Thursday, July 31, 2008


Summer's ending, new clothes shopping. School.


School starts early here--August 18. All I want to say is WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?

Kids need a full summer to get rid of the school cooties. They need to have dog days, sweltering days, when they finally can't stand it another minute and they run through the sprinkler, fully clothed--or as fully clothed as a kid is, in the summer. They need to have enough time to lie on the grass, being so bored that they finally look at the clouds and see castles and cows with the heads of chickens and warriors wearing hula hoops.

Having back-to-school sales on the 4th of July is just wrong. The 4th of July should be in the first half of summer with days and days of saying, "I'm bored," until the kids decide to run a lemonade stand, or dig a hole to China in the back yard and discover a dinosaur instead, or construct a tree house in a tree too puny to hold them, maybe with a quick trip to the emergency room thrown in for good measure.

If you let a kid have enough summer they get itchy to go back to school, they hunt through kitchen drawers for pencils which they sharpen just to sniff the aphrodisiac back-to-school smell. They rub old erasers until all the old is rubbed off and then they write on scrap paper just so they can erase what they wrote.

But this year school is reaching its fingers right into the grass cutting, begging-for-Popsicles, can-we-go-swimming days of summer. School shouldn't start until after Labor Day. By then everyone is ready, including the teachers who actually had time to take their kids on vacation.

So, anyway, today The Yoga Empress and her two charming girls, Mary Poppins and Hollywood took me to lunch at Heaps. It was delicious. After lunch we had a mini-fashion show in the parking lot. As long as the girls have to go back to school they are going to look good.
How cute is this? Don't you just love plaid and those cute little diamonds?
These are pin-stripped long shorts and a sucker. The pin-stripes don't show but these are darling, they go with the diamond vest and shirt.
Hollywood with her new clothes and a sucker. This girl only wants to wears skirts. Even in the winter. She is Miss Skirt.
Another skirt with a red sweater vest and white shirt. Rabbit ears optional.
Mary Poppins with a white eyelet skirt. Watermelon sucker behind back.
I'm not sure what to call this pose but it's very grown up.

Oh, and the suckers? An essential part of going to Heaps. It's a rule, I'm pretty sure.

So, as long as summer is whizzing by I'm glad I got the chance to spend an hour with some of my favorite people in one of my favorite restaurants in one of my favorite seasons, summer, which seems to be too short.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Learn to act like a dog.


This quote came in an email yesterday. It's a wee bit irreverent--pun unintended--so if you are easily offended don't read.

This is great advice. Let's live our life today with the attitude of a dog.

"Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
If you can't eat it or play with it,
Pee on it and walk away."

PS Now don't go doing anything embarrassing! This is only a metaphor.


Those angels! Laughing their angel jokes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Yesterday I was paying for groceries and my debit card was gone. Totally gone. I do NOT loose things. Not ever. But it was gone. When I got home I dumped my purse on the table and went through everything. Three times. It was gone. I called the bank--no one had used it since I had used it last week. I called the place I used it last. Not there.

By the way, this is the inside of my purse after the ten pounds of useless stuff has been thrown away. I don't want any junkie-purse-owners to get a complex or anything.

"Are you going to cancel your card?" Phil asked.

"If I can't find it. I feel it's right here."

So, Phil went through everything on the table too. Twice. "Your card is not here. Did you check your pants?"

So I did. I even went through pants pockets of pants I haven't worn in days/weeks/months/years, just in case. I'm not kidding, I went through a pair of pants I don't remember ever wearing. The tags are probably still on them.

But I still didn't call the bank because I knew the card was right here.

Several hours later: I'm writing my blog and I remember I have some notes on "things overheard" in my notebook in my purse.
So I go upstairs, pick up the notebook...that I had looked through THREE TIMES, thoroughly... and Phil had looked through TWICE, and put my fingers barely inside one of the pages and pulled out my debit card. It was right near the edge, not even buried deep inside.

Now I ask you, how did it get in there? The angels put it in there, right? Well, they sure have a great sense of humor, don't you think?

