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Ancient History

Busting the Customary

I was waiting in the car for the last of the three high schoolers to exit the house. The engine was running. The two who were already in the car were moaning over how the third was going to make them all late for first period. I was ready to honk when the tardy kid burst out, ran our way without looking back, and failed to close the front door.

The straggler opened the back passenger door and climbed in, breathless.

“You forgot something!” I sighed.

“No, I have everything.”

“It’s customary to close the front door when you’re the last person out.”

The kid’s eyes narrowed. “Since when has our family been customary?” Hiss. Growl. Indicted.

I was a bit shocked as I watched my livid teen stomp out of the car and back to the house, slamming the door shut. As we drove, we discussed junior baby elementary door etiquette basics, like shut the door if you’re the last one out and don’t slam the door and is it locked? Poor attitudes were also noted as unacceptable, especially in those who make basic errors and aren’t contrite.

As I drove home from the school, I started thinking less about the door issue and more about how our family isn’t customary. No, it isn’t. In fact, we’ve taken custom, flipped it upside down and added polka dots. I wondered why the kid chose to invoke our family when called out on a mistake. Our family didn’t forget to close the door. Our family wasn’t the last one out for a short but humdrum ride to school. Yet, our family—in all it’s weirdness and unwieldiness—was on the brain. The beginning of the school year is always ripe for the “Why is our Family so Big?” discussion. They meet new kids and new teachers. They are often asked to introduce themselves and inevitably someone asks about brothers and sisters. I can see them now, taking their deep breaths, bracing. Younger kids usually have to draw pictures of their families.

“We don’t all fit in this little box!” they’ve groaned as they struggled to include us on worksheets sent home from school.

“Draw outside the line?”

Some of our kids do. Some don’t.

Not everyone is thrilled with the bulk of our brood. Sometimes, assaults come from inside like friendly fire but I’m okay with that. They didn’t get to choose. But it’s interesting to see who can go beyond the lines and who wishes to stay within defined borders.

life is bumpy

life is bumpy

My Dumb Hobby is 10 Years Old Today

I believe I’ve earned the right to post a screed about how blogging has changed so much in the past decade. But I won’t.

Today, I’m simply grateful for the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, and the challenge of maintaining such a silly little sliver of a sliver of the internet.

Thank you, friends.

What will the next 10 years bring?

What will the next 10 years bring?

Gold Rush

It turns out Aspen isn’t just the city Lloyd and Harry deliver a briefcase to Mary Samsonite. Aspens are a towering grass with soft white stalks and a habit of turning brilliant, bursting yellow every September. Colorado is home to zillions of these glimmering flame-like trees and we got to go see a few this weekend.







We drove the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, which snakes between Georgetown and Grant, or Grant and Georgetown if you’re not alphabetically inclined (or, prefer to start your journey into the mountains on washboard dirt roads rather than end that way). Here’s a link to a map that looks like an old diner paper placemat map, which I personally love.





At the summit of Guanella, you’re at a mere 11,668 feet above sea level, which is above timberline. Not much grows aside from short scrubby brush and lichen. That didn’t stop the kids from charging down and up a short trail to an amazing 360 degree view of mountain peaks.