Monday, June 30, 2008


Loving, laughing, sharing, swinging with friends.


Ha! Got your attention, didn't I? Not that kind of swingers, just friends, sitting on the lawn swings, swinging.

Saturday's Swingers: Just Phil and me. We sat together, which we don't always do as the newer swings are more comfortable for him, the older ones are more comfortable for me. He put his arm around me and we sat, mostly in silence, enjoying the closeness and companionship. It was like old times, dating times when we could sit and talk for hours.

Yesterday's Swingers: Dona, Mark, Pam, Phil and me. We laughed so much and so loud that today our neighbor--across the street--who was in the house last night but heard us--asked to be let in on yesterday's joke. It was funny, a hilarious story, but would leave something in the translation. That Dona, she has a story for every occasion.

Today's Swingers: Joan, David, Kim, Genny, Dick, Boyd, Betty, Phil and me. Subjects today were more serious, a bit of joking, Boyd brought Australian licorice and dark chocolate. We watched the comings and goings in the neighborhood, waved to neighbors. Nate rode by on his bike and then stopped for a half hour or so and gave us news of one of his sisters, who some of us taught in Young Women's. She has another cancer but not an aggressive one. She will be in all our prayers tonight.

We are a close neighborhood. Share each other's joys and tragedies. Share jokes. Share friendships. Share treats. Share anticipated trips to J-Dawg--some have not been to J-Dawg yet. Unbelievable.

Which is where Pam and Sarah and I went to today. Which is a story for another day but if you are local to Provo and Orem you owe yourself a trip. Get it with extra sauce and extra banana peppers and unless you are a spicy Dawg lover, avoid the jalapenos. Don't forget the Smart Cookie while you are there. Sarah buys them by the dozen.


Happy woman, wins contests, collects big.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Yesterday our Net Flix movie came. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. This was another of my choices. The one before it was also mine, Whale Rider. A gripping Maori film. Well, I liked it. It was a gentle movie. If Phil wants real gripping, action packed movies he needs to get busy and order some. I just ordered three more, just like this one, movies that I've never heard of, gentle, heartwarming movies. This movie was based on a true story of a woman who, with her wit, determination and writing ability, entered contests and won.
Early on, we see the milkman--we saw him a lot--telling her he couldn't deliver her milk because she couldn't pay. Just then the mailman brought the mail and she opened up an envelope that contained two dollars winnings from a contest she had entered. She paid the milkman and got her milk.
All through the movie she won things. A freezer, a Triumph car, which she had to sell but she sat in it a lot, enjoying it while she had it even though she didn't drive.
She even won a frenzied shopping trip where she loaded her cart with things like button mushrooms, caviar and capers, sides of bacon and steak. She rejoiced in each item and helped the kids rejoice in them too. They had a feast with all the things she had put in her cart but her disgruntled husband refused to join in the fun. He opened a can of spam and ate it cold out of the can.
What I liked most about the movie was that she was happy. She had ten kids and an alcoholic husband. She could barely keep ahead of the bills and she was happy. She was happy about little things and big things and she taught her kids that they were important and valued and she was happy they were hers.

My favorite line in the movie--her pessimistic husband, who drank his way into the family's near ruin was criticising her for being happy--I should have made Phil back the DVD up so I could quote it exactly but she said something like: "I just want you to not ruin things when I am happy."

I've been thinking about the movie ever since. She was happy no matter what. We all have things we are sad about. Children we worry about, husbands who left us--mine hasn't but if I keep ordering grade B movies, maybe--diseases, deaths of loved ones, lost jobs, lost loves, lost lives--or so we think, bad hair, bad shoes, bad attitudes, etc. Why can't we be happy, like this woman was, anyway? Yes, we are sad about sad things but can't we be happy about little things, like she was?

The scripture, "Man is that he might have joy," keeps coming back to me, again and again. Our Heavenly Father wants us to have joy, to be joyful. Here. Now. Even with the tough times. We knew we were going to face tough times when we came here and yet we "shouted for joy" at the opportunity to come.

My wish for all of us today: for you, who are sad today, for you who are happy today, and for me, who might or might not be sad or happy today, is that we might find joy in our lives. Not when things get better, not when the trials are over, but right now. I wish we might have joy in our lives like the woman in this film.

Find something to be joyful about. You are a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves you. That's a biggie, isn't it? That's worth a whole bucket, overflowing with joy, every day. What a miracle that we have that knowledge. He loves us, he watches over us. No, he does not stop the bad things from happening but he helps us to have the strength to live through them.

And he wants us to be happy.

And we will, won't we? Sure. We can do that. We can do anything because after all, we are children of Heavenly Father.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Tub people reunited, just like real people.

I used seven words, but some days I have only used five, so I'm borrowing a word from when I was spare in text.


Today we got a call from one of our grandchildren, Joe Cool. He said he and Hollywood wanted to come over. What for? Just to come over. They did and then Mary Poppins called and wanted to come too. Just to come over. Not to do anything special.

I fixed some lunch--not much, just a peanut butter and honey sandwich and some grape slush and then we sat on the lawn swings and I read books to them. They were content to just sit there and let me read and read. It was like old times when I used to read to my own children.

One of the books I read was by the author Pam Conrad called THE TUB PEOPLE. I saw her years ago at a BYU Writer's conference. I was impressed with the love she had for her stories. In fact, hearing her passion was maybe one of the reasons I thought I might want to write.

THE TUB PEOPLE is one of my favorite picture books. Joe Cool, Mary Poppins and Hollywood said it was one of their favorite books too so I must have read it to them before. It is about loss and reuniting.

The Tub Boy is lost down the drain. No one smiles anymore. Finally a plumber comes and rescues him but puts him in the bottom of the tool box, snaps it shut and leaves. And then...they are all reunited on a soft bed. It is exactly like my belief of death and resurrection. I told the grandchildren what I thought the book was really about and hope they understood.

Pam is gone now, she died young, she was 48. She died almost exactly eight years ago. She left a legacy of wonderfully written books that I treasure.

