Today a friend was putting together a fortune teller look for a murder mystery party, and we were texting some ideas. This prompted me to look for a photo of myself dressed up for Halloween a few years back. The best place to find this image was on my blog.
Well gosh darn it if I haven’t opened this thing in a long time. By the looks of things, I haven’t posted a word in over a year.
Scrolling back through the pages in search of that Halloween photo, I was reminded that I like using this blog as a document of my family life. In our current times, it has been hard to feel like I have anything “important” to say, like I don’t need to take up space.
But maybe not everything said needs to be important. Maybe some things can just be mundane, and plain, and not such a big deal. If you feel like reading along with my admittedly curated, though still imperfect, familial tales, I’d be happy for you to come along. If you’d rather spend your precious time taking in more critical, educational content, well friends, I completely understand. For me, for now, I think I need to spend some time looking at the boring stuff.
It’s October again. It’s chilly outside. Although I wouldn’t know because I have not left the house. I am a little bit embarrassed by this, but not enough to trade my house slippers for actual socks. My summer seasonal job with the National Park Service has ended, and I have resumed my role as a work-from-home mom. I spend my time compulsively cleaning, tending my woodstove, working for a local education foundation, volunteering, eating way too many snacks, trying to get a six-pack (yes those last two are in direct opposition), spending time with Rafal and the girls, and re-reading Eat, Pray, Love.
In this fine piece of literature, of which this is my third time through, Elizabeth Gilbert contends that every city has a word, one locution that embodies the vibe of a place, one term that sums of the underlying beat of a spot on the map.
I’d hesitate to call this place a “city.” But in reflecting on what word would encompass the Mammoth/Gardiner community, the first thought I had was outside.
I am in the process of helping the organization I work for hire an Executive Director and through this process I have learned more deeply than I already knew, that people don’t move out here for the money. People make sacrifices to come out here for the lifestyle.
People move here because they like to raft, ski, hike, hunt, photograph wildlife, or ride horses. People move here because they want to see mountains outside of their window, elk on their lawn, public lands in every direction.
It’s funny because my own family just kind of landed here. We followed a series of opportunities that brought us to this cute little accommodating place. We didn’t come to Yellowstone specifically to be outside, though for the five years we have been lucky enough to enjoy this place, we have endeavored to embrace the local philosophy.
Maybe I just spent so much damn time outside all summer that I am content to cozy-in for a while. I keep giving myself permission to rest, but this resting is taking a lot longer than I thought it would.
It was a long and unusual summer as a park ranger in Yellowstone. I was deeply divided about whether or not to take the job in 2020, as it seemed like a huge risk, but it ended up being truly fun and magical.
The visitor center was closed and all guided walks and talks were cancelled, but visitation to the park was very high. As such, I spent just about the whole dang summer just walking around and telling folks where to find the bathroom. We had such wonderful weather, my team was amazing, and I can definitely think of way worse jobs.
Have I mentioned how much I love wearing this uniform??
Outside of work, we didn’t do too much this summer. We camped a little, we hiked a little, we hung out a lot in the yard.
Lydia graduated from preschool, we demonstrated in support of Black Lives Matter, and sweet baby Violet turned two.
It was a warm summer of simple pleasures. Although we really did miss having visitors. Our house is so welcoming. We’d love to share it with friends and family again when its safe and prudent to do so.
Towards the end of the summer, my closest friend, Mary Beth, swiftly and suddenly moved away to Pennsylvania. It still hasn’t really sunk in all the way. I just feel like we are really busy so we haven’t seen each other in a while, and instead just text a lot.
My love for Mary Beth is really deserving of its own post, but for now I’ll just mention that her birthday, Moms-only (and one non-mom) campout was probably the highlight of my summer, most especially the epic No Talent Show Throwdown, which included ukulele songs, line dancing, a Shoop dance, Savage, and an original Ode to MB rap song, which even our neighbors at the KOA seemed to enjoy.
We didn’t know she was leaving us when we were lighting it up at the campground, but in retrospect it was a perfect and appropriate send off.
So now we hunker down and get ready for the long, dark winter. My woodstove and my oven are both up to the challenge. I know I need to buck up and make sure me and the girls get some time outside. I’ll try to take time to go inside too, to dig up some stories to tell and some things to write about.
Staying sane and healthy this winter is gonna take some effort. I think I’m ready for it. But I may need another day or two before I am willing to put on socks.