Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Refreshingly overcast

Awfully cozy in bed this morning, with the cats abutting my flanks and snoring peacefully. It was a delicate operation, extracting myself so as not to disturb them. They wanted, obviously, to keep snoozing, and I wanted to get up to make my morning cappucino.
We went through our usual routine today, just beating the showers.
Visited my one tutoring student, whom I have continued seeing because her mom really values my work with her daughter, as well as my work with her older daughter. She had some math homework, early geometry variety. Her mom asked me how I could remember "all that stuff" - I told her it flashes back to me as soon as I see it, and it's fun to help work it out. Mom runs a daycare in her home, and works very hard with several very young kids, including her own two and a half year old son.
Oh, what a lovely evening! got to IM with my beloved spouse, and while we were doing so, our son called from Yosemite. He and his friend had done a two day big wall aid climb on The Leaning Tower, during which a protection placement had blown unexpectedly, causing him to fall 30 feet onto his back, resulting in a sore arm and back. Nothing fatal, but took him by surprise. Sounds as if they were having a good experience, and I get vicarious thrills listening to him recount their exploits.
I'm nailing that fricking book tonight!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Monday

Gray and melancholy-invoking thus far...
Managed a little indoor climbing workout with a friend who went to Leavenworth over the weekend. It didn't sound as if they got all that much climbing done, but at least they got away.
So many outrageous bits of information and specious soundbites on this supposed day of remembrance that I find myself almost too angry to remark upon them. I want to push the Joint Chiefs of Staff's smirking faces into the bloody shit they deserve.
Although I was determined to read something I liked, I went back into Winter's Tale. When Halperin isn't trying so hard to be "brilliantly" poetic or creative, which I think he does a piss poor job of, and is actually working on the characters' actions, things go better. I'm over the 600 page mark...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Marine Push

That sounds as if the Puget Sound area is being invaded; in a way, it is, by a push of cooler air from out on the ocean. Makes sleeping at night lovely, and should invigorate one enough to do yardwork. Well, it urged me to run and work out, and pull some weeds...
As I ran along the lake towards the Nautilus gym, a big family was in front of me, completely blocking the path. The women wore headscarves, they all looked...well, Arabic and Muslim. They looked at me and did not make any room for me to go through or around them. I smiled and said excuse me, but they continued to block my way, forcing me to veer into the edge of the bike lane. I had to ask myself, was the irritation I felt just the same as I would feel toward any large group of thoughtless people, or was it especially sharp owing to their obvious Muslim presence?
There were more groups of men following them, also indifferent to blocking the running path.
As I was leaving the gym a while later, I saw another group of people who looked Arabic, and one lone fellow walking around slowly, carrying a heavy bag and looking up at buildings. Memorial Day weekend...was there to be some kind of local protest? This infuriates me, when events beyond my control, i.e., Iraq invasion, poison my thoughts. I consider myself to be a tolerant person; this is what fear and uncertainty can do to one's tolerance.
After declaring I was ready to abandon Winter's Tale, I'm picking it up again at bedtime.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Sizzling Saturday

Up too late last night, crappy sleep, late rising. Early maternal maintenance walk, nice exchanges with some neighbors.
After a slow morning, I got out for a walk, up past the zoo, along Phinney Ave., stopping at the Phinney Market for a motley little bag of foodstuffs which included organic catfood. I occasionally try some out on the cats, but one of them regularly turns up his nose at the higher priced spread.
As I was going downhill towards the lake, I passed some sort of service at a church. Little brown girls in very frilly white dresses were going inside. One of them unceremoniously hitched up her skirts and hoisted up her pantyhose as she approached the church entrance.
Walked back along Green Lake, where I could see a pretty good crowd along the water near the boat house. As I got closer, I could hear - ukelele music. There was a Hawaiian canoe club competition, and several women's crews were hauling around buoys in wide turns. There were clubs from all around the Puget Sound area, and lots of mellow-looking folks lounging around.
Early to bed.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Fried Friday