I also hope that someday, my grandchildren might remember a summer day, sitting on the lawn swings, slurping grape slush and listening to their grandmother read wonderful words to them. I hope they might remember that she talked about comforting things, about death not being totally sad because the Savior made resurrection possible for all of us. I hope they will remember that we will all be together again.

We have all lost someone so Pam's words are comforting. Comforting for me. I hope they are comforting for you.

It was a good summer day. Sitting on the lawn swings, reading and having three of my grandchildren all to myself.


Grandparents, hopeful, happy, being good examples.

Friday, June 27, 2008


It's my friend's birthday. What is she doing to celebrate? Tending her grandchildren. Not for a couple of hours but for three days! Holy Moley. Three days. She's..."a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" She and her husband are making an impact on those kids lives. Their grandchildren are going to grow up knowing exactly what their grandparents stand for. They will be better people because they have such dedicated grandparents in their lives. Happy Birthday, Pam--who never stops, never takes a day off from being a good example, from trying--and succeeding--to be a better person.

So, I'm taking stock of my what-am-I-trying-to-be life. And you know what? I'm not sure. Oh, now if you really ask me I can give you the answers. What I'm wondering is what does my day-to-day life show that I am trying to be. I think it's not a pretty answer.
  1. I must be trying to be a magician--I think I can pull dinner out of thin air.
  2. I must be trying to live on charity--if I wait long enough the laundry will get folded--by someone else.
  3. I must be conducting a scientific experinment--I'm trying to see what happens when I'm sleep deprived.
  4. I must be trying to be a mind reader--or letting other people have the privledge of reading my mind--I don't return phone calls/emails when I should. I mean to, time just gets away from me.
And because of number three I must not try to figure anything more out tonight. It will all be gibberish.

Happy Birthday, Pam who has it all figured out even though she is also operating under the influence of number three, AND is tending her grandchildren.


I didn't cry, but wanted to.

PS Don't worry about my crying--or wanting to. It was about the lost documents. All is well here. Thanks, Jyotsana, for your tender heart.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Last night, just before logging off and going to bed I opened my documents and there was nothing there. Not as much as one document. Not even a ransom note.

The only documents I could find were my personal history one, my 3x5 recipes and the one chapter I took to the agent at the BYU conference. Those I had put on our new external hard drive. Granted those are the three ones I would most want to save if the house burned down but there are several hundred other documents missing. Everything I have written in the last...say, ten years! My first novel. Hopefully my practice novel but never the less, I hated to loose it. All my thoughts, things like the notes that I had written to the Primary children when I was a counselor, over 500 of them, all my letters, etc. A lot of nonsense, yes, but it was my nonsense.

Turning off the computer and turning it back on--a ploy used by computer challenged people, helped not at all. The documents were still gone. I emailed those three documents to myself, just in case, and went to bed with much sadness.

Today, we hired someone to come and retrieve them. He got everything but my photos, which I think are gone for good but I also think they are stored online, somewhere. So much for my great photography. --That was a joke, okay?--

Anyway, tonight, I am grateful to have most everything back. Material things don't matter. I've always known that. Relationships matter, I've also always known that, but now I know that words matter too. And I'm grateful to have mine back.


Looking for inspiration. Got a lesson.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I was searching for a blog subject tonight and I decided to go to my favorites file and close my eyes and run the courser--or is it cursor? Curses, I don't know which. Anyway, I decided to run that little arrow/hand up and down, and then stop, and with the eyes still closed pick a web site. Maybe, I thought, there will be an idea for a blog there.

Guess what? It was Orson Scott Card's web site where 34 of his writing lessons are posted. Wouldn't you know it? Me, not writing today, and of over 900 web sites in my favorites file, I pick his.

"This means something," said in my best Richard Dreyfus's voice, from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

I should have known.

So, I must write. I hope some of you are writing too.

PS Orson's website has had 6, 388,452 since June 8, 1996. Impressive. Also, I once lived in Greensboro, NC. If things had turned out differently I might still be there and have been able to take classes from Uncle Orson. Then, I would be writing about a girl in a mythical city in a made up world, fighting aliens and not a funny story about a girl, somewhat autobiographical, with a totally bossy older sister. Sorry sis, you know you were.

PPS If you ever find the DVD or video Close Encounters of the Weird Kind let me know. It was a parody of the movie mentioned above and it was hilarious. I googled it. Totally weird stuff came up. Totally.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Prepare ye for time of need


Tonight Phil got home late. We had home teacher's coming in 20 minutes. I was sitting on the lawn swings, reading Sally Warner's book Totally Confidential, which is out of print but you can buy it, used from Amazon. Sally gave me my copy. I'm so lucky--it's a good read. Everything she writes is good.

I had not fixed dinner. Don't ask me why. The brain refused to function about the subject of dinner today. Besides that I ate lunch out with friends and when I do that dinner is often non-existent.

The home teachers were delightful, gave us part of the talk by Elder Faust in June's Ensign: .

"Every time in my life when I have chosen to delay following inspired counsel or decided that I was an exception, I came to know that I had put myself in harm’s way. Every time that I have listened to the counsel of prophets, felt it confirmed in prayer, and then followed it, I have found that I moved toward safety. Along the path, I have found that the way had been prepared for me and the rough places made smooth. God led me to safety along a path that was prepared with loving care, sometimes prepared long before."

Justin said he has been hearing about being prepared in the area of food storage all his life. I have too. Mother used to have a fruit room FILLED to the rafters with food for us and for "The Californians." "They will come in droves one day and they'll be hungry," she used to say. I never found out exactly why they would be coming in droves but we were prepared in case they did.

My contribution to the lesson was to tell Justin that since we don't have the room in our basement, and they do, that we will store our extra water there. Every time I empty a good bottle I wash it, fill it with water and put it by the steps. Phil has to try and find a place to put it. He's running out of room. We may have water that tastes faintly like salsa but I think if we are thirsty we won't care. Or if we are dirty and want to wash, salsa water would be delightful. Or Justin and his family will be delighted.

I also told him pasta will store for eight years.

