Wednesday, September 29, 2021

getting started and much needed rain

I have that mold over in the studio to fill and Sunday I even went over and pulled jars of frit off the shelf and onto the table and I sit here unmotivated. Today is my usual day to do the week's grocery shopping and again I sit here unmotivated putting it off til tomorrow. I've been having bouts of insomnia, did again last night, a couple of hours at least, which makes me sleep late and so I don't get my exercise routine in before breakfast. Add to that I had to jump start my day before I was even remotely ready, fixing my breakfast early so that I could go pick up my grandgirl Robin and get her to her first day of work on time as she doesn't have a car and the parents did not make any arrangements so that she could get to work, granted they do leave early to get to their own jobs in the city. I did volunteer yesterday to take her if need be when I talked to her but I'm not going to be available every day. I've bailed out my grandson many times, helped the twins now and then, but Robin has never asked me for anything so I'm glad to do it for her when I can.

I wrote the above yesterday and I did actually move my butt over to the studio and started on the mold. Didn't get far, just the green sheaths the flowers descend from but it's a start. Doubt I'll get much done on it today if anything as I still have to do the aforementioned grocery shop and the dishes need to be done and pick up Robin from work and take her home and it's a yoga class night.

In a show of good timing, my yellow trumpet flower has a couple of open blooms.

My white orchid flower tree made a couple of seed pods this year for the first time ever. It's getting big enough now that I'm going to have to think about planting it in the ground somewhere as it's getting too hard to move it around to protect it in the winter and unlike the purple orchid flower tree/shrub planted over at the shop, which has never bloomed because it has frozen to the ground every winter since I planted it, this one has thorns. A little out of focus but there it is.

We finally got some much needed rain yesterday, 1 3/4” - 2 1/2” depending on whose rain gauge, one at either end of the street. It dropped that amount of rain in about 30 – 40 minutes amid lots of lightning and thunder and high wind. I had to drive through it coming back from picking up Robin after work and it was raining so hard as I neared the house that I was going only 20 mph and still couldn't see a damn thing. Pulled in the driveway and had to wait it out in the car because I would have been drenched by the time it took me to go the six feet to the garage. The power was off when I made it in the house. A lightning strike...the flash and boom almost simultaneous followed by a sizzle had knocked out at least four transformers in the neighborhood but they had the power back on by a little after 6 PM. Bonus for me since it was my night to cook and we have an electric stove so I got takeout from the place down the road; fried catfish, bacon potatoes, mustard greens, fried okra.

Another thunderstorm came through last night dropping another two inches so I didn't get much sleep last night either thanks to a panicky little dog. Four inches in 12 hours and no standing water in the low spots, that's how dry it was and more predicted for the next three days and late afternoon today so I'll probably be canceling yoga class this evening.

I can't even read some days about our political situation with the republicans filibustering everything the democrats want to do for the common people and to rebuild our faltering infrastructure. Now they won't even vote for a stopgap government funding bill or raise the debt ceiling, something they did three times when Trump was in office after their massive tax cuts to the rich and greedy adding trillions to our national debt, just to make Biden look bad. They don't give a shit about this country, our democracy, or the other 98%. The only thing they care about is power. And the two democrats in name only who won't vote to get rid of the filibuster which was put in place to guarantee white men would stay in power are playing right into their hands. And what's going on with the 1/6 commission? They've issued subpoenas that are being ignored and it remains to be seen if they will enforce them. It's just all too depressing to think about

Monday, September 27, 2021

another post about things I've written about repeatedly

Saturday I did something I haven't done in decades if I even ever did it before. I washed the car. It was so dirty it looked gray instead of the sparkly dark blue it is. Now I need to clean the inside which is also very dusty which I don't understand how that happens. We rarely drive with the windows down so how does all that dust get in there?

Look how shiny!

Sunday I emptied the truck of downed branches from Nickolas and swept out the leaves accumulating in the barn and garage before the leaves really start to fall again. I'm trying to stay on top of the barn after the hard work of cleaning it out and organizing it earlier this year. Then I filled and put the bird feeders out for the fall and winter. I bring them in in the summer lest the birds forget how to forage. It took a couple of hours for a lone cardinal to find it and this morning I see the titmice and chickadees and inca doves have also discovered that it's out again. So far the squirrels are oblivious but that won't last.

Stayed up late last night finishing the book I was reading and went and got my blood work done this morning. And really, that's all I've done.

The woman who leads the yoga class I go to on Monday and Wednesday evenings won't be able to be there for several weeks and she asked me if I would lead the class while she was out of pocket and so I did agree. Last Wednesday night was the first time and so I'll also be leading the class this week and next at least until Abby can come back.

I had two surprise lilies bloom this year. Some years I get a few and some years none.

And I saw this dying dragonfly in the street last evening when Minnie and I took our little walk. I picked it up and put it on a shrub so the ants wouldn't eat it alive.


I want to apologize for being a little testy at the end of my last post. I was just frustrated that I wasn't making myself understood, that afib and stroke are two different issues though they are connected, and maybe a little upset that y'all would think I would trust my heart to a doctor that was blasé about stroke, though I know you were just expressing your concern for me and I do appreciate that you take time out of your day to comment on and read what I write.

Some more info: People can have afib for years, not know it, never get treated for it, and never throw a clot or have a stroke. They may just feel tired all the time or out of breath. The general consensus is that afib episodes need to last 12 – 24 hours before clots may form though some doctors think the threat occurs after about 5 hours. Mine typically only lasted 2 – 7 hours so these extended episodes are new which is why I'm convincing myself to undergo the other ablation, something I'd just as soon not do, but if my thyroid isn't contributing and the medication is no longer controlling it, then that is what I will have to do. Here's another fact that I didn't know. Beside the usual triggers, sleep apnea can also be a culprit. And, the older you are, the more likely it is to develop. Fun stuff.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

a break in the weather, Queen of the Night, Friday's appointment

We had our first cool fall day fall on the first day of fall. How cool is that? The last three days have been glorious; cooler (temps in the mid to high 50˚s at 7 AM), brilliant blue sky, and low humidity.

While I didn't get to see the cereus in full bloom Monday night, I did get out and see the last three blooms and just those three were scenting the air. If it follows the pattern of the last few years it will put on another big set of blooms in a month or so. It is truly the Queen of the Night.

