Friday, July 31, 2009

A Week in Review

It's been two weeks since I've written this, so you'd think I'd have something interesting to say. I hope you're not too disappointed. Let's do a Week in Review.

Hashbrown Winters
My bookstore manager, Frank Cole, has written a book! And I read it, and think that it is definitely worth recommending. It's a middle reader, good for kids, especially boys, is quick and easy to read, has a lot of good humor, and is just fun. You can buy it at DB, of course, and it's available at Barnes and Noble, and through

In other readings, I'm in the middle of a short novel by John Steinbeck, "The Moon is Down". It's great. I've loved Steinbeck for years. His style is so simple. He can take a profound idea, and in two sentences give it clarity, and I think "Yeah, that's it." I've always been amazed by how does that. This book mysterious. Not a mystery novel, but the story is told in a way that leaves me wondering what's really going on. An invading troop has taken over a city and are establishing rule... other than that I don't know. I'm sure it will come together in the end, and be very intriguing, and I'm eager to get to it.

The 24th
I had great plans for the 24th of July - cleaning out my closet. Man it's a mess, and has been for a long time. After a good sleep in I was laying about and thinking that it was time to get to work when I checked my phone, and Marla had called! So I called back. They were going to the pool! Did I want to come with? Well, I do have this closet....of course I'm coming with! It was good, good fun, and I needed it. All of the previous week I'd been feeling kind of sorry for myself. I hadn't had any summertime fun, no sunshine, no relaxing. The pool was just the thing to kick me out of my slump. I was horrified, though, by how blindingly white my legs are.

It was William's first time at the pool. He was in a very cute Speedo jumper-style suit, and was rubbed down with enough sun screen to keep him safe through the 5th grade. It looked like Marla was buttering up a turkey. He was nervous about the water at first. Marla held him and splashed water on his legs, and we all acted like we were having the most fun ever. I'd dip under the water and then came up and said "boo", which he loves. "Boo" is the best way to make him smile. Until Jonah does it. Jonah get right in his face and yells "BOOOO!" like a crazy person and terrifies the poor kid. Not helping. But eventually Will took to the water, and we "swam" him back and forth between us, and he giggled and laughed. So sweet.

The pool is my ultimate luxury. I just love it. I love laying in a chair and feeling my skin sizzle, and then walking into the cold water. I love being in deep water and just floating there, and being surrounded by it. Nothing is more relaxing for me. It's wonderful.

After swimming we got some pizzas, and then shot off home-style fireworks in the street after dark. It was such a good day. Very good indeed.

I think that's it for now. A short edition of a Week in Review.
Thanks, as always, for you constant greatness.
You are loved.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A President Visits a President

President Monson and Elder Oaks visited President Obama last week and gave him his genealogical records. The article is in the Church News, and here's the link if you're interested. I thought it was very good.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I've got an Issue!

I've got an idea for a new feature called "I've got an Issue!" It will be me yelling about something that's bugging me. I think you'll really enjoy it. Today that something is:

Sarah Palin

I hold no bad feelings toward ex-Governor Palin, I just want her to go away. Yesterday after church I turned on the tv for a little news, and CNN had nothing but their anchor in the newsroom talking with a reporter in Alaska who was waiting for the big Palin speech. Boring. That lasted about 3 minutes before I turned off the tv. Today I pulled up some news websites, just to see her face all over them. BAH! Why is everyone making such a big deal out of the fact that she quit her job? When in the history of the universe has a former candidate for vice-president gotten this kind of attention? And honestly, what's she done to deserve it? I do not understand.

If this resignation from the govenor's seat means that she's "going national" and is going to be in our faces all of the time, I will not be happy.

That's my issue. Thank you for listening.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Poems

Due to popular demand (well, one request really), I’ve decided to share the poems I’ve written. Here’s what’s in my pretty little notebook so far.

Evening Light
I love the softness of
The evening sunlight, the
Way it makes the room glow.

Light’s gentle balm wraps
Around my tired heart and
Heals it, renews it.

I sit on my bed,
A book in my hands, and
Stare at the mountains

Through my window,
Green and rusty brown against the sky.
My mind goes blank.

I can rest here
Away from the work of
Shouldering disappointments,

Of dealing with a broken heart,
Away from the constant strain
of being ok.

It’s good to be alone in my room,
With my soul at ease, here in the
Quiet warmth of the evening light.

A haiku:
Something I’ve Said Many Times Already
A bead of sweat runs through
My hair, down my neck.
July is too damn hot.

Something for my nephew:
Baby Boy
William Maximus is a name
Fit for a great conqueror of
Nations, but right now
He’s working on his animal noises.

William will woof when he hears
A dog, and tries to whistle with
The birds, as he rides contentedly
In his stroller with his bottle and blanket.

William has baby soft, milk chocolate
Colored hair and dark chocolate eyes,
And a sweetness that is
Impossible to resist.

No one expected this baby boy.
With three boys already, his mom and dad
Were quite content,
But Heavenly Father knew

To add one more.
So many of life’s
Greatest gifts are
Its biggest surprises.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Week in Review

Friday, July 17, 2009. There's a new computer system at the COB; will Angie survive the chaos, and if she does will she beat an old man to death with his keyboard? Delta is rebooking flights without telling anyone, which gave Angie a fine opportunity to practice her cussing. The temperatures in Salt Lake City are closing in on 100 degrees, way, way too hot. THIS is a Week in Review.

I’m so glad that’s over
The first week after a dramatic change is usually the hardest. You know what they say about a bad hair cut – give it 10 days and it will be fine. People have to grow into, or grow out, changes. Well this week the COB launched a brand new computer program for all of our data, causing these old me that I work with to have 13 major coronaries each. It’s been so stressful. Honestly, there was a lot of commotion when we got our new phone system, but that was nothing compared to this.

To be fair I will say that these men work on the computers tracking information on our missionaries all day long. They cannot do their jobs if they can’t use the computer. And the makers of our new system didn’t consider what they need well enough before putting this system in place, and we got about one hour of vague training before the launch. And these men are old. And they don’t like anything new.

The guys were unavoidably vocal about not liking this program. There was bad language, pounding on desks, work being lost over and over again, and men running around hollering out their problems. Did you see that episode of The Office where Dwight fakes a fire in order to teach everyone the importance of a good evacuation plan, and all h*** breaks loose? People are nearly trampled to death? Angela’s cat is thrown through a tile in the ceiling? That was us, without the smoke. The tension levels have been so high in this office that I am honestly exhausted. Yesterday I really thought that if I heard one more person complain about one more thing, the tightness in my chest would make me implode, and my last words would be, “shut up. Shut Up! SHUT UP!”

Our saving grace was a great team of techs who practically lived here all week. They sat down with the guys, at their desks, one-on-one, and taught them the new program. And they were so nice. I know that when they first showed up on Tuesday, launch day, they got an earful of terrible complaints, but they reacted with patience, and calmly walked us through the transition. Very impressive. Their kindness was the only thing that kept us alive.

Stupid Delta
A couple of weeks ago I booked a trip to Minnesota for October, and got one heck of a deal on the ticket! I usually don’t buy so far in advance, but when I saw a price that was about half of the usual, I grabbed it. Hooray!

This week I was looking for my itinerary on to make sure that I have aisle seats (I get so claustrophobic if I’m not in the aisle). I couldn’t find my itinerary, which is concerning, so I called the customer service phone number. I got the usual call center in India, and explained the problem. The agent was able to find my return flight, but was a little sketchy on the outgoing flight. When he finally found it, he said something about leaving at 1:00 on October 9, and I said no, I was booked to leave here at 7:00 pm. This is important because I’m at work all of that day and really don’t have the vacation time saved up to take that day off. He told me that the 7:00 flight was cancelled, and so I was rebooked at 1:00. What the what? Shouldn’t someone have told me about this? They have my email address; I couldn’t have gotten a notice? Was this supposed to be a fun surprise saved for when I showed up at the airport at 5:30 for my 7:00 flight? “Surprise, your actual flight was 4 hours ago!” Of course the young man was all hollow apologies. The latest we could get was 4:55, which means that I’ll have to figure out a way to get away from work about 2:30 and go straight to the airport. And it’s a connecting flight instead of the direct one that I had before. I’m not happy. But I guess it was the best he could do.

I did still get a killer deal on the price, which is something. And Minnesota in October is beautiful! My parents and I are going to drive to Chicago to see my aunt. I’m really looking forward to it. And my October my rage will have softened.

Way too hot
We had a lovely spring here in Salt Lake City, and the summertime temperatures have stayed in a nice 80-90 degree range. We got through the 4th of July without hitting 100 degrees, which I haven’t seen in years. It’s just been wonderful. But, the weatherman says that this weekend we will feel all the burning pain of 100 degrees. I suppose it was bound to happen. I will submit to it with the dull apathy felt by someone who finds it too hurtful to care. It’s just for a few weeks right? I hope so.

