Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Now that's a sentence (or two)

Do you ever run across a sentence or a passage that makes you sit up in your seat and go damn! I wish I'd written that!

That's how I felt tonight at the bookstore when I read a New York Times Book Review piece written by Stephen King about a new novel called THE LEFTOVERS. The novel, which I haven't read, is set in a post-Rapture world, which gave rise to this riff by King: "For those of you who wasted the spring of 2011 following less substantive stories--tornadoes, nuclear meltdowns, unrest in the Mideast, the further adventures of Snooki--[Harold] Camping is a preacher with an apocalyptic worldview, moderately hilarious dentures and strong ideas about the biblical prophecy known as the rapture."

The phrase "moderately hilarious dentures"? It is genius, people.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Park sightings

This morning while I was running, I saw a man I often see--a short, square (actually stocky is a better word) Latino man wearing a pair of tight jeans, a zip-up windbreaker and an adjustable golf hat which seems like a sensible outfit if you're going to a football game in November. But here's the deal, this guy runs in that outfit. And he doesn't just run. Dude totally books it. Like, he has little clouds of speediness trailing him as he roars around the park. He's my favorite sighting.

Of course it must be said that I've turned into a sighting, too, because sometimes I rip off my shoes and run barefoot. I know. This information makes some people want to throw up in their mouths a little. Running barefoot? In a public park? But you guys, it feels awesome.

It feels like being a kid again.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Falling trees and other hazards

Dylan was going into the second grade when we moved to Tuxedo Park, New York, a place populated with huge trees and old stone houses. I mention the part about huge trees and old stone houses, because both of them figure into this little story.

I was inside our OLD STONE HOUSE (see? I told you) when Dylan rushed inside to say A HUGE TREE had almost fallen on top of him. I kind of said yeah, yeah, yeah. That's what huge trees do--they just jump out of the ground and purposely fall on second graders who CLEARLY FEEL LIKE THEY'RE NOT GETTING ATTENTION FROM FRAZZLED MOMS WHO JUST UNPACKED A BIG OLD U-HAUL AFTER DRIVING ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITH FIVE KIDS AND THREE DOGS.

So I ignored him and went about my business, and later when I went outside, I realized I couldn't back out of the driveway because there was a 100-foot tree that had fallen (TIMBER!) across the road and landed squarely on our property. Where, apparently, my little boy had been standing, all slack-jawed with amazement.

That's why I was interested in a picture he and Julie sent me after Hurricane Irene. Guess what fell down near their house?

I know. My son the Tree Magnet.

Friday, August 26, 2011

And now for another column


Weight Watchers

So Phil and I have been going to Weight Watchers. He wants to lose some, and while I would also like to lose some, I mostly don't want to gain some. Psychologically I'm in that place right now where I just want to go BRING ME A TROUGH OF MEXICAN FOOD RIGHT NOW SO I CAN PLANT MY FACE IN IT AND EAT UNTIL I'M DEAD.

You know how it goes.

Anyway. We had weigh-in this morning, and I was worried I would be over my limit, which means I'd have to pay money--even if I was like an ounce and a small breath of air over my target weight. So before I left the house, I honestly took off all the clothes I could w/o being absolutely nude. I tried to be as lean as possible. Like, I would have cut all my hair off and pulled out some molars and amputated a limb, too, if I'd had time. Also, I didn't eat or drink anything, even though I ran four miles before weigh-in, which meant I was so weak I had to crawl through the Weight Watchers door on my belly. Like G.I. Joe.

But! It worked! I was RIGHT ON THE FREAKING MONEY. So yeah. I'm glad I didn't cut a leg off this morning. That would have sucked.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yeah, I'm old like that

You know how old people always go, "Well, back in MY day"? I had that kind of moment when Al was out here visiting this summer. We were talking about how the Obama campaign has decided to go after Romney by making him look weird (I heard this on MSNBC so it must true, okay?). Specifically, they're gonna bring up the fact that the Romneys used to put the dog carrier (with the dog inside) on top of the family car whenever they went on trips. (Discuss amongst yourselves--on a Weirdness Scale from 1-10, how weird is this really? I will say when I was a kid I would have much rather been in a dog carrier on top of the car then in the back seat with my brother, John, who put his scary bare feet all over me for torture purposes.)

Anyway. Al and I--animal lovers both--discussed how some people are a leetle crazy when it comes to their pets. Then I went on to say and YEAH, some people are also a leetle crazy when it comes to their kids, too. Like, they don't let their kids go outside unless they're wearing goggles and helmets and have 911 on speed dial and so forth. What's wrong with parents these days?

What I didn't notice is that I was the only one having this conversation. Finally, Al said, something like oh RIGHT, Mom, it's a really bad idea for parents to protect their children, isn't it?

