Monday, February 29, 2016

Books I read in February 2016

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson *

The only thing I can compare this to is the book of Isaiah in the Bible. Chronology?  There was no chronology.  It skipped around sometimes in the same sentence and you just had to accept that it wasn't really going to make sense all the time.  Also like Isaiah, there were some really good things there.  You just had to work really hard to get it.  I almost quit reading many times but when I was 200 pages in, I decided I just had to finish the thing.  

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee ***

This is the written before To Kill A Mockingbird sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird.  I resisted reading it because I love To Kill a Mockingbird and Atticus (I even had a stuffed dog named Atticus when I was a kid) and I heard that Atticus came across as racist in this book.  I didn't want to ruin Atticus!  Then this book was picked for book club and I read it.

I liked it.  And it didn't ruin Atticus.  I think the book was all the more powerful because I liked Atticus so much.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty ****

I am fast becoming a huge Liane Moriarty fan!  This book was great.  I heard it was better than Big Little Lies that I read last month and I can't decide which was better.  They are both intense and riveting and maddening and ultimately, entertaining.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh ****

This book had been top of my list for awhile and I finally got to it!  It didn't disappoint.  It's about a girl who aged out of the foster system.  There were flashbacks to her experiences in foster care and it followed her as she tried to become a self sufficient adult in the world.  It made me want to be kinder.  Some of the characters were just so very kind.  I also felt heartbroken for all the people in the world who aren't given much of a chance.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A scene

Last night was the much anticipated night where the scene Emma directed was performed.  Everyone in her drama class had to direct a scene and they were to be performed over two nights.  She had poured her heart and soul into the preparation.  She had researched and planned and rehearsed.  One day she bought pizza for the leading man because he'd forgotten his lunch.  (They rehearsed during lunchtime.)

Emma was all in.  She wanted everything perfect.  She agonized over costumes.  Props had to be just right.  I wrote about the big dress decision and how Marianne came to the rescue.  In the end though, Emma decided to have Cecily wedding dress.

An antique!

(Well, a 20 year old relic.)

She also borrowed the copper watering can that had been my grandma's. 

I was equally worried about both objects finding their way back home but Emma kept careful track of them (which I knew she would).

Here are Cecily and Algernon:

No wait, here they are.  I am not sure what happened there....

Matthias, who was one of Braeden's friends last year, did a great job as Algernon.  In my mind though, Jadon will always be Algernon.

And Braeden will always be Jack.

Emma was slightly waspish before the performance.  Then right before time to go, she sat at the table and looked like she was either going to cry or throw up.  I assured her it would be fine.  I reminded her of how much she had prepared.  I told her it was out of her hands now and in the hands of the performers.

"I know!" she said, "That's the worst part!  I can't do anything now."

Emma got up on stage before her scene and confidently introduced herself and which scene she had selected to direct.  I found myself with the same nervous feeling I always get right before my kids perform.

Then they started and it was great.  The audience laughed and the actors rose to the occasion and made them laugh more.

I am 100% biased but it was my very favorite scene.  After, Emma's friends swirled around her and gave her a flower.  (I love her friends.)  To us, Emma said weakly, "It was funny!  I didn't know it was going to be funny!"

"Of course it was funny," we said.

But she said she didn't realize that until the audience started laughing.  She was so caught up in all the details, the laughter came as a happy surprise.

I like being a drama mama.  In all its forms.  I like discussing afterward with Adam.  We sit next to each other in the darkened auditorium and think identical thoughts and then tell them to each other later.

Except last night there was one difference.

I said, "It was weird seeing my wedding dress on stage."

He said, "Oh yeah.  I forgot about that.  I guess that was your dress."

What can I say?  I married one sentimental man.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Yesterday Mark got braces!  Apparently Emma found it shocking.

He looks cute (but he doesn't think so).

Braces are like vaccinations.  I approach both with an equal mix of gratitude and dread.

