Monday, August 31, 2009

Julie and Julia, Creme de la Creme

It's tragic but I lack organization in spades. This is evidenced by my possessing two copies of Nora Ephron's Crazy Salad. Further to that is that I can only find one copy currently.

I became sick with joy as I read Nora's Heartburn, which recounted the nasty betrayal by her husband, the Bernstein of Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame, with her best friend. As I recall, her husband, whom I am to lazy to Google for a first name, said that she was entitled to one book for what he'd done, so he didn't press charges. The movie didn't fly, but it still was funny.

So, I hightailed it to the movie theater to see Julie and Julia and was massively rewarded. It's almost a chick-flick, but not really. It's amazingly well-written, well acted and funny. I was there alone since DeeAnn forgot her appointment was at 4:00 and not the traditional 2:00 this afternoon so I solaced myself with a movie and Diet Coke.

You don't even need to remember Julia Child to enjoy this. Meryl Streep becomes her to the point of channeling . . . and it's really entertaining.

That's Nora in the photo. Incidentally, if you happen to know Ms. Ephron's Twitter address, let me know. I'd love to follow her. I'm sure every word from her pen is a gem.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Temple Gardens Reign Supreme

As a result of a tip from an alert reader, my brother Rex, my cameraman, Carl, and I made a dash to the Provo Temple this week to see the lush garden display thereat. The smell of the roses was delicious and everything was in perfect order. See the beautiful green patch? That's parsley. Plain old parsley. I tasted it myself. What a nice surprise and a perfect color accent, don't you think? Bet we find parsley in all kinds of color pots next year.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Betty Has Cancer

I don't think I've mentioned cancer in my blog. I had it twenty years ago. Breast cancer. I had surgery, radiation and chemo. All of it.

It's all a thing of the past now. That was a long time ago. Most days I don't think of it. At least not much.

But this time, my friend, Betty, has it. Her prognosis is good. She's going to be fine. But her hair is falling out because of the chemo. She had to quit her job at a preschool because her immune system will be compromised. She cries a lot because she is really suffering from depression. Betty was my neighbor for thirty years. Then I moved away and now this.

I really wish I were there. Not really. I wish she were here. The big problem with that is, with cancer, no matter how many people are around you, you're still alone. I love Betty. I just wish I could make that matter a little more at this point in time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

If it Quacks Like a Duck . . .

Did you know geese eat petunias? They do. And did you know that they loved them so much that they brave the scorn and rebuke of the humans tending those petunias? They do.

See the goose above? He is the goose who took a liking to Carl's petunias. (Technically, they are my petunias, too.) He's the same goose that Julia is chasing down the road. Julia is my daughter-in-law who stands ready to protect us from all things. I don't know what she plans to do with the goose if she catches him. Fortunately, she never does. Geese are really loud, flappy and they are quite heavy. I think they also bite and peck. Julia does not seem to be aware of that.

Later, though there is no cameraman available, Julia and Carl were seen herding the goose down the road to Oquirrh Lake. Though they did try to appear cool while doing so, they actually looked like they both might bolt and run if the goose tried to show them who was boss. It was among my favorite days. The goose has not been reported to have been seen in the neighborhood since.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Fun, Semi-Rude Experiment

Try this experiment the next time there is a baby in front of you in church.

When you catch the baby's eye, stick out your tongue. The baby will stick out his or hers most of the time, regardless of how little they are.

One time I was sitting in a women's meeting with this cute little tiny girl in front of me. She stuck out her tongue and we sat with our tongues out for the longest time. Then we lost track of each other for awhile. When we again locked eyes, she immediately grabbed her little juicy tongue with her hand. She remembered me. I was the tongue lady.

It's amazing that babies, even really young ones, will stick out their tongues. Babies know they have tongues.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wahoo! It's Done!

We attended the 7th session of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dedication today, and it was wonderful. During the dedicatory prayer itself, I honestly felt for a minute like I was in the Temple itself. (We attended in the new Daybreak Stake Center near out house.)

Working for Church Education for twenty-four years, I saw many, many teleconferences. They were not like this one. Today seemed so immediate and so personal. We did get there early, thanks to Carl, and so got great seats, so maybe that was part of it, but I don't think so. It was absolutely thrilling

I must admit for the first couple of speakers, I had a hard time fighting off the sandman since I held a solo "Insomniac's Anonymous" meeting last night, but I came to life with Elder Uchdorf's talk.

