Friday, February 29, 2008

Leaping Friday

Unexpected evening out with the offspring; we got in a nice walk and a wonderful meal at an Italian bistro run by a man we've known for years. A friend of our son's is cooking there, and made us some terrific pasta dishes; their tapanade is also stellar. They had live music, guitar and stand up bass, in honor of the leap day.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


So it's important for humans to get enough fiber in their diets, to simulate days of yore when they were scavenging and eating whatever plants looked chewable and didn't kill them. I'm not about to go out foraging, despite my love of nature, so the hunt is on for at least mildly tasty items which will suffice. I have been told that tempeh is a very fiber-ish substance. It looks unappealing to me, but with enough fibrous vegetables and colorful seasoning, perhaps it'll make the fly list.
The birthday person got letters today from former third and fourth grade students, thanking her for being such a great teacher. One of them has been teaching for 27 years, and told my mother she uses activities from her own third grade days; when she tells her classes they're going to do things she herself did as a third grader, they get very excited. This has been a wonderful thing for my mom.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Soft rain

Awoke to an unaccustomed sound, dripping and plashing; nice dim gray morning, good for a few more moments of warmth under the covers. The wet burned off, and we had sun for walks.
I've decided re-reading Lessing's The Golden Notebook reminds me of spending time with friends who are prone to processing everything in their lives at length. It's fine in small doses.
More zero birthday celebrations, with phone calls, cards, and a big bouquet of flowers from the young one in the house; a few more days and it will have sunk in finally.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cake accomplished!

Nice little two-layer, medium chocolate, frosted with a strange-reacting white icing; I think I need a new thermometer. It could have become ferro concrete. But enough shaved bittersweet chocolate on top to cover any blemishes, and it was delicious. The birthday person received many accolades and a real surprise, a hand-thrown bowl my dad made years ago and, we think, gave to one of their close friends. One of her daughters acquired it after her mom's death, and sent it to my mother. It's glazed with two of dad's own glaze formulas, spring green inside, a golden yellow on the outside. What a sweet and thoughtful gesture.
Warmest day yet, with exploding daffodils.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Don't go in the water...

The birthday girl's been receiving piles of greetings; the loudest one came from my sister and her family. It's one of those cards with music; this one has a cartoon shark fin on the front, and the sentence,"You know it's coming." When you open it, the ominous strains of the shark theme from "Jaws" peal forth. The cat was sitting on her lap when she opened it, and he did a classic cartoon double-take before he leaped away. She said it's a bit alarming, but every once in a while you can hear the big fish's approach...
Cake-baking must proceed tomorrow.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mas del sol

It makes us so languorous, even as it motivates. We espied the first tiny daffodils in bloom today, and our own crocus supply is increasing.
Onward in Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook, although there is something a bit strange about its general mood. It often feels as if the writer was in some kind of lowered state, depression or mourning. There's already a lot of chin music regarding this novel at the book group, but that only makes me want to defend the work more.
The almost birthday gal is garnering bushels of greetings already.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

blinding light

Yet another sunny day in a nice little string of them; we werre inspired to go farther on our walk than we have in months. We're up to four freshly laid chicken eggs in three days, so we may acquire close to a dozen by the end of the stint.
Lovely dinner with friends, good conversation, although we all seemed a bit tired. False spring fever setting in...

Friday, February 22, 2008


Despite the glorious atmosphere, the day was kind of a horror; suffice it to say, I'm not going near any diagnostic scopes for a few years. We had a wonderful walk, gathered beautiful chicken eggs, and ended the whole affair with a delectable dinner with some old friends. I had rabbit for the first time in years, and it was swell.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Such an afternoon; no need for hats or scarves, and so sunny we were tempted to bask like lizards. Averting our eyes from the political events currently swirling about, since they're hard to keep track of and almost impossible to suss out for fraudulence and hype. We'd rather take census of birds, like the crow making an uncharacteristic sweet sound as it perched on top of a street light, or the flickers cuckooing to one another. We watched a couple of hummingbirds duel at the top of a maple tree, then go after a chickadee which was nearby. At least these animals work from clear need and instincts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Book mark

Just kind of holding this place today; usual exercising, more apparent discombobulation over an impending big "zero birthday." Sometimes she seems amazed at getting this far, other times she seems perplexed and tired. It's hard work getting old, no matter how good of shape you're in; don't believe any hype about its goldenness.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dare we hope

Absolutely fabulous day, with walks aplenty and time with my oldest climbing friend; she's still finishing up with the blasted breast reconstruction, but should be cleared before too long. It's driving her nuts not to be able to really go all out as she is wont to do, but we "older gals" have learned a bit about waiting things out, if not necessarily perfect patience. We aren't nuns.
Doris Lessings' The Golden Notebook is humming along. On the surface a reader might think it's very much a women's book, but then, it's written by one so of course all its iterations will be colored by that fact. Iterations because its structure seems to be a novel within a novel, all with a memoir-ish flavor; I'm drawn in, but do get stopped at times by some intensity in the scenarios.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Better yet

Days are tauntingly sunny. We will be slammed again soon. Short on sleep, but shall drag onward.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Off again

Today the skiers went down to Crystal Mountain. There's been more sun, which made for big motivation at our walk time. Lots of people out, strollers rampant, happy dogs and cheery people.

