Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday Night Out

Fog slunk into the city Sunday afternoon, then drizzle, and finally enough rain that we needed an umbrella.  Though that was well after nightfall when we came out the side theater door.

Here's the band near the end of the sound check, before the doors opened.

While the DJ's and the bar and the merch and the ticket people set up, I tried to be inconspicuous.

We wandered through the cold.

And found ourselves in an uncrowded Indian restaurant that seemed to be doing a load of take-out business.  I didn't take a picture of the food, but it didn't last long anyway--mango chutney, dal,  chicken tikka, and lots of yummy warm naan.

Then back past the Turkish place and into the show.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Living in the Woods

This weekend was one for the real colors of fall--yellows and gold and orange.  I had hoped to go into the hills again, but with my lame foot, it just isn't going to happen.  So, I've been soaking up the trees along the highway and those here in the neighborhood especially, as the sun touches everything a little more softly.  Fall is my favorite season here.  There are just so many trees!

When I first came here, I arrived at night--probably well after midnight. In fact, our car broke down on a six lane highway and we had to scramble over a concrete embankment to one of the only open buildings in the city--a hospital--to make a call for someone to come get us.  So, when I woke in the morning and looked out the window, I was amazed.
"You live in the woods!" I exclaimed to my boyfriend, who laughed.

And it still is the woods to me.  And the little oak floor house of ours feels like a cabin.  Really.

I finally got my leafy scarf blocked and maybe this is the first time I've actually had something finished for the season it was meant for. A definite record!

I just had to take have these shots with the leaves even though the scarf pattern doesn't show so well.

In the garden there are still a few struggling peppers and the marigolds.  My chrysanthemums have scraggled out, but these store bought ones have kept on and on and their welcome pink feels a bit refreshing after so much gold.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pumpkin Trick--Or Treat

So--the night before Halloween we'd planned on a big pumpkin carving night.  Unfortunately, my injured foot hindered me from getting out to get another pumpkin or two, so I only had the one.  I told my son that he should bring his one along to carve.  When he showed up he said that the church on the corner was out of pumpkins and so were the grocery stores he and his friend had stopped at on the way over.   I know from experience that this has happened to me too.  Unbelievably, the supply of pumpkins dries up the night before or the night of Halloween.
However, he and his friend has a pumpkin in tow.
"So, where did you get that?" I asked, half knowing.  Then knowing, as I witnessed their furtive looks of chagrin.
They admitted to stealing it.  And they felt bad about it.  Well, sorta bad.
So then we hit upon a plan that we didn't consider half bad.  We'd carve it, and put it back.  A sort of Halloween trick.

It delighted us all.  My son wanted to make a panda face, which I think he did quite well.  It was a just-in-time carving too as the bottom was starting to rot out and some of the guts were already growing a foggy white mold (my end of the job of course was dealing with that--"It's just vegetable" I kept saying).
As for our surprise pumpkin, our friend had the idea from a show we love (Portlandia) to "Put a Bird on It!"

We lit them up with tea light candles that I've had a sack of for years (somewhere back there I bought the only available bag of candles--100 count) and took some pictures.  Then we drove over to the sight of the temporary theft (could it be we only borrowed it?) and reset the pumpkin in a more prominent position.
The two had obviously picked a pumpkin their pumpkin wisely.  It had been nestled back in a bush and probably wouldn't have been missed for days.  It did not look like a house with children in it.  So, when resetting it, we had to move it where it would be seen and puzzling to the owners.  Who had carved it and lit it?
We enjoyed this trick so much we thought that maybe next year we would do it again…

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Quiet Day At Home (with one foot up)

There's nothing quite like a rainy weekday at home.  Everything's so calm and slow, like it's morning all day.  An unexpected rainy day off seems especially this way.

Unfortunately, this unexpected day off came on behalf of an unexpected fall/stumble down the stairs at my school.  I was caught up in a rush of students going down stairs and lost my balance--in medium heels no less.  But I had to be on time for the next class, across and up more stairs in the next building.  I hoped I could just shake it off and keep going.  So I tried.  
All day, I traversed as usual, up and down stairs and around my classroom as I must, championing my rag tag teens into focusing on the tasks at hand.  But at two o'clock I knew this wasn't something I could "shake off."  Dang!
I ended up at the hospital for x-rays and got this pretty boot and some pills.  It is only a sprain, luckily, but I am supposed to stay off of it.

I have to admit my vanity.  In the hospital I was wishing I had a nice pedicure with polish.
I hate to be struck down like this and dependent.  I could really go in tomorrow, but I don't think I can drive the thirty minutes to the school.  I am having to face the truth that I just don't bounce like I used to, and that is a sort of pain in itself.
So, I am going to do some grading and crochet and enjoy looking out the window.
I am trying not to stress over the fact that my students are taking a holiday instead of doing their work, and maybe robbing the supply cabinet I did not think to lock.

