Sunday, August 31, 2008


A very tasty, easy, cheap soup. Click here. I made two double batches and froze the soup in 32 oz. yogurt containers. This winter, when the kale is frozen I can still have this tasty summer soup.


Don't say butt, instead say "bottom."

(And please say it in a dignified voice.)


I got a three word email from Surfer Girl today in answer to my previous email--I'm temporarily calling her Surfer Girl until I find the perfect title and it may even change from time to time. She's from California and even though she has a new baby she could be a surfer girl if she wanted to. This girl is so bright that she could do anything. She is married to a Rocket Scientist who really is a rocket scientist. He laughingly said that while he was getting his PhD in physics he felt stupid every day for three years.

Anyway, before Surfer Girl's three word email was the acronym "COL" which I had no clue about. "Chuckling out loud," the email said. I loved it even though acronyms usually leave me cold. This one fit. COL It may be the one I will actually use.

Well, except for the one SBD which I had to use this week. If you don't know what it means picture what would happen after eating a bowl--a huge bowl--of kale and bean soup. (I will put the recipe on my cookbook site in a day or so, it is simple and yet good.) And then picture eating another huge bowl later because it was so good and then later, looking at my middle and thinking wow, what did I eat today that I've gained ten pounds. I better not eat anything else today. And so, instead I ate just one more bowl of kale and bean soup. Later, the "Silent But Deadly's" showed up and my middle returned to normal size. So, there you have it, if you like acronyms, this may be a useful one.

I remember the time I got an acronym from an email friend--that I have never met and now have lost track of. Anyway, she wrote ROTFLMAO. I had no idea what that was and I must have spent twenty minutes trying to figure it out. I finally sent her an email and asked. Then I was embarrassed.

Not as embarrassed as my sister, Pat would have been. She couldn't abide bad words. One day Uncle Bliss was teaching Sunday School and he asked Pat to read from the scriptures. She read from John 12:15 "...behold, thy King cometh, sitting on a donkey's colt."

Uncle Bliss stopped her, "That's not what it said, Pat."

"I can't say that word, Uncle Bliss," she said.

"It just means donkey," he said.

"I know that, and if you want me to read, that's what you are going to get. A donkey."

And that's what he got.

How I miss my sister, Pat, who didn't like the word "butt" or "bum" but insisted that that part of the anatomy was a "bottom." She wasn't a prude. She had more fun than any two normal people and if you were around her for more than a few minutes you were laughing. Anytime a bad word was said in this house someone would raise an eyebrow and simply say the words, "Aunt Pat." Then the bad-word-say-er would back pedal. (
Here's a post I wrote about her earlier this year.)

Her boys played on the high school basketball team and Matt told me that one night one of the players said a bad word during play. "I could hear my mother's indrawn breath clear down on the other end of the court," he said. And then he laughed and so did I because I knew it was true. He loved her and was proud of her integrity and so was I.

I think she would be okay with the acronym SBD and she might even COL.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Fur-feathers, hawked up like owl pellets


Pika, our Persian Cat is really a bird.

I ask you, doesn't this look like a feather? I combed Pika yesterday, I removed every single stray bit of loose fur and today, right this minute she came down to be loved and I worked this out of her. A giant pre-hawked-up fur ball. I saved myself the cleaning up process because if I had left it on her she would have licked it loose and swallowed it and...just like an owl--which I mention is also a bird, I would have seen it later, possibly in my shoe. It would look just just like a owl pellet.

This is why I see fur-balls-resembling-owl-pellets all over the place:

Pika grooms herself...

and grooms herself...

and grooms herself. She groomed herself so much she misplaced her eyeballs. Poor Pika, misplacing her eyeballs like that.

Honestly, I tried to get a full face picture of her but she just was too busy, licking and licking and preparing a Sunday morning surprise for me.

Thank you, Pika.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Friendly, feisty, fabulously beautiful and funny.


The other night a couple of friends stopped by to visit and sit on the lawn swings. She was telling us about her family. She had six kids. They had kids. Their kids had kids, now there are over 100 in her family. She is the most beautiful eighty-eight year old woman I have ever seen. Her hair is gray, curly and long.

She recently lost one of her sons--she didn't misplace him, he died. (When someone says "She/he lost someone," I want to ask if they ever found them. I don't actually ask that--i just want to.) He was only sixty-five. Two of her children have a serious illness. Some of her family have strayed from their religion. Some are doing "interesting" things. Of course a lot of them are boringly normal and she likes boring. Boring is good. Boring allows her to keep her sanity.

She sighed and then said, all in one long drawn out breath, "Do you have kids? I suggest you nip their little heads off before birth." Then she laughed and her eyes twinkled. Who knew this beautiful eight-eight year old had such a pithy sense of humor?

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Saved a life? What a surprise!


Let me tell you about a miracle that my sister, Julie, participated in. Actually she was the star, she was the rescuer, she prevented tragedy.

This happened years ago. Her daughter was in college here at BYU. My kids were young; Her Excellency of Mousehole wasn’t even born yet. I was an overwhelmed young mother. I wasn’t one of those women who run a perfectly organized home with gourmet meals. Oh, wait. I did pretty well in the meal department. You could set the clock when I called the family for dinner and they were delicious--the meals were delicious, not the family. But, then again, who can resist a baby or a toddler or even a child, and on occasion, a husband? So maybe the family was delicious, too.

