Monday, December 19, 2011

Season's Greetings

It’s going to be a quiet Christmas for me this year. I will go to church and then to Barry and Melody’s for dinner. Actually, I might go to church with them before dinner. That might be nice. The Utah siblings always get together on Christmas Eve. It carries on one of the best things from Christmases when we were kids.

Christmas Eve was a big deal. We had a traditional dinner of spare ribs and potatoes with some vegetables mixed in, and mom always made lutefisk for dad. I think that Dad grew up with Christmas Eve spare ribs, and that’s why we had them. If you’ve never had lutefisk on your dinner plate, then count yourself lucky. It’s pretty vile. I don’t know why the Norwegians would sully Christmas with such a horrible food, but then again winter is very cold in Norway and dark for 20 of the 24 hours in a day, and that does something to the psyche. Lutefisk is cod or any other whitefish, dried and salted and mixed with lye. Its name literally means "lye fish." Don’t ask me, I don’t get it either, but dad loves the stuff. He pours melted butter on that jelly looking glob and eat it up. I can still see the butter on his chin.

After dinner we opened presents from our grandparents, aunts and uncles. Oh the joy of a child ripping into boxes that she’s sat by the tree and stared at, held and shaken, hoped to “accidently” rip the corner of paper off of just to get a peak, and driven her mother crazy to open just one a day early. Finally, FINALLY it was time to open presents, sheer exhilaration. I loved Christmas Eve almost more than Christmas day then, so it’s very nice that Aaron, Barry, Marla and I and their families still get together to celebrate.

I feel very content this year. It’s nice to feel the Christmas spirit again. I don’t know why I’m so much happier than I’ve been during Christmases past. I’m still single, still no children, still working retail (oh the horror), but nothing about that seems so bad this time. In fact, it isn’t bad at all. Maybe I’m maturing. Whatever it is, I’m happy with what I have and not so worried about the rest, and that’s a wonderful gift.
Have a very happy holiday season!

You are loved.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Gift Idea

This year I bought an advent calendar from Jacquie Lawson, a website with e-cards and other fun, gifty things.  I absolutely love it!  I've sent a few off as gifts to friends hoping that they have as much fun as I've had.  Here's the link  They calendars are beautiful, inexpensive, and easy to send off.  If you're like me, you'll get two for yourself so that you can have one on every computer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let's Review

I have not been on here for awhile. And since none of you have anything better to do than sit and wait for a post from me, I’m sure this has been a difficult few weeks. I am sorry. Here’s a recap.

Thanksgiving was perfect. Mom and Dad were in town; girls were home from school; we ate and played games and enjoyed general merriment. Any day that ends with cheese ball has to be counted a good.

William and Jonah slept at my house that night because Marla had to work early in the morning. Any day that starts with William’s sweet face nose-to-nose with mine as he climbs into my bed has to be counted as good.

Jonah’s birthday is tomorrow. Remember the gift-giving episode of last year? Well, his excitement/fixation/mania/panic started even earlier this year. So we struck a deal – I would give him his gift from me if he’d lay off the constant talk about nothing else, and keep his mother from losing her mind. He agreed, and got his Lego Star Wars kit. I don’t know that he has behaved perfectly since, but Marla said the pressure on her has come down, with a few outbursts here and there. Of course, no nine-year old (ten tomorrow!) boy can go without some slips.

Speaking of slips, I have done pretty well without the Diet Coke. The first couple of weeks were great, but on Thanksgiving Day I sank like a drunken pirate with his rum. I had planned to have a soda on the holiday. I think that “a soda” turned into a 2 liter bottle of soda – I can’t be sure. It’s all very vague.

Back on track and Coke-free now, though, and feeling pretty good.

And now it’s Christmas time. Barry, Melody, Savannah and I went to the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional last night. It was wonderful, as always. Melissa and I bought a Christmas tree on Saturday, and have done other decorating to make the apartment festive and cozy. I’ve got cards to send, and am mostly done with shopping. The bookstore is getting busy, but manageable. I’m determined not to let anything that happens in the retail world make me grumpy this year. Christmas is too beautiful.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What a Bad Idea

I want a Diet Coke so bad.  Whose dumb, *&#@, &&$%#%$%#%*&#@#& idea was this?

In other news, my boxed set, Harry Potter: The Complete Collection Years 1-7 shipped today, so that's something to look forward to.  If only I could enjoy a Diet Coke while watching it..... (sniff)...... Honestly!  Who did this?!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The End of the World as I Know It

I’ve come to a decision that has me a bit shaken. It will change life as I know it. I’m going to lay off the Diet Coke for a while. I know! I can hear the sharp intake of breathe, your cry of shock, and you haven’t even read this yet.

Diet Coke is an enormous part of who I am, of my being, my essence. It’s been my constant friend for more than 20 years. After years and years of denial, I’ve finally come to realize that this is a toxic relationship, addictive, and is doing me more harm than good. I was telling Marla this just this morning, and suggested that she should be my sponsor during addiction recovery, the person I call when I’m about to break, and she said that she’ll do this with me – no Diet Coke (or sodas) until the end of the year.

I feel pretty good about this decision, but I realize that after 20 years on the bottle, I don’t know who I am without it. What kind of Angie will I be after the caffeine, aspartame, caramel color, phosphoric acid and potassium benzoate are gone? I’m thinking that for the first few days I’ll have a screaming headache and be madder ‘n hell. Maybe I should go into hiding somewhere during detox for everyone’s benefit? But then, after that, who knows? I might not even remember you people. Heck, you might not be real. It could be that I have spent the last decades in a NutraSweet induced psychosis and completely delusional. You are all in my head, imaginary friends, just like in that movie “A Beautiful Mind”.

I hope Marla’s real. She has to be my sponsor. But, I think she must be because I do have memories of her, and some pictures, from back before Diet Coke came along. We’re okay there.

So, I guess this could be goodbye to the Angie you’ve known so long. If the lack of caffeine doesn’t put me permanently to sleep, then I’ll update the blog, and if you really do exist, please give me a sign. Thanks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Today It's Still Fall

A Poem, by me

It’s November now, but the trees are holding
On to their yellows, oranges and reds,

The rushing wind whips the leaves that have fallen up off
The ground into whirlwinds around me.

The wind is bringing in the first snow of the new winter.
This warm air is a warning that it’s all about to change,

But not quite yet.
Today I walked through the park with the whirlwinds following me,

And looked up through the bright yellow leaves
Into a brilliant blue sky.

