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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Thursday, 7 December 2017

I slept long, and so did Skooter.

In the afternoon, Allan went boating again.  He will write up two days together for tomorrow’s post, because yesterday’s trip was not entirely a success, and today he returned to the same place to go further.  (I hear cries of “Thank goodness, we’ll have something to read about other than compost bins!”)

The day was warm, so warm that I had the back window and the front door wide open.  While hauling yesterday’s pile of chopped honeysuckle out to the trailer, I  had to find a summer weight shirt to wear, after having packed them away for winter.

I sorted out the wheelbarrow of purple lysimachia (went into the wheelie bin) and Sedum “Autumn Fire’ (went into a pile to save).

I picked up some windfall branches from the back yard next door, and saw a view that was worth going to the house for the camera.

crab pots being readied for the seaon

Unfortunately, the latest tests show the crabs do not have enough meat and it has been decided that the season will not begin till January.  Many years ago, after visiting and falling in love with this area, I subscribed to the Chinook Observer, the local weekly.  During the winter of 1991, I sat at my table in Seattle and read about a delayed crabbing season and about how the local fishing families were suffering economically at Christmas time.  When I read that a restaurant at the port offered free holiday meals to fishing families, I knew that this was where I wanted to live.  The way the community pulled together in hard times impressed me deeply.  (The restaurant in question might have been the former Reel ‘Em In Café.)

the latest windfall

My own little frustration is that tonight would have been a perfect evening for a campfire, being windless.  I knew Allan would not return till after dark,  and I would have felt rather selfish eating a campfire dinner on my own.  Especially since he was the one who had gone to the store to get sausages.

I feel pressured because it is so hard to get to just stay home on staycation.  We have Important Things to Do for the afternoons or evenings of the next three days.  This strangely warm winter* weather is supposed to go well into next week, though.  I hope so.

*As far as I am concerned, fall is Sept-Oct-Nov and winter is Dec-Jan-Feb.

The only indication of winter is the low angle of the sun and seasonal look of the garden.  Otherwise, it felt like a summer day.

2:20 PM

Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and smokebush

some interesting new growths on the dead “Danger Tree” snag

Frosty walked with me.

After some inexpert pruning of my leaning ‘Cox’s Orange Pippen Tree…

before…it’s leaning to the east

after, some big eastern branches removed

…I measured my compost area (again!) to figure out if a fourth bin would fit.

I don’t use the plastic bin; we have three of them.

I thought about having to empty all the bins at once and then realized that the bins could be moved without having to empty them all at once.  Starting at the near end, one could be moved, and the others shifted as they get emptied.  Eureka!   At the same time, we could move them forward, making room to walk between them and the greenhouse.  I need two more pallets to make another bin.

It has proved annoying when debris falls into this narrow space. And there is no room to maintain the greenhouse exterior.

There is room at the far end, too, if that batch of hops and honeysuckle were pruned regularly.

I simply had to start tearing a bin apart and get it moved.  I just could not wait. I would tie it together and later Allan could do the good job that he likes to do. I managed to tear off one side and move it over.  To my intense frustration, I could not get the back pallet off.  It got wodged into the other one and stuck by one screw.  I worked and worked at it and finally had to give up.

When I dragged the plastic composter to the back of the garden, I looked wistfully through the gate at the pile of gear shed pallets, and then realized that I have one under the wood pile.  I dumped the wood onto the tarp and dragged the pallet up to the compost area.  Now I just need one more.  I considered walking down to the dump pile near the boatyard where sometimes free pallets appear, and rolling one home.  I wasn’t quite that obsessed; it’s a five block “roll”.  (A Flintstones roll of a square object.)

I was left with a great big mess again…but tomorrow Allan will help me.

If we can get bin one set up, I can start shifting compost from bin two into it.  Because the wood pile pallet was a little smaller, I think the fourth bin might even fit in without moving the whole thing over.  (But will it bother me to to have one slightly smaller bin? Yes.) Bins two and three do need to come forward about a foot as they get emptied out.

Other than garden touring, this is the most satisfying event of my year, or will be, when that one danged stuck pallet gets moved.

I could not do my original plan of clipping more debris to compost, so instead I finished the daylight by clipping old hellebore leaves throughout the front garden.  They carry disease and must be discarded. I loosely filled the wheelie bin and didn’t even get to the back garden hellebores.

When Allan returned after dark, he went to the free wood pile and scored two more pallets.  Joy! Tomorrow, he will help me complete bin one.  No sleeping late, because we must get it done in time to go to a rally in Ocean Park.

Tonight, we have a new disc of Stranger Things, season one, so life is extra good.

Next:  Allan’s boating adventure.  We’ll get back to composting soon, never fear.

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Sunday, 19 November 2017

I caight up by writing the three latest blog posts. I begin this one with a poem that blog reader Lavinia of Salmon Brook Farms recommended.  It is from a book called A Visit to William Blake’s Inn:

The King of Cats Sends a Postcard to His Wife

by Nancy Willard

Keep your whiskers crisp and clean.
Do not let the mice grow lean.
Do not let yourself grow fat
like a common kitchen cat.Have you set the kittens free?
Do they sometimes ask for me?
Is our catnip growing tall?
Did you patch the garden wall?

Clouds are gentle walls that hide
gardens on the other side.
Tell the tabby cats I take
all my meals with William Blake,

lunch at noon and tea at four,
served in splendor on the shore
at the tinkling of a bell.
Tell them I am sleeping well.

Tell them I have come so far,
brought by Blake’s celestial car,
buffeted by wind and rain,
I may not get home again.

