Thursday, April 30, 2009

Baby Business

My nephew Aaron Cannon and his wife, Diane, are expecting their first child. She's eight months along, and is talking on Facebook about how hard it is getting to be to be able to sit. I remember, too, how difficult it was to get up after sitting down. It was tough to keep your pants up with them resting below the belly line. With my first, it was difficult keeping down breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole nine months. It's been a long time, but I remember.

I also remember I was actually shocked that the whole miserable experience ended with us having a baby. Intellectually I did because I went regularly to my obstetrician, Dr. Eli Bernick. But emotionally, I think I thought it was a tumor.

And so, we really hadn't bought anything for baby Ben. We were alone, so I didn't have my mother near to help me get ready. Also in those days, no one knew if it was a boy or girl until delivery day. Disposable diapers were only on the horizon. We stopped by the local equivalent of Wal-Mart on our way home from the hospital, picked up formula, diapers, undershirts, plastic pants and bottles and whatever we thought we needed and headed home.

A babe in arms was new to me as well. They wouldn't let us unwrap babies at the Edgewater Hospital in Chicago thirty-nine years ago, and we held them as they, wrapped like a burrito, a couple of times a day for a half hour or so. And then they disappeared back into the nursery for the rest of the time for five, long, lonely days. So I could hardly wait to get Ben home to see if there was more to him than just a tiny face. There certainly was.

The picture above is newborn Ben with his very own coconut sent by his uncle, missionary Elder Brent Cannon, from Hawaii.

He was beautiful. I've told people that his birth was the happiest day of my life. My wedding day remains actually a blur. The birth of Brad, My second son, was an absolute wonderful day, too, but the shock of the first is something else. I couldn't believe how beautiful Ben was. He remains to me the greatest astonishment of my life. Diane and Aaron need to know that. New babies that belong to you leave your amazement cup filled up.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There Will Be Hell to Pay

My dad's house was built upon about 3-1/2 acres in the Edgemont area of Provo, Utah that had been an old cherry orchard. The neighbors would complain from time to time because of the garbage that would accumulate around the perimeter of the orchard along the irrigation ditches. Dad would be annoyed, understandably, because at least some of the garbage would have belonged, originally, to those very neighbors.

Dad showed them all. One day, he solved the problem for everyone by setting fire to the whole field. Sometimes a scorched earth policy speaks better for a man than all the signs and shouted epithets ever could. The complaining stopped. I don't know why the police didn't show up. Maybe it was different times, different reactions.

Believe it or not, it was really a blast being raised by the volatile Ben Cannon. You never quite knew what was next. I do miss the old Silver Fox. He made me what I am today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Birthday List is Shorter

I love my birthday -- May 13. Because of that, I love the number 13. I was 13 on Friday the thirteenth. I choose 13 when I get to choose a number. I think my mother is kind of responsible. She celebrated birthdays like none other and I love her for that.

In part, I love Spring because of my birthday. My birthday means Spring. My dad always said he'd feel safe planting after my birthday. It was warm enough to enjoy the weather, but still early enough to take treats to school. The best of both worlds.

Bea Arthur shared my birthday. I was proud of her. She was powerful, smart and a pleasure to watch. Every year when I'd check the list, she'd be there making me feel like I was in good, good company. Now she's gone.

Know who's left on my shared birthday list? Me, Stevie Wonder and Dennis Rodman. Not nearly so much a power group as it was when Bea was around. I'll miss her name on the list a lot.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday, Worth Waiting For Again

I love my new ward. Have I said that before? Baby voices call out constantly. My beloved Cameo Park Ward in Sandy was sadly quiet most weeks. Today in front of us in Sacrament Meeting, there was a little girl with fat arms and flat knees with curly hair that the sun shone through like a halo. These children all make me feel so hopeful about the future.

It was fun sitting by Deb White in my meetings, too. She is hilarious, insightful and a real constant for all of us.

Debbie Beck is one of those wonderful people who radiates Christlike, unconditional love all the time. She's part of the mix.

Nester and Camilla Canete performed for us today, too. He plays the violin and she sings (a professional singer at that).