The sunlight came in streams through the branches,
And my heart went soft, peaceful, at rest.

Soon the leaves and trees, the grass and flowers will
All be at rest for the winter,

But not quite yet.
Today it’s still fall, beautiful, delicious, glorious fall.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween was Garbage

William has an obsession with garbage trucks, trucks of all kinds, really, but garbage trucks especially.  Some time ago we went for a walk around the neighborhood on garbage collecting day, and he stood and stared at the trucks lifting the cans and dumping them.  Then he started moving his own arm like the claw, lifting it up over his head.  I don't know if that was the start of all this, but it must have contributed.  He has toy garbage trucks.  He even plays garbage truck.  He'll tear up pieces of paper and throw them on the floor with other junk and then use his claw to pick it all up and drop it on his back behind him.  Funny kid.

When we were getting close to Halloween, William wanted more than anything in the world to be a garbage truck, so Marla got some boxes and made one for him, and it is fantastic, wiper blades, headlights, rear lights, an open back where he could dump his candy, and, as fate would have it, the letters WM for waste management are also William's initials!  

I got to their house Monday at about 4, and that kid was so excited about Halloween he was jumping around like a pogo stick.  When the trick-or-treaters started knocking on the door he ran at a dead sprint to it to give them candy.  Then he'd watch out the window for more kids, then open the door and yell, "Hey, over here!"  He even wished the kids a happy Halloween.

I had planned to be a bag of garbage to go along with the truck, but William didn't like the idea.  I don't know why, and his language skills are still limited, so he couldn't really tell me why.  Maybe he didn't want anything added to or distracting from his already awesome truck.  There's room for only one garbage costume in that town, and his was it.  But, I did put it on for a few pictures with him using his claw.

And then we went trick-or-treating.

With cute Jonah, he was Luke Skywalker

In other Halloween news, there's a house in Marla's neighborhood that has the best yard display I have ever seen - the best - skeleton pirates with a ship and plenty of loot.  I love it so much.

William wore out after about an hour.  We pushed him for another 30 minutes before going home.  I snagged two Reese's peanut butter cups (my favorite) from my generous nephews, and then went home feeling very happy and fulfilled by the spirit of Halloween.  What a great holiday. 

Hope you all had fun, too!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Female Hulk

I’m thinking that it’s a good thing that Dr Banner took the serum that turns him into the Hulk instead of his pretty partner taking it, whose name I can’t remember, but she was played by Liv Tyler in the last movie. Can you imagine what it would be like for a woman who becomes the Hulk to get through premenstrual syndrome? Can you imagine what that would do to the world?  It's just too horrible.

I’m feeling Hulk-like as it is. I have the patience of a 3-year old.  The bloating is making me huge.  My eyes turn florescent green with irrational rage without any warning. I want to trash this office leaving in my wake a pile of rubble, sparking computers, small fires. I am more than capable of yelling so loud and so long that it would slam a co-worker up against the wall. And then I would to slink off, alone, to a dark corner where I would lie down and cry myself to sleep, and sleep until it all goes away. Please, just make it go away.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Because You Just Never Know

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
Henry David Thoreau

My heart is a little sore today. Aaron, my oldest brother, and his wife are facing the possible loss of her father. One week ago he was in a biking accident and was taken to the University hospital where he’s been unconscious since. Among his injuries is a severe blow to the head and internal bleeding. His condition is critical, and they may have some hard decisions ahead of them. As so many of you who have lost parents and parents-in-law know it’s a very difficult time.

Despite his sadness, Aaron, always being the big brother, had instructions for me. I said that its mind boggling to think that a person can wake up one morning and everything’s fine, and by the end of the day your whole life has changed, completely. He said, “You have to live deliberately. Make a plan, and then do it.” He’s right. I’ve never bought into the live like it’s the last day of your life mantra because, honestly, it’s so impractical. I have to go to work, do the dishes, and eat my vegetables. But I do believe in finding small, simple, beautiful things to be grateful for, and they exist in every day. And I believe that we are the masters of our souls (Invictus, Herman Ernest Henley). We are in control of our thoughts, behavior, actions, reactions. We decide what to do with our talents, intellect, resources, and with our relationships. So many unpredictable, uncontrollable events can change our lives in an instant, but still we decide how we are going to live our lives whatever the circumstances.

Aaron said another thing that will stick with me, “We need to be kind. You don’t know if the person you see on the street has a parent dying in the hospital.” Typing that out has made me tear up, so I don’t think that I’ll try to say more. I’m sure you understand the point.

Aaron is a very good man. I love him. I admire and respect him, and that almost means more to me than loving him. You have to love your family, but really liking who they are is so, so nice. I’ve learned a lot from his example of faith. My heart aches for Kristi, my sister-in-law, when I think that she has a father who might be dying in the hospital, but I know that the same faith and goodness that has brought them this far will see them through whatever comes next.

I’m sure that prayers would do them good, if you feel so inclined. Just say, “Angie’s brother” or “Aaron and Kristi”. God will know who you’re talking about.

Thanks, You are Loved.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I have a subsrciption to Vanity Fair magazine.  It's pretty good, lots of interesting articles, and while I don't live up to the lifestyles of those featured in the Vanity, it's fun to pretend every once in a while.  My last issue featured a story about letters from Ernest Heminway to family and others that he wrote during his years in Paris.  The letters are fascinating in their descriptions of Paris life, and it was kind of mind-blowing to look at something handwritten by one of our best authors.

Reading this got met thinking, people don't write letters anymore.  It's become a lost art, and I wonder if our history won't be lost with it.  So much of what we know about iconic figures was found in letters and journals, personal writings.  Now we communicate with texts and tweets, or get on Facebook, none of which will be saved.  What will the next generation know about us?  And what will anyone know about the next generation?  It will be interesting to see. 

I think that I've mentioned before that my dad writes to me.  I've kept every letter that he, and mom, have sent.  The way he writes really reflects his personality, and I know that someday, maybe after he's gone, I'll be so glad to have his letters.  I'll show them to others and say, "This is my dad", and I'll read them myself and feel close to him again. 

I'm not trying to convince you all that you have to start writing letters.  I don't do it.  The closest I get is sending a card with a few short lines.  Still, it's important to have something of yourself to share with those who will come after you.  They'll want to know you.  I want to know you.  The blogging world has been nice for that.  It makes me feel like I know you.  And, you can have a blog printed into a book, something that some of my friends have done.  There's something that will last.

