But more than the aging that seems to have happened so quickly, is my emotional resonance with how my mother's face is stiff with the "I'm smiling for the camera" smile and her eyes have the tension and stress that never seems to ebb away. I don't think the camera communicates that outside of my history and experience. Words might. Maybe.
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Monday, March 16th, 2015 06:18 am
Friday was a rare "start the day at 6 am" day. I celebrate just how out of practice i am. I ended up reading a novel from when i stopped work into the evening, missing a number of plans, missing some meds....

Saturday i met a friend for brunch, which was lovely. We were having a quite unseasonably warm day, though, and the car was very warm as i ran errands afterwards. I wilted. At home, i just listened to an audiobook and (along with some time yesterday afternoon) brought a crochet project started AGES ago (is 2008 possible?) to DONE. It's a finished object! Woohoo! The sleeves are terrible, and i think it is about as unflattering as possible, but it's done. Next on my list is to finish a lace-weight sweater which is 98% complete.

OMG, Ravelry says "Started October 27 2007"

I suppose i should count this as a major victory. I've a great desire to finish projects up this year, and this is a good start.

Yesterday i cooked up some greens (kale, carrot tops, and spring onions) and then froze them for meals when i get back.

This morning started a little earlier than usual, thanks to feline misadventure, but since i am boarding a plane for Ohio mid-morning to head for a three hour time shift, i welcome the early start.

I've been dragging my feet all weekend on anything that looks like getting ready for this trip. I'm sure it will go well. I just want to stay home with Christine.
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Sunday, March 1st, 2015 06:21 am
So far, looking at the photos from yesterday, i am mostly muttering "What WAS i focusing on??!!" but i think the answer is, "USE THE TRIPOD." There are landscape images that are not as crisp as i have managed in the past.

I did bring the tripod but left it in the car.

Almonds in bloom

Almonds are in California news for how much water they take to grow.

Goldfields in Panoche Valley

Panoche Valley was not covered with goldfields, but there was a lovely stretch with enough to create this image.



Next time i 'll be smacking my forehead will be as i face the flowers i collected and realize i did not document well enough where i took my samples from.

I'm building the trip notes up in Evernote, but in short it was a gloriously lovely trip. There was weather, downpours and sprinkles, as well as puffy clouds and passes of sunshine. I had thoughts not to visit the BLM Access Road area in Panoche Hills, and am glad we decided to head up there to use the picnic table. We didn't use the table, but the flowers were wonderful.

For the California photo list i wrote that we, "Found carpets of goldfields, some asteraceae bigger than gold fields but about the same color, hill sides with fiddlenecks and phacelia. Some were on Panoche Rd (a dirt road which was fine for our car when we were on it this morning), others up in the BLM areas off the Panoche Hills Access Rd before the picnic/overlook spot. Looked like there had been a terrific fiddleneck bloom earlier and many were fading, but other areas were still lovely. The hills were getting showers while we were there. Other flowers - lupines, blue dicks, cream cups, tidy tips, owl's clover other asteraceae, variety of native brassicas -- sighted. Between the hills and I-5 the almond tree bloom was lovely, with petals coating the ground under trees. Plenty of mustard along I-5 between Pacheco Pass and Panoche Hills."
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Friday, February 27th, 2015 07:12 am
Just read this trip report to Panoche Hills from last weekend. I'm expecting a day trip now, but getting down there is higher on my priorities now. Deciding when to leave is going to be the challenge.

What color is the dress? I can see both. I'm pretty sure there are a couple of effects going on, but i can look at it and have it change like the old woman-young woman optical illusion. I suspect there's something going on with color and brightness constanciesin that the dress is unfamiliar (and perhaps ugly), the lighting around it is ambiguous, and one can "read" the photo as the white and gold dress in the shade with a bright background or a blue and black dress over-lit under harsh lighting.
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Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 06:20 am
I am pondering heading to the Panoche Hills this weekend. It's a two hour drive. Growing up, that was nothing to my parents, and their plan would be to leave at 3:30 am to be there at dawn.

I've thought about that.

