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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Smoky Summer Night

Kam, our friend Barbara, and I had dinner on the balcony this evening.  The city has been very smoky for the past two days from forest fires burning, and the air is deemed "unhealthy."  This smoky atmosphere happened last year too, and a headline on the local paper suggested this might be the "norm" for Seattle summers now.  It makes for a pretty red sunset anyhow.

For dinner tonight we had hummus, tzatziki, feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, grilled sweet peppers, avocado, artichoke hearts, pita bread, and sparkling wine.

What we're reading:

I am reading a monograph on Joseph Urban, the art deco theater designer.

 I am reading The Canon:  A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier.  The content is very interesting and it's a good review of information I vaguely remember from science classes - probability, statistics, the size of the universe, how electricity works  -- and I'm only a hundred pages of so into it, so much more to follow.  The weird thing is that Natalie Angier constantly makes corny jokes and puns, which I find a bit annoying and distracting.

I also read the last in the Rachel Cusk trilogy, Kudos.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Summer Supper

Kam, the Pistil Books photographer and music specialist recently got a day job, which means our work lunches have transformed into work dinners.  This week for dinner we had sockeye salmon sandwiches on ciabatta with pesto, spinach, heirloom tomatoes, and sweet onions, along with potato salad and kombucha to drink.

What we're reading:

Wonderful meal and evening. I I just finished PG Wodhouse’s last book, published when he was in his 90s, called Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, which is a Bertie and Jeeves book. And I am slogging my way through Byron’s Childe Harold.

I am reading One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry who grew up in Seattle and whose "Poodle With a Mohawk" poster I used to see in coffee shops around town when I was in college.  According to Buddhism, a person must overcome one hundred demons during their life and here Lynda Barry writes about and draws her demons.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A New Leaf

Last week my friend Patricia and I went for an evening walk in the Union Bay Natural Area, which is an area along the shore of Lake Washington a bit north of Husky Stadium behind the UW playing fields.  It's a wonderful place to walk without many other people around.  The area is a former landfill that has been/is being restored to a more natural state with rustling grassland, big trees, wetlands, and is full of wildlife, especially waterfowl: ducks, geese, eagles, osprey, and herons.  We saw a blue heron catch and swallow a fish, which bulged in its throat as it went down.  We also saw a beaver swimming in the lake, many rabbits,  and a large gathering of crows having a party.

We took a short jog off the main trail to get closer to the water's edge and this is what we saw:


Photos by Patricia Spencer.







Two leaves were floating on the green surface of the shallows and they appeared to have writing on them....  I found a stick and was able to use it to pull these found poems out of the water.  They both had the same love poem written on them in tiny black printing.

"Your body undulates in generous curves"

In the language of books, a leaf "refers to the smallest, standard physical unit of paper in a printed piece; in the case of books and pamphlets, usually with a printed page on each side of a leaf; a broadside is printed on a single side of a single leaf."  (ABAA Glossary of book terms.)
Heart-shaped miniature broadsides.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Found in Books

It's been a while since I've posted photos of some of the ephemera found in books, and the envelope holding such objects has grown fat.  

Included this time are the usual bookmarks (from bookstores and torn from handy sheets of paper), gift tags, drawings, tickets, and personal notes.  In one card someone writes, "Now that I know from the medical examiner's report the severity of her AVM condition, I wonder if M--- knew or at least had a premonition of fatality.  Just after her first MRI she intensified her study of Buddhism which focuses on preparing in this life for one's next life."

Remember phone bills?  Spanking, cirque & sensuality, oh my!

Bookmarks from shops, The Ten Commandments (from St. Jude's Ranch for Children), and Legend of the Raven are just a few of the ways people keep their place between pages.

Cards from card catalogs... as rare as phone bills now.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Reading and Eating

Today for lunch we had tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches (with sharp cheddar and horseradish), curried tempeh salad, and Pink Lady apple slices.  And red wine.  The day started out cool and gray, but by lunchtime the sun had come out and we were able to sit on the balcony.

Here is Kam sitting in the sun outside the bookstore door.

What we're reading.

My new books [aquired from Pistil, of course] include Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, In the Shadow of Vesuvius, about the artistic repercussions of the excavation of Pompeii’s ruins in the 18th century, and a collection of the complete song lyrics of John Dryden. All appealed because of their arcane qualities.  The Dryden is so arcane that although it was published in 1932, the pages had not yet been cut.

Today I started another Rachel Cusk novel, Transit.   When I find a writer I like, I usually go on a binge, reading all their books one after the other.  This one I ordered online from a megalister and it turned out to be an ex-library book, but I don't care since I just want to read it.   I started it at the bus stop today, but could only read a few pages before the bus arrived because reading in transit gives me a headache.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lunch on the Balcony

Today for Pistil Lunch we had saag paneer, brown rice, cucumber and scallion raita, and salad (arugula, romaine lettuce, yellow carrots, green onions, golden beets, radishes, cherry tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds).  A colorful lunch!  Amy, Sean, and Kam were present and it was a very warm day, so we ate on the balcony and tried to identify the bird songs we heard.  We have a robin's nest under the side balcony this year.

What we're reading:

I am reading Ancient Man by Hendrick Willem Van Loon, a popular writer of the 1930s, and the Chrysalis of Romance by Inez G. Howard, a book from the 1920s about the origin of north American customs.

I'm reading a novel by Sara Baume called A Line Made by Walking.   The narrator is a mid-twenties woman artist who is experiencing depression and has gone to stay by herself in her dead grandmother's house in the country.  Every couple of pages the protagonist "tests" herself by naming and describing a piece of modern art related to whatever theme she happens to be thinking of (for example, television, "wrongness", beds, etc.).

Sean says he just started a new book and will write next week.