Saturday, July 28, 2007

Notes from Idaho

First, I think that could be a Hemingway title. Okay. Here's some things I've been thinking of.

Things not to talk about at wedding of high school friend:
  1. God: How did this happen? To my credit, I did not bring it up. A friend from high school's husband began talking about how he wanted to take his kids to church. For some reason, I couldn't quite believe it. Maybe because he never struck me as the type. And, maybe it's just me, but I think when your oldest is 15, it may be too late to try to force them to go to church.
  2. Pedagogy: I'm not sure how this came up, but I managed to throw it in. My friend, who also has a PhD, said something like "don't get all fancy on us" affecting an Idaho-hick mentality that he surely does not own. Oh sure, everyone else can talk about something where I'm excluded (fishing? world cup soccer? sword fighting?) but when I say a long word I'm accused of being elitist. The world isn't fair.
  3. Friend's high school romance life: Who knew that relationships one had twenty years ago (and I use the term "relationship" loosely) should not be mentioned because husband's can get jealous? (I do have to mention, however, that friend threw herself down on the grass to imitate herself some twenty-plus years ago during an REO Speedwagon concert, bawling on the floor because of some guy who, even when mentioned by name, I couldn't remember). This was not the friend who was getting married, but a different friend.
  4. Various drunken outings in Salt Lake City: I was telling friends about how bad I was two years ago, so bad that MB still mentions it as my "bad night." It was hilarious, only because they seemed so horrified about my behavior, behavior that, I might add, I no longer feel bad about. (which should be its own post, so rarely does it occur)

In general, my friend's wedding was lovely. Her parents were excellent hosts, the food was great, and I love me a backyard wedding. Another friend said, after the wedding, "well, that was a cute little wedding" and then proceeded to tell me how her own marriage was flailing (this was the friend whose husband gets jealous about high school boyfriends). I, however, felt that the wedding was perfect. I decided I love it when older people get married (and by older I mean my age or older). I love it because the couple is not naive, not starry eyed and are generally so grateful to have found each other. With this in mind, I have to say that my own favorite married couple are HighTouch and The Historian. I have never heard either say even something simply "nice" about the other. They always gush about how wonderful/amazing/superb/incredible the other is. I aspire to be like them. I, too often, say negative things about MB who, I might add, doesn't really even miss me. (sniff, sniff)

So for anything negative I've ever said about MB, I take it back. He's a prince of man, a genius, obviously, and if he can put up with me (the worst kind, high maintenance but I think I'm low maintenance), then he deserves an award. Or at least a week or so of pure batch.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm Home, Briefly, Before Returning to Idaho

First things first: PIE!I ate this delicious little rhubarb-berry concoction at the Almo Outpost in Almo, Idaho. First we had burgers, which were good, and then I ate this. It was yummy.
This is Son wearing goggles on the shores of Lake Alturas. He did get in the water, for the record, but he did not need the goggles.
My favorite recent pic of Son. Note the ice blue eyes. This was after he got in the water. The only reason he got in the water was that MB was out there holding a bag of M-n-M's. They were the disgusting white chocolate variety which no one else wanted, but MB was able to lure Son in to the water with the promise of the whole bag for himself, which he quickly consumed. MB accidentally bought them thinking they were the Almond kind. He still hasn't learned to read a label, but maybe someday he will.

We had a great time in Idaho, visiting with friends. My friend, who is married to the climbing ranger at City of Rocks, is a friend from junior high. She got out her yearbooks and reminded me of a prank we pulled on two (nerdy) girls who lockered next to us. We wrote them love notes from a supposed boy who liked them. (mean!) I had blocked this out of course. I remember all wrongs done to me, but have suppressed all the cruel things I did. I guess it's how we move on. But I also read what I had written in her yearbook, something like "we'll be friends long after all this is over" or something, which turns out to be true. Of all my childhood friends, I think she is one I have the most in common with now. She and hubby bought some land in Almo and they are going to build a straw bale house, which I've always wanted to do. I hope she calls me so I can come out and help!

