The Party

We got a phone call at 6:50 AM. It was the bakery calling,
"When are you coming to pick up the cake?" Here's the cake,

The party went off without a hitch. It was half country kids and half city kids. You could tell who was who and which was which, because all the country kids peed in the yard in full view of the world.

I'll let you guess which group Little Z joined, by process of elimination.

Sentimental (not an entry for vegetarians)

We met some people at a party a few days ago who were a lot like us. They have a little farm where they raise chickens and vegetables. They have one little girl. They told us about when they first got the chickens,

"We named them all, of course," said the woman. She was very pretty and sweet. I was thinking about how all the books say not to name them, because then they are pets and you can't kill them, but what she said next was, "And then, when we slaughtered them, we put their names on the freezer bags, so we knew which one we were eating when we cooked them up! We wanted to know."

I hope we run across those folks again sometime.

Long Term Commitments: The Great North Road

I've been thinking about The Great North Road off and on for about sixteen years.

In the Northwestern part of New Mexico, not far from where I went to college, lies a dry, beautiful red-tinged landscape of mesas and valleys. In this part of the world is an old, old road, constructed around 1,000 AD. It goes north from Chaco Canyon. It's a wide road, as wide as a two lane highway at least, even though the people who built it, the Chaco people, didn't use carts or anything that would warrant a wide road. It also has, in parts, perfectly parallel roads alongside it. In places where it was too steep for a road, when a bluff was in the way of due north, they carved steps into the sides of cliffs. The road had to be north. It could not vary from its course.

There weren't really any big towns along the Great North Road. It was a road that didn't go anywhere.

Or did it?

That's what I've been thinking about. Where did it really lead? Why did they build it?

A lot of people say that Heaven, for the Chaco people, was a place on Earth, just up north a bit. They had to build a road. It was important.

Also, I think about this: Why do people do anything, really?

The Great North Road is a symbol for That Which Cannot Be Explained.

Although there are legends...

...of people who returned from the dead once in a while to visit their relatives, and eat some of their food, and then they took the long North Road back home again.

Read it all here.


I had a job interview a while back. On the way there, the car was in the shop and I had a loaner, which had the seat heater on, and I didn't know how to turn it off. I was blazing hot in my interview outfit, sweating buckets by the time I walked in.

During the interview, I became progressively more uncomfortable by the lack of facial expressions or words or really any reaction (except for scribbling) from the three interviewers. Actually, the man asking the questions did crack a few smiles, but only carefully when asking the questions, not when I answered them. The two women were completely emotionless. I told lots of stories, trying to give them an idea of the kind of person I am to work with, and they just didn't react. At all.

I wonder if they were truly writing down what I said? Maybe they weren't even hiring. Maybe they just had a competition to see who had the best poker face, and I was their prop. Maybe they were furiously taking notes like this,

"Rick moved his eyebrow. - 2 points."

"Jan nodded slightly. - 12 points."

"Rick moved his eyebrow again! - 4 points (repeat offender)."

They probably had a hidden video camera, too, and they'll watch the video over and over and laugh hysterically at my expense.

I didn't get that job. That's okay. I did figure out how to turn off the seat heater.


There were only four cucumber plants, but they made 12 quarts of pickles and four cucumbers left over, and more on the vines.

Full Circle

I was at the park with the Minime other day, and of course there was someone next to me on a cell phone. He was talking about playing some sort of computer game on line,

"Well it's a fun game, but it's not that much fun killing the same aliens night after night. What real makes it good is voice chatting with other people the whole time."

First of all, "voice chatting" ??? I would be embarrassed to use such a phrase, personally. I always thought "talking" was clear enough. Anyway, what caught my interest was that he just wants to spend time with other people. He went on about it for several minutes.

It used to be, back in the day, people would get together and play Hearts or Cribbage or Bridge or Crokinole or Monopoly, or go bowling, and everyone would talk together and hang out and have fun. Then came the internets tubes and such, and the online gaming. And we crawled into our little holes with our little screens, and here I am, screen speaking at you. But then we came up with live chats during the games, and now "voice chatting". What next?

Pretty soon we'll all be getting together again and playing cards again.

Actually, truth be told, I haven't been blogging as much lately because we got a new board game, Agricola. It's really fun. It's a game where you farm, and the best farmer wins. I love the irony of playing it on a real farm.

Logical Bathing Activities

For reasons I won't go into, I ended up wading out in Lake Mendota, fully clothed, accompanied by an almost-three-year-old in her underpants. When we got home, I felt the need to bathe in some clean water. I told Little Z,

"I need a bath."

"Okay. I give you bath," she said.

We used to read her stories in the bath (before she started taking showers), so she went and got a book to read to me in the bathtub. I bathed, and she stood next to the bath with her book. She opened to the first page of a book about desert animals, facing it to herself, so all I could see was the cover.

"This is a coyote," she said. She turned the page (without showing me the picture). "This a kitty cat." Page turn. "This a snake."She looked at a few more pages with no comments. "All done! I get other book."

A minute later, she was back with a new one.

"This a book about fishies," she declared.

"Oh, nice!" I said, washing my hair.

She flipped through her book, looking very closely at each page. It took about three minutes.

"I done reading book to you!" she declared.

Guess I didn't learn much about fishies. Darn.

She put the book away and came back. She threw a bunch of stuff in the tub with me,

"You need toys! This your boat," she said, pointing to a cup. I played with the toys a little, stacking one boat inside another. "No!" she said, taking the one cup out of the other, "Boat stay in the water!"


So. I'm not sure why this warrants a blog post, but there you have it. Life with an almost-three-year-old.

Farm Faux Pas

We were eating dinner the other night and had this conversation:

BAH: "These are real farm stew vegetables, aren't they? They're good."

Me: "Yeah, they're not potatoes, they're Kohlrabi. I really like them. They took longer than it said on the package, though."

BAH: "On the package? You bought vegetables???!!!" [He could not hide his disgust.]

Me: "The seed package! The seed packet! They took longer to grow that it said they would on the seed packet!"

BAH: "Oh, I thought you bought vegetables. I was gonna say..."

"The Commissar Vanishes"

I recently read this fantastic book, The Commissar Vanishes. It's about how Josef Stalin changed history in photographs. He killed a lot of people, and every time he killed someone, he had them erased from all the pictures. David King, the author, has a huge collection of old photographs from Stalin Era Russia, and this book is just the best of them.

At first, it's almost comical to look at. Some of the pictures are so horribly falsified, I've seen falsified post cards from 1920's Wisconsin that were more believable. But then you read the stories behind the pictures. And more stories. And more stories. And, after a while of this, I started to feel a bit ill.

Stalin was surely the worst person who ever lived. He probably killed millions of people. The next time someone says that our mild-mannered leader is like Hitler, I'll have to say, "Well, at least he's not Stalin."