(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2019 06:36 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Yesterday's work had me in tears at one point. Therapy this afternoon and i'm taking Friday off because burn out.

My sister is planning on taking a day off a week to relieve Dad. She tried working from their home and is clear that's not happening (and i'm not surprised).

There's this tension being with Mom: yes, let her independently roll down the hall, but show up when she gets to the door to the bedroom to help her make the turn by pivoting the wheelchair with a little lift. Dad is too tired to really let her do the independent thing. If she's carrying a glass and drops it, it's more work for him -- particularly knee bending arthritic work.

And i'm pretty sure that she's decided Dad and i are in it together, telling her doctors what to do and what not. Apparently, if Dad is home, Mom won't let the hired caregiver give care. And she's berating him for slacking off etc.

I just don't even know.

Yesterday's Procrastination

Apr. 24th, 2019 06:33 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
This morning [Tuesday!] i learned about glycerites and glycerine in cooking. Apparently glycerine can act as a preservative, is used in icings like fondants and in granola and protein bars.
Glycerine doesn't cause insulin spikes [here] and used as a sugar free sweetener [here] It also is the solvent for alcohol-free extracts.

I'm pondering using glycerine to extract the flavor from lemon balm. Sounds like it would be straightforward to then mix into teas and seltzer. The use in protein/granola bars sounds intriguing; i'm finding references but since it's not a common home ingredient, not many recipes.

I'm pondering my very productive sage plants. It has occurred to me that dehydrating sage with onion and celery could be useful. I can't quite decide on cooking the sage and onion in advance. Sauté with
butter or oil? Blanch? Dehydrating celery generally would call for blanching. Then there will be shallots, sooner or later: a shallot sage powder could be a delightful seasoning.

There are some herbs i've been successful with but i don't really use that often. Rosemary and sage are challenging texture-wise and having them pre-processed would make me more likely to use them. All the mints.... by the end of last summer i was picking a little to make my own fresh tisanes. Anyhow....

I planted lots of sunflower seeds [Monday] evening. I have no idea if they will grow. I have blamed all the previous failures on deer. I suppose even smaller critters could be eating the seeds, too. I thought sunflowers fell in the "easy" list. Well, i'm trying again.

All this is procrastination. I am feeling better than i did [Monday] thanks to the miracle of antihistamines.

Swing set

Apr. 23rd, 2019 07:52 pm
warriorsavant: (Default)
[personal profile] warriorsavant
Our next door neighbors gave us their swing set. They'd got it for their kids when they were little, but the older one has graduated university and the younger is going into 12th grade, so they don't need it and would prefer to have more space in the backyard. The parents, the younger daughter, her boyfriend, and my humble self lifted it over the fence and into our yard. It was really nice of them to give it to us, and also help move it. Hedgefund and Wallstreet have already swung on it. They love swinging, although at this point still parent-powered. Am working on teaching them how to pump themselves, but for now am getting an upper body workout.

Neither Passover Nor'easter.

Apr. 22nd, 2019 08:31 pm
captainsblog: (Shiny)
[personal profile] captainsblog
We don't, and therefore didn't, celebrate any of the three major holidays which fell in order. Not the start of Passover Friday night, nor any of Easter on Sunday, and not even any festivities for 4/20, despite several of our state's borders now encouraging that sort of thing.

On Saturday, we cleaned.  There's a half-bath in the cellar, which has been out of use for years except as a storage room; since we can lock it off from the cats, it's the safest place in the house from their comings and goings and leavings.  But, like most crap catchers, it acquired plenty of crap of the non-cat variety over the years, and it was time to say, No mas!  We pretty much filled our entire garbage tote with never-to-be-used again wrapping papers and boring Christmas ornaments and other assorted whatnots.  The recycling tote, of similar size, is virtually full of the boxes previously hoarding all this stuff.  Four huge racks of cassette tapes came up, to be checked for the few we haven't digitized over the years; once that's done, they, too, will hit the road.  A printer went to the town recycling center; a bunch of old kitchen things and books got marked for possible sale at a library event on an upcoming weekend; and lots of my old statements and other records from more than 3 years ago are awaiting a one-way trip to Shred City.

But there were three other things which told a more interesting tale.

I found three of Emily's old school art projects, dating from pre-K to probably late elementary school.  Here are my texts to her sending them for her reaction:




(the two above, that is....) and then I sent her this one that she'd done in pencil- not terribly well rendered even at full size, but she could make out the title:





So she did:



Did more cleaning things after that exchange, and got back to work today for multiple rounds of Mostly Frustration.  I did leave early, because I had to bring Eleanor's car in for its overnight repair.  As I was walking home, I saw I'd gotten an email from a relatively new client, who teaches at Emily's old high school. Last time we contacted each other, I thought to ask the teacher if Emily's name was familiar.

It was.  And not just to the teacher:  I got a photo of a painting Emily did back then, which still hangs on the wall outside the school library:



I asked Em if she knew it was still on display there; she said Cameron's parents see it often, since his youngest stepbrother is in school there now ("what even is time," she asked).

