Friday, August 29, 2014

Update on the nose horn

Remember the nose horn?  The one the doctor removed and then said everything looked fine?

Well, the biopsy came back and the "nose horn" was, in fact, a "squamous cancer thing."  The nurse told me this over the phone yesterday.

ME:  Does this mean I have nose cancer?


ME:  Will you guys have to chop off my nose?


ME:  What do I have to do then?

NURSE:  Put Carac on your nose every day for four weeks and then come see us again.

ME:  Socially or professionally?

NURSE:  What is wrong with you?

I'm kidding about those last two lines of dialogue.  But the Carac part was true, so I picked it up from the pharmacy last night and (for the first time in my life) read the directions and also the side effects part, which WHY?  If you have to use something, you have to use something, so why even inform yourself about the side effects?    Especially when the side effects include "temporary hair loss" or "abnormal taste in the mouth."

What is this, I said to Ken Cannon.  Chemo in a tube?

Anyway.  This is not a big deal.  But it makes for a good blog post, right?

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Gah.  I suck at it.

Like, right now I just texted my son and called him "honey," because I always use charming little endearments with my sons.  But somehow it came out "honeypot," and I didn't correct it before it went out over the airwaves.  Or wherever it is that texts go.

And somehow while calling a son "honey" seems ok, calling one a "honeypot" just seems weird.

Why am I texting at all, you ask?

To avoid writing.

I always feel this overwhelming--even crushing--anxiety when I sit down to write.  One I get started I am OK.  Sometimes.  But this anxiety thing is bad right now.  It makes me wonder if there are any writers out there who just enjoy the whole act of writing.  I think my friend Mette Harrison does.  I'm sure there are others.

I just wish this was easier somehow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

School Daze

Let me start off this post by saying that today's young parents are awesome.  Because they are.  And also because I don't want to hear Alec roll his eyeballs when I say what I'm going to say.

Anyway.  School has started up again, so when Ken Cannon and I walk the dogs we see kids with backpacks on their way to class.  We also see their parents.  Lots and LOTS of parents.  And that's a good thing, I know.  They're concerned about safety and they want time to connect with their children.

But I can't help but think every time I see kids with so many adults that I'm glad I grew up when I did, i.e. back in the Stone Age when mothers shoved you out of the cave and then locked the cave door until dinner when you came home again.  Kids had a whole lot of space to structure their own worlds with their own secret languages and landscapes and dramas.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Well, I'm still sad about this one

You can read all about it in this week's column.

But don't worry.  I think I've found someone who can fix my mess.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Don't bother

Magic in the Moonlight, the newest Woody Allen thing, just isn't that (wait for it!) magical.


But whatever.

It's nice to look at but fatally devoid of charm.  And there's the surprise.  How can a movie with that cast be so charm-less?  It was just all unattractive personalities in lovely period costumes having boring out-of-place Woody-Allen-type-existential conversations.  Life.  Death.  Meaning.  Not meaning.  Blah blah blah.  Yadda yadda yadda.

 And when Colin Firth's character begins praying out loud for the speedy recovery of his aunt, I cringed.  And not in the way Woody Allen would have wanted me to cringe.  I felt like I was listening to that embarrassing assembly I wrote in the 7th grade called The Time Machine where 7th graders travelled back in time and visited Stone Age people who were dancing to music by The Troggs.

But that's another story.  And Woody Allen isn't in the seventh grade, although the film might have been more fun if dancing to the The Troggs had been involved.

I'm also wondering if part of my reaction has been colored by the reappearing specter of Allen's apparent fondness for young girls.  If I'd liked this movie--because I did like Midnight in Paris--I would have given the fact that Colin Firth (my age) and Emma Stone (my kids' age) fall in love a pass.

But in this unlikeable movie, it just seemed creepy.

I'd be interested in your thoughts.  It's truly a-ok for you to disagree with me.  If you liked the film, you could point out its virtues to me.  I like having virtuous thoughts.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gray hair, don't care

None of the women in my family have gone gray.

Not on my dad's side.  Not on my mom's side.  My Aunt Ruby, who's in her 90s now, still has flaming red hair (appropriately enough).  And the last words my grandmother ever spoke in this world were "Pat, I need a tint tomorrow."

TRQ, a frustrated hair artist, started coloring my hair when I was eleven.  I KNOW.  She just put some blond streaks in there while we watched TV.  Stuff like that.  Because it was fun.  And as I got older I started messing with my hair color, too.  Sometimes I was a brunette.  Sometimes I was all Nordic looking.  Sometimes I did henna.  Once I had hair that turned purple and when a photographer at Olan Mills complimented me on the color, I confessed it wasn't natural.

"Please," he said.  "No one has hair the color of eggplant in real life."

Anyway.  It was just an unspoken rule that you don't go gray.  Gray is for women who've given up.

