Monday, August 31, 2009

bumbling along

After the morning damp burned off, we had another fabulous late summer day. There's a gelato joint on the main shopping street, with the attention-getting name of "Fainting Goat." They do have a flavor made with goat's milk, and it has something in it the woman co-owner called "mastica"; she said it was similar to the flavoring in Greek retsina wine. They gave me a taste, and it was wonderful, sweet and a bit pungent with just that hint of evergreen. I've never tasted anything like it. Stuck with one of my favorite gelati flavors, stracciatella, I think it's spelled, vanilla with chocolate seams running through it, very dark chocolate ones. One does need relief on a very warm day.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

No resting

Futzed about all day; not sure where it went, but we enjoyed its beauty. Intrepid kayaker had a swell paddle, and bagged some nice photos. We will soon be able to have one of those tomato fights, like those sophisticated Spaniards have every year, based on the numbers of fruits popping up in the back forty.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hanging on

Fitful night of sleep, so not so energetic at the old climbing joint; the friend I met has her own issues over sleep lately, so we followed the path of least resistance and highest mileage.
Lots of flitting around on errands and chores, and things are coming together somewhat.
Writer Agnon is getting too religious for me, as in Jewish mysticism, and I may have to fling him aside.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Moving moments

On the way down to a weight workout, I ended up walking behind a couple of slender young guys who were holding hands and obviously taken with one another. We had to pass by a bleacher half full of very jocky black and white guys who were resting up between rounds on the basketball court. I wondered what would ensue, but the guy couple was well past the bleachers and no one jumped them or yelled insults. There was some sort of murmuring and chuckling, but no mayhem. I felt relief, and maybe a bit of optimism that people are improving.
Lots of tomatoes ripening, as well as huge sweet green peppers; they were swell in a salad. We shall have potatoes at every meal for a while...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Walking shoes

The usual day of errand running, but spiced with a gym workout; lots of trips up the self-belay cables, and a smattering of boulder clambers did in the arms. A long walk home with a full pack delivered the last coup. Lovely and hot, getting to the end of this kind of weather for the year; spots of shade were cool, on the windward side of the street.
New author to hand, S. Y. Agnon, described as "a Hebrew writer and Nobel Laureate," died in 1970; it's a short story collection that showed up at Half Price Books, and which I bought for my mother to read. She liked it very much, rereading it a couple of times. His style is growing on me as the stories advance.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Lovely day, middling activities; our nonegenarian seems to be rattled by getting her hair done. Hard to keep oneself in the mental space of someone that old, but it's important to keep trying to do so.
Another pleasant trip through the farmers' market; procured our weekly supply of salmon, fresh and dried. The fish guy had coho at about half the price of wild king, and it looked and tasted just as good. The doughnut peaches were divine, and there were lovely carrots.
Done rereading Ms. Carter; time to move along.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swell and sweller

Woke up to gray sogginess, but by noon, all was sunny and bright. Tomatoes are starting to leap from the backyard, and another handful of fava bean pods were harvestable. The corn ears are still midget-sized, but we hope they will swell at least a bit more in the next week or so. Speculative rooting around in a potato hill yielded an amazing number of redskinned spuds, the largest of which probably weighs about a pound by itself, on down to one little marble-sized item. There are several more hills which will mature in the near future; perhaps there will be baskets of orphan potatoes left on doorsteps with the label, "please give us a good home."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Return to the comp site

The friend with whom I participated in the casual climbing comp picked me up and we returned to try any of the remaining routes we could manage. Not too many, as it turned out, but still a pleasant way to stretch the body and move the blood around. She and I always have a good time.
Such a fantastically wonderful end of summer kind of day, with the slightly slanting golden light, and the shorter evenings coming on; our nonegenarian was inspired to do the longest walk she's taken in some time. Our neighbor who a year later is still recovering from a brain aneurism asked for help getting down her front steps so she could show us her almost one year old boy. He's doing well, a happy calm baby; helping her down, I was struck by the similarity of this 43 year old's needs to our 91 year old's. Perhaps obvious to others, but when you're sandwiched between two people 50 years apart who can't get downstairs by themselves, it's a bit of a wake up. Random nature of events, hard to prepare for them.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday stuff

