Saturday, March 31, 2007

Musical interlude

We went to a gathering in honor of a friend visiting from out of town, and part of the evening we spent in company with some twenty and thirty somethings who were exploring our hostess's musical files via her television, at her encouragement. Interesting to me that several people I've met in this age group really like the 70's and 80's stuff, particularly disco. It's a flavor that I never acquired much taste for, but it was evidently much appreciated by these younger ones, who said they started listening to it in middle school. Lots of dancing and singing along; I did feel a tad anthropological. Middle school music for me was Motown girl groups and the Beach Boys, the early Beatles.
This lot of the dancing ones are in grad school, moving into the wheelhouse of their lives, but still wild at heart.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Medium rare

Out last evening for a celebratory time with a friend who recently completed a school librarian certification process, which she mailed off this afternoon. Met several of her fellow parents, who all have first graders at a nearby Seattle school, one couple of which we spent a kayaking/camping weekend with last year. Most were in their late thirties, early forties, and just embarking on the longish haul of elementary and secondary education with their kids. Very interesting to talk with them, and share their pleasure at having budding readers in their families. Most of the women I spoke with were at home with one to three kids, and enjoying it.
Rather offhand pool games were conducted, with happy hour foods and beverages accompanying. Whether the eight ball was still visible or not mattered less and less.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Choice cuts

Such a glorious day; my mother got out for a good walk, exercising her creaky bones, as she put it. When I went for a run and workout, there were three beautiful guitars on display at the gym, handmade by one of the long time members. They had an interesting cut away shape where they would rest on a knee, and lovely inlay work. I absently wondered how they sounded. As I got ready to leave, a teenaged club member came in and looked longingly at the guitars, and asked if he could try one. He got one off its stand, sat down and tuned it, and proceded to play a couple of old songs, including "Blackbird", which he sang very sweetly. One of the managers and I agreed they could have a talent show, as she's been discovering all the artistic things the members can do.
On a jaunt to the supermarket, I passed my favorite little glen full of fawn lilies. As I stood there admiring them, I saw a hummingbird zipping around, then perching on a branch above the flowers. It started making that chipping noise they do when aggrevated, and I saw a crow nearby; the hummingbird went straight for the crow, divebombing it and chipping away heatedly. The crow departed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Getting there

Once again the climate yoyos. We get out and walk. The grass grows. We breathe in tree pollens, and feel pole-axed. Who knows where the time goes.
I'm nearly finished with the Angela Carter collected writing. She has been a stimulating companion in insomniac hours.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Slow out of the blocks

Cold and getting colder; by evening, it felt as if winter had returned. Indoor hiking was the activity of the day, but we hope for improvement tomorrow. If the side yard doesn't get a chance to dry out, we'll have to call the haymakers.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mad with vitamin D

Do hope it can be stored for a while, somewhere in our bodies; sunshine arrived a bit late today, but in plenty of time for a good walk with my mother. Good is a relative term as time goes on, meaning about five blocks , but she still gets a workout, and is frequently observed by people who applaud her efforts. A house down the street has a good-sized pink magnolia coming into full bloom, and a bench sited right below it so we can take a breather on the way home and gaze up into the tree. Squirrels have been launching themselves from branches to attempt landing on a birdfeeder hanging out on a limb. We sit there like judges at a gymnastic competition and rate the little chiselers.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The sun... the sun...

Astounding and wonderful, and it may last through tomorrow; we hit it for walking, running and biking. Never mind the grass is growing, and the back garden is alarmingly weedy. I'll get picking, and maybe that wandering kid will be home soon to help out.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Stuff and stuff

Lovely sushi dinner this evening; warm little place, good food and company. There were two three year-old boys, practicing their charms upon two girls who looked to be about 10 or 11. Nothing cuter than sweet-natured little people who aren't behaving like savage beasts.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Darkness at noon

It's feeling like we're falling down a rabbit hole or a well lately; the cat constantly thinks it's dinner time, it's so dark outside. Or maybe he's preparing for some imminent disaster only animals can sense by trying to fatten himself up; yeah, that's a good feline rationalization.
Interesting piece by Angela Carter about the Surrealists, whom she admired, except for their rampant macho and sometimes outright misogyny. I'm nearing the end of this sturdy volume of her collected writings, full of nuggets and veins of sharp observation, mingled with bits on chossy subjects like fashion, about which I grow increasingly indifferent and scornful. Looking at the "women's pages" in the morning paper at a spread on mini dresses, I at least get a snort or even a chuckle from the mindlessness involved in giving a shit about clothes that look like shorty pajamas from summers of the 50's.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Off to see the wizard

For hair transformation; mood alteration; man, this day was gloomy.
Missed a call from our kid, whose message informed me they are in Zion National Park, with some allusion to the wonderful state of Utah.
He called back later; they've been in Zion for two days, with great weather, in the 70's F; wonderful climbing, multi-pitched, challenging splitter cracks, and free camping. Have to get a vicarious thrill from this.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

head straightening

Just a couple hours' worth of going up, and not round in circles, sets me right. We three climbers managed to ignore the outside world for a bit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hail the first day of spring!

