Saturday, May 30, 2015

Grapes of Wrath-ish

This is the conversation Ken Cannon and I had last night while watching our programs.

ME:  Louis C.K. had a funny bit about The Grapes of Wrath.  [I watched LCK's HBO Special on the way home from Amsterdam, so now I'm the annoying person who's all "LCK said this" and "LCK said that."  It's a problem.  But I own it.]

KEN:  Oh yeah?

ME:  About the ending.

KEN:  Okay.

ME:  You remember the ending, don't you?


ME:  You are so busted.  You did NOT read that book.

KEN:  Yes, I did.

ME:  You would totally, totally remember that ending if you'd read it.  That was the point of LCK's monologue.

KEN:  I read it.

ME:  No.  You didn't.

KEN:  I did.  I just don't remember the ending.

ME:  Stop.  Please. Here's what happened.  Your sisters read that book for you.

Those sisters earned most of Ken's A's in high school.  But I'm happy to report he earned all of his own A's (and there were many of them) thereafter.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Who we are now

After leaving Helsinki in 1985, Ken Cannon, our two sons, and I travelled through Europe for about six weeks, which sounds a lot more romantic in theory than it was in real life.  But whatever.  I'm glad we did it.

One night we stopped at a campground somewhere in France, where we met an older couple.  He played the guitar and sang.  She listened.  They spoke a little English, so we learned that they'd had five children--all of them grown now--and so they were spending time traveling and enjoying themselves.  Maybe I was just imagining it because I was so frazzled at the time (I also happened to be pregnant with our third at the time), but they seemed . . . peaceful.  Contented with what their life was and what their life had been.

I did not, however, see myself or my future in them.  At all.

Well, Ken Cannon and I did have five children.  And we're probably the ages of that French couple now.  And while we were driving through France this month it occurred to me that we had become them, all these years later.

Except, of course, without the guitar.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Well I didn't expect to see THAT in the intersection of 7th East and 2nd South

So I stopped at a red light (I'm very law-abiding that way) at the above intersection on my way to Liberty Park for my morning toddle when I spotted a man in the crosswalk.  He was nicely dressed like the young professional he possibly is.   Also, he was carrying a white tote thing that looked like one of those mini-cooler deals you put a few sodas in when you head out for a picnic.  In fact, this guy was kind of swinging it--the way a kid would swing his super awesome Ninja Turtles lunchbox on his way to school in the morning.

But here's the thing.  Emblazoned in big red BLOCK letters on the side of the white tote were the words HUMAN ORGAN.

Seriously.  Don't you find that a tiny bit disturbing?

So then I had to spin scenarios.  Why human organs?  Why this particular man with human organs?  Is this how it works when you need a transplant?  If you can afford it, you have the organ life-flighted to the hospital.

But if not, then dude will just put it in his cooler and walk it on over.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Now THAT'S an obituary!

Dear Karma,

I am about to make fun of another human being's obituary which means you'll arrange to have someone somewhere make fun of mine.  Maybe even many, many someones will be making fun of mine.  You'll see to it, I know.  And okay fine.  I accept those terms.  Because I cannot let pass what Ken Cannon just read to me from this morning's Trib.

It's all in verse.


How does one begin to describe, or pay tribute TO,
a daughter, a sister, a wife and mother, grandma
and great-grandma such as YOU!
Married to Wilford, children they had THREE,
Sadly only one remains, and that one 
would be ME!

There's more.  But you get the idea.  And yeah, now that I think about it, it's awesome to think of a lone surviving child--probs in her seventies--busting out rhymes like Kanye, yo.


Ann Cannon

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Does this mean I've been in Primary too long?

I teach Primary on Sundays, and it's a good place for me because as anybody who has spent any time with me knows, I am pretty much a ten year-old boy at heart.

However, I'm wondering if I need a break.  I offer this little story as evidence.

Yesterday I taught the story about Jesus and the Ten Lepers (NOT LEOPARDS, KIDS!  GET IT RIGHT!) and we did a little impromptu dramatization.  They dictated a script to me and I wrote it down, then made copies for them.

