Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Time Has Come...

... The Walrus Said.....

Time to turn on word verification.

I thought I was getting some "don't treat your child like a dog" comments and I was getting all ready to rock-em-sock-em robot and maybe drop the f-bomb a couple of times.... but no.... nothing but love, support and a few ads for Hurricane Katrina bloggers and weight loss.

Weight loss?!?! Well, there's the hate I was looking for.....

Next thing you know... I'll be using Flea Shampoo on him....

I loved all the harness comments. I’ve really been thinking about it and here is what I’ve come up with…

1. Yes, of course, it is about Sweet Boy’s safety. But it isn’t ALL about his safety. It is also about convenience for me. I admit it. I hate fighting with him to stay in the stroller when he really wants to stand behind the stroller and push it. I’d rather let him push the stroller but know he is connected to me in case he starts to wander away.

2. Sweet Boy doesn’t like to hold hands in public places. (Just like a man, I know.) He views hand-holding as an excellent reason to throw himself towards the earth. Call it an experiment in physics and gravity. Very educational, yes, but it might be difficult to explain the dislocated shoulder (really, he throws himself at the ground so dramatically) to the ER attending as a science project. And, again with the selfish mommy thing…. I’m tall. He’s short. Trying to hold his hand for long periods of time is uncomfortable for both of us.

3. I don’t buy the whole “it is demeaning to treat your child like a dog” theory. For one thing, my dog is treated like royalty. He has nicer toys, better treats and fancier shampoo than any other member of the family. Issues of manners, control and restraint are for his safety and happiness…. I’m ok with applying that theory to my child too.

4. And if you really want to make that point…. Criticize me when my child is eating dog food, chasing cats & playing in the dog waterer.

5. Note that he responds to the commands sit, stay and foot, please.

6. Am I ready to handle the stares, comments and criticisms of perfect strangers? Back to dog analogies…this is a long one….. when Gunnar was a young dog I lived in Boulder, Colorado. (PC capitol of the world) Gunnar is half Jack Russell terrier which means he has a strong neck designed for shaking rats to death. This means taking him on a leash and expecting him to be responsive to normal “collar rules” is unreasonable so I bought a “haltee” dog halter. It looks kinda like a tiny horse halter and works by tipping the dog’s nose down when you pull on it rather than by trying to restrain them from the neck. Neat. Works like a charm. No more sore arms from sawing on Gunnar’s neck trying to get him to heel. No more listening to him make choking, wheezing sounds while he tries to drag me along. (The dog thought I was the slowest human on earth and that he was doing me a favor by dragging me places.) The haltee has some other unintended but interesting results…. People wouldn’t let children come up to my dog because they thought it was a muzzle. Anyone who criticized me for muzzling my dog or for taking a dog who required a muzzle to a public place was told that, indeed, the dog could still bite them…. Get a little closer and test the theory out. It didn’t really bother me because I think people should in general assume a strange dog will bite their child and proceed accordingly. I was more than happy to explain the contraption was actually very humane to anyone who seemed genuinely concerned for Gunnar’s welfare. I can’t count the number of times I had to show concerned but unobservant individuals that, yes, the dog can actually pant & drink while wearing the haltee. Just another example of how being a dog owner prepared me for parenthood.

7. I hate to brag (oh, you know I’m lying…) but the kid is advanced…..well, he’s physically advanced. The prehensile lizard brain…the one that has all the preservation instincts…. It isn’t so well developed. He loves to run. Playing “chase” is a fun game and Sweet Boy doesn’t understand the concept of “dangerous” places yet and, honestly, I’m in no rush for him to learn that lesson.

8. It doubles as a backpack. That means he can carry his own snacks & sippy cup & sunscreen stick. How cool is that?? I promise right now to not let it become my purse…. I vow I will not put my wallet, lip gloss or sunglasses in Sweet Boy’s backpack.

9. I’ve really been thinking about appropriate situations for child restraint. I don’t plan on tethering him to the clothes line any time soon… although radiator installation plans are in the works so I will have something to chain him too when he is a teenager. I don’t think a leash is a replacement for proper supervision… but I do think it might work out the next time we are in a large crowded place.

