Category Archives: travel

Vacation; or, We Attack the Pacific Northwest

N.B.: I’m stealing the format of this post from Tammy, because it’s a great way to do this quickly given that we took about 4,000 pictures.

We drove from Pocatello to Port Townsend, WA (1,700 miles) to visit Grammy and Grandpa for 2 weeks (the kids staying an extra third week). We hadn’t been to Washington before so this was a great treat. Turns out, Anthropapa and I discovered it was ideal there, and we now have a 5 year plan to relocate to the Seattle area! Must get master’s degrees first, though.

A is for public Art. This was at the Seattle Center, and even had one tube the kids could climb inside:

B is for Beach. Grammy and Grandpa live above a private beach, complete with a sand dollar colony and 40 bazillion shells. This picture is from a day trip to Dungeness Spit:

C is for Clouds. We had beautiful weather except for one cloudy day, but the sunsets were gorgeous. This is the view from the back deck:

D is for Doughnut machine. SillyBilly has been reading Homer Price by Robert McCloskey, which features a doughnut machine run amok. We were thrilled to see this one in the Public Market on the waterfront in Seattle:

E is for bald Eagle. Grampa says there are one or two bald eagles flying by quite often, perching over the sound watching for fish. They are awe-inspiring. Sorry, I have a very lame camera. Squint a little:

F is for Fourth of July. We went up to Port Townsend to sit on the beach and watch the fireworks at Fort Worden. We could see fireworks from at least three other spots around the sound. The Fort Worden show was simple, but lasted much longer than any show we’d seen before:

G is for Columbia Gorge. We drove up the gorge on both ends of the trip. Coming west we kept seeing Mt. Hood peeking out at us. Going east we had a slightly less fun time (went the wrong way on the highway, before we could get off we saw a tanker truck on its side blocking the entire westbound side, had to backtrack all the way to Portland, two-hour delay leading to being on the road 12 hours). But we won’t blame it on the beautiful gorge. This is the view from the Washington side, westbound:

H is for Hat. Though the temps were cool, the sun was very strong and I needed my hat! I almost forgot it in the ferry terminal leaving Seattle that day. I remembered at the last minute, and when we went to get the hat from the bench where I’d left it, we found a young man trying it on! I waited to see if he really wanted it (I would have gladly left it behind, even though I like it) but Anthropapa ended up asking for it and the man gave it back a bit sheepishly. Now my little blue hat has a story:

I is for Interesting. Anthropapa and I snuck away one day to Seattle while the kids stayed with their grandparents. We had lunch with old friends (Hi Erin and Kensuke!), found some treasures at a Tibetan store (certainly none of that in Pocatello), parked ourselves for a few hours at the awesome Elliott Bay Book Company, and saw some amazing installations and exhibits at the Seattle Art Museum, including some Helga paintings by Andrew Wyeth, beautiful Northwest native weavings, and this installation in the lobby, which inspired some interesting conversations about meaning in modern art:

J is for Joy. So many things to be happy about on this trip! Being with Grammy and Grandpa, discovering things large (the Seattle Aquarium) and small (the Port Townsend Marine Science Center), seeing wildlife (seals, eagles, deer, elk, sand sharks, sculpin, crabs, sand dollars, goldfinches, gulls, jellyfish) and many wildflowers. This is a tiger lily among lupines up on Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park:

K is for Kids playing. Lots and lots of that. This was at the Seattle Center:

L is for LEGO Liberty, also at the Seattle Center:

M is for Multnomah Falls, which Anthropapa and I stopped by to see on our way home. So beautiful!:

N is for Nibblers. We saw deer in the backyard, deer in open fields, and a few rather saucy deer who were clearly looking for handouts at the visitor center at Hurricane Ridge:

O is for Olympics. Truly awe-inspiring. Next time I hope we have time to explore more. We just had time to go on a quick hike,  a little taste of the beauty of these high mountain peaks:

P is for Playground. Even on vacation, sometimes it’s nice just to take a little swing:

Q is for Quiet. So often we had the beach to ourselves, or sat on the back deck watching for sailboats with just the birds to accompany us. Even on our hike on Hurricane Ridge, with lots of other people there enjoying the sunny day, it seemed quiet. Maybe it was the beauty all around us, like this avalanche lily:

