After work on Monday I walked the last three miles home, from about six to seven o’clock. At first the only trick-or-treaters I saw were babes in arms or in strollers. They gradually got older as I got closer to my house and it got darker; by the time I hit my street there were middle-schoolers.
The first time I passed a jack-o-lantern lit with a candle, I had an immediate and immersive memory of that smell, the mix of warmed and scorched pumpkin flesh plus candle-wax. I considered walking up to a jack-o-lantern to smell it, but they were all close to front doors and it was hard to tell what was candle and what was LED. There was no wind.
The Pixy Stix I bought at the dollar store were mad popular in our trick-or-treat bowl! Kids instinctively grabbed them, but didn’t know what they were. I’m proud to have shown the wonder of pixy stix to a new generation.
I am pretty sure I’ve never seen a hopscotch grid numbered from the top. I kept trying to make sense of it after I had walked past, and ended up walking around the block to look again.
I have, however, seen a tiny hopscotch marked “for cats,” and I wonder if that’s what the smaller one is here. I can’t quite read the numbers.
Portland’s Biketown (because co-sponsored by Nike) bikes arrive tomorrow! The racks have been in place for a week or so– people happily started locking their regular bikes up at them, and then the city sent out some grumpy tweets and added the CAUTION tape.
This rack is just outside my office, so I’ll try a ride down by the river on my lunch break sometime soon. I admit, I don’t really understand the customer base for bikeshare. Commuters would want their own bikes, right? Some tourists will use them, in good weather, if they’re not afraid of sharing the road with cars downtown. Maybe close-in bar hopping after the bus stops running? I guess we’ll find out.
I missed my run to go to a meeting at work this morning, so when it was over I decided to walk over the Tilikum Bridge up to the Hawthorne branch of Powell’s, and home from there. Seven or so miles, same as my run would have been.
Sternwheeler on the left, then two yachty-cruisey boats, then DARPA’s prototype drone submarine-finder.
My first Futel phone. There was no dial tone, just a recorded menu that includes the Mayor’s office, the 211 social services and resource finder, a general repository for apologies, and other options. I chose the Willamette Valley Dream Survey and reported last night’s dream.
No one could look up when exactly it was built?
The dogwoods are starting! Azaleas, lilacs, and Japanese maples also starred. It was actually a lovely walk; more diverters have gone in to force cars to turn off Clinton, so it’s quiet and bike-dominated now. A version of Portland that I thoroughly enjoy.
Walked over Tilikum Crossing for the first time this morning. (I had previously crossed it via light-rail and bus.) Love how quiet it is– no car traffic makes all the difference. Too bad the west-side leg to PSU is still long light cycles admist concrete spaghetti. It all felt safe, just cumbersome. In the future I’ll probably hop a train or streetcar at the Life Sciences building.
I read an interview with Meryl Streep once– I think maybe it was a Bob Greene column?– in which she said all her movies were secretly home movies. She’d watch a scene from Kramer v. Kramer and remember what her kid was up to that week, or who she’d been hanging out with, and all the things that were going on when the scene was filmed.
My book lists are like that for me. I’ll look at So You Want to Be a Wizard and remember how excited KP was to hear I was reading it, and how she visited Portland later in the year and presented me with the sequels after one of her many trips to Powell’s Books. And how Sanguinity and I went up to Olympia to dogsit for Sara and crew, and they had a copy on their shelves, so I was reading it in the backyard while Sang designated the dogs Horrible Thing One…
and Horrible Thing Two…
and gave them stern looks…
…that didn’t fool them one bit.
Or how I read Gone Crazy in Alabama in Wyoming, decompressing on a sunny morning at my friend Jenny’s house after she left for work.
Some books have webs of people associated with them– I decided to read The Martian because every single member of the Maki family liked it, and then my co-worker lent me a copy from the first meeting of her new book club, and then I gave a copy to my father-in-law that he binge-read even though he hardly ever reads fiction.