Friday, February 15, 2008

End of the weekin'

The skiers got away a bit later than expected, but it had been a late night. They had pretty good conditions at Stevens, despite the heavy rains they encountered on the way up to the pass.
We held down the fort, kind of dazed from short sleep, kept to the usual routine. We heard a telltale drilling sound, and looked up to find a flicker at the top of a telephone pole; we watched it for a while, and hummingbirds seemed to be divebombing it. We wondered why they would identify a big harmless bird as a threat, but decided their little brains only have one mode.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heartin' it up

Family coming in this evening; there's already been lost luggage, so we are delayed a bit on an evening meal as they talk with ground control. It'll be a lively Valentine's.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Momentary near warmth

We almost got warm, and spied many more crocuses starting to bloom. There are very early yellow ones that have little tiger stripes up from the stem, and white ones with indigo bases. There are even some more slender ones that look like smaller versions of the autumn variety. The cats were crazy, rolling around on sunny patches of sidewalk and ambushing unpredictably.
King crab legs looked appealing, as well as giant sea scallops; we'll have V-Day dinner early this year.
I've gotten well along in re-reading Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook; I do wonder how much my high school aged self grasped of the political material. Such a rich writer, in an economical and uncomplicated way; I think I like her far better at this remove.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


After a slog through hibernation-inspiring days, we forget about spring. A robin was throbbing a song of some kind outside the window, not necessarily sweet but rather plaintive and desperate. There are a few more hints, more snowdrops, crocus, forsythia coming out, and the giant pussy willows up the block are burgeoning. We hear tell of sunlit days ahead.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Old dogs

Saw a very elderly canine that used to hang out in front of a nearby coffee shop. He was skinnier, whiter in the muzzle, and his poor old legs each splayed in a different direction, but he was out walking as much as his old bones would allow. The owner said he couldn't make it to the coffee joint any more, but was still eager to get out. My mother, when hearing about this old creature, said she knew how he felt, and we walked slowly onward.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Short but intense climbing session with a friend whose energy and fitness levels border on the legendary; she was a bit under the weather, though, so we werre closer in potential than usual. Fair amount of political talk in the gym, Obama-prone. If he gets the nod, I'll vote for him, but I still feel as many warnings clanging about him as I do about Clinton. One of his biggest sources of campaign moolah is from a nuclear power company, Exelon, for which he caved. I don't like his overly religious tone, he's made bizarre statements about needing all kinds of religions on Capitol Hill to bring back morality and decency, not a given with so-called religious folks. He had a rabid homo bigot campaigning for him. He's been not so subtly mysogynistic towards Clinton. Hobson's choice, as usual.
Ventured out into the increasingly inhospitable evening weather, looking for some spicy food to warm our innards; got skunked out of the first place, line coming almost out the door. So we kept on walking, longer than initially envisioned, but eventually we found a hospitable place. The uphill return journey put the final flourish on tiredness.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Now what?

Hillary Clinton called me today! Well, her voice, recorded, but it was a far cry better than being plied by McCain's robocall. There's so much animus out there against Clinton. I've heard women say they despise her for being a power-hungry, self-centered careerist, and men because she voted for the Iraq mess. These folks all plump for Obama, whom they admit is not their perfect candidate. And he's not a self-centered power-seeking guy looking for a promotion? Like Ani diFranco says in a song lyric, "The ones that smile - watch their eyes..." Tired of hearing his so-called "audacity of hope." People act like he's some kind of rock star. Watch his eyes...
Late walk, in throughly miserable conditions of fog, cold, and a fine, penetrating heavy misty rain; we escaped to a watering hole as soon as possible.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Karmic activities

