Sunday, November 30, 2008

2009... NOT!

I like numbers. Back when I had a complete brain, math was one of those things that just came to me. And I loved it.

At least until I was a junior in high school. I wanted to take calculus, but was scared enough by the teacher - Mrs. Steele - that I simply quit. I had my general ed requirement in match already, so it wouldn't slow down my graduation.

(Mrs. Steele, if you're reading this, I'm sorry, but you were short and old and real DEFINITE. Everyone who had had you as a teacher said you were IMPOSSSIBLE. And you scared me. Sorry)

After I lost half my brain, numbers suddenly became the enemy (much like Mrs. Steele). The same integers were there, and the same equations, but now the answers weren't. And I was obviously somewhat dyslectic - I would see 48, and write down 84.

Gradually I became resigned to the fact that I had left behind a very good friend, and thank goodness BYU took my ACT math score to count as the math requirement - no more math classes required.

I still hold on to some math prejudices, however. Even numbers are almost always better than odd numbers, with some exceptions - like 13, 7 and 49. And even though it's an even number, 8 is pretty wicked.

But 2009. It's just WRONG. I don't know exactly why - maybe if I had a full brain again, I could explain this in a logical, coherent manner.
But I can't, so here is what I am going to do -

Relying solely on fanning fleeting feelings and passing provisional
passions (I just love words, don't you?), I want to begin a campaign to NOT have next year be 2009.

Instead, in January we will begin THE YEAR OF 2010 MINUS.

There - that should work.... shouldn't it?

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Mother and infant bonding is essential - otherwise none of us would survive to childhood, let alone adulthood. Love is the only thing that can make it through sleepless nights, endless messes, and the extended period of crying/screaming without a clue as to any possible cause.

Najale was about 16 months old when he and I first became acquainted, and 18 months old when I brought him home. Horses are herd animals, and stay healthier when kept with other animals. So I was about to accept the offer of one of my neighbor's goats (fittingly named 'Dinner') for his companion when my husband 'suddenly' became aware of a co-worker who wanted to give away a couple of her horses simply because of the expense.
Turns out six months in Saudi Arabia had really turned him off on goats.

So Sally came to live with us. She had just been separated from her six-month old colt, was skin and bones, and emotionally and physically exhausted. It took her about 15 seconds for her to switch her allegiance to Najale as her baby, and they have been inseparable since.

Well, I need to be a little more specific - Sally is the one who is inseparable from Najale. Najale could seriously care less if he is taken anyplace, but Sally gets lathered into (quite literally) a huge sweat if her baby is more than a yard from her side.

I utilize this mother/son bond for my own selfish benefit. I need to feed the horses separately - otherwise Sally just lets Najale eat more than his share. But she is easily led into a corral once she is assured that the 'baby' has already started on his meal.
And when they both are done, it is fairly easy to simply open both gates, and Sally will predictably move back to the pasture.

Until tonight, that is.

I have stressed in a previous post how dark it gets out here. Tonight there was just a sliver of a setting moon on the west horizon, and no much else.

But, confident that Sally was going to be reliable, I set off in the dark to find the corral and pasture gates by touch - open them up - and Sally....

.... decided that the scrub grass right behind the house was more enticing than regrouping with her baby.

Okay, it's pitch black, I have one horse loose. Quickly I slammed the pasture gate shut - one horse loose is at least better than two horses loose.
And, thinking quickly, I whip out my handy-never-out-of-my-pocket cell phone, intending to speedily enlist my husband's assistance - no, not with the horses, he really isn't much good with them - but to bring out a torch (as the British call it) and/or flashlight to capture escaped mare.

Whoops. One little problem. We live far enough away from civilization that it was difficult to get a regular land line phone, and when we finally did, it was the old-fashioned copper-wiring - our neighbor in back, in fact, had their telephone wiring laying on TOP of the ROAD for about two months.

So, when I am on the internet, guess what - it's tying up that phone line. And my husband NEVER has his cell phone on or on him.


So rather than doing the logical thing (i.e. walking back to the house, and getting the large flashlight myself), I switched on my Super Horse Whisperer skills, don my magical Horse Whisperer cape and launch off on my Lost Horse Rescue.

Well, not quite.
I walked over to where Sally was grazing, put a rope around her neck, and walked her back into the pasture.

But hey, got you to read it this far, didn't I?