I was overwhelmed one week and I had prayed for help. I remember actually saying the words, “Heavenly Father, please send me some help!” I had no idea where it was going to come from.

My sister showed up on my doorstep the next day. She lived forty miles away and this was a rare occurrence for her to just show up.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

It was the middle of the winter, driving from Salt Lake to Provo is sometimes a challenge in the winter and that particular day was overcast and snow was predicted.

“I don’t know. I just felt like it,” she said.

I think the Holy Ghost whispered to her and she listened.

“I want you and Lezlie to go to a movie,” she said. “I’ll go home late this afternoon.”

“I can’t do that," I said. "You and Lezlie go to a movie.”

“Nope,” she said. “I’m staying here. I’ll watch the kids and tidy up a little.” She was insistent and forceful. She’s an older sister and so “insistent and forceful” come naturally to her.

So, Lezlie was called and she and I went to the movie. I don’t remember what we saw. I do remember we laughed and laughed. I have always had a loving relationship with Lezlie. She’s funny, and whatever she does I think it great. (
Go here and see her books.)

When we got back, Julie had cleaned my house and taken care of the kids and then said, “It looks like snow. I think I’ll just stay the night. I’ll just sleep right here on the couch.”

Julie still had kids at home. I don't know who took care of them while she was at my house or who was going to get them off to school the next morning. This is one of the details that make this miracle--well, miraculous, that things were being taken care of at home. Maybe Gordon was a willing participant in the miracle.

And no one in her right mind wants to sleep on a couch but she was insistent and forceful and I was the younger sister. I was used to her deciding things. We had a whole lifetime-history of her deciding things, so I agreed. We stayed up and talked for a while. It was so nice to have her to myself, that didn't happen often. We finally made a bed with sheets and blankets on the couch and she said, “I’ll be fine.”

The next morning, when I got up, Taylor was sleeping with her. “Why is Taylor sleeping here? The couch wasn’t uncomfortable enough, you had to add a child?”

“Well, it was a funny thing,” she said. “It was the middle of the night and I heard something. I looked up and Taylor was on his way to the front door. I think he was going to go outside.”

Taylor had been sick and sometimes he sleepwalked when he was sick.

“So, I said to him,” she said, “‘Where are you going, Taylor-bug?’ but he didn’t answer, he just continued toward the door so I grabbed him and snuggled him down and he went right to sleep.”

It had snowed earlier that evening and was bitter cold. The possibility that she saved Taylor’s life was a real possibility. I don’t think either one of us realized it at the time but as all the miracles in my life, the realization that the hand of the Lord was watching over my family, came later.

How grateful I am to my sister, Julie, for preventing a tragedy in our family’s life. She didn’t know why she came. She gave me a break and sent me to the movie with Lezlie. She helped with housework that was overwhelming. She saved Taylor's life.

Three miracles. I had prayed for some help and help came, and for something I didn’t even know I was going to need help with. But someone did and sent Julie.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Scrunch, water, watch, a yawning worm.


Today I went to lunch with two characters. I will call them Child Bride and Skinny Pants. Child Bride wasn't really a child bride but she looks like it. And Skinny Pants was wearing skinny pants but she denies it. If you are going to have skinny pants and look great in them you ought to fess up, that's what I think.
Anyway, we scrunched our straw wrappers up--Her Excellency of Mousehole showed me how some months ago and it is my only new talent. After the straw is sufficiently scrunched you add a drop of water... wakes up the worm and he squirms around--maybe he even yawns. You can call him a snake if you want. Kids love watching the worm/snake wake up. Or maybe it's me that likes watching and I make the grandkids watch.

I told Child Bride and Skinny Pants that I know which straws in which restaurants have the best straw wrappers. The tight ones are almost impossible to scrunch--that would be the straws at Mimi's--but the loose ones, like at Heaps (Brick Oven), where we ate today, are the best.

Skinny Pants said it was pretty pathetic that I know where the best straws are at all the restaurants.

Now if I knew where the best cake was, well that might be valuable information and non-pathetic. Actually, I probably do.

That's not pathetic, is it? Is it?

She doesn't know where the best cake is and THAT'S WHY SHE HAS SKINNY PANTS.

Go forth and make some straw-wrapper worms/snakes of your own.


Your blogger friend, Lynne, who knows what restaurants have good and bad straw wrappers and which ones have good cake.


Sneaking in. Listening to the dark.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I have been feeling down, ever since that phone call last week. I just can't shake it even though I've gone back and re-read the helpful comments people left me half a dozen times. One of them even made me laugh out loud. (I don't use the acronym "LOL." I love words and acronyms annoy me. Except for the acronym: B.O. I think it's hysterical, for some immature reason.)

Anyway, because I have been blue I wrote a melancholy piece for my personal history group today--I'll include it at the end. Tonight, darling Sarah brought me a bag of homemade cookies and a sweet note. Part of it said, "...I know we don't get together much outside of writing group, I don't get out much it seems. Yet, I think of you as one of my dearest friends. Have a wonderful evening, Sarah B."

