Saturday, May 31, 2008


A friend recently bought a house, and needed help shlepping her and her roommate's worldly goods across town. She rallied more than a quorum, so she put me on stand-by for the afternoon shift. Somehow they managed to do everything in a little over four hours, so she asked me to swell the ranks of the celebratory barbeque. Bringing chilled rose and a bottle for the new abode, I complied. We had a walk around and explanation of the final touches, for which her male friends added suggestions; she at least pretended to take them under advisement. It was a very pleasant evening, after a routine sort of day.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Weirdness at noon

It's been too dry for the local snail smashing guy to get any satisfaction, but our nearby shopping district seems to be acquiring more and more unusual individuals. One very large and stout fellow hailed me like a long-lost sister as I took my mother to her hair appointment. His female companion followed, using a walker, muttering,"Don't lose him, don't lose him!" as she lurched along. There are men with signs declaring them homeless vets, panhandling persistently, and a few slumped on benches staring at the pavement. There will be more, as time goes by; this is surely a result of the unraveling social system. This is a clear marker to me of the difference between the Shrub-type people and me: I think it's important to provide beds for homeless people, while the Shrub-like people ignore them, pocketing the funds which would have served. Beds, and work. It was accomplished during the Depression of the 1930's, it can be done again.
And I want to see Bush and Cheney cleaning up litter in parks, as dues for their crimes.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

March to the end of May

The relative chilliness has been confusing for our elderstateswoman; she keeps thinking it's March. It's perfect for running and walking, even if the latter must be coached.
A young friend took us out for sushi last night. She's undergoing a sea change in her professional life, and seems to be weathering it pretty well.
Manana the grass should be scythed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Climbing party

There wound up being four of us meeting for a climbing session, and we had a very good time. The older ones of us, 48 and up, had had a good night's sleep, and were able to keep pace with the 25 year old, who was still recovering from a sprained finger. It's a lot more fun for us than a garden club at this point in our lives.
Coming back from the local farmers' market, I was behind a group of what looked like four year olds from a daycare going to a nearby park. One little boy triggered a vivid flashback: He was very bouncy, and his hand was held by one of the teachers. As they passed a large stand of euphorbia plants, he announced loudly,"Those are poisonous plants! They're poisonous to touch AND if you eat them!"
There's a guide to poisonous plants somewhere in our son's room, which he got around that age; we walked all over, identifying them all. He frequently got to specially hold a teacher's hand, too...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We treated the neighborhood chickens to a few worms dug out next to a compost bin. Such delicacies are what they yearn for, as they whine in their coop or grumble through the fence. We walk, and our nonegenarian savors the up and down of a steep driveway, as well as what she calls "the final pitch", the steps up to our house. She nearly always voices her satisfaction at these efforts, as they make her feel invigorated, at least as much as one can be. We discuss the relativity of steps for 90 year olds, and roof cracks for young climbers. One person's block or two is another's marathon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorable for the wrong reasons

My dad spent his service time during WWII as an officer training raw recruits somewhere in the South, as well as a couple of years on the island of Hawaii, having "won" the lottery of where they shipped you in the Pacific. My mother's youngest brother fought in North Africa, Italy and France. Neither of them had any use for the Vietnam conflict, although my other uncle, who ran a hospital in Puerto Rico and saw no combat was a right-leaning hawk. (Repeating pattern there...) My youngest uncle never talked about his fighting experiences. There was no glory in them. It was the ones who never had to shoot at somebody who glorified the war, and continue to do so. "War was good for business," said my dad, with weary irony.
So the Iraq occupation has been very, very good for certain people's businesses. Not so great for the foot soldiers who have to carry out the charade, but they have bought into it as deeply as Shrub/Cheney et al.
It's incredible to me that so many of them still think their dead kids were protecting anything other than egos and profits.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And then...

There were more walks, and we watched as our cat was chastened by his birth mother across the street. She always drives him out of her sight, hissing as she pursues. No coziness of a lion pride there. The weather amazingly holds for another day, and the evening was perfect.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

So high

First climb out of the blocks was an easy route, which happened to continue out along the roof; I surprised my belayer and myself by hiking right out to its end. Then the afternoon warmed up to an unexpected summery atmosphere, so all had great walks. We found books we needed, had a mid-afternoon cuppa, and toasted ourselves with a roundabout trail homeward.

