nonionay: (goddesscross)
So last weekend, my parents and I went to Montana to visit my Uncle in the Bitterroot Valley. I took the opportunity to get in some alone time and drive down the valley to Lake Como, which I haven't been to since I was a kid.
Now, I've usually been to the valley in the summer or during the winter holidays. I didn't realize exactly how gorgeous fall is there.

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nonionay: (goddesscross)
Class went pretty well yesterday. This particular class is basically How To Be A Therapist, in the sense of relationships and self awareness and such. We're reading the play Agnes of God in class (or, Agnes of G-d, as our Jewish professor writes it.) I already read it a few weeks back, and I'm glad I did. I was taking care of Mom at the time, and some of the things in the play resonated extremely closely with my experiences in those very days with Mom. It was kind of traumatic, and reading it again is class is still traumatic, if less surprising. (The story, if you don't know, is about a court psychologist assigned to evaluate the sanity of a nun accused of murdering her just-born child.)

At the end of each scene, the teacher asks us to talk about what we are thinking. So naturally, I babbled about my mom, and realized my voice was possibly trembling a bit. I sort of feel like I'm letting my neuroses spill out messily. But I also know I shouldn't worry too much about what my classmates think of me. Eventually, I'll get to hear about all their neuroses, too.

I really didn't get any time to process my experience with her, not that I really know what "processing" would consist of. I'd probably go on with my life until something triggered me into a messy bout of introspection--just like what's happening now!

Bleh. But at least I have most of the zillion errands I had to do under control. I should be able to finish up the important stuff today or tomorrow. Also, the nice thing about going to a Catholic school is that there are a bunch of chapels scattered around campus, so I have quiet places to retreat to. The main chapel, in particular, is almost completely free of religious iconography, and is the kind of space I grew up with--lots of light and simple, golden wood.

But hey, I get four day weekends! which, at the moment, aren't filled with homework and crap!


Jul. 4th, 2012 10:11 pm
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Well I ended up having a very pleasant Fourth of July. After work on the 3rd, I went to my parents' place in Poulsbo, where there was a very nice fireworks show that night. Dad and I wandered around a bunch, made our way to the Secret Bathrooms (where I used the men's room while Dad kept watch, and I discovered that dozens of men are perfectly content pissing into the same toilet without flushing, and leaving the one roll of toilet paper beside the sink.
We ended up on the south end of downtown, where the crowd was thin and we were right by the shuttle buses that were taking people up the hill. As it happens, we were exactly where the fireworks were, had a great view of a great show, and were the first people up the hill afterwards.

Today I met up with a friend in Kingston. He came over on the ferry. I was dropped off by my dad. We had some vague hopes of possibly finding a parking place so that Dad could join us, but this Did Not Happen. Thanks to the parade, the main drag of Kingston was closed, and cars were parked along the highway for miles. We drove around to the marina parking lot, where there also wasn't any parking. Now, that side road was also blocked where it met the main drag, and though I was able to get out and walk over to the ferry, I have no idea how the hell they expected ferry traffic to get to the actual ferry. And so, onto the ferry from which my friend debarked, only five cars got on. Literally, five cars. In the middle of the Fourth of July. I have no idea how they actually made it there. (Okay, my friend and I speculated that they were leftover from the previous ferry, which did have traffic from before they closed the road).
But hey, it was a cute parade, and we did have some lovely crepes as we watched.

We boarded the ferry together, and observed an adorable baby seagull sitting on a piling right next to the ferry. Immediately beside the healthy little chick was a less adorable, less healthy, and much less alive chick. And that's why seagulls have multiple chicks.

Back on the east side, we picked up my friend's girlfriend from her work, and lay in the sun for a while on this lovely stone bench. (And this is why my shoulders are now red) We went on to have fried chicken in a park, before floating on a lake. It was really a pleasant day. I feel like I've completed an Independence Day checklist. Family: check. Cotton Candy: check. Fireworks: check. Small Town Parade: check. Picnics and splashing around lazily in the sun: check.

