Sunday, July 31, 2005

Bobbing along...

So off we went early this afternoon with two kayaks, down to Lake Union for a few hours' of paddling towards the Ballard Locks, then back. What an astoundingly gorgeous day it was. I think being out on the water was the best choice of activities, since we were kept comfortable by the breezes and our proximity to cool water, but sufficiently exercised by our efforts. I have blisters on the spaces between my thumbs and fore fingers, but no discomfort any where else. So perhaps my technique is improving, other than over-gripping the paddle. Lots of big cruiser trafffic - I found myself wishing these gas-guzzling behemoths would scuttle themselves - and plenty of surfing of their wakes. At first this was fun, but after a while I wanted them to disappear.
A wonderful night. The elusive Seattle summer is here, probably to vanish manana, but we savored it while we could.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sore Saturday

Okay. Uncle. Oncle. Tio mio. Whatever it is in German. My body's starting to gripe some over its exercise over the past week. Climbing outside, hiking, indoor climbing, more running and lifting, more indoor climbing for two days in a row, including a competition, more running and lifting. This is the first day I haven't planned for some sort of exercise, and I think I'd better stick to planting the box of seedum plants I found as I walked home yesterday from running. People are always running a sort of "plant amnesty" around here, leaving thinned out items along the sidewalk with "free" signs on them. Furniture as well. Needy college students could furnish whole house with the items left on on the parking strips - well, probably this isn't done in the higher-rent neighborhoods, but it is often seen in many parts of Seattle.
We walked down to a neighborhood called Fremont to meet some old friends for tapas and sangria. Our sons used to be great buddies back in elementary school. Theirs is now out of the UW and trying to figure out his way, too. It was fun to talk to them and walk around Fremont a bit with them.
So I ended up having a good walk tonight.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Thursday thrashing

Big fun today - hairdo for my mother and a couple of nice little walks, puttering around the house, then off to an evening climbing competition. Lots of fun, got a couple of prize items, and a free burger and a beer. Climbed until I hit my ceiling, so to speak, where I persisted until it appeared pointless to do so.
Heard a noise a bit before midnight, came down to check, and found beloved spouse was safely returned from a business trip in the Red State - like environs of Eastern Washington.
Thank goodness. It's hot and too rightwingy over there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Nirvana - no, paradise - well, it's swell!

Maybe a bit hot for many locals, but at 11:00 this morning it was perfect and breezy. It's in the mid 80's now, at 4:00 P.M., but was a great afternoon to do a bit of gym climbing. I picked up a friend and one of her housemates, and we three women folk had a pleasant couple of hours. They're setting for a "Summer Slam" casual competition, so there were many unmarked routes that we were not permitted to try, since two of us are participating tomorrow evening. These comps have been fun in the past, so I'm hoping this one will be as well. BBQ, free beer, door prizes.
Time to read more of Catch 22, which I'm kind of behind on. Got some done in the wee hours this morning, as I had a patch of extreme hot flashing and subsequent insomnia, but I prefer reading at times other than 2 ayem...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


It's happening...things are ceasing to function. First this morning was my poor old PC. She's glitching badly, keeps re-booting...I fear it's the end for her. Or him. Or it. What's next? Our very ancient laundry machines, dating from the 70's and wearing their avocado hue proudly? I HATE WHEN STUFF BREAKS DOWN. I am not into conspicuous consumption, I want things to last forever. I am not one who needs to consume, update, buy, buy, buy. I am channeling my weird father, who represented the true meaning of "conservative": CONSERVE! Make due, make it last! NOT into appearances, NOT into fashion. It should be called "faschion!"
So I am writing on our son's computer. Had to sort of weasel into his space to use it.
What else? Fabulous resort-like weather today, but my mom seems to be suffering from the heat. Lack of appetite, wackiness of the head.
I got a run and workout done. I'm grateful for that.
Catch 22 is putting me to sleep. I want to wake up and be completely energized.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Monday musings

Well, swell start to another swell day. My mom walked her long walk this morning, I got lots of little chore-y things done. Then when my friend came over to pick me up for a workout at the climbing gym, I looked at her car's roof rack and...holy shit!...Ther was my beloved spouse's missing camera, caught in the back roof rack!!! And she's driven to the airport and back today, as well as who knows elsewhere yesterday! Absolutely hilarious and unbelievable. We had a tolerable workout.
As the beloved spouse was getting ready to leave on a business trip, our son arrived, with a climbing buddy in tow. They foraged in our fridge, managing to find enough sustenance for the evening. The friend is crashing here tonight before heading up to Squamish tomorrow, a popular climbing area in B.C. just north of Vancouver.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Day of rest?

