Friday, November 27, 2009

Feeding ducks on Thanksgiving afternoon.

The only way the day could have been better was to have a sleep-over. Next year!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

I’m writing this from my kitchen island. I have boiled yams, made a pumpkin-chiffon pie and I’m about to cut up carrots for the Carrot Puffs that I hope will fool my youngest grandchildren into thinking they’re eating dessert. I will cut the ends off the string beans tonight. The table is set with china and silver and yellow flowers. (See the place tag above—Tom did his Photoshop magic with the one card I bought at Target). We bought a high chair for Louis, and a push button Elmo phone that talks back, and a yellow truck that also makes noise of some kind when you thump on it.

Most of my preparations have been for four-year old Elliot, who LOVES to watch movies, especially anything with Thomas the Train in it. So I made him a corner in the upstairs hall with colored pillows, one of them I embroidered with “Elliot’s Corner” on it. There’s a red IKEA table with a TV/VCR on it and a stool that I painted red and blue in case he doesn’t want to sit on the floor. There’s a yellow circle rug, and seven—count them—seven Thomas the Train DVDs.

Maybe, I’m over medicated.

Here’s a few things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving in no particular order:

1. The boys, their wives, their kids. Who knew it would be so good?

2. Hot hot water whenever I want it.

3. Thank you, Lord, for helping me lose those fifty pounds and keeping them off.

4. Tom

5. Two working cars.

6. Saturdays in the temple

7. Virtual friends on the blogosphere

8. Anne’s German “parents,” Herbert and Josa, who love her like we do.

9. My writers’ group.

10. The anticipation of 10-days in NYC over the holidays.

So what are you thankful for today? And if something went terribly wrong, I’d really like to hear about that too. I love to hear about things going askew, like Rebecca’s horrible cranberry pear pie. Thanksgiving 2009. Sublime or something else?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tom's Basil Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This morning, Tom awoke and said, “Do I have something on my head?”

I bent reluctantly over him to have a look. I have no stomach for odd skin growths. There was a small, slightly discolored, slightly raised circle on the top of his head.

“You probably ought to have it checked,” I said, not all that alarmed.

About an hour later, the dermatologist’s office calls to say that Dr. Parkinson has two openings in a couple of hours. Do we want them? I don’t, but Tom goes.

Tom hadn’t phoned them. They called out of the blessed blue. I love that kind of sychronicity.

Later, Tom calls me on the cell, which identifies him as Basilio Filbert—we don’t know why—and tells me it was squamous—rhymes with pus. It’s the second most common skin cancer but is very fast growing, and he found it early.

When he gets home, he looks at Squamous Cell Carconomas on the internet. One old man has about a fourth of his head chopped out. One has a huge one on his anus. A woman has a large one on her vulva. Tom wants me to see all of these photographs, but I won’t have it. He holds up his laptop, “You should see this!”

“Get away from me,” I said.

Years ago, my father wanted to show everyone an MRI of his blocked colon.

“No thanks,” I said.

“No thanks,” said my sister.

“Uhh, no,” said my brother.

“I’d like to see it,” Tom said.

The two of them walked out of the room like guys heading for a beer.

Please note that I spared you an image.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fiction writer at work--or not

I am cynical of fiction writers who say they LOVE writing. Give me a break.

I love having written. I love having a new book arrive in the post. It hasn't happened often enough.

What I love even more is finding ways to avoid writing: a door needs to be painted today, the shower door needs LimeAway today; I need to file five years worth of paper today. I have a cold. I'm aging. I'm demented. So many reasons not to write.

But today, Monday, the beginning of a new week, I said I would write and exercise. Bonanza goals. And I did both and read a great deal of a Pat Barker Trilogy, REGENERATION, about World War I and the British poets who died in it. I did not make my bed, though.

Back to writing: I sat dutifully and comfortably on the sofa with my lap top and bled out a page of new writing. Then I looked up the definition of "besotted" on the Microsoft dictionary, and then in a moment of fiery self-destruction, I deleted the page I'd written instead of the dictionary page. I jumped up and flayed my limbs and repeated the s-word more times than you care to know.

I ate a Lindt dark chocolate ball.

I thought of that Hemingway novel, where a young writer and his wife travel through Europe staying in small hotels. The protagonist, unlike me, works at his novel every morning. The wife is lovely, young. He is "besotted" by her. It turns out she is also mentally ill and when the novel is almost finished she shreds up the manuscript in a fit of rage.

This is the good part. Hemingway has his writer-protagonist get up the next morning and start the same novel over again. That's what writers do, I remember thinking.

And that's what I did today. I sat down and rewrote the page. So I "have written" and I have "rewritten."

I'm feeling quite smug.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Break out the fireworks!

Congratulations, Erica, on passing your MFA exam. Gloria, gloria,gloria. Hallelujah.
Let's eat something fattening soon.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

After midnight

I am awake after midnight. Tom has long ago fallen asleep and I am sitting in the dark taking pictures of myself. My bedside table lamp is now in the living room and the two flashlights in the bedside table drawer do not work. They worked when I put them in there, but now they don't work. So if THE earthquake happens tonight, we'll be stumbling around in the dark wishing we had been prepared. There are two large flashlights down in the pantry. I wonder if they work. I have matches and candles, canned pears, a bag of chocolate chips, several warm coats and a 55-gallon drum of water. That should get me through the weekend. I am so hungry. I'd like to go down and nuke myself one of those chocolate cakes in a cup and eat it with a large glass of milk. But I don't want to be fat.

We did not win the chili bake-off, even though it was the best damned chili ever.

Will we sleep in heaven?

Not me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dede

Dede, I know this year's birthday cake isn't as fancy and complicated as last year's Cinderella cake, but those "busy bees" are hard to mold with arthritic fingers. It will arrive tomorrow. Happy Birthday, doll face.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This weekend we sold the grand piano. The youngish couple who bought it live in Orem and they came up nine o' clock Saturday morning with the piano mover to pick it up. It left quite a hole in the living room. Even though Tom and I had to be in the temple ready to work at 11:10, I called Charles immediately, still wet from my bath, and told him to come over and help Tom move a sofa from the basement. We moved the demilune cabinet between the two windows, and the sofa where the cabinet had been. Now we have two white sofas facing each other.

I stole a second oriental carpet from Tom's study, a lamp from our bedroom, a small table from the upstairs hall, along with the old Remington typewriter. I bought a tree with huge elephant ear leaves, a new goldish brown barrel lamp shade from Pottery Barn and three pillows. I bought a white ottoman from Ikea and covered it with a red wool blanket and a crocheted tablecloth, so it doesn't look like like an Ikea ottoman.

I had a $500 budget to make changes and I did it with $400.

I am a damned genius.

Nothing, I mean nothing, gives me more energy than decorating a room.

Imperfect photos thanks to Photo Booth.