Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Events From the Last Day in McCall

The jet ski without a rider turned out to belong to the neighbors. They had beached their skis, but didn't tie them, and one had come loose and was floating about on its own at some point. They recovered it this morning. That doesn't explain the unusual boat activity of last night, but we did go in the water today and I can report that no dead bodies were seen by OM, OC, or myself.

Which is not to say that I did not actively look for one that may have been floating in our direction the entire time we were in the water. I don't have Generalized Anxiety Disorder for nothing, you know. The dock is old and part of it was flooded by the last spring storm so it floats lower in the water. I kept thinking what a great place that was for a body to become lodged, and then I couldn't get the imagery out of my mind. I managed to keep my cool because luckily, the water in the lake is nice and clear so if there was something in the water I would have seen it before it touched me. *shiver*

We found a park for OC today, which was enough to satisfy her insatiable park cravings for the moment. Other highlights included lunch at the marina restaurant in which the message was: Order at the counter you lazy, capitalist tourist bastards, then we'll bring the food out to you so it will still merit leaving a tip. We will not bring you anything else or check on your progress, however. Thank you. Leave lots of money. Goodbye.

What else...oh yes! A little more shopping in the stores in downtown McCall, more groceries from Paul's, (which I incorrectly called Ralph's a couple of posts ago. Ralph's is in Oregon. Please forgive my confusedness.) and some ice cream cones.

Right now I am stuffed full of basil, tomato and mozzarella pizza along with a giant bottle of Newcastle. I am waiting to have room to eat some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. (Yes, I had a huckleberry ice cream today but that was earlier, so looooong ago, when it was hot. Whine.)

The time has really gone by quickly. Tomorrow, we leave for Boise and catch our plane back to P-town. I can't believe that this visit is all I get to see my mom for who knows how long. I'm going to miss her, cranky (at times) and all.

Just Another Day in Idaho

So last night was weird. There were boats out on the lake after dark, which is very unusual according to my mom. We watched one boat go by quickly out in the middle of the lake, while another boat cruised very slowly near the shoreline past the house. There was also another boat that had what looked like a searchlight, and was out there for hours.

This morning, there was a jet ski in the water with no rider, floating in front of the house. That could not be a good sign.

Yesterday was fun, except for OC didn't get to go to the park. We are planning to find a park first thing today for the poor, patient girl. Yesterday, OM wanted to show me the bead store, which also contained paint-you-own ceramics, and while we weren't planning to do any painting, painting is what we ended up doing. For three hours. It got hot in there, too, so by the end OM was a little cranky (and she freely admits it, too, which is good because it was obvious :D).

OC chose a My Little Pony figurine, which she christened Serena Pinky Pie. OM chose a sun which can hang on a wall, and I chose a small dragonfly which can also be hung. Both OM's and mine are without names, because how can we top Serena Pinky Pie? They fire and glaze it for you, and we'll have ours shipped home in about a week.

It really is beautiful here. I hope the lone jet ski became unmoored and is not part of a tragedy. They have some strange ones here in Idaho.

There was the guy who murdered his wife, decapitated her, then took the head for a drive. He got into a bad accident along the way, killing a woman and her 4-year old and putting the 8-year old in the hospital. But he was fine, of course. He couldn't explain the extra head at the accident scene, however, so he was arrested and thus began the murder investigation. Apparently this has made national news but I wasn't yet familiar with the story. It's shocking. I can't get over the fact that he survived the car accident. That's not fair. But then again, life is that way.

What a crazy, crazy world. Meanwhile, I think I'll go spend some time in the magic shower, and think happy thoughts.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

At Least She Knows the Important Things, Like That There is Cable

OC: "Do we have cable here?"

ME: "Yes."

OC: "So that means there are cartoons on at night!"

ME: *sigh*

We are staying in McCall, Idaho at my mom and uncle's house. We escaped the oppressive heat of Portland (100 degrees) and came to Idaho where it's a more hospitable 88.

The house is right on Payette Lake, but the water is full of freezing cold snowmelt. The most we can do without getting hypothermia is get our toes wet and then go back on the grass to warm up again.