R is for Rivulets on the sand. We went out on the private beach during low tide to explore the sand dollar colony and go beachcombing. I was entrance by the shapes the retreating water had made in the sand, and realized later that I saw very similar shapes in eroded mudflows by Mount St. Helens:

S is for Seattle Skyline. We went over twice on the ferry from Bainbridge Island. What a fun city, not too big or small, quite clean, and with friendly people. Lots of culture as well as amazing outdoor opportunities. We’ll be back, for sure:

T is for Transportation. We took several ferries, and rode the bus, a monorail, and a trolley. It was great fun to take the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry, seeing lots of sailboats, container ships, and even some jellyfish!:

U is for Unusual. We did many unusual things (for us), including staying up late, eating fried clams, watching movies, and playing with light-up light sabers on the Fourth of July:

V is for Volcano. Anthropapa and I scouted out Mount St. Helens National Monument on our way home. Yet another awe-inspiring mountain! I’ve always been interested in geology, and we both clearly remember the 1980 eruption (Anthropapa even remembers the ash fall in Montana). The visitor center has some great displays, and a rather frenetic film, but the star of the show is the mountain herself. Pictures really do no justice in this case:

W is for whirlpool. One day we noticed these beautiful water forms as the ferry left the terminal:

X is for eXciting! For the kids, even simple things were so very thrilling. Grammy took them fishing off the nearby dock several times. The first time, Napoleona almost immediately caught a sand shark! She couldn’t keep it (all six-gilled creatures must be released back) but was so amazed at herself. She and SillyBilly went on to catch several sculpin. Unfortunately, though they are edible, they are almost all head. Nobody wanted togut and clean them! They might look calm and cool, but really they were quite thrilled:

Y is for Yikes! As Anthropapa and I left Seattle on the ferry, we noticed this boat following us, resplendent in jaunty red and accented by a machine gun! The public address system notified us a few minutes later that this was a routine Coast Guard escort. Hmmm. Funny that we hadn’t seen one before! One time we watched the boat almost stop to intercept a sailboat that was unwisely heading toward the ferry. They wisely turned away, as I’m sure they noticed the nice man with the big gun out front:

Z is for blast Zone. The ridge where the Johnston Ridge Observatory now sits across from Mount St Helens was directly in the path of the pyroclastic flow in the 1980 eruption. It’s hard to conceive of that much earth moving so fast and so far. These trees, several feet in diameter, were simply snapped off at the base by the force of the blast:

And if you’ve read through all this, you deserve an award 🙂

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Filed under art, Books, Family, Food, friends, Napoleona, Nature, papa, play, Science, Silliness and Mayhem, SillyBilly, travel

Southern California, May 2009

The kids and I took our annual pilgrimage to see grandparents at the end of May. Then this year the trip came hard on the heels of SillyBilly’s kindergarten graduation, and Anthropapa did not come with us (saving his vacation time for an even bigger trip we’re taking in a few weeks, out to Seattle to see other grandparents).

Plus this was a working vacation for me, since I had one deadline to meet right in the middle of the trip, and another one right on its heels. And SillyBilly had major allergies and asthma from Nana’s dog and so required lots of medication the whole time, even after we decamped to Grandpa’s house for the last few days. And I kept forgetting my camera.

So, I’m kinda beat. I’ll make this short.

We spent lots of time just relaxing at Nanas. Note the groovy shirt custom made by Grammy!

We spent lots of time just relaxing at Nana's.

The kids, along with Nana and a neighbor, made $15 on one pitcher of lemonade (the other pitcher got kicked over by mistake) and the lemons came free from a neighbors tree.

The kids, along with Nana and a neighbor, made $15 on one pitcher of lemonade (the other pitcher got kicked over by mistake) and the lemons came free from a neighbor's tree.

We went to the Getty Center with Grandpa Walt. We didnt see a lot of art, because the kids wanted to make their own. Here, SillyBilly explores the possibilites of tube sculptures.

We went to the Getty Center with Grandpa Walt. We didn't see much art because the kids just wanted to make their own. Here SillyBilly explores an interactive tube sculpture in the Family Room.

