Jabberwocky for 2002


: Finally, finally, I have at least taken Christmas down and put it away in the shed. This is not to say I have restored the house to pristine glory, or weeded the garden, or paid bills, or any of the other things I have to do. I made reservations to go to Houston for Kristen's wedding, talked to Nancy Schile at length, and planned that little trip. I also bought an airport bus ticket. Now, I have to find a substitute.

: I spent yesterday reaming out the house. It looks really good, but I haven't brought all the stuff -- saxophone, antique trunk, chairs etc. back in from the garage. I packed away all the Christmas stuff and only found six things left out. (a new record.) One of the six is a box of ornamanents I was positive I had bought but I couldn't find when I went to do the tree. Yikes. I almost took my receipt back to the store and accused them of not putting them in my bag, but they had fallen down behind Gretel's crate. Today I need to pay bills and then do something about my address book and planner/calendar.

: I stayed up until 3 this morning trying to format Calendar Creator 6.0 to print onto my Franklin Planner pages and then trying to make a 2002 calendar without having to buy a Franklin refill. Gaaah. How much money is my time worth?

: Today I spent the entire day paying bills and so on. We are broke, broke, broke. (a feeling I really, really, really hate.)

: I just scored 74 points playing the word "poisons" in Scrabble. Appropriate, since I've been spraying weed killer in the yard today, and I'm planning to go to bed with the Surflan instructional brochure for a bedtime story.

Last night I had a dream that Lynette Smith called me with a recipe for a dessert that used ground up pecan sandies instead of graham cracker crumbs in the crust. I think that could work, and I intend to try it some day. The rest of the dessert involved strawberries, strawberry Jello, Knox gelatin, and whipping cream. I really do think this could work. Of course, when I woke up, what she was really calling me about was to tell me that I made a mistake in Josh's address in the church bulletin. I accidentally put his Macao post office box with the Hong Kong office street address. Wonder where the letters will go.

Today I planted a tree wisteria in the not-so-Japanese garden, and all by myself I moved the huge pot where the flowering crabapple used to live. I am just about ready to do the ground cover in there. I hosed off the deck with the intention of setting the papasan chair out there, but the deck needs more than just hosing.

: Same Scrabble game, another bingo, another 74 points. "Darkens". I spent the day spraying Roundup mixed with Surflan; the Surflan is dyed orange, which makes it convenient, because you can actually see where you sprayed. I'm exhausted.

: I got my hair cut at Supercuts (too short, too butchered and I hate it!) and the lady gave me a senior discount without even asking how old I am. I'm not 50 yet fercryinoutloud. I took the discount anyhow.

: This bites. I told the college I would work full time Spring Semesater. They gave me an 8 a.m. class and a 1 p.m. class. On Friday. School started Monday. I stayed up way past midnight ever since preparing for the classes. Now I find out (NOT from the person who was supposed to have told me on Monday) that they are cancelling the 1 p.m. and I have to prepare for a completely different one at 11 a.m. I expected to teach 3 or 4 classes; instead I'm wandering around the computer lab. A job nobody wanted.

Oh well it's money.

Then I got the locks changed. It cost $50 to replace the lock that got drilled. (long story.) I paid the locksmith for ten extra keys and promptly lost the whole wad of them somewhere over about a mile away.

I left Gretel in boarding school to get trained, jahwohl. I have to catch the airport bus at 5:30 tomorrow morning.

: I am happily ensconced in Houston at the home of my friend Nancy Schile. Today we went to a Shangri-La called Hobby Lobby, where I bought a 16 bunches of fake poinsettias for 40 cents each, some strings of Christmas lights for a dime each, and sundry sundries. We bought a penguin for Leonard. I also got a plastic "rock" that says "If you have time to read this, you have time to pull weeds."

I wish to go on record that I hate fake flowers and would never buy them, except that I assume I'll be in charge of the church Christmas party again and the concept of a centerpiece for less than a dollar sounds mighty attractive. I promise to have no part of them in my home.

Actually I do have some fake chyrsanthemums in my kitchen, but they were given to me as a going away present by fellow teachers at EBHS, and their hearts were in the right place after all, so what can ya do?

My big purchase was a counted cross-stitch pattern of Arthur and Guienevere, which is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. We are now going to ignore the fact that I have nobody to hornswoggle into stitching it for me and there is no way I could embroider it for myself, having neither patience nor eyesight nor inclination thereto. It cost $7.50 for just the chart and instructions, no floss or cloth or anything of that nature included. Oh, but it would make a beautiful stitchery.

Ha. How long have I been [intending to knit] that Irish Fisherman afghan?

: Houston is apparently the third largest city in the USA. I do believe it's more sprawled out than Los Angeles, however, which would put it in as no. 2. Robert met me at Nancy's and we drove up north and found the family dinner, the temple, the wedding, drove to San Antonio (which hasn't changed, the Alamo doesn't HAVE a basement), stayed with Anne and ensuing chaos, went to church and Davy's Eagle Court, and then Leonard and I drove back to Houston yesterday. We stopped along the way at an antique store in a little town, a "historic" town whose name now escapes me. I bought a milk bottle. I would have bought a black and white leather minidress--Yves St. Laurent!-- for Rachel, but I didn't have $50.

All over Houston to take Leonard to the airport today, and I go home tomorrow. I've met a bunch of Nancy's sewing friends.

: Nancy and I passed Houston's new ballpark, Enron Field. Yaaaaah! I asked her if a movement were afoot to change the name of the field, and she said it's quite a disappointment that unfortunate reference can never be elminated because "The Agreement" was to name the place Enron Field. Huh. A younger and less cynical me would have also thought that "The Agreement" might also have included not cheating/shafting/screwing the lower echelon workers. No such Agreement. No such company. I parody Aldonza's lament from Man of La Mancha: One set of books Is like another I don't know why Or who's to blame They'll dump on you Or on your brother It's all the same It's all the same. I have learned That when the stock falls No bailout comes (No White Knight came) It proves to me Behind the eight balls It's all the same It's all the same. Sheesh. I'm becoming even more of a Marxist. The front page of today's Houston Chronicle included a story about a laid-off Enron worker who observed the wholesale shredding of financial documents and used boxes of shreds she took from the hallways to pack and transport her personal belongings. She has now turned these shards over to the court. Duh-oh. If we can't have the White Knight, can we at least have the Red Queen?

: Drat. I forgot to put in my carriage return codes and the above paragraph is all one block and the editing feature only yields Leonard's 404 limerick.

: cf: A browsing Victorian chap

Encountered a server mishap

The page was no more:

"Alas! Four-oh-four!"

Enough with this limerick crap.

: Let's see... What went on while Crummy was down? I visited Gretel at the dog obedience school. She is doing wonderfully but we miss each other terribly. I hate not coming home to her. I planted a Rose of Sharon and a weeping pussy willow, four blueberries, and all the odd stuff that I didn't have planted yet, including the Shasta daisy seeds from Pat and Alan's anniversary party. I put in the block sidewalk. I am slowly getting a handle on this job at the college. I gave up on Saturday and washed my car and watered the yard, so it rained. Naturally. The temperature has dropped to a three year low, and the dog obedience guy said it was snowing out there this afternoon. Bleah. I am thinking serious thoughts about the down comforter Leonardw gave me for Christmas. I have such a wonderful brother. Annnnndddd... It's paired with the flannel sheets Leonardr gave me last Christmas. I have such a wonderful son. I'll climb into the flannel pajamas I sewed myself and curl up with Jellybean. But first, I have to make some more worksheets.

: It never snows but it flakes. (What it did yesterday.) Here in Bako I was on my way to work this morning and slammed into a six car pileup. I really do believe airbags are filled with some kind of deadly poison which will put us all six feet under before our time. Koff koff. And my head hurtz and my back and shoulders and most of all my throat feels like I swallowed lysol.

I showed up at Precision Collision and told them I was their best customer and were they happy to see me? Nope, they are trained to be sympathetic to see me. Ann Orr came and rescued me from there and I think I might go to bed with some Advil instead of working on the church newsletter. In the meantime, what to do about wheels, since Rachel's car isn't even started yet. John Fleming (Precision Collision owner) said they are still waiting on parts they ordered. He also said airbag stuff is considered hazmat.

A previous quote from John Fleming: "It's all junk on the way to the junkyard, it's just a matter of when it will get there."

: I am in San Francisco for Leonard's wisdom teeth removal. The oral surgeon allowed me to stay for the whole procedure... nice of him. Susie's kicked me out after anesthesia. It was "interesting." He's doing great, and I need to grade papers. What an evening of excitement!

: Today I accomplished a couple of things: bought two fruit trees and a Dicentra, got Rachel's car out of hock (to the tune of $1014.08), and visited the doctor to find that my viral load is way down. That's good news, except the t-cells are also way down. Hmmmm. which number do we go by? I also made friends with a neighbor and a batch of cat food.

At work we were trying to figure out how to remove icons from the desktop but leave them on the upper toolbar on some hand-me-down Windows 95 computers. There appears to be some diabolical linkage. I told the lab assistant that I own a book called "Windows Annoyances", but she didn't believe me.

This statement may be true only in the mythological sense. I haven't seen the book in years. On the other hand, how many books do I have that it could be hiding among?

: Today I spent all day out in the yard, working. I'm so sore I can hardly move. It was a beautiful day. I pulled weeds, but not so you'd notice, and planted trees and filled in some trenches (not evenly.)

The neighbor across the street is going to have a baby girl at the end of May.

The other neighbor across the street (Judy) complimented me on all my hard work. Also, a fellow came by to look at the patio cover because his wife had noticed how beautiful it is while she was out running. Go me!

When I went to Home Depot (to buy a pair of channel lock pliers so I could open the can of PVC cement so I could mend the crack in the pipe so I could fill in the ditch so I could install the outdoor chessboard so I could hose off the driveway and the littleparnertheroosterlyingflatonhisbackbythestreamchokingandchokingandchokingunderthehousethatjackbuilt), I bought an interesting clivia-looking bulb in a pot called a Sun Star. The label had no Latin name. It also had no price, but the sign on the shelf said "Deco Floral $4.97." The cashier didn't believe me, and she called the garden people on the phone, and they couldn't find them (even though I told her they were exactly next to the orchids)so they gave it to me for $.97. I am now about to do a web search for Sun Star, and I bet the only thing I'll come up with is They Might Be Giants.

: My little Quasser came out from where ever he was hiding and was swimming around the fishpond today. (It was a beautiful day.) He's not such a little guy anymore-- fat and sassy. I sure was glad to see him. I hadn't seen him in so long that I was afraid the bobocat had eaten him all gone.

: This is the weekend for breaking things. Last night I broke a Mason jar, and then this morning my amaryllis bulb sprouting vase. Yaaah. Then we've had a windstorm. Casualties: The patio umbrella (turned clear inside out and splintered!) and the top vase from the front porch fountain. (Just when I got it operational.)

What's next, the heart of a trueblue love?

: I finally found the chitalpa tree I've been looking everwhere for. At Coopers, the arm-and-a-leg nursery. They had ONE count 'em one tree in stock, and it is a 15 gallon size, but they will deliver it for free. Whew. Since they were having a spring sale I got (on sale) a pair of Golden Showers roses to climb over the back gate, several red and white roses (including Mr. Lincoln, my favorite) to go near my chessboard in my Wonderland backyard, a white rosa banksae to join the yellow one that climbs the back patio overhead, and a magnolia souliangiana for the front. Susie's car is full of dirt and sawdust.

I also received a reply back from the company that produced the Sun Star, which I emailed and complained that they gave their plant a dippy name and not its horticultural one. It's an Ornithogalum. The fellow who wrote me said "good luck." I hope I don't need it with this little flower, but whoa, the botanical name is so close to the former name for compsognathus, which species turned out to be so dangerous at the end of Jurassic Park.

I am sore sore sore sore sore sore. Need to take a hot shower and go to bed.

: Because I went to bed early last night, I got up feeling purty good and had a good day, but worked extra hours and now I'm tired and sore. Whiplash is no fun, for the record. I wish I didn't have to do any work tonight. I'm going to input my grades, make some worksheets, and turn in as soon as I can. Oh, but I have to remember to put the trash out. That's one disadvantage of not living on an alley-- you have to be cognizant of when it is trash day because it doesn't happen automatically.

: I woke up in the night dreaming I had gone back to work at East. I was panicky because I haven't been since last March, and in my dream the substitute had left all the papers for me to grade. My worksheet folders were all empty too. I was in a cold sweat.

Not that I minded the job, but my goodness, how stressful.

: I came home from work and planted the rest of my roses in the dark. Tired and sore, but determined to keep going no matter what. Boy, I wish I were in bed right now though. Still papers to grade.

: Rachel and I spent two solid days of very hard work and made about $200 at a garage sale. We also got rid of a lot of junk, and one can drive into the garage if one wishes. I can't say the rest of the house or yard is organized though.

I put everyone's suitcases, except for mine, which is still full of books from the San Francisco trip, in the garden shed storage room with the camping gear and Christmas stuff.

We went and ordered a hot tub, which (of course!) cost about twice what I thought it would, but when it comes sometime around the end of March I think it will really help my neuropathy and soreness. A high note is we didn't have to get a redwood covered one; it's going to be stained gray and match the house better.

: Today I worked very hard in the yard, plucking about a hundred pounds of weeds from a fourth of one half of the front. I went to White Forest Nursery and got flats of creeping thyme to plunk into the voids left by weed roots. The theory is that the thyme will creep and choke out potential weeds while allowing daffodils, tulips, iris, and various other bulby stuff to sprout each spring. We shall see.

Luke and Cami Peet came over and Luke planted my chitalpa tree and I fed them lunch. Little Lukey ate tons of spaghetti but not a whole lot of slime slurbet. I let him blow on my saxophone.

The Japanese iris are up and blooming, as are the crocus. (As are the dandelions!) I also leveled out a lot of the side yard and placed the rest of the stepping stones. I'm about a dozen stones short, so someday I'll have to go get more.

I got the back yard ready for Gretel's return home tomorrow, including the chore of putting a chicken wire fence all around the strawberry bed. The place still looks dismal, but oh well, I keep plugging away. Now I'm very, very tired and wish I could go to bed early, but I have to do some stuff for work.

: Leonard quotes a news article:

"In order to see signs of planets in the dust, the alien astronomers would need to tune their instruments to spot the smallest dust. Landgraf studies this, too, bits that are just one-hundredth of a millimeter, or dozens of times tinier than a typical grain of sand. It is everywhere in our solar system, zipping around ten times faster than a rifle bullet."

They don't need an alien astronomer. My mother could find it just fine herself without any aid from the Swiss opticians. Now I know why the carpet was never vacuumed enough to suit her.

: I never ever in a thousand years thought I would do a Power Point presentation, but here I am putting one together.

: I had the missionaries to dinner tonight. Elder Fairchild, the new one, is from Texas, so I showed him my Texas-shaped cheese (he said "Sweet!") and the picture of the Texas cake with the dead armadillo atop it from Alyson's wedding. I could see the gears turning in his head, and I'm sure that he's already got his heart set on having the same thing at his own wedding.

What IS it with these Texans?

Denise Byington (also in attendance at this meal) and I were wondering, in the kitchen afterwards, if the Texas-shaped cheddar is Real California Cheese. (TM)

: Cheesy!

: Today, while cleaning out the bag I carried last time I messed with Texas, I encountered a little mini-pack of lifesavers dressed like the ubiquitous trashcans to be found at interstate rest areas throughout the Lone Star State. This is now installed in its intended place on the kitchen curio shelf.

: I spent a couple of hours pulling weeds and finished the west front garden. Around on the other side of the trees, where I started, new ones are poking their heads up.

: I had almost all my students in class today; very unusual for a Friday. I hope they all come when the Dean comes to visit on Monday!

