Thursday, November 29, 2012


So I'm in Vegas for the day where I am (among other things) visiting my brother (the one who wears a dress) (see Trib column from a few weeks ago).  I took a little walk in the warm winter air and looked at the oleander shrubs, which triggered a memory.  I think I must have been about nine--at any rate, it was the first time our family drove to California.  Once we hit Vegas TRQ pointed out the oleander which was in full bloom.

"Those flowers are poisonous," she said.  "Don't eat them."

So I spent a fair amount of time in the backseat of our car, worrying about beautiful poisonous flowers.  What if I forgot my mother's warning and ate them by accident?  Or what if I didn't forget, but somebody slipped some oleander flowers in my food?   Would I even notice?  That I was eating flowers?  And why did God make poisonous flowers anyway?  Snakes and spiders were one thing.  But flowers?

Here was the scariest thought, though.  What if I WANTED to eat oleander flowers, just to see if they really WERE poisonous?  Because guess what.  I have a whole huge history of doing things specifically because people told me NOT to.   I am serious about this.  I once stopped at a grocery store and bought some grapes, which I didn't want, simply because there were people out front protesting with signs that said DON'T buy the grapes here.  (And you should know I am usually on the side of labor in these kinds of disputes.)

So far I've resisted about the flowers.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Diary

Here's another great entry written a few weeks after my thirteenth birthday:  "The last time I wrote [in this diary] I was twelve.  Now I am a teenager and confused."

I am here to bear witness that the confusion has NOT gone away.

Monday, November 26, 2012

When writers read

Do you ever have this experience?

Because I'll be working at the store during the month of December, I've been trying to catch up on newer titles and wow.  The experience has left me kinda depressed.  I KNOW.  I GOTTA STOP WRITING ABOUT BEING DEPRESSED--because actually I'm fine.  But here's why I say this about the reading part.

I get depressed half of the time because I think, "If THIS got published, why aren't all those manuscripts I have circulating right now getting published?!!!!!!!!"  (Feel free to insert more exclamation points here.)

The other half of the time I get depressed because I think, "I'll never be as good as this."  (Feel free to lie down and just say "uncle" right now.)   It all depends on the book, don't you know.

But on the bright side, it's been fun to discover I still enjoy books for young readers.  I was beginning to think that just wasn't the case anymore.  So YAY for that, I say!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flowers for Algernon

You remember that story, right?  The one that got turned into the movie Charley.  Not the Mormon Charley.  The Cliff Robertson Charley.

Anyway, in that story a man who's intellectually challenged gets an operation and turns all smart.  But then the smartness fades away, which caused you and your friend Gigi Ballif to sit in the movie theater as seventh graders and sob and sob and sob.

I feel a little like Charley right now.  On the brain front, for sure.  But also on the eye front.  This time last year I had cataracts removed and telescopic lenses inserted.  And I will never forget the feeling of opening my eyes first thing in the morning and SEEING MY CLOCK.  I haven't done this since, oh, the fourth grade.  But suddenly my vision isn't as good as it was.  I have that floater/possible retina thing going on in the right eye and the left eye is kind of filmy.

I can still see OBV.  And I can definitely see well enough, something I am very very very grateful for.  But after having a brief taste of seeing awesomely I am . . . a little disappointed.

Oh.  Well.

Monday, November 19, 2012

When the lack of the letter "t" makes something even more hysterical

Clever reader and good friend Radagast noted that I left out a crucial "t" in the post below.  Can you see where?  (Although I find the lack of this particular "t" makes me pretty happy!)

Well now HERE'S a surprising thing I found in my diary when I was reading it last night

I'm referring to the diary I kept when I was 12.  Apparently my parents were on the road, which prompted this outburst:  "I wish Mom was here.  I need to talk to her.  All his sex business is getting me down."

Okay, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I WAS REFERRING TO when I wrote that.  Trust me.  I was NOT precocious on this front.  I think I was still mostly riding my bike around the neighborhood, pretending it was horse.  Here's the advice my adult English teacher self would give to my (apparently) distraught 12 year-old self:  "This is too vague and also 'awk.'  Details, Sweetheart.  Details."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why little boys crack me up

The Sunbeam teachers didn't show up for Primary today, so the president, Steph, and I took the class of 3-4 year olds, and improvised.

One of the things we did was to sing "Once There Was a Snowman."  You know how it goes . . .

Once there was a snowman, snowman, snowman,
Once there was a snowman--tall, tall, tall!
In the sun he melted, melted, melted,
In the sun he melted--small, small, small!

Awesome!  I can hear you singing from here!  Anyway, half-way through one of the "melteds," two little boys in the class started singing, "In the sun he mel-POOED, mel-POOED, mel-POOED."  And then they collapsed in helpless laughter.

And seriously?   I wanted to, too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In the company of very old women

When I was little I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and her sisters Bea and Blanche.

Bea and Blanche were Reverse Doppelgangers, photo negatives, opposites.  Bea was always a HEY-THE-GLASS-IS-HALF-FULL-AND-IMA-GONNA-DRINK-IT-AFTER-WHICH-IMA-GONNA-DRINK-YOUR-GLASS-TOO!  And Blanche was all, "Why should I bother to drink a glass that's half-empty?  I'd rather just die of starvation anyway."

Anyway.  For some reason I was talking about these sisters to Kathy this morning on our walk, and I told her about Blanche's reaction when she met Philip (who was a newborn) for the first time.  She looked at him and said, "They come into this world and they go out of this world."  Then she shuffled off to Buffalo.  Wearing a robe.  Because that's the main thing I remember about this conversation.  She was sitting in TRQ's living room wearing a robe even though it was the middle of the day and she didn't live at our house.

Why was she wearing a robe?

Isn't life mysterious?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!

That's some straight-up King Lear for y'all today.

Meanwhile, I tried to post a picture of leafy sidewalks (the winds have been blowing and cracking all morning), but it keeps coming out sideways.  Lisa B!  I need a tutorial!

Anyway, as I was raking leaves I thought about the things I'm grateful for (it's November, you know) that I wanted but didn't get.   Like sisters.  Daughters.  And a bigger yard.

 I always fantasize about having a Tasha Tudor type spread with lovely old-fashioned gardens everywhere.  In the spring I would fill them with daffodils, Lenten roses, hyacinth, tulips, peonies, peonies, peonies, and lily-of-the-valley.  Summer?  Cosmos, daisies, roses, phlox, and red daylilies, of course.  And come fall those gardens would explode with asters and anemones.

But when it comes right down to it, my little garden keeps me busy enough w/o overwhelming me.  That's something to be grateful for, right?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ugh. Facebook.

Seriously, don't you wish the day after an election that facebook had never been invented?
That is all for today.  Meanwhile, keep the St. George suggestions coming!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This is for Jake

. . . because he is kind enough to read my blog regularly.

Jake wrote to ask if I could recommend some St. George awesomeness.  (Emma?  Are you reading this?  I need your help!)  He'd like to know what to see and do (and eat) in St. George because he'll be spending some time there soon, and since I go there often, he figured I would know.

But here's the problem.  When I go to St. George, I don't do anything but eat wings and watch whatever game happens to be in season on TV.  I also sit in a hot tub.  Occasionally I'll go get a hamburger at In-n-Out and rhubarb pie at Croshaw's, but that's about it.  In other words, I slip into a mild coma when I do St. George.

So I need your recommendations here, people.  Restaurants!  Hikes!  Activities!  Help my friend Jake, okay?