----

Eleanor's piece has now gone up on our dining room wall. Two more are ready to be picked up for future displaying, here and elsewhere.  Work may be difficult, but home is as beautiful and surprising as ever:)

Cozy

Apr. 22nd, 2019 11:41 am
warriorsavant: (Couch camouflage)
[personal profile] warriorsavant
Was a gray rainy day. Made a cup of coffee, lit the fireplace and read my journals, looking up every few minutes to gaze at the fireplace indoors, and the gray rain out. A comfy seat, coffee, reading, and a fire indoors on a gray day; one of the coziest feelings imaginable.

Assembling kids into a gaggle

Apr. 21st, 2019 06:50 am
[personal profile] polydad
Okay, so I'm writing this story, and three of these kids have dug up the wreckage of a robot. )

Escalators: Better Than Laronde

Apr. 20th, 2019 03:05 pm
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
[personal profile] warriorsavant
Well cheaper, anyhow. For those missing the reference Laronde is the big amusement park in Montreal, built at the site of Expo 67, the former Worlds Fare (I believe now owned by Six Flags).

Today the kids had their swimming lessons, at the pool of a downtown hotel (the community center where they usually hold lessons is being renovated). Afterwards, we go to the mall/shopping in the same complex*, so they can watch the fountain (very nice, keeps changing patterns and lights). There's an escalator up to the mezzanine level, and they wanted to ride it. Up then down. Twenty or thirty times. Or so. They were a little scared, but went up holding my hand. Finally, Hedgefund decided she could do it without holding my hand.
Outwardly: "I'm so proud of you."
Inwardly: "Wahhhhh. My baby's growing up and doesn't need me anymore."

I think she may have caught on to my feelings, because a little bit later she started crying.
Me: "What's wrong?"
HF: "Even when I'm grown up, I want to still live in the same house."
Outwards: "I love you honey. I promise, we'll live together forever."
Inwardly: "Yeah, gonna replay this conversation when you're 18 and want to move out."


*Part of the "underground city," a term sounds more interesting than it actually is.
Very common downtown Montreal to have a tower complex connected to the Metro, but with underground parking, a food court, a level or two of shopping, then either offices and/or residential (and this case a hotel). Basically a self-contained mini-city, connected via Metro - and underground passageways - to other such. Right in the downtown core, every Metro stop has one or more such complex on top, with the passageways connecting a dozen or more into an underground loop, which in aggregate is "the underground city."
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
That was a dramatic end to a week. Phones went off with blaring noises at the end of the workday, warning of tornado threat. I executed our tornado plan with cats in carriers in the garden tub and Carrie on a leash with me in the most inner bathroom. Once i finally got a look at the radar i slowly let the pets have more room to roam. Christine came home and we watched the local extended coverage news, with a bit of eye rolling as the anchors scrolled through local social media and webcams to find images that looked scary.

I have pondered, on occasion, a trap door so we can get to the crawlspace from inside, and creating a small nook of comfort. Any motivation to actually follow through would be far more dystopian than tornadoes. I will get one of the crank powered radios in the bathroom though, along with treats for the pets.

Status of....

Dad -- as an engineer, he has constantly lectured us on stress damage to bridges, roller coasters, ferris wheels, and the like. This Thursday i noted how he argues for designing for the unexpected and pointed out he was not managing his and mom's help that way. He said, "You think i'm planning for the worst" when i suggested a strategy of spending more over this year with the expectation that Mom will be more able to care for her physical needs in a year. I replied that i did NOT think he was planning for the worst but for steady state -- he wasn't planning for the unexpected. When i left he said i'd given him something to think about. I called my sister and we agreed to hold off on the intervention this weekend to give him time to reflect.

Mom -- she showed me how she can stand and take three tiny steps -- giving dad a panic when he realized she was going forward with it without any knowledgeable supervision. It was lovely to see her stand up and move her leg but also telling: she's going to be in more danger before she gets out of danger. And her cognition is clearly impaired. Dad, by the end of the day, wants her to just stay still and not do anything so he doesn't have to be on alert. It's not fair to either of them. With their long relationship history, Dad asking Mom to stay still is like a starter's pistol at a race.

The Working Group -- Long weekend in Europe acts a barrier to a few logistical steps. I wanted to have the survey out, but feel stymied by the organizational wiki being frozen and the absence of an email we can use as a public address.

The Strategic Plan for the CTO -- this went well, and i think i had a good graphical interpretation of current state idea.

The Product Proposal -- the executive leadership team judges it on Monday. Depending on their decision, the CTO plan gets a general change in how i will advocate.

Lunch with Ladies -- the mayor from Meeting had suggested we get together for lunch and i accepted, and she also invited the Meeting Newsletter editor who lives nearby. The Mayor apparently knocked herself out with an antihistamine, leaving the editor and i to lunch together. The editor's husband had Alzheimer's, so she could comfortably discuss caregiver issues. She used to be a paper artist and is returning to that, so we had that pleasure to discuss. The Greek food was fine, and i bought Turkish coffee to make in the coffee pot my brother bought in Saudi Arabia.

Elephants -- mostly quiet but with some moments where they were on edge. Christine took care of them.

