Thursday, September 27, 2012

And so it begins

The end of a certain part of family history, that is . . .

Today TRQ told me and my sister-in-law Becky over lunch that the nuns' house where we have stayed for years on Capistrano Beach is being sold.  We'll never stay there with our families again.  And the truth is that whoever is buying it will tear it down and build a Kardashian-type home.

The funny thing is that the whole time we were there this summer, I had the strongest feeling that this would likely be our last time in that house together, which made me deeply sad.  Because you know that's how I like to do sad.  Deeply.

As it turned out, we didn't have enough beds, so I spent most of the week sleeping in the courtyard under the stars, listening to surf pound beneath a waxy moon.  I let the all of it--the sounds, the smells, the sights-- settle in my pores so I could remember.

All good things must.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


So last night when I was working at TKE, a mother and her fourth-grade daughter asked if I would help them find books by a local author because the daughter has been assigned to study one of my kind.  Of course I immediately started pulling out books by Shannon Hale and Jessica Day George, but Margaret (bless her) said, "Give her some of your books."

The mother was immediately interested.  An author!   Right here, right now!   The daughter, on the other hand, looked at me like I was possibly trying to scam them both.

I gave them THE CHIHUAHUA CHASE and said it was about chihuahuas being kidnapped in Salt Lake, which suddenly sounded pretty stupid to me, too.  The daughter was unimpressed.  So I gave her CHARLOTTE'S ROSE.  The mother said her daughter loves historical fiction.  I brightened.

"This is like LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE!"  I gushed.

The daughter eyed me.  "I hate LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE," she said.

In the end her mother made her buy CHARLOTTE.  And hopefully she'll like it better than LITTLE HOUSE.  But the whole experience was a good reminder to me that the more enthusiastic adults get when trying to sell a kid on a particular book, the less likely a kid will want to read it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Okay.  If you walk into a store five minutes before closing time and the employees are nice to you, you should know they're only faking it.  I know.  They should be happy for your business.  And yeah.  The Customer is King.  But in their hearts they are secretly wishing you had never been been born, because you are (in all likelihood) preventing them from getting home in time to watch the season premiere of CASTLE.

Last night at the store, Sally and I got a phone call from someone who said HE'D BE RIGHT THERE.  This was at 8:45, which did not make us happy.  What if he showed up after nine?  Would he expect us to still be there?  Should we still be there?  The answer is yeah, we probably would have waited--which is why we were relieved when he showed up minutes before closing time and headed straight for the shelves.  He was a man on a mission.  We wouldn't have to wait around for long, because he knew precisely what he wanted--which turned out to be THE TWO TOWERS by Tolkien.

I recognized the look on his face.  He had discovered LOTR, and he could not wait until morning to resume his adventures in Middle Earth.  The same thing happened to me when I was sixteen on a sunny summer afternoon in southern California.  I picked up THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING and (much to my surprise) tumbled headlong into its pages.

I envied the customer and wished I could be taking that journey for the first time all over again.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Soda: the New Smoking

I may or may not write a column about this.  But I am interested in what a lightning rod soda (i.e. "pop," if you grew up in Utah) consumption has become.   The snarkiest comments I get from readers often involve my Dr. Pepper habit.  Because I drink soda I am, in some people's eyes, an obese white trash loser of flabby moral character who abuses children and destroys rain forests whenever I get the chance.   And it seems like the more progressive a person's politics are, the more likely he or she is to feel this way.  INTERESTINGLY.

And you know what my response to this is?  Pass me another can, honey.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Checking in

I know.  I've been MIA.  I promise to be better this week.  Meanwhile!  Column!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gone Girl

I just read a novel that has gotten a LOT of buzz--GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn.  Co-workers at TKE have liked it, and I raced through 3/4 of the book, completely gone on it.  I was like, you know, a gone girl.  Flynn is a truly accomplished writer and a slick plotter.  But the last 1/4 of the book was so disturbing in its implications and (even) execution, that I started wishing I could rinse my brain out with mouthwash after I finished it.

Has a novel ever affected you that way?  Left you with images you wish you could get rid of?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Column, game, and other things

Well, I woke up with one of those dark clouds like you see in cartoons raining over my head.  So clearly I still care about that damn game more than I thought I did.  I am always amazed at how much power the (wide, wide) world of sports has over moi.

Meanwhile.  Yesterday's column.  I like this one, I think.  I had another idea, but then something about the light this past week triggered a really intense series of memories about that time I was sick.

As I've gotten older, I think about that time from my parents' POV more often.  My dad had a brand new high-pressure job at BYU.  My mom just had a brand new baby.  They had just moved into a new home in a new neighborhood (and you have to understand TRQ often said she'd rather be trampled by wild horses than move to Provo).  And then they made my dad a bishop on campus.

I seriously do not know how they kept it all together.

Okay, I know I said this was going to be about the column, the game, and other things.  But, actually, there are no other things at the moment.  So yes, I did deceive with that title.

Have a good rest of the weekend, everyone.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wait. There's a game this weekend?