Braces are expensive and I sat for two hours in the waiting room while he was being tortured getting his teeth decorated.  He's in pain.  He can't eat (and for a 13 year old boy, that is pretty much the end of the world).

This is motherhood.  You pay the money, grateful you can.  You wait patiently.  You bring a book.  You buy pudding and applesauce.  You assure the boy someday it will be worth it.

It's just a microcosm of the bigger picture of motherhood.  You know things are going to be difficult for your children.  You dread any sort of heartache, big or small.  You wish you could take away the pain but at the same time you're sort of grateful they're having hard times because you know it will make them better.   You wait.  You try to help and reassure.  You know it will be worth it in the end.

(Sitting for two hours in the orthodontist waiting room gave me some time to think.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What's a girl to do?

It's time to take it down.

I know it's time to take it down.

But I love these pictures.  (Is it possible to wallpaper in snapshots?)

See what I mean?  My babies!  Coincidentally the one of little Braeden, tiny Mark (learning to walk!) and little Emma ended up next to Big Braeden, Mark and Emma lined up in the same order.

Productivity is low as I stop and gaze at the wall every time I walk by.

Emma and Talia. Emma and Grandpa Linn, Jackson and Kain.  Emma and Freja. And then I walk away with a little sigh.

Emma with the cat ears and wings?  That was Cat Beauty, Emma's completely made up Halloween costume.  She had a Vision and we needed to hit several stores to make it happen.

The sweet cousin pictures get me every time.  I love my nieces!

More nieces!  Right there in the bottom corner.

My sweet babies with the milk dud brown eyes and red red lips in the bottom corner!  It's possible I have stared at that picture a lot.  My heart breaks a little every time I see that picture in the top corner.  Minutes before we dropped him off at the MTC, Braeden kissing the top of Emma's head.

I miss that kid!  I wish he were here to kiss the tops of our heads right now.

I'll just have to wait until the tape finally gives out on these pictures.  Then I can get back to a productive life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Yin and Yang

These are the emails Emma and Mark wrote to Braeden this week.  They are so reflective of their personalities that it had to be blogged about.


I'm writing to you in the sonnet form.
I am not sure that it is go'ng to rhyme;
It will sound good for only a short time.
This week has brought fair weather, ne'er a storm,
In fact this week has been pleasantly warm.
I hope for you your weather's been sublime,
And that you have been kissed by the sunshine.
My written note tells all, you'll hear much more
(The letter that I'll send sometime this week).
I hope I'll hear from you tomorrow too.
I love it when you send emails to me,
And last week, I heard not a word from you.
So when you sit to tell us of your days
Please promise that you'll send something my way.


   Hey! I NEED TO TELL YOU THIS!!!!!! I went to a BYU basketball game vs San Diego. The score was 91 to 33 in BYU's favor! It was awesome! Also I got a new game called Counter Strike: Global Offensive or CS:GO. ITS AMAZING!!!!! It is a Valve game so it's all platforms, and it is really fun. Basically you are a terrorist or a counter terrorist. Then you fight. With guns. And knives. And sometimes with bombs.

ALSO LEIF AND DESI GOT INTO BYU! We (dad and I) went to an eagle court of honor for Brian Payne and Ryan Holman. It was purty great. Anyways I love you!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Is this my life?

Sometimes I don't recognize myself.

1) I marched into Home Depot and bought a sledge hammer.  I look out of place at Home Depot.  I feel out of place at Home Depot.  Three men stopped me on my way to the tools and asked me if I needed help.  (I've been in Home Depot a few times with Ammon.  I can guarantee nobody asked him if he needed help.) I knew exactly what I was after though.  My dad told me down to the brand name and color.  I bought me a sledge hammer.  For flags.

Carrying a sledge hammer outside in the parking lot is maybe a bit intoxicating.

2) I bought one gallon of milk.  Until Braeden left on his mission I never uttered the words, "We have to drink this milk before it expires!"

