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[sticky post] Other ways to contact me [Apr. 4th, 2017|12:06 pm]
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If i quit posting here, feel free to look for me at http://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/ .

I receive email via google's mail service at the user name elaineforexample.

Confidantes may find more information at http://elainegrey.livejournal.com/654579.html
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(no subject) [Jul. 19th, 2017|03:43 pm]
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Woo hoo! Caffeine, antihistamine, and analgesics! I'll have plenty on hand for tomorrow morning.

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(no subject) [Jul. 19th, 2017|07:30 am]
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Odd, how a perfectly reasonable night's sleep can have one more grumpy. I think it's all about antihistamines: in that i had only one left (forgetting to ask Christine when she did a grocery run). Fortunately the loooong commute from the hotel to the office across the highway means i can swing by a grocery and pick up a bottle of pills, plus band aids for where my shoes are rubbing my feet.

The B52's Love Shack is playing as muzak.

I should have brought a few tea bags with me. I thought i could make do with coffee, but i am not a morning coffee drinker. Either that or the drip coffee in the room was vile.

I paid for a month's use of AirDroid pro so i could easily move files to my phone. I have a "Music" folder, and in the "Music" folder i made a "_Keep on Phone_" folder. The music app couldn't find that folder, so i ditched the underscores and created a "000Keep on Phone". That too is not being found. With this last phone i've just had no luck with audio files. It's good that my preference is for audio books.

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Written while waiting for takeoff Tuesday night [Jul. 19th, 2017|07:28 am]
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On my way to Ohio. 8 pm flights seem to be the way to go. Not only is it direct, but there was no line at security, and the plane is maybe half full. Yippee!!

Sunday I did get the rest I needed. My throat healed up, antihistamines made a difference, and all the other aches ... Well they don't seem as significant.

Yesterday & today I saw deer. I think I can identify two does by markings. One has a crooked ear, the other a white mark - a scar I would guess - on her right hip. Each day I have seen a doe& fawn. It seems plausible that they were the Same pair today & yesterday. Oh Monday a young buck came through as well.

I find it curious that I hadn't seen deer in daylight for a long time. Then they seemed to get active again.

They are nibbling at the garden but today's WRATH is reserved for the squirrel. I've been watching my tomato volunteer #2 set nice large fruit- and today I saw a squirrel near the raised bed . At lunch I went out to find half Eaten green tomatoes scattered under the plant.

FlE.

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Crumbling [Jul. 16th, 2017|07:26 am]
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My brother's family's last day in NC was yesterday.

The morning i had hoped to get somethings done outside, but saw a message from my sister. I'd sent her the news from the local farm store: all Guinea hen keets and a collection of annual plant starts were all free on Saturday morning. She was on her way over, and i got her to pick me up. The keets were all gone -- and, no, i dunno why baby Guinea hens are called keets -- but there were still plenty of plants. I picked up basil and peppers and flowers. I've no idea if they will thrive now that they are planted, but the peppers have not (yet) been nibbled by the deer, unlike the ones i've got.

Home to see Christine on her way out to a work meeting, and there wasn't much time before i would head to lunch. Hmm, i don't recall what i did. I was rattling around a bit, and i finally decided i was going to go, and if i was early i'd fiddle with my phone. I arrived as my parents and brother's family arrived, which was a little early. It turned out my brother hadn't told my sister WHEN to meet for lunch.

That morning, my sister had shared her anger and distress over some theorized and proven behaviors of my brother's boys. Apparently, i need to mull over this indirectly.Collapse )

I spent a little time worrying about the kid stuff compounded with my brother's fairly typical failure to communicate, wondering how poor my manners would be if i ordered the catch of the day (grouper) instead of a more modest dish (trout), and shared the story of the freebies and making seed tape with my parents.

I ended up getting the trout, and in the first bite i managed to do myself injury. The pelvic and pectoral fins had been left on, but i didn't see them. In my first bite, i felt something sharp and i realized i had swallowed a fin in the pointy-side first direction. I worried a bit about issues in the later parts of gastric system, but my sister simply said "Stomach acids are wonderful." I put it out of mind.

Home, I had a cup of coffee and realized that the fin had made its mark on my throat. Discomfort set in.

Summer thunder clouds periodically darkened the skies outside. The weather pattern is so familiar to here, but so different from what i experienced in California. I've found "partly cloudy" to be such an inadequate descriptor. In the shade of the tall clouds, it seemed comfortable enough outside, so i leashed Carrie and went to do some light work in the yard. When the sun poured through, i moved to shade. While it wasn't very hot, it was still dripping wet humid. Spending time bent over doesn't leave my digestive system feeling very good, but i can't not pull up weeds here in there. (When i mean to weed, i have a kneeling pad, which is a more agreeable position.)

