Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My hours of ...beautification?

Today I am taking my wild mop of hair to the salon for...emergency restoration efforts. I do not like going to the salon, but my hair grows so fast, that after three months of benign neglect, it is getting frightening. It's gone beyond the "Fuck you, I'm a free thinker!" in its appearance, to Crazy Cat Lady on The Simpsons'. And Mr. P., I can say that about myself, but others may not... Speaking of the estimable Beloved Spouse, his blog today jogged my memory: Exactly five years ago today, and practically to the minute, I was in the same salon getting...improved...when the Nisqually earthquake struck the Puget Sound area. There was a fireman in the salon getting his gray hair colored, and in his cape, with his hair standing up in gooey globs, he evacuated us from the place, saying,"Ladies, this building isn't safe, we need to leave." His main concern, once we got outside, was,"Man, I hope the guys from the fire station don't drive by!"

Monday, February 27, 2006

Let me eat cake

For breakfast, with my own homemade cafe au lait...it was terrific fuel which got me all the way through an afternoon of routesetting, with the healthy addition of half a banana, half an apple, and half of a granola bar. Doing things by halves, except my setting, which came out well. The young guys in charge of route setting gave it their approval, observing that it had "movement" in it. Setting a route for indoor climbing is similar to choreographing movements for performance art, and it is impossible to satisfy all the performers who try the routes, so I'm glad when the people who've done route setting for several years think my problems are all right. Another routesetter asked me to be a guinea pig on a problem he had just finished. He's a tall guy, with a wife shorter than I am - she's about 5 feet one - who gives him hell if he doesn't put in footholds to acommodate us little people. Unfortunately, this particular route was horrifically difficult for me, footholds or no, and I am certain I resembled a ballerina tripping over her own feet as I struggled to ascend. He was tactful, and said,"Thanks for doing this. I'll put another foothold down at the bottom." Yeah, that'll fix it for me! What I needed was another foot of height, and about 25 years shaved off of my total... Went home early, since after I did a lead route, the big bruise on my right ring finger started throbbing again and I decided not to push it.
Over the halfway point with The Glass Bead Game; all 560 pages are to be finished by March 1...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Happy 88th, Mama!

She slept a little later than usual; it was a very chilly night, and none of us wanted to hop out of our cozy bedding right away. Usual breakfast of little chocolate muffins, orange juice, and one of my special Cafe Americanos with lots of lowfat milk and foam on top. We got in a four block walk, being sure to exchange a few syllables with the literally cooped up chickens - their owners are in Montana for a family celebration of a couple's 60th wedding anniversary - and continued on our way, conducting a daffodil census. The jumbo varieties are starting to bloom, and since yellow is my mother's favorite color, she's very pleased to see them. This afternoon brought efforts towards production of a chocolate cake, her favorite. Two gorgeous layers just came out of the oven, and three lofty cupcakes, which I shall frost and take over to a friend and neighbor who gave me some chocolate to use in the cake, since I was lacking quite enough. I'm pondering the type of frosting to concoct, and have ingredients available for a couple of options: Buttercream, or French glaze? Both, if possible!
In fact, I created an amalgam of a frosting, blending a ganache and a buttercream into a delectable finish for the cake. The cake turned out to be excellent.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Saturday scene

