Saturday, June 30, 2007
Our beautiful vacation was just long enough. I know it may seem short, but Lil'Bug really missed her Daddy and Moon Puppy. So we headed home through Wyoming and Nebraska. We drove straight through, with nap and runnin-playin' breaks.
I am glad to be home. Leaving for a bit reminds me of why I love Iowa so much. Here is my list for the week:
1) Iowa rest stops have free wi-fi.
2) Iowa rest stops are right off the road (in WY and NE often you had to pull off an exit and then drive a bit to a secluded area. They were nice, but for a couple of women folk on the road alone needing a midnight pee break, secluded is not a term to be taken lightly.
3) Iowa landscape is like a patchwork quilt of greens and yellows, like something right out of a Grant Wood landscape. WY and SD, mostly dirt and grass and sage- not to take sage for granted though, I just prefer the fertileness of greens.
4) Radio signal. There were places we drove that had nothing. Seriously nothing. I'm not saying there was nothing "worth listening to" or "nothing I liked," there was nothing. Dead air and static. It added to the vast feeling of being alone out in the big sky and wild.
5)Cell phone signal. Verizon? Can you hear me now? Not in Wyoming.
6) I did not see a single Wal-Mart our entire trip. Perhaps this is a good thing?
7) Gas prices. Lo, we are blessed in Iowa. The least I paid for gas once crossing the state line was $3.16 cents and the most was $3.99. We drove 2,560 miles. Long story short, we made it home only because we brought nothing back for our friends but stories and pictures.
8) Food. I love fresh milk, berries, and cheese. Farmer's Market here I come......ok, maybe next paycheck since the Sinclair gas station chain of Wyoming has my food money for the week.
9) This is the heart of the matter: Dear husband. I missed him more than Lil'Bug did.
And finally, this is a neat picture of a power plant in Nebraska. It looked like a space city to me.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Lil'Bug stands there squinching her face, turning her head side to side, and then pulls on my shirt.
"Mama," she says, "Mama, that moose is not real."
"Yes, it is baby, it's just standing really still," I reply.
"No, Mama, that moose is fake," she insists.
Guess what. It was a fake moose. A stone or bronze life size sculpture at the entrance to a University. Blah.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Heh. Please don't ask Lil'Bug what Grand Tetons means. She heard the ranger tell a group of tourists and then chanted the English translation for about 30 miles. She thinks its way funnier than it is, which is about how funny I thought it was when I was 14 and my siblings, cousins, and I did the same thing to my family. I know, karma.
Monday, June 25, 2007
45th Parallel Bridge and Boiling River
"A sign near where the road crosses the Gardner River marks the 45th parallel of latitude. The 45th parallel is an imaginary line that circles the globe halfway between the equator and the North Pole. This same line passes through Minneapolis-St. Paul, Ottawa, Bordeaux, Venice, Belgrade, and the northern tip of the Japanese islands. It is, here in Yellowstone, roughly aligned with the Montana-Wyoming border."
Lil'Bug, Rox, and I took a dip after we set up camp. Wow. The current was a little scary and a lot both cold and hot, but what an amazing place to catch up with a good friend and let Lil'Bug splash and play. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures, so the one in this post is from the Yellowstone website.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
She also really wanted to wear hiking boots like BiL and Rox. :)
For Lil'Bug's friends who are tracking us: This is between Bozeman and Livingston, MT south of the Bridger Mountains and also near a Grizzly Bear Refuge. (Rox, if that's wrong, let me know!)
We stopped and saw Mt. Rushmore, but they don't take credit cards and I didn't have cash. So, here is the free view from the road. Crazy horse was neat too, but again, they charged and there was not really a good place to take a free view picture.
One really neat thing was that Lil'Bug thought that the "hills" were volcanoes and she was really upset when she saw the scorched sections of controlled burn. She thought that the "'cano's" burned them and then she was scared. So anyone who thinks that a movie on the volcano at Pompiia was to advanced for her....ha.
Sometimes there were stretches of highway with no gas stations. We stopped every time we found one and topped off the tank just in case. Lil'Bug snacked while I gassed the car and fretted over the map. So, here is a cute picture of her; it was actually taken in Wyoming.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Porter sculpture park. Neat idea, neat place. Cash only. I, however, would not recommend going alone with a two year old on the RV driving tour: 1) It's not big enough to warrant driving around 2) Getting in an old RV with a creepy old guy who runs the park to drive 100 feet? Um, common sense says, "NO." Big fat NO. It's cash only and I didn't have cash, but its worth the drive up just to peek. Next time will bring witnesses, um, I mean friends.
