Tuesday, June 29, 2010


When I was a little boy growing up just outside Washington, D.C. one of my Mom's best friends was Judy McNerney and we would quite often drive over to their house so my Mom and Mrs. McNerney could visit, and we would pass the day playing with her daughter, Lisa. My memories of Lisa, her Mom and sister are overwhelmingly positive, and also surprisingly vivid. I thought that our childhood friendship with Lisa was firmly within the purview of memory until a couple of years ago when I was surprised to hear that not only had Lisa McNerney emerged from the mists of time and reacquainted herself with my brother Job, but there was even surreal whispering that the two were kind of an item. Then they went public with their burgeoning romance. So I thought I would introduce her to you, my readers, through a BFZ exclusive interview.

"Lisa, Readers."

"Readers, Lisa."

I have two brothers currently dating a Lisa, and that can get confusing keeping all of the Lisas straight in conversation. Sometimes I think it would be helpful if you guys had a celebrity name like Brangelina. If you and Job had a celebrity name what would it be?

We’ve actually talked about that before. At first Job suggested Joli, but we decided that we didn’t like that because of the Angelina Jolie connotation. One of the first movies we watched together long distance--now a tradition that's gone on for more than a year--was "Mr. and Mrs" Smith". Job decreed her a "freak with daddy issues", so that's out. It’s hard because we only have three syllables to work with between our two names. We would probably need to incorporate our last names into it. Maybe McJoli. Josh, I know your family's big into the legacy of names, and lineage and stuff, and people do call me "Nern", so we could be unorthodox and do a last name thing like NernTate. But that's reminiscent ike "sit on it and rotate" so maybe not. I'm not a big fan of the "Lisa John/Lisa Job" approach. Maybe JOBIE-SA?

Your first name is really Elisabeth. Have you guys thought of Jo-biz, you know, like show biz?

That could work, but nobody calls me Elisabeth really. Haha--that's hilarious! If only my name were Liz, that'd be killer. Honestly if somebody walked up to me and called me Elisabeth I would have no idea who they were talking to. My Mom and Dad agreed in the delivery room that nominally I'd be Elisabeth, but called me Lisa from -literally-day one. They didn’t even call me that when they were angry or anything growing up. Job does sometimes call me "Elisabeth Anne" if he’s being very serious though. Like for reprimands or especially romantic moments.

Lisa, I asked my kids to give me some questions to ask you. This one’s from Jack who wants to know, “What do you like?”

Dogs, I’ve had a business plan for six years to open a hybrid half-dog shelter half doggy day care. I love dogs, and I like coffee ice cream too.

Okay, this one’s from Lucy who wants to know, “Do you love uncle Job?”



You’re not supposed to love someone because they love you, but that’s part of it. I think God has had a hand in it too. I'm not a Calvinist or a fatist, but as a believer I do think the Lord has someone intended for you, if in fact He intends there to be someone in your life. I'm thinking that's Job. I love lots of things about Job, like that he’s a man of integrity; I could list the multitudinous reasons I love him, and those include even the frustrating things about him. I love that he's my best friend. I love that he's accepting of my faults--I've got lots, and he's encouraging. I suppose if you could break down into components the why and the how of loving someone, that'd be weird, and kind of reductive. I just do. And Lucy, speaking of love, I know your Uncle Job loves you a ton.

This one’s from Bowden who wants to know, “Do you think you’re gonna get married?”

Yes, I do, and hopefully to Job.

I’m assuming you find Job attractive, is that right?

Yes. I find him very attractive. He has wonderful hair, which I wish he didn't have to buzz every third Thursday, and I dig his eyes.

Would you say that you burn with desire for him?


Do you guys have a song?

We have lots of them actually. It used to be “Miracle Drug” by U2 because the night we reconnected after nearly 20 years was his birthday, 2008. I looked at his blog for the first time ever as we were emailing back and forth for hours that night, and mistakenly concluded he'd just posted those lyrics--not understanding the way blogs work and that his post'd been published months earlier. That same night, earlier, I'd sat in my car and listened to Miracle Drug for 4 consecutive times. Mentioned that to him. The first CD he ever sent me contains Miracle Drug on it, 4 times in a row, so I don't "ever have to hit seek again". Ha. U2 is my favorite band. I've been a U2 fan since I was a little girl. it's no secret that Job is too He mentions that in a letter he wrote me in 1997!. He’s made me 9 cd’s and I’ve made him 7 or 8 so we have a lot of songs that we've shared. Right now I would have to say our song is “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I actually first heard that song when I left for Vermont recently--it was on my road trip CD from Job, arrived with the mandate that I not listen to it until I left that morning for the 17 hr trek.. Your brother, Joel, and his family really like that song. It'd be fair to say Joel rocks it. I'd be happy to record myself singing it for you to attach as a voice file. You want readership? Let's do this.

