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I'm planning a family camp out. Consider joining us! It falls on a Monday, so we'll probably land at whatever campground on Saturday, and stay through Tuesday.

We're looking the Shawnee National Forest or the Land Between Lakes National Park.
ljgeoff: (Default)
From A guest article by Florence Fetterer, principal investigator at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in the US.

"Most fundamentally of all, the new dataset allows us to answer the three questions we posed at the beginning of this article.

First, there is no point in the past 150 years where sea ice extent is as small as it has been in recent years. Second, the rate of sea ice retreat in recent years is also unprecedented in the historical record. And, third, the natural fluctuations in sea ice over multiple decades are generally smaller than the year-to-year variability."


Sea ice cover maps for the annual minimum in September, for the periods 1850-1900, 1901-1950, 1951-2000, and 2001-2013. The maps show the sea ice extent in the lowest minimum during each period, which are in years: 1879, 1943, 1995, and 2012.

Walsh, J. E., Fetterer, F., Stewart, J. S. and Chapman, W. L. (2016) A database for depicting Arctic sea ice variations back to 1850. Geographical Review, doi:10.1111/j.1931-0846.2016.12195.x
ljgeoff: (Default)
This is me, planning the meals for the Fourth Annual Great Summer Camp Out. There will be 12 adults, 1 teen, 7 grade-school kids, 3 toddlers, 2 babies.

Read more... )
ljgeoff: (Default)
-- why would I work on a mosaic for a house that I'm leaving in 2 years? Mostly what we're thinking about for this house is getting it in good enough shape to sell it.

Yeah. So, change of plans. The mosaic is for Lilac House1, the house I'm going to build in a couple years. I will re-imagine the project, and place the mosaic either in my kitchen or conservatory. Hmm, the conservatory, I think.

Which makes me wonder -- should I have a conservatory, and where would I place the sunroom on a house that'll be transitioning from Zone 4 to zone 7 or 8 within the lifetime of the house, which I'm hoping is at least 100 yrs. Also, the weather'll be extreme and chaotic. Glass will be an issue; maybe have shutters? Maybe not have a conservatory? I'm very open to opinions.

In the mean time, I will buy heavy totes and store the finished pieces in totes. God, they're gonna weigh a ton. Luke and I are going to go buy some tiles tonight, and I'm going to print out the cat and sketch a pattern over the next week.


1) Lilac House will be a post and beam stackwood house with a sod roof growing lilacs and other flowers and herbs.

Something like this, but with another story on top, and made with stackwood instead of logs.


This is stackwood, also called cordwood masonry construction
ljgeoff: (Default)
I want to order the tile for my first cat mosaic. I am going to start with this one:




-- but make him our big orange guy, Dexter. And I'll have him laying in some flowers, like this,

but with some birdsfoot trefoil in the background. This section is going to be at the foot of the stairs, and there's a corner there that I have to work with.

The cool thing about this project is that it's not very expensive. It's more of a time thing, and I can do it for bits of time, here and there.

I can buy tile by the piece at Home Depot. I need to draw a pattern! I am not a drawing kind of person. :P Maybe if I print out the picture and kindof trace it... I also have to get some tile nippers.

I think I'll just tape the mosaic onto a heavy piece of cardboard with some double-sided tape, and when I have a 4' x'4' section done, or four 2x2 sections done, I'll lay down a piece of cement board over the old wood flooring* and cement the mosaic in and grout it. I think the whole project will take six 4x4 sections.

Luke is going to take a picture of Dexter and go out with me to pick out some colors. He's intrigued by the project.

* -- I may pay someone to do this, and I should probably wait until I have all the sections done and lay it all at one time.
ljgeoff: (Default)
Ok, this is just a ... idle idea. I guess. I mean, I'd love to do it, but I don't know if I will. *shrug*

So, I'd like to make a floor mosaic. I've been wanting to do something like this for a while. I've been thinking about putting a mosaic down on the entrance way of the house here in Lansing. So I'm just going to write about it a little here; it may never happen.