Reading -- a Maisie Dobbs novel was automatically checked out when my turn in line came up and i read that last night. I continue to appreciate the psychology despite what i expect is complete and utter anachronism. And i continue to appreciate a self aware main character who is not tortured or self destructive or miserable, but engages in self care. I also respect how she wraps up her projects: may it inspire me to be a little more responsible. I also read a 1991 novel An Owl Too Many by Charlotte MacLeod. I didn't know the date of the novel when i started, but i became curious. What kept the novel from being set in 1970? The environmentalism front and center would have been at home. The prudish university persident's wife seemed more at home closer to the 70s than the current. A coded notebook elicited a comment about computer code: that was the only appearance of a computer. No mobile or cell phones: my father had one in the 8Os. Ah, the series began in 1979. Well then.

The outside -- green green green. The cold snap this week didn't snap to a temperature that cause any harm. Thursday after work the seedlings in the greenhouse looked melted. I'll see soon if any revived. I forget what is planted in the trays but germination hasn't been rapid. I suspect some cases are just that it will take a long time. I am not impressed with my seed starting skills. Perhaps next year i will ensure i buy seed starting mix and perhaps fiddle more.
captainsblog: (Reading)
[personal profile] captainsblog

Random things from the end of my fortnight of hellish commitments- which settled down, largely, at the end.  Wednesday's court hearing got postponed; Thursday's never even got on the calendar; today's early one took all of five minutes once I got down there.  It was pure joy sitting at my desk for an entire day Wednesday and just. Doing. WORK! without having artificial commitments to be in place X to do thing Y for Z (or more likely Z-squared) minutes.

Thursday, I got enough done, and had enough off my plate, to do something I can't remember ever doing in quite the same way:



I do a high-intensity interval workout a couple times a week. Most of its treadmill components are short- running between your "base" pace (mine's just under 5 mph) and "pushing" a mile above that for 1 to 3 minute intervals, with some "all out" sprints (2 mph above base) of 30 to 60 seconds mixed in.

Not this time. This was a straight one-mile run at push, followed by a row break, then a half-mile run at the push pace. I don't think I have ever before maintained a speed above 5 mph for an entire mile, inside or out, without slowing down at least briefly. But I did. It wound up taking just over 11 minutes. Then, the half-mile took just over 5, since I upped the speed a little since the distance was half. Do that five times outside and I'll do a Turkey Trot in under an hour, which I've never done.

The one odd thing? The heart rate zones. The monitor was working for once, and I only got into the 84-plus percent of maximum heart rate for 9 minutes of the 23 allocated for the mile, the half, and the stuff in between. It climbed slowly and steadily, but never got much below 80 percent or above about 86. Varying the speed must have more of an effect than I realized.

Oh, and I knew I was gonna be sore. But that didn't kick in until this morning, and a hot bath cleared most of it.  We had other things to do last night.

----

We are blessed here with a vibrant literary community, some coming out of the dozen or so university or college English departments, but also a non-profit called the Just Buffalo Literary Center.  They've been sponsoring reading and writing opportunities for students and lovers of the craft, and for many years have had an ambitious series of lectures by renowned authors, held at (and filling) the Philharmonic's home at Kleinhans Music Hall.  This was our first year as subscribers, and we got to three of the four presentations between fall and spring, the final one coming last night with a Man Booker Prize/MacArthur genius grant winner named George Saunders.  He's been a New Yorker regular, an occasional late night TV guest, and has taught creative writing at Syracuse University for years, but his talk last night about his latest work- Lincoln in the Bardo, a ghost story about the dying-too-young son of Abraham Lincoln- resonated with his connections to Rochester in places and years where I was, or might have been, at or near the same time.

Saunders had an engineering background, and his journey took him to oil fields in Sumatra, and to at least one slaughterhouse ("knuckle-puller" is a job title), before finally landing him in SU graduate school for his writing and, not long after, in a Corporate Woods of Brighton office park (the same one I would toil in from 1995 to 2003) doing technical writing for the likes of Kodak.  A longtime Rochester journalist told the tale a few years back, describing the influence Rochester's environs had on him:

“You go from Corporate Woods in (Brighton), past six-foot-high cattails, to the highway and Kodak Park, which is kind of Willy Wonka with methylene chloride. You can drive a straight line, six miles, and see all of these different levels of America. Different tastes and pop culture. You drive past malls and pioneer cemeteries next to a car wash,” he says. “It’s such a funny mix of the American topography. It supercharged my understanding of the American dilemma. Those things are still in my work.”

He found his groove as a writer while word-doodling during his transcription of a corporate conference call, and that eventually turned into his first collection of short storie- one of them loosely tied to Lincoln called CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. Then, probably around the time I was working in Corporate Woods myself, he got a call out of the blue from Ben Stiller. Yes, that Ben Stiller. He'd only just broken out as a director as well as a star-star-star (oddly, we watched his directorial debut Reality Bites the night before George's talk,  not having any idea of his connection to the actor); he was calling to say he'd optioned the book and wanted to make a movie out of it. 

Saunders told us how they had to ask their best friend, a dentist, if they could borrow his minivan for the visit. Jeff Spevak picks it up from there:

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are strolling through the quiet grounds of Genesee Country Village & Museum. Stiller has just bought the rights to CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, and he wants to see the inspiration for the short story about a failing theme park. The park is relatively tourist-free at the moment, and only one person recognizes Stiller. As this is 1997, Wilson is still an unknown actor, so no one recognizes him; he stops to get a fake vintage photo taken of himself in a fake Civil War uniform.

