Lakeview to La Pine (Monday)

All good things have to end.  It was clear that we couldn’t just hang out in Hart Mountain Hot Springs all week.  Hunters were doing it, and the sign said that you could camp for no more than 14 days in row (free!), but we figured we ought to make our move towards Bend where we would be meeting my sister and her family for some back-packing.  I am really looking forward to seeing Kendall and Keith and the boys.  This trip is really awesome, but I think my family could use an infusion of anyone else.  This is a whole-lotta-family-time.

Not much happened coming off the mountain (a little bickering, a little barfing—you know, average day in our family.  For the second time on this trip I found myself emptying the barf bag in order to use it AGAIN).  We did knock mud-flap like pieces loose on the Prius Fatty, both sides.  Fatty seems to have a weakness for rocks and gravel thrown up in her nethers, so both flaps had kicked bolts free.  Brad found some quick ties at a hardware store in Lakeview and reattached the flaps.  Quick ties make me think of juvenile detention where we were trained to use them in place of hand cuffs… know, in case you are short on hand cuffs but have a lot of people to restrain.  I think this was in case of a fire drill or something?  Man, I am glad I worked that job.  It gave me a wealth of terrible stories to tell.

brad fixes something

At the Safeway we debated buying the container of ice cream bars with the correct number for our family or the very cheap bulk container where we would have to eat 2 plus bars a cream bars

Brad won out with the cheap container by pointing out that $3 would barely buy a kid cone at our neighborhood ice cream joint.  How many more do I have to eat?!ingrid ice cream

We tried to give away the last 3 that we couldn’t finish, but it turns out that kids don’t take ice cream from strangers in front of Safeway, even if the strangers’s kids are also eating that same ice cream.  Children of today, I salute you!  You kept yourself safe from free ice cream bars!

Summer Lake looked way scummy, so we drove on by and on to La Pine.  Our destination was something called Paulina Lake in Newbury National Vocanic Monument.  It looked pretty.

newberry mountainIt was pretty.  We found a gorgeous spot on the edge of the lake.  Where were all the people?

It quickly became apparent that the people were SMART and decided not to be eaten alive by mosquitoes.  Oh dear.  We started suffering almost immediately.


I was being eaten alive, but determined to make something healthy for dinner.  Our lunch at Burger Queen in Lakeview had tipped me over the edge.  I needed something green in the cruciferous family.  We had kale and polenta, which was a hit with the kids.  I love my the stove that I borrowed from Kirstin and Jim.  You can really do quite a bit with it.  It runs hot, so pancakes are tough to keep from burning, but if you watch it quickly, things turn out quite nice.  I am really glad we brought the frying pan along.  It won’t go on the back-packing portion, but it is worth the space for the rest of the trip.cute There are these super cute little antelope chipmunks all over.  Brad proposed that they evolved to be cute which was an interesting idea to me.  He said that I would be freaked out if a rat was scampering around begging for oatmeal.  I’m not so sure.  I like rats.  I think that is my Chinese symbol.cold

In the morning we were so cold.  Frio!  Kids ate their breakfast under the mexican blanket.  I will admit that I sat on the warm frying pan (when I was done cooking on it).  I also put my water bottle full of hot tea up my shirt.  I have no shame.  It was cold.

Today (Tuesday) should be the best day ever.  Lava Caves and High Desert Museum.  What can beat it?



Not an Iguana, take 2

Thanks a lot, Brad.  You ruined my build-up.

What I wanted to say next is that it is such a pity that we don’t really listen to kids as much as we should, but that statement doesn’t make as much sense in this context as I have not been allowed to spool out my yarn at my own pace.  And now I am irritated and can’t figure out where to start this story again so I am giving up for the day.

Keee-razy Time

My darling Clementine finally tracked me down this evening and as we were catching up she asked what I’d been up to lately.  I took a big breath and…. well, I don’t really know.  I’ve been really busy with something.  I’ve been doing something, right?  I feel all stressed and crazy, but it is hard for me to quite grasp why that might be.

One of the big things that is taking up a lot of time is my new “volunteer of the year” teaching plan.  I don’t know who developed this one… it wasn’t necessarily good.  The thing is that our little school finally got a kiln.  I am somewhat responsible for that happening and I am proud of that.  Sometime around January I sent out an email to all the teachers saying that I would come into their classes and lead ceramics projects in the hopes that everyone would start to utilize this tool.  I didn’t hear much from them back then, but now that it is nearly the end of the year, everyone wants me and guess what?  It is a lot of work.  The classes themselves are not too time-consuming.  They usually take about an hour and a half.  It is the prep and the clean up that is the killer though.  Each class requires that I wedge the clay that is about to be used—- that’s 30 balls of clay.  I wedge fairly quickly, but that is still a good 45 minutes of work.  Hauling things hither and yon is time consuming too.  I have some supplies at school, some things in the art room or the kiln room, and those two places are nowhere near each other.  When the class finishes its work, there are 30 pieces of art to find room to store.  That sounds simple, but it is no small feat.  And then when the work is done there is loading and firing and checking on the kiln.  All these little things add up to a lot.