We saw many interesting things in South Dakota, including the horizon, Wyoming, and Canada. I know, North Dakota is between, but I couldn't really tell which was which. Also, the main road is pink. The local aggregrate is pink so, thus, so is the road. And, yes, I'm pretty sure there is only one road and there are only three gas stations (about 360 miles apart from each other since that's happens to be what my full tank will drive). The map lies.
Friday, June 22, 2007
There is no posted speed limit in South Dakota. Why? Because the long stretch of barren highway goes on forever and, if you happen to be driving with the Earth's rotation (West), it doesn't matter if you go 90 miles an hour because (like this sentence) it will still take you 15 hours to travel 380 miles with the sun in your eyes and a screaming bored to tears tot....in other words, forever.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Do I need to pack it for this trip? Here is why I think maybe not. I think she will enjoy our hikes more if we go slow, at her pace, and really explore. With this option, we won't go farther than she can manage and if she falls asleep, then I can sling her but we won't be 3 miles in. Also, many of the paths won't be stroller friendly. The path less traveled.
But, I can pack our lunch and we can spend a whole day in the woods if I stroller her up.
I can't decide yet. It does take up soooo much room in the car. I think we will pack all else and then see.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I'm going to only list the better. I have my reasons, but mostly- I'm still doing ok on the "no complaining" challenge!
1) My husband. Please see previous posts on Dear Husband's awesomeness. We married young and I am glad. He constantly pushes me to be a better person, gently hands me paint brushes, and hugs me when I need it. He also makes Pork Ribs that make me go weak in the knees and want to chew on bones like a cave lady.
2) My daughter. I did not have any real idea what motherhood would be like. I had visions of Pottery Barn nurseries dancing in my head. Lil'Bug shattered that in the best way possible. Everyday, I wake up to a laugh and smile. Her hugs are causing global warming. She is amazing.
3) Aunt Deedle. Seriously, without Deedle, I would not be a writer. She inspires me to kick conventions and go run a pink B&B in Galveston.
4) Professor Ming Lu- she is the professor I want to be. Students called her Dragon Lady; she was tough, challenging, and spent extra time with students she felt needed or wanted it. She spent a lot of time with me. It is from her that I have an open policy of revision.
5) Professor Wolf. Pushed me to rethink revision.
6) Student # 6, row 3 of my first Composition class. That homeschool kid that started it all.
7) My sister. I am a wiser, more careful woman because of how fragile she is.
8) My Uncle Don. He was a powerful, intelligent, and stubborn man. There were things he was told he could not do; not only did he do them, but I'm pretty sure he target shot at the people who told him he couldn't.... from his firetruck. *edited to add- Aunt Deedle just informed me that he might have also dropped water balloon bombs from his airplane on those pesky naysayers. See? I told you he was cool!)*
9) That girl I once knew, the one that made me reevaluate myself as a person and an artist.
10) Oprah- Not what you think. Oprah inspires me to work on my novels. Why? Because someday, maybe someday soon, I'll finish them and she will feature them on the Book Club. Then I will have lots of money. Then we can live like JD Salinger on thousands of acres in the woods. I know, a writer should be concerned with integrity and literature and whatnot. I say phooey, write me a check Oprah.
Monday, June 18, 2007
My favorite family vacation as a child was Yellowstone National Park with my favorite cousins. We made lots of good memories, granted that much of it was funnier than Chevy Chase's famous movie vacations.
The other part that feeds my anticipation is that I grew up with the Rockies always in view to the West, an anchor to the horizon. I always hold a special place for the Rocky Mountain Range in my heart, and there is no comparison to the overwhelming greatness I feel when driving into them on man made cut roads. So Montana, here we come!
Oh, wait. It's not that simple. I have to get the car checked, packed, and ready; the kid checked, packed, and ready; and my students/online classroom checked, packed, and ready. All this in three days. Whew. Is there room for me in the car? I hope so, I'm driving!
Saturday, June 16, 2007
He's an amazing guy. Here's the list: he can and does play almost every instrument by ear and often; he's a great cook, gardener, conversationalist, and friend; he's an "awesome" father; quite handy, if not good with shapes then good at faking it!; and most of all....he's my best friend and Lil'Bug's awesome Dad.
I could list more things that he's good at or even his Kingdom of Loathing stats, but none really speak
more of his greatness than the photos I have provided.