Thanks, as always, for checking in with me.  You are loved.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Celebrating 74

Hello All!  As you may know, I went on vacation last week.  Wait, you probably don't know that because I haven't posted anything here for a month.  Gosh all Friday! (a little saying I picked up from my Dad while on vacation)  I flew to Minneapolis on Saturday, Sept 3, where I met Dad, and the two of us drove to Rochester where Courtney and his family live.  Mom had had already been there helping Andrea with her children and their new baby girl.  Olivia Sharon, named after my mom, was born on August 26th.  She's very small and sweet and has cheeks just right for lots of kisses. 
September 4th was Mom's 74th birthday.  I set out with Amalia (who was having fits like every good 2-year old should and really needed to get out of the house) to the store for cake and birthday necessities.  When we came to the candles, I debated between getting the numbers 7 and 4, or buying several boxes of individual candles.  The idea of 74 candles really had me, so I bought the boxes.

Once home, I counted out the candles and asked Spencer and Drew to put them on the cake with me.  Spencer asked why we were doing so many, and when I told him that Grandma was 74 years old he got a very puzzled looked.  Drew said that the smoke alarm was going to go off, no questions about that.  But we set to work, and the cake looked good.  Well, actually it looked like a whole mess of candles, but we were happy with it.

After dinner, when it came time to light them, Courtney and I each used one of the longer candles to light the others. The candles were so close to each other that some of the wicks came together and made really tall flames, which created more heat.  Everything melted into rivers of wax running all over the frosting.  I broke a sweat sitting next to it, and Drew reminded us about the smoke detector.  We sang "Happy Birthday" as fast as possible.  It took Mom one good blow and another smaller one to blow them all out.  I was eating my piece and saw a dot of wax that I hadn't scraped off yet.  When I pulled on it a whole candle came up.  Poor thing had been burned right down into the cake.  I admit it was a mess, and next year I'm going with the 7 and 5, but Mom (and I) will remember the year of 74 candles for the rest of our lives.

Other trip events:
Shane, Donna and family spent Labor Day with us, and I learned, much to my dismay, that his boys can't play football.  How does that happen in the Midwest?  Still, it was good fun.

Mom, Dad and I drove to Chicago for a few days with my aunt and her family.  Chicago has the best food in the world!  I have mixed emotions about this because it's so wonderful when we're there, but so sad when I'm here craving that food.

We went to the Field Museum of Natural History.

The city was beautiful.

I found that my aunt's house feels as homey now as it did when I was a kid.

I spent way too much money shopping.

And, I flew home again on September 11th.  Getting through security was much better than expected.

And now I'm back at work.  I feel the need to start writing more, so I'll try to keep this blog going.  I guess that's more of a promise to myself than to you.  Hope you all had a great summer, and happy fall!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Playing with Boys

For the last 10 days I have been at Marla’s house with her 4 boys while she and Mike celebrated their 20th anniversary in Cancun. I was nervous about doing this, not so much about taking care of the boys, but more about being away from home for so long. I have a comfortable place all my own in our little apartment. Staying in someone else’s house isn’t always so comfortable. Where do I sleep? What about the bathroom? Four boys will create a lot of dirty dishes, and dirty dishes really gross me out. The truth is, I’m set in my ways, and like things just so. You don’t get much ‘just so’ in a house full of kids. But, I summoned all of my courage, packed up my stuff, and went to Marla’s. After a couple of days I was settled into the routine, and then started to really like the domestic life. Here are a few highlights, observations, impressions, etc.

Zac and Josh, 16 and 14, are remarkably self-sufficient. Marla has told me many times that they’re okay to take care of things themselves, and she wasn’t lying. My first evening there, Josh fired up the grill and made us all burgers and hot dogs, and they were tasty. Wednesday I came home to find Zac cooking meat for tacos, with homemade salsa. Zac has been doing laundry. Josh got himself packed and out the door this morning for scout camp. Every time I’ve thought that I might need to help with something, I’ve found out that they’ve already done it. Remarkable.

Jonah, 9, is equally responsible. He’s back in school now, and that little boy sets his own alarm clock, gets up and dressed, gets his own breakfast and leaves the house right on time. My first morning there I got up with him and went into the kitchen to get him off to school and ended up wondering why I was there. He didn’t need a thing. Even his backpack was ready to go. After the first couple of mornings I didn’t even try to help. I said hello to him, asked how he was, and then went to the bathroom to get ready for work.

And then there’s William. I’ve never been so in love. With the older boys being so independent, William was really the reason I was there, to take care of him. He’s at a great age. He can talk, and is potty trained (hooray), but still little enough to pick up and squeeze. He’s bossy, and a bit spoiled (who did that I wonder?) and also sweet, and he gets excited about the littlest things, and it’s so much fun. He does like to get into things. I wish, literally wish, that I had a dollar for every time I looked at him and said, “What are you doing?!” The Visa card would be paid off.

Like I said, I’ve gotten very comfortable in my life. It’s simple, and I’ve come to not only like but sometimes revel in being single. All that’s mine is all my own. But, after a week of playing with boys I can see why girls want to get married and have a family. Especially when William comes running to me for a hug and says, “I love you, G.” I know, it’s all very Lifetime Channel made-for-tv-movie, very cliché, but having family is better. It’s better than being on your own. It’s a damned frustrating realization, but one has to face the truth. I’ll have to make Marla leave town again very soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

An Old House in Kansas

I found out yesterday that my grandparents’ house in Wichita, Kansas is up for sale. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, probably not since high school. Grandma Ruth sold it in 1992 and moved to be closer to my family.

I learned about the sale online. I was thinking about the house a few days ago and wondered if I could find it on Google Earth, but I didn’t know the address. So while talking to Dad yesterday, I asked him if he remembered the address. Of course he did; he can tell you what the temperature was on July 17, 1962. So I got on Google and looked it up.

It was strange to be looking at an aerial view of a house I hadn’t been to for more than 20 years, and to immediately recognize every detail – the back patio that grandpa built, the garage we re-shingled one summer, the back yard where were I played one morning in new sandals that we had bought the day before. There was the back door – I remembered coming home from a trip to the zoo, walking in the backdoor with the family, up the stairs into the kitchen, and finding a note from my great-aunt Evelyn, grandma’s sister. She had stopped by, found grandma’s note saying that we’d gone to the zoo, and had written us a little poem about the zoo. Mom got such a kick out of that, so impressed with how funny and clever Evelyn was.

