Monday, July 31, 2006

Levi Peterson wrote me a letter

Yes, he did. I wrote to him with a whole new ending, or sequel to Aspen Marooney and he wrote me back.

And my butt is so gold.

The Girls

I am generally reading several books at once. I also read the Ensign cover to cover, which I consider obedience, and I often miss the good stuff that's there in my dogged devotion to reading the words in there, at the expense of quality. I brag about how I always read it, but am often reminded through the bloggernacle to go back and check out something especially profound. I read the scriptures daily.

I'm also reading Levi Peterson's autobiography, which started out very interesting, but is dragging as I read about his dating and college years. I think it will pick up. Oh, and a small book called Facing God which was recommended to me by my monk friend.

I always have three piles of books on my bookshelf. One is books from the bookmobile, which parks right in front of my house; one is a pile from the Cedar City library, and the other is books I have purchased.

I had a bunch of books checked out, so I put off reading The Girls by Lori Lansens (along with John Updike's The Terrorist, which I may never get to) so I could get all my borrowed books back to their respective facilities sometime in the year I checked them out.

The Girls is a worthy book. I will not donate this book, I will keep it. I recommend it to all readers. It's full of insight, but the story is compelling--about Siamese twins joined at the head. The author does a wonderful job of writing in both twins' voice and telling a compelling story. A teaser: one twin becomes pregnant at the age of 16 and gives the child up for adoption.

Here's a few passages that resonated with me:

(referring to a neighbor woman who mourned her son killed in a tornado) "She buried his bike under the apple tree. I always wondered if she thought Larry's spirit was speaking to her through Rose's poem. I'm not being sarcastic. I really believe it."

What I liked about that is sometimes I say strange things and people think I'm being sarcastic or funny, but I really believe most of what I say.

(Referring to a "true" story of how a man hits a deer with his car. The deer goes through the window and lands in a sitting position on his mistress, killing the woman): " 'What's a mistress?" (six year old) Ruby asked.
'Aunt Lovey had turned full circle to look at Ruby and me in the backseat. "A mistress is a woman who has sexual relations with a married man." Her policy was, if you're old enough to ask the question you're old enough to be told the truth.' "

(Ruby's comment after an interchange with her sister, Rose) "That made me feel good and quite annoyed at the same time, because I don't need her approval. But I do. You know?"

(Ruby, again ) "Rose really brooded about that. She likes a good brood. She does. But I choose to be happy." ( :) I am like Rose, I like a good brood)

And one last, funny thing: (Rose, this time) ". . .I had a flash of Ruby at about five years old, at the Jaycee Fair in Chatham. We'd gone on a child's ride. . .A crowd had gathered to watch us. i remember friendly faces for the most part, somewhat pitying, friendly faces, at lest until we got off the ride and Ruby shouted, "That made my vagina tingle!"

This author wrote another book, which I am going to have to order. Bill and I are going to West Yellowstone in September and I will ride all comfy in the back seat, tranquilized and with a pile of books.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Side blogs

I want to say two things: I very much enjoy the side blogs. I'm just realizing that other blogs besides Times and Seasons do that. I appreciate it very much because it's so hard to get in all the good stuff. I think it's a good thing you are all doing. I must learn how to do it. After I finish the ironing. Which will happen after I start the ironing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

what have you forgotten?

There is a test one can take that supposedly diagnoses the possibility of Alzheimer's. I'm a classic hypochondriac and as soon as I read about the test, I went in to my doctor to take it. I said, "Doc, I think I need physical therapy on my foot (I'd cut my achilles tendon) and my hip is bothering me, maybe I need a new one, and I think I have alzheimer's. I want that new test."

He laughed, but I took the test and it was positive, which stunned us both. Although the test has problems because a positive can mean one has other problems. We found I'd had a TIA and some other physical things. Long story, although I enjoy discussing it. LOL So we aren't sure what's going on.

I've shared this with my friends, but they don't care, they can't remember squat either.

Yesterday I dropped over to my neighbor with a plate of cookies, I'm her visiting teacher. She and her husband were on the porch. Her husband said, "hey, what about your dogs?"

I replied, "are they bugging you?"

He said, "no, you left that message on our machine last week."

I said, "hmm. . .no, I didn't call you about my dogs."

He said, "you said something about three kinds of food?"

I pondered, then I remembered. I'd played a practical joke on them last week.

I'd called and said, "Hi, could you guys take care of my dogs while we're gone for a week? It's really easy, there are only three kinds of dog foods and I'll have to explain, each dog gets a different kind and the fourth just eats whatever. Oh, and you'll need to put Toby in and out or he poops in the house and if it thunders and rains, you'll have to come home and put Shelby in, because he panics. You'll have to put him downstairs, but check him after an hour or he'll tear it up."

" Oh, and if they bark, all you have to do is go put the bark collars on them. I don't have to do it every night, maybe two or three nights a week. But they usually don't do it till 4 in the morning."

"I would really really appreciate it, you guys. Thanks."

They're so sweet they didn't even hesitate, so it wasn't as good a joke as it could have been. I was hoping to hear their excuses. I wanted to hear, "Are you crazy? We hate your dogs."