And now I'm home, completely ignoring the big Lake Union fireworks which I can hear this very moment. (Dude, I need to wash the duck poop off me and get to bed so I can go to work in the morning.)
nonionay: (Default)
Housesitting is done for now. I lived a rather different life than I usually do for one whole month. (Cars, animals, giant TVs with nice sound systems. Out of walking distance of the ocean.) I appreciate such opportunities. And as a reward, I was given cheap Mexican albuterol, and an unspeakably awesome necklace by my Mexico-visiting friends, not to mention a chance to sample the four different tequilas they brought back.

I'm at the parents' place right now, and so far, I'm having a lot of fun. I made dinner, and Dad and I went through boxes of old, potentially meaningful stuff. Lots of letters and records and maps from my dad's travelling days. I also helped him go through his old technical books. Do you know anyone who'd like a book on a forty-year-old programming language? Most of them aren't exactly books, just comb-bound, typewritten manuals from when my dad worked for the Navy in California back in the early 70s.
Dad was talking to me about the work he used to do, and I was trying to listen, but it's all "blah blah blah" to me. Suddenly I hear, "I mean, I didn't come up with it, I worked off of what this other guy before me did. I don't want to say I invented the internet." So there you go. Now, when people ask me what my dad used to do, I can say he helped invent the internet.

Have a picture of a bug.

nonionay: (Default)
She's in hospice care. Not gone yet, but that doesn't mean I can't grieve. Look! I have put my obsession with the geology of the Bitterroot Valley into practical use!

Sapphire Mountains

When the hills slid from the mountains,
aching with the pain of separation.
When ancient fell from the grasp
of the young, even as youth
reaches high,
coated in the mica of your passing;
I fall from you
as you fall from me;
falling away across ever-winding rivers;
beyond trees that never die, and
roads that never straighten.
I will see you there glowing in the sunset
with sapphires in your heart.
nonionay: (Default)
In addition to just liking to help friends, I'm particularly intent right now on helping people move, since I was so graciously helped, both emotionally and physically, by a dozen people earlier this year. So yesterday I helped my dear [ profile] kehrli move into his new, occupied only by himself, apartment. I was a little stupid and forgot to bring snacks and sunblock*, so I'm a little scorched, and we were all a little lightheaded, but we powered through, facing sun and awful traffic. And lo! There was an elevator, and a place to park!

I had been hoping to go to a party with a cousin I hardly ever see, but I was so exhausted, there was no way that was going to happen. I saw her and her awesome husband and son on Thursday, thankfully. I do wish I could get to know my slightly more extended family better.

Once we got the big stuff done, Keffy and I rushed to Northgate, with nothing in our brains but the word, "food," echoing. Since we were both so braindead, I didn't feel bad that the huge TVs blasting music videos in the food court captured all our attention. They actually had a nice, occasionally surreal selection, from classic Madonna to Run DMC singing Walk This Way with Aerosmith, to Katy Perry shooting fireworks out of her tits while encouraging big-bodied gals to wear bikinis and boys to make out in public.**

A quick trip into Target to get a shower curtain resulted in the two of us each leaving with our own cart full of cheap floor lamps and rice cookers and pillows.
I was paid with a copy of the Writers of the Future anthology Keffy is in. (I confess, I selfishly look forward to reading the stories that beat me.) All in all, I earned $0.89 an hour yesterday, not counting the Diet Coke I plundered from a friend who has to get rid of it so she can start an elimination diet. (Good luck, btw. I'm sorry I'm benefiting from your suffering. :-( )

And I have today all to myself.

*Downside of living alone: No one to rub aloe on my back. :-(
**Just the other day I saw someone accusing Katy Perry of supporting gays because it was trendy, but if she's being peer pressured into doing the right thing, I say, "whatever." And that curvy girl doing a cannonball was really adorable.
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This will be the first of some overdue picture posts. I'll be merciful, and post them once every day or two.