There's a hotel that's reasonable for California off I-5 near the hills, and we could drive down there late on Friday. That would provide some together time in the car with Christine and a little sense of "get away" along with the driving. The campground i've looked at is about the same for two people: it's a price that only makes sense if one is going to partake of the hot springs.

The author of http://naturalhistorywanderings.com/ has been posting flower observations from the Central valley and desert areas and it seems like the Panoche area might be ready.

I find myself balking, thinking of photos from Thursday on the coast as yet unprocessed, of closer places, of searching locally for the fetid adder's tongue (a lily that seems to be a target of searching by California flower photographers). On the other hand, it's not a particularly documented area online, but fascinating.
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Monday, February 23rd, 2015 06:57 am
Still not feeling entirely back, although it could be some combination of pollen and new glasses causing a mild tension headache, along with a sense of overwhelming commitments. I'm hoping today at work i can allay that with my organizational tools.

And i'm taking a moment to bask in the joy that work is not the source of overwhelming commitments at this time!

I don't understand why it takes me so long to get through my incoming email these days, although perhaps i am doing more Quaker business than i feel like i am. I barely have time to jot a journal entry and read any of your entries.

Off to the day! (yikes, late)
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 06:56 am
Being back hasn't really meant being back to a regular rhythm yet. On Thursday i saw there would be a negative tide just before sunset, so we took a jaunt out to a marine reserve just north of Half Moon Bay. Friday there were a variety of errands to fill the morning. Yesterday was a day with Quakers in Berkeley, and then an evening gathering at the meeting house. I had plans for this morning, but i am going to Stay Home.

I'm slowly making progress on identifying some of the critters & growing things from the marine reserve (you can see notes at Evernote or iNaturalist

Starburst Anemone (Anthopleura sola)


I wonder how a bud feels before it unfurls. My brain is feeling too crowded to reflect. I have worries about Christine, experiences and information about issues of racism discussed at the gathering weekend and during yesterday;'s Quaker Heritage Day, opportunities for photography, and joining a co-op gallery and work.
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Thursday, February 19th, 2015 12:56 pm
Home: delighted to return to Christine, cats, my teapot, my laptop, and California weather. I had gotten to the point where 25 degrees was warm.

Friday night Burlington NJ 8 °
Snow overnight
Saturday Burlington NJ 32 ° | 12 °
Sunday Burlington NJ 19 ° | 6 °
Monday morning Burlington NJ Actual: 15 ° | 1 °
Left for Trenton to catch train to DC noonish
In Trenton until 4:45 pm 18 ° | 1 °
Arrived in DC Union Station around 7:45 20 ° | 10 °
Ft Belvoir, VA late that evening after white knuckle drive in the snow event by Dad on hwy 1. (Wager that the interstate would have been cleared but whatever)
Tuesday Ft Belvoir 29 ° | 13 °
Wednesday morning Ft Belvoir 34° | 11°

Meanwhile, i think it was in the 70s here in the bay area.

The Quaker gathering was wonderful, meeting [livejournal.com profile] songquake in person for the first time, and seeing people i've grown to know from the mailing list and previous midwinters. I've been involved with the community for seven years now and this is my fourth midwinter gathering. It is impressive what warm community we build over such time and space.

The time with Mom & Dad in the DC area was lovely, yet revealed their continued stress. In the language of trauma therapy, they trigger so easily and stay so activated. Mom's cognitive capabilities are concerning. The second morning at the hotel breakfast, when we were leaving, she asked if we needed to go up or down. Is she so distracted and inside her head that she hadn't tracked our movements for the past three rides in the elevator? Or had she forgotten? We napped and talked and took a small walk, which was probably far more relaxing than if we had gone into the city for museums and such.

I listened to the Mary Russell series episode, Locked Rooms on the way out, some evenings, and on the train south. Last night on the flight home i listened to The Language of Bees. It is particularly interesting to listen to The Language of Bees because the first Mary Russell novel i listened to was the sequel, The God of the Hive, in 2011. Since then i have been working up from the first in the series, set in April 1915, to this story of August 1924.

