Jabberwocky for 2003


: Rosalie gave me a clarinet. It's an old silver one, and the mouthpiece is missing. The pads are all fleabitten and the hinges and corks are shot. It's related to us, I suppose: it belonged to Kathy's (Larry's wife) ex-husband's father. I have it in the dining room with the other clarinet, the tuba, Tom Jackman's sax and Susanna's flute. Not to mention the piano.

: Yesterday I went to LAX to pick up Anne. We hung out in antique stores until Gayla got off work and then ate with Gayla at the Cheesecake Factory. Didn't get home until late.

Rachel left this morning for a new life at UCLA. Anne and I are running errands to get ready to Tawana's director debut.

: I made some resolutions (OK, so only six days late!) I am going to go through all my stuff (still not completely unpacked from moving 2 years ago!) and after I straighten and organize drawers, closets, garage, garden shed, I'm going to KEEP THEM NEAT!

I am going to go spend every Wednesday night at the Family History Center.

I am going to get out of bed on Sunday mornings and do a couple of scrapbook pages every Sunday before Sacrament Meeting. (We have late church this year.)

Anne has gone, but not before she wrote a song:

If you could hie to Collab-net

In the twinkling of an eye

You would find that Leonard works there

And ask yourself "Why?"


: My 2002 Chrismas letter:

January 1, 2003

Dear Family and Friends:

Happy New Year! This letter brings love and heartfelt good wishes for you and yours. This is a picture of me with a restored 1946 Piper Cub. One of last year’s resolutions was to have more adventures, and this flight was one of them. It was wonderful to have all my children home for Christmas, and to hear from each of you as you sent your letters and cards. (Some of you sent cards to my old address; remember that I’ve been at 2501 Bank Street 93304 for two years now!) You can also email me at franny@inreach.com, or if you ever want to know what I’m doing or what I’m thinking about, check out my weblog at http://www.crummy.com/jabberwocky.

I’m living all by myself this year. For company I have my German shepherd, Gretel, who at two has not left puppyhood yet, and my old cat Jellybean, who is ten and takes her job as the household pillow denter very seriously. I also adopted a lively little black and white kitten and named her Xochitl. I spend my time in the garden and doing scrapbooks for my children, doing family history, and teaching a couple of classes at the college. I miss working very much, being lonely for both the students and my coworkers, so I try to stay busy so I don’t feel all disabled and depressed. I am in charge of activities and the newsletter at church, which keeps me hopping.. And yes, 2003 will finally be the year I finish fixing up this house!

I also traveled some this last year. All three of my children had their wisdom teeth extracted within the same twelve months, so I went to play nurse to them. I made multiple trips to Utah and San Francisco. I went to Houston for niece Kristin’s wedding. I also visited my aunt LeJeune in Washington and served as an adult leader for a week of girls’ camp with the teens from church. The big deal of the year, however, was a trip to London. We spent most of the time visiting museums, but only got to see a tiny fraction of what is there, so I’ll have to go back. A highlight of the trip was seeing the fossil archaeopteryx as well as the immortal iguanodon thumb spike at the British Museum of Natural History.

One of the reasons to visit London was to see Rachel, who spent six months on study abroad in Europe, where she shopped, learned about history, shopped, traveled, shopped, studied hard, shopped, made friends with students from other campuses of the University of California, shopped, got to perform in Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, shopped....It was a treasure to my English teacher’s heart* to see my baby playing Portia (The Merchant of Venice) on stage at the Globe. Rachel is now a junior at UCLA. (*Yes, English teachers do have hearts!)

Susanna spent winter semester doing an internship in a Romanian orphanage. It was a wonderful experience for her, and she saw a lot of Eastern Europe. She wanted to bring a lot of orphans home with her, but I wouldn’t let her. She did bring home many absolutely fascinating souvenirs and tales of wild adventures. Susie is at BYU, where she is now a senior.

Leonard is still working at Collab.Net in San Francisco and enjoys his job very much. He has a wonderful girlfriend and a promising career. He went with me to London to visit his sister over Thanksgiving, and comes highly recommended as a museum-trotting companion.

As I enter my fourteenth year of living with AIDS, I reflect upon what a good life I have had, and how blessed I have been. I have a top-notch family, beautiful children, and wonderful friends, and I’ve lived in many interesting places and done a lot of fun things. I’m especially grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the joy and fellowship I find there. Even as I find myself growing weaker, I reflect that I’ve lived fifty full and exciting years, and I know that my parents are waiting for me across the threshold to the next life. I can’t wait to tell Dad about the archaeopteryx!

Love, Frances

: Mary Anne and I went to lunch at the Peking Panda. She kept calling it "The Purple Lantern" and I had to keep telling her I've never heard of The Purple Lantern. It sounds like a Woody Allen spoof about a neurotic wimp who is trying to run a Chinese restaurant but hates the food and the decor.

: I spent most of the day getting my planner organized. I lost the calendar in the drive crash and had to do it all over. Likewise my address book, but I didn't finish retyping that yet. I have finally gotten smart and made backup disks.

The sprinkler man said the timer I bought was missing the transformer, so I took it back to Home Depot. Lo and behold, (as I was informed by the customer service clerk) the transformer is built in, and we're going to have to hotwire it. Time to kiss up to Andy Smith again I guess.

: I just looked through the "before" pictures I took of this house. I'd forgotten how much work it was,how horrible it looked when we bought it. The reason I was looking at pictures is to send some of the "befores" of the fireplace to someone who ran into my weblog while trying to find out more about Venetian plaster.

: Horrors! The sign on the wall beside the trip lever for the fire alarm read "Fire Alarm Actualizer." Remind me never to patronize THAT store again!

: Rachel came home and we went to a baby shower for Shannon. Shannon is carrying quite the basketball under her blouse. After taking Grandma home from the shower, I went to part of church.

The John Taylor lesson in Relief Socity almost got hijacked. Some people got off on pronouncing Charles Darwin to have been inspired by the Devil, saying how fortunate we are to know we are not descended from a "digusting amoeba" or a monkey, and other rants typical of people who have never read a word of the primary source but they sure have an opinion.

I sat there and growled quiet comments like "the poor chimpanzees, related to us!"

Then it got to where I was about to have to dive in and get in trouble, hang the consequences, but Sarah Wilson piped up and defended Science. She went up several notches in my (already high) estimation. Then an elderly sister quoted Elder Eyring very appropriately, and the RS teacher took a deep breath and got back on track. I had just been about to refer to my own father, a scientist who was educated at -- of all places-- BYU. He was brilliant, but also a man of deep faith, and he always said that church members who feel threatened by the advancement of knowledge are running scared because their own knowledge of the workings of the universe is so shallow.

Meanwhile, I am filing away in my head a "list" of people to avoid having deep doctrinal conversations with. I hope that 2003 won't be the year I bit my tongue off in Relief Society.

: All of our "truth" is culturally filtered. I think our finite human minds cannot comprehend the universe in any other way. (And some minds are more finite than others!) In this generation, the Church has made great strides towards shedding the Dead White Man paradigm, but so much remains, and we are so steeped in it, we can't even recognize much of it from where we sit. It's going to be very interesting to find out what "the truth" really is.

I really enjoy reading contemporary science writers like Hawking and Gould because I can see science today is moving towards a more congruent alignment with our theology. I'm very much looking forward to a discussion with my father on these points.

Here is what irritates me about Sunday School debates about evolution:

1. How many of these people have even read "The Origin of Species." (I myself confess I have never made it all the way through.) Gimmeabreak, how many church members have even read any James Talmadge or John Widsoe?

2. The nerve of humans, fancying themselves to be superior to animals. Just look in today's newspaper and tell me we're not savages. To those who are horrified at the thought that we are descended from monkeys, I reply, "Oh, the poor monkeys!" (Yes, I know that is not what science teaches, but a perusal of Christian bumper stickers tells me some people have learned otherwise.)

3. Most people's thought process is so, well, reductionist. Bumper sticker again: "God said it, I believe it, and that's it." Plus, they are so convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong that they assume I agree.

Right now, I am reading Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence, and am fascinated with tracing the threads of various schools of thought through the centuries. I was already convinced that we have a ways to go philosophically, and if I hadn't been, this survey of five centuries would do the trick.

: Go me! I found a pair of black pants on the clearance rack at Target for $2.44. That's the kind of prices I like to pay!

: I sanded the shower ceiling and painted primer all over the bathroom. Now I must wait for it to dry before the final coat of paint! At last, the beginning of the end of the mess.

: I worked all day in the bathroom but ran out of wallpaper. Of course I bought the paper so long ago that it's now discontinued, so I had to haul scraps over to Home Depot and try to find something that more or less went with it. I don't think I have enough border either. Flubbaththth.

Jill Langley gave me a Round Tuit last night so hopefully such a disaster will never happen to me again.

: I worked all day in the bathroom and finished everything I can, lacking the wallpaper I ordered. This current paper is a disaster. It was old, the glue was expired, and it doesn't stick well. Not to mention the fact there wasn't enough. I'm going to redecorate the room when I get everything else finished. I'm thinking in terms of a blue French toile.

Robert called me from the ski slope to rub it in. They ( my brothers and Susie) are skiing and I am grouting cracks in tile.

: I went to church, actually my first time on the new schedule 1 to 4 p.m. I don't think I like it very much because I'm not worth much in the afternoon. Choir is before church, so that makes four straight hours of having to behave myself.

Pursuant to my new year's resolution I got up in the morning and worked on scrapbooking. I printed pictures of my visit to Aunt Jeuney's and sorted all the "before" pictures of the house. I decided I need to take a roll of "after" pictures--except when is "after"? Does it ever get finished? I don't think so.

Franny's law of remodeling: It costs twice as much, takes twice as long, and is twice as hard as you think it will.

As I review the "before" pictures of this house, I think it a miracle that we survived. I think my memories over the last couple of years have glossed over how bad it really was, and the photographs bring it back in all its horror.

: I didn't feel all that great today, so I didn't do much. I really should have worked in the yard, but it is very cold and yucky outside and I just didn't have it in me. I did finish updating my address book.

Tomorrow, it's back to teaching school.

: I taught my English 60 class this morning--added too many people, but a lot of them I promised them I would add them way back when there was room in the class. I had about six people have to stand up--no chairs!

This afternoon I planted asparagus, boysenberries, and blueberries. Mulched around trees and fed citrus. My orange tree is making two oranges. I took down some of the "keep Gretel out of the garden" cages since they were ugly and don't keep her out anyhow. I don't know what I'm going to do with that little girl.

: Here is a letter I received from my great aunt Lula. I get prods to write from every side of the family!

Dear Frances– I always await with anticipation for your Christmas letter because it always tells me about remarkable things that you are doing. I admire your spunk and ambition and your spirit of adventure. Keep it up! Fun!! Tell me about the plane. Is it yours? Did you steer it? Bravo! It’s good you’ve got Gretel and Jelly Bean to take care of you. Xochitl too. Your schedule sounds very full and interesting. I counted ten full time jobs you mentioned in your letter besides your travels. Good for you! Keep it up!! It’s all interesting and fun.

Marcelle and I love to travel. Glad you like it too. Your trip to London sounds great and Rachel to show you around. I’ll bet you didn’t miss a thing. GOOD FOR YOU!

You mention that you have lived 50 full and exciting years–tsk! Tsk!! I’ve got you beat–I’m now 86 years old and know there is still much more for me to see and do. But I must admit my broken knee gets tired. So–I’ve got a solution– We can’t travel everyplace but we can do something that will be cherished. WRITE... Write of your life’s experiences, all kinds of travel, studies, fun, people, thoughts... all would be so cherished and handed down to generations. Please do!! They would be so cherished and kept.

Love, Lula (and Marcelle)

: The packaging of some paintbrushes (made in China) that I bought says the brushes are resuable.

I've had the brushes for so long, though, I think they are barred by the statute of limitations.

: Today we read that the obesity lawsuit against McDonald's was dismissed by the judge. Reading farther, we notice the heretofore unsuspected fact that a Big Mac has 590 calories, 30 grams of which are FAT. Hellloooo? Maybe what I thought was a frivolous lawsuit filed by a buncha idiots has some basis after all. You couldn't GET 590 calories into one food item without some kind of evil intent.

: My genealogy is getting bigger and bigger. The backup fills four floppies now. (zipped.)

: Today I did yard work. You can't tell that I did anything, but the green waste bin and the trash can are full, and Gretel and I went to the dump. I haven't been to the dump in years and years, but I was still scared to back up to the trash pile. Especially since the back of my truck was heaped high and I couldn't see where I was going.

: Today I received an email from Pam Pierce, whom I went to high school with. She was a dear, dear friend, and I was thrilled to hear from her and that she is doing well.

Axeman was at our church today. He came to show off his new tiny little grandson and rub it in. Grandson looks like a little hobbit.

: After work and grocery store, I pulled weeds. The weather is turning cold indeed, in fact, rain possible tonight. I have some Siberian iris blooming. The daffodils are finally sprouting up, and one actually has a bud.

