Monday, May 31, 2010

And yet it's wet

Good gawdamighty. How much more of this can we endure? But then after a hideous morning, things changed. The afternoon skies opened up, and sunlight poured down "like butterscotch, and stuck to all our senses", to quote Ms. Mitchell. We all got walking, and later, weeding. Tried to soak it up as it will be gone in a whisk.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Too wet to weed

Day's planned work efforts dashed due to unendingness of rain; this may play out repeatedly for a while. We buck up, use the bumbershoots, and try to appreciate the lushness - the unceasing, growing, burgeoning greenness - we pass along the way.
Late evening search for shreds of summer's promise; how about some gelato? We luck into a pocket of less wetness, and get in a bit of a stroll.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Stuck in a Groundhog's Day cycle of gray and dripping skies; heavy cheerleading for our nonegenarian, whose overall mood is affected despite her lifelong, unusually high level of optimism. Ultimately the best I can do is point out that we at least are not out under blue tarps, "camping."
Visited the state likker store which has returned to our neighborhood, closer than it was before. Needed to acquire some of my mama's Canadian for her evening cocktails; it's her only vice. The woman on duty recognized me, and asked after her. She's happy to be back in the area. The store is across the street from a long time burger joint, Dick's, and jokes have been made about getting one of their shakes and heading across to the likker store for fortification.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Soddenly this spring

On and on drips the cold rain, down and down goes the thermometer; we are desperate for diversion, we clean the baseboards and drive around a bit. The cat gallops madly upstairs, dragging his toys out of the paper gift bag, then stuffing himself into it all akilter. His eyes gleam crazily.
Finally we can stand no more, and go out for a soggy walk. This clears the heads of all; late evening ramble for a small plate and a beverage.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


The climbing gym seems to be the optimal spot for catching up with friends. Got in another swell session, this time with a woman I haven't seen for a while. She's far happier than the last time I saw her, and we had a very good afternoon.
Still few signs of spring around here; the poor little spinach sprouts, planted when they were supposed to be, are not thriving. The peas did break through the soil, but I fear for their lives. The old cat has reverted to hibernation, and on these very gray mornings, it's tempting to join him.
Goethe's just arrived in Rome, after having griped his way through the Perugian countryside. Urlsula Le Guin's essays and assorted pieces in Dancing at the Edge of the World were wonderful. She's so intelligent, yet speaks with a sensible and understandable voice, none of that fancy overwritten theoretical material.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday wonderings

Catching up on climbing workouts and friends; we walk and wonder why it seems like winter again. Our nonegenarian is not convinced it's really the end of May. Plenty of homebased stuff to putter around on, and missed the farmers' market as it got too late to go back out. Sushi with my sweetie, and away went the day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Down a rabbit hole?

Kind of out of sync here; yesterday, got to go to the climbing gym with the woman I've climbed with the longest. She's now a three year breast cancer survivor, thank Mother Earth and the rest of the universe. I'll never forget when she told me she had it, and my heart sank and thumped. We have such good fun climbing, I hope we can go outside on some real rocks again.
Planted the golden plum-shaped cherry tomato plant I got at the farmers' market, figuring that it has had enough time to toughen up in the unheated back mudroom area. Got a nice chunk of Copper River salmon for dinner to serve to my sweetie, and a bottle of fine rose champagne, just for the hell of it. The wine matched the color of the fish. All was delish.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Where to begin...?

A most enjoyable and unusual weekend, at the RCB marching band retreat at Fort Worden, up in Port Townsend; we were BCV's, Band Camp Virgins. The weather was really amazingly nice for all the threatening-looking clouds moving around, and while the band practiced, I walked on the beach. The theme this year was Alice in Wonderland; we missed Friday night's talent show, but Saturday, after marching practice was done, there was a wild croquet game, complete with people dressed as playing cards and acting like the movable wickets in the book. The evening party, the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, which commenced after evening rehearsal, became, um, curiouser and curiouser, as Alice was wont to observe. FABulous costumes, everything from minimal rabbit ears to full-on outfits, as well as a couple of guys as Alice in drag. One guy wore a home pregnancy test kit around his neck; when asked what he was, he said,"I'm late!" We left nearing midnight, and it did go on, moving to the party room at the other end of the dorm. There were people on Sunday morning who looked as if their skulls were about to fly apart. We, as Elder Statesfolks, dared not have indulged.
Sweet and fun people throughout the group, and I was informed that they were happy to have a couple of "straight but not narrow" people along.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thundering succotash

Off to wild parts unknown! Reportage later...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Terrorist beauty queens

