Thursday, July 31, 2008


We begin with sun and loveliness, and end in wind and rain; it will wash things down and freshen the atmosphere.
I hurried through Young Torless, and began the next work in the Musil collection, The Perfecting of a Love; it's moderately more tolerable.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

To market, etc.

Look for interesting vegetables, I was told; nothing really leapt out at me at the farmers' market today, except some organic cauliflower and some irresistible big tomatoes. Carrots were appealing, and more dried cannelini beans. Corn on the cob was priced at 75 cents an ear; we used to think that was a good price for a dozen back in Ohio, in those yoren days of olde. The day cleared off, leaving a sweet evening.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

chilling along

Doldrummy around here; cool and actually rainy, causing balkiness amongst walkers. I am weary of Young Torless, and have sped to the end. Am stalled in Terrors of Ice and Darkness, and have opened an older Joyce Carol Oates novel, A Garden of Earthly Delights, published in 1966. Of course the title is ironic, as you might figure with Oates. Long ago I read one of her novels, can't recall which one, and found her too grisly for my liking, at least at the time. At the encouragement of a friend, I'm foraying again into Oates territory. In a strange and grisly way, it's good.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beginning again

New week, new situations; new weather drifting in overnight. Hoping one can hold her own for a while longer. Fresh Dungeness crab on sale this afternoon, which will go well with home made bread.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We're just hanging around, enjoying the summer; doing the daily work we need to do, getting out for walks and occasional bites. Lovely session at the gym - as lovely as that can be, indoors - with a great friend I haven't seen for a while. Her daughter was next in line for the U.S. national climbing team, so since another girl backed out, she gets to go to Sydney, Australia for the Worlds competition. She's decided it may be the only time she has the chance and money to go there, so will be off some time next month. College starts up for her not long after her return. She went to Ecuador last year for the Worlds, and said the Australians were wild and crazy and energetic, but not very good climbers. They provided lots of giant inflatable kangaroos and cheering, though.

Friday, July 25, 2008

More weekend

It is nigh, le weekend; we are meeting with a group of friends for a light repast and walk. All appears to be well. Lots of happy people in the house.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Skipping around

Lots of energy in the nonegenarian today, walks a bit longer, humor a bit sharper; perfect climate seems to help. She's reading short stories by Dorothy Parker, so maybe that explains it.
I'm continuing with the Robert Musil collection, which is very promising so far, with the first novel he published, Young Torless. It's set in an Austrian military school, maybe mid 1800's, with nasty young characters abounding, but much insightful exposition about what's going through Torless's mind. Musil seems to be one of those writers who can inspect human behavior and provide thorough, artful analysis.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The day couldn't have been better for climbing. As we drove out Route 2, we kept running into pockets of mist and sprinkles, so we just hoped it would be relatively dry at Index. It was, although cool enough to need a few layers while belaying. Our son warmed up on a 10b gear route, and hung quickdraws on some of the bolts on the route next door, his project, a 13b/c called Amandala. I followed the 10b Sagitarius, which I've done before pretty nicely, and had a hard time on the little chimney section; misunderstood the advice, and went into it the wrong way. Ah, well. At least my companion was climbing beautifully; he redpointed the route, and continued up an extension of it which made for about 120 feet of thrills and chills. For both of us: As he got past each clip, my heart beat harder; it might have been palpable up the rope. He's been working on this route for a while, and it was great for him to make it all the way up without falling off. I tried an 11+ route next to it called Iron Horse, named for the trains that go by occasionally. It was beyond my skills right now, I didn't even get halfway. This climbing area is challenging, and demands excellent footwork, as well as overall strength, neither of which I possess in great quantities at the moment. We went along the cliffs and did one more route, a 10b called Tatoosh; again with the damned hard footwork. I struggled on the opening moves and had to pull up a few inches on a quickdraw - cheating - to be able to continue. Managed to get to the anchors, but at one point looked up and saw what looked like just a slender crack and blank walls. I was determined to finish, so I kept working on finding the shadows and scoops that are "footholds" in this neck of the rocks. Nice finger jams, and lots of grunting and a bit of stemming did the job.
Wonderful day!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shut out

Climbing companions falling right and left, prey to rebellious plumbing in their homes and other such small disasters; at least I'll get a session on real rock tomorrow. Looks as if we'll get some cloud cover and cooler temperatures, which are great for the friction of feet and desperately clinging hands and fingertips.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


None for the weary, but impossible to resist a bit of a walk down to the other nearby city lake; one of the rare pleasantly warm evenings we ever get, so it should be savored. Strange scene at the other lake: Three young teenaged boys, maybe, huddled around a laptop on a park bench, snickering over "dirty pictures." Didn't used to be wi fi in the old hayloft, where the guys used to hide piles of dog-eared Playboys...

