April 30, 2004

There's a Wall in Washington....

And someday Iris Dement may be singing about still another wall full of names. Go read the list over at Margaret Cho's site. Look at the names. Look at the ages. Look at the little details on each one.

Today I rowed by the ASU campus, where the flags are still at half-mast and the sign by the stadium reads "In loving memory of Patrick Tilman". I don't follow football much, but I'd have to say a student who by all accounts was prouder of his grades than his football stats, who gave up a huge contract to do what he thought was more important, is worth honoring -- and would have been even more worth not wasting in a war that's becoming a planning debacle.

After practice I drove to work on Highway 101, right past the intersection with Highway 51, which was renamed Piestewa Parkway last year, in honor of Lori Pestewa, the first woman and the first Hopi killed in Iraq. I don't know why she joined up, but I suspect it had to do with earning a decent living to support her daughter, as well as supporting her country. The Hopi have strong family webs; someone will love her daughter, but she won't be raised by Lori, just with her memories.

Go read the names.

Posted by dichroic at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)


I gave my uncle the URL to my old diary so he could look at some of the Antarctic photos there. Apparently he passed it on to my mother. Sigh.

Hi, Mom.

Hmmm.... don't think I've said anything incriminating.

Posted by dichroic at 10:07 AM | Comments (1)


Hi, Mom.

Posted by dichroic at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2004


Snagged from Batten:

Extroverted (E) 65.52% Introverted (I) 34.48%
Imaginative (N) 52.78% Realistic (S) 47.22%
Intellectual (T) 57.58% Emotional (F) 42.42%
Easygoing (P) 63.33% Organized (J) 36.67%
Your type is: ENTP
You are an Inventor, possible professions include - systems designer, venture capitalist, actor, journalist, investment broker, real estate agent, real estate developer, strategic planner, political manager, politician, special projects developer, literary agent, restaurant/bar owner, technical trainer, diversity manager, art director, personnel systems developer, computer analyst, logistics consultant, outplacement consultant, advertising creative director, radio/TV talk show host.
Take Free Career Inventory Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

I always seem to come out as ENTP, no matter what variety f the test I take, so I guess I'm a clear type.

Posted by dichroic at 07:59 PM | Comments (1)

I've been thinking...

I've been thinking about the issues of choice, life and privacy for the past couple of weeks, because of the March last weekend. I believe that there is no provably right answer on this issue, none that can be demonstrated with hard fact and data, so I don't try to change anyone else's mind. There are more profitable ways to spend my energy and everyone else's. I do think that I can explain my position so that those who disagree with it can at least understand intellectually how a rational person can believe as I do, though they will disagree with my basic postulates.

The argument about "killing babies" is pretty potent; there might be people who don't have a problem with that, but I wouldn't want to spend any time with them. On the other hand, literally everyone on both all sides of the issue uses two categories, 'baby' and 'something that has the potential to become a baby', whether or not they admit to it. It's just that for some, that line between categories is crossed at the moment of fertilization, so that only unfertilized gametes (egg and sperm) fall into the second category -- I don't hear too many people regarding menstruation as immoral, though I can think of a few who would if they thought they could get away with it. (You don't hear much preaching against onanism these days, either.) For others, like me, it's difficult to see a twelve-celled blob as anything but a potentiality. (If I believed in the absolute sacredness of life as a whole, I'd spend a lot more time swerving to avoid ants on the sidewalk and I'd be a vegan.) I don't think nature draws hard and fast lines, so for me there's no exact second when you can say "now it isn't - beep - now it is" -- even if you consider fertilization as the line, natural processes are so murky that it's still not as exact as it sounds. I tend to like the old criteria of "quickening", but that's not a firmly held opinion, much less one I'd impose on others. This is not to say I think everyone should have D&Cs willy-nilly; I don't step on ants if I can reasonably avoid it and I wouldn't end even a potentiality without an overriding reason.

The other persuasive side to that argument is that ending a pregnancy means that a certain unique person will never exist. That's a powerful and upsetting thought. I realized, though, on further thought that I can think of two specific extant people (of whom I'm quite fond) who might not exist now if their mom hadn't had the choice. She conceived at eighteen, at a time when she wasn't ready or able to raise a child, and decided to end that pregnancy. Later on when she was ready, she bore two children. If she'd had to face the struggles of early motherhood, I wonder if she might not have had one or both of them. I wouldn't miss them, since I wouldn't have known them, but I do think the world would have been poorer. I don't know what kind of wonderful person might have come from her first pregnancy, but I do know what kind of people came from her last two. To me, this is the sin of playing God: I cannot remove the choice from individuals because I do not have the knowledge to say which baby should get to be born. That needs to be decided by someone with more right to speak in each case.

I also wonder about another friend, who in the same situation made the opposite choice. She thought about an abortion but decided she couldn't go through with it. I haven't met her child since he was a three-year-old with an amazing mind; he'd be a young man now and I'm sure he's fulfilled some of that potential, because I know both of his parents. I wonder whether the difficulties of early marriage and parenting were somehow a little easier for them just because they'd had that choice and had made their decision with eyes open. Maybe. I hope so. I'm sure they and their son have all grown up well, because that's the kind of people they were. The friend I mentioned earlier is one I'm still in touch with, and I know she and her husband (the same man who was her boyfriend when they were eighteen) and their sons are well and happy, good people with responsible lives. How can I look at the two of my friends and say only one of them chose the right path?

Posted by dichroic at 04:24 PM | Comments (1)

general grumbling

Some guy in a refresher class I was teaching complained today because I interrupted him -- to ask him to speak louder so everyone could hear his question. How would that even work? Let him finish and then ask, at which point he'd have forgotten what he was saying and we'd all have to sit through either the same question twice or a long mumble and then a question? Bear in mind this is a class we've tried to tailor to go as quickly as possible.

There is a fine line between being entitled to expect good manners and being overly sensitive.

More grumbling...

Rudder and I spent yesterday in an email go-round with our former rowing club. Someone sent out a message chiding us for quitting the club because we got no benefits from it instead of working from within to improve it. I sent a message back explaining that we had done exactly that for years, but had now gotten tired of having our attempts rebuffed while our $200/year dues (each) were happily accepted. We row our own boats, don't use their equipment, and really had belonged all these years only to foster the cause of rowing in this area. Given the number of people and programs out on the lake each morning, though, it's fair to say it's firmly established now. Unfortunately, the guy had sent his accusations to quite a few people, so I felt it was necessary to reply to the same group, in our own defense.

He sent a nice note back, saying he was sorry he hadn't had all the information and that he still hopes to to make the club a better place and that we will rejoin, so I sent an even nicer reply saying we'd be happy to when our aims were all in accordance. We did get a nastygram from the club president (who had been cc'd) claiming we were evilly trying to lure his people away, which I thought was funny considering most of the others involved had decided to quit the club out of similar frustration or told us they planned to -- and that latter group includes his own wife. Hee.

OK, done grumbling now. Must remember to go buy a Mother's Day card.

Posted by dichroic at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2004

I still feel dirty...

My week started with a bang yesterday morning. The early meeting that I thought
would be excruciating wasn't bad at all (except, of course, for being at 8AM on a
Monday). Also, I had to cut my row short for it. On the other hand, when I went to
rinse out my mug preparatory to making morning tea, I took the lid off and found
myself facing an enormous cockroach. I mean, like, with his own zip code. Or at
least his own address.

Anybody walking by the ladies' room just then
must have really wondered what was going on, if they heard me

That cup's lid fits tightly. I still have no idea how that
thing got in through the small sipping hole; apparently he's Cockroach Houdini.
Fortunately I had a spare cup around. I took the other one home, soaked it in
diluted bleach for an hour (which, incidentally, did a very nice job of removing
the tea stains) and ran it through the dishwasher, contrary though that may
be to its washing instructions. I realize simple dishwashing would have been
sufficient for all sanitary purposes; it's just that finding a cockroach in your
cup requires extreme measures to cleanse all perception of ickiness before
drinking from it again.

I didn't step on the roach; I refuse to stomp
in anythign big enough to squish. Mr. Roach is no doubt very happy in the
lidded bathroom trashcan where I dumped him . Then again, anything that could get
through a hole three sizes smaller than his body probably wouldn't have found
escaping from that trash can much of a challenge.

From here on out, I
believe I will be rinsing out that cup promptly.

Posted by dichroic at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

workout entry

I last wrote up workouts last Wednesday...

Thursday 4/22: Decided I needed sleep more than exercise; slept until 6 but did do the erg part of my normal gym workout: 1600 km including a 1K, 300 cooldown, 2x10 erg strength

Friday: got moving too late, went back to bed. Did walk about 1 mile at lunchtime.

Saturday: We had rented the launch and scheduled a videotaping session, only to find the roughest water there I'd seen in a while. I was afraid we wouldn't be able to tell much about technique, but we went out anyway -- it turned out to be kind of fun, in a rough-seas pirate kind of way (Arrr!) and and a good challenge to keep any kind of form in those waters. We were afraid it would only get worse, so (the very rusty) T2 went first -- that turned out to be a mistake, as She-Hulk, who was last, had much calmer water. I was in the middle, and and was on the water for the worst of it, though it might have been a trifle calmer during my actual filming. There is still that weird shoulder wiggle, but my blade depth is much improved and catches are only occasionally a little late now, so that's good. The wiggle will have less influence on speed than the other things, anyway. Ended up doing 9200 meters and my forearms and abs felt *quite* worked out in those waves. It would have been a great day to kayak, and some people in ourigger canoes appeared to be enjoying themselves.

Sunday: Rudder and I planted about 12 plants of varying sizes and filled in the trench behind them.

Monday: Had an 8AM meeting, damnit. Rowed 9500 meters with a couple of starts. Logged it as 10K on Marn, I adapted my weight sets. But I don't entirely trust that article because it's one of those patronizing ones that starts off assuring women that they won't get all buff and overgrown like those big rough manly men. Screw that -- I'm not going to get upset at any musculature that shows up here, and I can't imagine there are any women who are the least interested in fitness who haven't by now heard tht message. (I know a few who don't believe it, but that's another story.) So I compromised: On each exercise, I did one set of ten well within my limits (e.g. 70 on a lat pulldown, 115 on a leg press, or 70 (80?) on the outer thigh machine) and one at a weight where I would hit failure in that 8-12 rep range (turned out to be 120 on the pulldown, 155 on the leg press (I did a few at 175, too), 110 on the outer thigh. I also did shoulder presses, low row, bench press, calf raises, inner thigh, bicep curl and skullcrushers -- should probably have written all down at the weights where I hit failure.

Posted by dichroic at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2004

Mr. Cup, meet Mr. Roach

Well, this morning's been a toss-up. The early meeting that I thought would be excruciating wasn't bad at all (except, of course, for being at 8AM on a Monday). I had to cut my row short for it. On the other hand, when I went to rinse out my mug preparatory to making morning tea, I took the lid off and found myself facing an enormous cockroach.

Yes, I squeaked.

The lid fits tightly, too. I still have no idea how that thing got in through the small sipping hole. Fortunately I have a spare cup around, because I'm not drinking from the other one until it's gone through the dishwasher, contrary though that may be to its washing instructions. Mr. Roach is no doubt very happy in the lidded bathroom trashcan where I dumped him (not wanting to step on something big enough to squish. Or, given his Houdini-like skills, maybe not.

Posted by dichroic at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2004

backyard redone

The backyard is finally all but done, all except for one tiny thing. The pool/deck guys need to install the side door to the propane and propane accessories area (yes, I do watch King of the Hill) on the BBQ they built -- but the grill has been working for a couple of weeks now. The company we hired has done good work, but slowly -- they started somewhere back in February. Apparently they're not used to having to schedule around actuall rainfall, which happened for a week or so early in the game.

A month or so ago we ripped out the scraggly, overgrown hibiscus and never-blooming jasmine between the palm trees along the south wall by the pool wall. This weekend Rudder finished the work he was doing on the electrical and sprinkler system and we put in the new plants. The rest of the yard is at its best too right now, with the sagebrush, oleander, and jacaranda all in bloom. Click below for details and pictures.

Unfortunately I don't have any images from before all the work was done. This was taken a couple of months ago while the pool was draining, before they ripped off the plaster and put in the new Pebbletec (technically, Armorstone), but after they put in the new terra-cotta-colored Armordeck. This is looking east, and you can see one of the hibiscus on the right next to the palm tree -- the other plants to the center and left are oleander and sagebrush, not in bloom at that time -- as well as the new bench in the firepit area, built but not yet stuccoed and painted.

south_wall.jpgOn the right is a similar view with the pool and bench completed and the new plants in. The small ones are Mexican Heather, the larger ones are Heavenly Bamboo, and you can see a Dwarf Pampas Grass off to the left of the furthest palm. The Mexican Heather doesn't get much taller but will fill in as ground cover (we may need to add a few more); the Heavenly Bamboo will grow up to 8' high and 4' wide. It gets white flowers and small red berries and also has foliage that's red in spring and yellow, bronze and red in fall -- without dropping, apparently. It's not a real bamboo; it can be invasive in some areas, but I doubt it is here in this desert. The Dwarf Pampas gets tall feathery flowers in fall. You can also see a little of the sagebrush, now in purple bloom.

looking_east.jpgWe may add some rosemary, which loves this area, to fill in behind the bench, covering exposed dirt without blocking an electrical outlet on the wall and adding a spicy fragrance. We put in some rosemary in front a while back and it's doing very well with no attention and not even a ton of water. Here's a better view of the oleander and sagebrush behind the basketball court, all of which were there when we bought the house. I love the jungly look in that end of the yard.

Here's the view to the west, while they were building the grill, and the same view today:

That's one more Dwarf Pampas to the end of the strip by the new wall. Its feathery blooms may be a small problem so close to the pool, which is one reason we only used the two of them -- we'll probably put more Mexican Heather or rosemary by the end of the new wall near the grill.

You can also see the top of the jacaranda behind the wall -- I love the purple blooms that cover it now, and I also like the feathery leaves the rest of the year. Good thing it's away from the pool, though, because all those flowers drop right off. Except for the jacaranda, and a few scattered trees, that end of the yard was bare when we bought the house, an odd contrast to the jungle on the other end. We put in an orange tree and some oleanders a few years ago. The tree has borne a grand total of one orange -- we think we need to fertilize and prune more -- but the oleanders have grown magnificently. Even the one that was labeled "dwarf" is now about 7' high.

in_bloom_west.jpgThey also drop a lot of flowers, but they're pretty, and far enough from the pool for that not to be a problem. The new wall should help with those. The wall is to hide the pool pump, replacing a shed Rudder always hated, and it does stop short enough to leave us a view of the oleanders from the covered patio. Left is the view of the western end of the yard:

One of these days we'll put in some more fruit trees, and maybe some of those will even give us fruit.

Posted by dichroic at 04:05 PM | Comments (2)

April 23, 2004

texas music

Over at the New Place: my reaction to Texas
Monthly's list of 100 top Texas songs.

I don't think I could have
compiled my list at all during the 7 years I lived in Texas; sometimes you need to
leave a place before you can recognize its essence.

Posted by dichroic at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2004

Texas Songs

Last night I was reminiscing with someone who used to live in the same area of Houston we lived in, in the southeast part of town near the Space Center. As much as I didn't like living there, I'd have to say that there are things about it I miss greatly, three of which are water, bars, and bars on the water. Also a social life; Phoenix is widely agreed to be a hard place to make friends, and the fact that we're getting older and meeting older people who go out less doesn't help. In Texas, there was an outing sponsored by work once a month at some local bar or other, plus volleyball leagues and famly picnics and whatnot. Here I go out to a work dinner maybe once or twice a year, which would be fine -- in fact preferable -- if I have lots of people to socialize with outside work, but I don't.

Texas Monthly has just listed their pick for the Top 100 Texas Songs of all time. (You can see the list there if you subscribe, or read about the top ten for free at NPR. I haven't seen their list yet, but I figure seven years in the state qualifies me to discern a true Texas song when I hear one. My criteria are a bit tighter than the Texas Monthly writers''; I don't care where a songwriter comes from, only whether their song feels like Texas to me.

I was going to put in links, but this entry starting getting really unwieldy. You can find most of them at Amazon. I won't pick 100 songs; for one thing I don't know enough about Bob Wills or Lefty Frizell or even Steve Earle to create a truly definitive list.

I don't think I could have compiled this list at all while I lived in Texas; sometimes you need to leave a place before you can recognize its essence. Herewith, the Dichroic list of however many quintessential Texas Songs I come up with, in no particular order:

Townes Van Zandt: If I Needed You and Pancho and Lefty
Nancy Griffith: Lone Star State of Mind
Mary Chapin Carpenter: Shut Up and Kiss Me, and also Family Hands (Yeah, I know it's set in Virginia, but it sure sounds a lot like Texas to me.)
Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett: This Old Porch (Pick the version you prefer; it's about the house where they roomed together as Aggies and they've both recorded it.)
Robert Earl Keen: Feelin' Good Again
Kimberly M'Carver: Texas Home, and also Jose's Lullabye
Jimmy Buffett: Somehow I've always pictured Margaritaville in Texas, except for the bit about tourists. Also, his cover of Van Morrison's Brown-Eyed Girl.
Bonnie Raitt: Pretty much everything. If I have to pick, maybe Love Me Like a Man
Lucinda Williams: Passionate Kisses
Bill Staines: Down by Mexico Way and Rivers of Texas (I think the latter is traditional.)
George Strait: I Got Friends in Low Places
Hank Williams: Honky Tonkin'
Hank Williams Jr: Mind Your Own Business
Trad: Cotton-Eyed Joe
Leadbelly: Goodnight Irene
Marcia Ball: Her cover of Never Like This Before
Ray Wylie Hubbard: Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mothers
Gary P. Nunn: London Homesick Blues
Grateful Dead's version of Mama Tried
And just for balance, Dwight Yoakum's cover of Truckin'
Bob Dylan: I Shall Be Released
Janis Joplin: Piece of my Heart
The Band: The Weight
George Thorogood: One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
Patsy Cline: Crazy
Ronnie Hawkins: Who Do You Love
Stevie Ray Vaughan: Pride and Joy
Fred Eaglesmith: Lucille and Mighty Big Car (despite his decided non-Texan accent!)
Rolling Stones: Wild Horses

Posted by dichroic at 08:10 PM | Comments (1)

March for Women's Lives

I will not be going to the March for Women's Lives this weekend, and I'm a little embarassed about that. I could claim it's because I'm 3000 miles away, but there are such things as airplanes so all I can say is that I'm a procrastinating slug.

Those of you who are going, you'll need something to sing. I love the song Battle Hymn of Women, but I do think it's a bit outdated. So here is my gift to you, two new verses:

You pile up your millions but you stand on women's backs,
You send our children off to war and send them back in sacks,
You think you've got it figured but you'd better watch your backs,
For women's time has come.
Move on over or we'll move on over you,
Move on over or we'll move on over you,
Move on over or we'll move on over you,
For women's time has come.
You sneak through legislation meant to whittle at our rights,
You think that we won't notice 'cause you think we're not that bright,
But we're standing up, we're speaking out, and if we must we'll fight,
For women's time has come.
Move on over or we'll move on over you,
Move on over or we'll move on over you,
Move on over or we'll move on over you,
For women's time has come.
Sorry about that lame reuse of "backs" in the first verse, but I really wanted to use both those phrases.

I also want to remind the organizations planning the march not to forget where we've been and what our great-grandmothers knew -- we need to remember the intangibles as well as the things like legal rights and money when fighting to make life what it should be for all.

Peg Kerr has created a gift for a new generation of young women, and young men too -- a virtual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. I'm embarassed to say that my (generally socially responsible) company is not participating this year, but I have written about my job on Peg's site. You should go do that too!

Posted by dichroic at 12:39 PM | Comments (3)

April 21, 2004

About me, and about this site

This is as good a time as any to explain the names of this site.

Riseagain has nothing to do with either religious figures or the Confederacy. Its significance is threefold:

  • I live in Phoenix
  • I love Stan Roger's music. One of his best-known songs is Mary Ellen Carter, about a sunken ship and the men who are reclaiming her, whose chorus is:
    Rise again, rise again
    That her name not be lost to the knowledge of men.
    Those who loved her best and who were with her to the end
    Will make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.
    The final chorus is:
    Rise again, rise again
    Though your heart it be broken and life about to end,
    No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,
    Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.
    I can think of a few people I'd've liked to sing that to over the past year.

  • That's what I do just about every damned day, at some ungodly hour of the morning. Rise again and off to rowing. Rise again and off to the gym. Rise again and off to work.
Dichroic Reflections was actually inspired by the earrings I was wearing when I created my first online journal, and I still like it enough to keep the name when I moved here. Dichroic glass was originally developed for NASA. Microscopic layers of metallic oxides deposited on the glass reflect different colors of light at different angles.

A lot of people seem to either stay home and not do much or to do one thing seriously and well. That is emphatically not me. I don't do anything particularly well, but I do do a lot of things; though I've been a bit of a two-note song in the last few years since we began rowing more seriously (reading is a constant note in my life) we still occasionally fly, or climb, or hike. We travel when we can save the time and money to do it and we do whatever activities are fun to do where we go; on various trips, we've kayaked, rafted, mountain bikes, hang-glided. We've toured libraries, all kinds of museums, cathedrals, houses.

I read science fiction, fantasy, mystery, juvenile lit, YA, general fiction, history, sociology, linguistics, poetry, books about traveling, aviation, books about space and space travel, books about books, photography, comics. I know quite a lot of useless tidbits on a wide variety of subject, but not much in depth on any one subject. Hence, dichroic glass, reflecting different colors depending on what light you see me reflected in.

You can see earrings similar to the ones which inspired the name, third ones down on this page.

Technical Site Info
This site is hosted by DreamHost and is powered by MovableType. The list of other journals is a Blogroll. The graphics on the front page were created with Adobe Photoshop from photographs taken with a Canon EOS Elan and a Canon Digital Elph.

Posted by dichroic at 02:43 PM | Comments (4)


First day back on the water after being sick. 9500 meters, working on technique.

Gym. Erged 1K + 100 cooldown plus 2x10 at high resistance low rate + another 100 cooldown. Basic weight workout.

Didn't feel well so I erged instead of rowing. Did Rudder's scheduled workout: 5x5'on, 8'off. The 5' on were 2'1'1'1' at rate of 26, 28, 30, 32. Ended up with about 10200m.

Warning: TMI below cut tag. Incidentally, I weighed myself after waking up, and again while waiting for the shower to hear up, after bathroom and erging. Lost 1.5 lbs in the process, and that's with drinking water during the workout. Let's just say I don't think it was due to sweat - no wonder I didn't feel well! IBS is just so much fun.

Posted by dichroic at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2004

getting out the right way

You know, there is one disadvantage to having moved from Diaryland. When you're bored, looking at your own site to see if anything has changed is even less productive than looking at DLand or LJ to see if anyone has updated.

So now I have journals at both places whose main purpose in life is as a home for my buddy/friend lists. (And, at LJ, so I can write comments without being anonymous, which was actually the main reason I set that one up in the first place. Somehow even if I put my name in the comment, leaving one anonymously always felt as if I were sneaking around stalking someone.)

I'm still not entirely convinced we shouldn't have gone to war in Iraq; like Colin Powell, I do think everyone's better off without Sadam Hussain. (Though if I had been Powell, I would probably be feeling my loyalty ebbing away just now.) I am and have always been convinced we shouldn't go into it the cowboy lone-gun way we did, and if this war has taught me one thing it's that you should never ever ever go in without a plan for getting out.

On the other hand, once you are in, you can't just up and leave or you end up with a country that's basically a giant refugee camp with no help from outside and no central leader. You really do have to do it right: set up a new authority, preferably one that the whole country can respect, help that authority consolidate its power, and help the country rebuild from the ravages of war. You move very quickly from telling people what to do to only doing what you're asked, even if you have to whisper out of the side of your mouth to tell the new President what to ask you to do. You let him (or her) be the force that holds things up while you just help a little with the balance -- like teaching a kid to walk or ride a bike. The more of the work they do, the sooner they can run off on their own.

All of us who have forces changing regimes in other countries need to get out as quickly as is possible consistent without letting the whole new government come crashing now. Just pulling out without doing that is abrogating a responsibility we've voluntarily assumed, and I don't think much of anyone who would do that.

After the 2000 election I was willing to give Bush a chance to see if he could pull this country back together after that balls-up. He didn't and my respect for him has declined ever since, reaching a new low with all the reports from Bob Woodward's new book. (I may have to actually read that, but since I have heard interviews with Woodward himself I'm fairly confident that what they're reporting he said really is what he said.) However, my respect for Spain and Honduras right now is even lower.

They have every right to decide they shouldn't have gone in, but they are in now, and whether the war was right or wrong is was/is still a war, with large-scale death and destruction, and they were part of that. If they feel they cannot honorably fight, then they should turn troops to rebuilding or driving ambulances, or replace them with doctors and teachers.

Posted by dichroic at 01:51 PM | Comments (2)

April 19, 2004

a wedding!

I think I've figured out what I'm going to do here. I'll probably keep this site
just so I can go look at my Buddies list to see who's updated, but put most of my
own upates on the other site. I know lots of
people have multiple diaries/blogs, but I can't think of much I really need to
keep separated that way. I'll probably keep the archives here, though, even after
I figure out how to copy them over. I may keep noting workouts

More importantly, go congratulate href="http://badsnake.diaryland.com">Badsnake and href="http://comfortfood.diaryland.com">Deb - they're now officially wed!
There's a glorious picture (two, actually, but one really is glorious because of
the looks on their faces) on Bad's site, courtesy of href="http://krapsnart.diaryland.com"a>Krapsnart.

Posted by dichroic at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)


Rereading Sean Stewart's Mockingbird, I noticed the reviews on the front and back cover. Neal Stephenson says "Stephen King meets Ibsen. Trust me." The San Diego Union-Tribune begins theirs with "A gentle, funny, affirming novel..." They do go on to say "Like a poet with a cattle prod..." but still: gentle? I'm not sure they and Stephenson read the same book. I'm quite sure they and I didn't. Stephenson and I probably did, though I'd quibble with the choice of authors; I'd have said Stewart combines Stephenson himself with maybe Viginia Woolf, and I'm more sure about the Stephenson than the Woolf. And a dash of Connie Willis, too.

I've been taking advantage of working at home today to spend my lunch break illing out the new bookshelves. Shelving books is such a subjective thing. For example, I separate hardbacks and paperbacks because they just don't sit well together -- but what about big trade-format paperbacks? Byatt's Possession, for example, is larger than most of my hardbacks. I decided to put them with the paperbacks for now, just because the space worked well that way. I did think of seprating them into their own space, but sometimes the line between mass-market PB ad other PB is a very thin one. I've also separated out Rudder's technothrillers (Tom Clancy, Steven Coonts, and so on) from my mystery PBs, with whom they had been interleaved, just because it let me fit the latter all in one case.

All of the fiction is now neatly shelved with some space for additions, but I still have a lot of crowding in the nonfiction bookcase, especially in the biographies, history, and opinion (those three categories sound redundant!). I may be able to move the PBs among them into the living room, especially because I have one shelf there that's set too short for anything but PBs, and leave the hardbacks where they are. Or I could get rid of some (we are talking about such literary gems as Robert Fulghum's essay collections, ...and more by Andy Rooney, Katherine Hepburn's Me, and On the Road with Charles Kuralt. Still as soon as I did that I'd nudoubtedly have a yen to reread one. Sometimes I'm just not up for literary gems.

I bet this all isn't nearly as much fun if you're a professional librarian and they're not your own books.

Posted by dichroic at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2004

go see!

Oh, please, go look again! (You have
to imagine me bouncing up and down like a little kid here.) I've got new pretty
colors, and a blogroll (sorry if I missed anyone) and a way cool new href="http://riseagain.net">front page. And the email and comments all work,
so let me know if you want to be on the notify list.

(I bet there's a
way to automate that. Woder what it is?)

It does turn out there's a
way to automate moving the archives, but I've had enough excitement for one
weekend. Between the new site and new bookshelves whose little pegs simply did not
want to cooperate in holding up shelves, I've spent way too much of a gorgeous
weekend holed up indoors. On the plus side, I'm telecommuting tomorrow (yay!) and
the more I get done today, the fewer temptations to slack off.

Posted by dichroic at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)


I feel like I should have had an "under construction" sign taped to my forehead today. This site's far from done but it's furnished enough to move into. My new bookshelves (the ones we ordered for my birthday) are finally here. It took me all of yesterday and this morning, on and off, and involved both hammers and petroleum jelly, but I've finally got all the little pegs in the holes, and the shelves set on them and am beginning to load them up with books. Yesterday, we decided to take my car to a party only to find out that a rear tire was very, very flat, so I got to take that off and get it fixed, too. (Notes to fellow car non-cognoscenti: Sears' car service place is open on Sunday, and they charged me all of $16 to fix the tire. $16! I can barely fill the tank on that car for that little cash -- in fact, I can't gas up my pickup for under $20.)