When I handed them the copies they complained that they couldn't read my handwriting.  They were all, "Your handwriting sucks, Teacher."  And in my heart I was all, "My handwriting sucks?  Well YOU suck."

And then in my heart I went even further.  "How much do you suck?  You guys can't even drive.  You have to get your moms to drive you to soccer practice."

And then in my heart I thought, "Yup, Ann.  You're officially crazytown now."

Friday, May 22, 2015

Some stray observations of the European variety

Oh hi.  It's me.  Just home from a trip to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France where I kept a tiny journal of some impressions which I include here.

* So many cyclists in Amsterdam!  And nobody wears helmets.  Not even the babies!  I found this oddly refreshing.

* Speaking of cycling babies--the parents just shove them into these flimsy contraptions on the front handlebars and away they all go.  I also found this oddly refreshing.  Sometimes I think our insistence on safety all the times breeds a culture of anxiety and fear among our kids.

* I'm still blown away by how multi-lingual the average Dutch person is.

* BTW if you add an "-en" to the end of a word, you're speaking Dutch.  Right, Louise?

* If you like the smell of grass, you'll love walking around Amsterdam.  Actually, the scent reminded me of the Avenues on a Saturday night.

* When did Mexican food become so popular in Europe?

*  The whole time we were in Brugge, Geoffrey and I keep quoting lines from the movie In Bruges, which paints a pretty good picture of what the town is like, including all the freaking swans and cobblestones minus Ralph Fiennes' barracuda smile.

*  There's Dr Pepper in Euope now, yo.  It tasted better in France than it did in Holland or Belgium.  I can tell you where to go to get cold cans.

*Not to trade in stereotypes, but . . . the French are a leetle more cavalier about certain things than say the Dutch would be.  We had reservations to stay in a b and b in the Normandy countryside.  Check in time was 7:00.  We were a tiny bit late because--you know--we were trying to find our way around in a foreign country.  When we got there, no one was there.  We waited at the gate.  And waited.  And waited.  And we all had to go to the bathroom.  And waited.  And we were hungry.  And waited.  And finally we started blaming each other for everything that had every happened in our lives.  And waited.  And also we blamed each other for everything that had happened in the history of the world.  And waited.  And . . . finally the owners showed up COMPLETELY UNAPOLOGETICALLY to let us in around midnight.  They'd gone out to dinner and had a nice time because you know.  Why not?   It was food and Friday!

* If you're reading this, Shelley, please know that I do love France.

* Frites!

* Waffles!

* I heard the word "dumbass" in our car a lot, actually.  Which is a fine word, actually.  I heartily approve whenever I hear it used.

* Ken Cannon loves himself a GPS.  Which, apparently, is why we had two.  One of them spoke in a British accent.  One of them spoke in an American accent.  Sometimes they disagreed about which turn to take.  It was like, "Shut up. This is my crib."

* Whenever I tried to say anything, both GPS-es interrupted me.  It was like, "Shut up, American lady.  This is our crib."

* Ghosts are everywhere on Omaha Beach.

* Guess what.  Europeans are as heavy as Americans are now.  Even in France.  We've rubbed off onto them, obv.

*  There were tons of military roaming the streets of Paris in groups of three, bearing assault weapons and watching the crowds.  I saw this in Spain in the 70s under Franco.  First time I've seen it in France.  Disconcerting, for sure.  Fallout from Charlie Hebdo, I'd guess.

* It's harder to tell nationalities apart now than it used to be.  Or at least it was for me.  When I lived in Europe for the first time in the 70s and for the second time in the 80s, you would have never confused a British teenager for a French teenager for an Italian teenager.  And, of course, the Germans were the ones wearing socks with sandals.  But now?  Wow.  Just hard to tell.  Throw a scarf on yourself and no matter where you're from, you look French-ish.