And certainly no one recognizes the fellow wandering alongside them, the author of CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, George Saunders.

Some 16 years later, Saunders still escapes widespread recognition. But his critically acclaimed short stories have created a second level of notoriety. There he was, this past January, yukking it up with Stephen Colbert on that hippest of absurdist-news platforms, The Colbert Report, after Saunders’ latest collection of stories, Tenth of December, had just been declared by The New York Times magazine “the best book you will read this year.”

Far as I know, the movie has never been made. But the story, like so many of those reduced to pages by this author, will always stick with me. We now have his more recent Lincoln piece to enjoy.

He also told a frightening-in-retrospect story of how we might never have heard this talk. Some years back, he'd tried cutting out alcohol for a bit, but wound up at a holiday party where the main grape was something called Boone's Farm.  He indulged a bit. He then went home, went into the bathroom, blacked out and hit his head on the edge of the bathtub.  His wife heard it and rescued him from further damage, but one millimeter to either side and maybe not so good an outcome.  On our way home from the venue, I stopped at an Elmwood Avenue late-night liquor shop, and repeated the story to the cashier. He'd never heard of Boone's Farm.

The world will not suffer from this loss.

----

That late night led to a not-so-early morning here. My one and only court, it of the five minutes, wasn't until 10 this morning. After that, Rochester awaited for the third time in seven days, but as briefly as ever.  I had an overdue appointment with my own dentist there (everything's fine, and no, he wasn't George's dentist back in the day), a quick meetup with a bankruptcy client, but then it was back on the road to get back to downtown Buffalo before 5.  Today was the last day of Eleanor's show, and they needed pieces picked up by the end of the day, so I switched cars with her at Wegmans around 3, got to the gallery a bit past 4, and the piece was safely home by 5.  She has two others which are now framed and waiting to be picked up, so more of this will lie ahead.

Tomorrow is Seinfeld Saturday- the part of Holy Week where nothing happens.  I am looking forward to something similar;)

warriorsavant: (Meh)
[personal profile] warriorsavant
Holiday weekend. Happy Easter / Joyous Passover to all my Gentle Readers. Statutory Holiday here in that things are closed either the Friday or the Monday. Since I don't work Friday's anyhow, closed the office Monday to give my vast staff (both of them - they make up in presence what they lack in numbers) a paid holiday. I'm on call, but since Residents take first call, usually don't have to go in, just back them up by phone (handy to be able to text pictures). Already got one call today, but didn't have to go in.

Nom took the kids out shopping. It was a zoo, but they like it. I did some reading, some studying, some cleaning, but somehow not very much of either. So in the spirit of finally digging in and doing work… I'm posting this.

We've been in this house for a year-and-a-half. The vast majority of organizing and putting away got done fairly promptly, the small percent that remains will likely take another 10 years. Mostly not really that important, but my tidy (eg neurotically organized) mind likes things neatly put away. I am working on organizing all the toys, etc in the basement play (which previously looked like a cross between an explosion at a toy factory and a refugee camp), putting different things in different boxes (eg “Legos all go in the box marked ‘Legos’ when you are finished playing with them.”) They get the concept of “tidy up” at school (eg daycare), and I’m slowly working on extending the concept to home. Key word is "slowly."

If they are motivated, they do help clean up. Some weeks back, they got into it, because it was Hedgefund’s birthday party. Her actual Bday was during the week, but more-or-less got the concept of “we’re having the party on a weekend, b/c that’s when people can come.” (And liked the idea of cake on two days: at the party, and her actual Bday.) Miss Manners somewhere said the that number of invitees should be equal to the child’s age in years, which more-or-less happened. This was the first year she wanted to have her friends or for her Bday; I don’t think at a younger age they really have a concept of “friends” and “my friends.” She invited 2 kids from her class, plus another friend, plus 2 daughters of a friend of Nom’s (which is to say Nom invited the mom & her daughters) plus immediate family. It went well. She had fun decorating the house (eg telling me to put up decorations), a little big each night for a week. Nothing fancy, crepe paper streamers and balloons, but she has definite ideas about what she wanted where.

Dunno if I mentioned, but the other day she told Nom, “when I grow up, I want to be bossy like you.” Actually, HF has managed “bossy” since quite an early age, much more so than Nom. I think I told her she was bossy when she was 2 or 3 (HF, not Nom), to which she solemnly replied, “yes.”

Anyhow, party was a success all around. I thing everyone actually had fun, even Nom & I. We had a piñata, but one of those degenerate modern ones where you pull ribbons that eventually open a trap door, instead of whacking it with a stick, or as we did at Army Family Days, shooting at it with an M16. (Joking!)

Winter is definitely over, which is to say that all the snow and ice has finally melted in the backyard. There is likely to be one more sprinkling of snow, but we are now in "post-winter," sometimes known as "mud." It's a gray, rainy day. Not depressingly so, what with my being indoors, but don't really have much energy. On the other hand, that could also be because I've had a long week. Doing more reading, both professionally and recreationally. Will post on the latter soon.