Meanwhile Rudder spent most of the morning digging out the narrow strip behind the pool, where some moron builder or former owner ran electrical wires through PVC pipe. This is not a great idea in an area where plant roots might grow into the pipe, or where later owners might want to dig out plants and put new ones in, or where a sprinkler system also runs. In this case, all three conditions are true. After he's got that fixed, next week we'll be putting new plants in. There are three palm trees there now, so we need something mid-sized to fill the gaps and then some ground cover in front. I'm thinking maybe candytuft for that, but we're also considering agave (native to this area) for the midsized, and it seems like a weird combination. Another possibliity is ivey or something drooping in large urns. I like the idea of candytuft around that. Maybe low desert grasses instead if we go with the agave.

Posted by dichroic at 02:03 PM | Comments (4)

April 17, 2004

random photo


Just a random photo to see how this works. If you're wondering, this is an iceberg somewhere along the Antarctic peninsula, taken from a Zodiac. That guy in the red hat was way too tall and his dam,ned hat ended up in a whole bunch of our pictures.

Hey, come to think of it, once we get photos online, a random photo chooser is exactly what I need. I wonder how to do that.........

Posted by dichroic at 09:00 PM | Comments (1)

It's up!

It's here! The new diary is up. Right now it's very plain vanilla; I've managed to
change the colors but not much else. My problem is as usual that I can figure out
the coding (eventually) but my graphic design skills are minimal. Some of this
stuff, like the archiving and the comments, appears to work well without any
commenting, but right now there are no links to email me or to other sites I read
or anything else. (Later note: figured out how to dolinks.) Still, it's there. If
you are some kind of internet anthopologist with an interest in how these things
evolve, you can see it href="http://riseagain.net/dichroic">here.

The separate photo
album isn't started yet, though I have figured out how to include images in the
diary itself.

There will be a notify list; this is one of the things
MovableType kindlly handles for me. If you'd like to join it before I figure out
how links work, email me or leave a comment there or in the guestbook here.

It's a bit pastel at the moment and I'm not really in a pastel mood.
On the other hand it's a color I use a lot, including on the walls in a couple
rooms here. It makes me think of skies and water. Anyway, suggestions are welcome.
I haven't yet decided whether to move all updates over there now or wait until
it's more customized, but I will certainly announce that here.

Meanwhile, it's pretty much what MT starts ou off with, except that it's blue.
This means it's serviceable but looks very much like everybody else's MT blog. I
will have to Do Something about that!

Posted by dichroic at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

New Journal Site

I'm here! Creating this site was very slightly easier than I expected -- meaning I had it done just after noon on Saturday instead of late on Sunday -- partly because I have some experience in Unix and with using ftp and telnet, rusty though it is, but mostly because there are very helpful instructions for uploading MovableType to Dreamhost here.

Once I get this site fully set up, all new entries will be posted here instead of at Diaryland. Archives may or may not be moved over, depending how onerous that turns out to be. (Right now I think that may be unlikely, given that I have over 1200 entries in the old archives.)

Posted by dichroic at 01:36 PM | Comments (4)

April 16, 2004

what do I call me?

Meetings, meetings, meetings. Anyway.

I've gotten as far as buying my
very own domain for photos. This won't be the main journal one but a separate one
- that way I can link the journal to the pictures but not vice versa, which should
be convenient for showing pictures when I want the option not to spill out my
whole life story.

It looks like setting up Movable Type is basically
an exercise in Unix (or likely Linux) which means I might have trouble figuring
out what to do but I'll understand it when I do. This is an added benefit. I like
Unix and haven't gotten to touch it for some time. Likelihood I'll remember the
options for the tar command: approaching zero. Fortunately I don't have to since
someone has kindly written step-by-step instructions for dowloading MT to the host
I'm tentatively planning to use. I have no idea what to do after
downloading it, but I hope all will become clear at the proper

The thing I haven't figured out, and the most fun decision to
make, is what to use for my primary domain name. www.dichroic.just about anything
is taken, not surprisingly. I worry that dichroicreflections is too unwieldy for
anyone to type. I like av8rx (aviatrix) but it feels like cheating, since my pilot
rating isn't exactly current at the moment. icantirow ("I can't, I row", a rowers'
T-shirt slogan) is tempting. riseagain fits well, since I live in Phoenix, I'm a
Stan Rogers fan, and I get up way too damned early most weekday mornings, but....
I don't know, it just makes me sad to get away from the Dichroic handle. It's been
good to me. I've come to identify with it. Of course the site could be
www.riseagain.net/dichroic, but I'm not sure that makes any sense.

I expect I'll be spending much of this weekend swearing at the
computer, but it should be fun. I will keeping updating here until / unless I have
everything working elsewhere, and maybe even after that.

And someday
I'll learn to make a decision without talking it through with everyone in the
world first. Or maybe not.

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2004


Molly Ivins would use the term "peckerwoods". My own word for the people who
manage my company's 401(k) is somewhat less flattering. Consider this a cautionary
tale in dealing with your own.

Toward the end of last year, I
realized something looked different on my check - the amount deposited in my
account went down a little. I investigated, of course. What has happened
everywhere else I've worked is that toward the end of the year if you hit the max
amount on your pre-tax 401(k) contributions, they just stop putting money in until
the end of the year and pay it out to you instead. It's a handy bit of extra year-
end. Here, instead, they keep putting the money in your account, only now it's put
in after tax, so you get a little less in your check because of the tax

What I decided to do was to withdraw the after-tax amount as a
lump sum, having had an expensive December (new roof, Antarctic trip). Since it is
after-tax money, you can do this without any sort of penalty.

A few
days ago, I got a note in the mail stating that company contributions to my 401(k)
had been reinstated. This was a surprise to me, since I hadn't had any idea they
had ever stopped. (Yes, my company contributes to our 401(k) accounts, just
another reason I like this place.) I called to see what was up. Apparently, if
you've worked here less than 5 years and make a withdrawal for any reason,
including after-tax monies, they stop the company contributions for 3 months.

This strikes me as nonintuitive, and the sort of thing their
personnel really ought to have told me when I talked to them about withdrawing the
money. Note that I did not call up asking to withdraw; I called to see why my
check was smaller and made the decision to withdraw in consultation with one of
their people.

The consultant I spoke to informed me this practice is
documented in the Summary Plan Description. No doubt it is, but that's a long
document in teeny-tiny type and even if I Had read it as carefully as I ought
(instead of skimming, as I did) I'm not sure I'd have caught that salient point,
much less remembered it months later when the document was at home and I was on
the phone to these people at work. Further, I can't see the point when it's a
matter of after-tax monies, which shouldn't be different than money in any other
savings acocunt.

I asked him to figure out how much money I didn't
get as a result of this, and it turns out to be substantial, $870 or so. Of
course, I can't say I lost the money because it's money I didn't have to begin
with, just a nice little extra benefit. Still, that's a large impact when you
remember that I'm only 37 and that's money that won't be compounding for me to
retire on in 20-30 years. He's going to escalate the matter, but I don't have much
hope of anything coming of it.

Moral: when they say there are no
drawbacks to taking out your own money, always ask a *lot* of questions and
remember taxes aren't the only possible penalties.

Posted by dichroic at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2004

a thanks and a maybe

Not much to say at the moment and I have to run off to (yet another) meeting. I
just wanted to thank Alex for his gracious response and to say that if I do decide
to take this writing elsewhere, I'll keep y'all posted. Probably in VERY LARGE
flashing letters, and multiple times -- one of the big downsides to moving for me
would be the potential loss of readers. Yes, I am an attention whore and I admit
it freely.