In a week or two I'll laugh about it. Maybe.

PS It was probably mother. She always told me to look out the window to see the horse that I COULD NEVER FIND! I think there never was a horse. In fact this was the subject of my very first blog. My mother. What a jokster.

PPS I don't loose things but I obviously misplace things. Like money. But, hey, at least I'm interesting. Careless and irresponsible, it seems, but interesting. And now, I'm also the butt of angel practical jokes.

PPPS And yes, that's how you spell "butt," as in "the butt of a joke." I looked it up.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Angels, bad days, diarrhea, hot phones.


Overheard at a Stake Conference:
"Angels will go before you on your right hand and your left."

Overheard at a writing critique group:
"I'm thriving in my new energy." When this statement was met with blank stares, the person added, "That's code for 'I'm having a bad day.'"

A little girl talking to her mother. Her mother was holding a brand new baby:
"Momma, you are not a good sharer."

Overheard in a restaurant:
“I don’t know how she continues to live. She talks so much she never takes a breath."

In a parking lot—enjoying a relationship with a disease, I guess:
“I’m doing so well with my diarrhea.”

A sign seen in a store:
If you want breakfast in bed sleep in the kitchen.

On a televised training conference:
Perfect love of the Lord casteth out fear.

Two young mother’s talking:
“My kids have been violent since school let out.”

A little boy talking a mile a minute to his mother:
“Today, on the trampoline we played fetch with raisins.”

Husband, talking to his wife about her gallivanting--with a friend--for several hours when she said it would be just ONE hour!
"You two can't see each other anymore. You're a bad influence on each other. You're supposed to lift each other up. Maybe you two should be grounded."
Then there was much laughter.

Talking to a friend on the phone when she said:
“I’ve got to go now. My phone’s hot.”

And so, it goes. At this time in my life I'm too old to be grounded, I might or might not be thriving in my new energy, and my phone might be the only hot thing about me. But, on the more optimistic side, I have angels going before me on my right hand and my left. What more could anyone ask?

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Tiny baby's turn to pat Momma.


Today in Relief Society we were discussing what mother's did/do with their children. One woman said something like the following.

From the first moment a mother holds her infant she pats it. As it grows, she holds it to her breast, holds it on her shoulder, always lovingly patting her child. One day a miracle happens, she feels a little hand on the back of her neck, patting her back.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Forest fire! The rain came. Ohhappyday.


Today, as I was driving all over the place, I looked at the cloudless sky and thought, "I really should have been actively praying for rain." This has been a very dry summer. We know we have had rain a lot of nights--about this much. Oh, sorry, you can't see my fingers--they are glued together. It has only rained enough to make a the windshield spotty like a speckled pup.

So, I stopped all my internal dialogue and just said a quick, silent prayer to our Heavenly Father for some rain. This was about 5:00 o'clock, it was 101 degrees.

I was driving home at about 8:00 o'clock. There was a forest fire on the mountain and the air was thick with a the smell of nature burning to ash. The back mountain was hazy with smoke.

I stopped at a friend's house--she and her hubby have been gone for about two weeks and I have been about a week overdue from lonesomeness for her. (She is the one who made the hysterical phone calls about the caramel-thievery and provided the best laughs I've had all summer.) I crashed their dinner and they graciously let me sit and drink in their friendship.

And then the rain came. Not a soft rain, a deluge. I would have waited it out but in the past if we got rain like that for more than five minutes we got flooded. Our storm drain has not been big enough and the water used to come over the sidewalk, up the lawn and, "Hello, Snyder's! I've brought a lake to your basement. You can wade and go fishing. Have a nice day." The city has since tried to fix things but still, we've had some close calls since then.

So I dashed to the car, which was locked, of course, and by the time I got home and dashed again I was soaked but not as bad as Phil, who was on a ladder, of all things, by the front porch. He had the front lawn hose turned on full force, clearing the rain gutter of who knows what, which he cleaned out thoroughly two weeks ago. The water was pouring over the rain gutter and merrily making its way, singing and burbling all the while, toward the basement window.

