almost a another year

May 31, 2011

Tonight we get a sunset we can see. A nice and welcome break from the end of what seems like an eternal spring.

I spent a portion of this long weekend reading (for the first time) Slaughter House Five. I didn’t choose the book because of Memorial day, but I fully appreciate the coincidence, and in that respect, I think it was fitting. Also, now I know why so many folks have told me to read this book. If you’ve never read the book, you should. It will take you less than a day. Afterward you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. I swear that Slaughter House Five should be on a required reading list for being human.

If you like Kurt Vonnegut Jr, you might want to check out this interview.

I got an early start to celebrating my birthday this weekend, with a family dinner, Uris style. It reminded me of all the years I spent celebrating my birthday with my extended family, which meant a lot to me. However the rest of my birthday plays out, last night was pretty perfect.

A bank of clouds, visible form my front window, has turned nearly the color  of fuchsia. We really do get amazing sunsets

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sunset + rain + ash

May 19, 2011

The days are getting wonderfully long. Dusk happened around 9pm tonight. The fact that it was sunny made it all the more amazing. Long days are one of the things I love about Portland. It also got up to around 70 today, which was perfect weather for the bike ride home. We have such a long ass spring out here and this one’s been chilly. So when things have warmed up on the fews days that have been over 60, it’s felt like such a luxury.

Strangely I haven’t minded the rain that much. At least not yet. I say strangely because March and April set some records. March was the 5th wettest March on record (I’m not sure how long the “record” dates back). Total rainfall for April was the third-highest in 71 years. However if that pattern of precipitation continues into July, I’m sure I’ll be losing mind.

Today is the anniversary of the eruption of Mount St Helens. That fact plus the huge trees, vast stretches of wilderness and all the massive rock formations make me feel like I’m living right on the edge of the prehistoric. If prehistoric was accessible via bike.

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two wheeled venting

May 5, 2011

The days are longer and getting a little dryer and a little warmer so fair weather bike riders have started taking to the streets. Lots more commuters on the weekdays and leisure riders on the weekends. It’s heartening and maddening at the same time. Critical mass is supposed to make it safer for all of us bike riders, but about 75% of the time bike riders do insensitive and jerkish things.  I’m not excluding myself. I do jerkish and insensitive things on my bike too sometimes. More riders means greater potential to experience someone behaving badly on his or her bike. I’m struggling to adjust to the increased odds.

Here’s a list of my pet peeves (the jerkish and insensitive behavior that drives me crazy). It’s not in any particular order, as in the the first item does not peeve me off the most. If anything, it may be in order of frequency. The "you" is intended to be generic. I guess the me is too.

  • Not indicating when you’re gonna pass on the left
  • Passing while pedaling as fast as you can at a pace you can’t maintain and then slowing down to a pace slower than, me trapping me in a narrow bike lane with lots of car traffic so now I can’t pass you.
  • Talking on your hand held cell phone.
  • Checking your voice mail or ipod at a red light and not noticing it’s turned green.
  • Turning up the music so loud in your ear buds or headphones that you can’t hear me signalling to you that I’m passing and you don’t move over or you pull out into me or another rider or pedestrian.
  • Yelling at me when I signal to you with my bell that I’m passing you because you don’t know bike etiquette.
  • Blowing through red lights when there’s lots of car traffic.

I realize this makes me sound grumpy and self-righteous. I admit that I tend to be self righteous when I ride. But sincerely I believe when we ride, we are sharing public space and most of my peeves have to do with behaviors that make it safer and more enjoyable to ride. For all the riders on the road.

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a tuesday

May 4, 2011

My house faces west and there are two big windows in front. Perfect to view sunsets. Tonight’s seems kind of hopeful, which is what spring is all about, if you exclude floods and tornadoes and other acts of nature batting last that tear people’s lives apart. I guess hope has context.

Passing on some stuff I’ve  found interesting or amusing:

 

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mundane and glorious

May 2, 2011

Sunny and almost 70. Luxury weather for out here.  I spent most of the day working outside in my yard, which was not what I’d planned to do, but I got a lot of stuff done without having set out to do any of it. It was a kind of zen and very satisfying endeavor. Up until this year I’ve generally hated doing yard work, which was something I did not know about myself until RU and I bought this house. It’s funny how you find things out about yourself. This year, I don’t mind working in the yard. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. The warm and dry weather help. A ton. But I also think there’s a real shift too. I’m definitely more interested in the vegetables we are trying to grow. The slugs ate all the leaves off my turnip plants, which weren’t doing very well anyway because overall the temperature has been so cool this spring. And I’m sad because now I can’t find turnips anywhere. I encased my vegetables boxes with copper slug tape and I’m hoping that will work to protect what’s left of the cabbage and collards, which are also taking a beating from the slugs. I bought tomato cages when I got the slug tape today. I’m excited about tomatoes, although it needs to get quite a bit warmer for them and basil and green beans too. I’m trying to convince RU to let me experiment with growing some cantaloupe.

I did not plan on writing about vegetables or the weather but sometimes it’s just that simple. And simple is maybe not the right word. It is really about being alive and doing things that are about the business of living, like taking care of the yard and grocery shopping and cooking food and doing laundry. Things that are easy to take for granted or to see as a chore, until you think about tornadoes and earth quakes and air raids.

Passing on NYRB review of some current memoirs, which also includes some advice for all those aspiring memoirists out there. It’s good advice. Maybe hard to hear, but well worth taking the time to read.

 

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