Friday, November 28, 2008


I have a few daily habits. It's nice to have some reliable customs, since so much of what happens in our lives can't be controlled (illness, weather, president-elect) by us (although I did vote for Obama, and am VERY happy he won).

Every evening, around 10:30 p.m., my dog and I walk outside and back to where the horses are. Now, just so you can picture the scene accurately, I (and my dog) live in a rural area - no streetlights, no business lights, true darkness. It's great for watching the stars - but it is DARK.

I have pretty good night vision, and even when the moon isn't out, you can actually see your shadow by starlight. It's cool. But I have two advantages on this nightly trip.

1) Murray, my dog. Murray leads me out, comes back if I stop, and looks up with concern if I obviously can't see where I am going and have run straight into one of our many mesquite trees (and for those of you who are not familiar with Arizona plant life, to survive here, plants feel obligated to hurt you when you touch them, let alone run into them in the dark - and I mean draw BLOOD)

2) Najale, my horse, is black and white. And even though he is normally a very dusty, muddy and dirty white, those white sploshes still stand out enough that he is easy to spot.

Now Sally, the 'other' horse, is a bay mare - which means she's sorta reddish brown with a black mane and tail. She sorts fades into the woodwork, so to speak, at night. She's also pretty old (26 maybe?), so I will walk around the pasture and find her if she doesn't show up beside Najale in a few minutes.

Tonight? Najale is right there, ready for his evening carrots. I break each in half, and give Sally the top, smaller and generally softer part (bad teeth) and give Najale the bottom, harder part. And Sally always gets fed first. Najale is a greedy, pushy gelding who needs to wait his turn, and is normally good about it.

Tonight? (Didn't I just type that?) No Sally at the gate. I went ahead and gave Najale three carrots while I kept waiting for her to show up - finally undid the gate, and walked in to check and see if she was okay. And THEN she trots up, all hale and hearty, for her carrots.

But I made the SERIOUS mistake of concentrating on giving her her fair share of what was left - and NOT giving Najale his 'half.'

So.... he bit me.
Not hard - I mean, a horse who is seriously biting can do serious damage. I had a horse take off the top layer of my left hand - you could see the underlying bones. This was just a nip on my index finger of my right hard.

But even after keeping frozen peas (the world's best ice pack) on my finger for 35 minutes, it's pretty obvious that my fingernail is going to fall off soon, and I am going to have one sore finger for the next couple of weeks.

Don't feel sorry for me - my own fault. Just needed to tell someone the story - and brag about typing this entire thing with one heck of a sore finger.


I have been looking for a wider sort of format, and since I have no idea (yet) how to design a template (in fact, I'm still not entirely certain what a 'widget' is other than it's not contagious), I am trying out some.

I LOVE the fact that the 'birds' above are like fuzzy pipe-cleaners - watch 'em for a second - don't they make you laugh? But I don't know how to bring the blog title UP.

Oh, well, enjoy for the moment, it may change in an hour or so.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


A friend's blog asked about Thanksgiving memories, and while I assume she is asking about happy Thanksgiving memories, I began writing about unusual Thanksgiving memories, and then realized I had a perfectly good topic for my own blog.

Sorry, Annette - you just lost a comment but I gained a blog entry.
Thanksgiving of 1981, we were living in Dusseldorf, West Germany (in 1981 there was still a wall in dividing Berlin), I had given birth to our second child the month before (at a British military hospital, which someday will be an extremely long blog entry in its own right) in Munchengladbach (my daughter has to deal with the spelling and how to pronounce that city name for her entire life, don't you feel sorry for her?).
And, as one of few American families in Dusseldorf, and the only active LDS family (although we did have a wonderful family of RLDS that attended regularly), we had become sort of the alternate mission-home to a large amount of full-time American LDS missionaries working in Duesseldorf.

I'd like to think they flocked to our gracious home because of the naturally spiritual and uplifting atmosphere which occured there.

But in reality, it was because 1) we were already LDS , and 2) didn't have to be convinced about not drinking beer (although after drinking German public water, sometimes beer did sound good) and 3) did always have non-alcoholic beverages...

and 4)
(and here is where the drum roll comes in)... We had access to....

AMERICAN FOOD. At least after a two-hour ride to another country where there was the nearest American military commissary.

And wild and exotic things like....

HERSHEY / NESTLE CHOCOLATE CHIPS (German and Swiss Chocolate are entirely different organism from our sweet stuff)

MILK that needs to be refrigerated and does not sit in a carton on your shelf for two months before you use it.

RICE KRISPY TREATS - I can't really remember whether the type of cereal or the marshmallows was impossible to get in West Germany, but man, did the missionaries love 'em.

And since we had an apartment full of Americans almost every night (and afternoon and even sometimes in the morning), it was somehow assumed that we would do the entire Thanksgiving dinner deal.

Okay, right.

HOWEVER - do you know that it is possible to get LIVE turkeys in German, but not possible to get a dead one that's been de-feathered and gutted and all that.

There are no pumpkins or cans of pumpkin stuff that you can make pies from. There are a lot of squashes and things like squashes that you can cook for hours and hours and then smash and mash and add all the seasonings and THEN put it all together in a pie.

Stuffing? Are you kidding? Stove-Top was patented in 1975, but the Germans hadn't caught on to it by 1981. So... stale bread, a lot of herbs, bake that stuff, then stick it in the turkey... once you've de-feathered and gutted the bird.....

'Nuff said. It wasn't easy, it's wasn't very pretty, but it got DONE.

Now, if memory serves correctly, we invited our Scottish neighbor Maggie because she was interested in American customs and wanted to see how we celebrated Thanksgiving. And it didn't hurt the missionaries' time sheets any that she wasn't a member of the church (tick off 'time fellow shipping investigator' for five hours on November 24, 1981).

We ate, and ate, and ate, as only eight American boys aged 19-22 , a nursing mother, a two-year old, an adult who reached 30 just as he was introduced to German cooking on an expense account and a healthy Scotswoman.

And it all was happy and fun... until one of the dear, polite Mormon elders leaned back in his chair, slapped his stomach in contentment, and said, "Man! Am I stuffed!"

"WHAT?!?" cried Maggie.

"I just said that I'm full," replied the surprised elder.

Maggie turned to me and demanded, "Are you going to allow talk like that in your home?!?"

Lesson No. 1 - Different languages, especially languages that are called the SAME, such as English, have different definitions to the exact same word.

"Stuffed" in American English means... well, stuffed.

"Stuffed" in Great Britain English, which is an entirely different language, means "F*****" multiplied by a factor of 10 and somehow involves your mother and the legitimacy of your birth and wearing of army boots.

And "Full" is just as bad, if not worse.

There. That's my most memorable Thanksgiving.

So... how stuffed was your own Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


There is a saying, "There are no atheists in foxholes." I have always sorta wondered why EVERYone, when they get in a dangerous position, say (or screams) OMG (or words to that effect).

Maybe it's just covering all bases, just in case this is 'the end.' Even my dad, a life-long atheist, asked a lot of questions about my spiritual beliefs after his first big stroke and up until he died a couple of years later.

And I personally am convinced that is one of the main points of having 'opposition in all things', as Nephi so eloquently put it. If everything in our lives was always peachy-keen, why would we ever look outside of ourselves for help? If no one had any troubles, how would we learn to help another and serve each other?

So, (back to the original topic) what do God and moms have in common?

They get called on when the going gets tough.

Monday, November 24, 2008


So many expressions have lately been stretched so far beyond their original meaning that the initial implication is long dead and gone. Tonight on a commercial, they used the tag of "age-old dilemma" to talk about "where are we going to eat tonight?"

Geesch. Age-old. Yeah.
Perhaps "WHAT are we going to eat tonight?," or even "ARE we going to eat tonight?"

But I did learn something. Did you know that word dilemma actually means "a situation in which somebody must choose one of two or more unsatisfactory alternatives"? I didn't know that.

But back to an 'age-old' dilemma - I have had one. Well, maybe not 'age-old', but for the past 53 years. Okay, maybe the past 40 - I didn't wear much make-up when I was a toddler, just a little blush. And some mascara, but only on first dates.

But I have always been unhappy with lipstick. I can use chapstick, I can use Vaseline, but I get anything with a little bit of color - it's either too red, too pink, too SOMEthing that turns it into clown paint on my lips.

And this weekend, I may have found the solution.

You know that lipstick they advertise as "semi-permanent" (which in our insatiable need for instant gratification translates into "more than thirty minutes")? I, completely on a whim (and the fact that it was marked down to $1.29 on a Target end-cap), purchased some "semi-permanent" lipstick in
a mildly favorable tint, and (of course, if you know me at all) did almost the exact opposite of what the instructions read.


