1. Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic is fascinating, but also scary and sad. It mostly traces the rise of opiate addiction stemming from prescription drugs, and the changing face of drug dealing that partly fueled and partly followed that addiction. As someone from an area (rural Vermont) that really didn’t have much in the way of drug abuse when I was a kid but where there is now a startling rise in overdose deaths, , this was an eye opener.
2. (Much more uplifting!) The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I’m not all that far into it, but so far it’s pulling at my heart and mind in all sorts of ways. On top of the heartbreaking personal challenges faced by the rower on which the author spends the most time (Joe Rantz), I’m captivated by the local connections: seeing Seattle and the Kitsap Peninsula as they were during the depression and leading up to WWII. As someone who didn’t grow up in the area, it can be easy to forget how young civilization really is here, how recently it became a center of culture and technology, how shaped it was by logging and fishing and other more rugged enterprises.
Currently up to: aside from reading and some clawhammer banjoing, mostly cleaning off some devices to sell: my old phone and my computer. In part, this is to pay for…
When I bought my house, it was a fade-into-the-sky-stormy-slate color, which wasn’t terrible, but since the paint was chipping and cracked in places, I needed to get it painted anyway. After much consideration, I switched to TARDIS blue (AKA Sherwin Williams Honorable Blue). And I love it. I LOVE IT. I’m broke, but my house is so pretty!
I suppose the guy across the street might frown on my bringing out a chair to sit on his lawn so I can admire the outside of my own house as I read this weekend, too broke to do much else.
Cassia: I’ll suddenly realize I’ve been petting her for the last five minutes, and she’s just very quietly present.
Timo: Jumps onto whatever I’m reading/typing, head butts me with great enthusiasm, loses his balance, drags whatever I’m reading/typing down with him when he falls, head butts me again as I bend to scoop everything up, climbs into my lap as I’m getting settled, gives me a big ol’ hug, settles down, rolls on his side and looks up at me like, “See, I’m no trouble, you’ll hardly even know I’m here!”
Boy is about as subtle as a flying brick.
One more bonus photo of Timo, just because it makes me laugh. He was blocking the light as I tried to work at my desk, while looking up at me like, “Wah, why are you tryin’ to make me move?” The ear floofs add…something.
At some point in the past, one of the members of the typosphere coined the acronym UTJU: Update Just To Update. Sometimes you don’t have profound thoughts or an important topic on which to enlighten folks, but here you are anyway. So it is.
Had a very busy weekend, with more ups than downs, so that’s cool. Saturday afternoon I went to a craft fair/bazaar in the retirement community of Ryderwood, WA–a proper craft fair this time, with nothing but handmade goods of all sorts, plus a bake sale. A few of the more captivating things I didn’t buy: wind-chimes made out of bizarre conglomerations of found objects like colanders and cheese graters and flower pots all welded or glued together (I may have one of those someday), and a quilted hanging of a Christmas tree with lights woven into it. That’s probably the only kind of Christmas tree I could really get away with considering the cats, and I wanted it, but at $100 I couldn’t buy it. Would have been a lot of work to make, so I don’t question the price, but I couldn’t. Would be neat for someone, though–something you could bring out every year for years, and the kids would remember it for ages and no one else would have one quite like it.
I did buy a small assortment of items, and not all of them for me. Though, admittedly, two of them were for the cats, which I guess counts as me. There was a lady selling all sorts of felted things–hats and bowls and stuffed animals–and she had catnip stuffed felted mice. I also bought a little knotted braid of scrap material from a lady that made fleece dog beds and blankets–intended as a tug toy for dogs, but Timo thought it was pretty great. Cassia absconded with the mouse, and as of this writing, it is MIA.
Saturday evening, I saw Sierra Hull in concert at Traditions in Olympia, WA–a very small venue, probably only on their itinerary because her bass player (Ethan Jodziewicz) is a local boy. Speaking of Ethan, MAN, he’s good. I hate to say anyone is “the next so-and-so” because that implies they’re not a standout in their own right, so I won’t say he’s the next Edgar Meyer, but… Just a phenomenal musician. Used the bow quite a bit, too, and oh, bowed bass makes me weak in the knees when done right. He did it right.
