A Rug is Born

20170630_174118469_iOSAs I’ve mentioned in posts this year, three years ago, the year of my husband’s stroke, a friend helped me get started on a little project to make a rug out of recycled t-shirts and other textiles pulled from overflowing carts of last-chance clothing at Goodwill.

And by little I mean 8 feet by 5 feet and weighing in at a mere 40 or so pounds. I’ve watched hours and hours of football, Orange is the New Black, The Get Down, Poldark, Occupied, Better Call Saul, Halt and Catch Fire, The Fall, The IT Crowd, Narcos, OA, House of Cards, Sherlock, Broadchurch, Penny Dreadful, Stranger Things, and Happy Valley (to name a few) while my creation grew heavier and heavier on my lap. As my friend Tess (the project instigator) said, if you’re gonna watch TV, might as well be doing something. Oh, productive people, where would us inherently lazy ones be without you?

I made it my goal to finish this massive undertaking before the end of mid-year this year, since I let it lapse all last year. Today is June 30, y’all. And my weighty progeny is complete at last! As I texted my friend today – Houston, we have a rug. I love it, as do Pablo (the cat) and Wonky (the little bear on the pillow). Jasper and Doug haven’t expressed an opinion yet, but I know Doug will be glad that I can spend time on other things now.

What things might those be?

July will be camping and writing. Mostly writing, since I’ve joined the Badass Honey Badger Cabin at Camp NaNoWriMo (thanks for inviting me, Peg!). The goal is 50,000 words (NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month), but it can be flexible. I decided to just go with it and see what happens. I’ve had an idea for a long time but haven’t been able to get started. The camp is virtual, meant to create an online place to connect with others in your cabin, provide and get encouragement, be inspired, and stay focused. Writing is usually such an isolated activity, so I’m interested to see how this will be. I already can tell Peg is going to be a great cabin host.

And we’re doing some actual camping too, as long as Washington parks are open; guess we’ll see if the state is still open for business after today. Ah, the political dysfunction isn’t just national. Sigh. Some of my reclaimed time needs to go into the resistance as well.

I can’t say for sure if I’ll be blogging in July, since I want to focus my writing energy on NaNoWriMo, but maybe I’ll post a few paintings. I definitely plan to keep doing those, they are so good for getting the right brain involved and I find myself looking at people and things with so much more detail now that I’m trying to draw and paint. Last Sunday, I joined Peg & Marcus at a free library event on body-positive life drawing. I will not subject you to my drawings (people, especially faces, are damn hard to draw), but it was a fun and enlightening experience. I think looking at things in a new way can only help with writing. Plus, it’s super relaxing.

Much more so than cutting up garment after garment. Trust me on that.



Being in the Streets

Nothing much in the tank today. Or, in more climate-friendly terms, the batteries are depleted and the clouds are preventing much in the way of energy production. I’ve been crazy busy these past few weeks, and ran out of steam.

It was a really good weekend, with some work in the garden (peas have a semi-functional makeshift trellis), getting ready for and going to the climate march Saturday, and having dinner with friends that night. We hadn’t gotten together since New Year’s, and it was so good to catch up, scarf down pasta and take a walk in the last of the day’s light with a typical Seattle mist falling on our heads. We found a soccer ball in the cul de sac at the end of our block and ended up playing some convoluted form of soak-’em and soccer in the street until we were gasping from laughter. Ed, being on the opposing team from me and Tess, kept losing a shoe which I felt fully justified in kicking as far as I could from him. I think she and I still lost, although I’m not entirely sure.

As far as friends go, you can’t ask for much better. Aside from our parents and siblings, they’re the people we consider our family members. We’ve traveled together, gone camping together and have been trying to figure out for a long time how we could eventually all live together. Since among the six of us, only one has a grown daughter, it’s likely we’ll be having to find a way to care for ourselves as we grow old. I think about this a lot now, since of course I assumed Doug and I would be very self-sufficient well into our old age.

We’re barely self-sufficient now as it turns out, but we manage okay with help from these and other friends, and our parents who come take care of things around the house. Doug and I both have four parents, and while I’d never suggest divorce is good, we’ve had more than our share of parental love and support as a result. My stepdad Grant is 83 and still works on our cars. Talk about spoiled.


Doug and Grant, the dynamic duo

Speaking of whom, he marched with us on Saturday! He has grand kids and great-grand kids, and he wasn’t the only grandparent there trying to do something to help keep our planet a decent place for them to live in the future. He’s really frustrated and worried and just wanted to be out there in the streets to protest with like-minded people. I felt really honored to be out marching with him.

climate-march-kidsWe arrived early to the pre-march gathering at Occidental Park and were right in the middle of the action when things got started with drummers, a marching band, and a not-coal train powered by people wearing wind-turbines on their backs. Lots of great creativity, as always. I really loved the person wearing a bee-keeping outfit, with paper bees attached to her by springs so they bobbed all around her head. Her sign said “Honey Makers Not Money Makers.”

