Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Not a word that follows is anything I wrote - it is completely from a column written by Robert Kirby, appearing the Salt Lake City Tribune on September 20th.

But it bears repeating... especially when I'm in a dry spell.


Church is all well and good, but the place where you learn the most about why you're here and where you're going is out in the world. Church has to consider your feelings. The world doesn't.

It's out in the mean old world - and usually when you least expect it - where you painfully learn what God really wants you to understand about yourself. Basically, that you're an idiot.

You're not supposed to stay that way, of course. Not entirely. The idea is to experience life in such a way that you learn stuff and end up a better person for having been through it.

But let's be honest. You can't fix what's wrong with you if you're oblivious to the problem, or, worse, have come to regard it as a personal virtue.

Life handed me one of those lessons on the way home.

Blasting along a Nevada two-lane, I had the stereo cranked so that the windows in my van bulged like Saran Wrap. …

Suddenly, a pickup wandered onto the highway several hundred yards ahead. I put on the brakes.

It wasn't even close to an accident, but I had to kill the cruise and slow down while the driver took his time meandering up to the speed limit.

I could have forgiven this inconvenience but that would have made the lesson I was about to receive moot. I was still really smart, you see.

Still, the guy had pulled out in front of me when he could have waited to let me go by instead. Worse, he now insisted on traveling only slightly over the speed limit, which is no way to appreciate the scenery of northern Nevada.

We had gone about a mile when his left turn signal came on. Then it went off. Then it was on again. Off again for half a minute, then back on. It stayed on.

The guy drove like that for a mile with no indication that he planned on turning. We blinkered along passing crossroads, driveways and lanes without even slowing down.

If I could have passed him, I would have. But traffic and topography prevented it.

Stuck behind him for miles, I had time to ponder just how stupid a person would have to be to tool along with his turn indicator going. Clearly, it was the sort of person with no regard for anyone else on the road, perhaps even an escaped mental patient.

More likely it was the sort of person with no brain at all. Maybe in Nevada, all you needed for a driver's license was just a cerebral cortex, something rudimentary that allowed you to breathe and turn an ignition key.

I worked myself into a rage. Hey, all it takes is a glance at your dashboard to...

That's when I noticed the blinking light on my dash, specifically my left turn indicator. Exactly how long it had been going was anyone's guess. An hour? Hell, maybe days.

Carefully, hoping no one would notice, I reached down and shut it off. A moment later, the turn signal on the pickup ahead of me stopped as well. The driver waved in his rearview mirror.

There might be a life lesson here, but I'm not sure. Apparently, I'm only smart enough to have a driver's license.

Robert Kirby can be reached at

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The title is from Robert Frost.

Me? I'm trying to figure out why I have not been able to write.

Normally writing is not a simply a compulsion - it's a necessity for me.

It may because my damaged brain needs to see words physically banged out, misspelled, and in increasingly random disarray.

Because I think the methodology of checked, moving, putting in correct order, helps my thinking process to somehow straighten out.

Or maybe not.

 I think right now with hugely conflicting emotions dueling on my inner stage, the brawl must be completed, the winner recognized, before I can write about it.

At least I hope - I miss this blog.

"Poetry is man's rebellion against being what he is." ~James Branch Cabell

Sunday, September 19, 2010


The last couple of blogs I've written about memory loss...

... wait a minute, was it about memory loss or something else?

Hmm.  I don't remember.

But our church's world-wide conference is coming up the first weekend of October. Which means the great majority of Latter-Day Saints in the United States stay at home and watch our church leaders on television in our pajamas while eating left-over popcorn and drinking diet soda.

Or maybe that is just me.

Anyway, this happens twice a year - April and October - and we got two days of live broadcasts (at least here in U.S.) of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and talks from our prophet (President Monson) and a wide variety our leaders, who range from heart surgeons, lawyers, nuclear engineers, pilots, and very regular teachers.

I find it amazing that no one is assigned a topic, but somehow there always seems to this incredible choreography of subjects that tie gracefully and magically into each other.

Okay, maybe I just find it reassuring.

But one complaint I have heard over and over again is "but why do they always talk about the same old things?! I mean, like prayer, scripture study, family home evening and attending the temple! We've heard it again and again!"

And this is where the old lady with no short-term memory can tell you exactly why -

Because we still don't get it.

Let's listen this time, people, and keep trying, okay?

P.S. And this has to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen about our work for the dead - click on the link, but I think you really have to be LDS to laugh at it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


"Hello, and welcome to the mental health hotline.

If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.
If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5, and 6.
If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want - we will trace your call.
If you are schizophrenic, listen and a small voice will tell you which number to press.
If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
If you have low self-esteem, please hang up. All operators are too busy to talk to you."

"When my doctor knew I had memory loss, she made me pay in advance."

"Doctor: I’ve got your test results and some bad news. You have cancer and Alzheimer’s. Man: Boy, am I lucky! I was afraid I had cancer!"


I've been aware for a long time that my memory isn't very good. I mean, I'm over 50, I have a brain injury, and I have a family history of Alzheimer's.

But tonight it was brought forcefully home by one thing and one thing only.


See, I have been without any Adobe Flash Player ever since I was stupid enough to purchase a 64-bit computer because the cute salesman said it would handle multiple tasks at a much faster rate.

Yeah. Maybe.

But a 64-bit computer won't run Adobe Flash Player.

So until this afternoon, when I discovered a trial piece from Adobe which temporarily runs the player on my computer.

And I rediscovered YouTube.

And accidentally discovered old bits of the program "What's My Line?"

When I realized I was watching the episode with Jack Benny for the FOURTH TIME it became apparent that my short-term memory loss was significant.

But there is one very good advantage.

The jokes are just as funny even when you don't remember watching it before.

Now, what was this blog going to be about tonight?

Friday, September 17, 2010


"A man grows most tired while standing still.

So I'm exhausted.

I strained my back day before yesterday, reaching from the back of my galloping horse to rescue a starving kitten from the grasp of pursuing wolves...

Okay, okay, no, it was actually taking socks out of the dryer.

But this dryer was obviously possessed by an evil spirit.

When I bent over to remove the clean dry laundry, the machine reached out, viciously grabbed my lower back & twisted me into a pretzel - until, with my mind powers, I grabbed my light saber and sliced off the electrical power cord as well as cleaning its lint filter in one swift move. Then, with Heidi Klum on the attack as well as her blow-dryer on my side, we burst out only to have to deal with three days of being unable to stand up straight.

(Okay, dudes, it's way to late to try to write anything actually amazing - my apologies!)


Posted on Facebook more than once, from "a young physician by the name of Dr. Roger Starner Jones. His short letter to the White House accurately puts the blame on a 'Culture Crisis' instead of a 'Health Care Crisis'.."

Dear Mr. President:

During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.

While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one pack of cigarettes every day, eats only at fast-food take-outs, and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.

And you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care? I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses.

Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture" a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.

It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me". Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear.



By this same logic, we should refuse medical treatment for anyone who smokes - and then obviously for their children who have been raised in a smoky environment and have or possibly will take up the filthy habit.

Truly obese people would be denied medical treatment - I mean, we all know that can be avoided - it's like they’ve been buying food when they could be getting health insurance, right?

So how about overweight? Forty pounds? Twenty? Ten? Same reasons, right? And underweight anorexic teenage girls? They should be turned away from even the school nurse office.

This slippery slope is exactly why we desperately DO need health care for everyone equally.

Who would you want to determine if YOU are one of these "culture crisis" individuals and therefore can be turned away from the emergency room?

What if you have pierced ears - you wear contacts - you have stopped at McDonald's this week to get your kids Happy Meals?

Discrimination is discrimination regardless of the terms used - we are not the judges of who is worthy of what. We do not know who people were raised, who installed different values in them, what trials they have been through - God is the only appropriate judge of that.

"Equal under law" is something our Founding Fathers believed in - and so do I. Other people may not spend their money the way I want them to - they may dress differently - they may even be unbelievably STUPID. But they have the right in the U.S.A. to do that - and I have the right to be just as stupid in my own way. That, my friends, is freedom - people being able to do things you may very well not approve of.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


You know the expressions like "it's always darkest right before the dawn" (well, like DUH, it's still NIGHT, you idiot) - and "Get back on the horse" (that one I do happen to agree with).

So why not go ahead and inject a radiographic tracer in a person who already has finicky heart and lung conditions?

Normally radiation is not what you want. Radiation does occur in nature (did you know there is more 'natural' radiation in Colorado than any other state?), but can be lethal when it is over 1,000 REM (which stands for the röntgen equivalent in man/mammal, the product of the absorbed dose and a weighting factor, WR, for the effectiveness of the radiation to cause biological damage)...

Okay, is anyone out there besides me scared by now?

Wait, it gets worse.

Following this isotope injection, the technician hands me a paper which (and I quote) says:

"Due to heightened security measures instituted by the federal government after September 11, 2001, the small amount of radioactive material that remains in my body may trigger monitoring devices used to detect persons carryng radioactive material . I agree to carry my copy of this form with me FOR UP TO THIRTY DAYS after the SPECT in order to be able to advise authorities of my exposure to material used for this test."

In other words, I am a security danger and a glow-in-the-dark figurine for the next month.

Wanna see?


Tonight...Mostly clear. Lows 61 to 67.

Thursday...Sunny. Highs 95 to 101.
Thursday Night...Mostly clear. Lows 61 to 67.

Friday...Sunny. Highs 95 to 101.
Friday Night...Mostly clear. Lows 62 to 67.

Saturday...Sunny. Highs 96 to 102.
Saturday Night...Mostly clear. Lows 62 to 68.

Sunday...Sunny. Highs 94 to 100.

Through Wednesday...Mostly clear. Lows 58 to 66. Highs 90 to 100.

Sometimes I simply love living in Arizona.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Words develop lives of their own, light-years beyond what their original meaning was.

Gay used to mean 'happy' - cool was a temperature - a solid was something... well, something solid.

'Liberal' was getting to be too accepted, I guess - so the term 'progressive' is wielded by both sides proudly.

And having influenza is much more dangerous than having the flu.

Because the word 'Influenza' is associated with plagues - large number of deaths - snow - bare floors - poor quality black and white photography. 

But having the flu... that's laying in bed, drinking a lot of fluids, and sleeping a lot.

And having to feel sorry for yourself...

because no one else wants to be around you to catch it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Let's go over this again: get out of my 'comfort-zone' - things I have never done before - mildly challenging - not a suicide attempt.

So these seem to be appropriate; most of them are local things I just haven't taken the time to visit - sort of like when you live in Maryland, you never go take the White House tour.

1. Drive up Carr Canyon

2. Visit Coronado Cave and take the tour inside

3. Visit the Ramsey Canyon sanctuary

4. Drive to Nogales (carefully)

5. Take the longer tour of Kartcher Caverns

6. Drive all the way up Ash Canyon

7. Visit the San Pedro River House

8. Eat at the Mesquite Tree

9. Eat at the Outside Inn

10. Find out what the hell the Serenity Club is

Okay, let's see if I can tackle these before the end of September - the weather is great right now.

Friday, September 10, 2010


This was inspired by another blog, by a woman who has a list of new things to try, the number determined by her age.

I know I need to get out of my 'comfort-zone' more often, so let's see if this helps at all... or if it will simply become one more thing to feel guilty about.
So, let's see - things I have never done before, actually could do (dating Harrison Ford is probably out of the question, then), and would be mildly challenging ('challenging' translated as 'something that an almost senior-citizen-discount-eligible woman can do and still hold on to what of her dignity is left.') and would not be perceived as a suicide attempt (although some day I am going to jump on Najale's back and take off for New Mexico).

I was planning on completing the list at work today, because normally the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month consist of me sitting and reading for 95% of my scheduled (and paid) hours - it ain't my fault if the clients don't show up.


Almost everyone scheduled showed up.

So I will post my list sometime this weekend... hopefully.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


There was a perfect moment released for me yesterday.

I was doing the extremely pedestrian task of taking the trash out when I recognized it.

Blue blue sky with soft white clouds floating lazily. Lofty, luxurious green green grass, dotted with daisies of purple, yellow and white. Mesquite thorns masked by tickling branches and filled with singing birds. The Huachuca Mountains on one side, the Mules and San Pedros on the other, verdant from the recent monsoon rains.

A dog patiently following me - the mare following my every move, and the silliest of geldings whinnying in anticipation of an early dinner of hay,

And just to add to it? An empty house to return to.

Am I the only person in the world who actually relishes solitude? I know fully well that part of it is simply my way of dealing with my reality, but I do honestly enjoy time by myself.

Well, as long as I have the Internet, of course.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


My daughter just told me she's gonna have to pull her little boy's tooth out tonight - it is literally hanging by a bit of skin.

Why are teeth always a problem?

I mean, most of us are born gum-less, and really, we could survive like that. At least with a blender in the house.

But teeth grow in, normally PAINFULLY and slowly.

We have to learn to brush and floss them.

Then just when we are dealing with pubescent bodies and hormones, our parents pay thousands of dollars to have metal slapped on our teeth and tightened every month for a couple of years, keeping us in pain constantly by the constriction and the continual griping by our parents of the cost.

So finally, teeth straight, into adulthood, keep brushing and flossing.
But now instead of cavities, things like gingivitis, receding gums and teeth recrossing begin.

And so instead of coming in, the same teeth you grew, corrected, brushed and whitened - well, then begin to come out.

So Colin - you and I are in the same boat... for at least the moment.