Okay, big segue here–

I did finish Brian Doyle’s Mink River lately.  Great book about a fictional town in Oregon that by my read of the local landscape is just about where Neskowin or maybe Neahkanie would be.  The town is almost right, although Brian Doyle not being from those parts tends to make it sound much prettier than it could possibly be.  No story about those rural parts of Oregon is complete without a lot of single-wide trailers.  And ugly houses barely hanging on with tons of cars and scrap metal in the yard.  And mean dogs.  And signs that say “Rabbets for sale: pet or meet”.  And the town had a “pub” which is wrong, wrong, wrong.  It would be a dark, windowless “tavern” and we all know it.  Why in Willamina, the tavern is called “Dillon’s”.  Poor guy can’t even spell his own name; he certainly wouldn’t work in something as European sounding as a “pub”.

Anyway, I loved the book and am very proud of Brian Doyle, Portland author made good.  Doyle likes lists… a lot.  So in order to organize my reflections of my business, I shall list what I’ve done this week.

Monday- run, shower, yell at kids, pack lunches, move ceramics around, haul 50 pounds of clay (on my bike!), drink coffee with neighbors, meet the assessor, oh-it’s-hot-out, go to school, fire the kiln, grab Francis, lunch with Inez and Francis, doctor’s appointments, shots-shots-shots, run to the library, pick up Zephyr, pick up clay for home, drink a beer with neighbor, help Francis make dinner, meet Anne, make art, put kids to bed.

Tuesday- why is my arm all hot and swelling up to twice its size, stupid bee sting from Sunday, put toothpaste on it, put lotion on it, put alcohol on it, put Queen Helene mint masque on it, what time is it anyway? (3am), go back to sleep, wake up, try to get kids off to school, nope—no bike train leader, okay, be the bike train leader, ride kids to school, ride them to “Safe Routes to Schools” event ’cause we heard there were donuts, eat donuts, yell at kids, now ride them to school, check kiln, still too hot, go home, haul rocks, work in yard, mow lawn, paint bat house with Inez, nap Inez, laundry, laundry, laundry, hang laundry, pick up Zephyr and Francis, play outside, harass Zephyr about violin, keep kids from dying on bikes in road, yell at kids, visit with neighbors, cook salmon, release chicken from raccoon trap, mess with broken shed door, move tools around, try to convince Zephyr to quit crying, try to convince Zephyr that he DOES NOT have a dance recital that night, try to comfort Zephyr, threaten to put Zephyr to bed instantly if he does not quit howling, talk to neighbors (“he didn’t have a dance recital, right?”—he didn’t), OH THANK GOD ALMIGHTY BRAD HAS RETURNED FROM HIS BUSINESS TRIP!  Take a benedryl for my arm which makes me so high that I can’t hold my eyes open.  Asleep by 9pm.

Wednesday- what is that racket?  Cat in raccoon trap ripping apart the thing, make breakfast, make coffee, late opening means kids are home 2 more hours, work outside, sweep walk, hose down walk, finally pick up bat house painting supplies, fill washtub with dirt, plant snap peas with kids, plant cucumbers, water, water, water, try to take kids to school–whoops too early, take kids to school, walk to cafe, meet Kendall, drink coffee and relax, walk home, babysit neighbor kid, plan curriculum for volunteer class at church, read disconnected story in The Sun magazine, look at neighbor’s photo albums, pick up kids, lose kids while talking too long to a teacher, talk to another teacher, talk to another teacher, plan ceramics classes for tomorrow, open kiln, distribute work, get impatient with crying children, walk home, finally make peanut butter sandwich for “lunch”, turn around for violin lesson, learn about wrist angles, come home irritated and exhausted, contemplate weird food in refrigerator, what can I do with celeriac cheese and beer?, babysitter shows up early (yes!), leave her with problem of dinner, go out to dinner with Brad, go to gospel choir….


I am tired of my lists.  I am going to bed.

I’m Touched

My insurance company cares deeply about me….I guess.  I just got this glossy catalogue in the mail all about dealing with arthritis.  They must look at medical records or something, so they know all about me.

You know how you can learn things from media without even reading the text?  Here is what I learned just by looking at pictures that are hoping to depict people dealing with arthritis:

Exercise, even if it is sort of lame and you are sort of shubby*, is good for you.

*  When I was teaching, a student wrote an entire essay about how her friend should feel good about herself even though she was “sort of shubby.”  This spelling cracked me up.  It sounds so cute, so non-threatening, so fuzzy.  I did not tire of reading it, ever.  Then I read it to Brad.  Then we started calling ourselves “shubby”.



You can have arthritis, even if you are Black!  Arthritis, not just for white people anymore!










Think of some good one-liners to use on your doctor when you see him/her.  You might even get better care if your doctor thinks you are clever!  Don’t forget, they don’t want to see you sad!


And finally:

Just because your body is screaming out in agony does not mean that there are not hot, romantic moments of SEX coming your way SOON.  It all starts with a little two step.  Take your aspirin so that you don’t miss out!

First World Problems

Today I have been plagued with a  whole host of what a friend calls “First World Problems”.  First World Problems are all those things that have a first world mom completely at wits end, but upon reflection are kind of stupid.  I lost my debit card.  Inez wrote on the wall.  Francis has all these weird “developmental” dental problems that even though the dentist didn’t actual say were my fault, I can’t help but think mean that I did something wrong while she was in the womb.  Inez grabbed strawberries off the shelf in the store and dumped them on the floor.  Then I had to buy them.  I found myself saying, “This is NOT how you get strawberries” even while realizing that her method actually worked quite well because I got distracted and let her eat them.  Zephyr was late to school because of the slow dental appointment.  Zephyr can’t seem to walk through a store or down a hall without hitting or kicking something.  My son is a spaz.

Oh Third World Mothers, give me perspective!  Today I had clean water.  Today all my family had enough to eat (and have the energy to be naughty).  Today my children went to free public school!  Today my children are safe.

Bless you third world mothers.  Help me be less of a whiner please.

Wasted Year

I found them, then tucked them away.

They were close, but too large yet.
They were a find!  They were cheap!

I brought them home, tried one on a sweet little foot and decided,

Maybe next year.

Then into a bin, clicked on the lid, and shoved under the bed

to wait,  a jewel to present when the time was right.

Now, I pull them out, find the foot in question.

They fit!  Just right!

But wait.  One foot feels a little wrong.

My pride wilts to chagrin.

What the hell do I do with two left feet?



Lord you have blessed me with children, but I do not want 5 of them.

My two nephews are staying the night.  They are perfectly lovely kids.  Really.  There is nothing wrong with them, but when paired with the chaos that is already present around here, it is… enough for angry face.  Someone peed in a board game, two someones rubbed diaper ointment all over a window, the same two someones took scissors to a philodendron, and then emptied an entire kitchen cabinet.  Someone else emptied the entire basket of trains….wait!  That was me!  (Now why did I do that?  I’m sure I had a good reason to do that.)

Zephyr this evening took a fork to one of my very expensive dining room chairs.  Then he lied about it and said Inez did it.  The hilarious thing about the lie was that I misheard him and in an attempt to clarify said, “She scratched the chair with a knife?!” and he answered, “No, a fork”.  Who had the fork in his or her hand?  Zephyr.  That is the problem with lying.  The minute you give details, you enter the problem zone.

Brad is completely incensed by lying.  He is entirely upright and ethical.  He sees no reason to lie EVER and accuses me of dishonesty for all sorts of minor offenses.  He was disgusted with me when our kids bit holes in an expensive toy of a friend’s and rather than tell the friend, (who I knew would say–“No big deal!”) I just replaced the toy with a matching one.  “Dishonest!” he bellowed.

He is not upset about the chair, but heaped on punishment for the lie.  I am upset about the chair, but I sort of understand the attempt at lying.  It bothers me in a sort of cosmic way, but I understand why a kid would try to dodge the bullet.  I also understand that lying WILL screw you over.

Not can but WILL.  I have gotten caught for every lie I have ever told, (except to Brad for the purpose of surprises and such—those always work.  He is incredibly credible!), so I guess when I punish the kids for lying I only want them to understand that lying makes things worse, not better.

Zephyr was feeling the pain tonight.  He was sent to bed right after dinner, and his computer password was changed for the week (No!  Gasp!  This is really akin to cutting off a hand or something.  I swear the kid seems to have one week of computer privileges and then lose it the next.  And Brad who would seriously die if someone removed his computer privileges seems to have no problem banishing the offender.)

I had better be good this week.  No lying!  Never!  Not even when I tell my sister, “It was easy!” tomorrow morning.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Just thought I ought to tell you—yeah, I’m fine.

It’s hard when you quit writing for awhile and then try to start again, but find that maybe you need to waste a bunch of time writing about why you weren’t writing, writing about why you should be writing, etc.  Brad’s cousin’s wife did this really sweet (like awesome) summation of her year—6 parts and beautiful photos to boot.  I was impressed with it, but couldn’t pull that off.

