Monday, December 31, 2007


Instead of New Year's Resolutions I am making a list of Gifts.

I am going to give the gift of one hundred letters, cards or handmade post cards to others this year. I made a list recently and there are honestly almost one hundred people I want to write to so if I accomplish this it will be because I want to do it, not because I feel I should.

A dear friend gave me a gratitude journal for Christmas and I am going to fill it with the wondrous things in my life. Family, friends, my own miracles, insights, little things like a sprouting seed or big things like the mountain with clouds chasing across the face.

I am going to give myself the gift of all the things that fill me up. Watching the snow fall. Listening to the rain. Holding some one's hand. I will drink in the gift of friendship and pour it back. I will listen to compliments and not say things like, "Oh, it was nothing." Or, "No, I'm not." I will say, "thank you," and give myself the gift of remembering and treasuring them in my heart. I will give honest compliments, too.

I'm going to give myself the gift of slowing down, letting the silence take over, stop filling my life with information and start listening to what I already know, deep down in my spirit. I am going to trust myself.

I am going to give the gift of writing. This I give to myself and maybe someone else will benefit too. I may paint too but if I don't I'm not going to fret about it.

There are a couple of more things on the list but they are pretty private, I am honest and let you see into my soul but not all the way. Even my family doesn't see all the way, only God. As I accomplish these things I may blog about them. I may not.

I wish all who come here a wonderful year, full of bright promise. May the bright still be shining next December 31st. May your lives be filled with Joy and the knowledge of who you really are.


I am supposed to say I have entered a contest at Laughing Always Helps in a post called My Very First Blog Contest!!! The prize is some kind of organizer, which I certainly need. But, do not go there and read my comment because it's embarassing. But, then again, I was a teenager and the boy did deserve what he got.

I'll write my regular blog later. Right now I must go see what on earth Bentley and Tricia are up to. I think it involves tasty treats, about 8, two liter bottles of pop and games for bringing in the New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


While we were at church a blizzard waltzed through town. Just before church ended the Bishop said, "The parking lot is really fun right now." Our bishop is young and slick roads are not a challenge but a fun ride at the amusement park. It doesn't hurt that he works in construction and drives a truck that could climb cliffs while whistling "Climb Every Mountain," in a monster-truck-whistling sort of way.

We worried that Bentley and Tricia wouldn't come back down but they scoff at slick roads and came anyway. Optimistic youth was everywhere today.

The rest of the kids that weren't here for Christmas came for leftovers and Cindy's Fabulous Spaghetti. We ate and unwrapped gifts, laughed and watched the kids play with their new toys and then we went back into the kitchen around the table. I brought the fudge, caramels and muddy buddies out.

Bentley and Sharee were deep into a discussion about which bike pedals are best, which shoes have the best gripping ability or some such thing. When you get those two biking people going its hard to keep up. Especially since I'm not a biking person and the thought of riding down the street on tires the size of linguine noodles makes me nauseous.

I was washing pans and loading the dishwasher when Tricia and Taylor--who were grouped, along with every single child, around the candy--erupted into laughter,"

Denture fudge," one of them snorted. "It's denture fudge."

"Denture fudge?" one of the kids asked.

"Absolutely! Look at this?"

I had made caramels with almonds at one point of the holiday preparations but they were too large so I dipped them in chocolate and cut them in half. The almonds, sliced in the middle looked just like teeth. Teeth embedded in caramel with chocolate lips. They held the offending candy up for everyone to see. The kids thought it was pretty funny too and their laughter added to the merriment in the kitchen.

Bentley and Sharee talked on, about spokes and camelbaks and bike gears, never noticing the silliness going on at the other end of the table.

Tricia and Taylor got more wound up, deciding how to market the denture fudge and what to add to next year's product line. Each suggestion burst forth with a new round of laughter. How I wish I had recorded all their nonsense. I could have sold it to hospitals with depression clinics. People would be cured after one session of listening to denture fudge laughter. I could market the CD with tins full of chocolate covered caramels with almonds. Two for one. Laughter-therapy and treats. It would be a hit, I'm sure of it. I could be rich. The world would be better off, sad people would be cured and back in the work force. The economy would boom.

It's my fault that we won't have a booming economy next year. If I had just recorded that denture fudge laughter...

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Tonight I got in the car, turned on the radio and the Christmas music was gone. In its place was who knows what. Every station was playing a different version of who knows what. I switched to AM instead of FM and found one lone station playing Christmas music. I will listen to it until it too, abandons Christmas.

When my uncles were in World War 11, one of them--I'm sorry to say I'm not sure it was Uncle Joe but for the ease of this blog I'm going to use his name--it could have been Uncle Bob or Uncle Diz. Anyway one of them was lucky enough to be in an audience of men who were entertained by the USO. The program was almost over and the singer--again, the memory of Mom telling me this part of the story is fuzzy, but I think it was Bing Crosby--asked the men what song they would like him to conclude with.

"I'll be home for Christmas," one of them yelled.

"Yah, I'll be home for Christmas," was chorused by many men in the audience.

"Oh, boys," Bing said, rubbing his hand across his face. "Not that one. Anything but that one." He looked out at them with a stricken countenance.

"How about..." he named a bunch of other Christmas songs. Each suggestion was greeted with a resounding, "No, no, I'll be home for Christmas."

There was silence while Bing stood looking at the men who would not be home for Christmas. Maybe not next Christmas either. Some would not go home, ever.

"I'll be home for Christmas," one lone soldier said in a clear voice. The audience waited, as if every man were holding his breath.

Finally Bing sighed, hung his head and in a quiet voice said, "'All right."

He sang. As you probably know, the lyrics mention traditional Christmas things: Snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree.

Then he sang, "Christmas Eve will find me," his voice faltered for a moment. "Where the love light beams. I'll be home for Christmas, If only in my dreams."

He could hardly finish the last line. The tears dropped, one by one, on his coat and from each soldier in the audience, it was the same. He could hardly speak. He wished the "boys" a Merry Christmas and voiced how much those at home were praying for them.

Uncle Joe never forgot it. Mom told this to me years and years ago and I have remembered it until now, maybe to write it to all of you.

We all want to be home for Christmas, even if it doesn't exist anymore. We wish to have loved ones close by. I guess that was why I was so unhappy tonight when I turned on the radio and there was no Christmas music. I wanted to keep the feeling of Christmas.

Uncle Joe is gone now, Mom is gone, Daddy is gone. They are together, perhaps watching us, loving us. Maybe they are helping us keep the feeling of Christmas alive. I intend to listen for the subtle hints more closely so I can have the feeling of home and family all year. So I won't forget my Uncles, Daddy or my birth dad and all the other men who gave years of their lives and sometimes their very lives so we could live with freedom and ease and peace.

Merry Christmas to one an all, every day, all year long. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 28, 2007


I have one pesky chin hair that I can never tweeze. I can't see the darn thing but I can feel it, every day I feel it and every day it feels like a horse hair. Not as long but as coarse. Some days I have to stop myself from whinnying.

I keep tweezers in the drawer of the computer desk and it is a daily ritual to tweeze. I don't want to be one of those women with a moustache. I could wax but then every hair would grow out at the same time. Hair that is going to be waxed have to be a little long before you can wax again. I've seen a plethora of "waxing" women with tiny, very short, bristly moustaches . It's not a pretty sight. So I tweeze daily and hope to not shock the world with stray runaway hairs. But there is one on my chin that I simply can't get. I can feel it but not pull it out. Frustrating. When my daughter, Hillary comes I hand her the tweezers and she takes care of it but she's simply not here often enough and not just because of her tweezing responsibilities. She's just simply not here enough.