This house has the best shower I've ever experienced, and if you don't think there's any difference between showers (and I am only speaking of normal showers; crappy hotelroom showers with a wide spray that don't rinse you are not included) you are wrong. This shower has four heads. One up high, two on the side, and one that is removable, and you can decide which you'd like on or off or choose any number of combinations. It's like a car wash, that shower. All it needed were some shaggy blue spinning rotors and one wouldn't have to do anything to get clean except for get into it and possibly remember to tip the guy who dries you off with a towel at the end.

If you do happen to turn around while you're in there, you can look through the glass door, over the jacuzzi tub, and out the windows which look out onto the lake.

What I know about McCall so far is this: the brewpub has good beer and nice waiters who turn the tv to the NCAA college baseball championship game for you so you can watch Oregon State win. (OMG, they WON!!!)

Also, said Nice Waiter will give you extra whip cream to take home with your to-go box of black forest cake. This is useful information if you happen to go there with your mom and your daughter and your mom feeds your daughter, along with most of the frosting, all of the whip cream.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Touring the West


I am starting to live up to my (blog) name and am touring more of the occidental part of the world.

This weekend, we visited Long Beach, Washington for a friend's wedding. Tomorrow, OC and I leave for Boise to visit my mom. OH will stay behind, work at his job since he's the only one of us who has one, and try to keep the plant life alive in the 100-degree heat that is prescribed for tomorrow's weather.

I'm looking forward to visiting my mom. Since she moved to Boise we don't see her much. We don't have a lot of plans, just to hang out. That is fine with me. OC is so excited.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Steve Wouldn't Hurt Us!

*Blatant theft of clever dialog from current movie release*

*Okay, it's from Over the Hedge. Go see it. It's funny*

Something's different today. What could it be? I'm reading blogs and checking email like I do every morning, but something is definitely different. Missing.

I know! There is no background noise (really, it's foreground) telling me the number of the day. I also don't know the letter of the day, nor do I hear Prairie Dawn, Maria, Oscar, and the rest of the gang. Oh my god the tv is off!!!

That's right, I am typing, reading, emailing, in perfect, beautiful silence. My child is still asleep.

We really should do something about the computer being in the living room. Right now, it's the only place it can be if I want to be connected to the internet and I want to be connected to the internet as much as Michael Jackson wants to be surrounded by little boys. So, for now I have to suffer through background noise of PBS Kids. It gets a little distracting.

I've taken to posting at night, after OC has gone to bed. The only problem with that is I'm usually wiped by then, and can't put together an interesting post to save my life. (As opposed to other times...Heh)

Ideally, we'll set up the computer in another room, and have a faster internet connection to boot. There is always the fall, when OC goes to school for four hours a day. But I'm not counting the days at all. (68.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Water, Water Everywhere But the Garden Isn't Getting Any

I tried to be resourceful last night. I thought: put OC in the bath, get watering the rest of the garden done. The windows were open so I could hear her if anything went wrong. In retrospect, I could have killed two birds with one stone by having OC stand in the garden while I watered, thereby getting both things done. But, I'm not a big birdkilling fanatic, plus the water coming out of the hose was cold, so I stuck with Plan A.

It started out allright, but then I thought I heard crying. I went up to the window, and there she was. Naked and crying. I went inside to see what had happened. She wasn't hurt, but she was scared.

"What are you afraid of?" I asked her as we walked back to the bathroom.


"What, honey?" I tried again, but only got the same response. It took several tries to learn what was frightening her so badly. It was......volcanoes. She was afraid a volcano might erupt in the bathtub because volcanoes are round at the top, just like the drain. It's true we live in the northwest, ring of fire and all of that, but this was ridiculous!

Needless to say, watering was not going to happen. I coaxed her back into the tub and she got her bath with me there to ensure I could save her if the nonexistant volcano did indeed erupt.

This is not her first bathtime fear. Another time she was afraid a shark was going to come up the drain. I told her the only shark that could ever get into her bath was her plastic purple bathtub shark toy. She didn't seem to believe me until the bath was over and all was well.

I finished the watering after she'd gone to bed - in the dark.

