Updatey thing

Saturday, September 17th, 2011 03:10 pm
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
Wednesday: As expected after a day as tiring as Tuesday, Wednesday was the sort of day when I am forced to rest all day. Plenty of books kept me company, so that was okay. I did feel frustrated, dealing with an urge to declutter my room because I can finally see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and I want this place livable again--but I simply didn't have the energy to do much, so I stopped fighting the need to nap.

Thursday: Braved the scary closet and took out some things to be cleaned. That evening, I was very glad to have cleaned warm clothes and one of my afghans (without having anything shrink that shouldn't be shrunken) before the cooler weather came through.

September has been noticeably cooler than August right from the beginning, which has been a welcome thing after the hellishly hot summer we had. Still, Thursday began as a fairly warm & humid day. At 3:00 p.m. the temperature was roughly 77° F (25° C) and, as I said, humid. By five, it was around 65/18 and seriously breezy. Two hours after that, something like 55/13, with the temperature continuing to go down. At the farmers' market, the weather was not exactly ideal for outdoor sales, what with scattered rain showers coming through and one good wind gust making one of the tents do a somersault in the parking lot. Still, it was enough better than last week that most vendors stayed till closing time rather than packing up early. I was happy making myself useful at various times during the day. At sunset, glowing bands of red and orange stretched east to touch and mingle with the colors of the biggest unbroken rainbow I've ever seen. The rainbow didn't leave the sky until the sun's rays could no longer reach that far into the sky. I'm afraid the "Ooh, pretty" effect swallowed up all my usefulness for a while, but I was so happy for that sunset rainbow.

Friday: Spent most of day reading assorted books (last book finished: Sarah Sentilles, Breaking Up with God: A Love Story). Did more laundry. Got out of the house and walked a few blocks in the evening because I could hear the candy bars calling me.

Saturday: This is an excellent day to sit inside drinking lots of tea. Russian Caravan, anyone?

Bits

Friday, August 19th, 2011 10:44 am
hummingwolf: (two)
Yesterday I saw a rainbow with a lightning bolt flashing through it. The lightning branched quite a few times, making a lovely fractal design in the sky. That sight on its own was enough to justify the existence of the day.

People at the farmers' market kept asking me if I was okay. I'm not sure why--I was (and am) sleep-deprived, but I didn't think I was looking that bad.

After months of admiring a local potter's inexpensive little ornaments in assorted colors with various raised Celtic designs, I finally bought a green dragon. No clear idea what I'll do with it, but I'm happy to have it here and I hope it will be happy to be here.

If I am going to try to defend 1980s music to anybody, I should probably do it some time when the song playing on the jukebox is not "Walk Like an Egyptian."

If I am thinking of ordering a full meal at a local bar-and-restaurant and a little voice in my mind suggests that that might not be a good idea, I should listen to that little voice. Especially when I've already had more than enough fat for the day in the form of caramel-walnut ice cream (yum).

Even though I didn't get enough sleep last night (the previous paragraph gives a clue), I'm feeling unusually energetic for a Friday (by which I mean that I feel capable of leaving the house). Here's hoping that energy sticks around long enough for me to get to the library. And if the library turns out not to be an option, I really want to have enough energy to do some laundry.

Tuesday walk

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006 08:16 pm
hummingwolf: animation of green and gold fractal, number of iterations increasing with time (Iterations in green and gold)
Being an eminently sensible person, I knew that after several days of tiredness verging on exhaustion and accompanied by dizziness and queasiness, a surge of energy today was no excuse to go gallivanting about the countryside, so of course I took things easy and--

Okay, I hear you snickering out there. So after about a mile & a third of walking, having finished the errands I'd planned to run, I was pondering whether I could walk to yet another destination I had in mind and still get home before dark, when some movement off to the left caught my eye. I was on a busy road approaching an intersection with a busier one, passing by a little wooded area nobody pays much attention to. Down well below street level is a stream, some nameless Anacostia tributary (any trickle of water here is a tributary to the Anacostia). Next to the stream, a little higher than the water and facing toward some old shop (with a medium-sized stuffed Tweetie bird abandoned in the parking lot) was the guy who'd caught my attention. I stopped to look at him. He stopped what he was doing too. "It has antlers!" thought I. "Not very big antlers, but they're definitely antl--" and then out loud (softly) I found myself saying, "Oh, hello there!"

