Sunday, May 3, 2009

All is swell, swine-flu-less, no quarantine, no two weeks off

What is more intense, the relief that there wasn't some dire thing that no one was telling us coming to pass, or the kid's disappointment that the two school-free weeks has dissolved into business as usual?

I think the disappointment.

It was hard to believe that something really bad was going on when nothing bad was going on...though I can usually manage a way. And the fact that the flu case in question never shifted from a probable case to a real case kept angst at bay.

But to be a Junior High student and have two weeks of sleeping in handed to you like a plate of fudge then jerked back before you had a chance to take a bite...that's harsh.

It has been interesting to see the different reactions to the quarantine. I am an err on the side of caution person. It was easy for me to comply with the order. First off I figured no one really needed (wanted?) to see my family badly enough to make them uncomfortable with our possible pestilence level. Of course, I'm more the homebody and it was no skin off my nose to stick close.

Some people were terrified. I think if I had given them a hug on Friday evening they would have slugged me.

Other people saw the quarantine as ridiculous and felt no compunction in breaking it.

Public Health Officers must study the psychology of compliance, panic, and resistance. Come to think of it, I could use it in my day to day life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

H1N1 QUARANTINE. THE Flu has hit California

The end of the first full day of quarantine. It has been disconcerting. At first we were alerted that students not only were to stay home from school, but that they were not to go out, must stay in the house. That was worrisome. Had there been some further mutation of the flu virus no one was telling us about, were our children safe, could we expect the tyvek suited guys from ET to show up on our doorsteps?

And we needed milk on top of it. One more thing I failed to prepare for- quarantine. If the students had to stay in, what about the parents? Could we ethically go to the grocery store if we promised not to sneeze?

Luckily we were next told that though students would be prohibited from returning from school for two weeks, students could now leave the house, wander around town presumably, but could not congregate with other students. We could take the kids with us to pick up milk, I guessed, as long as the other parents weren't doing the same. Suddenly it didn't seem so scary. And we would have more information soon. The flurry of information we initially got ended on Friday evening, however, and there has been no more over the weekend as if a pandemic holds business hours. The illness that prompted the quarantine is still listed on the school web site as a "probable" case of H1N1. We don't have a hint of who it was who might have swine flu much less how he or she is doing.

There is a disconnect between the idea of contagion so dangerous a quarantine must be instituted, yet no sign of it. Instead, there is a slight giddiness about town, a nervous excitement I suppose, and a feeling of snow days called resulting in an additional two week spring break. So far- this is an abstract calamity, but for having to cancel appointments, a party and a coffee date. Oh, and there's the paranoid headache, maybe a slight sore throat, which is probably nothing. I'm sure we'll be fine.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I love the Plains. They are so beautiful and I feel good in the wide open. This year, the plains are green, the rains have come. My father claims it is because he is building a house. If he didn't need to worry about materials being soaked, they'd still have drought.

We went to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Along with one of the worst miniature golf courses we had ever seen (buckled carpet, large chipped concrete elk, bear, and buffalo hazards) there were wonderful real animals.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


One of the interesting things about being on the road is the intersection of what one is supposed to look at, and the obtrusive signage beside it.

What looms larger? Monument Valley or the Monument to that city of momentary desire-Las Vegas?

Then there's the signs that explain things. Tell you what you see at places like Mesa Verde.

Here's a sign-Lewis and Clark were here...and enough vandals to make it necessary to encase the signature under glass.

This sign was our all time favorite. What, exactly were they getting at? Were they cautioning against leaving your personal animal remains, or were they assuring that if you were to camp here you would not be fussed by the animal remains the last camper so rudely left behind?

Monday, July 28, 2008


This guy, by the way, sat on the dashboard the entire trip, once I had found him on the sidewalk in San Diego. We thought he was black, but after we came home I peeled him off the dash of the rental car and stuck him in my pocket... my jeans went through the wash...and the lizard came out green. Ew.

Here's one of my favorite places on the ranch. A high meadow on the North side.

Louis looking South, the Missouri Buttes in the background.

The whitetail deer did not appreciate our company.

Sam scratched the outline on his hand on the name rock. The first time he did it, his hand was sooo tiny.

Next stop- North Dakota

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Next stop the ranch where one of the most surprisingly...large...cats I've ever seen resides.
Here's another view, in case you don't believe me. Funny thing, she is not at all aggressive about eating. You don't see her eat much, actually. She's a get up at midnight and eat a box of twinkies (bowl of kibble) kind of cat, I guess.

Friday, July 18, 2008

For Jenn's Mama and Janet Riehl

Here are the Scottsdale boots, JM. I love the stitching on the toe (which matches my dress) and note; pegged soles!

Janet Riehl (see her blog asked about Ucross. To go on a writer's residency at the Ucross Foundation is like heading to heaven to write. It is beautiful. A working ranch out by the Powder River Breaks with big sky, and not only ranch animals to paint thumbnails of in one's journal (I've got a notebook full of these) but lots of other fauna as well...including fawns, though in Nov, when I went, they're hardly fawns anymore.

Ucross provides their prose writers, poets, filmakers, screenwriters, ceramicists, painters, bookartists, woodworkers (etc) with a beautiful place to sleep (private rooms) a place to work (I had an office downstairs from my bedroom with windows on three sides, bookcase, desk, chairs, couch) and GREAT meals.

One of my favorite parts of the day was just before noon when a sack lunch (and what a sack lunch!) was delivered outside my door. There was no knock, no call because at Ucross everyone is VERY careful to allow the people to work, careful about privacy, noise, needs...
All the artists at Ucross met for dinner. The chef (I hope Ruthie is still there) provided a fantastic meal which was enjoyed amidst lots of laughter and conversations. The artists washed up afterwards and then either went back to their offices to work or had a drink and played pool, watched TV, checked their e-mail, made phone calls. I heartily recommend applying for a residency if you can manage it at all, for on top of the good food, the artists, the digs, I also got a huge amount of work done on Turpentine, the novel that was published a little less than a year ago.