I pulled more weeds and planted the rest of the flat of silver thyme. Now, Rachel and I are getting ready to go see "The Man Who Came to Dinner."

I talked some to Joan, who is marrying my brother-in-law Garry tomorrow. I told her that Helen always told me that she and I got the best of some great brothers. So true.

: Leonard and Rachel came home for Garry's wedding. Leonard helped me weed and then we all went to a camellia society flower show. (A fairly strange experience.) None of the experts knew the name of our pink camellia, but we looked at all the displays and by majority vote decided to call it Camellia japonica 'Moonlight Bay'. There was a yard sale across the street. Leonard bought some jeans and I got a 7-ball for a dime. Rachel got three little, little Golden Books for a quarter. After that, we went to Rosemary's, where we were waited on by my student, Keighan Wagner. Then Leonard and I went to pay for the spa and dropped by Goodwill and it was time for Garry's wedding.

It was held in the Holy Trinity Chapel at Mercy Hospital-- I don't know why. Dave and Cindy Anson were there; it was good to see them. I had Susie's letter and pictures in my purse and they made a good hit with the extended family members. Dinner after the nuptial mass at Benji's French Basque restaurant. We left before cake.

I was up till nearly 2 a.m. doing the church newsletter, and forgot to set my alarm, so Rachel and I slept through church. I have "puttered" the rest of the day away.

: The Dean came to observe me teaching my Eng. 50 class today. My whole lesson was grounded upon the concept that the reader can interpret a piece of literature any way the reader chooses, as long as that interpretation can be supported by a passage in the text. The Dean acted like she agreed. (I hope!) The homework I gave out was to write an obituary for the girl in the story we are reading. I made up a little obituary newspaper with Corel Ventura Publisher and put Alyson's senior picture in for the girl. I figured Alyson would be willing to model for a fake obituary for a literature class.

The computers in the lab today all had gremlins, the older WIN 95 ones, that is. I hate, hate, hate WIN 95.

Also today I began a project of installing chicken wire around strategic garden areas to keep the puppy from digging.

I bought a bright red camelia named 'Colonel Firey' at White Forest Nursery for $4.95. I THINK it's the same one that the neighbor on the corner of Bank and Spruce has-- pure, rich red. Lovely. At any rate, it's close enough to theirs. I put it in the back patio next to the Acer negundo 'Flamingo' because I'm sick and tired of such a dreary back yard and next year we'll have bright red flowers in the winter after the tree sheds its pink leaves.

To bed early, perhaps?

: More weeds. More chicken wire. No Mike James. Voted for/against the idiots.

: Young's had chicken hindquarters for 29 cents a pound so I am making dog food, cat food, and a big mess in the kitchen.

: I have finally finished pulling the solid mat of weeds that was threatening to take over my mixed perennial border. On Saturday, after I attend Leeann Olson's basketball game, I will plant what I hope will become a solid mat of ajuga and thyme to replace it.

Taxes tomorrow, with Ken Filipski. Nothing more certain than death and.

I am reading a fascinating book called The Boilerplate Rhino, which belongs to Leonard.

: Journal of Narcissus: March 1, 'Ice Follies'. March 5, 'Wild Carnival.' March 7, 'King Alfred'.

: Today, March 8, the first Narcissus 'Bravourere' is getting ready to bloom. It should be open by tomorrow. I hope I like it, since there were so many of them in the assortment of bulbs I planted last fall.

Of course I'll like it. Daffodils are my favorite flower, as they were my father's favorite. I wish I had known this fact about him while he was still alive.

Forgot to put in the log, Narcissus 'Jetfire', a little bitty guy which is planted in a pot on the back patio with the dwarf crepe myrtle, has been blooming for about a week now. Also freesias in pots. I can't even remember where I put this year's freesia corms into the ground. Surprise me, Mother Nature!

Karen Nations and I went to dinner at La Mina and then to see The Count of Monte Cristo at Pacific Valley Plaza. Karen had wanted to see A Beautiful Mind, but Wanda Bradford opined that it's too heavy and intense for a Friday night, so I talked Karen into the Count instead. We loved it, especially the rat skull necklace the Count made in prison.

There were a lot of things we could have picked apart and analyzed, but we were tired and just out for a relaxing good time. Plus we analyzed and picked apart Karen's job over dinner.

Isn't it just wonderful how the French people in these movies speak English?

: Today I went to watch Leeann Olson play basketball ("We" won!) and then I worked in the yard all day. Planted bronze ajuga on the west side berms and spread cocoa mulch there, after yanking out multiple tiny weed sprouts. Then I planted sedum and thyme as ground cover on the other side. Jeannette came by and I made her help me. I planted the "razzleberry" loropetalum and worked out my drip scheme for the camellias.

The paper wasn't sure whether or not it would rain tomorrow, so I watered, just to make sure that it would.

Mike James worked some more in the Unjapanese Garden. I have high hopes that sometime next week the sprinkler system will be plumbed.

: 'Colonel Firey' bloomed, and the flowers are much larger than the neighbor's, albeit the same wonderful true red. I don't know if it just likes my house, or if the neighbor has a different variety altogether.

: 'Bravouaure' is white with a long pointy yellow trumpet.

: Mike James is working his little heart out. I hope he finishes the plumbing tomorrow. He had to leave just now to go on an emergency call.

I wish I could take a nap,but lo and behold, I have to go to the dentist instead. Then, there are plenty of papers to grade and a job application to complete.

: Continuing journal of Narcissus: Today, Monday, March 11, daffodils blooming: ‘Limbo' and ‘Golden Bells.' Waiting in the wings: ‘Avelon'.

Going to the dentist was an interesting experience. Instead of an x-ray machine, they had a device that put my x-rays right onto the computer, which in turn was connected to a large overhead television. I could watch the whole procedure, as ghostly tooth after ghostly tooth appeared. Then, another machine called a "Vipercam"– much like a mini ultrasound wand, which took a physical picture of each tooth and put it up on the screen also. I was reasonably embarrassed by the enhanced vision of plaque deposits that I have missed.

One filling needs replacing, so I have an appointment for April 17.

: Work. Work. Work. But I left at 4 p.m. to go pick up my new glasses. Gretel got up at 4:30 a.m. this morning and peed on the oriental rug. Bad doggie. I'll be glad when this week is over.

I can't believe my baby is nineteen years old.

: I spent most of the day on the PowerPoint presentation, which appears to have become a live beast out of control. Odella today threatened to take me with her to present it to the bigwigs. "Me?" I told her. "I'm nobody." I'll be glad when it is finished.

Our spa comes tomorrow afternoon, hooray, hooray!

This morning it hailed. Oh, my poor tomatoes, squash, and eggplant! Still on deck: Narcissus ‘Avelon'. It's been pretty cold.

: 'Avelon' is a beautiful buttery yellow, medium sized. My favorite so far. Parks sent their Advance Bulb Sale for Fall 2002 catalog today--I want some of each!

Mike James finished plumbing the sprinkler system (I need to fill the trenches back in) and the spa was delivered. I started cleaning out the fishpond, and talked to Quasi for the first time in a month. He is a big huge sharkie now.

More powerpoint disasters all day. O. has added another couple of hours worth of work for me-- at LEAST. There are now 62 slides in the presentation. Boooooorrrrrriiiinnnnggggg! That said, I would rather have Odella be happy with it than feel sorry for everyone else who has to watch the thing.

: 'Avelon' opened completely to reveal an orange trumpet. The daffodil that is labled 'Limbo' looks not a bit like the one in the bulb catalog. It looks like 'Bravoauere' (Gosh, I've GOTTA learn how to spell that! However, it is very near another B--whatever it is, and there is another daff poking its head up in the same spot. My theory: A two-headed Bravo, Limbo coming up later. Also today, 'Single Jonquil' blooming.

I cleaned out the fishpond (sorta) and got the new pump and the turtle spitter operational. Andy Smith didn't show up to connect said spitter and the spa and the sprinkler system. Rachel is home, but running around with her friends. Gretel was very glad to see her.

: I think I was wrong about 'Avelon' having an orange trumpet. Only two of them do, and the rest are that lovely buttery color-- almost lemon meringue. I looked everyone up in my daffodil book. I believe the orange trumpet one is 'Caruso', which was probably mislabeled in the grab bag, but what can a girl expect for $19.99? Also blooming today, Sunday, March 17, is 'St. Keverne.'

While Rachel and I were at church, the Knothead dug up one of my rosebushes. Again. I have now reinforced my chicken wire with concrete block.

: Narcissus for today, Monday, March 18: 'IceWings.'

Rachel had her wisdom teeth out and seems to be more miserable than Leonard and Susie were. She is swelling more than they did. Bleah. She wouldn't let me go in with her to surgery, so I sat out in the waiting room ripping up sheets to make lots and lots of tablecloths.

I believe the rosebush is a goner. When I got home from work today it was not only dug up, it was chewed. I wonder why she digs up some things and not others?

: Here is the update written while Crummy was offline: Journal of Narcissus, today, Wednesday, March 20: ‘Pistachio', ‘Fortissimo' ‘ Dolly Mollinger' (nice ruffled trumpet) and ‘Easter Bonnet'.

Also, a red tulip from the Economy Landscape Mix I planted.

Narcissus today, Thursday, March 21: ‘Karalia', ‘Delnashaugh', and ‘Stradivarius'. Also a pink and white bicolored tulip. It's really too bad that tulips don't come back in this zone. The magazine says Michigan is the ideal climate for them. Michigan!

Today, Friday, March 22. I went to BC and graded placement essays all morning; then I taught my class. This afternoon I see Dr. Amin and there is sooooo much to do around here it's not funny. Had a good conversation with Emily Hurlburt.

Narcissus today: ‘Easter Moon'. A purple tulip. A pink tulip. An orange Rembrandt-style tulip.

Susan McQuerrey got a call that her father is not doing well and left in the middle of the placement grading. We had planned lunch for tomorrow, but I guess Saigon will have to wait. Maybe Anne will want to go eat there when she comes.

I think I'm going to have to put a chicken wire "lid" on the back flower bed to keep Gretel out. Now the bratface has dug up my ‘Guienevere' rosebush.

Narcissus today Saturday, March 23, ‘Mother C. Gruelmans' and ‘Flower Record.'

Andy Smith FINALLY came and hooked up the spa and it's heating now. Hooray!

Later: I've been boiling big pots of water trying to get the spa to heat up faster so I can soak in it. The question is, do I have a swimsuit anymore?

Narcissus today, Sunday, March 24, ‘Limbo.' I was right about ‘Limbo'.

: It was a busy week. Anne came and we ran around. Not much got done, although Rachel and I did manage to spring clean the house before she got here. On Thursday, Rachel went to Magic Mountain with friends and Anne and I got the Pathfinder out of hock and went to visit Gayla in Los Angeles. We both got sick, me sicker, and I spent most of the Gaylavisit barfing in the bathroom. Kept on while Anne drove to Uncle Justin's. I collapsed in Linda's bed while Anne and Justin chewed the fat. Still felt rotten the next day, and indeed the day after that, after dropping Anne off in San Diego and spending seven hours in traffic trying to get home.

I spent most of yesterday and all of today in bed and feel better now, but empty.

: Stomach flu. Gaaaah. And it's HOT here!

: Well, today I did my old trick of painting on the black eye, but not so many people were fooled-- it doesn't look as real as it used to before I got all the wrinkles and before I lost the olive green eye crayon.

However, Midge Ladd pulled a real cutie: she had a loose white thread hanging off her (black) blouse, but it was attached to a spool hidden in her bra, so when you picked the thread off her back you just pulled and pulled and pulled and pulled!

: The Dell computers logo is eerily reminiscent of the Enron logo. What's up with that?

: I went out and got baptized in mud and crawled around on the ground and got very wet and still can't figure out how to program the sprinkler timers.

: It was a long day at work, topping off with an ACDV 50 faculty meeting where we evaluated anthologies to adopt for the 2003-2004 school year. Gretel and I went for a long walk before dinner, and saw lots of police officers arresting lots of teenagers on bicycles.

: After work I went and looked for an outfit to wear when I go to the job interview next Tuesday. I hated shopping. I bought several things, most of which I will probably take back when Rachel arives home to serve as Fashion Police tomorrow.

: I went to book discussion group, where I argued that Jan Karon's At Home In Mitford was artificial and shallow. Two people sided with me, while four other people loved it. Sherrie Lewis abstained, not having read the book.

I thought it was absurd, poorly written, and had too many characters, all of which were underdeveloped. Any chance for conflict or crisis was glossed over, and even the botany was wrong.

: Narcissus that bloomed while I was sick and thereafter: 'Actea' 'Duet' 'Sinopel' and one that I can't find in either the bulb catalog or the daffodil book. It's similar to 'Actea' and 'Sinopel' but with a creamy cup trumpet edged in yellow.

I did really a lot of yard work this weekend, even though I SHOULD have been making tablecloths for the church spring brunch.

Other notes from the weekend: Rachel and I went to Frugatti's and then to see Ice Age, I lost and then found my cell phone, and we went to CLS Pets to their buy-one-get-one-for-a-penny fish sale, except they were out of fish. Poor Quasi is still alone in the pond. Also CLS only has a 24 hour return policy on dead fish, as opposed to the 30 day one at PetsMart, so I guess we won't be shopping there for friends for Q. any time soon.

: I wish to go on record that I am the only person I know who has ever actually put a dead fish into a baggie and returned it to the store from whence it came.

: Job interview update: I never did find a blouse to wear with this suit. Nor a scarf. I got a piece of white material out of my sewing box, wound it around my neck, buttoned up the jacket, and called it good.

I did my teaching presentation on the chapter on fats and oils from the food science and nutrition textbook from a class I took at DeAnza, back when the textbook author was still alive. Vocabulary from context clues, graphic organizers for the main ideas, cheating on the textbook by reading up on the subject in the children's encyclopedia, yada yada.

: Note to self about tablecloths: Five twin size sheet sets, five colors each. Yellow, Green, Blue, Pink, Lilac. Out of the five, EACH color: Two 60X180 rectangles from two top sheets.

Five squares from five fitted sheets.

Three rounds from three top sheets pieced with bits from the fitted sheets as follows: Tear an 18" wide strip from the WIDTH of the top sheet. Add to the strip an 18" square scrap from a fitted bottom sheet. Sew the 18" wide strip to the LENGTH of the top sheet to make a large square. Fold into quarters and cut into a round.

The church has 15 round tables. This gives us 15 rounds that can be overlayered with 25 squares in various combinations of color, plus ten banquet size rectangles. Somehow I ended up making an extra green round which is more pieced than the others. It was my first, highly experimental.

As of today, I have finished the green and yellow ones.

25 pillowcases for the girls to decorate for camp.

: Upcoming uses for tablecloths: Spring brunch, all colors. Becca Mitchell's wedding, lilac. Robyn Jackman's wedding, all colors. Fall Church County Fair? Baby shower for Sara Langley. Ward Christmas Party, all colors, with bright accents from somewhere to make a Mexican theme. Susanna's wedding.

: HO. HUM. I spent hours and hours in the lab today trying to figure out what was wrong with a recalcitrant computer. Scandisk is running on it now--- slowly---- and I'm going to leave it to its own devices and go home to my tablecloths. So there. Last night (late) I finished the pink ones.

Sharon White sent an invitation to some kind of direct sales party. I couldn't figure out from the postcard what was the name of the company, or what was being sold. However, I did deduce that food was involved, and the tasting thereof. Ohhhh yeeahhh!

: Job interview update: I did not get the job. End of story.

: Misty got hit by a car and I had to take her to the vet emergency room to get sent to the Rainbow Bridge. I had to call Rachel, and she took it really hard. This sux.

: Why do *I* always have to be the mommy?

: Yeah. Today. I came home from church and crashed, and then cooked yakisoba. Didn't get a whole lot else done. Gretel hasn't eaten anything today, but it's hot. I guess some time I'd better get a new air conditioner filter. I put on a dress that fit me fine last summer and it's way baggy.

I am washing all the tablecloths from the brunch yesterday. Then, I have to fold them all and figure out where/how to store them.

I gave Emily Thiessen my cone thread stand because it doesn't work with my new sewing machine cabinet configuration.

: Karen Nations invited me to an "early" birthday dinner to take place tonight, at Frugatti's. She and her family were going to take me. Imagine my surprise when we walked in, and there was a large table full of folks... the Olsons! The Cornetts! What a treat. We had a really nice dinner and they gave me a balloon bouquet, a flower bouquet, a couple of garden art stakes, and the Hoban children's book, "A Birthday for Frances." Everyone signed the book, at three or four cards. I was so overwhelmed.

Then our waitress brought a piece of cheesecake with a candle on it, and made everyone in the restaurant sing happy birthday to me. (Including Candace Urmston, who works there.) Wow. Wow.

: I was going to go home and do sprinklers with Mike James this afternoon and forgot about a faculty meeting. Now I have to stay. And I am HUNGRY!

: I went to work and then to the dentist, where the dude poked and prodded and patched to his heart's content. Then I came home and collapsed because there seemed not much point in doing much else all numb and in pain.

The dental group has a new dentist starting tomorrow. He is from Romania, so I made an appointment with him for Susie.

: OK now it really hurtz.

: I graded placement exams, taught my class, and now, now... time to pull weeds! Oh for the joys of Eden.

I wonder how I can have so many students every semester, when it seems like most of the placement exams I read send them to English 60? Where do they come from do you suppose?

: I took an Internet "colour" test and got the following results:

At this particular time you are feeling the results of extreme stress and you are seeking a 'way out' but you are pushing too hard. Obviously you need peace, tranquillity and contentment. Your temperament is such that you are hoping,unrealistically perhaps, that your desires will shortly be fulfilled (even if at this time you are not quite sure what those true aspirations may be!).

You are working extremely hard trying to improve your image. You need for those people in positions that matter to recognise your potential and to acknowledge you.

Your confidence has been shattered. There are so many things that you would like to do with your life, so many dreams to be fulfilled - and you know that your hopes and dreams are not just figments of your imagination, they are real and you are looking for reassurance from someone. Basically your fears are such that you may be prevented in attaining your hopes and dreams. Even now you would like to broaden your fields of endeavour but in order to develop your 'inner- self' you need peace and solace. You are distressed by the fear that you may be prevented from attaining your goals.

What you really need at this particular moment in time is quiet reassurance from someone close to you to restore your confidence.

Presently, you are experiencing stress because of restriction on your independence. You need and seek respect from other people and it is essentialthat they appreciate you for yourself and not for what they would like you to be. You have your own beliefs and convictions and you would like to be respected for them. You are anxious to avail yourself of every opportunity that may come your way but nevertheless, come what may, you have the need to control your own destiny without imposed limitations or restrictions.

You wish to be left in peace... no more conflict and no more differences of opinion. In fact you just don't want to be involved in arguments of any shape or form. All you want is for 'them' to get on with it - and to leave you alone.

I think not getting the job I applied for has affected me more than I want to admit.

: Today I made a huge (I mean Really Big) pot of spaghetti sauce. It simmers in the crock pot at this moment. I wanted to have some real food in the house when my children get here. As I was finishing up, I realized that on Saturday night we are going to the Boy Scout fundraiser/dessert auction to eat.... ahhhh, you guessed it!

: Household hint: I discovered this as I was making dog food from cheap hamburger, the kind that comes in those five pound tubes. I put it in the crock pot overnight, and as it cooked, the fat separated out while the meat stayed in a tubish shape. One could, conceivably, pour all the fat off and then crumble the low fat cooked meat.

So today I tried it with "good" hamburger. The resulting ground beef was a little dry, but I certainly poured off more grease than I ever have before in my life. The dryness is more than compensated by a long simmer in spaghetti sauce and garlic sauteed in olive oil. I think this is quite possibly the best spaghetti sauce I've ever made in my life.

: Bah humbug. Susanna's car has a flat tire. I don't know how that happened. I am trying to figure out alternatives for fixing it.

: I have never thought of myself as the sensitive allergy type. AAAAAchoooo! However, I had to quit working in the yard early yesterday, before dark, and today the schnozz is running and I am sneezing and quite miserable. Wazzup with that? I pulled a lot of ragweed out of the vegetable garden, and I recall that my father was so allergic to that stuff he was scared of it. Could it be advancing age sensitizing me to environmental allergens? After all, tomorrow is my 50th birthday.

I remember when I was quite small, my parents rented a vacation cabin near some Anasazi (I know that word is not PC anymore!) ruin in Arizona. We arrived after dark and awoke the next morning to find our cabin was situated in a field of ragweed and had to leave. Mom had brought lots of food in the cooler, but no way to cook it (sans the cabin's kitchen.) We went wandering about northern Arizona and saw a meteorite crater and the Wupatki ruins. I remember doing a lot of starving and then getting carsick after stuffing myself full of barbeque potato chips.

: Ten a.m. Lots of funny cards from co-workers. Birthday wishes from students. Hillary Neumeister brought me a bottle of sparkling pear cider and a hug. We opened it and are toasting around the lab like crazy women.

A passing idea is to pour some of it into the Deskjet 890C and perhaps it will either start working properly or give up entirely!

: Aunt Jeuney's birthday message:

Dearest Frances . . .

I can't believe it! Our little girl is 50 today!! Your childhood is still vivid with me, photos filed away in my mind of you in Salt Lake and Lark and vacationing and in Arizona and New Mexico.

Your agile mind and amazing vocabulary at an early age and color identification.

Reciting "Horton Hears a Who" and other Seuss books.

Rearranging the tableware (when you were in your 2s) -- I had given your parents a set of dishes, half gold, half green. I set the table with them mixed up in color and you promptly rearranged things so each place setting had the same color.

Earl asking you (to show you off) to bring the National Geographic to him that had the article about the dogs. This was in the days when the NG had the contents listed on the front cover -- not a photo as it is now. You promptly went to the stack of Geographics, shuffled through them without opening any, and brought me the right magazine. I was awestruck. "How did you know which one," I asked you. You turned it over and showed me the back, which had a Coca-Cola ad. You had memorized the ads to identify which issues went with which articles you looked at. Wow!

It was wonderful when you moved to Sunnyvale and I had the pleasure of watching you all grow up.

I love you, dear Frances, and I continue to be filled with admiration and amazement about how deal with life and raise your wonderful children. You are a family treasure!

: Emily Thiessen took me out to Hungry Hunter for my birthday dinner. When she dropped me off, there was a PRESENT on the porch! Wonder who it's from? No card.

Today, lunchtime, at work, Marlene Bursell came in with a huge chocolate cake to share with everyone. And, my baby Susie is home from Romania! I got to talk to her on the phone, and to her wonderful brother. Lots of ecards, and Anne called me too. Happy birthday to me!

: The lab is positively somnolent right now. In fact, we have one student-- Nancy-- who has narcolepsy. A few minutes ago I couldn't get her to wake up. She had gone to class now, but left her narco vibes.

I spent the morning in Microsoft Outlook training, and the now the afternoon holding down the fort here. What a waste of "golden minutes and jewelled hours."

: There is a megamouth shark swimming around in my fishpond at this moment. Quasi doesn't even eat fish food anymore; he prefers to hunt his own fresh meat. RAWR!

: Late Narcissus advisory: Another 'Camelot' from the same bulb that bloomed a couple of weeks ago. 'Actea'. (finally!)

Next year I'm going to order more late ones. The Dutch Iris are blooming again, and quite lovely.

: More birthday, today. Lunch with Sherrie Lewis, Ernestine Boonstoppel, and Jill and Sara Langley. We went to the Country Rose Tea Room, and I spotted a homonym error on the menu. I got a card and scrapbook paper from Sherrie, a sweet card from Ernestine, and a pot of basil plants from the Langleys.

: I worked a long hard day today. The computer at station #16 kept freezing up, so I ran scandisk and then left it on defrag but I forgot to tell anyone I was doing so. It probably got stopped. I proofread about a gazillion papers on fairy stories for Eng. 1B students.

Leonard and Susanna have arrived home, and Gretel is making them crazy with her bids for attention. I'm a little worried about Rachel and her travel timetable and sore throat. Finally today I finished getting my Christmas letter out. Go me!

: A landmark day! I beat Leonard in Scrabble, the second time in my life!

We had a quasi-birthday-to-me, with all kinds of Romanian gifts. Susie brought me a pottery vase, an embroidered tablecloth (it does not appear to be particularly washable), a "Ukranian" egg, a little woodburned plate, and a stack of nesting dolls. Also, she gave me a "tatty" plaid plastic tote, which appears to be much inferior to the ones from Mexico. That is a sad situation indeed, when a household product is inferior to what is available and widely used in Mexico.

The very best gift was a Kinder Egg-- a chocolate egg containing a prize in the middle. My prize was a goofylooking plastic cow that had to be assembled and stickerized. When you crank its tail, its hat lifts and its eyes open and close and its tongue hangs out.

Leonard and I went down to Somewhere in Time to buy my dresser, but it seemed uglier than before, and he wouldn't let me get it. I couldn't find another one, so I am still undressered.

: Today's interesting conversations were with Phil Feldman and Gladys Stilwill. Phil and I talked about the-faculty-job-which-is-not-mine and about possible better uses of teaching assistant time, especially in the computer lab. I reported to him the gist of yesterday's meeting with the Dean and we formed various hypotheses about whether we (the faculty) were actually being given the opportunity to have input into some of the budget decisions, or have the choices already been made and they are just having a buncha meetings to try to make us "happy" (I use the word advisedly) with whatever the administration does. We agreed that if everyone could have a TA like MaryAnne, Utopia would bloom.

Gladys caught me up on her family-- son Tom getting married (finally!) and on the gossip at East. She says they miss me, and I told her to tell them I miss them! We agreed that JJ Kaiser should be English department chairperson. She says Jeana Widelock is very successfully teaching English and advanced drama and everyone just loves her, so I guess something good came of that debacle. The whole situation makes me so sad. Damn that HIV virus.

: Today I weeded the whole-- yes! the whole! backyard. I am going to be so sore by morning. I also made cheesecakes, one for us and two for the Boy Scout fundraiser.

I am reading Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War, which is a British revisionist history of World War I. It is interesting because he has gone back to primary sources and corrects many of the misconceptions everyone has about the reasons for the war. It gives a lot of extremely detailed background information on the build up towards conflagration. The text, tables, charts, and graphs are a very heavy read, but the photos are enough to keep a person awake nights. There are some "official" photos reprinted, but most of them are from the personal albums of ordinary soldiers which have never before been published. My poor grandfather!

: Leonard gave me an early Mothers' Day celebration. A jasmine scented candle, a t-shirt that said "Garden Mom" and a pair of Horton Hears A Who pajama pants. (Yertle The Turtle green.) I dyed my hair Manic Panic red today, so maybe I'll wear the pants to work on Monday.

: In the words of the Goldblum character in Jurassic Park (I), "THAT'S an impact tremor!" It was awful at work today, with the earthquake retrofit construction shaking the building. Gaaahhhh! The fillings in my teeth are shattered. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. I want to take an Advil and go to bed, but Karen Nations wants us to go to Michaels with her so everyone can go through a separate line and use the 40% off coupon from the Sunday paper [limit one per customer.]

Payday! I paid bills and did the checkbook and then Susanna and I ate at Saigon for a payday break.

I'm going to miss paydays, but I'm not going to miss the work, especially the 8 a.m. class. We start proficiency testing tomorrow.

Susanna is a scrapbooking maniac, and has been puppysitting very efficiently.

I had something really strange happen today. Yesterday, about 5 p.m., someone called and the answering machine picked it up. Today, 8:30 a.m., I received a voice mail message on my cell phone. This message consisted of: (1) the answering machine recording (2) the message (recorded to home phone number, (3)the conversation Susanna and I had in the room after playing the recording, and (4) incidental room noises. Very strange gremlins at play. I suspect, once again, the fillings in my teeth.

: Uneventful day. I went to work, tested my students, worked in the lab. Blah blah. One student didn't show up for the test. She is a Naughty Girl. After lunch with the ladies I came home and crashed. Now I have made salad (homegrown lettuce and onions, commercial other stuff) for me and Susie. The Book Group is going to the screening of To Kill a Mockingbird, but I decided not to go because the tummy is unhappy.

I'm going to turn in early and keep wading through The Pity of War. Ferguson overturns everything anyone ever thought they knew about the origins of World War I.

: Quotations from Women: Never eat more than you can lift. --Miss Piggy

It's so beautifully arranged on the plate--you know someone's fingers have been all over it. --Julia Child

The trouble is. . .that everybody sneers at restrictions and demands freedom, till something annoying happens; then they demand angrily what has become of the discipline. --Dorothy Sayers, Gaudy Night, p. 89

For when two beings who are not friends are near each other, there is no meeting, and when friends are apart, there is no separation. --Simone Weil

Blind obedience in the name of patriotism or religion ultimately takes our lives. --Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge

For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands. --Christina Rosetti

The only constructive approach to evaluating human differences is to take each as an opportunity to learn more about the rich diversity of the human condition, and to take what one learns as a gift that will enrich one's own life. --Ruth Purtilo

Woman too commonly commits the sin of self-sacrifice whereby she consents to be sequestered in the home, without intellectual stimulus, so that the tranquil flame of her unspoiled soul should radiate purity and nobility upon an indefinitely extended family. --Rebecca West, 1913

“When you know better, you do better.” --Maya Angelou, in a speech at BYU, 1970 or 1971, in response to LDS former doctrine about blacks

Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief. --Jane Austen, Emma

Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives. --Jane Austen, Emma

"When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country." --- Elayne Boosler "I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch." --- Gilda Radner

"Behind every successful man is a surprised woman." --- Maryon Pearson

"Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel." --- Bella Abzug

"In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman." --- Margaret Thatcher

"If I were going to convert to any religion I would probably choose Catholicism because it at least has female saints and the Virgin Mary." --- Margaret Atwood

"I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career." --- Gloria Steinem "Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry." --- Gloria Steinem

"Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then." --- Katharine Hepburn

" I never married because there was no need. I have three pets at home which answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog which growls every morning, a parrot which swears all afternoon and a cat that comes home late at night." --- Marie Corelli

"Nagging is the repetition of unpalatable truths." --- Baroness Edith Summerskill

"If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?" --- Linda Ellerbee

You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 today and we don't know where the heck she is. --Ellen DeGeneris

I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry. --Rita Rudner

I'm not into working out. My philosophy: No pain, no pain. --Carol Leifer

If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't you're right. --Mary Kay Ash

No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions. --Margaret Thatcher

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. --Harriet Beecher Stowe

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. --Louisa May Alcott

The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it. Whether he's got an abscess on his knee or in his soul. --Rona Barrett

When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves. --Katherine Mansfield

Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win. --Bernadette Devlin

You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now. --Joan Baez

Action is the antidote to despair. --Joan Baez

My idea of superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors. --Bette Midler

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. --Dolly Parton

Life is easier than you'd think; all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable. --Kathleen Norris

I used to think there was luck in the world…but now I know it’s luck with two halves. You’re in the right place at the right time, and that’s luck. But you’re only half of it. Whatever or whoever’s waiting for you has to be there, too. So you only ever carry half of the combination of luck around with you…and you’ve got to be ready, and by that I mean both determined and receptive. --Judith Freeman, in The Chinchilla Farm