Another hot day in Seattle. We got out early for a walk, since my mom doesn't fare well in the heat. We're being cautious as teh docotr recommended, so as not to jeapardize her mental health.
We tried to call her oldest friend Dorothy, but got a shock. The place where she's living near Cincinnati told me she was very sick last night and was in hospice care, but they couldn't tell us any more, that we'd have to speak to her family. This doesn't bode well. Dorothy's been sounding increasingly confused every time we've called, which has been nearly every week for more than a year. She's been taking to her bed, not getting around, and this ahs brought on sme nasty consequences with her bodily functions. It can also lead to pneumonia, which I suspect is what's going on now. I told my mom, who just remarked,"Oh, dear." She may not remember this later. It makes me so sad. They've been friends for going on 73 years, since they met in early high school. Dorothy's 88th birthday will be on June 12. I wonder if she will make it that far. I went upstairs and cried while I ironed shirts.
Just heard from Dorothy's middle daughter; Dorothy died at 1:30 this morning. She starved herself to death. I told my mother after she finished her lunch; we'll see if she remembers later.
The daughter said Dorothy was peaceful as she died; she had gotten angrier and stranger, due to the progression of her dementia. Fortunately, she was living in a facility which was staged for residents' decline and demise, and not by herself somewhere.
Out for an evening stroll and a beverage over heated political talk.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

So hot at 11:00 o'clock

Something murdered sleep for me last night, despite having read some of the stupid, boring, poorly written and predictable Winter's Tale, enough to put me in a coma at about 11:00. But a little before two, I was wandering around, miserably hot. Ended up in our son's room, which was quiet and cool. At 6:30, up and wandering again. Drifted off again, until the stupid dog next door started its dying smoke alarm imitation. Lousy night.
By mid-morning, it was hot. Got my mom out early, before she melted. Off for ye olde hairdo.
When I finally dragged my ass out to run, I saw a group of teenage girls clipping along behind me. The lead sylph overtook me, but the pack reached me and sort of swept me along. They said they were from Ballard High School, which is not too far west from Green Lake. It was fun to draft them, but then they stopped, rather precipitously, looking at their watches. I was just as happy to be away from them; their skin is so young-looking, it's pretty scary.
A very hot evening...it got up to 89 today, and the house is still holding it in.
I am disgusted with my reading. I may abandon Winter's Tale at page 450.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Whatta Wednesday

SO beautiful today! Warm with a gorgeous coolish breeze. Got a little longer walk in for mom, chores, then off to the climbing gym. Great workout, but horrible trip home; an accident on a bridge which is a crucial conduit of traffic, so it took us an hour to get home, which normally takes about 15 minutes or so. You'd think we were in frickin' LA!
Though I don't watch much television, I confess I have been keeping up, as best as one can, with that nicely murky show,"Lost." It surprises me that it's so popular with the TV-watching public, since it gets kind of weird and confusing, and sometimes tries too hard to be profound. I like it because it shows at least a smidgeon of imagination. We watched the two-hour finale this evening, which, after excising the far too numerous minutes devoted to ads, boiled down to only about 45 minutes or so of show. The ending was of course sufficiently strange and...murky.
It's fixing to be hot over the next few days, and is already a too warm sort of night for sleeping.
Still plugging away at Winter's Tale.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The difference a day makes!

Lo-o-o-ng exhalation of relief...we went to the doctor today to get my mom's knee checked. Diagnosis: A sore "pez ansarine bursa," or "goosefoot bursa," a small one on the inner front part of the knee. Probably from overuse, that week we went out on two walks a day for two or three days. I told my mom she was suffering from an honorable "jock's" problem! She decided to try a small injection of a steroid, and it seems to be helping pretty quickly. We also received feedback from a woman who runs exercise classes for adults; she said the trekking poles are perfect, and will help Mother's posture as well. This condition, without steroids, could last as long as three months. If the steroids work, it could be 4-6 weeks or less.
Our son called today to report from Yosemite! They had climbed Serenity Crack, Pillar of Frenzy, and East Cathedral Spire - or Rock, not sure which is correct. They also hiked up, climbed, and set up a Tyrolean Traverse up to the top of Lost Arrow Spire, a spectacular mass of rock that's been photographed many times. The road up into Tuolomne Meadows is still being ploughed - there are 60" of snow up in that area! - so they can't get up to some places they wanted to climb, but there will be other trips. Yosemite is so huge it isn't possible to do it all in a couple of weeks.
The days have turned paradisical, at least through Friday. I'll be hanging around here over Memorial Day weekend, enjoying a wet holiday!

Monday, May 23, 2005

How are things today?

