Jabberwocky for 2003 December

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: I've finally gotten all the students except one through their writing proficiency. The one is going to meet me tomorrow morning for a make-up exam. I hope he does okay, but I'm not too hopeful about his subject/verb agreement.

I spent the afternoon wading through medical bills. There is one lab that keeps billing a procedure that was already paid. Duh, the insurance company keeps bouncing it as a duplicate. I argued with them once and thought I had it resolved. The guy I started with today tried to blame it on the doctor. That was ridiculous. I worked my way up the food chain and I think I eventually solved the problem.

The bills for anesthesia for May 31 and July 24 are still a mess. I have filed the paperwork for an appeal.

It's nice to have that stuff off my desk.

I need to remember to change the title on the house again.

I checked six pages of printed out genealogy names. At that rate, it will take me a year to get through this pile if I spend four hours every single day.

: English 60 departmental exams. The students are allowed to use their dictionary, and this one kid brought Webster's Unabridged. He had it in his backpack and could hardly walk.

I've been accused of exaggerating before, but this one is for real.

[Comments] (1) : Rachel left a nylon net body scrubber hanging in my shower, and an earwig got caught in the mesh. I don't know if he is still alive or not, but I sprayed him with shower cleaner.

I don't know whose side earwigs are on and whether they deserve to die. They are ugly and scary, but I'm not sure ugly and scary merits the death penalty. I suppose most people would think so when it comes to insects, but I've been thinking about this all my life and I'm not so sure. George Bush is ugly and scary too, and I wouldn't dream of spraying him with shower cleaner.

[Comments] (4) : Last class meeting today, but I have a lot of paper grading and exam reading still to do. It's going to be a busy couple of weeks, and I need to make Jonathan's family's Christmas present.

Hillary and David Neumeister are flying to Hawaii tomorrow. I'm going to do weeding and genealogy tomorrow. Oh, and I have to make the overheads for my Eng. 60 class. Am I having fun yet? Oh you betcha!

I also need to get my 2003 Christmas letter into the mail.

The earwig has crawled out of the body scrubber and died in the bathtub. I looked up earwigs and found that they eat everything, including house plants and garden plants, so they are not on my side in the war and therefore deserve to die. Okay, they don't deserve to die, but they better not go around destroying all my botany experiments or they will!

[Comments] (2) : Tonks has got to be the klutziest cat ever born. Today he was trying to jump from the dresser to the kitty condo-- a whole --what?-- six inches? and he splatted against the side of the kitty condo with all four legs akimbo. Whenever he goes splat, he seems to take it in stride.

I suspect he's astigmatic, and that might explain things.

[Comments] (1) : Today I finished checking the names on page 100 of my genealogy printout. That means only about 700 pages left to go!

I am going to slow down for a while now that I've reached that landmark because I have some other things I need to be doing.

[Comments] (1) : I get to pare the IV down to 18 hours a day! Hurray! No more carting it off to work!

From Tripmaker, I figured out the skeleton of the proposed December road trip. It's 2270 miles. The worst part is Day 2, 570 miles on I-10. Gosh, are there any new attractions along I-10? (I doubt it.) Actually, if memory serves, Day 3 should be sort of a drag too. What happens on Day 3 is you wake up in Texas, drive all day along I-10, and when the end of the day comes (at last!) you're STILL in Texas!

: The grocery strike has been good for Young's. They are resurfacing their parking lot. Wow, the neighborhood is going upscale!

I got a pneumonia shot yesterday, and today I can hardly move my arm. I have to type all day today too, working on new grammar overheads for next semester and revising the lesson plan calendar.

One of my orange trees got mealybugs, so I went out this morning and murdered them with alcohol. Hope it doesn't murder the orange tree. I figure it works with ficus benjamina. . .

: Grades are all rolled to A&R. Whew.

[Comments] (10) : Today I braved the commercial consumer world--not out of holiday joy but in search of a wedding gift for Alysha Jones. I note in passing that many of us give wedding gifts on the strength of our affection for our friend, the MOB, not because we know the girl well. Well. I had my heart set on a Lennox vase for Alysha. I started at department stores, knowing exactly what I wanted. What I did NOT want was some little mass produced gift boxed tacky trinket, which was all I found. I wanted the real Lennox, but apparently it is not to be had in Baketown.

To shop in china departments here is an interesting experience. Does anyone sell anything well designed, balanced, and beautiful anymore, or is all china and crystal glopped up with overdone froufrou nowadays? And what's up with this crystal that features impressed patterns painted in garish colors? It looks like some kind of nightmare project from a surreal Homemaking Meeting held in Dante's Hell. Hand-painted one of a kind art, my patootie!

After Gottschalks East Hills, I went to the [shudder] mall. Horrible place. All the stores were heaped with red sweaters and reeking of artificial holiday scent; it was making me squirrley. Music, we won't mention. After the mall, with no results in sight, I sank to the level of Bed, Bath & Beyond and Linens & Things. Ha. At Linen's & Things there was no Christmas muzak--they were playing rock and roll.

Finally, in desperation, I drove down to The Marketplace and went to Olcott's, an independent fancy china shop. Gaaaaahhhhh! NO Lennox! The manager gave me to understand (without her saying so) that much regular line stuff is not in stock as their inventory is tied up in "holiday" merchandise. Such as the 65th anniversary edition of the Spode Christmas Tree pattern, I guess.

I gave up. I bought a Beleek vase.

As a side note, I shopped at each of these places for a straight-sided, tube cake pan (NOT an angel food pan) because I dreamed up an idea for Christmas baking. We've been having a discussion on Mollybluestocking about bundt pans--Sue Chapman says she has seven or eight of them. I wondered how that could be possible until I started looking. There is an unbelievable variety out there. At Olcott's, they even had a square one with impressions of snowflakes on it. Wouldn't it be fun to set out a dessert table with several different kinds of gorgeous cake, pies under crystal domes, mousses, cheesecakes... (I actually did this once, for Thanksgiving, and it WAS fun. I would do it every Thanksgiving, but we usually go spend it with the Richardsons, and I've been led to know over the years that cooking is Not My Job.)

I do own one bundt pan. I got it at a garage sale.

: I have read (in the Daily Misleader) that the widespread photo of George Bush holding a turkey and serving the troops was a posed set up. It's not even a real turkey! He didn't serve food either, he only came, saw, and posed for a picture.

Why am I not surprised?

I would hate to think the man has the soul of a scrapbooker. Is it looking that way? It was a great shot and would make a wonderful Thanksgiving page, but if it didn't happen, it's disqualified!

: Aha! I have found my warm fuzzy red hat and gloves! They were in the pocket of my black leather coat. How long have they been in there? I don't know. Since Alyson's wedding? Did I have them in Washington D.C.? I remember not being able to find them last November for the trip to London. I'm glad they were rediscovered before I leave for Arkansas!

I anticipate this cross-country trip will be slightly warmer than the last one because I'm going on I-10 instead of I-40. No Flagstaff. No Albuquerque.

I attended the wedding of Allysha Jones, held at the Bakersfield Art Museum. They are having an exhibition of French Impressionism, which will run through January. Most of the pictures are very different from the stereotypical French Impressionist paintings although there are a few comprising pastel dots. Several paintings were actually, well, mechanical and clear precursors to modernism. An interesting installation. Oh, p.s., the wedding was interesting too. Kim looked absolutely stunning, and Payton was adorable. I wish I had coloring like Allysha's; she is a beautiful girl.

[Comments] (2) : I have tried three times--and failed-- to post my 2003 Christmas letter. I guess anyone who wants to read it will have to wait until I get them sent individually.

[Comments] (5) : I have the flu. Am miserable. No Christmas decoration up yet, either.

[Comments] (3) : Back from the dead. Sorta.

[Comments] (1) : A grammatical dialogue:

Michele: And we won't even discuss Wasatch dialects.

frances: I hope not.

Anon: Why not, we pray to the same Lard you do

: I got up in the night to go to the bathroom, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but the fleeing figure of Tuxedo Tom. I hadn't seen him in at least a year, maybe two, and now I discover he has been invading my space, probably the one who has been peeing, and living under the house no doubt.

"What do you mean by it? Up to no good, I reckon. Spying on the private business of my people, I guess. Thieves, I shouldn't be surprised to learn. Murderers and friends of elves, not unlikely.

I went back to bed and explained to Tonks that with the privilege of having a kitty door comes the responsibility of making sure only family members use it. And what about Gretel? Big lump snoozing away on the rug through it all.

[Comments] (1) : This flu hangs on and on. It's miserable. I think I'm going to have to face the fact that I am not going to get everything I want to do done this vacation.

Rachel and I went to White Forest Nursery and bought a Christmas tree. It smells wonderful. We got a shorter one that usual and put it atop the antique trunk. Quite the procedure, wrestling it into place. While we were taking a nap, it tipped over, watering the tree skirt, trunk, and floor with its gallon of water. I have set it back upright and wired it to the curtain rod with florist wire. It is starting to look like we aren't going to get the decorations up today.

We are going minimalist, decoration wise because we have to leave the Monday after Christmas, and it's always such a drag to take everything back down. The Boy Scouts are not picking up trees this year. I guess I'm going to have to chop up the tree and put it in my bin.


Dear Family and Friends:

Another year has come and gone and we're still here! 2003 was an eventful year. I overcame some setbacks with my health, went a lot of places, and did a lot of things. I'm on an IV twenty-four hours, which gives me some energy, if not to do everything I'd like, then at least to do something. I teach a class every day at the college and do the church newsletter. I'm also continuing to scrapbook a lifetime of photographs, and I only have five years left to do. My genealogy has been very time consuming. I did finish doing all this for Uncle Carl's genealogy, and I found a few places where we are related way back. I'm getting ready to link Carl's genealogy to his sourdough memorial website

I am so proud of my kids, and I very much appreciate the opportunity to be a mother. Leonard is still writing software in San Francisco; in addition, he is working on the Wesley Clark presidential campaign in Little Rock, Arkansas. That's quite a commute!

