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Thursday, 16 November 2017

The forecast was for so much rain that we probably would not have tried to work, had we not  an appointment to see Shelly Pollock at NW Insurance and Financial to sort out my health insurance.  This drew me out of the house and away from reading The Grapes of Wrath.

First, in a dry hour, we tidied up a block worth of Ilwaco planters.

street tree, before (Allan’s photos)

before

after clipping lavenders and oregano

cleaning up a block worth of Ilwaco planters (telephoto)

also did three more planters near the stoplight intersection (Allan cut down that Sedum and pulled the nasturtiums)

A local fellow walked by and said how much he liked the nasturtiums and that he had picked up the fallen seeds and planted them around town.  I hope they all come up!  Allan refers to the seeds as “little brains”, which is what they look like.

Long Beach

Shelly’s office is in Long Beach.  We bracketed the appointment with some attempts to further tidy Long Beach planters and street tree gardens.  We did get two on the nearest corner done, mostly in the rain, before time to see her.

Bella in Shelly’s waiting room

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The books on the table, Starfish and Bottom Feeders, are from an excellent cozy mystery series by our friend Jan Bono.

on Shelly’s desk

As we got started on our health insurance, the Washington State Affordable Care Act website locked us out of our account as we tried to change the password because we had forgotten to bring ours.  (It has to be long and complicated, and the site makes Allan change it frequently.)  Because we’d be locked out of it for half an hour, we went off to try to work again and agreed to return in an hour.

We got a bit more planter work done.

before

and after (Allan’s photos)

Work soon became impossible.

So we went to Abbracci Coffee Bar, two blocks north, for a treat.

We got a window table.

Tony and Bernardo (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Mexican hot chocolate and cookies

We got to see our friend, Sophie (Allan’s photo)

Back at Shelly’s office an hour later, Allan was outside trying to tidy under the street tree while I waited for Shelly’s previous appointment to end.  As it did, Allan took shelter from pelting hail.

I knocked on the window for him to come in.

This time, we were able to access the website.  I am so grateful to Shelly for her expert help.  I got signed up for a plan I can afford, with the ACA tax rebate.  Without it, my plan would cost about $800 a month, or approximately half my annual income.  The greed and fear of the insurance companies (and pharmaceutical industry and the Republican party) may be the downfall of the ACA, but not yet.  Two and a half years for me before the relative safely of Medicare…  Shelly says that people used to be sad to get older, but that now people are rejoicing in her office to have turned 65 (Medicare age).  Medicare will also cost us about 1/4 of our eventual Social Security income, so even that is not a pretty picture for old age.

Continuing with work was futile, as the day turned as dark as dusk at 4 PM.

On the way home, we stopped at the library to pick up a film I had ordered.

The library garden had drifts of hail:

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Next: the rest of our day, including a mushroom lecture.  It was too long a day to write about in one post, despite us not getting much done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

 

sun on dogwood leaves outside our kitchen window

Ilwaco

We started by pulling the rest of the now wind-battered sweet peas off of the fence at the Ilwaco boatyard and trimmed some more Stipa gigantea.

The boatyard garden is all greens and silvers now.

Long Beach

We continued to whittle down the fall clean up of the Long Beach planters, starting with taking down the last of the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ at the welcome sign.

windblown geraniums

There’s no after photo.  Just imagine it pretty much empty.

In town, we could tell the weather was about to be variable.

I had decided to clip back Geranium ‘Rozanne’ even if it still had some blue flowers.  My memory was strong of how miserable it is to do an extensive post-frost clean up in cold weather with cold hands.

before

planter in front of the Coastal Inn and Suites

Allan cleaned up under two trees just to the north of my project.

before (with Pacicum ‘Heavy Metal’ and some badasters

Panicum “Heavy Metal’ is a kind of greyish green grass in summer.

after

It is better to wait to prune down ornamental grasses in late winter.  However, sometimes I just realize that passersby do not GET this grass and probably think it looks weedy in the winter (or anytime).

The first big rain squall came.  I got into the van.  Allan was stuck under an awning (in yellow vest by the white pillars).

I had found a couple of rocks in the planter.

I am now finding painted rocks that have been hidden in the planters all summer, not very effective because they were so lost that some of their designs have worn off.  Mr. Tootlepedal asked about the painted rocks.  It’s a hobby that has caught on around here, and towns all over Washington State and Oregon, too, have groups of folks who paint and hide pretty rocks.  When you find one, you can keep it or re-hide it.  You can join the Facebook group associated with whatever group logo is (usually) painted onto the back of the rock and post a photo of it.

