Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Going South

First and in fairness I must provide context: I came THIS CLOSE to losing my license as a teenager because practically every time I got into our car there was "an incident." Nothing majorly serious. Just majorly stupid. And expensive. Oh, look! Ann just ran into the back of another parked car! Oh, look! Ann just got another speeding ticket! Oh, look! Ann just broadsided Tom Brown's VW on the way to church!

Still, I'm always a little unprepared for TQR's reaction whenever I drive someplace alone. Like to St. George, for example, where I am right now. As I spoke to my dad on the telephone prior to heading out, I could hear TQR in the background going, "LAVELL! TELL HER SHE WANTS TO GO SOUTH! TELL HER TO LOOK FOR THE SIGNS THAT SAY LAS VEGAS! SOUTH! SOUTH! TELL HER, LAVELL. TELL HER!"

My mother. She just makes me happy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Final judgment

No. Not the one that happens after we die. The one I'm gonna render about last night's Oscars.

About 40 minutes into the program I suddenly had the urge to put my own eyes out so I didn't have to watch anymore. I know it would be smarter to just turn off the TV. But those of you who know me also know I don't know how to turn our new TV off and/or on. So yeah. That's why I always resort to the eyeball thing.

Anyway, I was regretting my decision to announce that I was live-blogging. I just couldn't get into it, so all my comments were pretty lame. I'm impressed I even bothered to put a period at the end of them because I was just so "meh." At least if the show had been truly ghastly, I would have had good material to work with. As it was, all I could do was express genuine happiness that Bret got an oscar, that Chris Rock was energetic, that Emma Stone stole the show, and that Angelina Jolie and her thigh presented like a hot Southern mess.

I might not watch next year. We'll see.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


YOU GUYS! BRET JUST WON AN OSCAR!!!! (Memo to Murray and Jermaine: dudes! Break out the champagne!)

Fave dress

What's your fave dress of the evening? I'm with my daughter-in-law Julie--i think Penelope Cruz's floaty lilac-y blue dress is divine.

Chritopher Plummer

. . . is the definition of arch urbanity. Love him.

Melissa Leo's Bodice

. . . kind of looks like a housecoat. With sequins.

Emma Stone

is totally selling it. And I'm buying. She's pretty adorable.

Many years ago when I was a student at BYU . . .

I worked as a stand-in on THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG in Utah county for about a week. It was a really interesting experience on a lot of fronts. I learned a lot, such as the fact that Tommy Lee Jones was kind of a slob (I used his bathroom once). I also learned that a film editor is at least as responsible for an actor's great film performance as the actor himself/herself is.

Oh I just love

Tina Fey's dress tonight.

Christian Bale

I'm always so surprised when he speaks in his own working class voice. He's kind of breath-taking in the looks department tonight.

Glenn Close

So that movie where she's kind of a he/she is probably fabulous, right? But I don't want to see it . . . it just looks kind of creepy.


There was a Jane Eyre movie this year? I missed that one completely.


I love Jennifer Lopez quoting Edith Head saying a dress should be loose enough to show you're a lady . . .

Meryl Streep

I think she's wearing the same dress (gold! sparkly!) that she did when she won for Sophie's Choice. Only this time she's wearing it backwards, right?

I would totally . . .

go gray if my hair looked as good as the Hugo cinematographer's hair looks.

Thumbs up

Yes. Yes, I did like the pastiche of films with Billy Crystal making cameos--esp. the one with George Clooney. Not as crazy about the singing going on right now, though.

Robin Roberts

. . . is apparently the tallest person in Hollywood.

Wherein I say something about the producer's hair




But wait!

Having just said that about George, I still loved him in THE DESCENDANTS. A lot of people didn't care for that movie, but I really liked it. It's how I always have experienced the islands--sort of shabby and decaying and yet so breathtaking, too. Plus which Hawaiian music always makes me cry. I KNOW. WEIRD.

