Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Such a fine day

I'm frustrated that I can't find my camera to illustrate some of my day, which took place in the tiny garden in front of my porch.  Tom and I trimmed the bushes and bought some perennials, including a yellow rose bush and violas.  (Is that right?  Violas?  Like the instrument that's slightly bigger than a violin?)  I'm pretty sure that's what they're called.  Not violets.  They're blue like violets.  I bought some columbine and some yellow daisy-like flower that I cannot name at this moment.  (Erica knows the name of every plant in her garden, but I'd need to write the names on my hands to remember them.  I might do that tomorrow).

I made a tuna casserole for dinner.  It's been YEARS since I made a tuna casserole and I still love it, especially with all the potato chips crushed on the top.  It was like going back to the fifties.

I set the table for a dinner party I'm having on Friday night, and then Gordon called and said he was in town for five days, so I invited him too, and that means I'm going to have to add a leaf to the table.  I'm going to have to undo it all and redo it tomorrow. That's how much I love Gordon.  

The house is in complete disarray.  Books and papers everywhere.  Tom and I are messy.  So kill us.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grandparents Day

Thursday, I went to Grandparents' Day at my granddaughter, Murgatroyd's, elementary school.
It was a program in the lunch room of all the first grade classes.  They sang songs and read verses  to honor their grandparents.  Tom couldn't attend because he was teaching.  Erica had saved seats in the front row and Murgatroyd sat almost directly in front of us, where we could see her gorgeous face and hear her sing, "Four Hugs a Day," with hand and arm movements.  She also had a small speaking part, which she said in a poised and clear voice.  I am proud to be her grandmother. Carlos took this picture in the classroom with his iPhone. 

Today was Murgatroyd's seventh birthday and she got a "Kit Kittredge" American Doll and also the film KIT KITTREDGE, which we watched after dinner and birthday cake.  The movie took place in 1934.  We learned about hobos, prejudice, soup kitchens and the depression.  You will be surprised to hear that Kit Kittredge saved the day and published her first newspaper article at the age of ten.  It was almost life-like.

Murgatroyd is not her real name, of course.  Carlos (not his real name either) told me that nasty people read my blog and will come looking for Murgatroyd if I advertise her name all over the blogosphere.  Nasty people are not my intended audience, but I know enough about Reader Response Theory to know that you don't know who your audience might be at any given moment.  If you are reading this and you ARE a nasty person, stop reading this instant.  I mean it. Cease and desist!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Creativity run amok

Our townhouse has an interior patio, completely private.  Yesterday morning, I went out there and danced in the sun in my underwear while the dog watched me from the doorway.  I have a rosebush in a pot out on that patio, and I noticed how pretty the shadow fell against the side of the house and decided to outline it with a pencil and then later I'd paint it.  It was awkward working around the rose bush and the next thing I knew, I'd thrown my back out.  I threw my back out the first time last June while I was painting my living room.  I've had major pain with my right ankle for fifteen years, and I used to think, thank heaven I don't have lower back pain.


So today I spent the day in bed with an icy-hot patch on my back as well as a heating pad and kept myself in a Lortab fog.  I've had worse days.  I watched House Hunting on Hulu and Tom brought me three taco supremes and a coke late in the afternoon.  Yum.  Tomorrow I will get up and suffer through it.  I will clench my teeth through my usefulness.  I will be brave.

Maybe I will dance on the patio again.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm too sexy for my hat

Sexy might be the wrong word for a 66-year old woman with dried up ovaries.  (Sort of like Susan Boyle gyrating her hips).   I feel alive, alert, and optimistic.  I'm saying affirmations. (I'd list them, but then I'd have to kill you).   I've decided to stop watching dark movies and TV.  I've decided to be a believer again.  I've decided to give myself a break.  I am choosing mental health.  MENTAL HEALTH.  I am choosing joy.

Spring arrived this past weekend, and I did all my out-of-house chores in my new 18-year old Miata singing along with Carly Simon, who is really hot to old people like myself.  

As much as I hate admitting it, attitude is everything.  Why is that so hard to register in January, February and, yea verily, March if you haven't taken off for sunnier climes?  And is my positive view of the universe seasonal, chemical, denial?  Oops, that might be a dark question and we're not asking those these days.

I am open to well-being and abundance.

I really am.

Friday, April 17, 2009

One and one is three

I babysat Louis yesterday morning.  When it was his nap time, I rocked him to sleep in the rocking chair and made up a little song that I sang softly:

"One and one is three.  Two and two is five.  Three and three is seven.  Four and four is nine.  Your grandma is stupid and you come from her."

How evil is that?  How twisted?  He's the dearest, most trusting baby.  He hasn't gone through that hideous stage where he only loves his mother.  He loves everyone.  He smiles so sweetly.  I love him like crazy cakes.

And here's what's even more twisted:  I was sorry that no one was there to hear me singing these macabre words in my lilting alto voice.  There was no audience for this naughty dissonance.  I especially missed Sarah, his mother, who has a dark side that you would never suspect.  So when she and Sam returned (from the temple no less) I confessed what I had done at lunch.  And Sarah laughed, really laughed, just like I knew she would.

Like-minded daughters in law are so satisfying.  I have several of them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Dinner

I am the mother of four married sons and when it comes to holiday dinners, I never get first pick of date or time.  That is, I never INSIST on my first choice; sometimes I get it accidentally.  The role of the mother of married sons is to keep her mouth shut. 

 Okay, I haven't exactly done that either.  I couldn't keep my mouth shut if my full and overblown lips were stapled with a nail gun.

