Friday, September 12, 2008


I’m frayed from the week and still bruised from last Saturday at Lagoon with M, a sisterly day out that often felt very reminiscent of childhood adventures, especially making fun of the things people have dropped from the sky ride that carries you over the park. We once got stuck in a paddle boat on the pond at Lagoon and had to be rescued by an older couple, and another time I prayed for deliverance in her ear during the entire minute and a half on the Jet Star II.

But theme parks are rife with iron and steel, sharp corners, blunt edges, concrete cast in rough and ragged textures to scrape and scratch. I knocked my knee riding the bumper cars (Lagoon’s version of this carnival classic is called “The Boomerang”), nailed my hip on the corral that directs the line to the Log Flume, turned my ankle into hamburger dragging it along the aggregate wall of the Lazy River (our personal favorite, M’s and mine), and twice screamed my throat raw dropping 70 feet at a 90 degree angle into a cold pool. No, you don’t go into the pool, exactly. You streak across its surface like a landed seaplane for ten or fifteen feet since the bottom of the chute rounds out horizontally and violently ejects you and all your accumulated momentum, which results in a major wedgie. People emerge from the pool after that drop gasping, groping, and adjusting their suits and themselves, checking to make sure no appendages are missing or exposed.

I’m on a reading vacation with some fascinating non-fiction while recovering from the intense fiction experience that is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which Linda thoughtfully lent and which is, as advertised, a great story for dog lovers, but which is also a modern retelling of Hamlet, and if you read it too intently (or compulsively, as I did, in two otherwise unproductive afternoons) you might wind up a little fried.

So I’m floating on with
Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats and Cadillac Desert (yes, still, so appalling I can only handle small doses) and Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It. Also M finally finished and loaned the John Grogan dog memoir Marley & Me after tantalizing me with details for weeks and when I’m ready for more fiction, Brent birthdayed me with Anne Patchett’s Bel Canto and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, which is guaranteed to be fascinating based on the cover alone. He’s also the source of Bottlemania, but I think he’s starting to rethink buying me these environmental and political exposés like Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, which left me in a hopeless, inhumane funk for weeks after Christmas even though I requested it.

It’s been a long almost-month since we got back from Alaska, and I’ve been holed up trying to accomplish things. I owe phone calls to the following people and probably more: Larry, Bekah, Susan, Tonetta, Hope, and Jo, but I either think of it in the middle of a project at work or in the middle of the night. Even on slow days at the plant, all I want to do when I get home is vegetate and surf compulsively. It’s like a giant online craft fair, and I love it. Expect all your Christmas presents to be handmade, slightly quirky, and in most cases, wool or cork.

I'm staring down the barrel of winter; we even got a preview of coming attractions over Labor Day weekend. Saturday we were sweating at the sweltering Fort Bridger Rendezvous, and by Monday I was up at the plant shearing a sloppy, slushy
snow off Puck's windshield so I could go home for lunch. It's not natural for people to live in this climate. Clumps of yellow are appearing in the cottonwoods and the rims of aspen leaves are growing pale and thin, and it's been so cold at night I had to fire up the boiler in the cellar, which hissed and spat like a witch. But I will choke down my horror at the cold and inconvenience and enjoy sweaters and boots and hot beverages and Halloween and pray for deliverance and sandy, palm-strewn shores.

M had the brilliant idea to book us seats at opening night of one of our favorite musicals at Salt Lake's Pioneer Theater, and if I can ever think to ring Jo at a decent hour I might see about a mini road trip to South Dakota to see what kind of life she and Don left Evanston and their perfect little house for. I love the Black Hills and if Brent can go, he'll have met everybody important to me except the girls in San Diego and Larry at the opposite end of the states, in Massachusetts. And speaking of which, I'm craving the Berkshires in the Fall for some reason (because, um, gorgeous?), so she shouldn't be surprised to find me on her doorstep in the near future, either. (Warn Kate.)

Robbie is relieved to have passed his Level I Certification Exam Wednesday and Bud claims he'll turn in his time on the 17th of this month, even though Jeff and I have tried to reason with him. Anyway, I'll believe it when I see it. His original retirement date was in June. Henry bought a Harley and Mom claims it's fun after the fear subsides, and the Moondance Diner, late of New York City but now rebuilt in LaBarge, is calling for applications for cooks and servers, two months after they originally intended to open. Better late than never. The Jolly Jacs Black Cat fireworks store went up in flames a few weeks ago about 3:00 a.m. and I slept through it, even though it's just a few blocks away. Oop said it was quite a show for a while there.

And that's all the news that is news in my corner of Wyoming, really. Hopefully there will be more time to blog now that summer's packed up and gone. And speaking of gone, would anybody like to buy a white '91 Cadillac Sedan DeVille with a new starter? She should be ready in a few


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