Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poetry Month 2013

How the heck did I get into my mid 50's already?  When did this happen?  Younger people may have heard this from the middle-aged or older folks in their lives; I look old to you, but I still feel young on the inside.  It's true.  Inside I'm 25.  Oh, I guess I'm a bit more outwardly mature and measured in my responses to difficult things, and I don't lose my temper quite as often.  I have enough perspective now that I'm able to laugh at my own foolishness or when things don't go my way.  But the essential Me inside my head still thinks she's just 20-something, still gets excited about stuff, upset about disappointments, likes goofing off, going on vacation, laughing with friends.

But in the past five years I've had two or three major surgeries.  People I've known most of my life are dying.  Usually they're my parents' age, but not always.  College friends have children who've already graduated from college for Pete's sake!  Many of us drive sensible sedans or SUVs instead of sports cars (again, not all - I'm looking at you, Georgia ;-).  We talk about our house maintenance woes and gardening.  We've seen multiple pets come into our lives, bring joy, and eventually die of old age.  We struggle with our weight, and getting enough exercise.
It could be depressing, but it's not.  After all, consider the alternative...

So, in this National Poetry Month I've been thinking back to my college years and early 20s.  The silly things I used to do that were so much fun.  Drive hours and hours to a Scottish Country dance or Highland Games in another state.  Spend weeks making period costumes for various re-enactment events.  Stay up until the wee hours playing Fictionary with friends.  Working at southern Renaissance Faire.  I was not a very effective Character player, but I liked the people, and making costumes.

Our games of Fictionary gradually morphed into something we called the Bad Poetry Game.  For your turn you chose a (hopefully obscure) word from the dictionary, and each person had to write a purposely bad poem using it.  We'd often find ourselves in hysterics at the sheer bad-ness we achieved.  Eventually this turned into just writing bad poetry and sharing it with others in our group.  These poems were often short and ephemeral.  I've lost many of them.  But here are two of my favorites...

A Costumed Man
Oh, give me a costumed man!
He enters the room with a flourish,
None else show a better polish.

His gallant bows upon the dance floor,
The set of his shoulders, shape of his leg,
Never for partners has he to beg.

He catches my eye, gives me a wink.
It's all I can do to even think!
He offers his hand, my head grows light.
I'm whirled away by the man in tights.

And this one, from my early days as a Scottish Country dancer.  It started as Bad Poetry, but I liked it and tried to work it into something better.  Not sure I succeeded, but I hope it at least partially captures the romance and enchantment of SCD I felt as a new dancer.

My First SCD Demo (3/1982)
Outside the hall it's raining. California's hills are winter green.
Inside, fluorescent lights set concrete floor to gleaming.
In pleated wool we hover backstage, nervous.
Waiting for the dance I gaze, sightless, at the back of your head.

Around you swirls an evening mist that fills far ancient glens.
Pipers drone and skirl, water slaps loch banks.
Figures drift in fog, a swing of plaid, bonfire glow,
Dull shine on claymore.

You feel my gaze and turn. Our eyes meet.
But I'm lost on a hill I've never seen.
You touch my shoulder -
smells of wood smoke and crushed heather become damp wool and old greasepaint.

A reel is called and we go out together,
into the fluorescent glare and glittering polyester.

April Pots

Planted up some annuals in pots yesterday.  I'm trying a few new things.
This is a new color of callibrachoa, a really dark dark purple.  Along with a new petunia, Pink Lemonade.  Also an African daisy and yellow-leaved potato vine.  I can't wait to see this one grow and fill out.  The petunia is sort of pale yellow shading into a pink edge.  I had not seen it before.

Then a red, yellow & white themed half barrel.  Red callibrachoa, yellow-leaved coleus, white and yellow lantana, dark red zonal geranium, yellow snapdragons, and the leaves in the middle are a dark red daylily.  I got that late in the season last year, so I haven't seen it in flower.  I'll have to keep an eye on this one, as the barrel tends to dry out quickly.  It looks kinda bitsy and silly right now, but it will hopefully fill out well.

Also a new double primrose.  Opens lavender and fades to pale yellow, or is it the other way round :-).  I must get this into the ground when it's done flowering so I'll have it next year.  I like it a lot.

And a pot of viola 'Etain', with yellow and white snapdragons.

