darkemeralds: Healing hands with white, blue and violet rays of light (Healing)
It's gonna be a long road. At 61, I accept that I won't see the end of it, or a return to "the way things were".

Which is all the more reason to remember that every day is precious, I am not unlimited, I must give my best work to the Resistance as best I can, and that means taking a breath, and a walk, and a moment to recognize that there is still beauty and hope in the world.
Gray cat foot standing among early green daffodil spears in the leaf-litter of winter
Graydie and the daffodils. January 30 2017

Spring

Feb. 28th, 2014 08:17 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Yesterday it was so nasty out that I abandoned my bike ride and took the train instead--it just wasn't worth arriving at my appointment chilled, soaked, and windblown.

Today it was spring.

Suddenly spring )

March

Mar. 2nd, 2013 10:41 am
darkemeralds: Purple patent leather Doc Martens against a multi-colored carpet with the title True Colors (Dressing Your Truth)
It's spring. The neighborhood is full of daphne-scented breezes. Tulip spears are poking up everywhere. I picked up my cashmere pullover at the drycleaner yesterday and didn't even bother to un-paper it--it's going into storage for the next eight months. I slept with the bedroom window wide open last night.

I hate spring. )
darkemeralds: Screenshot of Zoe from Firefly, caption "So You've Never Pretended to Fall?" from an unfilmed Firefly script (Zoe)
Last night a goodish storm of the south-wind-and-drenching-rain variety knocked most of the leaves off most of the trees around here.

It didn't dampen the Occupy spirit, however, and though the Occupiers have been evicted from the backyard of the World's Tallest Basement (aka my place of employment), they've continued to march and chant every day in the downtown streets. The police so far have presented a vigilant and sort of rigidly non-violent presence alongside the marchers.

In a peculiarly Portland moment, I was riding westward across the bike-and-pedestrian-only lower deck of the Steel Bridge this morning while a very vocal Occupy protest more or less blocked the upper car deck. A guy had stationed himself about mid-span on the lower deck and was bangin' with drumsticks on the bridge railing and a couple of pots. He was keeping time with the rhythmic chanting of the protesters above. Cyclists, including me, were ringing their bike bells in time to the percussion as they sailed past. It had a kind of gleeful, sonic solidarity to it.

It's been colorful. Here are some images. )

Bounty

Oct. 9th, 2011 08:43 pm
darkemeralds: Screenshot of Zoe from Firefly, caption "So You've Never Pretended to Fall?" from an unfilmed Firefly script (Zoe)
I just had a lovely dinner of sautéed chanterelle mushrooms, a bratwurst, and a honeycrisp apple. Fall is here. \o/

My Sunday morning rounds to the grocery stores and my Sunday afternoon cooking-for-the-week extravaganza have netted me a large pot of bœuf bourguignon, a dish of kedgeree made to [personal profile] kis' recipe, a crock of carrot salad, a big jar of thinly sliced cucumber in rice vinegar, two quarts of plain whole milk yogurt (being strained and Greekified into a single quart), dried blueberries, the above-mentioned sausages and apples, and now a lovely pot of tea.

Happy sigh.

I did not bring home any chocolate, any nuts, any butter, or any rice cakes. I just can't seem to have that stuff in the house right now without eating all of it. Cheese is a little iffy, too. And bacon. Bacon's right out.

My weight loss has flatlined for two months, and this time it's no mystery: I've been eating too much to keep losing. I'd like to get it back on the downward slope. So in a moment of renewed discipline at Trader Joe's, I walked past the Aisles of Temptation, squared off against my fear of bored starvation or starved boredom, and came home with the makings of dessert-less meals for the whole week.

We'll see. I feel back-to-schoolish and structured this time of year, and it's a good moment for me to set things to rights.
darkemeralds: A falcon taking flight from a falconer's arm (Falcon)
volcanocam image of Mount Saint Helens against a clear blue sky
Image courtesy of the
USDA Forest Service Mt St Helens Johnston Ridge Observatory Volcanocam


BLUE SKY


The weather here tends to come from the direction of Mt St Helens, and that right there? It's coming here! I feel like every cell in my body is going \o/.

The Pedalpalooza folks were serving coffee and (very tasty gluten-free vegan) muffins at the foot of the Steel Bridge this morning, so I stopped and chatted with the hipsters for a while in the fog-just-beginning-to-clear incipient morning sunshine, and was, consequently, a few well-worth-it minutes late for work.