The purple Guatemalan fava beans seem to have ripened; their pods aren't as long as the ones in the farmers' markets, but upon opening one, I found the beans seemed full and ready to harvest. We got a handful to put into a pasta dish. Only thing purple with them were their flowers. Yellow wax beans and our own basil went into the main course, and an heirloom tomato, a "Black Russian", rounded out the salad. All of us were properly exercised, and content by evening's end.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hanging round the weekend

Big new projects are in the offing; may they prove to be inspirational. That sounds like a fortune cookie offering, and sometimes those little scraps of paper deliver.
Just walking for fitness, another fabulous cool and breezy evening; finishing up a re-read of some of Angela Carter's literary criticism. She's amazing on James Joyce.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Evening event

Pleasant day, and a nice barbeque to end it; a friend who had family in town had several of her friends over to celebrate the occasion. Interesting talking to "blue staters" who live in the depths of Florida; they had plenty of appalling examples of red state mentality to relate. Kind of like the Civil War persisting, dividing families.
We wound up the evening with homemade tiramisu, which is never bad in my book.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Off and running

Last day of a string of beauties, with cooling relief already arriving by early evening; we made it to the casual climbing competition, and outdid what we thought we could do. Nice crowd, good routes, and delicious beer afterwards with a burger. The owner's garage band performed, then the very polished group of one of his employees. Plenty of people take these events very seriously, usually when they are in range of sweeping the competition and getting first crack at the prizes. Only the top male and female climbers are so privileged, and the rest of us make do with the drawing. We skipped it and got home before it got late.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The other brand

One of my climbing pals and I went over to the other gym in town, just for some variety. Had a good and tiring session, and onward into the rest of the day.
Still ploughing through the strange collection of old sci fi our kid picked up. The novel about the world in which the seas were full of sentient plankton was a bit odd,but intriguing. Maybe Earth's krill will mutate thusly, and get us back...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It ain't over yet

Summer, summer, everywhere, and many lovely draughts to breathe. We ended a pleasant day with a nice evening walk, down by Lake Union, a change for me, just haven't been heading that way for a while. Gasworks Park was chock full of happy lazing people, lots of young families. We happened to strike up a chat with a young woman who had two little ones in tow, one literally wrapped around one of her legs. So strange, she grew up in the town across the river from our town in Northwest Ohio, and we had a friendly exchange over it. Her husband looked as if he was ready to fly away, but she was most cordial.
Sunset, and up the hill to home.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Training up

A very good friend with whom I have climbed a bit finally got herself to the gym, where we decided we'd try the casual competition that's coming up. It's always been fun, and they award prizes via a drawing, so if one is disposed to feel uncompetitive, it doesn't matter. Or if one is terribly competitive, that doesn't matter, either. I like the diffusing qualities inherent in such a system. Otherwise people tend to be arrogant and ridiculous over even a fun-oriented event. They tend to cheat, regardless, but that's frequent with the human animal.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday workouts

A couple of nice walks for our nonegenarian, in the weather she loves the best, sunny, breezy, not too hot, not too cold; the rest of us dragged ourselves out to get some kind of movement done. Lazy kind of day; good to rest up before the next week unloads upon us.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Clamorless clambering