How sweet is that? I am so lucky to be included in the list of Sarah's friends. She is an amazing woman in more ways than I will ever be. I treasure her friendship.

Later, Phil and I watched "The Last Holiday." Truly a grade B movie but I am known for loving grade B movies and I did.

"You what?" Phil asked. "You loved that movie? That's why you are depressed!"

Another laugh out louder.

Here's today's personal history piece. Maybe now I can let the blues have a rest.


THE CHURCH KEY—written August 25, 2008--I was about seventeen when this occurred.

I put the tiny diary key in the old lock and gently turned it. When I heard a click, I pushed. The door opened a half-inch, looking over my shoulder I slipped inside and leaned against the door as it closed. I felt the tiny key with wonder. How had it worked?

The moonlight didn’t reach our side of the chapel. I slid into the pew we usually sat in. I came with questions but didn’t know what to ask. I could hear the dark. It was a different sound than any other darkness-sound I had ever heard.

In the summer the dark had a cricket sound, a dog-barking-far-off sound. In the fall the dark often had a dried-leaves-rustling sound from the Virginia Creeper that covered the side of our house. In the winter, when it was snowing, there was a depth-of-stillness sound. I had knelt on my bed dozens of times and watched the snow sifting down, sometimes drifting sideways under the street lamp. Sounds were muffled when it snowed. The dark had dozens of sounds but this was a new one for me—a dark-empty-chapel sound.

I sat. Alone. More alone than I ever had been before, except for maybe a time or two on the mountain, but then it was just a without-people-around type of alone. This time it was complete aloneness. The only sound I heard was the ticking of the pendulum clock.

I knew that the painting of Jesus was at the far end of the chapel. He was sitting on the edge of a well, with robust children gathered around. It didn’t matter where you were in the chapel; his happy eyes seemed to be looking at you. I knew his eyes were watching me, even in the dark. I knew He loved me but my loneliness overrode the comfort.

I wanted someone right there, someone who believed in me, even though I didn’t believe in myself. Someone who could have told me I was all right, that my life would be fine. I wanted someone to sit with me and listen to my fears and insecurities and hold my hand as I sat in the chapel, filled with the silence of the dark.


Perhaps everyone who wades through this long post has felt like this. Alone. Troubled. Sad. I hope tonight isn't one of those times, but if it is, I want you to know you are important and that you are loved.

And may you watch a grade B movie and laugh out loud.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I thought I could. Hello sunshine.


I planted one lone petunia in a pot on the front porch, not giving it much chance for survival as it is in the shade from the oak trees most of the day. But, it was determined and st-r-e-t-c-h-ed it's neck out until it found some sunshine. It's not the biggest flower around here but it's the pluckiest.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Pursuing perfume scents through church windows.


Do bees come in the window at your church? They did in the church in the town were I grew up. My Grandfather was the bishop when the church was built. He was in on the planning and I think, actual building. The church house was beautiful. Ask me if I'm bitter about IT BEING TORN DOWN WHEN THE NEW CHURCH HOUSE WAS BUILT? No, you probably shouldn't ask.

On warm summer days all the windows would be wide open. The theory was that refreshing breezes would blow in. Instead, bees wandered in. Bee's it seems, work on the Sabbath. A bee would lazily circle the audience, searching for the elusive flower smell that brought the bee inside in the first place. Was it the woman with the discrete dab of "Evening in Paris" behind her ears? Perhaps the enticement was from the woman wearing "Shalimar" or some other little perfume with the words: Eau De Toilette added to the box. (That always sent us into hysterical laughter, almost as good as knowing one of the planets was called Uranus.) The little bee never could find the flowers so, after circling the audience a few times, it lazily flew out a different window. It wanted to give all the window-sitters equal opportunity.

Today's air conditioning leaves the opportunity for the flower seeking bee little choice but to follow the smell of "Gucci Envy Me," which smells like peonies and pomegranate, or "Bulgaria Blu Notte," which has the scent of dark chocolate, as far at the church door and that's it. Shut out! No bee's allowed.

Perhaps this is progress and perhaps it is not. None of the children I know have ever tracked the progress of a bee by watching all the swaying and ducking of the audience members. It was such fun. Okay, it was hot back then too, with the windows wide open and no air conditioning, but that's what made church going part of the sacrifice. God loves those who are hot and come to church anyway. Of course that's only my opinion, but still. If I were in charge I would definitely give points to sweaty church members.

And God loves the bees. He wanted to share them with us, I'm pretty sure. He's generous, that way.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


"You people I can live without."


The other day, when Gilmore Girl and I were having lunch at Mimi's with the Chicklets. four little old women were also having lunch there. They finished before we did. Each one slowly pushed back her chair and ever so slowly got up. They shuffled by, one at a time. The last one in the little-old-lady-chorus-line stopped and waggled her fingers at Curly Sue and Tuesday and grinned. Then she looked Hillary and me up and down and said, "You people I can live without."

So much for that nice-little-old-lady-theory.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Naked in Summer's heat, Amaryllis belladonna.


Years and years ago I dug a bunch of bulbs from Daddy's garden and planted them out front, under the living room windows. In the spring they brought forth waves of beautiful green leaves, not unlike daffodil leaves. I waited. And waited. And waited. Just leaves. By late May the leaves were dead and I cleaned them up, leaving bare dirt.