Napoleona in the Getty Center Sketching Room, copying a French bust.

Napoleona in the Getty Center Sketching Room, copying a French bust.

We also saw an amazing exhibit on a 1600s polychrome wood sculpture, made by a Spanish sculptress. Watch amazing video about the techniques used to make it, including the natural paints shown here, at

We also saw an amazing exhibit on a 1600's polychromed wood sculpture, made by the female Spanish court sculptor La Roldana. Lots of info including on these natural paint sources, at

We had a great day at the awesome tide pools of Leo Carillo State Beach. (Photo by KnaPix.) Unfortunately along with (legally harvested) shells and stones, we also inadvertently brought home...

We had a great day at the awesome tide pools of Leo Carrillo State Beach. (Photo by KnaPix.) Unfortunately along with (legally harvested) shells and stones, we also inadvertently brought home...

Crabby! Specifically a Blue Banded Hermit Crab. We thought we had picked up only empty shells, but as we rinsed things out back at Nanas, this particular black turban shell started walking. Unfortunately there was no way for him to survive away from the ocean. RIP, crabby.

Crabby! Specifically a Blue Banded Hermit Crab. We thought we had picked up only empty shells, but as we rinsed things out back at Nana's, this black turban shell started walking! Unfortunately there was no way for him to live away from the ocean. RIP, Crabby.

We also went to the park and the bookstore, ate lots of good food (sushi! Mexican! blintzes for Shavuot! frozen yogurt!), picked blueberries in Somis, picked strawberries and roses in Grandpa’s backyard, did some woodworking (SillyBilly and Grandpa made a box — pictures to come once it’s shipped here and painted) and probably lots more that I’m not remembering.

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Filed under art, Family, Food, Napoleona, Nature, papa, SillyBilly, travel


(You will have to bear with me here. I have lots going on and came up with this cute little structure for the post that will not let me cut anything out! So read on, all 1,400 words, if you dare. If not, I won’t blame you — aren’t blog posts supposed to be no more than 250 words so that the modern human can properly digest them?)

1. not calm or tranquil; disturbed; unquiet

I have recently begun attending the church affiliated with SillyBilly’s school. I can’t recall now why I went the first time; perhaps it was simple curiosity about the services or wanting to find a new social connection. But I realized that at least once during each service I was getting choked up, disturbed, unquiet. So I decided to keep going, to see what might come out of that unquiet.

Then I decided to take the pastor’s “Christianity 101” class on Monday nights. I’ve had a Bible since I was a little girl (and now own several) and went to Lutheran school for 5 years. Religion (or spirituality) has always interested me — I also attended Hebrew school for a short time as a girl and have studied Buddhism as an adult. I am the kind of person who will read the Gideon Bible in the hotel drawer instead of watching TV! So it’s not that I need to really learn what Christianity is. Rather, I’m interested in what this pastor has to say about this particular denomination.

The class often unsettles me. Missouri Synod Lutherans are fairly conservative. I’m partly conservative too — I much prefer the traditional service (hymns) to the contemporary service (praise band). But I believe enough of what I’ve read in Steiner’s cosmology and Christology to feel uncomfortable with many of mainstream Christianity’s views on eternal life, hell and heaven,and so on.

In any case I am enjoying the class and the Sunday services. I am enjoying taking Napoleona with me. I am even enjoying getting up early on Sunday and getting dressed up. And I’m enjoying my struggles with the disturbances to my thoughts on spirituality.

2. not decided or determined; inconstant; variable

This morning, when Napoleona and I went to church, it was sprinkling. A few hours later as we were finishing up in Sunday school, we heard some thunder and when we looked out the window, it was sleeting. Throughout the day we saw snow, sleet, and rain plus a few more peals of thunder. Evening has brought beautiful cloud formations with dashes of sun.

We made jokes on several occasions today about how it was springtime — yeah RIGHT! This is winter weather! But then we talked about how spring and autumn are really transitions between the main seasons of winter and summer — and even more so here in Idaho, with the cold and snow of winter and long, hot summers broken only briefly by these transitional times.

