Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stocking up

On sun and exercise; the nonegenarian marches onward towards another birthday. We have family coming in from out of state to visit, maybe we should use it as an excuse to bake an early birthday cake. I will try not to let it be a candidate for Cake Wrecks.
Short and sweet climbing session; people had to leave earlier than usual, so it had to suffice. Offspring on hand, so we sushi-ed it for dinner. One of the owners comped us a really delicious dessert: Banana spring rolls, in a dumpling shape, with nicely not too sweet green tea ice cream, drizzled lightly with a chocolate sauce. The last time I had green tea ice cream, years ago, at a place in the International District downtown, the stuff was teeth-jarringly sweet and too strongly tea-flavored. I've never had it again until now. The banana things were warm and not too sweet; altogether a wonderful surprise.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Very spicy foods at late-ish dinners may cause bizarre dreams. Came home to find an e-mail from my friend with the puppy relating that her parents had driven down from their condo some miles north of here to see her and the new puppy. They'd had a nice visit, then her dad, who'd been becoming an increasingly problematic driver due to age and brain issues, drove back up to their condo, went in the house, and dropped dead. So fortunate it didn't happen in the car, and perhaps a good thing for her mother, who was facing some hard decisions. I'm so glad she saw him one last time.
So many different stories about the ends of our parents' lives, and no way to know how to plan...

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Of errands, but there was a pleasant portion of the afternoon. A friend who recently had knee surgery was home, recuperating in the company of a puppy they just got last week. It was one of nine from a litter spawned via an illicit tryst between a German shorthaired pointer mother and a yellow lab father. I took my friend some fresh fruit and a get well card, and we played with the pup. Or rather, the dog got increasingly feisty and peppy, and we worked on training her not to bite. Damned cute critter, mostly black with some white spotted places; she will grow to be about 40-60 pounds, said my friend. Hearing about the puppy not quite sleeping through the night made me glad there isn't one of these creatures in our house. Too much like custodial grandparenting.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wonderful warmth, however fleeting

Nice morning session at the climbing gym with a friend; she and I are trying to get stronger, and occasionally hit a high point. I faced an unmarked lead route, and managed to make all the moves to the top, albeit with some hanging about. It might have been the hardest one I've tried in months. Oddly, I felt no fear, just the pleasant puzzlement involved in solving a problem.
Nice sunny walk with the mater; later the skies became bruised-looking, and half gloriously blue. Finished the book about the people setting up refuges to give lab-abused chimpanzees places to live out their often considerable remaining years in some kind of pleaant surroundings; reading about the nauseating conditions "scientists" have kept them in and the sometimes pointless testing, I was left wanting to lock up these so-called men of science in steel cages. Apes are not always a match for human disease response, so why not use the abusers for the experimentation? There are so many hideous humans in the world who could be test subjects. Then they'd have a shot at offering something to mankind.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Miserable wetness of being

General cold crappiness of day ultimately redeemed by a wonderful dinner with beloved spouse; we had handmade gnocchi with roasted garlic and cauliflower in a creamy sauce, and a ragout of elk over handmade roasted garlic/potato ravioli. Sweet little place, which seems to be the last not to charge extra for bread, something spreading all over the city. Along with a delicious Eastern Washington sangiovese, our repast made us content and almost warm on the walk home.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cruelly crystaline

A bit of a workout at the climbing joint; ruined on a couple of new routes put up by the kids' coach. He hath no mercy for the shortish. (The kids don't count, since they are as light as air). The skies today were lovely, but the air was sharp and cold. In a few sheltered spots we found a bit more warmth, and the sunshine did at least motivate our nonegenarian to walk a little bit further. She gave advice to the mother of a neighbor whose 58th birthday it was, regarding exercising: Move it or lose it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Meandering along

It's sort of snowing; there are pretty flakes flurrying down lightly. If you hustle along briskly, it's not unpleasant; that's about the best I can make of it. Gravity was high at the workout joint, and I could not get out of there fast enough.
Time to dig out the old Latin and South American cookbooks for ideas about spicy dishes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Upon one's lips

Fortunate to get yet another climbing session, although it was my last gasp, as far as endurance went.
Further lip crawling continued in the evening, at a wine-tasting. And onward, to a wonderful restaurant called Mojito's, which name perhaps gives some clue as to its offerings. Many tasty dishes from Central and South Amercia, as well as the eponymous beverage.
Shall sleep well tonight.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rolling home

Bit of a climbing session with a truly hardass climber from around the area; this is someone who can swim about a mile and a half before coming to the gym and still be functional. The mere thought of all those laps makes me feel like rolling under the bed.
Beloved spouse will return some time in the wee hours. Liveliness of existence will resume.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Noxious fog

It seeps and creeps across the landscape; and it's damply cold, unless you keep moving. Perfect afternoon for walking all over on errands, and the hot chocolate is particularly divine. Plenty of company for the nonegenarian, who opts to do indoor exercise.
So the best Prez. O. can come up with for the Treasury Dept. is a former Repub-turned-"Independent" who cheated on his personal income taxes? (Timothy Geithner) And he'll be in charge of the IRS? And they claim he's the "only one" who can undo the results of all the looting? Would you like to buy a bridge in Brooklyn? (The other suspects must have been hella worse).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Clambering back to health

Still working on getting the system back in shape; nice session with a friend, keeping it moderate. We had a slight bit of sun, a brief illumination before the freezing fog crept back.
My thoughts regarding Prez O's "everybody roll up their sleeves and volunteer" routine: Sure, but this country needs a WPA and CCC type program that PAYS people. Thus far, on his first day, he appears to be full steaming ahead. Fingers crossed, breath kind of held...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Everything is misty

It lay like a pall almost all day, except for a brief and beautiful span of time in late afternoon; the sun almost broke through, and it caused gorgeously subtle swathes of mist and sky over the lake. I had to go out on a dock to take it in, it was like a Turner painting. (English painter who did wonderful misty-looking canvases)
Hair do day was accomplished, and shaky walking; time for a sit down with chocolate truffles.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What did we do right?

Yet another glorious sunny day; we do pay for it with stagnation, but in our area, it seemed sweet and clear.
So tomorrow is maybe the start of healing. I think it should also be a time of hunting down those responsible, GOP or Dem, whose greed and dishonesty caused the ruination all over our country and the world.
As I read further in the book about chimpanzees, and see humans contrasted with them, I see what horrors humans can be. There is very little innocence left in many people, but much hubris and evil. A glance at the headlines confirms it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Carpe sol

So we did; the nonegenarian volunteered for a second perambulation, as did the cat. He was exhausted for the rest of the evening. We were so glad to have more sunshine.
Sad news from a distant friend. His partner of twenty years died far sooner than they'd hoped, of a malignant brain tumor. For all his bravado and wild wit in the past, he was prepared to see her through whatever happened. It may be good there wasn't an extended horrific demise, as it possibly would have worn him out. They'd put off official marriage for years, but discovered that in the particular Southern state where they'd been living, if two people - heterosexual, of course - can show they've been living together as if in marriage, they are thus common law spouses. No time span required. They are not much older than we are, and it makes the heart ache.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oh great source of vitamin D

It revealed itself to at least the metropolitan area, and as we seem to be rebounding from disease, we enjoyed a bit more of it today. Out for a late-ish evening stroll, and by chance, to hear a bit of music. Classic samba covers give at least the illusion of warmth.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Two quarts down

Viral invaders are stalking us; haven't quite managed to slough them off. The day is blurry and sloggy. Reading about a guy's project of rescuing chimpanzees from hideous conditions in research labs is kind of distracting. It's called Next of Kin, and the subject is interesting, although the writing, an "as told to" format, isn't all that great. Similar to Three Cups of Tea, which concerns the riveting issue of educating girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan; something about having someone else write one's story seems to dilute the quality of the prose.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Where is that promised sunshine?

It barely squeaked through the stagnant foggy layers; they look like my head feels. Taking a page from John Muir, I walked for a while in chilly air to try to flush out the bugs. Hot chicken noodle soup at the Coop helped a bit, and a cheery conversation with a woman I've seen around the area for years added to the distraction. She was sitting at the tiny counter area in the deli section, and just a glance and smile triggered her. She was reading the New York Times, and tsking about the imminent demise of the best of our two local papers, the Post Intelligencer. Then she switched to how glad she was that the Idiot and Darth Cheney were on the way out inside of a week, with which I heartily concurred. She paused, then said,"We don't do windows, do we? And you know, an old friend who died recently told me,'Dustballs never killed a Liberal.'"
Kind of round about, but I again concurred.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Whaling away at the walls

No wailing, just pounding; we got away for another little spot of climbing, which left me taller by about a quarter inch I'm sure. They have gotten the old gas heaters repaired, and the warehouse of a gym is about the temperature of a cool spirng day out here in the Pacific Northwest. It's a huge improvement over seeing our breath for a few hours until enough bodies piled in there to generate a bit of warmth.
Strange scene at the post office: Two female cops were heading into the lobby, which is always open for people to get to their P.O. boxes; there was a pile of blankets in one corner. Evidently someone had been crashing there. They queried two derelict guys sitting outside about the bedding, and they replied,"Oh, those are Dennis's. We got no idea where he is..." They didn't ask me, but they did ask a guy with long hair who's from the neighborhood if the blankets were his. We had both just gone in to drop mail into the indoor slot. Perhaps a bit of profiling.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A spot of sun

And that was all, nothing more; it got cold again in the evening, just as we went out for a walk. Spinning wheels bewtween reads, not liking the sounds of the next book group selection, not quite engaged in the non-fiction work I have at hand. Flibberdegibbetty am I.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Moderate fun

On a roll thus far with climbing maintenance, and it's so much more enjoyable than the weightlifting, but the latter keeps me fit for battle. Met up with two very good friends and just had fun, no tilting with hard routes, except for one, which is now banned from my list.
Not engaged much in any book, but I did read most of a smarty pants piece by Zadie Smith in the NYRB. She eventually lost me with a plunge into what struck me as bizarre and self-consciously alternative forms of literature. It was sort of neo Dada or revisiting Expressionism or something. Flourishing things about for the point of being obscure, perhaps. Got to sleep quite nicely.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


One of those days, running on short sleep; slogged down to work out, slogged back, slogged all over the place to get nicely worn out. Must have been that chocolate cookie I ate at the party last night, keeping me jacked up in the wee hours.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


It gets oppressive, so again off to the climbing joint for some vertical therapy; somehow there is a break in the showers, and we get out for a walk. Out for a brisk walk in chilly air, and our nonegenarian decided she wanted to cut it short, due to some wind. When one's skin is old, one feels the bite much keener than younger folks do.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Full afternoon for the nonegenarian, what with the hair doing and the toe doing, and walking; no untoward dizziness, just bliss. Brief late morning workout for me, with a friend who tends to get a bit obsessed with working routes; it's all right, but it cuts down my climbing time. So many different styles and approaches to this odd sport. Managed to squeeze in time to get a friend from the South his coffee machine part repaired; at least they can have a good cup of coffee in the middle of their troubles.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Floating along

As soon as I stepped outside and looked north, I realized another batch of rain was coming, this time from a colder direction. Walked down to work out anyway, since I can't see wasting gas to drive there and get on an exercise machine. Off to Whole Paycheck for a look-see, and in no time managed to spend a bit of cash for what seemed to be a paltry handful of items. No wonder people go there and fill up on the delicious-looking and smelling samples. Asparagus, six smackers a pound. I got six stalks.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Underneath it all

Another good climbing session, which always makes us feel taller and younger. Lovely illusion, like any exercise-induced high. So much wind and rain and melting snow coming down from the mountains, huge swathes of the state are under water via rivers you don't hear much about the rest of the year. Slushball Earth is on the roll.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wonder bread

Blasts of wind came along with the mildness; good day to make a batch of bread, and convince our nonegenarian she won't blow down the street like a tumbleweed if we go out for a walk. I remembered to croutonize the ends of the last batch of bread. Otherwise they molder quietly in the dim cold recesses of the fridge. After reading about John Muir's experience of getting caught overnight in a late April snow storm on the summit of Mount Shasta, I feel quite warm and comfortable as I stride to my weight workout.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Off on the right side

Wonder if that was referring to getting out of bed in the morning; anyway, everyone seemed to have done so, and we followed the course of an average and uneventful day. Except that I had some ice cream for lunch; kind of transgressional. Calories were shaved elsewhere, and positivity rose a bit.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Purge time

A friend told me she uses this time of year to purge her home of unwanted stuff. Great idea, I just need to be seized with it. I just ain't much of a fussy boots.
Cold, cold, and we are due for more snow. Reading John Muir's mountaineering essays are a fine distraction, but there's far too much reference to a divine power in them for me. He only gets a pass from me due to the time of his existence; people should know better by now.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Beating out the bugs

Back-to-back climbing workouts, and no germ can withstand the punishment. Two of my friends and I connected, and did our utmost upon the manmade walls. Late afternoon errand walk to exchange a huge gift book for some store credit; we found a pile of good stuff even at Barnes & Noble, which is kind of like a huge box of lousy chocolates. Lots of pretty shiny exteriors, but not much of quality inside.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Moving along

Bonus gym session with a friend who's been living in California for a while , finishing grad school and working in the ESL field. She has wonderful positive energy, and her optimism is almost contagious. When teaching is going well, it tends to buoy up the spirits.
Done with the text of Gulliver's Travels, and now I need to finish the challengingly scholarly introduction, which I could not get into when I began the book.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

lumbering in the chill

It was hard to keep warm for most of the day, as in one's inner thermostat. And so my poppet, if you feel infirm, it may be that you contain a germ. (pax Ogden Nash) We plodded along anyway, to the workout joint, open for the first time ever on New Year's Day, I think. No excuses.
Am just about done with Gulliver's Travels, and reading his conversations with the head of the horse race called the Houyhynhnms, I think that Swift would be horrified and disgusted unto death with the same old world situation he detailed, magnified beyond his wildest nightmares.
Our planet is run by Yahoos.