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[sticky post] Other ways to contact me [Apr. 4th, 2017|12:06 pm]

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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Sunday had sunshine; Monday means a move [Dec. 17th, 2018|05:46 pm]

I'm spending time managing information flow -- receiving emails of concern and drafting a message about what's up to go out to a list of family and friends.

Today i stopped work around 2:30 because i'm feeling sick. I meant to take a nap, but i've been phone call - text - email gal. I'm not complaining: i can do this. I also spent some time trying to figure out when my mom fell when she and my sister's family and i were walking near my mom's house. I can't think of unique enough search terms to find it.

Here's the mailing list announcements, with appropriate redactions, from yesterday and today
Read more...Collapse )

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If i never hear Camelot again it will be too soon [Dec. 16th, 2018|08:21 am]

Short news: i am doing OK, we're feeling a little more optimistic as Mom has gotten some rest and food. It's a long road of rehab ahead.

moreCollapse )
Anyhow, if you happen to know of books you would recommend about stroke recovery that are available via Audible or a recorded book on Overdrive that is something i'd appreciate. It looks like tons of Heartwarming and Inspiring Stories of Recovery are available, but i will have no patience with repetitive or slow narratives.

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24 hours later [Dec. 13th, 2018|09:07 pm]

Mom had a hemorrhagic stroke last night.

notes for future meCollapse )

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Complete distraction yesterday [Dec. 12th, 2018|07:01 am]
I was delighted for sunlight blazing over the snow yesterday. The icy temperatures overnight (low 20s) hardened up the snow and slush to slow the melting, and it didn't warm up much despite the bright clear skies. It was cold again last night, so we have another morning of bright snow shimmering in the rosy sunrise.

Despite the sunlight, i rebelled against getting to work. I don't know how much is me worrying about my parents. I spoke with them Monday to find that their long stint without power had, despite the fireplace they have used in the past, let my mom terribly chilled. I realize what they may be realizing: a mild discomfort in the past can become a risky health situation now. They went off to find a hotel room outside of the ice and snow zone, towards the coast, and then ran errands at the military base in Fayetteville yesterday. (Dad is retired Navy reserve, and thus has access to the discounted groceries at the base commissary.)

Mom's appointment this morning is just another test, an electromyography study, and Dad waved me off from coming. My sister was feeling one of us should be there. But i think the person we would be comforting would be my father, as he waits for the test to complete. I don't think he needs that sort of support: he is pretty self sufficient in entertaining himself and anyone with whom he converses.

I did walk with Christine (who was having a bad day herself) and Carrie (who probably missed chase time these past few days) at the community college track, which was mostly clear.

I did not work on the tea towels.

I have really turned the tea towels into a monster and need to get with it.

I'll try harder to get myself together today at work.

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SO DISTRACTED [Dec. 10th, 2018|08:55 am]
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First, it's snowing again, since around 7:30. Big lovely flakes, some as big as feathers.

The first visitors to the feeder and scattered seed were the usual suspects. I didn't get around to removng the screen or washing the window, so i wasn't being obsessive about observations.

Then the grackles showed up. At least 40. They're so spooky, all of them rising with a thunder of wingbeats any time i move too quickly. Edward is in the kitchen watching from that window, so perhaps he is also spooking them.

Crows have followed the grackles, although not in the large numbers.

Huh. They've left. The mixed flock of songbirds mush have been waiting in another tree, because sparrows, juncos and chickadees are all back, feeding in the azalea just outside the window. Go to the feeder, little birds! (The feeder is in the light and i can focus the binoculars at that distance.)

Wait, grackles are back.

From inside a window, grackles on a bird feeder and on the snow covered ground, snow falling.

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(no subject) [Dec. 10th, 2018|06:45 am]
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At 3 am, Carrie nudged me awake, and i passed letting her out duty to Christine. It was hard enough for me to get back asleep, but i must have managed.

We had a power blink long enough to reset the appliance clocks such that power came back at 5 am. I don't know if the blink or Christine turned on some "smart" lights. It looks like fewer of the households just off our road are without power, so the blink could have been the results of repair work. I have grown to assume many of our blinks and surges are due to breaks that leave others without power or repairs that bring them back. It's hard to know why we luck out with our power line that zig-zags above the road leading to our house when my parents in their proximate to more suburbia with a buried power line in their neighborhood spend so many storm events without power. Such as yesterday. From the maps, my sister probably lost power but has it back to day. My parents might have power back -- the polygon near their home is ambiguous and i think the people who manage the maps get sloppy during storms.

Snow still covers the ground, bright in the predawn gloam, despite the (barely) above freezing temperature last night. I think it's sleeting. The low tunnels i have covering lettuce and winter greens (in hopes of getting a kick start in the spring) have collapsed. While the snow is there, it's fine -- an insulating blanket. But i fear the snow will melt to day, then the temperature drop into the twenties tonight. I suppose i'll go out in the muck and try to get the tunnels back up.

And maybe tonight i'll work on the tea towels.

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Diego Snow [Dec. 9th, 2018|03:30 pm]
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Friday morning found me eye-rolling at the umpteenth "Winter Storm Preparedness" email from Duke power and yet another cancellation of some weekend activity. A little winter mix and everyone panics. When a colleague asked about my preparation for the storm, i finally went and checked something other than the ten day forecast.



We don't get snow in December here. It did snow last year, a dusting falling from the sky, barely sticking. But real snow? (https://www.weather.gov/rah/rdusnowfall apparently, every now and then....)