10. Hello?!?! Where's the hate? Surely someone has something negative to say? Come on. Bring it. I need to hear the criticism as well as the support. Although, of course, if you present the criticism in a nasty manner I promise to be nasty right back.... it will be fun.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Mother of the Year again....

Do you think it means I'm a bad parent if I'm considering getting a leash (disguised as a puppy dog backpack) for my child?

For Greenie....

Greenie- (I was going to post this last week and then I didn't because I didn't want to sound like a know-it-all-wanna-be but then I realized I sound like that all the time anyway so why not?)

Ok, these are some thoughts for Greenthumb. He has a great blog, great pictures and great eyebrows. Check him out.

Greenie is so thoughtful and sweet and sincere that just reading his blog makes you want to do things to help him… so for fear of being called an assvicist, here goes….

Nick’s back pain: I can offer some empathy & sympathy. I have two metal rods in my upper back and I used to have migraines and back pain all the time. Then I discovered Dr. Nick Soloway (da-da-da… that’s fanfare playing in the background). He does a combination of acupuncture, chiro & deep tissue work. I hate to sound cultish, but he’s a fraggin’ miracle worker. You need him. Or someone like him.

Valley Farms does a thing that combines coffee and gardening. They teach classes on Saturday mornings and offer Morning Light coffee and cookies. Sweet Boy loves their ginger snaps.

And State Nursery (or High Country Growers?) might be for sale again here in Helena. You could buy it and move here and I will buy all my plants from you. Yeah. Good idea.

And a career in photography & writing. Consider checking out the Washington Art’s Council website. Artist professional development and marketing are hot topics nationally right now.

Because Susan said too....

From Susan

Number of books I have owned: Eleventy-million.

Last book I bought: Who Pooped in the Park? Really. Truly. A great book if you have a little woodsbaby like mine…. Or if you are just looking for an easy way to offend the delicate sensibilities of the local ladies’ auxiliary.

Last book I completed: Ok, I confess…. I get the Dear Reader emails and, lately, that’s how I’ve been deciding what to read…. So the last thing I read was THE MOLD IN DR. FLOREY'S COAT by Eric Lax.

Five books that mean a lot to me:
Old Turtle
Wilderness Medical Guide
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul
A Wrinkle in Time
Tales from Margaritaville

I am so shallow. I will now crawl back under my redneck rock and not reimerge until I have read something with great depth and meaning to better myself and others. Amen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Lava & Other Hot Things

Truly.... nothing gets off ground-in soot like Lava....and Hot Stuff will actually have a "fire tan" of soot on his legs between his socks and his panties (ok, he will get even with me for calling them "panties" and for the record he usually wears those cutie-pie boxer-briefs).

And can I add how fraggin' sexy those piercing icy-green eyes are in a soot-covered face? Rugged, gorgeous man in fire pants & big black boots. ROWR.

How many women do you know that get turned on by a man who smells & tastes like a bbq potato chip?

I smell a campfire and my panties start gettin' wet... I swear.

Kittens and condiments

Oops. Look like I already posted the pickled kitten story.... you people really should be reading my archives... there's some funny shit in there.

I'm a Pink Toothbrush...*

We’ve been having a few hygiene issues at our house…. Now wait a minute, don’t get ahead of me here…. This is not about the bar of Lava soap in our shower (don’t ask…it’s a firefighter thing). It is about our toothbrushes… specifically, my new dark purple toothbrush.

My new dark purple toothbrush that my husband can’t tell apart from his blue toothbrush.

Now, it wouldn’t bother me except every time I walk into the bathroom when he is brushing he immediately looks panicked and quickly puts whichever toothbrush he is using back in the holder…. I’m worried I’m stunting his oral hygiene.

This chapter is titled “Living with a Colorblind Spouse” and can be found in my new book called If this is Normal, Bring on the Crazy.

*Recognize the title? Were you a child of the 1970's who grew up listening to Smurf records? Yup, that's vintage Smurfing Sing Song.

Update on the shooting thing.

Ok. I was being a little dramatic. The guy wasn’t shooting directly at them but they didn’t know that at the time. According to Hot Stuff, it was just like in the movies… duck and cover and running crouched over from cover spot to cover spot.

