Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Column slalom golem volumne

Lately I've felt a lot like rapping, yo, so I just spun some rhymes for you there.  You're welcome!

Meanwhile, remember the picture of that blue-eyed dog?  Well, he made into my column this morning. Thank you, Blue-Eyed Dog!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

My day at the Clean Air Rally

Okay.  That's a pretty good shot of the capitol building, right?

Getting closer . . . 


I always think an American flag at a rally adds an air of gravitas, don't you?


WTH is wrong with this camera?

There we go.  SELFIE!

Dude.  That was so much fun I had to take another one!

Signs!  Signs!  Everywhere signs!  Blocking out the scenery!  Breaking my mind!

Butts!  Butts!  Everywhere butts!  Blocking out the scenery!   

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?  THE SHADOW KNOWS!

OK.  Clearly I have figured out how to take a picture now.

Or maybe not.

Take one . . .

Take two . . . 


Friday, January 24, 2014

TRQ and Grief Therapy

One of the many things I love about TRQ is that she unapologetically buys The National Enquirer.  I was thumbing through one of her issues last week when I discovered a story about a woman who adopts skunks.  She has like 50 skunks living with her right now and she loves them all.  When asked how she got into skunks, this woman explained that after her mother died, she adopted her first skunk to help her deal with her grief.

I read this aloud to TRQ and then I promised her that when she dies, I will not turn to skunks to help me cope.  Donuts, yes.  Skunks, no.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Some thoughts about Downton Abbey

Yes.  I know.  My aversion to this series is practically pathological.  It has a lot to do with my nature, which is essentially contrary.


Ken Cannon tried to watch a little of it last night.  He sort of casually turned it on and pretended he didn't notice what was on and that if somehow he did that,  I wouldn't notice either.  So just to humor him I tried to watch DA for a minute--but then Anna started crying, crying, crying, and I left the room because I AM SO SICK OF THESE PEOPLE being stupid.  Season after season.  The props change, but the characters don't.  They just keep on being stupid.

And suddenly it occurred to me that this is why I get impatient with soap operas.  Nobody really grows or changes, unlike what happens in a novel.

Or at least the kinds of novels I like.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wherein I ruminate on the book club experience

Actually, I kinda did this one for the paper, since we're starting up an online book club.

Meanwhile, I'll be offline for a few days.  I'll start up again on Monday!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Are we dancers or are we dancers?

The other morning at 5:30 a.m. as my friends and I were walking down an icy street in our puffy parkas, a guy sitting in a car on the side of the road rolled down his window and said, "You guys look like dancers."

I thought he'd said, "You guys look like dancers."  But how could that be possible?  In what world do four middle-aged women wearing puffy parkas while worrying about breaking their hips look like dancers?

Obviously I didn't hear right.  So I said, "What did you say?"  And he said, "You guys look like dancers."

My friends and I found this deeply disturbing--who wouldn't?--so we picked up our pace and kept looking over our shoulders, hoping he wasn't following us to ask if he could punch our dance cards.

I told another friend about this yesterday and she said maybe our puffy parkas made our legs look really long and thin so that we looked like showgirls because you know how showgirls are--always parading down icy streets at 5 in the morning with gigantic fruit baskets on their heads.  Not that we were wearing fruit baskets.

Anyway.  The whole episode remains a mystery.  What kind of dancers did we look like?  Square dancers?  Cloggers?   If I ever see that guy again, I'll ask.

And I'll let you know.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Spy vs. Spy

So we have two cats that hate each other.  They spend their days plotting the other's demise.  They hide in baskets or lurk around corners or go undercover on the couch, just waiting for the other to walk by and then BAM!  Cat feathers everywhere.  They aren't tussling.  They aren't having a little kitten-ish good-natured fun.  They want to steal each other's state secrets and then execute the other.  You know.  Like Spy vs. Spy.  Which suddenly makes me want to go buy myself a MAD Magazine.    But that's not the point.

The point is that I always say to them, "Can't we all just get along?"  But then it occurs to me that some people like to define themselves in terms of their enemies.  And so, apparently, do some cats.

So carry on, Cats.  Who am I to interfere with your efforts to secure your identities?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Jeopardy fantasy

For years I've wanted to be on Jeopardy.  Not just be on Jeopardy.  DOMINATE on Jeopardy.  I want to be the Ultimate Jeopardy Cage Fighter.  And I've always thought I had a decent shot at it because whenever I watch Jeopardy at home, I bust out my cage fighter moves and answer almost every question except for the mixed drinks part, because what can you expect from a girl who's favorite alcoholic beverage is NyQuil?

Anyway.   Dylan sent me a link for an online tryout this week, so I registered and logged in and WENT FOR IT on Wednesday night.  But before I went for it, I (this is the truth) drank some fluids and rubbed a little Ben Gay on my calves because Ben Gay is the fragrance of champions.  I thought it would inspire me.

Soooooo.  The test started.  I had to answer 50 questions, and I only had 15 seconds per questions.  15 seconds feels like a long time when you're waiting for the microwave to melt you some butter, but it's a really SHORT time when suddenly you're being asked to name (and type!) various bodies of water located on our planet.  Also, I was having a hard time reading the screen because my eyes were watering from all the Ben Gay.

Long story short, I don't think I did very well.  Which is why from now on I'll just allow certain cherished fantasies to remain cherished fantasies.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Will there be laughs in Heaven?

Not that I need to worry about that . . .

