sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
[personal profile] sonia
For September, I donated to Shift Stigma Relief Fund, which is helping to fund abortions for people affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. This includes travel and lodging assistance, since Texas has a 24 hour waiting period and few clinics for its huge area.

Here's more about the program. Women's Health Clinic Provides Free Abortion Care to Texas-based Hurricane Survivors

I've been continuing to pull back from engaging with daily news. I read whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com, as well as skimming the Shakesville news summaries, but don't delve into a lot of articles.

A friend's grandparents were bystanders to the Holocaust in Austria. Her parents taught her a strong anti-bystander ethic. My grandparents fled the Holocaust in Germany, and my parents taught me to stay alert to similar patterns. I don't want to be a bystander as others are harmed either.

I'm sitting with my limitations and privileges, my fragilities and strengths. I feel like my awareness, my donations, my support to others are not nearly enough. And, they are what I can do, what I am doing right now. As I reassure others, doing our own healing work reduces the harm in the world. Keeping our eyes open to the truth, and speaking it with others, reduces the effect of gaslighting in the world. It's going to have to be enough.

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:56 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Saturday i worked in the yard, mainly eradicating stiltgrass and stands of Boehmeria cylindrica (False nettle, by which they mean "non-stinging nettle") by mechanical means.

Boehmeria cylindrica clearly reproduces successfully, so i want to get rid of it in a number of places where it is "weedy." On the other hand, it is native, so i should find some place(s) for it to thrive. I see one resource claims it prefers sandy or loamy soil: i wonder if there's actually loam in the places it is growing. I generally assume everything is clay.

So, in the first area of work there was the manual pulling out. The stilt grass is about a meter high, and heaven only knows what has made a home in the thick stands. I've not seen any snakes yet, but spiders and toads and bright green leafhoppers seem disrupted. I found one milkweed growing in the stand, Asclepias variegata (White milkweed) or A syriaca (common milkweed): that was delightful! And i found a good number my current favorite little plants: moonworts (or grapeferns). These have a single frond, and then a spore bearing structure lifted like a flag above the solar panel that is the leaf. This 2014 literature review describes them as rare but (at least) one species is definitely common here. I believe i've had success transplanting them, despite comments about them being challenging. I take that to mean that the interdependence with fungi is supported over the small distances in which i have moved them. Transplanting to potting soil would likely be bad.

I also rediscovered one of the colonies of Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake orchid). It too is usually accompanied by the warning against transplanting because of the mycorrhizal interactions: i may try moving some to some places i feel i can more easily protect from trampling over time.

Later in the day i used the sling blade and the weed whacker and the lawn mower. The mower can deal with the tall stands, but i don't want to hit hidden stumps, any more than i already do. The weed whacker gets the grass all tangled in the drive: it's not a particularly good tool on the tall stands.

I grew a little disappointed in the lawn mower repair. I don't think the mechanism for raising and lowering works the way it is supposed to: it's as if the front is now at a fixed height. The lawn mower repair process was so distressing for Christine, i don't want to bring it up. But, fie, it was useful to have the great range in height.

--== ∞ ==--

Sunday began with me breaking the stylus on my phone. The version of the Galaxy Note i have was reported to have a stylus issue in that if you inserted it in the storage bit backwards, it would jam and there was little that could be done. Now i understand: while one can pull out the stylus, the little springy top, like the "clicker" on a retractable ball point, breaks off and jams in, disrupting whatever signal the phone has to turn on the pen functioning. I am glad that the new note has been released but i believe it is a bit larger than this phone - so my nice case wouldn't be used. And we bought this phone outright. After spending some time thinking about it, i decided that i am ok giving up the stylus and just using the phone as any other phone for a while longer. All the critical phone functionality still works, and i can always take a pad of paper outside with me.

If i were doing real field work, i would have a reason to spend the money on a new phone, i don't really now.

And there's also the question of the iPad, which has superior drawing applications, and whether i really need a second digital pad (that's smaller and lighter and "always" with me, sigh).

I worked myself up into other dithers on Sunday morning as well. Things i hadn't done for Meeting, baking for meeting for business potluck with a recipe that i hadn't used before, realizing i hadn't really left time for the longer than expected baking time, discovering i didn't quite have the right quantities of ingredients, running late....

I indulged myself the rest of the day after Meeting, going to a historical society presentation (the president is a member of Meeting as well) and reading a novel (a Maisy Dobbs mystery). I finished the book after dark and needed to take Carrie for her walk, so i went into Pittsboro and walked her on the streetlamp lit sidewalks. I think Carrie was delighted with the novelty, and i enjoyed it too. It will be agreeable to walk there this winter.

