Fish Languishes

The trouble with posting and living is that so much is happening I forget to keep up, or there’s no signal, or we enter that realm of the perpetually dying phone with unreliable /shared charging options.

Weird things have happened; I haven’t been the only one with mental health issues on  this trip. An impromptu stop in Gig Harbor, WA resulted in a trigger fest, an abandoned vehicle, ratchet straps as seat belts and a vow of silence. There were almost new pets; a cockatoo, an eclectus, a handful of bulldogs, but matching our sporadic trip timing with others’ internet communication availability… Well, we didn’t add to our family. We found a couple gems in little Spearfish, SD (Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant, Soul Food Bistro and the off season priced Bell’s Motor Lodge, at $50/night for a room that included a full kitchen!) where we chilled for Mother’s Day and realized,  when we woke in the wee hours of my daughter’s seventh birthday, that all but two of us had mild food poisoning. It was, however, in Spearfish that, for once in my awkward life, I had an instant response for some mouthy rednecks that shut them right up.

We did some uncharacteristic touristy things (Reptile Gardens gets 4⭐, Bear Country gets 3⭐for being cool but overpriced, and Devil’s Tower is impressive), met new people, camped in multiple national forests, found new money spots and work opportunities, and revised our life plans for the next three months. All the while Fish roamed the storage areas of the van, my hands too busy taking pictures and corralling the baby to worry about poses and further dividing my attention.

Now we’re in the all too familiar terrain of vehicle trouble as we totter on the border of the [mostly] dreaded midwest.

Pacific Northwet behind us, a trip to the Pacific now under our belt, and the horror of another humid, mosquito ridden summer before us, we plod ahead, bold, fearless (or at least trying to be), and a little more seasoned. Most of us, anyway. Fish is just bored.



Daily Dose – Climbing

via Daily Prompt: Climbing

Since yesterday we’ve been steadily climbing up out of the Midwest into the land of terrestrial giants, cloaked in eternal winter. The emergence of hazy blue and white silhouettes on the horizon never loses its magic, no matter how many times I make this trip. Since childhood I’ve been enchanted by the impenetrable landscape, a Kansan toddler already filled with the desire to migrate to higher ground at the first opportunity. My sisters and I made grandiose plans to live in remote cabins where we would write thrilling novels and befriend the local wildlife.

One of my sisters only left Kansas for one month for a job that ended up falling  through. She lives in our detested father’s hometown. My oldest sister turned 30 last month. She left Kansas at 22 and moved to Iowa with her husband and they’re still there.

I don’t mean to bring everything back to them, but they still account for more than half my life’s influence and experience. They’re such a looming shadow, blaming me for our family’s strife. Yet I’m the one ascending. I’m the one following the sunlight to destinations that feed my soul something other than the bread of bitterness. All this beauty still brings to mind the stark contrast of my ugly past.


The mountains make me feel more whole, and even in the prolonged cold I can breathe more deeply out here. The trouble with being from Kansas is, you can only get halfway across the country when you run as far as you can go.

The Adventures of Fish

The trip has begun! As is typically the case with a carload of friends, hilarity ensues. Anal RVs abound, Great Fun lies ahead in Uranus, as well as a fudge shop (I’m not even kidding. This is the schtick Uranus, MO uses to promote tourism) and My Cows is serious business here in the heartland. 20170414_130541-1

We stopped to visit some fellow beached travelers who, incidentally, just got their ship seaworthy once again and they may join us on the way back. The stop off turned into a camp out, complete with a snapping turtle, cows and scary stories.


Life lesson, boys and girls, when people are inebriated (and/or trippng their faces off) near cows, everyone Will step in a patty at some point during the evening. That’s just life, I guess. But if your dog likes the smell of cows and is going to get back in the car in the morning, just tie her up for the night.IMG_20170413_144911

Fish takes one last look back at the house before setting out.


I’ve heard of fish as big as dogs, but dogs as small as Fish?? IMG_20170415_071843.jpg

“Did you get it?…I’m not in a patty, right?”


Nothin like hot dogs for breakfast to combat a hangover. This guy drinks like  a…Right, well, a fish.





Daily Dose- Timely

via Daily Prompt: Timely

It comes

at the perfect time,

a shift in life,

a mind ruffled by breeze

in need of physical motion.

Phases of my life can be defined by events and locations,

whereas sitting still

causes things to blur together,

like a piece of paper

too soaked with water color, pooling in one place

so that all the colors meet in the fold

as a brown puddle

rather than a beautiful rainbow

spread from one edge to the other.

When in doubt,


hopelessness or fear,

mountains can contextualize the smallness of your life,

and sky scraping trees,

massively gentle spirits,

allow dismissal of pain and discord.

In times of elation

and satisfaction, too,

mountains raise your soul into the sky,

muscles burning,

heart pounding,

alive among jagged rocks;

a soft and delicate life


and finite,

yet capable

of infinite peace.

I love heading West

where all the world’s suns


Daily Dose- Ordinary

via Daily Prompt: Ordinary


I could be

that ordinary girl, they raised me to convince people

I was;

with a closet full of blouses,

a good career, and

heaps of college debt I chip away at

with gratitude;

Dishes in the cupboard, a neat set

I received as a wedding gift;

plants on the window sill and a cat

whose box I dutifully scoop

each morning,

in a room no one uses.

I could collect coupons

and pebbles from the beach

and get together with the neighbors

on warm saturdays

to have a beer on the deck

and watch the sun set as the children chase each other

across the neatly manicured lawn.

I could be-

I even aimed to be,

but along to the path to Great Ordinary Achievment

I saw a light through the trees.


I cannot convince people

that I am anything resembling ordinary.

I’ve given up trying.

My suitcase holds a homemade kilt,

patched together with leather scraps

and a rabbit pelt,

a couple of shirts, one black,

one intricately patterned in green and gold and blue;

I do not work for money,

but for my family,

teaching my children what truly matters

outside the constraints of waxed tile floors

and desks attached to the seats;

my college debt will be forgiven

in eleven more years, because I talk to the right institution

without ever giving them a penny-

they know I don’t have any to spare and I’m grateful for our understanding.

I own two pink plates and bowls,

and two of each in blue,

two tin cups

and a box of plastic flatware that were not

gifts from the zero guests in attendance

at the courthouse the day

my beaming boyfriend

Became my glowing husband.

The windows in the bus

have no sills

and my treasures live in a box

with a bronze clasp, and the children speak in hushed voices

every time I pull it out

to rifle through the polished stones and four leaf clovers.

The dog prefers to wander

and grows morose between four walls.

She craves the feeling of moss and leaves beneath her paws,

the wind singing in her ears as she races

to the stream’s edge to drink

with her feet in the water.

I collect road kill

and draw pictures upon,

or make wind chimes and hair ornaments of their bones

that they might live again

rather than be dumped in a city disposal site

far from the cries of their kin.

We get together with our brothers and sisters of the road

for cheap booze and shitty liquor

and shoot off fireworks under the bridge

or gather around a pit, warm and bright

and eat day old bread and beans from the can,

as the children dance wildly

in the moonlight to the sounds of the mandolin,

the guitar, maybe a kazoo

and the rise of fall of voices and laughter

through the moonlit wood,



some well meaning young lady pauses on the path

unbuttoning her collar and wondering

where the flickering light creeping into her line of her sight,

and the drifting, jaunty music

might lead

off the beaten path;

this life is beautiful

and anything but ordinary.