Jabberwocky for 2003 January

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: 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.)

Jabberwocky for 2003 January

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.