Okay. Point well-taken.

Meanwhile, Al and his adorable wife Randi write a very funny blogthemselves. I especially love the Skymall post, and I sprayed Dr. Pepper through my nose when I read about "Wunchiesville."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wherein I prove that I'm really kind of a crappy person at heart

So I often give money to panhandlers even though they say you shouldn't because really. Why not? It ain't much and it's not my business what they do with it.

Anyway. As I was driving out of the Smith's Parking Lot today I saw a guy standing there at the entrance, so I got out a dollar. But when I got closer I noticed he was wearing a Utah Utes hat. And suddenly I went never mind.

It's almost fall, people. Fall as in football. Old memories die hard.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And so we say good-bye to Q

Well, it's certainly been a time of transition at la Casa de Cannon. Everyone is moving on. Today I followed Quinton up to Logan to help him move in, which is where our story begins.

When we arrived, I realized Q had basically tossed stuff into his car rather than into boxes or suitcases. He just had a car full of posters and clothes and incense and bike crap all jumbled up like a big old freshman boy tossed salad. And so I went, "Q! WHAT? Didn't you know this is why boxes were invented? So tired moms with no stomach muscles due to giving birth repeatedly don't have to walk up four flights of boy dorm stairs 1,000 times instead of just 5 or 6 times?"

But also I was having this thought: where THE HELL was that boy's mother when he needed her? For sure she wasn't overseeing the packing part. And why was that? Because in many ways Q. has been an adult from Day One. Like, I'm pretty sure he had facial hair when he was born. As a result, sometimes I've just forgotten that he's only 18. Eighteen and fabulous. Even if he doesn't know about boxes.

Man, I am gonna miss him.

Monday, August 22, 2011


So I had two unexpected reactions to my funeral music column. The first one was from my bishop, a wonderful man who's a therapist by trade. Anyway, he wanted to know if I'm doing . . . okay. And I said yes, because the truth is I'm thinking a lot less about death and so forth than I used to. The second one was from my neighbor Kathy who is now anxiously worrying about writing her talk for my funeral.

Anyway. Sorry! I didn't mean to throw my bishop and Kathy for a loop. They don't need loops! That's why I won't turn this blog post into a column anytime soon.

Okay, so my brother is a surgeon, right? And the good thing about having surgeons in the family is that they can hook you up with other surgeons when you fall down and break your wrist. And the other good thing is that they're always good for a useful graphic medical metaphor. For example, my brother, who is a buoyant, natural born optimist, has been known to say in mordant moments, "Well, one way or the other, all bleeding eventually stops."

I find this sentiment oddly comforting. In fact, I think we should all cross-stitch it on little pillows. It's a reminder that there's an end to things--pain, problems, disappointments, crap situations, whatever. And here's the good news, most of the time you're still alive once the bleeding, in fact, stops. I think this is awesome. Don't you agree?

(You can see, however, why I might not turn this into a column right away.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just another column

I don't know. Sometimes I wonder if my columns are getting a little too melancholy. The experience of writing them for me personally is always more satisfying if I write about what's truly on my mind. Anyway.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

When KBYU comes a-callin' . . .

and asks if you'll do an interview with Marcus Smith on "Thinking Aloud," of course you say oui!

I spent the morning with the delightful Mark Pulham (teacher, storyteller, librarian extraordinaire) discussing the subject of boys and books and how to get the two to go out on a date now and then. The program airs today at 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Thanks for your responses, guys, (and, Radagast, thanks for the question that took us all down this road).

I came to the whole blogging thing kind of late, actually--which is my usual m.o. when technology is involved. In fact, Lisa B. was the one who inspired me to start one of my own. And I'm glad I did. I use my blog as a sketchbook--capturing ideas and impressions as they flit past my brain. Occasionally I've taken these posts and turned them into columns. Mostly it's just been fun to get stuff down and to hear your responses.

Here's what else I've enjoyed--visiting YOUR blogs. I feel like we're engaging in "morning talk"--the kind of funny, chatty, intimate, nothing's-off-limits conversations you have when you're out walking with a best friend at the crack of dawn. A blog is a natural venue for this kind of fresh,off-the-cuff writing, right?

I do think fb and Twitter have siphoned off some of the energy that has gone into blogging. And who knows? Maybe in ten years blogs will have disappeared from our popular cultural landscape, not unlike eight-track tapes. I hope not, though. Truly.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wherein Radagast asks a question and I contemplate

Over at htms Radagast asked if blogging is dead yet. Then he asked us to discuss amongst ourselves.

I would like to hear your thoughts, observations, whatever on the matter first while I consider . . .