This morning I felt Hairy with my finger, positioned the tweezers and pulled him right out! He now resides on a 3x5 card and I am admiring him--not "her," a "her" hair would be soft and blond and INVISIBLE--and I'm feeling the lack of him on my chin with my fingers--smooth and hairless.

It's going to be a wonderful day. How could it not, starting out with such a satisfying chin-hair-removal success?

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Morning song: Count Your Blessings. I don't know if this was for me or for someone who reads this blog, not that many read this. Here are all the words.

When I was a teenager and Mom and I would have a fight she would walk away singing this song. It nearly drove me crazy, CRAZY. The thought of someone telling me to count my blessings still bothers me a little but the message is comforting.

This afternoon we went to the movie "I Am Legend." Oh my. I love any movie about the end of the world, genetic engineering, big scary monsters--to a point--etc. When I write a story it is almost always about the protagonist hiding from someone or tragedy taking a large part of the population and the protagonist being alone, but this one was too much for me. I've used enough adrenaline for a month. And what's with poor Will Smith? This is the second movie where there was too much pursuit and not enough happiness. I'm ready for a good comedy.

The company was good, Phil, my son and daughter-in-law. After the movie we came home and had a feast, a little of everything imaginable and polish hot dogs. Trish and I were freezing so we brought mint truffle hot chocolate downstairs in front of the fire. They are leaving tomorrow and I am so sad. I want to freeze time and keep them here for a week. I hate separations. I am selfish, I know it. I want those I love around me a lot. I miss the rest of the kids. I wish I had a huge house--well, except for the cleaning it would take and the mortage and the cost to heat it--but, if I did have a huge house I would fill it with people I love.

So, though I am content tonight I am lonesome already for Bentley and Trish. And my other kids and their spouces and the grandkids and my friends, that I don't see enough of.

So, I'm forcing myself to be happy with the time I have left and not to be sad when I see them drive off. But, now I understand why Mom stood outside--in the summer--or on the back porch--in the winter--and waved and wiped her eyes until we were out of sight. I do that now too, even before they leave.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We were up to our eyebrows in artichoke, spinach, ranch and clam dip and all the dipping kinds of veggies, chips and crackers you can imagine plus turkey dinner with all it's accompanying goodies. I modified the cauliflower casserole--I will note that in the cookbook. Ran out of time so didn't make the one thing that might have been healthy, the green salad, and forgot to make the teeny-beenie-weenies. Guess we'll make them another day. They are Bentley's favorite and I'm pretty sure he will make a good sized dent in the two pounds.

We had a house full of family plus my daughter-in-laws sister and her husband thrown in for good measure. We were too full so I didn't make the cherry cream cheese pies--again another day but we did manage to diminish the fudge tin considerably. The kids were well behaved and we had a lot of good visit time. The kitchen is still littered with dishes that need to be put away, bags of chips and crackers and french bread. The garage is full of things that can be refrigerated with mother natures temperature--extra mashed potatoes,cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc--and the fridge full of thing that must be kept at a constant cold.

Bentley and Tricia and their miniature Schnauzer dogs are here, I look forward to their visit all year. Minkey will stay holed up in Elizabeth's room until they are gone but Pika pretty much goes where she wants and the dogs learn she's isn't going to run and so a stand-off is established. I have decided to quit trying to coax Minkey into holding his own, so a litter box, food and water are now upstairs and he can have his own private fortress. I went in to check on Minkey this morning and he was sitting upright 1/4 inch from the heat vent--he is missing being stretched out in front of the fireplace.

Today will be a lazy day, a time to catch up on visiting with the kids, wrapping caramels for Tricia's family and food already prepared so it will be leftovers for a couple of days.

One thing funny that did happen, Tricia's sister said, "The last time I was here it was Hillary's birthday and you gave her a wooden leg." Maybe I'll tell you that story later. Right now, I'm off to tidy up and wrap caramels--hopefully the last time for a l-o-n-g time.

Merry day after Christmas. May the love of the Savior be felt by you every day, in times of trials, in times of ease may you know he is there, watching over you, weeping when you weep, laughing when you laugh and all the time loving you. Always loving you.

Monday, December 24, 2007


In another six minutes it will be Christmas. I hope everyone has a lovely day. I have been thinking of Mary, tonight, giving birth to a child far from home, with perhaps no one but Joseph to help. I remembered the births of each of my five children. Each one so wanted, loved, fussed over, worried over and finally we realized we had to cut the apron strings and let them become who they wanted to be. I love them with all my heart. Merry Christmas, my children.

Mary had to do that too--let Jesus go, let him be who he was going to be. Jesus knew who he was from such a young age. He said he was "about my Father's business." Bless Mary's heart, a woman so in love with her child and seeing him grow up sooner than any other child, leaving her--so to speak--to become who he was destined to be. She will always be honored by mothers, I think who understand a bit of what she went through. A bit.

Okay, a different topic.

This morning I woke up with a song sending words and melody into the day. I had rather a disturbing night. My troublesome knee kept waking me.When I wasn't awake, trying to get comfortable, I was sleeping with a worrying set of dreams rambling around. All kinds of weird things. Big things and odd little things. I dreamed Costco no longer carried printer paper and Phil was upset. I told him it would be okay because I had at least four reams printed on only one side and we could just turn it over. In my dream he wasn't any more pleased about it than he would be in real life.

I woke up disturbed, thinking of the big things that aren't exactly to my liking. But there was a gift for me this morning. I listened. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," was strumming through my head. The line, "Let nothing you dismay," kept returning until I finally got it. I wasn't to be dismayed. Then, over and over again came the words, "Oh, good tidings of comfort and joy." I knew I wasn't to be dismayed. I was to be comforted and to have joy. This song, those lyrics, have gone through my head all day.

And so I have been comforted and have had joy, even though it has been a hectic, I'm-not-going-to-get-it-all-done kind of a day. Even though I didn't get any advance preparations done for tomorrow's dinner. Even though I didn't get all my to-do list done and I'm beyond tired. It's been a lovely day.

I hope you will listen for the morning songs. There is always a message there for me, always. Except once when the song was, "I saw Momma kissing Santa Claus." This was not in December, it was months and months ago. I am still puzzling over it because, honestly every other morning song has a message.

I wish for you a nice morning song on Christmas. And it is Christmas now. I wish you a wonderful day and a knowledge you are watched over, cared about, and loved.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Today my daughter, son-in-law and their two kiddies came to our church. They are staying at my son-in-law's house with all the grown kids and spouses--they have come from the east, from Canada and California--Hillary and Max are the only ones with kids although Max's sister is carrying twins! Hillary and Max only live 35 or 45 minutes away--depending on who's driving--but this way they get all the time the family time they want. They came to our church because Max's parent's ward did their Christmas program last week.

Two things I noticed, well, besides the exquisite story of Christ's birth, read from the scriptures and the wonderful musical numbers. One: My daughter is absolutely beautiful. I was watching her and nudged Phil. "Look at Hillary, she's beautiful." He nodded. He had already noticed. She is beautiful inside too. A nice person who cares about others and is genuinely happy to be here on Mother Earth. I didn't notice this but Phil told me later that she cried during the program. He saw her wiping tears off her face. She is so tender and genuinely loves her Heavenly Father and Savior. She says she can never remember a time when she didn't believe.