So Christine picked up important supplies (cat food) on Friday, and Saturday i picked up a few more (birdseed and an aluminum scoop shovel to use as a snow shovel, because Christine said she wanted one). Dad came by on Saturday, and we finally tried to start the generator: no go. Next step is a small engine guy to check it out. We're also not prepared as far as propane goes for the fire place. The longest we have been without power was a half day after a lightning storm: my parents and my sister have to go days without, but we haven't. We're trying not to get cocky, and we do have water reserves at hand. Today we've had blinks, but no outage longeough to say "well, that's

Other than the errands and poking at the generator, i worked outside prepping ground for wildflower seed in a few places. It doesn't seem like much, but i was so terribly sore in the evening. I guess i did break up the clay that had become smooth and surface compacted over the past months of rain and re-made berms in the rain garden.

Wildflower seeds are so incredibly tiny. One copes by mixing with something: i chose vermiculite. I had a half gallon bucket of damp vermiculite and carefully tipped a tiny packet of near dust in, then mixed as carefully as i could. Then cast the vermiculite over the prepared areas: the rain garden, a low stretch along the fence (essentially the rain garden mix with tall lobelias), a stretch of swale (with the low growing plants from the rain garden mix), and a mix of ephemeral perennial lupine and virgina bluebells (a borage relative) for between the mulberries and pawpaw trees. I envision dense stands of flowers -- and also baked red clay with a scraggly single plant here and there. I hope eventually the lush garden vision comes true.

I'm left to still do the plantings for the full orchard areas, and i assume i'll need to run something over the soil to break the top crust of the clay.

This morning we woke to an incredible view of snow, around six inches. It looked like powdered sugar as Christine scooped a path for Carrie. The cats were indignant that their morning constitutional was disrupted. Christine and i went out and knocked snow off the fence: with the cat defense -- the forty-five degree in-hang -- a good deal of snow was caught and weighing them down. We walked down to the creek. Red-brown oak leaves floated in the black current by the snow covered banks under the trees bowed across the creek. As we waled back around the yard, we shook young pines and cedars to relieve them of some of their burden. Winds had the tile pines swaying, its beautiful and mesmerizing, except for the thought of them breaking under the weight and crashing down.

I've been planning my contribution to the family Yule meal. I'm going to stuff a side of salmon with a cranberry-juniper-rosemary mix and another side with a less adventurous lemon caper mix.

Otherwise, a very lazy day.

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Hi & welcome [Dec. 6th, 2018|11:36 am]

Anything about me puzzling you? Feel free to ask! Comments are screened so you need have no worry about your question.

I'm pretty sure there are no questions that embarrass me: i embarrass me, but questions don't. And i will do my utmost to not embarrass you in my answer.

One thing that really embarrasses me is my continued lack-of-follow-through on the too many things that i want to follow through. I usually eschew such invitations because i feel i am asking for failure, but .. try, try again.

Also, with friending memes and tumblr refugees, i welcome introductions to folks whose company you think i would enjoy.

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Pear cranberry custard pie [Dec. 6th, 2018|07:26 am]

I made "pear cranberry sauce" custard pie yesterday to use up some very ripe, small pears and some heavy whipping cream. At lunch i cut up the pears while chatting with my Dad, poured a random amount of wine over them and simmered. I wasn't happy with the resulting color, so i tossed in a good number of cranberries. I thought the pears would be so sweet that they would defeat the cranberries, but no, the end result was heavily tart cranberry flavor. (Also added cinnamon, ginger, and clove in random amounts)

This was at least two cups worth of sauce that i substituted for apple sauce in this applesauce custard pie. I mixed the sauce with the cup of sugar before realizing the sauce was added last, so i used a half cup of sugar to cream with the egg and butter.

Next time, i should cream the sugar & butter THEN add the egg. When i poured the mixture in with the sauce i realized i still had bits of butter unblended that had sunk to the bottom.

The pie didn't seem to set up as much as i expected: perhaps i should have reserved the juice that separated from the sauce. Still, quite festive and yummy. I'm thinking breakfast.....

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(no subject) [Dec. 5th, 2018|08:32 am]

So Mom has a diagnosis, and i've found the term for the odd spell that sent her to the emergency room. To quote the introduction to a paper[1], "Transient focal neurological episodes (TFNE) are recognized in cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) and may herald a high risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). " And the study bore out the correlation between the episodes and the risk.

reading and feelingsCollapse )

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(no subject) [Dec. 4th, 2018|08:09 am]
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Monday, the crescent moon and Venus were brilliant in the predawn sky, casting shadows. It was a warm morning, following Sunday's unseasonable humidity. This morning i was out a bit later, when the sky had grown light but the moon was in the same place and Venus higher. There's some high clouds, and the weather was a good bit crisper.

Only oak leaves linger on native trees. The autumn olive is finally deigning to change to yellow. Pine needles make a fresh carpet everywhere, and i look forward to raking them up for mulch over a between row path in the garden that i dug out last week. All the previous mulch had decayed into a rich dark soil.

Snow is predicted this weekend! We wouldn't have known but the stoner* bagger made conversation about the coming snow while incompetently tossing our groceries into bags. I didn't sufficiently look out for the bread as he was doing that. I don't think i realized just how jumbled the bags were. I usually bag for us and i know i can do so well because i know what is in the cart and Christine makes sure like is with like in the cart.

We went out for subs after the groceries and found the shop extremely well staffed by another crown of youths. We were asked by one how our weekend was going. There was a long pause before we made positive sounds, and the youth commented on the long pause before cluing in that the day was Monday. Another youth had not paid attention to the request to go light on the oil and vinegar and my sandwich was soaked and dripping.



I am out of yarn again for my crocheted circle sweater. It just needs a bit more and i'm left wrestling over how to complete it. Find more handspun alpaca like i bought at the farmer's market fiber day on Saturday? It won't be 20% off.

* Christine's label for the youths.

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Khashoggi [Dec. 3rd, 2018|02:18 pm]
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I woke with the name "Khashoggi" on my mind. I had a vague memory of the dream, with the usual focus mainly on logistics -- something about selling a car before traveling or emigrating to act as a correspondent. There was someone in discussion identified as a reporter who had been the initial person to reveal [what?] about Al Qaeda.... i really don't know why my brain was leaning on journalism for a dream.

It wasn't an easy night's sleep. Christine had helped dig the holes for trees on Sunday afternoon, and she dug a huge hole for the two mulberries. I sure hope one is male and the other is female. I suppose if they are both female i can graft male branches to one of the trees. She also dug a nice hole for one of the paw-paws. I dug the other paw-paw a hole with the post hole digger: it wasn't as large. I think she overworked herself and by bed time she was feverish. Fortunately, she woke feeling much better this morning.

Anyhow, i hope we find paw-paws and red mulberries somewhat appealing. The main goal is getting a native plants "ark" within the fence from which to repopulate the woods, but having fruit we like would also be lovely.

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Mom's health [Dec. 2nd, 2018|08:16 am]

Yesterday i got a call from my sister that Mom was at the emergency room with a mini stroke. I was out buying yarn in yard work clothes, so headed home to change before picking up my sister. (Who claimed to be covered with paint, so i knew she needed a bit of time to change, too.) I checked in with my dad to see if we could bring them anything and determined they could use a late breakfast and some tea. Christine made egg sandwiches while i changed, made tea, and gathered other things to take.

My sister was in a bit of a state, with her anger at my brother using my parent's house as a storage unit flaring and a sense that my parents must move also flaring. I talked her down from using this as a place to demand change from my brother, and talked her through the recognition that my parent's home was not what kept my mom from exercising.

At the hospital we followed my dad back through the crowded maze of emergency room beds (in the hall, in storage closets) to where mom was resting. We turned her little space into a picnic party, bringing as much cheer as we could. I was somewhat distressed that mom hadn't received <ahref="http://strokeassociation.org/strokeorg/aboutstroke/treatment/stroke-treatment_ucm_492017_subhomepage.jsp#">the stroke treatment</a> i was vaguely aware of existing. Mom's been seeing a neurologist in hopes of understanding her cognitive decline and other symptoms, so i accepted something else might be going on.

Eventually, we were visited by a doctor who asked mom to describe again her experience of a creeping numbness in her hands and face. He gently probed her explanation to get as precise an understanding as possible -- not a trivial task with my mother's narrative style. He returned in ten minutes to explain that her symptoms weren't exactly that of a "mini-stroke" (Transient ischemic attack or TIA) nor that of a seizure. He explained that they were consistent with other reported symptoms that other people with the same MRI images of broken capillaries on the surface of the brain have and that she may have a repeat of the symptoms in the next few days. He sent her home with the comment that the symptoms don't mean anything damaging is occurring.


Reading this morning about broken capillaries in the brain leads me to suspect that mom's cognitive decline is unlikely to be reversible. I am in some acceptance of this, not nearly as distressed as my sister. I know some of my emotional state is because i have worked through my grief about my mother and the emotional abuse i experienced. I longed for a mother-figure and have forgiven my mother for not satisfying that need. Thinking of that longing brings tears to my eyes.

I know from my father some of my mother's controlling and irrational behaviors continue, but in general she seems less distressed now than i can remember. I am so happy that she seems more eased by her decline than distressed. I don't think she is completely at ease, but she values her time more and seems to be much more thankful. And i am thankful for that.

There's a muchness....

The doctor she saw: https://www.med.unc.edu/neurology/powers-chair-of-neurology-to-retire/

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(no subject) [Dec. 2nd, 2018|08:16 am]
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I'm not sure why i didn't journal during my week off other than just general schedule disorder. I've had some pouting days, as i realized sewing then hems on eight tea towels wasn't as lickety-split as i'd expected. So, that project is no where near done, nor are trees magically getting planted. Also, i ache far more than i feel i've earned from digging. All in all though it's been an excellent break.

* Thanksgiving brunch was lovely with my parents: Christien's breakfast casserole was delicious, and Mom & Dad's contribution of an ambrosia fruit salad provided an entertaining story of Mom bringing heavy whipping cream to dress it and Dad bringing a ridiculously large bottle of rum.

* I picked up two crochet projects that i have had on hold and have been good at being engaged (too engaged?) with them.

* We had a pleasant time out and then home watching a movie with Christine's sister and brother in law.

* We have decorated for Yule with a tree and lights (that turned out to be incandescents -- i really should have clued into that in the store), the Moravian star we bought last year, solar powered lights on our large chicken sculpture Alice, and a few other touches.

* The HVAC guys confirmed, yes, mice under the house in the floor insulation, yes, a snake ate a good many of the them. They reconnected a loose duct (and then checked over the heat pump which does not need annual maintenance, we were assured. The reconnecton seemed to trap a mouse in the duct work, and an evening of rustling in the ductwork and everyone in the house staring at the ducts followed. Edward caught the mouse and brought it to my lap just after i fell asleep.

I'm responsible for two catch and release mouse traps under the house. I haven't crawled very far under to place them in the recommend area yet. The temptation to let Edward loose under there is large.

* Much of the garden is mulched or turned over with the intent to suppress the heavy coating of winter weeds. One fence post has been driven into the ground. I've a bucket of sedges, grasses, and violets to transplant.

* I had an after meeting visit with a friend and a lunch meeting with another Quaker friend.

* I went out to lunch with my folks on a very cold Wednesday, and then we went to the agricultural supply place. They were picking up the large gifts for my sister and I. For my sister, a generator, for me, a 500 gallon water tank.

* I picked up my nephew and niece and their two puppies and brought them over to play with Carrie. That went generally well. There were a few times we needed to let them chill as Carrie got her hackles raised by the girl puppy, Ashe, barking at her. It wasn't quite the adventure i had in mind, but it was a good way to spend time together.