Monday was a long work day, mainly meetings. We had the first visit of the young woman we have hired to clean our bathrooms. She's incredibly professional, and someday she'll finish her vet school training and will take her professionalism on to her own vet practice. Until then, i think we'll be delighted with her help.

It loves me back

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:07 pm
sonia: Chocolate fluffy cat on a chair in the sun (basil chair)
[personal profile] sonia
I've lived in the same house for 12 years now. It has a large-ish back yard with grass and trees and bushes that I water some and weed occasionally and mow in the spring and rake leaves in the fall, but mostly leave alone. There are a couple of raised beds near the house that I fuss over more often, but currently I'm not growing anything in there because it hasn't been raining at all and I didn't want to have to water that much.

Once a year I hire someone to whack the hedges back and perhaps battle the encroaching ivy into temporary retreat.

What I do the most back there is sit on the back steps and enjoy looking into the greenness, and pet Basil if he's about. I often eat my lunch or dinner there if it's not too hot/cold/wet.

I've often felt that it's way too much yard for me, and if I'd understood the fierce growth of Pacific Northwest plant life when I moved here, I would have chosen a place with a much smaller yard.

Lately though, I've been appreciating the privilege of looking into greenness, and space.

Yesterday and this morning, I got the strong sense that the yard collectively loves me back. It looks upon my struggles to provide what it needs with tolerant amusement, and perhaps even appreciates being left mostly in peace. My efforts, my way of being with it, are good enough. I'm accepted here. It makes me cry.

There are a lot of squirrels running around, and chickadees and scrub jays calling in the trees, and hummingbirds chittering. Today a tiny round bird with a yellow breast and a yellowy-brown back smacked into the French door and sat on the back porch for a while, recovering. Poor thing! Fortunately it flew off before Basil came around. So there are some of those around too.

The enormous elderly pear tree in the back corner made a lot of pears my first Fall here, but hasn't since. Until this year! I collected a lot of the fallen ones a couple of days ago and put them in the green bin. There are more out there now. Not sure why it's a banner pear year, but I'm glad it's doing well enough to produce. It's way too tall for me to pick them though.

It's good to notice that the oasis of green is doing a lot of critters good, including Basil who pads through or curls up to sleep, and also including me. I feel like I should use it more or differently, share it with more humans, but seems like it's doing fine as it is.

ARGH.

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:35 pm
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Complaints follow.

So, the poison ivy that grows 70' up the trunks of a dozen plus yellow pines. Yeah, i should get rid of it, yeah i've had irritations from little starts where i weed whack and mow, but, you know, it's actually a good bird food. (Admittedly, that's part of the problem and why it spreads.)

And the ticks. Ticks are terrible vermin, vectors for awful illnesses. But they are manageable, and seasonal. Dress right, be vigilant, etc. Give the pets their flea and tick treatments. Keep the grass mown. And if we got Guinea hens or chickens, they'd hunt those ticks down.

The spiders. SHUDDER. I really don't like spiders. But something happens here as autumn hints at an arrival: blam, the big orb weavers really get going. And webs across the driveway and the doors... shudder. And there's one of these three inch long Carolina Writing Spiders in bold yellow and black with her gorgeous web out at the compost pile. Uuuuuggggghhhhhh. I give her very wide berth. She's been there DAYS. Then there are always the wolf spiders. I'm getting pretty ... calm in negotiating access with them. I swear one was observing me as i was planting in the garden, waiting to see if i was going to get too close. She scurried away another two foot with her egg sack. But the spiders are the enemy of my enemy. And birds eat them.

I don't mind the few black racers and other snakes i've seen. My understanding is black racers will take on copperheads, so they're on the list of allies. Christine is very distressed by snakes, but she's coming to terms with them just as i am coming to terms with spiders.

But now, now.... [much swearing] fire ants. At least they aren't the invasive South American fire ants, just native red stinging ants.

Oy

Sep. 14th, 2017 08:02 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Irma irma irma....

I did spend some good time outside this weekend. Our septic area is looking clear, and i even found some flowers that i had planted in May including a purchased goldenrod I bought last April.