The back yard looked different. I couldn’t find the big brick grill/barbeque that Grandpa had built, where I loved to climb up and sit. But of course it would be different, someone else has lived there since 1992, but I was annoyed by the changes. Even though they’ve been gone for years, it’s still my grandparents’ house. In my mind I can see all of us at the table eating cold cut sandwiches, and Grandpa on the couch with his pipe. The television belongs in the corner by the window of the front room and the piano is on the opposite wall, with a picture of my mother in a long silky dress. Little plastic soldiers and farm animals that belonged to Aaron and Barry sit on the kitchen window sill. The tile on the bathroom floor is blue and white, and there is a big old style bathtub with claw feet. I loved it. To this day I want the same kind of tub in my home.

The phone is in the dining room, and next to it is a little device that holds the receiver to make it a speaker phone. That was great when they called because we could talk to both of them at once. There’s also a hutch in the dining room with all of grandma’s knick-knacks, and a white dish always full of Brach’s candy, caramels with different fillings, coconut Neapolitans, and hard cinnamon and butterscotch candies (Courtney has the dish now; it was the one thing he asked for after Grandma passed away).

Marla and I usually slept on cots in the living room. I could hear the cars passing on the street out front. On the farm nights are perfectly quiet. Sometimes, when I was still awake after everyone else was asleep, the silence was lonely. My little girl mind thought that I was the only person on earth. So when I was in my grandparent’s living room, I’d lie on my cot and listen to the cars. It was comforting.

The street is still there, of course, but everything, everyone else is gone. We’ve grown up and spread ourselves all over the country. After looking at the house on Google Earth, I did a random search of the address and found that it is currently listed for sale. So, even the woman who bought the house from Grandma is moving on. The listing said that the house was built in 1928. Mom thinks that her parents bought it in the late 1930s, 38 or 39. They raised their two girls, saw them move to Illinois and Minnesota, had their empty nest years, entertained grandchildren, and lived together until grandpa died in 1983. Then grandma took care of her home until 1992 when she realized that she couldn’t do it by herself anymore. For more than 50 years that house saw a family, in a home, living their lives. It held so much life, and all that life came back to me yesterday. It’s sad to think of strangers living there now, but that’s life, too, isn’t it, thing’s change. Still, the influence of those places stays with us, and more so the people. They make us who we are. That little house will always be a part of me, and I will hold it dear.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Some Random Topics

I have the hiccups. I’m sitting at my desk at work and trying to hiccup with my mouth closed, very quietly, but twice I’ve been caught off guard with hiccups escaping full and loud. It sounds like someone stepped on a seal. And that makes me giggle, so now I’m trying to stifle giggles and hiccups. My work habits are not likely to make it into Forbes magazine.

Independence Day
It was the 4th of July! I think I’ve said before that I’m not the most patriotic of Americans. I love my home, but I don’t buy into the idea that we are the greatest nation on earth. There are others that look just as good, at least in the travel guides. And I can’t stand that stupid Lee Greenwood song, “and I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free…” You know the one. It’s played at almost every fireworks display across the country. One time I was at a soccer game with Barry’s family and watching some fireworks after the game, and Barry told me that if they played Lee Greenwood he was going to have a fit like I’ve never seen before. It was the next song up. He controlled his fit, but neither one of us was very happy.

Goodness, what a lot of bah humbug. I’m the Ebenezer Scrooge of Independence Day. That being said, there is much to be grateful for here in the USA (including documentaries on the History Channel and PBS), and I had a nice holiday. In fact, I went to another soccer game with Barry’s family, and there were fireworks, but this time they were accompanied by the Sandy City Orchestra, which was really good. They played songs like, “from the halls of Montezuma…” and “Stars and Stripes Forever”, perfect.

What the…?
I am troubled by a recent, mad craze of car accidents. I was in one a couple of weeks ago, rear-ended, but it was nothing serious. I was at a stoplight, and I think that the girl who hit me was practically stopped before her car rolled into mine. It left a few scratches on my bumper, nothing to worry about. But I have also witnessed, in two separate incidents, a car driving right behind me on the freeway hit the brakes too hard and spin out, just lost control and spun. Luckily no other cars were hit. I saw another accident at an intersection that left both cars damaged. And then there was the girl who ran into the cement barrier along the freeway, the one that keeps you from driving into the ditch and then into oncoming traffic. Who does that?

And it’s not just me - my coworker has been hit twice on her way into work in the last few weeks. The first time put her car in the shop, so she got a rental car, and this week the rental car was hit. And, a good friend of mine’s mother was in an accident that left her in intensive care for a few days. Thankfully she’s recovering well.

All of this in the last month or six weeks, what is going on? Are people just going too fast, or are too distracted, texting, sleepy, on the phone, all of the above? It’s starting to scare me. Please, everyone, let’s just take a deep breath, slow down and keep our eyes on the road. Accidents are at the very least a miserable inconvenience, and at worst, well we know about the worst. Be safe.

That’s all. Thanks, as always, for your kind attention.
You are loved.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Where Have You Been?

Guys, it's been a long time and I've missed you! What's going on? My family was in town for about ten days and it was really fun. I introduced William to my daddy (see previous story), and he called him G's Daddy for most of the time that they were here. Silly kid.

Here are some of the things we did.

Amalia (2 years old) and I shared a bedroom. Courtney, Andrea and their three children stayed with me (thanks in part to Melissa's flexibility and patience), and we set her little playpen/crib up in my room. She's kind of a messy roommate, left her clothes on the floor and books everywhere, but other than that she was very sweet, quiet, slept soundly and didn't wake me up too early. Ideal.

We went to the Church History Museum downtown where we found a great display for the kids on Book of Mormon stories and the culture of South America. Drew (4) got to wear this fancy vest, go fishing, and learn a Spanish dance.

Marla hosted a backyard party. Barry got caught up in this puzzle (which, by the way, I've tried to do myself and found it impossible. It helped my self-esteem to see that Barry couldn't do it either). Spencer (6), always curious and pretty sharp, wanted to help. They puzzled and puzzled for quite a while.

I hosted my first big family day! I usually let my siblings take care of having everyone over because, come on, I live in an apartment and we don't fit, and besides I have a roommate who would feel driven out of her home. But this time we decided to face our claustrophobia and squeeze in to my place. We ate good sandwiches and swam in the pool. Success.

