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Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

As 5782 draws to a close...

There years ago there was a pile of bad behavior at Stack Overflow Inc. This week, one of the people involved, who no longer works for them, posted Reflections on years of guilt, through the lens of Teshuva. How unexpected and refreshing! Some excerpts:

To Monica, who I hope still thinks of me as a friend: I failed you because I couldn’t stop a horrible train of bad decisions without exposing things about myself that could have ended my family if they came out in the wrong way, and the health insurance I desperately needed. I was also worried that those who knew these things about me were increasingly strained in their restraint and that things coming out was a possibility; I had very real reason to believe more people would speak out. You did not deserve to be let go the way that you were and I’m sorry that I couldn’t stop it. You really didn’t understand what everyone was taking issue with, and I didn’t get you the space necessary for that to happen. Clarity now exists around this, but it came at your expense, and my failure to act enabled that. Monica Cellio isn’t a bigot, she’s a pillar that I stepped on instead of building up more.

To coworkers that I steered away from helping Monica: I had the most terrible of best intentions, keeping you out of harm’s way. I realize that I took away your choice to do something better than the person I was capable of being due to … constraints. While it was coming top-down, I should have refused to let it go any further. Resigning wasn’t an option I could take. I didn’t feel like I could even privately question anything anymore. What’s bad for a manager is twice as bad for those that report to them; I won’t make that mistake again. My piece in the puzzle should have broken by design.

To coworkers that were let go due to retrenching — I didn’t know it was coming, but I sure as hell didn’t fight the thing that was running you over once I saw it running you over. I’m not proud of my silence that day and you deserved something way kinder than what you got.

I had thought of Tim as a friend in the past. Then that happened and I didn't. I feel like we now have a basis for rebuilding.

Ugly CSA week 10

  • 2 bell peppers, 1 medium green and 1 very large half-orange (hoping it'll keep going)
  • 1 zucchino
  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 8 medium Bartlet pears
  • 7 medium-large Macintosh? apples

Weight: about 9 pounds.

I like fall squashes -- butternut, acorn, delicata, all good! I would be happy to get more of those. (And I wouldn't say no to more onions; a singleton surprised me a little.)

The manifest said Macintosh apples. Most images I found are redder than these, but maybe that's an effect of when they were picked.

Last week's apples were very good as apple crisp. I might do more of that, or make applesauce, or maybe it's time to dry some. (I like dried fruit, but last time I made it I had a working dehydrator. Time to learn how to do that in an oven.)

Ugly CSA week 9

  • large head leaf lettuce (email said red leaf but this is green, so not sure what variety it is)
  • 12 medium (on average) Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 enormous tomato (more than a pound!)
  • 2 medium red beets
  • 10 medium-large carrots, about 2.5 pounds
  • about half a pound of green beans

About 7.5 pounds.

I roast root vegetables a lot when they're in season, so that's easy. (Some are in the oven now for tonight's dinner.) The tomato needs time to ripen, but I have some other tomatoes to go into salads with the lettuce. There might be some carrot-raisin salad. There might also be stew, though that's usually for colder weather than we have at the moment.

Orlando

cat lying on desk, head on one keyboard, feet reaching for another

I have had two cats who went into kidney failure. It was a long, slow process, during which we could alleviate symptoms and slow it down. By "slow" I mean a couple years.

Orlando had no symptoms. He'd go through phases of not eating much and then a couple days later he'd be back to normal. His bloodwork showed none of the markers that kicked in for Erik and Embla a couple years out. Everything looked fine in an ultrasound earlier this year. That picture was taken two weeks ago.

Last weekend his appetite dropped a lot, but he was drinking and producing output. He was spending more time sleeping in a closet, a new favorite hiding spot. Otherwise he was normal. I consulted my vet, who concurred that I didn't need to rush to the ER, and she saw him Tuesday. He had a bad tooth, it turns out, and she thought that might be the cause, and she ran bloodwork both because he was due and because it was required before oral surgery.

She called yesterday with the lab results and said he was in kidney failure. This was not the long, slow chronic kidney failure with which I was familiar; this was something else. It was possible that he had an infection and that was causing it ("though these numbers are really off the charts"), and on that hope I took him back yesterday (after a long and frustrating search of the house; he did not want to be found). They started him on IV fluids and antibiotics.

This morning he was worse. He could barely stand and wasn't interested in trying. The infection theory was a longshot, my vet said, and even if it were that, treating it would not reverse much of what we were seeing. I went back, held him, and said goodbye. This is always the hard part -- saying goodbye, but also all the self-doubt and what-ifs and did I do enough and am I doing the right thing and... Orlando wasn't fighting it, and I dearly hope I did what's best for him.

