Sunday, February 22, 2009

His transient influence seemed a feeble striving against the powerful current of her past. The ripples effected by his words and example were swept away and swallowed up by all that had been modeled to her. In her heart she feared that the weight of her circumstances would crush and drown her if she did not allow them to bear her along. He was encouraged when she nodded her head and cried, but all the while she was slipping away like water through his fingers- caught up in the ruinous current.


The residents of Idyllwild were unusually quiet this week. My ears were keen to record some snippet of an exchange for you, but, alas, the whole town was like a hushed library. The only communication worth bringing to your attention was between two skateboarding teenagers in the parking lot of Guaranty Bank:

"Get out my way, fool!"

Saturday, February 21, 2009



For what amount of money would you surrender control of the naming of your child to an anonymous committee of randomly selected teenage boys?

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Norway returns to a pillage-based economy!


Kick’s truck rattled to a stop on the side of Lavallee Road where there was a slight pull off. The pull off had been born, not of design, but of necessity along the narrow dirt road. The road itself lay in a depression between two long hills, and despite the installation of numerous culverts and drainage ditches, intended to remedy the seeping wetness of the place, the road always had a slick, muddy quality to it. Only in winter, when it was frozen, did the road seem firm underfoot. Short scrubby cedars grew in great profusion on either side of the road. Branches, both live and dead, brown and green, interlocked to form a dense impediment to human locomotion. After several hundred feet the cedars began to thin out as they neared the top of the hills that flanked the low-lying road. Two rusty strands of barbed wire, stapled directly into the trunks of the front rank of cedars, contained the woods and seemingly held them back from spilling over into the traveled way. As Kick sat in his truck he wondered who had originally thought it necessary or worthwhile to string the barbed wire along that hardscrabble stretch of cedar woods. There seemed to be nothing worth keeping in, no reason to keep anything out, and the cedars themselves looked to be sufficient deterrent against trespass for creatures of normal ambition. “It must have been a field at one time,” he mused to himself.

Kick’s thinning hair, was newly barbered, and his beard was neatly trimmed. He was wearing a pair of soft, brown leather shoes, a crisp new pair of tan slacks, and a plain dark-blue sweater with a collared shirt underneath. Before exiting the truck, he slipped off his shoes and placed them on the passenger side floorboards before donning a pair of tall black rubber boots. Then he opened the door and, with a sigh, he dropped down onto the soft squishy surface of Lavallee Road. Reaching back into the cab, he popped the hood. Then he quickly looked around before lifting the hood and giving a quick decisive tug on a pair of wires. Letting the hood drop loudly, he turned, passed between the strands of barbed wire, and waded off into the crackling cedar thicket.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

There's something about a road
That curls away from view
That lures the weary on
By promising something new-
"Come just a little further,
Just another minute or two."
The road seems promise pregnant
As it curves away from you,
But when you round the bend
You find yourself anew
Faced by a stretch of road
That curls away from view.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"...I became, in my own person, a creature eaten up and emptied by fever, languidly weak both in body and mind, and solely occupied by one thought: the horror of my other self."

"And this again, that that insurgent horror was knit closer to him than a wife, closer than an eye; lay caged in his flesh, where he heard it mutter, and felt it struggle to be born; and at every hour of weakness, and in the confidence of slumber, prevailed against him, and deposed him out of life."


I say the caption goes below the picture, like so. You?

Saturday, February 14, 2009


"Can you believe all this snow!!!"
Twenty-Something Woman, Laundromat

"Jeremiah! She was yelling at you 'cause you're parked in a handicap spot."
Middle Aged Man, Parking Lot in front of Post Office

"That B#@* called the cops on him. She said he couldn't park there. What a B#@*!"
Thirty-Something man, Parking Lot in front of Fairway Market

"You know D#@* well I don't know what I'm doing down here."
Fortyish Man with an Australian accent lying on a blue tarp in front of Fairway market- talking to his wife while trying to attach snow chains to his tires.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sarah Tate is...

...Clothes still warm from the dryer,
A soft rain,
A pleasant valley,
A day off,
Twenty dollars in my pocket,
And a million in the bank.