Off to the climbing gym, with my good friend and longtime climbing partner; we've been friends for several years; she has an ailing couple of aging parents, and we seem to understand one another very well. I feel so fortunate to have several female "jock" friends, we have such good times together when we manage to meet.
We had a pleasant set of warm up leads, then I decided to try harder problems again. What with being sick a couple of weeks ago, then having this medical crisis with my mom, I just haven't had my mind on my training, other than the grunt work of running and weights. Another friend checked in with me today about a possible foray to Indian Creek, Utah, for some crack climbing. Who knows...
Beloved spouse rounded up tickets to a play for this evening: David Mamet's "Boston Marriage," from 1999. It was a local premiere, at the Bath House Theatre, a public venue over on the other side of Green Lake. One critic described the play as "Mamet meets Beckett meets Wilde." That about covered it, and it was an unexpected delight for me. I would say it was existential, with humor. My experiences with reading and/or seeing the existential playrights, such as Beckett or Pinter, was that they were not rife with humor or wit. The play we just saw had a very peculiar yet winning wittiness, general fucking about with language that cracked me up. And a maidservant with a Scottish accent who about stole the show at several points. After a particularly long-winded speech by her mistress, this gawky minx rolled her eyes, and said,"Yes, mum, although I doon't know what the foook yer talkin' aboot." Out of the blue, as the atmosphere was kind of faux 19th century high-falutin'-ness. Yet every so often, there'd be a kind of sincere moment. The mistress was lamenting the lack of open-mindedness generally abounding, and said,"Oh, what has happened to liberalness, to progressive thought?" Her female companion, the other half of the "Boston Marriage," responded, "Gone, at the first sign of trouble." A condensation of our woes?
A "Boston Marriage", by the way, is a term familiarized by Henry James, and referred to two unmarried women keeping a household together, but not necessarily sexually involved with one another.
We hastened down around the lake to get there, but had a more leisurely paced walk back home. The night was calm, the lake was dark and shimmied like a mylar film wherer light fell on it. There were bizarre effects of reflection, trees looking as if they had enormous roots going down into a bottomless hole; an entire drowned neighborhood of illuminated looking glass houses; and the strangest of all, reflected lights from across the lake which resembled hundreds of campfires around a huge amphitheater.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pretty in white

Around 2:30 this morning there was a thunderclap so loud it woke me up and rattled the windows. When I jumped up to look outside, I found an inch or so of snow on the ground, and more falling. I lay in bed for a while wondering how long it would take the effects of a neutron bomb to appear; not comforting thoughts upon which to return to slumber.
A check-back appointment for my mother turned into a multi-houred odyssey; everything was pretty much on time, but we had to to the lab to get blood drawn, and what with one thing and another, the morning and early afternoon are shot. Nothing has been solved or resolved.
We're hiking down to Fremont to the co-op to shop for some good food.
This bizarre stretch of my mom's health woes is getting to me. Now reading Hesse seems a comfort, since it anesthetizes me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

On tap...

Something will be tapped, if I can force myself out into the rain and north wind.
Which I did, running against the driving stinging rain that felt more like little bits of ice hitting the left side of my face; cheekbones ached, left eye clamped tightly shut, right eye barely open and weeping. All the way down to the Nautilus gym, where gravity was stacked against me. Then back up the hill to home, with no rain for a bit and a tail wind. The local patisserie looked cozy and welcoming, but I don't need the extra calories.
Feeling energized and plucky, I got my mother out for about a block's worth of airing; she said o her right knee hurt. Put it on the list for the visit to the doctor tomorrow. Headed out for the grocery store in a horrible windy downpour, and now the legs of my jeans are damp. However, I feel somewhat exercised, and a little less gloomy.
Spaghetti for dinner, with the indulgence of genuine Italian pasta from Abruzzo.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Gaining ground for now

My mom managed four blocks this morning, and we watched the chickens excavating what appeared to be their own little bomb shelter next to our friends' house. Good luck, girls. We're all going to be fricassed, but y'all get credit for effort.
Plugged away some more on Hesse's Glass Bead Game. Nearly 200 pages into this tome, and I am simply not appreciating it, not for language, style, construction...oh, I am sure there is profundity afoot, but Hesse's underlying agenda is boring and murky to me, whatever it is. I'm debating about halting my reading of Hesse; it's feeling way too much like an assignment. There's no joy, not even any revulsion. Nada. I'm not anticipating some wonderful illuminating discussion of it by the group, either, so I don't have much motivation to go on. I'll go on, for a bit. ("I can't go on. I'll go on.")
Swell walk with Enzo and Dino, the chihuahua bros. Like yesterday, they met me with wild cheerfulness, and dragged me around for a while outside, sniffing, peeing, trying to eat alien dogshit - verboten, of course! - and doing these funny little wheeling actions now and again, after they'd sniffed out something particularly fascinating. I am growing so fond of them, as long as I don't have to live with them. I prefer the auntie role.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Doggy duty resumes