HOWEVER.  Here's what I thought yesterday at the gas station whereat I shut my door with the keys in the ignition and the motor still running.  (Wow.  That sentence was a non-tasty mouthful, wasn't it?)
Anyway.  I wasn't worried because the door on my car won't lock in that situation, thus saving idiots like me from themselves.

This was not the case when I was growing up.  People locked their keys in the car with the motor running all the time.  And if a bunch of high school boys did it in the parking lot during the state championship playoffs, it was good for a lot of laughs.  It still is whenever I think about those guys.

It seems to me that most humor grows out of the chasm--the Grand Canyon, if you will-- that exists between the Real and the Ideal.  Like that time I got married, for instance, I wanted a perfect little head wreath made of charming baby's breath and sweetheart roses, only the florist got focused on that word "wreath" and instead fixed me up with something you'd hang on your front door during the holidays.  When my friend Donna saw me she said, "OMG. You look just like the ghost of Christmas past."

I know.  I've told that story before.  I'll tell it until I die, because it's funny, right?  But it wouldn't have been funny if the florist had made me the perfect thing.  See what I mean?

So if everything is perfect in Heaven--or anywhere else--where are the laughs?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Crazy Cat Lady

Yesterday I was filled with a sudden longing to see my old cat Clio again--or at least to see her turn her head, blink her eyes and give me a dainty meow every time I say her name.  Yes.  I missed a cat.  Even though two cats currently live in this house, which is probably two cats more than anyone should have. My children are embarrassed for me and live in terror that I will acquire more cats, in addition to acquiring more dogs, another bird, a turtle, and perhaps a rabbit that has been trained to use a litter box.

So yeah.  I missed my cat.  But I think that was just part of the missing I was doing yesterday.  I hate how death separates you from the physical presence of someone you love so that you can no longer enjoy how your grandmother smells like Avon products or watch your grandfather take off his golf hat and rub his bald head or hear Marilyn's throaty smoker's voice every time she starts a sentence with, "The thing of it is" or talk to Becky on her morning commute.

Kind of a bad day yesterday, although I did enjoy the part where I sat on my friend Stephanie's couch and discussed manuscripts with her while sipping hot chocolate.

Today will be better.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wherein I talk about trying to beat my granddaughter at bowling

Here's this week's column. The corrective shoes part is true.

Monday, January 6, 2014

This is how I text

The following is a text conversation I recently had with one of my boys.

SON:  When you're done call me and I'll pick you up.

ME:  Meeting still going.

SON:  No worries.  Just text me when you're done.

(An hour later)

WHAT I MEANT TO TEXT:  I'm walking up the south side of South Temple right now.

WHAT I ACTUALLY TEXTED:  I'm  waking up souhvfufd of south tmpme now.

SON:  In English.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Geisel Award

Carla Morris answered my questions about the Geisel Award selection process in this interview.

I won't lie.  I'd love to win this award.

Friday, January 3, 2014


I took down my tree this week and couldn't find an ornament that I particularly treasure.  It's a rocking horse with three little boys on it, and I received it when Ken Cannon and I just had three sons.  Every year I put it in the same spot and remember when we lived in the old house in the Marmalade District.

Anyway.  I couldn't find it when I began packing up.  I searched through the branches and needles, the hysteria mounting, but to no avail.

Then I remembered the conversation I'd had with Shelley a few nights earlier.  Shelley has a baby at Primary and three little girls at home.  Somehow she's managing to manage, and I'm in awe.  Truly.  We talked about the baby, of course, but we also touched briefly on what it was like to have a dad in the military.  Her family moved a lot, which taught her to let go of things, because you know.  They're only things.

Remembering that conversation as I searched for the lost ornament calmed me down, and I was all que sera, que sera.

But I won't lie.  I was thrilled nigh unto tears when Ken found that ornament lying facedown on the sidewalk in front of our house later that day.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Going all to hell

Last Sunday in church the speaker took a page out of the Fox News playbook (our friend Rick passed me a note saying it was like the speaker was trying out for the Mike Huckabee Show) to decry the state of the modern world.  I knew the speaker was sincere and meant well, but the talk annoyed me the way all LOOK AT HOW EVIL WE ARE NOW rants annoy me.

Not that I don't think there's bad stuff in the world, because there is.  OBV.   But these kinds of talks always focus on the wrong things, it seems to me.  Not only that, but (and this is the thing that bugs me the most) they always display a lack of historical perspective.  There's this underlying assumption that somehow the world--and specifically America--used to be a better, more moral place.  And I always want to say GO READ SOME HISTORY.

Right now I'm reading THE BLACK COUNT--a biography about Alexander Dumas' father who was the son of a slave and an aristocrat.  Who knew?  Anyway, the point is this:  there was nothing pretty about the French slave trade.  There was nothing pretty about the class system in France.  So don't go around saying that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

We've pretty much already been there.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Well, hello there, 2014!  I'm wondering how long it will take me to start writing "2014" as opposed to "2013" on my checks.  I KNOW!  I STILL WRITE CHECKS!

Anyway, I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year, and because I feel absolutely sated with everything--food, activity, food, family, food, shopping, food, food, food--I have the strongest urge to spend 2014 consuming less.  Of everything.  Less fuel (yes to walking!), less food (yes to veggies and nourishing soup!), less in the way of material goods.

This could change in a few days when I am back to my regular life.  But right now less really does feel like more.

Happy New Year!