Saturday, July 19, 2008


On an island of beautiful weather and mostly peace; nothing to do but walk and read, converse and distract. Having seen a tiny bag of handmade crackers for seven bucks at a farmers' market cheese stall, I decided to try making them. It is a bit labor intensive, what with the rolling and cutting, but ultimately they are worth the effort. Great with goat cheese and a morsel of smoked salmon on top.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Week ending

Thought it was time to check out another neighborhood farmers' market; an errand took me to the Phinney Ridge site. It was a little bit bigger,with a few more produce tables, a wood-fired pizza oven, which looked very promising, and a stand that had all kinds of preserved items, such as dill pickles, jams, and ice cream toppings. One of the offerings at the latter was a tequila caramel sauce; one little taste, and I knew it would never make it onto any ice cream. Reader, I did not buy it, too much of an addiction potential; got the pickles instead. The pizza stand was just getting ready, so I was too early to try any of their wares. Picked up some queso fresco and lowfat Quark cheeses.
It didn't break 70 all day, but was sunny and perfect; Green Lake was almost a mirror, with occasional glissades of breeze.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday dos and don'ts

Off for a brief fling at beautification, then around for a scenic car tour; we drive so little lately that I have no guilt over it. Climbing sessions haven't come off this week yet, but it isn't over.
Our garden elf hauled away some trimmings and weedings, and we go off for sushi happy hour.
The moon will burgeon very late tonight, but we hope not to see it.
Reading another strange fictional journey called The Terrors of Ice and Darkness; an antipodial contrast to Voss, the one set in Australia and concerning an expedition that mostly perished due to heat and lack of water. This current one is set at the North Pole. I seem to have chosen the hot one for the chilly spring we had, and the cold one for summer. I don't think I could finish them otherwise.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Can be a positive state, resting the ground for future growth; not everything should be developed and used up. Ran into a friend who used to coach our son's soccer team for several years, brave soul; we caught up on a few things, and he, being from Nigeria originally, came out with a saying from his old country: "Bad bread is better than no bread." This in regards to the aches and pains of outrageous aging; it might be a bit too resignatory for me.
Onward, with the march against creakiness.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rare moments

Wonderful to see the younger grandkids able to hang out with their grandma; they fortunately have been trained to be polite and are not rowdy and rude, which would have been good for some local spawn who are far older. They all went off to the zoo for a bit, squiring her around in a rented wheelchair, and had a good time. The zoo's more fun with kids, as long as they aren't the horrible kind.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hanging with the gang

House bursting at seams, but it's a good time. Nephews are quiet and polite, everyone seems to be able to move around without friction. Enough of a female quorum for talk in the kitchen, and computer gaming for the nearly bored. Funny moment when we were changing channels to find something other than news and Shrub's visage appeared; there was a collective groan, in all different aged voices.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

La luna

Lovely half of it last night; up too late, up too early, feeling tired. Walked around the nearby lake with a friend, about all I could muster. Hot summer day; wish I'd been ready for it. Family visitors arriving in the evening.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Hot summer day, and pleasant night; we went to a housewarming BBQ at our friend's new place, the friend who asked me to help her and her goddaughter paint their bodies to ride bikes in the Fremont Solstice Parade. Another friend there was on crutches, owing to a terrible entanglement with a ladder; further reinforces my dislike of those dangerous handyman's accoutrements. I've been thousands of feet up a mountain and felt much safer than when climbing a ladder.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What is it good for?

The film industry, among other things; only I actually lobbied for a movie, one I'd seen mentioned in a review of its sequel, "Hellboy II: The Golden Army", which I think I'd like to see eventually. We cranked "Hellboy" offen the intertubes, and had a blast watching it. Ron Silver plays the soul beneath the devil outfit, and it's got plenty of entertaining evil beings, from Nazi dominatrix beeyotch to a resurrected Rasputin, as well as an assortment of goopy critters. Gore factor not so bad on a computer flat screen; I only had to run out of the room a couple of times when the deathless Nazi slicin' 'n' dicin' assassin got too Benihana for my taste. Good times.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Enough rehearsing

More good indoor climbing, but it is stop gap; hard to plan a day trip out to the crags.
Took our resident climbers out to see a performance of "A Streetcar Named Desire"; I'd only seen the more recent TV movie version with Alec Baldwin as Stanley Kowalski and Jessica Lange as Blanche DuBois. This local version was terrific, a long evening's journey into this disfunctional family's fraying. The actors playing Stella, Stanley and Blanche were wonderful; what a marathon of a play, long and intensely emotional, although funny spots appeared, even in the midst of Blanche's disintegration and what she calls Stanley's lack of evolution, letting thousands of years pass him by in human development. Bitchy magnolia.
Oh, I forgot, The Simpsons have a version of this drama, in musical form, called "Streetcar!" It is a hilarious send up of a small town theatrical effort, with Marge as Blanche and diddly old neighbor Ned Flanders as Stanley. Great songs.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More beauty