Well, it was supposed to be a laid back day, but we needed to go out to search for something lost on a hike yesterday. After beating the bushes for awhile and having no luck, we went on a nice little hike to a place called Twin Falls State Park. Nice trail down to a series of gorgeous waterfalls, which in full spate are said to produce a deafening thunderous sound. Since it's the end of July, the volume of water has diminished somewhat, but was still lovely to behold. There were several old growth trees near the trail, which always pleases me, including one I could covertly caress. These huge trees hold me in thrall, and I always try to worship them on the sly. They represent a vanishing life force on this planet, and I ache when I think about it.
Speaking of aching...we watched the award-winning movie "The Whale Rider" tonight, and it proved to be a wonderful little story of coming of age and scales falling from the eyes of hide-bound traditionalists.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Wow, what a day!

We had such a fabulous day! We three women went out to climb, two guys did as well, and my beloved spouse got in a very respectable 10 mile hike up to the top of what is called Mt. Washington, although it isn't one of those spectacularly snow-covered behemoths we have around here. Still, the views were terrific.
We womenfolk had a very nice day getting used to rocks again, since we haven't been out much thus far; been rained out consistently. The weather was perfect, no one got injured, and neither of the two dogs with us fell off a cliff or ate anything horrible. The chihuahua, Enzo Ferrari, did attempt to roll on a smashed slug, but was intercepted in time. This adorable little black and white five pound wonder dog hiked all the way up and back down with us, about 4 or 5 miles total on a steady upward grade, with only one boost to get over a little stream. He did conk out at the crags, but he's just a growing pup, so that was to be expected.
Great time had by all.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Wet wickets

Around 6:30 this morning, I woke up to the sound of rain. The morning was so cozily gloomy, I dozed off as I tried to read Don Q. The cats were sprawled about the bed, not evincing any desires to spring up and greet the day - not even for food. The household finally showed some animation a couple of hours later, but my mom went back to bed while I got up for a quiet moment with my coffee cup.
On our walk later this morning, the showers had stopped, and the snails were everywhere, crossing the sidewalks, crawling up retaining walls, hanging from threads of slime from plants tehy were eating. They're fascinating, but I think we've got a full scale invasion of them, a plague of Biblical proportions. I don't think the two year old boy next door can feed them to the neighbor's chickens fast enough to keep down the population.
Late this afternoon I met up with a friend at the climbing gym. We have a plan afoot to get out tomorrow for a bit of actual rock climbing on actual rock! There will be a "girls' car" and a "boys'
car," with the former leaving a bit earlier than the latter. This should be a fun day, with a swell 45 minute hike up to the site and plenty of moderate routes.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Panzan Proverbs

Sancho Panza in "Don Quixote" is so chockful of malaproprian proverbs it is difficult to know where to begin to cite them. Perhaps this passage will suffice, from Chapter 43, entitled, "Regarding the second set of precepts that Don Quixote gave to Sancho Panza" - Don Q. has been informing Sancho about what he needs to do to govern his insula. Sancho responds that he probably won't remember all the precepts, and lets fly with a string of his fractured-sounding proverbs. To which Don Q. says:
"O, may you be accursed, Sancho!" said Don Quixote at this point. "May sixty thousand devils take you and your proverbs! For the past hour you have been stringing them together and with each one giving me a cruel taste of torment. I assure you that one day these proverbs will lead you to the gallows; because of them your vassals will take the governorship away from you, or rise up against you. Tell me, where do you find them, you ignorant man, and how do you apply them, you fool, when to say only one that is really applicable, I have to perspire and labor like a ditchdigger?"
"By God, my lord and master," replied Sancho, "your grace complains about very small things. Why the devil does it trouble you when I make use of my fortune, when I have no other, and no other wealth except proverbs and more proverbs? And right now four have come to mind that are a perfect fit, like pears in a wicker basket, but I won't say them, because golden silence is what they call Sancho."
"That Sancho is not you," said Don Quixote, " because not only are you not golden silence, you are foolish speech and stubborn persistence, but even so I should like to know which four proverbs came to mind just now that were so to the point, because I have been searching my mind, and I have a good one, and I cannot think of a single proverb."
"Which ones could be better, " said Sancho, "than 'Never put your thumbs between two wisdom teeth' and 'There's no answer to get out of my house and what do you want with my wife' and 'Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it's bad luck for the pitcher'?" They're all just fine. Because nobody should take on his governor or the person in authority because he'll come out of it hurt, like the man who puts his finger in between two wisdom teeth, and if they're not wisdom teeth but just plain molars, it doesn't matter; and there's no reply to what the governor says, like the 'Leave my house and what do you want with my wife.' As for the stone and the pitcher, even a blind man can see that. So whoever sees the mote in somebody else's eye has to see the beam in his own, so that nobody can say about him: 'The dead woman was frightened by the one with her throat cut.' And your grace knows very well that the fool knows more in his own house than the wise man does in somebody else's."
At this point, Don Q. pretty much gives up and bestows his blessings on Sancho. What an amazing stream of... weirdness.
We made it down to the dentist's office to get my mom's broken tooth rebuilt; but any more of this breakage and it'll need a crown. The International District was hot and breezy, Iwajimaya's full of tantalizing aromas, so I fled before I was tempted to buy humbow and got some fortune cookies and thick noodles at the noodle factory instead.
What an amazingly beautiful afternoon. It was so lovely it was even fun to go running to the Nautilus to work out. Clouds are forming in the south - hard to believe it will rain.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

