Monday, June 30, 2008

Post vacation

We were away for a whole week by ourselves; we had a wonderful time. We hiked and walked between thirty miles and forty miles total by my reckoning, hitting our favorite trails around the Ashland, Oregon area; hiking by day, playgoing by night, to the tune of seven performances. There were revisits of some we've seen at least once, like Corialanus, Midsummer Night's Dream and Othello, and some unfamiliar territory such as a version of an ancient Sanskrit text called The Clay Cart, and an August Wilson work called Fences, which was the best drama, I thought. It stirred up such deep memories of dealing with problematic fathers that we're still discussing it.There was a brand new play titled The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, not really a promising-sounding title, but it was wonderfully original.
So we flitted from hill and dale banked with all kinds of wildflowers, paths pretty much all to ourselves, to theatrical diversions. Perfect high summer weather, until the last day, when the smoke from fires in Northern California shifted up and shrouded the valley in a brownish pall. It was visible all the way to Seattle on our flight back today.
We stretched it out this evening with some sushi at our favorite joint.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Uncharacteristic hours

I actually left the house by about 8:15, to drive over to a friend's house on a, uh, mission of something or other. I'd agreed to help her and her goddaughter paint their bodies for the annual Fremont Solstice Parade, a significant factor of which is hundreds of naked bicyclists. The goddaughter's boyfriend was there, too, but he and the girlfriend attended to his needs. he is German, and had a Viking helmet, and wound up looking like some kind of blend of Berserker and Where's Waldo. The women were green for the younger one, wine-colored for my friend, appropriate, as she loves a good Malbec, with silver and gold filigree custom-designed by moi.
I talked to her later, and it was fun, she said, to be in the midst of so many free spirits.
Should anyone be curious about this local tradaition of some twenty years, go to and look for the Fremont Parade photos.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Increments towards paradise

By late afternoon, it had offically been Summer for about two hours, and the nonegenarian managed three separate walks during the course of the day. The lawn got mowed, enough pruning and weed yanking accomplished to fill up the yard waste bin, and the day was ambrosially nice.
Just had to get some ice cream for a late lunch, after all that yard work; two mini scoops, of a chocolate like no other and the scout mint. I'm counting it as a dairy serving.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quelle surprise

A former neighbor and still friend appeared as I was stuffing the yard waste bin. She's been teaching in China, at a start up school, and will do administrative work next year. Her advanced training was for being a school principal, so she will finally get to try it out at the end of her teaching career, which has spanned special education to about all the elementary grades. I miss having her here on the block. She's a force with whom to be reckoned.
Hair and Toe Day came around again, and the elder stateswoman was almost dangerously relaxed after her session. The threatening rain never appeared, so we cruised around the lake and marveled at all the runners, bicyclists, strollers, and dogs. She really likes it, but is very glad to be home afterwards.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Full moon

Don't know if it has affected us, other than the cat; he has been crazily active and tending to pounce.
The travelers are almost home; it will be good to see them again. They really liked Tuolomne Meadows, said it was such a different space than the Valley; harder to get to, so it weeds out a good number of people. I hope the camera was working.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Into the mists

Early this morning, I looked out the window and saw a fine rain coming down. It portended a return to bed for reading.
By afternoon, the clouds melted, and we had our daily few blocks and such. The nonegenarian has begun a collection of short stories by Hortense Callisher, and thus far really appreciates them. Her previous favorite seemed to be Raymond Carver, which I found interesting; his writing is very spare and existential-ish. Callisher is kind of a compressed writer, too, but in a bit older style.
I'm now alternating the Cortazar with a review of books by a French neurobiologist, Jean-Pierre Changeux; that part of Honors Biology regarding the functions of the human brain always engaged me, and it hasn't abated.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Too good to last; we hear a "marine push" will arrive overnight, cooling our region down yet again.
The maple nut flavor is very good at the new ice cream joint; the sunny day called for it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


A fine day of activities for us all. We'd kind of like a report from the travelers, but often they are somewhere out of contact range. Pleasant day for fathers.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

So bright

By late afternoon, we could walk in sunshine. Gasworks was packed with at least two wedding parties and numerous kite flyers. We soaked it up.

