Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beware of round worms

All hell broke loose in our cottage communtity last weekend. Two people have contracted round worms, and both of those people swam in the lake. The lake was tested and sure enough there's animal feces in it. Whether the feces is human or not, I don't know. I suspect there's both human and dog, since I have seen people let their dogs swim in the lake as well as toddlers with saggy diapers.

Isn't feces the nastiest word? Pooh is better.

Anyway, the two beaches (yes, there's actual sand!) have been closed and my friend, Anne M. and her husband were forced off the lake by one of the security men when they were kayaking. "We're not going to drink the water for heaven's sake," Anne told him. He was not sympathetic. (I find security guards, on the whole, do not have a highly developed sense of humor. Least of all, the security guards at Temple Square. Where do they find those guys?)

But I digress. Round worms will die during the winter, but I have a feeling the beaches will disappear next summer and kids won't be allowed to cannon ball into the water from the wooden piers. It's a definite loss.

Round worms aside, Tom and I went to see some new modern condos built on the north side of the lake with gigantic windows. Get this: the second-floor apartments, the ones with the terrific view, have their entrance from the alley next to the garage! Up a dark stairwell to your beautiful condo.

The architect must be a cabbage.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Exquisite hairbands and hairclips for girls

Katy, whom I've never met, but who writes one of my favorite blogs (Word to Mi Madre on blogspot) said she would send me some of her hairclips. She thought Erica might like them.
Sorry, Erica but I think this girl likes them way too much to give away. I LOVE the headband with the red roses. Why can't an old lady wear this to the symphony with her cute red jacket and black skirt?

Why can't an old lady wear a black flower with rhinestones?

Why can't an old lady wear rhinestones, period?

I only had to take a hundred pictures to show these off. First of all, I smiled a wide toothy smile, but low and behold, the blueberries I had just eaten had turned my teeth blue. I looked like a deranged zombie with really pretty hairclips. And still, I have a crumb of a pretzel on my lip in the second photo, but who's looking that carefully?

Katy, I never would have thought of trying on hairclips in a thousand years. I love them. They make me feel femmie and happy. Thank you. You've made my week.

The rest of you may want to look at Katy's business website: Jean Kate: Exquisite hairbands and hairclips for girls.

"I feel pretty! I feel pretty! I feel pretty and happy and gay!"

Well, maybe not gay.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dutch windows

I met my new visiting teaching companion on Sunday, just returned from a Hong Kong temple mission with her husband and it turns out she is "one-hundred percent Dutch" (her words).
She was born in Amsterdam and emigrated with her parents to America in 1955 when she was ten.

I am one-hundred-percent Dutch as well, and in my excitement I may have tried to hug her, which is about the most anti-Dutch thing one can do. Emotion is an embarrassment to the Dutch. Fortunately, she was also a good humored woman and chatty, features I like about my
fellow countrymen and women.

But there are down sides to being Dutch: you think you know everything, even what people are thinking. You don't deserve a birthday party, unless you have it yourself and cook for all your guests. You don't deserve anything, actually. Especially success. And there is that Calvinist guilt that we generate so effortlessly.

My new friend told me something I didn't know. The old Calvinists had a rule that good people should not have window coverings. They had another rule: do not look into other people's windows.

Well, of course. Trust the Dutch to come up with impossible rules. Here I thought those windows with the potted plants in them and a tiny rim of lace at the top were so friendly, so inviting. I loved gawking through them.

Turns out that gawking is against the rules.

I've been butting up against other people's rules all my life. Perhaps the modern Dutch, with their ultra-progressive social programs, like me, are butting up against those Calvinist forefathers.

Am I on my high horse? Better get down before I hurt myself.

Thursday, I will go visiting teaching with my new friend and she will speak Dutch to me and I will be happy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The diet: Part II

The summer of 2008, I lost 40 lbs, which brought me back inside the proper weight grid for my age. I've kept it off a year and so this week I've begun part II, lose 20 lbs and get in the middle of the weight grid. My doctor approved.