That’s it for today. Well, I kind of have one more thing. I have a very pretty notebook at home that’s been empty for a year. I buy notebooks because I love them, but don’t always write anything in them. For the last little while I’ve thought about trying my hand at writing some poems, and last Sunday decided to use that pretty notebook for that reason. I sat on my bed and wrote a poem. It’s not bad for a first-time-in-years try, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to share it yet. I’ll keep practicing, and will share when there’s something share-worthy.

Until then, thanks as always for sticking with me. Don’t melt in the heat.
You are loved.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things that Blow My Mind

There are some things that I simply can not wrap my brain around - here are a few:

1. Fax Machines. I can put a piece of paper on a machine in this office, punch in a phone number, and an exact duplicate of it will come out of a machine in Japan. How?! That shouldn't be possible. Who ever thought that that would work? Not me.

The Internet and email are in that same category.

2. Female Gymnasts. Those little girls run, jump, and then do three somersaults, a flip and a twist before landing again. It defies my understanding of the abilities of the human body.

3. Old stuff. When Melody and I were in London, we went to the Treasures Room at the British Library. There they have original documents, letters, musical scores, everything. We saw the handwritten manuscript of "Jane Eyre", an original Gutenberg Bible, a volume of the first edition printing of all of Shakespeare's plays, and the handwritten score to Handel's Messiah. Unbelievable. The thing that blows my mind here is that someone thought to keep this stuff, lots of someones, for centuries. These things weren't printed and then immediately put into a museum, they were private property, and those people kept them. There's a case with stuff from the Beatles, and we saw a birthday card with song lyrics that John Lennon had written on it - he'd used it as scratch paper. If that had been me, after the song was properly written out and recorded, I would have looked at that card and thought, "Don't need this anymore. I'll throw it away." But now it's in a museum, and looking at it really is remarkable.

4. A Lobster on Notre Dame. There's a lobster carved into one of the stones on Notre Dame. I took a picture of it, and have thought about it many times since. I even asked my French teacher if she knew of any significance to the lobster. She didn't. Why would some stone cutter in the 13th century, dressed in rags, carve a lobster into a stone for the walls of Notre Dame, and then why was it put by an entrance right next to a patron saint? I don't know. I'd really like to know. It's too bizarre for words.

Four of the many things that I can't figure out, both new and ancient. How about you? Are there things that you think about over and over again just to have your mind blown wide open? Let me know.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello All. It’s Friday, and it’s been two weeks since my last week in review. I’ve already told you my most interesting stories of the week, but let’s go ahead with this anyway, ok? Ok (I can never think “OK!” without picturing cheerleaders doing a little bounce and clapping. I think that our high school cheerleaders used to do that, “Ready? OK!” I’m a little troubled by all of this).

Simon Schama
There’s a new love in my life, and his name is Simon Schama. No, I’m not dating anyone. In fact we’ve never met, and he’s in his sixties, but he does documentaries (Sierra is now rolling her eyes) and writes books, and I love him. My first Schama experience was more than a year ago when I bought a boxed set called A History of Britain – 15 hours of glorious British history. He wrote and narrated the program, and it’s fascinating! He also wrote three books that go along with the series that I found and bought on Amazon. A few weeks ago I was flipping channels on the TV and landed on a PBS program called “The American Future, A History, by Simon Schama” and stopped dead. What luck! The show is so good. He’s taken four issues affecting society today, and then explored the history of those issues and how that history has lead to our current situation. The first one was on water supplies in the West. That doesn’t sound very intriguing, but he talked about the first settlers along the Colorado River, and building the Hoover Dam, the dust bowl of the 1930s, and then brought it all up to today, remarkable.

The next episode was even better – Americans and war. This one covered the Civil War, and the beginnings of Arlington National Cemetery (started by a man named Montgomery C. Meigs who lost a son in the Civil War. Anyone thinking of having another child should consider the name Montgomery – it’s a good one, good pet name too), and talked about Iraq and how it has dominated the last few political elections. He goes back and forth between the history and current events, and it’s amazing to see how it all weaves together. I sit and stare without moving or talking for the full hour. The last episode is on immigration and will air on Monday at 9:00on channel 7 in Salt Lake. Maybe we should set up a discussion board – just kidding. I’m not that big a geek.

Seriously, if I could I would sit and talk to this man for hours. He’s a genius.

Yesterday was Marla’s birthday. No one who knows me needs to be told again how much I love, love, love my sister. She’s the best. She spent yesterday with her family, and then we will go out next week, dinner and a movie, the new Harry Potter. Happy Birthday again Marla! You’re one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Speaking of – I’m kind of excited about the Harry Potter movie. The trailers look great. It’s been long enough since reading the book to not remember all of the details, so it will seem new. Should be fun.

