Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Not quite frying

About the right amount of heat for my mother, who finally decided she would take off her light fleecy hoody at the end of our walk; she's a cool one. Good climbing workout with a friend, although we were inside on faux rocks. Visit from my friend who's recovering from major surgery, and is quite perky despite her recent ordeal. We pondered the backyard garden, then walked back to her house.
Finished the last of the Chekov short stories; next up is a play of his, "The Cherry Orchard."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gotta heatwave

Thus far I see only perfection in the atmosphere, except for the crazy crows, in high defense mode lately since their babies are fledging and fluttering around in nearby trees. Down by the lake, two moms pushing strollers with large-looking girls in them talk, oblivious to their girls' full on screaming for fun. Disconcerting to passersby, especially a toddler boy whose droolly little jaw hangs open and whose eyes pop in astonishment at the girls' bloodcurdling cries; he gives out a comradely little screech as they pass his stroller.
Late evening walk, and a bite or two of sushi; it feels hotter after dark than it did during the day. We are in for it tomorrow.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Not happy, anyway, this special day of remembrance. What mission, Shrub and fellow war profiteers? Mission Enrich the Bushies. Still in progress. There is no honor for the casualties of the Iraq debacle, only silence and sorrow at the waste. My WWII veteran father, and one of my uncles, too, would be outraged by these criminal "leaders" picking fights for no good reason, at least none that they've told us about.
Off to exercise our hearts in a more sanguine manner.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Free irrigation

Again with the chilly rainy conditions; good for sprouting seeds, and running, but make it hard to convince the delicate among us it's good for walking. Late afternoon, visited my friend who just had a mastectomy, and she was game for a walk. We took her dog up into the off-leash dog park nearby, first time I'd ever been in there. A bit unsettling at first as lots of dogs who've never seen one another careen around, sniffing derrieres both canine and human, but my friend said she's only seen impending mayhem when an unneutered male shows up and the chemistry in the air changes.
Late walk as the skies cleared and the atmosphere seemed sharply focused.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Holidaze weekend

Off on a city hike, to gather clothing items; our low carbon footprint ways include exercise in the erranding. Fairly quiet around our territory today, many people still going off on the clogged highways for a couple of days of diversion. Memorial Day weekend almost always betrays us meteorologically, and judging by the building clouds tonight, will do so again.
Organic asparagus for dinner, which was available at the local little farmers' market, and it was sweet.
Silly pleasures, pulling up the first "Pirates,etc." movie, which I saw after the second one. Now back to Literature.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Strange, but weather that seems sort of oppressive appears to have revitalized our ancient walker. We broke a record for distance, relatively speaking, and much appreciation was expressed over the calm and humid atmosphere. Maybe it reminds my mom of her old stomping grounds in Ohio.
The day evaporated in the usual welter of chores and errands. By early evening, I needed to bust out, and a fresh breeze had sprung up, so I launched off on a hilly little walk. Up on the ridge west of here, I passed a little corner market which has been putting on dinners at least once a month. Their sidewalk tables were thronged with hungry-looking and happy-sounding people, and plates piled high with food were being delivered. Seattle's a funny place, regarding "sidewalk cafe" style dining; these folks were mere inches from a fairly big street, and the breeze was turning into a wind. Guess we get so desperate for al fresco anything that this seems like pleasure. There's a quieter stretch around the side of this store that seems more suited to outdoor dining, but maybe there's some kind of regulation to keep it on the busy stretch.
The grub looked good, which may trump all seemingly unpleasant conditions.
As clouds drifted over the sinking sun, the air cooled quickly and I was glad to head home.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Staggery start

Rough out of the gates this morning; I thought we were due for more "spells", but by lunch time all was well. Got my mom out walking, got the old circulatory system humming, and we were off on the usual course.
Beloved son patched up my bicycle and we rode down to the UW climbing rock for some bouldering. It was sunny and breezy, gorgeous, but hot on the rocks, so it made it slick for climbing shoes. After about an hour of staying not too far from the ground, I rode on to the muscle gym to wear out the ones that weren't in shock from their first bike ride in quite some time. Seems as if there's more traffic on every street, from the arterials to the quieter backwaters, and of course some flossy-looking female in her white BMW SUV had to nearly knock me in the head with her side mirror as I was going up a steep hill. She had plenty of room, just needed to display her power or something. I don't like feeling as if I have to ride on the sidewalks with the strollers. Seattle could be much more "bike friendly", but until gas is over ten bucks a gallon, I don't see much changing.
Chekov was a sharply clinical sort of fellow; his characters are going under the knife at quite a pace.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Good start