President Monson was wonderful. I couldn't believe that he actually told a funny story about Elder Uchdorf in which he called him "Dieter". Not only was the story a good one, it was great to learn that the brethren don't necessarily call each other "Brother" all the time.

It's over. All the preparation, the Open House, the tents and the cookies and water, are all done with. Tuesday, Temple Work begins. Can't wait. Might not make it then since crowds make me crazy, but once I get the lay of the land, I'm there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Got This Off Twitter, Ben. See? Twitter's Not So Useless

I Bet God

If He
let go of my hand, I would
weep so loudly,

I would petition with all my might,
I would cause so much trouble

that I bet God would come to His senses
and never do that

Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–c. 1328)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sudoku Sucks

That's it. I've gotta get this off my chest. I've had it with my Sudoku Iphone app.

I was careful, slow and methodical at first. All the things that my father recomended I be. And I thought I was doing things right. I would look at the possibilities, discount some and employ others. But I never engaged in risky behavior. No, not me. I always was sure of my numbers. And I remained in the bottom 25 per cent of players for most of the time.

Then I got sick of doing things right. I started losing patience. I started getting wild. My fingers started moving faster in merry abandon. If I'd make a mistake, I'd hastily change it. If that was wrong, I'd just blithely change it again, and again and again if necessary.

Then -- you guessed it -- my scores started to come up. I first got 67 per cent and couldn't believe my eyes. It didn't seem I was moving that much faster. Then 81 per cent, 84 per cent and on and on. When would the madness stop?

Then on August 15, I sat on the couch and didn't move. I got 92 per cent, then 93, 94, 96 and finally 97 per cent. Not in a row of course, but it was amazing. Then it suddenly occurred to me. Sudoku isn't an intelligent game that requires impeccable precision. All it cares about is raw speed and mistakes can mount up like cord wood so long as you're speedy at correcting them.

And what kind of a message is that giving to us young girls!?!?!? I've not played since. And I'm not playing again if it doesn't have more integrity than that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

$2 Tuesdays at the Point

Is it human nature or just mine? If there is a buck to be saved, I'm there.

Today we were at Thanksgiving Point, drawn in by $2 Tuesdays. We planned to go to the Dinosaur exhibit and discovered a line clear around the building when we got there. Julia, her girls, Sophia and Alison and Dusty with two-year-old Thomas, headed for the petting zoo.

Carl and I headed for lunch. We're not nuts. After, we all met up to wander for awhile through the gardens as you see in the picture. We did get 1/2 pound of strawberry/fudge swirl fudge for $2 on the "$2 Tuesday" free-for-all so all wasn't lost.

Truth be known, it's only $8 a head to get in in the first place and I would imagine that seniors get a special rate anyway. But the rush isn't how much you save. It's the endorphins that hit knowing you're getting something for next/to/nothing, and of course, lunch.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Mormon language is sometimes kind of archaic, don't you think? People outside of the culture just don't use words like "opportunity," "challenge," "endure," and "participate" like we do. They say "chance," "problems," "put up with," and "get involved." It doesn't matter much. It just is interesting.

Yet we, on the other hand say "good luck" alot. We say that we're "lucky" when probably what we mean is we were "blessed." The old fashioned words don't do any harm, really, beyond sometimes making us seeming a little weird. But saying we were "lucky" leaves God out of things completely, which. Is not what we want either. To say we were "blessed" might seem a little strange too, but at least it's accurate.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gathering Chokecherries While We May

The other night in my dreams we collected chokecherries for jelly. We were out by the prison for some crazed reason.

We did this for real when we were kids. Mother was wanting to do this every year. She even got my father involved.

As I recall, one finds them by drivin through the canyon, eyes wildly scanning the scene passing by, looking for chokecherries. Finally, a shoutout, a screeching of brakes, and a hasty veer to the side of the road.

The rest is vague. Mother was probably harvesting, the rest of us trying to look busy. I forget. But finally we must had collected enough, so we'd go home.

Mother would steam them in a muslin bag, drain the juice into a pot and then make jelly.

I don't remember ever appreciating her for all she did, but she did put up fruit like a mad woman every year. I even tributed her for doing this by learning how from a cookbook. It was really pretty easy and very fulfilling to see the lineup of beautifully-colored fruits and vegetables on the counter. I even kept them upstairs on display for awhile because I thought they were so pretty.