I'm coming to see that she wants my attention - BAD - and so I'm going to figure out how we can both have what we want. We both need to spend time together, paying attention to one another, and I need to get things done sometimes in peace and quiet.

I think we can do both of these.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

1930's House

As I was hoeing corn this afternoon, I kept thinking about my great-grandmother.

I coined her nickname that we all called her, Grandma Squeezie. She grew up in Idaho and eastern Washington on farms with her parents and several siblings. They were poor, but they got by. Her birthday was April 14, 1905. She turned 7 on the day the Titanic sunk.

When she married, it was to a farmer and they had six kids. He was not a nice man, to say the least. He beat the kids and my grandma, too, but what could she do? She was completely dependent on him and isolated on their farm. They were poor, but they got by. They had crops, vegetables, and animals to take care of, and they killed, grew, or made from scratch every single thing they ate.

In the late summer the men got together and harvested everybody's crops as a group, and the women went out and cooked their meals so they could get the work done more quickly. Imagine that, cooking over a hot stove in the middle of the hottest months of the year! The only relief available from the intense heat would be a swift breeze containing slightly less intense heat.

When I knew my great-grandma she was a happy, sweet old lady who was talented at sewing, quilting, cooking and gardening; who liked birds; knew funny sayings and songs; and basically enjoyed life. I remember going to her house one day to stay. It was the day I discovered that I loved radishes. She grew them in her garden and they were the best things I had tasted. I kept asking for more, I loved them so much. I never knew she had such a tough life until she told stories about it, but even then it was with a smile and laughter. The really bad things I learned from my grandma and mom.

When I'm out there hoeing our four rows of corn, feeling my back ache and thinking about the watering I still need to do all while my daughter chatters on incessantly, I think of her. I think of how much more work she had to do, how many more kids she had, and how much harder it was. She didn't have the connection of the internet and telephone like I do. Even though she had neighbors and the community of the small town nearby, she didn't get out of the house very often. I wonder what she did have for relief? I know she wasn't married to the man of her dreams. I don't know how she survived. What did people do before or could bring books and designer clothes at a discount, respectively, to your front door without leaving the house?

After contemplating all of this I understand the relevance of quaint things like the quilting bee or the county fair. It was a necessary form of making and keeping connections, of seeing what all was going on outside the confines of your life. Life meant daily your hours were filled with manual labor just to provide for all your basic necessities. Forget about luxuries.

A luxury for her must have been some new fabric, some ribbon, or maybe a book. I can't even imagine, as I think of my craft box stuffed with crap I haven't even had time to look at in months, much less make anything with its contents.

It's a comfort to me to think of Grandma Squeezie's experiences. When I get frustrated, or feel isolated and overworked, I can't help but think I don't even know the true meaning of "isolated" and "overworked". She would laugh at me, in a loving way and point out how easy I really have things, and she would be right.

Happiness is an attitude, not a circumstance.

I realize how much truth that saying contains. I had never thought of it that way before. Happiness doesn't just come on a silver platter every morning, you have to work for it. I suppose that means it's more rewarding, and you get better at attaining it, but it really pisses me off. You have to work? For happiness??? It seems crazy.

The human experience has always included connections, be they cave paintings or quilting bees or a group of blogs on the internet. No matter who you are or what you do, you need other human beings to communicate with, to love, to share life experiences with. As generations grow up and time progresses, you just need to figure out what particular form the connection will take and reach for them.

For Grandma Squeezie, it was a barn dance. She figured out a way to survive her harsh life and remained a fairly happy person when I knew her in her later years. For me, it's a screen containing the heartfelt words of strangers, or an email from a loved one. They are my saving grace.

Monday, June 19, 2006


This morning, after I made breakfast I got a load of laundry going. Then I checked email, unloaded the dishwasher, put more laundry in, and OC and I went outside to work in the garden.

After lunch, we went back outside and worked in the garden again and also out front watering and getting an area ready to be landscaped with new plants and paving stones. We took a quick trip to the library, bank, and Home Depot.

The whole day, with the exception of part of the car ride and while in Home Depot, OC talked or sang. THE ENTIRE DAY.