On the plus side, Rudder does sound interested in
reconstituting the photo album he used to keep up, so that's another reason in
favor. (And a reason to read. They're good photos, honest.)

Posted by dichroic at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2004

a slight correction

Whew. Waaaay too many meetings today. Not to mention yesterday, tomorrow, and the
rest of the week.

Thanks to all who sent advice about diary hosting.
Notes to Alex: a) Mac.com is not free even if you own one. b) If you click href="http://members.diaryland.com/edit/linkers.phtml?user=dichroic">here you
will see the list of people at Diaryland who have me listed as a favorite. That
means these people read this diary and often also my guestbook. In many or most
cases they have me listed partially because I have them listed, which naturally
implies I read their diaries as well. If I regularly read someone's online journal
regularly, enough to friend them, it is fair to assume said journal does *not*
consist of "masturbatory excreta", at least in my opinion. In fact, several of
said journalers are far better writers than I will ever be, in my opinion and
those of quite a few others. (In some cases, that would include their publishers.)
This also applies to several people who keep journals elsewhere, of course, but
the list is harder to point to.

I would not normally scold in
public, but the relevant guestbook entry is in public so I felt I needed

There are certainly hundreds and thousands of online journals
that are crap, but that doesn't mean there's not plenty of excellent writing out
there. And just to thoroughly belabor the point (for which I am infamous in family
circles) I should point out the online journals of href="http://www.livejournal.com/users/pameladean/">Pamela Dean, href="http://www.livejournal.com/users/papersky/">Jo Walton, href="http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp">Neil Gaiman, href="http://www.dreamcafe.com/weblog.cgi">Steven Brust, href="http://shetterly.blogspot.com/">Will Shetterly, and href="http://www.nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/">Teresa Nielsen Hayden -- just
to name a few I happen to have bookmarked.

Posted by dichroic at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2004

Where do I go from here?

Blah. I don't think I have Rudder's cold (he's still not over it -- nasty
cold!) but I have had a sore throat and a blah-ish feeling all weekend. It's been
nice having the real chicken soup around, anyway. I feel a bit better now, but my
throat hurts more, probably because I've been coughing more. It mostly seems to be
just in my throat, though, not in my head and only minorly in my lungs. Could be

In addition to feeling scratchy and constricted in the throat,
I've also been feeling a bit constricted here, at Diaryland, lately. I'm
reasonably happy with being able to create my page in raw HTML, and the server's
been mostly reliable lately, so it's mostly a matter of lack of space for photos -
- only 5 mB. The options seem to be as follows:

  • Upgrade to
    SuperGold, 30 mB for $54/year, no new interface to
  • Go to Typepad and learn a simple interface, 100 mB for
    $108/year, or get 200mB for $180/year and get to choose between simple I/F
    and HTML. Also, if I buy a domain name I can redirect it there. Also, if I want to
    register a domain name it's $4.95 and up -- but I think there are hidden
  • Go to a hosting service and learn MovableType, which
    sounds like a pretty large hassle. Then again, I do have a programming background,
    which may or may not help. Cost: Approx $120/year for 200mB (varies). Some
    hosts will also throw in registration of a domain name.
  • Stay at D-
    land and just buy space elsewhere to host photos -- don't know how much if any
    coding would be required.

I'd appreciate feedback from
people familiar with one or more of these options and any others I've missed, and
for hosts you'd recommend - or not. (Natalie, I did bookmark the one you


Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2004

How else?

Funy thing: one of my dinner guests last night asked, "How long did all this take
you? All day??"

Well, yeah -- actually, in fact I'd made the
chocolate torte and mixed up the matzo balls and put the batter in the fridge the
day before. How else do you make a holiday dinner? Do other people just not make
holiday dinners as a regular thing?

On the other hand, I'm awed by
the people who can cook for 10 or 15 or 30 guests. The most I've fed is 11, and
that was just chili (and the mother of the two children asked if she could make
them bologna sandwiches instead). When we lived in Houston, a father and son we
rowed with had us over for wonderful Seder dinners, with three tables full of
people. Of course, usually when you're feeding a horde you have a lot of help
cooking, but still, that was an impressive spread. (My guests yesterday would have
been happy to bring food, but since they're not Jewish they wouldn't have known
what's Pasadic; Since I wanted a traditional dinner I gently discouraged them and
they brought flowers instead. Wouldn't want anyone to think my friends don't have
good manners.)

I've heard a few people comment that they don't know
how to make a big dinner at all. I know how to do this because this is what we did
for all our holidays as I was growing up. We'd have dinner with my grandparents
and uncle; my uncle would be staying with them and would help cook and we'd bring
a food over as well. Sometimes they came over to our house instead or we all went
to another relative's. This is normal to me, and happy, and traditional in the
best way. ("You do the same thing every year and you're not tired of it," as I
recently saw a small boy quoted.)

Luckily Rudder's family does the
same, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas instead of Passover and Rosh Hashanah.
These days when we haven't gotten together with one of our families, I invite
family-by-choice over instead, or people I'd like to know better. How better to
bring people together than over food?

Posted by dichroic at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2004

forty egrets

Tell me,
Does the sight of forty snowy egrets
Standing in line in the dawn
Bode some great stroke of fortune?
Perhaps in an old Japanes belief
Like folding a thousand cranes for a wedding.

Then again
Maybe seeing forty white white egret
Winging away by twos and threes with long slow beats
Into a red red sunrise
With a high three-quarter moon overhead
Mixed and mirrored in rippling water
All of a cool April morning,
Is as much good fortune
As one day has any right to expect.

Full disclosure: Actually, I counted only 37 in line, though I did see a few more elsewhere, and a few of them were blue herons. But still.
Posted by dichroic at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2004

how can I keep from singing?

NPR had an essay (what do you call it when it's viva voce instead of in print?)
yesterday from a woman who is feeling ground down by the tragedy in the news everyday: she sees a happy little girl crossing the street, with her dog and her dad, and thinks of how many little girls aren't able to cross the street safely,
or wear pretty dresses, or get enough to eat because their countries are
undergoing war, pestilence, or famine. Every day on the news she hears about more deaths in Iraq. She doesn't want to grow calloused but can't deal with all the world's sorrows either.

I don't want to grow calloused either. One of the things I love about NPR is that every week or so they go talk to the friends and family of a solider killed in action, which helps me remember that these are all people, with lives and personalities and dreams, not a faceless list of names. I start dripping tears much more often than I'd like on my daily commute, listening to reports of more hatred popping up in the West Bank or another powermonger getting away with something the average person would be imprisoned for or someone else dying just from being in the href="http://dichroic.diaryland.com/ghostbanner.html">wrong place and time.

It's a dilemma built in to all the advantages that come with better news of the world, though it's not particularly new any more; the same thing must have happened to those who read the lists and lists of dead and wounded in the newspapers after Verdun as much as to those watching children burning in napalm at Khe Sanh.