Lovely early afternoon, thus the gym was very quiet; we had the run of it. Routes we thought might be worthwhile problems turned out to be frustratingly insoluble. We have a culprit, but he's a friend and shouldn't be harangued.
Pretty evening, and a refreshing little walk.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Sweet climate and beloved spouse; after a normal day, no surprises or calamities, a lovely night time walk settled us.
Am nearing the end of a collection of early Isaac Asimov short stories; he interspersed them with observations about his life at the time he wrote them, ranging from late Depression era years to post-WWII. I would not want this sort of intrusion usually, but it's been fascinating to find out about the ways in which he got published, in some very pulpy magazines, with pretty short half-lives, as well as getting a little idea of what he was like in his younger years. I prefer him as a humanist to Poul Anderson, whose libertarian themes are practically screeds in some of his work. When I was on a sci-fi kick in my early teens, I know I read all these guys. Back then, it was just about the quality of the stories, and I didn't realize how infested some of them were with philosophies and sentiments that were abhorrant to me even then.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Weeds in the garden are, with all the drizzling going on lately; not complaining, but it's alarming to see them sprouting into a prehistoric jungle. next there will be brontosauri grazing. That would be great, maybe they would scare off the raccoons, which are leaving piles of scat around to let us know they are here.
Swell afternoon of walking around, hunting and gathering; I left a message at the closest Whole Foods store that I will never shop there again, and am spreading the word about its greedy libertarian asshole owner, John Mackey, who spewed his right wing guts about Obama and healthcare reform on the Wall Street Journal opinion page the other day. Don't support this fucker. I occasionally went in there to find maple butter, but no more. It's worth a read, but I won't link the WSJ.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Pretty much best for endurance-building at the gym; there's mental trickery involved in doing anything hard and edgy. My friend and I were both a bit underachieving.
We love this early fall-type atmosphere. It doesn't seem to be diminishing the farmers' tables; the potato guy from eastern Washington was offering about fifteen different types of spuds, so I got a sample of the "all reds", red skin and rosy flesh. Favorite fish monger was out of smoked salmon; he told me he has been smoking a thousand pounds at a time, and selling it at the big weekend markets. He did lower his fresh fish prices on the six-hour-old chunks he had on hand, though. One produce guy was selling small French melons he compared to cantaloupes, so for a small price I got one for our weekend pleasure. Once again, the doughnut peaches, evidently known as "fig peaches" in the Middle East, where they originated, were irresistable, along with their neighboring pluots.
We have purple Guatemalan fava beans developing, which I hope will be harvestable. Only one little cherry tomato thus far, but there are many on the plant. Our garlic is quite diminutive, not sure why.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Sweet overnight rain, saving us a couple days' worth of hand watering; weird to be practically putting on rituals to get a storm around here, but the long term theories point to drier and drier times up here. British Columbia's been burning since April, so the systems, if they arrive at all, are going farther north. Too much like dystopic stories I've been reading...
Lots of walking, energies refreshed; hanging pleasantly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gray and sweet

The humidity rose, the temperature dropped, and crankiness ensued. The day transformed into a sprinkly evening, then an umbrella required night. Different kinds of fantasy tales abound on the reading program, from Arthur Rackham to more of Silverberg's short stories. All is quiet and sleepy; maybe irritants will be washed away.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Perchance to nab a few hours

We'll ramp up the activity level today, and hope to tire out enough for good sleeping. They say it works for young kids, it certainly can for the really old ones. People out feverishly working on fun, from barbequeing at the park to simply donning one's best fairy attire and sparkly slippers to twirl about in the shade garden near the indoor pool. This big little girl was off in her own universe, arms akimbo and dreads flapping, beneath the giant plane trees.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Cold tomatoes

We've been grooving on the cooler temperatures, but our tomato plants don't all like it; one heirloom variety is developing nasty black bottoms on its fruit, which must be discarded. Must face brass facts: Summer is half over.
Beloved offspring loaned me a couple of old collections of sci-fi writer, Robert Silverberg. Good creepy fun, and interesting to find out that Silveberg started publishing his stories in pulp mags before he was old enough to vote, back in the 1950's. A bit corny in spots, but good reading. He's still alive, 75 years old, and considered an elder statesman of science fiction.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Funny near death