So... should I share this incredible secret? Should I hold it for ransom? See how many (okay, all four of you who read this blog regularly) will beg and plead for it?

Yeah, I agree. Who would care that much. And I am naturally a caring, giving individual who loves to share. So here it is:

Put it on the night before.

Yup, and by morning, at least on ME, it has faded slightly, and definitelyy becomes a more, how should we say, reserved tone, and although it adds color, it's incredible SUBTLE, which is what I need in my make-up and almost never experience in my life (entire other story there).
Any charitable donations in response to my generosity will be accepted, and I thank you in advance.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I love little accent marks. When we had just moved from Germany, it drove me NUTS to see things like the city of Düsseldorf written as "Duesseldorf" - "Cologne" instead of Köln. And words/expression like déjà vu just look way cooler with all the umlauts and eszelts.

Well, that's what they're called in German - déjà vu is French, so I have no idea what they are called there. Anyone wanna tell me?

But this post isn't about language misuse, it's about the experience of déjà vu. I think everyone feels that fleeting "I've done this before" or "That person is going to say such-and-such" and then it comes out that way.

Sometimes I get a little bit more. Well, actually, I usually get a WHOLE lot more.

When trying to describe what happens, I've compared it to a incredibly high-speed movie inside of my head, that gets set off by a sound or word - sometimes a smell - that, once it starts, I have no control over. It's not a hallucination in the true sense of the word - I know it's just happening inside my head, and I still can perceive what's happening around me - but it's as if seeing through an extremely heavy, thick glass. 'Reality' is dimmed, it's hard to touch or feel or talk, and the movie is dominating my world.

Normally (if the word 'normal' can be applied to something that is SOO abnormal) it lasts about 30 - 45 seconds, and people around me, when asked, don't think I've done anything outside my norm (which, if you knew me, allows for a whole lot of crazy things).

For years, I tried to gain control over this - to stop it and/or lessen it. But this just seems to make it worse. So I've learned to sense when one might be coming on, and if I move quickly enough (literally - I usually dash to another room or outside) I can prevent it from beginning. But once it starts - can't do anything at all.

And the movie script, I guess you would call it, doesn't ever change. The moment that began it becomes that opening sequence - then, almost always, the movie at an impossible speed begins and covers the same material it always have. The next time it is set off, that opening moment is the next in line after whatever started it this time.

Is any of this making any sense? It's like madness occurring occasionally. I'll go months without it, and usually about 24 hours after some stressful event (fight with my husband, harsh words exchanged, overworking and/or under sleeping) it clicks in.

The feeling I am left with is like a very thin, very used washcloth, frayed on all sides, being wrung out from the bucket of dirty water with bleach' I just want to lay done someplace quiet and dark and be still for the next 46 days.

To the best of my memory, this never happened until after my head-injury in 1976. I know that I do have brain-damage on the right side, and it could be related to that.

Okay - anyone out there like to talk about their bouts of insanity? Floor is now open for comments - possible referrals and medications may be offered, but invitations to be on Oprah and The Tonight Show need to be handled on a first come, first served basis.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Please read this,but also please read it thinking as a parent:

May the Good Lord be with you down every road you roam.
And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you're far from home.
And may you grow to be proud, dignified, and true.
And do unto others as you would have done to you.

Be courageous and be brave,
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever young

May good fortune be with you, may your guiding light be strong.
Build a stairway to heaven with a prince or vagabond.
And may you never love in vain,
And in my heart you will remain
Forever young

And when you finally fly away, I'll be hoping that I served you well.
For all the wisdom of a lifetime, no one can ever tell.
But whatever road you choose, I'm right behind you, win or lose.

If you are not a child of the 80's, you probably could read these lyrics without a melody beginning in your head. I can't - it's a Rod Stewart song released in 1988.

And I just love it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


This is just a private little moan. I watch re-runs of "Whose Line Is It Anyway" almost every night at 10 p.m., and do the dishes, take care of stuff, etc. during the commercials. I have seen each and every episode ever aired multiple times, and one of the advantages of having a poor memory is I will still laugh at almost every (good) joke.

So tonight when they were doing special recognition of T.V. stars, I knew what was coming, and still kept watching. They had Sid Caesar on as a guest star, and I, once again, just dissolved into a little puddle of tears.