The tasks i had and Carrie on leash worked well together. My kneeling under a dogwood and weeding the moss seemed particularly agreeable to Carrie. I held out hope that she might help me weed -- i've seen her try pulling up plants before -- but she just snuffled around.

Oh, i don't know why i am going on. Suffice it to say that despite a nap and a good nights sleep i am still tired. That yesterday evening my joints ached, my eyes itched, my psoriasis itched, my throat hurt, and going to bed i felt like a bundle of broken parts. This throat discomfort is just enough to make all the other usual discomforts clamor as well.

I think this was just an exhausting week. (I took a very long walk with my sister on Thursday night: that's probably why my ankle is aching.)

OK: i'm skipping Meeting this morning. I need the rest.

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Writing and not posting until days later [Jul. 13th, 2017|09:15 am]
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I have a very nice new chair. I lowered my desk so my arms would be in neutral position (with the possibility that one of the ikea legs will never extend again). I finally understand why an external monitor is a good thing. So, i've rigged my iPad up as a second monitor. It's working OK, but since the connection is via wifi, there's a little lag when mousing around. We'd been talking about a new TV -- Christine has proposed one, and i'm pondering whether it would be more energy efficient to get a new one. She's proposed i use the TV as an external monitor. Hm. I wonder if an inexpensive monitor would still be cheaper overall (due to reduced power usage) than continuing to use the TV.

TUESDAY: took the morning off to take a boating trip with my brother and his eldest, my sister's eldest, and my dad. The morning was misty, foggy, overcast, and made for a pleasant first half of the morning on the water. When the clouds burned off, though, it was a bit intense. Dad didn't have all the kit to put the canopy up both front and back, so i huddled under the little shade available. No one caught anything, but they will take a serious fishing trip a few mornings from now (the "on the water at 5 am" type serious). Many blue herons, a juvenile eagle, a beaver, and a turtle were some of the more remarkable sightings. The boys saw a deer, that i just could not pick out in time. Confronted with a wooded shoreline, "by the tree" fails as a landmark. I'll see how my photos turn out. And then sooner or later i need to figure out where i want to post them. I lean towards setting up a photo website on Amazon S3.

Twitter and (sigh) Facebook can direct enough attention to any photos: they need not be on Flickr. (I still glance through my friends feed of flickr photos once or twice a week, looking at Gurdonark's & Crookedfinger's bird photos. (More frequently than i look at facebook!)

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(no subject) [Jul. 9th, 2017|07:09 am]
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This news story is just shy of being a Gary Larson "Far Side." One wonders about a child getting in and finding both of the items that were in the vehicle, but i'll assume that the owner lived alone in the woods.

SpoilerCollapse )

--== ∞ ==--

In more uncomfortable thinking, tensions about "cultural appropriation" on a mailing list continue into a second week. There's some generational tension, i think, and today's post had hand-wringing over "Why must we be so painfully correct all the time?" There was an attempted distinction between micro-aggression and cultural appropriation: this makes me bang my head because the precipitating issue can easily be interpreted as a micro-aggression as well.

I think the original purpose was what i'll call a subversive ministry of gender expression to tradition bound American men when transgender folks were deep in closets. Having a S-- Day to celebrate a skirt-like item of clothing that was gender neutral made for a way to encourage men to wear skirts for a day without the "feminizing" label "skirt" or the defensive masculinity of a kilt. Theoretically, it's gender inclusive, but it certainly misses the obverse of constrained gender expression for women. Indeed one person, female identified at birth, gently noted this issue.

I don't think they were heard.

I think attitudes have changed enough in liberal Quakerism, that addressing gender expression with a "S--- Day" isn't nearly as powerful as it may have been originally. I wonder, even, if younger folks completely miss the subtlety of the choice as they ask, "Why not just have a skirt day?" which would be an honest and plain spoken goal, but far more challenging to masculinity.

Then, there's the fact that this is not a formally organized event, as far as i can tell, but one person's celebratory mission. That the person who brings it forward is more boomer generation than millennial does not escape my notice. That they may not be aware of the male privilege inherent in the framing despite challenging the policing of male privilege is intriguing.

All of this plays out in the larger context of some tempest over white privilege and white supremacy in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, where i also perceive a generational divide between "I marched at Selma, how dare you!" and "Black Lives Matter", get woke folks.

I don't think S--- Day is any more culturally appropriative than wearing pajamas and is less so than a Kilt Day. I do think there's much more going on though, and the energy of the kerfluffle on list certainly strikes me as pulling strength from some warm ocean of discontent. I wonder if the current group can survive it's calling to be radically inclusive when it comes to nostalgic folks who feel they've done their work.

--== ∞ ==--

Friday night we were out late celebrating Christine's sister's birthday. Carrie woke me at 6:30 barking at the young buck just beyond the deck. I skipped tea, worked outside in the steam for a while, and then dozed for the rest of the morning. Not a highly productive day, and i couldn't bring myself to go back outside at 5 pm, it was so steamy. By the time we could bestir ourselves, the evening thunderstorm hit.