Saw another little frog on the glass in my back door, this one a green tree frog. This one and the brown mottled one I posted earlier are the first frogs I have seen all year. Usually I come across them more frequently.

The last three days have been very busy for me. We went into Rosenberg and turned in a very old Apple computer with the heavy bulbous monitor and the tower that went with it and the TV whose screen went dark. We'd only had it 5 years but apparently that's sort of the lifespan. It was a chap ass TV to begin with. I expected to have to pay for the monitor as that's what it says on the Best Buy website about the recycling program but the guy didn't ask for a penny. I gather it was so old it didn't contain whatever monitors contain now that is expensive to recycle. And while we were there we bought a new bigger TV, a whopping 32”, the same size as the one we turned in. We just don't watch enough TV to justify getting anything bigger and having to clear wall space and rearrange the room. I also got a new tripod, one that will accommodate my iPhone which is the only camera I have right now. I'm so happy. Now I can take pictures that are level and plumb. That's really hard to do holding a phone camera. And then very busy at SHARE on Thursday, the work was non-stop either filling baskets or restocking my shelves and then took the recycling that had been piling up.

So yesterday was my appointment with the EP. I had been keeping a diary of my days on and off afib since about the 5th. The pattern is about two days on and two days off. If it holds I should go into afib later tonight. We'll see. Anyway, I was in perfect sinus rhythm during the appointment. Of course. I asked him about the sweating and whether or not he thought my flutter had come back (no, he said to that) but he did note that I’m on thyroid meds and thyroid malfunction can contribute to both sweating and afib, asked when my last blood work was done, December, so he’s ordered another thyroid panel to make sure there isn’t any easy solution to these sudden long episodes. Then we’ll go from there. If the medication is no longer controlling the afib then probably the best option is the ablation because he doesn’t want to increase my med dose as he feels I am on the highest dose for my body size and condition though if I want to put it off for a few months that’s fine. Once again he said the condition isn’t life threatening, just quality of life issue. I asked him about that, that I was getting questioned a lot when I told people that. He said that the irregular rhythm, rapid rhythm in and of itself is not life threatening. I asked about the threat of stroke, he said that strokes aren’t always fatal, that the usual effect is paralysis, and I’m on medication to prevent blood clots from forming. So, I will hear from his office when the results of the thyroid panel are back but I don't expect anything has changed and then I will have to decide if I'm ready to go through with the ablation. Probably depends on if this pattern continues (which it did, back into afib Friday night, still am, just irregular though, not rapid).

I did look up the fatality rate of stroke which was 1 in 8 people die within the next 30 days and my father's death certificate lists stroke as cause of death. He had an event in the middle of the night and died immediately but no autopsy was done because my mother didn't want him cut up. My father was a pathologist and one of his duties was autopsies and since he was a member of the medical community, the doctor acquiesced to my mother's wish and just listed stroke as cause of death based on his medical history, a stroke two decades or so previous and high blood pressure which he would not take medication for. So we don't really know what killed him. Could have been an aneurism or a massive heart attack.

Edit:  Let me reiterate since no one seems to be EP does not take the threat of stroke casually or lightly. His father died of stroke and he is adamant about no strokes happening on his watch. It's why I had to have the interior ultrasound before I had the previous ablation to make sure no clots were in my heart and why I will have to do that again before I have the other ablation before he goes in my heart to do the procedure. It's why he insists on me taking the very expensive eliquis instead of any of the much cheaper ones because it's the best de-coagulent so that clots won't form. Also why he stresses quality of life. I'm not stupid. I read up on all this stuff. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

other weird things

Here's another weird thing, I've been plagued with ear worms for the last week and more. Every day some snippet of song constantly going through my head. Sunday it was 'strange brew, kill what's inside of you' from the song Strange Brew by Cream, a song I haven't heard in decades, many decades. Their first album, Fresh Cream, was the first album I ever bought though this song was on their second album, Disraeli Gears. Every day it's something different, from a song I heard on the radio or just something that pops in my head. Easier to ignore during the day but it drives me mad at night when I'm trying to fall asleep. Last night I tried to dislodge it by listing the sequence of yoga poses in my morning routine which eventually worked and I fell asleep. I'd only get through the first three or four before my mind would wander off and I'd have to start over again. Yesterday it's the refrain from Cindi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun which was replaced by 'we built this city on rock and roll' over and over and over. Drove me nuts yelling I don't care what you built it on. Thankfully nothing today.

I've mentioned that this has been a weird year in the garden. We had a heat spell early in the year, then the Deep Freeze, then an extended spring while everything struggled to recover. Some things have bloomed when they should like the poppies and the love-in-a-mist and the larkspur, some things bloomed late and sparsely like the yellow ginger which is just now putting out a few blooms and the zinnias, some things didn't bloom at all like the day lilies, the orange cosmos, the morning glories, and the lantana. Lantana, fer crying out loud, it's basically a weed, can't kill the stuff. The flowering senna froze to the ground then came back but then all the new sprouts died but that's OK as there are several volunteers coming up. And once again I missed the big bloom of the night blooming cereus. There were 15 buds forming but three dropped off. I knew they were going to open last night, even mentioned it to Marc. Did I remember to go out after dark to see? Of course not. But there are still three that didn't open. Hopefully I'll remember tonight.

Last Saturday was the town's once a year big clean up event where you could bring big heavy things for disposal, with a few exceptions like tires and old paint cans, that the regular trash pick up won't take. I had called to see if they would take old computers and TVs, yes they would, and do you trash them or dispose of them ecologically, yes the person thought those things would be recycled. So I loaded up the VERY heavy old Apple bulbous monitor and the tower that went along with it and the TV whose screen went black and drove them over to the spot and no, they would not be recycling those items, they would go directly in the landfill. So they're still sitting in the trunk of my car. We're taking them into the Best Buy in Rosenberg tomorrow because they will recycle them and we're going to look at new TVs while we're there.

Also last Saturday was the baby shower for my grandson and his SO which was very nice and they got some very needed items. She's type 1 diabetic and the baby grew a whole pound the previous week. Tomorrow they find out when the doctor wants to induce her and the baby is already over 7 pounds and she has previously had a broken pelvis so they are concerned not only about the size of her baby but her pelvis. She's at 35/36 weeks now so the plan is to let the birth proceed naturally after inducing her but intervene with a C section if necessary.