Hubby seems to be fine (I checked him carefully) and I’m not suffering PTSD in any measurable form….. although he did wake me up last night because I was sleeping on top of him and I had a dream about being trapped in a fun house and I couldn’t get to him or Sweet Boy.

And truly, the thing about highway patrol and wildland firefighters for the state of Montana was not a typo… they don’t get hazard pay. Even though highway patrol officers are often in VERY sketchy situations and firefighters deal with meth labs (exploding and/or the hostile and paranoid manufacturers) and burnt dead tree snags (they don’t call them widowmakers for nothin’) and well, the possibility of being burnt of course. But whatcha gonna do? Just like many professions, most people outside of the industry have no idea what is involved.

Oh, and I was very disappointed when I blingoed “fucking Governor Brian Schweitzer” and my blog wasn’t there….. I wonder what “pickled kittens” will get me…. (I promise that story is coming… if I can get the PETA people to stop calling me….)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hazard Fucking Pay

Subtitle: My husband got shot at this weekend and it wasn’t by me….

Do you know the movie Clerks? When the guy keeps saying, “But I wasn’t even supposed to work today….” That was Sunday.

I got a phone call around 8:45 pm from my sister. She said, “Don’t worry. Your husband is fine.” I expected her to finish with, “But he went to the bar with the boys…” or something like that…. Instead I hear, “No one was injured in the shooting.”

What the Fuck?

Now would someone please tell fucking Governor Brian Schweitzer* that our state wildland firefighters (and highway patrol… the fraggin’ highway patrol doesn’t get hazard pay….) should have hazard pay.

*I apologize to anyone who was googling “fucking Governor Brian Schweitzer” for personal reasons… you are a sick fuck, but welcome to my blog anyway…..


Lala emailed me yesterday to tell me today is Yellow Day for kindergarten so I quickly emailed her back with a list of possible items Big could take to demonstrate yellow.....

post-it notes.
m&m's. (I volunteer to eat the reject colors.)
yellow-bellied cowards.
lemon jello jigglers. (mmm. with vodka....)
daisy middles.
dog pee.
lemon meringue pie.
lemon sorbet.
lemon-scent pledge bottles. (are they really yellow?)
soft-scrub with lemon lids.
smiley faces.
Hershey's syrup lids.

She said I will be an excellent kindergarten mom. So there.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


So, I was cleaning my fridge today.... and I realized something... it has METAL drawers.... do you know what that means? That's right. Vintage.

So then I was sweeping the laundry room and I looked at the energy efficiency tag on the hot water heater..... they estimated it assuming propane cost less than 75 cents a gallon. Propane is now close to $1.40/gal. Again... vintage.


Thursday, August 18, 2005


Add to the budget a line item for this.... the new line of brassieres by Apple.


Sigh. Big, heavy, drawn-out sigh. Sigh.

I have a plan. Total World Domination in 30 hours a week. Good plan, huh? I want to cut my 40 hours a week back to 30 hours a week…. And still afford the little things like food and fuel and toilet bowl cleaner and stuff.

I could say I want my son to go to daycare to develop social skills. He is learning how to interact with other kids. He is learning to take instructions from adults other than his parents. It is good for his immune system to be exposed to all those other little germs. I could tell you a million reasons (besides needing to get paid to buy toilet paper) for putting my son in daycare. Noble reasons. Reasons that justify that “I just left my favorite pony tied to the front door of the glue factor” sinking feeling I have when I leave him. And, for the most part, I believe some of those reasons.

But the reality? I won’t kid you….. I don’t have the patience or strength of character to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. I rely entirely too much on my daycare lady (DCL). She rocks. She tells me how much applesauce makes up a serving of fruit. She knows all the rules about nutrition and child care and discipline and she knows when to bend them. She has ideas and suggestions when I need them. She tells me my child is brilliant and a delight to be around (really, she says that, really….). She doesn’t care if I (or any member of my immediate extended family) drop in unannounced. She reads to Sweet Boy. She pushes him on the swing and takes him for walks and lets him help her feed the chickens. Her house is really clean. The playroom is orderly and the kids practice their “nice manners” while they eat lunch. Her husband is nice. I’ve met her kids and they are intelligent and well-adjusted and that makes me feel good. She feeds Sweet Boy breakfast and lunch and snacks. A lot of the food he eats comes from her garden. She washes his pacifiers in the dishwasher and when he blows out an outfit she washes it for me…. And gets the stains out. All I do is provide diapers and wipes and an occasional bottle of sunscreen.

