Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Short takes

I've been writing other stuff lately--course syllabi, journal entries, even an essay or two--but I can't seem to come up with a proper blog topic--one that will yield an extended but not-too-long musing on a particular topic. All I seem to come up with are these short bits that aren't related to each other. So I finally decided to gather them together. And inflict them on you.

On the joys of using our solar-powered clothes dryer

Although doing laundry does not generally make me happy, I am impossibly delighted by doing laundry when I can hang the clothes out on the line. Although laundry's not the worst chore in the house, for sure, I don't really look forward to it. But when I hang the clothes on the clothesline, I am genuinely joyful. Nearly giddy.

Why such a huge difference? Maybe because I delight in NOT using electricity to do something that needs to be done. Maybe because I can hear the birds singing and the squirrels chattering to each other (and scolding me because I've come too close to their feeders). Maybe because I'm doing this zen-like process, repetitive and order-creating, and listening to what's around me and feeling part of it. Who knows. But as long as the weather's nice, and as long as we've got dirties that need cleaning, I'll be out in the back yard. I feel sad for those folks who live in places where you're not allowed to have a clothesline. They are missing out!

On bicycles. And obsession.

This is my bike: a one-speed Trek Woody with coaster brakes (i.e., the on-the-pedals kind we all had when we were little), purchased about five (?) years ago after we moved to our little town and bought a house only 1.3 miles from my office. I use it to get to work sometimes, but not often enough, thanks to the complications of coordinating clothes, weather, and errands on roads that are scary on a bike.

I love my bike with a mighty, mighty love. Its one speed is definitely limiting, because any other power has to come out of my legs, and my legs are not as powerful as they used to be! (I am contemplating trading it in for this bike, which has gears but is also styley.) But my bike gets me around under my own steam, and that's very satisfying. Especially when I think about the Gulf of Mexico these days...

Anyhow, I am also a huge fan of the Tour de France, which is on RIGHT NOW. (Here's what I wrote about the Tour last year.) My caring-about-what's-on-teevee level has gone way, way up. My concern about whether the Versus channel will be available as we travel west (very soon!) has gone way up. For goodness sakes, I signed up for Twitter so that I could get all the latest updates about what's going on with the riders. This is a new level of obsession for me. (I'm actually kind of feeling weird about the Twitter thing; I had been feeling fairly smug and superior for not knowing anything about Twitter, and here I am using it to feed my one sport obsession. Not so superior, I guess!)

So there's this guy at the bike shop who's really into professional racing, and I think I'm kind of bewildering to him. I'm interested--very interested--in the Tour, yet I ride this impossibly huge, heavy, one-speed machine. That has a bell on it. I don't ride every day, and I don't subscribe to Velo News, and I wouldn't recognize serious pedals--the kind you fasten yourself into--if you plunked them down in front of me. I barely know how a derailleur works.

Plus: I am a girl.

And yet I love to be around other people who get that the Tour is a big deal. I have opinions on how the race is going, or who's in it this year. (He's over the whole Lance thing, I'm sure, but I am not, even as I root for the younger riders as well.) I know what the word "Tourmalet" means to bike racers, how it inspires awe and terror. As I said last year, it makes no sense. (I thought of another reason it doesn't make sense, at least for me: there are no women in the Tour de France. None whatsoever.) And yet there it is--I'm totally obsessed.

And I love my goofy, non-Tour-ish bike.

On playing with my camera in public.

(Another version of me--taken in D.C. but haunted by S.F.)

When I was on the rez last year, I got into the habit of carrying around my little $100 camera to take pics for the blog so I could show everyone that far-away place. After I came home, at first I thought that probably I didn't need it with me all the time. But then Reya's blog really inspired me. She does these amazing things with images, and she must have her camera with her all the time.

So I began re-thinking my camera use. Lately, this has led to playing with it a little more intentionally and obtrusively than before. I'm not sure my dinner partners are always thrilled by my whipping out my camera in public places, but it has yielded some interesting results...

Clouds above an umbrella over our dinner at a restaurant in early June...

And here is old-fashioned Dexter in sepia tone. Eating a roll, but maybe haunted by pancakes?

Here he is in black and white!

And finally in whatever-it's-called--cyanotype? cyan? anyhow, BLUE.

And here is something I thought I would never be able to catch with my little camera: the moon, in the middle of the night, out our back window...

I was stunned with the beauty of the sky, and just had to try to capture it. I don't think this is exactly what I saw, but I love what these photos do...

May you enjoy the world around you today!

Happy musings,

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