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to induce immediate self-loathing

Open up a large package of Funyuns and eat every last one of them. By yourself.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

le voila

Well, look at this! The second week in a row!

Click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August Writing Goals

But first a word. Two words. Thank you. Thank you for your nice comments about the column. Y'all gave me a lift, and I appreciate that. The column runs on Saturdays, so I'll (try to remember) to post on that day.

And now! GOALS! I lay on my bed this morning trying to figure out my day and I had this realization. The rest of my August is C.R.A.Z.Y. Now I am a big, large advocate of writing no matter how nuts your life is because life is always nuts. On the other hand, I think my goals this month should reflect the choppy weeks and the ins and outs of family and guests. So with this in mind, here are my goals, which are more modest than they would have been had I posted yesterday.

1. Write 250 words M-F on the mystery.
2. Get the column in every week.
3. Bang out one or possibly two picture book manuscripts. Definitely one.
4. Desultorily (now THERE'S an adverb you don't see every day!) outline the YA mystery with plans (and hopes!) to get really busy on the thing in September.

Time to put my feet up now, after that perspiration-inducing goal-setting session.

Monday, August 8, 2011

As per Emily's request!


Click here.

Writing goals: a tiny retrospective

These were my writing goals for the month of July.

1. Write one picture book rough draft every week.
2. Write at least 250 words daily on the mystery M-F.
3. Free-write (bad) poetry as a way to access possible YA mystery M-F. (Sounds weird, but I do have a plan here.)
4. Write a query letter for a magazine article.
5. Write the column once a week.

Here's my assessment of how I did.

1. I have three picture book rough (really, really rough) drafts.
2. I didn't write 250 words daily on the mystery M-F, although I did, in fact, write that much more often than not.
3. Yeah, that was a good idea. Too bad I didn't do it.
4. I wrote that query! I gotta find it, though.
5. I did write the column!

Speaking of the column, I have some little frustrations, which I list below.

1. For whatever reasons, the Trib hasn't been very good about posting my most recent columns online in the place where most people would look for them (i.e., under my name). This has been a source of frustration to both me and my fab editor, Lisa. Hopefully, we've gotten this ironed out.
2. Ken spent a day down in Provo with a group of newspaper-reading people who told him how sad they are that I don't write a column anymore. They were surprised to hear about the Trib thing. I knew I was taking a risk of losing readers when I made the switch, but that was kind of discouraging news because these folks had been long-time readers.

But. Oh well.

On to goals for August. Which I will post tomorrow.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Home again

I hope I didn't snore on the airplane.

We picked up

Julie at the airport last night, and now we're all set to finish the last leg of our journey into Greenville.

Meanwhile, I passed up an opportunity to try a maple syrup/bacon/mocha milkshake. And I cannot remember a time when I have felt more truly disappointed in myself. AND I CALL MYSELF A BACON LOVER. So, I am making Dylan drive pst the diner this morning in hopes that it will be open, and I can buy one for the road.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

And now we're even

Because Dylan snored last night. So we're even on that front.

But meanwhile I must say he is one of the world's greatest guys--funny, kind-hearted, thoughtful, a natural born story-teller. So now we're even on the compliment front, too.

Thanks, D., for an awesome trip.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And here's what the swimming pool sign said

So there was a sign on the pool gate at our motel in Missouri that said NO GASOLINE ALLOWED IN POOL AREA. Which I found disturbing, because I didn't understand. At all.

Hello! I know they do things differently in this part of the country, like deep-fat fry Thanksgiving turkeys out in the garage, for instance. And I am very accepting of regional differences such as Thanksgiving turkeys you fry in your garage. In fact, I embrace these kinds of differences, even if people accidentally blow up their garages and so forth, because I am way, way tolerant.

BUT. Gasoline at swimming pools? WHAT? Apparently it's a problem, though, because I saw the sign right there and everything this morning. Except as I got a little closer, I realized the sign actually said NO GLASSWARE ALLOWED IN POOL AREA.

So. Never mind. Obviously.

And this is what Dylan says about me

That I snore.

I find this v. disturbing information, because it does NOT coincide with my view about myself, i.e. that I am a non-snorer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And this is what we ate and drank today

1. Bits of the 1 pound dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe's that Jamie left in my box at TKE (thanks, Jamie!)
2. Sesame nut mix
3. Three Muskateers bar
4. Caramel Milky Way bar
5. Potato chips
6. Frosties from Wendy's
7. Can you see why I gain a lot of weight on road trips?
8. Chicken nuggets from Wendy's
9. A lot of Dr. Peppers

AND an awesome Thai meal at the Blue Orchid in Lincoln, NB. Dylan met up with an old page friend who took us to the Blue Orchid, and the people it was fabulous. Then we drove past Ken's old home on Orchard Street and took pictures.