The area is the entrance way and hall, an L-shaped space where the bottom of the L goes along the front door and the stairs to the second floor, and the long part of the L edges the living room and leads to the dining room. I would guess that from the door to the dining room is about fifteen feet, and it's about four feet wide.

The theme is cats and gardens. I want to include all of the cats, even Morgan, whom we lost a few years ago.

(A side note: Last week I was sure that our old fellow, Buddy, had crawled off somewhere and died. We got him when he started living under our trailer, back in 2011, and he was old then. When we moved to the house in '12, we figured he might last the winter. Anyway, I hadn't seen him in a few days, and when I went to pick up Luke from his friend's house, I talked to him about how Buddy was probably gone. We were driving up to the house, and I said, "He was so old; he had a good life with us." And as I pulled into the driveway, the headlights caught the figure of a cat. "Look!" Luke pointed, "It's Buddy!"

I sighed. "Yep."

Luke laughed. "Don't be so disappointed!")

So, we have ten cats that live inside and another three or four that come up to the porch to eat. In the house there's Buddy, the color of oranges and creme; Lulu, petite and grey, with a striped tail; Lulu's kittens, Bandit, a brown taby, Miss Pickles, a grey tabby tuxedo, and Patrick and Louie, both dove grey tuxedos; Annie, a brown tabby tuxedo; Dexter, a Garfield; Morgan, orange tabby with a white chest, not as big as Dexter; Steve, a long, thin orange tabby; Portia (who used to live on the porch); a muted calico; and finally Squiggy, mostly borwn with some rusty tabby markings. Outside, there's Lenny, a lean, muscular brown tabby; Persephone, a less-muted calico, maybe Portia's sister; and Ichabod, another grey tuxedo, and maybe Patrick and Louie's half-feral half-brother. There was a small feral black tuxudo we called Mouse because he was so skittish, but I haven't seen him since spring. And Persephone may have had kittens.

All of the inside cats are fixed.

I think each cat will be about the size of a hand or two, and look something like this: Read more... )

The Plan

Jul. 8th, 2016 09:48 am
ljgeoff: (Default)
I haven't talked much about climate change or The Plan recently, because it seems to me that most folks can see what's happening and the info is out there if they want a deeper understanding.

Back in 2010, I wrote that we weren't sure yet how bad it was going to get. That's still true, but what else is true is that the projections now are much more dire than they were in 2010. We'll loose the summer arctic cap sometime within the next ten years. We're already seeing serious losses in agriculture. Everywhere, the weather has changed.

Now that I'm in a position to really start realizing some of my plans, I want to update The Plan.

I had hoped to have purchased the property five years ago, three years ago, last year. We still haven't got it together. As a family, we've made some great moves forward, but we haven't got ourselves squared away enough to put money into savings. But now I expect to buy a 40-acre parcel in about twelve months. I plan to save money over the next year for both my RN education and a large down payment on the parcel.

I've talked to the kids about how they see this playing out. For the most part, what they've said is 'we'll keep going as long as we can, and when things get too hard, we'll come to the homestead.

This is somewhat problematic because a lot of work will need to be done before it 'gets too hard.' We're going to be having our yearly family camp out at the beginning of August, and I'll present a timeline to them then:

2025 -- summer arctic ice cap is gone. Jet stream is erratic, and weather is extreme with droughts mixed with torrential downpours. World food projected to decrease by 15% of today's totals

2035 -- world temp is over 2°c-3°c; ice only forms in arctic in deep winter; modern agriculture is on the brink of collapse. War.

A lot of folks believe that we will avert this future. I believe that we could, but we won't. The Plan is to have the beginning of a secure homestead by 2025 that can not only feed a 10-15 family clan, but is also a place of learning with a large library, ability to produce cloth/fiber, pottery, and smithing/working of metals, a tech/mechanical shop, a collection of musical instruments, and a small hospital/dental clinic.

