Saturday, October 31, 2009

Terrifying "lady"

Friday night's big band concert was fun, and the group played really well. There was a Brady Bunch sing along at the end, during the course of which a huge guy dressed in drag as Mrs. Brady came sashaying menacingly out upon the stage. I'd seen him out in the lobby, and he looked like he was about seven feet tall in his high heels. Astounding. We repaired to a wine bar after the show to fete our guy's participation in the event.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tumbling along

The answers are all blowing away in the wind; massive needle fall from the big trees. We sort of fly around the walking route, and the cat didn't want to come along.
Big performance tonight for beloved spouse; he looks marvelous in a tux.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Interesting play the other evening, "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" by Robert E. Sherwood; it's 70 years old, and though the production set it clearly in late pioneer times, the issues facing Abe, of course, were timeless. It took him, in three parts, up to the time of his election as POTUS, and he left his little town. The theater which put it on has often added musical touches to its shows, which I usually like. There were period songs interspersed amongst the dialogue in this one.
Then an afternoon of gathering and walking the next day, pleasant enough despite the grayness and chill in the air. Amazing to see more Halloween decorations proliferating, freshly carved pumpkins nestled up to molding, rotting ones cut too soon. One house must have had a couple dozen arrayed along its walls; it must have been a riotous party who cut them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Throbbingly good fun

Met up with two great friends for a climbing session, and we had a fine time catching up and going up. My thumb still feels weird, and I didn't want to put too much pressure on it, but it was still an enjoyable workout.
Good exercise for our nonegenarian, who was in cheery spirits.
Off to a play in the evening.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Drama in the skies

Huge chiarascuroed clouds swept across bright blue skies; we see them piling up over the mountains to the east. There were 17 inches of snow in the North Cascades, and crazy 'boarders skipping school and work to slog up the slope for an hour, only to slip down the heavy wet stuff for about thirty seconds.
In limbo reading-wise; pulled out a collection of Haruki Murikami short stories which I don't remember ever seeing. A few of them are related to one of his novels, The Wind-Up Bird Chronical, but the rest seem unfamiliar. They're odd, have a kind of down the rabbit hole quality to them, and one of them is so frightening I'm having a hard time putting it out of my mind; getting to the point where that's not so good for bedtime reading.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Getting a fix

Finally made it back to the climbing gym with a friend. During the course of making breakfast, my right thumb had a close encounter with the bread knife, a big irritation, but I bound it up and went climbing anyway. The bandage didn't show any evidence of blood until after about an hour and a half's worth of working out, and didn't hurt, so I figured it was fine. A bit throbby, but it will mend. My friend offered to use some surgical glue on it that they use on animals at the vet's,
but I demurred, thanking her politely.
Sweet little repast with the beloved spouse, then interpreted a British murder mystery for my mother. Those accents can be a bugger.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day of contemplation

These dark days go quickly, contrarily enough; no doubt this is due to their increasing brevity. I finally got around to shelling the little store of fava beans I've been keeping in the fridge in containers; they were a fine addition to some homemade pasta noodles, made to the usual thickness we like. We pair it with some fresh salmon from the Coop, and had a swell repast. Next year I will try to get more than two fava plants going. It takes a lot of pods to get a pile of beans.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ratty Saturday

Not much of a day until evening, when we went over to some friends place for an evening of finding out about their big hike over the summer and early fall, two and a half months crossing the top of Spain, along the Pyranees. They had a slide show on a continuous loop, and a nice big map on the wall, as well as the tapas and pintxos and wines typical of the region they traveled. Quite an adventure, with salient details such as the necessity of wearing gaiters, due to the huge amounts of herd animal dung on the trails, and the occasional lack of trail, with rock cairns as guides onward. Beautiful and largely uncrowded landscapes, often reminescent of areas here, such as the Enchantments in our Cascade Mountains, or a place that resembled a smaller scale Yosemite. They carried pretty good-sized backpacks, had a tent and stove, and took more time than most of the other hikers, who just carried clothes and a sheet for the refuge bunks. It was a wonderful show.