This last Monday, I went on an overnight backpacking trip with my dad and two of his old college hiking buddies. They're a fun bunch. The full report can be found here. This post is just for the pictures.
Behold, the beautiful and cooperative transparent butterfly!
IMG 0547
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The last hike I went on was a bit of a challenge for me, but I think that I just went to fast, trying to keep up with my dad's friends. My dad, while hiking, is a machine, moving slowly but steadily upward, never stopping. Today, I kept pace with him. As a result, I was almost never tired, and we hiked about 24 kilometers. (too tired to convert...) I think it's the longest hike I've done in my life. And lots of uphill. Not sure what the elevation gain was--maybe 6000 feet? Most of that was in the first six miles or so.

I'll post pictures eventually, I swear, with descriptions. I want to wait until then to describe it, because oh, my, god, it was beautiful. We went to Garibaldi Lake, just south of Whistler, and also walked almost to the base of the Black Tusk, a gorgeous volcanic neck. I love glacial geomorphology, and I love volcanoes, and this place is what happens when the two combine.

I worried a little that stressing my body might not be a great idea in my current state of general mental stress, but that definitely wasn't a problem. For one day, I was mostly able to forget the outside world.

My feet are killing me, but fortunately, I'm soon going to be around someone who I know gives excellent foot rubs...


Jul. 31st, 2010 09:33 pm
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I haven't had many opportunities to properly hike since childhood. Today I hiked nine miles round trip, half of that up a respectably steep slope. (3700 feet elevation gain. I like the parts that are steep and then flat, steep then flat. My dad likes the constant, unending and even slope. I hated that part.) The other half coming down. Lots of flowers*, lots of gorgeous views**, and pretty soon, lots of pain. I feel my legs turning to cement even now.

(Twas the Upper Big Quilcene, btw.

*Seriously, lots of flowers. I grew up with a book of Olympic Peninsula wildflowers, and I suspect I saw the majority of those flowers today, even some of the weird ones like Ghost Plant.

**Lots of people too, though they didn't bug me too much. I walked down all alone while my dad and company went on to Marmot Pass. I only passed a few people who got started too late in the day.


Feb. 14th, 2010 04:48 pm
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My parents and I went to the Point Defiance Zoo today. I haven't been there since I was a kid, so <3 <3
There were tigers and peacocks and elephants and sharks, but the coolest thing was by far the walruses. I've never seen them in real life. THEY'RE HUGE. I've seen elephant seals (granted, not as closely as the walruses) and I think ET the Walrus is bigger than those.
It's extra impressive when you've got 4,029 pounds of blubber jiggling just inches from your face behind a plexiglass wall. He was rubbing up against it, when he wasn't going after the smaller female in the tank. He's horny right now, but sadly, she isn't. They beat each other up, but, I think, affectionately. When two incredibly large sacks of blubber slam against each other, there's more jiggling than Homer Simpson's belly being hit with a cannonball.

The third walrus is a huge, blind female. She just swam back and forth, sucking in air down her pink gullet and sounding asthmatic. You know what's creepy? A giant brown sack of blubber rising from the deep with pure white, cataract-sealed eyes, opening her surprisingly small mouth to go sluuurrrrp right at you.

(And no, there was no autofellatio.)
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So I'm researching The Montana Book, perusing Google Street View, which has expanded since I last explored the valley with it. Now, I can see that, sweet bejeezus, this withered old snag that was a withered old snag twenty five years ago when I was still a kid visiting my grandparents in Montana is still standing. It's weird what sticks with you.

Crazy snag from my childhood
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My poor, poor cousins. Their 3-year old daughter, Neko, has the exact same dietary habits as me.
As for me, I'm still working out how to deal with kids. Neko wedged herself in between me and my aunt at mass last night, and held my hand and fidgeted with my braids and rings. I let her do this, and later on, showed her how to brush her barbie doll's hair from the ends first. (I hate watching people wrench a brush through their hair. If I can knock this out at a young age, then great.)
I hear she got a doll with long braids for Christmas, and named it after me. :-D

