Friday, August 28, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello! How do you feel about A Week in Review? Yes? Ok.

My Hero
It’s good to have a brother who knows how to do things. Last Saturday I was on my way home after my evening with the girls and remembered that I needed butter, so I stopped at the local 7/11. I was pulling into the parking lot when I thought I smelled coolant. When I parked the car I saw smoke pouring out from under the hood. Great. So I popped the hood and saw liquid spraying all over the place, and thought, “That can’t be right.” After buying butter (which I later found to be rancid, thanks for nothing 7/11), I drove home. It was only a couple of blocks, but that’s all it took for the car to overheat. So I parked it in the lot, went inside, cried, tried to figure out how I was going to get the car to the shop, cried, figured I could take the train to work, cried and cursed my life.

I kept thinking, though, that it had to be a simple problem. Obviously coolant was leaking, and I saw the spray, so the leak must be in an open place, probably on the top of all that’s under the hood. I still thought that I’d have to call a tow truck and get it to the shop, but was hoping that the repair would less than the usual $500.

By the next morning I had stopped crying, and was thinking again about what it might take to fix my car, and decided to call Barry and ask him if he would take a look at it. It was Sunday, but luckily it was the Sunday of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication, and they weren’t going to their session until 3:00, so he had time to come over, and Savannah came with him, and it’s always nice to see Savannah. We opened up the hood and stuck our heads under it and gave everything a good look. Then he had me turn the car on, and we looked again. Then he decided that all of the liquid had probably leaked out and that we should add some more. I got jugs of water, and he poured it into the radiator, and then we waited, and looked and waited some more. He got out his tools and adjusted a screw to make sure that there wasn’t air in the line (this is why Barry is good to have around, he knows things about air being in lines), and eventually he saw water coming through a small hose right by the engine. He pulled it off, and there was the hole. The hose was only about 5 inches long, and half an inch in diameter, and the crack was not even a quarter inch long. Strange how such a small thing could cause big problems, and lots of crying.

We ran to Checker auto parts for a new hose, went back to my car, put it in place, and now it runs like a dream. Hooray! And hooray for Barry! The moral of the story – marry a farm boy. They know stuff – like how engines work and replacing hoses. Since most of you are already married, my moral is of no use to you. But, for those who aren’t…you know what to look for.

The Girls
We had a good time Saturday. First there was dinner at Wingers, and then we saw the movie Post Grad – all of which was the girls’ pick. I didn’t have high expectations for Post Grad, but it was good. I liked it, and they did too. I get all gushy when it comes to the girls, all of the kids really. After the movie we were sitting in our chairs for a minute, and I was looking at the three of them, and my heart went all soft, and I got a little teary. They really are beautiful. I don’t know how to put that feeling into words, but I’m sure that you know what I mean. Great, I’m getting teary again right now. People are going to wonder what I’m crying about. Let’s move on.

The Alchemist
I finished Alice in Wonderland, and it was great. Really so much fun, I highly recommend it as a good read. So it was time to pick something else. I was reading The Writer’s Almanac yesterday, and there was a bio on Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian writer. It said this:

"The son of an engineer, he was educated by Jesuits and decided in high school that he wanted to be a writer. When he told his mother this, she said: "My dear, your father is an engineer. He's a logical, reasonable man with a very clear vision of the world. Do you actually know what it means to be a writer?" The teenage Coelho did some research on what sorts of people writers were, and he concluded that a writer "always wears glasses and never combs his hair" and has a "duty and an obligation never to be understood by his own generation." He was determined to become a writer, despite the opposition of his loving parents. Hoping that they could save their son, his parents committed the 17-year-old Coelho to a psychiatric institution."

Can you believe that? An institution. He went to law school for his parents, but when he was about 40 he decided that it was time to do what he’d always wanted to do, and he started writing. His most acclaimed book is called The Alchemist. While reading this I remembered that I have a copy of that book on my shelf. This is because I have an obsessive habit – when I see a book that looks good I buy it because I’m scared to death that if I don’t I’ll forget it and never get to read it. So I buy it, and that means that I’ve got piles of unread books all over my room. I honestly have to make a firm commitment to not buying another one until I’ve read all that I’ve got, but really what are the chances of keeping to that? I work in a bookstore. Of course the day will come when I don’t work in a bookstore, and then I’ll have plenty of reading material saved up. Anyway, I got my copy of The Alchemist off of the shelf and started it last night. The first 15 pages are good. I’ll let you know how the rest turns out.

Well, I think that’s it for now. Thanks, as always, for being my shining stars.
You are loved.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Have an Issue

We have Christmas stuff on the shelves at the bookstore. I don't think that I need to explain to anyone why this is an outrage.