I was afraid it was going to rain sooner than nightfall, so Gretel and I went for a walk early. There are several neighbors who have huge beds covered with Victorian looking violets. I wonder where they obtained them? I'd like some.

: Hillary made Weight Watchers' Fudge. It contains reduced fat margarine, a bag of chocolate chips, and marshmallows. Other than the reduced fat margarine (which is IMHO a hoax) what about this fudge makes it eligible for the Weight Watchers program?

On the other hand, the fudge was smooth, creamy, and flavorful, with probably the nicest texture I've ever seen in fudge.

: I was looking on ebay for the Alice and Jerry readers I collect--there are LOTS of them! I thought I was the only person on earth who collects these books--I had NO idea!

Would love to bid on some of these for myself, but it seems silly for a sick person to keep up a collection of stuff.

I remember teaching my children to read using the Alice and Jerry books. They have such beautiful illustrations and great stories.

: David sent Hillary a lovely bouquet of long stemmed red roses. It was so sweet; he is a wonderful guy. I was very happy for her (and sad for me!) Not because I don't have a David, but I don't have anybody.

The plan tomorrow is bring Ernestine Boonstoppel to the Elders Quorum Valentine's dinner dance so she gets out on V-day.

I am happy to help her but sheesh. No romance in this life.

: In today's paper the local opinions editor had a column about her DH buying duct tape. She wrote that her response to the alerts is to be very nice to her Mormon neighbors, because "their church encourages them to be ready for emergencies, they are nice people, and they might share their food storage." tee hee. Many of my friends have said the same thing: "If the world ends, I'm coming over to YOUR house."

: Leonard, Rachel, and Sumana were here this weekend. I made cinnamon rolls for them, and Leonard helped me pull weeds. Today after everyone left I pulled some more and turned over the soil in the vegetable garden. It was fun to have everyone home. Now, we're back to subnormal.

: I've been saving money. Signed up for a year of the newspaper at 25% off--let's hope their billing people process it correctly. My faith in them shows--I typed "bilking" instead of billing.

"There are no accidents." --Sigmund Freud.

Xochitl spilled all of my pills into a huge scrambled pile on the floor. My pillbox organizer doesn't have a latch anymore. The damage would have been less if the lid hadn't come open. Bleah.

: I made a meal for the Mercers and worked in the yard yanking out the "cages" around the flowerbeds. Gretel won't stay out of the dirt anyhow. Gotta figure out some way to make that yard look nice.

When I went over to the Mercers, Larry was gray and thin and sacked out on the living room floor. I felt bad, and I think cancer should be done away with.

: The Franklin Covey catalog sez that only 43% of employees say their organization clearly communicates its goals. I believe this number would shrink considerably if it were to take into account that the goal clearly communicated is often not the real goal. Lurking beneath, the real agenda is not even implied.

I don't think I've ever worked anywhere where the stated goals matched seamlessly with "What Matters Most." For example, the college where I teach has had weeks of breast-and-bush-beating meetings, emails and hysteria over the pending budget cuts. Everybody knows that the administration has already decided what to do--and by law, they have to give us all the shaft by March 15-- but administration wants to pretend that we the people have some input. In reality, they are playing a huge game with employees as pawns.

No ownership of the vision and mission statement around here.

They do have plexiglass framed mission statements nailed to every wall--as if anyone would steal them. flibithtth

: spicegirl posted this to the scrabble club chatterbox. Now it's stuck in my head (the song that will drive you insane)

Sung to the tune of 'She'll be coming down the mountain ....'

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.

If the markers are a drama, bomb Iraq.

If the terrorists are frisky,

Bomb Iraq

If we have no allies with us , bomb Iraq.

If we think someone has ditched us, bomb Iraq.

So hell with the inspections,

Let's look tough for the elections,

Close your mind and take directions,

Bomb Iraq.

It's 'Pre-emptive non-aggression', bomb Iraq.

Let's prevent this mass destruction, bomb Iraq.

They've got weapons, we can't see,

And that's good enough for me,

Cos it's all the proof I need'

Bomb Iraq.

If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.

If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.

If you think Saddam's gone mad

With the weapons that he had

(And he tried to kill your dad)

Bomb Iraq.

If your corporate fraud is grown, bomb Iraq.

If your ties to it are showin, bomb Iraq.

If your politics are sleazy,

And hiding it ain't easy,

And your manhood's getting uneasy,

Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.

For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.

Disagree? We'll call it treason,

Let's make war, not love, this season,

Even if we have no reason,

Bomb Iraq.

: I am pulling weeds out of the backyard chessboard in preparation for planting the ground cover (Could spring be near? I have daffodils!)

: There is a praying mantis egg case on the apple tree!

I love mantids. They have such cute little faces and big alien looking compound eyes. They can change their coloration. In addition, they appear to be intelligent. When I was a little girl, my father always had me come see when he found one while working in the garden.

: I finished reading From Dawn to Decadence. It is a huge, magnificent book. I think I will have to do something I have done with no other book; that is, start over right away from the beginning. The scholarship is titanic and the book full of names, dates, information, and references to other works I might want to read.

: The principal parts of the verb to be:

be, bewas, bewere, buying, bean.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

: Storm blowing in. It's a hard rain a-gonna fall.

: My employer is on top of things and everything is well under control. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

To: Faculty and Staff From: Linda Quinones-Vaughan

An incident involving the identification of an unknown substance in BC's administration building this morning revealed that the powdery substance found in the women's restroom was toilet paper residue. BC personnel activated the college's emergency response plan and worked hand in hand with emergency management personnel from Bakersfield Fire Department and Kern County Environmental Health. The Bakersfield Fire Department Hazmat team investigated the incident reported originally by a student worker who said that powder fell from a toilet paper dispenser. Testing confirmed there was never any danger to personnel or students.

The safety and well being of students, employees and guests of Bakersfield College is our primary concern. This incident serves as a timely reminder to contact BC's Public Safety Office immediately whenever you have a concern for safety. The Public Safety Office can be reached at extension 4554 (office) and 4555 (emergency).

We extend our thanks to the Bakersfield Fire Department and Kern County Environmental Health professionals who partnered with us to resolve this incident.

: Shannon finally had her baby today. He was 8 pounds 5 ounces and they named him Joel Alan. (I'm not sure if that is the spelling they are using, but it's how the new grandpa spells his name. Thing is, Shaun's father is named Alan too, but I don't know how he spells it.)

: Oh my ribs! The students were talking about when their birthdays were and one of them said he was born on Pi Day, so he always has pie instead of a birthday cake. If I'd only known, I could have put off Rachel for a few more hours and she could have been born on Pi Day too.

: Has anyone seen the new recruiting ads for the Marines? "Pain is weakness leaving your body." Yeah. Right.

: Rachel and I had a nice weekend. We went to eat at Macaroni Grill and then to see The Hours. I liked the movie; it was arty.

I pulled weeds on Saturday and filled my green waste bin. Still so much more to do!

Today they replaced me as Ward Activities Chairperson. I still have to be on the committee but I don't have to be in charge. Hooray!

I also went to visit Larry Mercer in Intensive Care. He's not looking so good. He didn't respond much to anything I said or did, except a few times, with great effort, he moved his eyes. I spoke to the case manager the hospital brought on board for him and explained the family situation and what we at church can do for him.

: Sinking slowly into existential pain.

I bought yards of blue ribbon to make Win Without War pin ons, and I gave away almost all I made. Midge Ladd asked if I thought we'd be "allowed" to wear a political statement. I pointed out that our employer doesn't know we exist, and if they don't like our politics, tough. We don't like theirs either.

I think Rachel might be on the front page of the newspaper, protesting the war at UCLA. She's kind of small in the back of the picture.

Like a line from "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" (on the which I did my thesis): "She had a burning slow headache, and noticed it now, remembering she had waked up with it and it had in fact begun the evening before. While she dressed she tried to trace the insidious career of her headache, and it seemed reasonable to suppose it had started with the war."

Marlene and I listened to some of Bush's speech and then went to Jacalito's for dinner. I feel so helpless, trying to make a statement by pinning on a ribbon. As if.

: Today at Costco I bought a new swimsuit. It came with the front hemisphere of an extruded clear plastic torso. Very bizarre. There has just GOT to be something artistic one could do with half of a plastic torso.

: Larry Mercer is out of intensive care and in a semi private room. I was going to go see him after church, but didn't feel well enough to stomach it. Maybe I'll go tomorrow after the post office.

The newspaper reports that terrorist cells may attack allied troops when they invade Iraq. This prospect comes as a big surprise to whom? Come again?

I have daffodils and freesias, and the pussy willow is having kittens; spring has sprung. This fact is supposed to be reassuring.

: I went to see Larry Mercer in the hospital. His brother is here from Virginia to handle things. Larry was out of bed, and I think he recognized me, but dementia is setting in. I stayed with him while the brother met with the social worker. He wanted to be shaved, so I scared up a disposable razor and shaved him, and rubbed cream on his body, massaged his feet, and found socks because his feet were icy.

The television was showing a M.A.S.H. marathon, with the sound turned off. It was a very strange experience to be in a hospital, in the middle of medical procedures, looking through the small window of television into another hospital setting, watching other medical procedures happening.

I watched my friend Sheila, still running on the credits trailer after all these years. I wish I knew where Sheila is now, and hope she is doing okay.

: Jonathan and his family have come and gone. The house is once again calm and silent. Jon put woodwork around the French doors and did a lovely job. (Annoy Bush! Walk through a French door!)

I was going to plant some spring bulbs today but it's pouring.

I went to a birthday party for Cindy Hubble. (took her spring bulbs for a present.) During the party I had a nice conversation with her brother Brock. He's a fun and interesting person to be around.

Cindy has her new house done in animal/jungle motif, much as I imagine Anne wants to do hers. Brock did the wall murals of the palm trees and vines.

: I tried on all the dresses I bought for a dollar at the Assistance League thrift shop when I went there with Jill and Sharon on Saturday. I didn't try them on there because I though for sure they would fit. Every one of them is too big. I'm going to wear them anyhow.

I was going to go to Jastro Park to protest tonight, but it's raining and dark and cold.

: I went to the store today to buy mint extract for the layered mint brownies I am making. There was a new kind there, all natural and organic, pure peppermint. I thought it might be better so I gave it a try. Whew! The whole house smells like peppermint.

I also bought corned beef and cabbage to cook when my kids come home this weekend.

: I had St. Pat's dinner at the Nations home. Karen made Irish Soda Bread in honor of the occasion, and I took my green brownies. I didn't think I would like the Irish Soda Bread, but I did. She kept basting it with buttermilk while it was baking.

: Gaaah. War. I'm worried sick.

: I cleaned the house, and am getting ready to finish wallpapering the bathroom. Next up: vegetable garden. (No, not Victory Garden; I'm too jaded for that.)

: Susie is randomly home for the weekend.

: SOMEBODY in my house came home from a stroll in the park wearing a big diamond on her finger. Now the sisters and the new fiance are in the bathroom giggling and doing manicures.

It kind of makes me sad because it's my diamond ring, which she inherited. Nostalgia I guess. I do, however, believe it's very wise of the kids to not buy a new ring since he has another year of school. He's going to be an accountant when he grows up-- he fits right in with all the pocket protector type men in our family.

: I feel as though I'm perched on the edge of the Apocalypse, and I'm talking about commas.

: Like Nabokov, at the outbreak of an earlier war:

My nerves were on edge because of the darkness of the earth, which I had not noticed muffling itself up, and the nakedness of the firmament, the disrobing of which I had not noticed either. Overhead, between the formless trees bordering my dissolving path, the night sky was pale with stars. In those years, that marvelous mess of constellations, nebulae, interstellar- gaps and all the rest of the awesome show provoked in me an indescribable sense of nausea, of utter panic, as if I were hanging from the earth upside down on the brink of infinite space, with terrestrial gravity still holding me by the heels but about to release me any moment. Except for two corner windows in the upper story (my mother''s sitting room) the house was already dark. . . . My mother reclined on the sofa with the St. Petersburg Rech in her hands and an unopened London Times in her lap. A white telephone gleamed on the glass-topped table near her. . . . An armchair stood by the sofa, but I always avoided it because o f its golden satin, the mere sight of which caused a laciniate shiver to branch from my spine like nocturnal lightning (226).

: I ran a google search looking for ldsbride.com and one of the results that appeared was this:

3. Trumark Brand Slingshots - Ammo for Catapults View TRUMARK'S Complete Line of Slingshots / Catapults and Ammo. Established 1953 Trumark's popular wrist-braced sling shots / catapults ... Category: Recreation > Guns > Slings and Blowguns http://www.slingshots.com/

: I went to JoAnn's and sat on the cell phone with Susie picking out dress patterns via long distance. I like the dress we picked out for her but it looks like it will be hard to make. I can't figure out how to make it with a back zipper instead of buttons, so it looks like a repeat of dressing Alyson in the bride's room. (shudder.) If the bodice were fitted differently a zipper would work, but nooooo. The dress she wants for Rachel is going to be easier and quicker to make than the dress Rachel wants.

: I stayed home sick in bed today all day, until it was time to meet with the tax man. After that I crashed some more. I started feeling a little better about 5 p.m. but think I'll go to bed early so I can work tomorrow.

