Monday, March 30, 2009


I do not claim to be a poet, absolutely not. Although when I was 8 years old I entered a poetry contest for children with our local PBS station and won first place. I don't know if it was the pressures of fame, but I didn't write another poem again. Last year while studying poetry for my English class, one of our assignments was to write 3 haiku poems in the proper 3-line, 17-syllable form, so I wrote these.

A Walk on South Temple
Madeleine’s cathedral,
Gray walls dark with rain,
The saints look down at me.

The gardens are bursting with tulips,
Red, yellow, pink, orange,
Spring is here.

The Lake
A blend of sky and sea,
The breeze ripples the water,
And cools my face.

Some time ago, when Tiffany lived here and we had the Writer's Guild, one of our writing topics was to describe the word soft. This doesn't really count as a poem, although I did it in short sentences, so it's kind of poem-ish.

On Sundays I go to Barry and Melody’s for dinner with the family.
My nieces are there – Sierra, Mariah and Savannah.
They’re older now, 16, 14 and 12, but they still give me hugs just like they did when they were 6, 4 and 2. I love it.
When it’s time to go home, I say goodbye to each girl in turn.
Mariah puts her arms around me, lays her head on my shoulder and sinks in.
I hug her tight.
We stay there for a long time.
“This is my favorite part of the week.” I say.
She gives a little laugh and little pats on my back.
“I love you Rudy.”
“I love you too.”
I go all soft inside.

Like I say, I'm not a poet, but for what it's worth these are my amateur attempts at being poetic. Just thought I'd share.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello All. How do you feel about reviewing the week with me today? Ok, let's do it. Here is A Week in Review.

Very Worried
The situation with the flooding back home is not good. The folks in the know keep raising the predicted water level, and some neighborhoods are being evacuated. My parent's phone wasn't working for about 24 hours. Yesterday morning I was watching news reports online, and really wanted to talk to Mom, but couldn't get through on the phone, and was ready to pull my hair out, or buy a plane ticket and fly there. After a few hours I was finally able to get a hold of her, and so far they are fine. Their home is far enough away from the river, and on higher ground, to keep them from being in a danger zone. But, when we talked this morning, Mom said that her Bishop's family was evacuated last night. And my cousin's family is in danger. She's buying extra food and letting people know that they can come stay with her and Dad if need be. Dad was out sandbagging yesterday. Today he's trying to figure out a way to get to his greenhouse where he's planted some seeds for the garden. He bought some tall boots, but the water was too high to walk through. Today he's thinking of buy some that cover his entire legs. I say stay away from it. Honestly.

It's just so sad. I had to hold back the tears while watching some clips this morning. Strange how different it is to see this happening when it's a place and people you know. I got an email from my cousin in Fargo, and will share some of it with you:

"I just talked to many of my neighbors. The crest right now is expected at 41.5 to 42, which still leaves us dry by a foot. They recommended evacuation in our neighborhood, because they were worried about a dike being breached. But even though the water is coming over the top of that dike right now, that will fill in the golf course, then it will come towards our backyard. At 41 feet, it will reach the edge of our backyard. If it gets to 42 feet, it will be 20 feet away from our house. At 43 feet, it would then be VERY close to our house (probably within 5 feet, if not touching it).

So for now, we’re going to help some neighbors button up some window wells today, and may try to put some sandbags around one neighbor’s house who’s a little lower than us, if we can even get enough bags to do that. They’re pretty scarce right now, and since the city still feels we aren’t a priority because of our height, they’re not sending any our way."

Melody is telling me that she wants to go back for the clean up. I'd like to, too, but don't know that I can take the time off work. It's such a helpless, crippled feeling, being so far away.

What Are You Doing?
In other news - I rode the train to work the other day, and on the way home sat across from a scruffy looking man. About half way through the ride, he pulled out some papers and started to roll his own cigarettes. What the heck! I don't know why it was so shocking, but he really took me by surprise. Can you do that on the UTA? Are there laws? And now that I think about it, I can't be too sure that what he was rolling was tobbacco. Could have been weed. How do I know? It did look like he knew what he was doing, and in the end had something that looked very much like a joint. I didn't ask any questions. If he had lit it, I might have politely reminded him that there is no smoking on the train, but my stop came before that happened. I guess I'll never know just what was going on there.

That's it for now - a short edition this week. I read a good quote from a writer named Joseph Campbell, "I have bought this wonderful machine — a computer ... it seems to me to be an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy."

Thanks, as always, for your time and attention.
You are loved.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's a bit wet back home

The river that divides Fargo, ND and Moorhead, MN, where my parents live, is flooding with all of the spring snow melt, and the situation is drastic enough to make national news. Fargo-Moorhead is kind of like Provo-Orem. Practically one city, but the Red River runs between them to divide the towns, and the river is the border between the states. Mom and Dad are on the Moorhead, MN side. Their home is about a 20 minute walk from the river. I'm not too worried about their home flooding because of the distance from the river, but I am worried for the community. It's my hometown. Here's a video that I watched on MSNBC this morning.

Did you notice the kids from Alexandria, MN? That's where I was born. It is good to see so many pulling together. I told Melody this morning that I would love to go home and help, but I suppose that it's not a practical choice with my job and all. I will keep them in my prayers, and hope that you will do the same.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Week in Review

Remember how I like to take some time on Friday to write about things that have happened during the week? Let’s do that again. Here it is, A Week in Review.

Amalia Grace
I have a new niece. She was born on March 6, which makes her two weeks old today. This week Courtney and Andrea posted some pictures on Facebook, which I immediately saved copies of and am posting here.

Eyes wide open.

With her brothers, Spencer and Andrew.
Sleeping - look at all of that hair, and those cheeks! I just want to smooch them.

And here's the whole family.
They live in Rochester, MN, so I haven’t seen her yet, and it’s kind of making me crazy. I’m hoping very much that we’ll get together in June. Having a baby niece again is exciting. Of my 17 nieces and nephews, only 6 are girls, and the last girl we had is now 12 years old. It was time! Time to buy pink and frilly things and to pick out dolls again. The distance might make it hard for me to really spoil her, but I’ll do my best.

For the Baby
My friend Nicole came to Salt Lake to have lunch with me on Wednesday, always fun, and she brought the best thing ever for little Lia, a handmade car seat blanket. It’s made to fit perfectly around the seat, and with straps that attach to the handle to hold it up, off the baby’s face and to keep it in place. Genius. Here’s a picture of the one she made for Lia (I totally stole if off of her website).
I love the Raggedy Ann pattern, it's classic, but so rarely seen that it seems original and new. Very cute. Here’s link to the website. Anyone can order a blanket. It’s a great idea for all of your baby gift needs.
I think that anyone can order a blanket....Hope that wasn't some false advertising.

I did It
After some consideration, I decided to drop out of my current English class and sign up for a History class instead. I think that I mentioned having to read Beowulf, and I did it, and actually thought that it wasn't too bad. But then I got to the writing assignment, which had me finding all of the elements of this and that, and symbolism and "What did this mean..." and I thought, "I can't do this." I love to read books, but hate analyzing them. I can tell you what a book means to me, not to the author or to anyone else, and really, can there be one right answer with something so personal and objective?
I'm signed up for a class on world civilizations from the beginning of time until 1500. The book looks great, and I'm really excited about the class. Should be good.

A Tale of Two Cities
After talking about not wanting to analyze books, I am going to recommend one. Have you ever read A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens? If not, then I want you to drop everything and start right now. It’s brilliant. Most people know the famous first line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” And the last line, “It’s a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” But what most don’t know is all that’s in between. It’s set in London and Paris during the French Revolution, and all of the characters get caught up in that war. There’s a lot going on, but in the end I think that it’s about the character Sydney Carton finally finding purpose and redemption. It’s about redemption. I admit, the first couple of chapters are hard to get through, but once you’ve read about Lucie meeting with her father who she thought was dead but has really been wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years, you’ll be in love. I made that sound too much like a Lifetime tv movie, but trust me, the scene is beautiful. The whole book is beautiful. I don’t know that there’s a writer to match Dickens for depth and feeling, or humor. If I were to pick a favorite book, I think that this would be it.

Well, I that’s all for now. Thanks, as always, for the blogging joy.
You are loved.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sierra is the Best and Other Stories

Yesterday Sierra and I were communicating through Facebook. She mentioned that she had done very well with her essay on the book “Lord of the Flies”. I commented by saying that I really hated that book, and here’s why – it was assigned reading when I was a Senior in high school, and I never could figure out the symbolism, especially that of the pig head on a stick. Those of you who read the book will know what I’m talking about. Those who haven’t will think “What?!” It’s probably too much to explain here, just know that a bunch of boys were stranded on an island, all pandemonium broke out, and one of the kids cut the head off of a wild boar and stuck it on a pike. The pig head was supposed to have great meaning. During my Senior English class there was much discussion on what the pig head symbolized and I kept waiting for my teacher to say, “Ok, here is the right answer…”, but that never happened. In fact, I remember her saying that there wasn’t a real definitive answer, which made me think that the whole exercise was a huge waste, and then I just got mad. I’ve been mad ever since. So frustrating, and I’ve hated that book to this day for that reason.

And then Sierra came along, like a sunny ray of light, and explained it all to me. After I told her my story, she wrote this, “The pig was the lord of the flies. And it basically represents the evil that had taken over the island.” That’s so simple. She went one step further, and looked up the answer on Sparknotes, and got this:

“Sparknotes. For all your symbol defining needs!
'The Lord of the Flies is the bloody, severed sow's head that Jack impales on a stake in the forest glade as an offering to the beast. This complicated symbol becomes the most important image in the novel when Simon confronts the sow's head in the glade and it seems to speak to him, telling him that evil lies within every human heart and promising to have some “fun” with him. (This “fun” foreshadows Simon's death in the following chapter.) In this way, the Lord of the Flies becomes both a physical manifestation of the beast, a symbol of the power of evil, and a kind of Satan figure who evokes the beast within each human being. Looking at the novel in the context of biblical parallels, the Lord of the Flies recalls the devil, just as Simon recalls Jesus. In fact, the name “Lord of the Flies” is a literal translation of the name of the biblical name Beelzebub, a powerful demon in hell sometimes thought to be the devil himself."

There it is. If you, like me, have for twenty years been thinking “What the heck?” there’s your answer. One more reason to be grateful for Sierra. The book actually sounds interesting now. I might want to read it again.

Speaking of books, I was at the store last night, and will give you a summary of our evening. I walked around for 20 minutes holding a stupid BYU t-shirt wondering why we have it and where to put it. The thing has for months now been moved from one register area to another because no one knows where it belongs. It’s the only t-shirt in the store, and does not have a place. Melanie kept asking me why I was so outraged over a t-shirt, and I explained patiently but with gritted teeth the reasons listed above. After awhile, she finally admitted that she’s the reason that we have the offending shirt - she brought it back as a return. Nice.

Later, I was upstairs doing an imprint, and Mel was there with me fooling around with the shrink wrap machine. While I was concentrating on putting the imprint letters away, she took a piece of shrink wrap, got really close to my head, and tried to blow it up like a balloon thinking that it would hit me in the head and wouldn’t that be funny. I didn’t see what she was doing until a piece of plastic flipped up in front of my face and hit me in the eye. I jumped and had something like a small seizure while grabbing my eye and shouting, “Ah, you hit me in the eye!” and then we laughed our guts out. Melanie and I used to be good friends, but now that she’s ruined my life with that BYU t-shirt and blinded me in one eye, the friendship is pretty much over.

Later Melanie, Amber and I were exchanging stories, and Mel told us that a few nights earlier she and Tom were cleaning the men’s bathroom. She was back in the stall mopping, and Tom was out by the sink, when a man came in asked Tom if he could go ahead, and then went ahead. Being in the stall, the guy couldn’t see Melanie, and so there she was behind a thin metal wall while a man was peeing maybe one foot away from her. AAAAAAH! And then Tom walked out and left her alone in there. No way. After it was all over, Tom came back into the bathroom and explained that he would have looked a bit weird just standing there while the man was doing his business. I suppose he would have, but still. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.

Melanie – I hope you don’t mind me telling your story. I couldn’t help myself.

And that’s another evening at DB. You can see why I still work there.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello All. It’s another Friday. Time to review the week with…(dramatic pause)…A Week in Review.

For Crying Out Loud
I left the house without putting my contacts in this morning. Unbelievable. This whole time change spring forward thing has me totally screwed up. I have a hard enough time without having to get started at what my body thinks is an hour earlier every morning. My eyesight isn’t very bad, so I can get ready and dressed without my contacts. Putting them in is usually the last thing I do before leaving the bathroom. Today I was driving to work and thought that things looked fuzzy, and then thought, “Did I put my contacts in?” and then realized that no, I didn’t. Good job. I’m literally going through the day in a blurry haze.

Happy Birthday!
Last Tuesday was my birthday, and I had a very nice day. It was actually an accumulation of several nice days. I told you about the Snickers cake at work last week. It really was so good. Saturday Melissa and I went to dinner at Chili’s. We wanted Outback Steakhouse, but when we were told that the waiting time was 70 minutes we said no way man. Chili’s was good. Melissa had been asking me for weeks what I wanted to do for my birthday, and I couldn’t come up with anything inventive, and finally said let’s just go to dinner. She gave me a gift card to the Hale Center Theater to get tickets to a play, which is very inventive. I love it. We’ll do that sometime soon.

I took Monday and Tuesday off, a little gift to myself. Melody and I had dinner together on Monday, and then Marla spent Tuesday with me. We went shopping. There’s a new Nordstrom in town, and it’s lovely. The cosmetics department made me tear up a little, and then I spent some money. Marla sat down in one of the chairs at the MAC counter and got some pampering, and then looked so good. The makeup artist (can you call a department store guy an artist?) was a man, maybe in his mid-twenties. Afterward I mentioned to Marla that I really think that guys do a better job with make-up, which seems strange, but she agreed, and said that it’s because they’re not competing with you. Good point. Women are too competitive.

Later we had dinner at Rodizio Grill. I’d never been there before, had heard a lot about it, but had never gone. What a lot of fun! There are men in baggy pants walking around with big skewers of meat, and they stop at your table, tell you what they have, and then slice some off if you want it. The pork was especially delicious. And, they sang a Brazilian version of Happy Birthday with a bongo and tambourine. Can’t beat that.

When thinking about writing about my birthday, I thought that it would be fun to include some baby pictures. Here they are – three of my favorites.

Here I am with my mom.
I'm about a year old in this one.

And this is me (on the left) with my cousin Kari. We were born in the same month and grew up together playing Little House on the Prairie.

I have to say that turning 39 has me a little freaked out. It's not 39 exactly that's causing the problem, but the fact that 40 is looming over me. I can’t really be 40 years old. It’s so hard to deal with that I don’t know that I even want to talk about it. And it’s not 40 itself that's getting me, it’s the idea of being 40 and single. Oh no, my throat is tightening up. Deep breathes.

But, it reminds me of a story. Years ago when I was a missionary, my companion and I took time every now and then to visit an older lady in our ward, Sister Twila Ferrin. She was in her 80s at the time, and had recently lost her husband. I remember her being so sharp and really admiring her. When she was young, she played the piano in dance hall bands, and one day showed us some of her pictures of those days. Fascinating.

Sister Ferrin was in her early 40s when she got married. She and her husband were very happy together for 30+ years before he passed away. I remember asking her if it was difficult, waiting so long for marriage. She said, “It depends on how you look at it.” That was all, but that was enough. Doesn’t the difficulty of every situation depend on how you look at it? One of life’s greatest lessons is learning how to look at things in such a way that you can deal without loosing your mind, or crying too much. Look at the blessings, and the goodness, at the things you love. I’m still not as good at doing this as I should be, but I’d like to think that I’m getting better with age. Turning 40 might be my ultimate test, but it is still a full year away. I’ve got some time…

That’s it for now. Thanks, as always, for being the better parts of my life. You are loved.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Today COB employees got a broadcast email with a link to the following video on YouTube. It's one that the Church has produced, and talks about temples. It's good. There are clips from men of other religions that I thought were particularly interesting. Here's the link to the full page if you'd like to see it. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello All. It's time once again for another edition of A Week in Review. Get ready, this just might blow your mind.

All Used Up
Actually, I don't have much to tell you today. I used up most of my good stories earlier in the week. Life has progressed as usual. Exercising is still going well, and I'm enjoying it. Giving up sugar did not go so well. There have been birthdays and other celebrations going on that have distracted me, and my birthday is coming up on Tuesday the 10th, and we all know that I'm going to eat my own birthday treats. In fact, Cheryl brought a cake into work today just for me. It's a Snickers cake, which means chunks of Snickers bars covering the top. Cake topped with frosting topped with a thick layer of Snickers, words can not describe how good I feel about this cake. I love Cheryl.

Speaking Birthdays
Cute William turned one year old last Wednesday. Here he is feeling very happy about his birthday.

And blowing out the candle with his mom.
Dr. Horrible
While looking up the clip I posted with Neil Patrick Harris and the SNL orchestra, I found something called Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog. It's a 45 minutes movie musical about an evil villain named Dr. Horrible, played by Harris, his love interest Penny, and his arch nemesis Captain Hammer, and it's really good. Lot's of funny lines, and a story with more depth than I expected. Good music too. It's only available online, so if you want to watch it click on this link. I think you'll like it. Let me know.

A Nemesis
I really need a nemesis. Some time ago I worked with a guy named Kory at the store, and picked him to be my rival. When I told him that he was to play my enemy, he seemed to like the idea, and it all went well. Lots of threats and deadly looks went back and forth. And then he moved to Manti, so now I need someone who lives a little closer. It's hard to vex someone you never see. So I'm on the hunt for a new nemesis. I'll let you know how that goes.

I guess that's it for today. I'll end with a quote from Dr. Horrible, "The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it."

Thanks as always for being on my side.
You are loved.
Wait! Something Else!
Just after I posted this, I got a picture message on my phone from my sister-in-law Andrea. They had their baby! A new little girl, and she's so cute, lots of black hair. So exciting! I have to call her back now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Take That You Vampire Lovers

Last night at the bookstore a customer asked me for New Moon, the second book in the much-loved, not-so-critically-acclaimed Twilight series. Those books are a phenomena. We went to the shelf and found nothing. Maybe in the teen section? No not there either. So I went to the computer to look it up, and found that their status with the store has been demoted to special order only. Sharp intake of breathe, “What the…Corporate pulled the Twilight series!”

That’s right, Twilight has gone IA. Inventory Action. All of my friends who have worked at the store know just what that means. For the rest of you, I will explain. There’s a dark cave below the basement of the corporate offices in which are stored thousands of books that have been deemed material inappropriate for our stores' shelves. Men and women with discerning but incorruptible minds have read these books (they have to be incorruptible in order to resist the influence of trash) and stamped a big “NO” on them. The books are then shelved in a place where they will never again see the light of day. Well, not that particular copy anyway. You can find other copies at any other bookstore, and most of us do just that.

Maybe I should clarify that the screeners aren’t judging a book on quality but rather content – like language and smut. If the movie version would get a PG-13 rating, then it might be hard to find the book on our shelves.

Pulling a book, or series of books, or everything from a particular author, has caused real outrage within the store's staff over the years. A lot of my coworkers have read those books and really liked them. I’ve heard more “WHO DO THOSE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE THEY CAN’T TELL US WHAT TO READ!” fury over the years than you can imagine. No one likes to be told that some of their favorites are in league with the devil. But in the end what is a person to do? Go to Barnes and Noble. It’s right across the street.

Harry Potter was on the chopping block at one time, but was saved by the decision to class them as regular fiction rather than middle readers. Twilight was moved from “Teen” to the regular fiction shelves after the fourth and most controversial book was released. Apparently that wasn’t enough to save it from the dark, damp cave – purposely damp to insure quick deterioration. It seems though that I work with a very different group of people now than I did in years past, because last night we talked about it and none of them were surprised. Some said that they wondered why it hadn’t happened a long time ago, and understood why the series is gone. Huh. Try as I might, I couldn’t get anyone riled up into a good rant. Kind of disappointing.

I guess that my own opinion is somewhere in the middle. I am surprised that it’s gone because the series is written by an LDS author, and because it really sells. Why not keep a series that makes money? And I wonder how Stephanie Meyer feels about us banning her. But, at the same time, I don’t know that I really care. Whatever. I’m not offended. I love my job and that store with or without the vampire books. And like I say, Barnes and Noble is just right across the street.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Einstein Couldn't have done Better

How many of you have heard the rumor that cell phones can make microwave popcorn pop? If I understand correctly, there was an email passed around that had a video attached in which four cell phones were pointed at some popcorn kernels, and they popped. I’ve never seen it, but it sounds like good material for a mass email.

Yesterday one of my coworkers was talking about the headsets that we use here at work. Everyone has a cordless earpiece, which means that we are all day walking around talking out loud and making everyone around us wonder “Is he talking to me?” According to my coworker, less dangerous radiation goes into the brain from a headset than from a traditional hand-held phone. Interesting. Well, not so much interesting as where on earth did you get that? Another coworker then said very, very seriously, “If you take four cell phones and put them together, the radiation will pop microwave popcorn.” I just want to interject here that I love using the word “radiation” when talking about phones, as if they are just like nuclear fallout for your brain.

The talk went back and forth until my friend Cheryl, always the voice of reason, said, “Well let’s try it.” Good idea! Because it is written into the mission statement of every company, corporation and office of all kinds that there must be somewhere within the office walls microwave popcorn available to all, we have a box of it and a microwave to pop it in. Cheryl and I and two others got out our phones. We ripped open a bag of popcorn and put a few kernels on the counter, and then set our phones around them, in a + sign pattern. Then, we all ran back to our desks and each one of us called our own phones. According to folklore, they have to be ringing to pop the corn. All four went off with their own ringtones, all set at the max volume, of course. What a lot of noise. We waited breathlessly. No popping… still no popping…still no popping… and all four phones went to voicemail. No popped corn. It didn’t work.

Some were a little disgusted, being duped by an email can be so irritating. Others were still holding on to the hope that it would work if only we did… I took my phone and went back to my desk, convinced once again that a person cannot believe any of the crap they get in a forwarded email.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the COB’s contribution to science. You’re welcome.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Neil Patrick Harris is Awesome

I saw this on SNL Saturday and loved it. I've never seen an episode of Doogie Howser, and still this is great.