As in actual hail, pelting me while I ran, and not meant as a salutation to the lovely season; well, the sun was out every so often, so at least my sunglasses kept most of the ice pellets out of my eyes.
Worse and worse; needed to make a store run, decided to walk, and it was about the gloomiest night time exercise ever, along the lake in half opaque downpour. Only the maple butter snug in my backpack on the return gave me any joy.

Monday, March 19, 2007

How are things down there?

Every morning I look at the weather information in the newspaper, and note that it's been in the 80's to 100 in the Palm Springs area, which still means hot in Joshua Tree National Park. Been wondering how the climber contingent is doing, and trying to project myself astrally into that desert goodness. The only thing offsetting the miserable quality of the weather here is the flowering plants. My favorite batch of fawn lilies is popping out a few blocks from here; they need the ice water baths and mists.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

(grinds fists into eyes groggily)

Tired day around here. Fortunately it's in the 60's and we can just daze along in the sunshine. Our friends' chickens ahve been laying their lovely pastel-colored eggs again, and their triumphant "ba-GAWKS" ring out once more.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

No green beer!

Just some delectable shamrock-shaped sugar cookies left over from our friends' dinner last night, with green frosting and sprinkles; great with morning coffee. The only other St. Paddy's Day reference we found memorable was a brief glimpse at a 1992 shlock horror flick on the Sci-Fi channel, "Leprechaun." As we watched the dumbass main female character being chased down a hall by a psychotic leprechaun in a wheelchair, I realized she was being personated by a very young-looking Jennifer Aniston. It made her role in "Friends" seem like classic theater. We switched channels before seeing how she defeated the demented green demon. Oh, we did witness the greening of the Chicago River, which was a very luridly verdant shade. And there was a nature show on a public television station that showed some sort of wild parts of Ireland, although wild in that place means it was used up centuries ago and there's nought but rocks left.
Human culture is overrated.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Ides gone by

Schizo climate, chilling us then thrilling us. I'll take the latter, which gets everyone out working their blood.
Swell dinner with friends we haven't seen for a while. Our kids were buddies in elementary school, and we've stayed in touch sporadically. More good conversation with like-minded people, and renewed contact.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Random encounter

We went out on an evening walk, and decided to get a dessert beverage. We ran into a former colleague of mine, with whom I'd worked in a private tutoring agency in which she was a partner. She and her husband were having a late-ish dinner, so we joined them to chat. We're all in the same age range, all from the Midwest, and it was enjoyable to reminesce about our earlier days. We share political opinions, which left the conversation unfettered in any way, fortunately to my mind. Anybody I run into who still defends what's ruining this country at this point is no one I want to try to get to know, at least not socially.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Off they went in the relatively early morning; they packed up like trained pros and cooperatively piled into their car. I asked how the rest of spring break would be spent, and my sister said they'd probably be mourning the lack of wi fi at their house.
We were impressed at the way things are going for this suddenly expanded family, and hope it continues.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Flying by

Our visit is zooming along, and the guys have been playing some kind of quest game which they seem to be doing as a committee. Each person gets a certain amount of playing time, but there is much conferring and giving of advice and criticism, pretty much constructive since there is no discord. They went off to the zoo for a couple of hours, brave souls, since it's cold, windy and occasionally spitting rain.
Last night of the visit. The guys opted to continue their computer quest rather than see a movie, as it's early to bed.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Off to the Ethiopian grocery store and a toy store across the street; long time since I've been in one of the latter. We all wandered around marveling at the array of realistic-looking stuffed animals, the variety of games, the overwhelming choice of toys. Somehow the guys managed to choose a few each, with impressive calmness. I thought the giant anteater and octopus were especially tempting, but I resisted.
One of the women running the Ethopian grocery/restaurant gave my sister and me fresh coffee she made on the spot, from roasting and grinding the beans, to preparing it in a special pot. It's very strong, like a Turkish coffee, and the fresh taste makes even the best custom beans from our corner cafe/coffee purveyor seem a bit stale by comparison, but I don't think I'll adopt the Ethiopian method just yet. Not sure I could wait much longer for my morning java. We brought home small vats of the various wats, and plenty of injera bread. Three squares for the guys for a day or so.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Weekend stuff

Finally managed a climbing workout, after missing them for all sorts of reasons, including appliance hunting. Fun to hang out with my wimmin friends, although I felt pretty out of practice. Made a run to the Ethiopian grocery for injera and miserwat, and one of the sweet women who run the place explained to me how to make the latter, a sauce made from red lentils. Their version is very hot to my taste, but of course if you make it yourself you can adjust the seasonings, in this case the red pepper. My nephews are arriving tomorrow, and evidently have been looking forward to piles of this little store's injera and lots of miserwat.
We'll have a full house, and I hope some fun.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Beauty spot

Chicken "mystery" solved: Both chickens safely ensconced on their roost; fowl in question may have been egg-laying or simply hiding.
Much done in aid of beauty yesterday afternoon, and my mother acquired an admiring fellow client at the salon, an elderly Asian woman who seemed to be awestruck at the vast amount of hair my mother still possesses.
New washer and dryer are successfully purchased, delivered, and installed; extremely elderly avocado green former appliances are dragged away. It was strange to see the old duo go, they served faithfully for about 35 years in this house. They were plain and straightforward in appearance and operation; I'm currently studying the user manual for the new ones, and looking around for stuff to warsh.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Little chicken lost?

