Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I am cleaning. I know how.

Tom and I are leaving for Vienna on Monday, so now we're down to the last hours cleaning our house for the people who are coming to stay for two of those months. We take breaks with Ms. Pacman and get back to it. I like the smell of cleaning agents.

I'm wearing my back brace, because the last thing I need is for my back to go out. I think Alice knows something is up. She follows us around looking nervous.

And a nervous wind blows outside. Last night I thought the house might blow away with us in it.

I've always been afraid of being blown away, or being invisible to others. That's why I continue the chatter.

I wear red rubber gloves for the bathrooms. In a minute I will have some of the broccoli soup I made yesterday.

A week from today I'll be in Vienna. Yippee Skippy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Phone Calls from offspring

How I know which of my four sons is calling me on the phone:

Jonathan: "Hi Mom, it's me, Jonathan." He always identifies himself as if I might not recognize him from the 5 million people I know.


Charles: "Helloooo." Very musical.

Sam: "Hi. What are you doing?" He speaks slowly. "Get on your computer to Utah Real Estate. I want you to see this house."

Friday, April 23, 2010

West of I-15. Like way west of I-15.

I miss the real estate bubble. Most of my married life we've made extra money by buying and selling houses. We've moved about like gypsies in the wind. I actually cleaned out cupboards last week, because I thought, I'm not moving anytime soon; guess I'd better do some spring cleaning.

If I have to be stuck in a house, then this is not a bad house to be stuck in. It's new construction and has granite and stainless steel in the kitchen, which I would not bother updating in another, older house. It has a usable front porch. The neighborhood has a lake and a pool and parks and other good stuff.

I like my ward. I like "my temple." I like being close to Charles and Erica and their kids. I like when Harrison brings Curtis by.

The downer is this: I almost vomit when I have to write on a form that I live in South Jordan. I like everything about my neighborhood except that it's in South Jordan. I've never in my life known anyone who lived in South Jordan. Now I know hundreds of people who live in South Jordan.

It's like a hair short of living in Bluffdale next to the penitentiary. Excuse me, people who live in Bluffdale.

And then there's this. I'm happy here. I'm happy HERE IN SOUTH JORDAN! How can this be? Am I working toward some kind of maturity?

I wouldn't get my hopes up.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Dear Lucy,

Where are you and what are you doing? Happy sixth Birthday! Does that even mean anything in your timeless world?

Your parents hosted a huge birthday party in your honor today. It was an indoor picnic in the 27th Ward building on P Street. It's the ward where your funeral was held. You wore a white dress that Grandma Sharon made, and your coffin was white, the size of a picnic basket. Are you still wearing that dress?

Many of your aunts, uncles and cousins, along with friends were there to remember you. I saw your youngest brother, Louis, his face smeared with frosting from eating one of the ladybug cupcakes. Elliot sat at the children's activity table where there were ladybug stickers and colored paper. We associate you with ladybugs. Lucy Ladybug. I think Pop-pop found that verse about Lucy Ladybug. We see ladybugs and we think of you.

The twelve-minute slide show of your life was mesmerizing and painful. Those short four months and your subsequent death, cracked our universe. You were courageous, Lucy. I think of you as determined--a fighter against all odds. Courageous.

After the slide show, your dad stood on the edge of the stage and held a ladybug pinata from the end of a rod while the kids swung at it with a bat until it split open and the candy fell onto the floor. One of your cousins used her skirt as a bag for the candy she picked up. In this world, we're all crazy about sugar. We ate sandwiches and potato salad and fruit too.

Later, we walked outside into the sunshine, crossed the street to the cemetery, to your grave site, which was decorated with flowers and little pots of pansies that your mother handed out as favors. Your parents opened up the packets of live ladybugs onto the marble bench with your name inscribed in it, and we gathered them onto our hands and let them crawl up and down our arms. One disappeared under my sleeve.

I'm missing you, Lucy. I'm missing you.


Grandma P.