Friday, October 23, 2009

End o week

Thursday, ratting around time; the gray coolness was perfect for urban hiking. Passed the house of a guy who decorates enthusiastically for every regular old American type holiday; he had a skeletal bridal couple - picture male and female versions of The Cryptkeeper - posing up on the porch, over a queen-sized coffin, with a "Just Married" sign hanging over them. You would think "Till Death Do Us Part" would have served more accurately, but I slipped by without asking him about it. There were scores of plastic jack-o-lanterns scattered about, as well as a pile of uninflated inflatable Hollween figures. Lights everywhere; it looks as if it will be quite a sight when the tableaux is completed. Terrifying to the eyes of young children, I think; he'll be able to keep most of the candy for himself.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Drizzly, chilly, but we got a break later. A young friend who helped with yard and garden last year stopped by to say good by, as she's moving back to Montana; she said she couldn't take another Seattle winter. I think she didn't give it long enough, but if you're used to blue bird skies over snowy landscapes, this place is not ideal.
Little bit of a birthday fete for a family member, which was pleasant.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Onward but not upward

More like sideways, but the rains held off another day, which helped cheer people. Beloved spouse has a birthday tomorrow, so we did a bit of preparation to fete it, although discreetly.
Am nearing the end of The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolano, and have the feeling that I just didn't appreciate the angst of the characters very much. It has had its moments, but overall, I am left with an oddly empty response. Maybe it needs to be thought about for a bit.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday fun day

Started out with a burst of fun, going to the fake cliffs with my good buddy; she and I had a swell time, trying out routes just a bit harder than we've been doing. The gym is bedecked and bedizened with yards of fake cobwebbing, and countless spiders of all sizes. It looks great, even with all the lights on.
Quiet yet active remainder of the day, as we captured a few brighter spots in the weather.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

unscorched earth

Soggy all over; some folks have standing water in their yards. Calm, mild and pleasant day, so the land may drain; to where, is a puzzle.
We walk out later for a liquid dessert; one of the waitresses was telling us about her courses at the UW this fall. One is supposedly an entry level philosophy class, which she is finding difficult and deadly. She can't drop it, as her funding depends upon her credits. She mentioned the readings, which included Plato, Descartes, Locke, among others; my heart goes out to her. The stuff, I always thought, was horrifically masculine and impenetrable. My mother read a lot of philosophy in her undergrad years, and she observed that she thought it was a bunch of men arguing about very little.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Floating away

Zounds, such precipitation; the whole area is awash. The only guy who looked happy about it was the rescue rooter plumber interviewed on the news, who stated with apparent glee that he'd be going 24/7 for a few days, cleaning up the aftermath of clogged drains.
We use some of the precious stash of cherry tomatoes in a nice pasta dish for dinner. Some of the big green ones are actually starting to get a bit of blush on them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Looming gloom

So dark in the morning, no one wants to get out of bed; we're rolling late. So much rain, yet weirdly mild; you can almost feel the mold growing everywhere. It takes a major cheerleading effort to get people rousted and moving, but we manage, even unto a hairdo event.
Late rolling evening, as we head over to a young friend's 27th birthday celebration, at the venue of his choice, a divey joint which features karaoke. We intended to make a short stay in honor of the birthday personage, but pleasant conversations and the lure of the microphone sireened us. The birthday boy's mother was encouraged to go up for her first karaoke session ever, and she had fun. The birthday boy gave an astounding performance art level rendition of an Alice Cooper song, "Feed My Frankenstein", which beggars description; he growled, he strutted, he howled, and yet remained melodious. His very sweet-looking girlfriend looked stunned, I thought, as the rest of us exploded with glee and appreciation. My personal choices of "Since I Fell for You" and the Beachboys' "The Warmth of the Sun" were archaically tame, but very fun to try. Beloved offspring delivered "Happiness is a Warm Gun", a John Lennon classic which is a bit tricky. One of their friends and former classmates, who is now an obstetric nurse, belted out Alannis Morisette's "You Oughta Know"; wow. And she had helped to deliver five babies a day or so ago. Woman's got energy! Once again, as at last year's similar celebration, I was struck by the democratic atmosphere of the place, and the tolerance; there's one guy who ALWAYS sings
Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", and another who batters a song so hard no one really knows what it is. Karaoke's a great leveler.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Time off for good behavior