So much for my vast knowledge.

After they had prayer with us--yes, on the lawn swings--Phil and I went to Dairy Queen and ordered a hot dog and ice cream. Our bill was $3.49. We drove to the BYU LaVell Edward's Stadium parking lot and ate. He said I was a cheap date.

Now I ask you, should I be offended?

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Manuscript finishers: creatively working hard.

That's only five words but I'm so creative I can get the job done with less words.


It's actually Saturday. I was simply too worn out to type one word last night. I didn't even check email.

The last day I met with an agent--a privilege it has taken me six years to earn. His encouraging words, "I love it," and "I know you can write." This is pretty good for a girl who ten years ago didn't even know what the word "genre" meant and six years ago--or maybe it was seven--I attended my first BYU conference and knew virtually nothing.

Can I finish my YA novel and get it ready for submission? Yes, I'm going to. It means hard work and I'm going to do it.

The chapter the agent read went through three different critique groups in the last month, including the class of Sally Warner's at the BYU workshop. I received help from many hands, including a published author. So, with all that help it ended up better than my original.

Now I am going to have to rely on my critique group to be brutal. I am going to ply them with caramels for Christmas--and maybe other times too, and Savory Italian Tomatoes and--perhaps most persuasive--threats and guilt. "You must help me or I will wither and die," or perhaps something not quite so dramatic.

My advice to anyone else in my position--someone who wants to publish: Write every day. The difference in a great writer and a great writer who publishes is the second one writes every day--or at least five days a week. This was evident, this year. I heard it over and over and over. You can't take a vacation from your writing because you have little kids or fill-in-the-blank. Whatever you are dealing with you will need to deal with it and write too.

Okay, yesterday's gems:

Be able to tell someone about your novel in an "Elevator Pitch." That means two sentences, as long as it take the elevator to reach the agent's floor--while you have her captured in the elevator.

If its funny make it hilarious. My chapter was funny. The agent wanted me to bump it it up to make it more funny.

If your novel is tragic or has some really tough issues then end it in some kind of hopeful way. In Sally's novel, IT ISN'T ABOUT THE MONEY, she ended with a flashback where the protagonist remembered a wonderfully tender moment--a moment she could treasure all here life--with her parents before the tragedy happened.

Talent is passive, many people have talent but don't create. It takes courage to create. And hard work. THE COURAGE TO CREATE by Rollo May was sited by Sally. Being creative is active--it employs action. People who last, have a mixture of talent and creativity. If you have all talent and no creativity you NEVER FINISH a manuscript. I seem to have no creativity for housework. Although, I may have the clutter talent.

Creativity and forgiveness are the highest functions we have and the hardest too. All the powers in the Universe seem to be working to stop you from getting writing done and once you have made the effort to do it the Universe helps you. You will find ideas everywhere. The same goes for forgiveness.

Books should be about something important. Estrangement from a sibling, betrayal of a friend and how the protagonist makes things right, etc.

When Sally feels she is loosing her way she asked herself things like, "What am I trying to say? What's the point I'm trying to Make?

Quaker saying: "Sit loose." Wait until you know what's the right thing to do.

Be careful about talking about something you are going to do because it takes the energy from the project.

Sally--and her husband, who is a writer too--writes all morning until about 1:30 and then they they do "life things"--like go to lunch. I vote for that. In the evening she revises the morning's work.

A quote from jean Rhys: "All of writing is a huge lake. There are rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake."

I am thinking that perhaps the little trickles will be poetic and feed someones soul. Or maybe they will be funny and lighten someones day. That's enough for us. To help someone out on the slog that it takes to get through the day to day life.

Make a list of 100 titles for you book. Make a list of 100 ways to solve the problem in your book. You will never find the perfect title or problem solved in number 1-20, it will maybe be number 78.

...Okay, it's again very late and this is enough for tonight. I imagine the only people who are still with me are those who are interested in this subject. So, goodnight.

Friday, June 20, 2008


"Brain itch" leads to animated movie.


A couple of quick notes.

Quick fix for a manuscript. Go through and look for five senses. Ex: The rank smell of perspiration. The rough texture of his coat.

A flashback is like a bump in the road. It stops the forward movements so you really need a good reason to use it.

Don't be afraid to have your character have strong emotions.

Address the real issues.

A grammatical mistake everyone makes. "None are." "None" is a contraction meaning "not one." So, the proper way to say it, even though it sounds wrong is, "None is."

One of the best ways to develop your "voice" is just to free write. You will get some things that are raw. Some good book ideas come from free writes. Don't worry about the correctness of your work, just write.

The best way to become a writer is to write.

I should be in bed but I re-wrote today's piece. I didn't need to because I'm not going to read again but I did it anyway while my groups critique was fresh in my mind. I don't know if I've posted it here yet. It's when my sister--my poor sister, she is taking a beating in my work--called me a Pooka.

Brandon Sanderson said something pretty cool today--well he said a lot of cool things but he said he had an idea that wouldn't leave him alone and he called it an "itching in my brain." This is a book-Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians--that is being made into an animated movie! Pretty cool outcome for a brain itch.

Until tomorrow....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Today was a short day, thank goodness. I may get to bed before midnight or shortly after. I just finished two assignments and re-wrote a story called, "The Pooka," for tomorrow or Friday's reading. I hope it is tomorrow because if it is Friday I will edit it one more time and have to copy it all over again.

I am only going to put a couple of non-writing related things people said today that are interesting.

The most irresponsible or craziest person has all the power in a relationship. For instance: The person who is always late. When you realize that, you can take the power back.

Teenagers: They have to pull away from parents to become adults so they have to come up with reasons why they hate their parents. You might hear them say, "I never want to be like that. I never want to look like that." They may live in the same town but the parents never hear from them. They are completing the process of separation.

An amazing description from Sally Warner's new book, IT'S ONLY TEMPORARY: "...puzzle pieces of snow."

That's it for tonight.


Small tasks, done daily, accomplish much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This will be short as I have a re-write to do and it's already way late.

