October 6th, 2019


And so...

Thursday afternoon i was invited to a meeting 24 hours later and the impression was a high stakes meeting. This triggered more than a bit of panic and pushed me past the procrastination for some elements. The meeting turned out to be rather different than what i expected, thank heavens, but also, yay for the panic that got some progress.

My facility with Illustrator improved dramatically Thursday afternoon and evening.

When my teeth were cleaned early Friday morning the dentist pointed out tonsils were a bit swollen, and i did my best to preempt that sense of illness. We had an invitation in town for a party. Christine had been optimistic about attending Wednesday and Thursday but an hour or so before the gathering she suddenly was over taken with dread. I rather wish i had insisted she stay home. She was essentially miserable and we headed home fairly promptly. I should just recognize that i should not advocate or encourage socialization. She has had an aversion for gatherings since the 90s. I was going to write, "We both are quite content as hermits," but it's not true Christine is content. The elephants aren't about contentment. The elephants are hers, though, and not mine, and she will either manage them or free herself from them as she finds way.

Saturday i left for my folks' place at 8 am, and we took a road trip in search of fall color. We went mainly north into Virginia to a place on the Blue Ridge parkway called Peaks of Otter (above the Otter river). The parkway took one up a mountain near by, Apple Orchard mountain, to about 3700 ft. There was the beginning of fall color, subtle under the leaden sky of the weather change. Mom coped fairly well with the travel, and i had a long pleasant chat about gardening and plants with my aunt in the back seat. Mom seemed a little more aphasic than when i saw her last week, but perhaps it was the uncommon environment. Late afternoon my throat was bothering me. Since i did not driving and mainly sat in the back of the car, i think that counted as resting.

I'm glad i went. I had originally said no, but i recalled my regret that i hadn't done more road trips with my parents before mom's stroke. My parent's pretty much only "hang out" on road trips - - the chatting that i suspect other people can have in a back yard with drinks and so on is short lived at my parents' home and when growing up, but they will do things like drive 8:30 am to 7:30 pm for a brief picnic in the mountains.

Home to Christine who had felt under the weather most of the day, produced her radio show for Sunday (5-7 pm eastern time on wcomfm.org tonight), and had stumbled into the ongoing Confederate flag vs progressives protesting in Pittsboro and participated for a while.

We slept in this morning, and i've been reading about rocket mass heaters and studying the bell-model kits offered by Dragon Heaters. In some future greenhouse, a heater like that could solve the overnight temperature issues -- and if it had cooking surfaces (Like the masonry oven it could be used for summer baking. They offer a nearly complete kit one could use as a cost estimate: $3750. There's another version they offer that is less appearance oriented that would actually be more appropriate for a greenhouse. Could it still incorporate that nifty oven, i wonder. Looks like there's someone local who would be able to help: http://www.fireplaceeditions.com/soapstone.htm.

An amusement occurred mid morning. Christine said, "I don't like the looks of that." And i turned to view what she saw: Edward staring into what could be a mousehole from Tom and Jerry. We have ikea bookcases back to back, and the bookcases have a cut out to clear basebords. The two cutouts join to make a perfect little arched opening and Edward clearly was interested in something inside. A lantern at one end didn't help illuminate what was in there. But a little later we verified my startle reflex when i yelped at the sight of something dark and moving sticking its head out when Edward was looking a way. It was a shrew, probably Blarina carolinensis the southern short-tailed shrew. (And apparently one doesn't want to get bit by the little venomous creatures.) We have a clever little mouse trap that is harmless to the creature, and so i set it up right outside the door. It seemed i had hardly turned my back and the trap was shut: the shrew had promptly gone into the dark tube to check out the dab of peanut butter on the cracker. It seemed quite lively when i released it out front.


How bad can it be?

So, i have learned a few things about making bread, but not much. I have at least not repeated the teflon removing goo stage that ruined one loaf pan. (Mmm, that could be a reward for loaves that i am happy with: some really nice loaf pans.)

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So, if this turns out like the last loaves... well, i'll have learned something about the process. Get a new recipe, perhaps.

--== ∞ ==--

Christine and i spent hours talking today. It seemed we haven't talked like this for ages. Maybe since Mom's stroke? It was good, but we both felt it as heavy and draining. We do have a few plans, about next steps fixing an electrical issue with the microwave and installing a light in the garage, once the roof is done. I think the lamp we bought to have installed has been sitting out there a year. And then we'll also move forward with a shed on the side of the garage to shelter all the yard equipment. I don't know if i need a permit for that or not. I think not. It might be nice to roof it with the clear plastic roofing used for greenhouses: the light would be nice. Or a few panels of the clear and many of the opaque....

Anhow, good talking.

But i'm left with a heavy existential doubt. This is depression.

In positive things - I saw a tree frog hopping in the grass when i went out at dusk with Carrie. We are, at least, living in a way that the critters can thrive (up to the point Edward catches them). And even if the cursed stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) is setting seed, i have gotten good bits cut down in time, even if not all. We are encouraging the wild and native plants. Edward, Luigi, and Carrie are happy. I am helping Mom & Dad when i work from their home (even if some of the existential questioning is from projecting myself 25 years out and thinking of aging).