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Week Whiplash

Big leaf Maple

It's been a tough week and a joyous week. Grief, sorrow, joy, cheer, happiness, hope, in such large doses that by Sunday morning I was completely wiped out. I called in sick to the day jobbe, crawled back into bed, and slept to 10:20am. All Sunday was a daze, and today I'm ready to get on with things. No excitement please.As you may know, last Sunday, June 1, my friend Jay Lake died. He had colon cancer when I met him and that is what eventually killed him. His loss is huge. Life is unfair, cancer sucks, and I sorrow not just for loss but for all the others who grieve. Someday I may be able to write about Jay. Not today.Saturday June 7th was Jay's family memorial. June 7th was also my father's 75th birthday and June 7th my brother married his best friend CN. My brother is funny smart. He's the kind of guy you don't really expect a zinger from and when he delivers one it'll knock you silly with laughter. When I asked if he wanted to say anything as we drove out to the site on Orcas Island where they were married, he said, "I'd like to thank Mark Zuckerberg." Yes, my friend met his wife on Facebook--how modern. I was late getting to Anacortes to pick them up. We scrambled into the car, drove to the ferry, hopped out and BB drove off to park the car. He then ran to catch the ferry at the last second--probably the farthest he's run in a great while.Onboard we met with my Dad who had got in line early with their car so we had wheels on Orcas. I gave CN a penny from 1965, a pair of pearl earrings, loaned her a pearl necklace, and the flowers I brought were blue and white thus fulfilling one wedding tradition. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. They'd found a lovely dress at Value Village, a nice shirt for BB. The ceremony was perfect.

I highly recommend the woman who officiated. And now I have a new sister and a nephew. CN lives in Nova Scotia and my brother will be going there as soon as immigration works out. For now, they are happily wed and I have an excuse to see part of Canada I've only flown over before.

For now.



TBI Fail


Well, the holiday music thing is not gonna happen. I'm flummoxed. I've been meeting with a neuropsychologist and a neurologist for further testing and help with TBI symptoms. I've also been given PT sessions. So for the first meeting with my PT I messed up the appointment time. They even called me to make sure I had the paperwork filled out but I didn't make the connection that I was to be there at 8am and thought it was 9am. They called a gain and I rushed down, unprepared. Fortunately they understand TBI but it set my day off badly.

A new medication seems to be helping. I feel more energetic and having been getting small things done. I think I'll get a small storage unit to help me deal with the sorting and tossing. Having less clutter around me with help me focus. Or so I think.

I also started a new position at the day jobbe. I'm just focusing on wine now and I enjoy it. It's been a very rough start. I came as close as I ever have to losing my temper at work. Finally I had a heart to heart talk with management and told them I couldn't do this without their heir support. They assigned designated wine stocker so hopefully it'll work out. It was much better yesterday.

The final fail is I can't seem to restore my iPhone. Currently I have no one's contact info or some aps that I usually rely on. I don't understand why or what I'm doing wrong. The guy at the Apple Genius Bar made it seem simple. But it's been a week now. I'll have to go back but I wanted to avoid holiday shopping rush. Maybe tonight.

And while I put up holiday lights and they worked the next day they didn't and I know not why. It's too cold go to poke around them now though. Yes, they are plugged in.

Meanwhile off into the cold.

Holiday Music, How I Love You

Extra Toes in Snow (not all touch the gr

By now y'all are well aware of my delight in holiday music. It makes me happy, I know the words, and for the month of December I wallow in it.

In past years I've posted nothing but versions of Blue Christmas, or Songs about Snow, or random videos. This year I give you versions of my favorite holiday songs. Up first, Jungle Bell Rock. Long long ago I took some dance lessons, ballet (ugh) and tap (hurray!). My dance school gave an holiday performance where I and a half dozen other little girls danced to Jingle Bell Rock. We threw "snowballs" into the audience and shuffled our hearts out.

Oh, and at least one version will be on ukulele, of course.

I give you Hall and Oates hamming it up.

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<p>By now y'all are well aware of my delight in holiday music. It makes me happy, I know the words, and for the month of December I wallow in it.</p><p>In past years I've posted nothing but versions of Blue Christmas, or Songs about Snow, or random videos. This year I give you versions of my favorite holiday songs. Up first, Jungle Bell Rock. Long long ago I took some dance lessons, ballet (ugh) and tap (hurray!). My dance school gave an holiday performance where I and a half dozen other little girls danced to Jingle Bell Rock. We threw "snowballs" into the audience and shuffled our hearts out. </p><p>Oh, and at least one version will be on ukulele, of course.</p><p>I give you <a href="">Hall and Oates hamming it up</a>.</p><p><a href="" ""="&quot;&quot;">this bit of weirdness from Billy Idol</a></p><p>And a <a href="">ukulele</a></p><p>Anon</p>

Listening to Books

Rae in the Sunshine

I used to listen to book so on tape only on long car trips. I was a fast reader and the pace of an audio book is slow.

