Monthly Archives: August 2012

~ Weird Day ~

The sound of crickets filled the moist morning air.

Darkness gave way to an early morning light as I rolled out of bed.

My Varmint’s middle school orientation began today, and I intended to meet the bus, even though it stops by our house at the butt-crack of dawn.   The calm of daybreak filled the house, the gentle wakening of everyone began.

And then….

All Hell Broke Loose:

Wakey, wakey!

Augh!  (Smack!) Leave me alone!

Time to get up!  Come on, I’ll help you!

Don’t even.  I’ll smack you into next Tuesday, Bub.

Would you get up if I cleaned behind your ear after I lick my genitals?


It’s gonna be a weird day.

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~ EEEEeeeeewwwwwww! ~

While out on our property in Columbia Falls, Montana, Critter and My Captain came across this:

They were very excited and proud of their find…so much so that they were blinded to Varmint’s and my revulsion.  They not only brought it back to our campsite, they went to UPS, and spent $40.00 to carefully send that nasty thing home!

A week or so later, the good-natured, well-built, always-got-a-smile-on-his-face-not-that-I-would-notice UPS man delivered a big package to my door.  I’d forgotten about the buck skull and, silly me, was anticipating something fun like a purchase from Plow and Hearth or Lilian Vernon or maybe even The Oriental Trading Company!

And then I opened it, and my revulsion was renewed.

That is how I came to be holding this in my hand, leaning on the kitchen counter, wondering what wrong turn I’d taken on my road of life.


Critter has a passion and excitement for this thing….something about the wilderness, and mountain men, and testosterone-fueled ideas like that.  He wants to mount this thing on his bedroom wall!


“Well, for one thing, Mom, it will keep my sister out of my room.”

Couldn’t you just lock the door?

“And besides, just look at it!  The question is, ‘Why wouldn’t I want to mount it on my bedroom wall?'”

Ah.  Ok then.  How can I argue with such irrefutable logic?

I heaved a heavy sigh and made friends with several containers of these in the basement,

and proceeded to soak the living daylights out of this poor creature’s remains.

Maybe if I soak it completely for hours and hours on end, it will go away entirely….

Er.  Nope.  Now it’s not only repulsive, it’s wet and slimy, too.

And NEWS FLASH…after all of this:  after the men rejoiced in finding it, after they took great pains to ship it home carefully, after I soaked it in literally gallons of bleach and peroxide…

I discovered via google that one should NEVER soak bones in bleach because it breaks down the structure, rendering it to bone dust in short order.

Maybe that’s not a bad thing?  Maybe providence was stepping in here in my carcass-curing ignorance?  Maybe I’ll be spared the agony of looking at it when I’m in Critter’s room.

So what of the skull?  What happened?

My Captain wants me to paint it with glue and water to help preserve it, and then he’ll mount it on Critter’s wall.


Pray for me.

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~ Worth Remembering ~

Wii.  Kindle Fire.  DVDs.  Ipods.  So much money and time spent on them.  But never, NEVER, have they captivated my children as did this:

We caught him like this.  Staring off into the distance.  I couldn’t see his face, couldn’t read his mind.  And he didn’t notice we had come up behind him….he was totally lost in thought.  I didn’t ask him what he was thinking; didn’t invade his privacy.

My Captain and Varmint, equally touched by the moment as I, joined him on the edge.  And the three of them gazed down, onto what, I knew not.

But they just lay there, staring, silently.  Every now and again I’d hear a quiet murmur and see a head nod in agreement.  They were captivated.

Age, Time, Reason….all of it was suspended.  I have no idea how long we sat there.

Eventually, I crept up to see what kept them so mesmerized.  It was nothing more than the movement and clarity of the glacial water….fresh off the mountain’s waterfalls as it has flowed for centuries.  This water is so clear…this picture is at a depth that is chest deep, and it looks like it’s only inches deep.  And ICE COLD.

Eventually, my tummy grumbled.  Most of our tender moments end that way, and this was no exception.  I’d be embarrassed, but I’ve come to terms with who I am, and what my priorities are.  So I heaved myself up, suggested we search for a bite to eat, and asked the kids to first face me for a picture so we could remember this moment.  Usually they gripe and roll their eyes.  But this time….

…..this time they wanted to remember.

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~ Painful Garlic ~

I was making beans and rice today for the guys working on our beloved mud pit.  Remember the mud pit?  I first told you about it in A Family Affair.  Well….we took a break from it over the summer.  But today My Captain, with some help, picked up the shovels and pick axes once again.

And since I am pretty much worthless with a hammer in my hand (unless I’m cracking nuts…I mean the shells of nuts….oh you know what I mean!)  I went to my favorite place on earth….the kitchen!  Because I like to feed ‘da Troops!

So I made Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes for them for breakfast.  And I made homemade, full-on-butter white chocolate chip sugar cookies for snacks. And then I made Beans and Rice for them for Lunch.  Because nothing says ‘Thanks for working so hard!” like a big ‘ol case of Gastroenteritis.

And also, farting makes me laugh, so I serve beans often.

Don’t judge.

Anyways….it was during the cooking of the Beans and Rice that I came into contact with a rather painful reminder of a rather painful fact of my rather painful life.

The garlic salt I had reached for was none other than SELBY’S IGA Garlic Salt.  Selby’s grocery store was our little town’s only grocery store.

And it closed its doors after decades of family run service because the bigger, glossier, Starbuck’s carrying grocery chains nearby had run them out of business.

It was SUCH a sad event for our little town.  On so many levels.

And even though we want the wound to heal, every freakin’ time I reach for my spices, I get reminded that our small town is in economic crises.  And OF COURSE I had to buy the jumbo spice canisters when I last shopped there, so I’ll be reminded for a long time to come yet.

It is all so very sad.  Thank goodness I made the fart-inducing beans and rice to make me laugh again, or else I’d still be all goopy about it.

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~ The Highline Trail ~

Or, as I like to call it, “The Day I Puked My Guts Out.”

The last hike we attempted while at Glacier National Park this summer with Critter and Varmint was our particularly favorite hike.  My Captain and I fall in love again every time we hike that trail.  Aptly named “The Highline Trail”, it is one of the highest trails in Glacier Park, with its trail head at the Continental Divide, and much of it on a cliff no wider than a sidewalk.

Which would, of course, beg the question, “Then why is your chubby bum on it?”

The answer to which is that I began hiking that trail long before my bum was chubby, and I refuse to stop.

I didn’t warn Critter or Varmint about the nature of this rather precarious section of the trail, because they might freak out.  And because they might have balked.  And because I hate whining, which is ironic since I do it so often myself.

Anyways, I didn’t warn them.

I needn’t have worried about Critter, but Varmint was visibly peeved to see we had to hold onto a guide cable that had been anchored to the cliff wall.

A guide wire that had been stuck through a rubber garden hose, because that is the kind of ingenuity our National Parks Service is known for.  That, and a shoe-string budget.  But hey, it worked.  And Varmint relaxed visibly when she witnessed my own girth securely held by the rubber hose.

Do you see that road down there?  In the upper corner of this picture of Critter on the trail?  That road, The Going To The Sun Road, is a full 400 feet down from the rock wall/cliff we were walking on.  The cars, the people, all of them were like tiny little ants to us.

See those trees down there?  They are on average about 50 feet high.

See those patches of white down below us? Those are actually snow fields bigger than football fields.

Look, the point I am making is that we are seriously high up, we are dangling on a narrow little path, and you just need to be super impressed, ok?  Like the next time you see me, you need to tell me how amazing we are.  That is what my point is.

Though in the interest of full disclosure, we only hiked about 3 miles of the Highline, which in truth is about 11 miles.  My Captain and I have completed it before (and I lost toenails every time we did it), but we weren’t going to ask the kids to do that.

We didn’t ask them to do that for several reasons:

1) We want them to love hiking, not see it as a death march.

2) My arthritic knee would not handle the 11 miles of Highline.  Nuh-hun.  No-Siree.

3) Varmint had begun to cry.  That is usually a good clue that we might want to consider turning around.


4) I had begun a raging headache that was starting to make me nauseous.  And I’m not talking a little urp here and there, I’m talking the “keep my car window down and roll the window behind me UP” kind of nausea.  Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.  We’ve all experienced that particular kind of the-car-might-still-be-in-motion-but-I’m-going-to-lose-breakfast-anyways nausea.

OOh, and 5) the Mountain Goats were starting to mock us.  Well, they were starting to mock me in particular.

“Are you SERIOUS with that chubby bum up here on this goat trail, lady?”

If you haven’t been mocked by a wild mountain goat, you haven’t lived, I tell you.

And you can see why this is our particularly favorite trail.  Death-defying ledges, Puking, Goat-Mockings…it has something to offer for everyone.

I think my kids will remember (read: have nightmares about) that trail for years to come.

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