Which I kinda did this past year.  I didn't mean to, but somehow I just kept putting off appointments--partly because of the cost and partly because I didn't want to sit still while Vikki put tin foil in my hair so that the FBI and CIA will finally stop MESSING WITH MY BRAIN.

And then one day I looked in the mirror and I saw that I was graying and I kinda liked it.  And oddly so did Ken Cannon and the other males here.  And so . . . I'm experimenting.  And TRQ needs therapy over the issue, although she's trying hard to adapt to the idea.  I can hear her thoughts, though.  She's thinking Next thing you know she'll have a braid to her waist and wear sad little Birkenstock sandals, and she'll be throwing unattractive earthy little pots and giving them to us all for Christmas.

Anyway.  If you made it to the end of this post, do you think this is a subject for a Trib column?  Or is it way too slight?  Because you know how I am week after week.  Deep.

Sound off.  Be honest.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An unexpected pleasure just now in the strangest of settings . . .

So I just returned from the doctor's office where I had this thing taken off the end of my nose that has been growing unattractively there for awhile.  The doctor kept referring to it as "a horn," which did not make me feel any better about my appearance.  How would you feel if you'd been wandering around Salt Lake with a horn growing out of the end of your nose?

ANSWER:  Not cute.

Anyway, while I was sitting in the waiting room, I heard a man say to his wife, "corn and tomatoes and peaches."   So naturally I was interested.  In fact, he had me at "corn."  Which rhymes with "horn."  Which I was growing until the doctor removed it.

I looked over at him and realized he was reading the Trib.  A column in the Trib.  MY column in the Trib.  He was reading it to his wife and I was sitting right there and they didn't even know it because no doubt the nasal horn rendered me temporarily unrecognizable.

But here's the thing.  They were smiling.

Not a big deal, really.  But it pleased me.

This week's column . . . 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughts on having a kid come home from a mission

WARNING:  I have a feeling the following list could be long, boring and of limited appeal.  But I want to get stuff down before I forget.  Because five minutes from now I will have forgotten everything.  Such is middle age-ish.

1.  Avoid going to the SLC airport on a Wednesday.  It was a mob scene.  I've never seen so many people waiting for missionaries.

2.  A surefire to feel like a Mormon loser is to not have homemade signs welcoming the missionary home.  I did buy a banner that said WELCOME HOME from Party America.  But everybody made fun of me.

3.  Elder Cannon and all of his clothes smell like mildew.

4.  I can't understand him when he talks to me on the phone even though he is speaking English.

5.  It occurred to me as I was cleaning his room earlier this week that I'm done with another part of my life again.  It's not that I want to send more kids on missions, but this is just another rite of passage.

6.  It also means I'm inching toward death.

7.  Okay.  Forget #6.  It may be true, but I'm not anywhere near as morbid as that sounds.

8.  My heart breaks a little for Q right now.  I know he's happy to be home.  But I think this transition is hard.  Bittersweet, as Lana Barney said.

9.  He called from the airport in Atlanta at 5:00 a.m. yesterday to tell me that he was fine and that he's a vegetarian again.  I'd be disappointed if he weren't.

10. Really, one of the best hugs I have ever received in my entire life was the one he gave me in the airport.  I didn't think I was going to cry.  But I did.

11.  I really should have made him a homemade sign.

12.  On the other hand, at least no one can accuse our family of going over the top like other families there.

13.  Some poor guy at the airport asked me what was up with all the people.  I think he thought Kanye West was in the house.

14.  For once Ken Cannon's tendency to run late caught up with him.  He was still trying to park the car when Q. came down the escalator.

15.  We went to lunch at Rio Grande where all the brothers immediately turned into fourteen year-olds again.  LOUD ones.

16.  I'm sure we didn't leave a big enough tip by way of apology.

17.  I was unprepared for more tears when Q took off his missionary bade at the stake president's house.

18.  Q and I had a "planning session" this morning so he could make up his schedule for the next 10 days.

19.  I am recalling all the other homecomings of the other sons.

20.  I'm so glad he's home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


The mother in me is so happy to see this boy.  The shallow part of me is all WHEN DID MY UPPER ARMS START LOOKING LIKE THAT?!

BROS!  This is that sweet moment before they all started getting on each other's nerves again.

Missionary shoes . . . 

Why yes my grandson IS adorable, thank you very much.

Missionary joke!

Father and child reunion!

Ken Cannon probably trying to boss me around when he didn't know I was taking his picture . . . 


Family shot

Marginally better family shot


Quinton with his once and future roommate Dan.

Oops again.  Although style points for the pink pedal pushers, Bro!  Whoever you are.

Granddaughter's sparkly shoes.  Also!  anklet tattoo!  TRQ will have a fit!

Lunch at Rio Grande where all my boys except the RM turned into fourteen year olds again.


Ken Cannon talks with his hands.  A lot.

Best photo of the day, thanks to Phil.  Thanks, Phil!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Crazy grandmothers

My recent trip to Wyoming inspired this week's column.

I remember a conversation I had with Shannon Hale a long time ago after her sister died.  She told me she hated death--not because she doesn't believe in a hereafter but because the separation is so hard.  I thought of this as I wrote my column and remembered with love those who mean so much to me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A snapshot of my future selfie (and it isn't pretty)

So yeah.  I'm a small-talker with store clerks.  I compliment them on their jewelry and tattoos.  I say something about the weather.  I may comment about the price of things, but only in a positive way.  I like to think this is me making a human connection.


I was just at a hardware store where a cheerful elderly small-talker (she had excellent earrings btw) wouldn't stop small-talking.  Like, those of us standing in line behind her heard the full life story of her garden hose.  How old it was.  Where it came from.  Where it went to college.  How many times it had been married and divorced.  The whole nine yards.  The whole nine thousand freaking yards.

And all I could do was offer a prayer up unto the skies and say, "Oh please don't let that be me one day."

Although now because I said that, I will most assuredly be that woman with the garden hose.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A little road trip with TRQ and the Coach

Here's where we stayed in Pinedale.  We went to see our relation Ava who is in a care facility now.  She's fab.  And she still had enough energy to try to kiss my dad on the lips.  The look of discomfort on his face = priceless.

Did I mention the place is called The Rivera?  It's super cute.  

They're pretty photogenic, don't you agree?  My dad is particularly happy here since he beat my mother at cards.  Twice.

Girl party!

Guy party!  (That's the joke at our house.  My boys think I'm a guy.)

TRQ made me take a picture of this.  I think she called them stackers.  You put hay on them.  Or maybe this is where you hang your chaps out to dry.

Because who doesn't love an antler arch?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Various angels

My friend Kathy has decided to bake cookies for me to take to the residents of the rest home where I read picture books.  Isn't that fabulous?  And she bakes enough so that I can have one or two myself.  Or three.  More fabulousness, right?

So anyway, I went yesterday with a couple of picture books and a big bowl of cookies, and the residents were thrilled.  After we were finished, one of the residents said a prayer (because technically this is a church meeting thing), and this is what she said, "Dear Heavenly Father.  We are SO GRATEFUL for Ann's neighbor.  Please bless her, and also please bless her that she will . . . "

Big long pause.  

I'm pretty sure the resident wanted to say, "Please bless her that she will keep making us cookies."  But apparently that was too naked of a request, so here's how the prayer ended:  "Please bless her that she [Ann's neighbor] will keep being an angel on earth."

So nice.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

When characters become your friends

So I've spent the last few years working on a novel.  Don't know if I'll ever sell it, but I think about the main character, Emi, a lot.  You spend that much time with a person--even a not real person--and it's hard not to wonder what she's up to when she's out of eyeshot.

I often feel this way about my characters.  After I finished writing The Shadow Brothers (a billion years ago) Ken Cannon and I spent some time on the Navajo reservation, and I said to him, "I wonder if Henry will be happy here."  And Ken Cannon said, "Henry?  As in the fictional boy in your fictional story fictionally called The Shadow Brothers?"

He was alarmed, don't you know.

And who can blame him?

Monday, August 4, 2014

This week's column

I used to be really good at trivia.  Like Jeopardy-nerd good (not counting the potent portables category).  But now my talent is languishing . . . all because of The Google.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Series and so forth

Here's a story I did for the Trib this week and series and why kids love them.

I love them, too, actually.  So Lisa B. what's the police procedural series you're reading these days?

And as long as I'm answering questions, Lauren, Boyhood is a good movie.  A date movie?  I don't know.  If you don't mind the f-bomb Chef is very sweet-natured.  Also, food porn is involved.

Friday, August 1, 2014


My friend Amy asked if I wanted to see Boyhood on the day it opened (today) and because I love doing stuff with Amy I said yes.  Also, I just watched Dazed and Confused this week, so why not make it a Richard Linklater festival?  Aw right, aw right, aw right!

Anyway, when Amy and I showed up at the Broadway I went into PURE PANIC MODE when I saw that the film is over three hours long.  People, I do not do ANYTHING that's three hours.  As Ken Cannon is fond of saying while pointing at me, "She has a short attention span."


See what I mean?

So I told Amy I didn't think I could sit through such a long movie.  And she said it was totally cool if I left any time I felt like it.  And I said if we had to leave early, I would buy her another ticket so she could see the rest of the movie.  And she said don't be ridiculous.  She understands the feeling of being trapped, which is why I always a) drive my own car and b) park on the street rather than in underground parking lots.  I'm a freak this way.

Anyhoo--I watched.  Entranced.  I didn't even fake going to the bathroom, which I always do in every single movie I ever watch just so I can get up and move for a few minutes.  I'm kind of in SHOCK over this development, and I have absolutely no idea why Boyhood worked so well for me.

Maybe because it just felt so real somehow?  I don't know.

Please!  Offer your insights and reactions.