* Whenever I hear a siren in Europe, I think of the old Pink Panther movies.  Which I won't watch again.  I thought they were hysterical when I saw them.  Now they would just probably disappoint.


* So many churches.  So few church-goers.

* I'm kind of in love with French cows right now--all fat and creamy and ivory-colored.  Keep on rocking the free world, you French cows!

* Saw orange poppies begin to bloom in Flanders fields and felt ghosts there, too.

* Speaking of ghosts, felt the ghosts of my former selves there, as well.

Speaking of which, this trip was great.  I do not take my privilege lightly or for granted.  But I was beset by a certain melancholy.  I remembered the other times I've been there--as a student, as a young mother, as a tourist--and thought about where I was in my life and what I thought might happen in the years ahead.  It's sobering to realize how much time has passed for me personally.

I also feel this strange . . . I don't know . . . sadness about how much the world (I'm speaking of the first world here) has shrunk.  The tulip gardens in Holland blew me away.  But guess what.  The display I saw this spring at Thanksgiving Point was almost as awesome in scope and execution.  And I loved the waffles in Brugge.  But guess what.  I can get Belgian waffles every bit as good when I go to Brugge downtown.    And, seriously, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a kouing amann anywhere in the world as the ones you can buy (every day if you want to spend $5.00!) at Les Madeleines.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm THRILLED I have access to this things.  But still.

Having said all of this, there's something amazing about being in places where the structures themselves carry deep history in their bones.  Spectacular.

And if you made it all the way to the end of this post, I love you.  And I owe you lunch.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A few little thoughts about Europe

Here they are.

I'll start posting again regularly next week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A few little thoughts about movies

This column was inspired by my TKE co-worker Aaron Cance.  We were talking about movies that haven't aged well, and the subject of Ladyhawke  came up.  I had a little crush there in the 70s and 80s on Rutger Hauer, but every time I've since seen one of his movies, I've been all why?
Nighthawks was another fondly remembered movie that later disappointed.  In retrospect, the tight turtleneck didn't do RH any favors, although it must be said they don't do me any favors either.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


I'm stealing this idea from Louise over at The Chattering Crow.  Read her list about her mother, because it's great.  And that's not a cheap American compliment either.

I write a lot about my mother, but it's a pretty one-dimensional portrait I create here, because I tend to talk about her when she's being her gloriously eccentric self.  But she's so, so much more than that.  So here's the rest of her.  Or if not the rest of her, at least more of her.

--She was an only child and an only grandchild on her father's side.

--When she was little, she used to sneak over to the neighbor's house where the neighbor fed her tiny spoonfuls of coffee--in spite of my grandmother's insistence that was "against our religion."

--She was named after her grandmother (Patti) and her mother (Louise).  Except her grandmother wasn't really named Patti originally.  My great-grandmother re-named herself when she left the Midwest and kicked over the traces of her old life.

--She survived a fire as a child that burned the family home to the ground.

--She broke her back as a child and has suffered from back trouble more or less for the rest of her life.  Doesn't stop her.  Put her in a city (preferably NewYork) and she can out-walk any of her companions.

--Every spring she decides to take up gardening, which means she buys plants.  Icelandic poppies usually.  And then she waits for my dad to plant them.

--She loves, loves, loves animals.  The pet population at our home was always fluid, because she never said no when we brought something home.

--She once threw a party at our house and wore a turban and rings on her toes (literally) just for the hell of it.  She was--you know--like freaking Elizabeth Taylor that way.

--She has raised thousands and thousands of dollars for the Provo Boys and Girls Club.

--If you're an underdog, my mother is so in your corner.

--Speaking of which, she once challenged the town bully to a fight after school.  He never showed up.

--Her parents sent her to live with her Aunt Blanche in Utah when she was fourteen because my grandmother thought the schools were better her.  My mother missed Wyoming every single moment she was away.

--My mother has always had a taste for jewels.

--I frequently had nightmares as a child.  My mother was always a constant and soothing presence when they happened.

--She used to wear sunglasses in church.  Like Jackie O.