I went from 6 gallons a week to one.

It doesn't help that Mark and I are in another cereal standoff.  I won't buy more until the Wheat Chex are gone.

(On a side note, does anyone want a really stubborn red head?  Free to a good home.)

3) I didn't make Emma a birthday cake.  I always make my little darlings birthday cakes.  I like baking birthday cakes.  I like eating birthday cakes, but Adam and I are not eating sugar right now.  Baking a cake seemed like pure torture so I went to a swanky cupcake shop instead.  One for each kid.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Stephanie was in town for a Cougarette reunion at BYU.  I love everything about that.

Especially I love that I got to see her.

We met up yesterday at the new Provo temple for a tour.  We met outside and when I saw her my eyes filled with tears.  I was not expecting that (which, let's be honest, I should one cries as easily as I do).

How I love my friends though.

Seeing them is like a glass of water when I'm parched.

We toured the temple and it was beautiful and great to be there together.  Last time I did the tour, my knee was still in rough shape and this time navigating the stairs was much easier.  Stephanie was a little sore because in her performance with the Cougarette alumni, they had danced and she had done the splits.

It was one of those times when I wondered, "What have I ever done?"  She's amazing.

We posed for a picture:

Then we went to a three hour lunch at Zupa's.  We got caught up on all of the everything and it was marvelous.

Friends are good for the soul.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Birthday collage

I wanted to make a collage for Emma's birthday.  I was going to find a bunch of favorite photos and create a 17 on the wall.

Except I found about 150 favorite photos I wanted to have printed and couldn't get rid of any.

I showed them to Adam and we both oohed and aahed and didn't get rid of any.

(It's possible a few of them made us cry a little bit.)

So I enlisted Mark's help.  He was ruthless.  "Get rid of it!" he would declare.  And they were adorable pictures!  I couldn't not use them!  He got me down to 114 pictures though, which was something.

I had limitations imposed by the air vent and the clock...and my unwillingness to overly plan it out.

I like it though.  It may stay up forever.  It is in the washi tape's hands.  Will it hold?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Seventeen on the seventeenth

Sometimes words fail me, but here I go anyway.

It's my girl's birthday.  Since it's a big one (17 on the 17th), we are having a party on Saturday with her friends.  I am decorating and I have party favors in mind and that's a way which girl parties are more fun than boy parties.  You can't exactly give teenage boys a gift bag full of girlie goodies.

Some years my kids' birthdays make me feel like time has passed impossibly fast.  I don't feel that way about this birthday.

This was forever ago:

I love Braeden's expression.  It was like he won the lottery and I think he still feels that way to have Emma for a sister.

I am a different person than I was when this picture was taken and those two cherubs are part of the reason.

Emma has changed who I am.

She has made me stronger and has refined what matters to me and she has made my grammar better. (I know, you're probably thinking she should proofread my blog before I hit publish every day.)  Being her mother is a much rockier road than being her brothers' mother.  They just love me and want me to feed them.  Emma makes me work harder.  I have to read between the lines and have a thick skin. 

How I love her though! 

I love the young woman that she is.  I love her confidence and competence.  I love her dazzling shiny dreams and I love her quiet steady helpful nature.

Yesterday I had to take Emma to a follow up appointment with an ear nose and throat specialist for her voice troubles.  I am abysmal with directions and I wondered if I'd be able to find the place again.  Then I remembered with relief that Emma would be with me.  She would remember, because she's Emma and just capable.  Mark was glad Emma was there too.  We picked him up from school on the way to the doctor.  When he saw Emma in the van, a big smile spread across his face.  "You never smile like that when just I pick you up," I said.

"I say 'hey' to you when I get in the van," he pointed out.

I'll take what I can get.

But I understand that he would be happy to see his sister.  She is just weird enough that they get each other on a deep level.

