Pageviews past week

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I'm in Denver loving me up some grandkids, but here's a video we took with our new video camera. Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Car Inventory--October 29, 2004

Tonight I found in my Christmas card kafuffle this random list of the junk in my car on this date (Omaha years):
1 light-up pumpkin
30 Halloween finger puppets
5 American Girl 3-ring binders
2 bags of knitting
3 hand puppets
2 coats
1 electronic labeling system
1 pumpkin hat
6 recently signed Tomie dePaola books
1 dutch oven
1 cutting board
1 international kids' cookbook
1 spaghetti squash that had rolled under the seat
my purse
1 sprouting jar
3 computer cd's to preview for school
7 library books
1 ziplock bag of 20 assorted zippers
1 Noah quilting book
1 table runner
2 marshmallow roasting sticks
1 Groovy Girls bedroom footrest (purple and lime green with gold fringe)
1 vinyl carry-all bag
3 lunch bags with dirty lunch containers
1 rotting tomato

I guess it was an archaelogical ephiphany sort of experience that warranted listing all the contents. Where I sat is the larger question. I'm contemplating cataloging my kitchen junk drawer as well...

Happy Father's Day--Yes, in December...

I don't think this video was made to celebrate this dad. In fact the very blatant message is obviously about the unlimited potential in each individual, but I came away overwhelmed not by the son but by the dad. Tell me what you think. Hope you're taking a break in the frantic pre-Christmas days to sit and enjoy and ponder this.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"...with care..."

"Show me a man whose wife knits, and I'll show you someone who talks to himself!"--Ogden Nash

I've made 6 of these and have a few more to go. They're supersized and take time and yarn. Santa may have to blow up a few balloons to fill up some space in them!

Paris Literary Club--Founded 1942

This is the classiest group of well-read gals you're likely to meet! We're shown here at the annual Christmas party held this year at my home. Missing is Sandra who's on a mission with her husband in Nauvoo. The two grand gals in the front (top photo) are Virtue (left) and Lark. Lark traveled through two very very high mountain passes from Wyoming with her daughter-in-law to be with us. We had a lovely dinner,exchanged gifts, and then Virtue told tales from her childhood Christmases. She's had 94 Christmases!!! Who can TOP that??? I've belonged to this club for 4 delightful years. God bless them EVERY ONE!!!

"Look, Mom! Can I Keep Him?"

Bruce, my principal, regaled us yesterday with the story a teacher from Utah told him. Her middle school class was on a fieldtrip to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake. After their day and as the kids were boarding the bus, they noticed one boy soaked to the bone. What else to do but tell him to get on the bus. Later during the trip home the teacher heard strange noises from the back of the bus. When she investigated she found that same boy with a penguin on his lap!! Yes, he HAD jumped the fence, dove into the penguin pool, successfully tackled a penguin, and taken him hostage under his soaking clothes on the bus. Never, I repeat NEVER a dull moment in middle school...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Zippedy Ay and Hidey Ho!

(14 months old at a birthday party on Valentine's Day, Austin, TX. He's looking all worried because the cake seems to have stopped.)
Happy Birthday to Thomas, whom I lovingly call, "The Best Billboard for Birth Control!" Thomas, you've been more fun than any mother really deserves. I love how you can fill your mouth with grapes. I love that you connect with animals like Dr. Dolittle. I love that you are the world's GREATEST "Reticent Stenciler". I love that you do circus tricks better than anyone else! I love that you are an amazing Hairgrowing Miracle. I love your choice of wives! I love that when I think about you as a daddy this spring, I get all goose bumpley. Happy Birthday!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I am going to walk to Maryland, oh yes I am.

These are some babies in Maryland that I need to hold on my lap. Right now.

I Like Their Frocks!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sans Frog

The management regrets to inform you that this year's annual Christmas cd FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER does not contain even one Muppet number. Lest you run out into the path of an on-coming car, we hasten to add that you will find it just as eclectic and festive as in previous years, albeit perhaps more mellow. Let us know if you want one! Demand is high this year, but we are prepared to work around the clock to spread our own version of non-caloric Christmas cheer if necessary.

Oh my goodness...

Paco was playing this video, and when I heard it I thought he'd found some on-line loons!

Merry Christmas, Self!

Thanks for the tip-off Miss Nemesis! $9.95--a killer 75% off Serendipity deal on! I can't wait to see the playing pieces! Dibs on Ringo!! I wonder if Abbey Road is the "Boardwalk" space.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Got to be a Patriotic Holiday Somewhere!

My darling and smart granddaughter in Colorado.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Deck the Halls!

My beautiful grandchildren! Can't wait to hug on their necks!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Say what?