Is it possible that Ann Cannon's brain--the brain that used to get her into shouting, swearing and (sometimes) spitting contests at BYU games--has been sucked from her skull by a gang of brain-sucking aliens?  Is that why she's all, there's a game this weekend?

How is it possible that I don't care very much anymore about this rivalry?  Hello.  I was the girl who for years and years and years used to flip off Rice Stadium every time I drove past it in much the same style that Bret and Jermaine flipped off the Australian Embassy in Flight of the Conchords.  I didn't care if my kids were watching md.  In fact, I rewarded them with trips to 7-11 for Slurpees if they did the same.

I know!  I have super awesome mothering skills!

But now?  Wow.  I mean I still hope BYU wins, but I hate what all the conference shifting (which is driven totally by money) has done to this rivalry.  And (actually) to BYU football itself.  I wasn't totally happy when we left the WAC for the MountainWest conference.  But I got used to it.  And at least there was a conference title to play for.  But this independent thing?

It just ain't working for me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Louise Plummer

A college friend once told me she hated that JFK had been assassinated on her birthday.  She could never get through the day (still can't) without seeing (again) that fateful footage out of Dallas replayed on the evening news.

I've never asked her, but maybe Louise feels the same way about 9/11.  And so instead of talking about that terrible tragedy, I'm just going to wish Louise a happy birthday and thank her for being an all around great broad.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, TKE!

The King's English turns 35 today.  I know!  Hard to believe!

I've been associated with the store off and on since the late 80's when Betsy (I think on a whim) said, "Hey, do you want to work for us?"  And I said yes!  Didn't even think twice about it.  It was sort of like that time I (on a whim) asked the manager of the Provo Taco Time if she was hiring, and she said yes, and I said, "Well, okay then.  I'm your girl!" because I thought I could get free tacos that way.  True story!

Anyway.  The first day I went to work, Betsy asked me to make the coffee.  And because I admired Betsy like crazy and I was also a little intimidated by her, I didn't say, "My people have all kinds of desirable skills--we can feed hordes at the drop of a hat, set up and take down for weddings, give talks, handle a glue gun like trained Navy Seals, pick cherries at a Welfare Farm, can salsa, and love our neighbors.  HOWEVER.  Many of us are fairly inexperienced on the coffee-making front."

That's what I should have said.  But I didn't.  Instead, I pulled the I'm-gonna-bluff-my-way-through-this-one card.

So I ran around looking like all busy while secretly trying to intuit my way around a coffee machine.  What's this white cup thing?  I wondered?  And where does the actual coffee part go?  And now that I think about it, where is the actual coffee?

After awhile, I realized Betsy was looking at me with this expression that I can describe as amused horror.

"You don't know how to make coffee, do you," she said finally.  And I confessed.  But I told her that I've always like the way it smells.  Because that counts, don't you know.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ken reminds me

. . . that I'm 56!  Not 57!

(See post below.)

And all I can say is that apparently in my mind 56 is the new 57.

Which reminds me--I think I'll maybe write a column dealing with the good/bad things about your fifties in honor of Jimmy's b-day coming up this weekend.  I'd be happy for you all to share your wisdom.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Here's something I'll probably never do again

. . . besides have another baby.  Although I DID have a dream not long ago wherein I discovered I was pregnant.  And I was all, BUT I'M OLD.  And then I was all, oh well!  Babies are awesome!  And then I was all, why am I talking like a teenager?  I'm 57 and pregnant, for hellsake.

Still, it turned out to be an oddly happy dream.

That, however, is not where I meant for this to go.  I meant to say I'll probably never train for another marathon, which is something I'm doing right now.  I got into St. George, which I did once before.  So I wrote a celebratory column about the fact for the desnews and that very week, I hurt myself and couldn't run in the damn thing.  Possibly I'll hurt myself again now that I've gone public.  We'll see.

The point is that running a marathon is a thing that's been on my Bucket List forever, and I'm grateful I (finally) (at my advanced age) have the opportunity to (possibly) cross it off the old B.L.  But I'm seriously wondering now about people who have done this over and over.  Training takes a lot of time!

And also it hurts.  After I do a long run, I spend the rest of the day feeling like I'm walking around on bloody little stumps, fantasizing about getting a pedicure, only I can't.  Because you know.

I have stumps.  Instead of feet.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Our Granddaddy the Bootlegger

Just got this in an e-mail from my brother Jimmy:  "Lorri and I saw Lawless this weekend. It was a pretty good movie. Interesting. I had relatively recently heard that Grandpa Covey drove moonshine during prohibition. Have you heard that too? I told the boys, and they immediately thought that was cool. Irwin Covey was strongly trending around our house Saturday afternoon."

The answer is "yes," I'd definitely heard about Granddaddy's moonshining days in Wyoming during "pro-hi"  (he pronounced it "pro-high")  while I was growing up.  He didn't have a still himself (our grandmother would have slapped him silly and then slapped him some more) but he did shuttle the "before" (grain) and the "after" (booze) to various locations.  He used to say that one of the still operators always greeted him with, "Thanks for the grain, Skinny.  I got me some hungry chickens here."