Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nailed it

Despite a restless night, had a good session at the gym. We eased into warming up, then I easily led the route I've been eyeing; it is itself probably a warm up for the stronger folks, but it's all relative in climbing. That's part of the beauty of the sport. My friend's been on vacation this week, and has to go back to the grind pretty soon, but it's been fun hanging out with her a bit more than usual.
Into the new month...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What month is it?

We get asked that quite often around here. Didn't feel too bad about wasting most of my free time getting medical check ups, I guess, and doing routine stuff.
The fawn lily patch is about spent, a few weeks earlier than usual; have to enjoy the half-frozen lilacs.
Done with Tennessee Williams, just began Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics; from weird to weirder.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pushing it a bit

Bonus gym session in the morning, with my oldest climbing friend; she and I had a fine time clambering up about all the easy and moderate lead routes, and watching some stronger climbers working on harder ones. Grim kind of day, after a grim and noisily windy night, cold, driving rain, wind; we lucked into one pocket of sunshine, sandwiched between hideously dark bands of storm clouds for our nonegenarian's walk.
Fun evening meal of sushi; onward to a better night's rest.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Little bit of a climbing session with a friend of a friend; she's still learning how to lead climb, so we toproped ourselves silly. She seems like a good genuine sort of person, very energetic. Could be a positive addition to our crew.
The day grew darker and darker, and we rolled into the dinner hour.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

See saw

Flying up again on the springiness ride; good day for puttering around, walking with our nonegenarian, finding little slugs and worms for our friends the chickens, admiring the "filtered sunshine." Lots of weeding at the kids' place, a couple of sessions, one with them. Good conversation, further appreciation of the almost summery evening.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Line up at the hair salon, and in went our nonegenarian for her weekly session. Sometimes the place is like an assembly line, but cheerful. We drove about a bit, oohing over flowering trees, including some precocious lilacs.
Bit of weeding here and there, and back for dinner.
Am nearing the end of the Williams short stories, and they have gotten stranger and stranger; maybe his meds were influencing him near his own end...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

About face

Chilly and wet again, but still a good day for walking. Also good for hot chocolate, which isn't as appealing when it's warm outside. Browsed through Whole Paycheck, and it was unpleasant to hear how whiny the customers could get. They can be rude, too, ramming into anyone who stops to look at a display; kind of like a high-priced Walmart. Stopped by a small pet supplies store, and the place was overflowing with rescued cats up for adoption. They were all very passive, sleeping, laying around looking limp; the stories of their sad little lives were posted on the cage fronts, and it was too hard to read more than a couple of them.
Beloved spouse suffered a long homeward commute, as bad as any L.A. foul-up, so I treated him to a light repast at a nearby joint.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Less rust

Unlooked-for gym session with beloved offspring's girlfriend; we worked out at her gym, and even got outside on the handful of routes on a tall wall they have. It was sunny and we felt hot, for the first time in months; sorry we didn't have any sunscreen. A good couple of hours climbing tends to perk one up for the rest of the day. We'll be dipping back into late winter tomorow, so the crazy brief sunniness must be treasured.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Tune up kind of session at the climbing gym; we were both feeling out of practice, it seems to happen so fast if you don't get in there a couple of times a week.
Next day, walking about in an improving climate, with the lake path clogged by all kinds of users; we're to get another teasingly balmy day tomorrow.
Tennessee Williams is showing more and more mastery of his craft, and a comparable increase of imagination. A couple of the stories are solid fantasy. And another seed for a play character appeared: Brick, who is a protagonist in the drama "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". The short story this character inhabits is a wonderfully funny and tragic one. Have to see how he works in the play.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Musical interlude

An unusually busy day yesterday, getting people out for exercise and settled with a companion so I could fly up to hear the last concert in which beloved spouse was playing. Buses were running, my feet were fleet, and the afternoon of Russian masters was most enjoyable. My videotaping skills have improved, since I know which buttons do what, and where they are. The after party was really fun, chatting with other trumpet players as well as some of the clarinet section, who were in recruiting mode. "Just like riding a bike," they said; more like trying to ride a bike after not using your legs for a few decades. Anyway, the conversation was pleasant, the food tasty, and the folk friendly.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Positively balmy

First day of spring, first day you could wear lighter clothes, but by late afternoon, chills were returning. Actually kind of pleasant sweating and pushing the lawnmower around; that shows desperation for something nicer. People off on hikes and climbs, but we soldiered on in the neighborhood.
Onward into Tennessee's crazy land; one short story was titled "The Night of the Iguana", but it wasn't much like the eponymous play. It was weirder and grittier. Starting to get a more specific idea about Williams's personal vices.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Springing around