Sierra has superb mandolin/octave mandolin chops (and is just so doggoned cute and endearing), and her other band member aside from Ethan (Justin Moses) can apparently play the heck out of anything with strings. And they all sing. It was a very good show. Tough in parts, for me–a lot of her recent album is about growing up and moving on and while in her case, this applies to being in her early twenties and dealing with being an adult, I’m kind of in a place like that again/still, and it almost hurt. Plus she did a song about missing your mother, and I bawled and didn’t have Kleenex and felt like a goober.
But yeah, it was a wonderful concert. And we were close enough to the stage that I could just about have kicked it. I don’t think they play places that small much these days, so that was pretty special.
Afterwards, some friends and I went out to eat at La Gitana. If you like thin crust, very fresh and flavorful Southern Italian style pizza, you must go here if you’re in town. Must. It was a little chaotic, though, being Saturday night, and a guitarist and singer were providing live music there (old jazz standards, mostly), which was great, but made it a bit loud for casual conversation.
The server was pretty patient amidst all the commotion, I thought, and made sure to check on us and was apologetic when things took awhile due to the crowd. I meant to leave a decent tip, but when I got home and started getting ready for bed, I discovered the tip money in my pocket. Apparently I absentmindedly stuffed it back in my pocket as we were picking up to go. Leaving her thinking and feeling…I don’t know what.
I felt so bad about it, I tossed and turned Saturday night, and had an odd dream in which I was a settler on a new planet, helping my brother and sister-in-law farm the land, but strangely the new town on this planet had several pizza parlors and I kept doing things that made the managers of all of them think I was an unpleasant nut case.
(Speaking of nuts, pecans grew WONDERFULLY on this new planet, and people there pronounced them peh-KAHN, as is Right and Good.)
So there was that.
After discussion with a friend, I decided to bring the accidental non-tip down to the restaurant when they opened with a note, so I spent Sunday morning writing and rewriting that note. Also drawing margins in the notebook I plan to use for NaNoWriMo. I’d planned to use some smaller notebooks, but I kept eyeing these giant notebooks I had made a few years ago, before all the office stores in town went out of business in spite of all my efforts to keep them afloat.
Seriously, this side of town lost a Staples, an Office Max, and an Office Depot, all within the span of a few years. It makes me sad.
But I do still have several of these notebooks. They’re heavy and a bit awkward to lug around, but the paper is so, so very nice for fountain pen. The one issue I ran into with them for NaNo is that, although I’m pretty good at writing in straight lines on unlined paper, I tend to write almost to the edges, and (especially for fiction), I like to have space to add notes and corrections in the margin. So I’m trying something a bit like law ruling in these, with the help of a few penciled lines, giving myself a generous space on the left to doodle or add notes.
I’ve only treated the first fifty pages, so if I find myself hating this setup, I can go back to using the full page, or experiment with different margins.
Sunday afternoon, I went up to an October festival at the parish where my nieces and nephews go to school. They had half German food and half Mexican food, and my oldest niece decided it would be a very fine thing indeed to have one parent from each country for the sake of the food. And I decided I really need to make another batch of sauerkraut.
There was also a little bit of a bazaar there, with crafts and food and some second hand items. My sister-in-law bought me a late birthday present: a Russian (?) plate with an icon of Christ calming/walking on the sea. I need to find a hanger for it so I can put it up without Cassia experimenting.
The kids got to paint pumpkins and play games and make sticky messes with caramel apples, so a highly successful day, all told!
More random kitten pictures from the weekend, just because. Though they’re almost not kittens anymore! Eight months old now, probably almost as big as they’ll get. Little Cassia is still little Cassia–she’s still under seven pounds. Timo is just about ten now.
The kittens are eight months old today! Getting all grown up, but still very much kittens in all sorts of ways. They both do a lot of knocking things to the floor and breaking them, for one, though their methods are very different.
Little Cassia is scientifically minded. She will navigate her way up onto a high shelf and push something very slowly to the edge (even as I scramble across the room saying “No, don’t, please!”) and then she watches curiously as it crashes to the ground. You half expect her to take out a pencil and notepad at the end to jot down notes on the results of the latest experiment.
Timo, on the other hand, is basically anti scientific in his methods, in that the boy does not understand physics. For example, he’ll jump up and try to grab hold of something that might have held him when he weighed four pounds but does not now that he’s approaching ten, so he brings a whole shelf of stuff down on top of himself as he tries desperately to prevent gravity from taking hold. Frequently I’ll hear a HUGE crash from another room and walk in to find him sitting wide-eyed amidst the rubble, like “why did that happen?”
Either way, I’m down a lot of picture frames and bowls at this point. Le sigh.