Well, despite being stiff, my mom's leg didn't give out on her, and she was able to make it downstairs for breakfast. As she came to the table with the trekking poles, my husband remarked that she looked like she'd skiied down! That made her laugh. While she was eating, I zipped over to the pharmacy and got an adjustable knee brace for her to try. We got it on comfortably, and by gum, she made it out for a little bit of a walk. It was very hard getting back up our front steps, but she was adamant. She likes the knee supporter, and the poles.
Made it over to the climbing gym for a workout, and catching up with friends. One said he had a folding walker he would lend Mother, so I hope he remembers to bring it later this week. He'd gotten it for himself, after some sort of mishap scrambling around the lower reaches of Mount Rainier.
Still no word from our son...I just hope they're off and climbing up one of those multi-pitched routes in Yosemite.
Tomorrow morning we head to the doctor's office to have my mom's leg checked.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Stressful Sunday

And it started out so nicely...we'd finished breakfast, and Mother and I headed out for a bit of a walk. As we rounded the corner by the mailbox, she announced that she didn't want to go all the way to the last corner, three blocks away. We made it to the fence where she takes a breather and a stretch, then headed homeward. As usual, she sat down on Mike's low stone wall to rest a moment; I had just spoken to her, then glanced away to watch a bird,when I caught her toppling out of the corner of my eye. I managed to break her fall, but she was sort of twisted against the wall. Mike heard me exclaiming, and rushed out to help. Jeff across the street happened to be out by his van, and he zipped over also. The family who bought Sid and Rick's house had just come out, and they hurried over to see if we needed assistance. Meanwhile, we had gotten her down on the grass strip by the sidewalk, head lower than her legs, and she was perking up already. We let her get up gradually, and Mike and the young dad helped me get her home and up our steps. Mike said she seemed quite steady again, which is the pattern these "spells" take. I've usually managed by myself, but I'm wondering if this is a little warning about what's coming...
Got a pretty good run and workout, now I need to get to the store. I'm getting that "battle mentality" again, wondering what could happen with my mom.
Very nice event this evening: Chris from our online book group was in town, en route from Alaska to home in Virginia, and called to get together. We zoomed over to where she was staying, near the Seattle Center, picked her up, and took a stroll through the Center, past the Space Needle, to a restaurant we've been to and liked. It was really nice to talk with her, and share a meal. (Thank you again so much, Chris! ) We then went on a bit of an evening drive, out to Magnolia Bluff, to see Puget Sound illuminated by a full moon, ferries floating along like big birthday cakes.
Yikes. My mother's leg was so painful and/or stiff, she had to be helped upstairs. I gave her my trekking poles to help her maneuver about. Have to see what a good night's sleep brings.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Surprise of a Saturday

Mother and I went out for our usual walk late this morning. We visited our friend and neighbor across the street and her lovely bevy of chickens, then made our way on our regular route. Mother's knee was feeling better, so she decided to go all the way to the corner marking the halfway point. We could see a bunch of people milling around in front of Diggity Dog, the local hotdog purveyor; as we got closer, I spotted a TV cameraman. A moment later, I noticed that his camera was trained on a large, familiar-looking fellow: T'was our Seattle mayor, Greg Nickels. Odd, since my husband and I had just discussed him last night. Husband is more optimistic about Mayor Nickels; I'm skeptical, and seeing him in my very own baileywick made me suspicious. What crappy policy-making might it be a harbinger of? A woman who'd been in the group crossed the street to pass by where we were resting against a wall for a breather. I asked her why he was there. She said something about making contact with the neighborhoods, and about a "beautification" effort. I said I'd voted for him, but was not convinced of his motives. She allowed as how he's done some controversial things, but after all, "he IS the mayor." So I sez to her, I sez,"Oh, well, George Bush is the president, but so what?" She seemed to be implying that the mayor deserved respect because of his position. I shall wait and see. I certainly don't think Bush deserves respect just because of his office. He's abrogated any respect anybody should have ever considered giving him.
Anyway, Mr. Nickels headed over our way, and as he reached us, said hello and shook our hands. "My, you have warm hands!" my mother told him.
"It's an occupational trick!" he replied, not missing a beat.
Off to visit a new bookstore, a branch of a local favorite. We had a nice long walk, spouse had a workout at the gym, then we stopped at Rosita's for Mexican. Brought home a chicken enchilada mole for my mom, and all is well.
Again, exit with the large book.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Route-settin' Day

My sister called this morning to say she couldn't make it for the weekend. Troubles with her advisor's demands; this woman sounds like a prize piece of work.
Out for a little walk with my mom, and made it back before the heavens opened yet again.
Off to the climbing gym, where as I stripped and set my route, I could hear the downpour on the roof. Really good workout on a variety of routes. Gave one of my friends a used, but in excellent condition, Penguin paperback "definitive edition" of Moby Dick, which she said she'd never read. She's 49, so I think it's time! Says she's going to save it for her annual summer trip to Europe.
Beloved spouse and I had a lovely walk this evening, with a stop at Mona's for a beverage and conversation.
Good day all round, although we haven't heard from our son, who's in Yosemite, I hope safely...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Tell me how do you feel?

