Tea drinkers, take note!

Jul. 28th, 2017 10:29 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
If you like tea from Teavanna, go stock up NOW. They're all closing.

a metaphor or two

Jul. 28th, 2017 09:45 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Each time we do anything to resist the Occupation -- the coup that has taken over the White House is not an Administration -- each time we contact our elected representatives, go to a march, write a letter to the editor, do any thing at all to sustain each other and resist the crazyness, it is as if these acts, these ideas, the letters and calls and demonstrations and explanations to reluctant relatives and confused friends are all grains of sand.

Individual grains of sand are irritants, small bits of ground-down shell and lava and minerals, but together they build a beach, a sand bar, a beachhead. We are creating a strong, huge sand bar to stop Trump's pleasure cruise, no matter how much the gilded yacht's engines are pushed. And when that happens, several possibilities arise from the sand bar: climb aboard and take it back, put a hole in its side and let it sink, or watch the waves wash it away. Thing is, we need a ship of state, so we may all have to become metaphorical pirates, theoretical Elizabeth Swans and Will Turners and Jack Sparrows and Calico Jacks (the gentlest and least bloodthirsty of the ones on Black Sails) and take it back, strengthen the hull, replace the engine, repair the holes in it and the damage that's been done (it's a wonder the thing sails at all), take off the fake gilding and give it an honest paint job, and set it back on course.

(I considered saying we were all stone crabs, such as the ones that moved the Black Pearl back to water in Davy Jones's Locker (third POTC), but I am not that crabby this morning despite how much I like and admire the sea goddess Calypso.)

PEDTM: Day 27

Jul. 27th, 2017 07:52 pm
mirabile: (Peggy Carter)
[personal profile] mirabile
Only a few days left in the month, and I managed to post every day so far. Let's see if I can finish it out.

Today was . . . kind of hard. I broke a bud vase that belonged to my great-great-grandmother. It wasn't valuable, except for sentimental reasons, plus my mother was using it. I was so upset. I brought home the pieces and will try to glue them back but honestly, I don't think it can be done. Or at least that I can't do it. But I'll try.

Then, while cleaning up after dinner, I broke my favorite bowl. Again, not valuable in any way except I use it for everything: eating soup or cereal and measuring flour and sugar when I bake. I just felt overwhelmed when I saw the pieces in the sink. Webster cleaned them up for me but what's broken is broken, you know? And to break two things in one day? Frankly, I feel a little broken. The political situation doesn't help. I stupidly logged into Twitter and oh my fucking god. No no no no no.

Webster says I'm not having enough fun, that I'm working too hard. Maybe? Anyway, we're going to find time to go to a movie, and I'm going to try to chill out. I'm going to give up on politics again for a while, too. I don't want the bastards to win, but I need to take care of myself so I can take care of Webster and Mother.

I did have a nice time with Mother, despite the broken vase. She's still talking about my late aunt and uncle, but it's easier for me to say, No, gosh, I didn't get a chance to talk to them. And she's so excited that my sister will be out for a visit in five weeks.

I think I'll listen to the latest My Favorite Murder now, and then go to sleep, even though it's ridiculously early.

Household blogging.

Jul. 27th, 2017 10:42 pm
hannah: (Laundry jam - fooish_icons)
[personal profile] hannah
I threw stuff out today. Trust me when I say that's kind of a big deal. I've been trying to divest myself of things and clutter lately, little objects I don't need or anticipate any use for.

There were a lot of twisty-ties tossed out today. Wrappers, tins, boxes, papers. Some minor reorganization and consolidation that shouldn't have needed to take place, strictly speaking, but it wasn't until now I had any feeling or motivation. I don't believe in a lot of the how-to philosophy behind this sort of thing - I tend to stand behind the relentlessly practical approach - but recognizing it wasn't doing anything for me to have the stuff around helped a lot. Looking at a jar and anticipating putting lemonade in it's different than looking at a rubber band and just wondering where to toss it. And now I've got a little breathing room on my table that I hope to expand upon, and might even tackle the rug in the next couple weeks.

PEDTM: Day 26

Jul. 26th, 2017 08:34 pm
mirabile: (Saguaro Sunset)
[personal profile] mirabile
Hurray, the electrician came! And he worked really hard and charged less than his estimate! We like him, so so much more than the electrician our contractor had hired. We have already started another list of things for him to do -- in about a year or so. Tomorrow our contractor will be back and theoretically there's only a day or two at most for him to do and then we. Are. THROUGH.

