8.28.2009

And Now For Something Else

This is a message from the dogs.

In case you had forgotten about them, this is Peter Pan.


Photos by Blake

Peter Pan would like you to know that he is sleeping on his doggie pillow at night, much to his intense chagrin and woe, and also that he gets off the couch every time when he is asked. He misses snuggling under the covers, and for the life of him, he just cannot understand why his mom tells him "NO" while he stares forlornly at the white duvet with his muddy, stinky paws.

This is Barnaby MacDuff.


Barnaby MacDuff would like you to know that if he barks at you when you are at the fence, it is only because you are his sworn enemy, and he doesn't mean anything personal by it. And he is sorry. But he has so many sworn enemies these days, you know? It's just hard to keep up with them all.


He is extra sorry if he has nipped at you lately. I mean, he's a Scottie. He can't help it.

8.24.2009

SUMMER, FOR THE TAKERS


It is chilly indoors and the early afternoon sun is hot. Outside the earth is parched. The back yard calls to me over and over, the sun calling so loudly I almost cannot hear my own thoughts. I open the back door and squint into the late-summer sky. There is dusting to do but I have time, and I walk barefoot to the grass. Every inch of my skin is warm. My feet walk over the harsh grass to the hammock. The dogs are softly woofing under their breath at a neighbor walking by and as I lay there I can feel my bones turn to gelatin in the heat.

Peter Pan sniffs out a worm, digs twice in the brown earth with a front paw and then presses his nose to the ground. He pulls an inch of struggling worm out of the ground with his teeth and, delighted, begins to roll in it; neck first, shoulders next, back and torso last, his feet twitching in the air as he works to get every hair on his body covered in worm guts. Satisfied, he stands up, grass and goo sticking to his fluffy, freshly bathed fur. Later this afternoon I will terrorize him with a hair cut. Already I am feeling apologetic. Barnaby is next, and as he rolls in what's left of the worm guts he pauses for a moment on his back to let the sun warm his belly, his tongue lolling out of his head in what I can only imagine is pure dog heaven.

One by one the dogs take turns rolling in place while I giggle and watch Charlie the hawk fly over the field across the street. He is hunting mice and I remember every summer I have lived here, watching Charlie prowl his turf. I close my eyes and feel the hammock sway gently in the breeze, before jerking violently as Peter suddenly appears and lays on my chest, his nose on my shoulder.

The summer is ending. Soon the sun will disappear for months on end. Students are back in town now and we missed it, we missed the whole thing. But for now the sun is still baking, and while I will have to get a job soon, for right now it is still summer, I am still home in the middle of the afternoon, and I am wonderfully, blissfully happy, laying on my hammock, communing with my sun. This is it, I think. This is what I want to remember about Moscow. I want to remember this little pocket of the year. Heaven on Earth, is what it is.

8.19.2009

BLACKBERRIES









We went blackberry picking tonight, me, my mom, and my baby brother Blake.

While we picked I thought of my grandpa, who goes out every summer and picks blackberries near his home in Southern Oregon. I thought of the bags of berries he sets aside for each of his kids, a few of which are still in my mom's garage freezer.

I thought of the blackberries I picked the summer The Holbs and I were falling in love. I was working as a file clerk at a law firm in Portland and he was taking summer classes at BYU. We fell in love the old fashioned way, except emails and not letters, and one day that summer while composing an email in my head I walked barefoot to a little spot to pick blackberries and completely burned the bottoms of my feet.

When I married my pen pal I carried a bouquet of stephanotis and blackberries. We had our reception in a stable and danced in the dark on a grassy field to a live bluegrass band. At the end of the night I had grass-stained feet and a dark streak of blackberry juice smeared across my dress.

Happy anniversary, B. I love you like a whole lot.

8.18.2009

TO RED LIPS


Today in honor of Nie and her anniversary I donned the reddest lipstick I have, straightened myself up good and tall, and told myself in the mirror "You are a queen!"

When Blake got home from his math tutoring he exclaimed at the doorway "Your mouth is red!" in a manner most shocked and entertained.

My red mouth fell downward in insecurity. My red mouth and I have a history of not understanding each other. Too red? Too lippy? Too nosy? I am never sure.

Once Blake had left to inhale every edible item in the pantry I stood at the mirror and pondered. I could feel my queen slowly deflating.

I met Alexandra at the Baja Fresh for lunch and while on line she peered at me through her new bangs and declared the color a good choice for the top I was wearing.

But I still wasn't sure, and was thinking about taking it off when I realized: To doubt your worth or your beauty is so not Nie.

So I put on an extra coat instead and stood a little taller.

Thanks, Steph.

8.17.2009

MY MOM KNOWS WHAT'S UP


I have to say, my mom knows what's up. Check this out. Her toilet paper holder is open ended, so when you run out of toilet paper and grab a new roll you're not tempted to just set it on the counter (unloading the old one is always way too much work). Pull it off, put on a new one. It's genius.



Also she has this giant toilet paper bureau.


Which is especially fun because sometimes you open a drawer and there's nothing in it.


And then sometimes you open a drawer and there's toilet paper!


Wee! It's like a treasure hunt. When you open the right drawer and find the toilet paper it's always exciting.

Little things, you know.

8.11.2009

GRANNY GOOSES


My granny goose has this hallway of photos. It is my very favorite thing ever.





This is Shirley Jean



and my mother



Great Grandma Viola and Great Grandpa Davis



Great Great Grandpa George and Great Great Grandma Serena



That's me in the pink dress, on the right



My grandpa's office obviously, peanut brittle and caramel corn are old man staples.







This picture, oh my gosh.



Their bedroom.



The living room is like a treasure chest.





Gooser in the kitchen making her famous pancakes.





The sugar pot.



This finger scares the crap out of everyone.



The funkiest yellow laundry room.



My mom and me in the "girls' room."


And then I found this mirror while antiquing and I take it back, Granny Goose, you can get me this for my birthday.



Bee close up!



The End.

8.10.2009

Safe Folded I Rest

In my family we all sing. Sort of. Alex is majoring in Vocal Performance at BYU-Idaho and Amanda majored in Vocal Performance at OSU but Natalie majored in Communications. Alex sings high and loud and Amanda sings high and loud but Natalie sings low and soft. Alex sings Opera and Amanda sings Opera and Natalie sang jazz at a restaurant in Downtown Portland one summer between semesters. Alex can wail and Amanda can wail and Natalie can . . . harmonize really well?

It's not terribly fair.

My dad just turned fifty, so when he asked us to sing in church on Sunday we all had to say yes. Birthday blackmail.

For posterity.
And for because I don't think I have this in me ever again.
I am relinquishing my title as "Sister That Sings."
You two can have it.
(But we sounded pretty good.)