I love how weird she is.  I love how smart she is.  I love how independent she is.  I love that even though it would be handy to be able to guilt her into doing things, she is her own person and she. Does. What. She. Wants.

I love that most of the things she wants to do are good things.  (It's a relief!)

I love the woman that she will soon be.  I love that she's mine forever and that I will have a front row seat to watch her life unfold.

There's no one like my Emma and she is proof to me that Heavenly Father loves me (and knew I was up for a challenge!).

Happy birthday sweet girl.  On a scale of one to ten, you're a seventeen.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mark and the six day weekend

Wednesday Mark was sick.  He stayed in the green chair with a laptop, headphones, sweatshirt and two blankets.  I made sure he had a lot to drink but could only get him to eat crackers.  He had a fever and coughed all day.

Thursday Mark was sick.  He moved to the couch though.  It was a bold move but otherwise the day was similar.  He did have some tomato soup for lunch.

Friday Mark was sick.  Or maybe "sick."  It is a really easy sell to get me to let my kids stay home from school.  How important is school anyway?  I mean, compared to home with me?

Truancy officers have wanted posters with my face on them.

(Are there really truancy officers?)

Anyway.  He made a fort that day.  He said he hadn't made a fort in awhile.  I got a grand tour.

Mark is a big believer in chip clips

This is the cultural center with a vase Mark made in art class, a speaker for music and a wooden shelf he made.
additional storage
Here's the bed...complete with Darth Vader alarm clock
Mark wanted to point out that his legs fit when he stretched small feat (the feet aren't very small either).

Adam and I went to a funeral that afternoon (it was a wonderful funeral for a wonderful man--a good friend of Adam's dad).  When I got home, Mark was asleep which added a little validity to me letting him stay home.

Saturday Mark felt a lot better.  He had a church basketball game.  I told him to take it easy.  I told him he would probably get tired easily and to sit it out when he did.

It turned out not enough players showed up for a team so they played a three on three game.  By the half Mark was tired.  His coach told him to just stand under the basket with his long arms.  By the fourth quarter he was done.  Done.  He still managed 12 rebounds.  Long arms + money money money.

Saturday evening Emma was at a Galentine's party and I was Sam McGee cold.  The three of us climbed into bed--I wouldn't let Mark be by me because he fidgets.  The kid is half hummingbird.  We listened to a podcast of The Vinyl Cafe and Mark fell dead asleep right in the middle of it.  It wasn't even 9:00.

Sunday Mark felt fine.  He gave us tic tacs from his Valentine stash.  He would say they were complimentary and then he would compliment us.  Emma gave insultory tic tacs (complete with insults).  Mark also told a lot of cheesy jokes all through our Valentine dinner.  I told him he was well on his way to being a dad because dads always have dumb jokes.

That offended Adam a little.

I said, "Dads are just notorious for dumb doesn't mean your jokes are bad."

Emma said, "Well...sort of."

She was the one that coined the insultory tic tacs after all.

Monday dawned rainy.  It reminded me of Seattle.  Except it was President's Day and we had to do flags.  We never had to do flags in Seattle.  I miss never having to do flags.

It was the Young Women's turn so I went to Daylight Donuts for...donuts...and Mark had to come and help too because he's the lucky guy whose mom is young women's president.  Everyone dispersed into cars and I was left with Mark and a newly minted 12 year old girl who had all the strength of a newborn calf.  Oh, and we had the hardest route.  I always get this one and I don't know why.  It's the one where the houses are more spread out.  It seemed less arduous back when Adam and Braeden were helping.  We toiled along, pounding rebar into the frozen tundra.  Then three cars pulled up.  Two leaders and four laurels (including Emma).  They were done with their routes and came to help.  I felt like we were on the handcarts in Wyoming and a rescue party arrived.  Larisa, one of the older girls who can shoot three pointers like they're nothing, pushed the stakes into the ground like it was her job.

Strong people are my favorite.