* We cut down the apple and rose of Sharon that were just in front of the house. Now the sight line is clear when one arrives and it definitely feels better - open and less crowded. One stump of the many trunked tree remains with my rain gauge mounted on it. (I wonder how much of the tree was the original grafted fruit and how much was sprouting from the root stock). The hole under the tree -- the main reason it seemed time to remove the tree -- is clear now: i ponder whether i should plant something in it or just try to fill it. I've a bit more chipping to do of the branches.

I've saved the long straight water sprouts -- fast, upward growing shoots that are triggered when the tree thinks it needs a new trunk. There were many because of how the tree was butchered in a pruning attempt. I'll use them as stakes in the garden in hopes that they root like the rose of sharon did this year, in hopes of planting them in or at the edge of the woods. It would be lovely if they could live on. The remainder of the younger growth i'm chipping as mulch for the garden. I think it should decay pretty quickly. The trunk will be offered to our wood turning friend. The wood clearly has spalting of some sort, so i suspect it will be interesting to work with.

* I cleaned out my Anki decks -- digital flash cards for memorizing things. I will want to work on some tourist level Estonian and Swedish. I don't dream of learning more than tourist level Estonian prhases, given it's not Indo-European. Wikipedia notes, "nouns and adjectives decline in fourteen cases: nominative, genitive, partitive, illative, inessive, elative, allative, adessive, ablative, translative, terminative, essive, abessive, and comitative...." Just enough courtesy phrases to find someone who can speak English seems reasonable. Swedish would be more useful in the longer term, but to learn two languages...? Again, more courtesy phrases, i think.

Of course, i didn't do add any language cards but instead added terms for identifying insects with the goal of learning how to identify pests and beneficial insects in the garden. I did see a Chinese mantis out there and left it alone. This morning, i have a tinge of regret as i think of the tiny little cricket frogs i've seen in the garden this week (mosquito predators!). Such a frog would be a quick meal for the massive Chinese mantis.

I'm sure there were more interesting events in the days from Thanksgiving through Friday but that gets the highlights.

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(no subject) [Nov. 23rd, 2018|08:48 am]
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I hope those of you observing had a happy Thanksgiving: i am thankful for this community of sharing, thankful for you all. I don't spend as much time online as i used to, so i missed sharing wishes with you all yesterday.

I had stitched the remainder and not the sides to the hassock cover Monday night, demonstrating my my theoretic understanding of how to stitch a box was sound. I was tempted for it to be good enough, but ripped out all the seams. Thursday morning i repeated the exercise with the correct lengths of fabric and, voila, a slip cover for the hassock. I haven't hemmed it: the fleecy fabric called Minky doesn't fray much. The pattern is my own design with colors that were supposed to match the other colors in the living room: https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/6859781-pine-trees-against-sky-by-judielaine I should have picked the less saturated blue in the palette for the sky.

I set the table, which had on it the moo-cow cream pitcher from my mother's mother and decorative salt and pepper shakers from my mother, reminding me of all my grandmother's collection of seasonal shakers. Marigolds still are blooming prettily, and so i had a small bouquet with some fading Southern Lady fern fronds and sage leaves.

Christine's breakfast casserole was incredibly good, with my parents marveling over the vegetarian sausage. Mom brought an ambrosia with unwhipped heavy whipping cream on the side; my father having stood in the way of mixing dairy with citrus. He brought rum, and made a piña colada salad for himself. Conversation went well, without too much dwelling on the depressing state of the federal government.

After we walked around the yard, then went up to the lovely park at Fearrington to walk. Christine jogged with Carrie, my Dad walked a bit more for exercise, and i chatted with my Mom. The loveliness of the day was accentuated by my photogrey lenses. A red cypress against the bright blue sky popped incredibly. I peeked over the tops of my glasses and the colors desaturated, no longer filtered for the polarized light.

It was a just-right visit. And now the table is unburdened: maybe we should have more folks over. Christine's sister & spouse come by today, for a poorly scheduled event that has Christine a little fraught.

The afternoon i rested. I picked up a yarnwork project that i started five years ago. I had acquired a multicolored bundle of crewelwork yarn, each about a yard long, many years ago. Too short to crochet much with, it is long enough to get a little knitting out of it. So i assembled a pattern with stripes and i've been knitting (well, "knooking" knit stitches with a crochet hook and trailing yarn to hold the stitches) a flat piece that -- i don't know what i will do with it when it's done. A table runner of some sort, i guess.

Today, yard work and CHristine's sister. Tomorrow, rain, sewing, a Christmas tree.

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(no subject) [Nov. 21st, 2018|07:14 am]

I managed to give myself things to do Monday & Tuesday and got the majority done. I want to give myself room to slide because instead of an cleaning chore Monday evening, i made pan seared cod sandwiches for the post grocery dinner. Christine usually makes dinner so it was a bit more doing than average. Tuesday evening i didn't change the sheets because of Adorable Cats on The Bed.

The main thing i am proud of was that i finally made a step towards getting the garage organized. We have much stuff just as it was when the movers left it, but dirtier. I assembled some shelving and got the recycling bins on it, plus the new giant ice chest & water cooler that now make up part of our hurricane supplies.

tedious detailCollapse )

I've also cut fabric into the sections i need for a hassock cover. This was barely substantial work, but it was a start. The hassock is covered in an off white cover that is becoming more clay colored every day, as it's where Carrie sleeps a good part of the day.

Anyhow, incremental shifts towards doing stuff that is not outside or work. Being sick for over two months was conducive to sitting around. Now it's a bit of a habit. I'm actually watching things independent of our evening "watch something over dinner" and that's not helping. Tonight i need to sew the hassock cover!