I think the answer is in remembering the things that balance out the sorrows. Yes, there are little girls who can't have dogs because every one in their village is so hungry that all the dogs have long since been eaten. There are little girls who can't cross the street because there are land mines under the street. But there is also this little girl, right here, and she is giggling and chattering and skipping and she has every chance of getting to grow up safely and have little girls of her own, and there are many, many little girls like her. There are trees in bloom in Mechaieh's yard and there are trees in bud in Melissa's woods and there will be wildflowers along the road on my way home. There is spring in the world, and I get to be here to see and breathe it. There are happy babies in the world and two of them will be at my house for a late/early Seder this weekend. I may not like some of what's going on in my country just now but I also know we have a chance to change it all this year. There are people living the lives they want to live and loving the people they want to love and quite a lot of them talk about it online every day where I can read it and share a bit in their happiness.

Not that that's license to rest easy, because there are wars and tragedies and violence and hatred and any of that is too much -- but how can you keep going unless you see the beauty of it all too?

I like what Mechaieh says href="http://mechaieh.diaryland.com/040704.html">today about grace because her words seem to me to touch on the wild joy I have to believe is at the heart of the universe, and I hope she won't mind my

Sometimes I find myself ridiculously near tears as I try to accept that I will not always be around to savor all this - and simultaneously wildly joyful and grateful, for I'm invariably and inevitably reminded that my being here at all seems to me such a tangle of accident, coincidence and deliberate design. Such sweetness each season - oh, abiding and abundant grace.

When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing?

Special bonus today: when I went looking for this entry to link to
above, I found that it had somehow gotten in my private folder (where I never put anything). So there you have a Dichroic poem that is four months old, but has never been seen in public until now. I don't think it sucks, except for maybe a few awkward spots.

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2004

power clothes

As I was walking - no, striding -- into work this morning, I realized I was
wearing a Power Outfit. I had something of the feeling Clark Kent must get when he
puts on the cape and the big S, except of course that I still couldn't fly or see
through anything. The funny thing is, I'm not wearing href="http://members.diaryland.com/edit/displayedit.phtml">black and silver or
anything in the least edgy or dangerous-looking. I am, in fact, clothed in
Professional Edging on Girly. (Do other people have this category?) I have on a
sheath dress in a plum tweed with flecks of red, violet and pink that ends three
inches above my knee when I'm standing; the sweater that goes with the shell I was
wearing here (where I had
taken it off in the vain hope of having my arms look buff); silver earrings,
necklace, watch and rings plus my engagement ring; and high heeled open-toed
mules. It's actually a fairly comfortable outfit except for the heels, which put
all my weight on the balls of my feet with no padding.

I think the
heels are the secret of the power, though. I can't mince or plod in heels; I have
to stride. Or it may lie in the expanse of bare legs that (I fondly and foolishly
believe) shout, "I am in shape and I CAN KICK YOUR BUTT!". (Not because I'm in
such great shape, but the dress hides the parts that aren't and shows the parts
that are.) People have been glancing at me all day. Of course I have no way to
tell if they're thinking "She looks powerful!" or "Hey baby," or "Where does she
think she is, Sex and the City? Not professional outside a TV show," but that's
OK. I'll just stride on believing what I want to believe, other people can
silently snark at me, and we'll all be happy.

Posted by dichroic at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2004

that should be godDESS, thank you

Second entry today:

border="0" alt="Grammar God!">
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should
Congratulations and thank you!

0are%20you%3F/"> How grammatically sound are you?

brought to you by href="http://quizilla.com">Quizilla

Posted by dichroic at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

no guilt required

Not much time to write; I have to get back to my all-day class. I do have two
things I wanted to record, though.

When I asked Rudder, "Why
orchids?" I was meaning to ask, "Why is this different than any other time: Why
flowers now and not other times? Are you apologizing and saying you were wrong or
just not wanting us to be mad at each other? Did you know they're my favorites?
Was this a really big thing to you and that's why these instead of

(It's Passover. There have to be four

His answer: "They were easily available. The florist I
went to once before (like, half a decade ago!) has closed (wonder why!) so I went
to the supermarket. The only other thing they had were Easter lilies and I didn't
think you'd want those."

Very typical. Still, there's the going to
two whole places on purpose for flowers. Very untypical. Not to mention
sensitivity points for avoiding the lilies.

Also, I had the sort of
epiphany which makes you realize what a dumbass you've been. I always feel
slightly guilty for not keeping Passover and for not having a real Seder. I blame
the latter on my grocery store's and work cafeteria's selection: even getting
Kosher for Passover matzah was difficult. (I have never understood the raison
d'etre of any other kind. It's not like you can't eat Passover food the res tof
the year.)

But on the Seder issue, I don't even really know how to
run one, even if I had Jewish people to invite, and I realized this morning this
is because my family never had a real Seder, only a big family dinner. Moreover, I
don't think my mom's family ever had Seders growing up. (Dad's might have but they
were pretty fragmented otherwise.) We'd hide the Afikoment, and one of us might
ask the Feer Kashes, and ther'd be n extra glass for Elijah, but that's about it.
So when I just make a big dinner of traditional food and serve it to people I care
about, this is my family's religious tradition. No guilt required.

Posted by dichroic at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2004


*Dichroic emits a high-pitched whining sound suggested of shock and overcome

Orchids. There are orchidson my table.

Now I feel like a total heel.

You have to understand
the Rudder never buys me flowers. Well, that's not strictly true. He did
once soon after we met in 1990 and I think maybe one or two other times since. And
he once brought me an adorable tiny bouquet of sagebush flowers and oleander
flowers, in a shotglass, to cheer me up when I was unemployed. In general, the man
is not florally inclined.

Yesterday we had a bit of a spat - it's
enough to say that he did something I thought was inconsiderate and it escalated
from there. Matters weren't helped any by incipient hormones on my part and
lingering cold germs on his. In other words, I still think he was wrong, but there
may have been overreaction on both parts. There was stomping away and not speaking
for, oh, a good half-hour or so. Further complicating matters is that I've been
sleeping in the spare room for the last few nights at his strong suggestion, in an
attempt to avoid his cold and because it's the only way to get any sleep. (He's
got this barking cough and even two rooms away I've been using earplugs.)

However, before bedtime there was some more civilized conversation
and I did sneak in in the dark for a quick snuggle (carefully avoiding his hands
or face in case of lingering germfulness). Maybe that's why. Rudder does tend to
reflect back anything you throw at him, which is annoying in that he rarely will
apologize while you're sitll mad at him, but is at least predictable -- if you're
calm enough to work with it.

And now cattleyas, and they're even
carefully placed on a bt of paper towel so the vase won't scratch the wood table.
Somehow I feel guiltier than any angry words could have made me.

Wonder if that's what he was aiming for? Some things can definitely
be overanalyzed.

Orchids. *snif*

In other
ways, his day has been a joy so far. This was the best morning on the water *ever*
and I wish Rudder hadn't still been recuperating. Just enough breeze to feel good,
not enough to disturb the water's mirror reflections. Most of the local programs
raced in the San Diego Crew Classic and so weren't on the water today. (We didn't
go because it's for eights only.) So there were me, Hardcore, She-Hulk, and one
novice eight moving slowly enough that its accompanying launch didn't kick up any
wake. Perfect temperature. And as a bonus, we got to see a beautiful moonset and
sunrise, with just enough clouds to make each spectacular. Then there was the joy
that is telecommuting, a very nice lunch with friends and assorted offspring who'd
all grown since I saw them last (the offspring, not the friends), and a call to
say the comfy chairs we bought two months ago are in and ready to be picked up.
And then the shock of walking into this room and seeing orchids.

and the weather's cool. And I get Friday off. My life is just full of
goodness right now.

These may be famous last words, but I don't think
even the dentist can mess up this day too badly.

Later note: he didn't.

