Monday, November 30, 2009

So good to me

A little group of us made it to the gym for a session in the morning; never know when we will be able to manage it, but it's great fun when we do. Everyone was in pretty good spirits, which buoys up the rest of the day. One of the staff had offloaded a good portion of a vegan chocolate cake his wife had brought home for research purposes; we were amazed at its general tastiness.
(Sometimes vegan baked goods are leaden and dry, I've found.) We didn't regret our own research.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Unhand that tree

So many people seem to be whacking away at trees and shrubs, far too drastically for them to look good. "It'll grow back" appears to be the mantra of these inept pruners. One fellow was denuding his side yard, and the results were not good.
Mild sort of afternoon, and our final turkey dinner with remainders was consumed; all that's left are cranberries.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Late breaking perfection

A treasure of a day, sunny, almost warm when out of the slight movement of air; we got some fine walking in, errands done, muscles worked, and generally de-stressed. Green Lake was jammed with people working on last night's dinner fuel, which is probably a good sign.
Late evening airing and early to bed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Part of the bird

Everybody got their butts out of their seats for exercise. We had a little family dinner, with appropriate food for all, including turkey breast, stuffing on the side made from home made bread and cornbread, smashed spuds grown in our own back forty, and a few other items. Two thirds of us did not have dessert; about the most tempting one I heard of was far away, a triple coconut pie the description of which rivaled the ambrosia of Greek myth. Unattainable, thus ultimately covetable; perfect, and no extra slabbage on the hips.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We enjoy a couple of good walks, early in the day; the neighborhood is relatively quiet. Went around a bit picking up things we needed for tomorrow; one search was for a new collar for the cat. The only two left at the pet supplies store were a very feminine pink and red girly cat style, and one with little American flags going around it. The owner and I laughed at how this last one remained unsold in our progressive neck of the woods; I asked for the starker skull and crossbones pirate print if she could get it. No cat of mine is going to be called a right winger.
Very soggy walk in the evening, a short hop for a liquid dessert.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


More like mistily; eventually we nab a brighter spot in the air and grab it. Low energies ooze, which we fight. Our nonegenarian feels old, with which we sympathize yet attempt to gloss over.
The day wears away.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monkey business

Would that we could climb like them; great friend's college-aged daughter is fabulous at it, though. We three had a too brief session, then talked briefly to the gym manager and found out he and his wife are expecting their first offspring. He said the fetus was moving around vigorously in the ultrasound image, enjoying its own little bouldering cave. May all go well.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beyond miserable

So we endure this endless cold water to ensure a good snowpack in the mountains; that's all that can be said about it.
Fun drumming event/open house at a friend's place, then off to the theater later for opening night of a play we saw in Ashland, "Equivocation." A friend had a couple of free tickets, and she wanted to go very much. It had been my favorite of our summer trip, so I was happy to accompany her. Despite a few intense moments of early seventeenth century interrogation techniques, or at least the vivid suggestion of them, she seemed to appreciate it. Same cast from the Oregon Shakespeare crew, which was wonderful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oh to be a young boulderer

As opposed to being one of a certain age; the little climbing workout in the afternoon was fun, anyway. We thought about all the young athletes able to ascend so nicely, and hoped it would inspire us.
Our nonegenarian stated an interest in watching a certain football game that she and Dad always looked at every year, as my beloved brother went to one of the rival schools. If things weren't going well for his team by halftime or into the third quarter, my dad would declare the game over, and walk off in disgust. He would have done so during this year's contest, undoubtedly. Mother and I chuckled over the memory.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More looming gloom

We skirted most of it, and blew into the beauty salon later in the afternoon, under a brief spell of sun. Much snow in the mountains, highways closing for the winter, and we're starting to suffer the bone penetrating wet cold famous in these parts. Nothing for it but to dose up on hot chocolate, which everyone seemed to be doing; too long a line for several days now. I hope it means the little chocolate cafe will survive a while longer. A dark and stormy night, wind gusts shaking the old place.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Drink your ice water

That's what we had all day long, falling down upon us; glad I had a chance to get away from contemplation of this mess for a while. Beloved offspring and his girlfriend have been working like maniacs all week setting fresh problems for a big boulder comp; I joined her for the afternoon to forerun a bunch of the easiest ones, meaning we climbed them, sometimes repeatedly, to compare them and rank them for scoring purposes. It was interesting to get a glimpse into the work involved in the competitive arm of this sport, and just plain fun to spend a couple of hours bouldering easy routes. Offspring and his hard climbing cohorts were working on the routes that are beyond human ability to complete; one must be part gecko to do so. It will be a grand event.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wall hugging