After a short walk with my mother, who's been slowly getting back at it since her ER adventure late Saturday night, I walked up to get the chihuahuas out on their constitutional. They were thrilled to see me - it's wonderful to feel so wanted! - and off we whirled. The younger one is just learning to lift his leg when he pees, which is an improvement over the alternative, and enthusiastically marked every post, tree, weed and interesting spot we passed. It warmed up nearly to 50 today, and things didn't seem so bleak. Couple of happy little critters like those dogs, a sunny day, plenty to distract us all - balm to the spirit.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Relative normalcy

Kind of a regular day. Got to go for a little indoor climbing session with my friend who has the chihuahua puppies, and we had a nice moderate litle workout. She made a pan of fabulous cinnamon rolls to reward me for walking the pups, which I shared with my homies.
Beloved spouse, son and I walked out for a coffee break late in the afternoon. Later, went off to the People's Pub in Ballard for beer and grub. Got into an intense discussion of How Badly the World is Being Fucked Up, and at one point, I found myself suddenly and uncontrollably in tears. Much frustration and worry, personally and generally. The background anxiety level is amping up for anyone who is paying attention. Oddly, some fellow passed by us and made some remark about "focusing on solutions." Swell words, but there are certain situations that do not appear to have solutions; they're like a huge filthy barn or cesspool that needs constant cleaning, and constantly refills.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A warning of sorts

Things disintegrated last night. After a couple of odd episodes of not being able to get her feet under her to get off the couch right before I served dinner, there was something worse later on. Around 10:00, my mother usually heads up to bed. I was upstairs, reading The Glass Bead Game, and glanced at the clock, thinking I should go down and see if she was okay. She wasn't, she was sitting on the floor next to the coffee table, and had taken off her shoes. She seemed distressed, and had been trying to get upstairs. We helped her up, and she appeared to rally a bit, walking upstairs with us spotting her, but once up there, it became clear something was very wrong. I was advised by our health provider's consulting nurse to call 911, and shortly her room was full of four men and their equipment. They didn't think she was having a stroke, but advised getting her in to be checked over. So, at around 10:45, she was whisked off to the ER, and we followed not long after. From 11:3o until after 1:30, they checked her vitals, blood, urine, etc., and gave her a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. Final call: Something called hyponatremia, or lowered sodium level in the blood. Just as a counterpart to her tendency to get dehydrated and faint, now we have the phenomenon of drinking too much water, and getting weak. So we have to find a balance. Poor mom, she's like a science project at the moment!
Fortunately, we were all able to sleep relatively late this morning, and I whupped up some home made waffles. Nothing like buttery, syrupy piles of delectable waffles to buck one up, along with our own double cappucinos.
As I sat in the ER waiting room late last night, and as I lay in bed, still terrible keyed up and buzzing after 2:30 ayem, I conducted my own little triage mentally: There is a limit to how much I can go into caring for an old person, certain duties I know I cannot perform, nor ask of my immediate family.
Everything seems back to our usual state this afternoon, but I need to remember last night's experience.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Two cat night

Last night was one to burrow under layers of flannel and down, along with a couple of cats in detente to stay warm, and make some reading progress. I finished Bowen's To the North; I think I should take a break from her work, I'm starting to feel as if I'm reading her mind as well as her words. Hesse's not quite the right direction, but since this is "assigned" reading, and not entirely odious - just suspiciously preachy from time to time - I shall persevere. It isn't junk, after all, not your trashy airport best seller, but he does exasperate me every so often. A bit too masculinely "profound." I keep thinking I need to cut him some slack, since he was living in even more hideous times than ours - or was he? He happened to live at the epicenter of the horrors mankind perpetrates upon itself. We, in fat-ass smugly stupid America, have been fortunate to be at the fringe for quite some time. That won't last.
Did a little checking on Herr Hesse. Seems as though, after WWI, he had pacifist leanings, not popular at the time; he also had some sort of personal crisis, went to a shrink, got hisself psychoanalyzed, decided he'd been living a lie as a family man, and hied himself off to Switzerland for the rest of his life, as in about 30 years' or so worth. Cracked. Not sure I feel so much of an inclination to cut him slack...
My beloved spouse has returned from the wilds of Wisconsin, tardy and tired. He even brought me a little bag of fancy mix snax from his sojourn in First Class! It's great to have him back.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Colder than a witch's tit, colder than polar bear shit...

