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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 06:19 am
Yesterday morning, after seeing more lesser scaups at the lagoon inlet at work, i filled out my second eBird list. The first was apparently in 2006. Maybe this time it will take. eBird's photo interface depends on posting the photo somewhere else and using html to embed the photo in the observation comment, so i used my iNaturalist entry to embed.

(Oh [livejournal.com profile] gurdonark and [livejournal.com profile] crookedfingers, your observations would certainly be welcome at both sites. )

eBird is a bit like butterfliesandmoths.org in that sightings are aggregated: there's not a particularly social aspect to the site. iNaturalist has much more engagement.

Christine and i have just spent time talking about frogs' and moles' perceptions of mushrooms. What a delightful way to wake up.

Meanwhile, rain, huzzah, the first since 21 Sept's relative deluge of half an inch. I urged folks to drive home at 4:15. I have no backbone when it comes to bay area drivers in the first rain of the season, and the near two months since the singular rain in Sept would no clear the roads. (.17 inches yesterday.)

Work skypes, so i'm off.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, November 16th, 2013 01:52 pm
DSC07274


I've spent the morning going through photos, identifying a sandhill skipper, posting my butterfly IDs to http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org . I've joined http://bugguide.net/, but i don't know if my photos are needed there.

I've logged and illustrated one day of our trip: 20131109 Fort Ross and Salt Point. (More photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/elainegreycats/tags/20131109momanddad/ )

Polites sabuleti (Boisduval, 1852) Sandhill skipper


Yesterday, Christine and i took a walk in the Palo Alto baylands between Ponds A & B (not the most evocative names). Pond A had dried up, and i walked out on the cracked playa. It felt surreal. I returned to where Christine was sitting on a bench and looked out over Pond B. There were Northern Shovelers plowing up and down the water, heads down, strongly reminiscent of some sort of earth moving equipment. Very focused, the ducks were, and i'm pretty sure two hens ran into each other.

Four different kites -- probably White Tailed Kites -- hovered high and hunted, while a large hawk skimmed low across the wetlands. Occasionally honking flights of Canada geese flew near by. From our vantage point, with grasses taller than us surrounding us, the geese skimmed just over the grasses.

It was a soothing walk.

Fort Ross Orchard


I've added all my observations from last Saturday to http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/judielaine . I was startled at how quickly one butterfly's ID was confirmed and another's was disputed.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, November 4th, 2013 07:16 am
Autumn is here. Peak leaf color, i thought, as i drove about Mountain View and Palo Alto this morning to Meeting. Glorious red globes of pomegranates hung in a large tree at one corner. It's cool, and our place seems to not warm up much during the day.

I ponder whether the new downstairs owners will heat as much as the previous owners.

--==∞==--

Saturday was a bit of a lounge about with one extra element of deep cleaning. As i am so nearsighted i really had no idea what the state of the bath tub was.

I find insecurity swirling around in my inner responses to Meeting responsibilities and work responsibilities and my photographic skills.

To fight some of those insecurities, i had Christine go through some Yosemite images with me to help me pick some to submit to a contest. I'm letting her encourage me to submit more than one. Submitting them, though, means knowing how much to charge for them and how large i will print them. After being delighted for so long with So Many Pixels, simple math revealed that perhaps the images weren't as big as i thought they were. I found myself experimenting with enlargers. I hadn't realized the printing was at 250 dpi instead of 300 dpi.

--==∞==--

We are all out of sorts in the household over my parents impending visit. As they fly military standby, the question of WHEN they arrive is up in the air. I have a week of meetings in the evening, all sort of loose ends at work. Christine has her plans and schedules and anxieties about their arrival.