But come on! I just changed over our nature table to be all springy, with bunnies and flowers and such. What’s up with the snow???

3. not firm or steadfast in disposition or outlook; erratic; unstable

This weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to get together with some Waldorf homeschooling moms for an afternoon of crafting and chatting about parenting and Waldorf and anthroposophy. The ladies are all new to Waldorf and have little knowledge of the anthroposophical foundations, so I offered to chat about I’ve learned over the years. I also offered to show them how to make felted Easter eggs.

Now, this turned out to be quite the humbling experience. I discovered two things: I forgot the basics of felting and didn’t prepare by practicing or reading up on it. Our eggs were rather lumpy and were only rescued by extensive needle felting. And I discovered that while I feel that in my own head I have a sufficient grasp on basic concepts of anthroposophy, I can’t necessarily explain them well to others. So perhaps that’s telling me my grasp isn’t as good as I thought it was, or that I need to go back and re-read some basics to be clear on them again.

The ladies were quite forgiving (or unaware of my disconcerting feelings) and welcomed the idea of a regular study/craft group. Which will give me a structure to plan around so that I am better prepared and clear on what I’d like to say.

4. not living or staying in one place; nomadic

We are in the thick of summer planning right now. In past years, summers haven’t meant much in the way of change — the kids continued in their home-based day care, Anthropapa and I continued with our work, and the kids went for only short times at day summer camps. This year we have BIG plans.

Immediately after the school year ends, the kids and I will jet off to Los Angeles to visit with my parents. Both sets of parents have asked about Disneyland. I’m not automatically opposed to the idea, but I am opposed to my kids becoming embroiled in the Disney Industrial Complex’s marketing schemes. I think I could manage it so that we had a fun time doing age-appropriate things without focusing on buying character-driven products, but I’m not completely sure!

Then later in the summer the kids will be going out to the Seattle area to stay with other grandparents for a few weeks. Yes — they, the kids, will be staying. We, the parents, will not. We’ll take the drive out and do some things with the grandparents for a few days, and then we’ll leave them there for the grandparents to return to us later. Now, SillyBilly has stayed with his grandparents for a short time before, but we’ve never had both kids away and not for so long a time. I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself. (Other than sleep in, of course.)

5. not inhabited or populated

Over the last year or two I’ve developed a short list of editing clients: a scholarly publisher, a publisher with a scholarly imprint and a trade imprint, an author who has self-published several books, and a few authors working with a scholarly publisher that doesn’t offer editing services in-house. This has kept me steadily working with a good variety of projects and keeps me on my toes as far as working with different types of clients.

Over the last six months I’ve not worked with any authors — the one author took a break from his writing schedule, and for various reasons I haven’t gotten any work from the others. During the winter holidays the scholarly publisher slowed down quite a bit.

But . . . the two-imprint publisher approached me during the holidays with a new agreement. They had lost an in-house editor and wanted me to help them by taking an increased workload. They agreed to pay me a regular amount every single week (based on the budgets for all the projects combined) and I agreed to a rather full three-month schedule of editing and proofreading projects.

Now, the one thing I really dislike about freelancing is the uncertainty of my cash flow. This agreement has taken that out of the mix, and I feel like in a way I’ve died and gone to freelance editor heaven: according to the IRS, I am still freelancing because the publisher does not substantially control how I do my work, I am free to take other clients, I work off-site, they do not withhold taxes, and so on. And yet I am receiving a regular paycheck.

So now the only concern I have (because there has to be something to worry about, right?) is that I am letting my other clients slack a bit. I haven’t been bugging the scholarly publisher for new work consistently. I haven’t been seeking out new clients. This is making my client list a bit uninhabited, and the danger lies in the possibility that this wonderful agreement could come to a close and my cash flow will be in danger again. (This hasn’t happened so far, and in fact they just asked me to extend another three months. Whew!) But putting all one’s eggs in one basket is not a good idea in the freelancing world. So maybe when the kids area away I’ll drum up some new business, or learn a new skill I can add to my repertoire.

(Did you make it this far in my ramblings? Bless your patient soul!)
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Filed under Anthroposophy, Crafting, freelancing, life, Napoleona, papa, Religion, SillyBilly, travel, waldorf education

Whirlwind Thoughts

I thank…

…my dad for getting us a hotel room in Salt Lake City over the weekend, so we could meet up for my step-nephew’s wedding.

…my dad and stepmom for watching the kids and taking them to the wedding while I took Anthropapa to the emergency room (Don’t panic, he’s fine. It was just a temporary, flukey thing, yet scary enough at the time.)

…the efficient and gentle ER nurse, who made the pain go away.

…the kind and personable ER doctor, who reassured us.

…the gorgeous Wasatch mountains, for being inspiring and finally coming out of the clouds to show us their first sprinkling of snow of the season. It looked a lot like this:

…the kids, for being relatively good even though the weekend didn’t quite pan out like we meant it to.

…the weather, for clearing up in time for our drive home.

Sunday morning, while Anthropapa and the kids were still sleeping, I got up and went to read the paper and sample the hotel’s free breakfast. While I was there, a couple sat down near me and started watching what was being discussed on the TV, on CNN. They were showing the National Debt Clock in Manhattan, and pointing out that as of September 30, 2008, when the debt went over $10 trillion, the clock no longer has enough digits to accurately display the US national debt.

The reporter then mentioned that the national debt started rising during the Reagan administration, and they showed a photo of Reagan with Bush, Sr. I heard the woman next to me say to her spouse, “See, they always spin things.”

This got me thinking. How was this “spin”? Now, I’m willing to accept that it could be that CNN often portrays certain politicians, or political parties, or other people or entities in a biased way. I don’t watch TV, so there’s no way for me to assess that.

But I can assess what I actually saw and heard that morning.

1) Fact: The national debt did start rising again during the Reagan administration, after falling and/or staying relatively flat since the end of World War II.

2) Fact: Bush, Sr. was Reagan’s vice-president, so I’m not sure how you could call this “spin”, unless you thought CNN was trying to link the national debt to Reagan to GHW Bush to GW Bush. Could be, but I’m not buying it.

It’s like people form an idea of the “liberal media elite”, and it clouds their vision of anything they see presented by the media. I think the biggest national debt in our history as a nation should be even bigger news than it is, frankly. Our government should be leading by example, showing us the way to live within our means, only taking on a reasonable amount of debt when necessary, and saving money for the long term.

(I’m trying not to be overly partisan here, but see that dip in the national debt, right around 2000? That’s when Clinton was in office. I know the president doesn’t truly control the economy him/herself (and in fact Congress is responsible for taxing and spending), but I’m just thinking, that’s something to notice. What was going on in the world, and between Clinton and the Republican majority in Congress, to make that happen?)

Seen at a Marie Callender’s restaurant in Utah:



And they were carved into wood, so I couldn’t correct them with my little red pen even if I tried.

And now, I must go see if I can order some long underwear for the kids, because the weather report tells me below-freezing nighttime temperatures are close at hand!


Filed under editing, Family, Health, life, Nature, papa, Politics, travel

Weekend Culture and Nature

We had a very busy weekend. Saturday we went to the Sagebrush Arts Fest at ISU. We saw lots of cool arts and crafts–a glassblower made a tiny horse right before our eyes, the knifemaker told us all about the shed antlers and obsidian he uses to make his wares, and lots of paintings, photographs, and jewelry. The kids got to make a paper print at a printmaker’s booth, and at the Children’s Art Yard they got to make bead necklaces and paint t-shirts. We also had bratwurst and funnel cake, and listened to a Sweet Adelines group and a Celtic band.

We had brought the kids’ bikes with us so they could ride around the campus. What a wonderful thing to be able to leave their bikes and helmets under a tree and go off for a few hours to enjoy ourselves. There’s something to be said for small towns!

Sunday Anthropapa decided it would be fun to take a long drive into the country. So after gearing up with binoculars, water bottles, sandwiches, and the camera, we made our way south to Mink Creek and Scout Mountain in the Caribou National Forest. We will be going back to this area many times, I’m sure, as there are tons of nature trails and campgrounds to explore. Unfortunately the campgrounds are closing for the season this weekend, so we’ll have to make plans in the spring.

After a few miles on a paved road, we turned off onto the dirt Scout Mountain Top Road. It all started peaceably enough. The road was flat and only a bit washboarded. We passed a few people on horseback, and admired the scenery. At one point there were these amazing outcrops:

Since it’s the end of the summer, everything was extremely dry. The hills are all brown, and many of the wild plants have gone dormant already. Here’s what passes for fall color around here:

See the little tinges of orange? A bit later I’m sure the stands of aspens here and there will be turning lovely color, but for now it’s just these little areas of bushes that are showing anything. Otherwise it’s just brown.

In one relatively open area, we came upon a pickup truck coming down the mountain. As we passed, we asked if this was the road to the top. Around a lipful of chew, the driver said, “Yep”.

So then the road started heading up, and the road quality went down. The “road” narrowed and started to get very rocky in places, and despite Anthropapa’s careful driving, I despaired for our undercarriage. We moved in and out of forested areas and around too many switchbacks to count, going very slowly indeed.

Finally, we made it to a good open place to stop. Not the exact summit, but close enough. We got out, stretched, and examined our poor, dusty and scratched car:

We ate some sandwiches, and thus refreshed we decided to take a look around. Turns out, we were at the top of the world after all:

After enjoying the scenery and doing a little rockhounding, we decided to make our way back down the mountain. (Yes, it was a long drive for a short time on top. Next time we’ll plan a bit better.)

On our way down, I noticed two of these along a little creek following the road:

There are moose, elk, and mule deer all through these mountains, but it was a little odd to see these deer in the middle of the day. Anthropapa thought that perhaps they were just being silly teenage deer, as they were quite young and small. One bounded across the road in front of the car as we watched!

The kids and I noticed lots of fruits: wild rose hips, manzanita, elder, and some incredibly red berries that I haven’t identified yet. I also saw some yarrow, and a few other late wildflowers that I can’t name. And oh how that bugs me! There were tons of butterflies and grasshoppers too. Luckily it was too hot for any rattlesnakes to be out and about.

The signs for national forests include the motto “Land of Many Uses”. You’re not kidding. We saw dirt bikes, ATVs, people on horseback, cattle grazing, and hunters (the men in the pickup). You can also camp and hike, mountain bike, snowmobile, cross-country ski, and fish here. There are also mines, Christmas tree harvests, and firewood collection. Scott Mountain is a high-use area, being so easily accessible from Pocatello. Still, it was a little odd to go for a mountain drive and have to stop for one of these to cross the road:

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Filed under Family, Nature, travel

Our Trip, Wyoming to Idaho

On to Wyoming, which is as flat (when it’s not mountains) and windy as they say it is.

But it’s also quite beautiful, in its own way. Once we got into the midwest, the sky just opened up in a way that is hard to come by back east, where there are too many hills and too many trees to see much up there.

Big sky, big clouds, big windmills (squint a little–the windmills were really massive in person). Plus pronghorn antelope, standing on the tops of little hills and outcrops like little Napoleons, lords of all they survey! We went by them too fast for any photos, unfortunately.

Once we got a little farther along into Wyoming, we went through areas of amazing rock formations. Though we spent many hours driving up and up and up, we never did see what you might call the Rockies because our route took us through the Great Divide Basin (we crossed the Continental Divide twice). We did pass by the Medicine Bow Range, which was lovely but not made of towering, snowy peaks as you might imagine from the Colorado Rockies.

SillyBilly was very excited to hear that this outcrop might be an old volcanic plug (my guess), while I wondered when we’d see Wile E. Coyote flying off the top of it!

We came across these short rows of fences aside the highway, fencing in nothing. Anthropapa surmised they were to keep blowing snow off of the highway in the winter. We also saw that there were numerous places where the highway could be closed, presumably also because of low visibility and high winds — and they had erected permanent gates across the highway on-ramps, so this must be a regular thing.

Finally we made our way into Idaho. I didn’t take many pictures…must have been just tired of it all and wanting to get out of the darned car. But east of Pocatello we went through Lava Hot Springs, which I am sure we will visit, and through lots of beautiful farm and ranch land. The sky was still big, it was still moderately windy, but there were beautiful hills all around, and then finally we were HOME!