If he hadn't been home, but gallivanting with me, we would have had a lake in the basement...again. I bless his non-gallivanting soul.

So, today the rain came, the forest fire is out, the lawn and garden are soaked to a depth of probably a foot, and the car is washed clean. So there is a three-fer if ever there was one.

I should pray for rain more often. And I will. And for sure tonight's prayer will be one of thankfulness for many blessings, including the lack of wading and fishing opportunities in the basement, and the mountain being saved.

And now the earth is clean and fresh, just like a mouthwash commercial.

Oh, happy day.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Spicy, hot and tasty. Aah, tamales!


There's a new restaurant in town and it's a good one. It's called Got Tamales and is in North Orem, Utah at 1462 North State Street.
This is the owner, Roman Lopez. He and his charming wife have been open just two months. I didn't get a picture of her because she had gone to the post office to see if their son's mission call had come. He will be serving a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints--The Mormons. Roman and his wife both served missions for the church and they met in the Missionary Training Center--The MTC. After their missions they dated and married. If they hadn't both served missions they might not have met.
'This is how tamales are cooked and served on the streets of Mexico City, where Roman is from.
The menu--the Tamale part. The menu,--the burrito and chips part. And the drinks part. Here are the specialty drinks, being kept ice cold. We didn't try them but will next time.

I forgot to take a picture of the food! I can't believe I didn't do that but take my word for it, it was good. Only one suggestion for you, Roman. Leave the corn husks on the tamales. I want to take them off myself. That is part of the romance. I'm all about the romance. Especially hot romance--and the tamales were hot, both heat-hot and one of mine was a little bit spicy-hot. Roman can tell you which ones have some spicy-heat and which ones don't.

By the way, they DO NOT use lard in their tamales but use canola oil. I am not a fan of canola oil but am less of a fan of lard. I had the spinach tamale and the black bean one so my meal was vegetarian--actually, probably vegan.
The kitchen is spotless and right where you can see it. Here's the history of the tamale.
And the write up that was in our local newspaper, The Daily Herald.

We will go back. The restaurant was very clean, the food was good and the owner was charming.

Congratulations Roman on a job well done.

If anyone wants to start a Got Tamales in their neighborhood contact Roman. He is ready to franchise.

PS I just received an email from Roman. His son has been called to serve in the Riverside California mission. They are excited for their son and he is excited too. The son will serve for two years at his own expense, teaching people about Jesus Christ.


In darkened theatre, laughing all alone.


Phil didn't feel well tonight and I couldn't find anyone to go with me so I went alone. Okay, I didn't start calling people until five minutes before I had to leave. But still. You'd think someone would be willing to drop everything and go to the late movie with me.

People are so darned responsible and sensible around here. What's becoming of this country?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Neighbors, bearing gifs, best is friendship.


Tonight three neighbors came over to sit on the lawn swings and visit. Honestly, I don't know how I rate such great friends. Not only do I enjoy their friendships but they brought gifts. Genny, whose garden is always at least two weeks ahead of ours, brought crookneck squash, the cutest tiny zucchini and bunches of broccoli. My crookneck hasn't even bloomed yet and my broccoli was interesting. You know the meaning of "interesting," don't you? It means, "Holy cow! What happened here? This isn't how things are supposed to go!" Then if things get really interesting you say, "Hey, this isn't my real life! Someone else has my real life. What is this anyway? Some weird person's life!"

My broccoli grew, started to make broccoli heads--tiny ones--and then, almost overnight it bloomed! I didn't get ANY broccoli. So, I am thrilled to have my neighbor's wonderful broccoli. I love broccoli. And I love my neighbor, Genny.

The other neighbor, Jo...let me backtrack. I am always trying to get my friends to join my personal history group. Perhaps I nag. Okay, I'll be honest. I nag. So, Jo was on the receiving end of my nagging. I'm sure I drove her nuts. She finally said, "I'll do it on my own." And she did!

