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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

"And then there were...111!!!!!!!!!

This is my family in 1975.  We're having a reunion this summer.  They're ALL coming.  All 111 of us and assorted dogs and cats!!  Minus my magnificent grandmother, I count 18 of us, so you do the math.  It's staggering.  Those little boys in their dad's arms were born on the same day--one in Germany and one in Utah.  The bald baby on my mother's lap is a pediatric cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic now.  He doesn't look like he's up to more than drooling and filling his pants here, does he?  Also from the peanut gallery are a smashing teacher, a driven accountant, an officer of the law, a game designer, a saavy business woman, lots of good parents and some roundingly good folks.  I think my parents would be amazed at the world traveling this crew has done.  We haven't made the 6 o'clock news, but we've tried to be decent and pass that on.  The unseen in this photo are VERY present now.  That's where this family's story gets interesting!  We look forward to updating this photo. It's going to be a rocking good time.

Monday, February 26, 2018

My 2018 Reading List!

2018 Recommended Reading List

1.     Brothers Karamazov (Thomas Giles)
2.     The Tao of Pooh (Thomas Giles)
3.     A Tale of Two Cities (Season Giles)
4.     Salt to the Sea (Season Giles)
5.     Woman in White (Season Giles)
6.     Lonely Polygamist (Steven Williams)
7.     A Gentleman in Moscow (Teri Zenger)
8.     News of the World (Teri Zenger)
9.     A Tale for the Time Being (Teri Zenger)
10. Beowulf—Seamus ? translation (Teri Zenger)
11. A Mother’s Reckoning (Amy Henderson)
12. Lonesome Dove (Jack Taggart, Azdyn Bartschi)
13. A Grief Observed (Craig Scheinost)
14. Sand County Almanac (Craig Scheinost)
15. Finest Hours (Craig Scheinost)
16. Food First (Craig Scheinost)
17. From Here to Eternity:  Traveling the World to Find the Good Death (Becky Watt)
18. The Worst Hard Times (Becky Watt)
19. Dreaming in Chinese (Sara Argyle)
20. Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Sara Argyle)
21. Queen of Katwe (Sara Argyle)
22. Undaunted Courage (Jeff Wright)
23. Sing Unburied Sing (Rebekah Westra)
24. Underground Railroad (Rebekah Westra)
25. Moonglow (Rebekah Westra)
26. The Hate U Give (Rebekah Westra)
27. Fates and Furies (Rebekah Westra)
28. Arcadia (Rebekah Westra)
29. Girl Who Drank the Moon (Jamie Thompson)
30. And Then There Was Light (Debi Clark)
31. Yearning for the Living God (Debi Clark)
32. Before We Were Yours (Debi Clark)
33. Just Mercy (Laura Whitely)
34. Killers of the Flower Moon (Laura Whitely)
35. Lucinda Riley book (Mary Nate)
36. City of Saints and Thieves (Nancy Minster)
37. Eyre Affair (Nancy Minster)
38. Chains (Nancy Minster)
39. A Man Called Ove (Nancy Minster)
40. Weeds: a Farm Daughter’s Lament (Vanessa )
41. Remarkable Creatures (Susan Hafen)
42. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (Susan Hafen)
43. Life is So Good (Susan Hafen)
44. The Hired Girl (Sheri Lonsdale)
45. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Robbin Hardegree)
46. Maximus (Robyn Homer)
47. After the Lusitania (Robyn Homer)
48. Homeward; Whispers of Hope (Robyn Homer)
49. Lemon Tree (Meghan Schwanke)
50. Alchemist (Janet Steele)
51. Death Comes for the Archbishop
52. Bomb
53. Tipping Point
54. Call It Sleep (Judy Everitt)
55. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
56. Franny and Zooey
57. A Story Like the Wind
58. Summerland
59. Cavalier and Clay
60. Life Everlasting
61. Seeking the Spirit
62. Icy Sparks
63. So Brave, Young and Handsome
64. Welcome to the Great Mysterious
65. English Creek
66. Dancing at the Rascal Fair
67. Ride with Me, Mariah Montana
68. Cleeve (Jeanne Sneddon)
69. Three Junes
70. People of the Book
71. Columbine
72. Divining Women
73. It’s All Relative
74. Secret History
75. Love Is All you Need:  The Revolutionary Bond-Based Approach to Educating Your Dog
76. Lilac Girls
77. How to Read Novels Like a Professor
78. Idaho
79. Spill Simmer Falter Wither
80. The Jesus I Never Knew
81. Peony In Love
82. Headmaster’s Papers
83. Two From Galilee:  The Story of Mary and Joseph
84. In a Sunburned Country
85. Vintage Munro
86. Our Oriental Heritage
87. Millennial Messiah:  The Second Coming of the Son of Man
88. The Boys in the Boat
89. Pearl S. Buck:  An Autobiography
90. Riding the Iron Rooster
91. Mornings on Horseback
92. Turn Right at Machu Pichu
93. The Shakespeare Stealer
94. Franklin and Winston:  An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
95. Olive Kitteridge
96. Once Upon a Town:  The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen
97. The Violet Hour:  Great Writers at the End
98. Did Jew Know?:  a Handy Primer on the Customs, Culture and Practice of the Chosen People
99. Everyday Detox:  100 Easy Recipes to Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health, and Lose Weight Naturally
100.                Come Let Us Adore Him
101.                Locally Laid:  How We Built a Plucky Industry-Changing  Egg Farm From Scratch
102.                Let’s Take the Long Way Home
103.                Ultimate Beginning Runner’s Guide
104.                Thrive:  The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
105.                Last Night in Twisted River
106.                Larry’s Kidney:  Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China With My Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail Order Bride Skirting the Law  to Get Him a Transplant and Save His Life