This Father's Day he wanted to take Lil'Bug to the local farm museum. As we toured the different era farms she gave us her input:
1700's farm- "I will not live here. I don't like tents outside."
1840's farm- "Purple Baby doesn't like it here. Mama, it's too hot."
1900's farm- "This is Ok. Where is the farm cat?"
I'm not sure what she was thinking, but her responses were more real estate oriented than we intended the family outing to be. She did get to pet a lamb, a dairy cow, a horse, and a thistle. The purple thistle was by far her favorite.
Friday, June 15, 2007
The picture on the right is of a clutch of lacewing eggs. Neat. These are good bugs- very, very good bugs. I grew up calling lacewings "Mosquito Hawks"- they eat mosquitoes, mosquito larvae, and lots of other pesties.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I'd like to think of myself as an optimist, you know- someone who doesn't complain, but a friend once pointed out that I cross the line into "the worst kind of idealist" ie, I set impossible goals and sometimes ignore reality. On the other hand, Napoleon did not conquer most of the European world by thinking, "Maybe I'm not being realistic...." Anyway, maybe I do complain a lot, even if it's masked in amusing (hey, I think they are!) stories about our neighbor kids, neighbor adults, or local politics- it's still complaining.
I've decide to step up to the plate and support their efforts by creating a weekly gratitudes list too:
1) I am grateful that I married young and to the most amazing man, we've spent almost 1/2 our lives together and its only getting better.
2) My daughter is the happiest child and funny too. I am glad that her first words used in context were "Giggle giggle/ tickle tickle" and "quack". (Hey, that's a kids book!)
3) We live in a really cool house. I am enjoying our time here but I am happy we are moving.
4) The carrot cake I made this week was awesome (the frosting is not included in that statement).
5) I have the loveliest friends and some have wonderful children who are friends with my wonderful child.
6) I rock at Catch Phrase.
7) I have a tomato on the plant! Whoo hoo!
I'm sure that I will still be grateful for all of the above next week too. I'm grateful for that.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
My very good friend made this bag just for me. It fits my mactop and its accoutrement and a spare set of bottoms for Lil'Bug AND my wallet and such. If I leave my mactop out, it fits lunch, sunscreen, and a bottle of water wrapped in new outfit for the hippopotamus (Lil'Bug if she finds a mud puddle at the park, yo). It's awesome. It makes me smile every time I look at it. Can a bag do that?
It's just not right.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
We find a lot of bugs, snakes, and other creepy crawlies. My husband and child both just love to pick them up and look at them.
Bee Charmers, they are. I can't wait to have actual bees. In fact, I can't wait to have an actual farm. Lil'Bug has already shown an affinity and kindness towards animals, a calmness that I hope she keeps as she grows up. Not that she's all that calm most of the time!
*edited to add* We have submitted the pictures to whatsthatbug.com. I do not think it is a lynx spider, but I have no idea what it is!
Monday, June 11, 2007
The game is SCATTERGORIES…it’s harder than it looks! Here are the rules: Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following. They MUST be real places, names, things…NOTHING made up! If you can’t think of anything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person before you had the same 1st initial. You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question.
Your Name: D. (MamaPodkayne)
1. Famous Singer/Band: Dietaphobia
2. 4 letter word: Deep
3. Street: Division
4. Color: Deep Sea
5. Gifts/Presents: Drawings
6. Vehicle: Dodge Ram
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Divining Rod
8. Boy Name: David
9. Girl Name: Diana
10. Movie Title: Dead Poets Society
11. Drink: Dr. Pepper
12. Occupation: Doctor of Philospohy
13. Celebrity: Dr. Dre
14. Magazine: DIY
15. U.S. City: Denver
16. Pro Sports Teams: Denver Nuggets
18. Reason for Being Late for Work: Dentist Appointment gone awry
19. Something You Throw Away: Dead Starlings
20. Things You Shout: "Dead Starlings! Oh No! Not AGAIN!"
21. Cartoon Character: Dopey
Who I am tagging: Wheelchair Mama
Perhaps the time for authenticity in a culture that really hasn't existed for my generation has passed and all we have is what has been melted into the pot? Maybe its been my physical removal from the geographic area? But always, when I hear the longing voice singing for Jolie Blonde or hear the distinct wind of a fiddle that reminds me of the old 45's my Popo used to play, or even the particular smell after a rain that is exactly like Christmas at Momo's, I long for something that I cannot hold on to. Something that feels like home in a way that where I am geographically never will. Perhaps this is why I am overreacting about appropriation.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
Today was a good day for Mama Podkayne. I was reminded of two wonderful things in my life: family and friends. Today, I was cranky. Really really cranky. Our homeschooler group hosted garage sale Part 2 and I needed to help out (much of our downsized home decor is on the tables there with $1 stickers, so yes, I needed to help out). I did not have the patience to deal with that, school stress, AND growth spurt tot. My mother-in-law was a God-send and watched Lil'Bug the whole afternoon. Then my many mom friends, while mocking my crankiness, made me a nice warm cup of Nettle tea for to calm my frazzled nerves.
