Thursday, June 30, 2011

rearranging the rocks at the bottom

I’m standing in the check out line six bucks in my pocket it is what’s left over from the twenty I took to leisurely peruse used books.  It’s my day off. 

I went on the 7 mile run along the river, jumped the water spilling over the banks, jumped the snake sunning in the path, finished off by jumping a few benches and boulders.  I have chicken smothered in homemade bbq sauce and garlic in the crock pot just waiting to be paired with a load of stone ground bread.  I have three killer heads of red leaf lettuce ready in the garden beside the row of baby spinach, homemade salad dressing, and a request for homemade frozen yogurt for dessert made mostly from the peaches we put away last season.  I have a 99 cent Torino’s frozen pizza in my hand.  Which one of these things doesn’t belong here?

This is duality, not as bad as Dr. Jekyll and his buddy Mr. Hyde but not much better either.  I can explain the pizza, and the books; I'm about to do something very brave, maybe even spectacular: I'm going to keep going.

Beach’s best glasses are sitting on the kitchen table repaired with a thin piece of wire and a strong epoxy, all better? Keep going.  I broke my camera which I have mostly gotten over the guilt.  Keep going. My diabetes is causing a little havoc (yes, I am still aware of the pizza) with my plan to tackle a half marathon. Keep going.  I found six Jodi Picoult books but none of them were the one book club is reading. Keep going.  I can’t get the 17 yr old boy with a tattoo to come see his mother he’s too busy being big.  Keep going.  There is a little bit of Yours-Mine-&-Ours tension in the house.  Okay stop none of this is that big of a deal, nothing worthy of death by bad cheap pizza.

But it's not a cry for help in the express line.  What this really is, is a moving day. Oh look, complete with a pizza party.  Time to admit that I have not fallen into this hole I have backed myself in to it.  It's not even really a hole, I am standing on level ground but I have piled rocks around me, stone walls built from too high of expectations...And part of it is I like living under rocks. 

Today is the beginning of an opportunity to pick myself up from the bottom, kick unreasonable off the pile, & start the adventure of the slow climb out.  Time to keep going.  After all the glasses are fixed, the race isn’t lost yet, I have a stack of good books to read, the 17 yr old boy still tells me he loves me in public, and the tension will not last past frozen yogurt.

You still don’t get the pizza? Well, my mom used to make these for my sister and me when we were kids.  When I dropped Beach off at their house this morning my mom gave me 2 hoppy-taws.  The first was my sister’s, who passed away about four summers ago.  The other was my oldest daughter’s.  Somehow holding those little disks of rubber in the palm of my hand I remembered something from a life time ago.  Something about putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. 

I suppose before I grew up too much & came out from my hiding place under these rocks I wanted to taste childhood for myself just one more time.  Time to keep going I have a lot of really reasonable shit to get done...isn't it spectacular?      

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the exact wrong end of a goose

The fun part about words is they are the only real means of time travel.  Photos age or people & places in photos age but either way they are markedly dated whereas word are not, not now, not then, and not tomorrow; tense is a magical thing I can believe in (not always stay in).  Beach, who I thought was not getting the hang of Time, actually has it dead on when she asks, “Which today is it?” 

So with words we travel back to a time before I broke my camera, to the age of preschool, and finger painting, back to when a wild goose named Peanut Butter roamed the RB farm biting people in the ass.  Why would we do that to ourselves? That is the whole story, WHY?!

The goose lived with a friend of ours in Francis, a little town sandwiched between other little towns deep in the Wasatch Back.  Winters are winter in Francis.  The goose needed a place to survive the winter.  She was a sweet little hand-tamed Greylag Goose only a summer old so we took her home with us, maybe it was about Thanksgiving time.
She settled in and we liked having her around.  And then she chased someone. Then she bit someone.  Then she chased and bit someone, then lots of ‘some ones’.  Pretty soon she was standing guard between the house and the trampoline waiting for victims.  Her aggressive behavior escalated.  The kids would run full sprint through the snow to the tramp the goose in hot purist.  But no longer satisfied with the chase she proceeded to attack from underneath the tramp while the kids ran around it to get away from her.

I teach my kids that only primates can be mean everything else is technically simply 'aggressive in nature'.  This goose tested me.  I called the owner.  I called a Biologist from the U.  The answer was (I’m right) it is the nature of a lone goose.  She was trying to herd and beat us down in order to gain a flock of her own.

