Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A quiet day on vacation

(The view from my bedroom overlooking the driveway - as always, click to enlarge.)

I'm sitting in the cool lower-level family room of my parents' lovely home built on a hillside at the edge of Pocatello. Below the hill is the Portneuf River valley, a wide expanse build over millenia by the meandering small river that runs through town, faced on either side by land rising up into mountains, a branch of the Rockies. Through our childhood, my brothers roamed and got familiar with all this terrain while I lived in a world of books, mostly, though I also wandered a bit through the dry, sage-brush hills right beyond our block of houses (we lived close to Idaho State University in those days). Just after I left for college, my family (parents and younger brothers and sister) moved to Inkom, a small town just through "the gap" - a place where the mountains come closer together around the river and the interstate that goes through the valley - on the other side of the gap is a different micro-climate. While Pocatello sometimes sweltered in a smoggy haze, Inkom was always clear and fresh, though only 15 miles away.

This visit is going fast. Friday was spent traveling. Saturday visiting (and riding behind my biker brother* on the back of his Harley for a short trip). Sunday I attended the very small Quaker worship group in Pocatello, after checking with Judy Brutz that it was still going with (she's a midwestern Quaker who relocated to Pocatello to be close to her daughter and granddaughters). Then I accepted the invitation of Judy and David to have some tea and snacks in their home nearby, and ended up having a two-hour-long conversation about their worship group, Judy's writing projects, and my own circumstances. Late Sunday was another all-family dinner of hamburgers, eaten out on the patio, followed by root-beer floats (my dad's favorite). Monday - hmm - that was a lazier day, with the high point being lunch at a Mexican restaurant and a shopping trip to Costco. I also finished a re-reading of Harry Potter #5 rather later at night than was truly good for me.

(*"biker" when he isn't running his business)

Today, yoga in the living room, and then I finished up a complete back-up of my laptop, as my sister had a recent hard drive meltdown and hadn't backed things up. I also spent too much time yesterday and today trying to get through to my workplace files via the "VPN" software - virtual private network, I think it stands for. But the ISP settings of my parent's internet service aren't letting me get through. Darn!

So instead of doing job-related work (other than a stray e-mail or two), I went back and finished two long posts I had drafted earlier:

One is the history of Rufus written last June;

and one is a July 19 piece of reflections on feminist spirituality written in the wildflower garden (the blog piece is reflections on writing my dissertation - a discussion of William James and feminist spirituality - for anyone with hard-core interest, here's a corrected link for a downloadable copy of the dissertation bibliography).

I'm posting these in my new adjacent blog, More About Me (Than You Wanted to Know) - a place I can "park" pieces that are stand-alone or background stories, then link them for anyone interested.

Later today? I could finish reading The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, which I bought in a little used bookstore down in Pocatello on Sunday. Or - we might drive up to Lava Hot Springs, a lovely little town built around pools of non-sulphered natural hot springs. But the temperature is in the mid-90s, so the hot pools themselves aren't a real draw. We could take a walk along the volcanic rock hanging gardens, though, in the cool of the evening. A chance to take some more photos!

I've been taking many, many pictures with my little Nikon, getting better at using it, especially when I use the little flexible tripod that Peter bought me. Here's a sample of some of my favorites so far:

Sunday night - moon over the river valley nature preserve nearby

Monday morning(?) - looking north along the valley toward Pocatello

Monday morning - looking south toward the mountains

This morning - uphill from the house - another view of the mountain


darsden said...

absolutely beautiful views..and pictures, it's amazing how time with fly when you want to take in the space of a place :-)

ellen abbott said...

That picture of Sunday night is incredible Mary Ellen.

Leone said...

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time with your family. Your pictures are lovely - and another picture of the moon, one of my favorite subjects as well. Hope the rest of your vacation goes well and thank you for your comments on my blog.

California Girl said...

Hi ME: one of the first friends I made who was not a native Californian (this is third grade, mind you) came from Pocatella, Idaho. I had NO IDEA where that was back then. Her name was Carol and she said Pocatella was famous for potatoes. She rode horses, was horse crazy.

Your family home looks beautiful. We have close friends now living in Meridien. Another old friend lives in ID too just can't remember where. All are southern Cals re-located.

You'll love "The Beans". You'll recognize people you know or grew up with.

Enjoyed this post alot.

Nancy said...

Looks like a beautiful place to vacation. I have been to Idaho, and my grandfather lived in Mountain Home for a time. I think it's always nice to return to childhood memories on vacation, too.

Lynne said...

gorgeous pics... looks like such a peaceful place to be

Eco Yogini said...

wow- looks a lot like Vernon BC, brings back memories of living there! :)

Yoga in the living room- good for you! :) I'll be checking out the feminist spirituality posts!

Happy Vacation!

San said...

Mary Ellen, your days sound quietly luxurious. And the setting is conducive to such days.

"The Bean Trees"--I really enjoyed that book.

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