Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Maui Matters

I love Maui for a lot of reasons.

One of them is that according to LDS Church History, My Great-grandfather Angus Munn Cannon served a mission and saw God in a pineapple field here.  Apparently a lot of natives took on his name but not for the reason some of you naughtier people might think.  They just needed an extra name, so they took on “Cannon” which is not a bad name if you need another one.  If anyone makes any smart remarks, I want you to know that he was known for his good looks.

I sort of have halfheartedly looked for the account from time to time.  I have a copy of a journal in which it was referred to at home, but I never could find it.  I’m going to have to check it out again when I get home.  Maybe I’ll go the easy route and make some phone calls instead.  We’ll see.  I just keep forgetting.  But I digress.

Today we went to the back woodsey area of Maui.  If you look at a map of Maui, it looks like the head and torso of a woman.  We got up to the back of her head.

Up there it’s really rustic.  There is a beautiful bay around which people dive, snorkle and scuba dive and beyond is just windy, beautiful, lush areas which look like Heber might if it had lots of rain.  The roads become too narrow to go much beyond.  

Later we went to dinner at Kimo’s which is a very nice restaurant in Lahaina.  It is right on the water and though my IPhone takes decent pictures, they certainly don’t do justice to the view.  Let it just be known that should you drop by, Kimo’s certainly will be on the list of spots to visit.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Maui - I Think I Was Meant To Be Born Here

The guilts is all ready settling in and it's only Monday.  You're all ready nauseated with our trip I'm sure, but I'm so glad to be here.

I've posted pictures of Maui on Facebook and here.  I've eaten shaved ice, I've sweated a little and have just about managed a few tears thinking about going home to snow.  It really is still summer here.  We've been here before, but not the week bridging January and February.

We're rubbing elbows with a bunch of people kind of in the same boat.  Some folk we've met were from Maryland, some from Valley Forge, some from Chicago, and some pikers from Arizona.  We even met some people from Canada who went from -30 to +80 in one day.  Can the human body stand that?  I don't think so.

Today we went whale watching.  Now is the time when the whales are having their babies and fattening them up for the long swim back to Alaska.  The adults don't eat here, they just mate and feed their young.  Learned today they don't have nipples either, if you'll pardon the French, but excrete the milk into the water and the young take it from there.  We saw enough action (meaning we saw whaleage) to make it a pretty interesting trip which is fine with me because I'm not really sea-worthy and tend to "feed-the-fish" if I have eaten too recently.  I'll not have to go again.

Carl got some good shots that he'll post on his Facebook page.

Don't patronize me by saying I've earned my vacation.  Just sit there and be happy for me sitting here in my summer duds, bundle up and stay warm, and chuckle a little knowing that in three days I've gotten most of my clothes dirty all ready.  I'm sure there's a washer somewhere.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Morning 2009

It's been said that to wake up on Christmas morning is to regret for a moment not being a child.  Isn't that the truth?

It's also true that five minutes after beginning to open the packages, the regret begins that the opening wasn't savored a little longer.

Now begins the long wait until Spring.

But wasn't it fun while it lasted?

Next year will be tweaked a bit.  We'll keep better lists of gifts.  We'll get better pictures for cards.  We'll meet with friends more often and laugh lots.  We'll definitely get our flu shots and start wrapping a little earlier.  And there will be lots less complaining for sure.  We'll learn from this year.  That's what we'll do.

But wasn't it fun even so?  It sure was.

Friday, December 25, 2009

"For God So Loved The World That He Gave His Only Begotten Son . . . "

I believe that it is such a miracle in itself that something so wonderful as the birth of the Savior could bring so many diverse people together in celebration so many years  later.  Christmas has been altered from Him in so many ways, yet He still is its is reason.  Amazing.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Front Door -

Merry Christmas
From the Aukschun House

To Yours!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Musical Mormons Thanks to Brigham

One of the nicest legacies of Brigham Young within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Mormon love of music, singing, playing of musical instruments, and the enjoyment of the performing arts.

Christmastime is crazy in the Church with these.  And we're pretty good at it, too.  We've got more pianos per capita, I think, than about just about anybody else, too.

The irony of this is that before his conversion to Mormonism, Brigham had been a Baptist  and had been taught to shun music in all its forms.  He more than made up for it.

It's been great this year again as I've enjoyed really good Relief Society dinners in both Julia's and my wards with music and with plays in the Daybreak 8th and 14th Wards.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

Gotta remember the best childhood Christmas ever, don't I?  It has to be the one when I got the bike that is out in the garage right now as we speak.

There's not a soul who doesn't wonder why that ratty old bike is still in my possession unless it's my Dad who somehow has been notified out there in Hell that I've got it hanging ingloriously from the rafters over my little beauty of a car Carl gave me as a consolation prize for retiring.  (Actually I doubt Dad's really in Hell.  He probably just likes to visit some of his friends over there from time to time.)

I was seven years old, so that makes it sixty years ago, when I got it.  It was that rotten, lousy winter when the snow on the ground met the snow on the roof.  My parents had told me I couldn't have a big two-wheeler until my eighth birthday which wasn't until May so I expected nothing so glorious as that bike.

And there it was:  My beautiful blue bike, serial number EO44481, sitting under the tree.  I was astounded with joy.

The snow was way past the axle and yet I rode it around the block at 686 N. 8th East in Provo, Utah, 75,000 times that day.  I loved that bike.  I still love that bike.

I rode it until it looks like it does today, until I finally got my Driver's License.  I even rode it after that.  It had one speed, fat tires, could take three pounds off you in a half-hour ride and has more memories for me than anything else I have ever possessed.  Except I was not the one that lost the handlebars.  Carl did that I'll bet.

Dad kept it in his basement until I was middle-aged and I was too embarrassed to let him store it any longer.  I've kept it ever since.  I think he kept it because it was the best gift he ever gave anyone.  It has to have been.  He knew a good thing when he saw it whizzing around the block.

I think I'll insist that bike be buried with me.  that's how much I love it.  Right on top of the casket.  Laid with gentle care, of course.  No tossing for it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

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5 Signs Your Preschooler is a Criminal

filed under: momstrosity
Preschoolers are nothing more than little criminals-in-training, each poised to move easily from playpen to the state pen.

Getty Images

Momlogic's Momstrosity: Babies start out innocent enough. They're just happy having their needs met and drooling now and then -- but soon that isn't good enough, and kids start exhibiting traits consistent with the most hardened criminals. A new study says we're all harboring pint-sized thugs in our homes. I know I am. Researchers found that preschoolers who showed no fear were more likely to commit crimes as adults. To me, that means ALL of them. Any kid who's ever pulled adog's tail is living on the edge. If your preschooler isn't already in the slammer, or in a prolonged time-out, there might still be hope. But I doubt it.

5 Signs Your Kid Is a Common Criminal:

1) Lying
Ask any 3-year-old why Dad's shoes are filled with Play-Doh or why the cat is wet and you will be met by a barrage of calculated and carefully crafted lies -- the sign of a true sophisticated criminal and con. So good are tots at masquerading their nefarious activity, they can look you straight in the eye and insist, "I'm a princess," or "I can fly to the moon."  Same kind of lies they'll be spinning when warden asks if there's any contraband in their cell -- right before they stick him with a shiv.
2) Excessive drug use
Preschoolers are always on the search for their next "high." Hopped up on their drug of choice -- chocolate, candy, and cookies -- their goal is to procure more of the sweet stuff by any means necessary. In fact, on Halloween, fueled by their addictions, marauding packs of children canvas door to door in search of a quick fix. Remember: Sweet Tarts are a gateway drug.
3) Habitual stealing
Can't find your keys? Have all the forks suddenly disappeared? No doubt you're living with a sticky finger 37" petty thief. In a routine shakedown of your kid's room, you're bound to find many of your fave items stashed into backpacks, under the bed, or in a Candy Land box. Just like cigarettes, the currency of prison, preschoolers use their ill-begotten gains to trade with friends who stop by for playdates.
 4) Vandalism 
Tagging the living room with markers and defacing books are all just a regular day in the life of a mini-juvenile delinquent. Putting your kid into lockdown (time-outs) might detour your little hoodlum for a while, but they'll be sure to go on another rampage if they miss their nap.
5) Conning and manipulation
To get what they want, the average preschooler will employ the old bait and switch when not getting the answer they want from one parent, and will turn to the other. Or they will simply ask you to "close your eyes" as they climb up the bookcase to get the forbidden object du jour down from a high shelf. Years later, these skills will become invaluable when trying to fool their parole officer.

It's pretty clear you shouldn't turn your back on a preschooler -- which begs the question: Do they make orange jumpsuits in 3T?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ben Turns Forty

My son, Ben, hates being forty.  Maybe he just thinks he does.  Yesterday was his first day of it so he really doesn't know for sure.

I remember my worst birthday was when I turned twenty.  I'd been told all my life (those life-lesson-filled teen years) that once responsibility (adulthood) stuck it's ugly foot onto your back, things never looked up again.  It took me until I was about twenty-three to realize things were cooking along pretty nicely with the occasional pain thrown in, just like it always had.

I consider the day Ben was born just about the happiest day of my life.  Carl would know that the most important day of my life was the day we were married, but that day was crazy, harried, and full of stress and frantickness.  My parents had just met him a day or so before and my meeting his parents was still months in the future.  We hardly knew each other, for that matter.   But Ben.  I could hardly believe it.  He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  I'd waited my whole life for him.  But I've loved all the days with him since.

It was Christmastime almost, and he was the greatest gift I had ever received.  Still is.  I'm still breathlessly grateful.  Forty is a number.  Ben is Ben.  Forty comes and goes.  Ben is forever.

Brad came along a couple of years later and that day was wonderful too.  Just as wonderful.  Another happiest day of my life.  Another greatest gift.  Someone else that lasts and lasts and lasts.

You can't count those in years.   Forty is nothing.  I scoff at forty.  He'll figure that out soon enough.  Life is great for what it is, every day of it.  Numbers are nothing.  Life is everything.  I promise.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What's With All These Changes Anyway

I have a hard time remembering to cough into my  elbow.  I just can't get it

I've had a cough since the swine flu struck a month ago and when the urge hits, I first go for my hands, because I have a big gob of Kleenex there, then I remember the elbow drill, go for that, remember the gunk that flies, lunge for the Kleenex again, elbow, spew, charge for the door, redden in the face, horrify others, make the sign for "Make way for one who is unclean", and pass out before having to make eye contact with anyone.  All the while I'm holding back a cough.

Five-year-olds make it look so automatic.  I can't do it.  It just doesn't work.  Maybe it's because my arms are just too long.  I'm afraid of clubbing my neighbor.  Maybe it's because of all the gesturing that takes place.  Maybe it's because I end up feeling like a big bag of germs coughing into my clothes like that.  I don't know.  I just liked coughing into my hands.  It's discreet, handy and quite lady-like.  Coughing into your elbow indeed.

I'm smart enough to not want to shake hands with someone holding a big handful of used Kleenex.  Why isn't everyone else?  I'm really not that bright.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Daisy's Happier Now, But Not Me So Much

Today my cute little Daisy is with the angels.  Yesterday I had her put to sleep.  I knew it was coming but I kept putting it off.

She's been a major munchaholic for a long time.  She was up to eleven pounds at one point then the last time she went in to the vet, she was down to nine. That's quite a step down when you do the math and consider she wasn't really too concerned about her waistline.  I never noticed her try to back off from the kibbles.

They told me last spring she had a stage four heart murmur.

 She'd been deaf since she was a pup, had been on Science Diet exclusively yet had gas that could give dry heaves to the garbage man and had hip problems that prevented her from climbing stairs.

She had stopped eating.

It was getting scary.

What with all the stuff that doctors can do with people, the trickle-down effect has gotten to our canine friends too.  They said they could do "tests".  Yikes.

Compared to my last dog, Tuna, (Petunia) who was seventeen when she passed the bar, Daisy, at eleven was a spring chicken.   But she wasn't feeling good.  You could tell.  Nothing made her happy anymore.

I just know today is the best day she's had in a long time.

That's what I've got to keep telling myself.  And I've got to stop crying.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Grandma's Shoes (Today is Daughter's of the Utah Pioneers Christmas Party)

When I was very little
My grandmas (there were two)
Always wore the same black kind
Of ugly grandma shoes.
You know the kind I mean, right?
The clunky lace-up kind
That looked so very awful?
Well, it weighed upon my mind
For I knew, when I grew old
I’d have to wear those shoes.
I’d think of that, from time to time
It seemed like such bad news.
Not being a rebel, I
wore saddle shoes to school,
Next came ballerinas
then sandals, pretty cool.
Then came spikes with pointed toes
Then platforms, very tall.
As each new fashion came along
I wore them, one and all.
But always, in the distance,
Looming in my future there
Was that awful pair of shoes,
The kind that Grandmas wear.
Eventually I got married
And then became a Mom
My kids grew and grew, and then
Grand kids came along.
And when I was a Grandma
It still was quite a scare
Thinking that those clunky shoes
Were what I’d have to wear.
But fashions kept evolving
And one day I realized
That the shape of things to come
Was such a great surprise
Cause now when I go shopping
What I see fills me with glee
And in my jeans and Reeboks
I’m comfy as can be.
And I look at these teenage girls
And there, upon their feet
Are clunky, black, old Grandma shoes.
Now that’s what I call neat.
Author Unknown

Friday, December 11, 2009

Festival of Trees Slouching Towards Even Getting Better

Loved the Festival of Trees this year.  Loves it for how beautiful it was.  Loved it because it had lots of interesing stuff besides trees like "other stuff" like centerpieces, toys, candy and niftiness.

And also because the people are speaking!!  They're taking the place over.

It used to be out of the reach of of us average Santa types, but now, it's ours too.

Little trees abound too.  It was wonderful.  I think it's within my reach.  Not all is fancy-schmancy stuff either like it used to be.  Loved the fancy-schmancy of course, but loved the relatively crappy as well.

Don't you love accessible?  I'm serious.  Not being remotely sarcastic.

All were pretty and fun.  You  could tell kids were involved.  You could tell grandmas, grandpas, Girls Scouts, it was wonderful.  I loved that there really beautiful and classy ones still abounding too and that builders built great-looking buildings all Christmasted up and that so much was purchased.

I hope that they made boatloads of money.

I plan to badger Carl into making a Barbie house, too.  He's about due to putting something like that together.

Yes indeed.  It's time to give back.  Merry Christmas, Carl.  I love you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Those Relentless Jackboots of Time

Actually, my teeth were a little late coming in too.  Sophia is seven and has just lost her first tooth.  Her dad lost his first teeth when he was four, but that was due to a rock discus accident.  He was merely a spectator who was a little shy on judgement of the space/time continuum at the time.  He was an especially cute little tyke, but he lacked teeth for a good many years which put a tiny blight on the esthetics of the situation a bit.  Hope her classmates are duly impressed.  Or it just might be old-hat to them by now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You Too Raisins?

Guess what?  The little Sun Maid Raisin Girl has gotten kinda chesty in the last couple of years.  The manufacturer claims it's because they want to raise the awareness of health among consumers.  Let it be announced from here to there from there to there that no one is buying any of it.  Sex sells,  and they know it.

But there are people getting hurt.  People like young girls who look at themselves and think that something's wrong with them.  Mothers of those girls are going nuts trying to keep them happy with themselves. Sox stuffed in the bra doesn't work anymore.  Victoria's Secret is a collossal engineering feat.

This has gotta stop.  Surgery for Christmas?  Where are the men?  Are they so darn stupid to be able to delude themselves?  It's plastic implants that are still in the grave long after everything else is back to dust for Heaven's sake.

Why aren't the men speaking up?  At least the smart ones?  It might be a little embarrassing, but it's important.  Huge boobs look stoooopid.  And while they're at it, why aren't they mentioning it to a few advertisers, television stations, producers, magazines and to anyone who will listen?  It's worth it.

And while they're talking, mention other stuff like troweled-on cosmetics, weight loss madness and hair-looney products?

They want strong women?  They're not going to get them by allowing women to become trampled down by anyone, including women themselves, telling them they are inadequate.  Power and strength comes from places of power and strength.  Neither of which is found in a sense of inadequacy and manipulation.

And who knows?  Men might save themselves a little money and time in the process.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Kitten Still Loves Puppy

Remember, Ben, I got this off Twitter.  Don't know how I would have survivied while I was sick without Twitter

Friday, December 4, 2009

You Wanna See Lots to be Thankful For?

Here is the link to Carl's Facebook Album wereon are his Thanksgiving pictures.  All in all, there were fifty wonderful people at our house.  We fed about seventeen cute little cherubs in the breezeway then dispatched all of them to the downstairs to watch "Up" which interestingly starred cranky old Carl and kept them interested while the rest of us ate ourselves blind upstairs.  We had a blast.

We do this every other year.  On the alternate year, we go "out" while others go to the "outlaw" families.  It works beautifully.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Faces of Angels are Disappearing

A news item mentioned that probably 96 or 97 per cent of Down's Syndrome babies are aborted before they see the light of day.  This in response to Sarah Palin's book where she commented that for her, this was not an option when she learned her little son was Down's.

Regardless of whatever else you might think of her, this has got to be a check in her "plus" column.  Life matters.  

I once bought some calendars for various people who I knew would love them because they featured children with Down's Syndrome.  They were beautiful.  I don't remember the name of the company who printed them, it was something like "Angel Faces", "Beautiful Faces" or something like that but they were wonderful.

I am not living in a dreamworld.  I know Down's children are difficult.  I have five close friends who have them in their families.  But each of them, though their life's work has become that child almost exclusively, would do nothing  to change their lives.  I spoke with one of those friends, Bill Nicholson, the other night about this very subject.  He was incredulous about such shocking statistics and was heartbroken to think of life without his William, His beautiful namesake.  The world would be a much poorer place without William.

Every time I see William, he reminds me of how much he misses me and Carl at church.  He talks about how much he hopes we come to visit his ward.  I tell him how much I want to come and see him bear his testimony again and how often I think of him and how much I love him.  This is all so true.

One day when my son Brad was about twelve, he asked me if I thought it would be okay to pray for a Down's child.  That's the kind of sweet child Brad was.  I said that I thought that it was.  I still think that it would be something okay to pray for.  I would just be afraid to pray for it myself because I don't know if I'm that strong.

I also think that it is so sad that lives, in a desperate attempt to avoid trouble and difficulty, take such a horrifying step as abortion, without realizing that they are denying themselves the sweetest thing they could ever know.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Brother Brent, Birthday Boy

Today my little brother, Tnerb, is sixty-three.  He’s been a fuss-budget for sixty-two of those years.  He looks like Lavell Edwards and really should set aside enough money to have his jeans especially tailored to accommodate his cheekless behind.  Other than that, he’s fairly perfect.  Wait.  Here’s another thing.  It is really easy to make him cry.  Aside from this list of things, he’s pretty perfect.  On Thanksgiving, I was particularly grateful that he was willing to hand-wash all the dishes notwithstanding that he had recently gone through surgery to remove one of his kidneys.  It’s one of his signature activities.  Not the surgery.  The washing.  He is a neat freak.

Brent and I go way back.  I taught him a gay, merry little tune for the poem, “If a woodchuck could chuck wood, how much wood would a wood chuck chuck?” that brought him nothing but scorn and derision from his heartless little Kindergarten buddies.  I should have been sorry.  Perhaps I was too young.  But I did teach him something about the world.  I’m sure he’s grateful.

After his surgery, he was dutifully doing his “walkies” around the hospital floor and mentioned that it was the “cancer” ward.  My heart froze.  I didn’t like the word.  What would I do without this man?  He had had one of those pesky, painful kidney stones and apparently during the scan to check it out, the noticed the cancer.  And as we all have figured out, we only need on kidney, we lucky us, Brent, has emerged almost unscathed.  A kidney and a few pounds lighter.  This was a case where likely had it gone unnoticed, he would not have lasted a year.  A little stone and some more years with us and the beautiful Millie.  

I choose to think that such serendipity is actually part of the plan to give us more of what we really need and want.  I thank God for Brent this year.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama, I'm Not Liking You So Much Anymore

Currently I'm considering writing a letter to someone but I'm just not sure to whom.  Maybe to Obama but that would require eating crow.  I've even been forced to speak up for him at about every turn here in Utah, most notably at Church because I thought (think) he is fabulous.

But things changed when I couldn't get a flu shot.

Couldn't find one.

But then neither could anyone else.   But then I finally did find them.  I went down to sign my name on the dotted line only to learn that I'M TOO OLD!!  That's right.  You heard it here.  I even explained that I went through chemotherapy twenty years ago, and lack an immune system in spades as a result, but that fell on deaf ears.  No one cares about my extenuating circumstances.  This is the reason I've decided to blame Obama.  Someone's got to take the blame.

Remember some months ago, the Internet went nuts saying Obama's Health Care Plan said he wanted to kill off old people?  I was no fool.  I didn't want to read 2,000 boring pages but I knew politicians weren't stupid.  They wouldn't put something like that in writing.  I didn't believe it.  But now I do.  He's trying to kill me!

So I got the flu and have really been sick with it for one reason or another for over a month.  Currently I feel like crap because I have a bellycular (my word for "stomach") hematoma from coughing my lungs out and I feel terrible because it's infected (well, duh.)

Did anyone hear about heading to the border for flu shots?  I'm still in the market.   I don't want any more of this sickness business.  I refuse to die.  I know it would only please the president.  I don't want to do that.  I also plan to blame Obama for any misery that I might have along the way to Mexico.

Anything besides the fact that I live in the greatest country in the world, I'm grateful for everything I have and that I am and for the very life I am living.

Drat.  I guess that negates everything I said heretofore.

This also explains why I've not been too regular with my blogging.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  I think I'm seeing shooting sparks now.  I'll go rest somewhere for a minute.