edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. I totally forgot today was the eclipse -- I plead lack of sleep and also distraction (volunteering at the final day of my church's annual rummage sale) -- but fortunately I got my two sale rooms closed down by 2pm and was able first to see several pinhole projections other church members were using out on the sidewalk, and later to get a direct look through some glasses that Upstairs Neighbor E lent me while I was out walking Dottie.

It was pretty cool to see the moon take a bite out of the sun. :) It was also vaguely disquieting, because the sky went... not dark, you couldn't remotely call it dark... but noticeably gray. The color desaturated. Also, when Dottie decided that her midafternoon walk should end with a five minute relaxing lie-down in a sunny patch of grass, the direct sunlight was not nearly as warm as it should have been for that time of day and the ambient temperature. So, nothing dramatic, probably nothing I would have noticed if I hadn't been aware of the eclipse and therefore actively paying attention, but still. Pretty cool. :)

2. I called the doctors' office about getting a psychiatric evaluation/anti-depressant prescription, but was unable to make an appointment yet because I'm in a weird limbo where they're not sure if I count as a new or a returning patient, since my last appointment was apparently three years ago. The clerk who answered the phone took some information about my insurance and has sent an inquiry to their billing department. A representative should call me later this week, after which I will be able to schedule an appointment.

3. Three of my squash plants seem pretty definitively dead. The fourth (which was worst hit by the powdery mildew but seems to have escaped the wilting sickness that subsequently struck the other three) might be in the early stages of slow recovery. So I think I'll uproot the dead ones on Wednesday or Thursday and plant new seeds.

4. My church's rummage sale went pretty well, all things considered. I worked 12-4pm on Sunday, and 10-2pm today. The sale runs Saturday-Monday. Saturday is full-price, Sunday is half-price, and Monday is free with a donation box placed prominently at the exit. (We used to have Monday be 10-cent day, but that was immensely aggravating to everyone involved, so we swapped over to "free, but have you seen this donation box???" It turns out we not only save time this way, we actually bring in more money!) Monday is also the day we do preliminary breakdown, starting around noon -- first we start taking down a bunch of the shelving, and then we box everything up and cart it downstairs to the parlor so as to make things less inconvenient for the people hauling the unsold items away Tuesday morning.

(I think the unsold books go to the Friends of the Library book sale, but I wouldn't swear to it. The remaining fabric scraps probably go to one of the local sewing co-ops. I am also unsure what happens to the unsold linens and toys, though I think again there may be arrangements with various local charities. The rest... well, most of it goes to the dump. *sigh* But hey, it was going there anyway, and the sale does save an astonishing amount of stuff from being scrapped.)

5. Cornell classes started today, which meant that last week (and specifically Saturday) were the crush days for students moving back to Ithaca. And also students panicking and realizing they've forgotten to rent parking spaces. *wry* So the rental office was VERY BUSY -- in fact, Mom Boss and Aunt Boss came in to work from ~11am-4pm so we had four people in the office (usually Miss Cactus and I cover Saturdays alone), and that extra staffing was NECESSARY.

We will continue to be busy through... hmm... early October, probably? Here is why: A) people working out the glitches in their new apartments and returning their damage deposit inspection forms; B) the final parking rental rush; C) quarterly rent payments are due; D) people hurrying to pay for internet service after the free trial period ends; D) price listings for the 2018-19 year go up and we start apartment tours; E) current tenants get a couple weeks to renew or switch apartments before open renting starts; and F) open renting starts halfway through September.

But at least we're mostly done with key returns and sign-outs, we have the nice new folders for next year's leases set up, damage deposits and summer photographs are all done, and most of the giant packages in which people ship furnishings to themselves have arrived and been picked up. So that's something!
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Iiiiiiii.... kind of totally forgot to make "stuff done" posts for the past week and a half? Hmm. I am still keeping up my to-do lists (though obviously not getting everything on them done every day), but I think perhaps if I keep stalling out on posting them, that part of the project is now doing more harm than good, so.