: Blah. I owe the IRS money. Lots of money.

It's the fault of the State of California. The tax man says the State of California deserves the reputation that the IRS has.

: After placement essay grading (and nap) I went to Beverly's and got a yard of remnant lace to make Susanna's temple envelope. I also goe some suspender clips because I read somewhere (Heloise, I think) that one can sew them into the corners of one's duvet cover to keep the comforter from shifting around.

My sewing area is now set up, and I mended the duvet and applied the suspender clips. I also got out some sewing to get started on. One thing I really really need to finish is Aunt Jeuney's birthday quilt.

: I went to Los Angeles and Rachel and I went to lunch at Canter's. On the way downtown we hit an estate sale that was just full of fascinating stuff (didn't buy anything, but boy was it random) and we took a tour of Angelino Heights. Rachel of course didn't remember Angelino Heights, but I'm sure she will now.

Saw the place on Temple Street where we left the *&&^%##%^&* Pontiac the day we took the bus home and never saw it again.

We visited Michael Levine and scouted out fabrics for the wedding. I bought the horsehair braid for the hem of Susie's dress. We are voting for the silk duiponi for the bridesmaids.

: Spring has sprung. The pussy willows have happened. A failproof sign is the appearance of the La Rosa man, like the fabled goat-footed balloon man, whistling far and wee.

Yesterday in downtown Los Angeles we saw a La Rosa man (*not genuine "La Rosa" brand *your results may vary) giving a popsicle to a homeless man. The poignancy of the scene was increased by our knowledge (assumption, inference) that the paletero is, himself, probably two centavos away from being a homeless man.

: I think I've figured out howcome the Daylight Savings switch in the spring is so traumatic. I've always argued that if "they" are going to take away a hour, why take it out of a Sunday morning in April. Why not deduct it from a gloomy February Thursday afternoon?

That isn't the worst of it, folks. The reason we become so disconcerted is we spend all day Sunday looking at the clock and saying I can't believe it's this late! Every time we chance upon a clock, we [psychologically] lose the hour all over again, so by the time Sunday is over we are scarred. Then we wake up late Monday morning and go through Monday in the same way, losing hour after hour. Never mind the fact that the whole time package is a convention of convenience.

: Shannon brought little baby Joel over and I spent the afternoon with him--when I could get him away from Grandpa, who positively hogged him. Rosalie was afraid to hold him much as she has a cough. He's one of the cutest babies I've ever seen.

: I smell a collectable. The news is out that The Government has issued decks of playing cards featuring the pictures of the 55 most wanted Iraqi villians. Guess Who is the Ace of Spades. I'm currently taking bets on how long until these cards hit ebay.

: Sewed some. Got car fixed. Had to buy new steam iron. Killed multitude of snails. It's freezing here.

: I spent a lot of time today in a futile search for the buttonhole spacer. No luck.

: I do have tencountemten! cones of black thread, still in their original shrink wrap. This figure does not include the five partially used cones of black thread.

: So. I didn't go to the temple today, but sent my cards with the bishop. I wasn't feeling up to it. Slept until 10:30 a.m. and am now going to cut out a temple dress. I need to mop the kitchen floor before I start sewing it because it's white and all.

I'm wondering how big a chance of rain is "a chance of showers."

: F&M Fabrics has a huge wooden bin, similar to those used to carry fruit from the field to the packing shed, full of loose buttons at ten for a dollar. I searched The Whole Thing today to find buttons for Susanna's wedding gown. While I was looking, a mamacita, abuela, and three little boys joined me. They weren't having much luck finding the color button they wanted, but they helped me find handfuls of mine. One little boy started collecting smileyface buttons and another was gathering baseballs. The mom told them that if they could find a whole set of buttons they liked, she would change a shirt over for them. It was a friendly experience.

: Larry Mercer died today. I'm feeling sad in a strange kind of way. There is an understanding between people facing terminal illness that is different from any other type of friendship.

: Sunday evening I went cozily off to bed, secure in the knowledge that the Giants were way ahead. Monday morning I looked in the newspaper to find they had lost the game. They say "a watched pot never boils", but look at the hazards of not watching!

: Happy birthday to me! I've received several email greetings and a singing telephone call. (from Helen Henton)

: While Gretel and I were walking down Third Street this evening, I discovered that what I had heretofore thought was a viburnum is actually an elephant. Such are the deceptive ways of preconceived ideas.

It's blooming now, so the elephant's head and back are frosted with foamy white flowers.

: Exhaustion. It was a big weekend, with the kids home, Larry Mercer's funeral, Susie's trip to the temple and bridal shower, weddingprepweddingprep. Plus the end of the semester. I stayed up late Sunday night grading papers. There is still so much to do.

: I read that the (experimental subject) worms survived the space shuttle crash.

They shoulda taken cockroaches and mosquitos on board.

: I have received a nastygram from PG&E. It states that my dog is not a safety concern, but the meter reader has a difficult time because she tries to escape from the yard when the meter reader leaves. And could I please put the dog "elsewhere" on the days the meter reader comes.

I don't know what I'm going to do about that.

: Graded placement essays until early afternoon. I think there are not enough English teachers on the face of this earth to give some of those people the help they need.

: I spent the morning pulling weeds and thinking of Big Louie Grenouille, who used to live in our swimming pool. Eventually he went through the filter and became Big Louie Sushi, at which point he no longer lived [in the pool].

I betcha Big Louie would eat the snails.

: I realize I probably didn't spell grenouille correctly. Did you expect me to?

: a SNAIL came into the house today, and I didn't see him/her and stepped on him/her with my stocking feet. !!! I say him/her because snails are both. Didja know that? Yes, it's true. You only need one of them to start an invasion.

: Today for dinner I ate a squash from my garden. (Yes!) A real squash, already. It may unfortunately be the only squash because the plant looks like it is dying. I think I will try to replant some of the garden when I get back from Texas. (The garden has been dogged.)

: Today, graded English 60 exams all day. Bought shoes and dress for Joseph's wedding and got a haircut. Also I planted dichondra in the chessboard. All this stuff on my to-do list! I'm going to try to work a little of the ways down it before bedtime.

: I am in Texas for Joseph's wedding. The bride is beautiful. I kept up with tradition and mended the wedding dress in the bathroom upstairs before the reception.

: Happy Mothers' Day?

I was ready to spit nails on mothers day. In my sister's ward, a sweet little Patty Perfect talked. One of her quotes was to the effect that "It is the highest calling in the universe to mold another human being." Many of her other quotes were of that ilk. Things like "I will never let my children go astray." ( Does she know Satan thinks that way too?) BTW she had a 5 year old and a 2 year old, and they made the 5 year old give a "talk". That means Dad held the girl up to the mike and the mom whispered in her ear things like "I really love my mommy" which the kid then repeated practically inaudibly. Meanwhile, the two year old was dismanteling the chapel. I sat there snarling and thinking people can't really call themselves a mother at least until they've dealt with snotty preteens.

Also, they sang Love at Home for the opening song, but we were late (due to said sister's above referenced snotty preteens), so we got to miss out on that one.

: Tomorrow, May 15, Planet X is supposed to cross orbits with Earth and cause a "pole shift" and Armageddon.

This site explains the science and debunks the rumors. http://www.planet-x.150m.com/index.html

I'm kind of disappointed. I wanted to believe in Planet X.

: Rachel posits that the fossil record for 2003 will be a thick layer of snail shells.

I think that if that is the case, the snail shells will be covered with a thick layer of nuclear ash, making it easy for geologists to determine the year of the 2004 atomic "event."

: I was typing merrily along and my computer went buzzt, crackle crackle snap click and then the screen died. I think it's a goner. Stephanie Hale gave me her old monitor, which I hope is going to work, but I have my doubts. It got pretty banged up riding in the back seat of the car.

: I finally have the new monitor up and connected and running. The old one went in the trash. I've heard that you're not supposed to put them in the trash. "They explode," Jeff Minor told me. Guess what? It has already exploded. Therefore, I figured that the worst thing that can happen is the sanitation people might write me a ticket. I've gotten tickets from fancier government organizations than them!

: I was going to get up and pull weeds and sew all day, but lo and behold I was sick all day instead. Bleah.

: I spent most of the day at the doctor's. I'm having surgery to get the tube put in on May 30. I hope everyone who wants me to have a tube is happy about this because I'm scared.

: Out and about. I went to Target to get baby shower presents. I also got a Lego set for Joel--something they didn't have when my kids were little. The bricks are huge. It's rated for babies 9 months and up, and has shape sorting holes in the bucket lid.

I went to Home Depot, where I participated in the new system where you "save time" by scanning your purchases. It took approximately 400% longer than having it done by a ten-fingered clerk. I had seen the article about Home Depot's new system in this morning's paper, and I figured, naaaahhh, this will never come to Bakersfield.

I also went to Vons and stocked up on groceries. There was terrible, awful, miserable road construction on Stockdale Highway and the intersection with Rio Bravo was actually blocked off. I'll have to remember that when I go to the baby shower tomorrow night.

: I wonder... Is there some little copyright bug that eats a cdrom if it gets installed on too many computers? I lent my Quicken Family Lawyer to Stephanie, and now it won't load. I wasted part of the morning tryin to get it to do so. Yaaaahh!

Finally, I decided it would be faster to just draft legal documents and type them myself rather than mess with it. Back to old times! So I did a new will, a new advance directive, and a quitclaim deed.

: I was heretofore under the delusion that if I spent today running around doing lawyering, I would be all finished. I no longer harbor that fond hope. The notary service took forever. I used a free coupon that came in the mail in a misguided attempt to save ten bucks, and in return had to listen to a sales spiel--our bank is better than your bank; this is a great grocery store with wonderful sales. (Said bank is inside Ralphs-Where-They-Want-Too-Much-For-Groceries.) Then she smeared the imprint of her seal on my deed.

I went to Office Depot to make copies and the copy machine ate the last page of my Advance Directive and also didn't collate and staple, even though I set the controls to do both. Finally I had to just leave the machine jammed (I cleaned out everywhere, but it still wouldn't turn back on) and use a different machine. Without a staple/collate option. So I still have that to do.

Then at the County Recorder (where I missed today's 2:00 cutoff) they gave me the third degree, a lot of tax paperwork to fill out, and complained about the notary seal being smeared. I have to do a bunch of this stuff over, and they aren't open Monday because it's a holiday. So there goes Tuesday.

Eventually, I shall triumph! I have to keep reminding myself that lawyers are $300 an hour, so I am worth that too. Would I pay $3,000 to get all this running around done for me? Not bloody likely.

: yay! I finally found some schiffli embroidered voile that will do for the bodice inset on Susanna's wedding gown. Now if only I could get it together enough to really sit and sew all day. I keep finding myself being sick instead. Hope to finish my dress today so I can rethread with white.

: Celebrate! My mother of the bride dress is finished. It's mint green lace and shantung, made out of tablecloths that my friend Susan made for HER daughter's wedding. She passed them on to me, and oh, well, when you are operating with very limited funds you make do! I used the shantung wrong side out for a tea-length, yolked skirt. The top is lace with the scalloped edge used as the hem. It looks just super, very elegant. We're not going to have tablecloths nearly as as fine as my dress, the tablecloths that were.

I finished it today despite an inordinate waste of time doing hurryupandwait at the hospital, getting lab work and EKG scans and being told to not eat anything after midnight.

Next I will cut into the wedding gown. There are two scary things about it (besides the price of the yardage). a) I have to seriously alter the bodice, and b) it has a waistline that drops down into a V in front and back. Waistlines like this are hard to make nicely.

: Finally successful at the County Recorder. Then I went to Costco (where they didn't have any cottage cheese, can ya believe it?) I'm done for. It must be 105 degrees out there.

: I'm home now and slowly feeling up to doing more. Don't know when I'll get to my Scrabble turns though. The surgeon inserted the catheter on the right side, right below my collarbone. It's still pretty hard to move my arm. The tube goes straight into an artery, and I'm on the IV 24 hours a day. The pump and IV bag are in a backpack that has to go everywhere with me. I can tell it's helping, because when they disconnect to change it and draw blood I start feeling faint and terrible.

This is going to look soooooooo glamorous with my tablecloth mother of the bride dress!

Marlene is here staying with me to make sure I behave. It's a strange situation because usually she's my partner in crime; she's havng to be the mom around here! Everyone in the ward and from work is being so good to me. The RS Pres. offered to have meals sent in, but I passed on them. Don't need any Mormon Mystery Meals.

The hospital's dietician came to see me and brought recipes for cooking with Ensure. Oh yummy. Tuna Noodle Casserole made with vanilla Ensure.

Hillary decided I was not going to teach the summer school class. This is sort of a relief, but I don't know what I'm going to do about money. It's a big problem. I have no idea what the co pay on this TPN is going to be but I imagine it is horrendous.

: Received a phone call from my stepmother, Annetta Whitney, and had a nice long conversation with her.

: Dr. Amin is happy with my progress. He says perhaps three months on full time TPN.