I have a couple of questions about this anonymous piece of mail I received in my mailbox. First: How did you find me??? Second: Why didn't you identify yourself? Third: You can SEE my wrinkles from where you are?????? Fourth: According to your handwritten message in the top left corner ("Marilyn, Call Fast, it works! I only paid shipping.") you seem to know me. Do you? Fifth: Did you really expect me to believe that you just ripped this out of News Today-Finance when the edge is so blatantly the result of a very fancy-edged set of scissors? I'll bet you wanted me to believe that my wrinkles were a pressing emergency and by golly, you were ripping and sending this ad TODAY!!! Sixth: You hand addressed the envelope? Yet you bulkmailed. Is this what you do ALL day?????????? I'm wrinkling my furrowed brow at these mysteries. If I didn't need your formula prior to your mailing, I do now...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

No more cold necks for Lillian Elizabeth...

I knit this for my granddaughter.

Married 62 years!

I love how she looks over at him when he starts rocking out.

Amen, sister...

Have you ever???

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Tom Sawyer-ish Kind of Childhood

From the pen of one of my favorite seventh graders: "My perfect day was when I saddled my horse and rode all day. I rode all over. I didn't go to town. I cooked lunch over a campfire--it was a cup of soup. Then I got back on my horse and rode some more. I saw three deer, four bucks, a doe, and a fawn. They were all together. I target practiced and played with my dog. At one point my dog would not follow me anymore, so I put her up on the saddle with me and went up Maple Canyon. We rode way up there. We were all alone. It was the best thing in this whole world. When we got up the canyon I got off my horse and drank a Mountain Dew. I turned out of heaven, headed for town, and went home."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Random Photo Sunday

This guy is obviously very comfortable in his surroundings. Who wouldn't be? Hiking above Innsbruck in Austria IS as good as it gets. Believe me. I don't think I've seen Americans taking a leak along any hiking trails. We at least go off into the bushes. Don't we? Maybe I'm just not seeing it. But I will forgive this gentleman. At least he didn't drop his drawers!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monday, September 17

My first bonding group: Linda in front, left to right in back--Liz, Bethany, Julee
(note to reader: If you find a lack of description of food in this narrative, it's because there just wasn't much. For instance, today's entry is Monday. Sunday apparently passed. We must have eaten. I have no record of it. I probably ought to also note that a large portion of my journal records my musings on the spiritual side of this experience. Please forgive me for omitting most of that. It's quite personal and is a story for another setting. I'm also choosing to not include some 20 year old boy/girl stuff that was happening between one of my "brothers" and me.)

(The girl in the striped pants with the safari helmet left the group along with a male friend of hers about 3 days later. I think one of them had come on the trip with some drug problems, as I recall. According to the contracts we signed, once we chose to leave the leaders would help us get to the nearest road and then we were on our own. BYU was then no longer responsible. I remember it was a downer for the group to have someone leave. Three left our group.)
"We left camp today at high noon. This morning we made an assembly line and fixed 38 portions of food for the week which we will carry wrapped up in Saran wrap in our army blankets on our backs. Brown sugar, oatmeal, raisins, cinnamon, flour, salt, rice(? It's written in my journal, but I have no recollection of ever eating it. How would we have cooked it? Rice steamer plugged into a current bush??), wheat and boullion. Ought to suffice! Girls hiked without the boys today. We chose a leader and took off over a mountain with a map and no water. Tonight was very very hard. We hiked 16 miles. We got into camp at 3 A.M. Everyone was very thirsty to the point of swollen mouths and aching bodies. So far, fortunately, I'm holding up well. I was needed today by Liz. She was having a difficult time to keep going. I looked into the sky and gained my strength by praying. We have a beautiful beautiful group of four to cook in. We seem to have a bond.
We missed the men today! When we joined them at 3 A.M. they were waiting with canteens for us and we kissed and kissed them. Spirits are better. I am at peace.

Tuesday, Sept. 18--I feel like Abe Lincoln tonight! We stopped early tonight, so we're lying on our blankets by a huge blazing fire eating our ration of raisins and brown sugar and writing bits and pieces for posterity in our journals. Very cozy. Wouldn't want to be anywhere else doing anything else. I have never experienced such love so quickly with complete strangers. This is priceless.

