Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Nuh huh, you are saying, but just think about it. I know you've all had them...tragedies. Probably lots of them. Illness, death, disease, loss, the list could go on for pages and there would always be some tragedy missing. Probably yours, as all of our tragedies are varied and sometimes totally unbelievable--fiction wouldn't be so bold.

I lost eyesight in one eye and was devastated but you know what? It was the eye that had a detached retina and now has a cataract and I had limited vision out of it anyway. What a blessing to have sight in the better eye.

Sunday, at church, I said to one of my friends, "You look like you are in pain."

"My grandson threw his coat on my floor," she said, (her floors are hardwood and tile), "and I didn't see it, stepped on it, and I fell. Can't you see around my eye? I doctored it as good as I could with make-up."

She thinks she may have cracked some ribs and, indeed, she was in pain. And then she said, "I'm so lucky I didn't break anything, what a blessing."

And so it goes.

This afternoon, we went to the movie with friends. Here in Utah we are in the middle of a GIANT snow storm. The streets are a mess and the parking lot at the theatre had about four inches of slush. As I was getting into the car I bumped my glasses on the door and the lens to my glasses popped out and fell into the slush. I felt like a fool. No grace, no dignity, just whacking my head like an idiot. Phil saw the lens fall and thought it was a piece of ice. He might have stepped on it but...didn't. He reached down and in all that slush, somehow saw the clear piece of glass and retrieved it. What a blessing. I forgot I was a fool and was grateful that my lens wasn't broken, which it would have been if there weren't nice soft slush for it to fall into.

I think we should start recognizing them. Our blessings amidst the tragedies.

Tragedies seen to announce themselves with gusto, like Kramer, when he hearts the doorbell--toenails clicking, rounding the corner on the slick kitchen floor, sliding into the wall, bounding up to clatter some more and start the bark, bark, barking. The blessings come, quietly, like a kitty with velvet paws, sometimes even amid the tragedies. We just need to be still and watch for them.

So, lets' do it, let's watch for the blessings.

I will if you will.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Christmas Day is over, the presents are unwrapped and all is quiet on the home front.

Just a few minutes ago Elizabeth and I heard a noise. A prolonged noise. Twice. It's either a snow plow, or we are at war. The fact that there is hardly a skiff of new snow has me wondering if the missiles have been deployed and we are headed into Armageddon.

And then I had the thought: If we are at war, and the missiles have been launched, and the radiation is sifting down, then I better eat all the Christmas candy now, instead of parcelling it out a bit at a time until the new year. Because, as soon as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st (or is it considered January 1st when the clock strikes midnight?) candy must not be consumed, in fact, if I have any in my mouth at that moment, I must spit it out.

Because there might not be a new year, it would be a shame to let all the fudge and little white cookies go to waste. The mutants in the future, sifting through our generation's rubble will come upon the fudge and little white cookies and say, "The people who lived here (and died before New Year's) worshipped fudge and little white cookies and kept them in sacred decorated tins." They will know they are sacred because one of them is a Mary Englebright tin and it says, "Peace." Of course the fudge filled one has a picture of Santa and a reindeer. I don't want them to think I worshipped fudge and little white cookies and Santa, so I guess I better eat the contents, so the mutants-of-the future will not make snarky comments about my religion.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


A message came in my inbox this morning, just in time, I might add because I woke up feeling like the world was coming to and end and I was caught with a kitchen in disarray, laundry not done, shopping incomplete, a friend who misunderstood me, the diet not started, cats that need to find a new home but a daughter not understanding why, things I can't fix and relationships I haven't tended well enough, Christmas candy still unmade, a birthday present undelivered, letters not written, cookies not baked--they must be ready by 3:30 when my Achievement Days girls are going caroling to the widows in our ward and leaving them a package of cookies (that they probably don't want)--, the date for the Christmas dinner not decided on, food not purchased, packages not mailed, clutter, clutter everywhere, blogs I've neglected, watercolors still in the same spot I put them in two months ago when I was ambitious and thought I could do it all, eternal differences of opinion, and the Christmas tree still not decorated. Maybe your life is like this, too. If so, put your name where mine is in the following quote:

"Tell me, Lynne, if you were to walk out of your home tomorrow morning, gaze upward into the heavens and see me there, in all my splendor, pacing, pining, and worrying; hoping, wishing, and yearning; and questioning whether or not my boldest dreams would ever come true, would you or would you not, wonder if I had gone stark raving mad?

"Well then...? The Universe

"Lynne, you're every bit as splendid."

If you would like words of encouragement, sign up with "The Universe," here. And I hope you can afford to hire a maid...but then, you'd clean before she came. I know that, because that's what I would do.

So, in the midst of all the minutia and undone tasks, my wish for you today is that your burden's be light, along with your worrying, and that you might have a song in your heart .

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Last Sunday we woke up to a world of snow. Phil didn't have to be to his BYU ward until 9:00 and so he volunteered to drive me to church. I was happy to accept. I was quite early and so, as usual, I was going through my church bag as I take notes of all the announcements in both Sacrament meeting and Relief Society and needed to make sure I had a pen. (I forward the Relief Society bulletin with all the announcements in the body of that email.) In my search, I also found that I left home without my keys.