To summarize, over the past week and a half, I did some intake/sorting/setup for my church's annual garage sale (which runs this weekend, Saturday-Monday). I also acquired a set of four white wine glasses (which are actually pink -- "white" in this case refers to the shape/style rather than the actual glass color) for my parents and put an IOU into the box since I made off with them before the actual sale. The glasses, btw, are now safely in NJ at my parents' house.

I acquired a temporary dog. :D

I bought a replacement pair of slippers and a new pair of black not-quite-dress shoes for work. (I have had the damndest time finding black shoes that both look good and have enough support that they don't murder my feet if I walk a mile. Apparently nobody in the shoe manufacturing industry thinks women are going to regularly walk a mile in office work shoes? This is very short-sighted, in my opinion.)

I think my squash are dying. I am not sure if it's just the powdery mildew, or that plus some other thing, but they are all in extremely bad shape. I may just cut my losses, uproot them all, and start over with eight new seeds. I mean, I still have a solid two months of reasonable weather. It's worth a shot.

...I'll decide on Monday, I guess.

All nineteen of the peppers are fine, incidentally! Whatever attacked the squash has completely passed them over.

I posted my WIP Big Bang fic, but because of reasons, it is still not as edited as I wanted it to be, so I think I'll hold off on actually doing a link/advertising post here until I get it fixed up a little more. *sigh*

I am starting to think it really might be a good idea to look into getting back on antidepressants, because this general malaise, while not what I think of as "real" depression, has lasted for far too long and has been seriously affecting my quality of life for going on two years now. I find it hard to work up enthusiasm/energy for things I KNOW I like, and I have been letting far too many brickspace life tasks slide because I just can't pull myself together to deal with them.

Of course, figuring out how to get an antidepressant prescription is exactly the kind of brickspace task that currently feels impossible, because depression is evil like that. *deeper sigh*

Mnrgh.

On the brighter side, I have a pretty solid idea for my remix, and some halfway-solid ideas for my NFE fic, so hopefully I will be able to get enough sleep to sort of bootstrap myself into functionality for the next couple weeks and get them written by their respective deadlines. *crosses fingers and lights a candle for good measure*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Put away remaining laundry.

2. Took weekly photos of my vegetable garden, but forgot to post them. Ah well, next week!

3. Trimmed some overgrown bushes in my front yard, such that a person can now walk between the house and my car instead of finding the way impassably blocked by greenery. I must attack some other shrubbery this weekend, and possibly drag out my stepladder and give the lilac a thorough pruning.

4. Acquired cardamom and plain Greek yogurt in preparation for an attempt to approximate a Blue Apron recipe.

5. TOOK A NAP.

6. Took compost to bin. (I did this on several days, actually, but I am only going to list it once. Also the compost company finally came to empty the bin, and provided us with a new plastic liner bag which they'd neglected to do that last couple times they swapped bins.)

7. Remembered to bring a new box of tea to work, since my old one had run out.

8. Cleaned bathroom sink and toilet.

9. Called Cat Thursday afternoon and chatted for an hour and a half.

10. Cut my fingernails.

11. Vacuumed my apartment and did a little hand-dusting in awkward corners.

12. Volunteered for my church's recycling sale; I will presumably hear back from the organizers sometime this weekend.

13. Looked up hours of operation/donation for a few places I need to get to over the coming week.

14. Bought groceries (including almonds and dried currants for the previously mentioned recipe approximation attempt).

15. Backed up my computer files.

16. Began sorting my final coffee table storage box, which is full of I don't even know WHAT all kinds of completely unorganized stuff. I am taking a leaf from Cat's book and doing this in 15-minute increments, so I only take out small sections at a time and if I haven't figured out where they should go, I just put them all back in the box when I'm done. So far, I have sorted a handful of stuff into a permanent home in my nice new storage basket, recycled about twice as much, put two items aside to use a couple pieces and then throw out the rest, and set one thing in a place where I can't ignore it so I will finally get around to framing and hanging it properly. (It is a ridiculously twee baby's-first-cross-stitch project of a rearing unicorn that I sewed back when I was... I dunno, 10 maybe? which came with its own super-twee pink plastic frame, but dammit, it's adorable and I will display it with PRIDE.) And I stuck a bunch of other stuff back in the box because I have no clue what to do with it, so.

We shall see how that project continues.

17. Called my parents to discuss trips to and from NJ in August and September, and also to wish them a slightly early Happy Anniversary. As of tomorrow (Saturday 7/29/17) they will have been married for 43 years. ♥

18. Rescheduled a planned phone call with Vicky, because today turned out to be bad for her after all.

19. Posted two mini-ficlet prompt meme fills: How Easy All Can See (Rabadash talks to Ilgamuth about the political implications of courting Shezan) and Queen of the Night (Lucy decides that a queen of Narnia can set her own bedtime). Both went slightly diagonal to the prompts, but I think they turned out all right even if they're not what I meant to write. *wry*

And that is pretty much that for the week. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Cut my fingernails and toenails.

2. Paid my credit card bills (and reconciled my credit statements).

3. Took kitchen compost to the communal bin.

4. Collected trash and took bag to the outdoor bin.

5. And then my parents visited! This was a business visit more than a family-time visit, but even so.

They arrived around noon, whereupon we had Chinese takeout for lunch. Then we drove over to Seneca Lake via a stop just north of Trumansburg to look around a farm to which I... may, kinda-sorta, have a pass to do a u-pick option on one afternoon and/or just collect one bag of produce? I am not sure of the details; the person who arranged it was unclear when she handed me the card, and there were no staff visible at the farm itself and I would have felt weird just stuffing random vegetables in a bag without giving anyone advance notice. But I got a phone number so I will try to call and see what's going on sometime later this week or next week.

Anyway, we continued on to Seneca Lake and stopped at three wineries -- Penguin Bay (which we all liked very much); Red Newt Cellars (which is VERY EXPENSIVE, and where Mom bought four wine glasses to replace my Aunt Cara's old set, which have broken over the years); and Chateau LaFayette Reneau (which we liked, but not as much as Penguin Bay) -- before heading back to Ithaca.

We went straight to dinner at Luna: Inspired Street Food, which is possibly the most hipster restaurant I have ever eaten at. I mean, the food is good! But so hipster. I had the pork belly bao bun, Mom got the fried chicken bao bun, and Dad got the half-portion of bacon smoked gouda mac & cheese. For reference, all the bao are deconstructed.

After eating, we drove back to my house, fed Dottie, and made sure we had all the recycling sale donations in the minivan, leaving the Camry with only the book sale donations (which I will drop off another day). We cruelly abandoned Dottie yet again and drove back to almost the exact place we'd just left, whereupon we unloaded all the donations. Dad and I got a bunch of them to the correct sale rooms, while Mom got one of the organizers to sign her charitable giving record sheets.

Then we came back to my house again so they could pack up their stuff and hit the road, which they did shortly before 7pm -- leaving me with the Camry, which I believe I will retain custody of until Thanksgiving. That will make my life logistically simpler in several ways. :)

6. Posted my weekly gardening report and accompanying photos.

And now I think it is time for bed, since I have to be at work tomorrow by 9am. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Finished arranging transcripts for TC3. (One has not actually been sent yet, because the college in question is operating on an approximately two-week delay, but they have received both the request and the authorization and I should get an email when the thing finally ships.)

2. Photographed my plants and made my weekly post about them. Also added another batch of crushed eggshells to their soil.

