Friday, January 28, 2011

We Are Fairly Certain I Am Not Bi-Polar



At work this morning, you know, saving the president from assassination attempts, I was feeling kinda blue.

So I texted Mr.V.

Tell me something happy?, I texted.

He texted back:

I am going to kill myself. Worst day ever.


That wasn't a very good job, I texted back.

Later he came to pick me up from work. (Black Ops let out early today).

He was in a mood. He snapped at me. (What did I ever do to him? What, with me always baking the casseroles and mixing the Tom Collins' and wearing the red lipstick?). It seemed everything had gone wrong all morning and now the car wouldn't start.

I didn't snap back, I just went all self-righteously angry. You know that one. It's cold reserve plus smug. Pinch of real broad.

The car started. I sent my disgruntled husband off to work with a smoothly arched brow and nary a word of parting. (Because of the righteous anger, recall?)

Indy was in the car and it was warm. We rolled down the windows and turned up the Jackson 5. Drove to the store.

Not twenty minutes after parting in anger, I get another text. From Mr.V.

Can you please get some honey, it said.

Betimes my wicked streak is strong.

Get some what? I texted, pretending an apostrophe.

Honey, he replied.

Yes, Honey? I texted.

I was giggling something fierce in the ice cream and pizza aisle.

That was when Mr.V stopped texting altogether. Obviously because he could not match my wit.

Out in the parking lot, the wind snatched away Indy's pink and purple balloons. They were tied to plastic weights, but the wind was strong. I ran after them, not looking for cars. I jumped just a moment too late. It seemed they were gone. But then, yards ahead, they began to swoop down. I was in the crosswalk between the store and the parking spots. Cars were stopped to avoid hitting me, running around in circles. Everyone watching the redhead battle the wind for the balloons. They swooped and dove, I jumped--and caught them.

"Good job mom!" Starbuck cried. "I was almost crying when I saw them blow away."

"Mommy saved the day," I told her, victorious, grinning, offering her my spoils.

"No," she said. Her voice easy, definitive. "You're not a PowerPuff Girl."

The universe maintains balance, you know what I mean?

I am Vesuvius and if you have always wanted to be married to me, now's a good time to ask my husband.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maybe I'll Go To Australia


The things I want are hard to keep up with. Which is what makes me think I don't know what I really want at all.

Yesterday a brewing job popped up in northern Montana. And Mr. V said, Do you want to move to Montana?

I've always wanted to move to Montana, I said. Except for when I always wanted to move to Paris. Or New Mexico. Or California.

Recently I've latched on to Arizona. Anything might be taken as a sign. An advanced readers copy of a book in which the heroine goes missing to Arizona, takes a lover, eats food made with chilies and cilantro, swims at night in a moonlit pool, begins to feel like a possible road map for my own life. (Hey, I've already got the lover). I dream of heat on my skin. All the time. Of large houses filled with that dusty red tile. Great open windows. The desert air and lots of light.

I even dream of finding scorpions in my cupboards and snakes on my patio, so you can't say I'm completely out of touch with reality.

Then Amanda Palmer comes on my ipod singing one of those songs that you're certain must have been written for you specifically. She has visited me in my sleep. I believe in wonder, these things do happen. You'd have to hear the song, it won't translate into print, but at the end, she sings--F it. I'm gonna go to Australia.

And I think: Yeah. Australia.

Then the Oprah show is in Australia for a week and do you see what I mean about the signs?

In Montana, I would ride horses and grow tomatoes and kale and rhubarb. In Arizona we would hike in the canyons and live at the pool and never feel cold. In New Mexico I'd buy Hopi pottery and Navajo rugs and not see my neighbors for days. In Paris we would spend rainy afternoons at the Louvre. We'd buy our dinner fresh every day. My children would say merci.

But what of Australia? Barcelona? Coastal Sweden, Southern France?

Don't mistake me. I'm not feeling depressed or morose. If I really, really wanted those things--I'd be doing them, wouldn't I? I cannot say that I've seriously researched moving to Paris, or even to Sedona or Bozeman. I'm just wondering at what point do we realize, at what point do we say: Yes, the weight of all those other lives might crush, if we let them. But maybe what I always wanted was to be right here. Right now.