From one of the local groups, Ocean Park and Long Beach Rocks:

We paint rocks and hide them all over town for others to find. On the back of the rocks write Ocean Park/Long Beach Rocks and a Facebook symbol. If you find a rock, you can keep it or re-hide it for others to enjoy. You can also post pictures here of the rocks you hide, as well as the rocks you find.

This is a family friendly activity, so please don’t decorate rocks with profanity or obscenities. Always remember that this activity is about community and spreading joy, happiness and love.

They do bring me a lot of enjoyment as I find them and can brighten up a hard work day.

After the squall, finishing up the planter by Coastal Inn:

We moved on to another intersection, skipping a couple of blocks to get to the planters that I felt needed tidying the most.  The one in front of Hungry Harbor Grille, with its tired California poppies, had been on my mind.

before, with the planter by the carousel in foreground

I left this one for Allan.

Allan clipped the catmint in the near one, and I tackled the diagonal one.

before

creating a big mess

I needed the wheelbarrow!

after

after

The Hungry Harbor was getting its doors painted for Christmas. She got one door outlined in the time it took to clean the planter.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan also cleaned up the planter in front of Sweet Phees snack and pizza shop.

before cutting back the golden marjoram

after

Cutting the perennials now prevents the cutting of bulb foliage of those that come up early, and lets the flowers of the small spring bulbs show off better.  The grape hyacinths foliage is already up, which is normal.

Another tree garden cleaned up by Allan:

before, near Castaways Bar and Grille.

We had once tried to make this tree garden special, with some hardy fuchsias and fewer badaster and hesperantha.  But people park their dogs in it, and bikes, too, I suppose, and the good new plants got smashed so it went back to badaster and hesperantha.

after (Allan’s photos)

At 4:30, 45 minutes before dusk, the rain came back in earnest so we went home.

I’m spending some of my evening time reading The Grapes of Wrath, which continues to be both stressful and satisfying.  Satisfying because I so agree with John Steinbeck.

About a rich man with a vast acreage who is “mean, lonely, old, disappointed, and scared of dying.”:

How times have not changed:

The desperately hungry, who cannot find work despite daily questing for work, dream of just a small piece of land where they could grow food to eat:

Is a different time coming?

In his review of the film of The Grapes of Wrath, Roger Ebert wrote, “Of course Tom [Joad] didn’t know the end of the story, about how the Okies would go to work in war industries and their children would prosper more in California than they would have in Oklahoma, and their grandchildren would star in Beach Boys songs. It is easy to forget that for many, “The Grapes of Wrath” had a happy, unwritten, fourth act.”  Fortunately, I did not read the review till after I’d finished the book; it has a big spoiler about the book’s final scene.

Roger Ebert was not entirely optimistic about the fate of the workers:

 “The story, which seems to be about the resiliency and courage of “the people,” is built on a foundation of fear: Fear of losing jobs, land, self-respect. To those who had felt that fear, who had gone hungry or been homeless, it would never become dated. And its sense of injustice, I believe, is still relevant. The banks and land agents of the 1930s have been replaced by financial pyramids so huge and so chummy with the government that Enron, for example, had to tractor itself off its own land.”

 

 

 

 

Monday, 13 November 2017

Even though the storm lived up to its advance reputation, it did us no harm.  The lights flickered but did not go out.  It was perfect reading weather, except for missing a certain cat cuddled under my chin.  The remaining three cats are nice, and they like me, but they do not dote on me.

There was some excitement to watch on the local Facebook feed:

The wind speeds were dramatic.

The 89 mph was up at Radar Ridge, a high hill south of the Astoria Bridge.

From the Chinook Observer, late Tuesday:

Overnight wind gusts Tuesday-Wednesday:
Megler Mountain: 76 mph
Naselle Radar Ridge: 70 mph
Cape Disappointment: 60 mph  [that’s just across the Ilwaco marina from us]
Sustained wind speeds around 50 mph at times

Skooter watching the weather

Meanwhile, I read.

This history of the Dust Bowl enlightened me in a gripping can’t put it down way about the harshness of the drought and sky blackening, lung choking dust storms of the 1930s.  I’d learned a bit about it in school, where the idea that contour plowing could heal the land impressed me.  But I had no idea till now how bad the dust had been.