In late July and early August single sturdy stems sprouted They grew so fast I could measure their progress, day by day. Soon on the ends of the stems were pods which opened, one every day or so into beautiful Lilly like flowers. They were Naked Ladies. Their botanical name is Amaryllis belladonna.
I have been digging the bulbs and giving them to friends so I don't have the hundreds I used to have. They also need more fertilizer than they are getting so their blooms are lighter in color and not all of them bloom every year. The two close ups are borrowed from the Internet, not actually my flowers.
But this one is. It sprouted right up through the bark of the pine tree stump. It deserves a mention for its perseverance and determination.
Also note the lovely little oak tree. I have hundreds, maybe even a thousand oak trees in all sizes. I have to use pliers to pull them up and still more are there, in the same spot that last week was clear. There is a LOT of perseverance going on here, at our household.

If you want a start of either the Naked Ladies or ten or fifty or a hundred oak trees let me know. The Naked Ladies have a short window of opportunity and should be dug in the next few weeks. The oaks? You could dig ten a day until the snow falls and I'll bet they would all live and thrive.

Her Excellency of Mousehole planted the oak trees from four acorns years ago and we now have four beautiful oak trees that shade her old bedroom and part of our living room. The air conditioner doesn't turn on until afternoon, thanks to their generous shade.

Thank you, Her Excellency, for the wonderful shade.

And thank you, Daddy, for the "conversation starter" flowers.

And thanks to everyone else who will come and dig up all my, I mean, lovely little oak trees.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Mamma Mia--what a bunch of trouble.


Why is this? When I hear that other people are having problems such as loss of job, worries, problems with ill health or worries over their children or other family members I become depressed. I worry and fret and wring my hands.

Tonight I got a phone call. The person on the other end told me about problem after problem and by the time I hung up I was so low I could have won a limbo contest.

This person didn't even like Mamma Mia--they saw the bad language and the refrences to past sins and walked out of the movie in protest. I loved the movie. I saw all the funny parts, the love this woman had for her daughter, the love the daughter had for her mom. Now, this phone call has ruined the movie for me. I should have seen all the bad parts, maybe. Am I too nieve? Am I wrong to gloss over the bad parts and focus on the tender, loving parts? And the funny parts, well, maybe the phone call just can't ruin it after all. I will go again and see the funny parts and the loving parts and not listen to the bad words. But then again, am I supporting a movie that should have had higher standards? Should I have walked out in a huff?

Phil can't understand why I allow other people's opinions and their problems to affect me.

"Can you do anything about it?" he asked.

"No," I said.

"Then why do you let it bother you?"

"I don't know, it just does."

Does anyone have an answer for this? Some trick that will relieve me of this unnecessary, depressing worry?

A couple of months ago one of the women who writes a blog I check on started on her history. I really admire this woman but I couldn't read it. She lived through it, and is still fine and perking but I couldn't read the trials she had gone through. I became so depressed. What's the matter with me?

A few days ago Phil read an article out of the newspaper out loud to me. It was about how the Chinese have been so underhanded with so many areas of the Olympics, starting with the little girl that was going to sing in the Opening Exercises but because of her poor teeth they brought in a "pretty child" who just mouthed the words that the other girl sang. It took much of the joy out of watching the Olympics. Every Chinese participant I see I wonder, what did you have to give up to be here? Your family? Your freedom to choose whether you wanted to do this or not? Did you have to wear adult diapers to practice the Opening Exercises because no one gave you bathroom time? Did you loose ten pounds because no one fed you or gave you any thing to drink and you didn't get to sleep for two days? What is the matter with people that the image is more important than the people?

And then, when the age of the Chinese girl gymnasts became suspicious I wondered why this is so important that lying and cheating has to be involved. The whole world is involved in lying and cheating. Don't we remember who we are? Doesn't any of our divine heritage shine in us? And because I like Mamma Mia maybe my divine heritage is being stomped to dust too.

I won't even start on politics. I'll just say if I see either candidate on TV I click the mute button. Their accusations, their slander and ridicule sickens me. At times I feel like I'd rather be led by a chicken. Or a goat, maybe.

Other than living in a cave, which, obviously I can't do, what do you suggest? Does anyone else deal with this? And if you do and have conquered the blues and the sadness please tell me how.

I realize this blog has wandered all over the place. I'm sorry I couldn't stick to one subject and be succinct. I just had to talk all this stuff out. I should have written it out in longhand, it would have dissipated easier that way.

I'm okay now, don't worry about me. Our neighbors came over. They laughed and joked and we talked for over a half hour and then I got a hug from the Mom part of this couple and I felt better.

My angels sent them, I'm sure of it. If they hadn't I would have called someone I secretly call my "All is Well," friend. She always knows what to say to make me fell better. I hope you have both. An "All is Well" friend and loving angels who are watching over you. Well, I know you have the latter, you just might not realize it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Piano lessons? Teacher doesn't like music!


Here is Curly Sue, the day before school started, at Mimi's Cafe, eating a gummy worm out of her "dirt cup" dessert.