Do you want kids?

Yes. I was never the kind of girl growing up who would dream about my wedding or having kids, but I always wanted twin boys and a girl.At 29 I understand the mechanics of genetics now, and that I can't just declare I'll be having twin boys and a girl, but I want three kids at least, but ideally I would like four.

Do you believe in bigfoot?


If Job had to smell strongly like a certain kind of food for the rest of his life, what food would you want him to smell like?

He smells like Irish spring all the time right now. We both just pound coffee constantly, so that'd be a natural one I suppose. My first inclination was to say thai food, but that'd get old. Coffee.

Do you have nicknames for each other?

JOSH! You've tried to pry that out of me via text a few times. We call one another generic nicknames like “Baby, sweetie, honey…” He has a lot more nicknames for me than I have for him but none of them are appropriate to repeat here. We have a lot more private jokes and quotes than nicknames, come to think of it. Characters from tv series we've watched (remotely) morph into nicknames occasionally.

Oh I see. How was your visit with my folks when you were out in Vermont?

It was great! It felt really comfortable. I really enjoyed it. It felt astonishingly familiar to be around them, even though it'd been years since they were a part of my life, and I theirs. Your mom and I spent one particular day together. and your dad offered a few times to help me apartment hunt in Vermont--ha. He also granted me lifetime permission to hug him without having to ask first.

I have a question for you, Josh.

Okay, shoot.

Why did you want to interview me?


Thanks, Lisa, for agreeing to do this interview. I'm glad that you and my brother love yourchothers.


I enjoyed a crackling fire in my office this morning.
During one of those first Christmas seasons that Sarah and I spent as man and wife I was telling Sarah that I wished we had a fireplace in our apartment. So many of my childhood Christmas memories had taken place around a fireplace- plus I would have loved watching a fire through the long Vermont winter. She surprised me with this VHS cassette which is a half hour long and depicts a merry, crackling fire. I recently dug it out, dusted it off, and took it down to my office which it has singlehandedly transformed into a much cozier place. Several times a day I reach over, press play, and voila! my office is totally transformed.

Lisa did complain today that my fire was a little "too loud," but I think she is really secretly kinda jealous. I told her she was welcome to come in and warm up by the fire if she got a little cold, but she just gave me a look. She's definitely jealous. Don't deny it, Lisa.


"You gotta go in. I aint got no d*** shirt on!"
Shirtless, skinny, white male, mid-twenties, with a dragon tattoo across his shoulders speaking to a heavy set, white female, outside Fairway market.

"Hey guys, watch your language over there."
White, female, cashier in her mid-twenties at Village Market speaking to a group of guys who had been using language that would have been wildly inappropriate even for a private conversation. I was impressed by two things; First, that she told them to cut it out. Village Market is equal parts wild west and leper colony and these guys were pretty scurfy looking. I am actually frightened to shop there sometimes. I flashed her a smile of appreciation and then lingered long enough after making my purchase to ensure there was no retaliation or anything, which brings me to the second thing I appreciated- they cleaned up their language when she asked them to. It made me think that we have perhaps ceded too much territory to latter day barbarians such as these by simply giving it to them through silence. Silence is surrender in matters such as these.

THE SLEEPING CLUB- Alone in the Demon Woods

As Nina guided the car into the woods branches scraped across the windows and the overgrown center of the neglected road whispered against the car’s undersides. It vaguely reminded me of a car wash, and I said as much to Raymond who had closed his eyes and was whispering softly to himself as if he was praying. He either didn’t hear me or was ignoring me. “Creepy,” I thought to myself. Approximately two-hundred yards inside the woods the car came to a stop before a fallen tree that blocked the road in an unambiguous way.

“I ain’t going any further,” said Nina, “not on foot anyway.”

Raymond, stopped praying, and opened his eyes to look at his wife, who shifted the car into reverse as if to put an exclamation point on her statement.

“Hey, we had a deal here!” I said feebly from the back seat.

Raymond looked at me and then back at his wife.

“We ain’t going any further, Raymond,” she repeated.