And the plunging mercury dives yet again. After a horrifically destroyed night's sleep - awful choking coughing, from 2-3 ayem from my mother, who remembered nothing of it this morning - and not being able to breathe due to a lingering cold, I opted to walk up to my friends' place to air the pups, figuring it might revive me. They were so happy to see me, plunged out into the bitter afternoon without their little warmup coats, and never stopped running for several blocks. Up hill and down, I had to run to keep up, constantly untangling their leashes. They finally agreed to go home, and snarfed up their delicious vegan doggie treats. (Molasses and peanutbutter, I have been informed.)
My mom seemed not to have suffered from her fucked up night, and had two walks today. I'm breaking out the Benedryl tonight...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Colder and colder

Such loving cats we have, at least when the air grows icy. There are still dents in the down comforter where their little bodies were jammed up against mine all night. This morning they raced outside after slamming down their breakfast, and are to be seen lounging about in various sunny protected spots.
Went over to walk my friends' pups, and the male in the couple had taken off this morning and armed the house alarm, forgetting I was due, so there we were, two howling little chihuahuas, and me, getting on the cell as fast as I could to the female of the couple, who rather resignedly gave me the necessary code to stop the wailing, as well as the secret password in case the cops showed up. We whirled around several blocks on our walk, and after I got the dogs home and was getting in my car, I espied a patrol car just down the street, sitting in the intersection. I pulled out as if they weren't there, and hoped I wouldn't be followed. Took off my black watch cap, just to lessen my resemblence to a burglar, remembered to turn on my lights, stop at the next unmarked intersection, use my turn signals; he never budged.
And my heart and spirit grow colder. Patriot Act passed, with only Feingold voting against. Fuck the Democrats. Time to form a new party.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

That infamous arctic air

Got my mother out for a couple of walks, one short, one a bit longer. Quite bitter in the wind. In between, a friend urged me to go to the climbing gym with her, so despite feeling like a soggy chalk bag, I agreed. No great shakes, but at least I got a little workout.
Vegetarian minestrone soup for dinner, and off to attempt more inroads upon The Glass Bead Game.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Overnight wonder

As I went to bed quite early, I wasn't awake to watch the snow arrive. There were a few lightning flashes and cracks of thunder around the time I started to fall asleep, and an odd pellet-y sound, which must have been the snow falling. This morning there was enough to cover everything, but it rapidly melted off the street. A flimsy imitation of the east coast's burden. By a little after noon, it was almost gone, leaving that fresh coolness newly melted snow imparts to the atmosphere; lovely blue sky and cartoon puffy clouds sailing by. Happy chickens hopping about, safe from vice presidents and other fiends.
Went out for a low energy run and workout; couldn't finish the latter, had to walk most of the way home in cruelly sunny cold weather.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Mullings over of a Monday

Best capsulation of the Cartoon Wars that I've seen is at a blog called Majikthise: "A petty racist publicity stunt was hijacked by successively larger and more influential opportunists until it became an international incident." Yes ma'am, and all parties involved are tarred nicely to about the right degree in this summation. Stupid bunch of idiotic men all round.
The icy cold rains have ceased for a bit, I'm going to take the air...
I don't feel so good. Shaky, scratchy throat, can't stay warm.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Don't stare at it directly

