Monday, May 31, 2010

oil notes

It's been over a month now, but last night my husband and I looked up pictures of the gulf oil spill on the internet.  We do not watch TV (we don't even have one) and do not yet have a newspaper subscription.  We had seen a few front-page images and a little TV footage when going out for Thai food last week.  But last night was the first time we decided to take a deep breath and just look.  And,...sigh.

It's amazing to me that a handful of monkeys with oversized brains can do so much damage.  That we can have so much impact.  That we can be so shocked and outraged, and just as quickly forget.

My man and I are green monkeys living in a red state, an "energy" state.  Oil.  Gas.  We've seen it.  We've been there.  I've worked in it.  It turned our home upside down.  Mule deer disappeared.  A herd of antelope, dead, on the side of an access road.  Migration corridors, blocked.  Ozone warnings in a town of 2000 people.  Children told to play inside.  BP?  Shell?  A slap on the wrist.  That was Bush, this is Obama, I have to have faith that things will change.  The real question is, will we?


Sunday, May 23, 2010

17 things

So, the last two weeks have been filled with: boxes,

driving from Montana to Wyoming in excellent road conditions,

exploring, and absolutely loving that we are back.

When I crossed the border into Wyoming, I was driving the same road as when I moved to this state the first time, twelve years ago (and in approximately the same road conditions).  Twelve years ago I was fresh out of college, looking for adventure, and most of my personal belongings fit inside my white Geo Metro.  This time, I am seasoned, I know the road, my exhilaration at the landscape is coupled with familiarity, I am traveling behind my husband and dog, my household goods fit inside a semi-truck, and I am crossing the border--for the first time ever--with my daughter.

My sense of place, my home, is written in the landscape.  It is a particular combination of sagebrush and aspen, mixed pine & fir and mountain peaks, and large tracts of untrammeled public land.  We are in a slightly different place, just new enough to be exciting, but we are back.  I finally feel like I can breathe deeply again.

But with every place there is give and take, and no place has it all.

17 things I will miss about our area of Montana:

1. Missoula
2. Dixon melons
3. Our neighbors
4. Bitteroot apples
5. Flathead cherries
6. Paradise peaches
7. My good friend H
8. Wheat Montana flour
9. My man's good friend C
10. Lifeline Farm dairy products
11. The Good Food Store (in Missoula)
12. Missoula's Farmer's Market (in Missoula)
13. Nature Boy & Walking Stick Toys (in Missoula)
14. My midwife & her new Birth Center (in Missoula)
15. Costco (in Missoula--yeah, I had to throw in a box-store)
16. All the locally-owned shops on "the hip strip" (in Missoula)
17. The hundred-plus head of garlic we left in the ground, in the garden

So, yeah.  Pretty much everything I'm going to miss is related to food and friends and Missoula.  Although not a big fan of cities, if I was forced to live in one, I'd pick Missoula in a heartbeat.  It is a wonderful, community-oriented, family-friendly, down-to-earth (a.k.a not yuppie), rocky mountain, University town with some fantastic people-watching.  Wish we could replace our nearest city with good ol' Zoo Town.  I will miss that place, even though it was a damned long drive and I usually only had time to zip around and run errands and curse the traffic.  My daughter was born in Missoula; it will always hold a special place in my heart.

::            ::           ::           ::           ::             ::  

:: In other, completely unrelated news, my new favorite hot peppers--Aurora.  They come on purple, turn various shades of cream, yellow and orange before finally turning red.  And I'm not sure, maybe they go black if you don't eat them, but mine are all devoured by the red stage.  It's a small plant with small peppers and does very well in pots so you can grow them even when the weather is doing this:

Which it was today.  And for some reason, instead of three days ago when we had highs in the 70's, I decided today was a great day to scratch-in a new garden.

Juniper was supervising, of course.
You see those jagged, pearly-whites?  That's right.  One week before they came, J bug started dropping her lower lip and showing off her gums (which she never did before--her tongue was always in the way)   

And then she was really cranky one day--which made me cranky--and then the next day (her 7 month birthday!) my man was all, Oh.  No wonder.  Juniper has teeth!  

Friday, May 14, 2010

final notes from montana

We've been in Wyoming a week now and today--ta da!--we have internet service.  I started this post before we left Montana and wanted to get it out there:

:: ::

:: Okay, my last, somewhat random notes from our last week in Montucky:

When I look back through photos of Juniper as a brand new-newborn, I still find it unbelievable that this perfect little human was once inside my belly and now is out.  It remains a fact that I find absolutely amazing, That was her, all along, in my belly.  Wow.  And what continues to amaze me is how she still looks so uniquely like herself.  Which probably sounds redundant, but until J bug was born, I was always of the all-white-babies-look-the-same camp.        

I realize procreation is a very normal, basic, everyday aspect of being a mammal, but I can't help but be absolutely awed and dumbstruck by these simple facts.  That my man contributed a seed, and I did the rest.  All eighteen pounds, thank you very much.  I realize that most of us could easily grow eighteen pounds of fat without a problem (and probably have a lot of fun doing it), but we're talking heart, liver, lungs, nervous system, fingerbones, and...soul.  It truly is a phenomenal thing to bring a brand new soul into the world.

And so, to continue my then and now obsession: Juniper at 12 days old, then again at 6 1/2 months old.  Exact same outfit, minus the one orange sock we lost in the snow.    

:: Oh, Osa.  She has taken to her new role as guardian so well.  My brother puts these words in Osa's mouth: Why did you have to go laying this responsibility on me NOW?  I'm an old woman!  Well, turns out old dogs can learn new tricks.
When I was out visiting my mom, the neighbor came over to see the baby and she happened to be walking with a cane.  Osa stood between Juniper and the neighbor and would not budge.  She just threw herself out there like a road block and no matter how many times we told her it was okay, she wouldn't move.