It's an ambitious plan, and I might not see the fulfillment. Perhaps these things are never fulfilled but a work in progress. Onward.
ljgeoff: (Default)
I've had one interview with a job offer of working nights in a nursing home for $23.80/hr. I've had two phone interviews for the correctional job, and will be sending in my background check tomorrow; the interviewer finished the interview by saying "Let's get this show on the road." I haven't been able to connect with the hiring person from the spinal cord/brain injury rehab place yet. So I still haven't decided which job to take, but I know I'll be working somewhere soon for pre'damn good money.

Short range plans: get all the bills under control; get Luke moved into Carl's place; get the upstairs bedroom that's been gutted for two-freaking-years finished so the little boys can have their own room; get myself a new laptop for school.

Mid-range plans: I'm not going to school this September. There are some excellent reasons, and they mostly have to do with money. I will go back next September, and I'll go back with most of my tuition saved up and with some real nursing experience under my belt. I feel extremely comfortable and confident about this.

Long range plans: After graduating with my RN, I'll start saving for the property. Every year that passes gets me more jumpy about the future, and I'm behind by something like five years. Truthfully, I had a tough talk with myself about spending the time/money to get my RN --I'm that freaked out by the incessant ticking of the damn clock. But the knowledge and skills will be just as useful, if not more, than the increased pay and job opportunities.

What is hard for me: I want to spend money that I haven't yet made on things I've been wanting for years. One thing I *am* going to do is go to the Nutcracker this Christmas, and pay for some family to come with me-- whoever wants to come. I also want to fix up this house -- some carpeting, paint, that kind of thing. So I have to set myself a budget within a budget within a budget. Bills/fix-up/fun. I have only ever been able to handle the bills, and when something has come up that had to get fixed, we played catch-up.

I have some thoughts about stress and poverty. I may go a bit crazy for a couple months. Bear with me, eh? A final thought: my interviews went very well and gave me a window-look into what kind of nurse I will be. Do you know what? I will be amazing.

decisions

Jun. 21st, 2016 09:38 am
ljgeoff: (Default)
One of the unique properties of the nursing professions, unique to me anyway, is that I have the luxury of choosing a job.

Do you know that there is such a thing as a Denials Nurse? It's not something that I could do -- it's a nurse who looks at folks who've been denied coverage for their care and tries to find ways to get them help. Which is a good thing to be doing, but not my particular skill set.

Over the weekend, I put in applications to several nursing homes, but the two jobs I'm really interested is a clinic in Detroit, and Jackson Prison. I've also put in applications to a couple of county jails. I've got to send in a background check form for one of the county jails -- that came in at 8am today.
ljgeoff: (Default)
After the little boys (finally) fell asleep, I called Luke down to help me clean up the kitchen and then I took the dog for a walk. It's after 10pm and 78°F (25.5°C). My working class neighborhood is very quiet, almost somnolent. Which is what you'd expect at 10:30pm on a Sunday night, but not our usual. Even Brenda, the crack-lady across the street who's usually out pontificating to the neighborhood from her porch, is quiet. I can hear lazy voices, box fans in the windows, and TVs.

A firefly lit up on the corner, a single *blink* .... *blink* .... *blink*. It made me sad, that he was out there all by himself. The house next to us is owned by a church, and a big group met there to clean it up, and threw all of the garbage out back. Three weeks now, big black bags of kitchen garbage, and the raccoons have got to it. I breath shallow as we pass. The dog and I took a turn into the alley and there was another firefly, *blink* .... *blink*. So that was a little better. Halfway down the alley, one of our cats met us, Louie, his white tuxedo markings glowing. He and the dog exchanged polite greetings.

We turned, threading through more alleyway, down and 'round the corner and through the yard of the house that's been empty for over a year-- a guy named Tucker used to live there and say hi whenever he saw me and the dog. I kinda miss him. Past the now-abandoned house and up the next alley, heading home. The air has weight, and there's cannabis floating in languid ribbons; I walk through one and then another. Stoner Dave is in his lawn chair out behind his house. I'm illuminated by the street light, and I give him a wave. "Hey, Lees," he murmurs, another silky ribbon. By our house, two more cats greet us, weaving back a forth just out of reach of the dog's leash. One reaches over and taps the other on the flank, and they bounce through the neighbor's box hedges.

