[personal profile] alexbayleaf

Originally published at Spinster's Bayley. You can comment here or there.

It’s been a long time since I posted, but I’m trying to get going again so I’ll just dive right in.

It’s been a slow, cool summer. Tomatoes hardly ripening (just a few handfuls, mostly cherries) and I wonder whether I’ll have any to preserve this year?  Despite the cool weather, things are slowly coming along including the corn my neighbour is growing for both of us (I’m responsible for pumpkins), enough zucchini (but not too much), and self-seeded greens starting to sprout.  Thanks to the cool weather I also had a crop of mushrooms off a compost delivery, which quickly made it into several meals.

I set up a weighing station by the back door, inspired by hearing of a Melbourne acquaintance who grew 350kg of food on her 1/14th acre block, but I have to admit I’ve only weighed in a couple of kilos in these first two months of 2017.

Corn in my neighbour’s backyard
A cool summer
Weighing station by the back door

Pasta with pesto genovese, zucchini and mushrooms.

A friend left me a basketful of plums, which got made into plum mead. There’s a funny story involving condoms as airlocks – check my instagram.  Just recently, I’ve been picking with a group who are starting a project called the Hidden Orchard, which aims to harvest fruit from unloved fruit trees in people’s backyards, as well as pruning and maintaining the trees throughout the year.  I’ve also been picking elderberries, to make elderberry syrup and perhaps elderberry mead.  I posted an elderberry recipe on my Tinyletter – check the archives.

Plums and op shop books from Carla
Elderberries don’t smell of anything, despite what Monty Python say
Hidden Orchard harvest is donated to community groups


A month or so back I moved into the smallest bedroom of the house – really very small, just enough room for a single bed and a chest of drawers – just to see how I felt about it.  Conclusion: I like being in a small room, like curling up in a nest, with nothing else in there but my personal effects. It is very important to keep it tidy, though, as there’s no room for a “floordrobe” or any other clutter to pile up.

I’ve also been making salves from calendula oil (calendula harvested and dried in spring, then infused in olive oil) and beeswax left over from candles. I made two kinds, one very thick that I use on my cracked heels, any small scratches, or even as a lip balm; the second is less waxy and I use it just as a general moisturiser.

My nest
Keeping things tidy, konmari style
Calendula balms

Visiting Jonai Farms’ happy pigs
Touring Yonke’s property as part of the PDC

Finally, I’ve been out and about. A few weeks ago I paid a visit to my friends Tammi and Stuart at Jonai Farms, then on to Daylesford where I spent a great day with Patrick, Meg and Woody of Artist as Family. It was so interesting I didn’t even take any photos, but they gave me heaps of great info and reassurance about living car-free in smaller country towns, and they have a house that’s very similar in style to what I want!  More recently I’ve been doing a Permaculture Design Course with the local permaculture guild, which means regular treks out to a friend’s farm where most of the course is held, plus additional site visits to other properties.  Everywhere I go now, I think about how I’d get there by bike. Next month, I hope, I’ll have the opportunity to try it!

Done last week (20170212Su - 18Sa)

Feb. 19th, 2017 04:04 pm
mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)
[personal profile] mdlbear

Things are getting seriously packed up now. I spent five hours yesterday with the organizers getting my papers in order; there's an apalling number of unpaid bills and even uncashed checks in there. Today's session will focus on my tools and other clutter in the Great Room, I think. A few items have gone missing; hopefully packed. N lost track of some irreplacable photos; two of the four had been packed and were ready to go out with some other artwork, but the other two turned up in the bottom of a bookcase, apparently put there by a previous organizer.

Our closet and kitchen have also been decimated. Naomi put some items up for free on NextDoor -- that seems like the most effective way to get rid of stuff that we would otherwise have to donate anyway. Cx came to take the smaller bookcases. A few antique items have been sold.

Chicken tikka masala twice this week -- last Sunday, and yesterday. It's quick and tasty, though I probably should do some other things too. (Well, I can do chili, stroganoff, stir-fry; I just don't usually.)

$PROJECT at work hit what I hope was the last snag Friday; hopefully we can get that sorted out Monday.

I still can't reliably distinguish between physical and mental symptoms resembling exhaustion or depression.

