Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Salt Lake Trib e-mail account and a sacred vow

So somehow I didn't get the memo that the paper was switching servers, which happened while I was gone and now I've lost everything I had over there on the original server.

Here's the downside of all that.  I've lost some contact information from certain readers I'd like to stay in touch with.  (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!)  Please e-mail me at my new address.  Or at annlouisecannon@gmail.com.

Here's the upside.  I don't have to feel responsible for those 5,000 (and I'm not kidding) unopened emails in my queue now.  I have a blank slate again!  And (channeling Scarlett O'Hara here) as God is my witness, I'm never going to wind up with 5,000 emails in my queue again!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Seven Deadly Sins

Yesterday over dinner we were discussing which of the seven deadlies we were most prone to commit.  Which, why?  Why were we talking about that instead of baseball?

Anyway, after reviewing myself on the Sin Front, here's what I decided.

WRATH:  I'm more apt to be peeved in this life than wrathful.  Except when someone steals my last Dr. Pepper.

GREED:  Honestly, I'm too slothful to be greedy.  Greed takes energy.

SLOTH:  Seriously, is this really a sin?  I don't think so.  And when you turn this word into a noun, I'm a fan. Sloths rock, baby.

PRIDE:  Again.  This takes energy.  Count me out.

LUST:  Yeah.  This one's pretty much in the rearview mirror these days.

GLUTTONY:  Well, yes.  Now we're getting somewhere.  Especially if Mexican food is involved.

ENVY:  Bingo.

I wouldn't say envy consumes me.  But it's a presence at times with me--especially in my writing life.
Especially when I'm feeling bad about my writing life.

OK.  Gonna get to work now.

POSTSCRIPT:  Actually, just want to clarify here.  I don't feel bad about my writing life at the moment.  WIFYR energized me.  I feel that all things are possible.  Except for a return of my stomach muscles.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Well, yes, I am in the house again

It's been an intense few weeks.  First there was getting ready for WIFYR.  Then there was WIFYR.  And then there was the Edwards Family Beach Week.  And now there's re-entry into my normal life.

Beach Week, as always, was terrific.  And occasionally fraught.  But terrific.  And occasionally fraught.  You can't get that many family members under one roof and not have those "moments"--the ones that require you to apologize to someone later.

In my case I needed to apologize to TRQ for getting sharpish with her in front of several of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  I felt terrible as soon as I snapped at her.  Still do, in fact, although she was very gracious and kinder to me than I deserved right then.

I've been trying to understand what happened and here's what I think was going on.  TRQ and I were both playing the role of Uber-Mother, running around the room taking everyone's emotional temperature.  And that, my friends, can be exhausting.  By the end of the week, we were both REALLY tired.  And when that kind of tired happens?  Words.

I was texting all of this to Lisa B. while Ken Cannon and I were driving home yesterday, saying I'M SUCH AN IDIOT and NO ONE ASKED ME TO TAKE THEIR EMOTIONAL TEMPERATURE and WHY DID I SET MYSELF UP?  And she very calmly reminded me that in our culture women are asked to and expected to do all kinds of care-taking.   She's right.  And I appreciated her pointing this out to me.

But now I'm home.  And there were strange visiting gnomes on our porch when we returned.  So it's all home sweet gnome.  And when next summer comes,  hopefully I'll be at the beach again.  Like my brother Jimmy says, "We keep on going back."

Like the swallows.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dads, etc.

Here's a column a did with Father's Day in mind.  I cried a little as I wrote it, which I didn't expect.  It was one of those things that changed directions on me.

I think remembering that drive hit me in a different way because while my own father isn't at the place where my grandfather was yet, he has aged in the last few years.  The melanoma and the heart issues have taken their toll.  And I don't know.  It's hard for him and, frankly, hard for the people who love him.

Conference is going well.  One of the unexpected pleasures of having done WIFYR for so many years is that I run into old students during the week.  Their dedication and willingness to learn always inspires me.

Plus they're just a lot of fun.

Monday, June 15, 2015

MEMO TO SELF: Do not buy pastries at Starbucks

I know.  I've learned this lesson before.  HOWEVER . . .

Because I had so much reading to do today, I slipped away from WIFYR for a couple of hours and set up shop in a nearby Starbucks.  Which meant, of course, that I had to buy something.  So I bought a sugar cookie.

Now I ask you.  How hard is it screw up a sugar cookie?  But guess what.  Starbucks can!  This cookie was not only bad, it was aggressively-in-your-face bad.  It offended me with its badness and as you know, I am not a food snob.  At all.  It's just that I require my food to taste . . . you know . . . LIKE FOOD and not a former shoebox.

Starbucks!  You should be ashamed of yourself for offending me with your alleged cookies!

OK.  Rant over.  In other news, I have an awesome class at WIFYR this year.  Looking forward to tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Girls are scary

6.  Walking barefoot on Utah grass.

The other day at the library my granddaughter told me to go behind a chair so she didn't have to look at me.  I KNOW!

Actually, this was much less Snotty Dotty than it sounds.  She just wanted to be a teenager at the library w/o a grandmother watching over her.

Anyway.  I was telling my walking friends this story and they all laughed.  And then after they all laughed, they all said, "You don't know how to deal with girls, do you?"  And it occurred to me right then and there that I don't.

I'm like a guy in a man cave, playing video games, drinking Mountain Dew, eating Doritoes and listening to sports podcasts in this respect.  I am mystified by the girls.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Here comes some WIFYR

4.  Enjoying movies at Lisa B's magic house
5.  Sitting on my porch, watching a summer evening roll in

I've been working hard this week, getting ready for WIFYR (www.WIFYR.com).  Over the years, some of the most memorable experiences I've had have occurred at this workshop.  And former students have become friends for life.  I even went to Kari's wedding!

And yet I'm always in a panic before it starts.  Will I get all the work done?  Will I help students find what they need and what they're looking for?  I kind of don't sleep for a few weeks before the conference starts.

On the other hand, I do manage to keep eating.  And eating.  And eating.

I'll be glad when the conference begins . . .

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My own personal tortilla project

Well, okay.  I did have fun writing this one.  It's just not every day you can say that Bradley Cooper is a tall glass of tortilla.

As far as the listing (discussed yesterday) goes . . .

1.  Watching mountains turn blue at twilight
2.  Treating myself to an outrageously expensive ice cream cone from Hatch's Chocolates
3.  Cutting a rose and putting it in a bud vase so I can sniff it whenever I want to

Monday, June 8, 2015

My own personal happiness project

I've recently realized that my default emotional setting is sadness.  It's the place my brain seems to go when my brain is looking for some place to be.  This hasn't always been true of me, but it's certainly been true the past few years.

There are lots of reasons for this.  Our family's mental health challenges weigh heavily on me at times.  And then there's always change.  I've never been very good at accepting it--stupid, I know--but it's grown harder with age because so many of the things I've loved are no longer a part of my life.

But here's the thing.  I don't want to go through the rest of my years feeling sad.  It seems like a betrayal of Life (cue "Fiddler on the Roof" music) somehow.  Not that you should always be happy!  perky!  whatever!  That's just crazypants and also super annoying.

But this world--my world--is full of so much MUCH!  And to shortchange that because I'm dwelling in a sad place out of habit just seems wrong.  So my little project for the next day or two is to make lists of the things I can enjoy as a reminder to myself.

This will be fun.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A conversation I just had at the nursery

ME:  Last time I was here you still had some of your mini-roses.

CLERK:  On an endcap, right?

ME:  Yes.  Do you still have them.

CLERK:  (Looks oddly guilty)

ME:  Is this you telling me that those roses recently met their maker?

CLERK:  Yes.  But they didn't suffer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Thinking about TRQ

My mother is a presence in my blog, I know, and usually when I write about her, it's with a sort of amused affection because she's just so HERSELF and just so larger than life.

But lately I've been thinking about that year I was sick--how I spent part of that time in the hospital and then in bed for seven months.  She was barely 30.  She had just moved from a home she'd loved in Salt Lake to a town she didn't like much (that would be Provo).  She'd just had a new baby.  And the Coach had a new REALLY STRESSFUL job.

She was already isolated, and my illness isolated her from making new friends even more.  And yet she took such tender care of me.

I think of the young woman she was sometimes in the early of each morning when I step outside to see what this day might bring and thank her quietly for the opportunity I have to do just that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tossing some love at educators

This column grew out of a talk I heard.  Jared Wright did a nice job.  Wish I had a photo of him in his short shorts.

Also, it's worth noting here that I have almost killed Jared twice.  And I don't mean that metaphorically.  I mean it literally.  Once on the freeway.  Once in a boat.  Ask him about it when you see him.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Question of the day

How did we do it?

I've been babysitting my grandchildren while their parents are in NYC and it's been a good thing to do on a lot of fronts.  To wit, a list.  And I hope I have used "to wit" correctly here.  Please advise.

1.  I like getting to know these kids.

2.  It makes me appreciate just what my mom and MIL did for us when we were young parents.

3.  And also now I know why I didn't do certain things . . .

I've been in a mood lately--kind of a berating mood--asking myself why I didn't do certain things with my kids.  Read to them more.  Feed them better food.  Monitor their educational pursuits more intelligently.  Blah blah blah etc and also more big blah blah.  BLAH.

The good thing about having these kids here for a few days is that suddenly I can go oh yeah.  This is intense.  And busy.  And everything is happening on the edge of chaos.  So guess what.


And so were we.