Stupid Questions department

Apr. 18th, 2019 11:36 am
[personal profile] polydad
A headline in my inbox proclaims "Online Pornography Age Checks To Be Mandatory in UK..."

I'm trying to come up with a reason why the United Kingdom should be interested in how old my pornography is.

(no subject)

Apr. 18th, 2019 08:57 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
There was much rain over last weekend, five inches between Friday morning and Sunday. Our neighbors' road washed out, again, and everything was sodden. I did get some good for me time working in the yard. I admit a struggle with seeing the false hawkweed in bloom and the stilt grass seedlings and feeling overwhelmed. I'm trying to celebrate the progress we've made since we moved here on changing plant communities. The glade is far more mossy and ferny, there are large stretches in the east yard where the native, low growing grass i admire is carpeting stretches successfully. It helps that it goes to seed midsummer and the stilt grass months later. The little bits of help given to the natives to increase their competitiveness seems to be helping. So yay.

I'm not filling the feeders with sunflower seeds anymore, and so the bird visits are less - presumably, they can also find more to eat now, as well.

I'm sure if i took a week off, i'd still have yard work to do. Unfortunately, work has heated up to white heat. I am wrestling with insecurity and remind myself of imposter syndrome. I am procrastinating. I am also doing OK with some of the asks, but feel like a tsunami is behind me.

Mom and Dad are a puzzle. Mom has all her issues, and Dad his financial insecurity and independence. Hiring more in-home help will help them, but we're going to have to convince Dad to spend the money. Mom is making substantial mobility improvements, and making things easier now will improve the chances for long term stability. It seems obvious but Dad seems fixated on steady state planning.
captainsblog: (Look_Captain)
[personal profile] captainsblog
As most people who read this know, and far more who don't anymore also know, there is no love lost between me and the current owners of the LiveJournal blogging site.  A San Francisco company sold it off to some Russians ages ago, and a couple of years ago their Terms of Service became especially homophobic and censorial. 

The code for the software itself was open source, and variations developed over the years including DeadJournal, InfiniteJournal, JournalFen, and the one I now use as my primary host- Dreamwidth.  Most of the settings and benefits are the same, and both the sites themselves and the primary software used to draft the entries allow "cross-posting" back to LJ.  It's from those efforts that I get that magic number of 6,004.  Had I been aware more than a day ago of that count, I'd have shut up a little bit so that today hosted my 6,000th entry.

Why?  (What? Who wasn't enough for you? I don't know....)

Because it was 15 years ago today that I first stuck a toe in the blogging waters, and took the nom de bloggue of captainsblog that has stuck with me ever since.

LJ was invite-only back then, and I think I snagged one from a much younger friend I'd been doing online writing with.  It gradually took the place in my life of trivia games and other AOL-based online interactions.  Over those 15 years, my "friends" from that first effort came from everywhere and nowhere. These fellow writers from the online webseries were an initial core; an odd group calling itself  [profile] buffalo_dorks(long-deceased) brought a variety of locally based cool peeps, many of whom I've eventually met and stayed in touch with despite them almost, to a one, leaving the blogging life.  There was an odd "event" called [community profile] ljdq- standing for "daily quiz" but actually propounded weekly, where the goal, much like on QI, was not to get the "right" answer but entertain the audience with your novel or clever one; the mods, one of whom I still connect with, chose the best answers, and I was always proud to make the weekly roundup, and became friends with Ang and others through that.  Friends begat friends of friends, who begat fellow communities with new friends, who occasionally did "friendzies" to repopulate the lists....

and then Facebook and Twitter took over the universe, and most headed to them and, if not totally gone from this world, are rare in their posts.

For me for a long time, it was a daily regimen- but for the past several, one or two a week is ordinary, more is rare, none is less rare.  Mr. Ray will never speak unless he has something to say. Still, despite seeming to not care about the effort, I managed to hit significant milestones right on the April 17 blogiversary, as I noted the day after the event, that year a non-event, in 2012:

 

For many years, I've been very aware of the anniversary of starting this journal on LJ,  which has been a large and largely amazing part of my life. In several of them, it was possible, even easy, to speed up/slow down an entry here and there so that the anniversary entries were also numerically significant. This one from two years ago, for instance, was the 2900th; the '07 anniversary was the 1440th (gross!); and, the year before that, I hit 1000 on the button.



It was one of the last ones in, [personal profile] ecosopher, who reminded me of all this yesterday.  She posted a note that I just missed the five-year-older birthday of LJ itself.  This is the link to the memory posted of it, which will personalize to you if you're still logged in to the thing.

So here's a raise of a glass to the Final 145- those whose journals still exist in some form, living or dormant, primary or cross-posty, in some secure Soviet bunker in the Ural Mountains.  Some will see me link to this on Facebook and might remember a name they once used, a friend they once made, a laugh we once shared.  I doubt will be doing this again in 2034, so get those comments in while you can, kids;)  I'll even enable them on LJ if you're not logged in; spam's not much of a problem there anymore:P

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captainsblog: (Pete)
[personal profile] captainsblog
After I got home from Saturday afternoon's home run festival at Frontier Field, we checked out a documentary called Lambert and StampIf I'd ever heard of either, it was in the vaguest sense, but I know a lot about the four musicians who they made famous:



Who? Right.  The Stamp of the documentary title is second from left. Brother of actor Terence Stamp, and unlikely partner of fellow 60s British filmmaker Kit Lambert. The Stamps were working class Brits; Lambert's father was an aristocratic classical conductor and composer. They met as low-level studio workers and decided to make a film about a British band- by finding one and offering to manage them.  The rest, as they say, is Who-story.

It got tiring toward the end, when drugs and money came between all their best efforts. Lambert died in 1981 in a house accident, Stamp not long after this film was finished. Ironically, although they shot a lot of band footage, they never made their intended film, nor did either get more than a passing role in any of the films based on the band's epic works. Still, Stamp was there when The Who received Kennedy Center honors in 2008, and this documentary more-or-less ended with them reconciling with the still-living one of the two who made them Who they were.

----

My biggest project Sunday was getting the new car ready to be taken in for its rendezvous with expensery.  I had the brilliant idea of using bungee cords to tie the disheveled under-front-end piece back up from the ground. Only problem was that this car is so aerodynamically sleek, there was no place on the front end to connect the cords to. The grille, the edge of the hood, all smooth as silk. I finally yanked them back to the edges of the wheel wells, which held up long enough to pull it into the dealership barely a mile away.  They did a better job of zip-tying it, but made clear that this repair was Collision Shop territory.

And wow. That flimsy part goes for over 700 bucks, and the labor and other fiddlybits more than doubled that.  But then they asked something I hadn't even thought of: Is this going through your insurance? Well, duh.  A collision is a collision even if another car isn't involved. I placed the claim, got a sympathetic ear, and the estimate and photos went over to them today.  We should know by tomorrow if they will cover, and how long it will take, bringing Da Damages down to just the deductible.  Oddly, this is my third insurance claim since April of 2011; all of them have occurred in parking lots.  (The oldest, getting hit-and-run around the corner from Eleanor's store; the second last year, when a phantom attack by my Smart Car on an Acura SUV somehow resulted in a claim against me.)  The good news is, I'm fine once I actually get out on the road.

----

Today, that evil Smart car was back on the highway, with no ill effects other than me having to leave stupid early.  I prepared a small claim for a client of the Rochester office, and I've gone through at least four iterations of the thing- each time him, or his opponent, writing up their respective issues.  I resolved to get it over and done with this week, and when I told the client I would be in this afternoon for court, he asked for a 9 a.m. appointment. Challenging but doable, as we say at the gym, so I just stayed up when Zoey roused herself at 5:30, fed everyone, walked the dog and got there with a few minutes to spare....

which were about 50 minutes too few. Client rolled in just past 8 for his 9:00 appointment, telling those who were there, Gee, I don't know why I told Ray 9:00, because I have to be at work by 8:30! Not even an attempt to tell me this before I hit the road, or to reschedule with me while I was there.  So his show-and-tell appointment has been canceled, and we'll do the best we can with me not actually seeing him.  On the bright side, my last appointment of the day also showed up an hour early, but hey! I was there anyway and wound up getting home an hour earlier because of it!

And I didn't even smash anything in the process....

ETA.  Everything's set with the insurance and the shop. Alanis goes in Monday at dinnertime, and the overnight crew will have her back to us Tuesday.

Red Velvet & Maple & Hochelaga

Apr. 14th, 2019 03:24 pm
warriorsavant: (Quebec sait faire)
[personal profile] warriorsavant
Red Velvet. Not the cake (which I like also), but a mixture of a red beer and a cider. Sounded weird but with potential. The first sip was a bit weird, but the taste quickly grew on me. Nice mix of effervescent and tart and sweet and very thirst-quenching and tasty. Tried it at a bistro in the Hochelaga district here in Montreal. They were having a little community festival/sugar shack, and we took the kids.

Sugar shack (cabin à sucre) is a Quebec custom, when the maple sap starts running. Basically go up to a farm house (these days a fake farm house at a maple tree farm) and have a maple-syrup based bouffe (big meal/face-stuffing). The usual breakfasty things like ham and pancakes, but usually everything cooked or seasoned with maple syrup. Here in the city, don't actually have maple tree farms, but they keep the tradition alive at various restaurants and festivals. This one was quite small, and all the food was in one big tent, to which there was a huge line-up, so we strolled up the street and found this little bistro. Just had burgers (with a touch of maple) and fries (and the red velvet for me), but they were really quite good. The bistro apparently has music at night.

Hochelaga was a decaying district, that seems to be coming up now as the artistic neighborhood. Not the artsy neighborhood, which is the next step in urban neighborhood evolution, but where the real artists and musicians live, hang out, and perform. It's an urban cycle. A neighborhood is run down. Therefore artists can afford to live there, so they do. It becomes hip, then the artsy types (a.k.a. posers) move in and raise the rents/property values, then real artists have to move out, and the district becomes entirely plastic. Think Greenwich Village in NYC, although I suspect the phenomenon predates the 1950's… by at least 2000 years.

Wow. And a little Ow....