Much closer to me than the young buck, a head was peering at me over some brushy growth, not quite at street level. I'm not good at judging distances, but I'll say she was maybe a dozen feet away from me. She was understandably nervous, yet didn't move as I walked a little along the sidewalk to get better views of the two of them. Cars and trucks passed by me on the other side, people wondering what I could possibly be doing there by the side of the road. Eventually, a third animal (thinner and more awkward-looking than the first two) who I hadn't noticed before, got startled down below and ran a little way to the other side of the stream. Then all three turned round and ran, waving their white flags behind them.

I know they're considered a nuisance species in many parts of their range, but I still think it's cool to go out for a walk and see a trio of white-tailed deer.

More walking )

update-type post

Thursday, November 16th, 2006 11:12 pm
hummingwolf: (two)
Really quite tired today, so spent most of the day in bed or otherwise resting, figuring two days of not leaving the house isn't too excessive if it helps me recover from the infection more quickly. The weather helped--the temperature was warm (about 70 F or 21 C), with gusty winds and heavy rains most of the day. Good weather for staying indoors drinking lots of tea.

Then an hour or so before sunset, the sun broke through, illuminating the rain-drenched world and all those clouds flying overhead. If you don't think I at least tried to go out for a walk at this point, whose journal have you been reading? It took me a while to get myself moving, so I missed any rainbows there might have been. And I did need to walk slowly, with my mind wanting a good walk a long distance so as to enjoy all the evening's beauty I could, and my body saying that wasn't going to happen so I'd better slow down and enjoy the efforts my body was willing to put forth. At one point I stopped in my tracks and stood facing east where the sky was filled with red embers and grey ash. It was not a picture postcard sunset so much as it was a "You had to be there" sunset, or possibly a "How many different cloud types can you identify?" sunset. Dramatically, kinetically beautiful.

Coughing stopped for a few hours, for which I and everyone within hearing distance were grateful. I left a conversation downstairs when my lungs got twitchy again, but that's okay since it was time for more tea and the newest Smallville anyway.

Good stuff

Friday, November 3rd, 2006 06:15 pm
hummingwolf: Gold starlike kaleidoscope images. (Gold stars)
Recognition of my efforts: A housemate wrote a note on the memo board saying that the bathroom I cleaned yesterday "looks amazing." They noticed! Nobody noticed my efforts in the kitchen, but I probably wouldn't have either without before-and-after photos.

Date set: Social Security hearing at the end of the month. Finally.

Weather: You know those autumnal postcards featuring bright blue skies and leaves in full, glorious color? Yeah, we've had some of that. The foliage show here may not be like that of, say, New England, but things are looking pretty darn good these days. This week's had some lovely sunsets as well, including one a few days ago that left me breathless a moment. Man, I feel sorry for people behind me on the sidewalks when there's a good sunset.

Cold enough today for me to grab a winter coat, though not cold enough for layers.

Energy: Enough that I've been able to walk at least two miles each day this week, plus do lots of cleaning yesterday & a bit today. Headache comes & goes, ears & throat hurt, and I'm coughing more again today, but things could be much worse.

Tea: Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla White Tea Chai in the clearance section at Target. Not bad.

What I've been reading

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004 11:34 am
hummingwolf: animation of green and gold fractal, number of iterations increasing with time (Iterations in green and gold)
Not as far into the book as I'd like to be, simply because I've been feeling so drained lately. Still, I enjoy it when I get the chance to focus.

We can make measurements which observe the position of an electron, or we can make measurements which tell us which way it is moving, and in either case we can make the measurements as accurate as we like. But trying to measure the position very accurately blurs the electron's momentum, by a quantifiable amount, and vice versa.

