Friday, July 25, 2014

Just One Little Thing...

One simple task...four hours gone.

When I get deliveries for books and/or other stuff, if the box is the right size--usually small--I will toss it into one of the storage cupboards that divide the kitchen from the rest of the living area. I like having a choice of sizes. I send my mother and sister little things now and again, and just the other day sent the BFF her birthday present.

Yesterday I got a box and realized whilst trying to shove it into a cupboard, that it wouldn't fit; too many boxes already wedged between other legitimate storage items. So, after lunch today I decided to take a minute, break down the boxes and stack them neatly on one shelf to save space.

Uh huh.

Three hours later, crap everywhere, I managed to clean out four cupboards. I ended up sorting through everything, then making piles for the Goodwill, the bin, and to save.


After the winnowing, came the organizing. I was feeling pretty good until the laser from the skylight beamed across the floor and just about fried my ass.

I stopped for a break, had a cold glass of iced tea, then plowed on for another 45 minutes, rearranging, hauling bags downstairs, Goodwill things into the Blazer...until...

Ta da!

Office supplies and toolbox, vases and containers, computer crap and photos and way down on the right side, bottom shelf, the neatly stacked boxes.


But here's the coolest thing. Look!  An empty shelf!

Funny how one little ten minute task turned into a four-hour, sweat-soaked chore. Still, I managed to make a serious dent on something I've put off for ages even if it was too hot and totally not on the agenda for today. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Art Flash

This morning, still gloriously overcast, I decided to pop into the Art Center after walking the boys.  A new exhibit opened last Friday--a reception event I had planned to attend before the heat burned the intention out my brain.

Walk finished, I settled the boys in the car after drinks and treats, grabbed my camera and went into the quiet, empty gallery.  I love it like that: no people, time to really look at the art, take photos of whatever captures my fancy.

Vase -  Cheryl Weese

This vase was quite tall, over a foot.  I could just picture a few elegant Calla lily or Gladiola stems...


Crocodile Tears - Ashtine Rieke


Cool Mr. Poole - Maureen Bell

I loved this...he was about the size of an average, real cat  Too bad he wasn't for sale...


Untitled - Victoria Carnate

Oh this was beautiful in person.  The mysterious, serene face (to scale with human), surrounded by actual pheasant feathers, made her appear like a nature spirit or goddess of the forest.



Bacchus - Marie Rasmassen

This guy was fat and funny and very cleverly named...



Cairn - Susan Roden

Interactive art.  The stoneware, porcelain and wood pieces were on a long steel rod so if you owned this, you could build the cairn to any configuration you wanted.


Stegosaurus Bottle - Laurie Morris

This was just totally cool.  His head came off, like a cork, and this wonderful piece became a bottle.


Whilst making my way through the galleries, I could tell the clouds were burning off.  At this point in my viewing, the sun was just beginning to blaze through the windows--I had to stand off to the side to block as much light as possible to take this shot.  It was my last photograph; the boys, though in the shade with windows open, were still out in the car with rising heat.

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Home now and the sun is back, at full nuclear power, the heavenly chill of rain and damp air has vanished like dreams in the smoky haze of wakefulness.  Ah well.  For a moment...just a short, wonderful moment...I wasn't sweaty or cranky or sleepless.

I'll take what I can get...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting...


Yes, it's rain!

Early this morning an odd sound nudged me half-awake.  At first I was disoriented by the
Winter-like darkness in my bedroom and the fact I was snuggled deep under the covers because it was chilly. In my grogginess I imagined it was a perfect Fall morning and marveled for a moment at how nice the rain sounded on the roof.

Wait.

Rain?  Rain?

I came fully awake then and rolled onto my back to really listen.  It was like hearing angels singing, harps and all.  Such wonderful music to my parched ears, that gentle fall of raindrops.  Smiling, I nestled under the duvet and drifted off to sleep, hoping this wasn't just a cruel dream.

It wasn't.  It's been raining in fits and starts all day.  Occasionally the sun breaks through and steam rises, but the clouds are dark, strong and dominant and quickly block that relentless nuclear orb.  The wind swirls, the rain beats down and I grin every time it goes from wretched bright to sublime gloom.

However, today is just an aberration in the whole weather scheme of Summer, here at the southern Gates of Hell; by Friday it's back into the 90s.

Still.  I'm content with this tiny foreshadowing.  It's allowed me to breathe; to burrow into the depths of my bed with the duvet tucked under my nose; remember what it feels like to have cool, fresh air caress my face as I walk the dogs.

Although I might have to struggle for another month or so with the heat, the humidity, the toss and turn of restless sleep, now, at last, I have hope that better days are coming...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Immersion

So Friday.  It's brutally hot.  I've walked the boys, done chores, it's early afternoon.

Now what?

Maybe I should blog, or work on the third installment of the serial.  I sit at the computer, the sweat rolls, I zone out, staring at the screen without a coherent thought in my head.  Honestly, when it gets too hot, I sort of lose the plot.  Okay, I totally lose the plot.  I'm just so not wired for heat.

I read some email, follow an Amazon link to a recommended book series and--glory hallelujah, the book gods are smiling--it actually sounds interesting enough to wake me out of my stupor.  I download the first book to my Kindle, shut off the laptop, pop the cap on an ice-cold bottle of Dos Equis and join the dogs on the cool tile floor in the kitchen.

Immersion ensues.

I stay up way past midnight to finish the book.  It's good, maybe even great and I want to read the next three books.  I toss and turn in heat sleep, dreaming of Seattle and mysteries, dragons and myth.

Saturday morning, first thing, I download the remaining books in the series.

[Brief aside here...