If I had a clone, wouldn't have to climb alone...

Well, this morning's light brought relief: Mom's swollen ankle is fine. The right knee, which was starting to hurt, is fine. One takes satisfaction from small improvements.
Started again on Don Q. last night, and conked out before 9:00. Woke up a little before 11:00 and went downstairs to see if I could IM the beloved spouse. We had a pleasant chat, then off I toddled. This morning I was just waking up when I heard a horrible racket right outside the window next to my side of the bed. Peeking through the shades I saw an insane squirrel, dashing back and forth on the sill. Glad it wasn't open. The squirrel was making that bizarre ranting noise they are wont to do, resembling a harpy or a baby T. Rex, I imagine. I whacked on the window pane and it glared at me and scurried quickly over to the deck railing. Reminiscent of that scene in "Alien" where the baby thing tore its way out of a guy's chest and dashed onto a table top...
Got our lawn mowed. It's so cool and shady in our side yard, at certain times of the day.
My usual climbing pals pooped out on me. Had to go boulder by myself. Rather anticlimatic and not much fun, but at least I got a work out.
Fun to go to the Ballard Market, and buy lots of good food. I'm saving the organic blueberries and raspberries for my beloved spouse...
Again to bed with Don Q.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tidy Up Tuesday

A day of top to toe for Mother. While she was getting her toenails attended to, however, the stylist pointed out to me that Mother's right foot and ankle were swollen. She had no accompanying pain, but this is now a concern. Went home, put a little cold pack on it, had her elevate it, called her doctor's office, which late in the day finally returned the call and confirmed my treatments. The nurse also said to watch it, and come in if it got worse, started hurting, spread to the other foot, etc. I waited all afternoon for this call, so it was good to hear I was treating the foot properly.
Dang, my lower back is stiff and sore. It wasn't when I woke up at 2:30 this morning and as I lay there, recalled that I hadn't taken out the big bag of clothing items to be given away; I hauled it outside into a very pleasant cool wee hour, and exchanged a greeting with the more feral of our two cats.
Finished Laxness's Under the Glacier, which is a very strange little novel. I had to re read Susan Sontag's introduction to enhance my ...what? Interpretation of it, I suppose would be the best way to put it. "Understanding" it seems beside the point.
back to Don Q. So close to the end, relatively.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Marvelous Monday

Holy moly. Once again, we woke up in Paradise. Simple pleasures in one's 50's, a good night's sleep and a perfect climate, at least for a few days. Nice morning walk with me mum, then off to the climbing gym for my chores. Stripped an old nasty route, put up a sweet new one. Got a request from some women to put up routes in the 10a-10b range, a bit harder than I've done thus far. They are not thrilled to get on routes that are labeled at that level, and have them be quite a bit harder; they trust I will not sandbag in such a fashion. Next time...
To bed with Laxness's Under the Glacier. Odd little novel, almost done with it.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sensational-looking Sunday

Our son got up pretty early today to head out to Index for a couple days of climbing. He said their plan was to try all new routes, no matter what rating they had. I sent him off with a bunch of "energy bars" I made last night, which were really like oatmeal/coconut/chocolate chip cookie dough, a bit softer dough so I could spread it in a rectangular pan. I really dislike all the Luna, Power, Clif or other energy bars out there, they taste like vaguely peanut-buttery sawdust to me. If one needs extra calories to burn whilst exercising, I say let them taste good.
A quiet day. Dear spouse went on a business trip, with a few of my energy bars in tow. My mom andI just kind of puttered around the rest of the afternoon. I had a nice run and work out, we had an early dinner and watched a rather murky episode of Mystery! this evening on PBS.
Off to read in bed.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Sleepy Saturday

