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Rather than playing in the garden today, we were out looking for the right plants for certain areas. Again. But there was nothing in stock that really spoke to us, beyond the fig trees. I am trying not to be frustrated, but it is my typical shopping experience. I know what I want, but can’t find it in the store. I want what I want, not what’s in fashion, popular, or currently trending. Doesn’t matter if it is clothes or plants, it seems. I’m still trying to find the right dress for the Vermont Wedding II.
Growing up in the boonies, there are many movies that are classic Americana that I’ve never seen. Many years ago, AMC helped educate me. I don’t remember where/when I first heard about The Long Long Trailer, but it seemed like a classic summer movie choice. Honestly, I don’t have great expectations about anything that is Lucy & Ricky together, but I gave it a try today. Turns out I can’t stomach the 50’s patriarchy / featherbrained female POV without copious alcohol and a lot of talking back to the screen. Maybe another weekend, but not today.
The drive up to Albany was peaceful with very little traffic to deal with. I didn’t spend a lot of time on major highways or interstates. Unfortunately, whatever tried to kill me last night began again while I was half way to Albany and I didn’t realize there was a plaza on the toll road until I missed the exit. I barely made it into the hotel in time, but was then delighted to find there was an on-site restaurant. Ate dinner in my room while watching the first episode of this year’s SYTYCD - a luxury.
Somehow the geography of Albany had previously escaped me. I mean, I knew it was a riverside town. I knew the town was on the edges of the mountains. I didn’t really stop to think about how many hills – and intersecting hills – are extant today. Walking uphill to the convention center, past buildings that have been standing for more than a hundred years, on streets never intended for cars, was challenging. But the idea of a horse and buggy, or a team of horses and a delivery wagon on those streets and hills is more than a little concerning.
Made a beeline for the ferry on the drive back home, hoping to catch the 8:30 boat with time to spare (meaning: get a clam pie for dinner at Pepe’s!). It was just going 5:00 PM by the time I was crossing the bridge, and by the time I was across it, there was essentially no traffic; all those state workers were headed somewhere else. Driving back roads without trucks, on a beautiful day with blue skies and sunshine, the conference literally in my rear view mirror – it was a nice drive, through a bucolic, green landscape.
The pool has been ready for a week now, but it has been too cool. Today was very warm and bright, so I decided it was time for the first dip in the pool. I grew up swimming in Lake Superior (in August!) but the water certainly didn’t seem like 76 degrees. I reminded myself of the pool's promise – the reason I have not acquiesced to the other half’s desire to shut it down and fill it in. Just twenty minutes is enough to unwind my back, and an hour can undo damage from many days of travel.
It isn’t often I stop to take a picture because something is beautiful. Knit night broke up early – such that when combined with the very long day, even after my post-knit night grocery store run, the sun was just setting. And what a spectacular sunset, stopping me in my tracks, reaching for my phone. It started with a skyfull of Maxfield Parrish colors and the crescent moon high overhead, but the northwestern sky quickly became a magnificent mélange of yellow, orange, red, pink and lavender streaks. And then the skyplane moved across the sky, low and slow.
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight: and it was a beautiful day today, with bright, sunny blue skies. Warm, but not too warm. I made in into the pool again and told myself I really must remember to make time for the pool. Whenever the weather permits. Even if dinner is late, it is worth it in the end. Between the actual easing of joint / muscle pain, and the ability to mentally decompress while doing very little but enjoying the view (such as it is in the back yard), pool time is a mindful meditation for body and soul.
The dryer died. OK, it didn’t actually die, but my other half got shocked trying to start it, so we won’t be trying that again. So we got to do our favorite thing in the world: appliance shopping. There are two decent candidates, they’re both available at local stores, but we’ll have to get the electrical situation sorted out. I believe the dryer is the last appliance that is hard-wired into the house. Once we know what’s going on with the outlet and plug, we’ll make a purchase and hope for immediate delivery
The latest Apple update on my phone killed the dictation app. I don't know what changes they actually made but it took a week of playing around, reinstalling the app to get enough prompts working to actually fix permissions. So once again I'm completely behind in words. I will try to recover, but it will be transcribed as much as possible since I'm spending so much time staring at the keyboard for the stupid paper I’m trying to write about the project we did for the client from Hell. Something decent has to come of that project, eventually, right?
