Memorial Day Weekend

My family’s Memorial Day weekend, like most of our weekends once the ice is melted, was spent up at the boat.  “Up at the boat” for my entire life (quite literally: there are photos infant Holly asleep in a car seat wedged between fish coolers on the back deck) has meant the boat my family owns on Lake Superior.  We don’t have a cabin, we don’t have isolated acreage with four wheelers and an archery range, but we do have a boat that sleeps four plus one dog, and a vast expanse of lake to float her on.

Although there was a time when I hated the idea of leaving the “civilization” of cable TV and frequent showers in favor of fishing, exploring the Apostle Islands, and meeting the many characters who moonlight as avid boaters, I have since come around.

I even filleted two fish last weekend.  Of course, I refused to hold the head while slicing the torso, so my brave younger sister did that for me.  I never said I was Ahab.

Here’s last weekend, “up at the boat”:

Ruby pleading for attention during the ride down.  Also, as per usual, using anything within reach as a pillow.

Ruby pleading for attention during the drive down. Also, as per usual, using anything within reach as a pillow.

My breakfast view.

My breakfast view.

Reading material.  Let the Michael Perry obsession continue.  Oh how I aspire to write books like this someday.

Reading material. Let the Michael Perry obsession continue. Oh how I aspire to write books like this someday.

I call this one "Glassy Water with Downrigger."

I call this one “Glassy Water with Downrigger.”

After a fish took a lure and broke the line, Dad felt compelled to go down and do some untangling.  I got to drive.

After a fish took a lure and broke the line, Dad felt compelled to go down and do some untangling. I got to drive.

The person in possession of the wheel is also in charge of watching the lines.  When a pole dips and bends sporadically, there's a fish on.

The person in possession of the wheel is also in charge of watching the lines. When a pole dips and bends sporadically, there’s a fish on.

I also got to keep tabs on what was going on down below.

I kept tabs on what was going on down below.

Once my driving duties were over, I took a nap on the couch.  When I awoke, the wind had picked up significantly.

Once my driving duties were over, I took a nap on the couch. When I awoke, the wind had picked up significantly.

Our catch.  You can't see all of them, but we caught nine Coho salmon.  Enough to win us $35 in the marina fishing contest.

Our catch. You can’t see all of them, but we caught nine Coho salmon. Enough to win us $35 in the marina fishing contest.

Ruby is fond of giving the camera forlorn looks.  But believe me when I say that she gets more than her share of attention from all of us.

Ruby is fond of giving the camera forlorn looks. But believe me when I say that she gets more than her share of attention from all of us.

See?

See?

After a long day on the water, it was time to head back to the marina for the annual chili dump.  This is the most delicious bowl in the world.

After a long day on the water, we headed back to the marina for the annual chili dump. This is the most delicious bowl in the world.

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Summer Reading 2013

Another short post because, well, it’s 3 a.m., and frankly I just want to drink my Airborne-infused water and go to sleep.

Summer Reading 2013 (an ongoing list):

1. Truck (Michael Perry.  I can’t stop.  I loved Coop so very much.)

2. A Song of Ice and Fire series (George R.R. Martin.  Admittedly, I only just discovered that the books weren’t called “Game of Thrones” also.  Feel free to not comment on that.)

3. Heaven is Here (Stephanie Nielsen.  I am a Mormon Mommy Blog reader.  I am not ashamed.)

4. On the Road (Kerouac.  It’s time.)

Suggestions?

In Which I Call for Help and am Answered by Tim

I am happy to report that the saga has ended.  My truck has been pulled free of its icy prison, and is currently resting happily, if tiredly, in the back alley driveway.

Really, the only unfortunate part of this ending is that I didn’t procure it myself.

Yes, friends, I caved and called AAA.