Apr. 13th, 2019 09:37 pm
captainsblog: (Doh)
[personal profile] captainsblog
Week One is in the books. Including today's entries in some baseball record books.

The final two workdays just past were less stressful than planned, but plenty still remained. No 10:00 court Thursday, but despite emailing the client, he didn't know that and was planning on showing up when I was in transit to Rochester. I detoured him to my office to get him to sign some still-time-sensitive papers for the non-hearing. That was followed by two further appointments, the last of them with utterly unprepared clients, and finally the chance to stay in town for the Red Wings' home opener.

Not Opening Day, but for some silly reason, Frigid Opening Night. They promised a free ticket to a later game in April or May if the temperature didn't break 50F- but I saw traces of snow for the second day in a row and headed home long before first pitch.

Friday had two court hearings scheduled- did one by phone and I think settled the other- and a deposition, which went as scheduled and largely consisted of me toying with an unrepresented asshat opponent. When he said, "I don't work for free, sir- I'm sure YOU never work for free," I couldn't stifle my laugh. I left after squeezing in one other last minute appointment of a nice couple, sent off settlement funds in one other case, but was still kinda bummed because I knew today would bring yet another Rochester round trip. Because the sort-of settled case's settlement funds were sitting in my office there, and because another drop-dead check due Monday wouldn't be available until today.

I said, fuggit. I'd take Eleanor's new car for comfort, and would see the Red Wings in sunny daylight after picking up the checks. I had Check One in hand by 11, and was due to meet a friend and his son for the afternoon game at 12:30. In between, I visited my favorite record shop on Independent Record Store Day. Didn't buy anything, because the line was too long (and the extinct guy out front wasn't letting anybody past):





I did find some fun things inside, which I may go back for:



Check Two was still not ready by the time I had to meet friends at the ballpark gate, so I arranged for a postgame pickup and made my first visit to hallowed ground by 12:30.  It was Autism Awareness Day- ironically NOT sponsored by Spectrum- which meant the music was somewhat muted, noisemakers were banned (at least off-field ones), and there were fewer between-inning distractions.  I am in favor of all of these.  We got our lunches and brews and sat in the sun, then shade, as the first three of the four hour marathon unfolded.

Before we were in our seats, the opposing Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (or as I prefer to call them, the Nottawa Lynx) had scored a run on no hits.  That sounded suspiciously like a Mets score, but before long, the home Wings had put five on the board. Then the homers began.  Lehigh got their own five runs, Rochester Parton-ed ways and made it Nine to Five, and by the time we left, the score was looking downright footballish:



But the home town heroes tied it, then went ahead 17-16 in the bottom of the eighth, but finally blew that lead top nine to take the game into its fourth hour and its 15th home run by the time I was well on my way home. The minors are implementing the proposed new MLB rule for extra innings- your last batter out starts the next inning on second base- and a walk and that last tater made it 20-17 Lehigh going to the bottom of the tenth.  Rochester also got a man on second, plated him, had the winning run at the plate but it all ended with a 20-18 final score. This tied the most runs ever scored in a Wings home game, and was more offense than I've ever seen in person at any level.

The delayed check was procured, and I arrived home, but not quite safely. Two blocks from home, Alanis the car began making nasty noises. Her front end had suffered a minor bender shortly after the purchase, and something in today's travels made it worse so that there are now Parts dangling and dragging from the entire front of the car.  This means a Monday morning call to try to get it fixed ASAP. 

One working theory is that one of the 15 home runs hit it.

Assembling the project

Apr. 12th, 2019 03:51 pm
[personal profile] polydad
So I'm back in Portland,and the robot isn't finished yet. And my phone is still in Ranier, which sucks. Brian's friend Rey *might* be bringing it down to me this afternoon. Or, maybe not. We'll find out.

The robot is only one of five pieces of this project that need to fit together. The other creative part is writing the stories of how the robot came to be and how it came to be at GearCon this summer. Part #3 is GearCon itself, which is the nominally easiest part, in that I've helped with three or four (or six?) GearCons before, and have a pretty good idea of what I need to be doing about it. Part #4 is building a relationship with the Iron Fireman Collective, which is nothing like anything either they or I have ever tried. And Part #5 is connecting this with the Cascadians, which is again completely novel.

So, Part #1 requires reattaching the robot-head to its base, finishing the arms, building the ankles and feet, making a harness for the torso piece, and putting everything together. This can only be done in Ranier, and I'm not there right now.

Part #2 requires writing and publishing at least one and preferably 3 or 4 stories, and is what I should be doing right now.

Part #3 does not require any current action.

Part #4 I will hopefully be meeting with Garrett Hour on Sunday afternoon to recruit him as pitchman for the meeting with the IFC, as I can't pitch and wear the suit at the same time.

And the best thing I can do for Part #5 right now is finish Part #2.

To work, then.

The Green Walls Go Up

Apr. 12th, 2019 07:50 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
The horizon is disappearing and instead views out the back are of the green and brown of the woods. I recollect that Thursday morning a week ago the deck was slippery with ice when i went to release the lions (erm, Edward and Luigi) at dawn. Last night i lay down on the picnic table bench to look up at the moon, stars, and fireflies. Fireflies! I guess no one goes looking for them in spring nights, busy with school nights and what not? This confirmed the glimpse i thought i had had the night before of a firefly.

