Monday, August 28, 2006

Running son goes back to school. Also, college daughter.

It's been a quiet day around here. Running son, who would ordinarily wake up around now or so (early to mid afternoon), perhaps having run in the morning and perhaps not, got up to go to school today.

School gets more and more prescriptive, I note. A few years ago, they started sending out "Mandatory Attendance" notices as part of the registration packet. The gist of this is to let you know, as the slacker parent you no doubt are, that your kids are required, by God, to go to school, and that by signing the notice, you acknowledge that if you let your kid stay home because he's exhausted or only sort of sick, or whatever, that you are thereby evidenced to be a slacker parent who doesn't understand that kids are REQUIRED to be in school! This year, they've started a new punitive attendance policy, whereby kids who miss school have to pay for the privilege of making up the classes they missed. I should protest this ridiculous practice, but I am mainly hoping to outlast it, as running son is a senior.

He went early to talk to a counselor this morning. New rules: you can't just show up early to talk to your counselor! No! you must take your chances with the first-come, first-served after school policy for talking to the counselor. Now, I'm the last person to criticize public school employees, seriously, but come on, what are the counselors doing before school? Organizing files? investigating criminals? curing cancer?

Running son has issues with credit to work out. He spent some time in the public schools of Georgia, the upshot of which is that the Utah schools feel he should make up a semester of 9th grade English. We all swear we had this worked out once, but a counselor who was apparently having a really, really bad day (serious obstacles in the curing cancer before school endeavor, probably) said that our previous solution would not work. This means that we have to go over the heads of the counselors. Luckily, running son's dad knows all the principals in the whole state of Utah, basically, so he'll broker the deal.

Whatever. It will all work out, but I'm struck over and over how many ways school gets in the way. Even a kid who feels the summer has flown by and he's done nothing but run, sleep, and work at the movie theater gets a little excited at the beginning of school. He'll manage to jump through these hoops, and probably pretty gracefully. There are probably plenty of kids who won't. [note the previous citation of a civic dimension to a personal issue--does this improve my ethos?]

College daughter's first day of classes up in Logan was today. She's been working up there for a week and a half, clearly glad to be on her own again after a summer at home. The thing is, we all miss her around here. Cheers to the sophomore year.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Requiem for a meadow.

West Jordan City Municipal Code, Chapter 42, "Environment," Section 3, "Nuisances," Part 2, "Weeds, Refuse, and Other Deleterious Objects":

"Injurious weeds and noxious weeds mean those plants growing in an uncultivated state, not used for food, fiber or ornamentation, extending in height greater than 12 inches above ground. The term "injurious or noxious weeds" shall also include those plants listed as noxious weeds by the state commissioner of agriculture pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 4-17-3, together with such plants later added to such list.

"Nuisance means any injurious or noxious weeds, garbage, refuse, or unsightly or deleterious objects."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Was it a bad day, or a terrible day?

Actually, it started out as a pretty good day. All night, I woke up pretty much every hour, on the hour, but when I did, I kept hearing "Sisters of Mercy" by Leonard Cohen in my head. Which improved things, funnily enough. When I woke up for good, I felt only slightly shredded. I worked on my courses for awhile, went to a meeting where we both got things done and laughed. I came home and there were two dogs who were so damn happy to see me and who also wanted to share my leftover Thai food for lunch. My dad dropped by to bring me a cd with family reunion photos and the latest draft of a poem he's writing about one of our ancestors. Then, it seemed like a good time for a nap.

I was awakened by a knock at the door. On my porch stood a young man in a blue uniform. Postal worker with a package? or police officer? Dear reader, it was a police officer, come to deliver this news: the meadow (aka our front lawn) is illegal. "That wouldn't be considered xeriscaping," he said, not unkindly, when I ventured a tentative not-even-a-real-argument that we might be, sort of, xeriscaping. He gave me the phone number of the city office that could tell me what counts as xeriscaping in West Jordan, and we have fourteen days to get things taken care of. If we do, the case will be closed.