I had a good chat with dad tonight, having missed him yesterday afternoon because he was napping when I called. He seems to be napping a lot and not able to do much of anything right now. I’m still shocked that mom drove the tractor - that dad showed her how to use the tractor is mind blowing, not that she could actually drive the tractor, that I believe. That dad willingly showed her how to use the tractor - to me that speaks of a major disruption in his . . . personality? abilities? I don’t quite know what the word is.
The strawberries are clearly enjoying our English spring. The plants, grown from seeds I brought back from Chatsworth, have never produced anywhere near this many berries before. Certainly never berries of this size, although compared to American (even homegrown) berries, they are still very small - think: nail of my pinky finger. What they lack in size, they make up for in fragrance – it is quite heady. But left whole, macerated in a bit of sugar, poured on top of Belgian chocolate ice cream with a shot of of whipped cream it was a very fine dessert – and no baking required.
The peas are blossoming! And there are small peppers visible! I will have photos of some kind of progress in the garden to send dad (I can’t send pictures of the cats every day!). I’ve decided to try engaging him by messaging him a photo every day. I think it will take some real prompting from mom, but if I can manage to do it, and get him to acknowledge reply back, that will help him learn a little bit more about the phone, establish some new pathways in the brain and maybe help him feel more connected.
I finally listened to the new Die Toten Hosen album – yeah, several years old already but the latest one that I have. Google says “Laune die Nature” is “mood of nature” but I like “whim of nature” .. although I wonder if “freak of nature" would work? I must find someone to advise me which translation is best. The album is surprisingly dark - yes DTH have always been a little on the edge, but in many ways, the album was grim. I watched a few videos - a live concert movie is available?!- it would seem the band is doing all right.
Sometimes you roll the dice and win - huzzah! I decided to ask the universe for the yarn I needed to complete a brilliant blue summer tee / tank sweater that I started last year with yarn I bought back in 2011. Almost immediately the yarn was offered to me from someone in Canada who has some leftover from a project. I will rework the top to add the needed extra inch and have everything ready to use the new yarn when. In the meantime, though, I’m not doing any real knitting, just swatching, playing quietly with yarn after a migraine.
The Dayton project keeps on giving me its own special brand of hell. I won't look at the total number of hours I’ve now spent writing this paper- maybe it's not really that bad, but it sure seems that way with two weekends were spent not doing my real life, at least in part. But it is still not yet quite good enough yet to be accepted, except that said this conference has previously accepted some papers that I personally have found to be quite lacking in grammar and substance, not to put too fine a point on it.
So many of the trees and flowers this year have put on spectacular displays. There is a type of dogwood, cornus Kousa, that seems to have become very common in our neighborhood, and many of these trees this spring have been absolutely covered with blossoms – so much sp that the trees appear completely white. OK, not white, the flowers are actually a cream color (I've seen a few with pink splashes). The Kousas in our yard look better than they ever have since they were planted in 2013; two years ago we thought one was dying it looked so bad.
The truly evil part about migraines are the rebound headaches that can return a day or two later. I’ve been fighting off a rebound headache since Monday. It has never fully formed, so I didn’t want to take the big meds again, particularly while I’m still wrestling with this damn paper, but it’s there, lingering. I just need to make it through tomorrow, right? Assuming I can actually finish the rewrites suggested by my colleague – which are accurate, although I was sincerely hoping there wouldn’t be quite so many of them. Time, I need more.
It always seems to happen: I check on the format required by a paper early on, and somewhere in the last 48 hours before submission, I see that I’m somehow using the wrong paper format. It is the very last thing I need with this paper, and in the end, I am unable to get their template to work properly with the content I have prepared and formatted to work with the original (incorrect) template. I finally manage to Frankenstein a PDF with different pages from different files and submit it just to get it out of my hands.
The migraine has been lurking since Sunday afternoon. I took migraine meds last night to try and kill this thing dead, but I still have rebound headache fragments waiting to explode. I limp through the day, relieved of the burden of the paper, but staring at a huge amount of deferred work that all needs to be done by 8 July. I escape for a few hours, out to Solstice dinner with himself. We drive around afterwards, but there’s too much of the fog and clouds to see any sunset as we head into the shortest night this year.