Dang. Another horrible night. Insomnia from theory is to lie in bed, as still as possible, and sleep will return. Fortunately I don't have to get up at 6 to go off to work, but I do want to be reasonably alert for whatever the day brings.
Took a nice long walk with my sister, down to Gasworks Park and over through the Fremont neighborhood, which she didn't remember ever seeing. The day grew more gorgeous as we walked along, returning home about 3:30 or so.
Another pleasant family dinner, and a quiet evening. My sister's getting up early to go back to her husband and son in Idaho. It was very good to be able to spend some time with her. I gave her a couple of Christopher Moore's silly novels to try, and she had a blast with Fluke.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Fun!

Well, off we go to Hairdo Day again! It has been three weeks since my mom last had her hair professionally done, and she really loves this event. We got a walk in before the appointment, which was fortunate since it began to rain as we came out of Hair with Flair, and continued the rest of the day. My sister and I went out regardless, needing some air.
Family dinner, my pseudo Mexican burritos, and an evening of hanging around chatting and reading.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Return of the Mama

My sister is bringing my mother home after a two and a half week visit at her home in Idaho. It's only been a week between moms, I would have liked a bit more time before resuming the caretaking, but it is not to be.
Pleasant evening had by all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Again with the morning drizzles

Slept so hard last night I hardly remember my dreams, which are usually so vivid that I have no trouble recalling them later. Read in this morning's Post Intelligencer that people who are avid mountaineers or participants in other risk-taking activities are genetically disposed toward it, risk taking similar to that of criminals. What a pile of bull shit.
Did some tasks, then headed over to meet up with a few of my female climbing buddies at the gym. Delivered a belated birthday gift to one, briefly caught up with another and her health travails. Did a bunch of easy stuff with yet another who is very gradually stepping up her efforts. After four straight days of some sort of climbing activity, I feel a bit sore, but nicely worked.
Beloved spouse and I went out for a delightful late evening walk. It was so breezy, sunny and scenic, fresh air and happy people everywhere. There was a group of young people at Gasworks Park with many blocks of ice. We asked them why, and they said they'd been "sledding" on the ice down the grassy slopes... they generously offered their remaining ice to us, but we declined.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Summer's actually here

No rain... no misty morning. Lovely and breezy. Around noon our son took me off to a sort of local climbing crag about 30 miles east of here called Little Si. The climbing site is called World Wall I. It was cooler there and a bit more overcast than Seattle, perfect temperature for climbing. He threw me onto a fairly hard route for starters, which I kept coming off, but mananged to finish. The next 11ish route was also stiff for me, but I took a couple of laps on it, and improved in some places. After a bit of waiting while he and a friend did a really tough route, 13a, back we went on another 11ish one, which I couldn't quite get to the very end of. Just a matter of about 10 feet, but geeze....I guess I'm out of practice on real rocks. Well, heck, the first route we did, Psycho, I couldn' even get much past halfway on a couple of years ago, so I've improved somewhat from then. These routes were probably 75-80 feet or so long, and quite a workout.
We got home to find our dear dad and spouse had orderd a truly fabulous pizza, and all is well.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Fun after all!

It's morning, or trying to be. Misty, chilly, weather that I'm told by one person in L.A. is coveted, by her, at least. Coffee, toast, another brownie, a banana, then chores; made a big batch of bread dough which I'll punch down, refrigerate and proof when I get back from the climbing gym. When I headed over there, it was drizzling and gray. Thought I'd just boulder around for an hour or so, but fortunately, a new climbing friend appeared, so we got to get some sort of workout. Got six or seven top rope routes in, ranging from 10c-12ish. It almost always cheers me up, even just a gym workout.
Tomorrow I hope to get out with our son and his friends on - gasp - real rock!! I'm feeling great anticipation over this. I do hope the weather cooperates tomorrow.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sleepy Sunday

The household drowsed late this morning. A nice stiff cappucino, toast and a brownie jerked me awake. The day drifted away in chores and reading Tony Judt's piece in the New York Review of Books entitled,"What's Wrong with Liberals?" Easy for him to go on about. I am so very angry, and nothing seems to be addressing the need for my anger to be expressed and relieved. The time for "nuance" and politeness is long past, as far as I'm concerned.
After running and working out, puttering around, we walked up to a Goth/Mex restaurant called Cupachabra. Nice little spicy dishes, and swell margaritas. All tables full of happy loud people, and a little clutch of tattooed black-clothed fellows playing pool; music in background, kind of retro odd. Pleasant walk home through a spritzy overcast evening.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Beach bash tonight