And Shay, their other daughter, still has the Totoro I had [ profile] kaerfel knit for her. It's named Flower, and is still her favorite toy. My Christmas present from Shay was a shrinkydink ornament with Flower painted on it. I just hope that when Shay's old enough for [ profile] kaerfel's books, she'll like them and be able to impress her friends with her toy made by everyone's favorite author. Assuming that at adolescence, she wouldn't be embarrassed of toting around a Totoro named Flower. :-)
nonionay: (Default)
Well, that was one of the bigger Thanksgivings I've been to in a while. There was about twenty people there--all varieties of distant cousins on my paternal grandma's side. I knew two of them. However, two more were sff fans, and so we were able to talk about stuff. But there was no fuss over dinner. One of the guests made the turkeys and brought them to us. (Smoked and non-smoked. The smoked one was fabulous
We were kind of sprawled all over the living room, but that was fine. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were bouncing up and down silently on the tv right in front of me, which was less fine, but there was a cousin of some sort mostly blocking it. It gave me the opportunity to start a conversation about them. No one seemed as horrified as me, though.
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Holy Smokes, my parent's house is cold! Even for me!
That said, I'm under a bunch of warm blankets, and I suspect that if I really wanted, I could have a pair of incredibly cuddly cats on me as well.
I made it home all right. Mom's doing well and made spaghetti.

I watched tv, which is a custom of mine when I come home, just to remind myself of how much commercials suck.
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From a chat we just had (I'd lent him Newton's Cannon, by J Gregory Keyes, one of my favorites:
"I just about finished your book. I looked up steampunk cyberpunk dieselpunk clockpunk. .,I didn't know anything about them. "
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Here's a pic from Crappy Taxidermy from the Museum of Sea and Shore in Port Gamble. We used to go there all the time for our Sunday Drive. It's the biggest private shell collection, and is where I amassed my own collection. Clearly I need to go back, because based on that picture, they've rearranged everything. (and put in some huge skylights. It always used to be dark and creepy) That hideous shark used to be part of a display tucked into a dark little nook under the stairs (visible immediately behind the thing.) Down below is the general store, then the shells on the second floor mezzanine. The third floor is split into two side balconies. On one side is an ancient barber shop that I don't think they ever actually opened to the public--you could just see it from across the atrium. It had one of those torture device style perm machines. On the other side was a Victorian style natural history collection. Bugs, gorilla skulls, all kinds of stuff.

Before they remodeled (the first time), you had to go up this dark little stairway in the back to get to the museum. Then you walked around the mezzanine, looking at the shells and that creepy dried skate hanging from the window, and then you arrived at the area where they sold seashells and Serendipity books. A parrot squawked in the back room, behind a beaded curtain. For some reason, as a child, I always assumed you had to go all the way around to get to the store, instead of just turning right at the top of the stairs. So I'd rush around the circle, eager to get the sea shells in my tiny little hands. It was a magical little journey.

Hee hee, they have a website.
nonionay: (Default)
While looking at my dad's iPod Touch, I discovered he has She Wants Revenge on it. (Tear You Apart, Radio Mix, which means there's a very conspicuous edited gap in the lyrics). This amuses me for some reason. When asked about it, my dad said, "I don't know, I get the free songs off iTunes. I like the bouncy ones."
nonionay: (Default)
I did a lot of walking today. A LOT OF WALKING! Not only on nice flat paved surfaces, but up on incredibly steep dusty surfaces, and down on incredibly steep and narrow and rocky surfaces. After my morning walk, my dad wanted to go on the Highnotes Trail, which, he warned, is a really hard hike.

After taking the gondola to the Roundhouse Lodge up on Whistler, we took the chair to the very tippy top of the mountain, where I'd never been. Now, it was cloudy and foggy and impossible to see the spectacular view that undoubtedly lurked beyond the gloom. But the temperature was perfect, and I was happy. Because seriousy, the only thing that can improve an open-air ride over a rocky abyss (that is a seriously steep chair ride) is one which has you traveling through a foggy abyss hovering over a rocky abyss.

