Month: August 2003


Whenever I’ve been getting frustrated at the world lately, just dwelling on it and digging in to it, I’ve been thinking, “Is this more important than Lee? Is it more important than Ray?”

Obviously not.

Balloons. Wow. This week has flown by.

This morning, going out to do laundry while Lee slept, Ray and I saw balloons.

Of course we had to follow them. We managed to get right underneath them, pull over, and wave at them. I waved. Ray said, “Badoo! Badoo!” over and over. We picked the little sunflowers that grow on the side of the road, and did laundry later.

How it went.

We’re back from the memorial, and my parents have gone home.

Every summer, my family would go out to the Black Hills to visit two sets of cousins, one set from each side of the family. They both had kids around our ages. The Knippling side was my Uncle Howard and Aunt Claire, with five kids. The Bouzek side was my Uncle Dan and Aunt Margaret.

Jonathan was one of the Bouzek kids. He was the same age (a little younger, eighteen months or so) as my younger brother Matt. (The cousin my age, Heather, and I were the Evil Older Sisters, and there’s another one, Jennifer, that’s quite a bit younger.) Most of my memories of him involve someone getting in trouble. More on that later.

As he grew up, he got lost. He started doing drugs, went to jail for a year for it, and decided to clean up. He went back to college, but it didn’t work out–trying to make too many other people happy, I guess. All in all, he finally put his life back together about two years ago. He was engaged to be married this fall. He had a job. He taught Sunday school.

From what anybody can tell, his doctor proscribed a powerful narcotic for back pain. Jon ended up having to get back in contact with one of his old suppliers for a resume situation, and got some heroin from him. He went back to his parents’ house with his dad and his fiancee, his dad left to drop of the fiancee, and when he got back, Jon was dead. His mother was at an Episcopalian convention at the time.

On Monday, they had him creamated and his ashes scattered over Pyramid Lake. He didn’t want a funeral, thought it was dumb to have people standing around and crying over someone that wasn’t there. He’d had a talk with his dad a while ago and had said, “When I go, I’m going to be sitting with Jesus in Heaven, drinking a beer. I think I’ll like him.”

We got together in Rapid City for the memorial. In the afternoon, my family went to Storybook Island. I can’t tell you how many times we’d been there as kids. (If you don’t know, it’s a free park, filled with slides and kids’ rides based on fairytales and Mother Goose rhymes. And this unholy statue of Barney. Wonderful, even though they don’t have the petting zoo any more. They still have the castle front entrance, and free plays that run through the summer season.)

We took Ray; it was the first time she’d been inside.

I could see Jon everywhere.

That evening, we had the gathering at Canyon Lake. I don’t know if Jon had ever seen it; it’s just been rebuilt. It’s gorgeous.

There’s an island in the middle of the lake with a gazebo on it and a bridge leading out. From the island is a long curl of rock and dirt packed with gravel. There are duck turds all over it, dead fish and fishing line, little crawly things in the cracks of the rocks. It’s just about the only place on the lake that isn’t immaculately cared for.

I could just see Jon and Matt out there, with sticks, poking at everything, coming back with mud up to their armpits.

Mom led the gathering, did a great job. “The thing about Jon was that he had this twinkle in his eye. Whenever he got an idea, whenever he was up to something, you’d see his eyes light up. The last time I saw him was when I picked him up from the airport to drop him off at college. I wasn’t sure I’d recognize him, because I hadn’t seen him for a while. But when I saw him, he got that look in his eyes, and I knew it was him. Of course, he was over six feet tall then.”

They played the “I will survive” song by the Grateful Dead (I don’t know the actual title, if that isn’t it); it was one of his favorite songs.

The plan.

Last week, my cousin Jonathan died. I’ll talk about it later; I can’t do it now.

The itinerary:

Monday: leave after Lee gets back from work, drive to Rapid City, SD.

Tuesday: arrive early in the morning, sleep. Memorial gathering.

Wednesday: leave at some point, return to Colo. Spgs. My folks will either follow us back on Wed or Thurs.

Saturday: folks heading back to SD, at what point I do not know.

More when we get back, esp. for the Nobilis folks.

Those D— Friesian Horses!

cheval-de-frise (shuh-VAL duh FREEZ) noun

plural chevaux-de-frise (shuh-VOH duh FREEZ)

1. An obstacle, typically made of wood, covered with barbed wire

or spikes, used to block the advancing enemy.

2. A line of nails, spikes, or broken glass set on top of a wall

or railing to deter intruders.

[From French, literally horse of Friesland, so named because it was first

used by Frisians who lacked cavalry.]

“Fold back the leaves of an artichoke and you discover … more artichoke

leaves, at least until you come to the succulent, secret heart hidden

beneath a chevaux-de-frise of thistle-like bristle.”

David Nelson; Gastronomic Adventure Unfolds Like an Artichoke;

The Los Angeles Times; Jun 21, 1991.

“On the land side, outside the battlements, are acres of chevaux-de-frise:

sharp rock slabs set vertically into the ground, making it virtually

impossible for a person to pass, let alone a horse.”

Denise Fainberg; On Foot In Inishmore; The New York Times; Aug 1, 1999.

–From A.Word.A.Day

Is this what those rows of spikes in parking lots that puncture your tires if you’re going the wrong way are called, too?


We finished up the first section of the game last night. Many thanks to Doyce, Jackie, and especially Justin, who’s been watching Ray and Kitten (the other little girl)–we couldn’t have done it without him, and them.

And thanks also to a great group of players. I don’t think I’ve ever rolled my eyes this much in my entire life…no, they’re not tards. Just punsters.

I’m not sure where things are going from here, either on a practical or storytelling level, so I just had to get that out.

Creativity. I’ve been packing in too many things lately.

Funny, how that stifles creativity. So the better part of this week, I’ve been crossing things off the to-do list with glee. Haven’t written, just brainstorming plot for the next big section that’s coming up–and doing most of that subconsciously.

It’s been a week of vivid action dreams, the kind that last a couple of hours in between the slaps to the snooze alarm. And last night I had more fun gaming than I’ve had in about a month–a font of ideas and witty sayings.


Creativity: taking what you’ve learned and turning it into something else. This takes more time than you’d think, more empty time. –I’ve gone the other way, too, losing creativity because of too much empty time, but I hadn’t realized there was this balance. The best creativity isn’t for yourself, or isn’t solely for yourself, but shared. You can do anything creatively–like zen with sparkle, mindfully done.

You know, I think I got tired of logical sentences somewhere in the middle of this post 🙂

Car. Nope. I didn’t mention it. We donated the old car to Big Brothers/Sisters a couple of weeks ago. They’re to send us a receipt, but haven’t yet, and haven’t contacted us. Time to start bothering the overburdened, I guess.

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