Friday, July 31, 2015

Little Golden Books

So Provo City Library is having a lovely exhibition of all your favorite art from the golden days of Little Golden Books.  You can find my piece about it here.

My personal favorites?  Anything done by Eloise Wilkin--she of the fat-cheeked babies.  I snatch up those books whenever I can find them.

Do you have any fondly remembered Little Golden Books?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A column about enduring

I usually write my columns on Fridays and send them down to the paper first thing Monday morning. Generally by Thursday I have an idea or two kicking around upstairs, but last week?  Not so much.  Then I wandered down to South Temple to watch the runners and voila!  There was my column.

Sometimes the universe looks out for you.

Thanks for that, Universe!

Monday, July 27, 2015

A tiny thank you note to my garden

Dear My Garden,

I had such big plans for you this year, remember?  And when spring came rolling down the mountains this year back in March, I hung out with you a ton.  We were BFFs going to the mall, trying on this outfit and that outfit, so that when summer came rolling around you'd be outfitted with more daisies than a 1960's bride.


I don't know.

This year.

It's kinda kicked my butt, frankly, so the two of us pretty much stopped hanging out together.  I hate to say I abandoned you, but okay.  I did.  That's why when I stood on the porch today and (surprise!) saw your coral roses and pink dailyness and white phlox and yes--your daisies--shimmer with morning light, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the way you've kept calm and carried on.

Thank you, My Garden.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

So how's this for a blurb?

Tonight at the store a special order came in by an author named Patrick Taylor who was described on the cover this way:  "Patrick Taylor has become probably the most popular Irish-Canadian writer of all time."

This raised all kinds of interesting questions--like, how many Irish-Canadian writers are there?  Are Irish-Canadian writers a thing?  And exactly what does "of all time" mean?  Who's been keeping track?

And that word "probably"?  This guy is only "probably" the most popular Irish-Canadian writer of all time?

Turns out there's an art to blurbing a book . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stop me if I've told you this story before

Or don't . . .

Because it's a good one.

When my parents were driving up to Sun Valley for their honeymoon, TRQ asked the Coach who was better-looking--TRQ or her sorority sister rival.

Not clever enough (yet) to know the right answer, the Coach gave this some serious thought and then said:  "Well, she has a better face but you have a better body."

We laughed about this story (again) last night over dinner at David's Kitchen because it was my parents' wedding anniversary, and they invited us to join them for some sweet and sour pork chops, as well as walnut shrimp.  Pot stickers were also involved.

Happy anniversary to two of the best people I know.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A tiny screed about Facebook

You can find it here.

I've thought about quitting it altogether because maybe then I'd finish writing a book.  But I would miss your smiling faces.  Yes I would!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Just another reason why I love TRQ

This is the conversation TRQ and I had at dinner last night.

TRQ:  George Clooney's wife has really thin arms these days.

ME:  Is that right?

TRQ:  Yes.  They're worried that she has anorexia.

And then the two of us carried on our conversation about George Clooney and his wife with the thin arms as though they're neighbors of ours.

It's pretty clear where I get my taste for celebrity gossip, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Personal bucket thing

Well, it's true that my personal bucket thing has gone empty.  For a lot of reasons, I'm just all tapped out every which way these days.  But whatever.  That's not the point of this blog.  The point is that I'm trying to refill my personal bucket thing and to wit--this story.

I felt like some soothing, calming music might be in order to restore my ragged nerves, so the other day when I was driving around I saw a Deseret Book and the thought did occur unto me that MAYBE a cd by the Mormon Tabernacle choir might be just the thing for me.

Yes.  I know.

So I pulled into the parking lot, went inside, and impulse-bought a cd (a double cd, even!) of the Mo-Tabs singing patriotic tunes.

Yes again.  I know.

Anyway, I popped it into my car's cd player and after listening to the chorus of "Over There" (THE YANKS ARE COMING!  THE YANKS ARE COMING!) I went what the hell.

Moral of this story:  resist the temptation to impulse buy a cd of the Mo-Tabs singing patriotic tunes when you need to fill your bucket thing.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Atticus Finch

Well, by now you've probably all read about the fact that old Atticus disappoints his grownup daughter, Jean Louise (aka "Scout") when she returns to town as a grownup and discovers that her father is a stodgy southern racist.  I write about all of this here.

One of the points I make is that the character of Atticus--the one we meet in To Kill a Mockingbird--might, in fact, be the one Harper Lee meant us to remember.  He was, after all, brought to life during Lee's revisions of Go Set a Watchman.  This happens during the revision process sometimes.  My first take on Charlotte Edwards--the main character of Charlotte's Rose--was timid.  Fearful.  Her journey was to discover her own bravery.

But somewhere during one of the drafts  I got bored with that Charlotte and turned her into a bold girl.  A feisty girl.  A girl who would impulsively volunteer to carry a baby across the plains and then be stubborn enough to do it.

We'll never know how the character of Atticus Finch evolved, ultimately.  And the truth is the Atticus in Watchman may well be a more realistic character given the story's time and place.

But still.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Texting challenged

Here's a text thread I just had with my friend about attending a certain lecture together.

ME:  I have to be in Provo covering an event for the paper.  Are you wanting to go, too?

HER:  Yes.  I'm hoping to go.

ME:  Good!  Let's hang out!!

HER:  Awesome blossom!

ME:  I can drive if you'd like to ho together.

Please notice that last sentence.  Yes.  I accidentally said "ho" instead of "go."  I hope the visual of two middle-aged Mormon ladies ho-ing in Provo amuses you as much as it does me.

You're welcome.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Oh, Irony

Last week I decided to go off Facebook for awhile.  And, in fact, I was going to write a column about it, saying how I was wasting so much time on Facebook these days, taking Buzzfeed quizzes to find out which Disney Princess I am and so forth (I'm Aurora btw--apparently I'm shy and reticent and it takes me awhile to open up to people).

But then the gnomes happened.


While I was in California, certain people (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, ANNE HOLMAN, MARGARET NEVILLE, WHITNEY AND JANE BERGER) kidnapped my gnomes and took them bar-hopping all over Salt Lake.

Also Jamie Ortwein took one with her to Europe.

So now these gnomes keep showing up on my fb page and, the people,  I cannot leave it now.  Not as long as my gnomes are knocking back cocktails with strange men leering at them in the background.  Go to my fb page and you'll see what I mean.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A few pieces from The Trib

I haven't been very good about posting things from the paper lately.  So here we go.  A column about beating the heat and a longer piece about the pleasures of sharing books aloud.

You know what I'd like to do?  Two columns a week for the paper.  It would be a challenge, but I think I'd enjoy it.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 4 evolving

Ken Cannon and I passed a pleasant holiday yesterday.

In the morning we ate breakfast at the ward where I was comforted to see the regulars (Rick Horne, Stuart Loosli) still flipping flapjacks with the best of them.  Then we skedaddled on home where I lazed about until it was time to cheer on the Bees and watch some fireworks down at the Smith's Ballpark.  We were joined by Mike Brown and his lovely wife, Kacie, whom I have known and loved since the day she was born.  And now look at us!  We're grownup friends together!

Anyway, I've thought about how our observance of this holiday has changed over the years.  To recap--

1.  When Ken and I had young kids we went to Provo on the 3rd, lit off fireworks (one of them went accidentally went up TRQ's robe once!  Fortunately, no limbs lost!), slept over night, and hit the parade in the morning.   We spent the afternoon over at Ruth's house where the kids knocked themselves out on the Slippy Slide and I went into a potato salad-induced coma.  In the evening we returned to SLC where Kathy Berg and her neighbor Kathy Shafer used to have a monster neighborhood party in their combined backyard.

2.  When Ken was made bishop, we stopped doing the Provo Fourth, which was sort of tragic in some ways because the Fourth was the Biggest of the Big in Provo when I was growing up.  But we were obligated to go to the ward flag raising ceremony and breakfast, and eventually that became our new beloved tradition.  We still went to Provo in the afternoon, then returned to SLC for baseball purposes.

3.  And now we don't even go to Provo.  Ruth is too tired (she has the right to be too tired--she's 95!) to host a family friendly Bacchanalia and, frankly, we don't mind staying home.

Holidays evolve to fit the time of life you're in and I'm pretty much okay with that.

I did spend a lot of time yesterday thinking about Becky Thomas.  The Fourth was her favorite holiday.  She felt about the Fourth the way I (sometimes still) feel about Christmas.  I felt her everywhere.  And that was lovely.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Well, THAT was disorienting

For the past four or five summers, I've either biked or run in Liberty Park first thing in the morning where I always give a nod to The Regulars like myself.  One of them is an older man who wears some sort of armed forces golf hat, so over the years I've imagined him fighting in WWII.  Maybe he was in Normandy, storming the beaches.  Or maybe he was in the Pacific, fighting his way across the sands of Iwo Jima.  

Whenever I see him, I feel like saluting and thanking him for his service.

And I still feel that way, although this morning it finally occurred to me that this gentleman--who I've been thinking of as old--may actually be closer to my vintage than to my uncles'.  Which means he could be a vet of my generation's war.  Vietnam.