Her daughter sent her one of those memory prompt books and told her mom, "I want this back on my birthday next year," but it didn't suit Jo's needs so she wrote her history and had it bound and gave it to her daughter for her birthday. She brought the finished product for me to read. I covered up her last name, in case of shyness.

I am on page seven and its been fascinating. I can't wait to read the rest of it.

This picture was taken about the time we moved in, years and years ago. I can't remember Jo looking like this, that's what happens when you are around people for years and years--you change, they change and you hardly know it.

Her daughter, the one in the middle in the back is one of my dearest friends, too. She is a gem. She came over tonight with Jo. She is always interested in my life, just like a good friend should be and I am interested in her life too. She has a fascinating life. But, not interesting, either. Her life is interesting in the non-wide-eyed way.

I am lucky. I have great friends. I hope you do too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Came, trailing hardships, faceing more, rejoiced.


This is a poem, published in the July Ensign. In the Ensign it is hand written over a lovely photo of covered wagons descending into a valley. I wanted to print that painting with the poem, actually I wanted the poem to show up as it was printed, hand written. So, please imagine this in cursive, over a golden painting with a cluster of wagons descending into a valley.

Our Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake valley on July 24th, 1847. July 24th has been celebrated as pioneer Day ever since. They had been driven out of their homes, again and again. This was to be their sanctuary, a place they could live without persecution. And so it has been--this valley, this Utah. Now our modern day pioneers live all over the world, each facing challenges, daily, weekly, yearly, like all people everywhere, and when they take a second or third breath, regroup and remember the promise of the Savior, they rejoice.

Lisa South, “The Journey,” Ensign, Jul 2008, pg. 27

They began
And rejoiced—
Buried tiny bodies in shallow graves,
Wept, and began again.

They entered the valley
With joy—
Beat crickets off their vanishing crops,
Starved, wept, and began again.

They built their homes
With gladness—
Prepared them for burning against an approaching army,
Wept, and began again.

They endured to the end.
They set the example.
Fighting our own crickets and armies,
We weep, remember, begin again—

And rejoice.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Did this, lived there, ate that.
Mumm tagged me to Finish These Five

I'm supposed to answer the questions and then tag five people, who, if you know me, I won't do. If you want to play then do. I'm supposed to let the person who tagged me know when I've posted my answers, which I will do. Thanks Mumm, for giving me an easy post today.

The Five

Ten years ago:

  1. I had a nine year old child who I thought was the cutest thing alive--and she was.
  2. The next youngest was eighteen--oh my, he was interesting. He's perfectly wonderful now but at eighteen he was interesting.
  3. My other girl was twenty-three and married, a beautiful woman--one of the best things that ever happened to me was this wonderful girl.
  4. My second boy was twenty-six, married with two darling boys. This son is just as funny then as now and is as incredibly in love with his wife then as now.
  5. My oldest boy was just thirty, he had his hearts desire--his wife, and all was well. They had a beautiful girl and a handsome boy and he was the keeper of all things computerish in my life. I bless him for his patience with me. I remember him sighing and then saying, "Mom, I've told you how to do that about five times." Now I say those things to Phil.

Five things on today’s “to do” list:
  1. Make bread--still haven't done it and it's 6:30--I think its going on tomorrow's to do list.
  2. Fix dinner--Phil wants something good--it's 6:30 and I have no idea what to fix him--leftovers, I think.
  3. Laundry--washed and folded, not put away yet.
  4. Write--spent 5 hours on a chapter, then read the first chapter and made corrections.
  5. Read first chapter of SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS: HOW TO EDIT YOURSELF INTO PRINT. I did this and then I went back and wrote out some of my mistakes in the chapter that I spent five hours on. I recommend this book.
Five Snacks I enjoy:
  1. Popcorn with browned butter
  2. Dark chocolate
  3. Chili cheese chips--but I don't eat many of those
  4. Green apples--green, as in "not ripe," with salt
  5. Raw rhubarb with salt

Five Things I would do if I was a millionaire:

  1. First and foremost pay my tithing and taxes.
  2. Remodel this house.
  3. Set up a vacation fund for each of the kids.
  4. Set up a mission fund for the grandkids and a education fund too.
  5. Go to Europe