And Mark is my hero.  He got several donuts.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine's Day around here

I gave my family these.

Pinterest is a game changer.  You can do cute things without having to actually do cute things, you know?

Just download and print.

And buy the tic tacs.

So yes, I worked hard.

On Saturday we went to the grocery store and lost Adam.  We wandered aimlessly looking for him and after awhile, I saw him.  He was leaving the store!  "Adam!" I called to him.

He turned around and put his finger to his lips to hush me.  And he was holding two bouquets of flowers he had just tried to buy on the sly.  One for me and one for Emma.  You can't fault a man for bouquets of roses.

We had our seven course meal.  Of course we did.

Mark set the table in a somewhat minimalist style.  The salt and pepper were on extreme ends of the table with candles spread thin.  Emphasis on symmetry.

Appetizer--deviled eggs and zucchini frico.  How have I lived without zucchini frico?

Soup--tomato basil.

Salad--caprese.  I don't want to live my life any other way.

Palate cleansing sorbet course.

Entree--steak with bearnaise sauce.  P.S.  Adam is really good at steak.

Dessert--chocolate pudding and whipped cream.

Cheese--Costwald with chives, Havarti dill, pepper jack and aged cheddar.  And dried apricots for good measure.

Food is our love language.

Friday, February 12, 2016

One at a time

Yesterday after school, I was taking a group of seven youth to the temple.  One signed up, forgetting he had driver's ed. so he had to cancel.  Most of the rest of them (including Mark) were too sick to go. It turned out I was taking one girl.  Haley and I went together.  She is twelve and I like her.  She is at ease with adults and talked comfortably with me about her classes, what she liked and what she didn't.  She hasn't been to the temple too many times so she said she was disappointed no one else was there.  She said, "I'm afraid I'll forget the process."

I described it to her.  I said, "Does that make sense?"

"No," she said, "tell me again."

So I did.  "You got it?" I asked.


We were back to chatting about all sorts of other things.  She coincidentally has the same last name as me and I thought as they were checking our recommends that I wouldn't mind if people thought she were my daughter.

I settled into a chair with an Ensign magazine while I waited for Haley to do proxy baptisms.  She handed me her glasses to hold and sought my reassurance a few times from across the room.

As we were leaving the temple, she commented on the fog.  I said something about it being an inversion and she said, "I don't know what that is?  Is that science?"  (She said it like science tasted bad in her mouth.)

"No," I said, "It's weather." (Which is maybe science, but whatever.)

I told her I love weather and I told her what an inversion means.  We cranked up the heat in the van and she started telling me about her love for horses.  As we climbed the mountain toward our homes, we came up out of the fog a little and I pointed to the blue sky above the mountain.  "See?" I said, "Inversion."

"That's cool!" she said.

"I know!  Weather!"

Then she laughed at me a little because what kind of nerd loves weather and said, "Can I tell you more about horses?"

I said yes.

I dropped her off and told her I'd see her Sunday.  I felt happy as I watched her long blonde hair swing behind her as she walked up her sidewalk.

Sometimes being young women's president is overwhelming and hard and frustrating.  I need to remember these girls one on one.  One on one they are the same.  We all are.  We need reassurance for new experiences and want someone to be interested in what we care about.

One on one I am less intimidated.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Another day another list

It's surprising to me sometimes that all my blog posts aren't lists.  I'm a champion list maker.  I wish it were an Olympic sport.  I wish I could get paid for my list making.

1- Adam is sick.  As sick as he's been in a long time.  It makes me sad for him and makes me appreciate him all the more.

2- Mark is sick too.  It makes me sad for him.  And it makes me nervous.  Am I next?

3- Mark sits in a chair with a laptop and I bring him glasses of juice and soda.

4- Being sick when you're a kid sets you up for a lifetime of disappointment being sick when you're an adult.