Friday, August 21, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello Everybody! It is Friday. I’ve never been one of those people who walks around the office saying things like “Only 3 more days till Friday” or some other hooray for Friday statement because I think it would be a sad life if you spent five days of every week wishing that it were the other two. Honestly, do we really hate what we do all week that much? But, today I have to admit that I am ready for the week to end. It's been long. Let’s do A Week in Review.

The Girls
I’m going to have some fun tomorrow going out with the girls. When they were little I did a lot of babysitting, and we’d go do things – have dinner, rent movies, go downtown to Temple Square or the parks, the swimming pool, lots of things. As they got older the babysitting wasn’t needed anymore, and then they got busy with other things, as teenagers do, so it’s been some time since we've all gone somewhere together. With Sierra leaving for school soon, I thought it would be fun to relive our wilder days (you know, when they were 5 and very into Winnie the Pooh), so I invited them out. Tomorrow we’re going to get together about 5:30, have dinner, and then go see the movie Post Grad. They’re Gilmore Girls fans, and the star of Gilmore is in this movie; therefore, it is a must see. I’m really excited about it. The girls are fun, and of course I love them like crazy, and I’ve missed our time together. It’ll be good.

Cash for Clunkers
This may bore you to tears, and for that I’m sorry, but I have another issue. Most of the people in the circles I move in are hard-core Republican, and very biased in their views. This is Utah after all. I try not to cling to either party, but I sometimes find myself silently rooting for the Democrats just for spite. Is spite a good reason to join up with a party? I think so. It's really all I've got. Anyway, here’s a case in point: when I’m watching the news, or listening to NPR radio, I often hear reports on the Cash for Clunker program that are very favorable. GM has rehired about 1300 of the people they previously laid off. Ford is seeing profits like they haven’t seen in years. The auto makers are happy. And then I come into the office and hear things that would make a person believe that EVERYONE is losing EVERYTHING they own because of the government, and oh that Cash for Clunkers program – it’s one of the signs of the Apocalypse. They heard it in a report.

Now of course, because of the incredible bias I don’t take much of what I hear every day very seriously, but I do wonder about news and more so the popular commentators. Can anyone really be trusted? Do you remember the story in the Book of Mormon about the lawyers in the city where Alma and Amulek were teaching who purposely tried to rile people up so that they’d take each other to court, and in the end the lawyers became very rich? People like to read that story today and think of ambulance chasing personal injury lawyers, but I’m starting to believe that our best modern day examples are the political commentators. Those guys with their books and tv and radio shows are multi-millionaires! And what do they really do? For every one on one side of the fence hollering about something, there’s another on the other side hollering that he’s wrong. They feed people’s addiction to fear and anger, and create an extreme dislike of certain groups. That does not help anyone.

I honestly believe that one of the biggest problems our nation faces is its extreme lack of unity. Sure everyone has an opinion on things, and the opinions are wide and varied. But does that have to mean that we get hateful with each other? Do we really have to hold with all of our might to the belief that Cash for Clunkers is going to bring financial ruin just because someone from the other party thought of it? And besides, we all know that most of our huge national debt came from the war in Iraq, not from a car buying program (I’m sorry, I just had to get that dig in there).

Well, I’ve said enough. My apologies for the rant, but I do honestly think about unity, and how much our nation needs it, and try to understand how we can achieve it, and then I wonder if we ever will.

Alice in Wonderland
A better topic all together. I’ve been watching the trailer for the Alice in Wonderland movie that's coming out next year - it looks so good. And Sierra told me that she’s reading the book, so I decided to brush the dust off of my copy and read it too. I had no idea how funny it is – so funny. I’ve laughed out loud many times. Here’s one piece that really cracked me up:

“They were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled on the bank--the birds with draggled feathers, the animals with their fur clinging close to them, and all dripping wet, cross, and uncomfortable.

The first question of course was, how to get dry again: they had a consultation about this, and after a few minutes it seemed quite natural to Alice to find herself talking familiarly with them, as if she had known them all her life. Indeed, she had quite a long argument with the Lory, who at last turned sulky, and would only say, `I am older than you, and must know better'; and this Alice would not allow without knowing how old it was, and, as the Lory positively refused to tell its age, there was no more to be said.

At last the Mouse, who seemed to be a person of authority among them, called out, `Sit down, all of you, and listen to me! I'LL soon make you dry enough!' They all sat down at once, in a large ring, with the Mouse in the middle. Alice kept her eyes anxiously fixed on it, for she felt sure she would catch a bad cold if she did not get dry very soon.

