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Cool [May. 25th, 2016|07:26 pm]
The clouds have been uncommonly lovely for this last cool day of the week. All day some of them have been sunlit and brilliantly white, while others have been shaded and dark, steely gray. It's been fun watching them, but they've made be crave whipped cream and I have none. Every silver lining has a dark cloud in it, I guess. But these could be the last clouds I see for along time. There are none in the ten-day forecast, and it's going to be getting very warm, too. Thankfully, the nights are expected to remain cool, so I'll be able to regulate the temperature of the house pretty well. And I should not be needing the furnace after tonight.

Today was probably the last day the lawns needed mowing, too. They are shortened now, and the smell of cut grass lingers in the evening air, but without more rain I don't expect them to regrow very far. In fact by the time summer really begins they will probably have turned brown, and won't be green again until next spring, unless autumn is both rainy and warm and induces the grass to start growing some more. But since that's a rare combination here, I'm don't expect more than a couple of weeks of green lawns remaining to me this year, and then it'll be dormant grass until next year.

A single cricket has begun chirping somewhere in the lupine patch. The lupines are starting to look a bit bedraggled, and probably won't last much longer. Apparently yesterday's rain did not reinvigorate them. It's nice to have them replaced by a cricket, though. I hope the feral cats leave him alone. A couple of them like to nap among the lupines, but once the warm weather begins they'll probably move to shadier spots, so maybe the cricket will be able to avoid them.

I didn't get enough sleep last night, and feel in need of a nap, but that would be a bad idea this late in the day. Could be worse if I don't get one, though, as I might fall asleep too early and then wake up at one or two o'clock in the morning again. That's always a disaster. Maybe I'll have a cup of tea and see if that keeps me going until after midnight. As I'm not used to caffeine anymore one cup might be enough. I'm going to skip dinner anyway as I had lunch rather late. If I stay awake until midnight or so there's always popcorn.

Goodbye, clouds. I'll miss you when I'm out in the sun's unfiltered glare.
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Wet [May. 24th, 2016|06:52 pm]
We got to keep our clouds for another day, and they even brought a bit of rain this afternoon. There could be more rain later, but as it rained pretty hard for several minutes around four o'clock and more softly for half an hour after that, there has been a decent watering of the plants already. I don't know if its effect will last until June, but it might. More likely I'll have to start doing some irrigation by Saturday, as it's going to warm up quite a bit by Thursday and the damp will get sucked out of the soil.

Right now the air smells very strongly of pine. Usually a rain will intensify the fragrance of the grass, but for some reason today it's the pines that are dominating. It's actually quite pleasant out, and I intend to spend much of the evening outdoors— though I'll h ave to wear something warm, as the day never reached seventy degrees and the night is expected to drop down into the low fifties. I'm taking advantage of the chill to bake some potatoes, and they will be ready very soon. Baked potato season has already been extended beyond what I'd expected, but my luck won't hold out forever. Soon I'll be back to frying them.

Oh, and I keep forgetting to mention that the lupines have been blooming for about a week now. The patch has spread over a larger area this year, but it's not as dense as it has been in the past. I suppose eventually the lupines will vanish, just as the poppies did after a few years. Wildflowers have their own agenda, I guess.
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Feh! [May. 23rd, 2016|10:58 pm]
The moon came up orange tonight, and it was very relaxing to watch it rise in the cool evening. It almost made up for the fact that my computer hates my guts and has fought with me for every single thing I've accomplished on it today, which wasn't very much. Now I have to take the wheelie bins out, which I forgot to do because the machine had me muddled, and then I have to find something for dinner because dealing with all the digital obstruction kept me from eating. Now I know how President Obama must feel about dealing with the Republican Congress. This machine has developed the personality of Mitch McConnell. Ech.
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Quiet [May. 22nd, 2016|09:01 pm]
The lamb's ear is blooming again, its straggly stalks tipped with small magenta flowers that are dull in shade but gleam brightly when hit by direct sunlight. The plant's more formal name, Rose Campion, sounds like a name one would see flashing by in the credits of an old movie: "Choreography, Rose Campion" or perhaps "Hair Styles for Miss Davis by Rose Campion". Its green-gray leaves, shaped like lamb's ears, were once used to make wicks. No mere flame burns as vividly as those sun-touched blossoms do, though.

It has been a cool day, and evening has brought soft breezes to rustle the young oak leaves. The jasmine flowers have opened, but are awaiting warmer nights to release their full fragrance. Tonight smells of grass and pine. The heat will come soon enough. For now I'm content to enjoy the coolness and watch the moon rising. It was full last night, so it won't be clearing the trees for a while yet. I'll go give it a look later. Right now it's time to watch English people murder one another on television.

Sunday VerseCollapse )
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Chilled [May. 20th, 2016|09:45 pm]
It hasn't rained very hard today, but it has sprinkled frequently, and almost every time I've gone outside a feral cat has rubbed against me and left a wet spot on my pants leg. Are they trying to tell me something (the cats, not the pants?) It was also very cool all day, and has gotten quite chilly tonight. This afternoon I used the last teabag from the expensive package, and the last packet of crunchy almond biscotti. If it's still cold tomorrow I'll have hot chocolate and a few Pepperidge Farm Milanos. It's not supposed to be cold on Sunday, so I should be able to go back to lemonade then.

I made out my list for shopping on Sunday, and this is another of those weeks when next to nothing I want is on sale. That's probably just as well, as there are two more shopping days this month and I'm running low on grocery money. I'll dig into the canned goods and pasta horde this week. Most of the time my mind wanders so much while I'm eating dinner that I barely notice what I'm chowing down on anyway. My food attention span has grown quite brief, and dinner is just too long. Maybe I'll take up self-hypnosis and convince myself I'm eating really good stuff instead of canned chili beans or Top Ramen. Either that or eat only quick snacks instead of lengthy meals.

This actually would have been another great night for baked potatoes, but once again I forgot to put any in the oven and now I'm too hungry to wait for them to cook. This might be another canned soup night. I can tell I've got about ten minutes before my blood sugar crashes, so I'd better get heating.
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Wet [May. 19th, 2016|11:01 pm]
The sound of rain on the roof woke me from an unintentional evening nap a while ago, but by the time I got outside it had reverted to drizzle. There was an overcast all afternoon, and I thought the rain predicted for tomorrow might arrive early, so I wasn't surprised. Right now the clouds have thinned, and there is intermittent moonlight, but I'm hoping the rain will come back.

I did hear a bit of very distant thunder, but can't tell if it's in the valley or in the mountains. If it's in the valley it's more likely to pass this way, and I'd rather not have it. Too much chance of a power outage. If it's in the mountains, though, it's more likely to start a fire, so six of one and half a dozen of the other.

The damp smells very nice, and the jasmine has finally started to send its perfume into the air, so the night is highly, if somewhat complexly, scented. The rain could fall off and on for the next two days. If there's enough of it I can avoid irrigating the plants for at least another week. It's not supposed to get too cold, so I won't need to run the furnace, and thus will save a bit on both the gas and water bills next month. This would be very pleasing.

English people were supposed to murder one another on PBS tonight, but the murderer turned out to be Italian. Not a huge disappointment, but a bit annoying. At least most of the victims were English. Even when murdered by foreigners, the English manage to die with so much originality!
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Nice [May. 18th, 2016|11:40 pm]
There's still a chance of rain predicted for Friday and Saturday. That's about the best news we could get this time of year. Today got somewhat less hot than yesterday, and the evening is very pleasant. It smells of grass outside, and I can hear some crickets and even a couple of frogs. The moon is close to full, but as the trees have leafed out there is still plenty of darkness in my back yard.

It isn't as breezy as it was last night, and I miss that, but I'm glad that it's cooler. Tomorrow ought to be very nice as it's going to drop another ten degrees. I'm hoping my brain will get less fried. Tonight it doesn't feel like doing much. I'm going to turn it off and watch television. Maybe give it a bit more fresh air first.
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Swelter [May. 17th, 2016|11:42 pm]
The computer was uncommonly cranky today, so I got very little done with it. I can't blame it, as I was pretty cranky myself. I got too little sleep again, then had an unintended nap after dinner, and now it's approaching midnight and I'm all muddled in my head. Also I've been sneezing a lot, which means the next round of pollen must be here. I don't know which plant it is now, but it isn't one that spreads so much that it accumulates on the ground, the way the pine pollen does. It's very sneezy, though, whatever it is.