After so much activity, Amalia needed a drink. She really is sweet.

They left for home last Saturday morning. The time always goes so fast.

And now it's really summer in Utah! After a long, wet and cool spring (which I liked), the temperatures are climbing in to the 90s. I went to Marla's last night to swim with William in their pool and loved it. A private pool is one of life's greatest luxuries, and MAKES a summer. She wants me to teach William how to swim this year. I don't know that I teach swimming as much as just playing around in the water, but either way I'm all for it.

Hope you all have your own fun summer under way!

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

You are loved.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Conversation with William

William and I were talking on the phone today. He started with, "Hel-wo G!" and I giggled because he's so cute. He told me what he was doing with his day, and what his family was doing, and then he said, "My daddy at work."

Me, "Your daddy's at work?"
"Yeah. You have a daddy?"
"Yes, I have a daddy."
And then Will asked, "What his name?"
Stifling a laugh, "Owen".

How interesting.

What he doesn't know is that my parents will be here on Thursday! I told Marla that we'll have to introduce William to our dad.

It's funny, though, isn't it, when kids start putting all of that together? I remember learning that my mom had a name, and it blew my mind. Realizing that parents have parents and siblings... it opens up a whole new world.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Yesterday the family got together to grill burgers and hot dogs and celebrate Mariah’s graduation from high school. This milestone makes me think about how much I love that girl, how grateful I am for her, and how I pray that she’ll always be happy and safe.

Here are a few of my many favorite things about Mariah:

She gives great hugs!

She loves Winnie-the-Pooh.

She was such a shy little girl, wouldn’t talk to anyone. But her quiet way was sweet, and made me feel like wrapping her up and protecting her.

She used to run everywhere and climb on everything and stopped at every water fountain for a drink. Actually, I think she still does that.

She would ask me the funniest questions, but with complete sincerity. Like one time, I had sore muscles from a workout and said that my bum hurt. She looked at me very seriously and said, “Do you have a rash?” She was a toddler at the time, and in her world a sore bottom meant a rash. It made perfect sense.

She loved to play and play. She still likes to play.

She’s so easy to have around, still kind of quiet, but has a good sense of humor and laughs easily.

And now she’s grown up, and beautiful. Mariah is good, down to her core. She makes the right choices because they’re right, not because her parents said so or because she has to. She has a strong sense of responsibility and wants to do well in school and at church, with everything, and she keeps herself on track. She’s just so good.

One day, years ago, I had Sierra and Mariah in the car. They were little; I think Sierra was four and Mariah two. Sierra, always full of questions, asked me what the word valuable meant. I told her that it can mean that something is very expensive or worth a lot of money, or it can be something that you love and never want to be without. She said, “That means Mariah's valuable!” Yes, it certainly does.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Remember how cool U2 was back when we were in high school? I saw them in concert last night, and they still are. They're cooler than ever. It was the most spectacular show I have ever seen. Here are some pictures stolen from ksl (my little phone camera couldn't do it justice).

The stage was the full width of the football field with a "claw" that was about 170 feet high. The band were under that thing, and a huge 360 degree video screen is attached to it. The sound, lighting and effects were beyond amazing. These guys ARE Rock Stars.

And now I need to get on Amazon and buy more U2 music.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The World Comes to Life

A poem
by Me

I don’t mind winter.
In fact
I like it.

Are you stunned? It’s
Not a common opinion.
But something about

Feeling the sharp, cold
Air on my face wakes me up.
It makes a girl feel alive.

And sweaters,
How I love sweaters,
And warm air coming

Through furnace vents.
It’s cozy.

Today I went outside
Into the spring sunshine.
The gardens are wild

With tulips, red, orange, yellow, pink.
The trees are in bloom, and the creek
Is rushing down from the mountains,

A tumult of water falling over itself
And the rocks with a thunderous,
Riotous noise.

It’s beautiful.
It’s glorious.
It’s joyous.

I like winter,
Fall is gorgeous,
Summer is easy and fun.

Oh, but spring,
The world comes to life
In the spring.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Last Saturday Mariah, Savannah and I went to the art museum at BYU for an exhibit of paintings by Carl Bloch. Bloch is a Danish painter whose works on the life of Christ have been very popular around the world. The exhibit is of originals borrowed from churches and collections around Europe. Many of the paintings were done for alter pieces, really big paintings that hung at the front of chapels behind the alter. At the exhibit, these paintings were set up and framed like they would have been in a church, with columns and pillars. It was all beautifully done.

My favorite of the alter pieces, and of the entire exhibit, is this picture of Christ in Gethsemane. The scriptures say that when Christ was in the garden, “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven; strengthening him.” Always before when I read that scripture I thought of… well I don’t know what I thought, something more forceful; the angel stretching out his mighty arms with power radiating down in a white glow. So when I saw this picture, it really struck me.

Here, strength is given in tenderness and compassion; the angel supporting Christ, holding him up off the ground, with love instead of power. There’s no cheering, “Come on! You can do this!” Just an angel’s embrace.

I’ve thought a lot about this since seeing that picture, and have wondered about how I try to strengthen people, if I try at all, and if it’s loving rather than forceful. And, I’ve thought about the many times that I’ve been strengthened, and remember that honestly feeling loved gave me the support I needed. I’m trying to keep this picture in my mind and use it as an example of the kind of strengthening that works, and the kind I want to give.

Oh, and thanks again to the girls for going with me. They're always good fun.

Monday, April 18, 2011

An Ox in the Kitchen

Andrea, my sister-in-law and Courtney’s enduring wife, commented on my last post, about dancing with Court and asked, “I thought he also bumped your mom's head on the stove another time too, didn't he?” Close, but it was me that he rammed into the stove, not mom.

We were dancing in the kitchen, as we liked to do (see previous post). He went for a big dip (now that I think about it, the big dips were the problem), lunging forward, really far forward, pushing me backward. The inertia of both bodies moving in one direction with such force was more than he could handle. He lost all control, hit the floor, and I was thrown into the stove.

But that wasn’t the worst of our accidents. We were horsing around in the kitchen another day. This time he wanted to throw me over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry (side note – I almost never knew what was coming. It’s not like he said, “I am now going to pick you up and carry you around” and then I said, “Okay that would be great”. He just came at me with the surprise attack). He squatted down and pulled me over his shoulders, and just as he was about to stand up, he farted. The passed gas started him laughing. He lost his balance and fell, driving my head right into the knobs on the cabinet door. It really hurt, and swelled up, and gave me brain damage.