Friday, June 13, 2008


By the skies, but we've gone to two-a-days in the exercise department. We've gathered several eggs from our avian neighbors, and if this weather stays so chilly, may have to break a few in baking.
Evening walk and meet up with friends; dangerous location, below a bookstore, as no matter the hour, we will be drawn to browsing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


To get out, and grab the few hours of sunlight that finally arrived; we score a spot of sushi later on.
Trying to get engaged in another Julio Cortazar work, a novel-length piece called 62 - A Model Kit. It's challenging for me, not about anything, experimental-ish. I find myself reaching for the NYRB and delving into reviews about books on Herman Melville, during the latter part of his life, after the publication of Moby Dick. I'm deficient in biographical reading.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Not so fast

Last day for my visiting family members, and all we can say is that it's not raining. The farmers' market had a few more stands today, including the fisherfamily who make astoundingly delicious smoked salmon. The wife plied me with large sample chunks, so of course I succumbed. She said the horrible weather had been interfering with their fishing, and people would be waiting on the dock to buy fish when they'd get back in from the few trips they've been able to make. The famer tables are a bit sparse, and evidently the produce has been in suspended animation for a while.
The family savored the fresh salmon I brought home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Family style

Lots of chatting and catching up, and an unexpected break in the rainy curtain that seems to be perpetually hanging; we got our legs stretched. Could be better tomorrow.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Going up

Two good little workouts in a row at the gym; if it ever dries out for long enough, we may actually get to use these honed muscles on real rock.
Family coming tonight from outta town; of course the climate isn't cooperating. Where's the Scrabble box?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

In celebration

We took a really nice urban hike around Lake Union, and headed up to our wonderful dinner. Lots of delectable items, including some appetizers given to us by the kitchen, made of litle tart shells with sumac as an ingredient, filled with a fig mixture, some blue cheese mousse on top of it, and finished with a toasted almond. Stellar. Crab salad, a couple of small plates of salmon and tuna, a pork dish and duckburgers. The chef was still in New York, as the James Beard Foundation awards are tonight, but her cooking partner certainly did a fine job.
Thanks to my most excellent spouse for all these years of hanging in with me...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Thinking straight

Why I chose that title I do not know. Maybe it's because it's difficult to do so lately. Everything seems to be in the moment, uncertain, and difficult to plan for.
We'll have a great 34th wedding anniversary tomorrow...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Shrivelingly wet

We had to turn the furnace back on, it's been so chilly when we come down in the morning. This is causing further confusion, but soldiering on is required. I suppose I prefer coping with soggy chill to sweltering heat, but it all costs power to remedy.
The brave young woman who tunes and prunes my hair turns 35 on Friday; she told me it was a "contemplative" age. Most every year could and should be.
Back to finishing Yoko Tawada's collection of three novellas called The Bridegroom Was a Dog. It's interesting, but not as stimulating to me as The War with the Newts. It's comparatively stark and cryptic, but at least it's not predictable.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ring of blue sky

We saw some, but they may have been hallucinations. The Newts in the book I just finished would adore this climate. The War with the Newts by Karel Capel is an amazing and brilliant piece of fiction. Not a warm and fuzzy bit of distraction, but packed with themes and shockingly prescient concepts about the behavior of the human race. Came out first in Czech in 1936, before WWII. You would think the writer had a time machine...
So cold, this morning, said the owner of the pet supplies store, that she could see her breath. So chilly this afternoon, I used up the last of my gift card on a steaming hot chocolate from Au Chocolat. Too damned nasty out for ice cream.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Exclamations of disgust

Somehow we hit a dryish spot in the soggy day for the usual walk; it waas cut short by looming black clouds and a kicked-up wind. Even the chickens put aside their differences to huddle close together against the damp chill.
The GOP presidential candidate is a crazy, sour old man; even my mother, formerly a lifelong Repub, remarked at his negative whiny tone. The evening went down the drain in increasingly heavy rain, we were not even a bit tempted to an evening walk.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Good day unreliable sunshine

A short climbing session was available, and one acquaintance was there who'd just returned from 45 days of trekking in Nepal. It sounded kind of horrendous to me, weeks spent at 18,000 feet, treacherous "trails", where a fall pretty much meant injury or death; also you lose muscle tissue being up there for so long, and this guy had nothing extra to lose. When I'm in my 60's, I don't think I would want that kind of challenge, but of course no one knows until they reach that point.
There are many milder treks available, but no guarantees about weather conditions or political climates.
The sun flickered on and off all day, but determined to have a springlike experience, I scouted out the new high-quality ice cream parlor not far from the supermarket. Three bucks seemed high for a scoop, but they are very generous, and the stuff is dangerously delicious. The flavor I sampled was called "Scout Mint", very minty and loaded with what looked and tasted like crushed Girl Scout Thin Mints. It almost felt summery, walking along with an ice cream cone.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Laying low

Slow, chilly and quiet day; we started new books, and spend time on them. I have Karel Capel's
War with the Newts, a translation from a Czech writer, published in 1936. It is wonderful, but quite strange. There are indeed giant intelligent newts who figure into the plot in every way you can think, yet it doesn't seem overwhelmingly surreal, at least not yet.