She is
Fire glow,
A garden full of fruit,
A sunny plain,
An orange in the snow, and
A window all lit up at night.

She is
A tractor idling,
A burst piƱata,
A broad expanse,
A cozy corner,
The end of a long day,
And a groan understood.

She is
Exciting and familiar,
The forest primeval,
An established path,
A shared memory,
A warm bed, and
Jasmine on the night air.

She is
A spacious porch
With lots of chairs,
And lemonade.

She is
My traveling companion,
And richly robed.

Happy St Valentine's day! I'm so glad that we love ourchothers!

Thursday, February 12, 2009



...we are in for "a significant meteoroligical event" this weekend. He's predicting an apocalyptic scenario with more snow than we got last weekend. He was just calling to give us a heads up, and to make sure the phone number that he had for us was good. Thanks Jim!


Momma told me not to come.
"That's not the way to have fun, son."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


"Yeah, I like water."
Middle Aged Male Outside the Post Office

"Somebody needs to say something to her. I mean we're all adults here, and she can't just get away with that. Somebody has to say something to her. I mean...I will if no one else will. You know me... I'm not afraid to give anybody a piece of my mind."
Female Fairway Market Employee

"I heard it might snow. Did you hear that?"
Older Man at the Post Office

"Why are you yelling?!?!"
Twenty-Something Woman to and Older Man on North Circle Drive


Today I bought a new stick, and as I was making my purchase the cashier leaned across the counter and in a confidential tone she said referring to the deodorant, "That's my personal favorite."
So yesterday was the day of our first ultrasound for the newest member of our burgeoning clan. The prospect of getting a first glimpse of the wee lad or lassie was sufficient incentive to risk life and limb to make it down there. A howling blizzard had engulfed our mountain and was dumping snow faster than plow, shovel and wiper blade could remove it.
The trees were stooped and bent over under the weight of the snow as though Jack Frost was forcing them to pay homage to our sturdy little Astro Van as it hustled by with its chains merrily click-clicking it's way down to a better altitude.

We had to stop once to clear frozen matter from the windshield wiper blades. It was a scary proposition to stop anywhere on the winding road for fear that some imprudent traveler would come barreling around the corner and hit us. I waited until the windshield wiper ceased to be any help at all and then I stopped on the longest most unwindy stretch of road I could find to clear it.
It rained the whole time we were in the desert, and it never got above fifty the whole time were down there. Those are rare conditions for the desert in my experience. I would almost have preferred snow.
They couldn't fit us in for an ultrasound after all, which made my Sarah, "kind of angry at them." They said we could come back in the next day or two, but we live in Idyllwild which, at the moment, is no less snowed in than the Ponapy (sp?) place in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. We left in low spirits and, after getting some gas, we turned the Astro Van towards home by way of Garner Valley. At the bottom of the hill we found a road block barring any and all from venturing up the mountain. I parked the van and walked up to the CHP officer. Our conversation went like this:
"The road is closed, eh?"
"Cause of the snow?"
"I live in Idyllwild. Is there anyway I can get back to Idyllwild."
He thought for a second, and then I said...
"I have chains."
He said, "It's your crash, not mine," and then he let me pass.
We made it home and this morning I woke to temperatures in the teens and heaping mounds of snow everywhere- it looks like we got about a foot and a half yesterday. Poor Keith, must have spent all day yesterday plowing. I went and found him after we got home last night and offered to spell him, but by then the storm was almost over and he was about done for the day. He did a great job though, and the camp was better plowed than most of the country we passed between here and Mountain Center.

There is a car under there. Our snow storms up here are like a brief passionate argument, that, once spent, quickly apologizes and makes up. It's not like the heavy hate-filled silence of Vermont's winter. Vermont's winter is like an unhappy marriage- an exercise in endurance, and Idyllwild's winter is like a clearing of the air- altogether exciting and enjoyable.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


I have been following this business of the reinstated bishop with half an know the one who is a Holocaust denier? You won't find me defending a lunatic like that. In my opinion he is certainly a kook, and most likely a racist. Unless he offers a sincere and thorough apology, he should be removed in my opinion. What I find most infuriating about this whole thing is that in some cases the voices calling for his removal and for the Pope to step down are the very same who vigorously defend and appease Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran in their genocidal policies toward the modern state of Israel. Which is the greater error- to deny a historical fact or to deny current realities? They are not opposed to antisemitism per se, just when it suits their purposes.

Friday, February 06, 2009


When I first started discussing the possibility of pursuing some sort of formal Bible training with my friend, Tim, he advised me to do it after my kids are in bed so as not to take away time from them. That was some good advice, but were it not for coffee I would not be able to do it. On most nights I find that once I am done with my course work I am still riding a coffee high when I should be in bed. I know that my body can't do these late nights and early mornings indefinitely without begging relief through an ailment, but thus far it hasn't been too bad. The demands of my schedule have been tenderly mitigated by the mercies of coffee, a supportive wife, and lunch break naps.

Tonight I wrapped up my studies earlier than normal, but still fortified by three cups of coffee, my body refuses to shut down. I went for a walk. It's raining out- a nice soft drizzle. As I type, my fleece is still bejeweled from walking in the rain. I should be in bed. I'm going to bed.


Do you remember just a couple of short weeks ago when President Obama stood before the country and delivered his inauguration speech saying, “we have chosen hope over fear.” Obama was sanctimoniously referring to his oft stated belief that Bush used fear mongering to push the country into a misguided war in Iraq, and yet in a speech this week about the economic "crisis" he said, “If we drag our feet and fail to act, this crisis will turn into a catastrophe.” All week he had been pressuring lawmakers to approve his bailout plan expeditiously, and why the haste? I would suggest that Obama’s concern had less to do with the nation’s imminent financial collapse and more to do with the fact that the longer the bill was debated and available for public scrutiny the less popular it became. What a fear mongering hypocrite! Washington needed to resist the panicky bug-eyed-do-something-anything hastiness of this current administration, and take a more calm and measured approach to the current challenges. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that Obama was “freaking out” like some kind of inexperienced lightweight. Quite the opposite- I think he was cool as a cucumber and through rhetoric he created the legislative equivalent of a stampede because that served his intended political purposes. And why is the bailout plan becoming increasingly unpopular? Because it is dangerously bloated, chock full of pork (the very pork which Obama railed against throughout the campaign), and it is not well designed to effect its own stated goals. I am vexed!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Monday, February 02, 2009


"You don't have to buy potatoes. I have a whole bag at home that I'm never gonna use."
Middle Aged Woman- Fairway Market

"Dude, come back! It's over, dude! it's over!"
Twenty-Something Male- El Diablo

"Get off me!"
Female Fairway Market Employee

"You guys said you would have it by Thursday."
Older Woman- Idyllwild Pharmacy


Beyond the mountains stretch the plains
Like a wrinkled sheet pulled flat.
A river flows between two hills
Like a length of hair between two breasts
A house stands alone on the swelling plain
Like a mint on a hotel pillow
Farms stretch away from a river
Like fabric along a zipper
A cluster of lights in the black below
Like a ship on the empty sea


Kick picked up the envelope and examined it. It was sealed on the back with a glob of golden wax. Impressed into the wax was a seal depicting a man standing guard with a spear and wearing a hat with a large plume in it. Something was written in block lettering around the seal, but seeing as it was written in a strange alphabet Kick couldn’t make out what it said. Across the front of the envelope in beautiful flowing calligraphy was written in English, “From Burden Jarudet at Dundarfick to the Dindi, Kirk Tomwright.” No one but Kick’s Mom and telemarketers called him by his given name of “Kirk.” In fact very few even knew that this was his real name. He had gone by “Kick” since he was a little boy because of a speech impediment that made it difficult for him to pronounce “R’s.”

Kick wondered what Dundarfick was and he made a mental note to ask Rolfish about that the next time he saw him. Kick produced his pocket knife from his sweatpants and carefully opened the envelope. Inside he found ten five-dollar bills and a letter. The bills were perfectly flat as though they had been stored between the pages of a heavy book and they smelled strongly of wood smoke. Kick wondered where and how the Widjiwats had come into possession of the money. Much to kick’s surprise the letter appeared to have been typed and printed off of a computer.

The letter read as follows:

“From Jarudet, Burden of the Widjiwats, to the Dindi, Kirk Tomwright-

Please accept the enclosed $50.00 as thanks for your invaluable assistance in the Jill Lassiter affair. I understand from Ilverbottum that you conducted yourself courageously and I hope you will find satisfaction in knowing that the remains recovered from the owl pellets have been returned to their loved ones. The family of the deceased wanted me to pass along to you their sincere appreciation for your assistance in recovering them.

I am sorry that it was necessary to obtain your cooperation by means of coercion. In the future, it is my hope that a genuine friendship would flourish between us, and we would be motivated to assist one another out of purer motives. In the meantime, I confess that we are motivated to exploit you out of a naked self-interest. Frankly, we need your help. If you become a liability to us however we will have no recourse but to kill you. If you attempt to expose us to other Dindis we will likewise expose the regrettable circumstances of your past to the proper authorities. We have in our possession three stamped and addressed letters to the Vermont State Police, the Rutland Herald and your Mother detailing what happened at two a.m. on Novemver 23, 1993. It is my sincere hope that it never comes to that. I am confident that this relationship could prove equally beneficial to you in time. We ask that you abide by the following list of expectations. We reserve the right to revise this list as we deem revisions necessary

1. No alcohol
2. No illegal drugs
3. No pornography
4. No pets (especially cats, dogs and ferrets)
5. No contact with Tammy Ducharme- legal or otherwise
6. All illegal activities excepting those you are asked to do by us are prohibited
7. Must not leave the county without first obtaining permission
8. Maintain at all times a full tank of gas in your truck and boat
9. Jill Lassiter’s rifle and all ammunition to be stored in the crawl space under the shop
10. Video and photographic equipment prohibited in the house, shop and truck
11. Have haircut once every three weeks
12. Beard must shaved off or trimmed weekly using a number three attachment on your razor
13. Maintain good hygiene (daily showers, brush teeth, etc…)
14. Set and maintain rat traps in the crawl space under the shop
15. Dispose of entire wardrobe, and then replace your wardrobe with the assistance of Rolfish. dress in a neat and professional appearance at all times
16. Maintain a neat and orderly residence.
17. You are only permitted contact with Rolfish, Kodd, Beanid, Foxen, Foxen, Ilverbottum and those Widjiwats who are introduced to you by them and who are in their company.
18. If any little people attempt to contact you independently please kill them and deliver their bodies to the above listed Widjiwats.
19. Meet once a week with Ilverbottum of Mawfick for instruction in matters of Widjiwat culture, history, way of life, etc…
20. Mount a bell with pull string next to the kitchen counter by the crack in the wall

You will be reimbursed for any costs incurred in complying with the above list (gasoline excluded).



Sunday, February 01, 2009


"Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to retire to the poopery."

"Retire to the what?"

"The Poopery."

"The poutpourri?"

"No, the the place where you go to poop."

"Oh, the poopery, got it. That's funny."

"It would have been funnier if you had heard it right the first time. Now the timing's all off, you know?"

"Yeah, maybe."


Tonight, while I was putting Bowden and Lucy to bed I noticed shadowy figures running back and forth on the roof in front of the window. I turned off the light and saw that a big lumbering raccoon was silhouetted against the edge of the roof. I went downstairs and got Sarah. We dug out a flashlight and went outside to get a better look. The scary thing was that they were absolutely unafraid of us. I think somebody must be intentionally feeding them. Sarah and I have been inadvertantly feeding them by leaving our trash out, but these raccoons were actually coming toward us when they saw us. As soon as we located them they came down the tree to meet us as though we were going to give them treats.

Sarah, my intrepid wife, was close enough to pet them while I hid behind her saying things like, "Oh Sarah, I think you're too close," or "Sarah! That thing is a wild animal! You shouldn't be so close."
Way too close!!!

Leave my trash alone you pesky varmints!