The winter reading……..

Bloged in BOOKS worthy of a Read by mark Tuesday January 26, 2010

Mac decided he wanted to share what he’s been reading this winter:

It’s a frustrating period of the year. On these fabulous cold wet muddy days when smells and wet can be found everytime I can escape the house, myy masters have been sitting like fools “inside”, if you can believe it, watching something really foolish on a screen. They sit and watch a bunch of big men, all dressed up rather gay bright tight outfits grunt a lot running and hitting each other. Regularly, they come to a big stop all jammed up in a pile. Then they do a pose all hunched over in a line , and begin the chase anew. They are fighting over a brown ball. While they repeat these plays over and over, a large crowd yells at them. Back and forth they go, beating each other up. When they sometimes almost escape at the end of the fields, the crowds go wild. I don’t understand WHY I have to sit and watch these ridiculous human displays too, so I snuck off and began to read some of their Christmas books…………….

PS: It has gotten worse. This week, the masters are watching an even MORE ridiculous event on that big screen. Two humans stand on each side of a net and hit a little ball back and forth with a paddle. Back and forth, back and forth. What a waste of time. Not a dog to be seen ANYWHERE!!

But really………..I thought I’d mention a couple books I really enjoyed. Their not necessarily gonna change MY world, I simply enjoyed reading them.


1) WAITER RANT, the book by Steve Dublanica.

**What a FUN read, and even I simply as an occasional diner recognized some of these characters he writes about on both sides of the table. This was fun diversion. THE BLOG is still active for viewing: WAITER RANT .

2) THE LINE OF BEAUTY by Alan Hollinghurst .
**The link to Alan’s bibliography is interesting because it describes things he’s written before Line of Beauty, and a couple of them sound rich to read. Yes, he’s gay writer.

**This is 400 pages of heavier reading, but fascinating how a young gay schemer rises in society through his friendship with the son of upper middle class Thatcher politicos of the time. What a con artist, and how smooth is he! It really exposes the hypocrisy of conservative folk. This one takes time. **YOU MAY have been the delightful series on LOGO TV? It was produced by the BBC.

– – – – –
Now the 1st PRIZE for winter reading.
THIS best-selling Dutch book was so full and powerful to ME, that I had to pause occasionally to keep from being overcome by the narrators world. Sometimes melancholy, sometimes lonely and stoic, sometimes RICH with human feeling and emotion it was.

The story lifts and takes the reader on a ride through all possible imaginations these words could produce in our emotional world: Lonely, being Alone.., confusion, clarity ……. AND what those two things mean in EVERY twist of your mind. The translation alone was skilled enough, I thought often I was reading IN Dutch. THIS was captivating to me!


3) THE TWIN by Gerbrand Bakker.

**Yes, Gerbrand Bakker is gay, but this is NOT a gay novel. It is such a “quiet” but wonderful read, though, it captures much of the human experience. Jessa Crispin at NPR called this book the BEST 2009 work of foreign fiction. It’s BARELY just been released in the U.S.

= = = = = =
And thanks to Dr. R, er, SPO, I MUST end with this quote about one writer’s thoughts about getting some “therapy”. . . . . . . .

“A psychiatrist asks a lot of expensive questions that your wife will ask for free.” — Joey Adams.

And we’re in the dead of winter.

Bloged in Nature,Pacific Northwest by mark Friday January 22, 2010

So what DOES the dead of winter mean in a rain forest……..? It seems to me as any season begins to pale, other changes ARE around if you want to see them. I KNOW all my friends are already also seeing little changes occuring all around.

However, before we peek at that……. I have cleaned our chimney once or twice a winter for 13 years now….and the house hasn’t burned down. I never look forward to it, not that it’s hard, but it’s a chore you always “hope” has been done right. This year, it was documented……

and almost done 13 minutes later…almost done.

chimney 2
Another big annual chore I DO hate got 90% done yesterday! HEY! Sun was out, it was almost 60 (Yes, WE have California’s weather while they have had ours this week)………. The apple trees looked formidable yesterday:

Those two trees, and two others took 5 hours out of the day, but if you can BE IN PORTLAND, in January, in the sun at 58 degrees, you won’t even notice. I had to get rid of the jacket and the hat!

Believe me, today, my knee hurts, but those trees are lookin’ much better.

I may be reaching a turn in that gray mood that often sets in when days go by without sunshine. Seems like EVERYBODY gets through fall, winter’s beginning because they’re eating Turkey Dinners and believing in Santa Claus. Once the last Auld Lang Syne is whispered away, those winter doldrums set in. But, this week I have felt a little lighter. Some others may be feel a bit different too IF they’re tuning into the changes happening RIGHT now in the dead of winter. Even famous Forest Park can look a little worn and dead in January……. On today’s walk, it felt muddy, brown and dead even though green IS all around:


** sad to see a tree’s lost.


So, it may be a rain forest, but the hints of “brown” are all through this picture.