Five Places I have lived:

  1. Annabella, Utah--I like Annabella more and more as I write this book but when I grew up there, I knew there was a whole world out there that I didn't know anything about and I was very jealous of people who did.
  2. Salt Lake City, Utah
  3. Greensboro, North Carolina
  4. Two different ares in California. One, an hour south of San Francisco and the other an hour north of San Francisco.
  5. Provo, Utah, my favorite place on the earth

Later note: Tonight for dinner one of the things I made was some zucchini and it was delicious. I chopped a medium sized zucchini and put in a frying pan with a bit of butter, half a chopped onion, one minced clove garlic, half a pkg. of Knorr dry Vegetable soup mix and some water. Simmered it about five minutes. It was delicious. Phil did get a decent dinner tonight, after all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Feet then head first, electified, underwater.


Don is a neighbor of ours who has a bad back, has had back surgery and is never without pain. He owns a ranch several miles away and it is a show place. Never a weed anywhere. A huge garden, with enough vegetables and fruit to feed many families--and it does. They are very generous and are always taking bushels of produce to the neighbors.

Don was irrigating his field the other night and had taken his grandson with him. Supposedly for help, but knowing Don, it was to teach the grandson how to work. The first part of the evening found Don starting to slip on the bank of the six foot deep irrigation ditch. His feet went out from under him and on his way down, he reached up to grab something, anything, to break his fall. He found something and grabbed it. The electric fence. You guessed it, he got a tremendous jolt and at that point he was glad for the descent, it broke his hold on the fence.

He was shook up, wet, muddy and hurting but nothing stops this man. He is committed. So he and his grandson continued to irrigate. Later, he started to slip again, in a different spot and down he went, this time head first, right into the muddy, sandy, deep ditch. Just before he disappeared out of sight his grandson heard him say, "Oh, no. Not again."

When the grandson got to his grandfather he saw Don coming up out of the water, sputtering, spitting sand and water. His glasses were broken and hanging off one ear. The Grandson said, "Grandpa, you can't EVER come over here alone." Then they started to laugh and Don says they laughed off and on for a half hour.

I imagine today was not a pleasant day for him but where was he today? At church. When I asked him how his back was he laughed and said, "Don't ask." Then he told me his week-end irrigation story.

I want to be like Don. Never quitting. Always laughing, even through tough times.

More power to you Don. You are one of my heroes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Blogging infringes on needed activities. Maybe?


Blogging takes time. Time I should be writing. Time I should be reading. And--ahem--time I should be cleaning and cooking.

Yesterday I read the First Presidency message in the April Ensign, twice, and it felt so good. I read it again today. It is called Treasure of Eternal Value and after reading it I realized I live both in the past and the future: feeling remorse or happiness over past events and worrying about future ones. President Monson says I should prepare for the future but live in the present. He's right, of course.

Which leads to my dilemma. I spend time blogging that maybe I should spend writing, or reading about how to write better, or reading uplifting books, the Ensign, the scriptures--I could even do good works, which I don't seem to be doing a lot of right now. I do my church job but maybe not fabulously, like I should. And my favorite hobby, reading blogs, is out the window. I miss my bloggy friends, there just isn't time to get to them all and when I do I don't take the time to leave comments.

So, I have a decision to make. Maybe I won't quit blogging completely, just not do it every day. And if I don't blog every day will I write more? If not then it doesn't make sense because when I blog I am at least writing something.

What should I do? Maybe I need to figure out how to add more hours to my day. Anyone have the secret to that? Then I could do everything and have time for a nap.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Give lesson on way to J-Dawg.


Today Sarah and I did our visiting teaching. We took one of our sisters with her sister and I gave them the lesson on the way. Our destination? J-Dawg. Neither one had been to J-Dawg before and they pronounced it excellent.