“We ain’t going any further,” said Raymond to me, “You’re almost there anyway, and I can’t leave Nina alone here in the car. Not in the demon woods.”

“Alright,” I said with a resigned sigh, “how do I get there?”

“It’s real easy. You just walk another couple hundred yards down the road until you come to an abandoned house on your left. Behind the house there’s a trail. Just follow the trail for a ways and it’ll take you right up to the old Indian Cave. You should make it before the sun goes down if you walk fast.”

I got out of the car, and shouldered my pack. Neither Raymond nor Nina got out of the car. In fact, no sooner had I exited the car than Nina began backing her way down the road and out of the woods. There were no farewells, no “good lucks,” not even so much as a friendly wave.

I was alone in the Demon Woods.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A full moon shines
Through shivering pines
Casting a steady glow
On me as I talk
With her, and walk
Through shadow-dappled snow

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Just the facts. My week in review.

SUNDAY- Warm and sunny day for the most part. Last day of camp out at Hurkey Creek. Packed up, collapsed the tent, loaded up the van, and after lunch we all pulled out for home. Took a long nap in the afternoon while Sarah and Miles went with Lisa to a High School graduation party for Taylor Dravenstatt, one of the kids from church. Bagel sandwiches with lunch meat for dinner. Three hours of coursework. Went to bed at 1:00 am.

Monday- Warm and sunny. Sarah got up with the kids and let me sleep in. Productive day off- between Sarah and I we got a lot of work done around the house. Talked with Joel and Christine briefly in the afternoon. Scraped up enough loose money from around the house to take the family out to dollar taco night at Arribas- three chicken tacos with a diet coke for dinner. Shortly after 9:00 pm Sarah and I felt an earthquake followed by smaller aftershocks. Did several hours of coursework at night before going to bed at 1:30 am.

TUESDAY- Warm and sunny. Sarah handed Miles off to me at 6:00am. Took him downstairs and watched Portugal vs. Ivory Coast in the World Cup. He fell back asleep as I was holding him, but I couldn’t do the same for some reason. I just sat there feeling exhausted, but not able to go back to sleep. The kids woke up and joined me downstairs in front of the TV. When I turned off the TV the score was still 0-0. Lucy begged me for a felt board story before going to work so I obliged. I have a hard time saying no to my kids when they beg to hear Bible stories. After baby Moses was pulled from the Nile and returned to his Mother’s breast I made some coffee and headed out to work. Came home for lunch at noon and watched Brazil vs. N. Korea in the World Cup. Marin and her girls were over visiting and stayed for lunch. Score was 2-0 in Brazil’s favor when I went back to work. Came home from work at 4:45pm. Fried chicken with linguine and artichokes for dinner. Fell asleep while putting the kids to bed. Woke up at 10:30 staggered down the hall to my own bed and fell back to sleep.

Wednesday- Warm and sunny. Our ninth wedding anniversary!!! Woke up at 6:30 and lay in bed for 15 minutes before heading downstairs to make breakfast- crepes with nutella for Sarah. After making breakfast and doing the dishes I headed out to work. Sarah and I celebrated the day by taking the family out to eat at the Greek Place restaurant for lunch. After lunch I returned to work for a while. Chef Salad for dinner. Went to bed at 11:30.

THURSDAY- Got up with Miles at 6:15, but I gave him back at 6:45 as I had arranged to meet Rey Reyes for breakfast at the Red Kettle by 7:00. Back by 8:45 and out the door for work by 9:00. Warm, sunny day. Sarah took the kids and met Marin and her girls for a play time at the County Park. Then they spontaneously tagged along with Sarah to do some grocery shopping and such off the hill. I worked until 5:00pm and Sarah got back home at approximately 6:00pm. Bowden got another fish to replace the late “Bowden Junior” who died two days after his birthday. Cereal for dinner.

FRIDAY- Woke up at 6:30 with Miles and watched the U.S. vs. Slovenia in the World Cup before heading out to work. They tied 2-2 after the Americans came back from 0-2 hole after the first half. The U.S. should have won outright, but a horrible call took away a game winning goal late in the second half. Warm, sunny day. Wrapped up the day with the annual beginning-of-summer staff dinner at the Shirley's house- smoked meat, salad, potatoes, and brownies.

SATURDAY- Cooler day, but plenty of sun. Productive day at work. Sarah prepared a very ambitious picnic lunch which we ate on the front lawn. Chinese food for dinner. Several hours of coursework before bed.


