chris_warrior: (ecstatic)

so we pulled it off, all of it: the surprise (mom cried), the socializing (mom stayed until 7 PM), the packing/cleaning up, and the getting everything back where it belonged (including my nephew, to Washington DC). i even succeeded in keeping the fact that Dave and i were headed back to the Charlton Scottish Inn (where we'd first escaped back on 11-11-11, while trying to decide if we were going to turn one very unexpected interlude at MASI in October into some sort of an Ongoing Thing). we even managed to scrape together a bit of Charles and Hope time, despite being exhausted and everyone scheduled to the nth degree. :D all good.

now, a week back into My Life In Maine, i still haven't gotten another work call. i'd had high hopes for this past weekend, i guess, and i'm a little bummed by it. i've started to schedule work back in NY during my September trip, and that makes me happy, but i need to come up with a way to get some more clients here. *sigh*

since Dave has been at work nearly every waking minute since we've been home, i've been running errands, online shopping for essentials, and finally doing more of the work in the kitchen that i've been putting off. over the weekend (and this morning) i've pulled down the over-sink shelf and fixed that wallpaper. i've started painting the dresser-turned-kitchen island. i'm debating taking down the bad plaster that someone slathered on top of the brick chimney, and purchasing one more set of drapes to hide our pantry. it's really looking quite good. the only thing that still really needs to be addressed is a new paint job for the floor.

i've also organized our new bookshelves into something more manageable, and scrubbed out the bathtub. so, yeah, it's a cleaning week.

chris_warrior: (mystical)

i have completely lost control of the garden here in NY, if i ever had it.

chris_warrior: (peace)
"There's great strength in vulnerability... there's great strength in choosing to be hopeful, cause that's a scary place to go. It's less controlling, but it's actually possibly leading to a better thing."

actress Danai Gurira, on Talking Dead, speaking about the recent actions of her Walking Dead character, Michonne.
chris_warrior: (chair massage)

i called my mom today in between errands. she asked me if the GEICO rep who called the house this morning had managed to get a hold of me. i told her that the woman had gotten a hold of me; she'd called around 8 AM. my mom said "I wasn't in a very good mood when she called here. She caught me in the bathroom. And when she asked for 'Chris', it was the first time I had to tell someone 'Chris doesn't live here anymore.' It was hard."

yeah, i know.


chris_warrior: (personal stuff)

i haven't exactly been cursing my laryngitis, but it's never pleasant to be unable to talk, especially when one is used to running one's mouth constantly. *wry look* i've been looking at it more as yet another aspect of my (karmic) debt/payment for all the effort of the past two months, and feeling that it's likely the last tiny bit of this last patch of illness (a truly yucky head cold). hopefully this will be IT.

i hope.

that said, it also would have been pretty inconvenient to have been up on the altar in front of hundreds of people only to begin bawling when the visiting cantor (a young man with an amazing voice who occasionally sings at Sacred Heart) started singing a song i'd never heard before, during Communion.

How could it be this baby in my arms
Sleeping now, so peacefully
The Son of God, the angel said
How could it be?

Lord, I know He's not my own
Not of my flesh, not of my bone
Still Father, let this baby be
The son of my love.

Father, show me where I fit into this plan of Yours
How can a man be father to the Son of God?
Lord, for all my life I've been a simple carpenter
How can I raise a King?
How can I raise a King?

He looks so small
His face and hands so fair
And when He cries, the sun just seems to disappear
But when He laughs, it shines again
How could it be?

Father, show me where I fit into this plan of Yours
How can a man be father to the Son of God?
Lord, for all my life I've been a simple carpenter
How can I raise a King?
How can I raise a King?

How could it be this baby in my arms
Sleeping now, so peacefully
The Son of God, the angel said
How could it be?
How could it be?

it's called "Joseph's Song."

chris_warrior: (golden wild optimism)

i've been energetically threadbare and multiple-times sick since my father passed.

i'm praying, hoping, and setting my intention for a healthier, more centered, more grounded year to come: to be more organized and productive, as well as more loving, more patient, and more compassionate.

Happy Yule!

chris_warrior: (faery bunny)

there was a bluebird in the backyard today, btw.