The people behind were watching when I made the discovery. They also heard me say that Phil wouldn't be home until the middle of the afternoon. Our church was over at noon.

"Don't worry about it, Lynne," said LouAnn. "You can come home with us."

"You should carry an extra key in your wallet," her husband said.

And there you go. The difference between women and men.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


This came to me today via email:

"No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement."-- Florida Scott-Maxwell

Isn't this the truth? I have five children and I'm watching--and guess what? Many times I am not disappointed and even more, they are doing things that I can't seem to do, and they are doing them well. They are improving in ways that astonish me. Their capacity for love, forgiveness and service, not to mention repentance--which we all need to do--makes me glad they belong to me. Forever.

As for me? I'm sure Mother is watching from beyond the veil, waiting for signs that I will grow up, get rid of some bad habit, loose weight PERMANENTLY, and just be a better person. She never in her whole life understood my night owl tendencies, and I don't either. But, here I am, still staying up too late, packing extra pounds, being a bit snarky--poor Phil, he is the recipient of my snarky tendencies--, and living with clutter. Oh my. Isn't it time to grow up?

PS If you too want to sign up to get a daily email with a quote, plus a bit of trivia, and a link to an article, blog or website and an ebook,
click here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


It's time to fill the tins with Little White Cookies (aka Russian Teacakes).
Each layer is separated by a square of waxed paper. This one is finally full!Then everything goes into the redneck fridge--the garage--until it's time to deliver. Three tins are filled with Little White Cookies, two more to go. Then I need to find out what else they want? Regular fudge, peanut butter fudge, buttermilk fudge, English toffee, caramels or maybe something I have forgotten.
This year I think I will make fruit cake--I'm getting a late start on it.

Trent is the only one I know of who likes it. He says it's good with a steaming cup of wassail--which I used to make but have no idea where the recipe is. My fruit cake is fruit and nuts and just enough batter to hold them all together--red and green candied pineapple, red and green candied cherries, Marciano cherries and walnuts. When sliced thin it looks like a stained glass window.
Now to find the recipe.

Maybe Trent will get fruitcake next year. Actually, if made properly this year it would still be wonderful by next year.

If you don't make Russian teacakes maybe it's time to start a new tradition for your kids or just yourself. Recipe here.

And if you fruitcake recipe is the best--not good or great but absolutely the best you have ever tasted and you are famous for it, send it to me because in searching three recipe boxes my recipe has not been found yet.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Kate has new glasses. She picked them out in 1.3 seconds. She knows what she likes.

Spread the laughter,
Share the cheer.
Let's be happy,
While we're here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Tuesday night my desire to be a good mother won over common sense.

For two days the weather forecasters had been warning us about a blizzard that was coming on Tuesday evening. I even got notice via email that one of the local craft stores were closing early so their employees could get home before the storm hit.

Then I talked to Hillary. She was sick and the baby--not even two weeks old, threw up all over her. If Max had been there I knew she would be fine but he was working out of town. I threw a nightgown, robe, clean underwear and cosmetics in the car and took off. Point one for motherhood.

"If I hurry," I said to Phil, who was wide eyed and disbelieving, "I can beat the storm."

I ran into the storm right out of Provo. There would be no hurrying. I didn't consider turning around. Point one for stupidity.

The storm grew worse. I have sight in only one eye and that makes driving more difficult, especially at night, but I preserved--my daughter needed me. Point two for stupidity. Point two for motherhood, too.

Soon all signs of lines on the road were gone. I followed a car that seemed to know where he was going. He slowed from 40 miles an hour to 20.

When he took an exit to Spanish Fork I waited for someone else to pass me and then I followed his tracks.

Santaguin--where my daughter and grandbaby and other two grandchildren live--is a thirty-five minute drive from my house to hers. It had been thirty-five minutes already. I wasn't even to Payson.

I slogged on and finally I saw the exit I wanted. A car was following MY tracks, the stupid fool. Who would follow me? But, because he was following me I couldn't just stop in the middle of the road and try to figure things out.

There was NO STREETLIGHT at that exit. What is the matter with the powers that be in charge of roads? Is there some road-ology rule that says there should be inconsistency in road signs and street lights? I had no idea where the exit road was and was afraid if I just turned toward the right I'd go right off the embankment. Besides there was that fool following. And visibility was about ten feet. I should have slowed to a stop and waved him around, got out and found the road but, stupidity earned another point and I kept going.

I saw a car coming up from that exit onto the freeway. I thought about turning around and going down the exit ramp, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD IDEA as there were no other cars for miles and miles around but stupidly earned point four. I pulled over to the side of the road, the car following me hurried to catch up to the car that just came from Santaguin and then I called Hillary.

"I've missed my exit."

"Oh, Mom. The next exit is ten miles down the road, at Mona."

Motherhood earned another point as I said, "I just wanted you to know I am fine"--liar, liar, pants on fire--"and I'll go to Mona and turn around. Call Dad and tell him I'm fine." Make her a liar, too. The two cars were out of sight by now so I took a deep breath and started again.

When I got to Mona there WERE THREE STREET LIGHTS AT THE EXIT. Three! Talk about conspicuous consumption, especially when the Santaguin exit had none.