A friend and I spent a little bit of morning time doing just this; when I got home, in the course of chores I discovered a huge black mosquito on a bathroom wall, clinging to the last fragments of summer. I put it out of its misery.
Evening treat of sushi, and a bit of time with the kids; they've been working long hours geting their gym ready for a big competition which draws people from all over. Bouldering only, which is for the young and extremely strong; my speed is the warm up and kiddie problems.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Except for the blasts of wee hour winds, during which I thought, in a partially awake state, I heard the loud chitterings of raccoons, scudding around in the ruins of the vegetable garden; evidence in the morning, half-chewed green tomatoes and scattered grapes from the big vines along the deck railing, seems to point to animal marauding. They are free to take all the green tomatoes and grapes they like, the fruit has been frostnipped and is unappealing to human eyes.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Tried to start out with a bang; didn't quite manage it at the climbing joint, but energy was spent, regardless. Went with the friend and her college-aged daughter, who always perks us up.
We finished the day with elderly exercising, and off to dreamland.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ending a week

With a hardwon bit of exercise; very heavy gravity in the afternoon. Pleasant evening, whale-watching via the telly; we always learn something from the nature programs, although it is sometimes horrifying. Not sure I'd ever heard of "false killer whales", rather ugly creatures that prey upon baby whales. Makes me run and hide.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Clambering out of the hole

Mundane day of chores and bug battling; by evening it seemed to have abated or at least changed its form of attack, so we went off to fete a friend on her birthday at a bistro which had a jazz group playing. Our party got a bit too chatty, and got shushed by one of the owners; I felt bad, since I don't like it when other people aren't mindful of their noise when there's a group playing. The birthday girl knows the owners, however, and she was loud and happy, and remarked that they wouldn't be upset with her, especially after we paid the bill.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Now what the meep?

Where did this bug come from? And why is it trying to throw me down? Beloved offspring raked for me, and we got out for airings, all of us. Early to bed, inasmuch as that is possible.
Feverish and weird.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Humming along

Unexpected gift of a completely sunny day, and it was off to the races for everyone. More well wishes came in, and the Idaho branch of the family sounds like all is going well. This delightful serendipity will end some time in the middle of the night in wind and rain, but the sunset was magnificent in a limited palette, and we wound our way into the evening.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Meh to yeah!

T'was shaping up to be kind of an uneventful birthday, but it didn't rain all day, friends arrived bearing nice gifts, people called, and all was well eventually. The raccoons kept out of sight. My dear brother advised putting a .22 bullet between their eyes the next time they appear on the roof; I would say he's lived in the Southest too long, but in fact, our dear old dad used a .22 back in NW Ohio to scare away starlings that were mobbing the house we rented while our new house was being built in another town. He stopped shooting at them, however, when one of his shots landed right between a bird's eyes. As much as he hated being awakened by the flying vermin, he felt bad, thought he'd set a bad example. We kids were impressed, though, and our mother started calling him Old Dead Eye for a while.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

and the other half of the session

Now my elbows are wiped out; must have been all the raking of wet leaves. Must get children to do it, as their joints are more resilient... Back at the gym with another friend, for what she calls a cameo workout, i.e., brief. Her life is very stressful lately, so she needs all the breaks she can squeeze in.
The nonegenarian and I squeeze in one walk in a brief almost not-raining spell, and then indoor exercises to work out further restlessness. Fantastic "Nature" show on our human ancestors continued this evening; it's called "On Becoming Human", and it fascinates me. Not sure why, since I am pretty much convinced evolution has stopped and many humans are slipping backwards, but there is marvelous information coming out in this program. One show-stopper: They used a "molecular clock" to determine when human ancestors' pubic lice differentiated from gorilla lice. Researchers were trying to figure out when pre-humans became relatively hairless, so figuring out when they developed two kinds of lice, hair and body varieties, was a key time period. You gotta watch it to believe it...

Monday, November 09, 2009

arms of clay

Poor sleep makes for disappointing climbing performance; but it was fun to see my friend and her college-age daughter, who has been a champion climber in previous years. Now as she goes up routes we can only look at and dream of finishing, she mourns her "poor conditioning." We are not very sympathetic. She is a graceful athlete, and a very nice kid, and fun to spend time with.
Brief weather breaks for walks, no more raccoons in sight. They did leave droppings on the porch roof, though, in their own nasty "fuck you" way.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Fowl murder