This morning is bright and clear, a relief since we are to attend a beach party this evening. Beloved spouse took off for a kayak trip; late in the morning our kid appeared downstairs, and he and I went off to the UW climbing rock mid-afternoon for a session of bouldering. He is fearless, moving smoothly up any heights, across any surfaces. There were several young women climbing, apparently with boyfriends, but they watched with interest as he scaled various parts of the structure. It was a wonderful warm day, pleasurable to clamber up to the top of the walls and soak up the sun.
Our son took off for someone's vacation house on Hood Canal. We went to the beach party, but by almost 8:00 PM it was getting chilly, and by 10ish, downright cold. Only knew one person there, one of the hostesses, but wound up having pleasant conversations with a variety of people, from elderly women to young parents, as well as a feisty family of four up from the Central Valley in California who were freezing in the brisk breeze.
Overall, a pleasant evening. And I got to bring home some leftover brownies that the other hostess wanted out of her reach.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The sky is crying

Again with the chilly rain. A good day to go to the gym and put up a new route, which I did, creating a sweet little 5.7 even a child could climb. Rain pounded on the roof, and music pounded inside, but it was pleasant to do this work.
By late evening, the sky was clearing, so we went out for a walk to Gasworks Park, a frequent route for us. The eastern sky was ominous but the storm was heading over the mountains. There was an unusual truncated rainbow which lingered for quite some time. Clearing skies approached as the sun went down.
We made our way back up the hill to home as it grew dark, warding off the chill with brisk walking.
Off to bed - must keep hacking at Don Q.!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bummed already...

Bad night, crappy sleep...too tired to go out to a local crag with our son and his friends. Well, they go at it way harder than I can at the moment, so I'll get at some Sisiphysian chores around here.
But none of my personal gloom can compare to the horrors in London, which our evil self-serving leaders will be chortling over. "Gotta pertect y'all from terrorists!" Bullshit. I think Cheney et al had a hand in the 9/11 attack, and wouldn't be surprised if they somehow aggravated this latest bombing in London. It's so good for their business. They're ghouls, bloodlusting from a safe distance and sending Red State minions to fuel their war hard-ons. What other kind of perversion can angry old white men indulge in that could provide such vast amounts of satisfaction? Theyare powermongers, powersuckers.
Standing shoulder to shoulder, barely concealing their delight, especially Bush.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Back to normal?

My mother's in Idaho with my sister and her family, and my husband's mom left this morning to go back to her home in Ohio, after two weeks here in the Northwest. She enjoyed it, and seemed to recover her strength during her stay at "Camp Philbin." Lots of walking and fresh air, which is the best way to do it for people in their 70's. Maybe for any age.
Many maintenance projects around here, but also free time with the beloved spouse!
Finally got back to a climbing workout, and am pleasantly sore. Went with a woman I've known for awhile but just never shared quite the same time window in which to connect. It was very enjoyable and not as difficult as I'd expected to get back on a rope. Must get in for a route-setting session soon, too.
To bed early, too tired to work on Don Q.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Forth with the Fourth

T'was a lovely day, weatherwise. I didn't feel well in the afternoon, but dinner was pleasant and we had a friend over to view what fireworks we could from our back deck. Loud explosions nearby until about 1:30 this morning. Bad night.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Whoa, outta touch...

We've been in Ashland, Oregon since Saturday, June 25th, and just got back tonight around 9:30. We took my husband's mother down to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and saw a raft of wonderful performances. First night was G. B. Shaw's "The Philanderer." Very mannered and witty. Next night was a classic silly old thing, "Room Service." Rather slow-paced farce, but ultimately amusing. Third play, Shakespeare's "Richard III." Probably the best of the week's entertainments, although Christopher Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus" was a close second. We lucked into a reading of Marlowe's long poem "Hero and Leander" when we attended a morning lecture. August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" was moving. I saw "Napoli Milionaria" while dear husband and his mom attended "Twelfth Night."
It was fabulously summery down in southern Oregon, weather eventually in the low 80's, with cool nights. We got out on a few short hikes, not as many longer ones due to the play schedule, but as always, the trails were fine and the scenery wonderful; profusions of wildflowers, as they'd had a wet spring. Hard to go home, now there are mountains of laundry to replace the ones I hiked...