Maisel, her sister Kay and the ever vivacious Sarah, whose hair color always surprises me. These girls are the gurus of the shoe fashion world. They are also shopping champions but never buy anything that's not on sale and usually a bargain--sometimes such a bargain that the stores practically pay them to haul away good stuff. The deals these three find is amazing!And the man who makes J-Dawg possible? Here he is. He looks seventeen but he's all of twenty-eight. Says, "I have a family and a mortgage." We are so happy to be supporting him in paying it off.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Summer pasta, tomato sandwiches, mmmm basil.


My first batch of basil died, kaput, just like that. Dead.
The second batch looks like this. It's been in the ground forever. It has had plenty of water, plenty of fertilizer, plenty of sunshine and plenty of love. Phil provides that. I am a non-garden worker, mostly.

The rest of the garden looks good.
This is a volunteer lettuce, it's done so well it's starting to bolt.
But THIS is from the basil I planted in pots. It's from the same batch that the garden lettuce was planted from. Every body knows that plants in pots don't do well, or not as well as those planted in the ground. Don't they?
Anyway, this is how we've been eating the basil. Tomato sandwiches. Toast, mayo or ranch dressing, tomatoes, salt and pepper and basil. No lunch can top this one.
This is summer pasta. Again, a heavenly meal. The very first time we ate this we ate it eight times in a month.
Hope you planted some basil. If not, I'll share.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Older sisters of faith and goodness.


Jamestown is a local care center with many levels of care. From minimal, to a total Alzheimer's unit. The local churches provide Relief Society once a week for the residents. Today it was our ward's turn. Kay gave the lesson and was very nervous. She shouldn't have been, she gave a great lesson and had good participation.
This is a terrible picture of Kaye, she's in the middle.One of the residents played the beautiful grand piano and the opening song's words were actually written by a resident's sister many years ago and is included in our world-wide church hymnbook.

The Relief Society president had warned Kay that some of the residents might sleep and some might close their eyes and look like they were sleeping but would be paying attention. That didn't happen, the sisters all payed attention and many of them volunteered stories from their own lives.
The lesson was a comforting one, about life after death and resurrection. Most of the residents have lost their husbands, one brand new resident lost her husband three weeks ago and she was married at age seventeen so this is a big change for her--I figured she had been married at least 60 years and maybe 70. How hard that would be to loose your husband after being married that long?

Many stories were told about stillborn children, one woman told about her brother who was shot down over the English channel during World War II. His body was never found and she told of her mother searching the faces in the newsreels when prisoners of war were photographed. She said her mother was only comforted by knowing that she would be reunited with her son when she died. Then she got a far away look in her eyes and said, "He was so good, always wanted to do what was right."

The sister I sat by had lost a seventeen month old boy who drowned in an irrigation ditch. She told me that was the hardest thing she has ever gone through. She said, "I am so grateful I know where he is and that I will be reunited with him one day."

The faith and goodness of all these women was wonderful to witness. They voiced the comforting knowledge that they will be resurrected and live with their families again.

The woman who gave the closing prayer gave a beautiful prayer. It was short but eloquent and meaningful. One of the things she said was to ask Heavenly Father for "peace, comfort and joy." I talked to her after and she said, "It's a privilege to talk to my Heavenly Father." She had the sweetest expression when she said that.

After the meeting they go in to lunch, and sit a tables with white tablecloths. This is a nice time for them to socialize with each other.

Some of the residents were going on a bus for a picnic in the park and then later there was a scenic bus ride available.

I was glad I had the opportunity to be in the company of these faithful, lovely women.


Beware, the troll will get you!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


This is the story I wrote for my personal history group today. It's not edited but it's late and I need to go to bed so here it is:

A troll lived under the wooden bridge that led to Aunt Dee’s house. If we got too close to the edge he would grab our ankles and drag us under. We walked exactly in the middle of the bridge but there were cracks between some of the planks. Could the troll reach his fingers through the cracks and grab me? I wondered.

I stood on the side of the bridge for a long time, trying to figure out the exact middle. I marked it with a rock and put my feet on each side. I held my breath, counted to ten and ran. I screamed inside my head all the way across. I would have screamed out loud but my older sisters would have laughed at me. I have never been an out-loud screamer for fear of being a fool. So much we stifle in ourselves, perhaps, for fear of what others will think of us.