I feel a little depressed

. . . because I used to love George Clooney so much. But now I find it troubling that it's always a new younger girlfriend. I'm pretty sure he's one dude who won't be signing up for that new fifty and older dating website.

And the Oscars are about to begin

I'm watching Tim Gunn interview Cameron Diaz right now. The show starts in about 25 minutes or so. Meanwhile, I have a sympathetic headache for Jennifer Lopez, who was just featured.

(Definition of sympathetic headache: it's like sympathetic pregnancy or sympathetic embarrassment. A sympathetic headache is where you experience the pain someone should be experiencing for themselves because they always wear their hair pulled back so tight.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Here's something I learned this week

First! The column!

And here's what I learned this week. That person who wrote an article for the NY Times awhile back about how we used to judge people for their sexual choices but not for their food choice? But now how we judge people for their food choices and not for their sexual choices?

It's kind of true, I think. Some readers are e-mailing me because they're concerned about/appalled by about how much fat and sugar I appear to like. I am grateful that they care enough to a) read me and b) write me. I apparently have many cybermothers out there, which is awesome.

Thanks, Cybermoms!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Kids, the Oscars are this Sunday, so you know what THAT means! Yup. Me, live-blogging!

Also, food should be involved but what exactly is Oscar Food? Like, wings and pizza and nachos take care of the Super Bowl thing. And almond Danishes from Backer's Bakery take care of the General Conference thing. But the Oscars? HELP ME! What should I have?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mildly Creepy

Here's what I found in my mailbox yesterday: mail, a used tube of toothpaste, and a used toothbrush.

At first I didn't think too much about it. Obviously there must be a reason why the toothpaste and toothbrush were there. Of course! I'm sure you've all had random oral hygiene props show up in YOUR mailbox, right?

But the more I thought about it, the weirder it seemed. So now I want a good explanation. Spin a scenario for me, please--that's today's writing prompt.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


A few years ago when I was still with the D-News, I wrote a column about Lent, which Mormons don't observe although I wish we did. Anyhoo. I made the observation that I wanted to renounce fear for the season--fear of failing, fear of not having or being enough, fear of living. It was a column that resonated with many D-News readers (so maybe Mormons really should do Lent, after all?), and I received a basketful of lovely e-mails. I also received a funny letter from a reader in Michigan, who has been sending me his Lent plans ever since. Here's the e-mail I received from him yesterday.

Ms. Cannon,

Another year has passed and Lent is fast approaching. Today is Fat Tuesday with tomorrow being Ash Wednesday. As such it's time once again to perform some introspection and see where one might be able to improve one's standing. With this being an election year, I've decided that for Lent I will give up bribing politicians with hookers and booze.

As always, I said good luck with that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Today while I was driving around, I listened to a radio preacher extoll the virtues of spanking. He said that children understand how much it grieves a parent to spank them and also that the very act of spanking causes a child's guilt to be literally and figuratively flushed from his system. The child feels refreshed and renewed after a spanking. And, of course, after spanking comes the hugging part! Which only strengthens the bond between a parent and child.

Okay. I'm not here to talk about parenting/disciplining styles, because I really am a) not an authority and b) I remain open to the idea that there's more than one way to do things. I also believe there's a lot to be said for the personalities involved, as well as the context. So see? This isn't an anti-spanking screed. Not at all!

I'm just trying to remember how I felt as a kid when I got spanked--which wasn't often, because my parents didn't hold with it much. In fact, I probably got smacked more by teachers than I did by my parents. I do remember, however, very specifically how it made me feel. It didn't humble me. It didn't make me see the error of my ways. It didn't make me love the spanker. Or Jesus.

It just made me feel this incredible seething, roiling resentment, and it also made me vow to keep doing the thing I did that got me into trouble in the first place.

So much for that preacher man's sermon.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Barefoot in the Snow

One day during Show and Tell in the second grade, my classmate Dorothy Olsen raised her hand and said she went barefoot in the snow over the weekend. Her silent twin brother, John (who was the tallest second-grader in America) nodded. It was true. They asked their mom if they could play in the snow without their shoes on, and their mom said they could. So they did.