(Paco tried to revive this photo. This was taken in front of the Cookie Jar the morning I boarded the bus out of Provo. I'm obviously trying to "show a little leg" to reaffirm my femininity! It bears the scars of baking in countless sweltering garages over the decades but does capture a few things i.e. my red union suit legs, my possible bag hanging at my waist, my life-saving bandana, my insulated underwear shirt, and my indomitable hat--oh, that hat. Unfortunately on the LAST night of the trip, I was sleeping with my head too close to the fire and ignited myself. I remember being screamed out of a sound sleep by someone throwing dirt to put out the fire!! I kept that hat on my dresser for longer than I should have, but now it has gone the way...alas)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Not So Trivial--Friday Night Pursuits

Paco and I helped bring home the first place honors at a community-wide trivia contest held to raise money (over $3200!!) to update the community auditorum last night. Our team was sponsored by the middle school and consisted of three other teachers, a teacher's son, and an 8th grader we recruited from the crowd who actually knew the name of the Smurf's cat!!!!--Azrael. We were competing against 9 other teams from the mortuary, hospital, high school, a title company, the radio station--KVSI, and a couple of others. 10 rounds, 100 questions, 1 minute a question. Our strong suits seemed to be Storyland (missed the name of the deer in The Yearling, though: Flag) and Wild Weather, but we surprised ourselves with what we pulled off in Country Music. U.S. geography kicked us around a bit (Which state is bordered on the east and west by a river? Iowa), but we did surprisingly well in Olympics. The good news was that we could collaborate as each question was read before we had to write down an answer, AND we could purchase Mulligans to stick over questions we didn't know. We bought 10. Our team held the lead most of the game, although KVSI edged ahead a point or two which brought out our competitive edge. In the end we won by 7.5 points. It was a congenial (all right, semi) fun evening even when the judges ruled that Ritter would pass for Tex Ritter. I mean, come on... And in case anyone ever asks--Buchanan was the only president who never married. My best moment was attributing George Seurat to one of his paintings, and Paco, of course aced a couple of questions on Teddy Roosevelt for us. Mr. C's childhood in England insured that he knew a "spanner" is, in fact, the "wrench" in Clue. But for the life of me I never knew that the original Trivial Pursuit game was named "Genus". Did you? Bruce, our principal, is in Belize, but he's going to be so so proud.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Holding Hands, Kicking Roy, and a Carrot...

"At about 8 we had to stop and wait for the moon to come up so we could see to continue. I lay on the ground watching the stars and talking to Kayla. Found out she was a high school friend of my freshman boyfriend! Small world. We've all pretty much dropped any pretenses. We talk openly--and hug a lot. Lots and lots of hugging ALL the time!!! Some more than others. The moon came out, so we got up and hiked for another couple of hours just beyond the next pinnacle and then just beyond the next pinnacle, through huge reeds that snapped us in the face. We got to the campsite and then had to go still farther to the water which made you want to cry. Some of us did. Our waterhole that we'd been hiking hours and hours for was a mud puddle, the result of a recent rainstorm. All around the puddle was clay mud. Linda sank into it up to her knees and just stood there crying until someone pulled her out. Funniest thing, but I wanted to laugh! Here we were wading like zombies at two in the morning to find water to sustain our very lives, and we end up sinking to the depths of despair to get a before-bed glass of water!! But the Lord is good.
Saturday morning we pushed on out for base camp.I walked all day with Craig. He gave me a flint and steel and also the promise of kissing lessons later that night! (Back in the day here, I had very conservative kissing ideas. I'm assuming I must have educated him on those while we walked.) Today was cake. We got to rest while the sun was hot for a couple of hours.
Roy, who walked with me on the first night, is dehydrated. He throws up VERY VERY loudly. The sounds of that shake the whole canyon. The leaders can't get him to move. He is giving up the will to survive! Jeff is very patient with him and stands with him all the time he is throwing up.
A scorpion bit Larry (our main leader--Larry Mullins, survivor extraordinaire and bodyguard to President Kimball later). Larry is a beautiful person. He is so obviously sick from the bite/sting, but he said, "Don't have time to be sick or anything to take for medicine, so let's go!"
A glorious indescribable night. We climbed out of the canyon that had taken us the first two nights to hike into. Everyone was singing and laughing and pulling each other up. Food was secondary. Paula had a hard time, but we helped her. She has so many blisters. Two boys got on either side of Roy, and he found some will somewhere to almost run up the mountain! The whole experience of us singing and Roy going up was like the Lord had placed his hand down, and we had stepped into it for the journey up.
When we got to the top Craig and I lay on our back and talked about food (which I would soon learn was THE favorite topic of almost any conversation!) Craig is not Mormon. He spent the summer doing seasonal ranger work at Glen Canyon. Iowa boy, spent some time in foster care, graduate of Ames. When he was in college he got drunk, fell in a bathtub, and knocked some teeth out.) We hiked in the moonlight for 2 hours more. Craig took my hand very nonchalantly. (This too became the norm. EVERYONE held hands ALL the time--girls with girl, and boys with girls.) I was perfectly happy walking down a dusty road under the moon with a hand in mine. At one point we passed the boys with Roy. He was lying on the ground, and when they tried to pull him up, he wouldn't come. They had to kick him and yell because he had reached that point. Roy is very very large. There isn't going to be any carrying going on!! Very sad and too dramatic for me. Such a contrast to the perfect night.
We fell into camp. They gave us a carrot, which I thought odd, and then some lemonade to build up our blood sugar up, I guess."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Up the Proverbial Creek...