The brouhaha whupped up by tea bagger types over the Detroit-born, Lebanese-American Miss USA winner is stupid and hateful; big fucking surprise. (They are calling her "Miss Hezbollah.") When I asked a friend who was born and brought up in Beirut, Lebanon, what he thought of it, he said if the pageant had been held in Lebanon, a blonde would have won, which struck me as very funny. I have no idea what kind of person the new Miss USA is, but as for her appearance, it's tres exotique, and I would have loved to look like that when I was her age. Good old America, the food here nurtures all kinds of sports of nature.
Called an audible and hopped a bus downtown to the Pike Place Market to pick up a few gifts for friends. It was packed with tourists, especially around the seafood stand that throws fish around and horrifies mothers with geoduck syphons rampant. A quick trip, then back on a bus I'd never taken before, which turned out to be too circuitous a way home, so I wound up walking a fair distance from the south end of the University Bridge. The bus eventually would eventaully have gone to a ritzy neighborhood - those people deign to ride buses? - and one passenger, a preppy-dressed older fellow, was reading a book about the Shrub's daddy, George H.W. Bush. Wondered about whacking the guy over the head with his reading material. I got off long before I yielded to the temptation.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting worms

Some crazy chemistry got our nonegenarian up and out of bed way too early; this actually worked to our advantage, since we got in some walking before the day fell apart. On the first annual trip to our local farmers' market, things went from wet to worse, with so much rain and wind that their poor little tent roofs kept flying up and cascading the run off all over the place. The young woman I bought a cherry tomato plant from asked me if I knew what the rest of the day was supposed to be like; I asked her if she really wanted to know what we'd seen on the weather map. At least it was a warmish monsoon. The market has been drastically reduced in order to let the people who need to park at the Wallingford Center to buy cupcakes and get their kids' hair cuts zoom their expensive SUV's in where there should be more organic farmers' stalls. It's only one day a week, I don't see why the merchants can't suck it up for a few months. They will be sorry when the farmers' market moves elsewhere, as it is supposed to do. They're going to lose foot traffic from the market goers. They can't blame their poor business on this one day a week for the summer; the shops are not that wonderful, other than the hardware store.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The menu of the day

Wild swings, from warm sun to cold torrential precipitation; I managed to be out in every type. Found out that the vegan doughnut shop has something I found very edible: apple fritters, which are light, full of apples and cinnamon, and bearing a lovely glaze all over its lumpy surface. No wonder they sell out most days. Another discovery: A newish pizza place down by the lake, which according to vegan and vegetarian friends, has items they savored. I found they have items any omnivore would enjoy, too. While I was walking back up the hill carrying a little white pizza box, I got mobbed by a couple of crows. The first attack came from behind, as one of them knocked me on the top of the head with its feet and body. No blood drawn, but the glove had definitely been tossed. I turned around and shot an arm up at the next swoop, making it swerve, then stood and stared at the pair. They acted innocent, just hopping around on a telephone wire, but I knew they'd be back once I turned my back and started walking again. After a couple of steps, I whirled around, caught both of them heading for me, and diverted them by throwing a bit of pizza crust out into the street. The greedy things couldn't resist going after it. I crossed a busy street, and they didn't follow. Supposedly this is behavior they display while raising their chicks, but I wonder if that little white leftovers box was some kind of trigger.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Another Monday perked up nicely by a session at the climbing gym; we did our best to get a burn in the core, as well as trying for harder problems. May as well try.
Still kind of warm, but very humid, which feels wrong in this part of the country. Not much rain, lots of clouds again. More is coming.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Empty threats

Huge banks of dire-looking clouds built up to the south and northeast of us, but the weird, roiling things just skirted our area, sprinkling a handful or so of drops. Already feels like we need more than that.
The old quarried granite walls evidently were crowded down below, so the kids went to the upper ones for fun and challenge. They had a perfect weekend.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ho hum

Simply more perfection; we need some gray and chill wetness to feel normal. A newish climbing buddy and I had a nice session at the gym, almost all to ourselves. She's a freshly fledged lead climber, and almost unbearably enthusiastic to get on with it. There's a tricky patch in this situation, when a person new to lead belaying wants to practice catching falls; kind of reminds me of when a kid first starts to try pitching fastballs. Everybody needs to be watching and alert as hell. We did have fun, although I was too tired to fall on purpose.
The kids are off climbing those lovely granite cliffs again, and I am to water their baby garden. Do hope I get back up there again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

end of the weekness

Absolutely perfect weather, we don't need it much warmer or sunnier; jolliness ensued in daily walking, and the nonegenarian and I drove around the hood and the lake, so she could observe the droves walking, running, biking, skating and otherwise disporting themselves.
Sweet evening walk with the beloved spouse, and a bite to eat; if it would rain at night and stay like this indefinitely, we'd take it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Signs of niceness