Friday, May 23, 2008

End o the week

Caught up with some friends, the husband of which has recently returned from visiting family and friends in Beirut, Lebanon and Paris, France. He was in between jobs and decided he'd better go see the old folks at home before it was too late. He always has an interesting perspective on the Middle East, which he energetically shares.
Been engaging in avoidance reading, as it has come down to the last straw for the doomed expedition in Voss, and it's terribly sad and bathetic. Found part of an Ursula LaGuin trilogy, the middle book, so now I need to find the other two to complete the escape.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine

We had a nice scenic drive after the hairdo session, and every tree that could possibly put out blooms seemed to be in its final throes of display. The gray skies always make a nice backdrop for all the color.
On my way to the supermarket, I passed a boulangerie; out by the dumpsters a squirrel had its head buried in a croissant half its size.
Around the 'hood, the tall rangy mad fellow ambles along, plucking snails from retaining walls and vegetation, examines them, muttering, then throws them down and steps on them. We find their oozing remains on our walks; just hope it's his only way of venting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jungle gym time

Lots of fresh routes filling the gym walls after the kids' comp; we put a dent in them in our shortish but intense session. Ran into the high school senior daughter of a good friend as we were getting ready to leave. She'd gone to her senior prom last weekend, which was held way up in the top of the Columbia Tower downtown, in the Tower Club, a hoity-toity joint for members only - although they evidently rent it out. Glass all around, even in the bathrooms, where one sits in splendor and looks out at the view through the window in front of the toilet; only time I was there, the night grew foggy and we couldn't see a thing. She said they had a swell dessert buffet, which sounded like the high point of the evening.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh, more rain...

All night, and into the morning; and windy, a hard sell to get our venerated one out walking, but we did it. Talked to our friend the chicken owner, who displayed bruises and bites inflicted by one of her flock. For some reason, this particular hen tends to get aggressive, but it must be worth it for the eggs.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cotton batting

The skies are getting swathed with gray bales. It's a relief from 90+F. A trip to the climbing gym takes a twist, as my usual companion was summonsed by her son's elementary school to pick him up from the nurse's office, he having fallen ill precipitously. Her cell phone rang just as we were getting ready to start our workout. I was resigning myself to a solitary traverse and bouldering session, when I saw a trio of women I sort of recognized. One had mercy upon me, and we shared belays. She knew someone I knew, and we had a pleasant hour or so trying some of the routes the kids faced in the regional championship competition last Saturday. She got her undergraduate degree in math in Boulder, where she also learned to climb.
Salmon for dinner, just a small bit, since the prices are rocketing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


The hit of heat has abated, and left us with balminess and blue skies. Much easier on the aging, no need for fainting couches and smelling salts.
The young'uns on the block were out in force, doing yard work and sundry house projects. One couple's almost one year old boy stood in his playpen and yelled out joyously as we passed by. His wave came later, as it does at that age.
Great day for a run, even if it isn't as speedy as it used to be.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Great balls of fiery margaritas!

During an evening walk last night, we stopped in for a light bite and a cooling beverage. The bartender talked me into trying his fresh strawberry margarita, on the rocks, sugared rim, with an added kick - and I mean kick - of serrano chili. With a slice or two of jalepeno for garnish. Hottest cooling beverage I ever had, but delicious.
Bit of a coo-coo redux: As I walked back from the store this afternoon, I saw a grizzled-looking fellow on a kid's BMX bike, and heard him muttering loudly. A woman turned onto the sidewalk in front of me just as he increased his volume: "Oh, he ripped me off. Yeah, you can have him, the old fart; you, the both of you, (as he saw me) tell your life story and get ripped off!" Then he turned his bike into a side street, saw another woman walking along with a man and child and brayed,"Another big broad!" At that point I would have pounded him upside the head with his diminutive BMX...
Could it be the nearly ninety degree temps addling brains?

Friday, May 16, 2008

You're getting warmer...

Yeah, we are, and maybe the estimated 60,000 sturgeon in a huge ball below the Bonneville Dam are, too.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


We went over to a different gym, since our home one was getting ready for a kids' competition. Pleasant, uncrowded at an early hour, friendly staff, pretty much all to ourselves; my friend and I have found ourselves in similar scheduling situations, so we squeeze our workouts in when we can.
Yes, a premature whiff of summer has arrived, and already brains are shutting down. Or maybe were never running; a very besotted fellow sitting against a building along our shopping district's main street looked up at me and informed me: " I stole that jerk's piano and I got away with it!"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Behind a veil

Mist, grayness, occasional chill gusts; we don't see many people out, just us oldtime walkers. My mother probably accrues more exercise than most of the folks on the block, and I often tell her she can be proud of her efforts. The mileage adds up, block after hard-won block.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Choring around

Had to use up some "ole" to carry things home; usually I can avoid it by walking, or carpooling. We are to be plunged into dripping cold darkness again, then slammed by a "heat wave." We shiver, while Barcelona is so dried up it is shipping water in to meet needs. Does this make us grateful for our mossy soggy region?
Oh, still reading Voss; but the main protagonist just shot his pet sheep dog, which he considered a frippery since they'd abandoned the remaining sheep. I'm sure more animals will die, and pretty soon, some human members of the party. Only the amazing language keeps me peeking into its book covers.
Here Herr Voss enquires of a sick expedition member:
" 'Tell me, Frank,"he asked,'do you feel any easier?'
'No,' replied the yellow face, from which a string of milk hung. 'It is very distressing. Everything fluctuates, and my mind and body will not coincide.' "