Tonight, I was so annoyed that I cried while I washed the dishes and OC played in her room. Stupid, I know. It sounds ridiculous now. But my nerves were fried, my forehead was twitchy, my jaw was clenched, I had had enough. I sat down with her and read her four Angelina Ballerina books and then got her ready for bed.

I thought this went away once the kid grew up, because babies are notoriously needy beings. But a five year old? I thought they pretty much raised themselves. Or, at least, did so more silently.

I can't get any sympathy from my mom when I tell her about it. She just laughs and tells me, "She's exactly the way you were!" She says this a little too gleefully, I might add. This weekend we spent some time with OH's parents. My mother in law said the same thing about OH. (Dear God! What our biological children be like!)

On top of this, there have been more and more frequent episodes where she doesn't listen to me. When I ask her to do something, she argues with me. At first I liked how she was thinking for herself. It was creative, I thought. And as long as it didn't get out of hand I was fine with it. Now, it's becoming the principle of the thing for me. When I asked her to pick up her purse as it was getting wet in the stream of water that was coming down the driveway from the hose, she said, "It's okay if I just move it here." One inch away from the water. Twitch.

"No, I said, 'pick it up' so pick it up and let's go take it inside so it can get dry." AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I wanted to say, "Just do what I tell you and no back talk," because I totally understand where my parents were coming from with that.

All I want right now is to have an uninterrupted thought.

Everyone's in bed. It's silent in the house except for Dakota's sneezy breathing, and I'm too tired to think.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What I've Been Doing

I've been at home now for 14 days. That's two weeks. The thing about staying home is, there is so much to do! I've got the chance now to get caught up with unpacking and sorting all my things by either finding a place for them in the house or purging them from my life.

It sounds really dull, but the act of organizing my stuff is really a good feeling. To know where everything is, to have things put away and accessible when you need them, and to not have too much stuff....that is NOT the way I have generally done things in the past.

As a kid, I would hang on to most items people gave me and save it for later. When was late enough, I don't know. I came across a sticker that has made, oh, five moves with me in my adult life. Five! All because I was saving it to use on something really special. *Pregnant pause while I take in just how riduculous that really was*

I finally threw the sticker away because it was no longer special. It's specialness had passed.

My daughter doesn't have this problem. In fact, quite the opposite: give her a package of stickers and a piece of paper and she'll have the stickers gone in minutes. I am so proud of her, while at the same time I feel how new this concept is to me, and how obvious it is to her. Using what you have and getting enjoyment out of it in the moment, it's elemental, but it doesn't always come naturally.

It has only been in the past few years that I have really learned that life is about the now, not the tomorrow. Since then, I've been practicing letting go of the burden of Things. When I see something I really don't want but think I should keep, I ask myself if the person who gave it to me would want me to be burdened by something they gave me, or if they would want me to be happy. I decide they want me to be happy, and then I can chuck the item with a light heart. I don't feel like I'm insulting that person, which is how I used to feel. That's right, I kept things for the benefit of others.

I don't want to be a packrat. I want to have a clutterless house that feels good to occupy; a home with a few lovely items instead of a museum crammed with stuff just because I have attached so much sentimental value to everything that nothing has any actual value.

That's what I'm doing now, and I'm happy. Well, that plus taking care of our small garden and figuring out where to plant some new flowers. Nothing earthshattering, but it's all things I didn't have time for when I worked full-time. It doesn't make for very interesting small talk, but it does work wonders on the soul.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dueling Microphones

I'm back, baby! Got my modem driver reinstalled, and I'm typing this from home. Freedom! No more lame library "time limits", I can be online til the cows come home.

Tonight we had our own version of "Dueling Microphones". OH was giving OC a bad time because the other night I had her try on some shoes I bought for her a while back in a size that was too big for her at the time. I thought the shoes might fit now, but they are still a little too big. She wanted to wear them anyway (because they are Hello! Kitty...duh) and so she did. The thing was, she kind of clunked around in them, being as they are too big and all.

Tonight for some reason, OH got stuck on calling her Big Foot and she would yell back, "I'M NOT BIG FOOT!"


Many times.

As this went on (and on and on and on) and they chased each other back and forth in the house, once OC ran up to me I told her to go sing a few lines from "These Boots Are Made For Walking" (take THAT!). I gave her three lines, she repeated them once to me and then she was off to tell OH. He came back with something I didn't hear.

