Thursday, February 27, 2014

I don't care. I'd like to go anywhere.

It's John Steinbeck's 112th birthday and Google Doodles put these up:

HOW DO I GET PRINTS OF THESE?!!! HOW?!!!!!! They need to be framed and hanging on a wall in my house immediately!!!! They're just so beautiful! Also, I would love something like this for all of my favorite books. Can someone make this happen please. I will pay you in chocolate chip cookies.

I don't always remember the circumstances of reading a book but I always remember them for Steinbeck.  He sticks with me. I read The Pearl in Mrs. Dallas' 7th grade English class and it made me feel like I had somehow crossed a line into real book territory. Of Mice and Men was in my Literature and Film class at BYU, and I cried like a baby through it. Travels with Charley came during a particularly hard case of wanderlust and then a few months later I headed off to Tunisia.  I read East of Eden while coming out of a rough patch and the weight and scope of it was a comfort.

What book quote would you put on a print? What would the picture be?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You and me both, girlfriend

My car tried to give up the ghost on Friday on my way home from work.  And it did so right in front of the Toyota dealership.  Handy. I don't, as a general rule, go to the dealership because of George Costanza. But I'm not going to turn down the miracle of a dealership when my car is experiencing seismic activity.

So I pulled in (well, more like jumbled in), and as usual I met some Characters.  Isn't life wonderful? I don't handle stress or broken cars very well.  I have a tendency of imagining the worst. And instead of hyperventilating (don't worry, I did that later) I got a good laugh.

First from my service consultant Rob (George would go ballistic over this. It would just be one more way for them to give you the old scroogy.) He was a large, tattooed fellow who on no less than three occasions said, "You and me both, girlfriend."  Oh, man! I knew I was going to love him forever.

And then Eli, who drove me home. Eli was from Japan by way of Hawaii and still had a very deep pidgin accent. He spent 37 years in the merchant marines and you cannot believe the stories this guy had.  Oh, the women he met in South Africa. The food he ate in New Zealand. The time he almost fell overboard in the Tasman Sea. The fights he got into in Amsterdam. I was so glad that he was only driving 45 miles an hour on the freeway. And then 15 on the side streets. Who cares that people are screaming at you and flipping you off as they pass by when you have crazy Eli telling you tales of the sea.

My car is fine now. Rob gave me the hook up and didn't once mention rust proofing.

Monday, February 17, 2014


I took a quick road trip to Arizona to visit Cynde, Ryan, and Royce for the weekend.  Royce is the tallest 17 month old on the planet.  He also says, "Hey!" when you walk into a room in a very heart-melting way.  When you wave to him he does not wave back. He just stares at you until you leave and then, long after you can't see him, he waves. Like he will not give you the satisfaction of seeing him miss you. So it was a real victory for me that when I got into the car to drive off he waved and blew me a kiss.  Score one for the Godmother!

I took Cynde, Ryan, and the The Godfather Alan to the Gilbert temple open house.  I think it's such a huge deal that the church opens up temples to the community before dedicating them.  It's a great way to say, "Hey, look! We're not the mysterious weirdos you've always thought we were. It's a pretty building where we do nice things." Cynde and Ryan live just a few miles from the temple so I really wanted them to be able to see it. As expected, it was gorgeous. And huge! Maybe I've just been attending little Redlands temple for so long now that I've forgotten that it's one of the small ones. Enjoy it, good people of Gilbert!

There are few things I love more than a solo road trip.  Five hours is plenty of time to plan out elaborate schemes or sing all the Abba songs you know by heart. One of the things I like most about myself is that I'm very self-entertaining.  I never get bored.  I don't need distractions. So it wasn't that big of a deal to me when I pulled out my iPod and realized that I had forgotten to charge it. I'm really good at having very long conversations with myself. What are your feelings on long solo road trips?

On the drive home I saw a license plate that said, "MALADY1" This obviously was a gift to a wife that was either very gallant or very mean. I hope it was the first and that they had a great laugh once they realized what it really said.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tacos and the Olympics

Camille, Katie and I went over to the Appels last night to eat tacos and watch the Olympics.  Tacos AND the Olympics? This is clearly a match made in heaven.

1.  What can we do about Bob Costas' eyes? He's a national treasure and we need him back in his ice palace gently mocking things.  If only to save us from Matt Lauer.  Ugh! There is not a single more insufferable human being on the planet than Matt Lauer and if Bob's eye business keeps up then we'll have to endure several nights of watching Matt cross his legs and slouch.  I can't handle it.  Who would like to join me in a candlelight vigil?

2.  Is Alex Bilodeau your new favorite olympian?  Because he sure is mine.  First his mogul run last night was amazing. He totally smuckered that last trick! (Did I use is correctly? Valerie came up with a suitable explanation for it: he stuck the landing, with jam. Although when was the last time you got stuck with jam?) And second, there is nothing better than a heart-warming brother story. He seems like a totally gracious and talented kid.

3.  Heartbreak City:  in the final race of a speed skating competition last night this guy crossed the finish line, looked up and saw that he was first. And the look on his face was shock and total joy. And then 10 seconds later the scoreboard changed and showed that there was a timing error and he got second place by 1/100th of a second. Cut back to him in tears. Devastating!

4.  Here's the reason why all those cross-country skiers collapse at the end of the race.  And you thought they were just tired.  It's science!

5. In the spirit of canoe dancing, here's ski ballet, which was an exhibition sport in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.  Let's bring this back!!!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Smuckered the landing

Happy Olympics, everyone!!!

Once again the world comes together to play games.  It's just a beautiful thing.

Our Opening Ceremony party was a success.  We lit the torch, ate lots of really great food, and laughed with our friends.  And I thought the actual ceremony was a success as well.  I loved the War and Peace dancers and we all gasped when the torch was lit. Granted, we were with like-minded Olympics super fans, so gasping was bound to happen.

This will be the first of no doubt many posts about the Olympics so just sit tight. 

1.  On cross-country skiing:  KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS! Those people are super fit lunatics.  You know how I feel about just walking uphill. Who would want to trudge up a snowy hill for over an hour?  In spandex? With frozen snot coming out of your nose?  This is insanity!  And yet, it's one of my favorite things to watch.  I especially love when there's a sprint to the finish. And also when the people in the back of the pack still go all out and lunge across the finish line, even when they're in 30th place.  Go for the gold (in your heart!)

2.  On ski jumping: at one point the commentator said, "Boy, he really smuckered that landing." Smuckered? As in the jam? Did he mean smothered? That doesn't even make sense.  Can someone enlighten me as to what smuckering a landing entails and if it's good or bad.  I legitimately could not tell because in my book any landing that does not involve death is a successful one - smuckered or not. And naturally I have used that phrase at least a dozen times since hearing it.

3.  On this team figure skating business:  let me go on the record as saying it is a dumb idea. I guess I just don't see the point.  We already have so many nights of figure skating. Do we really need more?  And here is where I admit that I'm not a huge fan of figure skating.  Sure, it's pretty, and also impressive, but I can't handle sports with subjective scoring.  And there always seems to be so much drama swirling around it. It's the junior high mean girl of Olympic sports.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Relentless isn't so bad

Amanda called me a while ago to say that she is now a seminary teacher.  I was so excited for her.  Because it's really an amazing thing to do.  And it's fun. I mean, it's not fun all the time. There have been a few mornings when I've driven to work in tears because sometimes it's hard.  And, as one person recently put it, relentless.  I informed her that the waking up super early bit isn't the hardest part of the job. It's that you do it every single day.  And you prepare a lesson every day. And you face several sleepy teenagers every day and you have to convince them that what they really want to do is open up their scriptures and talk about stuff that has nothing to do with football or boy bands. It's the every day bit that is hard. I have two 4 day weekends from seminary in a row and it almost feels like I'm about to take a cruise to the Bahamas. And not in one of those inside cabins but one on the outside of the ship with a balcony.  Such luxury!

But there is a lot of joy and laughter to it.  I have a very quiet class compared to last year's three ring circus and some days it feels like I'm teaching in mime school. So when a kid shows that she really gets it, that's like winning a gold medal. And then this morning I brought in a harmonica, a recorder, and a child size box accordion and asked the kids if any of them knew how to play them (I was trying to illustrate being an instrument in the hands of the Lord) and one girl came up and played the Star Wars theme on the recorder.  It was magical.