We are not here to be successful; we are here to be faithful and to live with integrity. --Mother Teresa

Man is not by nature a tyrant, but becomes a tyrant by power conferred on him. --Lucretia Mott

I believe unconditionally in the ability of people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than to believe, to inquire rather than to affirm. --Septima Clark, 1975

I am made in the image of God, good as I am, without unnecessary adornment. --Kathleen Norris

If we learn from the experience, there is no failure, only delayed victory. --Carrie Chapman Catt

None of us can do anything great on our own, but we can all do a small thing with great love. --Mother Teresa

The heaviest burden is great potential. --Jan Temple

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. --Anne Bradstreet

Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among rocks. --Charlotte Bronte

And who knows? Somewhere out there in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president's spouse. I wish him well! --Barbara Bush, commencement address to Wellesley College

It has taken me years of struggle, hard work and research to learn to make one simple gesture, and I know enough about the art of writing to realize that it would take as many years of concentrated effort to write one simple, beautiful sentence. --Isadora Duncan

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you. --Mary Tyler Moore

Take your work seriously, but never yourself. --Dame Margot Fonteyn

I've been married to one Marxist and one Fascist, and neither one would take the garbage out. --Lee Grant Someone asked someone who was about my age: "How are you?" The answer was, "Fine. If you don't ask for details." --Katharine Hepburn

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. --Erica Jong

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. --Helen Keller

It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life. --Sister Elizabeth Kenny

Be bold. If you're going to make an error, make a doozey, and don't be afraid to hit the ball. --Billie Jean King

Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. --Sophia Loren

Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers. --Mignon McLaughlin

The worst part of success is to try to find someone who is happy for you. --Bette Midler

What is sad for women of my generation is that they weren't supposed to work if they had families. What were they going to do when the children are grown - watch the raindrops coming down the window pane? --Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

My only concern was to get home after a hard day's work. --Rosa Parks

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity. --Gilda Radner

I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. --Lily Tomlin

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. --Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Age is not important unless you're a cheese. --Helen Hayes

Old age is like climbing a mountain. You climb from ledge to ledge. The higher you get, the more tired and breathless you become, but your views become more extensive. --Ingrid Bergman

Eve tasted the apple in the Garden of Eden in order to slake that intense thirst for knowledge that the simple pleasure of picking flowers and talking to Adam could not satisfy. --Elizabeth Cady Stanton

If the shoe doesn't fit, must we change the foot? --Gloria Steinem

There's a lot more to being a woman than being a mother. But there's a lot more to being a mother than most people suspect. --Roseanne Barr

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity. --Eleanor Roosevelt

You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost. --Martha Graham (1894-1994)

Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands. --Anne Frank

When will our conscience grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? --Eleanor Roosevelt

: Another bangup day in the lab. I've rebooted computers, printed reports on all my students' time, awakened people, rubbed necks, straightened chairs, and started a list of people who crashed on Suderman's Project Two. Sigh.

Julie B. came by to harass me for having my shoes off.

: After work I went to the tire man to get new tires for the Pathfinder. Axeman was there getting a flat fixed on Edward's car. I told him Misty had gone to Heaven. "Are you sure?" he said.

Susanna and I went to Youngs to buy ingredients for Arroz con Pollo for the Ahmansons and the missionaries tomorrow. They didn't have any achiote.

: My child was Student of the Month at the Che Guevara Institute for Anarchy Studies.

: I went to a Mexican market to find the achiote. Dinner turned out scrumptious.

My little Jellybean is ten years old today. I took her in for her annual shots and showed Dr. Reno how well she is doing on the homemade food; he was pleased. Jellybean was NOT pleased, but what can you expect with hypodermic needles and rectal thermometers coming at her? Susanna made her a "cake" of tuna.

O. asked me to teach a 50 class in the fall, so that has me working four days a week again.

: Continuing on my way through Ferguson's history of World War I. (The Pity of War-- what an unfortunate title! I bet it cost him a lot of readers.)

An outstanding gem from today's chapters, wherein he analyzes the intellectual support on both sides for going to war: "It is scarcely credible, but true, that intelligent men in Britain thought they were fighting footnotes and intelligent men in Germany thought they were defending E-flat chords."

: Susanna and I went on a trek today to the mountains to find a group camp location to hold the Ward Campout. We gave up on Methuselah State Park and settled on good old Quaking Aspen, my original choice. Methuselah is free and Quaking Aspen costs money, but oh well. We'll just have to cut back on the Christmas party.

Susanna and Gretel hiked down the creek that Susie remembered from former camping trips and Gretel made "yellow snow."

Gretel was, once again, carsick once we got into mountain roads.

: Today at church Sherrie Lewis gave the Relief Society lesson about "Relief Society Rocks" that someone persecuted her about because the title might make people think about "evil rock music." I sat there studying the woman's face but couldn't read anything in her expression. I thought it was a good lesson, based on Elder Maxwell's conference talk about turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones.


Came home from church and crashed, then took dinner over to the Thiessens. I cooked artichokes and hollandaise for dinner. Now, it is time for bed again.

: Today we finished grading the proficiency exams. Only five more days of classes.

The chitalpa tree is blooming, all puffy pink flowers. I planted a whole flat of vinca and some zinnias so that we will have some summer color. I also planted a blood orange tree, but don't know if that counts because Susie dug the hole.

: Last night we got the Ward Campout all planned. This morning I made myself a breakfast burrito to see how many eggs, what the liquid volume of beaten egg was, and how many ounces of cheese per person so we can calculate the food for the campout. I got all full, so I didn't eat my sandwich at noon, and now I am HUNGRY, with two hours to go until a break.

My innovative idea is to beat the eggs with my mixer at home and take them to the campground in plastic gallon milk jugs. Dinner will be sloppy joes, also made at home.

My next word in the Merry Menopause scrabble game will be a bingo unless Valerie takes my spot.

: She took my place, but I found another word. 74 points.

: Yesterday I wired up the grapevine and cleaned out the fishpond. "Cleaned out" is not an accurate word for what I did. I grasped great handfuls of slimy angel hair and pulled some of them out, stirred muck, and hosed out the main filter. I didn't clean the filter on the pump that runs the turtle spitter; I was too scared of what I would find. Also, I didn't find Quasi, no matter how many bushes I beat. Quasi is the Runaway Bunny. I WILL find him.

There are many water snails living in my pond now. I don't know where they came from. There were none a year ago when I filled it. I've been meaning to go over to Jill Langley's and get some parent stock of water snails, but so far have not. Now I have my own snails. Spontaneous generation! Aristotle, eat your heart out! (But don't eat escargot d'eau).

Floating the surface was a discarded dragonfly skin. It was perfectly formed and complete-- and completely hollow. Even the little segmented legs were intact, as well as the transparent wing membranes. It had blind skin eyes, and was perfectly slit up the underneath center of the abdomen and thorax, as though it had been precisely snipped with scheerenschnitte scissors. I carred it over to where Susie was pruning the Rosa banksiae 'lutea' and she screamed and said it was disgusting.

My E Drive (the Zip drive) is misbehaving. I suppose that shouldn't come as much of a shock, since the whole computer is misbehaving.

: Mothers' Day. Susie brought me See's Candy in bed, which I consumed, and then felt vaguely sugarfull the rest of the morning. Six teens spoke in church, and it was a refreshing change from the usual momday drivel. Then, for a gift, Brad Davis and some kids brought--- See's Candy!!!!-- into Relief Society for a treat. What a change from a wilted flower. He remarked that it takes some of them a while to catch on to what's important in life. Yeah, chocolate, that's it.

The lesson, given by Cheryl Settlemeyer, was punctuated by happy wrapper-rustling and crunching. I didn't eat my "San Francisco Brickle Bar" yet, having earlier suffered a surfeit of See's.

: More wisdom from Ferguson:

Nothing can detract from the central fact that the Central Powers were significantly more successful at killing, wounding, and capturing the enemy than the Entente Powers_~ But what is even more astonishing is that they did so at much lower cost. One (admittedly rather callous) way of expressing the difference between the two sides in a way which takes not only military effectiveness but also economic resources into account - in other words, a way which measures integrated war efficiency - is to say that Germany succeeded far better than the Entente at inflicting ‘ maximum slaughter at minimum expense'. As we have seen, the Allies spent approximately $140 billion between 1914 and 1918, the Central Powers around 80 billion. Yet the Central Powers killed many more members of the Allies' armed forces than were killed of their own men. On this basis, a simple calculation can be made: whereas it cost the Entente powers $36,485.48 to kill a serviceman fighting for the Central Powers, it cost the Central Powers just $11,344-77 to kill a serviceman fighting for the Entente. To complete the macabre balance sheet, these figures could, of course, be related to Bogart's estimates of the notional economic value of each individual soldier killed to his country of origin. According to Bogart, an American or British soldier was worth 20 per cent more than a German ($1,414 compared with $1,354)1 but nearly double the cash value of a Russian or a Turk ($700). But no soldier was worth as much as it cost to kill him. Ultimately, the financial historian can therefore do no more than pose a question to military historians: why on earth did Germany and her allies-who were more than three times more efficient at killing the enemy--than Britain, and her allies–end up losing the war?

As I am wading through Ferguson I keep reminding myself that I'm not "wasting time wading through Ferguson; I'm "doing research for the novel I'll write about Grandpa."

: We are not feeling any of the earthquakes. This is because the building is already shaking so badly from the tamping and pounding the contractor is doing for the alleged "earthquake" retrofit that we could have a niner and nobody would even leave their seat.

: Mary Anne and I have been following the quakes on the Caltech site. It occurs to me that this was the reason Gretel wouldn't go to bed last night. She paced and whined and pawed. Eventually at one point she started to all fours and scrabbled across the room, waking me up. I went to jump out of bed --half asleep-- and caught the big toe of my left foot in the hem of my right pajama pantleg and positively slid on my face across the floor. Gretel came snuffeling at my [embarrassed and thoroughly awake] and prostrate form and I limped back to bed. Now my shoulder aches and I have sidewalk burn on both elbows.

: Another one! I feel as if I'm egging them on!

: Last night Susie and I went and bought a lavender betta (Dillydilly) for the large vase and three comets and a fantail (Mohawk) for the pond. This morning when I went out to see how they were doing I could only see one comet, but he was doing wind sprints, like....well, like a comet.

: I excused my 11 a.m. class today to attend a "Teach-In for Peace in the Middle East". I dragged one of the RSP kids who hangs around the computer lab with me too. One of the class members is a Palestinian girl who represented the Islamic viewpoint and showed horrifying slides of Israeli tanks rolling through the streets with soldiers standing on top pointing machine guns at little children. HELLOOOO! George Bush, you idiot, are you watching?

Amit gave a really good and convincing presentation. Afterward I went down to the podium and hugged her and told her how proud I was of her and kind of shoved away some kind of extremist looking fellow who had come to argue with her. He found someone else to argue with, and then he latched onto the reporter for Channel 23 News, who, ironically, thought *I* was the professor in charge there. Nope nope. The Forum was packed, which was nice to see. One of the music professors performed John Lennon's "Imagine" and one of the black history professors spoke on nonviolence and recited Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech.

Wow, the whole thing made me think I was at a college!

Today was the last day of the 8 a.m. composition class. I am NEVER going to drag myself out that early again.

: We only have five students in the lab now. Usually, at the end of the semester we have more "lifers" trying to get their hours in. It's slow today. I wish I had my papers to grade while I'm here, but they are upstairs in my office.

: Today-- not a particularly productive day, but I did balance bank statements, sleep a lot, and take the computer apart to find out the serial number of the zip drive. Evening was Becca Mitchell's wedding, where I had a really nice time.

I have finally finished Ferguson's book, including looking at the ghastly pictures. The end chapter summarizes the entire 500 page text, so why bother?

Also went over to the Langley's and held little Paige Elizabeth, three days old. She is very alert and active and has red hair--such a cutie. Payback time for mom Sara.

: I got up fairly early and started in making a month's supply of dog and cat food so Susanna will have food for the critters while I am in Washington. It's such a chore to do both the same day. Later in the morning Doris and Denise Jackman came over and borrowed "stuff" to use for Robyn's wedding reception: crystal plates, punchbowls, cake tiers, tablecloths and both patio umbrellas. That shot the morning, and then Susanna and Rachel took me and Grandma to Olive Garden for a late Mothers' Day lunch. I wasn't feeling so hot and didn't do justice to it.

I kept waiting and waiting for Mike James to show up; he finally did, about 4 p.m. and we agreed he would come back on Monday and we would FINISH the sprinkler system. (I hope.) There are so many weeds growing in the garden, and I have such a tussle keeping up with them. I can't wait until I get the landscaping under control.

I read a bunch of Stephen Jay Gould.

: Vintage Gould: "...Why should intellectual content correlate with difficulty of physical access-- a common supposition that must rank among the silliest of romantic myths? Some of the greatest discoveries in the history of science have occurred in libraries or resided, unsuspected for decades, in museum drawers. By all means, take that dogsled across the frozen wastes if no alternative exists, but if the A train also goes to the same destination, why not join Duke Ellington for a smoother ride?"

This concept appeals to me because I am 100% Taurus.

: Gretel STOLE four raw (unbaked) German pretzels from Susanna's big baking bash last night. Then we spent a gaseous, yeasty night, culminating in a desperate wee-hours dash for the garden door. Toward dawn, a gentle rain began-- thin, grey, and cool.

: There are no words for the sadness I feel today. Stephen Jay Gould dead -- dead, oh alas!-- of cancer at the young age of 60. I think it's fitting that I am reading some of his work-- worshiping at his rhetorical altar, if you will, at this momentous time, and knowing that he is one of the outstanding rhetoricians of all eternity. (This from someone who has sampled the lot of them.) Stephen Jay Gould is the fourth member of the Trinity. "Now, he belongs to the ages."

: Gould: "Nature always bats last."

: Yawwwnnnn. It's so slow in here-- but my last shift in the computer lab for the forseeable year. I was reduced to playing scrabble after looking at Susie's Romania scrapbook over and over. Finally, when I had fifteen minutes left to work, a student came in with a review he wrote of the spring Pops Concert and asked me to proofread it.

Now, off to Home Depot to buy black widow killer and snail killer. The snail is cute, but he ate my lily!

: I just finished my evaluation meeting with the Dean-- got slightly dinged for having blue hair. Oh well. Student comments were positive. I've turned in my grades via WWW, and hopefully they went. Almost DONE with this semester!

: Yesterday Susanna and I went to the temple where she was baptized for a bunch of family members. Afterward we had salads at Earth, Wind, and Flour, where we haven't been since Leonard was at UCLA.

Today we worked all day in the yard, mostly on sprinkler system and anti-dog fences, and I got really sunburned.

: Hooray for Susanna! She beat me at Scrabble, 339-313.

However, I won yesterday at the Davises, with everyone ganged up on me.

: Worked all day on the dog fences and STILL didn't finish. Perhaps tomorrow will be the magic day. Susanna has been a great deal of help.

I made squash from my garden for dinner, and also cucumber/red onion in vinegar. This is the way my grandma always made a nice summer cucumber "salad" and now Susanna informs me she never liked it.

Quote: "He [John Bull] was captured and taken to St. Albans, where he was tried, hanged, and then drawn and quartered. It was a very exciting month for him."

: Gadzooks, it's HOT here! I wish I had more time. "finished" the dog fences. That is, until she finds another way in. I planted a bunch of zinnias and other summer flowers--just threw the seeds at the ground. I need to go out tonight and work on the sprinkler system.

: The girls and I went last night and watched "Spirit." It was lame, though the animation was good. Actually, it went beyond lame, to Way Lame.

Then I came home and had a lenghthy dream in which I opened a store on H Street with Jill Langley, Diane Nagel, and other such folks. It was called "Creativity Run Amok." The dream exhausted me.

