25 February 2014

Just so You Know

The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date.

– Margaret Atwood
   The Blind Assassin
I haven't gone anyplace, and I haven't given up on this blog. Or my other one, for that matter. I just made the mistake of going back and reading some of the stuff I wrote. I should know better. Really. By now, I should know better.

I'll get over it. Eventually.

Just so you know.

31 December 2013

Surprise Yourself

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."

– Neil Gaiman

I hope all my blogger buddies are looking forward to a fine year. I know I am.

I suppose there are people who would say they wouldn't want to live the way I do. There might even have been a time when I would've said the same thing myself. But here I am, looking forward to another year.

I guess I think about it the same way I used to think about playing music in public. Since I was never very good at it, I tried to assuage my performance guilt by thinking that even if most people in the audience wished I would go back to playing in my basement, there was probably someone out there thinking, "God, I wish I could do that!"

There are people better off than I am, but there are also people who face challenges greater than mine. The year I just had was better than no year at all. Way better.

I'm looking forward to some good madness and fine books. I'm looking forward to books that challenge me, and some that don't. I don't know about making art, but I might finally finish that post about Harry Spevak on Out on a Limb. It could happen.

I could surprise myself.

I'm looking forward to it.

09 December 2013

Face Time

Yesterday, Scarecrow went into the office. Physically. In person. To meet with his boss, both in the same room, at the same time. I don't remember when he last had to do that, but it's been a while.
As usual, I went along. Since it was Sunday, I wasn't really needed in my usual role of Enabler to Use the HOV Lane, but staying home would've required hiring a babysitter and I still haven't really come to terms with that.
Every time we make that commute, I'm glad we don't have to make it more often. If you're not from around here, Lake Washington is a long, skinny lake gouged out by a careless glacier, stretching much of the length of the greater Seattle area. We live just above the very top of this long, skinny lake, and Scarecrow's workplace is just past the very bottom. A route down either side of the long, skinny lake takes you through some of the ugliest traffic the Seattle area has to offer, and Seattle can offer you some very ugly traffic indeed. Once every couple of months is plenty for me, thanks.
The whippets don't like it much, either. They've become accustomed to having our pack together all the time, and they like it that way. If they found something inadvisable to do to entertain themselves while we were gone, they managed to hide their tracks.

30 November 2013


Facebook seems to think I recently turned 103. I never expected to make it to 103. Honestly, I don't feel a day over 97.

I've been getting birthday wishes, out of the blue, for about the past month. I don't remember this happening in years past. It makes me wonder if they were afraid I wouldn't make it.

I got a real, hard-copy birthday card from Tin Man. I get one from their family every year. It always arrives exactly on my birthday, which I find incredibly irritating because I've never sent one to any of them. I'm sure they don't do it to make me feel inadequate; at least, I don't think they do. Scarecrow thinks I'm projecting my motivations onto people who are really a lot nicer than I am. He's probably right.

Scarecrow came back from the store last weekend with two turkeys; a small (ish) one to roast on the grill, and a large (ish) frozen one that was free with a ridiculously huge grocery purchase. Good thing we like turkey, because between that and all the other stuff, we sat down to a truly embarrassing amount of food. Last year we had Arkman, our six-foot-plus nephew, to help us out. I can tell you a turkey looks a whole lot bigger without him on the other side of the table! I told Robin not to make a big deal out of it. Really, a roast chicken – a roast game hen! – would be plenty, but he says he finds it entertaining. And he doesn't have to cook again for a month, so there's that.

28 October 2013

Giving up on Summer

I know summer has officially been over for a month or more, but I've been telling myself that as long as there's still a little green on the leaves outside, it's not really over. They've been yellow — maybe even predominantly yellow — for a while now. By tomorrow, I think I'll have to admit that the last faint tinge of green is finally gone.

The trees outside my window are mostly big leaf maples and vine maples. They're very pretty when the leaves turn gold in the fall. They really are. It's just that, even after 18 years in the Pacific northwest, I can't help comparing them to fall in Michigan.

Of course, fall in Michigan was invariably followed by winter in Michigan, which kept me from enjoying the fall spectacle when I lived there as much as I might have done. Since I no longer live there, and know I won't have to endure the beautiful but interminable Michigan winter, I find I'm quite nostalgic about this time of year.

In central Michigan we never got the jaw-droppingly spectacular color you get further north, but compared to the polite yellow that's outside my window right now, it was spectacular enough. This wasn't any place special, just the street in front of our house:

Of course, if you were willing to travel, the trees in the park at the end of our block were a little more colorful:

Since I didn't grow up in Michigan, I can only imagine how much fun it would have been to jump into a deep pile of crisp fall leaves. I didn't grow up in Seattle, either, which is probably just as well. Jumping into a soggy, wet, slug-infested pile of leaf slime is an experience I'm just as glad I missed.

05 October 2013

Branching Out

Can't do it. My relatively-recently-developed obsession with family history feels like a different thing, and leaving it here, tossed in with everything else, just seems wrong, somehow. Besides, it offends my compulsion to have things neatly organized. This blog is already messy enough.

Mostly I'm learning to recognize the glazed look people get when I start off on a family-related tear.

So, henceforth, I'll be Stalking Dead People in a place I've set aside for the purpose. I call it Out on a Limb, and there's a link to it above. You can check it out if you're interested, or skip it if you're not. If you find it as engaging and fascinating as a textbook on advanced particle physics, well, you've been warned.

Everything else will go here. Dogs and books and living relatives and MS and whingeing about anything that strikes me as worthy of complaint. It will be as engaging and fascinating as it's ever been.

Well, you've been warned.

30 September 2013

It's Been a Long Afternoon

The mailman, come to kill us all! (And to drop off a package.) The ever-vigilant whippet, barking fiercely, frightens him away! (The mailman left the package at the door, and went back to his truck.)

The whippet is really quite pleased with himself.

The package is sitting on my desk.

I can't open it until Scarecrow quits work for the day, but I know what's in it, at least approximately. It's stuff my brother found when he was cleaning 65 years of accumulated detritus out of my mom and dad's house. It's stuff he didn't know what to do with, so he put it in a box and sent it to me.

It's been a long afternoon.