Wednesday, December 31, 2008

clambering vertically

Last session of 2008; it was short and sweat-inducing, albeit not elegant. We got in our exercise on the home front, and had a nice visit with friends at an early gathering for NY Eve. Celebratory munitions woke us later in the night, but nothing hit the house.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

meandering sideways

Very busy for our nonegenarian, what with a personal trainer visiting, going out walking, and hairdoing; she's had plenty of correspondence, too, what with all the holiday cards arriving. I squoze in my own workouts, on a chilly gray day. We are to have more strong winds later this week.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Crawling upward

We were kind of creaky at the climbing session, but it was better than missing one. Lots of people started arriving, old friends and acquaintances. It's often a pleasantly social spot.
Off for some sushi later, despite the damply cold windy night; one place was awash with too many waiting in line, so we hiked over to our usual spot, which we got into before any crowds arrived.
Swell variety of rolls, a couple of new ones to me; nice cool sushi eaten in a warm space is a pleasure on a chilly evening.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Rolling like molasses

Not sure why we are lackadaisical around here; well, some of us. One went out on a strenuous kayak trip for the day, while we lolled around home. Until time to lift weights, when I discovered that one of my toes was black and blue and really painful; it seemed to have decided to get snarky on me, wihtout any provocation. I taped it up and went on with life.
Supposed to be finishing up Gulliver's Travels, which I do like, seeing as how Swift's misanthropy is appealing, but I got distracted by another little collection of Le Guin short stories. In Gulliver, the king of Brobdingnag, land of the giants, gave his summation of the human race to Gulliver:
"I cannot but conclude the Bulk of your Natives, to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth." Fer shure, yer Majesty; still holds true.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

strange time had by all

After the hours of slush walking, we attended a holiday dinner last night put on annually by a local business with which we have a connection. The food was terrific, the company mostly good, until holiday spirits washed over the company like a tsunami. People got what one of my brother-in-laws calls "nappy": mildly not sane.
Things looked up today, as the nonegenarian was able to get out on a good little walk for the first time in ten days. I was concerned she'd forget how to do it. Onward into increasing daylight we go.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Skipping and sliding

We attended a dinner at some friends' place last night, every one bringing dishes of food and bottles of wine; festive time had by all. The youngest among us was a first grader, into Legos, of which he had an ample supply to amuse him.
Slush sliding this afternoon, on various errands afoot; mixed snow and rain fell miserably and continuously, as we ploughed and lept and slogged along. Perhaps we earned the fancy dinner which lies ahead this evening.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The eve of construction

The fridge is getting full of stuff, and I didn't even make most of it. It's growing more challenging each time you open the door to root among the towers of containers to find things. Luckily there's still a lot of snow, so one can bury items and hope they don't get discovered until the thaw.
We dug out the artificial tree obtained last season, and it towers in a corner of the living room. The cat was spooked, but that seems to be an increasingly state of his aging little mind. Catnip may or may not help.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So over it

Big schlepp this afternoon, around the lake to the co-op; then I walked back again, with more than forty pounds of food and other necessities in my two day backpack. Not anywhere near as fun and stimulating as it was carrying it up to the saddle campsite on the Grand Teton, and worse footing. More snow is due overnight, then melting and refreezing. Wish we could send all this snow up to the mountains, we'll need it next summer.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Still snowed in

Unlooked-for session at the climbing joint, owing to a friend bold enough to drive on the moguls and hills; she and her daughter picked me up at the bottom of our street, and off we rumbled. It was cold again at the gym, but not as bad as last weekend, since we couldn't see our breath. Fun work out, and a bit of harrowment on the trip home. We gave a stranded friend a lift; his car had thrown a chain on the Ballard Bridge, and he abandoned his car in the gym parking lot. Buses were backed up and not moving up one of the big hills to home, so we had to meander around to find another route. The slush was frozen hard and very bumpy, and I realized the queasiness I was feeling must be motion sickness. We did have a shovel, in case we got stuck, but the little VW made it back to the neighborhood unscathed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Night in the snow

We went out into the increasingly heavier snowfall, and had a good moderately long walk. Extra credit for having to maneuver in the accumulating piles of frozen moisture. It's supposed to persist for days.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Indoor alpinism

A friend of mine put chains on her VW wagon and off we went to the climbing gym. We were the first ones there, and its warehousey interior was so cold we could see our breath. Gradually other intrepid souls appeared, several of them local legends in mountaineering. Not enough snow yet for back country skiing, they said, and by the time it was expected to arrive, darkness would be coming, as well as high winds. So we all merrily froze our fingers and toes on cold plastic holds.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What, is this Minnesota?