Pat and Julie did not run across the bridge, but walked, sedately, as if life under the bridge with the Troll was not something to worry about. By the time I was ready to cross they were already in Aunt Dee’s house and wouldn’t know if I trapped by the horrid Troll.

Sometimes I would ask them to hold my hand but then they walked in the middle of the bridge, leaving me a body’s width closer to the edge. Would they hold on tight if the Troll grabbed or would they just wave goodbye and say things like, “Our poor little sister, has to live under the bridge now.”

The canal the bridge spanned was a wicked thing. At least to a little girl it was wicked. I had heard the story of when my sister, Julie, who, at age two, played to close to the edge and fell in. She was swept downstream—or down canal. My sister Pat ran along the bank until she got to a culvert. Just as Julie was going to be swept under Pat grabbed Julie’s dress and pulled her out of the water.

Pat dragged her sobbing, stumbling sister into Aunt Dee’s house. Mom was so upset that all she could do was scold Julie, “Look what you did! You ruined your brand new shoes.” Then she scolded Pat, “How could you let your sister ruin her shoes, like that?”

Years later Mom apologized to both Julie and Pat. “I was so upset, thinking my little girl could have drowned, that I focused on her shoes so I wouldn’t have to think what might have happened.” Thus the story of the Troll began. If we were afraid of the Troll we would stay away from the canal. It worked, but maybe I am psychologically damaged. Permanently. Probably not, but it amuses me to blame a Troll for my damagedness.

The canal had long, green moss, waving in the water but we were told not to try and fish it out, not even with a stick. Not even with a long stick that was practically a whole tree branch and would surely be safe. Anyway, after Danny--Aunt Dee's only boy, a year older than I was-- and I fished the moss out with our long, safe tree branch the moss flattened into an ugly, slimy mess. We threw it back into the water and then threw the tree branch in after it. A farmer had to come and fish the branch out as it eventually collected debris, which restricted the water flow to his fields. We looked at him innocently. Or dumbly, I’m not sure which. We were both older by then and the prospect of the Troll was not threatening but the farmer might have been.

The canal was part of my life as long as I lived in Annabella. I gathered Potawatomi plums with Pam, my best friend and other girls, supposedly so our mother’s could make jam but I don’t remember bringing any home. I think we just said we were going to bring them home so we could ease our conscience about stealing the fruit from the canal. It was shady under the Potawatomi trees and we sat and sucked on the sour fruit, lying to each other, saying the fruit was delicious.

We floated on the canal on inner tubes but the water was so slow moving that it wasn’t much of a thrill. Besides that you could only float one block and then there was a bridge to be dealt with. It ended up too much trouble to try and lazily float when we had to get out and drag our inner tube with us every block.

Mom told me that when she and Aunt Dee and Aunt Lill were little girls they would jump into the canal and their dresses would pouf up like balloons and float on the water. But we were discouraged from swimming in the canal because we could get stuck with barbed wired or submerged sticks and get an infection.

We much preferred the river, where even more danger from infection was available. The river was also slow moving but made beautiful sand banks that we pretended were islands. If a dead cow happened to float down the river we climbed up on the bank until it passed. I remember doing that, watching the cow float by, all four legs sticking in the air, and then getting back into the bacteria-water and swimming.

But that’s a story for another day and involves inner tubes and sunbathing in our bras. So risqué in those days. So deliciously fun, or so we told ourselves. So sunburned at the end of the day. And finally, so not worth it.

Monday, July 14, 2008


"They stole my caramels," everyone said.


I have a friend who is vacationing in Michigan. She and her husband are at a campground with her sister and her brother-in-law, and other extended family members. I have had three phone calls from this friend. The last two did not begin with "Hello," but went something like this.

"Hello," I said.

"Tell her there was nine caramels in her bag," said my breathless friend. (I sent a bag of a dozen caramels to my friend's sister, who they are camping with.)