As I struggle to figure out the plan of attack at work, working numbers, figuring out what I can delegate, I become aware of the headache seriously trying to take hold. I try every trick: caffeine, protein, hot wrap around my neck and shoulders, a hot shower – but nothing works. The day becomes something of a joke in terms of making progress – I can think but I can’t look at a screen. In the end I’m left with no alternative but to take meds – once during the day and another round of meds when I go to bed.
The currant crop this year looks amazing. Assuming birds or storms don’t take out all the long clusters of berries that are ripening on the white, red and black currant bushes. There’s a whole cup of white currants, so I bake a cake. It is something of a disappointment - too much moisture and not enough flavor of the fruit. Perhaps they get lost in baking? Perhaps they are better used as a sauce or in a quick compote with some other fresh fruit on a Pavlova. I really need to try my hand at a Pavlova this year
When I saw the post, I was beyond shocked. Clearly, there is a strong progressive bent in the global community, and particularly in my favorite group, but I could not understand why they just didn’t make a ‘no political discussion’ rule. As much as I don’t like the cheeto and his policies and actions, to institute such a specific ban does not align with the real heart of free speech as I learned it during the 1970's Skokie neo-Nazis: I may not like what you have to say, but I’ll defend your right to say it.
Today it all made national news. I read the posts of so many remarkably intolerant liberals in the forum. The ban has allowed many to feel that everyone on the site agrees with them 100% and that their opinions of republicans and conservatives (which they equate) as evil and “deplorable” are justified. That these people don’t view their posts (e.g., KILL THE RICH – and written in all caps!) as in anyway expressing intolerant views is another kind of shock. I’m not rich, not a conservative, liberal or even libertarian – but this makes me ill. Where is America?
I have to wonder how many of them even know who Karl Popper was. There are many posts these days with cartoons of Karl Popper’s paradox of tolerance, but they’ve got it wrong. They ignore a key sentence of what Popper wrote: “I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise.” This does not support bans of hate speech – rather Popper would seem to call such laws “unwise.”
Not trusting any meme or even a single source on the Internetz these days, I spent some time trying to run down the source of the free speech quote that is so popular, the one so commonly attributed to Voltaire. Can it be that it was a complete invention from the early 20th century? Does that affect the . . .
. . . of the idea – whether it was Voltaire or someone else that made the statement? Who determines what ideas are more valuable, meaningful. . .
? Is any idea, thought, belief really so dangerous that it must be completely banned?
The Democratic debates were a joke. Why have moderators if they’re not going to moderate? Why in 2019 can’t the microphones just be cut off at the end of someone’s time? Why are the questions so fucking convoluted? And why not be somewhat organized: X Y and Z answer this question, then A B and C answer this question? They were nothing more than free-for-alls, with candidates literally shouting to try to commandeer the response. If the American Public is supposed learn about the candidates, we need to actually hear from them in meaningful ways.
Another migraine today, one that I was only partially able to fight off. I tried ignoring it, then I took meds, but felt the need to work through it. I stayed out of the bright light today, but in the end, I just had to stop looking at the computer. This is the third one in as many weeks. I know I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at screens day and night, stressing about the ton of work and other stuff, and not so much time really relaxing, but I am not certain what’s going on.
Asked to make my selection of lyrics as my crowdsourcer reward, I listened to a few of the Pierce Turner songs I love best. And then it snuck up on me – the song that Spil & I shared at Fleming’s oh so long ago (25 years?!) and suddenly it hit me with a brick, the fact that I've only one real friend anymore, one who’s gone through fire with me. Spil turned her back on everything in New York years ago, I’ll probably never know why, but that wound still sometimes bleeds. Yeah, I asked for that song.
Woke at 3:00 this morning. Couldn’t get back to sleep. Spent the day feeling awful. Loked at the long list of things that need doing and couldn’t even start most of them. My journal is quite neglected at this point, I’m not sure when I will be able to really get back to an organized life. I did manage to form the buttermilk bread into loaves and watched the very slow rise – is my yeast is expiring? The bread has great flavor, not enough rise, and is slightly over-baked. But it sure is fine toasted.
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