Sunday, November 19, 2017

Now we can bike any day in November

"Excellence Seattle!"
 Okay, so the title of this post is a lie; there have been some seriously nasty days this November, days with 50 mph winds, lashing rain, traffic lights out all over town, and tree limbs--or whole trees--crashing down, making it downright dangerous be outside at all.
Bessie @ Besalu / Accidental Self-Portrait
But Saturday was a lovely day to be out and about in beautiful Seattle on a bike so Scott and I rode over into Ballard to see if we could buy out all the stock at Besalu (I did my best but, dagnabbit, they kept putting out more) and then continued down to Golden Gardens where we hadn't been in ages. It seemed we weren't the only ones to think it was a nice day for that bit of beach: it was pretty happening. A few kite flyers, a ton of sailboats, a guy reading a hardback novel (The Sympathizer),
Young wigeon?
some rock stackers, a bubble-blower, the entourage he collected, a number of people admiring the wigeons wintering over water, and a well-dressed woman sitting on a bench with her coffee just watching. Some days, I just love Seattle and Saturday was such a day. We rode back downtown in the dusk, admiring the sky and the neon and just the loveliness of, well, wintering over water. Of course, I took a lot of photos:
I assume this was a class of some sort

Scott obliged by posing for one (1) photo

Most of the trees had lost their leaves but this one was still gobsmacking in its orange glory

Of course, even without leaves, the trees had a certain grace

Thanks to Maria Mudd Ruth, I'm noticing clouds a lot more than I once did

Sort of the essence of the day here

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Banff 2017

Some day I'll learn the name of this peak
 We returned from a few days at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival yesterday. It was a good time, if brief. Very cold and very snowy. How cold you ask? Well, cold enough that even the locals commented upon it. Scott and I both invested in new boots on our first evening there, mostly so we wouldn't slide to our deaths on the paths into town. Unsurprisingly, I took essentially no photos of any of the presentations or people. (The one below of Steve Swenson signing copies of Karakoram was taken by Scott, using his cell phone.) Many mule deer. A small herd of elk that we avoided disturbing. Ravens and magpies. No owls. Good presentations by Doug Chadwick, Bernadette McDonald, Steve Swenson, Kevin Vallely, and others, as well as Geoff Powter's incredibly moving interview with David Roberts.
View from the Lloyd Hall bedroom window
The partially frozen Bow River #1
The partially frozen Bow River #2. I love the way this looks black and white when it isn't.
Close-up of that frozen bit of Bow
Enough river. Make with the mule deer!
Steve Swenson, post-presentation, waiting to sign
Meanwhile, down by the river, some lovely atmospheric trees
Scott modeling his MEC coat
 Last year, I won a drawing for a coat from MEC; this year, Scott was the raffle winner--a $250 gift certificate for MEC. I'm not saying my loyalty can be bought, but I'm pretty partial to MEC these days. And they're supporting "Spirit North," a newish non-profit dedicated to getting First Nations youth out into the wilderness, which also seems a pretty fine thing to be doing.

My only indoor photo, taken at Bear Street Tavern.
Not only does Bear Street Tavern have excellent pizza, they also serve Grizzly Paw Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat beer in bottles!

Another mule deer who was just out and about on the Banff Centre campus

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The West Seattle Junction Harvest, 2017

Oh old blahdeblahblah, you've been sadly neglected as I've been tired or sick or exhausted or tired or sick lo, these many weeks. And it's not like I've got a lot for you this evening either. But Scott and I made our way up the hill for The Harvest today and I took a few photos with Scott's iPhone which means at least some slight content here. And I've updated the books list though I'm certain there is at least one title I've forgotten to make note of. Last weekend, pre-latest-bout-of-flu, I did a massive tidy/reordering of the piles of books so whatever had been sitting out, recently read, has been neatly put away. So it goes.

