Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Early Week in Review

Since I'm leaving for Minnesota tomorrow (hooray!), so I thought I'd write a little something today - an abbreviated Week in Review.

Memorial Day
Isn't it nice to have a holiday? Of course, I realize that some professions don't get holidays (Marla reminded me that when you're a mom you never get a holiday), but for those of us who do (suckers), it really is nice. I spent mine with Marla and Jonah and William, three of my very favorites. When I got to Marla's, William was screaming from his crib. He was suppose to be napping, but must have gotten the instructions confused. I have over the years talked very sensibly with all of my baby nieces and nephews about the fact that every grown-up in the world would love to be able to nap whenever they felt like it, and so they should be grateful for the opportunity. They haven't paid much attention to me, but I bet that the day will come when they all tell me that I was right.

Anyway, Marla and I decided to put the boys in the car for a trip to the mall. William fell asleep about 2 minutes into the drive, so we decided to take a drive and let him sleep for a little while. We went out to the Salt Lake and looked at the sailboats. They really were pretty, especially against the blue sky and water. There are points on the lake where the sky and water blend together into a wash of blues - it's so nice. Jonah fell asleep on the way. Well, we think he fell asleep. He later told us that he was faking so that he could listen to what Marla and I were talking about. I don’t buy it, but if he was faking, then he’s a really good faker.

We got to the mall after about an hour of driving. I had a gift certificate for one pound of Sees candies that a coworker had given to me as a thanks for your work gift, so we took Jonah to the candy store and let him pick out some treats. He was, well, just like a kid in a candy store. Sees is good stuff. If you’re looking for a delicious English toffee, that’s the place to go.

After the mall we went back to Marla’s. She showed me how her garden is growing. They built some very nice looking boxes for a box garden this spring, and it’s working well. And then I went home for some laundry, and pizza delivery. All in all, it was a good day.

It’s important to keep your priorities straight
Yesterday when Fernando walked in to work, he told me that there was a soccer game on that afternoon that he really wanted to watch. The European Finals match between Barcelona and Manchester United was starting at 12:30. I thought that we could get a live feed on the internet, and started to look. Sure enough, ESPN was showing it, so I sent him the link, and at 12:30 he was ready for the game.

About 1:00, Cheryl and her husband were talking with Robert, one of our top bosses in the department. Cheryl knew that Fernando was in his office watching the match, and thought it would be funny to send Robert in there. She said, “Robert, why don’t you go into Fernando’s office and ask him if he can meet with you for a minute.” He was hesitant, so her husband went instead. He stood outside Fernando’s door, and said, “Fernando, Robert is wondering if you could come meet with him.”


That was it, just no.

Dr. Doty, “We’re just kidding you.”
Fernando, “The answer’s still no.”

So Robert, who is kind of a joker himself, walked in the office and closed the door. He came out and said, “I about got a soccer ball in the head!”

We all got a good laugh. Of course, we won’t be laughing anymore when we come in and find that the internet has been shut down. It’s always funny until someone loses their internet privileges.

I’ll let you know next week how the trip went, and share some pictures of Mount Rushmore. I really am excited!

Thanks, as always.
You are loved.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Bathroom Story

While in the ladies’ room this morning I was reminded of a story. No this won’t be gross, I promise.

Some time ago I was in a restroom here at the COB. There was a girl in the stall next to mine, and she was humming a little tune. As she got louder, I recognized it as “The Star Spangled Banner”. I don’t know how many people hum at random “The Star Spangled Banner”, especially in the bathroom? It’s a little odd. The humming got louder and louder, and then she started singing. The singing got louder and louder until she belted out in full voice:

And conquer we must,
While our cause it us just,
And this be out motto,
In God is our trust…

Singing the national anthem with gusto in a public bathroom stall, wow. And not the first verse that everyone knows, but the second or third, heck I don’t know what verse that was. I couldn’t help but be impressed.

I really didn’t want to meet up with this girl at the sink for hand washing. What would I say? It was all such a shock. So I waited in my stall until she was long gong.

And that was that – the whole story. But to this day I cannot figure it out. Why?…maybe…no, I’ve got nothing. She could sing though. I’ll give her that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Week in Review

Hi everybody! I am sorry. It’s been two weeks of nothing interesting on this blog. How ironic that this should happen after I admonished others for not writing. Karma. Honestly, my life has been very hum drum lately, and I haven’t had anything to tell you. Well, I have had some things on my mind, kind of stressful things, but nothing worth talking about here. This is supposed to be a happy place, but when I’m stressed it is hard to feel inspired. It looks, though, like the stress is going to come to an end soon, and I’m going out of town soon, and that should give us some good stories again. In the mean time, lets to A Week in Review.

Tell me what you think of this
My good friend Tiffany used to host a writer’s group at her house. We’d meet once a month, and bring something that we’d written, usually from an assigned topic given the month before, and then we’d do some timed writing during the meeting. And we’d eat snacks, and laugh really hard at each other’s outrageous stories, and cry at each other’s sad stories. It was great. I regret that I waited so long to join the group. They’d been meeting for years before I finally got myself there. But I really enjoyed what time I spent with them.

Yesterday Tiffany wrote a post about the group and some pointers for a person to start her own. At first I thought that she was going to launch an online group. That wasn’t the case, but it got me thinking that maybe I would try to host an online group…? I could post some ideas for writing prompts, or you could suggest some, and then you could email me what you write and I’d post it for sharing. Of course it wouldn’t be the same as sitting in a group and talking, but still the writing is a great outlet. It could be creative or therapeutic or whatever you want it to be. What do you think? It’s just a thought right now, and would need some developing, but if you’re interested please let me know. I realize that you’ve all got a lot going on, and are already keeping blogs, and maybe that’s all of the writing you want to do? If so, it’s ok to tell me. Like I said, right now this is just a thought.

Free gift with purchase at the Clinique counter at Nordstrom right now, just so you know.

The Writer’s Almanac
If you’re not reading the Writer’s Almanac, then you should start right now. The link is to the right. I am fascinated by something every time I go there. Today I was reading through this week’s posts, and found stuff that brought back memories. The first was this:

“It was on this day exactly 400 years ago — May 20, 1609 — that the publisher Thomas Thorpe made an entry in the Stationer's Register that said: Entred for his copie under the handes of master Wilson and master Lownes Wardenes a booke called Shakespeares sonnettes, and soon after Shakespeare's sonnets were published. Many people think that Thorpe published them without Shakespeare's consent.

"Shakespeare's sonnets are considered some of the greatest love poems ever written, with such lines as, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?/ Thou art more lovely and more temperate," and, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments; love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds,/Or bends with the remover to remove," and, "For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings/That then I scorn to change my state with kings."

It’s the “let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments;” lines that made my mind wander. The movie “Sense and Sensibility” was released in 1995. Melody and I went to see it, and I loved it so much. In fact, I went back to the theater with different people four more times. It’s still my favorite movie ever. There are two scenes that use this particular sonnet – one when Marianne meets Willowby, who she thinks is her true love, but who is actually a scoundrel who breaks her heart (of course he’s a scoundrel, it’s a Jane Austen story). They read the poem when they meet. And then later, after he’s left her, she stands in the rain, looking at his house from the top of a hill, and repeats those lines. I’m making it sound dumb, but really it’s a beautiful scene. Kate Winslet plays Marianne, and she does a gorgeous job.

That movie got me interested in the sonnets. About that same time, I took a trip to Minnesota to visit the parents (and took my mom to see “Sense and Sensibility”). Mom and I were at the mall one day, and went into B. Dalton Bookstore, and there I found a very nice copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets. I bought it, and read it, and still have it on my bookshelf today.

When I was in London last year, we went to the National Portrait Gallery, and there saw an original portrait of Shakespeare. We also went to the Globe Theater - so fascinating. London still blows my mind. Up until going there, all of these people were just characters in stories, but there they’re right in front of you, and in all parts of the city, and so real. It’s a remarkable place.

Well, that got kind of long. I’ll keep the second story from the Writer’s Almanac short:
"It was on this day in 1980 that Mount St. Helens erupted. There had been earthquakes and smaller steam eruptions in the volcano for two months, but on the morning of May 18, 1980, an earthquake caused the entire north side of the mountain to collapse. This caused the largest landslide in recorded history and a volcanic eruption that was as powerful as 500 atomic bombs. No one expected the eruption to be so large, but they did know it was coming, so the Forest Service had worked to keep visitors away, although 57 people still died. The blast destroyed 230 square miles of old-growth forest, and the ash was deposited in 11 states.”

I was in fifth grade when this happened and remember it being all over the news. Someone in my class took a trip to Washington and came back with a jar full of ash for all of us to see. It was very light gray, and so soft. It felt silky, like baby powder.

Well, I think that’s all for today. I’ll end with a quote from a man named Bertrand Russell, "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."

Thanks, as always, for wasting your time with me.
You are loved.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello all. I have not talked to you for a whole week! Maybe I’m mad at you. Are you wondering why? Well, in true female fashion I’m going to say that if you don’t know why then I’m not going to tell you. Let’s do A Week in Review.

I watched the season finales of my favorite shows last night. I’m not much for cliffhangers. I simply do not have the patience for them. Three months is WAY too long to have to wait to know what happens to someone or something. I usually force myself to not care anymore so that I don’t have to deal with the anxiety. Luckily The Office and 30 Rock didn’t have nerve-racking cliffhangers, so I’m feeling fine today. Well, a little bit sad about not having anything new for a while, but fine. I’m hoping that Mad Men will be back soon. It’s a great show, and their season is off of the usual season, so that gives me something to watch during the summer months. That and So You Think You Can Dance. I know, it’s a cheesy competition reality show, but I love it. I really do.

Do you remember the cliffhangers on Friends? What a trial.

I started a new book called “Regeneration” by Pat Barker. It’s the first in a three part series set during World War I. I learned about the series from Entertainment Weekly’s best books list. So far it is very good. A bit sobering because the characters experience some awful war-related stuff. I’m only about 50 pages into it, but am already interested in the story. I’ll let you know how it goes.

We got a brand new, entirely different phone system here at the COB this week, and it’s caused pandemonium. You know that adage about teaching old dogs new tricks, well these dogs are old. Actually, to be fair, they’ve picked it up much better than I was expecting. We have one guy who’s very…enthusiastic about things. He’s done a great job diving in and learning how to do conference calls and transfers and all of the other stuff that they need to do, and then he runs around the floor letting all of us know what he just figured out. But there’s been so much hollering all day, “How do I do this?” “Now what just happened here?” “Why when I hit this button does it…?” I feel like they’re asking me these questions (sometimes they are talking directly to me), and since I haven’t had the phones any longer than they have, I don’t know how they work any better than anyone else, which is frustrating because I don’t know what to tell them. Bah. By the end of the day Wednesday I was so sick of talking about phones I could hardly stand it. But with each day it gets a little better. Yesterday I typed up a cheat sheet with step-by-step instructions on how to work the basic functions, and that seemed to help. Of course, it also made everyone think that I’m the expert, and the one to go to with all of their questions, comments and concerns, and really I’m not that smart.

Just now, while writing this, one of the guys stopped by my desk to talk to me about some weird thing that happened with a conference call. I have no response to that, other than a blank look and, “I don’t know.” Very helpful.

I learned something from one of my new dvd documentaries. Well, I’ve learned lots of things, but will bore you with only one. George Washington’s horse was named Nelson. What a great name! I might use it someday, if I ever have a pet. Washington liked to look regal. When visiting a city, he would ride in a carriage to the edge of town, and then get on Nelson, in full uniform (Washington was in uniform, not the horse), and ride in like a true general. Interesting, huh?

Well, that’s it for this week. Other than the phone system, it’s been pretty uneventful.
Thanks, as always, for your constant greatness.
You are loved.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello All! It’s Friday morning, and I’m gearing up for another Week in Review. I stayed up too late last night, and so am kind of droopy today. I’ll try not to write a droopy post.

It’s really been beautiful downtown this week. The tulips are in full bloom with fantastic colors. The temperatures are in the 60s, lots of sun. I’ve gone for a walk every day up through Memory Grove Park and City Creek Canyon, and it’s given me new life. I haven’t felt this good in…I don’t know how long.

The walk from the COB up through Memory Grove, to the top of the canyon path, and then back to the building is 3 miles. I don’t walk that far now because I am so out of shape. I do maybe half of it. But, a few years ago when Nicole still worked here, we’d pound that trail out almost every day, and sometimes did it in July when it was 100 degrees outside. When I think about that now, my first reaction is, “We were CRAZY! We could have died.” But then I think that it was actually kind of awesome. We were heroes. And we had such good talks – really fun. Now I walk it on my own, which is probably for the best, because being so out of shape I go very slowly, and the heavy breathing is a bit embarrassing. Still, it’s a gorgeous walk.

Last Monday we had a going away party for Steve, who used to work at DB. Some of you will remember him. He’s not going away as in moving out of state, but he’s done with DB, and has decided to take a year to finish school and then get into teaching, which I think is great. Some of my coworkers wanted to host a get-together for him at our store. We ate pizza and talked and laughed and had cupcakes and just enjoyed the company.

It makes me think about all of the people I’ve worked with. Heck most of you who read this are people I’ve worked with. I honestly feel lucky in my jobs because I’ve made there some of the best friends I’ve ever had. When you spend 40 hours a week with a person, you can’t help forming ties. And it’s sad when coworkers leave to move on with their lives, (especially when my life can’t seem to move anywhere, but that’s another topic), but I remember you all with real fondness.

Speaking of remembering people with fondness – it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday! I bought my mom a little something and mailed it off.

The last time I was in Chicago with my aunt Beverly she brought out some old family pictures that she had decided she didn’t want or need anymore. I sorted through them and took a bunch. It was so exciting! I honestly love looking through pictures of Mom’s childhood. It seemed idyllic. Here are some of the pictures I found:

Sharon Ruth - This picture is dated 1946, which means that she was 9 years old.
1949, on a family vacation. Beverly is in the background on the left.
I love this picture. It's so classy. I'm guessing that she was in her early 20s when this was taken.
Mom was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1937 and grew up on a small city street with her parents and one sister, Beverly. She played baseball in the summer time, went to a movie every Friday night with her high school friends, and the family went on a vacation every summer. She graduated from high school in 1955, the age of poodle skirts and cat-eye glasses. After high school she went to college and got a degree in education, and then spent a few years teaching Kindergarten.

Mom went to a church social one afternoon with Beverly and her husband, and that is where she met my dad. He was stationed at the Wichita Air Force base. They were married in June, 1964, and after a year moved Minnesota, Dad’s home state, to start farming.

Life on a farm isn’t easy. Good in many ways but not easy, and I imagine it was especially difficult for a city girl who was far away from home. But that girl adapted and then succeeded like few are capable of doing. I don’t know anyone who can work like she does, or who is so is skilled in so many domestic tasks. She kept a huge garden and had enough vegetables canned or frozen by the end of every summer to last for a full year, and made all of our bread, and sewed most of my clothes. They had very little money, which I know was a real stress for her, but even with all that she lacked she raised six children who were always well fed and clothed, and who turned out pretty well. She has some regrets. Of course she does, who doesn’t look back with some regrets? But I know that she gave us absolutely all that she could. I don’t ask for anything more.

One of my earliest memories is of being with my family in the Idaho Falls temple when we were all sealed together. Mom and Dad joined the church when I was a toddler, and then took us all to the temple in 1974. I remember the nursery, and playing with Barbie dolls that had some pretty cool furniture. I remember a nice lady picking out a white dress for me to wear, and I remember the mirrors in the sealing room. I saw my mom in the mirrors, looking at me and smiling. She was beautiful. I’ll never forget it.

So happy Mother’s Day to my mom. I love you very, very much. And happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms! Hope you have a really nice day.

Thanks, as always, for your continued greatness.
You are loved.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Notice of Cancellation

There are some of you out there who have created a blog, have told me that you have a blog, and I've added your blog to my list of faves and checked regularly, with real anticipation, only to find that you've posted nothing. Some of you have gone for weeks, months, without anything. One of you last posted in January, for crying out loud.

The highs and lows of hope for something new followed by disappointment has become more than I can take. I'm giving you one more week, and then your blog will be taken off of my list. I do this with deep regret and some reservations, but feel that it's the best choice for me. And since you're not posting anyway, really what's it to you?

Now that I think about it, if you're not posting, then you're probably not reading either and will never see this. Still, I'm counting it as your notice, and one is all you get.

Sierra, because you are my niece and very dear to me, I will not cancel you. Still, it would be nice to see a post.

With Respect,

Monday, May 4, 2009

Things I Love - in No Particular Order

1. Wheat thins
2. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches
3. Tulips
4. Clean sheets
5. Long naps
6. The feeling of being done for the week after work on Saturday
7. Good hugs
8. And kisses
9. The colors blue and white together
10. Children’s books
11. A soft lawn and bare feet
12. The smell in the air in the evening
13. Marla’s salsa
14. British comedies
15. Movies based on Jane Austen’s books
16. A bike ride
17. Walks
18. Remembering Paris
19. Remembering London
20. Rain
21. Long drives
22. Sitting by the lake
23. Swimming pools
24. The coconut smell of suntan lotion
25. Cake and ice cream
26. The color pink
27. Celebrity news (shameful)
28. Mowing the lawn
29. Sunday school
30. Finding extended family and old friends on Facebook
31. Family photos
32. Weddings
33. Learning French
34. A card in the mail
35. Thanksgiving
36. Maps
37. Staying in a hotel
38. Chicago
39. San Francisco
40. Autumn
41. Those clips of people falling down on funniest home videos
42. Reading in the middle of the afternoon
43. The view out my bedroom window
44. Compliments
45. Purses and handbags
46. Being at work
47. Writing
48. Pens
49. Restaurants
50. Red nail polish

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello. Guess What? Chicken butt! HaHaHa! I love that one. No, actually it’s time for a Week in Review.

I’m not feeling very inspired again today, my brain is kind of all over the place, so I thought I would do more of a random things list than the usual Review. Hope you don’t mind.

Melissa and I saw the political-thriller “State of Play” last Friday, and liked it very much. It was suspenseful, unpredictable, well acted, a good show. If you’re looking for a movie, that’s one to check out.

I started reading “Fablehaven” this week. It’s a sci-fi fantasy story for young adults by a man named Brandon Mull. He’s all the rage with middle-schoolers here in Salt Lake, and some grown-ups, too. I understand that his books have been New York Times best sellers, so he’s done well. It’s a good story. Light, easy to read, some interesting creatures, I’m not in love, but it’s a nice break from the heavier things I’ve been reading. There are four books now in the series. I don’t know if I’ll read the rest. We’ll see.

I kind of think that there are plenty of sci-fi fantasy books out there now. Lots of new writers hoping to be the next J.K. Rowling. I don’t know that there will be another Rowling, or Harry Potter, so enough already. Let’s try something new. Of course I’m not a huge fan of the genre, so maybe it’s just me.

What I am a big fan of is documentaries, and have two more in route to me right now! Did I tell you this already? I’ve ordered The French Revolution and The Presidents from Amazon, and think that they’ll be delivered today. You know where I’ll be this weekend.

If I never hear the words “Swine Flu” again it will be too soon.

I think that the decision to make Swine Flu all the rage went something like this:

Scene One – A boardroom at the Associated Press building
Person 1 – I’m sick of reporting on the economy. Economy, economy, economy! Is there something else out there?
Person 2 – I heard that some people in Mexico are sick. Something called the Swine Flu. Maybe we could make a story out of that?
Person 3 – Swine Flu huh? That has a certain ring to it.
Person 1 – Yes, but don’t we already have tens of thousands of people catching the flu, with about 30,000 fatal cases in America every year? That’s not really news.
Person 3 – But this virus has an animal name, and if we put it in absolutely every news story on every channel in the nation, we’ll have something here. Heck, this could be the next “pandemic”!
Person 2 – It has been too long since our last “pandemic”. What was it, Bird Flu, Monkey Pox? I’ve almost forgotten how to spell pandemic.
Person 1 – Ok, swine flu it is. I’m for anything, as long it’s not another economy story.

And scene.

Of course, I’ll feel foolish about writing this if the whole thing really does blow up into a pandemic, a real one, not the kind that news reporters like to make up, but until then I will keep my cynical attitude.

I just realized that Mother’s Day is ONE WEEK from this Sunday. I’ve got to buy something and get it in the mail! What does my mom want… anyone, anyone?

Downtown is gorgeous this time of year, tulips everywhere. I’ve been walking up City Creek Canyon during my lunch hour, and enjoy it so much. The water in the creek is deep with the snowmelt and runoff, so it’s gushing down the hill, loud and thundering. I really love it.

Cheryl just told me that our coworker Terry is “so full of crap sometimes”. I threw my head back and laughed out loud.

It’s kind of a faux-pas to tell others that you find yourself funny. You know, it’s like saying “I’m pretty.” Being funny is not the sort of thing you should have to point out to people. They either get it or they don’t. But I’ve been thinking about my 10 things for missionary moms, and the line “That lady in your ward doesn’t always know what she’s talking about” makes me laugh every time. That might be some of my best work.

Speaking of funny, I’m so glad that Michael and Pam are back in the real office on “The Office”. And “30 Rock” is making me laugh again. Tracy Jordan is becoming my favorite character. He and Jack have the best lines on the show.

I fly off to Minnesota four weeks from today! Only 60 pounds left to loose in that time, it can be done.

I saw Marla and family on Monday. Cute William is walking, no running around the house like crazy now. I took him outside, and he moved down the sidewalk just as fast as his baby legs could go, and still he was leaning forward, like that speed wasn’t fast enough. He would stop and yell and Jonah, and then get moving again. Who knows what he’s saying to Jonah. Something very intelligent I’m sure. We’ll all know soon enough.

We’re getting a new phone system at work next week. This frightens me. As you know, the good folks I work with were around during The Great War. New things kind of freak them out. I might have to find a valium dealer tomorrow. I think I saw someone on the corner of State and 300 South.

I was thinking the other day about how much writing anything used to scare me. Writing school papers and letters and anything else made me so nervous becuase I always thought that whoever read them would think that what I'd written was really dumb. When I was on my mission I was suppose to write a weekly letter to my president, but rarely did it for the same reason. I was too scared of what he’d think of me. Strange to think about that now. Actually, I still get nervous sometimes, but it’s not what it used to be. I was a little girl with very little confidence. I wonder if that little girl will ever really go away?

Writing this blog, and all of your kind comments, has really helped me come out of myself a little bit. I’m grateful for that.

I read two very good poems this week, and will close with those.

Letter of Resignation
by William Baer
Dear [blank]: After much deliberation,
without qualm, scruple, or further delay,
I hereby tender my formal resignation
as your lover and future fiancé.
The job provides too little satisfaction:
too many hours of unneeded duress,
a paucity of productive interaction,
uncertain working conditions, and endless stress.
Pay-wise, I'm undervalued and disenchanted:
advancement's slow, the bonus is routine,
my "on-call" overtime is taken for granted,
and benefits are few and far between.
This document, I'm hopeful, underscores
my deep regret. I'm very truly yours....

Facing it
By Yusef Komunyakaa, about the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC

Names shimmer on a woman's blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet's image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I'm a window.
He's lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman's trying to erase names:
No, she's brushing a boy's hair.

Thanks, as always, for being awesome all of the time.
You are loved.