Because Mom was left back at the Roundhouse overlooking an inukshuk, we decided not to make the entire hike. Instead, dad said there was a shortcut--a road leading back up to the peak.
This all started out fun and well. The trail wound past another inukshuk and then, down. Occasionally, they'd bolted a chain into the rocks, but for the most part, we were on our own clinging to the steep path. Geology-loving me was happy for the chance to get close to so many interesting rocks and lichens.

Then we reached the junction with this "road" my dad had spoken of. We were greeted by a grinning Japanese family about to descend on the next stage of the trail. Beside them was a sign suggesting that if you feel your hiking abilities are giving out, then take go back up to the peak and take the chair down. That's the way we went, because of time, rather than ability.

What the sign should have said was, "If your hiking abilities are giving out, you're fucked."
Normal people use these things called, "switchbacks" in order to ascend steep surfaces. Not these people! I've never been on such a steep slope for such a long time. And the road itself was very roadlike, except that any vehicle that tried to drive up it would slide backwards into the abyss. It was alternately dusty and gravelly, and not very good for getting a firm foothold. And it just kept going up. Every time we thought we'd hit the top, it was just a slight bend (nothing, of course, that could be called a switchback.)
Compounding the climbing misery was the fact that I am not absolutely certain I'm allergic to sweat. I was itchy itchy itchy the whole way.

Eventually we did hit the top, and being hardcore, of course, decided to walk down rather than take the chair. That road's not too bad, and had the bonus incentive of the Harmony Tea Hut, where my dad was very disappointed to learn they didn't have any soda, but rather, only Vitamin Water and Powerade. He was also amused by everyone's fascination with the lone chipmunk scavanging crumbs. Hey, I haven't seen a chipmunk in years! Only squirrels.

The road down to the Roundhouse was steep, but at least it was down. We hooked up with Mom and took the Peak to Peak gondola, which was pretty awesome. The giant towers got me all giddy. It's also a silent ride, since unlike the regular gondola which has thunkaty thunkaty towers every hundred feet or so, there's just four, so there was only a slight hum and the whispers of the dozen passengers in Spanish and Japanese and a bunch of other languages. I think English speakers were in the minority.

Once we took the open chairs down Blackcomb, and my bare arms were completely numb from the wind, I decided to walk the 4.5 kilometers back to the lodge. It's mostly flat, and I needed the thinking time. I brought my notebook and stopped in the many parks to lie in the grass and scribble notes.
And I'll probably take another walk this evening, because that's what I do in Whistler. I walk a hell of a lot.
nonionay: (Default)
It's official--my dad has found my Livejournal!
Hi, Dad!

Whister <3

Aug. 5th, 2009 09:38 pm
nonionay: (Default)
I'm glad I've just plowed a new swath of territory in the novel to play with, because I'm going with my parents to their timeshare in Whistler this weekend, and I'll have plenty of time to write, or walk around the lakes and golf courses and dodge bears while brainstorming. So no Worldcon for me, but I'll still be in Canada!

Damn I love Whistler. I love the mountains and the bears and the fact that you can walk for miles along beautiful quiet paths around beautiful quiet lakes. I love that they have a tiny, knee-deep creek called the River of Golden Dreams. I love Rogers Chocolates and that art shop that sells hideous clowns by Red Skelton and sculptures by Anthony Quinn that aren't nearly as Freudian as they used to be. I love that I got to see the South Park movie there and the film broke right after Stan found the clitoris and we all had to stand outside while they fixed it. Whistler's where my dad made me drink Heinekin on my 19th birthday (and no, I still haven't acquired the taste), and bought me The Wall as a present even though he didn't know what it was. (yes, my dad's that old.) Whistler's where I found sixty Canadian dollars in an ugly blue naugahide coin purse abandoned ID-less on the mountainside. Whister's where one of my four secret special places is.

I haven't been in a while. I'm worried it's going to be bloated and ugly because they're getting ready for the Olympics. I worry that Whistler will turn into Vail, which was one of the most boring places I've ever been. But Vail lacks the natural scenery of Whistler, and there's no taking that away.


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