: Susanna, Rachel, and I spent the day helping out at Robyn Jackman's wedding reception. A high point was when Haleigh Blankenship, who was one of my students last year and whose mom works with Reid, came to say hi to me.

Rachel and I put up the rose trellis, but I didn't have what it takes to plant anything that needed planting or work on sprinklers, or pull any weeds. I was going to take a nap, but the Thiessens came over. Now I have to hurry to get ready to leave to go visit Aunt Jeuney, and the girls are gone, so Gretel and I are alone.

I wish I didn't always feel so rotten. Sometimes I just think I should give up.

: Yesterday, I got up at 5 a.m. and made the arduous trip to the end of the world to visit Aunt Jeuney. It took twelve hours, airport to airport, which I suppose is better than driving here, but my word! You could drop off the continent here. I read a lot of Stephen Jay Gould and then bought two gardening magazines at SEATAC. Couldn't sleep much because the plane was too crowded. When I got here, I read an A.S. Byatt short story in this week's New Yorker--good to see she is producing. I didn't have what it takes to explain A.S. Byatt to Aunt Jeuney, but instead recommend this writer to posterity.

I lugged a blank scrapbook with mounting paper and page protectors all the way here, but it isn't going to be adequate for what we want to do, so we are going to the craft store and to visit the local Creative Memories lady today.

: We started on the scrapbooks. Aaaaah! Pictures out of control! Aunt Jeuney and I went to the craft store and I bought her an assortment of paper, and I called Linda Sparks for the number of a local Creative Memories consultant, who, it turned out, lives even MORE in the boondocks. We got lost a buncha times trying to find our way back into the remote hills, but we saw a lot of cows and trees. The oxeye daisies are blooming everywhere-- fields full!-- and we saw a herd of elk(!) I bought a mahogany album with two sets of refill pages, the Heritage stickers, and the outdoor stickers. We also went to Staples to get acid free paper to print scanned stuff on.

I managed to make one scrapbook page, and I laid out another, but AJ didn't want me to glue anything down until she gets the pictures scanned. Poor Aunt Jeuney backed into a backhoe in the CM consultant's yard (did I remark we were in hillbillyland?) and crunched out her rear window. I spent a long time cleaning that up, and there went the day.

: I made a couple of scrapbook pages, and slept a lot. Aunt Jeuney made cioppino, a traditional "family" feast dish. I feel like I'm not getting a lot done. Tried to call Susanna, but no answer.

: Vilfredo Pareto: Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself.

: Aunt Jeuney got me up before dawn because her dog, MacDuff, was acting terribly ill. When I went into him, I knew he was dying-- dilated pupils, cyanotic lips and tongue, labored breathing. I sat with him while she dressed and called the vet and prayed that it wouldn't be too hard for him. We stroked and spoke softly to him as he gasped and twitched, and then his little heart stopped.

I was really sad for Aunt Jeuney and tried to make things easier for her-- calling Uncle Bill and Max Green, wrapping him up in an old flannel, carrying him out to the car, stripping the bed to clean it up. It was a very hard day because she's had him for fifteen years. However, I think his last evening with us was happy-- he stuck close by us as we played UNO and ate some chicken. I was very glad that Aunt Jeuney didn't have to go through this alone-- it was so hard for me to come home without Misty-- was it only last month?

We do get attached to the little furballs.

: I added the Pareto quote to my weblog because I've been meditating on the nature of Truth. Truth, in my opinion, is highly overrated. Give me a good story any day. Truth, in fact, is often unpleasant-- adjectives that describe it are such as "unvarnished" "naked". Ugh. Truth is only perception anyhow--how can one tell what "really happened?" One can't. All experience is filtered through the individual's cognition.

People who cling to THE TRUTH often miss the rich tapestry of life, to which we are opened by risk of the possibility of error (another effect of perception.) Much of universal beauty has a basis in a personalizing interpretation. What do you want to view, a Rodin statue or a clinical anatomy text? (I'm thinking of "The Kiss"-- no kiss was ever really like that!)

It's the stories that add dimension to our lives. The empiricist lives like the characters in "Flatland"; no depth, no meaning. I like the Hebrew vision of multi-layered truth: allegorical truth, typological truth, universally symbolic truth, cultural truth, historical truth, personal meaning.

I'm not talking about "lies" here (another one-dimensional construct), not malice, not deception. I'm talking about assimilation, personalization, interpretation. Stories.

Without the "willing suspension of disbelief", how poor would be our psyche-- no messengers speeding along the rainbow, no magic mistletoe twig, no angel bearing a book of engraved golden plates. Alma says the first step is to be willing to believe, and after this first step, the seed will grow.

Goethe: "A false hypothesis is better than none at all. The fact that it is false does not matter so much. However, if it takes root, if it is generally assumed, if it becomes a kind of credo admitting no doubt or scrutiny, that is the real evil, one which has endured through the centuries."

: Aunt Jeuney wanted to put up her House For Sale sign, so I went out to clear the bracken along the road so passersby (who? Moose? Meese? joggiingsuitedlocals?) would have a clear view of sign and phone number. Bracken is a fascinating plant. It has a fern leaf, but is on a stalk. I'm sure it's an asparagus relative back somewhere. I wonder if Euell Gibbons ever sampled any of the little fuzzy curling tendrils it puts out?

I chopped it with a tool Aunt Jeuney had in her garage, a sort of Demon Dog Meets the Hedge Clippers cum golf club, and it came right down, and we piled it in the back of the Camry wagon and took it to the green waste dump, where I rescued the roots of someone's overgrown rhubarb.

All this tool needs is some glued on googly eyes to make it resemble the cartoon crows from the 60's Mad Magazine.

: Aunt Jeuney and I went to lunch at an herb farm, where I bought little pots of lavender and thyme at the gift shop. The owner had nosegays of sea lavender drying in bunches strung on wires across the ceiling over the cash register. I remarked that he must have the highest statice in town. Then we went to a rock shop, owned by an interesting little old guy, and I got a geode with little pewter miners inside and a book of Utah roadside geology. After that, I took AJ to see The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which we throughly enjoyed.

: Today we went down a windy Washington road to meet my cousin Whit and Suzy at a Denny's of not monolithic proportions and bring Sarah back to stay with us.

I think I have a migraine.

Sarah is trying to make huge bubbles with a hoopywandfrisbee sort of arrangement, but they pop very soon. This is a sore point, as the bubble brew had been mixed with a longivity additive. I told Sarah and AJ they need to learn to enjoy their evanescence.

: I slept most of the day yesterday, but don't remember any dreams. I do know I had some. I think I have sort of programmed myself to not remember dreams very often out of irritation with Roger, who used to wake me up every morning with an inane recitation of his dreams. They never even had any interesting symbolism.

I haven't remembered a dream since the one about the Creativity Shop last week; however, I think that one was significant.

I always dream in color, which I read is highly unusual, but what can you do?

: I taught Sarah how to play UNO, and she immediately became the tyrannosaurus rex of UNO, although I did win the first hand. Look out world!

: Wigeon is fixing to take me out for the thirteenth time in a row-- he's over a hundred points ahead of me. I don't know why I keep rematching with him; I must have a hidden streak of the vocabulary masochist.

Hmmmm. I wonder if he could beat Leonard?

: I am reading a book from Aunt Jeuney's shelf, "How To Get The Love You Want" by Harville Hendrix. His propositions make a lot of sense, but where does it leave you if your chosen partner doesn't want to "work on the relationship?" Bleah.

Sarah beat me at UNO over breakfast. We took her back to her momma today, so the house is more calm. On the way there we stopped by Whitney Gardens nursery and I bought some unusual ground covers. They gave me an agricultural inspection sticker in case I get stopped in Los Angeles with a suitcase full of plant material; the wording on this sticker is a masterpiece of rhetorical vacuity. AJ and I drove through Burger King and took the scenic route home. Actually, every road around here is the scenic route. I pontificated about the geological stupidity of the shorefront homesites we saw.

I cleaned up Sarah's scrapbook mess and took a nap, but was awakened by my cell phone. It was ANOTHER wrong number asking for Elvira. I explained that I was not Elvira. I think I was acting a bit groggy still because the caller extrapolated that she wanted Elvira Aurelia. This is really really weird, because that is the name of my great grandmother who died in about 1887. Cell phone signals are relative, I suppose. Eddies in the time/space continuum.

Who's Eddie?

I called Anne to talk about the Hendrix book[she gave it to Aunt Jeuney] and she told me that David is engaged. Are there no limits to the insanity?

: Aunt Jeuney and I read Tennyson, Keats, and Dorothy Parker over dinner, which I did not keep down very long. I spent half the night throwing up and the rest of the night dreaming I was arguing with Rachel. RACHEL???? She's always been my rock. Perhaps I sublimated her into something else, like maybe the issue of Gretel pulling on the leash. Arrrgh. Rachel pulling on the leash, going off to London for six whole months! That must be it. She doesn't keep a weblog, so it's hard to know what she's doing, and I don't like that.

Hoooray I get to go home tomorrow and see my babies and sleep in my own bed. It's going to take a twelve hour ordeal to get there though.

: Aunt Jeuney has all KINDS of stuff in her basement. I stood there saying "sell it, sell it!" and "out! out!"

: I am home, finally, and exhausted. I was subjected to the biggest security search I have ever experienced in Port Angeles. The dude made me drink out of my water bottle. I was going to make some smart remark, and then I remembered the fallout from my last wisecrack-- when the INS stopped me in the middle of the night outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and it occurred to me that even if he was joking "Take a sip of this" it would not behoove me to be sly.

Then the inspector on the x-ray machine was freaking out about my suitcase full of plants. I forbore to remark that I was only smuggling drugs, and showed them the meaningless agricultural inspection sticker they gave me at the nursery. It's The Sticker That Says Less Than Nothing, but they seemed happy with it, since it was [allegedly] issued by the State of Washington. The travel was an ordeal, with layovers, plane changes, and lugging my bags, and the bus trip home from Los Angeles took several hours because of traffic. As the bus driver said, "This freeway is tighter than tuna in a tin!" It was the I-405, so what can you expect? Yesterday we had a small dinner party with the missionaries, the Thiessens, Duane Black, and Susanna's friend Jon. I made pasta salad (mostly from the garden) and zucchini (from the garden) and I grilled chicken breast. There was momentary panic at 5 p.m. because the grill wouldn't turn on, so I made a frantic trip over to U-Haul to buy more propane and that did the trick.

Today I did calligraphy rock labels for all the plants I brought back from Washington and planted them all. Whew! It's HOT out there!

: Dreaming things: Last night it was me taking the SAT-9 exam (for heaven's sake!) under very adverse conditions. No desks in the classroom, just two broken down saggy old couches and fifty other people. Some of the other students had their parents there, complete with sniveling toddlers, and the TA started playing some ghastly music, to which I objected, and she turned it down, but not off. I sat on the floor on an avocado green shag carpet that was filthy.

My mother was the teacher proctoring the exam. I complained to her, and she said "Poor Franny!" but refused to do anything about it. The baby whined louder, and there were no bathrooms. We also weren't allowed scratch paper, and the ballpoint pen they gave me was missing the little spring. The two #2 pencils I had dutifully brought were confiscated.

In the dream, I worked the first problem, a ratio and proportion one, and I knew my answer was absolutely correct. I knew all my answers would be right. I worked it with a nub of pencil I found and then went over my figures holding the pen down with my thumb, and then I thought "this is ridiculous! I'm NOT going to do this." I took my test booklet and tossed it at the principal and informed her I was sueing her and the school under the ADA for improper accomodations.

The principal (a principal of my acquaintance who shall remain nameless) begged me to reconsider, since my scores would raise the dismal school average, and I stalked out.

: http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/06/17/dog.mauling.decision/index.html The overturning of the murder2 verdict in this case has us up in arms in this household. Reading the article, it looks like the motion for a new trial was made on the argument of error by the judge, but gimmeabreak.

I can't imagine disliking someone enough to stand there and watch them get ripped apart by a beast. I also can't imagine anyone being sick and perverted enough to train a dog to be that mean in the first place, but heaven knows there are enough humans out there who are.

: Rachel and I went to WalMart (horrors!) to buy stuff for our upcoming camping trip, and to Somewhere In Time to try to find out the provenance of a painting Leonard liked. The rest of the day I spent doing genealogy. No more playtime until next week.

: Sloppy Joes for a crowd: I spent this afternoon cooking and browned 40 pounds of hamburger with the eager supervision of Gretel. I used half barbecue sauce and half ketchup (but had to spice it up with a little brown sugar.) Also bought a #10 can of diced sweet red peppers and one of corn and a thing of dehydrated onions, which I soaked in a half gallon of water to rehabilitate them. I had never heard of canned diced red peppers, but they really snazzed up the sloppy joe mix. I would have put a #10 can of tomatoes in it too, but got outvoted by the shopping committee. (Susanna and Cheryl Settlemeyer.)

: Getting ready to go camping--gathering up all the little things. Whew. Next summer, I am determined I am going to go to Canada to see Dinosaur Provincial Park, and so all my reconstruction of the camping aparatus will pay off.

: Just shoot me. However, I think I got most of the stuff for the Ward Campout into my car. Darn that D.; I was expecting him to drive his pickup up with the firewood and folding tables at least, but instead he's going on a road trip with his sons.

I bought a little cartop carrier thing to go on the roof rack and all the stuff I can lift that high: tent, sleeping bags, pillows, quilts is up there.

Coming back will be easier without all that food and firewood.

: Ward Campout and BEARS and oh my. Our ward campout was a howling success. We had about 60 people in the end; I did all the cooking, but I don't mind. Everyone had fun doing "nothing." We played some vicious rounds of UNO and I learned a new vocabulary word--"scumsucker" from John Amundsen, Sr. ohhhh yeah. The teenagers took my bag of games and did their thing in the meadow, and lots of people who needed extra fellowship got it. It was a really neat experience. A whole crowd stayed up half the night doing the marshmallow and story thing around the campfire-- I didn't. Rachel and Gretel and I went to beddy bye by about 10 p.m. and left them to their own devices.

The ranger had warned us about bears. I do believe him, having camped so much in Sequoia, but I wasn't worried too much because we were a big noisy crowd and I had the dog. However, the dog kept waking up in the night telling me she heard growling. Yep, sure enough. Lots of growling, but it was one of the brethren snoring in his tent.

My main mistake was not taking anything to throw up into to bed with me, and when I would go outside in the night to do it, Gretel would have to go with and then try to eat it! Ewwwww! I kept telling her that if the drugs are that bad for me, they've gotta be worse for her.

I gave Gretel a Dramamine before heading up the mountain but she threw up anyhow, so my car is really nasty now. I'm going to wait until after girls camp to get it cleaned though. Coming down was better, and today her appetite seems back. Mine too, more or less.

My baby leaves for London in four days and the house is a MESS!

The Giants are playing the Dodgers this year for Mormon night and I've discovered I'm not alone in the world! We've got several ward members going together to scream for San Francisco. WAHHOOOOO! A good bit of news is I found out the Jackmans are also huge Giants fans and the boys have been raised according to the True Light. See, I told you those kids are perfect! That Tom Jackman reminds me so much of Dad. I just adore him.

I'm going to break the rules and take Gretel up to girls camp. The stake (new camp director) has mentioned no animals. I hate to be the kind of person who always says "In East Stake we always did it this way blah blah blah" but in East Stake the Stake brought dogs to protect from bears. Even so, one came so close to our ward's site that it clawed my big tent (right next to where Susanna then age 14, was sleeping) and the girls spent the rest of the week petrified and crammed in the with leaders. One of the leaders heard the ruckus and thought it was a raccoon, so she went out to say "shoo!" and it stood up and just stared her down. I had to buy a new tent after that. [Actually, this is sort of a lie. I didn't buy a new big tent until the beared one blew away and got fatally battered that Thanksgiving we spent in Death Valley.] This stake has never had a bear, and I get the idea they think the whole thing is apocryphal. I wish I had my old shredded tent to show them! So I figure if I get up there and they say I can't have the dog, I'll just move out and stay by myself at the BLM campground down the road. Hah. (Road being an optimistic term here, you understand.)