Honestly, it was like growing up with Babe the Blue Ox.

But, he was also sweet and affectionate, funny and smart, and we spent almost all of our at-home time together. Along with tackling, fireman carrying, and pain-inducing dancing, he liked to read with me. He’d come up to me and say, “Ang, lets read”, so we’d find a book and sit close on the couch or one of our beds, with his head on my shoulder, and I’d read. That was one of my favorite things. Almost worth the brain damage.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Hi, I haven't written anything here for a while! I'm not really writing today either, just sharing. My brother Courtney posted this on facebook today, and took it. "'When there's music, I dance', Spencer Sivertson, words to live by."
Courtney and I used to dance together when we were kids. I taught him how to waltz. Huh, I haven't thought about that for years - the memory just popped into my head. We did a simple box step, usually in the kitchen, and he bounced with each step. He used to dance with mom, too. One time he grabbed her up and said, "This is how we dance to a snappy tune", and then started to sing a little ditty while moving her around. Wanting to end big, he lunged forward for a dip, but instead kicked mom in the shin, and then laughed so hard he fell on the floor. Smooth. The King of Smooth. Funny though. Cute Spencer, I'm sure his dancing doesn't cause near as many injuries.

Friday, March 18, 2011

To Sum Up

Hi, it’s been couple of weeks. Here’s a list of what’s been going on with Angie & Co.

Cute William had a birthday. He’s three now and it’s made him three times cuter.

Zachary also had a birthday. He’s 16, and still very cute, with a healthy dose of teenage angst.

My nieces Josie (14) and Amalia (2) also had birthdays and my nephew Jake (11), and….. ME! It was my birthday on the 10th.

One might ask, when seeing all of the March birthdays in my family, what’s up with March? I wonder what was going on the previous May/June that made everyone feel so amorous.

My birthday was very nice. The girls at work took me to lunch, and then there was cake filled with chocolate mousse. Melody and I went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner and filled ourselves with steak, potato and the joy of living another year. I received lots of text messages and wall posts on facebook. Thank you all for remembering me!

The next day Melissa and I went to dinner, and then saw “A Tale of Two Cities” at the Hale Theater. It was very good. Two Cities is one of my favorite books.

Along with dinner and a show, Melissa also gave me bronchitis, not quite as fun. She earned 2 points for the evening, and then lost 1 for the disease, which leaves her with a score of 1 point. We’ll see how she does in the final jeopardy round.

My nephew Noah was baptized March 5th. Here’s a picture of their very good-looking family.

I spent some quality time at the DMV, registering the Taurus and renewing my driver’s license. Quality time. The state now wants several proofs of US citizenship and residence before renewing a license, even if you’ve had a valid license for more than 15 years. I suppose there is always the chance that I’ve been an illegal immigrant all along…except that there isn’t any chance of that at all. What nonsense.

I finished one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, “The Invisible Bridge” by Julie Orringer. It starts in 1937 with a Jewish boy named Andras Levi going to Paris to study architecture. He falls in love and goes through all the joy and pain and joy that that brings. And then World War II starts in Europe. He goes home to Hungary, and his family is caught up in all that the war brings. It’s beautifully written, really beautifully, and reading it was an experience all its own.

Reading that book made me think about WWII and all of its devastation. How did people keep from thinking that it wasn’t the absolute end of the world? And how did they come back from it? The human race is remarkably resilient.

And that makes me think about Japan. We’ve had a flood of phone calls at the COB this past week from people wanting to know if their missionaries are okay. They all are, and we honestly believe it’s a miracle.

I’ve been distracted these last few weeks with birthdays and time off work and other events, and am now refocusing my attention on some long-standing goals. Long-standing because I never seem to accomplish them, but there’s still hope, right? I am 41 now, old enough to take charge of myself. I’m going to plagiarize my dear friend Tiffany (I hope you don’t mind) because I love what she wrote the other day, “I'm going to start making decisions that will benefit Future Self instead of just satisfying Present Self. Present Self is driving me nuts, eating too much, and not being tidy. She's like the worst college roommate… Time to put Present Self in her place and start sucking up big time to Future Self. I heard she's awesome.” Isn’t that good? Words to live by.

I think that’s it. Oh wait, one more thing, thanks as always for stopping by. You are loved.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

Little William is talking more and more all the time, but still doesn’t fully pronounce all of his words. I was at their house a couple of weeks ago. William was jabbering away and said something about Jonah. Jonah said, “When he says my name it sounds like Jerk!” I listened more closely and yeah, it kind of did, very funny.

Last week I was back at their house, and William was talking to Jonah, and Jonah got a look of frustration and hollered, “Quit calling me Jerk!” We tried to explain that William thinks he’s saying Jonah, and that he doesn’t really even know what a jerk is. Jonah wasn’t too sure.

So yesterday I was talking to Marla on the phone, and then William got on to say hi. Marla said, “William, show G how you say Jonah”, and William said very carefully, “Jo-nah”, slowly and with two distinct syllables. Marla said, “Jonah worked with him on it all day.”

Nice work, Jonah. It’s always good to know when to take charge of the situation.

Sweet William
And Jonah on his last birthday.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Saving Me From Myself

Guys, I am burned-out! Maybe it’s that end of winter blah feeling we all know so well. Maybe it’s my 6 days a week work schedule. I haven’t had a day off for more than a month. Or, maybe it’s the 1 full pound of sugar and 100 fluid ounces of Diet Coke I consume daily (they say that both are just like mood-altering drugs). Whatever it is, I just can’t be happy.

My first sign of burnout is deep fatigue. I drag myself around – drag out of bed, drag through the motions of getting ready for work, drag myself to the car and then to my desk. It’s all a drag. Fatigue is followed by crying. I’ll be on the edge of tears all day long without knowing why. I just walk around with my eyebrows pulled together and thinking, “I want to cry.” Sierra used to announce her crying, back when she was little (and this last Christmas when I beat her soundly at Apples to Apples). Little Sierra’s eyes would well up with tears and her face would scrunch and she’d say, “Crying. I’m crying Angie.” It was cute. It’s not so cute when I do it.

