Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rain Rain Go Away...

     It has been a hot, dry summer. I have lost patience with hand watering the shrubbery and flower beds. I have let the parsley frizzle in the herb plot and the rootbound mint wither in its terracotta pot. Only the basil receives the care it deserves. I find work to do in the shade of air conditioning. A volunteer cherry tomato vine flourishes between unkempt cracks of flagstones on the hillside beside the house, defying brassy skies and gifting my neglect with small globes of sweet red fruit. Every now and then, I give it a splash of water from the hose in gratitude.

     The tail-end of August brings us a respite of showers, and despite the tropic weight of air that can make even a mosquito sweat, I am glad. The grass is green. The young birch in the back garden has ceased scattering handfuls of yellow leaves on the lawn. The delicate impatiens spilling artfully from its broken pot no longer swoons in the late afternoon sun.

Fungus grows in unexpected places.

Rain diamonds collect on gossamer strands of web.

     Hence, I am not in accord with the weathermongers who, after only a handful of days of intermittent rainfall are already singing the tune they suppose we all wish to hear: rain, rain go away, come again some other day...

     I and my tree fairy are quite content with gray skies and raindrops on the windows.

Friday, August 19, 2016


     As many times as I have flown on an airplane, I have never lost the wonder of takeoffs and landings. I may snooze through the instructions from the crew on how to buckle my seatbelt or locate emergency exits, but I am always alert and looking out the window as the plane hurtles down the runway and leaps into the sky. I don't want to miss it. I still find the physics of flight incredible, and I don't ever want to take it for granted.

     When my husband and I were in Seattle this summer, we booked a tour of the Boeing facility in Everett. My husband has been enamored with airplanes since he was a boy and knows all of their names as though they have been personally introduced. Even though I am not an airplane aficionado, I also enjoyed the tour.

     We were thrilled to see a Dreamlifter unloading as we ended our tour. The Dreamlifter is currently the largest air cargo plane in the world, and the plane that transports sections of the Dreamliner from Japan and Italy to South Carolina and from there to the factory in Everett. Like a rare bird, there are only four of its kind. We watched as the entire mid-section of a Dreamliner fuselage was unloaded from the belly of the plane and stored in a  nearby hanger beside its cockpit. I was reminded of the Bible story of Jonah inside the whale.

     Then we watched as this behemoth of a plane lumbered down the runway for takeoff. It seemed too large and slow and heavy to fly...

But, of course, it did.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Blah Blah Blogging - Russian Bots

     From time to time, I check the statistics for the number of pageviews I have received on my blog. I want to know if there is anybody out there in the blogoshpere listening to me, or if I am sitting alone at my kitchen table talking to myself. Either way, it doesn’t change how often I post or what I write about. But it is fascinating for me to see that anybody in the whole wide world with a computer can drop by my place for a visit.

     I realize, of course, that many of the numbers I see in my stats represent robots; so when I checked my statistics recently and saw a huge spike in pageviews coming from Russia, I knew that the robots were swarming. What I don’t know is why. Are they monitoring my shopping preferences? Is there a conspiracy to find a chink in my armor and hack my computer or infiltrate those who visit me? With all of the international travel that he does, do they suppose that my husband works for the CIA? There is a normal amount of paranoia that follows these thoughts, and I am wondering if just using the initials CIA (twice) in my post will attract even more traffic from the bots.

     With the online presence of virulent viruses lurking nearby waiting to sneeze on me, invisible spiders crawling across my posts, cyber thieves crouching at my backdoor, and phishermen trolling for data, one feels vulnerable.

     At times such as this I create my own unreality. I blame it on having grown up in the cold war era and watching too many Dr. Who episodes with salt-and-pepper-shaker shaped robots gurgling: Ex-ter-min-ate! So it is that, each day, as the attack of the Russian cyberbot hordes on my statistic pages subsides and the number of American pageviews increases, I feel more at ease.

     Surely, none of the American bots could wish to harm a little gray-haired old lady such as myself….right?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Watch Out! There Are Trolls About!

     There were forest trees the size of giants on our vacation out west this year, and the ghosts of mountains haunted our horizons. We flitted between island and mainland on ferry wings, and I ate swordfish for the first time. Swordfish, you know, are the unicorns of the sea.

     So it seemed only natural that I should also visit a troll. This one lives under a bridge in Seattle. Thankfully, he was turned to stone a long time ago and offers no threat to either billy goats or other passersby.

I have fist bumped a Pharaoh before, but never a troll.

     The tats on this fellow are not his by choice. Some narcissistic little trolls who have not yet been turned to stone have been at work here. I saw their work in the mountain forest too, carving their names into trees so that we will never forget that trolls are, above all, despoilers.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


     Many of my memories from the first half of my life are framed by salt tides, islands, bridges and ferries. I took all of these things for granted then. Not anymore. My husband and I took a couple of days away from family on our summer vacation to celebrate our anniversary. We sailed from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island on one of the many ferries that link the islands of the Sound to the mainland.

     We drove the length of the island from the bridge at Deception Pass in the north to the southernmost ferry dock in Clinton before sailing to Mukilteo on the mainland.

     Our day spent among the tidelands of the Puget Sound with the ghosts of mountains presiding over the horizon ended in a marina restaurant in Everett where we ate swordfish and watched the sun set over the islands.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Between the Mountain and the Sea

     After our trip to the mountains we went to stay in my sister's beachside cottage. This isn't her cottage, but I think it is the most intriguing house on the lake. Thornewood was constructed from a 500-year-old Elizabethan manor brought in pieces to America 100 years ago. It was featured in Stephen King's movie Rose Red in which my sister performed as an extra.

     On lazy afternoons we sat beside the lake reading, chatting, eating fruit and other toothsome tidbits, and watching the eagles prowl the sky.

     Two evenings near sunset, we took a boat ride around the lake. I like to go fast, feel the wind and the spray in my face and hair until the thumping of the boat jars my bones and reminds me of my age.

     Another evening we hiked through the woods along an old railway line for a picnic beside the bay.

     Sometimes there are seals and Orca whales to see in this bay, but all we saw that evening were trains on the working tracks behind us. I counted the cars in memory of my mother.

She would have been pleased.