This weekend I went to prison, ate my first bug (on purpose, but not as big as that guy’s), and relived the summers of my youth – all without leaving Boise. What did you do?
I took a nice bike ride through town Friday evening with a good friend and we ended up at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. I’d never had an occasion to visit the Old Pen before but I’ll admit that I am fascinated by slightly morbid things that transport me back to another time and give me a tickle up and down my spine – just enough to remind me that I’m still alive while the people I’m learning about aren’t.
Each cell featured a mug shot or two of an inmate who resided there along with a description of his/her transgressions. A few even included the inmate’s last words before they were hung in the gallows. There was an 11-year-old inmate they said was the second youngest ever (!) and a woman who killed four husbands, a brother-in-law, and a child before they realized the deaths all looked similarly suspicious. I was blown away by how the artists were able to capture the inmates’ stories visually. Some of them were really haunting. You can watch a video about the show HERE with a glimpse of each piece. The show is being moved to the Swell Artist Collective space in the BoDo. I highly recommend seeing it but I wonder how it will translate to another venue. (At least the Swell space is in the basement. Spooooky.)
I very innocently followed some friends to Bug Day at the Idaho Botanical Garden on Saturday morning and then before I knew it I found myself eating a mealworm. What the?!?! How have I lost all control of my life?! The things we do for our kids…
Upon our arrival, word got around quickly that there were bugs to eat. Taylor was interested. Dylan and I were not. I did not panic. But, guess what? At 41 years old, apparently I am still susceptible to peer pressure – cute little 4-year-old peer pressure! The most dangerous kind.
When we walked up to the cleverly named Pestaurant, we were greeted by little cups of dead bugs that had been boiled, dried, and salted. Taylor backpedaled a bit by insisting that I eat a bug with her. When I hesitantly agreed, Dylan decided to join us. What’s a mom to do?? If I said I was going to do all the things, then I damn well better DO ALL THE THINGS.
I’m also known for making ALL THE FACES. So dramatic. Taylor on the other hand:
All smiles and at least 10 mealworms down the hatch! #shesabetterwomanthaniam
I’ve never really been one to lament the end of summer. Here in Boise: August is too stinking HOT, the flies and wasps drive me crazy, and forest fires = SMOKE. Ugh. I instead look forward to a new school year and the chance to start fresh (much more so than the actual new year on January 1st). More so a rule follower than a nerd, I feel most comfortable when the path is laid out in plain view for me to follow. I could do homework for days. No problem.
This year however feels very slippery already. My treatments are complete and there is no schedule to follow like this time last year. It’s like I’m looking at a new mountain I want to climb with no clear path to get to the summit. I have my boots laced up and I know I need to put one foot in front of the other but…I’m hesitant. Maybe that’s why I found myself getting nostalgic yesterday as we went to Ivywild for the last time this summer. When I’m nervous looking ahead, I tend to look back.
I took each of the girls down the water slide probably 15 times yesterday and each time I flashed back to summers with my family when we were all together and my dad was fit and alive. We would pile into my grandparents’ motor home in Modesto, California – all six of us – and head to the water park. My sister and I thought this was the highlight of the summer. I can remember the giddiness in my belly as we climbed the never-ending stairs to the top while holding onto our foam mats. I can remember contemplating daringly diving in head first or deciding on the tried-and-true safety of letting my feet lead the way. I miss my grandparents. I miss my dad. I miss being together. And I miss being carefree.
So yesterday I soaked up the sun and the water and the girls’ giggles as we slid down the slide and repeatedly splashed into the pool at the bottom. “Again, Mommy. Again!”
Oh, my sweet girls. You can never go back again, but you can move forward with an appreciation for the experiences that you will always carry with you.
* Put your big girl panties on because there’s work to be done this year!
Week: Start getting up at 6 am again. (This morning I woke up just before my alarm!)
Month: Clean out and donate unwanted items. (Harness the power of FREE on craigslist.)
Year: Conquer my fear of downhill skiing. (And get more excited about winter!)