Did the tea work? Not so much the tea, but the friendship, fellowship, and family and the reminder that I have wonderful of all of the above. :) And Lil'Bug sighing in her sleep that she's glad Mama "feels better."
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Coming soon to a garden near me......
Ah, yes, the yearly batch of lady bugs. We have a pretty good sized ant colony and their herd of aphids does a pretty good job on our garden. The solution? We could soak a square mile around our house with industrial poisons but 1) the neighbors refused consent and 2) just kidding, it's just not practical plus the ick factor of poisons. Instead we decided to get down and dirty with an army of lady bugs.
One more thing to note: despite our neighbors accusations, the state-wide infestation of Japanese lady-beetles was not our fault. :)
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
"Sure, here you go," Mama hands her and she adds a cup of water.
"Mama," she pauses reflectively, "That didn't do anything. Can we make it do the fizzy again?" Sadly, we are now out of baking soda, so not today.
We were actually baking carrot cake from scratch. It turned out yummy. Unfortunately the vanilla in the frosting had turned a bit and Lil'Bug's reaction to it was, "It smells like Grandpa! Grandpa is not food." Indeed, it did smell quite a bit like cologne, but the alcohol settled out of it overnight in the fridge and it was an amazing and yet healthy cake (ok, maybe not the butter and cream cheese frosting part) that we will make again soon.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Saturday, June 2, 2007
She put the worm in the net and submerged it over the side of the canoe. She had a blast! This is definitely going to be a regular activity this summer. I was initially wary of the small boat and a very active tot squirming all over, but she has great balance and listens well. On previous trips we have seen Blue Heron, Painted Turtles, Canadian geese, ducks, more ducks, and oh, then there were ducks. Lil'Bug loves ducks. This weekend, after the flooding receded a bit, there wasn't much wildlife but future outings will undoubtedly add to our catalogue of animal pictures.
Maybe, just maybe, she'll even catch a fish......
Friday, June 1, 2007
Tuesday a few of my homeschool mama friends checked out local parks. We're looking for a "good" park, but the problem is that everyone has a different idea of what "good" means. Ah, the nuances of words. So good means all of the following: not far (gas is expensive here), modern bathrooms, shade, no water feature, and kid friendly play equipment (you'd be surprised how unkid friendly some of our local park's play structures are). Sounds simple, but its not. Crowd control is also an issue, especially in the summer.
Tuesday's park choice was overrun with public school buses so Plan B was enacted. Park B was ok, but there were mean little boys who were mean to and said rude things to Lil'Bug and that pretty much ruined it for her. Beautiful view though, the bathrooms were the gaping hole in the ground stinky camp toilets kind. Ugh. So we're off to find a better option. Hopefully one on the bike trails. Hear that Mama B? I just thought of that.....is there one that connects to the "park by my house"'s bike trail?
Thursday was much better. The park was awesome: connects to nearby bike trails, is shaded, nice bathrooms, and Lily had fun. Of course there was an encounter with a Queen Ant (neat) and the parking was on street, but neither were so terrible that the park gets a bad grade from me. I think we will go there sometimes for fun, not on a park day. That's high praise!
It's raining here. She has so much energy that it gets a little wild when we can't go outside to run it off, so baking bread it is. Does anybody have a kid friendly bread recipe that's not banana or pumpkin that you could share with me? I'm going to try the no knead bread that was in the NY Times, but I'll let you know how that turns out. I need something really simple.
This, my friends, is a Leopard Slug from our garden. My dear husband was moving bricks when he discovered this monster! It was HUGE. Is still huge. We released it back near the brick pile. Lil'Bug wanted to touch it but not really. Finally we convinced her and she thought it was, "awesome." That's her hand holding it (with daddy's help, of course).
Indeed. I took the pictures. Dear husband and child spent quite a bit of time scrubbing Leopard Slug slime from their hands. Not me, I got to play with digital pictures! :)