Friday, February 28, 2014

As if there weren't enough things to worry about in this world

This morning on our walk, we talked about that eleven year-old girl who shot a mountain lion because that mountain lion was chasing her brother.

Okay.  First.  That brother is lucky his sister liked him enough to take care of business.

And now second and more to the point.  Sometimes I worry about how you're supposed to behave when confronted by various animals that want to eat you.  Specifically, I worry about which animals you're supposed to make eye contact with and which animals you aren't.

For instance, I think you're supposed to get into staring contests with bears and mountain lions.  Looking at them is like saying, Dude.  Don't mess.  IMA GONNA GET YOU.  And then those mountain lions and bears tuck their tails between their hairy legs and scamper off to find their mamas.

Not that bears have tails.

On the other hand, there are animals with whom you are definitely NOT supposed to go ojo a ojo with, because it's seen as a sign of aggression.  Dogs are this way.  So are monkeys.  Or so I've heard.
But what it I forget that piece of 411 when I see a monkey coming my way.  What if I accidentally look at a monkey and then it rips my face off?  You know.  Right there on South Temple Street.

Some days I do nothing but sit on the front porch and worry about Eye Contact in the Animal Kingdom all day long.  Life is just so damn complicated.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Trib Talk

Tomorrow at 12:15 I'll be involved in the Trib's online book group discussion.  I hope you'll join us (it's only 30 minutes).  We'll be discussing two novels by Sara Zarr--What Was Lost and her new Roomies, co-authored with Tara Altebrando.  Sara's earlier Trib Talk is here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scales of (unfortunate) justice

After I wrote that blog post about weighing myself, I thought yeah.  There's a column here.  And after all that ravioli I ate this weekend (stuffed with cheese, pine nuts, and golden raisins then covered with a burnt butter sage sauce) my backside could have its own facebook page.

Two brief encounters

While I was in SF this past weekend, I took a short little jog through Chinatown where I noticed a huge security presence at one of the hotels.  Like HUGE.  Motorcycles.  Black cars.  Guys in jackets and sunglasses.  Not even when we lived in New York did I see something to match this.

Naturally, I was curious, so I stood around to see what happened next and much to my wondering eyes did appear the Dalai Lama.  Hello, Dalai!  So that was one brief encounter.

The second encounter was with a young man who stood next to me.  He seemed pretty average--normal--in every way.  But once he started talking to me, it became pretty clear that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.  And all I could think was this man had been somebody's baby, somebody's little boy once.  That was my second brief encounter.

 And it has stayed with me longer than the first.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I'm trying to decide what this says about me

So like most people (I assume) I have a love/hate relationship with my scales.  Mostly a hate relationship, actually, but whatever.  Every now and then I say to myself, "JUST STOP WEIGHING YOURSELF EVERY MORNING."  But somehow I am compelled to get on the scale every a.m. just to see where that late-night cupcake and bowl of popcorn, followed by a Dr. Pepper chaser, went.

Ken Cannon weighs himself every morning, too, although with considerably less neuroses.  Anyway.  Here's the deal.  Whenever KC weighs himself, he makes sure the needle starts out EXACTLY on the Zero.  When I weigh myself, I . . . fudge.  I don't exactly set the needle in negative numbers territory (yes!  I just used some algebra right there!), but I like to be on the slim side of zero.

Just like I apparently like to be on the slim side of truth.

At least when it comes to my weight.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chihuahuas gone wild

In the mood for a story about packs of feral chihuahuas?  Then today is your lucky day.  I found this story in the Daily Mail, an online "newspaper" that sets all kinds of records for journalistic lows.  But yeah.  I check in with it every day on the outside chance that I'll get to read a story like this.

I sent this link to my brother Jimmy who said that Alfred Hitchcock could make an awesome movie with this material--something along the lines of The Birds, only it would be called The Feral Chihuahuas, natch.

(Also--about the link to the Daily Mail?  You're welcome.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Well, I'm in full voice again

I think that's something Bertie Wooster used to say about his fearsome aunts, wasn't it?  That they were in full voice like a pack of hunting dogs?  Anyway.  I can speak again.  But the funny thing is I got used to not talking and apparently I am not as chatty as usual, according to Ken Cannon on our walk this morning.


I wanted to post the column here.  I've been thinking lately what a shame it is that some books disappear--like the lovely picture book Dora's Box.  So I wrote a piece about it.  I don't feel very satisfied with it, actually, but I guess some columns are just gonna feel like that.

I'd be interested in hearing of a book (in-print or out) that mattered to you.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Voiceless one

It's a fact.  I've lost my voice.

It started slipping away from me yesterday and by last night when we took Q's friend out for burgers, I was reduced to wild gesturing.  Oddly, after watching The Mod Squad yesterday, I watched an old episode of the original Hawaii 5-0 which featured a mute girl who was also reduced to wild gesturing (also violent head shaking and fist pounding), thus making it difficult for friends and family to understand that she'd witnessed A MURDER, in much the same way I had a hard time making Ken Cannon and the waiter understand that I wanted FISH AND CHIPS and NOT my usual Big H with a raw onion.

 Let me tell you, I suddenly had a lot more sympathy for random mute girls on Hawaii 5-0 after last night.

Meanwhile, here are a few of the things I've learned since going mute.

1.  I talk a lot.  A lot more than I thought I did. I always accuse Ken Cannon of living out loud, but apparently I do, too.

2.  I would make a crappy monk--for a lot of reasons, of course, but the vow of silence thing would be a trial for me.

3.  Ken Cannon can carry on a conversation without my help at Hires.  I suspected that, of course, but last night confirmed it.  He and David got along like a house on fire, discussing Chilean slang and Finnish declensions.