I'm also probably suffering a bit from SAD. I was getting evening light with Christine, sitting together after work on the deck with needlework, but the last week was not agreeable for that. And at work, the blinds need to be closed or i will roast. So, i need more light.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, October 17th, 2013 07:13 am
Yesterday was all day spent with the team, then more time spend on issues (the dataloading folks' systems haven't been working since 9 September and yesterday was the first i heard of it; finally took a glance at some of the performance testing results). The commute home was slow, but the audio book, Thunderstruck, kept me company. Listening to how Marconi's start-up venture was managed over a hundred years ago while creeping along in Silicon Valley traffic led me to wonder who was the first brash young thing to demand equal treatment from the powers that be. Marconi played the "if Queen Victoria won't let me walk through her garden, i will take my marbles and go home" card, and Queen Victoria eventually let him have his way.

Weather has been lovely. The nights are cooling to the mid 40s, days soaring to the high 70s. I've still not noticed any new migrant birds, but the past month has seemed more full of crows than the summer. I have finally discovered that the "blue highway flower" that blooms so long is plumbago, a species native to South Africa.

Plane trees are that mysterious color that one might call brown, yet the green and gold mix should have its own name. Its not a glorious color, but a subtle one. I've admired the slow turn of plane trees since living in Philadelphia. Many other trees are still green, but here and there leaves are changing -- oaks on Moffett near the Stevens Creek Trail, sweet gums here and there. I feel we are at the tipping point, that some week soon the trees will suddenly be more bare than green, and that winter wetness will be on us. For the next week, though, the weather looks to be the same.

My folks will be out in early November: i will expect a nice long Alaskan gulf storm then.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 06:09 am
Marking the morning. Another night -- or early morning? -- of intense dreaming.

The shortening days are so obvious now. Christine and i chatted on the deck until dark last night. A whistling v of ducks flew over at dusk, and the crescent new moon was lovely to watch in the fading light. Later we watched the ISS pass over, and this morning, when i went out to water, the stars were spangled overhead, Jupter glowing brightly near Castor and Pollox (or so said Google Star Map).

We talked through stories for 2015: i'd taken a break yesterday to go through historical events of 1815, 1865, and 1915 to look for interesting anniversaries. My idea, for both of us, is to develop stories and photographs in advance of an anniversary so we both have stock to sell. It was fun to talk through the ideas.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 07:08 am
Sunday night my phone was cranky, so i ordered a new one online and set an appointment to pick it up at a nearby store at 5:15 last night. Nope, the ordering online doesn't work: no appointment and the price was all different.

I need to write a very unhappy letter to Sprint and the store.

After the long wait to get the new phone -- which is amazingly light compared to the four year old model i'd been using -- i picked up a a quick dinner and waited for finance meeting to begin at the Meeting house.

Home 9:15ish, had the phone synchronized and alarms all set up on the phone by bed time. Just spent another hour on it.

Now another early meeting.

I hope i'll be home promptly tonight. Audio book is downloaded to the phone, too, though, so i'm ready for traffic.

--==∞==--

The water birds at the office still seem to be the summer mix of gulls, coots, and mallards. Perhaps more mallards, and plenty of the mallard-domestic crosses with their white breasts.

A cloudy front blew through during the workday, over lunch when i could look out the window. Rain in some areas, perhaps.


Must go to meeting.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, September 26th, 2013 07:19 am
Today we announce the new manager to the team and then he will train them in some testing techniques.

I'm not sure how weird that will be, but it is probably more fair than letting the team spend a day with some random guy and then for them to discover that he's our new near-director.

I had a lovely chat with my product colleague on Tuesday where he took the idea of me as architect seriously. Felt lovely to have that affirmation. We will have to see what breadth the New Manager takes to his work. As i noted, i can't turn my back on the larger issues until someone has them. Then there's the fact the New Manager gets to hire the architect and current plan is to have the person in Ohio.

The thought of summer humidity melts me.

But real estate prices are better.

On the other hand, battleground state. It could be amusing to use our legacy het privilege to poke at Ohio's laws, and it could be exhausting.

Anyhow.

The days have been lovely, and there's a wind that blows that makes me think rain is on its way. The weather forecast suggests we might get clouds on Sunday, but no rain. It's a sweet cool breeze and whispers "season is changing" to me.

