Wednesday, August 23, 2017

truly dear

John and the boys got home on Saturday from their backpacking trip to the Wind Rivers.  Willa and I stayed home because I had just been gone for two and a half weeks and I could not be gone another day--I had to go to work and I had to make some house decisions.  Also I detest camping, especially the kind of camping where I can't shower for three days and I have to poop in the woods.  Camping in the best of circumstances is still terrible, and I always wake up hours before I want to, having to pee, and I lie miserably in my sleeping bag trying to go back to sleep until finally it's urgent and I have to stagger out into the freezing pre-dawn to the nearest outhouse which is never that near and I get dirt all over my feet.  Not for me, thanks.  But John and the boys had a wonderful time and supposedly it was very beautiful.  On their way out they passed thousands of people going up into the basin they were leaving, because it was in the zone of totality for the August 21st total solar eclipse.  I guess they should have just stayed a few extra days.  But then we wouldn't have been together for the eclipse, and what if the rapture had happened?  I would have been so cross.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

was our castle and our keep

We're building on to our house, so it will now be a 1 1/2-story Craftsman instead of a 1-story Craftsman.  I feel like it always wanted to be that way, and I've been imagining it and drawing  it ever since we moved in almost twelve years ago.  Of course it's insanely expensive, but only about half as much as it would be to build a new house of similar size and quality.  I was lucky enough to find an architect and a builder who both understood my vision and how important it was to me to preserve the Craftsman identity of my house.

I know it's greedy of me to want a bigger house, and greedier still to spend the kind of money I'm spending to make sure it "looks right." I was conflicted about it for a long time.  I might need that money to rehome refugees or hide people from the gestapo, and here I was, making a big old American house like the big old American woman that I am.  But unsurprisingly I was able to get over that concern and build my big old house.  Yay for self-justification!  If hiding people becomes necessary we'll figure something out.  As they say somewhere, probably England, cheer up, it may never happen.

In related news, the lawn and garden are thrashed, possibly beyond recovery.  We had to put in a new septic system, the flower beds are all squished, my river birch is probably dead, and the lawn hasn't been watered since the beginning of July because there's always wood stacked on it.  It's pretty grim, and it's going to be a monumental effort bringing it back.  It's okay though, because bindweed has infiltrated the front garden and it's so hard to control that it's probably better just to start over.

I got an email that my trees have shipped--I ordered a bunch of trees that are hard to find around here.  They come as little bare root sticks, and I'm just planting them for fun because they were super cheap.  If I get a decent ginkgo--or even better, a katsura--out of this experiment, it will be well worth the $35 I spent.

Friday, August 18, 2017

pain and panic at your service

What to even say.

I have a hard time believing this is the country I've grown up in, until I think back on what my country actually is and then it makes sense after all.  One of the most frustrating things about being an idealistic American is that when I look honestly at our nation's history I see that we've never really been the country we claim to be.  We've had a few shining moments when we did the right thing, when we championed our founding ideals, but it was often either too little too late, or motivated by the wrong reasons.

I've had no desire to post anything on this here blog for a really long time, and the election and its results just made everything worse.  I started this blog however many years ago now because I had stopped writing in my journal, and I wanted to get back into the habit, because I do think keeping some kind of record of one's life is important.  Record keeping is encouraged in Mormonism--in fact, I'm teaching a lesson about it this Sunday.  So I decided that in order to live up to my own ideals and to be a better example for my students I would start writing again.  Despite my frustration and embarrassment in the moral failings of my elected leaders, my terror at the direction our country is taking, my dread that we can't actually do anything to stop the rising tide of chaos, and my nihilist impulse to just sit back and let the animals and the intelligent machines band together and obliterate us all--despite all of these roiling emotions--I will do better.  I will write and record what I can and maybe I'll end up chronicling the final, deserved total annihilation of humanity.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

battle for freedom in spirit and might

Boy, isn't this the week for doing the right thing for the wrong reason, though?