Spent time with my parents after Meeting on Sunday. My dad was still beside himself about his mother in the Tampa area. On Monday she still had power, and all is well with most of the family down there. One uncle was out of power, but it sounds like that's it. Monday after work i was going to walk both Carrie and my parents. They came over at 5 pm on the dot, just as it started to rain. Christine was kind enough to walk Carrie, who showed off her stylin' yellow rain coat, while i chatted with M&D. I was tired from a late night watching Irma, so, after reading a draft of Christine's latest book review i retired.

Yesterday i worked on writing a script to generate a UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagram of some of our team's java code. I ended up having to count whether curly brackets, which delimit nested sections of code, were open or closed and there's still a great deal of imperfection in the diagram generation. On the other hand, i met my need. I do hope i can find a good excuse to run the script on some other code, both to continue to improve it and to get some return on the investment. I worked late on it, so it was well dinner time by the time i stopped. We needed to do a grocery run, so we ate out at a new-to-us-place, "Moon Asian Bistro." I had a rare challenge of not knowing what i wanted (i wanted food FAST as i was hungry), so i ordered the hibachi shrimp, following Christine's lead. It hit the spot. We then spent a little too long at the grocery, buying many indulgences for Carrie.

Late night.

So, i'm feeling a little dislocated. I think i'm going to try and do a little planning and email tonight -- try and get some perspective on priorities like some banking tasks, and miscellaneous household to-dos.

Although the temptation is to skim the Diana Gabaldon Outlander e-book that i borrowed ....

And so i did that, having another late night. I feel rebooted, as i usually do when i read for hours at a stretch. I am also a little cranky because the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court SciFi quality slowly slipped into bodice-ripper territory. I was skimming to finish, but haven't quite. It looks like the sequels run on and on, so i'm not sure it ever finishes.

Time machine

Sep. 9th, 2017 06:37 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
I started thinking about myself in 2000 and how some news would be familiar, and some other news, surreal.

EG2017: huge hurricane about to hit south Florida.
EG2000: Another Andrew?
EG2017: Bigger.
EG2000: Is Grandmámá ....
EG2017: Still alive and well and in the same retirement area.
EG2000: And-
EG2017: And married to a real jerk.
EG2000: Wait, what? Married again?!

EG2000: So, who is going to win the election: Gore or Bush?
EG2017: Ummmm, that's a long story.
EG2000: ???? How can the outcome of an election in two months be a long story?
EG2017: Next topic please!

EG2017: You'll be amused to know you have two laptops and three desktop computers, two devices like the PADD on Star Trek: TNG and the cell phones are similar to the PADD but smaller. And i don't know how many terabytes of storage in the house.
EG2000: ....why?

But how to break to her the news that President Donald Trump (Wait, Trump Tower Trump??) beat Hillary Clinton (Wait, Bill Clinton's wife??? We had a woman nominee?!!?!!) potentially due to fake facebook accounts (???) and twitter accounts (???) run by the Russians? At least there would be the news of two terms of the first black president to share.

EG2017: I'm blogging this on Dreamwidth and LiveJournal.
EG2000: So, i leave tripod.
EG2017: Yes, very much so. It's easier, but you still have your own website. It's hosted on Amazon's servers.
EG2000: The bookseller? Am i a writer?
EG2017: Um, well the bookseller sells EVERYTHING now including computing infrastructure, and, no, sorry, not a writer.

EG2017: Equifax was hacked and most of the data seems to have been accessed.
EG2000: Damned credit companies.

(It's hard to be sure, but i really think i would have been unsurprised.)

EG2000: How's X?
EG2017: You haven't called your spouse that in a long time. She's Christine now.
EG2000: And ... happily ever after?
EG2017: Well, for you two. But a whole culture war has passed where same sex marriage was vilified, prohibited, and then won the day. So now transgendered people are being vilified. Christine is really distressed by it.
EG2017: But you're living in your mortgaged home, with two orange cats, a black and white cat, and a dog. You've four acres and a garden. You're listening to roosters crowing in the distance.
EG2000: Wow, that sounds like happily ever after. People know we're married? It's OK for two women to be married?
EG2017: People recognize two women can be legally married.
EG2000: Wow! That's amazing! I guess the grey boys* can't live forever. Do we have a jeep?
EG2017: Um, no jeep but a pickup truck. I can't talk about the jeep.

* the three grey cats we had.

In 2000, if i was imagining life after Christine's transition, i know i would have been sad that people wouldn't assume we had a life commitment. I would have known that our marriage was legal -- the understanding at the time was that the marriage contract could not be broken by outside parties, so her transition wouldn't change the contract. I don't think i imagined that same sex marriage would become legal, though.