# of times I did the dishes this week- 9


Dear President Obama,

I feel that the "e" at the beginning of "eleven" is a little superfluous, don't you? I'm sure you will agree that it would flow better if if we all agreed to drop the "e" and just pronounce it as "leven," as in "...ten, leven, twelve..." I would appreciate whatever help you could render in garnering broader support for my idea among English speakers around the globe.

Thank you for your kind attention to this matter,

Janet Tate


10. The Redskins
9. Rush Limbaugh
8. Beets
7. Mini-Vans
6. Hemet, CA
5. Vince from the Sham-wow commericals
4. Sauerkraut
3. McDonalds
2. Rainy Days
1. Sarah Palin

Friday, June 18, 2010


I like tents. They're fun aren't they? During our recent camping trip to Hurkey Creek I was struck by the fact that although there were literally hundreds of tents at that campsite, no two of them were the same. There was quite a variety, each boasting a unique design. I enjoyed walking through the campsite taking in the tents in all their various forms and talking with their owners, and I wanted to share with you some of the better ones that I saw.
This one attaches directly onto the back of a pickup truck, which struck me as brilliant! This tent's owner told me that it cost in the neighborhood of $150.00. I know it's rude to ask a person how much something costs, but sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me. It looks like a latter day covered wagon doesn't it?
This one had a dog house attached.
I really should have taken a video tour of this tent, because my one still-shot fails to do it justice. It had little rooms and stuff jutting off of it all around. It looked like it was probably the most challenging tent to set up if only for the number of poles and supports it used. If you had to guess, what is the purpose of that little bit that juts out from the tent? Storage, maybe.
I liked the open breezey design of this one.
The classic dome is evocative of the wigwams of old. I like them even though they are kind of an uninspired choice. It's classic! It's basically a wigwam, and that's cool in my book.
I thought this one was kind of cool. It kind of had a long-house feel to it, and the little part that juts out of the middle was interesting. I think that must be for storage.
I liked this one because the sides didn't slope inward dramatically. It looked like you could pretty well stand upright even on the edges of the tent. Plus there is something to be said for the big spacious enterior.
Servant's quarters?
Screened in front porch.
I found this tent very appealing for some reason. It was a nice big tent, roomy inside and a front door that doesn't ask you to look undignified entering and exiting, but I think I mostly just dig the colors. It's a good looking tent, right?
I thought this tent kind of looked like the mouth of a large-mouth bass coming up out of the water to swallow a fly on the surface.
Does it or does it not look exactly like a knight's helmet?
This may have been my favorite of all the tents I saw. Tall, breezey and spacious. It's a winner. Love the colors.
This tent belonged to the warmest family at Hurkey Creek if not in the entire world. When I asked if I could photograph their tent they immediately descended on me and invited me over for dinner. They were like the golden retrievers of the human race.
The owner of this tent informed me that he had only used it once previously, ten years ago, and offered to sell it to me for fifty dollars. Perhaps more interesting than the tents were the tent's owners. They were a real slice of Americana, and I enjoyed talking with them all very much.
This one had kind of a quansut (sp?) hut thing going on.
Nice. This was really just an awesome tent. I love that big boxy look. Comfortable.
This cocoon was spun by a larval camper and in time, I was told by a park ranger, a fully mature camper will emerge. A mysterious metamorphosis was taking place inside the funky confines of this tent.
Boring. Why did I photograph this tent? I dunno.
What follows are the tents belonging to our party. I must say that after reviewing what modern tent design has to offer the members of our expedition to Hurkey Creek proved themselves to be discriminating consumers and people of good taste.
This was the Campbell place- a classic dome design with a wind-break like the sheltering wings of a mother hen.
The Bayer place had a spacious interior and a screened in porch.
The White's place is also very spacious inside but it has built in corners and a front room, which makes it feel as though it isn't just all common space.
...And, ah yes, home sweet home. Large enough to accomodate a family of six, a classy front awning, and earth-tone coloration. It evokes images of sipping coffee in a field chair while watching the sun set over the African savanah, doesn't it?


In the interests of fair-mindedness I have to preface this post by saying up front that I am not, and never have been, a fan of Sean Penn and it'll also come as no shock to most of you that he and I are not exactly ideological kindred, but having said that I must confess that I have always been kind of fascinated by him, and it would also be fair to say that in the past I have extended him more respect than the rest of the left-fringe-Hollywood-type community. This is primarily because he seems to have guts, and his convictions often translate into sacrifical action. His convictions find expression in sweat and personal expense, and that is challenging to me. I respect that when I see it, although as I have stated previously on this blog- giftedness and sincere effort isn't admirable in and of itself, giftedness is only as good as the cause it is employed in.