How beautiful the land once was:

The advice of using dust to mulch!!

“The best side is up”:

“We Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land…”

“You are filled with dirt.”

Static electricity from the dust storms made barbed wire fences spark and burned kitchen gardens.

This book will stick with me.  Because I love diaries, I was especially pleased with diary excerpts of a farmer, Dan Hartwell, that were woven into the story.

A man of poetic thought in a dying land:

Mr. Hartwell just plain broke my heart.  The diary just ends, with no idea of what became of him.

I had read the book straight through with nary a pause.  I have ordered a documentary movie that includes Bam White, one of the people whose story figures large in it: The Plow that Broke the Plains.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

When I woke up, I looked out the south window and the skyline had changed.  What was that big grey thing? My view had never included a big grey….building?  I was disconcerted.

When I figured it out, I asked Allan to have a look. “Is that the river?” he asked, mystified for a moment also, until he also realized….”It’s a truck!”

It moved and my normal view returned.

It would have been a pretty exciting day if the river had suddenly returned to right outside our back gate.

The full gale flag still flew at the port, and another wind front battered the house.  Good, another reading day.

Calvin now waits for cereal milk.

I read another book straight through without a pause.  I had just acquired my own copy of the best book about the loss of of a pet, one that I had read twice before when my extra good cats Orson, and later Dumbles, had died.

reading with Smoky’s brother, Frosty

I thought that this time, I wouldn’t cry my way through the book. But I did, in a cathartic way.  Virginia Ironside had collected poetry and essays along with the most heartfelt stories that were written in to her in her job as a British “Agony Aunt’ (like Dear Abby).

And this:

And the inscription on a pet’s gravestone: “Here lies love.”

Orson sunning himself on the sidewalk, round 1991

Dumbles, 1999-2011

Smokey

I was pleased to find that Virginia Ironside has a Facebook page, along with several new books that I immediately ordered through interlibrary loan.  I’ve read her basic letters to an agony aunt book and one called “No, I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club“, about “aging disgracefully”, so I know I like her style.

Meanwhile, I had been inspired by The Worst Hard Time to finally read The Grapes of Wrath.  I had tried it last night, and just flicking through it made me think it was going to be a ponderous read.  Today, within seven pages I was mesmerized.  How had I missed this?  Allan has all of Steinbeck, a gift from his Grandma, Beulah Fones, who lived in Steinbeck country.  The only one I have read is The Red Pony, forced to in school and did not like it.  I have some catching up to do.

Allan’s Grandma Beulah

I read through half the book and finally had to sleep. I just needed a good rainy Wednesday to finish it.  That was not to be as the weather permitted work on the next day, and so I am still worried about the Joads, who just made it (well, some of them) across the desert into California.  I do not think their dreams are going to come true.

The moment I fell in love with The Grapes of Wrath, page 7, when young Tom Joad hitches a ride:

The refugees, trying to decide which possessions can go with them to California:

human kindness:

If I see someone traveling with a vehicle overloaded with possessions, and I have seen some vehicles that remind me of the Joads (because we know about the Joads even if we haven’t read the book), my immediate response is compassion and help, not turning away and contempt.  I fear for them and am going to get back to my reading the very minute I get this post scheduled.

(Allan has been busy working on a project involving his boating blog posts.  More on this later.)

Saturday, 11 November 2017

It is Veterans Day.  I reposted my mom’s Marine Corps story on Facebook.

For the first time in months, I sat and read an entire book.  I have read all of Ruth Reichl’s culinary members.  She has turned her hand to a novel.

To my delight, one theme in the book is an imaginary correspondence in WWII between a young girl and famous chef James Beard.  You may recall that I spent all last winter reading WWII memoirs and novels.  In one part of the correspondence, the persecution of Italians in WWII is addressed:

The finder of the letters discusses this with a friend:

I wish the human race would learn to not persecute whole groups of people.  Yet more than 70 years later, it still goes on.

A delicious passage about the reading of old memoirs and letters:

Allan usefully occupied himself changing the house and shed locks (which have become worn) and adding another coat of paint to a plant table.  We’d had vague intentions of going to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum for the annual Chinook Tribe dinner.  We did not.  Allan said the streets were fully parked for a couple of blocks, so it must have been popular.  By the time the locks…and my book…were done, the dinner only had an hour to go and we would have missed the drumming demonstration.  We stayed home.  I turned my reading attention to The Tootlepedal Blog and caught up and then caught up on another favourite blog, The Miserable Gardener.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The last of the tomatoes, some ripened on the window sill. The dark ones are delicious Chocolate Cherry.