A few gems from today's workshop:

  • When Sally Warner--who is a great author, by the way and is teaching us a lot--sent one of her first books to her editor she asked him, "So, what did you think about the hidden medieval theme?" and he said, "What hidden medieval theme?" He then gave her this great advice which she has used a jillion times: Don't be afraid of being obvious. Kids don't "get" things like adults do, and in this hidden medieval theme, neither did the adult.
  • But don't be obvious in a way that insults the intelligence of your reader. For instance, don't say, "As I was brushing my teeth I admired my long, curly, blond hair and my snapping green eyes," as if the protagonist had never noticed she was blond and had green eyes before. Find some un-obvious way to describe her.
  • In all your writing something should be at stake.
  • Stephen Fraser, who is an agent said, "With one paragraph I can tell if a book is going to be good." He chooses things that have artistic integrity that he knows will sell. For everything you publish there are 400 rights. Four hundred! Things like rights to different countries, one for each. I-pod rights, audio rights, movie rights, etc. An agent will protect your rights and see you book gets marketed to foreign countries, etc. But, before you send anything to an agent make sure it is professionally done. Make sure it is ready.
  • Of hardbound books you get 10% of selling price. Paperbacks is 6 1/2% UNLESS it is sold to huge chain stores like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., then you earn less. If you are going to market your own book you really need to know the business end.
  • Claudia Mills was hysterical. Her room was packed--this was for the afternoon breakout sessions. The afternoon session is a great bargain, by the way. You can hear all the authors present material plus sit in a session with the editors and agent if you want to. I never want to do that. What would I say?
  • Claudia sleeps ten hours a day and says she would sleep longer but she'd feel guilty. Years ago she read an article in "a great literary publication," she said,--Reader's Digest--called something like, "What you can accomplish in one hour a day." She quoted someone--I didn't catch who--who said a small task, done daily can be like a raindrop that hollows out a stone. To find that hour to write in she says she has low standards. This got a big laugh. But, don't get me wrong. This woman teaches philosophy at the University of Colorado and is very bright. She says she exercises with friends, goes to lunch, does all the things she wants to do and still has published a LOT of books. There are many things she doesn't do so she can do the things that are important to her.
  • Claudia writes an hour a day, no matter what. She wrote an hour a day when her kids were little--at 5:00 AM. She stops when the hour is up and does something else. She uses what Twila Tharpe, in THE CREATIVE HABIT, suggested: creative triggering mechanism. She drinks Swiss Miss Chocolate before starting to write. That way, it signals her brain that this is the time to be creative and write. She drinks this year round. She says if you leave your work for one day it will take you two days to get back to it.
  • Claudia says her critique group saves her TONS of hours on re-writes. She read a piece a man had written and it was excellent writing. He said it had been re-written eighty-eight times. She told him if he had a critique group he could have cut eighty times off.

Well, that's enough. This, obviously was not short but I wanted to get these ideas down in case there someone out there that wants to know these things. Now it's really late, the re-write is almost done but I need someone here to read it aloud to me to see how it sounds. Phil has gone to bed. I guess I'll be reading it myself.

I am getting no blog reading done. Actually, I hardly ever comment on your blogs, I'm sorry, I mean to but I'm always reading them with blurry up-to-late-eyes. But I love visiting them and peeking into your marvelous lives. You handle stress so well, you are optimistic, I see wonderful photographs, I read funny stuff that makes me laugh. I see your faith and committment to your religion and your families and friends. I admire you. Thanks for being my blogging friends.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Write, filling the hole in your heart.


Day one. I am exhausted. Got to bed at 1:45--second night in a row. I fell asleep in the last class of the day--fourteen times--or so it seemed. I don't think anyone noticed as I caught myself but when my pen nearly rolled out of my hand I had to give myself a good talking to.

Some Gems--in no particular order:

  • Every single thing in a book needs to belong and moves the plot forward.
  • Don't edit as you write. Just get it down. If you edit as you go it will be hard for you to cut that scene later as you will have so much invested in it.
  • Write the whole book and then let it sit until the scenes, descriptions, etc. blur. Then you can go back to edit. Take whole scenes out. Fix others.
  • Is your writing fresh?
  • A good beginning has poetry in it--no extra words. Tell what the story is about without telling the whole story.
  • You usually mention the main character right off. Your beginning is your chance to connect with the reader.
  • Know what makes your story interesting and put that in the opening.
  • Memoir: Look for the hole in your heart. If waring men would sit down together and say, "Tell me about your mother. Tell me about your father. Your childhood." If we could get the stories of the holes in their hearts, war would cease to exist.
  • Spend some time writing the blurb that goes on the book jacket.
  • When book drags throw in a new character or bump up the tension. Make your villain more villainous, your hero more heroic. The strength of your antagonist will make your protagonist stronger.
  • If you would make a commitment to write only five minutes a day you can probably write a half page. Multiply that by 365 days and you'll have over 150 pages. A whole book. In only five minutes a day!

Exercise: Kathi Appelt--She put the word "Summer" on the board and then she filled the board with summer words, everything from mosquitoes to fireworks. She told us to choose three and then write a paragraph, using all of them. The first sentence could not use the articles "A" and "the." She gave us five minutes to do this.

This was mine:

Tomatoes, ripe, splitting at the stem end, oozing juice. I picked them, barefoot and bareheaded, the sun hot on my shoulders. The salt shaker, abandoned in the garden until the crickets sang and Mom needed to salt the beans. I snuck the salt shaker into the kitchen; we were both sticky with summer's red juice.

See you tomorrow.


Children and grandchildren--our magnificent future.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Today most of the family was here for Father's Day. We had more food than we needed and it was all tasty. Michelle brought cookies and I snitched a bite--her cookies are the best. But it was a bite of sugar. I made brownie trifle and I snitched three bites. Sugar, sugar, sugar. I think it was worth it but listen to this--maybe it was not.

My sister quit sugar with me. The other day she went to a wedding reception and then to dinner and ate desserts at both places and it sent her into a depression. She even cried! This is a testimony for me to STAY OFF SUGAR if it can impact my sister in such a horrible way. I wonder what it does for me? No, not for me, against me. I wonder what it does for--or against--you?

