new friends

I have new friends.

Nothing is lost without something else being gained. When you put a bucket in the water and pull it up, no hole is left. The water equilibrates. The water rushes in to the new hole and there is swirling and chaos for a bit and then you can’t tell.

I took coffee in to my yard yesterday morning. I didn’t feel like eating much for the two days before that. I felt more like drinking alcohol but I pay a lot of attention to that urge. I drank some but stopped. There is way too much of that history in my family.

Caffeine, now. Also addictive. I’ve quit caffeine a couple of times. I quit back in medical school because my stomach hurt. Second year I kept falling asleep in the lectures. I tried standing up through them and woke up sliding sideways down the wall. I wonder if people laughed. Everyone was sick of sitting in that room, one floor up from the first year, and trying to learn an impossible amount of information. I don’t think people did laugh. We were all in the same boat after all. If they laughed, it was the laugh of recognition.

So I gave up and sat back down and took notes and fell asleep. My notes would trail off down the page at 40 minutes in to the lecture. Over and over and over. But there might be some advantages to hearing medicine in a dream state. Who knows?

My friends came while I was drinking coffee. Four pine siskins. I have named the first three Winken, Blinken and Nod. The fourth one showed up a little late. That one is Bill. Blinken is very fat and I suspect will appear abruptly thin after the eggs are laid.

A pair of juncos joined them. The feeder got a little bit chaotic when a house sparrow showed up. I thought there was a fifth pine siskin but I realized that this one had a pale pink hood: the lady of the house sparrow pair was present. Then my song sparrow, who sings every morning from across the street, came in. He and I have sung back and forth for years.

I have not seen a lady song sparrow yet. Or maybe she slipped in and out, she will be a little difficult to distinguish from the lady house sparrow and the pine siskins.

What joy to have new friends. I think I will have to fill the feeder every two or three days. It is spring and there will soon be new mouths to feed and everyone is hungry.

The photograph is not from my yard. It is from a wilder place, that is very beautiful.



There is a song, the laugh of recognition, on this album:

The whole album helps me to grieve.

Pandas and the toughest yarn

After my sister died, I eventually got a box from her home.

People were cleaning it out. My cousin Ko, my friend Caroline, other friends.

Among other things, they sent part of her yarn stash.

What they sent me was the very very fine yarn and the fuzzy yarn. The mohair.

Oh gosh, I thought, they sent me the toughest yarn.

Well, as part of the dealing with the ADHD/OCD antibody annoyance, which makes me wired while the OTHER antibodies make me physically not able to do much, what am I doing?

Sorting my yarn stash, for one. I have a LOT of that lovely fuzzy soft superfine mohair and other superfine yarns. It is tricky to work with because the fine needles are hard on the hands and because if you screw up, it’s hard to take it out. I know some of the tricks: freezing the sweater is one. It makes it easier for the fibers to untangle.

I’ve also been sorting the knitting books and magazines. I have more books. My mother gave me a whole hardcover book on edges and casting on. I’ve used it twice so far. But now I am home, buzzing with antibodies (yeah, sometimes it feels like ants or bees or pins. On the inside.) and so: knit.

And lo, I find this book. Fine knitting. It even has a mohair t-shirt pattern! Awesome, I am going to be knitting up some of my sister’s mohair. Wonderful. I think she’d approve. Also, I plan to be just as glam and sultry as the woman on the cover, heh.

I think I’ll submit this to the Ragtag Daily Prompt: Country Comfort.


For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: exercise.

I have not been exercising this week, since Monday. I have barely left the house! but influenza is like that and it’s a time to rest.

I photographed this pair of American wigeons napping last weekend, at Kai Tai Lagoon in the sun. Napping in the water, how clever, I can’t do that. I do think I woke them, but at least one returned to sleep. Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson in the past too. I have to rest when I am sick and return to exercise afterwards!

A pair of American wigeons, on the water, female asleep and male awake.

Mundane Monday #184: rats

For Mundane Monday # 184, my theme is rats.

Any sort of rat. You dirty rat. Rats, this is not working.

The photograph is a pet rat. He is gone now, moved on to another plane. In memorium. He was very sweet.

Send your link, send a message, if you want to join the party. I will list them next week.