Our lessons in both Sunday School and Relief Society were also great. The teachers presented great thoughts and allowed good participation.

It was the second week for our beautiful new RS President, Julie Postma, picture above. I know she'll be fabulous.

Did I say it before? I love my New Ward?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ya Gotta Love Crowd Shots

1987 - dominated by boys

2008 - The girls take over at Amy's wedding

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Skating Through Life

I roller-skated to school one day when I was in Mrs. Jones' first grade class. I was waiting by my classroom door when I noticed how very tall I felt. I wondered, as I thought about my tallness, how I would be different when I was grown up.

It is one of those solid moments that has served as something of a gauging memory for the rest of my life. I've realized from age to age that I haven't changed a bit. I felt, in first grade, that if someone would give me a job, I could pretty much take care of myself if necessary. I was me and that's all it would take.

That's pretty adult thinking, I guess, but I don't really think we ever were children in our own heads. I think we've just always been "us" placed in a changing package. The thing is, we don't see the changes. I feel like the very same person I was when I was standing on my skates outside of my classroom. I'm still looking out at the world like I always did and my thoughts, I think, were every bit as complex then as they are today. I wasn't watching me change, either. I was watching the world.

Today I'm still the same person I was when I was six. What I do wonder, now, is when people stopped laughing when I tripped and fell and started wringing their hands? I wish they'd still laugh because it is still funny even if it hurts a little longer. People, I guess, are looking at the packaging and not me anymore.

I look at my four and six-year-old granddaughters and find myself realizing that they undoubtedly are experiencing the same things as I have. They are first, and foremost, people. They are not aware that their thinking is immature. We underestimate children alot, I suppose, because we don't remember like we should. But I also think that people underestimate us, the older packages, for the same reason. Everyone should remember that we, too, are the very same person we were when we were six or twenty-one or fifty. I want to be remembered that way. Not as a six-year-old, but simply as a person who is as viable as anyone else. And someone who looks just as funny when she walks into the edge of a door.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Scripture Power!

I love the Internet. I've struck gold there many times. There's a street named "Rubicon" near me and I knew it had some sort of significance, so I Googled it. "Crossing the Rubicon" means to have passed the "point of no return". Wonder if those living there know about this? I buy books and music there "on the cheap" from Amazon. Facebook is just delightful. I have found a bunch of former students there who remark about there lives and children. Some former colleagues, even, show up. And it's great to see the old Cameo Park Ward making a showing. Carl, and now others, have been posting old photographs to be tagged and it's fun to see the pictures, but even more fun to see the comments they call up.

But the best I've found recently is "Read the Scriptures". I've read the Book of Mormon through once all ready this year and plan to get through it again in a couple of months. I'm currently at 13.3% of the way through. I know this because "Read the Scriptures" tells me so. I need games and this is something of a game. It's got a number of options that you can set up with a speed that you set yourself. At least go to and see what you think.

I love whoever set this up. Don't we all depend on the kindness of strangers?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thanks, Mr. Kilgore

A really terrific member of the “greatest generation” has died. Eddie Kilgore, aged 88, passed away on April 18, 2009. I didn’t know him as well as I should have, but what I knew of him, I liked. He was a lifelong friend along with his wife, Bernice, of my parents, Ben and Helen Cannon. I guess that’s a big part of what I really liked about him -- whoever liked my mom and dad and whomever my mom and dad liked, has got to be pretty good. He’d also been through WW2 with so many of his pals, including with my Dad, earning the Bronze Star. And perhaps, something that speaks the very best about him is that he loved his wife, showing it every step of the way, until the end of his life. The world is poorer without him and I only wish that I’d stopped by to see him and Bernice more often. The last time I saw him was at the funeral of their mutual friend, Doris Mortenson, who had been the widow of Joe Mortensen, for over forty years. He, Bernice and I sat together. They felt like the last of the Mohicans. Those who remain of this great group may not see us as really up to their usual standards, but I think we could still be better friends. There have just not been enough great old stories told yet.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Amazing Bionic Julia

Julia got a little something put into her head today! I took her down for some minor surgery on her ear to be done by the very competent Dr. Brian Peterson. The astounding thing is that he put in a little prosthetic device that will serve to repair a couple of the three little bones in her right ear! What was to be a rather routine removal of a cyst, revealed that Julia had had a malformation in her first and second ear bones and that the cyst (the diagnosis had the root “mastoid” in it) had grown around these little bones. The third bone was vibrating just fine, but it was all alone in its work. Dr. Peterson also repaired her eardrum. He said that she had been born this way and that likely she had never been able to hear well in her right ear. He did add that it wasn’t necessarily something Ali and Sophia could inherit. It was just something that happens. This should make it so that she hears somewhat better though he doubts that she’ll ever hear perfectly.