`Ahem!' said the Mouse with an important air, `are you all ready? This is the driest thing I know. Silence all round, if you please! "William the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured by the pope, was soon submitted to by the English, who wanted leaders, and had been of late much accustomed to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria--"'

Get it? A recitation on William the Conqueror was the driest thing he knew – dry! That gets me every time.

I think that we’ll end on that note. Thanks, as always, for your constant brilliance.
You are loved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I've Got An Issue


Enough already.

Well, not vampires persay. The real vampire community has for the most part left me alone, and I appreciate that. No I'm talking about all of the books and tv shows and magazine covers and everything vampire since the success of Twilight.

I read the Twilight series and enjoyed it well enough (all except for that fourth book, Dumb; she should have stopped after three). But for crying out loud people. Last night I saw a commercial for another "new" show called The Vampire Diaries, this after HBO's True Blood, which by the way is FILTHY. Melissa rented the series opener on DVD, and we couldn't watch even half of it. The New Moon movie cast has already been on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. I go to the bookstore, and DB is incorporating a hint of Twilight into it's marketing of books that have nothing to do with vampires. Nothing! Honestly, I'm so done with it. Even Bram Stoker would be shaking his head at all of this.

I'm calling for a boycott of all things vampire.

That's my issue. Thanks for listening.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kind of A Week in Review

Hello! I'm sorry, I'm going to be very lazy about A Week in Review today. The reasons are three-fold: I don't have much to say; I've got other things to do, and I'm just not feeling it today. If that stellar intro doesn't get you ready to read this post, then I don't know what will.

Summer Social
Yesterday evening we had our department summer social. I usually skip these things because it's one of those events where everyone goes with their spouse or some other "other", and the word social is always a bit of a turn-off. But, early this week I talked to a co-worker who is also a single girl and asked her if she was going, and she was, and so we made plans to hang out together. I'm glad we did, because honestly I would have ditched the whole thing if she hadn't been counting on me, and I would have missed a really good night.

These socials always follow the same pattern. We go to a place called Snydermill Lodge in Park City (Nicole, do you remember our love/hate/mostly hate relationship with the Lodge?); there's a good meat and potatoes dinner, usually catered, some musical entertainment, and then words from a General Authority. Last night, after some lovely steak and baked potato, we enjoyed the musical stylings of one Peter Brienholt. You guys from the store will remember Peter Brienholt, quite well (I'm probably misspelling his name, sorry). We all loved him at one time. Maybe some of you still do. For those who don't know, he's what I would describe as a folk singer. His music is acoustic, and he has an unusual, folksy sounding voice. He does a lot of work with EFY. I wasn't sure of how well the older members of our group would like him. But, they all seemed happy enough, and it was fun for me to hear him sing some of the songs that I've known for so long.

After the singing, Elder Holland spoke to us. It's always wonderful to be in a small group with one of the Twelve, and if it were ok to have a favorite, Elder Holland would be mine. He told us how wonderful we all are, of course, and then talked about the world we live in, and the importance of choosing to stand for what's right. It was very thought-provoking. I think that so often the lines between right and wrong are blurred, and sometimes what's right is called wrong and the reverse. It's an issue that's been on my mind for some time, so to hear Elder Holland speak to that subject was good for me. It helped me fix my resolve again on what's important. I'm glad I went.

So Busy
Geesh, what a week. I have not been home during the daylight hours since Monday. I had an extra shift at the store, and then the social last night, and I'm really looking forward to going home and laying around tonight. I might take a nap before going to bed.

That's all for now. Thanks, as always, for your continued awesomeness.
You are loved.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Some Thoughts on the Single Life

I’m here at work with no work to do because all of my computer programs are in the process of being updated, so I thought I’d write about some things that have been on my mind lately. Well, one thing really – being alone.

That sounds more depressed than I mean it to. I guess it would be more accurate to say being on my own. It’s something I’ve dealt with for 15 years now, and still don’t feel like I’m good at it.

I’ll start with a story. Back in 2002 my parents moved here to Salt Lake and stayed for two years. They had a very pretty house out west of Eagle Mountain, and the plan was that they would spend their retirement years close to most of their children and grandchildren. I loved it. But my Dad hated Utah, absolutely hated it. There were lots of reasons for that that I won’t go into now, especially since it was a long time ago and doesn’t matter anymore. They moved back to Minnesota in the fall of 2004. It was heartbreaking for me. I suppose I took it all more personally than I should have, but sometimes it’s hard not to take the things your parents do personally. I’m not still hurt that they left, not at all. It has all worked out well. I’m telling this little piece of my life because it was then that I came to know a factor of being on my own that I hadn’t faced before, and that was that my family could do whatever they wanted, and my feelings about their decisions really did not matter. They were not in any way obligated to consider me.