In my recent full house clean up for our Halloween party, I pinned some badges and brooches to the curtain over the cat door.

Skooter has taken a great interest in removing them.

This one, once my grandma’s, was in the center of my desk.

Skooter triumphant

We are expecting some WEATHER.

weather map

High wind warning:

South Washington Coast-
Including the cities of Raymond, Long Beach, Ocean Park, Naselle,
Cathlamet, and Cape Disappointment
348 AM PST Sun Nov 12 2017

…HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM TO 6 PM PST MONDAY…

The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a High Wind
Warning, which is in effect from 8 AM to 6 PM PST Monday. The
High Wind Watch is no longer in effect.

* WINDS…In the coastal communities, south wind 25 to 35 mph with
gusts to 60 mph. Near beaches and headlands, south wind 35 to 45
mph with gusts 65 to 75 mph. Winds turning more southwest
Monday afternoon.

* TIMING…Monday, with strongest winds during the afternoon.

* IMPACTS…Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power
lines. Scattered power outages are possible. Travel will become
difficult for high profile vehicles along Highway 101.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected
or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts
of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

I had best check behind the garage for loose plastic flowerpots and tidy such things up.  Oh! And the Great Wall of China must come down!

I told Allan that if he would take the plates down for me, I would make him famous in a photo.

Next year, when dry weather comes, we have beautiful mosaic plates to add, created by our friend, artist Michele Naquaiya.  She gave us a box of them when cleaning out her studio, including the glorious Garden Art sign that used to welcome her guests.  The plates are already are fitted out with plate hangers.  Thank you, Michele, and thanks to Judy and Larry for bringing them to us on Halloween.

I’m putting this cool little piece in the house with my other tchotchkes.

Now I’m diving into a cozy mystery and will blog again after the storm either lives up to its reputation or does not.

I enjoy this series very much, although I could do without the cat helping to solve the mystery.

The cats and I are enjoying this staycation preview of doing nothing much.

Friday, 10 November 2017

If we methodically work through the fall clean up list, we might get it done by the end of this month and then be on staycation.  I’d like to be done (except for post frost clean up) by Thanksgiving (Nov 23).  This is not looking likely because of a prediction of at least five days of bad weather.

Port of Ilwaco

On the way to the port, we saw the sure signs of approaching crab season.  The crab fishing fleet has to wait for the crab to size up properly before it can begin.  They always hope for the beginning of December but often have to wait.  While they wait, they prepare their pots.

crab pots by the old Kola boathouse

I began with the small garden on the south side of the Port Office building.

port office garden with lots of lavenders to clip and one last big cosmos pulled

after (Allan cleaned up with his new, pretty quiet rechargeable blower)

It was a big advance recently when we acquired a battery operated blower.  I had avoided them because of the noise.  Allan picked out a quiet-ish one, and it does make the job go faster than a broom.  Perhaps he will insert the make and model here, for those who like specs.  ( A Greenworks 80V blower  Same battery operates our heavy duty string trimmer and could operate a replacement chainsaw or a mower in the future.)

just across Waterfront Way from the little garden

I joined Allan to help finish up his project, the final clean up of the Time Enough Books garden.

Each business has the garden or courtyard (or in some cases, just a parking lot) on the south side of the sidewalk.  The north side is the curbside garden, maintained by the port (usually by us, with the exception of a fish processing business that clips their own escallonias).

Time Enough Books, east side before

and after (elderberry lowered behind the boat, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ clipped down in front of the boat), Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ pulled by the entrance to Purly Shell Fiber Arts)

before (Allan’s photos)

after

Time Enough Books west side garden, before

west side, after, with elderberry and tall grasses and more cut all the way down for ease of Christmas decorating; that was one year of growth on that elderberry, which we chop down every November.

before (Allan’s photos)

after

after easy peasy blower clean up

The Depot Restaurant

Allan did the once yearly chopping of the bamboo in a very narrow space between the deck and the building.  I am not even sure I could fit in there.

His photos:

bamboo all up in the works

after

A portly repairperson would have a hard time getting to that equipment even without the bamboo

We like the bamboo for long stakes.  I realized Allan would have to run it home before we loaded up the debris that I was cutting from the garden to the north of the dining deck.

trailer with long bamboo

He made quick work of taking the bamboo home and returning with an empty trailer.