I marveled. Were these not the coolest kids EVER? The idea of running barefoot though the snow just seemed so magical. Like flying. Is Peter Pan in the house?

Anyway. I've never forgotten that Show and Tell moment. And yesterday when I had to nip quick outside to get something but felt too lazy to put on shoes, I decided, after all these years, to run barefoot in the snow myself. Which I did. Just like Dorothy and Tall John all those years ago. And here's what I discovered.

You get cold if you don't have your shoes on.

You're welcome.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Food, Glorious Food!

So today's columnis all about favorite foods and where to find them. I'd like to write a follow-up column with reader recommendations about my list or their own. I'd LOVE it if you'd help a girl out.

Have a good weekend, y'all. Since now I am apparently from the South.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The language of flowers

Ken just e-mailed to ask if I wanted him to order some daffodil bouquets from the American Cancer Society, and I said yes! Of course! Because daffodils are one of my favorite flowers. I love that they're one of the first things to bloom. I love that they bloom in time for my late March birthday. I love that they were one of the few things the deer in Tuxedo Park didn't eat. I love that they're often fragrant. I love that they (at least the King Alfred variety) are so unapologetically, screamingly, in-your-facedly yellow.

And suddenly I'm spending this winter's afternoon thinking about flowers. Here's my list of faves. What does your list look like?

1. Peonies--my hands down favorite. In my next life I want to be a peony farmer, although I will only cultivate those with a heady scent.

2. Roses--my front yard is filled with Fragrant Cloud, which is a coral rose, touched by a sheen of blue.

3. Pansies--I have nothing but respect for this tough cheerful little customer. The orange shades smell best, but a yard full of sky blue pansies is heartbreakingly beautiful.

4. Iris--you see I have a fondness for the traditional, late-spring bloomers. When the air is warm, I want to lie down on the grass, close my eyes, and inhale clouds of iris.

5. Oriental poppies--Becky once said they were the dopiest plants on earth with their big hairy foilage and floppy stems. But who can resist the brilliant papery blooms? They only bloom for about a week. But I think they're worth waiting for.

And, of course, daffodils--soon appearing in a garden close to you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Juliet, Naked

Yeah. Now that I have the word "naked" in the title, I'll probably get hits from pornographers from Latvia. So if that's the case, Welcome Pornographers from Latvia! I'm already enjoying your disappointment!

Anyway, those of you who love the British author Nick Hornby as much as I do will recognize this as the title of his latest novel, which I am just now reading. Finally. And while I'd heard kind of mixed things about it, I'm really enjoying it--possibly because I'm middle-aged and this book is about middle-aged regrets. The thing that makes it so interesting is that Hornby is just so witty and smart and ultimately very kind-hearted about human foibles. He's a man who writes women well, too, and his kids kind of break your heart (think ABOUT A BOY).

It feels good to read something I'm enjoying so much. After getting stalled last month on THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, I feel liberated.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wherein I am intimidated by an elderly woman in a motorized scooter

So yesterday I stopped briefly at Smith's Marketplace to buy some cheese for toasted cheese sandwiches.

But before I continue with my cheese story, I do want to ask a question: when did Valentine's Day become the new Christmas? Everywhere I looked, people were buying bouquets of flowers and little boxes of jewelry and gift cards and suddenly I began to wonder if those conversation hearts I'd bought at the Dollar Store and sent to my kids were enough.

Sorry, Kids! Your mother is a lame-o!

Anyway. As I say, I wanted to buy cheese. Sliced cheese because (yawn) I'm lazy. And also I like it extra sharp. So there I was, fingering a nice package of Tillamook that met all my personal cheese requirements, when suddenly this older woman (with no teeth) kind of assaulted me with her scooter and asked to see my cheese. So I showed her, whereupon she made me reach for another, much larger package of MILD cheese and read OUT LOUD how much that weighed and how much it cost just like my scary third grade teacher, Mrs. Rigby (who clearly was a nun in a former life because she always smacked my knuckles with a ruler) used to make us read story problems. ANYWAY. When I finished reading the relevant cheese data to her, she looked at me and asked with the superiority of someone who's way better at math than you are, "Now which one do YOU think is a better deal?"