This morning she woke us barking at 5:30, and it was too dim for me to see any critter. I was more rested this morning, and made tea, and have spent the time on the back porch. It's 99% humidity, with the dew point only a fraction of a degree below the temperature, but it's cool enough that, being still, i'm not soaking.

I finished the potato harvest in that outside time yesterday, and planted the whole row with a variety of seeds. On the ends of the rows, where the plants may sprawl beyond the defined borders i planted the mini-melons and yellow squash. The current yellow squash are in abundance, but i don't know if they'll survive to frost. In between i planted marigolds, peanuts, and some very old bean seed. I picked a ear of the popcorn. The pollination of the kernels wasn't as thorough as i'd wish, and -- while it may have been at milk stage -- it wasn't nearly as tasty as sweet corn. This might keep it from falling prey to critters. Time will tell.

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Critter watch [Jul. 6th, 2017|08:14 am]
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This morning, young Carolina wrens in the "greenhouse" -- i saw one just fall of a shelf. No harm to the bit of fluff. They ended up nesting on the front porch in the hanging basket. One day i watered and a little later out shot a bird. And then at some point i was planning to take the basket down, turned it to peer in the nest and a wren peered right back. It seems the wrens have fledged in the past few days: Christine had noticed the clumsy hoppings around over the holiday.

Later in the morning a squirrel loped across the back "woodland garden" (oh, someday) and went up on the large stump. I think the salt we'd put there for the deer also attracted the squirrel.

Then, as i sat down to work, the young buck was in the front yard.

Yesterday, crooked ear (the doe) visited out my work window. When she started in on the (well nibbled) peppers i went out the front door to fuss. She knows she need not flee, but sauntered off to the corner of the yard and then melted into the woods.

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Has SF ever exploited the concept of "cryptic natural (epigenitic) products"?? [Jul. 4th, 2017|07:50 am]
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http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2017/07/03/cryptic-natural-products-appearing

When i was listening to the biology & genetic lectures a few years ago, i was astounded by new realizations. The key has to do with how DNA is NOT a blueprint, a description of the final structure. It's much more like computer code, with all the cruft that developers often leave in a great big system, code that used to do something important, but the output is no longer needed. Somehow activate that code path, and the code can still execute. On the other hand, since the system has evolved away from that need, it the code does execute, it's not necessarily going to behave as it did originally.

DNA doesn't execute in a vacuum: chemical and physical signals affect what segments of the DNA will be activated. The embryonic environment has a huge impact on the gene expression in a developing organism -- i can't find a recent article i read about how poverty-stress of a mother can be expressed in the cognitive pathway development of the child, thus providing a physiological basis for poverty changing the way one literally thinks.

(In Butler's Wild Seed, one of the characters could "examine" the DNA of a creature and then express the creature. My awareness of how gene expression works triggered a momentary collapse of my suspension of disbelief.)

So, i pondered, what if an organism was exposed to primordial compounds, compounds that don't exist in the oxygen rich environment of today? What parts of the "junk" DNA might be activated? What might happen next? (Could an alternative being be in the DNA that could be expressed with the right primordial signals?) Keyword for more research: epigenetics.

" It’s for sure that there are many biosynthetic-looking gene clusters found in these species that don’t seem to be turned on most of the time, which makes one think that under the right conditions you could perhaps elicit some “break glass in case of emergency” structures that might be well worth seeing."

Derek Lowe, July 3, 2017


Why, yes, exactly.

[The group] ran all sorts of stress experiments on the organisms to see if any of these caused some activity. As it turns out, exposure to etoposide and to avermectin, both quite toxic to the organisms, caused some of these biosynthetic pathways to turn on, and several new compounds emerged, including one with antifungal activity and some that appear to be cysteine protease inhibitors.


Hint: Wikipedia relates that "Cysteine proteases... are enzymes that degrade proteins."

Organic chemistry and genetics are so incredibly amazing to me. I envy nascent scientists -- so many of these discoveries have been since i was in school. To be entering the fields with this landscape as a foundation....

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Betty Reid Soskin [Jul. 4th, 2017|07:20 am]
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A beautiful description of one persons' answer about why they blog: https://cbreaux.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-editor-working-on-my-book-asked.html

And, by the way, this is an amazing person: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Reid_Soskin

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HVAC efficency calculation [Jul. 3rd, 2017|01:26 pm]
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In good news, the investment we made in having the crawl space "conditioned" seems to be saving energy -- and we keep the place cooler.