Susanna is the big newsmaker. She graduated from Brigham Young University and then married John Chadwick in July. I was busy most of the spring making the dresses. She didn't choose an elaborate design for her gown, but it was still tricky redrafting the pattern to make the dress she had in mind, and it was scary cutting into that length of peau de soie. Ok, it was really peau de polyester, but it still was expensive fabric! My dress was made from tablecloths left from the wedding of my friend Susan's daughter. You can see the results in the above picture of our family standing on the steps of the Los Angeles Temple after the wedding.

Rachel is a senior at UCLA. It's been nice for me to have her relatively near and not trotting the globe this year. She is majoring in European Studies and working as a research assistant to a professor who is doing a book about women on the front in World War I.

A sad event of 2003 was the passing of my aunt, LeJeune Whitney. I am bereft. At Aunt Jeuney's request, I read from Tennyson's "Ulysses" at her funeral. This poem was somewhat comforting, and provided me with a philosophy to keep me going. I think I'll have it at my own funeral. We buried her in Provo next to my husband, Roy. I think he would be pleased with that.

After John and Susanna's Utah reception, Leonard, Rachel, and I went on a little expedition out into the Utah desert to find trilobites. We brought back a lot of fossils and were thrilled by the adventure and the time together. We had also planned to visit the new dinosaur site in St. George, but we couldn't find it, having used all our navigational luck locating the prehistoric lake bed where the trilobites used to live.

As another year draws to a close, I reflect on our shared memories, and look forward to hearing from each of you. If you ever wonder what I'm doing, you can check my weblog at www.crummy.com/jabberwocky and get an update, or you can write me at franny@inreach.com. I love you and hope to hear from you soon.

Love always,


: We went to a wedding reception for Megan Lewis. Hork. Cough. Gasp. It was one of the most incredible sights I've ever seen. The lights in the yard and outside the house could have grown legs and carried it off, like an army of ants with a slice of pie. The Lewises had moved out all the furniture, and each bedroom was decorated for Christmas and set with tables in a different "theme". We sat in the Hawaiian room. I have NEVER seen anything like it. Any vestige of normal life had been swept away, and we were living in a tropical Christmas.

The "Hawaiian" room was the bedroom of Jordan, the Lewis's Downs Syndrome son, who was feeling very dispossessed. He came in while we were there to rustle around in the closet looking for a videotape, and I asked him how he was surviving the wedding. He muttered something about "my mother...."

Dinner was an eggroll and a serving of this Hawaiian chicken salad the Lewises make, with cheesecake instead of a wedding cake. It was all I could do to keep it down. I don't do well with salad anymore even though this was good.

The groom looked exhausted. I think he better get used to that feeling. Andy Smith was standing around looking like a lost soul because his wife was running the kitchen. "I'm the electrician," he said. It's true--they needed to have one on board. All in all, a spectacle for the ages.

: Gretel has been a nervous wreck and misbehaving all over the place. Including peeing where she shouldn't. Now we've had an earthquake. I should have known.

: Cook. Cook. Cook. I made two pumpkin pies, dough for two kinds of cookies, and two batches of sweetrolls--one for the Langleys and one for Ernestine Boonstoppel (which I delivered.) I made matzoh ball soup for lunch and chicken enchilada casserole and Spanish rice for dinner. Susie and John arrived safely, and they will help eat it all, thank goodness.

: I roasted a very big turkey and made baked sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry-orange relish, two kinds of gravy, broccoli with holandaise... Everyone got. full eating all that so they have neglected to consume the pumpkin pies. The kids are making the Christmas cookies. These are not as successful this year because the dough got warm. The dishwasher is getting a workout! As is the refrigerator.

Gretel has been a very, very good girl. So far.

My children are all here and all safe; I am grateful.

[Comments] (4) : Today Leonardw and Jeff are coming down and I have planned a big dinner. I have British crackers to put on the napkins and a rolled stuffed boneless pork roast in the crock pot. In addition, we are going to have wild rice pilaf and a steamed Christmas pudding. I'll use the good red china with a green tablecloth. I'm also going to make French bread with some of Uncle Carl's sourdough starter. And haricots verts almondine. The house already smells wonderful.

We are having a very nice visit. I love being with my family.

: Everyone is gone but Rachel. Sigh. The house looks like a tornado hit it, but oh well. I made a lovely brunch this morning with quiche and fruit salad and then Jeff and Sumana cleaned out the fishpond. Hooray! We are getting ready to leave for our drive to Arkansas, and looking forward to visiting Anne's family on the way.

Jabberwocky for 2003 December

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.