Out on our daily walk, my mom and I found some notebooks and folders which belonged to someone attending a local naturopathic medical school. We had seen a car with out of state plates with "Naturopath" holding brackets parked up the street with an obviously broken into window on one side, so figured that this new to the area person had been ripped off. It ultimately turned out to be so, and the naturopath-in-training was extremely grateful to get her notebooks back; her midterms are next week. She said it was ironic the thieves, who took all her medical equipment which she had left in the car, had broken in; she leaves her vehicle unlocked, and usually nothing in it. I was sorry to see her introduction to the neighborhood was so lousy, but she seemed philosophical about it.
Later we got a robocall inviting us to a FREE meet and greet Friday with Nutball John McCain; my mom wondered if it was because she used to be a Republican. I told her they aren't that good at ferreting people out. We get everybody here these days, stumping for support. They have got to be exhausted.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Courage needed

To brave the windy elements; we hardly went anywhere. The ghost of my dad hovered over us approvingly as we slogged up to see the chickens. The day grew grayer and grimmer, until by five, we decided to cheer ourselves with a pizza and fresh tomatoes.
Reports of both Clinton and Obama showing up out here in the next couple of days. It strikes me as insane, how we are expected to make any decisions based on the increasingly hysterical blathering and snow jobs coming out of candidates' mouths. Don't go for any head fakes, look at their actual records, not the ones they make up as they go along; my worst thought is that we're going to see how truly regressive and mysogynistic this country really is in November.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The atmosphere is slush

Very windy slush, too, making our days a bit of an ordeal, at least as far as the nonagenarian is concerned. I keep offering to get her a balaclava for her face, but the image seems to horrify her. Maybe she doesn't want to look like an accomplice in a bank robbery.
We assembled a "quicky" sort of cassoulet: Home-cooked cannelini beans from the farmers' market, frozen last fall and recently resurrected, organic bratwursts, some garlic mashed potatoes and a few assorted vegetables. The beans were not turned to mush as they would have been in a long cooking process, and the brat bits were smoky and lean, better than preserved duck chunks. Okay, maybe not better than duck confit, but still delicious.
I finished Patrick White's Riders in the Chariot a couple of days ago. Despite the frequent religious themes, which for me get tedious even in fiction, I thought it was very good. There are bits of it which will haunt me for some time. Am decompressing with the latest collection of Best Australian Short Fiction, given to us by an Aussie house guest last summer.
Could not find White's novel Voss on a recent book foraging trip; may have to order it from the satanic Amazon. I read somewhere that Bezos is giving more to the Dems lately.

Monday, February 04, 2008

In search of...

Exercise, books, kitchen rugs; two out of three wasn't bad, especially with the company of the beloved spouse. In this junk-piled world, you'd think there'd be one small, colorful washable oval rug out there to buy; I may have to resort to Amish rug-making techniques. I don't like shopping, I'm not a greedy consumer; I just want stuff to last forever and don't give a damn about "fashion", which I think is brainwashing. I got over consumer fever attacks back in high school. Big box stores make me ill. A stop for hot chocolate washed away the unpleasantness.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

What game?

There's a snippet of a video out there which informs you that the Stupor Bowl advertising sells at a rate of $86,000 per second. That's about as succinct a piece of evidence of the grossness of this country as I've ever seen. Some friends and neighbors had people over who both did and did not watch The Big Game; the highlight of the afternoon for me was the husband's famous chili.
His son and the son's wife were over, and he told me about the Seattle restaurant he's been cooking in; it's gotten a reputation as a "cougar den." Mystified by a term I'd never heard before, I asked him about it. He told me it means older women, all gussied up, surgically altered, clothed in garb at once too low and too high, who stalk much younger men. Evidently they lurk around the piano player, too. This is a sight I do not really want to encounter, I think.
Sad and awful.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Chirping explained

There are always Anna's Hummingbirds zipping around our neighborhood, making their distinctive sounds. Evidently these chirps are produced by their tail feathers during dives, not by busy little throats. It was pleasant to listen to them and try to spot them, however they produce the skritchy noise, as I looked for snowdrops on the way to the store. There is some aconite flowering at a nearby park, bright yellow buttercup-y looking blossoms, along with some pale violet iris which have been at it since before Christmas. I've never seen winter-blooming iris. It must be getting different signals than I am about the temperatures.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Late evening trip out to a friend's recently acquired sailboat; we had wine and snacks, and good talk. We were keeping her company while the dehumidifier and heater were running, as there had been some unwanted moisture found near windows. Then people needed to use the head. A situation developed surrounding the flushing function, and after some time of trying many valves, switches, pumps, all under scrutiny by flashlight, I, who had resorted to perusing a manual found on the bookshelf, decided to, uh, bail, so to speak. The manual contained far too many types of heads, with blowout illustrations that may give me nightmares. The little ship was cozy and warm-looking, ownig to its teak furnishings, but the flushing issue was still under puzzlement as I bid them good night...