Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Weekend in the Desert

To see lots more pictures of rocks (and wild horses, and caves and coyote tracks and a disheveled outhouse), click here.

If you drive an electic car and frequently congratulate yourself that your vehicle doesn't give off harmful emissions, Jeff would like to point out that it actually does- in his backyard.

Geology in Wyoming

Angela's Roses

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Bud wants to know if the wheels on his new truck make him look like a pimp.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Negotium Par Consueta

I know you're weary of photos of clouds, but there are only a few months of truly decent weather in Wyoming, and I'm spending them outside. This afternoon when I could have been blogging, I was happily bathing one of the plant trucks (the big grizzled Ford with the rusty homemade diffuser box, which diverts the force of hydrant flows when we flush them) in the glorious sunshine.

Yesterday we stopped by City Hall, where I faced a thing I've been dreading: a visit with Jo, several weeks into her chemo treatments for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I was braced for the worst, but when I peered into her corner, I found her bright-eyed, tanned and serene, clad in pale khakis and a turquoise knit top, striped sandals, and a luxurious chocolate-colored silk scarf. She had wrapped the scarf around her bare head and tied it in a loose knot, and it looked so chic and fetching that I momentarily considered going bald myself.

Her voice is strong and her back is straight, and the chemo is also treating the symptoms of her severe arthritis, so her face bears a placid expression of rest and calm I haven't seen there in months (since we sat on her idyllic shady deck one afternoon, sipping iced tea and pruning petunias). As always, her workspace is filled with flamingos and photos of grandkids, fishing trips and Don, whose December heart attack is but a distant memory. But what I am most relieved to find intact is her sense of humor; she quipped something so shocking I can't repeat it here about hair loss -- not just on her head -- simply for the sheer joy of watching me cringe and blush.

It's the first day of summer, and I'm busy and thrilled and constantly weary- that healthy, contented exhaustion that means life is full. In the past month I've been to a graduation party, a rodeo, a birthday party, a lake in the mountains for fishing, and to the whimsical playground at my old elementary school. And last Saturday Abbie and Morgan and I spent a few delightful hours in the pool at the Rec Center when our kayaking plans fell through. I forget how at home I feel in the water, how graceful and secure
and tranquil. Work is bustling and (mostly) fun, home is tidy and cool, and ideas are swirling and begging to be committed to paper, even if only the bare bones. I can flesh them out later if I can just jot down the skeleton.

Tonight I got a massive email from Mom full of news I can't digest all at once and proposals of all our favorite summer activities, and suddenly it seems genuinely unfair that I have to sleep at all. I've resigned myself to the likelihood that things will be this way until the end of October, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Non sequitur alert! On a much more frustrated note: why, if we are commonly observant, can't we
more often be conservant? (We go the extra syllabic mile and say conservative, instead, but I'm ranting about water use, not grammar.) If, as I'm assuming, most of the residents of the fair city of Evanston are intelligent enough to understand (and have most likely witnessed) the concept and occurence of evaporation, why are they watering their lawns at noon?

Sunday, June 18, 2006



Rural Sunset

Rodeo Series

Four white bunnies + two dozen five-year-olds = mayhem.

Rodeo Clown

Sunday in Kemmerer

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The First Week of June

Jar Testing

Lily Lake

See him?

Bear River, Spring Runoff

Monday, June 05, 2006

Digital Mosaic

Eve and the Serpent

The Universe Conspires

Dr. Leo said the magic words and didn't even know it.

I took a long walk (3.5 miles) out on Union Road tonight, where vehicles are numerous but foot traffic on the brand new sidewalk- which is eight feet wide- is scarce. The sun was reclining while I walked, causing the shadows of tall grass along the sidewalk to stretch like a bar code across the white cement; pebbles cast spearheads behind them like tiny monoliths. A truck drove over my own long blue shadow as it passed me on the street and I stepped in an inky pool of shade cast by a giant, sluggish beetle. A killdeer tried her best to lead me away from a nest I wasn't seeking, flapping low as if injured and jeering loudly, drowning the prettier sound of meadowlarks on the golf course on the hill. I noticed broken pieces of glass and crockery and thought about mosaics.

I passed the Machine Shop, looking somewhat lonely after Saturday's elaborate festivities* but still majestic in the glowing evening, still my favorite structure anywhere. I passed the last standing roundhouse on the Union Pacific line, derelict and daunting, but full of promise now that others in this community share Jim's vision for the railyards. I passed Union Tank (smelling hot metal) and the chemical plant and the hulking new Everett Graphics building, which would hold roughly four of my plant.

I passed some of the rundown apartment complexes on the northwest side of town and was glad to climb Wasatch and turn onto Harrison, because those short blocks felt unfriendly and unclean even as little girls jumped rope in the driveways. I wanted to take them away with me.

Back in my neighborhood ancient lilacs in their signature color, plum and ivory are spilling over fences and into the streets in stifling globs of cloying perfume. Cottonwoods are showering a diaphanous allergenic haze in yards and avenues, and regiments of hollyhocks are lining up against the fences, stalks thickening and straining upward. The very soil under our town seems to be rushing this reluctant spring into summer.

I took Jalan Crossland and Jack Johnson with me on the iPod, and pondered lyrics while I walked. And the line that meant the most to me this rosy, breathless evening goes like so: "We've a short time to be here and long to be gone." Ain't that the truth, Jalan.

*For those who are dying to know, the original poster art auctioned for $3,100.00 to Joy Bell, who plans to hang it in her office if she wins the mayoral election this fall. Not a record breaker- my $3,900.00 still stands- but still something to be proud of.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Renewal and Rocks

Renewal Ball 2006
(Click for more photos.)