At the Whistling Train Farm booth
There were many fine costumes but this mean old biddy of a toddler was the best.
One of a group of four marauding T. Rexes terrorizing the street

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Something wondrous: Mozart's Starling

There is another world," Paul Eluard wrote, "but it is in this one." One world is marked by bland forgetfulness, where we do not permit ourselves an openness to the simple, graced beauty that is always with us. The other is marked by attentiveness, aliveness, love. This is the state of wonder, which is commonly treated as a passive phenomenon--a kind of visitation or feeling that overcomes us in the face of something wondrous. But the ground of the word, the Old English wundrian, is very active, meaning "to be affected by one's own astonishment." We decide, moment by moment, if we will allow ourselves to be affected by the presence of this brighter world in our everyday lives. Certainly we get no encouragement from what Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls the "overculture." It cannot be assessed by the standardized cultural criteria of worth--measures that can be labeled with a sum or a statistic or even, perhaps, a word. Receptivity to wonder is not economically productive, marketable, quantifiable. The rewards, also, stand beyond such calculation. But it is in such receptivity that we discover what draws us, and along with it our originality, our creativity, our soulfulness, our gladness, our art. Mozart found inspiration in the presence of a common bird. For us, too, the song of the world so often rises in places we had not thought to look.

--from pp 74 - 75 of Lyanda Lynn Haupt's Mozart's Starling 

Three chapters in, this book has me reconsidering my attitude towards starlings.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Ever since the eclipse . . .

The sun and the moon haven't quite been themselves . . 
This morning's sun (in the east)
This evening's moon, about the same place in the sky

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


And not in a "I shouldn't have had that third Paradigm Shift and all those shots of absinthe" sort of way either:

Finished Stones of Venice (the abridged version, of course)!

Monday, August 21, 2017

That's my moon

Scott looks into the bright new future (Green Man looks somewhat stern)
I am curious as to whether any other Cancers found themselves rooting for the moon during this morning's eclipse because I assuredly did. When I was telling Scott about it he said, "I didn't see it as a competition," and truly I didn't either. And yet I found myself spontaneously calling out, "Go, moon GO!" Which of course it did. In Seattle it was only 92% (or was it 93?), but I found that pretty damned fine as did pretty much everyone else who bothered to look. The capacity for high-powered executives and delivery guys and dull old editorial sorts to feel wonder is, I think, a good thing. I stop short of "awe." Maybe you needed totality for awe, or maybe I think that wonder is a more admirable and desirable response. I don't know. I'm going with wonder. It was cool and I'm glad the weather obliged locally.

Three books, two glasses, one bottle
Another bit of pleasure over the last few days was having three of my favorite Spring 2017 titles come into the warehouse. I felt it called for a little celebration. We toasted with prosecco because, you know, editorial salary. And also, we're pretty fond of prosecco. I shall now briefly go into advertising mode, to pad this brief post as much as anything else:

Colors of the West contains scores of gorgeous watercolors by Molly Hashimoto. It also, if you are more practically and artistically inclined, offers quite a bit of instruction so that you too can create lovely watercolors. I confess I continue to doubt my ability to create anything but mud on paper, but Molly very nearly inspires me to try.

Fall of Heaven, Messner's telling of Whymper's destructive obsession with the Matterhorn, is a book that has been added to the Legends and Lore series in large part because Scott read the German original and raved about it. Which tells the discerning reader that it's not a book only for climbers and that the writing must be pretty good. I defy you not choke up at Carrel's death scene. Who is Carrel, you ask? You must read this book!

A Sideways Look at Clouds by Maria Mudd Ruth is a book I love so much that I know I can't describe it adequately or, really, at all. Maria is about the most charming narrator you will ever meet, and she shares her fascination with (and confusion about) clouds in an utterly irresistible manner. Can I reliably differentiate one cloud type from another after working on this book? Not so much. But I certainly see clouds more frequently (they are everywhere once you become aware of them; no art gallery will ever be the same) and sort of know more about their inner workings.

Testing the glasses Scott purchased from B&H Photo