My house smells like peanut butter sandwiches, growing things and, regrettably, cats. I let the dog loose of her leash and she goes to the kitchen for a drink of water. Yeah, that sounds good. It's so damn hot.

G'night all.
ljgeoff: (nurse strax)
I have passed the NCLEX-PN.

I can now work as an LPN in the state of Michigan. The folks that run the NCLEX test let you pay an additional $8 for unofficial results. I wasn't going to do it, but I have to say it's probably the best $8 I've ever spent. I should get my license number sometime next week.

My knee is slowly getting better. I'll be starting physical therapy next week. I should be in a new job by the end of the month.

I don't know if I can express how much this means to me. Accomplishment, financial security, being able to move forward -- it's rather amazing. When I got my BS, I felt validated. With this, I feel euphoric.

The nursing program has said that I will likely be able to continue on in September, and if not then, I will likely get a spot next May. Either way, I know that it'll come.

If you're a person who's planning on attending 2017 FOGcon or Wiscon, please come look me up. And Wiscon-folk, I'm looking for roomies.

bleh

Jun. 17th, 2016 09:20 am
ljgeoff: (Default)
I usually deal with anxiety by doing something physical. Especially gardening. But the damn knee injury is keeping me from doing much of anything physical. It has now been three business days since I took the test; I'm assuming that's 24 business hours. I should have an unofficial test result by next Wednesday. It feels like my whole brain is nothing but white noise anxiety. Bleh.

I'll be getting my physical therapy set up today; not sure when that will start.

I'm *so* grumpy! Maybe I can go sit and weed a little....

bleh

Jun. 15th, 2016 08:12 pm
ljgeoff: (Default)
So I read on the website that I could get non-official results for my NCLEX test in 48 hours. It has now been 48 hours, and when I plugged in my name, there was no results. Cue hyperventilation.

I went back and googled how long it would take to get the results, and it's 48 business hours.

Sheesh.

In other news, my knee hurts like a bitch and now I've got some nerve pain going on from a probable compressed femoral nerve. Damnit. I need to find some time to just sit and write for a while. It helps.

bleh

Jun. 7th, 2016 10:47 am
ljgeoff: (Default)
I feel horribly guilty that I am vastly relieved to be out of nursing school. I know that if I was given a choice, I would choose to be in nursing school. I know that when I heal, I will choose to go back.

But in the meantime, OMG, no skills test this week. No CIP this weekend. No test next week. No stressing on how I'm going to pay for this semester. In fact, I'll have some time to save up for when I restart. I am so fucking relieved.

Ack! Cognitive dissonance!

BTW, got crutches yesterday and MRI is scheduled for late tomorrow evening. Norco is my friend.
ljgeoff: (Default)
To take my mind off recent developments, especially since brooding and even, at this point, planning, is pre' useless right now, I have been thinking about stories.

Thinking about my last two stories, I realize that I like writing about love. About how love works, what it looks like, how it can be used. I like to apply the laws of conservation to people, actions, and emotions. I like to tell stories about how even something that looks like despair may be winning.

Because stories have to be interesting, they are usually about some kind of crisis -- man vs. nature, man vs. man, man vs. self -- and all that jazz.

I want to write a quiet story, though. Something that focuses on nature, on inner forces. Hmm. Fecundity and birth. The growth of ideas or fruition of plans. Hmm. Hmm.

well, shit

Jun. 5th, 2016 11:17 pm
ljgeoff: (Default)
I think I've blown out my knee. It's pretty bad; can't bear weight. Somethings torn, dislocated or both.

I was going up the stairs and looked back over my shoulder, turning slightly and something in my knee crunched. I've been icing it all evening -- still am, and will be going in to have it x-rayed in the morning.

This will change my summer plans considerably.

zzzzzzzzz!