And then, a couple of weeks ago when we were sitting two other dogs, one got too close to Juniper on the potty and Osa actually growled and snapped at that dog, which she never does.  You go, old girl.

June Bug's favorite thing to do is reach for anything and everything that is remotely close while sitting on her potty.
So I was snapping away with the camera then I looked down at the LCD screen and quickly flipped through the images I had just taken and when I looked back up again, Juniper had Osa's muzzle between both hands like a baby bottle and was trying to suck on her nose.  This would have been really touching if Osa wasn't the type of dog to eat her own poop.  So even though I was all, Augh!  Juniper don't suck on that!  I have to admit that I am damned proud to have a dog that would put up with anything from a kid.      
:: We "started Juniper on solids" last week.  I use quotations because it's still mostly breastmilk with a little bit of rice flakes and I don't think any of it went down her throat.  Just like when she was 20 minutes old and we were trying to teach her to breastfeed (she was diagnosed with a "disorganized suck"), her tongue pretty much pushes everything back out.  Now, she waits until the spoon is right at her lips, then blows--literally spitting her food right back in my face.  The only good part is my man finds it sexy to come home to a wife with rice flakes stuck in her hair.  Weird, I know.  

:: There are certain things we do every single day, and have been doing for months and months, but for some reason never get photos (too lazy to use the self-timer?).  Like, reading.  We read books every day and J bug has her favorites--right now, favorites include anything touchy-feely (she tests the texture of EVERYTHING) and strong, contrasting colors.  She's always trying to feel the words, which NEVER have texture, and I think that's kind of disappointing to her.  Still, she loves her books.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

a Mother's Day aside

We are in the midst of unpacking our newest residence.  Most everything is still in boxes, except the kitchen.  I have one more post I started from Montana, but need access to the photos to finish it.  Today we will drive in to town, get cell phone coverage so we can call our moms and my man is going to take me out to dinner.  So, I dug out the laptop to write this, a Mother’s Day aside. 

:: This morning I opened a gift: the children’s book, “Mama Do You Love Me?”  It’s about a daughter testing the boundaries of her mother’s love.  Towards the end, she becomes a big polar bear and chases her mother into a tent (it’s an Alaskan Inuit family) and makes her mother cry.  But of course, her mother knows it’s still her daughter in that polar bear body, and so she still loves her. 

I read that book to Juniper this morning and it made me wonder, as a daughter, what skins I have donned myself.  At 13, I am told, I was a stubborn, spitting camel.  But I know I have also, at times, crawled inside the skin of a shark or a lion, just to see if I could draw blood. 

:: Since Juniper’s birth I have been so overwhelmed by a basic, primal love.  The type of love that cuts to the core.  The kind of love that makes me realize I have the power to fend off a grizzly bear with my bare hands, if I had to.  Mothers are the most frightening and unpredictable of creatures.  Some are famous--mother moose and mother bear—for defending their young.  But we all carry within us a power as boundless and immeasurable as the love we hold for our young.   

Sometimes I have to remind myself that there will come a time when my own daughter will spit and claw and bite—she will test the strength of her jaw, the sharpness of her nails, the acidity of her words.  And perhaps I will be bleary-eyed and battleworn, but I hope I can rise from the ashes of parenthood as gracefully as my own parents have.   

Thank you to all my mothers and grandmothers and mothers-in-law and any other woman who has had to put up with any of my shit.  Happy Mother’s Day : )   

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


is so much more fun when you're not alone with your baby and geriatric dog.

We ditched out of turkey camp early, mostly due to winter storm warnings but also out of a desire to see some new country.

And, oh, how we love the western states.

We stopped at an Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

Cousin Owen walked at the center.  (You'll have to take my word for it--no photos, video only and I'm still working on how to post those without crashing computers.)

:: J bug started babbling (for the uninitiated: to baby-babble is to throw some consonants in with your vowels).  Her first babble-word was to suck in her lower lip and say, bvaaa bvaaa bvaaa bvaaa.  

Her repertoire now includes aaaduh-aaaduh, daaa daaa daaa and a breathy, whispered, attaah, attaah.

Our little bean is getting super squirmy.  She has only "rolled over" four times, preferring to squirm her way to wanted objects.

:: Everything is so new and fun and interesting.

:: If I wasn't her mother and wasn't married to her father, I would be downright jealous at how much Juniper loves, looks for, laughs with and smiles at her dad.  

:: And oh, sweet, passenger seat.

:: In Challis, our roads divided.  Hugs and kisses.  

(Okay, he still needs the knees on rocky roads.)  

In other, up-to-date news: movers are HERE.  More in the next post.  

Saturday, May 1, 2010

golden cloves: wild turkey

golden cloves: kernels of goodness in lots of photos and little words from the last week or so

We are not the types to let a job change and interstate move get in the way of our vacation plans.  So last week we headed out for our annual wild turkey hunt with my brother joining us for the second year in a row.  Now, I was a vegetarian for ten years before I started hunting.  But my brother?  He was a vegan, and for longer.  Now look at him:

Not to be a dweeby parent recording all the "firsts" or anything, but this was Juniper's first camping trip!  The big green tent with the woodstove is our version of the Hilton.

We were also joined by the rest of our clan, including Juniper's cousin Owen who has a speedy, cheetah-crawl; he owned camp.

So J bug got to hang with her uncle M:

And kiss and be rocked to sleep by her uncle D:

And pick grass and listen to turkey tales with her dad, aunt and cousin:

And together check out the magnificent iridescent feathers, beak and snoot that belong to the creatures whose meat will feed them and help them grow:

And what would a camping trip be without a fire?