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HiDeeHo

"Some calls it madness...I calls it HiDeeHo." - Cab Calloway
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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

BEULAH BOG

We made it down to Beulah Bog this past weekend too. I did indeed bring my staff, but there was no need this time. They had taken away all the Stephen King story paraphenalia (dead possum, used condoms, crows, vultures, beer bottles) and the air was sunny and dry.

A third of a mile walk on vaguely hilly terrain was just long enough for Morgan to get interested. We saw some bunnies.

We made a gradual descent to the level of the lake on which a giant mat of sphagnum moss was floating (and on which we were walking). We saw a turtle or two sunning on driftwood. There were lily pads, cattails, arrow arums and various sedges. In the sphagnum mat were growing cranberry bushes, sweet fern, insectivorous pitcher plants, and the spookiest tree this side of the Mason-Dixon - the Tamarack.

Think of a ghostly foggy northwoods lake. Think of the loon's song - the chortle and the ooooeeeeaaahhhh. There are things moving in the trees, but you can't see just what. Something's swimming just under the surface of the silvered water, fish or mammal or bird, but you can't see just what. It's nearly silent, and nearly dark. The ground squishes under your feet, and you have to step carefully not to crush the acid-loving flytraps and pitchers. There's a piny scent in the damp air, coming from those forbiddingly graceful, lichen-covered, emerald-needled trees. The trees in this image are tamaracks.

They usually don't make it this far south.


BOGGY MEMORIES
I have a fond memory of another sphagnum bog with tamaracks, and it goes all the way back to the summer of 1988. I was 14, attending a summer science program at Pigeon Lake Station in Bayfield County. This program, a camp if you will, was run by the Wisconsin DNR and University system, staffed mostly by junior-senior level undergrads. There was one, I believe his name was Jeff, who was a biology major at UW-Stevens Point, with whom I had a bit of a rapport. Okay, a crush. He was major gorgeous adorable in my 14-year-old view (looked a little bit like Josh come to think of it, but taller and darker overall). The rapport was a bit of a construct on my part. I was genuinely interested in what he was studying, though - botany and limnology. After a few days of incessant questions about places he'd been and things he'd done, he offered to show me a place that not a lot of people get to see. It was a place that was closed to the public for research, and in that remote part of the state few people ventured out that far.

Be still, my hormonal soppy romantic yet geeky heart.

This guy, this 22-year-old COLLEGE SENIOR took me, geeky gawky 14-year-old me, on a sunrise walk in July, to a tamarack bog.

Alone.

For THREE HOURS.

Damn. Not only was I blown away by this guy's druidlike knowledge of the land and what grew and lived in it; not only was I struck by how shaggable he was looking in messy slept-in hair and the ubiquitous denim/flannel of the Wisconsin Backcountry; he treated me not like a student or inferior, but a peer. An equal. A GIRL. Sigh.

I think I impressed him a bit too. When he'd point out something and say, for example, "This is Labrador Tea," I'd say "Oh yeah, you can actually make tea out of that. The settlers in the Labrador region of Canada used it, hence the name. " Yes, I said hence when I was 14. Didn't everyone? He'd give me this look, kind of that half-smiley half-annoyed look, and I'd say, "Oh, there I go again spouting off." He'd say, "No, don't worry about it. You just know more about this obscure stuff than most kids your age." Kids. Argh. I was crushed.

I find myself wondering how he's doing these days. I'd like to tell him that I just took my daughter on a bog walk, and thought of him and the tamaracks.

posted by Julie Neff  # 4/30/2003 04:29:00 PM

TRICKSTER MOON

So here it is, Walpurgisnacht, Beltane Eve, mischief night. It'll be a bit chilly at the Sabbat tonight on the Brocken. I bet everyone will have brought kartoffelsalat, just like last year. Ahem.

It also happens that the new moon turns tomorrow. The Auspices of Ragabash, for you WOD gaming folk.

Hm...
Beltane = Fertility
New Moon = Binding and Banishing

So shall we do a rite of banishing fertility? Thanks to the fire of steel and laser, my fertility has long since gone away. Josh's need not be proven.

So all of you out there who are engaging in (perhaps illicit) sexual activity, hoping not to get knocked up or do the knocking, this one's for you.


posted by Julie Neff  # 4/30/2003 04:00:00 PM

MWWWHHHHAHAAA!!!!

I am 80% Evil Genius

I am pure evil. I lie awake at night devising schemes of world domination, and I will not rest until all living souls bend to my will.