Warmth, sun and cooling breezes made the daily exercise a joy. We will endeavor to overcome any negative and malign currents that could arise. Swell climbing session with a friend, who's off for a family-oriented weekend up north and over the mountains. The local climbers are home again for a bit, and I hope to get another session in tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bridge on a rope

Several of us women Of A Certain Age managed to connect at the climbing gym. No decks of cards appeared, but we had much conversation as we climbed, belayed, and stood waiting for our turns. Everybody seems to have or had a parent or two or more in decline, and all are pondering and worrying about what's next for them. I think there should be a book similar to Dr. Spock's regarding the care of aging family members. I've not seen or heard of any such useful guide. Read about one titled "How to Take Care of Parents Who Never Took Care of You", or some such malarkey. Our generation needs sensible how-to, not snarky snappiness. I think perhaps the tsunami of elderly people hasn't really registered on the horizon, but it will.

Monday, July 07, 2008

BBQin' 'n' politics

Pleasant evening with very politically enthusiastic friends; they were avid Obama supporters, and seem crestfallen at certain recent developments. We didn't discuss that. The weather's taking a turn for the heavenly, and it's almost warm at sunset.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Refreshed and reloaded

The fireworks terrorists have finally used up their arsenals, and we can string together a few more hours of sleep. The climbers got rained out, and plan to try again this next week. We seem to be ready for another lovely summer. The new marketing buzzword is "staycation." No big surprise on its meaning...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Told ya

There were some munitions-grade explosions around 3:30 ayem; the whole household suffered.
Found myself wishing the "revelers" had blown their stupid asses off.

Friday, July 04, 2008

No blowing stuff up

Fortunately no one at our house is still infantile enough to want to waste money on holiday explosives. Not so fortunately, there are far too many morons who persist in such fun. We saw some young thugs take a pot of irises a friend and neighbor had set out with a "Free" sign on them for anyone who might be interested in adding them to a planting area, stick a large piece of ordinance in the plants, and light it. Yeah, yeah, boys will be idiots, etc., but this crap harks back to days so yore it needs to end. It won't, since humankind is now devolving.
It's not "just one night out of the year", either; it started a couple of weeks ago, and will continue until the supplies are exhausted. After tonight's official blowing up stuff for about 20 minutes, sponsored by local businesses, detonations will continue into the wee hours. Which will make me want to blow things up.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Thunderin' succotash

Night interrupted by great crashes of thunder, and we got a sweet little bit of rain to help the greenery. Hair do day came around again, and the normally very quiet stylist was comparatively chatty, telling us how she had gotten responsibility for the holiday cooking for her family on the Fourth; she's Vietnamese, and the menu sounded scrumptious, even on a kind of hot icky day.
Short evening walk, winding up at a friend's house; she was heading down to Beaverton, OR on the train to meet her husband, who was there for work. He had camping equipment, which they planned to use on a weekend kayaking trip on the Columbia River. There's a Washington Water Trail along the river, and it's supposed to be a scenic area. No wild fires in that region yet, at least.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hi, my name is...

...and I suppose I am a climbaholic. It had been over two weeks since my last climbing session, though just indoors, and I finally got to go today. Hanging on upsidedown from the roof filled the need.
Another local farmers' market this afternoon; more red king salmon and smoked salmon, plus an enormous head of some kind of reddish green leaf lettuce, which is really beautiful.
Little side trip to the ice cream store, since it was hot and muggy; their salted caramel flavor was astounding, an intense toffee flavor which melded nicely with the other little scoop of chocolate. The line was heading out the door as I left, having had to endure waiting behind some high maintenance women who simply had to try about every flavor on the board.
Thunder and lightening as we sat down for dinner, could be a noisy night.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Return to routine

It's good to be back in our old neck of the woods; no bad air from forest fire smoke, cooler temperatures, and an uneventful re-entry for the nonegenarian. It seems to be confusing as to our actual absence; she thought it was two weeks. Just one long day's journey, perhaps.
Today is the offspring's 27th birthday. It's a lovely day, although not as hot as the one on which he was born; it was in the 90's that evening, and there was no air conditioning in the hospital room. Big fans blew the white curtains around every mother's bed, late into the night. Thus began our journey as a family, which we are continually renewing.
Reunion with former neighbors this evening, who've dispersed but remain connected.