The birds at work are still the summer residents. I was briefly excited by some small diving birds, hoping for ruddy ducks, but they were coots.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, September 19th, 2013 07:43 pm
Others might be interested in this interview: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/7241.html Unspoken Cues: Encouraging Morals Without Mandates -- Harvard Business School professor Michel Anteby studied his own employer to better understand how organizations can create moral behavior using unspoken cues.

I'm not sure what i think of the article -- many Harvard Business School articles trigger equal parts of curiosity and horror -- but it's interesting to frame Meeting experience in the terms to see what insights might emerge.

In considering whether the "vocal silence" method will be successful, the author uses the the nightmare phrase "human inputs" and then says "The screening and hiring procedures need therefore be quite robust to ensure continuity." Isn't this part of the clearness for Membership?

His comments on silence are interesting as well.

--==∞==--

I overslept this morning and then, just as i'm getting tea started, a colleague calls in a dither. I become cranky at the panic and lack of organized thinking, but I guess that's my job. I sit, barely getting to drink the tea, calling my new lead developer and routing decisions.

Between the oversleeping and the 7 am call to alarm, i felt whacked out by the mid-afternoon. I need to do performance appraisals, and i desire a certain amount of clarity to do them.

I had meant to get up EARLY to work on them.

I've frittered the afternoon away. I've no idea what i've been thinking about -- oh, wait! I do I've been looking at places one can stay in cabins in Mendicino county. When my parents come out, it seems like the most pleasant thing to do. We aren't set up for particularly long visits, particularly if a buffer needs to be between, say, Christine & my parents.

--==∞==--

Have i noticed the natural world? Working at home, i don't quite have the cues that i do in transit to the office. I thought about that while at the Meetinghouse Wednesday night: the leaves viewed through the windows don't show much sign of change. At dinner, though, the trees outside the restaurant were full of crows. Do crows migrate? Am i imagining more crows as autumn arrives?
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 08:45 am
In my dream mind i recalled i had a 6 am meeting. I woke and made it. Amazing.

I have stacks and stacks to do, including performance appraisals. There are staff issues and new hires. I need to get to that.

I've done what i can to delegate the type things i usually try to intercept and get done so the team can focus. Not going to happen for a while.

I'm looking forward to my parents' coming visit sometime in October. There is no good time, and i try not to think about work and the visit at the same time.

I've taken a little break now so i will return.

Oh, wait, yes, yesterday was VERY windy, remarkably so even in the morning. Few birds were around the water feature. When i returned home, drifts of old redwood needle bundles lay about. The dead bits don't fall by themselves that often but need the wind and rain to knock them free: this was the first seriously windy day in quite a while.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 06:40 am
If you're looking for a Indiegogo farming and conservation cause, you might consider http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/free-the-farm . I know this friend from a few Quaker gatherings -- she's not a Quaker but deeply committed to her faith. She's had a rough time of ups and downs, but she's still deeply committed to the land she stewards. There's a $75 handspun yarn reward and a $100 gift tote....

--==∞==--

I feel terribly stressed today, tension all through me. My technical lead came back from five weeks of leave and resigned. I don't think anyone was surprised except, apparently, my body.

--==∞==--

"Watch Out for the Harvest Moon"

I read this headline as a warning not advice. Last night, driving home, i saw it hanging on the horizon, huge and awesome.

I'd set a satellite pass-over alert earlier in the day in a moment of thinking about not-work, and it went off during twilight. I stood on my deck and admired Venus and Saturn to the west, watched planes as they went to and from the three local national airports and countless smaller airports, and then i saw Tiangong-1 passing over high in the sky.

I should probably experiment with some twilight sky photography.

A snowy egret was perched at the outfall as i left work. Still mostly mallards, gulls, and coots: no flyway visitors yet.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, September 16th, 2013 08:08 am
I've just declared comment bankruptcy and filed all your supportive comments in my received mail, out of my inbox.

Triage.

It was a good weekend, if a bit intense.