Tomorrow my conference at BYU starts. Phil and I picked up the author I am assisting at the airport in Salt Lake City, Sally Warner. She writes three to four hours a day for at least six and sometimes seven days a week. Yes, I am impressed. She didn't start writing until she was forty and has 25 books published. I am even more impressed.

So, if you want to write get busy. Make the time. Learn the rules. Keep at it. Even if you are never published you will leave a rich heritage for your family.

Tomorrow and all week I will try to post some gem I have learned.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers and thank you to Phil for making me a mother and for loving the children, worrying about the children and being impressed with the children who have given us such wonderful grandchildren and for the fact that they are teaching the grandchildren so well. Our children and grandchildren are our ticket into watching the future unfold in a magnificent way.


Don't let the creepies get you!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


This evening, as I was mixing artichoke dip ,I was watching one of those Hollywood shows. I don't know which one. They were reviewing the new movies. One movie, with a comedian was being reviewed and the movie scenes they showed and the interview was so smutty I changed channels as fast as my artichoke covered fingers could.

I felt creepy after watching that and so after putting the dip in the fridge--for tomorrow's Father's Day dinner--I went outside and sat on the lawn swings. Our darling neighbor had her entire family on her front lawn. I think were having a family reunion as they all had on matching navy blue shirts.

I sat quietly, reading one of Sally Warner's books--she's the author that I am assisting this coming week--not meaning to eavesdrop but how can you not? They were doing a talent show. First, all the grown up kids performed a funny song with funny costumes on. Then, one by one, and in some cases two or three at a time the grandchildren performed. The creepy feeling left as soon as the first song was sung. A comforting feeling settled around me. They are a righteous family, trying to live good lives

The same thing happened yesterday. Something happened that made me uneasy and I had a bad feeling. Phil and I were out running errands and we stopped at the new--or fairly new--Olivewood Book Store. It is dedicated to Church books and LDS art. As soon as I walked in the door a feeling of peace settled over me. I felt good there and it was hard to leave and go back into the real world. I wanted to sit in one of the cushy chairs and look at the artwork on the walls and read a book.

I surround myself with things of the world. I subscribe to only a couple of magazines but the content of some of them--or at least the ads--is often in poor taste. I need to read the Ensign more--it brings a feeling of peace.

I watch almost no TV, now that LOST is over for the season--but do have it on in the kitchen while I work. It's just mindless entertainment. In fact, when I am babbling--which I don't often do, I'm not a babbler--but sometimes, when Phil is extremely tired and I even talk he sees it as babbling and he says, "You sound like a talk show host." Talking, talking and not saying much of importance.

I need to read the scriptures more. Read more church books. Watch the Conference talks--which we have recorded--or read them in the May Ensign. I could read them online.

I need to take some positive action so that I don't have the creepies.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Blind date broke my heart. Curses!


I just received an email, one of those "check these items you've done and send it on." One of the items to check was: have you ever gone on a blind date?

Yes. I. Did.

My cousin, my dearest, cousin, who loved me--or so I thought--set me up with her new husband's best friend. When I went to the door, there was the ugliest man I have EVER seen, in real life or in a circus.

I started to curse Holly immediately--silently, of course, outwardly, I was charming. That's my middle name, you know, Charming. I cursed her all the way through dinner, while being charming. I cursed her through the movie and on the ride home, while being charming. When he asked if he could call me I silently cursed Holly and then, my charming self said out loud, "Yes." Then I cursed Holly three times. Curse, curse, curse.

Poor Holly, her life was doomed because of my cursing. I had cursing power. I should tell her that parts of her miserable life are my fault. Or maybe I won't tell her and just buy her a gift. Lots of gifts.

After the date with Mr. Circus Ugly Man, when I got inside I told my roommates, "Kill me now! He's going to call."

Now most men don't call. They say they will but they don't. He did call. He called me lots and took me lots of places and we did lots of fun things and before long I quit cursing Holly. And I fell in love with his ugly mug. But, surprise, surprise, he did not fall in love with me.

Now, folks, in those days not only was I charming but I was rather cute, too. And I was a dare devil and would do most things. Not THOSE things, get your mind out of the gutter. I would do fun things, I would go anywhere and try anything and yet, Mr. Ugly Mug did not love me. I was never so surprised in my life.

So, "Have you ever been totally surprised in your life?" should have been on the list and I would have checked it with a capitol "X."

I do not know where Mr. Ugly Mug is now. I wonder if he got married and bred. His kids are probably working for Ringling Brothers.

Oh, now, chill out. I'm just kidding. Charming people kid, like this sometimes. Hee hee hee.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Cold toes? Fluffy (dead) Alpaca slippers.


I am sitting at the computer, almost completely frozen. My toes no longer have feeling. I have a sweater on. The fireplace is on too. Phil turned it on for me, he's considerate like that. He's probably hot. When I am cold he is just right. When I am warm he is miserable.

Phil says he will make me some hot chocolate. Beastly man, he knows I love hot chocolate. Hot chocolate MADE WITH SUGAR. I won't be having any of that. Maybe I will have some hot water. Yum, all in favor of hot water raise your hands. I see no hands.
This is what I really need. Fluffy slippers. Alpaca ones. But how will I ever figure out my size?

Extra small (35-36)
Small (37-38)
Medium (39-40)
Large (41-42)
Extra large (43-44)

And what does the following mean?

Please note - due to the nature of the fur (the Alpacas are not bred for their fur and die of natural causes) each pair of slippers will differ slightly and will not look identical to the photo shown.

Does that mean what I think it means, that these slippers are made from animals that died of old age or of some dreaded Alpaca disease or perhaps by falling off a Peruvian cliff. Slippers made from dead alpacas?

At this price: Price £40.00

I don't know how to convert dollars into pounds so I don't think I will be buying any warm slippers made from dead, perhaps diseased or clumsy, falling-off-cliffs Alpacas. It was a good thought, for a minute there.

But, if you are interested go here and order your own dead slippers. Just don't tell me.


Tango House--Argentine food--and Tangoing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


There's a new--four months old--restaurant in town: Tango house, serving Argentine food. The food is very good. The address is 1700 North State in Provo, Utah.

I don't remember the name of the little shopping mall, it's changed names a few times anyway but here are some of the stores practically next door. Weight Watchers.

Dallis Roberts.

Dollar General.

This is what Tango House looks like inside.

They have a projection TV that shows Argentine shows. I understood about four words.

This is Leo--his name is actually Leonardo. He and his lovely wife, which for some reason I did not photograph, own Tango House.

We started with some empanadas. They looked like this but we were so hungry we started to devour them before I took a photo... Don't tell but I snitched this photo from someone else's blog. this is what ours looked like, almost gone. This was the onion and cheese one. They were very yummy.

This is a photo of the food they serve. This serves ONE person. I know, it's hard to believe. The mashed potatoes were divine.


And more deliciousness.

Phil, who is NOT OFF sugar, ordered flan for dessert. I stopped being off sugar for 20 seconds and had one bite. It was heavenly. Then I climbed back on the "no sugar wagon," and grumbled and tried not to watch his face, which was disgustingly satisfied.

So, if you want a new place to eat, or if you have Argentine ties--maybe your son or daughter is serving a mission there--try Tango House.

They also host missionary reunions.

The food is good.

Leo is charming.

What more could you ask for?

Tell Leo I said, "Hello."


Your children are fine--you too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Monroe McKay is a circuit court judge. He is #3 on my "I love that man," list. Right after Phil and my daddy. (Calm down children, you know I love you and your spouses--you are in a whole different category, which we shall discuss some day.)

Years ago, Monroe~I should probably call him Judge McKay but I'm not going to~gave the Mother's Day talk that saved every mother in the ward from the "guilt's." We put aside the "I am a lousy mother," self talk and actually felt we were adequate and maybe even more than adequate. We were fine. We were good or even great.

He has a way about him that makes you believe every word he says and since he is one of those totally honest human beings, you know you are safe believing every word.

Monroe knows how much I loved his original Mother's Day talk because I have been nagging him to have it written and published. Every mother in ALL THE WORLD should have a copy. I have nagged him about 756 times, or every time I see him at church. ~I try to vary my mode of nagging so he isn't bored. I'm considerate, that way.

This year he again gave a talk on Mother's Day in Sacrament meeting. It was, of course, wonderful. His grandson recorded it and Monroe made sure I will receive a copy. (Chris Clark also gave a talk. He was also wonderful. He too made us feel adequate, fine, good and even great and I believe him also because he is another of those totally honest people. He's darn funny, to boot. Check out his blog.) It was a great Mother's Day for me and I have heard from lots of other mothers, young and old who felt the same way.

Anyway, on Sunday Monroe told me that he is going to make an addendum to his talk and give it to me. He told me some of the things he is going to add. They are comforting. Now, I am not in any way eloquent. Monroe is. I wrote what he said down as fast as my little fingers could write but my interpretation of what he said is inadequate so translate it, as you read, into wonderful words.

From Monroe: When you don't get the outcome you want (concerning your children and the hopes you had for them) you can rejoice in what you do get.

Love is the key to your children knowing they are safe to return home, even if they know you do not approve of their behavior. They know you love them and will welcome them home. ~Love it the key.~

Monroe graduated from college eight years behind his class mates and also graduated from law school eight years behind his class mates. If your child is a slow starter just wait. They will figure out what is best for them.

He talked to us until Sacrament Meeting started and I hung on every word--I can't put it all here, nor could I write it fast enough.

Monroe is married the the most patient, loving, giving woman on planet earth. She has enriched my life in ways too numerous to mention. If I could be 50% like she is I would really be a wonderful human being. Between the two of them they are a force to be reckoned with. In a good way. I have never seen her sad. She is simply a happy person, no matter what.

These things Monroe said sound simple, especially the first one but go back and read it and then rejoice.

And rejoice over yourself too. You are more than adequate. You are fine--really fine.

PS I love the word, "fine." The British know how to use that word. We, as Americans, are so used to the exaggeration that many good words are no longer used. Things are not "fine" any more, they are "awesome." Niagara Falls is awesome but a mountain stream, that chuckles and burbles through the forest and falls down, through a few boulders, here and there, making small waterfalls is fine. I would rather sit by the small mountain steam ten thousand times than sit by Niagara Falls even once.

Be glad to be fine. It's not only adequate but, well, fine.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Holy Smokes! The forest's on fire.


Tonight a friend stopped by and a couple of times she said, "Holy Smokes." I hadn't heard that exclamation for a long time. Do you think that's what someone said when a church/chapel/temple/sanctuary/monastery/etc. burned down? Or is it a big cigar that a religious figure smoked behind the wood shed? And the funny thing, when she left the air smelled just like smoke. It smelled like the forest was on fire.

Another friend says, "Oh my stars." She's the only one I know who says that. Does she stand in the front yard looking up? Actually there aren't hardly any stars if you live in the city unless you are experiencing a blackout and then the sky would be filled. Would they be her stars or would she share?

'When Phil and I used argue one would say, "For crying out loud," and then the other one would say, "For Pete's sake." (We were such brilliant arguers. Witty with the quick come-back.) Who is Pete and why was someone crying out loud? This has evolved over the years to "For crying out the window." I can just picture a sad woman in an old fashioned house dress, leaning against the window frame and crying. Out loud. We don't argue any more. We're too tired. We might lean the against window but that's about it.

My Aunt Lill, who was the most gentle woman I have ever known, used to say, "It's enough to frost your bottom." Can you imagine, my dear little auntie saying such a thing? And what does it mean? She also said, "It's enough to hark a dog." The dictionary says hark means: "...a hunter's shout to hounds, as to encourage them in following the scent." That almost works.

And who ever "Put a sock in it?" And where was the sock supposed to be put? In the mouth, maybe.