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(no subject) [Nov. 19th, 2018|07:30 am]
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So sore -- it seems unreasonable to be this sore from raking. I do blame that the pair of sneakers i wore on Saturday are worn out (so i tossed those) and that the very soft ground filled with mole tunnels i raked Sunday provided lots of ankle exercise. All the rakings go to good causes and i am sure it's good exercise. I have more ares i'd love to mulch: i eye the stands of autumn olive with expectation.

I found small snakes -- DeKay's brown snake and a worm snake (Carphophis amoenus) -- and a cricket frog.

The moss and native grass are green and happy to get sun. I love the native grass so much as it barely grows above a pleasant height except in may, when it goes to seed. And even then, it's not particularly tall. I can't wait until all the east yard is turfed with it, with the violets mixed in.

The mossy area is definitely getting thicker and stronger. It's a slow change, but going into this, our third winter, it's definitely a meaningful change.

I hope to find a way to be productive in the evenings. I spent a great deal of time skimming a TV show that is near soap opera-ish. I suppose it's no less productive than reading fluff, but i do want to pick up sewing and yarn habits again.

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Eldering someone about abusing their privledge [Nov. 16th, 2018|12:38 pm]
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I'm pretty sure this isn't going to be heard, but it's what i felt i had to do. I received a message from a Public Quaker who is a member of meeting, with the subject "Have you seen this?":

[Transgendered attendee of Meeting] & [Me],

[Someone's name] (Philadelphia area, Quake-ish person, from a public Facebook post):

“Making an exception from my social media break to say: Shit is Scary out there, Nazis in Philly,unsafe for a public observance of the Transgendered Day of Remembrance, an invitation to a private gatheringCollapse ) If you're nonbinary, trans, or GNC in the delaware or philly area reach out to me you are WELCOME to join us. Tea and Cake and hugs for everyone. Maybe we'll record a couple of songs. Come be part of this and know you're loved.”

I replied, just to him

Hi [Public Quaker],

No i hadn't. I'm not sure why you are curious if i have.

If i lived in Philly still i could see the first paragraph being helpful in a warning sense, but i don't, so i don't need the warning. I certainly don't need a reminder of the violence targeting transgender bodies that has been high and terrible for years. I viscerally recall my fears for Christine when she first traveled outside of an urban area after transitioning. I sit with her morning after morning as she tries to cope with her fears living here in Chatham county.

Won't be going to Philly for a private event either.

I'm writing you back because i have the spoons to do so. I know how exhausting it is for Christine to have to do all the sifting through people's clumsy communications. As a person with much more privilege I can take the time and parse through and finally guess, "Maybe Chuck is asking whether i've heard about there being some documentary in some state of completion about Trans issues?" I know if i wanted to share this with Christine or [Transgendered person in Meeting], i wouldn't ask them if they've heard of it, as if the trans community is some monolith and every trans person is plugged in. I wouldn't expect them to tell me about it. I'd do the simple web search and find the website http://americaintransition.org/ and send *that* link to [Transgendered person in Meeting] with [trying to mindread here] a question of whether she's watched it, and whether this might also be helpful for Meeting.

This message brought to you by my reflections earlier today about about a far more subtle communication that has required Christine to set a boundary so that she can take care of herself. I have no idea if [Transgendered person in Meeting] has the limited energy budget that Christine has, but signs point to yes. I've no idea if she's been attacked before, but i'd want to show i cared and understood by thinking about how that first paragraph might affect her.

I know this is a chiding tone, and i hope you will listen to it also as me sharing the ache i have day in and out caring for someone who is a constant state of hyper-vigilance. I imagine you can understand, as you too care for people who are too often targets for violence.

In Love,

I'm not sure i had the spoons, but i sure as hell didn't want to assume that the other woman who received this would be stuck with the message. I wrote her letting her know that i had replied privately:

I do hope [Public Quaker]'s short facebook forward didn't trigger you as much as it did me, and if it was triggering you were able to pass it by. There were too many problems with that message that i felt i should elder him a little. ... but i wanted you to know i found the communication not respectful of you and i let him know a respectful communication would have been to put the films being produced under http://americaintransition.org/ (if that was his point? I'm mind reading here) front and center and ask whatever question he had in mind.

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Outline [Nov. 16th, 2018|07:31 am]
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Much gloom in the weather this week. I took a clumsy spill and don't think positively about it.Collapse )

I've coped with the gloom by running the SAD lamp all day and having a second afternoon cup of coffee. Evenings haven't been particularly productive.

We have invited my folks over for Thanksgiving brunch, a meal that will bypass some holiday entrenched issues and will hopefully be joyful for Christine. (My sister's family is out of town so there isn't the usual large joint meal between my sister's family, her sister in law's family, and my parents. We've joined for desert in the past few years, bypassing the dead carcass, some dysfunctions, and making it easier for Christine. Breakfast for four is a nice scale for us, and my parents were delighted to be invited.

I've ordered a Christmas tree from a fundraiser in the little mill town with the Bridge, and we have a large so-called Moravian star (made in Mexico) to hang on the front porch this year. I've gotten so out of the habit of observing holidays -- particularly with decorations -- between hermit lifestyle and dealing with Christine's Elephants. (Christine's Elephants have holiday triggers.) With my own change of going off the SSRI, i suspect any disappointment that had been flattened out over the years would have been felt acutely, so i am glad to have some plans to observe.

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Wednesday - Brain Dump [Nov. 16th, 2018|07:30 am]
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Diagnostic writing
Read more...Collapse )
--== ∞ ==--

Yesterday i noticed the flood stage of the nearby Haw River. It had crested at 17.71 ft, likely to be the second highest recorded crest, beating out the previous second through fourth record holders by less than a tenth of an inch The water was beginning to drop but was still at a rare height.