Lucky--Amanda had a song for that, too.

How strange to see that I don't want to be the person that I want to be.

In this life, there is a good good husband and children whom I love. There is time to write, time to read, time to drink good wine. There are summers by the pool, drives in the mountains, afternoons by the river, evenings in the yard. There are the scents of grinding coffee, roasted chilies, and coconut oil on pale skin. Barbies in the bathtub, princess dresses worn with pink cowgirl boots and medieval armor. There are three warm bodies early mornings in the bed. There is someone to come home to. Hot dinner and cold beer waiting. Yes, there is the brutal cold of January, the early dark, the cluttered kitchen.

January passes. Everything does.

I am Vesuvius and I left my Soul with Amanda Palmer. She picked it up and wrote some songs.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Keep Me Company

Monday went by with

three loads of laundry

Indy making up a song about 'and the mermaid

and no silliness

eats the doggies, little doggies

and meeeee!'

Husband's breakfast burritos

Indy embarrassing me in front of the teacher at the fancy school I'm trying

to get my kids into

idealistic talk that makes me hopeful

time to write

let's see. . .

a youtube video for my inner 15-year-old fangirl

(don't you ever stop singing, boy. Don't you stop)

and a trip to the "Blairy Queen"

because sometimes it feels good

to indulge a whim

and eat ice cream when it's

cold and windy

just because.

I am Vesuvius and I say not bad for a Monday.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vesuvius Gets Toasted


Oh boy. Now are you expecting salacious revelations and catty remarks?

Listen, if we're going to talk about getting toasted, the truth is this: I wish I could but I can't anymore because it makes me feel so awful that I'm sure I've committed blasphemy and all seven of the deadly sins in the throes of it.

(Also that unfortunate crank call to the children's librarian.)(Who didn't think me inviting her to a private audience in MY night kitchen was very funny).

I wish I had gotten toasted more when I was young and capable of bouncing back. Seriously, the time for getting toasted is college, no matter what they teach you in your freshman Women's Christian Health class about saving Getting Toasted for marriage. (It is possible I dozed off that day). I regret not living it up more while I still could. Now I have a quarter glass of wine and pass out snoring on the couch. With a grumbly tummy in the morning.

Sorry, German ancestors. Though my ghostly stoic Swedes approve.

(Is this making any sense? I swear to god I am not toasted.)

Before it's too late, before you leave me--PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME--here's the announcement: I am a muse.

A roasty, curvacious, full-of-spitfire-and-vim muse to the gods of revelry and beer. That's right: I am pleased to announce that on February 22nd, Oskar Blues is tapping Vesuvius Imperial Ale.

Here are the stats on this hot little number: Weighing in at 10% alcoholbyvolume (boy howdy but she packs a punch!) and served in a sweet little 10 ounce glassy, Vesuvius Imperial Ale is an Imperial Brown brewed with toasted marshmallows.

I like to believe she is the perfect balance of sweet and bitter*. Dash of spice. Also, the marshmallows were my idea.

Care to join us?


We are Vesuvius and We are more than a little pleased that the first beer named after Us is an Imperial.

*Inside joke to Mr.V. Next time we go to Paris, make it the real one and make it snappy. Kisses!

Post-Edit: Just so we're clear. Vesuvius Imperial Brown is a Pilot beer (finally I get a Pilot!) brewed by the small batch at Oskar Blues Brewery by mine own husband, Mr.V, who brews there professionally. It is exclusive to the tap room, which usually runs out of it on tapping night, and not for distribution. See you there!

Friday, January 14, 2011

No Honey, That Sounds More Like Mel Gibson

We're driving home from school and the girls are excited because we've got double vanilla cupcakes at home with princess sprinkles, and tonight we're going to watch Despicable Me and daddy's got dinner in the oven. And one of these days I really am going to write a blog thanking the powers that be for seeing fit to bring a long line of men who cook into my life, one after the other. My life looks pretty much like the Saturday afternoon lineup on the Food Network.

And does that make me Nigella?