Feel like I'm sleeping a split shift...three hours on, three hours off...
I'm about 250 pages into "Winter's Tale," and getting the urge to reach for an editing pencil again. There have been little bursts of pretty interesting writing, then swatchs of overgrown verbiage that should have been weed-whacked. And people in the book group have been extolling this tome. It's chock full of cliche and predictable stuff. I'm going to be the negative one on this, if I can make myself finish it.
Off to Hair with Flair for Mama, then off for a run and workout. Wild weather today, windy, huge ominous clouds banking along the Cascade Mountains and over along Puget Sound. We were fortunate to be in a great big "sucker hole" of blue sky for much of the afternoon, but the storms just hit from the west. Wet cats are frantically asking to get inside; one with wet muddy feet just jumped on my lap to "cuddle" - read get warm - and left footprints across my tan pants.
We wound up having a pretty good dinnertime discussion, which resulted in handing my mom Laxness's "Independent People" to dive into for her next reading selection. I only hope it isn't too confusing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Wetly Wednesday

Our son and one of his climbing friends set off for Yosemite - known as "The Valley" to climbers - at about 3:30 this morning. For some reason, I sat bolt upright at a little after 3:00, so was able to say bon voyage one more time. They were driving straight through, and he said it was about a 15 hour drive, not too bad; ah, youth. I trundled back into bed, and except for one stupid ass cat incident around 5:00, managed to patch together four or five more hours of sleep.
Got my mom out for a four block trek; her knee is still screwed up, but the cat bite on her other leg is healing nicely.
Got a little workout at the climbing gym; it was pouring, thundering, flashing lightning for a good part of the afternoon, but pleasant and dry inside.
Well, per usual, "Lost" was murky and inconclusive; guess that's one of the things that I like about it. That, and, um, Sayid...
Crashing at 10:00.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Well, last night was so fractured by waking up every hour because I couldn't breathe, I feel terrible this morning. And found out, when my mother came downstairs, that she'd let one of the cats in her window in the middle of the night, he'd rubbed against her legs, and when she stooped down to pet him, he turned around and bit her on her right leg. It was dark, and she always seems to reach at his face, which freaks out the little fucker. I was wondering why she was wandering around, running water at 3:00 this morning; she was washing out the cat bite. Fortunately, she took a bath this morning, so I applied antibiotic cream and hope it doesn't get infected. So now she's got a gimpy left knee and a wounded right shin.
We managed a couple of short walks, mostly to get her moving a bit and to see the chickens. One of our friends and neighbors has been scarce for a couple of weeks, and I found out why today: Her 49 year old sister was having chest pains, went in for a stress test, and was whisked into emergecy open-heart surgery for a bypass, that same day. The family's been doing tagteam 24/7 care for her the past few weeks. The afflicted woman doesn't look like a heart attack candidate, she's lean, like her sister. Shocking, but she's doing well. So I feel a bit dumb reporting that I had to spend some time in bed this afternoon, dozing fitfully, nursing aches and general crumminess. Dragged myself out to check on Mom.
Geeze, I feel cranky.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Ripping on through the merrie month...

What the hay... fever, that would be. Yanking ivy on Saturday appears to have triggered some sort of allergic response. It's not going away. I'll just take some sudafed to quash this crap.
We had a very pleasant late morning saunter, but now, as of about 1:30, it's turning wintry again. Judicious applications of arnica gel, coupled with moderation of activity, seems to have worked for my mother's knee problems. Yesterday her lower back was sore again, but today it wasn't. I'd never know, except for the limping and inability to stand up straight sometimes, so I ask every so often.
Chores, chores; then to the climbing gym to try to blow out the cotton in my head. Sort of had a good time but felt strangely melancholy. Our son showed up to do a few routes, so I stayed a bit longer than perhaps I should have; felt very tired.
We went out for a farewell beer before our son takes off for Yosemite tomorrow. He wanted to see the pub/cafe created by Bottlewerks, our local beer purveyor. He thought it was too chi chi, we thought it was pretty nice. I tried a Belgian blonde beer, which was very good. I haven't been a fan of the Hoegarden name, for example, owing to its heavy taste of coriander and orange peel. Maybe my cold masked it, but this other brand seemed almost like champagne. Can't remember the name.
Off to bed; my nose is ominously closed up...