Oh, but wait…. I’m got off on a little tangent bragging about how great my DCL is…. Sorry. Back to the money whining. (Gosh, that does seem to be a lot of what I blog about… alternating between bragging & whining… interesting.)

So I would like to change my schedule to 3 days in the office per week and a small amount of telecommuting to get my total hours worked to 30. I think, from a work standpoint, it can be done. The tricky part is making it work with our budget. Things are slim around here. I’ve been working on it and playing around with the numbers this week. Of course, the only conclusion I came too was that I need to buy Quicken to manage my money-management. Any brilliant suggestions? Anyone have a money tree growing in their backyard and want to send me a branch? Please don’t suggest I get involved in a pyramid scheme or find a sugar daddy…. Those ideas have already been considered and rejected…. (Although I’m still considering producing children for profit… I come from good stock and make cute babies… I bet I could do pretty well on the black market.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

All by Myself

All by Myself
Originally uploaded by Homestead.
Yes, this is my son at age 14 months. Yes, he did climb the fence by himself. Yes, he does have a giant bruise on his head. Yes, he is wearing a surfer-dude shirt. Any questions?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Fruit Dip

I'm in love with this dip.

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
½ c sour cream
¼ c sugar
¼ c brown sugar
1-2 TBS maple syrup

Mix until smooth, chill & serve with fresh fruit.


Oh, this recipe brings back good memories.....

Mojito recipe
(courtesy of Peter Held, former Executive Director, Holter Museum)

1.5 oz Barbenbourt Estate Reserve (15yr.) rum or any good white rum
1.5 oz white sugar or Gurapro (sugar cane juice)
fresh mint
mineral water, San Pellegrino is good water
fresh lime or lime juice to taste

Put sugar in glass, then crush 2 sprigs of fresh mint. Add rum, water, lime. Turn on salsa music and have some fun.

Rhubarb Slushy

Here's a recipe for all that random rhubarb you have....

Makes 1 gallon
From Cousin S

8 c rhubarb in ½” chunks
2 quarts water
2 ½ c lemon juice
3 c sugar
1 pkg strawberry jello (small)
4 c vodka

Cook rhubarb in water until soft and mushy (20 min). Put mush in strainer. Save juice. Throw away pulp. Mix in lemon juice, sugar, jello & vodka. Mix & freeze in gallon container. To serve, scoop into glasses and add approx ¼ can pop. (sprite, ginger ale, etc.)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dwight & Lefty.

Sisters 3 2003
Originally uploaded by Homestead.
18 gears & an airhorn.... what could be more fun?

This. This is a Truck.

Driving Truck 2 2003
Originally uploaded by Homestead.
I missed harvest this year.... which makes me kinda sad and just a touch sentimental. This picture is from a few years back. It is hot. It is dusty. The combines are air-conditioned... the trucks are not. That header I am looking at out the window? It is worth more money than I am.... and we are moving.... and the combine driver is dumping wheat in my box. (ha-ha-ha... I just said, "in my box" on the internet.) This truck has a name. All good trucks have a name. This one is called, "The Purple Peter Beater." Why? Well, it was the purple people-beater until my mom made an unfortunate slip of the tongue. She's a rough-riding rig and the cab is directly over the engine which means you can pretty much bake cookies on the console. It runs normally at 300 degrees... I'm not kidding. It is so hot that the dog won't ride with me.... he goes and mooches a ride in the combine.

This set of pictures (what I could load before I hit my flickr limit) has some special meaning to me. See, I had just suffered a miscarriage.... a miscarriage following a long period of trying to get pregnant.... and I was feeling pretty raw. Spending long hours in that old truck staring out at a dusty landscape was soothing to me somehow. It helped heal me. Healing comes in many shapes and forms. Here's hoping that, if you need it, you find the healing you are looking for... and don't be afraid to look for it in strange places.....

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Snack Time

Snack Time
Originally uploaded by Homestead.
This is the fancy rolling snack bar.

This morning I found Sweet Boy's baseball cap in it.

Yesterday morning it was my hair brush.