After Dr. Amin, Marlene and I went to Rosemary's. Brian Leary was there working. I had a petite bananna split and ate almost the whole thing. Tonight we might go to a movie.

: Leonard and Sumana are here taking care of me. It's been nice to have them. Not nice for them, unfortunately. The air conditioner has died! Just one thing after another. I'll have to call tomorrow and get the miracle workers out. Fortunately this week is predicted to be only in the 90s. Karen Nations lent me a stand fan; how very kind of her.

: Sewing sewing. Also reading trashy scififan novels that Jeannette brought me. Leonard took one of them home with him. Marlene has gone home and Gretel and I are holding the fort alone, with the cats. I need to seriously find something real to eat.

: Gretel dug up the eggplant. I'm going to SWAT that puppy!

I'm reading the first Xanth novel by Piers Anthony. Don't know what all the excitement is about. I find it offends the reader's intelligence by defining within the text all the standard magical words: manticore, pentagram, etc. I guess that's okay for a 7th grade level book. Bleah. Give me Phillip Pullman any day, even for kid books.

: Finished Xanth, began another of Anthony's. Don't know if I'll finish it. Don't know if it's worth finishing. I cut out the skirt and lining of the dress and sewed some.

Tonight, out to dinner for Hillary's birthday. In attendance were David and Erik, Marlene, Debbie, Jean and Susan. Oh yes of course, me and Hillary. We went to Sorello's; I had the shrimp scampi. I really ate a lot of it. The service was waaaaayyyyy slow. Everyone had fun looking at my tube.

: I read Katherine Anne Porter's Ship of Fools. I think I probably have read it before. This time, her examination of the nature of evil (generally) and the Nazi philosophy (specifically) is even more chilling.

: Oh happy day! The air conditioning repair guy FINALLY came, and it was only a burned out fuse. As I suspected. If I'd been able to get up there and do it myself, I would have saved a hundred bucks on a service call. Why not just wish turnips were watches?

: Your Correspondant drove shakily off to Beverlys to buy seam binding for the wedding gown. And sewing machine needles. They were OUT of white seam binding, can you believe? I bought some gathered poly lace, and will painstakingly pick out the gathering stitches and iron it flat. I should have just gone to another store, but I don't have what it takes.

After Beverlys I drove through Carls Jr. and got Gretel a happy meal and me a famous star. During all this my IV bag ran out, so I had to change it and am now ready for a little nap, but logged on to complete the Carls Jr. survey and get $2 off my next visit.

: Happy Father's Day. Dad wasn't all that involved in my life in a lot of the usual ways, like dancing with me a Primary Daddy/Daughter dates, but we had a lot in common and always had interestig conversations. He taught me a lot of things, mapmaking, fence building, gardening, carpentry. When I grew up and started remodeling hopeless old houses he helped me work. He used to take me fishing often. I never wanted to kill or eat trout, but it was on those trips that I learned to wander through the mountains with a camera, and he taught me scientific nomenclature for all the plants, insects, rocks, animals we would see. It was a wonderful mystery to me to learn from him how to look at a topographic map and deduce the pattern of the invisible layers of rock that lay under the ground

: I almost have the wedding gown finished. There are 36 buttons down the back. I have to sew them on and then join the skirt to the bodice. At that time it will be ready to mark the hem.

The yard is a huge disaster. Full of weeds.

: House. Getting cleaned. Within an inch of its life. Never be messy again. Yeah. Right.

: Back from Utah, where I marked the hem on Susie's dress and met John's family, including a little niece and nephew who rated very high on the cuteometer.

Rachel read Harry Potter in 11 hours and she challenged me to beat her record. I'm sure I can, but I don't feel a great urgent need to read the book myself. I have other things going on in my life.

Right now I'm reading Seabiscuit. It's a fascinating glimpse into a world I have never seen.

: I finished Seabiscuit. I was soooooo happy the horse didn't break his leg during a race and die.

Daydreaming. I have always claimed that I am never bored. If something unentertaining is going on, I can always think about something else. I was imagining that I was explaining to someone, "I am never bored. I can always think about the Mohorovicic Discontinuity." Immediately, a switch flipped in my mind and I found that I WAS contemplating (very seriously) the Mohorovicic Discontinuity.

: Today is the day that the Heavenly Bookkeeper discovered s/he had misplaced a bunch of index cards. Suddenly, three people who had fallen through the cracks have died, and all on the same day. They are two local ladies, ages 100 and 111, and Senator Strom Thurmond, age 100. "Wait! What are we doing? These people are way overdue!" squeaked the angel. So they brought 'em in.

: I think after all this I'm a girl to recognize a Big Mistake when it comes calling. There is a boy, of whom I am quite fond, who is making one of those life-altering bloopers right now. Unfortunately, there is nothing anyone can do to stop him. Rachel and I are going to the wedding reception tonight in spite of it all, and I even provided the flowers. Shasta daisies from my front yard. We are even taking a wedding gift. We bought them knives.

: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. Eight hours. Beats Rachel's time; who else's?

: Rachel and I took the dogs (Gretel and the little poof that belongs to the Tarjans) over to Beale Park to an outdoor concert of the Bakersfield Municipal Band. Robert Armstrong was playing in it, and also Ernie Cervantes. I taught with Ernie at EBHS and also was in the band with him during college years at DeAnza.

It was a nice concert, full of bouncy band music, and closed with Souza's "Washington Post."

: Reading Middlemarch. I had never read this one in college, and I'd forgotten what a kick George Elliot is. I wish I could speak with the kind of wit and syntax employed by her characters.

: Today we cleaned moss out the fishpond and I am a Granny! There is a plethora of baby goldfish (comets.) It's exciting to see Nature taking over. I would have been worried about them getting sucked up into the filter, but they seem to be doing ok. There are also a whole lot of little teeny black fishies. If they are not goldfish fry, then I don't know where they came from. Spontaneous generation?

: I'm reading Roughing It. I don't remember Twain being all that hysterical, but the only stuff I've read of his before (besides the jumping frog) is an amalgamation of Tom and Huck and Letters from the Earth. I'm getting a lot of good snickers out of Roughing It.

: I'm reading Les Miserables. It took a hundred pages to even get the silverware stolen. Oh brother. Heaven save us all from French philosophy.

: Just now I came within milliseconds of running my cell phone through the washer. It was in the pocket of my jeans.

Twenty-four years ago today I became the mother of a baby boy, who is still the joy of my life.

: Today is the eleventh of July. Today, July 11, 2003, Christmas merchandise appeared on the weekly Cost Plus World Market ad page. I think this has to be some kind of a record.

: I'm STILL reading Les Miserables.

Have spent the last few days on intensive scrapbooking and have mine and Leonard's caught up for the last two years, except for titles and such.

: Drats and Rats! The tube fell out. Now I'm going to have to have surgery to get another one put in. On the other side. Bleah. The good news I guess is I can take a shower every day for the next week without worrying about the tube. I FINALLY finished Les Miserables.

: When I was a teen, I once complained to my grandmother that it would take HOURS to hem, by hand, whatever project it was at the time. She said, "It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it takes weeks! You do it, and spend the time, and when it is finished it will be done right." Thinking of Grandma while hemming the wedding gown.

Another quotation, from the redoubtable Aunt Jeuney: "If you don't have time to do it properly now, when are you going to have time to do it over."

: Done done done. Wedding dress done. I'll take it to the cleaners on Monday.

Rachel and I went to Pioneer Day. We took Mark and Chris and Robert. All of us got really full of yummy food and we took lots of pictures of us stuffing ourselves for a scrapbook page.

: The philosophical question du jour is, if the prophets today asked us to sell everything and gather to Zion, would we go as did the pioneers of 1847?

The answer is "No, of course not." The prophets today have asked us NOT to gather to Zion, but to stay and build up Zion in the places where we are. Yet people are falling all over each other to move to Utah despite the explicit message they should stay in California or Texas or where ever.

: I took the wedding dress to the cleaners (pray for it!), the pictures to Target, and the puff quilt to the laundromat. It's only about 109 outside and I'm done in.

: The cleaners called me today and told me they need a deposit before they will clean the wedding gown. What? Like I'm not going to come back and get it?

: At Michaels I bought bolts of pastel colored tulle to decorate the white arch. Two of the colors were more expensive because they have shimmers. When the girl rang it up, I pointed out to her that she needed to charge me more for those two. She got an attitude, so I gave up. Ohhhhh weelll, if they are not going to worry about it, I'm not going to shoot myself over it.

: Yay hooray, the wedding sewing is done, done, done! I finished tonight (despite having awful blisters on my fingertips from a glue gun accident while making floral barrettes.) Rachel hates her bridesmaid dress, ha ha. Bridesmaid dresses are SUPPOSED to be ugly. All I have left to do now is the picking up stuff--flats of flowers from the nursery, corsages from the florist, tux from Men's Wearhouse, gown from the cleaners. All the decoration stuff is bought or delegated, except for the nursery flats. I'm having my surgery to put the tube back in tomorrow, so I can relax and try to recover by the wedding next Thursday. Then I have to haul everything I own (practically) over to the house where the reception will be. I can't believe I sewed the whole thing.

: I'm reading a book of short stories that I have been carting around with me for the last 30 years. I've never even cracked the cover before. Some of them are really really good. I'm reading them all in order, except I skipped "The Rocking Horse Winner." I very much despise that story; it's such a downer.

I am in quite a bit of pain, but the Tylenol III the surgeon prescribed makes me throw up, which makes the pain worse. Don't make me laugh.

: Overheard at the vet's:

"I want to get her spaded..... or neutered, whichever one the doctor thinks is best."

: Rachel and Karen Nations and I went to Seabiscuit. The theatre was so crowded we had to sit way down in front, where we got trampled by horses every race. I missed the part where they meet Seabiscuit because I had to go throw up.

: Ok. The main detail is, I have survived!

The bride and I got up early and made it to the temple in plenty of time. My IV messed up while I was driving down, and I couldn't stop to fix it (being on the freeway), so I was kind of weak by the time we got to the temple. I made them let my sister into the bride's room to help me. Anne actually did most of the buttoning and advice-giving and I was glad for the break. The ceremony was lovely. It was performed by Lynn Poulson, a man I used to work for, who has known Susie since before she was born. The bride seemed very happy and not scared at all and the groom just shone.

They had five little boys in tuxes and two little girls in floofy dresses, children of the groom's siblings, waiting outside. This sent the Cute-o-Meter off the charts. After pictures, which took forever and a day, we had a big family lunch at Olive Garden, which included all the people who couldn't go to the temple. By that time, of course, the little children were a wreck, but I didn't worry about them because they weren't mine. It was reassuring enough for me to know that yes, they DO make pretty babies in that family.

We came home and collapsed. The reception was the next day--I didn't have anything to do for it as the ladies from the ward handled it wonderfully. We've been having a lot of thunderstorms and were in danger of getting rained out, but we only got sprinked a little, and the clouds took the edge off the heat. The groom's family did not manage to keep the little kids in their tuxes throughout--not only was it hot, but the kids discovered Grandma's Amusement Park, which occupies the rear 40 of the yard where the reception was. If they'd been allowed to jump in the pool in addition to the trampoline, their evening would have been perfect.

I made a tri-tip and bought Costco pizza and used paper plates and so on at home, so feeding the troops was not difficult. My house is still upside down, but we'll get there.

There are lots of M&Ms left from the reception. Want any?

: Gasp! Choke! I took my car in for service and it's going to be $640.

: "Knock knock"

"Who's there?"

A West High School football player. Do I want to participate in a fundraiser to support his team? I do not. What are you doing in a BHS neighborhood, kid?

Now I am going to have to call up Joey Nations and donate to the BHS team to make up for turning that other kid down.

: Almost have my scrapbook up to date, except for the wedding.

: I'm back from Utah but have spent the last three days basically crashed in bed. Here is the report on my trip to Utah. Leonard, Rachel and I got up really early last Friday morning and drove straight through without incident. It's so fun to have older kids who can share the driving--it's almost worth the agony of teaching them to drive. (Actually, I didn't teach Rachel to drive; Ruth Davis did. I didn't have what it takes to do it again with a third child.) We got to Provo around dinnertime and stayed with the newlyweds in their little off-campus apartment. It was rather bare, but clean and in good repair--a nice place for a first home. Rachel slept on a featherbed on the living room floor and Leonard and I slept on a pull out couch bed.

Saturday morning we went to visit the North American Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. I really like this museum and this was my third visit, but I wanted Leonard to see it. I shot a roll of film of my kids there, the highlight of which was the picture of my son-in-law with the mural of the creation of the universe. We were very careful to note all the trilobite fossils because they figured into our plans later. After the museum we went to lunch at HickoryKist in Provo and then took naps--at least I did.

Late afternoon saw us traveling to Midvale for the reception. It was a busy afternoon getting all ready for the evening. I was worried that it was going to rain, but it didn't. The reception got interesting before it even started because the Delaneys showed up. They are people from our former ward who now live in Idaho; I was in the YW presidency with Cheryl and taught the girls in Primary. Susanna told an interesting story about her one and only experience toiletpapering--the Delaney's house. Brother Delaney came out and caught them and yelled at them and the girls all went home scared and crying. They didn't know he was only giving them a hard time.