My diet of choice is the OPTIFAST diet. Optifast is a protein drink (there are bars too) and is done under the supervision of a nutritionist (Nanette) who makes me write down what I eat and how much of it I eat and harasses me about exercising.

Oprah went on Optifast that first time she lost weight. Remember how she came out wearing those size 10 jeans, looking fabulous? When she stopped the diet, she gained it all back.

I drink two of my meals and eat real food for the third meal. (Oprah drank all of her meals). It works so well for me that I should do ads for them. I do not have to think and plan about what I eat. I just open the refrigerator, pull out a box of chocolate or strawberry Optifast, drink it and I'm done. Oh, and I drink lots of water.

I am not inclined to cheat, because Optifast is relatively expensive and I don't want to be throwing money down a hole.

For exercise, I ride the bike and have added these arm exercises holding cans of vegetables while I do them. Not very hip, but if beans work as well as weights, why spend the money?

At Christmas I will have dropped another dress size. Oh happy day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day 2009

When you're retired, holidays are fairly ho-hum. I forgot about Labor Day until Sunday night when Sarah asked me if we had plans.

No, did they have plans? No. I don't think the other Plummers had plans either. The New Jersey Plummers went to a Yankees game. That's what I call a great Labor Day outing.

I am not a planner. I like planners, but I am not one. I'm not the mother who gathers her chicks for a major cook-out on, say, Labor Day. I like it a lot better when one of the daughters-in-law plans something that includes Tom and me and we just get to sit around and eat their food and make smores and joke with the grandkids.

I miss my mother, who used to make jello salad mixed with whipping cream, potato salad and great sloppy joes for good-weather holidays. We would drive to Washington Park up Parley's Canyon and have a picnic. Very 1950's. I miss the 50's too.

My version of that is to go to Ruth's Diner in Emigration Canyon.

Anyway, Tom wanted to drive to the Cathedral of the Madeline to prepare for a class in architectural photography he's taking at BYU. They're photographing the cathedral on Thursday morning and he wanted to be prepared. We parked the car and walked up the steps, and lolled around, heads back, staring at gargoyles. The bells rang the hour, which is my favorite sound in the world. Twice, I've had an apartment in the Covey down the street where I could hear those bells. It's my favorite area of Salt Lake: South Temple between 2nd and 5th East (Backers' Bakery).

We walked up the street shaded by Sycamore trees. Then got back in our car and bought Dr. Peppers and Hershey bars at the K Street 7-Eleven for the trip home.

Later, we took Alice, our Yorkshire Terrier, for a walk by the lake. Lots of families out biking or pushing strollers. We met with a family who also had a Yorkshire Terrier (Sophie) and we chatted with them about what nasty little dogs they are. Meanwhile, little girls pass by saying "Oooh what a cute little dog!"

We sat on the porch until the sun went down.

Pretty good Labor Day, really.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sibling rivalry

Max (9) has learned to play the recorder in school. He played JINGLE BELLS for us with verve and musical insight. He's obviously a genius.

He has taught Mira (7) to play her own recorder: every note except the "d." She begs him to teach her the "d" note, but he refuses. She can't play JINGLE BELLS because it requires the "d" note.

"If you don't teach me today," she says, "then I'll ask Dad to teach me."

"Fine," says Max, "but I won't let you use the book.

"If you teach her all the notes, you can play duets. Duets are fun." I say. "Ensemble playing is satisfying."

His face crimps into a shudder. I've asked him to kiss his sister.

He's a genius. He's a also a pedagogical Marquis de Sade.

"He doesn't want me to play as well as him," Mira says.

I understand perfectly. Who wants Mira crawling up his backside playing JINGLE BELLS as if she were 9? Duh.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon

And I have to come in fasting. So I'm sitting here sipping cold water. I'd really like some of those mixed berries in the fridge and a bowl of Cheerios and maybe a small handful of chocolate chips for dessert. My kind of breakfast.

I will be tested for cholesterol and blood pressure and diabetes and thyroid. Maybe, he'll ask me if I can subtract sevens from one-hundred and who is president. Can I balance on one leg? Can I touch my nose with my eyes closed?

Today, I will pass all the tests.