Coming back from the baby shower I saw this.

The yellow rain lilies popped up the other day which surprised me since we haven't had any rain in weeks. It rains around us but not on us.

And I spotted this little tree frog on the side of the house the other day as well. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

weird dreams

image via:

It's been a long time since I've remembered my dreams, any wisp still remaining evaporating with my first conscious thought but lately I've been having doozies. I recounted one last Saturday and now these.

Friday night's dream: I looked out the door to see 8 or 9 people milling around in the yard. Went out and stood in front of the house staring at them and finally asked what they thought they were doing. Never did get an answer but there was a house for sale on the corner and somehow I thought they were from there and were looking around. Then one of the women walked out of my house and I started yelling at her what are you doing, how did you get in my house, you can't just walk in my house. so then several of them pushed past me and went in and up the stairs and I followed after them to the top of the stairs yelling that they shouldn't go up there, they didn't want to go up there, it was scary, something scary up there so I went back down. Maybe heard some screaming. Next thing I'm going around locking all the doors and windows, lots of french doors across the front and lots of windows on the side and back but at the same time caterers were there to prepare for a party for my son and his friends for graduating high school though I wasn't going to be there because I (we?) were going out that night and I cautioned them/him to keep all the doors and windows locked and when I was locking the last window in the kitchen I couldn't find the lock and while searching for it I noticed the wall underneath had a cut in it so I moved the small empty bookcase in front of it and saw that a square section had been cut and was removable and someone had cut through the outside of the house to the inside to be able to get in so I was trying to find something heavy to put in front of it when something/someone started trying to push their way in.

After that I don't know if this dream segued or it was a different dream but I was with some people and it was time to get dressed to go somewhere and we were supposed to wear dresses. I pulled one off a clothes rack and asked the woman next to me if this one would be OK, it seemed a little dressy but it was the only one I had so I put it on and then we had to wait and I was worried that it was getting wrinkled from being worn while sitting or laying around waiting and wouldn't drape as nicely as it had when I first put it on.


I've dreamed about this house in the first dream many times before but it's usually 4 stories and the second floor is just a row of bedrooms mostly unused unless there is company and the scary thing lives on the fourth floor and I usually avoid going up even to the third floor. It's a big house with the row of french doors across the front and the big room on the end with windows on all three sides and a couple of sets of doors leading outside. It sits on a huge lot and no neighbors.

Saturday night's dream, just flashes: trying to find a parking spot in an airport parking lot, found a big empty space designated for Frontier, decided to move closer but that was designated for United, went back to the Frontier space but now there was a car next to me with little girls in it and four little boys around 4 years old all beat up and bloody from fighting with each other around my car and as I got out I told the attendant I was flying Frontier and I hoped those boys weren't going to get in my car. I went in the airport looking for someone who was supposed to be meeting me or was looking for me and went back out to the (now) parking garage, passed a meeting room full of people who were apparently waiting for this person/s to show up, went back in the airport and found the couple who I had already had a previous encounter with earlier in the dream that I can't remember now, and asked the woman 'do you know who I am?' No she didn't. I'm the person you are here to meet, and we hugged. There was also a part where I was driving around outside the airport in my search for these people. And something about taking a shower but that might have been a different dream. I've dreamed about trying to take a shower several times but there's no water pressure or I don't have any soap or shampoo or I don't really have time.

They all seem fraught with struggle though my waking hours are fine. Earlier in the week I intentionally woke myself up from a dream that I guess was disturbing me but I don't remember anything about it. I wonder if they're related to these ongoing extended afib episodes. If so, another reason to go through with the ablation. And here's another reason. I've written off and on about how much I've been sweating over the last year, can be sitting in the air conditioned house and just break out in a sweat. Well, I finally looked up sweating as a symptom of afib and guess what? Yep.

edit in response to Steve Reed's comment:  
I've read that when you dream of a house, it represents you and finding new rooms indicates growth of some kind. I can understand something scary in the house could indicate a fear but I don't think it's covid related. Probably more related to my pending decision to go through with the ablation which is certainly an invasion of the house if the house is me. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

afib, covid, stupidity, and seasonal things

I was all set to call the EP's office about the continuing afib and Wednesday after breakfast it stopped. Of course it did. So I transitioned into wait and see mode. Midday on Friday, today, I'm still good. But I did break down and call the EP's office anyway, explained what had been happening, when my next appointment was scheduled, that all was good currently, and didn't know what to do. He said he would relay the information, the PA would consult with the EP and call me back. I'm trying not to think about it, create stress to trigger it. Although I don't know what triggered these extended episodes. I haven't felt stressed out about anything lately. So then I tried to document the days on and the days off which was mostly guesswork from my posts and replies to comments but I think basically out of the 11 days between the 5th and the 15th, I was in afib for about 7 of them though not all in a row.

edit: talked to the nurse and I have an appointment for next Friday to come in and discuss options with the EP. She reassured me that it wasn't life threatening, just quality of life issue.

I think I mentioned that I've been wearing my mask at SHARE the last 3 Thursdays (not counting yesterday) because my neighbor and fellow volunteer has yet to get vaccinated, not a political position he says, just hasn't so I think he might be needle shy. Anyway, I walked in yesterday and to my surprise everyone was wearing a mask. Normally only the volunteers who deal with the clients wear a mask. One of the other volunteers, another of my neighbors, vaccinated, has covid, was exposed by her daughter/grandchildren, also all vaccinated, who also came down with it. So she and the unvaxxed neighbor volunteer who hang together are in quarantine. He's been tested but we don't know yet if he's got it or not. It would be a miracle if he didn't or he could be one of those who don't get sick, just shed virus. The good thing is that she was exposed after the last Thursday when we were all at SHARE. A new statistic popped up...1 out of every 500 Americans have died from covid. I wonder what the ratio is of those who have had it vs those who haven't.

My friend Denise in Canada sent me a link to an essay on The Third Force. The first two which seemed to rule us are good vs evil. Now a third force has emerged...stupidity. It's worth the read even if it is a little discouraging. First world human culture has become too easy.

My week break from the studio is going on three weeks now. Today is already blown, tomorrow is the baby shower for Audra, my grandson's SO, and the baby might come in another week. So maybe I'll get over there Sunday. I don't really want to lapse into another uncreative span of time but neither do I want to engage in pedal to the metal either. Surprisingly enough, a more relaxed pace takes more determination.