The reception officially started and the people were lined up clear down the block. I never met so many neighbors, and such friendly people. It was a real ordeal standing there in that line, however. I worried about John's father's strength. I think it's better to just greet the guests individually, but was told that a line is the way they do it in Utah. Well. I think I'm safe from any more Utah receptions, so that's okay. I would have liked to have more time for a longer visit with Sheila from the Mollybluestocking list.

A highlight of the line was when Bob Denkers, an old friend from college, came through with one of his daughters. We also had a good number of relatives--not all we would have liked because being August they were on vacation, but quite a few.

The next day, Sunday, we went to church at the BYU married student ward. The young couples actually gave some of the best church talks I've heard in years. After church we went to a family dinner at my brother Jonathan's. All my sister's married children were there and we had a lovely visit. This is the last time in a while to see Dave and Alyson, as they are moving to Kansas to grad school. Aly said she would send me some ruby Birkenstocks that I could click and come see her.

In the morning we got up very early, Susanna and John went off to work, and we hit the highway. We travelled to Delta by way of the Tintic Mining District, where my great grandfather got his start (and his finish) as a miner. We took pictures of some of the most admirable timbering I've ever seen, still sturdy and solid after over a century.

In Delta, we checked into the Best Western and then went larking off down a nowhere road to try to find the trilobite fossils. The map we had printed off from the internet looked a lot more thorough to a person sitting at home in California than it was trying to navigate the desert with its hundreds of nameless and mismatched road. Eventually we made our way from the two-lane highway to the Road of Doom and from there to the quarry. It's funny that I've been driving around in a 4WD vehicle for two years now and this is the first chance I've had to use it.

It was darn hot. We got to the quarry and spent the afternoon breaking rocks with a hammer. It got hotter. We found many, many trilobites and this was extremely exciting, but boy was it hot. We had read also that there is a geocache in the area,and we looked for it, but not having a GPS we didn't find it. Eventually, we loaded up all the rocks we could carry and returned to Delta via The Road of Doom. We ate dinner at a place called The China Inn in Delta--to be highly recommended, and run by real Chinese people.

In the morning, we visisted the Deseret Industries store, where we bought a book called "How to Write a Story and Other Essays" by Mark Twain for $.50. Then we went cross country--not on a Road of Doom, but rather a Road of Inconvenient Travel--to I-70, which we took to US 89. I was kicking myself that I didn't bring the blueprint of the house my grandfather designed and built in Panguitch so we could find it. We paid a visit to Big Rock Candy Mountain and then continued south to Glendale, where we paid a visit to old friends, Kingsley and Mimi Nelson. Dinner and catching up.

We got up well before dawn and headed home. I drove through Zion Canyon in the dark--an absolutely magnificient experience with the full moon shining of the rock faces and Mars closer than it has been for 50,000 years. Especially surreal were the views of the formations in the half-light, framed by the window cutouts of the big tunnel. These tunnels and highway are sentimental to our family because my grandfather built them.

Out of the canyon, we found they are widening the highway and widening and reparing the Hurricane Bridge, but they have had the good grace to have preserved Grandpa's supporting towers. I don't know about the original railing--last time I was through there, maybe three years ago--the concrete wasn't in such good shape, so it was good to see the bridge getting some attention.

Through St. George, Las Vegas, home without stopping, except for breakfast at the Denny's in Mojave.

: Further thoughts on teaching kids to drive. I taught Leonard. It was agony. I think he really didn't want to learn, but bless his heart, he did anyway and now I think he is glad.

Susanna was so sure she was unbeatable. I'll never forget the day she jumped into the dunebuggy and drove straight into the grape vinyard. It was really nerve wracking teaching her; Nancy Shile helped and let her drive in a little red Ghia. Greater love hath no man. Then Ruth Davis taught Rachel.

What wonderful friends. I don't know if I could do it for anyone else.

: My uncle Bill Whitney called and said Aunt Jeuney had an anuerysm. (Bet I didn't spell that right!) We are all very concerned and anxious and waiting to hear back from him regarding her status.

: Aunt Jeuney died. I am bereft.

: Here is the obituary I wrote for the newspapers.

LeJeune Whitney was born July 25, 1921 in Springville, Utah, the third child and only daughter of Lewis Jotham Whitney and Frances Evaline Henderson Whitney. She grew up surrounded by friends and cousins in Springville in the old family home on Main Street, and she graduated from Springville High School.

After a brief stint at Brigham Young University, she proudly served our nation during World War Two as an officer in the Army Air Corps, where she rose through the ranks and broke traditional barriers, contributing to the expansion of the women’s movement. After the end of the war, she married Carl Thornton Griffith, and the new couple made their home in Oregon, where she graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism.

LeJeune and Carl became the parents of one child, Carl Whitney Griffith. Although they were divorced in 1968, LeJeune and Carl remained friends through LeJeune’s brief marriage to Marton Ackerman and Carl’s remarriage. They raised their child together and in later years once again maintained a household together, where they cared for each other until Carl’s death in 2000.

LeJeune had a heart filled with kindness and a brain bursting with ideas. Her interests and professional involvements were almost too many to list; she could and did do anything and everything. She edited the National Chinchilla Breeder magazine, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune, she wrote and published her own books, she established a craft supply import firm and a graphics shop, and she spent many years on the corporate staff of Hewlett-Packard corporation. At an age when many of her contemporaries were quietly retiring, she embraced the computer age. LeJeune excelled at everything she did, and was always anxious and willing to share, help, and counsel with others to lead them to excellence also.

Her many nieces and nephews and the children of her friends will always remember LeJeune as a guide, an inspiration, and a second mother. She cared about every one and strove to help each person’s creativity and interests develop and bloom. LeJeune had friends all over the world, from all walks of life, and of all ages, from older people to her contemporaries to little children.

LeJeune is survived by her son, Carl Whitney Griffith, his wife, Suzi Griffith, and her beloved granddaughter, Sarah Maurie Griffith. She leaves two brothers, Joe and Bill Whitney, and Joe’s wife, Carla Whitney, as well as numerous nephews and nieces and many, many friends and relatives. She was predeceased by her parents, her brothers Lewis Earl and J. Cecil Whitney, her sister-in-law Lorna Whitney, and her stepmother Jesse Alleman Whitney.

: So I read in the paper that Griffith Observatory is being rehabilitated. The planetarium will have a new projector, and the place will be expanded underground (into where the lawn is now.) The murals are all going to be restored. It will reopen in 2005.

: I am scrapbooking Christmas of 1980. Making progress!

: This is going to be a difficult semester. It has hard times written all over it. Oh well. We've done hard times before and survived to tell the cautionary tale.

Rachel and I are getting ready to leave for Utah to attend Aunt Jeuney's funeral. I am on the program; I have to read from Tennyson's "Ulysses." She requested I do this poem at her funeral but I always thought she would be doing it at mine instead.

: I am back from Utah where I attended my aunt's funeral. It was very, very difficult to see her dead, --she was always so full of life and operated on a broader canvas than most people. In many ways, it was a much more grevious loss than the death of my mother because I think I was closer to Aunt Jeuney. In other ways it was easier because I had her longer, and I know she lived a full and long life.

I recited from Tennyson's "Ulysses" for the service. I was worried about what kind of job I'd be able to do, but everyone says the poem was a high point of the program. There were a lot more people there than I thought would be there. They ran the obituary I wrote for her in the Springville Herald, and I guess a lot of the locals saw it and came out.

Other speakers were my brother Jonathan, two men who went to high school with Aunt Jeuney, and my uncle's bishop. My sister in law Sharon sang a lovely sentimental old song (NOT a funeral number, a twenties "pop" song) and my brother Robert gave one of the prayers. The other prayer was by my cousin Ryan. We sang "Do What is Right" for an opening song and "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" for a closing. Singing that closing hymn with so much scattered family was really an emotional experience.

My brother Leonard missed his flight and didn't make the funeral--a real downer for all of us-- so my son Leonard was a pallbearer in his place.

Military honors were done by the local VFW post, and seeing those old veterans still standing (just barely) just about finished me off. I don't know what they are going to do for parades and the funerals of soldiers when the last of these old boys is gone. They seem to get more frail every year. My youngest niece picked up all the shells from the twenty-one gun salute, so we divided them up among those who wanted one as a souvenier of our aunt.

We buried her next to DH. I think he would be pleased to have her there because he was extremely fond of Aunt Jeuney.

My cousin Whit (her only child) is taking this loss really, really hard. As are we all. My sister and I have made a date to return in a year to do her temple work together.

Upon my return home, I had an email from a member of her camera club, who said the club is having a memorial next week and could he have permission to read the obituary there. I told him of course, and I'm flattered and grateful that she had so many wonderful friends.

: A very slow day. I bought groceries, paid bills, roasted a chicken, did some scrapbook pages. Now to bed, and tomorrow, back to work.

: I have done my scrapbook through the beginning of 1983. Slowly, slowly, I'm making a dent in that stack of pictures. I'm afraid progress is going to drag from now on, however, because paper grading is about to begin with a vengeance.

: Still scratching my head over this one. Picture a black 2003 Corvette, purring down the road, all tinted windows and mean chrome and shiny as a black widow spider. On the license plate frame it says "My other car is a Nissan Sentra."

: A lesson for us all. Aunt Jeuney has been saying for the last five years or so that she had a box of letters my mother had written her over the years, with carbon copies of Aunt Jeuney's replies. She wanted to give them to me but first she wanted to go through them and "remove parts that are too personal." Well, she never did it, and the day of her burial Uncle Bill handed me the box.

I am going through them and putting each letter in a page protector in a big binder. It is actually going to turn out to be more like two binders. Of course I have to read each one. I'm about 2/3 finished and so far I haven't happened on anything I would consider "too personal". Of course I'm much more open than many people. It just makes me wonder if I have anything "too personal" in my written journals or saved correspondence. We should all go through our stuff before we die.

One ongoing point of discussion in these letters is their diets, weight, and measurements. Those two women must have tried every odd diet under the sun! As well as the conventional ones. I don't remember any of these diets happening although I do remember the exercise program and the calendar my mother had in the kitchen where she gave herself a star for every day she stuck with her diet and exercise.

In 1961, they went on something called the Knox Program. Apparently they sent away for a leaflet from Knox Unflavored Gelatin, and went on a diet of molded stuff. Mousses, aspics, gelatin salads. Lots of chopped celery and carrot molded up. Tuna. Cottage cheese and fruit. All kinds of recipes, with the mousses of course featuring nonfat milk and nary a dollop of whipped cream. My mother apparently got a set of copper molds with Green Stamps. (I remember the molds; they hung on the wall of every kitchen we ever lived in.)

I think these diet dishes may have been temporarily filling, but I can't imagine that a meal of this stuff would be satisfying. You'd be hungry again in a half hour!

Aunt Jeuney and Mom were up against a wall on this--they both loved to cook so much. My mother especially was a great baker, and you know how tempting those freshly out of the oven rolls can be! Experimenting with Knox gelatin had to be a poor substitute for cooking real food. The experience left its mark at least on Aunt Jeuney. Once when I was a teen she invited us over for a "cold summer supper" and everything she served was covered in slime with the exception of the three-bean salad, which I like, but which most of my siblings abhor.

At any rate, this is my second day of sitting at the kitchen table reading and organizing old letters.

: I am still sorting letters. I think what I am going to do is "marry" them in with ALL the letters I have saved, and then I will have a family history. More or less. Of course I still need to write something up, but having the letters in order would be a great resource.

: Finally I have the house put back together after the wedding/funeral rush. Except of course for the scrapbooking room. And the pile of laundry I need to fold. he he.

: I am reading Dracula. Although I read the Classics Illustrated comic book as a kid, I don't think I've ever read the actual novel. I can hardly put it down; it's just as fresh and just as frightening as it apparently was 110 years ago. Usually I dislike novels in the epistolary style, but in this case the narration from different points of view seems very suitable to the story.

: Wading on through the scrapbook job. I finally have Rachel born. However, about that time I also bought my camera, so there are now twice as many pictures. Twice? Ha.

: The vulture migration has come to town. I just love to see them wheeling over the neighborhood. This evening as we were on the way home from a matinee (Uptown Girls, very forgettable)a vulture swooped so low over the top of the car that I could see his little feet tucked up.

: Jeanne Jusevic posted this update of the old math teachers' joke. Is it racist? I haven't decided yet, but I laughed at it.

Teaching Math in 1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of Production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production Is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1970: A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set "M" of money. The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set "M." The set "C", the cost of production, contains 20 fewer points than set "M." Represent the set â?oC" as a subset of set "M" Answer this question: What is the cardinality of the set "P" of profits?

Teaching Math in 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production Is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math in 1990: By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down the trees? There are no wrong answers.

Teaching Math in 2000: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production Is $120. How does Arthur Andersen determine that his profit margin is $60?

Teaching Math in 2010: El hachero vende un camion carga por $100. La cuesta de production es.............?

