Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another Autumn Sunset on Winter Hill.

I never get tired of the view out my front window. Though the cat's cradle of power lines is what makes it, it is a bit annoying when the telephone, cable (and or) electricity get knocked out if a too-tall truck comes barreling down the street.

Valentine inattendu.
There're reasons why we call Shamu a killer whale.

Couple things: I'm really glad that the trainer and the whale are both doing decently; this could have been a whole lot worse. I'm also in awe of the animals' self-control in these really unnatural situations (the creepiest being the act where the whale would jump out of the water and kiss audience participants).
It gives you an wins the election!

I love it! The replacement stove for the one that tried to suffocate me is not only best-in-class for the budget gas's got a Sabbath mode as well! If only I could program it to buy the groceries and throw stuff together beforehand.
I'm amazed that, at the end of November, I still have flowers blooming in my garden:

A rather battle-weary but still colorful purple coneflower. This plant has something like two other buds, that, if they aren't killed by a frost, will follow.

Sweet Alyssum. This stuff is dripping from raised beds all over the neighborhood. I have two colors in my yard: a light purple and the ubiquitous white.

In addition, there are still some lobelias, pansies and lots of marigolds. I had dahlias up until about a week ago, when I dug up the bulbs and put them in the cellar.

The herbs (thyme, tarragon, oregano) and sorrel are still out like gangbusters. I've also got a very late crop of spinach that should be just enough for an omelette or, perhaps some soup this weekend when it's supposed to become more seasonal out.


On a slightly disturbing note: On the bikepath, I saw some cherry trees blooming. This morning, noticed that the irises were sprouting again. All this, plus the allergies have come back in force.
I've taken the same route to and from work for nearly six years now, and often set myself on autopilot for the commute. (In fact, there are stretches of walk where I know I'm safe enough to close my eyes and try to perceive the world around me based on smells or sounds. My hearing's not so fine-tuned as to be able to catch the differences between models of BMWs or Subarus, but I can distinguish between a van and a Volkswagon based on wind-resistance. I'm also getting better at identifying birds by their calls and trees by the rustle of the wind in their leaves.)

Sometimes, however, I'm broken out of my pre-caffeinated cocoon-ey state by something unusual. Today, it happened to be an approaching figure swathed in something the color of the dahlias that Raphaella gave me this year. How pleasant to see, when we got closer, an incredibly handsome monk who was probably roughly the same age as I am. I gave him one of my biggest (and consequently silliest) smiles, and got in return one of those wonderfully cryptic (and almost flirty) ones with the soupcon of a wink that I've always gotten from the Buddhist monks around here. Yes, it gave me a thrill, and, yes, I'm still thinking about it hours later.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Symphony In Blue

This little card ended its transatlantic flight on my desk last night posing the question "Tapis ou vitrail?"

Myself, I see a walk along the Picardy coast on a blustery day.

Language left me for a bit, but secondary strengths came to the forefront. As it turned out, my powers of concentration increased to the point where I could teach myself some rather knit-picky projects: stranded color knitting being one of them. My first attempt was this pretty little cap - a great tutorial in Bohus and Shetland/Fair Isle techniques.

Since I'm feeling cut off from words, I've been playing a lot with sounds, shapes and colors. Knitting's been very fruitful, and music's been a comfort (back to basics: lots of Czerny and Hanon. I've also set aside Les Six for Chopin, Schumann, even a bit of Debussy. Am also finally getting started on a transcription project I'd been thinking about for some time). At work, going through this book (am on chapter three now), in addition to seeing how much SQL and VB I can manage to get back. I don't have the confidence or the energy to change situations (was thinking of moving house and job) right now. Eventually maybe.
The first indications that something was wrong became apparent when I was in undergrad: I would enter a dreamlike state and be unable to read signs, advertisements, etc. Sometimes this would culminate in a dead faint; at other times, I'd either throw up or start hyperventilating. It got so bad that I had to stop taking the train to get anywhere. Though I've no problem with the T now, I still like to arrange my life around walking.

In music, it didn't even matter that I'd had a body memory of the piece I was playing - I'd sit down in front of my instrument and watch the notes go cascading down the staff into a pile on the lower corner of the page. Then my fingers would turn to rubber and I'd get the chills. I went from performance to academic in order to accommodate this and haven't sung or played a note in public in years.

This time around, though not as severe, the language thing is giving me a run for my money. Sometimes, when I'm at the therapist, I'll drift between languages like a sleepy motorist drifts from lane to lane. Sometimes I'll just start crying, as I can't find the right words to explain to wrap around, to sketch out how I'm feeling. Documentation and office correspondence have been torture; blogging darn well near impossible.

It's pretty clear what's going on here; awfully frustrating as well. How much work will be necessary to put me back together again this time around? And how will it hit me the next time (if it does)? I don't want to keep spending so much of my time and intellect fighting emotional windmills. I want to move on. Be productive. Live up to a potential that so far's been stifled and sabotaged by traumatic overhead.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Turkey and Travel.

May both be enjoyable (or tolerable, anyway).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Much more interesting were the ballot questions: three statewide and three for my particular ward/precinct. So what happened there?

Question 1: Sale of wine in food stores in MA

I voted yes on this, as I don't see the problem in one-stop-shopping for both one's dinner and the wine to go with. I was also turned off by the liquor lobby's campaign, which brought to mind the Teachers' Union's sensationalist attack against the 2002 ballot question on bilingual education (Don't sue teachers!).

Question 1 was rejected. (That's okay, as my market actually does have a liquor license, and I CAN get wine with dinner if I so choose. Just wanted to see it a possibility across the state.)

