Sunday, June 21, 2009


Dramatic skies all day long, but cool for summer; off we go to warmer climes.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A visit

We are expecting our other mother tonight. The day hasn't been a stellar one, owing to a mysterious ailment visited upon one of us which has been worsening, requiring some ER trips; no fair, right as vacation begins. May the miracle of antibiotics commence.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More like it

Cool and rainy, eary this morning, eventually morphing into a lovely late afternoon; strange drowsy behaviors all day long from certain parties, but no one collapsed.
No man's land for reading at the moment; I can't bear to read any more about the Chinese factory girls, nor the economy that has caused them to migrate from rural parts of their country to cities, largely in aid of producing piles of unnecessary and wasteful crap. Maybe all the junk can be sunk to make artificial reefs some day.
Short visit to a friend's birthday celebration and bon voyage for the couple, who are off to walk the Pyranees, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, over 400 miles in about three months. May their feet stay strong.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


All around the town, getting those much-needed staples; it grew warm and nice, perfect weeding and pruning conditions, then threatening but beautiful clouds settled in around sunset. Rained in the night and early morning, much to the snails' delight.
Somehow I finished the almost 1100 page long Pynchon novel, Against the Day, but I can't really recommend it unless someone is a Pynchon diehard. Parts of it were terrific, and one section in about the middle made me give up in frustration for a while. Bits and pieces of it intrigued me, but there was far too much predictable and cliched tongue in cheek material overall.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh happy day

Began with a swell climbing session, went on to a nice visit to the local farmers' market, where I obtained an organic tomatillo plant; I've been seeing these prolifically growing all over town for some years, and have always wanted to try to raise them. The guy who brings organic meats and potatoes winced a bit when I told him we had about a dozen spud hills in our patch, and said they always tell people not to grow too many, since they will offer around two dozen different kinds by late summer, early fall. But it's fun to dig up your own, so we will have no shortage of potatoes. May have to sell them at some kid's lemonade stand.
The lovely clouds only exuded a trace of rain, but it felt wonderfully refreshing. Afterwards, there was a pair of hummingbirds executing a series of helical maneuvers which had to be part of a mating ritual, since they weren't trying to stab one another. They wove in and around our big mock orange bush, then vanished.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moving in

New neighbors are arriving, one next to us and one up the street, next to a good friend. My hopes are that the new ones next door, a woman who actually owns the house and her college aged son who's home for the summer, as well as a teenaged one, will be quieter than the houseful of graduate students, who had three or four loud parties, although nowhere near as heinous as those on the other side of us. The other new neighbor is a woman, who plans to live in it and not have any tenants. One would hope so, for 775,000 bucks.
Kind of a strange day, glad it rolled to an end; may tomorrow be cheerier.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nature red in beak and wing

Birds in our neighborhood are violent. The hummingbirds harass the swallows, the swallows dive bomb the crows, and the crows go after the rest of us. Imagine the carnage.
Very pleasant climbing session in the afternoon with a long time climbing partner whom I don't see as much as I used to, owing to scheduling conflicts. She and I have done a fair amount of real climbing together, and hope to get at least one day trip in this summer. She's still cancer-free after more than a year, and may it continue.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

All is cloudy - ask again later

Interlude of foggy coolness, giving the baking garden some relief; our nonegenarian felt cold in the shade, but the rest of us enjoyed the fresh breaths of breeze. Fresh greens from the back fourty, as well as the first dwarf snow pea pod. The plants are only about a third as high as the climbing variety, but are already producing large tasty pods. Spinach, chard, cale and mustard greens are in ample supply.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The thee-ate-er

Maintenance level climbing workout in the morning, with a friend of a friend, and the usual round of activities for the rest of the day; in the evening we took some friends and neighbors to a play at one of the theaters surviving around here. They were performing a comedy from the 1960's, "A Thousand Clowns". It was good for the most part, with a lame ending. Particularly stellar, I thought, was the twelve year old kid who played the twelve year old character; the rest of the cast was fine, too.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What's in store

Our usual hairdo day and scenic drive, which our nonegenarian always enjoys when it's sunny; we manage it uneventfully. Party celebrating a friend's finished PhD, in the form of a backyard barbeque; she said it's been ages since she's had time and energy to entertain, so let the guests entertain themselves. Wonderful food, including some delectable desserts, a fine group effort; the evening stayed pleasant until late enough. A good variety of friends, despite one of her professor's grumbling about not many anthropologists being around for him to hang with. Strange remark to make to a couple of people you've never met; so much for highly educated people being classier than others.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


We stole a few hours out of the usual workaday for a lovely walk at a big urban park not far from us, Discovery Park. We've been noticing big swathes of unmown grass at a closer park, and it was even more evident at Discovery; I just hope they pay someone to keep the stinging nettles back off the trails, they're reaching prehistoric dimensions. The day was absolutely perfect, and we had the place almost to ourselves. There was a fairly low tide, -1.1 according to the table in the newspaper, and there were a few people wading around pretty far out from the beach. One little boy, wearing a bike helmet and a backpack, poked around in the tide pools; he looked as if he'd just run away from home with the essentials. The crows were plundering the exposed areas like drunks at a raw bar, and a heron or two posed regally at the water's edge. We sat for a bit, drinking in the clear air and cooling breezes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mind stirring

Got to steal away this morning for a wee bit to hear a friend who just finished a PhD in anthropology, and who, in her own words, was explaining what she's been doing for the past ten years. The idea behind her research was to look at the Staircase/Escalante National Monument in Utah, a Clinton-proclaimed area of 1.9 million acres; this fiat was laid on the area unannounced in 1996, which caused quite a ruckus among the locals. My friend's focus was on the democratic processes which should be followed by both sides of this huge issue of public land use. I hope she is able to publish it as a book. It would be sobering information for people, especially those who have been living off public lands and are deluded in thinking their ranching lifestyle is some kind of inalienable right; that strain of humans wouldn't attend, though.
Gorgeous day and fun evening visit to the sushi joint.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Roll on oh week

Our family visitors spent another day here, getting out for a father/son walkabout, which I think must be fun and maybe a bit rare for them, since there are two more sibs at home. They gamely went out for an early evening paddle, and nobody capsized or got run down by a barge. Pizza all round.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Fun day

Famliy members hung out with our nonegenarian while I spent some time with a friend. We all got in a walk, and ate in shifts later on, due to varied schedules.
While out on an errand, I heard a man telling a younger fellow,"A guy who hasn't dated since 1984; that's who drives one of those cars." So tempted to ask him what model he was referring to, but it shall continue a mystery. De Soto? El Camino? Many possibilities...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Garden surprises

One of the kids' tomato plants has produce the first baby fruit of all the ones we have in. Two of the Guatemalan purple fava beans have sprouted - not sure what happened to the other two - and the spinach is a -poppin'. I'm curious about the biggest potato plant, wondering it it's got some little new ones buried under it.
We get family guests later in the evening, somewhat at short notice but still welcome; they are staying in the guest wing, in a tent in the side yard. Although they hail from a very small place in Idaho, they said our neighborhood is quieter at night than theirs, for various reasons.
We quietly marked our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary; he's my best friend ever. In Leon Russell's words,"I love your for my life, you are a friend of mine..."

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Cool start

Back to more familiar climate conditions; pleasant for climbing workouts, and rumbling around the yard. Our nonegenarian found it cold, but the rest of us felt normal.
A friend held a fundraising dinner at her home, helping out a woman she knows who's training for a triathalon race for the cure kind of event, in this case, lymphoma and leukemia research. My friend's been working on this for a while, and having eighteen extra souls in her modestly sized house to feed and entertain went well. We all had a swell time eating lasagna, drinking wine, and trading personal anecdotes, some of which I would never have imagined coming from the people they did. Very fine evening.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Marine pushing

It was a weather condition, not an assault on military folks; a big swoosh of air came onshore yesterday evening, cooling us from 90 plus to somewhere in the sixties, F. It made for a nice sleeping climate, and a wonderful day today.
So hot this past week, the yellow wax bush beans sprouted in a matter of days. The corn is as high as a squirrel's eye, and the potato plants look positively tropical.
Research in the neighborhood uncovered another produce of homemade ice cream, the patisserie; just had to sample his espresso flavor, which was a delightful form of delivery of the afternoon cuppa that I probably shouldn't have. It fueled a burst of weeding, so it was worth it.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Hey, this heat is starting to feel fabulous. It lets us rationalize eating delicious organic ice cream - we need the dairy for protein and the calories for walking - and calls for cooling beverages in the evening. The garden is exploding, and not so far in the future we will be harvesting in bulk, instead of paltry handfuls of baby spinach leaves and the odd bit of arugula.
Delivered a silly card and nice present to my friend who turned fifty today. We are calling it a "zero" birthday. She's a breast cancer survivor, going into the second year. May she live fifty more.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Heat wave

This is way too early to be having such temperatures; all our snow pack will be gone too soon and we'll be back to water restrictions, which some scofflaws always sneak around and cheat by watering at night, as if no one will notice their thriving lawns and plantings.
Sweet interlude of a climbing workout, with two very good friends; it was so hot and sticky we had trouble sticking to holds, but we had fun regardless. One of them turns fifty tomorrow, and I have been pondering some nice observation of it to give her.
We head out for a walk and a sup, as it is too hot to fire up the stove.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Reading into it

Having finished Carole Maso's AVA, I had been picking away grouchily at the damned huge Pynchon novel, when a friend loaned me a nonfiction book called Factory Girls, written by a young Chinese American woman who spent ten years writing for the Wall Street Journal about China. This background makes me suspicious that the author is some kind of free market proponent, but I'm not far enough along in the book to be able to tell. The WSJ is generally too right-leaning and corporation building for me, but they did used to have a few interesting pieces every once in a while. Now "WSJ" should stand for White Suckers' Journal, as in sucking the planet dry of resources in the name of "productivity". Anyway, this book is about young migrant Chinese girls who leave their rural homes for factory work in the cities, to try to claw their way out of poverty. At the time this book was published, there were 130 million of these migrant workers; biggest human movement in search of work ever recorded. Since Bush and his crew made the world economy crash, this migration has reversed...
Saw a hideous example of American consumption today: Older white guy in shades, balding all the way back to his long white mullet, slowly driving along in his white PT Cruiser convertible, blasting Earth, Wind and Fire as he looked around arrogantly, sucking on a lollipop. Some scenes sear the brain.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Memory building

So many swell days in a line, even our nonegenarian cops to the fact. Met up with the climbing party folks for a BBQ, and had a pleasant time out on their back deck. Their almost five year old girl was delirious from lack of napping - I'm amazed she'll still do that at all - and was hilarious company at dinner, kind of to her moms' chagrin. Babies, bigger kids, dogs and what all threaded our evening exchanges. One woman who works for a big Southern California school system is off this summer to Pennsylvania and then Taiwan, where there is supposedly some rock climbing. Her travel reports should be interesting.