As the wood of fallen trees rots, and the million bugs begin to turn it into compost, these logs become bird buffets, and I always am happy to see the signs that the cafe has been opened:

One thing really grows here in winter. MOSS. Especially since so little sun’s out, eh?

On the return trail, these live vine maples always look a little exotic I think:

But nearing home, the signs that “something” is happening seem to be appearing in lots of places around the yard…..

crocus plants will be blooming in a couple days……


that winter azalea will seem out of season as it blooms next week.

Yum. Soon, we’ll be enjoying the chives, eh?

**I took this pic yesterday, and today, two hyacinth blooms have already opened.

So. Maybe spring IS just a few weeks away! Yeah!

Getting back to requirements of being an Adult

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday January 11, 2010

New Year has begun in earnest.

These things are finally gone, in the past, a memory of 2009:
1) Thanksgiving
2) Christmas – everything put away except the last of wrapping stuff
3) New Years – even the hangover’s gone.
4) Parkdale Celebrations – MORE x-skiing was done, the moonbow, great evenings with Toni & John.
5) Dinner with Nancy, Carol, Sandy! We had YUMM Bowls! Fabulous Time.
6) All the holiday phone calls.
7) Two turkeys in the freezer gone, one left!
8) Facebook game: Farmville. NOW auctioned off to pay gov’t debts, and canceled. THAT stuff takes TOO much time!
9) Dog bathed. (This will last about 3 more days)
10) Chimney cleaning done yesterday! Not so long a task, but not pleasant.
11) Outdoor holiday lights gone, packed away.

So can I take a nap? NO NO! The holiday mode of living has meant moving at 2 mph. I MUST pick up the speed…….YET TO BE DONE IN JAN:

1) Re-allocate and move Retirement funds from one company to another where I WILL have more control of it, and where an “advisor” will quit sucking the life out of it.
2) Begin winter pruning of ALL trees in the yard.
3) Cleanup of pine cones, needles off lawn to get acid off the soil not to mention a lot of other detritus…….
4) Get on the “eating right” train again….. which includes more exercise, and mainly, eating less. I’m ready.
5) Begin Tax preparations…….gathering material, doing the calculations ……………… harumph.
6) Cleanup “my documents” on this PC…..get rid of a few hundred MGB’s of storage.
7) Get those vacuum filters ordered
8) Go through everything overhead in the garage, some of it there since 1995 when we moved in. Throw out stuff you haven’t used in 2 years.
9) Communicate better with old friends who have come back into my life…….THAT is a treasured happening this year.
10) Correct those holiday address labels for cards, packages. Something I’ve been meaning to do for 4 years now.

11) MISC: There’s a list in the kitchen……….

Oh NO……… Ho Ho! It’s off to work I go.

PBS NATURE: Hummingbirds Premiered!

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday January 11, 2010


What a spectacular nature film last night! I DO hope you’ll get a chance on your local PBS channel to see the new PBS Nature Season Premiere of: Hummingbirds on a big Hi Def Screen, why? They used a new camera taking between 200-500 frames per second to capture these tiny little birds as they’ve never been seen.

For us, and many birder friends, this was a new experience in enjoying these little superbirds. For one thing, we learned Hummingbirds ONLY occur in the Americas!

AT THE PBS NATURE SITE…………..you CAN see the whole episode, or lots of other choice shorter segments…. but it will be on a small screen. DO TRY to find out when you can see it locally on your own PBS channel….I promise you’ll like it!

Go Catch a Moonbow

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Saturday January 2, 2010

Here in the edge of the mountains, a FULL moon came over the east ridges last night about 9:30, but in the far west rises of the Cascades, a light rain was falling. We saw a very rare event, there in the dark….a “MOONBOW (the Wikipedia entry)” ! Rodger came in the door saying, there’s a Moonbow out here, you all better come and look!” What? I’d never heard of such a thing. It’s pretty fabulous since: 1) The moon must be full, 2) Clear dark skies, 3) it must be raining in the west edge of this scenario, 4) Moon must be at about 42 degrees, etc etc.

Rodger DID capture a pic of our Moonbow and has it posted at RodgerDodger.com. You can catch another pic here: ****ROB Moonbow**** And one on the coast at Gearhart, Oregon in 2003, (although he has lightened up this pic) at:
ATOPICS . . . . .

For today……….it’s cross country skiing for all but me and Mac…..NOT yet sure what he and I will be doing….hiking/swimming/snowshoes? Don’t know yet…..obviously, THIS entry will be updated later.

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