She called me a few minutes ago to tell me she is learning how to write cursive and she has already written a cursive "S" better than her mother can do it. "It's easy," she said. I asked about her teacher. Here is the conversation that ensued:

“Well, guess what, Grandma? My teacher used to teach music at my school.”

“And did she say, ‘Maddy, your Mom should buy a piano and you should take music lessons.’?”

“No,” Maddy said, “She didn’t say that.”

“I’ll bet she did. You just didn’t hear her. I’ll bet she said it really quiet.”

“No, Grandma.”

“I’ll bet she whispered it, ‘Maddy, take piano lessons,’"I said in a whispery kind of voice. "After all, she was a music teacher, she knows how important music is.”

“No, Grandma, she was supposed to teach second grade but they didn’t have enough kids for that class so they said, ‘You have to teach music,’ so she did. So, Taa Daa. She doesn’t even really like music!”

And so my argument was over. Beat by a third grader who is going to grow up to be a great orator.

Maddy, the orator and her sister, Tuesday, the show-off.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Spider threads, across my face. Eek!


I walked around the neighborhood tonight. I took a thank-you note to my across-the-street neighbor, Cindy, who brought us some Cincinnati chili for our dinner. I'm not failing, Phil is not laid up, she just is a sharer.

Cincinnati chili is a hot meat sauce--no beans--served over spaghetti noodles. Then it can be topped with shredded cheese--that's Cincinnati chili, 3-way. 4-way is topped with cheese and chopped onions. 5-way has hot kidney beans on top of the spaghetti, topped by chili, cheese and onions. Oyster crackers are served with it. We had just the spaghetti and chili--I guess that was the naked version--2-way, and it was fantastic. I can't find her exact recipe on the Internet but will put it on my cookbook site when I do. It's different. Spicy. It even has chocolate and cinnamon in it. I think hot dogs topped with Cincinnati chili would be a serious competitor for J-Dawg.

Okay, back to the "thread" of this post. I was walking around the neighborhood and went to two other houses after Cindy's. At both houses I ran into silken spider threads. At one house I ran into three. Not webs, just single threads. What goes? Were the spiders just taking a late night stroll and it was easier to swing from lamppost to bush or from porch pillar to porch pillar instead of walking? Were they out visiting relatives or were they shopping for dinner?

And--perish the thought--was a spider still attached to one of the threads that I ran into? Did I pick him up as a passenger? Is he crawling up my back this very minute?

I'm closing this post now. I'm going to stand up and slap myself all over until I'm red and sweaty. It will be preferable to feeling eight hairy legs, crawling.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Children back, "Can I shake them?"


His kids are grown and gone. Oh, wait. They are supposed to be grown and gone. Right now one has returned home. Our friend thought by now he would just be grandparenting, not having his children home with angst that should have played out years ago. He said something like this:

"We know we aren't supposed to shake babies because of the possibility of brain damage but these grown about them? There is the possibility that they are already brain damaged and so it shouldn't matter. Should it?"

We had a good laugh and then departed and I remembered a time when one of my kids was having their own angst and this man was there with encouragement and love and concern. What a great man he is and how we treasure his friendship. It's people like him that change the world for the better.


Teenage cousin, frustrated, angry, annoying me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I don't have anything ready for my personal history group on Tuesday and I thought Maybe I could write a blog and use it for both? I'm lazy that way. So, here it is, unedited, just like everything is on this blog.

Danny was sleeping over for several days. We were in the twin-bed bedroom. I loved that room because there was a little lamp over each bed. You could read in bed and when you heard an enforcer on the steps you could just reach up and turn off the light and almost never get caught.

Danny and I got along okay but because he was a boy we weren't the greatest of pals. Besides that he was a year older than I was. That made him pretty much the boss.

Every night, as we knelt by our beds to say our prayers our feet would touch. We would say things like, "Get your toe-jam out of my way!" or "Keep your to-jam to yourself." We were such clever four and five-year-olds.

Danny's Mom and Dad eventually moved to Salt Lake City and I didn't have to worry about his toe jam or his teasing or bossiness until Uncle Clyn died in his 50's and several years later Aunt Dee remarried. Danny came to stay while they honeymooned in Hawaii. This time we were teenagers and slept in separate rooms. He pretty much still thought he was the boss and added to that he was furious with his Mom for remarrying; he made my life miserable. The only time he showed any pleasure was the times he as eating or when he was annoying me. Mom asked me to "be understanding." This was my house. He should be the understanding one and be decent. He was not in an understanding mood. Or a decent one.

I had finally had enough. My first sign of rebellion came one day when he did something to annoy me and then he took off, down the upstairs hall. He was faster than I was an was almost to the steps. I knew I didn't have a chance catching him so I launched myself at him. Now I am not a great physical person. The only time I attempted to leap a hedge I fell on my face. When I sneaked into a neighbor's yard in the middle of the night with friends I was the one who caught my foot on barbed wire and left a guilty trial of blood. But, this one time, I was a champion. He fell with a thud. Of course I fell too but it didn't matter. I was victorious. He, of course, was furious.