--She still decorates for Christmas, even though she's in her eighties.

--She knows how to swear better than my father does.

--She can never say no to a card game.

--She reads more than practically anybody else I know, excluding Betsy Burton.

--She sleeps with an electric blanket.  In July.

--She is superstitious.  Truly.

--She loves me.  In spite of my hair.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Shopping carts and the crazy

Early this morning I went to Smiths with the intention of stocking up on pet food (for the pets) and snacks (for the humans) in preparation for some upcoming travels.  So yeah.  I had bags of cat food, dog food, pistachios, Twix bars, licorice and M and Ms in my cart.  Also I had a STAR magazine to find out if Kris Kardashian really did sleep with her son-in-law because WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

Also, there was a gnome in my cart.  Because it was on sale.

As the clerk checked me out, I started looking at myself through her eyes, so I said, "Do you ever wonder what the hell is going on with people?"

She said no.  She was the very soul of discretion.

But, the people, she was lying.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Random walking

This afternoon I felt the distinct need to go on a long walk to clear my head.  So I did.  I walked to a bank downtown via First South and what I noticed is that there are a LOT of assisted living establishments on First South.

(I'm probably noticing these because I took an online quiz the other day that told me my mental age is 69.  So there's that.  The good news, however, is that I'm not color blind!  I took another online quiz that told me that.  So I may not remember where I'm going, but I won't accidentally confuse red lights for green.  WHICH IS AWESOME.)

Anyway.  The point is this.  I drive down First South all the time but have failed to see most of what resides there.  If you want to see a city, you have to do it on foot.

Here's to feet.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Another sighting in the Aves

I've mentioned before that over the years my walking pals and I have seen and heard things at 5:30 a.m. that . . . startle.  Like guys with no pants on.  And cops asking about guys with no pants on.  And guys with pants on randomly asking us if we are dancers.  Stuff like that.

Well, this morning, a guy asked us in passing how we were doing, which is always a little weird, because the Rule of the Streets is that you pretend not to see each other.  But anyway.  This guy didn't get the Street Rules Memo.  So we answered him.

And that's when things got weirder.

US:  We're fine.

HIM:  Are you doing your Walk of Shame?

US:  (pause) (because we didn't see that one coming)

SALLY:  Yes.  We all just left the Sig House.

ME:  It was Grab-a-Grandma Night up there.

I hope he found that image disturbing.  Truly.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Some graphic novels and also a little lying for your Monday perusal

Here are a couple of Trib pieces.  I had a little help from some friends re the graphic novel story.  Thanks for that, friends!

And then I also have some thoughts about lying.  Right here!

Phew.  That was hard work, all that clicking and copying and clicking and pasting.  I think I'll go eat that slice of peanut butter cheesecake I bought at the Dodo earlier to restore my strength.

M-m-m-m-m-m-m.  Peanut butter cheesecake.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

On Rotten Tomatoes and WOMAN IN GOLD

So Ken Cannon and I saw WOMAN IN GOLD last week and I liked it.  I thought the story was interesting and the flashbacks were affecting.  Also, who doesn't love some Dame Helen and well.  Hello, Ryan Reynolds.  You are a tall, tall drink, Ryan Reynolds.

Also, I think he's a pretty good actor and has nice abs to go along with the chops.

Okay.  I make it a point to never read reviews before I see something, so as soon as we got home, I pulled up Rotten Tomatoes and was a little surprised to see that only 50% of the critics liked the movie.  They thought it was dull.  And cheesy. Hallmark-y, even, because you know nothing says Hallmark-y like Nazis.  And a few of the reviews were actively hateful.

A lot of you see more movies than I do.  I'm looking at YOU, Lisa B and James.  While it wasn't the best film I've ever seen, I didn't think it was as terrible as some people obviously did.  What am I missing?

I'd like your honest opinions here.  I'm totally okay if you hated the movie.  I just feel like I've had a major lapse in taste or something, and now I'm not allowed to sit at the popular kids' table anymore.