Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

T plus 6 days

Blowing dandelions

We're launched and, sadly, that means the Bird Park is closed. Of course, the house sitter keeps one seed tube filled for the little birds but it's too much to ask anyone to do what I do. Damn. Just when it was getting interesting. Maggie Magpie had become comfortable with me being out in the yard with her and Charlie the crow was dropping by mid-morning for his own, private snack. He selected a spot as far away from the main area in the Bird Park as possible, a section of fence under the trees right outside the kitchen window, and from there called until I came out and gave him his peanuts. If we were around more, no telling how this might develop. In summers past he'd perch on the fence opposite my office window, where the main area in Bird Park is located, and pitch his case. That bird can sweet talk. But now we're gone. I'm sure Maggie will keep an eye on things. She always shows up within a day of our return.

Pizza night

But now we're on the road. Of course, as usual, we're starting our adventure in Portland. Gotta see the gkids. The other day four-year old Leo took us to Reed Canyon, a lovely little ravine on the campus of Reed College which is, to Reed's credit, still quiet enough to support nesting ducks and geese. As for Thea, she is currently learning about the universe in kindergarten science class and has "definitely decided, no doubt about it," that I am an alien.

Baby Chance

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Breakfast with crows

The crows are dining at the Bird Park this morning. Minerva and I are delighted. They are our honored guests, well not guests, members, honored members. We've been home since January and only recently have they've decided to trust us. They stop by briefly almost every morning now. The fellow munching kibble on the little plastic table is actually much bigger and cooler then he appears here. I took this photo with my cellphone. I don't have a "real" camera at the moment. As I mentioned in the previous post, M. Lee has taken over the Sony. I will have a camera for the trip, a Panasonic Lumix, but it's currently en route to his mom's place in Oregon as we are now in the final countdown and will be going there first. How do they say it when they're launching a space shuttle? T-minus? Around here it is now T-minus 9. I'm already missing my birds.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Remnant thumbnails

My old camera is haunted. Playback shows videos that aren't there. Today I turned the camera over to M. but he found nothing. Then okay. I must have downloaded them and then forgot I did. I'll go with his diagnosis ... remnant thumbnails, phantoms. So it goes. Like dreams that return to haunt you during the day. Strange memories connected to nothing. I've never gotten along with this particular camera anyway, a Sony Cyber-shot. It takes ok photos but I don't like the way it interacts with my computer and I hate the Sony PlayMemories Home software. Now, M. is taking it and I am getting a Lumix. I liked the Lumix I had before, the one I wore out. The Sony and I were just enemies from the start. Sometimes it's like that.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The probability of pumpkins

Currently M. Lee is putting together our next trip. We'll be gone at least five months so it's a rather complicated itinerary. Besides juggling travel times and ticket prices, he has to find and rent airbnb apartments in nine different cities in seven different countries. He begins each city by researching neighborhoods and setting some basic parameters like price range, dates, keywords etc. Then he enters the labyrinth.

 Finding the middle path...


....that is the goal.

He studies the photos, reads the reviews, google-walks the streets, checks access to public transportation, finds the supermarkets, farmer's markets, parks, museums etc. etc. We stay at least a month in some of these places so these things matter. It's hard on him but I will say this. He comes up with some kick ass plans. He began researching for this trip in January, right after we got home from Thailand. Thus far he claims to have studied over 3000 apartments. Once he does narrow it down to his top picks, he corresponds with the owners because, of course, we always have questions .... bed size, they never mention bed size, internet speeds, noise factor, kitchen, laundry and so on. What they do say is cozy. They all say cozy as though cozy says it all and is all anyone needs to know about anything. That word is now blacklisted around here. And don't sneak it into the conversation as acogedor, douillet or gemütlich. In any language, cozy is still very annoying.

And finally, after all that, we go over the best of picks together and settle on our favorites. Then, and only then, he makes an offer. Sometimes it's accepted, sometimes not. There may be more negotiation, if not, it's back to the list. Only Paris remains on the table but we won't be there until September so it can wait. I want to write, "Paris can wait". It's satisfying to be dismissive of Paris as Paris is so full of itself, but that would mean using the word Paris twice in the same sentence which, to my way of thinking, is somewhat clumsy and a bit obvious so I went with the word it which, perhaps, is even a bit more dismissive of Paris and, even though I like Paris (M. hates it), I like that because, like I said, Paris is full of itself. That sentence, you might notice, is an homage to my new favorite comedian Stewart Lee. But I digress. We leave in a month. The house sitter would be happy if we left tomorrow, but there is so very much to do between now and then.

In mathematics you don't understand things, you just get used to them."
- John von Neumann

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Rolling on

She ambles out on stage to a dark house and stands a moment gazing into the gloom. It is the night sky. It is the bottom of the sea. It is where lost dreams gather and discuss amongst themselves what could have been. She listens then turns and walks off stage. One light slowly comes up on the curtain. It parts.