Last year we had the thermostat set at 74°F when we arrived, and well before the end of June we increased it 76°F. (We were in shock: i know plenty of folks keep the temp warmer.) This year, since we were told that with the encapsulation we should keep the place at 74°F, i decided we would keep it at that temperature -- on average. Overnight we cool to 72°F, then over the morning we keep the place at 74°F or cooler. It takes a while for the outside to warm up the inside that 2°. Then at noon we let it go up to 76°. The air does run in the afternoon. When the sun gets low behind the pines, we start cooling back down to 74°F.

Looking at spring and fall months, i think i have a good idea of our "no HVAC needed" power load. June 2016 had 8 kwh/d for HVAC, while this June had 5 kwh/d for HVAC. This past June was cooler than 2016 (good, everyone said last year was abnormal). I dug up the number of "cooling degree days" from WeatherUnderground: June 2016 had 1.13 times the cooling degree days than June 2017 but used 1.6 times the power.

So, if i want to get the average amount of power per cooling day (instead of month day), i could calculate

(X kwh/d * Y d)/ Z CDD

to get the kilowatt-hours per cooling degree day. June 2016 is then 14 kwh/CDD and this June is 10 kwh/CDD. That seems a good improvement. 30%-ish?

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(no subject) [Jul. 3rd, 2017|08:42 am]
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A Black California Friend sends prophetic-voice email around to some collection of us, which i think varies. He's open in his distribution. Sometime i reply privately, sometimes publicly. His last email was on whether it was harder to be a Quaker Poet or a Black Quaker. He'd gotten back two answers along the lines of "Gee, people are challenged by poetry."

I feel i've learned something in this reply. Maybe it's saying "out loud" that i've given up on "Quakers," which in this sense happened very long ago.

Response, longCollapse )

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(no subject) [Jul. 2nd, 2017|12:29 pm]
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It is a bit ironic, perhaps, that it's more likely for Donald Trump to be removed from office that it is for him to be removed from Twitter.



I made an excellent potato bake casserole last night, all things considered. (TVP is not the most delightful of vegetable protein sources, but whatever.)

Overnight, Carrie ate one of my flip flops. If i could walk around barefooted i would, but between Achilles tendonitis and plantar fascitis.... pfft.

Spending a bit of time thinking about posting photo galleries (and blogs) to Amazon S3. I have discovered an Evernote blogging platform, Postach.io. Here's my naturalist notebook transformed through their interface. Essentially, you create an account on their site, give their system access to a notebook, tag notes with "published", and boom!, it's been posted to your postach.io blog.

I've found another flow that can depend on evernote notebooks as well, both more flexible and more technically demanding. I'm not sure i have an argument for blogging (beyond here) any time soon.

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(no subject) [Jul. 2nd, 2017|08:29 am]
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The end of last week featured a great deal of demotivated being. I think i understand it: a biological nadir, the joys of the self assessment at work, long weekend anticipation. I picked up two digital speculative fiction books from the library: I checked out Haldeman's Forever Peace and then my hold on Butler's Seed to Harvest came available. That's actually an omnibus edition and I have read Wild Seed & Mind of My Mind. I'm drawing the line at Clay's Arc some chapters in, partly because i need to get up, partly because I'm really tired of Butler's characters.

It's remarkable, given the semi-random selection i made from Overdrive, how very similar the concepts are in the two narratives -- and yet how very different. Race, with African American and African characters, is featured in both books, as is a sort of change of humanity. Butler's focus on slavery is far more prevalent than in Haldeman's, and i've been left with a great deal of discomfort. (And, after reading Butler's Fledgling, i feel the ground well explored.) I guess the power dynamics of manipulation and enslavement is a more accurate description of Butler's theme, not slavery outright.

I think the two books would be a little more comparable if Haldeman had kept going and described the post "humanization" world. In Butler's "Patternist" world, there was a clear hierarchy within the powerful. Haldman's optimism -- that there is a way to overwhelm the viscous part of human nature and bring compassion and love forward -- stopped at the point where the narrative gets challenging (but perhaps less dramatic). Would he have described a Quaker-like governance?

Butler's focus on manipulation exhausted me, but it's made me poke at Forever Peace and its focus on violence: am i missing something? I feel like i'm watching a magic trick where the violence is the misleading distraction. It might be a difference in scale. The powers in Haldman's narratives were governmental and global scale; the two "Patternist" books were much more interpersonal, concluding with a couple thousand.

I'm thinking about reading the nonfiction work The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters. It seems to argue for a fractal quality of ecological rules. Perhaps i could phrase that as "Life is life at any scale." I need to think about how that sort of fractal view meshes with the concept of emergent properties of complex systems. Hmmm, most of my learning about nonlinear mathematics and properties of chaotic systems was absolute ages ago. I bet there's some synthesis of understanding, a correlation between the concept of emergent properties and strange attractors.

This comes to mind because there may be some fractal similarity between Butler's communities and Hadleman's global consideration, human dynamics aren't linear.

I was watching the first episode of season 4 of Sherlock, where he makes some statement about if all the threads were known, everything is determined. Poor writer, missing the point of Lorenz's butterfly (and on the smallest scales, dice are everywhere).

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Woman reads online headline: you'll never guess what happens next! [Jun. 29th, 2017|01:48 pm]
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Before tags, journal entry titles were pretty important to me, but since ....

Christine just showed me some video of a child in a New Zealand zoo kissing the glass separating her from a male lion. The lion sat back on his haunches and rapidly beat on the glass with his front paws. (The girl, unfazed. Some adult, "I think he's asking you to step back.") The caption described this as the lion "freaking out" with which i take exception. Cat owners know what a cat freaking out is like: this was not that.

So i muttered my exception, then i muttered about click bait titles, and then i declaimed THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END.

Why do i care about click bait headlines? What offends me so? Maybe i should try titling my entries with click-bait style. There's no commitment to keeping the subject and the entry aligned with clickbait style titles, right?

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(no subject) [Jun. 29th, 2017|09:00 am]
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I am feeling particularly ill-motivated this morning, probably because my "most important thing to do today" is my performance appraisal. I hate those. This year is particularly bad because of management and direction changes.

Last night Christine and i both arrived home from various outings after 8 pm. Between the late summer light and our "after work" tasks starting three hours late, i think i was up later than normal. When Christine let Carrie in the back yard, there was a deer. I joined Christine on the deck and watched the as the young buck watched us back -- and then went back to grazing in the thick clover. The deer tolerated our presence for quite a while, with Carrie, Christine and I moving about in the fenced yard. Eventually he gave us another long look, then left. His departure started with a deliberate walk, then a lope, and then there was a flash of him leaping as he entered the woods. With the fireflies flickering around him, it was a lovely magical experience.

This morning fledgling wrens are flitting about in the a azalea just out my window. I think they are fledgling from their exploratory hopping. I first noticed when one hopped into the cardinals' empty nest and explored it.

Bird boxes.

While the humidity will return for Friday and Saturday, the rest of the long weekend looks pretty tolerable.

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First tomato [Jun. 27th, 2017|07:54 pm]
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Grape tomato,  that is. 


Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note5.


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(no subject) [Jun. 27th, 2017|07:33 am]
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Yesterday's weather did tick up a bit warm, but the blessedly low humidity still made for a pleasant walk at the lake after work. We took the western side of the loop trail at Seaforth from the boat launch parking to where the high water stopped us from going any further. The waters swirled around the trunks of trees, and the evening light reflected up into the canopy: a hall of green and gold. Carrie is still spooky around the sound of slapping waves (thanks to ski boats and jet skis in that reach of the lake) but she's getting more confident. She was also certain there was something she wanted to chase as we headed back to the car and dragged Christine along. She's such an odd mix of confidence and startlement.

I'm feeling less confident in my ability to weed up the stilt grass. In the sun, it seems, it spreads and crawls, and i don't think i can get all of it easily. I whacked some last evening in frustration, knowing it just leads to even lower growth and a seed set in the fall. I know a growing percentage of the yard is mown stilt grass, the winter greens fading, and even where we had lush clover is being replaced by another unruly grass (although i don't know what that one is).

By the way, just to give a scale, crab grass is well behaved compared to some of these grasses. We've got that, too. What i really want is for the native Dichanthelium species to take it all back. Doing what i can to further that goal.

Christine is changing elephant handling protocols. It's rough on her, scaring her as she goes through this period of instability with management. I trust that it will settle back down, noting her awareness and capacity despite the instability.

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Oh what a gorgeous day [Jun. 26th, 2017|01:19 pm]
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On the back porch because it's a California like day with low humidity, mild temperatures, and blue blue skies. Hmm, i could probably dry the towel load outside today.

The weekend was pleasantly spent. The local library seems to have switched to Overdrive for eBooks (or i found their Overdrive link) so i did some casual reading. We had a pleasant bit of thrift shopping after a late brunch out on Saturday. There was a fellow selling Adirondack-ish furniture at the circle in Pittsboro, and we finally stopped and asked after the pieces. We've been talking about a bench for the back glade

I made tamales, which i was certain were failures but were, actually, just fine. The Great Northern beans turned out ok despite using the "rapid soak" shortcut. The pickled peppers i put in the squash weren't too hot (indeed, perhaps a bit bland). The amount of salty veggie bullion in the masa was not really noticeable after cooking. The masa wasn't stale, even though my nose kept saying it was.

One thing i wasn't worried about was that i used processed coconut oil instead of the traditional lard. (I didn't fluff it up first, though.) It's the first time i've used coconut oil: it seems like a lovely replacement for the Crisco i grew up with. And then there's the thought of tropical tamales made with unprocessed coconut oil. Fish filling? It's been ages since i made tamales: i should do it again soon.