Out on one of our miraculous "sunbreaks", we ran into the husband of the couple across the street. He said in the middle of the night we had wild weather, he was awakened by chickens shrieking. He dashed out into hail and rain and wind to see what was going on, and found that raccoons had unlatched the main door to the coop and dragged off one of the birds. He saw them scuffling around in the bushes, drove them off, and retrieved the dead bird. Latching the door more securely, he went back to bed, only to be wakened not long after by more alarems from the birds. This time he found the raccoons had pulled down a latch on a window, and another chicken was missing. He put the last remaining bird in the garage, and went back to bed, soaked and cold. Next morning, there was the missing chicken, pecking away serenely in the grass. He has no idea how she evaded the raccoons.
That night I went out to run an errand, and as I went down onto the sidewalk, there was a raccoon which looked like about a thirty pounder, staring at me. I waved at it, and shooed it, but it quite boldly lay down across the sidewalk before me. I went the other way. Later there were a couple of them up on our porch roof, staring in a window; scary critters.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Not so fine tuning again

Back to the gym with a friend; she and I are trying to get endurance mileage in, it seems we are always starting over with it. Fortunately there are always new routes going up, and not time enough to get bored.
Lashings of rain; there was a waterspout that came ashore down on the Oregon coast - maybe at Cannon Beach? - and then proceeded to behave like a tornado. There was a good-sized funnel down south of here, near Enumclaw.
Not liking the book group novel from a few reads ago, by one Antunes. Too grim, although the writing itself is very good. It's hard to fight off nightmarish images, even if it's in the service of Literature.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thunderin' thuckatash

Wild weather for wild times; there was a huge procession of about 1500 law enforcement vehicles to honor a young cop murdered on Halloween night. The ceremony hadn't even ended when there was a big engagement south of Seattle, where a suspect was wounded and taken to the hospital. I don't recall ever seeing such a gargantuan show of honoring a fallen comrade, and such a rapid marshalling of force to nab what may be the actual shooter. The Seattle police department has been under siege lately, and I think they wanted to make an impressive display to the community; the procession was mostly viewed with solemnity as it passed through the city. Astounding to see that they can, with citizen cooperation, get their man.
Housewarming at the kids' place, which was very pleasant. We left before the place exploded like that overstuffed mitten in the old folk tale.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Where's the snorkel when you need it...

Headed out on foot per usual to gather, nearly got blown off a couple of overpasses; spotted a strange little bumper sticker on a beater which read, "Same underwear, different day". Found some amazing Italian nougat at the trippy sweet shop in the north of the U-District, a confection containing almonds, pistachios, cranberries and cherries, quite intoxicatingly tasty. I managed to slide into home with soaked feet; persuaded beloved spouse by dint of a gift of nougat to accompany me on the next leg, during which we were lucky not to get precipitated upon, just blown away. We have consumed nearly all the ripening tomatoes and sweet peppers, so summer is now but a chilly specter.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


We skipped along in 62 degrees worth of niceness, savoring what will be the last pleasant climate change for a while. Huge halo around the sun, which bodes ill for the morrow; the leaves will hang on until it's pouring and gusting, and then be miserable to move around. Wonder what sort of grazing beasts would hoover them up?
Reviews of the latest Orhan Pamuk novel abound, which sounds tempting but perhaps somewhat recursive. I'll have to go test read it.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Putting it mildly

Unexpected invitation for another short climbing session, and off we went. Saw a few folks I hadn't run into for a while, including a woman my age who climbs like someone half our age. She had a couple of friends along, and now that they're not going at the crack of dawn as they did during the hotter weather, I may join them occasionally.
Perfect walking weather for older mammals, and all enjoyed the atmosphere. Some guy working on a house up the street marveled at our old cat accompanying us, and told us he had a friend who had taught her cats to play fetch. We've seen what looked like a pitbull-ish dog in his truck, so hope he continues to think highly of our feline.
Fascinating Nova program about our human ancestry; made me ponder that we've come so far only to regress.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Starting it up

Jumpstarted the week with a gym session, fun yet frustrating at the same time; managed to get our nonegenarian out for a couple of her own exercise times, right before the rain tentatively arrived.
Finished the Murikami short stories, and decided that in this batch he was striving too hard to be cryptic and cool. There were a couple of good ones, one about a dwarf which appears in the protagonist's dreams and dances astoundingly, another about a vanishing elephant, but overall, not too terrific.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Pleasant morning of climbing, then a nice walk for our nonegenarian, in sun and no wind, her favorite. Hauled out the old spooky tree for the front porch, as we always have some little costumed beggars appear; no carved pumpkin, but I found a squash-themed cartoon poster I made some years ago, so it went up behind the little, lighted dead tree. One little boy from down the street gazed at its purple lights, dusty webbing and paper bats and appreciatively declared it "scary". We had about a dozen trick-or-treaters, with two guys in skunks among the best outfits. I saw a 16 month old girl dressed as an owl at the corner store; I complimented her on her outfit, just as she started to cry, loudly and piercingly. "Oh, a screech owl," I commented to her mother, who chuckled. We made some pizza, and had a cozy evening.