: This is what I wrote about Jeanne's math joke:

I have to say I laughed out loud when I read it. I think it's very funny. On the other hand, I wonder if the joke might be racist? I haven't clarified my mental position on whether or not it is, but it does play to the paranoia of those who dread being overtaken by the Hispanic population.

I think the real way math teaching will go in the future is to become more algebraic. Story problems bomb with today's kids because they can't read and their critical thinking skills are nil.

For two years I taught math (in Spanish) to immigrant kids in a bilingual classroom. They were doing okay, considering the mathematical idiot they had for a teacher. Then the people of the state passed Proposition 187 and bilingual programs were eliminiated. These immigrant kids did not survive in regular math classrooms. Of course, part of the problem was they weren't on grade level to begin with. Many of them had dropped out of school after third grade, as they are allowed to do under Mexican law. I had some kids who couldn't even count buttons into a muffin tin, and they were 12, 13 years old already! Right. So let's have them do it in English too!

: Today I have gone to a garage sale and washed a load of towels. This is not a very big accomplishment, considering it is 12:30 p.m. I still have to make a worksheet, run grade printouts for one section, take Leonard's suit to the cleaners, get a haircut and do the church bulletin. Also go see Matchstick Men. I hope I will have time left to scrapbook some pictures.

: I spent two hours today in a meeting to discuss what to do about issues of placement of students into English classes. Previously, they took a bubble test and wrote an essay, but with mismanagement and budget cuts (by the administration) there is no money this year to pay people to grade the essays. Reading the placement essays is a fairly complicated procedure which requires a lot of experience and training, and if I may say so, we had gotten pretty good at it.

My take on the mess is that we can't possibly get the same results from a bubble test score. For this academic year, however, it's going to just have to stay a mess.

My very big concern is the students who place on the very low end of the spectrum, those with learning disabilities that we discover as we are reading their effort at an essay. We have always referred them for further testing. Now, the office where they are tested has been gutted by layoffs and other piracy by the administration. Today I had lunch with a bunch of the classified people from that office, and they are overwhelmed trying to keep the program afloat. And guess what? More cuts coming down.

I don't see how a person could pre-diagnose a learning disability from a low bubble test score, so what that means is these students won't have a writing sample read by an English teacher until they are enrolled in the class, and then they have lost at least a semester, probably two--a whole year!-- before they are identified.

: I am the Queen of Verbs. I am the Witch Queen of the principal parts of verbs. I am the Tyrannosaurus rex of irregular verbs. Tremble, o ye mighty! I rule all I survey.

: Susie's birthday. I miss my baby.

Tomorrow I am going to start ripping out the vegetable garden, and I'm going to make quarts and quarts of fresh pesto. I had the idea to freeze it in ice cube trays, and then I'll have individual "cubes" which will make just one serving of pasta--for me!!! If others are expected for dinner, I can thaw more cubes.

: I was SOOOO productive today. Taught my class, graded all my papers. Then Marlene and I held a meeting at Los Hermanos trying to organize an adjunct faculty union-- and maybe a strike??? We had a good time meeting the people who came. After that I went to Albertson's and bought a gallon of olive oil, ten heads of garlic, and a couple of pounds of Parmesan cheese for my purported pesto. I picked up Leonard's suit from the dry cleaners and came home and called the pharmacy and made an appointment with a mortgage guy. Now I'm exhausted, and I still need to take Ernestine Boonstoppel to Enrichment Night.

: International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrr blimey! Me wonders if pirates spray Roundup to send the weeds to Davy Jones? Run up Jolly Roger!

: Tonks knocked one of my terracotta chicken figurines off the kitchen windowsill and into the garbage disposal, where I didn't know it lay until Too Late. I am reasonably sad about this because I've had those chickens on every kitchen windowsill since college, and now there is only one chicken and he is an orphan. In addition, it was not much fun fishing little pieces of ceramic out of the disposal.

: I've been doing yardwork. I'm drenched with sweat. I'm about to consider a "If you can't lick 'em, join 'em" approach to the front yard. Instead of trying to fight grass in the ground cover I'll install some bedding borders and have lawn borders except on the "mounds." Then Juan can mow it every week and charge me more money, but it will be less work for me. I don't mind doing the work but I'm just not able to do as much as I used to and a person has got to adapt.

I mended a lot of the drip system, so maybe I'll turn it back on tomorrow.

: I have made it to 1985 in my scrapbook. I'm on the page in February where we went to Death Valley with the Boswells. This trip is memorable because we came back home and Richard Oman's car had been stolen out of our driveway. The legal morass there --Richard and Pam were in Indonesia-- completely undid the restful relaxation of a Death Valley vacation.

: Whew. 1985 is finished. Am I having fun yet?

: I've been working assiduously on my scrapbook. In the middle of 1986. I've had to leave some holes for later because some of the photos were in the form of slides and I took them to Henley's to be printed. Pretty soon slides will be forever gone from my life! I think I quit taking slides along about 1986 or 1987 because they were such a pain.

: The cashier at the MickyD's drive through stopped me today as I drove off. "Ma'am! Ma'am! Do you really know the Ode on a Grecian Urn?"

"Not the whole thing," I admitted.

"But the beginning is famous," he insisted.

"No, it's the end that is famous," I corrected him. "Beauty is truth, truth is beauty. That is all you know on earth and all you need to know." That made him happy and I went on to the next window to get my Big Mac and my Happy Meal for Gretel.

: I have finished 1986, except for a few odd prints being developed now at Henleys. I left space for them, but don't know how they will "crop" as it's hard to tell looking at a slide without a projector.

1987 was a very big year for us. We went on trips to Seattle and to Colorado. I have a stack of 1987 Death Valley pictures an inch thick. Also, we have a lot of local pictures, such as the zoo, and that is the year we moved from Los Angeles.

: I forgot to mention that we also went to Washington DC in 1987. How can someone "forget" the trip of a lifetime? It just illustrates the number of holes in my brain.

: I am soooo tired of public radio's membership drive committee trying to make me feel guilty. Ok, sure I listen to NPR. I would even be happy to provide an annual stipend to NPR except that sad experience has shown that when one donates, that is just the prelude. They pay you back by putting you on every junk mail list on earth, and calling on the phone too. Then pretty soon you are hearing from public television...

: My (mother's) Uncle David used to have a chocolate factory. They dipped them all by hand. The candy making rooms in the basement were really intriguing--especially the smells of melting chocolate and roasting almonds. The ladies who worked there stirred the good stuff in huge cauldrons.

Once I asked him for some recipes. "Uncle David," I said, "you're getting older and I'd hate to have your candy recipes lost to the family. I promise cross my heart not to go into a competing business if you write them down for me."

"Flibbiththth!" said he. "There are no secret recipes. I just use high quality ingredients and don't ruin them."

: I think I am coming down with something. Maybe I'll go to bed early, having finished 1986 in my scrapbook. Well, not exactly. I still have one more Christmas page to do, but I'm waiting for a print from a slide to be developed. Tomorrow maybe.

Rachel came home to visit for the weekend. Gretel was estatic to see her.

: This gubernatorial recall election has me going around and around. Every day it's more tangled. Today's headline was that Bill Simon has endorsed Arnold. Well. Bill Simon is the reason I voted for Gray Davis in the first place, as Davis appeared to be the lesser evil. I was not happy about that choice at the time and I'm still pretty steamed; otherwise, I would have never signed the recall petition. Therefore, if Bill is taking Arnold's side, then I suppose I can't.

They had the debates on a tiny little portable television in the Family History Center on Wednesday night. I can't say I listened very closely; I certainly wasn't huddled around the screen with the family history director, but I came to the conclusion that I can't listen to Huffington for several more years. She certainly writes better than she speaks--or does she do her own writing? I'm suspicious now.

The only one who I thought acquitted himself well was Peter Camejo, the Green Party Candidate. I suppose I'll have to become a Socialist and support him.

: Rachel and I went to see "Under The Tuscan Sun." The movie is different from the book in that it actually has a plot. We liked it, and particularly enjoyed the settings and costumes. Rachel worked up an appetite watching the feasting going on in the movie, and is now in the kitchen making pesto.

: Did I mention that when my home health nurse came a couple of days ago, she was in tears? Seems she had just left a six year old kid who was actively dying. She's been his home health nurse all along, so she's had time to get attached to him. I felt just terrible--for him, for her, for the world. Cancer is such an ugly thing.

I spent the day today serging chemotherapy turbans at the stake RS service project. I ruined the first one and sneaked it into the trash, but soon got the hang of it and went zipping along. I can't say that it made me feel better about the existence of cancer, but at least I contributed. I can't do anything about cancer, but I can do this.

: I have filled another scrapbook, and have gotten the family history to where we moved to Arvin. (August 1987). This means I only have about five more years to put in a book. I'm wondering if it will all fit in one book--probably not. I'll probably have to buy two more. I wonder what the Creative Memories lady will do for business if my scrapbooks are finished?

: OK, today is the day. It is really going to happen. I am going to clean out my refrigerator. Right. Now.

: I was going to make pasta salad using the cherry tomatoes from the plant I was going to rip out today, but I forgot some of the ingredients when I went to the grocery store yesterday. I think instead of ripping out the tomato plant, I will pull some weeds.

Juan is going to seed the yard with winter ryegrass on October 15, so I need to have the vegetable garden all pulled out by then. However, the Amundsens are going to come over Saturday morning and help me. Bless their hearts.

I have to get the Langleys to come for the rosebush and the Welches to come for the wisteria. (All my landscaping mistakes!) I decided where I would move the strawberries.

: Oh, dear. The UPS has delivered 100 daffodil bulbs. I wasn't expecting them for another three weeks, and I'm not quite ready for them. I guess everything else goes on hold while I do the fall yard work!

: I gave Karen Nations a whole lot of basil from my garden and she made pesto lasagna. Last night she brought me some, fresh out of the oven, and I ate it for lunch today. It was very good; I'll have to get the recipe from her.

Gretel really wanted some, but I wasn't sharing.

I've been a little sick. I think I caught something from a student. Yesterday I went to bed and read a trashy grocery store novel, "Mt. Vernon Love Story" by Mary Higgens Clark. It was charming but mediocre. I just grabbed it off the rack at the store and was shocked when it rang up as costing $6.99. Whaaaa? That's a lot of money for a trashy paperback.

: I went to CLS Pets to buy cat food and they had baby bunnies! So cute and silky, black and white ones that look like Xochitl.

They also had guinea pigs, which went weeeek at me, and brand new baby hamsters. And red slider turtles.

I almost broke down and bought myself a turtle for the pond, but then I read on the sign that they eat goldfish.

: On campus the other day, I picked up a flyer. It seems Wesley Crawford is running for California State Assembly. (Wouldn't that be a circus!) The flyer is 95% fragments and 100% bad sentences. I thought we taught him better than that. Wesley, Wesley, Wesley.... where is your sentence combining card?

: I filled the green waste dumpster with tomato plants. A couple more days of hard work and the garden will be gone. Sigh. I wish I could keep it up, but between my illness and Gretel tearing it up as fast as I can plant, it isn't getting done.

I moved the blueberries, and will move the strawberries, to the side of the house by the street. If neighborhood children eat some, oh well.

The household waste dumpster is filled with black weedblock fabric which I took up from in front. It's time to plant ground cover around the stepping stones.

: I'm just finishing up the scrapbook pages of Christmas 1987. Just before this, I did pages and pages of a trip to Washington D.C. I think we actually took two trips, one in 1986 and one in 1987, but I can't tell which pictures belong to which trip (the kids have the same winter coats in both of them), so it will just have to be jumbled. Boy am I glad that year is finished. It was a big one.

: Woke up in the middle of the night realizing I had left out the page of the Jefferson Memorial, and now it's going to be out of chron order. Grrrrr.

: It's done. I ended up voting for the Native American guy. I thought he was a good compromise; he's running as a Democrat but not a partyliner. He's a serious candidate and seems like a reasonable human being. I'm glad it's over.

: Drat. One of my gold earrings is lost. I've had those earrings since forever; they were my first pair. I don't even know if I can get another like them.

They were in a little soapdish on my bathroom counter. I don't know how it got out or where it went. *I* didn't spill it!

: I am very in touch with the dingbat side of my brain. I went out and bought Marines stickers for a scrapbook page of Mario and Katiah's boot camp graduation. They were in the Navy, weren't they?

I think the scrapbook store will take this stuff back. I hope.

: I pulled out the gazanias and I'm going to put them in front, and I yanked up the strawberries to move them to the side yard. The Young Men came over and moved concrete blocks and removed the vegetable beds. (This is sad!) They worked really hard, especially Travis Whetten, who came an hour early with two of his friends.

I had them get the pond filter out of the water and it STINKS! The pond really needs cleaning. I'll have to go back to CLS and see if I can buy some filter foam. An alternative is perhaps cut up furnace filters to use--would certainly be cheap. Why not?

: I'm very disappointed in Cruz Bustamante. He was downright mean and nasty in his concession speech. "Nyah nyah, I'm in charge anyhow when you are gone, so stay away as long as you want, Arnold". What's up with that? Can't we behave decently? Davis I'm worried about. I think he will go postal. This man is wound so tight--and he's not normal emotionally.