My second and last sign of rebellion came when I bought a slide-bolt door-lock in Richfield. I didn't tell anyone I had it. When I got home I realized the door and the wall had to be on the same level so I simply chipped part of the door frame away and installed my lock. The next day I annoyed Danny. It didn't take much. I took off like the streak of fear that I was. He was a few steps behind me. I flew up the seventeen steps and barely made it to my door before he did. I slid the bolt shut and then listened as he tried to get in. The words "Raging Bull" come to mind as I listened to him through the door. He was furious. I thought he would tear the door down and I finally yelled that if he did he would be in BIG trouble with Aunt Jo--my mom. That got him. No one wanted to be in trouble with Aunt Jo and he stomped away.

We grew up. Danny served in Viet Nam, got married and had a couple of kids. His marriage disintegrated. His life did too. Then, one day, out of the blue, he died; almost exactly the same age his dad was when he died. I spoke at his funeral.

Now, six or seven years later I am remembering Danny, remembering all his childish pranks, his hopes for the future, the desire to serve a mission that he never quite had the courage to do. I am remembering how Aunt Dee and Uncle Con followed the Viet Nam war on a map; always afraid Danny would be in the news. Danny was never the same after that war.

Tonight I am thinking of a little boy, whose biggest problem was his cousin's toe-jam. I am grieving that we weren't better friends later, when he needed a friend so badly. One thing I don't regret is the lock on my bedroom door. It was a job not very well done but satisfying, never the less. I think Danny was a little bit proud of me too.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


You knew it already-- you're brilliant.


I'm not positive but there is a possibility that I'm living in an alternate universe. I'm visible here but my mind is somewhere else. You know how Einstein said we were only using 2 or 3% of our brains. Well, I know why. The rest of our brains are in the alternate universe and over there we use all of it and we are brilliant. Over there Einstein is only mediocre because he used so much of his brain here.

Have you ever wondered why you opened your mouth and said something incredibly...well, interesting. It's because somewhere else, when you open your mouth people take note. They might even clap and cheer.

Just thought you'd like to know. I'm happy to clear these things up for you.


Laughter under the almost full moon.

Friday, August 15, 2008


It's Lord Bumhampton's birthday this month. He and Nurse Giggleswich really like the comic, Brian Regan. When ever they are here they sit side by side and watch "You Tube" clips of Regan and laugh at things like his his Dora-the-explorah, routine or the Greeting Cards one. Their laughter makes me laugh and pretty soon we are all scrunched together on the couch, watching and laughing.

I love those times. They are the stuff that makes all the dreary winter days or the hot, sweltering summer days worth the wait until they come again. So when Phil and I saw that Brian Regan was coming to Thanksgiving Point we bought tickets for them as his birthday gift.

Our tickets were for last night.
The weather was perfect. The 65 foot waterfall was turned off. How about that, being able to turn off a 65 foot waterfall?
There were a few interesting characters there. One, a grown man in an orange, crushed velvet cape--I kid you not--full length. One woman wore white short, shorts that were--ahem--kind of see through. She wore nothing underneath. That's more information than you wanted to know, I know. Sorry. It was more than I wanted to see, too. But most of the people were normal, there were a lot of them. We sat behind the sidewalk so we could see the whole parade of interesting people before the show started. I sat in Lord Bumhanpton's chair so Nurse Giggleswitch could coach me on Sudoku.
She does the puzzles in pen. I have to erase because I kept saying, "Oh, no. I have two three's." I said that a lot. I also said, "Oh, no. I have two fours."
She is the champion. She is focused.

I am not. I have unfocusness syndrome. I'm pretty sure of it. Maybe you too have a problem but couldn't quite put your finger on what it is. Now you can give it a name: Unfocusness. I'm happy to help you out with this diagnosis for absolutely no charge.
While Nurse Giggleswich taught me the finer points of Sudoku Lord Bumhampton and Phil discussed world events. Actually I don't know what they discussed. It could have been snacks for all I know.
Here are our kids, being focused on the pre-show.

Which seems a million miles away but the sound was fantastic and we didn't mind. Being on the fringes also gave us the opportunity to make a quick getaway after the show was over. But we got off track, following a bunch of people who also made a quick getaway and we had to walk through a hedge, but don't tell anyone, okay? We might be arrested for hedge violation.

Here I am suffering from bad hair and Phil is suffering from short-chair syndrome.

The show was very funny and sitting outdoors was wonderful. Brian Regan will have a one hour special on Comedy Central this fall and is making his 20th appearance on David Letterman. One good part, well, apart from his insane funniness, is that his jokes are clean.

After the show we played Sudoku in the car, waiting our turn to get out of the parking lot--that was a 45 minute walk away form the venue. Not really, it just seemed like it.

While we were waiting we were behind a car with two people in love. How could we tell? They used the time wisely, kissing. The show was almost as good as Brian Regan's. We all remembered those days and then we sighed and went back to our Sudoku puzzles. I said, "Oh, no. I have two fives."

We got home late and everyone ended up in the kitchen looking for snacks and then off to bed but not for very long, for the kids. They had to get up at 3:00 so Nurse Giggleswich could drop Lord Bumhampton at the airport for an early flight. They were here almost exactly twelve hours. I wanted to wake up when they left so I could yell goodbye and throw kisses from the window but, alas, I slept through their departure. I'm blaming it on my unfocusness--sleeping when I should have been letting the kids know I already missed them.