A neighbor across the street who's been recovering from a brain aneurism for the past year was happily messing with a plastic hamster ball; she asked me if I minded small rodents, and handed over the young pet of her five year old son. He has named this little furball Ham and Cheese, and H&C has already used up a life, if hamsters could be thought to have a few at their disposal. He disappeared several days ago from his hamster condo, and usually in that event, a hamster will be found, flattened, under a sofa pillow. One of my brother-in-laws can attest to this, having witnessed about every sort of demise possible for his string of childhood hamsters. H&C, however, somehow evaded capture, and one night the young owner heard strange sounds coming from the furnace; his dad opened a panel, and there was Ham and Cheese. Luckily it wasn't midwinter, so the furnace wasn't firing up.
Lots of running around today even for the nonegenarian, and we are happy when cocktail hour is upon us.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Rumors of rain

But nought more than that. My sister over near Moscow, Idaho, has had some, after cooking in her un-airconditioned university office for several days, whilst ferrying kids to soccer, putting out flare ups with one of the older kids; angry kids make everything hotter.
Nice long errand walk, with a stop for some bouldering; got me perked up and stretched out. On the way home, I must have picked the steepest street in the area to get up the ridge, and had a full backpack; almost hiking.
Last minute outing for a little bite and sip with a couple of friends, just in the neighborhood; they tend to be impromptu, which works fine for us most of the time. We traded gardening lore, had a swell dessert.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Picking up steam

Our dogged persistence in even just gym climbing seems to be showing; we climbed harder than we have for weeks. My friend and I both felt kind of lazy at first, but built up momentum as the session moved along. She's about nine years younger than I, and a very good technical climber, so usually has more staying power than I do. I still default to whatever brute force I have left.
Another swell farmers' market, with some of those astoundingly delicious doughnut peaches to go in the shopping backpack; the fish guy was there, which always makes my day, with fresh king and smoked salmon, wine/maple cured. The curing ingredients don't impair its ambrosial taste, which is something I might choose over just about anything, including chocolate. There was more bi-colored corn, fantastic big tomatoes, handmade ready-to-bake pizzas with unusual ingredients, which I haven't tried yet, but they look wonderful. The little folky musician gave us all a round of "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain", for which he got some tips.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cool and sweet

Now if these marine breezes would just bring us a few rain storms, things would be fine; for now we'll take the pleasant evenings and sleeping hours. We managed a bit of a walk, and a bite to eat.
Not doing too well on reading material; tiring of reading my heroine, Angela Carter, not thrilled with the books full of environmental woes, which are depressing beyond words. Should join my mom in re-reading some children's classics, such as Treasure Island. She's been having a good time with some of these old goldies.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Wackety wee hours

Round about four ayem, a strange burst of sound passed through the back yards; rustlings, and high-pitched chittering, then the not so strange blast of dog barking. Could not see what it was, despite the bright moonlight, but decided it must have been a passle of young raccoons, led by their mother. They've been testing the corn development, bending over smaller stalks and ripping off the unripe ears. We may not harvest a single bite this summer.
Lovely evening airing, after a perfect day.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sailing along

Laying low kind of day, cruising into the evening; a barbeque with old friends, and it was nice to sort of catch up with them. There was another guest, a very talkative fellow who pretty much monopolized the conversation, but he seemed decent, and had recently lost his wife to cancer. I figured he deserved some slack. The night drew on, and a huge bunch of crows convened close by, raucous as all get out, but at sunset, cruised silently back the other way, under a tinted egg-shaped moon.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Working it out

Mileage is about all we were capable of at the gym; we worked on a nice array of easy routes, then ventured onto some more challenging ones. When there are kids from the climbing team training, it's fun to watch them, but also intimidating. Their warm ups are problems we'd be happy to claim. A couple of the kids are going to France for the world competition, somewhere near Grenoble, in about two weeks. What a gas, to be 18, strong, and competing at that level. We daydreamed about that, briefly.