Hailey was awesome. None of the icky grossness of Ketchum and Sun Valley, with all of the beautiful scenery and amazing food. We ate our weight in grilled meat (hamburgers from a ranch that Mark recently acquired as part of his job at the Nature Conservancy. Grass fed!), lamb chops (from local ranch, Lava Lake), and grilled veggies (heirloom potatoes that were sublime!). We also ate a ton of salsa from a local place, and went out for Thai food. Oh, and we drank real beer. I bought a pie at the farmer's market, which was great, but sorry, no photos. It was a mixed berry pie. We also ate wraps from a Ketchum place, Wrap City, which renewed my interest in the wrap as a food category.
The highlight was Lake Alturas, which we will definitely return to in the near future, hopefully to stay for a few days and camp and hang out at the lake to work on our tans and read fiction that's trashy, but only so trashy. It's not the ocean, after all.

Friday ErinAlice flies in with family in tow to begin the two week family festivities. We will go to Inkom, then to Island Park with side trips to Yellowstone. Then back to Inkom, where we will be joined by Sister 2, then Sister 1. We have a night of margaritas, guacamole and whatever else planned. Then to Lava for a few days before the big birthday bash for Sister 2. Then a big retirement party for Dad. Then we return to life as we know it, which is basically a long, screeching downhill slide into SCHOOL. (but I'm going to block that out for now)

Sunday, July 08, 2007


We're off for some slightly cooler weather in Idaho. We'll be visiting a friend who lives at City of Rocks, then off to the Hailey/SunValley/Ketchum area for a few days to see some grad school friends. We hope to do a lot of hiking, and maybe some activities involving water. I also hope to have a good, old fashioned breakfast involving biscuits, and maybe eat some pie. You know how I love pie.
We'll check in next week. Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I love most holidays, I do, especially ones that primarily focus on food. This is why, in some ways, I prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas. Except for the fact that I usually see my family at Christmas and only sometimes see my Dad at Thanksgiving, but not always. But this year, I didn't see my family for any of the winter holidays. I did see my Mom and ErinAlice at Spring Break. And we went to Idaho to see my Dad for Memorial Day.
In spite of all that, I find myself somewhat melancholy this 4th. I'm not a big lover of the fourth, and I don't love the fireworks (especially this year, as I anticipate a Gus freak out), but I find myself a little sad. Maybe it's because last year we got to spend it with Otterbutt and ThirtyOne Flavors and children. (Son was talking about all the fireworks he did last year with "Camme"). Maybe it's because we weren't invited to any barbecues. Maybe it's because I didn't get it together enough to make either potato salad OR any kind of pie.
But really I think it's because I think of the fourth as a holiday that most people spend with their families. And we spent most of it inside trying to stay cool. I did watch some Wimbledon (a family tradition), and we did make some hamburgers with corn and potatoes (everything cooked on the grill, of course).
Maybe it's because I feel somewhat isolated and like a shut-in. I'm not trying to feel sorry for myself, but we don't really have a "group" of friends that we hang out with all the time and would, naturally, spend the Fourth with. We do have friends, but they are all from different groups (cliques?), not really forming a coherent whole. We don't really have people over (except sometimes we do). We don't really go out for drinks with certain people or go to bars (much) or etc, etc, etc.
I guess our social isolation is partly an effect of being a parent (babysitter? What babysitter? Ours is in France). And it's partly an effect of being writers who are trying to write this summer. We haven't been on the phone inviting people over. But partly, I think, it's an effect of the environment where we live. Lots of people here have lived here for a long time and have lots of friends that they have had forever. OR they spend holidays with their families.
I felt this way when I lived in Seattle too. But there, perhaps because I was single and very social, I made friends with other people who had recently moved to Seattle. Once, at a party, I made friends with a whole group of people from Ohio because they were in the kitchen talking and I thought they said "Idaho." I sat on the lap of one of these people, a man named Wheat (not kidding!), in a van on the way home. But that's a story for another post.
I also made friends with a woman who was a customer of mine at Starbucks because she went to College of Idaho. And she was good friends with the only person I knew who went there.
Maybe I just need to start an "I'm from Idaho or a state that sounds like Idaho" club. Or a "we used to have friends but then we had a kid" club. Or "My family's not here, want to have a barbecue?" club. Or "I like to drink pre-made margaritas" club.
I could go on like this for hours.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's All About Food