It began with getting the archive of my craft blog -- June 2003 to Nov 2010! -- returned to the internet. My other blog also needs to return, which apparently needs to be done carefully as the "just upload it all" method results in many file names but 0 bytes at Amazon.

Christine and i discussed my social presence and i think, for the time being, i will "blog" in evernote and use twitter etc to link to the note. I do these notes as it is, but i use inter-note links, that don't work unless one is in the notebook frame. I might be more intentional about getting that link as time goes on, as well.

I wrapped it up with a bit of weekend botanist and photographer social networking on Google plus, linked in, and twitter, as well as posting a set of photos of the herbarium visit on Sunday morning.

After the furious week at work, an intense weekend thinking about my alter-life is a balm.

--==∞==--

I think i'm having hot flashes. The thought of the herbarium visit brings up the memory of the sudden sense of melting. This seems to have started in the past month.

--==∞==--

Sweet gum aka liquid ambar are beginning to turn. The 101 Rengstroff interchange (i think) has a very red stand; the one at the end of our sidewalk is quite green. Plane trees have that tinge of gold to the green. Ducks fly over at night. It's dark when i wake up.

The equinox here will be Sunday afternoon. I ponder observing.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, September 13th, 2013 06:52 am
Wednesday was our team's planning day. I was very engaged. We are in a bit of an emergency state and i probably managed and directed far more than appropriate in good scrum, but ... I think i was fairly even keeled. I probably still had anger seething around.

Dinner was a bit of a debacle, dining at a nearby Szechuan for people who know Szechuan hole in the wall. Christine was put off, and her safe choice was loaded with garlic. I didn't feel i could handle spicy, so ... what was i doing there?

I'm trying to give Christine pulses of time to release all of her pent up pain and anger from her trip back east. She's carrying so much. She doesn't feel her current therapist can help. We're thinking she could see the somatic experiencing therapist i saw. I know i could very easily be suffering from myopia as the therapist was so transformative for me (i don't know if i would have made it through the past years). There's no guarantee she'll be as effective for Christine. And i remember how strange and hard the work was.

Yesterday i made sure the Vice President had a good understanding that (1) we were understaffed in the QA department (2) we are understaffed with DBAs and (3) we have a lurking technical issue that we can't duplicate and we don't know why it went away.

I think the fact that he asked questions about issues that i have been working on resolving made me feel a little "seen." On the other hand, the way he asked the questions did make me think New Director might... oh well. No matter.

--==∞==--

I'm trying to clean up my Amazon hosted blog. Many of my old grey-cat blog entries apparently transferred from my archive to the server as a file name and 0 bytes. I'm not sure what that's about. Last night, file names starting with zero, through all the numbers, through a to bead transferred as 0 bytes. Categories seem to work so the category entries on the sidebar at http://www.grey-cat.com/ATC/index.php/category/uncategorized/ work. Yay.

--==∞==--

This week at the water feature at the office: gulls, ducks, probably some coots, and a snow egret fishing. The walkway to where i usual observe has been blocked by trucks, and i'm starting to take the stairs in the morning to the fifth floor. In the evening, there's sunglitter on the water, blinding me, as i try to observe the ducks.

Maybe i can motivate myself to get out for a midday walk as the autumn flyway opens for business.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, September 5th, 2013 06:29 am
‘Five Ways To Trigger Your Natural Happy Chemicals’ By Dr. Loretta Breuning, was a brief and interesting bit of "brain hacking" reading.

--==∞==--

I wonder where time has gone, that your journal posts have sagas i have not read. I hold the writers in my heart, appreciating your travels and holding hope for your travails. (Hope, especially when it seems so hard.)

--==∞==--

Yesterday, i failed in my little goals (hello, dopamine). Failed, but not in a "kick myself" way -- in a observation way. I would actually say the goals were a meta-success as i was able to recognize i was not putting boundaries around myself to protect myself from work. Being aware that i wasn't enforcing a boundary is a good achievement.