5- Emma is quietly going about being awesome.  She does that like I make lists.  She found out yesterday she was not cast in the spring play (it was a teeny tiny cast!).  She is making alternative plans and being her happy resilient self.  Yesterday she made me cry when she told me about a conversation she had with her seminary teacher.

6- Emma went to the temple at 4:20 this morning with a group of kids from church.

7- I was not awake to see her off.

8- All the HGTV I've been watching is rubbing off on me.  I'm not at the knock walls down stage yet, but I'm definitely thinking of painting something.

9- Or somethings.

10- I think I'll make a list.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


1-My chiropractor told me I was "a disaster."

2-My physical therapist made me run on a treadmill.  That hurt.

3-In the never ending saga of Just How Awkward Can Thelma Be, we were invited to a party, a Murder Mystery party, and I'm completely intimidated.  (And I'm pretty sure we were invited because of the most awkward incident of my life.  Which is saying something.)

4-When Mark got home from school yesterday, he told me there were Parent Teacher Conferences today.  What?  How did I have no idea about that?

World's Okayest Mom strikes again.

Turns out when I went to the website, he was wrong too.  They're tomorrow.

5-Mark and I went speed shopping at Costco.  Costco in the evening is the only way to do it.  The place is practically empty and if you take a 13 year old boy, he'll run around and grab things while you push the cart. 

6- Emma and I watched a few episodes of HGTV's House Hunter International Edition.  I don't like the process of buying and selling a house but I really like watching other people decide which house to buy--and I like discussing it all with Emma.

7-Emma's voice teacher, who is sort of inflexible when we need to reschedule and we still have to pay even if we don't show up, called to see if she could reschedule Emma's lesson.  I dug in my heels a little.  I said, "She has her choir audition next week."  She hemmed and hawed and floundered around, trying to get me to cave and I...didn't.

She bumped another kid today so Emma can have a lesson.

I coincidentally was wearing this shirt at the time.

It's maybe not a shirt that will make me easier to live with.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My children and sports

The boy who loves money:

Adam, bless his heart, tries to get our kids to be more into sports.  The uphill battle is my fault.  I'm the one that didn't bring sports to the table.  (I think my brother Enoch inherited my sports quota.)

Adam used to offer Braeden a milkshake in exchange for rebounds during basketball games.

Now Mark is playing church basketball and had a different idea. "How about cash instead?"

They've come up with a system and I think Adam owes Mark $11.

The girl who is so into the arts she doesn't know where the gym is:

One night during Pippin last week, there was something sports related going on at the high school in one of the gyms.  Or maybe multiple gyms.  I don't know.  (Remember that part about how I didn't bring sports to the table?)

Emma reported that people would wander backstage (during the show!) and get uncomfortable at the sight of all the kids in costumes.  They sought Emma out, who was wearing regular clothes and regular make up. They were looking for gym B or gym C and they asked Emma to direct them.

She had no idea.  Couldn't even begin to point them the right way.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Let's talk about my sisters

There's nothing quite like sisters.  To put it simply, they have my back.  I tell them stuff I don't even need to tell because they get it.  They know.  They don't let me get away with nonsense, except when I need to get away with nonsense.

We freely tell each other when we think one of us is being straight up crazy but we would defend each other to world's end.

It's nice.

But then there's the aunt thing.

That's a benefit you don't ever really consider when you are borrowing each others' clothes and sharing secrets in high school.

It didn't occur to me that someday these tall sisters of mine would love my children and bless their lives.

Last week, the play that Emma so doggedly assisted in directing was performed.   Olivia and two of her kids (and my parents, but this isn't about my parents--you already know they're awesome) came to watch.  They didn't know a soul on the stage but they knew Emma.  Emma was glowing with excitement about the whole thing.  She hugged everyone and answered questions and asked, "Did you love it?  Did you love it?"

And they did.  But mostly, they love her and since this mattered to her, it mattered to them.