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Quiet Sunday

Running along Green Lake this afternoon, I saw two pairs of mallards accompanying a flotilla of ducklings. This is the second time I've seen them or a similar group, bobbing along next to the shoreline; ducky daycare is back in full force. Right across the path from this adorable picture op was a war protest by Veterans for Peace: Many hundreds of white foam core board crosses and markers stuck on the hillside, commemorating the death toll thus far for Bush's war of choice. As I ran past, I caught glimpses of names and ages, all young, of course. Made my gut ache. Nothing good has come of this, and I am willing to predict that nothing good ever will.
Up to read more of Winter's Tale.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

We survived Friday the 13th

Or so it would appear. However, upon going out to look at the parking strip, which I am trying to turn into a lovely planted area, I took a look at the two buddlea bushes I put in last year, and decided to remove them, since they are considered an invasive species out here. When one considers that they grew to be over six feet tall in one season or so, in pretty lousy soil, one must wonder at their nature... evil, I suspect. When I had stripped them of their branches - no bloody sap oozed, nor weird howling ensued - I had a battle with the rest of them. Upon removal, the roots looked like ancient, gnarled war clubs from the Andaman Islands, and I quickly threw them into the yard waste bin before they animated themselves and started swinging at my head. Our two cats and a couple of felines visiting from neighbors sat or lay around, switching their tails and observing my toils.
Next, I went up into the little front "Sphinx Garden," as it has been known; it is so badly neglected and overgrown that it's a wonder the Sphinx hasn't taken wing to find another home, or come up to pound against my bedroom window, shrieking for relief from the tickling tendrils of morning glory and rampant perennial geraniums choking her abode. I madly wrenched wads of weeds, including some ivy that was working its way out the branches of a spreading blue spruce. Half an hour of this dervish business, and my arms were sore, my lungs full of ivy pollen. And the yard waste bin was overflowing, so it was surely a sign to stop. I have, I confess, "let things go" a bit, but it's been a wet spring, and I would far rather go running or climbing than muck about in the chilly drizzle. No excuse, now, so I'll keep whittling away at the vegetal drifts...
Off to read more of Winter's Tale. This book annoys me, it strikes me as a mixture of fairly imaginative attempts, mixed with cliche.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Sun, briefly

And Son, briefly...we had talked about maybe going out climbing today, but he slept late, and the weather appears to be trying to rain again, sooner or later. He just took off to the UW climbing rock with a friend and his dog, the teeny but magnificent Enzo Ferrari, previously mentioned in these annals. Little Enzo had an unpleasantly enlightening experience with one of our cats, Rico; he innocently went up to check out Rico, who humped up, hissed and swiped at the poor little canine. Inevitable, but I was not too happy and Enzo's owner was even more unhappy. We checked him over for wounds, and shooed the cat away. ("You need to get lost," growled Enzo's master to our cat.) I figure Rico was surprised and delighted to be able to intimidate a dog, since he outweighed it by about 8 or 9 pounds. Shortly after this twist on a classic encounter, I took Enzo over to look at my friend's chickens. ("Will they attack him too?" enquired his owner.) The birds were in their coop, though, so it was a safe opportunity for the doglet to inspect them. I didn't bring him too close to the penned-up birds, who were instantly alert to the dog's presence. Enzo went absolutely still in my arms, his radar-like ears trained forward on the chickens. I could feel him relax as we went back to my house. Enough excitement with megafauna for him in one day!
Had a good session at the indoor climbing gym with a friend; she and I both got kind of worn out after a couple of hours, but still had fun. She might go hiking with us this weekend, depending on the weather.
Got a very nice chunk of troll-caught wild King salmon from Oregon for dinner; nice for once to taste really fresh, unfrozen fish. I roasted potatoes, onions, carrots and sweet red peppers tossed in olive oil while I baked the fish quickly at a high temperature. With organic peas, it made a swell meal.
I'm actually liking "Winter's Tale" better; got a bit more read last night, after thinking I wanted to bag it, 30 pages in. It' s still not exactly thrillingly challenging, but does seem to have some inventive moments.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