I was up early to swim my laps and then mostly hung around with Webster while the electrician worked. I made peach cobbler and lentil-rice soup, did some laundry, read, and watched Master of Lies, about Bernie Madoff. That was such a creepy movie. I also listened to some early episodes of My Favorite Murder and it was interesting listening to Karen and Georgia figure out how to work the podcast.

Now I'm in bed and about to listen to the latest Magnus Archives episode. I need to write about that podcast. It is so beautifully written and performed, and I've grown to care so much about the characters, and am so curious and a little worried about what will happen next.

Webster discovered this beautifully written essay, The Geologic Origin of the Sonoran Desert. I'm about halfway through but will re-read it, I can tell. That's where we live now, by the way: in the Sonoran Desert. It's a hot, mean place, nothing like the loving green of home.

layers and layers

Jul. 26th, 2017 06:30 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
If you want to understand what is going on in DC, you have to think of it as a layer cake, one of those many-layer tortes, or maybe as layers of rock in geological strata, from sedimentary stuff at the bottom of a lake and igneous and metamorphic rock shoving up and transforming because of heat and pressure, with magma at the bottom of it all, or at the center, depending on the diagram you learned from.

What am I talking about? Stuff where Trump opens his mouth and sick toads fall out and sit on the sidewalk, blinking and vomiting. Ugly sick bloated toads, like the speech to the Boy Scouts and the outrageous dismissal of all transgender military personnel.

(My apologies to all truly healthy toads throughout the country, living their lives peaceably, eating flies and mosquitos and staying far from politics.)

I know these things are serious. I know. The president is trampling on people's value, on people's lives, in every direction, cynically and carelessly. But you cannot take them as the only thing that is happening. Horrible as they are, they are only the poisoned icing on the cake, the noxious smoke from the volcano, the peeling top layer of slate. They are *meant* to get you mad. They are *designed* to keep you upset.

Why? So you won't pay attention to what's going on behind the scenes, down there in the strata. Down there, the separation of church and state is being eroded. Women's right to have a say about how their own bodies are treated is being chipped away. The little tiny things we do not see that have huge effects, things that pile up, like permission to get past environmental checks before running oil and gas pipelines near drinking water. The elimination of much of the Congressional Budget Office staff because they vetoed Trumpnocare. I could go on and on. Often I do, and you see it here; sometimes I don't even put it here because it gets me that upset.

I am not saying not to be upset. It is upsetting. Transpeople should be able to serve in the military without comment. To say otherwise is a violation of equal rights under the law. Boy Scouts (and Girl Scouts and other young people's groups) should not have to listen to insane political harangues, should not be put into that arena. National monuments, parks and seashores should stay untouched by developers, drillers, exploiters.

But yelling at Trump, writing to him, even if it feels good to you, won't make a difference. He does not give a flying fuck about any of us -- why would he care about how any subset of us is affected? He thinks health care costs $12 a month. He probably thinks someone who is transgender changes their clothes on a train, or in transit. There is no limit to his lack of understanding and his lack of caring about anything he doesn't understand.

Keep your eyes on the small stuff, the bits and pieces that aren't on page one. Look for what's on page six or the back of a section, with a smaller headline (or in places like The Hill or Politico or other politically based newsletters. Pick one or two areas that interest you, and follow what is going on with them.

And then write your Senators and Congresspeople about them -- on their own email system. (yes, here is that contact list again.) They cannot ignore mail from their own constituents for long. If the time is short, phone and ask to talk to a staff person, instead of leaving a message. Tell them what you think, what you want, briefly and to the point. Tell them you're outraged, when you are. Tell them what you think of what Trump is doing, and (if your rep or Senator is Republican) how can any thinking person possibly agree or support this, because (up to three good reasons). And then, "Thank you for hearing me as a constituent", and give them your name as it is on the voter rolls so they can look it up. Once a week. Pick one thing a week. The staffers should start recognizing your name, your voice.

And keep an eye on the vulnerable Republican seats, House and Senate, the ones that can be overturned in the next election. Support the people running in the primaries to oppose the heartless idiots in office.

Do not be taken in by the sparkly floor show with the mouthy MC. Keep your eyes on what's happening behind the curtain, up in the lighting gallery, over in the wings. That's where things are being done. Look for possible trades and swaps -- Reps and Senators voting for things they should not vote for -- and ask them why they are making such poor, harmful choices? Who benefits from these choices? Follow the money, but also follow the influence. Who's being bought and sold here?