He's the same age as my dad, wrote (and acted) comedy at the same time as my dad was writing comedy for television, and he LOOKS like my dad did right before his death.

It's isn't all that often that it hits, but I miss my dad. I miss talking to him. And it was always so great to know someone who really KNOWS you and still loves you (Annette and Harmony, you're the only other ones that fit that category).

As the song goes, thanks for all the memories, Dad.


I love hearing widely varying opinions.

Wait, let me qualify that.

How about I enjoy listening to views opposing my personal philosophy and/or political opinions which have some basis of rational thought process behind them.

Hmm, not quite enough.

I welcome outlooks that have not been passed on untainted and unchallenged from one generation to another, been installed unconsciously via a long-term relationship (i.e. marriage), and/or have been beaten into someone brain's by long-term exposure to Bill O'Riley, Jon Stewart, Fox News, and/or subject lines that begin "However, **** brings word that ***** creator **** is sneaking __(insert particular extreme political viewpoint here) bashing messages into his **** sitcom, ******* via near-subliminal vanity cards."

There. Now I think it's clear.

I did have a good time meeting with my new book club last night. We had read "3 Cups of Tea", which was a wonderful, stirring true story of a humanitarian.

Regrettably, it was co-authored by a ghost writer who poured all his creative descriptive ability into graphic details like the unfolding drama of riding on top of a truck balanced on the brink of a deep canyon instead of delving into character description, even limited physical portrayal of important individuals, and even a pretense of plot.

Still had fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I am discovering that the older I am getting, the less I care. About a lot of things.

I mean, I still care about my kids. I can't say I'm exceptionally fond when one calls me at 4 a.m. (this morning, as a matter of fact), but I at least took the trouble to pick her up at the ER.

I care about my animals - even when it's an extremely silly gelding whinnying for two hours before feeding time or a dog who whines and whines about going outside and then turns around and comes right back in the house,expecting to get a treat.

And I care about the environment... at least to the point that if a recycle bin is immediately under my fingertips, I'll throw a soda can in.

But I honestly don't care about a lot of things that used to matter. I don't care about how my car looks... well, wait a minute, I guess I've never really cared about what my transportation looks like. I mean, I drive an extremely dusty truck with 138 bumper stickers on it.

I don't worry about how I look in public... hmm, well, that's been almost all my life. My mom was one of those dress-me-pretty-in-pink and ringlets in my impossibly straight hair - and I was enough of a 60's and 70's child to be one of the denim forerunners. I mean, I actually was part of TWO protests against school clothing policy, one in high school, one in college (both about blue jeans)

I'm not concerned about my weight. To be honest, though, I think I have simply giving UP on trying to LOSE any weight. I can get slightly trimmer, I can lose an inch or two, but the actual, literal POUNDS never seem to budge.
Hmm. I don't think I have stopped caring - I just don't have enough ENERGY to care any more.
Pass the ice cream.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I have always loved animals. I can't remember a time growing up when we didn't have a cat and/or dog, which in retrospect makes absolutely no sense . My mom was MORE than anal-retentive about cleanliness and everything being spotless 24/7; in the last house we lived as a family, we had WHITE carpeting. Honest.

But I remember having at least one cat and one dog when we lived in Highland Part - I had a Siamese cat at the first apartment we had in South Pasadena - I had a tabby when we moved to Laurel St., and then took care of my uncle Leigh's Samoyed for the two years he was in Australia.

And then when I went out on my own, there was always a horse or a dog or a cat that was moving along right next to me (in fact, a couple of kitties and puppies that made the trip from California to and from Michigan).

But are a lot of questions which have occurred to me only since my dad died five years ago. For instance, how did he talk my mom into letting us have animals, and did he have pets growing up? I know he grew up 'in' the city of Kalamazoo (what a cool name for a city), but his grandparents (on the Russell side) had a farm that they'd go to during the summer. But I never heard him mention a particular dog or cat... of course, in a family of five kids, there may never have been a 'individual' pet.