What I'm trying to get to is Easter Dinner was held on Saturday night at my house.  Because it was Saturday and not Sunday, something snapped in my head and said that we could do something more casual.  So I made lasagna and a large murky looking salad.  The center piece was three red geraniums in a basket and a platter of Mini's cupcakes, which looked very Easterish but tasted a little like antifreeze, especially the blue one. (This has not kept me from eating several of them over the last few days)  I also made my own cupcakes with a chocolate buttercreme frosting that is literally to die for (three sticks of butter).

Tom did the shopping and came home with spiced sausage for the lasagne.  Very spiced sausage.  Blow-your- head-off-spiced-sausage.  He is not supposed to make these decisions.  He is supposed to buy what is on the list!

As cooking goes, I am inconsistent at best.  I hated the spicy lasagne.  And I made the salad too early and it grew gray over the afternoon. So did my mood.  I have 10 place settings of sterling silver, but there were 12 seated at the table and so I thought to myself that we would only use forks.  This was wrong-headed and looked stupid.  

The family comes.  They eat.  We have fun, because they are all fun people, but--

On Sunday night, I'm on Facebook and I find Easter photos of my friend's Easter dinner and the table is respendent with flowers, silver and china.  Her husband sits at the end of the table wearing a pink tie that matches the flower arrangement and she wears a pink jacket.  The children are dressed like royalty.  I feel like a complete failure.  I know how to set a table and how to do a nice job.  We should have had ham with raisin topping and hot cross buns and asparagus.  We should have had an Easter Dinner.  Don't try making me feel better, because I already do.  I'm feeling just fine.  There's always another Easter.  Next year I'm leaving town.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Full-frontal Wooing

Before I left Califoria, I told Tom he'd better be ready to woo me.  "I want some wooing."  

Scarey for him, of course.  

So when I drove up to our house and tried to unlock the front door, he appeared in full blue suit and silk tie (I like him dressed up). "Welcome home," he said and kissed me.  Fresh rose petals were strewn through the hall and up the stairs, into our bedroom.  Dark chocolate Lindt balls on the bed.  He turned on music:  Oldies--Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin.   The bathroom mirror  had a heart drawn on it with Tom loves Louise written on it.  I giggled with each new discovery and we danced in our bedroom to Nat King Cole crooning "Tenderly."  A new Lavender bath oil was set on the tub.

Later we heard that two of our grandchildren brought a friend to our house, rang the doorbell--and waited.  "Maybe they're naked," Harrison said.  Then Anne saw the rose petals and said, "I think we'd better go,"

We weren't naked, guys.  By then we had left for Nordstroms.  We weren't naked!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

While I was sleeping

Jonathan drove down from Boise and built that shelving on the right side of the garage.  He brought the wood, left over from construction jobs, with him. Jonathan is my hero. He and Tom carried out all the empty boxes and we now have room for two cars in our garage, and that's a good thing, because we now have two cars:  a thirteen year old Avalon and an eighteen year old silver Miata with 78,000 miles on it.  Wowser dowser.  Our cups runneth over.  Thank you Jonathan.  Do you feel the love?
Thank you Tom.  Lots of head and foot rubs coming your way.

I have faith that spring will arrive some day in Utah and we'll be able to drive that little number with the top down.

Hold that thought!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Good morning, Erica

The question about beauty procedures for me is are they simply an extention of being well-kempt or is there a point when they become ridiculous; for example when you have fifty surgeries so you can look like plastic Barbie.  That may be taking things too far.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Old, old, really old friends

One of the best things about having had three weeks in Newport Beach by myself is that I haven't really been by myself TOO much.  I have spent a fair amount of time renewing my fifty-six year old friendship with Mary Ellen.

We grew up in Emigration Ward together; her father was the handsomest bishop I ever had.  Her mother was my Gleaner teacher.  

The first time I went to her house I was enthralled with her storybook doll collection, a whole glass-fronted cupboard of them.  These were dolls in ethnic costumes with glossy hair on their little heads.  I was raised in an orphanage by my parents and never had a doll with real hair.  I'm sure I petted those dolls and raised their taffeta skirts to see their little lace slips and panties.  Mary Ellen is the only girl I ever knew who actually received a pony for her birthday.  I never saw the pony, personally; it was kept at a ranch?  A farm?  Behind Roosevelt Junior High School?  But I have it on good authority that that pony was real. (We weren't allowed animals in the orphanage).

I remember when she got contact lenses.  I remember firesides at her house on McClelland Street.  I remember her prom dresses, her boyfriends, her college dorm room, all the Oldsmobiles, cruising State Street, looking through Vogue magazines up in her bedroom, the one with the big window that faced the street.  (She lived on the same street as Tom and they even dated once in their early teens). I remember when she got engaged and married.  I was a bridesmaid.   She had a biting wit and a wonderful horse laugh.  She still does.

We have kept in touch over the years, even though we haven't lived in the same city for forty- six years but for the last few weeks we have gotten closer to being those girls of 1958-59.  Those girly girls.  We've gone to movies, to dinners, to church, to the temple, a concert, watched American Idol and posed for the ever entertaining Photo Booth.  She held the blinds, so that I could climb through the window of my vacation house after I left the keys home.  She introduced me to Sprinkles cupcakes (see below):  all of this after I arrived unannounced like a new zit on her forehead.  

The older I get the more I appreciate having a friend who knew me when I was young, knew my parents, knew my husband when he was young, shared a ward, a neighborhood a time in history.  Thank you, Mary Ellen.

There's a converted garage for rent behind her house on Balboa Island.  If it keeps snowing in Utah, I may be able to talk Tom into moving.  It'll be just like the orphanage.