Notes & links, as usual )

Three Lovely Things

Feb. 17th, 2017 06:05 pm
jesse_the_k: White woman with glasses laughing under large straw hat (JK 52 happy hat)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

Very silly joke collection on Metafilter https://www.metafilter.com/145070/JokeFilter

Want to know all the shows coming to Hulu in a month? See their press releases here:

https://www.hulu.com/press/posts/hulu-what-s-coming-and-going-in-march

A beautiful comic that meditates on cultural artifacts and a hyphenated Japanese-American identity:

http://jemyoshioka.tumblr.com/post/157138759636/home-home-the-final-comic-in-my-series-about-my

Dreamwidth news: 15 February 2017

Feb. 15th, 2017 05:35 am
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_news
Hello, Dreamwidth! And thank you to everyone who wished me and my wife a happy vacation -- it was an excellent one. (Rumors that it was to help distract me from a significant birthday starting with 4 and ending with 0 are totally unfounded. Really.) It was also awesome to come back and see all of the new activity going on! I hope that everyone who's joined us in the last month or two has been settling in nicely.

Behind the cut, a tour of some of the new stuff we've done in the last few months, plus a look at some older changes that could use more love:

* Image Hosting Frontend
* HTTPS Beta
* Create Entries Beta: progress report
* Selective comment screening
* Other alphabets in site search: fixed!
* Icon file size limit increased
* Dreamwidth: Did You Know?
* Team Dreamwidth

DW News, 15 Feb 2017 )

*

That's it from us for another update! As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check the Twitter status page.

Comment notifications may be delayed for an hour or two, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to [site community profile] dw_news. This was posted at 5:35AM EST (see in your time zone). Please don't worry about delayed notifications until at least two hours after that.

Why CBT Is Bad

Feb. 14th, 2017 09:02 am
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
[personal profile] tim
Cognitive-behavioral therapy often gets pushed, to the exclusion of all other therapy modalities, for a range of mental health issues: depression, anxiety, insomnia, phobias, addiction.

I can't speak to how well it works for all of those issues, but one of the things wrong with it -- not with it, rather, but with the privileged place it's been given in the current medical model of mental health issues -- is that it's close to useless for people with a trauma history, and trauma is the underlying cause of all five issues I mentioned for many people. (I could write a separate post on why it's been given that privileged place, but I'll leave that to your imagination for now.) I am not a medical or mental health professional, just someone with a lifetime of personal experience.

[personal profile] azurelunatic's post about being prescribed a CBT workshop for insomnia is a great example. When I read it, I thought about my own sleep issues and how useless every behavioral approach -- both CBT-type approaches, and "sleep hygiene"-style approaches -- have been for it.

I have obstructive sleep apnea, so no behavioral approach can address the fact that untreated, I wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed, because I wake up many times an hour unable to breathe. But the main issue is that my body learned when I was a child that sleep was dangerous, and neither cognitive nor behavioral approaches can make my body unlearn that -- it's something I learned before I was developmentally able to use cognition or to reflect on my behavior.

As a child, I had an abusive parent who would force me to go to bed hours before I was actually ready to go to sleep, because she thought it was good for children to be on a regular sleep schedule. (Or because she wanted to control somebody and doing things to children that are generally believed to be for their own good is a socially acceptable way to do it. I don't really know.) So I learned that sleep meant lying in bed for hours, awake and intensely bored but not allowed to get up and do anything. When I got a little older I would get up and night and go into a walk-in closet in our apartment and read for as long as I could get away with it. When my mother figured out I was doing this, she unscrewed the light bulb. I learned to associate sleep, as well as going to bed early, both with an abusive parent who I knew was incapable of knowing what was good for me, and with hours of boredom and anxiety.

Therapists (and others) who apply CBT simplistically would tell me that the lasting, physical residue of these years are "cognitive distortions" that I need to reason my way out of. They would be wrong, because there's nothing distorted about mechanisms I learned in order to keep myself safe. Being awake is safer than being asleep in an environment that is dangerous for you, and for a child, there's nothing more dangerous than an environment that contains an alternately intrusive and inattentive caregiver and nobody else.

It's safe for me to relax now, and has been for the past twenty years, but because trauma changes your body in chemical and physical ways, just telling myself that won't make me go to sleep. I use chemical solutions to a chemical problem: medication. Maybe someday, I'll have had enough trauma therapy that I won't need it as often. But in the meantime, I'll be able to get enough rest and avoid some of the constant physical stress that arises from inadequate sleep.

CBT is politically attractive because it individualizes responsibility . Better to blame people's suffering on their own cognitive distortions, and teach them that they need to do work to overcome them (under capitalism, any solution that gives already-overworked people more work to do gets conferred with near-religious levels of praise), than to recognize that abuse culture harms people in long-lasting ways. If we recognized that many parenting practices widely considered to be non-abusive, or even helpful, in this culture are actually traumatic, we'd have to rethink a lot. Better to avoid confronting that by privatizing trauma and recasting it as individual pathology, ignoring the patterns in front of us.