She ran back to me again, and I started to tell her to go say "Take this job and shove it!" but thought better of arming a sharp five-year-old with mildly inappropriate-for-her-age lyrics which will only come back to bite me in the butt at a later date. (Foreseeably that date would be her first day of Kindergarten, whereafter I will be known as the "Potty-mouth mommy". It's okay. I can deal with the label, but OC shouldn't have to.)

Instead, I told her to say a few lines from "16 Tons" as a way to express, you know, carrying a heavy load, i.e. her father's incessant teasing, to get the point across. (Because an metaphor-teaching mommy, THAT'S respectable and totally going to get her points with her Kindergarten peers! Yeah! She will be the Kid With the Dorky Mom. Woo hoo! Mission accomplished= I am a dillweed.)

My daughter, who never forgets to ask me while in a public restroom if I'm pooping or peeing, or to tell me even the most mundane detail of some random thought she once had, ran over to OH and promptly forgot the words.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hello, I'm Alive

I can post again! For several days now, Blogger has been giving me the cold shoulder. It's a long story, I'll sum up:

I don't have the internet at home right now because my laptop had a virus. I went to reinstall the operating system in order to wipe out the hard drive, but ran into an error message I didn't know how to get around. A nice young man in India from Windows Support helped me through it, however, and now I have a fresh new hard drive! However, because of the virus, I didn't back up anything from my previous system and so - no drivers. Yay! No, not yay, actually. It is bad.

So here I am, at the public library where I have come all week in order to check email and to post an entry to my blog. But hark, what has been happening at the library's computer station? I can access email, I can surf the net, but Blogger's site has been completely unfriendly and hasn't let me log on...until today, that is!

I have felt so...pent up, so unexpressed. Amazing how much writing a little blog entry makes everything better.

I've asked my husband to download the drivers at work and burn a cd to bring home from my laptop manufacturer's website due to the catch-22 of needing a modem driver in order to access the internet, where the modem driver that I need resides.......AHHHHHH! I hate catch-22's. Rather than a cliche of unknown origin (at least to me), they feel more like brick walls upon which I've been beating my head upon all friggin' week.

Other things of note this week: We saw "Over the Hedge". It's a great movie, but good for adults, too. Love the part where they pan out to show the earth and you see a little mushroom cloud of cheese when the animals open a bag of cheesy doritos. So funny!

Oh my goodness, I'm so delirious with posty goodness I can't even organize my thoughts.

I look forward to having computer problems behind me so I can go back to recording funny things OC says and does. She said something funny this morning, and I wrote it down on an envelope so I wouldn't forget and so I could blog about it. I left the envelope at home.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

First Day

My first day at home, and this is what I did:

- talked to my (only?) stay at home mom friend for like, an hour, catching up since we hadn't talked in years

- stopped at OH's work to bring him lunch; got kisses at 11 am

- went to gymnastics school to pick up schedule for OC

- picked up information and application for vacation camps for OC

- went to car dealer to pick up a part that broke off when I last had a flat tire, and found out why my car was leaking water (a plugged drain hose from the sunroof, and they fixed it for the dealer...Freaky, right?)

- had lunch with OC

- went to a park with fountains that we used to pass every night on our way home; OC checked it out to her satisfaction

- stopped at the frame store to have a poster framed which was a birthday gift for my father-in-law; $200 later, the poster will look great and will be ready in two weeks

- went to Fred Meyer and got odds an ends: a bigger pot for my Norfolk Island Pine, the plant my mom gave me when OC was born (it is growing well, just like OC); a filing cabinet for papers (we are about to be overrun with Important Papers That Must Be Saved But Have No Clue Where They Shall Be Kept); file folders; I forget what else.

Am currently enjoying a glass of red wine and thinking about what to have for dinner. I do not feel stressed out at all, but being gone all day made me feel like I didn't get much done. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

(Cue music from "Gone With The Wind"...)

I happened across a post from my archives the reminded me why what I am doing is the right thing. It is, and it feels good.

My wineglass is empty, gotta go!