If anyone recognizes this one I will know they grew up in Sevier county. "Too late! George is dead!" George was with the family's herd of sheep on the mountain. (People took their sheep to the mountain for free grazing and they would stay all summer.) George's brother was supposed to bring him provisions. A day went by, two days, George was almost out of food. Three days went by, a week. I don't know how long it was but George was out of food for a long time and by the time his brother finally showed up George was so mad he yelled, "Too late! George is dead!"

I shouldn't end with this but when I was growing up we used to say, "Kiss Rosy." We said this like someone might say, "Bug off!" I always wondered who Rosy was. No one seemed to know and then one day it hit me--this was only a couple of years ago. Rosy was code for that piece of anatomy that was frosted. I am so embarrassed. I must have said, "Kiss Rosy" hundreds of times. I hear by apologize to everyone I have ever known.

"Bug off," instead.

Oh, now you know I am just kidding.

Kind of.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Pants too tight by quarter inch.


Phil was leaving for a Stake Priesthood meeting tonight. He came to kiss me goodbye and said, "Okay, goodbye, I'm leaving now, my pants are too tight."

He doesn't know tight pants.


Birthday blessings: family, friends, food

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Today was my birthday. Hooray for me. It was my niece's birthday, too. Hooray for her.

It was a lovely day. I had friends stop by to wish me well and bring me fun prizes, cards and treats--one is a chocolate treat and one was a darling peach cobbler kit so they will have to be tucked away for sometimes when I decide that I might eat some sugar. Phil looked longingly at the peach cobbler and said, "I'm not off sugar." Too bad for him, the cobbler is not being made without me having a bite.

This afternoon we went to Gilmore Girls and The Mighty Hunter's house for a family dinner. She fixed Shrimp fettuccini , which was fabulous. He grilled fresh--picked an hour before dinner--asparagus which was double fabulous. I will post the recipes one of these days on my cookbook site. She sent us home with a huge container of the fettuccini . I won't have to fix dinner tomorrow. Yum.

I am worn out with all the frivolities of the day so I will post a few pictures I have from last week when three of the grandkids were here. My grandchildren are my gratitude babies. I love them all so much.

Curly Sue and Mary Poppins. We actually had ONE DAY that was warm enough to play in the sprinklers.

Mary Poppins doing her singing Moose impersonation.

Tuesday, casually driving.

And if you don't want to drive then fill the
luggage compartment with water and sit in it.


Friday, June 6, 2008

SIX WORD FRIDAY 6-6-08, part 1

Excuses weaken integrity of guilty person

SIX WORD FRIDAY 6-6-08, part 2

Peach pit friendships, the best kind.


Today I had cut an orange, washed strawberries and blueberries and left strawberry hulls, etc. on the breadboard.

I was talking to Gilmore Girl on the phone when Phil came in the kitchen, looked at the breadboard and said, "Why didn't you clean up your mess?"

I had to answer the phone," I said.

"Hey," Gilmore Girl said, "You called me!"

A minor detail.


A friend, who shall remain nameless , gave me this card today.

I want it read at my funeral, which I hope won't be for a lo-o-o-o-ng time. But first I want to live up to it. I'm sharing it with you because so many of you are peach-pit-planting people, too.

~A story About You~

Who in their life hasn't planted a peach pit just hoping that somehow a seedling would grow? And then they move on to some other adventure, and if it comes up--well, they don't even know.

That's one way of picturing your style of living. You've planted ideas and dreams unaware. You've noticed somebody who's heart need attention and planted a positive feeling in there. It's part of your nature. You may not remember the kind and encouraging things that you've done.... But everywhere, "peach pits" are growing like crazy. and people are blooming. (I know it--I'm one.)

Happy Birthday,

To my forever friend,



And this unnamed friend brought me exquisite flowers, right out of her garden. And she took me to lunch. She often calls and says, "What are you doing?" I know that I'm in for an adventure as she has something up her sleeve--and it's not her arm.

Thank you, my unnamed friend. You are my peach pit friend, too.


We have all had peach-pit-planting friends in our lives. Some of them were our own mothers. Some are our sisters. Occasionally they might even be our brothers. Some are friends who have come and gone but we are changed forever because of their kindness. We are stronger. Have more compassion for others. Better know our strengths because they were so generous to tell us what they are. Sometimes they had to shout to us to make sure we heard. Occasionally there may have been shaking involved.

Sometimes they planted a peach pit in a note or, in this day and age, in an email. I got one last week from an old friend. I had forgotten some of the things mentioned but was happy to be reminded. I think sometimes we have family and friends who are shouting encouraging words from beyond the veil. We just can't hear them but we occasionally feel them near.

I feel friendships from my blogging friends, some of whom I have never met. One such friend sent me six beautiful collectible dishes. How do you repay such kindness? I treasure most of all her encouraging words.

To all my friends, old and new, found and lost, I thank you. My peach tree is growing because of you. And bearing fruit, and it's delicious.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Porsche operating cost? Out of sight.


We were driving by a car lot today when Phil, my ever alert car-appreciator, spied a Porsche Cayenne.

"We should buy that," he said.

"What kind of gas mileage does it get," I asked.


"Fifty-nine miles per gallon!?"

"Fifty-nine dollars per mile."

After the snorting there was some sighing and shaking of the heads and then we drove on down the street to look at bicycles--with baskets attached--and sidecars.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Good news for dieters. Food non-affordable.


The price of gasoline is forcing the prices up all over America. Our favorite quick-lunch place raised prices today. Phil and I bought J-Dawg's yesterday--cost $2.75. Pam and I bought J-Dawg's today--cost $3.00.

Now I know it sounds unreasonable but today's J-Dawg tasted better. Maybe because it was made by the owner so it was worth the extra quarter.

Now look at this young man. Doesn't he look all of 14 years old? And yet he is the owner of J-Dawg. I hope he earns a million dollars a year, three bucks at a time.

I don't want to make you hungry or anything but here is what goes on a J-Dawg. I ask for extra sauce--because I am so saucy.

And extra banana peppers. Because I am so hot. Well, once I was hot. In the summer I am still hot==but it looks like we are not going to get summer here anytime soon so there will be no hotness in the land.

We are a spoiled nation, we want to drive up and order things through a speaker that distorts sound so we don't know if the guy on the other end thinks we want "fries with that" or "flies with fat."--I always like fat flies, don't you?--This doesn't happen at J-Dawg.

You have to speak with a real person and you have to walk up to do it.

Even if you are the UTA bus driver has to walk up. But he goes to the back door to pick up his pre-called in order.

He was out of there in less than a minute.

J-Dawg isn't the only one feeling the crunch of trucking prices. Look at this ad:

Three cans of tomato sauce for a dollar? A couple of years ago you could get 8/$1.00 and recently 6/$1.00. Not only is this sale ridiculous but look at this!

You can only buy two dollars worth! Hold on folks, if this is a hint of how things are going to be in the future I suggest you plow up the back lawn and put in a garden. Pronto.

Get the children to help. It will be good for them to learn to plant and weed and then eat the lovely produce and you will grow closer as a family.

Then you can all go to J-Dawg and take the 14 year old owner a fresh garden tomato and a tidy little pile of green beans and everyone will be happy. There will be much rejoicing in the land. And licking of the fingers so you can get every last bit of special sauce.

PS And why--you are asking yourself--did I feel the need to eat a J-Dawg two days in a row? Have you tasted a J-Dawg? As my friend Michael says: "Judge Not," until you have walked a mile in my moccasins and eaten a J-Dawg for yourself. I added that last bit because Michael lives in the land way north, where bears snack on photographers and he hasn't had a J-Dawg for himself. Yet.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Poor Phil, startled half the time.


Today, when Phil started the car the heater was on full blast--it was cold this morning when I came home from my Personal History group--it was cold, okay, even though it's technically June, so I turned the heater on--the radio was on--loud--I was listening to NPR. Poor Phil, he looked wild eyed, like a wildebeest when it knows the crocodile, with his wicked teeth is going to get him.

Phil, before he turned the car on.
Phil, after he tuned the car on and the fan blasted him in the face and the radio blasted his ears.
He was so startled he punched the button that heats the rear He looked at me like a very startled human being and frantically punched the rear window defrost button Finally his brain synapses connected and he turned everything off. He slumped like a rag doll.

Poor Phil, having a wife who forgets to turn things off. She also leaves cabinet doors open. She doesn't mean to, but there they are, open. Some of her children are also cabinet-door-leaver-openers. Maybe it's in the genes. I apologize to those charming people who married my cabinet-door-leaver-openers.
But look at it this way. At least you know what we've been doing in the kitchen. Maybe we have even been getting dinner. How about that? That's a good thing, right?

And the radio is probably on. And maybe some odd fan, somewhere. We leave a trail, like breadcrumbs.


Earth, continents, cities, roads, buildings, garbage.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Nurse Giggleswitch called tonight and we talked about her bike ride for MS and then she had me talk to Lord Bumhampton, who is too shy to ask for donations--for when he is doing a bike ride for MS. And since he is so shy he couldn't bring himself to ask me to donate so he changed the subject and had me go to Google Maps and gave me a tutorial.

I looked at Paris and am now looking at Hong Kong Island. I have no idea if Hong Kong Island is the same as plain old Hong Kong but did you know there is a Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island? Amazing. We have a Happy Valley right here in Utah. Of course, our Happy Valley isn't official, it is sort of a tongue in cheek title.

Lord Bumhampton and I both looked at New York City and we honed in on a parking garage and he got all steamed because cars were blocking other cars. Then we decided it must valet parking and he calmed down. I zoomed out and then back in on a random street and could read the names of businesses and even look at the garbage, waiting at the curb for collection. Of course i couldn't stop and go through the garbage, looking for treasures, but it's an interesting concept, how much will we be able to see in twenty years? Will we be able to see inside the garbage sacks? Will we be able to see the heat that humans and animals and sewers produce?

So, tonight, I have found another way to totally waste a bunch of time, of which I don't have any to waste because I am so busy doing important things, like planting more and more and yet more basil because my first batch died and everyone knows basil is the herb of the gods--and of us peasants too.

I also have to blog. Phil says I don't have to blog every night. He says I could blog once a week. Which just goes to show you that sometimes a man and woman, who have been married since forever, and know each other pretty well--have had kids together and shared things--like the flu and antihistamines--sometimes they just don't know the other person well enough to know that she does have to blog, even if she has a concussion or her leg has a bone sticking out of the skin and blood vessels are in danger of spilling over--well, not that any of those things are true, you understand, but, well, I have to blog. I don't know why.

And I love run-on sentences.

Lord Bumhampton says I should post pictures on my blog--well, ONE picture and no words, or at the most, very few words, so here is a picture for Lord Bumhampton and very few words. Well, here are some pictures for Lord Bumhampton with some words.

You can see New York City on Google Maps.

And Paris France, but you can not see Paris France from a window. Only from a satellite or a car. I think that would be a fun job, driving around all day with ten cameras on the roof of your car, especially if you could drive around Paris, France. Catherine can drive around Paris all she wants. Lucky Catherine. She doesn't even have to have ten cameras on top of her car because she LIVES THERE! I am not jealous. Not much. Okay, I am jealous but I'm in therapy for it.

This gives you a clue about my romance with Italy, thinking I would like to own an olive grove and make lovely olive oil to go with my basil, of which I have much. This does not have anything to do with the theme of this blog, which is nebulous anyway, but I just love this picture and wanted you to see it.

And just because I can, I am including a photo from "Lost," which has a double meaning. All the people on the Island are lost and every stinkin' viewer is lost each and every week, as we try to figure out why they introduce new players and then in two weeks kill them off. They flash back and flash forward and so help me, the new players, who are almost dead, probably have flash backs, too, who knows? Not me. Because I'm LOST half the time.

I'm going to bed now. Have a lovely day.

PS If you haven't done it yet, you really should plant some basil. Then you can make my Summer Pasta which is divine. I've told you this before but you weren't listening.