Mental health is (I suspect) not the default state of human existence in the first place -- our brains are complicated and have too many failure modes for that. But in a society that depends on denial -- of the lasting effects of slavery (denial of the effects on white people, mostly), of the violence done by income inequality, and of the corrosiveness of toxic masculinity -- self-awareness is rebellion, and thus it's not surprising that to find therapies that foster it rather than providing a few tools to be economically productive while hurting inside, we often have to look outside the mainstream.

Code push imminent!

Feb. 12th, 2017 11:07 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We're about to pull the lever on tonight's code push! I'll update this post when it's finished. For a reminder of what to expect, check the previous post for the list of changes.

Update: All done! Comment here if you notice any issues that need our attention.

Done last week (20170205Su - 11Sa)

Feb. 12th, 2017 12:28 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

Rough week. There are going to be a lot more of them.

Almost all of the books we're keeping have been moved out to the pod, and most of the other Great Room stuff as well. So have our CDs and DVDs. The breakfront and buffet have been cleared and sorted; they'll go soon. Half of our booze is gone, as are the 12-string and the M-Audio Quattro and preamp. Our housekeeper, G', has taken the hot tub and has claimed the piano. My brother wants the musk ox (a marvelous sculpture entitled "Here I Stand") and the bound volumes of Analytical Chemistry that have Dad's articles in them.

Haven't started on the garage yet. Need to get the tools sorted and listed. Ugh. Pictures first full week in March -- that'll be tight. We basically have only 19 days left, because the final weekend will be taken up by g's Bat Mitzva.

Things are increasingly surreal. I alternate between nostalgia, regret, depression, and terror, with random, inexplicable stretches of calm and occasionally even optimism. I guess adventures are like that. Nasty, uncomfortable things.

Notes & links, as usual )

Has LJ gone all Facebook on us?

Feb. 10th, 2017 07:37 pm
mdlbear: (flamethrower)
[personal profile] mdlbear

I opened up LJ this evening to find that the posts it's showing are out of sequence -- the top post on my friends' feed is from yesterday sometime, and there's a later one further down the page. It isn't most recent comment, either: both of those are from an account that turns comments off on crossposts.

My conclusion is that either they're using some kind of ranking system which they're not telling us about (and which I didn't see any setting for that that might fix it), or possibly that crossposts are arriving weirdly out of sequence. So...

PSA #1: If you're posting on LJ and not DW, or posting different content on LJ, I might not see your posts.

PSA #2: If you're crossposting and redirect all your comments to DW, I'm going to stop reading you on LJ to cut down on clutter. (If you allow comments on LJ I'll still go over there and read them, if I can find your post. That is, obviously, no longer guaranteed.)

karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We are planning to do a code push late this weekend, at approximately 9pm PST / 12am EST / 5am UTC on either Sunday, Feb 12 or Monday, Feb 13, depending on whether you live east or west of midnight. (Time is an illusion anyway, right?)

Here's a partial list of changes that will go live with this push, apart from the usual minor tweaks and bugfixes:

  • HTTPS Everywhere beta! Users can opt-in to have all Dreamwidth content automatically served over HTTPS. We'll post the instructions for this after the feature goes live.

  • New and improved design for the file management pages, which we were hiding from you because we were so embarrassed about them before. Thanks to [personal profile] momijizukamori for making them prettier and more functional!

  • Backend fixes to resolve problems using the aforementioned file management pages. (Did I already mention the embarrassment?)

  • At long last, international character support for journal search! Our systems guru [personal profile] alierak finally cracked this long-standing bug.

  • Support index page converted to Foundation styling, for your mobile viewing pleasure.

  • For users of the Practicality style: color properties now sort properly in the customization wizard.

  • For users of the Drifting style: the QuickReply box will now appear in the appropriate location, instead of wandering off somewhere unexpected.

  • Improved handling of word break (<wbr>) elements in user entries.

  • Allow embeds from: Facebook, CNN, 4shared.com, playmoss.com, onedrive.com, jsfiddle.net, scratch.mit.edu


We'll update again to let you know when the code push is in progress!

Travelers TV Series 4 out of 5

Feb. 9th, 2017 06:09 pm
jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
We streamed the first 12 episodes on HULU [eta: Netflix], and they've ordered another season. This is a Canadian SF series about time travel, created by the indefatigable Brad Wright (3 Stargates, Continuum)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5651844/

While it doesn't avoid all time travel theme clichés, this mashup of Varley's Millennium and Quantum Leap provides some unique thrills. The team traveling back from a terrible future sends their souls into bodies seconds away from their recorded death. Unusually, the team members still have to cope with the lives they've overtaken.

Five members in the team )

The see-saw between the terrifying events they seek to short-circuit through super-hero methods and the mundanities of baby-sitting and football practice deflates the pomposity attendant on most SF tv.

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