Paddling in a dugout canoe at a Powhatan village in Jamestown, VA., during our October getaway. It looks as if we washed ashore and then all water immediately evaporated. Somebody must have left the door of the rest home unlocked for we have veritably escaped--goofy smiles and all. Seriously who warned me that I was going to have to watch my siblings turn into geezers and myself along with them??????????

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday!! Thanks for 20 Great Years!

Me and Mine have been Wallace and Gromit fans almost since their inception. In fact, I haven't taken the newest short, "A Matter of Loaf and Death" out of the cellophane--waiting until I can garner a few fans to watch it with me. Thomas? Season? I'll bring the cheese...Incidentally this is the UK Google Doodle homage to the charming duo. We, on the other side of the pond, got pretty caught up in the 40th brouhaha over Sesame Street with nary a nod to our British "rock stars".

Sunday, September 16, 1973--IMPACT...The First Three Days

"Words to write. I feel the obligation--possibly not the prompting--but my heart and mind are full and brimming. Besides, no one would believe me in a month unless I write it down as living proof now. Today is Sunday. We are R & R ing (resting and recuperating). We had a short simple Relief Society. Seems like my life has been reduced to a simple matter of keeping track of my Dr. Pepper can! My existence would be very feeble should I be deprived of it. As for my last three days, they've been REAL! We've hiked and hiked and drunk water and thrown a little sleep in here and there. VERY little here and there! I'm sitting here on the side of a small dune up to my waist in sand listening to two kids playing a guitar and singing. Beautiful. It was right that they meet now and sing together so well. Lots of people are harmonizing in other ways.
Here are some highlights of the adventure so far: The bus dropped us off literally in the middle of nowhere. Actually I think we passed nowhere and went beyond it! We had a prayer, tanked up on water from coolers on the bus like camels and buckled our possible bags (like fanny packs which carried small necessaries like our soda cans, pocket knives, journals, pens and a toothbrush. My dad and I had great fun picking mine out of a WWII surplus store heap.) on. Our first landmark, Keg Knoll, seemed so far away. But then we were looking back on it several hours later. You can't imagine the type of thoughts that pass through your mind as you travel blindly in the dark up a road out in the desert. You're scared and your bladder is having second thoughts as well! One girl and I were ahead of the group because we were excited and overwhelmed by the allness of it. Meanwhile the group had taken off the road. We had to run, and we couldn't find them! It was a unique sense of panic for about 15 minutes! We hiked until about 4 A.M. down two huge sandstone canyons. We set up camp which merely meant that we built fires and dropped in our tracks huddled around the fire. I'm a little worried about the water that we drank. It smelled strongly of fungus. Water is going to be a big deal, I can tell. Earlier this evening on the way down the canyon in the dark, I came upon a group of the kids crouched down. Lo and and behold they were sucking water out of a mud puddle through an old piece of cord. It tasted scrumptious!!!
Friday we crawled mostly through 7 foot tall bullrushes on cliffs above the Green River. When we got down to the river, Yosemite (one of our student leaders--bright red hair and handlebar moustache)gave a special prayer to bless the water. (the first of many many many prayers sent up on behalf of water!) We had been told that we could watch animal footprints flow by in the river! It didn't really flow; it slugged along. We dipped it up and strained it through our bandanas. That was to be our source of water for the day. In the afternoon we were in the hot hot sun which was hard. The group stopped, and we felt the pure sheer please of life's simple necessities--quenching thirst and cooling off. It changed our whole outlook! be continued"

