Tuesday, May 31, 2011


So I posted this already on facebook but maybe not here? We have a new dog! A two year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel who's already housebroken and knows which fork to use at fancy dinners. He came with the name Roland, which we changed to Holmes.

Here's the thing. He may be the most genuinely sweet-natured dog I've ever met. Example. Ken always gives Zora a bowl of milk after he eats his cereal, but since Holmes needs to drop an lb. or two, Ken's decided not to share the milk love with him just yet.

Anyhoo. When Holmes sees the milk, he wags his tail and goes, "Yay! Milk!" And then when he realizes he's not getting any, he wags his tail and goes, "Yay! Not milk!"

See what I mean about sweet?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

This is a holiday I really love, but I will say that the rain and the cold kind of did me in this year. Thankfully we stopped in Provo on the way home from St. George yesterday to lay flowers on our family graves. Usually I make traditional arrangements of cut irises, peonies and snowball blossoms and stuff them in mason jars, but this year I went to the grocery store and bought some mums.

I apologized profusely about the mums to Becky when I put them on her grave.

Hope your day was a good one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

(Wind) breaking news!

So I'm here at a convention with Ken where a) there's wi-fi! yay! and b) the average attendee's age is older. I'm not being age-ist here. This bit of information is important for the story I'm about to tell.

There's a woman sitting in front of me with her husband who just bent over to pick up her purse. When she did, the people, she broke wind. MASSIVE, wall-shaking, earth-rumbling, legendary, homerically epic wind. Which okay. That right there was noticeable and also amazing.

But here's the most amazing thing. She appeared not to notice. At all! Neither did her husband. They just . . . carried on, leaving me and my nephew Chris (he's sitting next to me) in awe. Also, slightly in fear because we are directly downwind.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Help me, Obi wan Kenobe

Okay. First. Let me just say this is the second time today that I have hightailed it to a Starbucks for the wifi connection. I am . . . so addicted to the internet.

But I have a legitimate reason to post right now! I'm preparing for the upcoming WIFYR conference, and I would like you as fabulous readers to tell me what specifically makes you a) stick with and/or b) abandon a book after 50 pages. I want to develop a rubric (is that the fancy teacher word I want?) for responding to manuscripts.

Thank you, Obi wan Kenobe. I love you so.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Down south

I'm down south for a few days and may I say it feels JUST GREAT to step outside, even at night, and feel warm air on my skin?

Anyway, as I left town I made it a point to drive past the hawthorne trees in bloom around Reservoir Park right now. The blossoms are scarlet--my favorite. I have such a fondness for hawthornes. We had a huge tree in our side yard when I was growing up. Oh, people, it was just a gorgeous blowsy bloomy girl when she was in all a flower. And then! Tragedy! My dad hired a yard crew to take out some old shrubs. But they got mixed up and took out the hawthorne, too.

We were in such shock that we sat shiva. I still mourn that tree every May.

I just . . .

re-read that U2 post and WOW! I'm so just sad now that I had temporary hardening of the let's-get-out-and-party! arteries. Here's my new vow. I WILL see U2 some time before I die. (But maybe indoors. When it's warm. So I won't have to take my little lap afghan with me.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I have a long tradition of barely missing epic concerts--Led Zeppelin here in SLC in 1973 and U2 here shortly after 9/11. I swore then that before I died I'd make it to a U2 concert.

And I could have. They were here at Rice-Eccles last night. Ken even asked if I wanted to go and I said . . . no. Because I didn't care that much anymore. I figured they'd just play a bunch of new crap anyway, and who's interested in that?

As it turned out, they played a lot of their classic stuff. I know this because I could stand out on my front porch in the Aves and listen, which I did for awhile. But then I went inside because I got bored. And then I went to bed wishing the concert was over already because it was just so loud.

Did you hear that? I was whining about how the loudness of a concert would affect my sleep. Oh, people. When did I get to be such a freaking old lady?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dynamite shoes

This weekend we celebrated our daughter-in-law's graduation from medical school, WHICH WAS AWESOME. We're sooooo proud of her. Med school is not for the faint of heart, and to see her walk across the stage because she's a doctor now was truly moving.

Also, I have to say that my daughter-in-law had on a great pair of shoes, as did many of the other women graduates. We are talking serious strappy, stilty, sexy skyscraper heels and guess what! NO ONE TRIPPED. Or wobbled, really. Maybe they teach you how to do that in medical school, too?

Dear Female Graduates, I call you master.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Some thoughts on this season's finales

Oy! I can't believe what a TV-watcher I've turned into. But whatever. That's what it's there for.

Anyhoo, I feel the need to comment on how my fave shows with my BTVFFs are wrapping up, so here goes.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT CASTLE: Sometimes this show's alternating jokey/serious tone doesn't work for me, so I felt like the decision to go for full-broke intensity this time was a good one.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT CASTLE: I hate it when (Spoiler Alert!) a character we've grown to respect and count on turns out to be the bad guy. Not that the chief was a true bad guy, but still. His criminal involvement felt like a cheap plot trick. AND NOW HE'S DEAD.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT NSIC: Well, Mark Harmon, of course. I know he's getting older but so am I, which is why we suit. Also, I'm glad we've seen the last of that other team that was getting in the way the last few episodes.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: No complaints, actually, although I wish Ziva would use contractions when she talks sometimes. Lady! Your speech is so stilted! I know you're an Israeli and all, but COME ON! It's not against your religion to say can't instead of cannot!