Being single, I still rely on my parents and siblings to be my family. Marrieds with children usually think of that group, the spouse and kids, when they think of their family. But not me, not any of us who have never been married. Our family is still those that we grew up with. Over the years as my siblings’ own families have grown and become more defined, I’ve had to realize that they have obligations, responsibilities, commitments, and their strongest emotional ties to their spouses and children, which is exactly right and good. I wouldn’t have them feel differently, but it leaves me in a vulnerable position. Any of them could go, like my parents did, or could make other life decisions that would profoundly affect me, and in which my voice would have no meaning, and they wouldn’t have to listen to it. It’s a helpless feeling.

I love my family very much, and I’m sure that they love me. I’m certainly not saying that they don’t care if I live or die. They’ve always included me in Sunday dinners, holidays, dance recitals, birthdays. I’ve loved every minute that I’ve spent with my nieces and nephews, and am always grateful that my siblings are willing to share their kids. Still, when we’re all together I often feel like I am outside of their family circle, on the fringe, looking in. And I’m always well aware of the fact that those kids aren’t mine. And sometimes I’m drained by loving so much something that isn’t mine.

Years ago I was talking to a good and very wise friend at work about my emotional instability (he was always very nice about my emotional instability), and he said something that has stuck with me, “You can’t define how you feel about yourself by what others think of you." Or, I'll add, by how much you think you mean to them, or by how important you are in their lives. Heck, most of the time when we try to figure out what others are thinking of us we get it wrong, so that’s nothing to go on. I’ve thought about that advice hundreds of times since then, and have tried to apply it. It isn’t good for me to be constantly at risk of a mental breakdown depending on what other people say or do. Ridiculous, and yet it’s so easy for me to put myself in that place, and so hard to feel strong enough on my own to have emotional stability.

So after all of that, here’s my point – I am trying to find my own strength, independence and self-assurance. I’m trying to feel like my existence is worth something, all on its own, without the label of wife or mother, without the validation that comes from being listened to or considered in everything. I want to feel good about myself and my life all by myself. I want some peace.

Life is a transitional thing. We move through it in stages. Children grow up and move away; marriages sometimes dissolve; there’s death. I’m sure that eventually everyone faces a time when they have to do what I’m doing. I have a friend whose father died more than ten years ago, and her mother, who was in her sixties at the time, had to for the first time live on her own, and found even the simplest decisions hard to make. My parents committed themselves whole-heartedly to raising their six children, and now we’re all off on our own. I’m sure that they’d love to have us there in Minnesota, but all of those years of them giving so much to their children didn’t mean that we’d stay with them. I went 1200 miles away. My niece Sierra will leave for school in a month, and will for the first time be on her own. She’s at that point in her life when this is exactly what she should be doing, and I’m sure that she’ll love it. But I also know that it’s freaking her out, and for good reason. There’s a huge learning curve ahead, and she’ll have to learn to depend on herself. She knows, though, of course, that she has all of her family’s love and prayers behind her, including mine. I pray for all of the kids, every day. And maybe there are people praying for me too. I know that my parents do (in fact my dad writes me letters now, which is so much fun).

So eventually most of us live in a place by ourselves, and when that happens we have to know how to live happily alone. We have to have personal definition that is independent of anyone else and that can thrive on its own strength. We need God. We need prayer. We need the Holy Spirit to give assurance, and we need to know that we are worth something all on our own – as one single individual. Gosh it’s hard, and I really am not good at it, but I want to be. I pray for it. Relationships are wonderful; they are what makes life worth all of the trouble. Cultivate them and keep them alive and well, and include in that work the relationship you have with God, and with yourself.

I’m going to end with one of my favorite quotes, from a TV show (ok it’s Sex and the City, but don’t tell anyone).

“…I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous”.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Part II

An Addendum
I forgot an important part of my week in A Week in Review - I got my roommate back. Melissa has been in Connecticut with her sister for the last month and came home on Wednesday. It's good to have her around again. And...she brought me a present! They found a bookshop that had a collection of old books, and she found for me a copy of "The Works of Victor Hugo", printed in 1928. I have a small collection of old books, so this was very exciting. I honestly had chills when she gave it to me. I don't know that I told her that; Melissa, I got chills.

I've mentioned before an inclination toward being an introvert. I think that I could easily become a hermit if given the chance, and that wouldn't be good for me. It is good for me to have a friend around. Melissa and I don't always see eye-to-eye, and I'm sure that some of my obsessive compulsive, often irritable behavior gets on her nerves. But still we do well together, and I always know that I can count on her, and that's a nice thing to have around.

