Monthly Archives: July 2009

Bathing With a Leper

Visited Soap Lake this weekend. Figured, since we live so close, we should check it out–I'm told that people used to come from all over the world to take advantage of its "healing waters".

The ground along the shoreline was teeming with small flies. And I do mean teeming. As far as you could see in any direction. Surely the water was clean though, right?  We kept our shoes on until the last possibly minute and then sort of wrinkled up our noses and ran across the last slimy (advocates call it "creamy"), buzzing stretch out to the clear water. 
And clear! You could see sunlight on the bottom. No algae, no mud, no silt; it is technically called a meromictic lake: meaning the layers of water do not mix. Ever. Apparently most other lakes do. 
At the bottom, dissolved gas can build up–I'm thinking this was the cause of the bubbles that rose up from the mud. Here and there a steady stream of bubbles–rising up to the surface as though some bottom-dweller lurked below. The only life form we saw were red fish the size of pepper grains. They swam around in what must have been millions to a school–looked like someone had spilled a bottle of Tabasco sauce in the water and it had gradually diluted and swirled out over a huge section of the lake. 
The lake is very shallow–I counted two hundred steps from the shore to where the water almost touched my knee.  The kids said it tastes like play dough. When it dries on the skin it leaves a crusty, white residue. All around us, men and women were coating themselves with the blue-hued mud. That's when I noticed a man off to our right. A few yards away from where my youngest bobbed in his bright green floaty. The man was clearly suffering some kind of illness, the most obvious symptom of which being open, oozing sores all over his body. 
M and I looked at each other. Suddenly "healing waters" took on a whole new meaning. This is where sick people come when they've lost all confidence in conventional medicine. And we're bathing with them?!

Call me small-minded, but we beat a hasty retreat, protesting kidlets in tow, back to our own seaweed-and-algae-filled lake back home

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Does Anyone Have a Pen?

Cleaned out my purse this weekend. Seemed like a good thing to do, as we were headed out of town; just keeping the baggage to a minimum, right?

Aside from things with a legitimate right to be there (pennies, bank and library and insurance cards) it contained:
  1. One safety pin
  2. Two peanut M&M's
  3. Three Legos
  4. Twenty-seven crayons 
  5. Nine ballpoint pens
  6. Three pencils  
  7. Four expired coupons
  8. Fourteen pieces of gum
  9. Six sticks of gum. As in unused. OH, you thought #8 referred to this? Oh no. Those fourteen were already chewed. What else do you do with your flavorless gum in the middle of church when Mom won't let you stick it to the bench in front of you? That's right, you wrap it in a bit of paper or foil and you drop it back where it came from. 
  10. Wrappers (gum, fruit snacks, granola bars, etc). No, I didn't count them. 
  11. A straw
  12. Thirteen phone numbers and/or addresses written on scraps of paper. Without names. I have no idea who they belong to.
  13. A full size pair of scissors. The funny thing is that my kids are always asking me, on car trips, etc, "Mom, do you have any scissors?" Like I carry around a full spectrum of office supplies with me. Give me a break. Fine–I stand corrected. But now I really don't have any.
Conspicuously missing? My nail clippers. Any currency more valuable than a nickel. The blue notepaper I wrote my bank account numbers on. (Eeeek.) 

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Mom. Mom. Mom. 
What, what, what?

I think I know why there's pee on the toilet seat. 
Because when I stand like this [demonstrates] sometimes the pee goes this way, and sometimes it goes that way, and sometimes it goes right up in the air!
We had this conversation in a room full of people. Spluttering, laughing people. This didn't seem to bother him.

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I've decided that the surest way to get the stuffing pummeled out of a kid is to put that child's mortal enemy in time out. 

The one left free to roam will inevitably approach the restricted child and torment them mercilessly until Armageddon erupts. 
Every time.

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Have you ever found yourself paralyzed? Like no matter what you do, it will always be the wrong thing? And is your frustration exponential when you consider that you've been in this exact place a thousand times before?

I decided this morning that in the interest of keeping my sanity that I could not think through my options even one more time. Not once. Just put it all in God's hands and get on with my day. Take a breath in. Out. Wash this dish. Tie that shoe. I dispensed with worry.
And then immediately went right back to the mental struggle. 
It's like herding cats–trying to keep a leash on my thoughts. 
It's probably quite pompous of me to think this way. To agonize over my options as if the happiness of so many people could possibly hinge on what I do or say. Or don't say.
Is it because I've pinned my happiness to theirs?

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All This, and More

The cereal box sports a coupon for three dollars off the DVD "Marley & Me". The dog from the movie is pictured, along with a bright red leash coiled around a copy of the DVD.

A five-year-old sits at my table, eating his Corn Flakes, and studying the box. Suddenly he beams. "Look, Kimber! For three dollars I can get a movie, a puppy, and a leash!"

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Food for Thought

My parents divorced when I was four years old. Their new marriages weren't a walk in the park either. I know first-hand the long-term reprecussions of familial discord, and as a young person, I made up my mind that divorce was only an option in cases involving abuse of some sort, but over the years, I've seen, as Dallin H. Oaks observes in the following clip, that there are situations worse than divorce; that there has to be a way to end a broken marriage if one or both parties ever hope to progress. 
That said, I remember feeling like the odd man out, really–I knew other kids with divorced parents, but it wasn't the majority of my peers. Divorce was not the norm. Now, I look around and wonder what on earth my kids must think! Have I reached an age where my peers are more likely to be hitting the divorce courts, or are the very foundations of the American family getting shaky? 
Almost every married couple I know seems to be struggling right now. Not to air the family laundry, but out of fourteen marriages in our immediate family (both sides), there are four couples who have never separated from, and are still firmly attached to their first spouse. 
My kids are the odd ones out–parents living in the same house, eating at the same table. What must they think? 

Makes me think twice. Take a little less for granted. I feel blessed, far beyond what I have labored for. My soul sways in wonder at the lengths God has stretched to bless me, all my life. I asked M the other night–what have we done to deserve this? We are proud and stubborn and downright stupid sometimes. And still here we are, still firmly us

Came across this video today, while looking up a recipe. Food for thought. 

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