During the zucchini-for-everything craze, I made jam out of zucchini and Koolaid, even and made peach-pit jelly as a bonus. No one ever refused any of it either.

Why don't I do it now? Don't know unless it's because we hardly eat at home, or when we do, it's not as formal as it once was. Or maybe it's because we stopped eating bottled fruits and vegetables when Ben left on his mission. Or maybe it's because it is probably as cheap to go "canning" at the case goods sale at Macey's. Plus, here's the kicker: I gave all my canning supplies away just in case I might go nuts and long for the good old days.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Soccer Is Not For Wimps Or Maybe, For Brainiacs

Just talked to a boatload of little girls dressed in bright yellow soccer outfits in McDonald's. I asked if they had won, and they burst into jubilant voice to tell me they'd won, four goals to one. I then asked if the other team was a poor team and they told me with enthusiasm that they were indeed not. These girls seemed like champs through and through.

I recalled my own spazzy
children playing soccer. Their team seldom won and it was due in part to the paralysis that would overtake them both when the ball would look like it was coming their way. Ted Rees, their coach would have major vessels ready to burst in his neck as he yelled for them to keep running. In their defense, they were young, but it was discouraging. In their further defense, Ben later shone as a goalie.

But maybe they weren't such chickens. Maybe just prematurely wise. I got hit by a kicked soccer ball for the first time at
Family Home Evening during activity time. It hurt a lot, but rather than appear like a baby in front of my children, I went in early to fix the treat. I felt wise and tricky at the same time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Soph's Afternoon at "Diamond" Park

There's not so much room at the top, but the view is spectacular when you're six.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Goodnight, Sweet Prince

I complained on Twitter from and about a funeral, today. In retrospect, I think that was really bad form but I couldn't help it. It went on and on for almost two hours. I even took a potty break. But I digress.

Ray Jones was my
high school speech teacher. It's because of him I memorized the whole Old Testament chapter about Belshazzer the King and the handwriting on the wall. He never gave me a part in one of the school plays because I was a jerk and showed how nervous I was during one of my class speeches. That's when I learned the valuable lesson that "you never let them see you sweat." That has served me well my entire life.

He was a blast. A gnomish little guy who was bombastic, full of life and a man who expected a lot from us. I remember snippets of Shakespeare to this day.

He told us one day he had some sort of neurological disorder that made it so that when he brushed his teeth with his right hand, his left hand mimicked the actions. He hands did not work independently naturally, so he hooked his thumb into his beltloop for most things so keep things looking normal.

He played Charlie Brown in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and a gang of us youthish married matrons went to see him like the high school groupies we used to be. He was gracious and kind to us after the show, giving us the full impression that he remembered us.

He never married. I talked to his sister today at his funeral and told her that we had hoped that he would fall in love with Wanda Scott who was also a teacher at Provo High School. They were great friends and did a lot of things together and we couldn't figure out why their relationship didn't have a happier ending. His sister told me that she thought that they did fall in love but that each was so concerned with caring for his/her aging parents, that they never got around to it.

Too bad you didn't know him. You would have loved him too. I wonder he's checked out heaven for Shakespeare, his hero. If not yet, it'll happen and Shakespeare will love him too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Partying On

We had our third barbecue in two weeks tonight. The first one was my brother, Brent's family, which I believe includes about two hundred and fifty people from along the Wasatch Front. The occurrence was Family Home Evening. Chaos ensued. The kind jostling famlies enjoy and others look upon in horror. It was great.

Next came the neighborhood BBQ. It was the whole street, in fact, which was only ten people but included the most diverse (read unlikely) group of people to be assembled. A great group of people, mind you, but not exactly a grouping arranged in Heaven. It was, not surprisingly, the most composed group of the three. Polite and reserved, it also adjourned the earliest. We had threatened to have a neighborhood party for three years and now we understand why we were wise not to have one before. So it goes.

Then came tonight with the Empty Nesters. Twenty-three of us, mostly retirees, charging around in the backyard with tongs, spearing instruments and various hot meats. It was wonderful. No one remembered his/her bathing suit, so there was no Slip 'n Sliding if you read the earlier blog.