The second things I noticed, well not noticed, but thought about, was Joseph's role in the story of Christ's birth. I think Mary must have put his hand on her stomach and said, "Here, right here. Feel that?" when the baby kicked or had hiccups. And I imagine Joseph smiled and felt an overwhelming love for that baby, yet unborn. He knew, I think, what lie ahead, well, maybe only somewhat. When they had to leave for Egypt I imagine he spooked at every noise in the night, was suspicious of every stranger on the trail. He had a wife and young child to take care of and not just any child. That trip couldn't have been easy on either Mary of Joseph. But it was Joseph who had the responsibility of keeping the two of them safe. He had to provide for them once they arrived in Egypt. I have often thought that the gifts the wise men brought were used to buy the things they needed on the way to Egypt and maybe kept them in food, shelter and necessities while they were there.

I am most grateful for the Savior, for his atonement and for his continuing watchful care over each of us.

I am grateful for the beauty of my child--the kind you cannot see although the kind you can see is nice too. (She probably takes after me! Just kidding.)

I am grateful for the good man that Joseph must have been. I watched my son-in-law with his children during church. He truly loves them and I know he would walk through fire for them. Just like Joseph would have. Perhaps there are fathers everywhere like this. I hope so. I really hope so.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


We dashed to the mall this morning for a last minute item because I didn't want to get caught in what we got caught in yesterday--twenty minutes to drive two miles OR LESS. It may have been six blocks but I don't want to say six blocks in case you'd say to yourself, "That exaggerator!" But, really, I think it was six blocks. It may have been four.

Phil waited in the car, I dashed into Bath and Body and bought what I needed and then had buyer's remorse. "They can exchange it if they don't like it," the sales girl said.

I got to the car and Phil got out to open my door. "Smell this, I said. I gave him my left sleeve. "Now smell this." My right sleeve. "And this." My right wrist. "Which one do you like best?"

"The left sleeve."

"Aaugh, I knew it. I have to go back!"

"Could we conduct this conversation somewhere other than in a blizzard?" he asked in a somewhat patient voice. "And if they don't like it they can exchange it."

I got in the car. "And you know what else?" I said. "A man paid full price for ONE lotion--that's $10.50. For $15 more he could have four more items just like it because they are on sale five for $25. The sales girl told him but he said, 'no, I just need this one item for my wife' and then HE BOUGHT A GIFT CERTIFICATE FOR HER AND SHE WILL PAY FULL PRICE. Men are obviously not bargain hunters."

Phil's eyes glazed over. I could almost hear his internal talk, "She talks too much, just like those TV talk shows."

We drove home and I said, "I just need to dash into Day's Thriftway to pick up two items. You can stay in the car if you want, I'll be right back." He knew better. He came in. I bought 23 items. It took 22 minutes.

"We need to go to Costco," I said. "I forgot something."


His eyes had lost all glaze. Costco is right next to the mall. His eyes would have glazed over again but he needed them to drive. We dashed into Costco to buy a See's Candy certificate and then back to the mall to pick up the candy. No wonder the roads are congested. They are full of woman who forget to buy See's Candy certificates.

"If this keeps up we're going to have to buy more gas," Phil said. I remembered the price of gas. I didn't tell him I forgot something at Day's Thriftway. I'll pick it up Monday when he's in the shower.

At a stop light the back window of a car in front of us rolled down. A dog stuck his head out the window and barked twice. He pulled his head back in the car and then back out. One more bark. Back in the car. The window rolled up. The light turned green and the car drove off, perhaps to roll it's window down to let the dog bark again, at stop lights down the road.

Phil delivered our neighborhood gifts this afternoon while I drove the car. He got inside when he got too cold to function. "It's nice in here," he said. "It's warm. There is Christmas music on the radio." He sighed and held his hands up to the heater. I rolled my eyes. I sympathized, I really did but sometimes a good eye-roll is satisfying .

At Janna's house she came out to thank me. "How is your hand," she asked. (This is an injury I have from wrapping caramels. I know you are scoffing but really, it is. My last marathon wrapping session was 500 caramels and when I was finished my thumb joint was throbbing.)

"It hurts, not all the time but right now it does."

She asked me to show her where, and then she took my hand and kissed it, right on the hurt. Her unexpected kindness made my eyes fill with tears.

"No one has kissed a boo-boo since my mom died," I said.

"How long has she been gone?"

"Twenty years, Elizabeth wasn't even born yet. Mom didn't know she was coming. Neither did I."

She got a mischievous gleam in her eye. "Aha," she said. "You thought Phil got you pregnant but it was really your Mom's doing."

We laughed and talked some more and then Phil was at the end of the street, turning blue so I went to pick him up.

When we got home I started to make Catalina Dressing. I got exactly two ingredients mixed and then the house gremlins took the recipe and, four hours later, I still haven't found it. Phil was on the computer, getting his lesson for his Sunday School class and I knew not to ask to use the computer to go to my cookbook file and make a copy--when he's in his getting-a-lesson-mode he is V-E-R-Y focused. I improvised and it was good but as I look at the recipe it needed more vinegar and more spices.

Then I fixed dinner with canned spaghetti sauce, not half as good as my homemade sauce--which I see I haven't posted yet on my cookbook blog--or half as good as Cindy's sauce either. We were starving and in the confusion I put a spoonful of Catalina dressing on my spaghetti along with two scoops of sauce. And you know what? It improved the sauce. So, Phil followed suit and we ate spaghetti with salad dressing.

As I am sitting here I am thinking about my conversation with Janna. Maybe Mom did bring Elizabeth here to me, after all.

And that was a nice thought to end the day with. That and warm pumpkin bread--just delivered by Tammie--and a cup of hot chocolate, in the new Christmas mug brought to me by Maisel.

The day was odd but I have friends who love me and a very patient husband and what more could a girl ask for?

Friday, December 21, 2007


Usually I get our Christmas dishes out after Thanksgiving. They are still in the hutch, well, some of them are. Some are in the kitchen, waiting to be washed and some of our regular dishes are in the living room, waiting to take their places.

Phil was in the living room with me, I was taking the dishes out while we were discussing the rest of the Christmas preparations.

"Sit down," he said, "so we can talk."

"I can talk while I work," I said.

"Well, in that case there must not be much talking done around here."

He thinks he's funny.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Today I had Studio 5 on TV while I wrapped caramels. (Studio 5 is a local talk show, on Channel 5--KSL.)

I HAVE to figure out something ELSE to give the neighbors. This caramel wrapping is getting out of control. I can hardly look a caramel in the face.

A cute woman was making some kind of Christmas gifts/crafts. She and the hostess were discussing the "how-to's." They were perky. The women guests are usually perky--unless they are there to promote some kind of cause. Then they are serious and controlled. I've never seen a perky, controlled guest. There must be a rule.

"They sure talk a lot," Phil said.

"Well, she's explaining how to make things," I said.

That segment was over and someone came on talking about perfume and HER VERY FAVORITE ONE THAT SHE COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT and Phil talked right over her saying something like, "Do these people ever take a breath? They simply talk and talk and talk."

If I had been downstairs watching TV with the DVR--that I could back up, or even better, back up and then hit the record button--I wouldn't be peeved but I was in the kitchen with the no-frills DVR. That particular perfume will never enhance my pulse points. And how she loved it.

Another segment came on, more talking. A recipe for soup. I love recipes. They are one of my hobbies, collecting recipes--which I rarely use but this one I might have. It was for roasted red pepper soup.

"Good grief!" Phil said, drowning out her list of ingredients. "Those people are probably pearl divers. They never take a breath. They can go two, three minutes, maybe five. They could set records for non-breath taking. They just talk and talk and talk."

"Phil," I said, "this is a talk show."

He looked at me as if I failed Kindergarten. "They never stop," he said with a little voice.

I hit the mute button.