What's dove hunting season with special days for white wing doves. Today must be one of those days as the birdbath in front was full of white wing doves, a dozen, more, with an equal number on the ground, hidden from the street by the row of red tip photinias across the front of the house. It's hard to get a picture because as soon as I move close to the window they scatter.

And it's oxblood lily time. Two days ago, nary a flower. More should be popping up in the coming week.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Nickolas and dogs

Well, Nickolas just skipped right by us. We got maybe a 1/2” of rain, maybe, and that was in the first half of the day Monday. Around 5PM the wind picked up and thrashed around but we never lost power though some people in town did, and the wind had died down by 1AM. The yard though is littered with dead branches big and small and tons of leaves. We've already filled the back of the truck and still plenty more to be picked up.

About the dogs...instead of replying to everyone individually, I'll just do it here. They've never actually attacked anyone that I'm aware of, if they had then I'm sure the dogs wouldn't still be there but I have no idea what their intentions are to my little dog. One bite and that would be the end of her, fearless as she is. She has chased many a big dog out of our yard. And it happens infrequently, maybe five times to me in as many years. I'm not really afraid of them but it's still unnerving when they charge like that and I always stand my ground fearful of turning my back on them. It mostly pisses me off that the people just stand there and watch instead of coming after their dogs. The first time there was a scrap of board on the street and as soon as I picked it up and raised my arm they turned around and ran back. When it happens, I'll carry a stout pole with me for a week or so and then I get tired of carrying it when I walk the dog. I've thought about carrying wasp spray too but again it happens so infrequently. There used to be three but Rocky shot one of them when it had one of his chickens in it's mouth. After that they kept the dogs penned up. But when the people are out in the yard, they will let the dogs out too. Mostly they stay in or around the big shop. They're at the very end of the street, have some sort of business in a big metal building on the corner and then they have another acre (lots here are minimum 1/2 acre). They originally only had one lot but after Harvey they tore their house down instead of fixing it up and bought a big double wide but the county wouldn't let them put in a new septic system on the half acre because there wasn't enough room for the spray heads so they bought the vacant lot between him and Rocky. That lot was vacant because the house that was on it was a run down rent house and the guy who was living there, well, his girlfriend torched it with him in it one night and it burned down. He escaped with his life and that's about all, ran over to Rocky's nekkid as a jaybird. Anyway, I was about at the near property line this last time and the adults were at the far side of the property. Anyone else would have taken off after their dogs. We're in the county, there's no dog catcher, it's a rural county, not highly populated. It's up to individuals to trap stray dogs and then the county will come fetch them. If you call and ask what you can do about dogs they'll tell you to just shoot them. It's Texas is all I can say.

The other thing on my mind is my slow reconciliation of having to go through the other ablation. I had almost two days respite this time but it's been active all day today. My resistance to the procedure is wearing down. The medication isn't working. Not life threatening he tells me, just quality of life issue. Well, this quality sucks.

And Minnie has been in my face all day, wanting something. Out, let's go. We go out, she runs to the end of the driveway, I pick up fallen limbs and sticks. I call her in. Soon, out, let's go. We repeated this three times. The fourth time I let her lead me over to my sister's house. I laid down for a while and and then she's in my face, barking, sneezing (one of her ploys for attention), biting, c'mon, let's go! It was a little after 5 so I fed her and she ran straight to the door, out! So we went for our walk down to the end of the street and back, slow, it started drizzling. I carried the pole, an old broomstick, but of course the dogs were in the fenced yard behind their house. Minnie's in her little bed, I guess she's finally satisfied.

Monday, September 13, 2021

two excitements

Tropical storm Nicholas is bearing down on the Texas Gulf Coast. The current prediction is we will get the edge of the worst part. Yesterday I figured I'd have most the day today to secure stuff outside, mostly bringing in the top heavy plumerias that fall over far too often and the umbrella and chairs. When I got up this morning just after 8 and looked outside it was dark to the east and dark to the south. Well, shit! So I dashed outside to drag stuff into the barn and bring in two pots to the garage and the chairs and umbrella. I could see it raining over the field to the east and it was coming my way and just as I finished it started raining and I got a little wet. And then about 10 minutes later it stopped and the overcast sky has lightened some. It's supposed to start coming in around 5 PM so not going to yoga tonight. I'm headed to the grocery store after breakfast and then probably won't go out again. I guess I'll work on the next butterfly design instead of starting to fill that last mold.

I did finally get over to the shop yesterday and finished the edge work on the trumpet flower piece so it's done and then I cleaned up and put away all the wax stuff in preparation to start filling the next mold today, but that's not happening.

The grocery store was packed but all the checker stations were open so no waiting. I had a short list anyway and got everything I needed but there were more than a few empty shelves. People are so crazy. This is supposed to be over by Wednesday evening but some people had baskets piled up like this was going to last two weeks or more. The only thing I wanted was for it to not be raining when I headed to the car and it wasn't. Got home, unloaded, decided to make a quick dash to the library which isn't far away. Didn't get far before the light sprinkle turned into a heavy rain so I turned around. Maybe later. OK, later. Got to the library and they are closed for 'inclement weather'. It's not even raining.

There's a neighbor at the far end of the street that has two dogs, fairly big dogs. For a long time they didn't keep them contained, though now they are mostly kept behind a fence, and more than just a few times they have charged at me and Minnie as I approach the end of the street. And when I say charged, I mean running full out and barking, not trotting all waggy tail and friendly faced. I snatch Minnie up and start yelling in my most authoritative voice, No, No and Go Home. So far I haven't actually been attacked, they generally stop about 6' – 8' away and turn around. They live on the other side of Rocky and he'll come out when he hears the commotion though I didn't see him last night. What really pisses me off is that when the adults are out and the dogs are out, they just stand there and watch. So this happened again last night. There were two adults in their yard and they called for the dogs once when they took off towards me full bore across their yard and into the street while I'm yelling no no and go home and holding Minnie who isn't helping one bit barking her fool head off at the approaching dogs once again they just stood there watching the whole thing! They made no effort to go after their dogs.