Almost-patented product for sneaky dieters.


Do you have trouble sticking on a diet? Are you always opening the freezer for just one spoonful of ice cream or to see if the last Doves ice cream bar is still where you hid it behind the chopped broccoli?
Well, my friend has found the answer. Simply put a large object, in this case a honeydew melon......on top of the freezer, right in the crack where the door meets the freezer and when you open the door to sneak a tasty treat you will get a melon on the head. You will not soon forget this handy diet aid.

The next time you try to sneak in the freezer, you, like Pavlov's dogs, will drool and then you will remember the conk on the head and you will leave the freezer door closed and go away and dust something or file something or watch the Olympics.

Success will be yours.

My friend is so clever. She should patent the idea.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Do you ever know that you should do something but you just can't do it because it's overwhelming? Like clean out your email inbox? I am a notorious non-cleaner-outer of my email. Right now there are 13,737 emails in my inbox. 2, 919 of them are unread. Earlier today there were about 20,000 in my inbox before my email program cleaned its self out. Everything from December 2nd, 2007 to today. I tried to see if there were any I missed reading in the last few hours but Comcast--bless their little hearts--does not recognize me. Or my mother's maiden name or my maiden name or the cost of rice in China or nothin'. Comcast does not think I exhist. Therefore I am not.

I think Comcast is in cahoots with the freezer. The freezer decided it was time to be defrosted ALL BY ITSELF, exactly one week ago. I wonder what's next.

Can we say procrastination? Obviously one of us can't. Or, wait. Maybe one of us can.

I used to clean out my inbox but then I saved a bunch of important emails and now I wonder why they were important. Here are some of the subjects of emails I've saved:

"The papers are coming, the papers are coming - retreat~~~" I opened this one up and I still don't know why I should retreat or what papers. But, it must be important because I saved it.

"Fat Burning Tips"

"Hello Liney ;-)" I emailed this person and it bounced and I have no way of contacting her. I'm sad. She was an email friend from long ago.

"The University of Poland science students digital clock ." This one had a link, Go here. It's pretty neat, actually.

"This week's report." This was from a friend who has since died, unexpectedly, just a few months after she retired. I am sad thinking of her.

"Help" I did. I don't know why I still have that email. Maybe I wanted to be reminded that I helped, who knows?

"Spam Alert: RE: Spam Alert: FW: Wed. Lecture!!!!" This has too many exclamation points for me to take it seriously. I mean, seriously. Three? I'm not saving an email with three exclamation points.

"Lips recipe." It's a raw recipe for stuffed mini peppers that she calls "luscious lips."

"Three keys to personal power." I opened this one. "Your Emotions Are Contagious--Key one: The first power you can develop is enthusiasm. The Key To Charisma--The second personality power that you can develop is expertise, or competence. Prepare Thoroughly For Every Event--The third power of personality that gives you charisma in the eyes of others is thorough preparation, detailed preparation, prior to undertaking any significant task." And on and on....

"Salsa Lessons." I'm to tired to Salsa.

"Marriage Builders." This one came from my friend who should have been a researcher. EVERYTHING fascinates her. This web site it actually pretty good. It's for helping marriages.

"Getting more control of Tip # 4"--This one intrigued me so I opened it and guess what? Tip number four was..."STOP PROCRASTINATING." and then it gave a quote: "The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started." -- Dawson Trotman

With that I will close this post and hope not to read any more reminders from the past. Good grief. How many hints do I need, I wonder?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Pair of shoes, NOT a parachute.


It was Entomologist's seventh birthday on Sunday.

We called our grandson on Sunday to sing Happy Birthday to him. After our charming rendition I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. "Do you want to go to Build a Bear? Do you want a toy? A surprise? Do you want a pair of shoes." That last sentence was a joke. No seven-year-old wants a pair of shoes for his birthday.

"What?" he said, "a parachute!"

"A parachute?" I asked. "You want a parachute?"

"Yah," he said, "I want a parachute."

"Where'd you get the idea of a parachute?" I asked.

"You said, do I want a parachute?" He said.

"No, not a parachute. I said, 'Do you want a pair of shoes?'"

"I want a parachute! I could jump off the house."

"No, no," I said, "I said a pair of shoes. PAIR OF SHOES. It was a joke. A pair of shoes, not parachute. You can't jump off the house, you'd break your legs."

"I wouldn't break my legs. I'd have a parachute."

"Who's on first?"
I thought.

I decided to drop the parachute dialogue. I told him to think about what he wanted for his birthday, to talk it over with his mom and dad and they could call me later. I didn't hear from them so I called on Monday.

"What did Entomologist decide on for his birthday?" I asked the Soap Queen.

"He says he wants a parachute. He says he wants to jump off the house. I told him he'd have to jump out of a plane, that he can't jump off the house. He'd get hurt. I don't know where he got the idea of a parachute."

I held my head in my hands. "It's my fault," I said in a tiny little voice. "I asked him if he wanted a pair of shoes and he misunderstood. It was a joke. A pair of shoes. He thought I said parachute and I coudn't make him understand." My worry gene kicked in. What if the kid jumps off the house with a homemade parachute because Grandma wouldn't buy him a real one? It will be my fault.