Historic Crests
(1) 21.76 ft on 09/06/1996
(2) 17.67 ft on 03/14/1975
(3) 17.62 ft on 09/18/2018
(4) 17.40 ft on 03/01/1987
(5) 16.87 ft on 03/21/2003

Why not leave and go see? This is a luxury i have access to: i'm close, i didn't have meetings scheduled, it is OK to run an "errand". Christine could go too, so we went to Bynum Bridge (the same location as the pumpkin viewing) and spent a half hour marveling at the incredible power of the river.

--== ∞ ==--
back to diagnosticsCollapse )

I just went out to the green house and did a quick check on my buckwheat microgreens. They seem a little "dirtier" than i would expect from all the videos i watched, but i think i could cut some today for fresh greens with lunch. The miner's lettuce (aka winter purslane) is sprouting in their pots: theoretically it's 40 days to maturity for them. We reach the Persephone Phase on Nov 27, the point where we have ten or less hours of sunlight, and (it is said) most winter plants stop growing at that point. We are back in business mid January, so i should have Miner's Lettuce to eat by early February. Seeing how long the buckwheat takes, i should probably start another flat of buckwheat this weekend.

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(no subject) [Nov. 12th, 2018|07:05 am]
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The worship coordinators for Meeting this month observed the Armistice anniversary in a manner i found surprisingly moving. Intellectually, i appreciated how the young teacher (son and grandson of the one of the stalwart families of Meeting) spoke about how propaganda changed during WW I, illustrated with British recruiting posters. The posters transitioned from high minded appeals (albeit still manipulative) to fear-focused othering of "the Hun." He tied this to the present with reference to discussions of "the caravan" and how dehumanizing or abstract the discussion is. (I'm suspect writers on the left assume readers know that people make up the caravan of migrants: that assumtion tends to be an Achilles heel in progressive discourse.) Emotionally, this sound recreation of the stilling of the guns on armistice day brought waves of grief: <ahref="https://codatocoda.bandcamp.com/album/iwm-ww1-armistice-interpretation">listen here</a> and read about the simulation's basis in actual seismic recordings of the stilling of the guns. The teacher also sang and played the song about the horrors at Gallipoli, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda."

Saturday featured a lovely lingering morning, much raking while Christine dug the holes for the Aunt Rachel and Johnson Keeper apple trees. All three apples are planted now. I moved the mulberries into the green house and found one had rooted to the ground through its pot. Oops. Despite gloves i earned a blister. After picking the last of the zinnas and a big bundle of tulsi in preparation for the first freeze, we went out to visit friends on the other side of Raleigh and had a pleasant time.

Sunday morning frost was apparent. By afternoon the zinnas and some other plants were black with frost burn, the tulsi melted. I continued raking, happily accumulating mulch. In transplanting a native grass from an area i am thickly mulching, i found a DeKay's Brownsnake, a rather small critter. Once i documented it, i put it under piles of leaves.

The fall color is passing quickly, the winds Saturday morning loosened lots of leaves. I'd estimate over 50% of the trees are bare at this point. The invasive autumn olive is still green: part of its advantage over the natives. Other trees are green or changing, but the trend is wintry. One of the trees i've noticed the past few weeks are the hickories: their leaves are a lovely clear gold-yellow. The native sweet gum, Liquidambar, doesn't have the coloration that the street tree selections have, but present a patchwork of reds and yellows and browns. Tulip poplar leaves turn yellow but are quickly black on the ground. I find myself wanting some fiery red sumac and brilliant sassafras. I'm pretty sure i'm going to have to shelter sassafras from deer.

Off to work....

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(no subject) [Nov. 9th, 2018|02:21 pm]
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New boss this week -- someone i managed back when i was managing. My previous manager is a director. He ended up with too many direct reports and so he has taken all his architects and put one architect as an architect manager. I'm sure the burnt-out management abilities i evinced in 2014 have taken me off a list of "able to manage people." I have a little ache that that competency is assumed not to exist due to my poor execution during a period of extreme externalities, but that's pride, not desire. I am happy to be passed over for the management gig, even for such an easy management gig. Four years away from the management position, i still remember the huge weight lifting.

So my new manager, manager G, is someone i mentored a bit. He's got a really formal way of writing and speaking that i've avoided -- mainly because i don't think it helps in communicating with non-specialists. I believe he has a desire to Move On Up. I just hope i am left to thrive on my own and not Coached or Managed. Given the uncertainty, i've a little edgy feeling there.

--== ∞ ==--

I have had a couple cognitive breakthroughs this week. One is partly informed by reading about placebos and the (apparent) biochemistry behind them. I'm not sure whether the article came out and said this, but i was struck by the potential availability of an enhancement for healing with my current therapies. Why not try to use the placebo effect while making use of "regular" medicines? So, i'm trying to think about why i am taking my various meds when i do so, rather than thinking of them as tasks i have do do. I don't know if anything will heal faster or better, but i think i will get a little positive boost from the task compared to my current mindset of, "Yet another thing i have to do, sigh, what a drag."

The more i can reframe as not a drag or a pain, the more i will feel i am living with delight.

And so another insight was just how tightly i hold on to negative while less consciously i do celebrate the more positive experiences. Since giving up the SSRI i have felt "negative" feelings more clearly. It's something i appreciate as they are authentic feelings, but i have wondered where the authentic "ups" were. My therapist and i talked this past Wednesday about how overshadowed the trip to get apple trees and the Halloween outing were by the stress of the uncertainty about under the house critters and the gloomy rainy weather. And we went around it a bit -- i framed it as i had a bad habit, i can't change, she challenged me on that (gently) -- and then i realized just how much i had enjoyed the Halloween outing and the little road trip. I AM enjoying things that i don't think i was really enjoying before. The word enthusiasm came to mind: i have shared with others, with enthusiasm, even if i have been blind to it.