I adopted Orlando from Animal Friends in 2012, along with Giovanni of blessed memory. The people at the shelter thought he was about six years old at the time, my vet thought younger, and another vet (more recently) thought older. He had a good (almost) ten years after a rough start in life. That will have to be enough reassurance.

Ugly CSA week 8

  • a bunch of kale
  • 5 Ginger Gold apples (they're more green than gold)
  • 4 medium yams (the perfect size to have one of as a side dish)
  • 12 banana peppers, mostly large, in various stages from green-yellow to almost-complete red
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 head garlic

8.5 pounds.

Last week I said I hoped the balance between fruit and veggies would shift some; this week it sure did. (That's good, because I still have pears and apples from last week.) That's a lot of banana peppers, so I'm going to pickle some tonight and then distribute the rest among various meals (stuffed, on pizza or in pasta, not sure what else). Some of the kale and one of the peppers went into a curry tonight along with other veggies and some Thai basil that desperately needed to be pruned.

Welcome to Elul

Elul is the month before Rosh Hashana. It started about a week ago. The season of repentance and introspection that characterizes the high holy days doesn't begin on Rosh Hashana; it begins earlier, in Elul. (The actual work of making amends and improving ourselves is year-round, of course.)

Even better than making amends is acting in a way to reduce the amount needed. In that nanosecond between seeing or hearing something and jumping to the "obvious" conclusion and acting on it, we can sometimes stop to consider other explanations. There's a lot of hair-trigger absolutist judging happening in our world today, and a small anecdote I saw on Twitter during this season struck me so I'm sharing it.

I almost yelled at a woman looking at an iPhone during Kol Nidre, but I just said "This is one of the most beautiful prayers you'll ever hear." She saw me looking, and explained she was checking her blood sugar. I wished her a healthier New Year. I finally conquered my snark! - @LibbyCone

Even when we think we know all the context, we might not know all the context.

Ugly CSA week 7

Fruit is good, but I do hope the balance shifts a little more toward the vegetable end of the spectrum next week! (For this purpose, we can count tomatoes as vegetables.)

  • 3 small and 3 medium Bartlet pears
  • 5 Gala apples
  • 3 nectarines (not yet ripe)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 medium green peppers (here's hoping they'll ripen)
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce

Weight: about five pounds.

I also harvested my second red pepper tonight. (It was delicious in a stir-fry.) There are eight more full-grown ones on the plant in various stages in the journey from green to red. I lost one in a storm. For a long time it's looked like that was going to be it -- 11 peppers -- but in the last few days some new ones have started. I count seven, and there might be an eighth in a hard-to-see place. They're in the rapid-growth phase, so it should become clear soon. Nice -- a second round!

Ugly CSA week 6

  • 3 ears corn
  • 2 largish tomatoes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large zucchini (zucchinus?)
  • 2 peaches
  • 9 Bartlett pears

Total weight about 7.5 pounds.

Two peaches aren't enough to make cobbler; we'll just have to eat them straight, or grilled -- so not a hardship! That's a lot of pears; I should look for a pie recipe or make pearsauce, maybe. (Are Bartletts good in pies? I think I've usually baked with Bosc, though I don't have a ton of experience either way.)

Ugly CSA "week 5"

Earlier this summer I found out about 412 Food Rescue, a local non-profit that tries to mitigate food waste by collecting what would otherwise be thrown away (e.g. by caterers) and distributing it to people in need. That's a worthy cause on its own and they'll go onto my year-end-donations list, but I also noticed that they run an "ugly CSA" -- food that local farmers can't sell to grocery stores. (They note that there is non-ugly produce too; it's a CSA, working with local farms, but they'll explicitly take the unsellable stuff first.) It was too late to join this year's, but I signed up for the waiting list for next year.

A couple weeks ago I got email that there were new spots in this year's and would I like to join for the rest of the season? Why yes, I said; this is an easy way to check it out at a slightly lower cost, and then I can decide about next year. Their site says to expect 10-15 pounds of fresh fruits and veggies each week.

Today was my first share. It included:
- a pound of green beans
- one giant tomato (about 12oz)
- three large ears of corn (had some tonight - tasty!)
- one large cucumber
- three nectarines
- one large and two humongous green bell peppers (oh well - can't win 'em all)

The humongous peppers weigh about a pound each, so while I didn't weigh the entire bag, this probably isn't far off from the low end of the predicted volume.

The peppers I'm growing are finally starting to turn red, so in a few more days I should be able to use a home-grown red pepper and the smallest green pepper to make stuffed peppers for us. (He doesn't mind green peppers; I do.) We had two of the ears of corn tonight and we'll split the other one soon. Aside from the remaining green peppers, I know things I can do with all of this.

Skies over Pennsic

This isn't the Pennsic entry; this is the "you can see nice things when there isn't city build-up in your way" photo post. :-) Mostly sunsets, interesting clouds, and the full moon. Read more…