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE GOOD WIFE: This is just a smart, well-written and well-acted show. The courtroom drama about a dirty judge was just great.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I know I'm supposed to want Will and Alicia to do it. But . . . I don't know. Also, I just want her and Kalinda to be friends again.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT MODERN FAMILY: Every. Last. Little. Detail. It's always a good thing when Phil breaks out his old cheerleading moves, don't you think?


WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE OFFICE: I don't even care about The Office anymore. I hope that doesn't happen to me with MF, you know?

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE MENTALIST: That Grace's scumbag fiance got killed.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT THE MENTALIST: Jane shot Red John? In the food court? At the mall? Will he have to dial in his appearances from prison next season? Aargh.

That's it. Those are my shows. I don't watch much on the weekends except for baseball and true crime stories wherein, as Alec noted on fb, the husband always did it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Have I mentioned lately . . .

. . . that Jimmer the fish is still alive? He's alive, I tell you. HE'S ALIVE!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

500 words a day

I'm trying to do that word count thing again. Writing to a word count, you know. Sometimes I've shot for 1000 words a day, but lately I figure I'm good if I get 500. In fact, I am a FLAMING GENIUS if I can wrangle 500 of those difficult critters and corral them on a sheet of paper. SNAP! EXCELLENT EXTENDED METAPHOR!

Anyway. I've said this before and I'll say it again. If you're consistent about this, it's kind of amazing how many pages you wind up with in a few weeks time.

Okay. Now I feel better about calling this blog "The Writer's Corner."

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I'm on my way up to Davis county for the UELMA conference where I will be talking about boys and books. I've spent the week getting in touch with my inner ten year-old boy, who (as it turns out) is a lot like Luke on MODERN FAMILY. Like Luke, I'm the kind of ten year-old boy who likes to pull my arms back in my sleeves so it looks like I have T-Rex arms and then make I'm-going-to-eat-you-and-your-family noises. Good times!

I've found some good books reading that way this week. I'll post a few titles when I get home.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stories are all around us

Here's my favorite opening paragraph from a news story in recent memory. It's from today's Salt Lake Tribune.

"A Salt Lake City man allegedly violated a protective order by showing up at a woman’s house dressed as a clown and leaving some banana bread at her door."

I'm thinking this would make one hell of a writing prompt.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


As you know, I pay attention to my dreams and, in fact, work hard to retrieve them--something that's gotten harder, frankly, with aging. DEAR AGING, WHY YOU GOTTA BE SO HARSH?

Anyway, this morning I woke up wondering why I bother to remember, because truthfully most of my dreams are mildly to hugely unpleasant. Like last night I dreamed this.

Random Dream Person who I Don't Know in Real Life: I've been meaning to tell you this for awhile, but you smell bad.

Me: I do?

Random Dream Person: Yes, you do.

Me: (with growing horror) Have I always smelled bad?

Random Dream Person: Bingo.

Really? These are the dreams I'm so desperate to remember? I think I'll get a new hobby.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


My dad's brother Lamar died this weekend. His funeral was today, and it was as perfect as a funeral can be. There were only three speakers--my cousin Billy, my dad, and the bishop. In between there was the most beautiful a cappella rendition of "Amazing Grace" (sung by my uncle's granddaughters) that I have ever heard.

There were stories, of course, funny and sweet. All of them brought Lamar roaring back to life--seriously, he was just the best kind of badass uncle (everyone needs one, right?). Billy talked about how Lamar bought his kids a pony so wild that it took "six men and one boy" most of the day to catch him. Finally, Lamar traded the pony in and bought a sewing machine instead. Then my dad told about how Lamar convinced him and the other little brothers that a bear lived in the root cellar near the room where the boys slept. To this day my dad is afraid of the dark. Also bears. Also root cellars.

But here was the most amazing part of the service. At the end of his extremely affectionate talk, Biilly said that ten years ago they could not have had this kind of funeral--a funeral saturated with love. Lamar was an alcoholic and that reality was responsible for much hurt, much sadness. And then ten years ago Lamar quit drinking. Boom. Just like that. And everything changed. Billy thanked the Lord for the tender mercies of these past few years.

Lamar was buried in East Lawn Memorial Hills--the cemetery where we used to ride bikes when I was kid. All the people I love best in the world are buried there--my grandparents, my father-in-law, my friend Becky. After years of not talking about his years in the military, Lamar apparently asked in the end for a military burial, and he got it. A lone soldier stood in the distance and played taps, after which the flag which covered my uncle's coffin was folded in precise military fashion, then presented to Lamar's oldest son, Richard.

I am still overwhelmed by the memory of that moment.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wherein I give an example of irony

So yesterday I discovered one of my parakeets had gotten her talon wedged between a cage bar and the water dish. In a frantic effort to free herself, she broke her leg . . . poor thing. I managed to set the bird free (it wasn't easy! there was blood! mine!) and immediately rushed her to the vet to see if he could do something for her.

Anyway, on my trip to the vet's where I would possibly spend a billion dollars to save a parakeet, I made a mental list of all the crap I had to do yesterday, including meal preparation and I decided to make . . . you know . . . a chicken dish for dinner.

Oh, America. What a country you are!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oh, ugh!

I realized that it's Mothers' Day on Sunday, which means I am morally obligated to address that fact in Saturday's column. I'm not really a fan of the holiday, but when I once wrote a column for the D-News confessing that, you would have thought I'd said HEY! LET'S GO CLUB SOME BABY SEALS!

Gotta think of something to write . . .

Monday, May 2, 2011


I heard from a reader today that celebrating Osama bin Laden's death lowers us to his level. And, actually, I think he's sort of right. But I will say this. I am happy the bastard is dead. And there it is.