"Oh," Soap Queen said, forgiving me for my stupidity. "Well, then. I'll ask him what he wants and call you back."

When she called back she said he wanted to go to Build a Bear and so we did.
He chose the Husky.
The "stuffing" girl had him rub the heart that was going in his dog, put it on his muscles so his dog would have strength, rub it on his forehead for brains, on his legs so his dog would run fast and then she said, "Give the heart a kiss so he will know you love him." Entomologist couldn't kiss the heart. He just grinned. And grinned. And grinned.
Finally, when no one was looking he gave it a quick kiss. She put the heart inside and sewed the Husky up.
Look at he eyes on that kid. Couldn't you just hug him?

He gives his dog a "fluff" bath.
Picks out a dog house for him to sleep in at night. And then sits down to give him a name. He pulled his chin. It helps when thinking. Finally his mom suggested Wolfy and Wolfy it was. Typing in Wolfy's name.
He shows his baby brother. "See Wolfy?"

I wonder how old I have to be before I can come to Build a Bear?

Carrying Wolfy and his dog house to the car.

Deseret Book probably gets lots of customers who come in their back door on the way to Build a Bear and buy a book or two on the way out. Phil's motto: I've never met a book I didn't like.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear grandson. And many more.

We love you very much!

Monday, August 11, 2008


Noisless Kraut, causes sock snowfall, indoors.


I was in the family room, watching TV—a horror film. Sigourney Weaver was being tracked by the Alien. She--the Alien--was a yellow toothed, stringy-spit, mucus-dripper who planted it’s young inside any handy human being and then, when the young matured, it exited from the human's stomach. The human died.

I was folding a whole laundry basket of mate-less socks. Folding socks didn’t take any mental capacity and I didn’t have any extra to spare.

Enter Kraut, about twelve years old. Kraut didn’t walk; he glided. He was also invisible. He could go anywhere in the house and Phil and I were always startled to see him there.

“Where did you come from?” we would ask.

He always looked baffled and shrugged his shoulders. He just walked in, like any normal, noiseless, invisible kid.

So Kraut--the noiseless one, was behind me. Naturally, I didn’t know he was there. Kraut notices the Putt Putt Drill, just sitting there, as if it were fate.

The Putt Putt Drill was a toy, built of orange plastic in the shape of a drill and it made an irritating burring noise. It’s the kind of toy grandparents buy for the grandkids. With continual use of toys like the Putt Putt Drill the parents nerves slowly disintegrate until the toy disappears—mysteriously. This usually happens exactly one day after the parent’s permanent facial twitch appears.

Kraut picks up the irresistible Putt Putt Drill.

I pick up a white sock with a red band and match it, slowly, with a white sock with a blue band, two sizes smaller.

The Alien opens its sharp-toothed mouth and drips slime.

Sigourney sweats--I could say she perspired but, let's face it, she was sweating. She had a sweaty look the whole movie.

Kraut glides behind me.

I slowly reach into the laundry basked for a double handful of socks.

The Alien knows Sigourney is there and moves in for the kill.

Sigourney sweats more vigorously.

Kraut puts the Putt Putt Drill next to my ear, not the drill end, just the noise part.

I hold my breath.

The Alien is poised. The time is now. Sigourney is going to die.

Kraut pushes the trigger.

Socks fly in the air like startled pigeons.

Kraut snorts in a very satisfied, "I gotcha" sort of way and disappears, fast as lightening, upstairs—out of reach—where he displays his youthful mirth.

Sigourney defeats the Alien.

Socks settle on me like snow.

And that is why parents loose their minds. Their kids drive then to insanity. In. One. Creative. Way. After. Another.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Singing, dancing, who's my dad?


Friday night, after most of the Opening Exercises of the Olympics I got a call from Pam. "Wanna go to Mamma Mia in eight minutes?" Of course I did. We were even on time.
Phil will be astonished!
Mamma Mia was a story about a girl, raised in the Greek Islands. She's getting married.
She found her mother's diary, telling her the possibile identity of her father.
One of three. She invited them to her wedding. They came.
Her mother, Meryl Streep--who was fantastic in the role--lost it.
Pierce Brosnan was one of the three. Since the movie was a musical, Pierce sang. Every time he sang the audience laughed. Imagine. Bond. James Bond. Singing. Well, it was funny.

I tried to find a photo of the boys on the island, dancing on the dock. I laughed until I couldn't breathe. There were so may parts that were laugh-out-loud funny. Even the credits, after the movie, were funny. Don't leave early!
Some of the scenes were hysterical. Some had some swears. One, that I can think of, although funny, was suggestive. That's how the man-of-bad works, making bad things funny. I'm sorry I laughed. I'm repenting, real soon. Right now. Repenting.

Mmm, James. Er...I mean, Sam. And this little gal, who played Sophie, can really sing. Her name is Amanda Seyfried
Do you have friends like this? We ALL should have friends like this. Friends who you can be knock-down silly with. Friends with history, maybe, or maybe they are new friends. I wish you all friends, forever friends like I have. I am so lucky.

Now, we just need to learn to dance.
And sing. And live in Greece.
Pam and I are going to buy the music and learn to dance and then watch out! Mamma Mia.