Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Uncharmed ones

Chloe's been slightly favoring one paw so we took it slow on our walk tonight. We ambled down to the park and strolled around in the playground for a few minutes. A group of teenagers was clustered in and around a car parked on the street next to the park. Their voices carried across the park. "Oh, quit it!" screeched one girl. "Just stop hexing me!"

I casually led Chloe a little closer, interested in hearing more about the hex. The girls kept up their chatter, bits of it carrying to me across the street. "...I bet she was a total virgin..."

"...Ohmigod, I turned soooo red..."

"...Right, that's when it started, like right after we had sex in the car!..."

Chloe snuffled in the grass at my feet. I decided "hex" was probably one a them newfangled slang words I'm too square to understand, when I heard the girl say it again. "Dude, I told you to stop hexing me!"

I glanced over, curious. "You've already hexed-ed me like eight times already!"

Oh, texted. Well, that's a disappointment then.

Monday, June 19, 2006


One of the alleyways where I walk Chloe. It's a Seattle City Light right of way; about ten blocks north of here they've turned the right of way into a fine little segment of the Interurban Trail, which leads more or less up to Edmonds, and supposedly thence to Everett.

Stanley Park Stairs

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Book Resolution 2006: Books 9-12

Book #9
Title: The Boy Who Loved Windows
Author: Patricia Stacey
Date Started: February 7, 2006 (yes, I'm quite behind in cataloging what I've been reading)
Date Finished: February 8, 2006
I had just finished Michael Berube's book and found this one next to it in our small "library" at work. Although I'm not a therapist, I do know that several of our therapists use the method that this mother describes using in this book as a therapy technique with autistic children. I thought it was well-written and engaging. I know there are some uncomfortable questions around the issue of hope versus realistic expectation for children with developmental delays, especially autism, but I thought this story was told well and didn't at all present the attitude of, "Well, if only EVERYONE would do this method, autism could be no more!" So, thumbs up.

Book #10
Title: Barrayar
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Date Started: February 15, 2006
Date Finished: February 16, 2006
Dude, I told you I was an adoring fan of her writing. And I am absolutely going to indulge my desire to read this entire series over the next year or so. I liked this one just as much as the first.

Book #11
Title: Teckla
Author: Steven Brust
Date Started: February 17, 2006
Date Finished: February 20, 2006
I need to read this one again more slowly. Brust sets up the plot to drive forward so compellingly that I forget I'm supposed to make myself read slowly to get all the nuances, and hasten forward to see what happens next. I like Vlad well enough--the sense of humor doesn't overlap much with my own, but I'm starting to get used to it. I didn't love this book, but I like the writing and the stories well enough to go ahead and read more of this series.

These reviews are a lot shorter than the last batch, but after all, they're only for my own future reference anyway. Onward:

Book #12
Title: Spin
Author: Robert Charles Wilson
Date Started: February 21, 2006
Date Finished: February 23, 2006
Oh, this book was brilliant. I never would have picked it up if not for a hearty recommendation from Making Light, and I would have missed out on a breathtaking story. One night the stars go out when the Earth is inexplicably wrapped in some sort of shield that slows down the pace of time on earth to about a millionth what it should be--for every million years elsewhere in the galaxy, only one year passes on Earth. Thus the world will end within the span of the characters' lifetime, as the Sun enters its last stages and expands to consume the planets. I enjoyed everything about this book--the characterizations, the story, the philosophy...excellent stuff. I think this might be my favorite yet this year.

They wrestle their daughter's stroller through the narrow doors of the Vancouver bus that will take them from Stanley Park back through the downtown area. The woman's bright coral salwar kameez flows loosely around her lithe form as she tries to angle the stroller's wheels to squeeze through the entrance. Her husband wears jeans and a crisp white buttoned shirt, tucked in.

Having managed to board, they sit near the center of the bus, on opposite sides of the aisle with the stroller between them. The little girl in the stroller kicks her legs and babbles, exchanging adoring smiles with each parent in turn.

Two stops later an old man boards the bus and sits behind the father. They exchange pleasantries, finding a commonality in their histories. The younger man reveals that he and his wife came to Canada two years ago; the old man has lived here for fifteen years. "This is a very good country," announces the older man. "You will do very well here."

The younger man nods. "Yes." He smiles and glances swiftly across the aisle. "My wife, she gets homesick though."

The older man shakes his head and bats his hand at the mother. She is smiling at her daughter and does not turn at his motion. "Hello!" he calls, tapping her elbow. When she raises her head to look back at him he raises a finger to point at her. "You do not be homesick," he says. "This is a good country. You will be happy here. You do not need to be homesick." He shakes his red-turbaned head emphatically at her.

The woman smiles and nods politely. She looks at her husband, who smiles sheepishly and averts his eyes.

Now the old man's attention is diverted by the little girl's sudden outburst of babbling and clapping. He playfully wags a finger at her. "Naughty girl!" he says. She stops and stares solemnly at him, her brown eyes wide. The old man reaches out a gangly arm and taps the back of her hand in a mock swat. "Naughty, naughty girl!" he tells her, smiling a gap-toothed smile. "Your daughter is a very naughty girl," he tells the father.

When the toddler remains shy and quiet, her father tries to impress the old man. "Say something to him," he urges her quietly. "Say, 'hello!'"

"You are a naughty girl!" murmurs the old man, swiping at her hand again.

The tiny girl is silent. Her dark curls tremble as she whips her head around to look at her mother's friendly face, silently and innocently dismissing the old man's rebuke.