A pot of snapdragons with a red daisy.  Not a good picture.  Planted these two pots last weekend, so they've had a little time to get going.

I've also got two pots of dark red zonal geraniums I kept from last year.  They got really big in the house, so I'm hoping they'll take off quickly.

Anyway, doing the pots first not only means I get a good choice of annuals early in the season, but it gets me going on the gardening.  Today I'm going to work on other areas, in the actual ground. :-)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pacific Northwest Circuit II

In March 2012 we drove west to Portland then up the coast and around the Olympic Peninsula, discovering many beautiful spots and great local beers along the way.  This year we decided on a slightly different route.

On Sunday we drove to Hood River, figuring that if nothing else we'd have a good meal at Full Sail and stay at Hood River Inn on the Columbia River.  We got a different room this time, #165, bigger, with a fireplace, but still on the first floor, right on the river.  The next day we drove to Gig Harbor, WA, and had dinner with a work colleague of mine who lives on Fox Island.  It was good to see Lars again and meet his family.  What a wonderful place to live.  We stayed at the Inn at Gig Harbor, and found Heritage Distillery, just opened in November 2012, right next door.  So of course we had a tiny taste of their gin.

On Tuesday we drove up the peninsula from Gig Harbor to Port Angeles, and took the ferry to Victoria, BC.  On Lars and Dawn's recommendation we stayed at the Pacific Grand Hotel, right next door to the houses of Parliament.  The room was very nice, and actually pretty reasonable.  We were on the 5th floor and had a partial view over the harbor.  That afternoon we walked around town, scouting out places to go the next day.  We ate dinner at Shima's on Wharf St.  Their sushi and sashimi platter was just the right size for the two of us.

Wednesday day we spent the whole morning at the Provincial Museum.  We've both been there before, but felt we'd never had time to see the whole thing.  So we took our time looking at everything.  There was a temporary exhibit of Wildlife Photographer of the Year pictures that I loved.  I'd still want to go again, but it was nice to not rush.

That afternoon we walked around town poking into shops.  We tried the oysters at Nautical Nelly's, and went into Roger's Chocolates.  I found a yarn shop, but a lot of the better souvenir stores I remembered have closed up.

On Thursday we went to Murchie's for breakfast, then checked out of our lovely hotel and drove north to the ferry terminal.  We took the ferry to Tsawassen, south of Vancouver.  We didn't know where we were going to stay, but thought we'd try a hotel at the University.  Unfortunately that didn't appear to be what the leaflet promised, so we drove into downtown (ugh).  Vancouver is much more crowded and developed than it was in 2005 when we were last there.  So we drove over Lions Gate Bridge into North Van and stayed at the same hotel we'd gone to in '05, on Capilano Drive.

That evening the last thing we wanted was to drive into downtown again, so we drove out to Horseshoe Bay and had dinner at The Boathouse.  It was really good.  We each had different kinds of salmon.  Friday we went to Granville Island to the Market.  The drive in went pretty quickly, thank goodness.  We had a great time walking around the Market and some of the shops nearby.  We bought cheese and bread for a picnic later.  I found Maiwa Supply and got some locally-dyed yarn.  Ken found their dyes and colors, and was able to get a few things he might use on violins.  We ate a late breakfast of Thai food, and visited Granville Island Brewing to sample a few things.

That afternoon we'd intended to go hiking in Capilano Regional Park, but the drive back north through downtown took two hours.  After sitting still in traffic for an hour we tried another route east and over another bridge.  We still went hiking but much later in the day than we'd planned.  It was still nice to get out and walk around.  Again we did not want to go back into town, so we found a place to eat in North Vancouver, Rockford's Wok, Grill & Bar.

The next morning we decided to head east on Hwy 3 along the Canadian border.  We stopped in Osoyoos for lunch, and crossed into the US on Hwy 395.  We reached Spokane that night.

Next day we drove south through Lewiston.  Ken surprised me with the view over the bluff down into the city and the river.  I'd never been there before, so we stopped at a viewpoint for photos.  Wow.

After coffee in Lewiston we headed on and got home around 5:30pm on Sunday.  It was a fun trip.  I really enjoyed Granville Island in Vancouver, and I'm sure there are lots of good museums and things to see, but looking back I think I'd rather have stayed in Victoria a bit longer.