But only after another afternoon of scraping, gas pedal tapping, and boiling pot after pot of water to pour on the stubborn ice.  My housemate, Jordan, came out to help after a time, which was cause for additional optimism: Jordan recently bought (and maintains) a motorcycle.  Jordan recently started a business consisting of himself and a friend performing oil changes for college students who can’t afford to go to the local shop (or, heaven forbid, the dealer).  Jordan had some ideas.  He went to the garage and returned with several small planks of wood and a dirty towel.  The idea was that the planks would give the truck some leverage, and that the towel could fill in the watery tire grooves for added support.  It was a valiant effort, but after watching the planks shot forty feet from the truck by the force of spinning tires (I got out of the way, or else I would undoubtably be typing with my right leg missing below the knee), we decided that a tug was the only hope.

The AAA man was nice on the phone.  “I’ll send my son out,” he told me gently, “he’s going to delay his meal and head out there.”

“Oh, he shouldn’t do that!” I exclaimed, horrified at the prospect of the son, stomach growling, turning away his dinner in favor of helping an automobile-impaired college student who had managed to get her truck lodged in front of her own house.

The man insisted, though, and within a half hour, his son Tim was hooking a tow chain to the back of my truck.  One good yank and then a push from Tim, his right shoulder braced in my front wheel bed, and I was free.

I thanked Tim, drove a victory lap around town, and then went to the grocery store for a celebratory (and much-needed) shop.

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A First

As I was walking home from copy editing with the newspaper; as I passed by the small public library, its parking lot lit with ugly, spiring street lamps, I looked up into the orange glow to see a cloud of white flakes above me, descending silently.  I stopped short to watch.  Tumbling softly over each other, these flakes fell further and further until one single snowflake gingerly stretched out a finger to touch the ground before committing entirely.  I saw that snowflake before it tumbled to the concrete, and after.  I walked out into a clear night, and was still walking when it filled with snow.

Out of all the firsts that all of humankind has witnessed, from the first human mother to hold her first human child; from the men who looked out at the pale expanse of the moon before it held footprints, and who were almost sorry to see its dust stirred into artificial ridges; from  the very first time pen was set to paper, and the very first person discovered the indescribable beauty that lies in describing absolutely anything one pleases; I suspect that my first was rather insignificant.

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Badlands, South Dakota. Summer, 2012.

But it felt to me, as firsts often feel, like I had discovered the most important thing in the world, and like, for that first minute, the universe was allowing me to keep it to myself.  I basked, stock-still, for my one minute, and then continued toward home, gazing fondly at the white coating on street and building, as if I had brought it all about.

Of course, my sentimental reverie ended abruptly when I neared home, and remembered my truck, which is still–despite yet more valiant efforts on the part of my gentleman caller, some ice melt, and me this afternoon–stuck on the ice in front of my house.  I wondered if the snow would provide the friction needed for the tires to lurch free.

Who’s More Somber: An Incan Mummy or Sigmund Freud?

My truck is still stuck on the ice in front of my house, icicles dripping from the doors down to the ground.  Inside is a stray program from a Guthrie performance, a few receipts, and my beloved hula girl stationed on the dashboard.  It’s a somber sight, like one of those frozen mummies found in the Andes, hair still intact and blowing about its face as if it’s merely resting, crouched in the snow.

My goodness, that was creepy.  Sorry, guys.  I’ll talk about my mummy obsession some other time.  (read an interesting article here, though)

Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to give you nightmares.  The purpose is to explain why exactly I haven’t been posting very frequently, and to use said explanation to gush a little bit about Virginia Woolf.  Because I’ve never done that before.

You see, although my Woolf class ended last semester, I didn’t feel done with her.  She’s a difficulty lady to get to know.  Since I have to complete a capstone project this semester anyway (in order to graduate with honors), I decided to take the opportunity to expand my existing Woolf paper from last December.  And because honors capstones have to be interdisciplinary, I get to bring my minor to the party and beef up my paper with historical context.