So, people, now I need suggestions for a new dog food container because I think this one is about to become the toy box.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

For Colleen

For Colleen
Originally uploaded by Homestead.
This is for Clobber.... a picture of me in my new shirt in front of my shower curtain.

Hoary Marmot & other swear words….

I recently left a comment on another blogger’s site and used the word “fuck” oh, about eleventy-million times. Sorry LadyBug…. I was a bit worried and the potty-mouth starts spewing when I am stressed, worried or drinking. Some people crave a smoke when they drink… I crave cussing.

I try to rarely vocalize swear words for several reasons. I have a professional image to maintain. I find swearing is much more effective if you don’t do it too often. I have a small parrot-like child and I really don’t want him to be the only kid on the playground dropping the f-bomb.

But welcome to my brain. In my head there are swear words everywhere. Nouns, verbs, adjectives…. Creative swearing, beautiful cursing, explosive cussing. At any given moment the word “fuck” is emblazoned in glowing neon on the walls of my mind.

And I learned from the best. My dad can go on for over 5 minutes without repeating a word. We call them “mfcs-fits” because they almost always start with Mother-Fucker-Cock-Sucker and go on from there. It’s a cultural thing. It has to be. I should apply for a grant to study it as a form of folklore.

My brother does this scary, calm cursing thing. He has this rhythmic, melodious tone and he sounds like the horse-whisperer or something…. It is mesmerizing until you suddenly actually hear the words he is using…. slimy chicken fucker & finger-fuck a flying fish (nice alliteration) are some prime examples. It’s also impressive when he can work some non-swearing descriptive in and make is sound really naughty. Check the comments section… I’m sure he will have something to say.

He. Is. Still. Here.

I bitched and moaned about being a single mom for 14 days…. And then… He. Didn’t. Leave.


Severity is too high locally so they didn’t send a crew to western Montana. But he is working until 8:00 most nights so I have plenty of time to get myself into trouble.

Last night I tried to talk myself into buying some expensive skin care products just so I could get the free bonus gift. I failed. But I did manage to leave my purse at the store and get all the way home before I realized it. That was fun. (But the beauty of living here? Not only was my purse still there…. The cash & credit cards were still in it.)

I love living here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

How big is ‘yer spread?

It’s a question you just don’t ask. People raised in a farm or ranch community… true farmers & ranchers…. never ask how many acres you own. Yet this weekend I was asked, not once but twice, how many acres we own. Five-and-a-half-thank-you-very-much. And, yes, we have creekside property. Geez.

I guess if I wanted to be a true brat I could talk about how many acres my family owns… if I had any idea what that number might be. Before you get too excited and start asking me for a low-interest loan or anything let’s all remember that land is some desolate-ass dessert in the middle on north-central Montana. Hot Stuff refers to it as “this god-forsaken fuckin’ frozen tundra” as in, “How many more miles across this god-forsaken fuckin’ frozen tundra do we have to drive to get to town?”

So, just to recap, to fit in around Redneckia… don’t ask how many acres and, for the love of it all, if you are talking to a farmer remember a truck is something you haul grain in and not a little Dodge (Ford, Chevy, Toyota) grocery-getter with a tailgate & chrome bumpers…. That’s a pickup.

Keep in Touch Update…

I posted this and no sooner but Mrs. R was on the phone inviting Sweet Boy & I to dinner…. Who says giving your friends your blog url is a bad thing?

And our receptionist scheduled the second annual sangria party at her house for August 20th so I will get to check that off the list too.

Sunday afternoon I loaded Sweet Boy into the wheelie-stroller and marched down the hill to the newest neighbor’s house. As luck would have it… they were home.

People, I think my new neighbor might be a Stepford Wife. At minimum, she’s a pod person.

Picture this: She’s wearing a pink t-shirt with sequins & rhinestones on it tucked into her “we belong to a country club” skort. (Tucked in. On a Sunday afternoon.) Her hair is fixed in big wavy curls & she has on pink glitter eyeshadow & full face-paint. (I swear, I think she was wearing high-heeled mules…. But that might have been my imagination.) She’s slim & very attractive and she is making cookies. She home-schools their four children and her husband (he was wearing deck shoes & pleated khaki shorts…. And I am NOT making that up….) is a “mental health professional” and just moved to a new, bigger office in town. Yes, he’s going to have a good time analyzing us, isn’t he? While I was there he lit a fire in the woodstove to burn garbage. (Do I need to note how odd this is?? It’s August. He’s burning junk mail. What?)

