Saturday, January 2, 2010

Frigid temps drive me to sit and blog

It’s -1 F outside and if that’s not a sign that I need to sit down and return to my blog then I just don’t understand my signs.  While avoiding my own blog the past thirty days, I’ve perused many of the Blogger blogs instead.  Lordy, there are a lot of blogs out there and many so boring and so utterly weird (cooking, crafting, probably terrorism--I'm guessing this since the Underwear Bomber had Facebook--and even a photo and narrative homage to discount stores of the 1960s…really, what fetish is that?) that it got me in a muddle as to whether writing all this down is a ridiculous pasttime as my YMCA membership goes unused, my desk is a mess, my knitting sits unfinished and my family goes hungry.

To be fair to myself, I was thoroughly enjoying the holiday season from traveling at Thanksgiving to singing karaoke well into 2010 on New Year's Eve.  A month full of family and traditions distracting me from the mundane.  Being back with my Christmas decorations was a reunion I truly enjoyed after my Little House on the Prairie paper Christmas in Oxford last year.   What can I say except I was having fun and enjoying life and that sounds neither disturbed or funny enough to blog about.

My own epiphany in this season of epiphany?  Gap Jeans are a lie.   I’m done with them.  I have been trying to squeeze into their preposterously pubescent cut jeans (relaxed, my ass) for the past seven years, feeling the howling winds of Wisconsin's winters on my muffin top for too long!  Vacant smiling twenty-something sales staff inquiring “How did everything work out for you?”  NEVER GOOD, I wanted to say. 

Back to my roots, tried and true boot cut Levis, rediscovered this Christmas at Tri-State, Idaho’s Most Interesting Store.  The jingle, “We’re from North Idaho and it shows!” is the most genius of ironic songs...not sure they mean it the way we take it.   It’s a Farm and Fleet of sorts and carries a surprisingly relevant selection of sportswear that I used to laugh at as "farmer wear" once upon a time.  Ann Taylor doesn’t do NorthFace or camouflage, you see.  Keen, Columbia, Merrill, Timberland all once unknown brands to me, now strangely my every day wardrobe in Wisconsin.  Knee-high snowboots, hats with earflaps, deer repellant, flareguns....I was never really alive until I moved to the frozen tundra.

Levis …I've come full circle.  As a kid, I bought the stiff, dark Levis with the bright yellow stitching, washed them a thousand times until they softened and conformed to my teen shape that would have actually fit into Gap jeans.  Breaking in new jeans was executed with the patience of a horse whisperer taming a mustang.  No sand paper for me, I broke mine the old fashioned way with detergent, time and most uncomfortably wearing them damp to dry from radiant body heat for a better fit.

I met my niece this Christmas and was transfixed by her babyness.  Her name is Emily and I am the proud owner of a new Chinese moniker that translates as Big Mama, “wife of oldest brother”.  They could have just written all that information on a piece of paper and wrapped it in a box under the tree.  It's my favorite present ever.

I was ambushed guerrilla style by my feelings of loss for my father in law this first trip back home.  I took a walk on the Bill Chipman Trail that connects Pullman, WA and Moscow, ID, a trail that most literally connects my past and my present.  Brimming with love for the youngest member of our family and once again saying goodbye to our oldest. 

I walked a brisk mile up and back in the last hour of winter afternoon light, enjoying the brilliant but unattainable wash of golden sunlight on the tops of the hills as I walked in their shadows below.  Along ground that I know Larry rode many times on his bike back and forth between the two towns.  I felt companionship on my solitary walk with this tangible connection.  A pair of ducks swam under the bridge reminding me of his love of the outdoors and his practical and unsentimental use for it whether he was skiing, golfing, fishing or camping. Rarely puttering, if ever, unless he was holding one.

So much fun I had over the holidays that New Year's Day I untrimmed the tree with my usual  impatience for a return to order that is mistaken for moxie and work ethic.  I wrenched the tree in the air by its trunk....a few forgotten ornaments dangling, the Angel topper and tree stand still attached and dragged it roughly and reluctantly to the front door, throwing it out on the porch. Needles evergreen bloodbath.  What can I say?  I was done with the holidays. 

And so I return to my blog energized, reconnected and satisfied. A very Happy New Year I hope it will be for everyone.


  1. Glad you're back, Benji.

    You've set the bar high for twenty-ten. (I keep writing it out b/c the grammar police are on our butts about it.) Your stories of Larry and Emily perfectly capture It All.

    And "relaxed, my ass" needs to be engraved in granite somewhere. F'true.

    Happy New Year back atcha.


  2. Happy new year! How lovely to see a new post from you. I laughed out loud about the jeans. My sister and I abortively tried on GAP jeans (for the LAST time ever, I swear) recently. Her breathless voice came over the cubicle wall: "Well, stop the press, brace yourself for the shock, it turns out I'm not 'long'n'lean' after all"!
    Enjoy your warm back in your levis,

    Sarah x

  3. Great blog Julie. I just hope we don't have to wait 30 days for the next one! Ann