May. 28th, 2016 11:37 pm
ljgeoff: (Default)
This afternoon when I got off from work, I spent a couple of hours with Luke, buying groceries and stuff. We were on our way to drop him off at his buddy Aaron's house, and a motorcycle went by. He made some kind of comment about it, and I said, "I've always wanted to ride around on a motorcycle, but I figured, having kids and all, I couldn't risk it." I grinned at him. "I was thinking that, now that you guys are mostly grown up, I could maybe get one." He gave me a curious look and I shrugged, "I mean, if something happened, statistics and all, well, you guys don't need me like you did when you were little."

Luke considered me. "Hmm." He smiles a lot with his eyes, and that's what I usually see first. But this time, he was outright mirthful. "You can get a scooter. One of those electric ones." Then he put his hands out, as if goosing a motorcycle, and instead of VROOM, he said, "zzzzzzz."

We lost it, both of us going, "ZZzzzzz, zz, zzzzzzzz!"

But I'm sitting here thinking ... what went on in his head between hearing his mom say that she didn't think he needed her so much anymore, to allowing that she might get a scooter, as a compromise, to how funny mom on a scooter would be. In the time it took his grin to go from his eyes to his lips.
ljgeoff: (Default)
There's a new climate change report out, (damn this keyboard) World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate (http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/883/ -- 108 pgs).

The report outlines how climate change will effect historical sites, national heritage sites, and national parks and preserves.

In one section, the reports notes that Great Britain's Stonehenge is at risk from heavy rains and flash floods -- 'the volume of winter rain could increase by as much as 70 percent by the 2080s.'

And I couldn't help thinking fuck the heritage sites, what's that going to do to the livability of the area for the inhabitants?

As a species, we will surely be horrified as the poorest of the poor die at an even greater rate than they do now. There will be appeals to save the displaced, starving and war wrecked millions -- and we will try, will save many. But when the millions become billions?

These thoughts shiver through me and I can only put my head down and continue with what I'm about, try not to become too hopeless, and instead focus my anxiety on the goal. Push through, one staggering step at a time.

I wish that I had enough personal resources to be more of a voice, but I can barely do what I'm doing. It never seems like enough.
ljgeoff: (Default)
Edit: Never mind! :) my solution is below.

I'm looking for help with getting my LJ to display a link to my journal here. When I go to settings, and then click on the tab to Other Sites, I have an option to "Add the footer to the post on the other site:"

I have this set to "always" but there is no footers on my LJ site. Secondly, there is a text box that says "Text of the footer to add on other sites. If you leave it blank, the system default footer will display." Down below this text box is:

The following variables may be used:
%%url%%: link to the original post
%%reply_url%%: link to the reply form on the original post
%%comment_url%%: link to view the comments on the original post
%%comment_image%%: image tag that dynamically displays the comment count on the original post

I want to show the comment count on the original post. So do I just copy and paste %%comment_image%% into the text box? I've never seen any code like that. In any case, nothing happens -- I don't have any footer at all in my LJ posts.

Bleh.

Edit: my text box looks like this:

Originally posted to Dreamwidth, were there are %%comment_image%%comments.
ljgeoff: (Default)
About ten years or so ago, I began reading papers about the risk of the circumboreal forests experiencing massive burnouts as the climate warmed, that we risked the forests themselves. At the same time, I was reading about moisture bands moving north, so I didn't really get how the forests could burn at that level. Of course, some other forest would eventually grow, or some grassland or peat swamp. Eventually.

I don't know that I can express the feelings I get as the climate scientists projections begin to appear. Fascinated dread -- is there a word in some language for that?

We started talking about how to protect our little farm up north from forest fire. We wouldn't have much hope of fighting a big fire, and within another 30 to 40 years, there won't be any community resources to fight wildfires. So, mostly, it'll be about getting out and having safe stores of food and supplies.

I think the fires in Russia, Siberia and China were larger than the current Canadian fire, and when looking at all the circumboreal forests, these fires don't look so big. I try to calm myself.

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