It was just a touch surreal. Just a touch. Hell. Our number is in the phone book and our name is on the mail box…. She could just call at any time. I can only hope she doesn’t invite me over for a Tupperware party… or a homeschool supply party…. Or a sex toy party… oh, well, she could invite me over for a sex toy party…. I’d go to that.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Keep in touch….

People, do you know what I love about you? I can neglect you and you still love me. I can treat you in ways I could never treat people in “real life” and I can get away with it… I can keep secrets from you. I can carefully reveal things that only portray me in a certain light…. and, still, you love me.

I’m making a list.

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

I need to maintain a few relationships in real life and, well, it is a painful thing for me…. Not that I don’t LIKE any of these people… trust me, I edited the people I don’t like out of my life a long time ago…. But relationships are so much WORK. I don’t like calling people… I don’t mind talking on the phone… it is the act of picking up the phone and dialing that gives me pit-prickles and a stomach ache. (And it is genetic… my mom is the same way.) So you can imagine what actually making plans to meet up with someone does to me….

1. I really need to meet the new neighbors… they moved in months ago. I made chocolate chip cookies last night. I vow to take some over to them today and introduce myself…. After I shower. I’ve been watching them (sometimes with my binoculars…) and I think if I time it right I can do it when they aren’t home… leave the cookies & a note and run.
2. Worker Bees. I will invite “the gals” from work out for an after work glass of wine later this month. This one is pretty low-stress. They don’t care if my floors are clean… they just want to see my son & help me plan my flower beds. I love them.
3. Mrs. R. Mrs. R is my friend from high school. She married a guy who also went to school with us & they have a cutie little girl a few months younger than Sweet Boy. She understands. We email at work on a regular basis and always make plans to get together that fall through… it doesn’t matter… she’s still there and I know I can rely on her if I need her. These are the kind of low pressure relationships I can cope with. Maybe we will plan coffee this afternoon or swimming later this week….. or next week.
4. Mrs. L. Mrs. L was my good friend back in the early-Helena days when we were both pre-husband & children. We lost touch. Every time we see each other we have fun but neither one of us really makes an effort.
5. Lala. Lala is, truly, probably my bestest friend… too bad she lives, like, 1800 miles away. I am making plane reservations THIS WEEK to go see her in October. Do you hear me, woman? THIS WEEK. Stop with the threatening emails already…. I WILL MAKE THE RESERVATIONS THIS WEEK.
6. My mom, my sis, my mother-in-law. All, thankfully, low-key and easy to be around. Sometimes it seems odd to me that my closest pals also happen to be my family…. Either really scary or really lucky… depending on the day. Not to say that any one of them either singly or in combination isn’t perfectly capable of driving me completely freakin’ insane…. but not usually.
7. All those fire wives. I really like a few of the fire wives… but it is hard to be friends with them…. Marriage to a fire guy ain’t easy and, well, to be blunt… a lot of the relationships just don’t make it…. So why bother?

There. I feel better. I’ve made sure no one expects much from me and isn’t it easier to please people when they have really low expectations to start with?

Friday, August 05, 2005

‘Cause, well, you know…. Christmas IS coming….

Have I mentioned I’m a compulsive list maker? I am making Sweet Boy’s Christmas list…. It is August. Oh well. He wants to check out Thomas the Train on dvd…. The kid has no cartoon dvd’s and I refuse to start him out with Bohbah or whatever those warty uncircumcised penises that come in a staggering array of neonish colors are called. A penis with eyes…. Ew and double-ew…. That is what nightmares are made of….

Ok, so beyond Thomas he really needs some sort of tub toy organizer… something.

He might need snowboots… but there might be a pair in the hand-me-downs “size 2” tubs… I guess I do have until, oh, NOVEMBER or so to figure that out.

Geez, beyond that all he really needs is a bigger drawer to stash items hidden in travel mugs….. I worry…. The kid isn’t much on playing with toys. He loves his rocking wooden moose & that fraggin’ make-me-insane Elmo guitar but other than that he would rather be banging on stuff with a wooden spoon or stacking measuring cups…. Is that normal?