"Whew," he said. He hung his head as if in prayer. "This is so peaceful. So...." Words failed him. "Whoever invented the mute button deserves a reward. he was as smart as Einstein."

Notice how he assumed the mute button inventor was a man.

Right, I thought, the mute button inventor--right up there with Einstein.

As far as Phil is concerned, talk shows should be wordless, maybe they could be closed captioned. He'd be so happy.

Remind me to tell you how he thinks baby showers and wedding showers should be conducted. Interesting. Very interesting.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I had lost some money. A tidy sum. I didn't dare tell Phil. I felt awful about it. I was careless. I'm like that sometimes. Careless and casual and irresponsible--laa-te-dawing through life.

Yesterday Phil took the stack of newspapers out to the recycle can. I was going to go through them first to see if I had dropped the envelope on top and it had gotten mixed in, but he took them out a day early. Tomorrow the recycle truck comes and I HAD to fess up and tell Phil why I was going to trudge inside with an armful of papers and make a mess in the tidy (because the home teachers came) living room.

I unburdened. I waited for the sighing and the reminder that I'm careless. I waited.

"That money is not in the newspapers. You'll find it," he said. This is the same thing Pam had said--I had told her because I knew she wouldn't sigh and remind me that I'm careless and I simply had to tell someone.

I waited for the other shoe to drop. Waited...waited...waited...nothing.

"Phil," I said, "I've looked everywhere--FOR A WEEK. It's gone."

"It's okay," he said. "It's just money."

My eyes bugged out of my head. Just money? Honestly, he's lost his mind, I thought.

Our water heater has decided to breathe it's last, flooding parts of the laundry room and flooding the bathroom. The water should have gone down the laundry room drain, but things being what they are, the floor slopes the wrong way. Thank you, builder-who-cut-every-corner-possible. So, obviously we need a new water heater, if not a new floor. Which costs money, like the money I'd lost. Not enough to pay for a new water heater but enough to pay for part of it.

"Have you prayed about it," Phil asked in a mild mannered Clark Kent voice.


"Well, do that and you'll find it. If not, it's okay."

Now, how can you not adore a man who treats you like that?

I said a silent prayer, went into the kitchen, set the timer for seven minutes and thought, Maybe I can get the table cleaned off in seven minutes. At least this will take my mind off the lost money.

Seven minutes? Ha. I am still wrapping and bagging caramels and all the other fru-fra of Christmas is there on the table. Seven minutes wouldn't be enough time to even start but guess what? In less than seven minutes I found the money.

"I found the money," I yelled downstairs to Phil, who was talking to a plumber who was supposed to install a new water heater for a prearranged price.

"I knew you would," Phil said.

The plumber was also happy to hear I found the money so he quoted almost $400 extra dollars to re-rout the gas line--or some such thing--the mechanics of this kind of thing escape me--and install the water heater.

I forgave him his greediness because Phil forgave me and it felt so good--to be forgiven. I forgave him and gave him a bag of caramels when he left.

Phil is going to install the water heater. He can do anything. Include forgive people who are careless and irresponsible.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Tonight, while I was pondering about today's blog I came across this photo: Bond . . . James Bond. Here's the text that went with the photo:

"Have you ever thought about how your personality would be different if you had a different name? Does Bond . . James Bond ever feel so much stress that he just wants to go back to bed? If that was your name would you suddenly feel bolder? More daring?

"Or maybe you are having a little trouble threading a needle and you were suddenly called Harry Potter would it make a difference?

"Or is Shakespeare correct?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet.

"Would you still want to crawl into bed if you were Bond . . . James Bond?"

Today, two of my granddaughters were here. Kate--age four, and Ruby--age two. I was talking to my daughter-in-law about Kate's name. I told her it was a good strong name. Not wimpy, like Lynne. I told her that I wondered if I had a different name, a stronger name if I would be stronger.

We talked about Katherine Hepburn, who was called Kate by her friends and was such a strong willed person. Then I told her my favorite Katherine Hepburn movie is BRINGING UP BABY. Katherine Hepburn actually pulled a leopard around by a rope around its neck in that movie and I remember reading that the leopard wasn't a trained leopard--or maybe there were two leopards and the one she was jerking around was the one that wasn't trained--in fact it was darn cantankerous--and how she said later that she could have been killed but she just pulled it around, like she had good sense.

She was a strong woman, that Kate and our Kate is strong too.

Ruby, is an individual, just like her name. She didn't like me for the first year of her life. It didn't matter what I did. I could have stood on my head with candy bars for ears and she wouldn't have been impressed. She adored Phil--still does. She is past the hating stage and past the tolerating stage with me now and likes me but not like she likes Phil. I probably will never be able to charm her like he does. Maybe if I changed my name to Shaharazade. Or
Rosamunde. Humm, both names of tellers of tales. I want to be a teller of tales so maybe....

No, maybe not. That would be infringing. I can't find a name I couldn't live without. Once I called myself Lyndy-Lou Dorthea Mae and there were a couple of other names tacked on but time has befuddled my memory.

I gave my girls perfect names. Hillary means happy and she is, in every way, and brings happiness to everyone she knows. Elizabeth means gift from God and she is, even though it might be a few years before she realizes it.

So, I should give myself a new name. Perhaps Gabrielle, which means strong woman of God--I like that, in fact it's my goal, to be a strong woman of God. You could call me Gabby for short, which means something altogether different and fits me often, like the other night when I had A Vacant Mind and said I had nothing to say and then proceeded to say nothing for a good long time.

So Gabrielle it is. Gabby, for short.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Last night I decided to make a list for today so I would be organized and productive.

8:00 AM--wake up and do all the morning routine and then...

1. Clean the kitchen. Completely.

2. Finish funny, charming story for Personal History group

3. Buy one of the books Elizabeth wants at Borders

4. Browse Borders for 15 minutes only, don't buy anything else

5. Come home--to a clean kitchen. Yay! Make Russian Teacakes

6. Make fudge and Muddy Buddies

7. Pack teacakes, fudge and Muddy Buddies in tins and box everything for mailing to Aunt Dorothy

8. Go to Personal History group, read funny, charming story

9. Come home to a clean kitchen, Yay! Mop kitchen floor

10. Wrap ten presents

11. Fix a delicious dinner for Phil. The table will be cleaned off because I have cleaned the kitchen and I can put the holiday candles down the middle. Light the candles and pretend we are young and romantic.

12. Do dishes and since the kitchen is clean it will take five minutes

13. Deliver 32 bags of caramels with Phil. Sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," at each door. Make the last batch of caramels, wrap them in the morning and deliver the extra 10 gift bags tomorrow night.

14. Sit in the living room with Phil, listen to Christmas music. Drink hot chocolate. Eat two Russian Teacakes. Savor the romance.


1. At 8:30 Phil woke me up--I slept in. I had a worrying night and was awake a lot--he said my neighbor had called and she would pick me up in 25 minutes so we could go to the church and put labels on the Relief Society manuals for next year. I had forgotten we were going to the church to put labels on the manuals for next year.

2. Scrambled madly, called my neighbor and told her I'd drive myself because I was going to be late. Drove to church and put labels on the manuals.

3. Went to Borders but because I couldn't find the list of the books that Elizabeth said she wanted I bought a totally unknown book that she DIDN'T tell me about. The guy at the register said it was a great book and since he is an art student—going to a University in Portland in January—he's majoring in animation—he looked twelve-years-old so I figured he would be perfect for the job--I took his word for it.