: I am reading the Dictionary of Symbolism. The author explores the symbolism of Freemasonry -- and every other symbol he can reach, from our cultural context and others-- explicitly and deeply.

Now, I have always heard that Joseph Smith "copied" the temple ceremonies from Masonic rites. I can live with that because I think that symbolism really is archetypical and has widespread meaning. It's very possible that Masonry is a corrupted remnant of an ancient temple ceremony. As we believe, Joseph Smith restored the teachings of the gospel; he didn't make them up.

Here's the problem I am contemplating. The temple symbolisms are archetypical and "universal"--but only to our culture. What happens when folks of another culture attend the temple? They haven't been steeped in the same symbolic values we have. Orientals, for example, don't feel the same way we do about squares, directness, exactness. On a psychological level, an Oriental is not going to have the same experience as an American or a Western European. The learning will not happen in the same way. Then what? This is a problem a worldwide church will need to address.

: I mended and capped off the sprinkler pipes in the former vegetable garden and in the back yard generally. Prepared the chessboard for planting in grass. I give up on dichondra. It won't grow here. I'll just have to pay Juan to mow and trim the chessboard. I also pruned the wisteria so the Welches can come dig it up.

Gretel went with me to Home Depot to buy the sprinkler parts. She was a little scared of all the people and traffic.

: I haven't gotten near as much done today as I needed to--don't have the strength. I started to drill with my earth auger to make holes to plant daffodils, gazania, and thyme, but the ground was too hard. So I put the rainbird on to soak it and came in and took a nap. I'm about to go give it another try.

: This evening I had the suprise of my life. Kim Cornett came over and brought me a beautiful friendship quilt made by the women on the Mollybluestocking list that I run. I was floored. It's so beautifully done, and every square is precious.

It's done in lovely shades of green and burgundy. Some of the squares have poems on them. Very very nice.

Also while the Cornetts were here, Larry dug up the "Falstaff" rosebush. The back yard is ready for Juan to work his magic tomorrow. After the Cornetts went home, Gretel and I took the rosebush to Jill Langley. Jill was taking her bath (something she does every evening), but Tim answered the door.

: The Ho sisters. Patricia and Pauline. They were brilliant. Patricia was in my graduating class in high school, and I knew her best because she was in the band with me. What did she play? I seem to recall clarinet. Pauline was a couple of years younger and in the orchestra; my brother Leonard knew her better than I did. He went to the --was it the Prom?-- with her.

They had this huge Chinese family with a traditional grandmother and everything. Leonard was invited once to their home for Chinese New Year.

After graduation, Patricia went to Stanford, where I saw her in a student production of Dvorak's "Rusalka" our junior year. That was the last time I saw her because she never came to class reunions or to the big party I had at Christmas in 1975.

I'm sure that wherever the Ho sisters are, they are successful, and I hope their lives are full and happy.

: I dreamed I was singing in church and all the women's voices dropped out --except mine-- on the third line of the hymn, every verse. I tried really hard to stay on key alone against the bass line all the way through the hymn. I did the best I could. At the end,I looked down at the hymnbook and saw that I had rests in those measures. The notes for a soprano part were sloppily pencilled in. This dream may be rooted in my feelings about going to church alone and living alone, or it may just be an overreaction to sitting there with Rachel and her not singing last Sunday. Or?????

: Unbelievable. The appraisal on this house came in at $164,000. I paid $79,000 for it two years ago, and put in $20,000 and two years of hard work. Unbelievable.

: The headline says "Andrea Yates in 'Psychotic State'". Yeah? You mean like in Texas?

: Fall is here. I can tell because the little Xochitlcoatl rat-kitty is sleeping under the covers again.

Gretel is scratching scratching scratching. It was so bad last night I had to put her outside because she was keeping me awake. I've made an appointment for her at the vet. I don't think it's fleas because she takes her Program and I can't find anything on her skin. Watching her scratch makes me itch too.

: So the Chinese have sent a takionaut into space. I wonder if it has even occurred to them how anticlimatic that is?

: Robert Gomez was here and quoted a bid in a horrifying amount for the fall landscape cleanup--plus a couple of extra things like mending a sprinkler pipe and fixing the front gate. Gaaaahhh. If I just felt better I could do these things myself. Oh well, I guess it has to be done, and Robert's guys do a nice job.

I didn't mention to him about planting daffodils. Trust only goes so far, and it stops when it comes to flowerbeds I think.

: I didn't realize that Robert Gomez had left the front gate open, so when Gretel had to go out in the night, she escaped. There I was roaming the neighborhood at 3 a.m. in my nightgown, calling the dog. When I found her, she was into someone's trash and had it spread in the street. What a night.

In other news, Wendell Settlemire has fixed the two gimpy hinges on closet doors!

: In support of the grocery workers' strike, I shopped at the Green Frog Market today. It took me about twice as long because I was unfamiliar with the store's layout, and I thought prices were overall slightly higher, but I did find Wasa crispbread, which I have not seen since we moved here from Los Angeles. Now I know where to get it.

I might be tempted to shop Green Frog more often if it were in my neighborhood. As it is, I'll just plan to keep going back as long as I need to to show solidarity for my brothers and sisters on the picket lines.

: John notes that he is out of eggs. I am also out of eggs. The bad thing about this is, I went to the grocery store today, and I'm still out of eggs!

: I went to Young's to get eggs. It was very busy and crowded. The lines were slow. They had eggs for $.49 a dozen, but I didn't have a new-style Saver Card filled, so I had to pay the regular price. I bought the carton of eighteen eggs for a tiny savings. There is now a new Saver Card in my purse with three stamps on it. I had quit going to Young's when they discontinued the old saver stamp program, so I guess they noticed and started a new one!

All kinds of people were shopping there, most of whom had never been into Young's, I am sure. One old lady gave me a real lecture about never cross a picket line. "I wouldn't dream of it," I assured her.

: I forgot to mention that while I was at Green Frog, the produce manager was stacking a huge pyramid of Autumn Flame peaches out of RichPak boxes. The display table had a row of little black and white checkered racing flags along one side. I wonder who thought of that merchandising idea. Shannon?

: Gretel is getting out more and more. Today while I was asleep a neighbor brought her home. She has apparently figured out how to open the broken gate. Robert Gomez has gone out of town until Monday or Tuesday. I hope he fixes the gate soon. I don't know how much more of this my heart can take.

Leonard and Sumana are here and we are having a nice visit. Today we went to two pet stores and an antique store, and tonight we are going to see Richard III at the college. The homemade lentil soup was a hit. I froze a lot of portions for the future.

: Been thinking about beans, ever since Alyson cooked them. Plus the ward chili cookoff is coming up. I've never had beans turn out in the crock pot, and I always thought it was just because I used beans from food storage that were probably too old. Or, I had heard if you put salt in them it makes them tough. So when I made this lentil soup I bought a brand new package of lentils and put no salt. After FOREVER in the crock pot they were still crunchy. Bleah. Well, it was dinner time, so I took a portion and boiled them on the stove and they turned out fine. I left the rest cooking in the crock pot over night and in the morning--crunchy. I put them on the stove in a pot and they cooked right up. So. Looks like beans have to be boiled. Whoda thunk?

: I'm putting together a grammar workbook to go with my syllabus for English 60 next semester. It's a very tedious job. I've ALMOST made it to spring break.

In other news, my employer can bite the wall. If I were Some People, I would have been downtown with the lawyers today, faster than the administration could spit.

I'm glad I'm just a simple flunkie who is teaching college for a hobby and not for a living. I'd hate to have my life depending on these people. Such jerks.

[Comments] (6) : We're stylin' here! Starting with this entry, people can make comments on the content of this weblog-- and the mentality of the author--simply by clicking on the blue triangle. Way to dialogue, Leonard!

I hate it when people use "dialogue" as a verb like that.

Here are some other words I hate: foundational, collegiality, outcomes.

[Comments] (1) : Robert Gomez is STILL mending the wall and the gate. I'm getting kind of tired of not being able to let Gretel out there. Plus she figured out how to open the French door.

I went to the Family History Library tonight. We are getting quite a little club going there. I found one line that added 2,000 names.

Work work work on the grammar handbook. What a headache.

: Sometimes is a headache just a headache? I spent the night consuming copious quantities of Advil. Maybe it's not the grammar book.

: Advil. Hasn't always been around. My Understanding of the History of Analgesics. Asprin was invented in the 18-somethings, but willow-bark teas and so forth had been used by Native Americans and pioneers forever. Willow=salix=salicylic acid = asprin. Tyelenol came out when I was in college. I never thought it was all that effective, but the purported advantage of Tyelenol is it doen't upset your stomach. I have never had a problem with asprin upsetting my stomach. Advil came onto the OTC market in the middle 1980s. I think it's a wonderful drug, especially for cramps, but in retrospect, is it really any more effective for a headache than asprin? My experience doesn't think so. Therefore, why do I keep taking Advil$$$$ instead of El Cheapo? I think I'm the dupe of a marketing campaign.

: One of the student workers claims he can tell if someone is dumb or smart by the way they walk. He was standing by my window narrating his evaluations.

"Walking purposefully, eating a bananna - smart." "Wandering down the sidewalk, eating a Twinkie - dumb."

"OK," I said. "Tell me if the Vice President coming out of the Humanities Building is smart or dumb."

"That old guy? He's dumb! Lookit him rambling around holding his McDonald's cup and he still has to write stuff in a notebook after doing a job how many years? He doesn't even have a briefcase! He's the friggin' Vice President and he doesn't even carry a briefcase? What kind of Vice President is that? Dumb. Dumb. Dumb."

Then one of the girls chimed in with a comment about the combover.

Cracked me up.

: I was outside hoeing the flowerbeds when some JWs came by. I really did not want them to stop, but they stood out in the street--it's a public street!-- and talked at me. I tried not to be rude. One of them was a really nice elderly lady, good vocabulary, very sharply and modestly dressed. She lives in the neighborhood.

I would like to be friends with her, but long experience tells that one simply cannot be friends with a Witness. Behind every conversation, they are always lying in wait for the chance to bring the topic around to religion. When Leonard was in kindergarten, there was a little Witness girl in his class. She was a cute little girl--practically the only one in the class besides Leonard who spoke English. Her parents were very nice, she had a baby brother Rachel's age, and they lived just right over on Third Avenue. I thought they would be good friends for our family, but every meetandgreet kept turning into an evaluation of what I'm missing by not going to their church. The can of worms was opened when I invited the little girl to Leonard's fifth birthday party the week after school started.

Anyhow, that same old lady returned to my house and knocked on the door to "bring me more news of what is going on in the world today." (Like I don't read Newsweek and the paper?) I was really sad to not let her in, because she is a lovely lady with whom I have some things in common. But boy, catch her listening to me share my views? uhuh.

: Today I picked our first pomegranite. (Not exactly true; there was another one, shrunken and half rotted, which I picked and ate standing in the garden yesterday--the not rotten part, that is.) I will very kindly share it with Rachel, and I hope for a bigger crop next year!!!!!

[Comments] (2) : I was asked for advice. This is what I said: (1) you should do adventuresome things while you are young and single. (2) You should make sure you really believe in something before you do it.

: The neighbors on Cedar Street to the south got new curbs and gutters. How do they rate?

: I finished all the worksheets for the grammar book. Oh, my neck aches from typing! I just have to put it all into a lesson plan now and prepare the syllabi and the coversheets for about a dozen writing assignments. Last semester's syllabus is in a corrupted file, so I have lost it. I hope there is a hard copy in my filing cabinet at work. The deadline for getting this thing to the printer is Thursday, so I have just three more days to work on it.

[Comments] (1) : A student today said she can tell that I like the class. I'm glad she thinks so. I'm glad she can't tell that I go beat my head against the wall after I leave them. Thank goodness it looks like I like them.

: I thought I had at long last finished the grammar workbook, but when I looked over the lesson plan I still need to make two more worksheets. Whew. I spent all day and evening on it today.

[Comments] (1) : B-i-g-g-g- s-i-i-i-i-i-g-h-h-h-h! I finished the English 60 grammar book and the ACDV 68 worksheet packets for Spring semester. I'll take them to the printers tomorrow and make him kiss my feet for getting it in two days before deadline. Oh, my aching neck from typing all day for days!

Today Sherrie Lewis and I visted Jill Langley and Ernestine Boonstoppel. I asked to see the photographs of Jill's surgery. Everyone else thinks they are gross, but I was interested. The tumor looked sort of like a beef kidney. It was the size of a Nerf football and weighed four pounds. Thank heaven thank heaven thank heaven it was benign.

Judd Lewis and his fiancee are not registered anywhere, and I'm too tired to think of a gift on my own, so I'll probably just give them a gift card. I think I'll give Megan a recipe box, however.

Hooray for having the workbooks done! Now I guess I'll go back to scrapbooking. Oh yes and plant the rest of the daffodils.

[Comments] (2) : The portcullis has come crashing down and the heads have rolled. I'm glad I don't depend on working at this college for my survival. I am also glad to have survived this round of horribleness.