We're off to get a hairdo, and toenails by wizard of Oz

? Uh oh, other personalities seem to be crowding in here...
While looking through, but not reading thoroughly, a review by John Updike of a Max Ernst retrospective in NYC, I came upon the beginning of a poem by the Surrealist poet Paul Eluard, written to his horror of a wife, Gala, while they were separated: "At the end of a long journey, I can still see that long corridor, that gloomy burrow, that warm darkness where a breeze blows in drifting off the surf." Strange mixture of yearning and claustrophobia. She ditched him for Salvador Dali, eventually. I remember when I was a kid seeing a photo of her with Dali, and thinking she looked like an evil witch. I was correct, she was a succubus that devoured her men.
My mother's got a very sore left knee, which has prevented her from getting more than a couple of blocks of walking in today, when we went to the hair salon. This just cropped up yesterday morning; she decided to take one of her longer walks, thinking the movement might help it, but it seems a bit worse today. I had her take a Tylenol, and put some arnica gel on the afflicted area. I do hope a rest day will help it, because without her walks she'll not get any exercise...
This situation gives me stress; I took it out in a run and workout. I guess little things worry me, as if they'll be the start of a sharper decline.
Whew, John Banville, whose most recent novel was "Shroud," which did not even engage me enough to start it, savages Ian McKewan's latest, called "Saturday." One particularly sharp passage by Banville: "It happens occasionally that a novelist will lose his sense of artistic proportion, especially when he has done a great deal of research and preparation. I have read all those books, he thinks, I have made all these notes, so how can I go wrong? Or, he devises a program, a manifesto, which he believes will carry him free above the demands of mere art-
no desk-bound scribbler he, no dabbler in dreams, but a man of action, a match for any scientist or soldier. He sets to work, and immediately matters start to go wrong - the thing will not flow,
the characters are mulishly stubborn, even the names are not right - but yet he persists, mistaking the frustrations of an unworkable endeavor for teh agonies attendant upon the fashioning of a masterpiece. But no immensity of labor will bring to successful birth a novel that was misconceived in the first place." (Interesting: Margaret Atwood talked about male authors referring to producing their works as if they were giving birth...)
Hoo - wee, Mr. Banville, thou dost protest so very mightily! Makes me wonder if he's evening up some score with Mr. McEwan. Not that I'm a big McEwan fan - Atonement was all right, but not fabulous - but man, Banville really socks it to him in this review in the May 26th issue of The New York Review of Books.
Out for a bite and a beverage with a friend and our son; a pleasant interlude.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

There has to be a morning after...

Hmm, a bit dopey this morn... I think I accidentally published again before I even wrote anything. Let's see...nope, all seems to be well.
Lots of fun at the climbing gym this afternoon; many of my female homies there for workouts. Returned home to find my menfolk gone, and no clue as to where...they never leave notes, like I do. And my mother doesn't remember if they told her where they were going, or even seeing them...oh, ha ha. Joke was on me! They were out in the garage/bike workshop, overhauling one of my old bicycles which our son's been using.
After dinner, I mentioned that we needed more coffee beans, so beloved spouse and I walked down to our local coffee joint, Zoka's, to pick up the coffee. On impulse, we stayed for a beverage, his caffeinated, mine hot chocolate, and a little hanging out. Zoka's began as a fitfully suitable place, with service ranging from all right to appalling, but has become an operation that roasts its own on site, and where you don't feel like you have to die and stink up the room to get your order filled.
Early to bed to dream sweetly.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


These smack dab in the heart of the night insomnia spells are murderous. We shall see if I can make it to bedtime without a nap...
Not only made it without conking out midday, but also managed a lackluster little run and workout; later, as I was driving over to check on my tutoring student, I heard a live performance of Thievery Corporation on KEXP-FM Seattle. These folks were engaging and energetic, and that clinched it: I must needs rally again to go out with my engaging and energetic spouse to hear their show at Premier. So, by gum, we did it. Tore off a bit after 8:30 PM, as the doors opened at 9:00 for this "early" all - ages show. As we stood there until almost 9:45, waiting for the group to appear, I began to question our decision, but I was reminded that it's generally been my observation that musicians rarely start on time. Maybe in the opera house or concert hall they do, but that's probably owing to their audiences' demands and their own union rules. Alternative and rock musicians do not seem to have any such strictures.
Well, just as even this typically polite Seattle crowd started getting restive, out came the two main fellows in Thievery Corporation, and the show went on. Very enjoyable, with two horns, drummer, guitar, bass, keyboards of some sort, three male vocalists, three female vocalists, including one they called "Karina, our Brazilian princess" - yeeks, every time she came out, you coulda cut the testosterone response out in the crowd with a chainsaw. Not great singing, but she wasn't there for that. Also a couple of musicians from Istanbul, playing what looked like oboes, although I couldn't be sure. Not a long show, but still worth the loss of sleep.
Mercifully, the lights were very low and darkly hued, so we grizzled ones could dance undetected...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Moody-looking Monday

No outdoor climbing today; it looks and feels like late winter here in Seattle, creating the urge in one to crawl back under the covers, including the down comforter which is still on top of the bed.
Hied me to the climbing gym, where numerous friends showed up to work out. Had a good time, throwing myself up the walls unto exhaustion.
I have ONE chapter left in Moby Dick - gonna miss loony ole Ahab and his madness over this poor goddamned whale who was just trying to fend off all those murdering whalers from his flocks, by day and night. I've dipped into Halperin's "Winter's Tale," which pales by comparison to Melville.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Musings Upon a Mother's Day

A good night's sleep seems to have been enjoyed by one and all, and mercifully, the neighbors did not get up early for another Whacking Day in their backyard. The two cats especially appeared to enjoy luxuriating in and amongst our limbs, stretching and gazing at us langorously, perhaps thinking, why the hell are you idiots getting out of bed?
Got Mother out for two long walks today, and myself out for a run and workout; walked over to the store to get some items for dinner. The balmy early day has turned into a dark, chilly one, so I'm thinking I'll try making a tapas-style omelette with eggs, potatoes and onions to accompany the chicken kabobs and asparagus. No sight of or sound from the Young One yet, but that can change quickly.
Very disturbing dreams at some point in last night's repose, thanks, I am sure, to the increasing creepiness of Moby Dick's wind up and denoument...even Ahab wonders why the fuck he can't quit huntin' that big Dick.
A pleasant evening was had by all...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Daddy's home!

Dear spouse returned home from the wilds of Milwaukee in the wee hours of this morning. For some reason, I woke up after a couple hours of not very sound sleep - some neighbors a block over were playing their favorite party mix very loudly, very late, out into their backyard...and it was a chilly night, but hey, in Seattle, if it isn't raining it's perfect for anything al fresco...and wandered downstairs to find him sitting at his computer. Then I had one of those spells where I lay awake for an unending hour or so before finally getting back to sleep, only to have the fuckwit neighbor to the east whacking away as loudly as he can on something in his backyard, before 8:30 on a Saturday morning. I thought since they were separating I'd be shut of his thoughtless noise-making, but it appears he will still be showing up to whack, along with his father. If they do it again tomorrow, I shall make my displeasure known to them.
We had a swell walk this afternoon, down to Fremont via Gasworks Park, where a group of people were playing the most astounding sort of croquet, with wickets all up and down the hills and dales, with the most demanding lays and hazards. In Fremont, we found a sunny spot to stop and watch the residual boat traffic after Opening Day, then on the way home, nabbed a bit of gelato to fuel the climb up the hill.
We had some nice calzones for dinner, and are now ready to drift off into the night.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday fumings

Hoo wee, we are having a fiery breakfast round table here this morning! Our twenty-something son is telling me it does me no good to rejoice at that Spokane pervert of a mayor getting exposed for his pederastic tendencies, and I am maintaining that any chink in the Karl Rovian barbarian wall is a good thing. We do agree that the USA and the rest of the world are going down dangerous paths, but neither one of us knows what to do about it.
My mother started out the morning very shakily, wobbling downstairs asking me when our son had returned from California, as she'd just bumped into him on the way downstairs. He's been back since late March...She seemed tired when we went out for our walk, and barely made it up the last several steps to our fron porch, so I'm not sure what's in the cards for the rest of the day. She did say she hadn't slept very well, so maybe that's the key to this spaciness. Getting old isn't always consistent...
Went to the gym to set a route. It was an easy one from its inception, but somehow I get embroiled about halfway through these problems and have some difficulty just driving on until it's done. So it took an hour and a half of fiddling about to nail it, but at least it's moderate. Hooked up with my buddy Candi, and zipped around, clambering up as many routes as I could manage before I got tired. We have decided to team up with a friend for her and a spouse for me and get us some salsa lessons. Sounds like a blast!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Oops again...

Hit the wrong button and presto, got a phantom entry there...well, what I was GOING to put down was how this week seems to be improving gradually.
Once again a day of Hair Beautification fer me honored mum. We had a walk afterwards, and she darned near passed out on me again. She remarked that perhaps it was owing to the extra excitement of getting out to the beauty parlor! There are odd little signs of her slowing down.
After I ran and worked out, I pried her away from Dr. Phil and got her out hitting the bricks again. This time she didn't have on an extra layer - her raincoat, which she insisted on this morning - and wasn't at risk of overheating. It reminds me of coaxing an old vehicle to ignition...
So it was "Cinco de Mayo" today. No mention of it on local news, but there was plenty of hoo hah about the REPUBLICAN mayor of Spokane, WA, Jim West, soliciting what he thought was an underage teenage boy for sex on the internet - never mind that it was a newspaper reporter doing a bit of gumshoing, posing as a 17-year-old boy. BWAA HA HA HAAA!!!! He's also being accused of having molested little boys while he was a boy scout leader. While a state senator, he helped block any legislation for gay rights. Two of his fellow Scout leaders, also caught with their weinies in little boys' butts, confessed eyrs ago and then committed suicide. I'm seeing a solution to what I see as an infestation of hypocritical conservatives: A self-administered Final Solution! Spokane appears to be particularly rotten with this infestation.
Okay, up to finish Atwood's little book, and sail a bit more with the Moby one.

It's getting better all the time

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Man, I never dreamt so hard, I never slept so well...

...dreamin' I was free in life, like mussels in a shell...
Lyrics from an old Tears for Fears song keep running through my head. It's called "Standing on the Corner of the Third World", and it surfaces now and then in my cranial tides, unpredictably.
I finished Richard Powers's novel In the Time of Our Singing last night, and felt moved. It's not a perfect work, but I admire what he tried to do, weaving several large themes of racial woes over the mid to late 20th century in the USA, as well as musical performance experience, with unconditional love and higher mathematics concerning time and relativity. Sounds strange, but in the way of those works that sound improbably mixed, it achieved a mostly successful alchemy for me. It wended its way around, so it tended to surprise me, and it had an organic feel to it, so that I could buy its developments. The barrage of musically-flavored language was a bit much sometimes, but for the characters involved, it was a lingua franca, and Powers sold me on its validity as their form of communication. I hope someone else reads it soon, so I can bounce some thoughts off them.
Good fun at the climbing gym. Lots of moderate leads and warm ups, and a handful of harder routes. Several buddies to work out with. The coach's partner got herself geared up to lead again, and had a good afternoon.
Early to bed, to read more of Margaret Atwood's Negotiating with the Dead, a little bit of a book reflecting on what it is to write.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Maybe it's May

Technically it was morning when I woke up in a sweat, about 12:30, after disturbing dreams, to wonder if our son had made it back from a big day hike in the Cascades with a friend. I lay there for a while, wondering if a phone would ring; then I heard the shower go on downstairs, so my anxiety was quashed. I went down and spoke to him through the door. It had rained all day, but they managed 14 miles. I went back to bed and had more weird dreams; the last one I can recall having to do with walking along a boardwalk overlooking the water and seeing all manner of strange and frightening creatures swimming by, about, and jumping up to near eye level, chomping and frothing at the mouth. There was even the huge, dark and awful outline underwater of something that looked like a dragon. And I hadn't even been reading Moby Dick last night!
Another day in paradise; two good walks for Mother, a nice run and workout for me; and off to the gas station to fill up dear spouse's car. The usual sticker shock.

Monday, May 02, 2005


What a great night's sleep I had, at least until about 6:00 or so this morning, when a damp cat jumped upon my chest and mewed plaintively into my face. got in our walk, with a side trip to a nearby pharmacy for a birthday card Mother wants to send to my brother's youngest, nearly done with her freshman year in high school. We found a danged cute one showing a little pug in a glass of milk on the front, with a greeting inside reading, "Got cake?" She wrote a greeting inside; about ten minutes after I'd sealed it in its envelope, she asked me if we had gotten a card for the granddaughter...the whole experience was gone already. Very bizarre, the way her memory glitches. She'd remembered all weekend that she wanted to get the card, but as soon as we tended to it, she forgot. Well, we had a brief discussion on the mysteries of the brain, then... forgot about it!
Did my chores, then went to the climbing gym to try out some of the comp routes. Whew. The ones for the little guys and girls and the 14 year old girls were brutal. Lots of blank wall space for new problems to be set upon, so I'll need to get back this week to put up a lead or so that average humans can climb.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hmmmm...what shall we do today?

This has become an absolutely stellar day, warm, breezy, perfect for walks, carwashing and yardwork. My 87 year old mum felt perky enough for two good strolls today, with chicken observations thrown in as usual. I managed a run and weights workout, despite some strange tightness in the muscles of the back of my right leg, which I've been treating with arnica gel. I got both cars washed, after months of neglect, and did a spot of weeding. Now it looks like the lovely spell is over, with clouds drifting in, so we'll pay for the pleasant weekend tomorrow.
To bed early with all my books...