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Yo, mama

We both still have our mothers, and try to do our best for them. I'm still a mom, and am very happy to have the kid we do. As I watch my parent slowly wind down, I have to say it gives me pause. But she is as dedicated to peace and saving what bits are left un- or mildly de- spoiled on this planet as I am. She won't be around to see the horrors ahead, I am glad to think.
I hope all parents had some contact with loving family this day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Amazing to wake up and feel as if you have enough energy to do pretty well for the day; I've heard other women in a Certain Age Range comment similarly. Seems as if the disruption in the continuum started when motherhood was begun...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Springy and ding-y

Such a day, lilacs blooming and everything; we did a little tour around the nearby lake in the car after hairdo was accomplished, just to see what we could see. After dizziness in the salon, our nonegenarian perked up as she viewed the flowering trees around the edge of the park.
On an evening walk, I noticed that every restaurant with outdoor seating was spilling over, out their doors and onto the really not that wonderful options on the sidewalks, pretty much next to the streets. People must have been hungry for dining al fresco, weather be damned, as it was overcast and kind of chilly. Poor Seattleites, we're constantly deluding ourselves about the climate. If not, we migrate.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Everything's on continuums

Our lives are sliding along some kind or another; if I were an obsessive type, I could chart my mother's movements along the continuum of aging. Every so often she has an anomolous spike, as today, when the sun came out and she just kept walking on into a sort of balmy breeze.
There is much discussion out on the 'net about what they've been calling transsexuality, with the latest thing a bit on NPR about a boy in Canada whose father insists he's too girly, so he's being "treated" by some lousy psych for liking the color pink. And forbidden to even think about touching dolls. This is going to be one of those overdiagnosed epidemics, such as happened with bi-polar disease; good thing no one ever worried about my hatred of dresses, dolls, and the color pink, as well as my love of tree climbing and hanging out with boys when I was under eight years old. Human sexuality is also on a continuum, not as black and white as many close-minded people would prefer to claim. I think that's the beauty of it, the complications.
I still don't like wearing dresses much, and still am a jock of sorts, have gay women friends who are far girlier than I'll ever be. It makes life grand.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

More upward fun

Whipped off for a bit of the old pseudo-climbing. A bit later our garden elf arrived, and began whaling away on the grounds. It's chilly, and getting chillier.
Watched a horrific program on the East German athletic doping system in the 70's-90's. I had to leave at times, when the Nazi doctors rationalized the abuse of the youngsters. It was an efficient system, just like the death camps were. The people who survived are now suffering all manner of results, from gender changes to debilitating diseases. We kept wondering aloud, For what? Dominance of a purportedly amateur athletic event? Ultimately, it seems to me the people kept their kids in those programs so they would get food. Many of the child athletes might not have known anything, but their parents must have eventually. Breathtakingly appalling.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Dry up

Spates of raindrops, chill air; everything but rhubarb seems to be on hold. Earnest discussion at the workout joint about the Democratic primary, but I slide away noncomittally. Some chubby, self-satisfied fella on an exercise bike chirps about how he isn't worried about the environment or gas prices, he just drives his SUV as fast as he can. I resist grabbing a dumbbell to clock him.
We avoid watching any "analysis" on the telly, and opt for a program about the search for fossil records of the very first flowering plant; it ends inconclusively.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Vertical therapy

Lucked into another little climbing session this morning; it tweaked my attitude positively, as it often does. My climbing friend feted her tenth wedding anniversary over the weekend by taking a float plane up to Orcas Island, where her husband had rented a Mazda Miata convertible to drive around to the place they stayed for the night. Funny, because it's very unlike them, but they tempered it by taking hikes both days. At least it wasn't a Hummer.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

What's going on

Our nonegenarian is slogging through molasses today; we don't know why. Sometimes the old body just seems to run on vapors. Cheerfulness is maintained, chocolate administered.
Treading slowly into the novel Voss; intimations of direness are growing.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Okay, this is enough

We are plunged back into wintry temperatures, and do what we can to remain sane. Walks, purchase of maple butter, and a stop in one of our favorite tiny cafes help; the barista is playing old Getz and Gilberto bassa nova, and the pastry case is full of lovely items, which we eyeball recklessly yet virtuously do not consume. It happens to be their coffee happy hour, so our beverages are inexpensive. At least the soundtrack was warm.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Drifty day

A friend of our son's has been working on our yard; she has a gardening service, and works diligently. Great to see progress, where things had gotten kind of neglected.
Hair and toe doings this afternoon, which temporarily transport my mother; she's not interested in full body massages, though, she told me. Not surprising for her generation...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day! May Day!

Strange, as they sometimes can be; the day to day life of a nonegenarian can be as existential as a Nouvelle Vague French novelist's prose. Imagine watching a film, then running it back randomly, or jumping it ahead, with many repetitions. Throw in some slow mo and...voila.
The day improved as it passed, in many ways, culminating in an evening bite of sushi and a walk.