There are 2 ways this story can go 1. An anti-bullying parable (boring & actually I have gained a friend or two by slugging it out).  Or 2. An introspective view about how what starts out as a little bit of Bad you let into your life can build and before you know the Bad is big- like baby talk, or swearing, or nail biting or conjunctions or bad punctuation or run on sentences.
Or even a third way, now that I think about it. 3. Sometimes you can’t see the forest past the biting goose because you are too busy running for your life.
Any which way we lived liked this, prisoners to the tyranny of a lonely goose. 

All winter long I ran between the coop and the house in boots carrying an egg basket in one hand and for protection a broom in the other.   

So in the spring her owner came to take her home.  She walks out onto the deck sweetly calls Peanut Butter to come.  And she does full throttle wings flapping in attack mode.  The owner screams turns to run, the goose latches on biting her through her pants breaking the skin.
“Get rid of her I don’t want her!” she yelps.

Question I ask myself: Why didn’t I think of that?  Why did it never occur to me to say ‘stop, this is working for me.’ Or maybe just 'that damn thing is f-ing scary shoot it.’
Once upon a time 'Wild Goose Chase' meant being led on a pointless hunt- I now call that 'Chasing Chickens'.  The today that it is, a 'Wild Goose Chase' serves as a warning.  It cautions that one is always in danger of being hunted when they lack the innate ability to recognize the time, place, or right to defend; I mean stupid not meek.  Meek would have been wishing it to stop but not having the balls to say so.  Stupid is not knowing it should stop.  I’m never meek but I’m often stupid.  “You mean you can do that, you can just pack up and leave?”  Caution: don’t try this at home, a love story.


We don’t have a goose named Peanut Butter. We a turkey named Herkimer.  When I am running on the canal there is a lone Greylag Goose who paddles around under the underpass.  She looks a lot like a goose I used to know.  What I have learned about myself is that I wouldn’t want to get too close to the edge. For me & those like me, every side of a goose is the wrong side to be on.  So I keep running.    
Scientific Note: Fight or flight is an autonomic evolutionary survival response.  What a Primate chooses to do with it is the determining factor between defensive aggression & flat out meanness. I think that line has as many names (compassion, empathy, sacrifice, or stupidity) as it does shades of greylag (territorial, aggressive, harsh, or lonely). 

I'll leave the bottom line to Peanut Butter, she did always like getting the last word in; think twice before you accept even little 'Bads' into your life they might be waiting around the corner to bite you in the ass.         

dirty little secrets of mine

We all have secrets like these, tiny corners of our personalities which seldom see the light of day...

I love 1940's women's clothing.
Men who wear eye glasses...hats are even better.
Corn dogs, grape soda, and being the first to jump in the lake just so I can get it over with.
Real picnics in the park, the kind that last all day.
The sound of trains moving in the night.
Cold sheets, year round.
Watching cats watching dogs.
Gingersnap granola.
Homemade bread with loads of butter & dripping with honey.

I love clotheslines.
Coffee, cloves, & ginger.
The idea of ironing but not the actual act of it. 
Hot showers on sunburns.
Old children's books.
Aprons and smocking.
Vintage embroidery and barns.
The sound of water lapping on the shore... against the side of a boat is even better; better than hats on men with glasses.
Watching cable TV in a hotel room.
Chinese jump rope, 4-square, and hop scotch.
The feel a house takes on when children are napping.
The points on new crayons.
Patchwork quilts.
The sound of Paul Harvey's voice.
Stripes, the idea of them not the actual wearing of.
Blackboards filled with organic chemistry.
The sudden appearance of a friend through a crowd.
Blue and more blue.
The sound of running away under my own power.

I find the smell of wet concrete intoxicating.
And I like the sound of the back drop noises in Soap Operas: ice in a glass, a coffee cup set on a saucer, a door bell, a phone ringing, noises of housewives who don't seem to have kids or jobs they have to stay at, or laundry to do.

I like sitting out back in the field in the middle of the day pretending I am the only person on earth...when that gets too lonely I pretend it away.

And I like the sound a Slinky makes
when you hold it in your teeth, stretch it out, and shake it.

Monday, June 27, 2011


We’ve had some mishaps around here...

Beach the Brave can do a handstand on the beam but the entry rug tag teaming with a chair won this round. We went to the Zoo and I dropped and broke our camera…so I’m waiting not so patiently to replace it.