Great atmosphere all day; even bus riding on chores was all right, with pleasant airs wafting through the interior. Fine view of the Olympic Mountains off beyond Puget Sound one way, and the Cascades crisp and fresh looking back to the eastern horizon. The day flew away, and we leaned into a quiet evening.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Better than your average day

Brisk walking, strange encounter with a strange old guy who hangs out sometimes at the sushi joint; he passed me on the shopping district sidewalk, and declared,"I see you! You do your thing every day!" He always has some bizarrely jumbled pronouncement to make.
Rescue operation for beloved son's beloved, locked out of their house; we talked about hiding a key outside in case of such emergencies. Little bit of gelato to fuel the longer journey, and a workout which didn't hurt. Fresh albacore for dinner, so we approached utopia.
Ursula Le Guin's collection of talks, essays, etc., although a bit out there, is reassuring. Kind of a counterpoint to Goethe's travelogue.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A quick run over to the gym, with a dear friend; she was incapacitated somewhat from hurting her shoulder on a hike, but we managed to crawl up the walls a bit. One of our acquaintances who is a professional climbing guide told us he was on Mount Rainier last week, during some nasty weather. There were white outs, caused by fifty-plus mph winds. He was very glad to have spent the weekend at home, in sunshine, with his wife and child. We won't whine too much about the see saw of rain and cold around here.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Just hung around the homestead, getting my mom out for sunshine and neighborly chat; still licking wounds from my outing Saturday. Ring around the sun, presaging a return to cold and rain tomorrow, but warm and wonderful out of the shade.
Out for a late bite of sushi with beloved spouse, and home again to crash.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Rode hard

And you know the rest of that old saying; I worked as hard as I could on routes done and attempted previously, and got worked by them. Feeling like a wrung-out dishcloth, but part of that is due to an unusually late night enjoying a musical trio we haven't seen for a while. So this is what it feels like to be in your nineties...
The day was astoundingly gorgeous, the kids were patient as I worked on re-learning footwork necessary on the unforgiving granite cliffs. The swallows and peregrine falcons swooped above us in the delicious air, the mountains were out and proud, and we had a fine day of it. The music later was fine, too.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Biding a bit

Tomorrow my beloved offspring and his beloved are taking ole mom for a climbing outing on real granite. It's an area which is probably the most difficult rock in the state for trad and sport routes, so who knows how badly I'll get worked over. Every time I go there, the same climbs are different because they're harder, due to passing time and fleeing footwork. The weather promises beautuousness for a change, so fingers and toes are crossed.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Recovery time

Sweet day eventually developed; good walking and such. People crawled out of their dank dark habitations and seemed to throng everywhere.
Thinking about Le Guin's discussion on the idea of "utopia"; she and I concur. Consumption worldwide needs to be moderate, the population needs to control itself, environments must be preserved, and government needs to be by consent. Impossibly hopeful dreaming.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tiny hammers

Perhaps contained a germ from the air travel; damned golfers. Forced marches out in the cold wet air seemed to help.
Heard from a friend that on one of her favorite training hiking trails, in an area east of here called Tiger Mountain, a woman working on a state crew was attacked near the parking lot. A man she described as "middle-aged, respectable-looking, wearing lycra running clothes", chatted with her, then came back without warning, tazed her, and tried to rape her. Somehow she fought him off, but by the time she brought help back, he had disappeared. My friend will never hike there by herself again. What the bloody hell is up...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Back in the swing

Trying to regain climbing skills; two days in a row, short sessions, but yesterday, ran out of fuel or something.
Re-reading Goethe's Italian Journey after some years, and savoring it still; found a collection of essays and pieces by Ursula LeGuin which are intelligent and thought-provoking, as always.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Where are we?

Very pleasant trip way down South for a family reunion; the weather seemed idyllic to us Northwesterners, in the low 70's, sunny, albeit danged windy by late afternoon. The natives found it "cold." We came back home to air so chilly we could see our breath; that's cold. All His Folks seemed to be doing fine, and we spent a good amount of time walking along the nearly deserted beach. We enjoyed more Low Country cooking, and did some of our own with local seafood. The TV's in the condos were occasionally on to check on the oil spill in Louisiana as well as a bit of run up to the Kentucky Derby, a big deal in those parts. Seafood for years to come will be unavailable or prohibitively expensive, depending on where the slicks land.
Lots of bird life along the coast, including my old favorites, cardinals. Didn't get to visit Sassy the bar bird in Georgetown this year, but she is probably still rocking out to Creedence Clearwater, and cursing at tourists.