Friday, November 6, 2009

September 13, 1973

"I'm sitting here propped up in my seat in the bus. We've been waiting for the back-up crew here in Green River, Utah, for over two hours. Everyone super-scarfed for about a half hour. I ate an apple, some apricot nectar, some celery, and cheese. I'm sitting here with milk-soaked bib overalls. Someone got a little feisty and doused me--probably nerves. I am quite excited sitting with my boots off inhaling what are going to soon be sour milk funes. This is ironic. I am writing so light-heartedly, and in a matter of possibly two or three hours I'll be out floundering in sand with thoughts of 'What kind of fool am I?' ringing in my dust-studded ears. Such is life--laugh about it today and dig it out of your skin the next.
The kid behind me is blowing his brains out on the harmonica. My companions are interesting. We're all getting a bit punchy. I can't wait for the REAL HARDSHIPS to begin. It will be enlightening to see facades fade and real spirits shine through. Most of all I'm looking to see what I am--just how much of my mortality I can shed. I hope I can learn so much about my eternal self that what I am going through will only serve to make me aware. Someone is pulling my toes.
September 14, 1973--Last night we climbed down canyon after canyon--big huge goblin rocks all around. My hiking partner Roy was truly my lifesaver. He was my wall to jump onto and my railing all the way. My muscles started to shake, but all the water I drank helped. Before we left Green River the leaders had told us to drink. I drank 7 Dr. Pepper cans of water. On the way to the desert, we obviously had to make a pit stop! Picture this! 36 posteriors exposed simultaneously to the air!! What a relief!!!! I had almost exploded!
It was beautiful beautiful gorgeous on the desert. We walked up over a rise, and the moon was full and orange. I have a new friend, Bethany. She is an opera singer from Salt Lake. We immediately connected. I'm in an adventure now.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not For the Faint of Heart

When I was 20 I packed an army blanket, a pocket knife, my toothbrush, a couple of books, a journal, a primitive camera and a few changes of socks and underwear and headed for the desert of southern Utah with this motley group of strangers. This experience was affectionately known as Survival, but on my BYU transcript it somewhat sterily comes up at Youth Leadership 480. A bus dropped us off in the general vicinity of Green River, UT, and picked us up in Escalante, UT, exactly 30 days later. We filled that month with walking, starving, climbing, walking, bonding, huddling around campfires, hiking, orienteering, losing one another, finding one another, eating cactus and wild berries, talking ad nauseum about food, and generally having the time of our young lives. A few of us started the trip with drug addictions, a few of us were on the trip to escape troubles, and at least one of us joined the Church and took up a whole new lifepath as a result. We read a lot of books, discussed even more, and at the end of the trip we spent 3 days entirely alone figuring it all out. We cooked a couple of snakes and learned amazing culinary variations using only flour, salt, a little cheese, and rosehips if we could scrounge them out. We held Church services and passed around a canteen and some nuts we found rollling around on the ground for sacramental purposes We drank some pretty rank water out of the Dirty Devil River--after we'd rung it out of our bandanas. But most of the time we just walked. Lots of walking. They estimated we covered over 500 miles in that month. The amazing part of this story is that I carry this experience so deeply in me that it rarely surfaces in conversation--yet it has colored the very lenses through which I view life daily. Go figure. This picture shows us at the gathering we held at the "Cookie Jar"--my place of residence for 2 years--a day or so after we returned. We've cleaned up obviously. Notice that all the girls pretty much insisted on wearing dresses. What I wouldn't give to wrap my arms around just one of these necks...and drop back for awhile. Where are you all? Oh in case you haven't found me--I'm the head on the back row under the right arm of Don perched above the group looking off into the distance. I think I'll go dig out my journal and post some stuff out of it. Do you mind?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween by Proxy

I could barely utter my own name yesterday and spent a good deal of the day thinking how glorious it would be to pass on to the other side. But I took great comfort in knowing that "they to whom I have passed on my genes" were celebrating in the traditional style. Had I been able to match a costume to the antics of the swine flu in my body, I would have truly scared the tights off of one and all...Out Maryland way

...Over in Colorado
Down in Happy Valley

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Sloth Returns

I've been on the wing a bit as of late. And even when on the ground I've been flying low. Had you followed me closely this weekend you'd have witnessed me supervising a very amateur homecoming float thrown together, three hours of some pretty major burger/dog grilling at the homecoming game, and some pizza slinging at the grade school Halloween carnival. Lest you think I'm doing community service for naughtiness, I'm not. But almost. I have a 400 hour internship for an administrative degree I've been slaving at for 4 years. This internship WILL be the death of me, just for the record. But in an attempt to get back in the blogging saddle, I am posting some pretty random shots of my last couple of months hither and yon.

A wee little wiener pig who made it all the way to the Minnesota State Fair! Congrats, little porker! Hold on! He may have been BORN there!

A couple of "geezer" brothers rocking out in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

My sister and daughter in Williamsburg.

Paco and Charlie carrying water in an old oaken bucket from the well to the garden watering barrel in Williamsburg.

An incredible example of "I Can't Believe They Do This!!!" in the Black Hills! THEY RAKE THEIR FOREST FLOORS!!!!! MILES AND MILES AND MILES...sheesh...

