29 September 2013


Continuing on with my practice of getting rid of things in my life that aren't working for me, I decided today to adopt Ian's hairstyle from now on (note: the top picture was taken most of the way through the haircut. Alas, I don't have a corresponding picture of Ian.). Continuing to pay $90 for a haircut that never seemed to leave me with more hair suddenly didn't make sense anymore.

My head feels so AWESOME!

16 September 2013

Wild Kingdom, Spider Version

It's been a super-spidery late summer here in Seattle this year. We normally think of the advent of giant spiders as consistent with the advent of cooler, wetter weather. At least giant, hairy-legged spiders in the house. Perhaps the fact that it's been so sunny has distracted us from the migration this year, because we see it as a temperature thing rather than merely a date thing. Perhaps it's only that the spiders are warm enough and dry enough outside. There are certainly a lot of there there outside, tirelessly restringing their guy wires and reweaving their nets. I cannot walk outside without gossamer threads and tiny explorers tickling my face and sending instinctive streams of icy water down my spine. Like anything that doesn't kill you, however, familiarity breeds boredom, and I've found myself becoming almost blasé about the ongoing invasion.

I had to remind myself, sharply, of that boredom with spiders when, several days ago, I came upon a fine, large specimen who had caught a fine, large dinner (somewhat representative of Frodo and Shelob), and was enjoying it across the gate leading out of the yard on the north side of our house. I was clearing the bags of dirty old compost, rotten fir needles, and trash out of One Tree Woods in the back yard (a job is not complete until the work space is cleaned up, right folks?), and was on a mission.

I aborted, or rather, diverted my mission for a bit, and went for my camera instead.


15 September 2013

Lightning Fast!

The Seattle area has had some spectacular, mid-Western plains-style thunder and lightning storms recently, and this evening we've been enjoying another.  That is, we're enjoying it now that Ian has landed safely at SeaTac after a week of fish mathing in Boise (because Idaho has salmon that swims all the way in from the ocean). He said the lightning was scary to see from the plane. Yes.

That is, also, I am enjoying it. Spackle is not so sure (he says, hiding at my feet under the dining room table).

Anyway, the sky's been doing interesting things, so I took my camera and went outside, hoping to catch an afterglow or something. Several of the lightning bolts have been multipart--the sky lights up, then immediately lights up again--and I was thinking that if I had my camera at the ready, I might be able to capture one of those "again"s.

No way. Not even remotely. I move not even as fast as a sloth when I'm compared to lightning. I am laughably slow. "Oh . h . h .h . h . th . e . r . e . g . o . e . s . . . . o . n . e . . . . " as my creaking arms raise the camera in slo-mo.

I did, at least, manage to see a pretty awesome bolt blaze out of the sky above east Queen Anne and smite, I'm pretty sure, a houseboat along western Lake Union.


10 September 2013

One Tree Woods

I have yet to be hypnotized by my new therapist, but I'm finding the experience of talking things out to be valuable. She suggested, a couple weeks back, that I create a little bit of forest in my Wallingford house. I universally feel alive and well in the woods--where I'm the only human around, I'm breathing fresh air, I'm listening to bird song, I'm surrounded by towering, pulsing Life. The city pulses with life, that's for sure, but it pulses in a high-pitched, frantic, frenetic, noisy, busy way. Some people find this exhilarating. I find it enervating. 

I understood her reasoning for bringing a bit of forest into the home, though. Some evergreen needles and cones to touch, some cedar essential oils to smell, a recording of twitters or breezes through trees to listen to--it was so that I had some tools, some triggers, to find that peace and clarity so natural to me in, well, nature. When things got a bit overwhelming, I could retreat. 

I didn't want to bring Nature into my home in that way, though. Over the past several months I've done a good job of updating my house to be my ideal of a home, and I don't have an interior place singing out to be Forest. We are far from aseptic in our habits, but I do try, mostly, to keep the outside outside (that being said, one of the things I love about the holiday season in the winter is bringing in big vases of evergreen cuttings . . . I know, inconsistent, right?). 

Out in the back yard about ten days ago I suddenly remembered a thought I'd had much earlier in the summer, which was to clear out our city equivalent of the country trash heap--the hidden space behind Ian's workshop and under our ancient fir--and put in a tiny slate patio so I could sit out there, in the farthest corner of our property from city bustle, and just be. So, while Ian worked on cleaning the trash out of his workshop so that it could be a workshop again, I armed myself with gloves and a shovel (but not a face mask, which would've been a healthy addition) and took out our old composting stations. I dismantled an old metal mesh box Ian had made 12 years ago and hauled out stacks of dry, dusty twigs and shovels-full of decaying needles. I dug up our two green cone composters (abandoned when the city began picking up food waste several years ago), spreading one bucket of dirt infused with moldering eggshells and avocado skins under our currant bush, then deciding to bury the rest of it back in the composter holes. Even though we'd just experienced a couple tropical-style deluges, the space under the tree was bone dry, boding well for year-round use, but not so good for major works. Moldy, composty, ancient dust swirled, coating my sinuses with black. 

Decades ago in an earlier incarnation of our back yard, there had been a plank-defined bed around the foot of this old tree; I cleared out the rotting wood and Ian and I rebuilt the bed, measuring and sawing new pressure-treated 4X4s (more noxious dust lining the nostrils). I leveled the ground and re-purposed some slates (that Ian had made into a path) for my tiny patio, carried in one of our director's chairs, and voila: forest at my city house. 

One Tree Woods!