Happy weekend, everyone.
darkemeralds: Screencap from Where The Hell Is Matt (joy)
Cross posted from [community profile] shutterspeed, where prompts and challenges are posted every couple of weeks and you go out and take pictures to fit the prompts. It's a fun and friendly small community, and I would love to see more people joining, so if you like to take pictures, come on by!

The current prompt, just ending, is "Signs."

Signs of spring )
darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
I love autumn!

Equinox
(Equal day and night all over the world! One day only!)

National Geographic gives kind of a cool tour-de-sky for the coming hours. Big old harvest moon tonight. Some Jupiter Uranus action, which, yeah, you couldn't make that up.

And for my southern-hemisphere friends, happy spring!
darkemeralds: Heart-shaped raindrop on the lens, captioned with "Raining in my heart" (Rain)
O lumière! C'est le cri de tous les personnages placés, dans le drame antique, devant leur destin. Ce recours dernier était aussi le nôtre et je le savais maintenant. Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il y avait en moi un été invincible.*
--Albert Camus, Noces à Tipasa

(*O light! This is the cry of all the characters of ancient drama brought face to face with their fate. This last resort was ours, too, and I knew it now. In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.)

Or maybe a fairly hard to beat one. Or, you know, one that might, just maybe, survive another week of this endless PNW cloud cover and rain.

Sheesh. And to think I was worried about bike-commuting in the heat.
darkemeralds: Heart-shaped raindrop on the lens, captioned with "Raining in my heart" (Rain)
Does anyone remember that story by Ray Bradbury?

All summer in a day. The sun has been out for, like, two hours since the middle of May, and I've been stuck in the World's Tallest Basement for most of those moments.

It's too rainy to start work on my leaking mudroom roof. It's too rainy to garden. It's too rainy to get out of fucking bed in the morning. Hell, it's almost too rainy for me to ride my bike. Almost.

I take back everything I ever said about not minding the rain. This is driving me bugshit crazy.
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
Every time something goes wrong with my bike, and every time I drive my car, or even walk in a busy area--especially downtown--I start to think how hard and scary it is to get on that bike and proceed into traffic. I wonder how I do it, and think I might not have the nerve next time.

I was thinking that as I was walking Clyde the eight or ten blocks to my new best friend, Bike Gallery's downtown store, an hour ago.

They fixed the flat for me in a few minutes (during which I resisted the strong urge to buy a new helmet, a front basket and a floor pump with stern self-talk about waiting for my tax refund), and when I emerged onto SW 10th Avenue, I was still a little hesitant. I thought, maybe I'll just walk him back on down to work.

Yeah, right.

It's 57 degrees out there today (14C), all buds and shoots and blue sky, and ten BAZILLION people were out grinning and squinting at the sun. I hopped on Clyde and oh my God, it was glorious. For a ten block ride I didn't even bother with my helmet. Hair, meet breeze. Retinas, meet Vitamin D. Mouth, meet idiotic grin.

I haven't ridden on a spring day before. There is NOTHING that's gonna keep me from doing it every day from now on.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Once I had my computer stabilized today, I got the heck out of the house and into the FABULOUS bright afternoon. I've decided to do a wheat-free stint for a while (for a variety of wellness reasons) and so I needed a bunch of different groceries.

Trader Joe's was my goal. It's about three miles from my house through a great neighborhood which today smelled gloriously of daphne and sarcococca. I got there, loaded up the basket, and had the entire thing rung up by the fastest damn checker I've ever seen, before I realized that while my grocery pannier (and some really racy podfic on my phone) had come with me to TJ's, my wallet had not.

So I rode home, got it, and rode back again. They were nice enough to put the whole bag-full into the cooler for me while this 45-minute diversion took place.

Now I've got a haul of delicious goodness with which to assuage, for the next few days, my unending craving for baked goods. Next weekend, I think I'll ride out to the Bob's Red Mill store.

Really must remember my wallet for that trip.
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
I love this day! It's 4:45 p.m. and I'm looking out the window of the World's Tallest Basement and it's still light out there! A little bit! There's hope for spring again.

Somehow that always feels amazing, every single year.

It's been sunny all day. I rode my bike to my dentist this morning (he has a bike-rack!), and thence to work. This journey took me on routes I'd not ridden before, through cool old neighborhoods and past one of the city's most spectacular parks (Laurelhurst, for those keeping score).

I saw some great examples of mid-century modern house architecture that I'd forgotten Portland has--long, low, windowy places made of skinny bricks and perched on hillsides (I like that style)--and experienced the pinnacle of Portland bike-riding, through the funky and nearly carless streets of Southeast.