Fast forward a few days and Emma was in distress.  Emma in distress is not a common occurrence.  She didn't outright ask me for help--because I can't imagine--but using my motherly intuition, I could tell.  I helped her with a school project, which mostly included fixing her a snack and listening to her rail against her partner who had flaked and holding the strings when she needed to tie a knot for the parachute.  She was creating a contraption for an egg drop for physics class.  I also found some bubble wrap and grabbed the reins when Emma's perfectionist tendencies were threatening to derail the project.  I am the queen of Good Enough and Make It Work.  So I made it work.

I also tried to talk soothingly about all the things that were making Emma so stressed.  She wasn't sleeping well, she had so much on her plate.  Besides the play, she has two auditions on the horizon, a scene she is directing for her drama class, and her super hard class load.  I get stressed just thinking about it.  She said, "What I'm really worried about is what Cecily will wear in my scene."

Emma is directing a scene from "The Importance of Being Earnest" and she has opinions about the costuming that are as strong as her will.  And she can't find the perfect dress for Cecily.

I said, "Let me ask my sisters."

She said morosely (because that was her mood), "I don't know how that would help."

I said, "Have you met them?"

She conceded the point.

I talked to Olivia first.  She started bubbling with ideas.  She made several suggestions and led me along a path that made me consider my wedding dress.  It's kind of Victorian looking.  Emma's not sure it will fit her Cecily but we'll see.  (Emma said, "But it's your wedding dress!"  I told her I don't plan on wearing it again.)

Then I talked to Marianne.  She named some of Olivia's ideas.  She looked through her dress up dresses (both my sisters have dress up dresses).  She texted me a picture of one.  She had another idea, it was boxed up in her garage among Clarissa's things.  Marianne said, "I should have had Clarissa create a key of what is boxed up where.  Every box just has 'Clarissa's Do Not Open' written on it."

We chatted some more and Marianne promised that when Desi got home, they would have a fashion show and text me the pictures for Emma's perusal.  (Although neither Marianne or I have met the girl playing Cecily, we decided she's Desi's size.)  Then she said, "I have to go.  I'm a woman on a mission and I need to go look for that dress!"

Friday night these texts showed up:

Such a cute sweet Desi!  (In the absence of sisters, Emma's cousins are a compensation.)  Emma picked the pink floor length formal Marianne wore to a dance in the 80s.  Marianne boxed it up and sent it our way.

The message in this is very clear.  Olivia and Marianne are on Emma's side.  It's hard to not feel like you're winning when those two are on your team.

Friday, February 5, 2016


There is a woman that I know that keeps asking me for favors and I keep saying yes.  It's a resentful yes, but she doesn't know that because it's via texting.

I feel unsettled by the resentment.  I don't want to feel resentful.  Why do I begrudge these requests?

It's because this is not a reciprocal relationship.  I can't look to one thing this woman has ever done for me.  In fact, she's been sort of mean to me.  It's a lot easier for me to be kind to people that are kind to me.  I am happy to do favors for people that are happy to do favors for me.

I want to be good.  I want to have charity for others.  When I am serving people that serve me, is that charity?

No, that is basically bartering.

H. Burke Peterson said this:
Too often, charity is extended to another when his actions or conduct are acceptable to us. The exhibition of charity to another must not be dependent on his performance.
In the Bible, we find:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
That's how I want to be.

This week, over dinner, Ammon gave me advice.  He is always willing to help me and give me advice and make me an end table. (Which I haven't moved into the house yet.  I'm waiting for my knee to heal so I have more mobility for such pursuits.)  When we parted ways, I said, "If you ever need advice, Ammon, you let me know."

I was just being facetious because I'm not sure what advice I could ever give Ammon.  Ammon and I have maybe a non reciprocal relationship too.  He does a lot of stuff for me and I occasionally give him a loaf of homemade bread, which seems like a small reimbursement.