The LDS Church just announced that they will no longer be affiliating with the Boy Scouts of America for their 14-18-year-old boys (BSA is the de facto young men's program for most wards in the U.S.).  Now, the LDS-run scouting program for this age of boy is a mess and has been for a long time, and I super-duper hate what a time- and resource-suck it is, and I hate the conflation of "Eagle Scout" and "righteous priesthood holder," and the end of the era in which our young men are conscripted into a program that they have little to no interest in can't come soon enough for me, but I would bet large sums of money that the only reason they're uncoupling at this point is because the BSA now allows gay scouts and leaders, and that's sheer bigoted rudeness.  The BSA even said that church-run troops could still exclude gay members, so this just makes it look like the LDS Church didn't want to be even associated with a group that has been infiltrated by the "gay agenda," or some such nonsense.

And if they're going to get rid of it, why not ditch Cub Scouts too?  They meet every week to do stuff they hate, and the pack meetings are just death, full of appropriative, faux-Native American language and ceremony and corny cheers that even the kids are embarrassed by and I HATE THEM.  Why don't they have a twice-monthly program like the girls that age have, with the same budget (which is a whole other enraging discussion)?

In sum, this week is full of conflicting emotions.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

see you on the dark side of the moon

America:  it was nice while it lasted.

What in the world is going on?  We seem on the edge of some really bad territory.  Is the skullduggery that's happening now more egregious than in the past, or is the Trump administration just more inept?  I listened to an interview on Radio West yesterday with the author of "Richard Nixon:  The Life," and one of the things he talked about was that Richard Nixon had been spying on people all along, it was just that the people who did the Watergate job were clumsy doofuses about it, so Nixon got caught.

On Thursday we sometime watch "learning movies*," because our kids are so desperate to watch anything at all on a school night that they're willing to put up with movies that they would riot about on weekends.  This Thursday I'm going to insist on "All the President's Men" so we can marvel at how time truly is a flat circle.

*this is a broad term that includes musicals and Mystery Theater episodes

Monday, March 20, 2017

she was a working girl, north of England way

The other day I heard Patton Oswalt say that since the election a friend of his has taken to greeting people with "How are you, otherwise?" I feel ya, man.  This morning the discussion on Radio West was about fake news and how hard it is to get people to believe things they don't want to believe, no matter how true they are.  And then you see the American public and the media so happily turn their focus to whatever new shiny thing the current White House administration throws in front of them without holding their feet to the fire on any of it and it's all pretty frustrating.  So otherwise I'm doing great.  Our family is mostly surviving adolescence, I have a job I love, and I bought a bare-root apricot three that looks very promising.  

I have moved from derby-ing to on-skate officiating because I have too many irons in the fire and I think my teammates deserve someone who is capable of forming a somewhat cohesive wall with them.  Sad, but necessary.  

I want to put three or four nice big horse troughs on the south side of my house and do container gardening in them.  John is really pinning his ears back about it, but I imagine I'll end up doing it someday anyway because I'm rude and dismissive of other people's opinions.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

they were bum poets as well

Well, what an interesting ride we are on lately, no?  Sunday morning I started crying about something else entirely--I believe it was the book we're reading as a family--and John, with concern in his eyes, advised taking a week off from the news.  I refused, and I'm glad I did because what a week this has been!  I am so cross with Jason Chaffetz, who I want to stop embarrassing Utah with his naked ambition and partisan hackery.

But more about the book we're reading--my sister gave us Echo for Christmas, which is a book for older children and is thoroughly wonderful and well-written.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It traces the pathway of a harmonica through the lives of a series of characters before and during World War II.  Delightful, engrossing, I love it and so do my kids.  Even Grant and Emmett, who try to pretend like they are too old for it, pay enough attention to know what's happening and ask questions and react to the events of the story.  There is a lot of symmetry with what's happening in our current world, and it makes for great discussions with the kids.  Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author, go get it.