I am reintegrating home slowly.
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Monday, January 19th, 2015 06:38 am
My first week of launching the day had two scales of change to it: one was a more intentional way of spending time at the computer (an hour or more), the other was a bit more order and completeness to physically preparing myself (ten minutes or so). The shorter scale is going fairly well, in part because once i go to do one thing, the whole sequence is triggered. The longer reading and writing and planning time is not going as well. First, there's variation. I slept longer some mornings and there was one morning where Christine and i had to get the car to the shop earlier than my usual up-and-out. Second, it's hard not to do the email clean up of the many overnight emails of dubious value. There a sense of vanquishing the beast that comes with the clean up, but then i'm left with the real emails to digest.

I still feel the longer scale habit is a good intention, down to the ignoring the email. I think the shorter scale preparations for ending and beginning the day will become habits before i get a more solid habit with the mental preparations.

--==∞==--

I wish i had had the foresight to take today off instead of last Monday. It's both Christine's birthday and there are MLK observances. With work, just Christine's birthday fits.

On the other hand, last Monday i wasn't feeling well, so all's worked out.
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Sunday, January 11th, 2015 07:44 am
[livejournal.com profile] zyzyly wrote about nine things he does everyday, implying this was a meme. His was the first list that i saw. He first lists "poop," after noting that "not sure why everyone else who is doing this avoids the basic functions of human life." I have grown aware that some people are so regular that there is a singular event. For me, it's not as reliable.

1. Sleep. I definitely do this every day. In high school and college, i probably got six hours of sleep a night, at most. I have learned that getting eight creates a substantial difference and i wonder if my memories of such a hazy fog during high school were due to lack of sleep.

2. Eat. My meals can be pretty irregular, but i have not gone a day without eating. I am extremely susceptible to mood swings when I'm hungry.

3. Talk with Christine. There may have been some trips where our schedules and timezones didn't quite work out, but for years -- even when we lived apart -- i've at least talked to her every day.

Is the meme every ideal day? Or every day without fail?

4. Drink black tea. At home, i make a pot of keemun or a variety of blends: winter is a "noel" blend, spring has chocolate and spices, summer juniper and grapefruit, autumn has fruit and cinnamon. Traveling is a bit of a challenge as, other than my mother and sister, most folks aren't prepared for my tea habit. I'll bring my own tea in bags or with an infuser, as many places seem to think of tea as the caffeine free option. Or they will have heavily scented Earl Grey or just green tea.

5. Reflect and plan. Journaling or making notes in my daily log happens, not quite without fail, but close. Unfortunately i seem to do one or the other, but now always both, which jams up one of the works: i'm prepared but not clear (as journaling helps wipe a fog away) or clear but not prepared.

6. Take some stack of pills. This is ideal, because i can forget to take my antidepressants in the morning when i work from home, and i can bypass all the supplements and antihistamine in the evening when i am abandoning the day.

7. Brush my hair. I can't be sure when this happens. Sometimes my hair is braided when i sleep and stays in a braid. On weekends it might just stay in the braid. Odds are i have to rebraid at some point, then brushing would occur.

8. Brush my teeth. Again, i don't have a good time habit here. I drink my tea usually very first thing and so it actually relieves much of the overnight unpleasantness. I strive for twice a day. Woudn't swear it happens.

9. Read. I am pretty sure i read SOMETHING every day. Usually, i read much of the day: emails, articles, "social media", news, notes. My time management and my desires don't line up though, and generally there's more to regularly read than i have time for. So there's not one thing i read every day.

This was a curious exercise, reminding me that i fail southern ladyhood 101 as i never "put my face on" and only casually "make myself presentable" if i can get away with it. Working from home two days a week means making half myself presentable and even then, i know video quality is poor enough that there's only so much precision needed.

My awareness that i am lousy at time habits (pretty good at physical space habits, i think) is again underscored.

I believe that this coming year my mornings will not be so wildly irregular. I have resisted making a morning schedule out of the irritation of so many contingencies. Maybe now is the time to do so. Try to figure out how to fit everything in the morning, or at least rotate focus morning to morning (in the reflect, read and plan areas). There has been a reason my mornings have not been clockwork, but maybe now i can change that.

My evenings... oh, that would be good to plan out too. I abandon the day, a ship of potential that has failed me. Some times the day is merely taking on water, some times the day breaks up. I rarely feel i can moor the day at the dock and disembark with grace. Maybe i need to learn how to do that.
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Saturday, January 10th, 2015 11:27 am
The CIO visited this week. Apparently, my particularly vocal previous staff member had a meeting with him, raising the issues of the previous regime. This came up in the group meeting, where the CIO acknowledged the previous leadership hadn't led us well, said something about different styles, and then qualified with a, "not to say one style is better than another."

I so wanted to blurt, yes you CAN say one is better. But i didn't.

--==∞==--

Under the weather with a lousy head cold. Multiple days.

--==∞==--

My vacation begins as soon as we finish the install in Sydney tomorrow (3 am their time). Yay! To help me stay up until this midnight install for our east coast data centers, we watched "Reign over Me" which i found endearing. There are strong parallels with "The Fisher King," although it's far less manic.

... and i still didn't post. My new manager encouraged me to skip this morning's Sydney install, so i slept through. Sinus headache this morning.

But i'm on vacation!
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 07:33 am
Ministry out of the silence in Friends' worship has certain expected stylistic elements as well as stylistic elements that are derided by some. I roll my eyes at ministry that begins, "This morning on NPR, " or, "I read in the New York Times."

I was chagrined, then, when i found myself beginning ministry last Sunday with, "On Twitter this morning." Well, that wasn't exactly how i began, but it's close. I continue to carry concerns about the racial tensions with police and shared reading this story: https://storify.com/AtotheL/pregnant-woman-maced-in-delray-beach-fl . The point was that we are now able to listen easily to the stories that are being shared with us from those who experience oppression -- and that i am looking for how i am led to take my role in healing the brokenness.

I still only see that i need to listen and witness. I wonder about accompaniment: if we were to move into a house, should we buy in a neighborhood that is far more diverse? The obvious place to select would be excluded by my criteria that we do not buy anywhere that has obvious weakness due to sea-level rise or liquefaction during an earthquake.

I talk periodically with a woman in Meeting who is much more connected to the area social justice community. We've talked about this and both recognize that we need to be followers of black leadership, we need to listen.

We have had a police incident at the Meetinghouse this month, though, and so this may be where we need to do more than listen.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, December 29th, 2014 07:00 am
My new year is with my birthday in early March. I'm in a much better position to be optimistic then with the lengthening of the days and the greening of the year.

But in getting the piles of reminders for December and early January sorted, i ran across an e-workbook for preparing for a new year, spread out over four weeks. Given my life, spreading it out over eight weeks seemed wise.

It starts with wishing.

I'm not sure how good a wisher i am, but i wrote out wishes for different parts of my life, scribbling away with the digital pen on my iPad. I do like the combination of tactile with digital!

Wishing does lead me to some awareness of being thankful. I am particularly aware that i am delighted to find that Travelsmith makes dresses that are consistently sized and cut in a way that is both flattering and fits. I have been buying them for a couple years now (gifts from the catalog, and then filling in as dresses come in at my budget price of $20 on eBay). Pants have never fit me right, not when i was a skinny stick as a teen nor as my full figured self now. In general, I am very comfortable about my appearance.

Not my fitness level: the last half of the year was even more sedentary than before -- and i would have had to describe myself as sedentary then. But my ankles and feet are mostly happy these days, and i have no excuse to not walk. Christine's got the bike back and happy, so even if (when, please) we have another spate of rain, i should be able to exercise. (We have a stand that converts the bike to a stationary bike.)

--==∞==--

One of the gifts received this year was Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi. I am not very good at following recipes, usually with acceptable results. Last night's attempt at making turnip dumplings inspired by the parsnip dumplings was as disaster. The first fail was not recognizing how important it was for the batter to be stiff and to follow the direction to steam off water from the mashed veggie. I made another fail by folding in crepe batter: this was also far too runny.

Even after adding much more dry mix, the batter seemed more fluid, like cake batter, than stiff, so i poured it all into a pan and baked it. I think i have turnip bread now. And it needs salt.

OK, overconfidence in the kitchen has now been adjusted to an appropriate level of humility.

Leek fritters are next from the cookbook.