14 days as a single mom

I’m independent. I’ve mentioned this, right? Well, ok, I pretend like I’m independent. In truth, I rely very heavily on my partnership. Yes, I bitch when I leave him a list of TWO things to do ALL DAY (clean the sink & wash the sheets) and he wipes the sink with soap & water but doesn’t use softscrub to get the coffee stains out and he washes the sheets but doesn’t make the bed. Really, the list of things I do to make him crazy is much, much longer. Someday I will make that list but it is embarrassing to admit just how often I fail to close the garage door or how many times I’ve left candles burning unattended.

So last night he gets the “14 Day Dispatch” call.

What does this mean?

Wildland firefighters often go “off area” to other places with severe fires. Hot Stuff has been to Colorado, Florida, California, and Arizona in the last few years. This dispatch is to western Montana so at least he won’t have to fly commercially to get there.

The beauty of the 14-day dispatch is the timing. Pack-yer-shit-yer-leaving-in-2-hours-or-2-days….. This, people, is why the Homestead Household MUST keep up with the laundry…. Gotta dispatch those fire boys with clean panties.

This is the first off-area dispatch he’s accepted since Sweet Boy was born.

I’m filled with excitement, anticipation and dread. I will miss him terribly and being a single-mom is not something I am very good at doing. I will be late for work every day and I dread dragging Sweet Boy with me to every little detail of my day…. Like showering & taking out the garbage. I don’t sleep well without Hot Stuff and I get lonely with no one to talk too but the dog.

So, I try to look on the bright side….

I will get a lot done while he is gone. I do like eating what I want, when I want and not worrying about meals. (Those who know me laugh now…. Like I’ve ever been a very dedicated or conscientious cook.) I will whittle away at the every growing stack of unread magazines by my bed. I will check my email (sorry to anyone patiently waiting for an email response). I will listen to all the music he hates. (Yes, that is Jimmy Buffett shaking the dust off the lamps.) I will read blogs. I will play with photoshop. I will work on Sweet Boy’s baby book. I will work on my flower beds. I will take Sweet Boy to the Big Slide at the park. I will take many, many pictures. I will go swimming with Sweet Boy. I will eat ice cream every day. I need to think of some other things to do to keep myself busy for the next 14 days….. help me out here people.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


... the camera hospital called. My camera is back from the ICU and recovering nicely in a semi-private room. It can be discharged as soon as a responsible party is available to pick it up and care for it. I can fake responsible.... I'm going to get my camera.

Reality Fuckin’ TV.

And now, people, you will see why I don’t blog very often…. This is my Life.


A small kitchen… clean & uncluttered but definitely “lived in.” A 30-something woman in a black skirt & white tanktop is piling bags of groceries on the counter. As she piles, she pulls out various, seemingly random, food items to cook.

A small boy child, approximately 14 months, is playing in the kitchen. We see the boy child, unobserved by the mother, put his pacifier in a travel coffee cup, put the lid on it & put it in a drawer. As the scene continues to unfold, the boy child puts various objects in travel coffee cups, carefully puts on the lid & stashes them in the drawer.

The woman discovers a large plastic disk blocking one of the gas stove top lines…. She realizes THIS is why that burner hasn’t been working and calls the gas company to cancel her service call.

The phone rings and the woman begins a conversation with her sister. The conversation includes much talk about helicopters and fire. Meanwhile, the woman is cutting up bacon and putting it in a big pot to fry.

The woman, let’s refer to her as “mama,” runs around the corner into the laundry room to catch the small boy feeding dinosaur crackers to the dog. Mama can’t help but laugh at this adorable demonstration of sharing. She marvels at what an excellent choice she made in pets. This dog is bomb-proof…. He will tolerate anything.

The bacon burns. The smoke detector goes off. The sister (on the phone) laughs. Mama notes that all the smoke will just make Smokey, the firefighter husband, feel more comfortable when he gets home.

Mama adds green onions to the pot. The house stinks. The baby sneaks a full sippy cup of milk into the coffee cup drawer.