It was a surprisingly pleasant afternoon, no rain until evening; lots of time for walking about and erranding. Part of the travel was by city bus, and there is always some kind of slice of life being served as you try not to be noticed by the crazies. A man and a woman got on about halfway through the trip, reeking of alcohol and looking worse for wear in general. Their ceaseless loud exchange left nothing to the imagination: She described how her nose, which he had broken during some kind of "freakout" was healing, but her shoulder still pained her mightily. She enquired of him how he could call her "baby" and tell her he loved her, after breaking her nose and damaging her shoulder. She repeatedly told him to "be a friend", and to stop calling her baby and proclaiming his love for her. If it was just sex he wanted, she told him, he could get that anywhere. (I silently gagged.) Oh, yeah, he answered, he sure could get sex anywhere - maybe anyWHERE, but not with anyONE!, thought I - then he said he had a ring for her. At this juncture, I hurried off the bus, as he said he hoped Bruce wasn't gonna be there since he wasn't drunk enough for that, and she giggled and said rum and coke slurpies sounded good. I only hope they are beyond reproductive age, they were a disaster unfolding. There were several more unhinged souls on the sidewalks, some quiet, or quietly muttering, or ranting. I think they were headed for the park with a beach on the sound.
As I passed by an outdoor store on my way to Fremont, I thought I'd take a peek. Some items for future use were in stock, including a pair of climbing shoes, the last pair my size. Climbing shoes get loved and used to shreds.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A friend's due

Swell session at the climbing gym, with a friend who's leaving town for a bit; she was a close friend of the man who recently died hiking in the mountains. The friendship had been affected by various realignments among people in her circle, so the loss seemed more poignant. It's so hard sometimes to know the facts about people's relationships, when you only see parts of the situation and it's impossible to know all. Seems best not to take sides.
We head out into the rain, since it's mild and not cold and blinding.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Horse blanket days

The skies spread over us like cold wet blankets. We are due to get soaked very soon. Beloved offspring came by to say hello, and to gather a few vegetables for dinner; there were rescued peppers, huge green tomatoes, plenty of taters, and a handful of ripe small tomatoes. We're hunkering down for a bleak stretch of weather.
Pretty well along in Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives; it captures a sense of wildness from what must have been a heady time for young writers in Mexico.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Struggle for survival

When a friend and I went to the climbing gym this morning, we heard a story about the young guy that just died up in the mountains from the manager of the gym. Twelve years ago, the guy was hiking by himself in Yellowstone and as he came around the corner of a trail, there was a grizzly cub on one side. Of course the mother bear was nearby, and she came out of nowhere, knocking him down a slope. He was lying there, thinking he had a chance to live, since he'd fallen a fair distance away from the bears; suddenly she leapt down the slope, and grabbed his head. At that point, he reached for his cannister of pepper spray, only to discover he'd grabbed his camera. She crunched on his head for a bit, then his abdomen, then left him. After a while, he got up and hiked several miles out to a road. He said he stood by the road, bleeding profusely, trying to wave down a ride, but they kept passing him. Finally he stood in the middle of the road, waving his arms, and was picked up. What he died from over the weekend was a 1,000 foot fall, after a hold broke, or rock moved on a chossy slope, according to two friends who did the major searching for him.
We spent our session climbing easy leads, and savoring our existence.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cotton head

Wandered around feeling half here; not sure how we got everything routine accomplished, but it was managed. Sad news about the guy overdue on his hike; his body was found up in the Glacier Peak Wilderness area. It sounds as if he may have gone up on a bit of a scramble, and lost his footing. It's always a shock when a fairly young person, in this case, 42, perishes in such a situation. He seemed to be an intelligent good-hearted fellow, and we don't need to lose any more of those in these increasingly foul times.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spotty reporting