We suspected that one of our friends' chickens had gone missing. Their back gate was awry, and the other chicken was strutting around, making a plaintive sound that she usually produces when her companion has managed to get over the gate and is off somewhere getting better grub. The grubs are always juicier on the other side. We looked in all the usual places this wandering bird shows up, but never found her. She's probably hunkered down somewhere after escaping the yardsmen who swept in and mowed and edged.
Back into winter, with the cold raining and the blowing and the shivering...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pruning weather

For hair and trees; got part of that finished. Should have done some pruning myself, but when the sun's out, everybody in the house seems to respond, needing to get exercise. Besides, it cleanses the mind of the filth being produced by the compassionate conservatives these days. The young woman who dares to work on my head of hair just had a baby boy a few months ago, and she is even more passionate now about improving the world than ever, as she considers the future of her son. We both of course admire Al Gore, but truly think he's able to do more as a free agent.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Off da charts

So sweet. Who needs a tropical vacation? It reached 71 degrees at one location, and for the first time in months, I could cheerfully say I felt hot when I ran and worked out. It won't last, but it was a tiny bit of cheer.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Draughts of fragrance

It was almost warm today. As I walked around doing errands, I kept getting hits of a powerfully heady floral scent; it came from many profusely blooming shrubs of a daphne variety, I think it's called daphne odorata, or something similar. It's unprepossessing in appearance, but it's evergreen and hardy. It produces big shiny black berries in late summer that you want to keep away from kids, since they're toxic. Its blossoms are delicately tinted little dark rose, pink and white clumps at the end of the branches. The scent is almost intoxicating, especially after so many weeks of unpleasantness. The pedestrian could be excused for dashing around looking for more of them.
That big spooky house off the alley has had a bumper crop of snowdrops, and now the fawn lily leaves are starting to come up. I saw the owner out in her yard, and she looked like a regular little old lady. The house suggests inhabitance by someone more menacing.
Angela Carter spent a fair amount of time in Japan in the 1970's. Her observations are still kind of alarming to me, and I wonder how much Japanese taste in say, evening diversions for businessmen or adult comics has changed.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Be vewy, vewy qwiet...

It's trying to be sort of like spring. But it's a terrible tease, and likes to set us up only to blow us away with icy cold rain. Seattle weather is a fickle high maintenance bitch.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Why don't the damned things last forever? Well, I suppose the thirty some years our avocado green washer and dryer have endured almost qualifies as forever. I resent the bloody hell out of having to waste time shopping for replacements, as ours wind down the hours of their existence. I am not a shopper, do not thrill to the hunt for consumables, harbor strong suspicions that the next round of these big ticket items will not last much more than a decade or so. Yet we do need clean clothes, and I'll not be dragging laundry down to the lake to pound them on rocks by the shore, so...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Next verse, same as the first...

As is my wont, I was reading last night before sleep, again from Angela Carter's Shaking A Leg, collected writings. Here is some excellent pointed descriptive commentary about a political figure in Britain : "All the qualities that make her like the 'bad guy' in wrestling...have gone into the resultant Thatcher package. She is loathsome for precisely those reasons for which she is most admired. For conviction, read monomania. For strength of purpose, read pig-headedness. For cleverness, read low animal cunning." Hmm. Change the name to Bush, and I think Ms. Carter's spot on, especially that last bit, about low animal cunning. I've been arguing for that since the Shrub and his lot cheated their way into power six years ago. Carter continues her brilliant skewering: "It is the face, and the pose, too, of a Person of Destiny - and there seems no denying she has personally associated herself with that 'fulfillment of our nation's destiny' of which she spoke to the Scottish Tories, no doubt in serene confidence there was not one devolutionist amongst them who might have queried the appropriateness of the possessive pronoun.
However, the nature of that 'destiny' is as imprecise as the location of the 'Shining city on a hill' invoked as the destiny of the USA by Ronald Reagan during his pre-election debate with Jimmy Carter in American TV. Possibly her destiny and his destination are, in fact, the same city, luminous with radioactive dust and no longer identifiable."
I do hope she wasn't prescient on this last bit.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Must muster it for a run and work out; feel gravity pulling heavily, although some say it's but a theory.
Wild skies around the lake, and wispy showers of snowlike material; how did it manage to get behind my glasses and stingingly into my eyes? It's hardly there at all.