I thought about my philosophy of art too.  Maybe people are really dying to hear about that! I composed lengthy and elegant musings on what it takes for a working individual to have something left over to create—in my head.

For the most part, my excuses are boring.  I got sick.  I actually had more art to do and less time to write about it.  The kids are unrelenting.  (Did anyone tell you that when you were younger?  I just want to make sure that everyone hears this.  Guess what?  KIDS ARE UNRELENTING.)  I’m freaking tired.  Just finishing the laundry and keeping the house running is sometimes too much for me.  I didn’t feel too creative.  I got hooked on this awesome YA book series and would rather that the author just downloaded his crazy ideas to my brain than to have to work to come up with any of my own (Uglies by Scott Westerfeld).


But, I’m here.  I’m fine.  I’m even kind of happy.  I just didn’t have the energy to tell anyone about it.  But now, I’m gonna’, I’m gonna’, I’m…oh, we’ll see.

Neck Trauma

If you get on line and look up health information, you find a bunch of hypochondriacs bitching about their bodies and using technical terms like they got a PHD in their spare time but decided not to use it.  In order to avoid sounding like them, (because really they make me cringe), I will be brief.

My neck and shoulders have been hurting more and more recently.  I thought that this was just how it goes having little kids and all.  I went to a chiropractor because there was a “massage available” sign out front—and that is what I was really angling for.  Rather than giving me massage, (which I wanted RIGHT THAT MINUTE!), he did the more forward-looking thing and took an x-ray.  Turns out that my neck is all f-ed up.

It doesn’t work well to try to photograph an x-ray, but I can tell you about it.  This condition has a name, which I would drop, but I don’t want to sound like those people….  essentially my neck has lost its proper curve and is now going the wrong way.  In the x-ray, the doctor drew in something like where my neck should be going.  Mine is curving towards my face rather than towards the back of my head.  Where the flash of the camera ended up with where my spine angles in (yuck).  And my vertebrae are getting all smashed and pointy with bone spurs.

I knew there was something not quite right about my neck, but I always just thought of it as sort of delicate, the result of a terrible car crash in my early twenties.  The chiropractor says that I can go two different routes— pain management or an attempt at correcting the curve (which might not even work).  I know some people have had very good experiences with chiropractic arts, (and please tell me about that if it is you), but I have always been skeptical.  I realized that as a strong believer in midwifery, that might be ironic that I am not as comfortable with chiropractors who are essentially the same thing, specialist who don’t prescribe drugs.

Anyway, I am depressed and bizarrely my neck and shoulders REALLY ACHE all the time.  I think some of the constant pain might be that I am so freaked out about my neck that I am trying to maintain good posture all the time plus sleeping on my back a little more.  Anyway, I have an appointment with a spine specialist next week for a second opinion before I have to decide what direction to go in addressing this.  Oh man, it is hard to get old… especially when you are still young.

Babysitter Survey

I recently finished Ayelet Waldman’s new book Bad Mother. While I enjoyed the book, I wasn’t much impressed with the various things that she listed that made her feel like a bad parent.  My theory is that any parent who offers up their “bad mother” story is really only sharing something from the middle ground.  Most people wouldn’t pipe up with the real dirt as those parenting “dark moments of the soul” are not so funny and make for pretty terrible anecdotes.  You want to make all the mommies at the playdate fall into an awkward silence?  Share one of those!  “This one time I got so sick of him throwing bark dust that I grabbed a handful and crammed it down his throat!  And I didn’t stop until he was screaming and barfing up bark chips!  With blood!  HA ha ha……uhhhh, yeah.”

Oh wait a minute.  This isn’t suppose to be about my problems!  Anyway, Ayelet in a very offhand manner said one thing that I have pondered much this last few weeks.  It isn’t even one of her major points, but she asked when it became inappropriate to ask babysitters to clean up while watching the kids.  I thought about this a bit, because while I seem to employ many babysitters (and often), I haven’t really thought much about what I am actually expecting them to do.

The young women I am using right now all seem nice.  They all seem to like kids, and yet, no one seems to know how to put away food after dinner, or get kids to bring dishes to the kitchen, or pick up toys or projects around the house.  This wasn’t too big a deal until I found myself repairing the damage of being gone—for two hours one day.  I had only been out of the house for 3 hours.  How could things get so messed up?

And so I ask you fair reader—  if you were ever a babysitter, were you expected to clean up after dinner?  Or did you clean up even if not asked?

If you are a parent, do you ask your babysitters to clean up or put away food?  Or are you just glad the baby is still alive when you get home?

Weigh in—let me know.