Meeting for Business did not need a lunch dish -- or such was asserted. Never trust someone who thinks their meeting agenda is short. I drove home pondering how i would clerk at this meeting. I was quite hungry when i got home.

I harvested the russet potatoes. There was a little wireworm damage, and they weren't as big as grocery store potatoes, but there's a good pile. I'm a little disappointed because i will need to use these damaged ones earlier instead of letting them keep. (I probably cleaned them all up too well, too. I know the advice says let the dirt dry and brush it off, but i want to see the pretties!)

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Notes [Jun. 20th, 2017|08:26 am]
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* Quaker History Roundtable: 20th Century American Quakerism - 9 hours video of the proceedings available at this time.

* Carolina wrens apparently make multiple nest starts before deciding on one. There was nesting activity at the same time in a hanging basket at the front. I just saw one hop from the nest, so i hope that's their choice. Their territory is 1/2 - 3/4 acres per some random website, it's conceivable two pairs would be about the house, but i'll assume it's the same pair.

* The cardinals fledged over the weekend. Sure didn't look old enough to manage that on Friday! I'm hoping they fledged and it wasn't depredation. I haven't seen Slugger or Louisa for a bit. -- Wait, there they are, foraging out my window. Hmm. I suppose they could have guided the fledglings into the woods where there's more cover?

* We had a day lily bloom yesterday at lunch but it was eaten by the time we went out for the dog walk. I suspect the young buck that cantered by my view.

* The peanut plants that were on the corner were nibbled, but not the ones more bounded by marigolds.

* We had over two inches of rain last evening and overnight. Some of the corn and the poppies are knocked over. I'm hoping that they'll lift themselves, but i suspect i'll need to stake up the poppies and reset the corn.

* I'm not focusing on work as much as i expect of myself. Trying to be gentle and observe.

* [ETA] Personal email box management seems to be effective. Struggling to get a few things NOT marked as spam, but i think i've come up with effective sorting that keeps different response efforts segregated.

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Tree of Heaven... NOT. [Jun. 18th, 2017|06:47 pm]
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So, just to assure [personal profile] randomdreams that his experience with Ailanthus isn't unique, there are small sprouts coming up everywhere in the septic field. Copper sulfate in the line hasn't discouraged it at all.

Fie.

Mimosa tree seedlings are everywhere, as well.

There's a cluster of non-native thistles beside the road maybe a quarter mile away. I so want to apply a flame thrower. And the neighboring lot also has a big patch of vinca.

The latest issue of "Conservation Gardener" from the UNC arboretum has an introduction from the editor that described their battling with invasives on their small patch of North Carolina. The challenge was observed, the drop-in-the-bucket-ness, but the editor concluded that it's the way forward. Everyone doing their bit.

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(no subject) [Jun. 18th, 2017|11:13 am]
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I've spent some obsessive time developing filters for my personal email. I had had filters, but many were made long enough ago that i didn't really know what they were doing. I tried to name these more clearly. Meanwhile, in my "miscellaneous" folder i had 200 journal comments i meant to reply to, some from a year ago. Um, not going to happen - i mean to reply, but i think it's better to work on going forward, not the past. So all those went into the archive and now i "only" have 100 emails lingering.

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Friday evening i took Carrie over to my folks so she could run in their pasture - and run she did. Mom committed her usual "here, take all this" but this time the book was one i remember dearly from childhood: Euell Gibbons' Stalking the Wald Asparagus. I didn't know until just now that he was a Quaker, but the resonance with my inclinations becomes more clear. I'm tickled.

Saturday was muggy. One drips working outside, even without much exertion. I planted my peanut and melon seedlings, moved marigolds from thick plantings to other areas, and dug  up the last of my Huckleberry potatoes. I will buy those again. Definitely a good producer! I hope for the marigolds to be deer deterrents: no nibbling on those. I'll check to see if the peanut starts made it through the night. I also planted melons -- "Minnesota midget" muskmelons -- but perhaps i should add some seeds as the article i just found said they don't transplant well.

I made a "potato salad" seasoned with lemon and mint, inspired by a NYTimes recipe. I tried to follow the pressure cooker recipe for cooking the potatoes: i think i could have cooked them less than the 7 minutes. Also, i wasn't thinking and vented the steam inside. Next time i'll carry the pot out and vent it outside. Despite the potatoes not holding shape, the flavors were a pleasant change from the usual mustard or mayo based potato salad preparations -- and, let me tell you, we do have plenty of mint.

I'm watching a pair of Carolina wrens build a nest in my "greenhouse" -- a rack of shelves for seedlings that comes with a clear plastic cover -- long since removed -- and is now covered with a sheet. I've mixed feelings about letting them nest there. It's tempting to watch them -- and let Edward watch them, but it is so close to comings and goings and i need to water those plants. But not so much the ones on the top where most of the nesting work is going on -- a seedling persimmon, some seedling button bushes.

