Heat harvest

I keep trying to write a post - lots of drafts - nothing post-ready. I'll blame it on the (slowly abating) heat we've been having. I have been too warm for so long that my eyes feel like I got a sunburn and then stayed out too late. My office needs to be cleaned out and paperwork needs to be handled, but I'll need a day that isn't dripping with sweat first. As I glance around at things that need sorting and tossing and filing and such, I note that I put a post-it on the wall that says:

Office Needs
pencil sharpener (bring from kitchen?)

large wall planner
need not to be interrupted

Now where did I think I was going to get that last one, I wonder?

Memories of school clothes shopping and sewing always come to me in this sort of heat. It was hot work, sewing clothes out of Pendleton wool in the summertime. And that may only have happened once. Other years had less wool in them, I think.

The Pendleton wool year included my favorite color in the universe, though. It's a kind of dark aqua color - deep teal - a shade darker than my eyes - the color of deep ocean water and the sunset sky right after the purple fades but before the sky turns all the way to black. The color of these beads. I think we made a jumper that year - for wearing with white blouses.

My office holds summer's heat, and all this paperwork I need to do, and books I've been meaning to read. But it has started to hold something else, as well. It has started to hold prayer offices, said in full view of "my" mountains and trees and sky; and the consecrating blessing of struggles over the writing I've been doing for school and for my own clarity; and the echoes of conversations with my now-adult children, at college, in their own apartments, and even far away clothed in soldier's clothes.

Maybe that's what it takes for a place to become part of who we are. Maybe it has to witness our tears as well as our more benign and perfunctory work, and maybe a place cannot really belong to us until we have been there for refuge and triumph. My office is a mess right now. It's okay, though. Lots of organically productive things look messy - especially right before a seasonal harvest.


It will be cooler

I just saw this on the news this morning. The first one is today. One. Oh. Seven. In the Pacific Northwest, on the maritime side of the mountains, "cooler" is not usually a description of the upper 80's.


So, what do YOU do every day?

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,
but rather we have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."



Did we wish too hard?


I know I was tired of February by the end of March, but I did not mean that I wanted the next season to start with the Hinges of Hades. This is freaking ridiculous.

(Our soldier says it's this hot at night where she is. Somehow that information does not help me.)


The Great Husband does it again

Yeay, husband!!! He has rescued this keyboard from the brink of death. He took it apart and cleaned out all the soy-creamered coffee that was resting stickily inside of it ever since I up-ended my morning coffee into lap, keyboard, and desk calendar earlier this week. And it's working grrrreat!

(And if you click on the "male superhero." you can find a coloring page for getting one of your own. I doubt yours will fix keyboards at a single bound, but who knows?)

In other news, I had to work today, and there were too many things to do here for us to attend a family gathering at the beach. The beach would be a lot cooler than it is here. But on the bright side - the very bright side indeed - I saw a view of the side of Mt. Hood today that took my breath away. I'm taking my camera with me next time I drive to Parkdale to be the card lady at the store up there.

News from our Afghanistan soldier: This is the magazine worth reading if you really want to know how things are going over there. (She's borrowing Major Curtis's copies - she said she knows he doesn't have time to read them right now, so she volunteered to do that.) She says the enormous scarf she sent me for my birthday is a pashmina, so now I'll know how to clean it. It's such a gorgeous piece of fabric - woven in shimmery golds and burgundy in an intricate pattern. It will be wonderful when the weather cools down in the fall. She also says this is the book keeping her sane right now.

And I've gotten a few more chips off the huge block in the road that seems to morph into The Great Unscalable Mountain every time I think I might write something and send it to a real live editor. But what about? But what about? You can't. Not yet. Wait. Wait. Wait. Over and over, like a kind of nasty, mean-spirited crossing guard who never does want anyone to cross at her corner. At work at the library this week -- Reality Dude pointed out that the demented crossing guard doesn't have any real authority over me and I can cross whenever I want to.

I did cross at the Sartorial Crossing this week. For once, when I tried on something that fit perfectly, I didn't second guess myself and I actually bought the thing. Maybe that's a good sign. Dress today, essay tomorrow - or something like that.

(Man, it's nice to be able to type again! Did you know the computer has an on-screen keyboard you can use with your mouse? I'll try that again someday if I want to imagine being seriously injured and unable to use all my fingers.)