How do you stop purveyers of hate? By denying the attention they want. href="http://www.livejournal.com/users/papersky/">Jo Walton writes:

Redressing balances

I understand why it is that Google's top hit for the word "Jew" is an anti-semitic
hate site, it's because of the way their weighting works -- it's probably the site
with the largest total number of instances of the word "Jew" and because it's not
a word people would normally put as a link, and Google weights by links. It's just

So in an attempt to redress the balance on this, lots of people on LJ, the first I
saw was womzilla, are putting their own counterlinks. So, Wikipedia has a useful
and factual entry which can be found under Jew and there's also a Faq with xiphias
recommends at Jew.

April 04, 2004

put it to a vote

Yay! I don't have to pack for rowing tomorrow because I get to work at

Boo! It's looking like the weather will be unpleasant to row in
but not bad enough to stay home!

Yay! I also don't have to brave 40
miles of idiots trying to drive while talking on cellphones or trying to drive
while half-awake! (That latter would include me.)

Boo! I have to go
to the dentist in the middle of the day!

Yay! Before the dental visit
I get to go have lunch with Egret AND the babies AND Hardcore + youngest offspring
AND She-Hulk!!!

And I get to spend all day in my nice house instead
of the office!

And there it is - the Yay!s have it.

Posted by dichroic at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2004

slow Saturday

That "be careful what you wish for" thing is visting me ths weekend, presumably
courtesy of Murphy and his Law.....

Remeber how I was talking last
weekend about needing some relaxing downtime? Oops. I knew it was going to be a
fairly boring weekend, given that the most exciting thing I had planned was food
shopping. Also, Rudder's had a cold for the past few days. What I didn't know
until I got home yesterday was that he was actually sick enough to stay home from
work all day, which for my workaholic husband is unusual. (I did try calling him
at home when I couldn't get him at work, just in case, but he's entirely capable
of sleeping through a ringing phone.) I knew it was pretty bad when he and She-
Hulk came in after only two laps Wednesday and then he actually skipped workouts
on both Thursday and Friday. (He would have anyway on Friday due to the rain, but
he'd actually plan to ski; in advance. And normally he'd have erged.) He was
apparently comatose for much of the day. We had about five minutes' conversation
in which he informed me I should sleep in the spare room, I brought him some
chicken soup, and that was about it. (Sleeping in the other room was definitely a
good decision. The rooms are not even contiguous, and I still had to wear
earplugs to sleep through his coughing.)

He's been a bit better
today, but not well enough to do more than shift between bed and sofa. At least
he was able to eat the chili I made for dinner and to help me unpack groceries.
Barely. So I am getting a hyperquiet weekend, having done nothing more than read,
stitch, and visit the supermarket. Now I remember why I don't do this much. I'm
sure I'll feel better for it during the week. I hope Rudder also feels better
soon. The weather is also cooperating by being wonderfully gray and cool -- with
luck it'll rain again. We'll take all the moisture we can get, out here.

Posted by dichroic at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2004


How to torture Dichroic: Tie her in a chair and don't let her talk or

My teeth hurt. This is what last night entailed:

1) tech inserts ducklips in my mouth (you know, those things
orthodontists and so on use to force your mouth open and your lips wide).

tech inserts various other bits of gauze, puts orange goggles on me, sunscreen on
my lower face, and aloe on my lips.

3) I begin thinking, "I know this is
going to hurt eventually, so I really wish she wouldn't use up ten minutes of my
pain-free time with the preparation."

4) tech begins telling about how she
gave her mother a dog for the latter's 83rd birthday, while adjusting bits of
gauze. I begin to appreciate having gear in place that prevents betrayal of what a
spectacularly bad idea this sounds like, given that tech never once mentions
conferring with mother to figure out if she actually wants and can take care of a
live dog.

5) tech finishs up with a bit of wet gauze on my nose and a big
gauze triangle over my lower face with a hole cut out for my mouth. She tapes this
and bits of gauze in place, then paints blue protective stuff on my gums and foamy
bleach stuff on my teeth. (I didn't know about the blue and foamy parts at the

6) tech (finally!) sets high energy UV light pointing at my

7) I listen to Harry Potter IV on CD for the next twenty minutes,
having bought headphones on the way over for just this purpose -- fortunately
she'd warned me in advance that I wouldn't be able to read because the light is in
the way.

8) Tech turns light off, sucks away old bleach and paints new
bleach on.

9) I sit there as before for 10 minutes or so, not enjoying the
ducklips and trying to concentrate on Harry's facing the Dementors.

10) My
lower left gum begins to smart. I try to ignore that too.

11) The gum hurts
progressively worse. I make noises to attract someone's attention and they call
the tech over.

12) She hands me a mirror so we can isolate where it hurts
(this is where I see just how silly I look foaming at tahe mouth and with blue
gums) and inserts more gauze, which I didn't think would help at first, but it
eventually does. We agree (she agrees, I grunt with affirmative intention) that I
can last the remaining 8 minutes of this session.

13) I do. Toward the end,
a bit of the bleach edges toward my throat, smarting a bit and convincing me
that's what happened to the gum.

14) She sucks out bleach as before and we
look at the color of the teeth. We agree that since they're about as white as her
whitest little sample tooth we'll stop there, rather than doing the planned third
session and sending me off the charts into fakey-white-beauty-pageant-

15) I look in mirror and am disappointed to see there are still little
brown stains between my teeth.

16) She digs at these a little and announces
that I have "defective" teeth, that these are not stains but missing enamel. I
think but do not say that my preliminary exam two weeks ago would have been a fine
time to make this discovery.

15) She sends me home with instructions to take
a Tylenol before going to bed and not to drink tea or coffee for 48

I didn't feel much from the teeth at first but they started to
annoy me more in the middle of the night and now it still feels as if I'm biting
down on something very cold. Ow. They are a lot whiter, though - the "defective"
parts don't show unless you're looking at them from two inches away. At least this
is a one time thing, or anyway it is unless I do a touchup with bleach and trays
(included) in a year or so. I gave up on over-the-counter whitestrips and such
because they bugged me almost this much every night.

My gums are
still sore too. I think a little bleach did get on them, or maybe it's sunburn
from the UV light. At least this isn't nearly as bad as having braces

I couldn't go this whole morning without tea or coffee
though. Mornings are not a good time for breaking habits. On the other hand my
teeth are so sensitive that I wasn't letting the hot liquid anywhere near them.
I'm drinking iced tea for lunch too, because I figured it was better than Coke and
anyway I didn't want carbonation anywhere near my teeth, but I'm using a straw so
if it touches my teeth at all it's on the back sides. Or so my theory goes.

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2004


My neck hurts. My eyes hurt. Too much time staring at the monitor. On the other
hand we now have a brand-new spiffy up-to-date nicely Photoshopped group picture,
I learned still more about Photoshop (wouldn't say I'm actually productive
in it yet, but closer....) and I get paid for this.

An odd
perspective on this is that the hours I just spent on Photoshop did not earn me
quite enough money to pay for the spectacularly vain and stupid thing I'm doing
tonight. I finally caved in and am getting my teeth whitened. It's not that
they're stained, just that their natural color is yellower than I'd like. Anyday
now I'll finally decide to do LASIK nad who knows where it ends? Lipo? silicone?

If this were posted any
other day of the year, I'd be applying for that job in a shot. That's one move I
wouldn't have trouble talking Rudder into, either.

Posted by dichroic at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)