Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turning the Last Page

I wrote this while I was thinking about the relationship that is formed between a good book and it's reader. You know that feeling you get when you finally finish a good book?

Turning the Last Page

Your pages turn with anticipation,

your characters are colors in my mind,

you're crafted by soul, and linger in heart.

And with such joy I leap from page to page!

Watching them rise and fall like a slow breath.

Soon discovering what we have become, 

as your last page turns and rests silently.

Now closed, you lay in my lap. It's a curse,

to read you for the first time only once.

With innocent ignorance, I wish I 

could slowly read through your pages again!

I wish to be taken by you for the 

first time once more, along your unknown paths, 

without knowing beforehand your beauty.

To read not knowing how much you loved me, 

even before you became the slightest 

thought in my head, innocent though it was.

It is a worse curse though, to not know you. 

And now, looking forward, what a joy it 

truly is, for my heart to have a home!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Photolog 11/24/2008

Gideon helped me make rounds in the garden today!

Well, you can tell the cold nights have been hitting my tomatoes and okra - they look all brown and crunchy. I am waiting for the last of the tomatoes to turn red and I am letting one of the okra pods go to seed for the spring batch. Just from a single pod there will be way more okra seeds than I could plant in one season, so if anyone is interested...

Broccoli is putting out some heads!

Cilantro likes cooler weather, and it's really hard not to pick and eat at it. I'll give it another week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Healing from Poison Oak and Radiohead

At least for now I'm not itching anymore!

My dermatologist PA hooked me up some oral and topical steroid meds to help me endure the next week. I am already seeing a difference after only a day, and already plan to go climbing again this weekend (at Enchanted Rock, NOT Reimer's Ranch!)

Radiohead performed a show in Japan where they had 12 cameras recording them at all times. follow the link below to create your own personal video of 15 Step. The view is kinda grainy while you make the vid, but when you play it back it's pretty clear. Awesome! I hope they put up some more songs in the future!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Poison Oak at Reimers Ranch


I went climbing last weekend for the first time since May, and I was disappointed with my performance. Back in Colorado Shaun and I were climbing routes that were 5.10-5.11 difficulty every day. Last Saturday I could barely break 5.8, and wore myself out trying to get past the crux move on a 5.9. To add some serious injury to that insult I discovered a rash beginning to form on my left arm Monday morning...

I went rock climbing at Reimers Ranch and all I got was Poison Oak. (For all the climbers who are looking to climb out at Reimers who ended up here because of a search engine: the poison oak I got into is to the right of the bee cave, you can't miss it.)

Of all the plants that I will highlight in this blog, these are the only ones I officially hate with a passion. I know, I know, hating a plant sounds a little ridiculous, so maybe a better way to say it is to say that I would rather they didn't exist at all, or I wouldn't shed a tear at their extinction. The plant belongs to the genus Toxicodendron, and is known to the unfortunate outdoorsman as poison oak. It has an oil (called urushiol) that binds to the surface proteins on your skin cells. Your body then recognizes the cells as foreign invaders and this causes an auto-immune reaction. Over the next two weeks your body goes through a miserable civil war between your epidermis and a T-Cell mediated immune response. The war does not end until your immune response is done completely metabolizing the urushiol along with any cell it ever touched. SUCK.

Up close and personal with my favorite plant in the whole world.

Poison Oak and I have a bit of a history together, so I knew it right when I saw it. I recognized it growing out of the route we were climbing and yet I climbed on. I assumed I would stay out of it for some reason... STUPID. Apparently I mashed my left elbow down into it real good at some point. From there I scratched the urushiol underneath the fingernails of my right hand, and from there I spread it to the rest of my body (save only one special place PRAISE THE LORD!). It's just about everywhere by now, both arms, both legs, my torso, my head and neck, my left foot, and inside my belly button (can't really explain that one). The thing about urushiol is that the places that receive the highest dose get a rash first, and the places that got a lesser dose continue to pop up all over during the course of the first week. This leads one to believe that they are still spreading it, when in reality all the spreading was done before you took your first shower. 

Sounds terrible huh... it gets worse. This crap gets way worse... I'm talking longevity.

The worst part is that the urushiol will stay on objects it came in contact with, like the climbing rope and all my gear for example. So now I must give everything a good scrubbing with a soapy water/ rubbing alcohol mixture and hope that it's gone (there is only one way to find out). Also, I must make the decision to never, ever, use Shaun's rope again as it was practically dragged through the stuff. A new rope is 200 bucks.

So not only did I not climb well, I am absolutely miserable for the time being. I am going to make an appointment on Monday so I can get some high-strength corticosteroid pills/cream. Till then it's a Benadryl every four hours and an Aveeno bath before bed. The itching is so bad, I have to practically put myself in a Benadryl-induced coma just to sleep more than four hours at night.

Still, it could be a whole lot worse... I could be sitting in some ashes scraping myself with a piece of broken pottery. No matter how bad life gets we can always tell ourselves that Job had it worse. Abbey has been really gracious with me and my uncomfortable impatience this week, and that alone has allowed me to keep my sanity.

"Curse God and die" she tells him.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Photolog 10/31/2008: Halloween

Well, the weather has been pretty close to perfect for my fall garden. The days have been warm but not too warm, and the nights have been cold but not too cold. In this turbulent political season my veggies are growing great, my garden quietly existing in peace as Joe The Plumber talks about the impending annihilation of Israel. I am sooo happy to not have a TV, but somehow I still hear about this crap!

More importantly, it was Shady's birthday on Friday and we had all kinds of fun carving out a pumpkin and playing with her new toy.
Happy Birthday Shady!

Shady's new toy is a Dora the Explorer fishing pole, and let's just say that Gideon thinks it's his birthday too.

Here's a pic of Gideon chasing a lure in the backyard.