*  *  *  *  *

OK, that is all I will subject you to regarding my terrible out-the-car-window photography of random rocks and things.

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Filed under papa, SillyBilly, travel, Uncategorized

Our Trip, Up to Nebraska

Why not all the way to Idaho, you ask? Well, for some reason, I ended up with tons of pictures of Wyoming. Don’t ask. So you’ll get the rest in another post.

We started out tired. All that packing and stress. Feh.

Anthropapa was probably the most exhausted, and he got to drive most of the way. Except for those two wicked rainstorms. I lucked out and ended up driving through those.

Pennsylvania has beautiful rolling hills. The Appalachians, actually. If you look at a map you can see how all the roads follow the terrain.

Pennsylvania farmland was really beautiful. And the amber waves of grain — I mean shocking amounts of corn — began.

All through the East and the Midwest, the Queen Anne’s lace was blooming in profusion along the highway. In Ohio we were treated to a free fireworks show. No idea why — no major holidays, and it was even raining. Nice little things to help pass the time.

For some reason I didn’t take many pictures of Indiana and Illinois. Probably because it was pretty much all rolling farmland like all these other pictures. But there were amazing clouds in the endless sky.

Once in a while the corn would be relieved by a field of what I assumed was soy. Where are all the vegetables being grown? Oh yeah, California. 🙂

We crossed the Mississippi from Illinois into Davenport, Iowa. I wished we had more time to look at the river instead of zooming across on a bridge that obscured the view so much.

Iowa was pleasantly rolling, with a surprising amount of trees. I always pictured it as nothing but corn!

The kids were really quite good. We put a box full of art and craft supplies between them, and I carefully rationed new and exciting things for each day.

We noticed the Queen Anne’s was gone, somewhere in Nebraska. Too dry, probably. I noticed wild sunflowers at that point. Nebraska had even more trees, along with many little lakes and ponds along the highway.

Of course, I will refrain from regaling you all with tales of variably clean hotels and road food.

Next up: find out why Wyoming caught my eye.


Filed under Family, Napoleona, Nature, papa, travel, Uncategorized

Now We Are Home

Well, a lot happens out in the world while you are traveling and have limited internet access. I kept my email pretty up to date, but I just got into my blog feed reader today after almost 10 days away: 323 posts!

First impressions of Pocatello: dry air, lots of very bright sunshine, too few trees. Friendly people, living up to the city’s marketing. Very family-friendly here, including a main drag with a 35 mph speed limit! Not too much attention has been paid to making things very pretty here, which is a shame. But the surrounding mountains are always in view, reminding me strongly of California, except with pines instead of oaks. Good bagels and coffee at the bagel shop across from the college, with wifi! We’ve already noticed a used bookstore to explore, and sometime next week, after I get my  ID card (woo hoo, the perks of being a staff spouse!), I’m checking out the college library.

The kids are all set to start school on Monday. I’m feeling some trepidation as SillyBilly’s school is very mainstream, wanting him to start right in on academics. It’s not a surprise, but it does feel suddenly like we are completely betraying our convictions about Waldorf education. I rationalize by thinking about what a good career move this will be for Anthropapa, and how the affordability of housing here will make it much more feasible to start thinking about buying a house. I still hold homeschooling in mind, though I don’t imagine that for a few years yet.

I do love the scale of this town —  at first I was amazed at how small it is, but now it’s feeling very homey and human-scaled. Those slow speed limits (which everyone seems to obey, unlike California where the tacit understanding is that everyone drives at least 5 mph above the posted limit) and small population help make this feel like a very safe place. SillyBilly and Napoleona have found a neighbor family with 4 kids to play with, so they’re happy. I was worried about getting them their time outdoors, moving into an apartment, but there’s a little play structure and grass and some trees right outside our door. We’ve also scoped out some good parks.

We are still reeling from the marathon day yesterday of unloading our stuff from the freight trailer into a rented moving truck, our minivan, and a storage locker. Our apartment is a warren of tottering stacks of boxes. But it’s Friday, we’re off to the farmer’s market tomorrow, and things are good.

*   *   *   *   *

Two jokes I must share with you:

1) Why did the cow go into space?