This is not, as some textbooks still mistakenly suggest, solely a result of the practical difficulty of making measurements. It is not simply because in measuring the position of the electron (perhaps by bouncing photons off it) we give it a kick, which changes its momentum. A quantum object does not have a precisely defined momentum and a precisely defined position. The electron itself does not 'know' within certain limits where it is or where it is going. Exaggerating only slightly, if it knows exactly where it is, it doesn't know where it is going at all; if it knows exactly where it is going, it doesn't have the faintest idea where it is.

--John Gribbin, Schrödinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality (pp. 16-17)

My first reaction when reading this bit was that there's a metaphor for human life in there, probably one involving too many self-help books. The more you observe a quantum entity, the more "real" it is in a classical sense. An unobserved particle does not obey the laws of Newtonian physics. While the probability may be low, an unobserved particle could be on Mars--in fact, in some sense, it is, even if the probability wave suggests it's having more effect on that cup of tea sitting on your desk. But once you start looking for something, it has to decide where it is. Your examined entity becomes much more real, but much less free.

I deeply resent having to look at my life, catalog what I can and cannot do, determine and record for the benefit of others that X is possible and Y is not. Maybe because I don't want this life to be real. Maybe because I want things to have the chance to change.

After a discussion of an experiment showing that a watched quantum pot never boils:
If, as quantum theory suggests, the world only exists because it is being observed, then it is also true that the world only changes because it is not being observed all the time. (p. 135)

Quantum theory is tasty. I don't understand it, mind, but it's yummy all the same. So's relativity.

The Lorentz transformations tell us that time stands still for an object moving at the speed of light. From the point of view of the photon, of course, it is everything else that is rushing past at the speed of light. And under such extreme conditions, the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction reduces the distances between all objects to zero. You can either say that time does not exist for an electromagnetic wave, so that it is everywhere along its path (everywhere in the Universe) at once; or you can say that distance does not exist for an electromagnetic wave, so that it 'touches' everything in the universe at once.

This is an enormously important idea, which I have never seen given due attention. From the point of view of a photon, it takes no time at all to cross the 150 million km from the Sun to the Earth (or to cross the entire Universe), for the simple reason that this space interval does not exist for the photon. (p. 79-80)

Something timeless (eternal) and existing everywhere? No wonder light is such a common metaphor for God.

Broken thoughts

Monday, May 10th, 2004 07:17 am
hummingwolf: animation of green and gold fractal, number of iterations increasing with time (Iterations in green and gold)
(Stuff scribbled on a piece of paper on Friday afternoon.)



I have a love of broken things. Shattered glass on a sidewalk reflecting straight-line light-rays into deep corners the light never knew. Splintered tree crackled in a lightning strike, eaten up by microbes till new earth is made where a sunflower will grow. A teacup smashed on a kitchen floor, handle gone missing under a sink while the cup still holds water, tea, or memories.

As a child on camping trips, I used to break rocks (banging quartz on quartz, watching the sparks, holding the chips up to the light). It's amazing how rarely my parents' patience shattered.

Exercise does not make you strong by somehow injecting into your muscles a magical potion called "Strength." Exercise does pretty much what it feels like it does--it breaks your muscles down, dismantling them, tearing the cells into tiny pieces, fragments of an unrecoverable wholeness. The magic comes in the rebuilding. This is not an effortless magic. Your body rebuilds itself bit by bit, cell by cell, using whatever materials it can obtain, borrowing those materials from other, less-essential parts if necessary. Sometimes conditions are bad, the body will not rebuild, the ruins go untended. You need the right vitamins, the correct proteins, the proper hormones and neurotransmitters and other chemical agents, the essential minerals to build new walls and conduct electricity where it's needed. If your body has the right materials, the magic is successful and you gain new strength. But first you must be broken.

Feed your body. Feed your mind. Feed your heart. Feed your soul. Prepare yourself to be shattered. The magic doesn't lie in avoiding the breakdown. The magic lives in the rebuilding.

