O you young and elder daughters


I had an essay on NPR’s Bay Area affiliate, KQED, this morning, and although it’s about forging a wild pioneer life in the heart of a bustling city, I think you’ll enjoy most the picture that accompanies it.

See here.

Is that not the definition of CRAZY FACE?

I look at this picture and think there should be a word bubble just over my head, saying things like, “Bay-bee Ruth!” or “I love you, Chunk!”

Confession: I’ve never, ever, in a million years, liked having my picture taken — I’m always ducking out of them, dropping my head, covering myself with small children or simply closing my eyes and hoping for a freak electro-magnetic monsoon that will knock out power across the world and take all digital cameras with it. This never seems to happen. But I think this picture (see crazy left eye in particular) pretty much explains why I wish it would.

My apologies. This was supposed to be a fun story about whether over the course of a few generations we have lost something wild within us, whether technology and city life has made us soft and forgetful of the pioneer within. Griping about poor lighting and ill-frozen smiles pretty much answers the question, I believe. Enjoy.


  1. Love it! And that’s not crazy face at all!

  2. Oh stop! You’re just fishing for complements now. Well here goes then: the essay and the picture are insightful, animated, and enjoyable. You’re welcome! :)

  3. That’s nice of you to say, but I’ve seen photos of me in the past. Not pretty. But still, thanks.

  4. If you guys want to come out to Idaho, I can hook you up with a bear!

  5. After reading all the little house books, I admit I’d actually like to try bear.

  6. As a picturephobe myself, I would tell you if your picture was horrible…and it’s not. In fact, here’s the highest compliment I can give you. Are you ready? Emmaline, who is beautiful, looks a lot like you. And before you jump all over the fact that I’m implying that you look like a pretty little girl, I’m implying that you look like what a pretty little girl would look like if she was a grown man.

  7. Sounded great, gatherer :)

  8. I heard this on the way in to work this morning and cracked up. I am always thinking of whether I have the skills to survive a zombie attack or the apocalypse, and I think pioneer skills would come in handy to be sure.

  9. I frequently feel soft, if that helps any. Office work, computers, TV, I would be killed on the prairie for sure.

  10. It does help, if only because I feel the same way … And yes, pioneer skills are a known zombie invasion antidote. I hope. Thanks.

  11. I’m the only one that laughed out loud at the Goonies lines?

    Seriously – kindred spirits, we must be… I didn’t know anyone else had those lines saved in their mental repertoire.

    (My younger sister’s name is Ruth; she had no hope.)

  12. OH!myword – Mike, you truly have a gift for writing… (much like Dana has a gift for sewing). I laughed OUT. LOUD. at that picture link (not because of the picture, of course) but 1.) I grew up on deer meat – can you seriously buy it in the store now? 2.) my husband hunts with a rifle I bought him.

    Ditto the previous poster on Idaho.

  13. I loved your essay on NPR! It made my drive to work fun. I cheered at the end.

    My grandfather, who grew up in New Mexico and Utah durring the depression hunted deer as a teen so that his family would have meat once in a while. As he got older he continued to hunt until the day his daughter realized when he went hunting he was KILLING DEER. She freeked out and gave him the “how could you kill Bambi” treatment. He never hunted again.