Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Book Review: His Favorite Wife, by Susan Ray Schmidt

I got this book yesterday at about 2 pm. I was busy until 9 pm, went to bed, read my scriptures, picked up Susan's book, and didn't fall asleep until 4 am. I finished the book. I just devoured it.

I ordered this book after reading a post on Viva Ned Flanders about Krakauer's book and being reminded of a quick news story I'd seen on TV about a woman (Susan) who'd written a book. She was commenting, as I recall, on Rena Chynoweth's listing on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted.

And I thought, "hey! I think a girl named Susan, who was married to Ervil LeBaron's brother lived across the street from me." So I checked it out and sure enough, she was the girl across the street with all the kids.

Memory is funny. I thought she was 27, had seven kids, and the oldest was a boy. She was 27, had six kids, and the oldest was a girl. I honestly don't know why we didn't become better friends, we were both young single mothers. I think I must have looked down on her, even shunned her, I don't know.

I'm pretty ashamed of myself after reading her story. You guys, this woman paid her dues in the school of life early and hard.

I've read a couple of books about fundamentalists, besides Krakauer's book. The thing that struck me the most is how much those men neglected their families' physical welfare. I remember one girl writing about taking onion sandwiches to school. Susan and her children did without in similar manners.

I'm rambling, but I recommend this book. For one thing, she tells some of the history in Krakauer (I cannot remember the name, it's early)--the missionary problem overseas after the war. It looks like they're all offshoots, related to each other, somehow. Oh, and here's a teaser: she almost married Ervil LeBaron. You'll want to know how that went. She was a pretty smart and strong 14 year old.

But more, she tells a love story. She loved her husband and he loved her. He was screwed up, she was a kid, but she loved him. She tells their story with unflinching honesty and expertise.

You guys, really good book. And I sort of knew her. Isn't life just so strange?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Everybody needs a kick-butt grandma

My grandma was a mean old lady. She'd make us go get our own stick and then she'd whip us with it. She beat the crap out of me once, for no good reason. It was absolutely abuse and I'll never forgive her for it.

On the other hand, she and Grandpa provided me with the only real home I had as a child. Most of the time, she was a pretty good grandma, not a perfect person, but she was overburdened. Long story.

I spanked Rowan yesterday. She keeps getting in all the mailboxes in my neighborhood. She opened a neighbor's mail one day and I found it in the yard. She opens my mail.

Yesterday I was out talking to a neighbor and I saw her head toward the mail boxes. Again! I yelled, "Rowan, you stay out of those mailboxes."

She ignored me and kept going.

I yelled again, "Don't you touch those mailboxes."


"Rowan, do NOT open that mailbox."

She did it. She opened the mailbox.

I lost it. I grabbed her arm, turned her around, and I smacked her a good one on her bottom. Just once, but I made sure it stung.

She didn't cry, she didn't seem upset, she got back on her bike and I said, "now you trade off with Janey in a minute" and she said, "okay, Grams."

I've spanked her once before, when she was three and wouldn't stay out of the wood stove. I hit her on her diaper then, softly, she was insulted, but she didn't cry. She never got in the stove again.

Last night, Bill and I were watching CSI and one of the stars made the comment (after a bunch of teenagers had gotten picked up for murders and beatings) "they need a Grandma to whup their butts." And Bill and I laughed and said, "Rowan's covered with that."

I'm all for corporal punishment in cases like this. A swat works for Rowan. Max is a different story. He takes it personal and acts out worse. We have to reason with him, but I also have to be consistent and follow up. I've never spanked any of my other grandchildren and I hope I never have to.

Of course, I cuddle them constantly. I think it balances out.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


It's no secret that I like President Bush. I think he's a good person, trying to do the best he can in difficult situations. I don't like some of the things he's done, but I can say the same thing about God.

But I'm listening to his news conference as we speak and I am just about to fly to Washington and speak to him because it's bothering me. That is his pronounciation of the word nuclear.

He's the president of the (arguably) most powerful and rich country in the world and none of his advisors has mentioned to him that he's mispronouncing a word that he uses in almost every speech?

I keep wondering if he's doing it on purpose to sound dumb so people will underestimate him. I don't care, I want him to fix that.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

How Ya Doin?

So, how's everybody doing? I'm a mess. My chronic fatigue (yes, I own it) is back again with a super vengeance, worse than before and I am a true believer in this disease. Yesterday I literally couldn't get up till after 1 pm.