Had my TR interview with Stake Presidency today; they know I'm a troublemaker anyhow from the Chain Saw Incident.

: So. Yesterday Ben Amundsen and Weston Byington came over and levelled the back yard and tamped it down, and today after work they are coming over to set the pavers for the chessboard. Weston is anxious to play Leonard when he comes to visit, but of course I won't have the yard size chessmen by then, so it will have to be in the house.

Rachel and I are frantically cleaning the house in preparation for her bon voyage party tonight.

: Sad. Sad. Sad. My brother-in-law Larry Richardson died very suddenly today of a heart attack. He is the same age as my little sister Anne. Rachel and I spent the afternoon with the family. All of us are quite undone. Rachel says, "I guess that's what happens when you have a big loving family; you get lots of big horrible losses."

It broke my heart to see the folks. It is said that the worst of life's events is to bury your own child, and they have now lost three-- my husband, Roy, then Helen, and now Larry. Plus they know they are losing me.

I feel as though I've been wrung out and hung out to dry.

: I am back from taking my baby to LAX to catch her plane for London. We both bawled. The ticket agent was from the UK; absolutley ADORABLE!!! The house seems so empty, with first Susie leaving and now Rachel. I'm exhausted and don't know if I'll make the temple dedication. Obviously, I am not going to get there for the 4 p.m. one.

I am taking care of Raji for the Thiessens while they are on vacation; she sure is happy to see me when I go over there. What a fluffball.

I accidentally set off the burglar alarm in my Pathfinder and didn't have the dealie to turn it off, but fortunatly a woman saw I was struggling and showed me how to over ride it. I really do need to order an owners manual for that vehicle!

: I got a lot done today-- I think? Took some stuff back to Wal Mart, and bought a few new clothes from the Target clearance rack. I needed them because my old clothes are falling off me. Then I cleaned out my closet and labeled a bunch of stuff for garage sale. Cleaned out the linen closets and what I hope is the last of the Mistypee.

I started to hang cupboard doors but I think they got mixed up and I have put some in the wrong places, and then the feller I did a big favor to-- let him paint doors for money so he could move to SLC-- had done such a crappy job I got discouraged and gave up.

Oh, also I unpacked my fabric boxes. I did not cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war, but the havocdog wreaked it anyhow with my elastic spools while I was doing the above.

Well, off to feed the Rajipooker and then early to bed.

: Leonard is here, and it was too hot to do yard work. Too darn hot. We went to eat at Kento's and then started planning next summer's road trip to fossil sites. I spent several hours on the ward newsletter. I put in a picture of people playing cards on the ward campout. Maybe they will release me. D'ya think?

: Leonard and I dropped Gretel off at the vet's for a bath, and then we went to Mount Vernon florist to buy "flowers" for the funeral tomorrow. We bought plants-- a big spathephyllium for Kathy, and a basket garden for Rosalie, and signed both cards "from Roy's family." The florist has sold all his clocks. He said, I don't know what happened-- I sold every one of them! *I* know what happened. People asked me where I got my wonderful clocks and I told them, "Mt. Vernon Florist" and they went and bought him out. I'll have to stop sending people there now.

Next, Leonard and I have a lot of errands to do-- Grocery shopping for his birthday, wedding gift shopping, girls camp shopping.

I have GOT to pay bills!!!!

We are thinking of going to visit Rachel in London over Thanksgiving.

: Yesterday. Larry's funeral. What can I say.

Had a nice visit with Linda Leary and two of my ex-sisters-in-law. I do think it indicative of a sweet natured man when all his exwives can come to his funeral and cry just as hard as his wife.

Leonard and I went out to the ranch afterwards and ate funeral meats, catered by the original Jacalito's in Lamont, (muy sabroso) and saw Brian and Tina's new baby, little Sam. We left earlyish, not having much to contribute to the conversation, which centered around the farming of stone fruit.

I grilled chicken legs for our dinner so I could see how long and how much [etc] for when I grill them for Leonard's birthday party. I immediately lost my dinner, barely making it to the kitchen sink, and most embarassing of all, the Thiessens called while I was throwing up to see how their cat is doing. Leonard answered the phone and told them she is fine. Actually, I believe she is lonely for her mom and dad.

Late afternoon, received a visit from Cindy Ellsworth and Jonell Amundsen.

I hardly slept at all last night, due to the ambient temperature (despite air conditioning). I spent a lot of the night reading British poetry, William Wordsworth through T.S. Eliot, and enjoyed and understood it a lot more than I did in college.

: Visitng with Leonard and Sumana, doing yard and house work, getting ready for Leonard's big blow out on Monday and then to leave for Girls Camp on Tuesday. I can hardly get near the computer and still need to do my syllabi! Always tomorrow I guess.

We went to take care of Raji yesterday and she had (fallen?) out of the kitchen window. Poor thing didn't know what to do, but she came when I called her. I don't think she's ever been outside before. After the Raji trip we noticed neighbor Lurine was out, and asked if the tortoise could come out to play. We lugged him out to Lurine's front lawn and I went in to get him a rose, which he devoured. Then I got him a bunch of squash and squash blossoms. He was in tortoise heaven. I can't WAIT to show him to Atticus!

: I'm back from the campout, exhausted and wayyyy behind schedule. Have to get a Costco card tomorrow and make dog food, mail packages, and mail a map to Alyson. Also type something for contractor. Busy day ahead.

: Damn I'm good. Chris Pullen coming over on a pretext for me to type something. (There are things a lady won't do for money). I'm going to make him stake my tree. Gary Davis hitting by email. All I wanted was ten bags of ice for the second ward fruit booth, but since he was offering I put in my order for a million bucks and a red convertible.

: Won a Scrabble game. Ate a t-bone. Took a nap. Solved the world's problems. The big problem I have now is my syllabi and lack thereof.

: Hold yer hat against yer chest. Dillydilly was dead in the water this morning. He was fine yesterday. How does one know when a fish is fine, anyhow? One does not, but he swam okay.

On to the syllabi.

: I finished redoing my ACDV 68 worksheets, took a worm sample to the vet, visited the Creative Memories lady, ran around for Rachel's eurail pass, went to grocery store to buy nasty things to make food for Jellybean. Bought ranch dip and dramamine for Rachel. Whew.

for supper I made a smoothie out of fresh peach and banana, frozen raspberry and vanilla soymilk. Wish the day were over, but I have liver and fish cooking for Jellyfood. Also the spectre of ACDV 50 hanging over my head.

Tomorrow, I am determined to finish syllabi and get that rotten box off to Rachel.

Vet has not called back.

: Ideal places to read books: The Obras Completas of Jorge Luis Borges when holed up on an upper floor of an ancient British hotel in downtown Buenos Aires.

Especially the stories. The stories are haunting and Buenos Aires is haunted.

Don't Cry for Me Argentina.

: I got to work today and someone I am TRYING VERY HARD to have a good attitude about had STOLEN my desk. And my computer had disappeared. Ask me about how happy I am regarding that gambit.

: I was up until midnight working on the ACDV 50 class worksheet packet and semester calendar, then up much earlier than I wanted to be today taking it to the copy shop. Bleah. However, I have the same teaching assignment for spring, so should be a snap from here on out.

I think I need a nap.

I took Rachel's package to the post office and there was nobody in line. All postal workers were twiddling. (I betcha thought that is what they do anyhow!) As soon as I plunked my box on the counter, the lobby inexplicably filled up.

I DO need a nap.

: Yay Hooray! Shannon is having a BABY in February!!!!! It's about time we got some good news around here.

: So, I'm doing the Venetian Plaster on my fireplace frantically, trying to get it done so Jonathan and I can build the mantle when I go to Utah this week. The instruction booklet has a nicely manicured lady just smoooooothing the stuff onto the wall. Guess what? IT's A LIE! Gaaaah. Plus Jon sez he misread his Promised Valley performance schedule and has to be on stage every night this week-- very little time for woodworking. Frances's rules of remodeling: It costs twice as much, takes twice as long, and is twice as hard as you think it will.

: We are having a nice visit with the Matkins, but Atticus is certainly a busy little boy. Jellybean is terrified! Alyson and I are frantically doing her wedding scrapbook and we are leaving for Utah at dawn in the morning. Kevin Smith is going with us. I have to do the Venetian Plaster topcoat before we go.

: Alyson, Atticus, Kevin Smith and I drove to Utah without incident, except for the pouring rain that greeted us as we entered Utah Valley. I spent the night at Susanna's apartment and then off to Salt Lake City in the morning, where we went to the family history library. I located a book of Oregon Trail gravesites, hoping to find some insight into the parentage of Cora May Fee (one of Uncle Carl's ancestors, who was found as an orphaned toddler on the trail.) No luck. The book was really sad.

We went to some JD Call reunion activities, including seeing the house at 1902 South Fourth East that great grandpa Call acquired as partial payment of a legal fee.

At the potluck David Oman entertained us with some WAC Bryan history and then I told the story of Maranda Cazier Bryan and her cat, which set off a rash of cat stories, so then I told the one about how Aunt Margaret saved Char.

: Jonathan and I went to Home Depot and bought mouldings for my fireplace mantel. Hooray! It's going to be just beautiful.

: I'm staying at Susie's. I went to church with her. It was a nice meeting. I am reading King Leopold's Ghost. I'm wading through it, much like Stanley wading up the cataracts of the Congo.

: I am back from Utah, having made the arduous two day trip with Brianne Moses in charge of tunes. We stayed the night at the Casablanca resort and won $30 on #26 in Keno, which Brianne then spent in the arcade while I lost half my nickels at Frog Prince. I didn't even get to pick a lily pad, no not once.

Arrived home to find all the betta fish dead. Gretel was very, very glad to see her momma, as was Jellybean, but they both kept me up way too much in the night. I was going to dig in on the yard today but think I'll rest instead. I also need to unload the car and so forth.

and finish the Venetian Plaster so I can get some one to help me carry the fireplace mantel in.

: I pulled weeds and sprayed Roundup in the yard until I was exhausted and then realized I was doomed, so I put in a call to Jesse Alvarez. I worked on Uncle Carl's genealogy, and started to read An Old-Fashioned Girl by Lousyia May Apricot, which book I was only familiar with from the Authors card game of childhood fame. It kind of bites, very preachy and nineteenth century.

: Seen on a commercial van: The Solar Energy Company. "Powered by the sun." Duh0h.

: I suppose I should look up somewhere how long it was between the time Alcott wrote Part One of An Old Fashioned Girl and Part Two. (It's obvious from the preface she added to the book.) Part Two has decidedly "bluestocking" overtones.

: I've recently begun to notice smells in dreams (good ones!) perfumes, flowers, food, etc. How strange is that? Had a dream last night in which I was buying a huge Mary Kay compact full of gorgeous colors (wouldn't be the first time that has happened!) and also a bunch of richly woven, colorful, and highly textured scarves. I suppose it all means I wish my house were clean!

: I cleaned the house, hired a gardener, painted some of the mantle, and received a visit from Denise Mahaney, who is a member of my list in Las Vegas. Also, I worked on Robert and Sandi's scrapbook and the agenda for Ward Activities Committee.

: New family member--Xochitl. I will write more later, but I want Susie to be surprised.

I cleaned out the fishpond and fell flat on my face in it-- that algae covered liner is SLIPPERY! I also repotted the Egyptian papyrus and the cattails-- divided the cattails in fact. I made a Mediterranean style fountain by drilling a terra cotta pot and hooking it up to the filter. They were selling fountains I liked at Home Depot for $96 and I thought I could do better myself using a cheap pot.

I also pulled lots of weeds and hope it isn't futile.

: I spent two solid nights half awake craving a Big Mac (of all things!), so Doris Jackman and I went to Mickey D's for lunch and I got a #1 meal with a Coke float. I ate all the Big Mac; Dr. Amin would have been proud of me!

The Jackmans have a new socially responsible car that is a gasoline/electric hybrid Honda. It's really spooky because you can't hear the engine-- no big bad roar from the carburator at all.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel on Robert's scrapbook. Finally!

: My anniversary.

: Today was an extremely productive day. I got up early to let the washing machine repair guy in. Then Tyson Smith came over and we got the painting done. Westin Byington came to help pull weeds and I paid him by making cookies and mending his suit pants. Then, while I had the machine threaded with dark thread, I mended Rachel's jeans. After that I switched to white thread and mended my sheet.

Once the washer repairman left I started doing the laundry backup. It's 8 p.m. and I am still not finished with that.

: I've been having a very nice visit with Joseph Walch (My newphew, not his grandpa). We went to see Men In Black II, out to eat a couple of times, and he helped Westin Byington with the weeds in the back yard. The weeds are still a disaster. Susie came home yesterday and decided to go to Texas with Joseph, so I'm alone again. Lots of stuff to do though.

I found a Phillip Pullman novel I hadn't read on Rachel's bookshelf. The Broken Bridge. It doesn't look like she has read it either.

I gave Xochitl some catnip and got a kick out of seeing her say yes to drugs.

: Same old same old. Pulling weeds. Doing genealogy. Trying to recover from the summer before fall bowls me over. I have to leave in about fifteen minutes to take care of the Second Ward Splash. The missionaries have promised (threatened, actually) to get me really wet.

: Xochitl = little kitty = big troublemaker.

Yesterday the Poulsons drove up to see me. I fed them barbecue chicken pita sandwiches and we played Scrabble. {I won}. LOP has agreed to speak at my funeral.

I've had a man here helping with the weeds; the yard is starting to look better.

: Meija Tiersma is here weedwhacking.

I had to buy a new printer and can't get it to work now. Gaaaaaah! Also, I don't know where the little kitty is hiding.

Oh, there it is.

: I'm finally back among the living-- my computer died and Leonard and Bro. Jackman and I had to practically stand on our heads to get functional again. It's going to be weeks before I'm back to subnormal however. We lost everything on the old hard drive. Drat.

Rachel is officially an adult. What does that mean? It means she's been gone so long that I moved my sewing machine into her bedrooom. I'm making myself some clothes and a pair of pajamas for Jonathan. After that I need to start on Christmas.

: Today I got my blood done, taught my class, typed roll sheets and file folder labels, sewed half a pair of pajamas, and sprayed Roundup. It was only 104 degrees out there, and I didn't do as much as I would have otherwise. Now, to walk the dog and retire for the evening.

: Yesterday was busy. I got invited to lunch by the Nations and dinner by the Beans. I finished reading Carpe Jugulum, scanned missionary pictures, and Amanda came over to say goodbye.

Dumb me. I KNEW Amanda gets 10% off at Target; should have taken her with me to buy the cover for my down comforter.

Today has been calm-- taught class and now am grading papers until time to go to the doctor.

: Gotta go invent something for Susanna's birthday.

I took my students to the Transfer Day displays and talked to a woman from the Culinary Institute of New York. She had a scrapbook from the coursework--fondant sheets draped over cakes, paste flowers, spun sugar bird's nest decorations for desserts. Very impressive, but the question remains-- WHY?

: I managed to haul boxes for Susie and Rachel to the post office. Also got my blood drawn for genotyping and pulled a bunch of weeds with Meija Tiersma. We yanked out the grapevine and dug up a few of the stumps because the grapevine has now accomplished its second season of producing nothing. Actually, it made ten grapes. And they have seeds. Who needs it?

I'm searching for tickets to London.