Take this message to my friends.
Say the King of Catnip sends
to the cat who winds his clocks
a thousand sunsets in a box,

to the cat who brings the ice
the shadows of a dozen mice
(serve them with assorted dips
and eat them like potato chips),

and to the cat who guards his door
a net for catching stars, and more
(if with patience he abide):
catnip from the other side.

Of course, the poem reminded my of Smoky, and I found it most comforting to think of “catnip on the other side”.
Calvin enjoyed cereal milk this morning.
I am going to call tomorrow for a veterinary appointment for him.  He is almost 13 and has a nagging little cough, which I hope is just a hairball thing.  He is a compulsive groomer who has sometimes groomed himself into bare patches.  Since he and Smoky had become best friends, he had been grooming Smoky instead.  Now he is back to licking his ownself.

Snoozy Calvin

Frosty chose to nap near my living room desk, on the floor, even though there are four comfy chairs nearby.

Skooter helped me blog.

The wind gusted at 45 mph, as predicted.  We need a dry-ish, calm-ish Sunday or Monday for mulching the Ilwaco Community Building garden while the library is closed.

In the evening, I settled in to read a little book sent me by an imaginary bookish friend–that is, someone I know online but have never met. It came with this card:

The wee book was published in 1925.

What an affirming message to read today.

This illustration spoke to me of my grandmother (who would have treasured a little book like this):

In her Scrapbooks, she had several photos of stone edged ponds much like that one.

And she had pasted in an illustration with a similar path.

A pretty postcard that was in the book:

I’m feeling especially fortunate in my friends lately.

I finished Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Here are four favourite passages.

On someone who converses by asking questions:

On being a beloved person:

On why not to finish a boat:

A perfect river:

Now on to Of Mice and Men.

Sweet Thursday is a sequel to Cannery Row, but I need a little break from that setting.

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Thursday, 16 November 2017, part two

When we returned from work, we just had time before dark to do a garden walkabout.  We had not been into the garden since the recent two days of rain and wind.

standing water where it usually does not collect

three days worth of rain in the big yellow rain gauge

lots of little twigs down

Frosty wanted to follow. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

the center path of the Bogsy Woods Loop

Allan’s photo

east Bogsy Woods Loop

from the center: the new sit spot

overflowing swale

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking east from the west side

hardy fuchsia

Allan’s photo

future firewood

forlorn hope for a winter campfire

In the house, Allan’s gloves after washing and drying:

We had time for an hour of sitting down (me reading The Grapes of Wrath) before going out to  meet Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) for dinner at Salt Pub at the port, followed by a Salty Talk.

Allan’s photo

Melissa showed us a photo of one of a couple of trees that had fallen at Sea Star Acres.

photo courtesy Sea Star Gardening

For dinner, Allan and I had “chicken pot pie poutine”, a deconstructed chicken pot pie with fries, gravy, and fried cheese curd.  It was amazing comfort food.

chicken pot pie poutine

and a salad for something healthy

Betsy Millard, director of Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. introduces the season’s first Salty Talk.

Park Ranger Dane Osis and a cauliflower mushroom (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo: the deadly amanita on the left

amanita (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo of some mushrooms brought in by an audience member.

My lecture notes follow.  Although I have no intention of collecting mushrooms or of eating wild mushrooms that anyone but the most expert person has harvested (and even then I would think twice), I am interested in all plant life.

Salty Talk about wild mushrooms, what I learned:

Mycelium mushrooms are like the apples on an apple tree.  You cannot hurt the main organism by picking them.

Saprophytic mushrooms can be mass produced.  So-called “Wild oyster mushrooms” are most likely produced on a farm.

Mycorrhizal fungi are symbiotic with plants and will transfer moisture from one part of a forest to another.

Knowing your trees will help you to identify mushrooms (based on where the mushrooms like to grow).

The “chicken of the woods” fungi used to rot the hulls of wooden ships.

Ranger Osis says there are fancy mushroom collecting knives with a brush on one end, for brushing off the mushroom to get a closer ID.  He made one by duct taping a brush to a knife.

His favourite mushroom book is All That the Rain Promises and More.  The one with the trombone on the cover.

Cauliflower mushrooms look like a pile of egg noodles.  The one he showed in the lecture, he picked on Monday while elk hunting.  His pick up bed filled with rain water, and yet the mushroom is still good, whereas a chanterelle would have rotted.  He has found one that was 24 pounds.  Another elk hunter found a 55 pound one and thought it was a bedded down elk at first.  If you pick this mushroom, it will grow back the following year.

This strange mushroom can get up to 50 lbs and is delicious, Dane Osis said.

There are more common names for a king bolete than there are languages.  Porcini is just one name.  They are beloved of deer and elk…and can have maggots, as a friend of ours discovered when she brought some home and left them in a bag for a short while.

Jack of Lantern mushrooms, which glow in the dark and can be mistaken for chanterelles, will make you violently ill.

Survivors say the death cap mushroom is the most delicious mushroom they ever ate.  Liver failure will follow in 48 hours.  The deadly death cap is changing hosts from oak to spruce and Douglas fir and can now be more commonly found in the Pacific Northwest (unfortunately).

The effects of amanita mushrooms, which are more toxic here than in Europe, are associated with berserker Vikings, Santa Claus (flying, maybe?), and Lewis Carroll supposedly tripped on amanita before writing Alice in Wonderland.  (Don’t try this.)

Candy cap mushrooms taste like maple syrup and are used in desserts, and will even make your sweat smell like maple syrup.  There is a toxic mushroom that tends to grow with the rare candy cap and looks almost exactly like it.

Since I knew almost nothing of mushrooms before the lecture, I feel that it was successfully jam packed with information.  I look forward to the once a month Salty Talk season which will continue once a month through the winter and into early spring.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.)

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11-12 November: rainy time off

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.

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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.

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