I am disappointed though that i have a stack of too much work to do on my plate between now and Friday, but i hope i can do a good enough job quickly and avoid extended work days. If i could get back to eight-ish hour days! I know the ideal would be to have sprints spread out over more than eight hours, with true rests in between. The Energy Project's reviews of performance have convinced me of this. As the block of time that gets consumed by meetings is a marathon and organizes my day upside down from how i would be most effective, though, the boundary of a beginning and end is the best i can do.

And as i told New Director recently, as he tried to pile on praise, getting us more staff is the thanks i want. I should not be giving them more staff by working so long.

I do wish i could bill other engineering teams for time spent troubleshooting issues they blame on our system. Instead of billing, i'd be satisfied if they could just send all the details at one time to allow me and my colleague to track down their issue. "Wail, X isn't showing up," means responding, "What test institution, what user did you authenticate with? What permission is required for X?" and getting fragmented responses, still requiring some educated guesses. In the end: not our fault.

--==∞==--

Side note: really cranky with one of the co-clerks from meeting for not reading an email a few weeks ago. His anxiety about certain Meeting topics irks me, and now i understand my irk. I suspect the information he feels is missing has been available but he's missed it. In missing it, he assumes absence not his own miss.

Irked.

And when he read my email, that i sent to him again, he replied, "My jaw drops. This is wonderful organization." I don't feel praise. I feel frustrated that he put me on the spot last night when he might have engaged weeks ago with the email. Fie.

--==∞==--

On Labor Day, i picked a dish of green beans, a whole bowl. I am delighted: produce from my own garden! Really! We've not eaten them: i am making my usual mistake of putting something off until it can be truly appreciated (and thus missing it at it's best).

Tuesday, my dawn view of the east was a clear golden sky with a few high cloud silhouettes. Driving to work, the peninsula was clear with remnant marine layer over the bay proper and to the north. At work, there was a snowy egret standing on the submerged outfall, one of the favorite feeding spots. Egrets, gulls, mallards, and coots seem to be annual residents, with a female ruddy duck and a male scaup hanging out off and on over the summer.

Last night as the Worship and Ministry committee sat in waiting silence at the end of our (well facilitated! intentional!) meeting, the wind gusted outside, trees rustled with the sound of a coming storm, and a wooden gate banged against it's post. It was as if Autumn announced arrival.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, September 2nd, 2013 08:50 am
Not sure why i haven't pushed "submit" over the past day....

--==∞==--

20130901 observations: driving on 101, i note that the honeysuckles and bottlebrush trees still have blooms while the "blue highway flower" has mounds of blossoms. Many crepe myrtle trees have faded, but here and there are trees covered with bright red clusters.

The weather patterns feel a bit different. There have been clouds in the afternoon, sheets of clouds that feel like rain (not yet, surely) passing through. Evening sunsets have had clouds to catch the color and play with the late light.

--==∞==--

I've been looking at lenses for hours on eBay. I've learned that it will be a challenge to get a wide angle lens for my cropped sensor camera, as the cropped sensor makes the width of field more narrow than on a 35 mm camera for the same focal length. The 18mm focal length on my cropped sensor would be a fish-eye, almost. There are converters, which could be interesting to play with: so far i have refrained.

--==∞==--

Monday, my main project was to go photograph the Meetinghouse grounds. This is a bit of a follow up to the class a couple weeks ago. We stopped at the hardware store first as i considered how to create a scale in the images. In the class, the instructor had a pole a couple of meters long with a sharp stake end. This would be cheap but obnoxious to carry around. I had thought of a folding rule, taped up to make the dimensions clear, but i'd seen an inexpensive, lightweight folding rule on Amazon and couldn't quite get past preferring that one. Instead, i bought yellow rope, a plumb bob, and tape, and i hung the taped up rope from our lightweight tripod.

I've written more about the project at http://www.ipernity.com/blog/337691/533311 . I can't remember how i learned about ipernity, but it's an interesting cross between flickr and a blogging platform.