: I've been a sewing maniac. It's amazing how much a person can put out when they have a reasonable place to work. I even cleaned and oiled my machines, and knock on wood, nothing has gone wrong yet.

The little kitty is not particularly an asset to this process.

: This afternoon I went to see Signs. The men were good to look at, the movie was not as intense and scary as I had heard, and I was extremely unhappy about the deaths of German shepherd dogs as a nasty twist of plot.

: Today I spent the day working on Uncle Carl's "dead people." The PAF program printed out a 26 page list of potential problems, and I have to look up each individual and resolve the conflicts. Inconsistencies such as people getting buried before they died and getting married at age 7 and so forth.

I did leave one-- Pocohantas had a christening date "more than ten years after her birth" but I figured that one could be genuine.

: Today as I was walking in from the parking lotsome MECHA students gave me a flier for a student-led walkout in commemoration of September 16 and against the administration of this institution. I announced to my class that they would not be penalized if they chose to attend the walkout instead of class. All but three of them left.

Before Ernie Flores left, we had a discussion about the way George Bush is pre-empting congress's right to declare war. Wally Salinas noted that if Bush wants to go to war, let him go, just don't send the rest of us. The thought of Wally Salinas going to fight in Iraq really distresses me.

Lila Stevenson and I had a debate about whether the President of this college is evil or just plain dumb, and, if so [choose one of the above] which one is worse and causes more damage. We concluded that stupidity is worse than evil.

: It's officially the end of summer. Today I planted lettuce and cauliflower and a six pack of violas. Also jerryrigged a mend for the garden hose. I wish my yard weren't such a mess.

: FINALLY my email at work is working.

: Today, 21 years ago, I became the mother of a little girl. This was a really exciting event for me. "Leonard has a sister!" the doctor said. Unfortunately I didn't get to hold her right away because she had to be whisked off to ICU in an incubator (among other unfortunate occurrances in that hospital)but eventually I had a big enough fit and they brought her to me. They also forgot to (a) clean me up and (b) feed me, so when I had Rachel I went to a different hospital.

I planted blue fescue in the pots for centerpieces at the Fall Chili Cookoff. And sewed. And tried to do some work. Missing a dll in the gradebook program.

: I booked and purchased plane tickets for Leonard and me to visit London. What an ordeal, involving typing in everything from my mother's maiden name to phone and credit card numbers. I'm glad I didn't wait any longer to get tickets; the plane was getting full. Also I forgot to pick seats for the return trip and can't figure out how to do it now I signed out. Guess we'll sit where they want us to.

: Today when I looked in the pond I thought I saw Quasi. I haven't seen him for months and months and thought a cat or bird got him. However, the only fantail I saw did not have the dark patch on top of his head. If it is Quasi, then where is Mohawk? Too much carotene in his diet?

At Costco they have two aisles devoted to Christmas stuff. Garbage like skater music boxes, light up reindeer, and revolving snowmen. My primary objection is aesthetic, but it's the middle of September fercryinoutloud! We haven't even had Halloween yet.

: I didn't get a lot today today other than cleaning house. The large packaages of hamburger I bought for Gretel bled all over the inside of the refrigerator (and clotted!) and it took me quite a while to clean that up. Also, I did a lot of laundry and mopped floors.

The missionaries and Joel and Cindy Ellsworth came to dinner. I made meatloaf, made very delicious by the addition of oregano. (Must remember) I had meant to sew but didn't get around to it.

Robert says Sandi has volunteered to come take care of me at the end, so that is a relief.

: Today, hmmm. Sewed. Did yard work. Way behind in my genealogy homework.

: Sentimental goodbyes: Duane Black is moving to Colorado. I'm sorry to see him go because he's been such a good friend, but I'm happy that he is happy.

: Today I went to work, and the students turned in a gazillion papers. It took me until 3 p.m. to grade them all. I was worried the whole time I was gone because Xochitl wasn't around this morning, didn't come when I called her, and I couldn't find her. She was in the dining room when I got home, and I lectured her.

Yeeeech! Gretel just threw up.

I started sewing my new dress. Navy blue with white polka dots.

: My new home teacher, Darron Nilssen, came to visit me. He is going to CSUB to be an archaeologist when he grows up. In another lifetime, I want to do that too!

I finished making my navy blue polka dot dress. Not 100% happy with the way it hangs.

Now I'm going over to the family history library to try to recover some of the genealogy I lost in the Great Hard Drive Wipeout.

: This morning when I got up to go to the bathroom before dawn, I came back and there was a DOG in my BED! She knew she wasn't supposed to be there too, and tried to make herself all small and invisible.

Fat chance.

One thing about this puppy, she is always looking for an opportunity to push against the boundaries.

: Today I was reasonably productive, although I didn't want to be particularly. I mailed stuff, put money in Rachel's account, deposited my disability check, bought groceries, paid bills.

I went down to Hancocks to see about buying a quilting frame and couldn't bring myself to spend the money. I did buy a new red tomato pincushion, the old one having been Gretelized (and now there is sawdust all over the house!)

I've spent the last two days intensively downloading my Ancestral File from Family Search. I think the Church needs to hire better programmers. I'm not saying I could do any better, but what I am saying is that there are those who can do better Out There, and considering the emphasis, it makes sense for the Church to provide the best. Bleah.

: I started to read Tuchman's The Guns of August. I tried to read it once before, years ago, and never made it through. I think I'll be more successful this time, primarily because I am determined, but also because I'm a better reader now than I was way back.

: Today I went to the temple and did work for Helen.

This afternoon, Gretel and I went out to the Kern River Parkway to run and snuffle in squirrel holes. I think she had a really good time, and she is also not as tired as I am. Maybe I'll go to bed early.

: The Guns of August is horridly overwritten. If that's what it takes to win a Pullitzer Price, you may keep it. I'm finding it even more irritating than I did when I started it back in grad school. More disheartening is there is another book after this one-- or is it TWO???

Another depressing aspect of Tuchman's opus is the insight into the minds and power plays of the various leaders of nations. Not to mention any names, but I think we've got Kaiser Wilhelm's evil twin in the White House. Those who don't read history are doomed to repeat it, and the rest of us are just doomed.

: After work today (and after haircut and buying a kitty condo at Petsmart) I worked on fixing up all my old clothes for the yard sale. My closet is bare, bare. Some of the clothes I hate to give up, but they are wayyyy too big.

I also cleaned out the computer room and moved my shoes and laundry to another closet. I felt like a real packrat-- or a crow-- carrying all that stuff around. I believe I have much less "junque" than the average person, and still I have a whole garage full. Atrophy, entrophy, and the clandestine reproduction of coat hangers.

: I am back from San Francisco, where I hung out with Leonardr and Sumana and saw the Broadway production of The Full Monty with Leonardw and his friend Jeff. I thought The Full Monty was sweet and humorous; very affirmational of different kinds of love.

Doug and Leonardr and I went to the Alemany Blvd. flea market in Doug's antique Chrysler. It was fun, and we got a few things, including a plastic dinosaur for Leonard.

Gretel cried when I left her at the kennel. She certainly was glad to see me this afternoon.

: Today was Paint the Patio Furniture day. I did the spa steps, the BBQ cart, and a loveseat as well as the top of the round table. The YM were supposed to come help, but they didn't show up until 7 p.m. and it was dark; however, they did the other loveseat and the rest of the table. The furniture looks really good and I look really bad. Am going to go try to scrub paint off now.

: Visit to Dr. Amin. My viral genotype shows the virus is resistent to all the protease inhibitors, but there are other things he wants to try. I talked him into waiting until I get back from London to start a medicine changes. I have to go in for a colonoscopy. Bleah.

: So far today I've done nothing but fill out UCLA paperwork for Rachel, write checks to UCLA, run to the post office to mail her package. It occurrs to me that I would have never been able to trust my mother to do stuff like that for me-- she just wouldn't do it, or she would "forget". She wouldn't have even been reliable to check the mail and make sure I got admitted; in fact, she would have mislaid or thrown out the letter. I look around and I see people who have supportive parents, people who have a husband who would come get them if they were in a wreck and who helps with their callings, and I wonder why I have had to go it alone all my life. This bites.

: Poor Xochitl. I was out doing maintenance in the back yard and she took a running leap right into the spa. She's used to having the cover on, but this time she did a big splashy bellyflop. What a look on her face: shock, anger, wetrattedness. She swam frantically for shore, but couldn't climb out, and I had to fish her out. I've been keeping it heated to 104 degrees, so I'm sure she thought she was going to cook up into catsoup. She's exhausted now from bathing and bathing and bathing trying to dry herself. She wouldn't let me dry her with a towel as she felt somehow that the drenching was all my fault.

: Yesterday I broke a glass stopper I have had since I was a little girl. It was on the [already proven unstable] kitchen curio shelf, stopping the top of an antique asprin bottle I also found when I was a kid. I remember when and where I found the stopper; it was in the rubble that remained of a miner's cabin in Rico, the ghost town where I grew up in Colorado. I found an old ink bottle in the same rubble. This bottle is a square one; by the time I found it ink came in round bottles and had done so for I don't know how long. There was dried ink in the bottom of the bottle when I found it, but my mother ran it through the dishwasher. I don't even know if you can buy ink in bottles anymore.

My father had bottles of India ink in a dozen different colors on his drafting table at work. He used it when he drew his topographic maps.

: I went to Costco and bought (among other things) film and a case of instant oatmeal for the London trip. I think I figured out what I hate so much about going to Costco. It's the other people-- the ones who LOVE going to Costco and who are there blocking the asiles, chitchatting, wheeling the wrong way against traffic, and generally having the time of their lives.

Did I mention that they have had aisles and aisles of Christmas stuff out for some weeks now? Absolute junk.

: People are constantly amazed at my dramatic weight loss. I tell them the truth; I got sick. "Well, you must feel much better now," they hazard. Not really.

: The church chili cookoff went really well. I was worried that nobody would show up, but more came than I had bowls for. We had to borrow some bowls from the Boy Scout closet. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time, and it wasn't too much work for me since we were organized. I don't know what I would do without Doris and Cheryl and Jill however.

: Appropos of the memory of our 1998 road trip: Captain of an airliner: "Coming up on the right, you can see the Meteor Crater, which is a major tourist attraction in northern Arizona. It was formed several hundred years ago, when a lump of nickel and iron, roughly 150 feet in diameter and weighing 300,000 tons, struck the earth at about 40,000 miles an hour, scattering white-hot debris for miles in every direction. The hole measures nearly a mile across and is 570 feet deep." From the cabin, a passenger was heard to exclaim, "Wow! It just missed the highway!"

: If anyone is wondering why they haven't heard from me, my outgoing mail is not working.

Today my hours for Spring Semester got cut in half. I guess there is no chance I'll ever get all the bills paid. Life can be so aggravating.

: I'm working very hard on Christmas projects--spending a couple of hours a day at least, and getting a lot done. I have decided that not having my bathroom finished is driving me C-R-A-Z-Y and I will do it as soon as I'm done with Christmas. The back yard is making me nuts also. So much to do.

: Marlene and I went to lunch at La Mina. Then she came over and took away some stuff I was selling in the garage sale.

Joel Ellsworth has Rachel's car, so the driveway is clear. I need to figure out where to set up the tent I'm trying to sell.

For what it's worth, my outgoing email still isn't working. Rachel, you are on a waiting list for on campus housing which you may or may not get. We'll have to find somewhere for you to live. Are you SURE your financial aid transfers? They sent another form from Riverside about where are you living. Incompetent turkeys.

: Quake! http://www.aeic.alaska.edu/

: I worked very hard today planting gazania and getting ready for garage sale tomorrow. If it rains, oh well. Marlene and I loaded up her truck with yard debris, and then Mejie came over to work this afternoon. The trash bin and the green waste bin are also full.

I hope I get rid of a lot of stuff at this garage sale because I'm sick of the mess!

: The garage sale has been survived. I took in $125 plus a plastic bag full of change that I haven't counted. Got rid of all the big ticket items except the rug. Killed two black widows. Sold two of Rachel's old costumes. I am going to go through everything and take things that have gone unsold through three sales to the Salvation Army.

Surprisingly, what sells best is my clothes.

Now, to get cleaned up for band practice. The football game tonight is going to be miserable--It is COLD! Plus we are gonna lose. Even the Californian thinks we're going to eat this one. Too bad it's homecoming.

: More appalling history from Tuchman: "One of those phrases of mysterious power which appear and disappear in hisory, leaving nothing quite the same as before, "continuous voyage" was a concept invented by the British in the course of an eighteenth century war with the French. It meant that the ultimate, not the initial, destination of the goods was the determining factor. Prematurely buried by the Declaration of London before it was quite dead, it was now disinterred like one of Poe's entombed cats with similar capacity for causing trouble."

: Poor Xochitl went up the Chinese elm tree and cried and cried and couldn't get down. I climbed the tree but couldn't get high enough. Eventually I had to get a ladder and go up after her. She was so glad to see me she purred, all the while clinging desperately to me with all claws out. It was a fairly unstable and dangerous thing to do.

I wonder if it is true that the fire department will come rescue kittens from trees?

: I finally made it through The Guns of August. It took a while because I usually only have time to read before nap on Sunday afternoon, or sometimes on Saturday. Now to start The Proud Tower.

This study reconfirms my childhood conviction that the world went to hell in 1914.

: Today in choir practice we sang every Christmas song in the hymnbook. It was really nice. I can't wait for Christmas! Yay!

: The Proud Tower is a little better written than The Guns of August, but still quite florid. It is absolutely jam packed with people and information.

: I started a Scrabble game called "Sore Losers" for Giants fans. It filled up within minutes, all people who have way over a 20 point per word average. My, my we are an intelligent lot! (sez the Giants fan who is going to get slaughtered)

: Last night I visted Ernestine Boonstoppel and she gave me a slice of real Gouda from the Netherlands. She had bought a whole wheel at Costco. This is how you say "Gouda" in Dutch: gclearyourthroathouda.

: Marlene and I are discussing the advisability of voting for Wesley Crawford, former student radical and troublemaker, for Kern Community College District school board. "They deserve him," Marlene argues. "Think of the wonderful chaos it would cause!"

Oh yes indeedy, a very tempting thought.

: Hillary and Marlene and I went to Rosemary's. I had a bananna split (*your results may vary.) It was very scanty, bananna-wise. (*may not actually contain genuine bananna). I don't think they should bill it as a bananna split unless it has an actual split bananna in it.

: Okay, okay, I give up. I'm turning the heater on.

: More Barbara Tuchman: "Like the fat man who has a thin man inside crying to get out, even the respectable have a small Anarchist hidden inside..."

: Plugging along on the Christmas projects.

: Wahooo! Jon Olson is going to take me flying over the rose fields in Wasco in his little airplane. I'm so excited!

: Snarrrrllll. The draw lab sent my genotype out to the infamous Specialty Labs and of course they messed it up. Not only did I not get results, they billed me twice for the same procedure. I called and the customer unservice guy had the nerve to tell me the procedure had been ordered twice-- once at 12:59 p.m. and once at 1 p.m. Come on.

: I got a phone call from Bill Clinton. I stammered a while before I figured out it was just one of those recorded machines. (He didn't answer when I asked how he got my number; he just kept talking). He wants me to be sure to vote tomorrow, especially for Governor Davis. Okay, Bill, I'm going to vote for the turkey, but I refuse to be happy about it.

: Yemen? YEMEN?!? What the hell are we doing lobbing missles in Yemen? That darn Bush is going to start World War III.

: I didn't get to go on my airplane ride because it is raining. Rain!!!! Hooray! We are going to try for Monday.

I did spend hours and hours on Uncle Carl's genealogy. I have gotten the list done through the letter G.

: Spent most of the day on Christmas. The rain is still coming down. I got drenched when I went out to take a meal to the Mercers. (Larry's cancer is back; I HATE cancer!)