There is no life in evading the breakdown. Hiding in the shadows, back to the wall, never letting yourself be seen by a potential enemy, leaves you flitting about like an insubstantial ghost, reacting and never acting, never being of any use or any significance at all. And it's all useless in the end. You weren't made to be a ghost. You were made to be broken. If the hammerblow never smashes you, if the drunken fool never throws you to the ground, then the constant trickle of life, life, life like water wears you down and crumbles your foundations, breaking you down finally, finally carrying you as a river carries its dead rocks down to the breaking waves of the sea.

(no subject)

Monday, January 12th, 2004 05:57 pm
hummingwolf: (two)
As I wandered in an unfamiliar neighborhood lit by a twilight sky, I came to a barrier blocking off a raised square the width of the street and keeping cars from driving through. Pedestrian that I am, I went right in. There were hopscotch lines and numbers, maybe markings for some other game though it was less than clear in the fading light. The air was different as I walked through. It felt like sacred space.

(no subject)

Friday, July 11th, 2003 10:42 pm
hummingwolf: (two)
On the bad side: While I was out today, after POV-Ray had rendered six and a half frames of an animation I was working on, the program decided it had a problem and stopped. I got home, shut down the program, restarted, and it told me my code was degenerate. Degenerate! The nerve! Tried several other scene files which worked just fine yesterday or the day before, and it had problems with the code in those too. Grrr. If this program doesn't get itself sorted out by tomorrow, it'll be replaced by a fresh download, I swear.

Also bad, but expected: Social Security denied my first appeal. Yes, most people are turned down both on first application and first appeal, but several of my friends have been accepted earlier and I was hoping I'd get lucky too. Interestingly, one of the reports they said they used in their determination was from the doctor visit back in February I never managed to pay for. Wonder what he told them about me, given that he said their office would never get the form he filled out unless I paid a sum of money... hmm, roughly equal to my current monthly income from the state. Their reasons for turning me down are simply wrong--one thing they claim that I can do is work in a standing position, when standing is the one thing I can't do for long periods without dire consequences.

And still on the bad side: My right hip continues to hurt a heck of a lot when I sit in this (or any other) chair and my physical with the new state-approved clinic is more than two weeks from now.

In my most memorable dream so far this week, I learned that I was dying of some rare, incurable ailment ensuring that my bones would painfully disintegrate and I'd end up as a little, miserable, boneless blob before death. I was trying to figure out how many of my far-flung friends would come visit before my skeleton turned to powder but woke up before getting any answers.

On the good side: My endurance for walking continues to be good this week--I walked roughtly 4.5 miles today without passing out, though admittedly the nausea was pretty bad by the last quarter-mile. There's a new route I've begun walking around sunset lately, a big loop with no steep hills and plenty of shortcuts in case I get too tired to finish the full version. Before sunset, the route takes me west along major roads with relatively few trees so I get a good view of the clouds; the second half of the route is on neighborhood streets where the fireflies fly up to greet me. (Tonight's sunset was done up in pastels, oils, and gold leaf. Three cheers for the artist!)

Also on the good side: I have fresh brownies with minimal burning.

In the news

Thursday, June 5th, 2003 11:48 am
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
At yesterday's appointment, one news-related question the psychiatrist asked me was what George Dubya Bush is focusing on these days. I'm sure she was looking for an answer about promoting Middle East peace, but I said something instead about justifying the war with Iraq when no weapons of mass destruction have been found yet. I wonder what she thinks my answer says about my psyche?

In other news, Congress has passed the "partial birth" abortion ban. While this is the one form of abortion I'm sure I'm against, the fact that the bill doesn't include any kind of health exemption confirms my belief that the "pro-life" politicians don't give a damn about life.

In other other news, a big yellow spherical object has been seen glowing in the skies above the Washington, DC metropolitan region. Local residents are demanding to be told what this object is, what kind of danger it might pose, and also why the sky has blue patches instead of the usual unbroken grey. Local leaders have thus far been unable or unwilling to provide straight answers.