Stepped out last night to hoist a glass of wine for a friend who has a birthday next week on Valentine's Day. I sat next to a man who grew up in Lebanon, some years in Beirut. He and his American-born wife seem to have some kind of shared international background, but I'm not clear on how they acquired it. They probably told me, but it was noisy in the wine bar, and he was a very talkative person. Mostly in a good way; it was like listening to a live-streaming blog about politics, and I was pretty much on the same wavelength, but it became a tad overwhelming after a while. I'm more of a listener and tend to need to ruminate about issues after I read or hear about them, so probably I wasn't his ideal conversational partner. I pretty much let him talk, and dropped my observations and queries now and again, and he'd be off. Our end of the table of course discussed the Cartoon Wars, and he remarked that every country in the world has its own form of rednecks, and the Muslims going berserk over in Syria are not representative of the majority. Yes, obviously. Just like the redneck fundies who mob and burn women's clinics here and murder doctors over abortion are not representative of us, either. But we seem to be able to prosecute them at some point, anyway, and I 'm not seeing that from the Syrian government, for example. Well, regardless, yes, the berserkers are everywhere. I just don't want them increasing in number. An inportant part of easing culture shock is to help the shocked ones into appropriate technology, family planning, oh, civilization, you could say. Not the kind of "democracy and freedom" our fuckwitted president pushes, however.
A friend picked up me and beloved son and we carpooled down to the University of Washington climbing rock, a manmade structure upon which people clamber to keep their skills sharp. It's been around for a couple of decades at least, and the granite rocks embedded into the concrete walls are very polished close to the ground, meaning the better holds are some ways off the deck. Still managed a good workout on a lovely sunny afternoon, despite keeping to the low road.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Awoke around two-ish, so plunged back into the Bowen novel I've been consuming, The Little Girls. Odd and relatively light weight compared to others of hers, but by the end, which I reached around three-ish, once again Bowen's elegant little truths were nudging to the fore. She took more time to lead me around with this one, but I think I see what she was doing, or at least, I see some version of what she was doing, regarding the risky proposition of revisiting childhood friendships. Once I edge into "what this book was about," the craft and wonder of her writing doesn't receive its full due. She plots well, but what happens is not the most important part of one of her works.
There will be something like this embedded in a paragraph of a character's dialogue: "And then the war came, showing one nothing was too bad to be true." (referring to WWI) Happening upon that observation in the wee hours stung me. Bowen lived through both World Wars, and knew whereof she spoke.
Oh, my eyes have stopped streaming from reading The Bruni Digest,what I find to be an insanely hilarious spoof of the NYT's Frank Bruni, restaurant...uh... critic, or visitor, anyway.
Off to enjoy running in the sun. Almost warm enough for shorts.
On the way back from the grocery store, I heard wild clucking and litle girls giggling. I turned a corner, and there was a trio of girls with a chicken apiece with lengths of twine around their necks; they were attempting to walk the birds. The chickens weren't having it, and were ensconcing themselves behind bushes and chicken houses, protesting loudly. The birds' owner stood by bemusedly, perhaps ruing this idea. Worse than herding cats.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Gaia smiles upon Seattle today. All those sacrifices I made and buried in the back garden paid off! It's almost...warm. if you stand in the sun and out of the wind.
Beloved spouse and I went out on an urban walk, down our hill to Fremont, up the backside of Queen Anne Hill, a steep haul, then meandered about as he took photos with his new digital camera. There are views of all the mountains around here from all compass points up on that hill, and they all look nicely snowy.
Beloved son went into the Cascade foothills to climb, and encountered chilly winds. His friend, the one with the darling chihuahuas I have ministered to, took the dogs, and they all froze their asses off. One must suffer for one's passion.
Vegetarian pizza for dinner, mostly on account of the roasted garlic cloves and artichoke hearts sprinkled liberally about, as well as the dollops of goat cheese. Not my own, it was take out, but some day I'll make one just like it.
Excellent day, all round.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Happy face sun!

I'm so glad to see it, I'd even tolerate a huge smiley face across it, for a brief shining moment, anyway.
Interesting piece by Juan Cole today in Salon titled "All cartoon politics are local." It gives even more background about how this comparatively small issue has been a handy one for Muslim countries to jump upon, and that there's quite a lot of conflict among Muslim nations that can be shunted off while they use this issue.
Out into the day...and what could make one's heart leap even higher than going to the co op and finding maple butter on sale? Some days, all I want to do is dip into the little glass jar I keep sort of hidden away. With a good little stock of it on hand, we are prepared to face just about anything. I was going to say that perhaps it has the salubrious effect of infusing one with Canadianismo, but they've elected a bushlite fuckwit, so they're no better than we are these days! Oh, Canada. You people haven't learned from our mistakes?!
Hesse, Hesse, Hesse...why art thou so didactic? I start resenting it when I begin to suspect a writer is shaping some Big Lesson for me...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Middling week