A major element of the climate change movement is for a just transition away from our oil-driven economy, in recognition of how a changing climate will impact some communities more than others. And that the solutions should – and can! – improve our lives, with green energy jobs, cleaner air and water, walkable communities with healthy local food, and so much more. There is no reason for polluting pipelines to go through native peoples’ lands if we move to solar and wind power instead. There’s no reason to open our national parks up to gas and coal exploration either. None of these things is needed, but they make huge profits for someone, so of course they get pushed.


This kid has major courage and conviction

At the end of the march, we rallied at Westlake Park and heard a bunch of great speakers, including two kids from the youth-led organization Plant for the Planet. Their goal is to plant a billion trees (!) around the world. These kids are amazingly well-spoken and motivated, and they aren’t afraid to call out grown-ups like us for not doing more. They’re taking the actions they can, and reminded us that we can vote. Ahem.

So yeah, we have work to do, and not just in the streets. But while we’re on that topic, today is the beginning of the annual Bike Everywhere month (read my 2015 post here). It’s one of my favorite ways to help the planet and stay healthy. Plus, we have some actual sun in the forecast, hallelujah! I feel more energetic already. Happy May everyone!



Feeling Some Falling

Bicycling on Lopez Island

Bicycling on Lopez Island

It’s a blustery day here in the Northwest, a good day to park ourselves in front of the keyboards. Scary proposition going outside anyway, with our massive poplar tree flinging limbs down like leafy spears. One went all the way across the yard and landed on our plum tree. Luckily didn’t hurt it, but a few plums may have gone tumbling. I’ll have my work cut out for me tomorrow picking all the branches up. Rain coming and going as well – though not as much as I hoped for. Maybe it all went east of us, which would be ideal, slow down the fires burning the state up.

Doesn't get much more San Juan-y than this!

Doesn’t get much more San Juan-y than this!

Lots of summer goings-on during August. Spent a weekend on Lopez Island with our good pals Tess & Ed a few weeks back, then went camping last weekend. We have come to the conclusion that we are getting too old to sleep in a tent. Especially the kind that are super light and meant for backpacking. Aside from the usual discomfort of sleeping on the ground, we nearly froze to death the first night. We were at a higher elevation near Mt. Rainier than we realized, and it was really chilly. Doug is now on a mission to have us get some sort of teardrop trailer. Definitely sounds nice, but also gives me a twinge of sadness. I love being outside, but I guess you just have to adapt.

Tess & Doug enjoying the view from Shark Reef Park

Tess & Doug enjoying the view from Shark Reef Park

Lopez Island is wonderful – so unpopulated and flat – absolutely perfect for biking! Quite a trek to get there and back, so if we try to go again, gotta stay longer than a weekend. But we had time to just hang out, eat good food, read, and work on a puzzle.

We’ve now confirmed that Doug can paddle his kayak again! He still has a bit of trouble keeping his left hand in place, even with the “active hand” brace on, so he bought some stuff called Gorilla Snot (seriously) and hopefully that’ll help. We went out in a tandem Thursday with the Outdoors for All folks (they are so great) and had a really relaxing evening. There were about eight people out in all, so a nice size group. We don’t have a tandem, but hopefully we can try taking our boats out soon.

Dogs, cats and chickens are all good – new chicks have been laying eggs now for a few weeks, but haven’t quite gotten the hang of where the nest box is or its function. I keep finding eggs in random places, as though they just fell out while the chicken was doing something else. I don’t remember that issue with our first girls, but this bunch does seem a bit more…bird brained? Chickens aren’t exactly bright, but I guess like people, they can vary in their smarts. However, one of the new girls produced a HUGE egg last week that turned out to be a two-yolker, which is supposedly good luck. A-ha, I knew things were looking up!

And the true sign that fall is upon us  – football is back! I’ll wrap this up to go watch the Seahawks take on the Chargers in pre-season game 3. Let’s hope the o-line can up their game and I sure would love to see some Beast Mode, I miss that dude. Go Hawks!

Little Blue Typewriter

This is our cat Jasper. He likes to lay on my lap when I'm typing. As cats do.

This is our cat Jasper. He likes to lay on my lap when I’m typing. As cats do. I don’t know what that lump under him is…

I got a card today from my dear friend Michelle. We live less than 10 miles from each other, but continue (or resurrect when it has fallen aside) the habit we began as teenagers of mailing each other letters (I still have a folder of correspondence between us – well, the pieces she wrote anyway – from way back in the 90’s). Sure, plenty of emails still get exchanged, but usually as part of larger group conversations. Or texts bouncing around during football games. But nothing is the same as getting a special piece of mail every now and then. Continue reading

Pizza Friday

We usually have pizza every Friday. I make a batch of dough from my favorite bread cookbook, Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast and then we put it together and cook it on a stone in the grill. This week I was too tired on Thursday to make dough, so we’re having pizza Saturday instead, meeting our friends at one of the neighborhood spots. We’ll get to see how our friend Tess does eating with her left hand only – she broke her ELBOW of all things on Thursday when she fell while running. Since Doug’s stroke affected his left side and he still has little use of that hand, we joked that if we joined him and Tess side by side, they’d be a person with two working hands! Oh, man. She’ll be having surgery this week to put a pin in the bone that is 2 inches away from where it’s supposed to be. Gruesome. Continue reading