The "ups" ARE part of my life. I AM feeling them. And as i acknowledged that i was overwhelmed by a feeling that is, i guess, awe: intense appreciation for this change. Maybe having this conscious and visceral experience will help me remember to balance how i perceive things in the moment. Monday, for example, was gloomy and dark -- like today. Monday, though, it felt like it would ALWAYS be gloomy. Gloom season is here. Darkness! Today i keep reminding myself how lovely Wednesday was, how even in the low light the saucer magnolia and the crepe myrtle have leaves that glow with autumn colors.

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(no subject) [Nov. 6th, 2018|06:55 am]
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The past few evenings we've driven up to the house an a large light colored bird has swooped through our headlights. I surmise we've an owl hunting in the front.

So many predators!

I'm trying to sort out blue feelings. Sunday i had blue feelings related to my mother giving up her cake decorating equipment. It's a past time that gave her and so many others great joy. Mom had incredible skill at making beautiful gum-paste decorations with delicate coloring. I remember hydrangea flowers with all the tiny florets, a tedious repetitive act to create all the little florets but assembled, incredible. And my sister's wedding cake with tiny heads of wheat all over, piped from golden icing. I'm so sad to see her retiring that, acknowledging her fading.

I worried for years about how Mom's anxieties and anger would manifest as she aged. I am in awe of how gentled she is. I know, from Dad, she still explodes and is controlling, but i'm thankful that she is generally not reacting in anger.

The elections hang over the US: the comic pages are filled with get out the vote messages. A book review in the NY Times yesterday expressed the polarization in a way new to me, but it resonated:

... stories of centrist liberalism coming to dominate mainstream politics in the aftermath of the Cold War can be told throughout the countries of the West — just as most of these countries have now begun to experience populist insurgencies aimed at dethroning that consensus. (In the United States, the challenge to the liberal center is coming from both the right and the left.) The insurgencies are inspired by widely felt exhaustion with, and anger at, the unacknowledged failures of the ideas and policies that have defined the ideological center for more than a generation. That exhaustion and anger can’t be willed, wished or insulted away, no matter how unsavory the insurgents may be.....

Linker, Damon. “Did Max Boot Turn His Back on the Republican Party, or Did the Party Turn Its Back on Him?” The New York Times, November 5, 2018, sec. Books. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/books/review/max-boot-the-corrosion-of-conservatism.html.

I search my feelings about this election, and i realize what i feel is the dread of the next two years.

And then there's the gloom: not only have we fiddled with the clocks so it's dark earlier in the evening, but locally we are under a gloomy blanket of weather. Daytime is dim, dusk lasting all day.

Are there joys? Yes, yes. Luigi snuggling with me on the sofa. Watching MASH, which hasn't been available to us but for a few months in the past fifteen years. Picking the harvest of unripe peppers and planning to string them up. Hanging up Thai basil to dry in the laundry room as a test. Christine coming home from the passport office after a respectful and straightforward interaction.

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Too much excitement [Nov. 4th, 2018|05:28 pm]

We had a four foot minimum Eastern rat snake in the house this morning. Possibly the same one that was in this tree right out back before we had the heavy equipment take out all the stumps: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/12352882

Apparently rat snakes don't chase off copperheads: no one tell Christine. She feels a little friendly towards the big snake on the theory that they do.

We've decided to call him a him and name him Mr Morrison.

Anyhow, i pushed him to the door and then tossed a small towel over his head, picked him up, and gently tossed him two feet on to the front porch. That concrete was cold, and the snake didn't move off as quickly as i would have liked to see. Confronted with the broom again, he coiled himself up in a tight S shape and "rattled" his tail. I went and got a long metal hook, used to hang bird feeders or flower pots, and lifted him up with that and carried him to a sunny spot.

Christine is taping down air vents. Here's what it looked like yesterday morning.

Airvent pushed up with pink insulation all over it.

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Critters and claw and fang [Nov. 4th, 2018|08:27 am]
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Saturday morning worries. First i found something had pushed up an air vent and insulation into the kitchen. This is like two years ago when something pushed up an air vent. WHAT IS UNDER THE HOUSE???? The cats all ate their kibble with their backs to the wall -- i can't help but believe that was out of wariness.

Then Edward the Cat* brought a vole into the bed and ate it on my side. Argh, we'd just changed the sheets. And it's the new sheets. I suppose it was better than releasing the vole next to the dozing Christine and having it crawl on her.

Between the vent and the vole within the same hour i think Christine's nerves were shot early in the day. I think someone was working on a camera controlled cat door system that denied cats access if they were carrying something in their mouth. It's seeming like a great idea.

I was joined by my mother and niece to have breakfast at a fundraiser for the county historical society. Afterwards we drove a bit in the country and checked out a place that i had hoped would have seasonal wreaths made of real greenery, but no. The morning light was lovely though, and i think i identified a nice view of a farm.

Later Christine, carry and i drove a little over an hour north to pick up apple trees. Near the tree place we passed some sort of dive bar that was flying both a large and small confederate flag. The 2007 google map imagery from the road just shows a small flag flying. The satellite imagery shows the larger flag, poorly. I'm asking for trouble online, i suppose, but i left a one star google review noting the flags. The first time we drove by, an African-American woman was driving by in the opposite direction: i can't imagine living near there. Christine, this morning, is still distressed by driving by the place.

The apple trees look great, but i can't put off getting trees in the ground much longer. At least at this time of year they are slowing down.