I'm not sure if the mixture of enthusiastic adoration and torture he got as the youngest of six children made him this way or if he is so good in spite of us, but Ammon makes me want to be more Christ-like. 

Next time I will try to give a less resentful yes. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Compared to last year, the snow has been extravagant this year.  And I mostly really love it (I'm not holding much of a grudge toward the ice that spelled doom for my knee).  It helps that Adam's car is a champion in the snow.  It's nice to know that we won't get stranded.  It also helps that they are usually really good about plowing the roads.

I don't know who "they" are.

But I sort of wish I did, because I want to call them and ask why they didn't plow our street this week.  They did all the lower streets in Pleasant Grove nicely.  They just skipped up here, where we...have more snow.

A few days ago, I turned left on the end of our street where you have to go up a little ways before you go down.  I couldn't make it up the hill.  Too icy.  I decided to turn around and go the other way instead.

Then my van slid sideways down the street for about 20 feet.

It was a bit unsettling but not really as terrifying as it maybe should have been.  I just finished turning and went the other way.

Then two things happened yesterday:  the garbage truck got stuck in front of our house and Adam went to Chicago.

First the garbage truck.  It's not that there was so much snow on our street, it was just icy (because they didn't plow the day before) and more snow had fallen.

Here's a picture of the truck sliding sideways down the street:

I must say, it was more unsettling to watch than when I was sliding down the street sideways myself.  I was glad to not be downhill from the truck.

The forecast was for more snow and Adam would be gone and his car--the one that's good in snow--would be at the airport.

The snow was suddenly a lot less appealing.

When I talked to Marianne, she suggested I trade cars with Adam.  Which would have been a terrific idea if I'd thought of it earlier.

Later, I decided to call Adam and see when he was leaving.  Maybe we could still trade?  He said, "If you leave right now it will work."

I hurried to his office for the switch.  The sun was shining and the sky was blue and the snow was once again beautiful.

Bring it on, snowy forecast.  I have a Subaru now.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Thelma time table

Yesterday at physical therapy I asked the college student who is an assistant there if he felt like the world was a dangerous place after working there, where everyone they meet is injured.  He laughed and said no.  Then he thought about it and said, "Maybe."  He said that about 40% of the people who come in were involved in a car accident.  The others are all either there because they slipped on ice (me!) or were hurt skiing.

I never realized the Ski Utah slogan around here was a marketing plan for physical therapists.

When the physical therapist was cruelly wrenching gently stretching my knee, I said, "That hurts."  Sometimes when I say something hurts he stops immediately or changes the exercise.  Sometimes, like yesterday, he looks at me like that's an interesting, but wholly irrelevant, observation.

I don't think I'm a very good patient.

Or a very patient patient.

I asked him how much longer I would 1) have to wear the leg brace and 2) have to come to physical therapy.

He asked, "How long ago did you injure your knee?"

"A month," I said.  An eternity.

He said, "Well, it's usually about 6-8 weeks.  Maybe three months."

I think my face must have registered dismay, horror, disappointment because he said, "I mean it will be that long until you're totally back to normal.  It's healing, just not on the Thelma time table."

And there it is.

The Thelma time table.

If the entire world would adopt the Thelma time table, that would be a good thing.

Will you at least consider it, entire world?

(It's a good time table.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Not my email

Here's another round up of email that isn't mine.  First, this is to Eithne.  Is that a name?  I had no idea.  I googled it and it's Irish and is pronounced Enya.

Who can say where the road goes?
Where the day flows?
Only time
And who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose?
Only time

This email included an exciting detail!  This Thelma's last name.  Does that mean I'm going to contact her and tell her she doesn't know her own email address?

No.  No it doesn't.  I do hope her application is a success though.

This email only included a picture.  It's snowy and blurry.  Well OK then.

This one made me concerned for Peter.  Don't wait too long, buddy.

I blocked out my email address on this one.  I don't need MORE email.

This Thelma can invite friends and family.

If she only knew her email address.


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