Of course it does.

We turn onto our street where two blocks down from our house is a police blockade. And standing in the middle of the road is a cop with a big gun--a really big gun. I don't know what to call it, I don't write books about guns (actually I do but I just call them 'rifles' and get on with it), but this is the gun that Agent Sydney Bristow would use if she was going to play at sniper for awhile. Or--well here:


The cop is holding Dean Winchester's gun. He's got it sort of at half mast, he doesn't hold it nearly as convincingly as the actors do, but still. I am driving home from Kin-dee-garten with Goldilocks and Little Red snugged up in pink cowgirl boots and mittens in the back seat and lo, we have driven into a scene from a Harrison Ford movie, and not one of the ones where he cracks a whip.

Little Red says, "Maybe those bad guys stole someone's kid" and I say "I'm pretty sure it has something to do with drugs" before wondering if 6 is really the appropriate age to give your child the 'drug dealers live up the street and mommy waves to them when she goes out to fetch the paper' talk. I mean honestly: What would Harrison do?

He would not leave without his daughter and his wife. Or his wife's suitcase. But that's just smarts.

Intrepidly I steer my mini-van past the blockade (blockade, four cop cars in the street, same diff) and I'm not really panicking or worried--I only do that over things like parenting or writing and not, as it turns out, nearby criminal activity. But we pull into our driveway and I can still see that gun from my porch and I think:

Maybe it is time to move out of Longmont.

I am Vesuvius and I never know if Nigella is talking about food or sex. But it doesn't matter.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We Were On Something


Our camera committed suicide like it does every year around Christmas.

RIP cheap canon deal that never took pictures as well as I hoped you would. Did you leap from Noah's fingers into that fountain just to spite me? Never mind. I don't want to know.

Listen: I liked Tori Amos in high school but then I went to a concert of hers in 2007 and had a divine encounter and now there are days when Tori is everything and all that I need, and there are wounds which nothing but Tori's religious irreverence and insight and her combination of spiritual harlotry and wisdom can sooth. That being said, there are only so many times one can rock out to that driving drum stampede that leads up to 'so sure we were on something' from the live version of Space Dog in one morning of shelving books and saving lives. And 'This American Life' is only out once a week.

So I invested in some new musics. Which I now list before you for your perusal or disdain.

Lissie. She is awesome and I loves her. Danger will follow me now everywhere I go is my new motto.

(Have I mentioned I am a desperate working housewife with a flair for drama ?)

Mumford and Sons. Also these ones I love. I was worried I got tricked into buying a Christian cd in disguise until I heard that one track in which every other word is the Frak word. Turns out they are just referencing Shakespeare.

Florence and the Machine: Not feeling it so far but I'm giving her another chance.

Old Crow Medicine Show: the only disappointment. Turns out there is only one song like "Wagon Wheel". No need to own the other 11.

Now if my friends Kiah and Donovan will just come out with albums, or an album, I will be pleased as a pig on rollerskates.

Do you think I could get them to stand in my living room and sing while I wash dishes? No? I could feed them string cheese and beer. . .?


Today my children watched tv from 4:30 to 6:00 straight and then I moved them into their room where they are watching tv again. I don't know why but I'm addicted to saying things like this here on my blog. It must be awful for you, and I'm sorry. It's probably like showing up to a soiree to meet someone you really admire and it turns out all Maya Angelou can talk about is how dapper your husband looks in his dockers. Not that I mean you admire me but the point is it must make you really uncomfortable. This is not what you came for, I know.

I guess I say it because I want you to know that if you have ever checked out for an entire afternoon and let your kids go glassy before the flickering cosmic demi-god, you are not alone.

I am here with you.

Look, this is going downhill fast.

I am Vesuvius and I just explained to Danger basic bathroom etiquette.


Lissie - Cuckoo (Official Video) found on Pop


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday. Snow.

Sometimes I forget myself.

Like last night, I was reading one of those damned Somerset Studio magazines where all the art looks the same. It was called 'artful blogging' and featured a slew of artful bloggers who all took beautiful pictures of their beautiful damned woodland estates and groomed children and oh yeah they were all so precious about everything.