But since my accident I've listened to many audio books. The slower pace works for me now. I don't tend to listen to them at home--I can't seem to just be still and listen--but I listen to them in the car instead of the radio. I can't set up my playlists of music anymore, it's just too frustrating, but I can book a book in and listen.

The reader makes a difference. An audio book is part performance. Oh, yes, it can be just read and I've heard those. But a good reader makes a huge difference. I just finished listening to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I highly recommend it and look forward to the movie--the casting looks terrific. But I'm amazing how a narrator in this case a British man, can make all the voices different while never changing this tone. He doesn't perform each voice like a cartoon voice, no, that would be disruptive. What he does in change the pace, the focus, the character of each voice, yet all the book is clearly just being read. It's almost seamless. In fact at times I felt like Neil Gaiman was just telling me another story in a bar.

I think I'm just going to listen to it again.

Only a Flesh Wound

Bleeding Hearts

So. About three hours ago I was doing dishes and I took a small divot out of my index finger. I'm not sure what happened. I don't have much feeling in my fingers which makes everything challenging and gives birth to many typos. I just noticed the blood as it smeared on my shirt. I wrapped it in a paper towel and then put a bandaid on it.

Later I noticed that the bandaid was soaked through and I was smearing blood on my book. Ok. Clean, dry and another, thicker bandaid.

Just now I showered before bed. Again the bandaid was soaked but the bleeding seems slower, so after the shower I dried it again and wrapped it in gauze and a bandage.

No. It's not that deep of a cut. The problem is I've never been a good clotter and now, with the aspirin and things to prevent blood clots in my brain I'm ever worse. I must inspect myself for wounds, bruises and the like since I don't necessarily feel the injury. And then I must make sure it stops bleeding.

A little blood can smear and look like a much worse injury. Now soaking my shirt. Really it's only a flesh wound.

Note: I wrote this last night but had to wait until today to post. Yes, the bleeding is mostly stopped unless I whack my finger against something.

Reading and Writing

Rae in the Sunshine

I've read three books lately that I was impressed with in different ways. I recommend each of them.

Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston. I met Andrea in Toronto over lunch with mutual friends and spent some time chatting with her later. This book is a journey of love and spirit and magic set in the late 1800-1913 or so. The characters are rich--scarred by real horrors not imagined monsters--who make their way from southern share cropping to the beginnings of the film industry in Chicago.

every day by david leviathan is a YA coming of age story with a serious SF twist. Every day our hero wales up in a different body, a different life but he's also in love with the same girl. It's and interesting test in using modern communication to solve problems and with the tenacity of spirit.

Finally I'm working my way through another of Nancy Kress's brilliant novels. I put off reading Dogs because, well, it's a story of dogs going bad. But wow. nancy can plot. The writing is tight, vivid and compelling. Her science is always solid. I always learning something about writing when I read Nancy's writing--no surprise she's also an excellent teacher and full of surprises.

Coincidently Nancy Kress and Jack Skillingstead will be reading tonight at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle at 7pm tonight. See you there.


Rae in the Sunshine

You might recall that last year I took a Stand Up Paddle board class and had a terrific time. After that I rented boards to SUP several times. Come winter though it was clear to me and my blue toes that SUP is either a fair weather sport or I'd need to invest in a good wet suit.

I've kayaked before but I never had any formal lessons so today I took a class with REI at Lake Washington. What a blast! The perfect sunny weather was the frosting on the cake. I slathered myself in sunblock, added hat, sunglasses, and attempted to gracefully put on a kayak. Yes, I mean put on. When kayaking it's more like you are wearing the kayak than getting into it. Well, you still have to get in. For me, this was the hardest part of the class.

See, I've grown used to the accommodations I make from my #TBI in my day to day activities. I try to remember to pick up my feet. I tend to walk near a wall for extra support. But today trying a new thing? Well. It wasn't pretty. Getting into the kayak on the starboard side just didn't work for me. It's my weak side--something I usually don't notice so much in day to day life--but putting all my not inconsiderable weight into a balancing act on a moving object? Well. Good thing it was a nice day because into the lake I went. Several times. Refreshing! Finally getting into the boa,t I found I couldn't move my legs onto the support pedals without using my hands. I had to brace the paddle like an outrigger to really settle into position. The actual paddling was pretty easy. Turning my waist rather than shoulders is good. And I quickly learned serval paddle techniques, turning, stopping, side paddling (good for moving towards a dock) and used a "Frankenstein" stroke to force my core to work, not my arms.

I loved it. I can see that once I figure out the getting in and out thing figured or manage to strengthen those parts of my body that kayaking will be great fun. My legs do not want to lift me from a low crouch to standing or vice versa. I have to really think about engaging muscles and which muscles to get any where.