Take the Evil Genius Test at fuali.com

posted by Julie Neff  # 4/30/2003 03:51:00 PM

Monday, April 28, 2003

MY BABY!

ADDENDUM, 04/29/2003: Mo woke up with her left lower central incisor very loose. Place bets on when it falls now.

WARNING: Ramblespouting before work. Disjointed and slightly incoherent.

As you may or may not have seen on Goblin Cartoons, Morgan will be traveling to old Blighty this summer with Joan and Rachel. A whole month away from home. Sigh and worry and envy.

She's spent the night at my parents' house so many times over a weekend, I can't even count. But that's not the same. We lived with my parents the first two years of her life. What is a nice bridging step between spending the night at home-away-from home Grandma's and a month across the ocean?

A sleepover at a friend's house, of course. Mo spent Friday afternoon, evening, overnight and Saturday morning in the company of her buddy, Hannah. Pizza for dinner, Polly Pockets until bedtime, and then teeheeing under the covers until after midnight...(sniffle) my baby is growing up so fast. It'll be just a matter of short time before she's a teenager...

...and then she comes in for dinner from across the street tonight saying, "I was playing at David's house, and some people said he's my BOYFRIEND, and I told them he's NOT, and we're just friends..."

I say, "Is he cute?" Not with the intention of hitting on him, you know, just kind of curious. I don't know this David chappie.

"No, not really. He almost hit me once, on the bus."

Hm. I can't help but think of that snip of dialogue from Percy and Edmund in Black Adder II,

"I touched her once...in the corridor."
"Well, I've never heard it called that before. If you're lucky, she may let you get your hands on her twice."


BLUEBIRD OF RIGAMAROLE

Today was also a day of bureaucracy and annoyance. We need a passport for Mo to go to England. I think to myself, as her parent I can show them her birth certificate and social security card, and my valid driver's license as ID, and we'll be all set. I have the 2"x2" pictures with what I thought was a head of 1-3/8" height. Wrong.

Not only was Morgan's head too big in the pictures (by an eensieth of an inch), but apparently I need proof that I'm her sole custodial parent. The birth certificate with my name and without a father's name apparently doesn't prove anything.

Now here's the thing: Morgan, sadly, doesn't have a legal father. Mr. Sperm Donor ran away and hid, and Denver wasn't fit to be father to a weasel or a turnip, and (thankfully in hindsight) never adopted her. Josh is not yet in position to adopt her; we have to move the bishop, both rooks and a knight before that happens.

Okay, how to prove, no I mean REALLY prove, I'm her custodial parent? Could she actually have a legal father out there somewhere who will protest or not give permission? Argh.

So after giving the (snotty, dismissive, judgmental) lady at the post office a big piece of my impatient mind, telling her exactly what sort of crack she must have been smoking, she gave me a few extra forms to fill out. I need to provide a court order stating that I have sole custody. 'Uh...who the fuck else would?' I think to myself. Then she hands me another form and tells me in this charmingly uneducated accent to be "real pecific" about why there's only one parent giving permission. I did not misspell that. She said, "Be real pecific." Argh again.

The thing that outrages me is that just the mother's permission isn't good enough. Even just a father's permission probably wouldn't be good enough. They expect every minor to have two parents. Maybe it's single mother's defensiveness welling up, but for now, legally, Morgan is absolutely no one's but mine and I am the only person in this entire world who has the authority to say what she can and can't do. I am the one who gives permission and takes it away. Some government statute that says "every child who wants to travel abroad must have two parents?" Horsefeathers.

I say give the single mother with the illegitimate (by some standards) child full parental rights without this stupid bureaucratic hassle.

MINI RANT
You know what's illegitimate? Men's cowardice is what's illegitimate. If any of the men involved with me or Morgan had had enough guts, balls, brains and other body parts to be real men and real fathers, we wouldn't have this problem. Then again, if that had been the case, perhaps she wouldn't be getting the diamond-studded gold-tooth bling-bling of a daddy she has now. Another set of props to Josh - third dad's the charm. He steps in where others failed and earns Magna Cum Laude paternal honor.
END OF MINI RANT


IN CONCLUSION
By the Gods and Goddesses, she's getting that passport and going to England, because I'm The Mother, the most powerful being on the planet, and I say so.

I also saw my first bluebird of the season in Vernon Marsh today. Hurrah!

posted by Julie Neff  # 4/28/2003 08:36:00 PM

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