P.S. Your Aunt Marcia stole ugly plastic salad spoons from the church.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Watching it yet again . . .

Tom and I watched AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER on the computer tonight in our beddy. We see it every year or so, although we hardly ever watch the whole movie. After Deborah Kerr's character, Terry McKay, is hit by a car on her way to meet Cary Grant's character, Nicky Ferranti, at the top of the Empire State Building, we fast forward to the first night she sees him again at the ballet, then to the end. We skip all the sentimental hospital and kid scenes. I mean, let's face it, the movie is completely neurotic after the accident. She doesn't want him to know that she can't walk? Puleeze. If she's not walking a year after the accident, she's not going to walk, period. Still, I enjoy watching the last scene as much as I did in junior high even though it's completely implausible.

The charm of the movie is it's two beautiful, graceful stars and the script's irony, despite the emotional manipulation. Then there's the song sung by Vic Damone. Love that song. Even better when it's sung by Nat King Cole. And that opening scene of Central Park in the snow! And the Empire State Building! Maybe it was this movie that made me a sucker for New York City.

No, it started with those Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies. I'm thinking of PILLOW TALK. NYC is one of the finest film characters ever.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt 2010

I began to write about Easter yesterday but got distracted with royalty, which reminds me, my oldest granddaughter had a boyfriend who looked exactly, I mean exactly, like Prince William.
Only cuter. Sigh. I miss her while she is off having her glam life in Europe, speaking Deutsch like a native.

Sam and Sarah organized the Easter egg hunt outside. They were hidden in trees, on top of cars and some were munificently lying atop the lawn as if they had just sprouted.

From top to bottom: Murgatroyd, Louis, Elliot and Louis, Max, and finally, Harrison, who is reading Ovid's Metamorphoses "for fun." Do I love that or do I love that? Ovid for fun. Yes!

He's a complete nerd just like his father and grandfather and pretty much all his relatives. I adore him. And guess what? Girls swarm him. Girls are smarter than they used to be.

I wish I knew how to make titles for each photograph but that is out of my tech range.

I finally made it to 20,000 in Ms. Pacman. I hope they have that game in heaven.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

Sarah brought hats and silk flowers on Saturday night, so while the men were at Priesthood meeting, we made Easter hats. A glue gun is a powerful tool. I wanted to look as much like Camilla Parker-Bowles as I could. Second to Mamie Eisenhower, she is my ideal fashion icon. Both Camilla and Mamie are such non-threatening couture queens. Mamie, because she's dead, and Camilla because she isn't very pretty with that scrunched up face and pointy teeth.
I understand she loved Prince Charles a long time before she married him. They spent some time making shameful phone calls with tawdry conversations and delighted in adulterating each other.

Is that anything like having your lawn aereated? I don't know.

I'm glad I have my hat; it makes me feel like royalty. So posh.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bird by Bird

"So today I read several chapters of Anne Lamott's book on "writing and life," (after I wrote me some more novel), because I am teaching an advanced writing class to our study abroad students this spring and summer in Vienna, and I ordered this book as one of the texts.

What is with the long sentence?

Anyway, I read the introduction, then chapter one and chapter two, when I remembered a rule I learned when I was still teaching but I have since forgotten: you should read the text BEFORE you have your students order the book. One f-word and a chapter named "Sh--ty First Drafts." Not that those descriptions aren't accurate, because certainly first drafts are sh--ty every single time. It's I forget the world and its writers aren't as squeaky clean as I imagine the religious school I represent would like it to be.

Most students know this, of course, but occasionally you'll get a student who is easily offended and will relay this private offense to you, but usually not. Usually they tell some all powerful clergyman. I don't need this in my life.

But I do need Vienna. So, on the first day of class I will apologize for not reading before ordering, although I've read several more chapters and haven't seen more foul words.

Really, Anne Lamott is funny, wise and experienced. And she believes in Jesus. There aren't that many writers you can say that about anymore.

I made a good choice.