Did a scenic drive about after hairdoing; the flowering cherries and magnolias were bursting everywhere. Still not quite as balmy as it was supposed to be, but we'll take it. Nice enough for the kids to be off outside on real rocks.
Some of these Williams stories are creepy and sad; guess that was one of his fortes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dreadfully nice

Off to the races, with a morning visit to the dentist for our nonegenarian; she has never liked going to any dentist, has always said she was afraid of them. Something happened long ago, and luckily it will never be recalled. I don't think they used much anesthesia in the 1920's. Things ran long, but we made it home safely.
Good walking around in the afternoon, but as the day wore into evening, it got cold and windy again. Brief visit with the beloved offspring, who was off to meet buddies for dinner.
More of Williams's short fiction; can see where some of his drama personae originated. For a "lavender" guy, he certainly was fascinated with female sensuality.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Paddy's

On the way to the supermarket, passed by a well-known Irish-style pub; it was roaring in there, not long after the lunch hour. People staggered out, red-faced and loud. Just thinking of the alcohol coursing through their bodies gave me a headache. And these were people plenty old enough to know better. Drinking "holidays" seem more moronic every year. They'll be wearing darts in their heads come sundown.
The day transformed from depressingly drizzly to clear, cold, with glorious sunset.
Am really liking the Tennessee Williams short stories. The first batch are ones never before published, and written in his twenties; it'll be interesting to see how he developed, until he poisoned himself via substance abuse.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blown away

After a calm but spookily cloudy morning, somebody let the winds out of their bag. Walking by myself in the early afternoon was a bit frightening, as the gusts were nearly fifty mph, and the larger trees were bending and shedding branches. A woman at the climbing gym said she'd been running in a nearby park and saw a huge maple tree that had crashed across the path. She said she had to climb over and through it to continue her run. By the time I headed home, it had mostly calmed down again. March is behaving like a lamb on steroids.
Finished a novel by Jeanette Winterson titled Oranges Aren't the Only Fruit, strange little autobiographical novel, according to the blurb. I liked her next novel better, The Passion, but the former was at least intelligent.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What time is it?

Daylight savings snuck up on us, but people seem to have adjusted without incident. Energy seems high today, so we take advantage of it for elderly exercising. My favorite bunch of flowers started blooming three weeks early - the fawn lilies in the woodsy lot on an alley - and must be visited and worshipped sufficiently. The nice line of cherries is off and frothing, too, and you can't get enough of drifting along below their branches, gazing upwards and trying not to run into anything. Saw a photo of a stand of these trees which extends for two blocks, somewhere east of here; could be worth a visit.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


The impetus for this entry; it could apply to lots of life these days, when we walk and try to remember our nonegenarian's experiences. Whatever or whomever we were trying to recall could not be brought to mind. We watched part of a PBS special called "Independent Lens: George and Rosemary", about a senior citizens' choir in Massachusetts. The basic premise of providing a musical outlet for old folks is good, but the song choices were anachronisitc for the seniors, as in being contemporary, more or less. The resulting performances had a mocking overtone - look at those wrinkly old things up there, rocking out - which made it uncomfortable to watch. If you like laughing at people doing things they don't even get, it was for you. Even our nonegenarian gave up, saying the music was strange and the people looked confused. We both thought they should have used music more of those people's era, such as old big band tunes.
Great idea, awkward execution.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Off for a bit of a rope climbing session with beloved son's girlfriend; she's a fantastic athlete, fun to watch climb, and very sweet to spend some time with me. It can help your form to see expert climbers in action, although of course the transfer is not enough. I managed to follow a pretty hard route without flying off, so that made the workout worthwhile.
Bus ride home, nothing too strange, other than the skateboard dude who seemed to think leaving his board halfway into the aisle was just fine. At one point it rolled completely across the space, making it impossible to pass by. He was apparently indifferent, causing comments to bubble up from nearby seatmates. Maybe he was tired.
Not liking the last Angela Carter novel I found, will have to dip into the collected short stories of Tennessee Williams which I got for our nonegenarian's pleasure. She's relishing them, and the rest of us are curious, not knowing Williams by anything but his wonderful dramas.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Too grim to go out for morning walking for our nonegenarian; the wind is most unpopular. By the time the hairdo appointment rolled around, we got pelted as we loaded into the car. Blessed calm while we headed back after the beauty break. The month is becoming increasingly beastly, but at least there's a bit more snowpack.
Evening soiree at the kids' place, and fun conversation with their friends.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Square one