The dog goes out. The cat comes in. The daddy arrives smelling like wood smoke and gasoline from fighting fires & running a chainsaw. Mama dumps broccoli into the pot. The bacon grease splatters. The little boy runs to his daddy, babbling, and crawls up in his lap.

The daddy goes out to set the sprinklers. The mama stirs rice into the pot. The cat goes out. The dog comes in. The little boy takes daddy’s keys off the table and, you guessed it, puts them in a travel mug in the drawer.

The little boy goes outside to help his daddy. The mama goes upstairs to change out of her work clothes. The dog eats a piece of broccoli off the floor.

The daddy puts the little boy in his high chair and looks at the mail. The mama adds egg to the pot and gives the little boy slivers on nectarine. She wonders about the location of his sippy cup. The dog waits patiently to receive slivers of nectarine.

The mama ladles fried rice into bowls and the family sits down to eat. The little boy makes a big, giggling production out of blowing on his rice to cool it. He very carefully piles bits of rice on his spoon. Then he carefully takes them off and eats them. The baby does not enjoy the broccoli stems…. The dog does.

The family discusses the important questions of the day. Where was the fire? How big? Did you call in bucket drops? Should we go swimming tomorrow night? Which part of the lawn should we water next? Where IS that sippy cup of milk? What should we have for dinner tomorrow night? Do you want to play cribbage or read magazines after the baby is in bed? Would you like a drink? Do you think the little boy is eating enough vegetables? Do you want to get him ready for bed or do the dishes?

The baby is wrangled out of the high chair and sent to take a bath with daddy. Mama cleans up the dinner dishes. Soon, the little boy comes streaking out of the bathroom…. Completely naked and giggling…. Mama & “the butt bird” chase him back into the bathroom. He pees on the floor.

Mama wipes up the bacon grease & washes the stove. She marvels at having 4 working burners again. The dog cleans up the floor & high chair seat. A clean, naked baby… wrapped in a towel…. Gets a diaper & spidey-jammies in the living room. The daddy wonders where the blue paci is hiding.

The little boy shows daddy “somersaults” and how to climb up on the coffee table. He throws the ball for the dog and helps mama knock down some blocks. He goes outside to help daddy move the sprinklers. He mooches sips of mama’s iced tea.

The daddy & the baby play the “goodnight game” on the stairs. The baby sticks his hands through the stair spaces and the daddy grabs them and tickles him and growls. The baby gut-laughs and squeals and crawls up another step. The mama reads books & snuggles the little boy.

The little boy goes to bed with a little grin….. spidey-bottom sticking up in the air & soft, spikey-hair smelling clean. The mama turns on the fan & shuts the door partway. Goodnight little man.

The mama goes downstairs and adds a bit of vodka, cranberry juice and lemon to her tea. The daddy gets out the cribbage board. Mama plays well but she is defeated by ONE POINT. Usually they play two games but tonight they were interrupted by the phone a few times. They watch the fire report on the news and go to bed.

Scene fades to black.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My brother.

My brother.

My favorite brother.

My only brother.

My brother.

He’s moving.

Too Montana.

In October.

I’m so excited.

Do you know the naughty things he is going to teach my son?

Can you actually get frequent flyer miles for emergency room trips?

Oh, and by the by, he’s still available. Anybody want him?

More Reasons Why I Am A Great Mother.

I switched to small crunchy bite-sized bits of dog food instead of big kibble…. Less of a choking hazard. Sweet Boy’s latest trick is to cram several in his mouth and then run over to me grinning so I can squeeze his cheeks and he can spit them out one at a time like some demented little gumball machine.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Yeah, about that "Art & Modern Society" thing.....

I'm not going to write it. But I will say I think the "new direction" for art in Montana is towards art & economic development. We really want to get those tourists in here, get their money & then get them out before they drive up the price of land any more.

If I had money & wall space.......

Jay Laber is still my favorite but I also really like Gretchen Hibbard, Larry Pirnie, Richard Buswell, Tim Holmes, Josh DeWeese (and, really, any member of the DeWeese family) & Rosie Wynkoop. Oh, and Al Swanson.

And Ted Waddell is high on my list but he is living in Idaho so he can't be on the "Montana Favorites" list any more.

Oh and Chip Clawson & Robert Harrison.

And don't even get me started about Montana writers & musicians...... such talent.