Well, it was the cheese I didn't want. Obv. But I bought it anyway, because I don't want the scooter lady's spirit to haunt me in the years ahead.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A question about YA novles

But first, this. I heard from some of you yesterday after my cryptic post. Thank you so much for your kindness. Normally I try not to post when I'm feeling in extremis--except, of course, when I'm pissy, because pissiness ALWAYS=awesome posts--but wow. I just kind of bottomed out over a few issues this weekend.

Feeling much better today, much more hopeful. So please don't worry.

And now onto my question. I am working on a YA set during the 70's. But a friend of mine this weekend, whose opinion I really trust, wonders if YA readers will actually be drawn to that. She wonders if the story should somehow be made contemporary.

I'd appreciate your feedback. Thanks. And also than you again.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I don't normally post on Sundays--trying to keep my weekends at least a little bit internet free--but today I've been thinking about suffering.

Most religious people at some level believe that suffering is good for you--the refiner's fire and all that. But right now I don't see the point. It's just such an enormous waste of everything. Time. Energy. Spirit. It just . . . wears you down.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I don't get it

Well, I like to stay away from discussing politics here. And I am actually much less rigid in my political persuasion than some people might think. In fact, when it comes to social issues, I'm really more Libertarian than anything else. Dude. Live and let live. But after listening to the CPAC speeches this morning, I admit to being way confused. If these guys HATE government so much, why are they all spending so damn much money to be players?

Also, I am sick of seeing female politicians in red power suits. I have almost started to loathe the color red. Thanks for that, female politicians in your red power suits!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lunch yesterday with TQR and her husband, the prince escort

So my parents called and said, hey! Let's have lunch at Little America!

Okay, before I go on, I must say I love to eat at the Little America. because the whole vibe there is just of another time and place. It's all Marriott Hot Shoppe-y--the kind of place where ladies go to eat chicken fried steak after having their hair done and before playing bridge.


We had a nice lunch, even though they started to argue about the fastest way to get from the Orem Public Library to Harmons to Costco. What did I think? They wanted to know. Should you go to the library, Harmons and then Costco? Or should you go to the library, Costco and (finally) Harmons.

I did my best NOT to get involved in this parental fracas because you know how it is when people start arguing about short cuts. There's no convincing the other party that they're wrong. Ken, for example, always likes to take these wild, roundabout ways so he can avoid stop signs. Meanwhile I'm just sitting there in the passenger seat going DUDE! CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT WE HAVE GONE SO FAR AFIELD THAT PEASANTS WITH GOATS HAVE COME OUT OF THEIR HUTS TO WATCH US AVOID STOP SIGNS?

So you see I have shortcut fracases of my own to attend to.

Finally, my dad got up, bummed a pencil off a waitress, and started drawing me a map on the back of a placemat so I could see for myself that he was right. Then he handed the map to me and asked, "Which way you would go?"

Both of my parents looked at me like birds of prey, waiting for my answer, ready to pounce. And there I was, an innocent little field mouse who had innocently accepted their invitation to do lunch at the Little America. So I took that pencil from my dad and said, "Here's what I would do. First, I would go to In n' Out Burger and get a Number Two combo." Then I drew a picture of In n' Out. "Second, I would go visit my friend Doni." Then I drew a picture of Doni's house. "And after that I would go back to Salt Lake because I didn't need to go to Costco or Harmons or the library anyway."

I know. I'm a genius.

Afterwards when my dad left the table for a few minutes my mom told me in confidence that men his age feel threatened when you disagree with them. And later when my mom left, my dad said he knew I agreed with him anyway.

Parents. What are you gonna do with them?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And I should mention

. . . that it's tonight at the downtown (SLC) library at 7:00.

You're welcome.