Off I went, and because there were plenty of streetlights I could actaully see the on ramp and I got back on the freeway. I should have gone to a random house and asked for asylum.

Have I mentioned that this section of I-15 is under construction? So, there were odd barriers all over the place? Barriers in the blizzard that I couldn't see anyway, until they were ten feet away.

Last week Phil installed brand new windshield wipers on my car. From Costco. The Costco he loves. The Costco that can do no wrong. Except the wipers collected ice and soon I had exactly a three inch swath of clear windshield that I could see out of if I sat up tall. When that bit of clean windshield disappeared I stopped the car, got out and banged the ice off. Of course I didn't have any gloves because I was speeding to my daughter's rescue and finding gloves would have taken sixty seconds. Phil would have tried to talk me out of going all of those sixty seconds and I was not going to be talked out of going.

I started saying, "Have faith. Have faith." about every three seconds. And, "Heavenly Father, just keep my windshield clear and I will do the rest."

Thank goodness for those annoying groves the road-making people put at the edge of the road to wake up sleepy drivers when they drift off the road. I was a drifter and how was I to tell? I couldn't see anything, but my hearing was good. When my tires hit the groves I veered back to the left. I prayed, "Heavenly Father, just let me have enough clear windshield to see out of. I promise I will not speed"--most of the time my speed didn't even register--"and I will be kind to people and not kick dogs." I tell you, when you are in a real blizzardy pickle you think of odd things.

The windshield wipers now had 1/2 inch of clean window and when that closed I stopped, stepped out of the car, took my other foot off the brake and the car went on without me! I had left it in gear. I hobbled, one leg partly still in the car, I got in, and put the car in park. I put my head in my hands and said things like, "Thou fool," and then I got out, banged the ice off the wiper and got back in the car.

Somewhere along there I uttered another simple prayer. "Dear Heavenly Father, please don't let me die tonight or Hillary will never forgive herself, even though she didn't actually ask me to come down. And she has always said she won't speak at my funeral because she won't be able to talk and I've always said, 'well, you can write it out. Trent will read it for you.' And so, Heavenly Father, don't let me die tonight, because then she'd feel guilty for two things."

In five minutes the whole windshield wiper scenario played out again, even the part about leaving the car in gear, AGAIN.

One good thing about this whole horrible bad night, I thought, my hobbling skills have improved greatly. I probably have hobbling muscles that I didn't even know I had and they are now exercised and will be big and strong in case I ever have the need to hobble in the future.

I banged the ice off the windshield wiper and saw that there was one lone semi coming--oh wait, he had three cars behind him, if I hurried I could follow the pack. But, he was almost to me.

Do I stay in front of the car and if he hits the car it will run over me? Or do I stand behind the car and if he hits me he will smash me into the car?

I did neither, I decided to get IN the car but of course there wasn't time because he was really speeding, probably twenty miles an hour and so I flattened myself to the driver's door and he passed within four feet of me. He blared his horn. Was that a greeting? I decided it was his message, "Courage. Have courage and keep going." The three cars following soon were out of sight as I was so shaken I couldn't get behind the wheel in time to follow. When I did, I found out that I had TURNED THE LIGHTS OFF when I got out of the car. Old habits--turn off the lights when you get out of the car. No WONDER he blared his horn at me, it wasn't a "courage" message at all. It was a "You are a stupid fool" message. A car with no lights and a wild woman standing there in a blizzard? He probably thought I was an escaped mental patient PLUS a stupid fool, and by then it was a possibility--I would be glad to be in some nice warm mental hospital, in a nice, safe, padded room.

The blizzard blizzarded on and I did too. But the windshield wiper now had a mission--to collect ice--and it was doing a fine job, Costco would have been proud. So I had to get out and bang the windshield wiper. And like magic, here came another semi. I'm sure they were twins but probably not identical because this driver only tooted his horn five times as he passed because--and I swear, this is true--I had flattened my self AGAIN to the car because there wasn't time to get inside, and when I did get in I found that AGAIN I had turned off the lights. I put my heard in my hands and muttered a prayer, "Never mind, Heavenly Father. Anyone this stupid doesn't deserve to live." I thought I heard a chuckle but that was probably my imagination.

But, whether I deserved life or not, I was on a mission, to take care of my daughter and granddaughter, so I put the car in gear, turned on the lights and went on my way, ten miles an hour. The tracks of the semi and his entourage were already covered with blizzardy snow and so I was relying on the inadequate poles at the edge of the road that have too-small florescent circles on top. Florescent circles that have pretty much lost their florescent-ness.

What is the matter with the people in charge of the Utah road budget? I thought. It's not being spent on what really matters. There should be taller poles, closer together, and with bigger, brighter, more florescent circles for one, and streetlights at ALL exits, but the groves in the road were a pretty good idea so they get some points.

I had been watching my odometer and it was not anywhere near the ten mile mark when I PASSED my exit. I PASSED MY EXIT. AGAIN! I don't know what the stupidity ranking is by now but it has left the motherhood one in the dust. If there were any dust. There was only blinding snow and a stupid woman, who stooped on the bridge, that was over the road, that went to my daughter's house. My windshield was un-look-out-able anyway so I got out of the car--I put it in park and left the lights on--and banged the ice off my windshield wiper. It came off in my hand.

I just looked at it. And then I did what every woman in the world would do. I threw a tantrum. My hair was wet, I looked like Medusa--and she was surely a mad woman--and so I did a mad Medusa fit. And then I got in the car and called Phil with my frozen fingers. What he was going to do I had no idea, but he is the voice of reason in our relationship and I wanted to hear some reason.

"Okay," he said, "It's really easy to put back on. You just blah, blah, and then the blah blah, a little black hook, blah blah, and then it snaps into place and it's fixed."

"What about the little hole?"

"What little hole?"

"On the windshield wiper?"

"Listen," the voice of reason said, knowing full well that instructions go right over my head. He proceeded to tell it all to me again and so I got out of the car and found the little hook but there was that darned hole and didn't it have something to do with anything?

"I can't fix it," I said when I called him back.

"Okay, call 911 and have the Highway Patrol come and help you."

So, on this deserted road, where only about one semi and three cars came by every half hour I sat and thought of my options. It looked like I was on the pioneer prairie, in a snow storm, pushing a handcart to Martin's Cove. No signs of life except the service station lights that I could kind of see through the blizzard, that was on the other side of the freeway, on the road I wanted to be on, that would take me to Hillary. I had no other options, I had to call for help.

Luckily my phone charger was in the car because that was another thing I left without, checking my phone's battery, which was pretty much dead.

So I plugged my phone in and called "911" and talked to the nice gentleman, who was probably sitting in a warm office, with a cushy chair that rolled around where ever he wanted to go, maybe he had tasty snacks like Cheetos and a diet Pepsi at hand. He said, "Calm down." No, he really didn't say that but he probably wanted to and he probably rolled his eyes at the cute girl who was maybe next to him, talking to someone else who was stupid and in trouble in a blizzard. He had a "calm down" sort of voice.

He called the Highway Patrol and I sobbed my story out to them and said, "Yes, I was off the side of the road," and then they said they would send someone right out.

Did "right out" mean two minutes or ten? It didn't matter. I had a full bladder because I had ignored my own rule: Go to the bathroom before you leave the house. It is even known as "Grandma's rule." I didn't want to take the time to go to the bathroom because I was afraid Phil would try and stop me and because I didn't want to take the one minute it would take when my daughter was sick and needed me, and because I would be at her house in 45 minutes for sure because there might be just a little snow and the roads might be a little wet and so I would probably only drive 50 miles and hour instead of 75.


So, I did what any full-bladdered woman, on a bridge, in a blizzard would do. Yes I did. And I'm sure when the Highway Patrolman got to me, he could follow my tracks in the snow and see the only spot for two hundred miles that was free of snow. It might even have been still steaming.

So help came and the first thing the nice Highway Patrolman said was, "You are in the middle of the freeway. Follow me and we'll go to a safe spot."

No wonder the semi's honked at me. I was in their driving spot, with no lights on. In a blizzard. With a full bladder. (Oh, wait, that wasn't relevant to the semi-drivers. Unless they had full bladders too, but if they were men, and had a soda cup handy--darn men, built so conveniently.)

So, I followed the nice Highway Patrolman, only because I could see his lights faintly through my snow covered window. When he stopped I thanked God for men--and they can be conveniently built as long as they saved insane woman, with wild, wet hair, who are too stupid to know how to put the little windshield wiper hook in the right place and ignore the little hole.

I gave him my windshield wiper and immediately he said, "You've lost a part of it. This one won't work."

And I said to myself, See Phil, I'm not stupid, part of it is missing and if it had been there I would have figured it out. Which I knew was a lie but I said it to myself anyway to make myself feel better.

He took the other wiper off. How he did it, I don't know. The only way I could ever get one of those things off is to bang it on the windshield in a blizzard. He put the windshield wiper on the driver's side. I don't know if he noticed the little hole.

By then there was another Highway Patrolman there and they conversed and then the first man asked, "You missed this exit? This one, right here? Twice?" And then they probably snickered to themselves but they were nice and didn't let the snicker reach their faces but they both had smiling eyes. Maybe they were born that way and always looked happy, I hope so.

They decided I should go down the up ramp and the second man would lead the way. I started to follow him and I yelled out my window to the first, windshield-wiper-fixer, "What's your name?" He told me and then I yelled, "Thank you, Sergeant..." and then I bumbled his name so bad I'm sure he not only snickered inside but also had a good long laugh. And I don't even know if they are Sergeants or if I've watched one to many CSI type shows. So I followed the second man's car but I could couldn't even see as well as I had before, in fact it was almost impossible to see and I thought, How on earth am I going to be able to make it to Hillary's? My eyesight is failing! I'm going blind in my other eye! Please Heavenly Father, not yet. I really wanted to say, not at all, but I didn't want to appear bossy. He knows how I feel and what I fear.

When we got to the bottom of the hill I realized I had my interior light on. And so I turned it off and I could see much better. I waved to the nice smiling eyed Highway Patrolman and I s-l-o-w-l-y made my way--in the middle of the road--in the middle of the night--to Hillary's house--who is our middle child.

I stopped when I was almost there and called Phil. "How do I put this car in four wheel drive?"

"It's always in four wheel drive," he said.

