Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson

Even if I wasn't sixteen or even thirty when Michael Jackson was at his prime, I find myself mourning his demise.  I loved to watch him perform and I always wanted a red jacket with gold epaulettes.  I was born to wear such a jacket.  We gave Ed a sequined glove for one of his birthdays (it cost way too much).  One of the better gifts.  Everyone wore that glove at least once.  Later, I wrote a roadshow where I had a large group of seventy-somethings sing "Bad." They were hilarious.

I thought he was beautiful before he had himself cut into little pieces.  Someone didn't love that boy enough.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Go see "The Proposal."

Tom and I saw 'The Proposal" tonight and were thoroughly entertained.  Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock lead a wonderful ensemble cast including the always funny Betty White, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson and the hilarious Oscar Nunez from "The Office."  The writing is 
witty, well-paced and believable (with maybe one exception--the indian chanting scene).  It's a great night out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our 45th Wedding Anniversary

We were married on June 18, 1964, around nine in the morning, in the Salt Lake Temple by Howard Stevenson McDonald, the temple president (1964-68).  He was also the president of BYU preceding Earnest L. Wilkenson.  I didn’t know any of this, not even  the name, McDonald, but Tom remembered that much and found the rest on the internet.  We had a Howard Stevenson as a neighhor in Harvard student housing, 24A Shaler Lane.  They must be related.  The Howard we knew was later divorced from his wife, Sarah, so there you go:  not everyone makes it 45 years.

 My father said days before the wedding, “You think Tom is perfect, but he farts like everyone else.”  Maybe he meant, “He farts just like I do.”  Maybe it was a warning:  Tom isn’t perfect.  Duh.

 The picture above was taken at the end of the reception that 650 people attended in an all- night downpour and went way beyond closing time, which was supposed to be ten ‘o clock.  Tom and I were exhausted to our hair follicles.

 The next morning (as much as I like sexual tension, I’m skipping it), Tom let a loud fart.

“Oh my gosh,” I yelled.  “My father said you would do that and you did it the first morning.  The FIRST morning.”  Tom laughed.  My father would have cracked up if he’d been there.  The two of them together would have had one of those guy moments.

 Tom and I have mostly hung out today.  Neither one of us feels well.  We’ll go to Taco Bell and have three taco supremes each (unless he can talk me out of that).  Maybe we’ll sit on the porch awhile.  We’ve already looked at old photos and sighed.  He tells me every single day he loves me, so why should this day be any different?  I don’t want it to be different.  I’ve always liked hanging with Tom.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tarragon chicken salad

For those of you who simply stalk the postings, the recipe for the Tarragon chicken is imbedded in the comments of the last post.  Emily posted first and wins an all expense paid trip on a pirate ship to Sierra Leone--beach front.  Robin is going to Boise this weekend.  Who needs a prize when you have Boise?

I can't believe there are two recipes on this page.  Maybe I should write a cookbook.  It should be titled, "Where is Tarragon and How Can I get there?"

Attention Robin and Emily

One of you should cough up the tarragon chicken salad recipe.  I'm not one of those natural cooks who can just throw a bit of this and that together.  It turns out too this and that.

Isn't everything better with a "little cream"?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just say no to the Shiloh Inn in Nampa, Idaho

The whole Utah clan drove to Idaho this weekend to be with Jon and Julie when they had Liam blessed in sacrament meeting.  We wanted cheap.  We should raise our standards by about ten bucks.  The Shiloh Inn (not to be confused with the Shiloh Suites, which is newer and nicer) was
one of the top five rattiest places we have ever stayed.  Keep in mind that we have stayed in whore houses across Europe.  Just because it's a "pension" in the daytime doesn't mean it's a "pension" at night.  One of them had carpets on the BEDS.

Anyhoo, this particular Shiloh Inn's exterior was rotting.  We were greeted by four wranglers smoking at the entrance, each in varying states of decay.  They were there when we left for dinner, and they were there when we returned.  In the morning they were still there.  The room had a masking floral scent, but masking what?  Semen?  Armpit hair?  Pee? Ear wax? Sloughed off dead skin?  Ailing maggots? Blood? Boogers?

Yes.  All of the above.  One didn't want to walk barefoot on that carpet.   The above photo is exactly the way our room looked except for an added one hundred years of fading, body fluids, and a poof of aerosol.

Sunday morning we were ready to go forty minutes before church started at nine AM.  Tom was blessing the baby, an important role.  We were dressed like the respectable old folks that we are, raised in the fifties and early sixties: pantyhose and all.  Not Tom.  He only wears pantyhose on Wednesday nights.

Tom unlocks the deadbolt, but the door doesn't open.  He tries again.  No go.  I try.  No.  He tries.  No, no and no.

He calls the front desk and explains that we are locked into our room.  A woman comes with a key to get us out, but it doesn't work.  Tom calls the front desk again.  "I have an important appointment at nine.  We need to be out of here in ten minutes!"  