Got another route up this afternoon, a fine little dogleg of a problem. Caught up with a few of my climbing buddies, and more plans were discussed about getting outside, at least locally. We're women in our 3o's, 40's and 50's, mostly, with stuff anchoring us to outside work, home and hearth, but we daydream about getting out on the walls and cliffs, and getting in a bit of hiking to reach them.
The weather's breaking fair, maybe that will lift the dread and gloom.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tweetin' birds and poppin' posies

Back in Bambiland out here! As sappy as it sounds, it's heartening to me to see stuff growing up out of the ground, and blooming. It's almost warm enough to scrub the moss that is literally growing on my little old white '95 Honda Civic. Since I don't have a hybrid, I've been making a concerted effort not to drive much. Oh, we are SO very earnest out here in Seattle. If we could use tofu-fueled vehicles, we would.
Am still pondering the Great International Cartoon Calamity; while it's true that other religious fringe elements haven't rioted and torched embassies over perceived insults, we do have right to lifers here in the US who have mobbed women's healthcare clinics, burned clinics, and murdered medical personnel who have provided abortions. So we can't sit over here on our collective fat asses and tut-tut over the Islamic fanatics. Our own homegrown ones are burgeoning, and would probably behave in the same way if they achieved a critical mass. Another part of this fracas involves the press. We should have freedom of expression, but when that freedom takes the form of spreading hate, it should be addressed. The UK has laws in place for that, but then, in our current political situation, I hesitate to suggest this current Congress get to work on any here. They're too involved with our fanatics.
In other words, everyone needs to use some tact and firm judgement in dealing with fanatics, since they appear incapable of it. If they perform criminal acts, they need to pay the consequences. But there were better ways to make the statement that Danish paper wanted to other than flinging crap in their local Muslim fringe's face. Yes, in a way, they asked for it, or were too arrogant and/or dense to realize what the results might be. We're living in touchy times, and we cannot afford to regress into primitive attitudes.
And you can see, now both sides are engaging in overgrown childishness by creating even more insults and threats. Playground bullies vs. other playground bullies, only with weapons.

Monday, February 06, 2006


New day, new energy. A dizzy spell for my mom, but no out and out fainting. Another slowing trend, it would seem.
Ran hills, saw many rabbits lumping about.
Watched a PBS rendition of Henry VIII's reign, or at least Part 1, through the first two wives. They killed off Charles Dance, who was playing one of Horny Hank's advisors, and Helena Bonham Carter, who played Anne Ho-Bitch Boleyn. Another advisor, Thomas Cromwell, during the railroading of Anne Boleyn, sounded like Kenneth Starr going after Clinton, salivating over her "perversions," smirking, licking his chops. Dried up sexless royal advisor. Hmm, history seems doomed to endlessly repeat....
The Henry VIII kept repeating his mantra,"Mah daddy on his deathbed asked me to PROMISE him one thing: Produce a male heir." Did that fixation ever lead to high hilarity and crimes. Just think what our country would be like, if we could overthrow leaders if they didn't produce male heirs.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Peer Gynt kinda morning

After all the melted polar ice cap that fell on us over the last couple of days, it was so NICE today one could almost hear flutes tooting dulcitly whilst little spotted fawns and bunnies leapt about among the daffodils. (SCRAWKKK of a phonograph needle) In truth, around 3:30 or so this morning, my fuckwitted cat crept up on me in bed, drooled on my neck and affectionately dug his claws into it. I slept poorly after chasing him downstairs and out the front door. No, I hadn't let him in, it was our beloved son returning in the wee hours.
Howsomever, I got my mother out for her walk, and just got back from a drag-ass run and weight session. I shall either sleep well tonight, or spontaneously combust from exhaustion. Not feeling real sociable, and I sure as hell am not interested in the Stupor Bowl, but a friend and neighbor's having a party, so I'll go say hey.
So tired. let's see if Hermann Hesse's dryish prose lulls me...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The egg and us