Seems like it more as the days go by; tomorrow we're supposedly going to be hit with a blizzard. The snow's going to be stacking up on our side of the Cascade Mountains, they say, rather than over to the east. I won't mind, I guess, as long as we don't lose our power.
A lone employee made it to the local likker store today, where she was besieged with customers. No one had made it there the previous day, and several sad people turned away from its darkened interior. Gotta keep our St. Bernards stocked with lifesaving elixirs.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow job

We awoke to yet another blanked out landscape, and it came down all day long. Cold, colder, and starting to blow, so it wasn't all that much of a wonderland to walk around in. The young ones manning the local hardware store, called Tweedy and Popp's, were in some kind of animated discussion when I brought my mom's watch in to see if they could force the back on it after the battery had been replaced at the drugstore, wher they couldn't get it back together. As the doorbell rang constantly and people piled into the place, the intrepid clerks managed to smoosh the watch back together while debating the origins and nature of various abominable snowman tropes. When they appealed to me for some kind of answer, I asked them if they did know the legendary creatures weren't real. That seemed to be beside the point, and they continued as I left.
Beloved son put knobby tires on his bike, and rode off into the freezing night to meet with other biking buddies. Hope they stayed off the big hills.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More snow?

Our portion of Puget Sound is in a "doughnut hole"; i.e., there is snow falling all around us but not upon us. Maybe later.
Fun climbing session with beloved son; he ran into an old friend and got invited over for dinner.
We go to bed, wondering what will be waiting for us tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Errands of mercy

Last night I walked out into a bitterly cold night to honor some folks who used to work at our fitness joint. Some of them didn't show up, so I sampled an impressive array of holiday cookies and other treats, which fueled me amply for the return home in the even colder air.
More ice hopping today for essentials, and even a trip to work out; the macho new owners were busy loudly training a young woman at the front desk, blaring all kinds of cliched bullshit. I fear for the place's survival.
Well into yet another vintage Le Guin, a novel titled The Dispossessed, circa 1974, which has thus far an interesting idea about a mostly cooperative society compared to a "propertarian" one.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A feline Jack London character

Our cat, in this unusually frigid weather, cleaves to us, literally, by my mother on the couch, and next to me at night. He is outraged by the horrible iciness on the front porch, and hasn't walked with us for days.
Absurd, the outrage over the young Iraqi journalist who flung his shoes at Shrub; no one in power who has abused said power deserves respect. Bush abrogated his long ago.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Whited out

We awoke to almost two inches of snow, and subfreezing temperatures. Walking proved dicey, more for me than the nonegenarian; she aimed for the dry patches and moved slowly. I hit several spots of black ice down by the lake, and somehow managed not to deck. Early to bed to keep warm.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Scintillating Saturday

It was off to a fine start, with a strenuous gym session, but the temperature dropped as the day went by. The afternoon walk was brisk, in every sense of the word; the cat acted as if he would freeze to the ground if he stood still. By late afternoon, tiny snowlike bits were falling, and by bedtime, we had white coverage. T'was a good evening for reading undercover.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Breathe and release

Ursula Le Guin's captured my reading attention quite a bit lately. The last one I've been reading is titled The Lathe of Heaven, and it ain't for the faint of heart. The jarringly spooky thing about it is her prescience regarding just about everything in the world: global warming, overpopulation, war in the Near East, all of which she hits dead on in this 1971 work. And the main character has this problem with his dreams all coming true, in one way or another. Plus it's kind of funny, in what might be an homage to Phillip Dick. I must find some more of her work, I am quite immersed.
Cold cold it grows; indoor exercises are a boon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Slow me down

Rushed around to get everybody situated before my couple of hours of beautification; maple butter supplies are dangerously low, and that must be addressed as well. The salon, which I would not go near except for the wonderful magician who deals with my mop, was a-buzzing as usual with blabbing and chatting galore. Probably nowhere else would I be involved in a discussion about holiday cookies, but part of that was my doing, since this cooling weather makes everyone crave sweet frosted pieces of baked dough. Martha Stewart's holiday shenanigans make me itch, like a bad case of hives, but I admite the chocolate thumbprint cookies were tempting. A hike around the lake to the co-op solved the maple shortage. The waterbirds were gathering along the northern shore, getting out of the increasingly cold wind. Snow may come over the weekend.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brutish and not very brave

Got to get in a climbing session with a young friend, beloved son's girlfriend, who is a very elegant and smart climber. I had scads of energy for once, and threw myself up all kinds of gymnasitc but easy routes. She prefers technical problems with balance and sequencing challenges. There was a panoply of all sorts of climbs, so no problem satisfying our requirements. I did get on a tough stemming route, and almost got the whole thing, except for one teensy cheat on an edge from another route. I felt privileged to be able to spend some time with her this way; it can be such a relaxing and/or focusing way to get to know someone better.
Lovely evening walk with beloved spouse; we could feel the cold advancing, as it's supposed to do this weekend.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Drop and give me twenty!

Someone I knew and liked who worked at our weight lifting joint until the recent take over by young arrogant guys had told me she would come over to set up a program for my mother. She brought her seven month old baby boy along, and he sat and gurgled and cooed and inspected his fingers for most of an hour while she got the training program going. Mellow baby; I didn't know they actually existed beyond rumors. The workout seemed to be good, so we'll have more to focus on as gray winter drifts in.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Little things

All aggregate into a day; it passes in a blur of choring and maintenance of balance. I find I don't want to reread Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, and keep finding more Le Guin works in which to dive. One story revealed that religion resulted from the spread of an alien virus; I do like that idea, only there was no cure. Many of her stories consider themes of being an outsider, overcoming the alienation, and the ravages of the passage of time, changing the faces of people and places. She also has a strong current of conservation of everything running through her writing.
Off for a bite of sushi with beloved spouse.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

hazy shades of winter

We thought we were suffering from the gloom, but a neighbor is in sadder shape; her cat had been suffering from cancer in its neck region, and she had to have it put down. This is a woman I would describe as feisty and tough, but she told me she was a wreck. Her house is way too quiet, she remarked. The vet came to her home to perform the service, which she thought would be better for the cat, but it proved worse for her. It's hard for people whose sole companions are aging pets. She's not sure if she's getting another one, but maybe fostering would be an option.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Vertical therapy again

A friend and I have been deprived of our usual climbing sessions, and managed to grab one today. She's an avid soccer player of some twenty years experience at least, and is suffering chronic wearing out kind of conditions on her feet. Before, she had breast cancer. And her shoulder is recovering from an injury sustained during a fall from her bike. But she's kept moving, and obtained information about therapy. We always have a good time going up the walls. Lots of exercise for the nonegenarian; lovely deep blue sky studded with fleets of fast-moving little clouds. Last nice day for a while.
We're griddling away like mad here; saves firing up the oven or broiler.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Despite it having been decades since my mother taught elementary school, she says she still likes Fridays, as they remind her of how relieved her friendly teaching colleagues felt when all the little people cleared out. She would walk home, then head over to the hair salon run by the gossip broker of the town. As another relative put it, "She carried tales." No kidding; no one in our little town could peep without this woman finding out and relaying it. It was like something out of a not so benign Mayberry, U.S.A. episode. My mother claims she doesn't remember going there for the juicy tidbits, but that it did have such a reputation. Kind of like a face-to-face internet; smalltown Gawker.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Griddle me this

Not a cloud was in the sky, and I spent as little time as possible in the mall. The people working in the Macy's kitchen stuff department were really nice and jolly, and I came away with two griddles, one for flat items and one for grilling various meats, as well as all my coupons. They let me keep them, and encouraged me to use them on my way out. (Along with all the other big retailers, Macy's sales are down, over 13%). Somehow I got into a discussion with the woman who helped me find griddles about home delivery of big appliances, and she told me about how her giant black German shepherd which hates men made the guys delivering her new giant refrigerator think she had a clone of Cujo in her yard. Her demonstration of her Big Dog's snarl was amazing. I took the bus for most of the journey to the mall, and shared an increasingly crowded space with quite an assortment of people. Mid afternoon, SRO; mass transit is kind of working around here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hi ho

And off to walk we go; we've been fortunate with the sweet late fall temperateness, and try to make full use of it. Evening brought a longer trek for New Mexican fare, pleasant and warming on a freezing night. Tomorrow is the search for griddles.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Gimping along

Turns out the toaster oven works on the Always On setting, but its timer is shot. It'll do for a while. We stroll along in the mild misty air, appreciating the fact that we don't live in the Midwest any more.
Short passage from an old Ursula Le Guin story which captures this region's climate: "Lenient and sweet in their length are the twilights of a latitude halfway between equator and pole: no tropic monotonies, no arctic absolutes, but a winter of long shadows and a summer of long dusks: gradations and accommodations of brightness, attenuations of clarity, subtleties and leisures of the light."
Well, when one isn't huddled and shivering in cold damp; it is, after all, fiction.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Tea leaves

They didn't apprise me of the imminent demise of the toaster oven. Ironically, now I must shop for yet another item, in addition to the griddle thingy. No wonder really rich folks hire personal shoppers. If I were as rich as a queen, I think I'd have my own blacksmith and appliance guy to attend to these tasks.
A friend and I zoomed out on a speedy walk, beating the rain. So many flowers blooming now that shouldn't be; I've never seen this around here. The Pacific Northwest will one day be a semitropical place.