Thursday, May 31, 2012

Algie and Erika

I read this Trib story with a great deal of interest.  Erika and I have been acquaintances since childhood, and I used to see her during the summer when she would visit her grandmother Algie Ballif, one of Provo's grandest grande dames.

Algie was a natural born crusader, a tireless fighter for social justice, the very epitome of a happy warrior. I can't help but think she's cheering her granddaughter on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Random Photo Day Three (and also a meditation on why it's so hard to write in the 21st Century)

Behold!  The new peony Heather put aside for me at Trellis Garden Center!  Holy cow, folks, it's a yellow!  peony!  It's a new beast--part tree peony and part herbaceous peony.  I am thrilled with the
huge-y dahlia-esque flowers.  (If only peonies lasted longer.)

As for the meditation part--it's hard to write in the 21st-century and here's why:  you dutifully open up your computer to write.  But instead you get online and notice that a story called "Miami Cannibal Attack" is currently trending.  Which do you choose?  The pain of writing?   Or the perversity of reading about possible cannibals in Miami?

Yup.  Me, too.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Random Photo Day Two

Since it's Memorial Day, I think this column is particularly appropriate.  I love the picture of my dad here. He looks so young and natty in his uniform, don't you think?  Meanwhile, another gnome . . .

Friday, May 25, 2012

Random Photo Day One

I am going to be uploading photos that have nothing to do with my blog posts, mostly because I want to practice using my camera and then posting them.  AND THEN I WILL BE AS AWESOME AS ALL YOU GUYS.

As you can see I bought another gnome.  I think maybe this is a form of mental illness?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My calendar says . . .

. . . that I have "knitting" tomorrow.  At 11:00.  That's what it says--"Knitting!  11:00!"  But what does that mean?  Did I really commit to knitting tomorrow at 11:00?  But why?  And where am I knitting?  And what am I knitting?  And with whom am I knitting?  PLEASE HELP ME!

Yes!  It's another Cryptic Calendar Message!

(I feel crazy.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The way some mothers say things

I think I've mentioned here before that TRQ, one of the brightest women I know, sometimes processes things sideways.  Like, words go in her ears and then ride the twilt-a-whirl in her brain for awhile, after which they stagger out of her mouth feeling not quite like themselves.  Example.  Once my dad handed her a map and told her to look for a street named "Owensmouth."  And eventually she smacked him on the side of the head with said map and told him there was no street in America, let alone Southern California, named "Oscarsjaw."

Anyway.  I mentioned this to a friend over breakfast yesterday, and she burst out laughing.  "My mom does the exact same thing.  She always refers to the arches in her feet as crotches."

Your assignment today?  Have fun thinking about THAT.  And you're welcome.

Monday, May 21, 2012

All my worlds are disappearing

Because I love vintage toys,  I have enjoyed the doll shows that come through Salt Lake twice a year.  But there are fewer and fewer exhibitors now, and the show this past Saturday was the grimmest affair yet.  I complained to Ken bitterly.  "All my worlds--books, newspapers, magazines--are shrinking."  So you can imagine my DESPAIR!!!!! when I read a report this morning stating that soda sales are going down.

You know what this means, of course.  Eventually I won't be able to find my necessary cans of Dr. Pepper, except out of some speciality crackpot catalog like the Vermont Country Store (from which we bought an awesome aluminum Christmas tree last December).  Already I feel sort of like a smoker who's forced to smoke 25 feet away from public buildings just because I like soda!  with sugar!  Seriously, America, just strap some bells around my neck and shout "unclean" whenever I walk out of 7-11 with a can in hand.   Go ahead.  Heap shame on my head.

 I don't care.  (She says defiantly.  Between sips.)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Oh, that TIME Magazine cover . . .

So here's today's column.  I told Editress Lisa to put the word "breast" or possibly "boob" in the headline, because we'd get more page views that way.  Clearly she ignored my suggestion.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Adventures with my grandbaby

Oh, it has been a BLAST to have this little girl in the house.  We've been busy counting and listening to stories and watching YO GABBA GABBA (wtf?) and putting rocks in a princess purse.  The dogs are as happy as we are to have her here.  They follow her around because (of course) they have figured out that babies who share graham crackers are one of Nature's most reliable food sources.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How things have changed since I had a two year-old myself

I'm babysitting my two year-old granddaughter this week, WHICH HAS BEEN AWESOME.  It's funny how little has changed in the decades since I took care of my own kids . . . and how much things have changed, too.

For example, I never worried much about putting sunscreen on my kids.  I'm sure it was invented by then.  And probably other parents of my generation slathered up their babies, but I never did, probably out of sheer laziness.  But I have been v. good about taking care of my granddaughter on this front, although whenever I pull out the aerosol sunblock, I feel like I'm spray painting a baby.

We call that Grandma Vandalism.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Improv Rules for Living

I mentioned Tina Fey yesterday because I just finished listening to her memoir called BOSSYPANTS, and it both entertained me and depressed me.  Entertained because she is just an awesome writer.  And depressed me because I feel like an infant in both talent and experience next to her.  But whatever.  That's not the point.

The point is this.  Fey talked about how the four rules of improv changed her life and her world view.  And while I was listening to her I thought, "This is brilliant!  She's so right!"  But now, of course, I can only remember the first two rules.  This forgetting thing has been happening to me a lot, lately.  Like the other day I couldn't remember that egg dish with beans I like and order wherever I go, so I kept saying to everybody who was listening, "YOU KNOW THAT EGG AND BEAN DISH I LIKE AND ORDER WHEREVER I GO?  WHAT'S IT CALLED?  HELP ME!  HELP ME!"