Trying out the brand spanking new bike path from Moose to Jenny Lake in the Tetons. A PLUS!

On an "Angel Errand" in the Manhattan Temple with beautiful people. Good on ya, Mary Jane.

Paco takes his medicine like a man in Williamsburg.

We slept on the GROUND in this teepee in Cody,WY!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Take out a writing stick..."

This year I decided that perhaps adding a dimension of ownership to journal writing would make it more meaningful. I got a stack of cool scrapbook paper and a gallon of Elmer's glue which we watered down to resemble Mod Podge, and we spent a couple of sessions personalizing matters by covering some composition books with great paper and then glossing them with the glue by painting. Now that they're dry and semi-flat, we've begun to write in earnest. Today I handed my hand lotto ball to a student and instructed her to give us a Powerball Number! Then I counted down that many writing topics in a book I have. Okay guys, write about a near miss disaster. WoweeKazowee!!! Pay dirt! Main artery! Mother Lode of journal entries!!!! No less than 12 kids wanted to share! In fact we had to schedule PART 2 for tomorrow!!! We heard a dramatic story about a drunk driver running a kid off her bike forcing her to leap to safety and then witness the untimely crushing death of her bike! We got grueling tales of horses run amok, a near fatal car crash with the entire family aboard, and a deer-coming-through-a-windshield tale! But the real sock curler--the story to put fuzz on your teeth!!-- was Olivia's. Last spring she was in a park by her church. Some boys were doing the mumbly peg thing with screwdrivers. You're way ahead of me on this, I can tell. But I'll bet even YOU would never guess that one of those screwdrivers found their way down into Olivia's nose and on into her nasal passage narrowly missing her EYE!!!!!!!! And there it lodged. Her dad gallantly pulls it out, her mother jumps fearlessly in to stop the bleeding, and Olivia does her part by freaking--absolutely freaking, as would I have. She said she even had a bump on the roof of her mouth where the screwdriver's tip had mercifully stopped. Oh my blessed ugh...I can't wait for Part 2 tomorrow. We may have to take these from 5 minute journal entries into full-fledged epic narrative essays!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Say What???

It isn't every day that I have a Peruvian in my classroom--but this year I do in the form of a 12 year old boy. And it certainly is a special day when a large llama puppet is sitting on top of my desk. But call it planet collision (if you will) when both events occur AND said Peruvian informs me that in Peru they call llamas "jamas"!!! Totally GO FIGURE! A new day--a new fact...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Making a Pig of Ourselves Over Swine Flu

I received a memo at school today alerting me to the germy nature of a school and what to do about it--yet another reminder that the pigs--er, I mean the wolves are at the door. Cold and flu season is upon us. The angst this year is high. I'm preparing by adding a 10 gallon (well, at least 2) of hand sanitizer right next to the stapler and tape on my desk. Everytime I think about it I grab a squirt. I'm also thinking of getting one of those boxes of disposable gloves to put on each and every entrant into my personal space (classroom). Oh, and when I fly to Williamsburg next week don't be surprised to see me suit up like a pre surgery Ben Casey! I am ragging on the kids to keep their sick selves home! And then there's the little question of how to REALLY fortify ourselves from the inside because, face it, short of sealing ourselves in a bubble, we're still going to be susceptible. My campaign includes 5 dried plums a day, 3 almonds, at least 4 fruits, double water consumption, AND I'm also tripling my JuicePlus dosage! Call me excessive, but unless I feel like the antioxidents in me are lined up like little terra cotta warriors I will not sleep! Atten Hut!! But then a part of me thinks that dwelling on the perils of the season will only serve to attract the flu to me. Perhaps my time would be better spent on visualizing myself emerging next spring as a virulent robust survivor. I know one thing--the thoughts of subjecting myself to a flu shot are right up there with lining up for scientific sterility research! I've always thought that would be the perfect avenue for rubbing out entire states of people--through the vaccine, you know. Lest you nark me out here, let me hasten to add that my paranoias center mainly on flu vaccines. Thus I have left myself vulnerable I suppose. But then wouldn't it stand to reason that never having had a flu shot would indicate that my body is virtually teeming with antibodies to fight it off? Well, I should say so!!!! If I could only get a little bitsy case of flu, however, I'd welcome the rest. A sniffle. A cough. Not a lusty one--just a dainty little Jane Austen one that I could muffle in a lace hankie. A well-placed sneeze now and again. I wouldn't complain. I'll take my flu like everyone else--just don't let it wipe out my community. We here in Brrrrrrr Lake are hearty. We are thrivers. We'll fight it off as best we can. May the same be true of all of you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Silent Treatment??? But WHY???