And we all laughed because I forgot my own joke. I used to have an almost photographic memory, I didn't have to write any thing down. Now it doesn't matter if I write it, I'll lose the piece of paper.

The part I probably find the most bothersome is my inability to recognize people. Many people look alike to me now. If they're together, I know them, but if they're apart, I have to ask them who they are. It's interesting, but on a scale of one to 10, as far as problems go, I would consider this a 3.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

unthinkable thoughts

Scott Bronson's post over at Popcorn Popping bothers me. His refusal to accept that his writing was way off base bothers me. I know through experience that this will probably come home to bite him, and he will recognize his own ignorance.

These are pictures of my loved ones. The bottom is my husband and son, taken 6 weeks before they drowned.

As I sat in the hospital waiting room, surrounded by family, as the doctors were trying to save my son (my husband was already pronounced dead), I thought two things I would never have voiced:

"Give me back my husband, take my son."

"I'm afraid--I think the plane will crash." (They were life flighting Davey, he died before they got there) I still feel guilty for thinking of my own welfare, for the physical fear I had. I'd flown quite a lot before that. I didn't get on an airplane again for 18 years, after James died.

His is the top picture, taken two years before his death. What a sweet, sweet boy.

The unthinkable thoughts I had when the two Marines came to tell me that James had committed suicide were, "I wish he'd died in an accident, that I could think this was an act of God."

"I wish it were someone else's child. Take my sister's son."

"I won't have to worry about money. The military will pay for everything."

"That chicken salad looks so good."

I could go on. When those two boys were abducted and tortured and murdered by insurgents in Iraq early this month, I thought, "thank God he died before he went to Iraq."

But I never, not once, worried that anybody would pity me. My husband and I never had that discussion. I totally did not give a crap about that.

The fact that Scott so totally missed what he was trying to portray tells me that he was aiming for shock, not excellence in his writing.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Judge orders teen to cancer treatment

I read this headline this morning when I checked in on the Drudge Report. I find this immensely troubling.

Bill and I have a solid agreement that we will make individual decisions should we ever become ill with cancer. We have agreed not to force chemotherapy or radiation on the other. I have decided I will never have chemotherapy and he says, for now, that he will honor my wishes.

I think this 16 year old boy is mature enough to decide for himself what treatment he must endure. I guess, ideally, his parents have explained his options to him and he would rather go with alternative treatment. I think it should be his decision.

I've seen success with both types of treatments; but more often, I've seen people waste valuable time fighting cancer with chemotherapy and spending their dying days unable to function in any way. They are not able to enjoy the last days with their family because of the treatment, not the disease. They do not die with dignity.

One man I know was diagnosed with colon cancer and opted not to have chemo or radiation in order to buy time. He died so peacefully. He lost weight, but never got as sick as another friend, who did try radiation to prolong his time. Both these men were going to die from cancer, but the one who had treatment died a more horrible death.

What scares me with the state's forcing this boy into treatment is my fear that I will be forced to have treatment I don't want in order to prolong my life. I don't think the state has any right to interfere here.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blogging and self-esteem, and Trevor's first words

Apparently we're insignifcant microbes in the TTLB Ecosystem. I choose to think that something is wrong with the way the ecosystem rankings are calculated. I know you guys all love us (ok, I realize that you come here for annegb and not me).

My youngest child, Trevor, said his first words this week. They are "Thank you" (or "tick too"). He says it whenever someone gives him something he likes, such as a toy or a cracker. It's quite cute. I'm sure that "no" isn't far behind, but for now, he's the most polite baby we know.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Good advice, you guys. No lie.

Bill and I are going to Costco this week sometime and we are stocking up on cigarettes and coffee. That really bothers him, but I said, "honey we can't afford silver or gold and these things will be really good barter, if times get tough."

I think the end is beginning. The war in the middle east scares the crap out of me and makes my heart ache for those poor people. I see pictures of little boys and girls and it just rips me.

We are fortunate in America, but we should be prepared. Get some water on hand and store some coffee and cigarettes. During the holocaust these things were as good as gold to trade. Also light bulbs were a shortage.

Oh, also, put in some extra toothbrushes and soap and aluminum foil and paper plates in case you have to take in refugees.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Favorite movies

Quick, name five really great movies you've seen.

Let me see: Searching for Bobby Fisher
Shawshank Redemption
Children of a Lesser God
The Abyss

I haven't seen a really good movie in so long I can't remember when it was. Bill and I rented Shopgirl (sad ending), Syriana (sad, confusing ending), and we went to see The Breakup, which was an unexpected bummer.

I read that Hollywood is having a rough time. They make a big deal out of Pirates of the Caribbean being #1. I think it's just because there's nothing better to see. I am looking forward to M. Night Shymalan's new movie. Although he can never quite top The Sixth Sense.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


My family and I are moving from Durham, NC, where we have spent the last ten years of our lives, to Harrisonburg, VA, where I have accepted a job. I have two weeks to get things packed. Yuck.

Any advice?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Spotlight: Jessie

I got Jessie when I married her dad. She was three years old and sort of traumatized. Her mother had left the family a year before and she'd had a mean babysitter.

She was the cutest little thing. The first time I tended her, I told her no for something, candy or something small, and she spouted: "dumb-dumb butthole asshole" and ran into her room. I laughed that a little kid knew those words and cuddled her.

She began to call me Mommy on her own, naturally. She still calls me Mommy. She calls me "Mother" in a deeply condescending tone when we are arguing.

I wouldn't have believed that tiny girl would turn into an Amazon. She's 6' tall now. The picture on the right is her today, with her boyfriend, Jack, who we love.

The picture right is a famous one, sort of. Jessie won a contest when she was eight years old. Kids were encouraged to enter pictures for the Primary Children's Medical Center alphabet block contest. Jessie's mermaid won for the "M" block. 25,000 kids entered this contest. Jessie's picture was in the Children's Friend that year, it's on t-shirts that the hospital gift shop sells, it's in coloring books they give to children waiting for care, it's on blocks all over the hospital. The original picture is framed and on display in the cafateria or the snack shop, I can't remember.

She said when she was the wise old age of ten: "I could make a much better mermaid now."

Jessie and I have been through so much together. I flew to Denver to rescue her from her four year marriage to a beast. I rented a little red mustang, went to her place, called the cops, and stuffed her possessions into the trunk and back seat of that little car and took my girl home. It was a total God thing.

She is the most beautiful, charming, and talented person I know in real life. Her life has not been easy. But she has chosen to be a good person, a giving person, and she lights up a room like nobody I know. She is a gift in my life.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Good advice

I heard a good saying "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." I am my own worst enemy and it takes a long time for me to learn my lesson. I've been tilting at windmills all my life and it mostly just gets people mad at me.

I thought I would share that little saying. Today I'm going to ask myself, "what do I normally do?" and do the opposite. Which pretty much entails keeping my mouth shut.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday question: adolescent stupidities

What's the stupidest (riskiest) thing you did as an adolescent?

I ran away from home and hitchhiked to Las Vegas when I was 14, accepting a ride from three boys who were total strangers. I got picked up by the police when I got there and taken to a juvenile detention center and my parents picked me up. It's a long story.

But I could have been killed. I was headed to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco to do drugs and be a hippie. I didn't have a clue about sex, it wasn't about the free love for me. I was so stupid. And lucky.

This is off the topic of my own post, but it's on meditating. I'm reading a book called Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. She relates to an Indian monk her problems meditating, keeping her mind still and he replies: "It's a pity you're the only person in the history of the world who ever had this problem." Who thought there was a sarcastic Indian monk?

Which I loved because yesterday I tried to meditate to my mantra for fifteen minutes and my mind kept wandering and I thought I was a failure at meditating.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Check this out

This guy named Tyler wrote a wonderful post about the atonement I would like to share with the world.

check it out:


I printed off a post on Sunstone about Mormon Mantras
by a guy named Philip McLemore and studied it. I'm going to study it more, but I recommend it as a guide for meditation. Maybe beginning meditation.

I have wavered in my mantras in my two efforts in the last week at meditation. One was "Jesus, thou son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner" and the other "Create in me a clean heart, o Lord."

I haven't done it enough to know if I will have the same results as Mr. McLemore, but I'll report back. I think there might be something to it.

Here's the link:

Monday, July 03, 2006

I,Too, Sing America

I have only discovered poetry in the last few years and I'm no expert. Walt Whitman was my first discovery. I picked up Leaves of Grass in a book store and stood there, mesmerized, reading through the whole book.

I love his joy, his honesty. One of my favorite lines is, "death is different than we suppose, and luckier." I know I didn't quote that exactly, but I knew what he was talking about.

But I found this poem by Langston Hughes a few years ago in a book I found in a used bookstore. I suppose it's a response to Whitman's words, "I hear America singing."

I, Too

I, too, sing America

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed.

I, too, sing America.
-Langston Hughes

I am so glad I am an American. Not so much for the big reasons, freedom and all that. But because of progress, hot water, medicine, and good food. I'm willing to share, not as apt to fight off the immigration from the south. I think there's enough and to spare. I love this country.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Losing friends

Have you ever lost a really close friend, through your own choice or theirs?

Once, in eighth grade, my best friend chose to start a fight with the most disliked girl in school (I was the second most disliked, but I did have this one loyal friend). You know, the homely socially backward type (my family was the white trash, drunk of the town type). I objected and didn't speak to my friend for two weeks. Instead of attending a big party she'd planned, I spent the night with this social reject girl. I took a stand.

I had to do something like that this week--the result was jail time for my friend's child. I've done harder things, but not much. I'm sad and afraid because there is a lot of hatred and animosity on the part of her family. I'm disappointed in my friend. And church is going to be pretty hard tomorrow.

We've been friends for 27 years. We've laughed and debated ideas, she's my smartest friend. We've buried children and struggled through terrible things in life. This is yet another terrible time.

She showed me this poem by Carol Lyn Pearson, I don't know the title:

I dim, I dim
I have no doubt
If someone blew,
I would go out.

I did not.
I must be stronger
Than I thought.

I treasure my friends. This is a time of grieving.