Problem: How, on a rainy night, to walk a dog who doesn't like to get wet

: Christmas all day. I can't say much about it because then it wouldn't be a secret surprise now would it?

: A clear, beautiful day. I drove out to Minter Field and Jon Olson took me up in a restored 1946 Piper Cub. We were going to fly over Wasco and photograph the roses, but the weekend storm played havoc with the blooms, so that will have to wait until spring. Instead, we headed over the mountains and buzzed Marlene's ranch.

I showed up wearing jeans and a turtleneck, and Jon though I wouldn't be warm enough, so a WWII veteran lent me his leather aviator's jacket. It was a wonderful ride, and afterwards Jon bought me (and the old veteran) lunch. The airport cafe is called "The Fat and Sassy".

I also got to go into the restoration hanger of the air museum, and to see the plane that Jon is rebuilding. They are made of nylon cloth stretched over wooden ribs, just like model planes are. Think of flying over enemy artillary in one of those babies!

Jon took a picture of me standing by the plane in the leather jacket.

: George Will starts out with a good line this week: "It is arguable, perhaps even probable, that the wold has never known a more dangerous moment. This would be true even if the problem were only the intersection of advanced physics and moral primitivism--the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons by theologically intoxicated people obsessed with suicidal acts of spectacular negation, such as knocking down cities."

Thing is, he's not talking about modern warfare. He's talking about the AIDS epidemic.


: Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!

Xochitl is not an asset to progress here.

: Christmas, Christmas. I went to Michael's to buy yarn, and it was banked in red and green.

OK, I can understand them putting the Christmas crafts out on display; I'm working on it myself. But play the music? Even before Thanksgiving? Spreading out the season dilutes it.

: I finished running Uncle Carl's genealogy through all the "has it been done yet?" places. I have 1087 ordinances to submit.

: I've been struggling with my share of the tri-stake nativity display. This little job got dumped on the Activities Committe this year. The person in our ward who usually pulls the laboring oar on this has gotten "offended" and balks at participation, so I'm having a delegation problem since many of the sisters are "on her side."

I don't like nativity sets. I don't own one and don't want one, nor am I interested in driving over to the stake center to admire everyone else's collection. You've seen one, you've seen them all, in my book. I realize this is a lovely affair to which the community comes every year, yada, but I think the work involved far outweighs any PR benefit the church receives. Also, this year there is a MAN in charge, which means it's totally inefficient and disorganized; he changed his idea of what he wanted us to do about collecting the sets three times in the last week.

Imagine my surprise this afternoon when I went into the Salvation Army store. (Yes, there were plenty of nativities for sale.) I found, for $.75, one lonely china Wise Man who is desperately clutching at his chest and wearing an expression of surprise and pain. I call him the Heart Attack Wise Man, and I've brought him home to display on my coffee table as a political statement. I think I'll search out other odd pieces to add to him so he won't be lonely: the "Spurting Breast Milk Mary", for example, and the "Going to the Bathroom" lamb. I'm now a woman with a mission.

: I spent most of the day again combing the thrift stores in search of bread baskets for the church Christmas dinner. Yes, I also looked for nativity figurines. Results of today's trek:

19th St. Salvation Army: Baskets, a crystal bowl (25% off!) and a Nauseated Camel.

Humane Society: No baskets or figures, but I found some Christmas fabric to make into napkins to line the bread baskets with.

Chester Ave. Goodwill: Basket. Stripper Shepherd. Disgusted Dog. (I thought it was a sheep at first, but on examination I think it's a little floor mop doggie.)

White Lane Salvation Army: Baskets. Brave Angel of Fire Fighting. (I kid you not. It's holding a placard that says so.)

Hospital Auxiliary: Closed. CLOSED???? On a Saturday?

White Lane Goodwill: One basket. Breast Milk Spurting Mary (I knew she wouldn't be too hard to find.) Terrorist Wise Man. Strangling Shepherd. "I Give Up, You Should Ask Directions Next Time" Wise Man.

The American Way Thrift Store was gone. Not a trace.

So, I have thirteen baskets and need about a dozen more.

: I went to the Oswell Street Goodwill store and got about a half dozen baskets. They had a Fly-Away Wise Man, but I left him there because they wanted $2 for him. They also had a decapitated caroler, which I may have to go back and rescue, the poor thing. Probably nobody else will want him.

In other news, I wasted most of the afternoon unsuccessfully trying to resolve some of Rachel's UCLA issues. Leaving for London in a day, and I have to do all kinds of work, including next semester's syllabi.

: Back from London. I taught my class in the morning and then Jonell Amundsen drove me to LAX. This whole thing was a real pain, but it was going to be $400 more to fly out of Bakersfield. I caught a puddlejumper to San Francisco. SFO has been jerryrigged to add anti-terrorist security and I ended up having to go through the checkpoint twice because the worker pointed me the wrong way. I met Leonard at the gate and we boarded our all nighter to Heathrow.

I read a novel on the way over. Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman. It's a British novel that will be published Spring 2003; Sumana got an advance proof copy for me at a book fair. The plot has to do with a wife, married 25 years, whose husband announces one day that he has found someone else and is leaving her. The someone else turns out to be the woman's secretary. She goes to work the next day to sack the hussy and finds that the girl has not only grabbed her husband but also her job. This shakes up the comfortable world, and the novel is about her putting her life back together. It's beautifully written, and I ended up reading it twice.

The plane was full of Brits who had gone to Hawaii to attend a wedding. The bride and groom were on board as well. They were noisy and fairly obnoxious, especially the children. How sane is that, I ask you--to fly from the UK to Hawaii just to get married? Just to watch someone else get married?

I enjoyed the sight of Heathrow because when I read Mormonism in Germany I was very touched by the description of the members gathering in the dark on the tarmack during WWII as they watched the last of the General Authorities leave. They flew dark--no lights, no radar-- for fear of bombs; what made it more poignant is that nobody knew at that time what was going to happen, but the future didn't look good. As Leonard remarked, "The Blitz was no fun."

We found our flat--five floors up, and no elevator. Gasp, pant. It was just ideal for our purposes-- bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom, and a little washer/dryer machine we finally figured out how to use. The one thing we needed that it didn't have was an answering machine; this broke my heart because I couldn't get ahold of Sue and there was no way for her to leave a message for me. So I missed meeting Sue. Oh well, I guess I'll have to go back!

The location of our flatwas ideal, except that our tube stop was shut down by the firefighters' strike. It is on Gower Street, right in the neighborhood of the Bloomsbury Group, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and Lady Ottoline Morrell's literary salon. Walking distance to the British Museum, to which we hied ourselves early the next day.

We had budgeted two days for the British Museum, but even so didn't see the half of it. We were very careful to see the Elgin marbles, the Rosetta Stone, and the mummies. Actually we almost missed the Rosetta Stone because we were so overwhelmed by a granite fist belonging to a statue of Ramses II which was next to it. I got all excited to find Cleopatra's mummy, but Leonard pointed out to me that the dates were wrong and it couldn't be THE Cleopatra, but another girl of that name.

Rachel took us to Camden Town, where I bought two pair of Doc Martens in the street stall. We really enjoyed the used bookstores here. I bought Forster's A Passage to India and a biography of Ottoline Morrell, which I had the unique experience of reading on the very street where she lived.

Leonard came down with a sinus infection and stayed home one day, and Rachel and I went shopping. We looked at every single baby outfit at Herrod's trying to decided on one for Sara Langley's baby. Finally we settled on a pink Peter Rabbit jumper, striped turtleneck, and socks with Peter on them. We bought a coffee cup for Grandpa, and Rachel took my picture by the Diana/Dodi memorial (which features the last wine glass she ever drank from--unwashed-- yeeeechhh!)

One day Leonard and I went to Cambridge, where I bought some woolen sweaters. I ripped the price tags off one while still standing at the cash register, and put it on. It was COLD! We walked miles and miles, seeing the colleges. We also "saw" a toy store, and I got a British Monopoly set.

The main purpose for visiting the Tate was to view Richard Dadd's "The Fairy Feller's Masterstroke", which I have wanted to see since I was in high school. When I couldn't find it on display, I inquired, and they told me it's not on display. I did buy the poster in the gift shop, and the fellow there told me that one can call two days in advance and arrange to see it. Leonard said, "That sounds like a snooty painting to me."

I came away from the Tate with a newfound adoration for John Constable. After the Tate, we walked past Westminister Abbey. The line was too long to try to go in. We met Rachel at the London Eye and went for a ride on that, and then we went to the Council War Rooms--interesting, and restoration very much a work in progress.

Leonard was reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, so after Lady Morrell's biography I started it too, but didn't finish. We left the book there since it was so big and heavy.

Rachel insisted on having Thanksgiving dinner but we couldn't oblige her because all the turkeys were frozen solid. We bought potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce and Leonard cooked them for the poor homesick girls.

One of the highlights of my trip was seeing my baby perform the role of Portia (The Merchant of Venice) at Shakespeare's Globe theater. The production--a student production-- was really bad overall, but Rachel was wonderful. For an English teacher, this was a once in a lifetime high.

Too soon, too soon, our time was up--still never reached Sue, and never did a bunch of things we wanted to. I guess I'll have to go back!

In San Francisco, as I was waiting for my flight to Los Angeles, they asked for volunteers to be bumped in exchange for a free ticket. I volunteered, thinking I can use the ticket to go to Washington DC in the spring. They put us up in a hotel, where I collapsed. I skipped a shower in the morning so I could sleep longer. Unfortunately, the shuttle to the airport wasn't running quite early enough to get us to our flight on time. I picked up some men and we split a cab--the three of us got to SFO, but I never saw the rest of our bumped group again.

: I went back to the Goodwill to rescue the decapitated caroler and he (she?) was gone. I did make rounds of all the thrift stores again looking for more baskets, and I found figurines of Maria Von Trapp in a nun's habit, a Qaalude snowman, a Santa who is getting told off by the Bluebird of Happiness, a mean looking mallard, and a baby who is throwing off his swaddlings and just about to jump out of the manger.

I also found a stable. It's more of a pigsty actually, I guess, with cartoonish piggies peeking out of every window and a nonfunctioning clock in the eves.

: Xochitl the little hooker. I took her in to get spayed, and they told me she's already pregnant. She's barely four months old, and small. Lucky I took her in in time. It probably would have killed her to have that litter.

: So I let United bump me in exchange for a free ticket, and I spent the night in San Francisco (with no meals!) and got up at an obscene hour to catch my replacement flight, and now they are about to file Chapter 11. Hope my free ticket voucher will still stay good for spring, but suppose it goes the way of the House & Home gift certificate I got stuck with?

: Today I caved in to peer pressure and let Hillary and Marlene talk me into eating a Krispy Kreme. I explained to them that I never eat doughnuts because I don't like them and I don't like the way they make me feel. They told me I haven't lived.

OK, so now I've lived.

However, it put my blood sugar into orbit and filled my stomach with grease. I couldn't eat much of my lunch and eight hours later I'm still feeling "effects." I will never eat another doughnut again as long as I live.

: I bought a disposable aluminum cake pan which purports to be "embossed for an elegant effect." I examined it closely and it is indeed embossed--in a kind of paisley pattern. But elegant? An aluminum cake pan? Embossing or no, it doesn't go on much past utilitarian.

: I have to drink a whole gallon of radioactive slime tonight so I can get a biopsy done in the morning. It is not going down well.

: Yesterday, devoted to medical science. What can I say. I feel much better today. Lynette Smith and I went to Food4Less and bought 200 pounds of tri tip. The bags dripped blood all over the store. "Lynette, you need a hysterectomy," I said. People who are not from Bakersfield don't know what tri tip is. It's a cut of meat that usually, in other, more reasonable, locations on the globe, is made into hamburger. We trimmed off the fat and weighed it on Lynette's bathroom scale--it came out to about 50 pounds. That is 25%. Lean ground beef is 22% fat; regular is 30%.

We spent five hours trimming the meat and wrapping it in foil to deep pit. Thank goodness that is done!

I invited the fellow who is doing the back yard to the ward Christmas party.

The back yard is looking very nice. There are blocks around the garden beds and new sidewalks poured. Tomorrow we go out to price grass. It was kind of tough to get Gretel's footprints in the concrete because she didn't want to put her paw on it. Xochitl and Jellybean were impossible.

I set two cents into the sidewalk, like in Toni Morrison's novel. (Was it Sula, or another one?) This means I will never be broke. I'll always have the two cents in the sidewalk.

: I was listening to the news this morning. The Iraquis are denying and obfuscating--they didn't do this and so, they don't have any thus and such. The Koreans are making excuses and blaming everyone else, including the Americans and the weather. It sounded just like what I hear every day from students.

It's good to know the future of the world is in good hands.

: When my children were babies and getting their vaccinations I inquired about smallpox. The pediatrician told me not to worry about it; smallpox has been eradicated. I told him I was worried anyhow and I wanted my kids vaccinated. He couldn't do it--no vaccine. I was convinced at the time that some terrorist would somewhere find live virus and infect everyone, wiping out the entire population.

I don't know if it's good to be correct in my predictions or not. Apparently His Bushness is going to give the vaccine supply to the military first. As it should be I guess.

: link to another pagehttp://bakersfield.com/local/story/2308876p-2367427c.html Everyone is in a swivet over this. How do people get this kind of time on their hands?

: Christmas party. We survived. As we were putting the final touches on the decorations, Leonard and Martha Ross walked in and suggested that they would like us to leave the room set up for their party the following night. I said, "Which foot would you like me to kiss first?" It gave us a new lease on life to know we wouldn't have to take the whole thing down after spending the evening feeding and entertaining three hundred people.

We got a lot of compliments on the social, and the good news is the Activities Committee only went over budget by 5% this year.

When it was over, I came home and went to bed and didn't move for 24 hours. I read Rudyard Kipling's Kim.

: Gretel went with me to White Forest Nursery for the Christmas tree run. She was glad to see Jerome but didn't get out of the car as it was pouring rain.

Marcus Bean is doing service for his Gospel In Action award, so he brought his family over to help the poor sick widow decorate for Christmas. Xochitl was demoralized by all the little kids in the house.

That's the way to go, invite people over to do your decorating for you. I baked brownies for them.

: This morning I went to the annual Christmas breakfast at EBHS and saw everyone. I miss working there so much!

I have decked the halls with boughs of holly.

: The kids are all home and we are doing Christmassy things like baking cookies. The girls sat around the piano and sang carols--it was like being in heaven.

Yesterday I spent most of the day taking Ernestine Boonstoppel to the doctor. My good deed for the week, I suppose. We did okay except when she had to go down to the lab for blood draw. Here's a woman nearly 90 years old, been through two world wars and a revolution and a concentration camp, has eight children and wore out five husbands and she's scared of a little blood draw needle.

The kids and I went to The Lord of the Rings. I loved it and was ready to draw sword for Rohan. I was amused by the way they bridled Shadowfax for the distance shots--as if we would not notice! I also enjoyed the take in various scenes on "The Arming of the Hero"--one of the hallmarks of worldwide epic literature. LOTR is after all an epic and must comply with the tropes.

: We wen to see the Star Trek movie. A steamy scene, unusual for Star Trek. The question of the hour is whether or not Martina Sirtis has had breast implants since the last movie. We'll have to get Uncle Justin to go see it and evaluate her "body language."

: I finished reading Brands's biography of Benjamin Franklin. Very interesting to see his perspective on one of my personal heroes. One thing I learned from reading the book: I had always heard that Franklin wanted the turkey for the national bird instead of the bald eagle and had even read his statement to the effect that the eagle has a bad moral character. It turns out, according to Brands, that the question was not the selection of a national bird, but the choice of a mascot for a men's club some of Franklin's associates were forming.

Jabberwocky for 2002



© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.