We do have a go pro, we could be watching them....

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More critters [Jun. 15th, 2017|01:13 pm]
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Watching Louisa & Slugger care for their three nestlings, i think it's impressive that Cardinals have such an easy time managing diaper changing. They feed the nestling and then carry of a little white sack of waste.

I wish i could be sure they were getting all the bugs from my garden.

Particularly the scarily large spider. (Although he's probably doing me some favors. *shudder*)

--== ∞ ==--

In Carrie news, this morning she did some lunging at Luigi accompanied by a bark. Water bottle time. Now Christine's sure Carrie will never return to the front room.

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Critters [Jun. 15th, 2017|07:05 am]
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Tuesday evening i harvested some very nice potatoes. Wet purple potato skins seem almost iridescent with a sheen that seems to change in the light. I stopped harvesting because a huge wolf spider seemed unwilling to move along. I'll pitchfork that hay out of the way tonight.

I saw a different doe yesterday, who moved through the yard rather quickly. I need to tweak the game camera because i think a movement like that deer's that would trigger the camera, but the delay would just capture an empty yard.

Yesterday evening as we watched some show, Carrie bounded of the hassock, baying alarm, "Foes at the door! Foes at the door!" Just beyond the deck was a young buck, maybe a year old. He clearly heard the ruckus, but wasn't alarmed, just alert. Carrie continued to growl and bark and warn. A bit territorial, not hunting. It was sweet to be able to observe the young deer, although i wonder how wise it is for it to be inured to barking. (Admittedly, we have double pane windows and good sound proofing here so i'm not sure how loud Carrie seemed to the deer.)

This morning i went out in the dawn. Flitting overhead were two bats: oh, more please!

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(no subject) [Jun. 13th, 2017|10:46 am]
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Oh, the deer i chased out of the corn yesterday came back to browse on the thick clover. She has a crooked ear, so she's readily identifiable. I'm not sure what i should call her. Saunters-through-corn seems a little long.

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Talking to myself [Jun. 13th, 2017|06:24 am]
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I recently read an article about the benefits of talking to yourself out loud. One interesting study result:
[Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, and colleagues] found that when their subjects talked about themselves in the second or third person — for example, “You can do this” or “Jane can do this” instead of “I can do this” — not only did they feel less anxiety while performing, but their peers also rated their performances better. Mr. Kross said this was because of self-distancing: focusing on the self from the distanced perspective of a third person, even though that person is you.


In another study:
The study concluded that motivational self-talk worked best on tasks based on speed, strength and power, while instructional self-talk worked best with tasks that involved focus, strategy and technique. In the real world, this might translate to parallel parking, following a recipe or putting together an Ikea side table.

“My bet is that self-talk works best on problems where you’re trying to stay on task and there are possible distractions,” Mr. Lupyan said. “For tasks with a multistep sequence, talking to yourself out loud can help you keep out distractions and remind yourself where you are.”


I've been wondering about my journalling and one thing i have realized is that the need to "talk through" distressing things is much lower than it has been in the past -- along with a reticence to write in any detail about the elephants. I've started seeing a therapist to talk about the elephants, although i don't think we've actually made that a topic for a while. Self compassion and self care has been the topic of the past two sessions.

[At this point, i wandered away from writing.]

Apparently the self care is a bit tender with me. Christine gently pointed out to me i'd called myself "lazy" when i handed her a block of text

[suduko]

So.... perhaps i should be writing to myself in a self care way. (And, yeah, review time is at hand and i probably am avoiding thinking about that.)

attemptCollapse )

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(no subject) [Jun. 12th, 2017|06:19 am]
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This morning i received another prompt to investigate Lindt chocolate to determine whether i should stop buying from them. I was delighted to find a thesis that compared a FairTrade program to Lindt's program in Ghana:

https://inclusivevcc.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/empowerment-through-cocoa-msc-thesis-marie-le-guillouzic1.pdf

Let me say that an "empowerment" survey at my employer probably wouldn't fare any better than the Lindt farmers: do we feel respected or that we have influence? (I consider some hoops i had to jump through to get influence over an obvious-to-me decision, and note that i do have to remind myself i did affect that outcome... but it was in a domain where i feel i ought to be affecting the outcome. So... it was more of an experience of wresting control back....)

Anyhow. After reading several chapters of the dissertation this morning, i can continue to feel comfortable with buying Lindt. (That is, as comfortable as anything i consume from the global markets.)

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Mini Vacation! [Jun. 11th, 2017|02:43 pm]
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Thursday my computer was FINALLY ready. We picked it up after work, then picked up subway sandwiches, then sat outside in the remarkably cool night air to watch the Ron Fricke film
Samsara at The Nasher (a contemporary art museum at Duke). WE were home after 11 pm. This is relevant because ...