I asked Pedro to watch out the window to see me walk and tell me if I'm dumb or smart. I looked back up to see him and he was standing with two thumbs up. I guess that means I'm smart.

Maybe smart, but with a two-inch stack of papers to grade over the weekend. I have lunch with Sunnie and Susan to look forward to tomorrow though.

And Super Saturday at the church on Saturday, where I am going to make a layered jar of soup mix and some stamped Christmas cards. I signed up to take homemade soup for the luncheon. I was going to make matzoh ball soup, but I couldn't find any matzoh stuff. I went to all the independent grocery stores yesterday, and not only did they not have it, they didn't know what it was and thought I was insane to even ask. I know they sell it at Vons and Albertsons, but they are still on strike. Today I went to Foods Co., and they didn't have it either, so I am giving up. I'll just make homemade dumplings from scratch.

The broth is smelling really nice right now. I put in a lot of fresh thyme from the front yard. (I did rinse the mud off it first!)

[Comments] (5) : My boy is going to Arkansas to work on the Clark presidential campaign. I'm so proud of him--and thrilled and happy. I betcha my brother, his Uncle Leonard, aka "Mr. Democrat", is bustin his buttons about now.

I do have some friends who are Republicans, and I have miffed them already. Geez, the first miffs of the 2004 Presidential race!

: Today I tried to talk Dr. Amin into stopping the IV. He wouldn't; he wants to give it another month and then "we'll see." I never thought he would be so hard to talk into anything. I got a flu shot and am feeling it now, but can't go to bed because I'm waiting for trickortreaters. I've had a few, but it's raining. I have the idea that there will be lots of Hershey's in this household come dawn.

: In other news, the earth is opening up and swallowing people.

[Comments] (2) : Today I dragged Ernestine Boonstoppel out of bed and took her to Super Saturday. At lunch, she asked "Isn't this Saturday meeting just for young sisters".

Funny, when I was young I thought Homemaking Meeting was just for old ladies. Ernestine thinks I am young. Hah.

That said, really, all the cutsie crafts and cooking classes really were more useful for the newlyweds. I think it would be a very hard thing to have an Enrichment calling and keep trying to think of ideas to keep such a spread of ladies busy, and in truth, Ernestine was only one of a couple of senior citizens there. (The others were there with their daughters.)

I watched the cooking demonstration, which was about "cheating." They used prefrozen bread dough to make rolls, breadsticks, and monkey bread. I don't know if I could ever bring myself to do that. I made one jar of layered soup mix, which I gave to Ernestine, and then I just worked on my scrapbook. I had a big audience, so I think I wasn't the only one who didn't need more crafty holiday decorations.

Then we had lunch, an event at which I shine. Thank heaven lunch isn't just for newlyweds!

: Grammar book done, back to the scrapbook. I did a couple of pages today, but I am still in 1988. I'm thinking it's about time to put it away for a while and work on the Christmas presents for Jonathan's family and my kids. I did not want to do that. I wanted to be done by now.

The pictures I took of apple bobbing at the church fall social are so precious I'm going to have to make a scrapbook page of them even though they are not my kids! Well, they are sort of my kids. Drew Smith, Caryn Ledbetter...

[Comments] (1) : I discovered my recipe file box has one divider for "Appetizers" and one for "Hors D'ouevres" Huh? What's the difference?

The Hors D'Ouevres divider in my box is empty. I don't think I even noticed it was there before.

: I think I'm going to try a new recipe today--for Oven Barbecued Swiss Steak. It sounds good, doesn't it? I am considering doing it in the crock pot instead of in the oven. Therefore, after I teach my class, I will go to Green Frog Market and hunt and gather provisions.

At some point this week, I also need to go to Target.

[Comments] (5) : Sigh. My weblog is forty-second in a Google search for "Jabberwocky." I feel like a second class citizen.

[Comments] (2) : I found a handout from a miniclass my mother taught in Homemaking Meeting on how to make non-weeping meringue topping for lemon pie. She claims that it will keep for a week in the refrigerator and the bottom crust will never get soggy.

As if. She never had a lemon pie last more than a day in her life.

: I have finally heard from my old friend Dieter Merkle. I was worried when the wildfires entered his neighborhood and the news media said everyone had to be evacuated. His house burned clear to the ground. The fire was so hot that even the cement foundation slab was melted in places. He lost everything except what he grabbed to take with him. Hmmm. What would I grab if the house were on fire? I'm thinking scrapbooks, but we have too many of them now!

[Comments] (1) : I am working and working at the genealogy. I have to check 50,000 names (by hand) and then hand merge them where the lines cross. I would have thought there was software to do this, but nooooo. On the other hand, considering the GIGO principle, it's probably just as well.

I have found numerous mistakes from the Ancestral File.

: After spending most of the day on my dead people, I have made it to the middle of those whose first name begins with "C" and who don't have a surname. Thirty-seven lines go back to Charles "The Bald." He is where I left off. I'm getting a headache and can't do any more.

This Monday/Wednesday class is really taking the starch out of me. It's been a hard semester. I hope it gets over with soon.

[Comments] (1) : Are body and soul still together?

[Comments] (2) : It's finally happened. I was talking to Tonks and I called him "Danny." I think he knew that I meant it in a loving way.

[Comments] (6) : A side effect of the grocery workers' strike is that I have to actually plan. It's out of my way to go to Green Frog Market, so I have to arrange my schedule to go, keep a list for when I do go, and all that efficient stuff. I'm not sure that I'll go back to the chain stores once the strike is over. At Green Frog Market, one pays top dollar for the meat, but it is unbelievable quality and hardly any fat at all. I wonder how it would work out, price per edible ounce cooked, if one were to compare? I'm beginning to be convinced that in buying cheap meat one pays for more than a fair share of fat.

Besides, as Sumana says, how can anyone object to a market called Green Frog?

Froggy went a'courting and he did ride uh huh.

[Comments] (2) : I spent the entire day on genealogy, and cleaned up the records of people with no last name all the way up to Maud. Some places it was really a mess. I should have done yard work, but didn't feel up to it. Gretel kept me company all day, but she really, really wants to go to bed now. (She gets a puppy biscuit before bed.)

: Reaching point of desperation. Preparing Sacrament Meeting talk. No good.

: The Sacrament Meeting talk has been survived. I asked the Bishop if this lets me off the hook for a year or so, something like jury duty.

The rest of the day I did genealogy. Sharon White agrees with me that I should just delete the no-name people. What's the point of having them on your chart if they are just going to be a blank? I really need to get back into scrapbook mode, but there is so much to do on this genealogy. I had been spending every Wednesday night at the library, but now I have about a year worth of checking before I can do that again, and I miss it!

[Comments] (3) : My students wrote the first part of their departmental exam today. The prognosis is dismal. I came home and took a nap and worked on genealogy. I have made it to the middle of the Ts, no last names.

: Exams. Paper grading. Genealogy. I've made it to the middle of the Abbotts on the printout. Lots of mixed up links and duplication of names. Children married to their grandparents. Aaaargh.

[Comments] (1) : My car wouldn't start. I called the AAA for a jump and then took it to a repair place and begged, "Pleasepleaseplease can you install a new battery right nownownow?" They did, and I thought that was so sweet of them. They said the old battery was not only five years old, it was the wrong size for the car. I'm glad it didn't go out on the trilobite hunt!

Gretel was very concerned about the way the tow truck driver was messing with the car. She is very protective of the car, and she didn't like to see a stranger opening it up and doing strange things to it.

[Comments] (1) : I had a "discussion" with the cashier at the AAA office. I asked for a Los Angeles street map (for Rachel) and she said, "What city?" It really irritates me when people around here act like such provincials. They think everything south of the Grapevine is LA. I repeated that I wanted a map of Los Angeles. Sheesh. If I wanted Irvine or Encino I'd have asked for it.

[Comments] (1) : Today I was going to pull weeds, but when I went to see what Tonks was doing he was injured, so I had to spend the morning taking him to the doctor. There is only a small window of time every day when I can do hard work, and that took it up. Arrrgh. My yard is getting weedy again.

After I dropped him at home I went to the teacher lab and laminated my recipe cards. It will take a couple of hours to cut them out; this will give me something to do on the way to San Francisco.

Tonks is a very lucky kitty. He had a chunk taken out of his eye, but just the eyelid, not the eyeball. It could have been a lot worse. He had a big antibiotic shot and a pain shot. He's running a little temperature. He will have eye ointment twice a day and an amoxycilllin pill twice a day. That ought to go over big.

[Comments] (1) : I drove to Los Angeles to attend the sealing in the temple of my friends Cindy and Aaron Hubble. It was insane. There were a gazillion weddings going on, limos, stretch hummers, people taking pictures, and adding to the madness, a very big crowd of people from the singles ward were putting up Christmas lights. They were in lines of five people, each with a pole, stringing lights high into the trees. I wonder how they will get them down. They also had some of the biggest, tallest ladders I have ever seen, and lots of coolers full of stuff to drink.

Afterward I took Rachel to lunch at Earth, Wind, and Flour and we talked about politics and world affairs. She took home a lot of leftover food.

There is a frost advisory out for tonight. Goodbye, brugmansia (for the rest of the year.) The Sunset book says, "Expect unattractive winter appearance." Their evaluation is correct, Captain. The radio meteorologist said it is going to be fifteen degrees in Frazier Park. I believe it. I had to stand out in it at the rest area, throwing up into a trash can and I think I will never be warm again. I have my nightgown in the dryer, however.

When I was a kid and we were sick, or cold, my mother used to warm up a blanket in the dryer and wrap us in it. She had a quilted satin bed jacket (made by her Aunt Clarice, I believe,) which she always heated and wrapped around our frozen feet. I want my mommy!

[Comments] (6) : Do I want to go to work tomorrow and spend eight hours grading writing profficiencies? Sure! I'm also looking forward to a nice cozy weekend getaway at the Bates Motel.

: Leonardw wanted me to make some of Mom's recipes for Thankgiving. I made a commitment to make consomme madrilene, red cinnamon apples, and the dinner rolls. I thought I had the consomme recipe, but no. I had to fake it, but it turned out pretty good. I'm going to carry it to SF in an ice chest. I also made some vegetarian consomme for Sumana's consumption--the recipe was on the Net. It was expensive to make because of all the fresh herbs and the leeks.

I know I don't have the cinnamon apple recipe either, but I'm sure I can fake it too. I may have bought too many apples, and Xochitl found them in the grocery sack on the kitchen table and rolled a few of them down the hall, so they might be bruised. Therefore, I guess it's lucky I got a lot of them!

The crescent rolls, I feel confident about. I need to remember to take my rotary cutting mat to SF. It's what I use when I cut out rolls, cookies, pie crust...

I was kind of hoping to make a pecan pie, but Leonardw is making desserts from Martha Stewart. I'll have to make pecan pie for Christmas. I haven't made one since the time I used nuts from a pecan tree I planted when we lived out at Comanche Point.

In other news, everyone in my Tuesday/Thursday class passed their writing proficiency except for the boy who didn't show up to take it. We are not going to discuss my Monday/Wednesday class.

[Comments] (1) : Quote from Leonardw: I made the first two tartlet shells today for the pumpkin flan. That Martha Stewart! She gives me a recipe for four pastry shells when the flan recipe is for eight. No wonder she's in big trouble.

In line at Young's. A produce bag burst and spilled sugar snaps all over the floor. The customer (to the cashier): "We've had a little pea accident."

I ran a whole bunch of errands today. Two banks. Took Doris Jackman's mixing bowl back to her. Haircut. Mailed the boxer shorts pattern to a Scrabble friend in Washington. Got the car detailed. Got my blood done. Bought forgotten groceries. I am done for. I was really planning to do some yard work today, but I don't have what it takes, and I think I will go take a nap now. The poor black zinnias can stay until after the holiday.

: I am at Leonard and Jeff's house in San Francisco. It's an Eicler, like Aunt Jeuney's old one in Sunnyvale, but two story. I've read --somewhere-- that these houses are considered collectors items now.

The cats are afraid of us. Miles doesn't remember that I'm his friend. I have my rolls going in the bread machine, and there are smells of cooking wafting from below. I am grateful for my family.

[Comments] (3) : Back from San Francisco. The kids are gone and I am alone again. Gretel doesn't know what to do, and Tonks sat and waited and waited and finally asked me where John is. He was disappointed to hear that John had gone away.

It's COLD. I froze all night; it didn't help that my down comfortor was (is) in the dryer. In the wee morning hours I got up and went looking for a cat. Found Xochitl curled up in the living room, so I brought her back to bed and that helped.

Word is out that Brett Haney has cancer. I hate cancer. I wish it would go away.

I have spoken to Mark Handy about getting the water heater fixed.

Today I came home from church and there were kids eating my tangerines, so I set the dog on them. They didn't know that the dog only wanted to kiss them, and they were suitably terrified. I hope that makes them think twice next time they go to steal fruit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I gave up. I bought a Beleek vase.

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

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

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

Why am I not surprised?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Comments] (1) : A grammatical dialogue:

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

frances: I hope not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dear Family and Friends:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love always,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jabberwocky for 2003



© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.