'Give me that phone," I heard the sister say as she wrestles the phone from my friend. "Hello, Lynne?"

"Hi, Kathie" I said.

"Lynne, how many caramels were in my bag THAT HAD BEEN OPENED!? Oh, by the way, thanks so much for the caramels," she said, exuding charm. "Now, Lynne," she said, getting right back to her subject. "Just how many caramels were in my bag?"

"Twelve," I said.

"TWELVE? I KNEW IT! THREE ARE MISSING. I saw one in Wendy's sweatshirt. Okay, fess up, who have my other two caramels?" I hear hysterical laughter in the background. "Oh, sorry, Lynne," she said, coming back on the line, "but SOMEONE HAS STOLEN SOME OF MY CARAMELS. By the way, did I say thanks?"

My friend came back on the phone and we talked all the while I could hear her sister giving the laughing members of her family the third degree.

That was Saturday. I got another phone call today.

"Hello," I said.

"Lynne," my friend said, "They have STOLEN MY caramels!"

I can hear more hysterical laughter in the background.

My friend continues, without hardly taking a breath. "I went in the trailer to get my caramels TO SHARE, I WAS GOING TO SHARE THEM," I hear her shout to the hooting crowd, "and they were not on the table, where I had left them, so I look in the fridge but they are not in the fridge, so I go outside and I say, 'who stole my caramels?' and I look at my sister and her face is bright red and I say, 'You did it, Kathie,' and she says, 'Gayle made me do it.'" By now my friend doesn't have enough breath left to make a squeak and I hear waves of laughter coming from everyone else.

Well, we talked a few minutes more, all the time she is shouting accusations at the laughing crowd and finally she says, "Well, I better go. Thanks for providing us with something to laugh about around the campfire."

I'm glad to oblige. I just wish I had sent caramels to someone else. I'm beginning to look forward to these phone calls where no one says "Hello," but just starts right in, telling me about thievery among family. I'm glad I could be the catalyst for interesting phone calls. We all do what we can in life and if I can't contribute life-changing-events I'm glad to have proviced laughter. I'm nice, like that.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Rusty nail, cactus spiked, cat voice.


Minkey is driving me crazy. I'm a pretty tolerant person and can put up with rudeness--to a point and then I either tune the rude person out or walk away--but this cat, this ever talking cat, this rude cat, who talks, but never listens is DRIVING ME CRAZY! I cannot tune him out. I can not walk away--I live here.

I told him today, "Minkey, you don't need to express your every thought!"

His response, "Meaaaow."

He does not have a sweet voice. His voice went through a meat grinder, was drug across a Nevada cactus field, got dumped in a vat of rusty nails, was basted with vinegar and then was installed into his voice box. To say it is irritating is like calling the Grand Canyon and interesting place with a river at the bottom. There is no adjective to describe his voice.

If I hang my left hand down and scratch his back, fondle his ears, pat his head he shuts up but the minute I remove my hand to type, he complains. He needs to belong to a little old lady, who watches TV a lot and wants a cat on her lap.

He won't be able to live here much longer because I won't be here. I'll be in a rubber room, all dressed up in a straight jacket and Phil will be in the room next to mine.

Send help. Send A little old lady with an empty lap. Come and get Minkey. You'll have to get the key from the neighbors and let yourself in. I won't be here. Just take the cat and go. Call the mental home and tell them it's okay to let me out. In the meantime, I'll be there, all wrapped up, twitching.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Nostrils, more nostrils and gag gifts


I'm a great believer in randomness. Sometimes a random act can change your life for the good. These pictures are not that kind. They are just photos that were on a download and since my brain synapses are not firing well tonight this will have to do.A make shift bathing suit so Tuesday can play in the water outside.


A gag gift for Father's Day from Gilmore Girl. Then she produces the real goods but the gag gifts are the ones we remember.
A rider and a ridee.
When ever we can't find bookworm we know she has raided the book shelves.
Joe Cool does his own hair in a coolish sort of way.
The newest grandson and his mother.
This is what happens when you leave your camera unattended.
And then the young ones imitate.