Friday, July 30, 2010

Reading Going Way Back

I bought Ozma of Oz and The Velveteen Rabbit for Sophia and Ali. Those books  span five generations potentially.

The Wizard of Oz was written by L. Frank Baum in 1900 and he went on to write fourteen other books, including Ozma, most or maybe all, of which my mother, Helen Peterson Cannon, owned, read tons of times and which I read over and over and was also crazy about, like her.  

The glue had crumbled and the string came loose on all those books by the time I got them and I'm sure they went into the garbage or the D.I., but we loved them.  Following is a list of the books of them on Wikipedia if you'd like to check them out just for fun:  

They and Mom are part of the reason I love reading.  During the month I didn't blog, I read quite a few books I'll have to tell you about later,  but I wanted to tell you about these first.

The second book I bought,The Velveteen Rabbit, was published in 1922.  I told the girls I really wanted Brad to read it to them.  I'm surprised I didn't read it to him and Ben, but I guess I didn't.  The one problem I thought they might have was that it was about a boy.  Soph and Al used to like books about girls, but I think they've let go of that.  I hope so.  And I hope it's not too young for Sophia -- I don't know.

Here's some quotes:  

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

How nice is that?  I don't know if my grandmothers, Mary Salmon Cannon and Nellie Bull Peterson, ever read any of these books, but they could have.  They likely did. That would be Ali and Sophia's great-great grandmothers.  Astonishing.  

I want to tie generations together in both directions and maybe this will do it.  I don't know but I'm trying.  I hate doing genealogy but maybe this will contribute something.  

Maybe these books are not as good as I remember, but it's worth a try. And my granddaughters are potentially old enough to hear a chapter a night instead of a whole book -- at least Sophia is.  Maybe she can read them herself.  I don't care what she does.  

All I hope is that they love to read as much as my mother did and as much as I do and they don't put the same restrictions on themselves as Mom did;  she always felt that she couldn't reward herself with reading until all her work was done and she so seldom felt she was there.  

How sad is that?  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

50 Questions to Free Your Mind

These questions have no right or wrong answers.
Because sometimes asking the right questions is the answer.
1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?
12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What's holding you back?
18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
22. Why are you, you?
23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
25. What are you most grateful for?
26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
32. If not now, then when?
33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

Taken from:  
Practical Tips for Productive Living

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Tough Window to Look Through

Fri, July 23, 2010 11:3
 My brother, Rex, is an LDS (Mormon) Bishop.  He has been for about a year and his life has taken on a somberness and challenge that has been not only difficult for him, but hard for those of us who have watched him.  He can't tell us much about it because that's the "Bishop's way", but it shows in his face and on his calendar.  This is an email I received from him the other day.  It's about all the detail from his life we get anymore, but it shows an insight into his struggles. 

I wish he were not a bishop most days, selfishly for me and for his family, but I thank God for good men like him who do serve because of the huge need there is for them. 

"July 23, 2010


 "This morning at 6 AM I had to meet with a therapist at a drug rehab facility in the area.  No, not for me but for a couple members of our ward that are going through some treatment.  It was quite the experience for me.

"I arrived early and waited in the parking lot for a few minutes waiting until it opened.  I sat there in the truck but watched as people began to arrive several minutes before the doors opened.  Most were young, teenagers to young adults.  Several were driven there and dropped off by adults, parents probably. 

 "When the doors opened the small crowd quickly entered the building.  I left the truck and walked over and entered the building as well. Inside there were two lines that were formed.  One was to secure payment or check on payments for the services that this rehab center provides.  The teller or employee sat behind a secure wall and Plexiglas window, much like you see at late night convenience stores or toll booths.  A small opening in the glass was used to pass money, checks, or credit cards through.  It was all business and no one really talked as the room was quiet.

 "The other line formed on the other side of the room.  This line is where patients go to receive their treatments for their particular drug addiction.  These treatments are substitute chemicals that satisfy somewhat the desire for the drug but have no long lasting addictions.  Methadone is one particular treatment.  One by one the patients would enter a smaller room, receive their treatment and then quickly exit the building and be on their way.  Again, it was very serious and almost dead quiet.

 "The thing that so greatly affected me was the appearance, physical condition and deportment of the patients.  Many had open sores on their faces and arms.  Several had thinning hair, horrible teeth, no body tone.  All were very thin as if starved for nutrition.  One young woman, perhaps late teens, very beautiful at some point in her past, wore a hooded sweatshirt.  It became apparent that this sweatshirt was used to cover the many open and oozing sores that covered her face and hands.  I could only speculate that these sores covered most of her body.  Her hair was thin and unhealthy, her eyes dark and glazed over.  Many others were in the same condition.

 "Many as well had poor teeth that were missing, brown or black in appearance.  A dentist's nightmare.

 "The deportment was one of nervous anxiety exhibited by all.  Most hugged themselves as if cold.  Others would stand in line only an inch from the person in front of them, obviously anxious for their treatment.  None really cast their eyes around but would stare at nothing in particular on the floor ahead of them.  Again, as quiet as can be imagined.

 "When it was my turn at the window I began to explain my purpose,  paying for the treatments of a couple ward members.  As I began to talk the young man behind the glass looked up, almost surprised.  I'm sure that he had expected another patient whose language and deportment was the norm but I took him for a loop.  He was most cordial and friendly with me.  I made my payment, received the receipt and then as I turned to go several patients that were waiting in the lines thanked me for what I was doing; paying for treatments.  It was almost overwhelming. 

 "I've never been so close or exposed to how this life lives.  It gave me great fear and wonder at just how close this lifestyle and addiction is to us.  I have since wondered at just how destructive this addiction is to the lives of those that fall.  They can't hold jobs, their lives are centered around their next fix or treatment, their health is gone, their appearance horrible, their personalities gone, their spirit unknown.  Their family, spouses, children, parents, friends, all suffer in their relationship with these people. 

 "If you ever want to see just what the impact of drugs is on our society, sit in that room for just a few minutes. 


In the meanwhile, let's hold each other close, learn what we can to help, rely upon God and bishops and pray for the day when such hideousness can be subdued, managed, or even conquered. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Baby Showers -- Who Couldn't Love Them When They're This Much Fun?

Amy (who is never mean)  reflecting Aram, her beloved
Women can be mean.  A little mean.

They can be really funny, too, especially when men aren't around. They just don't like to be too funny when men are around because men don't like their women to be too funny because they think it's their domain.  And also they kind of like to think of their women as too sweet to be funny because funny is a little menacing sometimes.  I've heard it's also an ego thing.

But anyway, we had this fabulous baby shower yesterday for the beautiful Amy, who is due to deliver the scrumptious Raffi Cannon Arakalyan in December of this very year.  Aram is the delightful father.

The shower started out well and normal but then it did devolve when Amy unwrapped -- snort, snicker, chortle -- the breast pump.

Then the hilarity and damage began and it was wonderful.  I may never be invited to another shower, however.

The beautiful Mariah, Amy's niece, aged thirteen, and her friend, also likely thirteen, were there and everything went to heck in a handbasket.

We began discussing its (the breast pump's) usage, various people's experiences with them, we then pointed out their various convenient shapes, we used proper terminology, expressed amusing anecdotes with them, and discussed important points (hahahaha) and aspects of breast pumps and their impact on the actual human anatomy, both good and bad.  It fed upon itself.  (Guffaw, hahahaha.)  All this was to embarrass as best we could, the hapless teenagers, brought in to babysit, I suppose.  Child abuse?  I guess so, but we liked to think of it as education.

Mariah and her friend dashed from the room in dismay and horror several times, covering their ears and squealing.  Of course their dismay only drove the meekest among us to greater heights every time they returned, Mariah's mother was among them.  I think she was close to being the worst.  Grandma even joined in.  It was so much fun.

And with typical teenage drama, the girls deemed yesterday the "worst day of their lives."

Ha!  If that were only true.  I guarantee that day will involve actual children of their own.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Is it the 24 of July or the Ben R. Cannon Annual Birthday Bash? You Decide

I love my crazy family and I'm always so glad when they consent to come over.  Carl didn't take enough pictures this time.  He enjoyed himself too much.  They played games across the street, they had a great time in honor of grandpa, (today, the 26th, is his actual birthday) great grandpa and in honor of the pioneers and in honor of summer.  It was fun.  Thanks to everyone who could come.  Please come by again.  I love you.

Blaine and Eliza adding to their summer skills
Aram looking masculine
Eliza enjoying a messy moment

Food, of course
Ali, left, first summer as a married lady.  Diane proudly observing Carter's drinking abilities
Ali with Sophie, showing their new haircuts
Cindy being contemplative
Kathy thinking about something or other
Backyard shenanigans
Rhead, missing his family
Diane and Ali
Svetlana, adopted countrywoman and daughter
The shorter ones, catching a little "Roger Rabbit"
Eating, talking, because that's what Cannons do

Friday, July 23, 2010

Floating Your Family Tree

The above float is the product of my former stake, ward, and good buddies in the Sandy Cameo Park Ward.  Notice the awe in the stance of the woman to the left?  It's deserved for certain.  Its title:  "Who's in your family tree?"  That's an owl in front if you're a fan of puns.  

That's the genealogy of Stan Lindaas a little above and to the left of center because it was he who I think headed up the committee which is weird because a) he is a genealogist who are a group that I would hardly think are right-brained in the least and b) he sports only one hand (I don't know what happened to the other one.)  Who in  the right mind would have put a "disabled" man (If you knew knew Stan you would be shouting "Ha!!" at this point.)  in charge of a "Days of 47" float? 

Also involved in construction was my dentist, Dave Powell! and likely others who shall remain nameless, sorrowfully.  

It was gorgeous and I voted for it.  Watch for it in the Parade tomorrow morning.

Here's another float I quite enjoyed.  The title is "Turning Trials into Treats".  There are 163 crickets on this float -- one for each of the years since the event when the seagulls arrived to save the day and ate the crickets that were ruining the pioneers' day by eating the pioneers' crops -- one of our all-time favorite miracles.  

We talked to the designer-creator-workers and found out one of the secrets was that the man's mission president's family was named "Gull" and each of the gulls represented one of each of his family members.  It was funny to see cricket eyes on each of the cookies.  A little gruesome religious humor.  There was lots of funny detail and clever inside jokes.

I love this tradition of the Days of 47 Parade.  I remember going to the Parade with my grandparents and parents, walking through Liberty Park and enjoying the Parade with my cousins sitting on the curb.  I don't remember where we sat, but there definitely weren't the crowds, there definitely weren't the campouts preceding, but I do remember bit scary clowns.  

So my new tradition is going to be watching the Parade from my own home, from my couch where it's cool, it's not crowded and where there  parking is not at a premium.  And the only scary clown is Carl. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Salt of the Earth Walk Among Us

Are there people you encounter that you know that you'd love to have in your life?  Here's  a guy I'd choose.  His wife is definitely another one I'd choose but she looked more normal.

The baby too, for that matter.  If I hadn't cut off his head, you'd see that you can't see his head over his dad's head because he's too short, but he didn't mind.

These have got to be wonderful people to know.  And if you don't know why, I don't think I can explain it to you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beach Boys to Shallow Tuesday is a Process Worth Thinking About

We’ve got “Shallow Tuesday” going on around here and it’s thanks to Lynn Alvord who is anything but shallow.  For “Shallow Tuesday”, dinner is secondary.  Friendship and conversation and meeting new people is primary.  
Shallow Tuesday comes, of course, from “Fat Tuesday” (Mardi Gras) but Shallow Tuesday is to be anything but fancy and extravagant like Mardi Gras and is to come every Tuesday rather than once a year.  
Also, last night I learned something more about it from Lynn -- Lynn got the idea for “Shallow Tuesday” from the Beach Boys -- from “I Get Around” specifically.  
“I'm gettin' bugged driving up and down the same old strip
I gotta find a new place where the kids are hip
“My buddies and me are getting real well known
Yeah, the bad guys know us and they leave us alone” 
Lynn is a music genius, and our ward organist, who was once at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Detroit on a tour answering all the questions for the tour guide, when finally the guide said ”Who is that white guy answering all the questions back there?”  Apparently the questions were designed to be too obscure for anyone, black or white, to answer.  
But what I also think is the best in all this is progressive thinking like Lynn’s and his  zany ability and willingness to express it.  Moving from point “A” to point “B” or “Z” is an amazing thought process and if we could bottle it up, we’d have a treasured commodity sometimes.
If we could get our children to explain themselves when we ask them “Why did you do that?” we’d probably not be as angry with them nearly so often either.  
How we come up with ideas often is as interesting as the ideas themselves.    Lynn Alvord is one of the most interesting guys around and one of the reasons for that is not only does he tell you what he thinks, but how.  I love him for that!  And it was great fun at his house last night.    
And you wouldn’t believe the mixture of people he entertains!  Wild mixture of thought, wild mixture of people.  No wonder Lynn is such an interesting guy.  
Too bad more people don’t realize what makes interesting people interesting and how cues from the Beach Boys can make things lots less tedious.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To Each His Own and Then Some

A guy, probably in his twenties, was striding about Copperton Park the other day, young, cute family in tow, wearing shorts, and sporting an ankle bracelet of the sort that keeps the law aware of your business, if you get my drift.  
He didn’t seem to mind the throng of people, young and old, that was about, nor did he seem to to be concerned that all probably knew the significance of his adornment.  It was exactly as pictured above.  
I’m not certain why the the local constabulari is interested in him, but it really looked like he was taking great pride in whatever it was he’d done.  He was talking loudly, strutting a lot, laughing with gusto and making sure that everyone was aware that he and his little daughters and wife, who was carrying another infant daughter, were there.  It was really kind of embarrassing.  
Isn’t this kind of a reversal on what most people would do? But I guess if you can’t be a big deal doing what you should do, you can be a big deal doing what you shouldn’t.  If most people don’t care that you’re doing what you should, make a big deal that there at least are those who care that you don’t do what you should.  It’s a different concept but one that might work for some.
Or is it just that stupid people are taking a cue from Lindsay Lohan and see such jewelry as a real fashion statement of the future?

Monday, July 19, 2010


Just occurred to me this hot July day upon seeing a very pregnant woman toiling through the day, what might explain Ben’s very appealing quirkiness; that is, of course, if he has any.  He is close to perfect.
It happened back in the day when central air was not universal and we lived in a third floor walk-up in Chicago.  Not in the burbs, mind you, but Chicago itself and just a few blocks from the Lake.  Steamy ole Lake Michigan.  
It was a hot and sweaty summer.  I was seven months pregnant with Brad and all we had was a crappy little window air conditioner unit, and I was so tired I thought my entire body was going to go into spasmodic sleep requirement mid-step.  So I laid on the couch, face and arms tucked into the corner between the back and cushions so Ben could use me as a Jungle Gym if he wanted without much damage. My back only was exposed.  Just a few minutes sleep.  That’s all I wanted.  What could Ben do?  He was only eighteen months old.  
I dozed a few minutes then awoke to the most excruciating pain of my life.  Ben would not be ignored.  He must have tried, but could not make other inroads, so he had bitten me directly on my trapezius muscle -- and crazy hard.  He had never bitten me before nor since, but definitely did enough damage for a lifetime.
I couldn’t lift him for weeks.  The poor child longed to be picked up, little arms reaching up, but try as I might, I couldn’t budge his skinniness an inch off the floor because it hurt like a son-of-a-gun, and I didn’t have an ounce of strength, days and weeks on end.   
It was his fault, yet who could blame him and who could explain it to him?  I felt so terrible.  
I’m sure he developed a syndrome from that.  Some syndrome some heartless psychologist has named.  Something akin to "Abandonment Syndrome" but worse like "Failure to be Lifted?"  Do all mothers feel such guilt?
Then to make matters worse, I left for five days.  I went to the hospital, of course, but what did he know?  And then what happened?  I reappeared doing what?  CARRYING his brother, Brad, whom we kept, adding insult to injury.  
So on behalf of me, his mother,  please find Ben's neuroses, if you think you detect any, charming.  I do.  It's my only recourse.