4. Paid for three other items I wasn't planning on buying but because I had a 40% off coupon my bill was only twice as much as if I had paid full price for the book in the first place. So good of me to have a coupon and pay twice as much. Went to Color Me Mine to look at what I could make with the $20.00 in coupons I received FIVE STINKING YEARS AGO as a Christmas present. Prices have doubled in five years. My coupons are now worth about $10 at the 2002 prices. Grumbled and said I'd be back. Someday. (Not soon.)

5. Forgot to go to my personal history group. Also forgot to finish my story. This is the first time in over a year I have been unprepared. I went an hour late and listened to every one else's story--they were all funny and wonderful. I was not having a funny or wonderful day but I laughed because everyone else was having a funny and wonderful day and I loved their stories. Ate a delicious lunch that Sarah had prepared for us and felt guilty because I dashed out of the house without fixing anything for Phil.

6. Forgot to buy marshmallows while I was out so I can't make the fudge. Mutter and grumble.

7. Came home to a horrible kitchen and made the dough for Russian Teacakes in about twelve square inches of space because that’s all the space that was clean. Put the dough in the fridge to firm. Turned the oven to 400 degrees so it would be ready when the teacakes were firm.

8. Read blogs while waiting for the dough to firm and the oven to heat.

9. Stopped reading blogs when the smoke alarm went off. Removed the pan of flaming chicken grease—that was in the oven from last night after I broiled the chicken. Ran outside and threw the pan in the snow. Opened all the windows, brought the fan in out of the garage and turned it on full force to get rid of the smoke. Picked up two thousand papers off the floor that were on the un-cleaned counter in the un-cleaned kitchen when the fan hit them. Sprayed the kitchen with Oust and heard Phil call from the family room, "Something smells good, are you cooking dinner?"

10. Told him “NO!” and then I turned the oven off and told him now was as good a time as any to go and buy a new water heater because the old one is dying and it flooded the laundry room and bathroom on Saturday. There goes my Christmas present and his too. I have decided I want hot water for Christmas.

11. Stopped on the way home to buy marshmallows for the fudge. They were not on sale. Why didn’t I buy more than one package when they were 99 cents?

12. Bought TV dinners. Came home, heated them in the oven that smelled like broiled chicken. The oven probably shouldn’t be used to bake Russian Teacakes anytime in this century. Pushed 32 gift bags filled with caramels out of the way, pushed six empty tins waiting for Russian Teacakes and fudge and maybe Muddy Buddies out of the way. Pushed last weeks grocery ads and my positive affirmation cards out of the way, plus the box containing the Christmas candles and garland that is supposed to go down the middle of the table to encourage romance. Knocked the Christmas cards on the floor and kicked them under the table. Christmas cards unsent at this date are better off under the table.

13. Ate. I had Mexican and Phil had turkey. We pretended it was beautifully cooked and nutritious. I told him he should admire the clean kitchen, wonderfully decorated table and the fourteen candles, encouraging romance. He snorted. I wiped his cranberry sauce off the decorative tins, waiting to be filled. I threw the disposable dishes in the recycle bin. Phil went downstairs. I looked at the chaos in the kitchen and decided to make the caramels in the morning and put them in the garage so they will be firm enough to wrap in the afternoon. Will do the same with the fudge and the Russian teacakes. I have decided Muddy Buddies are overrated.

14. Asked Phil if he wanted to sit in the living room and have hot chocolate or deliver 32 gift bags of caramels and sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," or if he just wanted to watch the news in the family room. He didn’t answer. I think he was asleep in the recliner. I ate the fudge that someone else brought to us for Christmas and decided to read blogs. I'll make tomorrow's list after tomorrow is finished. That way I can cross off everything on the list and be happy about it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


My mind is a blank. Nothing to say. Tired. Worried. A touch of sadness. Overwhelmed by the preparation that still is undone.

But...the living room is finally decorated, clean, beautiful. And you know why? Because our home teachers were coming today so we worked like mad to finish. They were impressed. If they had looked in the kitchen they would have seen all the huge Rubbermaid containers filled with tissue paper that wrapped the ornaments, etc. If they had looked downstairs they would have seen the stacks of magazines and books that I don't know what to do with. Why am I a packrat?

Tonight's dishes are still in the sink, if they had looked they would have seen them.

The spare room is filled with gifts still in bags. The goodies are mostly made but I have more caramels and another batch of fudge and those pesky Russian Teacakes to make more of so I guess the goodies are NOT almost made. All these goodies are not mailed to Aunt Dorothy yet. I better hurry.

We have 42 bags of caramels to deliver. I don't have all of the caramels made yet. I better hurry. I am going to tell people to put them in the freezer until March when there will be a caramel shortage.

A man in our ward is sick and in the hospital. I am worried about him.

My friend is in a care center and it looks like it's just not her physical health that is in trouble. She said some odd things to me while I was there the other day. I'm worried about her.

My daughter's sister-in-law, who is pregnant with twins may loose one. Or both. We fasted an prayed for her today. Please take just a moment and say a prayer for her. Heavenly Father knows who she is, you won't need her name. I am praying for a miracle. I am NOT worrying, I am holding positive, healthy thoughts for those babies that she and her husband want so very much. I want to see them born, healthy and normal. I want to hold them and coo over them and tell her they are the most beautiful babies I have ever seen. I am holding that picture in my mind.

Oh, my. So many heavy things on my mind tonight. I need to let them go, give them to the Savior. He said he will take them. The worries. The sadness. The hurts. The anxiety. He will take them all. I just need to let them go.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Yesterday Ruby was here. She's two. She went potty. That's a big thing. I told her I was proud--as proud as a grandmother can be to see a poo-poo in the toilet. I was tending because her mom, my darling daughter and Phil went shopping for a new computer. They looked many places and found prices that were high. On her way home Hillary stopped at Office Max and bought a computer all by herself. With no advice from her computer geek brothers or her husband or her dad or nuthin'. Brave she is, my girl. I don't think I could have done it all by myself.

After they left I looked at the nativity I keep for the grandchildren--it's made of plastic and is pretty much indestructible. All the people, all the animals, were lying down. Even the chickens and the cat. Everyone needed a nap. Everyone but Ruby. Grandma, for instance needed a nap more than the camel or the donkey or the wise men or anyone else.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Tonight we went to our granddaughter, Kate's preschool Christmas program. There were eleven little girls, dressed up in their Sunday best. They filed in and sat on big-people chairs with little legs sticking straight out. They wore black tights, white tights, one wore red tights covered in white snowflakes and one little miss had on legwarmers that matched her patterned sweater.

They each had a "part" to say at the microphone, our Kate welcomed us. They sang songs from Sweden, Germany, Hawaii, Mexico, and the United States of America. They had simple costume changes, and once had lighted candles--battery operated. The lights in the room were turned off. As soon as that happened one little girl got the giggles. Kate led the group and walked into the microphone. BONK! Then they all followed her in a line around the audience with their candles, they were singing all the way.

The songs were sweet. One little girl didn't as much sing as yell. One started off the evening with the sulks and slumped in her chair, her head pulled into her sweater like a turtle. Some were distracted and looked around as if they had never seen a room with walls and a ceiling before. One decided she had an itch and proceeded to scratch all over her tummy, which she bared so she could attend to it better. They told us their names and ages, most were four with one six-year-old and one announced she was "free."

We mainly watched Kate, who did an interesting interpretation of the hula to one of the Hawaiian songs. She didn't so much as use her hands in expressive movements as pat her body from side to side. When one of the songs had the line, "you better not pout," she had an expressive, "and if you do pout you are going to be in big trouble" face. She was practicing to be a mom, I'm pretty sure. She has beautiful large eyes, an engaging smile and confidence that the rest of us would do well to have at any age.