Exactly. There is a third option.

The idea of using the piles of money already being spent, but use it better ... please,
yes. Yes.

Providing Better Health Care For Less Money
by Julie Rovner

July 22, 2009

The health care debate in Washington has basically deteriorated into a choice between raising taxes or cutting care. But "that's wrong," says Don Berwick of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. "There's a third way. It's redesign."
Listen Now [4 min 2 sec]

I hate that skin stuff, but the stains came out

You know about the fried egg skin, right? That crinkled, crackly edge of the egg when the pan was too hot? I really really hate that. Now, this guy says that even at 103 degrees, it's not possible to fry an egg on the sidewalk, and he put this picture up on his Flicker photostream as proof. I think it's just a little underdone - and it looks to me like it's got that skin stuff forming. Blech. (Did you see the spatula behind the shell and think, "spatula?" I thought it was wings or something.)

That is exactly what hot weather does to me. It's been end-of-August weather in the middle of July, and I am not happy about it. It melts my brain, begins to cook my thoughts, and that skin stuff starts to form. So, right now, with a morning coolness wafting in, on the day before several days in a row of far too much heat (the weather guy knows his audience - he was very apologetic on the news this morning), here is a random facts post just in case anyone wants to know if I'm dead or alive.

Random fact #1: If you want to see a book, and the library doesn't have it, use the Interlibrary Loan function. Fort Vancouver Regional Library has purchased many of my requests, and the others have come from other libraries, and I'm currently waiting for:

Ardent Spirits
Leaving Home, Coming Back
By Reynolds Price

Native Ferns, Moss, and Grasses: From Emerald Carpet to Amber Wave, serene and sensuous plants for the garden,
by William Cullina

I went ahead and bought The Produce Bible: Essential Ingredient Information and More Than 200 Recipes for Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs & Nuts, by Leanne Kitchen (what else could she have possibly done with her life with a name like that?)

There are others, too. I love Interlibrary Loan and its linked companion site, WorldCat.

Random fact #2: I have changed my major. Again. Interdisciplinary Studies now, with concentrations in Human Studies and Writing. In the course of this, I have talked to three advisors at Marylhurst, and I love, love, love Marylhurst. I makes me blush to realize how little I "know" what I am doing, but maybe that is a good thing about age. I can see far enough to be able to travel a bit ... look around ... choose again ... travel some more ... look around ... and that is how it can work now. I do not have to follow a path already laid down or paved. And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Random fact #3: Today it's the dentist. Again. Because the edges of two (two!) teeth have fallen off this past month, so I need caps on those teeth. I am trying to be glad that this bit of maintenance waited for the summer to be necessary - instead of irritated at using up my summer driving up and down the freeway to the dentist.

Random fact #4: Being the card lady is working out well. The trick is going to be in keeping accurate records so that I can get paid properly.

Random fact #5: It is inadvisable to keep a full mug of coffee between the computer's mouse and the computer's keyboard. This is especially true if one is lounging a bit, with one's feet up on the desk. Keyboards, it turns out, do not function well when they are suddenly full of coffee. Neither does clothing. Or paper desk calendars.

Random fact #6: This stuff works.


Injured Troops Turn To Air Force Acupuncture Clinic

Listen Now [3 min 56 sec]

Morning Edition, July 21, 2009 · U.S. military doctors have traditionally relied on painkillers and other Western medicine to treat injured soldiers. But one branch of the armed forces is leading the way in using acupuncture to help soldiers manage chronic pain.

The best news of the morning for sure.



The soldier has requested the following for her first care package: mattress pad, cheap twin size sheets, dust masks because she prefers to run and not breathe unfiltered air, eye cover so she can sleep in the tent even if the lights are on, and a scalpel for her callouses. She also prefers the same salad day after day over the plates of curly fries and other "circus food" the soldiers are eating. (Perfect name, "circus food." Her husband came up with that.)

The young giant home for the summer is much improved in guitar skills. And I prefer the bass part to this over the bass parts to drone metal. I'm just sayin.

I also prefer this cooler weather to the hot weather that took my last scrap of inner energy and fried it to a crisp and then blew away the ashes. Tomorrow's my birthday. God gave me my present already. He knew I wanted clouds.