3. Made weekly Facebook update.

4. Watered my houseplants.

more items under the cut )

28. TOOK A NAP.

29. Made weekly Facebook update.

30. Finished first mini-ficlet prompt meme fill! \o/

And hopefully I will remember to make these record-keeping posts a little more frequently from now on, because that was kind of ridiculous. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Took weekly Monday photographs of my vegetables, but forgot to post them online. Ah well. I will do a two-weeks-in-one post this coming Monday.

2. Walked to the Cayuga St. bridge to watch my town's fireworks display at 9:45pm Monday night. (Ithaca usually does fireworks a day or two before the 4th. I am not sure when or why that offset started, but at this point it's a tradition and continues through sheer inertia.)

3. Wrote four fic DVD commentaries. :)

more items under the cut )

21. Applied to TC3! (I mean, I fudged some dates because I don't remember the exact end dates of my association with my high school and previous colleges. I can tell you month and year, sure! But exact day? Pfff, no. I assume they will understand and cut me slack on that front.) Tomorrow I will start arranging for transcripts. I believe I can do that online for the two colleges. For my high school, I think I have to make a phone call, so that will wait for Monday.

22. Emailed Vicky about some super-secret plans we may or may not be conspiring over. ;)

And that is that!

For the record? My productivity was wildly uneven this week. Points 1 through 8 took four days (Monday-Thursday), whereas points 9-22 were all done in a single day (Friday). This is because I knocked my sleep schedule completely out of whack and did not manage to yank it back on track for several days, during which I kind of zombied around doing nothing in particular. I can't even say I was relaxing and enjoying myself; I was mostly just going through the motions and hoping some spark of emotion/inspiration would light me up.

I really need to stop letting my sleep schedule drift. That is utterly devastating to my ability to be a functional person.
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
For my own reference, I want to make an electronic copy of the covenant my congregation voted to adopt at our annual meeting last month. I am dissatisfied with it in numerous ways, but it is a living document so I hope at least some of those can be changed.

(I also wish I had been able to attend some of the previous discussion meetings about the covenant, but alas, work and other things got in the way.)

Also, yes, the preamble/explanation of what a covenant even IS is part of the document. That is probably the part that annoys me the most. Dictionaries exist! And sacred promises should sound like sacred promises, not like assembly minutes. :(

-----

A Covenant is a set of sacred promises that Unitarian Universalists make with each other to guide and support their communities.

First Unitarian Society of Ithaca adopts this covenant to sustain our commitment to each other, affirm our connections when we struggle, and form the foundation of our respectful relationships with each other and the world.

We covenant to:

Be together in community, guided by love and respect.
Be open, friendly, and welcoming to all.
Be engaged in congregational life.

Communicate compassionately, directly, and honestly.
Listen deeply and kindly to each other.
Believe in others' best intentions.

Support and inspire each other's quest for truth and meaning
Acknowledge, respect, and value our differences.
Work to serve our community's shared goals.


-----

(The missing period in the final trio is copied faithfully from the original document.)

-----

The covenant I grew up with (and adored) is a variation of a common UU covenant, which my childhood minister introduced for communal recitation early in each service as follows:

"Knowing that neither this nor any other form of words will ever be used as a creedal test, I invite you to join me in the covenant:

"Love is the doctrine of this church,
The quest for truth is its sacrament,
And service is its prayer.
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
To serve life in fellowship
To the end that all souls shall grow in harmony,
Thus do we covenant with each and with all."


...

I think you can see why I am dissatisfied with my own church's new covenant? It does not fill the same emotional/ritual slot AT ALL. And if you're not going to fill that slot, why call your thing a covenant? You could just as easily call it a preamble to the bylaws and put it there, where its dryness would be a much better tonal fit.

*grumps ineffectively at the universe*

a thought

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:41 pm
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
Here is the passage from C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain that I found most striking and thought particularly apropos for today's world:

Perhaps my harping on the word "kindness" has already aroused a protest in some readers' minds. Are we not really an increasingly cruel age? Perhaps we are: but I think we have become so in the attempt to reduce all virtues to kindness. For Plato rightly taught that virtue is one. You cannot be kind unless you have all the other virtues.

If, being cowardly, conceited and slothful, you have never yet done a fellow creature great mischief, that is only because your neighbour's welfare has not yet happened to conflict with your safety, self-approval, or ease. Every vice leads to cruelty. Even a good emotion, pity, if not controlled by charity and justice, leads through anger to cruelty.

Most atrocities are stimulated by accounts of the enemy's atrocities; and pity for the oppressed classes, when separated from the moral law as a whole, leads by a very natural process to the unremitting brutalities of a reign of terror.


[Chapter 4, 'Human Wickedness,' paragraphing mine]

...

I suspect my exposure to Tumblr's vicious callout witch-hunting culture affected my response to this passage, though it is of course applicable to many other walks of life.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
I got up at 4:00am EST on Thursday, so as to shower, eat breakfast, finish packing, and set up my apartment before heading outside shortly before 5:00am to wait for my cab. In the event, the cab was about ten minutes late, but I still got to the airport and through security in plenty of time. The flight from Ithaca to Detroit went smoothly, and I made my transfer with several minutes to spare even though they were slow to unpack the plane-side checked bags. (These are bags that would be carry-on items in larger planes, but small jets have small overhead compartments so they basically wrap a tag around your suitcase handle, stash it in the cargo compartment with the actual checked bags, and then hand it back to you at the end of the flight.)

cut for length )

As for my reading: I got through the entirety of C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, which was one of my "I am not entirely sure where I picked this book up, but I should probably read it before donating it" books, and another several sections of Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations, a textbook composed of various themed excerpts from other works and brief explications thereof.

Lewis is, as always, infuriating because I disagree vehemently with a number of his assumptions, with most of his theology, and with a bunch of his implicit politics... and yet he keeps coming to conclusions about human experience and what a good life should look like that are unnervingly close to my own in some respects. So it's a constant swing between, "yes, exactly, that was beautifully put!" and "but HOW can a reasonably intelligent and well-meaning person be so WRONG?!?!" Some other day I should probably quote one of the passages I thought was most apt, and also take a stab at analyzing one point where I think he went most terribly awry.

(Also science has marched on and Lewis's chapter on animal pain and consciousness is consequently even more awful and wrong-headed than when he wrote it, though I think I would have considered it awful and wrong-headed even decades ago because he's arguing from a foundation of theological assumptions which I utterly fail to share. But that is something where I could point to actual science to prove that he is talking through his hat, whereas the other point is more of a philosophical/ethical thing, and thus less subject to hard proof... though one could probably cite various studies on criminal justice and prison reform which I believe tend more toward my side of the argument than toward his. Hmm. *makes note to look into that* But anyway, I'd want to do more research and marshal my arguments in logical order before venturing into that particular alligator swamp.)

And that is what I have been up to for the past three days. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Wow, I kind of forgot to make one of these posts for a while, didn't I? I knocked my sleep schedule out of whack midway through and got stuck in a rut where I am a little too brain-fried to be productive and instead spend hours surfing the internet and not getting to bed early enough to fix the sleep debt problem. But I think I may finally have started wrenching myself back into a more useful schedule as of last night. *crosses fingers*

Anyway, stuff!

1. Took my weekly vegetable photos and posted them. Also applied some MiracleGro.

2. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

3. Finished reading Marie Brennan's Within the Sanctuary of Wings (which I enjoyed a lot -- I really do think the Memoirs of Lady Trent series gets better as it goes on, and I'm sad to see it finished) and returned it to the library.

more items under the cut )

15. Finally pinned down a meeting time with the DRE to talk about Youth Group activities this summer and in the 2017-18 year. Unfortunately, because we kept getting distracted and I will be gone for a while, the meeting isn't until July 2, but hey, at least we now have a time and date.

16. Took my trash bin to the curb for pickup.

17. Took recycling bins to the curb for pickup.

And that is that.

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Elizabeth Culmer

August 2017

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