We seem to be better energized today. It's so hard to figure out what's going on in the mind of someone who's dealing with unreliable memory, it's far worse than just vagueries. All I can glean is that my mom feels "old" some days. Today, she is perky and prone to laughing at my quips, and able to walk farther.
A spot check on the garden showed seedlings coming up, other than those of the more problematic beets which according to their packet can be temperamental or something. They shall be exhorted.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Elusive beauty

It finally revealed itself to us around three this afternoon, and now we're in for a stretch of warm and lovely growing weather; at least if that downpour last night didn't wash out the seeds that have been underground for a while.
Off to the salon for my mom, who savored both hair and toes being beautified; after the toeworks, she's practically floating in ecstasy. Short walks, owing to some kind of discombobulation, but I couldn't stand being inside on such a great evening. As I was heading up the hill towards home, I was hailed from a restaurant I was passing by a friend of ours, who was having tapas with a friend. I stopped and chatted briefly.
Well into Chekov's short stories; they are full of small delights and revelations about the way he handled character development. Just a few well-chosen words to describe their appearances, and they're off into dialogues; I think it reveals something about Chekov's playwriting methods.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Not so much going on; we are plunged back into cold rainy conditions, the cat seems to be sick, and we have little inspiration. Something's up with the comments function, which seems to have disappeared.
Saw a very good PBS program on creativity in elderly people. We got some ideas from it, in fact.
Evening walk shortened due to torrential thunderstorm. Well, there were two big claps of thunder...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Slow drip

And then not so slow; we are plunged back into the rainy dark days of winter, even unto the forty-ish temperatures. Ah, well, maybe the seeds will sprout, if they don't mold first. We managed a short soggy walk after lunch, and after a good climbing gym session for me.
Making a bit of progress with Chekov; he's touted as the one who invented the short story form.
It seems to me there were others writing short fiction before he did, but maybe it wasn't really fiction, such as Twain's sketches.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Blown away

Winds whupped up, blew us out on a walk; huge dark clouds swept in, and there was a bit of rain by early evening. When we went north a little ways to dinner with some people we know, their condo afforded a sweeping view of the Sound and the wild skies. They seem to be retiring in a fine style. We were the youngsters at this event, a bit disconcerting at first, but very enjoyable once we all began conversing. The oldest woman there informed me that people should never consider it time to "wind down" in their lives, or else they will.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Normal day, walking and talking; a trip to gather some books, including a couple more Angela Carter novels, a Kathy Acker novel that looks pretty bizarre, a smidgeon of Margaret Atwood and a collection of short stories for my mom. Got in some Chiogga beets, which are candy-striped inside when cut open, and some Nante carrots. Trying to figure out where to plant the bi-colored early sweet corn, as shadows could be a problem.
A little sprinkle this evening and chilly wind as we walked out to meet friends; we could not believe that our winter fleece was necessary again so soon.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Another perfect spring day

Another tomato plant found its way into our yard; there were some big healthy-looking cherry tomato starts at the grocery store, so I brought one home. Weeded and turned over yet another bit of ground, and discovered several potato plants that had sprung up from spuds undiscovered last fall. Moved them, mounded around them, and now there is a good little potato field going. If we can't count on the tomatoes, what with their need for hot humid nights to achieve true ripeness, we will at least have potatoes. The Irish in us is satisfied.
Our friend with the chickens had gone up north to a grange with another friend who was getting baby chicks, and came home with two little ones herself, although that had not been her intent. We got to see them and hold them, and of course they are damnedably cute. She has to introduce them to the biddies she already has, cautiously. They're Rhode Island Reds, and I wonder what color their eggs will be.
Chekov is a companionable read.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cool mornings

Warm afternoons; planting more items, scrounging out the weeds, and we topped it off with an early evening sushi fest and a fine walk.
Newly begun book: a collection of Anton Chekov's stories and a couple of plays. Just broke into the fine introduction by the translator.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

So very warm

A little bubble of summer encloses us today. Tomorrow it will be gone via a marine push, but for now, we'll savor it. The rest of the herb plants are planted, as well as some sugar snap peas; the cat's doing a good job on bird patrol, spooking them but of course never catching one.
I'm near the end - the bottom? - of The Well of Loneliness; how badly gay people suffered not even a century ago. Ironically, one of the characters, a more womanly female, is offered hope via marriage to a man. Marriage wasn't much freer an existence, despite all the "normal" people's approval of it, but this novel pretty well exposes all the miseries possible in any relationship.
Enjoyable late evening conversation with the young ones.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blue Monday

Planetary forces, perhaps. Something is darkening the outlook today. Gravitational adjustments. Got to get some planting done.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Inventive mothers