As soon as the program was over we hugged everyone--well, the family members anyway, and dashed to our church house as we were late for our Ward Christmas party. We shouldn't have worried. Our Ward was operating on Mormon Standard Time, which is "always a few minutes late." We missed the caroling but were in time for dinner. I took a salad, a variation of my Poppy Seed one (I'll post it on my cookbook site). I guess it turned out okay as I got a request for the recipe from yet another one of the beautiful women in our ward. I tell you, our neighborhood is full of beautiful woman. This one looks like a Russian princess and she might be. Her ancestors are indeed Russian.

The Primary children were all dressed up as members of the nativity. They sat in rows on the stage and sang song after song about the birth of the Savior. There were boys with towels draped over their heads, tied with cord or twine . One boy had a turban on his head that was unbelievable in its magnificence, one had a crown. There were angels, at least two Mary's (one whose real name is Mary) with baby Jesus dolls wrapped in baby blankets. The Primary presidency had supplied halo's made of tinsel to all who wanted them. The girls held their heads high so not to disturb the perfection. The boys took their halos off and twirled them on fingers.

After the Primary kids the Young Men and Young Women did several numbers with bells. It was reverent and beautiful.

After the youth, a couple, who sing like professionals--actually they almost are professionals, sang some carols that I had not heard before. They are happy and in love and made us feel like they were in love with us too.

He played the accordion, which I think was my Dad's. It belongs to my son but he Lent it to Eric--my son is Eric's wife's niece's husband. How's that for confusing? We're all just one happy family here. One day I will tell you how Trent got to become Eric's wife's niece's husband. A real love story and I was the matchmaker. The best success I ever had and the luckiest day of Trent's life.

The whole evening was delightful. Family, all watching the littlest member sing and walk into a microphone and conduct herself with regal confidence. Good food with friends all around. Wonderful innocent children and the youth, so clean and happy and anxious to read the music and ring their bells at the right time. Beautiful carols, sung about Mary and Joseph and the baby, born in the stable.

I looked around the cultural hall, filled with tables full of people, most of which I know pretty well. I had an overwhelming feeling that I was good friends with each of them in Heaven. Good friends with the children who I don't know very well since I don't work in the Primary any more. I felt like we laughed and learned and shared our lives and we should love each other here. It was a tender gift, given to me for just a few moments. An exquisite feeling of joy. I am content.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Today we met our beautiful granddaughter, Mary Poppins and her mom and the other three beautiful grandkids at the mall. It's Mary Poppins' birthday tomorrow. She is turning eight. Next month she will be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Eight is a wondrous age and Mary Poppins is a wonderful little girl. Very loving, smart, sensitive and has the most beautiful eyes you will ever see on a child. She has a good heart which is the best of all her qualities.

Anyway, we were going to buy her a build-a-whatever-she-wanted at the Build-a-Bear store. I had a $5.00 off coupon, which I couldn't find when it was time to go to the store. Coupons have a way of doing that to me. I have them until I need them and then I have-them-not. Until they expire, then I have them again.

Mary Poppins picked a pink spotted leopard, it's name is Pawfect Pink Leopard, it is very cute. Then the lady starts adding things. A Build-a-Sound? A Heart Beat? She doesn't ask the one paying the bill, just asks the child. Our sensible Mary Poppins didn't want those things. Whew.

"Okay," the Super-Sonic-Build-a-Bear-Sales-Person (her father was a carny-barker) said, "Go give her a bath and then go pick out her clothes." Not, "Would you care to look at clothes?" Just, "Go pick them out!" An order. An animal couldn't walk out naked? Like nature intended?

I looked at Phil. The whites of his eyes were showing all around his pupils. "Clothes?" he mouthed. I shrugged.

"I'm paying for the clothes," Mary Poppins's darling mother said. She has been there before. She recognized a shell shocked grandfather when she saw one.

Mary Poppins picked out a khaki, pleated skirt, a shirt and shoes. Shoes? Yes, shoes. Obviously a well dressed panther wears shoes on his feet but not his other feet which seem to be hands.

"I don't know why these animals need clothes," Mary Poppins's mother said. "They never stay dressed anyway."

Mary Poppins grinned. She was already planning to strip the Pawfect Pink Panther's clothes off as soon as she got home. I could tell. She will mean to re-dress her but the chances of it happening are slim. Especially when it comes time to take Pawfect to bed. Who wants to sleep with a panther with scratchy clothes and clunky shoes?

Then Mary Poppins and her mother registered the well dressed animal, Mary Poppins gave it a name. JoJo. A birth certificate was printed out and we went to pay. The clothes cost as much as the bear! Oh my stars! I looked at Mary Poppins's Mother. The whites of my eyes were now showing all around the pupils.

"I've been here before," Mary Poppins's mother said dryly. "I looked like that the first time."

I gave Mary Poppins a hug as we left the store. "Thank you," I mouthed over the top of her head at her mom.

"You're welcome," she said. "Those clothes won't stay on ten minutes," she said with half closed eyes as she slowly shook her head.

She sighed. We sighed. Mary Poppins sighed. We all sighed for different reasons and then we all departed, leaving the Build a Bear store almost $50.00 richer.

I logged onto the Build a Bear website when I got home. They have stores in every state and nineteen countries. Nineteen! Including India. I thought India had poverty unlimited. Maybe that's why. All the little stuffed animals are running around with expensive clothes made in China for pennies and the savvy woman who invented this Build-a-Bear empire is vacationing in Nassau, sipping ice cold drinks on the beach and laughing every time she hears a cash register ring another sale. She is laughing almost non-stop.

I'm sure she deserves it. Her stores are darling, they really are and Mary Poppins had a wonderful time. She got a giant sticker on her sweater, saying it was her birthday. She got to ring a big school bell and everyone in the store yelled "Happy Birthday," but I have to ask one question? Can't animals be happy being naked?

Obviously not, or the genius behind this empire would only be sipping ice water in Miami instead of whatever she pleases in Nassau or St. Maarten or whatever is the vacationing mecca this year.

Happy birthday, darling Mary Poppins and happy birthday JoJo, the Pawfect Pink Leopard. May you and Mary Poppins have great times together. We love you, Mary Poppins, forever and ever. Grandma and Grandpa

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Years ago, I started a tradition of giving my girls Wednesday gifts. Things that weren't big, just something fun or cute or useful, maybe even something as little as a heat resistant spatula for the kitchen or a lip gloss. I called them Wednesday gifts because for some reason the first few happened to be purchased or given on a Wednesday. They didn't get a gift every Wednesday or even one Wednesday a month, just whenever.

My girls have even given me Wednesday gifts. What fun for me. And today, my neighbor, Cindy, gave me a Wednesday gift. The cutest Santa you ever saw. (I MUST learn how to post pictures.) Plus a book. How lucky am I? Not that getting gifts is lucky but having Cindy for a friend, who know exactly what would surprise and please me and then making sure it came on a Wednesday--that's lucky. I have such a good friend, within spitting distance, (that is if I spit or if she did. I don't. Well, not when anyone is looking and I'm pretty sure she doesn't spit, even if nobody ever looked. She's that kind of non-spitting girl.)

Anyway, I have lots of Wednesday friends, people who give to me just because. They send me emails. How I love emails. They call me on the phone. They stop by. That has got to be my favorite kind of a friend, the stopping-by ones. People that know they are welcome at any hour of the day or night. They stop by just because. Last Christmas two friends stopped by, one because I had said in an email that I was in a major meltdown and the other one just knew something was wrong. I'm sure it was the whispering of the Holy Ghost that told her I needed her. They both held my hands and told me everything would be all right. They were both here at the same time and I will never forget that day and my two good friends if I live to be one hundred.

