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Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Live in the sunshine, Swim the Sea, Drink the Wild Air" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Since our resident temperature has averaged 107F this past week we were looking for a cool escape today. Opportunity presented itself to spend the morning at lake before Trevor had to go to work. We packed a picnic lunch and loaded into the car. We were really excited to go and extra excited to use our new kayak!Our new kayak is actually 2 years old. A couple of years ago Trev and I had an amazing opportunity to spend a week rafting the Salmon River with some of the most incredible people in the world, the Tonsmiere family from Salmon, Idaho. After we had so much fun in their kayaks we were talking and talking about how we wanted to buy our own kayak. A week or so later in the mail appeared a HUGE package containing a two-man kayak with a note that just said "Enjoy - Fran." Fran is one of the most kind, generous, understanding people I have ever met. We were overwhelmed by her kindness and were excited to have our very own kayak. However, we have been so busy, and my work schedule was so crazy last summer we never got a chance to use it.

So we busted out our kayak today. We bought a pump on our way out and had to pump it up. We couldn't get as much air in it as we wanted. But it was enough just to float on the lake. However, we definitely need more to take it down the hoeback in August.Ripsi wasn't crazy about the boat at first. She pretty much was terrified for the first fifteen minutes. But then she calmed down and I think she even enjoyed it. I wish I had pictures of her relaxed and laying down in the bow. She looked so cute. We worried about her the whole time though and decided that we need to pick up a dog-life jacket just in case she bails in the middle of the lake next time and panics. Last thing I wanna do is try to rescue/wrestle an 85 pound doberman in the water.

Of course - we had to improvise a little bit since our two man (and one dog) kayak is not big enough for 3 people. We also brought the floating bed we use in the swimming pool and took turns being towed around by the raft. It was a great way to ride. We couldn't get a photo of all of us showcasing this system, but here are Stacey and I modeling the concept.
We enjoyed out picnic lunch and made it home just in time for Trevor to shower and head to work. It was so hot and since Ripsi loved the lake so much we also decided it was time to get her a swimming pool this afternoon. Hey - other people buy these things for their kids, and she is the closest thing I have to a child. We found a great plastic pool and filled it up. She wasn't too sure at first, so I tried to coax her in.Then she hopped in on her own...but she mostly seems to think the pool is a giant water bowl. Oh well, If Emerson thought like a dog I'm sure he would have written: "Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea and Drink the hose water out of your swimming pool."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Devil in us All......

This month for book club we are reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I am a fan of C.S. Lewis. I think he had an uncanny understanding of human nature, Christianity and the hypocrisy of religion and the human race in general. Lovely writer, incredible philosopher, stunning theologian and generous humanist.

The Screwtape Letters is thought-provoking. The text is written from the viewpoint of "Screwtape" who is an assistant demon to the devil. The novel appears as a series of letters that Screwtape writes to his nephew, Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man who converts to Christianity.

The writing is sly, ironic, hilarious and deadly sickeningly serious. While reading along it is easy to be laughing at how true some of Screwtape's observations are, and then to be utterly horrified by finding the truth of his words in yourself and in your own personality. Case in point:

I have mentioned on this blog before that I really like my time. I like my solitude and the days that I have entirely to myself. I am also a planner and I like to know what to expect. I am not really thrilled when my husband suddenly changes all my plans for "my day" by asking me to do a whole bunch of things I would rather not do, or unexpected visitors drop by without calling. I have always known this was a little bit selfish - but I have easily justified it by saying that I just like to have a plan, that it is difficult for me when people randomly drop by because I am often working, or because my house is a mess, or because I am not dressed for the day (a bad habit I have when I only teach night classes in the summer). And, to be totally honest, I haven't really thought this was really abnormal, or that it was a largely negative quality at all until I read Screwtape's words in chapter 21:

My dear Wormwood,

Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured and, as a result, ill-tempered. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend's talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tete-a-tete with the friend), that throw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously gaurd in his mind the curious assumption 'My time is my own.' Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright.

This is SO ME. And so alarming. I am a bad person. Bad. Bad. Bad.

Friday, June 12, 2009

How SMOOTH Are You?

It might be a stretch to say that my husband is the King of Smooth, after all the conversation we had when we decided to date exclusively went something like this:

Trev: You know how when you are dating it is sort of like you have all these different possible people to spend your time with, and it is like there are all these doors open?

Me: Um....yes....I guess so.

Trev: Yeah, well, I have a lot of doors open right now and I want to shut them. But I want to know if your are open and are going to be there.

Me: Are you trying to have one of those "define our relationship" conversations with me?

Trev: No. I just want to know if you are going to be there.

Me: Be there for what?

Trev: If I close these doors.

Me: mkay.

Honest, but not exactly smooth. However, Trevor could definitely be called the KING of SMOOTHIES! In the last couple of days he and I have discovered a new passion thanks to our K-TEC blender (the best blender in the world!) Being summer and all, fresh produce is ridiculously cheap right now and we have replaced an average of one meal a day with some sort of fruit smoothie concoction. Who knew that blueberries, strawberries, bananas, pineapple, apples, blackberries and raspberries could be so divine when combined with milk and ice and spun around rapidly? We are loving just tossing fruit into our trusty K-Tec, but also want to experiment with adding in vegetables like carrots and spinach. We are hoping the fruit can still cover up the veggies, but to gain the added nutrients. This is where you fabulous, varied folks come in. I am on the hunt for prime Smoothie combinations. Please share....and know we will be thinking of you next time we blend!Forgive the photo- it is a terrible self-shot, Trev's face is only half-present and my hair is pretty much huge and red....but we didn't have time to mess with taking another one...we had blueberry-banana smoothies to eat!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Taking it back...

For many years, out of vanity, I have been pretty happy with the size of my jeans. I have a crazy awesome metabolism and have been able to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and not gain an ounce. In fact, I still have jeans that I wore in seventh grade that still fit me. I like this. What girl wouldn't? Trev would sometimes jokes with me and tells me things like: "You are so tiny now but someday when you are pregnant you will be big, and I will be able to fit into your pants." To which I have always flippantly replied, "If you can ever fit into my jeans I will kill myself." I mean come on, He was wearing a waist size 34 when we got married and I was at a 25.
Stacey's Amazing quilt as it grows. I am so proud of her!

Well, fast forward a few years to yesterday. Stacey has been living with us and she and I are projecting gals. One of the projects that came in tow with Stacey is making a quilt out of all her old levis and jeans. Now, many of the old jeans in her crate were actually my old jeans at one time. I never got rid of them because they didn't fit, but because they went out of style. As evidenced by the fact that she pulled my first pair of Silver jeans out to cut up last night (from when I was 12) and the rise on those suckers came up to my belly button! Can you say 90's? I still wiggled into them and we were having a good laugh when Trev said...let me see those.

He first picked up a pair of a size 6 jean and pulled them on....on and all the way up and totally buttoned them. Had they not been about three inches too short he totally could have gone all one-of-those-guys-who-wears-girl's-jeans-and-pulls-the-hood-of-their-sweatshirt-low-over-their-faces on me. Stacey and were laughing so hard!

He next tried to wiggle into my old size 26 Silver jeans. I kept saying "There is no way" even as the pants went up and over his hips. He couldn't, however button them up no matter how he danced and wiggled. I considered telling him the old chick trick about laying down horizontal and exhaling and then pulling the button to be done up (really does work) but....remembered my old, flippant threat and decided to keep my advice to myself. On second thought though, maybe just for entertainment value I will let him in on that secret when he gets home, take my silly old statement back and maybe he will try a second time today for that top notch on the button-fly of those old Silver jeans. It would be worth another laugh.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Farwell B-L-M

Farwell for the Summer my dear BLM, wide open wildness where I don't need make-up or a leash for my dog. A quarter of a mile from my house, I have become used to you. Even called you "my BLM" on occasion. I've escaped to your emptiness nightly for months now, letting the dog run after the jack rabbits that dart among your sage and scramble brushes while I walk and think of work, of writing, of friends, of what to bring to the neighborhood picnic, of what color to paint my wall or of nothing at all. You have been my "Wendell Berry Water," my "grace of the world."

You have been the site of many hikes, your trails lovely and protected from the threat of developers and pavers. I have brought others to drink up your empty, sad, awesome beauty. Offering them some of the solitude and comfort you provide from the cold, manicured Saint George lawns and resorts that hover just moments away. You are a novelty amongst planned condominium communities and the impostor, non-native palm trees so many plant. You are the original Southern Utah. The brutal, dry emptiness. The fine dust of desert. Uncut, unkempt, untamed.

I have climbed your rock formations, biked your slick-rock trails, explored your fault-line caves, camped in your canyons, and cooked tin-foil dinners among your crags. I have heard, from others, warnings of the increasing temperatures. Warnings about the way that each year, for a few months, the creeping things of the BLM reclaim their solitude, take back the space they have shared. I have heard about the snakes, scorpions and tarantulas, each with a bite more poisonous than the next.But still, surely I thought, if I stay to the main paths, the low roads, if I mind my own business I will go unnoticed. And then, while walking last night along a path I thought, might still be mine a sound shattered my denial. A soft shaking, loud enough that I thought, at first, it must simply be a lizard shooting through a tumbleweed, breaking the small dry branches. Turning my head slightly I noticed the snake, first only registering its long, elegant body and secondly being struck by the diamond-back pattern and then finally realizing the rustling was, in fact, a rattle. Coiled there on the side of the path, poised with warning against my clumsy feet and bumbling dog, who I still cannot believe went over top of the snake without being bitten.

I gave the snake a wide berth, put the dog on the leash I just happened to have taken from the house on a whim. We said our goodbyes to the BLM on the walk back, a little quieter, a little more respectful, a little more aware that I am still very much an intruder.

Dear BLM, I shall see you again in the fall, when your snakes and scorpions and spiders retreat back into your bowels. Thank you for the last eight months, it is only fair that you, in your pristine, savage desert beauty have the next four to yourself. But do please, understand, if I stop my car on the rim of your Green Valley entrance every now and then, at the place where the paved street suddenly ends and turns to a dirt trail, that border between our two worlds where your inhabitants never cross and mine, so often do.

(Rattlesnake photo credit: