Eula Ridge, May 27, 2017

This is a bit out of date, but I have pictures and video, so why not share?

Eula Ridge is only maybe 30 minutes outside of Eugene (although it took us more like 45 minutes since we went past it the first time – it’s not well-marked).  It’s all wooded, nice and shady.

There’s a little parking area at the bottom, right off the road, and there was a truck and a school bus parked there when we arrived.  The bus driver warned us that they had just dropped about 35 mountain bikers off at the top (I can only assume there’s a road that goes up since a bus did NOT take the trail we were on), and they were going to be making their way down, and we should be careful.

John and I started up the trail worried that a pack of mountain bikers would mow us down.  We spent the entire hike scouting for good spots to hop off to the side.  There were a few kind of narrow scary parts, but mostly there was plenty of room for us to get out of the way.  They came through pretty spread out, one at a time, not at the breakneck speed I was picturing.

It was a really nice afternoon.  Some website said it’s three miles to the top, but there aren’t any spectacular views, and we had…something…that night (I don’t remember what – it was nearly a month ago), so we turned around at two miles up.  I took video to commemorate it.

And of course I tried to get a selfie of us.

We are not good at the selfie thing.

I will leave you with the soothing sounds of a babbling brook for meditation.

I want to do more hiking before we leave Oregon.

The earlier the start, the longer the weekend

Friday morning we’re getting up at airport-thirty for an 8am flight.  We’ve considered spending Thursday night in Portland, but we’d still have an early start and what’s a couple of hours when it’s already early to begin with?

That might be stupid.

On the plus side, it’s a short flight because for the first time in a year and a half (a little more for John), we aren’t flying ALL THE WAY across the country.

Now that I think about it, I’m not so sure that’s a plus considering what time we’ll be getting up.  A longer flight means a longer nap.  And I think we’ll need it.

Still!  The weather is supposed to be beautiful (sunny and not too hot), and we’ll have gotten an early start (which I usually enjoy), and we’re off to visit dear friends we haven’t seen in YEARS, and coffee is a thing.

Wish me luck

I finished reading The Gate to Women’s Country today.  For the third or fourth time – I don’t remember.  I love this book.  Since I read it this time for my NOW book club, and since it was my pick, I read it more carefully and took notes.  I feel so virtuous.  And I’m excited for book club, but we don’t meet for another week (the other reason notes were important).

Happily, Elaine remembered to bring me my very own personally autographed copy of Beauchamp Besieged, so I’ll start it tonight.  I’m a little nervous.  I want to like it because she’s so nice, but what if I don’t?

Because pie

John and I are slowly eating our way through the largest lemon cream pie I have ever seen, thanks to Amber and Brian who left it with us after the four of us were unable to make much of a dent in it Friday night.  The two of us, classy couple that we are, have been eating it straight out of the pie plate for dessert every night since then, and I think we finally crossed halfway last night (night 3).  This thing is a monster.  A 10-inch, 3-inch deep, creamy, lemony, delicious monster.

I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

I hope my face doesn’t freeze like that

My facial person moved to LA last month, so I had my first facial with my new facial person (aesthetician is too formal) last week, and I’m not sure I like her.  I certainly don’t like her as much, but we didn’t click very well.  It was all awkward chitchat and too much of it.  She rallied at the end of the hour when she massaged my face.

No one has ever massaged my face before.  It’s a weird thing to do.  Rub temples, sure.  Gently move in circles while applying products, yes.  This was an all-out massage.  Both hands on, whole face covered, pressure added.  I could feel my whole face contorting as she rubbed and twisted and IT WAS SO GREAT.  I would never have put that on a list of things I wanted, but now I want it again.

So yes, very young person with the awkward chitchat, I will see you again next month.  And then I might cancel my membership because I have other priorities for that money.  But she doesn’t have to know that.

The comedian’s a bear!

I’m so glad I don’t have to write jokes for a living.  There are many, many, many jobs I’m glad I don’t have – SO MANY – but having to be funny all the time?  For money?  SO MUCH PRESSURE.  Also, I’m not funny, so I would fail right away, assuming anyone hired me in the first place.  On the rare occasions where I AM funny, it’s accidental and cannot be repeated (and is usually because I messed up the punchline to someone else’s joke).  Crafting a joke, revising it and messing with the timing to make it funnier – that’s hard.  It’s fascinating, and I love to hear comedians and comedy writers talk about it, but I can’t imagine doing it myself and having the end result make people laugh.  Is that a skill you can learn?  Maybe?  Maybe I’ll add it to the long list of things I want to do.  At the bottom.  And in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy all the actual funny people out there.

Too clean

It’s possible that cleaning up the house, uncluttering the house, also uncluttered my mind, and when it comes to deciding what to write about, I don’t think it’s a good thing.  An uncluttered mind, tonight anyway, means a surface free of extraneous thoughts, extraneous stuff.  I have a goal – sleep – and the path to my goal is unimaginative.  Remove contacts, brush teeth, take shower, read book, sleep.  Done.  I can’t quite start down that path because John is in the shower, and I have to wait.  Time to write, right?  Sure.  About what?  Usually there are things everywhere.  Papers on my desk, books stacked on the shelf, my riding boots in the corner.  Today, those things are missing, stashed away, put where they belong.  Not available for inspiration.  Instead, this room is clear, and my mind is clear, and MAN, clear can be boring.

Some blathering

I gave myself a papercut just below the nail on my middle finger while wrapping a present.  That’ll teach me to buy presents for people.

Why would I say “I gave myself” the papercut?  I got a papercut.  The vindictive wrapping paper gave me the papercut.  It was revenge for the scissors use.

Inanimate objects around here have agendas.  I have to be on alert.

I have posters and things to hang on walls.  We’re moving in less than three months.  Seems silly to hang things up now.  Might do it anyway.  Just not today.

Like a slip ‘n’ slide but without the rocks in the lawn

Until today, every time I have been turned off by a book, it’s been because of the plot (or lack of it) or the writing. I started reading Interface by Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George yesterday, and I’m having a hard time getting into it.  I don’t think it’s the writing – I’ve always liked Neal Stephenson.  I don’t think it’s the plot – it’s a science fiction political thriller.  What’s not to like?  It did start a little slow – we got the main character’s full family history in the first eight or so pages (snooze), but the action picked up after that.

Even with something actually happening, though, I’m not that excited to pick up the book and read, and I think it might be the physical book at fault.  This has never happened to me before.  I know I’ve been reading a lot on my Kindle, but I like physical books.  I like the weight, I like the way the paper feels…and the paper might be why I’m not crazy about THIS book.  It’s smooth.  Like, silky.  Practically laminated, but smoother.  And it’s a heavy trade paperback that barely opens, so I feel like I’m using a crowbar to see the pages.  The very very smooth pages.  I never knew I could be this picky about the physical qualities of a book.

I’m 58 pages in, and I’m giving this one at least 100 pages before I give up.  Maybe I’ll get over it and maybe it’s just that I started it yesterday after watching The Crown all day long and maybe I was just tired and I’ve been working all day and maybe it’s not the smoothness of the pages at all and maybe it’s nothing and I’ll forget all about this in another ten pages if I can just find 15 minutes to focus on reading.

(But when I’m into a book, 15 minutes to focus on reading finds me.)

(Sh. I’m still in denial.)

It doesn’t get lazier than this

John isn’t feeling well, and we had a really late night last night, so we declared today a lazy day.  We slept until 10, I went out to get breakfast, and then we watched The Crown for the entire rest of the day, curtains closed, world shut out.  We quit at 8pm, seven episodes in, because we have to get up early tomorrow.  All we want is to spend tomorrow repeating today, but that’s not the responsible thing to do.

Adulting sucks, but today was pretty good.

Where else in the country would you find this?

I was just going through my pictures, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared this one with you yet.

In case you don’t believe your eyes, yes, that is a bus with a boat on top of it, parked at the corner of 7th and Oak (I think) in downtown Eugene, not far from where we live.  Maybe the boat is just sitting on top of the bus, but I like to think it’s been incorporated into the structure of the bus, that from inside the bus, you can climb up into the boat, and hang out as you trundle along the road.  Like the top deck of a double-decker tour bus.

I might not lack the imagination to come up with the idea of mounting a boat on top of a bus (given the right circumstances), but I sure as hell lack the…guts? chutzpah? weird-ass ambition?…to actually do it.

The date on the picture is April 1st – could this have been an elaborate April Fool’s joke?  I  haven’t seen the bus since then, but who goes to that much trouble?

People are strange, but I salute you, person whose dream it was to attach a boat to the roof of a bus!  Sail on!

Every city needs a Powell’s

Of course we went to Powell’s when we were in Portland last Saturday.  No trip there is complete without a visit to Powell’s.  Because I’m still trying to avoid buying THINGS, I only bought one book, but I found a TON of books to add to my to-read list, and I had a couple of interesting conversations with random strangers in the science fiction section about Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid novels and The Wheel of Time.  Not in the same conversation.  It was a good way to spend several hours.

The one book I did buy is Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great: Re-reading the Classics of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  I was likely to buy it anyway (it’s Jo Walton – I like her), but I was hooked when I saw she wrote an essay on Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, which was moved to write about when I read it, although I think for a totally different reason.  Jo Walton’s book is a collection of blog posts she wrote for Tor.com, and the table of contents is the best to-read list (or to-re-read, in many cases) EVER.  This may seem stupid, but I’m, like, furiously happy knowing this book exists.

Seriously, I’m a little emotional.

Authors, authors, everywhere

I met ANOTHER actual published author today.  I met her months ago, actually, but I found out she’s an author today.  She works (or maybe volunteers for riding time?) at the farm, so I see her once or twice a week.  We exchange hellos, we know each other’s name, but we haven’t said more than a few words to each other before today.  She seems shy.  Today, she was walking with me as I took Tigger to the indoor arena, and she mentioned going somewhere for book research.  Book research?  I pounced.  A little.  Nicely.

Turns out she wrote three historical romance novels for Harlequin in the early 2000s, at least one of which did pretty darn well.  She said she’s had writer’s block for a decade (writing stopped being fun and became stressful instead), and she wants to branch out of romance.

Anyway, I’m super curious, and I will be reading the first of her books soon.  By Tuesday, I expect to have a signed copy of Beauchamp Besieged by Elaine Knighton.  Exciting!

I made John drive

We went to Portland last Saturday, mostly to check out the neighborhoods of apartments we’d consider renting to see if Portland is our next move.  The verdict is still out, but it wasn’t a promising day.  We drove all over town, but not much was available where we want to live.  Kind of disheartening.  We did get a better sense of the city, though, and it still seems pretty cool (despite recent news and undercurrents).  The one place we got totally distracted by could be the BEST, but its main problem is that you can’t walk to ANYwhere from it.  It’s near the top of a ridge, I think the neighborhood is Hillsdale, and the place was AMAZING.  The drive up is twisty and winding with spectacular views of the city and the river and beautiful houses.  This apartment (house?) is 2 bedrooms, 1200 sq ft.  We think it’s a big apartment over a three-car garage, but the ad isn’t clear.  It’s a detached building, next to a beautiful house with gargoyles on the front walk.  GARGOYLES.  It would be quiet and peaceful and beautiful and impossible to get in and out of in bad weather or in a hurry if you want to run a quick errand.  It’s the opposite of what we have in Eugene (and what we want), which is a house close to shops and restaurants and the library and walkable to everything.

It’s a no.

Still available, though, if anyone else is interested.

Book Club News

The SWV NOW Book Club meeting (we discussed Negroland) was really good.  Of course it was – these are good people.  We ate, we chatted, we drank a little wine, we talked about the book.  (Don’t tell my other book club, but this was more fun.)  That was on a Thursday night.  My other book club was meeting the following Tuesday to discuss Our Souls At Night, so I read my way through that, made a couple of notes, and then totally flaked on the meeting.  I didn’t remember until the next morning.  Maybe it’s a sign that I should just stop going to that one.  I haven’t been since the end of March.

Back to the SWV NOW book club and how it’s just better: our next book, The Gate to Women’s Country, was my choice, and it really didn’t take much convincing to get the others to agree to read it.

I hope they like it.  It’s one of my favorites.  If they don’t like it, I might cry.  I’ll certainly suffer from flashbacks to when my first book club didn’t like World War Z.  Most of them didn’t even read it.  Snobs.

Bump in the night

It’s hard to see in the dark: a true story.