There are legions of us; there are people who are fine mothers who've not actually given birth, but have adopted or pitched in with blended families; we're all doing our best to help the kids in life.
In these dangerous days, it's what must be done, to counter the destruction afoot. Seeds need to be planted for good.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday roamings

Not very far for some of us, but five or six blocks when you're past 89 is pretty danged good. Quiet day around here, with nought but chores and an errand or two.
Early evening walk around Green Lake, where we could observe some kind of weather system moving in to cool things down for a bit.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Over the top

Our spring brimmeth over with sun. We got another sodbusting session in Friday evening, and our young friend brought us a swell book entitled 75 Exciting Vegetables for Your Garden, by Jack Staub. It's got wonderful illustrations, recipes, and seems well-written, with historical glimpses into the featured veggies, such as carrots being considered aphrodisiacs back in ye olde Roman times. Course those horndogs Romans seemed to be using just about anything for such purposes, but they were a hyperactive bunch. We went out for a bite after we ran out of daylight, so I haven't gotten a good read on it yet.
Manana, in search of seeds.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sharing the ploughing

A little before three, I went out back to at least make a start on getting the garden plot ready. Weeds pulled out with little effort, and the soil turned over as easily as Quark cheese. Our son joined in, and later the beloved spouse. In short order we had over half of it ready to even out and plant. Friday a friend comes over after work to dig in, and we'll be on our way to a...well, could it be called a Victory Garden? An Impeachment Garden, maybe, or Weeding Out the Bums Garden? We're working towards the concept of eating foods grown from as nearby as possible. Beloved son pointed out that bananas, coffee and cacao are highly wasteful regarding transportation costs, not to mention labor abuses in the places they are grown. Bananas are such a perfect food, but I guess I could substitute them with more apples. Coffee and chocolate; those will be hard to abandon.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Excellent day - swell climbing, good company, and delicious food; a batch of bread came out nicely, and a butternut squash lasagna was beautiful. It was vegetarian, and enjoyed by all, even the one among us who is not so fond of squash. The sweet Vedalia onion sauted with the squash before layering, along with some zucchini for color and our own dried herbs must have done the job. A nice organic chunky tomato sauce with garlic and basil helped. I used Quark cheese in place of ricotta; it's lower in fat, and has a pleasant tanginess.
Back into The Well... so sad, the main character just had to put down her old horse. Sounds cliche, but it was nicely described, and of course connected symbolically to her lousy relationship with her mother, a high maintenance little bitch. She couldn't after all put down her mother, literally.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Back to bliss

Sleeping in one's own bed, and real spring weather, warm enough to go running in shorts; lovely. While en route here from South Carolina, I got started on a strange novel: The Well of Loneliness, by Radcliffe Hall, a female British writer. This novel was published in 1920, and banned in the UK due to its subject matter; its main female character is lesbian. Well, actually she's described as an "invert," an outsider who is attracted to women but full of masculine strengths and qualities. It's quite demure, no pornography or obscenity at all in its pages. Maybe a tad melodramatic, but well-written. It's very sad, too, and could be about anyone who's ever felt out of the mainstream. Lovely set pieces in the English countryside, London and Paris,
and a slower pace in revealing the characters. A book club buddy had mentioned it, I saw it at a used bookstore, gave it a test read, and though I'd thought I'd read it ages ago, discovered that I hadn't, or at least didn't remember it. I may have picked it up and put it aside. It's worth the time thus far.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Survived the South

We fled into the night last Tuesday, red-eyeing it to South Carolina, which has been the reunion locale of choice for my in-laws for several years now. As has happened the last couple of years, the temperatures went down when we arrived, staying in the high 60's to low 70's, too cold for the locals, whom I heard complaining about it not being good beach weather. Not for them, but for us who have spent the past several months damp and shivering in the cold rain, it felt paradisical. We walked on the beach, we took off our shoes and walked in the surf, we even went so far as to put on bathing garments and get into the water, swimming, body surfing and boogie boarding. We ate a variety of seafoods, from oysters to soft shell crabs, shrimp with grits cakes, which were more like polenta cakes, scallops, grouper, snapper and clams. We all pretty much got along. A testing moment for me was watching the Kentucky Derby, which displayed far too many good old rich white boys for my taste, and drunken ladies in stupid hats mewling the nutty lyrics to "My Old Kentucky Home." Criminently, some "traditions" are better off sinking into obscurity.
Sure was nice to be warm for once, though.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


People seem to be kind of "off" today. At least the exercise got done, and some of the choring. May Day has been anticlimatic, but there's a full moon tomorrow, although we're due for more rain. Time for a respite.