It's been pretty hot, but has cooled off this evening, so I've got some of the windows open. I do hope the pollen is less active at night, but judging from how much I've sneezed since sunset it probably is very active indeed. It actually got very close to 1200 degrees today, but should only be in the low 90s tomorrow, and then it will return to the pleasant 70s, and down into the 60s on Friday and Saturday. There's some possibility of rain for the weekend, which would wash the pollen from the air, so I'm hopeful.

Anyway. I have to go sit outside for a few minutes to cool off, and then I'm going to watch television and drink cold stuff. Maybe I'll get to sleep again before dawn. I'm not liking this foretaste of summer, but at least it's only a few days. I'm dreading the thought of July.
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R.I.P. rhodamine [May. 16th, 2016|06:17 pm]
Last night, while watching a rather monotonous stream of Farcebook posts, I remembered Citynoise. Citynoise is an open discussion forum about urban life where anyone can post photos or stories about things they find of interest in their cities. It predated Farcebook (and if there's any justice will outlast it) on the Internets, and at one time I was in the habit of visiting it fairly often, but I hadn't been there in months so I decided to go. Alas, the post I found bore the sad news that the site's founder, Peter Carroll, had died last September.

I found Citynoise through Peter's LiveJournal, rhodamine, and though I don't remember too clearly, I believe I found Peter's journal through his posts and comments in an LJ community to which we both belonged, found_objects. I made a couple of posts at Citynoise myself, many years ago, but slacked off because the posts from other users, and from Peter himself, were so much more interesting than anything I had to contribute. I subscribed to his LJ and found his posts, most of them including photographs, and mostly about his chosen city, New York (I think he was a native of Chattanooga), endlessly fascinating.

Peter was a scientist, but also possessed of many other interests, including bicycles, music, art, especially graffiti art, some of which he painted himself, bots, and cats. But his overriding interest was the city, and the ways people use it. His photos of New York, mostly Manhattan and Brooklyn, concentrated on the rough, raw places, such as abandoned buildings, industrial works, and down-at-the-heels neighborhoods. Many of them put me in mind of Edward Hopper, and I often noticed how they depicted the sort of scenes Hopper would probably have painted had he been around in our era. Like Hopper, Peter had a gift for discovering a haunting yet vital beauty in the commonplace scenes of the modern city.

Over the years I followed his journal, Peter posted less and less text, and eventually began making entries that consisted only of photos cross-posted from Citynoise. He last posted about three years ago. As my computer aged I spent less time on other parts of the Internet, and so lost track of him and knew nothing of his illness. Peter suffered from hemochromatosis, a rare condition which causes the cells to store too much iron, leading eventually to organ failure. It is curable if diagnosed early enough, but sadly Peter's condition wasn't discovered until it had proceeded too far, and he died last September at the far too young age of 38.

His friends have posted many tributes to him at Citynoise, and even though I never met him in the non-digital world I wanted to post a tribute to him at LiveJournal. R.I.P., Peter. We will remember you and miss you.
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Goodnight [May. 15th, 2016|10:44 pm]
Placid Sunday has proceeded with its usual serenity, and a quiet dusk is falling. Cool evening has gathered all the shadows together and softened them, laying them across the landscape like a fuzzy blanket. The last light of the sky makes the trees silhouettes, and the gibbous moon grows brighter by the minute while windows suddenly glow as lights are turned on in the dimming houses. The air smells of spring: grass, leaves, flowers, earth still damp from the most recent rain.


The placidity put me to sleep after I sat on the couch for a few minutes. Full night fell, and now the sky is full of cloud shapes that drift over and past the moon, now and then revealing a point of starlight in some limpid spot while the larger light is obscured. The entire sky seems alive. It is though I had kept sleeping and this was the dream I was having, but it is the waking world turned strange and abstract and amazing. Such light and darkness and shades of silver and deepest, dark blue. How prosaic the darkened earth becomes under such a skyscape. I am unable to recall from that place my adventuring thoughts. I must be as quiet as the nocturnal land.

Sunday VerseCollapse )
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