Then there are all the online discussions like the one about The Hired Girl, and audiobooks whose performances and the setting I heard them in are inextricable from the text. (Tiny Pretty Things while striding home in the dark amidst headlights and big trees and rain!)
It’s impossible to know all that’s coded into anyone’s book list but my own, but I still like reading other people’s. Here’s hoping for rich secret home movies for us all in 2016.
I’ve been really happy with my New Year’s protocol of everyday walking. I’m currently at two miles a day, which can be split into two unobtrusive walks but is also small enough to tack onto my evening commute without a fuss. It seems so modest, but my monthly Million Mile Ultra numbers are way up.
Since the new year turned I have been getting off the bus after work at one of the parks a mile from my house, and walking home. It’s no longer quite dark at that hour, but it’s mostly dark. Parents are pushing their children on the swingset, in the mostly dark. Every night this week I’ve heard geese honking overhead and searched the sky for the V, finally able to see it but just barely.
On Tuesday night I crossed paths with another walker by the playground, and after he had passed I could smell his fresh chewing gum. I spent a moment idly trying to ID the flavor, but it wasn’t quite bubblegum, and it wasn’t Juicy Fruit or spearmint, the other flavors that are imprinted in my brain from my mom keeping them in her purse. Still, I walked on with a warm fellow-feeling for my fellow human animals.
The next night I got off the bus at the same stop, and took the same route through the park. There was no one by the playground, but…I smelled the fresh chewing gum scent! Ghostly possibilities ran through my mind until I saw the porta-potty stationed on the other side of the path.
It was clean-porta-potty smell that had given me that glow of benevolence toward all humanity. I laughed at myself…and took a different route for the rest of the week.
Friday I got off the bus at the Reed campus and walked home past the art building. The display at the front had soft sculptures of sculptures, with signage about the hours and materials costs involved in making them. My favorite was Hirst’s For the Love of God, which Tiphany Laney made in 17.75 hours for $24.50. Here it is next to the original.
I am on pace for mileage and words. Having two daily targets, each of which can be reached in under an hour, and in activities that complement each other, is working out well. The house is rather a pigsty, however. Maybe tomorrow I can address that.
Words: 2717 / 15,000
Miles: 15 / 90
I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I’ve got a few Wrimos and Wrimo Rebels to cheer on. And for myself, I want to write 500 words of fiction each day this month, and walk three miles each day. My progress so far: 1115/15,000 words, and 6/90 miles. (I tried a little online wordcount meter, but it’s not working today… perhaps swamped by Wrimos.)
Louie went to the vet today, after several days of asking to go out every hour or two. They think he has Degenerative Myelopathy, which is most common in German Shepherds (he’s a shepherd mix) and matches his symptoms. Draggy feet, check; hoarse bark, check; hard to control the peeing and pooping, uh huh; tippy hind end, yup. It’s not strictly age-related, as dogs as young as five get it, but if he has it, it will almost certainly be the cause of his demise. He’ll be getting palliative drugs (mostly for his arthritis pain), but there’s no treatment for the progressive nerve stuff.
He’s sixteen, so we certainly knew something was coming. It will still be hard to say goodbye.
He had x-rays, and they swear they only sedated him a teeny bit, because they know he’s sensitive to anesthetic, but omg he was dopey when we brought him home! Sang went to pick him up and was sent away again so he could have another hour or two to recover…then I went to get him and he almost had to be carried to and from the car. He did the red-membrane-devil-dog-eyes routine passed out on his bed for several hours, and has only just started moving around again. He still sinks unpredictably down to the floor or just stands there like he forgot where he was going. Poor pup, he had a rough day.
A few sweet things have happened in my writing life lately:
In non-writing news, I walked through the western rose garden in Ladd’s Addition this morning and was swept off my feet by a hybrid tea called Voodoo. I don’t usually like coral-colored roses–they make me think of lipstick–but this one was gorgeous and smelled sweet and complex. Fragrant roses get harder to find in September.