Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beach Stuff

My nephew Adam just wandered into the room, his luxurious locks spilling down his back. (Be jealous, girls! Be very, very jealous!) He asked what I was doing and I said I'm writing a column. So then he said did you give me a shout out? And I said no. But I'll give you one in my blog.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Bird watching

So occasionally I do a little bird watching, thanks to Gigi who always gives me tickets to the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival in May. Right now I'm checking out the brown pelicans who make their home here. Love it when they glide low over breaking waves like surfers shooting the curl. And I especially love it when they go all kamikaze while fishing. They sweep through the air in wide circles, then wheel out and dive bomb--BOOM--headfirst into the glittering water.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

And now . . .

. . . we're at the beach. And, once again, it's Reality TV show time. The family next door is all Jersey Shore with the fist-pumping and the chest muscles and the big hair and gold jewelry to match. Meanwhile, they look at our license plates and me crocheting an afghan in my little lawn chair and go, "Yep. Sister Wives."

Friday, June 24, 2011

What We Did Today, Pt. 3

Rented bikes. Rode them over the Golden Gate Bridge. Swooned from the sheer awesomeness of it all.

Finished off the day with more Chinese food. Now watching the Indians beat the Giants. On TV this time--we definitely went to the better game in person.

Leaving our hearts in San Francisco tomorrow. On our way to the beach. Heaven!

Dogs and Mimes

This is for Donna.

I've been looking for the dog with glasses but haven't found him. On the other hand, I've seen more mimes than is good for a person's mental health. They're all spray-painted silver and gold, and they perform robotic-like routines to funk. Technically I guess they're more like psuedo-mimes.

But still disturbing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What We Did Today, Pt. 2

1. Started the day off with Nutella crepes
2. Also a Dr. Pepper!
3. Headed on over to AT & T Park
4. Had one of those spontaneous heart-to-hearts you sometimes have with strangers on a train--this stranger's name was Jasper, he's 74, his parents were born in Sicily, he was born in Cheyenne, and most of his aunts and uncles are dead now
5. Watched Tim Lincecum strike out twelve players
7. (We were the ones eating Gilroy Garlic Fries) (Not Tim)
8. Went to the Wharf
9. Watched seals lolling about on Pier 39
10. Those seals reminded us of our big brown newfie, Zora
11. Went to Scoma's and had GREAT food--chowder and halibut for me, pasta for the vegetarian person
12. Caught the cable car and rode to Lombard Street
13. But first listened to a guy playing Led Zeppelin tunes on a banjo
14. Walked down curvy Lombard Street and marveled at the hydrangea shrubs in bloom
15. Eventually made our way back to the hotel
16. Where we are now watching TV

Such a great day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What We Did Today

1. Flew into Oakland
2. Passed the Coliseum on the way into town and went really? The Raiders play THERE?
3. Found our adorable little hotel which feels very European
4. Strolled through Chinatown
5. Ate a good lunch at the Nanking Restaurant
6. Quinton said he's never had better tofu
7. Dude would know about tofu
8. I bought a lavender jade bangle and Q bought flamboyant hippie beads
9. Looked at the Hungry I from the outside as I mentioned to Q that Barbra Streisand used to sing there
10. And actually I have no idea if this is true or not, but my parents used to tell us this whenever we drove through San Francisco
11. Speaking of which, I am sometimes kind of amazed at how uninterested my parents were in censoring what we saw as we drove through San Francisco. Hello! I was nine!
12. But I truly don't say this as a criticism
13. Meanwhile, Q and I took the cable car to the wharf
14. Were thrilled to know that the bush guy is still there, terrorizing unsuspecting tourists
15. Also saw a herd of segways, which is always good for a laugh
16. Returned via a street car
17. Ate pizza (Q) and chicken (Not Q)
18. Went to a fancy mall on Powell and determined that no matter how inspired the architecture, all malls feel depressingly the same
19. In for the night . . . phew! We're beat!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Soliciting suggestions for SF

Q. and I are headed to San Francisco for a few days, after which we will meet the others of our tribe on the beach in So Cal where hopefully no one will get stung by stingrays this year.

ANYWAY. Any suggestions of things to do or eat while we're in the city by the bay?

Friday, June 17, 2011

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good bye

Today was the last day of WIFYR. Although I was completely exhausted I still felt . . . sad to see it end. It's been wonderful to spend so much time with people as bright and fabulous and funny as Lucinda, Dale, Neysa, Karen, Rebekah, Shar, Ernest, Christian, Andria, Renae, and Amy. They made me smarter.

Thanks, guys. Catch you later.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Making A Writer's Life

So last night at the WIFYR mingle at The King's English (I love you, The King's English), Claudia Mills and I had a conversation that inspired me. (Not unusual to have that type of conversation with Claudia. She IS inspiring.) Here's what we decided.

1. While publishing is very nice, of course, you can have a satisfying writer's life w/o it. You can go on writing retreats with writer friends. You can join and enjoy critique groups. You can host a reading. In other words, you can introduce those parts of a writer's life you think would be fun into your own life.

2. And speaking of fun, what's the point if it isn't? There are published authors (with a LOT of titles even) who can still grumble with great bitterness, "Look at everything I've done and what did it get me?" Where's the joy in that?

Let's have fun, you guys.

Monday, June 13, 2011

WIFYR time!

It's hard to believe this conference is in its twelfth year. Way to go, Carol Williams and other Conference Founders! Did you think your dream would still be alive after all these years?

Anyway. It was a happy day. I loved seeing old students and meeting new ones. I would like to write more, but the Tylenol P.M. has started to kick in.


P.S. Julie, if you're in the cyber neighborhood, guess who's in my class? Remember Ernest Robertson? It's fantastic to see him again.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A first!

In tomorrow's column I use the word "urinate." I think I use it tastefully but I could be kidding myself. You'll have to let me know.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shock/Retail Therapy

So I stopped at Smiths on the way home from UVU today to buy crap for dinner. Because what could be yummier than crap for dinner?

Anyhoo, as I was strolling up and down the aisles (wondering WHY OH WHY OH WHY the Avenues Smiths keeps moving stuff around) I noticed that little jolts of electrical currents were running up my fingers and into my arms. But how could that be? It's not like I was rubbing my feet on my family's old shag "candy stripe" carpet in the basement so I could shock myself on purpose. (See what fun we had growing up in Provo? DUDE! LET'S PUT ON OUR CARPET SLIPPERS, DRAG OUR FEET AROUND THE SHAG CARPET AND SHOCK OURSELVES ON PURPOSE!)

But there I was at Smiths, getting shocked all the same. And it totally HURT. I felt exactly like that hapless male student in Bill Murray's bogus ESP experiment at the first of GHOSTBUSTERS. And like that student I wanted to yell, "Hey! You're pissing me off!" Because after all I went to Smiths to buy pasta, NOT to have a rogue shopping cart mess with my body's already challenged electrical systems.

Turns out that the cart was all haywire. It thought I was trying to remove it from the parking lot even though we were just standing there in the produce aisle by the organic vegetables. So I just turned to that cart and said, "Really? If I were gonna steal a cart, trust me. I'd steal one that was nice to me."

It's been a long, long, loooooooooooooooong day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Physical Graffiti

No. This isn't a Led Zeppelin post, although I love Led Zeppelin.

This is about how Kathy and I have been seeing Graffiti-with-a-Twist on our walks early in the morning. Someone has taken to writing haiku-length poems in colored chalk on the sidewalks of the Lower Avenues. When I pointed at one yesterday, Kathy said she'd already noticed. She was especially interested in what nice handwriting the vandal has.

My Kathy. Always the first-grade teacher!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chillin' like a villain (in Utah County)

Through a combination of circumstances, I find myself in Provo for the day. I’ve spent most of it preparing for next week's WIFYR boot camp at the fabulous city library (I loves it so much!) (and I always feel proud when I see my parents' names on the donors' list as you walk through the south door!) (way to be awesome, Parents o' mine!).

Anyhoo! Here’s what I have to say. When I was growing up here, the locals (at least the kid locals) REALLY resented it when people assumed Provo and BYU were one of the same. But a funny thing has happened since I moved to Salt Lake 30 years ago. I’ve started making the exact same assumption.

Here’s the deal. Watching the patrons drift in and out of the library has reminded me that yes, Provo is predominantly white. And yes most of its citizens probably espouse some degree of Mormonism. But the population here is by no means monolithic. At all. For the record, it is possible to live in Provo and have big tattoos, crazyass multiple piercings, and inventive facial hair. And also for the record, BYU's student body (and faculty) isn't completely monolithic either

What's the lesson I'm taking away from this today? Apparently I've turned into a certain type of snotty Salt Lake East Bencher and that is SO NOT GOOD. Time to lose the stereotypes, she said to herself as she stereotyped a segment of Salt Lake residents, aka "snotty Salt Lake East Benchers."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A thought

So I have this big sprawling hairy dopey orange oriental poppy that is taking over my front yard. I've tried pulling it up year after year, but it always comes back, so I've just said FINE. Whatever. YOU WIN, BIG SPRAWLING HAIRY DOPEY ORANGE ORIENTAL POPPY! Because you know what? If something wants to BE that badly, then I probably oughta just let that thing be.

It's a tricky life act--trying to figure out when to do battle and when to surrender.

Friday, June 3, 2011

R.I.P. James Arness

Just heard from my brother Jimmy that James Arness (aka Matt Dillon) passed away. Jimmy says he hopes our grandfather, Skinny, was there to say hey, pardner. It's been awhile.

James Arness was Peter Graves' older brother, and I think they looked alike. I also think Arness looked a LOT like my dad, although curiously my dad and Peter Graves look nothing alike. So there you have it. Life. In all its complexity.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New YA novel alert!

First, snaps to Lisa B. for introducing me to the hysterically funny website Day in and day out, creators Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan bring the crazy and make me happy to be alive. Thanks for that, ladies!

And second, their debut YA novel SPOILED appears on bookstore shelves everywhere today. It's a mighty fun read--sort of what you would expect (in fuggirl talk) if CLUELESS and PARENT TRAP got together and had a baby.

Meanwhile I am reading manuscripts for the upcoming WIFYR conference, and I am impressed. I hope with all my heart that I'll be announcing the publication births of those books one day, too.