I trust you, all of you. I don't know you that well, but I trust you to do the right thing insofar as you know what it is, and to ask good questions when it isn't obvious. Go find the molten lava under the rock and raise hell. Go and comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, because every one of us matters.

follow-ups

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:53 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
1. Re coffee ice cream: Kineticatrue was in western NY recently, just after I wrote about coffee ice cream, and she brought me back two half-gallon tubs of Perry's Ice Cream, the brand I grew up with. One of them is Coldbrew and Cream -- stripes of good coffee and vanilla -- and the other is something like Bittersweet Sinphony -- espresso ice cream with dark chocolate chips in it. That one is more or less the precursor of my favorite Ben & Jerry's, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz. Yum! Thank you!

2. Sometimes not doing research for a long time because of the cost of travel, and health issues, pays off.

When I started looking for information on Ebenezer Allan, in particular some information on his correspondence with Gen. Haldemand in Quebec, I stumbled across the Michigan Historical Society's annual publications from the late 1800s -- which specialize in the history of the Great Lakes region. And they have published in four volumes Haldemand's correspondence since he was assigned to this region (he had previously been in Florida, I'm sure I don't know why) from 1776 to about 1790. And it's all scanned in online now.

I have the links so I can read it on computer, but that's kind of tedious when it's 1800 pages or so -- and I want to know more about the context. So I am downloading the volumes, one at a time, to my Kindle, reading and making bookmarks; when I'm done, I can go back to the online version (which does not have transcription errors) and copy/paste or type the relevant passages with the bibliographic data (which doesn't come through completely on the Kindle).

Where I'm reading, at the moment, Haldemand has arrived, and is telling the officers running various forts that they are spending way too much money and they have to cut back, and can't the soldiers live on venison and fish they catch from the lakes? I have already read a later letter back to him from Brigadier MacLean, who ran Fort Niagara, about the problems of running out of treaty-specified gifts to Indians of various tribes -- they are supposed to get trousers and he only has shirts, and has had to borrow some from the men, which is not right, and even get some from Fort Erie -- and as I read it I can see MacLean gritting his teeth and trying not to scream because he's writing his boss -- but it comes across at times as *massively bitchy* in the best understated British sense of it. One of the references I already have is a letter of MacLean's to a friend (filed under Scottish Immigrant Papers in the Archives of Ontario) where he lets his hair down and his ire out of the bag and says exactly what he thinks of what's going on when Haldemand did not send the troops to back up the ones retreating and how angry and disappointed everyone was: "The Indians say, "The king has a fool for a general." I cannot disagree."

This is going to be *fun*.

ETA: The other places this info is available is in Michigan and in Quebec, neither of them near enough for convenient research, certainly not for the time to read all 1800 pages. So this is truly a gift.

PEDTM: Day 25

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:55 pm
mirabile: made just for me (Default)
[personal profile] mirabile
At last, a fairly quiet day! Had a nice early morning with Webster, then off to spend a few hours with Mother. We mostly sat and talked, though around noon I took her to the independent living part of her assisted living facility, to the cafe there. She had a chocolate milkshake and I had a bowl of (very good) tomato soup. Then we rolled around visiting places I hoped she would remember: the library she used to work in and the gift shop she used to keep the books for. She seemed to come in and out of the memories. Then we went to look at the door of her original apartment, where she lived for her first eleven years, and on a whim knocked on the door of her oldest friend, who was there. So we had a nice chat and plan to get together for lunch in a couple of weeks.

After we returned to her apartment and sat for a bit longer, I came home where I collapsed for a while. Never did practice my ukulele but I did play piano for about thirty minutes, and we worked in the yard despite the heat. When the sun went down enough we jumped in the pool to cool off.

Tomorrow the electrician is supposed to be here; fingers crossed.

Right now: sleep. I can barely keep my eyes open.

GRRRRRRRRRR

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:42 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Senate vote to proceed toward removing the Affordable Care Act: 51-50. That's 51 votes against health care in America.

This is not the final word on the matter-- keep yelling, talking, chanting and singing at them. Keep on standing up for the health of everyone in America.

PEDTM: Day 24

Jul. 24th, 2017 06:39 pm
mirabile: (San Francisco)
[personal profile] mirabile
Another difficult day. In fact, I just told Webster: I have hit the wall. I need to curl up and just be for a while, you know? He knew.

