Friday, September 21, 2012

miscellaneous pleasantries

This past Sunday was perfect in every way.  It was cool enough to open the windows, which meant waking to the sounds of the bay waves.  I had avoided our communal pool all summer.  Sometime in June I had stuck in my toe, but--already in the afternoon shadow of our building--it was cold. And I’m a total wimp when it comes to anything less than bathwater.

Sunday I decided it was worth another try while the sun was still strong overhead.  There was just enough breeze to let little ripples make the sunlight dance on the pool floor.  It felt simply luxurious.  Or maybe it’s just that my honeymoon with my new iToy is making everything feel rich right now.  This girl needs less Pinterest and more Dave Ramsey!

Ryan wanted to swim in the bay instead, with good reason.  The pool has too many rules: no floats, no drinks, no glass, no music, etc.  So we dealt that I’d go in the bay if he made a beer and hard lemonade run . . . and bought me a float (I’ve wanted one all summer).  I swam in the pool for a good hour and a half while he ran all over this side of town looking for anything inflatable.  Apparently they’re already considered out of season!

Swimming . . . er, wading off the dock was equally wonderful.  The bay minnows were behaving (their piranha nibbles have been known to draw blood.  They also leap out of the water and bite you mid-air.) And we saw a sea turtle! I have never  seen one in the wild before.  This one was very camera shy; it always took a dive when I pulled out my phone.  But it hung out in the same spot for a good half hour or so.  That was cool.

I tried jazzing up some couscous for dinner with red bell peppers and parsley.  I’m still trying to learn the ins and outs of the food processor.  It’s fantastic at prepping a lot of produce for a big batch.  For smaller portions, you have the weigh the cost of cleaning all the parts.  Also, the shredder function apparently doesn’t do well with skinned fruits.  The skin gets left in paper thin little pieces, waiting to stick to the back of your throat.  Anyway, I’m glad Ryan was busy watching Family Guy.  When lip syncing to Rolling in the Deep, you really do need the whole kitchen for your stage.

We opened one of the last remaining bottles of our Virginia wine, a cabernet franc.  It’s good stuff. Though I wonder if my taste buds are biased from the memories of where we bought it. Sometimes I do miss Shenandoah-land.

But I can't complain about this either.

That evening we got back to watching another dvd of BBC’s Planet Earth.  That series is simply astounding.  I don’t know where even BBC came up with the dough for this one.  It is a “portrait of our planet” that depicts the struggle for life on every continent, both in vastness and in minute detail.  I always wondered how nature movies caught what they did without the featured critters noticing them.  These BBC people have some super cameras that allow them close-ups from nearly a mile away in a helicopter (like snow-white artic wolves tracking caribou).

A particularly awesome scene is a pride of lions taking down a grown elephant.  I mean, watching a lone predator cat hunt a small grazing animal is one thing.  Watching about 18 skinny and half-starved lions take down this massive beast is something I don’t have words for.  They over ran it like ants.

There’s footage of animal behavior never before caught on film, like a snow leopard hunting goats in the mountains of Afghanistan.  How some goofy hooved animals manage to scale those precipices is mind boggling.  How they can outrun a leopard at the same time is just incredible.  Some cameraman spent weeks of wintertime in the solitary confinement of his little shack waiting to film this elusive feline.  Another guy spent like over 300 hours in his tent,  in the tropical heat, to catch less than 10 minutes of a certain bird of paradise strut its stuff.

And then I could go on about the phosphorescent underworld filmed on the seafloor, but you really just need to watch it . . . and get a big enough tv screen.  Rent one if you must ; )The cinematography is so breath taking, anything small just wouldn’t do it justice.

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