I love having people over, even quiet, reserved ones, so it has been fun. I really wish the summer wasn't coming to an end. But Thanksgiving is not too far off and then it's another chance for a party. There just has to be a lot of laughing. That's the only criterion for success in my book.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shalimar the Clown -- Not Especially Funny But Worth an Audiobook Download

I finished a Salman Rushdie book on audiobooks. Not Satanic Verses yet, but I did it and it was wonderful. I feel I've achieved something, but it wasn't really difficult at all.

Reading Salman Rushdie was a bit daunting since he was quite the literary lion, international, and wrote the Satanic Verses. Remember he immediately he had a fatwa put out on him for writing SV because he had offended Allah and had the whole Muslim world furious with him? I wondered then if this was a guy I wanted to read. But his writing was touted and I went for it.

Shalimar the Clown was actually not the favorite of the critics but to me it was thrilling. I love the way he writes, I learned about India and its customs and about the difficulties it is going through. It was a little difficult figuring out who was who at first since the names were Indian, very strange and I was only listening to them. But soon it worked. I got the names down without knowing how they were spelled.

The F-bomb was dropped quite often but I didn't care. I wondered at first if I should persevere, but on I went. His words are elegant and his phrasing is so rich and beautiful. And I was so sorry when it was over. Talk to me if you read it too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Orphan

I'm not talking about my daughter-in-law here. I'm talking about the movie.

As best I remember, some critics said it had a good start, good premise but devolved into formulaic violence and mayhem. Then some others said the twist was a little beyond belief. Both true. But it was still a really pretty good scary movie. Quite bloody, which is not my favorite, too many f-bombs and a few disturbing images, but it scared the heck out of me which is what I love. I love scary movies.

DeeAnn and I both thought that the whole deal was worth the price of admission for a couple of seniors and worth, also, some mushroom enchiladas after.

To say the least, it was worth the evening spent at the Gateway which is always a problem, particularly for DeeAnn who didn't know up from down there. Fortunately she had me to lead her to and from places, and watching her bewilderment running rampant alone was almost worth the price of admission. Great movie.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Today I'm Teaching!!!

Today I'm teaching, today I'm teaching, today I'm teaching!!!! There's nothing more to say about today.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Gap-toothed Yokel Takes the Offensive

From the lusty gap-toothed Wife of Bath in Chaucer to Terry Thomas, to Vince Lombardi, to Lauren Hutton to David Letterman to Madonna, I've never been embarrassed by the raging space between my teeth.

Once I asked my dentist if he would have given my braces though my teeth look perfectly straight. I was referring to the slight malocclusion in the back of my mouth that likely contributed to my teeth-grinding at night. He said, "Probably." I realize now that he was probably referring to my gaposis. I was just glad I'd dodged the bullet and never had braces.

Someone once mentioned my gap to me in Julia's presence and she hastily shushed them saying "That's not nice." I suddenly realized that maybe my gap wasn't beautiful to everyone. I actually never thought that it was beautiful, but it was just the way my teeth went. My dad once mentioned that he liked the way my front teeth were shaped, for some reason. I just presumed that he liked the way my teeth were shaped. It never occurred to me that he might have thought that he could divert my attention from my gap.

I even joined a group called "Love That Diastema" which is devoted to the enjoyment of the little space in front. I think loving it is a full-blown fetish. You can presume that a "Diastema" is, in fact, the name for the space. That's how important it is. Apparently we "Diastematics" are known for our creativity, luck and wealth.

The other day I saw a stunning model in a catalog who had far gappier teeth than mine and she was smiling like a cheshire. It was gorgeous. Though I didn't have the presence of mind to scan her and show you, it wouldn't have made me more beautiful if I had. I'm just hoping that being a gap-toothed yokel now comes back into enjoying the admiration it should.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sick Heart Walking

Carl mentioned Friday that he'd felt a little "uncomfortable" for a couple of days and tagged along with me to the heart doctor for the Protime blood test I needed. I mentioned it to the nurse and she immediately abandonned me in the dust and called an army of folks around to deal with Carl.

They performed some typical heart tests and immediately dispatched him to the hospital for an angioplasty. The result was three stents implanted in one of his heart arteries on the spot.

He's fine. He's home. I only had to sleep alone for one night, but still.

Carl is a stoic, but he still claims the discomfort was only about a three on the infamous one-to-ten pain scale. I was ready to launch into him for not stepping forward sooner and accused him of probably not having gone had I not needed to. He assured me he would have gone.

His doctor's parting shot was, however, "Next time, come in earlier." Fur shure he better.