In short, I Used to feel that he wasn't just noise. He always struck me more as a serious opponent, a sincere opponent, but an opponent nonetheless, and wrong on just about everything (in my estimation). I feel it can be said with confidence that the man possesses above average courage, but what drives him? I suspected that there most be some overarching ethos or philosophy that governs him and lends such decisiveness, passion, and backbone to all of his endeavors. It turns out I was wrong on that though.

I recently watched a show called Iconcoclasts featuring Sean Penn and John Krakauer who collaborated on a film based on Krakauer's best-selling book, "Into the Wild." The premise of the show is described thusly; "In this original series, leading innovators and creative visionaries meet to discuss their passions and creative processes, providing an inside glimpse into the inspiration and motivation that made these iconoclasts who they are today." I watched the show because, as I said, I have always been fascinated by Penn and I wanted to understand what made him tick.

I had read the book "Into the Wild" also, and, like millions of others "Alexander Supertramp" hit a nerve with me. Although, after watching the show, I am certain that I ultimately arrive at different conclusions than Penn and Krakauer regarding his life and ethos. I will leave my opinions on Christopher McCandless for another post however.

The biggest surprise I got from watching the show was that Penn is really kind of adrift. I am aware that I open myself up to a charge of having an exagerated opinion of myself by tearing another man down like that, but there was no cohesive belief system, and no central ethos. Frankly there was no rhyme or reason to what he does. He just shoots from the hip on every issue, following his gut, his instincts, and then justifies himself with the vaguest of language or simply refuses to justify himself at all. Perhaps he hopes that simply by saying things with authority and passion nobody will notice how confused he is, how contradictory his beliefs, how simple and vapid his reasoning. He was so facile, and I realized with some shame, that I had been duped all these years into thinking that he was profound perhaps in a way that I didn't understand or appreciate fully. It turns out that he isn't profound at all, but merely cryptic, and I now believe that he is a mystery even to himself- adrift, yes, passionately adrift.

So why does he do the things he does? Did I answer for myself the question of what makes him tick? I think so. I had mistakenly believed that he was motivated and governed by philosophy and world-view because that is what motivates me, but I now believe that he is looking and flailing about for something worthy of his passion, worthy of investment. The closest he could come in the show was, "Experiencing life to the fullest." In my opinion he is looking for truth, but he look and sounds lost. He is lost, and every boy scout knows that when you get lost in the woods, just sit down and wait for the search party. Mr. Penn, just sit down.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


9 YEARS!!!

You know what they say. A good draft horse can pull an average of 4,000 pounds, but two pulling together can move upwards of 15,000 pounds. It's synergy people!

Out of all the men out there, thanks for choosing me, honey! I love you.

Now let's lean into that harness and PULL!


10. Summer
9. Pretzels
8. Those doughnuts with the white powder all over them.
7. Wind chimes
6. Entertainment News
5. T-shirts
4. Facebook
3. Chex Snack Mixes
2. Dancing
1. Beans

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The back seat of the car was covered in an assortment of old tools, which the toothless young man, whose name was Raymond, shoved roughly onto the passenger side before motioning me to get in. His wife, whose name I had learned was Nina, limped off the porch and slid in behind the steering wheel. Raymond sat next to her on the passenger seat. Inside the close confines of the car I could smell them. Their atrocious body odor mixed with the more honest smell of grease and sawdust which hung to some of the tools crowding the back seat.

Nina turned the key in the ignition, and with a lurch the car pulled out of the dooryard and nosed its way down a dusty dirt road toward the distant woods. The dirt, dry as baby powder, spewed out from under the car’s speeding tires leaving a long widening cloud behind us as we drove.

Fields stretched away on either side like a beige carpet as we drove in silence. Whatever had been planted in them looked pretty well scorched and withered under the oppressive sun.

Breaking the silence, I asked, “Are the woods really full of demons?”

Raymond looked over his shoulders and flashed me a toothless grin. “That’s what they say.”

They drove a little further in silence before Raymond offered more, “I can’t say that I’ve ever seen them myself, but my brother, Bill, swears that one day he was working a tractor close to the woods and he looked over and saw two little girls watching him from inside the woods. They was dressed all in white. Their skin was white as paper. Even their hair was white, but their eyes were black as a pit, and they were watching him. It wasn’t natural. No matter where he went they moved with him, staying inside the woods, and all the time just watching him. He just left the tractor and ran off. Old Top Manley had to go out and bring the tractor in.”