(in addition to nuthatches, sparrows, finches, red-bellied woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees...)

chris_warrior: (nature faery)

i went downstairs to talk with my mom and saw something pecking away at the elderberry bush i planted a few years ago. then two somethings. then three.

in fifteen minutes i saw at least four bluebird babies (i think actually six, since i was trying to count males and females), two cedar waxwings, and a catbird.

our babies came home! (and this is the first cedar waxwing i've seen on the property)

chris_warrior: (mystical)

i dreamed i followed a small band of acquaintences - i think Merlyn from the singing group Merry Mischief was one of them - into a medieval-looking hut/store. the shelves inside were crammed with knick-knacks of all flavors: picture frames (with pictures in them), toys, mugs... if it had ever been built, bought, and given to someone as a gift, it was in there. the other travelers disappeared into the library-esque stacks of shelves. i found myself idly picking things up, thinking about it, then putting them down again.

i turned a corner to find an open space, with a sort of cashier's desk in the center. a man popped up and inquired if he could help me/what i'd come for. i replied that i wasn't sure why i was there, nor if i needed help. he was wearing a combination of peasant clothing and robes, and he struck me as being both a monk and a carnie. this impression was reinforced when he picked up a set of six blood-red dice and rolled them down the table, saying something like "Let's consult the dice, and see what they tell us of the bad ideas you should leave here."

i suddenly realized that every knick-knack in the place was the physical manifestation of a Bad Idea, thought, or memory, that people had discarded as being no longer beneficial or needed. no wonder it felt like a Good Will, i thought. i realized that i'd come close to picking up some of other people's Bad Ideas, and i blinked at the close call. but the monk was still peering at me as if the dice had told him nothing, and i said "Well, I don't know what to leave. Why don't I just form the intention to leave everything that isn't to the Highest Good?"

suddenly loud, blaring alarms went off all around me, and the monk began gesticulating wildly, shushing me for all he was worth, doing everything but actually touching me and closing my lips. i blinked at him as he cried out "NOOOOooooo! You can't leave a Good Idea like that here!"

i woke up then, amused... but also thoughtful.

chris_warrior: (looking on and/or checking in)

well, if you want to see what i've been fussing over for three days (around appointments and Mass and family stuff, etc), feel free to check out my new webpage and tell me what you think. obviously still under construction.

and man, once you line up all my training it looks kind of impressive.

chris_warrior: (garden)

the USDA report.

the language is biased against organic methods (shocker), and the charts of releases of genes are alarming (shocker). but some hopeful news in the decrease in overall approvals since the late 1990's/early 2000's? (Figure 1). also not a shock that Monsanto is the clear leader in releases (Figure 4), that nearly a quarter of all releases are aimed at herbicide resistance (Figure 3), and that corn is the most frequently modified crop (Figure 2). if the words "non-regulated status" doesn't send a chill through you, you should probably stop reading now.

no where in this report will you find data on how many countries have destroyed and eliminated GE crops, though it does contain data on where they've been adopted. the increase in acreage under cultivation in the US has, at least, tapered in the last few years (Table 3) after an explosion in the early 2000's, but the numbers are still increasing. according to Figure 5, only the acreage of GE cotton has gone down (Bt decreasing, HT leveling).

significant GE acreage has made it to NY (Figure 6).

take a close look at Figure 7 and Table 4: farmers cite that their overwhelming reason for switching to GE strains is "increased yield", and yet data does not support they're getting it in many cases. ironically, one of the crops where yields DID increase almost across the board - Bt cotton - is the one crop whose acreage is decreasing. most alarming, however, is the data on Bt corn: even though yields increased, net returns decreased. so why are farmers increasing acreage? is it seed price manipulation, especially on the "stacked" (HT and Bt) varieties? is it the subsidies?

that's another item that didn't make this report: monies paid to farmers to plant - or not plant - certain items.

the report does insinuate (page 21) that adopters and non-adopters of GE technology may differ in management practices, which would bias the crop yields data. while i agree that it is impossible (one hopes) to order all the farmers in the country to plant or not plant GMOs based on random sampling to secure better data, i would look at the choice to commercial farm/make a living off a certain amount of land/acreage as the defining characteristic of the group. some may manage their land in a more expeditious manner, but they're trying to make a maximum profit. you likewise can't control for the increase in drought conditions springing up in the Midwest. and if they were to do a study (or perhaps they have done one, and not published the results) where they asked farmers why they didn't adopt GE crops, they might find a bias wherein non-adopters have some greater concern than money.

they do clearly admit on page 16 that the effect of HT seeds on yield is mixed. (shocker)

Table 7 illustrates one of the biggest lies regarding GE technology: that it will decrease overall pesticide and herbicide use because their use is targeted, less is needed. but non-adopters of GE technology used less overall herbicide than adopters. and while the t-tests (or whatever measure was used to analyze the data) judged the difference as "NS" (not significant), shouldn't we be seeing a decrease? the report makes clear that the benefit to these GE crops is the _type_ of herbicide used is less toxic and persistent; this is the gain. glyphosphate is the gain. indeed Figure 14a shows that corn is the only crop followed where overall herbicide use fell with adoption, and even that is on the rise again. herbicide use in cotton production from 2007 on could even be correlated with the _decrease_ in adoption of Bt and HT cotton (Table 4).

Figure 14b is damning wrt to the claim that GE crops will lead to less herbicide use (HT strain). halfway through the report they touch on the appearance of super-weeds (page 24) and how resistance to herbicides is increasing their use, an issue than ANY evolutionary scientist or ecologist could have told them was on the horizon. later in the report they do detail efforts to curtail resistance.

this is their stunning conclusion wrt the strict monetary gains of GE farming (page 20): " The impacts of GE crop adoption vary by crop and technology. Most studies show that adoption of Bt cotton and Bt corn is associated with increased net returns (Table 4). However, some studies of Bt corn show that profitability is strongly dependent on pest infestation levels. The impact of HT seeds (for corn, cotton, and soybeans) on net returns depends on many factors."

they also conclude, at various points in the report, that the primary force behind better economic conditions for the farmers of adopting households might be the reduction in management of the farm, or TIME SPENT FARMING DECREASED, ALLOWING THEM TO HAVE JOBS ELSEWHERE. _this_ is success?

the data does clearly show that GE insect resistance (forcing plants to produce their own insecticidal properties) (that you are eating) *has* resulted in a massive decrease in the use of applied pesticide (Figure 12), at least on corn. of course Figure 13 also illustrates decreasing use of insecticide for _non-adopters_ of GE technology. so either we killed off enough corn borers to allow everyone to benefit (the claim on page 25), or pest levels naturally fluctuate, or both? not touched on in the report is the fact that if we were more careful with exotic species, we would not be battling the European corn borer at all. and the report obviously isn't geared to address the loss of other native insect species (such as the Monarch butterfly) who are also eating from these toxic crops.

on page 27 they introduce the idea that GE adoption is allowing more farmers to practice soil conservation practices, to which i can only snort in derision. and, in case all of this wasn't infuriating enough, on page 34 the USDA reveals they have been gathering the data from studies that track what you are and aren't willing to spend on GE and non-GE foods. in Germany, there is a Herrmann involved in the research! (they found that GE canola must be discounted over 100%, page 35).

(sarcasm)feels good to know the USDA cares more about your health than your money, doesn't it? care so much about farmers they've approved all these seeds so that farmers can help make a living by working two jobs.(/sarcasm)

chris_warrior: (garden)

i saw him after my walk this morning. i followed him as he ran up the driveway, under my car, along the side of the house, under the deck, and out into my garlic patch - where he stood up on his hind legs and looked at me. i was talking to him as if he was the chipmunk, but then once i saw him run from the side of the house to the deck, i realized it wasn't a chipmunk. and he was carrying something (i'm pretty sure it was a dead mouse) in his mouth.

this extended viewing, added to my mother also seeing him earlier in the spring, made me wonder if it's the same ermine from last year (in his spring coat) but this one was a lot smaller. judging by the size he might be a Least Weasel. if so, it's very rare in NYS, as the DEC reports this is the extreme north-eastern edge of its range.

a few links regarding weasel medicine, including this one in which is written "European folklore says that if Weasel appears near a house and squeaks, death is near" and "Because Weasels kill Snakes, symbols of vice, Christians thought of Them as a Symbol of Christ the Purifier. St. Jordan of Battberg had a pet Weasel that represented his attribute of vigilance and watchfulness."

chris_warrior: (nature faery)

i remember being so excited when we saw our first chipmunk in the backyard. well, now we are sure there are at least two; one that knows how to get into the bird feeder without even pausing, and one that does not. the one that does not is lighter, blonder, and has reddish patches on her butt (of course, we don't know it's a 'her', but we've taken to calling the strawberry-butt chipmunk 'her' because one has to use something and we've a 50% chance of being right).

the strawberry-butt chipmunk is fearless. she's everywhere in the backyard, scampering past this and that. when chased out of the bird feeder yesterday morning, she sat at the base and looked indignant until i went out and threw her some salted, roasted peanuts. she didn't run away when a peanut landed an inch away from her, instead hunting it down and sitting there gobbling the entire thing carefully with me standing on the deck ten feet away. while i worked in the yard laying mulch not far away, she kept up her steady campaign to empty the bird feeder of seed. in the midst of this she invaded the garage maybe fifteen minutes after i opened the door to air it out.

i was decribing all this to Dave yesterday, and i reminisced about how a chipmunk at the Sterling Renaissance Faire had run right over my foot while commuting back and forth from his burrow to the bag in which i'd stowed peanuts. i told him i wouldn't be too surprised if this chipmunk was in my lap by summer's end. he was skeptical.

but this morning, as i stood by the feeder trying to coax a black-capped chickadee to eat from my hand, i felt the unmistakeable tiny clawscratch of rodent paws on my foot as the strawberry-butt chipmunk ran right over my sandaled foot in her quest for All The Sunflower Seeds. i looked down in surprise, and she was about five feet away, nosing the ground by the fence around the tulips.

chris_warrior: (golden wild optimism)

since i dropped the first chair off at Ena's yesterday, received my fabric recommendations and a price quote (which was what i hoped it would be, $100 per chair), and have plans to fabric shop with Dave in Auburn at the $1.99/yd store this weekend, i figured it would be a good idea to record the "before" status of the chairs.

cut for dirty chair pictures )

chris_warrior: (ecstatic)

Ken-Ken is something of an obsession with my mom since i got her started on them a few years ago. i've bought her (and she's completed) three Will Shortz "Ken-Ken" books. however, she's gotten used to being able to peek in the back of the book if she's stuck, get a few numbers she *knows* are correct, and proceed from there. i have teased her (lovingly) about cheating.

her current book being three puzzles from full, Dave suggested i go to and print out puzzles for her. i was pleased to see the grid took up an entire page with no printer-fiddling (my mom's eyes prefer large-print things). but there are no answers unless i also print them out. and i did not.

she banged out the first medium-level 7-grid yesterday. i was duly impressed. but this morning i saw one half-filled sitting on the coffee table.

"What happened to that one?" i inquired.

"Oh, that one's terrible," she replied, "Lots of erasing."

so we sat down and did it together. it took just short of forever. and when we were done, i hung it up on the refrigerator... because that's where you put work when you're proud of it. :D

(x-posted from facecrack)

chris_warrior: (melancholy)

"Don't cry. If you have become human enough to cry, then all the magic in the world cannot change you back."

chris_warrior: (gold dragon)

great article on sugar addiction. while i don't exactly agree that addictions are "not your fault" (because no one else is shoveling the substance into your body), i do agree that manufacturers have created products with the express purpose of getting people addicted to them; they have a vested monetary interest in you consuming things that aren't exactly good for you.

the highlights:

1. When the body is deficient of the nutrients it needs to function, it will reach out for anything to get any form of nourishment. You cannot blame the body for being so hungry.
2. If you have candida, bad bacteria or parasites; they are always very hungry and want quick nourishment right now! They love sugar and refined starches the most.
3. When you crave foods like cereals, grains and sugar, you may be addicted to them according to James Braly, MD, York Nutritional Laboratories and author of Food Allergy Relief.
4. Food additives like MSG are often added to make you addicted to the foods that they are put in.
5. The processed food industry spends huge sums of money to get us addicted to their food. It is easier to get existing customers to eat more than to create new customers.

some ideas of things to do to fight cravings:

1. Keep your body nourished.
2. Be fully hydrated
3. Get regular exercise
4. To get extra nutrition with supplements
5. More tips for combating sugar cravings.

also, a free webinar on Tuesday Feb 18 at 9:00 PM Eastern.

chris_warrior: (looking on and/or checking in)

Blue Jays in the backyard.

while the male hopped around on the ground, the female managed to hang on to the feeder, flap her wings (reducing her weight), and get seed out.

given everything that's going on, i wish i felt half as effective as that blue jay.


the squirrels have also already conquered my hanging board, upside-down, suet feeder. at least i made it a bit harder for them to eat All The Suet.

chris_warrior: (been thinking romantic news)

Dave just told me that he'd "picked up a 2-year planner on the cheap." when this did not, at first, compute, he added "2014 _and_ 2015."

Dave now has the ability to plan FURTHER INTO THE FUTURE than i do. clearly this is a sign of an impending apocolypse.

when i remarked upon the incongruity of this action, he clarified that he only *picked up* the planner "in case someone else wanted to use it." then he added "Unless the idea that I bought a two-year planner makes you hot, in which case it's mine."

wow. does my boyfriend know me, or does he know me?

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