So…I’ve more or less combined all my blogs into this one, and this shall be me. See About for more details on the name and that.
The kittens are six and a half months old now, and continue to enchant me.
Cassia loves to fetch, and also spends a lot of her time riding around on my shoulders as I cook or clean, watching whatever I do and occasionally dismounting to insert a curious paw.
She steals all sorts of things to play with or squirrel away. She is fiesty, sure of herself, and utterly adorable. I have *almost* recovered all the computer keys she scattered one memorable night awhile back…
Timo is a love-bug who will jump into my arms, wrapping paws around my neck (no claws!) like a tiny Tigger. Not so tiny, really. He’s up to about 8.5 lbs. these days. Burly guy–and maybe a bit of a pudge. The boy loves his food. He’s a gorgeous sweetie.
Very different personalities. As I posted on Facebook, Timo is kind of like a small child who wants to be held and fed all the time, and who enjoys pushing objects off tables.
Cassia is like that one roommate who borrows your clothes without asking and takes over whatever you’re doing and is up making mysterious noises at all hours of the night and butts into every conversation, but you put up with them because they’re fascinatingly crazy, so you just never know what’s gonna happen next, and let’s face it, it keeps life interesting.
Halvah…puts up with them. I doubt we’ll ever get much further than that. She’ll eat out of a bowl near them, or occasionally sleep on the same couch, but screams if they get too close. And I do mean screams. She’s always been very vocal in her disapprovals. Sometimes I worry the neighbors are gonna call the cops on us.
The kittens mostly leave her alone, but occasionally they push their luck. Not touching! Not quite touching!
I’d sort of planned to post weekly photos of kittens, but it’s summer, family things have been happening, heat has been happening, and I’ve been all like this, a lot of days.
That’s Timo, who especially likes to sleep in my lap when it’s eleventy billion degrees and he’s eleventy billion and one, but what can you do? He’s so cute, he gets away with it. And I just sit there, dripping sweat and trying not to wake him. Because I’m a sucker.
The kittens are both so doggoned sweet, it kills me.
Another day, another pile of laundry to obstruct. Mirror for double trouble squared!
The munchkins are now 19-going-on-20 weeks old. At the vet check last Saturday, Timo weighed 5.8 lbs. and Cassia 5 lbs. There is a sort of folk knowledge that says cats usually grow up to be about twice what they weigh at 20 weeks. If that’s the case, Timo is going to be on the large side of his breed at possibly 12 to 13 pounds, and Cassia larger than I expected at something over 10. I’m guessing they’ll actually be a bit smaller, but Timo will still be quite a bit bigger than Tam who was 10 pounds in his prime (though only about six at the end, which breaks my heart). He’s kind of a lug. A big, very-very soft, super affectionate and super gorgeous lug. Sigh.
Cassia, meanwhile, has been expanding her thieving skills. It turns out I picked a bad week for finally buying the fancy chasen (bamboo matcha whisk) I’ve had my eye on for awhile. A few days back I came home from work and found the little drying stand empty–no whisk to be found. Aaaand it just happens to be the same week Cassia is finally big enough to jump onto the counter aaaaand she can’t resist stealing just about anything she can pick up–caps and silverware and toothbrushes and pens. Timo may push things around a little, but Cassia carries them off.
I finally found the chasen tucked away beneath the couch, rather the worse for wear. Little burglar was unapologetic.
In other news, I’ve been in the throes of non-fountain-pen obsession, which happens now and again. I dug out all the gel pens (Pilot G2s, Zebra Sarasas, Uni-Ball Signo 207s), ballpoints (Bic Cristals, Fisher Space Pen Bullets, Uni-Ball Jetstreams) and whatsits (Sharpie Pen) and have been journaling with those for a time. And I finally ordered some of the Uni-Ball BLX series pens (black inks infused with color), which I’ve been curious about for awhile. I got a Jetstream sampler and a Signo 207 sampler. They should be here later this week.
I’m happy to be back to regular journaling. Even if it’s also reminding me how boring my life is, generally speaking. Need to get out a bit this summer, or at least pay more attention: catch a play or movie, explore farmers markets, drive over to the beach for a day or finally wander through some of our local parks. Think about current events. Write out my thoughts on books I’m reading, instead of just letting them slip through my brain near impact-free.
Live in the moment, but really *live* in those moments.
Which, hmm, might be a good topic for another blog entry…