So I thought, I should write like this too!

Precious precious. Precious day. Precious children. Precious tea cup, precious bookshelf, precious me, precious life.

Then I remembered that I'm not. You know.


Thank god I remembered before it was too late. Otherwise you might be reading some ode to the snowy fields right now. While staring at heavily photoshopped children. Or something.


I spent more time than is healthy in Boulder this weekend and I can confidently tell you that I am the only woman in the world who doesn't own a pair of knee high boots.

But ohhhhhh lordy, do I want some bad. I want them buttery and tromping.


I was reading Whole Living. I always think I should read all these magazines I see every day at Black Ops Job and then I read them and they are faith-in-humanity-losing boring. Whole Living was about losing weight and, best I can tell, learning to match your oxwool slippers to your throw blankets?

Shit, man. Just. . . . shit.


I'm not good at reaching out to people but sometimes they reach out to me. So what happened was this: Me sitting in the wrong city reading the wrong magazines getting the wrong ideas about my life. Be more precious be more holy be more ambitious be more better. Then Kimmy calls me and I start to remember.

Thanks Kim. Carry on, my wayward authoress.


I am Vesuvius and I think a blog is like a polaroid in print.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Alias Vesuvius

So I'm at work and they're calling for backup to the cafe through my earpiece.

And let me just say this: all you people with your 'business' and your 'engineering' and your 'computer' 'science' degrees that come with 'actual paychecks'--do you get to look like an Undercover Super Spy when you're at work?

Yeah. Didn't think so.

So my friend is calling me--'Mountaineer, Mountaineer, do you copy? Come in Mountaineer' (I make them call me Mountaineer at work). And I don't know about you, but I didn't get into this line of work because I was willing to just abandon my sisters and brothers in arms in their times of need. 'No person left behind' is my motto and my creed. And I will be your sword and your shield. . .

. . . wait, where was I? Ok so it's a member of my Band of Siblings, if you will (note the gender neutral language? You like?) (I like). I can't let her down. So I rush to answer this call for 'back up' to the 'cafe' even though I've been working here for 20 months and still have no idea what a cafe 'is'.

Turns out in this cafe, every drink you might order--every drink imaginable, my friends, it's like Willy Wonka married the Starbucks siren and they popped out whipped cream children who will lure you with their glucose songs--every drink has a number that corresponds to them that you type into the register. This is how we force people to pay for their frenetic sugar babies.

Not gonna lie: we were really in the thick of things. Foam was flying, the queue was rumbling with mutinous energy, dishes were clattering into the sink like the clean-up after the Mad Hatter's tea party. Because I aim to be a hero I reminded myself that a hero keeps up morale and never says never. So while my comrade was calling out to me the drink numbers, I kept shouting things like: 'They cannot take our freedom!" and "We are just too pretty for God to let us die!" and 'For Frodo!" which was working really well until one of the customers was like "I said my name was Susan!".


Things quiet down. From the ruins of the battlefield I can hear a few fallen muttering and sipping and groaning but for the most part the bullet is dodged. So the last customer approacheth. He's being very patient about the fact that it's taking us so long to save his life--a British person maybe, quite all right and all that--so he observes me scanning the epically long list of numbers to find the one that corresponds perfectly to his drink order so that I might type it in, speak "Copy that" into my Black Ops gear and thus save the day, and he says: There must be a lot of numbers for you all to memorize.

Yeah, I say. And then I say:

It's my first time. Be gentle with me.


The words are out before I even have time to think. There was never any time to stop them.

This, this moment--this was always going to happen.

What to do? I glance around to see if anyone has overheard, by my comrade--bless her--is running the blender. No one else can hear us, which somehow serves to make this moment seem--intimate? There is nothing, nothing else in this world but me, this unsuspecting stranger, and the fact that I have just made a reference to us. Having First Time. Together.