What I'm doing tonight!

Going to hear Lisa B. read her poetry at the CityArt series, of course!

Some history here. Lisa B. and I have known each other since we were grad students together at BYU a million years ago. When I first met her she was discussing foreign films with loads of passion, and I thought to myself, "Dude! I would like to know that girl!" And lo and behold we became the best of pals. When I first started writing columns for Parent Express, I used to call her and read what I'd written for her seal of approval. Also, whenever we had babies--WHICH WAS OFTEN--we'd show up for each other with casseroles. (Side note: Lisa's casseroles were always better than my casseroles, possibly because fresh mushrooms were involved with hers.) The fact that we're still in each other's lives all these years later is a source of pure joy for me.

I love Lisa's poetry. But that's not why I'm going tonight. I always like to see what Lisa's wearing. Hot damn! That girl has got the sparkle thing going on!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chance encounters

I think I walked into The King's English bookstore for the first time during the mid-80's. I can still remember chatting with Betsy about books, basset hounds, and the Marmalade District where we both lived at the time. A few years later, shortly after CAL CAMERON was published, she asked me to work occasionally in the kids' room, and I have worked (off and on) (also occasionally) ever since.

Who knew what that would lead to.

What did it lead to, you ask? Friendship. Some of the people I love most in this world are there. I was reminded of that again last Friday when the staff threw me a little surprise party to celebrate the fact that SOPHIE'S FISH (due out March 15th) received a starred review from Kirkus.

Thank you, guys. Wearing the star necklace as we speak.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Thing I love about TRQ

She thinks I lead a dangerous life. This morning, for example, when I told her I was going up to the Bear River Bird Refuge today, she went, "Oooooo. Be careful!"

I love that in her imagination she feels like I could get into serious trouble looking through my binoculars at a flock of tundra swans. It makes me feel all badass.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It must be said

. . . that it's a damn good game when these two games get together.

The problem with not being a fan

. . . of either team is that I start cheering for the team I kind of feel sorry for. Like right now I am starting to feel sorry for the Pats. They're winning right now but the Giants are looking like they are gonna kick some New England butt.

It must be said that it's always a good super bowl when these two teams get together.


How is it that a guy with a knee sprain is gonna try to finish up the game? A KNEE SPRAIN, America. I ask you.

Also, Eli looks really cute when he gives those coy sidelong glances when he huddles up.


Man, they have really promoted the hell out of SMASH. Anyone gonna watch?

I wish I waned to. I always love to have some more TV to look forward to. But I'm just not feeling the love. I already know I want the blond one to win anyway, because she's not as skinny as the other one.

Deja Vu

Too bad, so sad, Tom Brady.

Good try, Abarth

But I ain't buyin'.


Geoff and I were just remembering (actually) how charming she was in one of our fave movies--A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. Geoff just reminded me of this line: "What if at a key moment in the game, my uniform burst open--and oops!--my bosoms come flying out. That might draw a crowd, right?" To which Rose O'Donnell replies, "You think there are men in this country who ain't seen your bosoms?"

Super nice

of Madonna to give Ron "World Peace" Artest a shout out there at the end of her performance!

Oh, Betty White

I love you.


Well, the show is shaping up to be about Excess. But nothing could be as bad as last year's show with Fergie. And really it was kind of bad when Bruce Springsteen accidentally goosed himself with his microphone.

I feel like writing Offensive Linemen jokes

Q. What's bigger than one offensive lineman?

A. Two offensive linemen. Obv.

Unfortunate food surprises

It looked like guacamole when I bought it as Smith's marketplace yesterday.
It's green.
It has spice things in it.
It's got the look and feel of a dip.
But when I just scooped it up with my chip and stuffed it into my epically willing face, it doesn't really taste like guacamole.
What is this? Faux Guac? Instant Guac along the lines of Instant Disgusting Potatoes?
I am disappointed beyond words.
I need therapy.
The end.

Dear Chevy Sonic

Trust me. I won't try any of those stunts (sky-diving, kickflip, bungee jumping, making a music video) at home.