Bah! That's why I get such fantastic gas mileage! Four wheel drive, 24/7, in case a driver is out in a blizzard for several hours once every fifty years.

He told me to go into Hillary's driveway very slow, and in the lowest gear, because Hillary's driveway is on a slope--just like the ones on mountain passes where you see signs that say, "Trucks use lower gear on this grade." This is because the people who were building their house got tired of digging one bucket of dirt with every five buckets of boulders and they gave up and her driveway and garage should be four or five feet lower--but there were all those pesky boulders--and so to get to her garage you have to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. In low gear. Slowly.

I called Hillary and said, "Open your garage door," and she did and I put the car in 1st and drove very slowly up the mountain slope, into Hillary's garage and then I slumped over the steering wheel and wept. After the shudders stopped I composed myself and when I got inside I asked how she and Daisy were.

"We're fine. I feel fine and Daisy hasn't thrown up any more," she said.

And then my eyes crossed and my whole life flashed before my eyes and, let me tell you, the last two hours and twenty minutes counted for almost half of it and then I said, "Thank goodness," instead of saying, "You have a fool for a mother, who goes out in the blizzard of the century, with inadequate information, and I hope this gene was not passed on to you, but watch out, it may have been. You won't find out until your children are grown and need you and you should stay home because they are really probably fine."

I washed my hands and said a little thankful prayer to Heavenly Father who obviously looks out for fools, and I took that baby and I didn't let her go until Hillary got up at 4:00 am and said, "Give her back. She needs to eat."

And then I had a delightful morning with the girls--my girl, Hillary and her two charming older daughters, Maddy and Ruby and the captivating baby, Daisy. I told chapter one of a new story and Maddy and I ate "toad-in-the-holes" for breakfast--which is ironic. I won't let anyone in my family call Acini de Pepe salad "Frog Eye Salad" because I think it's plebeian and not respectful to the frogs of the world but I will eat a Toad-in-the-hole.

I have only been this frightened one other time in my life and that was when I was seventeen years old, riding on a bus, in Switzerland, driven by a bus driver who spoke not one word of English but had a full vocabulary of Danish, driving on high mountain hairpin roads, in the lane closest to the edge--which--I swear--was crumbling into the abyss--in a horrible, thick fog, at night! That was the only time I have been as frightened as I was on Tuesday night.

Today, on Thanksgiving, I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for the voice of reason, who I married and who deserves better than he's getting. And grateful for every person, who is in any way, mine. Especially my children, who are really amazing, but maybe don't know it yet.

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving--I know some of you didn't have Thanksgiving today, but I hope you had a nice day and are having a nice life, and that you don't have to be a stupid fool, like I was, to know how precious life is and how very important relationships are. We should nourish them in the most careful way.

And now I must make my life count for something. I guess I better get to bed so I can get up in the morning and start.

PS Why do you suppose there is a little hole on the windshield wiper apparatus if it's not used for something? It makes no sense to me. If it makes sense to you please leave me a comment and tell me why.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Today was Grandparent's day at Ruby's school for all the kindergarten students. I went to Ruby's class but couldn't find her. So I went to a different class and she wasn't there either. Back to the 1st class and low and behold, there she was on the front row, probably thinking, what is Grandma doing, going from class to class?

We had four activities to do together. I realized Ruby writes half in capitols and half in lower case. But, she is sounding out words and almost ready for the leap to real reading. It's always exciting when I see that happening in a child. A whole new world will open up for her.Recess. Who cares if the coat is buttoned right?See this? Three friends, having a private moment that no one else knew about. Then just two friends. This little girl and her mother met Ruby and her mother when the two girls were just babies. They didn't see each other again until the girls were in the same class. Hillary remembered because this little girls name is Sweden and she remembered the baby Sweden. Now the girls are friends. After recess they put on Turkey hats and performed for us in the gym. They sang six funny, wonderful songs.And then we went home. Ruby told me how to get there by the back roads. Well, Hillary on the cell phone helped some, too. We go that way, Grandma!My happy five year old granddaughter that I love so much. You really can't see them here but she has a sprinkling of freckles, just like her Momma did at that age.
Don't you just love that face? Me too.And Baby Daisy? This is how she looked three days ago when she went in to see if she needed to stay under the "lights" so her jaundice would go away. She looks tan doesn't she? But...she passed and didn't have to be under those lights. I think her dark complexion has something to do with my inability to manage my camera at all times.
And today, she had another test and passed again. But before she left with her daddy for the test she cried like no one I have EVER heard. Her little heart was broken. Why, we just don't know. She calmed down and went happily with Dad.
Don't you just love that little baby face? Me too.
And I told the other girl in this family, Miss Maddy--seen here, catching a ride this summer from Miss Ruby--that I would come again on Monday, and I would have a story recorded for her. It's going to be a doozy...I think...I'm still coming up with a plot and the cast of characters, but for that girl--who LOVES a story--I'm going to do my best.

She deserves the best. All our grandchildren deserve the best. We all do. I hope we are all helping each other to have good experiences here, on planet earth.

This is what I wish for all of us, that we could be this happy. I know trying times have to come but after the angst, happiness like this.
Don't you just love that happy face? Me too.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This is baby Daisy having her first bath. She had been all stretched out, so content, when the nurse swabbed her down and then put her head under the faucet and scrubbed it. Daisy was not happy. Her lungs are functional, that's for sure.Daisy's Daddy comforted her.I accidentally erased the photo that Max sent me of Daisy and her Momma, taken just a minute after her birth. I'll have to have him send it again. Here's a photo from Hillary's Blog. Max is already giving Daisy a helping hand. He loves all his girls. He has three, now. Four, counting Hillary, Daisy's momma. This is two days old. Being born is so tiring.Her big sister, Ruby.
Ruby, Phil--Daisy's grandpa--and Maddy.
Daisy had to come by C-section because her sisters were so big at birth and the doctor says he lost two weeks of his life trying to get them here safely. But Daisy is the smallest one of all. Nine pounds nine ounces doesn't seem small but she is. I think she will loose that baby fat quickly and think she may take after her great-grandma Snyder, who was just five feet tall. I guess time will tell.

Phil, had to have throat surgery the same day as Hillary had her surgery. Almost at exactly the same time! I abandoned Phil, pre-surgery, to go see if the baby had come. Indeed she had. I made it on time to get her first bath photos.

Phil is recovering nicely--he had an esophageal pouch that had to be--not removed--but incorporated into the esophagus. He said he had "popped a gizzard." You can see where my children get their odd sense of humor.

He is supposed to eat soft food for several days and tonight he blended spare ribs (boneless), corn, noodles and sauce with some water and poured his dinner into a bowl. I couldn't watch. It looked like what gruel must look like.

So, all in all, last week was a good one for us. The birth of our newest little one. Phil's throat fixed--it had been bothering him for close to ten years.

Baby Daisy has some jaundice and is spending time under the "lights." Both her sisters also had jaundice and it was harder on Hillary than anyone. They let Daisy go home with portable lights but she will have to be checked at the hospital tomorrow. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the jaundice will be under control.

Congratulations to Max and Hillary and thank you for giving us another granddaughter to love.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


If it's late at night. There is a creepy, rhythmic noise. I am afraid to move.

Phil is safe, asleep in bed. Elizabeth is safe downstairs, and is no help at all, and so I sit there for a long time, motionless, not wanting the whatever-it-is to know I exist.

And then Pika wakes up. The creepy noise stops. Do you know what happens when I cat snores in a pumpkin? IT ECHOES! It echoes in a very creepy way. The pumpkin is now in the basement, in a box, where I can't see it--or hear it, either.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I've been watching a TV series on Hulu. My computer does not allow continuous action, but it does allow continuous audio. Freeze frame of a wall. Dialogue for two minutes and I never did see who either of the two men talking were.

Freeze frame of one person who is talking to another but I don't get to see the other person so I don't know what is going on, or with whom, and it was kind of a heated argument.

Change of scene. Two women talking but I can't tell who is saying what because the computer freeze frames on one of them and then in 30 seconds I see who she is talking to...or maybe who was talked to. I'm not sure who was once married to the man the other is now dating...I wonder if this is worth it.

Probably not.

Maybe for more reasons than a slow computer.

PS And I have to listen to the commercials because there is no way to skip forward. Yes, probably/definitely not worth it. Probably. Maybe.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


From Hillary (Nov. 4, 7:27 am) Why does Maddy insist on telling me her dreams every morning? Plus she Mumbles so I can't even understand her. I'll tell her to call and tell them to you.

From Lynne (Nov 4, 10:24 am) First of all I am comatose at 7:30. Second of all I detest hearing other people's dreams. Third of all I'm old, do you think I can hear mumblers? Fourth, I would love to listen to anything Maddy said. That'llbeall! :)

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 11:07 am) A. I know you detest hearing about others dreams. That's where I got it from, apparently. And 2. I am not amused that you would listen to Maddy's BORING dreams when mine are so captivating. Do you love her more than you love me? And last but not least, I didn't think you'd actually be up when I sent you that text.

From Lynne (Nov 4, 11:18 am) Well, first of all I certainly love Maddy the most. You are a hair behind because you quit piano and I hope you are sorry, and besides that, you didn't always mind. B) Maddy probably has charming dreams and it's all about the charm. 3) I don't remember what was third because so much of my brain is filled with ways to be charming that I can't be bothered with mundane lists which might, or might not, be pesky.

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 11:46 am) Excusez-moi? I was the one who gave you Maddy! Shouldn't that count for something? Plus you've ruined stringy chicken for me.

From Lynne (Nov 4, 11:58 am) Oh, I forgot about you giving us Maddy...but you didn't let me see her birthing, AND furthermore you scared us nearly to death when the crash cart, with running technicians came screeching around the corner and banged into your room so...Maddy is still ahead, In fact, she's inched forward a bit. Stringy chicken is what it is.

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 12:01 pm) If you should be mad at anyone here it should be Maddy! The was the twerp that wasn't breathing. I am a pleasure and the light of your life. Let it be written.

From Lynne (Nov. 4, 12:02 pm) You squose the breath right out of her. You should be spanked. Remind me to do that.

From Lynne (Nov. 4, 12:03 pm) Squeezed. You squeezed her.

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 12:05 pm) I just like squoozed and that's all.

From Lynne (Nov. 4, 12:06 pm) Fine!

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 12:07 pm) And why am I always the one to blame? I was helpless on the hospital bed minding my own business. Why am I to blame for my gargantuan baby not breathing?

From Lynne (Nov. 4, 12:15 pm) Well, besides the maniacal squeezing, how about the ounces of baby chunkiness the chocolate bars put on?

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 12:17 pm) Wasn't that you that ate all the chocolate bars when you were pregnant with Taylor? You've got some splaining to do about that kid. I was a picture of health with Mads.

From Lynne (Nov. 4, 12:29 pm) Taylor was just anxious to meet his charming momma--it's all about the charm, remember--that he hurried to be born, 20 minutes once we got to the hospital. YOU were the one who fiddled around, biding your time and then you, and those two other naughty babies, decided to come AT EXACTLY THE SAME TIME, and my doctor barely made it for your birth. That was the ONLY time I said "I'm going to die!" Over and over I said that. I think you've slipped in the polls.

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 12:33 pm) Firstly you have it all wrong. Charm is not most important. Cuteness is most important. And second Taylor was just prolly trying to get away from all that bad food you were feeding him. Bless your taste bud's heart.

From Lynne (Nov. 4, 12:46 pm) Charm is more important than cuteness because once you get old, and the cuteness deserts you for wrinkles and thin hair, at least people will say, "My, isn't she a charming old lady?" But, if you never develop charm you will just be a mass of bad tempered oldness.

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 12:50 pm) Besides I was trying to make an entrance. On account of I'm so fabulous. You can't rush greatness.

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 1:02 pm) I've always thought you were a charming old woman. And do you have my old pea coat? Shouldn't it fit one of my people yet?

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 1:41 pm) Are you ignoring my inquiry or just frantically trying to find my coat?

From Lynne
(Nov. 4, 4:02 pm) Do we have your pea coat? I've been frantically buying good grocery deals and somehow missed your text. Oh, and some of that time was spent being charming to grocery store checkers. The world is a better place now. Your wedding dress is here--if I can't find your coat will that do? I might still have your clear dishes, too.

From Lynne (Nov. 4, 4:07 pm) I FOUND IT! As soon as I saw it I could see you standing there w/a grin on your face. You were such a cute little poppet.

From Hillary (Nov. 4, 4:10 pm) Yay, what size is it or how old was I when I wore it? The girls need warm school jackets besides their snow coats and Old Navy is having a sale.

From Lynne (Nov. 4, 4:17 pm) No size on it. Oh wait. There was a little piece of paper, folded up like an origami crab, in one pocket. It was the size tag. Size 10. Woo hoo! It will fit Miss Madds. Your coat looks brand new. It's very well made. When I wasn't being charming I was buying you good clothes. I'm nice like that.

From Lynne (Nov. 4, 4:42 pm) PS Charming OLD woman??? You are in big trouble, sister.

And then Hillary called me and we chatted in real voice and she is indeed in trouble, but I might forgive her because she's going to give me another grandchild. Her baby is due on the 18th but she has to have a C-section--because both of her other girls gave the doctor a heart attack, practically, because they were so big and he thought he was going to lose them and Hillary, and he said the next one would come safely. And then he quit practicing and went on a mission and so Hillary's new doctor has scheduled the baby's birth day and that's that. Baby Daisy will be born on the 11th.

PS I once had a picture of Hillary in the pea coat, which will now belong to Maddy. It was on the fridge for years! I think Hillary stole it. Now she is REALLY in trouble.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I just read another recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. Like so many others, part of the recipe said: "Simmer for blah blah minutes, or until chicken is tender. Take out chicken and shred. (Well, besides the fact that it sounds like you are supposed to shred yourself...) Return shredded chicken to soup."

What is it with people shredding meat, either for soup or for barbecued meat type sandwiches or to put in a Cafe Rio type salad? Chopped meat has such a better texture and presentation too.

Several years ago my Dad was visiting. We were eating at a restaurant that will remain nameless--because I can't remember which one it was--and the chicken was shredded in some kind of sauce. I asked him how he liked his meal.

"I've never liked stringy chicken," he said.

Give it to Daddy, he called it.

Restaurants advertise, "shredded chicken tacos," "shredded beef burritos," "shredded pork sandwiches," etc. I Googled it and there they all were. When I Googled "stringy pork" and found a negative restaurant review..."the pulled pork sandwiches are now dried out stringy pork sandwiches." I have news for that reviewer. They were always stringy, they were just saucy before, and now they are dried out. Same thing, but without the sauce.

Daddy didn't like stringy meat. He could see through the hoopla.

Once, when women's fashion went through a bizarre wrinkled faze, Daddy said to one of his daughters, "Your blouse needs to be ironed."

"Dad," she said, "this is in fashion." She then turned the collar of her wrinkled blouse way up into her hair where it didn't know if it was supposed to stand at attention or flop again in wrinkles.

Daddy and I looked at each other and both of us shrugged our shoulders just a tiny bit.

I will never be as savvy as Daddy, who knew life at its worse--on a torpedoed, sinking ship in the English Channel--and its best--living with a remarkable woman--my mom--for so many years. And then again, life at its worst--being alone for seventeen years after she died.

I know he is living life at its best again. And some day I will too. One of the first things I will tell him is how darn smart he was about so many of the things. He said had a profound influence on my life. Even more so, the way he lived his life has had a profound influence on me. I've been so very lucky.

PS And isn't it funny how a post starts out as one thing and ends up as another? I had to change the title which started out simply as "Stringy Chicken."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010


There is a man in our ward--I'm going to call him Glen--who is really accomplished in his career. He was known all over the nation as the outstanding Athletic Director for BYU. After he retired, another college--that was having major problems--had him come and serve as their athletic director for a couple of years. He did, and when he got things running smoothly he retired again.

Anyway, what I am getting to is Glen has credentials and achievements a mile long. Not just as Athletic Directors. He had done "stuff." Every summer, when his kids were young, he would take the whole family in the car and they would drive for most of the summer, as he had speaking commitments all over the nation.

Recently he was asked to give a speech and he asked the person in charge what he wanted him to talk about.

"You should take a couple of minutes at the beginning and tell about all your accomplishments."

"Well now, how will I ever be able to do that?" Glen joked.

"Just talk real slow."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


On Tuesdays I attend a personal history group. We write a memory from our life and read it to the group. (I've posted some of these stories here on my blog.)

We are a varied bunch. Our oldest member is 96--yes she is, and she is as bright and wonderful as anyone could imagine--we have three young mothers and the rest of us are empty nesters, or nearly so--like me. This is my "won't miss it" place to go on Tuesdays. These women are my friends and lifeline.

Today one of the women facing the big front room windows, said, "Oh, Sarah, here comes someone to your door."

Mona (the 96 year old) said, "Is it Marcia, she's going to pick me up?"

"No, it's a man."

And quicker than anyone else could say anything Mona said, "Is he cute?"

And there you have it, folks. Our bodies may get old but our minds are just like they were at age 16.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Don't even bother reading's long and depressing.

Our neighbors gave us some of the most wonderful apples on the planet and my busy little brain--and I emphasise the "little" part--decided it was time to can Apple Pie Filling.

One year, the kids and I canned over 50 quarts in the fall. They stuck with me until we were all finished and at one point--one of the favorite memories stored in my little brain--is when Trent picked up a double handful of the peelings--picture a pile of those about a foot high--and threw them in the air and yelled, "Happy New Year!" Gosh, I love that kid. (Well, he's a man with a wife and 7 kids but to me he will always be a kid.)So, today I watched things I had recorded on TV--The Event, House, NCIS, Katie Brown Workshop, 16 minutes of Studio 5 about photography, and other things that my tiny little brain cannot recall at the moment--while I peeled apples, but right from the start things went wrong.

I spilled apples all over the floor and the noise of the stainless steel, pan hitting the floor, annoyed people two blocks away, and permanently damaged my hearing.
Then I couldn't remember how to load the apple peeler and so had to peel and slice a lot of the apples by hand. Then, my brain--the little one--kicked in and remembered how to do it right.
I think the highlight of my day was seeing previews of the movie "Unstoppable,"......with Denzel Washington......and it's rated PG 13. Hooray! (We don't go to "R" rated movies.)Lookit, there are men running on top of trains......and trains crashing......and trains blowing up and school kids on a field trip and other exciting things.Which is more than the excitement of my apple pie filling boiling over and six out of eighteen of the jars NOT SEALING because of the boiling over bit and even the sight of all this bounteous beauty cannot mend my broken heart about 1/3 of my efforts a failure. Another day, another failure.

Phil opened one of the non-sealed ones and ate it over ice cream and said he didn't care if any of them sealed as he would eat them all, one after another, on ice cream, and it was the tastiest stuff in the world. He's nice like that and my love for him grew some more, if that were even possible, because I am already rather fond of him.

And so, now six quarts will have to find a spot in the fridge or freezer. I hope we can go see "Unstoppable" (hopefully soon) to mend my wounded heart, but right now I'm going to go have a good cry in my huge pillow--pronounced "pilla"--and know that tomorrow will be a better day. Hopefully. And because it's Sunday, I will have a nice Sunday nap after church.

I should have consulted The Damsel from Old School--she knows how to do everything and she even has a blog of the 50 best canning sites, which I looked at--too late, but I did look at them--and did you know you can can bacon? (Or maybe "can can" is a dance. I should ask The Damsel.) And did you know you can can rabbit and squirrel? (They do a lot of that in Minnesota, I guess.) And there is even an article--thanks Damsel--about Mormon Food Storage Techniques. I should definitely have gone there first as this Mormon was not doing things right.

If you have had a recent failure would you please tell me so I can know that I'm not the only one in the whole wide world that does things inadequately. Thanks so much.

And come on over. I'll give you some apple pie filling with ice cream underneath.

PS Knock loud, because I might not hear you because of my damaged hearing. And if I don't answer the door just stick you head in and yell, "Yo-hoo." (There's not enough yo-hooing done now-a-days.) But if it's on a Sunday after church, I'll be napping, so you might have to get in the fridge and get your own.

PPS I have never actually made an apple pie with the 100's of jars of apple pie filling I've made over the years. We just heat it up and eat it as a side dish. You should make some--that is if you can can successfully--or dance, either. I'll put the recipe on my cookbook blog soon.