It’s amazing that not only can the doctor repair it on the spot, but can install something as amazing as a little prosthetic device without any advance notice. Isn't this a little step on the way to replacing even more vital body parts, like lungs and hearts, off the shelf of the operating room? Maybe?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Name of the Game

If I were to backdate to my childhood and pick a new name for me, I think I would choose "Sojourner Truth". I like the ring, I like the meaning and of course, I'd love the romantic nickname I'd have chosen for myself -- either the romantic "Jenny", or better yet, the more sophisticated "Jenna". Sojourner would have been an odd name for a little white, post-WWII girl from Utah, but I don't care. I love it just the same.

My name, "Linda" was the most common name there was for girls in the forties and fifties. In a junior high class of mine, there were six Lindas. If you figure that there would have been maybe thirty students in the class, half those being girls, 40 per cent of the girls shared my name. I was always "Linda Ann" to distinguish me from all the others. "Linda Ann" seems like a baby name to me to this day. No wonder the distinctiveness of "Sojourner" appeals to me.

I asked my mother if I were named for Linda Darnell, a hottie actress of the age, and she told me I was not and that at the time she named me, she knew of no other Lindas. I had a hard time believing her.

A student of mine from Mexico once asked me if my mother ever yelled my name at me. He couldn't imagine yelling "Linda" which means "pretty" in Spanish. It seemed a contradiction in terms to him. The answer is, "Of course she did", and so did all the other mothers of all the other Lindas. The name "Linda" was yelled so often that I taught myself not to turn around unless I was sure it was for me. Nobody really yells my name anymore. All of us Lindas are grandmas now so that is what is usually shouted if we are shouted at at all. I kinda miss hearing my name being yelled nowadays. In fact, I guess I've really sort of learned to like my name and to hear it said at any decibel. If I had a choice between Linda and Sojourner, I'm not really sure now which I'd take. I'll have to think about it some more.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Love This Place

As I sit in my office (in my house, of course), I can not only see this beautiful little play park, but a wide expanse of lawn cutting a parkway in front of our house to the swimming pool a couple of blocks up the way. I can see the Oquirrh Mountains in the distance, too, in an unbroken line. Though you can't see it, this little park is right on Oquirrh Lake. What a setting.
Can you believe this is where I live? My house is actually on this park behind the compliant photographer, Carl, my husband. This park is brand new and it has been eagerly awaited by neighborhood parents and children alike. A week or so ago, I had my brothers and their families, rife with little kids, over to our house. Though it was really pretty chilly, none of the kids wanted to come back for food. It was a joy to behold.
The reason I mention it is because there's more reason to visiting us than just sitting around with us old toots, and this is one of them. Daybreak, a pretty, great place.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Who Are These Beautiful Boys?

Oh, wait! They're my own two sons. Ben, on the left, is now 39 and Brad, right, is 37. This was at my brother, Brent's wedding. "Ya gotta love the pants," to quote Brad.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Speaking of the Important Things in Life

Here’s what I know. Everybody needs somebody to talk to. Sometimes, just a good friend will do. Lunch anywhere serves me fine. Talking with someone, laughing, crying sometimes, or the general belly-aching session with a buddy is a good way to bring a good life into better perspective and a poorer one into a little better light.

But, on a deeper level, I think everyone needs someone to talk to about their hopes, their dreams, how they look, how they feel, what is true to them and what bedevils them. It ‘s important that that “someone” is not an editor or critic, however. Just a listener, who is rapt and more than trustworthy. Everyone needs a listener who doesn’t tell you to “Watch out”, or “Be careful of” unless absolutely necessary because they trust that you’ve all ready thought of those things. I have someone in my life who fills this role perfectly -- and it’s not my beloved Carl. It is my delightful thirty-year friend DeeAnn Huish. God has blessed you if you have this kind of person in your life. Just a side note -- it’s probably not your mother, but maybe it is if you’re lucky.

But even more subterranean, is having someone that you can talk to about your most fundamental questions. This is the most difficult to find. Do you have concerns that you have rolling around in the back of your brain about your religious beliefs? About disappointments that might be too difficult for your spouse or parents to hear about without some to “knock” it up against first? I’ve had secrets (smoking cigarettes being one) that nearly destroyed my relationship with my family because I felt such an urgency to hide them. I definitely needed someone to talk to during my early twenties.

Or you might have a child who needs someone to talk to. My father was a very wise man when he said “Everyone needs someone to talk to who isn’t family.” He sent me to a counselor at BYU in the early sixties when such things were not really accepted as being something healthy for regular people to do.

The best is to have someones (and that is plural) in your life that you can talk to, and generally we are talking here about different “specialists”, perhaps. But if you don’t, hire someone. If it’s not for you, but for your spouse or child, do not delay. Talking is important to most of us. It’s the way we think things through. I believe that’s why I have brothers, it’s why I have Carl, it’s why I have DeeAnn, why I have Ben, Brad, Julia, Wendy, Lorraine, Gloria. I know what I need and I surround myself with them. This is the counselor in me talking and this is free, no bill will be attached.

The picture above: Betty Leary and me -- Lifelong forever friends

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stunned by Glory

Surely you've seen Susan Boyle in action. If not, go to right now. It's not so much her voice, which is glorious. It's that she's lived among us, in relative obscurity, and has had such incredible talent under wraps.

I've wondered before if there had been the potential for great music or great writing or great anything among those who were serfs in the dark ages. I wonder if there are talents we have right now that are just not in use at this time. What if I were potentially the greatest charioteer that the world had ever seen, but there's no market, no opportunity and definitely a gender bias going against me.

I'm amazed at Ms. Boyle. But I'm also thrilled at whatever potential might be around us today. Susan Boyle brings tears to my eyes first of all for her alone, but secondly, for all the rest of us and what we really might be.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Weightier Matters

I'll admit it. I'm waiting for the magic bullet that will make weight loss a breeze. Another "share" that might be too much information for some, is that I wonder if the additional current weight might be plumping out skin that might otherwise be a bit more wrinkly around a skinnier body. I do remember the days when my skin would snap back when I lost weight, but those days, I fear, are gone.

I also read of a "twin" study that was done in which the twin who was five pounds heavier was judged to be younger than her slimmer twin. Weight, it appears, is not all bad.

I really need to lose some weight, though. I should drop twenty, maybe even thirty pounds. That's asking a lot of anybody's skin. My jeans are too tight again and I refuse to buy a larger size. I also know that hauling my sorry fat behind up my stairs is not good for me. I do need exercise, but that's not the kind that my heart doctor would prescribe, I'm sure.

Maybe if I can lose the weight, Carl will reward me with a complete body lift which will solve all my worries, but then I'd worry that he'd gone completely insane. There's always something.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Children find me a little scary. I talk loud, laugh loud and can be a little unpredictable. Often at spectator events I will scan about and notice the children are all watching me. I suppose they are on the alert lest I pounce and eat one of them.

Craig and Lee-ann Cannon's kids are not afraid of me. That's one of the reasons I really love them. They run up to me and give me hugs -- even little Sarah now with her sloppy smile and still-wobbly legs.

Yesterday, Rhead, the eldest of the three Cannon siblings, was baptized. It only took him one dunk, too, and he emerged smiling and triumphant. Afterwards, we gathered at Lee-Ann's parents, the Terry Martins, and gobbled food like the animals we are. That's how Mormons celebrate, it seems. We don't drink alcohol, no coffee for us. So it's heavy on the grazing foods, lunch meats, cheese, salads and chips, and plenty of laughing to make an event feel like the party it's supposed to be.