(no subject)

Friday, May 16th, 2003 04:24 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (three)
At 3:30 this morning, the answering machine beeped loudly, said "Please wait," then beeped again a few seconds later. Somewhere around nine, it did the same thing again. So I'm waiting.

This is a good day for waiting rather than doing. Cool, grey, windy, rainy. All I really want to do is sit and look at the tree outside my window, admire the texture of wet bark in diffuse light, the delicate play of shades of green in the leaves, and listen to music. (A housemate was listening to Spanish jazz earlier; after that, another was playing his drums in an African rhythm. It's a day for music.) I have to go out soon to stretch my legs and buy some groceries, but not right now. I'm waiting.

One thing I will do is unplug that blasted answering machine.

Too late.

Friday, March 7th, 2003 08:15 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
I went into DC today to pay the doctor bill. Got there too late. Door barred. No forms, no cooperation, no reason to be there.

Wandered around a bit in a daze after that, going in circles in ways that made even the crazy street people think I was weird. Had another one of those interminable depressing discussions with myself about whether or not what I do matters and whether it matters that it matters. I'll spare you the boring details. In any event, the debate was a tie, so the tiebreaker will be a phone call to the doctor's office on Monday to find out if too late is or is not truly too late.

To save myself some money, I hung around in bookstores and then a food court until seven p.m., when the Metro fares are reduced. As I was walking out of the Metro station close to home, a light in the parking lot went out as I passed it. I remembered that some people with fibromyalgia have claimed that they have weird effects on electrical things, making lights go out and computers misbehave; and I thought to myself how neat it would be to be able to impress people with this ability, to think to myself, "Lights will go out now" and have them go out; and as I thought of the lights going out, a half dozen more lights in the area around me did go out. Too bad I couldn't just think them back on again--I hate walking alone in the dark.

Now, time to figure out what's around here that I can eat for supper.

sleepy Sunday

Sunday, January 26th, 2003 05:25 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
I looked out the window and saw tongues of yellow flame hang suspended in the air. I looked again and saw dead leaves on a distant tree--leaves that were only a dull brown, at that.

Who needs drugs when you've got sleep deprivation?

Now I look out the window and see snow falling in the grey light of evening. It's been going on a while, so this probably is snow and not an illusion. The tree outside my window is sprouting white fur.

(no subject)

Thursday, September 26th, 2002 07:17 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
Cool day. I sip on warm tea. I slip on warm clothes. I admire the light.

Silence is golden. Tonight I want silver. So I listen to the rain. I walk in the light. I glisten with silver. Could I be a waterfall? Could I be a brook? I already know how to babble.

(no subject)

Friday, July 12th, 2002 11:28 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
My mind has been too focused on trivia lately--How will I eat? What will I wear? Can I get enough sleep? Is there a way to pay the rent next month? What about money for medicine?--boring, unimportant matters nobody cares about. To show how divorced I am from the things that count: I have barely listened to any music at all today, maybe 4 songs this morning before I rushed off to concentrate on something else, something pecuniary and picayune and pathetic.

But tonight I remembered to take a walk to see the watercolor sunset. There may be hope for me yet.

(no subject)

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2002 08:33 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)

On my "Japanese Landscapes of the 20th Century" calendar, this Kawase Hasui print is the picture for July. Now I wish I were on the water bathed in the light of the moon...

Woohoo!

Sunday, June 23rd, 2002 09:17 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
You know I've been complaining about the fact that the only guys who take any notice of me these days are aging alcoholics. Well, I was just now speaking to a very nice, sober, cute boy who was clearly interested in getting to know me better and invited me to stop by his place any time. As a bonus, I had a chat with his mother and it seems we'll get along just fine. But--and I know you all will say I'm too picky--I'm afraid a 5-year-old is simply too young for me. Ah well, such is life. :-)

In other news, it's official: Even without a decent pair of walking shoes, I am the sort of person who will go the extra mile... just to get a better view of the sunset.

My Thursday

Thursday, May 2nd, 2002 09:26 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
(I'm very tired, having trouble with the whole coherence thing. You have been warned.)