I won’t give away the paper topic, because I’m overly confident and wish to pursue publication someday if I possibly can.  But it concerns Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and makes arguments about the nature of domesticity in the novel, and the nature of domesticity in the late Victorian era.  

I’ve been spending my days reading luscious books about fainting couches and powder puffs and beaded dresses.  There are grim parts too, of course:  there was a certain amount of oppression in the Victorian household, especially if you were a woman.  And there’s also Freud, who’s literally unavoidable if you wish to study the era, and who doesn’t make it a point to be particularly cheery.

Generally, though, it feels good to dive once again into a research project of this caliber.

Ice

My dear truck is currently stuck on the ice in front of my house.  We had a winter storm over the weekend consisting of the star combination that is sleet and snow, and when I crept out yesterday morning seeking a ride to campus, I realized that the tires were frozen to the street with a thick coating of ice.

Fine, fine, I can walk to campus today, I said to myself.  I’d be worried about driving when the roads are so slick anyway.

This morning, however, I walked from the house with more resolve.  I had purposely gotten up early and forgone shower and morning BBC reading in order to free my truck from its glassy chains.

First, I tried simply chipping away at the tires with shovel, foot, and window scraper.  I got most of it off, but when I tried to drive forward, I could feel the tires spinning on the ice beneath them.

Not discouraged, I went back in the house for the bag of salt we keep by the front door,  I poured it on the ice in front of each tire, then tried to drive again.  Still nothing.  The truck, I realized, is not only stuck on the ice, but the ice beneath it had frozen into grooves in which each tire is nestled.

So, I called my Dad.  He directed me to the four sandbags in the bed of the truck.  I thought they were there simply to add weight to the bed to prevent fishtailing on slippery winter roads, but actually, they’re partially for traction-requiring times like these.  Use your keys to rip open one of the bags, Dad said.  Then spread it under each tire, let off the brakes, and let the car roll on its own.  The key trick worked perfectly, not to mention made me feel pretty darn handy.  But then there was the issue of breaking up the frozen sand, and scooping it out with the cumbersome shovel, and managing not to spill any while climbing down from the bed.  And I had to go to work.

So I abandoned the project and walked the treacherous sidewalks all the way to campus.

Tomorrow, however, I’ll be back with reinforcements.

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Home for the Weekend

Typical Saturday at home, complete with:

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1. Spotting Fabio at Whole Foods.

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2. Generally drooling at Whole Foods.  How I love this place.  I would have taken a better photo of the salad bar or the fresh meats, but people were starting to eye me with suspicion.

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3. Lunch at Cossetta’s, where I hid from the parking lot attendants, hoping they wouldn’t remember the time I took up two parking spots with my massive truck, and then ate/talked for two hours with friends while remaining blissfully aware that “the girl with the massive truck” was being paged over the speakers.

4. Dessert at Garrison Keillor’s Common Good Books, which I evidently frequent.  Just kidding about the dessert.  Not kidding about this book, which I giggled over, but couldn’t actually justify buying, mostly because it’s a ‘show’ book more than a ‘read from cover to cover’ book.  What I did buy was Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times, because I love Good Poems, American Places so much.  I’ll admit that I’m a little afraid of poetry.  Have been for years.  It’s getting better slowly, but I still appreciate a good anthology, because someone else has already claimed that the poems inside are respectable and worth reading.  I feel free, then, to go around quoting this Robert Bly, or that Walt Whitman, confident that what I’m quoting is profound and beautiful.  Or, at least Garrison Keillor says it is.  And who’s going to argue with that?

5. Walk across the frozen lake with Mom and Dad.  And Ruby, of course, who galloped about, sometimes taking a rest to walk in the snowmobile tracks behind Dad, sometimes veering to sniff at an abandoned fishing hole cut in the ice or a piece of log jutting above the surface.

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In other news, I hiked smugly after taking this shot, convinced I had captured something pure and lovely and perfectly lit.  And then I saw the smudge of finger in the corner.