I was so glad there were so many people gathered to see Rhead's baptism. I wanted him to know how important many thought it was that he'd decided to be baptized, but also for him to know how many people really loved him. He got his obligatory set of scriptures from his cooperating grandparents, looked ever-so-handsome in his suit and was proper and mannerly in his "Thank you" and then dashed off to play with his many cousins.

I love my family and love the get-togethers even though I'm getting fatter by the day. They all mean so much to me, especially now as I'm "twilighting", including those who live too far away to make it down for yesterday's gathering. But, thanks, Rhead, for a great day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Somewhere My Love . . . "

Maurice Jarre died in the last couple of weeks. Another pillar of my life crumbles. Unbeknown to most, including my beloved husband, Carl, Maurice wrote "our song," the beautiful "Lara's Theme" from Dr. Zhivago. Right at the beginning of our marriage, Carl and I went to see that movie and though Carl actually slept through it, I decided to let that be "Our Theme" as well, even though Carl seemed understandably confused and bewildered about the whole idea. But he did consent. No real enthusiasm there, though.

My excitement about the song was renewed when my son, Brad, married the beautiful Julia (above) who was born in Kiev, Ukraine. I thought Dr. Zhivago would be right up her alley since she kind of gravitates towards soapy love story movies and it was Russian. She informed me, however, she'd seen it and thought it was "stupid" and hardly a depiction of the U.S.S.R. she'd known. My hopes again blasted.

Let it be noted I mourn Maurice Jarre's passing even though it appears I stand alone in this.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Carl and I went to see "Knowing" yesterday, and I really liked it. The graphics were really remarkable, I loved the kids and the stars (even Cage). I also love to think that there might be people like "Lucinda" out there in the world. The story is Apocalyptic and appealing to the Mormon mentality at the same time. Is there only chance out there or is there divine intervention? I'd recommend it to you for a fun time out. It kept me involved the whole time. It's not deathless art, but it's worth seeing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Love the New Ward

I love my new ward. Actually it's not new. It's the old Daybreak 14th Ward with a whole chunk taken off to form the Daybreak 3rd Ward. ("Ward" is the name for LDS congregations. The word is taken from the political areas in Illinois used to this day. The Mormons (LDS) were in Illinois when the "wards" were formed, so it just seemed a natural.)

My Bishop is wonderful. He is funny (a real plus for me), kinda sentimental, and looks like he belongs in a James Bond movie. He's Bishop Day as you see above.
The Relief Society President is the ever competent Ann Hobson. Gotta start baking cookies (or not.)

Into the Unknown

Is this the cutest thing? These are my two little granddaughters, Ali and Sophia Aukschun, walking along a street in Kiev. Perfect little Ruske peasant girls. They're the sweetest ever. (Photo credit goes to Carl Aukschun.)

Wasting Time

I can waste more time than the average contestant. I get addicted to games like Spiderette and, back in the day, Tetris. I have learned to watch out for addicting games, but sometimes they find me and bite. It's incomprehensible for most sane adults to understand that unbalanced/lazy/procrastinating adults can spend hours just playing games. Sudoku is my game of choice currently. It's on my Ipod Touch and I generally blow through two or three games (or more) in one sitting. My rationale is that I'm forstalling Alzheimer's, but I know I'm kidding myself. A game or two might do that, but many is simply mind-numbing.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Great books that hung on in my head

Here's a great list of books that I've read at various times in my life -- some recently and others a long time ago. They are as varied as the years have been, but they share the commonality of being particularly memorable to me. Some I've loved without reservation, some not so much but still they've hung on. Recently I published the list on Facebook and I couldn't let it die there. Here it comes.

John Updike's Rabbit books
The Color of Water
A Marvelous Work of Staggering Genius
The Book of Mormon
Taylor Hartman's Color Code
Confederacy of Dunces
To Kill a Mockingbird
Of Mice and Men
Tess of the D'Ubervilles
Silas Marner
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey
Year of Magical Thinking
Angela's Ashes
A Prayer for Owen Meany
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
The Chosen
All the Pretty Horses
The World According to Garp
I know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Great Gatsby
Shipping News
Gone With the Wind
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Poisonwood Bible