It's all about food, and it's not just about the grill, though it is about that too.
Today, because it was supposed to be 100, I took Son to see a movie, "Ratatouille." We recently saw "Happy Feet" which I liked, but I have to say I was a little annoyed about the constant pop culture references, disco/Prince songs sung by penguins. It was cute, but maybe a little too cute.
But I loved "Ratatouille." It may be my favorite kid movie. It had all the trappings of cute kid movies, with extra jokes for the parents, but it seemed just a little smarter,and just a little, I don't know, better. Of course it had a bad guy, and a father, and a happy ending. But it was actually good.
And as far as the grill is concerned. I'll let pictures speak a thousand words.

MB: The Grill Master

The First Grilled Meal: Tuna!
Tonight's Meal: Chicken Kabobs and grilled corn

As MB said, the grill opens up a whole new food group that we used to be excluded from: grilled foods. As in, grilled corn, kabobs, grilled mushrooms which are the best things ever, and grilled vegetables, also the best things ever.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

What I'm Doing Or Gus's Epic Journey

Just to get it out of the way: I'm not writing. The word whore has not been whoring. She has been shoe shopping and music swapping (thanks High Touch!), and she has been making rhubarb crisp, and she has been running with the dog.
To wit: This morning I made plans to trail run with a friend to Dog Lake. How can you go to Dog Lake and not take the dog? You can't. So I loaded up the dog in the small car and off we went.
Once on the trail, we encountered some other trail runners. We ended up running in front of and behind them most of the way to Dog Lake. Just before Dog Lake I called Gus back to me, gave him a treat and held his collar so he wouldn't get too far away. When we got to Dog Lake, he jumped in like a good dog and ran around a bit. Then the runners passed by the lake and I saw him chase after them. I walked in that general direction and after a few minutes I began to call him. No luck.
I ended up going about another mile in the direction of the runners calling Gus and whistling. I encountered some hikers who had come from Big Cottonwood and they had seen Gus "leading the pack" of runners. Eventually I realized I couldn't catch up with the runners and turned around. My friend and I agreed to go back down to the parking lot and wait for the runners. She thought maybe they were running a loop which would be 10-12 miles.
We waited in the parking lot for about ten minutes when a mountain biker came dashing down the trail. She rode directly up to us and asked "Did you lose a dog?" She had taken the dog from a group of hikers who had taken him from the runners who, it turns out, were not doing a loop but were running over to the next canyon, probably at least a 15 mile run. Her friend had Gus on a leash and was riding him down to the next parking lot. After I got in the car, I let myself cry a little, but just a little.
We met up with Gus at the parking lot. We had probably been separated for about 2 hours. He was glad to see us and seemed to just want to get into the car, though I made him drink some water first.
He's been sacked out on the dog bed since we got home. I think he'll be tired for at least two days.
So today my plan is to eat chips, drink water and iced tea, maybe some wine later, grill some salmon and not leave the house. It's too damn hot out! And I'm still a bit shaky from the adrenaline of running around looking for Gus and not finding him.
But then I did find him, so it's a happy ending. Thanks to lots of nice people who like dogs. The biking woman even said if she hadn't found us, she would have taken him. So the world is full of good people who love dogs.
Let's hear it for nice people who just want to reunite dogs and their owners.
In other news: I made the Lone Star iced tea and it's delicious.