As we approached our friends' chicken coop, we heard the inimicable ba-gawk of a triumphant hen, announcing the production of an egg. Madame Curie came leaping out of the nesting room, and a later check showed her turquoise-colored prize. The other two hens seemed to be checking on it, and then leaping around themselves. Strange creatures.
We attended a beer and pizza party that night at the home of some climbing friends. They had brewed a couple of different beers, an ale and something dark, both very tasty. They also had an enormous container of dough, which different people formed into pizza bases over the course of the evening and baked with an amazing range of toppings. There were wonderful salads, and a fine semolina caramel pear upsidedown cake. Some of us there talked about a plan to meet up in Indian Creek, Utah, in April, for crack climbing and hiking. It's near Moab, in the southwestern corner of the state, and I've heard intriguing descriptions of the place, seen lots of photos in the climbing mags. April evidently is the best time of the year to go there, as it is infernally cold before then, and hellishly hot later. It was a nice daydream on a wild and woolly night.
We came home in torrential rain, driving up the hill towards home like salmon going upstream.
Sheets of rain going sideways in the streetlights, gale force gusts of wind. Oh, yes, and cold.
Had my belly full of pizza to keep me warm.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Thufferin' thuccotash!

Beware of loaded cartoons. They will always go off by the last act... yes, yes, in a perfect world, we could all just do what we feel like, as Bart Simpson maintains. Spit off the overpass, give everyone a lot of sass. Indulge our inner brats. However, despite the marvelous ideal of universal free speech, for everyone from singin' Neo Nazi-ettes to ragin' vegans, there are simply times when one should NOT throw accelerants on an open blaze, i.e., mock Islam's deity. But oh, some of those crazy Danes, namely a rightwing newspaper over there, did just that. Well, perhaps those silly rightwingers will be learning a life (and possibly death) lesson. Not being a fundamentalist religious nut myself, I don't much care if people draw deities in offensive headgear, nor do I respect very many of the world's so-called faith groups, but this was truly stupid, publishing anti- Islamic cartoons in these dark days. The fanatical ones have no sense of humor, even if something is truly funny. Just wait and see what happens with political cartoonists here in the US. They're already being warned by the powers that be, cartoonists like the Toles guy who had an anti-military 'toon in the Washington Post. The kind of sense of humor Bush&Co have is similar to Stalin's; Mr. Stalin loved a good practical joke, as well as abuse and mockery of his terrified underlings.
Goerge W. Bush got a kick out of mocking at least one of the people he had executed while he was governor of Texas, and you've seen and heard his attempts at either completely tasteless or lame joking around. He blew up frogs as a kid; we've got a sociopath in charge. Better caricature him whilst we may...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mutants unite!

Where does one go to acquire genes to improve one's athleticism? I'm most interested in hybridizing myself in order to be a better climber, and a stronger person! Don't want any pig parts, but spider monkeys are a possibility...
Oh, for crying aloud. How much more stupid does our so-called leader have to present himself as? Creeping lower and lower to the barrel bottom of denominators...
I feel evil and foul-humored.
Just heard that an old friend from bike racing days died in a freak scuba diving incident. He had recently turned 50...a quiet, intelligent and extremely generous man with a good wit. He used to say he majored in clams and oysters at the University of Washington School of Fisheries. He had been building houses for purple martins to nest in, over the past several years. He used to be a competitive tennis player, and when we both stopped bike racing, he gave me free tennis lessons. Put on crab feeds with so much Dungeness crab at hand, it was hard to imagine ever being hungry. He liked windsurfing, sea kayaking, was living happily with a woman. He made the most diabolically heavenly chocolate cheesecake. They still haven't figured out just what killed him, but the woman who called me to tell me of his death gave an increasingly horrific account of what they tried to do to revive him. All I can think of is I really truly hope he never experienced any of those procedures. And I cannot help but wonder why the wrong people are dying. He wasn't on my short list...
It's absolutely uncalled for for me to gripe about my mood.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Need another route

Went off to the indoor climbing joint, to do my duty of setting and stripping routes. Aside from a few time-consuming glitches, the little 5.8 went up quite nicely.
Feeling muted by national current events, as well as by local meteorological gloominess.
And dammit, Hesse's boring me right now.