Because it wanted to see the mooooooon!

–Courtesy SillyBilly, made up all by himself!

2) I thought you’d have this all unpacked by now.

–Anthropapa, arriving home from work this evening. That papa, he’s so funny!


Filed under life, papa, Silliness and Mayhem, SillyBilly, travel

Travel Update

Well, the great American Anthrofamily trek is well underway. By the grace of God.

Of course, the final packing and truck loading went as well as can be expected. Which is to say, like hell. Our wonderful next-door neighbor (who happens to be moving into our vacated house) was kind enough to help load the truck for several hours on Saturday and Sunday. But the process of packing, loading, and cleaning has reminded me of some moving wisdom.


  1. Sure, that will be enough boxes/packing tape/garbage bags/room in the truck.
  2. We’re almost done packing! Let’s take a break.
  3. This should only take a few hours to finish up.
  4. I’ll just quickly dust/vacuum/sweep/mop/scrub the kitchen/bathroom/floors/top of the refrigerator. It will only take a minute.
  5. All that miscellaneous crap still unpacked and strewn about the house? I can just sweep it all into a box in no time.

So, things ran overtime. We planned on finishing up loading the truck and cleaning the house on Saturday and hitting the road early Sunday morning. Ha! We didn’t get on the highway until about 1 pm Sunday.

But, that said, the trip so far has been pretty smooth. (Knock wood. Oh, I’m in a cheap motel surrounded by plastic wood-like veneer. Guess I just jinxed us completely.)

Even though we have been driving each day for 8 hours or more, the kids have been really quite good. Barring today’s tantrums, of course–there are limits to how well a four-year-old can act in a situation like this! What in particular has saved our sanity? Two things have been most popular: the anthro-approved Stockmar modeling beeswax, and those awful, yet we’ll make an exception for cross-country peace Color Wonder pens and coloring books. Tomorrow I’m busting out the potholder loom for SillyBilly. Ya gotta hold things in reserve, you see.

And how are the cats, you ask? How are they, being cooped up in little plastic carriers all day in the noisy back of the minivan, and then dumped into strange motel rooms each night?

By God, they are FINE! And why, you ask? I have two words for you, oh my bloggie friends:

Valerian and Feliway.

We ordered a huge bag of catnip, a smaller bag of valerian, and a can of hormone spray. The two herbs were put in small amounts into old socks tied with knots at each ends–we call them “happy socks”. Evidently valerian calms cats right down, as it does humans.

Feliway was new to us–it’s a spray used either for stressful situations or for curbing unwanted urine spraying. It’s got “analogue of feline facial pheromones” (say that five times fast!) which makes the cat think that where he is is just groovy.

Between the herbs and the hormones, our cats are completely mellow. They cry about five times right after we put them in the car, and they hide under the motel room beds when we first arrive, but otherwise they are completely normal. Contrasted with the time we drove these two plus another cat from Los Angeles to Sacramento–a chorus of kitty yowling for 7 hours straight!

Well, I have a few photos that will go up in a future post. We’ve driven through five states, crossed the Mississippi River, and seen way too many corn fields and freight trucks to count. Tonight we’re in Iowa, tomorrow we’ll be in Nebraska, and after a fun-filled day through Wyoming, we’ll finally be in Idaho, our new home.


Filed under Family, life, Napoleona, Parenting, Silliness and Mayhem, SillyBilly, travel, waldorf toys

2008 Vacation: What Went Wrong

Though we had a wonderful time visiting with 3 out of 4 sets of grandparents, being tourists, playing at the park, etc….we had some serious mishaps as well. And looking back on it, they just got worse and worse…

Bad Thing #1: The flight out was fine, except that evidently there was a robust cold virus on that plane. Napoleona got an annoying cough the first day in California, quickly followed by SillyBilly having asthma (thank goodness nebulizers are portable) and me getting whacked with it too. It didn’t last that long, but SillyBilly ended up needing his nebulizer on and off through the whole trip. The cold, plus Nana’s smoking (even though she only does it in her bathroom behind closed doors, it’s still in the air I think) and the dog just overwhelmed his system I think.

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Filed under Family, Health, life, Napoleona, SillyBilly, travel