I am sure there will be many more stunning Life Lessons during the internment of my vocal chords.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I've got The Sick today.

This is what happens when you start feeling smug.  This is what happens when you start thinking that although every one around you is coughing up a lung, YOU will not get sick because you have such awesome willpower.  You start taking pride in your ability to dodge The Sick Bullet.  You say to yourself (and to anyone else who'll listen) that your non-sickness is the reward for living with too many pets and for not being a particularly fussy housekeeper.  Congratulations, Non-Sick Pro!  YOU HAVE A GREAT IMMUNE SYSTEM!

And that's when the Gods of Sick sit up and take notice.  They smite you with their smiting rods and force you to go to bed and watch daytime TV.

Which isn't all bad.  Watching reruns of the Mod Squad is hugely entertaining, leading one to ask why Linc wears sunglasses all the time, even when he's getting stitches in the ER.

Oh, Linc.  You were the man.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ken Cannon's high school hair

When I handed in this column, Editress Lisa said that now I won't have to give Ken Cannon a valentine.

Monday, February 10, 2014


I liked the rain when I was a kid.

Or maybe I didn't actively like it as much as I didn't mind it.  You know how you are when you're a kid.  Impervious.

But as I grew older, rain became my least favorite weather condition--a personal position that was solidified last summer when I walked across England in the rain through miles and miles of mud and sheep $%#!  (I don't know why I'm so coy about language suddenly.  In real life $%#! is one of my favorite words.)

Anyway, Doni and Cynthia, my walking partners, were in town yesterday and we reminisced about the rain and how Cynthia got stuck in the mud and how we were all afraid of losing shoes and turning into bog bodies and how 1000 years from now, archeologists would find us and ask themselves why people in our era went shoeless in fields covered with sheep $%#!.

But as the three of us stepped out into the rain I couldn't help but think how grateful for it I am right now--for feeding the hills and for cleansing the sky's face.

Lovely, lovely rain.

Friday, February 7, 2014

What I learned this week about writing a column

The main thing I learned is that if you write a column about Christie Brinkley and then post it online with photos of her, you will get a BOATLOAD of page views.  And I do mean a BOATLOAD.  So the takeaway here is that I should figure out how to mention her name every week and also substitute her headshot for mine.


I also learned (again) that people's reactions are hugely varied.  And even surprising.  What surprised me the most were the spirited defenses of Brinkley from other women--how she's so much more than a swimsuit model.  And I agree.  I remember reading an article in Seventeen Magazine about her a million years ago, which talked about how she's an artist who went to a French immersion school, and even then I was impressed with her intelligence and drive.   But it wasn't Brinkley's art that appeared on the cover of People Magazine.  It was herself, Christie Brinkley.  In a swimming suit.  And so I think addressing the subject of appearances and expectations of appearances is fair game.

The other reactions didn't surprise me much.  I knew a lot of people would accuse me of being all sour grapes and other people would tell me to lighten up and other people would tell me I'm a prude.  And they did.  But plenty of people--women mostly over the age of 50--were enormously happy with the column because they find it unbelievable that at even THIS age there's pressure to aspire to a stereotypical notion of beauty.

It's a lot of fun when a column gets this kind of traction.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Entertaining myself

I am forever misreading and mishearing things.  Like I'll see the word "polish" and think it means "Polish" as in the nationality of the late Pope John Paul instead of what you do to your furniture with Lemon Pledge.  Stuff like that.

And I did it again this morning.  I heard Dave Rose on the radio talking about BYU's b-ball team whom I THOUGHT he referred to as a "Brazilian group of guys."  So I started to wonder what that meant.  Are all the guys on the team this year from Brazil?  Or was Coach Rose speaking metaphorically?  And how does "Brazilian" work as a sports metaphor anyway?  I was stumped.  Truly.

And then I realized he'd said they were a "resilient group of guys."  Which makes more sense, right?

But it's so much more fun to think about boys who are Brazilian.  Carry on, Brazilian boys!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I'm a little afraid of myself right now

. . . because I have started taking pictures of my cat.  Lots and lots of pictures.  SEE!  ISN'T MY CAT HIDING IN THE LAUNDRY BASKET ADORABLE?  ISN'T MY CAT SITTING LIKE A VULTURE ON TOP OF THE STAIRCASE ADORABLE?  Pictures like that.

Worse, I want to plaster them all over facebook.  I want to public share all my cat pictures.

Sound off.  Should I be frightened?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I meant to blog yesterday.  I promise I did.  But then I started eating doughnuts and crying and eating doughnuts and crying some more.

Naw.  It wasn't that bad.  But the day managed to slide by w/o me living up to my sacred vow of daily blogging.  See how badly I suffer from Oppositional Defiance Disorder?  I never do what people tell me to do.  Even if it's myself telling me what to do something I actually want to do.

Anyway.  Here's a column I wrote about Christie Brinkley posing in a bathing suit on the cover of People Magazine for her 60th birthday.  In case you haven't seen them, there are also recent pictures of Jane Seymour posing on a beach in a bikini, proving to one and all that you can look like all that when you're 62.

Unless, of course, you hide in your house eating doughnuts all day.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Maybe I need to . . .

make another vow to blog every day.  I wrote more last year and felt better when I was doing that.  But this year I've just been giving into myself--lolling about while NOT writing.  Which sounds fun in theory but feels less fun in real life.

SO!  Get a grip, Ann Cannon!

Meanwhile, here's a link to tomorrow's books piece.