Question 2: Nomination of Candidates for Public Office

Essentially, a candidate can be nominated by more than one party, and all the different affiliations will be listed on the ballot. I voted for this, as it seems a good way to be able to support a candidate for their views, rather than party affiliation. It could potentially bring some variety into the election process - allowing us to vote for smaller-party and independent candidates and not have it seem an act of futility.

Question 2 was rejected.

Question 3: Family Child Care Providers

Childcare providers in MA already have bargaining capabilities, so I wasn't worried about that; what particularly interested me was who was backing the initiative. As it turns out, a major entity who is trying to make inroads at my organisation was one of the big supporters. Since I've a rather dim view of them, and I'm all for small businesses/contractors keeping as much autonomy as possible, I voted no on this question.

Question 3 was rejected.

Those were the state-wide questions. The last three, on my neighborhood's ballot, were non-binding questions (via the Somerville News):

Question 4: "would instruct state Rep. Denise Provost, D-Somerville, to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon the President and Congress of the United States to end the war in Iraq immediately and bring all military forces home."

I voted against this, as I do not feel it is the place of my local representatives to be mixing themselves in foreign policy. That is not why I hired them. Aside from that, I happen to be a strong supporter of what the US is trying to accomplish in Iraq as well as Afghanistan. Yes, stuff could be going better, (and I hope that things will improve with the change in government) but if we were to pull out now, the situation will do nothing but get a whole lot worse.

Question 4 passed (not surprising).

Question 5: "calls for Provost to vote in favor of a non-binding resolution to return Palestinian refugees to their land of origin."

Question 6: "instructs her to vote for resolutions calling on “all governmental entities of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” to sell any investments they hold in Israeli bonds or in companies that supply military equipment to Israel."

Again, superficially, I voted against 5 and 6 for the same reason I voted against question 4. Beyond that, though, I'm just too tired to be getting into my feelings about the group that got these questions on the ballot, or to bother picking nits over Palestinian right of return issue and the whole likening of Israel to South Africa under Apartheid. Suffice it to say that, though these questions were non-binding, they pissed me off enough to get me up early and get me to the polling place when it opened to vote them the hell out.

Questions 5 and 6 were rejected (praise be).


Coming in 2007 or 2008: What will be the Massachusetts voters' response to judicial fiat?
So, how'd things go in Massachusetts?


Kennedy's back in again (big surprise). So long as I can hold a pen, I'm going to keep voting against him, however.

Deval Patrick is our new governor. I was rather disappointed with this, as, quite honestly, I don't like him. I thought that he was about as content-free as one could get and that Healey was the only one in the lot of candidates that had a good, coherent plan. Unfortunately, the race was a dirty one, and her side didn't outsource the mudslinging like his did.

(Karen has a theory about this: people are not looking so much for a good public servant as for Charlie Brown. They want someone sweet, cute and wise-seeming beyond their years.)

Most everyone else I voted for got in. The two in my ward/precinct I left blank got reelected, as well. In all, not much changed, and what did change wasn't unexpected.
On the way home last night from one of the myriad doctor appointments it seems I have to keep nowadays, I ran into Pablo. We decided to grab dinner at the new sandwich shop by the guy who gave us the East Coast Grill (wonderful but pricey).

While enjoying my about-as-close-to-Buffalo as I'm likely to get here beef on weck, I caught a bit of CNN's Situation Room (sound off, but with a Steely Dan soundtrack) blogging party and had to smile. Yes, the whole alternative media thing is neat (guess I have a bit of investment in it), but did there need to be coverage of a roomful of people with laptops? Granted, the sound was off, but I think I'd rather have waited till I got home to read what my favorites had to say than watch a bunch of random folks tapping away in a nondescript bar somewhere in DC.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I was up with the chickens this morning in order to get to my polling place as close to opening time as possible. Got there at around 7:15 (polls opened at 7:00), and, not surprisingly, found that all the voter cubbies were filled and that there was a small line ahead of me.

As usual, everybody from voters to the security officer was in a good mood, and there seemed to be an almost festive air about the place. All that was lacking was a DPW bake sale.

At any rate, I continued my tradition of voting against Kennedy: not very fruitful, but, boy, did it did feel good. As for everything/everyone else? We'll see what happens, and maybe we'll talk about it later.
Last night, Pablo stopped by to keep me company while I started the process of turning this year's jack-o'lanterns into pumpkin butter. While I peeled and chopped, he read.

We'd been going through a book of O Henry short stories lately, so to keep up the momentum, he read one on spring greens (we were thinking of sorrel soup for dinner anyway, so this was a nice little entrée). Afterwards, we got into the meatier stuff.

Over the course of the evening we crammed: Healey's fifty points, Patrick's overview, then the explanations of each of the statewide ballot questions. Didn't bother with the Somerville ballot questions, as we prettymuch knew where we stood on them from the getgo.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Life goes on.

No, I've not been posting much here lately: have been busy with other work-health-personal stuff. Don't feel much like talking about it, either.
More stuff to keep in mind the next time someone hollers "torture!" in reference to Guantanamo.

-'force feeding' schedule changed to evening hours for Ramadan

- two Eid feasts served to accomodate those who chose to extend their fasting by a day because they believed that US soldiers were trying trick them


(Idle question here: how many people who decry the Evil Empire's 'torture,' so cheapened now as to include perceived 'cultural insensitivity,' were even aware that last month was Ramadan, or knew what day Eid al Fitr fell on this year?)
Bless their hearts.

-via LGF.


Sorry, but I really feel the need to mention this: though I do live in MA, that doesn't mean that I've ever voted for either the Senior or the Junior clown. The write-in section of the ballot is this girl's best friend. Really.