For some reason my last two posts have inspired utter and complete silence. I almost called the Blog hotline (what a great idea!)to see if service to the intermountain West had been temporarily interrupted. Perhaps you were all ticked because you didn't win the contest. Yesterday I bussed all of my reading students (40) out to Rancho Come Take a Library Tour-i-O. They seem to like to come when I've done that in previous years. This year, of course, held the extra mystique of a diminuative llama. So we libraried and then llamaed. The snake was an extra bonus. My camera is AWOL or I'd surely have preserved that. Said snake was jarred, brought back to the school, denied occupancy in the 7th grade science room by the teacher, and taken home by a beaming boy who has apparently named the snake Rambo and fed him a few crickets. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I neglected to report that three very skirted, coiffed, and open-toe shoe-d young ladies took off on a tromp in the pasture on a quest to touch a llama! Obama initially bore his bottom teeth at the guests! I'd never seen that look from him!! But they DID all get a brief feel of a llama, and after all, isn't that what it's all about?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"The Envelope please..."

In the event of a tie I would have asked this question: What did I find bone dead behind my knitting basket? You would have hummed and hawed at that, but hopefully come up with this:

But due to the stellar technology which logs in comment times, a tie breaker is not needed. Without further ado, the winner of the contest is Malsy (who is really my awesome NJ friend, Malissa, who runs marathons and is gorgeous) with D!! Laurel followed a mere 23 minutes later with the correct answer also. She's probably doubly happy that she's lounging in southern California with a new grandbaby as opposed to swatting the very same flies that I'm driving out of my house up the road to hers. I was flattered that so many of you pictured me writing to the president! Thank you! Dismayed that so few wanted me to prance around on the deck, and even fewer would attribute pre-dawn weeding to my skills.
Yes, I must confess that my fly obsession took me out onto the front steps clad only in my front-gaping bathrobe to suck up some flies who were doing a raspberry at me from the other side of the porch windows. I surprised even myself. If this all goes down badly and I break, you can nod knowingly and say sadly, "We saw it coming."
"I've got a loaded dustbuster, and I'm coming after you, winged vermin of hell..."

"I'll Take 'Useless Random Trivia' for 80, Alex."

The first person to correctly answer this question will receive a SPAM fridge magnet! I won't post the correct answer until tonight at 10 P.M. MST, so keep those entries coming.


Good luck!

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Do you want flies with that?"

Lest any of you think I have my fly problem in check, I feel it necessary to give you an honest update. We here at Peruvian Acres take our job of bringing you on-the-spot coverage of all things bright and beautiful all creatures great and small very seriously. It's a radiant perfect late summer day here. Paco is out in his new cowboy hat (yes, you read that right. He now has the COMPLETE outfit right down to the belt buckle) weeding the corral YET again. I am guaranteed a lunch break by my union, so he's solo at the moment. We've weeded it (spending an average of 12 man hours each time) THREE BLEEPING TIMES this summer!!! And the next person who asks me what we grew out there this summer I'm going to knock into tomorrow!! Nothing...that's what..nothing. Just weeds. And rocks. And a few onions which came up of their own accord. Maybe a handful of strawberries. May was May. June turned it into a swamp. July? With the chance of another freeze on July 21, we opted out. But I must add a caveat--we've worked like slaves. Enough said. Back to the flies. This is their sticky "I wanna be RIGHT by you!!! I LOVE you!!!!" season. The good news is that they are somewhat lethargic. Fall/winter is setting in and they know their footloose days are numbered. In their frantic (yet druggy) attempt to find a warm spot to hunker down and breed all winter, they are making a mass exodus indoors. But they're still lethargic. Sort of slow and glalumphy. But what they lack in energy they make up in sheer mass. I've taken to them this morning with my green fly deathstar machine. My gigantic Texas flyswatter is in shreds. I don't think it was made for the likes of me. I Windexed a couple of guys in the library with great relish. And I sheepishly admit that I also chased several around with a paper towel, and when I cornered them...well, it wasn't pretty. The good news is that my reflexes are improving. But the bad news is that the fly season is yet, alas, very very young. And that's the way it is.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How's My Driving?