Last week’s theme, Mundane Monday #183: getting ready.





For Raynotbradbury’s “my life in percentage” challenge.

I have just returned from a vacation, a trip, a pilgrimage where I was unplugged. No list. No goals. No internet. No outlets. Just a lake and old cabins and meals and weather and quiet. Percentage, I wonder, of what? Happiness? Efficiency? Joy? Gratitude? Percentage genuine? Percentage genuine and present. What percentage is a loon at?  Either 0 or 100 percent and they are both the same.

We travel to the lake. It’s hard to get to from my home. We drive to a Seattle hotel for a park and fly. Stay the night. 6:08 flight Seattle to Detroit. Short layover but I know the airport, we make the gate with 120 seconds to spare. Our checked bags make it too. Flight Detroit to Sault St Marie, MI. I did not reserve a rental car soon enough to get one in Michigan, so we have a limo reserved. It’s a van. The van takes us across the border into Canada and to the Sault St Marie, ON airport, where we get a rental car. We drive to a grocery store and get a few groceries. The plane landed at 3:08, and I would like to get to the lake before dark. We drive from Sault St Marie to Blind River, and the 17 miles to the lake. We find the old boat, load in our stuff and get the four stroke started, one hour before sunset. The cabins can be reached by boat, no road. The dock was destroyed by ice so I have to pull the motor up as we come in to the pebble beach. I am just big enough to do yank the motor up. We are here. We unload.

Crazy, right? I have been describing it as “shacks on a lake”. No electricity. Propane stove and refrigerator. We used to use candles, but the fire risk is high this year. LEDs now. One cabin was built by my grandparents somewhere between 1936 and 1938. The other is a log cabin, built in the war years by a pair of French Canadians, logs chinked like tinker toys. Not quite though. It’s the log above chinked to the log below.

We set up tents and are unplugged. I have two phones. My t-mobile won’t work at all. The old I-phone will work sort of sometimes on the front rocks. I have camera batteries and take a lot of photographs.

I open my computer once at the library in two weeks.

We sleep in tents except for the two nights with major thunderstorms. It’s really the outdoors I want. The lake changes color and mood from moment to moment. I swim this year: I am way stronger than in 2015 or it’s warmer or both. We are in the cabin to eat and do dishes, but otherwise we are nearly always outside. The loons call. A family of mergansers comes up on the rock with us, 10 or 11. Otter sliding through the water. A pair of raccoons. A snapping turtle the size of a platter. Three pileated woodpeckers come to check out my flute. Three sandhill cranes by the road on the way into town. My cousins report a moose on the way into town.

The loons answer when my daughter plays violin: every time she plays the E string, they reply.

I’ve been visiting that lake since I was 5 months old. The lake, the rocks, the trees. The lake changes color every moment, changes surface mood, change. But the depths change slowly and are present, a turnover when the lake thaws in the spring and freezes in the fall.

I am the lake and the lake is me. Unplugged and being. Minimal doing. No list. Eat when hungry. Sleep so deep and swim and canoe around the lake.

I canoe and there is a woman, way across the bay. We talk. I know her last name, she knows mine. She remembers playing at our cabin with me and my sister, our long hair, running around while the adults talked about Watergate. About 1970. Her father just died in his upper 80s. He defied the doctors after a stroke a decade before, walked again and she kept bringing him to the lake. Now they are trying to maintain an old cabin, as we are.

Home again.


My sister’s writing about the lake from 2009: Rain on water.


The letter Z: zzzz. Zzzzzs, blessed sleep.

My friend is not asleep here. But what a place to sleep!


And sleep in the sun!


Sleep on a couch!


Sleep in a boat!


And back to the daybed.


Blogging from A to Zzzzzz, and the challenge is done.


T for turtle

Blogging from A to Z,  the letter T! T is for turtle and teenage and travel!

On Hawaii we went to a park and saw green turtles. They are born about 1000 miles away on a different island. They travel in the sea and now come to Hawaii to rest. The ones who rest on the beaches are 20 to 140 pounds. As mature adults, they will be 200 to 400 pounds and live back in the sea.


We both have zoom lenses. We are not supposed to go closer than 20 feet.


And here is one just arriving for a rest: