Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Lisa, you are being kind, I know, but hey, if you can't brag on your own blog, where can you brag, right?!

Here is the newspaper article (slightly edited) from Monday in the Sierra Vista Herald, with the particular phrases highlighted which prompted my quick response to the editor:

BISBEE — Cochise County Militia, a local group, will hold a border watch event in February … Bill Davis, founder and director of the militia (states) “Our confidential informants in Mexico say a big harvest was just completed, and drug mules are being assembled for February.”

…Davis said that people who don’t live near the border area may not realize there is a large number of illegal immigrants who enter the United States each day. And, they may not understand what kind of impact it has on homeowners living within 8 to 40 miles of Mexico.

“They lay in bed at night with their dogs barking, hearing strange noises outside, watching dark figures pass their bedroom windows, sometimes 20-50 in single file,” he said. “They hope they don’t have a home invasion, family members molested, vehicles stolen or narcotics dropped on their property for their animals and children to find.”….

He cautioned that he doesn’t want participants to “wave (handguns) around” or do any target shooting during the event. Rifles and shotguns also may be carried, he added. He suggests participants should keep the guns safeguarded in a low profile and “pray” they don’t need to use them… People can also bring pepper-gel spray or a stun gun, as these items will cause fewer problems if used, he added.

And here is my reply as printed this morning in the aforementioned newspaper:

So where did Bill Davis, founder and director of the Cochise County Militia, find these cowering border dwellers he describes in the Sierra Vista Herald front-page article of December 29th?

I have lived for the past eight years just three miles from Mexico, between the San Pedro River and the Huachuca Mountains. And I can guarantee that every single neighbor I have, if they "lay in bed at night with their dogs barking, hearing strange noises outside, watching dark figures pass their bedroom windows," are using their speed-dial to call the Border Patrol.

The Border Patrol regularly and faithfully patrols the section between the border with Mexico and Hwy. 92, at least that area around S. Kings Ranch Road. Regardless of what hour of the day or night I call, a patrol car is there within minutes.

I feel safer here that I did living in East L.A., south of Baltimore, and north of Washington D.C.

However, the thought of a militia of "patriotic people working the line" with handguns, rifles, pepper-gel spray and stun guns DOES scare the SOCKS off of me.

Bill Davis, please go defend some other area than my backyard - I'm just fine with what I already have.

Isn't it fun to be published?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


A section of a book I adore ("A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle - with a name like that, what could you possible become other than an author, mental-health therapist or breaking-edge artist?) hits very close to home with me:

"An ego that wants something from another... will usually play some kind of role to get its 'needs' met, be they material gain, a sense of power, superiority or specialness, or some kind of gratification....

"Attention in some form, such as recognition, praise, admiration, or just to be noticed in some way, to have its existence acknowledged....

"Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that is the ego in you."

And oh my goodness is that ever the case with me. With work in particular, I have always craved positive reinforcement. No, I think it goes beyond 'crave' - require, perhaps, or even demand. To remain professional, I have reverted to (psychologically, at least) patting myself on the back to just get that sense of praise.

And that's not healthy, I know.

But I also recognize this is one of the reasons I blog. I check MUCH more often that I should to see if, maybe, perhaps, someone just may of left a comment. I check on that silly map to your right to see who has even accidentally STUMBLED onto my blog while searching Google for "diabetic dog dainties" or misspelling 'hopeless.'


So tonight when the local newspaper managing editor called me this evening to 1) ascertain that I was the actual writer of the emailed letter-to-the-editor renouncing Bill Davis, director of the "Cochise County Militia", description of cowering individuals living on the Mexican border who supposedly "lay in bed at night" (his wording, not mine) " with their dogs barking, hearing strange noises outside, watching dark figures pass their bedroom windows."

And thereby, according to Mr. Davis, we need a militia of elderly, oxygen-tank-dragging volunteers from northern states (the people we locally call 'snow birds' since they regularly leave the snow-covered front lawns for our sunshine and relative warmth in February) to use binoculars and cool night-vision googles to 'assist' the regular, real Border Patrol - and just 'happen' to also be armed with rifles, handguns, pepper-gel spray and stun guns 'in case' they have any sort of confrontation with any drug smugglers...

Wait, was that just number 1?

And 2) the local newspaper will be PUBLISHING my letter-to-the-editor tomorrow.

So - did I write the letter to be published (i.e. RECOGNITION)? And now, oh no, now I am writing MORE about it in this blog for MORE recognition?!


I need therapy.


Monday, December 29, 2008


Why do we hesitate when we don't know something, but then still don't ask questions?

Is it pride? Are we afraid of looking ignorant and uneducated? Are we ashamed that other people 'obviously' know the answer and will make fun of us for not? Will a mob of knowledgeable individuals come with pitchforks and torches to tar and feather us?

Normally that isn't what actually happens.

The older I get, the more willing I am to look a fool. Well, actually, I guess the older I get, the more I simply am a fool.

But I keep learning how much I do not know.

Having my son, mid-twenties, home from college for a couple of weeks only reinforces that.

Because he obviously DOES knows it all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I'm a major wimp about cold. Any place under 82 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius) is cold to me. I grew up in Southern California, so I have naturally thin blood, and it just never thickened up. Even after living in Michigan, Utah, Kansas and Germany. And my frequent flights to visit my grand kids in Hawaii just reinforce the thinniestness (just invented a new word, didn't I?).

My husband has always insisted that you can dress warmer, but you can't dress colder. I seem to be the exception the proves the rule. I can have on a long-sleeved tee, two sweatshirts, a jacket, a hat and scarf, three pairs of socks and the heaviest jeans I owe.

And be freezing.

Inside. With a heater running. Right next to me.

So last night it got down in the low 20's. Both of the horses' water troughs froze solid. I got out of bed only by literally HURLING myself from under the covers and jumping and dancing around as I got dressed (be grateful that no one caught it on camera).

I am telling you all this (and, unfortunately, have probably gotten an image of me capering around with one leg in my jeans stuck in your head for the rest of the entry - sorry) to set the stage of sitting in a cold cafe, no heat, no coffee (I don't drink it) but a cold soda (I get my caffeine from Diet Coke).

And our regular waitress comes over, shivering, in a light short-sleeved tee. She was house-sitting for someone who had an obscene amount of dogs, and couldn't wear her jacket because it was now covered in dog hair.

This was a colossal test for me. It meant giving up ONE of three sweatshirts.

But I passed.

Friday, December 26, 2008


There are some people I just love being around. Gaylyn Barkdull, Kevin Goates, Elena Haban - they just make me feel good each and every time I speak to them.

And after some reflection, I think I know why.

When I say 'hi' and jump into whatever conversation they are already having in the hallways of our church (an incredibly rude habit that I do constantly because otherwise I never get a chance to speak with them), their focus is immediately RIGHT THERE on ME.

Almost everyone (well, maybe not everyone, but I know I do it) is already one or two thoughts ahead when you are speaking to them; what their respondense in going to be, what cute little anecdote they could use, etc. We're all thinking about what we're gonna say back before the other person is even half-way through their first sentence.

In a way, it's normal, at least for people like me. I am not all that quick on my feet, and I have to give my brain some advance notice or I will just be standing there with a goofy look on my face going, "Er, wha!?" then they pause for a response.

(Okay, okay, those of you who know me KNOW that I am normally standing there with a goofy look on my face. Just play along and be nice, okay?)

But these wonderful people, they are not thinking about what they are going to say next, or how to tell me how rude I am (although somebody someday is going to have to do that), but they are totally and completely concentrating on what I am/am going/was saying. They are not looking down the receiving line as a politician does, for example, already ready to shake the next hand without paying any attention to you trying to ask them "And if elected, will you...?."

Nope, chance is already past. Statistically, they have increased their chance of getting your vote just by touching your hand, and that's all they really want. (They have also increased their chance of getting poxvirus, but that's another blog about my close-to-compulsive hand washing).

The few times I have met and actually spoken to a General Authority, their interest and direct concentration on ME was tangible. I was not just a person, I was someone IMPORTANT to them, an equal, someone that they could actually and were willing to serve at that moment.

Hope I can learn something from that.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


(Sorry, Jen, this isn't about your daughter. At least not yet.)

My husband owns a greyhound. For those of you who are not acquainted with greyhounds, I must clarify just a few points (honest, just a few):

1. Greyhounds are not dogs. They are greyhounds.

2. Contrary to assumptions, greyhound are couch-potatoes. Yes, they race fast on the track, but they are sprinters only. They need to run about once a day at 45 mph for 24 seconds, and then sleep the next 23 hours, 59 minutes and 36 seconds.

3. Greyhounds are big. Ours weighs almost 80 lbs., and none of it is fat. The ultimate in long and lean.

Okay, enough information - let us move on.

My husband's greyhound's track name was, honestly, "I Don't Know." It leads my mind into an entire "Who's On First" routine; can't you just see it?

"I wanna place a bet on a dog."
"Okay, what's the dog's name?"
"'I Don't Know'"
Abbot and Costello, watch out.
But off-track, her name is Delilah, and that's what we call her. And she sleeps at the foot of my husband's bed.

Which leads to the fact that my husband and I have separate bedrooms.

Not for martial differences (although, of course, we have our share of those, but so does everyone), but because after 22+ years of being kept awake by his thunderous snoring, I pulled rank when we moved into this house, took over the master bedroom, study and bathroom and banished my husband to the servants' quarters next to the laundry room.

And Delilah sleeps on two dog-type pillows in there.

Since my husband goes to sleep around 7 p.m. (1900) every evening, and I go to bed after midnight, I wake Delilah up to take her outside for her very last business for the night around 11:30 p.m. (2330).

Generally, I open the door, am blown back two steps by the resonation of a not-so-soft palate vibrating (or perhaps throbbing is a better word), wait for a breath intake to take the two steps forward, and wait for Delilah to stand up, stretch (you haven't seen an animal stretch until you've seen a greyhound stretch - it's almost orgasmic).

Then she shakes her collar, which has three enormous metal I.D. tags dangling from it, loud enough to wake the dead but not someone who snores at the 90+ decibel level (anything over 85 will cause hearing loss,, just FYI), and she then comes out of the bedroom.

Until last night, that is.

When I opened the bedroom door, Delilah tried to rise. However she had somehow moved in her sleep to a east-west position from a north-south position, thereby wedging herself exactly between the bed and the bookcase in such a manner to be firmly and solidly stuck.

We all can agree that uproariously laughter and uncontrollable glee can lead to increased levels of endorphins, less bladder control, and augmented blasts of myself snorting.

She did (eventually) free herself, but this is one of the times I wish I had had a cam recorded within reach, so you could see it also.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


There are just a few traditions that we have actually kept over the years:

1. Chinese food on Christmas Eve - because Harmony pointed out years ago that the wise men came from the 'east'.

2. Open one present on Christmas Eve - except for this year because Joy is working tomorrow, so we exchanged our few presents tonight.

3. Read Luke Chapter 2 together, and talk about what Christmas should really be about.

4. And maybe this is going to become a tradition - Annette posted a great quotation from Elder Neal A. Maxwell on her blog: "Each of us is an innkeeper, who decides if there is room for Jesus."

Tonight we talked as a family about how we can extend Christmas throughout the year with an attitude of caring and sharing. Bill also know of a family whose main bread-winner lost his job on Tuesday - two days before Christmas.

Talk about bad timing.

I firmly believe that God answers our prayers through other people. That's one of the reasons we are commanded to serve one another. And while my family can not reach out physically and do anything tangible for this family, we can include them in our prayers, and pray that God can touch someone who can help them.

Mother Teresa said that we cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.

We're going to try to remember that all this coming year.


Last night was one of those beautiful, spacious cold nights, which we enjoy regularly up here at the 5,000 foot altitude here. The quiet was broken only by gusts of winds trying to decide if they were going to deliver any serious seasonal changes or just blow my hat off for their entertainment.

I love going out long after sunset with my trusty Murray-dog and a bag of carrots, and we stand outside regardless of the weather and feed the horses over the fence.

Even though we live literally three miles from the Mexican border, Murray is a fierce protector.... or, at the very least, a strident barker when anyone or anything comes within 20 yards of our property, including rabbits, stary feral cats, dogs, people and very occasionally even a rattlesnake.

Now, even before 9/11, there have always been a large number of Border Patrol trucks, foot patrols and horseback patrols ALL around us ALL hours of the day, especially since we live between Mexico and the next major road (read that 'paved'). This has become a major 'corridor' for crossing the border without having to show a passport or be searched, and for years before the wall construction, as easy as slipping under a poorly maintained barbed wire fence in the dark.

But any illegal immigrants, drug smugglers, coyotes (human ones), etc. that may pass through our back (or front) yards are moving as fast as they possibly can to GET to some kind of transportation on or beyond the highway. They aren't hanging around to take in the sights.

So I don't worry about it too terribly much.

Being outside in the middle of pitch blackness.

Alone with my dog and horses.


Except last night.

Last night, around 9:30 p.m. (2130) Murray was contentedly laying on the ground by my feet, and I had two horses contending for my attention (i.e. fighting to be the first to get a carrot) when I heard some music.

Remember that I am partially deaf, I am over 50, and I have a cavity filling that picks up Tucson and sometimes Mexican radio stations at odd times. So when I 'hear' something, my first impulse is to look at Murray, who has way-beyond-perfect hearing - he knows when my truck is turning off the aforementioned highway two miles away Honest.

My dog was looking abstractly around, probably to determine if it was music worth listening to (he has very high standards), so I began, in my one-ear-working-and-can't-tell-directions way, to slowly rotate 360 degrees to figure out where the sound was coming from.

Also (sorry for all these reminders, just trying to set the scene up properly) keep in mind that we have no lights out here. NONE.

No street lights, no businesses, parking lots, schools, and instead in place we have a WONDERFUL bunch of light pollution laws (which until I moved out here sounded like sissy 'green' laws placed to mess people up - wait, I sound like a Republican right there, don't I? - but since living out here have become a passionate supporter of these same laws - so am I now a Democrat?). It limits all porch lights, floodlights and driveway lighting to KEEP it dark so you can SEE the stars and moonlight and that entire galaxy/universe thing.

I finally am able to pick out the parking lights of two moving vehicles that also seem to be the source of the music.

Normally if I see a car without headlights on in our area after dark, I call the Border Patrol without hesitation. And it's almost always a drug or illegal pick-up or drop-off.

I was thinking twice about this one, however, since they were playing music loud enough to heard two miles away and did have their parking lights on.

Murray and I walked a little bit closer, and I finally recognized what it actually was - one car towing a flat-bed trailer, which was filled with probably ten to fifteen Christmas carolers, who were singing along (poorly) with a tape recording of some female professional-sounding voice, and one car simply following with some more singers.

A drive-by caroling.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Every year we all do it. We swear we are going to do our Christmas shopping throughout the year, take advantage of sale prices, get it wrapped up nice and pretty and hidden away - and then (in theory) Christmas eve we can sit by the fire, drinking our eggnog (which is the most disgusting stuff in the universe - does anyone honestly like eggnog... I mean, without any alcohol?) and then at our leisure put the presents out of hiding and under the tree.

Nope, we all wait until the last minute, hit the engorged malls and department stores, join the irritable mob and stand impatiently in the check-out line to pay inflated prices to minimum wage clerks who are as bad a mood as you are.

And then, since you forgot to get wrapping paper, you end up stopping at the local five and dime (anyone out there remember when they were called five and dime stores? now there must be debit and visa stores) and paying an embarrassingly exaggerated sum for a roll of colorful gift wrap which you do not discover is half the amount of what you assumed until you get all the way home.

Where you realize you are completely out of tape, and end up being extremely inventive with masking tape and chewed gum.

But don't feel bad - it's the American way.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I like movies. My best friend from high school, Annette, can attest to how many hours, DAYS we spent at the Rialto Theatre on Fair Oaks Blvd. in South Pasadena.

This is back in the dark ages, when movies were actually on FILM, and were run on PROJECTORS that occasionally broke down, accidentally burned the film, or got the sound off by a few seconds (anyone remember that great scene in "Singin' In The Rain" with the "No, No, No!" "Yes, Yes, Yes!"?).

But once you paid for the admission, you could stay there and sit through one, two, three showings - or until the theater closed for the night and they actually came in to sweep up the grotesque combination of spilled popcorn, sugary soda (this is also before diet drinks were invented - we had no idea that saturated fats, sugar, leaded paint or asbestos were bad for you), cotton candy (ditto) and Milk Duds (probably the healthiest thing we ate).

I remember seeing "2001: A Space Odyssey" at least twice at the premiere - "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" probably forty-six times - "Harold and Maude", which I absolutely adore, and everyone who knows my past is always dumbfounded by that - "Papillon", although I think just once, that was pretty sad - "American Graffiti" - "The Conversation", which in retrospect is kinda intresting, because my husband worked with eavesdropping devices for the government for seven years while he was still active duty Army.
So... probably a couple of years spent watching movies between sixth grade and college.

However, now I am still happy to rent a DVD, sit down on the couch with the remote control(s) and watch a movie. I'm old - I can't sit in a theatre, drink any kind of soda and expect my bladder to stay quiet for a one hour and a half show. At home, I can pause it, rewind, and especially watch any directors' commentary, deleted scenes, gag reels, etc.

But tonight? My husband had purchased "The Mummy" - the third one. Yes, I had seen the first - and the second - in the theatre.
So... I have just lost two hours of my life that I will never, ever have again.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


There a lot of differences between men and women.

No, let me rephrase that. There are hardly any similarities between men and women. It isn't "women are from Venus, men are from Mars" - women are from Earth, and men are from a galaxy far, far away that obviously still operates under primeval laws of survival.

But tonight, a man (read that "primitive life form") tried to convince me that his wife (read "mature intelligent adult"), whom I also have known for the past, uh, let's see, nine plus years (read that "know from personal experience to be a awesome woman"), would NOT pay any reasonable airfare to see any potential (read that "now with two married children, bounded to happen soon") grandchildren.


I have discovered the reward for not killing our own children through their terrible-twos, the fiendish fours, stinking sevens, terrible tens, precocious pre-adolescents, temper-tantrum-throwing teenagers and all-knowing-and-condescending young adult....

... is that eventually, hopefully, they give you wonderful, incredible and dear grandchildren that you can nurture, spoil and just generally fall in love all over again.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I received a Christmas card yesterday from my oldest sister. It's one of those individualized cards, covered with photos of family and places, with the greeting nicely printed out as well as the signature.

It brought both cheerful discover and clear-cut regret.

Cheerful discovery, because quite a few people in the photos I have never met. Clear-cut regret, because quite a few people in the photos I have never met.

My oldest sister is some 22 years and 16 days and a hour or two older than I am. Jan was married and already had one child by the time I was born. We have different fathers, dissimilar views from politics to parenting, and an extremely non-sisterly relationship.

I stayed with her family during various times of marital upheaval at home, played with her kids much as cousins would instead of an aunt and nieces & nephews, went on water-skiing trips with her family, learned to drink beer at an extremely young age since there was never enough soda pop.

Harold, my brother-in-law, caught me doing something wrong at his house when I was about five, and threatened to spank me, which is how my nieces and nephew were disciplines. I stood tall and told him he couldn't, I was his sister-in-law. He didn't, but probably should have.

My two brother-in-laws got into some kind of argument that no one even remembers what it was about, but they and my two sisters have not spoken in some 30+ years.

My second sister and I had an incredibly close relationship growing up. I was 'the mistake', change-of-life pregnancy and all that, but Jo just swept me up in her teenage arms and took charge.

So when she suddenly disappeared from my home and reappeared married to some stranger named Bill with a new baby girl, I didn't know what to do. I grew to love Cindy and Chris as much as I did Jo, but Bill was always a little bit frightening stranger who had taken my only sister away.

And Bill gradually slipped Jo further and further away from our family. They took all their summer vacations back in Michigan, spending time with my mother's first husband - I try to believe for his winning personality and not the large amounts of money he accrued after the divorce. He joined a church which did not celebrate holidays - not just Christmas and Thanksgiving, but birthdays and anniversaries.

And whenever I visited Jo at her house, Bill would always be 'around.' I am not hinting that he was monitoring all of her conversation - I am STATING that he was monitoring all her conversation.

We've kept in touch - mainly through the Internet and occasional cards. I drove up to Pasadena last time I was in California, and was saddened to see a resigned, defeated, abused sister in place of the bright-eyed girl who taught me to read and take my first step.

Christmas is supposed to be the time for families to gather. Mine, at least, simply continues to drift further and further apart.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


If you held a job where you were proved about 85% of the time to be incorrect, misleading and responsible for widespread panic, would you expect stable employment?

Once again, the weather forecasters were utterly and completely WRONG. Today was sunny, bright and cold, with slight showers early this morning. And tonight is one of those brilliant, cold and (as of 1924 hours) moon-less nights where you can almost reach out and touch the stars.

It's beautiful; but no a flake of snow.
Now I do freely admit I may wake up tomorrow morning and have to shovel a path to the hay shed (shoveling with a teaspoon since the only sort of shovel I have is actuall IN afore-mentioned hay shed).
But I'll take my chances.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Who the hell decides what some damn words are swear words, profanity and/or socially unacceptable? And when do they become common, decent and okay to air on national television?

My daughter came home from kindergarten, upset that someone in her class has used the "f" word - which turned out to be "fatso." In our house, "stupid" or "dumb" were forbidden words because of our learning-disabled child.

So why is "damn" now okay on prime time? When were alternative words for manure or feces demeaned okay?

And yet... why is "f***" profane? Does anyone actually know where the word originated? I've heard quite a few theories - abbreviation for "forbidden unauthorized carnal knowledge" in naval logs - from the German word for intercourse and yes, it seems to always have something to do with illicit sex.

But it also means much the same as screw, cheat... and all of those words are okay.

This was all prompted by my son asking me not to use the word "crap." We talked about it some - again, another word for body waste, but one acceptable even in Mormon circles. "Flip" - another Mormon cuss word.

Christ is quoted as saying "Swear not at all... but let your communication be, Yes, yes: Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than there cometh of evil."

When does our language change from descriptive to profane? Can anyone logically and rationally outline this for me? I honestly would like to know.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Growing up in Los Angeles, snow was the cotton stuffing on elementary school projects or the marshmallows that you used to create a snowman from.

Icicles were either plastic things put on corners or the silver strands you hung on Christmas trees. Winter was when you wore a sweatshirt in the evenings and we normally got our 1.25 inches of rain for the year.

When I was in high school, snow became the dirty packed stuff that you could drive up in the Sierra Madres to see heaped on the side of the road and in shady patches between the trees. One time we found enough on one hillside which faced away from the sun to actually slide down a metal trash can lid.

In college in central California, it was a little closer, and there was enough in the mountains to actually walk in. However, it was still packed, dirty and frozen on top.

When I moved to Michigan, I was sitting in a t-shirt and shorts in my dad's living room on the south side of Kalamazoo when it began to snow. I learned two things very quickly that I had never know before - one, that snow is quiet. I expected to hear it much as rain hits the windows. And two, it isn't a good idea to run outside in your bare feet when it's snowing.

And suddenly I was dealing with:

- Unploughed roads at 4:30 a.m. (I had to be at work at 5)

- Sliding up and then back down the one major hill in Kalamazoo

- Shoveling the way to get out of the parking lot at the end of your shift when the snowplows have piled in up all their accumulated snow behind your car.

- Learning how to open the door when the lock is frozen shut.

- How to use an ice scraper repeatedly during your commute.

- Why wearing three pairs of socks become standard, and your winter boots need to be at least one size too large, and the cute woven mittens that you get at Christmas time are completely worthless in below zero weather.

It was an educational winter.

Since then I have lived in Utah, Kansas, Germany, and Maryland.

- Utah is a dry snow, which is a completely different and much more rational sort of thing.

- Kansas is where the wind never stops and black ice under the snow is a constant menace.
- In Germany, no one notices the snow or let it affect any part of any one's life. It wouldn't be German.

- Maryland at first completely collapsed at the prediction of any possible accumulation. Schools and government offices shut down, the grocery stores were ransacked, and pitiful stores of rock salt and snow shovels were sold out within minutes - with simply the prediction of snow.

Then in 1984 or 85, it snowed. Seriously. For a couple of weeks. Out of sheer necessity, Marylanders learned that milk was not necessary for survival, cars could be driven in snow, and we could actually keep the national government operating in a fashion (i.e. as well as it normally operates, which is not very well).

And in the next couple of days, according to the National Weather Service, we may actually get some serious snow down here, and NOT just on the surrounding mountains. So, since we are accustomed to a sprinkling of snow, twice a year, that melts before 9 a.m., this might get interesting.

I will keep you posted.

Monday, December 15, 2008


My son is home from college for the holidays, and I am catching up on a year's worth of mothering. He's been at school for two semesters, and then spent the summer working in Chicago, so I have not had him home for an actual year.

Today, in the spirit of giving and Christmas and the fact that tomorrow is his birthday, I took him to Radio Shack to get his cell phone 'ungraded.' It sounds good, he gets a prettier one, and it doesn't cost me a penny because all I have to do is extend my contract with AT&T for another couple of years.

So he got a new cell. It's nicer. Big deal.

Until we got home.

Josiah then began reading the little instruction book that comes with it upon my recommendation. Unless you are the type of person (which I am) that will continue to push every single button and every single combination of keys over and over again until you discover all the ins and outs of the electronic equipment (which is the only reason I become the computer guru at two different jobs without ever having taken a single computer class), you honestly are better off reading the instruction book which is commonly written by someone who is the least qualified to write anything worth reading - you should read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and yes, that honestly is a book.

Wait... where was I?

Oh, yeah, the new cell phone.

So I'm tapping away at the computer keyboard as I normally am and Josiah is playing with the new phone and suddenly...

Josiah speaks to the cell and clearly says "Call Mom's cell."

Then my phone rings.


I am never going to forgive him.


1. The Christmas Story. The narrative is the best part of that movie.

2. When Harry Met Sally.

3. A Day At The Races, spoken by Groucho Marx.

4. Ghostbusters. A source of delightful lines. My favorite is - "Listen! Can you smell something?"

5. Roger Rabbit.

6. Also When Harry Met Sally.

7. Midnight Cowboy.

8. Tootsie.

9. Arsenic and Old Lace.

10. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Annette, how many times did you and I see that movie in the theatre - eight?).

11. Dave.

12. The Fifth Element. This is pretty obscure, I know, but I simply LOVE Gary Oldman in that movie.

13. Capricorn One. Any little-know movie, but again, Sam Waterson has that last line, and I have the biggest crush on him. And O.J. Simpson become he turned to crime.

14. Beauty and the Beast. Wonderful commentary on men.

15. A Beautiful Mind. I will sit through that entire movie with my eyes closed just to listen to the incredible music.

15. (I did put two 15s, didn't I?) The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain (that title is worth something just by itself, isn't it).

16. Galaxy Qwest. A complete silly movie that I completely adore.

Tally your scores, and I think the winner is.... LISA!

Your prize will be mailed to you immediately upon receipt of the shipping and handling charges of $139.99 plus taxes in the form of coins, hard cash, gold or equivalent in a deposit into a Swiss bank account (#000-0012-1314-1111)

Friday, December 12, 2008


Please accept this as a challenge; I need you to make COMMENTS to show me YOURS. And if you'd like to identify the correct movie, extra points will be awarded.


1. "In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan."

2. "I'll have what she's having."

3. "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped."

4. "Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria."

5. "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."

6. "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

7. "I'm walkin' here! I'm walkin' here!"

8. "I was a better man with you, as a woman, than I ever was with a woman, as a man. Know what I mean? I just gotta learn to do it without the dress."

9. "Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops."

10. "I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals."

11. "I mean she's the first lady. I mean couldn't I have started with a cousin?

12. "Empty. The opposite of full. Anyone care to explain?"

13. "We... are dead. We are dead." "Shit. I was such a terrific guy."

14. "I want to do something for her... but what?" "Well, there's the usual things: flowers... chocolates... promises you don't intend to keep... "

15. "You have no respect for cognitive reverie, you know that?" "Yes. But pizza - now, pizza I have enormous respect for."

15. "For some odd reason, lost in the mists of time, there's an extraordinary shortage of last names in Wales."

16. "Guy, Guy... maybe you're the plucky comic relief. You ever think about that?"

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Really. Don't read this.

You are still reading. STOP.

I just need to get this out of my system after watching a National Geographic channel's "Journey to the Edge of the Universe" on (you guessed it) the National Geographic channel.

But, honestly, don't read this.

We as human being, homo sapiens, are SO INCREDIBLY ARROGANT.

"We" are the intelligent ones, wandering around space and basing all these lofty 'discoveries' by our own incredibly limited experience on Earth. If the same elements that support what we consider life on Earth aren't present, then, gosh gee, there can't be life there, can there? And since we judge things by what we have observed in our limited scope of history then, wow, it must be applicable to the rest of the universe... right?

Give me a break.

I don't mind 'theories', but these are just that - a theory to explain what might possibly be happening - it's speculation.

So just don't present it as a "Hey, Kids! This Is What Is Happening Out There! It's The Truth! Can't Be Any Doubt About It!"

Geesch. Cocky.

And why are you still reading this?!?!


ru·ral - adj
1. outside city: found in or living in the country
2. typical of country: relating to or characteristic of the country or country living
3. agricultural: relating to, characteristic of, or involving farming
[15th century. Via French <>

(Why am I disturbed now that 'rural' is French?)

When we first moved out here, the concept of 'rural' only seemed to relate to the fact that you had to purchase land in only four-acre parcels or more.

Then 'rural' became as buzzword around here for classy and 'expensive housing down Three Canyons.'
Then people realized that 'rural' encompassed all the manufactured homes out here in the main valley, and suddenly it wasn't quite as cool.

But for me, 'rural' has always been associated with horses - cows - pastures - barns. And after living out here for going on eight years, it's expanded to include coyotes (human ones also - another element of living on the Mexican border), hawks and gazllions of bunny rabbits, field mice that take up residence in your house for the entire winter, and ants which, thankfully,so far have keep their residences outside.

And now the term 'rural' is becoming a battle-cry. A Californian company (and I cannot tell you how much it bothers me, as a native Californian, to use that term in the derogatory tone that Arizonans use commonly and that I am using right here) applied, and almost got, a county permit to put (get this) LIT BILLBOARDS on one of our main county roads (if you want to get to Tucson from Sierra Vista, you take this road or go a long, long ways around to get to any other connecting paved road).

Suddenly, the 2009 calendar of the county Planning and Zoning Commission has become an essential item of knowledge. Millions... well, maybe thousands... okay, dozens - maybe - have resolved to keep on the agenda of the P&Z and make certain that this desecration NEVER is attempted AGAIN.
Come on, lights - we're ready for battle. We're fighting for the dark side.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I am 53. I was lucky enough to live through the 60's and 70's period of feminism where we could go bra-less (this is before I had children and could get away with that), wear pants (which were not allowed in my school system until I was in high school) (and then jeans weren't allowed until I was a senior and then even the teachers joined us in a strike to wear jeans) (but then again jeans were not allowed at the third... wait a minute, fourth college I went to) (man, I guess I need to do a blog just about wearing blue jeans, right?)...

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, feminism.

But to me, one of the BEST things about being a liberated woman in the 60's was NOT SHAVING MY LEGS.

I realized at a very, very young age that once you began shaving your legs, you were screwed for life and had to keep it up.

And since I was a sort of medium brunette, in Southern California, and running around in shorts constantly, I definitely could get away with it. Light fuzz stood up to anything other than close inspection, and believe me, there wasn't anyone close enough to inspect anything until college.

I gave in eventually to this archaic American custom - actually, I think only after I joined the Church and began wearing skirts and dresses on a regular basis - and began to purchase razors and lotion and disposables (which, if you can believe it, were first patented in 1901 - so why the hell did they take so long to get made for women at an affordable price?).

However, regardless of the (let's see, 53, minus 14, plus six years liberated, carry the one) 33 years of habitual if not reliably shaving from at least the knees down, I have never learned two important lessons; namely



So, needless to mention, I have slipped a lot of blood. I have scars, to this day, of slicing off skin instead of hair.

Please, somebody, buy me a good, reliable electric razor for Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I'm sorry, I got tired of the little bottle-brush birds flying around the mountain peaks - and variety is the spice of life... right? Of course, this coming from someone who epitomizes routine tastes & habits is just slightly absurd.

I heard a song today that bothered me. I (speaking on habits) keep a Sirius radio station going in the background almost all day. I have an annoying habit of breaking out into song while working around the house if there is no other music. I will not even attempt to classify my noise as music, but there it is.

So after bursting numerous vases and mirrors, I decided that my milieu would be safer if I had someone/something else doing the singing here. So the music keeps me quiet... most of the time.

But (back to the original song) the tune playing this morning had lyrics something on the line of "It's Too Late To Say I'm Sorry."

Now I know we all (and this is directed to us women - men, you can just skip this paragraph and significantly lower your blood pressure) have at one time said (or very loudly THOUGHT) "Honey (addressing the male significant other in our lives/hair/situation), that 'sorry' is just a little too late - go take a flying leap into (enter your personal colorful metaphor)"

But I don't think a true, honest apology can ever be too late.

My husband had forwarded a Robert Kirby column (Salt Lake Tribune) to me today. Here's the excerpt that hit home with me:

My conscience, which on a good day could easily fit under a contact lens, got the better of me. I started thinking about what a jerk I'd been to someone who really hadn't deserved it…. (and) I finally apologized for what I had originally said that made her cry. In doing so, I actually made her cry again.

Forgiveness was not immediately forthcoming. I had to listen to the specifics of her pain, which took the better part of an hour and left me feeling worse. In the end, she promised to try and forgive me.

But I had done what I needed to in order to make it right. It was a good lesson to learn, even if it hurt.

We all leave a trail of pain as we go. For most it's a thoughtless footprint here and there. For others it can be a deliberately trampled swath of agony extending to the horizon. Insult, injury, utter devastation, human beings tear each other up in a variety of ways. Worse, we tell ourselves that old business partners, ex-spouses, former friends, new enemies and even just those we casually dismiss deserved what we gave them.

The tough part is apologizing when you know it won't be received well. But sometimes the tougher an apology is to make, the more necessary it probably is. There's no guarantee of forgiveness from those we've hurt, but there's no better season to ask for it.

I think the true test is in the forgiving.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Some days feel stretched - a brittle cloth of weariness. Other times are angry irritations on coarse sandpaper.

But today? Comfy, warm and familiar. A late-morning lie, as the British put it,, since someone else got up early and did the animal care. Then a pre-church meeting with a group of women I feel incredibly, well, comfortable with. No pretenses, no facade - we know each others weaknesses and foibles and quirks as well as a group of all 50+ year old women can.

Being a Latter-Day Saint in some ways is rather demanding. We don't just 'go' to church, sit back and listen to a sermon, and chat in the foyer afterwards. No, we are, on the first Sunday or every month, sort of responsible for the program. I mean, it's when we all, as prompted, get up and bear testimony of Christ and our witness of His gospel.

And when we have our Sunday School... well, if a teacher doesn't show up for the twelve-year-olds, sometimes you get drafted. If the regular teacher for the adult Gospel Doctrine class is ill, the someone is called to substitute. And same with our women's Relief Society meeting and the men's Priesthood classes.

So after 32 years, 11 months and 18 days (give or take a week or so) as a Latter-Day Saint myself, you kinda learn to roll with the punches. If you get called to teach a class at the (sometimes literally) last second, you pull some scriptures, a story, and an antidote out of your church bag and give the lesson. When the line to the pulpit becomes thin or ends too early for closing prayer, you step up and talk about your experiences with prayer, or inspiration, or how your church membership helped you set up to the plate once again.

This Sunday? No lessons, no class, no prayers, no testimony-bearing.
It was nice.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I am grateful for chocolate. I love naps. Having a horse in the backyard is just about the coolest thing I've had ever. I appreciate the freedoms I have as an American citizen, especially living this close to Mexico. I like seeing the Jim Halpert character from "The Office." I am so happy that all three of my children are self-supporting (sorta) and on their own (in a way). I completely adore my two grandchildren more than I can say. I have the best son-in-law in the universe. I need to thank my daughter for introducing me to Caffeine-Free Diet Dr. Pepper. I am incredibly spoiled by access to the Internet, albeit through a slow connection through copper telephone wiring. I feel a major turning point for our country has come through Barak Obama being elected President., but I also am happy that all this happened through a free, democratic system.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


My daughter Joy has had significant difficulties throughout her life. She was born with one crossed (or lazy) eye, which we were unable to correct by glasses until she was 18 months old, which contributed to her slow physical development (why would you want to crawl if you couldn't see anything in front of you?). She started special-education when she was 2 and a half and continued throughout high school with both educational and physical development challenges.

And since high school, she has gained weight, then broke her ankle, was diagnosed with just a sprain, which just complicated the break, and has had surgery on both her foot, ankle and knees. With such weak joints, she isn't able to walk much, which leads to more weight gain. Right now she has to use a cane on days that she works and is on her feet 6-8 hours straight.

And it doesn't help that the only jobs she can keep have been (you guessed it) fast food joints. Free grease-burgers, sodas and shakes. Not a healthy diet.

While on an intellectual level I can appreciate that people look at Joy as 'different,' today I was able to experience it on a completely personal level. I took Joy to her 'favorite' restaurant - Denny's - for lunch.

And I saw what Joy sees probably every day of her life - a couple of girls, probably early 20;'s, sorta chunky themselves (no one would mistake them for glamor models or anything) looking at Joy with a smirk of almost disgust, and whispering to each other.
I reacted much as a bear does when someone threatens one of her cubs - I wanted to race across to these two girls and slam their heads together and toss them out the door.
However, I didn't.
And it made me reflect, rather miserably, on the times that I may have been that smirking, condescending person looking at someone who is not that pretty/clean/straight/whatever.

Sometimes instead of a magnifying glass, we really need a mirror.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


A package left my house yesterday morning, went through Tucson, then Memphis (Memphis? Why Memphis? To pick up above-average barbecue sauce? Is there any other reason to go to Memphis?), then Honolulu... and THEN this trip got interesting.

At the Honolulu International Airport (which actually is, despite many rumors to the contrary, an airport in American), our package, now disguised as a See's candy pack, was stopped by the ADS Sugar-Police, and was patted down in the continuing effort by the American Diabetes Society to lower the sugar intake on an island whose main export is pineapple, sugar cane and sunburned tourists.
Seizing a momentary hesitation on the guards part (while he was musing "do I begin with the carmels or the mint chocolate first?"), our package ducked under the roped border of the search area and leap onto a passing wheeled-suitcase in the confusion.

Which resulted in our package being delivered to the North Shore of Oahu. Determined to make it to the correct destination before the 3 p.m.deadline, the package underwent another costume change and became a Papa Johns Pizza (knowing that the recipient would refuse delivery of Pizza Hut pizza and counting on the 30 minute delivery guarantee)., and was left on the correct doorstep at 2:15 p.m.

Story told. And amazing to me that this was READ.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I am biased, I freely admit. Is there a word or phrase that encompasses state loyalty far beyond any normal parameters - perhaps area allegiance? Country commitment?

Let me explain.
Yes, I know, you were afraid I would say that. ;-)

I am proud of being a native Californian - I'm even prouder of being a Southern Californian who left Los Angeles county many many moons ago. And I'm a little egotistical, perhaps, about being a Hawaiian by adoption. I will happily claim ties to Michigan as both my parents were Michiganders (I just love that word).

However, I will only tersely admit that I lived in Maryland, and if pushed, will acknowledge that I spent 9.5 years beyond what I would want in the area. I never admit that I spent two years in Utah (although I do freely talk about going to BYU - maybe since 'Happy Valley' is located in a alternate reality...). Germany becomes 'Europe' (it sounds so much grander.... and I did regularly drive to the Netherlands, and twice drove into Belgium... by accident).

But Arizona? Oh, yes, I am an Arizonian. I must admit right now that I do stress that I do NOT live in the desert, I live in 'high chaparral' at 5,000 feet elevation, Arizona is not just all Phoenix, I live three miles from the Mexican border and far enough in the boondocks that we don't have cable television.

SO - I have two things to brag about - Barack Obama (Hawaii) and Janet Napolitano (Arizona). In case you haven't been watching the news, that is the President-elect, and newly selected Secretary of Homeland Security in Obama's cabinet.

YAHOO!!! My states ROCK!