The light switch for the stairs is at the top of the stairs.  The door to our bedroom is not by the stairs.  The door to our room is closed because it’s the only room with A/C.

Tonight, just a few minutes ago, I stood at the top of the stairs, hand on the light switch, eyes locked on the doorknob.  I turned off the light and walked the four steps to the door with my hand reaching out for the doorknob.

I missed.  I didn’t miss the door – I found the door with my forehead, bending forward to find the doorknob.  I’m pretty sure the doorknob moved out of the way.

Applying life lessons

Michelle supplied actual wisdom to this website in her comment on my post the other day, and I have decided to apply it to my life.  Life is too short to read books that don’t grab me, so I just won’t.  I did finish my NOW book club book (it was good, it was interesting, I didn’t love it), but the very next book I was supposed to read was for my other book club: Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf.  The blurb wasn’t interesting to me, and the Kindle version was $11.99.  The library had it, but it was out and there was a waiting list (and book club meets in less than a week).  Was it worth $11.99 to me if I might quit after 50 pages?  Not really.  But I joined the book club to talk about books with other readers, and if they introduce me to good books I wouldn’t ordinarily pick out for myself, that’s a good thing, right?  I would feel a little guilty going to a book club meeting without having finished the book we’re talking about, but a) that doesn’t make my opinion less valid (why didn’t I like it?), and b) no one says I have to go that month.

I took my dilemma to John.  Given these circumstances what would he do?  He would find a free download of the book or otherwise look for a cheaper way to get it, that’s what he’d do.  Smart, although not officially condoned by me.  Without going into any specifics (ahem), I did get a copy of it, and I started it with every intention of giving it 50 pages (or in this case, since it’s digital and I know the paper version is only around 200 pages, giving it 20 or 25%) before putting it down.

Who is surprised that I was hooked by the third page?

I’d rather melt than freeze, just not while I’m sleeping

Hi.  It’s hot.  Okay, it’s not THAT hot (the high today was 87), but it’s the hottest it’s been so far this year.  It felt great during the day.  This afternoon I sat in the backyard reading in the sun…and then I could feel the beginnings of a sunburn so I moved to the shade and it felt like HEAVEN.  It was great.  I’m complaining NOW because it’s 8 o’clock at night, and it’s 80 degrees downstairs and 83 degrees upstairs.  This house does not have air conditioning.  (Because, you know, like, Oregon?  Doesn’t get hot in the summer?  Like, except for that one time last year.  And, like, that one time the year before, and like, that month it was over 90 every day for 30 days, but like, naw, man.  It doesn’t get hot here.)  John carried the portable A/C we bought last May, and we just set it up in our bedroom.  Hopefully it’ll be cool enough in there by the time we go to bed.

It’s still hot downstairs, and I am downstairs.

Also, I’m full.  You know how you want to be good so you order a salad but it’s one of those big entree salads and it’s really good so you eat the whole thing and then you feel terrible because it wasn’t the healthy thing to do?

Also, I’m staring out the window instead of reading my book.

Also, it’s Monday.

New life plan

The other day, I added 36 books to my to-read list in Amazon in the space of half an hour because of two articles on Tor.com, both about space opera novels and series.  My list has 427 books on it, and that doesn’t include the books already on my Kindle that I haven’t read or the books I own that are in storage that I haven’t read or the subsequent books in all the serieseses I’ve started and haven’t finished yet OR the ones I haven’t heard of yet that I want to read.

I am not going to live long enough to read all these books, am I?  I need to quit my job and spend all my free time reading.  That’s feasible, right?

The two articles:

From Dark to Dark: Yes, Women Have Always Written Space Opera

Explore the Cosmos in 10 Classic Space Opera Universes

 

The pressure’s on

I’m reading too slowly this week.  I need to finish my current book and then read Negroland by Margo Jefferson for the new SWV NOW book club meeting next Thursday, and as soon as I finish Negroland, I have to read Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf for my other book club meeting the following Tuesday.  I don’t have time to write to you.  I must read!

I hate to say I don’t want to read, but neither of those books excites me.  And now I feel like a bad person.   This is good for me!  Expands my horizons!  Personal growth!  “Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.”  Aw, Carrie Fisher.

I can’t find that clip on YouTube, but you know what?  I shouldn’t be looking for it.  I have to read!