I'd gone outside to be with the sense of grief inside me, instead of watching something or distracting myself. With moonlight and fireflies, though, the beauty of the night sat with me.

Since naming the heaviness on me, i feel a little more comfortable with it. My sister gave me another term yesterday, sisu, yet another one of these Scandinavian terms that seem to be trending across lifestyle websites. Finnish sisu is something i recognize: it's how i got through the couple of years of the terrible Director at work (official date 2011-05-11, but the months before that were colored with the coming change), then the couple of years after Christine's Elephants arrived. And before the merger of the Minnow with the Whale -- the couple of years i was the operations manager and essentially on call the whole time. It wasn't until after the merger with the Whale that i could put the pager down and actually sleep through all nights.

Between being moved out of management and moving to the eastern timezone, so much weight dropped off my shoulders. The Meeting here doesn't have the weight of concerns like that of the large Meeting i attended in California, partly because they have just come through the fire of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting schism. Christine's elephants are getting smaller and less demanding.

I've not needed to practice sisu since moving, really, and even Mom's stroke isn't demanding much from me, sisu-wise. But there are emotional things going on, and i think part of that is from the habit of sisu. Pushing perseverance requires certain coping strategies, and wrapping discomforts like sorrow, pain, and grief in fireproof blankets to keep going: i am good at that. But i also know the cost of that, as well. And right now i don't need to avoid my feelings about my parent's change of being.

What i don't know is what to do with these feelings when they aren't mummified. It feels like an infection. I'm fine, i could take on whatever. But in the absence of that all consuming critical whatever, this throbbing heavy lump and the sense of malaise is very distracting.

I wanted to see if i had a grief tag, and type ahead supplied the gratitude tag. Maybe that's a way through.

I am grateful to be here, to be able to see Mom and Dad in a day to day setting and know the details of what they are going through. I am grateful that i don't need to worry that this is going to overwhelm Dad beyond his capabilities (although i do wish he wasn't leaning on his sisu practice so hard). I am thankful for Christine's compassion, and for her spoon-management yesterday: she was able to be present at dinner with Dad without needing her shields up. I'm thankful for Carrie and the gift of dog-love and joy and energy she can give my parents.

I celebrate Christine's evolution in elephant wrangling, and the new additional project she's taking on.

I am grateful for the terrifying opportunity i will likely have on April 22nd, at work. I am terrified, and i know it's happening as i need to push the working group to be prepared for the meeting we will have in Estonia in mid June. I am thankful i used the time in March when everything was a lull to make my journey plans.

Gaudy Night: real and imagined

Apr. 11th, 2019 01:44 pm
warriorsavant: (Books (Trinity College Library))
[personal profile] warriorsavant
Just reread Dorothy Sayers' "Gaudy Night," recommended by katharhino as being the best of the Peter Wimsey series. I'm enjoying it, but not overwhelmed as I once was by the characters and the writing.

My thoughts are more about the milieu in which it takes place, Oxford University in the 1920's (early 30's?). Sayers crafts it as an idyllic place (despite the crime & murder taking place) of academic wonder. Despite some squabbles, it is a serene oasis of scholarship and learnedness. (Oxford, with it's collegiate organization (basically a federal system) combines the intimacy of a smaller school with the opportunities of a large university, which is a great idea.) I suppose in my own mind, universities should be like that. Reality is that I rarely see the learnedness, especially of the classic sort, sketchy collegiality, minimal open-mindedness, and no serenity at all. Lots of posing, lots of sophomoric behaviour and thoughts (and I'm referring to the faculty, not just the students). Largely a waste of time and resources.

Grief

Apr. 11th, 2019 07:06 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Christine agrees my mood has been a little down the past few weeks. Spring and my relief at how well things are working out for my parents would seem to be big boosts. (Work has been intense.) In therapy yesterday i found lots of tears, particularly over my parents' relationship dynamics and the echoes over my childhood.

I don't know quite how to cut free of this drag. I'm not sure it's something one can healthily do. On the other hand, i am tired of being brain tired. I have capacity to mostly get work done, and then a little something else. Various chores that just got done before are backed up. Some work things are backed up. I've journaled about the gardening so much because that is a delight right now, and most of all, the sun and chlorophyll and water and stored starches are all doing the work.

The trees have greened up significantly since Saturday. I feel i am noticing more and more new things than last year. This year, wisteria. I had no idea the tangles of plants just down the road were wisteria, but there are walls of purple. I saw some wisteria encroaching on a bamboo thicket. Bamboo vs wisteria: coexistence? or will one subdue the other?

Other invasive species not on our property: wisteria, bamboo, kudzu, English ivy (found a sprig once), vinca (growing thickly in a bit of the woods next door).

Anyhow, it's easy to loose myself in observing and naming. How the sensitive fern seemed to sprout a foot over night, catching up with the southern lady ferns. The tiny, white, native forget-me-not, Myosotis verna (and the temptation to see it as a weed).

Well, staying here writing about plants is NOT the way to cut free of the drag.

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