Friday, July 20, 2012


Ah, friends.  I think this blog is about six years old or so.  Must be, since I started writing it after Nolie's birth, and next month, she turns six.  Unbelievable.

Every August, I have these blog posts printed into a book.  I read some of the old entries to the kids at night; others I don't.  But someday I hope they will read the books, and know how much they are loved, and maybe know me a little better.

But at this moment, I think it is time to end toddlerspit.  We are going through what my friend Helen calls a domestic apocalypse, and not being able to write about my whole self makes it hard to write at all.  There is a possibility we may make it through and stay together; it is equally possible we will not.  Either way, I want to be honest with you, to lay bare all of my fears and worries, ugly as they are, and yet can't betray confidences and details of what I am going through.  Not being real, though, does more harm than good, to me and to you.

I accept your well wishes, and concern, and love as I write this.  I know you are sending it our way.

Maybe there will be another blog in the future; maybe I will write a book; maybe I will just journal my way through this.  I don't know.  I have to let things happen as they will in that regard.

But I do know that writing this blog, and knowing that you have read it, and seen me a little better, and commented and supported and laughed and cried with me, has made me a better and more complete person.  Thank you for joining me on this ride.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Still uploading the bajillions of pictures from our trip to Idaho.  Bear with me.  I'm trying to keep things organized.

The girls with Nana D.  Nana D. unloaded some serious vintage doll furnishings on us since we drove up and there was some awesomeness with those that I hope to share some time, including a fascination I've developed with one doll in particular.

Yes.  I have a doll fascination.  Suck it.

Clearly, there was also some t.v. watching at Nana D.'s and Papa B's.  It's cool.  In summer, we roll wid it.

Nana D. and the ladies cruising outside Louie's, where we had our Father's Day brunch.  There were several entire tables filled with dessert.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Me and my Pops.  Who looks so much like my Grandpa it's scary.  In an awesome way.  And I'm starting to look more like my pops.  Which I'm also good with.

To illustrate, here's an old picture of Homer and Mugs.  Am I right, or am I right?

Chilling on Nana G.'s and Papa D.'s ginormous lawn with my beautiful nieces and handsome nephews, and the lovely Nana G.

Cousin Star!  With Nolie in the middle.  Cuz clearly she has a debilitating shyness disorder.

Cousin K. (my niece) and Nana G.

Brief interlude for the family reunion that happened between Addie and Scraps.  Scraps is her beloved stuffed dog who was left in a hotel room in Springville, Utah, and who had to be shipped to us in Idaho.  Lord, the drama.

The girls with their super-beloved Aunt A. I don't have a picture of my brother J.B.  Frowny face.  Let it just be noted that Nolie would not leave his side, unless it was to join Aunt A.'s side.  Those kids love them some Auntie A. and Uncle J.B.

Back at Nana G.'s and Papa D.'s for more total cousin deliciousness.

My beautiful sister and her boyfriend T.

My brother J., Papa D., and Aunt C.  Such a good, good bunch.  Dang those dang cigarettes, though.

The ladies!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


One of the things I didn't expect to see on the drive were the giant windfarms, one right outside Springville, Utah, and another outside Twin Falls, Idaho.

When I look at giant wind turbines I think they look majestic, awe-inspiring, even.  And, of course, there is everything they symbolize:  "clean" energy, progressive politics, moving out of fossil fuel gridlock, technological sweetness.  But I understand that for some people who live near the turbines, they are instead loud monstrosities.  Life cycle assessors argue that they are not 100% clean or "green."  For others, whose politics I generally don't agree with, they represent waste and fickleness.  One billboard we saw in Utah proclaimed that coal keeps the lights on (it does); another in Idaho argued that wind was "not cheap, not clean, and not good for Idaho."  They maybe have a point with the first, in the simplest sense, and as long as we don't consider how much coal-fired pollution costs.  But I'm not sure I totally understand the second two, unless they are making a point about mining of rare earth materials needed to build the turbines.  And given the boring flatness of Southeastern Idaho, I think having some windmills--a whole lot of them--is definitely good for Idaho, although that represents my limited viewpoint of that part of the United States, which is only as a bored and stiff driver trying to speed through it as fast as I can.

And those coal trains popped up everywhere again, too.  They were as constant a companion as the smoke from the tremendous fires in Utah and Colorado, which obscured our view of the mountains, escorted flames all the way down to the highway, and turned the sunlight an eerie orange.  Our car's thermostat finally gave out on the last mountain pass, and though it allowed me to push it the final few miles to coast into the driveway before finally overheating for good, it was hard not to see everything around us as burning up, on fire, overheated.

It is tempting to link all of this together...our dependence on coal, our refusal to transition to cleaner energy sources like wind, higher temperatures as a result of global warming (from burning fossil fuels), more pine beetles as a result of higher temperatures, more fuel for the fires, our car dying, the car as we know it dying.  All of that is true.

And then there's also the fact that so many more of us choose to live in or near the forests now.  That some of our "environmental" forest management policies in the past were ill-advised.  That "clean" energies are complex in their own ways, and that technological fixes are rarely the panacea we seek.  That I'm thinking all of this in my car, fueled by an internal combustion engine.  I can only see this part of the West because I choose to burn fossil fuels to get through it.

Still, I want to see more turbines, would be glad to see whole landscapes filled with them, anyway, prefer them to the ubiquitous coal trains.  I recognize the hypocrisies and contradictions and decide some contradictions are easier to accept than others, and that I personally choose to see turbines as progress, and the trains as leading us to darkness, not light.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


These girls are championship roadtrippers now.

But we also prepare.  Loads of books, workbooks, snacks, cuddlies, and...DVDs.

I used to judge people who let their kids watch DVDs on roadtrips, but I get it now.  It's that whole "I was a really good parent before I became a parent thing."  Sure, they miss out on seeing some cool sights:  the sheer walls of Glenwood Canyon, the pair of eagles circling high in the sky, the meandering yet powerful Snake River meeting us every few miles as we play our slow game of tag across Idaho.  But they also miss the stultifying flatness of Southeast Idaho and Northeast Utah, and when they watch movies I can listen to books on tape.  They fight less and enjoy the trip more.  That seems like a good thing to me.

I also remember being on long car trips as a kid, and I would get so carsick I'd need to sleep the whole way just so I wasn't heaving.  My kids don't get carsick, but I'm not sure what we think we might accomplish by forcing them to sit quietly with a book for eight hours, either.  Are we really expecting them to appreciate the sights of the American West as it whizzes by the car window?

What probably bothers us is this looked of zoned-out-ness our kids get when they are watching t.v.:

Of course, we probably look the same when we're vegetating, too.

I know we are less happy as a family when E. and I make parenting decisions just because they are easier for us.  But I think we also have to balance our values as a family--lots of reading, cuddling, talking, working, being outside, eating well--with the world we live in, which sometimes encourages DVD-enhanced road trips and stops at Burger King.

In other words, we try not to sweat it too much.  And this made for a pretty great 4 days in the car.  Or at least not a miserable 4 days.  We are officially roadtrippers now, and I love that feeling of mobility.