Then--the blender goes quiet. The world is still. The battlefield sits scattered with the frail remnants of war. Crushed paper cups, disfigured straw wrappers all accordioned and rendered nearly unrecognizable, paper napkins fluttering in the steamer mist like children's hair in the snow. My comrade hunches, shoulders drooped and weary, over one final creation, her eyes glazed with the now-familiar milk lust I've seen on too many soldiers before. So many citizens. So many endless demands. It's changed us in ways we can't tell of. We aren't ready to, or maybe we don't even know. Not yet.

I collect my tiny microphone and into it I hear myself utter: I've been made.

What? he says.


What is left the survivors? A measly 43 cents. I reach out, my hand waiting to drop cold metal into his palm but somehow, this day, I'm reaching for so much more. I consider friendly replies. "Boy do you sure like your whipped cream!" I might say, or, "Sorry about the sex joke!". But this is one of those moments between two human beings in which no words feel right and so, none are necessary.

His hand is ready to receive my paltry offering. The change jingles in his palm, the sound strangely cheery, jarring now after everything we've been through, everything we've seen. He nods a little, eyes cast down, but--am I imagining it? A little something in his eyes, a certain knowing glow? We were two strangers, but yet. Something: fate, God, the desperate, random actions of man--I don't know what, I'm not willing to speculate, but something has brought us both here, to this place, on this day. We are knit together now, in a way I wasn't prepared for.

Something has changed, this day. I have been rendered into a thing made new. Made new by one double entendre, muttered in the heat of war.

I may never see him again. But I will always remember. That 43 cents, that inadvertent innuendo, the lusty smacking of the satiated lips and the air heady with espresso and cream all around us. The man with the medium quad, extra whip, 8 pump sugar fairy deluxaccino.


Hello. I am going to spend the weekend not worrying about what the hell I am supposed to do and instead nudging myself gently and lovingly in the way of positivity.

In short I intend to cowgirl up.

I would like to sincerely thank all of you who come here and read my blog. It means a great deal to me, and aw shucks. But I love you.

The Royal We are also re-opening the comments section because We think it just feels friendlier.

I am Vesuvius and So Say We All.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Acedia and Vesuvius. Or Not.

//Acedia//: a state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned with one's position or condition in the world. It can lead to a state of being unable to perform one's duties in life. Its spiritual overtones make it related to but distinct from depression.[1] Acedia was originally noted as a problem among monks and other ascetics who maintained a solitary life.

I think it's what they call the doldrums. Stupefying my brain, sucking up all my energy. Or maybe I just feel overwhelmed by life, like I do by cleaning. When the house is a mess, I tend to walk helplessly in circles. I mean this literally. I shuffle from the kitchen to my room to the girls room to the bathroom, noting everything and doing nothing.

I want my life to be so vastly different from the way it is. There are so many things I want to change but they feel scary or impossible or just flat out boring (organizing closets? I'd rather take a bullet to the bicep.) There's so much ground to be covered. I become unable to take a single step.

This post was going to be about acedia--about the fact that I can't finish reading a book or work on my writing or enjoy anything right now--not even chocolate, not even Firefly, not even shopping---because inside I am listless. But forget acedia, acedia was five minutes ago. Now my post is about this: I know that part of (all of?) happiness means embracing what you have. Fully. And loving and being grateful for what you've been given. I get that philosophy, you find it in basically every religion and I'm behind that. I've got it's back.

But isn't there also a point where you say, enough is enough? I mean, if everybody throughout time had just embraced what was instead of working for what might be, wouldn't we still be, like, wearing deer skin and sacrificing first sons and claiming primae noctis and all that? All the good changes, all the progress, that didn't come from accepting what was. Right?

Or maybe both are true? Maybe the key is to hold a space for loving what is and working toward what could be, both at the same time?

It's this that keeps me up at night: I want things to be different. I don't know if I can make them so. I will not be comforted by pithy sayings nor out-of-context bible verses because I know that some people go all their lives struggling for a thing they never get. I question my own ability to tell the difference between goals that should be worked toward and delusional, insane fantasies.

So there it is. If you find my pluck,or my compass, would you call me? I miss them, and I've got this big lily liver clouding all my vision.

Suddenly it seems to me that pluck and direction go hand in hand.

I am Vesuvius and I have acedia and I don't care. Get it?

More on acedia here.

link within

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