I am totally a real book person.  I love the feel, the smell, the snick and rustle of paper pages being turned, the joy in holding the soul of a story in my hand.  I have three gigantic bookcases full of this truth.

But the ease and availability of my wee Kindle is awesome.  I live in a small town, the nearest bookstore is over an hour away.  I download the books in under a minute.  I can't help it peeps...that's a pretty cool thing.]

Over the weekend, while the heat escalates and the planet continues to hurl toward global Armageddon...

...I wasn't here.  I was there.  I forgot about the unprecedented weather raging across our beleaguered Earth; politics that negate the horror of shooting innocents out of the sky for a man-made political construct; murder and mayhem on every news channel.

We don't live in peace, dear readers.  To our shame.

However, I wasn't here.  I was there.  Lost in another world, another time. Walking familiar streets in a place I used to call home.  Seattle.  Cool, rainy, often foggy and damp.

I was totally immersed...and it was a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ramblings

I'm sure I said in an earlier blog--maybe last month or so--that I wasn't going to piss and moan about the unrelenting, nightmarish heat.  I lied.  I can't help myself. When the sweltering Northwest makes national news due to mind-numbing temps nearly 20 degrees above normal...well, I feel justified in my whingeing.

And now the fires have started.  Vast tracts of land are burning in Oregon and Washington. Old growth forest is turning to ash; trees that are older than anyone living today are vaporizing in the firestorms and we haven't even gotten to August--the worst month for heat and fire.

My house--greenhouse effect in full force--has made doing even the simplest task seem monumentally difficult. I'm watering in late evening, only walking the dogs in the mornings and definitely no afternoon strolls to the mailbox.  Sleep is a fond memory--the humidity rising with the temperatures--and what little I get leaves me fitful and headachey.

I tried to write the next installment in the serial yesterday, but just the movement of my fingers on the keyboard had the sweat dripping.  So, rather than struggle and curse...I stripped down to bare bones, put on a thin cotton shift, made a tall glass of iced tea and laid on the floor next to the big box fan to read a book.

It's also hard to muster up an appetite for anything other than sorbet or smoothies. Although, I discovered this amazing cheese the other day at the store, bought some Italian salami and crackers, and have been munching this light fare for dinner all week--of course washed down with very cold Lambrusco.


The cheese is made in a small village on the Oregon coast.  I was drawn to the name, but now have fallen in love with the product.  It's very garlicky with an excellent medium cheddar tang that blends just right with the salami.  Perfect meal when it's almost too hot to breathe.  And so far, no vamps...

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The BFF and I have finally worked out details for a visit.  Next month I will drive north to my sister's; she has--graciously, wonderfully, I will owe her big time--offered to doggy sit the boys whilst I fly further north into the wilds of Idaho, just shy of the Canadian border. I'm flying to save hours of time and money: I can fly for half the cost of several tanks of gas and almost two days of driving which will give us more time together.  August is probably the worst time for such an adventure, but it was the only month my sister, the BFF and I could mesh our schedules before Idaho gets snowed in for the Winter, usually around Hallowe'en.

I can't wait to see her.  Though we talk almost every Sunday, I haven't physically seen her in about six years; the time before that it had been nearly ten.  It's strange and very cool that we have remained so close while never actually seeing each other.  We're trying to change that, especially now that I'm back in the States, and I'm hoping she'll come my way next Spring.

I'm leaving the laptop, tablet, my phone and wee dogs behind.  It will be just me, my camera, my best friend and the wilderness.  Oh, and lots of Glenlivet.  Our friendship began over a bottle of that lovely, smooth whiskey and ever since, whenever we get together, Glenlivet is in the glass.

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Well, the sweat is dripping and my brain is beginning to percolate, so I will leave you, dear readers, with this picture of a cotton candy sky.  I took it last night from the front porch; the actual sunset was off to the right of the shot, but I liked this view better...


Monday, July 14, 2014

For The Greater Good...

On Saturday, while out watering the flowers in the back garden, I noticed a big bumblebee resting at the center of one of my Cosmos.  I got my camera, carefully focused...then realized the bee was frozen in place.  Like paralyzed.  How totally weird. In looking for the reason, I found a creepy looking albino spider with red stripes on either side of its fat body on the underside of the flower. I've never seen a spider like this before, but the stripes surely had to mean something dire.

Between the heat, lawn mowing and a quick walk to the mailbox, I forgot to research the spider.  I wanted to know specifically if it was capable of killing a bumblebee...or poisoning a human.

Sunday night--watering by moonlight to avoid the unrelenting sun--I find a frozen, dead honey bee in the center of the same plant.  And buggers, look there, under the petals...it's that damn white spider again!

I do an internet search and discover that indeed the crab spider is the bee killer. She--because of course, with those red stripes, it had to be female--has a paralyzing venom, loves her some yummy bee juice, which she sucks out of the poor frozen creature, apparently while it's still alive.  Gross. Totally vampirically gross.

This morning, while it's overcast and slightly cooler--though only until the clouds dissipate and the temps soar back into the high 90s--I do some quick yard chores, water the pots and planters...and find this:


Another honey bee murdered.  Sadly, it was covered in pollen, just doing it's job and the killer spider nailed the poor thing.  This makes three bees in as many days and I can't have that.  I deliberately have plants in my garden to draw the bees, not invite them in for a grisly death.

Nuking creatures that have as much right to exist as the rest of us isn't something I normally like to do...however, honey bees are far more crucial for the environment than a life-sucking spider.  I didn't use a sharpened stake, garlic, or holy water, but I did dispose of the thing, no details necessary.

I just can't have my guests slaughtered when they come to visit.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Magpie Tales 228...Lost





Beneath tattered beauty
worn tread endures
Ghostly footsteps echo
of stories long forgotten

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Prompt from Magpie Tales this week...