Almost too blustery to keep walking, but the prospect of new books was a strong motivation. Found several for everyone, and paid a visit to the nearby bagel bakery which produces pretty damned good bagels, and even bialies.
Onward, through a neighborhood which is mostly charming, full of enormous old specimen trees all flowering away and crowding out the sky. The houses are too close together, but overall seem to be fairly well maintained.
The Zola is swirling into an over the top apotheosis, but it's what you come to expect from him. The small shops are now perceived as the "manure" of progress for the giant department store; now it's the entire planet being composted.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Downish time

Unexpectedly lovely sunny afternoon, if you kept out of the chilly breezes. Our nonegenarian doesn't buy that it's almost spring, and from what's supposed to arrive overnight, can't blame her. We were thinking it might be time to weed and dig the veggie garden, but it may have to wait.
Good walks, good grub, and off to the French department store races. The relentless descriptions of consumer porn's ramp up in 19th century Paris is nauseating; hard to imagine such greed and stupidity has gone on for so long.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

And a bit too much

Another little climbing session, lots of walking, and a weights workout; ruined. Hope I don't wake up sore manana. So cold all day, it's almost miserable doing the errands. Only hot chocolate can ward off this seeping chill.
Surf and turf for dinner, prawns and bison; off to bed early with the Zola.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ze big fun

Managed to get a little climbing session; the route setters had ordered what looked like a gigantic cannibal cooking pot, which they affixed to the steep lead wall, then covered with holds, like a raisin-studded pudding. It is called a "volume", and came with an instruction sheet titled,"You and your volume." We found a couple of moderate routes approaching it from two sides, and had a great time leading over the bulge.
Great dinner of garlic sauted prawns, and pleasant company.
The Ladies' Paradise department store is now Walmarting its little Parisian neighborhood...

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Tired; a depressing sort of day, bleak and chill. Lousy workout, lousy walk, but a good dinner and evening.
The Ladies' Paradise - or Au Bonheur des Dames, in the original French, which of course looks and sounds so much classier - is getting better by the page.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Upper body and mind

Wearying climbing session, and further exhaustion by lawnmower; I hated to cut down all the volunteered violets which have been spreading in our side yard, but rain is returning and it needed to be done.
Evening of culture, as in a concert by a classical choir group; the program consisted of French composers, ranging from the 12th century to the 1960's. All religious, and performed in a big Catholic cathedral, but still amazingly lovely.

Friday, March 05, 2010


The whole day, in sunlight; we use it up greedily. More to come tomorrow. New Zola novel up, titled The Ladies' Paradise; subject matter in this one concerns the growth of a department store in Paris in the late 1800's, shadowing the historical growth of the world's first department store, the Bon Marche. Nothing I'd normally be engrossed by, but Zola, he is ze fabulous author, and has sucked me in once again. It's packed with human interest, and business details. Amazingly timeless.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Good one

Got an intense bouldering workout amidst errand running; sometimes, about fourteen feet up the wall, I'll have a fleeting moment of wondering how I got there. That's when I down climb.
Day got nicer and nicer, and more is to come over the next couple. No weirdos on the bus this afternoon, just regular folks getting places.
Finished Nana, and am left pondering why he wrote such an over the top work about prostitution: Did he himself believe it was a dangerous scourge, a threat to the upper classes, etc.? Or was he writing to sell it to those folks? Nobody really came out well in the end, but dang, the guy could write.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Winter grinding on

Though it's not freezing, it manages to spread miserableness. We have a swell night time walk, when it finally cleared and calmed down.
Zola is giving me nightmares, but I'm so nearly finished.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Day of erranding

Pretty good afternoon for long walks and grocery gathering; the wind started whipping in as a front slowly made its way towards us. Petals from the too early blooming cherry trees pelted me as passed beneath them, then drifted all over the sidewalks and parking strips. No precip until I was just about back from a work out.
The Zola novel took a very grim turn, and may develop into something I will have to read between fingers before my eyes. He is plunging Nana into frightening territory, and she will not do well. Oddly, part of this underworld, which Zola clearly meant to be horrifying, concerns lesbian and gay activities, with lurid descriptions of haunts and characters. Very strange counterpoint to the abusiveness of the straight males; I haven't quite sorted it out.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Happy scales

Started the morning with a swell session at the climbing place, with a dear pal; she and I had fun scaling some new problems.
Later on, scales of a different sort were found on a sushi dish we'd never tried before, an appetizer called kamashi hama, to the best of my recollection; it was a fried tuna collar. Very flavorful, but it definitely fulfilled my limited number of fried foods quota.
Onward into Nana; already I can tell many of the characters are doomed to some awful fate, but it's still amazing to watch Zola take them there.