Hollyhock of Flourish

Sep. 21st, 2017 09:35 pm
[personal profile] ismo
The Sparrowhawk had to get up early this morning to go and work on a public service project in a nearby town. So, considerate person that I am, I made sure we went to bed early. And then I woke up shortly after midnight, lay around trying to go back to sleep, and finally gave up and went downstairs, where I was up for several hours. My brain had just flipped itself over to NOT SLEEPING mode. I went back to bed at four-ish and slept late. My Fitbit thinks I slept for 6 hours, but it was in discrete segments, so not the most restful.

The high today was NINETY FIVE degrees. That is the hottest day of the entire summer, and it's quite odd for the day before the fall equinox! This weather will continue for several more days. By the time I was up (again) it was far too hot to go for a walk, even in the shady part of the woods. I had to go to the dread mall to walk. I swear, there was an old lady bent over her walker who was moving along at a fast clip, and at one point, she was going faster than me! Oh, the indignity. I managed to pass her just outside the pretzel kiosk, where she ran into a friend and slowed down.

During my midnight episode, I read some more Kim Stanley Robinson. I was part of the way through "Sixty Days and Counting," the last of the Science in the Capital trilogy, and then I got distracted and didn't finish it, so I'm working on it now. If I ever write about these books, there will have to be an entire section hashtagged "Oh Frank Vanderwal NO." This character is really irritating me with his relentless evaluation of every single woman he comes in contact with. He's not as much of a feminist as he believes himself to be, either. For instance, at the gym: " . . . sweaty pink faces, hard breathing; obviously this was sexy stuff. None of that bedroom silliness for Frank--lingerie, make-up, even dancing--all that was much too intentional and choreographed, even somehow confrontational. Lovelier by far were women unselfconsciously exerting themselves in some physical way." Yes, Frank, that's nice of you to find us acceptable for your viewing pleasure at the gym. But has it not occurred to you that there's an inherent contradiction here? How are we supposed to remain "unselfconscious," the way you like us, when we are aware that there's always going to be someone like you watching us? You can't be unselfconscious when you're under surveillance. It's especially perplexing, because it turns out that Frank himself is under surveillance, and he doesn't like it. I wish I could believe that the author did that on purpose to comment on Frank's complacent male gaze, and how he's kind of an asshole. But I don't think Frank's creator noticed that. These are the thoughts I have in the middle of the night.

Burdock of Flourish

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:10 pm
[personal profile] ismo
I had my scheduled checkup with the doctor this morning at 8:30, after waking up about 4 and not being able to go back to sleep. Hilarious/discouraging, depending on your point of view: after all my efforts to exercise and my attention to my diet, I weight exactly what I did last time. I mean, EXACTLY. However, my A1C went down a tenth of a point. My doctor is not particularly worried about it and says I can come back in six months and we'll see. I haven't been using my Symbicort inhaler since we went to Helsinki, and it doesn't seem to have affected me in the least. She says I can continue to not use it if I want, but if I start wheezing or needing to use the emergency inhaler frequently, I have to start again. That's okay with me. It's super expensive, so it would be nice not to need it any more. Also, if I get very thirsty or have other diabetic symptoms, I have to call her immediately. I got my flu shot and my last pneumonia shot, one in each arm. I was doing all right until supper time, but now both of my arms hurt and I'm feeling wiped out. I also had a LONG conversation with my mother, which seems to have cheered her up but did not have that effect on me. Whoever is giving her their New York Times should stop it, please. It is a lot of work to converse pleasantly when the topic is politics.

The water was off most of the day for some kind of repairs. Last night, the power went out for a couple of hours. The reason, as given on the power company website: "trees." Are the Huorns toying with us? What's going on here? I spent as much time as possible out of the house. Pursuant to the phantom lure of fitness, I went for a walk. As I passed by the lake, it was misty and overcast, and it seemed to me that autumn had finally laid its hand across the trees. However, the weather persons say that temperatures this week will be close to 90. Cats and dogs living together, I'm telling you!

Rowan of Flourish

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:38 pm
[personal profile] ismo
We came home from Washington DC last night, tired but happy. I had a lovely time visiting with Tron, and the Lumberjack was also able to come in to town and have dinner with us on Thursday night. Tonight we tried to attend a symphony concert. I really enjoyed the first two pieces. One was a world premiere of a piece by an American composer, Jeremy Crosmer, called "Ozark Traveler: A Celebration of Americana." It incorporated homages to Bernstein, Copland, and Charles Ives, and it was beautiful and fun. The next was a piece commissioned by violinist Sarah Chang. David Newman created a "mini violin concerto" based on West Side Story, "Suite from West Side Story for Violin and Orchestra." Sarah Chang herself played, in an amazing virtuoso performance. I was really enjoying the evening when my eyes started watering, and I nearly choked myself in an effort not to sneeze until the melody ended. It's just misery having a coughing spasm in a concert hall. The Sparrowhawk was kind enough to take me home and skip the second half of the program. I guess I was a little over ambitious.

(no subject)

Sep. 13th, 2017 07:22 pm
[personal profile] ismo
Posting from my extremely fancy hotel room in the Park Hyatt in Washington DC. I'm waiting for the Sparrowhawk to return from the events he's attending at the conference that brought him here, so I'm catching up with some internet things, which seems like a luxury after the last week. We arrived this morning after getting up at 4:30 for a 7:30 flight. That's the part of traveling that I hate. For some reason one always has to get up at some ungodly hour. And I couldn't got to bed early last night, because I wanted to finish the Sparrowhawk's birthday cake. He had one delicious chocolate slice, and we froze the rest for later.

I wasn't sure I wanted to travel any more right now, but the Sparrowhawk really wanted me to come with him, and I was looking forward to seeing Tron and the Lumberjack. Our room wasn't ready, so we sat around in the hotel restaurant having breakfast with a couple who had been on the plane with us--one of them is a work colleague of his. The Sparrowhawk was given his oatmeal free of charge after the wait person dumped a pitcher of milk over his computer bag! No harm done, fortunately. We dawdled over breakfast, hoping our room would be ready. Then Tron texted to say she was taking the metro to Foggy Bottom and would come and have lunch with us.

By the time she arrived, the Sparrowhawk had to leave for his conference, but he said hello, and then we had a lovely lunch. The restaurant brings a bowl already adorned with garnishes and then the waiter pours the soup (in this case, mushroom) out of a piping hot cast-iron teapot. A glass of Gruner Veltliner, a salad for Tron, and we were all set. For me, it was breakfast segueing into lunch, but I made up for it by not having dinner. Tron came up to the room for a few minutes, when it was ready, and was very impressed. She opened the closet and exclaimed, "It's like a nightclub in here!" It is--it has lights and mirrors. Not at all the kind of place that would take you to Narnia. It would probably go to Fhloston Paradise instead! I tried to nap in the room after Tron left, but couldn't. When I talked to my mother, she said that she and her sister used to live just a couple of blocks away from where we are--at 25th and Pennsylvania. I think that apartment building is long gone, but maybe I'll walk over there and have a look tomorrow.

KangarooRat of Flourish

Sep. 10th, 2017 09:12 pm
[personal profile] ismo
Home again. We had a relaxing morning, a lovely walk in the woods, and then I actually had a SWIM! The water was just that precious few degrees warmer, making it an intrepid act instead of just plain impossible. Down at the bottom, it was still ice cold, but the surface had warmed up enough to make it delightful once I was in. So refreshing and exhilarating! Also, we were down by the beach house, so I changed right away instead of sitting in the wind in my wet suit.

I thought the trail we chose was not as scenic as some of the others, but I was wrong. The woods were silent and peaceful, with few people abroad, so some of the animals came out. We saw a raccoon up close to the trail. He froze when he saw us, and just sat there staring at us. We could see his bright eyes, pointy nose, and thick fur, with his sides moving as he breathed in and out. He didn't try to run up a tree or anything--just looked until we went away. A little farther down the trail, we saw a young deer browsing. She didn't run away, either. She glanced at us from time to time as we crept closer, but then went back to her chewing. We were really close by the time she chose to walk a bit deeper into the trees. (Of course, she was chewing up the blueberry bushes, which is bad--deer are destroyers of the understory plants, alas. But still, her sleek pelt and shining eyes were lovely to see.)

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