But I did it.

I'll be looking into buying a kayak and adding that to my sporting life.

I can just imagine my Jetta with a bike, a kayak and a picnic heading out into the world.

Now I just need to stop all this bruising and be brave enough to take a camera out on the water.


Riding Around the Town


Sunday was Father's Day as you know. My Dad was off to see Grandma so I posted a photo on FB and told him "I love you Daddy."

That's my Dad holding me and my little brother in Whittier, California 1968.

I did some chores, dishes, laundry, mail, and cleaning cat vomit (Emily has a sensitive tummy that will need some care). Then got on my bike and rode to The Wild Mountain cafe for brunch with my friend Big G. Their Veggie Bennie--eggs Benedict with spinach, tomato, and mushroom--is divine. Their housemade hollandaise sauce is creamy lemony goodness.

I passed this pair of obelisks on my way.

I then rode up to Swanson's Nursery passing a long row of Hollywood Catering trucks, film support trucks, trailers and other obvious movie filming stuff. Interesting, but not worth stopping for. At Swanson's I visited the koi, bought a package of seeds and a bag of 1500 sleeping ladybugs. I do enjoying visiting their enormous colorful koi.

I tucked the ladybugs carefully into the panier and headed off to Ballard. I wanted to ride to the beach, and then visit the salmon, before heading home. Pedaling past the film trucks I turned off the busy street to ride up quieter residential streets when I saw a young woman who looked familiar. I smiled and she gave me a brilliant smile back. I pedaled on, stopping to take these two photos of the film crew.

Much later, over a glass of prosecco at my local hangout I learned that the young woman with the smile was Keira Knightly.

Lots of people down at Shilshole Beach and Golden Gardens. I watched boats and sand castle builders then pedaled on to the Chittendon Locks. Wow. Tons of people! Turns out there was a performance by a pipes and drums group.

And a classic car show as well as the usual fascination of the locks and salmon ladders. Yes, the sockeye are going up the ladders and into Freshwater. I heard a child ask, "to spawn? Like in Minecraft?" I'm amused. He knew the word in an entirely different context.

I pedaled off through Ballard, said a mental hello to Kij as I passed Stone Gardens and then to the Ballard Sunday market. There were flowers of course.

I rode on to the Burke-Gilman, walked through the Fremont Market, pedaled under the bridge, up the hill and home again jiggety jig.

At home I planted a few penstemon and coneflowers, mulched a bed, weeded, and watered. I hosed the aphid infested hedge then waited until dusk to let the ladybugs, remember the ladybugs? Go free. Fly away ladybugs fly away...


Full Steam Ahead or Shanghaid

Rae in the Sunshine

Let's start with salient point first. I'm now officially a deck hand aboard the Virginia V, Lisabeula moored behind MOHAI on South Lake Union. She's a wooden steamship built in 1922 to work the waterways of Puget sound bringing people and goods to markets. 1922 was also the year Howard Carter discovered King Tutankhamen's tomb--a connection that pleases me for obvious reasons.

I've been volunteering at 826 Seattle for several years now but it's time for a change. I was down at MOHAI for the gala opening of the new Still Afloat exhibit on Seattle houseboat life (small. Go see it then stay for the Celluloid Seattle exhibit--terrific. Seattle on film.) when I wandered over to the large white ship docked behind the building. A voice said, 'come aboard!' So I did. And that, is how I was Shanghaid into being a deckhand. No gin mill required despite the tradition.

Yesterday was only her fourth or so voyage for the year as she was hauled out early in 2013 to replace the bow stem. Not an easy job. It was a glorious day. I rode my bike down and put it aboard. Then got the official introduction and guide. I swept decks, met crew, cleaned windows and then donned a life jacket to step out on the rail to work lines and such.

Yeah. A really good day.

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Egypt 1.1

Big leaf Maple

Hello there Gentle Readers. Yes, I'm tardy. I'd intended on keeping a running journal of my adventures in Egypt, but the ancient lands of the pharoahs proved magical beyond my dreams but without good wifi connectivity. I did keep notes and I took a great many photos. A GREAT MANY. I've yet to sort them and I know nothing about improving them except for cropping but I will attempt to post shorter tales with photos and finally link to the batch.

Because this is me, I will start in the middle of my journey. In the center of Egypt, just south of the Valley of Kings, and in the powerful heart that makes life in Egypt possible. I begin my tale on the Nile.

The Nile runs south to north so when I say, 'sailing up the Nile' I mean upstream or south. Although the Nile was prominent in my adventures in Alexandria, Cairo, and Luxor, I boarded my dahabiya, the Lazuli III, near Esna Temple. Esna is sleepy town by day. I walked through a covered street that in the evening (and is busier tourist seasons) is bustling with shops. On this day it was a pleasant walk with children, chickens, and the occasional donkey. In Egypt there is always the occasional donkey...or goats.

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