Looking at the wikipedia article on the topic, i found this phrase, "undermine a right of children to be raised by their biological mother and father." I'm sorry, what?? Please explain adoption to me.

(no subject)

Sep. 9th, 2017 06:36 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Thursday morning: more Irma. There's not much news from Puerto Rico.

Thursday: Mom's birthday. My sister, father, and i conspired a celebration at a local seafood restaurant, with my sister bringing flowers and a balloon, and i the cake (or cupcakes, as it was). I could not remember what sort of cake my mother liked: she took one of the chocolate cupcakes to my surprise. Getting four different types of cupcakes was a lovely solution to how to address the what sort of cake to get question, so there was that. And the cupcakes were delectable, with creme or custard in the center. I had one of the mocha cupcakes and was well indulged. (The cakes were from the local Phoenix bakery

The restaurant's fish was also delicious, as well.

Friday morning: more Irma.

In therapy on Wednesday we talked more about changing my frame to see the positive, delightful, and joyous. It's not what i carry around with me usually, and Christine too has a strong tendency to dwell on the disappointments and pains of interactions.

I think one of the things that means is that i shouldn't think that outward experiences need to change for me to consider them happy or delightful or joyous. It's easy for me to identify pleasant sensory experiences: the cake, the basil cocktail that i later topped off with ginger beer. My sister's locally brewed basil beer. The blackened swordfish, and so on.

And next i think it's easy for me to identify my satisfaction. Thanks to Christine's coaching, as she is wonderful at gift-giving, i picked out a silly card with a crab that sang and danced and a bottle of locally produced  "Damn Fine Chocolate Liqueur". (North Carolina, where branding appears to have a strong "Damn" component... wait, no, maybe it's just the current hipster branding.) It was good to indulge my mother, although her first instinct is to announce she'll wait to try the liqueur when i'm there.

She'd forgotten how she'd serve me coffee and Kaluha after i'd driven home from college. Exams, plus an 8 hour drive, plus that drink: i'd talk for hours and couldn't remember a thing i told her. I joked it was her truth serum. (When i say, "she'd forgotten", it's tinged with a wary grief. Mom has, by her accounts, forgotten so much of ... everything.)

I think the meal was a happy family occasion. I think that is what it means to be happy with family. In my normal frame i would focus on the too loud restaurant, the lack of deeper connection. But noth the place or time for that.

The most important thing is that i am thankful to have this time with Mom, to celebrate Mom. We're all a little worried about her. She's always been dysfunctional (diagnosis is not my job), but it's clear to me that she is so much more befuddled and fragile. She's aged.

The weather is glorious. I'm looking forward to a good bit of yardwork tonight and tomorrow.

[posting saturday morning, geeze, hit post, will ya?]

IrmaIrmaIrma(JoseKatia)IrmaIrmaIrma

Sep. 6th, 2017 08:03 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Irma is getting a good bit of my attention. More than she deserves? Perhaps. I'm sure part is that i'm recently returned to where i do not need to have earthquake preparedness as a thought. Yet Irma is Not Insignificant, and my grandmother rode out Andrew in Homestead FL. My dad and brother went down after to help with the recovery and i know how Andrew tore up families in the aftermath of tearing up possessions and the landscape. One acquaintance's parents divorced, and my step-grandfather's family went through some convulsions, indirectly leading to his death (in my family's opinion).

We still talk about how we miss the Florida style avocados. Poorly informed Army Corps of Engineers folks bulldozed the downed trees and burned them -- the trees actually could have been set back up and persisted.

Grandmámá will shelter in place unless told to evacuate. I spent time looking at the evacuation zones in Hillsborough county (near Tampa) where she lives. She's not far from the most severe zone, and predictions are Irma will loose steam and be Cat 3 by the time it gets to Tampa. My sister is in a dither about Grandmámá's choice, but i think it's reasonable. (A well built home, not too much glass, "high"ground, etc.)

Of course, knowing her husband, he wants to stay and guard his hoard from the looting and race war that will erupt in the aftermath. (In the latest episode about my grandmother's husband, last December, when he was hospitalized, we found out that the son he had designated medical power of attorney had declined the responsibility. My uncharitable feelings for him became more entrenched with the confirmation his closer family shared them.)

Anyhow, any more reflection on Irma is just dwelling, at least until updates come out at https://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/atlantic/2017/hurricane-irma.

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A giraffe sanctuary where your jackal is safe.

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