The day didn't start out well. I was trying to make it to a seminar at the school, one of the kinds to help with job-hunting, with which I need all the help I can get. Was supposed to be there at 11 a.m. My body, under the influence of medication, had other plans.

So, after working my way from deeply miserable to mildly yucky, I got into the school 2 hours later than I had intended, then waited another half hour to speak with the new placement director. I like this one. She seems to have a clue. I have hope that she can actually help with the job search, rather than make empty promises, do nothing, and tell me I need to change my attitude. After we were done talking for today and planning our next meeting, I gave her some tips on dealing with headaches, so maybe the help can go both ways.

Now I had a few hours to kill before the next big event of the day. The school's director of education gave me some light faxing to do, but eventually let me go off to practice typing and chat with students rather than do any real work. Yay! One of the students I spoke with is a real character--he's been rich, he's been poor, he's made a living in a variety of ways from construction work to gambling (cheating and--fortunately for him--not getting caught), he's had cancer twice, he's been jailed twice (once for something he actually did), and he's got many interesting stories which he probably didn't embellish very much. Not only was the conversation interesting, but the man may be able to get me a part-time job helping homeless folks apply for housing, get their birth certificates, and other such things. It wouldn't be a long-term job and, frankly, I'm not sure I've got the patience for it. But it would be paying work doing something good, so I'm keeping it in mind.

Finally, there was the day's big event: Dinner!The school's director of education treated a few of her students and co-workers to a meal at a seafood place. There had been some worries about the weather--severe thunderstorms in the area,
local schools were closed, and one of the director's friends called her up and said, "You'd better cancel that dinner and get yourself home to safety!" So glad nobody listened--by the time we left the school, the sun was out. The food was filling, and the dinner companions fun.

As I walked to the Metro station after dinner, some raindrops fell and some people complained, worrying that more severe weather was on its way. I hoped that I wouldn't get too soaked on the way home, but didn't care very much one way or the other. After a bad start, it had been a good day.

As the subway came above ground past Union Station, I looked up from my book to see what the weather was doing. To my left: a gently glowing sunset. To my right: a rainbow.

(no subject)

Sunday, March 17th, 2002 11:55 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
Last night I was about to write some angst-filled post about my alienation from all other sentient beings in the universe, my deep and unresolvable loneliness blah blah blah; but I decided to go to bed and get some sleep instead, figuring I'd write the post in the morning.

Today's weather is pleasantly cool and rainy. Sky of silver, trees of warm brown--some topped with fresh green buds, a few crowned with cool white blossoms. If I look out another window, I can see green bushes and ivies, cheery yellow daffodils and forsythias bringing sunshine into a clouded day. I am at peace with myself and my world. I can easily call up that feeling of loneliness and inspect each of its constituent parts, but I don't feel the need. It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do for a girl's mood. All that's needed now is a good piece of dark chocolate and it will be enough.

Addenda

Friday, March 15th, 2002 07:19 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
Also on the bad side: As I was walking toward the Metro station to go to work, I was enveloped by great flying clouds of insects. A happy couple spying me took care to keep their distance, either to keep away from the nasty bugs; or, if they could not see the bugs, to keep away from the crazy woman slapping at herself for no apparent reason.

On the good side: Was eveloped by an awe-inspiring sunset on the way home.

Morning

Thursday, January 24th, 2002 08:06 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
Soft whisper of feathers on fur, soft sound blending with the sound of the rain. The hummingwolf stretches, yawns. Outside the nest, grey on grey on silver on grey and a few streetlights with their auras of gold. Rain may have cleansed the night, but new dirt comes with the morning. Ah well, there is still a delicate beauty here.

Time to forage for food. The hummingwolf has good luck this morning--nuts, berries, and a demitasse of cocoa. Warmth, good food, a world half-asleep waiting to be explored. While there are many other things a creature could wish for, for this moment this is enough.

But you know, with four paws and two wings, you'd think I'd have figured out by now some way of carrying a purse, a bookbag, and an umbrella all at the same time without looking like a failed court jester.

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