So welcome back! And thanks for the book.

A Week in Review

Hello! It’s Friday, and the weather here has finally cooled down, only 78 degrees today, and I am going to take a good walk up through Memory Grove and City Creek Canyon in about half an hour and am really looking forward to it. Before that, let’s talk about A Week in Review.

Speaking of talking, William likes to talk on the phone. He’s not actually saying words yet, other than hi, but he loves to be on the phone and to listen to me talk to him. Every time I call Marla, he wants to talk, and then he doesn’t want to give the phone back to her. The solution to this is that Marla gives him one phone, and then she uses the other, and he actually stays on the line with us for our whole conversation. He listens, and then will shout something out, so we talk to him, and then he’s quiet again while we talk. It’s the funniest thing. He has a little “desk” set up in the living room with a toy computer, and sometimes he sits there while on the phone, just like a grownup. So cute.

I’m reading a great book called “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson and am loving it. I picked it up on a recommendation from my good friend Nicole, who’s kept it as a favorite for years. It’s told from the perspective of a young girl who has lost her parents, and is living with her sister and her aunt. The story goes back to tell about her grandparents and then her mother, and it’s just so beautifully done. Robinson also wrote “Gilead”, which I was carrying on about a few months ago. I don’t know the words to describe her writing other than deep and beautiful. It’s a joy to read, and compared to her so many others seem hollow. Go get this book. Right now.

I watched the finale of So You Think You Can Dance last night (man that’s a long name for a show), and it was wonderful. I didn’t really have a favorite to win, every one of the final four were great, so I just enjoyed the dancing. I know I go on about SYTYCD, and that’s a little bit cheesy, but some of what they do honestly touches my heart. There were dances this year which so perfectly expressed real struggles, like addiction, breast cancer, the journey through life, and it’s just remarkable to me that they can so perfectly and fluidly express all of the emotions just with movement. I’m amazed. I’ve honestly cried watching them. Another season is starting up again in September (am I ready to jump back in so soon?), so if you haven’t tried this show yet, there’s another chance.

Here’s something from last this week’s finale, the one about life’s journey. I love how they go back and forth, and then stop and center their focus in the right direction, so metaphorical, and beautiful.

That's it for this week. Thanks, as always, for your own lovely loveliness.
You are loved.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Those of you who have worked retail, which is just about all of you, know just how (insert string of obscenities, shouted) the general public can be. I was at the store last night, and two of my BIGGEST irritants seemed to happen over and over again.

1 - Why do people bring up to the register stuff that they do not want to buy? They dump it off with me to put away. Man I hate that. Last night a woman came to me with a bracelet and said that she had another one like it on hold. So I went and got the one held for her, and then asked if she was buying both. Oh no, she only wanted the one that was on hold. Well then why did you bring me another one?! And then later that night a lady who wanted very much to tell me all about why her back hurt when I simply did not care had about 8 items in her hands, and said that she was still trying to decide what to buy. Shouldn't that have been done before coming to check out? The cash register is not the place for decision making. Honestly. So we rang stuff through, and she asked me every few items what her total was, and then she'd think it over, and then told me they were going to Lagoon for her son's birthday, so she couldn't spend much money, and in the end left 3 items behind, because she knew that there's nothing I love more than putting away all of this stuff.

At one point I said to Frank, my manager, "If I had all power and could rule the world, I would stop people from bringing to the register things they do not want to buy." He laughed and agreed that it is really annoying, and then said that it's like they pick something up off of the shelf just to tell us that they don't want it, and then he picked up a book and handed it to me, "Here, I'm not going to buy this."

The thing is, they never offer to put things away themselves. We're not a huge store, like Target, so it's not a half-mile walk back to where an item belongs. Sure it's ok to go to a register to ask what the price is on something, but then if you don't want it, take it back to where you found it! Don't leave a mess for someone else to clean up. That's just common courtesy.

2 - Speaking of putting things away, after we closed last night Frank asked me if I would clean up the children's area before going home. I walked to that section and found a GIANT mess. There were piles of books everywhere. Everywhere! What is wrong with people? Don't we all remember our mothers telling us to put things back where we found them? Why don't today's mothers tell their children the same thing? We have people leave their kids in the children's area, go do their own shopping (some have actually left the store) and then come back, grab their kid and go, without giving any attention to the mess their kid has made. That is not ok. That has never been ok. It will never be ok. So it goes without saying that it's also not ok to let your kid rip up a book and then leave it on the floor.

The nerve of some people.

Those are my issues. Thanks for listening.