I chopped down almost everything in the north garden.

before

Sous chef Jamie emerged from the kitchen and I asked him if he would leave up the Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’, which I love for its tiny yellow flowers still showing way up high.

Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’

He could not see the appeal of the old, worn plant, and I figured his opinion would be shared by most passersby, so down it came.  I am extra glad now, because a great deal of wind is being forecast and it would have had to be chopped next week for sure.

Solidago ‘Fireworks’, Persicaria ‘Firetrail’, and old ferns were for the chop.

after

I did leave up the late blooming Sanguisorba.

Sanguisorba menziesii ‘Dali Marble‘, backed with a self sown cotoneaster and with Cornus ‘Hedgerows Gold’

There will be one more short session of clean up in this garden after the first heavy frost.

I had hoped to get a couple of Long Beach planters cleaned up.  The frost is not yet here, and yet I woke up in the morning realizing I am tired of California poppies and nasturtiums’ last few blooms.  We ran out of time, so that will have to wait.  I wanted to get home with some daylight left to pick a bouquet for a friend who is recovering from surgery.

at home:

Allan’s photo

an autumn bouquet about to be delivered to dear Ilwaco friend

I got such a touching card from my neighbors.  I love the way it recognizes the true friendship I shared with Smoky.  (It wasn’t lopsided; it just photographed that way.)

Thank you.

On the work board, as much was added as erased.  I realized the port office garden looks battered by rain and needs a bag of mulch.  And I see that I need to add the Depot to the “post frost clean up” section.

I really hope we can accomplish all the pre-frost clean up before the end of this month.  All we need is five workable days!  ….Or six, since things usually take longer than I hope.

 

 

 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

I got eight hours of sleep for the first time since my cat Smoky got sick.  This meant a late start to the day.  I had barely settled in to what I thought would be a reading afternoon when the sun emerged from rain and we decided to go to work.  We picked the Ilwaco boatyard so we would not get drenched far from home if rain returned.

I left Frosty in his peculiar new favourite spot:

smack dab in the middle of the back bedroom floor

On the way to work, we clipped the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ at the back of our volunteer post office garden.

Allan’s photo; no before; the Helianthus had been in the back corner.

Ilwaco boatyard

I had decided to take down some of the annuals now instead of waiting for frost, because I remembered how hard they were to pull from frozen ground.

sweet peas all the way to the top of the fence

Turns out that while I did pull some of the sweet peas and the taller cosmos, I could not bear to pull them all.

Tall cosmos and the tallest sweet peas and the verbascums got pulled.

Allan’s photo; We did get caught in a couple of brief squalls

Allan’s photo: This re-seeded euphorbia had to go, as it was too close to the sidewalk

Allan’s photos: All but the two Stipa gigantea at the center of the garden got their long stems trimmed.

Allan’s photos: sweet peas that I left blooming.

In pulling the old foliage off of a big Geranium ‘Rozanne’, I found a pair of clippers that I had lost over the summer.

The clippers had been hiding inside a santolina whose dead flowers I had sheared a month or more ago.

We had time to do a pretty good weeding all along the boatyard garden, as well, and to sow a bucket of poppy seeds that I had saved from deadheading there in late summer.  I thought the poppies might not reseed naturally because we had added a lot of mulch at the end of summer, smothering seedlings.  But I found quite a few new little poppy seedlings despite that, so good.

The crab pot tree has been assembled.  Allan will help decorate it later this month.

bare bones of the crab pot tree (Allan’s photo)

event poster by Don Nisbett

A fishing boat was pulling in to the nearby processing company, Ilwaco Landing.

 

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

We dumped a few buckets of weeds at our dump spot, and took all the cosmos, sweet peas and clean non weedy clippings home to my compost mountain.

view from the east end of the marina

debris haul to compost bins (Allan’s photo)

the rain gauge from last night (Allan’s photo)

A dear local friend of ours is having post surgery woes.  Allan ran her son to McDonalds to get a meal, and then he and I went to meet Dave and Melissa for dinner at

Salt Pub.

It’s now dark when we go to dinner. Salt courtyard, Allan’s photo

Dave’s eyes were on a televised football game at the other end of the room.

fish and chips and sliders

clam chowder

Tomorrow we do expect the weather to be good enough for working, followed by a rainy weekend that I hope to devote to reading.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Seattle Times (my home town paper) published an article about ICE on the Long Beach Peninsula.  Not only is it informative about the hardships of local immigrants, it is also beautifully captures the flavor of life here on this somewhat isolated sand spit.  Read about us here.