--==∞==--

The weather has seemed more humid than usual, more humid than i am used to. Add sunshine and i suddenly become cranky. I marvel: i think i can move back to the southeast? I'd just have to mark May through September off the first year as "too humid to think" and plan some sort of acclimatizing practice. That might be "sleep days." Of course, since the plan would be to be a self employed naturalist-photographer (in this fantasy where we move back), sleeping days seems conceivable. Dawns and sunsets for photos, a little bit of gardening in the early hours after dawn, then sleep in a dark cave of a room. Spend the night on the front porch doing computer stuff.

It seems possible: i bet Christine would love it. I've been an owl before, working night shifts in Los Alamos and at various labs.

So, there's another layer of reality to add to visualizations.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 06:59 pm
Friday i wrote:


I figure today is the last day of the first half of my life. It is reasonable to assume i will live past 90, but 90 seems a reasonable point to "plan" for.

I'm pondering writing a message to my 90 year old self. It's hard to imagine what she will think of me. I suspect there will be amusement at the quaintness of how i was writing. "Oh yes, i remember when i was enamored with Live Journal/Dreamwidth," rather like how i now reflect on my twenty some year old's self's fondness for fountain pens.


Intriguingly, in my birthday card, my mom sent me the rolodex card i had sent her when i moved to Philadelphia. Written with a fountain pen.

DSC03676


This year, my birthday is being barely observed. I'd noted advice to remove your birthday from Facebook, so i did not receive a g'zillion "Happy birthdays." I did receive a few wishes from friends: colleagues reached out, someone asked if my photo of a margarita was an early celebration. Family called, there's a card from my parents and one from my mother, and Christine made sure i celebrated with food and a package to unwrap.

I am not doing much observing, myself.

DSC03663DSC03666


Time seems to have slipped through my fingers like water. I delighted myself with sighting a new to me duck, a pair of American Widgeons, and in general enjoying the visual power of the long lens. (Walk notes: three flowering plants (one invasive), five species of ducks, two species of herons, savannah sparrow, and American avocet.)

We're going through a seemingly sudden change in season here. The pink ornamental fruit trees are like cotton candy at a fairground. My commute features dense shoulders of mustard and radish flowers, along with a lovely stretch of lupine. The hottentot fig, iceplant -- the non-native succulent planted along the highways -- has pompoms of Easter colored pink and yellow. After some weeks of pondering a new observation as i drive around, i am now noting many new changes.

DSC03645
American widgeon


I attended a memorial service yesterday for a woman at Meeting who has impressed me with her centeredness of experience. Listening, aware i am at my putative midpoint in my life, aware that one never knows when one will die, i (as usual) wonder what will be said about me, and is it what i want?

Christine is distressed over the wolf kills going on in Wyoming, and i ponder shedding this life and moving to the road. Health care, my brain reminds me, the most important thing working earns is affordable health care. Indeed. But -- what is next?

I spoke to my sister in law while Christine was napping. Christine had shared with her worry about my mental state last fall, so i noted the good drugs, the annoying psychiatrist, and that knowing i was working on looking for what's next had brought me a great deal of peace about work.

I am working on the homework of somatically experiencing the good things, trying to track my physical response of curiosity and pleasure.

In the early morning, i began mentally listing the to-dos of today. It's the day before i step on the roller coaster - a dense short work week, travel to see my grandmother in Tampa (high 81, chance of thunderstorms), travel to Ohio (high 46, chance of snow). I've sorted out where i am with a couple of crochet projects for the plane, and i have plenty of audio media. (Pleasure and entertainment first.) Now to face the responsibilities ahead.

This morning i clerk meeting for worship and gather the last of the nominating forms.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 07:55 am
Well, the onslaught will begin in 15 minutes or so. I left my work laptop on the VPN overnight so it could collect all the email from during my vacation and i could begin triage when i start work. I'm suspecting the 7 am meeting will not happen: it never does. However, on the off chance that today of all days it will, i'll be ready.