(I realized in the middle of the night later on that it's "huevos rancheros."  Which also isn't the point.)

Here are the two rules I remember . . .

1.  SAY "YES."  When you do improv, you have to say yes to the premise your partner hands you in order to keep the thing going.  And in life it's good to say yes to possibilities as well.  I needed to hear this because lately I've been wanting to shut myself away and not engage, because engaging means you're gonna get your heart broken somehow.  But hello!  Look at everything you miss when you behave that way.

1.  SAY "YES AND . . ."  When you do improv, you not only need to say yes to your partner's premise, but you need to bring something to the table, too.  It's all about contributing to the community.

Good stuff, right?

Meanwhile, I'll see if I can remember the other two rules, because they were smart and useful, too.  Also meanwhile, I'm going to go eat some of that egg and bean dish I like and order wherever I go.

Monday, May 14, 2012

In my next life

I'm fond of saying "In my next life I want to be _______________," and then I fill in the blank.  A Solid Gold Dancer.  Tina Fey.  A peony farmer.  Especially a peony farmer.  People, when the peonies are on I am powerless to do anything but bury my nose in a bush full of blossoms.

So yeah.  I want to be a peony farmer in my next go around.  )Please note picture of pink peony from my garden.)

But then I taught a couple of jr. high classes today and I remembered--if I have another life, I'll have to go through the seventh-grade again.  And I never, ever, ever want to do that.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day

Well, here we are . . . the Mother's Day column you helped me write.  Thank you everybody.  And have an awesome weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Biker Guy

Normally I have issues with people on street bikes.  I hate the way they feel like they own the road in their fancy biking clothes--zipping in and out of traffic like sleek, self-satisfied seals.  They act like bikes when it suits them.  They act like cars when it suits them.  And meanwhile they generally manage to leave me seething.

And then this happened.

So there I was waiting at a red light on South Temple when a biker pulled up on my right.  Only he didn't look like the typical lean, muscley-calfed bikers who troll the Aves.  No.  In his dopey jeans and baggy golf shirt, he looked more like those big beefy guys with hairy forearms who used to deliver beer for Bill at 8th Avenue Market.  He was just a big, big man on a little bike.   Also, did I mention Biker Guy wasn't wearing a helmet?

Anyway, Biker Guy didn't just act like he owned the road.  Biker Guy flat-out DOMINATED it, baby.  First thing I know, he's hanging a major left.  In front of me.  In front of the car on my left.  On a red.  Then he totally looked it down Seventh East like he was shattering land speed records out there on the Salt Flats.  He even overtook two serious bikers in their tight little outfits with European logos stamped everywhere.


Okay.  I seriously, seriously get there is nothing good about this scenario.  Biker Idiot Guy is gonna kill himself and possibly someone else one day.  But I have to say I went momentarily slack jaw with a grudging admiration for his audacity, and the only thing I could think to yell at him was rock on, dude.

Rock.  On.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Column help

I may do a column on mothers-in-law as in what makes a good one.  Thoughts, y'all?

Monday, May 7, 2012

And you thought I couldn't post a picture . . .

ECU game.  I thought we were gonna get a bench-clearing.  I LOVE A GOOD BENCH-CLEARING!
Digitalis baby!  Responsible for many a death in English murder mysteries! (Duke gardens btw)
My boy Dylan and his baby, Eloise J. 

Look at this beautiful mama!

ECU stadium.  Almost as nice as Ken Price field.


Turns out this baby doesn't have claustrophobia.  She LOVES rolling underneath a bed.

She's got legs . . .

Little house on the golf course!

Julie's moustache car . . .

Um.  I don't know how to make this one turn right side up.  ARRGH!!!!

In case you're in Greenville with the kids this weekend . . .

Here's what I bought myself at the gas station when I was feeling peckish--a Dr. Pepper, pork rinds, and a MOON PIE!

Dylan, Julie, Eloise, Moi, and Dylan's fellow grad students at Winslow's.  (I had b-b-q and slaw, natch.  Also fried pickles.)

Dylan rocking a bow tie.  His dad would be so proud.
Look here!  B's!  Best b-b-q ever.  Happy to see the sanitation score has risen since the last time I was here.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I'm going visual now!

Well, look at this!  I'm watching baseball with my girl baby Eloise.  Can you get over that smile?

Friday, May 4, 2012


Sitting here, sleepy-eyed, in an airport in Charlotte, waiting to catch another flight to go see my grandbaby and her parents in Greenville.  Can't wait to be with them.

I hope I don't fall asleep again and miss my connection . . .

Thursday, May 3, 2012


This morning on our walk we talked about perfume and how certain scents will evoke such strong, visceral memories.  Whenever I smell YSL Rive Gauche, I think of the six months I lived in London on a semester abroad because that's what I wore.  If I were to catch a whiff of Wellaflex Balsam hair conditioner, I would remember how all the girls my age smelled in high school.  And if I were to smell Elsha I would think of how every guy my age put out clouds of it on prom night.

Such cute goofy boys!

What perfumes trigger your memories?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Let me clarify

. . . that I always love to hear from YOU.  My overwhelmed post a few days ago does not apply to you all.

And in other news!  I passed my colonoscopy!  While I was waiting for the doctor in the "procedure" room, I started asking everybody where they were from, etc. etc. and realized that the super cute nurse is married to my nephew's best friend.  So that was awesome.  Until I realized, of course, she had to look at my bare backside for the better part of an hour.

Dude.  Who wants to look at your husband's best friend's aunt's butt the first time the two of you meet?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If you have had a colonoscopy. . .

can you reassure me that it is, in fact, possible to drink a gallon of this crap I just picked up at the pharmacy?