We're a case. An open case of illegal lawn activity.

Plus, my computer screen just informed me that I had made a "bad request." Bad request! Also, I'm trying not to contemplate which of our neighbors ratted us out to the cops.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Happy surprise.

While slogging away at my online class, which should have been finished and up for review two weeks ago, I stumbled upon a hilarious site: As it will tell you on its homepage, " is a small, inappropriately-named collection of random generators of stuff."

I will not tell you everything, and thus deprive you of the enjoyment of surprise. I will, however, tell you that on the "What Would Jesus Do?" generator, one answer the generator came up with was this: "Jesus would transform 500 llamas into a set of encyclopedias with nothing but a nail!"

You may not need amusements like this, but I do, especially in the middle of slogging away at my online class, which should have been finished and up for review two weeks ago.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My own private Idaho.

Okay, I'm pretty sure I've used that title before, but I'm too lazy to check, so it'll have to do. We're on our way in the morning up to the family cabin in Island Park. This time, it's me, the historian, college daughter and running son; over Labor Day, we'll add in a daughter and a son and their respective spouses, but subtract college daughter, who will be--that's right!--at college.

Even though I'm taking my laptop and will have some work to do, the thought of doing it up there, of taking walks and maybe seeing a western tanager or an eagle or a moose, of making a fire, maybe, of sleeping easily the way I do up there--all this seems heavenly.

So, there's late water soaking into the ground so nothing dies while we're gone; plum jam finishing cooking before I put it into jars; teenagers downstairs arguing pleasantly; the historian in his study, doing something at his desk; and my head buzzing about what to take, what last tasks to do, and what to forget till we get home.

And when I get home--or at least the night before we come home--I will feel like this:

Friday, August 04, 2006

Family reunion.

Yesterday, to celebrate the centennial of my grandfather's birth, we had a family reunion up Provo Canyon. Fifty-five children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren gathered at South Fork Park, which was beautiful yesterday, to eat and klatsch and eat some more. Then we all drove up to Heber to ride the Heber Creeper. This is an extremely slow, extremely old train that takes you on a journey of maybe forty miles round trip in three hours. The nice thing is that you can move around on the train and visit, there's an open air car, so you can track the beautiful Heber Valley as you're crawling through it, and if the day is not too hot, it's actually very refreshing.

Readers of the megastore will be fascinated to hear this bit of info: people in my family are all getting older. All the children have grown. It was nice, even so and despite this reminder of the ineluctable progress of mortality, to see everyone, to see the new babies and the growing kids. To wit:

Boyz of all ages prefer to play GameBoy, their form of klatsching.

These two people were born mere days apart!
(beautiful daughter on right; excellent nephew on left)

Dad, as eldest son, delivers obligatory pre-luncheon remarks.

Mom takes a slow train (to Provo)

The Historian rides the historic train.

More gameboy action on the train, with running son.

International singing star son and his lovely wife.

College daughter making the rounds on the train.

A passel of cousins in a tree.

More cousins in the river.

Meet my cousin, a new spook for the Company. I'll say no more.

The Jordanelle reservoir.

There's so much more--nieces, aunts and uncles, more scenery. It was a good day.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Counting on both hands.

Weeks till I'm back in class: 3.5
Days till I'm back in class: 25
Things I still want to do: a zillion
Amount of work I have to do to be ready for school: a big fat heap
Quantifiable units of dread at prospects of all the above: quite a few
Days I can still swim laps in the pool before it closes: 19
Half pints of jam I've made: 25 or so?
Movies I've seen: 19-ish
Percentage of the time I've made my bed in the morning: roughly 65%
Summer visits to the dog park: 50?
Dinner parties we gave this summer: 2
Parties still to give before it gets cold: 2--or more
How much random stuff I've learned through my efforts this summer: too hard to add up


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