I noticed that a ornamental flowering fruit tree had blossomed a gentle pink while i was away the four days. The grey, chill wet day was punctuated by hail, and i wonder how the blossoms survived. There are bright California poppies popping up in fallow margins between sidewalks and streets. This morning the Mt Hamilton camera shows the mountain top graced with snow, evergreen branches flocked and the hillsides as white as the observatory domes.

--==∞==--

The larger 7 am meeting didn't happen, but the European manager did show up and we had a good half hour chat. So, that's probably the best i can ever expect.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, February 11th, 2013 09:20 pm
(Monday) It's a lovely cloudless day. I had plenty of sunshine pouring into my cube all morning, and now i can look out aon the sunlit parking lots and buildings, with urban trees lining streets and punctuating the lots. most are bare, although one west facing tree seems to have new green, while other broad leaved but evergreen trees have foliage with a slight red hue.

I stopped at the water feature this morning, but didn't see any birds but coots and an egret in the distance. No bufflehead or ruddy duck diving, no redhead or mergansers in the inlet, no mallards or Canadian geese.

In the evening there was a distant diving duck at the water feature. At the inlet there was a tiny diving bird. From my previous attempts to stalk it and get close enough to identify it, i have taken to calling it "the shy grebe." It seems very aware of my approach: the ripple-rings of the briefly surfacing bird create a connect the dots in a line that goes away from me. I try approaching from behind posts but it's a rather alert bird.

--==∞==--

This morning i attended to go to the team meeting of another engineering director, but i could not will myself in front of the video screen at 7 am. If it had been a call i might have been able to do it. Shifting to east coast time before the weekend's travels is not a bad idea, but it's been so long since i've joined that conference call.... I just want to slip in the back row, and it's hard to do that when the video image is going to be only of yourself.

--==∞==--

I had a wave of depression wash over me yesterday. In my surprise, i fought it off with a candy bar. Only after i'd consumed half of the sugar drug did i remember i was using coffee instead. I have tried talking to the psychiatrist about the caffeine use and depression. Instead of a collaborator in solving my body's chemical mysteries, i feel i am talking to a basic reference resource. "We recommend that caffeine consumption be cut," yadda yadda yadda, instead of investigating the observations.

I wonder about seeing an endocrinologist recommended by my somatic experiencing therapist at some point. She had recommended it when i described how well i have felt when on prednisone. I've had the usual thyroid tests, and i think the main thing my Evidence Driven Care clinical system cares about is diabetes.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 06:07 am
Tonight we are off to see Jackson Browne as part of Christine's birthday celebration. I didn't really know much about the musician, so on her birthday proper we watched Jackson Browne: Going Home. This helped me see why Christine called him "The Amy Goodman of Rock and Roll." I asked her who the Bill Moyers of Rock and Roll would be. This morning she woke to suggest maybe Stink or Joe Strummer, Jerry Garcia must be the Charles Kurault. Bob Dillon, she opined, would be the Walter Cronkite.

I'm sure your milage will vary.

Now Michael Stipe is the Bill Moyers.....

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In New Director news, the Wednesday trans-Atlantic director & manager meeting is canceled for this week. I appreciate this much more than a cancel at 6:30 am, too late to keep me from preparing for the 7 am video conference. There's no "critical" agenda item, New Director claims. On the other hand, apparently he "caught it" two weeks ago (remember the car in the parking lot meeting cancel?) over our monthly reports. Last Monday there was a burst of a communication about how he would be giving us a template because it is too hard for him to pull the information out for his report.

Said template is not yet available.

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Wednesday afternoon i will be meeting with the Career Counselor. One of the reflection questions was what was i going to do to keep moving forward. I hope that this investment does help me figure out a good forward for me. The schizophrenic pull towards more management and leadership and pulls towards anything but that is, i'm sure, because the management and leadership is what i know. Fix the broken process, damnit! I found myself daydreaming about giving the as yet unnamed new president a piece of my mind. What if he turned around and offered me New Director's job? The question just hung there in the daydream, and i came up with the questions i would ask back. "Would my position be backfilled?" is the question i remember now. The daydream points to my desire to be recognized as competent and respected, not to my desire to do more of this management stuff at the Whale.

--==∞==--

Frost has continued in the morning, here, but perhaps this morning will simply be heavy dew. The sweet gum tree at the end of the sidewalk has lost many of its leaves now, and the spiked seed balls hang as bird feeders. Over the weekend i noticed a flock of goldfinches pulling seeds out; yesterday morning a junco fed at the tree.

My potato has survived the frost: only the top of the vine has been nipped back by frost. The pimento pepper looks very sad, though, despite being pulled back under the eaves and sheltered by the dropped outer blinds. I think it might drop its leaves, but survive: that should be sufficient for it to be robust next year and produce a bit more fruit. The deck is a mess, though. I've either been sick during rainy weather or busily distracted during cold weather. I look forward to a chance to tidy it.

I'm taking Friday off: that might present an opportunity if we do not go kayaking in Half Moon Bay. The Groupon offer expires in February, but Christine is feeling overwhelmed right now. With today's concert and tomorrow's beginning of classes (and classes Thursday night) i understand the sense of worry. I'm not pressing for the outing, and i suspect i can put the time to pleasant use without an outing. At the very least, i think i might hie myself to Edgewood or into the hills to photograph plants or fungi.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 09:39 am
This morning's better light leads me to believe the diving duck i'm watching isn't a redhead but a canvasback. I got a much better look at its beak today and it definitely had the sharper profile compared to a flat familiar duck bill. The lightness of the body compared to the redhead is probably also due to the better light and the bird staying on top of the water more than when it was chasing the mergansers.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, December 28th, 2012 06:28 am
Yesterday morning i paused to look at the avian inhabitants of the water feature. Our building actually has three different bodies of water: on the side i park there are two. One is the building's fountain and pond. This is presumably fresh-ish water. The other is a little finger of the Marina Lagoon. I'm happy to see that my estimates of how much the water dropped and why are correct: http://www.ci.sanmateo.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=1067 .

I was drawn closer to the lagoon finger to see what looked to be a bufflehead, although i had recently confused bufflehead males and hooded merganser males. However, this was definitely a bufflehead male. After getting the best shot i could to make sure i could confirm my identification later, i noticed a female hooded merganser entering area from under the bridge. Their crests are nothing like hoods, more like sails.

Beyond the bridge were more ducks so i went to take a look, luxuriating in the lack of time pressure. There was a brown diving duck: brown head, bright eye, dull beak, dull body. After diving for a bit, it headed towards the end of the little inlet, flattening itself out in the water. Was it sneaking up on the mergansers? The male had joined the female. I watched the mystery duck chase the mergansers around in circles: diving and approaching from underneath, doing the flattened dash across the surface. Flipping through my dreadful photos and the All About Birds list of ducks, i can plausibly accept a male redhead duck as the culprit.

--==∞==--

In "Good Progress on the Situation" news, the career counselor has agreed to see me, huzzah. For the review of my depression medications, the UHC Appointment folks have kinda-sorta found appointments for me, so i'm seeing someone who isn't particularly talented at leaving voice mail messages at 3 pm today. Just looking for a reasonable prescription.

I wish the psychologist i contacted would get back to me, so i could happily leave the therapist, but it's still "the holidays." I fear that psychologist has dropped UHC, too.

--==∞==--

For pleasure, i spent the day (and a good bit of the evening) writing an AppleScript to generate the six-months-to-a-page weekly calendar i use to visualize our work flow. It wasn't entirely necessary, but it is another thing i could post to a revitalized professional blog. It was also delightful to feel the little tingle of a new skill, new tool. I've enjoyed Omnigraffle as a diagramming tool and have been considering buying it for myself. With the added skill of the AppleScript hacking.... Hmm, i can't think of how i might use this skill again except to make maintenance of the calendar more automatic.

Python remains my goal if i am to bring myself up to a reasonable skill set.

--==∞==--

Still sick, still making do with dayquil.