He calls back in ten minutes.  "Don't you have a screwdriver?"  His voice is menacing.

"Yes, it's in the maintenance room, but only the maintenance man can get in there, and he's on his way now."

I think Tom's head will explode, and I go to a zen place, which means staring at a dot and listening to my own breathing. 

At nine, the maintenance man arrives with a screwdriver, slips it under the door, and Tom unscrews the deadbolt.  We get there two minutes before the sacrament is over.

Tom gives a lovely blessing.  We have lunch at Jonathan's.  (I still want that chicken salad recipe)  and we all drive home in heavy rain.

Do not even THINK about bringing up the pioneers to me. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

His Buttocks Ached from Flexing

I have just returned from a week of teaching at BYU's Writing for Children Conference.  I had a fabulous class and our last project together was to assemble a story from THE NEW YORKER magazine fictions.  We borrowed phrases and whole sentences to make an "original" short fiction.  Our only requirements were 1) it must contain the word "butter," and 2) it must have sexual tension.

This is what we came up with (title above) :

     I was in love with a man named Cuthbert, origin unknown.  And oh, that man could really eat.  He would go home and sculpt his butter.  On these nights of low moon, Cuthbert, of a more unstable temperment, began to do weird things:
 "I was thinking we could duct tape the child," he said.
 "The boy is hungry, I said.
   "Is it because of the cancer?" Cuthbert asked.
  "That was crap," I said.  "That was negative."
 "Do you want some dessert?"
  "Have you been drinking from the wine bowl again?"
 The boy was sleeping.  We had brought back the morphine for his pain.  He was rarely awake and not very happy when he was.
  Cuthbert ran around in his skivvies, to no avail. "Don't worry about it, Ignatia."  He held a hand against his ribs.
  It was a depressing sight.
 "You've let yourself go," Cuthbert said.
  I grew furious and plotted my revenge.  I decided to kill him.
 The whole thing happened almost too fast to be real.  I threw a butterfly net over his head.    Cuthbert tore at the net and clawed at his face.
  "So Daddy.  Isn't this cozy?" I whispered.
 "What are you talking about?" Cuthbert yelled.  "I'm miserable."
  He yanked the net off his head.  Frozen in the hard spotlight, he looked old, crazy and forlorn.    An intense discomfort settled on the room.  There was one false note, one shadow:  the moon.
  "I'm kicking you out of the house," I said.
  Just at that moment, the animals at the zoo next door began to growl.
  I reached beneath the boy's pillow and found the perfectly dreamed weapon:  an old lanyard.
 "What a terrible gift you have given me," I said to my husband.
 "I always knew you were a lesbian, you with your one boob."
   I should have said something cold.  Instead, I stretched the lanyard.
  Cuthbert knew I was in a position to injure him.  He let me do what I wanted.  Too old be aroused by pleasure, I sought pain.  I circled behind him and pulled the lanyard against his throat.  The winding required a huge effort.  The lanyard closed against his spine with a dry sound--crack!
  At the zoo, seals barked, large cats danced on their hind legs, and birds followed them by the dozen.
  Cuthbert slumped down to the bed, where the boy was sweating and sleeping--dreaming of something unpleasant.
  And for the first time, I thought of Cuthbert as a lover, possibly dying.
    Goodbye to the life I would never have.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The quick fix

My friend, Claudia, just sent me this recipe for a single-serving chocolate cake.  Brilliant!  


4 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

A small splash of vanilla extract

1 large coffee mug (MicroSafe)


Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.  Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.

The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT ! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?

Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!


Monday, June 1, 2009

The 5th Sunday

I love fifth Sundays, because Tom and I have made a decision never to stay for combined R.S. and Priesthood meetings. After Sunday School, he said, "I'm going to surprise you," and he took me to brunch at the Grand America.  Nice surprise, indeed. We sat by a window overlooking the garden and I watched a large yellow butterfly hover on red flowers for a full five minutes. The interior, too, was filled with bouquets of fresh flowers.   Beauty, more than anything, lifts me out of myself.  It made me forget the headache I had.

Earlier I rolled pretend cigarettes out of the sacrament meeting program and offered Tom a smoke.

We watched AGE OF INNOCENCE at home and then called Sam and Sarah and asked if we could visit.  Elliot called back almost immediately to say that he wanted to come our way, because he wanted to see Mira.  Well yeah, who doesn't want to see Mira?  We told him Mira wasn't home, and so we were allowed to visit at HIS house.

I was full of caffeine and talked nonstop.  Sam and Sarah were gracious and sent us home with a vase of fresh cut pink roses from their bursting bush.  

Nice evening.  Louis flirted.  Elliot sang.  Sarah showed us her broken toe.  Sam and I mulled over Bear Lake real estate.

Thank you, Tom.  Thanks Sam and Sarah and boys.  Thanks Grand America.  I want to live in your hotel and have high tea every afternoon.