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Date:2017-01-19 02:41
Subject:Ugh
Security:Public

The upcoming coronation inauguration in the US and the recent speeches in the UK have left me feeling really quite demoralised. The horror I feel at what is happening in the world is sapping my energy.

I keep thinking about performing distracting self-care actions, and failing.

So uh, yeah.

Suggestions are welcome.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2017-01-17 02:07
Subject:Our odyssey continues unabated
Security:Public

So, as I’m sure you’re all dying to know how our Bokashi odyssey is progressing. Given the state of the world, our ability to compost left over veg trimmings and off food is clearly something of vital importance.

So, one of the things with Bokashi is that the veg left overs need to be chopped up. There are devices like this:

Hand-cranked-veg-chopper

Which you can use to chop up the veg – but I* didn’t want to fork out the extra for one of them so at the moment we’re manually chopping up all the veg off-cuts. Normally our recipes have a fair bit of veg in – this about 2/3rd of the off-cuts from one of our larger dishes…

IMG_20170114_194326

As you might imagine this adds some time to our preparation. However, although the little compost bin – the countertop one we use to hold veg so we have sufficient to “make a layer” does smell sometimes (with the lid off, it’s fine with the lid on – it has a charcoal filter :) ) – the other bin so far is fine. When you take the lid off it smells a bit fermenty, but with the lid on nary a thing. And the fermenty smell isn’t bad. I wouldn’t want the entire house to smell of it, but it’s fine for a few minutes while we chuck the veg in and squidge it down.

These are the Bokashi bins:

IMG_20170116_175017

We have two, because you seal one up to ferment for two weeks or so, once it’s full. We’ve about 2/3rds filled one of them – in about a week and a half. So it should work okay for us…

Addressing the state of the world issue – I’m feeling more and more pressing need to do every-single-thing we can to reduce our impact. We’ve realised that we can compost the paper towel we use (I have tedious allergies, still, so finding something to do with all those tissues is handy), composting has reduced our ‘landfill’ waste by about half. And I’m continuing my quest to work out a way to substitute our insight for a fully electric vehicle.

We keep trying for some political engagement, but at times it’s insanely overwhelming. On top of which, work still demands nearly all the time that exists. So self care has become of significant importance… so well, yes, that’s where we are.

* This was my idea and it was meant to arrive around Christmas, as a sort of “I’ve got this for both of us” gift – but…it arrived late. To be fair, I ordered it very late.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2017-01-12 06:16
Subject:Just in case you were wondering
Security:Public

That anguished howl you heard earlier?  The one that sounded like 1000 souls dieing? That was me reading the letter from Thurston county.  You may recall that before we bought our land I made countless trips (well, about three or four)to the planning department ask all whether there was wetland on our property. 

They did not think so. They could not be certain, but nothing they had indicated it was… Or so they said. 

Of course now we’ve applied for permission to build on it, suddenly had applied the magic decryption key for the spider secure database which they definitely couldn’t check before. The one that says the neighboring property has wetland, possibly,and that LIDAR reports say there might be wetland. So please can W pay to get it assessed for wetland. 

Oh, and no progress on anything else til that happens. 

Yeah. 

So we may have effectively sunk all our money into a barely buildable plot. 

So that was the hotel you heard. 

Yay.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2017-01-11 05:41
Subject:To compost,  sorta
Security:Public

We’re trying an experiment.  not as it happens a terribly cheap one.  We’re trying out something called Bokashi – it’s an urban,  allegedly non-odorous rapid composting method.  The main problem we faced is that while we have a place we can compost we have to keep the stuff to be composted for long periods.  And during those periods it’d probably start to smell.  Also we’re not deeply keen on the idea of encouraging wildlife onto our land for scraps of food. 

Enter Bokashi. So we have two largish plastic bins and a small holding bin (because you’re meant to put in about 4-5 CM of fresh material at a time. Then you chuck over this activated bran mixture, squish it all down and, when the bin is full,  seal it up for two weeks.

I’ll let you know. Because I’m sure you’re deeply concerned. 

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2017-01-09 05:20
Subject:Sunday sunday
Security:Public

Today I have worked.

I have cleaned the house for an hour.

I have not even been outside.

I may have underestimated the amount of work I was giving myself when I changed jobs.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-30 18:13
Subject:Introspection
Security:Public

So this is a maudlin introspective thing, which is what happens with me sometimes. You may want to skip it.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-26 02:42
Subject:There and back again
Security:Public

I’m not quite sure what I expected from our trip to the UK. There were the obvious things, seeing my mum and her partner; seeing my sister and her family; catching up with as many friends as we could cram in to the trip. That part was definitely a success. We managed to catch up with more friends than I’d commonly see in a year. I notoriously suck at seeing people, so friends often end up going quite a while between visitations – and wonderfully friends made the trek in to London to see us – or offered us somewhere to stay… or made themselves available when we were free.

Then there was the element of visiting places – that we did pretty well on too. We managed to head into Hart’s bakery, we eat at Flour and Ash, we haunted the V&A, we visited the Eden Project, and we hit up tea shops and bookshops (and had a fabulous conversation with the owner of Mr B’s in Bath)… that was all good.

I think the harder thing, the thing that’s more of a what did I expect or hope to achieve thing was…well. There was a definite hope that the trip would prove that we were right to make the move to the US. We long ago stated that we would give our time in the US a minimum of 2 years before we make any kind of judgement about whether it was/is a good plan or a bad plan. I think I really hoped that going back to the UK would make me feel like I’d made “the right decision” when we moved here. Kind of “Oh yes, it’s nice here, but I don’t really miss it that much” kind of thing.

Of course, that is an unrealistic thing to expect.

I do miss the warm embrace of the Britain’s built environment (mainly I mean the buildings but also toilet cubicles without gaps around the doors), and of the UK safety culture (the cheery announcement from the travelator that you’re nearing the end and should prepare to step off, warning signs adorning every surface) and while I enjoy the beauty of the US natural environment, I also still love the UK’s centuries of cultures that have manipulated the landscape.

So I knew that stuff I’d miss. And of course, we didn’t really have contact with the political stuff that encouraged our departure. The privatisation and dismantling of the healthcare system and the welfare state, the demonisation of immigrants… All that is not obvious unless you’re in contact with immigrants, or working in the healthcare system.

We just flitted about the place enjoying the nice things that we like to do. So in that respect it’s hard. But in the end, I think the thing that was most discomforting was every bit of news about Trump, watching the Electoral College fail to do the one thing that it’s there to do. Listening to the appalling things being said, or suggested. Continuing to understand what this means for the US.

And the gradually building realisation that we don’t know what we’ll do if this doesn’t work out. The UK is no longer somewhere we want to be. I don’t want to live in a country were surveilling every citizen is the norm – and neither major party opposes that. But I’m equally aware that I’m a brown queer immigrant in a country that’s just voted in an incredibly right wing vociferously racist president who’s put KKK connected people into positions of power. While my passport might have the Queen stating I should pass without let or hinderance, and I continue to hold the image of her turning up and kicking arse for me, the kinds of people who object to my being in the country and my existence are also the kinds of people who shoot first and ask questions later.

That makes me nervous and it makes me uncomfortable. And it makes me hesitant to put down roots. We’re building a house because, apart from the fact that we both want the experience, we’ve also bought land. It’s land that won’t sell without something being done to it. But what happens after that feels very much up in the air at the moment.

And I hate that. I hate that because we spent the last 8 years going “Oh, we’re going to move” and I thought when we got here that might stop. But no.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-12 00:29
Subject:Distractions
Security:Public

So… I fear I binge watched this:

Despite knowing very little about K-Drama it’s very entertaining. Highly recommended.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-11 22:17
Subject:There goes the luggage allowance.
Security:Public

So two days ago I headed down to the garage that have Rebecca to collect the diff. This is the less than 3k miles old diff that was rebuilt specially for installation. The Escort diff which was installed just before we moved over here.

I believe the technical term is "aaah, shit". Less than 3000 miles on it and... Yeah.

They are of the opinion that it was rebuilt incorrectly – that it’s been shimmed wrong and has too much lash. I have to say, I’m really hoping that the company that built it, despite it being a year ago, will repair it under warranty*. I’m pretty disappointed though – although it pretty much goes with the Rebecca’s longstanding history of stupid things going wrong whenever she’s repaired by anyone else.

* There have been some communication issues between myself and the garage – I’m not sure if they’ve already agreed or not.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-09 19:12
Subject:I have used my snow day…
Security:Public

…for some work, but in my break I’ve called my state rep and the house oversight committee. I’m a bit concerned by the fact I got through. Last time I tried to do this, I spend the day being redirected from engaged tones to voicemail to mailbox full errors.

This time I got straight through.

I’m hoping this isn’t a sign that people are losing momentum on the issues at hand and just that it’s the end of the week so most people have got through.

As a reminder, if anyone needs guidance on things to do: there’s a spreadsheet here.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-09 18:41
Subject:Today I have an unexpected snow day
Security:Public

It’s not like I couldn’t get to work, but the campus is closed, which is quite annoying as I have stuff to do. So instead I’m stuck at home with not enough of my stuff (I should have brought more work home with me, but I seriously didn’t expect it to be closed today).

Bah.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-09 05:37
Subject:Glacial progress
Security:Public

So I’m unsure if our house progress is going to be one of those things where making progress is going to feel like a sisyphean task, or whether its like we’ve shoved a glacier enough and now it’s going to move inexorably forward.

I doubt the latter, but it does feel a little like we’ve managed to get the glacier moving. Today our septic plan was submitted to the county, along with payment. Now what happens is they go out to the land and hopefully assess it as being fine. What I’m hoping is that they don’t get all overexcited about the culvert that drains into our land and decide to get all “this is wetlandy”.

If they do that I’ll be very unhappy, given the number of times that I went down there before hand and said “is this wetland? is there any way that you could consider it wetland?”

But I’m going to cross my fingers, toes and any other thing I can think of.

In other house news our copy of the LEED book arrived, which is filled with exciting novel materials that make me go “ooh, perhaps we could build with that”. Almost invariably (from past experience) this is followed by “just after we win the lottery”… but hope. Eternal.

Incidentally, I’ve turned off the Tumblr-duplication. So blog -> Tumblr is still on, but Tumblr -> blog is off. That’s because it was hammering my little webserver (and appears to have consumed a vast amount of space)

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-04 06:25
Subject:And or decisive nature comes out again
Security:Public

So we’ve been pretty settled on the house design for a while. It didn’t thrill either of us, but we were pretty happy with the general thing.  Then we watched the entire 2016 season of Grand Designs. And we remembered that a big part of why we want to build is to create something interesting and novel. Something with some degree of integrity. 

And while find may end up finding that we can’t do anything near as interesting as we’d like, we’ve now spent days trying to find a way to do something more architecturally interesting. 

So if anyone knows a good architect (or student)  who’s something to fill their time… And isn’t too painfully expensive… Point us in their direction,  eh.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-30 05:23
Subject:I see this as a bit of a problem
Security:Public

One of the things which concerns me about the situation here is American exceptionalism. See, America is exceptional, it is unique. But then so is every other country. Every country is unique and different and a special little flower. Some things are better here, some things are worse.

The US has been responsible for some great advances, and some terrible things. It is populated with humans who are just as great and just as flawed as every other country. And it worries me greatly that people seem under the impression that an autocratic dictatorship couldn’t happen here, because the US is in some way special and different.

I hate to be the one to break it to you all, the US is just as capable of slipping into an autocracy as any other country. As Masha Gessen said, the institutions will not save you. So it is time to start fighting, because the signs are really, really not good.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-28 05:38
Subject:I suppose I don’t really know
Security:Public

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I mean, I know there’s been sporadic posts, but my old frequent posting schedule has gone by the wayside. That’s mainly down to the new job, but some of that is not being sure what to say. I mean, talking about what’s going on in my life seems pretty… well, lacking, when I’m looking at what’s going on in the US and the UK at the moment.

Looking at Ursula Vernon’s post she captures the utter insanity of where we are at the moment. To paraphrase: “bought gas masks for protestors, did some gardening“. It’s terrifying. As I’ve got older I’ve become increasingly aware that I’m not white. It’s something that I was aware of as a kid, that faded into the background through the 1990s, where we actually seemed to be making progress.

And now we’ve arrived in 2016, and the UK has actually voted for a surveillance state, and to attempt to take itself into being some kind of third-world pariah on the edge of Europe, led by a racist and a buffoon. And the US has voted for a racist can of tango, who’s brought with him actual neo-nazis. And we can call them the “alt-right” if you prefer, but either way, they’re horrific.

And I have a list of US people to call, although last week when I tried I got busy-tones and full voicemail boxes. But at the same time we’re booking a rental car and a hotel so we can go and visit my mother. And I’m reading about protestors being treated like they’re in a war-zone but I’ve just come back from seeing friends for thanksgiving, and spending hours in Powell’s looking at books.

Never has my world history felt so close. I feel Mr Ross, my history teacher’s explanations of the rise of fascism in Germany as terrifyingly present. I feel wary and on edge. And I watch as people excuse and say we should wait and see. We don’t need to. We let him show his colours. It’s not what he says that worries me, it’s what he does. Journalists don’t seem to have got that yet. They report his words like they’re meaningful.

But they are just noise. Just pacification. It’s like when my friend read the antibiotic guidelines to a baby who’s mum had disappeared from our ER. He was settled by the soothing noises, the words themselves were immaterial. Trump utters these phrases that soothe and console, but his actions speak to a truth that will tear the US apart.

It will not make America great in any sense of the word. It’ll make him rich, and drive people to poverty, despair and destruction. It’ll rip and lay bare divisions in society. And it leaves me feeling hollow and scared.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-12 16:21
Subject:Quick question
Security:Public

Did anyone keep the receipt for 2016? I think we need to take it back, it’s clearly broken.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-09 14:36
Subject:Fuck.
Security:Public

Well, fuck.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-07 03:35
Subject:Today was.
Security:Public

We were definitely going for some kind of adulting / granola lesbian award.

– Home made pancakes for breakfast (spelt…)
– Already cleaned the house this weekend…
– Hardware store for implements of destruction
– Farmer’s market (just after opening) for our shopping
– Coffee at a local coffee place
– Home for lunch (rather than our usual disorganised “oh, we’ll get it at the farmer’s market”…because we were so early)
– Out to the land and filled in one of the perc holes by hand (most of the way, turns out neither of us is as fit as we remember being)
– Spent a couple of hours pruning and trimming the route that we want the mini excavator to come in though to dig the new perc holes.

IMG_20161106_161046

…it may not look like much, but it was hard work and it is where we’re hoping our drive way will run… and I’m torn between “oh my god, we’ve cut down so many tiny bushy things” and “yay! progress!”

– Then we sat in our Electric SUV, drinking herbal tea, eating home made spelt/citrus loaf and eating nuts and dates… before driving home.

Uh. So yay for us, but also I suspect we can’t get that much more granola. If only we had a Ford Ranger EV, then we’d be totally there.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-02 04:17
Subject:Well, it’s been a while
Security:Public

So the quiet around here, which those of you familiar with my blogging will be well aware of, is because of the new job. See, the new job is challenging in a way that is totally familiar – I feel way out of my depth, I feel stressed and anxious, and I spend approximately every waking hour preparing for – or doing it. Which is much like when I first started working in the ED.

Of course, the students are expecting a teacher, so they get one. I have tapped lots of really amazing teachers that I know at various points to get suggestions. And I know plenty more… so hopefully I can continue to improve without driving everyone nuts.

But it has meant that everything else has pretty much gone to the wayside. I’m managing most mornings to put in 10 minutes or so of Yoga, which is my new attempt to conduct a little bit of self care. And recently I’ve been committing to not working on Sundays, which is hard, but it does mean that I come into Mondays feeling a little bit rested.

But I keep reminding myself that this is a new career, not just a new job, so it will be hard. It’s not news, but it is amazing how much I’ve forgotten over the years and how much I need to update, which makes it extra challenging. Still.

It would be way easier if I didn’t care so much. But damnit, I’ve discovered I care about getting the students a good education. So that sucks, because otherwise I could do a half-assed job. :-/

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-09-25 02:27
Subject:Just occasionally
Security:Public

Just occasionally I feel slightly settled. I still have to catch myself and remind myself that I live here. This is home now.

Coming back to our apartment does feel like home, kinda. It’s not decorated the way we would decorate (I know Americans, at least in the PNW seem to love brown, I still don’t). It’s not our style of building. But it’s got our stuff laid out in a cozy way.

So that feels much better.

But now even outside, the americanness of it doesn’t make me feel weird, the post mail boxes on sticks outside everyone’s houses, the low-lying buildings, mainly single story… it’s becoming background to where I live.

I still flash back to random things, the railway station in Windsor, the streets of terraced brick, and have a ‘wow, I really don’t live in the UK any more’ moment. And they’re still pretty frequent.

But as I lay on our sofa I think, hey, I’m home. With my love. And that’s good.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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