It doesn’t take long to realize that all of the tears are because I’m tired, and then a good nap or long night’s sleep will do the trick, maybe a weekend of naps. If that doesn’t work, if the burnout is determined to get me, then I slowly digress into the next step – grumpiness. It starts with periodic mild irritation and grows to all out, uncontrollable anger. I’m mad about everything – going to work, going home, people talking to me when I’m not in the mood (which is always), nothing good to eat in the fridge… it doesn’t matter what’s going on, I’m mad about it. This morning some of the guys were standing by my desk just having a friendly chat, and while doing the blank stare and nodding I was thinking, “This is boring. I don’t care about anything you’re saying. This is intolerable. I’M BORED TO DEATH. GET OUT! ” By the way – that’s another sign of burnout. Everything is so, so boring.

That’s where I’ve been for a couple of weeks now. I need a break, a vacation, a yacht on the sea. Luckily, my birthday is coming up, so I’ve scheduled a few days off. No plans really (and certainly no yacht) but just some time away from work will be nice. And, today I took a walk up by City Creek and saw green grass alongside the water, and a bunch purple crocuses blooming in someone’s front yard. I almost cried again. It was a sign of hope. Even though the wind was cold, there in the patchy snow was evidence of change and a new season.

So if you’re wrapped up in your house fighting off the cold and a deep desire to quit your life all together, or maybe to kill people, don’t despair. It’s almost Spring.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentines and Ten Dollar Bills

My mother with my Grandma Ruth, circa 1953.
When I was a little girl, my Grandpa John and Grandma Ruth sent us cards on holidays. We each got our own card, and inside were two dollars. We got them for Valentine’s Day and Halloween. I don’t remember now if she sent cards for other holidays, but I definitely remember those two. I have a clear picture in my head of opening the card and seeing the two bills, so exciting.

They lived in Wichita Kansas, in the house my mom grew up in, and we’d go visit them at least once a year. They’d visit us about that often, too. On those visits they’d give us each a ten dollar bill to spend during the time we were together. Grandpa John was a recovering smoker. He carried hard candies in his pocket because having a candy helped him when he wanted a cigarette. He’d put his hand in his pocket and pull out a bunch of candy and offer me one. I usually picked butterscotch.

Grandpa John died in 1983, when I was 13, and Grandma lived on her own in their house for nine years. By then she was getting close to 90 years old, and realized that she needed to be close to family who could help her. So in 1992 she moved to the Fargo-Moorhead area where we were. She had a little apartment and took care of herself. Mom visited her a couple of times a week, took her shopping, etc. I saw her as often as I could, too, when I was home. I was in my early twenties then, and it was good to spend some time with her as an adult. When you’re young grandmas are for playing and fun and the ten dollar bills, but when you’re older you realize how interesting they are. Grandma told about her family when she was young, and about meeting my grandpa. She said he had style, wore nice clothes and always kept his car very clean. She talked about extended family who’d I’d never met but who had some great stories. One time she showed me three old pottery bowls that she’d gotten in Mexico. They’d been in southern California on a vacation, and walked across the border to Mexico. She bought the bowls and carried them back again. After telling me that, she got thoughtful and said, “I’m not sure that that was legal.” I laughed, and still get a kick out of Grandma carrying contraband over the border.

Grandma Ruth died in January 1997, at the age of 93, fourteen years ago now. When Mom and my aunt Beverly were going through her things, they found an envelope with ten dollar bills in it that she was saving to give to the grandkids when she saw us again. There were enough for each of us to get one more. I still have mine tucked in an envelope at home. I also have the cedar chest that Grandpa bought her before they were married (in 1929), and the clay bowls from Mexico.

This morning I was signing and addressing Valentines to send, and it made me think of Grandma Ruth. I’ve wanted to carry on the tradition of holiday cards with nieces and nephews, and have actually succeeded some years, but I’m not as good and Grandma was.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Ball Game

These are my girls, from tallest to smallest, Sierra, Mariah and Savannah. Aren't they pretty?

Actually, these were my girls about 14 years ago. Some of you who remember them coming in to the store might think that they still look like this, but they don't. Like I say, this was about 14 years ago, but certainly doesn't seem like it.

I did a lot of babysitting and a lot of picking them up and taking them places when they were that age. They liked to come to my house for sleepovers on weekends, too. During one of those sleepover weekends we came up with a brilliant game that will go down in history, well our history anyway. We had been to the grocery store and bought, along with cereal and cookies, giant bouncy balls - the kind that they keep in big cages and you have to pull them through the holes at the bottom. They're fantastic. We went from the store to a park where we sat in the grass to play, and then came a burst of creative genius, the kind only children can have. We had three balls and four players. We sat in a circle, and those with a ball threw it to the person without a ball. Lots of passing, back and forth, slowly at first and one at a time in a constant rotation, and then faster and faster until that one person was pummeled with three flying balls, and then screams and fits of giggles and running to get the balls back again. It was really fun.

We played the ball game a lot over the following years. There were times, of course, with all of those flying balls, that someone would get hit in the head. It didn't hurt, but girls being girls, it usually brought on some dramatic overreaction. So I laid down a ground rule - No crying. You can cry only if you're bleeding, broken or swelling. OK? OK. We started playing again. Savannah got hit, and her little face screwed up and a whiny sound started up, and then she looked at me, and I was looking at her, and she said, "I'm swelling." More fits of giggles.

Those girls were so much fun. It's strange, somehow over the years they got older than me. They've outgrown the ball game, and the swimming pool, and cuddling on the couch to watch movies, and all sorts of things. But I haven't. How did that happen? I don't know, but I suppose it was inevitable. I think, though, that the next time Sierra is home from school we're going to the store for balls, and I'm going to insist that they play the ball game with me. And it'll still be fun. Oh, and the no crying rule still applies.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Just Like Yatzee

I went out for a lunchtime walk today. It was beautiful. The air was clean after some snow last night, and the sun was shining, and the creek in City Creek Canyon with a mix of ice and snow over it, with melted patches where you could see the water flowing, was the prettiest it’s ever been. It was the perfect place to clear my mind.

Being the New Year, I have thought about resolutions, and wanted to resolve to forget it all before I even started and thus avoid the crushing failure. I’m not good with resolutions. But, I feel like this year is going to be different…like changes are coming. I don’t know what or how or why, but my gut is telling me to get ready. And the strangest thing is that I feel really good about the feeling. It’s not scary. Usually a change for me is the equivalent of getting kicked in the head by fate, but not this time. This one’s going to be good. I feel happy, really happy, and ready for the cosmic circles to bring it.

I was thinking about this while walking, and then I thought about a lesson I’m teaching this week. It’s from President Eyring’s last conference talk called “Trust in God, Then Go and Do”. Trusting has been a hard thing for me. I’m an over-thinker, and I always want desperately to know what’s coming and when. I suppose that’s normal. But the truth is that most of the time a person doesn’t know what to expect. That becomes more and more evident as we get older, and after too many disappointments it can be hard to trust.

And then I remembered playing Yatzee with Barry, Courtney and Spencer at my parent’s house last summer. Spencer was 5 at the time. Usually the little kids will play on a team with an adult, but Spencer is pretty sharp, and wanted to play his own game. So Courtney sat beside him and coached him along, and I was very impressed with how he did it. Spencer rolled the dice, and looked them over. Court would show him the options, “You can keep these two 4s and try for some more, or you have two 1s…”, and then he’d let Spencer make his choice. When it was time to add up his points, Spencer would stare at the dice, sometimes put his little hand on his head, and think. If he was really stuck then Courtney would help, “You have three sixes, what’s six plus six?”, and Spencer would say twelve, “Ok, and then add six more.” Sometimes it would take Spencer some time to figure it out, but Courtney patiently let him work it through until he got the right answer and wrote it down on his score card.

I thought, “Wow! If that were me I’d take the card and do all of the adding and writing, and think that I was helping." But that wouldn’t have helped Spencer. He was capable of figuring the answers out and of keeping his own score, and he needed to do that work for himself. That’s how he learns. So I walked today with that picture in my head – Spencer working through his adding problems with Courtney sitting patiently, right there beside him. The child is left to work, but his father is always there.

Isn’t that how life goes with all of us? We have to do most of the work on our problems ourselves, but there is someone there for backup, family, friends, and most importantly our Heavenly Father. He’s always right there, and if we know that and trust it, then the work isn’t so hard, an uncertain future isn’t scary, and this feeling that my life could change this year is good. It’s really good.
Best of luck to all of you with whatever the year brings. Thanks, as always, for being here for me.
You are loved.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

G Mom

I'm sure I've mention William before...haven't I? I think so. He's sweet. When he was born Marla and I started a little joke about me having shared custody. According to my plan, she gets feeding and diapers and waking up in the middle of the night and general daily care, and I get to go on fun activities, give lots of hugs and kisses, and adore him and be adored in return. Actually, now that I think about it, that's the arrangement I've had with all of the kids. But, with William I also get to share pictures and tell people that he's mine. I've held up my end of the deal pretty well.

I was talking to Marla today, and she said, "William has a new name for you, it's G-Mom. I asked him, 'You mean G and Mom?', and he said, 'No, G-Mom'. Even when he's saying his prayers he prays for his G-Mom."

My heart is melting.

He prays for me.

And he adds Mom to my name.

I asked Marla if that bothered her. She said that it didn't. So it looks like I am the backup mom, and I think it's the sweetest thing in the world.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Like the Bings

My blogging friends have real life events going on! Sierra has decided to stay at the BYU-I this semester (even thought she's off track till April, they have tracks there so that they can... never mind, that'll take to long). She's taking online and evening classes and in all ways being a responsible grown up putting in extra effort towards her education. Good girl. Tiffany has skydiving passes in hand, and Nicole has adopted twin boys! They're gorgeous, and she seems to be very taken with them. Congratulations.

And what about Angie? Well I'm going to rant about the one thing that's going on in my life - television. There's a trend in the lives of our tv friends that I just hate, and it is spending at least one full season, usually more, painstakingly and heartbreakingly bringing two people who belong together together just to have them break up for some stupid reason in less time than it took to get them together. The emotional turmoil has been enough to make me consider suing for distress. Honestly, I've lost all patience with it, and I believe that this is why my favorite shows are free of will-they-or-won't-they couples. Modern Family, for example, is brilliantly funny, and you don't have to worry in the least about any of those couples breaking up. And Wipeout, well, that's just people getting hit in the face and knocked into a big pool of water. Did you see it last night? Ha, I'm still laughing.

Anyway, on the other hand, I'm about done with Glee, and the final nails in the coffin were Emma marrying someone other than Mr Scheuster and Finn breaking up with Rachel. For crying out loud. Why did we go through more than a year of watching them long for each other? What a waste of my time. There are other shows that I've dumped for the same reason, The Big Bang Theory and Grey's Anatomy being two of them.

I did stick with Friends through the long and tedious Ross and Rachel ordeal. But, that show had a beautifully redeeming factor - Chandler and Monica. Those two don't get enough credit. They are one of the best TV couples ever, and the best thing about them is that once they got together they stayed that way. We got to watch their relationship grow through dating, marriage, infertility, adoption and buying a house for their family on Long Island, all with them loving each other along the way. Why aren't there more stories like that out there? Do TV writers really think that viewers are only interested in the pain of being in love? I may be an old maid, but I'd still like to believe that being in love can be a happy time, and that good relationships last.

That's my rant. Thanks for listening. I was considering writing A Week in Review, but this is all I have to talk about, so we'll call it good here. Still, thanks, as always, for your kind attention. And of course you are loved (unlike poor Mr. Scheuster, who in spite of his hotness, singing voice and dance moves can't have a healthy relationship to save his life).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Story from the Farm

I have a lot of stories about my little brother Courtney. Here is one of my favorites.

My dad worked for a few years for a sunflower research company. The sunflower fields were close to our home, and my siblings and I spent many summer days out in those fields. The company owned an old 1970-something Plymouth van, full sized, white with a dark green stripe through the middle. It was very good for hauling crews of grubby teens out to work.

One afternoon, Courtney and I were riding with Dad through the fields in that van. Court, who was maybe 7 years old, was in the front seat and looking at himself in the rear-view mirror. Something must have made him want a closer look, because he leaned out of his open window toward the mirror, hooked his arms over the door and got almost nose-to-nose with his reflection. Just then Dad slowed the van down and turned a corner. The inertia of the turn and the weight of Court’s body made his door swing open. He kept those arms hooked to the door and held on, his body dangling, for the full swing, and then he dropped into the dirt.

Dad shouted, “Well!” Dad always shouted “well” when something surprised and disgusted him beyond words.

He stopped the van. Courtney got up, brushed off the dirt, got back in the van, and we were on our way. He wasn’t hurt, or all that phased by it really. That was just one of the many things he fell out of, or off of. I’ll save those stories for another time.