Today we saw the neurologist our primary care physician recommended. She was a bit chillier than I would have liked, but she did seem to listen. The issues are several, according to her. Biggest is that neurology no longer recommends any narcotics for migraine pain. Which is, imo, stupid as shit, but hey. My doctorate is in literature so what do I know. Anyway, she has referred Webster to a pain management specialist (he used to be a surgeon according to his bio), whom she says will write the Rx for pain meds. She repeated several times that she does not believe he will refuse Webster the demerol, because he has used it successfully for almost twenty years now.

However -- and we have no issue with this -- her goal is to find a prophylactic that will prevent the migraines and therefore obviate any need for pain meds. Unfortunately the very first choice is something Webster tried years ago and hated (Topomax). She still wrote him a Rx for it because it's now time-released, but he has decided not to even try it. I'm a little hesitant about that decision, but it's his life and his health so I'll support him.

It turns out she is a big believer in Botox for migraines. Has anyone tried that? She says most insurance companies are hesitant to approve it because it's expensive, but she is going to start working on them. Webster is interested in trying it, so that's good. We have another appointment with her in about three weeks so he'll tell her about his decision then, and we should hear about our insurance company's decision at the same time.

Best of all she says something new is coming out in January that she is really excited about. I knew immediately what she was referring to: Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP). I've been reading about it for years. So even if the Botox doesn't work (and apparently it takes nine months before you know if it does) there's something new to try.

Theoretically the pain management people will call us in a day or two to set up an appointment. We are both very very nervous about that. We've had so many bad experiences with doctors over the years. Kaiser Permanente was a god-send and leaving it was the hardest thing about moving here. Why the shit Kaiser isn't everywhere I cannot understand, but it isn't so we're stuck for a while. The stories I could tell you about our pre-Kaiser doctor experiences would, I assure you, freak. You. Out. So I won't because I don't like remembering them.

The best thing about today was that it rained! Really rained, a nice steady rain. The air smells wonderful. No more rain in the forecast for a while, so I'm glad we were driving around in it.

In a few minutes I'm going to pour myself a small glass of pinot grigio and listen to the latest My Favorite Murder podcast. I don't feel ready for another Mother's day tomorrow so I need to get some rest.

Links! I have two today. First, via Jason Kottke, a ten hour (TEN HOUR!) Youtube of wonderful nature sounds -- I'm listening to the ocean. God, I miss the ocean. There are others, too; you can read about them here.

Also via Kottke, a series of very short stories concerning how you knew you'd found your person. I found some of them charming, some of them sad. And of course they made me think about my relationship with Webster, which is, I think, a good solid relationship but I'm not sure I believe in having a person in the sense the author meant. Do you?

Finally, not a link but thoughts I've been having a lot lately: how much I miss home. I love our house and I love being so close to Mother, but I miss the west coast. Achingly so. I miss the ocean. I miss how near Yosemite was. I miss our vacations in the eastern Sierra. I miss my friends. I miss the fog. I miss the wine country rituals. I miss Kaiser. I miss how Democrat it is! I miss it all so so much.

And while thinking that I realized that I also miss my mother. The woman I spend so much time with is of course my mother, but she's not the woman I grew up with, who owned two business and traveled the world and played golf and cards and had parties. She's gone forever.

Okay, now I've made myself cry. I think I better get that wine. You all have a good night, okay?

PEDTM: Day 23

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:43 pm
mirabile: (Saguaro Sunset)
[personal profile] mirabile
Oh my goodness, but there's a BIG WIND and lots of rain right now! Really serious. The lights have flickered enough that Alexa is confused, so we've unplugged the computers in case there's a power surge. As you see, we still have power and internet, thank goodness. I really really hope we don't lose them! Especially because despite the rain it's still 94F/34C which is a tad warm to go without air conditioning. At least we have screened windows now, after the remodel, so we could open things up.

We had a quiet day, thank goodness. I'm sure Webster and I are still trying to recover from the confusion of that call from the doctor's office on Thursday, plus tomorrow we see the new neurologist he recommended. We are both very nervous about meeting her. I hope she's a listener. Oh well.

Ooh, I think I saw the lights flicker again. I'll post this just in case and keep my fingers crossed. I wish you could see the color of the sky right now, and hear the wind howling -- no, it's more like growling. Plus thunder.
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