Jabberwocky for 2002 June

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: 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?

Jabberwocky for 2002 June

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.