Come to think of it, as I read other people's blogs, look at their photographs, glimpse into their lives, laugh or are awed by the tough things they go through, the loneliness, the illness, the worry over children or other family members and all those things are a gift to me, on a Wednesday or any other day. I see strength that I want in my own life, I see compassion and I see humor. There are some incredible funny people out there. Some can make me laugh with one line, others have me laughing paragraph after paragraph.

Many gifts for me today. This Wednesday. Thank you, my dear friend, Cindy and my other friends. Seen and unseen. Those of you within spitting distance and those from the nether parts. I wish I had a Wednesday gift for each of you but since I don't please know that I appreciate you and wish you well, this Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I'm too tired to post tonight. It would just be nonsense. I wrapped caramels all day. Okay, so that part is exaggerated but it seems like all day. I didn't get the ornaments on the Christmas tree, that's for sure but my Dolly Parton candle display is beautiful. Phil calls it Dolly Parton because it's glittery and glitzy and my granddaughter, Miss Dolly Parton incognito--masquerading as a seven year old, will love it. I made him turn all the house light out, including the several hundred lights on the Christmas tree so I could light the candles and bask in the glittery display. He just chuckles. I do love a man with a good chuckle.

I must learn how to put pictures on this blog soon. Pam will come to my rescue, she rescues me at all times, for all kinds of reasons. She calls at a moment's notice and we speed off for unmentionable pleasures. Not that kind of unmentionables. Okay, I'll tell you. We sneak off regularly and get J-Dawgs. Evil, horrible, probably nitrate filled hot dogs from Heaven. (The Polish are best--they only offer Polish and beef dawgs--this is enough to make your mouth water. "Slurp.") They are evil and horrible because they are an addictive substance and should be registered with the narcotics division. Once you've had a J-Dawg you can go about a week and then you are finding reasons why you have to drive on 7th east, where it dead-ends into lower BYU (Brigham Young University) campus, and just happen to pass this tiny little kiosk type building that used to sell flowers, of all things. "Hey," you say, "Look at that! We're driving right by J-Dawg's. Might as well stop--as long as we're here."

There is no sign. The owner doesn't advertise and he looks like he's all of nineteen years old, for Pete's sake and he is making a bundle of money, a good deal of it mine. J-Dawg's are sold out of a little shack and there is pretty much always a bunch of people standing in a line that sometimes snake into the street. Do the line-snakers care that they might get run over. You bet, if it is before they get their J-Dawg. If after they would just lie in the road and chew. One day I will do a blog about this phenomenon and maybe post a picture, after Pam teaches me how.

So, Pam, who rescues me will surely help me soon to figure out how to screech into the photo blogging business and you will see my Dolly Parton candle display and I will take a picture of a J-Dawg and you will have to come on a vacation to Provo so you too can have a new addiction to add to your whatever-you-are-already-addicted-to list.

What is on your list anyway? I am working on carrots. I am trying to drown all the sugar, from my Christmas-goodies-addictions with beta carotene. It's not working so well but I'm determined. Never underestimate a determined woman, especially one with carrot breath.

And when I'm not to tired to write maybe we can have a decent conversation about something meaningful. Like my son's belly button lint collection. Bless his weird little heart.

Or we can talk about my other boy's dreadlocks that he had his sister, the talented hair stylist who is cheerful beyond my level of understanding, cut off years ago, and that he has saved the dreaded things in an Altoid's tin. How this blond haired boy got his hair to make dreads is beyond my level of understanding. It is also beyond my level of understanding why my youngest, beautiful daughter--I have two beautiful daughters--anyway, the youngest has the hair of the God's and is also dreading her hair, at this moment. There are many things beyond the level of my understanding.

Or we can talk about my other son's addiction to radios. Not the kind that play music and news but the kind you hear a whole bunch of static and then he says, "Did you hear that? That was someone in Japan!" And you say to yourself, sure it was, all the time rolling your eyes. But he gets so excited and after all, he is the son who introduced me to the computer and built the one I'm typing on--even though it is old and has an attitude--and so whatever he says is all right with me. Japan? "You bet," I say, "he sounded like he was speaking Japanese." With a static accent.

What were we talking about? Oh, that's right. Nothing. Because I'm to tired. I'll write something tomorrow maybe, if I get the ornaments on the tree and soon, when Pam is unbusy, I will learn how to put pictures on my blog and then watch out! I may get interesting.

Right now I'm going to eat more carrots and go to bed. Right after I check out my favorite blogs. Or not. Because I really am too tired. So if I usually comment on your blog and I didn't tonight you'll have to make allowances.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Last night we were invited to two friend's homes to do the same thing--light an advent candle and sing Christmas songs. The second invitation came from our neighbors, The C's who went to the house the first invitation came from (the P's) last year. If this keeps up--each family that is invited to the P's house will be starting new traditions--there won't be anyone left to invite.

It was a wonderful evening. There were fourteen of us, three were children and so they wandered in and out. We sat around the table and choose a song to sing--twice. We sang everything from "Up On the Housetop" to songs from the 40's to sacred religious and children's religious hymns. The P's newlywed boy and his bride were there with young love's glow. He sang beautifully and set the pitch. Another couple have been married only eight months and I noticed they sang to each other a lot--there was a lot of young love nestling in.

After singing we had a plethora of savory and sweet treats and all kinds of flavors of hot chocolate. It was a wonderful way to end a Sunday evening. Good friends, good food and songs about the Savior's birth.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Derrel--one of the world's most delightful people--grew up hearing this saying: "Big snow, little snow. Little snow, big snow. " This wisdom came from the Indians. Perhaps the Piutes, who lived in and around Kanab, Utah where Derrel grew up. There were Navajos Indians living there too. Derrel doesn't know exactly which tribe had the saying. Perhaps both. Perhaps all the Indian tribes who live in parts of the country where snow is prevalent have this saying.

I just visited with Derrel on the phone and he says he can hear the Indians say it still. Slowly, with dignity. "Big snow." (Pause) "Little snow." (Pause, pause.) Little snow." (Pause.) "Big snow."

When the snowflakes are big the accumulated snowfall will be small. When the snowflakes are little the accumulated snowfall will be big. Derrel says that through the years he has seen this proven to be true almost 100% of the time. Since Derrel told Phil this about ten years ago I have observed the same.

Today was a little snow, big snow day. The snow sifted down, as if the angels, dusting Christmas cookies with powdered sugar were making a mess in the Heavenly kitchen. I was driving with my daughter, Elizabeth, in the powdered sugar snow. At first it was fine, the windshield wipers took the sifting off with no problems.

We went to Borders. We browsed for a l-o-n-g time. When we came out the car was covered. The side mirrors, which I didn't notice, looked like oblong snowballs. We got back on the road, the v-e-r-y slippery road, and when I needed to change lanes I looked in the side-oblong-snowballs and realized I had a problem. We rolled the windows down, scrapped the snow off but it was frozen in diamonds underneath. With our fingernails we scraped. It didn't make much difference.

I drove to a store--that shall be un-named--to see if they had any good toys I might need to buy for the grandkids. I am not mentioning the name because this store gives my daughter the shivers--she might be somewhat of a store-snob--and she spent most of my in-store-shopping-time in the car, freezing to death and fogging the windows.

The savvy store had printed a $5.00 off coupon and it was like a free five-dollar bill, pulling me in. I did find what I was hoping to, which I won't mention here because there is a slight, very slight chance the parents of those grandkids might read this blog and say to the grandkids, "I know what Grandma and Grandpa are getting you for Christmas." There is nothing more annoying than someone who knows a secret, a secret about you, and taunts you with it. My children take every opportunity to taunt. They have the annoying gene. It comes from my husband's side, I'm pretty sure. Okay, there is a slight chance it comes from mine. Slight.