And recently, while Googling something, I came across a most enticing event about my beloved Nella Last.  If only I could go!  (Even if I could, it is sold out.  And I haven’t renewed my passport.) Tea With Nella Last would be such a joy.  So would a winter spent in the Mass Observation archive, something I could not even dream of when my dear cat Smoky was alive, because I would not have left him.  That reminds me of a favourite book that I intend to re-read this winter, Waiting for My Cats to Die by Stacy Horn.

The rain and wind kept me in today, although our friends Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) showed their usual impressive fortitude by working anyway at The Oysterville Garden.  They described sitting in their truck looking at the storm and then forging into it like entering a hurricane.  I would picture it as diving into an agitating washing machine, set on cold water.

Skooter by the front door

On the front porch, I found a package of cookies from Scott and Tony.  Amazing will power resulted in there being four left by the end of the day.

Tomatoes are ripening on the windowsill.  The model VW bus, a gift from Allan, represents one I used to have.

The cats all tucked themselves into naps, separately.

Skooter on a bed

Frosty on Allan’s chair

Calvin on my chair

I sat at my living room desk and worked on a long blog post about visiting Steve and John’s garden the day before.

Davidia ‘Lady Sunshine’ through a rainy window

rain and wind view from my desk

To my left, two cats.

To the right of my old Macbook, that empty spot where Smoky used to lie while I blogged.

The sky eventually brightened, but the cold wind continued.

Allan spent some time sanding an old table, once my grandmother’s, whose veneer top had chipped.  It will return to being a plant table when the paint dries.

In the evening, I finally finished a book in which I’ve been reading a few pages a day for weeks.  Margaret Drabble is a favourite author of mine.  I’d like to have read her latest book in a day, but it had coincided with bulb time and then with Smoky’s illness and death.

The book’s theme is aging and death, told in a quiet and undramatic way.

on heaven:

It must be this painting.

Spencer, Stanley; The Resurrection, Cookham; Tate; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-resurrection-cookham-201964

With this label, from the Tate Gallery:

Spencer believed that the divine rested in all creation. He saw his home village of Cookham as a paradise in which everything was invested with mystical significance. The local churchyard here becomes the setting for the resurrection of the dead. Christ is enthroned in the church porch, cradling three babies, with God the Father standing behind. Spencer himself appears near the centre, naked, leaning against a grave stone; his fiancée Hilda lies sleeping in a bed of ivy. At the top left, risen souls are transported to Heaven in the pleasure steamers that then ploughed the Thames.

Gallery label, September 2016

I learned a new word, “eschatology”.

The “downward step” of aging:

To add to my winter reading list, Margaret Drabble’s inspirations:

Margaret Drabble’s books are always over my head, due to my lack of education.  She inspires me to look things up, and learn.  One of her brief mentions was of the “varicolored but disturbing” Kitaj Tapestry.

An ideal staycation’s reading might be to read through all of her books again, from the beginning.  I own them all through The Radiant Way.  I remember my favourites being The Waterfall and The Needle’s Eye. If I could resist getting a pile of new books from the library, that re-reading might be accomplished.

I set my Goodreads goal too high this year: 90 books.  It seemed so doable till recently.  I am only up to 68 books read this year.  Perhaps if staycation starts by Thanksgiving….

I have had many thoughts of how much I will miss my Smoky during staycation.  He so loved those long reading days on my lap.  Perhaps, though, his brother Frosty will appreciate being the top lap cat this winter.  There was some sibling rivalry, and Smoky always won because he was just a quieter and more restful lap sitter.

While finishing The Dark Flood Rises, with Frosty on my lap, I had admired his silver tipped fur.

His blue eyes must come from a Siamese ancestor, as does his loud voice.

In the evening, I started a short and heartbreakingly gorgeous memoir, It’s Not Yet Dark.  I expected to be able to finish it the next day because of another forecast of rain.

…about a man with ALS, also now a well reviewed film

An allegory about his diagnosis:

Update: A five star book. It is not about despair. I think of my friend Lily who died of ALS in 2005. The lilies in the Long Beach parks are planted in memory of her. And I think of Vernie, the wife of a friend, a strong and beautiful gardener taken by ALS, who I wish I had known. I am planting some good asters in her memory.