Channeling the Bard

Today I checked myself into an airbnb in Logan that Paco (a true prince among men) booked for me for four days.  This topic came up in the midst of our recent  Chinese adventure--not the one that lasted three years--the month one that we just came off of.  I intend to post about that, but the long and short of it is that Paco OWED ME BIG TIME.  He knew it, and I knew it, so here I am!  My tasks are spread out around me:  7,000 plus China photos that need to either get the boot or become immortalized in some sort of photo/essay journalistic endeavour.  I can't decide whether to make that heavy on mops and brooms or Chinese faces old and young or a combo.  So I'm seeking inspiration this week!  I also brought along my Survival (45 years this September...) journal (complete with original dirt and grit in the creases) which I am transcribing into Word.  I have a handful of grainy photos to accompany that as well. If memory serves me, I entered some of that journal on this blog. AND I am hoping to crank away on an on-going Top Secret project which is so private that I daresn't even mention it here, so pretend I didn't.  If I can find him on one of the dozen or so thumb drives I brought, then I will also give Gnoggin some of my attention.  He is a gnome I listen to in my head sometimes--another peach of a guy and HIS story--oh me oh my!!!  And this blog!!!!  I'm going to pamper it back into functionality. I also brought two books and my dudester scarf I am knitting.  Furthermore, I've peppered the week with a few lunch dates, a couple of visits to convalescent centers, and a babysitting chaser with my grandkids culminating with Paco himself appearing on Thursday for a sleepover!  I have a little shopping to do to replace my toiletries and freshly laundered underwear which I regret to inform any kind readers I stupidly left on a curb in Chengdu, China.  Oh how I wish I were making that up... the duffel bag also contained some other truly unique items of striking intimate apparel which were gifted to us by our Chinese hosts.  Oh, to have seen the look on the face of the thief who snatched the bag when he discovered the contents.  Gotcha!!

One can hope that I will break into symphonic eloquence here, and my coming days will be filled to overflowing with writing profundity.   Calling ALL muses!!!   Report for duty!!

Saturday, February 24, 2018


I picked up a book recently called The Renaissance Soul--Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One.  I think I've met my spirit animal in this book. Many would be quick to say, "Aw, Madd, you're just ADHD."  Au contraire.  I am a Renaissance Soul.  In my quest to do all, see all, read all, taste all, however, this blog has gotten lost in the shuffle.  I am reining it back in.

What inspired me?  I'm dejunking, sorting, sifting, throwing etc.  Specifically photos and mementos.  I found something I'd written in one of my classes last December in China:

"I think I have an identifiable problem.  Simply put, my problem involves my dread of many events.  Instead of living in and enjoying the moment, I find myself with a pit in my stomach and then hoping that something will soon be over--a subway ride, a particular Chinese class, a week at school, a dinner engagement.  These are not horrendous tasks or unpleasantries--just something I imagine that I want to have behind me.  The biggest and most understandable currently is wanting my body to be healed.  I want time to pass so that I can look BACK on falling off my bike--look BACK on limping around, look BACK on being physically conscious of pain in each and every step.

I am not sure of the origin of my dread complex.  I have always defined myself as someone who is optimistic--I try to find joy in each moment and most assuredly joy in the journey.  Nevertheless,  I DO enjoy crossing dates off on the calendar, and I am never happier than  when I can put on my pajamas and climb into bed.  Anticipating the end of each day gives me pleasure.  Thinking about the end of a week, month or year gives me satisfaction.

Perhaps my concept of the passage of time needs to be re-examined.  I probably need a good jolt of reality to bring me up short and force me to see the intrinsic value of each passing moment.  I am aging.  I see my siblings ahead of me greying and taking slow more methodical steps.  We are healthy, but we are growing older.  I need to wrap my head around that.

My suspicion is that subconsciously I am taking a good firm stock of my mortality.  My grasp of time is shifting.  What used to spread out in a vast carpet before me now appears more finite--I can see the edges.  I can see that the grass ends.  It has edges, and I am approaching them."

Not super writing, but it struck me when I read it.  There is so much power in seeing your thoughts in print.  And so I take up the cross again.  Not going to waste my time on apologies.  Let's crank it up...rrrrrRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRR...

A little blast from the past lurking in a box with some dead bugs and immunization records:

From the Provo Daily Herald, summer 1977.  I worked for a friend of ours who started Rent-a-Kid.  Basically I accompanied kids as they raked lawns, washed windows etc. all over Provo.  I am impressed here that I can sit cross-legged.  I'd like to be able to do that again.  This summer we were poor, expecting an October baby, and still quite idealistic.  My other part time job was as a Fuller Brush "man".  That's another story for another day.

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