Monday, September 29, 2008

Nomad Part Two

I've also tried on the part of living back in my hometown of Rochester, MN. I love the hills. I love visiting my family. I love my cousin Parm. He's growing up to be such a steady soul. He showed us his prize-winning beef herd on a Sunday morning. He was so patient letting Bug and the Snack ride his heifers and start up the 4440 (John Deere country and don't forget it). 

But, I can't live here either.

They're too friendly. Gasp...I know...I hear it all across the internet. I'll say it again. I, Ms. Optimist and Ms. Perky Pepperina of the Rolling Hills, find the Midwest too friggin' friendly.

Here's an example. After a night of insomnia, children up at 6:00 am, my parents in bed with the flu, my sister asleep with jetlag, I get up and lug myself to the grocery store. EVERYONE SAID HELLO. No one would let me mope and wallow and have even an ounce of self pity. I find a dose of wallowing does my soul good at least once a week. I can't deny that. But no one lets me mope in the Midwest.  Nope. Two stockers, a manager, the produce guy, three shoppers, the cashier and the bagger all said something very chipper and nice to me that morning. All of them. All within the half hour I was there. I didn't even get everything on my list because I was so distracted by all the happiness.

I'm moving to Scotland. There, they drink AND mope. I'm sure of it. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

For Who I Am

Okay, so, I'm going to be especially lenient and take you on only the mildest censored ride that goes through my head on an hourly basis....

We are now in Minnesota and we went to a family wedding in the sweetest of small towns, Fountain, Minnesota. This place is where the local butcher has a sign beckoning all to "...come on in and 'meat' your friends..." and the ice cream shop has a sign that says, "Congrats to Charlie and Pat! WoW- 60th Anniversary!" They don't have signs like that even in West Seattle's Easy Street Cafe. It's a great Cafe, don't get me wrong. It just doesn't have signs like that.

So, at the wedding I was fussing over where to sit and moving name tags and all because I wanted to corner the Bug. You'd think at first glance, I was cornering the Bug because of all his energy and because this wedding was trying to be all adult-like as all weddings are striving to be. But really I was fussing over cornering the Bug so that we could hover over his food and his exposure to other people's food due to his severe allergies. Not even a week prior we'd been to the ER for over 36 hours straight in AZ and we left without answers...just with the Bug stable. So, I had no intentions of a repeat performance at such a sweet occaision. It's no way to ring in a wedding with an's no way to ring in anything....

So, I was fussing and my Cousin Mark was giving me a hard time and I started to explain the allergy thing as he's only met Maddox 4 times in the last two years...and he said, "Jen, I know why you're really doing it." I said, "Oh, Mark, just love me for who I am." He said, keep in mind he's stoic as much as any of the Bug clan can be, "I do, Jen."

Then, later, my Auntie Mary and Uncle Ken let me make an announcement about Bug's allergies like Uncle Cav and Auntie Misty announced at Cousin Lark's wedding three weekends ago...and then much of the talk of the evening was about Scotland.

It's hard to go. It's hard to stay. What I realized this past month of weddings and travel and celebrations is that I am surrounded by people who don't get me, but who do love me for exactly who I am. I'd love to stay in Minnesota, but all of my family on all sides know that M and I are happiest exploring. Somehow, this entry falls short of my heart, but I know, my true family and friends know that I love to wander. They know that I am not lost. They know that I will always return.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Small Towns

You know you are in a small town in Northern Minnesota or Wisconsin when the gas station sign reads this: "Gas, Food, Guns, Fishing License, Movie Rental, Imports."
You know you are in a small town in Southern Arizona when the gas station sign reads this: "Gas, Food, Immigration Law, Movie Rental, Prepaid Phone Cards, Antiques"
You also know you are in a small town in Southern Arizona when you share the makeup aisle at Walmart with one old lady with a grey-haired beehive and one old lady who's sit-n-go cart makes a beeping noise as she backs into you to fight over the last Almay Dark Brown waterproof if she's about to jump in a pool with her three-year-old son....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I thought I was a spring chickie chick here in the land of wrinkles and gout. I thought the sun was doing me some good. Yes, I distinctly saw the blonde that I had once been in California beginning to return - perhaps with vim and vigor given the 10 more days we've got in the desert. But no, alas. They are grey hairs. Lighter, yes. Blonder, no.  I think "aging" must be catching...

Monday, September 8, 2008


When I travel, I always like to imagine what it would be like to live in that place. Could I get up in Montezuma, Costa Rica most of my days, walk to the grocery store that's in the living room of one of the neighbors and stumble through the purchase of bananas with my Spanish most mornings?

Because we are Nomadic these days, I think I've really tried on how it might look for us to live in Arizona. Mostly because it's a known quantity and Scotland is across a continent and an ocean. I am always rejuvenated and enraptured with time in the desert. Why not live here? 

The answer is no. Knowing me, and the delicate flower that I am, you might think it's the heat that deters me. But with solar power and a car running on renewable energy, I could enjoy all that sun. I could raise the recycling flag a bit higher in this small town and take a job at the movie theater and help little old ladies with large rings and large hair and swollen joints find the correct theater for their afternoon enjoyment. The heat would not be so bad in this fantasy.

The answer is no because of the fauna I've encountered. To include on my list of citings, I submit the following: 

-Spider the size of my fist under my bed. 
-Beetles, also as large as my fist, that buzz into the screen door with such force in the evening, I think Bug is sleep walking the three steps from the apartment to his Grandparents' backdoor every time one of these beetles slams into it.
-Mosquitos more hungry than those in Minnesota. No joke.
-Spider the size of my half my fist dropping on my head as I walk the three steps to the Grandparents' backdoor.
-Ringed snake.
-Poisonous toads, multiple.

Now, my heart is palpitating just thinking of all the other yuckies my delicate self could list. 

I adore M's parents, but Arizona is out. I've got to be able to go through a day without being grossed out by my kids and my environs.  AZ vacations only for this lady!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Feds

Not the  Britney Spears kind, but the government kind. I think they're after us. On the way to Tucson yesterday, we counted 14 police cars on a 45 minute round trip journey.  After the 9th siting, Bug said, "You need to drive better Papa." G swung her legs around and ate cheerios. 

Monday, September 1, 2008

Green Valley

M's parents live near Green Valley just outside of Tuscon, AZ. It's monsoon season and air "heavy with rain" does not do it justice.  It is unlike rain in any other part of this country and I'm enraptured. 

Green Valley is also a retirement community. His parents watched the kiddies while we went to a sci-fi matinee.  Because it's a retirement community, a person at the theater walks in before the previews and announces loudly. "YOU ARE HERE TO WATCH SUCHNSUCH MOVIE. TURN OFF YOUR PHONES AND BEEPERS AND PLEASE TURN DOWN THE VOLUME ON YOUR MEDICAL DEVICE ALARM SYSTEMS. IF YOU THINK YOU'RE IN THE WRONG THEATER I WILL HELP YOU."  Sadly, this announcement was more entertaining than the movie.