But I grew up with a love for almost all animals (exceptions: alligators or spiders, though), and kept constant a dream of becoming a veterinarian. At least until I applied for veterinarian training at San Luis Obispo, and allowed myself to be talked out of large animal work, which of course, was what I wanted to specialize in.
But back to the main point ABOUT TIME!); now that I have an 'empty nest' of children, I still have the animals. Murray, Pandora, Delilah, Najale and Sally.
And since I am by myself the majority of the time, and am by nature a chatty creature, I end up talking to the animals... perhaps a little bit too much.
But (taking the chance that I will be struck down with lightening) it's sort of like prayer. It's someone to talk to, who you know is listening, and with at least four of the animals, you can count on a nice, respectful and polite listening face (Najale is the one who will shake his head in negativity at almost anything I say if I'm not scratching his stomach at the time).
And do they speak to me (as the title of this blog seems to be hinting at)?
Well, let me put it this way (again, in danger of being struck down where I sit) - how do you feel you receive an answer to your prayer?
Yeah - sometimes they do.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


There is some music that each and every time I hear it bring tears to my eyes. I have repeating one eight-minute segment for over an hour now, and keep having to drag the box of Kleenex over.

I will stand outside in sub-freezing temperature if I happen outside just as the moon rises or sets.

I have seen the 'green flash' on the horizon four times now, and it still strikes me as magical beyond belief, even though I understand the scientific rational behind it.

I marvel each and every time I see a hawk rising on the warm thermal air currents - and this is something I see almost each and every day here in southern Arizona.

I can see something like "My Joy is Full" church video and never fail to cry like a newborn baby (completely off the subject, but a comment that I just adore - John McCain right after the election: "Sure, I sleep like a baby. I wake up every two hours and cry.")

The world is full of incredible things, and I am lucky enough to keep discovering and rediscovering so many of them.

Yet I still get irritated each and every time I hear my husband begin to snore - and this is after being married to him more than thirty years (although I insisted on separate bedrooms eight years ago).

I get irked about cat hair - after having the same exceptionally hirsute and constantly shedding animal for not quite ten years.

I still expect drivers to use their turn signals, maintain a safe distance, and keep to the posted speed limits... 'nuff said about that.

And I get furious every time I hear Bill O'Riley speak.

Is it just me?

Friday, November 14, 2008


I love this woman's blog. She was on "Blogs of Note," so I can't take any credit for revealing her lyrical prose to the masses (well, the three or four of you who actually read my blog), but I can easily relate to her, and (sorry, this is the bad news for you three or four) she inspires me to tell my OWN analogous tale (See? Aren't you already impressed that I am using big words like 'analogous'? Can you tell she's an educator?).

Okay, now if you have clicked on this link, and read her entry, do it now.

No - really, do it.


Sorry, got a little carried away there (but I'll bet you anything Harmony is smiling right now because "YEAH! My mommy CUSSED!").

I was born with... well, let's put it this way. Beauty in human is often (read that "ALWAYS") judged by the symmetry of facial and body features (that supposedly is why Denzel Washington is so hot; his face is amazing symmetrical. Personally, I think he's hot just because he's hot).

So guess what. I am not. Symmetrical, I mean - not hot... well, wait, at least my husband thinks I'm hot, so.... but again, not symmetrical.

I am not 'evenly distributed.' Some of it is minor - I mean, very few faces are completely symmetrical (discard 99% Hollywood actors) - and some of it is just a little inconvienant (I have one leg almost one inch shorter than the other - added up to a lot of lower back pain for a lot of time).

And since I never received any orthodontic treatment when I was growing up (I barely got dental treatment), I grew up to adulthood with a pretty severe overbite (i.e. my top front teeth were about an inch and a half in front of my bottom front teeth). The chipmunk look. Very popular in the wilderness.

Long story made short ("TOO LATE!"), I tried for the necessary jaw surgery while my husband was active duty Army (translation - FOR FREE). And since I had to be referred from an ENT specialist (ear nose and throat - and read that 'expert', not the military rank), I took advantage of church familiarity (member of my ward bishopric) to get the aforementioned referral.

Major Dennis (first name, I can't remember his last) was such a sweet guy - he happily gave me the referral, and then oh so carefully added, "Hope, I love your nose. You have a great nose. But have you ever thought about having it fixed?"

My nose wasn't humongous, it was just a little bit drooped and had just a slight ridge - what they used to call "Aquiline" or "Roman" in old novels, and with men, at least, it always seemed to be meant complementary. And new Army doctors-destined-to-become-plastic-surgeons-in-their-civilian-lives needed the practices, so...

It's free, why not?
So I had the jaw surgery (the most painful thing I've ever gone through, and that includes three 'natural' childbirths), and then six months later the nose surgery (rhinoplasty - doesn't that word just bring forth wonderful images?).