I have a tendency when typing to leave the last letter off of words. Have you noticed that? Probably because I’m also not very good at proofreading. It used to be that I only had a problem with “your”, it was always “you”, but now I do with almost any word, and just randomly. So you have my apologies for all of the mistakes here. Hopefully you are able to work out what I’m trying to say without me actually writing it correctly. It all makes sense in my brain, really.

I think I’ll close today with two of the best dances from this week’s show. The first one made me cry, and the second made me giggle; they're suppose to be robbers. I laughed, I cried…you know the rest.

Thanks, as always, for all of the blogging joy.
You are loved.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Story

I did this in a hurry, so please excuse the typos. I'm sure that there are a few.

Something interesting happened today. I decided to go for a walk during my lunch hour, and headed East on South Temple toward the Cathedral of the Madeleine. I was getting close to the church when a man called to me from behind, and asked in broken English if I knew where the Catholic Church was. I said yes, it’s right here and pointed to it. He kept saying that he needed someone who spoke French, and I was thinking that I speak French, but not very good French, so I was hesitant to mention it. He seemed, though to really need help, so just as he was walking away I told him that I knew a little French. He almost jumped he was so happy. “You speak French! You know French!” Yes, I told him, but tried to emphasize that it was just a little bit of French.

He started telling me his story in half French half English, and I found that it was easier for me to understand what he was saying than it was to respond, but I did my best. He was from Togo in West Africa, a refugee, and came to Salt Lake as part of an organization within the Catholic Church. When he got here, he wasn’t able to get in touch with his contact person (I didn’t catch why exactly), so he had been wandering the streets for two days, stopping people and asking for help, but no one would talk to him. He assumed that was because he was black and a foreigner. He hadn’t eaten, and kept pulling on his clothes to show me how loose they were. He just wanted to find a place where he could eat and get something clean to wear.

We went to the rectory by the cathedral and rang the bell, but no one answered, so we went into the church itself. We didn’t find anyone. I kept thinking that there are missionaries on temple square who speak French. After looking for help at the cathedral, I started to suggest that we go to temple square. He pulled out a piece of scratch paper that someone had given to him with two lines written on it, “Church Office Building, Welfare Square”. I’m pretty familiar with the COB, so we headed in that direction.

At one point while we were walking, he pointed to some stairs leading up to a building and told me that he had stopped there the night before. Then he handed me a yellow paper and said that a police officer had given it to him – a citation for sleeping on the street. Nice. Very helpful Mr. Public Servant. I couldn’t see that there was a fine listed, and anyway how would the police find him again if he didn’t pay his fine? So I told him not to worry about it. He said that in his country the officers pull out guns and kill people, so he was happy to just get a piece of paper.

We walked past the Lion House, and turned onto the plaza. When we got to the fountain/reflecting pool, he stopped and stared at the temple, and kept saying, “It’s beautiful. Tres jolie, tres jolie”.

We walked into the building and to the reception desk where I was going to ask them to call someone in Welfare Services, but there were crowds with tourists blocking the way. I kept thinking that we should go to temple square and find a French speaking missionary, so when we saw the groups at reception, I said come on, we’re going this way. We went outside on North Temple and headed for Temple Square. He didn’t seem to trust me at this point because he thought that he needed to be at the COB – “Church Office Building” was on his paper. I kept telling him that we were going to find a French speaker, and by this time my lunch hour was up, so I needed to find him some help and get going.

We walked onto Temple Square, and he was surprised and happy to see it and told me that he had been there the night before, but it was late so no one could help him. I think that that’s where he got the piece of scratch paper. He had wanted to go back there today, but couldn’t find it again. A missionary couple approached us, and I explained that he was a refugee from Togo, and that he needed someone who spoke French. They kindly took him under their wing. I walked back to work.

I can’t imagine that I’ll ever see that man again. I’m hoping that the Temple Square missionaries took good care of him, and feel sure that they did. Who knows how it will all work out. It was nice, though, to help someone, and to use my French. Crazy, isn’t it, how these events come from out of the blue.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Good Weekend

Hello Everybody! (Remember that quack doctor on The Simpsons who does infomercials and always starts with “Hello Everybody”? So funny.) It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post. I’ll admit I was burned out on the blog for a while. Every time I started to write something, I got nothing. My brain shut down. Here’s hoping that a break did me some good.

Would you like to know how I spent my 4th of July weekend? Ok, I’ll tell you. On Friday the 3rd Melissa and I went to the Real Salt Lake soccer game. What fun! We went because they were doing a big fireworks display after the game, and we like a big fireworks display. And I felt like it had been too many years since I’d really done something to celebrate the 4th. The game was great, and what’s also great is having a brother and sister-in-law who have season tickets with awesome seats in a half empty section who let us leave our cheap seats in the very top row and join them with the elite. We were right behind the Real team, and the action was at eye level. We could see the details of the player’s footwork, and what they can do is fascinating. And, we have some very good looking men on our team, and they’re fit, and they run around in shorts…I’m a fan.

Barry was good about telling me some of the rules of the game, which made it all more interesting. The end score was a tie, 1 to 1, which was a bit disappointing. The other team scored first, and then we scored toward the very end of the game. It almost happened without anyone noticing. The ball just rolled into the goal net. I still don’t know how it happened. Suddenly everyone was on their feet – the cheers were deafening. It’s so exciting, that rush that runs through the crowd. Really fun, I’m ready to go to another game soon.

I had to work at the bookstore on Saturday. Holidays at the store are known for being very, very quiet. Melanie decided to count every customer that came through the door, which wouldn’t have been hard because there weren’t many. She decided that we should have a code word that we had to work into every conversation with customers, and we’d get a point for every success, and the winner would get a treat from the pantry. We chose Philadelphia as our word because of its ties to the Declaration of Independence and the 4th. One of our first customers was an older man who went over to the comfy chairs by the TVs and sat down to watch the movie we were playing, “Scout Camp”. It’s about a Scout Camp. I wandered over, and he made a comment about the show, and then I said, “It’s interesting – this was filmed in Pennsylvania right outside Philadelphia, in the woods.” Total crap – that film was probably made up in Heber Valley, I don’t know, but I got my point, and Melanie and I laughed for the rest of the day. I won the contest, and she made me some very delicious cinnamon rolls. All in all a good day for me.

That afternoon I spent some time studying for a mid-term. I’m taking a world civilizations class online through BYU, and am at the point where I need to take the mid-course test. I finished all of the prior assignments back in May, and then my family was in town, and then I was down for a week with an illness, and then June was gone, and I realized that I was going to have to go back and relearn everything before taking this test, and that is taking some time. But it’s been interesting. I know more now about Mesopotamia, Egypt and Crete than I ever thought possible.

That evening I went over to Marla’s house. Her older boys were camping with friends, so we just had Jonah and William. Have I ever mentioned how cute those boys are? They’re very cute. We went for a ride around the neighborhood in their golf cart. They bought this golf cart years ago, and I thought it was kind of weird at the time, but that thing is surprisingly fun and useful. The older kids love to bum around the neighborhood in it. We rode for about 20 minutes, waved at the neighbors, felt the cool evening air; William fell asleep in his car seat. It was very pleasant.

Back at the house we just hung out in their back yard. I brought some sparklers for Jonah (I love sparklers!), and we ate the prize cinnamon roles. There’s a fairgrounds about a half mile west of their house where there are usually fireworks that we can see from the yard. So we waited till 10, and nothing. No fireworks. We saw some that were further away, but too far away. It was a little disappointing, but we survived the pain and still had a nice evening and a good 4th of July. Sometimes you have to muster up the courage of your fore-fathers and persevere.

I taught my primary class about the building of the Kirtland temple on Sunday. The teacher from the class just older than mine called me earlier in the week and asked if I would combine her class with mine. I said sure, and then she said that she didn’t think that any of the kids would be there because so many families were out of town. It’s true that a lot of the primary kids were gone, in every class but mine and the one I took on, and we had visitors. My little classroom was jam packed. I was worried about discipline, kids talking, pandemonium. I pled with them at the beginning of class to please be very quiet and good, and they were! They were very good. They even made comments and told stories that were relevant to the lesson. I couldn’t have been happier.

So that was my weekend. In other news, I’m thinking of faking my death. I read online today that Michael Jackson’s albums have sold 800,000 copies in the last two weeks, and people have downloaded 4.8 million songs online. For crying out loud! He never could have made such a comeback while alive. So, I’m wondering just how much appreciation, and riches, would come my way if I were dead. I might try it and see. Although, if you hear that I’m dead, you need to forget that I said anything about faking it, and act like you would if I were really dead, otherwise this whole test is ruined.

I think that will do it for now. I need to get some more studying done. Hope you’re all doing well, and that you had a fun holiday weekend.

Thursday, July 2, 2009