I stashed my wonderful purchases in the back of the car and got in the driver's seat. I looked at my blue-tinged daughter and said, "Where to now?"

"Barnes and Noble," she said. (She has a hard time getting her fill of bookstores. She writes like a dream, and absolute dream--I am so jealous--and one day her books will be on the shelves. Bookstore air is an elixir to her.)

Backing up was an act of faith, due to Elizabeth's breath coating the windows, and both of us hung out the windows to make sure we weren't running over Rudolph, .

Then I proceeded to slide all over the road. I tried to put 4-wheel drive on but since I have the technological-non-functioning-gene it wouldn't work. Cars, with all their technological innards, enjoy taunting me. There's a lot of taunting going on in this world.

"Are you sure you want to go to Barnes and Noble?" I asked.

No answer. I looked over at her white face and clinched knuckles. "You better just take me home," she said in a weak voice.

"I was going to buy you lunch at Cafe Rio and you were going to come home and download my pictures and show me how to put pictures on my blog."

"Not today," she said, color starting to come back into her face. "Just take me home." Obviously starvation was preferable to what she perceived my driving might lead to.

I drove the car, slipping and sliding but because I grew up driving in snow I knew what to do to come out of a slide. If I didn't we would have done 360's. Lots of 360's. As the car slipped and slid and as I pulled it out of the slides the color left her face permanently. She may have to use tanning cream until she's ninety.

We drove down University Avenue and I pointed out a stand of trees, frosted with snow and a wire fence, wrapped in whiteness.

"Isn't that beautiful?" I asked, trying to ignore the fear we both felt because of the road conditions.

No comment. She had no interest in beauty. She wanted to go to her apartment, where it was safe. Were things didn't slide into each other.

So I took her home and sure enough, the car slipped into the gutter. Because it could and because of the taunting it so enjoys. I couldn't drive out of this one. I could back up but could not go forward. I didn't want to back home in the sifting, powdered sugar snow so I had her enlist the help of her friends and they pushed me out. I drove in first gear for two blocks and then, miraculously, the 4-wheel drive kicked in. It waited until my bloodless-faced child was gone. It so loved to give her a good scare, my taunting car.

I drove twenty miles an hour--or less--the five miles home. I passed every policeman in the city, helping people out of smashed cars. One three car pileup had the middle car tipped in the air like a stink bug. I wonder how the end car felt as it watched the rear end of the middle car plow into it's windshield.

So, today was a little snow, big snow day. I don't know if the Indians have any wisdom about the slipperiness of the snow but if they do, I'd like to know what it is. The next time those conditions are right I'm staying home. Bookstore or no bookstore--bargains or no bargains. I'm staying home.


I was finished with the computer and said to Phil, "Do you want me to log off or leave my blog up for you to read?"

"You can leave it up," he said.

"Yesterday's blog is about our hot romance," I said.

"Did I miss it?" he said.

And so it goes. If not hot romance we have laughter.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Tonight we watched Even Almighty for date night--we neither one wanted to go out. Cute movie--TV Guardian did bleep out a few words but not much. I told Phil I wanted to sit on the couch with him while we watched. I forgot.

I made popcorn with browned butter--mine with nutritional yeast--his with just salt--see my cookbook for the
popcorn info. We ate and watched and laughed. Then I remembered I wanted to sit close to him, not in our recliners--which I am sure belong in "the home"--when did we succumb to recliners, I wonder. I put my hand on his arm rest. He put his hand over mine, squeezed a bit and we settled in to watch the rest of the movie. This is nice, I thought.

Soon the top of my hand got sweaty. Then it started to itch. What to do? What to do?

I very slyly pulled my hand away, scratched the top of it, pulled the sleeve of my sweater down over it and put my hand back. Phil's hand settled over mine.

"What's this?" he said, picking up the sleeve of my sweater.

"My hand got sweaty. Then it itched."

He sighed, put his hand back over my seater'd one and that was that. So much for romance in the family room.

Which reminds me of earlier today. We had gone to run errands. I went into the craft store. He sat in the car. He hates craft stores. He hates fabric stores. I hate hardware stores. I think we're even.

When I came out I stowed my purchases in the back seat and when I got in front he leaned over and said, "Give me a kiss." He had a little smile on his face. I was immediately suspicious.


"Just do it. Give me a kiss."

I kissed him on the cheek.

"Give me a real kiss, on the lips."

I couldn't' bring myself to do it. I thought he was "up to something."

I badgered him and finally he sighed and said, "I've been watching all the people coming out of the craft store. They didn't look very good. They looked sad. Then you came out and I was so happy that you were my wife and now you won't even give me a kiss."

I missed my chance for a tender moment. So much for romance in the parking lot.


Here is the promised dart gun story from the past.

In 1985 we took the kids to San Diego for a long anticipated vacation. We had rented a condo that overlooked a sailboat filled marina. It was beautifully decorated, the view was spectacular, everything was perfect. When we had unlocked the door, pushed it open and started to come in and Hillary actually backed up. “We don’t belong here,” she said.

“What? This is the right place. They key works. It’s paid for. What’s the matter?”

“This is too nice for us,” she said.

Right then I knew something was wrong in the Universe. My precious child, this eleven-year-old-Utah girl who was bright and happy and well adjusted, who always saw the good in life, did not think she belonged in a nice place. She was a daughter of God. He wants to give her all the good things in life but she had forgotten. She had forgotten and was not feeling worthy.

Some of the kids bustled past her and she got pushed in. When we got all the luggage in we tried to explain about why we belonged here. She wasn’t buying it.

I went into the bedroom and unpacked one of the suitcases because it contained a secret and as much as I wanted everyone to get unpacked—as much as I wanted them to unpack and not have to do it myself, I knew this was more important.

“Here,” I said to everyone, tossing them a package. “Let’s play.”

“Wow! Do you mean it?” they asked as they each grabbed and tore the wrappers off.

“Get ready,” I said. “Get set. Go!”

Darts flew everywhere. Guns were re-loaded and more darts flew. They ran to hide behind walls, peeking out to take aim and dodge darts. They ran behind couches and chairs and crouched down, loading and shooting.

Finally everyone’s dart guns were empty. They emerged like hungry locusts, running and snatching darts from all over the room. Phil was as busy gathering darts as the kids.

Another furious round of dart-gun-war began. Everyone laughed. Everyone scurried. Occasionally someone said, “Oh, you got me!” Sometimes they fell on the floor, holding their chests.

The only rule was: don’t aim for the face. Someone--you know who you are, my wicked children--didn’t listen and Phil took a dart exactly in the middle of his forehead. Play was halted long enough for me to take a picture and for the kids to scream with laughter and then the furious darts resumed, like wasps from a threatened nest.

The war lasted four hours. Four hours! Honest it did. I quit after about fifteen minutes and unloaded suitcases, put clothes away and fixed dinner. I would peek into the living room/dining room occasionally and a dart would whiz past my head.

“I’m not playing,” I’d yell.

It didn’t matter, three our four more darts would be launched in my direction. Phil was so tired by this time that he sat at the dining room table and only got up to replenish his dart supply. His shirt was wet with sweat. The kid’s hair was wet around the hairline. They will sleep good tonight, I thought.

By the time dinner was ready there was no more “I’m not worthy” thoughts. We had taken the condo by the throat and made it ours. A sack full of dart guns, a savvy mother and a good war will do that every time.