East Bound and Down

Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of summer. We took the drive to Wisconsin to visit my parents and here are the highlights. I wish I had some photos to share but our camera is currently broken. A new one is on the horizon though.


Names of campers/RVs seen on the highway:
2 Pumas
Jay Feather
Minne Bago
But none of these topped the enormous RV I saw prowling our neighborhood last week, driven by a guy who looked like Santa after months on the South Beach diet – The Contessa. The Contessa was the size of the first apartment Keith and I lived in together. It was towing an old car. Even better, it was for sale.

Conversations With My Dad

I pointed out to my dad that he and Mick Jagger are the same age. “You were born in the same year,” I said. “Well,” he said. “Lucky for him.” I’m still not sure what that means. “Do you like the Rolling Stones?” I asked. I was fairly certain my dad has never listened to a Rolling Stones song on purpose. He nodded. “What?” I said. “You like them? I can’t imagine you listening to them.” “No,” he said.

I gave my dad a yoga DVD, Yoga For Inflexible People, six years ago. He has yet to use it. But every time I visit, it comes up in conversation. For the last two visits, my dad has accused my mom of putting the DVD somewhere he can’t find it. He never comes out and says she hid it, but it’s implied. The argument over the DVD started again one afternoon this weekend while we were sitting on their deck and my mom went inside and came back out with it. Now my dad insists that he is turning over a new leaf. His goals include:

1. yoga
2. cleaning out all the lumber that is stored away in the outbuilding on their property
3. something about eating better, mumbled over dinner in a restaurant when I asked him why he didn’t order the prime rib

The great thing about my dad is that he wants to do yoga and become limber in order to improve his golf game.


While floating in the lake with my parents on a windy afternoon, I let go of my inflatable raft in order to jump off and walk it back to the lakefront in front of their house. The wind made it easy to drift far from the house. When I was in the water, the wind picked up my raft, flipped it away from me and blew it away. It made its way across the lake, flipping over and over again. I keep remembering the sight of the bright purple and teal raft flipping across the water under the clear blue sky. We all watched as a guy in a kayak tried to retrieve it. It was way too fast for him. Then a power boat took off after it and rescued it. They brought it back to us. It was a boat load of high school kids, maybe college. I felt pretty stupid. I also don’t know that I wanted it back. I think the raft wanted to be free.

At the same restaurant where my dad did not order the prime rib, there was an outdoor concert on a paddleboat that was pulled up next to the restaurant’s docks. It was a band, I never caught the name, that did the usual round of cover songs. Every few songs one of the band members would put on some sort of costume. While we were eating, I saw the keyboard player performing in a glitter jacket and blond wig, impersonating Jerry Lee Lewis for the band’s rendition of “Great Balls of Fire.” After dinner, we went out onto the deck. The singer, a woman in shorts and a zebra-striped top, sashayed out wearing a Tina Turner wig for “Rolling On The River.” Here’s the thing though – Tina didn’t wear her hair like that until she started her solo career. Back when she was singing “Rolling On the River,” she had a more 1960’s bouffant hairstyle.

I turned to Keith and I said, “Wouldn’t it be horrible if she was in black face?”
He said, “She’s so fake tan that she practically is in black face.”
It was true.


The movie The French Connection, is not very good.


As I get older, I find myself drawn more and more to gardening. I get this from my dad. I don’t mind pulling weeds in the hot sun and I helped my dad with a small flower bed he hadn’t weeded and planted yet. I found two kinds of moss at the back of the bed where it was shady and I preserved some of it to bring home for terrariums.

My dad picked the first strawberries of the year this weekend, at least two weeks early (of the weather and growing season this year he said, “The weather is two weeks ahead this year and I’m two weeks behind.”) and we ate them for breakfast along with scrambled eggs with tomatoes, spinach and feta cheese and a custard cornbread I baked that took way longer than I thought it would to bake. My mom practically had hives over the recipe – which called for whole milk and heavy cream – and the fact that I was baking and didn’t want her help. The recipe was from the book A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg and it is very good but just make sure you plan in enough time for baking and some cooling (it needs some cooling off to really set the layer of cream inside). She recommends serving it with maple syrup but it would be just as good with crushed berries on top.

It’s also good cold- I had leftovers today before work.


Number of times our dog, Freja, ran away and tore through the neighbors’ yards: three
She also saw her first deer this weekend and spent ten minutes staring into the woods where it disappeared.
The last time she ran away, the two neighbor dogs (a brother/sister duo) came out after her and chased her back into my parent’s yard. All she needed was some boundary setting.