On my way to work after dentistry, I stopped at a café that had, in addition to coffee, WiFi, and enormous windows, a bike corral where two on-street car parking spaces used to be. There were at least ten bikes in it, and the joint was jumpin'. It was so nice out that people were sitting at the sidewalk tables. I felt very Euro.

All of this went a long way toward making the my dentist's verdict more tolerable. Next week, I'll find out what it's like to ride my bike to a root canal.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I was having lunch a bit ago up on Broadway. I was sitting at the window table, in the sun, thinking, "It's a gorgeous day in Portland. What's making me feel so sad?"

Apart from the passing of the last Kennedy (a poignant thing to someone whose earliest memories have to do with the passing of the first one), I think it's the same thing that makes it a gorgeous day in Portland: the slant of the light.

It comes in low and yellow, and it makes rich, dark shadows. The sycamores are still covered with leaves, so there's a wonderful dappling effect. It feels like Back to School, and plaid shirts, and though the air isn't chilly, it was last night and it will be again tonight.

In my mind, I'm always happy to see summer go. But my body chemistry seems to have a different idea this year.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Whether gray is my favorite color because I live in the Pacific Northwest, or I live in the Pacific Northwest because gray is my favorite color is up for grabs. Suffice it to say that gray began this week, and I feel good.

It's not really raining. Just overcast, with some pale sunshine in between little showers. It's not cold yet, just cool. The world seems filled with crows. There's a wild, sort of north-south-east-west wind blowing around. When you open the doors and windows, it cleans the whole house. When you go out in it, it gets in your hair, and your ears, and your mouth, and cleans you, too.

I think I like the fall weather here for the same reason I like black and white photographs: in a world stripped of color, you can see structures more clearly. Against the backdrop of all the shades of gray that this place is capable of, what is vivid becomes more important--someone smiling at you, the bright vine maple leaves on the sidewalk outside Jeff's house, the raucous sound of crows, the smell of coffee, the heavy feel of a big green apple in your hand.

Some gray things I like:
Sidewalk, silverware, weathered cedar shingles, driftwood, whales, my hair, my bedlinens, sand, storms, the ocean, foam on the ocean, clouds, my hair, that one jacket Dean Winchester wears, brushed nickel bathroom fixtures, the moon, my surround sound speakers, Icelandic lopi wool, galvanized buckets, my first car, streets, dolphins, puddles, ice cubes, the charcoal sketch of the goddess Diana that my brother did for me years ago, my brushed steel water bottle, the huge English walnut tree in my yard, Monsoon (in memory), my laptop, my current LJ theme, quarters, knives, my phone, twilight...
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Greetings to my flist from the 14th floor of The Portland Building. It's a perfectly spectacular fall-like day outside in the real Stumptown, or so I gather from glances out the few and small windows we have.

Can I just say that life in general is too short, and life in Portland is too gray, to spend all the daylight hours of glorious September inside the World's Tallest Basement?

And yet here I am.

*glum*
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
A fleeting moment of Pacific Northwest summer this year was surrounded on the mid-June and mid-August sides by cool, cloudy, rainy days, and now it seems that fall is here. It was 57 degrees in my bedroom when I woke up this morning. Already time to start closing the windows.

From four seeds that a friend of my mother's brought from New Zealand a couple of months ago, a single heirloom nasturtium has managed to bloom at last.

I took a picture of it last night. )

Crickets

Aug. 27th, 2008 09:28 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
It seems that when they put you on an extended work schedule, you get used to it.

I've been getting home one, two, sometimes three hours late almost every workday for three weeks now, and it doesn't seem so trying anymore. Somehow I still manage to get to the grocery store, fix food for myself, and put on clean clothes every day.

Summer's slipping away into fall, and a little part of me thinks, damn, I hate to miss that, while the rest of me attends the endless meetings and does the software testing and rewrites training documents and generally puts her nose to the grindstone.

It's about 9:30 and I'm home, a late dinner settling in my stomach, I just watched Kung Fu Hustle at the recommendation of [livejournal.com profile] owzers (good flick, pretty odd), and now the TV is silent and the living room is dark, and all I can hear is crickets outside in the late-summer night air.

We hit 54 percent of goal today at 56 percent of our scheduled time. We might make our deadline, and if we don't, it won't be because I didn't spend enough time at the office.

Ahh...

May. 4th, 2008 09:55 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
It's Sunday night. I'm sitting out on my porch. The whole world smells like flowers. The last three people who have walked or cycled by in the dark have been singing.

Singing.

Spring, when it comes at last (at long, long last), is a wonderful thing.

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