Friday i woke before dawn to be picked up by my parents at 5 am to take a day trip to the mountains. We had breakfast (eggs and grits swimming in melted margarine) at a rural diner at rural prices, several delightful hikes, a picnic, a waterfall viewing, and a stop for a snack at the Winkler bakery in Old Salem. I was home at 6 pm and worn out.

Yesterday i restored my mac, a mildly annoying process as the laptop has only one port so the battery drains extra fast as it powers the remote drive from which it was both booted and restoring. So, yay. I can slowly begin to get my digital life back. I also spent a great deal of time looking at flower bulbs, very tempted by low prices for 30 calochortus at http://www.bloomingbulb.com/. Thing is, almost all the flowers there are non-native to my area.

Would anyone like to trade gladiolus corms? I have ones that look like Gladiolus 'My Love' Gladiolus x hortulanus except a softer pink.

After running errands with Christine, I went out for the evening with my strangely sweet adverse nephew. We saw a Doors cover band, Mojo Rising, at the a "roadhouse" (an old Esso station converted to a farm to fork restaurant, small local arts and crafts store, and performance venue). It was pretty cool, W was not the youngest person there, but he and i did seem pretty young compared to the majority of attendees. (I am guessing most of the attendees were at least ten years older than i am).

Today has been pretty laid back as i slept in and actually edit photos. We're off to see an Emily Dickinson film shortly.

I'm a little done in by so much relaxing.

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Post unposted on Thursday [Jun. 11th, 2017|02:41 pm]
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We have entered yellow squash season. We appear to have enough for dinner every night -- which isn't going to happen. I suppose i finally have an excuse to take veggies to neighbors! Also, apparently baked squash chips are a thing.

--== ∞ ==--

I didn't post that on Wednesday, but we did take potatoes and squash to the friendly couple who greeted us when we moved in. They in turn shared their bounty of green beans. I'm dubious i'm going to have any beans due to deer, so that was a delight.

I was sucked into the Senate testimony Thursday. This composite of the written statement from McSweeneys is delightful, but when i sit back and think about what i've learned i feel a pit of disgust.

First is the visceral understanding of how hierarchical bureaucratic, law enforcement, and military cultures are -- and how harmful cultural ignorance is at the top of that culture. I sense some of the Senators don't necessarily get the cultural challenge, probably from moving around in more of the wheeling-dealing world. But the senators who have been prosecutors seemed to get it. I don't think i could function well in a hierarchical culture: i am far too used to a much more academia informed culture of all folks being heard. I can recognize what complete dedication there is to such a culture too. The pointed questions of why didn't he quit

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Doe, a deer [Jun. 6th, 2017|04:12 pm]
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I'm not sure how many deer i saw today. Just after lunch i looked up and a deer was grazing just outside my window. I was delighted and watched as she ate up a shrub i'm trying to kill and grazed on clover. Then she went and nipped up a plant i've been watching to find out what blooms it might have. The plant is going to have to go back to work on growing its reproductive organs again. (Some sort of aster, is what i expect.) I saw the deer stare down the eastern side of the house, so i went to another window and saw a second deer back in the glade. (So, two unique deer.) Then the first deer went to my corn. I went to the front porch and yelled, "Hay, that's my corn!" and the deer simply sauntered out of the patch. Hmph.

Later, another deer was moving around the garden and looked like it was nibbling on the hibiscus. This time the deer was gone by the time i opened the front door. Same deer? A third?

And then later i saw a deer skirting along the north edge of the woods, slipping in to shadow at the corner -- and then another deer dashed into the same gap.

So possibly five deer, or two busy deer. The same pair we've caught grazing on the west side of the house, perhaps?

I've not seen deer moving around in the day since last summer. Today's attempt at research on deer movements didn't help explain why this might be a seasonal behavior. The best guess i could make would be that the deer are bedded down somewhere near by. One writer mentioned that the deer don't seem to stay bedded down for longer than two hours before getting up, stretching, peeing, and nibbling before going back to doze. Yet, why would they only be coming to the yard now? Unless the woods are TOO much of a thickety-mess to manage in the summer?


Cardinal still nesting. A couple visits from Luigi to my work table today. The volunteer tomato plants in the raised beds look like they may actually be quite productive. The most sprawling plant clearly is one of those grape tomatoes. I hope it does well!

Hoping things will even off after the last bump on our home calendar last night. My travel and other disruptions are now over, and the horizon reveals some pleasures. Friday i will go on a road trip with my parents (or my Dad, at least). And i realized that we can make it to the eclipse without the trip funds we had begun to set aside, but spent on the move. Not to the Tetons, but the path of totality isn't that far away. I've gotten a hotel room for us in the western part of the state, twenty minutes from the path. I've picked out an ideal location, now need to figure out weather patterns and what fall back locations might look like.

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