Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Singing son said he thinks this blog looks crazy now and he can't figure out what is what anymore. "Change it back!" he said, over burritos at lunch yesterday. Well, sonny, you can't go home again. Especially if you never saved a copy of your old template, like some folks do.

Other changes:

1. We are painting our hall bathroom (blue) and our bedroom (green and lavender, which will either be soothing as all get out or will be reminiscent of the Jack Nicholson Joker of the Tim Burton Batman ilk. Or a little of both.). Our eminent housesitter and his able compatriots took down wallpaper while we were gone. They would have painted but the wallpaper was possessed of the spirit of the devil, and thus we are still scraping pugnacious little stripes of ancient wallpaper paste. Wallpaper begone! We hope to have painted by the time the weekend is through, hurray.

2. We bought a new dishwasher. I kid you not, the first thought I had upon waking, after dreaming, I'm pretty sure, about bok choy--why?--was this: I wonder if the dishwasher got the dishes clean? And lo, it did. The dishes sparkled. I'm considering washing every dish, pot, and pan in this house.

3. We bought a new swamp cooler. Our old one was rusting out at the bottom and every year when the historian climbed to the roof to get it going again, he'd say that we needed to get a new one and this had to be the last year. The very last year. We could have gotten refrigeration, but we did not because we're old fashioned like that.

4. We are cleaning and straightening like it's our job because the Scotlands are coming to American next week, and they will be here in the SLC for two and a half weeks. I will spare you all the cleaning details, but let me just say that my books are all on my shelves, mostly, and I have done the once over two or three times on some kitchen counters, and I have a list, I tell you, of the straightening and tidying and cleaning that must be done here, there and everywhere.

It was a big transition (read: change) when, on Monday, we came down the mountain into the valley where it was hella hot, especially compared to the mountain, and for one night, there was no swamp cooler. Luckily, there was a basement, because there is no sleeping in the room of the ancient wallpaper, the palimpsest of which is still, but only barely, visible on our soon to be vivid walls.

Monday, June 21, 2010


New entry on the 500 Words page: "Seven Days."

Now: who wants to guest-write a 500 Words piece? I know you have 500 words you want to say about *something*.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Blogger has static pages now. I will now pause briefly, so that you may reflect. Or maybe you already knew this, in which case, why didn't you let me know?

Here's how to make some static pages on your very own Blogger blog. In case you don't already know.

And now, I have two static pages: one, for my summer reading list, and another for a project I'm calling 500 Words (mouseover for links). I will spare you the background on the latter, but I am hoping to write several short prose pieces on various topics, to which I will alert the readers of this blog in the regular posts. There's one about Don DeLillo up there right now.

Carry on.

Friday, June 18, 2010


For a good two weeks at the Idaho cabin during an unseasonably cold June:

1. More wool socks than you brought.
2. A cozier sweater than you brought.
3. Piles and piles and piles of firewood.
4. The foresight to recognize that you're going to wake up to snow, therefore you should leave the heaters on.
5. Toast. A ton of it. And warm beverages.
6. Many, many, many books.
7. The patience to sit by the fireplace and tend it. Alternatively, a partner who exhibits that patience, aka The Historian.
8. Fortitude. And blankets.
9. Mittens.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Memo from Idaho.

Up the road, they're excavating a site where, formerly, there was a cabin. This was a place on the river--we used to use their pier to walk out to the water, and to clamber up after a river float. Now, there's a truck rumbling up and down, carrying away dirt and rock from that site. Eventually, maybe, there'll be a new cabin there.

In the spirit of home improvement, we have purchased two new mattresses. The old ones were pretty darn old--fifty years old, my dad says. Below, the miracle of a box spring, naked and still shiny. It was very springy, which made it not such an excellent mattress for sleeping. For making a lot of bouncy noise, it was awesome.

Hardly anyone is up here in the village. So we walked up the road past the cabins, at the moment unoccupied, to the river.

There are birds everywhere. We found a couple of nests in the eaves.

We also have burrowed in, with our food, our paints, our woolly socks (it's a bit chilly here), our cameras, our books.

On our evening walk, the birds let us get pretty close:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Overheard in a Subway in Malad, ID.

The historian: Sometime, I want to take the time to stop at all the museums.

Me: So, like, a museum tour of eastern Idaho?

The historian: . . . there's the one here. And one in Idaho Falls. And the one on the reservation.

Later, passing through Rigby, ID:

The historian: . . . Also, that TV and Pioneer museum.

The people, we are in Idaho.

Should you, too, want to take the All-Idaho, All-Museum tour, this will prove to be an invaluable resource.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Start the party without me.

The people,

I was in California for the last few days. It was glorious.

Yesterday, I came home to the historian in a bower of roses, and the leaping up of dogs.

Tomorrow, we will be driving to Idaho. I'm thinking at the moment of never coming back. Oh, except for the part about the children, the grandchildren, Bruiser, the roses, the farmer's market and the Scotlands coming to visit. Also, later, my job. Other than that, I will be staying in Idaho forever.



Tuesday, June 08, 2010

New thing.

My new camera arrived today. It is excellent:

Among its clever tricks: it can take high speed burst pictures. Tonight, I took a series of high speed pictures of singing son eating that are so hilarious I don't know what to do with myself, or these pictures. They would make an awesome flipbook. Perhaps I will get on that right away. Okay, you've talked me into it. Note: this flipbook will be available for only a limited time. [UPDATE: flipbook availability now over. Woe.]

In other news: after aiding college daughter by taking her car to get it inspected whilst she was laboring away at managing sandwich artists, I came home, let Final Cut Express teach me important life lessons, did the laundry, cooked some elegant and delightful white beans for dinner, read a story by Jonathan Franzen, and packed stuff for a trip to Sonoma County, where my oldest darling friend lives. Me and my camera are going to have a great time on our visit.

Monday, June 07, 2010


I know, I know. Who can stand looking at pictures of other people's flowers? Still, I am foisting them upon you. Deal.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

My afternoon at The Lowe's.

The Lowe's is full of items that will make your life better better better, such as pesticides and herbicides and cedar mulch and paint chips and rollers and frog tape and drop cloths and dishwashers and stainless steel-look refrigerators and hydrangeas. Full of such items, arranged in long, tall rows, each of which will cause a person to reevaluate an aspect of his or her domestic arrangements, such as, "Our blinds are stupid and one window doesn't even have them." Or, "Are the edges of our paint sharp or blurry?" Or, "Why is our expensive refrigerator so lame?"

The people, today we went to The Lowe's. At The Lowe's we:
  • put a "recall" on a new swamp cooler. This means that an installer guy will call us tomorrow or maybe the next day to set up a time when he can come give us a bid on how much it will cost us to install the new swamp cooler. Which we will, at that point, still have to buy. And then that guy or maybe one of his "crew" will come and install it. Do the math, and I think you'll see that it will be next November before we have a swamp cooler in. While we were doing the math, we moseyed on over to
  • the paint pavilion, where we took our green chip, our lavender chip, and our blue chip, got satin and semi-gloss paint, and ordered up three gallons, which, while the paintmasters were a-mixing them up, we sauntered down the
  • paint accoutrements aisle, where we gathered up a canvas drop cloth, plastic sheeting, frog tape, edgers, rollers, and brushes, after which we
  • investigated the dishwashers. We had an enlightening conversation with the appliance guy who explained the virtues of the nylon coated racks and the way the "dirty" interior would prevent rust (not sure I am buying this point), after which we signed some paperwork for
  • a guy to call us tomorrow or maybe actually Tuesday to set up a time when he could come install the new deluxe dishwasher, which we hope will actually "wash dishes" as opposed to rinse with hot water the dishes I have already buffed to a sheen under running water. The dishwasher itself needed to be ordered. Do the math, and I think you'll find as I did that we should be getting clean dishes by about August 15. After this we
  • went back to PaintLand, and found that the green and the lavender were ready but the blue was being difficult. I noted that the historian was possibly appearing a little pale due to the intense retail experience of The Lowe's. He assured me that he was okay, so we
  • waited some more. For the blue paint. And then,
  • the blue paint turned out great! so we
  • went to garden center because: cedar mulch! we needed more! So,
  • then we took our now-be-laden two carts and stood in line for a cashier who
  • frankly wasn't really a cashier--more of a paint mixer--but who gamely rang up our purchases and asked multitudes of questions of "Jackie," who must have been a cashier stylist, because she knew what to do with the "recall" and the "work order" (dishwasher). Finally,
  • we left The Lowe's only about an hour and a half after we got there, with a receipt about a yard long in hand, and stuff to
  • improve our dishwashing experience,
  • paint our bedroom and bathroom,
  • and possibly be cooler and more energy efficient sometime soon, oh please! Soon!

Friday, June 04, 2010

I think now is a good time to panic.

Don't you?

It all started with the brilliant idea I had to pay Danny, running son's friend, to strip wallpaper and paint our bedroom while we're in Idaho. What is this stage of life for, if not to pawn off work on young people and pay them the benjamins so they can afford to go to college and eat junk food and buy concert tickets and whatnot.

Tonight, as I was searching for the copies of my poems that had the notes on them from my writing group, so I could make a pass at the manuscript before I hand it off to my friend for her take on it, I was struck by a series of facts that had that duh duh DUH feel about them, aka, the sound of DOOM:

fact 1: in order that Danny may begin the project of wallpaper stripping, we must create space and maneuvering ability in the room.
fact 2: creation of said maneuverability will entail moving a LOT of stuff out of that room.
side fact: OH MY LORD there is so much stuff. what is the meaning of this stuff? why the stuff?
fact 3: ahem, also, I will need to move my clothes out of that over-stuffed closet.
fact 4: where will I put the clothes? and the furniture? and also the clothes? and don't forget about the shoes.
fact 5: not to mention the dust.
fact 6: and someone needs to choose the paint. and also: go buy the paint.

Ergo, I am awake at 2:45 a.m., writing this and revising my manuscript, and making a long list that attempts to cope with the limited number of days before we leave and the amount of stuff-schlepping that needs to occur, along with various family and social engagements, good heavens.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Open letter to the rest of the summer.

Dear the rest of the summer,

Although, technically, you are not summer yet, I nonetheless address you, the rest of the summer, because I know you can hear me. It's June 1, and everyone knows that June and July are summer, regardless of the actual solstice.

So listen up, the rest of the summer: there are a lot of things that have to be fit into you, and you and I both know that project--the "fitting stuff into you" project--will go much better if I am not freaking out every other minute about how fast you are flying by, how short you seem to be, how little of you is left.

The rest of the summer, I think we should come to an agreement. Here are the terms:
  1. Let's not think very much about how May is already gone. There's no point to that. I did what I did in May, the rest of the summer, and that's that.
  2. Let's linger over these June days. They are so fresh, so early, so pointedly not "the rest"--much more "the beginning."
  3. In fact, the rest of the summer, let's just have you wait over there in the wings--why don't you hang out over by the end of July? That would be a good time for you to discreetly signal to me that you're about to make your entrance.
Yes, that's maybe the best idea I've had in several weeks: hello, the first of June! why don't you dawdle over here with me while I plant the heliotrope and contemplate a hydrangea and plant some beans and buy another hanging geranium? The first of June, you are excellent company. You're the kind of companion that makes a person feel like summer is just starting. The first of June, let's have a glass of lemonade and read a novel.

The rest of the summer, I am building a wall of lemonade and novels and writing and Idaho and lazy mornings and heliotrope. An impenetrable wall, one that means I can't see you.

Ignoring you deliberately,



Related Posts with Thumbnails