Have you ever actually called those numbers on the backs of semi's? We were booking it across Iowa a few weeks ago. A large multi-wheeled vehicle in front of us--No wait!--he was at our side! No, never mind-- there he is in front! No, cancel that! He's to the right! Whoa! The left! No small feat when you're as large as some countries! I immediately dropped my knitting, took out my cell phone, and dialed the number on his rump. My message was brief and to the point. I gave the recording our location, the time of day, the truck's ID number, and a curt little message about the state of our nerves. As we passed this guy later, I couldn't help but turn my head back to see what kind of a SOCK MONKEY this company had working for it. For all I know that recording is the trucking equivalent of the dead letter office, but felt good to vent.
Wouldn't you love to be able to call numbers like that when you see parents stuffing Twinkies in the grocery cart while their kid shuffles alongside about 30 pounds overweight or when cavemen are blasting their radios like they are the sole inhabitants of earth or when somebody's cell phone goes off in a movie or when a telemarketer calls at 10 P.M.? When else?????

Monday, August 31, 2009

Visiting "Mecca"

And as the sun slowly sinks into the west bringing this summer to a screaming halt, we pause to reflect, reminisce, and wonder "Just why has it taken me 56 years to make it to the SPAM Museum?" A mere 20 miles off the main drag to Minneapolis. Austin--peaceful little Mayberryesque town. And nestled right in the middle (in what used to be a K-mart) sits Hormel's 15,000 square foot homage to all that is good and decent about modern civilization...the SPAM Museum. Was the highlight learning that SPAM pretty much won WWII for us? The gripping 14 minute movie history? Margaret Thatcher admittedly serving it to diplomats for tea? Actual letters from presidents of the United States thanking Hormel for improving international relations? Burns and Allen TV ads? The SPAM Tower? A darn tooting cute puppet show--"This is Your Life, SPAM" featuring a can of SPAM on a couch? A heart-stopping gift shop?..look for the debut of my SPAM rain poncho! Or the diminuative white-haired Aunt Bea-esque relic who walked around with a tempting tray of sample chunks of warm SPAM speared with a pretzel? I'm voting the SPAM Museum my number one summer pick of truly novel experiences. Go. Put Paris and the Grand Canyon on the back burner for now. Embrace your inner SPAMman. And no it does NOT contain all the toxic waste dump ingredients we all thought it did. Nasty viscious rumors one and all! Just some pork shoulder, salt, nitrates, and water. As American (AND Healthy!) as American pie. Or so said Monty Python...

Monday, August 24, 2009

You Betcha...

We've been in Minneapolis for a few days--roadtrip--via Cody and Mt. Rushmore. Loved the Mt. Rushmore segment. Put it on your list. We've been doing the muck out thing in multiple locations, put in a token appearance at a golfing resort for several days, and are off to a baptism tomorrow. I like Minnesota. I can't talk it nor do I understand it when it's spoken to me much of the time, but for the most part Minnesota agrees with me. The big disappointment has to have been the complete and utter lack of Moose Farkel ANYWHERE in the Mall of America. I had to settle for buying six Minnesota dice at a game store. We've been making do.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Take a Music Break

...And That Has Made All the Difference

2:29 A.M. I know some of my readers like it when I can't sleep. They must get off on the image of me wrestling with the tentacles of a long dark lonely night or something. I was actually awakened when Paco came home from a wedding in SLC. I couldn't go because of a SHOWTIME that I'm committed to, and I'm feeling like compost that I missed the event and all of its attendant people of whom I am SO VERY FOND. Dang it. Crossroads and decisions--don't underestimate them. Today I was picking beans with my friends Eugene and Sarah. They were not the first to ask me how I ended up with puppeteers all summer. I gave them the Paul Harvey Rest-of-the-story version which I'm not even sure my kids know! Back in the day of Sesame Street's youth (late 60's early 70's) I was minoring in children's drama down Provo way. You could find me in the media center of the library watching hours and hours and hours of Sesame Street in an analytical way for classes. I took writing classes, sewed up some pretty cool puppets on a Deseret Industries sewing machine, and traveled around a bit doing a show here and there. Not afraid to turn a sock into something. The spring before graduation the Sesame Street recruiters came our way with enticing stories about how Big Bird was engineered yadayadayada. Mind you--this was cutting edge children's TV. I interviewed with them, and for one brief moment in time pictured myself taking up residence on that famous street. But I pivoted, got married, birthed babies...Do I look back? Yep. I'd have been dang good at that. Maybe even made my way to the Mecca of puppeteers--The Muppet Show. And how cool would that have been!! Yoweekazowee... How do I compensate? I collect puppets, I practice voices when I'm driving alone, I keep the stream of Muppet collection going for my daughter, and I sometimes drop back (like I'm doing now) and wonder "What if...?" Oh, and I go to New York more than the average Idaho bear. A little of my zaniness in the classroom probably stems back to the same creative veins. That's not a bad thing. No regrets. I like bending minds. Anybody else out there ever pivot on one single decision?????

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley