Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cleaning the oven

Sarah, aka loving known as Princess Buttgold, moved last week. The whole family assembled to help her move her stuff and clean.

I told her I'd clean her oven. In a moment of weakness when she was sick and I felt sorry for her.

I came prepared with Easy-off and rubber gloves, resigned, keeping my word.

We had to drive to Wal-Mart to get new pans to go under the burners and curtains for her new house and as we were driving she made the idle comment, "You know, Mom, I'm so glad you're cleaning the oven because that just doesn't seem like a fun job to me at all."

I replied, "Yeah, I could hardly sleep for the excitement. All night I thought, 'oh, goody, I get to clean the oven in the morning. It was like Christmas all over again.'" She laughed a little, but I think the sarcasm was mostly lost on her since she has yet to clean an oven.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Do you have any phobias or fears? I'm scared to death of bees. I will scream and run around and get hysterical. I can't help it.

Bill and his friend, Paul, went fishing the other day at Minersville and fished late into the night. They spotted something in the water towards the end of the evening and went over to take a look. It was a snake! They watched it climb up their motor and wrap itself around the top of it, and went on fishing.

Bill said he knew it was just a blowsnake and he's not scared of them, but Paul sure was nervous the rest of the night. He kept looking back to see if the snake was still on the motor and not headed toward him in the boat.

Then as they headed back to shore, they saw another snake! Another blowsnake. Bill got his net out and fished it out of the water, leaving it in the net till they got to shore. Then he just reached in, grabbed it by it's neck (do snakes have necks), and let it go to safety.

Then they wondered how to get the other snake off the motor. Paul had just spent a week at his ranch doing repairs and had killed four rattlesnakes. He was leery. So he went around the back and nudged the snake with a stick and when it stuck its head up, Bill grabbed it, unwrapped it and they let it go to safety, too.

It gives me chills just thinking about it. Also, I think Bill is very brave. Also maybe stupid, what if it were a cottonmouth. But he says they're not in the west.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

James' Patriarchial Blessing

My nephew named his son after my son, James. James the second was born shortly before James I's death.

He is the sweetest kid. He's almost 16, taking driver's ed, doing well in school, nice to his grandma and his mom, just a joy. A great big kid, too, tall and handsome.

So last Sunday his mom and his grandma (my nephew isn't active or near) took James to get his patriarchial blessing. The patriarch set James up in the comfortable hard back chair with the soft insides and placed his hands on the boy's head and began.

My sister sat reverently at this sacred event for her oldest grandchild, head bowed, arms folded, eyes closed. And began to hear a strange sort of wheezing sound as the blessing progressed. She risked a peek around only to see her grandson sound asleep during his blessing, breathing deeply, rythmically. She widened her eyes in ?horror?amusement?--for a few seconds, then watched him jerk awake. She bowed her head again.

After a few more seconds, she heard another sound. Snoring. She peeked again, sure enough, he'd fallen back asleep. This time she just bowed her head back. And heard her daughter-in-law making a strange sound, sort of coughing. She peeked over at Rita, who appeared to be crying, her head bowed, arms folded, eyes closed, sort of folded over into her lap. She felt the spirituality of the moment. . .for a moment. . .until she realized Rita was trying to hold in her guffaws. James slept peacefully through the rest of the blessing and I guess the patriarch never noticed.

Well, they made it through that one. James had a good nap and I guess it was good for everybody. Chris said James was given a wonderful blessing and someday he'll know what it said.

Monday, June 19, 2006

LaRue sobers up

Yesterday in church a sweet and kind man spoke of his father and he mentioned in passing his father taking a drink once in awhile.

As we gathered for Relief Society, a convert lady and I started joking about our drinking days. I was sitting next to a quiet woman in our ward, she seldom says anything, she's very active, conservative and orthodox. She smiled at me and said, "what are you talking about?"

"Our drinking days," I replied. "Did you ever drink, LaRue?" Totally knowing she'd never touched a drop in her life.

"Well, I tasted beer once! It was awful, I don't know how anybody could drink that stuff. Then when I turned 21, my parents took me to Wendover. The bartender told me this drink was mostly 7up and it was really good, so I had several! But I didn't get drunk, I could think and I knew what I was doing. I was sure sick the next day, though."

I just looked at her and laughed and said, "LaRue, you were drunk!" She denied it, but laughed a lot and we all had a good laugh.

Then in the beginning where they ask for the good news, I looked at her and thought, "should I tell them she sobered up?" She looked back and giggled. I was so tempted, but I kept my mouth shut. For now.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all you guys out there, even those who aren't dads yet. The world needs good men and you are they. or them. whatever.

My husband is one of the most deeply flawed and maddening men on the planet, but he's a good man and he is the strength of our family. He kills the spiders and shoos the bees out of the house, pumps the bike tires, goes over to help Sarah with her plumbing, and gives blessings to our children who are inactive, smoke and drink, and do not believe in religion.

But they get a hangnail and over goes old Dad with his bottle of oil. Not really, they wait till it goes gangrenous.

I, too, rely on him immensely. His steadiness and commitment. He will be ready to kill me for smarting off, but he will still come and change my tire when I get a flat at the grocery store.

From my office, as I sit at the desk typing here, I can see to his chair at the kitchen table. I'll call him in from yard work to eat lunch, then go back to my computer. He'll come in, wash up, sit at the table, and bow his head to silently bless his food. I stop and bow with him. I've never seen him eat without blessing his food. I don't know, maybe he does it in his head at Golden Corral.

He took two days off work last week to spend time with Maxwell, our little grandson. He took him fishing at Otter Creek. Bill would make sure he had one hooked and hand Max the pole and that little boy would get so excited, catching his fish. On the way home, Maxwell asked, "Grandpa, when you get old, will you give me this boat?"

Last month he took two days off so he could chaperone our grandson, Alex's school trip to Zion.

He's a good dad, a good husband, and a good grandpa. I never love him more than when I see him tenderly holding the baby, looking at her with wonder.

And like I said, he's tremendously flawed and maddening and all that. So guys, take hope, God was once a man.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the Bill of the future

I'm sort of bored with being a blogger, it's much more fun to go to other peoples' blogs. Of course, it's summer and hot, you know.

But this is something Bill and I talked about the other day. I say it once in awhile to Bill when he's being mean and bossy. I will look at him calmly and say, "The Bill of the future is very disappointed in the Bill of the present at this moment."

He was griping about somebody and I was defending them, I can't remember, I forget why we fight, I just remember the fireworks. We were arguing and I said, "The Bill of the future is watching this in his life review and he feels just terrible that the Bill of the present is being so awful."

And he said, "I don't care what the Bill of the future thinks."

And we went on eating dinner.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Take notes, so you can say you knew me when.

Remember when annegb asked if we had ever met anyone famous? I forgot that Ken Jennings is famous. What's more, I could be famous in a year -- I'm in the contestant pool for Jeopardy! this year. You can read all about my audition experience over at Kulturblog. Or not. It's a long post. You might want to save yourself the time.

In the meantime, a quote from Julia (age 5) this time:

Julia (to Kristen): You have to be careful when you back up the car because you might squish someone if they're behind the car.

Kristen: Yes, you have to be very careful.

Julia: And then they would die.

Kristen: Yes, they would. That would be very sad.

Julia (after a reflective pause): What would happen if you and dad both got squished by a car and died?

Kristen: I don't know. What do you think?

Julia: That would be bad.

Kristen: Why?

Julia (after another long pause): Well, who would tell us if it was ok to watch a movie then?

some good stuff

I was taking the week off from blogging, but I read some cool stuff last night I wanted to share.

The first is this nugget from the April Ensign, pages 16-22, Elder Bateman's talk:

" I wish to illustrate. . .that living faithfully and serving with all one's heart, might, mind, and strength are really functions of steadily enduring, of doing one's best each day, in contrast to great bursts of energy that one tries to prolong."

"To serve with full direction of heart is to serve with full purpose of heart. The concern is with direction not speed. . . . What counts is one's desire and determination, not an extraordinary burst of energy. Although the Lord expects us to do our best, He is looking for steady candle power on a hill and not bright flashes in the sky that briefly illuminate, then fade."

I am loving the book, The Backslider, by Levi Peterson. It's full of wisdom, here are a few of teh ruminations of the main character, Frank Windham:

"He carried the scriptures in the glove compartment, and every day at lunchtime he read from the Book of Mormon. . .He could see he had a bad spirit because he didn't like Nephi, who was the humblest man on earth."

(Having a conversation with Nathan, an old ranch hand, at a funeral) Nathan said: "What I can't hardly believe is I'm going to die poor. I've lived the gospel all my life, I've responded to the call of the authorities; I've said my prayers and been good to my neighbors. And what do I have to show for it?"

"They were alone in the cemetery. The wind had already to grizzle with snow the red clay of Salsifer's grave. Frank couldn't get over Nathan's envy of Salsifer, his lust for worldy vanities. Frank was jolted and scared. The living were in graves as much as the dead. Everyone who who breathed was locking in a coffin, was hugged to the dark silence of the gravelly earth. "

And the last few pages are wonderful, they tell of Frank's talk with Cowboy Jesus:

"It was Jesus, his face as kind as the August dawn.

'You're lost,' he said.

Ashamed, Frank cast his eyes downward.

'It's not much of anything.'

(Jesus) 'It isn't any bother. Hearing your griefs is my business. Go ahead and tell me."

And they have a gentle conversation and ends with Frank making the conclusion: "Jesus is kind."

It's a really wonderful book. I've got it dog eared already and I'm going back with a red pen.

This is the joy of blogging for me, finding stuff like this.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Fuzzy Red Bathrobe questions and a tribute to Princess Buttgold

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

I have four living sisters, two baby sisters and a brother died. I also have two half brothers and two half sisters.

Are you close to them?

I love them all dearly. I'm only close to one sister now. Time and tide has made some changes.

Are you like them at all?

Oh, yes. We all laugh at anything, we're all scrappy. My sister's grandchildren can't tell us apart. They always come running up to me, calling Grandma! We all read, lots of things.

What is your birth order? Do you feel it affected you at all?

I totally believe in the implications of birth order. I'm the oldest and a true oldest person, bossy, caretaking, and assertive.

About Princess Buttgold: The other night when we had dinner with Shannon and Brian, Shannon asked Sarah about it and she said something like, "well, I'm spoiled and I think people should kiss my butt." That just broke my heart. Because she's not like that and I feel badly that she thinks I do.

She is, however, the quintessential youngest child, I guess. I'm a firm believer in birth order :).

The nickname evolved from my sister's Mexican roommate, who used to say of people, "he thinks his butt is made out of gold." Think Salma Hayek saying that. I loved the sentiment, because we all do occasionally get that misperception.

Sarah was the greatest blessing in my life and we just all adored her and spoiled her rotten. She was showered with positives and over-protected. When she became a teenager, the appellation "Princess Buttgold" sort of evolved because she did have things the other kids didn't. We had more money, less kids at home, that sort of thing. We got a lot of grief from the older kids because we always had sugared cereals, a rare treat for them.

But she's sweet and funny and kind. She's not mean and stuck up, like you would think. I feel that I contributed to her own negative opinion of herself, especially during the wedding of the year debacle and with my postings. Well, wedding are stressful and hers rivaled Princess Di's.

So this is my amends to my darling child and hopefully, a correction of perception. If she's Princess Buttgold, I'm Queen Buttgold.

These are a few pictures of her that I love. The one with the two little girls is a treasure. Keoke, one of the twins, died four years ago in an accident. The prom dress picture is a reminder of how Rowan, our little granddaughter, fell in love with Sarah in her dress. She thought her aunt was the real Sleeping Beauty. The other was taken at a Mother-Daughter function at church. And the flower one, a neighbor took that.

That is Sarah, a fountain of joy for all of us during some dark times. It's a heavy load, but somebody had to do it :).