Fisher jammed a toe on a rock stopped him cold for exactly one and a half days.
We’ve had some misunderstandings.  Like how a shovel works in rocky ground.  Which gate the dogs are opening.  What row the melons should go in. 

And what instrument Beach would like to play. We started with what mom wants the Cello, Beach countered with the Harmonica, a Kazoo, the Accordion, and settled on Piano. But the transition wasn’t as smooth as that list alludes there are allegations of parental torture.
Another mis- understanding, what is Beach’s talent…she went from not knowing what the National Anthem was to playing it on the kazoo ALL DAY  L-O-N-G! 

The only thing worse than the kazoo is the fact that she can’t sing but doesn’t know it.  Children who burst into spontaneous creative song tend to have higher IQ’s than children who don’t & the parents of kids who burst into spontaneous song but can’t sing, don’t care about those theoretical last few points. 

“I want to go on America’s got talent.”
“What’s your talent?”
Had we both not been in the kitchen when she said it one of us might have managed something parental but together we giggled and snorted and smiled and tried our best to not pee our pants…      

We had some layovers too.
Colby’s parents returned last night from 6 mouths teaching in Europe.
 We did another Bird Cycle, turkey eggs  (stinky!) to the compost bin, baby chicks to the small coop, and built a new coop and run for baby turkeys Thanksgiving, Christmas, & When the Hell Ever.  But Gimp stayed in the Gimp cage in chicken limbo. *Taps playing on the kazoo* She isn’t really growing and we had to take the companion chicken Lady In Waiting out because she WAS growing and as it turns out she was a HE. Oh the Days of Our Farm, sigh. 

Found new pursuits. We finsished the last of the 1st grade work books which leaves us to finish 2nd grade over the summer. 
I developed two new habits.  One is weeding, the other is combing through abandoned blogs looking for answers as to what happened to make someone document their lives in some cases for years then without ceremony stop. I found some pretty disenchanting answers to human nature.  And silly me realized that life isn’t all that people may portray it to be.  I forgot this editing quality humans enjoy after all I am a magnificent scrapbooker myself and I was just joking with Colby the other day that on Face Book the house is finished because that is the way I crop the photos.
Finally got the last of the garden starts in the ground.
I made Beach really cool new curtains out of shredded strips cut from an old blue sheet (no photo, no camera).
Met new friends at a street carnival.
Played with old friends in the sprinklers.
Finished the 7th Harry Potter.
Made homemade fry bread & frozen yogurt.
Wandered the People’s Market with a friend, bought 2 lbs of strawberries, a handful of little treasures for Beach, and 2 birthday gifts.

Woke up this morning feeling a little sore from the war I’m waging against the weeds and the misunderstanding with the shovel.  A little over populated in house from the sleepover (still in progress), wishing for some hot dry solitude maybe a long slow run up a mountain.  “Are you not making coffee?” he asked.  “I don’t seem to be.” I answered.  His hand on forehead. “Go look in the mirror.” he says a little too sweetly.  Jaundice is so not my color but at least it doesn’t make my ass look big. 

Perhaps I will take the sick day avoid a misunderstanding with gravity and a major medial mishap, avoid a layover in the hospital and pursue the end of the book I’m reading and a bowl of Hot and Sour soup.  Do some research online about all the attributes of my future new camera. 

Put in the right frame today sounds rather promising. What was that old religious saying? God tells you to close the damn door so the Devil can open a window...I'm just joking I know it is the other way around God never does the talking, that's the Devil's job.                

Thursday, June 23, 2011

possibilities: a sampling of summer events 2011

Summer makes me want to live like a stranger in my own town, to wander timeless & nameless, unrestrained & nomadic. I think about cold water & hot ground, of blankets in the shade, long lazy afternoons reading, the glory of the garden, the smell of the trail through a pine forest.  With so many amazing things to do maybe the best of all is to do nothing.       

Our summer list of possibilities 2011

Hiking & Camping:

Around Town-ish:

  • Red Butte Gardens, hiking, & Shore Line trails
  • Liberty Park fountain & Tracey Aviary
  • Main Library
  • Riverside Day Library
  • Jordan River Park Nature Preserves
  • International Peace Gardens
  • Redwood Drive In
  • People’s Market (every Sunday)
  • This Is the Place Heritage State Park
  • Hogle Zoo
  • Living Planet Aquarium
  • Thanks Giving Point Museum & Farm Land
  • Ogden Tree House Museum

Festivals & Events:

  • Birds, Dinosaurs, and (The Lack of) Human Nature, Salt Lake City, Jul 07 Paleontologists have successfully made the case that birds are dinosaurs. This comes as a result of both numerous new fossil discoveries and ideas about the nature of species and classifying life. NMHU paleontologist Randall Irmis and philosopher Matt Haber will explore paleontology and new theories about the tree of life. Learn how discoveries in Utah shed light on these theories, what an evolutionary perspective says about the nature of species, and how this informs us about what it means to be human. 1-Kid-Free coupon to Hogle Zoo for all who attend. Phone: 801-581-6927. Event Hours: 7:00 -.m. - 8:00 p.m. Admission: FREE. Location: Salt Lake City Main Library. Address: 210 W 400 S, Salt Lake City.
  • When The Cows Come Home, Manti Jul 02, 3rd Annual (Meet at the Temple View Lodge, 400 North 300 East in Manti for this celebration of the old tradition of moving cows from winter to summer pasture along a well established stock trail that goes right through town. Parking available on the dirt road east of the Pioneer Dugout.
  • Movie at the Fort OgdenFree movies at the Fort will start at dusk. Food vendors will be on site. Come enjoy a canoe ride ($3/canoe for 1/2 hour) and the great outdoors while you watch a family friendly flick. Bring along a blanket to spread on the lawn or lawn chairs. Movies still to be determined. Phone: 801-399-8491. Event Hours: Movie starts at Dusk. Admission: Free, Location: Fort Buenaventura Address: 2450 A Avenue, Ogden Web Site:
  • Payson Scottish Festival Jul 08 - Jul 09.  Dance a Highland Jig to the bagpipes and enjoy athletic competitions, activities for children, a parade and traditional ethnic food. Phone: 801-891-6796. Event Hours: Varies. Admission: Free. Location: Memorial Park. Address: 250 S. Main Street. Payson Web Site:
  • Mondays in the Park Concert Series, Salt Lake City Jul 11 - Aug 22 Since 1987 the Folk Arts Program has hosted free, outdoor concerts of folk music and ethnic dance by Utah artists at the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts in the center of Salt Lake's Liberty Park. Bring your lawn chair or picnic blanket. Event Hours: Monday evenings, 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Admission: free Location: Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts Address: middle of Liberty Park, SLC; 1100 S 600 E, Salt Lake City Web Site:
  • Duck Creek Chili Cook-off Duck Creek Village Jul 16 - Jul 17.  Duck Creek Chili Cook-off held in Duck Creek Village (Hwy U-14). Come enjoy lots of food, craft booths, vendors and a live band both nights. For more information about the activities call 435-682-3330. Admission: FREE Address: Duck Creek, Duck Creek Village
  • Bear Lake Raspberry Festival Garden City Aug 04 - Aug 06.  The Raspberry Days Festival is an incredible event held to celebrate the harvest of the world famous Bear Lake Raspberries. The Raspberry harvest usually starts around the 3rd week of July and lasts 3-4 weeks. The Raspberry Days Festival is an annual event, which begins two days prior to the first Saturday in August. The festival is a fun filled 3 days with the Little Miss Berry Pageant, the craft fair with continuous entertainment, the Parade on the Boulevard, the Rodeo and 5K run in Laketown, the Pancake Breakfast at the Garden City Park, and ending with the fireworks on the Beach.  Location: Garden City Park. Address: Main Street, Garden City.  Web Site:
  • Family Art Saturday: Flying High Salt Lake City. Aug 13 - Aug 13.  Come and choose from a variety of kite designs from bugs to birds and embellish your kite with designs that are sure to dazzle the sky. Event Hours: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  Admission: free. Location: Salt Lake Art Center 20 South West Temple, Salt Lake City.  Web Site:
  • Moonlight Madness Beach Party at Gardner Village, West Jordan Aug 13 - Aug 13. A-lo-ha! Yank out your Hawaiian t-shirts and leis and don them to our version of a beach party and a huge savings event. Relish in the spirit of the islands through music, island dance shows, a delicious barbecue and shop activities. Enjoy valuable discounts, coupons and win prizes in each of our shops. The party goes from 6 pm to midnight!Island dance shows will be held throughout the evening. Times to be announced. Event Hours: 6:00 p.m. – midnight Admission: Free. Location: Gardner Village 1100 West 7800 South, West Jordan Web Site:
  • Cardboard Boat Race, Moab, Aug 22 - Aug 22. Make a boat out of cardboard and race it on Ken's Lake during the 2nd annual Cardboard boat race. Rules and Registration forms may be picked up at the library 257 E Center St, Mon-Fri from 9:00a-8:00p and Sat from 9:00a-5:00p. What Floats Your Boat? For more info call 435-259-1111. Location: Ken's Lake Spanish Valley Road, Moab.
  • Payson's Onion Days Sep 02 - Sep 05. Come enjoy a craft fair, carnival, live entertainment, and a parade on Labor Day. Event Hours: Varies Admission: Free. Location: Memorial Park 250 South Main Street, Payson. Web Site: 
  • Peach Days in Brigham City, Brigham City Sep 07 - Sep 10. Among the many assets of Brigham City is the history and heritage that exists. Started in 1904 as a day-off from the harvest and time to celebrate "an abundance of the best peaches in Utah", this city-wide event is the longest continually celebrated harvest festival in Utah, and is reported to be the second oldest in the country. Peach Days is an honored tradition that brings approximately 75,000 spectators a fun-filled weekend that the Top of Utah and Southern Idaho residents look forward to every year. The event takes place in September, the weekend following Labor Day. Address: Down Town (see website for specific locations), Brigham City. Web Site:
  • Utah State Fair, Salt Lake City Sep 08 - Sep 18th. The largest single annual event in Utah, the Utah State Fair, returns September 08-18, 2011 and It's All Here! Entertainment, food, events, and fun. The Dish Network Grandstand will feature FREE concerts included with gate admission . The fair offers more fun with livestock shows, a carnival, local entertainment, art exhibits, and more! Event Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10am-10pm and Friday & Saturday 10am- 11pm. Location: Utah State Fairpark 155 N 1000 W, Salt Lake City. Web Site:
  • Bear Lake Outdoor Heritage Days, Garden City Sep 09 - Sep 10.  Parade, Heritage Games, Kids Fishing Pond, Kids Petting Zoo, Pancake Breakfast, Friday and Sat. Concerts, Antique and modern gun display, Western art and exhibits. Admission: FREE.  Location: Garden City Town Center 69 N. Paradise Parkway, Garden CityWeb Site:
  • Cornbelly's. Price is $10.95 for regular admission and $15.95 for the haunted combo. For the general public, Cornbellys will be open 4-10 pm Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. -11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and all UEA Fall Break days. It is closed Sundays.  Event Hours: 4-10pm Mon-Thur., Fri-Sat. 10am-11pm. Admission: Bargain Pass: $10.95/adult & child. Thanksgiving Point 3003 North Thanksgiving Way, Lehi.  Web Site:

broken boxes

It happened slowly.  The foot steps, the hip shakes, the glance back at me through the mirror.  More steps, add music, & she turns completely around to glare me undiluted by reflection.  The parent next to me giggles at the sterness framed on the face of a child.  Jazz hands, one more combination, and that is it Dance is over.  Well not for the other kids in the class but for Beach who stomped across the dance studio jumped in my lap looking on the verge of tears muttering, “This sucks.  It is so not right.”

Okay, no harm done. I hadn't even rounded up a pair of not-pink dance slippers.  The gym rat doesn’t like Jazz- big deal.

“How about Ballet?’ I ask walking to the car.
“Ballet sucks!” The adorable 7 yr in a black leo says loudly catching the attention of a few men laying in the shade.
“Ice skating?”
“NO. And don’t say soccer.”
“I wasn’t going to say soccer.  But what went wrong?  You seemed to like dance.”
Yeah! Until they started dancing!”
It’s really too bad. 
She is a beautiful dancer. Please don’t tell her I said that she would never forgive me.
But the loss to the dance world is not my issue.  This is an unfamiliar childhood to me. With her the days of sampling sports & hit-or-miss activities are well behind us, long lost visions in the rearview mirror.  I feel like I didn't get a chance to say good-bye.  I suppose sitting at State watching her 'win' I knew something was being gained but I didn’t fully understand what was being lost. The other little girls from dance class caught us walking.  They flocked around her asking her to show them a back-walk-over, a handstand, a round-off.  She smiled at me over their heads. 
I think I can stop trying to find her something 'fun' to do for the summer.  I’m going to just stand here and pretend I am still leading us and she’s smart & sweet enough that for now anyway, she’s going let me.