Friday, January 29, 2010

Even If You're No A CoCo Fan, Did You Shouldn't Miss This

Conan was pretty self-effacing and quite gracious his last night and even if you didn't watch, his last musical number was quite appropriate and funny.  And good.

You might not even be a Lynyrd Skynrd fan, which many of you might not have been, but this was a pretty witty ending to Conan's Tonight Show last Friday, I thought, and I wanted to hear it again.  It's Will Ferrell being an idiot doing Freebird, and he does a pretty good job of it with Conan O'Brien joining in.  I liked it.  Indulge me, please.  I, also, am an idiot.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Avatar - Yes, I'm Now a Fan

At first I thought Avatar was for teenaged gamers but I relented after all the hooplah and saw it.  It was great.  It's definitely a fantasy appealing to the young, but it's more than that by a long shot.

Its beautiful, for one.  It's quite inspired and inspiring and appealing to the imagination.  It definitely allows heroics to the women as well.

It's long, it's a little predictable but then who cares if it's good?  

The thing is it speaks to the triumph of the human spirit on Earth and they aren't human and it isn't Earth.  But that's just a minor detail, maybe.  I also liked the part about the glorious transformation after death.  Maybe they didn't get it exactly right.  But they're looking for it.  Hmmmm.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

God Watches Over Our Stupid Youth

Yesterday while driving to have lunch with Loraine Hawkins at Five Guys, I was listening to Janis Joplin singing Me and Bobby McGee on KODJ radio.  It was a romp.  I turned it up almost to the max.

I realized as I always do when I listen to Pearl (Janis for those who did not survive the sixties) how close I came to not surviving the sixties.  I was in the wind.  (For those who don't understand that, you've got to brush up on your Dylan.)

My blood pressure rose, my heart rate gave its all and I responded to the human spirit and wished she were back for just a minute.  Tune in to Youtube to maybe get a little of what I mean.

I know this for a fact, dear folks.  The Lord watches out for us all regardless of where we are.  And I also know this.  We are given the Spirit and we have the Spirit.

I thank God every day of my life for Carl.  I thank God every day for that night long ago in Spokane standing at the window watching him leave, for the glass left behind, for the still small voice that said, "If you let him go, you will be sorry every day of your life."

He is the best thing that ever happened to me.  Just as my father told him.  My dad never told me that.  He probably didn't dare.  But it's true.  Carl is my life.  That's when I learned about the Spirit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Find to the South

I know you think that since I've retired I've been sitting around with my finger in my nose, but not entirely.

I lap up culture every now and then, and yesterday, my friend, Karren Ashley and I went to Provo and checked out the Art Museum on the BYU Campus and were more than a little startled here and there.

There was ther expected stuff, Minerva Teichert and other Mormon stuff, but also some rather interesting other things,  goofy things like photos of beach notes like "thanks for making the outhouse a little less visible from the sky", and other better pop art, like Andy Warhol and the like

Then lo,  a Rembrandt!  Yipes.  More than a little stunned was I.  An oil on panel from the 17th century entitled "Head of Christ".  More than a little impressive, I thought.

Who knew?  Not I.  More later on this day.  Can't squander.  I'm no longer the grandmotherly babysitter you thought I was.  I'm a screaming mass of crazy doing.  Aha!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

"The Americans Are Coming"

The following I received from my sister-in-law, Dezi Cannon.  I thought it was terrific.  The credits are at the end:
"There was a phrase, or so we have long been told, that was heard in occupied Europe during World War II.

"It was often said as a whisper, the story goes. It had the sound of a prayer.

"The words were so simple, but to people who were feeling utterly abandoned and who needed help, those words meant so much.

"Four words:

"'The Americans are coming.'

"Sometimes we forget about the power of those words, and about how, for so long, they defined the real meaning of what this country, at its best, could be.

"Sometimes, in the midst of all the bad news, in the midst of the mistakes this country inevitably makes, we lose sight of how much the people of the United States are counted on by those in need.

"Which is why the humanitarian efforts in Haiti this month, in the wake of the earthquake, have been a reminder of who we are when we strive to find our finest selves.

"The relief efforts have been an international undertaking; the heartache on the streets of Haiti has summoned compassionate and heroic assistance from around the globe, all of it deserving of praise and gratitude.

"But the United States has been at the forefront, as it has so often seemed to be in so many places when hope was in short supply. It is almost beyond imagining to think what has been in the terrified minds of the citizens of Haiti who have been without water, without food, without a way to rescue their trapped and dying children. When there is nothing left to depend on, when all is desolation and despair, what must the hungry and the hurt wish for as they look into the empty distance?

"Someone to care.

Someone to travel many miles, with the will and the means to heal.

"The slowness with which medical supplies and water and heavy equipment have reached the people of Haiti has been thoroughly reported. Some of the results of the relief effort have been troubling, beset by bottlenecks and breakdowns under arduous conditions. But this is not about the frustrations in getting the job done. It is about the American impulse to help.

"There is nothing particularly controversial, these days, about pointing out the failings of the United States. You can say just about any derogatory thing about the U.S., and it's not especially shocking. We're used to hearing it.

"Already, as the tragedy in Haiti continues to unfold, there have been pockets of harsh criticism of America's efforts to help. French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet alluded to the United States "occupying" Haiti instead of assisting it. It is not the first time the United States has been chastised, and it will not be the last. The history of the U.S. involvement in Haiti has not always been a happy or unsullied one.

"But perhaps we can take just a moment to think about the honor that is inherent in being the ones who, at junctures like this one, are counted on -- the ones who show up, every time.

"During World War II, those four words -- 'The Americans are coming' -- referred to the armed forces who had traveled across the ocean to liberate the people the Nazis had enslaved. In times of natural disaster, the context is different.

"In Haiti the words refer to the 82nd Airborne, yes, but they also refer to the American doctors who are volunteering their time and risking their own safety to soothe the pain of people they had never before met. The words refer to the American volunteers assisting at Haitian orphanages, not giving up on the children who have no families to comfort them. The words refer to the American search-and-rescue teams who work past the point of exhaustion as they seek signs of the living among the rubble, and they refer to the Americans back home who, during difficult economic times in the U.S., have donated their money to help people who, for now, have no way to say thank you.

"The focus of the news will shift soon enough -- that shift has already started. There will be other crises, other major stories. We, as a country and as individuals, will continue to be imperfect.

"There will be political squabbles and high-decibel partisan fights. We will at times focus on the trivial and the coarse.

"At such times, we might do well to pause and recall the sound of those four words.

"And to let the words remind us that, when we set our souls to it, we still can aspire to be the hope of the world."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bob Greene.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Rock - He's Still Got It

Went to see "tooth Fairy" as one of the last hurrahs for us as babysitters for our granddaughters before their parents' return from Maui on Sunday.

Maybe it was The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, but I don't think so. It was a good movie. If you watch any TV, the premise was a stretch, bit it worked. The script was good, it was funny, had some good stuff thrown in for the adults, Billy Chrystal and Julie Andrews had good parts, the kids were cute and I loved the hockey and jock backdrop.

This more than made up for the very sucky "Alvin and the Chipmunks Squeaquel" that actually makes me a bit nauseaus just remembering it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti - Can't Know Quite How To Feel

I'm feeling very proud of my Church.  The Humanitarian Center is sending food, help, supplies, whatever is needed, to Haiti.  People are giving additional funds on Sundays to allow whatever is necessary to be purchased to give to those groups, individuals, agencies or whatever who can help or who need.  And I am part of that.  People are heading out to be there.  The Church is mobilizing as individuals and as a body and I can say I am doing something.

I pray for those people, too, and prayer works.  I think about them, worry about them and wish I could do more for them.  I cheer on those who are working with them and read constantly news reports about what is going on.  My hopes lag a little when I hear of subsequent earthquakes hitting them, but again I think about the world and how it is rallying.  I think again of God and of his knowledge and love for them.

But still I wish I could be there.  I long to be of hands-on help.  I wish I had the money, the where-withal and the youth and health to be there, to dig out people, to hand out water and food, to wash people, to find shelters, and to go to outposts and to help what is going on there too.  To comfort children, to find their families, to find families for them.  To do something.  I want to.  

Last week, I was in Arizona where I was enjoying a vacation with my granddaughters enjoying the warm weather, the sun and the easy days, I thought often of those poor desperate people and wondered again what I could do.  I know there is really nothing I can do.  I know that.  And because of that I feel such sorrow, such horror for them and for me, such guilt because of my safety.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Courage Is The Beauty That Never Fades

The heroic story of Meip Geis flies in the face of the stupid saying of "only the good die young.

She lived from February 15, 1909 to January 11, 2010.

She was a member of that wonderful family that hid Anne Frank in Holland and was the one who raced in front of the Nazis to grab the diary of little Anne and gave us the wonderful story that inspired so many of us, including me, so many years ago.

I'm just a little sorry I didn't write this sooner but we've been gone so much and writing my blog on my IPhone is really next to impossible and finding hotspots with my computer is really a bit ole pain.

When Carl and I were in Israel, there was a grove of trees planted, each tree honoring people who had helped Jews during WWII and I was astonished at how many there were.  I also remember wanting to be a tree among them.  I was in my forties at the time.

I don't know if I have that kind of courage because it has never really been called up even yet.  That kind of worries me.  Remember "Where much is given, much is required."  But at least I haven't lived to be as old as Meip Geis yet.  Give me time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What Might Satan Think?

The following letter was published in the Star Tribune from the Minneappolis St. Paul area the other day and I thought it was hilarious.  Definitely not the situation in Haiti, but the letter.  I reprint it here because I did think it did make a good point though I do think that kicking a man while he's down isn't a good idea regardless.  it is funny, though, don't you think?

"Dear Pat Robertson, I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"? If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll. You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract. Best, Satan"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

While I'm Listening To "It's The End Of The World As We Know It"

The Following came from a site called Wonder Club on the Internet that has some pretty nifty stuff on it.  If you've got the time, spend it here.  I can't believe how much fun retirement can be if your behind can stand it.  (Get it?  If your behind can stand it?)  Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Incidentally, to the right is the Colossus of Rhodes if you weren't all ready aware.

Complete Listing of World Wonders

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Taj Mahal

Maps of the World Wonders

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Phoenix Now

We're now in Phoenix, the poor man's Maui, perhaps, but we have our granddaughters in tow, so if you're wise you'll see we're rich.

We get them because their parents are in Maui celebrating their tenth anniversary.  I tried to explain to Julia that most of us either spent our tenth dining at the Poco Loco or just don't remember doing anything at all in commemoration because we couldn't afford babysitters.

But she refused to relent because she insists the tenth is a big deal. Perhaps it's because she's married to Brad who I'll admit has his moments.  But she says he is the "love of her life" and I believe her.  So I'm not sure what she means.  All I know is that he drove me nuts his high school senior year.

But I digress.  Here are the girls having the time of their lives at the Kiwanis Park. Can Maui be better than this?  Not if you're five and seven.

We had a most excellent day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thoughts From Julie

Here's something I got from my Relief Society President.  Now do you know why I love her?:
Wishing you a Happy New Year.


1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar..
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants...
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to reflect.
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2009 .
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9. Sleep for at least 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile. 

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts about things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't overdo. Know and honor your limits.
14. Don't take yourself too seriously.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18.. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past; that will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more..
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree... 

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 12.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.. Your friends will. Stay in touch. 

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. Time heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake alive in the morning, just be thankful
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy. 

Last but not the least:
40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about, I just did.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Twitter Is For Winners, Folk, Not Losers

This photo is from one of my favorite contributors on Twitter,  Awkward Family Photos, which is currently running a contest to find the best photo to represent their tweets.  To find them search Twitter for @awkwardfamily in the Twitter vernacular.  You'll love yourself for it.  You might even become a Twaddict like myself.  Yum buckets.  Can you believe they didn't notice the roofer until it was too late?  Bless those creative wedding photographers.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Okay, So I Don't Miss Teaching As Much, But I Still Do A Little

My friend, Wendy Carroll, asked me the other day if I still missed teaching.

Truth be known, the answer is "no".  It's been more than two years.   I couldn't miss eating for that long.  (I know, I know, but I thought leaving teaching would kill me too.)

But the above picture is hilarious and makes me miss it a little more than I did yesterday.  Yes it does.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Days You Hate Are But a Few

That's Cassandra Nicole Bear on the right.  That's her friend and roommate, Ashley Fivecoat, on the left.  Cassie died the night before last of bacterial meningitis which brought on heart failure.  She was so young.   Just twenty-two.

And she was so bright and hopeful.  At least most of the time she tried to be.

Unfortunately, she didn't have everything to hope for, but she always kept fighting onward and upward.

She worked at the Training Table where she would answer the phone and would fill the drink and salad orders.  She was trying to become the first in her family to graduate from college.

She had been in my Institute class at LDS Business College when she was a new little Freshman.  She was one of those who wore her broken little heart on her sleeve.  She told me and the class right off that she had been sexually abused as a child.  She also said she was hopeful that a blood disorder she had was in abeyance.

She told me later she had not yet decided to make a police report on the perpetrator who had been a family member. She wanted so badly to mend, knew that the mending required reporting it to the police, but didn't want to disappoint members of her family who felt that she should let bygones be bygones. I tried to talk her into talking to a detective and sometimes she decided to and then later decided not to.

Dear little Cassie couldn't please them and herself and on she went with so much unfinished business weighing her down that the joy she deserved could not overtake her.  Her heavy heart finally did her in.

Well now joy has taken over.  The burden has been set down.  Until the end she loved God, she loved his Word, she loved taking pictures of the Temple and she loved bearing her testimony.  Some souls are so good and it really is in spite of everything, not because of it.  You did it so well, Cassie, girl.  Peace be with you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Life's Little Conundrums

I lost twenty pounds.  It's really kinda neat but then it's not really amazing either.  I just kinda stopped taking my favorite medication, Lyrica, and it sorta made me stop being ravenous.

That's the good part.

Lyrica worked like a charm for my Fybromyalgia -- body aches.  But it also revved up my appetitive.  I didn't know that was it's quiet little bonus.

I went to the doctor and complained that I was sick of being so fat and with that charming chuckle I have, asked him for a magic pill.  Ha, ha, ha.  Then he gave me the good news/bad news.  The magic pill was Lyrica -- and it was not taking it.  So I stopped.

The body aches are back.

Here's the choice, though.  The extra weight isn't a beauty issue so much as a health one.  I've got a couple of faulty heart valves going on, some atrial fibrilation and was on high blood pressure medicine, which I am not taking anymore.  So the pounds really had to go.

But since I take blood thinners, I also am restricted to Tylenol for pain which everyone knows is cousin to taking jelly beans, so the Lyrica was nice.  Lortab is what's left but that kinda worries me.

Who knows.  We'll see what happens.  But if you know something, let me know what you know.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Contradiction in Terms

Santa in flip-flops, swimsuit a deck chair and snow. Kinda how it feels to be only a few hours outta the Maui sun.  I think I'll think about blogging tomorrow.  Tonight.  I'll see if I can make it up the stairs.  Love to be home.  Love to see the family and my house.  But . . .