I passed Rocky in his truck on the street on my way to the grocery store this morning and we stopped to chat. So where the hell were you I asked him. He'd been relaxing in his bedroom watching TV when Melissa started hollering at him to get up and get out there, the dogs were after Ellen. By the time he got to the door it was over and I was already walking up the drive of my friends' house across the street from Rocky who were both out on their porch. I was coming he says.

So that's the excitement around here.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

a correction, weird dreams, and other miscellanea

Let me start out by correcting myself about the morning glory bush. It is in the morning glory family, Convolvulaceae as is the sweet potato. Family: Convolvulaceae, Genus: Ipomoea carnea. The Heavenly Blue morning glory that grows on a vine is Family: Convolvulaceae, Genus: Ipomoea tricolor (also Ipomoea purpurea). Sweet potatoes are also in the Ipomoea genus. So I was right and wrong at the same time.

The heavenly blue morning glory seeds I planted last spring still have not produced a single flower though the vines have taken over four of the five fence sections I put up between me and the neighbor in the back but the wild smaller flowered purple common bindweed that's growing on part of the shop yard fence is covered in blooms.

And this Saturday morning it is down right cool outside and low humidity. What a relief. Cooler even than yesterday morning though it's supposed to get to 90˚ today. It's nice to have the door open again to listen to the bird song. Next week our highs are supposed to be mid 80s˚ but it won't get as cool at night.

The afib had flared up again after only a day but it settled down Friday evening and seems to be holding steady right now.

Of course today is the 20th anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Down here in Texas it was a distant horror but if I'm completely honest, we, as a nation, have wrought as much horror and more on other nations in our past and did again after. We just thought we were bullet proof. Less than 3,000 died that day and in response we killed hundreds of thousands, sent more than 7,000 soldiers and over 8,000 contractors to die in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attack, and Afghanistan with over 30,000 coming home mangled, missing limbs and eyes. So which was the real horror. And that's all I'm going to say about 9/11.

Last night was one of my nights to cook dinner and I fixed Italian sausage roasted with apples and shallots. It was a bit late though as grandgirl Autumn FaceTimed me from Ecuador where she is doing a semester abroad when I should have started preparations and then her twin Jade FaceTimed me just as I was finishing eating so I got to see both of them last night.

Well, it's warming up out there so I think I'm going to finish the last dozen pages or so of the book I'm reading and then go over to the shop and finish the edges of the trumpet flower piece, and thank you all so much for your comments on that, and then maybe start on the next mold or maybe I'll do that tomorrow.

I did finally sleep well last night and my dreams were full of me trying to rally people to gather anything that could be used as a weapon like spears and baseball bats and stout limbs and the like and pile them all up to fight some sort of tentacled monster that was approaching and there were two tigers that I had to dispatch that came up out of nowhere which I did with a knitting needle-like thing by driving it into their skulls and what a crazy fucking dream.

A few pictures to end...yellow ginger, coral ginger, and a mass of baby spiders.


Thursday, September 9, 2021

two days, two flowers

Wednesday...I've been trying to keep current on reading posts, catching up on posts but I do miss some. Time is at a premium when I'm working in the studio. I haven't been sleeping well the last several nights, afib was active for two days, maybe three. It wears on me. Today I woke in afib but it soon settled down, today the first day in a few of a nice sinus rhythm. What a relief. This happens every now and then and it makes me contemplate going through the other ablation. I also contemplate it when I have to pay for the Eliquis (decoagulant) every three months. And while, with the insurance it only costs me over $100 a month instead of $700 month over the counter, when you are on a fixed income that $100+ is not a pittance. I've been wakeful for for three or four hours a night lately, finally falling asleep only right before dawn which makes me sleep late, even later than normal. And so I haven't been good about my home exercise routine and I can tell.

The weather cooled a bit, as in a few degrees but the humidity was not so fierce and so I got most the finish work done on the trumpet flower piece except for finishing the edges which I can do in the AC with the hand held finishing pads. I'm pretty pleased though the shading in the body of the big flower didn't really show up. Now I have to figure out how to mount it. Also, I've been thinking about doing one of the flowers in the next one as the pink version. No forward motion on the luna moth. was almost almost cool out this morning when I got up at 7. It was definitely more pleasant than it has been. And since the days are getting shorter the sun was still rising and it was a huge red ball casting red light on my windows. The first 15 minutes or so were filled with images and flashes from my dreams last night but nothing gelled into any kind of narrative and Of course even those are gone from my mind by now.

It was another busy day at SHARE. I was refilling baskets non-stop til about 11:30 while the guys were loading carts and cars and putting away pallets of stuff from the food bank. It's amazing how fast my shelves get depleted when we're busy so I was glad of the slow time to restock. I chose not to go over to the shop after lunch today. I only have an hour and a half or so on Thursday afternoons. It would have been time enough to finish the edges on the trumpet flower piece but I opted to monitor and move the sprinkler around instead and I did a little weeding in the daylily bed.

Another picture of the morning glory bush which is, in fact, not a morning glory but Ipomoea carnea, a member of the sweet potato family. The carnea grows tall, has large elongated heart shaped leaves, and roots easily in water. It also comes in white though I've never seen one. There's another plant called bush morning glory that comes in a variety of colors which grows in a low mound and it is from the Convolvulus, or morning glory, family. So there's your botany lesson for the day.


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

late summer and one kind of work or another

Saturday...I determined that I want to do the finish work on the first trumpet flower piece before I fill the mold for the second one so I can see how well or not at all some of the shading came out and now that I've had a week off I was determined to get over to the shop today, and start the cold work. Except it is so horribly hot out there. If it was just 92˚ as the thermometer goes it would be manageable with the fan blowing on me but the real feel is 103˚ and they aren't kidding. Plus, I wore myself out yesterday with the trimmer. Two gas tanks worth, had to refill the string bobbin, but I got it all done and my arms were so tired after that I was like Trump, needing two hands to bring a small glass of water up to my lips. And today they are so sore. Well, maybe tomorrow but probably not. I think I'll set up for and pour the wax base for the luna moth model. I can do that in the AC. And today I'll work on a second butterfly drawing for another of the the AC. Or I might take a nap. We'll see.

It is so dry here, the ground is cracked and the grass is sere and crunchy. It rains all around us but not on us. I'm back to watering, moving the sprinkler from spot to spot. The pots, even the big ones need to be watered every day.

Monday...I thought I had lost the morning glory bush too but it finally returned and is blooming now. It's one of my favorites.

I went outside as soon as I got up to take the picture above because they fade by noon and I had missed the previous days' glories. I took close-ups too, like this one,

but the camera didn't pick up the color, I guess because the sky was completely overcast and getting darker and it did finally give us some rain this morning though not as much as I would have liked.

I'd been watching this flower bud develop on my datura and still would have missed it if I hadn't been intent of getting a picture of the morning glory bush this morning.

I got over to the shop yesterday and poured and trimmed the wax base for the luna moth piece and then collected pictures of tiger swallowtail butterflies, which I think is the next one, to work on a new composition but that's as far as I got.

Today, though, was a frustrating day in the studio. I didn't have any wax sheets big enough or thick enough to suit me and it took me 4 tries to get what I wanted. Then I realized that, the way the luna moth piece is designed with the leaves going off the edges, it won't slip through the brackets at the top and into the stand because with the leaves, it's too thick. Well, fuck fuck fuck and dammitall. Now I have to redesign the piece.

Tuesday...It's not supposed to be as hot today so maybe I'll work on the trumpet flower piece while I noodle over the luna moth. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

summer reads

by Catherine Coulter – I almost didn't finish this book. In fact I was more than halfway through before I quit considering putting it down. Not because it got better really but just because I was already halfway through. The author cranks these out one a year, sometimes 2 a year, there's already 26 in this FBI series (I assume the main characters are in every one), and the writing shows it. This 'thriller' involves two cases really. Case 1: the young enough to be his daughter new wife of a senator, Rebekah gets a call from a medium saying that Rebekah's, grandfather who recently died after 15 years in a coma has contacted her and wants to speak to Rebekah. She goes to the séance where her grandfather supposedly speaks through the medium Zoltan and a story he told her as a child about the 'Big Take' and the poem he made her learn and keep secret that would tell Rebekah where this money is. Rebekah is already financially well off and does not intend to tarnish her grandfather's legacy and walks out without divulging any information. The next day two men try to kidnap her but fortunately FBI special agent Dillon Savich witnesses and prevents the attempted abduction. Convinced it is connected to the medium Zoltan and the Big Take, the investigation is on. Meanwhile, case #2, Marsia Gay, in prison awaiting trial for attempted murder has a hard on for Savich who put her there and orchestrates her revenge from prison on Savich and his family and during the investigation of the mysterious puzzle he receives and the arson attempt on the life of his wife and child, they uncover another murder and blackmail scheme involving Marsia. I doubt I will pick up another of her books.

The Dead Of Winter by S. J. Parris – three novellas about the origin and beginnings of Giordano Bruno, the Italian-philosopher sleuth in 16th century England. I have not read any of the 6 books already published in this series but I think I'll seek them out. The writing is well done and came as a relief after the previous book. The following synopsis is an overview of all three stories rather than individually. Giordano Bruno, 15 year old son of a soldier from a small village in Italy, was born with a quick and inquisitive mind and whose only desire was to absorb all the knowledge he could but as a poor man's son his only avenue to learning was to take vows in a Dominican monastery in Naples. There he meets Friar Gennaro, the monastery's healer/physician who swears Bruno to secrecy and enlists him in his studies of human anatomy (forbidden) and through him a secret group of scholars who are engaged in learning and research also forbidden by the Catholic Church. By the time he's 21, his youth, his arrogance, the rumors of his familiarity with forbidden knowledge, his memory system that allows him to recite scripture forwards and backwards, and his complete unsuitability to a monk's life of prayer and faith which constantly gets him in trouble causes him to humiliate a visiting senior friar which results in a summons from the Pope, the head Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition before becoming pope, to appear before him to demonstrate his famous memory system. The Prior of the Naples monestary sends Bruno to Rome even though they fear this is a trick to get Bruno to incriminate himself to the Inquisition because you just don't ignore a summons from the Pope. And, of course, Bruno manages to get himself in all kinds of trouble before and after his Audience during which he barely escapes being sent to prison and the stake. His few allies manage to get him back to Naples safely where he faces a lifetime of constant scrutiny by the spies engaged by those who would see him burn.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – set in the late 1700s and as well as the present day, the story is told by three women, Nella and Eliza in the past and Caroline in the present day. Nella sat at her mother's knees and learned all of nature's bounty and healing properties as her mother dispensed to women only as the (male) doctors tended to dismiss women's ailments and complaints. And then Nella's mother caught a cold and died within a week when Nella was 22. Nella took over the apothecary and in her grief let a man into her heart and shop who betrayed her and turned Nella to dispensing a different kind of relief to women, ridding them of the men in their lives that hurt them. She hides the apothecary behind a false wall and waits for notes in the secret place to prepare the particular poison. One day 12 year old Eliza shows up on behalf of her mistress for the poison to kill her husband, a lech who has already impregnated one young serving girl who died in childbirth. Against her better judgement, Nella lets Eliza into her life which initiates a set of events that eventually lead to a poisoning that goes awry and discovery. In the present, Caroline, a woman who gave up her interest in history and a master's degree to get a good paying job while her husband set up his career to get to the point of having children. The day before a trip to London to celebrate their 10th anniversary, she learns her husband was having an affair and Caroline goes to London alone to determine what her future will be. On her first day she gets drawn into a mudlarking session on the river Thames and finds a small pale blue apothecary bottle with a crude etched image of a bear the only markings. She is sent to the British Library to see if she can find out more about it and embarks on a research project to find out more or find the lost apothecary. While she is researching and exploring her husband shows up unannounced and so is forced to deal with him before she is ready. In the end, Caroline finds herself and her future and the lost apothecary and pieces together most of the end of the lost apothecary. It's a good story, I enjoyed it.

Wonderland by Zoje Stage – While Orla focused on her ballet career with a NYC troupe, even regaining her position after the births of their two children, her husband Shaw worked jobs and tried out mediums for his artistic career. When it was time for Orla to retire at 40 and Shaw's turn to focus on his painting, they moved out of NYC to a small cabin in a remote area in the Adirondack mountains in the middle of winter. Almost immediately strange things start happening to and around Orla like the hallucination of a clumsily made snow dragon made by Shaw and their 2 year old son Tycho coming to life or the aurora borealis that can't possibly be that far south or the freak white out in which Shaw was trapped outside the house. She wonders if she is going crazy trying to adjust to the total isolation of the cabin after decades in NYC. Slowly she comes to realize that Shaw and their daughter Eleanor Queen are also suffering weird intrusions into their minds. Shaw closes himself in his studio painting constantly and the paintings are showing much talent but also strange imagery of a person trapped in the ancient towering pine behind their house. Orla finally concludes that there is something out there that is doing all this, preventing them from leaving the property, and wants something from them but she doesn't know what. After a tragic accident that causes Shaw's death Orla is determined to protect her children but every attempt to leave causes unreal weather events like a glacier at the end of their driveway. Orla must enlist the aid of 9 year old Eleanor Queen who is able to sense the thoughts of the Being as they try to communicate with it to find out what it wants, why it won't let them leave, and they are running out of food. They know the tree is dying and the Entity will die with it unless they give it what it wants. Can they outlive the tree so they can leave or will they die first from starvation or will they have to give It what it wants in order for them to survive. I found some of Orla's mental gymnastics to be repetitive but the ending, when I finally got to it, was good with a little twist.

Hour Of The Witch by Chris Bohjalian – set in Puritan Boston in the mid-1600s, 24 year old Mary Deerfield is married to a man old enough to be her father but there were few men then that were single and wealthy enough to be her husband, being the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in the colony. Thomas Deerfield was a widower with a grown married daughter, Peregrine, with children of her own but after five years of marriage, Mary was still childless and considered barren by her husband and everyone else. Mary's other fault was that she was intelligent and failed to hide the fact too often at a time when women were supposed to be meek and powerless and her husband Thomas used it as an excuse to 'discipline' her for her arrogance, telling her he was just trying to save her soul. He was a cruel man, especially when drunk, which he was often. One day when Mary visited the wharf to see what goods her father's ship had brought in she had an encounter with a young man, Henry, who proved to be the nephew of her father's business partner and though he sparked a feeling in her she should not, as a married woman, feel, she did not act inappropriately but that didn't stop her neighbor from chastising her. On that day, her father had imported 3 tined forks, a novelty, which she had brought home for her and Thomas and their servant girl Catherine but the religious were horrified at the devil's tines. Accusations of witchcraft were far too common and one day Mary discovered the forks buried in the garden in front of the house. She confronted Catherine asking if she had planted them which she denied but that night, Mary could not sleep and decided to put them back where she found them in the dark of night in an effort to discover who had planted them in the first place and while she was doing that Catherine awoke and saw her, accused her of being a witch and fled the house. The next day when she was explaining to Thomas why Catherine was not there, he took one of the forks and plunged it into the back of Mary's hand. Mary fled the house taking refuge with her parents and filed for divorce, which, of course was not granted as Thomas was very good about not having witnesses around during his cruelties. She is sent back to his house but is determined that this will not be her life. Soon enough she is accused of being a witch and stands once again before the zealot magistrates in control of her future. The story wraps up quickly and surprisingly in the last 10 pages. It's a good book and kept me engaged but not being religious myself all the religious mental recriminations as she tries to find her way, were a bit tedious.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – by the same author that wrote The Martian which hooked me with the very first sentence. I imagine it's hard to come up with a great second novel when your first takes the world by storm and everyone will measure it by the first. But Project Hail Mary is damn good. Ryland Grace wakes up in a strange place hooked up to the wazoo with tubes and electrical stimulators with no memory of who he is, where he is, or how he got there. He goes back to sleep. He's finally awake enough to realize that the other two beds are occupied by well preserved mummies, his only companion is the nannybot, arms that extend from the ceiling, that have cared for him and keep asking him what his name is. As his strength and memory slowly return and he gets access to the other parts of the ship, he realizes that 1. he is on a spaceship, and 2. that the sun he sees out there is not Sol but Tau Ceti, 12 light years away. Flashback and we learn that a Russian scientist accidentally stumbles on an arc of energy from Sol to Venus which is causing the sun to dim which is a catastrophe for Earth and a mission is sent to gather a sample from the arc. Grace, a middle school science teacher who walked away from a promising scientific career because his paper on non-water based life was roundly panned by his contemporaries, is drafted to determine if there are living organisms in the sample and if so learn as much about it as possible. He discovers that it is a living organism that lives on the sun absorbing energy and then migrates to Venus to procreate and then heads back to the sun to absorb more energy and repeat causing the sun to dim to lethal levels for humans. They have about 40 years before all life on the planet is dead. Further study shows several stars infected and dimming and Tau Ceti which is infected but not dimming. A no holds barred world wide effort to save Earth sends a suicide mission to Tau Ceti to find out why and hopefully send back life and planet saving data via 4 small robots. Back to the present, Grace has survived the induced coma, his shipmates did not, and while he is still remembering important stuff and learning how to operate the ship (he is the science officer, not the pilot) it's not long before he notices that there is another ship out there and it's not from earth. Turns out it's there for the same reason, two sole survivors of their missions desperate for help to save their respective planets. This is the heart of the story I think, and it's good.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill – The Brat aka Victoria McQueen aka Vic is 8 years old when she leaves the house while her parents are fighting over her mother's lost bracelet and jumps on her bike and pedals into the woods behind her house where she discovers a bridge that was demolished, crosses it, and comes out at the very place her mother left her bracelet. Over the next four years, Vic 'finds' things that have been lost but at a terrible cost to herself. The last time she crossed the bridge looking for someone to tell her she wasn't crazy, she finds Maggie. Maggie explains there are others like her and Vic who can reshape reality and tells her she must stay away from Charlie Manx, an evil man who kidnaps children and takes them to Christmasland after sucking them dry leaving little monsters. Vic leaves Maggie, suffering from a tremendous headache, crosses the bridge, and somehow finds her way home without her bike, delirious and feverish for days. Her bike gone, Vic tries to live her life like any ordinary child, trying to convince herself that the stories she made up about finding the things she found were the truth and not the magical bridge. At 17, after a fight with her mother (her parents now divorced) Vic storms out of the house, sneaking in later she finds her bike hidden in the basement all these years, she grabs it and goes looking for trouble. She finds it in the form of Charlie Manx and his vintage Rolls Royce with the license plate 'NOS4A2'. She barely escapes with her life, Manx is captured, decades pass while Vic fights for her sanity, and then Manx is dead...until he isn't and he is out for revenge. He snatches Vic's son Wayne and now Vic must rescue Wayne before it's too late and Manx takes him to Christmasland but first she must come to accept the unreal as real. This nearly 700 page book had me in fight or flight mode practically the whole time.

Friday, September 3, 2021

rudderless and another attack on women by the state

I finished those two pieces last Friday, started boxing the one up, the white feather, on Monday...many layers of bubble wrap and foam on all four side, top and bottom in a box, taped up, that box in a bigger box with packing material on the bottom, top, and all four sides. Taped up the outer box, which I had to cut down, and weighed it on Tuesday. Wednesday, purchase and print out the shipping label and drop it off at the post office. Now comes the hard part, trying to settle on a price. I figure it has at least 50 hours of labor in it but I don't think that includes the time I spent on the aluminum or plywood. I tallied up all my material costs so now it's a matter of deciding how much I think my time is worth, or rather trying to come up with a labor cost that doesn't make it unsellable or just flat out give it away. I hate this part.

I did dinner Tuesday night...sauteed the rest of the cabbage with onions, garlic, and bacon; roasted one of the small butternut squashes I still have, mashed it, added an egg and some melted butter, and the leftover dried cranberries from last week's salad and baked that; browned and steamed some dumplings. It was a pretty good dinner.

It was so hot Monday night at yoga in that metal building even with the sides halfway up and the big fan on that sweat was dripping off me. Literally. I know some people swear by hot yoga but I don't like it, just makes me feel overheated.

Our high for today, Wednesday, is supposed to be just 89˚ with a real feel of 103˚. And that's just what it feels like. I walked by the azaleas on the west side of the house this morning and was shocked to see they had dropped about half their leaves in the last few days.

I finished my most recent book and was going to post that list before this one but with the new law in Texas banning abortions after six weeks I wanted to post this explanation by a lawyer. It really is a stupid law and unenforceable. You can report a suspected abortion but the state cannot do anything about it because there is no enforcement written into the law. They are counting on individuals and groups filing civil actions in which they have to prove an abortion took place after 6 weeks and if successful they will get a 10K reward. They can file against not just the woman and the doctor but anyone who helps her get to the clinic, even an uber driver and the person bringing the suit doesn't even have to live in Texas. The state is counting on the crazies filing frivolous lawsuits so in essence it's enforcement by harassment. The state thinks women will not get help or will not seek an abortion for fear of a civil lawsuit being filed. So stupid. Because how is any neighbor or individual or group going to know which any specific woman had an abortion after six weeks unless she tells someone that A. she's pregnant and B. what she plans to do about it, unless they plan on suing everyone who walks into a PP or other women's health clinic. I would think HIPPA would not allow them access to medical records on a suspicion. Anyway, here's what the lawyer has to say:

A few folks have messaged asking for an explanation of last night's shadow docket opinion in Whole Women's Health v. Jackson, which functionally makes abortion illegal in Texas for the time being.

Copy/pasting a chat transcript below, to the extent that it's helpful. If others who know this case better than I do have opinions, please chime in.

The interesting thing here is whether or not the court has the ability to stop the law from being enjoined statewide, versus being enjoined in individual cases. So, in this case, the state of Texas has no ability to enforce the law at all. It's entirely enforced by private individuals who can bring a civil action and, if successful, get $10k in damages. Normally, the way you stop a law like this is you sue Ken Paxton (since his office would be enforcing the law) and get an injunction. However, here, you can't do that, because Ken Paxton can't enforce the law.

Now, if, let's say Westboro sues someone under the law for providing an abortion. You could get an order enjoining Westboro from enforcing the law, or defeat Westboro's case against you on a motion to dismiss, arguing that the law is incompatible with well-established SCOTUS precedent (see, e.g., June Medical Center, rejecting a similar law, opinion by Roberts).

Here, there are three procedural questions:

First, could you sue Westboro BEFORE the law takes effect in order to prevent them from enforcing it? Here, the court punts the issue and effectively says no, citing the Defendant's affidavits in the case saying they have no intent of actually enforcing the law.

Second, can you get an injunction statewide preventing both Westboro and any other far right churches from enforcing the law? Here, the court says we don't know, procedurally, and we need the issue to be fully briefed before it gets to us and we make a decision.

Third, can you get an injunction statewide that is binding on judges, prohibiting judges from issuing orders that enforce the law? Here, the court again punts and says we don't know procedurally.

Roberts does a good job in his dissent explaining exactly why this is totally unprecedented (he literally leads off by calling the law unprecedented). Sotomayor and Breyer's dissents do a good job explaining exactly why this is just a feint from the state of Texas to avoid an injunction of a facially unconstitutional law on the basis of what amounts to a procedural technicality.

The majority takes the position of - well, this is a somewhat novel procedural issue, and the standard to issue an injunction is very high (you have to show "a likelihood of success on the merits", which is very difficult to show on a novel issue of law). And they explicitly "stress" that this is not a ruling on the underlying law's constitutionality, and agree that the suit here has raised "serious questions" about the constitutionality of the statute.

Sotomayor in particular spends time doing the work of detailing exactly how the court's action here is cowardly and has meaningful practical effects for women in Texas, laying out how at midnight on Aug 31 there were women turned away from abortion clinics and protesters rallied outside waiting to snitch on people who were there.

Kagan's dissent is just a couple paragraphs but she spends them blasting the court's "shadow docket" and the majority's use of orders like these to create massive shifts in the status quo while hiding behind procedural bullshit.

The opinions are only about 12 pages together, and they're worth a read, but that's the cliffsnotes. SCOTUSBlog also has good coverage.

So, is Roe outright dead? It's unclear.

There is a chance that SCOTUS does hold that the law is unconstitutional on a merits hearing, but such an order is extremely unlikely to come any time before late June (the end of the court's annual term, when they release the opinions on controversial cases).

It's possible the case gets held up at the appellate level and doesn't get heard until next term, which would mean potentially a decision in June 2023.

So, we are looking at months of this law being in effect, at least. I expect that other southern states will quickly follow suit to the extent their legislatures are in session or can be called to special sessions. And it's very possible that they remain in place under similar circumstances until SCOTUS rules on the constitutionality of these laws.

So, grim news.