Especially not the music video.

Right, Becks

Dear Beckham,

You are hot. And ripped. And you have a buttload of amazing tats. But that H&M commercial was just a little too narcissistic, dude. Seriously.

Hey, Jason Pierre-Paul

Awesome defense!

Also, awesome last name!

I never get

. . . the Go Daddy.Co commercials. What is Go Daddy.Co anyway? An escort service?

Snack Report

If you were watching this game at la Casa de Cannon, you too could be eating wings, tortilla chips, seven layer bean dip, cherry sours, peanut butter m and m's, and vividly vanilla ice cream.

You cannot watch the Super Bowl without wings. Period. End of story.

Oooooo. Nice run, Welker! Even though I hate your team!

Have you ever noticed

. . . that you stay in the room while the commercials are on? And leave for a minute during the game?

Is it possible

that the Giants are actually the best team in the NFL right now? Despite their regular season?

Oh, Eagles. Why couldn't you have gotten your crap together earlier. Why? WHY?

Intentional grounding

Too bad, so sad, Tom Brady!

of audis and vampires

I was hating that commercial. And then when the vampires started exploding in the headlights, I kinda dug it. Reminds me of our old audi. I used to love to slay vampires with that car. When it was working. Which it hardly ever did.


Hey! Everyone is wearing red, white and blue out there! Super patriotic wardrobe decisions. Snaps for that, gentlemen!

Dear Eli Manning

Why don't I think you are as cute as your super cute brother Peyton who looks like my nephew Josh?

I don't love either of these teams. Which team is the lesser of two evils? Can an Eagles ran really cheer for the Giants? And then there's Tom Brady. I've had a hard time with Tom Brady ever since he started letting his super model wife, Gisele Bundchen, play beauty parlor with his hair.

He's tough, though. In spite of the silly hair moments.

Bill Belichik

I would like to take a peek into this guy's closet. How many tatty hoodies is it possible for one middle-aged man to own?


I just had this AWESOME idea! I think I'll live blog the Super Bowl.

Let's start with Kelly Clarkson's rendition of THE STAR SPANGLED. Well played, Kelly! You remembered all the words, you added a few vocal flourishes, but mostly you went with dignity and it suited you, as well as the occasion. Which only makes me more scared than ever to watch Madonna's half-time show.

Ugh. Madonna.

Meanwhile, I did like that Old Navy corporate cowboy commercial. Nice trick at the end there. I didn't have to feel embarrassed for the square-jawed guy standing there on the rocks.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dog for Life

So the lovely writer Anne Bowen and I were talking about dogs, because she has a picture book coming out in the spring that was inspired by her dog River, who died a few months ago. She misses him terribly, because he was, for her, that special dog. The Dog for Life. You know. The one who gets to you the most out of all the fabulous dogs who get to you.

Who was that dog for you? Or cat? Because, yeah, there are Cats for Life, too. In spite of what my son Dylan thinks.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about facebook today, partly because it's going public (you know, public in a different way than it already is) and partly because I have such a love/hate relationship with it.

Here's the love part. I love seeing how friends and family are doing. It's like getting a little snapshot of the inside of their heads. Also, I might not know some things if it weren't for facebook. For instance, I might not have remembered it's Viv's birthday today, even though I love Viv and think about her often.


Here's the hate part. I start looking at it . . . and then I keep on looking and looking and looking and looking, and before you know it, 45 minutes of my life has been sucked out of my soul and into cyberspace. One of my former students complained that now she's on fb, she doesn't read books as much as she used to, which strikes her as semi-tragic.

Ironically, I read this on her facebook wall.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I've started working on a YA mystery I've had in mind for a long time, and people the writing is going sloooooooowly. Everything coming out of my fingers feels so dull, so flat, so unspecial. How can that perfect book in your head be so very imperfect on paper?

This is where writing becomes an act of faith. You gotta believe if you just keep filling up the tower room with straw, you can turn it into gold one day.