When we got home we did spend some time under the house, delightfully decent thanks to getting it "encapsulated" a year plus ago. White plastic on the floor, bright lights in the fixtures, silver insulation on the walls. It's pretty easy to see things against the white plastic. There are some tiny holes, field mouse or vole sized, chewed in the plastic. I'm pondering sending my nephew under there to tape them up. While it's cleanish under there, it's still crawling and rolling. My muscles aren't happy about it. Our current theory is that a cat (probably Edward) pulled up the vent while chasing something. I don't know that i believe it, but we didn't see any evidence of bigger critters under there.

I appreciate my extra hour back, but i would be grateful if we just stopped fiddling with clocks.

*I've been reminded that pet names that are people names are a bit confusing. Which is quite fair when little critter context is provided.

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Zzzzzzzzzz z z. z. z. z BARK BOWWOWWOWWOWWOW [Nov. 2nd, 2018|04:45 am]
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Carrie woke us up around 3:30 barking. We tried the "Good dog, yup, nothing's on the deck, go back to sleep." We tried letting her out. We tried going back to sleep. I couldn't. So i got up around 4:30. Around 4:40 Carrie started barking again at the front window, so i turned on the front porch light and, seeing nothing, turned it off. Then i noticed a light -- bobbing like a hand held flash light -- up at the road. Probably someone coming up the opposite road to the mail boxes, but i let Carrie out again so she could engage in as much indignant barking as she'd like.

I spent the time -- now far past when i should have been preparing for the day -- researching a road trip to historic sites in an unfamiliar part of the county: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UB8ugy8nI4nzFdNybpcmKPsmIEKr1eUV&usp=sharing I'd been thinking of trying graphic designs that evoke the county for a long time -- possibly photos but to make good surface design there'd need to be a good deal of manipulation, i think. I imagine selling them in the co-op gallery downtown, and this morning i imagine little road trip guides. Little trips like this....

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Halloween pumpkins on Bynum Bridge [Nov. 1st, 2018|07:55 am]

Despite coughing and feeling tired, i went out with my sister and niece to Bynum to see the pumpkins on the bridge (as well as engaging both in trunk-or-treat and trick-or-treat). The pumpkin carving soared in skill with intricate and detailed carvings -- clearly folks who mush handle a linocut with ease. I think my sister took photos of all of the elegant and detailed pumpkins. I took a few snapshots to catch the general experience, as of this cat pumpkin over the river.

There were THREE pumpkins exhorting folks to VOTE. This was the most detailed and smallest text:

And this pumpkin with "זכור" or "remember" seemed meaningfully poignant.

I'm glad i encouraged us all to go. Next year we'll bring flashlights.

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(no subject) [Oct. 31st, 2018|09:02 am]
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It's not really cold, but here i am in a dress and a tunic and a sweater and a shawl with fingerless gloves and a hot drink. I am sick of this cough.

Yesterday Edward brought a vole in and released it into the bed. I am delighted he's going to be protecting my fruit trees from the critters, but we don't want him bringing them inside. So -- what to do with the rescued vole? We released it in the woods. Hopefully it was far enough that a vole would make a new life for itself. Edward is finally taking to the orchard, now that the grass is growing in. (And, perhaps, now that it isn't miserably humid.) This morning, when i put the bell up on the door so Carrie can ask to be let out, Edward hovered at my feet, so i let both of us out. The moonlight was bright and Edward's pale form flowed down the steps into the pre-dawn. The stars were wonderfully bright and there was, like yesterday, no sound of frogs or insects. I opened the porch door so Edward could return via the cat flap.

I got distracted by looking at seeds this morning. (Nooooo! no more!) This time i was inspired by a New York Times reference to a succulent green Mesembryanthemum crystallinum (ficoïde glaciale). ... and oops, there i disappear again. I should really just get my miner's lettuce seeds planted in the green house and see what happens there. I'd accidentally bought buckwheat microgreens seeds instead of sprout seeds (the difference is the presence of husks), so i'm also planning a flat of microgreens. The YouTube videos make it seem like a way to riches: i'll just be happy with greens for myself. I really want to try and minimize seed purchases for a bit -- although if i play with microgreens this winter, that will be a quick way to blow through older seeds.

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(no subject) [Oct. 30th, 2018|07:15 am]
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Yesterday was a reasonable workday as i tried walking the higher level product folks from making a really expensive mistake. It seems like a wasted day because we've been around this loop before, but this time i scribbled out some diagrams which, from the snarl of arrows and boxes, hopefully conveys that the configuration idea they have results in a great deal of work. I also tried hard not to shame them, but the simpler solution involves the product folks understanding who uses their applications and how. I know that isn't as easy as it sounds, but i also want to grumble about them doing their job.

Mom showed up just at 5 pm and i made tea from herbs from the garden: tulsi, spearmint, a wintergreen scented mint, and lemon grass. I was delighted to see the green-gold color of the tea in the china cups. It was a good visit, and maybe she will stop by like that more often. (And, as i haven't been over to their place since The Cough began, i should get over to see them.)

Christine spent the afternoon with her sister at a Duke event, sharing the film, and Christine spoke about the US Health and Human Services rule making about defining gender. I hope she wasn't preaching to the choir because the effort costs her so. And that makes me think back to a very friendly screening in Chapel Hill, with some university department LGBT representative on the panel after. (Director of the program, maybe?) He presented as a white male, and i presume he was gay, and not trans. He commented on how NC politicians had used "transgender issues" as a political tool in such a way that you could hear how he thought of this as -- political footballs. Not lives. Christine did an excellent job speaking up to him, and i suppose she had to do the same yesterday: act as an advocate for seeing the human beings, the personal lives, that are being wounded by being tossed around. That night i wanted to stand up and yell at the man about the suffering Christine goes through when her fear overwhelms her.

I wonder if at some point in the 2020 election season i should turn the transgender bathroom issue against this administration: "Trump wants my wife to use the mens room," or some such.

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