“Tell him about what Scott saw,” Nina suggested.

Oh yeah,” continued Raymond, “maybe two years ago, Scott Peters, he lives a little ways down from us, was out working the fields near the woods when he saw a whole forest full of animals come running out of the woods- bears, deer, turkeys, foxes, boars, you name it- they was all just running around at the edge of the trees, and even though he was rumbling past on his tractor they wouldn’t run back into the woods. The only thing he could figure was that something real nasty had scared them all out of the woods.”

“Everyone knows the woods the woods are full of demons,” said Nina.

‘That’s why they call it ‘Demon Woods,” agreed Raymond, “Just look it up on a map. You don’t get a name like that for nothing.”


"Why do people still have car alarms? Nobody pays any attention to them."

"Those cats have big hands though."

"Russell! NO!!! Not the ladies room. Go around the other side."

"Burned marshmallows can give you cancer."

"I don't know why, but being out here just freaks me out."

"I think what you're smelling is somebody's brakes up on the highway."

"Did you see that skunk last night?"


In this installment of "OBJECTS THAT PREDATE THE MERGER" I am giving you a two for the price of one deal. Both the laundry bag and the t-shirt I am wearing predate June 16, 2001 when Sarah and I tied the knot. The t-shirt was from an intramural basketball team I was a part of in college. Our team was named "California Dreams" after the television series of the same name. That was an awesome show. We had t-shirts made with the logo on it. Believe you me it was intimidating. I wonder if any of my old teammates are still rockin' the California dreams shirt.
This laundry bag has been in my possession since I was a teenager. My Mom made it for me and it has served me well through several summers on staff at Camp Maranatha as teenager, through four years of college, bachelorhood, and even now it continues to get regular use. It has held up phenomenally well over the years. My Mom made it to last. Someday I intend to tearfully hand it over to Bowden as he strikes out on his own.

Monday, June 14, 2010


"An S.T.D."

Really? They couldn't reshuffle those letters around? Maybe make it a D.S.T. or something.


This past weekend we celebrated a successful end to the kids' school year by going camping with some of our friends at Hurkey Creek. Some of you long-time followers of the blog might remember the last time we did this a couple of years ago. The kids all agree that camping out in the great outdoors is way more fun than camping in our living room, but the kids also agree that camping in our living room is more fun than sleeping in their room. I also really enjoy camping, although, as I have stated previously , in order to enjoy camping to the fullest I would have to need to camp.

This was our home for the weekend. I like our tent. We originally bought it at a sporting goods store in VT for $99.99 with the idea that when we moved out to CA we would camp across America. We ended up camping out exactly once during the entire trip in Ohio. The rest of the time we mostly stayed with friends and family. We would have camped out in Nebraska were it not for the tornado warnings and the coffe-black sky.

Hurkey Creek flows past the campground. On Saturday afternoon I took some of the older kids for a hike along the stream. Lucy and her friend, Sylvan, thought it would be fun to twinkle their toes in the water.

The boys just looked on.

Our friend, Marin, brought stuff for Smores. It wouldn't be camping without Smores, right?


Here is one of the six marshamallows I ate this past week. It was strawberry flavored.

Jack loves him some marshmallows.

Our camping companions were the Whites (Josh, Emily and their kids), Marin Campbell (and her kids) and Chris and Katie Bayer. Camping out makes me wish I could live for a while as part of a nomadic community. I think there would definitely be an upside to living like that. Being out in nature, hanging out around the fire, doing things communally. I can see how it might be nice if you enjoyed the other people in your party.

I wish I had taken more pictures, but I don't want to be that guy who's always ruining things by introducing a camera to conversations around the fire and stuff. Ah well, I hope it was enough to give you a sense of the good time we had. I love our friends. God has blessed us abundantly in the friend department.

We snapped this picture just before collapsing the last tents and heading home. In what is becoming a Hurkey-Creek-campout-tradition Millie was sprayed by a skunk the night before, and a fair amount of the skunk juice also made it onto that red tent in the background which belongs to Marin and her girls. I kind of like the smell of skunk if it is thinly diffused (I think it smells a little like lemon meringue pie), but Marin didn't seem to enjoy it that much. The skunk isn't the only reason you can be thankful that smell-o-vision hasn't been invented yet. I was definitely ready for a shower.