This is the Olive Twist Shawl!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Let the Halloween Decorating Begin!

 Here and there the Halloween decorations are beginning to show up in people's yards.

I noticed these three witches fly in last weekend.  And then today--well--

I mean, someone here REALLY loves his Halloween!

I haven't had much of a chance to get out and about, but I am going to keep snapping pictures here and there as these things turn up.
I'm afraid I haven't made much effort at decorating.  Buying a pumpkin and putting it out is about all I have managed.  So lame.  Oh well.  I don't really feel bad at all.  I enjoy looking at other people's Halloween-y expressions more than I enjoy creating my own.  Obviously, people around here are pretty enthusiastic!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


On Saturday morning I ran a 5K.  I used to be a fairly avid runner--at times going four miles a day.  These days I am a weekend runner during the school year.  A daily run is something I had to sacrifice when I started working full time.  I'm just too tired at the end of the day and there are so many other things that take priority.

Well, over the summer, my sister and I got to talking to our sister-in-law who runs marathons (and also works full time and has two children!), and we decided that we'd try to run some 5Ks to keep us going.  So, I started the challenge this weekend. Friday at work, I was thinking, "No, I have too much too do.  I can't put this in on top of everything else.  I just need a rest."  But, by Friday night, I had resolved to go.  And I am so glad I did!

The route we ran took me through memory lane:

-Here is the soccer field we used to come to on those cold Saturday mornings, shivering in camaraderi with other uncomfortable parents, lamenting that we couldn't sleep in.

-Here are the picnic tables the pizzas were delivered to when I was the team mom

-Here is the Boys and Girls Club I dropped my son's friend at.  His mother once picked him up early at our house after a sleep over so he wouldn't miss church.  He had never eaten Chinese food.  He dropped out of school and went to jail, though I can't imagine him that way.  He is still a polite little boy in my minds' eye.

-Here is the place my son witnessed some guys leaving a robbery.  A policeman called our house to ask him further questions about the incident.

-Here is the place where I dropped off my son for a rafting trip.  I was working two jobs and had to send him to camp.  I signed a waiver that acknowledged that rafting was dangerous and could result in death.  I tried not to think about that as I waved goodbye to him and pulled out of the parking lot.

-Here is the shelter that so many times I came to pick up a car full of sweat smelling boys staying out of the rain.

-Here is the route of the Halloween parade.

-Here is the remodeled school, but before it was remodeled we stood in the twilight and watched hundreds of swifts return to the chimney.

-Here is where a man rode a horse into the square at night and tethered him to the bike rack.

I can't believe really how many parts of my life were set in that part of town!  I am glad I did the run, and realize that half the battle of exercise is mental.  I am especially inspired by gray haired people running.  That is what I want to be!  Strong and moving forward.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Look at the Old South

So, earlier this month when my Italian friends came to visit, one of the things they wanted to see was a big Southern plantation house like in the movies.  Well, there aren't so many of those around anymore  (thank goodness!)--but there is a small town nearby that escaped being burned during the civil war, so it is famously full of grand old homes.
It was a fun place to spend the day.  We walked around taking a zillion pictures and even got to go inside a few houses.

Very Tennesse Williams to me--I can just see Big Daddy coming out to drink a bourbon.

My friends are always stunned by the fact that Americans build their houses out of wood.  I have to say,  it is kind of odd when you think about how difficult wood can be to keep from fire, insects, and decay.

I prefer these Victorian types.

When I was a little girl, we moved house a couple of times.  I remember my mother coming in excitedly to tell me all about the new house we were going to move into.  I would catch her excitement, but my imagination couldn't follow her words.  "A new house!" I would think, and in my mind's eye I would picture something like the houses above.  Some kind of house with a cupola and a hidden stairway, a mysterious attic and a big porch.  A place where magic happens or you meet a ghost who can take you back into her world for awhile when no one is paying attention to where you are (I read a lot of books).

Ha!  We always moved into a contemporary ranch-style house.  I was so disappointed and then grumpy.  Why couldn't we ever get a really beautiful house?  I remember my mother looking so crushed at my reaction.  She had no idea what vision had been swimming around in my little head, and hadn't she explained it all out for me?

Another thing, in the houses we toured there was so much crochet!  All these fabulous crocheted bed covers, which I love.  I look at these and think of the time they took to make and the complicated mental work they involved.  These tell us things about the lives of women in the past, don't they?

And to top it all off, there was this Gothic touch.  Really, a vulture on top of the church cross.  Too Flannery O'Connor for me! (My husband suggests it might be an album cover, which is not a bad idea, eh?)