And yes, you do look like this after nose surgery. Everyone glared at my husband so much he refused to be seen with me until the black eyes were gone (about two weeks).

And, following Cheri Block's example, I figured I saved....

Chin Lift: $5900.00 (since that's what my jaw surgery actually did)

Nose lifted up at the bottom: $1700.00

Nose smoothed down at the top: $1700.00

Operating Room: $2300.00 X 2 surgeries = $4600.00

Anesthesiologist: $1300.00 X 2 surgeries = $2600.00

Grand total that (at the time) seven years of military life saved me: $14,800.00

And guess what? I STILL ain't symmetrical.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


One of my favorite books in the whole wide world is "God and Mr. Gomez" by Jack Smith, who was a great columnist with the LA Times in the 60's and 70's (the dark ages, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, for you younger people).

I am mentioning this mainly to prove that I am not stealing copyrighted material, because I am shortly going to quote directly from this book.

And even though I do not get any royalties from this book, it really is a great book. I can't see anyone not enjoying it because it was written in 1974.

So here's the excerpt:

"There was music in the air, though, and it seemed to be coming from the ramshackle cantina

"I walked over to the counter. The storekeeper reluctantly withdrew her gaze from the electricians and fetched me a cerveza from an ice box. I took a table and joined the others in watching the show. It turned out to be a two-beer performance. The men were in no hurry, as long as there was cerveza and music. They took turns on the ladder, each politely giving the other time to test his own theory as to how it should be done. Meanwhile the musicians sang sadly and passionately of love and betrayal, which are the themes of rural music everywhere.

"Finally, the fixture was installed, everyone had a last bottle of cerveza, and the entertainment was at an end."

Okay, back to my blog. But isn't that great writing? The book's available on for $11.53. No pressure here, but you really should read it.

The point I am trying to make (and failing miserably, because two readers have already given up trying to read this... wait, now it's three) is the quoted passage - "The men were in no hurry, as long as there was cerveza and music. They took turns on the ladder, each politely giving the other time to test his own theory as to how it should be done."

Putting aside the cerveza and music (which would help any job, I must admit), the point (now five lost readers) is, they cooperate. The electricians respect each other's opinions, they are allowing the other one the chance to be right.

Ah, here's the rub.

I have been 'assisting' (in the loosest definition of the word) in constructing a shelter for the horses for the last three plus months. Our friend Bruce has already done about 98% of it, leaving only the three walls for us to put up (easiest part of the job).

However, it is virtually impossible to put up 8' long metal sheeting, suspended about six inches from the ground, by yourself (and believe me, I have tried). So instead of hiring someone who actually knows what he/she is going, I have taken then path of least resistance) - enlisting the aid of my spouse.

Now, this is NEVER going to be a case of, 'oh, please, you try it your way and then I'll try it mine" - at least not with us. It's two stubborn minds that are already made up that "I" am correct (fantastic line from "The Princess Bride" - 'we will both drink... and see who is right, and who is dead").

Solution? I keep my mouth shut.

It works. At least when I remember to do it.
Okay, any readers left out there? Really?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I have been trying to 'stay in the present moment.' To fully embrace exactly what is happening without thinking ahead (which becomes easier and easier as I age, as is not looking back into the past… I can't remember anything anymore).

I have learned that SOOO very much of our conscious time is spent in the future.

For example, standing in line in the grocery store (which I did for insane amount of time this afternoon - another entire story there, maybe tomorrow's blog). It's very easy to begin thinking, okay, what do I have to do when I get home/tonight after dinner/why didn't I buy that blue dress when it was on sale and/or why DID I buy that blue dress that was on sale?

But when I can pull my thoughts back to what is actually happening at that moment, in reality, not in my head, but standing in that grocery line...

Okay, besides learning that Angelina Joline is pregnant with Donald Trump's love child, that Barack Obama half-step- auntie who is illegally in Massachusetts is actually an alien, and garlic powder can lead to increased virility - I had a very nice conversation with a lady behind me who was 4'10" - the cashier had been working for six hours without a break - they were playing some GREAT 80's music in the background - and I could actually smell both fresh bread and rose petals.... maybe from Frebreeze and Glad Air Fresheners in the shopping cart ahead of me instead of the grocery's 'bakery' and 'florist.'

But I enjoyed the moment. I was there.

At least until the cashier asked me to move on so other shoppers could be helped.