Head seemed a bit clouded and muzzy, but it cleared up once I got up to the stretch of roof climbing at the gym. My new acquaintance was frazzled at first by being stuck in a hospital parking lot after visiting the new mother that morning; there was some kind of convention at the hospital complex, and the lot was gridlocked. Friday crosstown traffic here sucks anyway; no, crosstown movement here is always lousy. An hour or so of vigorous upward effort cleans away all kinds of bad residue in the brain.
Unexpected visit from beloved offspring, whom we treated to dinner.
Saturday kind of a lost one; fighting off some kind of bug, going through the motions. Distressing news about a climbing acquaintance, a guy experienced in backcountry travel who is late to return from a hike, a person who survived a grizzly attack several years ago; we hope he is found.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Beauty shall reign

For me, due to one of my infrequent journeys to a salon; my usual hair artiste was in the process of giving birth to her second child, a girl, so her friend and colleague took on the pruning task. Turns out she is a fairly new climber, and was thrilled to have a sympathetic ear for her enthusiasm. We hatched a plan to go to the gym the next day.
Great walking about weather, probably truly the end of the warmish stretch. People frenetically circling the lake, and another log raft of turtles was espied, soaking up rays before they do whatever turtles do once it turns cold; burrow into the mud, I think.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Over the hump of a day

Lawn looks like a fairway, or at least a well-kept rough; too many places for golf balls to get lost. Spent some time hacking away at the opportunistic weeds that never cease to arise; nice handful of cherry tomatoes and one helping of yellow wax beans were gleaned. Still warm and sunny, and all the old creatures in the homestead enjoyed their perambulations.
Swell walk and bit to eat with beloved spouse; a taste of wonderful gnocchi made me ferret out the Marcella Hazan cookbook to see if we can't diminish our spud pile in a delectable fashion.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Scything season again

Playing chicken with the ever-growing grass in the side yard; tomorrow it shall be cut down. After walks, exercising, and a rousing hairdo, we took a fall drive around the lake. The black walnut trees lining a big section of the circumference are golden, with the occasional thwack of a mature nut falling on passersby. 68 degrees F by the running shoe store clock, and nary a breeze stirring the lovely air.
Another delicious mostlyhome harvest-based dinner, to end a pleasant day. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano is proving to be stranger and stranger, and is guaranteed to cause much clucking of tongues amongst the conservative book readers. It's odd, the narrator at this point is exuding the hormonal attitude of a teenaged boy, and I'm finding it pretty amusing, if occasionally getting a sort of nostalgic shock.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Gleaning another session

Have to patch together climbing sessions here for a bit; I do hope things return to a normal schedule eventually. Another great climbing pal didn't have any conflicts in her schedule, at least for the day. Everyone else is pretty much bound by regular working hours. I really like getting in there early when it's uncrowded.
Swell afternoon, walking and hunting and gathering; evening, have dived into a novel by a deceased Chilean writer, Roberto Bolano. It is indicating a wild ride, based on the introduction.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunny Sunday

Practically gale force winds blowing; along the lake, I saw two very tiny kids who appear, from a distance, to be riding very tiny bikes. As I got closer, I could see the tykes were on some kind of wooden toys which resembled bikes. The trade name on them was "SKUUT." The accompanying moms said they were made in Europe somewhere; the kids sat on the seats and walked the scooterlike bikes along, pretty nicely, too.
Later we took a full moon walk along the same path, and the wind was still going strong. Nice end of the day.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Breaking up

The clouds and rain; chilly mornings, but we get some little bits of warmth as we head out for exercise in the afternoon. Squoze in a climbing session, such as it was, but any little bit of it is a good thing. My main climbing pal will be absent some in the near future, so I hope to draft some others in the ongoing attempt to maintain fitness on all fronts.
We are about done with the amazing beefsteak tomatoes from our own backyard; I heard a local gardening guru claim you could uproot the remaining plants, hang them upsidedown in a cool place, and the remaining fruit will ripen. This is too curious a process to avoid.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Missing in action

Long walking around day yesterday, so much that my feet were sore; again I found myself in a temple of consumption, this time an "upscale" supermarket. Someone could do a PhD on rudeness amongst the well-to-do; old pickled-looking Waspy guys stride right towards me, forcing me to yield, both inside and outside the store. Perhaps, since I was carrying my backpack, they perceived me as an itinerant soul; should have at least asked them for some spare change!
Today we have rain from the north, and you could see your breath out on the front porch this morning.